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BULLETIN One Hundred and Thirteen
Not likely ...
This is rather a case where 1 (segment) plus 1 (another base)
ISRAEL, THE CHURCH AND THE GLORY
5 Major Points regarding Jerusalem and Psalm 87:3
KEEPING THE BIBLE IN FOCUS ... ALL OF IT!
The idea that there are 2 kingdoms in the restoration of Israel as the time of Christ's return comes is ridiculous, sad, wrongly divided. It is utterly contrary to all that is the Bible (for all that it appears a strange misinterpretation, not a wilful walk).
There is one King and one God, one Lord, one kingdom for His undivided and equal rule, where neither Jew nor Gentile (Galatians 3:26ff.) gain any of essential diversification in status and kind, though of course their paths in to the kingdom have been individual, Jew and Gentile, in various ways, and the effect of their entry and the preludes in promises (God is illustrious in keeping these), though often surprising in wonder, are reliable in kind.
The same emphasis on unity is found in Romans 11, specifically concerning Jew and Gentile, where this very fact is made a ground for a well of delight springing up like a geyser, such is the apostolic response to this bringing of apparent disparity into unity in the Gospel of grace! There is always this similar stress on ultimates, one earth, one Lord of all, one faith, one overall grace and one Gospel; and Paul utter rejoicing in this brilliantly contrived result in Romans, as Israel goes back to its tree, now shared with Gentile believers, such is the joint status, is an overwhelming thrust.
There is one lake, with two conspicuous and - at the outset - two entry points, highly differentiated bodies. If one becomes clogged, then it will be unclogged, and what joy when this occurs (Romans 11:12,24-36), like life from the dead, declares the apostle. In the meantime, then, there has been an addition to the tree of faith, in terms of the Gentiles, who in the integrity of the Gospel (remorselessly irreplaceable, totally unnegotiable) live for a long time in it. For a long time, this was to be and has been without the former inhabitants, the group of Israel. However, this is far from abandoned; the promises of God are inveterate to it; but at this time it is not in.
Certainly it has a history, a tragedy a restoration and a reality. It is drummed out of the regiment (Isaiah 30:8ff.), categorically and decisively, but over and again, the Lord confirms that what He has promised He will nevertheless do. The word of God is inviolable (Romans 11:29, Matthew 5:17-20, Isaiah 34:16-17). Thus in Ezekiel 36:22ff. we learn that though in amazing mercy He will bring them back to their land and their predicted Messianic King, in Jeremiah 30, 33, Ezekiel 36-37, Zechariah 9-11, that He will do this thoroughly, amid the nations. How tender are the times of reconciliation (Jeremiah 31:18-34), how reliable is the unchangeable God, who make time, and deals with it with an integrity astounding to this world! You can ALWAYS rely on Him. What He says goes and will come!
Yet, for Israel, there is nothing to glorify themselves in this DIVINE and staggering mercy. On the contrary, and in severe and searching terms, God tells them for their part to be ashamed of all the evil testimony they have occasioned! There is ANYTHING but exaltation of Israel in its national performance at the spiritual level! as notoriously declared by God in Jeremiah 36.
What then ? Sometimes it seems almost forgotten that Jerusalem is the site of crucifixion and Israel that of ascension of Christ in terms of His millenially predicted work of salvation, and suddenly completed accomplishment (cf. Hebrews 7-11). It is in no small degree, but overwhelmingly HIS, the site of the apex of what He has secured for mankind, where these come to this superb spiritual supper and receive Him. Here indeed He will be glorified in the face of this world's endless seeming incitations against it, and here indeed will He have a glory to contrast with their unabating malevolence! As you see in Zechariah 12, the international lust to take Jerusalem from Israel is a plain assault on the word of God, and His wisdom, plan, purpose, performance, the pace of its crucial work; and He has willed it otherwise.
THIS SECTION HAS TO HAVE REFERENCES completed and to be revised, from "5 aspects to "meanwhile, yes," below.
