The Judgment of Israel
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Amos, as we refresh your minds concerning our discussion about the judgments that will take place in the future, for no survey of prophecy would be complete without a consideration of those judgments yet future. There are five of them. They are the Judgment of Believer's Works, the Judgment of Israel, the Judgment of Gentile Nations, the Judgment of Angels, and the Judgment of the Great White Throne.

We studied the Judgment of Believer's Works, or the Judgment Seat of Christ, spending some time considering the manner in which rewards will be presented to believers there. We also talked with you about the five crowns which are available to every believer.

An Outline

Now we want to discuss the second judgment in the list of five, the Judgment of Israel. Perhaps you remember that in our first lesson we introduced this series of studies by saying that we would consider these judgments following an outline of five words. We will discuss the “people” to be judged, the “period” when the judgment will occur, the “place” at which it will be located, the “principle” which will be involved, and the “pronouncement” or the result of each particular judgment.

As we come to a consideration of the Judgment of Israel, you already know the people involved. We are speaking of the nation of Israel; we are talking about the Jews–the nation that is now in its own land, flying its own flag. That people is slated for a judgment in the future. The place of that judgment, as we are going to discover as we go along in the Scriptures, is this earth. This is in contrast, for example, to the Judgment Seat of Christ which will take place in Heaven. This judgment will be on the earth and specifically it will be in the area surrounding the city of Jerusalem. The period covered by the judgment is that period of time which begins with the Rapture of the Church and concludes with the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, or that period which begins with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with His Church. We noticed that it is a period covering a definite length of time. I would like for you to fix that in your minds so that you will not be thinking that it will occur on a certain day or at a certain hour. These things are basic: the people, Jews; the place, the land of Palestine; the period, that time beginning with the Rapture of the Church and concluding with the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Reason for Judging Israel

If I were to stop our discussion right here, perhaps there would be some questions in your minds–very natural, normal questions. For example, one of them would be, “Why is Israel treated in this fashion? Why is Israel slated for a future judgment when America, Japan, or some other nation isn't?” I'm not disregarding the fact that God will deal with other nations, but I am thinking specifically of the nation which God mentions in the Word and says, “This nation is slated for judgment.” I say, the question in the minds of many is, “Why?” That is the reason we will begin our discussion of the Word by noticing what is recorded in the book of Amos, chapter 3. One simple statement will give the answer to the question, “Why is Israel slated for judgment?”

Amos 3

1Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
2You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

A Covenant Relationship

Notice the statement:

Amos 3

2You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.

God knows all individuals and He is aware of nations, but He has never entered into any covenant relationship with any nation except the nation of Israel. There is a sense in which we in America can say, “God is our God; in God we trust.” But not in the same sense that Israel can say, “My God, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob,” because God entered into a covenant relationship with that family and He said, “I will judge this nation which did not keep the covenant which I made with her.” Whether you like it or I like it matters not; this is what the Word of God says.

Rejection of Christ as Messiah

Turn with me to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 23, as we notice an even more specific reason why Israel is to be treated in this fashion. In Matthew, chapter 23, there is recorded an event in the closing days of the life of our Lord when He made His so-called triumphal entry into Jerusalem and was rejected by the nation of Israel. Oh, the people were glad to see Him and they put their garments in the street and waved palm branches to welcome Him. But officially the nation rejected Him. In verse 36 we read:

Matthew 23

36Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Conditions for Christ's Return

Do you recognize what is recorded in this paragraph? The nation of Israel had rejected our Saviour, their Messiah. He said, “Because you have rejected Me, your house is left unto you desolate. It is empty now and it will remain empty, because I am leaving, not to come again until you say, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.'” He said, “I'm going away, and I am not coming back until you, as a nation, ask me to come back. Then and only then will I come.”

Please turn to the Old Testament to the book of Hosea and notice how this statement is reiterated and an explanation is given. The reason is given why our Savior could say to the Jews, “I have come to you. You have not received Me. I am going back to where I came from until you ask Me to come back again.” Let us read Hosea, chapter 5, and notice particularly verse 15. This is the Lord Jesus speaking, as is indicated in the context, if we had time to examine the entire passage. He says:

Hosea 5

15I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

Now, notice the verse carefully. Notice that He does not say, “I am going to return to my place until they acknowledge their offenses.” He doesn't generalize. He says, “I will go and stay until they acknowledge their offense.” Notice, there is one specific offense that this nation committed–namely, the rejection of her Messiah, the crucifixion of the Savior. He says, “I will stay away until they seek My face.” Now, a very normal question would be: “Will they ever seek the face of the Lord?” The answer is found in the last part of verse 15:

Hosea 5

15…in their affliction they will seek me early.

