For the next few weeks, we will be sharing with you some excerpts from my new book, When Kingdoms Collide. I am doing this because I believe it’s so vital that the Body of Yeshua hears this message. It will change how you view the days we are living in and the age to come. To order the book, please visit our bookstore.
If you didn’t catch last week’s first blog in this series, you can click here to read it and catch up before you dive into the meaty stuff that follows here!
While most mainline Biblical scholars have no room for Israel in their theology or eschatology (REPLACING Israel with the Church instead), the New Testament actually has a lot to say about Israel. It prophetically states an expectation that Israel will fulfill her destiny, that the nation will be restored, that the prophets’ words concerning her will be fulfilled, and that she will experience national revival.
Let’s jump into the first 3 passages.
1. Yeshua’s last words
Take a look at Yeshua’s last conversation with his disciples before the ascension:
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:6-7)
The disciples clearly think the prophecies from the Hebrew Bible are literal and still valid. Why wouldn’t they be? They completely expect Israel to be restored and not just restored but to become the capital of the world.
There can be little doubt that the prophets themselves and certainly those who read their prophecies anticipated a literal fulfillment of those prophecies. This seems to be the intent of the question by the disciples addressed to Jesus after his resurrection, when they said, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus did not tell them the question was irrelevant but rather that it was not for them to know the times or the seasons (chronos and kairos respectively), which made up the timetable of God; rather they were to be witnesses until that time came.
When they asked Him about Israel’s future, He did not say: “Guys, don’t you know that all those prophecies were fulfilled in me? They were all allegorical, and I fulfilled them through my victory on the cross. Israel has done her job in getting me in place. There is no more future role for Israel.”
If indeed you take the position of those who espouse fulfillment theology—that every promise to Israel has been fulfilled—Jesus sure had a great opportunity here to clarify this “great truth.” Instead, He affirms the idea that the kingdom will be restored to Israel, leading to the Messianic Kingdom, known as the Millennium, by saying, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” In other words, God has a time and date for this specific event(s) that He set by his own authority. He affirms that the restoration of Israel’s kingdom will indeed take place—just not yet.
Dr. Michael Brown explains the importance of that one little word “until” …
And let all believers who question Israel’s right to the Land, based on the New Testament, take note of this: The only time the New Testament speaks of the Jewish people being exiled to the nations is the same passage that speaks of this only being the case “until”—at which point the exile would end, and Jerusalem would be restored. As written in Luke 21:24, “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Not forever, but until.
What the apostles didn’t understand is that their responsibility for the time being (and for the next 2,000 years) was to preach the gospel to all nations, not to obsess over the restoration of Israel. Hence, Yeshua’s next words.
But you (the but is in contrast to expecting Israel’s full restoration immediately) will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
2. Peter affirms the Hebrew prophets
For sure, the apostles got the message. In Peter’s sermon after the healing of the paraplegic beggar, he speaks of this coming restoration and confirms that the prophecies of the prophets are to be taken quite literally.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Yeshua. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21)
What we see here is that Peter sees a future fulfillment of “everything” that God had “promised…through his holy prophets.” This one verse should put to rest the idea that all the promises from the Hebrew Bible were fulfilled in Yeshua’s death and resurrection. And he surely has in mind the Acts 1 question of Israel’s restoration. He is more or less repeating what Yeshua said in Acts 1—It is going to happen but in the future. What other promises could he be referring to? He is addressing the questions that everyone in Israel is asking: We thought the Messiah would restore the kingdom of Israel. We didn’t expect Him to die. When will the words of the prophets be fulfilled?
Even those in Israel, who did not yet know of Yeshua, had a great expectation of a coming Messianic kingdom and Messianic king. Peter affirms that this will happen. It also clearly shows that everything was not fulfilled, but there was an expectation of more to come.
3. Romans 11
As we covered earlier, Romans 11 predicts a progression of events that lead to a revival in Israel.
- The gospel is preached.
- While many Jewish people accept it, the majority reject it and especially the leadership.
- The gospel then goes to the Gentiles.
- The Gentiles are called to provoke Israel to jealousy (v. 11). This didn’t happen, and, in fact, the opposite happened for 1,900 years. Things have changed recently.
- Israel’s acceptance leads to a “greater riches” revival in the nations (v. 12, 15), something greater than the first revival in Acts referred to in v. 12 as “riches.”
- The fullness of the nations leads to Israel’s blindness being removed (v. 25).
- And “all Israel Is saved” (v. 26).
Paul clearly has no understanding that Israel is no longer relevant. In chapter 9, he says he would trade his salvation if only his fellow Israelites would be saved.
I speak the truth in Messiah—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Messiah for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (Romans 9:1-5)
How did Yeshua feel about His people BEFORE He went to the cross? Next week, we will explore that and more…
Part 1 yesterday