Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Return of Elijah

In order to understand the role of Elijah, it is helpful to have some historical background. We will cover some of that first.

The Kingdom is at Hand

John the Baptist and Jesus both declared that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Mat 3:1-2, Mat 4:17). Neither of them spent much time explaining what was meant by that, and that usually is because the people whom they were addressing would have understood what they meant.

Mat 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea (2) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

Mat 4:17 From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."

It is well known that the people of Israel were awaiting the arrival of the literal earthly Messianic Kingdom centered in Jerusalem and ruled by the Messiah. This would have been the literal understanding of the prophets, and if John or Jesus would have meant something other than what they were expecting, they would have explained it.

They can't be speaking of a spiritual kingdom, because the spiritual kingdom was always present. There is a realm in which God presently resides, along with the Angels. That kingdom would not be "at hand". It is the earthly kingdom that was "at hand".

The kingdom Jesus was speaking of in Mat 4:23 is the same as that of Mat 9:35. The earthly kingdom was near, and it was contingent on Israel's response to their Messiah. You could say that Jesus was making an "offer of the kingdom" to Israel, an offer contingent on her response to the king.

Mat 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

Mat 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.

After Israel had their King crucified, Peter makes it clear that Israel's participation in the earthly Kingdom is still tied to their repentance and turning to God.

Act 3:19-21 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (20) and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus. (21) Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.

The King is Rejected

From Matthew 4 to 12, Jesus went about claiming His Messiahship and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom. All of Jesus' miracles showing His validity are recorded between Matthew 4 to 12. The purpose of Jesus' miracles prior to His rejection was to authenticate His claim to Messiahship and the validity of His message about the Kingdom. If the people would accept Him, He would establish the Messianic Kingdom of the Old Testament prophets.

The offer of the kingdom was withdrawn however, at the time the Jewish Leaders declared Jesus a tool of Beelzebul (Mat 12:24). Without the King, there would be no Kingdom.

The rejection of Christ's Messiahship and the Kingdom occurred in Mat 12:22-24, Mar 3:20-23, Luk 11:14-23. The people rejected Him by putting the decision in the hands of their religious leaders, and the religious leaders rejected Him by claiming His miracles were of Beelzebul.

Mat 12:22-24 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. (23) All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" (24) But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."

Luk 11:14-16 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. (15) But some of them said, "By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons." (16) Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

Mar 3:20-23 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. (21) When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." (22) And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, "He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons." (23) So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: "How can Satan drive out Satan?

In addition to the Jewish leaders impending rejection, they determined to kill him, cementing the rejection (Mat 12:14, Joh 11:47-53).

Mat 12:14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.

Joh 11:47-53 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many signs. (48) If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation." (49) Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! (50) You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." (51) He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, (52) and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. (53) So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

From that time on, Jesus started to explain to His disciples that he must die. (Mat 16:21, Mat 17:23).

Mat 16:21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Mat 17:22-23 When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. (23) They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief.

Mat 20:17-19 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, (18) "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death (19) and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!"

In addition, following the rejecting of Jesus and the Messianic Kingdom, Jesus' approach to teaching changed. He started speaking in parables to the people (Mat 13:10-17).

Mat 13:10-14 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" (11) He replied, "Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. (12) Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. (13) This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. (14) In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: "'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

The offer of the Kingdom was rescinded and the Jewish people would not see the Kingdom established in their day. Instead, the Jewish people were under special judgment leading up to the destruction of the city and the temple in 70AD.

Luk 19:41-44 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it (42) and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. (43) The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. (44) They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

A new policy is in effect regarding miracles - (Mat 12:38-40). There would be no more signs except for the sign of Jonah. Future miracles would be not for validating His person, but for training His disciples, that ministry was detailed in Acts.

Mat 12:38-40 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from you." (39) He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. (40) For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The Coming of Elijah Foretold

With the background of the offer of the Kingdom, and Israel's rejection of their King and Kingdom, we can take a look at how Elijah fits into the historical narrative.

Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind (2Ki 2:11), is said to return before the "great and dreadful day of the Lord comes". It would appear that his purpose in coming before the Tribulation is to restore the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents, and to prepare them for what is coming.

Mal 4:5-6 "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. (6) He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction."

Just prior to the withdrawal of the Messianic Kingdom from the Jewish people, Jesus stated that Elijah's presence could be a present reality if they were willing to accept Him as King.

Mat 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, he [John the Baptist] is the Elijah who was to come.

So it is clear that before the Tribulation, the great and dreadful day of the Lord, Elijah will return to earth. It was even possible that if the Jewish people accepted Jesus as their King, John the Baptist could have been that foretold Elijah.

The Coming of John the Baptist Foretold

So now let's look at the prophecies regarding John the Baptist.

