From Punishment to Destiny

From Punishment to Destiny

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"How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7, NIV).

Though the United States and Britain do not appear in the Bible's prophecies of the end time under their present names, God hasn't ignored these nations. He identifies them in prophecy according to their ancestry. Most people simply haven't known where to look for them.

Throughout the long history of the lost 10 tribes of Israel, God has always known who and where they were. Just as He promised to their ancient forefathers, He has given the modern descendants of Joseph—primarily Britain and the United States—the family birthright and many of the earth's choicest blessings. These nations have received a singular opportunity to provide leadership in the world at large. But what does the Bible say about their future? The answer is sobering.

Many Bible prophecies portray a repentant Israel at the return of Christ. Its descendants will turn to God and begin obeying His laws—but only after they have gone through crises worse in many ways than the catastrophes that befell the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

The descendants of Israel who repent and turn to God—described in prophecies as only a "remnant" of their previous population (Isaiah 11:11-16; Jeremiah 23:3; Ezekiel 6:8)—will suffer enormously during the biblically prophesied time of "great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21).

Only when they are humbled to the point of repenting of their sins will they be able to fulfill their God-ordained destiny of serving as a blessing to the nations. This wonderful future, however, will be preceded by the severest of trials. As Moses delivered the ancient Israelites from Egyptian slavery, Jesus Christ is coming to deliver modern Britain and America and the other Israelite-descended nations from an end-of-the-age subjugation by a modern religious and political system called "Babylon the great" (Revelation 17), centered in Europe.

This latter-day deliverance entails the fulfillment of some of the most astounding prophecies of the Bible: "'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 16:14-15).

But why will these calamities come on the United States and Britain?

God's expectations of Israel

In fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God established Israel as a nation for the purpose of bringing blessings to other nations (Deuteronomy 9:5; Genesis 12:3). From their earliest days God expected the Israelites to be an example to the other nations around them of the divine blessings that would be poured out on all who worship and obey Him (Deuteronomy 4:6; Deuteronomy 14:2).

If the Israelites would fulfill their part of their covenant agreement with God, God said He would make Israel the premier nation of the world (Deuteronomy 26:19; Deuteronomy 28:1-13). But if the Israelites disobeyed they would suffer the consequences (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). God told them other nations would take them captive (verses 25, 32-33, 36). Even their punishment was to be a lesson to other nations: "You shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will drive you" (verse 37).

The Israelites were supposed to be a model to other nations of the blessings of obedience and the penalties of disobedience to God's instruction. Regardless of the choices they have made, both anciently and today, this is still the role God has given them. And He holds them responsible for the way they respond to that role.

Nearly 3,500 years ago God told Israel: "Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the LORD your God has forbidden you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

"When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the LORD your God to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you...And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you" (Deuteronomy 4:23-27).

Israel's descendants fail in their responsibilities

With the restoration of Joseph's birthright promises to his descendants, Britain and the United States, the people of these nations have enjoyed unprecedented prosperity. Once again, like their forefathers, they have had the opportunity to be a "holy" people, an example of righteousness to other nations.

Britain had the opportunity to spread ethical, godly civilization to much of the world. At the height of their empire, the British people took the Bible into far-flung corners of the earth. Yet today religion is routinely ridiculed in Britain's national news and entertainment media, and Christianity is foundering. Many church buildings have been shuttered and locked because people no longer attend. A large majority of the British people shows little or no interest in the teachings of the Bible.

Similarly, the United States was founded through leaders who for the most part held great respect for the Bible. Although officially favoring no single religion, the country soon became recognized as the leading Christian nation in the world. But in recent times a large portion of the nation has likewise ignored the teachings of the Bible. Paradoxically, the United States is one of the most prosperous nations of the world and one of the most immoral. It has one of the worst rates of crime and violence of all nations.

As in ancient Israel (Jeremiah 5:7-9), immorality runs rampant in the United States and the nations that once formed the British Empire. The number of broken homes and fatherless households has continued to skyrocket even as national prosperity has increased. Illegitimacy, the abortions of millions of innocent babies and epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases are the hallmarks of a sleazy, if-it-feels-good-do-it morality.

