Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The relationship between physical Israel and spiritual Israel has been a subject of much debate. Perhaps we can say some things in this present essay that will be of help. Paul told us “all Israel will be saved.” What did Paul mean by this? And where do the olive tree and the one seed of Abraham fit in?

Let’s take a look at this problem.

Table of Contents

The Dry Bones
The Deliverer
The Two Sticks



Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ (Ezekiel 37:11—NIV)
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.” (Romans 11:26—NIV)

“The whole house of Israel.” “All Israel will be saved.”

The relationship between physical Israel and spiritual Israel has been a subject of much debate. Perhaps we can say some things in this present essay that will be of help. Paul told us “all Israel will be saved.” What did Paul mean by this? And where do the olive tree and the one seed of Abraham fit in?

Let’s take a look at this problem. Exactly who is included in the whole house of Israel? Paul makes it rather clear.

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. (Romans 9:6-8—NIV)

Paul states clearly that every member of Israel is by promise, not by natural birth. The Lord Jesus referred to some of the Jews of His day as the offspring of Satan. We understand therefore that the term “Israel” means something different than the Jewish race. Jacob was Israel because of God’s Word concerning him. Esau was not Israel, not of the Kingdom of God, because of God’s Word concerning him. Yet both Jacob and Esau were physical descendants of Abraham.

The olive tree of which Paul speaks is Israel. We know the olive tree does not refer to the physical Jews because some of the Jews were split off from the olive tree. Obviously they were not split off from their physical race but from that which has been called of God and anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Olive oil was burned in the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Christ, or Messiah, is the one Anointed with olive oil. The olive tree represents Christ and all who are part of Him, all who are anointed with the Holy Spirit, all who are of the Kingdom of God, all who are by promise—the promise given by the written Word of prophecy.

From the time of Jacob, the first to be called “Israel,” the Holy Spirit was with God’s chosen people. Their prophets, judges, and kings were anointed with the Holy Spirit. They were the olive tree. They were Israel, and also Jewish by race.

There came a day, however, when God said only a remnant of the Jews would be saved.

Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” (Romans 9:27—NIV)

When the Lord Jesus Christ came He possessed the Spirit of God, the Anointing Oil, without measure. He Himself, Jesus Christ, is the true Olive Tree, the one Seed of Abraham. The Jews who believed in Him and received Him continued as the Olive Tree. The Jews who did not believe in Him, did not receive Him, were broken off from the Olive Tree. They still were Jews, but they were no longer Israel. Once Christ, the Servant of the Lord, came to earth, only those who received Him were anointed with the Holy Spirit. Only those are Israel, the Kingdom of God, the one Seed of Abraham.

The first Christian church, the first Body of Christ, was composed of five thousand Jews, all keeping the Law of Moses. The Holy Spirit was with them and in them. Then, according to the promise given in the Book of Hosea, the Holy Spirit reached out to the elect Gentiles. The Gentiles who were ordained to eternal life believed in Jesus and became part of Israel, part of the one Olive Tree.

As soon as the full number of Gentiles has been grafted into the Olive tree (membership in the Olive Tree is always by Divine appointment) God will turn again to the physical land and people of Israel as in the beginning.

This one group of people, beginning with Abraham, the father of all who believe, is Israel, the royal priesthood. the family of God. In the last days, all Israel will be delivered from sin and brought into the Kingdom of God.

After the Lord returns, the Lord’s Apostles, all Jewish by race, will sit on thrones judging the people of Israel, that is, the physical nation of Israel including all who are Jewish by birth and also part of the one true Olive Tree.

You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:28-30—NIV)

The Dry Bones

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. (Ezekiel 37:1—NIV)

Probably many Christians are familiar with the very dry bones of the Book of Ezekiel and how they were called together.

Sometimes this prophecy is applied to the nations of Israel, the physical Jews. The idea is that in 1948, the first time since General Titus demolished the Temple and took the Jews captive, the Jewish people once more occupied their original territory as a nation.

I have been to Jerusalem and have seen the Jews observing their feast days and going about their business. The continuing return of the Jews to their homeland may prove to be the major social event of the twentieth century.

We can see how inviting it would be to use the gathering of the dry bones as a prophetic picture of the building of the physical nation of Israel.

