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Naturally, it is to be "in the latter days" (Hosea 3:5 b). It was for a specific 70 years the Jews had an exile predicted as a discipline by Jeremiah, starting at once, as noted in the text of this work; but the next time, ah, that was the ultimate crime against God in terms of derogation of His deity, rejecting Christ the Prince, so that "there is not to Him"... In this, they were acting as if to make into a refugee from the temple of the flesh, their... Creator in human form; acting to show the degree to which reality invested their formal, authoritative religious leadership, and those who would follow it. This was and remains, till repentance come, till the Spirit be "poured forth from on high", exactly in line with what they accorded to Him: nothing!
How deeply then did the divine reality invest it ? To the point that the leaders of the religion proceeded to reject the One about whom the whole matter turned! Sanctifying the divine name, only to be mentioned in certain ways, such was the majesty they gave Him in form ... they then killed God-in-human-form on His exposure of the truth.
The all but infinite tragedy of it all!
Thus not 70 years but some 1878 years of exile, from any form of dominion and rule in their land, were to ensue in full accord with the tenor of Leviticus 26, as shown. Even here, however, let us be swift to add that those who reject Christ, when He draws near in their hearts, fouling the word and fooling with the offer, these also, even if among the Gentiles (the case does not in this differ), may "trample the Son of God underfoot" (Hebrews 10:29, 6:6-9), or "crucify again for themselves, the Son of God and put Him to an open shame".
The wonder of the divine mercy is this: that anyone at any time may call upon the name of the Lord, may come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved. It is when the desire to come is gone, that the consequences can ensue. That also applies both and equally to Jew and to Gentile. Let us however revert to the Jewish specifics, since they are required for our apologetic task.
It was in one place they were authorised to perform their sacrifices on settling into their land. The removal of that one place therefore is summary executive discipline, one that makes a laughing stock of such solemn religious pretensions as are based on the premiss that Christ is false.
Is it fully understood the enormity which this constitutes ? If the Jewish nation, brought back as we see by the grace of God - "not for your sakes do I this" (Ezekiel 36:22,32): if this nation is to be a pivot of force in showing that God means what He says, as He defends them; so too the Jewish nation has been prevented from the authorised sacrifice in the authorised place for so many centuries of time, equally confirming, yes no less, that their rejected Christ was indeed authentic, so that they do indeed no longer need the Temple in Jerusalem, or Jerusalem itself for the Temple.
Year by aching year, void by poignant void, pogrom by vicious pogrom... the lesson has been taught. Nor let there be any confusion: As to the pogroms - they are not guiltless who harry the Jews. It is God who disciplines, and requires the impact of the truth to be maintained, so that Christ may receive His glory and the Jews be recalled to repentance, as indeed must all the world for its sins... But here with a specific people God has a specific point to be made, and He makes it over and over in the prophetic scriptures, which we now are seeing fulfilled in startling precision and accuracy, over and over again ... in history.
What has been the witness of God through history, to the Jews during the near to 1900 years without this one Temple, denied to them?
You are wrong, you are wrong, it goes. See the Almighty call you to sacrifice by the covenant with Moses, until the Christ comes (Deuteronomy 18, Isaiah 53, 66). When He comes, then soon you cannot, cannot year by year make those old animal sacrifices in the appointed one place only prescribed (Isaiah 66:3, 53:10); and you will stay unable to do so until a whole new time like that of the period from Abraham till Christ is past. Will this teach you how special you are (cf. the excoriating irony of Amos 9:7, therapeutic irony), when and if you break the covenant and fail to recognise... God!
How firmly God told them of that one place for their covenanted sacrifice. Review it, if you will in... Deuteronomy 12:5-11, 14:23, 26:2, Joshua 9:27. I Kings 8:29, Psalm 78:68, 132:13-14, and II Chronicles 7:16, 33:4. Not only does the God of Israel choose a place - and that Jerusalem is that place in these scriptures; but He goes considerably further. Having shown Solomon that this is that place of which He has spoken, He gives a disciplinary forecast which is also a teaching announcement for all the world. lt would be near to criminal to neglect, from the only God there is, an announcement of such clarity and high impact!
He says, in II Chronicles 7:16,19-21 that "I have chosen and sanctified this house"; and in terms of the covenant then in force, the choice is announced as perpetual; and then... "If you turn away and forsake My statues and My commandments... and go and serve other gods..." (and Christ said: 'If God were your Father you would love me'... John 8:42, and "You are of your father, the devil" - 8:44, to those rejecting Him among the Jews)... then ? then ? what does the divine King tell His people He will do, if they so forsake Him ?
"Then I will uproot them from My land..." (done), "and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight..." (done), and "will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations..." (done). All this is painful; so was the crucifixion. The physical pain of it may have been the least!
We must realise that it is not a matter of comparative religions, kindly consented to by all men. God's honour and truth and gospel and commands and demands and gifts for the world are at stake. When the commanding officer is being lynched, especially when it is by people in uniform, then it is necessary for each soldier to consider for whom he is fighting, and to determine loyalty to whomever is around, on the one hand, or to authority, on the other. And this authority is God, who makes all things happen as He says, and makes a specialty of just that. Many Ukraine soldiers, in 1991-1992, were analogically having slightly similar problems, when the Ukraine government is demanding a commitment of loyalty, while there is the Commonwealth of Independent States to consider. When authority is assaulted, one must place one's fealty in view.
