Editor’s Note: We are interrupting Dr. Richard Schmidt’s series (called “Distinctively Dispensational: The Temples Tell the Times“) to bring you this timely update from Dr. Schmidt regarding his recent trip to Israel.

Last Wednesday I returned after spending 14 wonderful days in the “Land of the Bible,” Israel. What a spectacular opportunity to have once again joined with a group of Christians to tour and study the Scriptures in full living color! I literally saw the past, present and the stage being set for the prophetic future of God’s specially chosen land and people.

As a lifetime student and teacher of the Bible, nothing compares to the knowledge gained by a trip to Israel and interacting with the people, seeing the geography and often standing in the very spot to which a Bible passage refers. Israel is now home to 8.5 million people, including approximately six-and-a-half to seven million Jews. There are multiple distinctly dispensational truths associated with the statehood of Israel and the millions of Jewish people returning to their land. We will discuss these significant issues and their relationship to Biblical prophecy over the next several weeks.

Mount of Olives Cemetery

The Mount of Olives Cemetery is shown on Yom Hazikaron (Israel Memorial Day) on May 11, 2016.

Our tour van stopped at an observation deck on the Mount of Olives where the magnificent view dramatically revealed the Mount of Olives cemetery, the Kidron Valley, the Old City of Jerusalem, the historic City of David’s archeological ruins and much of the modern city of Jerusalem. However, this particular day also provided a rare view of dozens of Israeli flags and Israel Defense Force soldiers in a ceremony at the Mount of Olives to remember those who had given their lives defending and fighting for the land of the Jewish people, Israel.

My thoughts immediately went to the prophetic Scriptures that speak specifically about the Jewish people one day being regathered to their land, the land of God’s choosing, Israel (cf. Ps. 147:2; Zech. 8:7-8; Isa. 11:11-12; 51:11; Jer. 3:14; 16:15-16; Ezek. 11:17-19; 36:24-27; 37:1-23; Zech. 8:3-8). I thought about the Abrahamic (Gen. 12), Land (Deut. 30), Davidic (2 Sam. 7) and New (Jer. 31) Covenants that all promise eschatological blessings to the Jewish people. I recalled the past dispersion of the Jewish people in A.D. 70 when the Romans, under the leadership of General Titus, destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the second temple. The Jewish people fled from Israel to countries all over the known world. To the unbiblical mind, that event signaled the end of the nation of the Jewish people and their association with the land of Israel. That conclusion is dreadfully wrong, as it denies the literal interpretation of God’s inerrant, infallible, authoritative and absolute Word.

Memorial Day - Western Wall

Memorial Day is celebrated at the Western Wall.

On May 8, 1948, on a Sabbath eve, David Ben-Gurion declared the “State of Israel” as an independent Jewish country. The Jewish people, after 1,878 years, once again had official ownership of the land of Israel. However, the victory of statehood was immediately met with military resistance from five countries. Lebanon invaded the Western Galilee. Iraq invaded the West Bank (Samaria). Jordan invaded the West Bank and Jerusalem, and finally Egypt, assisted by Saudi Arabia, invaded the coast and the West Bank (Judah).[/fusion_builder_column]

[1] The Arab-Israeli war lasted from May 15, 1948 to March of 1949, and was a segment of the Israeli War for Independence, which lasted from 1947 to 1949. Israeli lives in a very tough neighborhood, surrounded by countries that desire her annihilation. However, God’s promise to the Jewish people to restore them to their land will come to total fulfillment.

Israel has endured many military conflicts since 1948 and remains on high military alert at all times. The media constantly accentuates the conflicts between the Jewish and so-called Palestinian people who live in Israel, and the hostile countries that surround Israel. However, my eyewitness account of Israel, having traveled from the northern Syrian and Lebanese borders of Israel down to the southern Egyptian border in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016, is that the land is blossoming, the Jewish people are moving to Israel by tens of thousands of people, and it is predominantly very quiet, orderly and peaceful.

Dan Jerusalem Hotel

The Israeli flag flies above the Dan Jerusalem Hotel.

People repeatedly ask me if I am concerned about my safety and the safety of others when I go to Israel with tour and study groups. My answer is basically the same every time. I live in a suburb of Milwaukee, and work in Milwaukee proper. Milwaukee experienced 145 murders in 2015. In the entire country of Israel in 2015, 28 people died—of which 26 were citizens of Israel—at the hands of an assailant. Take into account every major city in the United States, where more than 6,600 innocent people were murdered thus far in 2016,[2] and Israel becomes statistically an extremely safe place to visit.

May I encourage you to consider taking the trip of a lifetime to the “Land of the Bible,” where you also can experience the past, present and the prophetic future? Dispensational Publishing House is organizing such an opportunity. See for yourself the setting of the stage for the total regathering of the Jewish people to their land, which will come to fulfillment after the next major event on God’s calendar, the pre-tribulational rapture of the church age saints (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-54).

Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.

(Read Part 2)

Dr. Richard Schmidt is the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.

Copyright © 2016 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Adrian Wolff, A Chronology of Israel, A Complete History from Biblical to Modern Times (Israel: Adrian Wolff, 2008), pp. 260-261.

[2] “United States of America Real-time Death Toll,” January 1, 2016 – May 23, 2016, <http://www.romans322.com/daily-death-rate-statistics.php>; Internet; accessed 23 May 2016.

Photos Courtesy Dr. Richard Schmidt