Israel -- the mystery and miracle of history! Israel -- about whom more than half the Bible is concerned! Israel -- to whom God gave the Land of Palestine. Israel -- concerning whom it is written, |And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments. And to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be a holy people unto the Lord thy God as He hath spoken| (Deut.26:18, 19). Israel -- from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came!
Of old, Israel was honored of God as was no other nation. To them were entrusted the Holy Oracles, to them was given the Holy Law, to them came the Holy One. But look at Israel to-day and what do we see? Ten of their Tribes |lost;| and those who compose the remaining two, more despised and hated than any other people upon earth. Instead of being a blessing to all people, Israel seems to be a curse. Instead of enjoying the inheritance of the Promised Land they are homeless wanderers, while Jerusalem is trodden down by the Gentiles. Instead of rejoicing in God their Saviour Israel knows Him not, a |veil| being over their hearts.
But God's purposes in connection with Israel have not yet been fully realized. A wonderful history lies behind them and a wonderful history stretches before them. True, their sorrow is not yet ended. True, a dark valley yet lies before them. True, they must yet pass through the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer.30:7). True, God has not yet fully avenged the Crucifixion of His beloved Son. But, ere long He will have done so, and then shall they be brought back again into favor with Him. Many are the promises which speak of Israel's restoration. In Is.14:1, 2 we read, |For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captive, whose captives they were: and they shall rule over their oppressors.| Again, in Jer.16:14-16 we are told, |Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all lands whither He had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.|
But, How are the above promises to be realized? When shall these prophecies be fulfilled? The answer is, At the Second Advent of Christ. He declared, |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| (Matt.23:39). And a day is coming when Israel will say this. As it is written, |And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon| (Zech.12:10, 11). Then, and thus, shall Israel repent for their awful sin of rejecting and crucifying their own Messiah.
|Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this, I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David (Israel), which is fallen down: and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up| (Acts 15:14-16). And again, we read in Rom.11:26, |And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob| (Rom.11:26). It is to be observed that in these two Scriptures Israel's restoration is linked to the Return of their Messiah. Here then is a further necessity for the Second Advent of Christ -- the present humiliation and disorganization of Israel and the promises of God to restore and rehabilitate them, requires that our Lord shall come back again to this earth.