Israel’s Twice Over Punishment
In this week’s article, we’re going to look at another remarkable prophetic passage in Scripture; one, however, that is often overlooked, minimized, misconstrued, or simply not understood at all. I suppose the main reason for that is because students of the Bible haven’t yet “discovered” the phenomenal meaning and application of the Seven Times Over prophecy given by God to Moses as recorded in Leviticus Chapter 26, which is a key to comprehending the verses we are about to read. Nor, unfortunately, have many studied Israel’s history as found in both Biblical and secular records.
Here is the poignant passage—an inspirational appeal to action and also (actually) a prophecy:
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins” (Isaiah 40:1-2, italics for emphasis).
Many Old Testament prophets predicted the final restoration of Israel to include return of the Jews to Israel in the last days, none more so than Isaiah. Often he speaks about the future in the past or present tense, as though it had already occurred or was taking place when he spoke.
When you think about that, it makes all the sense in the world. For one thing: All Biblical prophecy has come to pass, or is currently unfolding before our eyes, or will happen in what I believe is the near future. For another thing, God is timeless. In fact, he created time itself. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He knows the end from the beginning; to him all time is compressed conveniently into the present. He sees all the parade floats (events) of the human race before him at once—from start to finish. For human beings, time and events unfold in a linear fashion … in sequence. On the best of days, we can see only a few floats at a time.
Isaiah Chapter 40 begins with this marvelous prophetic promise to Jerusalem, the Holy City of the Holy Land; which God separated, prepared, and gave as an everlasting inheritance to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants.
In less than twenty years after the Lord called Isaiah to be his prophet, Assyria vanquished the ten northern tribes (Israel). It would be another 136 years before the Babylonians destroyed Judah and Jerusalem and exiled most of the survivors to Babylon. Isaiah foretold the Babylonia conquest of the two southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin) before Babylon even became a world power. Likewise, with Mede-Persia subsequently conquering Babylon with such prophetic detail that God through Isaiah gives the name of the Persian King (Cyrus) who would defeat Babylon long before Cyrus was even born!
Yet, Isaiah says: “…Tell her (Jerusalem) that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned…”
Individually, Jews (and Gentiles through the light of the Jewish Messiah Jesus) first experienced this New Covenant salvation when Christ arose from the dead in the first century. Nationally, the complete physical and spiritual restoration (sad days gone … sins pardoned) will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation when Messiah Jesus returns to the earth. We are only a hop (up to heaven at the Rapture), skip (directly to the seven-year tribulation), and jump (immediately thereafter into the Millennium) away from the few Bible prophecies not yet fulfilled.
Isaiah tells us that by the time all of Israel’s sins are pardoned, she will have been “punished … twice over for all her sins.” Which is why the passage also begins with a double or twice over instruction to “Comfort, comfort my people … Speak tenderly to Jerusalem.” Why? Because the Lord has punished her twice over. The twice over prophecy has come to pass in my generation, with the second national discipline of Israel ending in 1967.
Which begs an intriguing question that has three possible answers (options): Why does God repeat himself … Comfort, comfort my people, and (because he has) punished Israel twice over for all her sins?
Repetition exclusively for emphasis. There are a few instances in Scripture of a prophecy repeated for emphasis; to make sure that everyone fully understands what is being said as well as to stress the surety that what God said will happen would indeed take place.
Example: Pharaoh’s consecutive dreams of cows and stalks of grain that Joseph interpreted (directly from God) as the soon-to-come seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine in Egypt.
Another example: The two visions recorded by Daniel (one given to Nebuchadnezzar and one to Daniel himself) of the four Gentile kingdoms that would rule the world. Four nations chosen by God to rise and then to fall, accomplishing his primary purpose: to begin, complete, end, resume, and continue God’s judgment of Israel until the appointed time to end this discipline—the “twice over” punishment identified by Isaiah.
A third example: John’s (two) visions of the beast as recorded in Revelation Chapters 13 & 17. The doubling up of these prophetic visions is for emphasis and also to provide a few more details in order for each of the two revelations to complement the other.
