Israel in God’s Economy (6) – Israel in the End Times, the Millennium, and Eternity Future

 

Because of the unique role that Israel occupies in God’s economy it will be the focus of events that take place on the earth at the end of this age[1], a period of time that the New Testament calls a “great tribulation” (Rev. 7:14; Matt. 24:21). This period will mark the last three and a half years of the present age, the age of the church, and its conclusion will issue in the next age, the age of the millennial kingdom, which in turn will usher in eternity future wherein Israel will continue to fulfill a specific role as prophesied in the Bible. As we consider prophecies that touch on these three periods, at least two things become evident: 1) Understanding how the events at the end of this age will unfold necessitates an understanding of the events and persons that the Bible forecasts concerning Israel; and 2) despite all the calamities that will take place, God’s mercy and faithfulness toward Israel will ultimately be confirmed and its particular and blessed role in His eternal economy assured.

Israel in the Great Tribulation

In the events that will take place on the earth in the last three and a half years of this age, Israel will be the focal point, both geographically and politically. At the end of this age, a man of unprecedented charisma and power, the Antichrist, will take the lead in fighting directly against God in the ultimate manifestation of man’s participation in Satan’s universal rebellion in this age. He will be joined by the armies of the nations to physically fight against the establishing of Christ’s kingdom on the Satan-usurped earth. This conflict is described in Joel 3:2: “I will gather all the nations and will bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there because of My people and My inheritance Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations. And they have divided My land” (cf. Rev. 19:19; Joel 3:12-14; Rev. 17:13-14).

Connecting Joel 3:2 and 13 with Revelation 14:19-20 and 16:16 indicates that this event will be the battle at Armageddon (the New Testament name for the valley of Jehoshaphat) in the land of Israel and that the events preceding it are those prophesied in Revelation. From the standpoint of outward human history, this battle is precipitated by a conflict between the Antichrist and the nation of Israel. The Antichrist, the beast which comes up out of the sea (13:1 and footnote 1), will be a political leader who will exert unprecedented power and influence over the nations. He will oppose and exalt himself “above all that is called God or an object of worship, so that he sits in the temple of God, setting himself forth, saying that he is God” (2 Thes. 2:4). He will be intensely antagonistic toward the Jews, who by this time will have restored the temple and resumed the ritual sacrifices as prescribed in Judaic law. Brother Lee summarized these events in Daniel 9:27, footnote 1, of the Recovery Version, saying:

At the beginning of the last week of the seventy weeks, the last seven years of the present age, Antichrist will make a firm covenant of peace with Israel. In the middle of that week he will break the covenant and will cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease (12:11a). This will be the beginning of the great tribulation (Matt. 24:21), which will last for three and a half years (7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2-3; 12:6, 14; 13:5).

Thus, after breaking his covenant with Israel, the Antichrist will initiate a furious persecution against the Jews that will last for forty-two months, involving the desecration of the temple and the occupation of the Holy Land (indicated by the word “trample” in Rev. 11:2). Then, as Brother Lee explained:

At the end of the great tribulation all the worldly forces who follow Antichrist will be gathered together to fight against Jerusalem. They will surround Jerusalem with the intention of destroying it, but they will not realize that they are being gathered as grapes for the winepress. (CWWL, 1964, vol. 2, 510)

As the remnant of Israel is fleeing and on the verge of annihilation, Christ will descend upon the Mount of Olives with His overcomers (Zech. 14:4-5; cf. Acts 1:11). The appearing of the Lord Jesus will cause the remnant of Israel to repent. As Zechariah 12:10 says, “They will look upon Me, whom they have pierced; and they will wail over Him…” Of His coming to deal with the armies besieging Jerusalem, Revelation 19:15 says, “And out of His mouth proceeds a sharp sword, that with it He might smite the nations … and He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” Speaking of the Antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “And then the lawless one will be revealed (whom the Lord Jesus will slay by the breath of His mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of His coming).” The destruction of the Antichrist will usher in the wedding feast of the Lamb for the overcoming believers and the establishment of His millennial kingdom on earth in which the remnant of Israel will participate (Rev. 19:19 and footnote 1; Zech. 12:8-10).

