THE REPENTANCE OF ISRAEL
speaks of how a latter day Israel will declare that Yahweh has become
their salvation [i.e. they accept Jesus, Yah-who-saves], and on this
basis they will witness of this to the Gentile world and bring the
Gentiles to Zion (Is. 12:4,5). This sequence of thought shows how
seamlessly the repentance of Israel and the associated acceptance of
Jesus leads on into the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
Our study of latter-day typology in Section 1 revealed a consistent
pattern of Israel being
dominated by their Arab enemies in order to bring about their
repentance. There are a number of passages which speak
specifically of Israel's
complete turning back to God - which is an event that can only have
reference to the last days repentance of Israel. An
examination of these passages reveal many links with the events which
typify the last days, and confirms the general pattern which they
suggest. The rising of the sun of righteousness (i.e. Christ's full
revelation) will be " unto you (repentant Jews) that fear my name"
(Mal. 4:2); the apocalypse of Christ must be preceded by at least some
Jews coming to fear God's Name again. God's anger will be against Israel's
Arab invaders for attacking the land " whereas the Lord was there" (Ez.
35:10). The presence of the Lord in His land will be through His
presence among His true children who will then be living in it. This
agrees with Joel's constant theme, that the final Arab invasion will
only be destroyed when Israel
have made some sign of repentance. This repentance of Israel
will be associated with an opening of their eyes to God's word. " The
Lord hath poured out upon (Israel) the spirit of deep sleep, and hath
closed your eyes (quoted in Rom.11:8 concerning Israel's blindness to
Christ)...the vision of all (God's word) is become unto you as the
words of a book that is sealed...(but) in that day (of the Kingdom)
shall the deaf hear the words of the book" (Is. 29:10,11,17,18). This
will be when the book is unsealed at " The time of the end"
(Dan. 12:4). It will be in our last days that Israel's
blindness starts to be cured, thanks to a Word-based revival, led by
the Elijah ministry. Solomon's prayer stated that when Israel
properly repented, God would then " render unto every man according
unto all his ways" (2 Chron. 6:30). Our Lord definitely applied these
words to the work of His second coming, when " I shall give every man
according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12). His allusion to Solomon's
prayer should be proof enough that the time of His full apocalypse is
related to the time of Israel's
repentance. It maqy be that the revealing of the Lord at his first
coming was only brought about by the repentance of Israel on account of
John's work (cp. Elijah's). According to Acts 3:21,24, all the
prophets speak of Israel's
latter day repentance and the subsequent return of Messiah.
the final three and a half year holocaust will be what brings about Israel's
repentance. Hos. 6:1,2 seem to prophecy Israel's attitude: "Come, and
let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn (at the hand of the Arab
beast), and he will heal us... after two days will he revive us:
in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live" (cp.
resurrection, and the vision of the dry bones coming to spiritual life
in the last days, Ez. 37). We could paraphrase this: 'Let's repent, in
2 days we'll revive, and in the third day come to full life'. The Lord
likewise rose up on the third day- as if they will come to fellowship
his sufferings during their holocaust, and thereby his resurrection
too. Gen. 49:10 then comes into play, speaking of how Messiah "will
come to Shiloh, having the obedience of the peoples" (RVmg.).
although we speak at length in this Section about the repentance of Israel,
we should not think that the majority of Israel
will repent: only a tiny minority will (Is. 6:13). The plagues on the
earth / land prophesied in Revelation suggest that despite so much
horrendous tribulation, "the rest of the men which were not killed by
these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they
should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass,
and stone and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
neither repented they of their murders... sorceries... fornication...
thefts" (Rev. 9:20,21). There are at least 10 references here back to
the sins of Israel in Old
Testament times. The suggestion therefore is that as Israel
failed to heed God's pleading with them in the past, both through
prophets and judgments, neither will they (generally) in Jacob's final
time of trouble.
is, however, the definite Biblical teaching that a remnant will repent.
The tragic, awful implication appears to be that all of natural Israel
will die during the final tribulation, apart from those who repent.
Just prior to the Lord’s return, Jerusalem will be taken, half
the city going into captivity, but “the remnant [i.e. the
faithful who repent] shall not be cut off from the city” (Zech.
14:2). And yet the “city shall be taken, and the houses rifled,
and the women ravished”. The implication surely is that the
repentant remnant will somehow barricade themselves in within the
fallen city, and then at their utmost extremity, Christ will come to
Curses On Israel (Lev. 26; Deut. 28)
chapters are instructive as to how latter-day prophecy should be
interpreted. Their prophecies of the curses to come upon Israel for
their disobedience can be seen to have a continuous historic fulfilment
over time, whilst also having reference to specific periods of Israel's
punishment, e.g. at the hands of Babylon, Assyria, Rome and in the last
days. The huge amount of controversy over which
interpretation of Revelation and other prophecies is correct would have
been stillborn had this principle been truly understood.
