Saturday, July 2, 2022

Who Will be in the Land During the Seventieth Week

by James C. Morris – 

 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.”

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