Christ’s Return

PROPHETIC UNDERSTANDING OF LAST DAYS

part 1

(All scriptures in ‘New King James Version’, unless otherwise stated.)

I. SIGN OF RETURN OF CHRIST – THE JEWISH NATION OF ISRAEL.

Let us look at some of the past, present and future events concerning Israel and her people, to better understand their spiritual significance in the light of the Lord’s soon return.

1. ISRAEL – The sign of her destruction and her being re-established as a nation.

Mt 23:37-39. As the Jews sent Jesus to the Cross, they cried out a curse upon themselves, “His blood be on us and on our children” (Mt 27:25). They rejected their Messiah, the Blessed Son of God and as a result brought upon themselves terrible judgments under future Gentile conquest (Ez 36:4).

a) Roman rule (To AD 640).The destructionstarted in AD 70 when Jerusalem, the Temple and the surrounding towns and villages were completely destroyed and most of its people killed or taken into slavery by the Roman general Titus.Jesus warned His disciples of these terrible events (Lk 19:41-44. 21:5-6, 20). Later a new city called ‘Aelia Capitolina’ was built over the ruins of Jerusalem and under strict law all Jews were prohibited from entering it on pain of death.

b) Arab and Turkish rule (AD 640-1917).At this time Islam became the religion of the area andmany great mosques were built. Later Israel became part of the Turkish (Islamic) Empire and in 1867 there were no Jews left living in the region.

c) British rule (AD 1917-1948). On11th December 1917 British troops under the command of General Alenby (a born again Christian) defeated the Turks and brought the area of Israel under British control. At that time fewer than a half million people lived in Palestine, of which only 25,000 were Jews.

2. ISRAEL – The sign of the regathering of His people from the nations of the world.

a) The Land and People – Fig Tree. Mt 24:32-34. This tree is a picture of Israel (Lk 13:6-9) and is a very significant sign, given by Jesus of His soon return. For nearly 2,000 years after He had spoken these words, there was no life on the “fig tree” and it looked dead, but on May 14th 1948 she became a nation in one day (as prophesied in Isa 66:7-9) and the buds started to appear. Starting with a population of only 650,000 Jews, today they number over 6 million. God has not forgotten His promises and covenants to His people

b) The Capital City – Jerusalem. Lk 21:24. For nearly 2,000 years and then for another 19 years, after Israel became a nation in 1948, Jerusalem (her capital city) still continued to be “trampled by the Gentiles”. Then in 1967 as a result of the ‘Six Day War’, it was set free from Gentile (Arab) control and returned to being a Jewish city once again, thus fulfilling the words of Jesus, “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”.

3. ISRAEL – The sign of Satan’s hatred and of God’s love for His people.

a) Past hatred of many nations – until her independence in 1948. Dt 28:37. Since God first called Abraham and gave His covenants and blessings to the offspring of Isaac and Jacob, Satan has hated God’s chosen people and has stirred men’s hearts to kill and to persecute them down through the centuries. In recent years under the Soviet Empire and in other European nations, there has been terrible persecution, ending in the holocaust of the last World War, when over 6 million were sent to the gas chambers by Hitler.

b) God’s love – established by His Word. Dt 7:6-8. We read in Amos 9:14-15, “I will bring back the captives of My people Israel. They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them …. I will plant them in their land and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them”. God still loves the Jews and He will keep His covenant to bless them, despite the hatred of the Gentile nations and their own rejection of Himself. Most of His promises have been fulfilled during the past 100 years and some continue to be fulfilled today:-

* They would be re-gathered from the nations (Isa 11:11-12).

* They would be brought back, due only to God’s grace and mercy (Ez 36:20-24).

* They would reposes the Land of Israel (Ez 36:8-12).

* They would be restored as a people (Ez 37:1-12).

* They would become one people in the land (Ez 37 21-22).

* The land would be blessed and restored (Isa 61:4-5. 27:6.).

* They will never leave the land of Israel again (Ez 37:25-26).

c) Present hatred of her neighbours – since her independence in 1948. Zech 12:8-9. Satan has stirred up the offspring of Ishmael (the Arabs) to destroy the offspring of Isaac (the Jews). They have attacked many times, but God has confounded their tactics often miraculously:-

* May 1948 (immediately after independence). By Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. All were badly beaten.

* 1956. By Egypt and her allies. They were defeated by Israel who captured the Suez Canal.

* June 1967. The ‘Six Day War’. By Egypt, Syria, Iraq and allies. The Jews although outnumbered 30 to 1 defeated their enemies, increasing their territory from 8,000 to 34,000 square miles. They captured Jerusalem, which returned to being a Jewish city after nearly 2,000 years.

* Oct 6th, 1973. The ‘Yom Kippur War’ (lasting only three weeks). Egypt and Syria attacked on the Jewish most holy day – the Day of Atonement. Israel defeated them and retook the Sinai.

* Jan 7th, 1981. Iraq prepared to attack. As a result, the Nuclear Generator in Baghdad was destroyed by Israeli jets in a pre-emptive strike.

* June 6th, 1982. Due to continuous attacks from Syria through Lebanon, Israel invaded Southern Lebanon and established a buffer zone as a protection for her people. She withdrew all her forces from this area in May 2000.

* 1991. The First Gulf War. Many missiles were shot at Israel by Iraq and many buildings were destroyed, but not one Israeli life was lost!

* Late 1990’s until today. The Intafada. Hamas terrorists, using suicide bombers, try to kill Israeli civilians and destroy military targets.

d) Future hatred of all nations – God’s final blessing. Zech 12:2-3. God said of the Jews,“he who touches you, touches the apple (pupil) of His eye” (Zech 2:8). One thing is certain, neither Israel nor her people will ever be completely defeated, for God is in control and will protect her to the end. According to the Bible, there will be many wars ahead, ending in the Battle of Armageddon, when the Jewish people will be fully reconciled to Himself, through their acceptance of their Messiah (Zech 12:10).

4. ISRAEL – Our response to these signs.

The Psalmist wrote, “May they prosper who love you” (Ps 122:6). We can show our love by doing the following:-

a) Give thanks for His people. Rom 9:3-5. Our spiritual inheritance is Jewish. The Bible is a Jewish book, the first disciples and apostles were Jews and our Saviour is Jewish.

b) Pray for His people. Ps 137:5-6.In Ps 121:4 we read, “He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps”.

* “For the peace of Jerusalem” (Ps 122:6).

* That Israel may repent and “be saved” (Rom 10:1).

* That God’s plans will be fulfilled (Isa 62:6-7).

c) Watch as prophecies are fulfilled concerning His people. Mt 24:42. As we see this happening in our own generation, so we shall be encouraged to be always ready for His return.

Jesus said, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Lk 21:28).

 

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