Thus believers of the Truth throughout history have been able to find
strength and encouragement from the study of Revelation by having had
reason to believe that they were living the last days before the second
coming. Each group of believers at different points in history
has therefore held different interpretations, all of which to some
extent were correct. As with Lev. 26 and Deut. 28, prophecy
can have multiple initial applications, all of which point toward the
latter-day complete fulfilment. However, there are prophecies of some
latter day curses on Israel which have never been so far fulfilled. The
last days will be the time when every prophecy has it's
ultimate fulfilment (Lk. 21:22; Rev, 17:17). Therefore we are justified
in seeing every prophecy concerning Israel and her Arab neighbours as
having at least some latter day application.
will now look at the various initial applications of the curses upon
Israel, several of which we have previously shown to be typical of the
staff of your bread" being broken (Lev. 26:26) is quoted in Is. 3:1
concerning Judah's deprivation at the hands of the
Assyrians. The "rebuke" which God would send upon them (Dt.
28:20) uses the same word as Is. 30:17 concerning the collapse of
Jewish resistance to Sennacherib's invasion: " One thousand shall flee
at the rebuke of one". Israel's withdrawal into fenced
cities which would then be taken (Lev. 26:25), was what happened in
this invasion (2 Kings 18:13).
spoken of conditions during the prolonged period of Arab domination,
Dt. 28:49 moves on to describe a final invasion by " a nation... as
swift as the eagle flieth"- which Hos. 8:1 picks up with reference to
Assyria. This idea of a final invasion after a desolation
period is in tune with much of our previous study of events typical of
the last days. This eagle coming " from the end of the
earth" or 'land' confirms our definition of the 'earth/land' as that
promised to Abraham, right up to the Euphrates. Assyria was
from the extremity of this 'land'.
the context of the Assyrian invasion, Is. 10:20-23 prophesied that
“the remnant of Israel”, those who survive it, will trust
in the Lord alone and “in truth”, i.e. in covenant
relationship with Him. It seems that all others of natural Israel will
perish (as in Is. 4:2-4). This language of the remnant
‘returning’ unto the Lord is quoted in Rom. 9:23 about the
repentance of the Jewish people and their turning to Christ. Israel
were intended to repent because of Sennacherib’s invasion (Is.
37:31,32), and then “the consumption” of God’s plan
could have happened. But the prophecy has been reinterpreted with
reference to Israel in the last days, repenting finally as the result
of the latter day Assyrian invasion.Isaiah
10 speaks of how Israel’s affliction by Assyria leads them to
repentance; a “remnant shall return… unto the mighty
God” (Is. 10:21)- and the “mighty God” has just been
defined in Is. 9:6 as a title for the Lord Jesus. This will be a result
of God using the Assyrian invader to “make a consumption…
in the midst of all the land” of Israel (Is. 10:23). The
“yoke” of Assyria “shall be destroyed because of the
anointing” (Is. 10:27)- i.e. the coming of Christ, the anointed
one, in response to the remnant returning unto Him.
the account of the great famine in Samaria which this invasion brought
about, there is the extraordinary record of the two women arguing about
the eating of their children (2 Kings 6:29). The inclusion of
this incident in the record must be to recall Lev. 26:29, where it is
prophesied that this is exactly what would occur.
Ben-hadad's invasion is typical of the Arab onslaught of the last days
- causing acute famine; the leadership of Israel being revealed
as useless (2 Kings 6:27) and the presence of Elijah as God's prophet
in the midst of the crisis (cp. the latter-day Elijah).
Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and
thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long"
(Dt. 28:32), points forward to the tragic picture of the old and
helpless being left in the land after the Babylonian invasion - that is
those not worth taking into captivity. The reference to
Israel's " king which thou shalt set over thee" being taken into
captivity (Dt. 28:36) can only be applicable to the Babylonian
invasion. " I will break the pride of your power" (Lev.
26:19) is hard to make sense of apart from in a Babylon context; the
same word is used in 2 Kings 25:13 concerning the breaking of the
temple pillars by the Babylonians. That invasion truly " marred the
pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem" (Jer. 13:9) through
desecrating the temple, their pride and joy.
great emphasis on how famine and plague would lead to Israel's capture
by their enemies rather than straight military defeat (Lev. 26:25), is
especially relevant to Nebuchadnezzar's taking of Jerusalem (cp. Jer.
