For over 2000 years the Jewish people have been mourning the destruction of the Holy Temple. On every festive occasion, its loss is remembered. No wedding takes place without the symbolically broken glass.
Ashes of mourning are placed upon the forehead of the groom and a section of a new home is left unpainted or unfinished, all in remembrance of the Destruction and the Exile from Zion.
One might ask, why are they still crying after 2000 years? Why can’t they get over it and move on? Why? Because there was never any closure, no burial. Why? Because even though the Temple’s bricks and stone have been destroyed, the Divine Promise still stands. The Temple will be rebuilt and until that day Zion will never be forgotten.
On Tisha B’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, the day that marks the destruction of both the First and Second Temple), Napoleon Bonaparte was walking along a street when he stopped in front of a synagogue. He heard crying from within. “What are those Jews doing?” he asked the soldier at his side. “They are mourning over the destruction of their Temple.”
“When did that happen?”
“Around 2000 years ago.”
“They are still crying after 2000 years? A nation that mourns so long will never cease. They will surely return to their land and see the rebuilding of their Temple.”
What was it that Napoleon saw that gave him the confidence to make such a statement? He understood that the connection between the People and the Place is intrinsic. One cannot live without the other. Just as the Jewish People are alive, so too is Zion. A nation that will not allow itself to forget will also not allow itself to let go or give up.
The Jews are still crying after 2000 years because they realize the greatness of what was lost and they long for its return like a father who knows his child is missing, but who is not dead. They also cry in anticipation as they see the ingathering of the exiles and wait for when Zion will be restored to its former state and the Temple will be rebuilt.
All of the O.T prophets were given a picture of the final restoration of Israel with their Messiah ruling all the nations. The Millennial reign of Jesus is all about fulfilling the unconditional covenant God made with Abraham.
“Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His handthe remnantof His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. and He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:11–12)
Isaiah’s prophecy is speaking of a final regathering that is patterned after the original Exodus from Egypt. The first was out of Egypt, the second is from all over the world, at the end of the great tribulation.It cannot be the 1948 regathering as Jesus is not ruling Israel and the nations.
“In that day the LORD will start His threshing (His separation of the righteous from the wicked) from the flowing stream of the Euphrates to the brook of Egypt, and you will be gathered up one by one, O sons of Israel. It will come about also in that day that a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were perishing in the land of Assyria and who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come and worship the LORD in the holy mountain at Jerusalem.” Isaiah 27:12-13 2
In the regions situated between the Euphrates River, which would include parts of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, and the “brook of Egypt,” which was most likely located in what is now the central Sinai Peninsula.
“Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them,’ for I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” (Jeremiah 16:14–15)
In Jeremiah’s mind, the final restoration to the land is an ultimate Exodus, far superior to the historical Exodus.
“As I live, declares the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out I will be king over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and with wrath poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God. I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 20:33-38
For Ezekiel, the coming redemption, the ‘Second Exodus’, overshadows its ancient prototype as the ultimate manifestation of Yahweh’s might.
“For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land… Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from 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 be careful to observe My ordinances. You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.” Ezekiel 36:24-28
Ezekiel connects the great end time outpouring of the Holy Spirit to Israel’s regathering to their land
“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, andyou call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey His voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul,” Deuteronomy 30:2
“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” Deuteronomy 30:6
Moses gives this amazing prophecy to the nation before they enter the Promised Land. Note at this time of regathering they experience an inner circumcision of their hearts resulting in total obedience.
Micah envisions the final restoration of Israel through the lens of a second Exodus.
“In that day they will come to you, from Assyria and the cities of Egypt, and from Egypt to the River, from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain… As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them marvelous things. The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might;” Micah 7:12, 15
In chapter 7, the prophet speaks of Israel’s eschatological restoration and the expansion of her national borders: “On that day will your boundary be extended” (v. 11).