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PURE PERSPECTIVE IN THE BIBLE,
IN THE PLACE OF MULTIPLIED POLLUTION
The Bible Speaks, but it is necessary to listen!
Man, Management, Mercy and Messiah
and steps on the way ...
1) FINDING A WAY FROM
CREATION TO MAN
There was a light and a darkness amid the beginning formatting, accompanying the creation, and it enabled day and night, a first contribution to the complete enabling and lighting arrangements soon to arrive, and which in days it became (Genesis 1:14-18).
First, there was an
ordering in a sophistication and a sequence which led to massive groupings,
Then came the heavens' turn (1:14-18),
then that of the living creatures, leading to the last,
that of man. Here was potential glory, for this creature was made in the divine image.
Just as the heavens had been subjected, like the items and configuration of the created earth before them, to order and innovation to accompany its creation, so after marine and terrestrial creatures, there came by ingenious divine artifice and spiritual impact and gift, man.
This creation was (as in principle he still is) able to reflect and being girded by word, even to reply to his Creator (1:26-28), who had not used His own image for nothing. Man thus had not only his environment in the siting of life, but in the sighting of terms! Divine instructions came to the divine fashioning, but they did not have to be followed. Man was not made in the image of necessity, but of God.
2) ... A WAY FROM MAN'S MISMANAGEMENT
TO ITS JUDGMENTAL REFLECTION
Failing and falling, the human race, which he became through marriage and births, suffered a devastating, incredibly horrifying flood, which taught him the transience of rebellious life, and showed the results on a wider scale, what the the measure of the results was, for refusing the discipline of life.
Thus, in due course, God sought and found a representative and willing man, before the flood, Noah (Genesis 6:1-8), Noah, with whose people He began a new civilisation; and when even this civilisation had failed to qualify except for doom (Genesis 9-10), He yet rescued them from complete disaster. Next constructive step saw one called, for the issuance of faith in Him. This time it ws Abraham, who was given a covenant with the Almighty, a promise, with a defined work site for operations, as he proceeded under divine selection, to fulfil the promises made.
3) ... A WAY FROM DEVASTATION TO INSPIRATION
for the Jew and for the Gentile, with different timings
These included two vastly important element, as earlier noted, a site for operations, and a Saviour for the race, to come there and operate to provide blessings for all peoples (cf. Romans 4). The site was specified and in due course, occupied. As a centralised site for the organisation of the people, and the proclamation of the mind of God, it was fixed as singular from the first (SMR pp. 823-824).
In this, was to be found the phenomenon of divine promise to man, an earlier example being found in the rainbow showing that there would be no further worldwide flood for man. The next major flood after many vicissitudes, it was to the Saviour, in His deluge of blessing, and this did not drown!
On the way, over 2000 years, two main developments came: enormous miracles and many, to assist a never too righteous nation, now called Israel, to be delivered from its potent and vocal enemies, and disasters, limited and controlled, such as might be expected when the most complex and wonderful unitary design ever seen on earth, man himself, acted not merely as if a god, whose partial powers seemingly enabled almost ANYTHING, but with voluntary abasement to even imaginary gods as a relief from the realities of the true One. But imagination does not authorise, or grant reality.
Man acted and God acted.
It then paralleled, in its worse foci, what the Gentiles at this time are doing to the accumulated testimony of Jesus Christ which many had elevated to great heights, and just regard. What difference is there, but that the Gentiles are many, and the Jews were few. In each there were times of greatness, intense movement to the Lord in various phases; in each there was to be, and in the Gentiles there now is, a departure foretold in terms of the "falling away" as in II Thessalonians 2.
God would remind even this Israel, that what is imaginary does not save (cf. Jeremiah 10:10-24, 2: 27-28). Not imaginary were the divine and gracious restorations from imaginary gods served in national rebellion, as the rebuked people were restored. This occurred, for example, under reforming kings like Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, and the more foundational King David, whose prophecies concerned especially the Messiah, to be incarnate and crucified as shown in some of his Psalms, and others.
