Latter-Day Revival in Israel
by Keith Malcomson
There will undoubtedly be an end-day revival in Israel. Both Old Testament and New Testament confirm this. We know that the Old Testament Prophets warned of Israel being scattered across the nations because of their sin. We also know that they foretold of Israel’s regathering back to their land, and their birth as a new nation in one day.
All of these things came to pass as the Lord spoke through his prophets. But why has the Lord regathered this scattered people back to the land of Israel? Again Scripture gives the answer. It is in order to prepare them for one last outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
This will be the final revival of the type which began on the Day of Pentecost. The era of Holy Ghost outpourings only began at Pentecost and will only end with this last Revival at the end of the age before the coming of the Lord to the earth.
We are told in Rom.11:12 concerning the ancient nation of Israel descended from Abraham, “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” Here of course Paul writes of the fall and diminishing of the nation in its rejection of Christ Jesus as Messiah.
Paul himself watched this happen and so turned to the Gentiles with the Gospel. Israel’s fall and diminishing meant and brought the riches of the gospel to the world and to the gentiles.
Paul speaks not just of their fall but of their “fullness.” If their fall meant the spread of the gospel across the nations what then will their fullness bring in? Many have seen the workings of God at the end of the age as that of turning once more away from the Gentiles and back to Israel. But the Scriptures do not say that.
When Israel comes to its hour of fullness it will mark a new fresh moving of the Holy Spirit amongst the Gentiles.
Again Paul confirms this in verse 15, “For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” If their casting away or rejection meant that the Gospel of reconciliation went to the whole world and to every nation, then their reception after long blindness will be like a resurrection from the dead to us Gentiles.
This will be far greater than that Movement of the Holy Spirit began in the Gentile world when Israel first rejected the Gospel.
Paul does speak of their fall, diminishing and casting away but he also speaks of their fullness and reception back. A great many have spoken of Israel’s rejection as utter, total and perpetual without any hope or promise of return but that is totally wrong. In verse 25 Paul says “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” This blindness is concerning the Gospel and a seeing of the Messiah.
Note that he says it is partial not total, “in part is happened...” Some, a remnant, have and will still get saved in every age. He also says “until” which means it has a time span, it is for a set time; it is not perpetual.
The Apostle Paul further instructs us concerning the same when writing to the Corinthians in 3:15-16, “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.” There is indeed a national blindness upon Israel, but Paul is clear that this veil of blindness will be removed on the day they turn as a nation to the Lord.
Even Christ’s disciples who gathered unto Him in his resurrection knew something of this as in Act 1:6 they ask “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” The word “restore” means to give back the kingdom to Israel. They were quoting from Micah 4:8 “And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.”
Christ in no way rebuked them for such a question or applied a different interpretation of its fulfilment. He simply made clear that such an event was not for them to concern themselves with at that time. The “times and the seasons” were in the hands of their heavenly Father to fulfil. They were to be taken up with their own personal need of the baptism, or empowering of the Holy Ghost and the preaching of the Gospel to all nations.
Let’s look at this prophesied restoration or revival of Israel in the Old Testament Scriptures.
Old Testament Prophesies of Revival
In Zechariah chapter 12:10 we read of this revival, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
The Prophet Zechariah prophesies of a day when this veil will be removed from Israel and they shall see Christ as their promised Messiah. In time sequence this precedes the visible physical coming of the Lord.
This is a spiritual awakening which opens their eyes to see Him. Not a physical visible seeing. It is the result of an outpouring of the Spirit not of His physical coming to Mt Olivet.
Take good note that this will be a Christ-centred revival to those who dwell in Jerusalem. They will look upon the pierced Lamb of Calvary. The One whom they have rejected during their blindness is now revealed for them to see. The veil is removed. Their national sin of rejecting Him is exposed; the cure and cleansing is found at Calvary. It will be a Revival of genuine heart repentance.
A fount of cleansing will be opened in the city of Jerusalem which will result in a purging out of idols, false prophets and unclean spirits. False prophets will come under such conviction in this revival that they will leave their ministry and go back to work.
As well as being told the form it will take, we are also given instruction as to when this revival will come, and to whom it will come. In the verses proceeding this promised revival we read of a time when the Lord promises,
“I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
We see the surrounding nations coming against Jerusalem and Judah who then besiege her. During this time it becomes a great burden to all peoples in the earth. But we are told, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zec.12:9).
