In a previous Q&A on Daniel 9, we explained that Jesus, the Messiah, would be cut off after His public ministry, but not for Himself (verse 26); and that He will confirm a covenant for a week; but that in the middle of the week, He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering (verse 27). We explained that Jesus Christ was killed quite literally in the middle of the week—on a Wednesday—in 31 A.D. In addition, we showed that He began His public ministry of one prophetic week [of seven prophetic days or seven literal years, applying the principle of “one day for one year” (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:3-6)], but that He was killed or cut off after 3 ½ years of His public ministry. He began preaching publically in the year of 27 A.D., and He died 3 ½ years later. When He died, He did away with the need for sacrifices and offerings, as they are no longer required today. Also, He confirmed the New Covenant through His death, after having preached about it for 3 ½ years. He will continue the missing 3 ½ years of His public ministry after His return.
To quote from our above-mentioned Q&A, which in turn quoted from literature by the Worldwide Church of God under its late leader, Herbert W. Armstrong (who died in 1986):
“‘Jesus Christ is the minister of the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:6)… He was to CONFIRM the covenant for one “week” (Daniel 9:26-27)… His ministry was to be cut in HALF (verse 27); and… Christ will COMPLETE His work of confirming the New Covenant in the future (Same verse; also Hebrews 8:10 and Jeremiah 31:31-34)… A “day” in the prophecy of Daniel 9:27 represents a year in fulfillment (Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:3-6). Christ ministered three-and-a-half years — ONE HALF of this prophetical “week.” For three-and-one-half years He CONFIRMED — spelled out the TERMS of — THE NEW COVENANT with His disciples who recorded them for us today. By dying for our sins in the MIDST OF the “week,” He put the final STAMP on the covenant and made it binding with His blood. Through Him, ALL PEOPLE can now enter into the New Covenant and become HEIRS “according to the promise” which God made to Abraham (Gal. 3:29). But Daniel 9:26-27 reveals that there yet REMAINS three-and-one-half years of Christ’s ministry to be FULFILLED! Let’s understand. When Jesus returns to this earth He will FULFILL the covenant He made with Abraham. Abraham and his SPIRITUAL seed through Christ will then inherit the world and eternal life.’”
What will Jesus Christ do during those 3 ½ years of His ministry, which need to complete the seven years of His public ministry?
One clue is His statement to the original apostles and others that He was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). When here on earth during the time of His first coming, He did not go to preach and confirm the New Covenant, including the physical and spiritual blessings contained therein, to any of the lost tribes of Israel, except for the Jews– those from the house of Judah (please recall that the 12 tribes of Israel or Jacob consisted and consist of many tribes which were and still are scattered in many areas in the world.) Later, Christ’s original apostles would go to preach to all of the lost tribes of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6; compare James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1), but Christ Himself did not do so during His public ministry. But He will do this after His return, during the 3 ½ years of His ministry which will have to be completed.
As we explained in a previous Q&A on the Great Tribulation, both the house of Judah (the Jews) and the house of Israel (consisting of the USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other English-speaking nations) will have been defeated in a war with Europe and will be suffering under the yoke of captivity. Upon His return, Christ will begin to free those captives and bring them back to the Promised Land, to settle them there and to use them to build the ruins and restore the waste places. Please note how this Exodus from captivity is described, and how it is compared many times with the ancient Exodus from Egyptian slavery. Some who understand that Christ will free the slaves of Israel from captivity and bring them to the Promised Land might think that this will happen in an instant, supernaturally—that they may be somehow transported through the air from one place to another. But this is not how the Bible describes the coming Exodus.
Isaiah 27:13 tells us the following, using the phrase “in that day,” which always describes a time in the future, beginning with about one year prior to Christ’s return:
“So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria. And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
Since Jesus will not free the captives of Israel and Judah until after His return, we know that the great trumpet referred to in this passage must be the seventh and last trumpet. There can only be ONE last trumpet. But how exactly will the former slaves of Israel and Judah reach the point when they will be willing to worship the true God?
Isaiah 11:11, 16 sheds more light on this question, stating: “It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the SECOND time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria (Germany) and Egypt, From Pathros (upper Egypt) and Cush (Ethiopia), From Elam (Persia or Iran) and Shinar (part of Babylon), From Hamath (descendants of Ham’s son Canaan) and the islands of the sea (including the British isles)… There will be a highway for the remnant of His people Who will be left from Assyria. AS IT WAS FOR ISRAEL IN THE DAY THAT HE CAME UP FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT.”
Further facts are given to us in Isaiah 51:10-11: “Are You not the One who DRIED UP THE SEA, The waters of the great deep; That made the depths of the sea a road for the redeemed to cross over, SO the ransomed of the LORD SHALL RETURN, and come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
From these passages, it appears that many of the freed captives will WALK to the Promised Land—but not directly and immediately, as will be explained below. In any event, this journey will undoubtedly take some time, and to some extent, the LORD—Jesus Christ—will have an active part in this.
