—Zechariah 8:7-8 (NASB)
It fascinates me how many things in general people know to be associated with the Bible such as the fact that God will cause the Jews to return to the land of Israel. Yes, it is a indisputable milestone testifying to the imminent return of Christ and a host of other events to follow. But I am equally fascinated by the fact that because so few seem to read the specific details of such things as provided in actual Scripture, a basic error has taken root. What we see in verses such as these, and which will be greatly expanded on in the rest of Zechariah going forward, is that it is not merely a physical return but a spiritual one.
As a kid growing up a couple hundred years ago, our church had a wonderful older lady who taught the kids every Sunday, the retired wife of a preacher who herself had been a Christian since a very early age and then spent her adult life with her husband in ministry. It was the 60’s and she often could not help but talk very passionately and excitedly about the times we were living in. She explained that when she was growing up her pastor used to tell them that God would restore the nation of Israel and that they should keep a look out for small newspaper articles buried in the back pages about such a thing happening. My teacher was astonished because since the end of WWII it was front page news nearly every day. But that was only the physical return. The greater sign is when “they shall by My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness” — not just as an earthly government.
I have stated it here in the past but it is worth repeating, especially since we received word this week of the passing of Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus. The nation may have formed in 1948, but in 1967 after reacquiring Jerusalem something greater began happening spiritually. Prior to 1967 there was no such thing as a “Messianic” church, a Christian gathering composed mainly of converted Jews; today there are hundreds if not thousands and growing. Likewise there had been nothing like Jews for Jesus and other such organizations which now actively bring the Gospel to Jews just like every missionary organization to any people group. Secular Jewish sources confirm that more Jews have come to faith in Christ since 1967 than the total number for the past 1,800 years! Not since the founding of the Christian faith have so many Jews embraced their Messiah “in truth and righteousness“.
There is a greater encouragement for me in all of this, which basically comes down to the fact that there is still time to preach the Gospel, still time for people to come to faith in Christ, still time to make the right choices which prevent experiencing the consequences of the rest of the events which are promised to surely come. We can become absorbed with generalities of God’s plan in the End Times and diminish the need to pay attention to the details. On the one hand it is a time of falling away for a great many inside the church, but it is also a time of opportunity to reach the already fallen outside the church, or as Jesus put it, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached…and then the end will come” :”(Matthew 24:14)”: and “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work“. :”(John 9:4)”:
There is still time to embrace the greater spiritual purpose of the literal events taking place. †††