Millions seek escape in alcohol and illegal drugs. Crude and violent entertainment dominates the airwaves. Filth passes for culture. Millions of people live in fear of becoming victims of crime or random violence. Many cities are cesspools of crime, gang violence, poverty, illiteracy and illegitimacy. Greed and materialism have become the national religion in countries that have long prided themselves on being "Christian" nations. As a result of these and other sins, many now view the United States and Britain, once respected throughout much of the world, with ill-disguised contempt.

Among the most serious sins of the ancient house of Israel were idolatry and Sabbath breaking, by which Israel abandoned any regular pattern of hearing and learning more about God's Word.

Notice what God said through the prophet Ezekiel after Israel fell into captivity: "Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths...They despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols" (Ezekiel 20:12-16).

As a result they began to believe that one religious belief or practice was no better than another—that they could change the rules of life as they pleased. Because of these beliefs and their sins, God allowed them to go into captivity.

The same is true today. Although many people observe religious holidays, these holidays generally have nothing to do with the worship of the true God but are rooted in ancient idolatry. In many ways the sins of people today are identical to those of ancient Israel. (To better understand the true origins of many of today's most popular holidays, be sure to request your free copy of the booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?)

The words of the prophet Hosea are a chillingly accurate description of the United States and Britain: "Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: 'There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn...

"'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me...They set their heart on their iniquity...So I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their deeds'" (Hosea 4:1-9). Just as God punished ancient Israel for its sins, He plans to punish its modern descendants for their persistent disobedience.

God remains the same

God does not change (Malachi 3:6). He responds consistently and impartially to human behavior. He blesses for obedience and punishes for disobedience. The modern descendants of Israel should not ignore His timeless warnings.

At the beginning of Israel's history as a nation, God inspired Moses to write: "Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known" (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

Likewise He explained His purpose and plan for Israel as a nation: "Also today the LORD has proclaimed you to be His special people...He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the LORD your God, just as He has spoken" (Deuteronomy 26:18-19). These are exactly the blessings and opportunities He has given to Britain and America, the modern descendants of Joseph.

So what lies ahead for these nations? What punishment will they have to suffer for choosing the ways of sin while turning their backs on the opportunities that God has given them?

The time of Jacob's trouble

The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the house of Judah in his day, the sixth century B.C., when Judah faced God's chastening at the hands of the Babylonian Empire. But Jeremiah also prophesied to the house of Israel—which God had punished and sent into captivity more than a century before he was born. Jeremiah wrote of a time of national trouble that is yet ahead for the modern descendants of the lost 10 tribes of Israel.

Notice their condition when Christ returns: "'For behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah...And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it'" (Jeremiah 30:3).

Then Jeremiah describes why God will have to intervene and save modern Israelites. "'Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of 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'" (Jeremiah 30:7-8). Notice that the "yoke" and "bonds" that enslave the descendants of Jacob are placed on them by "foreigners"—enemy nations.

It is out of this foreign domination and enslavement that Christ will deliver them at His second coming. This will be the time when King David and Christ's 12 apostles—along with all the rest of God's saints—will be resurrected to begin ruling with Christ over a restored Israel in the Kingdom of God (Ezekiel 37:24; Matthew 19:28).

Jeremiah, still speaking of the end time, continues: "'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. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you,' says the LORD, 'to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you'" (Jeremiah 30:9-11).

The Bible gives most of the prophecies relating to this time of trouble in the context of how God plans to deliver the Israelites after He again punishes them. When Christ returns to begin the "restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21), the modern descendants of Jacob will again be in a state of captivity. This means that Jacob's "time of trouble" in the last days, as Jeremiah predicted, will indeed be severe.

Unparalleled trouble—and deliverance

Daniel says: "At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered..." (Daniel 12:1).

Why will God allow this time of trouble? Through the prophet Zephaniah God speaks of His anger at the hardness of heart of the nations in the last days. He says: "I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them—all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger" (Zephaniah 3:8, NIV). He will spare no nation, no people.

Though all nations are to suffer His wrath, God explains explicitly why He will punish the Israelites at that time. During their time of national catastrophe those who refuse to listen to God's warning and repent will perish. Only those who hear and heed God's warning before and during this time of global vengeance will find mercy.

Notice Zephaniah's words: "In that day...I will take away from your midst those who rejoice in your pride, and you shall no longer be haughty in My holy mountain. I will leave in your midst a meek and humble people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD.

