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JEWS THAT ARE NOT JEWS
AND ISRAEL THAT IS NOT ISRAEL:
and yet it is ...
THE LORD WHO KEEPS HIS WORD
These are not
conundrums, but challenges to the understanding,
checks on correct perspective that the Lord gives, He a Teacher of teachers,
to deepen understanding and add breadth to conception
(cf. Romans 2:28, Isaiah 65:13-15, Hosea 1).
A Jew who is not a Jew is one who is not so inwardly. That is the dictum of Paul, nay the word of the living God (Romans 2:28). If by man's sin the word of God is fulfilled, so that God is glorified, Paul asks, does this mean man should sin, or that sin is salutary ? (Romans 3:5ff.). Of course not. It means that God is not bilked, on the one hand, though grieved, and that man is not excused, on the other, though canny.
Does the failure of Israel as a nation, to believe the Gospel of its own crucified King and glorified Saviour and Prince of Peace, who is of course not limited to Israel any more than He is denied to it, all in its time (Isaiah 66, 49:6, 42:6), and who remains equally clearly, the One who chose to be BORN in the land where He equally foretold He would be crucified: does this make the word of God inapplicable ? It is NEVER inapplicable. Its blessing may become inapplicable however! and its cursings applicable (cf. Deuteronomy 27:11-29). Blessings are quite modish in our modern setting, but not cursings, at least only if from al Qaeda or such polluted sources of virulence, violence and unconscionable hatred (cf. Dancers, Prancers ... Ch. 3, *1A , Lord of Life Ch. 8, *1). A divine curse, as distinct from that of a false prophet, is something else.
It means that what is good, and right, and true, and real, what represents the desire of the Designer, the Draft of the Architect, the Word and the will of God, is not merely being departed from, but this is being done in a contentious, or calumniating, a revolutionary, a tilting and alien way such that the provisions for sin being ignored and the fountain of mercy being undiscerned or undesired, what sin is becomes what results are: contorted, aborted, diseased and in spirit deceased, awaiting judgment without intervention. If mercy ever finds a way, it is not in this setting to be seen; but if the Gospel for all that ever attends such a case, then the curse being swallowed up, the truth avails, the sacrifice of Christ prevails and justice is done on Him that it be not done on the victim of sin. On such things see Galatians 3.
Let us be realistic. If you have a child and its headstrong and untutored wilfulness brings into in a sudden dash across the road, even while you are there, into collision with an automobile, resulting in mangling or death, then there is not much good in that. Life is like that. You cannot make it up; for it is there.
If you want to seek to survive, by dishonesty or hapless carefulness without vision, or whatever other glitch lies in your pitch, then this is separation from your Parent, and a running across the road of life where there is much spiritual traffic, not least from the devil. Life is, as has been said many thousands of times presumably, real and it is earnest. If however in the dream for power, prestige, falsetto peace, happy endings and the like, man is neither realistic (far less spiritual) nor earnest, then life does not make adjustments for this.
THE ONLY ADJUSTMENT comes when rebellion ceases, repentance arrives (not in a carriage with horses and panache), and faith is rested and vested in the Lord Jesus Christ, and this for the simple reason that HE CAME to give the restoration to each one who receives it. Thus when EVEN THIS is ignored, why then this becomes calamity essentialised, calumny in a container, rebellion glorified, and what is to be expected from that!
What is found, is what is to be expected, and what transpires is what is to be looked for. History is its commentary and the political, military prodigies of the nations, the immoral evanescences gilded with vainglory, the anguish and the agonies of many mutilating battles fought for glory, ground in godlessness, proceed. The twisted remains, some conscious of the smitten abound on the earth, and some are from little wars of spiritual louts, dressed as incendiarists of this or that kind and pattern, inflicting their hatred. While not all wars are of this type, the earth abounds with those that are, and these are multiplied by those of defence against such depravities.
PREVENIENT MERCIES AND PRESUMPTION
But let us return from the results of departure in mankind, from his Lord, and consider the spiritual cause, the presumption which may confuse, and the comely solution.