The Lord gives this little nation a total victory against these invading armies. It is after this that God sends revival. Revival comes at a time when judgement stands at the door.
This is undoubtedly a sweeping national revival centred upon the city of Jerusalem and the Hebrew peoples. Scripture is clear that it is to this people and to this place that the Spirit is outpoured at this time.
Those who experience this revival will afterwards be greatly tried. Between the time of this revival and the Day of the Lord when Christ shall stand on Mount Olivet, two thirds of the people of the land will die during another siege by all nations in which Jerusalem becomes a divided city.
Valley of Dry Bones
We read further in a fuller form in Ezekiel of this very same promised Revival to a people who have been re-gathered from the nations of the world back to the land of promise, “...but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” (39:28-29).
Let’s take good note of when this revival comes as shown in Ezekiel. How will the Lord bring about the promised revival after their return to the nation?
In chapter 37 we have the vision of a valley of dry bones, which is a clear pictoral overview of Israel as a nation beginning with its being scattered across the nations, then in their return to their promised land, and last of all in their conversion in a spiritual awakening which makes them “an exceeding great army.”
After the people are gathered into the nation in fulfilment of prophesy they are still a lifeless people even though in their land. This is the present state of Israel and Jerusalem.
It is then that this awakening comes. “Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”
This is a spiritual revival, the work of the Holy Spirit as seen by the four winds of heaven. The Holy Spirit breathes spiritual life into the nation making them alive to God and an instrument in His hand as a great army. This army will not just fight wars but will preach the gospel.
The rest of this chapter explains the state of their relationship with God which results from this revival.
Having given a spiritual picture of this revival Jeremiah then goes on to explain the events which lead up to this revival which comes at the end of chapter 39. Before Revival there is an invasion from the North which will involve many of the surrounding Muslim nations. This will come at a time when Israel is dwelling safely (38:8, 11, 14).
This time of safety will be a time of increased sin in the land, “After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid.” (39:26).
This invasion comes as a means of chastening Israel and of turning her heart towards the Living God. It is during this invasion that the Lord comes to her aid. Israel is given an overwhelming victory over the nations that come against her. This is traditionally called “Ezekiel’s War.”
After this powerful and triumphant victory there is one last gathering of people back into the land. Their regathering substantially began after the birth of the nation in 1948 which then speeded up dramatically after the fall of the Soviet Union. But there shall be one last great ingathering after Ezekiel’s War.
It is only then that the Lord pours out His Spirit upon the people; never again will He hide His face from them. We are taught in Scripture, concerning the time sequence of events, but we are nowhere told the length of these times. We do however know that Israel will spend seven months burying the dead and seven years destroying the enemy’s armory.
This fact would seem to show that ezekiels war proceeds Armageddon by several years!
So we see something of the time sequence of events. First, Ezekiel’s War which ends with an utter destruction of the northern confederacy and in Israel’s victory. This is followed by a final total re-gathering. So we see something of the time sequence of events,
- Ezekiel’s War which ends with an utter destruction of the northern confederacy and in Israel’s victory.
- This is followed by a final national ingathering.
- This is followed by spiritual revival.
- Tribulation and the Return of Christ.
Joel’s Prophecy & Jerusalem
We all know well that Joel prophesied concerning a mighty outpouring which again we know started in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. The fullness of this outpouring prophesied in Joel is that “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;” that means it will be International in touching every people group. That never happened at Pentecost in its entirety.
The consummation of this final outpouring especially centres on Jerusalem. It is also just before the Day of the Lord. We are told in Joel 2:30-31, God will work “…wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” Prior to this we are promised the fulfilment of Joel’s prophesy.
The Revival seen in Acts chapter 2 was rejected by the Jews, but it then spread amongst the Gentiles for 2000 years until finally in the end days it will be accepted by the inhabitants of Israel in a final fulfilment of Joel’s prophesy.
The context of the prophesy is the invasion of Israel by a Northern Army after which a call to genuine repentance is given. After this an outpouring of the Spirit is promised. What happens in those days of revival centres on Jerusalem, “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem.”
It is then after this restoration and revival that God gathers all nations that have troubled Israel to the valley of Jehoshaphat where He sits in judgment of them. This is generally known as the battle of Armageddon. This final judgement is called the day of the Lord when the sun and the moon shall be darkened.
This cosmic blackout marks the end of all such revivals for the church age. Until that time we can believe for and look for outpourings of the Spirit of God upon Jew and gentile alike.