Affliction of Israel

“In their affliction they will seek me early.” Here again, we must not generalize. There is a sense in which the nation of Israel has been afflicted for over two thousand years, because their covenant with God was broken far back in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, five hundred years before Christ came. God sent them into captivity for that reason. He brought them back. Then the Savior was presented to them and they rejected Him. He scattered them to the four corners of the earth. During this period of somewhat over twenty-five hundred years, they have been afflicted as no other nation in the world has been afflicted. Any other nation would have been wiped out, but they have remained. But the affliction spoken of here in verse 15 is not a general affliction. It is a special affliction that is related to the judgment about which we are studying at the present moment.

Important Geographical Location

When I gave you the words, “people,” “place,” and “period,” I said that questions would arise. One of them is, “Why the nation of Israel?” Another is, “Why the city of Jerusalem? Why the land of Palestine? Why did God select this particular geographical location for this judgment?” There is a reason. Turn, please, to the Gospel of Luke, chapter 21. These words are familiar to you. We have discussed with you in other lessons the times of the Gentiles and the return of the nation of Israel to the land of Palestine. Notice verse 24:

Luke 21

24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

The reference in the first part of the verse concerning the slaughter was fulfilled when Titus marched against the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Earlier dispersions had occurred in the history of the nation of Israel; however, this dispersion was the fulfillment of this prophecy. At this time, the city was sacked and the Jews were slain and those who remained were scattered to the four corners of the world. They were made captive among all nations. The Lord Jesus Christ said they would remain scattered until close to the end of the times of the Gentiles. Then they would begin to return to their homeland. When they possess their city once again, the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled. And as we pointed out to you, they are now in possession of their city. Why Jerusalem? For the simple reason that God made a promise that He would not leave them scattered to the four corners of the world. He would bring them back to their own land. He would let them dwell in their own city, and there He would deal with them in a new way.

A Promised Return

Turn with me, please, to the book of Ezekiel, chapter 20, for an affirmation of what I have just said–namely, that God has caused the nation of Israel to return to its own land that He might deal with her in judgment:

Ezekiel 20

33As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you:
34And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.
35And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.
36Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.
37[Now notice carefully] And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant:
38And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

Regathering of the Nation of Israel

Now, let me remind you that the regathering of the nation of Israel is to be a process rather than one climactic event. The process began after the days of Nebuchadnezzar, which was a return from Babylonian captivity. It has continued through the years, little dribbles of Jews returning a bit at a time; greater numbers returning in 1870; the greatest number, in 1914; and, of course, greater numbers returning in our day. But when the period comes that we are now studying, even greater numbers will return to the land of Israel.

Notice that He says that when they are there He will plead with them and He will deal with them as He dealt with their forefathers in the wilderness. Verse 37 says, “I will cause you to pass under the rod.” He will bring them back into the bond of the covenant again–the covenant that had been broken; He will bring them back into right relationship. Verse 38 says that He will purge out from among those that are gathered back to the land all rebels and those that transgress against Him. Only those that are left will be able to abide in the land of Israel.

The Time of Jacob's Trouble

Another question is, “Why do we set a date for the period of judgment–that is, after the Rapture of the Church and before the return of the Lord? Why do we say that this is the period of time set for the judgment of Israel?” Our reason, Beloved, is that God declares this. Turn with me, please, in your Bibles to the book of Jeremiah and notice in chapter 30 a specific statement related to this very thing:

Jeremiah 30

4And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.
5For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
6Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?

Why is this people frightened beyond measure? In verse 7 Jeremiah says:

Jeremiah 30

7Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
8For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
9But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

Notice verse 7 particularly:

Jeremiah 30

7Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

That is the reason we say that this period of time, more familiarly known to you as the Tribulation, the time of Jacob's trouble, is the period when God is going to judge the nation of Israel.

Lasting Seven Years

Turn with me, please, to the book of Daniel, chapter 9, for verification of a statement that I am about to make. Though this period of judgment is not one that covers one day, it is not an endless process of time with no beginning and no ending. It is a distinct and definite period of time with a beginning and an ending. It will last for exactly seven years.

In Daniel, chapter 9, we find God revealing to Daniel the period of time in which He is going to deal with the nation of Israel. He says that that period of time will be 490 years. He dealt with the nation of Israel specifically for 483 years and then He stopped the clock. He took time out and that “time out” has lasted for nearly two thousand years. During the “time out” He hasn't been dealing with the nation of Israel as such. He has been dealing with us, the Gentiles.

Someone may say, “Well, does that mean that a Jew cannot be saved?” Of course not! It means that a Jew can be saved just as a Gentile can be saved. It means that anyone who comes to the Lord Jesus Christ acknowledging himself as a sinner and Christ his Savior will be saved. But He is not now dealing with Jews as a nation. One of these days–it won't be long–the time of the Gentiles will be fulfilled. The sign that the end is near is Israel's occupation of the city of Jerusalem and this we have seen. One of these days the clock is going to start to tick again, and when it does it will tick off a period of seven years. By that time an individual known as the Antichrist will have appeared upon the stage of the world, and he will show a special interest in the nation of Israel. Glance at verse 27 and substitute the word “Antichrist” for the pronoun “he.”

