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Prophecy: Aliyah, Christians, and Jewish Israel
© John of AllFaith*
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Subject: IsraelQuestion: Re. the National setting-aside of Israel apparent in the Bible since the 'Times of the Gentiles' were instituted and until the times be fulfilled, does a particular Scripture(s)mention same or do we simply rely on inference?
Also, concerning the Palestinian situation and the Israeli-Arab problem in general, are verses like those found in Deut 28 adequately specific to explain what we should expect to happen or are they too general? Are there any verses more pertinent to the Palestinians?
The Christian New Testament adds insight into how Christians should view Israel and the situation in the Middle East today. There's a lot scriptural evidence on this subject from both of our holy books. The only difficulty is in condensing it to fit here.
Here is your reference to the Times of the Gentiles:Luke 21:24 And they [the Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.For many Christians this is understood as the events of 70 CE when the Temple and the Holy City were largely destroyed. Jesus or Yeshua supposedly foretold this devastation however the Messianic prophesy is not for Mashiach to foretell the destruction but to oversee the restoration. Hence, foretelling the destruction does not meet the Messianic requirements. This destruction was also foretold at Matthew 24 as part of a large prophecy that is central to Christian understandings.
The majority of scholars believe the Gospel of Matthew was composed between 80 and 100 CE (Source: Duling 2010, p. 298-299). The most probable date for the books of Luke and Acts is also around 80-100 CE according to most scholars although some have it as early as 65 or 70 CE. This means that while the historic Jesus may have made this prediction, it was not written down in all likelihood until after the destruction took place. The prophets of the Tanach recorded their prophecies well before they were fulfilled in most cases. Just something to consider.Luke 21:25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;This is standard prophetic symbolism, for instance Nahum 3:12:
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."All your fortresses are like fig trees with first-ripe fruits; if they be shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater."Continuing...Luke 21:27 And then shall they see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Luke 21:29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
Luke 21:30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
The "fig tree" is normally identified with Israel. The other trees reference the Gentile nations. Matthew 24 is a bit clearer on this. There Jesus is quoted as saying, in connection with signs of the end of the age:Matthew 24:32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
Matthew 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Contextually the author is referring to Israel as the fig tree. We know that Israel as an occupied Roman territory fell in 70 CE to Titus and the Romans (who later usurped Yeshua's sect and created Christianity). While the author of Matthew acknowledges that he did not know the timing for these events, we know today that Israel began "putting forth leaves" in the late 1800's with the emergence of the Zionist movement, if we accept this prophetic idea. In 1948 the sovereign Jewish nation was partially restored (it has not yet been completely restored).
So, what does the author foresee by the phrase "This generation will not pass until all the prophecies are fulfilled?" Was he referring to the generation that saw the birth of modern Zionism? If so that generation has already passed away. If he was prophesying of the generation of 1948, those born that year are 69 years old as of this update. Or was he speaking of the restoration of Jerusalem, a matter that remains hotly debated? In the later two instances many still live. Which generation will not pass away? Is he referring to a 70 year generation or to a 40 year generation? We have many questions. Regardless, if Jesus is correct, the end of the age is fast approaching. Many Jews agree with this time line, if not with the way Christians come to it, and see the rebirth of Israel as a critical sign of the fast approaching end of the age. But the entirety of Israel has not yet been restored to our people.
Considering this, what should Christians do? They should stand with Israel! Consider Isaiah 52 in this regard:Isaiah 52:1: Awaken, awaken, put on your strength, O Zion; put on the garments of your beauty, Jerusalem the Holy City, for no longer shall the uncircumcised or the unclean continue to enter you.
Remember that Y'shua (Jesus) and his followers were all First Century CE Jews. Their prophetic understandings were based on their knowledge of the Hebrew prophets like Isaiah. When studying Jesus, Luke, John, and the others it is important to bear this mind. They did not think like Christians. The thought as reform Jews.
In order to understand Isaiah as they did (not to mention Matthew, Revelation etc.), one really needs to study chapter by chapter as many of the themes run through the entire book. However, in a study such as this we must begin and end somewhere, so let's start at Isaiah 52:1.
The people of Israel ("Zion") are being called to "awaken" and clothe themselves in the splendor of their birthright as the children of Avraham and Sarah (not of Avraham and Hagar!). Something in this prophecy has radically changed from the preceding verses. Prophet Isaiah is speaking of a new day! Jerusalem is again in the hands of the Chosen People and will never again be controlled by Gentile powers (verse 1). We are obviously speaking of a future time (from Isaiah's perspective) because this situation didn't exist until 1948 at the earliest, when Israel again took control of part of the Holy Land, or perhaps until the 1967 Six Day War when Jerusalem was unified under Israeli control. But then again, most of Eretz Israel is still occupied by our enemies and Jerusalem still has many Gentiles within it. Therefore this prophecy still has not been fulfilled because our enemies and other non-Jews are still occupying parts of the Holy City; they even attack us from the Temple Mount itself! It is in part for this reason that some misguided Jews oppose Zionism and even the nation of Israel itself.Isaiah 52:2 Shake yourselves from the dust, arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; free yourself of the bands of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
Isaiah 52:3: For so said the Lord, "You were sold for nought, and you shall not be redeemed for money."
