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VICTORY FOR ISRAEL THE NATION
Cf. Department of Bible ... Vol. 2, Ch. 1, see also Ch. 10, with Vol. 3, of the series, Ch. 10
While we are speaking of VICTORY, and ways of wasting and relishing it, and its ultimate, let us glance once more at Israel. As in the above, it has often been considered on this site, and indeed there is a separate set on Israel, of 5 volumes, ISRAEL TETRAD (now a pentad).
In that setting, then, this is merely a small digest type item, that may prove helpful in its brevity, and with the background supplied, in its diverse areas of collation of biblical teaching.
Look at Isaiah 66. It comes just after the millenial depiction in 65:17-25, where all is nearly idyllic, by the power of the protective God; but it is certainly not heaven, for despite the wonders, the curse remains, for although "the valley of Achor" appears as a place "for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me," and as for the mountains, for Judah, "My elect shall inherit, and My servants shall dwell there." Yet for all that, of His immediate audience, He declares this: "you shall all bow down to the slaughter, because when I called, you did not answer, when I spoke, you did not hear," choosing perversely for their lives. Indeed, the curse is most incisive, "My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry," and so the contrasts continue grievously. There is the blessing to come after the special curse of Isaiah 65:13-15, finishes its devastating impact.
This leads to the depiction of the creation of a new heavens and earth, and in this setting, we are further told, "Behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing ... and the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying," Isaiah 66:19. The early death of infants will cease, and "the sinner being one hundreds years old shall be accursed."
There have been two parties in this dissertation of destiny, believers on the one hand, and on the other, the cursed unbelievers in Israel, filled with testimony of divine truth, even of the Messiah (as in 7, 9, 22,,,, 32, 40, 42, 49-55, 61 and so on), yet scorchingly recalcitrant toward it and Himself, as if perfection of bliss in pardon and redemption provided freely, were 10,000 red back spiders perilously close. Those by whom the Lord was "found," come with sudden outflowings of grace, though "they did not seek Me." The two parties, then, are: those who are the ruinously rebellious nation and those the recipients of a vastly blessed mercy, peace and joy: the one and the other.
Isaiah 65:16-17 indicates the result: it will be such that "he who blesses himself in the earth, shall bless himself in the God of truth." It is then that we hear of the new heavens and new earth to be "created", so that the old " will not be remembered or come to mind," as we learn of the creation of the new Jerusalem (65:18-19), so that no more will the lamentations of Israel be heard, while there comes the sight of a feeding together of wolf and lamb, and blessing spills over all so that "they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," as in Psalm 72.
It is apparent as we move to 66:3, that this is the New Covenant era, animal sacrifice now an appalling abomination, as if to replace that so much dwelt on here, of the Lord of glory, with the former r figures of it!
Immediately we learn of the contrast with those rejecting Him, in Israel. Yet not all and not always is this rejection (cf. Isaiah 49:7), nor is all Israel to be so deprived (as in Isaiah 11:10); for the Lord we there find is going to deliver a remnant of them a SECOND TIME, and this is in the very era of the Messiah, who heads that Chapter in His millenial reign, so that His most personally is the empowered deliverance wrought, and it to Him that many come, for even "the Gentiles shall seek Him," (cf. Jeremiah 16:19-21), "and His resting place shall be glorious." Indeed, such will be the overall glory for believing persons, Jew or Gentile, then, that God will "assemble the outcasts of Israel," (not people outcast from the church!), and even proceed to "cut off" the adversaries of Judah, so that named enemy nations will inherit wrath, while the water from the wells of salvation," (Isaiah 12) may be "drawn freely." in Isaiah 11:9 as in 66:5:25, "they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," and to top the singularities, the Lord will as in 11:15, "utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt."
In this Gospel, plus Messianic rule, plus vast security and differential joy for believers from whatever source, Israel or out of it, there are then a remnant of Jews, there is a change in geography for the part between Egypt and Israel and there are associated vast thrusts to uncover the assailants of Israel (precisely as most directly shown in Micah 7, for the much aggrieved Israel), now restored on the common Gospel, and restored to its place (as in Ezekiel 37-38, so emphatically and dramatically, first physically and then in that place, spiritually, paralleled in Zechariah 12:1- 13:1). It is the latter that the same outline of vast confrontations with enemies is shown and the amazing victories in these threatening assailants, for Israel, who in 12:10, is then shown to repent as a people, of the national shame of killing the Messiah, their very own contribution, occurring when He first came. Incidentally here also is with Psalm 22, a depiction of HOW the Messiah was to be, as He was in fact, murdered.
