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BULLETIN SEVENTY EIGHT
THE GIFTS AND
CALLING OF GOD
ARE "WITHOUT REPENTANCE"
In Nahum 1:15, we hear a fragment that would appears also in Isaiah 52:7. It is this: "Behold on the mountains the feet of him who brings good tidings, who proclaims peace..." In Isaiah, as from one filling out the view by looking around in a distant landscape, it adds: "who brings good tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns!' "
In Nahum, it has another phase to reveal. After next exhorting Israel to faithful obedience, it declares this: "For the wicked one shall no more pass through you; he is utterly cut off."
In fact, Israel was not faithful in fulfilling its compact, contract, yes better, covenant with the Lord. As a nation, it did not indeed heed the news to be brought by the beautiful missionary feet that did not fail to overcome obstacles in delivering faithfully the message of salvation; and the promise concerning deliverance from transient enemies therefore had to wait until Israel WAS to repent once for all as in Zechariah 12:10ff., not only of sin, as for all, but as a nation (a nation put Christ to death instead of receiving Him and all that He had) but of the crucial sin.
This was the sin of the crucifixion of their Lord (protector and the only Saviour - Isaiah 43:8-10), both for its lamentable cruelty and its appalling folly. Here was a simple and acute severance from God, by breaking the bond, removing from their midst the dynamic of healing and committing outrage against the Almighty. It was the Son of God whom they slew, with the express and exclusive mandate of salvation (Acts 4:11-12). Exploding an series of atomic bombs would have been far safer.
To be sure, in so doing they performed a part of the plan of salvation for the Almighty, and in dramatic and graphic form proclaimed through their defiant and destructive lèse-majesté, a sacrifice which both placarded their sinfulness and exhibited what would come in the plainest manner (as is shown in Micah 5:1-3 cf. Isaiah 32:12-17), so that what was given for grace for their deliverance instead became what they used for their disgrace and devastation. It was like removing the engine of a car when a volcanic lava fiery stream was already pouring along the highway (cf. Isaiah 1).
BUT WHEN they should repent as a nation of this national act of ridding themselves of their Messiah, and instead receive Him, THEN the blessings including deliverance from invasively inclined nations would indeed come. A cheque is applicable upon being paid in, not in being torn up.
That pay-in time for Israel leading to the return of the Messiah, is in now drawing "near" (cf. Luke 21:24) and without it, the best and the worst the nations can do will no more 'solve' the problem in the Middle East than does vaseline solve cancer.
Those who fiddle about with Israel now, demand and direct, attack moreover and seek to invade, play the fool with hatred and rockets, in the most excruciatingly horrid cases, all of the pundits and the pugnacious powers alike will find, indicates Zechariah 12, the whole matter a burdensome weight (as they are now doing! in fulfilment). Indeed, in this Chapter of Zechariah, as it itemises the glorious victories God will give Israel in this militantly evil time from the various powers who interest themselves as if God, to direct the thing in appalling ignorance or indifference to what GOD has said about the matter, Israel will be a weighty problem and a user of resources.
Things will not work out, be the negotiators never so gifted, and though for a short time it may seem as if they are settled (cf. I Thessalonians 5). In the end as in Micah 7, Isaiah 66, Deuteronomy 32, Ezekiel 38-39, we find that an array of nations with lustful intent will strike and be stricken; they will not need to be stricken a second time, for it is God who will act. In Micah this action is given some quantification. It will be of a certain order of magnitude (7:15): it will be as it was when Pharaoh was the enemy and the destruction of his army and the deliverance of Israel from that powerful enemy, was the result. It will be a matter of vastly disproportionate power and utter deliverance of His people.
This exhibits a vital principle in all dealings with the Lord. He is UTTERLY FAITHFUL. If to a nation, as in Genesis 17:7-8, for example, He declares that a site is to be set apart for them to all generations down the line, then that is what will happen, though the whole world seek to spit on His word, will and indeed, many even directly on His Son! though there are many escapees from this wild and wilful cultural spree in a corrupted race (cf. Hebrews 2, 6). Who are these ? (cf. Revelation 7:18-19). These are they, Jew or Gentile, who leave the whirl of this world of wrath by receiving the message and the focus of the Gospel which Christ enshrines. Thus Israel, though hugely disciplined for sacrifice in human form of its very God, WILL NOT EVENTUALLY BE DISCARDED. Many will come suddenly to believe (cf. Romans 11:12,25).
You see this faithful promise and this basic premiss over and again, as in Jeremiah 33, so also Hosea 1:10 with Romans 9:26.