5 ASPECTS OF JERUSALEM, CITY OF THE LORD
In Psalm 87:3, we learn of Zion this salient feature that "Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God." As it is written, as always, so it is. Let us examine some of them, with special reference to the eschatological present - that is the present state and stage of our Age.
1) It was and is cited to be once again, as indeed is its present position, the capital of the nation of Israel. It was proclaimed Israel's eternal capital in 1980 and is this year again recently so proclaimed by PM Netanyahu. There is no intention whatever, he narrates, to divide it again. On this status and place, as written, see Jeremiah 23:5-8, 31:24-28, Zechariah 8:20-23, Jeremiah 32:11-16. If you want to wither this divine intention for Israel and its historic actuality and that to come, then just manipulate the stars as if they were your own, and you can think about contesting God's intention. That is what is being said AND repeated amid these passage of the word of God.
Many may e disposed to confer, dispute, contrive, arrive and take over;' but the word of God concerning their return is clear, unequivocal, and repeated on this topic so often that one wonders almost as if the world needed a hearing aid; but alas it is as it was with Israel: it will not listen (Isaiah 29:7-10, Matthew 13:14, Isaiah 6:9-13). Israel has paid. The world will also do so (II Thessalonians 1:3-12, 2:1-12, Ezekiel 36-39, Zechariah 12:1-4).
No doubt people will try any spiritual crazed thing (Revelation19:19), but the result is not a matter of some question (cf. Ezekiel 36-39).
2) It was long deemed appropriate by the Lord (Psalm 22:22-25, Matthew 23:34-39, Luke 13:33, as the site for the Saviour's sacrifice to cover the evil status of stalking death, by suffering it vicariously for each of those who should come to Him in faith and repentance to receive Him and His offering, of Himself as Lord and Saviour and take His redemption as effective, this singular sin-routing work of God, in terms of condemnation (Hosea 13:14, Luke 13:33) and thus also His breach of death in resurrection as seal of the cancellation of death's rupture Hosea 13:14-15, Romans 10:9, I Corinthians 15).
The geographical hub of Israel (Zechariah 12:1-10) would become the hub for humanity when willing to receive one at a time (Micah 4:1-7), the divine ransom from its Redeemer (cf. the case of Israel, Zechariah 12:10-13:1, John 5:24). The operation does not count when the patient does not come to the Hospital of souls, Christ the Saviour, in faith. It is then not even made; but all who are healed by His stripes, these as in Isaiah 53, are those whose ransom He pays, whose sin He bears.
3) Jerusalem is also the site of instruction and awe as many, when the time comes, proceed to seek this site of blessing where the Lord Himself, having being abased, has through contrast even more conspicuous glory when His time to deliver Israel comes (Micah 4:1-5, Isaiah 2, 11). This return of Israel to the land is near to the return of the Lord (Jeremiah 33) to the earth, leading to His rule world-wide rule over this orb being accomplished before its departure to come with a devastating rumble (Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3, Matthew 24:35), and dismissal (Isaiah 51:6) and the creation of a new one (Revelation 20:111-21:1, II Peter 3:12-13).
So it is all packed away, like painting equipment when the work is done, and the artist returns. His own rule proceeds (Psalm 72, Isaiah 11), then, first on earth, and then after the final judgment, in heaven, and vast is the gathering of the believing people who have followed the narrow way, which is necessary, even surrender to God, pardon by His gift, and the nurture of His love, as what man was made to have (Romans 6:23, John 5:24, Titus 1:1-3, Matthew 25:41).
How different will this rule be from that which man attempts (cf. Ezekiel 21:26-27, Isaiah 11, 32),and how staggered the peoples will be when their long wrought misdemeanours against Israel are turned on their own head, while Israel resumes its rightful place, being for its part repentant for its sin against the Christ (Zechariah 12:10ff., Isaiah 51:21-23) and receiving in the main, His gift with joy (cf. Isaiah 51:11)!
