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The Millennial Regathering and Purging of Israel

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Dear Friends,

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming part 6 of Coming Tribulation: "Last Things", detailing the millennial regathering of Israel into the land of promise after Messiah's return, that is, the Second Advent of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  As always, your proofreading skills are sought and appreciated in advance of the publication of the entire piece.

In our Lord,

Bob L.

From part 6 of Coming Tribulation (NOW POSTED at this link):

6. The Regathering and Purging of Israel

a. The Regathering of Israel: The return of the Jewish people into the land of Israel is at once one of the most blessed and most frequent of all of the promises of Old Testament prophecy. It would be nigh on impossible to produce a completely comprehensive list of the passages, ubiquitous in scripture, wherein the return is expressed literally or figuratively, prophetically and by promise, in the Old Testament or in the New. For directly after Armageddon, our glorious Lord will begin the process of bringing all survivors of Jewish blood back to the Land. Whether from hailing from Babylon (Jer.50:4-8; Mic.4:10) or previously imprisoned (Is.51:14; 61:1; Zech.9:11-12; cf. Ps.68:6; 79:10-11; 102:20; 146:7), whether dwelling abroad as a result of the recent diaspora caused by antichrist's depredations (Deut.26:68; Hos.8:10; Joel 3:2-8; Zech.14:2; Lk.21:24:) or in long established communities Jewish communities throughout the world (Jer.3:18; 30:10; Ezek.37:21; Zeph.3:10), all who are of Jewish blood will be repatriated to the place of judgment on the threshold of the Land of Israel in the opening days of the Millennium. There, in the "desert of the nations", they will stand judgment for their right to enter the land.

The return will be prominently announced:

(11) In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the surviving remnant of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the Mediterranean. (12) He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.
Isaiah 11:11-12 NIV

(12) In that day the Lord will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. (13) And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 27:12-13 NIV

(10) They will follow the Lord; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west. (11) They will come trembling like birds from Egypt, like doves from Assyria. "I will settle them in their homes," declares the Lord.
Hosea 11:10-11 NIV

(8) "I will signal for them and gather them in. Surely I will redeem them; they will be as numerous as before. (9) Though I scatter them among the peoples, yet in distant lands they will remember me. They and their children will survive, and they will return. (10) I will bring them back from Egypt and gather them from Assyria. I will bring them to Gilead and Lebanon, and there will not be room enough for them. (11) They will pass through the sea of trouble (i.e., the Tribulation); the surging sea will be subdued and all the depths of the Nile will dry up. Assyria's pride will be brought down and Egypt's scepter will pass away. (12) I will strengthen them in the Lord and in his name they will walk," declares the Lord.
Zechariah 10:8-12 NIV

The return will be orderly:

(11) Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the Lord. (12) But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
Isaiah 52:11-12 NIV

The return will be rapid:

(7) "Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. (8) Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. (9) "Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the Lord. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God.
Isaiah 66:7-9 NIV

The means for the return will be abundantly provided (Is.43:19-21; 48:20-21; 60:4; 62:10):

(15) The Lord will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep his hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that anyone can cross over in sandals. (16) There will be a highway for the remnant of his people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.
Isaiah 11:15-16 NIV

(7) The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. (8) And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. (9) No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, (10) and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 35:7-10 NIV

(9) to say to the captives, 'Come out,' and to those in darkness, 'Be free!' "They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. (10) They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. (11) I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. (12) See, they will come from afar – some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan."
Isaiah 49:9-12 NIV

Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.
Isaiah 60:9 NIV

"And they will bring all your brothers, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord -on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels," says the Lord. "They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels."
Isaiah 66:20 NIV

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself will be the Agent of the return (Ezek.11:17; 20:41-42):

(5) "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. (6) I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – (7) everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made."
Isaiah 43:5-7 NIV

The return will be complete (Dan.12:1b):

Then they will know that I am the Lord their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.
Ezekiel 39:28 NIV

(12) "I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob; I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel. I will bring them together like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture; the place will throng with people. (13) One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out. Their king will pass through before them, the Lord at their head."
Micah 2:12-13

The return will be a vindication:

(19) "At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they were put to shame. (20) At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes," says the Lord.
Zephaniah 3:19-20 NIV

b. The Purging of the Jewish People prior to Reentering the Land:

He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people.
Psalm 50:4 NIV (cf. Hos.6:11)

Although the regathering will indeed apply to all surviving Jews, only those who accept the Messiah will be allowed into land of promise (those who believed before Christ's return have, of course, already been resurrected as part of Christ's Bride). This process of purging is the sixth of the seventh judgments, the purifying of the new remnant of Israel following their regathering to the threshold of the land of Israel so that only the righteous may enter to inaugurate the Messiah's millennial kingdom (cf. Is.60:21).

