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 three 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.
“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 ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
This fascinating text is found in the context of YHVH’s promise to redeem Israel. Notice that He said He would gather Israel from the four corners of the earth. Jesus alludes directly to this prophecy in Matthew 8:11f: “And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Notice the seeming paradox of Jesus’ statement. On the one hand, the promised gathering of Isaiah would take place. The promised Messianic Banquet (cf. Isaiah 65:13f), would take place, which means resurrection. However, the blessed event would also occur when “the sons of the kingdom will be cast out.” How can this be? How could God both re-gather and cast out at the same time?
A full discussion of these two seemingly contradictory themes is beyond the scope of this brief article. However, let me just briefly say that we have here the implicit concept of the salvation of the remnant, at the time of the casting out of the nation. This concept is found throughout the entirety of the Old Testament prophetic corpus. YHVH never promised to save the entire corporate body of Israel. It was ever and always the corporate body of the righteous remnant that would enter the kingdom (cf. Isaiah 65:8-19).
The one thing that is clear in all of this is that the gathering, the redemption, promised in Isaiah and cited by Jesus is that it would take place when the sons of the kingdom were cast out. In the parallel text of Luke 13, this is made even clearer than in Matthew: “But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.”
Paul also believed that the reception of the inheritance would be when the sons of the kingdom, Old Covenant Israel after the flesh, would be cast out. In Galatians 4 Paul discusses the two covenants and covenant people. He says that because Old Covenant Israel was persecuting the children of promise, i.e. the followers of Christ, they were to be cast out, and “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” Very clearly, the reception of the inheritance of Galatians 4 is the Messianic Banquet in the kingdom of Matthew 8. Thus, again, we have the salvation of the righteous remnant, and the casting out of the corporate majority.
When one couples Isaiah 40:11 with this prophecy, it becomes very apparent that the gathering / salvation of Israel would occur at the coming of the Messiah in judgment, and this would be when Messiah came in judgment of Old Covenant Israel. That is when the sons of the kingdom were cast out. For more on God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to Israel, see my DVD series Israel and the Land Promises: Fulfilled or Future? More to come in this important series, so stay tuned!