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GOD’S SECOND PROMISE TO THE JEWS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Saturday Evening, August 19, 2006
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live…” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).


Last Sunday morning I preached on “God’s Promise to the Jews.” In that sermon from the first part of Ezekiel 37, verses 1-12, I focused on the words,

“I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:12).

I said, “Right now we are seeing the beginning of the fulfillment of verse 12. In the future, verses 13 and 14 will be fulfilled.”

With all the fighting and bloodshed in the nation Israel and the surrounding Arab nations, I feel that it is necessary for Christians to stand with the tiny nation of Israel, and the Jewish people in general. Therefore, this evening, we will see two simple reasons why every Bible believing Christian should support the Jews and the nation of Israel.

I. First, we should support Israel because God, in His grace,
is bringing the Jews back to their promised homeland.

Please stand and read verse 12 aloud.

“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:12).

You may be seated. The “graves” here refer to the “heathen” nations, as you can see from Ezekiel 37:21.

“Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land” (Ezekiel 37:21).

The Jews were driven out of their homeland of Israel in 70 A.D. by the Roman army, led by Titus. The Jewish people were scattered world-wide, but a few Jews remained in Israel throughout the following centuries. Thomas Sowell, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, wrote in a recent newspaper column,

      Most people are as uninformed about the history of the Middle East as they are about its geography [i.e. Israel is tiny, smaller than the state of New Hampshire]. Supposedly Jews took over the Palestinians’ homeland in order to create the state of Israel.
       But there was no Palestinian homeland. The whole region belonged to the Ottoman Empire until the Ottoman Empire was dismembered after its defeat in the First World War.
       Christians, Jews and Muslims had all lived in Palestine for centuries. In the course of carving up the Ottoman Empire to create new nations, the British set aside a small part of it for the Jews [on November 2, 1917, Sir James Balfour, then British Foreign Secretary, wrote the Balfour Declaration, which expressed the British government’s desire to assist in the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine]. After violent objections from the Arabs [Britain] stalled for years on letting this bit of land become an independent nation. Jews lived in Palestine long before there was a state of Israel and even before there was an Ottoman Empire. In 1939, Winston Churchill commented that Jews in Palestine “made the desert bloom.” The resulting prosperity of the area attracted both Jews and Arabs, including some Arabs whose descendants would later claim that Jews took over their country.
       After World War II and the Holocaust [Hitler’s attempt to exterminate the Jews], Jews seeking refuge turned to their promised home [promised by Britain’s Balfour Declaration] in the Middle East and battled the British [attempting to force them to keep their promise]…and proclaim the independence of Israel [unfortunately Churchill was out of office, and it was Clement Attlee’s liberal party that refused to recognize Israel. Churchill was a life-long supporter of Israel (cf. Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, volume VIII, pp. 439, 454, 557, etc.)]…Meanwhile, Arab countries urged Arabs living in Israel to leave before these countries’ planned attacks with the aim of destroying the new state [of Israel].
       It was the Arabs, rather than the Israelis, who created a massive Palestinian refugee problem. While Jewish refugees were absorbed into the general population of Israel, Palestinians in Arab countries were kept in refugee camps for generations – promised a right to return after Israel was conquered and the Jews displaced.
       After the most complete failure of the many Arab efforts to annihilate Israel in 1967, the Israelis took over lands of strategic value, such as the Golan Heights, in order to prevent them from being used in future military attacks. In all the years when these lands had been in the hands of Arab states, no one [i.e. no Arabs] made them a Palestinian homeland.
       But now it has become a fervent cause to force Israel to create a Palestinian state that the Arabs never created [themselves].
       None of this matters to those consumed by hate in the Middle East or those in the West wanting feel-good cease-fires, without bothering to think through the actual consequences (Thomas Sowell, “Hezbollah Just Waiting to Retaliate,” The Los Angeles Daily News, August 17, 2006, page 19).

