The Resurrected Israel--Part 1
Apr 02, 2009
If a resurrected body is different from the present mortal body on a personal level, then it would be reasonable to say that the same is true of a national resurrection.
Ezekiel 37 speaks of Israel being resurrected from a "valley of dry bones." Verse 11 interprets this, saying, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel." In this prophecy, the two sticks--Judah and Joseph--were to be reunited, no longer two nations (37:22). It is prophesied in verse 24,
"And My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes, and observe them."
In other words, they will be true believers, following "David" (Christ, the "Son of David"). They will also be given a "Covenant of Peace" which is, of course, the New Covenant. So anyone who is NOT a true Christian believer will not be a citizen of this resurrected nation.
This is obviously not the Jewish state, which rejects Christ as well as the New Covenant. Certainly, their desire is not Peace, because they came to Palestine to conquer land, not to establish peace. Any talk of a future conversion to Jesus Christ remains to be proven one way or the other, but in no way can anyone claim that 1948 fulfilled this passage. If the Israelis were to be converted next year, and if they were to accept the divine law and reject the traditions of men, and if they were to seek peace with the Palestinians and their other neighbors--only then might Ezekiel's prophecy be fulfilled.
I do not believe this will happen, because prophecy indicates otherwise. And, of course, the Jews do not genealogically represent the house of Israel (Joseph), regardless of what they have called their nation. I discussed this more fully in The Struggle for the Birthright.
Ezekiel says that two sticks will be united--Judah and Joseph (37:16). Joseph was the holder of the birthright (2 Chron. 5:1, 2), even as Judah held the scepter (Gen. 49:10). When the nation split in two after the death of Solomon, the northern tribes retained the name Israel, because that name had been given to the sons of Joseph (Gen. 48:16)--not to Judah. Israel was the birthright name. Thus, in the split, Judah did not have the lawful right to call itself Israel, but had to settle for the name of the dominant tribe--Judah, or the house of Judah.
Later, when God brought captivity upon both nations for their sin, the Israelites were taken to Assyria, while the Judahites ("Jews") were taken to Babylon. The Jews returned 70 years later; the Israelites did not, nor could they, because God had divorced them and sent them out of His house (Jer. 3:8). Though hypocritical Judah was worse than Israel (Jer. 3:11), God could not divorce Judah, because Jesus had yet to born of Judah, and He could not be born illegitimately, outside of the national marriage relationship between God and Judah.
There were, however, two types of Judahites--one good, the other bad. These were represented in Jeremiah 24 as two baskets of figs. The good ones were those who submitted to the divine judgment and were cheerful in captivity; the bad ones grumbled and fought against the kings that had been appointed by God to rule them as part of the judgment.
The Babylonian captivity turned out to be longer than expected. Daniel's prophecies show that Babylon itself was just the first phase of captivity. It was the iron yoke phase of captivity, where the people were removed from the land and taken to Babylon. After 70 years, the captivity did not end, but it was lessened under Persia to a wooden yoke, where the people were allowed to remain in their own land under the authority of Persia.
After Persia, they were ruled by Greece, and later by Rome. By the time Jesus was born, many of the Jews had become "evil figs" once again. They chafed and grumbled under their Roman masters, often following false messiahs who claimed the calling to overthrow the Romans. None succeeded, but it did cause the Romans to oppress them further.
These two types of "figs" are seen in the New Testament as well. Jesus was a good fig, because He was the Messiah who actually submitted to the judgment of God and recognized Roman authority. The bad figs did not appreciate His attitude and rejected Him as Messiah. They preferred one who would overthrow the Romans, because they did not believe the prophets.
Jesus and His disciples, then, represented the good figs among them. In following the rightful Heir to the Throne of David, they were persecuted and eventually expelled from Judea. Though the Christians were in the minority, they were the true representatives of the tribe of Judah. This is why Paul says in Romans 2:28, 29 that the believers, having heart circumcision, were "Jews," while those with a mere outward circumcision were NOT Jews.
In other words, that which we call "The Church" is in reality the tribe of Judah. The original Christians were of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, but to them were added many other ethnic groups. These others joined the tribe of Judah by conversion to Jesus Christ. As "Jews," they became citizens of the Kingdom.
Those who revolted against the King of Judah were "natural branches" of a tree that had been pruned. Paul says in Rom. 11:19-21,
" (19) You will say then, Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. (20) Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your FAITH. Do not be conceited, but fear, (21) for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you."
This shows the impartial nature of divine judgment. "Natural branches" refer to Judahites by birth or genealogy. Genealogy did not spare them from being pruned from the "tree." Neither will genealogy spare anyone else, whether they are descended from genealogical Israelites in the dispersion or descended from other ethnic groups. The issue is FAITH, not genealogy.
This "tree," however, is not Israel, but Judah. There is a two-part plan that is not generally understood, because so many have been ignorant of the distinction between Judah and Israel. The fig tree of Judah was not the national resurrection of the house of Israel. It was the continuation of the tribe of Judah after it had been pruned back considerably.
This is also why Judah was not divorced from God. It was pruned as a nation, but not divorced. The Church (true Judah) remained married to God as the Bride of Christ. But this was only Part One in a two-part story. The New Testament events fulfilled the prophecies to Judah, but not to Israel. Judah had been given the Scepter and the calling to bring forth the King. That is why King David came from Judah; and it is also why Jesus was a direct descendant of David. When the tribe of Judah brought forth Jesus, it fulfilled the calling given to Judah.
Part Two of the divine plan is being fulfilled at this end of the age. No longer is it about Judah. The focus is now upon the house of Israel and Joseph's calling. When the house of Israel is resurrected to life, then both Judah and Joseph will be united under Jesus Christ. This prophecy cannot be fulfilled by the Israeli state, because (1) they continue to reject Jesus Christ; and (2) they are not the biblical house of Israel, either genealogically or spiritually.
Joseph was given the Birthright. Judah was given the Scepter. Both are necessary to fulfill the divine plan, but neither can claim the other's inheritance. This is why two comings of Christ were required to fulfill all things.
To be continued.
This is the first part of a series titled "The Resurrected Israel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones