When Paul wrote about Israel in Romans eleven, he detailed three different positions of the nation corresponding to the different times of the three dispensations. He portrayed this view by using the figure of an olive tree representing the earthly blessings of God. There was a time in the distant past when the Jews were the only branches connected to this tree – they were the natural branches and this was the Jewish dispensation. Because of their disobedience and unbelief, God broke off the natural branches and grafted in branches from olive trees that were wild by nature – these were the Gentiles and this was the Christian dispensation. During this time Israel, in general and as a nation, was hardened and cut off from God’s blessings. The Gentiles of Christendom have replaced them in the olive tree. But they will not continue in His goodness and God will cut off Christendom and the Christian dispensation (Rom. 11:22). Only His long-suffering maintains and continues the present time until “the fullness of the Gentiles” comes into Christendom and the tree of earthly blessing (Rom. 11:25). Then it will be a new dispensation, a final dispensation, were Israel is saved and restored and blessed – the natural branches grafted back into their own olive tree in the coming millennium (Rom. 11:26–27). Israel’s restoration will not only be their greatest time of blessing, but also it will result in blessing for the world (Rom. 11:12, 15).
The millennium is the time of Israel’s restoration as a nation. The tenor of all Old Testament prophecy points to this reality. The subject of Bible prophecy is Israel, the earth, and God’s government of the world. There may be figures and symbols in it when reference is made to the Gentiles (i.e. the four beasts of Daniel seven), but for the most part prophecy is literal when directly speaking of Israel. Infrequently there may be a parable which points to the Jews, such as the dry bones being brought back to life (Ez. 37:1–10). But the literal meaning soon follows in the interpretation given of the passage.
Ezekiel 37:11–14 (NKJV)
11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. 14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’”
The Jews are physically alive and scattered throughout the world. But they are dead and in graves as for their sin and rebellion against God. He will put His Spirit in them, raising them from their spiritual death, and bring them back to their land. In the same chapter we have another parable – two different sticks joined into one (Ez. 37:15-20). Again, we find the given interpretation as quite literal:
Ezekiel 37:21-22 (NKJV)
21 “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.”
Israel was divided into two kingdoms soon after Solomon’s reign. His many wives and mistresses influenced him to fall into idolatry, and the nation followed with him. God’s judgment was this division. Although few teachers speak of it, the Jews have existed like this since that time. They are two houses divided. But in the future millennium, the restoration of Israel will mean God bringing the two houses back together again as one nation. This will be God’s sovereign work through the new covenant.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NKJV)
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
In bringing the Jews back to their land, God will have dealt with their sin, idolatry, and defilement. This was the greatest problem for Israel in the Jewish dispensation – their failure and unwillingness to deal with their spiritual condition before God.
Ezekiel 37:23 (NKJV)
23 “They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”
Ezekiel 36:24-29 (NKJV)
24 “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 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. 26 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. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleanness…”
Romans 11:26-27 (NKJV)
26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”
Israel being restored in the future millennium means that God will forgive all their sins. He gives them a new spirit so they have hearts of flesh instead of stone. He cleanses them from all their filthiness and idols. He writes His law in their minds and hearts so they will do it and be blessed.215 Jesus is their Deliverer come out of Zion to turn all ungodliness from them. He brings them back to the land they will inherit, where they will dwell in peace and prosperity.
215 [In the Jewish dispensation, Israel received the law from Moses written by the finger of Jehovah on tablets of stone. But this was external and provided the Jews no power to do the law. It became a ministration of death and condemnation (2 Cor. 3:7, 9). In the millennium, the only thing new and different about the new covenant is that it will be written by God in their minds and hearts. It is the same law, same practice, same people (the natural descendants of Abraham) in the same land. Only now they will obey His laws and statutes, and be blessed and prosper]
The restoration of Israel in their land during the future millennium is unmistakable from prophetic Scripture:
Jeremiah 23:5–8 (NKJV)
5 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
7 “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,’ 8 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.”
