By Steven J. Hogan
~ A Saturday Morning Post #37 ~
Contrary to what some Christians believe, there are a number of prophesied events that need to take place before the rapture of the church. In the past few weeks we’ve been looking at the birth pains. But today and in the next two weeks I want to talk about Israel and the Gentile nations, the realigning and remaking of kingdoms and countries in the end times, and finally, the decline of the United States as a world power.
God works through nations, and particularly and most importantly through the nation of Israel. To have a Biblical and proper view of history, and of end times’ prophecy, it is essential to understand God’s laser focus on Israel. My purpose today is to summarize some foundational and historical truths with regards to Israel and the Gentile nations.
The origin of the nations: Genesis 10 tells us that the nations of the world came forth from Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. This chapter specifically lists nations that were and to some degree still are relevant for God’s purposes for the Jews and for the entire world. God’s sovereign scattering of proud and rebellious nations across the face of the earth is described in Genesis 11:1-9. The rest of Genesis 11 tells us that the nation of Israel would come from Shem’s descendants, and specifically through Abram.
The most important country: God chose Israel to be the greatest and most blessed nation (Deuteronomy 4:32-40). Genesis 11:10 to the end of the Old Testament makes it very clear that God loved Israel and had great plans for her, and that she was the most important country in the world. The Gentile nations were usually only spoken of as they related to the history and purposes of Israel. But during this church age, God is focused on the Gentiles, and in fact, for most of this time, Israel did not even exist as a nation. But things are changing, and in the next age, Jesus Christ will reign as King from Israel, and the whole world will then see that she is the number one country on earth. Psalm 67
The Old Testament: Israel’s history takes us from her birth in Egypt, to 40 years of testing in the desert, to conquering the Canaanites and occupying the promised land, and to judges delivering them from evil Gentile nations. It continues with the kings, some who were good but most who were evil; and it was David and Solomon who led Israel during their glory years. After that she went downhill. Then God used prophets to declare to Israel and Judah their sin (the nation was split), to predict judgment and exile, and to promise her hope for the future, a Christ led millennial kingdom, which will begin after this present church age. Psalm 72
During those Old Testament years, God’s people were living in an anti-God world, sometimes being holy, but usually being wicked. But most impressive was the powerful working of God with this weak and sinful nation, and His continued mercy, kindness, love, patience and justice towards her (Nehemiah 9). And as Ezra tells us, He faithfully brought Judah back from exile to her own land. Against all odds, and by God’s sovereign grace, she continued on through all the years, both defeating and being delivered from Gentile nations, and in particular, the Satanically inspired “beast” nations – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome (Revelation 12:1-3).
The time of Christ: Then it was time for Jesus, the Son of God, to be born and to come to Israel, to His people. He came as a King, but He couldn’t reign in a physical way until there was spiritual revival and He was Lord in their hearts. That would have to wait, for these Jews rejected Jesus Christ – they didn’t see themselves as sinners in need of a Savior. But Jesus continued on, fulfilling His most important purpose, suffering, dying and rising again for billions of people who would put their faith in Him for salvation from sin, death and hell. Then Jesus left this earth and went back to heaven with the promise that He’d return to be King of Israel and King of the world. Matthew 24, Acts 1:4-11
The church age and the present time: In 70AD, the God forsaking nation of Israel was severely punished, being soundly defeated and then scattered into all the nations, and as we see, was set aside for close to 1900 years. Now we are in the church age, the time for the salvation of many Gentiles, and for a few Jews too (Romans 11). But in the past 130 years over 6 million Jews have supernaturally returned to their land, and the nation of Israel has miraculously been resurrected. It is obvious that God is now actively working with both Israel and Gentile nations, for their end times’ configuration and place in the world must be in line with the prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, 9 and 11.
The fall of the United States and the rise of Antichrist’s kingdom. All can see that the United States is going down, her pride, greed and immorality being the principle reasons for the decline of this most powerful nation. Then sometime after she is sufficiently weakened, we will see the realigning of more nations, and the eventual rise of that evil Antichrist and his kingdom. After his short devilish rule, the Antichrist will be crushed by Christ. And then from Jerusalem in Israel, Jesus Christ will gloriously reign over a Gentile world for 1000 peaceful and wonderful years. Psalm 47, Revelation 20:1-11
P.S. For further understanding of this important subject, please check out my article: A Summary of the Work of God, from the Time of Abraham to Christ’s Millennial Kingdom.