The “twice over” punishment of Israel’s sins is a way of stating its severity; symbolically saying that God’s punishment will be twice as harsh because of her (detestable) sins. There is one huge problem with this application: Many times through many prophets beginning with Moses, God uses descriptive language vividly depicting Israel’s punishment that is not associated at all with numbers (twice over and seven times over). Such explicit expressions as: severe, violent, shatter, without pity, unforgiving (Israel had passed the point of no return), cursed, cut off completely, no escape, demolish, crush, and others.
There are many passages of such warnings, particularly applied to Babylon’s cruel destruction of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple. The following passage in which the Lord is speaking to/about Judah is a prototype example which includes specific means that God would use to punish his disobedient people:
“So I will turn you into a ruin, a mockery in the eyes of the surrounding nations and to all who pass by … You will be a warning to all the nations around you. They will see what happens when the Lord punishes a nation in anger and rebukes it … I will shower you with the deadly arrows of famine to destroy you … And along with the famine, wild animals will attack you and rob you of your children. Disease and war will stalk your land, and I will bring the sword of the enemy against you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Ezekiel 5:14-17).
Yet, the vast majority (easily 99%) of these prophetic warnings contain no reference to a multiple (numerical) “formula,” like the twice over declaration in Isaiah Chapter 40. There’s no reason to, because the severity of the discipline is clearly indicated by the graphic descriptions in great detail of what would happen if Israel refused to return to the Lord, their God.
Another argument against this option: Use of numbers in the context of God’s punishment of Israel is confined to “seven times over” and “twice over.” If they are applicable to the severity factor/feature of Israel’s discipline, then there is a contradiction. Which is it? Seven times over as found in Leviticus Chapter 26, or twice over as found in Isaiah Chapter 40?
For one thing, there’s really no way to measure (how much) the severity of God’s discipline in terms of multiplication. To what do we compare it? Do we measure it by the quality (inherent severity of the punishment) or by the quantity of horrible things taking place. Even if severity could be measured with a multiplication factor, there’s a substantial difference between being punished seven times versus two times more strictly for Israel’s disobedience.
For another thing, neither twice over nor seven times over fits the clear principle found in the Levitical Law that the punishment must fit the crime. This is a legal and moral standard God established for Israel that some nations throughout history have borrowed; albeit, some of the inherent punishments for the Jewish people were harsher than those subsequently adopted by Gentile nations and others not nearly as severe. Plus, Leviticus Chapter 26—later summarized in Deuteronomy absent the “seven times over” paradigm—contains God’s general, panoramic (down through the ages) long-term promises (blessings) and warnings (curses) related to Israel’s ongoing national trust in and obedience to God and her rebellion against God, respectively. As opposed to the specific, day-in, day-out wrong things done and the consequential punishment imposed.
(Scales and Sword of Justice)
The only application of the twice over punishment and the corresponding, comfort, comfort, my people that fits is the same one that fits the amazing seven times over prototype model found in Leviticus Chapter 26. Neither have to do with the harshness of the punishment, as the severity factor is mentioned separately in Leviticus 26 … a total of four times, with each punishment becoming increasingly stern. Likewise in Isaiah with the “twice over” having nothing to do with a multiplied severity of punishment, as the severity feature is explained in hundreds of other passages by several Old Testament prophets.
Answer/Application: The correct choice is that God’s utilization of the multiplied factor of seven specified in Leviticus and two as found in Isaiah directly denotes the time duration of the punishments. Both are successive and both involve the 70-year Babylonian captivity of Israel followed by an agonizingly longer time-lapse of Gentile domination over Israel that finally ended in 1967.
Thus, the “seven times over” prophecy in Leviticus occurred twice in Israel’s history.
Revisiting the Amazing Seven Times Prophecy
I would like to begin this review by quoting from the Eye of Prophecy article entitled, Jubilee & Messiah … They Go Together! (Posted 1-25-16), which included a brief overview of the trilogy of articles posted in January & February, 2014 on the Seven Times Over phenomenon and the subsequent article, The Omega Generation.
