W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
A PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE AND THE PLAN
God, Infinite in Understanding, exposes
The Spiritual Scenario, the National Plan
Moving from Hosea to Isaiah
For those who have not yet read Ch. 10 preceding, please read:
EXORDIUM FOR CHAPTERS 10 and 11 JOINTLY
Prelude to Jeremiah 30-33
God as we have seen in Ch. 10, spoke of Israel in Hosea in terms of a sinful people secured in love, 'married' to the Lord who is faithful, yet who abounded in rebellion, moral, spiritual, ethical, judicial and political, and became like an adulteress; and indeed, in the multitude of evils wrought, this god and that, this fiction and that, this cultural compulsion and that, they came to resemble a very harlot. Such was His assessment.
Great was the disjunction from the divine; enormous was the guilt, the false dealing with the One who had rescued the people from unspeakable oppression in Egypt, and repeatedly from difficulty or derangement (cf. Ezekiel 20). Using Hosea as a pictorial edition in one person, of their escapades and unspiritual extravaganzas, God asked that prophet to marry an actual harlot, to symbolise the Lord's taking of a sinful people for His own. She however, though well-treated, rushed off in a while to have other men, or husbands, or Baals, other sorts of lords over her conscience, convictions and culture, so that in the end, in her shameless effrontery and spiritual self-indulgence (for this is Hosea acting out in married life what was really a spiritual matter, each 'husband' or fornicator an idol or false god), she left but one option open other than complete abandonment.
Hosea was authorised to go out and buy her back, even pay a ransom for such doubly damaged goods, being faithful, in the extreme, while she was unfaithful, likewise in the extreme. This was made into a broader scenario, in Hosea 3, where we learn that just as the wife must now abide for a long time, so Israel which had so far failed, in the end abruptly, aborting in much its destiny as a people to show forth to the world the praise of God (Isaiah 43:21), would wait a very long time for the Lord to come to her. When however He did, then marvels of mercy would be strewn like Autumn leaves on the forest floor, all about her, and once more she would become a thing of joy, a people of His good pleasure.
Yes, "Afterwards the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They shall fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days," Hosea 3:5. The means as noted in Hosea 13:14, where God Himself (precisely as in Ezekiel 34), would personally act to deliver Israel from those who served themselves and advanced her evils. He would even redeem, indeed ransom her from the grave, from hell, in His own Person, shown in Isaiah 53, as in 42, 49, as the incarnate Servant (cf. Isaiah 48:15ff.), God as man. It was no other than HE who would take Israel, as in breach birth from death's squalid womb, and demolish destruction, even for those who so received Him (cf. Psalm 2:7 with Acts 13:33ff., Isaiah 55.
In Isaiah 49 and 42 we find the same story in different terms, but the essential features have an intimacy of concept. Thus God is to send a Servant, like NONE in Israel, effectual for salvation, patient and kind, longsuffering and tender-hearted (42:1-4), who will become a covenant to the people, in Himself, and indeed He will be a light to the Gentiles as well, for it is too little in such an incarnation of such a Being, to have only Israel the site of salvation (Isaiah 49:6). Nevertheless, it is to this, His ancient people, that He addresses Himself in context of contiguity, as the recipient of so many prophecies concerning their situation, their sin, His salvation and the way of it. This Servant (Isaiah 41:26 - 42:3) is unique and utterly distinct in savour and salvation from ANY in Israel, and is to become a sin-sacrifice, hence free from any sin or blemish.
As in Hosea 13:14, it is God Himself who speaks of their slippage and with conviction of His salvation plan for them, even to the overcoming of all that destroys, while in Isaiah 48:15ff., He reveals that He as God, who speaks, will send His servant as One sent, also God, and His Spirit, also God, so that we see the dignity and meaning of plurality in this, even the trinity, in that THE GOD has His expressive representative who will COME from heaven with the Spirit, and DO the works needed.
In Isaiah 48, moreover, there is lamentation, extremely like that of Christ in Luke 19:42ff., when the Word of God became flesh, and we see the Sent One so lamenting for them. Yet in Isaiah 49, we get a forward-looking message of hope.
Again, there we meet the One Sent. His mouth like a sharp sword, He is hidden in the shadow of the divine hand on earth, like a "polished shaft" in the divine quiver. Here is the Servant, AN ISRAEL (as Professor E. J. Young aptly translated it, for NONE, in Israel the nation, were relevant as noted). Amazingly with this divine introduction, we find this singular servant, this spiritual singularity expressed from the divine Being, in this, that He is the sent one for salvation,suddenly finding His work is as for nothing (49:4). It seems dried up, barren, vain.
Back comes the celestial reply from the sending station in heaven, from Him who formed this Servant from the womb "to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel is gathered to Him;" and indeed, it is anticipated as the One sent declares, "For I shall be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and My God shall be My strength". What is that reply from heaven ? It is this:
"It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore
the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles
that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth."
So nestling in His sending Father, this Son (Isaiah 9) is reassured, just as He also finds in the very nearness of the Father renewed strength in the midst of apparent defeat, and proceeds despite the anguish on the way (cf. Psalm 22:1), to prevail. What however was the apparent defeat, as if His mission had failed at first ? What THAT was is explained in Isaiah 52-53. Here, once more, in the lead up in Isaiah 51:20, there is no help in the children of Israel itself, but there is then found all help in the suffering, sacrificial, sin-bearing servant, vicariously victorious and definitively triumphant in His mission, so that in Isaiah 55 free salvation is indeed available, on repentance and faith in Him as Lord and Leader, Covenant and Captain, salvation and spiritual resource (as in Isaiah 61).
Meanwhile, in Isaiah 49 we find this, that in so acting, raising up the chosen of Israel and being a light to the Gentiles and a covenant to the people, the Servant of the Lord has performed a many-sided marvel. If He is to "raise up the tribes of Israel" (49:8), what more for that people ? To be sure (Isaiah 65:13-15) their culture is not to be resurrected, nor is their symbolism to be re-invented (cf. Isaiah 66:1-3), and indeed any lien on divine property, at the spiritual level, is lost (Isaiah 65:13-15), though of course regained in the Messiah, the servant so sent, in the One who is to be a COVENANT (Matthew 26, in His blood!) for the people. As in Isaiah 55, this is by personal affinity, swallowing the drink of salvation, the water of life, from His hand.
That being so, what else is to be for Israel ? First of all, this Redeemer is to be such that though (in order for His sin-bearing sacrifice to occur), He is One whom "man despises" and indeed whom "the nation abhors"; yet in His mission vast things will change for "Kings shall see an arise, princes also shall worship," in this feature of God who has chosen and sent this Celestial Servant for this salvation. Indeed, Kings will hear what was foreign to their minds, alien to their ears, staggering to their very hearts (Isaiah 52:15), meeting true royalty in Spirit and in truth, in Him!
Has God then really forgotten Israel amid the flux of her flurries and the follies of her sins ? Not at all, and just as in Hosea 3, indeed far from it. "See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands, your walls are continually before Me," Isaiah 49:16. Her destroyers (49:17), those who wantonly acted to ruin the chosen nation, Israel, will go away, and Israel the depopulated will become a land too small to contain her coming inhabitants, when the scenario reaches this redeeming climax and its immediate antecedents. In this restoration, those who had smitten Israel will inherit their own forcefulness, levelled against them (49:24ff.).
