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Revelation and the Restoration of Israel

Good morning, everyone. I’m working on a new project for an upcoming event (TBA), and I want to do some research on it, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the essays I’m working on as I write them. The essay is called “Revelation and the Restoration of Israel: The New Exodus in the Apocalypse.” Below, I summarize what I’ll be covering and give a brief introduction:

The Book of Revelation identifies the Great City as spiritual Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon. All three cities are guilty in the Hebrew Scriptures of oppressing the righteous and are used as symbols of bondage in the apostles and prophets. Revelation, then, is about the exodus of God’s people from this great city (Revelation 18:4). This exodus is the subject of much biblical prophecy, such as the passage known as the “Little Apocalypse” in Isaiah. Old Covenant Israel, the Jerusalem below or the Old Jerusalem, became the ultimate Egypt/ Sodom/ Babylon because, though she was designed to be a light and blessing to the world, she had made a covenant with death and Hades. The destruction of Jerusalem, therefore, marks the time when God abolishes their covenant with death and Hades, and Judah and Israel are restored under a New Name in a New Heavens and New Earth. The Jerusalem above, the New Jerusalem, is the fulfillment of all promises made to Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, and those in exile. It is the city for which Abraham longed, and in it there is no longer any curse!

Plan of Action

We will demonstrate the above by surveying each chapter of Revelation while identifying key symbols, themes, and citations of the Hebrew Scriptures. When necessary, we will explore the contexts of the passages which are cited from the Scripture and explore instances in which these themes are present in other New Testament texts. While we will try to notice as much as possible, it will be impossible to look at every single reference or allusion to the New Exodus in Revelation. This essay, then, serves as the groundwork for your own study, and it will equip you with the tools you need to dig deeper into God’s word than before. Much of what I will discuss in this essay is original to myself, but I will try to give credit where credit is due when applicable. Before we get started, we need to talk about what the New Exodus (also called Second Exodus) is.

What is the New Exodus?

The New Exodus is the name of the category of prophecies which speak of the Messiah restoring Israel and Judah in the last days. One of the primary texts in Isaiah 11.

Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, And from the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 11:11)

This passage, along with others, serve as the basis for the exilic hope that the two nations would be restored into one nation with one head, as Hosea prophesied.

And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, And they will appoint for themselves one leader, And they will go up from the land, For great will be the day of Jezreel. (Hosea 1:11)

The disciples and apostles of Jesus were conscience of these prophesies, and they understood the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus, and themselves to be the fulfillment of these promises of restoration. Tom Holland points out, for example, that Isaiah 40:3 is cited in every account of the gospel while the birth of Jesus is only documented in two (Holland 10). Isaiah 40:3 is one of two prophecies concerning the ministry of John the Baptist. By citing this passage at the beginning of every account of John’s ministry, the New Testament writers are framing their version of the gospel in a New Exodus context.

Alright, you are all caught up. I’ll post individual sections of Revelation as I write them.

3 thoughts on “Revelation and the Restoration of Israel”

  1. You may want to look into the Gen 10 list of nations for fruitful listing of nations and what was considered the “whole earth.” Isa 60-66 has teaching on the New Heaven and New Earth concept. A good read in a strong Bible Encyclopedia would be helpful. The Restoration of Israel is a major, if not main idea in the Acts of the Apostles//see also the role of the Spirit in the Restoration from Ezekiel 37. The elders pronouncement in Acts 15:14ff “fallen tent of David”, and the listing of the spread of the Gospel in Acts 1:8.

    1. You’re right on target. When the disciples asked in chapter one if it was time to restore the kingdom to Israel, it was in response to Jesus’ statements concerning the Spirit. A lot of people think the disciples were mistaken, but they knew exactly what Jesus meant. Good observation.

      There is an excellent book by David Pao on the Isaianic New Exodus in Acts. Tom Holland’s “Contours of Pauline Theology” is another good read.

      Isaiah 60-66 (and 24-28) are the basis for all teaching in the NT on the New Heavens and New Earth and the restoration of Israel. The sounding fo the trumpet in Matthew 24:31 is from Isaiah 27:13, for instance. Thanks for your thoughts.

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