What about Israel’s future?

Folks, I have been doing a survey of Premillennialism and this is the section concerning God’s covenant faithfulness to His elect nation of Israel. I wanted to communicate this all at once for those who have interested in this, therefore it is lengthy, but not too long as it is just a brief overview of the topic and not a comprehensive treatise. Whether you are a Premillennialist or not, there is a profound number of promises made by God to the ethnic nation of Israel and one must consider how they interpret these matters. Here is the view of one Historic Premillennialist.

What about Israel’s future?

One important feature of Premillennialism is the insistence by most that the ethnic nation of Israel will be regathered in Palestine in the last days (largely fulfilled in 1948), when the Lord will supernaturally bring salvation to Israel as a nation, and then and there fulfill many promises made to them in the Old Testament that have yet to come to pass in history. These promises have to do with the land of Palestine and the city of Jerusalem, where the worship of God in Israel at Jerusalem will be a prominent feature among all the nations coming worship God when also God’s blessing upon the whole regathered nation of Israel will result in God exalting them above all the nations of the world. This idea is commonly called the Restoration of Israel, meaning the ethnic nation of Jews in contrast to the idea of the Israel of God which many Amillennialists refer to being the church (made up of believing Jews and Gentiles… Gal 6:16) that has superseded Israel (also called Replacement Theology). Premillennialists read these promises in the Old Testament and believe they must have a literal fulfilment in history in order for God to remain faithful to His Word, and so they look forward to the Second Coming and the Millennial Kingdom where God will fulfill these promises to Israel. It is typically the hermeneutic (method of interpretation) that Premillennialists use (literal-grammatical-historical) that drives them to this belief. This is held in contrast commonly to the hermeneutic of Amillennialists (redemptive historical) where they read these Old Testament prophecies as typology (types, symbols, shadows) of Messianic salvation in the church having there fulfilment in the New Covenant realities of the church age and the Eternal state. This Amillennial view of Israel is often called “Supercessionism” or “Replacement Theology.” These two different ways of interpreting the bible make a stark contrast when it comes to the Millennial Kingdom and also the fulfilment of God’s promises to the ethnic nation of Israel, which Premillennialists believe is yet to come to pass in history. Therefore Premillennialists see many of these promises in the Old Testament coming to pass in the Millennial age, before the Eternal state, and this Millennial age is often called the “Intermediate Kingdom.” In what follows briefly I want to just make you aware of the New Testament teaching on Israel’s future restoration by God and also some of these promises in the Old Testament that clearly inform us of the nature and scope of that last days restoration of Israel according to God’s eternal purpose.

I cannot now give an exhaustive treatment of Supercessionism and the issue of distinctions between Israel and the Church (Continuity and Discontinuity) in this teaching. Let me suffice to say that being a committed Premillennialist I hold a certain level of Discontinuity, that is that Israel is distinct from the Church, even in the New Covenant age in some degree. The New Testament clearly teaches that believing Israelites become one body and temple together with the Gentile church in Christ (Eph 2:11-22), and that in Christ the racial and religious barriers are broken down (Gal 3:28) through the sonship and peace that Christ brings, especially in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 3:26-29 – 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. NASB

Clearly, Jew and Gentile become heirs together of God’s Abrahamic Covenant and brought into the privilege and blessing of sonship. This does not however remove the Jewish identity of ethnic Israel any more than it removes our gender identity of male and female. In what follows I will show that God does indeed have eschatological purposes for the ethnic nation of Israel, and in the last days He will exalt them above all the nations of the world under the Kingship of Jesus in the Millennium. This He does according to His Covenant faithfulness to them where He will literally fulfill all the promises He has made to them. There are no grounds for somehow assuming that God has cancelled or forgotten His promises to Israel just because Jewish nation has rejected Christ as a whole, and that now individual Jews can be brought into Messianic salvation by grace through faith. What is at stake here is the character and nature of God and His Word in being faithful to fulfill His promises in spite of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, something the prophets emphasized. This is the subject of Paul explicit treatment of the issue of God’s elective purposes for Israel and their eschatological fulfilment in the last days in the book of Romans chapters 9-11. One must understand that Paul is a converted Jewish Pharisee, and writing from the perspective of someone who knows and understands the entire Old Testament. He assumes that those who read his letters have some exposure to the rich Old Testament narrative and prophecies, something which is very much neglected in our day and time.

The Future Restoration and Salvation of Israel

The New Testament clearly lays out a future restoration and salvation for the ethnic nation of Israel. This comes in a key section of the New Testament where Paul is giving a treatment on the ethnic nation of Israel, specifically in regard to God’s election of them, His faithfulness to them (even though they rebelled), and the nature and scope of God’s present and future purposes for them. After bringing up the “Israelites,” (Roman 9:4) Paul goes into a lengthy treatment in Romans chapters 9-11 discussing the election of Israel, God’s faithfulness according to His electing purposes for them, and their present and future state.