14:12). " The pestilence" would consume them from the face
of Israel (Dt. 28:21) - perhaps implying that latter-day Israel chose
Arab captivity because of the extent of this problem.
Ezekiel's prophecies of the coming Babylonian tribulation have several
references in Lev. 26:-
" They shall eat bread by weight" (Ez. 4:16)
" They shall deliver you
your bread by weight" (Lev. 26:26)
" The fathers shall eat the sons in
the midst of (Zion), and the sons
shall eat their fathers" (Ez. 5:10).
" Ye shall eat the flesh of your sons" (v. 29). This
situation will be remedied by the latter-day Elijah (Mal. 4:6).
" I will make thee waste" (Ez. 5:14)
" I will make your cities waste (v. 31, same word).
" ...draw out a sword after (you)" (Ez. 5:12)
" I will scatter you among the heathen, and draw out a sword
after you" (v.33).
latter connection is based upon Ezekiel being told to shave his hair
and split it three ways - to be burnt with fire, cut by the knife, and
scattered to the winds. This represents the three ways in
which latter-day Israel will be punished (Ez. 5:1-4). A
very small amount of hair was to be hidden in Ezekiel's skirts, and
then cast into a fire. Ezekiel may well represent the
latter-day Elijah, with whom the future remnant will be associated,
although even they will be purified by the effect of the (literal) fire
which will come upon Jerusalem (Zech. 13:9).
Time of the Judges
have frequently observed that the Arab incursions of this period are
typical of the period of extended Arab domination which is yet to come
upon Israel. There is reason to think that this was the
first time in which the curses of Lev. 26 and Dt. 28 began to be
realized upon Israel. " Your highways shall be desolate"
(Lev. 26:22) is definitely picked up in Jud. 5:6, concerning the result
of the Arab reign of terror in Israel. The curses upon the
land physically also found fulfilment in this period.
is a most interesting connection between the curses for disobedience
and the time of the judges in the words of Azariah to Asa.
He reminded Asa of the problems of weak leadership in that period, and
encouraged Asa to learn the lesson from it, as a ruler of
Israel. He describes Israel at that time as being " for a
long season...without the true God, and without a teaching priest (cp.
1 Sam. 3:1, Hebrew), and without law" (2 Chron. 15:3). This
is quoted in Hos. 3:4,5 concerning Israel's state before their final
repentance. Azariah continued: " In those times there
was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in (an idiom
for the rulers), but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants" (2
Chron. 15:5). This is definitely alluding to Dt.
28:19,20: " Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in...and goest
out. The Lord shall send upon thee...vexation" (same word
in 2 Chron. 15:5). " Nation was destroyed of nation" (2
Chron. 15:6) must be alluded to in Luke 21:10 concerning the situation
in latter-day Israel. And - for the enthusiast - 2 Chron.
15:7 = 1 Cor. 15:58 - a certain latter-day application.
this was a detailed fulfilment of some parts of these prophecies is
well known and chronicled. Our Lord's quotation of Dt. 28:26 in
Mt. 24:28 (" thy carcases shall be meat unto the fowls of the air" ) is
confirmation of this.
We have laboured the previous fulfilments of the curses at
some length because each of the invasions referred to clearly points
forward to those of the last days. We can therefore
reasonably look for a specific latter-day fulfilment of Lev. 26 and Dt.
28. This would appear necessary anyway, seeing that the
sufferings outlined there lead to Israel's repentance - which has not
yet happened. Further, there are certain elements of the
curses which cry out for a latter-day interpretation rather than to
anything which has gone before.
The land of your enemies shall eat you up" (Lev. 26:38) implies that
Israel's enemies are to be seen as a beast. This sort of
language is quite common in the prophecies which speak of a latter-day
Arab beast (e.g. Is. 49:19; Joel 1:6). Joel's
likening of this invader to locusts (Joel 1:4) is perhaps based upon
the prophecy that " locusts shall consume (the land)...the fruit of thy
land shall the locust possess" (Dt. 28:38,42 A.V. mg.).
