I have been having dialogue with a number of people who feel that Israel’s part in God’s healing of the world is done. Messiah came from Israel and since that time, Israel’s part is finished. Israel to some is the failed people of God.
The following is an excerpt from my book The World to Come which you can see here on amazon.com.
This excerpt assumes a number of things about how to interpret the Israelite prophets and how the time periods fit together. For a full explanation, I refer you to the book.
Israel and the Age to Come
Virtually all of the promises of the age to come occur in Israel and with Israel as the central player. Again, we might assume that this was due to the audience’s limitation in understanding. Jewish prophets spoke about future Israel because Israel was being addressed. On the other hand, as I have said before, it may be that we need to orient ourselves to the Bible’s perspective rather than translating it to our own.
When Yeshua returns, it will be to Israel. When Yeshua returns, the specific event that draws him will be Israel’s need for rescue in a gruesome war commonly known as Armageddon. “Then Adonai will go out and fight against those nations, fighting as on a day of battle,” and “his feet will stand on the Mt. of Olives” (Zech 14:3-4).
Consider the basic plot of the end of this age and the beginning of the age to come. You can see more detail and a more complete list of prophecies in “Appendix A: Scripture Compendium.” For the moment, I simply want to introduce the drama and quote biblical language about the World to Come:
Israel will be drawn back into the land: “He will return and gather you from all the peoples to which Adonai your God scattered you. If one of yours was scattered to the far end of the sky, Adonai your God will gather you even from there; he will go there and get you” (Deut 30:3-4).
Armies from the nations will attack Israel: “I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle” (Zech 14:2).
God will trap these armies, luring them to attack Israel: “I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat [Adonai judges]” (Joel 3:2, see also 9-16).
God will destroy those armies and rescue Israel: “Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe; come, and tread, for the winepress is full. The vats are overflowing, for their wickedness is great” (Joel 3:13).
Yeshua himself will be Israel’s deliverer: “For I tell you, from now on, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai’” (Matt 23:39).
God will restore the tribal lands in Israel: “These are the borders of the land you are to distribute for inheritance by the twelve tribes of Israel” (Ezek 47:13).
Jerusalem will become the center of the world: “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of Adonai shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it” (Isa 2:2).
The Torah will be given to the nations: “Many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of Adonai from Jerusalem” (Isa 2:3).
Non-Jews will attach themselves to Jews in order to find God: “When that time comes, ten men will take hold – speaking all the languages of the nations – will grab hold of the cloak of a Jew and say, “We want to go with you, because we have heard that God is with you’” (Zech 8:23).
Nations will be included with Israel as God’s people: “In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom Adonai of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance” (Isa 19:24-25).
The hearts of Israel will be made new, circumcised, and filled with Torah: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit inside you and cause you to live by my laws, respect my rulings and obey them” (Ezek 36:26-27, see also Deut 30:6 and Jer 31:33).
A river of life will flow from the Temple in Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, which will become alive: “On both riverbanks will grow all kinds of trees for food; their leaves will not dry up, nor will their fruit fail. There will be a different kind of fruit each month, because the water flows from the sanctuary, so that this fruit will be edible, and the leaves will have healing properties” (Ezek 47:12).
Messiah Yeshua will rule from David’s throne in Jerusalem: “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore” (Isa 9:7).
There will be sacrifices and priests serving in God’s Temple: “The Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever” (Jer 33:18).
God will dwell with Israel forever: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever” (Ezek 43:7).