We know from Israel’s prophets that the miracle-working power of the Almighty will restore Israel to her former glory…

What part does Armageddon play in the picture, and prove to be a doorway to peace and happiness, not only for Israel, but for the whole world? …

The future of Israel and the world is as bright as the promises of God! …

The Future of Israel and the World
as Foretold by Israel’s Prophets

THOSE who will qualify for exaltation to the heavenly calling, to actually live and reign with Christ as part of his “house,” must make their “calling and election sure” by faithfulness to the terms of the calling. (II Pet. 1:10,11) The same holds true with the house over which Moses was the head. Paul declared that Moses was faithful in all his house, which implies that there were members of his house who also were faithful to the Lord, and the Scriptures clearly show that this was true. In reading the history of the natural descendants of Abraham, we may be inclined to think of them as much of the time straying away from God, and drifting into idolatry and other forms of sin. But this was not true of all of them.

The Bible informs us of the unbelief of many of the Hebrews who were led out of Egypt by Moses and who, because of their unbelief, fell in the wilderness. Paul speaks of this, saying, “Some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.” (Heb. 3:16) So it was that from generation to generation it could be said, ‘Howbeit not all were unfaithful’, even when it appeared that the nation as a whole had forgotten God.

In the 11th chapter of Hebrews we are presented with a long list of these faithful ones of the past, men and women who, through their lives proved their faith in God and in his promises. These, Paul assures us, received a “good report.” (Heb. 11:39) Upon the basis of their faith they were pleasing to God. They were willing to endure because they knew that, although they would not at that time receive the fulfillment of the promises God had made to them, these promises would be fulfilled when they were raised from the dead. They did not then accept deliverance from their trials, which they could have obtained by giving up their faith in the promises, because they hoped to “obtain a better resurrection.”—Heb. 11:35,40

And what wonderful promises were made to these faithful ones of the past! Paul began his list of the faithful with Abel. This was prior, of course, to the promise God made to Abraham. In the Garden of Eden God had said that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head. This was a vague promise, but it formed a basis for hope to those who had faith in the promises of God.

There was to be a seed that would bruise the head of the serpent. This could well suggest the exercise of authority and power over evil and evildoers. Enoch was another of the faithful of that early period, and Jude informs us that he prophesied the Lord would come “with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds.”—Jude 14,15

Beginning with Abraham, the father of the faithful, those who believed God and were loyal to him would he encouraged by the Abrahamic Covenant. When the Law was given to Israel, the Lord, through Moses, said to them that if they were faithful to it they would be used as blessers of the people, a “kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.”—Exod. 19:5,6

One of the outstanding prophets of Israel was Daniel. As with all the ancient prophets of the Lord, he did not understand clearly all that was implied in connection with the events which he foretold. But to comfort Daniel, the Lord said to him, “Go thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” (Dan. 12:13) This was a promise of the resurrection, and the assurance that Daniel, when awakened from his rest in death, would be in a special lot or group.

In Psalm 45:16 we are informed that the fathers of Israel are to become the children of the Christ, and are to be made “princes in all the earth.” God did not reveal to his ancient, faithful servants that the Messiah of promise would be exalted to the divine nature, and that his joint-heirs would be made like him, and would be the invisible rulers of the world during the period of the Messianic Kingdom. But much was said to give them assurance that, if faithful, they would share in the work of blessing all the families of the earth.

The promise recorded in Exodus 19:5,6 clearly implies this. It implies, indeed, that the whole nation of Israel could, upon conditions of faith and heart loyalty, have been “an holy nation” and a kingdom of priests. The fact that the whole nation did not prove faithful to the Lord does not mean that those who were faithful will not inherit the promise. And there was a remnant of such in each generation, and these, when raised from the dead and made princes in the earth, will be in the kingdom the visible human representatives of the divine Christ.

This is the house over which Moses was the faithful head. While it was being developed, it had many nominal members, even as during the present age there are many nominal members of the house of sons, over which Jesus is the head. Just as with the spiritual house there are many called, but only a few who make their calling and election sure, so also with the earthly house of servants; for the whole nation of Israel was called through Abraham, although only a remnant proved worthy of the calling.

