THE JEWISH PEOPLE: THEIR HISTORY AND DESTINY
WHO WAS THE FATHER OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE?
Abraham was the father of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are descended from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his 12 sons. The Jews were called Israelites or Hebrews until about the time of the Babylonian captivity.
We find the first mention of the name “Jews” in 2 Kings 16:6. It was after the Babylonian captivity, when the Israelites returned to their own land, that they came to be known as “Jews.” And this was their common name in New Testament times as well.
HOW CAN THE JEWS CLAIM TO BE DECENDANTS OF ABRAHAM WHEN HE WAS A GENTILE?
Abraham was the father of the Hebrew race. Although his parents were Gentiles, God called him out of Ur of the Chaldees to begin a new nation (Gen. 12: 1-3). All the Jews are descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Abraham was called “a Hebrew” which is derived from a word which means “to pass over.”
IN A WAY HOW ARE ARABS AND JEWS RELATED?
The Arabs are related to the Jews through Abraham. Twelve of the Arab tribes come from Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar – Sarah’s maidservant (Gen. 25:12-18). Others descended from Abraham’s (concubine) wife Keturah (Gen. 25: 1-4).
However, God in His sovereign will chose to carry out the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant through Isaac, not Ishmael, and through Jacob, not Esau. That is why the Arabs don’t share in the physical promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. But, like all Gentiles, they can share in the spiritual blessings by trusting Christ as their Savior.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEBREW, ISRAELITE, AND JEW?
All these names – “Jew,” “Israelite,” and “Hebrew” – refer to the same people. For example, Paul calls himself “a Jew” in Acts 21:39, “and Israelite” in Romans 11:1, and “a Hebrew” in Philippians 3:5. After the Babylonian Captivity, all the tribes became known as Jews or Israelites. In a technical sense Hebrew is the racial name, Israel is the national name, and Jew is the religious name for all the descendants of Jacob and the 12 tribes.
DO ANY OF THE JEWS OF TODAY KNOW WHICH TRIBE THEY CAME FROM?
No. When the Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70, the tribal records were all destroyed. Therefore, none of the Jewish people of today know for certain from which tribe they are descended. We are assured, however, that God knows, and when the time comes for Him to seal and protect the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will be witnessing for the Lord in the seven-year Tribulation period, God will reveal the identity of all the tribes (Revelation 7:2-8). “Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel (v.4).
WHERE ARE THE TEN LOST TRIBES OF ISREAL?
The tribes of Israel have never been lost except spiritually. Isaiah prophesied that although the Hebrew people would be dispersed and scattered among the Gentiles, their nationality would never be lost, nor their identity unknowing (61:9). This prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled. We know and recognize the Jews wherever they are, although for nearly 2000 years they have been scattered to all points of the globe. We know that at Christ’s Second Coming “He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His (Jewish) elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:31)” and bring them back to Jerusalem for Christ’s one-thousand-year reign on earth called the “Millennium.”
Concerning the Millennium, we read “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…. So that he should deceive the nations no more (un) till the thousand years were finished. (Revelation 20:2-3).” Then next we read, “They (believers) shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).”
Regarding the Millennium, Jesus makes this crystal clear in Revelation 3:21 when he says that the overcomers (believers) will reign jointly with Him: “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” People need to understand that the throne of Jesus is the throne of David (Luke 1:32, Revelation 3:7). The throne of David is in Jerusalem, not in heaven (Psalm 122).
Jesus currently shares His Father’s throne. Jesus is not sitting on His own throne and will not do so until He returns to this earth to reign. Then He will allow the redeemed to share His throne with Him. Jesus is returning to reign on the earth after the Great Tribulation period. Then we have the coming of Christ and the start of His Millennial Kingdom of a thousand years. I can’t see how Jesus can make it much clearer than that. I’m sure that most of the difficulty in churches would end if God’s people would recognize the difference between law and grace, and if they would see the difference between God’s program for national Israel and God’s program for the church.
Most preaching in churches today is pitifully anemic. Because of this most Christians don’t realize Jesus preached the gospel, and that His gospel mainly concerned the coming kingdom of God / kingdom of heaven, which will replace all worldly empires and fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:35, 44). This is the much-prophesied Messianic kingdom “when the kingdom of this world (will) become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ… (Rev. 11:15).” The kingdom of God will not be in heaven, but on earth, centered in Jerusalem. “Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, ‘The Mountain of the Lord of hosts, The Holy Mountain (Zechariah 8:3).” The Bible clearly tells us that when Christ returns to the earth, He will establish Himself as king in Jerusalem, sitting on the throne of David (Luke 1:32-33). “… The Lord God will give Him (Jesus) the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob ….” The worldwide kingdom of God will be centered at Jerusalem: “Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3).”