Accordingly, the once so populous Israel (49:21), who had become depopulated, will be repopulated, and the nation which had enjoyed such prominence and wonder as the Lord's, since devastated, will once more be ready for enlargement of its people and joy in the Lord. God for His part "will contend with him who contend with you, and I will save your children," He declares, adding that "I will feed those who oppress you with their own flesh," so that this predicted conclusion coming true, "All flesh shall know that I, the LORD, am your Saviour, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob," (Isaiah 49:26).
Thus Zion, the presentation of Israel in its national structure, will no more, AS ZION, say, "The LORD has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." In other words, the nation select by God for His purpose, having been found, founded and then fallen, will find a restoration to her former spiritual state, and her devastated condition. Accordingly, as in Isaiah 41-42, so in Isaiah 51:19-23, we find the same exclusion of any in Israel as apt for the redeeming task, all her sons fallen or ill-equipped, and the same focus on the Messiah, the Saviour, God with us. Once more we find the "light to the Gentiles" and the redeemer, called in righteousness by the Lord (42:6) to be a covenant to the people, and to "open blind eyes".
The Lord will not merely renew the spiritual licence in the New Covenant - Jeremiah 31:31 - but as to Israel restored, the believing remnant, the populous and returning people (Zechariah 12:10ff.), He declares this:
"See I have taken out of your hand the dregs of the cup of My
You shall no longer drink it.
But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you,
who have said to you, 'Lie down, that we may walk over you' ..."
It is precisely this that the Arab and Muslim masses have been doing to Israel since its return to statehood in 1948, rejecting the enormously liberal offer of the UN in 1947, and the astonishing offer at the Camp David summit with Clinton, while taking from Israel the gift of Gaza as if for shooting practice on the body of longsuffering Israel, saying again and again, "Lie down, that we may walk over you." However, such practices are perilous, for God is a God of justice, and as to the cup of His fury, He will transfer this to "the hand of those who afflict you," those liking to walk over Israel.
Israel however is not a stamping ground for sedition or assault, whether from Turkey or the Palestinian Authority or the Madrid Quartet, or those who would sprawl their scrawl over Israel, and mock her "day of Jacob's trouble," when millions were given a treatment beyond barbarism, in conditions memorable for their acute inhumanity, the very climax in the 1940s of generations of travail and torture.
This coming of the sacrificial Servant, though at first a thing of abhorrence (Isaiah 49:7), is to be ultimately a thing of joy all but inexpressible (49:10). News of Him will spread over the earth. In power, to which Israel was accustomed from the Exodus and the entrance into the land with Joshua, though they have found purity goes with this divine power, God is going to act (42:13). As in Micah 7:15ff., this involves prevailing against His enemies (49:13). Devastation will be part of His deliverance for Israel amidst her foes (49:15).
Then we learn at once that the people being so delivered are blind! (Isaiah 42:19).
This is certainly no distinguishing characteristic of those who, derivative from Christ, are the "light of the world" and who shine as lights amid its darkness (Philippians 2:15, Matthew 5:14); but it does match uniquely the peculiar and incomparable situation of an Israel once found, nationally redeemed from Egypt, hallowed and blessed, but then fallen and disciplined. Losing its name and lands, and then brought back to their land, "after many days," as Hosea 3 put it, with the prospect of the Messiah actually coming to rule as in Micah 4, Isaiah 2, Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, they are nevertheless, in this gathering and returning, this restoration, this act of divine grace, yet wholly blind and deaf. Yes they are blind, though once enlightened as a people; and as those who do not understand, they are returned, brought back by a way they do not know, in the Messiah, in His power, by His grace (Isaiah 42:16). Indeed, it is AS blind they so return and are delivered in this regard, not as luminaries!
Indeed, so vast is the gap between their situation, those brought back at last to their land, that God asks a rhetorical question (Isaiah 49:19): "Who is blind but My servant!" . In other words, they are distinctive in darkness, a fold of the deaf, seeing much, observing little; and as such are they now reconstituted in their land (as in Ezekiel 37, where their physical return from world-wide dispersion PRECEDES a second call and divine command, which is to give them, like bones re-assembled, the necessary second ingredient, that of LIFE! (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 10).
As in Zechariah 12, this comes in the very midst of a contest and assault season, one however to end in a triumphant act of smashing the perpetual enemies as in Deuteronomy 32, Micah 7, who have sought to close in on Israel, and foreclose its future with their own.
A. Jeremiah 30 - the Prelude
We move now to a further scenario exposure concerning Israel with its varied implications, enshrined in Jeremiah 30.
Here there is a condensed concentrate.
First the Lord looks ahead to happier days (for the destruction of Jerusalem in the day of Jeremiah, was pending, despite the various appeals and provisions the Lord so graciously and intimately made for its deliverance - all ignored or deleted by the nation - as in Jeremiah 17, a very 'easy' and ready solution; but none was taken). We need to learn from this, for God is a good teacher, but what of the learner! Let him or her not lean on some inner understanding, but on the Lord and TRUST HIM. To be without faith is the road to being faithless, as to be without spiritual love is to being ruthless, whether viciously weak or virtuously deceptive.
Jerusalem stood firm on her disinclination, like a fortress on her faithlessness. What then would and did come ? There would indeed be fear and not peace (30:5) and so great was that horror to be, that it is as if men were standing like women, about to deliver child, but it is not so; what is portrayed as to come in Jerusalem is just the amazed sense of wonder at what is happening. Indeed he Lord foresees a time of trouble for Israel (at times to be dispersed as in Leviticus 26), and it is "the time of Jacob's trouble" (30:7). Focussed here as to come, it is indeed like an isolated stone sentinel, standing alone, for "there is none like it," 30:7. However, Israel will be delivered from this coming maelstrom that almost beggars description, one lined up in the coming annals of time.
This once done, the Lord will "break the yoke from your neck" (Jeremiah 30:8), and "burst your bonds", and at this remote time, "foreigners will no more enslave them." In fact, it is to be a spectacular development, for there is reason for this despatch of hungry and angry neighbouring lands. The love of the Lord endures, and there is reason for His relief, grace always pressing like a strong wind on the wires, and sometimes singing. What comes then when this grace will come to Israel ? No more at last will they twang without truth, but their King will come for His kingdom, and in this they will inhere. What does Jeremiah depict, portray and predict ? It is this:
"But they shall serve the LORD their God,
and David their king, whom I will raise up for them," 30:9.
David of course had been dead and buried, as far as this world is concerned, for centuries by this time; so the reference is to the promise made to the house, the descendants of David, of whom ONE (Psalm 72, Psalm 2), would be the Lord Himself, in whom man should trust, their Redeemer (72:14), and the method of that is already seen in Isaiah above.
It is in the line of David that He is to come (Isaiah 11:1-10, II Samuel 7:12-13). Promised to come, be sacrificed and resurrected, He would return regally indeed, and liberty fulfilled, judgment would be seen, equity and grace, tenderness and truth, not bundled out like an unwanted child ('children should be seen and not heard'), but but both prominent and dominant (cf. Psalm 2, 110, Isaiah 11). While, as to this coming Prince and King, it is preceded by His sacrificial sharing in the sin of the people, He without sin but the sin-bearer for those who so receive Him by faith.