Here are excerpts (in italics) from Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together:
Then the entire 26th chapter of Leviticus is God’s promise of his blessings on Israel if they worshipped only him; if they loved, respected, and obeyed him and the commandments given to them for their own good. Followed by God’s warnings if they did not, “…listen to me and obey all these mitzvot (commandments or more broadly—general principles for living), if you loathe my regulations and reject my rulings, in order not to obey all my mitzvot but cancel my covenant, then I, for my part, will do this to you: I will bring terror upon you … I will set my face against you—your enemies will defeat you, those who hate you will hound you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you” (Leviticus 26:14-17, New Jewish Bible).
Throughout this stunning 26th chapter of Leviticus, the Lord specifies four successive seven times over punishments that he would inflict on his people if they began and continued their disobedience. Which is exactly what they did leading up to the Babylonian Captivity, but also following their return to Israel after seventy years of exile. Then continuing without interruption to and through the Diaspora that began with the Roman conquest of Israel and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
The worst of this divine discipline took place during the horrible Holocaust; which, however, led to the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and the final end of Gentile domination of the Jews in 1967.
Here I want to pause and refer you to an astounding disclosure that the Lord gave to me nearly ten years ago (October, 2006). Namely, that these four cycles of seven times correction of God’s people was administered consecutively in actual years, both in principle and practice, to correlate with the seven-year Sabbath land cycle and the fifty-year Jubilee cycle. In order to see the amazing details of how this developed historically, coming to an end in the phenomenal year of 1967, please read the three-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled, Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power!) Parts I, II, III, published 1-25-14, 2-1-14, and 2-8-14, followed by the summary article The Omega Generation, posted on 2-15-14.)
A review of the seven times over prophecy in Leviticus Chapter 26 will enhance our awareness that Isaiah’s prophetic twice over punishment of Israel is literal. It is exactly what it says and means—two separate time periods and events. Therefore, as previously indicated, the twice over terminology is not referring symbolically to the severity of the judgment. The final (fourth phase) of the first seven times over began with Assyria’s conquest of Israel, but not completed in its entirety until the 70-year exile of Judah in Babylon fully ended in 516 B.C. with construction of the second temple.
The second seven times over began immediately after the first (four phases) set of seven times over ended; and sadly lasted much longer. It included such horrible events in Israel’s history as (temporary) subjugation by Antiochus Epiphanies IV in 167-168 B.C; destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 AD followed by massive exile of the Jews (a second time) from Israel—known as the Diaspora; subsequent European pogroms against the Jews; hundreds of years of persecution at the hands of Muslims; and worst of all … The Holocaust.
Let’s read the introductory warning to each phase. Focus on the words italicized for emphasis in each verse that clearly infer successive, uninterrupted periods of disobedience in Israel’s history.
First phase: “And if, in spite of all this, you still disobey me, I will punish you seven times over for your sins” (Leviticus 26:18).
Second phase: “If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will inflict disaster on you seven times over for your sins” (Verse 21).
Third phase: “And if you fail to learn the lesson and continue your hostility toward me, then I myself will be hostile toward you. I will personally strike you with calamity seven times over for your sins” (Verses 23-24).
Fourth phase: “If in spite of all this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me, then I will give full vent to my hostility. I myself will punish you seven times over for your sins” (Verses 27-28).
Moses then provides the longest narrative, by far, of what this fourth and final phase will bring (compared to the first three phases), ending with the worst possible disaster that could have befallen Israel: “I will scatter you among the nations and bring out my sword against you…” (Verse 33).
That’s exactly what happened to Israel; not just once, but twice over (Isaiah’s Chapter 40 prophecy). The first time was the culmination of the first seven times over punishment inflicted on Israel—the Babylonia Captivity. The second was the horrific forced exile of the Jews from Israel beginning in 70 AD, lasting until the 20th century. Moreover, this final dispersion of the Jews from Israel took place within the fourth stage of the four continuous phases.
With the fourth phase beginning shortly after the end of the third phase (167-168 BC) when Antiochus IV devastated Israel, but one that did not result in complete exile of the Jews. As explained in Part III of the Seven Times Seven articles, the first three sets of seven (7 x 7 x 7) equals (348 Jewish calendar years) exactly the time from 516 BC (when the 2nd … twice over seven times seven pattern began again) to when Antiochus IV (temporarily) conquered Jerusalem and defiled the Temple.
