The Focus on Israel

Pastor Paul ChappellSunday, April 18, 2021 - 8:30 AMThings to Come

Genesis 12:1-3 Read...

Take your Bibles this morning, turn to Genesis chapter 12. Let's stand together, and we're going to learn about some of the great things that God is yet to do. We're enjoying a brand new series entitled "Things to Come," and so I want you to open your Bible today to Genesis chapter 12. And if you don't have a Bible, you can always stop by the bookstore over in the Revels Building. If you ever bring a visitor that doesn't have a Bible, take them over there, we'll give them a free Bible. We want them to be able to follow along in our Bible-preaching church.

And so, Genesis chapter 12 is our text this morning. Our series is entitled "Things to Come." And I'm very excited about this series on prophecy. We will cover many subjects over the next ten weeks. On May the 2nd we'll have a different message. But over the next ten weeks we'll be learning about subjects such as the Antichrist, such as the one-world government, such as things to do with the second coming of Jesus Christ, the great tribulation of Jesus Christ, a lot of different topics. Today we're going to study Israel's place in prophecy, the focus on Israel. And all of this, in fact, every one of these messages touches toward the theme of the second coming of Jesus Christ. We'll see that again this morning.

D. L. Moody once said, "I never preach a sermon without thinking that possibly the Lord may come before I preach another." And that's a great truth, that we should live with an expectancy of the Lord's return. And sometimes, folks, we tend to go through life without remembering these promises; and this is why we have this series to motivate us to remember to live with his coming in mind.

I saw a church sign some time ago that maybe showed how some folks can get a little bit mixed up on this. The church said, "Prophecy class cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances." So, there are some things coming, but they're not unforeseen, they're in the word of God, so we want to follow those as we learn today from Genesis chapter 12. Let's read this morning the first three verses. Most of you should have received some form of an outline, and I hope that will be a help to you. We have many other verses in the message today.

"Now the Lord God had said unto Abraham, 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Let's pray together.

Father, we thank you for this portion of scripture. We thank you for this Abrahamic covenant and for what it means to the world's history and to prophecy unfolding. And I pray that you would help us as we focus on Israel this morning to see that many of your promises are relative to what you want to do with your people. And so we ask that you would give us insight, and then build within us a great anticipation for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen. You may be seated.

Well, people often ask me, "Why the constant focus on Israel?" Sometimes they say, "Why do Bible-believing Christians always emphasize the importance of alliance with Israel or the prophecies related to Israel?" After all, Israel is a state or a country that is only one-nineteenth the size of the state of California. It is roughly the size of our third smallest state, New Jersey. And so land-wise Israel is very, very small in the Middle East. But the rule of prophecy really is keep your eye on Israel, because as God is developing and working there, then the impact will be felt in the entire world to come.

Now it's amazing to think that only 73 years ago, Israel was reborn in this world as a nation. That's amazing in and of itself. And we're going to study this morning that before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jeremiah, and also in Ezekiel, prophesied that there would be the regathering of the people of Israel. This was something that the Bible tells us would happen before Jesus comes again; and we're going to see how that took place 73 years ago. Not since 70 AD had the nation of Israel had a place that they could call their home, only in 1948 did that transpire by God's divine direction. And so since that time, the world's attention has focused on the Middle East. It's hard to go through a news cycle without hearing something about what's going on in Israel, what's happening with their neighbors and so forth.

Adrian Rogers was a great Baptist preacher in Memphis, Tennessee, Bellevue Baptist, and he said, "Israel is God's yardstick, his blueprint for the world. As Israel goes, so goes the world." Now remember that as you read about Israel in the Bible. As Israel goes, so goes the world. And it seems that we constantly hear about Israel in the news. Just this past week, the Associated Press reported that Iran will be enriching their uranium up to 60 percent purity, and getting closer and closer to weapons-grade uranium. And in this ramping up of their nuclear program, they said, "Let this be a warning to Israel."

Many times we see in the news a hatred for Israel. That is very common obviously throughout the Middle East, the enemies that surround Israel. It's only by God's sovereignty and protection that they exist as a nation even to this day. Arthur Kac in his book The Rebirth of the State of Israel, said, "Genesis 12 and Ezekiel 36 and 37 teach us concerning the Promised Land or God's promise to his people for the land. This national restoration looks far beyond their initial return from the Babylonian captivity. It foresees a time when God will once again restore the nation to its intended greatness." And so the coming together of the children of Israel in this land is really predictive of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. So let's learn this morning the significance of Israel. This will be a message that will build into future messages on the second coming.