What then ? He provides first in this, that He bore it for all His believing people. Israel the nation would indeed bring the rod of rebuke (cf. Isaiah 7, 9, 50, 53, 48, with Micah 5:1-3), yet in their punitive act, their heartless rejection lies the way to glory. For the remnant (cf. Isaiah 11), there is the glory of the Lord to come, and for the penitent there is the place for peace in the heart (cf. Isaiah 26, 40:26ff.).
This is the primary focus in Isaiah, the pregnant vision in Jeremiah (cf. Jeremiah 16, 30-33, 50-51) amid the appealing love of God and the appalling hardness of heart of the nation. Yet it is He who is everlasting and the cure for man in general, Israel in particular. If He will act in judgment, He will also act in mercy. His love will not dry up (cf .Micah 7:19ff., Jeremiah 30:20ff.). Looking broadly ahead, the Lord announces that afflicting nations may go, but Israel will not depart in the end, but STAY (Jeremiah 30:11), though not unpunished for its sins.
In fact, speaking of the contemporary situation, "your affliction is incurable, your wound is severe. There is no one to plead your cause," Jeremiah 30:12. All "your lovers have forgotten you," as might be expected of the cultural addictions to foolish and alien cultures which had so ruined Israel. Yet it is "because your sins have increased that I have done these things," Jeremiah 30:15.
So far from this being the end, though it closes an exceptionally difficult Chapter in Israel's history,
those who devour you shall be devoured, and all your adversaries,
every one of them, shall go into captivity.
Those who plunder you shall become plunder,
and all who prey upon you I will make a prey.
For I will restore health to you, and heal you of your wounds,
says the LORD..."
(Jeremiah 30: 16-17).
In fact, God is going to restore the fallen and seemingly forsaken Israel from captivity, then coming. The city will be restored. Moving on to the Messiah, the Lord declares that "the governor shall come from their midst" and it is One who singularly "pledges His heart to approach Me," Jeremiah 30:21, this, as in Jeremiah 23:5ff., the Messiah.
This of course has moved explicitly to the far off future, for "The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it," Jeremiah 30:24. That is emphasised in Jeremiah 33:3ff.. You see the Messianic focus similarly in Zechariah 3-4, where it is shown in the symbolism of the priest and prince of the day of their first return, that from Babylon, being used expressly to signify the coming Messiah, of whom they are but types. It is when "My servant, the Branch" comes, "the stone that I have laid before Joshua", who was the priest of the return era from Babylon, that we learn of the ultimate divine act to redeem. "Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold I will engrave its inscription,' says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day," (Zechariah 3:9).
Here then in Zechariah 3:9 is Isaiah 53 in a nutshell, the vicarious atonement in the Messiah, the Branch as in Isaiah 11:1ff., where we see quite clearly God as man ruling the earth with His word. In one day, the effectual atonement made in one place by one Person in one way, once for all achieving eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12-28, Isaiah 52-55), will become applicable, and the sins of centuries in their conception and execution, will be gone, swallowed up in the mercy of God to the repentant and redeemed, where faith operates and truth is once again to be found.
When God acts to create or to create a clean heart, or to pay a debt, He does not need time to gather His wits. Time is an attribute used with divine discretion, never by any necessity! In ONE DAY is the action to become effectual!
B. Jeremiah 31 - the First Thrust
Now the restoration, renovation phase becomes the specialty, and indeed it leads right into the New Covenant, which is to displace the Old One as in Isaiah 42, 49, 66, in the Messiah's own name.
That is why the people of that day will have a 'new name', as in Isaiah 62:1-2. It is after all, from Israel that the apostles came, and the first multiplied thousands of believers making up the new-born Christian Church as in Acts 1. As in Isaiah 42, they are to be brought back to their land, and "a great throng will return there. They shall come with weeping and with supplications I will lead them... for I am a Father to Israel."
Hear, says the Lord to the nations, telling the prophet to say, " 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd does his flock,' for the LORD has redeemed Jacob." Indeed, the topic in view, Israel, will be brought from the North country, "among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child," for "a great throng shall return there ... For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My first born." God knows His first-born Israel, and the thematic continuity is massive, with constant reminders appealing to the unbiased and ready mind as if someone were continuing a biography.
In fact, on p. 791 of his work, "ISRAEL", David Ben Gurion, famed former PM of Israel, expressed their fateful singularity and marvellous continuity in this way.
NO OTHER PEOPLE
"I know of no other people
that was exiled from it land,
dispersed among the nations of the world,
so hated, persecuted, expelled, and slaughtered
(in your days and mine alone 6 million Jews were destroyed by the Nazi),
yet did not vanish from history,
did not despair nor assimilate (although many did),
but yearned incessantly to return to its land,
and believed in its messianic deliverance for two thousand years;
and indeed did return to its land in our day and renewed its independence.
And I know that here never was a people in this land -
called always in Hebrew the Land of Israel -
that was so entirely identified all of its life with this land.
Although there were many conquerors (Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Ottomans, and British)
this country was never the one and only homeland to nay people other than the Jews.
"I am aware that there is no other case in human history
of a people returning to its land after eighteen hundred years.
This is a unique fact, but one that operated in every generation,
for there was no generation when the Jews did not try (although not all of them succeeded) to return to their Homeland.
A second fact is that the Christian world and the League of Nations,
which was composed almost entirely of Christian peoples,
recognized the historic link between the People of Israel and the Land of Israel
and endorsed the Balfour Declaration."
THIS, he declared, is a unique fact.
So no doubt it is. Intensively sad and yet awesome is their plight: first brought in to the Lord as a people, then rebellious, at length exiled as warned (Leviticus 26), moving to kill their own Messiah, then brought back (1948), with this history rampant and real as life and death, to find first their land and next in line to come, their salvation (Zech. 12:6-13:1) in large numbers. There is no people like them and no confusion is possible to the willing mind on this point, their identity. Often does God speak to and of them, with this configuration explicit or implied. When He speaks to anyone or of anyone in any place, textual fidelity is necessary, not philosophical generalisation, unwarranted, intrusive. What He says in any place is to be imported into the mind, and made a datum, whatever the form or configuration He may choose. When HE speaks, listen!
The vicissitudes of this people, for blessing, for deliverance, short-term, long term, Old Covenant, or New Covenant phases are all there; as are extensions to the Gentiles, not to obliterate the tree or its components, but to stress the basic unity which at last beings all things to Christ, and all things to their divinely scripted conclusion (Isaiah 55, 60-61, 66, Jeremiah 16, 33). Re-scripting the performance, either to obscure Israel on the one hand, or to glorify it on the other, meets the contradictions of God (Isaiah 19, Zechariah 12-14, Jeremiah 31,33), whose mind is, after all, His own, and whose word is not for manipulation, a mannish pre-occupation, but for acknowledgement and observance.
