Israel — What Does the Future Hold?
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Time of Israel’s Restoration
As Seen in Jacob’s Exile and Return to the Land
. . . I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.
Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.
Jacob, like the nation of Israel, left the land covenanted to his fathers and became a merchantman and a wanderer in a strange land. But Jacob, like Israel, possessed God’s promise that in all places where he went, God would be with him and eventually restore him to his own land.
While in a strange land Jacob went to Laban, his mother’s brother, began to serve Laban, was mistreated by Laban, but became a crafty merchantman who grew wealthy at Laban’s expense.
Israel, in a strange land during the times of the Gentiles, has served Gentile causes and has been mistreated by the Gentiles. And the Jewish people, in turn, as Jacob, have become crafty merchantmen who are growing wealthy at the expense of the Gentiles.
(“Laban,” though Abraham’s kinsman [Genesis 24:15, 29], can typify the Gentiles because, as Esau, he is not part of the lineage of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons.)
. . . Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has acquired all this wealth. . . .
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.” (Genesis 31:1b, 3)
After acquiring a certain amount of wealth from Laban, Jacob expressed a desire to return to the land of his fathers (Genesis 30:25, 26). But the time for his return, although near, had not arrived. God’s command for Jacob to return came only after Jacob had acquired ALL of Laban’s wealth (Genesis 31:1-3).
From Genesis 28:15 to Genesis 31:3 God did not speak to Jacob. The heavens remained closed during the entire time of Jacob’s exile. God did not speak to Jacob until it was time for him to return. Jacob then returned to Bethel (meaning, “the house of God”), the same place from which he had departed at the beginning of his exile, bearing the riches of Laban (Genesis 28:19; 31:17, 18; 35:1, 8). And at Bethel the Abrahamic covenant, concerning ownership of the land, was reaffirmed to Jacob (Genesis 35:9-12).
Israel today has acquired a certain amount of wealth from the Gentiles (though far from all wealth) and is expressing a desire to return to the land. But the time for Israel’s return, although near, has not arrived. We’re still living during the Times of the Gentiles, and God has not issued the command for Israel to return.
The present return of a remnant to the land is NOT the restoration prophesied numerous places in the Old Testament and set forth in type by the experiences surrounding Jacob’s return. This return has occurred during a time when the heavens, relative to God’s dealings with Israel, remain closed. This return (resulting from a Zionistic movement that began during the closing years of the nineteenth century) has occurred during that period depicted by Jacob’s exile, from Genesis 28:15 to Genesis 31:3.
This present return of the Jewish people has occurred during the Times of the Gentiles, during their time of exile, while the heavens remain closed, while God’s timepiece marking time in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy remains idle, prior to Israel’s acquisition of ALL the wealth of the Gentiles, and prior to God’s command for the Jewish people to return.
Regardless of that which has occurred, that which is revealed in the Word cannot change. The Word of God clearly declares that during the entire time of Israel’s present exile, the Times of the Gentiles will continue, the heavens will remain closed, and God will not speak to Israel again until that time which is foreshadowed by Genesis 31:3 (cf. Jeremiah 30:3, 7-10, 18; 31:8, 9).
God’s command for Israel to return will come only after the Times of the Gentiles has ended, only after the exile has ended, only after the heavens have once again been opened (Genesis 31:3), and only after Israel has come into possession of ALL the wealth of the Gentiles (Isaiah 60:5, 11 [“forces,” KJV, should be translated “wealth,” or “riches”; ref. ASV, NASB, NIV]).
Only then will God restore His people to the land; only then will the Jewish people hear God’s command to return to Bethel and hear His voice once again, reaffirming the Abrahamic covenant to them (cf. Exodus 2:23-3:10).
(The remnant of Jews presently in the land, comprised of those returning before it is time for the Jewish people to return, almost 6,000,000 strong today, will be uprooted and driven back out among the nations in the middle of the coming Tribulation.
God, because of the continued disobedience of His people, over centuries of time, drove the Jewish people out among the nations for a purpose, yet to be realized — repentance. And it is out among the nations, not in the land, that God will deal with His people relative to repentance, with a view to restoration.
Refer to the author’s book, Mysteries of the Kingdom, Chapter 2, “I Will Return,” for more information on this subject.)
