Locating the Borders of a Promise: Part 2 of 9

shutterstock_5568790Scriptural Evidence for a Prophesied Return

Another area we need to discuss is the scriptures some use to suggest that the Bible prophesies of a “last days” regathering of the Jewish people to Israel. But when examining these “proofs” we quickly see that these scriptures were either already fulfilled during one of the Old Testament exiles, or that they foretold of the coming promises of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus’ focus was NOT on a physical land, but on a spiritual existence in His people!

The following is not an exhaustive list of all the scriptures used when suggesting the Bible prophecies a future return of Jews to Israel. This list will, however, be sufficient to show that the context of such scriptures is in conflict with the proper interpretation and the message of the Bible.

Genesis 15:18
(18)  In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abraham, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Genesis 15:18 spells out the land covenant as it was given to Abraham. As was stated in the Bible, the physical part of this has already been literally fulfilled.

Genesis 28:10-15
(10)  And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.
(11)  And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
(12)  And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
(13)  And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
(14)  And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
(15)  And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

Genesis 28:10-15 speaks of Jacob’s inclusion into Abraham’s covenant. Again, the physical part was fulfilled as shown in the first part of this study.

Genesis 35:9-12
(9)  And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him.
(10)  And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
(11)  And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
(12)  And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.

Genesis 35:9-12 is about Jacob’s name being changed to Israel and the promised that “a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins” (Genesis 35:11). This is New Covenant language, as the gathering of “nation” and “nations” was fulfilled when Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles were brought into one body of Christ. (see Act 1:8; Rom 1:16, Rom 10:12; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11; Eph 3:3-10) The physical part of this is fulfilled already; the spiritual part is fulfilled through Jesus Christ. The famous Messianic prophecy of Isaiah confirms this latter truth when it declares Jesus to be the TRUE Israel of God! “And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified” (Isa 49:3).

Isaiah 66:7-8
(7)  Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.
(8)  Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

Isaiah 66:7-8 is about the coming of Jesus and His New Covenant. Isaiah starts this chapter by condemning those who trust in physical things for their salvation: “[W]here is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest” (Isa 66:1)? He ends this with a promise that the new heaven and new earth (verses 20-23) will be established with Jews and Gentiles, of whom they will be His priests and Levites. This happened when the New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant, and the former heaven (the Jewish Temple) and former earth (the place the Temple sat—Jerusalem) was replaced by a New Temple (the Holy Ghost in the redeemed) and a New Earth (the New Jerusalem, which is the Church, the City sitting on a hill that shines as a beacon of light to the world). (see Mat 5:14; Isa 28:16; 1 Pet 2:4-6; John 2:19-21; Eph 5:19-22; Rev 21:1-2) When this happens, Isaiah shows that God will receive worship from ALL flesh, year round. Revelation says that the gates of the New Jerusalem are open all the time, which is a reference to the Church’s openness to receive sinners, thusly confirming that it is not for a future fulfillment (see Rev 21:25). Isaiah 66 ends with verse 24 pronouncing judgment on those who refuse its message. This came to pass during the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem (see Mat 21:31-45; Mat 23:29-39; Luk 21:6, Luk 21:20, Luk 21:24).

Jeremiah 16:14-15
(14)  Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
(15)  But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

Jeremiah 16:14-15 was probably written around the last of Jehoiakim’s reign It speaks of a return from Babylonian exile, which was to happen only after the nation’s idolatry of was chastised. This, of course, is now a past event!

Jeremiah 32:44
(44)  Men shall buy fields for money, and subscribe evidences, and seal them, and take witnesses in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, and in the cities of the mountains, and in the cities of the valley, and in the cities of the south: for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 32:44 is one of the more illogical passages to yet be fulfilled, but since some Futurists believe it is yet unfulfilled, we will look at it. This chapter tells about a time when God told Jeremiah to buy a field. He told the prophet that after the exiles returned from Babylon, it would be available as a possession. These exiles already returned over 2,500 years ago, so how could this passage still be for a future time? To answer why this land was purchased, we must first remember that Jeremiah was a prophet. This meant imagery as commonly used when communicating his prophetic messages. Writing on this purchase, AdamClarke said, “This is a reference to the symbolical purchase mentioned at the beginning of the chapter; that may be considered by them as a sure sign of their restoration, not only to the same land, but to their respective inheritances in that land. This the power of God could alone perform.” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible)

Ezekiel 11:17
(17)  Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.