Romans 9:1-6 - 1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. 6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; NASB

This treatment of ethnic Israel in Romans 9-11 can be seen in an overview in this outline.

I. Israel’s Past: The Election of God 9:1-29

A. Paul’s Sorrow 9:1-5

B. God’s Sovereignty 9:6-29

II. Israel’s Present: The Rejection of God 9:30—10:21

A. Israel Seeks Righteousness by Works 9:30-33

B. Israel Rejects Christ 10:1-15

C. Israel Rejects the Prophets 10:16-21

III. Israel’s Future: The Restoration by God 11

A. Israel’s Rejection Is Not Total 11:1-10

B. Israel’s Rejection Is Not Final 11:11-32

C. Israel’s Restoration: The Occasion for 11:33-36

Glorifying God

(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

When Paul arrives in chapter 11, he begins to deal with Israel’s rejection of Christ, its consequences upon them in the present age, and God’s faithfulness in His election of them to save them finally, in spite of their hardened hearts. This we know that God finally does for the sake of His own glory and faithfulness, but nevertheless it results in a powerful salvation and restoration of Israel in the last days. In verse 11:1-10 Paul makes the point that their rejection is not total in that even now in the church age some Israelites are being saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, and Paul refers to these Messianic believing Jews as a “remnant chosen by grace” (Romans 11:5).

Romans 11:1-6 - 11 I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 "Lord, they have killed Thy prophets, they have torn down Thine altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life." 4 But what is the divine response to him? "I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. NASB

There is then a remnant chosen by grace, who through election and regeneration believe in Christ and are saved (like us Gentiles), and the rest of the Israelites in this present age (Church Age… times of the Gentiles) are given a blindness and hardening by God to the Gospel.

Romans 11:7-10 - 7 What then? That which Israel is seeking for, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8 just as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day." 9 And David says, "Let their table become a snare and a trap, And a stumbling block and a retribution to them. 10 "Let their eyes be darkened to see not, And bend their backs forever." NASB

Now in verse 11-32 Paul makes the point that even though they have received a blindness and hardening by God in the present age, their rejection of Christ is not final and they will again be restored by God, because of God’s faithfulness in electing them for blessing and privilege. So Paul argues that they will not be totally cut off, but finally restored and saved by God and in God’s time. Paul argument progresses and builds to include the supernatural work of God and re-grafting Israel back into the olive tree (the true and genuine elect of God). Notice how in this text/context that Israel (they, their, them) is set in contrast to the believing elect/chosen Jews (v-1,5) and Gentiles(v-7,12-13) who are described as (you, your).

Romans 11:11-24 - 11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression be riches for the world and their failure be riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be! 13 But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 And if the first piece of dough be holy, the lump is also; and if the root be holy, the branches are too. 17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more shall these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? NASB

Paul has built the argument to this point to set this important and fundamental point of God’s covenant faithfulness in view. Israel was “cut off” for unbelief, blindness and hardness of heart, but God will for the sake of His great name, electing love and covenant faithfulness graft them back in in spite of their sin, and bring about a supernatural restoration and salvation of the whole ethnic nation of “Israel,” who is clearly in this context the blood descendants of “Jacob.”

Romans 11:25-27 - 25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob." 27 "And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." NASB

He furthers the contrast of the unbelieving ethnic nation of Jews with the elect Jew/Gentle believers in verses 28-32, calling them beloved enemies of God who have an irrevocable calling from God by His election, and that ultimately in the same way He saved us Gentiles through His mercy in the Gospel, He will again save them through His mercy verse 31.

Romans 11:28-32 - 28 From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; 29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all. NASB

Don’t miss this important last verse 32. God has allowed Jew and Gentile to go astray in sin so that He might manifest the glory of His mercy upon them all. This absolutely incredible thing that God has done with the nation of Israel in redemptive History, including the mystery of the Gospel in saving the Gentile Church, is an astounding epic saga of events that has taken thousands of years to unfold. During this time Israel has been scattered among the nations of the world, sorely pressed, harassed, persecuted and hated, which is exactly what He said would happen to them by the mouths of the prophets. And through it all, they were without a homeland, having been dispersed from the Land of Judea, and yet God has supernaturally preserved them as a nation of people for the grand finale, which is His glorious Millennial Kingdom He will bring about in Judea in the last days. There He will fulfill all His covenant promises to Israel as He brings the whole remnant of the nation under the salvation of Christ, through the Gospel and saving faith. This special election of Israel and His plan for them through the ages is an event of ineffable glory that brings the Apostle to doxology and praise for God’s unsearchable wisdom.

Romans 11:33-36 - 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. NASB

This we know that God finally does for the sake of His own glory and faithfulness, but nevertheless it results in a powerful salvation and restoration of Israel in the last days.

