The Biblical Future of Israel
“The Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising . . . and they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord” [ Isaiah 60, 62 ]
Why be concerned about the future of a country only the size if Wales? Why should the future of Israel be of interest to the world? After all, Israel is the focus of much turmoil in the Middle East. The Bible explains why the future of Israel will be world-shattering!
The Current Situation
The origin of the Israeli-Palestinian problem is discussed at Israel’s Borders. Essentially the reason seems to be a combination of so-called Zionism (the perceived ‘threat’ of returning Jews with a vision for Zion or Jerusalem), and repeated Arab refusal to recognise Israel, or to accept both an Arab state and an Israeli state. The border article also shows that what the media describes as ‘occupied land’ is legally incorrect. Palestine/Israel cannot be described as occupied from a legal point of view.
In the immediate future prophecy points to a Russian-Iranian led invasion of the land of Israel, link. But let’s summarise the big picture as described in the Bible (see Facts about Israel for a comprehensive view of Israel).
Israel: from Genesis to Revelation
- God promised by covenant that He would give all the land of Canaan (modern Israel) to Abraham and his descendants. This was ‘forever’. (Gen 17:7-8)
- Abraham’s descendants would multiply as the stars of heaven (Gen 26:4)
- The covenant was established through Isaac and not through Ishmael. So the Jews are the true descendants of Abraham in the covenant sense and they keep this covenant through circumcision. (Gen 17:10,20-21)
- The covenant people (national Israel – the twelve tribes) have been chosen by God to be His witnesses and servant in the world. They are a special people through whom God will make a name for Himself. (Isa 43:1,10)(2 Sam 7:23)
- Through this people all the nations of the earth will be blessed – a reference to the Messiah, Jesus. (Gen 22:18)(Acts 3:25)
- In the last days God will take scattered Israel (the 12 tribes) from among the nations and bring them into their own land. Jews refer to this as “aliyah” (Jer 30:3)(Ezek 37:21)(Zech 8:7-8)
- In reality, although scattered Israel is like “the sand of the sea”, only a remnant actually return. (Zech 12:10-14)(Isa 10:21-22)
- Those who return do so unbelief in that they do not acknowledge Jesus as their expected Messiah. But they recognise Jesus as their true Messiah when He returns. (Zech 12:10-14) (Rom 11:26-27)
- When Israel returns, the land itself will be blessed and become more fruitful. (Isa 35:1-2)(Ezek 36:8-12)
- Close to the end of this age, Israel will experience a brief time of false peace, and then severe persecution from the end-time world ruler. (Jer 30:7)(Mat 24:15-25)(Rev 13:1)
- At the very end of this age, just prior to the Second Coming of Christ, all nations will gather against Jerusalem for war. They are protected by the God of Israel. (Zech 14:2)(Rev 16:12-16)(Rev 19:11-21)
- The remnant of Israel (the Jews who survive these tribulations) come through, refined as silver, into the Millennial age. (Zech 13:8-9)
- In the Millennial age Christ will be LORD over the earth and reign from His temple in Jerusalem. (Zech 14:9)
- During the Millennium the whole world will live in peace and security as Christ rules righteously. (Rev 2:26-27)
- Gentile nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, and at last acknowledge Israel as God’s chosen servant and witness. (Zech 8:22-23)(Zech 14:9-21)
- The nation of Israel is still there in the New Heaven and the New Earth described in Revelation 21. Once the present earth and heaven are taken away, the symbolic New Jerusalem (the dwelling of God’s people) descends from heaven to the New Earth. The city has twelve pearly gates, each bearing the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Revelation 21:12).
So what happens to the Palestinian Arabs?
The Bible instructs the people of Israel how they should treat foreigners (non-Jews). Old Testament Israel was commanded to love foreigners and to let them live normal lives amongst them (Deut 10:19):
When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong … (he) shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourselfLeviticus 19:33-34
This instruction is timeless and applies to future Israel. Once Israel has returned to her land, the land is divided up amongst the tribes of Israel, link, Fig.6 and the stranger amongst them is also ‘allotted an inheritance’:
And they (strangers) shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of IsraelEzekiel 47:22
And of course God’s timeless instruction applies now. It applies to Palestinian Arabs today. During an interview in 1989, Arial Sharon was asked: “Do you think of Arabs as your friends, neighbours, your enemies?” He replied:
From my childhood, I have believed Jews and Arabs can live together, and I believe now they should live together. All the rights to this country, to the land of Israel – especially Judea and Samaria – are Jewish … but everyone who lives in the country should have all the rights of the country.”Ariel Sharon, TIME, April 1989
Unfortunately, as long as Arab countries refuse to recognise Israel and continue to attack her, such cohabitation would seem to be impossible. Article 7 of the 1988 Hamas Charter states:
The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
Sadly, little has changed in the revised 2017 Hamas Charter e.g.
Palestine is an Arab Islamic land … Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine
Now the Good News
Blessing of Peace: In the Millennial age such Arab-Islamic opposition to Israel will melt away. Isaiah says it this way:
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrians will come into Egypt and the Egyptians into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, ‘Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritanceIsaiah 19:23-26
Blessing of the Land: The land of Israel will become like the garden of Eden (Ezek 36:35), the desert will bloom (Isa 34:1), the plowman will overtake the reaper (Amos 9:13) and the northern part of the Dead (Salt) Sea will become fresh water with many fish:
And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very manyEzekiel 47:10
So why not bless Israel today, and in turn be blessed! Here’s the blessing given by Moses to Aaron and his sons (Numbers 6:24-25), sung in Hebrew: