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SECTION 3 ... (EN#)

The Operating Theatre:

Looking here again and more closely, at our patient ...! this theatre is certainly no stranger to drama.

As the Jews were to lose their land, they would of course lose their capital city and so they did. As they were to be without a king or prince, without indeed a 'sacrifice' as Hosea 3:3-4 tells us, before their return eventually to find their true King (having rejected and having still to repent of rejecting Him as we have seen in Zechariah - indeed having "despised" and "abhorred" Him, as we see in Isaiah 49:7): then clearly they would also be without their temple. So they were.

For long thousands of years, they lacked both basic ingredients and as noted, they had instead the devastating irony (*1) of claiming to be serving God whilst prevented from doing so in what they took to be the appointed manner, animal sacrifices in a temple. God told them in advance of their coming dilemma, of the reason for it, and accused them of regicide. Such a city, such a loss, such a rebuke from the One of whom it is said, as He suffered for sin: Rebuke has broken His heart (Psalm 69:20)!

How long that land was to be voided of the nation (Ezekiel 38:8, Isaiah 35:1)! How long the city was to be supplanted by others, Moslems or other nations fighting the same! How long would the people be dispersed as Moses and Ezekiel showed so clearly (Ezekiel 37:11,21, 36:23)! Then would come the reconstruction of the dry bones and wars! yes wars. Zechariah 12 tells us of these and they precede the recognition with remorse by Israel that it killed its king, slaughtered its shepherd and crucified its Christ. Zechariah 12:1-8 tells of vastly disproportionate military conflict in which by the grace of God the returned Jews, as we have seen, would overcome and indeed have marvellous victories.

So amazing would this be that God says in 12:2: "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut to pieces." So it has been. In I948, the historic victory of a barely formed nation, arising to exist as a multitude from various nations sought to fulfil the undertaking to toss the Jews into the sea, made world headlines. It was scarcely to be believed that this residue from Hitler and dispersion for 19 centuries should stand up and fight organised armies of many peoples... and win. So the word of the Lord said. So they did.

God said He would defeat the enemies, the obstructive insurgents, who would be assaulting Jerusalem in that day... and Jews, pretending to have rifles, making wooden appearances, having cannon belch... nails... when short of shells, in fact won. What does the word of God say ?

In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place - Jerusalem. (Zechariah 12:6.)
God indicated that at this time He would defend Jerusalem. He did. He did it again and again, later.. The Jews proceeded as if in a "mighty-mouse" film, to overthrow the might of nations. More: they overthrew the hostile (for them) act of the U.N. which in I947 had busily been putting Jerusalem in the larger Arab segment of a land they proposed to divide. To be sure, Jerusalem was to be internationalised; but its location scarcely helped in such a division, and if the United Nations says - Internationalise it, and God says, Keep it! ... who is going to win ? Inspect history and you would be advantaged in answering that question.

In terms of verification, we must predict that the Jews will keep it, U.N. or no U.N.. They did. The Jews took half of the city in that time. This is precisely what Zechariah predicted as to division in 14:1-2. This is truly amazing, because in a political and moral and international situation of Jew-baiting and near annihilation, with a subsequent return still unbelieving, the Jews were to be divinely supported because God was determined (*2) to fulfil His undertaking to Abraham, and of course, for His name's sake, for He always knows what He is doing and what will be (Ezekiel 36:21-22,32 and as shown in Micah 7 et al.). Who would have thought He would so act after chastising them for so long in their wrongly and long continued unbelief, while they still did not acknowledge the Christ ? But He said He would; and He did. that is verification in the most unlikely sort of situation. That is good verification, as Karl Popper would have it (Logic of Scientific Discovery, pp. 268-269).

We are looking at Zechariah 14. Let us look further. In noting that half the city was to be taken, we were only half way through. The women were to be ravished and houses rifled. So it was to be (prophesied 500 B.C. or so); so it was (1948 A.D.). Children sometimes find long periods of time, like 2500 years, hard to grasp. Not so men. Men may find that period for a sequence in historical mercy and judgment for a nation hard to grasp; God moves readily in such periods. We adjust to divine perspective and power, by watching, not least.

The surrounding nations (the relevant ones - you get the same idiomatic force in Luke 2:1) were to attack. Not only did the relevant surrounding ones do so, but in fact the world congress of nations attacked in seeking to internationalise Jerusalem and having it within the general Arab sector in the first instance. They were against it being a Jewish city. The whole array of nations in its international forum was on record to this effect. Let us be clear: this prophecy is fulfilled. Some may want it fulfilled two or three times; but God says it once. Let it suffice. It happened.

Let us revert to Zechariah 12. These words were to be given even more acute fulfilment. God does not speak in vain in the spiritual, the astronomical, the military or any other sphere. The reason is that He is God and He makes this very point quite clear in Isaiah 48:3 as we have seen (cf. Isaiah 43:8-19, 44:6-8, 45:19-22). It is because He is who He is, that His words will come to pass in contradistinction from those of any other predictive power. It is an explicit index to his identity, as well as a verification in our present theme. In 1956 the Jews were again at war and accomplished a push across the desert so unexpected and so well conceived militarily, as they took southern territory and reached the Gulf of Aqaba!

In dramatic style, in six days the Egyptian army was defeated and scattered. Certainly this was a joint operation with Britain and France; and equally certainly this was a vast change for the Britain which had been preventing a Jewish return in I948. It is interesting how God works His will and fulfils His word. Our point is that He did so. In I967, the famous strike (*3) to victory occurred. In 5 days, the Jews had taken from Egypt's Nasser all the territory in Sinai and about half of Jordan was occupied. In two days, the Egyptian army, once left without air power through Israel's sea skimming attack on its dormant and doomed air force, was wiped out. Russian built tanks were taken to Jerusalem (now Jewish) as exhibits; and indeed, marvellous was the event in fulfilment of the spirit of feats noted in Zechariah, that Russian tanks became a gift - forcibly acquired to be sure - to Israel to help its future defence.

Syria's Golan Heights were stormed, right up the steep inclines against prepared positions. Israel was greatly expanded to destroy much of the threat of bombardment of its Northern towns from Syria, and menace to its south from Egypt. It was, after all, that land of Egypt which had challenged Israel, requiring the U.N. peace keeping force to depart, before the war, to facilitate the extermination of the Jews. To borrow the language of scripture, it was not for their sakes, but for His name's sake, that God acted.

He delivered them in the style to which these Scriptures rendered us (in advance) - accustomed. In I973, attacked on their holy day, the Jews momentarily reeled. Would they lose ? Would this slightly held nation at last, against 'unnumbered foes' lose just once - once would be enough for its slender-throated neck, nearly pinching the country in two; a territorial neck readily squeezed. With automated weapons nearby, the national neck was seemingly about to be severed, and the 'eye of the eternal city' to be gouged out with violence. But this would not be a verification of the Bible. What then ? History had again to conform.

What happened was a massive verification! The Jews used their reserves, counter-attacked, sped through to the Suez Canal, crossed it, cut off an Egyptian army. Reports were made by a British intelligence source that the Russians alerted a parachute force, while Nixon in response readied his nuclear forces.

The Jews let the Egyptians out of the noose; but they had won the war. Enough. This is not a history lesson. The prediction was verified - in style, and according to the style of its writing. Jerusalem ? Christ predicted not merely its earlier dismantling, so long a source of sorrow to the Jews, but that when it was recovered by the Jews, the whole Gentile epoch of history would close.

That is, in the context: then the situation that the Gentiles would be receiving, you recall, the salvation the Jews rejected - not all of them, but many... then this would change. It is not for nothing that this is called already by some in the West, the post-Christian era!

We would look for the Jews to resume their place; for an early time of their National repentance as in Zechariah 12. This crucial prediction of Christ concerning Jerusalem in this chronometric capacity, is found in Luke 21:24. The city is to be recovered by the Jews, we see both here and from Zechariah. It was physically recovered as one of the results of the lightning war of I967. It was then administratively called the eternal capital of the Jews.

Is it free of the Gentile 'treading down' yet (*4) ? The signs are not lacking of this fulfilment, but as it took stages in I948 and I967, so more is needed. Thus the Jews do not apparently 'feel free' to rebuild their temple, all these 25 years or so. After all, the Moslem mosque is either right on the appropriate site or just a few scores of metres away. Talk of an unfortunate bomb... has been heard. Talk of a building on the newly suggested 'exact site' of the place is heard. The temple is not seen. Diplomatic pressure from the patron State, U.S.A. doubtless has influence; as has the presence of Islam military zeal. At all events, in terms of verification, the end of the matter is approaching like a railway station before an express train; and the index and indication is present.

Its precise definition is interesting: it seems more work is to be done. But Jerusalem is now back in the hands of the Jews, as predicted. We are all warned. Inducements are not wanting for the nations specified in Ezekiel 38-39 to make their attack. Duff-Forbes in his Peril from the North shows grounds for their identification in terms including Russia, Libya and Ethiopia, to name but some. Oil as a treasure is better assured with this earth-bound satellite in the Middle East, this Israel out of the way. What was the U.S.S.R. is now both multiplied into Sovereign States ('Commonwealth of Independent States') - not unarmed, and very needy!

Israel as a nation, moreover, is too much like an advertisement for democracy to appeal to Communism, which remains powerful in numbers of nations, power groups or blocs, intertwining, interweaving, and is capable of developing a new foothold in some parts of this new Commonwealth. That is anything but stable either as a whole, or in various of its parts; as well as subject to putsch, with enormous atomic weaponry in view. The Bible predicts the vast outrage of disruptive war just when peace offers delusive hope (1 Thessalonians 5:3), for such an ultimate phase of history; and that too is fulfilled in the place of the perspectives that predictively surround it. As to that war, hopes or expectations of peace are its prelude.

For example, the 'cold war' said President Bush, is won. Talk of peace has grown till the Jordan-Israel smiling accord of August 1994 . . . 1 Thessalonians 5, where Paul addresses the topic of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, has this (5:2-3):

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!", then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labour pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.
A pan-Islam and Communist-backed putsch, or a multi-Moslem force comprising new and newly released partners from such a source would not be contrary to accepted Communist practice of using local issues to gain a... foothold. Nor would it be contrary to accepted Muslim talk, such as in 1991 emanated from Iran, in the Moslem Conference calling for pan-Muslim focussing of attack on Israel; nor to new C.I.S. (former U.S.S.R.) principalities, seeking to redeem economic failure by military means, still available ... whether by regional putsch, deep scheming scenarios, or mere opportunism, pragmatically seized.

What would violate their practice would be the answer of God (Ezekiel 38:1-18, 19-23, 39:4)... whatever may be the political or religious source of the assault. What, indeed, will be the eventual thoughts... of the U.N. ? It has had enough that are negative to Israel already. With a vastly reduced U.S. commitment to Israel, so that even some of its loans are now becoming more difficult to negotiate, wholly unexpected developments are almost the norm, in a rapid period of reconstruction in Europe and the U.S..

Let us for a moment pursue the Moslem theme meanwhile, in reviewing the instability and ability of the forces in the region, for sudden and massive assault, as so often in the past, yet on a larger scale, on Israel. Perhaps yet just once more, with new allies to ensure that this time...! After all it is so... small, Israel! and Moslem pride in defeat is not notorious. Has not their 'almighty' Allah had a hard time of it, like the Baals of old ? This possibility, then, was only fortified by the meeting of an International Conference (Time, Nov. 4, 1991) in Teheran, to support the Intifadeh. (That is, the Palestinian anti-Jew uprising within the 'occupied' Jewish territories, the contested or restored territories of ancient Israel.)

The stated desire to "islamicize" all opposition to Israel, exhibited all too clearly the Islamic desire to lead an anti-Israel crusade, something in which, without undue effect, they seem to have involved their 'Allah' before, with results not in accord with almighty power; and with results therefore, which may appear religiously unacceptable... That in itself, is almost a maximal ground of regional instability; not reduced by world-wide Islamic ferment, fortified by oil, even if, symbolically, it has fouled the air in Kuwait as well as enriching the Arabs, whose deaths from the weapons it buys have not proved so beneficial!

The slightly earlier offer of the Iranian President to despatch troops to fight Israel alongside the Palestinians, makes even more militant the tone of the Moslem cadences, or cadenzas. To augment even this expression of force, is the religious background to it. Thus while Russian and Georgian Orthodox churches are asserting some formal power in their territories, so are Moslem churches in the newly dis-unified U.S.S.R..

Thus there is a border-crossing unity (by political intolerance, and in religion) of Moslem peoples in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, perhaps Georgia, Armenia, most of which States have recently writhed in conflict. In militant times of terrible independence, there are terrible costs for all sorts of increasingly diversified calls for it. Add the militant air of holy-war cultured Mohammedanism, new fields of association and place for pacts available from the dismembered U.S.S.R., and a convergence of militance on the Jews perfectly explicit and moreover, reminiscent of Nasser's equally explicit declarations of intent and hostility; and even more, add the Palestinian association giving a species of ground for incitation, so that some would have those who left freely, returned forcibly, and that to power in Israel: and with all this, what do we find ? We observe here the framework for a further frenzy of force is as apparent as is the talk of peace. Both are in accord with predicted developments.

Indeed, apologetically, the framing of that situation in which people of the Caucases mountain area, of Libya, and others are bound in assault on Israel, is growing both in thrust and scope; and it points to the predicted event, as a sun dial shadow to the time. As to God's statement in Micah 7:8-20, allied to its many partners, as in Zechariah and Ezekiel, that He will at the last categorically deliver Israel from remorseless and implacable enemies, with amazing acts of manifest power reminiscent of the days of the Jewish deliverance from Egypt in the days of Moses: this appears like the whisper of a journalist, over 2500 years later, saying, 'Tomorrow, tomorrow.' The time is unknown; the event is assured. Dynamic developments suggest it may be imminent; although, as with bush fire weather, the next fire may wait a little.

Divine prediction in the Bible thus looms with terrible assurance, in the midst of the recent massive rebuke to... Saddam Hussein this time, as Nasser before, both assured by power, of breaches on Jewry. The Arabs indeed do not seem unduly happy with the Jews, judging by recent assaults! Arafat Gaza ceremony, (New Life, Aug. 4, '94) seems to lust for Jerusalem as his capital. Jerusalem is in effect an operating theatre, and the surgeon IS God. When will the people of Jerusalem realise that all this is covered, and that the time is ripe for repentance ? Studies of scripture have become popular in Israel, and quiz kings in scripture can appear, as in the U.S., kings of baseball.

If there is a smell of anaesthetic in the room, it is not God who is asleep (cf. Matthew 25:5, Mark 13:31-37). Everything is proceeding according to plan, Islam, Communism, the United Nations notwithstanding - and as for I948, Britain notwithstanding! All nations are not enough for Israel's overthrow. God is at work.

The Gentiles however are not without a showing of their own. They are not here omitted from the divine indicator that fortifies the Christian with consistent knowledge of the authority of the God who speaks and does, and does what He speaks, and never misses. As to their predicted imbroglios, we have seen much of that in Chapter 8 supra, and its deadly accuracy; and we will see more later in this Chapter. It is good verification, that ... for the Bible never to miss! By contrast, put to that kind of proper scientific test, the evolutionary theory does not even rate a mention. It misses so much, so dramatically that it is verification in reverse; and indirectly but potently, that too, it is verification of the word of God, which makes it quite clear that that is not the way biology goes. Nor does it go that way, not so much as in a single prediction and a single fulfilment.

That too implies further verification; for the word of God predicts that men will be exceedingly reluctant to believe, alienated from God (Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:17-18, Romans 1:20-26) in the tenor of the life and spirit, but also specifically in the due development of overall history, with its special emphases and preoccupations, as the end draws near. (Cf. I Timothy 4:1-4 - where the Roman Catholic syndrome appears indicated; also II Timothy 3:1-5, II Peter 2:1-3, 3:1-7, are examples of this prediction.) Wherever we look, we see the monuments of verification. But in this line of thought, we are beginning to move to our next department... pathology. Like U.S. mental disease statistics, there seems to have been a swelling - precisely in line with prediction.