Nothing could be clearer. A sinning 'wife', a people taken for His own by the Lord, has been relinquished amid disciplines terrible in the midst of their awesome rebellions, wrigglings and renegacy both sustained and chronic, as if to make sin as unreachable as righteousness is unimpeachable, and to confirm evil with a red marking pen. Yet the Lord is going to surprise the nations in their reckless antagonism and slurs (cf. Jeremiah 24:9, Ezekiel 5:15, 22:5, 36:4, 38-39), with their assault forces and enmity. Indeed, from their hand or power, the Lord will ransom Jacob, even Israel, that lost sinning nation which had been so close to the Lord (Deuteronomy 7:6ff.), only to move so far! There is none like it in this, and in this the Lord speaks of His intentions, both to Israel and to its perpetual enemies as in Isaiah 51:22ff..
The tables will be reversed. The aggressors against Israel will suffer from the antagonism of the Lord to bullies, themselves subservient to sin, passionate hypocrites in this, opportunist rebels who merely mimic Israel in folly, while adding their harassments and internecine hatred (Jeremiah 31:36, 30:8-11, Isaiah 49:17-18, 51:21-23, Micah 7:15ff.).
Yet there is more in this long period, this time of many days before the Lord returns to Israel (as in Romans 11:12,25ff., Hosea 1-3). If there is to be unspeakable joy, yet there is to come in the line of events leading to this consummation with Christ, the Messiah, a day of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), parallel to that announced in Jeremiah 31:15. What is this ? We move in tableaux for a time.
We find in Jeremiah 31:15:
"A voice is heard ... Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more."
Here it is specifically children who are in focus, and tender maternal emotions which are described. However, Israel will endure beyond this time, in fact found to be associated with the Messiah's birth, at the hand of King Herod, who slew the very young to prevent the Messiah from displacing his own intended history to be. Despite his grossness, that ruthless king failed; and instead of preventing Christ, he merely fulfilled prophecy, in one more effort of this world to rub out Israel with her Christ and her arrow pointing to His coming.
Now in Jeremiah 31, the scene moves to the root of the matter. At last, after a seemingly interminable time, one suited to the need for repentance on behalf of the most carefully distinguished subject, namely this once chosen, but deeply fallen, long troubled Israel, we hear of this nation moved to sorrow. Given much, and fouling this special divine grace, it has been chastened, chastised; but it now recognises the reason and seeks the Lord. It sorrows as it returns, seeing the true perspective. Here envisaged as just one people, it is prophetically found declaring this heart realisation - "for You are the LORD my God!" , while the Lord seeing the turning and the repenting (Jeremiah 31:19), asks from the heart, and in reflection at this juncture, muses:
"Is Ephraim My dear son ? Is he a pleasant child ?
For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still.
Therefore My heart yearns for him.
I will surely have mercy on him, says the LORD," Jeremiah 31:20.
How will this mercy come ? As always, it is through the Messiah, the mandated man of mercy, whose goings are from everlasting (Micah 5:1-3), to be stricken that believers in Him should be delivered, as shown in Micah 5-7 or Isaiah 60. Past the format is the core: Jew or Gentile will participate in this light, whatever their past, when found as called, drinking of the draughts of mercy, giving reception of the Messiah, slain and sufficient, regal and to come in power as before in suffering (Isaiah 54-55, Jeremiah 16, 23)
Thus just as the Lord in Jeremiah 31:20-21 is reviewing their plight, and sandwiched in before we hear of the new Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31, there comes the reference to the means of mercy and its medium. "How long will you gad about, O you backsliding daughter ?" God asks. This He does, before turning to the change and the blessing. "For the LORD has created a new thing in the earth - a woman shall encompass a man," Jeremiah 31:22. We ask two questions here.
What has this NEW THING to do with anything to the point, and how does it relate to the context, in this, what has just gone before and in the other, what is about to follow ? Before is realisation of redemption and afterwards is the New Covenant. Here is something created, brought to bear out of the ordinary, new, pregnant with meaning in context. It is the Messiah, given as in Isaiah 7,9, 48, Psalm 2, 72, Micah 5, divine parentage being divine: that is, incorporated in flesh because incarnate from heaven. Here is the only way and the entire way: God who will give us a child, prepares the ground in a great prelude in Isaiah 8-9, His very name a focus (Isaiah 9:6-7).
It explodes the into sight. What is His name ? It is wonderful, counsellor, the Mighty God, Prince of Peace. Indeed, even 'everlasting Father' is in the name, together with Prince of Peace for His incarnate format, since as Christ declared it (John 14), "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." He like glass is seen as revealing the Father through Himself, apt for all His depth, being Himself deity, the Sent from the Sender, the spiritually definitive and personally profound exhibit of the glory of God (cf. Hebrews 1, Isaiah 48:15ff.).
This in Isaiah 7 and 9 is a reference to God Almighty, the Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace, being given as a NAME to this child to be born, this God with us, this Immanuel (Isaiah 7), and how with us ? why as a CHILD who is GIVEN, and who is NAMED to characterise Him and attest who and what He is, His mission, mandate and feature, explaining the sensational and exhibiting the depth of it. In this, it has features parallel to those of Isaiah 7, where a prodigious event is to occur, and is again, this child given.
If He is to be the Prince of Peace with an ever-growing kingdom "upon the throne of David," and His name is to include this, and hence the preludes to it, Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, all set out in their pairs, then He can hardly be giving counsel concerning His own name! That Prince of Peace is PART of His name, as incarnate God. God is not seen as counselling a wonderful thing AS this Prince of Peace, for there He is seen in human format, of the house of David.
Here in birth, He is not Speaker but Spoken of, for thus does He appear, the focus featured in the divine counselling leading to the naming, which exhibits it now for all; and thus is He named. Indeed, the Prince of Peace cannot here be involved in the counselling, for He and His name is the outcome, and the infant is not speaking but spoken of. If the Father is thought to be giving grounds for the revelatory name, we merely harass the text, which cites the object of the naming, not as source but as butt.
Rather, it is He, who being the One to WHOM the name and the kingdom refers, is GIVEN the name! Prince of peace; it is He of whom the name is here featured, and not only this, but all the other revelatory components, set forth in regal pairs, these apply.
Who is He ? What is His name ? Of what is all this excitement in Isaiah 9 ? It is as given, and here is the cause of this celestial acclamation. As He is eternal, so will His kingdom be eternal (cf. Micah 5:1-3, Isaiah 9:7).
God in that great and national day is going to cease all the breaking down and BUILD! (31:27-28). It will be the precise opposite of all that happened to Israel, which not only played the spiritual harlot, but abhorred (Isaiah 49:7), the Messiah of her own mercy! Just as the Messiah is the Prince of Peace, and Almighty God (as in Isaiah 10:21), is indeed God Himself as in Isaiah 48:15ff., so does a woman encompass Him in His birth, for consider: if God is His Father, that is, if He is God in actuality and so deposited in the womb by God, there can only BE one human parent, who thus 'encompasses' him, in a manner this sense and setting, unique. Born from heaven, He is borne into the earth, a woman thus encompassing Him, and HENCE we move at once to what this portends in the closely interwoven context.