Yet there is more. The scripture continues, this word given by the Jews who have indeed done so much in their time. (It is a not a matter of racism, for which race has not failed ? but of faithfulness to God, at whatever cost, to the truth. That is the better blessing than leaving men to go astray and to hell, in their errors. Would we not wish it for ourselves... ? a word in time; and that is indeed the greater love... as Christ, who is love, showed in reproving them, if by any means they might be saved.)
The word of God continues and so must we. II Chronicles 7 verse 21 makes the point with the quiet, but dazzling illumination of lightning:
And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, 'Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house ?'In short, the whole thing is planned, the impact is planned, the reproof is planned, the message is planned and it becomes us to hear, while there is yet time; and to realise the truth. Do men not scurry here and there, by air and sea, to spread their latest technology which, they consider, is truly so and accords with reality, quite often? Will we as a race then be so blind as to ignore this teaching of God, provocatively and pointedly made in advance, authenticating that there is indeed a planner back of our history, as back of our biological cells; that there is One whose Son was indeed by lawless hands slain on this earth, as also was predestinated (Acts 2:23). Now how all that comports: this is given some expression here, to remove possible difficulties some may find in grasping it all, in Chapter 6, in Appendix B, in PREDESTINATION BEFORE PROPHECY, at the commencement of Chapter 8 and in Chapter 9 - e.g. pp. 774 ff. and 816 ff. supra.
To the point now is this: It is said, it is written, and it has occurred in such a way as to put beyond all doubt that the God of the Jewish scriptures has repudiated the Jewish repudiation of Jesus Christ, and has performed with precision all that He said He would do; and He has done it gloriously, amply, abundantly and indeed strikingly.
From those scriptures come these results, in other words, both in history and in implication for the Jews.
Sad indeed the suffering, both of Jew and Gentile, as jointly from different grounds so many of each category ignore or reject the only God there is, whose voice is yet not wholly stifled in conscience, nor in the evocative enduring of calamity, nor yet in His patience and appeal; AND HERE HE TELLS US (II Chronicles 7:21-22). Listen.
They shall say, He says, "Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house ?" It is because "they forsook the Lord God of their fathers..., took other gods and worshipped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity upon them." So it is also predicted in Moses (Deuteronomy 28:45-68, 29:23-28, 31:26-27, 32:29-43, Leviticus 26:38-46). How poignant and exact is the very tone and tenor of the prediction indeed:
And among these nations you will find no ease ...Zechariah it is who foretells a vast national repentance, associated with the crime of piercing a human form of One speaking as and called by the name of God (Zechariah 12:10); just as Isaiah 49:7 had foretold the pivotal servant of God being rejected by God's 'chosen people', the Jews, as a nation; and in Zechariah the result of this repentance is to be a mourning for Him!
but the Lord will give you there a trembling heart,
and failing of eyes, and pining of soul: and your life
will hang in doubt before you; and you will fear day and night,
and will have no assurance of your life: in the morning you will say,
Would God it were even! and at even, you will say,
Would God it were morning! for the fear of your heart
which you will fear, and for the sight of your eyes,
which you will see (Deuteronomy 28:65 ff.).
So profound is the offence offered that in the context of the Jewish nation selling their King (Zechariah 11:8-13), God personally not only speaks with simply profound irony ("a goodly price with which I was prized by them!"), but clearly foretells His action to "break My covenant which I had made with all the people". While the unconditional territorial provisions (Genesis 17) are not altered (Matthew 5:17-19), what supervenes (cf. Isaiah 6:1-13) is in fact the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), instituted by the very act by which they defied their King; for the sale led to sacrifice, by which (Isaiah 53:10) a man might be saved, not by the blood of animals (Isaiah 66:1-4), but by that of Christ (Isaiah 53:10-12).
They, the people had torn it up! ripped the document in its final, irreplaceable and fleshly form (indeed doing it with remarkable gusto - Matthew 27:25, and scant care for posterity!); they had humiliated it, sold it, and as Isaiah 65 shows, were to be replaced as those who should show forth God's praise, His people, by a people of the Lord who would bear a new name!
What more profound outward insult, execration? No more final or explicit affront to the Lord is possible than this, of seeking His Person, afflicting His face and piercing His incarnate body! The ultimate penalty for the ultimate affront, mentioned by Moses in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy Ch.'s 28-32, is dispersion; and this they suffered (e.g. Deuteronomy 28:63, 29:22-28, Leviticus 26:30-33), this people with all the details, as foretold, of their soon-to-come, and long-to-continue international sorrows. This is seen in Deuteronomy 32:31-2, 32:26, and in Leviticus 26 as noted, but their tenor, again, is striking, as we consider their 1900 years of exile till 1948:
And the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner who shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid upon it, and that the whole land ... is not sown ... like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah ... which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath: even all the nations will say: Why has the Lord done thus to this land ? what does the heat of this great anger mean ? Then men will say, Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt: for they went and served other gods whom they did not know... (from Deuteronomy 29:22,26).The irony, the pitiable and poignant, but still called-for irony ... ? It is this. This people necessarily lost the chance to sacrifice in their appointed Temple, in the very act of slaying that sacrifice who came so willingly (Psalm 40:1-3); for the ultimate penalty being dispersion, and their error being as ultimate as rebellion can well be, and dispersion removing them from the land and hence from the place appointed, Jerusalem, they neither COULD perform this old covenant preliminary to the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31), nor SHOULD. Having completed unknowingly the staging for the NEW COVENANT by a rebellion which blinded them to the fact that the Old was past... BY THEIR OWN HANDS! they simultaneously ensured the removal of the means for formal rebellion, the TEMPLE and its SACRIFICES.