They even suffered exile in Babylon; and there was more to come. The times of return to their land and its function, that where the Son of God Himself would come to demonstrate the magnificence of deity, and die, even in Jerusalem, only to breach death in bodily resurrection, even these preludes to that passion were laborious, as has been return after His crucifixion and its exilic penalty (Micah 5:1-3). They involved vast labours and turmoils not a few! (cf. Ezra, Nehemiah, after 70 years, and around the time of the second devastation of the Temple, to the day of Christ to the present! with reference to Hosmer, The Story of the Jews, Ancient, Medieval and Modern, publ. 1884). The LAND and the NATION rather than the Temple is now restored, the latter fittingly permitted to another religion, since it is now out of date, its symbols fulfilled in Christ awaiting acceptance at last by Israel.
In our era, following Christ's incarnation, also there is return. After what suppressions, what exiles, what dispersions, what harrowings, what pogroms, what demeanings, what exploitations and what arrogance on the part of many whose hypocrisy was like a volcano, and whose payments are serial! That has been not 70 but 1900 years in interval! One discerns a certain amplification after Christ is killed!
But what occasions for the return now! what marvels (as forecast in Zechariah 12 and itemised not a little in No Mission is Impossible, Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal, 2015) much noted in SMR Ch. 9). And how the enemies of God rejoiced in the opportunities to waylay the Jews in their punishment for the act of the nation, as they excelled in barbarisms and in new atrocities against the smitten nation (cf. Isaiah 51:21-23).
4) ... A WAY FOR RETURN OF THE NATION ?
But return ? Let us look further at that.
First, two major devastations came even to their chosen capital city, for with God continuity in a place is less important than purity in the heart, though He does what He says.
The return first occurred in the day of Jeremiah, who long foretold it, and was imprisoned for doing so, but delivered. This first ruin and exile was for 70 years as in Jeremiah 25's prediction of the penalty of temporary exile as specified as as punishment prophetically in Leviticus 26.
Back from this they were to come, and as in Nehemiah and Ezra did come, to rebuild and be restored, in the former case, partly through the proclamation of a King, this coming in the second of the great forecast Empires (cf. Daniel 2, 7, 8, 9), that of Medes and Persians. The liberal act of restoration on the part of that King, one who was called out first in prophetic announcement is merely one more astounding item in history. More so, is the fact that generations before, God announced his name. This was Cyrus (as in Isaiah 44-45, for example).
As in Jeremiah 29:1-11, how dramatic and how searching were the preliminaries to the return from that 70 year exile, and how remarkable in addition, were those prophecies of Daniel, which covered the time to the arrival of the Saviour long promised, with much detail and penetrating perspective (including His vicarious death date to deliver man, as seen in Christ, the Citadel Ch. 2). This being predicted, was a work to be done, and it was done and on time! and as it was specified, in Jerusalem - Zechariah 12-13! Indeed it was an anti-divine deed wrought in a time and a manner (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22) in a Judah long returned from its first exile.
However, throughout Christ's vicarious and willing sacrifice for sin, using evil in Israel, the blessings on all nations foretold in the day of Abraham, and to his ear (cf. Genesis 12, 15, 17:7ff.) were multiplied, as in Romans 11. You find this so often in view, as in Jeremiah 16:19-21, Isaiah 24:16, 42:6, 49:6 for example. that it was almost like the tail of a comet, following afterwards. The divine compassion in the foretold return of Israel to its land and its great victories, even before an epic thrust of conversions to the same crucified Christ, are more of the blessings which despite the curse, aided Israel. Their return to this and to the coming return and rule of the Messiah, which is to meet all peoples, is predicted for example in Jeremiah, at 30:9, 23:5, 33:14ff., with a specification concerning the seed to Abraham for universal blessing.
Not only was there a New Covenant, but a confirmation of the coming Messiah, both in form and function (Jeremiah 31:22, 31:31ff., Isaiah 49-55). As to the first part of the covenantal promise to Abraham, the site given for the showing and accomplishment of salvation, God twice made it clear (Jeremiah 31 and 33), that if you wanted to rub this out, as if particular things like the fact, meaning and application of the Saviour's role and methods, like the site and centre for dissemination, and concentration, all you would need would be the type of power which could reorganise the heavenly bodies! Rule out Israel, the nation penalised, repetitively disobedient in its intimate relationship with the Lord in former times, extinguish its claims, its divine donations, the word of the Lord concerning it, defined uniquely ?