It is with all this wonder and splendour and restitution and culmination in view, that we learn of the remnant of Israel, to be restored a second time as in 11:10, that these who constitute those cast out from her unbelieving midst, "for My name's sake" (66:5), such as Saul and Stephen, and the many pursued in antagonism by the misled nation (as in I Thessalonians 2:14-16). Indeed, as a class, the Christians in Israel were in those days those who had resisted the judicial sanctions on the Messiah, whom the nation crucified and condemned as apostate (reflecting their own actual position!), and it was these treated as virtual outlaws, who were the butt of much assault. Indeed, Paul is exceedingly explicit of the physical force used in these actions ().
Now however, as in Isaiah 66:5-6, their restoration is by the divine hand. What then of the city in this overview, so much dwelt on ? What of Jerusalem now ? Is it still to be a scene of the persecution of the saints, as it was following the murder to the Son of God ?
No, it is now utterly transformed, Israel renationalised, not replaced or now disgraced any more, but thrust into new being in a staggeringly fast manner (as happened in May 1948, from nothing to a nation overnight, with the formal proclamation, solidified by winning the war, and her place once more). Indeed, its restoration was in Isaiah 66 predicted to be so remarkable (just as was the conversion so vast in the nation, as described in Zechariah 12:10ff.), that it would come without the process of time, merely as a divine imprint. The now renewed city will be like an intemperate child-birth, labour forgotten, the child set down as in a moment! It is utterly unheard of, restoration without process.
Others are invited, as in Deuteronomy 32, even Gentiles as there declared, to rejoice with Jerusalem, as those who see, observe and are amazed at this utter change in her, so fully described in her history in Deuteronomy 32, in her inimitable position of a people of God, who left Him, kicking in their fulness, and are then back once more. Who has heard of such a thing, asks Isaiah in the Lord's name, as this which is to come! Thus those who love Jerusalem, though not part of her, are to rejoice WITH HER, as in Deuteronomy 32:39-43. and so here. There is no confusion but that emplaced by addition into the text, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the text as it is, so carefully controlled with repeated and unique definitions of the topics, themes and parties involved, on the one hand, separately, and then when it is time to be joint, then joint.
As in Ezekiel, Zechariah, Micah 7, here in Isaiah 66:14-16, so also in Deuteronomy 32:40-43, moreover, these varied international happenings come with a vast movement of power and judgment from the Lord, transforming the near lethal vulnerability of Israel, fighting so well against so many with such divine help, into a plenitude of rescued peace and joy (Zech.12:4-8). Despite this marvellous divine defence of Israel, it is when the developments seem overpowering (as in Deuteronomy 32:36ff.), that the Lord alone acts, showing His own distinctive glory and salvation for the people's lives, as for their souls, in an utterly transforming manner. It is God alone who created the universe, paid for salvation and rescues His people both from national deletion, as so often threatened, instead bringing about their restitution and conversion. In the axes of divine provision, it is God ALONE who does it.
The once so cursed people, as in Isaiah 65:13-15, are now in an utter contrast, to be comforted, and what is more, "you shall be comforted in Jerusalem," 65:13, just as in Zechariah 12:6, "in her own place - Jerusalem." This is their history, their domain, these are her vicissitudes, this is her differential and this is the nation to be delivered in two ways, spiritually and physically leading on to the wonders of divine rule on the earth, as in Isaiah 11. We are not redefining terms in the midst of a long historical survey, as if Israel suddenly became the Church, whereas it is to the Christian faith that it itself comes; for then would confusion reign, definitional fidelity and clarity turned by mere whim into a ghastly variance, incontinent character and intrusive in warp.
It is then that both Israel, now a Christian people, and Christian Gentiles will co-operate so intimately and wonderfully as described in Isaiah 66:18-21, the two bodies as to race still distinctively in view, their spiritual divergence lost, their companionship in the Lord overwhelming. When this vast movement of Spirit and power brings this Age on to the return of Christ, with the millenium soon ensuing with the return of Christ, then as Paul notes in Romans 11:25-26, that now it is not a mere episodic salvation of some of Israel, from time to time, as with Paul himself, but "all Israel will be saved," a totalling up of both genres, that sprinkling over time and the vast inrush to the kingdom when their blindness at a particular and specified point in Romans 11, is removed.