Jesus explained what the glorious outcome of this will be for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets. He said that in the kingdom people would come from the east, west, north, and south, and would sit down with these. The implication of this is that the people would look up to them as their instructors and guides in matters pertaining to God and to righteousness.—Matt. 8:11; Luke 13:28,29

Here again we are reminded that the forecasts of Israel’s prophets, even the greatest of them, would be void of meaning apart from the fact that the dead are to be raised. The Ancient Worthies must be raised from the dead in order for the people to go to them for instruction. And God knew that the faithful of each generation, beginning with Abel, would be raised from the dead in his own due time, and would become a veritable nation of teachers and blessers, the channels of communication and blessings which will flow out from the divine Christ.

An interesting sidelight, emphasizing the fact that the Ancient Worthies will then be raised from the dead, is found in Isaiah 29, where this prophet of Israel wrote: “Thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.”—vss. 22,23

The assurance that Jacob’s face shall not then wax pale is revealing. Paul explains that in the resurrection these Ancient Worthies are to be perfect. This is their “better resurrection” for which they suffered and died. (Heb. 11:35,40) Being perfect, none of their faces will grow pale, nor will they in any other way give evidence that the seeds of death are working in them.

Being perfect, and having previously demonstrated their loyalty to God under adverse circumstances, these will be qualified to have kingdom responsibilities entrusted to them. The vast majority of these will be the natural descendants of Abraham, and all will have demonstrated that they had the faith of Abraham. Being raised from the dead in perfection, what a glory they will be to the Lord’s name! The former glory of Israel will be as nothing when compared with the glory of these, the restored faithful of Israel!

Isaiah wrote that Jacob shall not then be ashamed. Many were the times throughout the national history of ancient Israel that they had good reason to be ashamed. But the restored faithful of Israel, perfect in holiness and glory, will be a praise in the whole earth. Neither Jacob, as an individual, nor the house of Jacob (Israel) will then need to be ashamed; for under the guidance of the spiritual phase of the kingdom they will be looked upon as the benefactors of the people, the dispensers of God’s promised blessings to all the families of the earth.

To the faithful of Israel, the fulfillment of God’s promises seemed long in coming. God used his prophets to forecast events which would help his people to identify the time when the Messianic kingdom would be near, but the prophets themselves understood little concerning the significance of the prophecies which they uttered.

Daniel was one of Israel’s faithful prophets. He was among the captives of the nation taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar when the typical kingdom of Israel was overthrown. Daniel loved his people, and was concerned over the time of their deliverance from captivity, but God told him of a far greater deliverance and identified the time when it would be near at hand:

“At that time shall Michael [one of the titles of Christ] stand up, the great prince that standeth for the children of thy people [natural Israel]: and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people [spiritual Israel] shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”—Dan. 12:1-4

Here we are again reminded that the great and final deliverance of God’s people, and the blessing of all the families of the earth, involves the resurrection of the dead. Here, also, we are given certain clues as to conditions in the earth when that deliverance would be drawing near.

There was to be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. Jesus, the greatest of all Israel’s prophets, applied this prophecy to the time of his return. (Matt. 24:21,22) In Luke 21:25,26, Jesus explained the nature of this trouble, saying that there would be “distress of nations, with perplexity,” and that the people’s hearts would be failing them for fear as they looked ahead to the things coming upon the earth.

Jesus referred to this trouble as “tribulation,” and said that it would be tribulation so great that “except those days should be shortened,” no flesh would survive. We are now living in the time of this foretold distress of nations, with perplexity. The hearts of the people today are filled with fear. And we are being told on every hand that unless something is done to avert another global war, the human race will be destroyed.

With the aid of Jesus’ application of Daniel’s prophecy, and the details which he furnishes as to the nature of the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, it is clearly evident that we are now experiencing a time when the deliverance of God’s people from death is near! Michael, the great Prince who stands for Daniel’s people, the people of the Lord, is even now present!

Another sign to identify this same time is Daniel’s reference to the great increase of knowledge and the much running to and fro of our day. To be convinced of this we need only to remind ourselves that one hundred and fifty years ago there were no electric lights, no telephones or telegraph, no radios or television, no rockets taking man to the moon, no satellites orbiting earth, no robots producing commodities in factories, no telescopes reaching farther and farther into the universe; neither were there any of the appliances or conveniences now made possible through the use of electricity and electronics.

One hundred and fifty years ago there were none of our modern means of travel. Trains, automobiles, airplanes, have all come to the world suddenly in this time of the end. These things have come in fulfillment of prophecy. They belong to the beginning of that time in which those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake! Television would have been considered a miracle much less than a hundred years ago. But television is here, and being constantly improved upon, and just so surely will the remainder of this prophecy be fulfilled. The dead will be raised!