By all means try. Many like Hitler have done so in an eminently practical manner; others like Nasser of Egypt made it clear before their day of battle, that Israel would be no more when he completed his approaching battle with them, which vanquished Egypt, despite arms from the USSR, and not Israel. That after all, was one of the amazing victories for a restored Israel, predicted in Zechariah 12:1-11.
To make Israel cease to be a nation before Him (31:33ff.), how that appeals to tyrant after tyrant, tyranny after tyranny, lust upon lust. God gives the specifications. If you had almighty power, you might manage; not otherwise!
Such power as that of God, as to make and sustain the stars, this might suffice you, but not less. Merely conquer or control the Creator of the heavens and then you could have hope to delete the promised restoration for Israel, which would come in His way and the day of His choosing! God even specified locations concerned in their return, and tribes (33:12ff. and 37:21-28), reviewing almost as if it were an identity examination by the police in New York!
Time has shown that this was not more than necessary, amid the floating fables that man seems so to love intruding into divine writ! If you can ignore Muslim assaults, Romanist Inquisition, Hitler, Nasser, the unlovely maulings and major aids of the USSR to Israel's enemies, and their long prohibition of return of Jews from their land in major measure, and all the predicted victories, since feeble at first, they have continued in their restored role, then there is a sustaining power in all this, greater than the destructive power of the atomic bomb, then this will show that Israel is not the only nation which can be temporarily blinded concerning divine affairs! That, incidentally, is precisely God calls them in the account of their restoration found in Isaiah 42;14-20.
In fact, rhetorically He asks,
WHO is blind but My servant,
or deaf as My messenger whom I sent ?
Who is blind as he who is perfect ... Isaiah 42:19.
Here is a very criterion of blindness, an example conspicuous and remarkable, just as is the case for others in their time, as for example Gentiles as portrayed in Romans 1:17ff., and Ephesians 4:17. About what are they blind ? For the Gentiles, the God who made them, for the Jews, the salvation He provided for them - not that Gentiles do not in part share this, or fail to be falling further into this disease as also predicted (II Peter 2:1ff., Matthew 24).
It is He who will remove this temporary blindness from the NATION of Israel (as in Zechariah 12, Ezekiel 36-37, Jeremiah 31:18ff.), and make of what was desolate, a land blooming like the rose.
5) ... A WAY FOR THE RETURN OF THE MESSIAH
"I will cause their captivity to return," the Lord declared (33:26), "and have mercy on them." AS the captives return, SO the Lord will come to institute, even "at that time", the rule of the Messiah (Ezekiel 37:21-28). Return and restitution, overcoming of assaults on their restored nation, this leads directly on to the coming of the Messiah to rule.
Having instructed Jeremiah to call on His name, so that He might show him "great and mighty things to come", as in 33, the Lord declares that in its time, Jerusalem is once more to "dwell safely" and God will fulfil the promise to "the house of Israel and the house of Judah", a unique assemblage. In THOSE days the Messiah will rule (Jeremiah 33:25-36), and this will be a criterion. Whoever heard of a Christian Church composed of captives (Jeremiah 33:26), when their very foundation in Christ is that they should be free in spirit! (John 8). Let blindness depart; it is Israel, coming home, to land and lord in that order, and the Lord drawing near in His time of restoration to rule(Luke 21:24), Himself!
These are real people with a reality check made on their identity and description, on their past and on the categorical change when their return is brought to pass in the day of the Messiah's power on earth, to rule it and to restore to the inherent spiritual specifications, even those which turn on His once for all death and once for all salvation (Hebrew 9). The land has no model number, but the covenants have, those of symbolic sacrifice to be made continually in one place, and then that which will once for all HAVE BEEN MADE, as now, which is what was promised with the land where the great work would be done, to Abraham.
