Many people today observe their surroundings and find destruction of every kind. This can be disheartening. It can seem like nothing good is on the horizon. However, the Bible is clear about some things…
- What the last days will look like
- Days of uncertain peril or victorious restoration?
- We can look to Israel as a sign of the times
- Has God forgotten about His people or does His plan include the salvation of Israel?
- What the evangelical community is to do
- Disregard Israel’s role or pray for Jerusalem?
Perilous times and perilous men…
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to Timothy giving insights into the last days…
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”—2 Timothy 3:1-5 (emphasis added)
Do any of these signs look familiar? Of course, but some argue they’ve been going on for generations. Some will say these issues don’t indicate the imminent return of Jesus.
Undeniably, Paul’s words are ringing louder today than ever. However, there is another important entity we can glean knowledge and wisdom from…God’s chosen people, the apple of His eye—Israel.
Israel’s role in the end-times…
Just as we want to understand the end-times today, the disciples asked the same questions of Jesus. During their last moments together, they posed this pressing question…
“…'Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?' And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’”—Acts 1:6-8 (emphasis added)
Jesus gives us a clue; Israel will be restored and those who know Him are to spread the good news about Him.
Jesus will return to Jerusalem:
After Jesus ascended to Heaven, “…two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.’”—Acts 1:10-11
The two men in white are saying that Jesus will return to rule in Jerusalem physically! Imagine having a physical connection to a place that will usher in the reign of the Messiah! A place that is thriving and in which we can bless and prepare for His return!
We may be tempted to over-spiritualize this passage, but no doubt our King will come to reign from His capital—Jerusalem.
God’s attention will turn to Israel:
Paul makes it clear to the Romans that “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25).
Paul introduces this “blindness” with a warning to Christians that we should not be “ignorant” and arrogant to this mystery. God’s hand extends mercy to the Gentile nations only because there is temporary blindness to the Jewish nation.
This is all part of God’s plan so that…
- Israel will be provoked to jealousy and be saved (Romans 11:14)
- That those who are “grafted in” remember where they came from (Romans 11:17-18)
- The Gentile nation will come into fullness (Romans 11:25)
- All of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26)
The Deliverer will come out of Zion:
Paul quotes this passage from Isaiah…
- “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”—Romans 11:26-27
…to reveal that God’s redeeming power for His nation is not yet complete and will not be left undone because of His covenant promise.
The Bible explains that Israel’s restoration is necessary for the return of Jesus.
Jesus Himself laments over His people and reveals their role in His return.
- “‘Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem… for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”’”—Matthew 23:37, 39
The prophet Zechariah also explains there will be grace and supplication on the house of David—Israel.
- “'And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.'”—Zechariah 12:10-11
God’s love for Israel still endures…
Because God’s love for Israel endures, so should ours. Want to hear even more good news?
If God’s promises to Israel are irrevocable, then we can find even more comfort from their restoration because that means God’s promise to you cannot be changed either!
- “Concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.”—Romans 11:28-31
What will your role be in the end-time prophecy fulfillment?
Reading the words of Paul in Romans brings to light what the Church’s role is as a whole when it comes to Israel and prophecy.
Standing back and looking at time in its entirety, you see God’s hand extended to various people and nations throughout history.
Fulfillment comes full circle—if God used the lineage of Israel to bring mercy to the nations, then through the nations He will show mercy to Israel (Romans 11:31).
We all hold a tiny piece of the puzzle that will one day be fully revealed when all has been restored. What piece is in your hand? The next question is where will you place it in these last days…
- In Israel?
- Against Israel?
- Toss it aside?
We all hold a piece that fits into the bigger picture. God invites us to be a part of the awe-inspiring image of restoration… It's up to us to decide how we will respond.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.’”—Psalm 122:6-7