This idea that Israel would go through a time of blindness, hardening and judgment from God, was mentioned in the Old Testament, but not clearly understood until the fuller light and revelation of the New Testament, revealing of the mystery of the Gospel and the times of the Gentile’s salvation.

Hosea 3:4-5 – 4 For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, and without ephod or household idols. 5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days. NASB

In light of the history of Israel and Judaism in the last 2000 years, Hosea’s prophecy is clearly seen to be fulfilled during the times of the Gentiles. We clearly see that the Jews have remained “for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, and without ephod or household idols.” But the prophecy has a glorious end for the wandering Jews that have been scattered to every nation under Heaven, exiled from the land of promise. But let us see Paul’s promise that Israel will be saved in the last days confirmed in the mouth of the prophet Hosea in verse 5, “Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.” You see, Redemptive history is unfolding and God has grand plans for the future of Israel and their final salvation. We now know that God has a Messianic saving purpose for the Gentile church and that Israel is blinded and hardened as judgment from God as a result of the rejection of Christ. But God will clearly save and restore them when the “times of the Gentiles” are fulfilled. Then God will again move to regather, save, and restore the glory of Israel in the last days. This makes so many of the Old Testament passages that refer to Israel’s gory in the last days finally make sense, in light of their hardening and rejection of the Christ. They are seen in the prophets of being under the judgment of exile and dispersion (diaspora) by God, until in the last days God once again regathers them in the land of Judea to bring about a national Messianic salvation for them, for the sake of His own glory and covenant faithfulness, and in spite of their disobedience and rebellion against Him.

Zechariah 12:6-14 – 6 "In that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot among pieces of wood and a flaming torch among sheaves, so they will consume on the right hand and on the left all the surrounding peoples, while the inhabitants of Jerusalem again dwell on their own sites in Jerusalem. 7 "The Lord also will save the tents of Judah first in order that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be magnified above Judah. 8 "In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord before them. 9 "And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. 11 "In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 "And the land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves. NASB

There is much happening in this text in Zechariah that concerns the last days and Israel. But what I want you to see here is that Messianic salvation will come to the entire ethnic nation, just as Paul described in Romans and Hosea referred to. Notice verse 7, the “Lord will save the tents of Judah,” and also the “house of David.” Hardly words describing a few individual Jewish converts to Christianity. Zechariah goes on, verses 10-12 to describe this massive regeneration of the whole Jewish population in Jerusalem, as they see Christ and mourn over the fact that they killed their own Messiah. "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.” By God’s grace in bringing about regeneration for the whole nation they come to see Christ as Savior and in mourning and repentance they come trembling to God, who cleanses away their sins.

Zechariah 13:1 – 13 "In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. NASB

This will come about at the Second Coming of Christ when He has returned to destroy the kings of the earth who have gathered in Judea (Megiddo-Armegeddon) to make war against Him (Psa 2:1-5, Rev 16:13-16, 19:17-21).

Zechariah 14:1-5 – 14 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. 5 And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him! NASB

Did God forget this prophecy? Is he really going to pour out a spirit of grace and supplication upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and then come to save them with all of His holy ones stepping on the Mount of Olives and splitting it into a great valley? Yes indeed He is, and then he will rule the nations with a rod of iron, and His saints with Him (Psa 2:6-9, Rev 2:27, 12:5, 19:15). Zechariah goes onto speak of Christ ruling “over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one.”

Zechariah 14:9-11 – 9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one. 10 All the land will be changed into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; but Jerusalem will rise and remain on its site from Benjamin’s Gate as far as the place of the First Gate to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s wine presses. 11 And people will live in it, and there will be no more curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security. NASB

We will treat these passages further below concerning the Millennial Rule of Christ. But consider first concerning Israel’s final salvation, that it is an all important part of the promise of the New Covenant in Christ.

Israel and the New Covenant

The New Covenant salvation that has come in the Lord Jesus Christ is not entirely or exclusively a Gentile salvation. It is actually, “first to the Jew, and then to the Gentile” (Rom 1:16). God’s New Covenant is a Covenant that He has first promised to the “house of Israel and Judah.” This is a reference to the entire nation of Israel before the Kingdoms where divided into two Kingdoms, Israel to the North and Judah to the South after the reign of David’s son Solomon. The Gentile’s have through the mystery of the Gospel become heirs together with Israel in the New Covenant blessings and brought into the household of God through faith in Christ (Eph 2:11-22). But they have been brought into the “covenants of promise” which have always and still do belong to ethnic Israel.

Ephesians 2:11-13 – 11 Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands — 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. NASB

I point this out simply to say that the New Covenant bears within it the final salvation of the whole nation of Israel, not just a believing remnant during the times of the Gentiles, as Paul clearly taught in Romans 11. There remains a day yet future when God will save the nation just like Paul, and Hosea, and Zechariah have confirmed.