The “feel good” politicians here in the West today make me think of Baldwin, MacDonald and Chamberlain of England in the 1930s, who thought they could make peace with Hitler. Today, men like them fail to see that there can never be peace with those whose stated purpose (in the Koran) is to destroy both Judaism and Christianity.

The Western world passed through World War I and World War II without the “feel gooders” learning that. You cannot appease those whose goal is to destroy you. We passed through the Cold War (World War III) without them learning it. We have now entered what Newt Gingrich has called, “World War IV.” Have the “feel gooders” learned their lesson? No. As Churchill said in his “theme” in the last volume of his history of World War II, “How the Great Democracies Triumphed, and so Were able to Resume the Follies Which Had so Nearly Cost Them Their Life.”

I have gone far afield in this point of the sermon, but I feel I needed to say what I said, or you will not understand the magnitude of God’s grace, overruling the depravity of man, and bringing the Jewish people back to their homeland in fulfillment of His prophecy,

“Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:12).

We should support Israel because God is bringing them back to their homeland, as He promised.

II. Second, we should support Israel because the Bible tells us
what God will do with the Jews in the future.

Please stand and read Ezekiel 37:13-14. Verse 12 is happening now. Verses 13 and 14 will happen in the future.

“And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord”
     (Ezekiel 37:13-14).

You may be seated.

There are two parts to this second promise of God to Israel. Both of them are future.

After God begins to bring the Jews back to the land of Israel, as promised in Ezekiel 37:12, He says,

“And ye shall know that I am the Lord…And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live” (Ezekiel 37:13-14).

This prophecy speaks of the future conversion of the Jews. And, as I said, it has two parts, or phases.

The first part of this promise will come during the Tribulation, a seven-year period at the end of history when the world will undergo intense persecution from the Antichrist, the final world dictator. The Scofield Study Bible says,

The great tribulation is the period of unexampled trouble predicted…and described in Revelation 11-18. Involving in a measure the whole earth (Rev. 3:10), it is yet distinctly “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7) [the time of Israel’s greatest trial], and its vortex [whirl of irresistible and catastrophic power…a whirlpool of catastrophe focused on] Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It involves the people of God [the Jews] who will have returned to Palestine in unbelief (The Scofield Study Bible, 1917, note on Revelation 7:14).

This Scofield note was written in 1917. It shows remarkable insight into the beginning of the Jewish return to Israel, starting in 1948. But it goes farther, showing the trouble they will experience in the Great Tribulation.

Yet in the future, in the midst of the great and terrible seven-year Tribulation, the Jews will experience an unusual spiritual revival. And in this revival 144,000 Jews will experience conversion to Christ in a remarkably short period of time. Please turn to Revelation 7:3-8. Read verse 3 aloud. An angel standing on the earth will say,

“Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”
     (Revelation 7:3).

Then 12 thousand of the tribe of Judah are sealed in their foreheads. And 12 thousand Jewish people from each of the other eleven tribes of Israel are sealed in their foreheads. Dr. James O. Combs said of this “sealing” in their foreheads, “Undoubtedly the Holy Spirit is involved here (Ephesians 1:13)” (James O. Combs, D.Min., Litt.D., Rainbows from Revelation, Tribune Publishers, 1994, p. 83). Ephesians 1:13 says of those who trust Christ after hearing the gospel,

“in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).

The best interpretation, then, is that these are 144,000 Jews who are converted through the work of God’s Spirit in their minds and hearts during the Tribulation period. That marks this as the first part of God’s promise in Ezekiel 37:14,

“[I will] put my spirit in you, and ye shall live” (Ezekiel 37:14).

Not only will these 144,000 Jews be converted to Christ and “shall live,” but they will do a remarkable work of evangelism throughout the world in a brief period of time. I believe that the 144,000 Jewish converts in the Tribulation are spoken of in Revelation 12:17, as those,

“which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

They are again spoken of in Revelation 14:3-4 as,

“The hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth…These are they which follow the Lamb [Jesus] whithersoever he goeth” (Revelation 14:3-4).

