Goodnews Christian Ministry
"I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west. To the north I will say, 'Give them up' and to the south, 'Do not hold them'. Bring back my sons from far away, my daughters from the end of the earth, all those who bear my name, whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made." ---Isaiah 43:5-7
"I mean to gather them from all the countries where I have driven them...
I will bring them back to this place and make them live in safety.
Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
I will give them a different heart and different behavior..."
When God's call finally came, petitioning the exiles to return home, it was sounded first to the ears of only one tribe, the Jews. Not even realizing that they were in Babylon, this part of the House of Israel ignored the Lord's offer.
Finding His invitation rejected, God then forwarded it to the lost members of all the missing tribes of Israel hidden among the citizens of the North.
Forecasting this event, God spoke to Jeremiah and said, "Jeremiah, what do you see?' 'I see a branch of the Watchful Tree' he answered. Then God said, 'Well seen! I too watch over my word to see it fulfilled.'
"A second time the word of God was spoken to Jeremiah, asking, 'What do you see?' 'I see a cooking pot on the boil,' he answered 'with its contents tilting from the North.'
"Then God said: 'The North is where disaster is boiling over for all who live in this land; since I am going to summon all the kingdoms of the North -- it is God who speaks. They are going to come, and each will set his throne in front of the gates of Jerusalem." (Jer.1:11-15).
Jeremiah's shout to the hidden tribes of the North, summoning them out of their exile in Babylon, is the prophetic template of Paul's evangelism of the pagan world in the spread of Christ's message across the earth.
The call to Christ initiated the reconstruction of the holy city of Jerusalem in heaven -- a call that immediately began the dissolution of the Bible's prophetic '70-year captivity'.
As soon as that call was issued, Jacob's tribes no longer had to serve aliens, but were accountable only to God and to David, the king which God had raised up for them. (Jer.30:8-9).
"The city shall be rebuilt on its ruins, the citadel restored on its site." (Jer.30:18). "Their prince will be one of their own, their ruler come from their own people. I will let him come freely into my presence and he can come close to me..." (Jer.30:21).
The scattering of the House of Israel was made for a rescue -- a rescue that Moses could not accomplish.
In order to dramatize this essential fact, God forbid Moses to enter the Promised Land after he had led the Israelites in their long journey out of Egypt.
Moses, the maker of templates, here had to make his own as well.
When the Holy Spirit blocked Moses from crossing the Jordan river into Palestine with his people, it was so that God could show the world that Moses and the old covenant had no power to take anyone into heaven -- into the true Promised Land.
At Meribah's waters, Moses had vented a brief moment of arrogance. In his exasperation, he implied that he, personally, was the guide that would lead the House of Israel into the Pomised Land of Palestine.
But neither he, nor his Law had that kind of power. God, alone, was leading those tribes out of Egypt.
This fact had to be highlighted in the Law to show what this journey was leading to -- that the true exodus from captivity would be above ministers and above church law. It would be based entirely in Jesus Christ.
God allegorized this when He told Moses at the waters of Meribah, "Because you did not believe that I, myself, could proclaim my holiness in the eyes of the sons of Israel, you shall not lead this assembly into the land I am giving them." (Num.20:12).
The reference, of course, is prophecy because it relates to the future. It speaks of the Jewish rejection of the idea that God could come in person and proclaim His own holiness to eyewitnesses in Israel.
The Law of Moses refused Jesus when He appeared, and in that rejection lost its authority to lead.
Because he was serving God in biblical metaphor, Moses had to live out the whole metaphor. And it was a metaphor, because while Moses may not have been allowed to touch the soil of Palestine, he had no trouble being chosen for the kingdom of God in heaven.
We know for certain that this is true because when the transfiguration of Jesus occurred on Mt. Tabor, Moses was there with him -- proof that he had been resurrected. (Mt.17:3). So the injunction was brief.
An interesting aside here is that while Moses was resurrected, David was not permitted that honor. Peter, speaking on the day of Pentecost, told those assembled before him, "Brothers, no one can deny that the patriarch David himself is dead and buried: his tomb is still with us...for David himself never went up to heaven..." (Acts 2:29-34).
While David was rejected, Moses was chosen. In that choice, he was granted entrance to the true Promised Land. The land that he was not permitted to enter was merely an allegorical country that God had formed to display His holiness before men.
The rescue God initated cannot be accomplished by any man-made theology. Jesus did it himself. God has redeemed us in person outside of the Law of Moses. This is what God was preparing the world to see when He chastised Moses at the waters of Meribah.
