Much of the news this last week has focussed upon Ariel Sharon who has been unconscious ever since his massive stroke a week ago. As was expected, his sudden removal from the political scene in Israel brought uncertainty and turmoil. With a General Election scheduled for this coming March, the whole future direction of the country seemed to enter a thick mist of unknown variables. All hopes for the future had been pinned on Ariel Sharon—the majority of Israelis (we are told) believed and trusted that this man would be the salvation of Israel: It all proves once again the truth of the Scriptures which declare: “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (Psalm 146:3-4).
Well, it seems from media reports, that Sharon has suffered considerable brain damage and that his ability to think and reason will have been affected—in other words the faculty of thinking has all but perished, just as the Psalm says. Whatever his plans for the future might have been, we will never know for certain. Those plans are now in the hands of others. And so it is that we look to the future of the Jewish state of Israel. As it stands, even today, it is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. God's purpose with this nation is not yet completed—the Jewish people have been brought back to their ancient homeland for a reason—a reason that was foreseen by Bible expositors long before the modern Return had taken place. In 1849, the author John Thomas wrote in his book (entitled Elpis Israel)—The Hope of Israel) the following words: "The truth is, there are two stages in the restoration of the Jews, the first is before the battle of Armageddon; and the second, after it; but both pre-millennial. God has said, “I will save the tents of Judah first.” This is the first stage of restoration...There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonisation of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him.”
So according to that writer's understanding of Bible prophecy, what we see today is but the first stage in the restoration of the Jews. As we see it today, the Jewish nation is a partial and primary restoration that precedes the manifestation or appearing of Messiah and Armageddon. This first stage he called “the tents of Judah.” This he wrote, is to serve as the nucleus, or basis for the second stage of restoration which will take place AFTER Christ has appeared in the kingdom.
Now this is very interesting because so far the expectation of John Thomas has proved to be correct. We do see a partial restoration of Jews, and they are there on purely political principles, and they have returned in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus—as well as in unbelief of many of the doctrines of the Truth connected with him. As the first part has proved to be correct, we believe that the second part will be correct also. What we look for next then, is the return of Christ, Armageddon, and the restoration of the kingdom— but this process must include a change in religious outlook by the Jews. It will not be a kingdom of atheists and humanists. It will be a KINGDOM OF RELIGIOUS ZIONISTS, under the rule of Jesus Christ and his worthy saints.
Now in Acts 1:6 the disciples of Jesus asked him “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” This time of restoration is referred to again in Acts 3:20, 21. “ And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” This restoration, or restitution, was also the subject of conversation between Jesus and his disciples in Matthew 17:10 & 11. “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” It is clear from this that Elijah the prophet will be involved in the work of restoring the kingdom to Israel. Malachi 4:4-6 says much the same thing: “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
In view of these things it is worth taking note of developments now taking place in Israel among the religious Zionists and the West Bank settlers. Israel today is a very divided country—divided between its right wing and its left wing politics, and between its religious and secular societies. The attempt to capture the middle ground (all politicians seem to try to do that these days) calls for Israeli leaders to manoeuvre themselves into a kind of political contortion akin to doing the splits. The harsh tactics used by the police and soldiers during the Gaza disengagement last September is now being repeated upon West Bank residents—and it is driving the two sections of society further and further apart. The tear-gas used against settlers on Wednesday of this week heralds some nasty scenes likely next week when forces move against settlers and their leaders in Amona. “Amona is just a symbol” said a Yesha Council spokesman. “We see in Amona the beginning of the struggle for all Judea and Samaria.”
So now we can expect to see a focus on the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Yet the fact is that the Jewish population in the West Bank is growing. In just four months, says a January 6 report, over 12,000 Jews moved into Judea and Samaria. Some estimates now put the total number of Jews living in the West Bank at 278,000. In addition to this, there are those Jews who are calling for an autonomous Judean State. The Jerusalem Post quotes one religious settler as saying that the Israeli secular state wants to get rid of them. “'They want to get rid of us. They want to minimize our influence. So the best solution is an autonomous Judea. We will separate ourselves from them.’ “‘It is clear by now that Israel is not the answer,’ said Ben-Ya’acov. ‘We want to live according to the law of the Torah. We want a government accord to the Torah instead we have a Supreme Court that tramples Torah laws. When there is a contradiction between secular and Torah law, the secular law takes precedence.’ “An autonomous Judea would also prevent the inevitable bloodshed resulting from attempts by the IDF and police to forcibly evacuate settlements in Judea and Samaria, said Ben-Ya’acov.” A Judean state that wants to live according to the Law of Moses? It may be some way off yet—but put that alongside MALACHI 4:4. Look it up! Where is all this leading? A nucleus and basis for a future Kingdom of God on earth? It has better prospects than Sharon does!
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