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THE FOUR PHASES OF CRUSHING BEFORE THE VINTAGE IS RIPE:
ISRAEL OVER THE CENTURIES IN ITS WOES, TOWARDS THE CLOSE.
and what it shows!
It is edifying to consider the crushings of Israel, leading to its final resolution; for God's final solution is not Hitler's, nor yet that of the unvalidated and anti-verified Islam*1, nor yet that of the Madrid Quartet Road Maps*2 that scour out much of what little remains to Israel, evidently in the interests of injustice, breach of promise and settlement of rabid forces of murder*3. Whatever the intentions, realities supervene.
THE FIRST CRUSHING
First, in Egypt, there was the little matter of making them a nation of slaves; they who had been welcomed because of Joseph, became those who were feared because of numbers and potential destablising power, and who were moreover one excellent cheap labour source. To use indirect genocide to devitalise and discourage, to frustrate and imperil, this was also a welcome means of control, as they were forced to build under severe taskmasters and even to find their own straw as an extra, without loss of expectation!
From this slave pen they were delivered.
God sent Moses, the Hebrew prince who had been rescued, albeit perhaps unwittingly, by an Egyptian princess, possibly later Queen, who gave Moses place and status as he was brought up and educated in the culture of grand, self-glorifying, multi-god Egypt. Pharaoh as culturally fitting for a monarch of such splendour, such historical panache, was unimpressed with this returned prince and felt disinclined to give way to his demand in the name of the Lord, that the Hebrew people be set free. Actually, it was very reasonable, but power is often wedded to pride, and the offspring are frequently notorious for arrogant disdain. So it appeared to have been here.
In order to overcome reluctance, the Lord sent successive plagues which became comic relief, or if you prefer, ironic judgments on the naturalistically conceived gods or goddesses of the Egyptian culture, so that frogs, Nile water and flies for example, instead of being benignant pseudo-divine entities, or symbolically associated with the same, became scourges in simple, physical plagues which successively reduced Egypt to her knees, though she still did not worship the Lord in whose name, at explicit timing intervals, as announced through Moses, each of the plagues was sent. On application by Pharaoh, and the cry that he would be a good boy now, and let them go, the plagues were removed, each time on time at the time marked.
It is a testimony to human prowess in delusion, and insistence on cultural idols so often, that Pharaoh all but made this a party charade, always hoping, never yielding, except for the moment, only to do it again!
The repetition by the Lord, in these successive judgments, thus came from the repetition, from the Pharaoh, in not yielding but ... later, allowing the Hebrews to leave their so profitable employment (that is, profitable for him, as in the short run can be all exploitation).
It is like musical chairs. When the plague hit, he found a new willingness - not always at once! to sit down; and then relenting, he gave way, and stood up. It left ? When the plague left, turning back to his earlier inclination for keeping them, he withdrew his permission. Perhaps it was rather like a waltz, turning dextrously in circular motion; but as to its grace ? That is another matter.
Thus his repetitious call for mercy, was repeatedly followed by his thrall in greed, panache or false religion. Apparently always hoping that the Lord would not be able to keep it up, and that if he endured long enough, there would be a wilting of the divine will or power, in his own mentality towards gods that are no gods at all, Pharaoh put the Lord to the test repetitively. So did he inherit those cumulative plagues which ended in the death of the eldest son of each Egyptian household. It is always better to heed when truth speaks.
The divinely stated ground for such a step to the enduringly recalcitrant and obstructive monarch, the imperial and imperious Pharaoh, was that Israel was a son of God, like a child, and so since Pharaoh would not allow his freeing, but kept them on as if to their death in exploitative labour, God announced that He would slay the eldest sons of Egyptian households, if perhaps by any means the point might at last register. It is noteworthy that Pharaoh forbad Moses to see him further (Exodus 10:28), his patience worn out, before this last event occurred. Indeed, Pharaoh refused further access before it was even announced (Exodus 11:1ff.).
Here is news for many. The Lord seeks, and it is wise to seek Him while He may be found (Isaiah 55), for the indolence of the heart and the recalcitrance of the proud, culturally conditioned or autonomously driven spirit can lead to a time when He no longer strives. Rejoice if then your heart still seeks Him, and close while you may. But let us proceed with the Egyptian drama, tutelary to all ages and Ages.