There is one other element, which in attenuating this, not in heart, but in surface and in hope, is often mistaken for mercy's crux, when it is merely mercy's outreach. God may in mercy deliver someone from horror which is amply deserved, and then win that person (Romans 2), and this has been mercy THROUGHOUT, even before repentance. But it is NOT before God who knows all, past, present, future, possibilities, purchases, promises, receipts, has acted in wisdom in terms of His BEFORE-TIME decisions, His foreknowledge before the world so much as first turned.
These divine decisions of course were made in mercy, since God is merciful, and made in the seeking of love, since Christ is like that, and the results being before time, this so far from preventing meaning in mercy, ensure that it never fails. If there is place for it, it will be found. Where there is or could be reception, there it moves; and it is never misplaced where it is placed (cf. The Glow ... Ch. 8, Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace ... Chs. 7 and 9). God who sees before all time and independently of the polluted, psychic consciousness of man in his fallen state, for He knows all things, is not limited by our limits and in His dealings can as He will, see beyond the moral variations of the fallen to an ultimacy no less significant than that of the first parents. If sin closes the eyes of man, it does not do the same to God!
This is no way lessens either the drama or the sincerity of His divine longing to liberate the lost and find the straying; but grief is not frustration, since love is not dominance, and He, God, IS love (I John 4:7). It neither pretends to solace sin, nor fails to overcome it where it is received, and where therefore HE, by the application of redemption, is installed in the heart, He makes its strivings cease with appeal, exhortation, admonition, kindness, goodness, explanation, illustration and if need be, discipline (Hebrews 12). When love disciplines there is an appalling feeling, which helps its efficacy.
One remembers at school in Melbourne, although one's fellow students in Class seemed often models of application, at times one would find someone whose whole life seemed based on disorder, sanctioned by unsanctity and askew in kind. It is so spiritually, as then psychically. If one LIVES BY disorder in disorientation from the Lord, then let money talk and psyches squawk, in the end, it is mere spiritual dither, psychic dissonance and emptiness like a gong, before the God who being ignored, has no place. Our race without that place is more and more obviously appearing as a series of sounding cymbals and resonant symbols, signifying not nothing, but the results of its depraved and in any case, deprived worship.
ALL that is worshipped that is not the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the Bible, the Trinity, is but nothing. It is just worship in type applied to the air. It is instinctive seeking aborted in its object more than in its objective. It is spirit astray.
If then one of a race of special premises and promises so acts negatively relative to God, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, then it rather resembles that School case: the premises and promises are sound, but the student is living a broken promise, not of God, but in the arena of the broken promises of what could be promising, but now is far from this. If the nation does the same, then so is the result, a fall that is similar.
IN AND OUT,
BUT NOT ROUND ABOUT
The JEW in its full meaning is one who has an exemplary and staggering closeness to God (Deuteronomy 4:7-9ff., 7:6ff.,), as specific in David in the Psalms, and exegeted in the history of many such as Joshua and Daniel. Israel is the nation of such. When this by severance is not so, then you have this love versus rebellion situation, where mercy is pre-empted by sin, that the subject might be crushed.
Some from this speak of the Church as the replacement for Israel. So it is, in its INTERIM situation. As Romans 11 makes exceedingly clear, this is precisely the truth. But this is not to remove the promises of God, or indeed even to reduce to ruins the premises of those promises. The Christian body is grafted in and that of Israel in its spiritual mission and glory, is cut out, temporarily. It has a future to be grafted back in, but NOT until the Gentiles have had their day (Romans 11:25ff.).
As seen in Galloping Events Ch. 4, God has promises to Israel which are not negotiable. You see that in dramatic and highly personal form in Ezekiel 36, where 'pity' for His name's sake, concern for His honour, for BEING what He (rightly) says He is and therefore DOING what He said He'd do, takes precedence over mere judgment. As He SAID He would restore Israel, not only in Hosea and Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 66 and Micah 7, Joel 3, but in Romans 11 and implied it in Luke 21:24: so He will do. If in the interim (as in Leviticus 26), they are to be most pitiable and mocked, then so be it. It is grievous, but like many another in another setting, they have been very determined.
