Goodnews Christian Ministry
"I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem and build them again as they were before." ---Jeremiah 33:7
"For in those days and at that time,
when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
I am going to gather all the nations and take them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; there I intend to put them on trial for all they have done to Israel,
my people and my heritage."
Every theme in scripture has at least two applications. The restoration of Jerusalem is no exception.
In the last chapter we saw that the Jerusalem of Christ is being rebuilt in heaven through the conversion of the saints -- a process that has been progressing every day since Jesus was crucified.
But suddenly in this century we can see another reconstruction in progress -- its literal counterpart. As if it had sprung from the archives of history and prophecy, the Jewish state in Palestine has been resurrected after almost 2000 years of exile.
The fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem are being incredibly restored in this very century, before our own eyes.
In the writings of the prophet Jeremiah, the Holy Spirit predicted this rebirth almost 600 years before Jesus was born. (Jer.33:1-7). "I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, and build them again as they were before." (Jer.33:6).
The prophet Joel indicated that the political duplication of the Jewish homeland would occur at the very end of time, and that it would signal a collective gathering of all the world's nations to the Palestinian Middle East where a final ominous end to Babylon would take place:
"For in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I am going to gather all the nations and take them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat; there I intend to put them on trial..." (Joel 4:1-2).
This historic encore, then, has momentous implications for every person on earth.
Judah's restoration is founded in God's covenant. While all the other tribes of the House of Israel have made a spiritual journey to the Jerusalem of heaven by following the spiritual path of Jesus, the Jews remain bound to a covenant that ties them to the principles of this world. And that is why they have to return to Palestine.
This tribe, out of step with the others, must repeat the first century -- because Christ is coming again, and by God's grace, the Jewish leaders are being given a second opportunity to choose His course for their nation and for their people.
The stage is now being set for the Second Coming of Christ.
When Joel talked about "...those days and that time"... he was referencing these days and this time. Waiting undone for centuries, Judah's restoration began in 1947, and it coincided almost precisely with the birth of the atomic age.
Further, we can see by history that it was not until the spiritual construction of the Jerusalem of heaven had been all but completed that God gave His approval to the long-standing Jewish request to return to Palestine.
This shows that the two cities are not the same and that they have different purposes.
Joel revealed this second purpose when he declared that Jerusalem's restoration is geared to a proclamation of war: "Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack. Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there." (Joel 4:1-2).
Joel's prophecy is a clear revealing that the earthly city of Jerusalem is being restored, not for its own glory, but for the ominous purpose of God's Judgment. The restored city is to be this world's gallows.
What we are watching being constructed today in Palestine, then, is the end of the world. It is the sign of the imminent collapse of the millenium -- the end of the power on earth of the holy people. (Dn. 12:7). It presages the collapse of the world rule of the Church.
That is because the scaffold we see now in Palestine was built by Satan and meant for us; but God intends to turn it around in a way identical to what happened to Haman in the Book of Esther. (Esth.7:9-10).
"The righteous nation was thrown into consternation at the fear of the evils awaiting them, and prepared for death, crying out to God. Then from their cry, as from a little spring, there grew a great river, a flood of water. Light came as the sun rose, and the humble were raised up and devoured the mighty." (Esth.1d).
And just as that book predicted, it is the wicked who will find themselves in the hangman's noose, not the just. "When that day comes, I mean to make Jerusalem a stone to be lifted by all the peoples; all who try to lift it will hurt themselves severely. (And all the nations of the earth will mass against her..)" (Zech.12:3).
Chased to Jerusalem by the nations of the world at the close of history, the last remnant of God's people on earth will await the final execution the world has planned for them, but it won't come.
Instead, under skies as black as ink, with armies all around them, and at the very last moment of time, the righteous of Christ will be raised up to glory in the Great Victory of God.
And, in Israel's place, to the gallows will go the nations.
The establishment of the Jewish state in the Holy Land in 1948 "restored the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem" just as Jeremiah's ancient prophecy had foreseen. (Jer.33:7).
It created in the world the first Jewish nation since the time of the Caesar's of Rome, and because Joel made it clear that this restoration would be the world's signal that the last days had arrived, this monumental event, still less than fifty years old, is a clear and irrefutable sign that the Day of Judgement is near at hand.
From the very first moment that the Jews were allowed to return to Palestine and set up a nation there at the end of the second World War, attention has been focused on Jerusalem.
Shocked by seeing such a momentous prophecy come true as they watch, the world has been hypnotized by the conditions and circumstances which have subsequently unfolded there.
In these events, the Jewish nation has more than doubled its size, taken complete control of Jerusalem, become a nuclear power, neutralized and destroyed the most sophisticated Soviet defenses in the world, defeated the armies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, and expanded its borders all the way to the Suez Canal.
