Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Climate Change (13) - Unknown Israelites

Israel in Revelation 7 is not just the nation of Israel, as it exists today. The Jews living in modern Israel are mostly descendants of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who made up the southern Kingdom that emerged after Israel was split between Solomon’s two sons. Jeroboam ruled the northern half of the Kingdom and Rehoboam ruled the southern half of the Kingdom called Judah (1 Kings 12).

The people of the Northern Kingdom were sent into exile by the king of Assyria. They were replaced by people from Assyria and never returned to their home in Israel (1 Kings 17:23,24). The people of the southern kingdom were exiled to Babylon many years later. However, they returned to the promised land in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. The Jews living in Israel today are mostly descendants of the people who returned from exile in Babylon. However, because records have been lost over time, they are not able to trace their genealogies back to those who returned from Babylon.

The consequence of these events is that many descendants of the other tribes of Israel are scattered throughout the earth, not even knowing that they are descendants of Israel. Some of these live in the Middle East, but many are in other parts of the world. When God pours out his Spirit on all of Israel, these people will come to faith in Christ. Many will want to return to Israel when that happens. A remnant may already have come to know him.

Recently something strange has happened all over the world. A few Christians have become really passionate about the nation of Israel. Some are almost obsessive about this issue. I believe that many of these people are actually descendants of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, without knowing it. (Gene is probably one?) They have already been sealed by the holy angel, who is sealing the 144,000. The stirring up or their love for Israel is the consequence and proof of this sealing.

If this interpretation is correct, then the angel holding the seal of God has already gone forward into the earth (Rev 7:3). I am not sure if he has completed marking all of those from the twelve tribes of Israel who will come to faith in Jesus. He could have completed the task, even if most of those who have been sealed do not understand it. This means that the time for releasing the four angels with power to harm the earth might be close, or already have arrived. The global climate change that John warned about may have already begun.

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