Nor is that all. They used the Gentile Romans to rid them of Christ; and it was this same race, the Gentile Romans who wrecked their city, salted it down, ploughed it, and destroyed utterly their temple, just as Christ, lamenting but real, in a judgment now inevitable had predicted (cf. Daniel's prophecy, 9:24-27)!
Thus it was that further animal sacrifice became not merely grossly abusive, having no call:
He who... sacrifices a lamb (is) as he who breaks a dog's neck ... (Isaiah 66:3),but it also grew to be prodigious waste and wholly irrelevant (Isaiah 65:l5-l6). In fact it became a blasphemous denial of God's own and most personal dealing (Isaiah 53:3-5), which led to a forbearance so prodigious as to have impressed many generations. (Thus, in Isaiah 53:12 - God Himself as man, makes intercession for the transgressors, part of whose transgression was to depict God as a wrongdoer and to crucify the body of His incarnation - Micah 5:1-3.)
God's name was in the slain Messiah, the sacrifice which made the former Temple ritual passé, like Primary School teaching when one is at University. If God's name was in His temple, how much more was it incarnate in His son. As to the Temple, He supplanted it, surpassed it, as God surpasses symbols which express Him (cf. Hebrews 10). How little is He known when symbols are preferred to what they symbolise; but how far worse when that, it is God Himself!
There lies the miraculous message through the Jews in their adversity; as the Gospel is the miraculous message to the Gentiles. Just as God has said He should call His people by another name - not to forget those of His pledges which were unconditional (Leviticus 26:44-45, Deuteronomy 30:3, Ezekiel 36-37), but to fulfil the wholly unconditional Gospel promise to all men (Isaiah 49:6, 65:1-13, Zechariah 2:11) - so the Jews performed their dramatic cycle, eventually to see them returned to their own land and to the New Covenant (Isaiah 65:16, 53:10, Ezekiel 37).
God's name, then, was in that slain Messiah. It was there intrinsically, and in fulfilment of Temple symbolism, by implication and by direct statement; it suffuses scripture, and is one of the most declaratively emphasised facts and facets of scripture... We look, for example at: Isaiah 9, 2, 6, 7:14, 10:22, 48:16, 49:2,6-8, 52:10-53:13, 22:22-25, 4:6 with 32:1-4; at Zechariah 2:8, 3:8-9, 11:10-12, 12:11, 13:1,6, 9:9; at Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15, 31:27-37; or again at Zechariah 6:12-13, Jeremiah 30:21, Ezekiel 21:26-27, 17:22-24; Isaiah 66:3 with Exodus 12:5, Ezekiel 34:10-12, Psalm 40:6-10 and Isaiah 53:6; at Isaiah 55:4, 40:6-11, Psalm 110, Daniel 9:26, 7:13, 2:34-35, Micah 5:1-4, Psalm 2:2-3,6-7, Deuteronomy 14:23, 26:2, 18:15-19.
He, this Messiah, was to become (Zechariah 11:12, 13:1,6, Isaiah 53:5-6,10,12) THE ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE FOR SIN, for all (Isaiah 53:1,5) who believed in Him, One accepting His mission (Psalm 40:1-3) with joy and His conquest (Psalm 16, Isaiah 35:8, Hosea 13:12-14, Isaiah 26:19, 40:10, Micah 6:4, Zechariah 3:8, 6:13-14) with wisdom: this spiritual Joshua, this ecclesiastical commander (Isaiah 55:3-4), leader and witness, this Prince-priest (Zechariah 6:13-14), God Himself on earth (Psalm 45:1-6, Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 9:6, 41:29-42:1, Zechariah 11:12, 12:10)! The Prince of Peace, declares Isaiah 9:6, has the same name as the everlasting Father.
The Jewish temple of masonry (for thousands of penal years absent from the Jews, as they were absent from it, neither in control of it, nor of its environs, nor in its city as a people) spoke eloquently, even to those for whom masonry was to be the chosen mode of speech. The absent temple underlined the fact, over these millenia, that the acceptable sacrifice had come, and the Jewish people had not as such, come to Him. Hence they were cleared, as the ultimate penalty, the supreme facial rejoinder, from the place which was no more required! a radical, racial attestation, demographically determinate, clear and sure. (Daniel 9:26-27 gives the sense of extended, deserved, desolatory destruction, following the ruthless rejection of the Messiah, 9:26.)
If Jesus Christ is put out, then so are the Jews. If His temple, His body ("Sacrifice and offering You did not desire... Then I said, Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of Me," said the Messiah from the mouth of the Jewish prophet - Psalm 40:7), if this is to be rejected, then so are the symbols which He supplanted and fulfilled, to be rendered dysfunctional.
