End-Times Epicenter

Growing up in church during the late nineties and early two-thousands, I was simultaneously terrified of the end-times yet fascinated by the movies produced by Cloud Ten Pictures. If you’ve never seen a great low-quality end-times film, I highly recommend it; some of my favorites are; Left Behind, Judgement, Vanished, and The Mark.

Last year I read the book of Revelation for the first time. I always skipped it during my yearly Bible reading because how I had perceived it from childhood scared me. However, as I was about to start studying Second Corinthians, I felt strongly that I needed to spend three months in Revelation instead. With that being said, I do not pretend to be an expert on the subject, nor is this post an exposition on the entirety of Revelation. During my three months in Revelation, I consulted a four-view commentary, a prophecy handbook, Premillennial Dictionary, and John MacArthur’s Commentary set. I will say upfront; I am a Premillinialist. I know that calls into question just how Calvinistic I am; go ahead and throw in there that I hold to believers baptism. I am not concerned with fitting a theological label; I endeavor to study, consult church history and reach a biblical conclusion.

The purpose of this post is to put forward the biblical case that Israel and the Jewish people are the epicenters of the biblical narrative from beginning to end. The end-times are not doom and gloom but the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the salvation of Israel, and the defeat of satan.

To understand the end of Scripture, we must first understand the beginning of Scripture. To do so, I will present a few Old Testament passages and then offer comments.

Jeremiah 16:14-21 ESV “Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers. 16 “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the Lord, and they shall catch them. And afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. 17 For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes. 18 But first I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.” 19 O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit. 20 Can man make for himself gods? Such are not gods!” 21 “Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.”

Jeremiah 30:1-3 ESV “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”

Jeremiah 32:36-44 ESV “Now therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, ‘It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence’: 37 Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. 40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. 42 “For thus says the Lord: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them. 43 Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, ‘It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ 44 Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”

There are several other Scriptures I could have shared. Also worth mentioning are Amos 9:11-15, Micah chapter four, Zechariah chapter eight, and several portions of Ezekiel. First Samuel 15:29 says the eternal God of Israel. Isaiah chapter two tells us that the Lord reigns from Zion, chapter eleven foretells of the root of Jesse (Jesus), who will recover the land of Israel. Isaiah fourteen says the Lord will restore Israel. The point is God established a covenant with Israel; it began in Genesis chapter twelve, and it stands to this day. God is not a covenant breaker nor a transferer. The Church has not replaced Israel. In Romans chapters nine through eleven, Paul said that God still has a covenant with Israel and that we have been grafted into Israel. Jews who receive Messiah do not convert to Christianity; they do not throw off their Judaism – in the Messiah, they give full expression to their Judaism.

Ephesians 2:11-22 ESV “Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

I want to allow Scripture to speak for itself. Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. Jesus is the hope of the believer, He is the cornerstone of the Church, and Jesus is coming again. He is coming again to Jerusalem to defeat Israel’s enemies, save His people and establish His Kingdom. The promise began with Israel, and it will culminate with Israel, and as a Christian, I stand with the Jewish people and for the nation of Israel.

If God was done with the Jews and Israel, explain the continued persecution and absolute hatred for the Jews after the time of Jesus. If the nation of Israel didn’t matter to God, explain 1948; if Jerusalem and Zion are no longer His places of rule and where the Word comes forth, explain 1967. The God of Israel of the Old Testament is still God in Israel today. I don’t view Scripture as Old and New Testament but First Covenant and Renewed Covenant. The New Covenant was prophesied to Israel in Jeremiah 31:33, 32:40, and Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26. The book of Revelation is the culmination of that promise.

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