And The Promises

by Joseph Hunting

One of the most rewarding studies of the Scriptures that one can make is to trace the promises God has made to Israel commencing with His call to Abraham and the covenant made with him recorded in Genesis 12:3, and keep right on reading through to Malachi. Of course, this may take you some time, but it will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

For instance you will rediscover the mighty secret that has affected the destiny of nations, empires and individuals for the past 4,000 years. The promise given to Abraham and his seed: "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee" was just as true for Hitler as it was for Haman. The rise and fall of many nations and mighty empires may also be attributed to their relationship with Israel according to this promise.

THE GOODNESS AND SEVERITY OF GOD Just as God has promised to bless nations or individuals according to their attitude to Israel, so God has also promised to bless or curse Israel according to this people's attitude to Him. Read Deuteronomy 28 and then retrace Israel's chequered history over the past 3,500 years. Observe that when the nation resolved to follow God and observe His commandments they were a people singularly blessed. Joshua recognized this when he cried: "There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord has spoken unto the House of Israel, ALL CAME TO PASS." (Joshua 21:45)

Then shortly afterwards during the time of the Judges Israel sinned against God and the people suffered as His anger was kindled against them.

Men and women down the centuries have proved God's faithfulness to His promises as did Jepthah, Gideon, Deborah and Hannah in the period of the Judges, David and Jehosaphat in the Kingdom period and Ezra and Nehemiah in the restoration from Babylon. One could also include Theodore Herzl, Chaim Weizmann and David Ben Gurion among those in our own time whom God used, in spite of tremendous odds, to call Israel back to the Land after nineteen centuries of dispersion.

The miracle of Israel's second regathering has no parallel for magnitude during those nineteen centuries.

One of the great mountain peaks of prophecy regarding Israel's restoration to the Land is the eleventh chapter of Isaiah. In order to bring this prophecy into sharp focus it will be well to retrace briefly the nation's past dispersions and regatherings.

The first dispersion began in the year 721 B.C. when Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, put an end to the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel. Approximately 120 years later Judah and Benjamin were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar.

The first restoration commenced seventy years later when Cyrus King of Persia gave his famous decree: "Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me; and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people, let him go up." (II Chronicles 36:23) Thus the first regathering was established under Ezra, Zerubbabel and Nehemiah.

Six centuries later the second dispersion began when the Romans under Titus sacked Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. This dispersion was to extend over 19 centuries and the people were scattered like chaff before the wind to the uttermost parts of the earth precisely as Moses had warned them.

The Second Regathering of Israel, which began at the close of the last century is by no means complete. The present State of Israel is but a phase in the total scene portrayed by the prophet Isaiah who tells us of the second regathering of Israel with the Messianic era of peace and righteousness on earth. This prophecy is so startling in its revelation we shall quote it in full.


"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. And he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

"And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, THAT THE LORD SHALL SET HIS HAND AGAIN THE SECOND TIME to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and shall gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."

The world in which we live is so sick with wickedness in high places, man-made pollution which has now reached such frightening proportions that our way of life is in jeopardy, to say nothing of hatred and violence which erupt all too frequently that the Edenic conditions described by Isaiah when "the Lord shall set his hand the second time to regather the remnant of his people" seem further away than ever.

Isaiah specifically states that the world order shall be completely reversed at the time of the second regathering. But let us look at some of the unusual features associated with Israel's second return to the Land. Just prior to the rebirth of the State of Israel the most shocking and barbaric persecution that Israel has ever undergone accounted for six million innocent Jewish men, women and children and almost completely wiped out European Jewry in the fires of the holocaust kindled by the Nazis.

All the hatred and venom that Satan was capable of was poured out upon this defenceless people in what I believe was his desperate effort to prevent the long-promised second regathering. Who could have foreseen that the nation of Israel would arise out of the rubble of a destroyed Nazi empire? Who could have foreseen that the infant State would survive the savage attack by neighbouring Arab States in 1948? Who could have foreseen the amazing development of the Land in spite of four desperate attempts by the Arab States to wipe out the State of Israel? Israel's survival in the face of such odds is nothing short of a miracle.

The answer to the paradox of Israel's second regathering and the world conditions which are in such marked contrast to those described by Isaiah lies in the promise of Psalm 102: "Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come ... WHEN THE LORD SHALL BUILD UP ZION HE SHALL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY."

God's promises never fail. After nineteen centuries of dispersion, the tortures of Torquemada, the Crusader killings, the pogroms of Russia and the flames of the holocaust, the second regathering is a fact the nations of the world are acutely aware of. "THE SET TIME IS COME." I would like to have these words shouted from the rooftops. "FOR WHEN THE LORD SHALL BUILD UP ZION HE SHALL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY."

The second regathering of Israel and the second coming of Israel's King-Messiah are inseparable. In spite of man's mismanagement on this planet and in spite of everything that is so contradictory to the conditions described by Isaiah that are to accompany Israel's regathering God will honour His promise and He shall appear in His glory. And in that day the whole world order shall be reversed and the Edenic conditions described by Isaiah will have their fulfilment. Yes, indeed, "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."