It is a NEW Covenant that we find, as we look from Jeremiah 31:22 to 31:31, just as it was from a vast, national repentance that we approached all of this (Jeremiah 31:17ff.). Scripture is logically cohesive, in illustration consistent, in development dynamic. You can look at parts of a car if you convulsively must, but when riding in one, it is better to consider what the structure as one whole, actually is: it is what is conveying you as one. It goes.
In the interim indeed, between 31:22 and 31:31, we are finding the blessings from this incarnation, in terms of the radical and total change from destroying to building, to tender help from ruin for rottenness. A new thing has come to the earth indeed! and 31:31ff. tells us of its status and power.
What is it ? It is a covenant NOT according to the one made in the Exodus days (Jeremiah 31:32), but it is one which will of itself come into the internal parts of a man, the chief ceremonial in the heart, the law inscribed as in one willing, conducive to its call. Inward and spiritual will be the understanding of it, and an inward teaching (as in I John 2:27) will obtain. It will involve actually KNOWING the Lord, so long shown to be needed (Jeremiah 9:23-24). That will not be an additive; it will be of the essence.
ALL of this in Jeremiah 31, with the Ch. 30 lead in, is sure. That the Lord now emphasises with the most extraordinary force and zest. The spiritual, the covenantal, the national, the contrasting conditions, the national repentance, the incarnation, the change in Israel's case when the New Covenant comes: all the topical theme, it is enhanced, it is demarcated, it is forbidden alteration.
Thus this is made dramatically emphatic. Change the realities of astronomy and you might then be able to contest with the Almighty, the power with which He is going to MAKE ALL THIS HAPPEN. That is the declamation of Jeremiah 31:31:35-37.
Can you unravel the earth ? make ways for it in the heavens ? You'd better be able to move like that if you want to contest all that the Lord has in mind for the parties in this plan: Israel, the Gentile nations, the spiritual framework, the national history to come, the change of covenants and the resounding thrashing to be given to Israel's persecutors, who have preyed on the fallen people of the Lord in the interim of their great sorrow.
Now if you could alter the divine arrangements which form the basis for the operations of heaven and earth, and become the master of the universal astronomy, then you might think of casting your hand to altering what God has just finished describing, in much for the second time, and with the same admonition that it is immutable counsel of His own, near or at the end of both Jeremiah 31 and 33. In fact, Jacob's descendants and David's notable descendant (Psalm 2, 72) will continue. Certainly, it is a remnant (Jeremiah 31:7, Isaiah 11:11), but it is a people.
Can YOU do this ? asks the Lord. Indeed, can you make the heavens scurry at your command ? If so, try it on. The Lord is set to fulfil these things to the uttermost, and points this out in invasive rhetoric, as if to awaken the very dead! (Jeremiah 31:35-37). As we shall see, He even repeats this type of emphasis in Jeremiah 33. indeed it covers 33:20-26. He has forestalled those who distort, contort themselves, and seek to make history otherwise than He has so carefully prescribed it!
C. Jeremiah 32 - the Field Finding
From these future things, leading to the finale on this earth (Jeremiah 30:24 with 31:33-40), in Jeremiah 32 we turn to the more immediate. Jeremiah goes out and purchases a field available according to inheritance laws, and this in face of the fact that real estate about Jerusalem is presumably about to fall to something like zero in value, in view of the impending invasion by Babylon. It is this very thing which Jeremiah had been predicted for quite some time, in the immediate vista of events about to befall that great city. Such was the message of devastation, for example in Jeremiah 9:1-16, where the prospect of this destruction made the prophet inconsolable, like one perpetually weeping.
Thus the PURCHASE with useful money, just before the fall of the city, of LAND about it would appear about as ludicrous a piece of commercial folly as could readily be imagined. However, the prophets had, as with Hosea, to be willing to become a spectacle if need be, in order to awaken the people; and in this Jeremiah is broadcasting intensively, that the Lord will return them to the land (after 70 years, in fact, as in Jeremiah 25's prophecy). Jeremiah 32 provides a rehearsal of the certainty and its ground, for the devastation about to strike Jerusalem; but then it moves to the regathering, and the eventual everlasting covenant in which their rest may be found, when the time comes.
THEN the purchased ground would practically come into its own once more. Thus, it is not poetry but practicality; it is not thoughts but deeds, it is not hope but reality that is in mind. When will people adrift come to their senses, and cease dreaming. God who made DNA also makes destiny. They both work.
The scenario has various stopping and starting points, but there is to be a restoration soon and one of the heart; and there is to be a restoration after many days, in the latter times, and this will last for ever. The new covenant will come, in its time, and the people will return from their immediate exile in its time; and all will be done in its time. The Lord has salvation's plan, history's path, and He is at pains to make both so clear that even if one is but a fool, simple, one should not err (Isaiah 35:8ff.).
D. Jeremiah 33 - the Future Funding
God now moves in emphasis from the more immediate future, to the opposite. "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know," God declares to the prophet Jeremiah (33:3). There is to be a lifting of the eyes to the more distant mounts, and to the lights afar off, so that Jeremiah needs to make a special call on this divine resource, as if tuning the chronoscope, the time-telescope more finely, or using its power more utterly. He even looks to that consummation of the calling, when Jerusalem will have the name, "The Lord our Righteousness", like the US Statue of Liberty, a characterisation of her charter.
As to that Lord, God will at that remote day, make to grow up before Him, cause that growth which mankind has in its format, something extraordinary, the Branch (of Isaiah 11, Zechariah 6:12ff.), who will as there "bear the glory." His rule will be effectual, not merely symbolic or aspirational: for He will "execute judgment and righteousness in the earth," thus making a total change, from regality to reality. It is as in Psalm 72, and as there, His name will always be remembered while the earth is, or the moon, and praise will constantly be offered, while He works His glorious enterprise before, as in Isaiah 51:6, the earth grows old as a garment, and is discarded.
As in Jeremiah 16:19-21, His bounty and wonderful power will not only be towards the redeemed, the remnant in Israel, but to the Gentiles also (as in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6), an extension and not a replacement; for as Jeremiah 31, 33 provide, any thought of extinction of that body on this earth meets the entire force and power of God to the contrary. People often prefer to dispose of hell, while continuing to deserve it, unaware of the standards that make for peace, and the requirements of truth, through mercy; and they also most frequently prefer to ignore what God has twice declared with an emphasis to make the very rocks quiver, concerning Israel. Is it some implicit sort of contest ? YOU Almighty, dare to make a word which YOU say will certainly HAPPEN. We are a race and we will see about you and about that! Let us see what WE will make happen.
As man ages, and his genome becomes more and more decadent (cf. Waiting for Wonder Appendix*1), as do his morals, if possible, at least in outward folly, so his ludicrous epic of following Israel in rebellion against the God of reality and the only possible source of truth, including that about himself, becomes as clear as his assault on that very nation. It is as if ANYTHING which relates to God must be negated (although you can have as many irrational godlets as you like, for they are no competition with paranoid humanist self-love); and whether it be the Bible, or Jesus the Christ, or Israel's continuation, it MUST go.
Such appears the obsessive compulsion increasingly gripping a world at once nervous and self-assertive. Various methods have been chosen as many seek to achieve these negative results, but alas for their madness (Hosea 9:7, Romans 1:17ff.), these things stay and rebellions go! Such is the nature of truth, and it is always available for inspection on any topic, theme or application*2, where its dominance is total, competitions a mere name when faced with reality.
