Saturday, July 2, 2022

When Will Israel Be Brought Back to the Land

by James C. Morris –  

Almost everyone who is even slightly acquainted with Bible prophecy knows that it clearly teaches that the ancient nation of Israel will eventually be brough back to its ancient homeland, and will there be blessed by God. But many earnest students of the scriptures seem to be almost totally unaware of when Our God has told us that this will happen. Like many other details of end time prophecy, this is defined far more accurately than most students even imagine.

One of the most common errors in modern discussion about Bible prophecy is the mistaken claim that this return has already happened. But the return that occurred in the twentieth century was not a return of Israel, but only of Judah. And the promised return is a retuen of “all the house of Israel, all of it.” (Ezekiel 36:10) As the Lord said in another place:

12 I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob,

I will surely gather the remnant of Israel;

I will put them together like sheep of the fold,

Like a flock in the midst of their pasture;

They shall make a loud noise because of so many people.” (Micah 2:12)

There can be zero question that this has not yet happened.

We must remember that the wording of Bible prophecy is very precise. Jesus himself said, 17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18) The jot and the tittle were the two smallest marks used in writing the Hebrew language. So here, Jesus was saying that, not only every word, but even the details of the spelling of every word, was important. Why was this? Because the details of the spelling of the various words is what shows us things like whether the individual (or individuals) are mentioned in the first, second, or third person, whether they are the ones who do the action or the ones to whom the action is done, and whether the action is past, present, or future. And in that line, we must remember that, even as we often say, “Israel is not the church, and the church is not Israel,” even so, “Israel is not Judah, and Judah is not Israel.”

So when will this gathering of “all the house of Israel, all of it” take place? The answer to this question begins, as do many other prophetic details, in Isaiah, where we read:

“ ‘15 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.

16 For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh;

And the slain of the LORD shall be many.

17 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.

18 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. 19 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. 20 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.’ ” (Isaiah 66:15-20)

Here we find a clear description of the great battle of Armageddon, although it is not named. And then it explicitly says, “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.”

So this return is after the Lord has returned “with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury,And His rebuke with flames of fire.” That is, it is not before this, it is after it.

We remember that Jesus himself said of this time, that:

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)

Many have erroneously assumed that this is a description of the rapture. But that is described in other scriptures. For in the rapture, it is “the Lord himself” that will come for us, (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and here, “He will send his angels” to gather them. Those who make this error imagine that “His elect” means “the church.” But the righteous remnant of Israel is also called His “elect” in scriptures such as:

9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,

And from Judah an heir of My mountains;

My elect shall inherit it,

And My servants shall dwell there.” (Isaiah 65:9)

And further on in the same prophecy:


22 They shall not build and another inhabit;

They shall not plant and another eat;

For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people,

And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” (Isaiah 65:22)

So the scriptural designation, His “elect” is most certainly not limited to “the church.”

We are also given specific details about this return. For although, as we have seen, the bulk of it will be accomplished by merely human means, there will be much work for the “angels” mentioned in Matthew 24:31. For we read, “ ‘14 Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that it shall no more be said, “The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,” 15 but, “The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.” ’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. 16 ‘Behold, I will send for many fishermen,’ says the LORD, ‘and they shall fish them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.’ ” (Jeremiah 16:14-16)

And we read again, 11 For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,’ says the Lord GOD. 16 ‘I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.’ ” (Ezekiel 34:11-16)

And again we read:

11 It shall come to pass in that day

That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time

To recover the remnant of His people who are left,

From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush,

From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.

12 He will set up a banner for the nations,

And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,

And gather together the dispersed of Judah

From the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:11-12)

But many of the individual Israelites are rebels. And God’s dealing with them is detailed in the one other scripture that shows the timing of this return.

“ ‘33 As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. 36 Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,’ says the Lord GOD. 37 ‘I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ” (Ezekiel 20:33-38)

As this scripture clearly says that the Lord will “plead” with them “face to face,” it shows that this will be after He has returned, and is therefore physially present on the earth.

But we also need to notice what this prophecy says about these “rebels.” “I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel.” Dispensationalists are ofteh falsely accused of teaching that the Lord will save people “just because of their DNA.” But that is not what the prophetic scriptures teach. These “rebels” will have the same DNA as the rest of Israel. And they will, like the rest of Israel, will be brought “out of the country where they dwell” But “they shall not enter the land of Israel.” Other scriptures show us that this purging will be by death. For we also read:

2 In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious;

And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing

For those of Israel who have escaped.

3 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy--everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.” (Isaiah 4:2-4)

For, although Ezekiel 20:33-38 only speaks of those returning to the land at this time, we are told of a similar purging of those already in the land:

“ ‘8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,’

Says the LORD,

That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,

But one-third shall be left in it:

9 I will bring the one-third through the fire,

Will refine them as silver is refined,

And test them as gold is tested.

They will call on My name,

And I will answer them.

I will say, “This is My people”;

And each one will say,

The LORD is my God.” ’ ” (Zechariah 13:8-9)

This purging (by death) of all but the righteous remnant of Israel is what shows us the resolution to an apparent contradiction in the prophetic scriptures. For, although many scriptures, as we have seen, explicitly say that this restoration will involve “all the house of Israel, all of it,” other scriptures just as explicitly say that: 22 For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, A remnant of them will return.” (Isaiah 10:22) For by the time these two purges have been completed, the entirety of the nation of Israel of Israel will have been reduced to its righteous remnant. And that is how the Lord promised that in that day, 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

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