Let them dismiss His biological architecture: then He dismisses their architecture of stone. That is the divine rejoinder manufactured into history, that history which also contained Calvary (cf. Zechariah 11:10-12:10), and these words of the prophet.
Though the Jewish people may yet erect a temple, of which II Thessalonians 2 would speak as a scene for that ultimate pagan blasphemy of the antichrist-monument, the man of sin, it would in that case be misused, lending whatever majesty it might seem to have, to the arch-enemy of the Lord, the pretender to His throne, who will be overthrown radically (Revelation 19:20, II Thessalonians 2:4 ff.).
If the Jewish failure is unacceptable to the God of the Jewish scriptures, how much more so is a heathen interloper! Indeed, at this very moment, the Moslem mosque by the Temple site merely mirrors and magnifies, with irony the more intense, the Jewish desecration, yes for their own part, of their living temple, Jesus Christ. Him they mocked; and history mocks them. (Just so divine irony smiles on 'Allah's' Mosque in Jewish territory.)
It is sad, poignant, to be deplored that they were so misguided, and they are intensely to be pitied: but it is only adult to face realities; and to face them is a step towards repentance! The Jews join, and have joined the Gentiles who, though in large numbers accepting Jesus Christ, have reached that stage of heartfelt degeneracy that they, in their own way, have likewise moved as a world system to the very acme of assault on the Lord. It is indeed for such a world, that we read what must then shortly occur:
Behold a white horse, and He who sat on him was called faithful and true, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns ...
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse, and against His army. Then the beast was captured and with Him the false prophet. (This is taken from Revelation 19:11-12,19.)The spirit of it is here already; the historical episodes draw near, the spirit of the Age beckoning like a crazed Pied Piper.
The solution, then, for the Jews is as simple as its neglect is penal and poignant; as is indeed the case so often with matters of immense moment and significance. If they return to the living temple of the living God (Isaiah 4:6, 32:1-3, Zechariah 3:8-9, Psalm 16:9-10, 22:14,22-30), to Jesus Christ around whom all the word of the Bible in New and Old Testament revolves with the precision of a top spinning: then they will need no masonry temple for sacrifices. If they don't, they will not long retain it, though they build it (II Thessalonians 2:4-8, Daniel 9:27, Isaiah 66:3). After the glory has God sent the Lord (Zechariah 2:8), fitted with glory and Himself building the only acceptable temple (Zechariah 6:13), out of living stones, hewn from human souls, for He is able to clear the guilty (Zechariah I3:9, Isaiah 53:10, 61:10, cf. 1 Peter 2:2-4). No substitute, old or new will be tolerated (Jeremiah 3:16).
If the penalties of Moses are not enough, heart-rending even to read: far more to live... then only the iron that proceeds past irony remains. The iron cuts; but it is not as if God had not been wounded, in heart and in the format of flesh for them... and for any... if only they should receive Him (Isaiah 53:4-5, Jeremiah 9, Lamentations 3:31-32, Ezekiel 33:11, II Chronicles 36:15, Isaiah 51:12-52:2, 55:6, 64:4, 66:2, Hosea 13:12-14, 11:8, Ezekiel 34:5-11... 31:7-9... Isaiah 30:8).
History is God's blackboard... or one of the most conspicuous of His pronouncements. It follows His word; and it follows it whether for those who follow Him, in one way, or for those who don't, in another; and there is no shelter, nor enduring substance except in Him. This applies with a similar force to Jew and Gentile; though to the Jew there is the special feature of their historical past. While it is all sin, wandering from God this way or that, each style of wandering has its fruits.
The Jews, biologically, civically, architecturally, racially and religiously are a profound expression of this: they are a prodigy, because God made such explicit covenantal undertakings; and He has performed them all.
As Paul implies, here, let not this 'take the pressure off' the Gentiles:
Do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you (Romans 11:18).Jew or Gentiles must face the judgments of God on any and all sin. It is just that at this particular phase, we are examining the 'architecture' of Jewish history, and the solemnity of the thing, its sorrow and its contribution to the already overflowing attestation and verification of the practical, historical accuracy of the word of God... ministered to the world by Jewish prophets, who foresaw it, and foretold it, through the power of God's Spirit! (Cf. Romans 9:1-5, 10:1-4.)
*2 One of the fascinating elements in this divine determination to fulfil His word - even to a statedly disobedient people, is this: the Moslem peoples are calling, like the prophets of Baal, on an alien God whom God declares not to be, not to exist, He being the only God there is. They are indeed calling on one who is not the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, in that He stated:
If God were your Father you would love Me, for I proceeded and came forth from Him (John 8:42).Jesus also said: "If man love Me, he will keep My words" (John 14:23); but His words Moslems do not keep! From that, it follows that the Moslem God is not His; and since He makes it clear there is but one God, the Moslem God does not exist; or, if he does in any way exist, not as God. There are no options in the strict logical necessity with which this follows from the Bible.
