Prophecies of Israel's Return: Was the House of Israel To Return To Old Canaan?
I have read a couple books by W.H. Bennett. [These are available from CBIA -Ed.] One question: it is often said that in the last days that the descendants of Israel will return to their homeland, does that mean that the Israelitish descendants of Britain & u.s. will someday leave their countries and return to the middle east?
A number of Scripture passages refer to Israel’s return, but it is important to understand at least two issues concerning this: Firstly, whether this is a physical return or rather a “Spiritual” return in faith? Secondly, if it is indeed a physical return to old Canaan-land, will this be a representative return or a complete 100% return of every physical descendant of Israel to the Mid-East? Let us examine each issue.
The “return” spoken of is, in a sense, both physical and Spiritual, for God operates in both dimensions. But Israel’s physical return was to God’s appointed place, which was no longer to be in old Canaan. We read this promise in 2 Samuel 7:10, “Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime.” This prophecy of a new promised land was given while Israel dwelled in Canaan. The phrase, “a place of their own” indicates that they would be removed from the presence and influence of the Canaanites and other Mid-East peoples who had caused Israel to sin with their false gods. When James Moffatt was preparing his translation of the Scriptures, a group of religious leaders visited him and asked him to change this verse to say, “I have appointed a place...” but Moffatt refused because the original Hebrew text did not say that!
We are told in 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.” Zion, the Kingdom of God, would come, not to the Old Mother, but to the daughter of Jerusalem. In ancient times, the “daughter of a city” represented the colony that they sent forth to other lands.
That the end of the exile was related to Israel’s Spiritual return to God and His Laws may be seen in verses such as Second Chronicles 30:6-10, “So the posts went with the letters from the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of the hand of the kings of Assyria. And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation, as ye see. Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him. So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.” No wonder that Israel was exiled for their sins, and that the end of their punishment required their return to righteousness! God does not reward sin and disobedience!
Concerning the second issue, read Jeremiah 3:14 for the answer: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” This prophecy, given after Israel had already been exiled to new lands, stated that Israel’s return to old Zion was to be a representative return only, not a complete one. In fact, it would be a relatively small number if only “one from a city” took part. The word, “family,” in the King James Version actually means a “clan,” a significant number of people, not just two parents and a couple of children. (See the Moffat Translation) Therefore, a representative two people from a large clan of thousands would return to old Zion.
We might say in passing that the return of British control to Palestine in 1918-1948 would have fulfilled any possible requirement of a representative return to the old land.