In the Millennium

The thousand years of the millennial kingdom, during which Satan will be temporarily bound and prevented from deceiving mankind, will be a glorious time of restoration and healing for the whole earth (Acts 3:21; Isa. 11:1-10; 65:18-25). Whereas the kingdom today, as the reality of the church life, is a hidden mystery to the world (Rom. 14:17; Mark 4:11), at that time the kingdom will be outwardly manifested, having a heavenly part composed of the overcomers (Rev. 20:6) and an earthly component composed of the saved and regenerated Jews physically located in the land of Israel (Isa. 61:6; Zech. 8:20-23; see CWWL, 1963, vol. 3, 463, 465). It will be the unique privilege of these Jewish believers to serve as priests, instructing the nations in the worship of God: “Thus says Jehovah of hosts, In those days, from all the languages of the nations, ten men will take hold, indeed, they will take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (v. 23). After Israel’s long history in turning away from God to seek after the idolatrous nations, it is exceedingly precious that God’s faithfulness to His covenant would be manifested in making the nations seek after the restored nation of Israel to know and worship the one true God.

At the end of the millennium, Satan will be loosed and allowed to deceive the nations and gather them together for one final rebellion. Again, the land of Israel will be the focus (Rev. 20:7). The armies of the nations of “Gog and Magog” will surround “the beloved city” (Jerusalem) to destroy it only to be devoured by fire from heaven (Rev. 20:8-9). After this Satan will be cast into the lake of fire, fully and completely clearing up the negative situation in the universe (20:10).

In Eternity Future

In the new heaven and new earth, both Israel’s role in serving as priests so that the nations of the earth might know and worship God and their dwelling securely in the land first covenanted to them by God in Genesis 12:1-3 will continue for eternity. This will be the final and full confirmation and fulfillment of God’s great promise to the nation of Israel: “And they will dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers dwelt; and they will dwell in it, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever. And David My Servant will be their Prince forever” (Ezek. 37:25; cf. Gen. 28:13b; 17:7-8).

Conclusion

As we consider the present world situation soberly in light of the Bible with the help of the ministry, we will see that everything that happens in today’s social, political, and military arenas is advancing towards the events outlined in this article. Regardless of how others may interpret developments in these areas, we will understand that they will most assuredly lead to the manifestation of the Antichrist and the nations under his leadership united in opposition against Israel and, by extension, God Himself. We will also understand that the ultimate outcome of this conflict, the fate of Israel, and the future of the good land are altogether settled matters in the eyes of God. Through His deliverance of the remnant of Israel at the return of Christ, God will display not only His authority and power but also His faithfulness to His covenanted people. According to God’s arrangement in His economy, Israel has a role today, in the great tribulation, in the kingdom age, and in eternity future. Hence, we should neither be shaken in our faith by present or future events, nor should we question God’s way in which He chooses to carry out His economy. Rather, as we see these events unfold, we should take up our own responsibility as believers and as the church, the Body of Christ, to prepare for the Lord’s coming both individually and corporately.

Further reading concerning the Lord’s second coming:

  • CWWL, 1990, vol. 1, “The Apostles’ Teaching,” 441-494
  • CWWL, 1990, vol. 3, “The Prophecy of the Four ‘Sevens’ in the Bible,” 3-65
  • Truth Lessons, Level Four, Volume 2, 113-277
  • The Coming of the Lord,” Affirmation & Critique XXVIII:1 (Spring 2023)

[1] For a clear presentation and explanation of Great Tribulation and subsequent periods of time as shown in the Bible, see the graph entitled “The Chart of the Seventy Weeks and the Coming of Christ, with the Rapture of the Saints” at the back of the Recovery Version.

Share: