The Time to Favor
Zion Is Come
The Return of God's Favor
"Thou wilt arise, and have
compassion upon Zion; for it is time to be gracious unto her, for
the appointed time is come." (Psa. 102:14) There is a visible
scale of observation in our time on which we may begin to measure
the fulfillment of prophecy.
(1) The Ingathering of
the Exiles. Isaiah 43:5, 6 is one of many prophecies that
foretells the regathering of the Jewish people to the promised
land. It reads: "Fear not, for I am with thee; I will bring
thy seed from the east and gather thee from the west; I will say
to the north: Give up, and to the south: Keep not back, bring My
sons from far, and My daughters from the end of the earth."
The Jewish people have been gathered from the four corners of the
earth. Nearly 3 millions are assembled in the land of their
fathers, coming from 75 different countries. Still the work
continues. For God said: "As the Lord liveth, that brought up
the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all
the countries whither He had driven them; and I will bring them
back into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I
will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish
them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall
hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the
clefts of the rocks."—Jer. 16:15, 16.
The Zionist movement compares to
the fishing method of gathering. The Zionist activities provided
the land with a vital nucleus of people that enabled it to become
the new state of Israel. The "many hunters" would be
those persecuting forces that led the Jews to face the necessity
of return to Palestine. The early persecutions of the Jews in
Russia and Europe served to turn many faces toward the homeland.
The early Nazi persecution forced a considerable number of
educated and talented Jews to Palestine. These brought the
necessary technology and human re-sources to prosper Israel. In
that the fishing and hunting referred to by Jeremiah was with the
view to bringing the children of Israel home, did the later Nazi
persecution also fit this purpose? It was more than persecution.
It was a diabolical attempt to destroy the "seed of Abraham"
and to make void the promise of God. Even the Nazi attempt to
drive eastward in Africa to take the Holy Land indicates that a
superhuman attempt was being made to frustrate the Divine Plan. It
is clear the Nazi's plan was to annihilate the whole race of Jews,
not after they conquered the world, but while they were engaged in
doing so. Even when they knew the war was lost, they kept the
incinerators going until the last moment of defeat. The failure of
the Christian churches to protest and their willingness to
cooperate with the Nazi insanity has raised many eyebrows. How
could Christian nations look the other way while the slaughter
went on? The scripture still has not lost its meaning: "I
will bless them that bless you and I will curse them that curse
you." (Gen. 12:3) God is a God of judgment. (I Sam. 2:3) This
is one truth the modern generation will not own. The time of
reckoning is here.
(2) The Reclamation of
the Land. Amos 9:14 describes the work of the regathered
people in their land—"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
In 1905 the Prime Minister of
the Netherlands observed, "The Jews have come in vain. Only
God can check the blight of the inrushing desert." A miracle
has happened. Miles of malaria-infested "no-man's land"
have been drained; deserts have been irrigated and the land is
being transformed into an Eden of citrus-bearing trees. The barren
hillsides and the dried-up desert wastes are taking on new life,
returning to the fertility of old. The work goes steadily on.
The land reclamation is an
observable feature as the beginning of the fulfillment of
prophecy, a small beginning, but one that shall grow and
"fill the whole earth."
We bypass the opportunity to
mention the many and varied accom-plishments in Israel because of
lack of space. But since the 1967 war an especially interesting
beginning of fulfillment focuses on Isaiah 35:1, 2. The prophet
here said that the "Arava will rejoice and blossom as the
rose." The "Arava" is not "wilderness" in
general, but that specific desert valley that lies between the
Dead Sea and Eilat. Drilling in the Arava has brought in artesian
wells flowing with sufficient quantities of good water to irrigate
large fields. Through the season vegetables now grown in the Arava
are flown regularly to Europe, and the quantity is expected to
increase so much that vegetables shall be shipped by refrigerated
ships, while the strawberries and roses will be Gown out as
exports. Truly, the Arava is blossoming as the rose, as prophecy
marks its beginning of fulfillment.
(3) "And Jerusalem
shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem"
(Zech. 12:6). Up until the victory of 1967 the Jerusalem that
belonged to Israel was the new part of the city. True to this
prophecy, the Lord did not intend to divide the city of Jerusalem,
but his intention was that Jerusalem would again be in its own
"place, even in Jerusalem." Here is an almost incredible
The context of Zechariah's
prophecy indicates the role Jerusalem shall play as the nations
"burden" themselves with the Holy City. The Lord says,
"I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples;
all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all
the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against
it." (Zech. 12:3) That Jerusalem should come into the hands
of the Israeli has been an embarrassment even to those sympathetic
with the cause of Israel. The nations are burdened with this
problem. Instead of accepting this matter as the Lord's doing the
nations are intent upon getting involved. Yet Jerusalem's destiny
is certain. Though the nations gather against it, they only stand
to be wounded in the process. They cannot remove Jerusalem from
its rightful owners nor the owners from their rightful possession.