Details from Seven Times Seven (to the 4th power), Part II:
(*Note: The non-italicized words in the following italicized excerpts were italicized in the original article).
It’s all too evident that the prophetic clock of Leviticus Chapter 26 begin to tick when Israel entered the Promised Land. The entire book of Deuteronomy is a condensed summary of God’s instructions to Israel just before Joshua led them to several victories over the Canaanites. They were given the choice between life and death, blessing and curses (Deuteronomy 30:19). God even told Moses that the prophecy would, in fact, come to pass; because it (unfortunately) was a foregone conclusion that the Israelites would rebel and turn from God (see Deut. 31 & 32). And that’s exactly what they did, not long after Joshua died.
It’s important to understand that the ultimate seven times over discipline is chronologically consecutive and even more so that it is uninterrupted or continuous in its prophetic unfolding. This is clarified by the passage itself. The Lord repeats a total of four times: IF Israel continues to disobey him, then he will prolong the corrective discipline and each time the punishment will be harsher, culminating in exile to foreign nations. Thus, the seven times over is not a symbolic expression of the severity of the discipline; rather, it is (as we have seen and will see) a measure of the lapse of time that all this will take place.
So, then, in examining Israel’s history from the Promised Land advent to the Babylonian captivity, do we find an unbroken, continuous, linear time-lapse (chain of events) in which Israel never repented and turned back to the Lord? No, we don’t. This is crystal clear during the times of the Judges and Kings of Israel. There were several periods of time lasting at least two generations (80 years or more), such as the consecutive reign of King David and King Solomon or the subsequent reign of a few “good” kings like Josiah. There were cycles of disobedience, deliverance, and restoration; but, on the whole, the Jews became progressively “hostile” toward the Lord, their God. Thus, the seven times over cycle was not continuous during this period of Israel’s history, which is why the Babylonian exile (as devastating as it was) would last for only 70 years—a relatively mild punishment considering the hundreds of year that Israel was mostly, but not entirely, unfaithful to God and his commands.
You might ask: “Relatively mild compared to what?” Good question. Answer: Compared to what happened AFTER their return to the Holy Land from the 70-year captivity.
So, did the Babylonian exile bring a conclusion to the seven times over prophecy of Leviticus? Sadly, the answer is, NO. Instead, it set into motion the ultimate severity of the prophecy. What transpired after the return of the Jews was even more tragic. Despite a relatively brief (part of a generation) resurgence of Israel’s devotion to God, as found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Israel never fully returned to the Lord. As indicated, the book of Malachi vividly illustrates Israel’s unyielding stubbornness.
Even though the Jews returned to Israel and rebuilt the second temple, they never again became a completely sovereign nation. They never again experienced the full blessings of the Lord. There were no more kings, and the Shekinah glory of God never returned to the temple. There were no prophets for the last 400 years before the birth of John the Baptist, and then the birth of Messiah. Israel had been, to some degree or another, under the domination of the Persians, Greeks, Syrians, and finally the Romans before and after the utter destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
The first set of seven times over judgments (up to the time of the Babylonian captivity), is best illustrated by the formula: 7 + 7 + 7 + 7. When the people confessed their sins and returned to God, the cycle of discipline ended. In other words the punishments were not continuous; however, each one lasted for a certain period of time, culminating with a specified period of 70 years for the Babylonian captivity.
Because the people didn’t (by any stretch of the imagination) continually seek the Lord when they journeyed back to Israel, the seven times over paradigm began again. This time it would be continuous, leading all the way to and through the greatest horror of all … the Holocaust of the 20th century. There would be no stoppage of the increments of punishment until all four phases had run their course. In fact, the seven times syndrome contained a mathematically measured built-in period of time, with a beginning and an end.
Tragically, Israel did not learn from its Babylonian captivity lesson. From the time Nehemiah returned to Babylon in 433 BC, 12 years after arriving in Jerusalem with another group of exiles to rebuild the walls; to his second trip to Israel a few years later, the people’s promise to serve the Lord had evaporated like an early morning fog. They had fallen into all kinds of detestable practices. Listed to Nehemiah’s words: “So I confronted the nobles of Judah. ‘Why are you profaning the Sabbath in this evil way?’ I asked. ‘Wasn’t it just this sort of thing that your ancestors did that caused our God to bring all this trouble upon us and our city? Now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by permitting the Sabbath to be desecrated in this way!’” (Nehemiah 13: 17-18).
