Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

The Return of YEHOVAH God and the Restoration of All Israel

One does not have to whitewash the State of Israel, or endorse every action of the Israeli government, to recognize the astonishing post-Holocaust birth of the nation "in a single day" as a striking fulfillment of YEHOVAH's prophecies and as a forerunner of the restoration of ALL Israel at YEHOVAH's return.

Dr. James D. Tabor

Christians have been taught for centuries that the Church has replaced Israel as the Chosen Nation, taking over her mission to the world. In a related way, the dozens of prophetic texts which promise the full and complete restoration of Israel have been allegorized and applied to either the Church, or to salvation in heaven. The sad tale of Christian history, particularly the Christian slander and slaughter of the Jews, certainly belies any such transfer of the Plan to the Church. [1] It is highly questionable whether even the New Testament documents support such displacement interpretations. [2] However, it is beyond a doubt that the Hebrew Prophets know of no such shift in the Abrahamic Plan. Accordingly, those who take the Biblical revelation seriously must thoroughly reject all forms of replacement theology.

According to both Torah and Prophets -- and pious Jews have understood this through the centuries -- Israel went into Exile because of her sins, and YHVH actually hid His face from her:

"Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they shall be consumed, and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day, is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?" (Deuteronomy 31:17).

"Then He said, I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be" (Deuteronomy 32:20).

"Then they will cry out to YHVH, but He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time, because they have practiced evil deeds" (Micah 3:4).

However, this "hiding of the face" is neither rejection nor replacement. On the contrary, the very purpose of the Exile is to prepare for the full restoration of all Israel. Exile is always understood as a temporary measure of discipline, for a set period of time. Notice, when Moses first mentions the Exile, he includes a promise of restoration:

"When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to YHVH Your God and listen to His voice. For YHVH you God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them" (Deuteronomy 4:30-31). [3]

"YHVH your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where YHVH your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the heavens, from there YHVH your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back...moreover YHVH your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love YHVH your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live" (Deuteronomy 30:3-6).

The promises to national Israel, to the Jewish people, to the Twelve Tribes scattered among the nations, are absolute and unconditional. God has not and will not cast off or reject His people Israel:

"Thus says YHVH, who gives the sun for light by day, and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; YHVH of Hosts is His name: If this fixed order departs from before Me, declares YHVH, then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever.

"Thus says YHVH, If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, declares YHVH" (Jeremiah 31:35-37). [4]

Surely language could be no plainer. The Prophets speak directly about a specific period of time:

"For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, and without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek YHVH their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to YHVH and to His goodness in the last days" (Hosea 3:4-5) [5]

There are over forty separate sections of the Hebrew prophets which deal specifically, and in the greatest of detail, with this theme of the full and unqualified restoration of all Israel. The cumulative impact of these texts is overwhelming. [6] Though scattered to all nations, sifted like wheat, YHVH declares "my eyes are on all their ways," and "not the least grain will fall to the ground" (Jeremiah 16:17; Amos 9:9). Both Israel and Judah (all Twelve Tribes) are brought back to the Land and reunited (Ezekiel 37:15-23). This great Return actually rivals the Exodus from Egypt (Jeremiah 16:14-15)! The Davidic Messiah appears at this time and actually completes the Restoration (Isaiah 11; Jeremiah 23; Ezekiel 36). [7]

This Restoration has nothing to do with favoritism or nationalism. It is based on the absolute promise YHVH made to Abraham, and YHVH's determination to vindicate Himself. Despite the fortunes of history, and incredible opposition and persecution, the Jewish people have been Divinely preserved as a distinct entity for 3500 years. Their history, along with the Holy Scriptures which they have carefully preserved in the original Hebrew language, is the primary witness and pledge that YHVH's Plan of salvation for the world will be realized. This is the message of Isaiah 40-66, the master section of the Prophets. The Prophets consistently picture restored Israel undergoing a spiritual conversion to YHVH and to Torah:

"Therefore thus says the Lord YHVH, Now I shall restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I shall be jealous for My Holy Name....When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am YHVH their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. And I will not hide my face from them any longer, for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:25-29). [8]

"I will put my Torah within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jeremiah 31:33).