It is important to take notice that Israel’s privilege and blessing is always tied together with their prosperity in the land that God promised to them in the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants, a “land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:8, Deut 11:9). When Israel obeyed God they would live in prosperity in the land. And when they rebelled and disobeyed they would be exiled from the land. This Moses taught them again and again.

Deuteronomy 11:8-17 – 8 "You shall therefore keep every commandment which I am commanding you today, so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land into which you are about to cross to possess it; 9 so that you may prolong your days on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. 11 But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, 12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year. 13 "And it shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, 14 that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. 15 And He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you shall eat and be satisfied. 16 Beware, lest your hearts be deceived and you turn away and serve other gods and worship them. 17 Or the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you. NASB

In fact, Moses (Deut 28) and the prophets prophesied that Israel would continue to rebel and disobey God until ultimately they would be exiled from the land and dispersed and scattered among all the nations of the world. This dispersion would last for many years until in the last days God would again regather them in the land, and because of His mercy and faithfulness, and His promises by Covenant to them, would bring about a great restoration in the land, with prosperity and blessing, which includes the amazing Messianic salvation of God through Christ, when God removes their iniquities, and remembers their sins no more. This will happen when God brings about saving faith through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit for the entire remnant of Israel. But this salvation of Israel also includes their dwelling in the land, which is finally fulfilled in the great Millennial Kingdom upon the earth where Christ the King of Israel will rule the nations of the world, and Israel will be exalted above all the nations of the earth, and a Jew will rule the world!

Jeremiah 31:23-40 – 23 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "Once again they will speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes, ‘The Lord bless you, O abode of righteousness, O holy hill!’ 24 "And Judah and all its cities will dwell together in it, the farmer and they who go about with flocks. 25 "For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes." 26 At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. 27 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast. 28 "And it will come about that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy, and to bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant," declares the Lord. 29 "In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ 30 "But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge. 31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, "declares the Lord. 33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the Lord, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the Lord, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." 35 Thus says the Lord, 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; The Lord of hosts is His name: 36 "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the Lord, "Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever." 37 Thus says the Lord, "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 the Lord. 38 "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 "And the measuring line shall go out farther straight ahead to the hill Gareb; then it will turn to Goah. 40 "And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, or overthrown anymore forever." NASB

You see that God will take the “house of Israel and Judah” and will make a New Covenant with them, verse 31, and He will "put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Here is a clear reference to the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, writing the law on the heart. But notice God emphasizes the faithfulness of this promises saying, “36 "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the Lord, "Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever." I will fulfill this promise to the “nation” of Israel as surely as the sun shines every day and the moon shines every night. This regenerating last days salvation that God promised also appears in the prophecy of Ezekiel. Here again notice that the national salvation of Israel is tied to them dwelling in the land. This national salvation is also spoken of by Ezekiel in great detail. After Israel’s rebellion against God and defiling of their land, they will be scattered by God among the nations, where they will also “profane His name among the nations.”

Ezekiel 36:16-21 – 16 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel was living in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds; their way before Me was like the uncleanness of a woman in her impurity. 18 "Therefore, I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they had shed on the land, because they had defiled it with their idols. 19 "Also I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the lands. According to their ways and their deeds I judged them. 20 "When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land.’ 21 "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. NASB

But for the sake of God’s holy name, He will “vindicate the holiness of my great name” by taking Israel from “all the nations” where they have been scattered, and “gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.” Moreover He will regenerate their hearts and put His Spirit in them and cause them to obey Him and there “you will live in the land” where God will bring great prosperity upon them.

Ezekiel 36:22-36 - 22 "Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God," It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. 23 "And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord," declares the Lord God, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight. 24 "For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land. 25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 "And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. 29 "Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you. 30 "And I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, that you may not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 "Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 "I am not doing this for your sake," declares the Lord God, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel!" 33 ‘Thus says the Lord God, "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. 34 "And the desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passed by. 35 "And they will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 "Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it." NASB

Here we have seen in Ezekiel 36 that there will come a day that the entire nation of Israel will be regenerated by God, after He regathers them into the land. This was Jeremiah’s promise of a New Covenant where He would "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jer 31:33). That is an almost verbatim quote of Ezekiel 36:26-28 which clearly connects the New Covenant with the latter days regeneration of the ethnic nation of Israel, where they will be regathered and settled by God in the land to experience the blessing and prosperity. This God will do to vindicate His own name, when He restores His wayward people and plants them in the land “Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it.” Those who say this salvation of Israel is somehow fulfilled by a Jew simply believing the Gospel and being brought into the church (New Covenant) are dismissing important faithful promises that God has made to save His own covenant people whom He promised He would regather and plant in the land for the sake of His own glory and faithfulness. Did God forget this prophecy? Is He really going to do this? Consider that He has made the same prophecy to regather in the land and bless and prosper Israel by the mouth of no less than Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Zephaniah, and Zechariah. Consider with this knowledge what is going through Paul’s mind when he wrote Romans 11, “all Israel will be saved.” He knows all too well the incredible promises that God has made to Israel and the God will for His own sake and faithfulness make these promises good!