If in the end, they on return to their land (cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 1 and 3, *1 and *3, It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, SMR Appendix A), in divine mercy as foretold so often, are still at first unbelieving, as in Ezekiel 36-37, then the time comes when this is no longer so, and a vigorous and epochal outpouring of His Spirit changes things (Zechariah 12:10ff., Romans 11:25ff., cf. Ezekiel 37:3 and 9).
If as in Ezekiel 37, FIRST they come back to their land and only by a second prodigious divine work, do they in large measure come back to their Lord, as presented in parallel in Romans 11, so be it. That is simple fact prophetically. It is useless, futile indeed, to seek to twist this way and that, to apply this or that principle which is wholly inapplicable, and to try to make up some theology which has not the grace of coherence with the word of God.
It is all really quite simple, then. They are called, they fail, their prophets predict the Saviour, and that they will kill Him - in passing making of Him a sacrifice, central to the wise and deep divine purpose, and this they do. He arises as foretold and the Christian Church is formed (that founded on the One crucified and risen). I is that of Christ, hence Christian, and could be as well terms that of the Messiah, hence Messianic.
Israel becomes bound to the curse as foretold, and makes a moving and spectacular illustration of this very thing precisely as foretold in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 32. The Gentiles flock to the banner, as once Israel did, but only in small percentages though large numbers; and even when they arise to more acknowledgment, shortly and sharply like Israel, they fall (as in Jeremiah 23:16-29 esp. 23:20, II Timothy 3-4, I Timothy 4, II Peter 2, Matthew 24:24), not only into eminent displays of wars (Matthew 24, Revelation 6), but even in many of their Churches, which become more like synagogues of Satan.
Israel returns to its land FIRST, and when it conquers Jerusalem, the time of the Gentiles, their innings, is complete. Then after an area of time, Israel the nation comes to the point in the scene and scenario when in large measure, following a divine spreading of the Spirit of God in its midst, it finds the living God through the very Messiah once crucified.
What then has happened to the point, re the term Jew ? Hence one who is a Jew outwardly, as such, for a time as in Isaiah 65:13-15, became INSTEAD of a harbinger of blessing, an item of spiritual intelligence, rather a subject of curse. This is entirely direct and inordinately specific, its terms being both poignant and determinate to the last degree in Isaiah. But in the end as in Isaiah 66, Jew and Gentile have but one God whose ministrations now accord not with animal sacrifices (Isaiah 66:3), but with that ONE ONLY SACRIFICE focussed and featured in Isaiah 50, 52-55, where the gift of God in PERSON becomes dominant for blessing and prominent in depiction.
Now, when the time has come at last, you have not an Israel of God only (as in Galatians 6, referring to a Gentile body in temporary replacement), but one which BOTH in name and in spirit in large measure, is His.
Only this time, what ? What is the difference from the case at the first, as in the day for example to take a period, of King David, that prophet who predicted Christ so often and so freely (as in Psalm 2, 16, 22, 31, 35, 40, 55, 69, 72, 109, 110). Now it is part of the consummate Christ, the consummated body (Ephesians 1:10), of that Christ into whom and into whose invariant Gospel all who are to come to God, come (Galatians 1). Here then is this Israel bloc, part of the body of Christ, one Lord, and while the past has this entry, the present in Christ has ALL ONE in their founding, grounding and status (Galatians 3:23). Thus those so poignantly and in discipline as in Hosea, deemed not His people become once more His people, just as those not His people, being Gentiles, are now brought into the 'tree' of divine vitality, so both are His together, one tree, one gift, one life, once depicted, now displayed. Such is the glorying of Paul in Romans 11:30ff..
So there is the Jew who is a Jew, then the Jew who is spiritually not a Jew, and there is the Israel which is that very nation in spiritual mission, and then there is no Israel, until its return, when it is an Israel which is not spiritually the Israel of God, whereas the Church is, but only in temporary replacement. The promises of God then work until the Israel now EXTANT once more in its land, coming to the Christ crucified yes rather risen, rejoins its geographical site with its spiritual sight and seeing the Lord whom they pierced, presents the Israel first called, now cleansed (as in Zechariah 13:1).
Meanwhile the Gentiles, after much panache in some kingdoms, and bogus pretension in the Holy Roman Empire and other Romanist concoctions, and much divergency in many sects and vacuous religions - what the Bible calls vanities, emptinesses - set about their spiritual decline in real earnest. That is the present time. It had to come; it is here.