What then do we further find in Jeremiah 33 concerning Israel and the Lord's intention ?
In Jeremiah's own day, as so often he had told them, Babylon is about to prey on the people, and fighting is ineffectual (cf. Isaiah 37:10, Jeremiah 7:14ff.). It is to be and it will be. But this done, "Behold, I will bring it health and healing. I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth," (Jeremiah 33:6). Cleansed, the place will have a new joy, and desolate cities will become places of rejoicing once more. "Behold," He says, "the days are coming ... that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah." Here then we come to the often repeated theme of Isaiah 11, Psalm 72, Micah 7, Psalm 2.
The specific situation to be, follows. As to the divine descendant from David, deity in Being, incarnate in flesh, the Branch of Isaiah 11 and Zechariah 4, He will rule the entire earth, and as in Psalm 72, He will EXECUTE JUDGMENT and RIGHTEOUSNESS on the earth! Their abhorred Messiah, forgiving in terms of righteousness and His availing sacrifice for sin, as they will at last become repentant, will restore them and it is He who will rule the world. Judah in particular will be saved, and Jerusalem as in Zechariah 12:6, even Jerusalem itself, as noted there, will be saved. No more emphatic way of stressing that it is the cit itself is readily available: Jerusalem says Zechariah, will be restored to her place - even Jerusalem! Indeed, it is more than just that, for He declares:
"In that day, I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan
in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves,
they shall devour all the surrounding peoples
on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again
in her own place - Jerusalem.
The LORD will save the tents of Judah first,
so that the glory of the house of David
and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem
shall not become greater than that of Judah."
THE PLACE FOR A PREGNANT PAUSE
Let us pause here, to consider the impact of salvation, before returning to the above text.
We have been considering the simple, scriptural certainty that Israel, despite its provocations so constant for so long Psalm 78), despite its slaying as a nation, of Jesus the Christ, so long predicted, so totally triumphant in His suffering, saving role, would come back as a nation, and in national terms come to this same Jesus, in a panorama of agony and anguish, contempt and dispersion, crowned with a continuity that nothing could slay. Thus it would become, as it is now on the brink of becoming, the greatest national love story of all time, and part of a far broader love story.
This, it is that of the Lord toward the Gentiles. It is not enough, said Isaiah 49:6, that the Lord should come and die for those who are the remnant (cf. Isaiah 11:10-11), the chosen ones of Israel itself. To the other nations as well is His light to come, and from that source as from Israel, will the entire family of God be brought back, in one prodigal act of mercy and tender concern, to one as to all.
If, declares Romans 11, Israel's loss led on (through the Gospel as preached by Paul, Peter and the apostles - as in Galatians 1) to the reconciling of many amid the Gentiles, the OTHER nations (cf. Jeremiah 16:19-21); and if Israel's temporary loss in that sense, her national folly in the day of Christ, led to a vast and explosive expansion of salvation's glory to the OTHER nations, HOW MUCH MORE glorious and wonderful and delightful will it be when ISRAEL comes back to the Lord! (Romans 11:12,25ff.).
Indeed, for those who KNOW the Lord (Jeremiah 9:23-24), they will find this: HIS RESTING PLACE IS GLORIOUS (Isaiah 11:10 as in Matthew 11:25-30). His yoke is easy, His burden light; and indeed, "CAST your BURDEN upon the Lord and He will sustain you," (Psalm 55:22, cf. I Peter 5:7). Why ? as Peter declares, it is because He cares for you! (cf. Jeremiah 31:18-20): it is the same God with the same love, Israel an historical depiction, the Gentiles a current theme!
OBJECTIVELY, as we saw earlier, this is THAT Israel which God has defined, defended and as predicted for chronic rebellion, brought into an exile which became notorious in the world, only to bring them back to their land, the world squawking like disturbed fowls, upset to see them as they might be at foxes. The word of God has been vindicated in the history of Israel, as of the world, as nothing else has been. There is no wisdom against it. Let us remember also this.
The Lord has used many means with one result. Israel now awaits the vast conversion through the power of the Holy Spirit noted as to come as you move from Zechariah 12:1ff., to 12:10 and on to 13:1 (cf. Jeremiah 31:28-37). If then Israel is facing these end-time developments, let each see that he, she, has also been rescued, not in time only, but into eternity (Hebrews 6:19, 2:1-3). What if many of the Gentile peoples who have had more than 2000 years to come to Christ, and to enter into entire, delighted and loving submission to His divine will, in free grace, still lag behind.
Don't boast, says Paul in Romans 11 to the Gentiles. Israel has temporarily been cut off from her tree of belonging through lack of faith; God is able to cut off peoples who similarly come to the time when millions do not believe, recalcitrant, hesitant, adrift. Let each one then see that there is no hole in heaven, where you might have been, but where you are absent.
Turn back in history to Isaiah's day. In Isaiah 13-14, 39:5-6, we find prediction of the assault of Babylon on Israel. Isaiah 45-47, and especially 44:24-45:7, show that as Israel's chronic rebelliousness would lead to that, yet the Lord's everlasting mercy would lead to deliverance from that land.
Who would free them ?
It was Cyrus, long before he was born, given his future name by God, so that when he came, it could be seen that God ruled history, and did not forget His people. Indeed, He who ruled Israel with that deft and brilliant combination of appeal, compassion, concern, exhortation, sanctification, would follow this up by providing salvation in the Messiah Himself, to come even later, the date given by Daniel 9:24-27 at around 30 AD. .
Though Israel's rejection of Him (Isaiah 49:7,Micah 5:1ff.), would lead to their dispersion for a time, yet He would bring salvation both back to Israel and on to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6,49:6). Indeed, He would even bring Israel back from this far greater dispersion (Ezekiel 36-37).
"There is no other God besides Me," says the Lord, "a just God and a Saviour: there is none besides Me." Now let us dwell on the point. IF THEN GOD IS SO RELIABLE AND HIS WORD SO CLEAR AND SO SURE CONCERNING ONE NATION, WHAT OF THE WORLD! If He went to such inordinate trouble and made such deep plans concerning one, what of the rest! Did He not say that it was TOO SMALL a thing merely to rescue many in Israel, and that He would apply this same light to the other nations as well (Isaiah 49:6). What then does He declare in Isaiah 45:22, following what we have just seen. it is this.
"Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! for I am
and there is no other.
I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow;
every tongue make avowal. One will say,
'Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength.'
In Him they shall come, and all shall be ashamed
who are incensed against Him."
It is a mission, a message, the Gospel for one as for all. Those who insist on rebellion will find their due place where the darkness may be experienced for what it is; but the world will cease its rebellious writhings and be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11), and Christ will rule (as in Isaiah 53-55, 60-61 and 11).
Is there any comfort in hiding from Him, in withholding trust from Him in practical and personal terms ? for patience though commendable, is not faith, as if a dog patiently heard the cry of his master, Come! and looking at him with longing eyes, yet sat still, and did not enjoy the frolic or the hunt, whatever was in the master's mind. It is an active, a practical faith, one which moves mountains for the sake of godliness and the glory of the Lord (as in Mark 11:23), acting on the promises of II Peter 1. These declare that ALL THINGS needed for godliness are available by great and precious promises, and shows the growth in character to look for, as God acts on the willing heart!
