During this millennial kingdom series, we have seen in previous articles that there will be living people during this thousand-year period. We read about a time where there will be long life, prosperity, and happiness as Christ reigns on earth among those who have survived “the end of the world.” We saw hints that the physical nation of Israel will play a big part after the Lord’s second coming because He will rule from Jerusalem. Not only will the resurrected believers of all ages dwell on earth with Christ, but a percentage of living Israelites will finally dwell in their promised land in peace with God as their King–dwelling in their midst (see The millennial kingdom, Introduction – Christ lives on earth).
This promise of a land goes all the way back to Abraham:
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. – Genesis 17:8, NKJV
Abraham’s grandson Jacob (renamed Israel) confirmed this promise to his son Joseph:
3 Then Jacob said to Joseph: “God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me, 4 and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people, and give this land to your descendants after you as an everlasting possession.’ – Genesis 48:3,4, NKJV
So God promised this land would be an everlasting possession. That is why, no matter what has happened over the centuries since, Israel always returns to their land. As Old Testament scripture reveals, God has had to punish them for rebellion against His covenant by sending other nations against them and leading them away as captives. Even now, they are dispersed throughout the world, but many have returned even within the last 70 years to reestablish their rightful inheritance. That had to happen in preparation for Jesus’ return. But most still haven’t recognized Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
Now, the Abrahamic covenant was two-fold. It concerned his physical descendants and also spiritual descendants:
7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. … 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. – Galatians 3:7-9,14, NKJV
Everyone who has believed in Jesus Christ, including Gentiles (non-Jews), have been included in God’s promises to Abraham. Every Christian will receive the inheritance of the promised land. These are the resurrected believers who will return with Jesus Christ at His second coming. But that does not mean God does not still have a plan for the physical descendants of Abraham within their land. Paul cautioned Gentile Christians to remember this:
1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. … 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. …11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! … 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” 28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. – Romans 11:1,2,5,11,12,25-31, NKJV
Therefore, after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, God will still save a remnant of Israel and bring them into the promised land. When does the fullness of the Gentiles come in? Not until the end of the great tribulation at Christ’s second coming.
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. …And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. – Luke 21:20-27, NKJV
When Christ returns, every Gentile (and Jewish) believer in Jesus Christ will be resurrected. Now comes time for God to fulfil His promise to a remnant of Israel who survives the wrath of God of those days.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the Lord, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: 9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ “ – Zechariah 13:1,8,9, NKJV
So one-third of Israel will survive and enter the millennial kingdom alive after recognizing Jesus Christ as “the Lord my God.” That reference may just be referring to those in the land of Israel at the time of Christ’s return. We know there will be many returning from other countries as well. As Jesus Christ returns to earth at His second coming, He begins to defend Jerusalem from the armies coming against them.
7 “The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. 8 In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. 9 It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves. – Zechariah 12:7-14, NKJV
Why are they mourning? Because “the families that remain” finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah. When He appears in the sky (Matt. 24:29,30), they realize that their ancestors were responsible for crucifying their Savior. It is too late for them to become Christians and be included in the resurrection, but the Lord pours out a Spirit of grace on them because they are the remnant He revealed would enter the promised land–alive!
There are actually multiple prophecies speaking of these survivors. I believe Daniel referred to them as the waiting ones:
11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. – Daniel 12:11,12, NKJV
I believe that prophecy refers to the survivors who are still waiting for their Messiah to come. Many Jews will be deceived by the antichrist during the first 1290 days of the great tribulation and take the mark of the beast. But it is my opinion that the “blessed” will probably be the remnant of Israel who is still waiting for their Messiah and did not believe the lies of the beast by taking his mark. It is likely that there will be 45 days of chaos in the earth before the return of the Lord that Israelites must survive to be among the blessed survivors.
8 “Therefore wait for Me,” says the Lord, “Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All my fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy. 9 “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the Lord, To serve Him with one accord. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, The daughter of My dispersed ones, Shall bring My offering. … 13 The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness And speak no lies, Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth. – Zephaniah 3:8-10,13, NKJV
The remnant who waits for the Lord’s return and vengeance on the earth will enter the millennial kingdom alive. Then there will be one pure language and everyone will call on the name of the Lord.
After Christ returns and defends the remaining Jews, there will afterwards be a record of survivors in Jerusalem.
2 In that day the Branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious; And the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped. 3 And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. – Isaiah 4:2,3, NKJV
We know from current history that Israel is always in danger of enemies in the Middle East. It is prophesied that the remnant of Israel will never be made afraid again–either of the judgments of God for their rebellion or disaster from their enemies. “The King of Israel, the Lord,” will be in their midst (Zephaniah 3:13-15).
But that’s not all. …We use the term “Israel” in a general way as referring to anyone from the original twelve tribes of Jacob. We also use the term “Jewish” as referring to anyone from the original twelve tribes of Jacob. But Jewish actually originated with the tribe of Judah. During the reign of King Solomon (I Kings 11:29-43), God divided the nation of Israel in two – the northern kingdom of Israel (consisting of 10 tribes) and the southern kingdom of Judah (consisting of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levites). There has been a division between these tribes ever since. But God revealed to the prophets that they too will have peace with one another as the millennial kingdom gets under way. Remnants from every tribe will return to the promised land out of every country.
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. – Ezekiel 36:24, NKJV
In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers. – Jeremiah 3:18, NKJV
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.’ “ – Jeremiah 30:1-3, NKJV
21 “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; 22 and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. – Ezekiel 37:21,22, NKJV
6 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘If it is marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, Will it also be marvelous in My eyes?’ Says the Lord of hosts. 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, I will save My people from the land of the east And from the land of the west; 8 I will bring them back, And they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people And I will be their God. – Zechariah 8:6-8, NKJV
After the return of the Messiah, all of Israel will live as mortals in unity with each other as their God, the Lord Jesus Christ dwells with them on earth.
It seems that many who have escaped the judgment of God in Jerusalem at Christ’s return will be sent on a mission to the nations to declare the glory of Christ to surviving Gentiles and then organize caravans to return all of God’s remnant in other countries to the land of Israel, requiring them to bring offerings to the house of the Lord as they come (Isaiah 66:19,20). The Lord will even dry up rivers for His remnant to cross over as they migrate to the promised land (Isaiah 11:15,16).
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away. – Is. 35:10, NKJV
For additional research: Micah 4:6-8; Isaiah 60:4-9; Ezekiel 20:41-44; Amos 9:15; Ezekiel 34:11-15; Jeremiah 30:10,11; Ezekiel 39:25-29; Ezekiel 36:22-24; Zephaniah 3:20
If those who survive among Israel believed in Jesus too late to be taken in the resurrection, just what is their spiritual condition in the millennial kingdom? We will examine that in the next article: The millennial kingdom V, spiritual condition of Israel