Gather them in the land to dwell

These “covenants of promise” that Paul mentioned in Ephesians 2:12 center on the final and complete salvation of God’s elect people Israel whom He will not forget, but will indeed bring about a great last days salvation for them, in their land, under the blessing and prosperity that will last forever, from that day forward. You have to have blinders on not to see the huge importance of this last days salvation in the Old Testament, and you have to dismiss some very specific promises made with very specific circumstances. Or you can choose to believe that God means what He says and He will bring it to pass. This is seen most clearly in His promise to regather Israel into the land, regenerate them, and bless them and prosper them, which will include the Messiah reigning over them as King, in the land, and them being exalted above all the nations of the world.

Jeremiah 23:3-8 – 3 "Then I Myself shall gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and shall bring them back to their pasture; and they will be fruitful and multiply. 4 "I shall also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing," declares the Lord. 5 "Behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord, "When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. 6 "In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’ 7 "Therefore behold, the days are coming," declares the Lord, "when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil." NASB

Jeremiah 30:3-4,10-11 – 3 ‘For, behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it.’" 4 Now these are the words which the Lord spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah, 10 ‘And fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the Lord, ‘And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, And no one shall make him afraid. 11 ‘For I am with you,’ declares the Lord, ‘to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, And will by no means leave you unpunished.’ NASB

Here see that God has regathered “the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them, then they will live on their own soul.” How could this prophecy possibly be fulfilled in the NT church? First, it is for the descendants of the household of Israel and Judah, who are also called Jacob. Second, it is a promise of a regathering of God’s people whom He has driven them (something that hasn’t happened to the church). Third, it is a promise for them to possess “their own soil.” The church has no land promises from God, but the descendants of Israel who have been scattered by God indeed have promises of land which God will restore to be “their own soil.” This regathering in the land includes the New Covenant promise of regeneration by the Holy Spirit. This is what the famous “valley of dry bones” prophecy in Ezekiel is about!

Ezekiel 37:11-14 – 11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.‘ 12 "Therefore prophesy, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God," Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 "Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. 14 "And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it," declares the Lord.’" NASB

But Ezekiel goes on to promise the reuniting of the two divided Kingdoms (Israel and Judah), in the land, on the mountains of Israel, with one King ruling them, and them being cleansed from their sins and reconciled to God, “they will be My people, and I will be their God.”

Ezekiel 37:21-23 – 21 "And say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God," Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 "And they will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God. NASB

The regathering and regeneration is a theme in Ezekiel and does not just appear in chapters 36 and 37, but also in other places.

Ezekiel 11:14-21 – 14 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 15 "Son of man, your brothers, your relatives, your fellow exiles, and the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those to whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the Lord; this land has been given us as a possession.’ 16 "Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God," Though I had removed them far away among the nations, and though I had scattered them among the countries, yet I was a sanctuary for them a little while in the countries where they had gone. "’ 17 "Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God," I shall gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I shall give you the land of Israel. "’ 18 "When they come there, they will remove all its detestable things and all its abominations from it. 19 "And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. 21 "But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I shall bring their conduct down on their heads," declares the Lord God. NASB

And Jeremiah and Ezekiel are not the only prophets to give these promises from God to Israel. Indeed no less than the great prophet Isaiah told of them same regathering after their great dispersion (diaspora) among the nations, at the time Messiah (the root of Jesse) is exalted among the nations.

Isaiah 11:10-12 – 10 Then it will come about in that day That the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious. 11 Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea. 12 And He will lift up a standard for the nations, And will assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth. NASB

And also the prophet Amos writes of a time when Israel will be planted “on their own land” but also, “not again be rooted out from their which I have given them.”

Amos 9:14-15 – 14 "Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 "I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them, "Says the Lord your God. NASB

And Zephaniah tells of that great and awesome Day of the Lord’s wrath at which time He will regather Zion and exalt them among the nations and “restore your fortunes before your very eyes.”

Zephaniah 3:18-20 – 18 "I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts — They came from you, O Zion; The reproach of exile is a burden on them. 19 "Behold, I am going to deal at that time With all your oppressors, I will save the lame And gather the outcast, And I will turn their shame into praise and renown In all the earth. 20 "At that time I will bring you in, Even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I restore your fortunes before your eyes, "Says the Lord. NASB

Zechariah writes of God saving the house of Judah and Joseph, and Ephraim and gathering them together “into the land of Gilead and Lebanon” after they have been scattered.