Before we paused for spiritual survey, we were looking at what is now a contemporary prophetic fulfilment, from Zechariah 12:6. Let us then now return to these particular features and this focus.
"In that day, I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan
in the woodpile,
and like a fiery torch in the sheaves,
they shall devour all the surrounding peoples
on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again
in her own place - Jerusalem.
The LORD will save the tents of Judah first,
so that the glory of the house of David
and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem
shall not become greater than that of Judah."
It moves on in Zech. 12:10-13:1 to display the greater yet moment when a massive conversion by the Spirit to the crucified Christ is to come; and this, some half a millenium BEFORE the crucifixion itself, is telling what will happen in terms of it, long after it, when Israel following a long rejection of Christ (Isaiah 49:7, Hosea 1-3), will at last largely come BACK to Him (cf. Jeremiah 31:18-20).
Gentile nations are not exempt. Precisely the same Gospel, and the same necessity of repentance - if not from sin in the same way, then of the same sin of rejection of the Christ who for so long now has been openly displayed in their midst - has come and time has nearly gone. Make haste then to have that humble and contrite heart (Isaiah 66:1-2), on which, be it Jew or Gentile the good Lord looks, and willingly to WAIT on the Lord, processing every detail of your need by an active faith in Him (Phil. 4:4-6), leaving nothing out and TRUSTING Him, as you REST in Him, His grace and in His love.
Our day is pregnant with prophetic power. Thus firstly, there is war made in the power and the dignity of deity Himself, on surrounding and invasive peoples, and God will enable their defeat. This will be for them, catastrophic. It will be in contrast to the destiny decreed for Jerusalem AT THAT LATE and Messianic time. She will not be moved. She will be inhabited AGAIN. That is, the one nation which was and was received and exalted, and then destroyed, will be BACK AGAIN.
As to that place, in case there is any romancing about it, the Lord adds what it is: the site is in her own place, even Jerusalem. This forceful and geographic emphasis is given as if mocking the poetic fantasisers who still seem weak on realism, as if the liberals still ruled the fallen heart of bestialised man. Thus here the Lord emphasises, He repeats, He details: the site in view is Jerusalem! focus of history, feature of Israel, place of His death.
It is not the plaything of thought, but the operating surgery of God!
Such is the context. Moreover, there is even a condition about what part of Israel is to be treated differently from another part. So for each of us, our place is in the Lord who made man, Jerusalem, the Old Covenant and the New, who in Christ paid enough for all, to cover any who come, and redeem one by one. You see that in John 10:9,27-28: IF ANYONE ENTER the door, there are highly specified results, both earthly and celestial! They are eternal. This too is not poetry but practicality, achieved in blood.
On the other hand, mocking God can bring mockery right back again, and here is what appears an excellent example of that. He means what He says, and has made it clear, even in this very Chapter of Zechariah, referring to those who crucified Christ and to their aghast repentance IN Jerusalem from what there had been done! (Zechariah 12:10ff.). It is in this same city that the fountain for cleansing is now and thus opened, in the prophetic depiction of things to come (Zech. 13:1).
It will be for the washing of those who reject solidarity with this evil, and gain it with the risen Lord instead. This is the city which in this glad and long prolonged time of waiting, comes suddenly into spiritual life so that, as in Jeremiah 33: its very name becomes "the Lord our Righteousness" (as in Jeremiah 33:16), as what in the eyes of unbelief passed as poetry, becomes as in the Exodus, sober fact (cf. Micah 7:15ff.). As this objectives faith in a mighty national act, so does the Gospel provide its practical, actual basis in the atonement, applied by the Holy Spirit in m any a local 'city' among the Gentiles, under the imperial but not imperious sovereignty of that Good Shepherd, both now and then over the entire world, for one as for all, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do not object to the objective; do not shudder at the actual, the practical, for as God has prevailed and will do so with Israel to the last point, so will He do with His other promises to you and to me, in the Gospel. Trust Him, do personal business with Him, watch His word, keep to it as to the proper side of the road when driving, but drive, drive on, in the passage of His choice, and KNOW the Lord as did Abraham, and do not stop short as if it were merely for others.
What then of Jerusalem in this time of consummation ? It will of course be a Christian city, since the Old Covenant and the sacrificial past is now consummated in the Messiah, and the vast movement of conversion in Israel impends as it does now in this celestial sequence, on the slain sacrificial Lord of glory. Accordingly, in Him, and in Him alone, this city of restored Judah will be one of vindicated and victorious acclamation of Jesus the Christ, in and about whom is glory (Micah 4-5). The key is the King; and all imagery makes way for its new place in Him.
E. Jews, Jerusalem and the Monolith of the Messiah
After all, it is the place where the Lord was crucified (Zech. 12:10 - 13:1); and while there will be no vainglory at the merely national level (Isaiah 19), there will be an incontestable restoration for Israel, the covenant for the world overflowing and circulating; and one people drawn from Jew and Gentile, will now be all spiritual in their orientation, wherever they are placed, in Jerusalem and Judah, or in the isles (Jeremiah 31:10, Isaiah 66).
The Lord has redeemed Israel, though its profligacy in spiritual things was a thing for chastisement; its tormentors will be made base as their hearts have been (cf. Jeremiah 12:14-17, Isaiah 51:21-23, Micah 7:14ff.), and despite the weeping of their rebuke, there will be a rejoicing not to cease (Isaiah 60). Part now of the Christian heritage of the Lord, they will be a domain of specific instruction, consummated in spirit for one as for all, in salvation of the one Lord in the one way in the New Covenant (Isaiah 66).
In a splendour of mercy, God will be a Father to this beleaguered people, the nation which captured and killed the Messiah, ransoming them from the nations (Jeremiah 31:8ff.). Their locale AS such a people will be as promised (Jeremiah 33:15ff.), just as the message on which all is then to be based, will be as expansive, as promised locations (cf. Zechariah 12:6-8) are saved (cf. Isaiah 66), by the very power of God, this not in some sentimental poetic thought, but in international overthrow of persecutors, by fire and thrust to dim their passions and deliver their quarry.
Such is the divine determination concerning that once so high, then so low people, from whom came the Messiah, through whom the Gospel by the prophets and apostles, and in whom God has His changeless place, vindicating His patience and fulfilling His promise. This He does, to one and to all (cf. Micah 7:19ff., Isaiah 42:4, 51:5, Genesis 17:7-9). He fulfils what He promised to Abraham, we read in Micah, as to the fathers, and so acts to these as to the Gentiles for whom also He is the promised light of blessing, omitting nothing, fulfilling all.
The divine disclosures become enclosures and the promises become promontories in reality, as before in revelation. These things include the site of the crucifixion, Jerusalem, which then comes to have a centrality and a glory which nothing can conquer (Micah 4), for it is the place where He pleases to make central: as was the Cross nearby (Galatians 6:14). It is He who is the first and the last, hallowed in historical reality, not losing sight of that cross which eternity portended (Revelation 13:8), where glory collects (Galatians 6:14) and salvation is to be found.