However, there is a part of the prophecy that does not fit the idea of the building of the physical nation of the Jewish people. It is as follows:

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. (Ezekiel 37:10—NIV)

There is no place in the Bible, to my knowledge, where the physical Jews are resurrected and become a vast army. Even if we considered a Jew returning to the land of Israel as being a resurrection, he or she is still not part of an army.

The Jewish people in Israel are not united. The average Jewish person is the same in Israel as in New York or Miami. He goes about his business of making a living for his family.

There are several branches of Judaism, from the Reformed to the ultra-Orthodox. There also are agnostics. There are those who would make peace with the Arabs at any cost and then there are those who will fight to preserve their land. They are not united. They are not a vast army.

At the time of the Lord’s return Jerusalem will be occupied by Antichrist and the armies of the wicked nations.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. (Zechariah 14:2—NIV)

At the time mentioned here the Lord Jesus will return with an army to deliver the physical Jews. But the army will not be composed of physical Israel but of the Lord Jesus Christ and His saints, His holy ones.

Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:3-5—NIV)

This is the coming of the Lord described in the Book of First Thessalonians. The Lord will shout for the battle. The archangel Michael will command his angels. The trumpet of God will sound. The very dry bones, which by this time have been reassembled, strengthened with tendons, clothed with flesh, will receive resurrection life, just as described in Ezekiel.

The vast army of saints will rise to meet the Commander in Chief in the air. Then together with Him they will descend to the Mount of Olive, to the place from which Jesus ascended in the first century.

The Mount of Olives will split forming a valley that reaches to Azel, that is, a place near the wall of the Old City.

The appearing of the Lord will be characterized by the coming of the large, powerful army described in Joel, Isaiah, Habakkuk, Jude, and the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. This is the historic second coming of the Lord and His saints to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

We see therefore that at no time does physical Israel become a vast army. But the Olive Tree, the one Seed of Abraham, Christ—Head and Body, indeed will become a vast army, an army that will deliver the Jews at the worst point of their history.

It is clear to me that the scenario we have presented is the primary fulfillment of the dry bones of the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel.

Even today the saints are feeling a longing to return to the land of Israel. This is because there is no other land that God calls His own in this special manner.

At the time of the Protestant Reformers the Church of Jesus Christ had become a valley of very dry bones. Since that time God has been restoring what had been destroyed, as outlined in the first chapter of the Book of Joel

We are coming near the time when the Lord Jesus will return and call up His vast army. The time is not yet, for a number of prophecies, particularly concerning the rise of Antichrist and the worldwide revolt against authority, have not occurred as yet. They must take place for the Scriptures cannot be changed.

In any case, the believers of today are not prepared to return with the Lord and attack the hordes of wickedness. But we are moving in that direction. Songs of war are being sung in the assemblies of saints.

Most importantly, however, God is dealing with us concerning our worldliness, the lusts of our flesh, and our self-will. The greatest problem is our self-will. In order to learn the stern obedience to God required of every member of the army of the Lord we are going to have to wait patiently in the various prisons sent to destroy self-will from our personality.

I think the Christians in America can look forward to the dealings of the Lord such as we have not seen for a while. If this does not take place we are going to lose a generation of believers, because it is obvious the present generation has been more occupied with the things of the world than with the Lord. There are exceptions, of course, but the rank and file of Christian believers have been pampered until they have lost their identity as cross-carrying disciples.

Further work must be done to prepare the dry bones for the Battle of Armageddon, the battle to deliver the Jews from the forces of wickedness.

The Deliverer

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27—NIV)

A specific number of Gentiles, all known to God, have been appointed to eternal life. As soon as the whole group has been grafted into the Olive Tree, into Christ, the Lord will return. Christ will return with His Body, His saints, and save the physical Jews.

First, the Jews will be saved from Antichrist and the wicked nations, as we have seen in Zechariah.

Next, the Jews will be saved from sin. Godlessness will be removed from the physical Jews. Their sins shall be taken away.

God at any time can remove the guilt and the compulsion of sin from whomever He chooses. Why, then, do we have to go through this terrific struggle to overcome worldliness and lust when God could remove our bondages with the Word of His power?

