This study is taken from a chapter in Isralestine, the Ancient Blueprints of the Future Middle East called “The Four-Told Questions.”
In this chapter, we will answer four of the most logical questions regarding today’s return of the Jewish people into the land of Israel. We find these answers in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel. The prophet Ezekiel formatted his prophetic book in such a way as to stimulate the curiosity of his readers to the point that they feel compelled to ask themselves four basic questions.
After one reads Ezekiel Chapters 1–34, he or she becomes aware that the Jewish people were to undergo dispersion out of their homeland into the nations of the world. Chapter 34 declares that the Jewish people would then be re-gathered out of the nations of the world and brought back into their homeland, and, furthermore, that they would ultimately be ushered into the Messianic Kingdom. The Messianic Kingdom is the high point of Old Testament Jewish prophecy. In short, there would be dispersion, gathering and an ushering into the Messianic Kingdom.
Ezekiel assured us that the return of the Jews back into the land of Israel would not occur randomly. Rather, it would be an enormous undertaking orchestrated by God. With the magnitude of this event at the forefront of his reader’s mind, he foresaw that the four following questions would arise. The thought process should go something like this:
Wait a minute. Before I read Ezekiel Chapters 35–39, let me ask a few questions!
1. How will Israel’s historical enemies respond to their return?
2. What will be the condition of the Holy Land upon their return?
3. When will this gathering take place?
4. Why will this gathering take place?
We know today that the worldwide dispersion occurred between the years of AD 70 and 1948. We also realize the return of the Jews to the land of Israel officially commenced on May 14, 1948, the date the United Nations formally recognized Israel as the Jewish state. According to Ezekiel, this return will ultimately produce a faithful final remnant of Jews.
This remnant represents an ethnic contingency of Jews who survive the disasters associated with the Tribulation Period, realize Jesus Christ is the Messiah, and accept him as their personal Savior. Many Christian scholars refer to the Tribulation Period as the final seven years of the earth’s timeline. They also suggest Christ returns to the Earth at the end of the Tribulation, defeats the Antichrist and his armies, and subsequently establishes a Messianic Kingdom for one-thousand years. (1)
1. How will the historical enemies of Israel respond to their return?
Before Ezekiel 35–39 unfolds, the first legitimate question for the reader to ask regards how would their Arab neighbors, who throughout history harbored hatred towards the Jewish people, greet them upon their collective return back home into the Middle East. Would this ancient hatred expire due to sympathy for the Jewish people’s dispersion plight? Perhaps a harsher reality would await them upon their return.
The answer is contained in Ezekiel 35:1–36:15. Upon their return, Ezekiel said, the latter would be the case. The surrounding Arab nations would protest the national return of the Jew into the region. Israel’s enemies would revive the ancient hatred and oppose severely the Jewish people.
Ezekiel used clear terms in describing the hostility the Jewish people would face upon their return. Their enemies would hate them and shed their blood, according to Ezekiel 35:5. They would contest the Jews’ right of return into, and their sovereignty over, the land of Israel, says Ezekiel 35:10. The entire process would be plagued by blasphemous propaganda (Ezek. 35:12). The Arabs would proudly boast “Aha” in a public proclamation as Israel’s enemies (Ezek. 36:2).
Ezekiel foretold the events surrounding the Jews’ return to the land of Israel in 1948, and what remains today. The historical enemies of Israel never abandoned their ancient hatred, even though 1,878 years had elapsed since the Jews left their homeland.
Unsuccessful conventional wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 gave rise to the unconventional method of warfare we call terrorism. In conjunction, propaganda arose contesting the claims of the Jewish people’s right to return to their ancient homeland. Both are products of the surrounding Arab nations, all of whom were historical enemies of Israel. Ezekiel got it right on the first question. Let’s see how he fares on the next three.
2. What will be the condition of the Holy Land upon the Jews’ return?
What would become of “the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around?” (2) Would the LORD restore the land to a condition capable of facilitating the massive influx of returning Jews?
We find the answer in Ezekiel 36:1–12. The land would be tilled and sown facilitating an abundance of agriculture as per Ezekiel 36:9. Men would be able to multiply, they would inhabit the cities, and they would rebuild the ruins (Ezek. 36:10). Human and animal life would thrive, and the general living conditions would be better there than before (Ezek. 36:11). Regarding the land, Ezekiel 36:12 tells us: “Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children.” (3)
Indeed, Ezekiel predicted the land would be capable of supporting the return of millions of Jewish migrants. In fulfillment of numerous prophecies, the Jews are returning to the land promised to their patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I believe the parting of the Red Sea at the time of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt pales in comparison to the miraculous navigation of millions of Jews back to Israel. Out of persecution and poverty into riches, Israel’s doors have parted wide to bid them welcome. Though they met with Arab resistance, this should not overshadow the spectacle of their return.
