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THE JEWS AND ISRAEL IN BIBLE PROPHECY

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, May 24, 2015

“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24).


Our text contains a promise that God repeated to the Jewish people over and over in the Bible. In the Old Testament alone there are at least 25 clear promises that God would gather the Jews back to their homeland, such as the one given in our text,

“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24).

The fulfillment of this prophecy is one of the greatest proofs of the accuracy of the Bible and the faithfulness of God. Have you ever met a Moabite, or a Hittite, or a Philistine, or an Amalekite? At one time these were all great nations. Today they are extinct. But the Jews exist today as a modern nation, with their own state of Israel.

Yet the Jewish people underwent the greatest persecution of any people on earth for nearly 2,000 years. In 70 A.D. the Romans entered Jerusalem under Titus and killed 1,300,000 Jews, and took many of those who remained alive into captivity, to Rome, where they worked as slaves to build the great Colosseum, which stands in ruins today. Jerusalem was plowed up like a field. This marked the beginning of the Jewish dispersion.

During the first and second centuries hundreds of thousands of Jews flocked to Babylon. By the year 200 A.D., an estimated 2 million Jews were there.

In the Roman empire, Emperor Constantine outlawed the Jews, cut off their ears, and dispersed them as vagabonds. During the 5th and 6th centuries many restrictions were placed on the Jews, and they were forbidden to hold public office. Many Jewish communities were attacked and thousands of Jews were killed.

In the 6th century about 60,000 Jews were slain, and thousands more were sold into slavery. In the 8th century, in Spain, they were horribly abused and persecuted. In France thousands of Jews were burned to death.

In 622 Mohammed founded the religion of Islam. When the Jews refused to join this new religion, most of them in Arabia were killed. Islam spread across North Africa, crossing Western Europe through Spain. The Muslims would have taken over all of Europe if they had not been turned back by Charles Martel and his army at the Battle of Tours in A.D. 732.

In the 8th century, the Muslim leader El Hakim ordered the Jews to wear bells, singling them out for persecution.

In the Middle Ages the German states considered the Jews to be slaves of the emperor, and they were outrageously taxed and persecuted. In most European countries they were prohibited from owning land, and they were not permitted to study at any of the schools or universities. All Jews were banished from England in 1020 A.D. During the Crusades the Catholics said, “Kill a Jew and it will save your soul.”

In the year 1298 thousands of Jews were killed in Europe. Then, in 1350, the Black Plague engulfed Europe, killing one fourth of the population. The Jews were blamed for the plague, and one half of all the Jews in Europe were murdered.

In 1353 all Jews were banished from France. Spain and Portugal also refused them entrance. Germany banished all Jews from Prague in 1560. In 1492 Spain forced 800,000 Jews into the sea. Most of them died from exposure or drowning.

In 1411 the Roman Catholic Church instituted the Inquisition. Tens of thousands of Jews died during the Inquisition. They were hardly considered to be human beings.

An estimated five million Jews were in Russia during the time of the Czars. In 1881 the head of the Russian Church began a policy in which one third of the Jews were to die, another third were to be forced to leave Russia, and one third were forced to join the Russian Church.

During World War I the Jews endured more suffering. The Russians sent thousands of them to Siberia as criminals. Pogroms against the Jews took place in Poland, Rumania, Hungary and in the Ukraine.

Most of the Jews in the world were living in Eastern Europe at the outbreak of World War II. It was Hitler’s goal to exterminate all Jews in Europe. During Hitler’s reign of terror six million Jews were massacred, with hundreds of thousands of them gassed to death in Hitler’s concentration camps. When Hitler was through six out of every ten Jews in Europe had been slaughtered.

Yet, in spite of centuries of the worst persecution of any people in the history of the world, the Jewish state of Israel was established in 1948! The former Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir said, “Millions of bodies were broken [in World War II], the Jews were buried alive, burned to death. But never has anyone been able to succeed in breaking the spirit of the people. We just refuse to disappear. No matter how strong and brutal and ruthless the forces against us may be, here we are.”

J. A. Clark said, “In the Museum in Cairo there is a stone of black granite with an inscription on one side. It was made in the days of the son of Ramses the Second, in about 1400 B.C. The Pharaoh related his victories on that stone. The inscription ends with these words, ‘Israel is annihilated. Israel will have no posterity.’ But that proud Pharaoh did not know that God said His people [the Jews] would remain as His witnesses throughout the ages! The Pharaohs disappeared centuries ago, but the Jews live on and on!” (source: Paul Lee Tan, Th.D., Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations, Assurance Publishers, 1979, pp. 635-637).

Frederick II lived from 1712 until 1786. As the King of Prussia he became known as Frederick the Great. He lived in a time of unbelief in the Bible. One evening he called out to those in his court, “Can anyone give me a strong argument for the existence of God?” The king’s chaplain replied, “The Jews, Your Majesty! The Jews are the greatest proof of the existence of God.” The chaplain’s answer indeed gave a great proof of the existence of God. God has kept His promise to the Jews. The preservation of the Jews, and the modern state of Israel, are the greatest proofs of the existence of the God who said,

“I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24).