Extension 1 : On Jerusalem And Eschatology

In Zechariah 12, the focus on Jerusalem is noteworthy. In 12:1-2, one sees the emphasis by God on His astronomical, geological and personal creation (cf. Jeremiah 33:19-26). That in turn, transcends the heavens for it regards with sober and pitiful eye, and that not without judgment, the piercing of the Messiah, and the treatment accorded Him. In a way it evokes, though in a vast manner, the sort of feeling one has on seeing natives killing a medical missionary.

1. The Messiah

Having been thrust, as shown elsewhere, to the Messiah (Zechariah 11) where God Himself (in human form) is sold for 30 pieces of silver, in a necessarily unique human excursion foretold by such numerous predictions of One personality, we come in this Chapter 12 to the poignant Jewish regret at the piercing and betrayal by His people of this Messiah, thus siting the setting. It therefore belongs to an epoch in which the shame expressed by multitudes in the nation for this betrayal (Zechariah 12:10-14), as something seen in looking back to the killing of the Messiah (cf. Daniel 9:25-26), makes it post-Calvary. The long exile predicted for the Jews makes it an historically long period after Calvary.

2. The Law.

Here we learn of the epochal significance of Jerusalem as a curse, a calamity, a sort of congregation of trouble to the Gentile nations, a burdensome stone, a cup of trembling, a rebuke, an unmanageable and chronic problem that hurts those who, in this day, militarily afflict it. That of course has been abundantly fulfilled in the wars 1948, 1967, 1973, 1991 (*5), in the P.L.O. distempers, Jordan's embarrassments, the 1980 assertion by the Jewish Knesset, duly ratified and implemented, that the Jews have sovereign jurisdiction over all of Jerusalem. That in fact is the legal side for the date of the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jesus Christ concerning the trampling down of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), strictly speaking.

By that time the Jews had :

a) conquered the territory, checking even Moslem religious services against
the possibility of incitation to rebellion
b) incorporated it practically in their jurisdiction

c) asserted their domain over all of it politically

d) enshrined this in a law

e) had the law ratified as constitutional

f) declared the eternal status for Jerusalem as its city.

It is hard to see what more, beyond perhaps the Mosque matter, is required to fulfil this; after all, if it comes to the mere pleasure of having all you want, neither do most individuals have that - without ceasing to be individuals and not someone else; nor most cities. In fact, what city on earth has all its wants ? Do not cities pay for what they want and get some of it ? Is this a lack in freedom ? assuredly, if you speak of eternal, celestial freedom, but in its perfection that is not found among sinners on earth at all! This then is an imperious summons to man in this Age, to realise that the time is near, for the return of the Lord, crucified... Himself, in Jerusalem.

3. The Prophecy

It is in any case, no question of total freedom for Jerusalem: that is not the particular prediction which we are here considering. It is rather the cessation of trampling down by the Gentiles relative to the city of Jerusalem. The above points a) - f) make it clear that the city is in Jewish hands by their force, their law and their parliament. If they fail to rule the Temple Mount with rigour, in a direct action, in order to institute their desires by power, that does not mean they are being trampled on by some other power. The courage is your affair, as with a bus route, an airport or whatever. The liberty to act is there, for it is under their rule. What, indeed might happen if they did act: this also neither removes the freedom to act nor the rule which they have achieved over the city.

In such matters, whether for an individual or for a city, the cost is your affair; and whether you plan to pay it or not, it is a matter of our judgment, not your liberty. This is not trampling, but a question of heart. If you fear, you do not cease to be; if you fear the loss of property, you do not for that reason lack it; robbery is not in the dismay, but in the deed.

It is undoubtably the case that this prophecy about the trampling down of the city by the Gentiles for a period, is essentially fulfilled. It could be that further development will amplify the fulfilment, like someone sending after the gift of a diamond brooch, a casket of flowers. The flowers however do nothing to alter the fact of the brooch, though they do constitute a completion of the gift as planned. Accordingly, the prophecy seems fulfilled, and it appears quite clear the specialised times of the Gentiles are effectually over.

Certainly the fascinating movement of the Jews in and concerning Jerusalem, under all the U.N. and Moslem external pressures, may yield more definition and scope to their Judaising of the city; and in this sense, the finale is to be observed. It may be now; and the events are adequate for it now. We are warned.