(34) I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered—with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath. (35) I will bring you into the desert of the nations and there, face to face, I will execute judgment upon you. (36) As I judged your fathers in the desert of the land of Egypt, so I will judge you, declares the Sovereign Lord. (37) I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. (38) I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 20:34-38 NIV

Comment: In this passage we see all of the essential features of the process of regathering: 1) All of Jewish stock who did not receive the mark are regathered (v.34); 2) The place of initial regathering is near the Land, but not actually in the Land (v.35); 3) The purpose for this phased arrival into Israel is to render judgment as to who is fit to enter (vv.36-37); 4) Those who "revolt and rebel" even after witnessing the Messiah's miraculous return and their own astounding regathering will be purged from the remnant and will not enter the Land (v.38).

1) The Place of Purging: As explained immediately above, this judgment will take place near the Land of Israel but not actually in the Land (Ezek.20:38). Ezekiel 20:35 describes the place of judgment as "the desert of the nations" (Hebrew: midhbar ha'amiym, העמים מדבר). This is most often taken to mean the places of Jewish diaspora around the world, but that is obviously incorrect since verse thirty-eight very clearly states that all individuals of Jewish stock will be "brought out of the land where they are living" yet "will not enter the Land of Israel". The true identification of "the desert of the nations" is Sinai. Israel was delivered from the nations to be her own nations state under God by going through the desert of Sinai and undergoing a process of cleansing and judgment under the leadership of Moses (a type of Christ). Just as Sinai was the place of testing and purging in the first Exodus, so also at this future time the same "desert of [deliverance from] the nations" will be Sinai.1 The strong parallel deliberately drawn in Ezekiel chapter twenty between this future situation and that of the Exodus generation and this generation supports this identification, as does the fact that a prolonged stay in Sinai was the unhappy alternative for that previous generation who had likewise experienced the miraculous deliverance of God in bringing them forth from the nations. Sinai is on the threshold of the Land of promise. In terms of biblical geography, it is not technically in Egypt, but neither is it "in the Land" (the "brook of Egypt" will be the southwestern boundary of millennial Israel Ezek.). We can therefore conclude that the "desert of the nations" is indeed Sinai, given this unique name now because all those of Jewish blood are brought back from all of the nations of the world where they had previously been scattered, not just from Egypt. Sinai will be the place of blessed cleansing for all willing to accept the Messiah, an event soon followed by their repatriation to the Land of Israel.

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her.
Hosea 2:14 NIV

This is what the Lord says: "The people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel."
Jeremiah 31:2 NIV

2) The Time of Purging: As noted above, scripture describes the return to the land as something that will rapidly follow Jesus' return, so we may expect that the entire process of collection, transfer to Sinai, judgment and repatriation to be a very swift affair. In fact, Daniel chapter twelve provides us with a detailed and definitive schedule:

(11) From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (12) Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.
Daniel 12:11-12 NIV

The phrase from verse eleven above, "from the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up", refers, as we have seen in part 3B of this series, to the Tribulation's mid-point and antichrist's session in the temple of God, an event that will be accompanied by the abolition of the daily sacrifice and the erection of the cult-idol statue of antichrist which the false prophet will animate (i.e., the "abomination of desolation", or more correctly, "the abomination that causes desolation": Dan.9:27; Rev.13:11-15; cf. 2Thes.2:1-12). Moreover, the "1290 days" must then stretch to a time beyond the end of the Tribulation past the Second Advent. That is because the Great Tribulation itself, the period which begins with the events mentioned here in Daniel 12:11, lasts for three and one half years only, a time frame described in scripture (in terms of lunar years) as either 42 months, or 1260 days, or "a time, times and half a time" (Dan.7:25; 12:7; Rev.11:2; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5). And since this period of time will be further shortened to some degree at least for the sake of the elect" (Mk.13:20), it is impossible for the 1290 days to be fit in its entirely into this window of the Tribulation's second half. Even calculating on a 365 day year, the maximum yield for the period would 1278 days assuming a leap year, and this figure does not include the unspecified span of curtailment "for the sake of the elect". It seems best, therefore, to understand the differential between the actual return of Christ and the 1290 days as the interval within which all Israel will be regathered into Sinai so that we should complete Daniel's words somewhat as follows: "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days [until all Israel is regathered]", that is, until the premier prophetic event to which Daniel was looking in anticipation comes to pass.

