Israel in the End Times: Return to the Homeland
In Christian Eschatology studies, Israel plays a significant role in End Times development. But why?
End Times prophecies about Israel are scattered throughout the Bible. Perhaps one of the most dramatic descriptions of Israel in the End Times is in the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament.
“Look and see, for everyone is coming home! Your sons are coming from distant lands; your little daughters will be carried home. Your eyes will shine, and your hearts will thrill with joy, for merchants from around the world will come to you. They will bring you the wealth of many lands…And what do I see flying on the clouds to Israel, like doves to their nests? They bare the ships of Tarshish to bring the people of Israel home. They will bring their wealth with them and it will bring great honor to the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he will fill you with splendor. Foreigners will come to rebuild your cities. Kings and rulers will send you aid.” – Isaiah 60:4-5;8-10a NLT
Some scholars believe that the events in the passage above correlate with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1947, when Jews from around the world returned to their homeland. However, other scholars believe that this refers to the New Jerusalem that will be created after the Armageddon. Regardless of the interpretation, it is clear that Israel is much loved by God and will play a vital role in End Times events.
As another example, Christian scholars also point to the following passage in Matthew as further evidence of Israel’s return to its homeland being a sign of the times. Note that the fig tree is often used as a metaphor for Israel in the Bible.
“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its buds become tender and its leaves begin to sprout, you know without being told that summer is near. Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I assure you, this generation will not disappear from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear but my words will remain forever.” – Matthew 24:32-35 NLT
In the above passage, the budding fig tree is often interpreted as the reestablishment of the country of Israel. Once that occurs, the remaining events can transpire–most believe–before that generation (who witnessed the founding of the new country) has passed away.
Although this is a brief summary with only a few examples, hopefully this will illuminate why so many Christians look to and analyze the events occurring in Israel to assess the progression of End Times events.