They were the subjects of a covenantal past with God, disobedience, ruin and captivity, liberation and restoration, and the regality of the Messiah to prevent this earth's puerile pretensions, to overpower and destroy them. How often this identifying feature is reviewed! This is one of those places where you find out the difference between the power of boast and the beast, geo-political presumption and power, and that of the Creator, not only of the world, but of the Bible covering its case.
Thus there was a ruined body is to return from the exile in Babylon after 70 years, and a captive body from the Gentiles; and it is when the Messiah rules on the earth, that this latter consummation is to occur, in the then distant future (Ezekiel 33:3ff.). Indeed, at the very boldest level, it is indeed a second return that is in view as explicit in Isaiah 11:11ff.. Where the Exodus was the wonder, now there is to be an equally notable return, with a grand apparatus of divinely guarded enablement (as we have seen fulfilled already).
Indeed, this is one to be in the very face of those who will say, " 'The two families which the Lord has chosen, He has also cast them off." Thus they have despised My people, as if they should no more be a nation before them,' " Jeremiah 33:24. From Egypt the return was in preparation, from Babylon, it was in restoration, and in the last, now surging to its culmination in Christ's own return, it is from all the world, for this culmination (Ezekiel 37:21-22).
What then ? From Babylon they came
at that time, as from all the world they are coming now in the last return,
this in preparation even for the power and rule of the Messiah. In Jeremiah
27:10 to 29:14, you see it, as in Ch 25: Babylon was the terror of discipline
and the means of exile; but its haughty splendour would fall abysmally,
and Israel return from exile, yet only after the prescribed 70 years away from
their land, and with the divinely assigned assistance of King Cyrus. That was the trial then.
6) ... A WAY FOR THE IMMEDIATE PRELUDES TO HIS COMING
Now we have moved to the final and last Chapter in the exilic dramas.
After the finale of horrors, the slaying of the Messiah, the great and mighty things to come above all, they include the restoration of Israel as in the Exodus case (Micah 7:14ff.), in a vast national movement, not only to the land, but to the Lord who gave it for a purpose which, Israel not only failing but flailing, left it to the Lord Himself to perform direct , as He did! (Zechariah 11-13).
Let us reconsider this in its setting. Would this world, would Israel's neighbours and pals in persecution wish to overturn the declared intention of God ? the crucial site of Israel's former work and function as a site for a revival mighty in the very history of all revival, involving the transformation spiritually of a fallen nation ?
Let it be so, do it, the Lord in effect challenges; but be assured of the Almighty's strength before you try; for nothing less would be enough to secure such a negative as that (cf. Jeremiah 30:18ff., 33:14ff. Indeed, in t his, the rule of the Messiah will cover the earth cf. Psalm 65-72). To rub out the specifics of the promises, dash out the nation, crush the captives, overcome the restoration, what is required ? It is this: rub out the heavens first. It might even save time! God is not amenable to threats and contra-evidential allegory when He makes His terms quite clear to the contrary, specifying the unique nation with the utmost clarity and historical precision.
Similarly, there in prophecy we see those of Israel go back to the epic and epoch of the Messianic rule, as in Isaiah 42:2-20, even to Him who says,
"I have held My peace a long time. I have been still and restrained Myself.
Now I will cry like a woman in labour,
I will pant and gasp at once. I will lay waste the mountains and hills,
and dry up all their vegetation;
I will make the rivers coastlands, and I will dry up the pools.
I will bring the blind by a way they did not know;
I will lead them in paths they have no known....
"Hear you deaf, and look, you blind, that you may see.
Who is blind but My servant ...," Isaiah 42:1-16
and the theme is developed until 42:20 as also shown in Isaiah 49:8. No more will they be "a captive and a wandering people," because of the rebuke of the Lord to their definitive disobedience to the covenant (Isaiah 42:19), but their return to their land is to be history captured in advance, so that "they shall feed along the roads, and their pastures shall be on all desolate heights... I will make My mountains a road... Surely these shall come from afar."
Ponder the expression of this again, with its implications. In other words, not a spiritual people, but one quintessentially blind will come home, return to their former site and to the sight of their eyes, and this crucially in the messianic time (the Messiah the key them both in Isaiah 42 and 49, where these revelations are given).