Zechariah 10:6-10 – 6 "And I shall strengthen the house of Judah, And I shall save the house of Joseph, And I shall bring them back, Because I have had compassion on them; And they will be as though I had not rejected them, For I am the Lord their God, and I will answer them. 7 "And Ephraim will be like a mighty man, And their heart will be glad as if from wine; Indeed, their children will see it and be glad, Their heart will rejoice in the Lord. 8 "I will whistle for them to gather them together, For I have redeemed them; And they will be as numerous as they were before. 9 "When I scatter them among the peoples, They will remember Me in far countries, And they with their children will live and come back. 10 "I will bring them back from the land of Egypt, And gather them from Assyria; And I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, Until no room can be found for them. NASB

All of these promises from all of these prophets to scatter and disperse them to all the nations, and to regather Israel into the land, regenerate them, and bless them and prosper them, are in fact the very thing that Moses said would happen to them when they got into the land and rebelled against God.

Deuteronomy 4:25-31 – 25 "When you become the father of children and children’s children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord your God so as to provoke Him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you shall surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but shall be utterly destroyed. 27 And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you shall be left few in number among the nations, where the Lord shall drive you. 28 And there you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. 31 For the Lord your 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. NASB

And even Moses speaks of that latter days salvation and restoration upon Israel, not for their sake, but because “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.” See here the record of Israel’s final salvation in the Old Testament spoken 3400 years by the mouth of God’s prophet Moses before it ever comes to pass in history. This overwhelming set of promises that we have seen from all these prophets concerning Israel’s latter days salvation, regathering in the land, blessings and prosperity from then on and forever, and for the sake of God’s own name and faithfulness, is summed up in Jeremiah’s second mention of the New Covenant. There God promises “with all My heart and with all My soul” to not only save them and their children in perpetuity by regeneration, but also to plant them in the land and prosper them from then on and forever. Here also here defines their inheritance as the entire land of Judea in verse 32:44.

Jeremiah 32:37-44 – 37 "Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have driven them in My anger, in My wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in safety. 38 "And they shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good, and for the good of their children after them. 40 "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. 41 "And I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. 42 "For thus says the Lord, ‘Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. 43 ‘And fields shall be bought in this land of which you say, "It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans." 44 ‘Men shall buy fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes,‘ declares the Lord." NASB

One must see that is blasphemy to think or say that God will not carry out these promises to the descendants of those Israelites that He punished in His wrath, (the objects of this discourse v-37), especially because in verses 41-42 He emphatically makes the point that He will make good on His promises to them; "41 And I will rejoice over them to do them good, “and I will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. 42 "For thus says the Lord, ‘Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them.” This is not a promise to the New Testament Gentile Church, but a people that God has brought great disaster upon in His wrath whom He will specifically “restore their fortunes.” These amazing prophecies of God’s faithful promises to Israel should cause us to wonder and awe at the amazing miraculous spectacle that the latter days salvation and restoration of Israel will be. And added to these great promises of being regathered and restored and saved in regeneration (New Covenant), is the great promise of Jesus’ Messianic Rule over the nations, from Jerusalem, in the land of Palestine (Israel), when a Jew rules the world!

The Millennial Rule of Christ from Jerusalem

Not only will God regather Israel into the land of Palestine with blessing and prosperity, and also regenerate all of the living nation of ethnic Israel at the Second Coming, but the prophets have said that when He does this Christ the Messiah will also reign as King over the entire world from Jerusalem, with the whole house of Israel and Judah in the land, and even His New Testament Gentile saints (the Church) ruling with Him. There will come a day yet future when God will establish Christ’s throne and kingdom and He will rule all other nations. His kingdom will never end or be destroyed.

Isaiah 9:6-7 – 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. NASB

Daniel 2:44 – 44"And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. NASB

Revelation 11:15 – 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." NASB

He will Judge the nations with justice and they will obey and serve Him.

Psalm 67:4 – 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For Thou wilt judge the peoples with uprightness, And guide the nations on the earth. NASB

Psalm 96:13 – 13 Before the Lord, for He is coming; For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, And the peoples in His faithfulness. NASB

Acts 17:30-31 – 30 "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." NASB

Jesus will be the ruler of the nations of the earth, the kings and people of the earth will be in subjection to Him and will serve Him. The extent of this rule will be worldwide including people from every tribe and language.

Psalms 72:10-11 – 10Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. NASB

Daniel 7:13-14 – 13"I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14"And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. NASB

Psalm 72:8-11 – May he also rule from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him; And his enemies lick the dust. 10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. NASB

Moreover, this rule is a forceful rule. This implies that the existence and presence of sin and rebellion among the nations that will still exist in a world where Christ is implementing the enforcement of His government. This will obviously be before the New Heavens and Earth, and yet after His Second Coming during an “intermediate Kingdom” (the Millennium), for Christ does not now use a forceful rule over the rebellious nations in the Church Age. Christ will yield exceeding great power over them and they shall live under His rule or be destroyed.

Zechariah 14:16-20 – 16Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 17And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. NASB

Psalm 110:5-6 – 5The Lord is at Thy right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. 6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. NASB

Psalm 2:8-12 – 8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. 9 ‘Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.‘" 10Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. 11Worship the Lord with reverence, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

When the man Christ Jesus reigns as King over all the earth, His throne will be located in Jerusalem, on Mount Zion, in the midst of the ethnic nation of Israel. At this time God will restore His people Israel to Himself, and they will dwell in the land of Israel which He promised to them, under the rule of the One King Jesus.

