In the previous chapters we tried to give you some keys to learn about the God of the Bible, His Greatness, His Self-revelation, His Plan and how His people and the Nation of Israel fits in His purpose.
We have looked at several men of God who told about future events. We mentioned that several prophecies many years after they were foretold became true. We also saw that already from the onset of man, in the Garden of Eden there was given a great promise of some one who would come to bring an end to all the misery of man.
So far, we have been following God’s plan steadily through to the late 20th century.
Does the Bible permit us to lift the curtain and see beforehand the sequence of events which occur as the Kingdom of God begins to replace the world of today? The answer is a qualified “Yes”. The problem is, there are many prophecies to fit together. It is like assembling the pieces of a huge jigsaw puzzle, where the broad outline is clear, but the details do not yet all fit into place.
Firstly, it is plain that the Jews themselves must undergo spiritual renewal before they are fit for Jesus to be their King. It is a sad fact that devotion to God, which was so real to them during their dispersion and persecution, has been abandoned by so many now that they have returned. There has to be a major change of heart before they can truly become God’s people. We saw this in the beautiful passage from Ezekiel, describing the Return:
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses” (Ezekiel 36:25).
Malachi writes of “Elijah the prophet” being sent, like John the Baptist was,
“before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes”,
to prepare God’s people for the coming of Jesus (4:5,6).
No doubt a minority of the people will respond to this message, as they did in the First Century. For the majority, however,
“the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up” (Malachi 4:1).
The catastrophe that purges those Jews living in the land of Israel is to be a mighty invasion by an army made up of many nations, combining forces to attack and at last to capture Jerusalem, the jewel in Israel’s crown. The theme comes across in numerous passages.
“I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle,”
“and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered” (14:2).
“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat (outside Jerusalem),”
adds Joel (3:2).
“You will bestir yourself,”
Ezekiel says to Gog, the prince of Meshech and Tubal (ancient names for Russia),
“and come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you . . . you will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land” (Ezekiel 38:14-16).
Somehow, this invasion is not just against Israel, but against God Himself, and His Son.
“The kings of the earth set themselves,”
sang David in Psalm 2,
“and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed (Christ), saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds asunder . . .'” (vv. 2,3).
It will be a black day for Israel, with their cities captured, prisoners taken, and multitudes slain. But the outcome is clear. It is in that day of trouble that Jesus appears to his people, as their Saviour. He brings them not only relief from their enemies, but pardon from their sins.
“When they look on him whom they have pierced,”
“they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child . . . On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness” (12:10; 13:1). “The Deliverer will come from Zion,”
“he will banish ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26).
The mode of destruction for the enemies besieging Jerusalem is unorthodox, but devastatingly effective. A mighty earthquake shakes the land, dividing the Mount of Olives, and an unearthly fire consumes the hosts in the open field.
“You will be visited by the LORD of Hosts, with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. And the multitudes of all the nations that fight against Ariel (Jerusalem) . . . shall be like a dream, a vision of the night” (Isaiah 29:6,7).
Ezekiel says it will take seven months to bury the dead (Ezekiel 39:11-16).
The sequel is breathtaking. The Jews, having been brought forcibly to see how far they have gone away from God, return to Him and find the peace of reconciliation and forgiveness. From all the nations under heaven, a mighty Exodus begins, dwarfing the present-day Return, with two great streams of returning Jews from north and south.
“In far countries they shall remember me, and with their children they shall live and return. I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria,” writes Zechariah (10:9,10).
“He will raise an ensign for the nations,”
“and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (11:12).
As in the original Exodus, the rebels are purged out, and those who complete the journey are united in the land of Israel with their brethren who have survived the northern invasion. Here the repentant people become the nucleus of a mighty empire ruled by King Jesus, whose reign will bring peace and joy to all the nations of the earth.
“At that time,”
“Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem” (3:17).
“Out of Zion shall go forth the Law,”
“and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples” (4:2,3).
“he shall judge the poor . . . and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked . . . They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (11:4,9).
Will There Ever be Peace on Earth?
Sign of the Times and the Last Days
Find also to read
- Creation of the earth and man #7 Of the Sabbath day #5 Respecting the day on which Christ Jesus rose from the dead
- Why did Christ not reveal the exact time of his second coming?
- Trust the future to God