Losing large portions of the grand structures once built into eminences of testimony and resorting once more into varieties of paganism and false worship, naturalism and the like, the Gentiles now begin to parallel the failure of Israel earlier. It is as was foretold and is a part of the testimony of the near return of that Lord, that same Lord, so treated in so much and in so many things so cavalierly by this race and that (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). .
What Israel did in attacking the Messiah physically, now in increasing extent, Gentiles peoples do in attacking His truth, in vacuous viciousness assailing the Bible, though in vain (cf. SMR Ch. 8, pp. 357ff., 377ff.), demeaning the Lord as if they were the very soldiers in the insidious sanctum of Pilate (John 19:1ff.), inventing new varieties of 'christ' by violence, or again, as if they were stock breeders, seeking to 'produce' them from their various cultures, and acting as if to confuse the very elect if it were possible, which thank God, it is not.
The Gentiles thus go through THEIR time of mockery. In this, many find hearts failing from fear, and perhaps more from anxieties (Luke 21). Mockery of divine truth comes like that before the flood, and pagan building and thrust proceeds in entire oblivion of reality in spiritual terms (cf. Luke 17:27ff.), as nearly all did then, until the time comes for the curtain, not this time let down in water, but in division of arenas. Here then comes that ultimate division when the people of God, Jew and Gentile in origin, all those in Christ through conveyance (Colossians 1:13ff., Ephesians 1:3ff.), being removed to heaven, are cleft from the rest, those left behind in their militancy and anguish, till the coming of Christ to rule the earth (Matthew 24, I Thess. 4).
This He does (as in Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, Revelation 20), before it is removed at last (II Peter 3, Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 51:6). Then those ultimately lost find reality more visible for their seduced eyes, and those found find that invisible King and God of all truth, as visible as each other (I Corinthians 13:12).
Judgment has here its place.
REVIEW OF THE JEW
What then of the Jew ? Let us review that aspect here.
Those once brought in, within the race from Abraham, then brought out into exile, in rebellion, brought to the bond of the covenant in the wilderness (Ezekiel 20:37), then brought in due time, to the Messiah and too intent on crucifying Him to receive Him (in the main, but a minority of the race were used in the founding in Him, of the Christian Church!), now long having suffered as He said, and that in a far longer exile than the original one to Babylon, have come back to their land. Thus you have the various phases in this. You have an Israel that is Israel, and one that is disciplined, then one that is spiritually 'not My people' (Hosea) in judgment for a time, but then on return to their land, still in that phase, yet re-instituted as Israel the nation.
On their coming massive impact of conversion to Jesus Christ foretold in Zechariah and Romans 11, what then ? In the next phase, shortly to come (Answers to Questions Ch. 5), you have Israel that is Israel once more, or at the very least a large part of the nation, but there is the difference resultant from the spiritual transformation. It is now one not only found, but founded in the New Covenant, where God having been rejected by the nation, and for that matter by many Gentile nations, is now also received by many among the Gentiles as He specifically foretold (Isaiah 42:6), as no less by many among the Jews. In this respect, Israel becomes as one of many peoples, all called IN ONE Christ, AS one, to be His, as in Revelation 7. As such, all these varied peoples are in their totality, innumerable as a multitude.
Yet His word is geographical, just a the resurrection is physical. Hence what He said, He does. He has magnified His word above all His name (Psalm 138). This is another way of saying that He knows not only what He is doing, but what He is saying, and forgetting the childish nonsense about literal and non-literal, and interpreting what the word of God and its various contexts makes obvious, you find that neither is a Jew to become a false voice, retrogressive to the Old Covenant, in which they failed (Zechariah 11, Isaiah 65:13-15), nor is the Church to undo what God has said. BOTH together remain where placed and replaced respectively, the Church INTO the tree and Israel BACK INTO the tree, now in flower. The roots are the same, the shoots have grown and it is TO this totality of revelation that all are now to be found, in Christ.