God has called every shepherd to account by taking all the sheep from them and putting Himself alone at the head of the flock. Ezekiel said that God would do this because the shepherds were serving themselves instead of the people they led.
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them, 'Shepherds, the Lord God says this: Trouble for the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves!"
" Shepherds ought to feed their flock, yet you have fed on milk, you have dressed yourselves in wool, you have sacrificed the fattest sheep, but failed to feed the flock. You have failed to make weak sheep strong, or to care for the sick ones, or bandage the wounded ones. You have failed to bring back strays or look for the lost. On the contrary, you have ruled them cruelly and violently. "
"Therefore I am calling the shepherds to account. I am going to take my flock back from them and I shall not allow them to feed my flock. In this way the shepherds will stop feeding themselves. I shall rescue my sheep from their mouths. I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view."
"I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I shall bring them out of the countries where they are; I shall gather them together from foreign countries and bring them back to their own land. "
"I myself will show them where to rest. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall be a true shepherd to them." (Ez.34).
It was this call in the faith of Jesus Christ that returned the 10 missing tribes of Israel to God and made them the underlying framework of the Christian Church.
They have all returned to Jerusalem in fulfillment of Jeremiah's prophecy, and there they have erected their thrones in front of the city's gates. (Jer.1:15).
Just how did these lost tribes come to be lost in the first place?
By refusing to obey the injunction Moses gave them when they crossed the Jordan and entered the land of Canaan, they fell victim to the Mosaic curse. (2 Chron.7:19-22).
As the first Israelites to experience the exile promised by scripture, these 10 Hebrew tribes were plucked out of the 'Promised Land' almost 3000 years ago, not long after the death of Solomon, and taken in chains by the Assyrian army to Nineveh, a city located in what is now Iraq, about 200 miles north of Baghdad on the Tigris river.
From there they were scattered by their captors to the farthest ends of the earth -- throughout all the nations of the North -- where they disappeared into history and were never seen again.
But, as the Bible clearly shows us, this was not the end of them.
These ten lost tribes represented almost 90% of Israel's descendancy, and God had no intention of allowing them to simply become an appendage of biblical history.
Their hidden location is actually the key to the 'ingathering', because these missing northern tribes are the central figures in Jeremiah's prophecies concerning the ingathering of the scattered House of Jacob, and the exchange of covenants which would make that recall possible.
The covenant that God made through Moses with the people of Israel was made with all twelve tribes. The Jews did not inherit sole possession of this covenant.
What their preeminent status in Israel bequeathed them was the right to dramatize the template upon which Jesus would form the new covenant. This template had already been set down in the Law of Moses and was confirmed and clarified by the prophets.
The short Jewish exile to Babylon was just such an event. In it, the Jews, as servants of the Lord, were called by heaven to play out God's allegory, portraying in template form a far greater exile than Nebuchaddnezzar's.
This was done for the sake of the salvation of the children of God. The Jews were called to live out an act for God that helped give sight to a blind world. When Jesus appeared, He reproduced all these Old Testament dramatizations in a way that perfectly fulfilled the plan of God.
As the scattering predicted by Moses was nearing its completion, the one tribe remaining in Jerusalem (the Jews) settled into sole possession of the covenant of Moses.
When this last tribe returned briefly from its own exile -- a 70 year slavery in the land of Babylon -- they set out to restructure the covenant according to their own tastes.
Ezra, the leader who had been chosen to spearhead this return, defined three concepts which now underpin all Jewish theology. These were, the 'chosen race', the 'Law' and the 'Temple'.
Ezra's thoughts on these three ideas changed Hebrew theology, transforming it from its 12-tribe roots into the one-tribe Jewish religion we are familiar with today.
The idea of the 'chosen race' was simple. The other tribes had disappeared leaving only the Jews to reclaim the land of Palestine. For this reason, they saw themselves as the sole heirs to the covenant.
It is this misconception, more than any other, that has really defined the separation between the two Houses of Israel. As we have already seen, the Jews were not God's favorites at all -- they were not sole heirs -- they were simply the last tribe to be exiled.
To counter such errors, and correct them in scripture, God sent, first the prophets, and finally, Jesus Himself.
Paul has discussed in great detail Ezra's obsession with the Law, and Jeremiah was equally definitive as far as Temple obsession was concerned. (Jer.7).