Jeremiah continues comparing the ancient Exodus from Egypt with Israel’s and Judah’s future Exodus.
We read in Jeremiah 16:14-15: “‘Therefore behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that it shall no more be said, “The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers.’”
Jeremiah 23:7-8 makes clear that an end-time Exodus of the modern house of Israel is being referred to: “‘Therefore, behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that they shall no longer say, “as the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,” but, “As the LORD lives who brought up and LED the DESCENDANTS OF THE HOUSE of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them. And they shall dwell in their own land.’”
Even though one will emphasize the coming Exodus over the previous one, the parallels between both are obvious. Note Micah 7:14-15: “Shepherd Your people with Your staff, The flock of Your heritage… As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them wonders.”
What wonders God will work at that time is not clearly revealed, except that He will apparently again create a way through the sea to enable the Israelites to cross it on their way to the Promised Land.
Notice, too, Jeremiah 46:27: “But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, And do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, And your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; No one shall make him afraid.”
BOTH houses of Israel and Judah will return TOGETHER to the Promised Land. Jeremiah 3:18 states: “In those days the house of Judah shall WALK WITH the house of Israel, and they shall come TOGETHER out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.”
This is also confirmed in Jeremiah 30:3, 8-10: “‘For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel AND Judah,’ says the LORD, ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’… ‘For it shall come to pass in that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them. Therefore, do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD, ‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of their captivity…’”
As David will be resurrected at the time of Christ’s Return, this is clearly a prophecy for the future. We seem to be reading more about the resurrected King David in Micah 2:12-13: “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, Like a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, Pass through the gate, and go out by it; THEIR KING will pass before them, WITH THE LORD at their head.”
So we see that when Jesus Christ begins to gather the remnant of the captives of Israel and Judah to bring them back to the Promised Land, He will apparently be accompanied by the resurrected and immortal King David. Hosea 3:4-5 says that the modern houses of Israel and Judah had been without a king for “many days” or about at least 3 ½ years, during the time of the Great Tribulation, when they will be in captivity (recall that as of now, the tribe of Ephraim is being ruled by a monarch — Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain, but if she is not alive at that time, it would be a king (Charles is the heir apparent)):
“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.”
Here we see that when the captives are freed, they will seek God and King David.
Jeremiah 50:4-8 confirms this: “‘In those days and in that time,’ says the LORD, ‘The children of Israel shall come, They and the children of Judah together; With continual weeping they shall come, And seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying, Come and let us join ourselves to the LORD In a perpetual covenant That will not be forgotten.’”
When the freed captives of Israel and Judah are looking for God and King David, help will be given to them. Strangers will even participate in that process.
Isaiah 14:1-3 states:
“For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. Then people WILL TAKE THEM AND BRING THEM TO THEIR PLACE, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD…” (For an in-depth discussion of this Scripture and the question, whether or not there will be slavery in the Millennium, please read our Q&A on that topic.)
But before they are allowed to enter the Promised Land, Christ will have to fulfill an important part of His public ministry. Since they will all be held by their captors in different places around the world, it will be necessary that on their way to seek God and King David, they will first move or be led to a certain place to be gathered there. This will be a place in the wilderness.
Ezekiel 20:34-38, 42-44 states: “I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the WILDERNESS of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face, Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,’ says the LORD God. ‘I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me… they shall not enter the land of Israel… Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers. And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,’ says the LORD God.”
So we see that Christ (and apparently King David at His side) will bring the people into the wilderness and meet them there to teach them and show them their iniquity and sin. The people will repent—as we will discuss below, they already commenced repenting, while still in captivity, but repentance is a process and requires time. While in the wilderness, notice what else is revealed in Hosea 12:9: “But I am the LORD your God, Ever since the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, As in the days of the appointed feast.”
Israel in particular will be taught that God’s annual festivals are still binding today, and they will be keeping them. But as mentioned, Israel will already begin to repent while still in captivity. Notice Deuteronomy 30:1-6, 8:
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He shall prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live… And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and do all His commandments which I command you today…”
Once they show a willingness to obey God, He will bring them back into the Promised Land, and it is there that their conversion will continue until they are ultimately ready to be changed into immortal Spirit beings.
Ezekiel 36:24-28 describes their conversion and receipt of the Holy Spirit:
“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.”
Jeremiah 32:37-40 adds:
“Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”
What will they physically do after they have returned to the Promised Land?
Amos 9:14 tells us: “‘I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.”
Jeremiah 33:7-8 confirms:
“And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me.”
But before the Millennium of universal peace and happiness can really begin to flourish, another striking event will take place, showing that it is not that easy to unlearn old habits. This important, but often misunderstood event will be discussed, in context, in a subsequent Q&A.
Lead Writer: Norbert Link