The Lord wanted them OUT, from this imperial villainy from this tumultuous and majestic nation with its vast past and self-glorifying present, and if they did not choose to respond to so reasonable a request to the nation which Joseph had so greatly enriched at the first, then they would GO OUT ANYWAY. If then, this had to occur, since destruction was the only other option, so be it. It is a costly way of doing business; but for many, pride and culture, the captivity of the heart to the natural, the plausible and the irrational is strangely more precious then either truth or mercy!
Before that point, that final egress of Israel from Egypt, alas, came the loss of SOME of them of Egypt, the eldest sons. This was enough to cause a consternation, and the ironic exposure of the weakness of their naturalistically conceived gods was enough to leave them without any even pretended support, so that the Hebrews were allowed to go. They proceeded, they began to travel, their position moved, you could have traced it on a military map!
So close was the possessiveness of the Egyptians however, that even when the Hebrews were on their way, they were pursued hotly by an army of Egyptians with Pharaoh their leader, so that they could be shut in by the sea and re-enslaved.
However, as the sea opened -
for when the Almighty sets His mind on a task,
it is relatively simple to re-adjust the merely physical,
just as a railway engineer can re-lay tracks,
given enough power and expertise, and God is short of neither of these!
they were no more shut in.
As it closed on the pursuing Egyptians, those aggressive soldiers had no further need to exercise themselves in pursuit, since drowning removes the need to act in this world any more. They were not, after all, a navy!
Our present point is simply that this excursus, this deployment, this Egyptian insistence was not only a deliverance for the Hebrews; it was a divine interposition in their affairs so that though near destruction, they yet lived. Israel escaped by the skin of its death; for though the power of God DID IT, yet it was clear that NOTHING ELSE COULD DO SO!
THE SECOND CRUSHING
Now we travel to the second grave smashing for Israel, not this time in imperial enslavement, but in simple defeat.
This next case arises in the days when, Assyria having swept out the Northern kingdom of Israel, and repopulated it indeed - so leading to the often despied 'Samaritans' - Judah itself was taken and Jerusalem ravaged (see Jeremiah's Lamentations), and taken for a predicted and fulfilled 70 years of exile. Imagine if this happened in Australia, USA or Germany! Think how it would affect you to be so exiled for 70 years; and in the case of Germany, something not unlike this did occur when USSR took over the wealth of the eastern German section, and held them in impoverishment some 45 years. At that, it was not as bad, since Israel not merely, that is the part of it now called Judah, had to be beaten, its land defiled, its city ravaged, but they had to leave in large numbers to live in the oppressing nation.
Daniel was one of those taken to Babylon for this exile. He did not spend his time depressed but as a man of God, was mightily used in the new arena, and came to that amazing and rare situation where he could and did both act in bold godly faith, and achieve enormous fame and name, even a position of great power in the recklessly religion culture into which he was taken. In this, the power of the living God was greatly shown, so that it became exceedingly clear that it was for their sins that Israel was so banished. Indeed, Jeremiah had PREDICTED that this 70 year exile would occur; but that did nothing to reduce his extreme of grief as in Lamentations, when the foolish rebelliousness of his people led to the actual event. God had warned them repeatedly and given them wonderful opportunities (as in Jeremiah 17:19ff.); yet they did not heed any more than Pharaoh had done.
As seen in Daniel 9, Daniel at the end of the exile period prophesied, sought the Lord for the predicted restoration, which indeed occurred, and you read of it in Ezra and Nehemiah, the famous Cyrus cylinder attesting the action, archeologically.
Here again, Lamentations shows you how near to utter destruction the Jews then were; and by how narrow a thread they lived is further seen if you read Jeremiah 42-44, and observe the continuing obstruction and rebellion of the unrepentant residue of the Jews, who first asked Jeremiah for divine guidance after the loss of their land, and then refused to take it, declaring EXPLICITLY that they would do whatever came out of their own mouths!
The mouth of God still had too little attraction, for them, it seems; and it must be noted that their enduring rebelliousness and fractiousness, reminiscent of that of Pharaoh himself, at the earlier phase also produced for them, horrific results. They were like those refusing to move when an army tank crossed their paths, not even getting off the road. This however was not an army tank; it was the voice and the word of the living God, alive today as then, and all the way in between, even for ever, whose changes are zero and whose power is undelimited, because infinite. Always what He would be, and making time a mere minister of His, He proclaims His way continually to man (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3).