Psalm 2:6 – 6 "But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain." NASB

Isaiah 24:23 – 23 Then the moon will be abashed and the sun ashamed, For the Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders. NASB

Micah 4:7 – 7"I will make the lame a remnant, And the outcasts a strong nation, And the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion From now on and forever. NASB

Ezekiel 37:21-22 – 21"And say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God," Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations, and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms.

Joel 3:16-21 - 16 And the Lord roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the Lord is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel. 17 Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. So Jerusalem will be holy, And strangers will pass through it no more. 18 And it will come about in that day That the mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the Lord, To water the valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt will become a waste, And Edom will become a desolate wilderness, Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, In whose land they have shed innocent blood. 20 But Judah will be inhabited forever, And Jerusalem for all generations. 21 And I will avenge their blood which I have not avenged, For the Lord dwells in Zion. NASB

Luke 1:31-33 – 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end." NASB

Israel will be exalted above all other nations in that day, and God will restore their fortunes.

Isaiah 49:22-23 – 22 Thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations, And set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, And your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. 23 "And kings will be your guardians, And their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth, And lick the dust of your feet; And you will know that I am the Lord; Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame. NASB

Zephaniah 3:20 – 20 "At that time I will bring you in, Even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I restore your fortunes before your eyes," Says the Lord. NASB

Isaiah 60:9-14 – "Surely the coastlands will wait for Me; And the ships of Tarshish will come first, To bring your sons from afar, Their silver and their gold with them, For the name of the Lord your God, And for the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you. 10 "And foreigners will build up your walls, And their kings will minister to you; For in My wrath I struck you, And in My favor I have had compassion on you. 11 "And your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession. 12 "For the nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, And the nations will be utterly ruined. 13 "The glory of Lebanon will come to you, The juniper, the box tree, and the cypress together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I shall make the place of My feet glorious. 14 "And the sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; And they will call you the city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. NASB

In this Kingship, all the nations of the earth will come and pay homage to Jesus the King. ALL the nations will come and worship the Lord Jesus and acknowledge His Deity and Lordship.

Psalm 86:9-10 – 9 All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; And they shall glorify Thy name. 10For Thou art great and doest wondrous deeds; Thou alone art God. NASB

Psalm 22:27-28 – 27All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. 28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. NASB

Psalm 102:21-22 – 21 That men may tell of the name of the Lord in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem; 22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. NASB

Isaiah 2:2-4 – 2 Now it will come about that In the last days, The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it.

3 And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths. "For the law will go forth from Zion, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. 4 And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.

Zechariah 14:16-20 – 16Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 17And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the Lord smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. 19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths. NASB

Revelation 15:1 – 4 "Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy; For all the nations will come and worship before Thee, For Thy righteous acts have been revealed." NASB

This will happen during the Millennium, after the Second Coming and salvation of Israel, when Christ is physically present. This is obviously not something that happens during the Church Age, because the nations are in rebellion and the people of God are under violent persecution. This has characterized the Church Age since it began. But Christ will come in power and glory and bring judgment upon all nations and establish His powerful Kingdom at which time both Israel and the Church will be exalted and privileged. The kings of the earth will fear the Lord after He has “appeared in His glory.”

Psalm 102:15-16 – 15 So the nations will fear the name of the Lord, And all the kings of the earth Thy glory. 16 For the Lord has built up Zion; He has appeared in His glory. NASB

Christ also promised His Church (when writing to the seven churches of Revelation) that they would rule the nations with a forceful reign with Him when He comes.

Revelation 2:26-27 – 26 ‘And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; NASB

Revelation 5:9-10 – 9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 "And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth. NASB

The fulfilment of that promise for the saints to reign comes in Revelation 20 at the Second Coming of Christ during the Millennium (1000 years).

Revelation 20:4-6 - 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. NASB

It was a specific promise to His disciples (the Twelve) that they would eventually sit on thrones ruling the twelve tribes of Israel. This means they must be resurrected from the dead to reign over Israel, just like Revelation 20 says they will.