The way God considers non-gods who proclaim themselves as such is shown well in the case of Elijah, where the prophet asks such gods to perform, and they cannot. That is one of the contemporary points in the vast amount of prophecy in the Bible. God makes the point that this is to establish His identity and power, so that they might believe. This is what it does. We see this now as they saw it in Elijah's days. The parameters of expression are not the same; the purpose and the result however have not varied. When the predicted contest in the Middle East occurs, the one surpassing in style those so far this century, the pyrotechnic side will again be strong, as we see in Micah 7:15-18, Ezekiel 38-39 and Zechariah 14. Further, preliminary pyrotechnics in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1991 have already shown a mounting intensity! As has been shown, these accord with the prophecies in Zechariah 12 and 14, and hence are relevant in pondering the assessable character of Biblical prophecy, relative to efforts of human religions.
A 'Christ', then, invented by Muhammad is in collision with one designated by the historical record; and the performance of the two is strikingly in contrast. The Biblical one is intimately associated with the Bible, declaring its infallibility, and speaking with declared ultimate authority, that of God, Himself. His words come to pass. Let us examine one of these words.
He said: "The Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance what I have spoken to you" (John 14:26); but the Moslems recast the character of Christ, as well as His words, as if God had forgotten to 'take care of' the record of the sinless Jesus Christ, omitting true records for 600 years. If that is not blasphemy (for those who use the term), what is ? Our point would be however, that it would be irrational to allege that Christ was a genuine commander from God, and yet allow fraudulent misstatements to govern the relationship of the human race to Him. That incidentally is yet another verification, that Christ so promises to bring to their memories what He said, for it is consistent with His crucial position.
The Moslem people with their Koran stand on the premise that they are right about Jesus and the Bible is wrong. They replace Him as a prophet displaced by the more modern Muhammad. The lines are drawn: the God of the Bible versus the god of the Koran. According to the Bible, that god is an imposter, like Baal; that religion is a defiler of truth and a departure following an antichrist. (See also, Mosque in Jerusalem Temple Area - see *4, pp. 833 ff. infra.) Antichrist ? Severely so in this: we find in the January 1992 News Brief of Open Doors With Brother Andrew that:
On the edge of the large Omar mosque in Jerusalem it is written in beautiful Arabic script: "Allah has no son".In 1 John 5:10, we find: "He who does not believe God has made Him a liar because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son." According to the Bible, Allah and/or his maker, is a liar. Again, in 1 John 4:1-3, we find that such deniers of the Son are of the spirit of antichrist.
We examine more of this theme later (pp. 986-1032 infra ff.), and have touched on it before (pp. 50-71ff. supra). The reasons for rejection of such a religion as the Moslem one include the lack of rational grounds for accepting it; the arbitrary derogatory re-cast of Jesus Christ; the irrational reconstruction involved (see Chapter 6 supra) - in the historically distant and evidentially outrageous plastic surgery on Christ and His works, courtesy of Muhammad; the unverified claims of Muhammad; the way the Bible has predicted just such antichrist elements in advance - such things constituting an evidential base; the irrationality of mere brute force for the purpose of religious change (see Chapter 1 supra on this topic); the failure of brute force in matters where the honour of Allah in the Middle East is allegedly involved, whereas he is statedly almighty; the lack of the necessary remedy in the religion, which is a good works balancing proposition, and the positive logical necessity for the Bible as a divine communication (per se, Chapter 1 supra).
For the present, however, our interest is the citing by Arabs of the will of Allah, versus our reading of the Bible about the will of God. What the Bible said, happened. Neither in predictive exploits nor in power displayed by Allah against what are allegedly his opponents, in wars, have we seen anything remotely resembling almightiness. Might does not establish right; but when predictions are in point, power deficiency does indicate error. The point is apologetic here also in a positive manner, since the failure of the Moslem Allah here makes the more conspicuous the power of God, who makes not merely large things, but small ones happen if He states that He will. Even the site of the action, of the test, was predicted, and that emphatically, as is emphasised in this Chapter (cf. Appendix A).
The extraordinary victories of Israel, the amazingly adverse situations from which it has gained victory, the different ways in which this has happened, the power which has been displayed and the power it was predicted there would be displayed: all these things cumulatively show themselves in stark relief when the performance of the Moslem Allah in this respect is considered. For him, there is little to test; and what there is, does not meet performance requirements on the test site with Israel, a nation God has stipulated as a lesson, both in His discipline of it, and in His deliverance of it, both in precise accord with what He said.
It is here to the point to remember what Amos Elon tells us in The Israelis (p. 202).
During the first artillery barrage in I948, Egyptian planes dropped leaflets on Yad Mordechai calling upon the kibbutz to surrender. "In the name of Allah, the Almighty God who always speaks the truth," the Egyptians announced, "it was not our intention to begin a war. It is your resistance which has caused us to attack you..."What God had predicted came to pass - the returning Jews held firm, repelled attack by vastly more numerous assault nations, though they themselves were not so much as a nation, hours before. That is the way God is pleased to announce His word and keep His honour against any imaginary god, or real force of men. It never fails; and 'never' is excellent verification, in a vast spread of predictions covering thousands of years, as a period following its utterance and coming, to its fulfilment. It is a truly divine spectacle of power, authority and scope. Nor was it merely a question of overwhelming seeming forces against the infant state.