Daniel 9

27And he [the Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week…

Covenant With the Antichrist

Those of you who are familiar with the context know that the “many” refers to the nation of Israel, and you know that “one week” in the language used here means seven years. Other passages of Scripture indicated that this covenant will guarantee them the occupation of the land which they have captured, promising them that nobody can make them move out of it. But we see in verse 27 that right in the middle of the seven years, after three and a half years, he, the Antichrist, will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. You see, when the Jews are regathered back to their land, they will rebuild their temple. Some of you have read a periodical which says that the Jews only recently have ordered tremendous amounts of cut stone from Indiana, USA, for the purpose of building that temple. That's how near we are to the end of the age. The temple will be rebuilt. They will be worshipping from that temple and they will have perfect liberty until the middle of this seven year period. Then the Antichrist will say, “That's enough,” and he will desecrate that temple and he will make it difficult on the Jews. He will persecute them in such a fashion that the Bible says that he will wear out the saints of the most High.

Affliction Fitting the Crime

Following our outline, we have given you the people; we have given you the place; we have given you the time. Now we want to notice the principle which is involved. The principle by which God is going to judge the nation of Israel as we have already read in Matthew, chapter 23 and Hosea, chapter 5, is their rejection of the Messiah. The affliction which will be brought upon them will be commensurate with the crime committed.

Now, understand that the affliction is not punishment for the crime committed. The affliction is a tool in the hand of God to open the eyes of a nation that has been blinded to the thing which they have done. This nation has suffered, as I mentioned earlier in our discussion, as no other nation has suffered, and still the veil is over their face. Still they are blinded; still they do not see what we are talking about. It will take a devastating thing to wake them up, and this period of seven years, known as the Tribulation, which Jeremiah calls the “time of Jacob's trouble,” will indeed be devastating. We do not have the time to read all the passages of Scripture which describe how horrible it is. Read Revelation, chapters 6-19; recognize the literalness of what you read and you will realize then how terrible it will be.

Described By Jesus

To sum it all up, let the Savior tell us about it in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24. He speaks about how terrible those days will be. In verse 21 He says:

Matthew 24

21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

I say again that we're speaking of a special period of time. It is very evident in the original text; not so in our English translation. If we were reading this in the original text, we would read it this way, without the King James regard for euphony:

Matthew 24

21For then shall be great tribulation [the great]

Emphasis is upon a specific period of time. Notice verse 22:

Matthew 24

22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.

Christ says, “So great will be this tribulation, so devastating the chastening hand of God upon this people, that if God does not intervene, no flesh will be saved among them.” Oh, yes, the rest of the world will be affected, but primarily, as the Word says, this is Jacob's trouble. No flesh will be saved if God does not intervene. Listen carefully now: Even with the intervention of God, it's still terrible. If you will turn with me to the book of Zechariah, you will find how terrible it is:

Zechariah 13

7Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
8And 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 shall be left therein.

Two-thirds of Jews Killed

If language means anything at all it means that two-thirds of the nation of Israel will be destroyed during the Tribulation. Two-thirds! We have read of Hitler's persecution, and we have read of millions of Jews perishing at the hand of Hitler, and we could read similar stories in different measure down through the course of history. But here we read that two-thirds of all the Jews living at that particular time will be destroyed. Only one-third will be left, and it won't be easy for them! Look at verse 9:

Zechariah 13

9And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Only One Plan of Salvation

When He has put this third of Israel which is left through the fire, they will call upon the Lord. And the declaration of faith which these people will make will be no different from the declaration of faith that you and I make in this day of grace, for it is wrought by the Holy Spirit of God. This I would emphasize, because our critics, those who do not believe in what I'm going to refer to in a very general way as the premillenial interpretation of the Scriptures, misquote us. They misquote us because they don't know enough to quote us right. If they did, they would hold the same position that we hold. I'm not speaking of the people at the Bible Center; I'm speaking about the great host of Christians everywhere who are looking for the return of the Lord. Often these folk say that we teach one plan of salvation for the Gentiles and another plan for the Jews. No, we don't! Neither does the Word of God. The Holy Spirit is the agent whereby anyone comes to know the Savior. You may not know that; you may not be conscious of it, but you cannot come to know Christ without the operation of the Holy Spirit. John, chapter 16, records the words of the Savior when He says:

John 16

7Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter [the Holy Spirit] will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8And when he is come, he will reprove [that is, convince] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9Of sin, because they believe not on me;

The sin that sends the Gentile to Hell is the rejection of Jesus Christ. The sin that sends the Jew to Hell is the rejection of Jesus Christ. Each is brought by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit to a realization that he has rejected Christ.