In Chapter 3, Malachi speaks of a messenger who would come before Jesus' first coming (John the Baptist). As you can see, there is opportunity for confusion regarding the messenger who would come before Jesus' second coming (Elijah).

The forerunner that is spoken of in Mal 3:1 is John the Baptist. This passage sounds a lot like the Elijah Mal 4:5-6 passage, just less specific, and is where some of the confusion comes from.

Mal 3:1 "I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

Mal 4:5-6 "See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. (6) He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction."

Isaiah also speaks of a forerunner to the first coming, quotes parts of Mal 3:1, and again points to John the Baptist:

Isa 40:3-5 A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (4) Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. (5) And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

Matthew quotes Isa 40:3, specifically tying John the Baptist to Isaiah's prophecy, showing that the John the Baptist is indeed the forerunner of the first coming foretold in Mal 3:1.

Mat 3:1-6 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea (2) and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." (3) This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" (4) John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. (5) People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. (6) Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

Matthew also quotes Mal 3:1 in Mat 11:7-10 providing additional support that the text is speaking of John the Baptist.

Mat 11:7-10 As John's disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? (8) If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. (9) Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. (10) This is the one about whom it is written: "'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'

The apostle John also refers to what Isa 40:3 says about John the Baptist:

Joh 1:23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

Luke also records the coming of John the Baptist as announced by an angel to Zechariah. The angel points out that John will come "in the spirit and power of Elijah".

Luk 1:13-17 But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. (14) He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, (15) for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. (16) He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. (17) And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Jewish Leaders Confused

In the OT, Mal 3:1 and Isa 40:3-5 clearly point to a messenger that Matthew and John the Apostle reveal to be John the Baptist. Yet, Mal 4:5-6 clearly points to the prophet Elijah as coming before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. So according to prophecy, each will come at different times and for different purposes.

The Jewish leaders were confused and to try and sort it out they question John. John ties himself to the prophecies of Mal 3:1 and Isa 40:3-5 in response.

Joh 1:19-23 Now this was John's testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. (20) He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Messiah." (21) They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No." (22) Finally they said, "Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" (23) John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.'"

The “prophet” they were asking about is found in Deu 18:15-19.

Deu 18:15-19 The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. (16) For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die." (17) The LORD said to me: "What they say is good. (18) I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. (19) I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.

The disciples were confused about the twofold coming of Jesus as well, first as suffering servant and second as the conquering King. Mar 9:9-13 makes it clear that "it is written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected". If the Kingdom had been set up at that time, then the sufferings of the first coming would have been unfulfilled.

Mar 9:9-13 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. (10) They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant. (11) And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" (12) Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? (13) But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him."

It seems that the Jewish leaders were only expecting one messenger, and yet, here is John the Baptist claiming to be that messenger according to scripture. This is not who they were expecting, they were expecting Elijah according to Mal 4:5-6.

Later on, Jesus gives the Jewish leadership a final exhortation prior to rescinding the Kingdom offer, telling them that if they would yet accept what the Law and the Prophets had to say about Him as Messiah, and were to accept Him as their Messiah, then John the Baptist would fulfill the role of Elijah the messenger, and the Messianic Kingdom would ensue.

Mat 11:11-14 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (12) From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. (13) For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. (14) And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Vs. 12 speaking of the kingdom being taken by violence probably speaks of the resistance to John's version of the Kingdom with Jesus as King and the religious leaders attempting to bring about the Kingdom they had envisioned without the King.

Mat 23:13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

The Impact of the Unforgivable Sin

Unfortunately for all of Israel, the Jewish leaders choosing to reject Jesus as Messiah and brought about the postponement of the Messianic Kingdom. The Jewish leadership's final act of defiance was attributing to Beelzebul, the prince of demons, the works of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This was called the "unforgivable sin", and was a national sin.

It is a forgone conclusion at this point that John would not fulfill the role of Elijah, but Elijah himself would take that place as prophesied in the future. Today, religious Jews who still are unbelievers who reject Jesus are still awaiting Elijah, as are Jewish and Gentile Christians. Elijah's arrival is a precursor to the great and dreadful day of the Lord and the Messianic Kingdom.

The Messianic Kingdom A Lost Opportunity

Sometime later, Peter, John and James had an encounter with Elijah in an event called the Transfiguration. Elijah and Moses appeared to them during this event. When the event was over, the disciples asked Jesus why the religious leaders kept saying that Elijah must come first.

To their way of thinking, Jesus was the Messiah and had come and was telling the disciples about His impending death, and yet, Elijah had not yet come. They were probably trying to sort this out.

Jesus' response was that Elijah had already come, but that the Jewish leaders had not recognized him. They had rejected the King that Elijah would have heralded, and brought about the postponement of the Messianic Kingdom.