The Millennial reign of Christ will be the seventh, or Sabbath Millennium, which will occur after 6000 years of human history. Let me explain: God is a God of numbers, and the number seven is His number for completion. God created the heavens and earth in 6 days, and He rested on the seventh day (6+1=7). We are now nearing the end of 6000 years of man’s self-rule on earth. So, we have coming shortly the completion of 6000 years of man’s government on earth +1000 years of Christ’s government on earth which equals 7000 years (6000+1000=7000). The Second Coming of Christ will occur 6000 years after the creation of mankind, followed by 1000 years of peace and harmony as clearly described in Isaiah (2:1-4; 11:6-9; 32:17-18) and Jerusalem will be the political center of the world (Zech. 8:3). The glories of the Millennial kingdom are described in Micah 3: 2-4: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore (v.3).“ Then after 1000 years of Christ’s reign on earth we are transitioned into the Eternal state – a New Heaven and a New Earth to be with our Lord and Savior for all eternity (as described in Revelation chapter 21 and 22). I think the apostle Peter undoubtedly understood that the seven-day week is a pattern that applies to time on a far grander scale when he said: “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8).”
IS THERE ANY SIGNIFICANCE IN THE FACT THAT CHRIST CHOSE 12 APOSTLES AND THERE WERE 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL?
Yes. The number 12 is God’s number for Israel in Scripture. There were 12 apostles who came out of Israel. There are 12 tribes of the Children of Israel, and the New Jerusalem will have 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. During the Millennium, the 12 apostles will set upon 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Matt.19:28). We read, “When the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel (v.28).”
WHY DID GOD CHOOSE THE JEWS?
God chose the Jews for three primary reasons:
1. To witness to the world (Isaiah 43:10; 44:8).
- To preserve the Scriptures (Rom. 3:1-2).
- To bring forth the Son of God (Rom. 9:5).
Of course, God could have chosen another race if He had seen fit to do so (and we’d have the same question about that race), but in His sovereign grace He chose Israel. In Deuteronomy 7:6-8 God says that He chose Israel to be His people because He loved them.
WHY DO THE JEWS AS A NATION REJECT CHRIST?
There are several reasons. Consider these three in particular:
- The Jews are blinded by tradition. Ezekiel said that they have hearts of stone (11:19).
- There has been no aggressive effort on the part of the Church to reach the Jewish people for Christ. The average church has no interest in Jewish evangelism.
- The Jews have seen such a poor example on the part of professing Christians (professing not possessing Christians). Think of all the terrible crimes that have been committed in the name of Christ, such as the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition and other inquisitions in France and Germany and other parts of Europe. The Jewish people also remember the Roman Church which calls itself Christian was silent during the years of the Holocaust in World War II. Yes, the real Christ of the Bible is practically unknown to the Jewish people.
WHY DON’T THE JEWS OFFER ANIMAL SACRIFICES TODAY, AS THEY DID IN BIBLE TIMES?
According to the Old Testament law, the Jews could offer sacrifices only in the Temple at Jerusalem, the place where the Lord chose to set His name (Deut. 12:13-14). When the Temple was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, the Jewish sacrifices ceased. This fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea 3:4-5. In prophecy we are also told in Daniel 9:26 that the Jewish sanctuary would be destroyed after the Messiah’s coming (which we now know took place in A.D. 70).
WHEN WILL THE JEWISH TEMPLE BE REBUILT?
The rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem can start at any time. We do know that the Temple will have to be rebuilt either before the Rapture (Christ coming for His Church) or during the first part of the seven-year Tribulation, because the Antichrist is to enter into this rebuilt Temple and proclaim himself as God. Scripture tells us that, “the man of sin is revealed (Antichrist), the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2 Thess. 2:3-4).”
At the midpoint of the 7-year Tribulation period (3 ½yrs.) the Antichrist will desecrate the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem by placing himself there to be worshiped. We read this in Matthew 24:15-16: “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” Abomination of desolation? This is the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:4), the Antichrist, who at this midpoint in the tribulation breaks his covenant which he made at the beginning of the tribulation with Israel (Daniel 9:27) and demands that they, the Jewish people, and the world worship him. Those who resist will be persecuted and many will be martyred; that is the reason for the urgency of Christ’s instructions in Matthew 24, verses 16 through 22. Verses 21 and 22 read: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the (Jewish) elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” This will be the climax of man’s great sin of self-deification, and open defiance of God.
Now, is there a movement to rebuild the Third Temple? Yes, there is a growing movement in Israel to rebuild the Third Temple in Jerusalem. Here is an update of some articles I’ve read in the Jerusalem Post Newspaper and other postings on the building of the Third Temple:
The Temple Institute as well as the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement are the two main Jewish organizations responsible for making preparations for the Third Temple.
– Ritual garments and vessels have been created.
– Even the Golden Menorah – the seven branched candelabra – has been crafted, along with Levitical musical instruments, such as silver trumpets, lyres, and harps to worship the Lord, just as King David did 3000 years ago (1 Chronicles 23:5).
– The Temple Institute’s School is training certified, DNA-tested Cohen (descendants of the High Priest Aaron) to perform the Temple duties.