And in this forecast, Daniel revealed that there are two main classes of God’s people to be delivered in the resurrection: those who will shine as the brightness of the firmament, and those who will shine as the stars. (Dan. 12:3) This seems to be a reference to the two classes who will constitute the spiritual and earthly phases of the messianic kingdom. The spiritual class comes forth in the first resurrection, and the earthly class in the better resurrection.—Rev. 20:6; Heb. 11:35

These are the ones whose names are found written in the book. That is, they have proved worthy of a resurrection of life—the Ancient Worthies to perfect human life, and the followers of Jesus to immortality. They have passed their trial, or judgment, successfully, and when brought forth from death are immediately ready to embark upon the work and responsibilities of the kingdom which will then be due to function for the blessing of all the families of the earth, a work of blessing involving the awakening of still others from the sleep of death.

The vast majority of every generation of humanity have failed to be pleasing to the Lord. They have gone down into death in varying degrees of unrighteousness. These are the ones whose names are not written in the book. But they are not forgotten. They are the ones referred to by Jesus as having done evil, and who will come forth from death to judgment, or to a ‘krisis’, as the word is in the Greek text.—John 5:28,29, RSV

Daniel speaks of these as coming forth to shame and contempt. This will be true in varying degrees with respect to all who have not served God faithfully in this life. The knowledge of the Lord will then fill the earth and, in the light of this knowledge, the people will loathe their past lives of unrighteousness. But the recognition of their sins will be a first step toward righteousness. Genuine repentance, belief, and obedience to the kingdom laws will put them on the “way of holiness,” and by continuing on this “highway” they will reach full mental, moral, and physical perfection.—Isa. 35:8

Jeremiah was still another of Israel’s prophets, and he foretold the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land in this time of the end. He wrote, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and 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 sand for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.”—Jer. 16:14-17

Here again we are reminded of the same miracle-working power of God that was displayed in connection with the Exodus of Israel from Egypt, and informed by Jeremiah that that outstanding event will fade into comparative insignificance in the light of what the Lord would do for Israel in this end of the age. And we have already witnessed a partial fulfillment of this forecast.

Through the Zionist movement, we believe, the Lord ‘fished’ for his people, holding out inducements to them to return and to resettle their Land of Promise. But more severe methods were needed, symbolized by hunting. Part of this may well be the bitter persecution inflicted upon the Jewish people by Hitler. Millions of them were murdered, but out of that terrible experience came the intense desire, yea, the determination of most of the remaining Jews in Europe to go to Palestine.

The hunting experience was severe, and some may wonder why God permitted so many of his people to be killed. But let us recall that in God’s sight these are merely sleeping, and that in his due time they will be brought forth from death to enjoy the blessings of the kingdom. How wonderful is the plan of God for human redemption and deliverance from sin and death!

Joel was a prophet of Israel. Through him the Lord said, “Behold in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”—Joel 3:1,2

Here is another reference to the return of the Jewish people to Palestine in this end of the age, and here it is associated with a gathering of the nations; a gathering which in verses 9 through 14 is shown to be for armament and for war. Is it not true that during the years in which Israel has become a nation for the Jewish people, and when nearly two millions of them have migrated there, that the Gentile nations have been almost continuously either at war, or preparing for war? How accurate this prophecy has turned out to be!

In the 38th and 39th chapters of the prophecy of Ezekiel we are given a more advanced forecast of Israel’s experiences in the Holy Land. Because this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, it would be unwise to attempt to interpret it in detail. However, in the light of what we can now see, we can, with profit take a general view of it.

Ezekiel 38:8,11 give indication that the time will come when the Jewish people, having been brought to Israel from the various nations of earth, will have attained a measure of security; that they will be dwelling safely, or ‘confidently’, as the Marginal translation says. Even today, Israel is very confident of their abilities to handle any situation which might arise. Ezekiel then says that “Gog,” from the land of “Magog,” will mount an attack against the Israelites.

Gog will have allies, identified as Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya in the prophecies. Many students of prophecy identify this mighty allied military power as consisting of Russian and Arabian armies. It is not important, however, that we have certain knowledge of just who these enemies of Israel may turn out to be. The important item of the prophecy is that it gives us the assurance that when this attack is made against Israel, the time will have come for the Lord to fight for his people and deliver them.

The Lord says, “I will plead against him [Gog] with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 38:22,23) This divine intervention on behalf of Israel will mark a vital turning point in world events, for the nations will then know that there is a God in heaven who intends that his purposes on earth will be accomplished.

