Bible students of the past, as well as those of the present day, have noticed that the dispersion, and ultimate restoration of the Jewish nation—literal Israel—is the subject of considerable portions of both old and new testament prophecies. As prophecy cannot be understood with any great degree of clearness until about the time of its fulfillment; the subject has necessarily been enveloped in a good deal of mystery in the past; and it is still, with those who do not keep pace with the development of prophecy. Various attempts have been made, by those who discard the millennial reign of the kingdom of God, to show that these prophecies would never have a literal, but a mystical fulfillment. Some have taken the position that they were conditional, and that the conditions have not been met; and others affirming that they were all fulfilled at the restoration from the Babylonian captivity. But it will be observed that the prophecies of Haggai and Zachariah were made after that; and those of the new testament, several hundred years after. Jesus, in giving the signs which would precede the complete development of the kingdom of God, says: And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh....For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled....For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles [Ethnon Nations] until the times—years—of the Gentiles be fulfilled. Luke 21:20-24.
This prophecy involves the inference that the times—years—of the Gentiles, have been foretold, or they could not be fulfilled; that Jerusalem represents the Jews among the nations; and that the treading down will cease, when the times are fulfilled, and the kingdom established—vs. 31. As has been many times shown, the times of the Gentiles last about thirty-five years from the spring of 1880; and the return of the Jews to Palestine is rapidly becoming an indisputable fact.
It is not designed to enter into an exhaustive argument as to the probability of the complete fulfillment of the large class of prophecies in regard to this wonderful people; but to glance at a few passages which state clearly the reason why God has dealt with them as he has; covering a period of hundreds of years; which will explain what has puzzled so many, why their national identity has been preserved. In the 16th of Jer., where their dispersion and ultimate gathering, after they had been recompensed double for their sins, is foretold; the Lord explains how they will be preserved, for the fulfillment of the prophecy, in the 17th verse: For mine eyes are upon all their ways; they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes. The double, in this connection, gives a positive clue, not only to their dispersion at the 1st Advent, but also to their gathering at the 2d. Advent, and the year when the comforting words of Is. 60:1-2 would begin to be spoken, as has been shown, was fulfilled in 1878. Amos, 9th chapter, speaks of their being sifted among all nations, and of their permanent upbuilding. James, in quoting this prophecy, seems to understand that the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, which fell after Jesus left their house desolate, would take place at the 2d Advent. There must be a purpose in it all, worthy of an allwise and loving Father, who formed and will carry out the great plan of salvation; and it is stated by Jesus, in part, at least: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles—nations—, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord who doth all these things—Acts 15:13-18. The work of the gospel age is expressed in the 14th verse:—taking out of the nations a people for his name—the wife of Christ; selecting the kings and priests, to reign with Christ.
The kingdom was taken from them, to be given to a people bringing forth the fruits thereof—Matt. 21:43. The same is expressed by Paul: Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, how much more their fullness—Rom. 11:12. That their fullness will finally embrace the dead as well as the living, is intimated in verse 15: For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? See, also, Ezek. 37, where it is positively stated that the whole house of Israel will be brought up out of their graves, and placed in their own land.
Paul says further: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in; and so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, (Ps. 14:7.) There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes; for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (He has promised, and He will perform.) For as ye in times past have not believed—obeyed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief; even so have these also now not believed—obeyed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all—Rom. 11:25-32.
That they will remember and turn unto the Lord, after their restoration, is clearly taught in both old and new testament prophecies. The Hebrew word translated heathen; like the Greek word rendered Gentile, means nation.
But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went....And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen nations shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes; for I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then He says He will sprinkle clean water upon them to cleanse them; and give them a new heart; and put his Spirit within them, and cause them to walk in his statutes; then adds: And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
And not only that, but the land which has been so long desolate and unproductive, will return to its former fertility. And I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you; and I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen—Ezek. 36:21 to end of chapter. Read also the 37th chapter. After speaking of the valley of dry bones, which is explained to be the whole house of Israel, to be brought up out of their graves; the prophet is told to take two sticks, and write upon them; and the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes; and say unto them: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them unto their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two Kingdoms any more at all....My tabernacle also shall be with them; yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people; and the heathen shall know that I, the Lord, do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.
Also the 38 and 39 chapters of Ezek., after speaking of trouble with God—Russia, after their return, and are dwelling in the mountains of Israel; gives the purpose for which it is all brought about; their own good, and the good of the nations, in clear, positive language.
Daniel 12:1, speaks of their deliverance in a time of trouble, such as there never was since there was a nation.
Zech. 8 teaches of their return; the building of Jerusalem; and a time of trouble, when every man's hand will be against his neighbor; and closes with a thus saith the Lord. In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him, that of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you. Zech. 14 tells us of the gathering of the nations against Jerusalem; that the Lord will come with all the saints, and fight against the nations; that He will be King of all the earth; and that the left of the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. In Ezek. 21, we read of their last king—Zedekiah: And thou, profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end; thus saith the Lord God; remove the diadem, and take off the crown....I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is, and I will give it him—25:28.
They were overturned, 1st at the Babylonish captivity, 606 B.C., where their treading down began; 2nd, at the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70; the 3rd time will be the one spoken of in Zech. 14, and right there he will come whose right it is: or will then complete the conquering of the nations; and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and his Anointed ones. And so we might quote largely from Is., Jer., Ezek., Amos, Zeph., Zech., and other prophets, showing that the children of Israel will return to their own land. And the united testimony of Prophets and Apostles is that it was [R108 : page 5] designed of the Lord to prove a glorious blessing to themselves and all other nations; bringing them to acknowledge that God is the Lord.
And how could it be otherwise? When such a vast amount of prophecy becomes a fact, it will prove the scriptures true; and when they are proved true by fulfillment, it can but be a terrible blow to scepticism and infidelity. Jesus said: I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he—John 13:19.
And so the result will be to the nations, when they see so much come to pass; and probably on this account Israel were scattered among all nations. Then it will be true that: The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein—Is. 35:8. The apology for presenting this subject, is, that the return of the Jews, and the time of trouble are becoming apparent facts; and it is believed that the two facts will be the means, in the next 35 years, of the conversion of the 144,000 Jews, and the great multitude of all nations, who will come up out of or after the great tribulation, with their robes washed white in the blood of the Lamb—Rev. 7. B. W. K.