– In the final element, the Red Heifer, is being bred in Israel to be sacrificed in the ritual purification of the priests and the vessels, so they may formally enter the holiest of holy area on the entire earth.
Timing: Only God knows but we’re getting close. My thoughts: the temple will probably take 2 to 3 years to complete. I personally think that the rebuilt Temple is probably 10 or more years in the future as the rapture of the church must occur first, but that is my own personal opinion. Regardless, we are getting close, we are living in the end times and in the season when Christ will come back for His Church, His body of believers, and take us home to be with Him.
DOES ROMANS 11:26 (“AND SO ALL ISRAEL SHAL BE SAVED: …”) MEAN THAT ALL THE JEWS WHO EVER LIVED WILL BE SAVED?
No. This Scripture means that all Jews living at the time of Christ’s Second Coming will be saved in a day’s time. Study the context of this verse together with Zachariah 12:14-14. There would be no sense in preaching to the Jews if Jews were saved by virtue of their ancestry. No, the Jews must be saved in the same way as everyone else but the Jews who are alive at the time of Christ’s Second Coming will be saved as a nation – when they see Him and accept Him as Messiah.
SHOULD BORN-AGAIN BELIEVERS BE CLASSIFIED AS SPIRITUAL ISRAELITES?
(Physical) Israel has never been replaced by the (spiritual) Church. Amillennialism and replacement theology, that the church has replaced Israel, is a complete lie. No one should ever refer to the Church as “Spiritual Israel.” The Church and Israel are entirely separate and distinct. The Church is God’s heavenly people (spiritual), whereas Israel is God’s earthly people (physical). Any Gentile religious group whose members claim to be Israelites is perverting the Word of God. The only person who can really call himself a “Spiritual Israelite” is a Jew who has accepted Christ as his Messiah (Rom. 2:28-29; Rom. 9:6-8).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN IN PSALM 122:6 WHEN IT SAYS, “PRAY FOR THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM….?”
This means that we should pray for the Jewish people and the salvation of Israel. There will be no peace for Jerusalem, or the world, until Israel as a nation accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Messiah. Jesus told the Jews: “… You shall see Me no more (un) till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Matt. 23:39).” This is why we need to pray for the Jewish people and give them the Gospel. Verse 39 looks forward to the Second Advent when a believing portion of Israel will accept Him as their Messiah-King. The next time the inhabitants of Jerusalem would see Him after His death would be “when they would look on Him whom they pierced and mourn for Him as one mourns for an only son (Zech. 12:10).” In Jewish reckoning there is no morning as bitter as that for an only son.
THEIR DESTINY – ISRAEL’S GOLDEN AGE – THE MILLENIUM
It is true that the Jewish people are currently under discipline because of their rejection of their Messiah. Over and over in the Old Testament, the prophets said they would be disciplined if they were unfaithful, but always God promised that they would be preserved. The reason why they have been preserved is because God has determined to bring a great remnant to salvation (Isaiah 11:20-22). The promise made repeatedly throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and is confirmed by Paul in the New Testament in Romans 9-11. The salvation of this remnant is described in detail in Zachariah 12:10 where it says, that at the end of the Great Tribulation period and at the Second Coming of Christ, Israel will recognize Jesus as her Messiah, acknowledging with deep contrition that He was the One whom their forefathers pierced. That believing remnant will go into the Millennium in the flesh compromising the nation of Israel to whom God will fulfill all the promises He made to the Jews – the glory of Israel in the Millennial Kingdom (Isaiah 60-62). During the Millennium, the nation of Israel will be the prime nation in the world through whom God will bless all the other nations. “Yes, many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord… In those days 10 men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you (Zechariah 8:22-23).” Clearly, we can see that Gentiles, too, will seek the blessings and knowledge of God in the Millennium.
Speaking of the end days and the future restoration of Israel (Jewish state 1948) God said, “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel (Ezekiel 11:17).” Look, it is without parallel in the annals of human history that a nation carried into captivity (Babylon) for 70 years should return to resume its national life, then once again after nearly 600 years in their homeland, the same nation was forced out of Jerusalem and Judea and scattered worldwide for nearly 2000 years and then once again for the third time the same people have returned to their ancient homeland, retaining their national identity, and achieving statehood among the family of nations in 1948. Let me ask you this: “Was this a result of their nation being so resourceful or was it because some divine hand was watching over His chosen people?” Clearly, it was an objective sign to the world, testifying to God’s existence, and verifying His promises to national Israel. Remember, God always keeps His promises.
In summary, the Word of God makes it clear that Israel definitely has a role and a future in the end times.
Scripture clearly describes the Lord’s Second Coming to Jerusalem in Zachariah 14:1-21. During the 1000-year millennial period, God, in Christ the King, will live among men. Those (nations) who do not keep the Feast of Tabernacles will experience drought, except Egypt, which will experience plague……
,,,, We read: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem (Battle of Armageddon) shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that which ever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come to keep the Feast of the Tabernacles (vs.16-17).”
F/B – Signs Of Our Times