Notice if you have the outline that there is a past promise; and we've seen it in Genesis 12, the past promise concerning the land. When you study prophecy you cannot get the proper understanding of the end times unless you understand what is referred to as the Abrahamic covenant, the covenant to Abraham. And I want you to see the character of this covenant with me this morning.

It's very clearly stated in Genesis chapter 12 there are three elements to the Abrahamic covenant. First of all, we see concerning God's promise to Israel that it is an unconditional promise, or covenant. The Bible says in Genesis 12:1 these words: "Now the Lord had said unto Abraham." God gave a promise to Abraham while he was living in the Ur of the Chaldees, modern-day Iraq, that he was to go up, and he was by faith to enter into a new land. God confirmed to Abraham that he was going to give him this land. In fact, he confirmed it with a physical sign.

In Genesis 15:17, it says, "And it came to pass, that when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying, 'Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." So, no matter what Israel did, God is saying in Genesis 12 that, "I have unconditionally promised you this land." And this is not something that was dependent upon their behavior, it was something that was dependent upon the character and the promise of God. So, it was an unconditional promise.

And then we see in the text that it was a literal promise – the literal interpretation of the word of God is what we practice as Bible-believing Christians – and we see that this was a literal promise given to Abraham, that this full completion would take place when Jesus Christ returns again. Then it is an eternal promise; and I want you to think of that. In Psalm 105:8, the Bible says, "He hath remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations, which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant."

So, the reason that Christians lean into and believe so strongly in the promise of God concerning this land is because we believe that God promised the land to the children of Israel in his word. The character of the covenant is clearly seen. It is something that is literal, something that is eternal, something that is binding, based upon God's promise. But then I want you also to see the considerations of this covenant. As we consider a little bit more this morning about God's promise to Israel.

There are three correlating covenants with this Abrahamic covenant, or three aspects to the covenant, just like there may be agreements made in Oslo, Norway, or perhaps in Brussels with the European Union as we saw last week, or perhaps in Washington DC. Whenever there is a covenant or an agreement made, there normally are parts to it. There normally are several aspects to the promise. So let's see three of those in God's promise to Abraham.

First of all, of course, is the land; and that's the major emphasis of the message this morning. He said, "I'm going to give you a land. And in Deuteronomy 30:5, the Bible says, "And the Lord God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do the good, and multiply thee above thy fathers." And so, God promised the land. In fact, God promised the boundaries of the land.

There in Genesis 15:18, it says, "In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, 'Unto thy seed have I given this land,' – remember what it said – 'from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates.'" And God crafted out the boundaries for this land. In fact, we see that this land is certainly central to the covenant.

I want you to take a moment – I believe we have a slide of the land here – and let's just take a note. You see the current nation of Israel in red, of course, surrounded by Jordan and Syria and Egypt, and all of these border nations. But we see where Israel currently resides; as we said a moment ago, about the size of New Jersey, one-nineteenth the size of California. That, of course, even includes the areas of the West Bank and so forth that are sometimes disputed. So a very small country.  But let's see the size of the promise that was given; this would be the footprint of what is mentioned in Scripture regarding the land of the nation of Israel.

And so, they were promised this land by God, and so the covenant relates, first of all, to the land. And then, secondly, it relates to the seed. Now this is very important; and I know that there's a lot of information in verses, but I want you to think about this. And if you'd like to notice, in 2 Samuel chapter 7, we find what is called the Davidic covenant, the Davidic covenant. This was a promise through David and in verse 12 of 2 Samuel 7, it says, "I will establish thy seed forever." So the covenant relates to the coming seed, and that relates to David, David's seed, and ultimately coming forth into the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joseph was of the house and lineage of David, and so God said, "I'm going to bring the Messiah through the Jewish people. Second Samuel 7 16, "And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever." And then in Luke 1:32, "And he shall be called great, and he shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father," – say it with me if you know it – "David, the throne of his father David."