So, they are followers of Christ, and they testify of Christ (Revelation 14:4; 12:17). These converted Jews will evangelize the earth in a fearless flash of holy zeal, which will result in the conversion of

“a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (Revelation 7:9).

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb [the Lord Jesus]” (Revelation 7:14).

The zeal for evangelism in places like China, South Korea, and Southeast Asia today remind us of how many souls can be won to Christ in a short period of time by people who have soul winning as their main goal in life. The 144,000 saved Jews in the Tribulation will display an even greater zeal to win souls than those faithful witnesses in Asia today. Their zeal for souls will outmatch even the tremendous seven-day-a-week evangelism of Whitefield and Wesley in the First Great Awakening in the 18th century. They will absolutely burn themselves out winning Gentile souls, and the world will experience great revival, and huge numbers of conversions will occur under their evangelistic preaching and witnessing.

Oh, how I pray that many of our young people today will strive to enter in to Christ, and then burn as shining lights, winning souls and bringing them into our church. Let the sold-out, converted, soul-winning Jews of the Tribulation be your example – not some unconverted “church kid,” who fools around and isn’t zealous for the cause of Christ! The conversion of the 144,000 Jews in the Great Tribulation is the first part of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:14,

“And [I] shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live”
     (Ezekiel 37:14).

But there is to be an even greater fulfillment of this promise to the Jews later on. Please turn to Romans 11:25-27. Read it aloud.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:25-27).

When Christ “the Deliverer” comes back to this earth, He will take away the “blindness in part” of the Jewish people, “and so all Israel shall be saved.”

This does not refer to the rapture of true Christians, but to the return of Christ to the earth at the end of the Great Tribulation. Turn to Zechariah 12:10 for that wonderful promise. Please stand and read it aloud. God says,

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem [the Jews], the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10).

You may be seated.

This is a picture of real revival, when the lost Jews of “the house of David, and…the inhabitants of Jerusalem” come under deep conviction concerning their sin and their rejection of Jesus the Messiah. And when they are under deep conviction, they will “look upon [Him] whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him.”

That is the way any lost sinner is saved today. They come under conviction of sin. They look upon Him who died for them by faith. They mourn for Him until they are cleansed by His precious Blood. Look at Zechariah 13:1. Read it aloud as we stand.

“In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem [the Jews] for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah 13:1).

You may be seated. Of what does that speak? Very simply it speaks of I John 1:7,

“The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”
     (I John 1:7).

In that future day, when Jesus comes down to the earth after the Great Tribulation, the Jewish people will be under terrible conviction of sin, and will then see the truth of the gospel, that there is “a fountain opened to the house of David” for the Jews as well as the Gentiles.

There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.
Lose all their guilty stains, Lose all their guilty stains,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.
   (“There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood” by William Cowper, 1731-1800).

As our text said,

“And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live…then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:13-14).

“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Romans 11:26).

And they will enter into the glorious 1,000 year Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth!

What about you tonight? Has the Spirit of God been moving in your heart? Are you under any conviction of sin, however small? Do you know deep down inside that you should come to Christ? Why wait for these prophesied events to happen to the Jews? Why not come to Jesus now, and be washed clean by the fountain of His Blood? That precious Blood is available to you right now! As that old song put it,

Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?
Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?
   (“Why Not Now?” by Daniel W. Whittle, 1840-1901).

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“He is Coming Again” (by Mabel Johnston Camp, 1871-1937).


THE OUTLINE OF

GOD’S SECOND PROMISE TO THE JEWS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live…” (Ezekiel 37:12-14).

I.   We should support Israel because God, in His grace, is bringing
the Jews back to their promised homeland, Ezekiel 37:12, 21.

II.  We should support Israel because the Bible tells us what God will do
with the Jews in the future, Ezekiel 37:13-14; cf. Revelation 3:10;
cf. Jeremiah 30:7; Revelation 7:3; Ephesians 1:13; Revelation 12:17;
Revelation 14:3-4; 7:9, 14; Romans 11:25-27; Zechariah 12:10; 13:1;
I John 1:7; Romans 11:26.