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Alex's Blog - August 25, 2009 - The Restoration of the Jews (Part 6)
By Alex Dodson
I believe there will come a time when the Jewish people will come to Christ and receive Him as their Lord and Savior. Their time of rejecting Him will end. We must remember that the early church was made up mostly of Jewish believers. Jesus was a Jew. All of the Apostles were Jews. The center of the church in the beginning was Jerusalem. So, the church has Jewish roots. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the church eventually became primarily a Gentile church. Even up to this day, the New Testament church is made up mostly of Gentiles. Yet, there will come a day when the Jews as a people will come back into the church in great numbers. We firmly believe this. Today, we will look at Revelation 12 and draw some implications from it regarding the restoration of the Jews in the future.
In Revelation 12, John sees a vision of a woman who brings forth a male child. Her child is then snatched up to God and His throne. The woman then goes into the desert where she is taken care of for 3 ½ years. In other words, she leaves the scene for a while. At first she had been pursued by the dragon, but after she goes into the desert, the dragon pursues her offspring, those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus. The woman is Israel. The child she brings forth is Jesus. After Jesus returns to heaven, Israel goes into the desert for a time, but her offspring continue on with their testimony of Jesus. Her offspring would be the New Testament church made up of mostly Gentiles. The Jews leave the scene as God's people and the mostly Gentile believers continue on as the people of God.
Now, we can say that the Israel that brought forth the child Jesus was represented by the remnant of Jewish believers who welcomed the Messiah. The very early church was made up primarily of Jewish believers. Simon Kistemaker writes in his commentary on Revelation - "The woman, representing the church of Old Testament believers, gave birth to her Son, the Messiah." (p. 358) John Walvoord writes, "The woman does not represent Christ, nor the church in general, but rather Israel as the matrix (womb) from which Christ came." (p. 188 The Revelation of Jesus Christ) It was these Jewish believers that the dragon pursues and persecutes. As a result of the persecutions, these Jewish believers are scattered throughout Judea and Samaria and also to other places where they share the gospel with the Gentiles. Acts 11:19-21 puts it this way, "Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord." The center of Christianity eventually changes from a Jewish base in Jerusalem to a Gentile base in Antioch from where Paul made his missionary journeys.
The gist of Revelation 12 is that Israel leaves the scene and the New Testament Church made up primarily of Gentiles takes over as the people of God. Israel leaves the scene for a definite period of 3 ½ years or time, times, and half a time. We read in verse 14, "The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach." There are many interpretations as to what the 3 ½ years mean. The best we can say is that it is a temporary period of time. It is half of seven and the number seven has a meaning of completion as it is used in Revelation. So, the 3 ½ is not complete. It is only temporary. There is more to come. The point we want to make is that it is a definite period of time and will one day come to an end. That is, Israel will not always be in the desert. A time will come when the Jewish people will end their stay in the desert and come back on the scene and become a part of the people of God. They will once again be grafted into their own olive tree.
God has not forsaken His people, the Jews. They have gone through many trials and tribulations yet they are not a forsaken people. God will restore them. They will come to Christ and accept Him as their Messiah and when they do it will be a great blessing to the world. I believe that we can look for worldwide revival to take place in association with the restoration of the Jews. This should be our prayer. In 1806 Henry Hunter in his book The Rise, Fall, and Future Restoration of the Jews stated, "Many unfulfilled prophecies indicate the approach of a glorious time when Israel shall be received 'into the pale of the Christian church.'" (as quoted in As the Waters Cover the Sea, p. 194) We look forward to that glorious time.
In our next blog, we will conclude this series by looking at another passage from Ezekiel.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version unless indicated otherwise.
DeJong, James A. As the Waters Cover the Sea. Audubon Press, Laurel, MS, 2006.
Kistemaker, Simon J.. New Testament Commentary - Revelation. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2001.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Moody Press, Chicago, 1966.