"The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness and speak no lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed their flocks and lie down, and no one shall make them afraid. Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; you shall see disaster no more" (Zephaniah 3:11-15).

The modern descendants of Israel will have to endure this terrible period of punishment and captivity for not repenting of their sins and taking seriously the role God has given them. Even the Jewish people in Jerusalem and the modern state of Israel will not escape this captivity and punishment that is to occur shortly before Christ returns:

"Behold, the day of the LORD is coming...For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem...Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle" (Zechariah 14:1-3). The next few verses then describe the return of Christ, establishing that this captivity occurs at the time of the end.

Ezekiel's warnings for us

Like Jeremiah, the priest Ezekiel prophesied long after the ancient kingdom of Israel had been crushed and its people taken away in the Assyrian captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar's conquering Babylonian armies had forcibly removed from the land of Judah this young Jewish exile, Ezekiel, and thousands of his countrymen some 130 years after the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel.

Ezekiel's mission and message could not have been for the ancient kingdom of Israel. That kingdom had long since vanished. God had already banished its people into a foreign land in the far reaches of the Assyrian Empire hundreds of miles from Ezekiel's place of exile in Babylon. If God were using Ezekiel to warn the ancient kingdom of Israel, He was more than a century too late!

No doubt Ezekiel directed some of his message toward the nation of Judah, which at that time was going into captivity. But parts of His message were unmistakably directed to the "whole house of Israel"—all 12 tribes—and are applicable to the time of the end (Ezekiel 39:25; Ezekiel 45:6).

What was God's message for the "whole house of Israel" through the prophet Ezekiel? "Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to the land of Israel: The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will surely repay you for your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that I am the LORD...

"When terror comes, they will seek peace, but there will be none...I will deal with them according to their conduct, and by their own standards I will judge them. Then they will know that I am the LORD" (Ezekiel 7:2-4, Ezekiel 7:25-27, NIV).

The book of Ezekiel contains many similar warnings that apply to the modern descendants of all Israelites—both from the house of Israel and the house of Judah. God condemns the rampant immorality, corruption, greed, violence and oppression of the defenseless by the modern descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel. He abhors the fact that they have defiled themselves with false gods, despised His holy things and profaned His Sabbaths (Ezekiel 22:7-13).

Because of this moral degeneracy God also says: "I will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries, and remove your filthiness completely from you. You shall defile yourself in the sight of the nations; then you shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezekiel 22:15-16).

God promises that He will punish or spare each individual human being according to his attitude and conduct. He explains: "When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it. But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it...I will judge every one of you according to his own ways" (Ezekiel 33:18-20).

National downfall and captivity

This devastating punishment will involve, as we see in these prophecies, the national downfall and captivity of the modern Israelites. Now let's examine some other crises the United States and other British-descended peoples will face during that time.

Notice the national curses God included in His covenant with ancient Israel: "But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God...that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: Cursed shall you be ..." (Deuteronomy 28:15-16).

These timeless curses for disobedience include crippling diseases and epidemics (Deuteronomy 28:21-62); mental illnesses (verse 28); upset weather patterns leading to devastating droughts (verses 23-24) and insect infestations that destroy crops (verses 38-40, 42) and bring starvation (verses 53-57); and, finally, invasion and captivity (verses 32-33, 36, 41, 47-52, Deuteronomy 28:64-68).

Leviticus 26:14-39 describes similar consequences, while also noting that God will "break the pride of your power" such that "you will flee when no one pursues you" (verses 17, 19).

We seem already to be witnessing the fulfillment of this prophecy in our time. Perhaps even more remarkable than the British Empire's rise to greatness was its rapid dismantling. From an empire on which the sun never set, Britain has lost possession after possession. Most of the nations that once formed the British Empire are now independent, no longer subject to British rule.

The United States, which emerged from World War II as the world's preeminent military power, soon was fighting to a bloody stalemate in Korea and a humiliating defeat in Vietnam. Even in recent wars, such as those in Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia and Serbia, in which America achieved its initial military aims, U.S. forces remained bogged down with costly peacekeeping obligations and no easy escape. Only in such overwhelmingly one-sided conflicts as in Grenada and Panama has the United States emerged as the clear-cut victor since its stalemate in the Korean War.