Powerful kings and popes have long coveted the Holy City, sending
Crusades one after another to take the city. They always failed.
These world leaders were prepared to make enormous sacrifices to
get this city. If they could have fulfilled their purpose they
would have made its streets of gold and its gates of pearl. If
they could have possessed this city, how it would have
strengthened their claims to be the Kingdom of God. However, with
all the power and wealth these world leaders were mocked in all
their claims to be the Kingdom of God. Why? Because who does not
know that when God's kingdom is established, "Out of Zion
shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from
Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:2, 3) The kingdom of God will be
Israelitish. Jerusalem will be its seat of government.
(4) Return of People to
God. The turning of the hearts of the Jewish people to
their God is somewhat lacking. Oh, yes, there are many who believe
in God, but who have not the faith of Abraham who believed God.
Religious Zionism was not the main incentive for the great
regathering. Political Zionism, practical Zionism and persecution
provided the main motivations for the present exodus. But this is
in itself a (fulfillment of prophecy. Political and practical
Zionism will yet develop religious roots. Ezekiel 20:32-37,
specially directed toward the assimilationist Jew, reads:
"that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all; in
that ye say: we will be as the nations, as the families of the
countries, to serve wood and stone. As I live, saith the Lord God,
surely with a mighty hand . . . and with fury poured out, . . .
will I . . . gather you out of the countries wherein ye are
scattered, . . . and there will I plead with you face to face....
And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you
into the bond of the covenant." The Lord says he would
"plead" with the people during the regathering—it is a
"face to face" encounter, indicating the Lord's face is
upon them. The purpose is to reach the heart of his people. The
work of cleansing shall however be accomplished after the
regathering into the land.
In Ezekiel 36:24-28 God says:
"I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out
of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. And I
will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; . . . 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 a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within
you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep Mine
ordinances, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I
gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be
your God." Such being the case, we need not look askance at
those returning to the Holy Land in an unclean state of heart. It
is after the regathering that the Lord has promised to
"sprinkle clean water upon" them.
The Torah and the Land
Man has a capacity for law.
Where man is there is law. His progress and advancement are in
direct relation to his capacity to understand and abide by law. No
one has given to the world a greater legacy than did Moses when he
gave Israel and the world the Law of God. Nothing has contributed
more to human dignity and honor than the Law of Moses— both for
Israel and, to the extent it was copied, the civilized world.
Particularly in this civilized world of the present time there is
a great, an almost uncontrolled passion, for remedying all the
problems of men on all levels. Yet strangely men find it
increasingly difficult to remedy world problems while living under
the noblest of laws.
When law ceases to be a high
standard, and when men need not stand on tiptoe to reach it, it
ceases to serve man's greatest need. Man's course tends downward.
Nobility comes by guided discipline and conscious endeavor and not
by abandonment. Much of the present study and research on man is
based on observing him as he is — whereas the real need is to
know what man must be. What man must be is not observable,
however. The scientific method has nothing to conclude when it has
nothing to observe. Moses gave Israel and the world something that
science could never give. He gave them God's law, the standard,
and since that day till now it has been a light in the world.
Moses reminded Israel of how God
"afflicted thee, and suffered you to hunger, and fed thee
with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know;
that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only,
but by every thing that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth
man live." (Deut. 8:3) Man may choose to live by the word of
men—such is their privilege. However, they cannot escape from
the consequences of their choice.
When Israel received the law of
God from Moses it was immediately apparent to them that it was
worthy of their highest commitment. They said: "All the words
which the Lord hath spoken will we do." (Exod. 23:4) Now,
centuries later, it is quite discernible that the promise was not
in line with the performance. Yet, despite repeated failure at
keeping the law, the decision was a good one, lifting this people
and nation above others in many ways and underscoring their
failures. In their successes and failures the great value of the
law was in its ability to teach the needs of men as well as the
consequences of yielding to the inner weaknesses.
In addition to the moral aspect
of the Torah, there were the ordinances of worship. The Feast of
Tabernacles, Feast of Passover, the new moons, etc., synchronize
with the agricultural cycles of the land of Israel. Consequently,
the centuries of daily prayers uttered by the Jews in Diaspora are
only made meaningful by one place on earth—Eretz Israel with its
uniquely interwoven harvests and lunar cycles. The Torah molded
the Israelites to the land. The Torah made the land of Canaan
Eretz Israel. The Torah gave Israel deep abiding roots in the land
that date back over 35 centuries. The Torah was and is Israel's
heritage in Eretz Israel. That is why, after the current
regathering, Ezekiel (36:24-28) reveals that God will "cause
you (Israel) to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My
ordinances and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave
to your fathers: and ye shall be My people and I will be your
God." This is the hand of Divine Providence, before which all
other claims to the land must bow.