A Question About The Salvation of Judah and Israel
We have been responding to some questions submitted by one of our regular visitors to our websites. The questions relate to the issue of Israel / Judah / and God’s promises. Here are the questions followed by my response. The post was submitted by “Chris” and we appreciate it very much. Be sure to read the first three articles in the series. #1, #2, #3.
“Does Judah get divorced in 70 AD and immediately get gathered together with Israel? Is there a scripture for that? Are those that are gathered together the righteous remnant from both houses?”
Be sure to read my book We Shall Meet Him In The Air, The Wedding of the King of kings, for a fuller discussion of the issues raised in these questions.
My response on The gathering of Israel.
I think one of the greatest misunderstandings concerning Israel and the end times is that she had to be literally, physically re-gathered back into the physical land of Israel. See my book Israel 1948, Countdown to No Where, for a discussion of this issue.
For brevity, let me just examine a couple of key texts that relate to the “gathering of Israel” i.e. her restoration.
Isaiah 24-27– This wonderful, and yet disturbing prophecy, foretold the salvation of Israel. In fact, this is one of the texts that Paul appeals to when he anticipated the salvation of “all Israel” in Romans 11:25f. The wonderful part of this prophecy is that it anticipated the Messianic Banquet, the Resurrection, the destruction of Satan, and the avenging of the martyrs.
As so many prophecies do, Isaiah 24-27 contains both the good news and the bad for Israel. On the one hand there are the clear cut promises of her last days salvation, resulting in salvation flowing to the nations. On the other hand, is the disturbing news that her Old Covenant aeon would come to a cataclysmic and horrifying end , when YHVH would forget the people He had created, turn the fortified city into a heap, and turn the altar into chalk stones (27:10f).
In the midst of the prophecies of her destruction, YHVH also promised that at that time, He would sound the great trumpet, and gather to Him those who were perishing, those alienated from Him and scattered (Isaiah 27:13). And this text is one that Jesus himself calls upon, in his Olivet Discourse.
In Matthew 24:31 Jesus said he would send forth the angels, at the sound of the Great Trumpet, and they would gather together the elect from the four winds. Most scholars agree that this is a direct allusion to Isaiah 27.
Now, our Dispensational friends insist that this has to be a literal, physical gathering. However, this ignores the use of language in the text, and specifically the use of the distinctive Greek word episunagogee. This compound word is used twice in the context and simply cannot refer to a literal, physical gathering.
Notice in Matthew 24:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one that kills the prophets and stones those sent to you! How often I would have gathered they children together, (episunagogee) even as a mother hen gathers her chicks, but you would not!”
Now, the question is, in what way did Jesus want to gather Jerusalem and her children to him? Did he want to gather them all together in one physical venue? Patently not! Jesus was speaking of, for lack of better terminology, a “fellowship gathering.” He wanted them to come into a covenant fellowship with him.
We could spend a lot of time discussing this, but, let me summarize the thought of the gathering in Matthew 23, very briefly.
Jesus had desired to gather Israel to himself in covenantal fellowship.
Israel refused to be gathered to him.
Consequently, the location and symbol of their historical, physical gatherings, i.e. the Jerusalem Temple, would be destroyed. To reflect back on the previous article, this is the divorcement of Judah, foretold by Hosea.
The gospel of the fall of the old rebellious City and Temple would be proclaimed throughout the world, calling the citizens of that old system into the New “Gathering” and warning of the impending demise of the Old (Matthew 24:14).
At the end of that age, and at the destruction of the old gathering place, Christ would gather to him, in that promised and desired covenant fellowship, those who had accepted the invitation (Matthew 24:31).
Since it is abundantly clear that the “gathering” of Matthew 23:37 was not, and could not have been a physical gathering, and since the gathering of 24:31 is the accomplishment of what the Old System rejected, then the gathering of Matthew 24:31– in fulfillment of Isaiah 27:13– was at the cataclysmic termination and destruction of the Old “gathering place” the Old episunagogee.
For an extended discussion of the use and significance of episunagogee in the NT, see my book, Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory. This term is extremely significant in the NT, as it relates to the question of the eschatological end times salvation of Israel. Stay tuned for more as we explore this issue.