Adapted from the work of: David Parsons, ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman
Israel today is a remarkable country. Though small and threatened on all sides, it is nonetheless making major contributions to the world, such as in hi-tech and biomedical advances, agricultural innovations and water conservation. It pioneered drip irrigation and currently recycles over 90 percent of its wastewater, far outstripping any other nation. Although over half its land is still arid desert, Israel exports high-quality farm produce in all seasons.
In a recent global survey by the Bloomberg news agency of the world’s healthiest countries, Israel ranked an impressive sixth, a full seven spots ahead of the legendary food-producing nation of France and far ahead of the United States at number 33.
Yet the land of Israel was not always so fruitful. In both Christian and Muslim lands where the Jews were dispersed, they were largely forbidden from owning land. This meant they basically lost the ability to produce food. This was true even up to some 100 years ago when Jews first began to return to Eretz Israel and tried to scratch out a living in the barren fields.
God promised that one day He would come and find His people, no matter how far they had been scattered, and return them to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants as an “everlasting possession.” (Genesis 17:8) This promise of a future restoration is spoken of by all the Hebrew prophets and is affirmed by all the great covenants of the Bible.
The Promise of Restoration
In the Abrahamic Covenant, we find the election of both the people and the land of Israel for the purpose of world redemption. The two would merge to become a “great nation” which over time would bless us with all the things we need for salvation (Romans 9:3-5).
In the Mosaic Covenant, the relationship between the land and people of Israel is regulated by their spiritual standing before God, in order to show forth His holy and righteous character. Yet any separation of the people from the land as a divine corrective measure would always be followed by a return to the land in God’s timing (Leviticus 26:40-45; Jeremiah 31:10).
In the Davidic Covenant, we are assured that one day the people and land of Israel will be reunited and restored beyond that which King David had built. In fact, it will be an everlasting kingdom presided over by a promised Messiah, the Son of David, who would rule from Jerusalem over all the earth in righteousness and peace.
Finally, in the New Covenant, Jesus proved his Messianic credentials through his perfect obedience even in enduring a cruel death on the Cross (Philippians 2:5-11). Thusly, he earned the right to sit on the throne of David forever to rule over the earth from a restored Israel, and now no one can ever challenge His right to rule.
By the time the New Testament was written, the Israelite hope of restoration was such a prevalent idea that the Jews even minted coins in the First Century expressing their longing “For the Return of Zion” or “For the Redemption of Zion.”
Throughout the Psalms and the Prophets, this promised restoration is expounded upon repeatedly and is often expressed in such terms as the Lord will “bring back the captivity of Zion” (Psalm 126:1); “restore the fortunes of Jacob” (Nahum 2:2; Isaiah 49:6); or “show favour to Zion” (Psalm 102:13). It also can be clearly found in such passages as Isaiah 2, Jeremiah 31, and Ezekiel 36.
And finally, this promised end-time “restoration” of Israel is indeed vouched for in the New Testament, such as in the specific words of Jesus in Matthew 19:28 and in the preaching of Peter in Acts 3:21. In Romans 11, the Apostle Paul further assures us of a future ingathering and acceptance of the Jewish people which ends with all Israel being delivered from their sins by a ‘Redeemer coming forth from Zion.’
The Process of Restoration
All the prophets agree that Israel’s last-days restoration would involve a two-phase process. First, there would be a physical return to the Land and then a spiritual return to God. That is, Israel would return to the Land in unbelief for the purpose of coming to belief.
Jeremiah 24:6-7 states: “I will bring them back to this land…Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”
In Jeremiah 32:37-42 the Lord promises: “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever… And I will make an everlasting covenant with them… and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart, and with all My soul
And in the clearest picture of this two-phase process of restoration, Ezekiel 36:24-30 declares: “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you… I will deliver you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.”
For more than 100 years now, the world has been witnessing the physical restoration of Israel to her land with amazing accuracy. Now consider that even within the past century the land of Israel was still barren and that only 70 years ago Jews under Nazi occupation in Europe faced mass starvation and death. Thus, the transformation of the Land and people of Israel in just a few generations is nothing short of miraculous. And if we see the promise of Israel’s physical restoration being fulfilled with such remarkable precision, it means we can completely trust God for their spiritual restoration as well.
The Partners of Restoration
Another core feature of the promised restoration of Israel in the last days is that it would be marked by Gentile assistance. The same Hebrew prophets who foretold of a time when God would set His hand a second time to finally re-gather the scattered Jewish people back to their homeland, also foresaw that Gentiles would be involved in this restoration.
This is made especially clear by the prophet Isaiah, who repeatedly speaks of God bringing “the wealth of the Gentiles” to a restored Israel. The prophet assures, “The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you.” (Isaiah 60:10) He adds that “the sons of those who afflicted you shall come bowing to you, and all those who despised you shall fall prostrate at the soles of your feet.” (Isaiah 60:14)
It is hard to find a more apt description of the modern-day phenomenon of Christians coming in humility to aid and assist a people whom our forbearers in the faith once oppressed.
Isaiah also proclaims: “Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations, and set up My standard for the peoples; They shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders; Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers; They shall bow down to you with their faces to the earth, and lick up the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” (Isaiah 49:22-23)
This particular passage opens with an unusual Hebrew phrase that has been interpreted in various ways in modern English translations of the Bible, including that God would “beckon” or “wave” or “whistle” to the Gentiles. In other words, it is the sort of very loud and visible gestures one makes to flag down a taxi. That is, God has not kept this as a little secret which He only shares with a few dear saints in their prayer closets. Instead, He is out on the street corner shouting at the Gentiles to get involved in the restoration of Israel.
Thus we Christians have little excuse when we fail to answer that call in this day when it is so obvious that God Himself is gathering the outcasts of Israel.
Today, Gentile Christians both great and small are still partnering in the great return of the Jewish people back to their land, knowing that it eventually becomes a spiritual return to their God. Therefore, the question is: What are you doing to help with Israel’s restoration?
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem offers many ways in which you can be involved in the great restoration of Israel in our day. Whether it is through our Aliyah efforts, our assistance to new Jewish immigrants, our various social aid projects to all the diverse peoples throughout the Land of Israel, our global prayer initiatives, or our many other ministry activities, you can be a part of repairing the breach, healing the historic wounds, and humbly telling the Jewish people they are home for good!