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THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL


"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God." `Amos 9:11,14,15`

AMONG the relics of antiquity that have come down to our day, there is no other object of so great interest as the Jewish people. The searchers after ancient lore have untiringly questioned every inanimate object that could give a mite of historic or scientific information. Monuments, altars, tombs, relics of public and private edifices, paintings, sculptures, hieroglyphics and dead languages have all been appealed to; and some have even endeavored patiently to discover the line of actual truth which probably inspired the many fanciful traditions, legends, songs, etc., that have come floating down the centuries, in order to learn all that it is possible to know of human origin, history and destiny. But the most interesting relic, and the one whose history can be most easily deciphered and understood is the Jewish people. In them we have a monument of antiquity of inestimable value, upon which are recorded, in clearly legible characters, the origin, progress and final destiny of the whole human race--a living and intelligent witness of the gradual outworking of a wonderful purpose in human affairs, in exact conformity with the predictions of their divinely inspired prophets and seers.

As a people, they are marked as distinct and peculiar by every circumstance of their history and by their common religious faith, as well as by every element of their national character, and even by their physiognomy and their manners and customs. The national characteristics of many centuries ago are still prominent, even to their fondness for the leeks and onions and garlic of Egypt, and their stiffnecked obstinacy. As a people, they truly had much advantage every way, in having committed unto them the oracles of God, developing among them poets, lawyers, statesmen and philosophers, and leading them up step by step from being a nation of slaves to be--as in the time of Solomon, the zenith of their glory--a people distinguished and honored among the nations, attracting the wonder and admiration of the world. `Rom. 3:1,2`; `1 Kings 4:30-34; 10:1-29`

That the re-establishment of Israel in the land of Palestine is one of the events to be expected in this Day of the Lord, we are fully assured by the above expression of the prophet. Notice, particularly, that the prophecy cannot be interpreted in any symbolic sense. It is not a Canaan in heaven to which they are appointed, but a Canaan on earth. They are to be planted upon "their land," the land which God says he had given them, the land which he promised to Abraham, saying, "Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land WHICH THOU SEEST, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. [An intimation of a then far distant period, giving ample time for such a multiplication of his seed.] Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it, and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee." "And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger-- all the land of Canaan, for an EVERLASTING POSSESSION." (`Gen. 13:14-17; 17:8`)

It is a land into which they were once privileged to enter, and in which they dwelt for centuries. But during that time they were many times plucked up and carried into captivity in other lands, while strangers wasted their cities, drank the wine of their vineyards, and ate the fruit of their gardens. And finally they were completely rooted out, their cities laid waste and desolate, and they were driven as wanderers and exiles from country to country the world over. But when replanted in their land according to this promise, "they shall no more be pulled up out of their land," which God gave them; and "they shall build the waste cities [cities in which they had formerly lived], and inhabit them." A scattered, homeless, desolate and persecuted people, they are still a distinct and homogeneous people. United by the strong ties of blood relationship, by common hopes inspired by a common faith in the wonderful promises of God, though they have but dimly comprehended those promises, and still further bound together by the bond of sympathy growing out of their common sufferings and privations as exiles, they, to this day, look and long for the hope of Israel.

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