Note God’s command to Jacob with respect to his return to the land — completely within God’s timing, not Jacob’s — and that which followed:
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.” (Genesis 31:3)
The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land. (Genesis 35:12)
In complete accord with these verses — the heavens being opened again and God again speaking to Jacob — God will one day again resume His dealings with Israel. And in that coming day, the Jewish people will be commanded to return to the land of their fathers (God’s land [Joel 3:2], typified by Jacob’s return to Bethel, “the house of God”). And once back in the land, as following Jacob’s return, God will reaffirm the Abrahamic Covenant to Israel.
The Jewish people will be brought back into the land, possessing the wealth of the Gentiles (as Jacob returned to Bethel bearing Laban’s wealth). And not only will Israel possess Gentile wealth, but the Gentiles will be subservient to Israel, as Israel dwells in the most valuable piece of real estate on the face of the earth (cf. Isaiah 14:1, 2; 60:10-12; 61:5, 6, ASV).
Once back in the land, “Jacob’s” name was changed to Israel. “Jacob” means, Supplanter; “Israel” means, a Prince with God. And Esau, whose descendants were the bitter enemies of the Israelites during the wilderness journey under Moses, was no longer Jacob’s enemy (Genesis 34, 35).
In that future day when Israel returns to the land, the nation will no longer be the crafty supplanter, but will be a Prince with God. Nor will the descendants of Esau continue to be Israel’s enemy. The land of Edom, as Babylon and Egypt, will be desolated because of “the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land” (Egypt though only for the first forty years of the Messianic Era [Isaiah 19:5-9, 22-25; Jeremiah 49:17, 18; Ezekiel 29:10-15; Joel 3:19]). And any Edomites, as all other Gentiles entering the kingdom, will be subservient to Israel.
Pharaoh’s Two Dreams
The same thing can be seen after another fashion in the account of Joseph interpreting two dreams that God had caused the Pharaoh of Egypt to have — two dreams having to do with two interrelated periods of time, a time of plenty, followed by a time of famine (Genesis 41:14-32). The length of each period of time in the dream was seven years. “Seven” is one of several numbers used in Scripture to show completeness. This number is used, more specifically, to show the completeness of that which is in view. And, in this case, in the account, two complete periods of time were in view — a time of plenty, followed by a time of famine.
This is what occurred during Joseph’s day, foreshadowing two complete periods of time — one, a time of plenty, during which Israel, as Joseph’s brethren, are unseen, and not being dealt with; the other, a time of famine, during which the Jewish people, as Joseph’s brethren, reappear, and are dealt with.
And the time of famine in the type occurred in connection with Joseph again appearing in his brethren’s presence, ultimately revealing himself to them, being received by them, and their going forth with a dual message: “Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 42:1-45:26).
All of this foreshadows that which is about to occur, taking one from the present time of plenty through the coming time of famine to that day when a repentant, converted, and restored Israel will go forth as God’s witness to the nations: “Jesus is yet alive, and He is Governor over the entire earth.” And all of this is as certain as the day follows the night. It has all been pre-recorded in God’s unchangeable Word.
The time of plenty will one day end, and the time of famine will then begin. Famine came during Joseph’s day in an account foreshadowing that which was occurring at the end of the time of plenty, and it will come at the termination of the present time of plenty, the present day — a time so different and severe that the previous time of plenty was not even remembered during Joseph’s day; nor will it be remembered in our day (Genesis 41:31, 53-57).
Past, Present, Future
The brethren of Joseph faded from view after he had been sold into the hands of the Gentiles (Genesis 37:28), and they did not reappear until following the time of plenty, during the time of famine (Genesis 42:1). The brethren of Jesus, according to the flesh, faded from view after He had been sold into the hands of the Gentiles. Israel has been set aside while God, during the time of plenty, takes out of the Gentiles a people for His name.
However, when the time of famine begins — marked by time once again resuming in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, marking off time covering the final seven years of this prophecy — just as the brethren of Joseph in the type reappeared, the brethren of Jesus in the antitype will reappear. And then, as Joseph dealt with his brethren, God, in the person of His Son, will deal with Israel on a national basis once again.
But, UNTIL that day, UNTIL the arrival of the time of famine following the time of plenty — the Tribulation, the final seven years in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy — the heavens, of necessity, will remain closed relative to God’s dealings with Israel. UNTIL that time (the end of the time of plenty and the arrival of the time of famine), God will remain silent relative to His revealed plans and purposes for Israel, with the heavens remaining closed in this respect.
But when that time arrives . . . .