Ezekiel 11:17 begins a promise of a literal return of the exiles under Zerubbabel, which of course is now past. But Ezekiel 11 also speaks of a promised time when people would receive a “new heart” and a “new spirit” (Vs. 19). This promise was fulfilled during the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ when He ushered in His New Covenant’s promised “new heart” and “new Spirit” (see Jer 31:33; Heb 8:9-13, Heb 10:16; Gal 3:14; 2 Cor 5:17). This “newness” is the transformation that occurs when a believer becomes Jesus’ New Jerusalem on earth. Again, this is a past reality and cannot be used to say there is yet a future fulfillment.

Ezekiel 36:24
(24)  For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

Ezekiel 36:24 the people spoken of in this chapter will be sprinkled with clean water for their “uncleanness” and their “idolatry.” This must be referring to the blood and water that poured from Jesus for the salvation of the nations, because there is salvation in no other but Jesus (see Act 4:12, Joh 19:34; Heb 9:11-28, Heb 10:19-22; 1 John 5:6-8; Rev 1:5, Rev 7:14)!  Ezekiel goes on to say that they will get a new heart and a new spirit. This is again referencing the New Covenant. Notice it also says, “Then” (see vs. 25). This shows the land will come after the cleansing, after the new heart, and after the new spirit. This didn’t happen to the Jews during 1948, but it did happen to the Jews as recorded in the book of Acts. They were washed and changed through Jesus. Afterward they entered into their promised inheritance in Jesus! Ezekiel agrees with what Jesus told the Jewish leader, Nicodemus: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Joh 3:5). Literally Jesus was telling that old Rabbi that he would only enter his promised inheritance through water cleansing and through receiving a new spirit. This rebirth plan is clearly told in Peter’s message of Acts 2:38. A future fulfillment? No! This is a past reality that is still changing men’s lives today!

Ezekiel 37:10-14
(10)  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
(11)  Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
(12)  Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
(13)  And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
(14)  And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

Ezekiel 37:21-22
(21)  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 into their own land:
(22)  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:

Ezekiel 37:10-14-19, 21-22 is commonly called “Ezekiel’s boneyard.” It is easy to see what this chapter is referring to if one remembers that Jesus said men opposed to his New Covenant were full of “dead men’s bones and uncleanness” (Mat 23:27), and were living dead while remaining in their trespasses and sins (Col 2:13). But just as Ezekiel’s bones became assembled and alive, those who obey the gospel of Jesus Christ are made whole and alive (see Eph 2:1-6; Rom 6:4-11; Col 2:12-13). This is why Ezekiel 37 speaks of a cleansing from sin and idolatry. This same chapter also says that “David” would be “king” over those who receive this promise, and that they would have “one shepherd” (vs. 24). There is only one who can fit those descriptions – Jesus! He is the heir to the throne of David (see Mat 1:1; Luk 1:27, Luk 1:32; Isa 11:1; Rom 1:3; Rev 22:16), and He is the Good Shepherd (see John 10:11, 14; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 2:25, 1 Pet 5:4). Verse 26 says, “Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them….” The covenant of peace and the everlasting covenant are both found in the New Covenant message of Acts 2:38. The writer of Hebrews references this when he writes, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Heb 13:20). Again, Ezekiel 37 says this covenantal offer had to be obeyed before any restoration came to the mentioned “land.” This did not happen in 1948, but when we become new creatures in Christ through the gospel, we also become joint heirs to the promises of Abraham!

Amos 9:14-15
(14)  And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
(15)  And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.

