Repentance and Restoration

KEY VERSE: “Obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.” —Deuteronomy 30:8

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 30:1-10

EVEN though the nation of Israel failed to live up to the terms of their covenant and were eventually cast off as a covenanted people, God purposed that at the proper time he would again deal with them as a people. But before this could come about, it was first necessary that they be punished for their transgressions and unrepentant attitude of heart. Our Selected Scripture text is a prophecy by Moses that tells how the Lord would deal with the nation. First, he states that God was going to root them up out of their land and scatter them among the nations.—Deut. 28:58-68

In due time he would begin the process of regathering Israel: “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. … And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”—Deut. 30:1-6

We know as a matter of history that in A.D. 70 the Romans accomplished the total destruction of Israel as a nation, and that the Jewish people were scattered into every nation of the earth. This dispersion lasted until approximately A.D. 1878, when, because of the action of the Berlin Congress of Nations, England assumed a general protectorate over the Asiatic provinces of Turkey, among which was Palestine. The Turkish government amended its laws relating to aliens, which greatly ameliorated the condition of the few Jews then residing in Palestine, as well as partially opening the door for others to locate there, with the privilege of owning real estate.

From this very small beginning, we can discern the Lord’s hand in fulfilling his promise to return the Jews to Palestine. At the end of the First World War, the Balfour Declaration, and its subsequent implementation by a mandate from the League of Nations, assured the Israelites of a home in their promised land. In a very definite way the beginning of the return from their long captivity had begun. But the response of the Jews generally was not enthusiastic. The Lord foresaw this situation and stated in a prophecy in Jeremiah 16:14-16: “I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters and they shall hunt them.”

We believe the fishers were symbols of the Zionist Movement that spread its influence around the world and motivated many Jews to go to their homeland. But more urging was necessary and the Lord permitted the terrible persecutions in Germany and other lands to drive many more Jews to seek refuge in Palestine. In the prophecy this was pictured by the hunters. Finally, in 1948, the Jews who had returned to Palestine organized themselves as a nation. From God’s standpoint, however, they will not be his people until he has written his law in their hearts.

In Ezekiel 37:1-14 is the prophecy of the valley of dry bones. In time the various parts began to come together until finally the bodies were complete with flesh and sinews, but there was no breath or life within them. This condition represents the condition of the nation of Israel today. This will change, however, at the inauguration of the New Covenant and the start of Christ’s kingdom, when, as the prophecy states, God will put his spirit in them and write his law in their hearts. Then they will live as a nation, and he will be their God and they will be his people.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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