Matthew 19:28 – 28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. NASB

Luke 22:28-30 – 28 "And you are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. NASB

This reign of the saints and authority over the nations to judge is familiar in the New Testament.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3 – 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life? NASB

2 Timothy 2:12 – 12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; NASB

This reign of the saints is clearly predicted in the Old Testament prophecy of Daniel. He spoke of the time when the Messiah would finally receive the Kingdoms of all the nations in chapter 7. Just before this happens, the Antichrist (the little horn) will come and wage war on God’s Saints, for 3.5 years (v-25 the time of the great tribulation), until the time comes for them to possess the Kingdom v-21-22. Then Antichrist is destroyed v-26, and the Saints receive the Kingdom with the Messianic King Jesus and authority over the nations. The reign of the saints over all the kingdoms of the world is spoken of with specific precision in v-27 as “Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One.” See here in Daniel’s prophecy the reign of the saints after the Second Coming, which is also clearly portrayed in the narrative of the Second Coming in Revelation 19 where the Antichrist is destroyed v-19:20 and in Revelation 20:4-6 wherein the “come to life and reign with Him for 1000 years.” It is at this time that the saints will judge the world as Paul said (1 Cor 6:2) and will “rule the nations with a rod of iron” just as Jesus promised them (Rev 2:26-27).

Daniel 7:21-28 – 21 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. 23 "Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24 ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25 ‘And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27 ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ NASB

See in all these prophetic texts several clear realities which have yet to happen in history. In the last days Israel will be saved and restored by God, and Jesus will rule them and the nations in the land.

Heavens Light 8-23-16 In His Image – Living in the Glory of the Cross

Sanctification

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;

the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB

The Gospel – Living in the glory of the Cross and our ongoing failures

In summary we have learned that the chief purpose of God in our salvation is to conform us into the image of Christ and cause us to bear the image in greater degree through the course of our Christian life (Sanctification). This is because God’s delights in His own excellency and nature above all other things, and it is therefore the greatest [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 5-23-16 In His Image – Faith and Sanctification

Sanctification

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;

the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB

The Gospel – Faith, Promises & Motives

Let us consider the relation of faith to sanctification. As we have seen, sanctification is that work of God conforming us into the image of Christ progressively over time.We have noted that it is a cooperative process where we are also called to exert effort and diligence to see it come to fruition. God works in sanctification and we work. It is an ongoing cooperative process. God’s work is primary [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 4-9-16 In His Image – Enjoying Christ and Sanctification

Sanctification

2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves

from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. NASB

Enjoying Christ and the goal of sanctification

Let us consider that as we exert God-dependent effort to press on toward Christlikeness, we will in fact by the Spirit’s transforming power attain ever increasing degrees of holiness and experience His virtue in our character. In this striving after Christlikeness we glorify God and have a sure goal that is always before us calling us heavenward to progress in bearing His image. We must actively fix our eyes [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 3-23-16 In His Image – Sanctification Part 3

Sanctification

2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves

from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. NASB

Sanctification Continues throughout life

Some have maintained that the idea of attaining sinless perfection in the Christian life is a real possibility. But the Bible nowhere teaches this, in fact it clearly teaches that sanctification continues throughout life until death and only at the resurrection will we be finally free from the constraints of mortality and bodies subject to temptation and sin. This erroneous teaching of “perfectionism” is founded on certain scriptures where we are given [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 2-23-16 In His Image – Sanctification Part 2

Sanctification

1 Peter 1:15-16

but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." NASB

Our Role – Active and Passive

However, as we have seen, God works in sanctification and we work. It is an ongoing cooperative process. God’s work is primary and our effort is secondary. Therefore we are called to God-dependent effort throughout the New Testament.This can be seen in several places. Consider that we are “led by the Spirit” indicating that our very lives are directed by the Holy Spirit as we [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 10-28-15 In His Image – Sanctification Part 1

Sanctification

1 Peter 1:15-16

but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." NASB

In the “ordo salutis” or order of salvation, sanctification is that part of salvation that begins at regeneration and continues until the resurrection, being terminated by glorification. It follows conversion (faith and repentance), justification, and adoption, all of which are birthed by regeneration and happened apparently simultaneously. Sanctification then issues forth until death. Sanctification is that work of God conforming us into the image of Christ progressively over time. In [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 10-5-15 In His Image – Virtue, Vice and the Nature of God

Virtue, Vice and the nature of God

2 Corinthians 7:1

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from

all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. NASB

Having considered that the purpose of God in salvation and the process of practical sanctification is for God to conform us into His image by the work of the Holy Spirit, it is important to understand how the image of God and His character is related to how we live our Christian lives in practice, and how that relates to both God’s character and ours. In becoming like God, [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 8-26-15 In His Image – Virtue, Vice and the Nature of God

In His Image

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;

the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB

Virtue, Vice and the nature of God

Having considered that the purpose of God in salvation and the process of practical sanctification is for God to conform us into His image by the work of the Holy Spirit, it is important to understand how the image of God and His character is related to how we live our Christian lives in practice, and how that relates to both God’s character and ours. In becoming like [...] Continue Reading…

Heavens Light 8-15-15 In His Image – The Holy Spirit in Sanctification and Glorification

In His Image

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature;

the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB

The Work of the Holy Spirit

One last point to grasp in this whole idea of being image bearers as God’s purpose in our salvation is that this is the work of the Holy Spirit in us through regeneration and our ongoing practical sanctification.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – 17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB

Not only were we [...] Continue Reading…

And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:23