Amos 9:14-15 is best understood after looking at the context of that chapter. First, verse 10 indicates that God will destroy those sinners of His people who are not obedient to His message. Then in verse 11 and 12 we find a promise that says, “In that DAY,” God would “raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen.” So, by knowing when this tabernacle was raised up, we can conclude when this prophecy was completed. To find this out we only need to look at what James said about this in Acts 15:14-17: “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.” In these passages, James is referring to both verses 11 and 12 of Amos 9, and by doing so he is showing that they were fulfilled during the time of Jesus Christ’s first coming. Also, Amos 9:13 talks about its fulfillment being a time when the “plowman shall overtake the reaper.” Jesus referred to this time as the time when He was on earth: “SAY NOT YE, THERE ARE YET FOUR MONTHS, AND THEN COMETH HARVEST? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for THEY ARE WHITE ALREADY TO HARVEST. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that BOTH HE THAT SOWETH AND HE THAT REAPETH MAY REJOICE TOGETHER. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labor: other men labored, and ye are entered into their labors” (John 4:35-38). We should not be waiting for a future fulfillment for Amos 9, as we can clearly see this has already been fulfilled, and in great detail.

Micah 7:8-11
(8)  Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.
(9)  I will bear the indignation of the LORD because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.
(10)  Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is the LORD your God?” My eyes will look upon her; now she will be trampled down like the mire of the streets.
(11)  A day for the building of your walls! In that day the boundary shall be far extended.

Micah 7:8-11 states in verse 11 that “in the day that thy walls are to be built,” would be the same day that “the decree” would be “far removed.” The key here is “decree.” It would be reprehensible to say this “decree” refers to the Law because the Bible specifically teaches against a return to both the Law’s stipulations and Temple service. Also, “decree” cannot refer to a dispensational seven-year antichrist agreement, because that agreement supposedly allows for a rebuilt Temple and resumption of animal sacrifices. Both a physical Temple and the recommencement of animal sacrifices are spoken against in the New Testament. The decree that does biblically fit this was scenario issued by King Cyrus. It was his order that freed the Jews from the shackles of the Babylonian law and that consequently gave them freedom to return to Jerusalem to rebuild her walls and Temple (see 2 Chr 36). This is the only biblically sound interpretation, and one that was fulfilled during the return of the Babylonian exiles.

The sobering part of this is that there is NOT ONE SCRIPTURE supporting a position that says – biblically – a ‘special group’ of people will have ‘special rights’ to a ‘special physical plot of land’ someday in the “end time.” Every time God’s Word is altered, so is man’s response to God’s perfect will. This is especially true if a doctrine is said to be “God’s Will” without having biblical evidence. Additions to God’s Word led the first couple, Adam and Eve, to fall; it also led countless others to disobey the very Lord to which they felt they were serving.

Any teaching that respects one person over another or that allows the will of a select few to be imposed over another, is not of Christ and is therefore in error. Such actions are without doubt religious based and racially biased. To say a person can be a believer in Jesus Christ, and also be in favor of an ethnic group being removed, persecuted, or killed for land, is an oxymoron! Remember, Jesus is not a respecter of persons. So, if a man or a woman finds themselves showing prejudice or partiality, can they truly say they are following God’s Will (see Act 10:34; Mat 25:40, Mat 25:45; Mark 12:29-31)?

The Bible speaks of salvation available to all men. Shouldn’t Christians teach a gospel of love and acceptance for all races, creeds, and colors? Isn’t that the message of the New Covenant of Jesus Christ? And as far as “anti-Semitism”; nothing is more anti-any-people than not including them in the opportunity to receive the greatest message of all time – the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some say Jews are saved by natural birth because they are ineluctably God’s chosen people. But the message the Jewish Apostles of the New Testament preached is: except a man – any man – is born again in Jesus’ name, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. This is the message that was to be preached to the entire world, and its delivery was to be without respect of persons. If a Saint of God truly desires to love like Jesus, then they will tell all men the truth about Jesus’ gospel (see John 3:3, 5; Mat 28:18-20; Act 2:37-40, Act 15:7-9). Speaking the New Covenant gospel to all men without partiality is a pro-everybody message, because it recognizes Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men. Anything less denies men the very means of salvation for their souls.

Part 1 of 9 | Part 3 of 9


Copyright © 2004 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.

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