IT makes of the foolish stage in Israel, for which it was cut out as Paul declares, a paradigm of error by contrast with those Gentiles grafted in, but not in contrast to the foolish Gentile multitude who refuse to be grafted in (Romans 11:18). No more is the theocratic Israel in vogue, for its Messiah has now come, and is king direct, no priests but the High Priest (Hebrews 1-4), so sacrifice but that of the Son (already made).
The Gentiles were NOT the original Israel, but rather a replacement for a season as in Romans 11.
On the other hand, when Israel in bulk form at least, thus comes to the Lord, it is NO MORE a singular nation in spirit, for the Spirit of the living God has indicted things differently from the first. The signal now is Christ Himself, and singularity is mere individuality, for the shadows have become the substance, the symbols are fulfilled in Christ Himself. Thus the nations rejoice with a returned Israel WHEN IT FINDS GOD, amidst great drama to be sure (as in Zechariah 12-13). It becomes a part of the non-differentiated Christian Church (Galatians 3) TO THE EXTENT that it turns to the Lord, and those in it. It does not however become what it was, for that covenant is broken (Zech. 11), and obsolete (Hebrews 8). The key to all interpretation is Christ and Him crucified (Galatians 6:14), and figures and forms of expression must always yield in the New Covenant time to this determinant, irreversible, immutable, beautiful.
Nevertheless, Israel does not cease to be fulfilled in what it was called to become, for the new Covenant was A PROPHETIC PART of the Old one! Nor does its land cease to be a particular, prophetically signalised part of this earth, with specific promises,. for there is nothing figurative about these, the site of the crucifixion, a decidedly New Covenant phenomenon, if ever there was one! Symbolic sacrifices are past, but the central site of the One that is crucial remains, as the word of God remains, and unless fulfilled, continues. You do not remove the rule of the King on ear th
What then do we find ? It is this. God makes practical His word. Nor does the Old Covenant become attached to it, for it is obsolete, and its obsolescence is irremediable, just as Christ's cross is inevacuable.
Hence God uses this land as a signal, the site of the resurrection of His only begotten Son as a physical ensign for His physical resurrection and physical making of this earth and man (as in Isaiah 45), returns in a way similar to that in which He sent (Acts 1:7), and does not exempt one thing from happening, because of another, or on the other hand, make what is past recur, because of those who cannot discern the transition which He has made so clear, once and for all, to the New Covenant in HIS BLOOD!
THE INVENTION OF THE ADVENT
That, incidentally, is one reason why the Seventh Day Adventists are so perilously wrong, quite apart from their unholy and ludicrous lapse in consigning non-Sabbath day worshippers to hell (an organisation can always condemn those who wrote such things as gross heretics, if they want to move from its grossness, and so begin again, and omit their works, and so not repent ... but there is nothing in between, for truth is truth and remains so, whatever the fumblings, bumblings or tumblings).
Such anti-Gospel teaching is wholly unacceptable. If the work of salvation is not enough to transcend creation, for the day of commemoration and rest, a sign of the completed work of God (Ezekiel 20:12, 20:20), as the Lord God appointed, and would appoint at His will (Mark 2:27, Luke 6:5 ). and if the PERSONAL suffering of God in human form is not beyond by an infinite degree, even all the magnificence of creation, and if the fulfilment of the Old Covenant in the New is not enough, with a ratchet to prevent any return, as Hebrews 7ff. makes so exceedingly clear with even the most mordant touch, then of course why worry! That is to forget God and there is no more room for or point in finesse!
New Covenant in fact transcends the Old II Corinthians 3), and moreover,
since the day of
rest COULD NOT BE before the resurrection,
since there was
no rest without Christ and His conquest which both conveyed and did the conveyancing
of the Old to the New Covenant, and
since the pardon in His person
was not sealed forever except
since He was and
is LORD OF THE SABBATH (Mark 2:27, Luke 6:5),
since the Law of
Moses was given on this day of the week (Exodus 19:1,11),
since there is
the simple and sample evidence moreover of the Church in action
then what follows ?