So, the covenants with Israel regard the land, but also the seed. God says, "I'm going to give you a land, I'm going to give you a messiah through the seed, and I'm going to come through David." And so, the seed is the second aspect of this covenant with Israel. And then the third is what we call the blessing. There is the land, there is the seed, and there is the blessing. God says, "I'm going to bless my people." Genesis 12:3, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

Now, we know that all the families of the earth are blessed through the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and that relates to the promise given to David. But God said, "I'm going to give you the land, I'm going to give you the seed of the promise, I'm going to give you the blessing as my people." Galatians 3:8 speaks of that blessing: "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, 'In thee shall all nations be blessed.'"

God has chosen to bless the world through the nation of Israel, through the Abrahamic covenant, through the Davidic covenant. He has promised that he himself will be glorified in bringing the Messiah through this land. And this is why godly people in America, wise lawmakers of the past, and some in the present, recognize that an alliance with Israel is more than just a strategic military alliance, it is a wise policy for our nation to strongly support the nation of which God says, "If you will bless my people, I will bless you." This is not something that is simply based upon some form of diplomacy, it is based upon the teaching of the word of God.

You can look at the State Department's website, as I did recently, concerning Israel's security, and you'll read these words: "Israel's security is a long-standing cornerstone of US foreign policy." The United States' commitment to Israel's security is supported by robust defense cooperation and a ten-year, $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the United States and Israel in 2016. Consistent with the MOU, the United States annually provides $3.3 billion of foreign military financing and $500 million for cooperative programs for missile defense.

Now there are people in Congress today who are hateful towards the Jews. There are people now crying out to rescind this Memo of Understanding and to cease the cooperation with Israel. And I believe we'll see that spirit of antisemitism raising up in the last day. But at the second coming of Jesus Christ there will be no question about the fact that God is coming as the King of kings, Lord of lords, and the Redeemer of the people that he promised to bless forever. And so, when you hear those who are seething out against Israel, make note in your mind that they are standing in opposition to the very teachings of the word of God. So, when we think about Israel, we always go back to the past promise that was made. God says, "I'm going to bless you. I'm going to bless those that bless you. I'm going to give you a land, a seed, and a blessing." And this is something that is eternal, given by God to Israel.

Now, we see that past promise in Genesis 12 and elsewhere. But let's notice, secondly, what we're calling this morning the present provision, because in order for Israel to be blessed, and in order for them to have this role in prophecy, they had to exist as a nation. And so many Bible scholars, part of 1948, wondered, "Well, we see the prominence of Israel in prophecy, but there is no Israel. There is no people gathered together as the Jews in one place. They were dispersed after 70 AD." And that brings us this morning to Ezekiel 36 and 37, which prophesy the coming back to life of a nation, which prophesy prior to the return of the Lord this nation reviving again.

So, a common point in future prophecy is that Israel will exist as a nation on the land once again before the return of Jesus. And that is amazing to conceive in your mind, because they did not exist on the land until 1948. Remember in 70 AD, the Jews were removed from Palestine, and that took place as the temple was burned under the Roman Emperor Titus in 70 AD. They were dispersed throughout the world. And some of you might remember a place called Masada. Maybe you recall this place where the Jews held out at the very end, until ultimately they were destroyed.

This is a beautiful place to visit. We were attending to intending to visit the Holy Land with a group from our church, and then COVID hit, and so we've pushed that off one year, and will likely go next May. So if you're interested in the Holy Land, watch for announcements or call the church office. And we wanted to go when it wasn't so required with a lot of distancing and things of this nature on such a wonderful trip. But when you get there you're able to see the site, of course, of the temple. You can see some of the course of rock that would have been there in centuries past, and of course, when it was destroyed in 70 AD; we visit a place like this at Masada.

But it all reminds us of the fact that after 70 AD, Israel was ruled by various empires. They were ruled by the Ottoman Empire for a great period of that time. And, of course, they've had many different influences from Babylon and Persia, Greece, Rome, the Byzantine time, the Mamluk, the Ottomans – all of these; and many of these, of course, Muslim and nature. And then prior to World War I and during World War I came the British to the scene, and we see that they begin to provide some governance until 1948. And so, there have been many different people groups that have existed in this land that was promised to the Jews; but they were not there from 70 AD. And so let's think about what God has done in recent years.

