THE EARTHLY INHERITANCE SERIES of BIBLE SUBJECTS
Various Bible study guides in subjects pertaining to
New Earth prophecy, as taught by Paul Phelps.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
Bible quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version
except for my own translations or as otherwise indicated.
A reality check of modern-day Israel
from Biblical prophetic perspectives.
A Bible study project by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2013.
Bible prophecy clearly indicates that Jews will be living in Jerusalem and the
surrounding Judean region in the end-times (Zechariah Chapter 12 and 14:1-5),
and as indicated in other Scriptures also. We must recognise that this endtime
regathering before the Lord’s return is the regathering of the Roman captivity,
descended from the generation of Judean people alive in New Testament times.
In fundamental terms nothing changed for the Jews in the intervening centuries
and the same question still remains: “When will you recognize your Messiah?”
In God’s viewpoint this is the chief reason for the endtime regathering of Jews.
From reading Zechariah’s prophecy, it appears that the latter-day return of Jews
to their land is a return to the same situation that existed when Jesus was there.
Despite the large controversy that surrounds political Zionism, good fruit has
come from it, such as the rebirth and research of the Biblical Hebrew language
and preservation of archaeological sites that otherwise could not have survived
and the many archaeological discoveries by Israelis that confirm Bible history.
Israel has also become known for inventive genius. Many technical innovations
used internationally are Israeli inventions, such as the Intel chip and cell-phone
and many breakthrough advances in medicine and agriculture. The magnitude
of these inventions is so large that the world now depends on them in daily life.
Although these achievements are not the chief reason for regathering the Jews
to their land, they are evidences of God’s providence in this portion of his plan.
At the time of this writing the dawn of God’s kingdom is not yet here, but his
coming is soon. In principle the Kingdom cannot be here until the King is here.
Nevertheless God is active among the nations in preparing the way for his soon
return, and the present regathering of Jews to their land is part of this pre-dawn
preparation. To keep our topic in perspective we should realize that all nations
are in preparation for the Kingdom (Luke 21:29-31), for all nations are included.
The prophecies for Israel have special interest because so much Scripture deals
with that land and its people, serving as a sign to understand the time we are in.
But we must know that after the Lord’s return, Israel is more than just the Jews,
it is the entire worldwide Kingdom because all nations will eventually be in it.
It will proceed from Jerusalem and it will begin with a regathered Israel, which
will include twelve distinct tribes having natural descent from their father Jacob.
In view of Messianic prophecies, early Zionist settlers chose the name Israel
as the name for their newly-established state. But there is controversy over that
not only in Israel but also among Bible readers because the historic truth is that
western Jews (descendants from the Roman Diaspora) are Judean Jews—which
only included the tribes that returned under Cyrus: Judah, Benjamin, and Levy,
(southern kingdom tribes; Ezra 1:2-5). But they are not all Israel, they are only
Judeans of the House of Judah. A more correct name would have been “Judah.”
After the empire passed to Persia, King Cyrus issued an edict in 538 BCE that
allowed Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple (Ezra 1:1-5). The
returnees were about 50,000 (Ezra 2:64-65). The majority of Jews remained and
moved eastward throughout Persia. The Jews staying in Babylon’s cities created
the system of Babylonian Talmudic interpretation, laws, rabbis and synagogues
that became the basis of Pharisaism in Jesus’ time, under the name of ‘Judaism.’
(The first mention of ‘Judaism’ is 2 Mac. 2:21, and Paul referred to it in Gal. 1:13.)
The early history of Babylon’s returnee Jews is found in Ezra and Nehemiah;
but Daniel foresaw and prophesied a later great tribulation for the Babylonian
returnees (Daniel 11), the Syrian-Greek invasion under Antiochus Epiphanus.
These later events are recorded in Jewish historical records and in the books of
Maccabees. Much is said about the Judean victory over the Syrian-Greek army
but less is known of events that came later, which profoundly affected the Jews.
Under Hasmonean rule, Talmudic Rabbinic Judaism with the synagogue system
was established in Israel; ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasmonean_dynasty ).
After routing the Syrian-Greek invasion and re-establishing Temple sacrifice,
the Maccabee family ruled Judea and also conquered the Edomites of the south.