Thus while in clouds of hostility, knavery, diplomacy, menace or actual war, the Gentile era draws to its close, Jerusalem is free. In all simplicity, it appears not trodden down by the Gentiles any more. It was to be in that situation until the Gentile era ceased. It appears not now in that situation, since 1980... This historic hub of Jewish identity and symbol of its earthly glory is theirs again. Since July 31, 1980, following legal scrutiny and Knesset vote, the Jews have it, own it, possess it, control it and pass law concerning not merely its current but future status in their name. The Gentiles may fret or fume; but they do not have it. The U.N. may recommend its internationalisation, but they do not get it. It is Jewish (*6). The whole series of Gentile world powers, ending with the U.N., which have either run it or demanded it, has yielded to a Jewish situation in which the Jews have it and run it as they see fit.

4. The anti-heroes: the embarrassment

Now here we must notice that the Jews are not entirely heroes in this. Like the mass of Gentile nations, they have been disobedient to Jesus Christ, who in their case is their own Jewish Messiah. Hence there must be expected to be a failure in peace in some sense, especially in the area of religion. After all, there is no need for a Temple, since Christ is that temple (cf. Chapter 10, infra): One which the Jewish people mistakenly used for a sacrifice, being authorised by the Gentile power of Rome, to do so. It is fitting and right spiritually therefore that some embarrassment should occur in terms of scripture: it is embarrassing and limiting to the Jews to have the wrong temple on the right hill; but it is in fact Biblically wrong for them to have any temple at all for the sacrifices of their own Judaistic past.

They have, perhaps without knowing it, been instrumental in making the one sacrifice once for all which renders all the rest superfluous; and although Christ went as that sacrifice both willingly and by design, their authentic days of sacrificing, whether animals as pictorial representations, or of Christ in murder, they are all over. The point of this is simple: therefore the presence of the Moslem mosque is perhaps a taunt, a reminder, a challenge to them from the Lord: it certainly in no way diminishes the fact that Jerusalem is run by the Jews and the prophecy essentially fulfilled. That is our present point.

5. The Internationalisation

The U.N. recommended plan of division of 1947 and the current approach to internationalisation alike, together with the actual assaults from all the (relevant) surrounding nations, make a fulfilment of Zechariah 14: one in which the very international body of nations put forward a plan to subjugate Jerusalem, as international premises. This, then is the fulfilment, quite apart from the fact that 'all' in such contexts sometimes (as with any ordinary speech) refers to those which are relevant and in contextual view. (Thus: Luke 2:1- "all the habitable world" should be taxed; whereas Rome did not have all in its power. The point is idiomatically clear. It refers to all that in the context are relevant. So it is with 1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23 - 'all' does not mean anything at all. It is, rather, applicable to the moral and assumed area of concern. The focus of attention may with intelligence be taken for granted when it is utterly clear. Similarly, in II Samuel 16:22, 'all Israel' does not mean that each person in the land gained access to this sight, but that it was to the relevant point as if each had done so: all involved were affected thus.)

However in this case, the matter is yet further (*7) fulfilled, amply and abundantly, in the 'world opinion' approach to diffusing the secular view of Jerusalem: this was explicitly contained in the U.N. internationalisation resolution for the city: apparently legitimising world-wide usage and thereby directing an assault on the very Jewish integrity of the city. Roughly, it was as if Dr Goebbels had intimated to the world forum that London was actually an international city. That would be war in itself!

Such a view of Jerusalem was taken up, certainly in a partisan way, all too readily in 1948. The surrounding nations, with their relatively vast resources of space and manpower, did gather against Jerusalem, with the all-nation council of the U.N. active in withdrawing from the Jews any legitimacy in the verbal part of the battle. Words, politics, arms, surrounding nations: all coincided in the assault on Jerusalem. On the other side, for the Jews, there seemed to be no allies in operation.

Such were the ingredients of the scenario. As to the battle, it was all against one; as to the legal battle, it was the U.N. against the Jews. A greater or more exact fulfilment of this Zechariah prophecy in 14:2, can scarcely with any rationality, be conceived.

