Jeremiah 51:5: “For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the Lord of Hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” (spoken to the Israelites when they are warned by Jeremiah of the coming judgment of Babylon.)
Isaiah 54:7 “ ‘For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.’ ” (spoken by God to Israel.)
In fact, look at the whole chapter of Isaiah 54: (spoken to Israel)
And all of Isaiah 12 (spoken by Israel to their Lord after they come to faith)
Isaiah 11:12 “He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (This is not speaking of the Jewish return from Babylon in 500BC, since this verse speaks about a return from everywhere on earth.)
Jeremiah 33: As the Jews are learning of the soon to come Babylonian invasion, Jeremiah slips in promises of what will come after: “And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me. Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it” (:7-9)
But, in case you think the above verse only refers to the return of the Jews from Babylon in 500 BC, look also at these verses in Jeremiah 33, which speak of the coming of Jesus, and then the ultimate saving of Judah and Jerusalem:
“ ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.’ ” (:15&16)
Hosea 6:1-3 “Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord, His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
All of Hosea 14, especially 1&2 “O Israel return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; take words with you, and return to the Lord. Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.’ ” (:2)
Animal sacrifices would not be enough. Only words of true repentance would be sufficient.
And then, of course, Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said this, after the church had already been established:
9:27-29 “Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: ‘Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth.’ And as Isaiah said before: ‘Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah.’ ”
Yes, the nation of Israel, though then they will be just a portion of the total number of Jews who have ever lived, some day will be saved.
10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ ”
Yes, when Jesus came the first time a wonderful thing came out of a bad thing. Israel’s unbelief at that time opened the door for all, Jews and Gentiles, to experience believing in and knowing the Messiah.
10:19 “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.”
Somehow the nation which is not a nation, in other words, the church, will bring about jealousy in the hearts of Jews, as they see a people who are able to communicate with the God of the Jews, but the Jews, themselves, are not.
11:5 “Even so, then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
Within the church there have always been a few Jews who have, by God’s grace, believed in their Messiah.
11:11 “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.”
The church is right now being used, you might say, to provoke the Jews to jealousy, and thus bring the Jews to salvation…just as the Jews were used to bring salvation to the church.
The church is not the same as Israel. There are promises made specifically to Israel which God will of course keep. Israel is not gone from the care and touch of God. And when Israel finally does come to faith…how much greater will that be than anything up to that point in history?
11:15 “For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
The time of Israel’s belief will be the blessing of eternal life for the Jews, and the blessing of eternal life for even more Gentiles, completing what God started.
11:30-31 “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.”
When Israel was disobedient, Gentiles were blessed. When Gentiles are blessed, Israel gets another chance at mercy.
Now look at Zechariah, who saw how it would look when Israel finally came to faith – the whole nation:
13:1 “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.”
When will it happen? – when all the nations are gathered against Jerusalem
12:9 “It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
After two-thirds of the Jews have been destroyed, the final third will be the ones who, as a collective group, place their faith in their Messiah:
13:8&9 “And it shall come to pass in all the land, says the Lord, ‘That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it; I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’.”
And that brings us to Zechariah 12:10, Revelation 11:13 and Revelation 14:14, all three verses describing the same event. Hold on for one more minute as we remind ourselves of the drama that has unfolded up to this point in the Last Seven Years:
The Jews who have not yet believed in Jesus, scattered throughout the world…
- Have, like the rest of the world, seen anti-christ bring peace to a trembling world.
- They have seen him come to power and demand to be worshipped.
- Some of them fled from him when he came to power and began to pursue Jewish people, and God protected them.
- Some of them stayed behind, attracted to the anti-christ.
- They have seen the ferocious attacks against Christians by anti-christ.
- They have heard the testimonies and seen the power of the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem.
- They have gone through the great earthquake and somehow survived, perhaps realizing that those who called themselves Christians were suddenly gone from the world.
- They have heard the testimonies of 144,000 Jewish believers in Jesus who were left behind when the rest of the church was raptured.
- Many of them have realized that anti-christ, ruler of the world, is evil.
- Others have been confused, beginning to wonder if they have been wrong to trust anti-christ.
- The nations of the world are gathering outside of Jerusalem, preparing to attack, perhaps because of the Two Witnesses who cannot be stopped.
- Finally anti-christ accomplishes the silencing and murder of the Two Witnesses.
- They have watched those two dead bodies lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three days, not even given a decent burial.
- Sometime during those three days the Holy Spirit has used all the chaos and terror, and all the truth spoken during the Last Seven Years by persecuted Christians, 144,000 witnesses, and the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem…and He has broken down barriers of fear and unbelief and blindness in Jewish hearts…
- On the third day the Two Witnesses rise from the dead, in front of the whole world…and there is an earthquake in Jerusalem….
- And Jews in Israel and throughout the world, watching this transpire, are so ready! Their eyes are fully opened! They cannot help but see the hand of God, Jesus, reaching into their lives, offering faith and salvation.
Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me who they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn…”
Revelation 11:13 “In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
Revelation 14:14: “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, ‘Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.”
Jesus gathers in a harvest of belief – His people, the Jews, wherever they are in the world, finally come to faith in Him.