'Possess' invites us to see the locusts as representative of a group of
invaders. Following straight on from this, we read that "
The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high"
(Dt. 28:43). This surely begs for an application to the
Arab inhabitants of the [so called] Occupied Territories, who will no
doubt join in with the 'locust' invasions, dominating the Jews as the
Ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven
for multitude" (Dt. 28:62) is hard to convincingly apply to any
previous persecution - these have tended to be specific to one
geographical area in the past. From what we can ascertain,
the population of world Jewry has not fluctuated previously in the
dramatic fashion which this verse implies. There must
therefore be a world-wide persecution of Jews for this to come
about; this opens up the prospect of America and Britain
systematically exterminating them, or, alternatively, deporting them to
Israel or their Arab enemies. This could easily come about
by the Arabs tugging at the oil noose which they have around the West -
perhaps by enforcing them to accept a nominal form of Islam if they
want regular oil supplies?
material prosperity of Israel, particularly the fertility of the land,
was to be cursed if they disobeyed God (Dt. 28:16-18). If
this has a latter-day application, it follows that Israel must first
have returned to their land in the last days and become prosperous
before it can happen. This is exactly the position
today. Their trust in " thy high and fenced walls" (Dt.
28:52) would have its latter-day equivalent in Israel's trust in its
superior (nuclear?) military deterrent.
curses to come upon Israel as a result of the Arab invasions are
described in terms which are extremely apposite to modern
warfare. The plagues to come upon Israel as a result of the
invasions are almost impossible to identify with anything presently
known: " a consumption... a fever... an inflammation... an
extreme burning... blasting... the burning ague that shall consume the
eyes" (Dt. 28:22; Lev. 26:16) all seems to echo the language of
nuclear fall-out. " They shall be burnt...and devoured with
burning heat, and with bitter destruction" (Dt. 32:24) is similar.
The release of complex chemical weapons, as well as nuclear
detonation, would explain why rainfall patterns will be interrupted
during this holocaust (Dt. 28:23). The fall-out from such
weapons would create the murderous rain of dust upon the land which Dt.
28:24 speaks of: " The Lord shall make the rain of thy land
powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until
thou be destroyed" .
is twice emphasized that those in the land would suffer blindness (Dt.
28:28,29). This has not yet happened; the context
invites us to read this as literal rather than figurative.
We know that the Arabs who attack Jerusalem will both fight each other
and have their eyes rot in their sockets (Zech. 14:12), the implication
being that they use their nuclear missiles against each other as well
as against Israel. Their earlier use of these weapons would
account for this blindness coming upon Israel, and again we see the
principle that what the Arabs do to Israel will be inflicted upon them.
As Israel were punished with the curse of infighting (Is. 9:19), so the
Arabs will be. As Israel will experience a great earthquake (Ez.
38:19), so will their enemy Babylon (Rev. 16:18,19); indicating that
'Babylon' will then be present in Israel? For other instances of the
punishments upon Israel coming upon her latter day enemies, see Joel
3:6,8; Ez. 6:5 cp. 39:15.
present development of nuclear weaponry which inflicts highly local
damage (as opposed to the bombing of Japan in 1945) indicates the
likelihood of these suggestions. Israel having " emerods" ,
i.e. cancerous growths (Dt. 28:27), would then also be due to such
weapons being used. Previous fulfilments of this are hard
to see. It must also be significant that " I will make your
cities waste" (Lev. 26:31), uses a Hebrew word which means
'wasted by intense heat' - i.e. nuclear fission?
are a number of other hints at nuclear activity in other latter day
prophecies which we will present at this point:
The towers shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground" (Ez.
38:20 A.V.mg.)- exactly as happens in the wake of a nuclear explosion.
These words correspond almost exactly with eye-witness accounts of
Hiroshima's destruction in 1945. Compare Is. 25:4 " The heat, the
blast...as a storm against the wall" .
Pillars of smoke" (Joel 2:30) is literally 'palm trees' of smoke
(Hebrew)- an allusion to the mushroom cloud?
The invading " northern army" will be driven " into a land barren and
desolate" (Joel 2:20). The Hebrew root for " desolate" means to be
stunned or numbed. A nuclear wilderness somewhere in the Middle East
could certainly be called a numbed and stunned land.
The latter day Assyrian will be destroyed with " fire (that) shall eat
thee up like the cankerworm" (Nah. 3:15). Apart from nuclear, which
other form of weaponry kills people by a mixture of intense fire and
also cancer? This may speak of the Arabs using their weapons on each
other. Likewise the destruction of Moab by Babylon in the last days is
described in language which has nuclear hints: " They (of Moab) that
fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force:
but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame
" (Jer. 48:45).
The massive scale of destruction spoken of as occurring in the last
days will be hard to achieve by the use of conventional weapons. The
damage to the natural world which is prophesied rather precludes this:
" I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven,
and the fishes of the sea...and I will bring distress upon men, that
they shall walk like blind men" (Zeph. 1:3,17; cp. men's eyes melting
away in their sockets in Zech. 14:12).
