Understanding The Bible
The Final Return of Messiah and Israel
At Messiah's first advent there was an intensive proclamation of His presence and purposes. A primary purpose was the establishment of His rights to the Davidic throne (Matt. 1-2), with emphatic prominence given to His deity (Matt. 1:23; 3:13-17; 16:13-18), and to the non-remoteness of the earthly kingdom of Old Testament prophecy.
Israel's leadership had rejected His offer "I would have gathered you . . . but, ye would not (Matt. 23:37-39)." They would not have this man to reign over them (Luke 19:14, 27).
As a result, Israel became involved in its final dispersion. Three dispersions of Israel had been predicted in Scripture. First, they were dispersed into Egypt (Gen. 15:13-16), from which they were regathered after four centuries, under the leadership of Moses and Joshua. Secondly, they were dispersed into Babylon (Jer. 25:11-12), from which they were regathered after seventy years (Dan. 9:1 ff) under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. Thirdly, they were dispersed into the entire world (Deut. 28:63- 68), from which they will be regathered in connection with return of Messiah to the earth for His earthly, millennial reign.
will be two phases to this final regathering situation. A preliminary and
partial return will be engineered by the Antichrist. This is learned by
final dispersion, Israel was to remain a race but not a functioning
national entity (Numbers 23:9). It would not be assimilated into other nations
with any finality. Before Israel is ready for all that its earthly millennial
kingdom involves, it must be resurrected from the international graveyard. A
striking picture of this action is found in
The key verse for interpretation is verse 11 the picture is of the whole house of Israel.
Israel is likened to bones that have lost their vitality. They are very dry. They have structure but no life no spiritual life!
The great question is (37:3) "can these bones live again?"
The great answer is (37:4) "hear the Word of the Lord and live."
The Spirit of God gets into them (37:5, 14) and they live.
Israel will recognize the Lord officially as well as personally (37:6).
First, they must come together structurally (37:7-8).
Secondly, they must come alive spiritually (37:9-10).
Israel is a confessedly hopeless nation until this occurs (37:11).
Both houses of Israel (Judah and Israel) are included in this resurrection (37:16-20).
this Scriptural background it is possible to understand the crystallized
mourning of nature.
There is a tendency with some Bible students to minimize or ignore the intensity of the tribulation period and consequently its purposes. We have already provided sufficient data to underline both severity and purpose. The reader needs to distinguish between general and specific tribulation.
God acts with directness and speed when the special period of tribulation has accomplished its course and purposes.
Because of the great carnage caused by the destruction (v. 28) of all unbelievers, in the desolations determined and executed by the wrath of God (Rev. 6-19), nature is said to be adorned in keeping with the occasion. It reacted similarly at Calvary.
coming day, the sun shall be darkened and the moon will not shed her light. The
stars will keep falling from the heavens. The powers (probably evil, cf.
The working out of the many tribulation details is not without great purpose. The words of the prophet Isaiah (66:8-9) point this out very clearly:
Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth at once? For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? Saith Jehovah: shall I that cause to bring forth shut the womb? Saith thy God.
will not bring through travail to the birth and fail to bring forth a national
rebirth in Israel. From Israel's side, she can be sure that once the
birth-pains start (24:8), they must continue until delivery time. As soon as
Israel travails (i.e. in the seventieth week of
manifestation of Messiah.
The term appear (24:30) connotes visibility and openness. Because of this significance, certain features are given insistently in
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Matthew (1:23) employs this passage without the term
sign. This was in connection with
Messiah's birth. He says "they shall call his name Immanuel, which is, being
interpreted, God with us." There is no record of the use of this title at His
first advent, although Nicodemus broke through to it (John 3:2b). Matthew admits
the title needs, not translation, but interpretation. Messiah will return only
when Israel is ready to say nationally, "blessed is he that cometh in the name
of the Lord (Matt. 23:39)." When they recognize Him as God with them, the sign
understand further that the titles King of
the Jews (Matt. 2:2), Messiah
(Matt. 2:4), and Son of Man (16:13,
16), are employed with synonymous meanings in Scripture. The sign of the Son of
Man in the heavens, then, is to be understood as the coming for His earthly
reign (Dan. 7:13; 2). The coming will be on the clouds of heaven. It will be in
power and great gloryin contrast to the manner of His first advent. The
significance of the exercise of this power and the display of this glory will be
treated in connection with
This manifestation is not to be confused with the unseen coming (1 Cor. 15:52) at the private rapture of His Bride, the genuine, Spirit-formed Church. The rapture will be with great speed and will mean the departure of believers from the earth to meet the Lord in the skies (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:13-5:9). The rapture is a New Testament mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) not an Old Testament prophecy. The manifestation of Messiah in the clouds to Israel is not private, nor a mystery, but a clear prophecy of the Old Testament.
He returns to earth as Israel's Messiah, Immanuel, and Lord, He will sit
for a period in the clouds and plead for His people Israel. Antichrist and His
team of kings will oppose the Messiah and His operation (Psalm 2;
movement of Israel.
In discussing the regatherings of Israel, two phases were ascribed to their final return from dispersion. The latter phase (24:31) takes place under the direct decree of God. He will send His angels (compare the parables of the Tares and the Dragnet in
Needless argument has been waged over the elect. There are more than Israel elected during this period. The fact is, how- ever, that the context is dealing only with the house of Israel (cf. 23:37-39; 24:1-3) until we arrive at the judgment of the living Gentile nations (25:31 ff). The proof-text method leads to a generalizing of the term elect. The contextual method leads only to Israel.
These elect are not raptured, but gathered together by angels. There is no mention of the dead being raised simultaneously for this is not the point of the text.
conclusive of all is the fact that the questions of
In the manifestation of Messiah there is to be demonstrated His power in regathering and resurrecting the desolated nation Israel; and His great glory in establishing Israel in the center of the world (Matt. 25:31ff) with all the regal specifications appertaining thereto. Truly Israel will be moved by Messiah as nature mourns the tragedy and international implications of His advent as King of Kings.
The Writings of Douglas B. MacCorkle (also
see brief Biography)
Prophetic Peaks, Exposition of the Olivet Discourse. Copyright 1968 by Douglas B. MacCorkle. Third Printing 1972. Printed by Careers With Christ Press, Philadelphia College of Bible, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Printed in the United States of America. Published by the not for profit MacCorkle Bible Ministries, Inc. Books. P.O. 320909, Cocoa Beach, Fl 32932-0909. Used by permission through the generosity of Judith and Ray Naugle.
God's Own VIPS, Copyright 1987 by Douglas B. MacCorkle. MacCorkle Bible Ministries, Inc., Printed in the United States of America. Published by the not for profit MacCorkle Bible Ministries, Inc. Books. P.O. 320909, Cocoa Beach, Fl 32932-0909. Used by permission through the generosity of Judith and Ray Naugle.
Dr. MacCorkle's Books and Study materials on this website are made available here free, through the generosity of Judith and Ray Naugle, and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them. No further distribution or use of these materials is allowable under U.S. or International Copyright Law without express permission.
Additional copies of Dr. MacCorkle's books are available from Judy Naugle, 2201 Harmony Hill Dr, Lancaster PA 17601.