Notice, first of all, the restoration of the land to Israel. God is going to restore, and has restored the land, to Israel. In Ezekiel 36 and 37, we find the testimony of God's faithfulness to fulfill his covenant to the people. We see the restoration of the land is clear in these passages. There's a focus on the land that develops, and we'll look at several verses. Ezekiel chapter 36 and beginning in verse 6 we see that the Bible says, "Prophesy unto the land." Verse 8, "But ye, O mountains of Israel ,ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come."

And it's interesting as you study Ezekiel 36, when the children of Israel come back into the land, the land begins to prosper. While the enemies of God's people were in the land, it did not prosper; and there was a time of forsakenness and a time of difficulty for the enemies of Israel. But when Israel comes, the Bible says, the land will prosper, it will shoot forth as branches. The time of the Ottomans was not a time of prosperity for the land; it was a time of occupation, but not prosperity. So there's a focus on the land in Ezekiel 36, and then we see there's the flourishing of the land.

Notice in Ezekiel 36:11, it says, "And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord." So, the prophecy is a prophecy stating that, "You're going to come back, you're going to come back to your place of original promise, and you're going to be blessed, and you're going to flourish more than you did at that time before."

And certainly when you visit Israel you can see that happening. You can see the flourishing of this land, whether it's the groves of citrus, or the fields of wheat, or the water reclamation plants, or the dates or whatever area. It is absolutely amazing how the children of Israel have taken this desert land and made it into a place of prosperity. A tremendous if you will Silicon Valley-type section of the country. Many, many entrepreneurs and venture capitalists with inventions of all kinds. And this land, according to the Bible, Ezekiel 36, has come back to life since 1948. And so we see the restoration of the land promise in Ezekiel 36.

Then I want you to notice, secondly, the return of the Jews as was promised. It was a miraculous reunification. Ezekiel 36:24 says, "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land." Now, we're not able to have time to read all the significant verses from Ezekiel and from the prophecies in 36 and 37, but this verse is pivotal, so let's read it together. Ezekiel 36:24, ready, begin: "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land."

Now, that's just the statement of one verse. How did that happen? How do you take a nation that is dispersed, that is throughout Europe and throughout the world, and how do you bring them into their land? How does that all come to pass? And it is an amazing story, indeed, the formation of Israel. This this is recent world history that we're talking about. And I just want to give you very quickly, for those of you that like history, and especially as it pertains to Israel's reformation, six names that were pivotal in the journey back to statehood for Israel.

First of all, in the 1880s and 1890s there was a journalist in Vienna by the name of Theodor Herzl. Theodor Herzl saw antisemitism rising throughout Egypt. He saw the hatred that was developing toward the Jews, and he saw the need for the Jewish state. No doubt, he understood scripture pertaining to this, but he saw that there was a need for a gathering place for the Jews. And so he formed in 1897 what is called the First Zionist Congress, the First Zionist Congress.

How many of you've ever heard the term "Zionism"? Perhaps you have, all right. What is Zionism? According to Aaron Klein's book The Late Great State of Israel, Zionism refers to the modern political movement for a Jewish state in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people. It has since about the fifteenth century BC, over 3,500 years, always remained the homeland of the Jews. And so, that is their conviction, that from the promised time of Abraham until this very moment, that God had promised them a homeland. And the Zionist movement was a movement, and continues to this day speaking towards the need for the people of Israel to have a homeland. And Herzl was of the first leaders in Europe to begin speaking of this and to form the Zionist Congress.

In the early 1900s Jewish immigrants began to come to the land, they began to find their way. By 1903 there were 90,000 acres of land that had been purchased, and about 10,000 Jewish settlers had entered into Israel by the early 1900s. There was a man, secondly, by the name of Baron Edmond James de Rothschild. Rothschild was a man that financed much of that early movement, and he stood with these people in the Zionist movement. And by the way, there have been many, many in America who have given financially and who have stood behind this movement to help people get back to their land. Meetings still are conducted annually to this day.