So, Ezekiel is two-for-four. Israel now sustains Jewish life and endures Arab assault, and nations throughout the world recognize it as a productive nation. Let’s see what Ezekiel says about the time of the gathering, which began in 1948.
3. When will the gathering take place?
Ezekiel does not answer this question in terms of time, but rather in terms of condition. He suggests that the Jewish people would find themselves in a horrifically grave condition, and that this would be their restoration point. The Jews would experience this fate while they, as a people, resided outside the land of Israel, scattered among the nations of the world.
“Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.”’” (Ezek. 37:11–14, NKJV; emphasis added).
Ezekiel told us the LORD would bring the Jews into the land of Israel, meaning that they as a people would still be residing outside the land at the time. His usage of such descriptive terms as “dry bones,” “lost hope,” “cut off,” and “grave,” portrays the national condition of the Jewish people at the end of their dispersion. They would fall victim to a helpless and hopeless Holocaust condition whereby if God did not intervene they would be exterminated (“cut off”). Thus, their helpless condition entirely defined the metric of time. (4)
We now know from history that the Holocaust fulfilled Ezekiel’s “dry bones” prophetic vision (Ezek. 37:1–14), and the answer to the question, “when will the re-gathering take place?” The hope of the Jewish people was lost as the events of World War II abruptly postponed their Zionist movement and their focus shifted from the homeland, naturally, to the Holocaust. The re-gathering took place immediately after the horrific conditions Ezekiel foretold.
Thus, Jewish people found themselves in such a grave situation that if their God did not intervene and return them to their homeland, their enemies would have completely exterminated them. Their God had long before promised their patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that the Jewish people would never be extinguished, but would be as the “stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore.” (5) God utilized the Allied forces of World War II to preserve the Jewish race.
Just as Ezekiel predicted, “a horrifically grave situation” victimized the Jewish people. It was evident that God needed to intervene for the sake of His Holy Name, or the world would face the possibility that every last Jew would be “cut off,” at which point the great God Jehovah could be made a liar. Ezekiel accurately predicted it would come to that fatal point whereby God would have to move to protect the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the LORD GOD: ‘I do not do this [protect and restore] for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you [Jews] have profaned among the nations wherever you went.’” (Ezek. 36:22, NKJV).
World War II concluded and the Jewish exterminators, the Nazis, met with defeat. Thus, the attempted genocide of the Jewish people also ended. General international sympathy for the oppression of the Jews by the Nazis led the United Nations to legislate the reestablishment of the nation of Israel.
As we see, Ezekiel accurately accessed the situation for us about 2,500 years before it occurred. As stated earlier, he declared in Ezekiel 37:12: “I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.” This prophecy did not regard itself with resurrection, but rather restoration. It predicted divine intervention for the ultimate prevention of Jewish genocide, coupled with the facilitation of Jewish return to the land of Israel.
Furthermore, Ezekiel stated: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel,” indicating that in the years leading up to the Holocaust, the Jews would do nothing notable on the world scene to cause other nations to esteem them as the client nation “My people Israel.” In essence, their behavior would convey a national lack of belief in God.
From the Chosen People, disbelief would serve to defame the holy name of God. In this condition, the Jewish people would give the nations of the world no reason to respect their God, and would subject them to terrible treatment like that which they ultimately received during the Holocaust. This would be an intolerable situation for God, considering He had always advised that He was the only God. How could any god call himself God if his own people were without homeland, faith, righteous behavior, and divine protection?
“When they [the Jews] came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name—when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD [My people Israel], and yet they have gone out of His land.’ But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD: “I do not do this for your [unbelieving] sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the LORD GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.”’” (Ezek. 36:20–24, NKJV; emphasis added).
God’s point here is that the Jews would return from the nations of the world in essentially the same spiritual condition as when they left. Nearly two- thousand years would come and go without an effectual religious change in the national condition of the Jewish people. They would regroup in a condition of unbelief, emphasizing that their God Jehovah would take responsibility for their return. God would need to restore His Holy Name after the centuries of damage done to it during the Jewish dispersion.
4. Why will the gathering take place?
This question leads Ezekiel to prophesy the momentous event that would have to occur to restore the holy name of God.
“And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the LORD GOD, “when I am hallowed in you [Jews] before their [Gentile nations] eyes.” (Ezek. 36:23, NKJV; emphasis added).
It would only be fitting that along with the restoration of the Jewish people would come the restoration of the holy name of their God Jehovah. But how would God perform such a miracle? One would think that the mere rescue of the Jews from the genocide of the Holocaust, or perhaps the miraculous restoration process currently in place, would have been sufficient. However, as we look around, we see that the nations of the world are not cognizant of the conspicuous fingerprints of God all over the restoration process.
Therefore, Ezekiel describes something even greater—an event to come that is so spectacular the Gentile nations will take notice of the Jewish people and the holy name of their God.
“So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Surely it is coming, and it shall be done,” says the LORD GOD. “This is the day of which I have spoken.” (Ezek. 39:7–8, NKJV; emphasis added).