I repeat, have you ever met a Moabite, or a Hittite, or a Philistine, or an Amalekite? At one time these were all great nations. Today they are extinct. But the Jews exist today as a modern nation, with their own state of Israel! I have been to Jerusalem and I know it is true!

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sing, for the night is o’er!
Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna for evermore!
Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna for evermore!
   (“The Holy City” by Frederick E. Weatherly, 1848-1929).

Sing it with me!

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sing, for the night is o’er!
Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna for evermore!
Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna for evermore!

Dr. M. R. DeHaan said that the return of the Jews to Israel is one of the greatest signs of the Second Coming of Christ. Dr. DeHaan said,

      For twenty-five hundred years the great majority of Israel, and for the past nineteen hundred years almost all of Israel, has been scattered to the four corners of the earth. The Israelites have been hated and persecuted, maligned and oppressed. Attempts at their complete extermination were tried over and over and over again, from the days of Haman to the present time. In spite of all these efforts, they have never perished. They are not lost among the nations, they retained their identity as a people, imperishable and eternal as the promises of God. Now [since 1948] this people, scattered among the Gentiles, has been suddenly reborn and established in their ancient homeland as an independent nation...For thousands of years men said, “God is all through with Israel, the Jews will never return as a nation again to the land of Palestine.” All of them have been proved wrong, because only God can be right. All of this had already been foretold centuries and millenniums before by the prophets of the Old Testament (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., “The Sign of the Jew,” in Signs of the Times, Kregel Publications, 1996 edition, pages 25-26).

In verses like this, God said,

“I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24).

In 1864, more than a hundred and fifty years ago, preaching on Ezekiel 37:1-10, great Spurgeon said,

      Israel is now blotted out from the map of nations; her sons are scattered far and wide; her daughters mourn beside all rivers of the earth...But she is to be restored “as from the dead.” When her own sons have given up all hope of her, then is God to appear for her...She is to be reorganized...There will be a native government again...a state shall be incorporated... “I will place you in your own land,” is God’s promise to them ...They are to have a national prosperity which shall make them famous...
      If there be meaning in words this must be the meaning of this chapter [Ezekiel 37]. I wish never to learn the art of tearing God’s meaning out of his own words. If there be anything clear and plain, the literal sense of the meaning of this passage – a meaning not to be spirited or spiritualized away – must be evident that...the ten tribes of Israel are to be restored to their own land...if there is meaning in words, Israel is yet to be restored (C. H. Spurgeon, “The Restoration and Conversion of the Jews,” The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1991 reprint, volume X, pp. 428-429).

Spurgeon spoke those words in 1864, eighty-four years before the return of the Jews and the restoration of the nation of Israel in 1948. How did Spurgeon know that would happen? He knew it because he believed the literal truth of our text,

“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land” (Ezekiel 36:24).

The Scofield Study Bible gave a prophecy similar to Spurgeon’s in 1917. The Scofield note says, “Israel is now in the...dispersion, from which she will be restored” (The Scofield Study Bible, 1917, Oxford University Press; note on the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15:18, p. 25). Thirty-one years later, in 1948, the Nation of Israel was restored, just as the Bible said it would be!

But there is a second promise. It is in the next verse after our text, in Ezekiel 36:25-27.

“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

Dr. Alden A. Gannett said,

Israel is to be regenerated [born again]...This spiritual rebirth sounds incredible in this day of Israel’s continuing unbelief; nevertheless, Jehovah has promised that he will perform it. This is enough (Alden A. Gannett, Th.D., “Dry Bones Coming Alive” in Prophecy and the Seventies, Charles L. Feinberg, Th.D., Ph.D., editor, Moody Press, 1971, p. 174).

Back to the present. The Bible makes it clear that those who curse the Jews will be judged. God said, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Genesis 12:3). That has held true since the beginning of time.

In the May issue of Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, Lt. Gen. (retired) Jerry Boykin gave a warning to President Obama. He said, “If we curse Israel, there is a huge price to pay for it.” Jonathan Cahn told Decision, “The White House has attacked Israel’s leader publicly, incessantly and mercilessly...and has threatened to withdraw its support of Israel in the United Nations. Combine this with America’s deepening apostasy from God and it becomes ominous – for America” (Decision Magazine, May 2015, pp. 11, 9). Those are not idle words. They are recorded in Billy Graham’s famous magazine. These men think God may allow America to be judged fatally for turning against Israel in these troubled times. That may well be the reason America is not spoken of, or even alluded to, in Bible prophecy. America may no longer be a world power! 

This much is sure – we live in troubled times. As the song puts it, “In times like these, you need a Saviour.” Be sure you have trusted Jesus Christ and been converted. Come to Christ and His Blood will cleanse you from all sin – and you will be ready to meet God. Soon Christ will return. Then all of us will be able to sing,

Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Sing, for the night is o’er!
Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna for evermore!
Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna for evermore!

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Dr. Hymers in any language, but write in English if you can.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Ezekiel 36:22-28.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“The Holy City” (by Frederick E. Weatherly, 1848-1929).