The Point of No Return

This was the third time a Jewish generation had reached a point of no return.

First, after leaving Egypt, the nation of Isra’el reached the community of Kadesh (Numbers 13:26-33). The Promised Land was theirs for the taking. Twelve spies went in but only Joshua and Caleb had faith in what the LORD had said. The generation of the Exodus had reached their point of no return. It did not affect their individual salvation, but that entire generation was banished. They had to wander for forty years in the desert and die outside the Land before another generation of Israelites could return to enter again.

Secondly, King Manasseh turned Solomon’s Temple into a major center of idolatry. That generation reached a point of no return and ADONAI decreed the judgment of the Babylonian Captivity. At the end of his life Manasseh repented and he was saved, but he still suffered physical death and the nation of Isra’el was scattered and suffered seventy years of exile in Babylon.

Thirdly, after the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, thousands proclaimed Him to be the Messiah. But within a week they had rejected Him. That generation had reached a point of no return. The consequences of their rejection would not be met for about another 40 years. There is an interesting comment from rabbinic writings concerning the Messiah and the forty years of a generation. Rabbi Eleazar said, “The days of the Messiah are forty years as was said, ‘Forty years I was provoked by this generation’ (the generation of the Exodus).” So rabbinic writing supports the concept of a forty-year period in which God was provoked by a specific generation. In 70 AD, the Roman general Titus would lay siege to Jerusalem and crucify about a million Jews. The ones who were not crucified were scattered, or dispersed throughout the nations of the world until 1948 when the nation of Isra’el was reformed by the United Nations after the Holocaust.655

Whenever the Jews are scattered there is an element of judgment involved. When they are obedient – they are gathered into the Land, but when they are disobedient – they are scattered from the Land. When Adam and Eve were obedient, they were able to enjoy the garden in Eden, but when they were disobedient, they were scattered, or driven from it. At the town of Babel, when they were obedient they were gathered, but when they became disobedient, they were scattered all over the known earth. But when they were obedient they were gathered back to Isra’el. After the Babylonian captivity, only about fifty-thousand returned, but they were obedient and they came back into Isra’el from the east, as was always the case. And when they ultimately return as a nation, it is always from the east.


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