God’s Word in Prophecy—Part 9

Mine Eyes Are Upon All Their Ways

“I will bring them again into their land. … I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, … and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill. … For mine eyes are upon all their ways.”
—Jeremiah 16:14-18

IN THIS SCRIPTURE THE Lord explains that he would send ‘fishers’ to entice, and then ‘hunters’ to compel his people to return to the promised land. He also explains that, even in sending the fishers and hunters among his people, it would be because his eyes were ‘upon all their ways.’ The implication of this prophecy is that God would permit much trouble to come upon his people during the end of the present Gospel Age. This trouble would not be an evidence of his disfavor, but rather as evidence of his favor in shaping their circumstances in such a manner as to turn their faces toward the land of promise. This is what was accomplished by the persecutions under Nazi Germany, the hunters who drove them out of Europe during World War II.


Some may ask , if God’s favor was to be returned to his people as a result of the events that took place during and shortly after World War I, why have they since that time, and particularly under Nazi Germany, experienced one of the most severe periods of persecution in their long history? We read, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.”—Ezek. 20:33-37

According to this prophecy, the Israelites are brought out from the countries where they had been residing by what is described as the Lord’s ‘fury.’ Furthermore, Ezekiel’s prophecy declares that in doing this he would be ruling over his people. The prophecy also promises a returning of favor to the Jewish people.

The illustration used in this prophecy gives us the proper understanding. He says, ‘I will bring you into the wilderness of the people,’ and again, ‘Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you.’ God’s favor was upon his people when, in the person of Moses, he visited them and delivered them from their slavery.

Even so, it was a trying time for the Israelites in times of old. It was necessary for them to experience some of the plagues which came upon the Egyptians in order to encourage them to follow Moses out of bondage. In leaving Egypt, they shortly found themselves in the wilderness where their circumstances were most difficult. However, they did not move directly from Egypt to Canaan, the land of promise.

The prophecy foretold of these experiences when he would bring them out from among the nations wherever they had been scattered. Their uprooting from the Gentile nations would not immediately result in a peaceful and secure settlement in their land. Instead, there was to be a long wilderness experience, a time of uncertainty and insecurity such as we have witnessed, particularly since the events following World War I.

First they were plagued, and since then have experienced much difficulty in connection with their possession of the promised land. By the ruling of the United Nations, the land of Palestine was apportioned, partly to the Arabs and partly to the nation of Israel. It is perhaps this situation that is referred to by the Prophet Joel in reference to the time when the Lord would be restoring his people to their land. The prophecy reads, “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 [interpreted in verse 14 as the ‘valley of decision’], 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


Judging from this and other relative prophecies, it appears that some time is yet to elapse before God’s full purpose in the restoration of Israel to the land of promise is accomplished. Considering further the prophecy of Ezekiel, it is noted that God’s purpose in uprooting the Israelites from among the nations in which they were living, even as Israel of old was delivered out of Egypt into a wilderness condition, was that they would ultimately be brought ‘into the bond of the covenant.’

This also parallels the sequence of events experienced by ancient Israel when delivered from slavery in Egypt; for at that time they were first brought into the wilderness and then into the bond of the Law Covenant, mediated by Moses at Mount Sinai. The bringing of the Israelites into the bond of the promised New Covenant is the ultimate design of the Lord in the experiences through which he has been directing them.

In fulfillment of this purpose, Israel’s bitter experiences during the end of the present Gospel Age have served merely to point to a beginning, which we have seen to be the granting of Israel the right to return to the land of their forefathers and to establish a national home. It is evident that God’s dealings with his ancient people will be accomplished in his own due time and purpose.


Beginning with Ezekiel 36:16, and continuing through chapters 37, 38 and 39, various ramifications of God’s dealings with Israel at the time of their restoration are presented. In these chapters, God’s Word declares his purpose to restore them to the promised land. We read, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.” (Ezek. 36:22) In verse 21, the Lord tells us that he had “pity” for his “holy name.”

In this we are reminded of an interesting aspect of God’s dealings with his typical people. The thought is first introduced in a prayer by Moses, in which he reveals his concern for the glory of God’s name. The Lord had told him that, because of the Israelites’ transgressions, he proposed to destroy them all, but with Moses as a new leader of the people he would build a new nation.

In prayer, Moses replied to this, “Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.”—Exod. 32:11-13

In response to this prayer, God did change his mind about destroying Israel. In another account of this episode, we learn that Moses asked the Lord to pardon his people Israel, and he responded by saying, “I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers.”—Num. 14:20-23

Concerning the time that God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, we read, “So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.” (Neh. 9:10) Moses emphasized the point at issue in connection with the glory of God’s name by referring to the oath-bound promise that had been made to Abraham concerning the land of Canaan as being an everlasting possession for this people. Moses was concerned as to how this promise could be fulfilled if God was to destroy the Israelite people and then establish a new nation.

If God were to thus allow this people to die in the wilderness, it would prove either his unwillingness to fulfill his promises, or his inability to do so. But to him to whom a thousand years are but as a “watch in the night when it is past” (Ps. 90:4), the ability to pardon and to save his people in the wilderness was only a temporary consideration. If he was to maintain the glory of his name and the integrity of his promises by keeping this people alive and eventually giving them the land of promise as an everlasting possession (Gen. 13:15,16), it would have to be accomplished through long centuries of time. This would be even as it was during their experiences in the wilderness, despite their many sins and transgressions against him.