Ezekiel attacked the idea that God loved the Jews best:
"Son of man, the citizens of Jerusalem (the Jews) are telling the rest of the House of Israel, that since they (the other tribes) were sent away from God, that it is to them (the Jews) that the land has been given as their domain."
"Say therefore, The Lord says this: 'Yes, I have sent them (the other tribes) far away among the nations and I have dispersed them to foreign countries...but I will gather them together from among the peoples, I will bring them all back from the countries where they have been scattered and I will give them the land of Israel." (Ez.11:14-21).
With their minds set on Ezra's ideas, the Jewish leaders ignored this prophecy. The idea of a 'chosen race' appealed to their sense of religious separation. It was an appeal they refused to part with.
So the return had to come in the form of an invasion. (Jer.5:15-17). The Jews saw themselves as God's special race -- a race created in the genes of divine favor -- and therefore, as a people more special to God than any other on earth.
In this reasoning they saw themselves as separate from all other people, including even the other eleven tribes. They viewed any attempt at reconciliation a contamination of their religious purity.
But God had decreed that a reunion would take place. And that is why the invasion occurred.
The Jewish religion in the first century had become very material. Growing far away from spiritual concepts like 'love of neighbor' and 'duty to the poor', it had even left behind the Ten Commandments.
Instead, it became absorbed in genes and sacrifices. Those with the right chromosomes belonged to the chosen race of God and those who lacked these special genes were called 'gentiles' and were considered subordinate.
This kind of thinking put them at odds with the prophets whose messages were all about God's rescue of the lost tribes.
Because they had forgotton what Sinai was all about, the prophets had to remind the Jews that the covenant of Moses was temporary and that God intended to dismiss it at the appropriate time and replace it with a new one -- one that would favor the exiles over the Jews:
"Look how they have rejected the word of God! So what use is their wisdom to them? 'So I will give their wives to other men, their fields to new masters, for all, least no less than greatest, all are out for dishonet gain; prophet no less than priest, all practice fraud." (Jer.8:9-10).
Bringing substance to this prophecy, Jesus told his stunned audience that God intended to lease the vineyard to new tenants.
"I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit." (Mt.21:43).
Jesus threw out genes and sacrifices, and replaced these concepts with God's spiritual values based on universal love. This is why Jeremiah was told by God to "face the North" and broadcast his prophecies away from the Jews and out toward the lost tribes instead. (Jer.3:11-13).
"I will bring you all back from the countries where you have been scattered and I will give you the land of Israel. They will come and will purge it of all the horrors and the filthy practices. I will give them a single heart and I will put a new spirit in them...then they shall be my people and I will be their God." (Ez.11:17-21).
We can see in Ezekiel's prophecy that the 'return from the North' was to be be spiritual -- not genetic. It would feature a return to righteous ethic.
People living in sin were called to renounce their past lives and try to be good, using the commandments of Jesus as the guidepost to their new behavior. The lost tribes of Israel, then, were lost only in sin. Those who renounced this corruption in the name of righteousness were found by God and brought home.
Hidden in a widely scattered dispersion among the nations of the North, God's 'lost' tribes waited for the spiritual call which would release them from their concealed captivity and make them once more visible in the world.
This spiritual call, known in scripture as the 'ingathering' (Ez.37:21), is the exodus of the New Covenant -- an exodus not from a specific location like Egypt, but from a metaphoric 'Babylon' -- because God has recovered these lost tribes spiritually, not racially. (Gal.3:27-29).
Preparing the way for this flight out of Babylon, God told Jeremiah, "So go and shout these words towards the North: 'Come back, disloyal Israel -- it is God who speaks -- I shall frown on you no more, since I am merciful...Repent." (Jer.3:12).
The scattered people to whom these words were addressed constituted all the nations, according to Jeremiah, that were destined to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the ruins of Zion in accordance with the new covenant.
Everything in the Old Testament was pointing to the appearance of the Messiah -- to the appearance of Jesus Christ -- the 'David' of prophecy (Ez.34:23-25) -- and to the changing of the covenants.
Because of this, what these prophecies actually describe is the birth and growth of Christianity in its spread across the world.
As we have seen, the ruins that had to be rebuilt were caused by sin and so they could only be rebuilt by a change in behavior -- a change made manifest through conversion from sin into the righteousness of Jesus.
There was no 'master race', but there was a master behavior. Jeremiah was calling these lost tribes of Israel to re-establish righteousness in the world through holy living in the faith of Jesus Christ.