Work of the Holy Spirit

You may not be conscious of the operation of the Holy Spirit, and you may not be able to describe it that way, but if you are a born-again believer, you sensed your need of Christ and were brought to a realization of that need through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. You may say, “Oh, that's not so. Someone asked me if I was a Christian and I said I wasn't and he showed me why I should be.” That was the Holy Spirit using His servant. I'm not going to take the time to describe all the ways in which the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, but He does do so. So, the Holy Spirit is going to convict the nation of Israel of their sin, their rejection of the Messiah.

Spirit Poured Upon the House of Israel

Turn again, please, to Zechariah and recognize what I say is true. We read in chapter 12, verse 9:

Zechariah 12

9And it shall come to pass in that day, [the context indicates it is the day we are discussing] that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, [Christ] as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, [Christ] as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

In the midst of their affliction they come to the end of the road. They know not which way to turn, and then God pours out the Holy Spirit upon them–the Spirit of supplication. Their eyes are opened and they realize the nature of the trouble they are in; they are being judged because they have rejected Christ. When their eyes are opened and the veil is removed from their faces, they will look not “upon”, as the King James translation has it, but “unto” Him whom they have pierced.

Have you ever presented the Gospel to a person for the purpose of bringing him to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then, because you wanted to make it clear and definite, suggested you get down on your knees together? Have you then had this person say, “Well, I don't know what to say; I don't know how to say it?” Well, the nation of Israel will not say this, for the prayer that they will pray is recorded in Isaiah, chapter 53. In verse 4 of that chapter, we see what they will cry out when the Spirit of God is poured out upon them:

Isaiah 53

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

The Declaration By the Jews

The Jews are going to say of Jesus of Nazareth, “He has borne our griefs; He has carried our sorrows. All the heartache that we saw in Him was our heartache that He was bearing. We thought God was punishing Him.” In verse 5 they continue:

Isaiah 53

5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

They will describe everything that happened to Christ and each one will say, “My Father, it happened for me.” And when they make that acknowledgment, the pronouncement, or the result, of this judgment is made clear.

Turn, please, for the simplest expression of it, to the book of Romans, chapter 11, keeping in mind that Romans, chapters 9, 10, and 11, deal exclusively with the nation of Israel. If you keep that in mind, you will be able to undertand what you read in these three chapters. Otherwise, you will be confused by what you read there. Chapter 9 gives you the past history of the nation of Israel, chapter 10 gives you the present condition, and chapter 11 gives you what we have discussed in this lesson–how God is going to deal with them in judgment and what the sure result of it will be.

In chapter 11, verse 26, after describing much of what we've been discussing, the Apostle Paul summarizes by saying:

Romans 11

26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

No Rebellious Israelite Left Alive

All Israel shall be saved. “Now,” someone may say, “Do you mean to tell me that every Jew that has lived and died and gone to Hell is going to be saved?” No. I told you that when God gets through chastening this nation, two-thirds of those living then will be destroyed; only one-third of them will be left. Every Scripture must be interpreted in the light of other Scriptures, and the teaching is that all the Jews who live to cry out to Christ will be saved. They are saved in the same manner in which we are saved, and individually they need the Savior just as we need Him. This passage of Scripture that we have read in Romans, chapter 11, is a quotation–a paraphrased quotation–from Isaiah, chapter 59. I would like for you to turn to Isaiah and see the original story in its conclusion.

Isaiah 59

16And he saw [that is, God, from His vantage point in Heaven will look down upon the earth and see] that there was [is] no man, and wondered [will wonder] that there was [is] no intercessor: [nobody to care for these people] therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
17For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.
18According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands [coastlands] he will repay recompence.
19So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.
20And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them [notice carefully now] that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

An Individual Matter

You see, this is an individual matter. We're not suggesting any different kind of salvation, for salvation is forever the same. We continue in verse 21:

Isaiah 59

21As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

That is just another way of talking about eternal life. They will be the recipients of it.

Presenting Christ to a Jew

I want you to receive this information and realize that if you're going to deal with the nation of Israel, you are going to have to reach individuals within the nation; because the nation itself is not ready to recognize God, much less the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you deal with individuals within the nation, you need to deal with them upon the basis of the knowledge you have concerning what God has planned for them. Simply to talk with them about Jesus Christ on the same basis that you talk to a Gentile about Jesus Christ will seldom accomplish anything. It is only when they realize that you have an understanding of them and of their affliction and know what God's purpose and plan is in relation to them that the light gets through the veil that covers so many eyes. You hear of so few Jews coming to know the Savior. However, I'm always reminded of the fact that there might be greater results if we would put forth a proportionate effort to win the Jews as we do to win the Gentiles.


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