It is this. Not only is the return to the Old Covenant format for rest (not its specifications of periodicity, that is one in seven, but its application in time) contrary to the symbol-substance reality which Hebrews makes so plain, a matter of insisting on shadows when the substance is present, to use its terms, but it is worse. It becomes an insult to Jesus Christ. It puts His work of redemption, the last of the great works for salvation by God, wrought in His own person in agony, as NOT to supersede as the memorial and sign for rest, that day which coming after the creation continuity, served for rest's sign and memorial. It is not only revisionist, but reversionist, a refusal to have Christ as Lord of the Sabbath, though the rest which HE brought in this last GREAT WORK of God, without which REST COULD NOT BE, was at His own cost.
What Emperor or Emperors might later do in using a secular empire as a place for instituting Christian concepts is entirely irrelevant. Naturally, if an Emperor were converted, he might be tempted to apply such a rest day to his realm; but we speak not of empires, but of the Church, of which the word of God also speaks. That is our theme.
What then ? Though it is this work of Christ in death and resurrection, the last the seal (Romans 1:4) which is effectual for evermore as the basis of all rest and the completion of its basis, there are those who want to rest on a day when creation was the work in view, as if this concept were not now culminated in Christ and perfected in His work, as if salvation were entirely dubious or unnecessary or dispensable. Not so; nor is it surprising that there has been in the Seventh Day heresy, such an emphasis on Christ doing ultra-scriptural work in some imaginary return (not with clouds in glory but secretly, according to a further extra-scriptural idea), and on uncertainty about the assured and eternal salvation of each one who believes in Him (as in John 10:9, 27-28, Romans 5, John 4:14, II Timothy 1:8ff.).
This was of course the invention of the advent of Christ, a work not to be found in the Bible, some return in reckless seeming imagination, which comes not so that all the tribes of the earth mourn (as in Revelation 1) or people see Him in the clouds of glory in power (as in Matthew 24), but so that nothing much happened to be seen at all, EXCEPT IN THE IMAGINATION of the inventors of this concept, this 'fulfilment' of a prophecy not made. HIS return is not thus, but a superb, supreme exhibition of power and vindication (as in Mark 14:62). Even His enemies would see Him, then, sitting at the right hand of power. It is not so here, but the exact opposite, a secret and unnoticeable event, not worthy of news reportage, or even relevant to it. Such is error.
Works enter and breed in such settings, and Christ is contained in the Old Testament format when He has come in the new, as if a photograph were still preferred, when the man has come home, himself, as if the pointer were still looking for his return, when he has been long back!
This is indeed, not merely a parallel, but an entirely fitting one to the other error of declining to have people utterly assured of heaven in this life (as in II Timothy 1:9-10, I John 5:11ff.), as many as believe in Him (such is the teaching of the word of God). It is all one, like the many seeds of an apple, when it is cut open.
Indeed, it is parallel in dissonance to the word of God, to the associated Adventist practice of insisting on following a failed fulfilment of a false prophetic interpretation, made into another extra-biblical and God-insulting doctrine, about a secret return of Christ to interpret documentation or sins and salvation. Is not the God who made the mind of man able to do in a moment more than any Cray computer, made by the mind of man!
Indeed the case is worse even than this, for the all-knowing God who knows the end from the beginning and selected His own people, His children, ultra-historically. He needs not time for that; it was done in PRE-TEMPORAL dimension. He did it before He so much as created this world! The Lord of glory, the I AM (John 8:58) is not in this aborted and contorted dimension at all. His arising to the glory He had with God, His Father, before the world was (John 17), is to where He was. That ? it is back to being EQUAL with God (Philippians 2).
What then of selection and knowledge of the position of His people ?
ALL THAT was done before time began (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff.). So does confusion reign when you both add to and neglect the word of God.
THE VAINGLORY OF THE GLITCH,
THE HARASSMENT OF THE HITCH, AND
THE RELEVANCE OF THE DITCH
Such things in turn merely exemplify the work of the Gentiles, as in another case, the Romanist, where a priest is necessary for absolution at death, whereas Christ is necessary for absolution in life, to ensure the same in death, through repentance and simple faith in Him according to His new Covenant; so that whole structure of priest, sacrifice and event has passed away in one sublime event (as in Hebrews 9--10), whereby eternal redemption and eternal sanctification is guaranteed.
