By Steven J. Hogan
~ A Saturday Morning Post #19 ~
When we talk about end times prophecy, we can’t just focus on the church. We have to understand the past history of the Jews to understand God’s present working with the Jews, and that His present work with them in these end times is in conjunction with His work with the church. Here is a summary of God’s past working with the Jews.
It was about 2050 BC that God began to carry out His plans for the Jews. He promised Abraham that he would inherit a large area of land, and be given a great number of descendants (Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-16). Then came Abraham’s son Isaac, and then his grandson Jacob, and then his great grandson Joseph. It was Joseph who was providentially taken to Egypt, and years later was joined by his 11 brothers. From the 12 sons of Jacob came the 12 tribes of Israel, and the birth of the nation of Israel in the nation of Egypt.
It was in 1445 BC that God chose Moses to miraculously help the Jews escape out of Egypt and into the desert. There God gave them the Law, and the means by which they were to worship Him. Moses humbly led the Jews in the desert for 40 long years, but it was Joshua who led them into Canaan where they soundly defeated God’s enemies, finally taking possession of the promised land. But it wasn’t long before the Jews were disobeying the laws God had given them, and were doing what was right in their own eyes. Therefore, God began appointing judges who led Israel for the next 325 years.
In 1110 BC God first revealed Himself to Samuel, and He raised him up to be a prophet and a priest. Now the Jews desired a king, and so Samuel anointed Saul, but he was not a very good king. Then there was David, a man after God’s heart, and he was the best of the earthly kings. God then made an amazing promise to David, that one of His descendants would be the Messiah, the future King of the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-16).
Then came Solomon (970 BC), a world famous king, and he was responsible for building a temple for the Jews. After him came many more kings, some good and some bad. And sadly, instead of worshiping God, many of the Jews started worshiping idols. This terrible and grievous sin went on for over 350 years, stirring up God’s righteous anger, resulting in His wrath often being poured out upon His people. He also sent them prophets, like Isaiah, Joel and Jeremiah, to proclaim God’s truth, and help them see their need to repent of their sins. In all this God was very patient and very forgiving. It was during this time that God made a most gracious promise to Jeremiah, that in the future, He would save a great number of Jews (Jeremiah 31:33-34).
But finally, God had enough of the Jews’ sin, and so He punished His people by sending them out of Israel (722 BC) to Assyria, and out of Judah to Babylon (606 BC). Then after 70 years, God, through Haggai, Ezra and Nehemiah, began mercifully bringing these Jewish exiles back to their land. They rebuilt the temple and the city wall, and again began to worship the one true God. And as time went on, the Jews were sinning more and more, but it wasn’t idol worship as much as it was a proud and self-righteous rebellion against God.
Then, in the fullness of time, around 4 BC, JESUS, a Jew, a descendant of Abraham and David, the Messiah, the Son of God, was born. When He was 30, He began His ministry, teaching, healing and making disciples. Then He humbly and lovingly went to the cross, suffering and dying for our sins – but God raised him from the dead, and after 40 days He ascended into heaven. Amen!
Sadly, most Jews were hard hearted, and didn’t turn from their sin and trust in Christ for salvation. And so in 70 AD, God severely punished the Jews – close to one million of them died, and the rest were led captive into all the nations. But God’s promises and plans for the Jews were not then nullified or changed, as some believe, but were only suspended. The church age had begun: from heaven Christ was building His church on earth – it was the time for people to call on the Lord to be saved from their sin.
It is now 2017, close to 2000 years later, and it’s still the church age. But now we live in the end times, the last part of the church age, for the Jews, after being scattered for over 1800 years, have miraculously returned to their land. The prophetic pieces of the puzzle are being put into place; God’s work with both the church and the Jews is clearly evident; and it won’t be long before Christ returns to rapture the Christians, and then pour out His wrath on this world. Then God will be true to His Word, and fulfill His promises to the Jews – the promise of salvation, the promise of land, and the promise of a King. Finally, world peace. Shalom.
P.S. My new article will further help you to understand this subject of God’s working with the Jews: Charting God’s Miraculous Working With the Jews.