The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven
(the sky) shall it come down upon thee" (Dt. 28:24) has never yet been
fulfilled. Nuclear fallout would exactly fit the bill. Likewise Is.
29:6, describing the invasion of latter day Babylon / Assyria, has yet
to be accurately fulfilled: " Thou shalt be visited of the Lord of
Hosts with...great noise, with strom and tempest, and the flame of
devouring fire" .
The prophecies of Israel's latter day holocaust in Is. 24 and 25 are
full of connections with Revelation and the Olivet prophecy. They have
many references to a desolating of the land of Israel which may have
more than a figurative application: " The Lord maketh the land empty,
and maketh it waste (a reversal of creation)...the land shall be...
utterly spoiled... the land mourneth and fadeth away...the land is
defiled...therefore hath the curse devoured the land...the inahbitants
of the land are burned...as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with
the shadow of a (mushroom) cloud" . There are several references in the
prophets to the land of Israel being defiled by God's judgments; it
would be appropriate, in the light of this, if the land was physically
contaminated in the last days. There is a strong Biblical connection
between the land and people of Israel (e.g. " the land rested from war"
, Josh. 11:23, means the people did). The utter moral defilement of the
people may therefore be physically expressed in the state of the
land. Thus Ezekiel's descriptions of a fertile and prosperous land are
in the context of this being the outcome of a spiritual revival
of Israel. The 'blossoming' of Israel's land since 1948 is not,
therefore, a fulfilment of such prophecies (unless there has been an
unperceived repentance of a minority).
The latter day invasion from the Euphrates (i.e. geographical Babylon)
will result in men being killed by fire, smoke and brimstone (Rev.
9:14,18)- nuclear language?
Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (Rev.
13:4) will be the world's reaction to the Arab beast of the last days.
Seeing that the West has nuclear weapons, this could imply that the
Arab beast either deprives them of their weapons (an Arab
dominated and more politically powerful UN could achieve this), or that
a new paradigm of weapons, worse than nuclear, are possessed by the
beast and used to hold the rest of the world to ransom.
Chapter 8 we mentioned the possibility of Israel's latter-day
persecutors using similar techniques to those of the Nazis during the
second World War. There are certainly a number of word
pictures among the curses which recall the scenes of Nazi death
camps. " They shall fall one upon another...when none
pursueth" (Lev. 26:37 [i.e. not in military conflict]), creates the
picture of mass extermination. Their enemy " shall put a
yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee" (Dt. 28:48)
is surely the language of slave labour camps, working the Jews until
they drop dead. The words of Dt. 28:66,67 were clearly true
of the Nazi persecution: " Thou shalt fear day and night...in the
morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt
say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith
thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see" .
Israel's final holocaust will be greater than that of the 1940s;
therefore there must be a similar system of death camps and mass
extermination in the Arab countries around Israel, where they will be
It should be noted that the record of the curses in Lev. 26
splits them up into six sections, each introduced by a phrase like, "
If ye will not for this hearken unto me...then..." more curses would
come (Lev. 26:14,18,21,23,27,36). It is tempting to
associate this with the series of six judgments to be poured upon
Israel and the Arabs as outlined in the six seals (Rev. 6) and six
vials (Rev. 16), leading up to the seventh period, of Israel's
repentance and Christ's Kingdom. There are many other
points of contact between the curses and the language of the seals and
implication of this is that there are at least six periods of God's
appeal to Israel to repent through their trials, which they will refuse
to accept. " If ye will not for all this hearken
unto me" (Lev. 26:18) may suggest that God's word will be spoken to
Israel along with the trials. This again indicates that the
Elijah ministry will operate within Israel during their period of Arab
downtreading. " If ye will not be reformed by me"
(Lev. 26:23) uses a Hebrew word elsewhere translated 'to teach',
defined by Strong as 'to chastise by words'. This provides
further confirmation of the idea.
is a tremendous emphasis upon the mental torment which will come upon
Israel due to their persecution. This is necessary to
appreciate because it will be an important precondition for Israel's
their holocaust, Israel will experience intense " terror" (Lev. 26:16),
which would be enough to kill them (Dt. 32:24). This
extraordinary level of paranoia will be modelled upon that of Jacob as
he faced Esau - representing Israel's confrontation with the Arabs in
the last days (Jer. 30:5,7). This state of fear will result
in many Jews going to live in Jerusalem, as happened during the
Babylonian and Assyrian invasions (Jer. 35:11). Ezekiel had
prophesied of this time: " Terrors (an intensive plural - i.e.
