The Return of His Holy NAME

"Thus says the LORD GOD: 'When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to my servant Jacob. And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgements on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know the LORD their God.'" (Ezekiel 28:25-26)

The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is a present-day fulfilment of the Word of God. Remarkably, their return signals several significant features. Firstly, the Jewish people will return to possess the land, despite the requirements of obedience. Secondly, their return will be a process. Thirdly, this process will include the Gentiles. Fourthly, the Gentiles will be judged according to their participation. Lastly, the Jewish people will finally know the Lord.

The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel has been an issue of many heated debates. Some argue that it is a political event manipulated by those in positions of power and influence. Others see it as an accident, the result of bad decisions made by leaders in the past, which have developed into nightmares for the present generation.

Many continue to speculate on the reasons why or how the Jewish people have returned to their ancient homeland, and why the State of Israel has been reborn after nearly twenty-five centuries. However, the Lord God of Israel declares, through His prophet, "When I have gathered . . . " . Therefore, let us make no mistake, it is God who is intimately and purposefully involved with Israel's return.

Previously, when Israel was in possession of the land they would enjoy continual residence and prosperity only if they continued to obey God. If they disobeyed Him, and refused to return to Him, then they would be removed from the land. Hence, they were scattered among the nations, as they are today because of their disobedience. Yet, the Lord clearly states, that He will gather them to the land, and the only prerequisite is that they have been scattered.

The return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, therefore, does not depend on their obedience to Him. It should be noted that they are not returning because they are more righteous. Nor is it because they have been shamefully treated by the Gentiles. But the Lord will gather them because of His holy name's sake.

"Thus says the LORD GOD: 'I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for my holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went . . . For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all the countries, and bring you into your own land.'" (Ezekiel 36:22,24)

The prophet, Jeremiah, also foretold of the present-day phenomenon. Notably, his prophecy revealed that the Jewish people would once again possess the land, as their fathers had before them.

"'For behold the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will bring back from captivity my people Israel and Judah, ' says the LORD. 'And I will cause them to return to the land of their fathers, and they shall possess it.'" (Jeremiah 30:3)

So then the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel is not so much a matter of how or why but when. Israel's return is not an accident, it is in God's appointment book, and He is bringing it to pass. Consequently, we witness today the promise being fulfilled as Jewish people continue to return to the land of Israel, from the lands where they have been scattered.

At various periods, throughout the centuries, the Gentiles have sought to persecute and harass the Jewish people. Sometimes the very survival of the Jewish people has been in the balance. Because the nations have shown little respect for the Jewish people this has resulted in the Lord's name being profaned. The Lord promised through His prophet that this issue would be addressed and the appropriate measures would be taken to ensure that His holy name is honoured.

Subsequently, the Lord has chosen to specifically use the return of the Jewish people to their land as the process to restore His holy name to its proper place. For the Lord declares that He will be " . . . hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles . . . " . His name will be esteemed by the Gentiles.

The nations, in fact, are to play a major part in the return of the Jewish people to their land. "Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, 'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel!'" (Jeremiah 31:7)

The nations can actively participate in the return of the Jewish people through their praise and declarations. These would be public announcements, followed by deeds affirming such positive outlooks. Ultimately, the Gentiles will benefit from announcing and demonstrating their solidarity with the remnant of Israel as they return and take possession of their ancient homeland. It is deemed a happy occasion, even a joyous event; for the Gentiles are expected to, "Sing with gladness for Jacob . . . " .

Just as the Lord promised through Ezekiel, so too, through Jeremiah, "I will bring them . . . and gather them from the ends of the earth . . . the blind and the lame, the woman with child and the one who labours with child together; a great throng shall return there." (Jeremiah 31:8)

Furthermore, the Gentiles are commanded to observe and are encouraged to celebrate this momentous event. "Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.' For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he." (Jeremiah 31:10-11)

Those nations who willingly participate in this way will prosper and benefit. The nations who are positively active in supporting the Jewish people's return and their possession of the land will be blessed.

Conversely, if a nation chooses to be negative toward or looks unfavourably on Israel's return and possession of their land, then it will be to that nation's detriment.

Sadly, the nations display this negative attitude toward Israel today. Notice the response of the United Nations and international leaders when an issue regarding Israel's possession of their land is raised. The scales of justice seem to be always tipped against the Jewish people. Also, notice the response of the nations when terrorists attack Israel. Invariably the nations are silent or indifferent. And when they speak out it is to rebuke Israel for their survival policies. This is sad indeed. The future does not look good for those nations that demonstrate such a negative disposition toward Israel.

Remember, it is God's name which is at stake, and He has specifically chosen to restore the holiness of His name through the restoration of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. He promised it would happen, and it is.

According to the promise, Israel will eventually dwell safely in the land but only, " . . . when I execute judgements on all those around them who despise them." (Ezekiel 28:26) The nations have a choice. They can either rejoice and work favourably with Israel returning and possessing the land, in which case they will be blessed and prosper. Or they can be negative toward Israel, in which case they will suffer judgement and hardship. In the end, it will make no difference to the Lord – the holiness of His name will be restored.

In the meantime, Israel will bear the brunt of the tirade of violence that is yet to be unleashed by the Gentiles. Remarkably, the Lord will use the nations' indifferent and hostile behaviour to bring His people to Himself, because, though Israel has returned to the land, they have not yet returned to Him.

According to Hosea the prophet, the Lord awaits their return. "I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their offence. Then they will seek my face; in their affliction they will diligently seek me." (Hosea 5:15) He longs that " . . . they shall know that I am the LORD their God." (Ezekiel 28:26)

At that time, Israel will reach the depths of their greatest despair, known as the time of Jacob's trouble. It is then, that, as a nation, they will look unto Yeshua the Messiah, and confess their sin, acknowledging that He is their King (Zechariah 12:9-10).

Then the Messiah will come to deliver His people, according to Zechariah, the prophet, "Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. And in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east . . . Thus the LORD my God will come and all the saints with you." (14:3-5)

When the Lord comes in His glory, He will judge the nations according to how they have treated Israel and on the basis of their involvement in, and support for the partitioning of the land of Israel. " . . . When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgement with them there on account of my people , my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up my land." (Joel 3:1-2)

In conclusion, Israel's return to possess their land has begun the process by which the Lord will restore the holiness of His awesome name. Those nations who positively support Israel will, in turn, be blessed. Those nations who despise Israel's return and who choose to oppose their possession of the land will reap judgement – the sanctity of the Lord's name depends on it.