Rashi: Because of worthless matters, i.e., the evil inclination, which affords you no reward. and you shall not be redeemed for money: but with repentance.Isaiah 52:4: For so said the Lord God, "My people first went down to Egypt to sojourn there, but Assyria oppressed them for nothing."
Rashi: The Egyptians had somewhat of a debt upon them, for they served for them as their hosts and sustained them, but Assyria oppressed them for nothing and without cause.Isaiah 52:5: And now, what have I here," says the Lord, "that My people has been taken for nothing. His rulers boast," says the Lord, "and constantly all day My name is blasphemed.
Isaiah 52:6: Therefore, My people shall know My name; therefore, on that day, for I am He Who speaks, here I am."
Rashi: When I redeem them, they will recognize that My name is master, monarch, and ruler, as is its apparent meaning.Isaiah 52:7: How beautiful are the feet of the herald on the mountains, announcing peace, heralding good tidings, announcing salvation, saying to Zion, "Your God has manifested His kingdom."
The day of their redemption, they will understand that I am He Who speaks, and behold, I have fulfilled the prophecy.
Prophet Isaiah is looking into the future, to the day when Jewish Israel will be restored and never again be subjected to Gentile rule. It is for this reason that we know the prophecy is not about the brief Hasmonean Dynasty. When this prophecy is fulfilled Israel will never again be ruled by non-Jews.
Beginning with verse 3 we see how the Jews have suffered throughout their generations and how HaShem has taken note of it and will, in due time, redeem His people as promised. As part of the Redemption the Jews will "know My Name." As Rashi explains, such verses are not speaking of the Sacred Name of Four Letters but of the Jews again taking up His Laws and observing His Precepts (verse 6). HaShem is echad or One Absolute Unity. All of His ways and attributes are One.
There is a time set when HaShem will deliver His people, the Jews (Sanhedrin 97b). For more on this see my study HERE. This is the topic of this chapter and this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled.8: The voice of your watchmen- they raised a voice, together they shall sing, for eye to eye they shall see when the Lord returns to Zion.Verse 8 points to this as being the time when the Jews are resettled in Israel. Navi Isaiah saw the Second Temple, its destruction in 70 CE, the exile of the Jews, their eventual return to Holy City, and their ultimate redemption! The Redemption is therefore directly linked to the reestablishment and security of Jewish Israel! And he saw that HaShem would accompany His people throughout their exile and would eventually return to Zion with them!
9: Burst out in song, sing together, O ruins of Jerusalem, for the Lord has consoled his people; He has redeemed Jerusalem.
10: The Lord has revealed His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.
All who claim that the Christian Church, Islam, or anyone else has replaced Israel as the Chosen of HaShem do not speak the truth. Navi Isaiah makes this abundantly clear here!
When the Jews were cast out of the Holy City in 70 CE HaShem went with them. Pagan Greek temples, and later Muslim shrines to Ba'al Hubal Sin (Allah), occupied the Holy Mount, however HaShem was not there (in His fullness)! He was with His people in the Diaspora, in Poland, in Germany, in Russia, in the US, in Czechoslovakia, in Argentina, in Bulgaria, everywhere... He was even with His people in desecrated Jerusalem!
At this future time Prophet Isaiah is discussing, the Jews are still the Elect of HaShem and so will they ever be. HaShem promised this to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and to all of our people. Y'shua (John 4:22) and Paul (Romans 11:1,2) confirmed this as well. HaShem is faithful to His Word!
Note that this message is on the lips of many people not just one, as would be the case if it referred to the Messiah as some interpret. These "Watchmen" are the Religious Zionist Jews who have watched for this Redemption throughout their generations and who have now returned to the Land, even Jerusalem (vs.9). This is why Zionism IS Judaism! No one can not stand with the Jews and oppose Zionism. Once again allowed to live in Jerusalem, HaShem is again comforting His people. And at the proper time He will redeem us all as HE promises.
Malachi 3:6 For I, the Lord, have not changed; and you, the sons of Jacob, have not reached the end.
Continue reading this chapter and the next two in order to understand the ongoing service of Jewish people, the 'Suffering Servant'. I discuss this aspect of the prophecy HERE.
In that glorious day, EVERYONE will realize that God is and has always been with the Jews:
Zechariah 8:23:So said the Lord of Hosts: In those days, when ten men of all the languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.
The return of the Jews to Israel ("aliyah") is one of the most frequent and essential topics in the Bible. Now that it has begun after 2000 years everyone, Jews and non-Jews alike, would do well to turn to the Creator and pray for the coming of His Mashiach, His Messiah. If we do, the age will end in peace. If we do not, difficult days will soon be here.And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you.
And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing.
And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you."
Brad Replies:Very comprehensive and sound. I gather, then, the 'national setting-aside' of Israel is something gleaned through consideration of a whole body of Scriptures rather than a specific verse(s) that says: 'Israel set aside as a nation!'Shlomo:The 'national setting aside' is a Christian doctrine with no basis in the Tanach or the New Testament:Brad Replies:Malachi 3:6 For I, the Lord, have not changed; and you, the sons of Jacob, have not reached the end.Our story continues ever forward.Wow! Thanks. Now I understand.March 17, 2011; Brad Replies:I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your help and writings. I am converting to Judaism! My mikvah is scheduled for next week! Anyway you can come?
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* John of AllFaith © August of 2006 (last updated July 18, 2023)
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