Many events that will dramatically impact every inhabitant of this planet, its governments, and its religions are now beginning to take place in the Middle East. All these events were prophesied many centuries ago and recorded in the Bible. In this chapter, we will explore some of these prophetic events to see how they relate to the Jews of today and the future.
When the prophecies about Judah are examined, it becomes clear that we are living in the end of an age. It is also clear that the inhabitants of the modern nation of Israel (the Israelis) are the focal point of many prophecies in the Bible.
The Historical Jew
In order to fully understand what the Bible says about the Jews, one must first understand that there is a difference between the House of Judah (the Jews) and the House of Israel (the other tribes of Israel).
King Solomon was the last king to reign over a single nation of Israel, which consisted of all the tribes of Israel. After his death, there was a civil war and Israel was divided into two separate nations. The northern ten tribes were called the House of Israel and the southern tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and parts of Levi were called the House of Judah.
Secular history and the Bible tell us that the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrian Empire in 721-718 B.C.. Subsequently, its people were scattered throughout the world. These tribes lost their national identity and became known historically as the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. See 2.Kings for the story of the House of Israel's captivity.
The southern kingdom of Judah (the Jews) also rebelled against God and were taken captive by the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar. Some of these people returned to the area of the Holy Land during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Then, in 70 A.D., Judah was completely destroyed as a nation by the Roman Empire and its people were scattered throughout the nations of the world.
Today, the descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel can be identified in existing nations. Most of these people are located in the geographical areas of North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The House of Judah (the Jews) are predominantly scattered among the nations where the descendants of the Lost Ten tribes of Israel are located. Since 1948 A.D., many of the House of Judah have been relocating to the Holy Land in the nation of Israel.
The Jews and the Holy Land
"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem" (Joel 3:1 KJV). See also Joel 2:29-32.
"For in the days to come, says the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, says the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it" (Jer.30:3 KJV).
Both Joel and Jeremiah use the expression "to bring again the captivity," which means to bring them from a previous captivity and location back to the Holy Land. However, when will this occur?
Judah The Battle Horse
Zechariah is very clear in stating that the Jews (Israelis) in the end of the age will be instruments of war. This provides an interesting insight into how God does things; he sometimes uses the evil in people to accomplish his purpose. The Jews have been given special favor militarily because God has a task for them to accomplish. What we see prophetically is that the Jews were gathered into the nation of Israel and given control over the city of Jerusalem in order for God to fulfill the prophecies that surround the return of Christ:
"My anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts has visited his flock the house of Judah, and has made them as his majestic horse in the battle. Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together. And they shall be like mighty men, who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded" (Zech.10:3-5 KJV). See also Zech.9:11-13.
Biblical Prophecy and the Jews
Zechariah 12:2-10 KJV
The prophecies of Zechariah also confirm that the Jews, the nation of Israel, and Jerusalem are the focal point of biblical prophecy concerning many of the events that lead to the return of Christ:
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it" (vs.2-3).
Recent history and continuing events in and around the nation of Israel show the validity of verses two and three. These prophecies are continuing to be fulfilled. Since 1948, everyone that has meddled with the nation of Israel has had nothing but trouble. Their Islamic attackers have been cut off and defeated in every conflict.
No one can dispute the fact that the Israeli leaders and the Jews have been like a fiery torch among the dry wood. They have devoured their Islamic neighbors since 1948 as a fire devours wood. The Jews should have been instantly overwhelmed by their enemies when they declared independence in 1948, because the odds were heavily stacked against them; however, they survived as a nation because God has purposed that they survive in order to fulfill many prophecies that must be fulfilled before Christ's return:
"In that day, says the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem" (vs.4-6).
God Defends The Jews
"In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And he who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David; and the house of David shall be like God, like as the angel of the Lord before them" (v8).
Think back to 1948 when the Jews declared their independence. Their enemies came against them with superior manpower and equipment, yet the Israelis were like David fighting against Goliath. And like David, the Jews had God on their side of the conflict. Over the years, many incredible things have occurred, which benefited the Israelis in battle. Although the Israelis may not have recognized it, the evidence of God's intervention on their behalf is abundant. It is not because the Israeli's are righteous, because they are not. They are blood-thirsty and brutal, just like many other nations. They only exist as a nation because God has a purpose for their existence.
Enmity Toward The Jews
"The envy also of Ephraim [Great Britain] shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off" (Isa.11:13 Para.).
Isaiah's prophecy looks to a time after the return of Christ when the house of David will be at peace with those of the house of Judah. The prophet Zechariah records that the nations represented by the royal houses of David will eventually lose their animosity toward the Jews (Zech.12:7). History has shown that a love-hate relationship exists between the Jews and the British whose royal family are direct descendants of king David. This sort of relationship also exists between the Jews and the inhabitants of North America and northwestern Europe who are predominantly the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel.
