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- Return to the Land
- Physical Renewal and Peace
- Spiritual Renewal
- A Renewed Relationship with God
The OT prophets speak of a great, future renewal of Israel by God. Opinions differ as to whether these prophecies are literal and physical, as opposed to figurative or spiritual. If they are literal, then they speak of Israel and Jerusalem (or Zion), most likely immediately preceding and during the thousand years spoken of in Rev 20:1-7. As such the time of a renewed Israel would largely correspond with that of a physical universal rule of Jesus Christ and would precede the final judgment. If instead the prophecies are basically figurative and spiritual, then they are more likely to be referring to all believers – the “new” Israel. As such they would be portraying God’s people and kingdom following Jesus Christ’s mission and/or quite possibly anticipating heaven or the new Jerusalem.
In reading the following, bear in mind that some prophecies are understood to be progressively fulfilled throughout history, culminating in a final fulfillment at the end of the age. For example some passages refer to the Jew’s return from exile in Babylon, but also appear to have a future era in view. Many probably also have an application to the experience of God’s people in all periods. As such they are a great source of encouragement to all believers.
Note that while the subheadings speak of Israel, many of the verses refer to Jerusalem in particular.
Note that some commentators see a fulfillment of prophecies such as this one in the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
They [people] will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; the ruined, desolate, and destroyed cities are now fortified and inhabited.” 36Then the nations which remain around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken – and I will do it! Ezekiel 36:35-36 NET
Certainly the Lord will console Zion; he will console all her ruins. He will make her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the Garden of the Lord. Happiness and joy will be restored to her, thanksgiving and the sound of music. Isaiah 51:3 NET
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:7 ESV
This denotes the consummate fulfillment of a key aspect of the first covenant which God made with Israel – that he would be their God and they would be his people.
The desert and the dry land will be glad, and the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. 2Like a lily the land will blossom. It will rejoice and sing with joy. It will have the glory of Lebanon, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. Everyone will see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2 GW
God’s glory and majesty will be evident in Israel’s wonderful and glorious restoration.