And, so the seven times over sequence had begun again. This time the prophetic march of time relentlessly continued unabated and uninterrupted. If, however, the seven times over to the 4th power represents a measurable period of time, then it must come to an end. That’s what occurred to me that night in October, 2006: Although I didn’t know where it would lead me (what year in history), I realized that God was telling Moses and the people that the seven times seven model necessitated and would, in fact, unfold according to an exact prophetic timeline. Moreover, the formula was built into the prophecy: 7 x 7 x 7 x 7. When this prophetic paradigm reached its measurable deadline, Israel’s punishment would also reach its predetermined limit; and they would no longer be under Gentile domination!
A Phenomenal Finding (Let’s do the Math)
Calculations: 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 equals 2,401 (years). Remember the premise: This prophecy is a specific time-lapse utilization of sevens that can be measured in years, in a very similar manner to the Daniel Chapter 9 prophecy. We must now convert the 2,401 years to Jewish years.
Roman to Jewish calendar: 2,401 years x 365 Roman calendar days = 876,365 days. Dividing 876,365 by 360 Jewish calendar days = 2,434 years Jewish years. (We’re rounding this off, because we’re only interested in the year, unlike the exact day(s) of the Daniel prophecy).
Jubilee Years: Again, we need to remember that the ultimate criteria that God used to preclude or preempt any excuses or rationalization of the people was the Sabbatical rest of the land. But we also need to include all Jubilee years, which was a 50-year cycle of freedom from debt, servitude, and also resting the land from crop planting. Because of space/time restraints, I didn’t cover this, but it can be found in Leviticus Chapter 25. Because the Israelites also failed to keep the Jubilee requirements, this would be a central part of God’s formula for discipline.
So we divide 2,434 Jewish years by 50 and we get 49 (rounded off) Jubilee years over that period of time.
We add 2,434 years + 49 (Jubilee) years. The sum of these two: 2,483 (years).
The Astonishing Result: 2,483 years minus 516 BC (we must subtract BC years from the total) leads us to the year: 1967! Or 1,967 years AD plus 516 years BC is a total of 2,483 years.
What makes the year 1967 so amazing? We will cover this in more detail during next week’s article, but for now I will simply say: In 1967, one of the three monumental milestones of Jewish modern history took place. In fact, many students of Biblical prophecy (including me) identify the six-day war of June, 1967 as the turning point of Israel’s future, even surpassing her statehood of 1948. For the 7 x 7 x 7 x 7 prophecy to end in 1967 is no coincidence or a mathematical fluke.
*Note: Reminder that the preceding paragraph’s reference to “next week’s article” is still part of the excerpts from the Seven Times Seven (Part II) article; thus the next week article would have been, Part III.
Significance of the (Twice Over) Double the Trouble and Double the Blessings for Israel
First Significance: Other than the seven times prophecy from Moses, the twice over from Isaiah, and two other “double their punishment” passages in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 16:18 & 17:18), the scarcity of numerical based prophecies in the Old Testament is reason alone to realize that Israel’s punishment—so noted by the model of seven times over occurring twice in Israel’s history—was meant to be understood in actual years. With the first seven times over coming to an end with the Babylonian captivity, some 700 years after the Jews entered the Promised Land.
The reason that the otherwise continuous (in terms of years) seven times over ended and then started again during the period of Israel’s judges and kings is because there were, at different intervals, one or two entire generations of Jews that returned to the Lord.
However, with the second installment of seven times over, there was no meaningful or recognizable interruption of Israel’s unfaithfulness to the Lord, tragically epitomized by rejection of their Messiah in the first century. This national denial of their Savior led directly (less than 40 years later) to their second exile to the nations, which ever so sorrowfully lasted until the Jewish nation of Israel was reborn in 1948. Gentile domination of Israel finally ended when the Jews recaptured Jerusalem, the Holy City of the Holy Land in 1967.