That, then, is an account of the second crushing of the Jews, and again, it led to their deliverance through the power of God, who having declared in Isaiah (44-45), that the name of the delivering monarch would be Cyrus, and having predicted in Isaiah and Daniel the name of the coming empire which would act, Medes and Persians, in this deliverance, then simply carried it out. They returned, as we have seen their actions recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah; and with patient perseverance, revival and great endurance, they rebuilt.
The cry to restore heeded, as from Zechariah and Ezra and Nehemiah. It was heeded with zeal, as had not been the case when the cry of the Lord in pity was that they heed - before the fateful assault of their enemies, and turn to Him. At least, unlike Pharaoh, they could continue past the devastation and proceed in their ways, humbled but joyous, and hearing the word: They joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). How better however it is to heed before the devastation, whether for a nation or an individual!
Thus did their continuance come, their second crushing past, so that the prediction of Daniel, which set a 69 times 7 time line for the Messiah from the command for the restore and rebuild Jerusalem (see Highway of Holiness Ch. 4). Taken as years, this was 483. This leads, when the detail is construed, to a death date for the Messiah in the close vicinity of AD 30, which is the case by record and report. So was this greater 70 fulfilled with results basic for the world ever since, for here was the Gospel of God, the divine mercy which is stretched forth to one, to all, calling, Do not be recalcitrant, hear and your soul will live! It is not this time a question of the destruction of a city, the devastation of a city, but in the ultimate, the eternal life or judgment of one and all.
This meant and means that the second crushing of the Jews eventually brought out the delicious vintage of such a prediction which not only saves any Christian from any possible thought of some other 'christ' - for Jesus Christ predicted, since the date was fixed and is now nearly two millenia since the Messiah duly came as foretold: it actually provides the cost deflection in the salvation of God, by one way, at one time, for all people, applicable to any who receive it (John 1:12).
This is a double benefit, for there would be many false prophets and false christs before His return to DO the judging, or to attest the pardon. His grief it was in sacrifice willingly made. Made by the One who was judged corruptly, it provides for those who may be forgiven as a result, mercifully. It was indeed grievous, as payment for sin always is; but in this there was triumph, that it was done in accordance with a divine plan for redemption to be made available to man, through this very vicarious suffering and death of Christ as in Isaiah 53, Hosea 13:14, Zechariah 12, 3:9 and so on.
It is not that the suffering of the Jews which we have been considering, was the CAUSE of the prediction concerning the Messiah, of course; but it was the OCCASION for it. It was at the time of the 70 year predicted exile being FINISHED that Daniel sought the Lord as in Daniel 9, and it was then that this amazing, intricate and decisive heavenly ground plan was provided, not for grabbing Israel by Road Map Madrid Maestros, but for the actions of God to man in mercy. (Cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, Ch. 11, Galloping Events Ch. 4.)
Hence the world was prepared as God dealt with His disobedient servant, Israel, for a blessing to ALL nations and all peoples such as you see in Isaiah 42:6, 49:6 and in Luke 2:11-13,31.
THE THIRD CRUSHING
Then came the third great crushing. The grating grandeur of Israel, with its vast temple and settled authority structure, its fame and name, leading to self-aggrandisement and self-importance in many of its religious leaders (cf. Matthew 23!) was there like a beach structure before a tsunami, vulnerable, vacant in vigour of spirit, deprived of godliness in high places. It was still in vast contrast to the meekness of the majestic Messiah, who besought those to come to Him for rest (Matthew 11:27ff.), who yet were restless as the wicked in the toiling seas.
What then ? After their so foolish rejection of their own Messiah, as predicted in Isaiah 49:7, there came the results shown in Isaiah 50-55, both penal on Christ and blessed in free salvation for anyone who would take of the waters of life so provided, and of the prince of pardons from the prince of life. This, procured by Him whose resurrection (Isaiah 26:19 cf. Psalm 16, cf. SMR Ch. 6) was the consummation of kindness, the totality of power and the precision of prophecy was still and indeed now especially available, if only they would receive Him; and thousands did, but the city did not, and its time was coming. Flying foolishness in the face of a magnificent opportunity from the Master of life could only in the end, be the measure of death; and it came in full measure.