Pulling back from the canal, it concluded a treaty with Egypt which returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian control -- a treaty which precipitated in a shocking parallel to prophecy, the Hophra-type assassination of Egypt's president Anwar Sadat. (see Jer.44:29-30).
As a result of these events, all the nations of the world have now begun to polarize around either Israel or its enemies in the Middle East -- a preparation for the gathering of the nations which the final prophecies insist lies just ahead.
The ultimate gathering of the nations against Jerusalem will occur because the world in its violence and hatred for the House of Israel will, after dethroning the Christian Church from its seat of state, chase the final remnant of God's people to this place.
This pursuit is the reign of violence all the prophets have predicted. This is the call to war that Joel envisioned -- the trampling of the world by the Wrath because wickedness has become so great. (Joel.4:13).
The city is destined to be Babylon's final border. "For I am going to sit in judgement there on all the nations round." (Joel 4:12).
Amazingly, despite all the terrors of the winepress, the city will not repent or see the light of salvation until the very last day. And when it does -- when the Jews do see Christ -- the world will end instantaneously -- because the very last remnant of God's people will have then been saved.
For this reason, there will be no earthly city of Jerusalem living in the favor of God ever again -- not even at the end -- for God's conversion process has produced a new city and it does not exist on this planet.
Looking for the Messiah (for the 'Branch' of David promised by scripture) the Jews, instead, will encounter His angel Michael. And Michael will bring, not the conversion of the world, but the last rescue from out of it.
The conversion of the world has been tried and it has failed. "We tried to cure Babylon, but she has got no better. Leave her alone and let each of us go to his own country. Yes, her sentence reaches to the sky...sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! God has roused the spirit of the king of the Medes, because he has a plan against Babylon to destroy it...this is the vengeance of the Lord." (Jer.51:9).
What began happening in 1948 has nothing to do with God rebuilding His kingdom in Palestine. Everything is still focused on the kingdom of heaven.
The rescue of the pagans has almost been completed. Now it is the Jew's turn.
Paul wrote that the Jewish rescue could not occur until the pagan rescue had ended. Therefore, as we watch the Jewish state build, we can also see the Christian presence in Babylon begin to collapse. The age of the pagans is coming to an end, and it is this end that we can see unfolding now in our own time.
The restoration of Jerusalem, therefore, should be a sobering moment for the entire world -- especially for the pagan world. It is a certain sign that the age of the pagans is almost over, and that means that the time allotted for world salvation is about to end.
We are quickly approaching the day when the pagan world, having rejected the message of the Church, will utter its fated cry: "The harvest is over, summer at an end, and we have not been saved!" (Jer.8:20).
The Jews have been restored to Jerusalem to find Jesus Christ. No one else can redeem the race of Judah from sin, and for this reason Jesus is the key to the whole ingathering.
This can be seen in the restoration prophecy written in the Psalms. "Lord God bring us back...Please, Lord God, relent! Look down from heaven, look at this vine (whose fences are now destroyed), visit it, protect what your own right hand has planted. May your hand protect the man at your right, the son of man who has been authorized by you. We shall never turn from you again; our life renewed, we shall invoke your name. Lord God, bring us back, let your face smile on us and we shall be safe." (Ps.80).
As far as the Jews today are concerned, however, the current restoration relates only to Moses. The Son of Man at the right hand of God has nothing to do with it as far as they are concerned.
This shows that a great awakening must occur in Israel at some point in the future. Yet Paul has declared that this awakening will not occur until the very last day -- proving again that the fundamental reason for the restoration is the final judgment of a defiant and rebellious world.
The rulings of God are binding. The Jews can return to Palestine because the judgment of the world has come so close, but the only way that they can be reunited with God and with the rest of Israel is to recognize the Son of God they persist to reject.
"This is a statute binding on Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob...I can hear a voice I no longer recognize...My people refused to listen to me, Israel refused to obey me, so I left them to their stubborn selves to do whatever they pleased. If only my people would listen, if Israel would follow my ways, at one blow I would defeat their enemies and strike at all who attack them. Then those who hate the Lord would cringe, their doom being sealed forever; while I would feed you on pure wheat and satisfy you with the wild rock honey." (Ps.81).
Only when the terror in Israel becomes unbearable will these words find their ultimate fulfillment. (Is.4:4).
Righteousness can only meet peace. (Is.30:15). This meeting, then, will come to pass only when the Jews turn from a worldly defense to complete trust in God.
At that instant the entire world will be changed forever.
When the Jews realize that what God is saying means peace -- when they put down their weapons and turn their backs on war and trust in God for their rescue -- loyalty will meet Love and the reunion will be accomplished.
But for now, the rebellion continues. And as long as it does, there will only be war.
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