The Phases of the Restoration, Culminating in the Coming of the Great King
The Jews [will] return in an unconverted state. This is evident from the following Scripture statements:
1. They are to be brought to Jerusalem, in order to be judged.
“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dross of silver. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God: Because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it, so will I gather you in Mine anger and My fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of My wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out My fury upon you.”
If they had returned to their own land in a converted state, it is impossible that God would pour out upon them His wrath.
2. It is in Judea that, according to the prophet Zechariah, the Spirit shall be poured out upon the nation, and their hearts be turned unto the Redeemer (Zech. 12).
3. A second restoration is spoken of in Isaiah.
“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, 15, 16
“And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.”
-Isaiah 66.19, 20
Here it is declared that there shall be a second and more general ingathering of Israel out of all nations, and that after the light of Israel is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon her, and after the great judgments on the ungodly. There are thus two restorations- one before, the other after the great crisis; one partial, the other complete; one which provokes the enmity of the nations, the other in which the nations rejoice and even co-operate.
Returned to their own land in unbelief, a remnant of God-fearing people still among them, it is more than probable that they will rebuild the temple and restore the sacrifices. And this probability is converted into certainty, when we read in Joel that the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; in Isaiah 66.5-6, that the great decision, the birth of the nation, is preceded by a voice of noise from the city- a voice from the temple; and in Ezekiel, we find a most minute description of its dimensions and arrangements. Equally explicit is the testimony of Daniel, who speaks of the abominations which are to be set up in the temple, until the consummation, and of the daily sacrifices, abolished by the great enemy of God and of the nation (the same events are expressly pointed out by the Saviour).
The second phase in the future history of the Jews is, their connection with Antichrist and subsequent conflict with him.
….that Antichrist is a person yet to come. He is described as the man of sin and son of perdition, whom the Lord Himself will destroy with the breath of His mouth and the brightness of His personal presence. Compare Dan. 11.36-45, 7.21-25; Is. 14; 2 Thess. 22.3-9; Rev. 19.11-21. Antichrist is in every respect the opposite of the Messiah. Antichrist is from below, comes in his own name, speaks flatteries and lies, seeks his own aggrandisement, and aims to destroy the glory of God; our blessed Christ is from above, comes in His Father’s name, speaks the truth, seeks the salvation of men, and sacrifices all to the glory of God. The Lord humbled Himself, and the Father exalted Him. Antichrist exalts himself, and his judgment is instantaneous, fearful, and irrevocable. Yet shall he deceive many. Jesus foretold that another would come in His own name; him would the Jews receive. But soon the enemy shows his true character: he defiles the temple of God, he sets himself up in God’s temple as God, he persecutes the children of the Lord…
Still there shall be a godly remnant, praying for deliverance…. They shall then, I imagine, study the Book of Daniel especially, “which is shut up to the time of the end” (Dan. 12.4), and the whole prophetic word. They shall tremble at the Word of the Lord, and resemble the brothers of Joseph, when first convinced of their great guilt and longing for help.
In the great and final conflicts between the nations, headed by Antichrist and Jerusalem, there are several stages, which it is difficult to arrange; but the great outstanding facts are these:
A terrible destruction of many of Israel, even two-thirds of the whole;
“And it shall come to pass that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but the third part shall be left therein…” (Zech. 13.8)
….the deep humiliation and repentance of the remnant, prepared to receive the Lord; the pride of Antichrist, and his fierce determination to “exalt his throne above the stars of God, to sit upon the mount of the congregation, and be like the Most High” (Is. 14). Then shall be fulfilled the memorable prediction in Zechariah, to which we have already referred (14.2-11). All nations are to be gathered against Jerusalem to battle; the Lord shall go forth to fight against them; after the victory, the Lord is to be King over the whole earth, and recognized as such: certain physical changes are to take place with regard to the Mount of Olives and the neighborhood of Jerusalem, and the city shall be safely inhabited. Not in one single feature does this correspond to the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (AD 70). Only one nation came then against the city.
God did not defend His ancient people, much less conquer their enemies. A period of universal submission to Jehovah did not succeed. The Mount of Olives did not cleave in the midst, and the waters did not go out of Jerusalem, and the city has not since been safely and gloriously inhabited. No, but it shall yet be so, for the Lord shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.
…This is the great crisis in the history of Israel and the world; in the history of Satan, and Antichrist, the enemies of the truth; in the history of the earth and groaning creation.
…Even as He ascended, so shall He come again, Himself, personally, and His saints with Him, and shall appear to deliver and save Israel; to destroy Antichrist, to bind Satan, and to take possession of the throne of His father David.
*Adolph Saphir (1831 – 1891) was a Hungarian Jew, and one of the greatest Gospel preachers in the 19th century. After completing his studies in 1854, Saphir served in the Irish Presbyterian Church as a missionary to his kinsmen “according to the flesh.” He was later ordained by the Presbytery of Belfast. He was a pastor of churches in Glasgow and in London from 1861-1888. This article is drawn from his masterpiece, Christ and Israel, and we commend highly all of his books. They are unparalleled in Christian literature for their eloquence and depth of insight into Holy Scripture.