The gathering of Israel was prophesied many times by the Old Testament prophets, but more than this, the time of their gathering is also foretold as connected with the Day of the Lord. Let’s take Zephaniah for example. Much of Zephaniah is about the Day of the Lord, about a coming Judgement of Israel, a gathering and punishment of nations, but the final verses end with hope for Jerusalem and Israel.
Here’s a quote from Zephaniah 3:14-20 NKJV – 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all [your] heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, [is] in your midst; You shall see disaster no more. 16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. 17 The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet [you] with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” 18 “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, Who are among you, [To whom] its reproach [is] a burden. 19 Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, And gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame. 20 At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you; For I will give you fame and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I return your captives before your eyes,” Says the LORD.
Notice in this prophecy that the Lord, the King of Israel will be among His people. Interestingly Zephaniah specifically mentions Zion and writes, “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: ’Do not fear Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One will save’”. This is a picture of the Lord physically present amongst His people in Jerusalem to save them, He will be amongst them as the King of Israel, the Mighty One. Zephaniah writes the Lord will rejoice over Israel with gladness, quiet them with His love and rejoice over them with singing. At that time, the Lord will deal with all her oppressors and will save them. Could this be a reference to when Jerusalem will be delivered, at the time when the nations surround her? I believe so. He will stand upon the Mount of Olives and provide a means of escape. Notice this day of flight from Jerusalem is also the day of gathering for those dispersed elsewhere. Zephaniah prophesies, ‘At that time, I will bring you back, even at the time I gather you’.
Okay, quick recap: I’ve been going through the events that will take place when the Lord returns in Matt 24. In particular our focus has been upon the Bride, and specifically how she will be the wife who has made herself ready in Revelation 19, because when Jesus returns in Matthew 24, the wife isn’t yet ready, for Israel is not yet fully saved. Indeed when Jesus returns as the Son of Man, Israel will be in great distress. But the Lord will come for her and not abandon her. There is a period of time, the days of the Son of Man, in which the Lord will lead Israel in the same way that Moses led Israel out of Egypt, away from her oppressors, to bring her through the wilderness to Mount Sinai.
There are many similarities between the first exodus and the second exodus. In the first exodus just as the waters of the Red Sea were parted to provide a means of escape Exo 14:21, so shall the Mount of Olives be parted in the second exodus for those in Jerusalem to flee Zech 14:4,5. In the first Exodus the Lord bore His people on eagles’ wings to bring them to himself Exodus 19:4, Israel will once again be carried upon the wings of a great eagle Rev 12:14. Or how about Exodus 20:10 which reads “So I took them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.”? In the first Exodus, Israel escaped from her opposers in Egypt, did you know that in the book of Revelation Jerusalem is referred to as Egypt (Rev 11:8). Jerusalem is referred to symbolically as Sodom and Egypt, in both of those places there was an escape. Moses led Israel out of Egypt, so also the Lord will lead Israel out of symbolic Egypt which is Jerusalem. Now where was it they went after escaping through the Red Sea? It was into the Wilderness. Deut 8:2 explains the Lord led Israel into the wilderness to humble and to test them, to reveal what was in their heart and whether they would keep His commands or not. It was in the wilderness that Israel became the betrothed wife of Jehovah God, with the marriage covenant established upon Mount Sinai. I hope to show how this same process will take place once more. The Lord Jesus will be among His people, and He will lead them into the wilderness in order to test them, to sift them and to prepare them as the wife who has made herself ready. The wife will be prepared in the wilderness. This is always the case, the Bride in the Wilderness. When we speak of the gathering, it will not be to Jerusalem or even to Israel, not at first, but it will be into the wilderness. Here’s what Ezekiel writes in Ezekiel 20:33,34 [ESV2011] “As I live, declares the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. 37 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord GOD. 37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.”
I have yet to teach on the feasts of the Lord, but I’d like to mention them here because every feast has a prophetic fulfilment, and what I am teaching on the Second Exodus will be in harmony with and a fulfilment of the feast of trumpets, which initiates ten days of awe and finishes with Yom Kippur the day of Atonement. The next feast to be fulfilled is the feast of trumpets which we believe is when the Lord will return. When Jesus returns it will be a prophetic fulfilment of the feast of trumpets which will initiate ten days of awe before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement which is the most important day of the Jewish faith. All during this time the key emphasis is upon self-examination and repentance. In Quick Bites 40 – 44, a key point I brought out was that the wrath of God is reserved until the Day of the Lord. That the sixth seal and seventh trumpet mark the Day of the Lord and the commencement of the seven bowls of wrath. Because the Day of the Lord, will be upon the Feast of Trumpets, it means that the ten days of awe, during which will be the final opportunity for repentance and salvation of Israel, it will also be a time of wrath upon the earth. That’s what Ezekiel mentions here at the time of the gathering of Israel, the Lord will gather His people out of the countries where they are scattered with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out. Ezekiel continues in verses 35-37 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord GOD. 37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.
Wow, that’s amazing, the Lord makes the similarity between the first and second exoduses. He says, just as I judged your fathers in the wilderness, so I will do so with you. He also says that He will enter into judgement with them face to face, that’s because Jesus will be physically with them at that time. Where will this gathering take place? It is into the wilderness of the peoples, other translations say the wilderness of the nations, where that will be, I will continue next time.