In Jeremiah, the return of very large numbers of Jews to Israel is to occur, statedly, AT THE SAME PLACE (Jeremiah 33:10,12,15) as occasioned their trouble, namely Israel. That very place of which they were saying, 'It is desolate' (33:10) will resound to the divine mercy with joy amid many. Indeed, in Jeremiah 33:15-16,, we find that it is amidst this major return that the Messiah comes back to rule the earth. With the major returnees changing the scene categorically from desolation to abundance, we learn that "in those days and at that time" the Messiah promised through David rule and judges. It is in that very period that this coalescing returns, Israel to its land and the Lord to Israel, though there is one crucial element amidst all this, shortly to occupy us.
Meanwhile, in Hosea and Romans we see emphasis on the PLACE: IN THE PLACE WHERE THEIR REBELLION WAS CONFRONTED, THERE THEIR RESTORATION WILL ABOUND. That simply puts it in categories. Where did the violations leading to this exile occur ? In Israel. Where is there to be this staggering return ? "in the place where it was said to them, there it shall be said to them, 'You are the sons of the living God." THEN they will appoint ONE ruler. As in Jeremiah 33, it is the same one as in Isaiah 55:4, who is the leader and commander: this, it is made quite clear, is the other end of the line, the reconciliation, the pardon, the reconstitution that ends the travail of the folly that struck Israel to its base. Here is no mini-restoration, for the number of those involved shall be as the sand of the sea, multiplied beyond any ordinary statement to measure it! (cf. Isaiah 49:20-21, detailing the work as the Messiah approaches). Paul cites it as he reviews the applicability of such words to Gentile as well as Jew, for there is a double class of unreconciled, the Jews as a nation, the Gentiles as all the rest.
But let us turn, in the period or time when the Messiah comes back. These two events move to coalesce. It is He, Himself is to return and rule. In Jeremiah, the restoration of happy national life is to come in the era of the return of the Messiah to rule.
Let us ponder this. Indeed, in those days and at that time, we read in Jeremiah, the famed, Messianic descendant (in the flesh side) of David will exercise judgment in the earth. Where ? the context is extensive on the details of the land in view, that very Israel where so much occurred, and where it is to recur under His Messianic Mastery! These two events are bound together as in the same period, not co-extensively but in intimate correlation. In the place of arrest and desolation, comes rest and appreciation, as in Hosea. SAME TIME, SAME PLACE. Where the evil was done, the grand goodness will even RULE, in the Messiah, not in the UN, the USA, in the Russian invasive horde (if the Northern power of Ezekiel 38 be Russia).
One wonders if it is not enough that the Lord as it were underlines three times a point, that it must be eight or nine times before some will take it in, who have philosophic, nationalistic, imperialistic or social engineering models to force on man as they charge away from God (). Whatever the cause, and sin is multiple, the result is one, clear, re-stated time and again, and looks the ambitious in the eye without staring and without rest.
As it is written so it will be.
But there is something even more important. God's faithfulness (both to discipline and to deliver) with Israel is something at a national level, with a site selected for a profound spiritual work, than which none is greater. This is that saving singularity concerning salvation not for the Jew only, but also for the Gentile (as predicted in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6). His RELIABILITY, FAITHFULNESS is notorious in this case, even over thousands of years. So many cannot stand Israel being back in place because, already beginning to resemble the Exodus but this time in the other direction, IN, it testifies of the God they wish to exit. He however has His own ways, His own people and His own decisions. They stand, though His mercy is staggering.
So it is with the INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIAN. Read Romans 8:30: if you are ever justified by faith, receiving the free pardon and the gift of God's own righteousness as in Romans 5:17, then nothing will separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:37-39). If by faith you have received Him then to you is the authority given to become a child of God, whose 'seed', that is generative power and action, REMAINS in you (John 1:12, I John 3:9 cf. John 5:24), just as your genetic signature remains in you for the body you have. You may, like King David, make some appalling error, but God forgives. Notice that David did not make a practice of such, but this was like a wart on the end of the nose, and it led to major discipline, being a major action.
No wonder Paul in II Timothy 1:12 declares that he knows whom he has believed and is persuaded that He is able to keep what is committed to Him against that day. Indeed, says Paul in Ephesians 1:11 of those who believed, the adopted and sealed: we have obtained an inheritance, and in II Timothy 4:8, he declares that the crown of righteousness which he is to inherit is the one available for ALL who know the Lord, that is, who have loved His appearing.