Even though the United States remains the world's most powerful military power by a large margin, its advantage is greatly undermined by lack of political will and the commitment to decisively win its wars.

In another sign of their decline, Britain and the United States have lost many of the strategic sea gates they gained and maintained at great cost. In recent years they have surrendered such crucial strategic possessions as the Panama Canal and Hong Kong. No doubt this trend will continue.

"A time of great distress"

Other prophecies indicate that the turmoil prophesied to engulf the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the democracies of Northwest Europe will be only a prelude to a time of tumult and chaos unlike anything the world has seen.

Describing the terrible time just before His return, Jesus said: "It will be a time of great distress, such as there has never been before since the beginning of the world, and will never be again. If that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God's chosen it will be cut short" (Matthew 24:21-22, Revised English Bible).

Only in recent decades has humanity faced the terrifying prospect of human annihilation. We have enough nuclear weapons stockpiled to kill every man, woman and child many times over. Some nations—including terrorist states—have the means to lay waste entire countries with chemical or biological weapons. Many Bible prophecies serve as eerie reminders of the kind of carnage such weapons can cause.

How devastating will this time be? The book of Revelation describes a combination of supernatural and man-made catastrophes that will ravage the earth at the time of the end. In one great disaster alone fully one third of earth's population—billions of people—will die (Revelation 9:15-18). Conditions will be so grim that "men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them" (Revelation 9:6).

God does not enjoy punishing people. Through Ezekiel He says: "Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:11).

Regrettably, this is the only way many people will ever be brought to repentance.

Israel restored to greatness

In spite of these great calamities, prophecy tells us that, after Jesus Christ's return to earth to establish the Kingdom of God, the survivors of the tribes of Israel will experience even greater honor than they've previously known. God promises an unprecedented regathering of Israel.

"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...He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth"(Isaiah 11:11-12).

Those who return will be a transformed and humbled people. Speaking of when Israel would go into captivity, God said: "And there you will serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

"When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice (for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them" (Deuteronomy 4:28-31).

Notice that the time setting for this passage is "the latter days" (verse 30). God knows that when people turn from obedience to Him they usually must learn their lesson the hard way. Yet He is always willing to bless those who turn from their wicked ways.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God says of this time: "... When the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds...So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds.

"... 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" (Ezekiel 36:17-28).

God never fulfilled this prophecy in ancient Israel or Judah, since He made His Spirit available only to a select few before He began the New Testament Church in A.D. 31, as recorded in Acts 2. These events are yet to take place. God promises that, when these people humble themselves and repent, He will make His Spirit available to them. No longer will they be rebellious and disobedient to their Maker. Led by that Spirit, they will willingly follow God, obeying His laws.

An Israel reunited

As end-time prophecies about Israel unfold, these people will come to understand God and His expectations of them in a way they have never known. The descendants of the lost 10 tribes of the northern kingdom will discover they are not gentiles, as so many mistakenly believe. As humbled people, they will turn from their evil ways and seek the true knowledge of God. The house of Israel and the house of Judah will unite again as one nation under Christ.

The prophecies of Ezekiel point to the dramatic reunion of those of "lost Israel" with their brothers from Judah. "As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: 'For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.' Then take another stick and write on it, 'For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.' Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand...

"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; and I will make them one nation in the land...They shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again"'" (Ezekiel 37:16-22).

This unified nation will be comprised of both the Jewish people—the descendants of the ancient kingdom of Judah—and the descendants of the other 10 tribes.

After the end-time period of "Jacob's trouble," which will be God's just and necessary correction of modern Israel, a repentant remnant will survive. Those of the so-called lost tribes of the northern kingdom, including the British and American people, will have repented of breaking the laws of the covenant, including God's Sabbath and Holy Days. The Jews of the southern kingdom will have acknowledged Jesus as the true Messiah.

Finally, modern descendants of both kingdoms, for the first time in almost 3,000 years, will reunite as one nation.

God makes another astounding promise: "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 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. 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" (Ezekiel 37:24-26).

At Jesus' return, God will resurrect King David, whom He called "a man after My own heart" (Acts 13:22), to reign over the reunited kingdom. Along with many other faithful servants of God, he will be resurrected to eternal life (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:52). Also, as Jesus promised, the 12 apostles will rule over the individual tribes (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30).

