The prophets warned that Israel would be scattered throughout the world for their unbelief and disobedience. Nationally they would be dead. Ezekiel pictured them as dry bones in a valley, what could be deader than dry bones?
The prophets also foretold that Israel would be brought back to life nationally and that they would be restored to their own land.
In Luke 19:41 we read about Jesus in Jerusalem, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it.” Jesus loved the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. It is now the year 32 AD. Our Lord knows that Israel has rejected Him.
He knows the kingdom is to be postponed. He knows that in less than forty years Jerusalem will be destroyed, sacked and burned. He knows that nearly a million Jews will die within the city walls and that hundreds of thousands will die outside the city. He knows that nearly a million will be carried captives in chains to foreign lands.
“He beheld the city and wept over it.” Why did He weep? Verse 42 explains it. “Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” To paraphrase, if you had only known! Destruction is coming upon Jerusalem and the Temple, the people of Israel will be decimated. You could have known, its’ all prophesied in My Word. You didn’t read and study My Word, you don’t understand because you didn’t study My Word. You weren’t interested in My Word.
“But now they are hidden from thine eyes.” That is a great principle in God’s Word. If you do not avail yourself of the truth God has revealed in His Word, you are in danger of having God close your eyes to that truth.
What should they have read and studied? What portion of God’s Word foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple? They should have studied Daniel 9:25,26 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
Daniel foretold the exact time when Messiah would come and die. After the command to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in 445 BC, there would be 69 weeks of years, which equals 483 years or 183,880 days. Then it says, “Shall Messiah be cut off.”
Then Daniel said after Messiah dies, “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (Temple).”
There are many lessons from Daniel 9:25, 26 but the lesson I want you to see is that, God foretold Israel through His Word the time the second Temple would be destroyed, long before it happened. Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, you could have known, you should have known.
Understand; God delights to share and warn His people through the prophetic word about that which is going to happen. This principle also applies to the hour in which we are now living. Our world is facing a similar period of judgement and men and women are unaware of it. They could know if they had not neglected to search God’s Word. Our generation has turned away from God’s Word and will bear a similar fate as Israel in 70 AD.
Let us think for a moment about God’s revelation of these things to Daniel. It is approximately 536 BC. Daniel is in captivity with Israel in Babylon. He is reading and studying his Bible, as he does that he discovers the time has arrived for the captivity to end and the time for the second Temple to be built.
He is reading in Jeremiah 25:11, “And this whole land shall be desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” And he reads in chapter 29:10, “For thus saith the LORD, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.”
Daniel begins to count - 606 BC to 536 BC equals 70 years, the captivity is about to end and the Temple is about to be rebuilt.
Do you suppose that just maybe God would reveal in His Word the timing of the building of the third Temple and the tribulation period that is concurrent with it? The answer is that God has done just that!
2,500 years ago through the prophet Jeremiah, God has made it possible for Israel to recognize the time of the building of the third Temple, the tribulation period which is involved and the Millennial Kingdom which follows.
In Jeremiah 31, God gives a list of us five things which will come to pass and signal the coming Millennial Kingdom, the tribulation period that will precede it, and the building of the third Temple required for the tribulation period, according to scripture.
1. The Resurrection of the People
God said through Jeremiah 2,500 years ago, to paraphrase, just before I come to establish the kingdom for Israel, I will re-gather or resurrect My people from around the world where I have scattered them. Jeremiah 31:8, “Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.”
That could only be true of our own day. “I will bring them from the north country,” In the decade of the nineties over one million Jews arrived in Israel from Russia in the north.
During the first return from Babylon only 50,000 Jews returned. In the last sixty years a steady stream of about six million Jews have made their way back to Israel from about 130 nations of the world.
Jeremiah 31:9-10, “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.”
We have witnessed Bible prophecy being fulfilled in a miraculous way in our lifetime before our very eyes. That promise was never fulfilled in the past, though Israel returned from both Egypt and Babylon, the present return is unquestionably unique. Israel’s final return is peculiar to modern day Israel, in spite of the fact that this return will not be totally consummated until the close of the tribulation period. Today only one half of the world’s Jews are in Israel.
In 70 AD Israel was scattered throughout the nations of the world. Now in our day Israel has returned to the land. It started as a trickle 100 years ago and has now become a torrent of six million Jews.
2. The Resurrection of the Land
The Lord said to Jeremiah 2,500 years ago when I get ready to bring in the kingdom, I will resurrect the land. Jeremiah 31:12, “Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.”