'the one great terror') by reason of the sword shall be upon my people"
(Ez. 21:12). Likewise our Lord spoke of " fearful sights"
being seen in latter-day Israel (Luke 21:11).
fear will be true medical paranoia: " I will make thee a terror
to thyself" (Jer. 20:4) because of Babylon's invasion; " ye shall
flee when none pursueth you...I will send a faintness into their
hearts...the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them" (Lev.
26:17,36). " I will bring the land into desolation"
(Lev. 26:32) uses a Hebrew word which implies stupefaction by
fear. This paranoia will be associated with a manic depression
which will have its roots in a chronically bad conscience towards God,
going back thousands of years to their national childhood: " I
will...cause sorrow of heart...they that are left of you shall pine
away in their iniquity...and also in the iniquity of their fathers
shall they pine away" (Lev. 26:16,39). Note how the land will
be brought into this mental desolation. Frequently the land of Israel
is paralleled with the people (e.g. Jer.19:14 cp. 26:17). The intense
desolation of Jewry will be reflected physically in the state of their
connections between the record of Job's experience of depression and
those curses upon Israel (1) gives us a cameo of
latter-day Jewry's position. This 'confusion of mind' (Deut.
28:20, Hebrew), " madness...and astonishment of heart" (Dt. 28:28)
will, not surprisingly, result in a complete collapse of leadership
within Israel (Dt. 28:19), resulting in them fleeing a disorganized
seven ways before their enemies (Dt. 28:25). There is a
sharp contrast between this and Israel's present nonchalance.
such an intensely confused and paranoiac state of mind will come upon
Israel, is reflected by the emphasis upon how a similar mental
condition will afflict their Arab enemies, who will experience what
they brought upon Israel. Such fear and terror will come
upon the Philistines (Zech. 9:5), the allies of latter-day Babylon
(Rev. 18:10,15; 11:11), Babylon herself (Is. 21:4), and Israel's
other Arab enemies (Isa. 19:17; 33:18, Hebrew).
following verse-by-verse notes bring out a few more details:-
Lev. 26:16: " I will even appoint over you terror" uses a
Hebrew word which appears elsewhere concerning appointing officers over
a land (Gen. 41:34), implying some form of Arab rulership over Israel
during the desolation period. Likewise Dt. 28:45 warns that
" these curses shall come upon thee... pursue thee and
overtake thee" , as if the curses are to be equated
with the invaders.
" Ye shall sow your seed in vain...your strength shall be spent in
vain: for your land shall not yield her increase" (Lev.
26:16,20), not only confirms the many other hints that Israel's
physical fertility will be ruined during this period, but also suggests
that Israel will make a major effort to be agriculturally
self-sufficient in the holocaust. This may indicate a
world-wide trade embargo against her, or an Arab blockade which the
West refuses to challenge.
- " I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall
rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle" (Lev. 26:22 cp. Dt.
28:31) speaks of the Arab raiding of Israel rather than direct
occupation during the desolation period. These " beasts of
the earth/land" (Dt. 28:26) must refer to the Arab nations within the
earth/land promised to Abraham. If these are the nations
involved in the desolation period, then the mention of North African
Arabs in Ez. 38:5 would suggest that the invasion there spoken of has
an application to the final Arab onslaught against Jerusalem.
use of cattle-raiding language in Ez. 38:12 would then show that these
other nations think that they will grab some of the spoil which the
nations around Israel have helped themselves to.
The reference to Israel serving the gods of the nations to whom they
are carried captive (Dt. 28:36), gods which their ancestors abhorred,
may refer to some accepting Islam. Indeed, Dt. 31:29 suggests that in
the latter (Heb. end) times, Israel will specifically " do evil in the
sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your
hands" . This is the language commonly used concerning Israel's worship
of the idols of the surrounding lands; if they are to specifically do
this in the time of the end, it would seem reasonable to guess that
this may refer to an acceptance of Islam.
" I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours" (Lev. 26:31) refers
to the incense of prayer not being responded to. As can be
imagined, there will be much Jewish prayer in the last days, but the
majority of Israel will fail to accept that it is faith in Christ's
mediation of prayer, rather than the mental intensity of supplication,
which brings a response. Spiritual Israel may have to
re-learn this lesson at the same time.
terrible catalogue of curses now leads on to its glorious climax:
" them that are left alive of you...shall fall when none
pursueth...fall one upon another (in death camps? or is this the
language of Gehenna?)...and they that are left of you...shall confess
their iniquity" (Lev. 26:36-40). This clearly demonstrates
how the whole of Jewry will be destroyed apart from this righteous
remnant - and that even they will be a remnant of a
remnant. This accords with our previous conclusions, that
there will be a group within latter-day Israel who associate themselves
with the remnant, but who do not fully repent. They may
well meet their final curse in the (temporary) fires of Gehenna,
outside the city of their refuge.