It is the opposite of a church, for they are distinguishable by blindness as a bloc, and who more! Are those wake, sound asleep as a characterises mark ? Are the serviceable the wilfully blind ? Comparison by opposites is a rough work for the rebel, and unsuited to the interpretation of the word of God. Just as the Lord has shown what was to be, and then was, so here for, "Behold the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare, before they spring forth I fell you of them."
This He proceeds to tell, fashioning into words what then He will put into practice, as is His wont! (Isaiah 42:8-9). In His era, He is to bring forth justice to the Gentiles, with a distinguishable spirituality and complete godliness, coming as a light not only to Jew, but Gentile. As to the Jews, prisoners of hope, indeed, exiled and blind (Isaiah 42:22), "This is a people robbed and plundered, all of them are snared in holes," hidden in prison houses, a prey without deliverance; but now eagerly awaiting them (Isaiah 49:14-18), there is King and Ruler. Indeed, it is the Lord who gave them, "Jacob for a plunder," but let their now be singing, for the Lord will "go forth as a mighty man...", Isaiah 42:13, while "your sons will make haste, your destroyers and those who laid you waste shall go away from you," Isaiah 49:17.
Indeed, "I will feed with their own flesh, those who oppress you," Isaiah 49:26, the Lord declares of this clearance of former oppressors (cf. Isaiah 51:21-23), and ruin for the victimisers. It is as in Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 59, 66, Micah 7, and it is to an utter transformation that they are to come; for Zion is not forgotten. Vast is the fury of the God of creation and salvation, as He corrects presumption, heartlessness and arrogance on the part of Israel's brash exploiters, acting as immune from correction, and free of divine inspection! (cf. Isaiah 66:15, 63, Deuteronomy 32).
Such is the depiction of this rapidly fulfilled era and opportunity; and indeed "the land of your destruction will even now be too small for the inhabitants...", Isaiah 49:20. The ruined will flourish and the desolate will abound. WHERE they were destroyed, there they will abound, where ruined, restored; and there is indeed in no allegorical postulation shortage of land, for they were rather to compel them to come in, in the parable concerning the kingdom of heaven, which was NOT founded to be confounded in divine wrath at disobedience, but on Christ the obedient.
WHEN those Messianic days occur, then He will "execute judgment and righteousness in the earth," Jeremiah 23:5. Indeed, so vast is the context throughout the Bible for this time and action, that in Ezekiel 36-37, we find it as a restoration in kind, the figure used being that of bare bones brought back at last from their scattered judgments throughout the earth, and re-assembled in Israel. That is the first prodigious miracle forecast to be seen and scheduled for this people in the word of prophecy from the Lord, and it already in preparation, proceeds apace before our eyes in this year of grace 2015. Indeed, it has been so moving since 1948, when the nation first resumed after nearly 2000 years. God may keep you waiting, but He never reneges. Indeed Peter of this delay to come in II Peter 3:9, in terms of thousands of years...
Now it has come, and immigrants pour in while the predicted wars flash, and Israel overturning of vastly stronger seeming assailants continues according to divine plan for this case (Zech. 2:4). As the prophecy in Ezekiel note, when the bones are back, assembled in their land, from their worldwide dispersion, then there will be flesh put upon them (Ezekiel 37:8).
Can they be given life ? breath ? (Ezekiel 37:9-10). Are their bones dry ? in their calamities. Not at all; for not only will they come up out of their dispersed graves, to be together and re-formed, and re-enabled, but this will occur in what assembly point ? You have guessed, but it is written, for there is an additive. It comes in three propositions (Ezekiel 37:14), with a fourth that results:
a) "I will put My Spirit in you," (cf. Jeremiah 31:31ff.),
b) "and you shall live,"
c) "and I shall place you in your own land."
Īt is THEN that the
evidence be assembled along with the people, in their own land,
that they will KNOW that
d) " I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it, says the Lord."
These are divine pledges including the realisation and its ground. It is a total verification, vindication and victory, the word of God in its time against all comers, pugnacity, tenacity, hatred, blasphemy, protestation and desire to breach it! Here is part of the divine visiting card, inscribed with the data not two years before, or decades, or centuries, but more like two thousand years before. Time is not a container unit for God, but God provides a container unit for time. Indeed, He even makes it one of the criteria of recognition, at His will, that it is, as here, He who indeed it is, who acts! It is not another. These are definitive declarations of God, wrought in heaven, taught on earth, accomplished among men.