David Ben Gurion in his Recollections (p. 86) tells us of the sudden thrust to end the war at the outset. He refers to the first week of April 1948.
The situation then was grim indeed. The Arabs had cut off the water supply to the modern Western sector of the city where the Jewish population predominated. As the Romans in 70 C.E., they planned to deprive the Jewish inhabitants of all sustenance and so force capitulation to de facto Arab rule... Colonel Lund, a Norwegian representative of the United Nations Mission in Palestine ... said: 'Your situation is worse than that of Norway in 1940.' Encouraging words!He tells us of slaughter of convoys and the astonishing transformation of apparent immediate defeat of the 'instant nation', turned (as predicted) to triumph!
*3 The finest day
So 'illustrious', in the very tenor of Zechariah 12, was the 1967 war in particular, that in U.S. supermarkets a fine pictorial production appeared - 'Collector's Edition' of Israel's Finest Day, with the eye-patched Moshe Dayan, the Defence Minister shown on the cover. Its sub-title: 'The Time-Table of Victory'. With all the exuberance of national victory, it stated it would give a 'day-by-day pictorial review, complete with maps and texts from the reports and speeches of the day.'
Included was the speech of Israel's delegate to the U.N. at the time, Abba Eban. To the U.S., he said:
I... bring to the Security Council the story of Israel's finest day and of its - continuing sequel.Evoking a sense of the drama, he proceeded:
An army, greater than any force ever assembly in Sinai, had massed against Israel's southern border. Egypt had dismissed the United Nations forces which symbolized the international interest in the maintenance of peace in our region... A special striking force, comprising an armoured division with at least 200 tanks was concentrated against Elath at the Negev's southern tip. Here was a clear design to cut the southern Negev off from the main body of our State. For Egypt had openly proclaimed that Elath did not form part of Israel and had predicted that Israel itself would soon expire. The proclamation was empty; the prediction now lies in ruin... With Egypt's initiative and guidance, Israel was already being strangled in its maritime approaches to the whole eastern half of the world. For sixteen years, Israel had been illicitly denied passage in the Suez Canal, despite the Security Council's decision of 1 September 1951. And now the creative enterprise of ten patient years which had opened an international route across the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba had been suddenly and arbitrarily choked. Israel was and is breathing with only a single lung.As in 1948, Israel was severely threatened, perhaps with a termination of its existence. Certainly it would lead to a loss of any hope of Jerusalem as its city. Jerusalem? But that is the point: the predictive prophecy which we are examining in terms of verification makes it clear that this is an issue to be treated decisively and victoriously.
Simple tests like this, so easily overthrown in the humanly wholly unpredictable web of industrial, international, commercial, patriotic, religious, cultural, ideological, political, psychological, moral, pragmatic and practical details... these make WONDERFUL VERIFICATORY MATERIAL. One error anywhere in divine predestinative foresight and overview would allow ramifying effects, in essence deadly, for each can control vast reticulating forces, interactions, breaches of forecast.
When however the prediction covers entities and deals with situation with 2500 years of cultural development in between, then we are at the astral level, at the ultimate in vulnerability for any prediction dealing in detail on the one hand, and perspective on the other. When the thread, by which the Arab's predicted 'victim' (Israel) hangs is spider thin, and the cords of its enemies are gross and many, then the prediction for the magnificent victories (Zechariah 12, 14) is a joy, like a jewelled clock, to behold.
Fearless and unfumbling, it shines its light where one error is enough to dispel any claim to prophetic authenticity, for God as the author; and any error, not in the prediction, but in the foresight, could as noted, eliminate that which is in the forecast, as to accuracy.
*4 In July 1989, Shamir had to meet insistence, spearheaded by former Minister, Sharon, that the inviolable Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem be categorically affirmed, so as to exclude it from the reach of any possible ambiguity in terms of peace negotiations concerning "occupied territories". (These are those re-secured by Jews, when the Arab wars failed for the Arabs - such as the 1948 expected Israeli debacle, or the massive invasion efforts and forces of Nasser in I967, described above in *3, et al.).
If Jerusalem lies legally, politically and physically free from the 'treading down' of the Gentiles (the signal which was predicted by Jesus Christ for the termination of the 'times of the Gentiles' and by implication, for vast changes in the religious spectrum...), the Gentile nations being brought near their own time of judgment (Luke 21:24), en route to His return (Luke 21:27): then the days indeed 'draw near' for His coming, His return.
Fascinating is the tussle for this situation: for the actuality of Jerusalem's liberation from Gentile rule, just because of the implications which we have just been examining. Let us review some of the steps in historical order.
First in I948, half Jerusalem the Jews take (as predicted in Zechariah 14:2); then all of it in 1967, but with diplomatic contention; then the 'occupied territories' are to be given (?) 'interim' self-rule; then the question arises- Is not Jerusalem part of them ? (and if so, might it not yet a while be 'trodden down' of Gentiles). Then Jerusalem is declared inviolably Jewish; and then, in March 1990, Labour in the National Unity Israeli government expressed itself unhappy with Shamir's plan, that Jerusalem's 40,000 Arabs be not given the vote lest it imply Jerusalem is 'part of the West Bank.' The details of the issue are precious, as if destiny ponders a little; but the outline is clear! Shamir remains in 1992 the P.M., and Jerusalem remains intactly Jewish.