What was made low, is exalted, what is exalted is abased. The meaning is majestic; the site reminds of His shame and victory. After all, what is London or Paris or Moscow or New York, when the site of the suffering Servant, and the bodily resurrected Lord, on whom all health and wisdom and understanding and glory and salvation depends, shouts its message.
He did not suffer in poetry, but in person; not in philosophy but in flesh; and His actions are not in metaphor but matrix, on the cross of Calvary; and His people know it.
What then of the restoration of Israel, the new covenant, the broadcast to the isles, the overthrow of the inveterate persecutors of Israel and her rescue by the Lord ? Is this doubtful ? Is God willing to change ? Will some special circumstances alter this simple scenario ? Can you unravel the earth ?
Is God willing to change ? Will some special circumstances alter this simple scenario ? Can you re-organise the heavens ? Is your will what subjects the universe to its laws ? If you can, then consider your opposition to the determinate will of God. He has resolved, decided and determined what is to be, having known all from the first and to the last (Isaiah 46:9-10).In Jeremiah 33 as in Jeremiah 31, God gives a similar mordant admonition that it is immutable counsel of His own (Jeremiah 31:35-37, 33:20-26). In fact, Jacob's descendants and David's notable descendant (Psalm 2, 72) will continue. The entire structure of history is at his stricture, and as He has foretold, so it will be. As to Israel, certainly, it is a remnant (Jeremiah 31:7, Isaiah 11:11), but it is a people.
It has been a two phase story, Jew and Gentile, Israel and the nations. Each has given scope for a remonstration from the Lord. What of the restoration of Gentile sinners, or any, who have gravely offended against the Lord ? It is the same Lord who appeals to one and to all while it is still the day of mercy; for His love is toward all, and His sacrifice is sufficient for all (I John 2:1-2), so let all who hear return, just as Israel will and must, in a large and late thrust of trust.
By many ways, there is but ONE Messiah! by a multi-partite plan, one result, one Redeemer, one to Jew or to Gentile (Isaiah 45:22-25, 49:6), one certainty with many attestations, reducing all, exalting one, alone worthy to save (Isaiah 43:10-11, Revelation 5). Himself, the beginning and the end, He is immutable, as is His word (cf. Isaiah 59:21,Matthew 5:17-20, Jeremiah 33:19-22). All will be as divinely declared. The word and the deed are inseparable. So let us apply this blessed feature of the Lord to ourselves, to believe, to do, to say.
As to the word of God, It will all be, and nothing will supplant it, nor will promises of any kind be omitted in the fulfilment of all in the light of His declarations. It is as in Romans 11, where Paul reflects on the deep divine counsel and its wonder. Simple in some things, it is profound in others, and we Christians all will rejoice, as we do now in prospect and in Christ.
God has done, as He will do, all things well.
then ? There was a great divide between Jew and Gentile,
the time of the end of the Age rushes forward,
singular will be that day
It is not sorrow for loss but action for gain which is in order, for God, in view of the shed blood of Christ on the cross, would have ALL reconciled to Himself (Colossians 1:19). It is NOT HE who is the destruction, for it is through His ransom that victory comes; but those who prefer darkness, become its denizens, breaching in wilfulness, the delights of life eternal with God Himself personally!
Recall the term 'true believer' used in derision about many things. It is intended to mock degrees of faith and of truth, as if only the vehement fools could be 'true' about anything involving belief. However, when it comes to God, only the vehement or the vicious, the blind or the devotees of confusion or the irrational can believe anything else (as in Romans 1:17ff.).
It is manifest logically that neither nothing nor anything below the heights of thought and will and contrivance and mathematics could make systems into which these things are woven inextricably. It is sure that neither was Jesus mad nor were his eminently practical disciples, but that in all sober fact, the One who has ALL His words sustained as nothing else, all His predictions fulfilled as they come, as nothing else, is the sanest of all, if evidence has any bearing on the vagrancies of impassioned mind!
As He claimed, so it is, "If any man will to do His will, he will know the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself," John 7:17. He IS the way AND the life AND the truth. Don't flit or flirt, but trust Him. Therefore, believing, act on it; acting, rely on Him, and trusting, cast ALL your care on Him, in detail (Philippians 4:4-6), and expect from Him the answers that belong to your service and your sanctification as a child of God (Romans 12:1-2).
In this Appendix, which speaks of the integral systematics, and over-riding systematics in this ingeniously miniaturised and heavily symbolically conceptualised construction, the DNA, we see also the results of further research.
Williams moves (op.cit. p. 116), to note the work of Dr John Sanford of Cornell University, citing the latter's Entropy & Mystery of the Genome. Here, the mutative exercise considered is the genome, which as with most designs exposed to the elements, involves deterioration, not progress. This is what could be called the Gould phenomenon: things in terms of design KINDS or types, are going down, not up (cf. Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Ch. 6). This is in part the Werner Gitt phenomenon: information does NOT arise without intelligence. There are laws, and these need to be known and applied*T1 (Journal of Creation 2009, 23(2), pp. 96-109).
In other words, these are areas of a kind relative to humankind, the way they go at the physical and physiological level, in overview.
What then of this finding of Sanford of Cornell ? That is the correlative both of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and of the basics of information science. His contribution is reported as showing that "deleterious mutations are accumulating at an alarming rate in the human population and that both natural selection and even the worst possible nightmare scenario of eugenics is powerless to stop it." This results from the enormous synthesis of variables, in holistic accords, weak points arising after several thousands of years, in hidden and varied ways. What there is to select from is being impaired, and the old chestnut, that to remove the worst creates the best is seen in its practical drabness. The best is going down.
As a matter of cultural interest, one may note this: As to such decline, you see it in schools too, where declining standards make the best more and more what used to be nearer to the middle: and this is so in English in particular, where there has been some sort of ecstasy, it might seem, in reckless ignorance as if creativity were some kind of squirming of the psyche, and needed no expertise. To be sure creativity is great and wonderful; but the power to create well is itself not without discipline. In fact our liberty and our due use of it to implement it well, both are needed; there is simply no point in rushing to extremes, ignoring this or that facet or feature of humankind, or its construction.
That however is a cultural aside, where will is involved, as also a wearisome wander streak, as man becomes more bombastic about the accomplishments of his race, and less concerned about what it can be in his own life and spirit, its source and responsibilities. In the language of the Song of Solomon, he is learning to neglect his own vineyard, where tractors are often to be seen rooting up some of the best vines. They did it by the million in the World Wars. Let us however return to the physiological side.
Williams proceeds to the genetic point that "everyone is a mutant, many times over." Suppression can help eliminate some of the defections from the pre-derangement situation, but it does not remove others, hidden in the forest of myriads of data in various bundles. The rate of deterioration being immense, there is therefore an increasing basis for more degradation, and since control genes have a magnified aperture for action, this moves things yet more adroitly off the sensitively poised course. Inhibitive editing programs for gene copying, pure marvels of wisdom, tend to delay the inevitable (except for divine action), but they do not eliminate it; and if miracle is in view for our race in its current mode, it is alas not in receptive mode.
See in this field, for example the work:
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God.