Thus this second and cohesive miracle follows, like a matching sports coat and overcoat, and consists of a gift to their uncovered skeletal bones: that by which they may live, of the spirit and of the flesh for life. The two acts are sequential, like dressing, and intimately close, like assembling a costume. And that, then, the second miracle ? it is the bringing in of spirit to their bare hearts, in a salvation that has both dimensions, covering both promises, the spiritual and the geographical (Ezekiel 37:1-14). God has done what He said in multiples of preliminaries. . When this is culminated, no more will they defile themselves before God (Ezekiel 37:23), and the Messiah (as in Psalm 110, 72), will rule the earth.
Indeed, there was a third part of the costume, like a shirt, and it was the exile from the rule of sin, accomplished at home! In other words,
"They shall no more defile themselves anymore with their idols,
nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions,
but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned,"
and God will be their God and they His people (37:23). Indeed, the Messiah, the predicted Son of David, also the Son of God, whose kingdom shall not end (Isaiah 9:7), but aggregate and extend for ever, "shall be king over them." Nor is this alone to be the nature of the nativity of the King, first crucified but now in rule, to the very heart; nor even their presence in the very dwellings where they had sinned so monstrously leading to their exile in the first place, as above. God is dissatisfied with this; and He WILL ADD MORE, like it or not.
Further, then, we learn of the erstwhile internationally scattered and exiled bones of the people throughout the nature of the earth, now brought back to the dwellings of their former sins. God then speaks of them in terms of dwelling in the land which He had given to Jacob. Now there is no land given to Jacob if it be not that of the pre-messianic, covenantal Hebrews, with whose forefather Abraham, God entered into contractual relations, founded indeed on faith, not foundering on its lack (37:25). Indeed, it is in that land that the Messiah will have His covenant with them, so identified so often already. It is an eternal covenant in terms of blessing, and does not of course differ in that respect from what is for all nations, as from the first, in Genesis 12.
Indeed, as in Jeremiah 33:26, the Lord Himself will cause the captives, those sent away for their sins in their dwellings and their land, to return to that self-same land, those same dwellings, so distinctively misused, territorially restored, regally governed (Ezekiel 33:15), messianically kept, irreplaceable by any substitution, irrepressible because of the Lord (cf. Ezekiel 37:25). Thus,
"as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy,
and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to place, says the LORD, " Jeremiah 31:28.
7) ... A WAY FOR THE LESSONS ON THE WAY
To block deity in this intent, try manipulating the starry heavens to your pleasure (Jeremiah 31:35ff.); but if this be beyond your so sovereign powers, then it is time, as in an experiment, to sit and watch it happen and then record.
Are unannounced changes of meaning of a term to be made during discourse ? Is this to be done in the very midst of condemnation for anti-historical mockery (Jeremiah 23:39-40)! Are historical realities to be ignored in speaking cohesively of ruin and restoration of a body, in tightly knit continuity ? Are semantics to become a clown; is context to be treated as an invader of dreams, and are dreams to become a legislation set up in authority over the word of God ? If so, then turn over and again the topic of discourse into something else, and show how closely the type of pathology which Christ defined in Mark 7:7ff., is resembled here, so much later.
Now it is all recorded in prophetic prospect as in historical fulfilment. They ARE back and the nations have indeed sought to obliterate them and have tried very hard, and some still do, pending their own approach dissolution (Ezekiel 38ff.); but they have not succeeded over a couple of thousand years, trying this way and that.