What they neglected, the Church in His name accepted, with its Jewish apostles no less; and it was on this performance in purity, this achievement in holiness, this sacrifice in love, this mastery of mercy, that the predicted Gospel was preached. It was this very work by this very Christ which constituted the Gospel of grace, and this being predicted centuries before it was paid for in this way, has been fulfilled as the Gospel of the New Covenant of God to man, ever since, and to this day. That too, for us who are Gentiles, it was predicted (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6). Back of it was the very promise to Abraham that through a descendent of his, as far as flesh was concerned, would come blessing to ALL nations. It was a complex way to have it come; but if the insufferable will not receive suffering for their safety, then the love which sought them becomes the justice which remains.
Thus this third crushing, that of Christ, became again a source of vast blessing to all peoples, a fact we celebrate conveniently at Christmas, since here is the message of the coming of the babe, who on manhood, did this thing AS man, though as God He came (John 8:58, 5:19ff., John 10:30, Micah 5:1-3, Philippians 2). The reader may remark that this however is a crushing of Christ not Israel; but all in its own good time.
A further step, then, was to come from the crushing of the Christ, as predicted and divinely planned in that full divine awareness of the coming scorn of the wilful waywardness of many in its very face. It was shown, so that even in predicting it, and man's attempt to divest himself of God, a millenium before in Psalm 2, the Lord announced His coming divine response. This could be heard before it came, and felt afterwards.
That response ? it was to LAUGH at the silly little antics of sinful man in his imaginary glory and self-sufficiency. Will they indeed cast His cords away, and throw His grace aside ? The resurrection would be a prelude to the divine judgment in its time to come. Would they reject and seek to avoid forever the living God ? First, in that truly awful option always faced by the murderer, the murdered became the resurrected, and in His name, a secondary horror for the guilty, the Gospel was preached of eternal life, beyond the reach of death. Small wonder the Jewish authorities sought to arrest or kill apostles such as Peter, James and John; and indeed James was put to death by Herod.
The fire that swept through Jerusalem, winning thousands to His side, was to sweep through the entire Roman Empire some three centuries later; but much was to occur before then.
Meanwhile, witlessly having wandered, Israel suffered for its intrigue. It was around 40 years after this prodigious folly of killing the Prince of Peace, that the nation was destroyed by war through the force of the Romans. The temple, removed stone from stone as Christ foretold in Matthew 24, became an abject memory; what took 46 years to build to the time of Christ, did not last as long after Him before it went, an obliterated symbol of the crucified Christ (Hebrews 7-10). As to the Jews themselves, those not killed by Rome in AD 70, they became evacuees from the city and forbidden it.
For those who did not believe, it was an impossibility. You have God who is Almighty, the COMMAND to worship in the Temple ONLY as the site for sacrifice, and the absence ALTOGETHER of the Temple, which remained absent for millenia, and which was in fact replaced by a symbol of odium and rebellion as noxious as their own crucifixion of Christ, as if to remind them daily both of their rebellion, that they had missed as a people their Messiah, and of the divine abhorrence with which the Lord viewed their current national position.
This third crushing of Israel, then, that next step from their crushing of their own Messiah, albeit only for three days before He arose as predicted so often, on time as always (cf. Matthew 17, Luke 24:13), and this by divine arrangement: this also led to great blessing for all peoples. The Exodus, permanent exhibit of divine omnipotence and detestation of false worship, the exile to Babylon and the return, and now the murder of Christ and their gift of a nothingness to match the removal of meaning: these things all came with the pulse of testimony and the savour of truth; indeed, also with the acme of irony.
Thus in the first case, the Exodus from Egypt was a code for the eternal power of God, His faithfulness and ability and will to rise above ANY obstruction to gain His desire of deliverance for His people. In this, sacrifice was involved, for the blood of the sacrificial lamb had to be placed on the door of the homes of the Israelis as we would now call them, or those of Israel, to signify their reliance on the mercy and provision of the Lord, as He passed through to inflict judgment on the families of Egypt in that last night.
