After This I will Return
Gary DeMar writes: "There is not a single verse in the New Testament that supports the claim that there is prophetic signifiance in Israel's restoration as a nation. Beyond A.D.70, Israel as a nation plays no prophetic role.The New Testament only addresses Israel's near destruction never its distant restoration" (DeMar, Last Days Madness, 398).
In order to make this bold statement Gary DeMar must ignore the words of James when he quoted the prophecies of Amos. James quoted from the Greek version of the OT (the Septuigant), but with a slight modification. Here are the verses from the Septuigant :
"In that day will I raise up again the tabernacle of David that is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up...That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who does all these things." (Amos 9:11-12; Septuigant ).
James replaced the words "in that day" with the following words:
"After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things" (Acts 1516).
James believed that this prophecy of Amos will not be fulfilled until after the Lord Jesus returns. He quoted those words in regard to a controversy that had arisen in the early church. There were some in the Jerusalem church who believed that the Gentile believers should be required to be circumcised and to keep the law of Moses. In other words, some believed that the Gentiles should be members of the commonwealth of Israel. However, James quoted Amos in order to demonstrate that when the Lord Jesus returns there will be Gentiles being saved as Gentiles: "After this I will return...that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called". Therefore it was decided that the Gentile believers did not have to be circumcised and did not have to keep the law (Acts 15:24-29).
James is saying that it will not be until the Lord Jesus returns that He will fulfill the Davidic covenant by raising up the tabernacle of David and building it as in the days of old. As soon as David became king of Israel he sought to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to the people, since that Ark was where the Lord was present. He then built a tabernacle or tent where he could place the Ark:
"And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent" (1 Chron. 15: 1).
We can understand that the "tabernacle of David" is in regard to the "throne" on which the Lord Jesus will sit when He sets up the kingdom on earth:
"And in mercy shall the throne be established: and He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness" (Isa.16:5).
We can also understand that the tabernacle will be set up in the "midst" of the children of Israel:
"My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore" (Ez.37:27,28).
The Lord Jesus will reign while sitting on David's throne from Jerusalem:
"Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously" (Isa.24:23).
The Lord's sanctuary is not yet set up in the "midst" of Israel so it is evident that these prophecies concerning Israel have not yet been fulfilled. Let us now continue with the prophecies of Amos, prophecies which will not occur until the Lord Jesus returns:
"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen...And I will bring again the captivity of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them" (Amos 9:11,14).
This prophecy speaks of "My people of Israel". These people of Israel will build the waste cities and inhabit them. They will also enjoy the fruits of the vineyards and gardens which they will plant. When the Lord Jesus returns He will sanctify Israel:
"My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore" (Ez.37:27-28).
Therefore we can conclude that Gary DeMar is in error when he writes that "Beyond A.D.70, Israel as a nation plays no prophetic role. The New Testament only addresses Israel's near destruction never its distant restoration."
Since the eschatology invented by the preterists has no place for a restored Israel they must deny that when the Lord Jesus returns He will restore the nation of Israel to her previous position as "a special people unto Himself, above all people who are upon the face of the earth" (Deut.7:6).