Then, there's a third figure in this process – just very quickly to show you how God fulfilled this promise from Ezekiel. There's a man named Lord Balfour, he was the British Foreign Secretary. On November 2, 1917 was given what is known today as the Balfour Declaration, very significant in world history and in the history of Israel. The Balfour Declaration was a declaration whereby the British government decided to endorse the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine, and on November 2, 1917, this was what was written: "Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of his Majesty's government, views with favor, the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people." And so the Balfour Declaration was accepted. And now you had a forming of an international consensus, beginning with the United Kingdom standing behind this establishment of Israel.

Another significant person, number four in this process, was a man by the name of Sir Edmund Allenby. Allenby was one that brought expeditionary forces into Palestine. He rolled through Beersheba, Gaza, Jaffa, and then ultimately into Jerusalem. On December 11, 1917, General Allenby as the official emissary of the British crown strode through the old streets marking an end to Ottoman rule. And so now this country that had been under Ottoman rule, that had been under Muslim influence in totality, is now seeing the presence not only of some few thousand Jewish people, but now the powerful nation, the United Kingdom, coming to stand behind them. It was an amazing moment in world history. And if you ever visit the Holy Land you can visit this bridge. And I have stood right where these folks are standing: the Allenby Bridge which crosses over the Jordan River from Israel into Jordan, and is a monument, if you will, of the role that Great Britain played in bringing this to pass.

Then, of course, something very significant happened during World War II, and around 1943 the world became aware of the atrocities of the Nazis against the Jewish people. And not only had Israel identified support for the nation of Israel's establishing, but now the whole world saw the tremendous murder, they saw the tragedy of what had taken place under Hitler against the Jewish people. The post-war world reeled under the impact of the disclosure of the horrors of the Holocaust; and as a result the British government, the United States began to take more serious this matter of facilitating the move of Jewish people back to their homeland.

Between 1943 and 1945, 43,000 Jewish people made their way back into Israel. The man that is mentioned next, David Ben-Gurion – maybe you've heard of that name. David Ben-Gurion became the first Prime Minister of the state of Israel; and May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion was recognized as the first Prime Minister. Now that's all very, very significant and monumental in the bringing to pass of the nation of Israel.

But you know one of the things I like best about this story is that Harry Truman, who was our President in 1948, was the first leader to recognize the state of Israel. In 1948, Truman, the historians wrote, was a student and believer in the Bible from his youth. He was – for those of you who've ever read the biographies of Truman – raised in a Southern Baptist home. He learned what you learned this morning from Genesis chapter 12, that the people of God should have a homeland. And when Ben-Gurion was listed as the first Prime Minister, Harry Truman instantaneously said, "We recognize the statehood of Israel." And since that time, we have been one of the strongest allies of Israel based upon a president who understood the Bible. And as long as we understand the Bible as a nation, that would be our position to stand with Israel. Deuteronomy 1:8 says, "Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers." That was the verse that Harry Truman quoted when he signed the letter to Ben-Gurion. And so, on May 14, 1948, the land was given back to Israel, and the Jews for the first time since 70 AD occupied the land.

Now, I know I took a minute to give you some history, but what I love to remind you of this morning is that the Bible is his story, God's story. The Bible is history, his story. And we read a moment ago that God was going to bring his people out of all the lands of the heathen and give them a place. And that is exactly what he did in 1948, he brought those people from all the lands of Europe into their place. And it's an amazing, amazing story indeed.

And so, there's this reunification, and then there's this revitalization that is prophesied. The valley of dry bones is mentioned as the prophecy of Ezekiel 37. That is to say the whole house of Israel would be brought back together, life would be breathed back into this nation. Ezekiel 37:11 says, "Then he said unto me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, "Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts." Therefore prophesy and say unto them: Thus saith the Lord God; behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.'"

This was the promise given to Ezekiel, and this was the promise fulfilled when they were brought back into the land in 1948. The prophecy here of Ezekiel 37 really reaches the crescendo when the bones of the whole of Israel are given life, and what God is revealing here to Ezekiel is that the Jewish people will no longer be separated or divided as they were in the Old Testament, the divided kingdom, nor as they were prior to 1948; they would be brought back together with a present provision, and the present provision is the land that was given.

So, we have learned so far this morning that there is a past promise: "You are going to receive, Abraham, a land." And we see, secondly, that there is a present provision, because many read those promises prior to 1948 and said, "How can this be?" But God, through a series of his own sovereign doing brought them back just as Ezekiel had prophesied."