"For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you" (Ezekiel 36:25-26).

This is all part of the Plan: that through the nation Israel, and her Messiah, all the world will come to experience the Kingdom of God. Israel suffers Exile, receiving "double for all her sins," but according to Isaiah 40-53 she is also the "servant of YHVH" whose suffering leads to redemption for all nations. [9] Jeremiah picks up on the very language of the Plan:

"I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and I will rebuild them as they were at first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity...and this city [Jerusalem] shall be to Me a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth" (Jeremiah 33:7-9).

The conversion of Israel leads to the turning of all nations to the knowledge of YHVH and His Torah way for all humankind. The Davidic Messiah regathers all Israel, and at the same time the nations seek YHVH (Isaiah 11:10-12). It is at that time the "earth becomes full of the knowledge of YHVH as the waters cover the seas" (Isaiah 11:9). The Torah goes forth from Jerusalem to all nations; the nations stream up to the Land to learn the way of YHVH (Isaiah 2:2-4). Consistently the Prophets associate these related phenomena:

"For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers...To You the nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, futility and things of no profit" (Jeremiah 16:15-19).

"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the Throne of YHVH, and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of YHVH; nor shall they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart. In those days Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for an inheritance" (Jeremiah 3:15-18). [10]

"So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek YHVH of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of YHVH...in those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the tzizit of a Jew saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you" (Zechariah 8:23).

Jeremiah says, "Israel was holy to YHVH, the firstfruits of His harvest" (2:3). This image of the firstfruits relates to the symbolic meaning of Israel's Holy Days and the harvest seasons, as set forth in Leviticus 23. The Way of YHVH will first be realized through the "great nation," as promised to Abraham. The full harvest will follow. This is the prime Messianic task according to all the Prophets. Unless and until all Israel is restored to the Land, there is no Messianic fulfillment, and there will be no realization of the Kingdom of God.

There is every indication that the Restoration comes in stages. The Prophets collectively witness to a specific scenario of events leading up to the End. First, Jews (descendants of Judah -- Judahites) return to the Land, prior to the period of Messiah and the full Restoration. Judah is a significant military power at that point, Jerusalem becomes a focal point of world conflict in the Middle East (Micah 5:7-10; Zech 8; 9:10). Psalm 83 is quite detailed on this point. It speaks of an alliance of ten Arab nations which form a pact, vowing to "wipe out Israel as a nation" (verses 4-8). All nations gather against Jerusalem, but are utterly defeated (Zechariah 12; 14; Daniel 11:40-12:1, etc.). The reign of the Messiah regathers all Israel, which in turn leads to the turning of all nations to YHVH and the Torah (Isaiah 2:11; Zechariah 14:9; Daniel 2, 7).

Isaiah chapters 40-66 lays out the grand scheme in great detail. [11] The descriptions of these last things are not all rosy and pleasant to read. There will be an incredible amount of strife and violence marking the arrival of the Kingdom of God. It will not come easily. The nations that oppose YHVH will be utterly broken. But the purpose behind this violent overthrow of the present world order is clear:

"That they may know that You alone, whose name is YHVH, are the Most High over all the earth" (Psalm 83:18).

There are unmistakable indications that the preliminary return of Judahites to the Land in our century marks the beginning of the end of what Daniel sees as the "times of the Gentiles." It has been noted that Israel regained sovereignty over Jerusalem on June 6, 1967, precisely 2300 years to the day from the defeat of the Persian Darius by Alexander the Great in 334 BCE. This appears to be an amazing and direct fulfillment of Daniel 8:5-14. [12] New research indicates that the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948 was actually on the day of Pentecost or Shavuot. [13] Since the giving of the Torah at Sinai in the time of Moses was also on Pentecost, this is surely no accident.

