We are currently examining the doctrine of the restoration and re-gathering of Israel. we are told that the events of 1948 prove that we are in the last days, and “the end is near.” The fact is, however, that the events of 1948 had nothing to do with Bible prophecy! See my book, Israel 1948: Countdown to No Where, or my DVD series on Israel and the Land Promises; Fulfilled or UnFulfilled?
This is part two of our series, so be be sure to read part One. In this article, we take a look at another famous “re-gathering” prophecy, and demonstrate that it has been spiritualized (by the NT writers through the Spirit) and fulfilled in Christ.
“Behold, the Lord shall come with a strong hand and His arm shall rule for Him, Behold, His reward is with him and His work before Him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”
It will be noticed that in this “gathering” (sunazei) prophecy, judgment is inextricably linked with that motif. This passage cannot be speaking of the Incarnation of Jesus for it is patently a judgment / rewarding prophecy. Jesus’ Incarnate appearing was when he was revealed as the Suffering Servant, not the judge. Of course, that said, it does not negate the fact that Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd” (John 10). In other passages that anticipated the judgment, Jesus is spoken of as the Chief Shepherd (cf. Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:1-3). As the good shepherd, Jesus would lead Israel and the nations to living waters (Revelation 7:14f), and the living waters would be in the New Creation after judgment (Revelation 22).
The motif of judgment found in Isaiah 40 is reiterated by Jesus. Notice Matthew 16:27-28:
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
Here, Jesus all but quotes Isaiah 40 (and Isaiah 62:10f), and places that judgment appearing firmly within his generation. (It should likewise be noted that the gathering / salvation of Isaiah 62 would be the re-marriage of Israel (v. 2-5). Jesus emphatically posited this event in the context of the judgment of Judah (the harlot) in Matthew 22:1-7).
So, Isaiah foretold the re-gathering of Israel by the great Shepherd, at the judgment coming of Messiah, when he would reward his servants. Jesus’ in Matthew 16:27-28 posits that rewarding / gathering at the time of his parousia in the first century. Jesus’ words are clear, unambiguous, and undeniable. More to come!