The Encyclopaedia Judaica 1971, volume 6, p 378, and the New Standard Jewish
Encyclopedia 1977, p 589 has this: “Judah Maccabee's son, John Hyrcanus, con-
quered the whole of Edom and undertook forced conversion of its inhabitants
to Judaism.” And Josephus adds: “Hyrcanus took Medaba, Samega and neigh-
boring places, and Shechem and Gerizzim, and also the Cutheans. Hyrcanus
also took Dora and Marissa, Idumean cities and subdued all the Idumeans; and
they submitted to circumcision and the rest of the Jewish ways of living at which
time therefore they were thereafter no other than Jews."
(Josephus Antiquities of the Jews, Book. 13, chapter 9, section I)
During the five hundred years BCE, the Edom population gradually migrated
into the Negev desert and south portion of Judea, (called Idumea in Mark 3:8).
The Jewish Encyclopdia 1925 has this about Edom: "In 163 BC Judas Maccabeus
conquered their territory for a time. In 125 BC, they were again subdued by
John Hyrcanus, by whom they were forced to observe Jewish rites and laws.
They were then incorporated with the Jewish nation and their country is called
"Idumea" by the Greeks and Romans. Antipater began the Idumean dynasty
that ruled Judea till its conquest by Rome. From then on, the Idumeans ceased
to be a separate people." (‘Idumean’ is a different spelling of ‘Edomite.’)
This explains how Herod’s Antipater Edomite dynasty ruled Judea in Christ’s
time, and how they could gather so much popular support among the Judeans.
In 37 BC, Herod the Great, of Edomite ancestry, became the undisputed ruler of
Judea, (he died in 4 BC). Herod’s wife Mariamne was from a Maccabean family.
The Judean population had become largely Edomite in Jesus’ day, which may
explain why Jesus chose his disciples from Galilee in the north instead of Judea.
The doctrines of Talmudic Judaism made changes in the Judean culture, making
Jewish identity to be a matter of religion rather than ancestry. Because of that,
despite a corrupted history, Edomite converts gained entry into Jewish identity.
During that time the word ‘Jew’ changed meaning from nationality into religion.
The last historic mention of Edomites is from the era of Roman occupation, and
from then till now Edom has disappeared out of history and public knowledge.
Bible prophecy says that Edom will ultimately be destroyed, which in a sense
may be fulfilled in the conquest of John Hyrcanus. But if the cursed nature of the
Edomites still exists, then it continues to operate in an unrecognized form and is
active in unseen ways (Satan’s familiar style). This means that the contemporary
Mediterranean Jewish community is not only a surviving Judean remnant—but is
at the same time a surviving Edomite remnant, both identities blended together.
This strange reality may be indicated in Amos 9:12,
v 11 On that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair
its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old;
v 12 in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations who are called by my name,
says the LORD who does this.
This text says that the renewed Davidic Kingdom (called Israel, v 14) includes
the ‘remnant of Edom.’ In view of Israel’s ancient history, this ‘remnant of Edom’
of the endtime could in fact be referring to the surviving Jewish-Israeli remnant.
(That remnant however is only a small part of the new world Davidic Kingdom.)
It is important to understand that the modern Israeli State of today is a return of
the Roman captivity. Israel’s Jewish population is descended primarily from the
Roman Diaspora. More details of that history will be helpful.
The Romans depopulated Israel through two military campaigns: the siege of
Jerusalem in 66-73 CE, and again in the Simon bar Kokhba rebellion in 135 CE.
The captives were taken by ship to various places in the Mediterranean, mainly
into North African and Adriatic ports and southern Italy. They gradually spread
throughout the Roman Empire—finally congregating in large numbers in Spain,
(called Sepharad by rabbis) where they stayed till they were forcibly expelled.
Jews from Italy also settled the Alsace-Loraine regions of northern France and
south-western Germany, (called Ashkenaz by rabbis), where the Yiddish speech
developed. The Yiddish-speaking Jewish population grew slowly at first. By the
11th century they were only 3% of world Jewry, the rest being mostly Sephardic.
The Ashkenazi Jewish population increased greatly in the following centuries.
By 1931 Ashkenazi Jews accounted for 92% of total world Jewry due to increased
contact with Jews coming from Eastern Europe that were gradually taking on the
Yiddish-Jewish culture of their western brethren. Now, even after the Holocaust,
Ashkenazi Jews are accounted as 80% of the total population of world Jewry.
DNA testing reveals considerable race mix in East European Jewish ancestry,
which differs from Sephardic ancestry. It remains an area of ongoing research,
but by now it is clear that much of the mitochondrial DNA (mother’s side) is from
Turkic and Slavic ancestries from southern Russia. The Semitic genes are mostly
from the father’s side of DNA, having above-average amounts of Levite genetics.