Ezekiel 37:25–28 (NKJV)
25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 28 The nations also will know that I, the Lord, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”’”
More prophecies about God bringing the Jews back to their land during the millennium: Isa. 14:1, 41:9, 43:3–7, 49:5, 49, 54:7, 59:20, 60:9, 65:8–10, 66:20–21; Jer. 30:10, 18, 31:8, 10, 16–17, 23, 32:37, 41, 33:7, 11, 26; Ez. 11:16–17, 20:41–42, 34:11–13, 36:24, 37:12, 14, 21, 39:25, 27–28; Amos 9:14; Zeph. 3:20; Zech. 14:10–11
More prophecies about God cleansing Israel from all their sin and defilement: Jer. 33:8; Ez. 11:18, 20:43–44, 36:25–27, 29, 31, 33, 37:23, 24; Isa. 1:25–28, 4:3–5; Zeph. 3:12–13
Millennial prophecies where God again acknowledges Israel’s calling as His chosen people: Isa. 41:8–10, 62:10–12; Jer. 30:22, 31:1, 33, 32:38; Ez. 11:20, 34:30–31, 36:28, 37:13, 23, 27; Joel 2:26–27; Zech. 13:9; Heb. 8:10
Millennial prophecies of the new covenant God will make with Israel and His Spirit poured out on them: Jer. 31:31–34, 32:39–40; Ez. 11:19–20, 16:60–63 (an everlasting covenant with Jerusalem), 34:25, 37:14, 26, 39:29; Heb. 8:6–10 (Jesus, the Mediator of this new covenant with Israel); Isa. 55:3, 59:21, 61:8; Joel 2:28–29
More prophecies about God blessing Israel in their land during the millennium: Jer. 30:19–20, 1:2–6, 11–14, 27–28, 33:9; Ez. 34:14–15, 26–29, 36:7–11, 36:29–30, 34–36, 37:25–26; Isa. 27:2–6, 28:5, 32:15–18, 41:17–20, 51:3, 55:12–13, 60:4–7, 10–12, 15–22, 61:4–7, 9, 62:3–9, 65:18–25, 66:8–13; Joel 2:18–19, 21–26, 3:16–18; Amos 9:13–15
Millennial prophecies showing God’s government of the earth through Israel: Deut. 32:8–9, 43; Ps. 2:1–12, 110; Isa. 2:1–4, 14:2, 26:20–21, 42:1–4, 45:22–25, 49:5–6, 23, 51:4–8, 59:17–19, 60:1–3, 61:10–11, 62:1–2, 66:14–19, 23–24; Joel 3:1–5, 9–16; Ez. 39:21–29; Zech. 14:9, 16–17
Jeremiah 32:37–42 (NKJV)
37 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. 38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 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. 40 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. 41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’
42 “For thus says the Lord: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.”
After Jesus gathers His elect (Jewish remnant) from the four corners of the world and brings them back, there will be certain prominent events taking place in the land for the building of this nation and the general restoring of the Jews. The last eight chapters of Ezekiel’s book are a detailed prophetic testimony from the Spirit of God concerning millennial blessings for Israel. When one looks at these chapters in any detail, you cannot help but sense that all is done in this way not only so God is found faithful in keeping all His promises to Israel, but also for the divine purpose of reinstituting the practice of Judaism. In the 1000-year dispensation, the religion that is sanctioned by God will again be Judaism. Truly it is God’s earthly religion, designed specifically for man in Adam, man in the flesh. It is the practice of the law. Therefore, Judaism is God’s religion associated with His government of the earth, which must be centered in Israel during the millennium. This is why the new covenant God makes with the Jews involves His sovereign work of writing His law and statutes in their minds and on their hearts. Israel will prosper and become great in the earth and among the Gentile nations through their practice of the law (Deut. 28:1–14). All the nations will know the Lord God of Israel has delivered the Jews from their enemies, and has gathered them back from Gentile lands to plant them in their own. Jehovah’s name will be hallowed among the Gentiles, and they will come up to Jerusalem to worship and honor the Lord (Zech. 14:16). Here are some of the prominent events seen in these ending chapters of Ezekiel:
- There will be a new temple (Ez. 40, 41, 42)
- There will be a rebuilt earthly city (Jerusalem, Ez. 48)
- The entire expanse of the land promised to Abraham will be divided to the tribes of Israel, Joseph receiving a double portion (Ez. 47:13–23, 48:1–8)
- There will be a Levitical priesthood re-established to serve in the new millennial temple. This tribe inherits no land (Ez. 44:28), but serves the Lord and His sanctuary. Some families of the Levites who were unfaithful in the past history of Israel will bear their iniquity (Ez. 44:10–14). The Levitical family of Zadok will be privileged to come near Jehovah as priests, to handle His holy things, and enter the most Holy Place (Ez. 44:15–31)
- Animal sacrifices and the practice of Judaism is re-established (Ez. 43, 45, 46)
- The glory of Jehovah will once again return to Israel and reside in the temple (Ez. 43:1–5, 44:4, 48:35)