God is very gracious and long-suffering as Peter shows: The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (II Peter 3:9).
Thus it is of extreme interest to note the warnings upon warnings, and warnings within warnings as Jerusalem's position is focussed and re-focussed but always shown for these 24 years to be approximately free, so that men might see and realise and if so be repent, before these things come upon them. The sign or signal does not do it; but God will do it, and is currently giving a very lively and well-witnessed signal.
Meanwhile, the Gentiles appear indeed to be moving massively to a delirium of 'post-Christianity' (the latest term is 'post-modernism'), being moreover well-statistically equipped, formally at least, with hundreds of millions of those who appear as followers of the Moslem heresy of Christianity, or the Roman one (over 1/3 all, by one estimate). More and more, this 'advanced' situation resembles that of earlier Jewish unbelief, when it was their turn, when they were directly confronted with Christ, long ago. POST-CHRISTIAN HAS A SAVOUR OF PRE-JUDGMENT ...
Thus the "times of the Gentiles" do indeed appear, independently of the Jerusalem pointer, to be coming to their sad end and appointed destiny; sad, yet with the many redeemed, successful, and supplied with the free Gospel call to any. The effectual proclamation of this Gospel, the effectual demonstration of God's word in all phases and directions, predictions and pronouncements, the effecting of eternal redemption for any... all this is a masterpiece and wonder of attainment; but eternal redemption secured and supplied to many (Hebrews 9:12,15, 10:10,14,22): this is a delightful marvel and a marvellous delight. It is also a superb performance, wrought by the Lord who said what He would do, and has done what He said.
If the Jews once amazingly failed to recognise and receive the Christ, how foolishly the other sister (to adapt from Ezekiel), the Gentile one now follows suit, forsaking so profoundly in so many places of influence, what had been established for so long. Both 'sisters' had times when faith flourished; and each has departed to a degree hard to credit, except for the dual testimony of history, that it has happened, and of the word of God, both castigating the Jews that it was going to happen, and the Gentiles, that they should follow. (See Paul's magnificently developed figure in Romans 11, in terms of natural and grafted branches in a tree, and the common cause of trouble for both parties, with the one cause of deliverance for either - Christ, who shall come.)
Thus the background for the 'Jerusalem liberated' signal is fitting in perfectly with the signal itself. When Jerusalem, as it virtually now is, should be finally freed, as it could be argued it has been for some time, being merely longed for and bargained for and thought for and sought for, by non-Jews, but still free - then there is only one avenue available for response for those who do not want Jerusalem Jewish. For those who do not desire this, or like the way the signal, the flag of action is blowing, or both, this way will be that of force. In this case, the opposition will ultimately be fighting ... God.
It is not as if the Arabs have not tried assault on Israel before, the rhetoric of Nasser compounded by his armouries being too recent to be forgotten, and the Arab desire (on the part at least of vocal leaders) to push the Jews into the sea being too dramatic, fully to be overlooked. Saddam Hussein has served to remind the sleepy that the passion is not dead, in this dimension. It is not as if the other prophetic target, that Jerusalem will become a stone of offence to the nations (Zechariah 12:1 ff.), is not also mightily fulfilled. It is just that the dénouement is to come; and it will prophetically involve... force!
Moslems are not expected to be happy to see their Great Mosque in 'alien', albeit Jewish hands, and atheist nations like Russia may be less than delighted to have so clear a vindication of God's many and dramatic promises to the Jews (see Appendix A and Jeremiah 33's astronomical emphasis- verses 19-21)... staring them in the eyes. Both indeed could be happy to control oil, or to limit the U.S. by doing so, or to fulfil themselves in the Middle East, the Russians certainly not being in an 'I shall not want' situation... - a matter of no Biblical surprise, monetarily! Racial glory, wealth, strategic control, weakening of the enemy, the U.S. ('enemy' to various parties for various reasons, and not least to Iran)... all alike may have the hook-look, to use the language of Ezekiel 38:4: these motivations may draw out the nations to action!
As these forces gather, Jerusalem being liberated, Arab violence escalating, war giving its heady scent continually to the Middle East area, with the wounds that are not readily washed or treated in hospital, all too likely to fester, it is almost like watching a second time, a well-known film.
The script is already written. It was penned thousands of years ago, in the name of God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Extension 1, pp. 816 ff..)
*5 See pp. 851-857, 881 infra for reference also to the 1991 lightning war, in which a multinational force of Americans, Arabs and Europeans performed a work that protected Israel, deflecting an Iraqi power of no mean order. This is a special fulfilment, but comes into a general category.
Here is a comparatively novel dimension in the divine sustaining of Israel: a war in which she participated very little. This promised and prophesied protection, for the period subsequent to Israel's return to its land - especially 1948 - just as God also had proclaimed would happen, is part of the international syndrome: that Jerusalem would be for its aggressors a "burdensome stone" (Zechariah 12).
