“Israel’s future guarantees our salvation.”
Amir Tsarfati began his sermon with these words while speaking a few years ago at Calvary Chapel Church in Kaneohe, Hawaii, JD Farag’s church. As I listened to his message and thought about his startling claim, I realized his assertion was totally correct.
In my book, The Triumph of the Redeemed, I wrote the following:
“Consider this: If God can break His covenants with such Old Testament champions of the faith as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, what does that say about His promises regarding our salvation? If God can renege on His unconditional promises to Israel, ones He repeated many times throughout the writings of the prophets and in the Psalms, what does that say about our security?” [i]
You might wonder how Israel’s future relates to our glorious hope in Jesus’ imminent appearing. Does its significance extend beyond our security as believers?
Yes, it does. Those who deny a restoration of Israel carry over their mistreatment of Scripture to New Testament passages referring to the Rapture and to the book of Revelation. And since they do not recognize any prophetic significance to Israel’s reemergence as a nation, they remain blind to the signs of the approaching seven-year Tribulation and fail to warn others of the approaching doom.
It’s for these reasons and more that I always begin my defense of the pre-Tribulation Rapture with the biblical teaching regarding the future restoration of Israel. Such biblical teaching validates our glorious hope in Jesus’ imminent appearing because it confirms the veracity of the prophetic texts supporting it.
As the foundations of our world crumble into dust, we need the encouragement that the Bible gives us regarding our anticipation of the Lord’s return for us. He is the anchor of our hope!
Every day, NATO and Russia creep closer to the start of World War III, which might have deadly consequences for millions of people. Many credible voices predict disastrous worldwide food shortages during 2023. A great many people in Europe and in Ukraine will die his winter as a result of the ongoing battle between Zelenskyy and Putin that has caused a shortage of the natural gas needed to heat homes. In addition, globalists continue their steady campaign of depopulation (click here).
Because of these perilous realities, we need the validation of our glorious hope, which begins with what the Bible tells us about the certain and future restoration of a kingdom to Israel.
1. The Father Cannot Break His Promise to His Son.
In Psalm 2:7-8, we read this promise of the Father to the Son:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.’”
The pledge of the Father to the Son in these verses verifies that there will be a reign of Jesus on the earth at a time when sin is possible, as evidenced by the need for the Lord to exercise severe discipline during His rule.
The context clarifies that this is a physical rule over the nations of the world, during which time Jesus brandishes a “rod of iron” and dashes the nations “in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9-10).
Psalm 2 cannot apply spiritually to the church age since Jesus never deals with believers in such a manner. Nor can it represent Jesus’ rule in the eternal state since sin is present.
The only possible fulfillment for the words of Psalm 2 is the future thousand-year rule of Christ, which we refer to as the millennium because of the repeated reference to a thousand years in Revelation 20:1-10.
2. A Future Restored Israel Maintains the Integrity of Scripture
One cannot deny the reality of a restored kingdom for Israel and at the same time interpret the prophetic words of Scripture in the way the authors intended them at the time they wrote them.
Zechariah prophesied about a time after Jesus’ crucifixion when a great number of the Israelites would repent and recognize Jesus as their Messiah. Using references in the context that cannot apply to anyone else, the prophet foresaw a time when Jacob’s descendants would recognize the One “they have pierced” as their true Messiah and weep, signifying their regret and repentance (Zech. 12:10-13:1).
Zechariah 14:9 later depicts the Lord as “king over all the earth.” This occurs in Jerusalem during a time when rebellion remains possible on the earth (see vv. 16-19). The prophet is not talking about a spiritual reign, nor can one apply these words to the eternal state since there’s again the possibility of disobedience and sin in the context. The words must refer to Jesus’ reign over the nations from Jerusalem.
If Scripture can mean one thing when written and have an entirely different sense at a later time, then we would no longer be able to trust it.
That’s why we must reject the retrofitting of God’s promises to Israel in order to make them apply spiritually to the church.
3. Consistency of Biblical Interpretation Refutes Replacement Theology
When Dr. David Reagan, Bible Scholar and founder of the Lamb and Lion Ministry, appeared on Jan Markell’s radio show, he explained how he came to believe in a future restoration of the nation of Israel. It happened as he noticed how Jesus literally fulfilled all the prophecies in the book of Zechariah related to His first coming. That led Dr. Reagan to conclude that there must be a literal fulfillment for the prophecies that remained unfilled regarding Israel and Jesus’ future reign.
The consistency of Bible interpretation demands that we apply a literal interpretation to texts that speak of a future restoration of Israel and reject the spiritualization of such texts.
Isaiah 9:6-7 shows how consistency of interpretation necessitates Christ’s millennial rule. Those who deny a future for Israel agree that Jesus fulfilled this passage when He came into the world as a baby in Bethlehem. However, they switch to a much different mode of interpretation and suddenly regard words in this closely-knit text regarding Christ’s future rule from the “throne of David” as merely symbolic.
If that is the case, why would the angel Gabriel repeat these words from this passage when he announced the Savior’s birth to Mary (Luke 1:32-33)? Why would he tell Mary that Jesus would “reign over the house of Jacob forever” if the passage in Isaiah is symbolic rather than literal? These words relate to a physical kingdom, which is the only possible way that Mary could have understood the words of Gabriel at the time.
4. The Sun Is Shining Outside My Office Window
Lest you think I’m crazy for including this as an argument for Israel’s future restoration, let me refer you to Jeremiah 31:35-40.