It began the day of atonement concept of a ONCE a year enactment in the temple, which in due time had to be in only ONE place, so coding it for ONE Christ on ONE occasion, being slain when His time came as Daniel pre-announced it, this being the fulness of times spoken of by Paul for this event, in Galatians 4:4. This is the PASSOVER, and so named because the angel of the Lord passed over Egypt, slaying those not covered, and sparing the Hebrews who had the blood on the door.
This was then symbolic in accumulating prescriptions, for the coming of the Messiah, who would make animal sacrifice no more needed (Isaiah 66:1ff.), and so led the way to the day just noted in their third crushing, which was the result of their rejection of the Lord, itself a blessing because of the atonement it provided through His blood, that permanently effective blood never to be shed anymore (Hebrews 9), and that for all people, as Isaiah prescribed in the name of the Lord. It did, of course, also become a signal of the rejection of Israel until the end of the Age, from its land as in Matthew 24:1ff., 23:37ff., 19:42ff., Luke 21:24ff. (cf. SMR Appendix A, It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, The Biblical Workman Ch. 3).
THE FOURTH CRUSHING
What however of the fourth crushing ? Paul speaks of this in Romans 11, as noted in the last reference above.
There is, says the apostle in this place, a divine plan. It is like an olive tree, natural and blessed, symbolising Israel in its proper condition before the Lord, to serve and show His praise to all (Isaiah 43:21). From this, the Jews are taken as a branch in crushing three, following the rejection of their own Messiah, now for all peoples; and in this stupendous event, a yet more wonderful one occurs, for the Gentile peoples are now directly able to come, not as mere proselytes, but as church people in the name of the Christ who finds it too little only to come for Jew, but is on offer to Gentile as well.
As the Jewish branch is pruned off, the Gentile branch is 'grafted into' the olive tree; for though they were a 'wild stock' by nature, yet by the divine provision through the Messiah for all peoples, they are now brought into an implantation so that the sap comes to them in their own branch.
Until a certain time, Paul indicates in Romans 11, at the crucial point of 11:25, the Jewish people, the nation, will be BLIND, and unable to find the salvation of God, though it is under their very noses. This is so, despite the fact that for all the criminality of the proceedings, they were instrumental in bringing the very basis for the free offer of divine salvation to pass, in the crucifixion of Christ, without which there would and could be no pardon for any! for the Jewish sacrifices were symbolic preludes, and the actual event alone procured eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12). The 'shadows' or symbols of the Temple (Hebrews 8-10), wholly intrinsically inadequate for payment, were merely promissory; but of what largesse they gave promise!
Since they are to be blind UNTIL their time comes, as the apostle declares in Romans 11, it follows that WHEN their time comes they awaken as precisely and in detail shown in Zechariah 12:10ff., and on into Chapter 13 of that prophet.
So does this great restoration come, and in the return of Israel in large numbers to the Lord shown in Zechariah and Romans, arrive in its day at the end of the Age. It is this which, by all evidence, is thrusting upon us now, like an asteroid in motion and on collision course, drawing near (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8).
In all of this, there is a massive missive fulfilled, for Jew and Gentile now, pari passu, on equal terms, first one, then the other, have received the blessing of the most cordial and consequential of all time for mankind: the coming of the Saviour to pay for the way home for a rebellious and lost race. Thousands of Jews responded positively and became the first core and corps of the Church (cf. Acts 2ff.); then many of Gentiles have followed, high and low, great and small, royal and commoner, just as Isaiah foretold in Isaiah 53, 42 and 49. Indeed, these have come in myriads from all nations, just as foretold in Luke 2. Thus, just as in the first it was first, then in the midst of the times, the others, so in the end there is an awakening in Israel yet to come. Thus first the one, then the other, become partners in the same saving grace and Gospel together. There is a certain periodicity and reciprocity in the complex government of grace, and the divine overcoming.
Paul eloquently is led to focus the marvel of the divine grace at which he marvels in arrested wonder, in the last part of Romans 11, that in such wisdom and counsel, God had prepared as then He will fulfil, such a wonderfully intricate plan.
This is occasion for the fourth crushing.
This time however, the reader may ask how a deliverance is a crushing. To be sure, is not so. It is however the occasion for it.
Once again, it is associated with it. Thus BEFORE this deliverance, as you see in Zechariah 12, leading on to the realisation of Israel in such numbers, that they had PIERCED the MESSIAH.