In Appendix A, we go into the exotic interpretations some seek to put on 'Jerusalem'; but it is clear in the meantime (one might consult the Appendix now if this be desired) that the context is also a matter of a rebellious, Messiah slaying people, the victim of His 'friends' (Zechariah 13:6) who paid money, in the the person of a representative, 30 pieces of silver, to be exact, for His 'sale'.

6. The Place

Finally, this brings up an almost mirthful element of the case. It verges on the comic. In Zechariah 12:7, we learn that Jerusalem shall be inhabited. The vast astronomical magnitude of the setting of this prophecy (12:1), for these announcements, reminds one of Jeremiah 31 and Romans ll, also dealing vigorously with the future of the Jewish people. God is involved... as in Genesis 17:1-4... God does not stop there. Definition and emphasis is already adequate for clarity and sufficient for starkness. He goes on. Jerusalem shall be inhabited again (Zechariah 12:6). This is in the context, we noted, of a past slaying of the Messiah. This 'again' stresses in amplification, the marvel of recurrence. But this is not all. Jerusalem, we find written here, shall be inhabited again "in its own place".

Here we are topographically confined, just as the matter is also historically defined and dramatically refined.

The present writer is from Melbourne, Australia (originally). It is as if to say: he shall inhabit Melbourne (l); again (2); in its own place (3). That is the form of Zechariah 12:6, on the Jewish re-inhabiting of Jerusalem. Even the most obtuse observer would be pierced, if at all conscious to the drive of the terms in historical context.

To add, in this context, the word 'Melbourne' yet once more still in the parallel might seem enough to nauseate the sea-gulls (there are a lot of them in Melbourne). However, there it is, that is exactly what happens in this verse, a joy to read in its extraordinary emphasis. There is a sort of geographic trilogy of specificity; a defined national and city epic of notable emphasis; in a book of historic national continuity. In fact, if you take the 'inhabited' as the first, you get four references...'again','in her own place', and 'in Jerusalem'. Jerusalem shall not, for example, be inhabited in London. Ridiculous, you declare. Not so: even with this, there are theologians who seem to think it might be elsewhere...

It is, then, we note, God notes, in Jerusalem of Israel, topographically, in reality, nationally identifiable, that this is to occur, in its own place, even in Jerusalem (*8). Action on the Mount of Olives appropriately follows in this contemporary theme (14:4).

Not at all surprisingly, it is precisely in that city that such things are NOW occurring, and have been doing so with deliberate and assured movement, for some 44 years. It is the city where the crucifixion occured, where the mourning is to be (Zechariah 12:10,11).

7. The Parallel Paths

The Gentiles breast the tape, come to their fruition, are docking: use what figure you will: they come to their end. That, you will perhaps recall, results from the dual action of Luke 21:44 and the historical situation now. As noted, God may add to the amplitude of the fulfilment on Jerusalem, but the basic work is already done.

Thus the Gentiles in turn have now joined Israel in shame: not only as Paul shows in Romans 11, all, both Jew and Gentile being concluded in unbelief, but in this, that the Gentile time is drawing to a rapid halt! The opening of the eyes of the Jews draws near, of the Jews (Romans 11:25) as a characterisable people. (Cf. Isaiah 42:1,18-22; Romans 11:25, John 9:39-41.) No time is set for the transition to that item, but it looms, just as the massive and repetitively predicted international assault looms, like the shadow of a city skyscraper across the darkened concrete. The two are categorically linked (Romans 11:26 with Isaiah 59:16-21, Zechariah 12:1-3,10-12). Each has shown massive preparation, repeated warning.

Just as the Jews had their vast historic association with the Lord, culminating in the killing of the Judge of Israel, God's fellow (Zechariah 11:12, 13:7, 12:10, Matthew 26:31), so have the Gentiles followed with their own rebellion of similar significance to that of which the Jews were forerunners. This is dramatically portrayed in advance in Romans 11 (especially verses 25-36)! Even the vast spectrum of Gentile churches is not exempt (II Timothy 3, II Peter 2 and as shown in situ), thus making the parallel even more complete.