Now let's consider the international role the restored, reunited Israel of the future will fulfill in God's plan. Let's see how the descendants of Jacob will be a godly example for all nations in the future Kingdom of God.

Israel's future glory

Of the formation of this reunited nation God says: "... I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking.

"Behold, the days are coming that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 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" (Jeremiah 23:3-6). This supreme ruler is Jesus Christ.

Under Jesus the resurrected saints—those former human beings who were part of the body of believers comprising His true Church—will faithfully serve as teachers of the citizens of restored Israel (compare Isaiah 30:19-21 with Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:4-6).

When the Israelites turn to God in repentance and obedience, God will again shower physical blessings on them. Their land will become abundantly productive.

Describing this future prosperity Amos wrote: "'Behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. 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" (Amos 9:13-15).

This time will also herald unprecedented peace. "He [Jesus the Messiah] shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken" (Micah 4:3-4).

The prophets also reveal this will be a time of healing. Those who are lame will walk. Those with disease will be healed (Isaiah 35:5-6).

As other nations see Israel's prosperity and relationship with God, they will inquire how they, too, can be blessed. They will soon learn that Israel's prosperity comes because of its obedience to God. Then the gentile nations will seek to learn about the God of Israel. "... 'In those days 10 men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you"'" (Zechariah 8:23).

The nations will begin to learn God's ways with the help of a restored and obedient Israel. Jerusalem will become the world's center for religious education. As the prophet Micah explained:

"Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, 'Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.' For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:1-2).

Finally, Israel will at last really be the world's model nation, exemplifying the blessings and way of life other nations will strive to emulate. God will teach the truth of His Sabbath—the sacred time to draw close to God on a weekly basis—to all people (Isaiah 66:23).

God's Holy Days—which outline His plan of salvation—will also be an important part of the worship of God in this future age. God even tells us that representatives of surrounding nations will come each year to Jerusalem to worship Him during the great fall feast.

"And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain" (Zechariah 14:16-17).

The glory of the restored Israel will shine far greater than Israel's golden age under Solomon or that of any other nation or kingdom the world has ever seen. It will all come about because Christ will be the Head of the nation. Through its Creator Israel will gain "fame and praise among all the peoples of the earth" (Zephaniah 3:20). Israel will finally become the example God intended her to be.

God has not forgotten—nor will He ever forget—His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The pages of history and prophecies yet to be fulfilled show God remaining true to every detail of His word.

Your part in God's plan

Now we come to the most important question you will ponder: What will happen to you as these prophecies unfold?

We have covered much of the history of Israel in this book. We have seen how these people were divided into two nations, turned away from God and went into captivity. We have examined prophecies and historical evidence that point to Britain, the United States and the other British-descended peoples as the modern descendants of Joseph, the father of the Israelite tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. We have reviewed prophecies that reveal what will happen to these peoples before and after Jesus' return. Every nation on earth will be affected by their fall and restoration.

You have a choice. You can dismiss this knowledge if you want. No one can force you to accept it. The story is so incredible that many people simply refuse to believe it. They choose to reason their way around it. But the stakes are high. Either God is true to His promises, or He isn't. If He is, every promise and prediction He has made will come to pass—good and bad alike.

In deciding which course you will take, remember what God told the ancient Israelites after He explained the terms of the relationship they would have with Him: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life..." (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

God also tells us He "now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world ..." (Acts 17:30-31). His warning applies equally to Israelites and non-Israelites alike. Yet, He promises protection from the coming storm to a group of those who do turn to Him in true repentance (Revelation 3:10; Revelation 12:13-17).

Jesus similarly tells us: "Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36, NIV).

God does not leave us in the dark. He reveals to us what lies ahead for the United States, Britain and the British-descended peoples and for the rest of the world. As the Scriptures say: "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).

The authors and publishers of this book, in service to the Creator of all races and peoples, have shown what the future holds for many nations and people unless they repent (Jeremiah 18:7-8). Like the prophet Ezekiel, who was given the task of being a "watchman for the house of Israel" (Ezekiel 3:17-19; Ezekiel 33:1-7), we likewise urge you to accept and follow God's instructions so you may also be blessed and protected by Him.

Your future depends upon your decision. May you have the wisdom and character to choose wisely!

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