repentance of the diaspora
26 and Dt. 28 speak largely, although not solely, of the position
within the land of Israel. There is ample indication that
there will also be a repentant remnant amongst the present diaspora,
and also those who will be taken from Israel into neighbouring Arab
prayer at the dedication of the temple is shot through with allusions
to the curses upon Israel just considered:-
1 Kings 8
Curses Upon Israel
Lev. 26:17; Dt. 28:25
Lev. 26:16; Dt. 28:21
:37 " cities"
Dt. 28:52 (same word)
Lev. 26:34,44; Dt. 28:36,64
Lev. 26:40; Dt. 30:1
evident modelling of Solomon's prayer upon Lev. 26 and Dt. 28,
indicates that it must be given some application to the last
days. Its constant appeal for Israel to look back to the
temple during their dispersion on account of sin, and to seek
forgiveness through praying to God with it in mind, points forward to
how latter-day Israel must look to Jesus, the true Temple in whom God's
Name fully dwells. Solomon stresses the need for Israel to
pray for forgiveness during their dispersion (1 Kings 8:28,38,45,49),
again showing how the repentant remnant of the last days will be
characterized by intense prayer.
response to this, God will " forgive, and do, and give to every man
according to his ways" (1 Kings 8:39). This is quoted in
Rev. 22:12: " I come quickly...to give every man according as his works
shall be" , having reference to the Lord's 'return' in both A.D. 70 and
the second coming. It is therefore fitting that the source
of this quotation is also in a last days context. The
implication of these two passages is that the Lord's second coming will
be in response to Israel's repentance.
prophecy of the diaspora's final repentance is further evidence that
Israel must be taken captive into the neighbouring Arab states in the
last days, and that due to this experience a remnant will
repent. " They shall bethink themselves in the land whither
they were carried captives (language irrelevant to the present
diaspora), and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of
them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done
perversely" (1 Kings 8:47).This verse is one of those in Solomon's
prayer which Nehemiah alludes to in his prayer of repentance, spoken
Passages alluded to
" Let thine ear now be
attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy
servant,which I pray...and confess the sins of... Israel, which we have
sinned...remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandest thy
servant Moses... If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad... but if
ye turn unto me... yet will I gather (you) from thence, and will bring
them unto the place that I have chosen"
2 Chron. 6:40
1 Kings 8:29
allusions to Solomon's prayer and the records of Lev. 26, indicate that
Nehemiah's prayer has a latter-day application. The Jewish
captivity in Babylon therefore typified their future imprisonment in
'Babylon', the surrounding Arab states. True to type, there
will be a spiritual revival there, based upon the inspired words of
God's servants, as the writings of Jeremiah and Daniel were the
inspiration behind Nehemiah's revival.
20:33-43 provides more detail concerning the diaspora's
repentance. This passage is prefaced by Ez. 20:32: " That
which cometh into your mind shall not be at all, that ye say, We will
be as the heathen, as the families of the (surrounding) countries, to
serve wood and stone" . The next verses show that through
their regathering to Israel, this attitude will be ended - either by
death or repentance. It can therefore be taken as certain
that just prior to Israel's latter-day regathering and repentance,
there will be a period during which they try to assimilate into the
nations around them, not least by worshipping their gods.
It is easy to imagine how the Jews will try to mix themselves with
their Arab neighbours, accepting Islam to do so, in order to escape the
rigours which will come upon them in the period of extended Arab
dominance over Israel.
will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered"
(Ez. 20:34) uses a Hebrew word also translated 'to break to pieces',
recalling how the Arab feet and toes of the image are broken to pieces
(Dan. 2:40). The principle that the Arabs will receive what
they do to Israel, indicates that these " countries" where Israel are "
scattered" refer to the Arab states around Israel where the Jews will
be taken captive in the last days. Joel 3:2-4 prophecies a
latter-day Arab 'scattering' of Israel.
language of Ez. 20:34,35 recalls that of Eze. 20:10: " I caused them to
go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the
wilderness...I will bring you out from the people...and I will bring
you into the wilderness of the people" . Thus Israel's
leaving the physical persecution of Egypt and being brought into the
spiritual testing of the wilderness, will have its counterpart in the
Jews being led out of the lands of their Arab captors, to be
spiritually refined in " the wilderness of the people" .
will I plead with you" , suggests that this " wilderness" is a specific
country. There is good reason to think that this will be
Dt. 28:68 speaks of the final curses to come upon latter-day
Israel: " The Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again" .