Giving us further details of Armageddon, the Lord, says, “And I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly [Margin, ‘confidently’] in the isles: and they shall know that I am the Lord. So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.”—Ezek. 39:6,7

Just what God means by pestilence, blood, rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone, as weapons of defense against Gog and his army, it is not important for us to know. We do know that the forces used to deliver Israel from her enemies will be recognized as of God. Israel’s enemies will recognize this, and so will the Jewish people themselves. Since God’s hand in the affairs of men will then be recognized, it is evident that the time will have come for the kingdom of Christ to begin to exercise its control over the people.

For the kingdom to become operative, its personnel will all have to be assembled. Jesus, of course, the great king in that kingdom was raised from the dead two thousand years ago. All his joint-heirs will then also have been brought forth in the “first resurrection” (Rev. 20:5,6), to live and reign with him. But there are also the princes, the Ancient Worthies, who will be the human representatives of the divine Christ. These must be brought forth to their better resurrection before the kingdom can begin to function, and it seems reasonable that this will be done about the time that the Lord delivers Israel from her enemies.

And what a demonstration of God’s power and glory that will be! Jesus said to Martha concerning the awakening of Lazarus from the sleep of death, “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) If the awakening of one person from the sleep of death was a demonstration of God’s glory, what shall we say concerning, not only the awakening of the entire Ancient Worthy class from the sleep of death, but their full resurrection to perfection? With such a miracle before them, will anyone doubt that divine power has become operative in the earth?

The Bible does not furnish details of just how the kingdom agencies will begin and continue to function, and it is not wise to speculate. When Jesus first came to earth to die as man’s Redeemer, he appeared in Israel because this is where the people lived to whom God had made his promises of a coming Messiah. We think that for the same reason the kingdom of Messiah will begin to function first in Israel, and that this is one of the reasons the Lord, by his mighty power, had restored so many of the Jewish people to that ancient Holy Land.

It follows, then, that the Jewish people in Israel will have the first opportunity to become subjects of the new kingdom, and undoubtedly virtually all of them will gladly accept this opportunity. Right from the start, the earthly phase of the kingdom will be Israelitish because the vast majority of the princes, the Ancient Worthies, will be of the natural seed of Abraham. The name Israel was given to Jacob as a token of divine favor because he had prevailed with God. All who become the people of God will, therefore, become Israelites.

As we have seen, the first growth of the earthly phase of the kingdom will be through alignment with the Ancient Worthies by those who, through lineage, are Israelites. Even these, however, will need to become Israelites indeed, through faith in Christ as their Redeemer and king, and obedience to the laws of the kingdom as they will be administered by the princes. And the kingdom will continue to increase, with all who come into it becoming Israelites indeed, the people of God.

The fact that the Jewish people in Israel, having, by that time, for the most part aligned themselves with the Ancient Worthies, will he receiving such rich blessings of peace, and health, and life, it will be observed by the rest of the world. And, as another prophet expressed it in symbol, these will then “take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zech. 8:23) And the whole Gentile world, by belief and obedience, will be able to share in the blessings of the kingdom; for it is designed by God for the blessing of all the families of the earth.

And, right from the start, the faithful subjects of the kingdom will have the glorious privilege of sharing in the work of dispensing its blessings. Indeed, those who do not imbibe the spirit of the kingdom and its purpose sufficiently to want to cooperate, will not continue to be part of it. The objective of the kingdom will be to restore mankind to the original Godlikeness with which man was endowed by the Creator, and this implies a heart and life motivated by love for others and a desire to do them good.

This work of restitution is implied in the promise that God will make a “new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” (Jer. 31:31-34) In making this covenant, the promise is that the people, beginning with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, will have their stony hearts removed, and will be given hearts of flesh. (Ezek. 36:26) And, we are told that when this covenant is fully made with all, it will no longer be necessary for anyone to say to his neighbor, Know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least of them even to the greatest of them.

The glory of the Lord will then fill the earth—the glory of Jehovah reflected primarily through Jesus. The Prophet Isaiah wrote: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [kingdom]: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And 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, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”—Isa. 11:9-12

From this forecast it is clear that there is much work to be accomplished by the kingdom of Christ. While not mentioned in the prophecy, there is also to be a gathering from the tomb of both Jews and Gentiles. How all-comprehensive is the plan of God! Surely, we can be thankful that in “the dispensation of the fullness of times” the Lord will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”—Eph. 1:10

And Christ will conquer and subdue all enemies, the last enemy to be destroyed being death. “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”—I Cor. 15:24-28

Dawn Bible Students Association
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