And that brings us this morning to the future plan for Israel. We saw the past promise, we've learned a little bit about their present coming together; but what about the future for Israel? Well, the future is going to be a very interesting future indeed. It's going to be a time, no doubt, of difficulty during the great tribulation – we'll have an entire sermon on the great tribulation. We know that today in Israel there is a hardening toward the gospel and toward the Messiah, no question about that. There's much sin that is prevalent, just like other Mediterranean nations. There's the sin, the rampant sins that are prevalent in Israel today. It is a place that is not ready for the Messiah; and because of that their future concerning the time of judgment and tribulation will be difficult. But there will be people saved ultimately toward the end of that time; and ultimately the Lord will come and every knee will bow. And so let's learn just a little bit about that.

In Jeremiah 31:31 we read about a new covenant that God will make. It says, "Behold, the days will come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man is brother, saying, 'Know the Lord.' For they shall all know me, from the from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." So the future of Israel ultimately will be a restoration of fellowship with God. The return of the people to the land, depicted in the scripture and now in history, will be followed by a physical transformation of the nation; but there will not be an immediate spiritual transformation. However that is the ultimate goal of God, bringing his people back unto himself.

So, there will first be the gathering for the revival, the gathering for the revival. Ezekiel 37:10 says, "So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. And he said unto me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, "Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts."'" Now here we see that there is this raising up that we mentioned a moment ago. Israel will be united as a nation first in unbelief. They will raise up, but they will not immediately believe on the Lord. God will send his Spirit though upon them, and I believe many will be saved.

So, first, there must be the gathering; secondly, let's look at the timing of coming revival for Israel. This time will be the time of suffering, it will be during the time known as the tribulation, and this will finish the transgression of Israel and her rejection of the Messiah. But during the tribulation, people in Israel will begin to turn their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ in a time of great revival. Tim LaHaye said, "Actually the tribulation period will help cause a great revival in Israel."

Now there are many friends of ours even today who are sending messages on the Internet, mailing messages to Israel concerning the Messiah, concerning the prophecies of the Old Testament relative to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is seed being sown. And a friend of mine who's heavily involved in this said it's his desire to see so much seed sown that he might have some part in the ultimate revival of God, bringing souls to the Savior. We know that the massive revival will not take place until later in the tribulation period. But the seed, I believe, is being sown now.

Now this revival, when will it take place? Well, obviously, it's going to take place after the sacrifice of Christ; that's already happened. We know in the Bible in Hebrews 8:12 it says, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquity iniquities will I remember no more. And he saith, 'A new covenant he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.'" And so there must first be the establishment of the new covenant.

Now let's just pause real fast here, and I want to share just a quick chart with you – let me come this way. And some of this is in the book that we passed out, or you can purchase in the bookstore. But when we talk about the time of the seven-year tribulation I just said a moment ago that first will be the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And certainly the Lord Jesus Christ came and established his church; we're living in the church age. Then we'll study in two weeks, or maybe next week ,the rapture of the church, the catching away of the church. That is the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 4.

But after this time of the catching away where the believers are saved from the wrath that is coming, there will be a period known as the seven-year tribulation. This will precede the second coming of Jesus with his saints. This period of tribulation is the period we're speaking about when the Jewish people will, through much tribulation, be awakened to their need for the Messiah. And so their time of revival will take place after the sacrifice of Jesus – He's already died upon the cross – and after the rapture of the church as well. And so it will be at the conclusion of what sometimes is called the times of the Gentiles. That will be when they will ultimately see the Lord Jesus as their King. All of this period is the times of the Gentiles. The Bible speaks of that in Romans 11:25, "the fullness of the Gentiles become." So the period is the tribulation, also called the time of Jacob's trouble.

In Jeremiah 30:7 the Bible says, "Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the Lord their God." So, there's the gathering of the children of Israel into their land, and then there is the timing of the revival, which is during the time of the tribulation. I believe many, many Jews will be saved during that time. And the result of that revival, what will happen as a result; let me mention a few things as we close.