Changes sought back and
forth in meaning in the term Israel in such contexts, each in its place, all
together are thus equivalent to trying to put God back in His place, to which in
wild human rebelliousness He has been appointed, to out-manoeuvre Him and to run
the universe. It is not observable! It has not happened. Some so act; others
routinely disbelieve, even their own eyes, the illusionists of history,
diverters of miracle, impoverishers of the testimony, who even when (like an
experiment), the thing predicted so often is to be seen accomplished in detail,
will not subdue themselves and give glory to the God of creation, redemption and
restoration in His approach to the final phases of the application of
salvation for man, whether from historical backgrounds or in direct impact of
the one Gospel, all one and the word of God all fulfilled. Just as the disciples
were to meet Christ in Galilee, as He said, so Israel is to have this vast
efflorescence of light as He said (cf. Romans 11:25ff.), in its own land,
precisely as in Zechariah 12:10ff., in its final return phase.
Puny are the powers that cannot beat a nation formed days before effort to obliterate it, who were at that time not even given the grace, territorially of BEING a nation. To start being a nation and fight a triumphant war against 7 or so nations all at once is miraculous precisely as in Zechariah 12 (cf. 1948 critically, but 1967, 1973). It is a work of God, who uses what He will how He will. He gets it done. It is He; it is so whether in creating our bodies, minds or spirits, or national results as chosen.
What then of Israel ? Even to subsist and then to resume after a couple of thousand years distinctively is enough for a miracle; the defeat of seven opposing powers bent on their destruction is merely an addition at this level.
Now the emphasis. It is in this contextual cohesion of events and sequence, then, that there is one thing so far left out as the world rants and waits; but in the word of God it is contained. It is this. Delivered and soon to be cleansed, the returned people will not now return to their former ways. There are a very potent and present reasons for this event. One is the advent in converting power of the Spirit of God (Zechariah 12:10). The second: It is to lead to the personal presence of that the long predicted Messiah (as in Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Psalms, Nahum, Joel, Zechariah and so on, in one sustained focus). It is He who will be "king over them ... thus they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt, and they shall dwell there." This continuing presence is what we find predicted in Ezekiel 37:14, 22-26. It is not in Switzerland or New Mexico. That defined land is an extension of the current precincts.
It has been narrowed treacherously, following the undertaking to the contrary of the Balfour Declaration and of the League of nations. But it will expand. Oil does not alter morals, nor does rebellion of many nations alter the word of God. That is one of the ways it manifests itself against any other agenda, whether of supposed gods, or man. He says. It happens (cf. SMR pp. 829-831.
As to the Messiah, it is logically impossible to confuse this execution of judgment by Him, with His being executed as in Psalm 22; for it coalesces with Psalm 72, when He indeed rules the earth in a transformation it has never known before. Certainly His coming rule is a RESULT of His earlier ruin, but cannot be confused with it. Micah 5:3 indeed makes it clear that the then coming dispersal of Israel through the world, would be nothing less than a result of this, Israel's crucial assault on the Messiah! His triumphant assault on death followed, God Himself in human form (cf. the long-standing prediction of Ezekiel 34, on this point!).
From this to their original site in dire contrast, from blighting to building in that very place, returning to that very Lord whom they had so misused, THIS was the way divinely chosen, and who is he who will contest it ? Let such a one boast of his power as in the final verses of Jeremiah 31,33, sovereign not only of talk, but over the heavens. Let him contest it with the Lord, if he will: and such is the challenge twice put in the word of God. What is implicit will soon become explicit, but neither words nor works will suffice. His ways are eternal and His word is irrefragable.
Amid this then, the return of the Lord is to come, preceded by the wave of conversion slotted for Israel before that return Christ, as in Zechariah 11-14, Isaiah 59. Indeed, the call to come in spiritual terms, for believing Jew as for Gentile when its time comes (Isaiah 26:19, I Cor. 15), itself leads to the resurrection foretold by Isaiah, Daniel and Psalms (16, here). As to that, it is indeed in the very lifting of the veil over the consummation of the Age, as in Daniel 12, Isaiah 59, when the horror and the tragedy of sin is written large over the face of the turmoiled earth! It is then that ALL who are His will be raised, and none will on any account be omitted (Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12).
Why ? as to that, it is because the Prince of Peace, this same Messiah, has been rejected, not only by Israel the state, but by increasingly wilful Gentiles! (Micah 5:3, Matthew 24:12-14,22,24), so that unbelief, even in many churches, will become almost routine (cf. II Timothy 3-4).
