The Preacher Says....  
  The Jewish Question Part 2  
  Have we come then to the time of the end? Is it time now for the Lord himself to descend from heaven with a shout? With the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God? Can we look for Christ’s return, figuratively speaking, tomorrow? If so we can say that in a general way the puzzle is solved. But there are certain parts of the Jewish puzzle that for Bible students have not yet been fitted into place. Let’s look at some of the missing pieces and draw some partial and very tentative conclusions. God said in Ezek 37. 21 &22:

I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen. . .and will bring them into their own land: I’ll make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all. . .and no more shall they be divided into two kingdoms.

It appears that there will ultimately be re-gathered both the Kingdom of Israel (10 tribes), and the Kingdom of Judah (2 tribes). It is commonly thought that the Jews today are only the descendents of the Kingdom of Judah. If there is to be a re-uniting of the two kingdoms, where are the 10 tribes? When will the reuniting take place–before or after Christ’s coming? Many people believe that Israel (the 10 tribes) was assimilated into other nations and lost its identity. If so, it would be impossible to re-gather them because they no longer exist as a people. If they do in fact exist, then who are they? Various guesses have been made. At one time the devout among the English thought they were those lost ten tribes. I myself have speculated over the possibility that they may be the Kurds–a people who occupy part of Iraq and Iran, and have never been assimilated by the Arabs. After all, they occupy land formerly ruled over by Assyria, captors of the Kingdom of Israel. There’s a possibility they might be the Gypsies, whose origins in eastern Europe are obscure. I’ve concluded, however, that such a re-uniting of Judah and Israel that prophecy would require, has already happened.

You will recall that Jesus, though he came to the lost sheep of Israel, preached to and converted Samaritans in Samaria. Samaria was the capitol of Israel (10 tribes), and I think it reasonable to assume that during and after the wane of Assyrian power, Israelites may have wandered back to their homeland. I think this tentative conclusion may be warranted because of the testimony of Jesus disciples. After Jesus had risen from the dead, he preached to his disciples for forty days. Just prior to his ascension they asked him if he would now restore the Kingdom to Israel. The implication here is that they considered themselves to be Israel–the whole house of Israel.

Paul, after his arrest and in his speech before Agrippa, makes this statement:

Now I stand and am judged for the hope Of the promise made of God unto our fathers, Unto which promise our 12 tribes, instantly Serving God day and night hope to come.

Again, the implication is that Paul considered the Jews, as he knew them in his day, to be the whole house of Israel.

Another prophetic problem which faces us is found in the prophecy relating to Gog coming against Israel (Ezek 38). At the time of this invasion Israel is described as ‘dwelling safely’ in unwalled villages, having neither bars nor gates. This is certainly not the condition in Israel now. Some say that this condition occurs after the second advent. This is reasonable. Now the problem to be solved is whether or not the prophecies of Joel 2 and 3, and Zechariah 14, both of which describe the second coming, precede the prophecy of Ezekiel 38, or do they describe the same event. In my view there is a need for additional time to elapse for a change in the balance of power in the Middle East to accommodate the movement of nations–Gog and all his bands–to descend on Israel. When Christ comes in power and great glory, in this age of mass media and the ultimate weapons that exist, it’s difficult to see why it would take very long to subdue the nations. A latter day uprising seems unrealistic.

Consider further thoughts on the inheritance of the true Israel. When Jesus preached to the Jews, reproving the Scribes and Pharisees for their total deafness to the word of God, he concluded by saying:

Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. You shall not see me henceforth til you shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matt 28. 38, 39)

I have heard another theory that the Jews will not be converted until they are humbled by defeat at the hands of the Arabs.

Keep not thou silence, O God: Hold not Thy peace, and be not still, O God. For lo, thine enemies make a tumult: . . . They have taken crafty counsel Against thy people. . . They have said, Come, and let us cut them off From being a nation; that the name of Israel May be no more in remembrance. ( Ps 83. 1 - 4)

The prophecies relating to the destruction of the Arab states here and in the short book of Obadiah will be meted out on account of the defeat of Israel by the Arabs, which is yet to come, perhaps. If this does take place and Israel is humbled and broken, this may be when Christ returns to deliver His people Israel and to punish the Arab nations. The Lord will roar from Zion (Amos 1.2 - 2.3), with pronouncements of judgments on the nations round about-- God’s vengeance for the continuous ill treatment of the nation of Israel over the centuries (Ez 25 - 32). These roundabout nations, called ‘pricking briers’ in Ezekiel 28. 24, will be no more.

And they (the Jews) shall dwell safely. . .when I have executed judgment upon all those that despise them roundabout them; and they shall know that I am the Lord their God (Ez 28. 24 - 26)

So we can expect war and bloodshed, followed by a period of peace and safety. For the first time in history Israel is without walls. How long this period lasts is open to question. Unsolved puzzles continue. We must be humble in our interpretations–never cocksure. But to study these fascinating scriptures will shore up our faith in God’s promises and in the certainty of what certainly will come to pass, secure in the knowledge that the word of the Lord endures forever. God’s prophecies will be fulfilled when the puzzle is done. Gog and all his bands will descend upon Israel , where it is said it will take seven months to bury the dead.

Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken. (Ez 39. 7) From the same chapter, vs 28 and 29 we read: Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, Which causeth them to be led into captivity among the heathen: But I have gathered them into their own land, And have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them, For I have poured out my spirit upon The House of Israel, saith the Lord God.