God intended to make His Holy Name known in the midst of his people, Israel. Before reading the description of this event, let the reader recognize that at this point the Jewish people are re-classified as “My people Israel!” (6) This means God again recognizes the Jewish people as the Client Nation, the Chosen People of God. It also suggests that at this time, when God sanctifies His great name in the midst of “My people Israel,” the Church is absent. Presently, the Church is esteemed as the people of God.
So where is the Church when God’s people, Israel, once again take the front-and-center position in the divine plan of God? One possible answer is that the Rapture of the Church precedes the spectacular event whereby God upholds His Holy Name.
Ezekiel describes the main event by which God upholds His Holy Name in Chapters 38 and 39, a section commonly referred to as the Magog Invasion. The Magog Invasion occurs after the Holocaust, at some point during the period of the gathering of Jewish people into Israel. Ezekiel 38:8 describes the Jews as a people recovered from war, dwelling securely in the latter days in the mountains of Israel. The Jews dwell securely in villages without walls, gates, bars (Ezek. 38:11). They possess great spoils possibly because of the success of their exceedingly great army in Psalm 83 over the Palestinians, and the surrounding Arab nations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. (7)
The Magog Invasion will team Russia, Iran, and several other modern-day, predominately Islamic, nations, but is devoid of the surrounding Arab nations of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Gaza, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, in a confederated attempt to rise against the Jewish people. The Jewish people will find themselves residing in conditions we’ve already covered. Israel will bask in the glory of its military might and regional superiority when this formidable and unimaginable confederacy comes against them. The expanding nation of Israel will be no match for this offensive.
Ezekiel 38:4 tells us that God stages this massive invasion: “I will turn you [invaders] around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out.” It is an event specifically designed to be significant enough in scope to accomplish the divine protection of God, over His “Client Nation,” i.e. “My people Israel.”
To the spectator it would appear as though the whole ordeal is entirely disproportionate: the big Russia and Friends rising against tiny Israel, who is on its own. However, we are not to forget that the establishment of the means justifies God’s desired end. In order for God to uphold His Holy Name after thousands of years of defamation, He obviously feels compelled to create an even greater storyline than David meets Goliath.
“And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand. You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken,”’” says the LORD GOD. “And I will send fire on Magog [Russia] and on those who live in security in the coastlands. Then they shall know that I am the LORD. So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.” (Ezek. 39:1–7, NKJV; emphasis added).
As Ezekiel states, God will uphold His Holy Name by conquering this momentous event. God intends to let the nations of the world know that Israel is indeed the client nation, “My people Israel,” and that the holy name of God is alive and well after experiencing centuries of dismissal throughout the dispersion of the Jewish people.
God’s followers did not entirely dismiss His name during this time. He did have adequate representation of His Holy Name in the Church during the long years of Jewish dispersion. However, the Church in general regressed throughout its existence in its understanding of the Jew’s role in God’s prophetic plan. In so doing, it de-emphasized the relationship between God and the Jewish people. This is problematic, because it minimizes the importance of the Jewish element within the Abrahamic Covenant. This unconditional covenant that God made with Abraham outlines divine policy regarding human existence. (8)
The nations of the world were left free to establish their own forms of international behavior, without regard for the Abrahamic Covenant. This created a most unfortunate situation, because, in essence, it has allowed the international community to function independently of divine rule. This would be acceptable only if divine rule did not exist; however, it does, and it cannot be ignored indefinitely. Thus, we understand the importance of God reestablishing the nation Israel as the Client Nation, and, in so doing, putting the world once again on notice that the God of the Jews is the only God, and that His name is holy.
In summary, we see that Ezekiel foretold the answers to the four questions surrounding the return of the Jew into the land of Israel: they would meet with resistance by the surrounding Arab nations; the land would be fitted to facilitate the massive migration of Jewish people destined to return to the Promised Land; the Jews would emerge from a horrific Holocaust, which would evidence the conclusion of their dispersion sequence; and, lastly, they would re-establish themselves as the Client Nation “My people Israel” and through them their God would again uphold His Holy Name.
(1) Revelation 20:4
(2) Ezekiel 36:4 NKJV, emphasis added
(3) Ezekiel 36:12, NKJV.
(4) Some teach that Psalm 102:1–14 was a prophecy relative to the Holocaust and subsequent reformation of the Jewish State of Israel. Refer to David Dolan’s book: Israel in Crisis Chapter 2: The Last Generation, Psalm 102 section.
(5) Genesis 22:17.
(6) Both books, Isralestine and Existential Threat by Bill Salus include a chapter called “My People Israel,” that explains when the Jews became “Not My People,” and then were reinstated as “My People Israel.”
(7) Ezekiel 37:10, Psa. 83:1–8. Read the entire chapter in Isralestine or Existential Threat called Exceedingly Great Army.
(8) Gen. 12:3 promises to bless those who bless Abraham and his Jewish descendants, or curse those who curse them.