In this series, we have covered a lot of ground and some really difficult prophetic passages. I’ve chosen just a selection of verses available to piece together enough of a picture to help us understand a period of time I have called ‘the Second Exodus’, which commences upon the Day of the Lord (described Matt 24, when Jesus returns as the Son of Man), to the wedding of the Lamb which happens before His Return in Rev 19 (as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords). This period of time, which as I shared in Quick Bites 45-46 will be a total of 30 days. There will be many things taking place during this time of wrath, but our focus has been upon Israel and how she is to be prepared for her wedding day. For her atonement there will be just 10 days, which are known as the Days of Awe, these join the Feast of Trumpets when Jesus returns, to Yom Kippur which is 10 days later and called the Day of Atonement. I believe there is good Biblical support for this viewpoint, and whilst I’m not stating these things as an absolute, I am saying I believe them to be best possible fit when considering the entirety of Biblical Prophecy. You see it is not good enough to focus on one area of eschatology, pull some scriptures together that support each other, and promote a subsection of the future when it does not stack up to other Biblical Texts which contradict or oppose that view. Does that mean that the Bible contracts itself, absolutely not! It means there’s a problem with our interpretation or presupposition that was brought into the process. That’s the challenge for the student of prophecy, how do you fit all the pieces together harmoniously? Well as you may have heard me say before, we need a blueprint, an end time picture of what the Lord sees and desires, because that blueprint is the underlying influence upon all prophecy. I believe the Bride is that blueprint. When we see the Bride and understand who she is and how she will prepare, it is the key to unlock the unfolding of future events. The Wife must make herself ready, and that means both Jew and Gentile. We can’t side-line Israel’s gathering, redemption, and wedding into a Millennial event, as though it were inconsequential and supplemental to the main story which belongs to the church. No, it doesn’t belong to the church, the story belongs to the Elect, there’s a subtle but important difference, one includes Israel, the other does not. The Lord will not tear the branch from the Olive tree, but He will cultivate them together as One, the One New Man, the Bride. Matthew 24 speaks of the gathering of the Elect, thank God that it does. The pre-trib believer will say ‘yes this is Israel’ and the post-trib believer will say, no the Lord is speaking to His church. Jesus could have easily mentioned either Israel or the Church as the intended crowd to be gathered, but He uses neither and says it will be the Elect who are gathered. That’s because to mention either Israel or the Church as those gathered, would automatically exclude the other. The church will be gathered, but so will Israel. On the Day of the Lord, Jesus will return as the Son of Man to gather the Elect, to gather His Bride. Those ready and waiting will be caught up together into the air at the first resurrection, but for unsaved Israel the Son of Man’s role as Saviour and Redeemer is not yet finished. The remnant of Israel, wherever they may be, will be gathered not up into the air, but to a location upon the earth. This gathering will not be at first to Israel but to a place Ezekiel calls the ‘wilderness of the peoples’. Listen again to Ezekiel 20:34,35 And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the nations where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. The word ‘plead’ also means to judge, govern, vindicate or punish. The point I want to make here is that it is a singular location not a dispersion but a convening, a gathering. The Lord said “I will bring you out of and bring you into” “I will bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the nations where you are scattered, and I will bring you into, into the wilderness, into the wilderness of the people”, which is also called the wilderness of the nations. It is here that He will meet with them face to face. This location does not describe the current dispersion of the Jews, it is the place that they will be brought into not out from.
Now in this wilderness location there will be a sifting of the sheepfold of Israel. Eze 20:37-38 NKJV – 37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 “I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I [am] the LORD.
The Lord said they will all be brought out of the countries where they dwell and brought into the wilderness of the nations, where there will be a purging, and the rebels will be sifted out. Eze 34:17 says the Lord will judge His flock, judging between one sheep and another. They will pass under the rod. Lev 27:32 describes this act of passing under the rod as a way to select a tenth of all animals from the herd or flock and dedicate them to the Lord as holy. In this sense, not all Israel will be saved. Not all Israel will enter their homeland. Just as in the first Exodus not all those who left Egypt returned to Canaan, but they perished in the wilderness, so also not all those who are gathered into the wilderness will return to Zion. Judgement will begin first with the Jews and then the Greek Rom 2:9 Yet, as Ezekiel writes, those chosen shall be brought into the bond of the covenant. What covenant do we suppose this may be? Well let’s look at another favourite passage of mine found in Hos 2:14-23 NKJV – 14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, I Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. 15 I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 16 “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the LORD, “[That] you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ 17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, And [with] the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely. 19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; 20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the LORD. 21 “It shall come to pass in that day [That] I will answer,” says the LORD; “I will answer the heavens, And they shall answer the earth. 22 The earth shall answer With grain, With new wine, And with oil; They shall answer Jezreel. 23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on [her who had] not obtained mercy; Then I will say to [those who were] not My people, ‘You [are] My people!’ And they shall say, ‘[You are] my God!’ “
Wow, what an amazing prophecy that fits so beautifully into our Bridal perspective on the end times. Through this entire series on the Second Exodus, the underlying question is how does the wife make herself ready, because when Jesus comes as the Son of Man in Matt 24, the wife will not yet be ready because Israel will not yet be fully saved, and there can be no wedding without her. Those already in the New Covenant will be raptured upon the Lord’s coming, but what of unsaved Israel? For a brief period of time the Bride will be in Heaven and upon the Earth. This has been the subject of this series, how Israel is brought back into the marriage covenant, so that the wife can complete her preparations. For that to happen she is led into the wilderness to be romanced by the Lord. Ezekiel has told us those who pass under the rod will come into the covenant, and Hosea 2 is a beautiful prophecy that describes this betrothal and renewal of their first love. There in the wilderness Israel will sing, just as she did when she came up before from the land of Egypt. It is there that Israel will call the Lord her husband, and there that the Lord will betroth her to Himself forever. Wow, I’m just speechless, what beauty, what majesty, what glory there is contained in this most wonderful romance between the Lord and His Bride. Thank God, that He has not forsaken Israel, not in the least, our God is faithful to His promise, and we all, whether Jew or Gentile shall be made one, and we shall be ready, and we shall be united with our Bridegroom Jesus Christ forever. This is the glory that awaits us, the hope of our faith, the certainty of our calling, and the resolute cry of our hearts, in which we cry Maranatha, Even so, Come Lord Jesus Come.