The Jews who live among the various nations of the Ten Tribes of Israel tend to be in positions of influence and power, and they control much of these nations' wealth. Because of their power and wealth there is a considerable amount of enmity between those of the other tribes and the Jews, yet there is a feeling of kinship toward the Jews of the nation of Israel.
The Temple in Jerusalem
The first major prophetic event leading up to the return of Christ, was the return of the Jews to the holy land in 1948 in order for them to occupy the land and to eventually control the city of Jerusalem. The second major prophetic event is the building of the temple in Jerusalem and the institution of the sacrificial system of worship.
Before the next Jewish captivity, the Jews will be allowed to build a temple in Jerusalem for the worship of God. As a part of this worship they will institute the sacrificial system, which they will do for a short time before they are conquered and taken captive by an alliance of nations described in the Book of Revelation as the Beast.
A Time of Trouble for the Jews
"And it shall come to pass, that in all the land [Israel/the holy land], says the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God" (Zech.13:8-9 Para.). See also Ezk.5:12; Zeph.1:1-18.
A time is coming when the Jewish nation of Israel is going to be conquered, the nation destroyed, and its people taken captive. According to biblical prophecy, this event will occur about 3½ years before Jesus Christ returns as King of kings. With the conquering of Israel, captivity and severe trials will come upon the Jews. It is clear from the prophecies that the Jews will go through another holocaust at the hands of the nations that swore to protect them against aggressors and at the hands of their Islamic neighbors. According to chapter thirteen of Zechariah, at least 66% of the Jews will die and 33% will go into captivity.
Only those who heed the prophetic warnings to flee when they see the armies surround Jerusalem (Lk.21:20-21) will escape the invasion of Israel and the captivity to follow. It is not known how many Jews will ultimately survive this captivity but it is clear that less than 33% will live to see the return of Christ. That means over 67% of their entire population will perish.
The Battle of Armageddon
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of prayers: and they shall look on me whom they have pierced. . ." (Zech.12:9-10 Para.).
In verses nine and ten, "in that day" refers to a time near Christ's return when the Beast alliance of nations gather in the plain of Megeddo to do battle with Christ who is ready to conquer the earth. These armies will be completely destroyed at the hands of Jesus Christ. Joel 3:11-16;
Zech.12:11; Rev.14:14-20; 16:12-16
"Let the nations be wakened, and come to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the nations all around. Put in the sickle for the harvest is ripe: come down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their light. The Lord will roar from Zion, and his voice from Jerusalem: and the heavens and earth shall quake: but the Lord is a refuge for his people, and a fortress to the sons of Israel" (Joel 3:12-16 Para.).
The valley of Jehoshaphat is just outside Jerusalem where the armies of the Beast system together with the Islamic nations will gather their forces to fight the returning Christ on the plains of Megeddo in the battle of Armageddon.
After these powerful events occur the Jews will repent (Joel 2:12-13) and turn to God. In the wilderness near the holy land, Jesus will then gather them and the other Israelites who survive the seven last plagues.
A Return From Captivity
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! And so your temple will be abandoned and empty. From now on, I tell you, you will never see me again until you say, "God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord" ( Matt.23:37-39 GNB).
When Christ returns and his feet touch the Mount of Olives, he will begin to save the Jews out of the hands of their captors and bring them back from wherever they have been scattered throughout the world.
"The Lord also shall save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be magnified against Judah" (Zech.12:7 Para.).
The glory of the house of David does not refer to the Jews; it refers to the other tribes of Israel who will be a part of the Beast alliance of nations and will have consented, if not participated, in the destruction of the Jewish nation of Israel. The glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is more than likely a reference to the conquerors of the Jews who have occupied Jerusalem. At the time of Christ's return, there will be very few Jews living in Jerusalem because most of them will have been either killed or removed as captives.
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem [the Jews], the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zech.12:10 Para.).
In the day of Christ's return as King of kings, he will destroy all nations that come against Jerusalem and he will give favor to the house of David (i.e., the ten tribes of Israel) and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (the Jews). The Jews will finally acknowledge that their ancestors did indeed murder the Messiah for whom they had been looking, and they will weep bitterly when they realize this terrible truth.
The prophecies clearly show that Israel will remain a sovereign nation until the time that God withdraws his protection and allows them to go into captivity about 3½ years before Christ returns. The city of Jerusalem and its Jewish inhabitants have been and will continue to be a cup of trembling to the whole world up to and including the time Christ returns and the great Battle of Armageddon.
By Vernon O. Jones b2w5