In the study of Bible prophecy, it is always import to keep Israel and the Church as separate distinct purposes of God. If we confuse these two purposes of God then we will replace Israel with the Church and this will cause great confusion and misinterpretation of the Scriptures regarding God’s eternal covenant with Israel and His plans for the future.
God promised Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 that He was setting him apart as the forefather of a distinct and separate people on the earth. This covenant was eternal and also promised the land to Israel. This is the land they occupy today in small part. It is prophesied that, through Abraham’s descendents (Isaac, then Jacob who was renamed “Israel”), there would arise David who would be anointed as King of Israel. This Davidic line and throne was to last forever. From this throne would come the Reigning and Suffering Messiah of the Jews, and then for the whole world, Jesus Christ ( see: 2 Samuel 7:12-16 and Luke 1:32-33). Jesus offered Himself to His own people as their Messiah, but, as a nation, they rejected Him in unbelief. However, many Jews and Gentiles did believe and received Him as their Messiah and Savior as the new-born Church in Acts 2. Now, God, having stopped His prophetic clock of Daniel’s 490 year prophecy for the completion of His purpose for Israel until Messiah returns, is still very active in preserving and preparing Israel for that day! (Read Daniel 9:24-27; John 1:11-13; Matthew 23:29-39; Acts 1-2; Ephesians 3). This is why we have been and are seeing such a great movement of Jews going back to their home land and the issues surrounding Israel are on the fore-front of the news these days. These are indications that the Lord is coming, and perhaps even today, to rapture His Church (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Next, the Great Tribulation will begin with the rise of the Antichrist who will appear as the Messiah to the Jews and to the whole world. He will be their long-awaited deliverer, no matter what religion or immoral life-style any one practices. In the middle of the Tribulation God will seal 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each tribe of Israel! They will preach to the world about Jesus Christ, Him crucified, resurrected and coming again. Many will be saved during that time of world-wide trial. The Church will be in heaven already with the Lord during that time, only the false Church, Babylon the Great, will be on the earth. The Church as a whole is already losing its clear testimony for Christ as its focus is on self-perpetuation, self-realization, self-affirmation and not on sound doctrine and the coming of the Lord (see 2 Timothy 3:1-13; Revelation 3: 15-17).
What an amazing unfolding of the great prophecies of Scripture we are witnessing today! The rise of leftist, humanistic, pro-abortion liberalism under a president who is dangerously weak and double-minded in his support of God’s people, the Jews, signal the nearness of the coming of the Man of Sin, the Antichrist who will assert dictatorial rule with a goal to destroy the Jews entirely! Much of this signal comes in the form of strangely horrific storms that have been devastating the land in America. There are diseases that defy explanation! There is the devastation of deep racial and religious division instigated and perpetuated by our liberal and anti-Christian leadership. Wars and rumors of wars are arising with ever-increasing ferocity through demonic leaders like Kim Jong-Un of North Korea or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. Even marriage and the family is under aggressive assault! We have also seen earthquakes, perfectly timed to indicate God’s displeasure with America’s complacency toward God and Israel. We must always keep in mind the warning of Jesus to His disciples and to the Jews of the later days:
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. .. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:4-8, 10-12).
Many of those in the Church, by ignoring Bible prophecy and seeking to establish a global “Kingdom” before the Lord returns, have commandeered God’s promises for Israel and transferred them to the Church. This is Replacement Theology. Therefore we need to pray for Israel. We should pray for the salvation of the Jews. Many are coming to faith in Jesus Christ these days. This is in spite of the fact that growing numbers are teaching, even in the “evangelical” Church the false and dangerous Dual-Covenant Doctrine, that states the Jews do not need to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved and that He did not come to offer Himself to the Jews as their Messiah. We are certainly in the last days, just as the Bible predicted when we see “another gospel” such as this being taught and accepted (Galatians 1:6-9). This is just another and even more insidious form of anti-Semitism! But, God’s prophetic plan will prevail because our God is sovereign. Whatever purpose comes against His people or His own righteous plan is well stated by Ezekiel who quotes God’s intention regarding the overthrow of all that offends His righteousness: “Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, Until He comes whose right it is, And I will give it to Him” (Ezekiel 21:27).