Interestingly, though a realisation yet to come, it is one forecast centuries before they EVEN COMMITTED THAT CRIME! It is this fact which amply shows the divine omniscience. What however of the time when this awakening scours out the hearts of many in Israel, and gives them understanding ? It is a time of PREDICTED WARS, and there, as it has been fulfilled before the eyes of the world, so it has been suffering in the lives of many in Israel, as terrorist seek to grab yet more of their diminutive supply of land, murdering as if this would make them the more welcome!
Indeed, also predicted for this time of pain for Israel, is the fact that MANY would be they who would seek proudly and imperiously to DETERMINE the case for Israel; but, the Lord indicated there, these would find their interfering zeal led to a discovery. What would this discovery then be ?
It would be that Jerusalem was as a heavy stone. Interfering nations, grasping nations would find that there is indeed a God in heaven, whose every word is fulfilled, for as they SOUGHT to determine the destiny of Israel, to overcome and override and interfere, so they would suffer themselves, and find it a stone that was one of great weight, such as a boulder on which the back is strained as one tries to lift it.
In seeking to heave it this or that way, they would find the burden indeed to be grievous; and have they not done so this last 57 years! That is what is found in Zechariah 12, before the final awakening in Israel predicted to occur, when they perceive that they have indeed pierced the very divine Saviour; and their repentance is sincere, deep and one of anguished sorrow. That is a healing sorrow to come; the suffering while nations interfere, it is the present predicted pain; and the suffering of those with lustful eyes, or interfering hands on Israel, that is the hurtful bane and blight also present, and likewise presented as prediction by Zechariah. IF ONLY the nations would awaken to what they do, and what it costs to ignore the word of God. It is not only the Jewish nation which has in crucial matters done this; they have companions in it!
Our present point is a simple one - apart from the fact that this suffering for interfering nations is precisely what the last 57 years have shown:
for Egypt (utterly humiliated in 1967, 1973),
Jordan (which had a civil war in the midst of it all, and its results),
Syria (site for atomic war equipment bombed, Golan Heights lost),
for Russia (utter overthrow of Egypt
when it was using assistance and weapons from the USSR),
for the USA (vast actions more and more costly
- though some were for the good of Israel, this has been progressively less so,
as for others.
In the midst of all this, then, our major thrust is that Israel would suffer during these many efforts of the 'international community' as it is ludicrously called in its divisions and dissension, as a sort of cultural tic. Israel being in the midst of such assaults would experience one more crushing.
Is the amazing record of victory, then, a crushing ?
Of course not. But though these victories were also predicted in THIS CONTEXT in Zechariah 12, leading up to their repentance for killing Christ, their Messiah, and although these have occurred, and in so doing have also fulfilled to the letter the prophecy of Zechariah, there is another side. There is in war much pain, anguish and agony; blood is let; things are destroyed though one win, as did the Allies in 1945. In the case of a small nation like Israel, there is not only the constant threat of complete obliteration, annihilation, which seems to have been singularly unimportant for the UN with its large Arab interests. It is not only that; there is moreover not only the continual menaced by bullying crowds of larger nations, which is not restful... One can perhaps perceive that.
There is, in addition, the continual drain on young life, on national expectation, the constant interference with its plans, and its intelligent working which has transformed the nation, as was also predicted (cf. Isaiah 35). It has literally blossomed like the rose. There are with it, then, no small thorns, large and lacerating.
This fourth crushing mode (it does not remove Israel, but it does harass it and pain it with many pangs), this force of oppression (though it does not subdue it, yet it thrusts in upon it): what does it do ? It produces in its time, as the Lord in His own freedom acts, the vast return of many in Israel which Zechariah predicts, and Paul confirms, if you can call it confirmation, which is one more episode in the grand divulgement of the Lord through man, in His book, multitudinously verified and singularly validated, the Bible (cf. SMR Ch. 1). Each part speaks; and each is done; but here there is a duet of revelation, as so often, indeed multiple voices can often be found as we have often seen (cf. Defining Drama Ch. 10).
This in turn brings the composition of the Christian Church to its completion in principle, on which marvel Paul divagates in wondering glorification of God, in the end of Romans 11. That is blessing indeed and noted earlier; but this is where it fits in chronological sequence.