4) It is in addition the site of stunning testimony of the power of God, in this, that though it was destroyed by the express, punitive will of God (cf. Matthew 24 - using the Roman Empire for this purpose, though with great lamentation and sorrow of heart -Matthew 23:37ff.), yet even after Hitler, and the loss of millions of Jews at that dictator's black summary of Europe's evils over centuries, HE BROUGHT THEM BACK PRECISELY AS HE SAID! No power did or could stop Him doing precisely as He had promised, premised, predicted and asseverated.
Israel paid for its baulking at His will through their own obstinate and misled appetites, over the centuries before Christ, but especially when He came incarnate! but the grace of God prevails in their double return, first to their land and then to their Lord.
As with many others, at last they come to the end of themselves, and though for a time the nation so acted as to inherit curse, yet in the very face of mockers and persecutors over the centuries, HE BROUGHT THEM BACK. Circumstances and heinous hatred do NOT, repeat not, count to overthrow the power of God or distort His will.
5) Jerusalem becomes a pre-eminent illustration of the word of God not changing. Here after centuries of waiting, God yet acts in His own appointed time, when the mix is ready and the nation comes to compliance with the free terms of the Gospel (they ARE still terms, however free), with faith and repentance where it is belongs. Hence when it comes back, we read in Zechariah 12:6, that "Jerusalem will be inhabited again, in its own place - Jerusalem."
What is its own place ? What would be 'its own place' for any famous and ruined city ?
It would be WHERE IT USED TO BE. Note indeed the almost comic emphasis, but before you do, consider this declaration: it is not, "It will come to a proper place," nor yet "it will come to a consummate centre, especially prepared." It is rather this: "will come AGAIN to its own place."
In other words, it once was in a place, noted, famous, acknowledged then and incapable of confusion now. It was notable place. It will come again to this one site in the universe which the city could call its own, in terms of RETURN. This is about a city and a place, that is the topic. This one, why yes, the text advises us, it will return. Where ? to its place ? More ? then its own place. What then is its place ? Well, what else could be its own and have them as returnees to it ? Mars ? South America, the maw of Russia ? Not at all.
Now the almost comic bit. Having noted that it will RETURN to its OWN place, the text continues as if to some utterly dissident listener, and adds, "to its own place - JERUSALEM." He even specifies AGAIN what the site is...
It is as if declaring, Don't forget now the topic, it is about a place, and it is about a known place, and also about a return, and don't waver, the NAME of the place to which return is made, is "Jerusalem." What a delicious additive to the fact that aspects of Israel in detail are itemised in this whole context with that attentive focus that tends to be present when one is returning to the place of youth, desire or a vivid memory. It is consequently right there that the fountain for uncleanness will open, just as it was (symbolically) present in the temple of yore (Zechariah 13:1ff.). Now it is in that greater temple, the city famous for Calvary in its purlieus, the site of the cross of Christ, of His condemnation, resurrection and plenary power.
You may want it otherwise, but this is how it is, the text and context reeks, following the irony of the 30 pieces of silver, a "fine price" for the sale gained by the betrayal for money of the Saviour (Zechariah 11:11-15), who is likewise the Creator whereby the trinity showed in advance His work as Word, to make the earth (Colossians 1:15ff.).
Meanwhile, yes with joy does Israel with increasing multitudes abound (Isaiah 49:19-20). How the Bible spells it out: they return to their base from their exile, to their former location, to the site of their fathers (Jeremiah 33:11-26, 30:12ff.), and in particular it is foretold that the land of Assyria would suffer enormously from the Lord's rebukes (Micah 5:5-6), Persia as a major player (now Iran, Ezekiel 38), nor would Greece, in its own time, wholly escape, and assuredly not Egypt (Zechariah 9:13, Daniel 11:42).