What he was not doing was calling them to rebuild a physical nation in Palestine.
This became more and more obvious as history proceeded to unfold -- a history which saw the city of Jerusalem in Palestine continue to lie in ruins, dominated not by the Christian Church, but by Arab muslims instead.
Jeremiah's words pointed, not so much to a physical invasion of Judah, as it did to a 'spiritual invasion' of Judaism's authority -- an assault which would see the scattered tribes hidden in the north take dominion over God's vineyard.
Complicating this picture, the Bible has decreed that because of sin, another group of nations arising from the north is also prophesied to come against Jerusalem.
"Look, I am going to make Jerusalem an intoxicating cup to all the surrounding peoples...When that day comes, I mean to make Jerusalem a stone to be lifted by all the peoples; all who try to lift it will hurt themselves severely." (Zc.12:2-3).
These are the nations of Armageddon.
This interweaving of Christian nations returning from a lost exile in the north with foreign nations at the end basically chasing them there is a type of dualism in scripture which, though very common, makes the Old Testament prophecies seem confusing when superficially read.
Adding to that confusion, many times the verses describe both events simultaneously -- the same way the Christian word 'Parousia' mean both the appearance of the beast at the end of time and the 'Second Coming' of Jesus Christ.
The early Christians used a single word because both happenings to their minds were parts of the same event.
It is the same with Jeremiah.
God instructed Jeremiah to announce to the Jews, "I am bringing you disaster from the North, an immense calamity. The lion is up from his thicket, the destroyer of nations is on his way, he has come from his home to reduce your land to a desert..." (Jer.4:6-7).
"Give warning of it,, announce it in Judah, proclaim it to Jerusalem: 'Enemies are coming from a distant country, shouting their war cry against the towns of Judah; they surround Jerusalem like watchmen round a field because she has apostatised from me -- it is God who speaks'." (Jer.4:16-17).
These words of scripture involve both pairs and opposites. Steeped in wickedness, Judah is destined to be assaulted on two fronts, one spiritual and represented by the transformation of the covenants, and the other physical and represented by the hostile nations of the world.
These latter attacks represent the seven 'successive devastations' of Jerusalem by paganism predicted by scripture. (Dn.9:2).
"The whole land shall be devastated and reduced to a desert, while they will stay in slavery among the nations for seventy years. (But when the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation for the wrong they have done; and I will punish the land of Babylon too, and make it a desert forever." (Jer.25:11-13).
Participating in this terminal punishment of Babylon by God, Jerusalem will endure one final assault (its eighth) -- the gathering of the nations at the last day. "The Lord will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for battle." (Zech.14:2).
In our time, the prophecies concerning the 'seventy years' have been fulfilled almost completely. On one side have come the victorious 'new tenants' of Christ's Covenant -- the 'lost' tribes of Israel hidden in the seven churches of Christianity. They have erected their tents around Jerusalem's gates.
At the same time, foreign invaders to the north of Judea have come down and laid siege to the land and the people. First the Romans, and later the fierce and war-minded people of Mohammed.
Through the eyes of history, we have been able to watch both of these events occur simultaneously.
In two massive assaults, the Roman army completely devastated Judah and took most of the Jews in Palestine into foreign exile. Jews were banished from the city of Jerusalem -- forbidden even to visit the city as pilgrims.
Burning Herod's temple to the ground, the Romans replaced the worship places with pagan altars. On the site of Calvary and the tomb of Jesus they built a temple honoring Jupiter, Juno and Venus; and on the rock of Abraham -- the site of the Jewish temple, they erected a sanctuary to Zeus and Hadrian (the latter signifying emperor worship).
The Romans also desecrated the cave at Bethlehem with a grove in honor of Adonis.
But, as the Roman empire converted into the Christian faith, the pagan altars disappeared and in their place rose altars for the worship of Christ instead.
About 280 years after Jesus was crucified, Constantine's mother, a devout follower of Jesus, got approval from her son, the emperor of Rome, to turn the city of Jerusalem into a holy Christian shrine.
Making many pilgrimages to the city, she filled it with churches. Among these were the Church of the Last Supper and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
There were no Jews in Jerusalem to protest these Christian actions because they had been banished from the city 200 years earlier in the aftermath of their disastrous defeat at the hands of the Roman army. There were no muslims there at the time either, since Mohammed, himself, would not be born for another 300 years.
