I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (Deuteronomy 4:27-31)
In this day of so much international condemnation and hatred for Israel, it is important for us to remember that Israel is a miracle nation. The nation has a supernatural beginning and a history full of Divine deliverances, revivals, inexplicable victories and also utterly disastrous defeats, such as the Babylonian captivity, the destruction of the temple on the ninth of the month of Av, in 536 BC, as well as the devastating Roman invasion and destruction of the second temple on the ninth of Av in 70 Ad.
The aftermath of 70 AD was the Diaspora of the Jews, a scattering of the nation to the ends of the earth and exile which has lasted almost two thousand years. As you can see from the selection in Deuteronomy, Moses predicted all of this, none of the tortured history of Israel should be a mystery to any who read Moses. He even taught Israel a national song to sing, the Song of Moses which laid out the future of Israel till the end of time.
Hosea also predicted the long exile of Israel, without national polity, official leadership, land, temple, national and religious symbols, formal God ordained worship, and in exile until the “latter days”.
For the children of Israel, shall abide many days without a King and without a Prince,and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an Ephod and without a Teraphim;Afterwards shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God and David their King, and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:4-5)
Afterwards, the prophet assures us, Israel shall return. As of May 1948, Israel has returned onto the world stage, in fulfillment of many other prophecies besides Hosea 3.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11-12)
Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. (Jeremiah 30:10-11)
The rebirth of Israel is a modern-day miracle on the level of the parting of the Red Sea. A nation was reborn in one day, a prophetic people thrown into the sea of gentile peoples, has been preserved and re-emerged like Jonah the prophet after two thousand years. A long dead language has been re-introduced.
In the resurrection of Israel, the whole world is now witness to the reality of the living God. Furthermore, for those who have ears to hear, Israel’s re-emergence is a sign that we are indeed in the “latter days” , leading to the long prophesied “Day of the Lord”, the time in which God intervenes in human history.
But there is a precondition to be met. God is waiting for something specific from Israel. Long ago through Moses and Hosea, and even through the Messiah Jesus, God told Israel what He was waiting for before He would come to them.The Hebrew Bible renders Leviticus 26 thus;
38 And ye shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.
לט וְהַנִּשְׁאָרִים בָּכֶם, יִמַּקּוּ בַּעֲוֹנָם, בְּאַרְצֹת, אֹיְבֵיכֶם; וְאַף בַּעֲוֹנֹת אֲבֹתָם, אִתָּם יִמָּקּוּ. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
מ וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת-עֲוֹנָם וְאֶת-עֲוֹן אֲבֹתָם, בְּמַעֲלָם אֲשֶׁר מָעֲלוּ-בִי, וְאַף, אֲשֶׁר-הָלְכוּ עִמִּי בְּקֶרִי. 40 And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me.(Leviticus 26:38-40)
The Messiah is awaiting a national confession, not only of Israel’s present iniquity, but of the iniquity of their Fathers, a specific, absolutely devastating sin committed, which led to the exile, alienation and suffering of the nation, at some point in her history.
Hosea also prophesied this, when in the name of the LORD he proclaimed,
I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early .(Hosea 5:15)
When did the LORD “go back to his place”, (Heaven) and what offense is He waiting for them to acknowledge? Hosea predicted that in “their affliction”, (The tribulation), they will seek Him early, and as He was earlier quoted, they will “return to the Lord their God and David their King”.
A clue to the acknowledgment that the LORD of Israel and of the Universe seeks from the estranged, chosen nation comes in the gospels, set 40 years before the calamity of 70 AD.
Jesus, in his final address to the nation in the temple of God, announced that He was leaving them, and that the temple would be desolate of the presence of God, and that they would never see him again until they made an acknowledgment from Psalm 118,
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Matthew 23:37-40)