How is it guaranteed ? It is BY THIS ONE THING, wrought by THIS ONE PERSON, on THIS ONE SCHEDULE or sacrifice and resurrection. Variations in the christ concept, new christs for the old (II Corinthians 11), or in the sacrifice, in bibles abused and in ideas a-plenty, weddings of this and that pagan philosophy with the scripture: these abound. They do so, like other types of adultery and adulteration, and so the Gentiles these features make their unlovely Gentile parallel with the Judaistic assertion of itself, against the very Lord Himself, at the time His day on this earth. Jew and Gentile show their varied powers in this way, to depart from doctrine, abort grace and fail in faith, even saving faith, in their own fixtures, fixations or self-made functions. It was precisely this sort of thing which Christ so vigorously excoriated as seen in Mark 7:7ff..
Thus whether Christian heresy or Judaistic rejection, there is abundance of provision for glitch, among mankind, with staggering consequences. How often the know-all Pharisee who condemns on all sides, by his traditions, is worse off than harlots in the mind of God! (cf. Matthew 21:31-33). Yes MANY harlots and publicans (that is, tax-gatherers, often Jewish, employed by the Romans, thus helping that occupying nation rule their own nation, and so acting in Israel FOR Rome!) would enter heaven before these perfect, traditionally mature people! Such is the direct statement of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Religiosity is as good or as bad a way as any other in which to insult the Lord and invade His holy premises (cf. Matthew 23!).
To return then to Israel. There is the Jew who is not a Jew in the sense that the whole heritage has been embezzled, the whole wonder ignored; and the crux of glory being rejected, there is nothing left but the faithfulness of God. And in this faithfulness, what is He doing ? He will do precisely what He said in His own time (cf. Matthew 5:17-20).
That is the precision of the standard of reference in the Bible, in its prophetic word (cf. II Peter 1:20-21).
Yet this is to be remedied in two phases. First, Israel was after much travail over a long period, to be re-constituted as a visible national entity. In particular (Luke 21:24), it would regain Jerusalem, this city no more being under Gentile control. That was the word of Jesus Christ, this also.
Thus, His return, since 1946-1969, has visibly come much closer than it was; for the signal indisputable and unconfusable, unique and solitary in its own right, this restoration in a Jewish Israel of the city of Jerusalem, is already mounted on the mast of history. It, quite simply, for the first time in some 1900 years, has happened!
The next phase, the conversion of a large portion of this Israel to Christ has been predicted as we shall see, and when this happens, the end is at our heels; or if we are believers, we are at His feet in the very interstices of divine dynamic as our Age is closing.
What then do we find ? There is the Israel which is the Church, in the interim, as it takes over the crucial spiritual function of the failed nation (as in Romans 11), and there is the Israel which returns to its land (step one) on the way to being what was a godly nation, at last restored through saving faith in Jesus Christ (Zechariah 12:10-13:1). This is in the turmoil of the end of the Age, when the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled, as Christ put it; and as Paul declares very simply in Romans 11:24-25. Here again, the place in time ? it is this: at this time, "the fulness of the Gentiles has come in".
Thus Israel returns to what its very name is all about, at that time. It is re-grafted; and thus priestly craft at the day of the Crucifixion becomes godly graft at their restoration on the part of so many in Him whose on work covered so much so surely, with an exquisite simplicity which belies the reality of its deadly depth; just as this exhibits its celestial exuberance, in the resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit of God, soon after this, at Pentecost - a mere 70 day extension. What a harvest is this!
But that is then; and now that event awaits. But what of the mess before the Master comes!
How many glitches can you have ? how many hitches ? how many fast cars, caught in the one ditch.
To start with, about 7 in this field. First, you can baulk at Paul about Jews who are not Jews, not understanding or believing the Gospel. Then you can baulk at the point that the Church is a temporary Israel, a substitute for glory of God, for the time; and again baulk at the concept that Israel will return to its land, or that it would do so still unbelieving (as forecast in Ezekiel 37 most clearly, and now fulfilled most assuredly!)
Again, you can baulk at the thought that God will honour His promises concerning the land, and bring His chosen RACE back to it pending the consummation (as now quite simply fulfilled so obtrusively in world history which constantly splashes headlines, concerning this new Israel); and once again, you might go further, and invent an Old Covenant to go with the return to the Land, as if God had forgotten to be holy, and had Himself insulted the Christ, who being one of the Trinity, constitutes a folly even to think.
