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A Resurrected Nation

Deuteronomy 28:48 states that God will put a yoke of iron upon the neck of the nation Israel until He has destroyed them. This was fulfilled when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Jewish people were scattered among the nations, and were without a country that they could call their own homeland. Almost all the prophets make it very clear that God would not forget His chosen people. The dead bones of Israel will be raised from the dead, and will be restored to their land and their blessings.

The resurrection of the nation Israel will be by the grace of God and will be based upon the shed blood of their Messiah – not upon the works of Israel. However, each member of the resurrected nation must accept Jesus as his or her Messiah, to enter into the promised kingdom.

Again, we go back to the teaching of Moses on the Plains of Moab. “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you” (Deut. 30:1-4).

“Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you” (Deut. 30:5 7). Notice that God is going to give the people new obedient hearts, and He will remove them from under the Mosaic Law.

The prophet Hosea foresaw Israel being restored in the last days. “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea 3:4 5). The reference to David is actually a reference to David’s son, the promised Messiah.

Isaiah said it this way. “It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, from Hamath and the islands of the sea. He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:11-12). God has already recovered the first remnant from Babylon. Now, we are seeing reference to a second recovery from the Four Corners of the earth. In the first recovery, He only gathered a remnant of Judah, but in the second recovery, both Israel and Judah are included.

The prophet Amos added another dimension. “‘In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name;’ declares the Lord who does this” (Amos 9:11 12, NASB 1995). The apostles made reference to this verse in the great Jerusalem conference as recorded for us in the fifteenth chapter of Acts. It was during that conference that the Holy Spirit led them to understand the mystery called “The Church”. Then they concluded that the restoration of Israel would be delayed until after the Church Age (See Acts 15:12-16)).

We continue with the words of Amos. “’Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘when the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:13 15).

It seems that these words are being fulfilled before our eyes. Today, many Jews have returned to the Promised Land and the land is productive again. However, the words are not completely fulfilled because not all of the Jews have returned.

We will conclude our discussion with the words of Jeremiah as they add additional insights. “‘But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,’ says the LORD” (Jer. 23:3 4).

Who are these shepherds? Perhaps they will be the twelve apostles of Christ. Notice what Jesus told his apostles about their jobs in the kingdom to come. “So Jesus said to them, ‘assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel”‘ (Matt. 19:28).

Now we see the role of the Messiah. “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS “‘ (Jer. 23,5 6). No longer will Israel’s tenure in the land be based upon their ability to keep God’s law, but upon the righteousness of their Messiah. In His righteousness, they can and will be faithful.

“‘Therefore, behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that they shall no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ ‘And they shall dwell in their own land'” (Jer. 23:7 8). The gratitude of Israel will be far greater after the re-gathering than it was before they went into captivity.

Dry BonesPerhaps, Ezekiel has given us the most direct support that the nation of Israel will be truly resurrected from the dead. Ezekiel was one the first to be taken captive and carried to Babylon. In one of his several visions that he had from God, he witnessed the departing Glory of God as it was lifted above the city and vanished. It must have been very depressing for Ezekiel to see God separating Himself from His people – no longer would God dwell among them.

Later, in another vision, God took Ezekiel to a large valley of dry bones, and there he watched the dry bones come alive. “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord God, You know”‘ (Ezek. 37:1 3, NASB 1995).

“Again He said to me, ‘Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord,’ Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you ‘that you may come to life. And I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord’ “ (Ezek. 37:4 6, NASB 1995).

“So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life’. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army” (Ezek.37:7 10, NASB 1995).

What a beautiful picture we have of the resurrection! God has recreated new bodies and placed life into those bodies. That which was dead is about to live again. Ezekiel must have been wondering whom these people were as he had not been told. Now God is going to tell him.

“Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,’ declares the Lord’ “ (Ezek. 37:11 14, NASB 1995).

Notice that God is going to put his spirit into the hearts of his people. When they were under the Mosaic Law, they were required to be obedient through the power of their flesh. The Holy Spirit indwelled only chosen leaders. Now God is going to change their hearts by putting the Holy Spirit within each individual. When we study the New Covenant below, we will look at this promise in more detail.

Now we continue with God’s words to Ezekiel. “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they will no longer be two nations and they will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. And they will no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their God” (Ezek. 37:21 23, NASB 1995).

The kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah have not been united since the days of Solomon. When they are resurrected, united, and restored to their promised blessings, God will cleanse their sins with the shed blood of the Lamb of God, and the Messiah will rule over the house of Israel as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This is the promise made to Ezekiel. “And My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances, and keep my statutes, and observe them. They shall live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons, and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant shall be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever” (Ezek. 37:24 28, NASB 1995).

In the previous chapter, God tells us why He is going to restore Israel. “Therefore, say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God, ‘It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight’” (Ezek. 36:22 23, NASB 1995).

God’s chosen people are to be saved by the grace of God, and not by what they have done. God entered into an unconditional covenant with Abraham, and He intends to honor that covenant.

God wants the Gentile nations, who have chosen to walk in their own way, to know that His word is true, and that He is the Sovereign God of the universe. Today, it seems that He is beginning to restore Israel to the land, and the whole world waits in apprehension and anticipation as to what will happen next in the Middle East. By way of television, the whole world is watching God’s plan unfold before our eyes.

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” “Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it. Listen to Me, you stubborn minded, who are far from righteousness. I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; And My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel” (Isa. 46:9 10, 11b-13, NASB 1995).