Apparently the Jews of East Europe began their population expansion later than
the Sephardic Jewish community. After the Islamic conquest the Jews in Babylon
(Jews of the captivity that stayed in Babylon) moved northward to the Khazarian
region of south Russia in the late 4th through 9th centuries, and took many wives
from the local population. By tradition, East European Jews are very supportive
of Talmudic Synagogue Judaism and this is understandable when we realise that
it is the Babylonian Jews who created Talmudic Judaism.
The Khazar area of settlement was the south Ural region including the Crimea
and a big part of the Ukraine. There was also an ever increasing south-Russian
Slavic population. Genetic research confirms that Jewish history in East Europe
is genetically interwoven with the local people of the area and in addition shows
some Sephardic input as well. We conclude that East European Ashkenazi Jewry
began with Babylonian Jews and enlarged afterward through Slavic and Khazari
conversion and assimilation, and with some added settlement of Sephardic Jews.
Karaites are another religious sect of Babylonian Jews that had their start in the
mid-8th century, and then moved northward to the Crimea and southern Russia
like the other Jews before them. There is much more information on this subject
available on the internet and we encourage further study.
These details of history give a clearer picture of the Jewish Diaspora, both of
the Sephardic and East European Jewish communities—and helps us understand
modern Israel’s population. But it disregards any consideration of the forgotten
ten tribes from the Assyrian captivity—and for the most part also disregards the
Judean majority that did not return to Jerusalem but stayed in eastern countries.
This issue has large importance for the subject of Israel’s prophetic restoration
because the Bible prophecies are mainly about restoring the former captivities
of Assyria and Babylon. (The Roman captivity occurred several centuries later.)
If Jewish identity in modern Israel is based only on Roman-captivity Jews, using
Rabbinic Judaism as identity, then modern Israel's restoration is very unfinished
and can only be seen as preliminary to a future larger regathering yet to come.
The main part of Jacob’s descendants unknown until now, still live in the East.
This crowd of people have so far been unaware of their inner identity from Jacob
but God knows them because His Name is in them—through the destinies they
inherited from past generations of Israelis that migrated into eastern countries.
Israel’s prophetic destinies in this world were from Jacob (Genesis 48:8–49:28),
and Moses spoke additional prophetic blessings for the Messianic kingdom age,
(Deut. 33), which are beginning to awaken now, in this endtime.
Because God’s Name is in these blessings, we need to look again at Amos 9:12,
v 12 …in order that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations who are called by my name,
says the LORD who does this.
This means that David’s renewed kingdom (Messianic Israel, v 14) will include
all the peoples that have inherited God’s Name in their soul. This is far beyond
the very limited regathering in present-day Israel (mainly western-world Jews).
Those nations “who are called by my name” (v 12) are Asian peoples who have
inherited an ancestral destiny from one tribe or more tribes of Israel. And this
regathering will be a call of God. It won’t be an earthly plan of human politics,
and it won’t take the form of narrow nationalism but rather of Kingdom identity.
Modern Israel is the stage for many endtime events. Jerusalem is the focus of
power struggles in the final days. Zechariah 13:8 says this: “In the whole land…
two-thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one-third shall be left alive.” This is the
remnant of Judah (and of Edom) that survives—and acknowledges Yeshua as
Lord and King at his coming; (Zechariah 12). After that, the second regathering
of Israel will begin, which will be vastly larger than anything we’ve seen so far.
Isaiah 11:11 says— “On that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time
to recover the remnant that is left of his people” (those with His Name in them).
The Apocryphal book of Baruch pleads with Israel’s scattered people in exile,
imploring them to return to God. Baruch’s prophecy (4:5—till the end), gives an
overview of Israel’s apostasy, and also gives a vision of the coming restoration.
The prophecies of Baruch and Ezra are similar (reference “The Ezra Prophecy”).
The people of New World Israel will be coming primarily from the East. This
refers to people of Asia with an Israeli heritage that are now being prepared and
raised up for their part in the coming Messianic age (Rev. 7:2-8). This important
prophecy is unknown to many but now is the time that it should be recognised.
The following English text is taken from the NRSV Bible translation.