Thus since it was religious Jews who led the crusade against their Messiah, exactly so, many religious Gentiles, using His name, crusade against His word and try in their own way, to make a 'new' Christ: literary as distinct from protoplasmic surgery being involved. Many of these are 'Christian Ministers' just as many of the assailants on the physical Christ were Jewish priests, Sadducees, Pharisees, religious functionaries. It is not objective to try to diminish Jewish guilt in the assault on Christ; hiding is never God's way when it comes to guilt, except when it is covered by the blood of Christ (cf. Hebrews 9:22, 8:13, 9:14), in which case it is forever covered (Hebrews 10:10, 10:14, John 5:24, Romans 5:8-11). It is not objective to try likewise to reduce Gentile guilt, which as here shown, is in parallel dimensions to that of the Jews, both in formal religious ways and politically.

What Paul does (Romans 11:32-33) is two other things. He first exposes the Jews and then the Gentiles in that context, warning the latter not to exalt themselves, and then abases them all as failures, depending only on the mercy of God. That is the divine method. But as to the Gentiles, what is the result ? Departures from the Bible, lacerations of the text: like the laceration of the body of Christ by the Jews... these wounds appear. The writer as a student suffered in Melbourne for exposing just such laceration.

In this the Gentiles have long specialised. In this game, there are no human winners: Christ is the winner, those who participate in His victory being led in triumph by Him (II Corinthians 2:14). What is needed worldwide is repentance and not cover-up, of the whole human race. Indeed as shown, the tumult of apostasy has reached riot proportions, even in that vast bastion of Biblical Christianity, America the free (*9). Her freedom has effectually become the father, or the form of "God" for many, as a trend in vicious revolt; while God, the author and father of freedom, has been slighted. (Cf. U.N. - p. 749 supra.)

He is slighted by symbol (not a goddess in a Harbour, but God is the living 'statue' who in reality confers freedom, in New York or elsewhere!); abused in "Christian Atheism", libelled by Liberalism, 'evacuated' by Neo-Orthodoxy and 'restored' in deftly battered form by Neo-Evangelicalism, through the theological surgery of cryptic humanism. (In this connection, the reader might wish to explore works such as those of Francis Schaeffer, The Great Evangelical Disaster, and Harold Lindsell's Battle for the Bible, and The Bible in the Balance.)

8. The Time

As to timing, there is great restraint on endeavours to 'read' the moment of Christ's return: hence on calculation on this topic (Acts 1:7-11). The drift and the direction of things, and the summation of evidences are certainly to be studied, and "heads lifted up" in anticipation of that coming - to be as a thief in the night: indeed, we saw (I Thess. 5:1-3, II Thess. 2, Luke 21:28), timed to occur just when men are saying 'Peace!' It's like the chiming of President Clinton's words at the signing of a Russian agreement wih N.A.T.O.! (Time, July 4, 1994), in "a safer and more peaceful world" ...

This surge of specifiable events is certainly occurring. Meanwhile, it is of interest that Jesus Christ refers to the times of the Gentiles being fulfilled; and Paul, when referring to the opening of the eyes of the Jewish people in large numbers, refers to the ''fulness'', the entirety of completion of the Gentile period as a condition which must occur before the national Jewish ''blindness'' is removed on a large and characterisable scale. As noted, this scene may yet have some developments which are not foreseen by us men, like the sending of the bouquet to complete the gift of the 'ring' of engagement. That 'fulness' can be related to the last Chapter of Daniel (12), where various apparently minor extensions occur. For this (Acts 1:7), God expressly does not put a calculator in our hands; but He does show the direction, and the signals are authorised objects of study to confirm the time is near (II Peter 1:19, Luke 21:28).

They are described in the Bible in such and such a manner, in writing; they are describable in just that manner, in fact. With history as teacher, like a laboratory experiment, what is said is verified; and what is here verified is twofold:

i) that such things would come in a co-ordinated manner (as they now do); and
ii) that the series as predicted nears its terminus, that being the return in the reality of His power, of the Lord who in the reality of His love, first came to allow all who receive Him to share a life which love has made available, on its own terms. As it was, in word, so it is, in deed. It serves for witness, wisdom and warning with that effortless seeming majesty, of mastery of all mystery, which needs no aid, but proceeds to its targets, unfussed, unfrustrated and fulfilled.
Page 822 continued in the next section

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