The place of regathering will be the "desert of the nations" for the purpose of judgment and purging, and will thus allow some 30 days for the process to occur (depending upon the variables noted above). There then remains the differential between the 1290 days and the 1335 days, a span of 45 days. This 45 day period will then be the time frame of the actual judgment.

In addition to meshing seamlessly with all of the other information we have about these events, the above interpretation also has two further advantages:

1) It allows for close parallel to the events of the Exodus. As we have seen, the fact that Israel will be regathered initially into "the desert of the nations", that is, Sinai, and winnowed in a way similar to that experienced by the original Exodus generation, invites this comparison generally. As we have seen since the beginning of this series, days are often representative of years in prophetic contexts (e.g., Ps.90:4; Dan.9:25-27), so that the 45 days naturally suggests the 40 years of wandering and testing in Sinai in addition to the 5 years of entrance under Joshua (cf. Josh.14:10). In it application to this particular prophecy in Daniel, the 40 days will then be the time of our Lord's judging all regathered to Sinai, and the 5 days the period of their restoration to and resettlement in the Land of Promise under Messiah's reign.

2) This also explains Daniel's words "Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days". According to this interpretation, those who "wait for the Lord" (a picture of faith: Ps.27:14; 37:9; Is.40:31; Mic.7:7; Hab.2:3; Zeph.3:8; Rom.8:25; cf. Matt.24:13; Lk.12:36; Rom.11:25-26), and "reach the end" are the Jewish returnees who pass muster in desert and enter the Land. All who do survive this judgment will most certainly be "blessed", both in comparison to those who do not and in absolute terms as well, for their it will be to experience the ineffable blessings of Millennial Israel under Messiah's reign, a boon much anticipated in prophecy from Genesis to Revelation.

(15) When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God." (16) Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. (17) At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' (18) "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' (19) "Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' (20) "Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' (21) "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' (22) "'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' (23) "Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. (24) I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.'"
Luke 14:15-24 NIV

(1) Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: (2) "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. (3) He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. (4) "Then he sent some more servants and said, 'Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.' (5) "But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. (6) The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. (7) The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. (8) "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. (9) Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.' (10) So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. (11) "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. (12) 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. (13) "Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' (14) "For many are invited, but few are chosen."
Matthew 22:1-14 NIV

As our Lord's parable makes unmistakably clear, while being present at the great banquet in Israel (the wedding banquet "of his Son": cf. Matt.22:2) which celebrates the wedding of the Lamb and His Bride will be blessed indeed (Lk.14:15 above), only those who attain to it, that is, only those who are not destroyed first by outright rejection of the invitation (i.e., those who accept the mark of the beast and so are destroyed in the prior "thunder judgment", also known as the "baptism of fire"),2 and who are not subsequently found wanting during the judgment in the desert (represented by the man without proper attire in Matt.22:11-14 above), will be allowed to enter the Land and enjoy all of the marvelous blessings to come.

3) The Process of Purging:

(25) Brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery (and so think more of yourselves than you should): hardness has come over a part of Israel until the time when the fullness of the gentiles has come in [to the family of God] (i.e., when the Church is completed at the 2nd Advent). (26) And it is in this way (i.e., coming to believe upon witnessing the Messiah's return) that all [true] Israel will be saved just as it is written: The Deliverer will come from Zion. He will expel ungodliness from Jacob. (27) And this will be My covenant with them when I take away their sins.
Romans 11:25-27

When all Israel is assembled on the border of the Land, as we have already seen in the prior installment of this series many in her number will already have come to believe in Jesus Christ, having been convicted of the truth of His Messiahship upon witnessing His sign of the cross appearing in the heavens along with His miraculous return.

Behold! He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the peoples of the earth will grieve on account of Him.
Revelation 1:7

And I will pour out on the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit of grace and repentance. For they will look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they will grieve for Him like the grieving for an only son, and they will [weep] bitterly for Him like the bitter [weeping] for a firstborn son.
Zechariah 12:10

There are indications, moreover, that the process of repentance will continue right up until the end of this present judgment:

(4) For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols. (5) Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness in the last days.
Hosea 3:4-5 NASB

As the context of Hosea chapter three quoted above makes clear, the Lord is eager for reconciliation with Israel despite her previous reluctance (just as Hosea is commanded to reconcile with his wife despite her indiscretions).

