THE END TIMES: THE JEWS
1. There are several reasons for the controversy over the Second Coming, all of which are connected with how people read and use the Bible.
a. When you study end times, you must take the Bible literally in this area.
b. You must look at all verses concerning end times, taking them in context.
2. In the past few lessons we have focused on the rapture of the Church.
a. We have been dealing with whether or not there is a rapture and, if so, when is it in relation to the tribulation (pretrib, midtrib, or posttrib).
b. By taking scriptures literally and reading in context we have seen that the rapture is taught in the NT, that it is the next event on the prophetic calendar, and that it will occur before the tribulation begins.
c. We have much more to say about the pretrib rapture, but before we do, we need to add some additional elements to our discussion.
3. When we began our study, we said there are several guidelines you must follow in order to accurately understand end time events.
a. You must examine all the verses concerning end times, taking them literally when possible, and you must read them in context.
b. You must realize that there are two stages to the Second Coming — the rapture of the Church and the actual Second Coming of Jesus to earth.
c. You must recognize that there are three groups of people who will play a part in end time events: Jews, Gentiles, and the Church. I Cor 10:32
1. Each has a distinct part and place in end time events.
2. Confusion over the end times results because people wrongly apply verses meant for one group to another group.
4. In this lesson we want to begin to look at the end time program for the Jews. That information will help us understand what is going to happen to us.
a. Much of what will take place at the end has to do with the Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham, and has nothing to do with Christians, with the Church. God has unfinished business with the Jews.
b. That is one of the reasons we must be, taken off the earth before the tribulation begins. It has nothing to do with us. It concerns the Jews.
5. The Bible is a unique book. Over one fourth of it was prophet or predictive when it was written. No other religious book has prophecy.
a. When we are studying the Second Coming we are dealing with prophecy — predictions about the return of Christ. Remember, the Bible has at least twice as many things to say about Christ’s Second Coming as His first.
b. When it comes to the end times, everyone wants to study the prophecies about the Antichrist, but that isn’t the place to start. We want to look first at some prophecies made to the Jews.
1. Gen 1-3 records the creation of the seen world and of Adam and Eve.
a. They were made in the image of God and given the privilege of bringing God’s family into existence by having children. But, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought sin and death into the human race.
b. However, right there in the garden God gave the first promise (prophecy) of the coming of Jesus to deal with man’s sin. Gen 3:15
2. Gen 4-6–Adam and Eve had children they began to populate the earth.
a. But, as the human race multiplied, it became increasingly wicked, forcing God to judge the people of earth through a great flood. Gen 7-9
1. We see God’s mercy in the flood. He warned them for 120 years.
2. And, He delivered those who trusted in Him — Noah and his family.
b. Gen 10–Noah and his family began to repopulate the earth after the flood.
3. Gen 11–But once again, wickedness and sin pervaded the human race. At that time, all men spoke one language, and they attempted to build a tower to reach to heaven itself. To stop the people, God confused their language and scattered them. The city where the tower was built was called Babylon.
4. You may be thinking — this has nothing to do with end times!! Let’s get to Revelation and the Antichrist. But this has everything to do with end times.
a. The end times will bring to a conclusion events that began right here. Jesus will finish what began in the Garden of Eden.
b. Did you know Babylon is a major player in end time events?
c. Did you know that Enoch, Adam’s great, great, great, great grandson), prophesied about the Second Coming? Gen 5:18-24; Jude 14,15
d. Two points about Enoch: Adam was alive (622 years old) when he was born. Many consider Enoch a type (foreshadowing) of the pretrib rapture.
1. However, at this point, God sets apart a specific group of people: the descendants of a man named Abraham — the people who became the Jews.
a. The rest of the OT up to Acts 2 (NT) was written to and about the Jews.
b. Everything in the Bible was written by someone to someone about something. You must determine all those facts to get the correct context.
2. Gen 12:1-3–We find one of the greatest prophecies in the Bible with direct connections to the end times and the Second Coming of Christ. God made six specific promises to Abraham which have already been literally fulfilled.
a. God would make him into a great nation. Ex 12:37; Gen 17;20; Gen 25:1-6
b. God would bless him. Abraham lived 175 years and was blessed spiritually and materially. Gen 25:7,8; 13:2; 24:1,35
c. God would make Abraham’s name great. 4,000 years later, Abraham is revered by Jews, Christians, Muslims, and even atheists have heard of him.
d. God said Abraham would be a blessing. His descendants, the Jews, have been a blessing to millions through the centuries.
e. God said those who cursed Israel would be cursed. Egypt (Ex 14:26-31; 15:19); Assyria (II Kings 17:5,6–defeated by Babylon in 609 B.C.); Babylon (Dan 5), etc.
f. God said all peoples will be blessed through Abraham. Jesus was a Jew.