Second Significance: For many, including even ardent students of the Bible in general and prophecy in particular, Isaiah’s (profound) prediction that Israel would be punished twice over for her sins isn’t exactly a prophetic headline grabber. But now that you know the rest of the story, I’m thinking you just might place this seemingly inconspicuous prophecy and the significance of the words to describe it (twice over) alongside of the seven times over prophecy; with both of them right up there with such prophecies as the miraculous return of Jews to the land promised to them by God himself.
Such as found in Jeremiah as quoted in the following excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, The Second Exodus (published 5-10-14).
The way I see it, all Bible prophecies fall into the category of amazing; if for no other reason than they were fulfilled just as prophesied. But there are some like the subject of this article that zoom right past amazing to astounding, incredible, or mind-boggling. After you read it, pick your own superlative description. Here is the prophecy:
“In that day,” says the Lord, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land” (Jeremiah 23:7-8).
Third Significance: Another considerable impact of Isaiah’s twice over prophecy is one that is both stated and implied in today’s article and previous Eye of Prophecy articles. One that can be applied directly to the deceitfully insidious hypothesis that many term, Replacement Theology, i.e. the Church has replaced Israel including the individual and national prophecies (exclusively) applied by God to Israel in the end times.
Taken from an article entitled, Why Is Support for Israel Waning among Younger Evangelicals? Written by Dr. Michael Brown, his final point #6 begins with, “The theology of preterism is rising in some circles teaching God judged Israel forever in 70 A.D. and that no national promises remain for the Jewish People as a nation.”
Time/space does not permit a long dissertation on preterism, except to say that the underlying premise of “scholars” who support this theory claim that there is no Rapture … that all of the Tribulation events predicted in Daniel and Revelation took place in the first century. Not only is this one of most absurd errors of prophetic study, but also the easiest to refute. As indicated, however, one very harmful side effect is that it reinforces the completely erroneous anti-Biblical claims of Replacement Theology.
Thus, when we grasp even tighter the fact that God’s discipline of Israel didn’t end until 1967 (Gentile domination), then compare this to the same generation when Israel once again became a sovereign state (1948), we clearly see that Isaiah’s prophecy of Israel’s national salvation (soon to come … all sins pardoned) dovetails in space and time with the end of Israel’s 2nd seven times over judgment from the Lord.
(IDF Paratroopers at Western Wall, Celebrating Six-Day War Recapture of Jerusalem)
Please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Replacement Theology, Part I & II, posted 7-19-14 and 7-26-14.
Things to Ponder
Double Israel’s Blessings: God, through his prophet Isaiah, proclaims that his special possession Israel is to be comforted, then comforted again. This isn’t merely a repetition for effect. Instead it is a direct correlation to the “twice over” punishment of Israel announced in the very same passage.
Time/space in this week’s article doesn’t permit an in-depth examination of Israel’s double blessing; thus, a very brief overview:
The first comfort relates to the return of the Jews from Babylon. The second comfort fast forwards 2,500 years to the permanent return of the Jews (never to be exiled again) to the Promised Land that began primarily and prominently in the 20th century. There is another verse in Scripture that fully tracks with Isaiah’s purposeful repetition to “comfort, comfort my people” (Israel). Says the Lord to his chosen people, the Jews:
“Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope! I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles” (Zechariah 9:12).
The two blessings are described frequently throughout both the Old and New Testaments: The first is even mentioned in this same chapter in Zechariah, when it says, “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt” (Zechariah 9:9).
Remember? Jesus precisely fulfilled that prophecy when he rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, less than one week before he was crucified and exactly one week before he arose from the grave! This was the first giant blessing (comfort) for Israel—spiritual salvation through their Messiah that has continued since the first century, and which will be finally fulfilled when Jesus returns on the same Mount of Olives from which he ascended to heaven.
The second blessing is also spoken of hundreds of times in Scripture: Total physical restoration of the Jews to God’s beloved land of Israel and to its consecrated capital, Jerusalem.
A very comforting double blessing for Israel to replace her twice over punishment, wouldn’t you say!
“Worship the Lord in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him. Tell all the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’ … He will judge all peoples fairly” (Psalm 96:9-10).
“…He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth” (Psalm 96:13).
“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).