WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T.
When Jacob came to the land of Canaan with his wives and children he had a promise from God that the land would one day belong to him. God gave him a new name «Israel» (Gen.32:28)
However God would not give him the land straight away, he would first have to dwell in it as a stranger in the land while heathens controlled it. Only when their sin had become beyond pardon, would Jacob’s descendants inherit it.
When Jacob found a place to live outside the city of Shechem terrible things happened. First, his daughter was defiled by the prince there and then after they tried to make a covenant with Jacob for his daughter, his sons murdered all the men in the city as revenge. This was a great crime, innocent as well as guilty was slaughtered without mercy.
Right after this event God tells Jacob: «Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God». This meant the only way God could fulfill His promise to protect Jacob from the revenge of the other people in the land, was if Jacob atoned for his family’s great sins. Building an altar meant seeking atonement from God. Jacob knew this involved repentance as well and so he told his people: «Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went» (Gen.35:2-3)
This principle is very important and we see it throughout the Bible’s history. If Israel did not repent and get atonement for their crimes or sins, God would not protect them in the land. This rule even applied to Israel’s father Jacob too. Even when a terrible plague came to Jerusalem, the only way to save the people was for David to build an altar and seek atonement.
The false idea that God protects a people no matter what they do, leads to a false perception by many Christian regarding the modern state of Israel.
What modern Israel is not.
Modern Israel is not the same as ancient Israel under King David. The first Israel was founded on God’s law and was a theocracy but that was not enough. For God to be able to protect and rule the country the people had to have the sanctuary system which brought them in atonement with God when they strayed as individuals, as leaders, priests, and as a people (Leviticus ch.1-3 & 16).
This atonement was crucial for God to be able to care for them and give them special treatment. If they did not have atonement as a people they would be under God’s condemnation and He would not be able to protect them as He wanted. The sanctuary system ensured that their sins did not pile up to condemn them. Seeking pardon was the only way to keep the State alive. God would not rule under any other law than His own and so they had to go by God’s law to be established as God’s people on earth.
Modern Israel has neither these two conditions to make them God’s nation today, nor was their nation built on these two conditions. They do not have God’s established way to receive atonement with Him. They have their own law they go by and the state is not established on God’s law. They except a few of God’s laws from the state but this did the pagan nations too in their day. And this mixture of God’s law and worldly authority is what became Israel’s downfall in the past and the reason God allowed them to be conquered by their enemies.
The laws of modern Israel permit many things God’s law forbids and forbids many things God’s law allows.
Many Christians believe modern Israel is a holy nation: «And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation» (Exo.19:6).
But to be a holy nation they have to build their nation on God’s laws and have God’s approved way to receive atonement. Holiness is not something you get or are based on your genetic inheritance, it is tied to your connection with a Holy God. Modern Israel rules neither by His laws and justice through His atonement and is therefore not «holy». The title «holy» is connected to God’s righteousness which is His law. You can receive this righteousness even if you have broken the law, but then you need God’s established atonement and you have to repent. Sin cannot be the rule, it has to be the exception. Atonement re-sanctifies the law-breaker or sinner. A people is and never can be holy without God’s law and atonement. And so when God gave them the offer to become a kingdom of priests it was entirely resting upon these two things.
When God said that those who blessed Israel would themselves be blessed it was again tied to Israel as a theocracy promoting His rule, not the modern version we see today. If you want this blessing today you need to treat those people that keep God’s law and seek His atonement with kindness and love (Mat.10:42).
The last condition for Israel to be God’s people was that they received the «new Moses»: «For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people» (Act 3:22-23).
Christians are aware that Jesus or Yeshua was that prophet but also Israel’s atonement and salvation. The name Yeshua translated means “The Lord saves”. When Judah rejected Jesus they were «cut off».
Jesus re-stated this fact when He said: «Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. ..And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.» (Mat 23:38-39 & Mat 24:2 )
They had to receive Christ as king or lawgiver to remain a gathered people under God: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen 49:10).
Israel can not be re-established as God’s people unless they receive atonement from God through Christ. There is no other way (Act.4:12). This fact is written in several places in the New Testament. There is not one salvation for jews and another for heathens (Gal.3:28). The same conditions involve both. They were meant to be branches on the same tree (Rom 11.11-24). God’s law has to be re-instated in our hearts and we have to receive God’s chosen atonement for our sake.
Modern Israel is in no way the same Israel that existed under David. It does however resemble more Israel in the Northern Kingdom after the kingdom divided. When the country split in two after Solomon’s death the southern part known as Judea kept God’s chosen means of atonement, the temple, and often tried to re-establish God’s laws in the land. The northern kingdom rejected God’s chosen temple and did not get atonement that way but created their own means to receive atonement that God did not accept. They also replaced God’s laws with their own laws.