The scene is nationally conceived, internationally crushing with named recipients, for a formerly blessed nation returns purely by divine mercy as foretold to its lair, brought back one by one, away from the surrounding territories which had in a sense, been their prison (Jeremiah 30-:7ff., 31:7-22, Zechariah 10:6-12). Here lies the Messianic reference in Zechariah 9:9 and Chs. 11-12. Here comes Israel in preparation for their conversion, not reversion to barren idolatries.
Thus they come with a torrent of joy and relief as their restoration to the land that lay desolate, without inhabitant, is accomplished so that it is at that time, the Messiah will rule (Isaiah Jeremiah 33:6-15).
Indeed, Jerusalem as a part of all
this, and an item, is often specifically treated in terms of restoration to what
was, and in one prophet in terms of national conversion (or something like it),
it is found with obstructively obvious emphasis
(Zechariah 12:6), when the inhabitants realise their guilt in having (nationally
by law) crucified their own Christ (too small is the task for Him only in Israel,
for it also has spiritual cover available for
the Gentiles, as in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6). Indeed, in Zechariah 12 we even come
to the detail that Jerusalem in these penultimate strivings with surrounding
foes, will at one stage be divided into two (as it most notoriously was in
the 1948 war, a condition which continued for several years, and was remedied in
1967). How great will be the rejoicing at its restoration when both heart and
site are cleared (Micah 4, Romans 11)!
A MARVEL OF DIVINE REVELATION
Such is foretold and very much of it is already fulfilled.
Yet as if blind, with a rash and rank abandon how many nations have sought to become additional disciplinarians for Israel, mocking it scarifying, contemptuous, vilifying, exploiting and that for long centuries of wantonry! Now they will find the impact of a foot if you will, more severe than their own has been (if possible)_ on Israel, and that in divine judgment! (Isaiah 51:21ff.).
How long it has lasted, and with what vehemence did many pursue this anti-biblical and odious crusade; for though God indeed appointed their discipline (cf. Micah 5:1ff.), yet this did not authorise heartless bullies, as if in a school yard, adding cowardly kicks of their own after a student has been caned. Thinly veiled for many is their multiple reckless confrontations with the scenario published in the Bible for millenia, concerning the scope of the divine plans here for Israel and for this world and beyond it. God will not relent (Micah 7:20, Jeremiah 31, 33), but do precisely as in His profound counsel He has both surveyed, conveyed and commanded! Already most of the items concerning Christ, though by no means all, have been either fulfilled or appear as near as a man who has dived, comes to the water below, at last ... with a splash.
It is, as Jeremiah 31, 33 tells us easier to rule the stars than dissociate the specific promises that Israel has been given. The love, the land and the outcome in salvation are all included. The Gospel has come as promised, Israel has returned as promised, it has fought amazingly triumphant wars as promised (and promised in Zechariah 12), many Gentiles growl at it with savage intent, Iran expressly positioning herself with stated desire to exterminate Israel, just as Ezekiel 38-39 predicted of it jaunty recklessness.
RESCUED BUT NOT GLORIOUS
If Israel has some spiritual glories to relate, it is from her obedient phases, and the failure to recognise their God speaks such volumes that it needs but the shortest narration.
Determined is the Lord of the Bible, determinate is the situation predicted, free for folly are the children of man, and when Israel's restoration is complete and God's rule through Christ is manifest (cf. Psalm 72, Isaiah 65), then the world will realise that here, outside the particular rebellions of mankind, is the ONLY peace (cf. Ezekiel 21:27). All its follies whehther of a start in nothingness, which has no future which yet is postulated by many who ARE the future of the beginning with not nothing, but something adequate for mind, matter and spirit eternally there. From this sufficient and necessary cause, all was to be inscribed into existence, formed, forged, activated and in man, came this marvel: it was the making of one so ordered as even to be CREATIVE in liberty.
