The following is a response to a question that was asked me concerning the 1948 re-establishment of Israel to their land while in a state of unbelief. Was it was Scriptural?
The idea of Israel returning and being established in the land while in a state of unbelief is absolutely drawn from Scripture. First of all, consider that Israel as a nation has never once existed in a state of true covenantal obedience to God. As a people, they have not only broken the covenant of God which they bound themselves to under solemn oath (Exodus 24:7-8), but they have also rejected the God of the covenant who alone is the wellspring of life and the very enabler of the covenant. Their numerous captivities never once produced the change of heart that is required for them to be the inheritance God intends them to be: a nation of Him, and through Him and to Him. Consider the results of the Holocaust: Jewish sentiments after the people had just gone through one of the most appalling sagas of history was not "God, we repent", but "Never again!" And not a "never again because God will be with us", but because "we won't ever allow something like that to happen again. Our own arm will see to that." Not the disposition of contrition that we would expect necessary for Israel to return to the land after 2000 years! But they have returned. What does this mean in the light of Scripture?
The solution to the Jewish question is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Israel has been blind ever since they became a people; they have never truly known the God of their covenant, nor have they understood their election by grace. "Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you." (Deut. 9:24) What is required for them to turn to God in spirit and in truth? What is determined by God to bring this about? Nothing less than the second coming of Jesus Christ following the unparalleled time of Jacob's trouble.
Jeremiah 30 and 31, which have to do with this event of tribulation and revelation, begins first with a command for Jeremiah to write the prophecy down in a book and seal it for the "days to come". I believe that those "days" refer to ours today. Such language signifies an extended period of time between the giving of the subsequent prophecy and its fulfillment, seeing past the Babylonian captivity and into the latter days (for none of the Jeremiah 30-31 prophesies were fulfilled in the Babylonian time; Jacob's trouble, Israel's regeneration, etc.). But what does God say immediately after this sealing (30:2-3), and immediately before the verses concerning Jacob's trouble (30:5-7)?
"For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it." (Jeremiah 30:3)
Here you'll find no language describing repentance, humility or a godly return to the land. There is no sense of Israel returning to an everlasting possession, as in Isaiah 60:21. It's just a fact. God is stating that they shall return to their land in the latter days immediately prior to the great tribulation.
Notice another, or second, regathering prophesied in 30:10, "Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid." AFTER the great tribulation, when Israel shall AGAIN be scattered from the land into the Gentile nations, as the Scriptures have foretold, Christ shall appear in glory and will gather them back to Himself and to His land. "He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock." (Jeremiah 31:10) Then, and only then, will Israel stand before God in bright shining righteousness, a nation redeemed from death by the blood of Jesus Christ, established in her covenant by her covenant keeping God. Thus there are two regatherings spoken of here in this one chapter: a return to the land in unbelief, and a return to the land in grace. A return in preparation for Christ's return, and a return in consequence of Christ's return.
Israel becoming a nation again in 1948 should cause every Christian believer to rejoice and lift up their heads for their redemption draws nigh. It is one of the greatest signs of the times, and though there are many very evil days ahead of us, whatever darkness there shall be is but a momentary light affliction in comparison to the weight of glory that shall be revealed when our Lord Jesus shall come. Praise God!
For Christ to come, first antichrist must revealed. For antichrist to revealed, first the temple must be built. For the temple to built, first Israel must be a nation again. That happened in 1948. When will the temple be built? Let us watch and pray, and occupy ourselves in preaching the gospel to every creature, that we may be found in Him, doing His will, patient in faith, waiting in hope.