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Israel has often figured in predictions in the Bible, such as its land allocation, its loss of this for a time if it disobeyed the Lord chronically, its restoration to that land as in Ezekiel 34-37 (cf. Matthew 24:1ff. with Luke 21:24), its vast victories over multitudinous foes after that return, as in Zechariah 12, all of which has duly happened. For more on these things, see SMR as marked, but also the Israel 5 volume set on this site.
For those aware of these things, or wanting to learn, there is a matter worthy of thought concerning the chronological side, the order of events, parts of which are revealed in different sections of the Bible. Our present small location of interest, is however, a valuable area in world history, and we shall therefore look at the time following Israel's return to its land (which happened after some 1900 years of exile, in fulfilment of divine orders given as early as Moses in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 32).
The fact that this return has actually happened as recently as 1948 (phase one) and 1967 (phase two) and has been followed by stupendous victories over massed and malevolent enemies, motivated by a kind of religious hatred, as foretold in Zechariah 12, merely sets history straight for divine exhibition of the Lord's own ultimate control of it, apportioning what is determined to be and assigning to evil how He will, so making the wrath of man to serve Him, who nevertheless lets it flow to its due end as this world stares! This world is not least an exhibition centre of many things! The power of God and His restraint are two of the exhibits.
This then is the valuable area of history which is our immediate interest. It is that when Israel is back in its land as now, is established but - and now the next phase - confronted by an international crusade, interested in stripping it, dire and deadly. This is so near the return of Christ, as is clear in Luke 21:24, the word "near" being actually used of it BY HIM, for this time, that it moves into the area of other end-time prophecies before and during His return. One of these is the return of Israel to its land as so abundantly specified in such detail of definition in Ezekiel 34-37, and so certainly from the lips of Christ in Luke as noted, in conjunction with the antichrist's appearance as the "man of sin" in II Thessalonians 2, and the development in Europe of the ten nation evil horror of oppression (as in Revelation 13,17). Let us ponder the chronological position here.
After many days - in the latter times -the northern nations, with associates, come down on Israel, are routed by the Lord in the most ignominious fashion (Micah 7, Isaiah 59, 66, Deuteronomy 32), and then shortly after this, the new Israeli component of the Church with the rest (the Gentile component) goes to heaven (cf. Revelation 7) while Europe in the power vacuum rules rigorously raging against the Lord, at which He returns and finishes the basic situation once for all (Revelation 19).
In more detail, and with particular reference to Ezekiel 34-39, and Zechariah 12, we find that so that Israel may in due course be so internationally challenged, it first returns to its land from its scattered international remnants (Ezekiel 37), and after its return (Ezekiel 38:8) towards the approaching time of the return likewise of the Messiah (Ezekiel 37:22-24), they approach that time after which they will no more as a nation wander or work woes of iniquity (Ezekiel 37:23). What is a primary happening in this post-return period ?
As in Zechariah 12:10 very explicitly, and implied in Ezekiel 37:5-11, here we find Israel in the midst of these divine mercies will be convicted of sin as a nation, largely converted, will realise in particular what they did NATIONALLY in the crucifixion of the Lord, God Himself in human form, their own Messiah, and repent vastly.
When the international and northern based assault comes on this newly returned nation (Ezekiel 38:8-9), first it is contemptibly overthrown by divine intervention (Ezekiel 38:18-19 -"My fury will show in My face!" He declares), even against those so contemptuous of the divine order of things. First this invasive force is relegated to hiding in rocks like snakes, rebuffed like an unruly lout by a warrior, and then Israel will spend seven months clearing the mess and burying bodies (Ezekiel 39:11-16).
This suggests a short period before the return of the Messiah to rule in person as in Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, 59, I Thessalonians 3:13 and Ezekiel 37:22-24. Perhaps before this, the start of the final European eruption of evil will occur (as in Daniel 7, II Thessalonians 2:1-12, Revelation 13), in a pre-climax phase, one coming after the power-vacuum from the North is left, following the massacre of the international invading force, against Israel. This may develop quickly.
Before Israel, however, could be taken by this 'beast' centred in Europe, and the 10 kingdoms which participate in its final fling (), Israel being now largely converted, and the Gentile Church being greatly persecuted, the entirety is now one Church, with one Gospel 'To this, the Jews in Christ have now come, just as many Gentiles before this have done over the centuries since Christ declared God on earth (John 14:9) and showed His pardoning grace available to mankind (Matthew 11:27-30). Now together at last, this vast assemblage as one GO to the Lord (cf. Matthew 24:29-31, as in Revelation 11, as the two witnesses (q.v. - see Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 5).
To Him, they go (cf. I Thessalonians 3:13), to Him to heaven (cf. Revelation 19:9), leaving this earth to its death throes in the midst of Satanic power, ready in its turn for ignominious overthrow by Christ as in Revelation 19, the devil off to judgment. Then the Lord returns to rule on this earth for a period (Revelation 20:4, Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, 32) before the new heavens and new earth are created (Revelation II Peter 3:10-13), just as was the first one.
It is always splendid how the scriptures meet and match, and never does the Lord fail to show the truth of His word. At times, as here, when it is not the Lord's purpose that we should be arithmetically placed to know all about His return (cf. Acts 1), indeed it is purpose to give us an understanding but not a computing time, one still finds what He HAS said flows like a clear mountain stream, at times challenging in its flows, but always to be found and loved.