Those who subscribe to the errant teaching that God has replaced Israel with the church tell us that the descendants of Jacob no longer exist as a viable nation in God’s sight. The Lord Himself nixes such teaching in Jeremiah 31:35-36:
“Thus says the LORD,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
‘If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the Lord,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.’”
According to the words of the Lord, the continuing existence of the sun, moon, and stars tell us that Israel remains a nation in His sight. As if He anticipated those who would seek a faulty spiritual interpretation of these words, God added a physical description of places in and around Jerusalem, stating that after the city’s future restoration, “It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever” (Jeremiah 31:38-40).
So yes, the sun shining outside my window today confirms Israel’s continuing existence as a nation because the Lord gave us that as one of the signs of it.
5. Replacement Theology Opens the Door to Heresy
History demonstrates that over time, replacement theology leads to a further erosion of biblical truth, thereby opening the door to further doctrinal error. When one retrofits biblical texts in order to make the physical prophecies of a kingdom apply spiritually to the church rather than physically to Israel, it always erodes the integrity of God’s Word. Such teaching always, always leads to heresy over time!
The events of January of 2020 show how such denying a kingdom for Israel leads to further erosion of biblical truth. It was then that churches in Scotland and England, long immersed in replacement theology, disinvited Franklin Graham to speak due to his views on the LGBTQ agenda. Bryan Kerr, a Church of Scotland pastor in Lanark, said this, “Franklin Graham isn’t the voice of Christianity.”
Replacement theology, or amillennialism, always, over time, opens the door to heresy. Absolutely without fail.
The apostle Paul clearly stated that “God has not rejected Israel” (Romans 11:1-2). The proponents of replacement theology tell us that the Lord has rejected Israel. Can you see from just this one example how this errant doctrine erodes confidence in the words of Scripture and later leads to heresy?
6. God’s Covenant of the Land for Israel Remains in Effect for Israel.
God could not have made it any clearer than He did in Chronicles 16:14-16 and in Psalm 105:8-11. In these texts, the Lord states that His covenant of the Land with Abraham, Isaac, and the descendants of Jacob remains in effect forever. Why would God say it’s “an everlasting covenant” if he did not intend us to understand it “as an everlasting covenant?”
If the Lord says something is “everlasting,” it’s exactly that! It just doesn’t just go away because of bad behavior or reach fulfillment in some other mysterious way. The promise of the Land for the descendants of Jacob remains in effect because God assigns the words “everlasting” to it.
7. The Seventieth Week of Daniel Remains Unfulfilled
In a previous post, The Biblical Necessity of a Third Jewish Temple, I follow the thread of prophecies from Daniel 9:27 through the New Testament, demonstrating that Daniel’s prophecy regarding the desecration of a future Jewish temple remains unfulfilled. Please go to this post for a thorough argument as to why the seventieth week of Daniel, something exclusively for Israel, remains unfulfilled.
Since the antichrist’s sacrilege of the Jewish temple during this final week of years remains unfulfilled, the entire seventieth week of Daniel 9:24-27 must also await a future fulfillment. In other words, the full scope of God’s purposes for choosing Israel has not reached completion.
There must be a time when God’s attention returns to the descendants of Jacob. This alone makes it impossible for one to claim that God has replaced Israel with the church.
8. Jesus’ Response to the Disciples’ Question
In Acts 1:6, the disciples asked Jesus this question moments before His ascension; “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6)?
The Savior responded to their question with these words, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7)
Please notice that Jesus did not contradict, ridicule, or refute the premise of their question that He would restore a kingdom to Israel. Instead, He simply told his disciples they could not know the timing of this restoration as it was something the Father alone had “fixed by his own authority.”
In the Old Testament, the Lord repeatedly promised to “restore the fortunes” of Israel. The disciples had a firm scriptural basis for their question regarding the future restoration of Israel, one that Jesus did not refute or contradict.
9. We Have Witnessed Prophecy Fulfilled in Israel’s Existence as a Nation
Besides the above reasons, we recognize God’s hand at work in the miraculous emergence of Israel as a nation in 1948 and in God’s supernatural of the nation since that time.
Perhaps the most tragic error of those that promote replacement theology is that they remain blind to the signs of the time and don’t believe that we live in the last days. Those who deny the prophetic significance of Israel’s reemergence as a nation also fail to heed Jesus’ command that we watch for His coming.
They might say that Jesus can come at any time, but everything else they teach concerning eternity pushes it to a far distant time that they refer to as “the end of the age.” Sadly, they leave those in their audience totally unprepared for what’s happening in our world and tragically unaware of the nearness of Jesus’ appearing.
All this is to say that the Lord keeps His covenants with and promises to Israel. Likewise, Jesus will keep His promises to us and soon will catch us up to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Israel’s future restoration validates our hope as New Testament saints in Jesus’ imminent appearing. Just as God will keep His promises to Israel, so will He fulfill our hope of glory at His appearing.
The apostle Paul stated with great clarity that “God has not rejected Israel” (Romans 11:1-2). The proponents of replacement tell us that the Lord has rejected Israel. Who do you believe?
My book, The Triumph of the Redeemed-An eternal Perspective that Calms Our Fears in Perilous Times, is available on Amazon. In it, I provide much more detail regarding the absolute biblical necessity of a restored Israel and the refutation of the false teaching of replacement theology.
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[i] Jonathan C. Brentner, The Triumph of the Redeemed (Crane, MO: Defender Publishing, 2021), p. 43.