(10) "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the Lord. (11) "Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you."
Zechariah 2:10-11 NIV

During the Millennium, the change of heart among the offspring of the remnant of Israel will bring a flood of Jews to faith in Christ (comparable to the flood of gentiles that characterizes Church age). Seeing the Messiah face to face (Deut.4:30; Is.17:7-8; Jer.3:22b-25; 23:19-20; Joel 3:17; Zech.12:10-14; Rev.1:7; cf. Is.31:6; 50:20-21; Matt.24:30), Israel will turn to Him in numbers that will proportionally outstrip the greatest gains of the Church age, as God abundantly blesses His chosen people, fulfilling all the promises He has made (Ps.80:18; Is.65:8-10; Jer.31:31-34; Ezek.20:33-38; 37:11-14; Hos.1:10-11; Mal.4:5-6; Matt.23:39; Rom.11:26). However, it is a sad fact that in spite of the nearly two millennia that Israel has spent "in the wilderness (Amos 9:9), in spite of all the pressures of the Tribulation (cf. Is.48:10; Lk.13:6-9), in spite of all of the glories of Second Advent where "all mankind together will see the glory of the Lord" (Is.40:5), and in spite of this process of face to face judgment with our Lord, the hardness of the hearts of many of the original survivors will prove persistent and not susceptible to being cracked (cf. Zech.2:10-11). Scripture is very clear on this point. Not all who are regathered will enter, only the remnant, and that remnant is consistently described as small (Is.6:13; 17:5-7; 65:8-12; Jer.50:20; Joel 2:32; Mic.4:6-7; Rom.9:27-29; cf. Zech.3:8).

Although your people may be like the sand of the sea, O Israel, [only] a remnant of them will return.
Isaiah 10:22

I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.
Jeremiah 3:14 NIV

(8) "In the whole land," declares the Lord, "two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. (9) This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The Lord is our God.'"
Zechariah 13:8-9 NIV

As is clear from the last passage in particular, in addition to the high casualty rate suffered by the Jewish population of the Tribulation generally, the "one third" who survive will be "refined". That is to say, they will be purified by a purging that distills them into a remnant of believers. This remnant will in turn provide the root stock for the abundant Jewish population of the Millennium, the majority of whom will continue in the footsteps of their forefathers in faith in Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.

The process of purging is clear to see from the verse in Ezekiel chapter twenty, the pertinent section of which for this topic is as follows:

(37) I will take note of you as you pass under my rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. (38) I will purge you of those who revolt and rebel against me. Although I will bring them out of the land where they are living, yet they will not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 20:34-38 NIV

The procedure for this judgment will thus be very similar to what will transpire at the end of the Millennium during the initial stage of the last judgment as described in Matthew 24:31-46, otherwise known as the judgment of the sheep and the goats (covered below in section VI.1). In both cases we have a mixed population that must be separated, and in both cases it is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who will do the separating. However, while the sheep and goats judgment will involve the entire millennial population at the end of history, this judgment will only concern those Jews still alive after the baptism of fire who have been repatriated to the doorstep of the Land of Israel. And while the later judgment will end in a living resurrection, with the believers entering eternity and the unbelievers cast into the lake of fire (Matt.25:41-46), no such resurrection occurs at this time. Those who are shown to truly be believers in Jesus will enter the millennial kingdom of the Messiah in their physical bodies. Those who refuse to accept Jesus will be dispatched to torments (the temporary residence after death of all unbelievers since the beginning of history) to await the last judgment. The criterion or basis of judgment will be the individual's attitude towards the newly returned Messiah. As Ezekiel 20:38 states, Jesus will "purge you of those revolt and rebel against Me". All those who resist accepting and obeying Jesus Christ through faith, that is, all who persist in unbelief in spite of all that has transpired, will not be allowed to enter the land.

There are thus five discrete categories among those of Jewish blood who survive the Tribulation:

1) Those who previously accepted the mark of the beast: these are executed as part of the baptism of fire.

2) Those who accept the Messiahship of Jesus Christ upon witnessing His return: these are allowed to enter the land at the conclusion of this judgment.

3) Those who refuse to accept the Messiahship of Jesus Christ in spite of the previous miracles and the message given during this judgment: these are executed in the process of this judgment and dispatched into torments to await the last judgment.

4) Those who did not accept the Messiahship of Jesus Christ as they saw Him return, but who do repent and accept Jesus as their Savior during the process of this judgment: these are also allowed to enter the land at the conclusion of this judgment.

5) Those who have not yet attained to an age or capacity of accountability, and so are not yet responsible for making this critical decision: these are also allowed to enter the land at the conclusion of this judgment.