It is because He is preparing rulers. The rulers are strengthened and trained in obedience and faith as they seek to overcome the evil that comes against them. When this army of disciplined warriors has been fully prepared they will return with the Lord Jesus and, by the power of the Spirit of God, bring salvation to the physical Jews.

The Redeemer will come from Zion. Every true Christian has already come to Mount Zion, to an innumerable company of angels, to the spirits of righteous people made perfect. They compose the Church of the Firstborn.

We see this group in the following passage:

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1—NIV)

These are the firstfruits of the earth and always are with the Lamb, just as it says in First Thessalonians, the fourth chapter. They are “ever with the Lord.”

But first, they must be prepared.

“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 59:20—NIV)

The Lord Jesus will come to Zion, to those who repent of their sins, and build the members into oaks of righteousness, before the Deliverer comes from Zion. The Lord is coming to us today, to receive each one who is willing to repent of his or her sins. If we do not now repent of our sins we have no hope of being in the vast army of the Lord that is being prepared.

And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3—NIV)

When the oaks of righteousness have been prepared, the Redeemer, including all who have matured in Christ, who have come to the stature of the fullness of Christ, will return with Him and turn away godlessness from the elect among the physical Jews. The saints will come from Zion as soon as they have been made ready by the Lord.

“The whole house of Israel,” the vast army that will be raised from the dead and return to the land of Israel, includes every true saint of God from the time of Abel through to the remnant of true saints who will be alive on the earth when the Lord returns. They all will be caught up together to be with the Lord that they might return with Him, deliver Jerusalem from the hand of the wicked, and install the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The Lord Jesus Christ will be crowned King on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and there is no authority or power in the heavens, on the earth, or in the dark regions below the surface of the earth that can prevent it.

In that day the Apostles of the Lamb will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Thus all Israel will be saved, that is, all who are of the promise, God’s elect. Not just all who are of the Jewish race but those who have been chosen by the Lord, including the elect among the Gentiles.

The Two Sticks

“Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ Join them together into one stick so they will become one in your hand.” (Ezekiel 37:16,17—NIV)

The two sticks of wood form the cross that reconciles the elect Jews and Gentiles.

By abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, And in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephesians 2:15,16—NIV)

One stick stands for Judah and all the Israelites associated with him.

The second stick stands for Ephraim and all of Israel associated with him.

We Gentiles are included in the second stick, because the prophecy over Ephraim revealed that he would become a group of nations, not just the nation of Israel.

But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” (Genesis 48:19—NIV)

In the Day of the Lord the stick of Ephraim (elect Jews and Gentiles) will be joined to the stick of Judah (elect Jews). Both groups will become one in God’s hand.

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’” (Ezekiel 37:19—NIV)

The vast army that will return with the Lord Jesus will, as we have said, include the saints of all ages. Many of them—perhaps the majority—will have been born Jewish. We Gentiles are newcomers on the scene. We do not hold up the Olive Tree. The Olive Tree holds us up.

We Gentiles have become altogether too arrogant and conceited, not realizing that our salvation is Jewish bread. Our city is Jerusalem: first the earthly Jerusalem when the Lord returns, and then the new Jerusalem at the beginning of eternity.

God never changes His mind, knowing the end from the beginning. His gifts and callings are without repentance. Salvation is of the Jews, not the Jews by race but by promise. This is true Israel. We Gentiles have been grafted into true Israel. If we really are a Christian, and not just a member of an Evangelical church or a Charismatic church, we will be raised along with the Jewish saints of all the centuries.

After the vast army has been raised it will deliver Jerusalem from the wicked, as we have said, install the Kingdom of God, and turn away godlessness from the elect Jews who are living in the land of Israel at that time. This is the way I see the picture.

And say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. (Ezekiel 37:21—NIV)

In a way the pattern resembles the resurrection of our body. While we are alive on the earth our body is dead because of sin. But our inward nature, which has been resurrected with Christ and has ascended with Christ to the right hand of God, is being perfected. We are of the righteous being made perfect

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22,23—NIV)

In the Day of the Lord our inward nature will descend with the Lord and be joined to our formerly dead body. Then our body will be gloriously alive.