It is also part or preliminary for the entire divine historic plan in which a disciplined Jewry will be occasion for the discipline of others who, after all she has suffered, see fit to seek her further hurt, threatening her security (cf. Zechariah 12-14, Ezekiel 38:11-12). Not merely is Israel to WIN wars as we have shown (like those of 1948, 1967, 1973), against forces PREDICTED TO BE FAR GREATER than her own in number (Zechariah 12:8-9, 14:1-2). It is also to be protected from overthrow (Ezekiel 37:7-10, 25ff.). Instead of the 'burdensome' Jerusalem, a sort of mill-stone to aggressors, as Zechariah has it, being ruined, it is - to take the most recent case - Iraq which is ruined.
This is not to imagine a divine lack of love to Arabs, to suggest it to others, or to fail to see the human and divinely lovable aspects they, like others from Chinese to Indians, Eskimos to British, can have. It is not to limit or reduce in the slightest measure the love of God towards man (Titus 3:4 ff.): it is to make perfectly clear that when God disciplines a nation (here the Jews), makes a land grant to them as with Abraham, brings them back when He is ready, determines on faithfulness to them despite their unfaithfulness, sets all this down in the scriptures, the Bible, His holy word: it will be done. In terms of our apologetic study, that is the basic point.
Those who oppose whether Arabs or other nations (and such are prophetically also involved), will not thwart, abort or condition the divine plan. God speaks and it is done: and justice and judgment, mercy and truth, these abound (Psalm 88:14-15, Micah 7:18-19, 1 John 2:1-2).
Revisionism may be for Communists,
and quarrels about it; it is not for God. The marvel is however this, that
whenever anyone calls on the Lord and comes in faith
to Jesus Christ, Jew or Arab, Indian or Chinese, Australian or Britisher,
he/she will be saved. Let us be clear then: neither is love limited by
this, nor is it a lever by which to condition God. He is God, and
acts both with glorious righteousness, judgment according to truth and
magnificent mercy. He cannot be changed; and it is better so. Ultimate
perfection is not altered for the better. What then of this prophecy, and
of the Jewish return in divine mercy, the divine faithfulness despite their
unfaithfulness, and the divine protection of them subsequent to this reconstitution
as a nation, of which Isaiah 66:7 ff. speaks so
Prophetically (e.g. Ezekiel 36 "Not for your sakes"), one must repeat - as does the prophet himself - this is no glory to the Jews. To think this would be to miss the whole point.
Thus says the Lord God: I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for my holy name, which you profaned among the nations, to which you sent (Ezekiel 36:22).God's name is for worship; it is reliable. He is faithful; He does what He says, even to those who provoke Him: His throne is righteous - truth and mercy proceed before Him (as we saw in Psalm 89:14). He speaks (Amos 4:13); He meets (Isaiah 64:5-6).
Accordingly, He acts (Joel 2:11, Matthew 5:17-19, II Peter 3:9).
*6 During the quite fascinating move and counter-move within Israel on who, just who, was to govern at the time of April 1990, with Shamir hoping to return, and Peres seeking support, the latter lost the opportunity to govern through just one conservative Jew, one voting elected member. This one refused to participate in any governmental situation where he would be partly responsible for the self-determination of Jerusalem being in any way made reliant upon the will of Arabs... This of course would have been contravened if Arabs in Jerusalem had significant voting power. This one Jew refused such a prospect, and therefore resigned, in order to carry out his blocking of a bloc that might so resolve the matter. Peres thus lost the hoped for opportunity to govern.
The reason of this one Jew is fascinating, because it is so central to the concept of Jews returning to and governing their land, something needed for the final fulfilment of their return to their rejected Messiah, Jesus Christ (cf. Ezekiel 34, 36-37). The result is also intriguing, in that the weakening on this point is prevented by so seemingly small, but so articulately significant an action. Thus does history move, fulfilling the mind of God, even indeed where human error may be made; the design is never lost.
Time in its issue of April 23, 1990 puts an assessment that bears on the historical situation also:
George Bush... said on March 3 that he was opposed to new settlements in the West bank "or in East Jerusalem".
It is hard to imagine four more explosive words in the semantic minefields of the Middle East. Most Israelis would consider East Jerusalem liberated, not occupied. Even the most dovish government would insist on an undivided Jerusalem as the permanent capital of Israel. (Bold added. See Time p. 24.)*7 Joseph H. Hunting in his little work: Jerusalem! Jerusalem! (Melbourne, 1973, David House) puts it well, speaking of:
A clamour of voices arose demanding that Israel return its ancient capital to the Arabs.
Even Israel's so-called friends, as well as her enemies, joined in the chorus. The U.N., Britain, France and America joined with Red China, together with 40,000,000 Arabs of the U. A. R. plus 500,000,000 Muslims in countries stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. (See Hunting, p. 41.)The relevant prophecy in Zechariah 14:1-2 in context, is superabundantly fulfilled, as elsewhere indicated. Part of the miracle of it all is the very multitudinous character of the attack and the very minor character of the Jewish numbers, and the very precise nature of the prediction: half Jerusalem would be taken but (cf. Zechariah 12:8) half would be for the Jews. Doing that was the miracle that fulfilled the prophecy and, in conjunction with the words of Jesus in Luke re the Gentiles treading the city down, we are being ushered into times so modern, that prophetically they are carving themselves into the rock of the end of the Age.
*8 Isaiah 66:10,13, in the final carnage of judgment context, gives allied double emphasis.
*9 See pp. 843-844 infra.
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