The rampant, desecratory evils of the earth have thus continued, and do so, to be rammed up against the return of Christ as in Matthew 24, Revelation 19, Daniel 12 and 7:8ff.,25-26, II Thessalonians 1; for Christ Himself with His vast entourage will destroy the the rampant powers of evil, at His coming. He furnishes His testimony in truth, their bodies prepared for resurrection just as they were for creation in the first place: those for the trial, this for living in the kingdom in truth and eternity (II Corinthians 4-5, I Corinthians 15). As all were to come through one, then two, in the creation, the first parents, so now all come by One, but this, He is the Christ of restoration, resurrection, bodily redemption (Romans 8:23).
Thus, having fulfilled His word to each and every one in both dimensions, He furnishes to faith what it has both longed for and expected. And that, it is just what He had said, skimping none, scamping in nothing, but fully, exuberantly, totally in all dimensions, honouring His word which He has set above all His name (Psalm 138). To those who have waited for Him to do all as He said, meeting every criterion of His word, the reassurance obtained step by step as the end has approached, by abiding in His predictive, prophetic word, has been great. It will be yet greater (cf. How Great is the God We Adore, Ch.1, Why Not Believe ? Chs. 2 and 3).
As the parts of the plan revealed themselves in this 20th - 21st century, so they have descended to this earth; and they will be yet greater. Even this is in itself fulfilling the character and presentation of II Peter 1:19-20, where we find the words of prophecy continue to enlighten the Christian throughout the Age. Without doing this (Christianity is so often a matter of doing, but from a regenerated heart), those who yet name the name of Christ are as those who refuse fruit and vegetables in their diet.
But it is written, and ignoring it, distorting it, using futile human philosophies as a glittering bauble contrary even to sound logic and verification, has some relationship to what at the physical level is called, anorexia. That, it is possible but undesirable.
Those however who pursue (rather than roughly peruse) what is written, thus find as is presented, continual assurance in this advanced phase, as they see the preliminaries of Matthew 24, Luke 21, including 21:24, and thus the return of Israel (the bare bones of it as in Ezekiel), in preparation for both the sending of the spirit to those bones (large-scale Jewish conversion as in Zechariah 12-13, and notably v. 10, 13:1), and the wars to be wrought in the Middle East in preparation.
Is that too hard! (cf. Department of Bible and Spiritual Affairs Vol. 10, Ch. 14). It is HIS OWN SPIRIT which is characteristically to give them life and live in them. Sites of divine action are focussed at the divine discretion for action, whether Bethlehem, or Jerusalem, the would-be site of a mere corpse, and there where He was so despised, as in Psalm 2, will he yet rule, and in that rule, as not found to endure among men, will He give a savaged earth what it has for so long so wilfully lacked (Psalm 72, Micah 4).
While the centre is the Lord, the sequence is His also; while races are not a criterion of the Gospel, God has His own preludes and word to fulfil, just as He has used His own wisdom to bring home not only all His acute emphasis and historical lessons in the culmination of the Gospel impact, but His people so clearly desired (Matthew 23:37ff.), to their spiritually selected site and place, as dramatically, repeatedly, directly and symbolically, in detail as in overview, foretold in many prophets (cf. Jeremiah 31:18-35, Isaiah 42, Micah 3,7, Ezekiel 36-39), to culminate both in large scale conversion to Christ Jesus, in Israel, and a vast combination at last in Christian's alliance under Him, not as man conceives, but as God sent, and this at first on earth and then in heaven (Revelation 7, 20-21, I Thessalonians 3:13, 4:1ff.).
Too hard ? Scarcely. Memory does not matter! Nor memorial ? It is like finding it too hard to discern the wings of a bird, stretching them in the sunshine! even when they cause quite a flap... Do not birds fly ? they say. What is this about terrestrial flap! Actually, birds may do both or either. Truth does not fly away because of human preference; it stays because of divine decision and declaration, even without the extraordinary emphases in this case.
Those who trust in the Lord will never be ashamed (Romans 10:11). Those who indeed burden themselves with Jerusalem at this stage, will find there is penalty enough for intrusion! and they do (Zechariah 12:4).