So it is with Jerusalem. Jerusalem today is in bondage with her children, as Paul says. But her true saints are with the Lord in the spirit realm. When the Lord returns the saints will make the dead body of Jerusalem gloriously alive.

We have always pictured that if someone is to be saved they must “take the four steps of salvation.” This is not true. Consider what happened to the Saul on the road to Damascus! The Lord intervened in Saul’s life and saved him in a sovereign manner.

We can see a picture of sovereign deliverance in the Book of Zechariah.

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.” (Zechariah 3:3,4—NIV)

God can save whomever He chooses under any circumstances and at any time. Such Divine intervention will take place in the case of the physical Jews, according to the Bible, as soon as the full number of elect Gentiles have been grafted into the Olive Tree.

We of today are at the threshold of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The kingdom of Hell is in an uproar and will attack and harass all who have no defense, including the lukewarm Christians.

Great revival is on the way for America, I believe, but also more trouble than our nation has yet experienced. This is a good thing because we Christians in America are not serving the Lord with the singleness of purpose He demands.

Christians are too involved in making money, various forms of entertainment including professional athletics, and other distracting elements of the American culture.

The fires of Divine judgment are going to burn in America, not because God does not love us but because He does. We have turned our back on the One who made our nation great, and He is going to bring us down to a shameful condition in the sight of the other nations.

But there is a blessing in all of this trouble if we will respond correctly. Our pain and confusion will press us into Christ if we will permit it to do so. We will come to know the Lord as never before.

When Antichrist comes forth, numerous Christians will be deceived. He will not fight against the churches at first, he will join them and subsidize them. They will become rich and in need of nothing because of the help they will receive from the government of Antichrist.

There will be attempts to join together the large bodies of Christians in the attempt to gain political power, as we see today in the efforts to combine Protestantism and Catholicism. There is no way in which there can be a genuine blending of Protestantism and Catholicism because the true saint can never be enticed or coerced to worship the mother of the Lord Jesus.

Antichrist will seek to gain the assistance of the churches in an effort to bring worldwide peace, clothing for the naked, food for the hungry. But all of this will be done in the name of mankind, not in the name of the Lord.

At that time the godly remnant will begin to protest that the Christian churches are serving man and not God, in spite of the good social deeds they are performing. The Spirit of God will rise up in them and denounce the alliances of the churches with the world.

Then the majority of Christians will turn on the godly remnant and persecute them. Finally, under the auspices of Antichrist, the godly remnant of Christians will be driven from the major cities of the earth.

The godly will suffer hardships for the name of the Lord. But they will be the only source of deliverance remaining on the earth.

When the Lord comes with the saints of history, those who have left bloody footprints in the snow, who have suffered torture and death for the name of the Lord, then the godly remnant on the earth, who also have suffered, will be able to join with them without being ashamed. This would not be true today if the pleasure-loving Christians of America were to be caught up in their present condition.

God’s army is one. It is a great and terrible company, the like of which has never been seen before and never shall be seen again.

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand—A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come. (Joel 2:1,2—NIV)

The above describes the “vast army” of Ezekiel 37, as I understand the Scriptures. It is the whole house of Israel. It includes all the true saints of God from the time of Abel to the godly remnant left alive on the earth who will greet the Lord at His return.

Most of this army will be of Jewish parentage. Along with them will be the full number of elect Gentiles. In the Day of the Lord there will be no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles, all having been made one in the Lord Jesus Christ.

This mighty army, to my understanding, is the “whole house of Israel.” Let each one of us American believers remove ourselves from entanglement with the world, as good soldiers, and learn to endure hardships.

The age of moral horrors is on the horizon.

The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed. (Micah 5:8,9—NIV)

We know that today the Lord Jesus is standing before His Church as the Lord of Hosts, the Lord strong and mighty in battle. He is requiring that we open the everlasting doors of our heart that He, God’s Commander in Chief, may dwell in us with the Father.

Those who are willing to receive the Lord in the present hour will descend with Him at His coming. God in them will shout for the battle. This is how Jerusalem will be delivered and the Kingdom of God installed on the earth.

The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. (Joel 3:16—NIV)
Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the mountains of Esau. And the kingdom will be the LORD’s. (Obadiah 1:21—NIV)

(“The Whole House of Israel”, 3848-1)

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