Mat 17:10-13 The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" (11) Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. (12) But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." (13) Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

Conclusion

The net of what scripture says about Elijah is that John the Baptist could have fulfilled Elijah's role if the Jewish people and their leaders would have accepted the King. Since Israel's people and leaders did not accept the King, John did not fulfill the role of Elijah, and Elijah is still yet to come.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Who Will be in the Land During the Seventieth Week

by James C. Morris – www.tojesusbeallglory.com/p/james-c-morris.html 

 The word of God is very precise. It means what it says. It means exactly what it says. And it does not mean what it does not say. This is particularly true of end time prophecy. So in studying Bible prophecy, it is important to pay careful attention to the fine details. For it is in them that we learn when and where many prophecies will be fulfilled. And Bible prophecy contains no synonyms. When different words are used in similar passages, those words were changed for a reason.

One detail we need to notice is a remarkable absence of the name “Israel” from prophecies about the people suffering during the seventieth “week” of the prophecy of the “seventy weeks” which was revealed tthough Daniel. The name “Israel” is used of the “land” where this suffering will take place, but not of the “people” who will be suffering. We often say that “Israel” does not mean “the church,” and “the church” does not mean “Israel.” But in the same way “Israel” does not mean “Judah,” and “Judah” does not mean “Israel.”

We remember that in the days of king “Rehoboam,” son of “Solomon,” the ten northern tribes revolted against the “house of David,” choosing instead “Jeroboam, the son of Nebat” as their king. In that revolt, “Israel” was divided into two kingdoms. After that time, the inspired history usually called the northern kingdom “Israel” and the southern kingdom “Judah.” But the northern kingdom was sometimes called “Ephraim” when the point was to stress its distinction from the southern kingdom. The name “Israel” continued to be used when referring to all twelve tribes.

The ten northern tribes were eventually carried away into “Assyria,” and have not, even yet, been restored to the land. A few generations later the two southern tribes were carried away into “Babylon” for “seventy years.” After they were carried away, members of these two tribes were called “Jews,” both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. So in the Bible, as in modern times, the term “Jew” does not mean an “Israelite,” even though all “Jews” are “Israelites.” The name “Jew” means a descendant of the southern kingdom of “Judah,” which was composed of tribes of “Judah” and “Benjamin,” and half of the priestly tribe of “Levi.”

These distinctions were rigorously applied in end time prophecy. Prophecies about “Israel” are either about only the ten northern tribes or about the entire nation. Only the context can show which is meant. But prophecies about “Judah” concern only the two southern tribes.

We will first notice for whom the “Seventy weeks are determined:”


Seventy weeks are determined

For your people and for your holy city,

To finish the transgression,

To make an end of sins,

To make reconciliation for iniquity,

To bring in everlasting righteousness,

To seal up vision and prophecy,

And to anoint the Most Holy.” (Daniel 9:4)


Daniel’s “holy city” is unquestionably “Jerusalem,” but who are Daniel’s people? This is not left to our imagination. We are told in Daniel 1:9 that “Daniel” was “of the sons of Judah,” in Daniel 2:5 that he was “of the captives of Judah,” and twice (Daniel 5:3 and 6:3) that he was “one of the captives from Judah.” Now since “Daniel” was “of Judah,” we know that he was also an “Israelite.” But he was never called this in the inspired record. We find the reason for this in many other prophecies that speak of the troubles coming upon the God’s earthly people. As we have already noticed, in these prophecies they are always called “Judah,” never “Israel.”

We see this in Joel:


Egypt shall be a desolation,

And Edom a desolate wilderness,

Because of violence against the people of Judah,

For they have shed innocent blood in their land.

But Judah shall abide forever,

And Jerusalem from generation to generation.

For I will acquit them of the guilt of bloodshed,

whom I had not acquitted;

For the Lord dwells in Zion.”

(Joel 3:19-21)


We see this again in Obadiah where the Lord says concerning Edom: (see Obadiah 1:1)

For violence against your brother Jacob,

Shame shall cover you,

And you shall be cut off forever.

In the day that you stood on the other side?

In the day that strangers carried captive his forces,

When foreigners entered his gates

And cast lots for Jerusalem?

Even you were as one of them.

But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother

In the day of his captivity;

Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah

In the day of their destruction;

Nor should you have spoken proudly In the day of distress.

You should not have entered the gate of My people In the day of their calamity.

Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction

In the day of their calamity,

Nor laid hands on their substance

In the day of their calamity.

You should not have stood at the crossroads

To cut off those among them who escaped;

Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.

For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near;

As you have done, it shall be done to you;

Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.”