From this time and on, God tried to reason with them, to make them turn back from the path they were on, and in the end, God could not protect them. Unlike Judah, the inhabitants of northern Israel were spread all over the world and did not return after the Babylonian captivity. The then nation of Israel, the ten tribes, never got their land back.
Judah did return to God in their captivity and God brought them back to the land and allowed them to rebuild the temple so that they could get atonement that way. Ezra also taught them God’s law to reestablish the land under God. They received an additional 490 years in the land until they rejected Christ, the new atonement the temple service had been a symbol of. Once they did they had no atonement and God allowed Rome to destroy the temple and scatter the people.
In Daniel 9 we learn that the condition for their probation ending good was that they had to receive God’s atonement for them: «Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy» (Dan.9:24). Now many places the last week of this prophecy in the end time but this is a false understanding first presented by Jesuit priests and brought in among the evangelical churches through the Scofield bible. Jesus was clear that the time ended in His day. There was no additional week to be cut off and added to the end times. Their probation ended at Christ time and no new time as a nation under God was given unless they received Christ as king.
When Jews returned to the land after their 2000 years of being scattered the most crucial thing to establish them as a nation under God did not happen. In the past when they returned to the land the first thing they had to do in order to be established was to rebuild the temple which contained God’s law and atonement. When the state of Israel was born in 1948 there was no temple. No temple was attempted re-built nor did they accept Christ atonement for them, nor did they re-build their society on God’s law. To make it even worse, those who could prove Jewish descent but believed in Jesus were not allowed to return to the land, and so not only did they reject their atonement themselves they did not even allow their own people to come to Israel if they accepted Jesus. They decided that the true remnant was those who rejected Christ. As atheists, communists, and socialist Jews were permitted but not Christian jews. These “laws of return” therefore mocked Christ’s condition when He said they had to receive Him. They did the opposite. If you did receive Him you were considered not accepted spite heritage. Christians jews have been growing in number in Israel but not thanks to the law of return but because there have been conversations among the families of those already returned.
The state of Israel also continued the exact attitude they had before God permitted the Romans to destroy the city. In Israel, there has been made a law that forbids evangelizing Christ as the Jewish atonement. In other words, no one is allowed to preach Jesus to their fellow Jews in an attempt to convert them. And tourist who which to come to Israel to evangelize is refused entry. Even “suspicion of missionary activity” is on the list when passengers are checked before arriving.
From all of this, we learn that modern Israel is not a holy nation or people and they continue their old sins which lead them to lose God’s protection.
So why did God allow many Jews to return and what is their position with God today?
What Israel is.
If Israel is not God’s people right now, how come it seemed so blessed in the beginning? Why did God allow the jews to return? It is important to notice that God did not allow them to take the temple mount and re-build a temple, in this way, there was no confusion about their standing with God. They were not a holy nation. It is important to know God blesses any country that follows many of His principles. The more of God’s principles are followed the more they are blessed.
Many Christians sometimes think that God only cares for those who receive Him. This is not the case, God has cared for those who have rejected Him throughout time. The Bible tells us there are some rules as to how He cares for the ungodly which we will investigate now.
Two good examples are Edom (the descendants of Esau) and Ammon (the descendants of Lot). They are both Abraham’s family, Esau was even Isaac’s son. However, both lines of descendants strayed from the truth and rejected God. Still, we see God defend their right to have a land:
«And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession» (Deu 2:19)
God’s people did not have a claim on all land just because they were His people. God provided for those who rejected Him as well and fought for their rights. This is part of God’s goodness and greatness.
God likewise defended the rights of the children of Esau:
«And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession» (Deu 2:4-5)
Jesus explained: «But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same?» (Matt.5:44-46)
These were not empty words, something God asks us to do but that He does not do Himself. God has practiced these principles and has cared for nations that wanted nothing to do with Him. He made sure it rained over those He knew would praise other gods for the same rain.
He protected the rights of people to live all over the world, even though the Bible only speaks of some people in the Middle East God has been God all over the world throughout the history of the world. God is God whether people believe in Him or not.
Those nations who became too cruel God allowed being destroyed to save those better than them.
And this is the principle we see God go by. When mankind fights each other and forces Him to judge between the two, He will choose those who are closest to His principles. Those who are humane. Those who do not subdue or are unusually cruel towards others (Read more about this here – PDF).
The moment a nation rejects God they are under these other rules of humanity and God will defend or help those who represent the best version. Although help does not always come straight away as people want bad rulers and choose them themselves. Sometimes there are not good options, both sides are just as evil. They are all bad. In the case of Ammon and Edom which God first defended the rights of, when they were a constant threat and practiced cruelty that endangered His people, God no longer defended them but declared judgment would come over them instead. God no longer wanted to protect the Edomites to live in the land He had given them, instead He said He would turn the land into a wilderness: «Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land» (Joe 3:19).
We see how God judges Israel and Judah after the same measures when they no longer follow His rule or receive pardon through His atonement for them. They are not exempt. God is the same God no matter who He deals with, and His standards are the same.