3. Gen 12:7–God promised the land to which He had led Abraham (Canaan or Palestine) to Abraham and his descendants.
a. God reaffirmed this promise of land to Abraham several times. Gen 13:14-18; 15:18-21 (Asia Minor to Arabia)
b. God restated these promises to Abraham’s son Isaac and his grandson Jacob. Gen 26:1-5; 28:1-4,13-15; 35:9-12; 46:3,4
4. During their formative stages as a nation, God led Abraham’s descendants led into Egypt to feed them during a time of world famine. (Remained 400 years)
a. By the time the Jews (Abraham’s descendants) returned to the promised land, they had not lived in the land for over400 years.
b. Deuteronomy was written in part to assure the Jews that even a 400 year absence did not undo God’s promise to Abraham. Deut 1:5-8
c. But God made it clear to them that if they did not follow Him once they were in the land, He would allow them to be removed from the land by their enemies until they repented. Deut 4:22-40; 28:47-68; 30:1-10
5. The history of the Jews in the land promised to them is a sad one — not because of any failure on God’s part, but because of their unfaithfulness.
6. Eventally, the Jews demanded a king like all the other nations around them had, and God allowed Saul to become the first king of Israel.
a. Saul’s pride and lack of good judgment led to his being replaced by David.
b. God made a promise (prophecy) to David that has a direct connection with end time events. God promised David that a descendant of his would sit on the throne of Israel forever. II Sam 7:12-17; Ps 89:3,4
7. David’s son and successor was Solomon, a great king, and Israel reached its peak under him. But in Solomon’s later years, spiritual deterioration set in, and after his death, the nation split.
a. The Jews turned to idolatry and apostasy. Under the leadership of wicked kings, they offered human sacrifice (infants) to false gods. They worshipped the sun, moon, and stars.
b. For over 150 years God sent prophets to warn them to repent or be removed from than land by their enemies. All the writings of the prophets from Isaiah to Zephaniah were written in this period.
8. The Jews did not listen to the prophets and God allowed judgment to come on them. First the Assyrians in 722 B.C. and then the Babylonians in 606 B.C. to 586 B.C. invaded the land, destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, and took the
people away into captivity.
9. Jeremiah had prophesied that after 70 years the Jews would be allowed to return to their land and rebuild. Jer 25:12; 29:10
a. Not all the Jews returned to the land, but those who did rebuilt Jerusalem
and the temple.
b. Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi all prophesied during this period. After Malachi, there were 400 years of prophetic silence until John the Baptist.
10. When Jesus was born, Palestine was under the control of the Roman Empire.
a. Jesus offered Himself to the Jews as their Messiah, but they rejected Him. He prophesied that judgment would come on that generation as a result. Matt 23:34-Matt 24:2; Luke 19:41-44
b. In 70 A.D., not even 40 years after Jesus made these statements, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman army, Israel ceased to exist as a nation, and the Jews were scattered throughout the world. (the Diaspora)
11. In May, 1948 Israel was reestablished as a political state, and since then, several million Jews have returned to Israel to live. Although this is not a direct fulfillment of prophecy, it is significant, because Jews must be in Israel (Palestine) when the Antichrist comes to power. Another lesson)
12. Most of the Jews who have returned to Israel will be driven out of the land one more time midway through the tribulation. Matt 24:15-22
1. God made specific promises to Abraham and David which have not yet been fulfilled — but they must be fulfilled. Gen 13:14,15; II Sam 7:12-17
a. God made specific promises to Abraham’s descendants, the Jews, based on His promises to Abraham and David, which have not yet been fulfilled — but they must be fulfilled. Dan 2:28;44; Hosea 3:4,5; Amos 9:14,15
b. God added emphasis to the promises. Ps 89:28-37; Jer 31:35-37; 33:15-26
2. God made a blood covenant or contract with Abraham. Gen 15:1-21
a. In this type of covenant, the two parties would kill an animal, cut the carcass in half, place the two parts on the ground, forming a path between.
1. Then the two parties joined hands and walked through the carcass.
2. This meant they were bound by the covenant until death, and if either one violated the covenant, they would be killed as the animal.
b. The large number of animals killed shows the seriousness of the covenant. One animal would have been sufficient.
c. Only God walked through the carcasses, only God can break the covenant.
d. God’s covenant with Abraham is unconditional and eternal. It is irrevocable. It can be postponed, but not canceled. The failures of the Jews have not, will not, invalidate the covenant promises.
3. One main purpose of the millennium will be to fulfill these promises God made
to Abraham, David, and the Jews. These things will happen!!
a. Gen 12:1-3–There are six specific promises (prophecies) to Abraham and his descendants which have already been literally fulfilled.
b. There is no reason to think that the last promise (Abraham’s descendants dwelling in the land forever) will not also be literally fulfilled.
4. One group of critics of the pretrib rapture teaching (kingdom now, dominion theology) says that this seventh promise is not literal. They say that land means heaven, and that God has nothing more for the Jews in His program.
a. They say that the Church is now Israel, that all their promises now belong to us, and that we will Christianize the world, establish the millennium ourselves, and then turn it over to Jesus when He comes back at the end of the thousand year period of peace and prosperity the Church has established. (postmillennialism)
b. But, we’ve already clearly established that these are literal promises made to literal people part of which have already been literally fulfilled. The rest of them will be literally fulfilled when Jesus comes back to earth. (another lesson)
5. God first made promise to Abraham in 2090 B.C. and David in 1000 B.C. No matter how long it takes, God will fulfill His promise to them –and to us.
6. More next week!!