Feb 15, 2011

Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 7)

Todd BakerBy Todd Baker
B'rit Hadashah Ministries


The regathering and restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland of Israel is one of the most prominent and recurring prophecies in Holy Scripture. As previously mentioned in past articles in this series, the Bible mentions two periods in which the Jewish people would be scattered from the land of Israel due to their disobedience to God.

The first dispersion initially began with the Northern Kingdom of Israel being taken into exile and captivity by the Assyrian invaders around 721 B.C. and was completed when the Southern Kingdom was conquered and deported to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. The Jews from the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom were allowed to return to the land seventy years later under the joint and capable leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. The Jews remained in the land for over four hundred years under Gentile supervision and control.

The second dispersion of the Jews from the land, that was predicted by Jesus thirty years before it happened, occurred by the Romans in 70 A.D.

It is important to determine and distinguish which of the two dispersions is meant when looking at the prophecies that deal with the scattering and regathering of the Jewish people because the prophecies about the second dispersion and regathering are frequently made as an antecedent and conspicuous sign indicating the soon return of the Messiah to save the Jewish people (e.g., Deuteronomy. 30:1-3; Isaiah 11, 49, 51, 59-66; Jeremiah 3, 16, 23, 30-33, Ezekiel 11, 20, 34, 36-39; Hosea 2, 6, 11, 14, Joel 3; Amos 9 Obadiah 1 and so forth).

Whenever these restoration/regathering to the land prophecies are found in Scripture, they are prefaced or include the word "again" to thus denote a second time and must refer to the regathering after the second dispersion from Israel in A.D. 70. With both dispersions, the Jewish people never forgot their God-given homeland of Israel or its capital Jerusalem. The Psalms and the Prophets are filled with the Jewish longing and ardent desire to return to the land and worship the Lord in Jerusalem by those Jews who were scattered and removed from the land God gave to them forever. This longing of millenniums is what the Jewish people simply call Zionism.

Zionism has its roots squarely in the Jewish Bible and has been the unifying force for uniting Jews together as a people and a nation to return to the land of Israel and permanently remain there never to be removed or dispersed again. Zionism derives from the word Zion — another name for Jerusalem and by extension the land of Israel that has Biblical, national, religious, political, and Messianic overtones and implications.

Wendell Stearns in his excellent Biblical survey of Zionism provides a good comprehensive overview on the central place Zionism holds in the life of the Jewish people when he writes:

“Zionism, formerly a desire realized in a movement first to establish, now to support, the State of Israel is a national, religious, and spiritual concept that goes back for millennia. It is debated as a concrete, geo-political concept and was struggled over, up to and since the physical restoration of the State. It has become the unifying concept of world Jewry, as much in the woes as in the wonders of Israel’s regained nationhood…For many, Zionism has become so completely identified as a national and political movement that secular Zionists resent the claims Judaism and Christianity have made upon it… Nevertheless, to identify Zion and Zionism only as a recent phenomenon or to reckon it solely as a Jewish expression of mankind’s aspiration for ethnic and governmental sovereignty is a mistake. We err if we overlook the historical and spiritual foundations and core that make it such a pivotal force in today’s world” (Biblical Zionism, pp. xi-xii).
In the latter part of the nineteenth century, Zionism enjoyed a strong reemergence and took on a more secular and geo-political outlook for the return of the Jewish people back to the land of Israel with the chief pioneer of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl. Yet despite the lack of biblical emphasis that is at the core of modern secular Zionism, God moved on Herzl to become one of the major influences to see the Jewish people return to the land.

In several articles to come in this series, we will examine and explore how Zionism was the impetus God used for the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948 and was thus the greatest single fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the last two thousand years since the time of Christ.

Related Links
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 1) - BPB (Todd Baker)
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 2) - BPB (Todd Baker)
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 3) - BPB (Todd Baker)
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 4) - BPB (Todd Baker)
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 5) - BPB (Todd Baker)
Israel: The Super Sign of the End-Times (Part 6) - BPB (Todd Baker)