And that is about the length of time the Christian 'peace' which settled over Jerusalem lasted -- about 3 centuries. Then came the east wind.
Capturing the temple mount and drying up the land in fulfillment of prophecy (2 Chron.7:20-22), this eastern blast came in the searing heat of the muslim empire about 1400 years ago.
As it blew across the Middle East, it brought an end to the advance of Christianity throughout much of this area.
In its aftermath, while the camps set up by Constantine's mother survived, most of the population of the city went off to follow the ways of Mohammed. And the sacred temple mount -- the rock of Abraham -- went with them.
This catastrophic loss, unrecovered to this day, fulfilled the prediction of Jesus, "So be it! Your house will be left to you desolate..." (Mt.23:38).
Long ago Moses first announced this coming desolation when he predicted that after all the tribes of Israel had been cast out of the Promised Land, it was destined to lay in quiet ruins for a long, long time -- as a witness to the world of its empty status.
"I will scattter you among the nations. I will unsheathe the sword against you to make your land a waste and your towns a ruin. Then the land will observe its sabbaths indeed, lying desolate there, while you are in the land of your enemies." (Lev.26:33-34).
This is exactly what happened. Shattered to pieces, and left in ruins soon after Jesus died, the land and its capitol city ultimately fell into the hands of muslim invaders who have continued to hold Jerusalem in their grasp almost to the present day.
"Zion will become ploughland, Jerusalem a heap of rubble, and the mountain of the temple a wooded height." (Micah 3:12).
Although Michael is destined on the last day to make a triumphant entry into this city, the Jerusalem of Palestine is never going to return to its past glory. In the end, the city we see today in Palestine will disappear with the earth in the blast of the final judgment.
This is why God's children were all sent to Babylon. Blinded by the sight of the temple there, few were able to see Christ in Jerusalem. It had become one with Babylon.
That is why a royal pronouncement from heaven has made this city sightless until the very last day of the planet -- until the day of catastrophe when everything material is to be destroyed. It is this decree that makes the desolation there continue.
While the muslim presence in Jerusalem has dominated that city for 14 centuries, a strong Christian presence has been felt there as well. Sandwiched in the middle of all of Jerusalem's troubles, the churches of Christianity have encouraged many to follow Christ's peace in the Holy Land.
For the most part, this has been a quiet peace humbly practiced for centuries in poor villages in the visage of the Gospel. "Then indeed the land will rest and observe its sabbaths. And as it lies desolate it will rest..." (Lv.26:34-35).
So despite the fact that the kings of the east long ago subjugated Jerusalem and took possession of the rock of Abraham, Christian churches continue to dot the Judean landscape, and a faithful segment of the population there quietly follows the Christian faith.
For this reason, the gathering of the nations against the Jerusalem of Palestine can still be seen both in terms of its enemies and its liberators. The victory of the people of the north over an unrepentant Judah is evident in both.
On one side, all the churches of Christ proclaiming the spiritual victory of Jesus from the camps (churches) that they have set up around Jerusalem, and on the other, the nations of this world gathering to try to destroy the people of God.
It is this kind of dualism that makes the prophecies of scripture often appear so confusing, but it simply confirms the nature of a world divided into two parts by the sword of God's word.
On one side is the gathering of the nations in the faith of Christ and on the other, the gathering of nations who have rejected that faith.
The city of Jerusalem is to be the focal point of both assemblies.
But there are two Jerusalem's. One, in this world which is allegorical and designed to display on earth the glory of God, and another that the Lord is building now which is spiritual and eternal.
While the foreign nations chase the Christian refuges to the Jerusalem of Palestine, the people of God have all taken a different route. Jesus has led them to His spiritual kingdom that is not of this earth, but sits safely away in the heavens of God.
So all these prophecies have a true focus that is entirely spiritual.
The armies of God's salvation are all the spiritual nations and kingdoms of the north that have returned to proclaim Christ's victory by setting up their thrones in front of the spiritual gates of Jerusalem.
These are the 'nations' who have rallied themselves to the defense of Christ, and now form the spiritual nations of Jeremiah's prophecy.
To the Jews this horde of churches descending on Jerusalem from the north appears to be an immense calamity (Jer.4:6) because it demonstrates that God has leased the vineyard to new tenants. (Mt.21:43). It means Shiloh all over again. (Jer.7:11-15).
Only this time the change involves the Jews, not the Ephraimites, and because it passes the sceptre to all the missing tribes, it is much more sweeping.
