Israel in Prophecy
By Sam Nadler
Few prophetic portions of Scripture fail to mention Israel. We see in God’s Word that the existence of this relatively tiny country is essential for the furthering of God’s plan in this world, for, when Israel as a nation confesses Yeshua as Lord, He has promised that He will return (Matt. 23:39). The enemy knows this and has plans to launch an all-out attack on Israel in an attempt to prevent this from happening. Yet God knows Satan’s plans, and has told us through His prophets how it will all end. God places yet-unfulfilled prophecy in Scripture not to make us speculative about the future, but to assure us the future is under His control so that we would live confidently for Him now.
Allow me to share a prophetic passage from the Book of Jeremiah to illustrate:
“At that time, declares the Lord, ‘I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness – Israel, when it went to find its rest.’ The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’” – Jeremiah 31:1-3
The time that God is referring to here is revealed in the previous verse, Jeremiah 30:24. This is speaking of a future time when His anger and wrath will be poured out. Yeshua speaks of this time as well in Matthew 24:31. The Babylonian captivity which took place in Jeremiah’s lifetime was foreshadowing a future tribulation period, called “the time of Jacob’s distress” (Jer. 30:7). The Hebrew word for “distress” is tsara, which can mean “trouble” or “tribulation.” (The Yiddish word, tsuris, comes from this Hebrew word).
We see in Scripture that this horrific period of time, to take place in the “last days” (Jer. 30:24) will have 3 purposes:
1- To prove that Satan is a liar – he can’t protect his own from the wrath of God (2 Thess. 2:3-12; Zech 3:1-3).
2- To punish the nations for their sins, especially the sin of anti-Semitism (Is. 29:7-8; Zech. 14:16; Matt. 25:40,45).
3- To prepare Israel for the returning King Messiah and His Messianic Kingdom (Deut. 4:30; Hos. 3:5; Zech. 12:10).
This period of time will be so awful that God has to assure us that Israel “will be saved out of it.” (Jer.30:7)
Today, storm clouds are gathering as nations are plotting against Israel. Iran has promised that when they get the bomb, they will use it to destroy Israel. Though these threats may seem to be far removed from us, believers who aren’t Jewish should not assume that they will not be affected, for these nations have also promised that once they get rid of the Saturday people, they will take on the Sunday people.
All followers of Yeshua need to be involved in fighting the good fight in these last days, for it says in Zechariah 14:1-2 that ‘’all nations will come against Israel.” “All nations” means all nations; I believe that this will include the United States as well. This is why we must be praying for the peace of Jerusalem. It’s not that Israel needs the support of the U.S., but that the U.S. must support Israel in order to be on the same page with God! For God says in Genesis 12:3 that He will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse her. We must pray for our government to repent and realize that it is in the U.S.’ best interest to support Israel!
The future is indeed under God’s control. But how would He have us to live confidently for Him now?
This section of Scripture in Jeremiah is meant to prepare believers to be a witness and instrument of grace to Jewish people, planting the seeds that will one day bring forth 144,000 zealous Messianic Jewish believers (Rev. 14:1).
Jeremiah 31:1 is the only place in the Hebrew Scriptures that prophesies a national restoration of Israel, that “all the families of Israel” will be restored. Perhaps Paul was thinking of this verse when he wrote in Romans 11:26 that, “all Israel will be saved.” Here in the Hebrew Scriptures, God assures Israel that despite the horrors of that period of time, He will do His greatest work for them. The future problems to be faced will not be the last word on the people of God, for God’s Word is always the final word and in His Word we have hope not only for Israel, but also for ourselves, that is if our lives are founded upon that same Rock (Matt. 7:24-25). The hope of Israel is the only sure hope for all people.
This national restoration of Israel is still in the future tense, but today God has set apart a “remnant according to His gracious choice” (Rom. 11:5). God has many Jewish people today who are ready to hear and respond to the Good News, and He has sent us to tell them!
For Israel and for each person individually, there is only one way of salvation: by His grace (Jer. 31:2). I’ve been at meetings where over 70 Jewish people have come to faith at once, yet each one had to accept Yeshua by grace through faith as they responded to God’s love for them in Messiah. What God does in Messiah for each of us, He will also do for the nation of Israel when they trust in Yeshua and make the confession of Isaiah 53 as a nation.
God’s everlasting love which “draws us” (Jer. 31:3) is completely beyond our experience as it is based on His righteous character. He loves each of us knowing who we are and never, ever gives up on any one of us! This is why we must never give up on Jewish people – because God never will. He has called His Body to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps. 122:6), and bring the Good News “to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” (Rom. 1:16). Today we can move forward in this great calling, confident in a God who holds the future as well as the lives of each of His children!