The Jewish people have always been a persecuted minority. Almost any other people under similar circumstances would have given up their determination to continue their identity as a people, and would have been assimilated by the larger, and more favored, nationalities and races. God’s protection has kept them intact as a people by restoring them to the promised land when his due time came, and he could continue to magnify the glory of his name.


The glory of God’s name in connection with the restoration of the Jews to the promised land involves much more than the returning of a small percentage of the present generation to the land of Palestine. This will be a token fulfillment of his promises, and the returned exiles will be in the Holy Land ready to receive the blessings of the kingdom at the beginning of the time when the whole earth will be under the administration of Christ’s kingdom. The work of restoration will continue even on behalf of all those who have died in past generations.

We will fail to appreciate the full significance of God’s promises if we overlook the resurrection feature of his plan of the ages. As we have seen, the Israelites were uprooted from the many countries in Europe, and elsewhere in which they were dwelling, just as he brought up the ancient people of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Thus far, as then, his people have entered merely into a ‘wilderness.’ However, the grander objective is to bring them into the bond of the New Covenant, in fulfillment of the words of the Prophet Ezekiel.

This will be true of those who have died, as well as those who are now living. The resurrection of the Israelites is described as a ‘bringing again of their captivity,’ not merely from captivity to other nations, but from the captivity of death. In this connection, the Lord further promises, “I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord.”—Ezek. 16:53-63

Of the living generation of Israelites who are restored to the land of promise, the Lord said, “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.” (Ezek. 36:31) This will be true, not only of the then living generation, but also of those who are raised from the dead thereafter.

Further in Ezekiel’s prophecy, in chapter 16, we read, “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them: That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort unto them.”—vss. 53,54


The Israelites as a people, or nation, have perhaps been no more or less righteous than any other race or nation. As members of the fallen race, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. In this and other respects, God has been pleased to use them as symbolic of the whole world of mankind, among which a few individuals—one here and one there—have been loyal to the Lord while the vast majority has not been.

The prophecy of Ezekiel 16:53-63 reveals that when the Israelites are brought forth from the captivity of death they will at first be ashamed and confounded. The prophet Daniel reveals that this will occur following the great time of trouble with which the present Gospel Age comes to an end.

Through Daniel, the Lord said, “At that time thy people 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 for ever and ever.”—Dan. 12:1-3

Daniel’s people who were promised deliverance from death, are God’s people. All are in the book of the Lord in the sense that they are assured an awakening, in due time, from the sleep of death. Many of them will come forth to shame as the Prophet Ezekiel pointed out. This will not be unending shame, however, for the word here translated ‘everlasting’ simply denotes bringing to a conclusion, or completion. When their shame has accomplished its purpose in humbling them it will pass, as it will also be true of all nations and people.

As we have noted, God’s promise to Abraham concerning the land was unconditional. Later, he placed a condition upon the high honor of being his representatives in the teaching and blessing of the world. This condition was obedience to the covenant of statutes and laws. “If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.”(Exod. 19:5,6) In the original setting forth of these conditions, no mention is made that later a spiritual seed of Abraham was to be developed, also based upon the conditions of faith and obedience as explained by the Apostle Paul.—Gal 3:27-29

Throughout the ages of the past, prior to the time of our Lord Jesus’ First Advent, many were faithful to God’s Law, and thus qualified to be his special servants under the terms set forth in Exodus 19:5,6. Those who preceded this Law and were likewise faithful were thus proven worthy of that “better resurrection” outlined by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 11:35.


Beginning with Jesus and Pentecost, a spiritual class began to be developed under the terms of faith and obedience. The first of this class was selected exclusively from the natural seed of Abraham. But, because of Israel’s disobedience, the invitation was extended to Gentiles to make up the foreordained number of the spiritual seed. Throughout the present Gospel Age those of the Lord’s people who have faithfully met the proper conditions of consecration, and continue to be submissive to the will of God, will thus participate in the future work of blessing both Israel and the whole world of mankind. The Lord, through the Prophet Isaiah, speaks symbolically of two classes that will assist fallen mankind in the ways of Truth and righteousness under the administration of Christ’s kingdom. He says, “It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established [prepared, Marginal Translation] in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”—Isa. 2:2,3


In the concluding portion of this wonderful prophecy, we note that Isaiah specifically mentions two separate classes, one spiritual and the other fleshly, who will carry out the will of God under Christ’s kingdom, ‘for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’ Zion represents the glorified spiritual class who will share, as the Mediator of the New Law Covenant, in the administration of Truth and righteousness over the affairs of mankind. The revelator also speaks of this faithful class, “I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.”—Rev. 14:1, New American Standard Bible

The earthly representatives of Christ’s kingdom will share in dispensing the Word of God to the people. These worthies of old lived prior to the time of our Lord’s earthly ministry, and Apostle Paul explains, “These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided [foreseen, MT] some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”—Heb. 11:39,40

In harmony with these two phases of Christ’s kingdom, we recall Jacob’s dream in which he saw a ladder that reached from earth to heaven. He also saw God standing above it while his angels ascended and descended upon it. (Gen. 28:12,13) Jesus explained the meaning of Jacob’s vision to Nathanael, “He saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”—John 1:51

Under these two groups—the spiritual class and the earthly class—mankind will learn to know and to serve the Lord. What a glorious prospect for the poor groaning creation of the present time. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come, And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”—Rev. 22:17

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