These invasions show that God has changed the covenants. He has fulfilled the scriptures, doing exactly what He predicted. (Jer.31:31-34).
Even so, it is not the Jews who have been vanquished in this assault, it is wickedness.
In changing the guard from Moses to Christ, God has saved all His people, Jew and pagan alike. "...have the Jews fallen forever, or have they just stumbled? Obviously they have not fallen forever: their fall, though, has saved the pagans in a way the Jews may now well emulate. "
"Think of the extent to which the world, the pagan world, has benefited from their fall and defection -- then think how much more it will benefit from the conversion of them all." (Romans 11:11-12).
Jesus, the king of the Jews, was sold to Babylon for 30 pieces of silver. And it was because of this sale that He was able to rescue His people from Babylon.
His story follows closely the allegory of Joseph in the Old Testament, showing that Joseph's life had been a prophecy of Christ.
Sold by his brothers into Egyptian slavery, Joseph came to the attention of the Egyptian Pharaoh who put him in charge of Egypt's food supply -- a storehouse which he was able to make plentiful during a terrible world famine.
The rest of the House of Israel would have perished in this famine were it not that they went down to Egypt and were forgiven by Joseph and given the food that saved their lives.
This story is an obvious allegory pointing us to Jesus and to the food supply of God.
In the same way that Pharaoh had placed Joseph in charge of all food in Egypt, the emperor of Babylon (Constantine) put Jesus in charge of Rome's 'food supply' -- the spiritual food of God that imparts eternal life.
Rome furnished this food of Christ to the world that it ruled by making Christianity the state religion of the empire. That is why the whole spiritual House of Israel had to go to Babylon -- because they had all become heirs to the allegory of Joseph.
With the decrees of Constantine and Theodosus, the food of God was publicly and preferentially offered in Babylon -- to anyone who wanted it.
It was Constantine in 313 A.D. who legalized Christianity in the Roman empire, becoming himself a Christian; and Theodosus 78 years later (in 391 A.D.) who, by royal decree, made the Christian religion mandatory as the belief system for the civilized world when he officially banned paganism and its temples and practices throughout all the lands that Rome controlled.
The House of Israel had to leave Palestine, then, because of the spiritual famine created in the city of Jerusalem by its rejection of Jesus Christ.
This is why the Holy Spirit, long before, had Micah decree that the entire rescue of the House of Israel must take place in Babylon. (Micah 4:10). For this reason, the only people who can bring the light of God back into the cities of Palestine have to come from Babylon, returning out of exile with the truth of Christ.
Today, the land of Palestine is filled with the camps of these refugees -- churches which have come from all over the world to broadcast the message of Jesus in Jerusalem.
But despite the return of all the messengers who have brought Christ's Gospel back from Babylon, those who rule the Jerusalem of Palestine have persistently refused to acknowledge His truth right up to the present day.
As we have seen, Jerusalem's restoration in our time has not brought this city into the obedience of Christ. The increasing resentment of its muslim and Jewish citizens to the Gospel of Jesus Christ confirms that the Jerusalem of Palestine still remains unrepentant and unconverted despite all the disasters it has experienced.
Jeremiah foresaw this when he said that the restoration of Jerusalem to Jewish control in the last days would not be a sign of the city's repentance in the Lord. The prophecies of its restoration are all pointing to something else -- to Judgment.
God is making Jerusalem a magnet for the nations in preparation for a great trial which is destined to be held high in the sky above Jerusalem on the earth's final day.
Jerusalem's ongoing rebellion is why scripture shows that the city is destined in the end to be destroyed in the same fire that is to consume the world.
"Raise the wail and lamentation for the mountains, the dirge for the desert pastures, for they have been burnt: no one passes there, the sound of flocks is heard no more. "
"I mean to make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a jackals' lair, and the town of Judah an uninhabited wasteland. "
"Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been charged by God's own mouth to tell why the land lies in ruins, burnt like the desert where no one passes?" (Jer.9:9-11).
"Yes, thus speaks God, 'The whole land shall be laid waste, I will make an end of it once and for all; at which the earth will go into mourning, and the heavens above grow dark. For I have spoken and will not change my mind, I have decided and will not go back on it". (Jer.4:27-28).
Just ahead of this final devastation, those who thought that the entire inheritance was theirs alone will be rescued last of all.
At that point, the return of Israel from the territory of the 'North' (from the place called 'Babylon') will be complete.
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