The truth is far simpler than all or any of this, once the divine perspective is taken. Israel was a nation mightily and multiply used to the glory of God (Romans 9). It broke away after various disciplines, for which it so earnestly had asked, and crucified its King. The Lord told them in advance that this would break the Covenant, but not in its reality, merely in their relationship to Him, since they are to return, and He would ensure that they would do so (as in Ezekiel 37).
That is, when they give ground for the loss of His protective shield and glorious blessing, so breaking the covenant, they are exposed; but when He acts, HIS WORD being never lost, applies, and when they return even to HIM, then they take part in the Church of the living God, whose Christ has but ONE BODY, being incarnate, and is ONE HEAD, for that now metaphorical body, the Christian Church (as in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12). This is not that body which performed those horrors of inquisitorial fame or false prophetic name (cf. Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 14), Romanist or Protestant liberal alike (cf. SMR pp. 912ff., 1032-1008H, 683ff.), but that which abides in His word (John 17 cf. Christ for the People, but Not for This World Epilogue . It is this which is made of disciples which are such indeed (John 8:31).
BOTH Jew and Gentile therefore are chastened, and involved in suffering: Israel for rebellion, and the Church for its faithful testimony as the world comes towards the TIME, GENTLEMENT! TIME! - that end of the trials and approach to the time of announcement: judgment.
As to the severity of God, consider for Israel the word of Ezekiel 20-21, and as for the Gentile parallel in unbelief, that of Jude and II Peter 2! There is one God and there are many ways of departing from Him, but using His NAME and doing so with religiosity has always been a peculiarly intense detestation of the Almighty. It is, indeed, rather like having a wife, and putting her name on the door of a motel bedroom where you are have liberal relationships with an adulteress. The repugnance is not hard to understand, but it is more than hard to avoid when engaged in, and magnificently intense is the need to avoid such things.
This world however desires to be magnificently free from guilt, instead, and it moves accordingly, both in spirit and in consequence till the climax as in Revelation 6, 8, 19 for example, as in Isaiah 59, as in Matthew 24, eventually comes in its deadly culmination to the calumnies of mankind, the christs of his invention and the faith of his adulteration.
THE ACTUAL ADVENT AND THE POST-OPERATIVE SHOCK
While the forces of unbelief, from these diverse directions, and sources, come to their final ruinous self-revelation, those of faith come in their most blessed unison (precisely as in Romans 11:33ff.), to that central culmination, Jew and Gentile, those of old and those now, such as Ephesians 1:10 describes.
Thus as depicted in Revelation 11, you have a sufficiency of Jews who are Christians, and a multitude of Gentiles, one blessed body, from two arms, as the time of the return of Christ comes, and its results accrue (cf. Christ for the People, but Not for This World Ch. 7).
Divine dealings are quite clear. Income tax for many can be far more complex, and legal oddities far more difficult. This takes, really, just a little thought, though of course, complete devotion to all that God has written in His book.
May the Lord bless His people and hasten the day when Jew and Israel alike, in new marches of grace, give a more abundant Christian testimony and a decisive one, in great numbers, as the wheel of history turns towards its last contemporary timing. The lustre of His light is to shower on this earth as His power pre-empts all purchase, and taking from this mortal sphere the redeemed, His own - I Thessalonians 4), He moves to that great day of the celestial wedding (Revelation 19:8), when those from all sources having had but one recourse, find the course of events now consummated, and their lives in His final keeping. Heaven is haven to the children of God; and it is He who has made it so (John 14:1ff.).
There is no time to be lost in seeking the lost, with grace, with boldness of faith and meekness of heart. The operation of Christ in this Age is not a prelude to the unfolding of another Gospel (Galatians 1), but to judgment's domain; for the death of Christ is one, and His incarnation is one, and there is no more. When He comes, then, consider the post-operative shock; and ironically, it is not to those on whom the operation of Christ has had its effect, but rather on those where it has been refused, that the tremor comes. It is to such that the result brings shock.
The day draws near, and the night is coming, when no man can work (John 9:4).