Hosea, speaking of the Exile as a "tearing and wounding" of the nation, says, "He will revive us after two days, He will raise us up on the third day (6:1-2). After two thousand years of Exile, on the "third day" Israel has begun to regain her sovereignty. [14] It has also been noted that the key dates: 1917 (Balfour Declaration); 1947-48; 1967; and 1992 parallel sequences of time periods in Daniel 12, and relate to the Moslem invasion of the Land (1260;1290;1335). One does not have to whitewash the State of Israel, or endorse every action of the Israeli government, to recognize the astonishing post-Holocaust birth of the nation "in a single day" as a striking fulfillment of the Prophets (Isaiah 66:8).

Even as I write we are witnessing the mass return of Jews from the Soviet Union and Ethiopia to the Land of Israel. Each wave of immigration since 1948, from all over the world, is a harrowing tale of intrigue. [15] Jeremiah 16:14-19 is being fulfilled right before our eyes. Jews have come for every conceivable reasons, not the least of which has been bare survival. Many come with cultural or secular motivations, others are carried by more religious or mystical currents. Defining just who is a "Jew" has become a problem after 2500 Years of living in Gentile lands. However, YHVH declares, "my eyes are on all their ways." It could well be that some are being drawn to the Land who had lost their identity as descendants of Jacob.

We are also witnessing a fair number of Gentiles who are being drawn to directly cast their fortunes with the Jewish people in the Land. This too the prophets foretell. Nothing like this has ever happened in history, truly YHVH has created a "new thing" in the earth. As the rabbis say, those who are listening can hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

Endnotes:

[1] Every Christian should read Edward H. Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews (New York: Macmillan, 1965). Flannery is thoroughly objective and historical, but spares no truth in reporting on 23 centuries of anti-Semitism, much of it "Christian."

[2] See Romans 9-11 and the discussion of Marvin Wilson, Our Father Abraham, pp. 3-35; also, the carefully worked out arguments of Hal Lindsey, The Road to Holocaust (New York: Bantam, 1989) and the perspective of Vendyl Jones, Will the Real Jesus Stand Up. The idea of "salvation in Heaven," despite very widespread popular opinion, is nowhere taught in the New Testament writings. These texts consistently speak of the Kingdom of God on earth, and the coming of God (YHVH) to the new earth. See my article, "What the Bible Says About the Future," published in What the Bible Really Says (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1989), edited by Morton Smith and Joseph Hoffmann, pp. 33-51; as well as the ground-breaking contribution of Oscar Cullmann, "Immortality of the Soul and Resurrection of the Dead," in Immortality and Resurrection (New York: Macmillan, 1965), edited by K. Stendahl, pp. 9-53.

[3] There are two great chapters dealing with the Exile in Torah; Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. The former appears to apply more directly to the Babylonian period, and the latter to the Roman.

[4] The folly of allegory, that is, trying to apply these promises to any other than national Israel, is particularly made plain in this section of Jeremiah: note 31:31 and 31:38-40. The literal references to the Northern and Southern Kingdoms and the city of Jerusalem are beyond dispute.

[5] Compare Micah 5:3, noting the word "until." It should be observed that Hosea is speaking specifically about the Northern Kingdom, the Ten Tribes, which were scattered among the nations, not the Judeans or Jews. All the prophets say that both Israel and Judah are to be restored together in the last days.

[6] Isa 8:17f; 11:12f; 14:1f; 27:12-13; 43:5-7; 49:5-6; 54:1-7; 60:4f; 62:7f; 66:20; Jer 3:12-18; 16:14-18; 23:1-8; 29:12-14; chaps 30, 31, 33; 50:4; Ezk 11:14-21; 16:60f; 20:33-49; 25:25f; 34:11f; chaps 36, 37; Hosea 1:10-11; 2:14-23; 3:4-5; Joel 2:30-3:21; Amos 9:8-15; Obadiah 17-21; Micah 2:12-13; 4:1-6; 5:1-15; 7:15f; Zephaniah 3:19f; Zechariah 2:10-13; 8:1-13;10:3-12.

