All prophetic truth revolves around the Jews. The Bible reviews their history and unfolds their future. The future of the world will be affected by the future of the Jews (see Israel).
It is impossible to grasp God’s prophetic plan apart from an understanding of His promises to Israel.
The Jews have enriched all nations in which they have settled because of God’s promise to Abraham (Genesis 12:2), yet no people have suffered so consistently as have the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Mark Twain once wrote, “Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. His commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in every field is also out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers … and he has done it with his hands tied behind him” (see Deuteronomy 28:37). Although he is such a contributor, the Jew himself is unwanted, often persecuted. Why this “blessing and cursing” (see Deuteronomy 28:65-67, 30:19, 20)? God has always kept His promises to His people (blessing), but has always warned what would happen to them if they turned away from following after Him (Deuteronomy 28:45-48).
God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:2, 3 that He would make of him a great nation. He would bless those who blessed his descendants, curse those who cursed them, and all the world would be blessed because of them. He also promised them all the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8). The boundaries of this promised land are found in Genesis 15:18-21.
Since Daniel’s interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the Jews have been awaiting a Messiah (Saviour) to deliver them and set up His kingdom on earth, reigning from Jerusalem (Daniel 2:44). Daniel 9:24 pointed out when He would come and that He would be rejected by the Jews. This is exactly what happened. Precisely 483 years to the day, after the issuing of the decree to build Jerusalem, the Messiah came riding into Jerusalem as had been prophesied (Zechariah 9:9). (The final 7 years totaling and fulfilling 490, account for the time of the Tribulation, Daniel’s Seventieth Week.) Messiah, the Prince, Jesus Christ was rejected by His people. He was cut off (crucified), but not for himself; He died for others. At that moment, the prophetic clock stopped as far as Daniel’s vision is concerned and 70 years later the Jews were dispossessed of their country and scattered throughout the world.
Following their rejection of Messiah, the Jews entered upon their longest period of suffering and persecution. For centuries, Jewish blood has been spilled across Europe and other parts of the world from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. on through Hitler’s ovens in 1945. The Jewish ability to remain a people apart while scattered throughout the world is another evidence of the divine plan.
Through the death of Christ, the wall between Jews and Gentiles was broken down and they now become brothers, or one in Christ at the moment of new birth (Ephesians 2:13-15). Jews can be reconciled to God on an individual basis just as Gentiles can (Colossians 1:20-22).
The same Word of God that announced their dispersion guarantees their return to the land God promised them (Jeremiah 31:10,11) and Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones in chapter 37 was prophetic of what happened in 1948 when Israel finally became a nation. This began the prophecy of the desert blossoming “as a rose” (Isaiah 35:1) and the budding of the fig tree in Matthew 24:3234, heralding the “generation” that would live to see “all things fulfilled?’
However, the Jews cannot rest yet; they must be ever vigilant as there is much hostility around them. One day they will sign a peace treaty with many nations. It will be an agreement intended to last for seven years (Daniel 9:27). At that point the Tribulation period will begin (see Daniel’s Seventieth Week; Jacob’s Trouble, Time of; Tribulation).
Daniel’s vision and seventieth week will resume for the Tribulation. It must be remembered that the Tribulation is especially related to Israel. Once this truth is established, all confusion about the time of the Rapture disappears. The return of Christ for His Church marks the end of the Church Age, the parenthetical period, and begins the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (see Tribulation, Jacob’s Trouble). Shortly after the Rapture, there will be a remnant of Jews who turn to Christ. The initial number is 144,000, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel (Revelation 7:4-8). They will evangelize the world and a great multitude from all nations will be converted to Christ proving their faith by martyrdom.
Many Jews who do not turn to Christ during the Tribulation Hour will return to temple worship as in Old Testament times, including the sacrifice of animals (Ezekiel 40-48). It may well be that the erection of the Temple in Jerusalem will be a part of the peace agreement between the final world dictator and the Jews. Ultimately, however, Antichrist will take control of Jewish worship, declaring himself to be God and demanding worship from the Jews in their own Temple (2 Thessalonians 2:4) (see Abomination of Desolation, Matthew 24:15). After their betrayal by Antichrist, midway through the Tribulation period (Daniel 9:27), Israel will experience her final holocaust.
Russia will invade Israel at a time when war is not expected (Ezekiel 38-39) (see Russia). It appears this invasion will come about the middle of the Tribulation period (approximately three and one-half years after signing the peace treaty.
It seems that Antichrist will come to world power at that point in time as the extension of his dominion over all the earth seems to follow the defeat of Russia and the armies of the East (Revelation 9:16). However, the contrasting reality of divine protection of Israel will turn many Jews to their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, and great numbers will be called upon to seal their testimonies with blood.
Furious over the success of the 144,000 evangelists and bitter because many Jews have rejected his rule having turned to Jesus Christ, this dictator will announce a campaign to destroy the Jewish race once and for all. He will blame them for every ill on earth and summon the armies of the earth to the Middle East to destroy them and defeat their Messiah at His coming. Armageddon will end the rebellion of man as the enemies of the Lord are defeated (Revelation 19:11-21). Christ will finally bring peace to Israel and the world as the Saviour of men sets up His long awaited kingdom on earth. The Jews will dwell in peace in Israel, the land of their fathers (Ezekiel 36:28; Daniel 2:44) (see Millennium).
ISRAEL, CONVERSION OF
The national repentance and regeneration of Israel will finally take place at the close of the Tribulation (Jeremiah 31:33, 34; Ezekiel 11:19; Zechariah 12:9-13; 13:9; Romans 11:26, 27). This conversion prepares them to enter into the promised blessings of the millennial kingdom.
ISRAEL, DISPERSION OF (Diaspora)
The colonization of the Jews around the world, both voluntarily (1 Kings 20:34) and especially through deportation by conquering armies (Deuteronomy 28:64-67; 2 Kings 15:29; 17:6; Ezekiel 22:15; 36:19; John 7:35; James 1:1).
By New Testament times, it is estimated that more Jews lived outside of Palestine than in its borders. Note the number of countries represented at Pentecost as Jews returned for their festivities (Acts 2:9-11).
The miraculous return of Israel to her promised land after years of exile (Deuteronomy 30:3, 4; Isaiah 11:11, 12; Amos 9:14, 15). This prophecy began to be fulfilled with the Zionist movement in 1897. The rebirth of the nation in 1948 was certainly at least a partial fulfillment of this prophecy, but if the Lord should tarry His return, there will be time for many more Jews to return. When the Messiah appears, the prophecy will be fulfilled in its entirety (Romans 11:26).
Persecution has quite often been the means God has used to encourage the Jews to return.
All this information comes from Dr Van Impes book called Your Future An A-Z Index To Prophecy.