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News Item 6

The Australian, March 1, 1997 - p.16

Jerusalem, The Jews and the Gentiles

Summer is past, Autumn has come, and so has the decision to build on the Har Homa area, "a hilltop of pine trees between Jerusalem and PLO-ruled Bethlehem".

Here, it is reported, Israel plans to build 6500 homes on land gained back in 1967. Allegedly this is a work which will help distance competitive clamour for, or at least access to Jerusalem as a capital. It is necessary to consider this urge to control Jerusalem, at least in the sense of an inalienable capital city for the Jewish people in Israel. Though marred as we shall see, it relates to what in one sense is valid, inviolable and indeed quite different from what newscasters often represent. It is not then entirely amazing that we read in The Australian: "Mr Netanyahu... claimed victory in the battle for Jerusalem."

Jerusalem was to become a centre for the Temple, but it was duly destroyed after Jesus Christ was sent on His way, He being the Lamb of God to fulfil and realise the meaning of the Temple (Ch. 9, The Shadow of a Mighty Rock -'SMR', esp. 822-829, 755ff.). As a result, the Jewish people were dispersed from Israel in general and from Jerusalem in particular, in terms of the rigours of Moses (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 13,18, Zechariah 11 - see SMR loc.cit.). Now they are back as shown in SMR, according to prophecy, and their aspiration is justified in one sense.

Which? In that this, Jerusalem, is the proper place, duly chosen in terms of the covenant which is not conditional, that with Abraham, as implemented by David (Genesis 17:1-8, Deuteronomy 12:5-11, Psalm 132:5-14, 78:68). For long, they have forfeited the actual status and stance because of the failure to receive their own Messiah. Against that however, God has made the most unconditional statements conceivable about restoration, despite their failure: as traced in various phases of fulfilment in Ezekiel 34-37 and Jeremiah 30-33, Deuteronomy 32:15-43.

What then ? Then as far as contemporary Jerusalem is concerned, they suffer, but are not dislodged; and it goes on and on, till the time comes, as it did with Joseph in prison (Psalm 105:19). He however was placed there because of his brothers' folly; just as Jesus was placed on the Cross in the same way precisely, though with a very different payload, being Himself the predicted, necessary and alone adequate fulfilment of the sacrifices which by blood, make an atonement for the believer.

The Biblical Configuration

The Biblical position is this: the Jews were a showpiece people, but violated their place, according to their own prophets (cf. Isaiah 30:8-13). They lost it to others, till their time should come, when a New Covenant would arrive (Jeremiah 31:31) and a new name would be given them (Isaiah 62); until which time, their sufferings would be prodigious (Isaiah 65:10-13). Not least of which would be their sense of being alone, isolated, if not alienated indeed.

Then, as Jesus pointed out would be the case (John 10; esp. vv. 1,8,12-14,16,25-26, Matthew 24:11,24), after His departure from earth, His Gospel spread broadly to the nations, but false prophets arose. The Gentiles poured into the kingdom but wolves came right along with them; and some of those were old ones. Many false religions therefore helped to fill the gap temporarily created by the then dissident Jewish people. These seemed to take their place in one total religious tapestry of Jews, Christians and others; but in fact, it is error confounded with error, while the true fulfilment of Jewish belief in the Lord, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, is for the time vested in the Gentile Christian Church, where however, also, all that glistens is not gold (cf. Romans 11, Hosea 1-3). Care is needed.

This leads to a situation of apparently extraordinary complexity if not perplexity, because of consequences; but in reality its crux is absurdly simple. The Jews were used, and erred at the core; the Gentiles were given the fulfilment of the religion of the Jews, and many believed in Him, Jesus Christ, sent by His Father at precisely the predicted time (Daniel 9 - SMR pp. 886-898), forming the Christian church. Many Gentiles however also mismanaged the testimony and perverted the record, just as Jesus charged the Jewish leaders with doing (cf. John 10:24-26, Luke 11:42-46), Paul also attesting this (Romans 10-11, Acts 20:28-30). Despite this, the body of Christ continued and continues valiant, irrepressible, through its Head.

Jerusalem and What Its New Condition Signifies

The gate-crashing hordes, from false prophets, predicted but unordained with grace by the Almighty, create a vitamiser mix, stirred to much froth and fury. That is religion today. This is the Biblical picture; and the Bible believer has no cause for surprise at events. Accordingly, Jerusalem is back in Jewish hands, so signifying the end of the Gentile era (Luke 21:24): we are now in the foothills of The End, to be soon quickened by the Return of Jesus Christ. His servants wait for Him (Luke 21:27-31, Acts 1:11, 3:19-22).

The Blood of the Lamb and the Testimony of Jesus remain the Same

Meanwhile the unchanged Jewish-Christian testimony continues, the prophets are fulfilled, the Lord Jesus Christ, rich from eternity (Micah 5:1-3, Philippians 2), is continuously vindicated in all He said and did: He, the greatest of the prophets, and as such, authentic in His own claims, the Son of God in Person. Beyond this, nothing! Hence the Book of Revelation shows Him eternally praised with the Father; called 'the first and the last'; displaying with the Father the light of glory to the people, and standing in the centre of His throne with Him, while again, He says: Before Abraham was, I am (Exodus 3:14, Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 2:8, 21:23, 22:3-5, 5:6,13, John 8:58).

All this is explored in detail in SMR, Chs.8-9, 10, with Appendix A, as well as in Ch. 7, pp. 502ff. and 532ff. ; but here our point is this. Jerusalem is Jewish real estate by divine decision. It was lost in predeterminate discipline and is restored in foreshadowed grace. It will prove costly to oppose this (cf. Zechariah 12:3), because God is very deep and powerful, and knows how to deal with aggressors (Isaiah 43:13, 44:26, Romans 11). He also foresaw this opposition, and sketched what would happen to it in no uncertain terms!

On the other side, pressure will mount on the Jewish people, until, as Zechariah (Ch.12) predicted, they look upon Him whom they have pierced ... "upon Me" whom they have pierced. Thus, in Isaiah 43:11, 45:20-25, 44:4-5, 53:5,10-12, 65:5, 66:1-3, Psalm 32:2: we see the saving strength of the Lord in imputing healing righteousness only from Himself, from the slain 'Lamb' whom the people abhorred (Isaiah 49:7): to which all must attend. There is the focus to which pollution goes and from which purity comes, by receiving Him in repentance and faith (Acts 3:19-21).

In the meantime, and outside this divine resolution, there is tension on every side (cf. Luke 21:26, Zechariah 12:2). There will be no healing in any other way, though delusive substitutes be contrived, and offered as a patch for a time (I Thessalonians 5:2-11).