Eschatological Significance of Israel
By Claude Duvernoy
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and
all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his
glory” (Matthew 25:31).
Zionism when seen from a Biblical angle is obviously
a theology of history. The first promises of the Lord to His “friend”
Abraham, linking the Jewish people forever to the Promised Land, derived
their profound significance from a universalistic perspective in which all
nations recognize that their own salvation is connected with this people and
History is not the succession of wars and
civilizations in a continuous, monotonous and pessimistic cycle. Nor is it
the tragic and inexorable process of estrangement from the Golden Age that
was lost forever. The Biblical vision is the only one that offers a
satisfactory response to the enigma of human destiny. It offers us a concept
of human history which pursues its course through a succession of horrible
crimes, conflicts and cataclysms.
But this history is a process of ripening towards a
point of such decay that it must be abruptly interrupted in order to prevent
the total destruction of our planet.
The first Hebrew prophets already developed in their
own terminology this concept of decay, and in their writings the last phase
of this process will invariably take place within the walls of Jerusalem.
Not a celestial, but an entirely terrestrial Jerusalem with its stains and
its sins, but heavy with Messianic hope and ripe for repentance and the
Return to its God.
As a reminder and illustration of the “atmosphere”
of this vision of the last days, some of these prophetic texts follow here:
Joel: “For, behold, in those days, and in
that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I
will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of
Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my
heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations and divided my
Micah: “Now also many nations are gathered
against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion.
BUT THEY KNOW NOT THE THOUGHTS OF THE LORD, neither understand they his
Zephaniah: “Therefore wait ye upon me,
saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my
determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to
pour upon them mine indignation….” (3:8).
Isaiah: “They shall be ashamed, and also
confounded, all of them: they shall go to confusion together that are makers
of idols. But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting
Jeremiah: “At that time they shall call
Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE GATHERED UNTO
IT, to the name of the LORD” (3:17).
Ezekiel: “Behold, I have spoken in my
jealousy and in my fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations:
Therefore, thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the
heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame” (36:6).
Zechariah: “Behold, 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” (12:2,3).
It follows from these texts from the prophetic books
that “in that day” a particularly explosive situation will prevail in
the Middle East (all the exegetes agree that the expression, “in that
day”, invariably refers to the end of days and the Parousia
[coming of the Lord in glory]), On the one hand the land promised to the
children of Abraham forever will be divided and Jerusalem will be in mortal
danger. On the other hand and it is Micah to whom we owe this Biblical truth
the nations will not understand at all the prophetic implications of this
explosive situation. They cannot recognize in this ingathering of the Jews
from all the countries of the world and in the division of the holy land,
the hand and judgment of God.
The best example of this blindness of the nations
apart from the confusion prevailing in the United Nations is the leading
contemporary historian, Arnold Toynbee, who dares to compare Zionism with
Nazism. How insulting can one get in one’s blindness?
Zechariah casts an amazingly bright light on the
efforts of the United Nations to find a solution of what they call in not
very Biblical terms, “the Palestinian question”. Because the nations are
motivated by their own interests, because they are pawns in the hands of
powers which will eventually crush them, and above all, because they do not
want to accept the Biblical vision of History, they cannot admit that they
are powerless and confused in face of the Zionist venture which itself is
the key to the divine mystery of history. To the nations, Jerusalem is
merely a capital city like many others (but they refuse, nevertheless, to
recognize it as the capital of Israel, a strange attitude which needs no
commentary if we confront it with these texts from the prophets!).
But it is incredible that the Christian theologians
themselves have fallen victim to this same blindness. What a cruel
demonstration of their alienation from both the letter and the spirit of the
Hebrew Bible, that they don’t know anymore how to read the prophets, that
they assign to these words of Life a place in the remote past and condemn
Israel to eternal exile, hypnotized as they are by the very return from
Babylon in long past centuries!
They are there for them to see, these texts by which
Christ himself was so deeply inspired, of which He was the very incarnation,
texts which announce the division of the Holy Land, the agony of Jerusalem,
the ingathering of all the children of Israel…
They could come and witness the drama unfold itself
on the spot, but they do not leave their academic chairs, at least not often
They hear the stones of Judea cry out, they see
Jerusalem being revived, but they remain doubtful and silent…
Let us therefore leave these dissectors of the Bible
to their “scientific” task, and return to our Hebrew Gospels and to the
“Eschatological discourse” of the Jew Jesus, as the Jerusalem Bible calls
From the book “Controversy of Zion” by Claude
Duvernoy with forwards by Dr. David Flusser and Dr. David Allen Lewis. The
book is available through Bible Light for $17 Postage Paid.
Ready for the Press: The Prince and the Prophet,
the story of the first Jew and Christian working together to establish the
modern State of Israel, awaits funds to print.