First, they will receive a new heart, they will receive a spiritual heart. Ezekiel who speaks about this coming to life of the nation says in chapter 36 and verse 26, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." And that's what God does when people are saved. He takes away their stony heart, he takes away their hardness, and he softens them. And that's what will happen with the Jewish people during the time of the tribulation, and there will be a renewed relationship between God and his people. And it's interesting when you think about this, because as there is this revival that takes place, as there are many Jewish people turning to the Lord Jesus Christ, then the Lord Jesus will return at his second coming for them.

You know, you think about the second coming, and when we study it in the Bible, one scholar recognized 1,845 references to the coming of Jesus in the Old Testament alone; 17 books give it prominence, like some that we're studying, Ezekiel and so forth. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ. Nearly one out of every thirty verses says something about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. And this time will be finally a time of revival for the children of Israel as they turn their attention to the Lord.

Isaiah mentions it in Isaiah 59:20 – it's in your notes. It says, "And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever." And so even as many Jews will be saved at the time of the tribulation, God's grace has been given to them, and it is something that will be eternal in their lives. They will finally see him as their Messiah, and they will turn to the Lord Jesus and be saved.

Yes, people will be saved during that time. Jewish people will come to the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why the Bible teaches in Matthew 24:44, "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh." Again, why do we study prophecy? Matthew 24:44, "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of Man cometh." Now, look here: the average Christian church in America day is lulled to sleep with materialism, lulled to sleep with entertainment, they're just kind of doing the motions; the church is a Laodicean church, and they're not ready for the coming of the Lord. And if Jesus gave us one out of every thirty verses in the New Testament speaking of the coming of the Lord, then we should be, of all people, thinking of it, and ready for the coming of the Lord.

Maybe you saw a little bit yesterday of the funeral of Prince Philip, and perhaps you saw there in that funeral the Queen. Go back to the Queen if you have that, I want to show that. What a what a sad sight to see Queen Elizabeth there – I don't know if you saw this – as she lost her husband of some 70 years, Prince Philip.

And by the way, if you did not see the funeral and you get a chance to find it somewhere and watch it, it was wonderful how many times the gospel was presented in that funeral. Time and time again their hope was in the Lord Jesus Christ for the resurrection. It was amazing. These are the last vestiges. If you study history, or even read the magazines and newspapers of our day, it does not appear that the descendants of the throne or the those coming up in the line have the same depth of faith as does the Queen. But certainly their hope for eternity was mentioned time and again as in Jesus Christ. And she was seated there alone because of COVID, of course, and because of the loss of her husband.

And then as you look at this next picture, you see St. George's there, a beautiful chapel; I've stood in this chapel on occasion. And there's so much history there in this chapel there in Windsor Castle. But there's a story from this chapel that I want to share with you as we close this morning. It's the story of Queen Victoria. And sometime during her reign she went into this chapel, St, George's, and she heard a message about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. She heard a message, and in the message the pastor mentioned that those who are faithful believers will be able to lay down their crowns to him at some point, that they will be able to honor him. And Queen Victoria, upon hearing that from her pastor, said to her pastor, and I quote, "Oh, I wish he would come during my lifetime so that I could lay my crown at his feet. I wish he would come during my lifetime so that I could lay my crown at his feet."

People who accomplish great things with their lives as Christians are people who live their lives thinking of his coming and desiring to see him, and desiring to lay down their crowns at his feet. The Son of Man cometh. We need to be ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as certainly as Jews will be saved at the time of the tribulation and the second coming of Jesus. You and I can settle that issue today and know that we are saved and ready for the second coming of Jesus.

Romans 10:11, "For the scripture saith, 'Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." And I'm so glad today that the precious blood of Jesus Christ covers the sin of all who believe. And the God of this world hath blinded the eyes of many Jewish people today, and it's going to take a horrific time of tribulation – and you'll learn more about that in days to come – a difficult time, and ultimately, the coming of the Lord, for the for the ignorance to peel off of the eyes, and for hard hearts to be changed. But we do not have to wait for some tribulation, for some trial. In fact, I do not believe those who have heard the gospel and rejected the gospel will have the same opportunity the Jewish people have.

My friend today is the day of salvation. Today is the time to turn to the Lord Jesus if you are not saved and to trust him as your personal Savior. And if you know him as your Savior, then be ready. And like Queen Victoria, look for that day when you can lay down your crowns and you can worship the Lord Jesus Christ, and know that it's a glad day when you see him again.

[End of Audio]

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