Has God re-gathered the Jews to Israel merely for their necessary or inevitable failure, in order to bring them to Christ? That’s what some Christians believe. Israel, they reason, must be brought low, devastated and overrun in order to accept Jesus as Messiah.
But what does the Bible teach? Here are five important considerations:
1. Some prophetic verses about Israel do point to a time of great distress toward the end of this age. To be properly understood, however, they must be considered in light of other related passages and the broader teachings of Scripture. If we overemphasize these scattered prophetic verses and ignore other important passages, we can come to conclusions about Israel that contradict the overarching themes of Scripture. (More on this later.)
2. While the Bible describes a time of great trouble for Israel, it also describes such a time for the nations—and true followers of Yeshua are not necessarily exempt. If we interpret isolated verses to mean that Israel’s existence today is a divine set-up for inevitable failure, then logically the same must be said of every nation—and of humanity altogether.
3. The prophetic Scriptures describe Israel’s end times restoration as gradual and progressive, not instantaneous. It could be said she takes three steps forward, then one step backward. In the process there are failures on her part. But the overall trajectory is forward, toward God’s complete restoration of Israel (and redemption of the nations).
4. A main reason God’s Word tells us about future events, including great trouble, is so we will proactively pray concerning them. Through prayer, the severity of those events can be greatly diminished. We aren’t called to be fatalists regarding Israel. We’re called to intercede in love on her behalf. We’re to pray for full salvation from her enemies (see Romans 10:1).
5. The spirit in which the doctrine of Israel’s inevitable or necessary failure is taught rarely conveys His love, mercy or compassion. Yet God grieves over the pain of His people. When they suffer He suffers too: “In all their affliction He was afflicted” (Isaiah 63:9, TLV). Sadly, through history, the Church has focused much on the presumed, necessary failure of the Jewish people. That focus has rarely led to Jews coming to faith in Yeshua, but more often to atrocities committed against them.
Lastly and going back to Point 1, the truth is that we all fail apart from surrender to God, and as a result, there is trouble ahead. Our view of Israel (or any nation or individual) should not neglect that truth. But we are to keep it in perspective with other biblical truths. God’s loving grace, overarching redemption and certain victory in Messiah trump every trial. “Notice, then, the kindness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22, TLV).