«Thus saith the Lord GOD; This is Jerusalem: I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her. And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them. Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye multiplied more than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have kept my judgments, neither have done according to the judgments of the nations that are round about you; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations» (Eze 5:5-8)
Now, these principles are important to understand when we look at modern Israel. They can not do as they please when in the land, nor are they God’s kingdom of priests and if they were, they still could not do as they please. The modern State of Israel is completely dependent on its success in treating the people around them well and not interfering with the rights of people in the nations around them (unless they are more wicked). Even more so, not persecuting the Christians among them that still keep God’s law and thereby are God’s people.
Secondly, without atonement for their sins, God can not protect the State of Israel when the enemy strikes. Especially when they have been instructed in the truth and their duties and given time to receive it and still reject it. If they have done wrong to their enemy and the enemy has proven to be more righteous than them and attack them back, God’s rule of law will prevent any interference from God in their favor.
The modern state of Israel has been made aware for 40 years that on the Ark of the Covenant, the place where blood was placed to give Israel atonement as a nation and by it God’s protection, has been found with Christ blood upon it. The continued rejection of this atonement is placing them in great danger.
Will all of Israel return to Israel?
The answer is simply no, it is not possible. The jews as we know them today are mostly jews from the second scattering. When Judah returned after the Babylonian captivity it was only a remnant. The rest of Israel never returned. Many think of them as «Israelis» spread around the world living as Jews. But the Bible tells us a secret.
To Abraham God said: «As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations» (Gen.17:4) Many countries or nations would come from Abraham, not just one. Few remember that the same prophecy was given to one of Israel’s largest tribes, Ephraim: «his seed shall become a multitude of nations» (Gen.48:19). The same word is also used on pagan nations in the Bible. It is clear that the tribes of Israel would never all dwell in Israel as one nation but be spread and «multitudes» of nations are descendants of them. But most people do not wish to recognize the fact that Israel is not just modern Jews, the descendants have countries of their own here and there. And they are too many to gather in modern Israel, nor do many of them even know about their origin.
So who will return, who is God’s remnant? In the Bible God’s remnant is not based on flesh or DNA but on faithfulness. And if the conditions God makes to be His faithful remnant are not meet then they are not God’s remnant. «For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness» (Isa 10:22)
Here God says that the descendants of Israel are a great number spread over the world. Most of who do not know their origin.
God also says that His remnant is recognized as being faithful to Him and that they have received His atonement. «And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, … shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth» (Isa 10:21). The real remnant of God is not atheists, communists, evolutionists, pagans in practice, they are true to God alone. If a people do not match this description they are not God’s remnant. God does not look at DNA. If He did all of the pagan nations that have descended from Israel would be God’s special people too. Nor does He go by the modern state of Israel’s condition for return, if He did He would reject Himself and His offer of salvation. He would alienate those who received Him and blessed those who refused Him.
In the Bible, sometimes God’s remnant are gathered in one land, and sometimes they are scattered:
«And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men» (Mic 5:7).
God’s remnant are holy because of their connection to God: «The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid» (Zep 3:13)
The Bible is clear, holiness is not tied to ancestral genetics but two things, abiding by God’s law and through the gift of atonement as given by God. Nothing else.
The gathering of Israel mentioned in the Bible is not the gathering of those genetically connected to Israel or Jacob. It is the gathering of those who are faithful to God who is scattered around the world.
Sometimes they are physically gathered, sometimes gathered in spirit, sometimes gathered by their connection to God.
At Christ second coming you can see that God’s remnant and people at that time are still scattered for He has to gather them from all over the world into “the new Jerusalem”: “And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens” (Mark. 13:27). So we know God’s true remnant is still scattered till Christ returns.
What will happen to the modern State of Israel?
Their salvation is based on the two things we mentioned, God’s conditions to them as a people. And if they reject it, they become prey for predators. Being a high-tech country with weapons other countries can only dream of, they have a strong defense against their enemies. But they are also weak and small and surrounded by enemies.
Their last hope is to receive Christ’s atonement and to turn from their sinful ways. If not they have to succeed in destroying all their enemies and always have to be on guard from anyone wanting to destroy them. They will never have peace, and if they have peace it will not last.
They either need worldly power or God to survive as a nation. And if their crimes are too great God will help their enemies as He has helped their enemies in the past. And their end will be just as sure as it was before, the land will be taken once again and they killed and scattered once again. It was just as unbelievable to them as a people before the Babylonians conquered and before the Romans conquered. At the time before Babylon came they were very sure of themselves that it could not happen, yet it did. Jeremiah tried to warn them but they would not listen to him. Many in Israel think they can not be defeated today as well, but they are wrong. They can.
God has given them two paths to follow. One leads to Him the other to their ultimate destruction. We can only watch and see what path they choose. And pray, this time, they choose right.
See also article: Who is God’s people?