[7] Isaiah 11 is the most comprehensive text on the coming of the Messiah. Additional texts dealing with the Davidic Messiah are the following: Isa 16:5; Jer 30:9; 33:15; Ezk 34:23-24; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11; Micah 5; Zech 3:8; 6:12; 9:9; Psa 2,110, Isa 9:5-6 should be included, but it is mistranslated in most all Christian versions. It should read, "his name [the Davidic son] will be called "Wonderful in Counsel is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace," as Isaiah 28:29 makes clear. See the Jewish Publication Society translation of the Holy Scriptures called the Tanakh. The child is to be given a name celebrating the great "Counsel" or Plan of God. This practice of naming a child for attributes of YHVH, or even aspects of His plan, is quite common in the Hebrew Bible.

[8] The Prophets consistently speak of this "conversion" of Israel in the Land to YHVH and Torah as a sudden and dramatic event: Zech 3:9;13:1-2; Jer 50:20; Ezk 36:22-33.

[9] There are about a dozen references to the "servant of YHVH" in Isaiah chapters 42-53; and other scattered places in chapters 54-66. Usually the reference is clearly to the nation of Israel, see 44:1; 45:4, passim. However, there are several sections which seem to speak of the "servant of YHVH" as an individual, or even group of faithful individuals, the tzadikim or "righteous ones" who suffer for the sins of the apostate majority: see 42:1-4,19-20; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12. A group of righteous sufferers is definitely addressed in 51:7-8; 65:13-15; 66:5; however some of the passages seem to speak of a specific individual "servant" who becomes the paradigm of the suffering tzakik. On the image of the lamb led to slaughter, see Psalm 44:22 and Jeremiah 11:19.

[10] See Isa 14:1-2; 56:7; 60:3; Zech 2:10-13; also the Psalm 67 and many others, passim.

[11] See my article "Israel and God's Prophetic Plan."

[12] Daniel 8:14 says that after "2300 days" the holy place "will be vindicated" (lit.), no longer "trampled" by Gentiles. Although the Persians were Gentiles, they allowed Jews to return; rebuild the Temple, and practice their religion freely. The victory of Alexander, on June 7, 334 BCE, began 2300 years of hostile Gentile domination of Jerusalem. According to Josephus Alexander defiled the Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple, as did Antiochus Epiphanes, the Roman general Pompey, and a host of others. The book of Luke seems to anticipate this interpretation of Daniel, see Luke 21:24. In 1825 the Bible commentator Adam Clarke predicted, in his commentary on Daniel 8, that the 2300 days would end in 1966, but he actually meant 1967. He made a mistake in math in moving from BC to AD, neglecting to add the extra year required (there is no year zero). Little did he know that his interpretation would be confirmed, not only to the year, but to the day -- June 7, 1967.

[13] When this article was written the author was unaware of the correct method of counting to Pentecost/Shavuot, hence an incorrect conclusion regarding the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

[14] There are also some prophetic indications that the Exile would last "seven times," or 2520 years (7 x 360). From the Babylonian destruction in the 6th century BCE takes us precisely to the middle of the 20th century. We are the generation that has seen the rebirth of Israel in the Land and sovereignty over Jerusalem back in Jewish hands.

[15] The reality of Jewish "aliyah," or return to the Land is the amazing story of our time. Of course thousands streamed in from post-holocaust Europe, others have come from literally hundreds of countries, all over the world: Often dramatic "rescue missions" were involved. In the early days following WW II, up through the 1960s, 45,000 Jews were brought from Yemen; 25,000 from Iran; 7,000 Kurds; 4,000 from Afganistan;110,000 from Iraq; 32,000 from Libya; 35,000 from Turkey; 25,000 from Egypt; 4,000 Karaites; 4,000 from Syria; 15,000 from India; 300,000 from Morocco; 300,000 from Romania. These Jews had to flee their native lands, in many cases for fear of their lives. Most lost their property. Since 1989, 250,000 Soviet Jews have come to Israel and very recently more Ethiopians.

 

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 2186
Temple City, CA 91780, U.S.A.
www.hope-of-israel.org

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