(Obadiah 1:10-15)


We see it again in Zechariah, where the Lord addresses Israel generally, but specifically mentions a siege “against Judah and Jerusalem” and “the house of Judah.”

The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: ‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day,’ says the Lord, ‘I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.” In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place’ Jerusalem.

The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:1-9)

And we see this again in Ezekiel 25, where we repeatedly find “the land of Israel” mentioned, but those who experience the trouble are “the house of Judah.”

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them. Say to the Ammonites, “Hear the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD: Because you said, “Aha!” against My sanctuary when it was profaned, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate, and against the house of Judah when they went into captivity, indeed, therefore, I will deliver you as a possession to the men of the East, and they shall set their encampments among you and make their dwellings among you; they shall eat your fruit, and they shall drink your milk. And I will make Rabbah a stable for camels and Ammon a resting place for flocks. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.’

For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because you clapped your hands, stamped your feet, and rejoiced in heart with all your disdain for the land of Israel, indeed, therefore, I will stretch out My hand against you, and give you as plunder to the nations; I will cut you off from the peoples, and I will cause you to perish from the countries; I will destroy you, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’

Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because Moab and Seir say, “Look! The house of Judah is like all the nations,” therefore, behold, I will clear the territory of Moab of cities, of the cities on its frontier, the glory of the country, Beth Jeshimoth, Baal Meon, and Kirjathaim. To the men of the East I will give it as a possession, together with the Ammonites, that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations. And I will execute judgments upon Moab, and they shall know that I am the Lord.’

Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because of what Edom did against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has greatly offended by avenging itself on them,’ therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will also stretch out My hand against Edom, cut off man and beast from it, and make it desolate from Teman; Dedan shall fall by the sword. I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance,’ says the Lord GOD.

Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old hatred,’ therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will stretch out My hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethites and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. I will execute great vengeance on them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I lay My vengeance upon them.’ ” (Ezekiel 25:1-17)

Even in Matthew and Mark, the scene of the coming trouble is called “Judea,” not “Israel.”

Matthew 24:15-16 “ ‘Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,: spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.’ ”

Mark 13:14 “ ‘So when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not’ (let the reader understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.’ ”

Another detail we should notice is that end time prophecies about the Lord’s people being brought back to the land always use the name “Israel,” and specifically say that “all” of “Israel” will be brought back. Even when “Judah” is mentioned in these prophecies, it is “Judah and Israel.” There are too many of these to examine them all, but we will notice a typical one.

Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations.’ Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I have raised My hand in an oath that surely the nations that are around you shall bear their own shame. But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children.’ ” (Ezekiel 36:6-12)

This prophecy is addressed to a piece of real estate “to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys” of “Israel.” And tells them that “I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it.” The repeating of the word “all” (כֹּל, kol in our alphabet) in the Hebrew text stresses that this means absolutely “all the house of Israel.”

Now why do we find only the name “Judah” in the details about the seventieth “week,” and only the name “Israel,” or both of the names, “Judah and Israel” in details about the restoration? We find the reason in the last chapter of Isaiah.


The hand of the Lord shall be known to His servants,

And His indignation to His enemies.

For behold, the Lord will come with fire

And with His chariots, like a whirlwind,

To render His anger with fury,

And His rebuke with flames of fire.

For by fire and by His sword

The Lord will judge all flesh;

And the slain of the Lord shall be many

Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,

To go to the gardens

After an idol in the midst,

Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse,

Shall be consumed together,’ says the Lord.

For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory. I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,’ says the Lord, ‘as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 66:14-21)

Here we see a plain reference to Armageddon. And then we read, “and those among them who escape I will send to the nations... And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.” And “Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem.”

Here we see the time specifically stated. The prophesied restoration will take place after “Messiah” comes, not before. For more detail on this, see also Matthew 24:29-31, Jeremiah 16:14-18, and Ezekiel 34:11-16.

Now what is the point of all this? It is a simple concept that will open up an understanding of many prophecies. The return of “the Jews” to their “land” is not directly prophesied anywhere in scripture. It is prophesied indirectly, because we are plainly told that they will be in the “land” during Daniel’s seventieth “week.” But a return of “Judah” to the “land,” as such, is not mentioned in any end time prophecy. This is like the rebuilding of the “temple” and the resumption of animal “sacrifices” during the seventieth “week.” Neither is directly prophesied, but both must happen. For both a “temple” and “sacrifices” are mentioned in prophecies concerning the seventieth “week.”

When we understand this, we understand when many prophecies will be fulfiled. For prophecies that speak only of “Judah” are about the seventieth “week,” and those that speak of “Israel,” or about either “Israel” and “Judah” or “Ephraim” and “Judah,” are about the time after “Messiah” returns at the end of that seventieth “week.”