It is amazing how the land of Israel has been restored. Until the return of Israel the land was a barren wasteland. Isaiah describes what has happened in the last five or six decades, we read in Isaiah 35:1, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”
“....the solitary place shall be glad for them;” Today it is as if the barren sands of Israel are glad to receive the people of Israel back in the land, as the soil suddenly turns productive. The UN has declared the soil in Israel the most productive in the world.
“...the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose...” That is exactly what has happened! Today in the wintertime Israel is the breadbasket of Europe. A large percentage of Europe’s fruit and vegetables come from Israel. Holland imports a large quantity of flowers from Israel. Israel is also a large exporter of cotton. Hillsides which were once dry shifting sands are now terraced vineyards. A land that was treeless for long centuries now has a problem with forest fires.
Where they only have salt water available, they have developed plants that thrive on salt water. They have mastered the art of irrigation in desert places and are growing several crops a year in the process. It is a miracle of fulfilled prophecy in our own day, a resurrected land to go with a resurrected people.
On the same land the Palestinians can’t duplicate what Israel has done. In the last number of years the nations of the world have poured in the largest amount of aid in all of history to the Palestinians to help them develop the land. It has been a total fiasco. The Palestinians have to work in Israel to survive. Why? The Palestinians are not the people of the land. God’s hand is upon Israel as He promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
3. The Resurrection of the Language
Jeremiah 31:23, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.”
“This speech” The speech in view is Hebrew, the language of ancient Israel. For 1900 years Hebrew was a dead language. It was not spoken anywhere in the world. Even when the first Jews returned to the land, it was not used, not until Israel became nation again in 1948.
The Lord raised up a man named Ben Yahudda who recovered and re-established the Hebrew language.
Today the language of Israel is Hebrew. It is written and spoken in the schools, universities, in the army, in the newspapers, in the parliament, in the stores, in the streets and on the signs. Such a thing has never happened in all of human history, an ancient lost language recovered and used again.
But God said, “...they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity...” We can count on God’s Word being fulfilled.
A resurrected language is a sign of the nearness of tribulation period and the re-built Temple.
4. The Resurrection of Belief
In Ezekiel in chapter 37 we have a picture of Israel during the time of the dispersion. In that picture we see Israel spiritually dead and scattered among the nations over the long years of the dispersion.
In verses 1-3 we have that picture, “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.”
Then we have the stages of Israel’s return as seen in verse 6, “And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” They returned to the land as spiritually dry bones in unbelief. Many Israelis returned to Israel in a spirit of anger against God as they blamed God for the holocaust.
About 10-15 years ago it really seemed that Judaism would vanish for lack of interest among the Jews. Today there is an unprecedented revival of Judaism sweeping Jews all around the world. Not salvation, but a searching out of their roots in Judaism. Yeshivas are springing up all over Israel, to study the Torah. Not just the elite, but all classes of Jews, a great revival of Judaism is underway.
Now in Israeli schools from grade eight up they are teaching the New Testament, this was previously unthinkable. The motive is to capitalize on the tourist dollars. But that does not change the fact that God is getting them ready to receive the gospel.
That is the sinew, flesh and skin coming upon the bones, the breath has not yet come into them. They have not yet come alive spiritually. That won’t happen until late in the tribulation period. But we have here another miraculous sign of the nearness of the coming kingdom preceded by the tribulation period and the third Temple.
5. The Resurrection of the Temple
Jeremiah 31:38, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.” The old city of Jerusalem as described in this verse was regained by Israel in 1967. The Lord returned the old city for their occupation after 1900 years. The purpose is for the rebuilding of the Temple which will play an important part in the tribulation period leading up to the kingdom.
All of the preparations for the Temple are now in place. The vessels are made, 3000 harps have been crafted for the Temple orchestra. Priests have been trained, at least a thousand. Priestly garments are on display, a model and plans for the Temple have been prepared. The actual building of the Temple has been authorized; it is mandated to be built in sections for quick assembly. A room for the Sanhedrin to meet has been prepared near the Temple Mount.
The rebuilding of the Temple is closely associated with the coming of the false Messiah, the Antichrist. Orthodox Jews maintain that the Temple will not be built until Messiah comes. However, we understand from Daniel 9:27 that Israel will be deceived into believing that Antichrist is their Messiah.
It seems that the building of the Temple and the appearance of Antichrist is near at hand, which would put the rapture nearer still, as Antichrist cannot appear until the church is raptured, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8.
Multiplied millions are unaware of what the prophetic scripture teach about the coming of Christ and the coming tribulation period. They could know if they studied God’s Word. They are danger of being swept away in the catastrophic judgment of the soon coming tribulation period.
Israel is also in jeopardy because they once again have not studied the Word of God and are ignorant of that which is soon to befall Israel. We see that coming judgment upon Israel in Zechariah 13:8-9, “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”