The purpose of this judgment is therefore not only to assure that the Millennium begins with a pure cadre of Jewish believers in the Land of Promise cleansed of all prone to "revolt or rebel" against the truth or to grumble against the Lord Jesus, their ruling Sovereign (cf. the parallels of Lev.24:10-23 and Acts 5:1-11), but also to give even those who have so far demurred for whatever reason every opportunity to put aside their hard-heartedness and accept the free grace of God for salvation. The fact that some sizeable portion of those so gathered will nevertheless still refuse to accept the truth of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ is at once a startling and horrifying fact, and a testimony to the power of self-willed arrogance to blind the human heart against the truth even when it is so overwhelmingly revealed. For to be brought face to face with the Messiah Himself, to the gospel message from His own lips, to see the consequences of unbelief with one's own eyes, and to persist in arrogant rejection of Him nonetheless, is irrefutable testimony to the fact that short of taking away our free will entirely, nothing God could ever do would result in all human beings turning to Him in faith. And as we are here for the purpose of exercising our free will in faith to accept Jesus Christ (or reject Him), this He will most certainly not do.

And it will come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.
Joel 2:32

(11) "For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. (12) As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. (13) I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. (14) I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. (15) I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. (16) I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice. (17) As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. (18) Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? (19) Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet? (20) Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. (21) Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, (22) I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. (23) I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. (24) I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.
Ezekiel 34:11-24 NIV

As it was during the time of the Exodus when far from the entire complement who left Egypt entered the land of promise (indeed, only Caleb and Joshua of the older generation did enter the land), so it will be during this future judgment. Just as in the Exodus the children who had not yet reached an age of accountability did enter the land after the forty years of refining, so also in a similar way, we may expect a large proportion of those entering and passing this judgment to consist of those too young to be held accountable at present with the result that they are automatically allowed to enter. There will also be opportunity for repentance, the giving of the gospel message from the Lord Himself, the truth about salvation through the washing of the water of the Word of God wherein accepting His Person and His work, the blood of Christ, results in cleansing from all sin, deliverance and salvation for all who are willing to accept the truth (Jn.3:5; Eph.5:26; Tit.3:5; Heb.10:22; 1Pet.3:21; cf. Heb.9:14; Jas.1:18; 1Pet.1:23).

The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.
Isaiah 4:4 NIV

I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.
Jeremiah 33:8 NIV

In those days, at that time," declares the Lord, "search will be made for Israel's guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.
Jeremiah 50:20 NIV

(18) Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (19) You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:18-19 NIV

(9) "Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him shoulder to shoulder. (10) From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, my scattered people, will bring me offerings. (11) On that day you will not be put to shame for all the wrongs you have done to me, because I will remove from this city those who rejoice in their pride. Never again will you be haughty on my holy hill. (12) But I will leave within you the meek and humble, who trust in the name of the Lord. (13) The remnant of Israel will do no wrong; they will speak no lies, nor will deceit be found in their mouths. They will eat and lie down and no one will make them afraid."
Zephaniah 3:9-13 NIV

"On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity."
Zechariah 13:1 NIV

(2 )But who can endure the day of [the Messiah's] coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. (3) He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, (4) and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
Malachi 3:2-4 NIV

But while all who repent of their prior unbelief and accept Jesus and the Messiah and the true Son of God at this time will be cleansed and forgiven, the purging process will discover the dross, and those would otherwise have been the "sons of the kingdom" will be thrust out into outer darkness.

I will turn my hand against you; I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities.
Isaiah 1:25 NIV

(11) "I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (12) But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Matthew 8:11-12 NIV

At the completion of this process, God will conduct the remnant, those who have passed the test of faith, into the Land of Promise to experience the glorious blessings of the millennial rule of Jesus Christ.

(8) This is what the Lord says: "As when juice is still found in a cluster of grapes and men say, 'Don't destroy it, there is yet some good in it,' so will I do in behalf of my servants; I will not destroy them all. (9) I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live. (10) Sharon will [again] become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a resting place for herds, for my people who seek me."
Isaiah 65:8-10


1 See the excellent discussion on this point by C.F. Keil in v.9 of Commentary on the Old Testament (rpr. Grand Rapids 1980) in loc.

2 Daniel 12:1 "but during that time your people will escape, [that is,] everyone who[se name] is found written in the book [of life]"; that is, the names of all those who refused the mark remain in the Book of Life and so that they are not subject to the baptism of fire.

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