THE PROPHECY OF BARUCH (Chapters 4:5-37—5:1-9)
BARUCH Chapter 4
An overview of past disappointment
5 Take courage, my people, who perpetuate Israel’s name! 6 It was not for
destruction that you were sold to the nations, but you were handed over
to your enemies because you angered God. 7 For you provoked the One
who made you by sacrificing to demons and not to God. 8 You forgot the
everlasting God, who brought you up, and you grieved Jerusalem, who
reared you. 9 For she saw the wrath that came upon you from God, and she said:
Listen, you neighbours of Zion, God has brought great sorrow upon me; 10 for I
have seen the exile of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought
upon them. 11 With joy I nurtured them, but I sent them away with weeping
and sorrow. 12 Let no one rejoice over me, a widow and bereaved of many;
I was left desolate because of the sins of my children, because they turned away
from the law of God. 13 They had no regard for his statutes; they did not walk
in the ways of God’s commandments, or tread the paths his righteousness
showed them. 14 Let the neighbours of Zion come; remember the capture
of my sons and daughters, which the Everlasting brought upon them. 15 For
he brought a distant nation against them, a nation ruthless and of a strange
language, which had no respect for the aged and no pity for a child. 16 They
led away the widow’s beloved sons, and bereaved the lonely woman of her
daughters. 17 But I, how can I help you? 18 For he who brought these calamities
upon you will deliver you from the hand of your enemies. 19 Go, my children,
go; for I have been left desolate. 20 I have taken off the robe of peace and put on
sackcloth for my supplication; I will cry to the Everlasting all my days.
Prophetic encouragement for the future
21 Take courage, my children, cry to God, and he will deliver you from the
power and hand of the enemy. 22 For I have put my hope in the Everlasting
to save you, and joy has come to me from the Holy One, because of the mercy
that will soon come to you from the Everlasting, your Saviour.
23 For I sent you out with sorrow and weeping, but God will give you back to me
with joy and gladness for ever. 24 For as the neighbours of Zion have now seen
your capture, so they soon will see your salvation by God, which will come to
you with great glory and with the splendour of the Everlasting.
25 My children, endure with patience the wrath that has come upon you from
God. Your enemy has overtaken you, but you will soon see their destruction
and will tread upon their necks. 26 My pampered children have travelled
rough roads; they were taken away like a flock carried off by the enemy.
27 Take courage, my children, and cry to God, for you will be remembered
by the One who brought this upon you. 28 For just as you were disposed to
go astray from God, return with tenfold zeal to seek him. 29 For the One who
brought these calamities upon you will bring you everlasting joy with your
30 Take courage, O Jerusalem, for the One who named you will comfort you.
31 Wretched will be those who mistreated you and who rejoiced at your fall.
32 Wretched will be the cities that your children served as slaves; wretched
will be the city that received your offspring. 33 For just as she rejoiced at
your fall and was glad at your ruin, so she will be grieved at her own desolation.
34 I will take away her pride in her great population, and her insolence will be
turned to grief. 35 For fire will come upon her from the Everlasting for many
days, and for a long time she will be inhabited by demons.
36 Look towards the east, O Jerusalem, and see the joy that is coming
to you from God. 37 Look, your children are coming, whom you sent away;
they are coming, gathered from east and west, at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing in the glory of God.
(End of Chapter 4)
BARUCH Chapter 5
A vision of Future Restoration for Jerusalem
1 Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God.
2 Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God; put on your head
the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; 3 for God will show your splendour
everywhere under heaven. 4 For God will give you evermore the name,
‘Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.’
5 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look towards the east, and see
your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that God has remembered them. 6 For they went out from you on foot,
led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried
in glory, as on a royal throne. 7 For God has ordered that every high mountain
and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up,
to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.
8 The woods and every fragrant tree have shaded Israel at God’s command.
9 For God will lead Israel with joy, in the light of his glory, with the mercy and
righteousness that come from him.
(End of Chapter 5)
Baruch was a scribe or royal clerk, closely connected to the Judean royal family.
He was friend and secretary to Jeremiah—and his disciple in prophetic ministry.
This Book was written to the Jews in Babylon who were taken from Jerusalem by
King Nebuchadnezzar’s army. It was written in Hebrew but now survives only in
translated Greek manuscripts; it is part of the translated Septuagint Greek Bible.
This entire book is genuine, (except verses 1-4 of Chapter 4, which are a scribal
insert of Rabbinic commentary likely added at the time of the Greek translation).
This ancient prophecy is provided to the reader for thoughtful and prayerful study.
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