By Guest Contributor, David Silver, Out of Zion Ministries - https://www.outofzion.org/
(About the author: David Silver lives in Israel on Mt. Carmel. He is the director of OUT of ZION, a ministry taking the Gospel to the Jewish people still living in the former USSR. David also desires to fulfill his calling as a Messianic Jew, by being a blessing to the Church. He travels internationally teaching about the Jewish roots of true Christianity. He believes there needs to be a major change in this area before the Lord can pour out the full portion of His Spirit, and that this is a precursor to the return of the Lord. (Acts 3:21))
Numerous Bible verses prophecy the Lord’s plans and purposes for the nation of Israel. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, and Ezekiel all prophesied the scattering of the Jewish people. The same prophets subsequently followed that warning with the promise of a Divine re-gathering and restoration at the end of the age. The prophets also spoke of the Jewish people coming to faith in the Messiah.
The current restoration of the nation of Israel is the greatest miracle the world has seen since the resurrection of Jesus. This series of articles will study the birth, the dispersion and the on-going restoration of Israel, and will culminate with the more recent restoration of the Messianic community in the Holy Land.
Part Two: The Dispersion(s) of Israel:
If one wants to measure the incredible accuracy of the Bible, comparing prophecy to Israel’s history is the perfect vehicle with which to do so. The Bible revolves around God’s dealings with mankind and Israel is in the very center of the Lord’s redemptive plans and purposes. God chose Israel to be His royal priesthood, a Holy nation (Exodus 19:6) to be a light to all the other nations of the world. Israel’s destiny and calling was to be a shining example of how to live a Godly existence. Israel was created to be a nation of priests, prophets and evangelists. To preach repentance and thus to be a vehicle to bring redemption and salvation to the rest of the world.
This was high calling indeed and it was a case of ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’. Of course, The Lord knew man’s weaknesses and so gave the Israelite's as much assistance as He could. In the 3rd month of their journey, Moses and the people of Israel arrived at Mt Sinai. Moses was summoned to the top of the mountain, where the Lord gave the ‘Torah’. The Hebrew word ‘Torah’ is more accurately translated ‘instructions’, rather than ‘law’, as it has been referred to in the Christian world. The Torah instructions were God’s living standards for Israel and the Levitical sacrificial system was given as a means of making atonement for the transgression of these instructions.
The key scriptures regarding the dispersion of the Jewish people are found in Deuteronomy 28 Having made many incredible promises of blessing to Israel, conditional upon their obedience to His voice, (v1 –14) the Lord then issues a severe warning to Israel if she does not listen to the voice of the Lord (v 15). The threat of dispersion is made very clear in Deut 28:64 the Lord will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other and again in Leviticus 18:25 For the land is defiled; therefore I will visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it and the Land will vomit out its inhabitants
The first major dispersion of the Jewish people occurred in the time of the prophet Jeremiah (626 –585 BC ). The Lord explicitly warned the people of Israel through Jeremiah’s prophecies. Commencing in verse 1 the Lord speaks through the prophet to Israel concerning her idolatrous behavior. In verse 11 the warning becomes very explicit And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the King of Babylon for seventy years.
True to that word, in 586 BC the army of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, plundered Jerusalem and the majority of the Jewish people were captured and exiled to Babylon for exactly the seventy years that Jeremiah had prophesied.
Israel's Turbulent History From Moses to the Destruction of the 2nd Temple:
·1446 BC Hebrews Cross the Red Sea
·1406 BC Israelites enter Canaan
·1011-970 BC King David
·626 – 585 BC Jeremiah
·605-530 BC Daniel
·593-571 BC Ezekiel
·586 BC Fall of Jerusalem
·597-527 BC Babylonian Exile
·538-432 BC First Restoration
·432 BC - Between the Testaments
·26 AD John the Baptist
·26 AD Jesus minstry begins
·30 AD Crucifixtion & Ascension
·70 – 135 AD 2ndTemple destroyed,
Jerusalem sacked & the 2nd dispersion
In the previous article we learned that the covenant God made with Abraham was eternal and was not conditional upon Israel’s part. The Lord confirmed this in Jeremiah 31:35-36:
Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, …. If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.
When God warned Israel of the impending punishment, He made it very clear that this would not be Israel’s end. Jeremiah 30:11:
For I am with you, says the LORD, to save you; though I make a full end of all the nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.
(see also Jeremiah 4:27 & 5:18) After the seventy years had been completed, the Lord miraculously moved His hand and the Jewish people began to make their way back to their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel.
Unfortunately the Jewish people did not learn their lesson. The pain of the Babylonian exile was soon forgotten and they returned to their sinful, dis-obedient ways. The years between the return from the Babylonian exile, and the birth of Yeshua (Jesus) have been called ‘the time between the Testaments’. A time that God remained silent. The silence was broken when another Jewish prophet began to speak to Israel around the year 29 AD.
John the Baptist called Israel to repentance and prophesied of One who was coming who would be the Lamb of God. One whose blood would not only wash away the sin of Israel, but would wash away the sin of the world. Around the year 30AD, the short 3 ½ year ministry of Yeshua began. He was and is the greatest prophet of all and He re-iterated the prophetic warnings to Israel. ( see Luke 19:41-44)
As always, the Word of the Lord came to pass. In 70 AD the Roman army sacked Jerusalem, destroying the Temple and the 2nd major dispersion of the Jewish people began. This was to be a much longer time of exile than the first. It was to last for 1900 years and this time the Jewish people were scattered literally to the ends of the earth, but as we will see in the next article the words of Jeremiah 30:11 still applied and the Lord had His plans and His perfect timing to reach out His arm a second time to bring His people home. We will look at the miracle of Israel’s second restoration in the next edition.