Thus Israel is not to be glorified, far less given a second kingdom, making grace a format for exaltation, whereas in that open DAY OF THE LORD, it is God ONLY who is exalted, and thank God for that (Isaiah 2:5-22). God however IS glorified, which is due and fitting and true. He is glorified then as it moves to it, and He is through it and over it and secures all His counsel! ONE way of His glorification is doing all that HE has said, which is a glory indeed, forsaking none as if promiscuous in thought, instead of true to the least of His promises (Matthew 5:17-20).
in His impervious reliability, promise keeping and vast profundities of mercy (cf. Micah 7), in His providence, Israel IS unique in the midst of the nations as revealed in income and outcome in the Lord, and tjhis over the unremitting millenia of suffering and continuity where little envy might be stirred!. The nation Israel is to be a part, in large and glorious measure as a war vessel returning to its port, an element in the Christian Church, a part, distinct but not separate, where the glory of the Lord is over all together. It is to be in a blessed, conspicuous and much loved measure, a portion of that Church.
The promises of God and the chosen premises for their performance (Isaiah 43:21) are neither renounced nor qualified. His wisdom and plan have not evaporated, but remain in Him who created all and saves some, desiring all but confounding nothing, either by force nor deception. Truth rules. What is to come even now is so near in format that it should fill with foreboding those who have to learn that fighting the word and grace of God is like fighting an ocean wave with a bucket. It is as it has to be, overwhelming because you are fighting not only your own inventor, but your Creator, who made you free enough to be desecrator of His love or defiant of His mercy as if it were some typhoon, while yet it is peace.
What an enormity of coming victims of their own follies might be spared if the biblically specified Northern power associated with Iran (Persia) and others, as in Ezekiel 38-39, not long following Israel's return (Ezekiel 38:1-12), were alerted and diverted from the headstrong push predicted to come! However, for many as the Bible emphatically indicates, their consciences become as if seared with a hot iron, and as they would not, at length it could come about that they could not relent, be swallowed up in their own contempt. The condition can become like an ulcerated conscience (cf. II Timothy 4:1-4, I Timothy 4:1-2).
ISRAEL IS BOTH RELEVANT NOW AND NOT TO BE EXALTED. There is to be but one kingdom as God works it all, but with the limitations installed, and the love magnified, it is as real as yesterday and as certain as tomorrow.
WILFUL KINGS ON THE WAY
They come like rowdy bulls, seeking to overcome. God however can see through them (Ezekiel 36-39) and knows them before they know themselves, and it is He who has announced their thrust thousands of years before it comes, just as He predicted Israel's return and the triumphant Israeli battles following that return, thousands of years before they even crucified Christ (predicting the latter also, and that multiply).
Part of His rigorous and at times vehement though restrained call to mankind, and here in Australia now this applies, is to avoid similar delusion. It is to return from the refusal of factual reality by imagining irrational, insupportable and rash ideas and idols as if they could remake man, rather than mar, mess and be carried away with their ignorant and impotent knowledgeability.
It is time for this land to turn again to the Bible and the Saviour so long emphasised, to turn from the plural pushes of propaganda certainly programmed, and the vapours and gases of spiritual pollution. Who is this who positions himself to become our pseudo-divine mentor! Who is that party ? Is there ANY party not infected ?
But if there is none, at the level of rule, then the call it is no less to stop the harassment of holiness, as likewise the curdling of our national Constitution in its demands for liberty in religion.
Why rule irrationally AND with totalitarian disregard and duress despite the Constitutional rules, which limits the religious power of politicians, the peremptory power of pushing or even arraigning others, based on their own preferred perceptions and desires. This is is not rule but tyranny, lawless tyranny. It is better frankly to avoid it and institute the rule of the Constitution.
As noted in my multi-point letter to the Authority set up to consider freedom in religion, in Australia, we wait to see what the outcomes will be. Will they indeed abort the Constitution, though it is long born, pushing it away ? It is a time for realism, integrity, self-control and survey. and in one religious sense, this may become a second discovery of what earlier could be regarded as the Great South Land.