Isa. 19:18-25 indicates that there will be repentant Jews in latter-day
At the time of Israel's repentance, God will " break the bands of your
yoke" (Ez. 34:27), using the language of their suffering in Egypt (Lev.
26:13). If they are literally delivered from Egypt, this would fit
" The wilderness of the people...the wilderness of the land of Egypt"
(Ez. 20:35,35) will be the place of Israel's final latter-day refining.
" The wilderness of the land of Egypt" (Ez. 20:36) rather than
'and' shows that we are to associate Egypt and this " wilderness" of
Israel are brought out from their captivity in Arab lands, figurative
'Egypt', into literal Egypt, which will be the figurative
'wilderness' of spiritual testing.
will " plead" with Israel in this figurative wilderness, " face to
face...as I pleaded with your fathers" (Ez. 20:35,36). God
pleading " face to face" with Israel recalls how He did this in the
literal wilderness through the person of Moses (Dt. 5:4,5;
34:10). This suggests that there will be a great prophet
with Israel during their time in Egypt. Whether this is 'Elijah'
or Jesus seems purposefully unclear, doubtless because it is impossible
for us to exactly fit the return of Christ into the sequence of
Hebrew for 'plead' does not necessarily imply an attempt to change
someone's mind, but more a pronunciation of judgment. Speaking of
the same time we read, " I will plead with thee because thou sayest, I
have not sinned" (Jer. 2:35). Thus the 'pleading' is in
order to highlight the extent of Israel's sins. Is. 43:26 implies
that such pleading is unnecessary if there is true repentance.
God's pleading with Israel mentioned in Ez. 20:35 is set in the context
of Ez. 17:20, which speaks of people being taken captive to Babylon and
being 'pleaded' with there by God, through the deprivations of
captivity, to recognize their sin. This would suggest that
Israel's removal into Egypt will still be under Arab control, although
manipulated by God.
this period, the unworthy amongst the diaspora will be eliminated,
probably at the same time in which the unworthy amongst the remnant
left in the land will be destroyed: " I will purge out from among you
the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring
them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not
enter into the land of Israel" (Ez. 20:38). The singular "
country" must be Egypt; it stands in contrast to " the countries"
(plural) of v. 34, where Israel are initially scattered.
Thus as the unworthy of natural Israel left Egypt but failed to reach
Canaan, so this will be literally true in the last days.
Some among spiritual Israel may have a like experience, according to
the typology of Lot's wife leaving Sodom but failing to reach salvation.
will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the
bond of the covenant" (Ez. 20:37) is shepherd language, hinting that
Jesus may be back on earth at this point. The picture of
the good shepherd counting the sheep under the rod shows the importance
of the exact number of the remnant. As it comprised 7,000
in Elijah's time, so we can expect the existence of a certain specific
number of truly righteous Jews to be the prerequisite for Israel's
final deliverance. Further evidence for this was given in
our comments on the marriage supper parable.
under the rod may be intended to connect with Lev. 27:32, which speaks
of the tithe of the flock as being whatever passed under the
rod. This could mean that only a tenth of the diaspora, or
those who go to Egypt, will finally enter the covenant. The
following points are worth pondering in this connection:-
" The virgin of Israel is fallen...the city that went out by a thousand
shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth (into captivity?) by
an hundred shall leave ten" (Amos. 5:2,3) shows that only a tenth will
survive the judgments spoken of.
" The cities (shall) be wasted without inhabitant (due to the
captivity)...but yet in (the land) shall be a tenth, when it is
returned, and hath been bruised" . (Is. 6:11-13 A.V.
mg.). This indicates that a tenth of those carried captive
by the latter-day Arab invaders will return after having temporarily
suffered (" bruised" ). These are the remnant - " the
holy seed" (Is. 6:13).
It is significant that a ten-man remnant would have saved Sodom (Gen.
18:32), representative of Jerusalem in the last days? (Is. 1:10).
of the greatest and most intense examples of human repentance presented
in Scripure is that of David. There are a number of connections between
the records of his anguish of soul and fulness of restored fellowship
with God, and the prophecies of Israel's latter day repentance. This
must be so that we can have some more precise picture of the extent of
Killed a lamb (2 Sam. 12:3)
Ditto for Israel
2 Sam. 12:11
The language of Dt. 28 about Israel's punishment in the last
2 Sam. 12:13
realization that the Law could
not save him, and subsequent
preaching of God's
righteousness to the world.
Ditto for Israel
See James and other studies (London: Pioneer, 1992).