THE FINAL OIL WHICH FLOWS
Thus these four crushings, diverse in nature, but so parallel in type, they have been the precursor to an Israel which at last comes in penitence and purity to the Lord, to a nation purged and restored in heart, in spirit, in mind and in life, as predicted in Ezekiel 36-37 (concerning which, see It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 10).
How many people need four crushings ? or more ? Not a few. How many are so reluctant that as Pharaoh, or yes, as the Jews who were left after the second crushing by Babylon, they still hold out, preserving their own precious lives, though this merely kills them: for saving your own life, in solitary splendour, or social hubbub, is no substitute for finding it by taking your place in the divinely procured orchestra, and choir, at His direction, who made man for Himself, by Himself, and has made provision for Him only by Himself! Save your life, and lose it, was His dictum; but lose it for His sake and that of His Gospel, and you keep it. It applies both ways.
Is it not then time, not only for Israel, but perhaps for many of those who read these words, to make your peace with the Lord, to find God by the method which, after all, it is His prerogative to provide; for if your creditor graciously shows a way out of your debt, do you expect to dictate HOW it shall be done ? or do you not rather happily accept the gift being made, not stipulating whether it be by cheque, cash or direct payment into your account ?
Some so fuss and busy themselves, that they forget that creation was this, free; He made us and not ourselves, as Psalm 100 reminds us (cf. Defining Drama Ch. 10, Wake Up World ... Ch. 5, Secular Myths Ch. 7, Earth Spasm ... Chs. 1, 7). Salvation is likewise free; for if YOU are what is in debt, with what will you redeem yourself, already being sold to sin ? But if you receive the life of Christ, sacrificially offered and powerfully restored, with a sublime overpowering of physical death itself, then into eternal life you are drafted. Drafted ? Yes in a way, for God does the work (Titus 3:5ff., Romans 10:9), and it requires - not only specifies but REQUIRES - NONE of our own.
Your own solution to yourself ? That would be an arrogant insult to His pardon's price, to Himself, in the crucifixion of a sinless Christ. Moreover consider this, that in order to be acceptable in your place - there was much work for Him to do. Thus, if you receive Him, that is what He has done for you, who offers for all, but pays for those who accept the ransom on behalf of all. This ransom brings healing to those who have it (Isaiah 53:1-5), as His word expressly declares; and alas, but few have it or are spiritually healed, and know Him; for the way is narrow, and its confines are not a super-highway.
Work ? you ask. Did you not just say that there was NONE for the sinner to be received, to do ? Certainly, assuredly, and yes. What work then ? It is HIS WORK which HE did, that is the work. Was it not work to resist temptation such as is described in Matthew 4 ? Is it not work with strong cries to seek the face of the Father as He faces the coming crucifixion (Hebrews 5:7, Luke 22:41ff.)!
Was it not work, with all knowledge for Him to look at the writhing horror of having criminality falsely attributed to Him, and far worse, guilt vicariously assigned to Him as He suffered for it, crying therefore with passion, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!" - as also foretold in Psalm 22 (cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25)! Was it not work to face it in Gethsemane, and much more at Calvary when it happened and the guilit was unloaded onto His pure and eternal Being!
Yes it is much labour. He worked His whole life, without deviation from righteousness, in the beauty of holiness never succumbing to the lures of the flesh or the allures of spiritual pride, though Satan tempted Him enough (Matthew 4). To be sure, it was blessed, but it was work. THUS was He ABLE to die effectually, so that the universal offer could become the actual payment and ransom for MANY! even for those who received Him (as in John 1:12).
Israel then has this further benefit to mankind. It shows that it is unwise to need four crushings. Why not settle for less ? or in any case, come now!
*1 See SMR pp. 829ff., More Marvels Ch. 4, Divine Agenda Ch. 6.
*2 See Trust ... Ch. 1.
*3 See for example It Bubbles ... Ch. 10, Regal Rays ... Ch. 1. Repayment for murder, in the coin of new properties, if made to the many Islamic forces directed against Israel, when the basis for the assault includes repudiation of international agreement, not by Israel, but by the United Nations, and those who pursue the same ends: this tends to fortify murder. It tends to make it profitable, as if to reward, perhaps in a public ceremony, the Mafia for its ghoulish acts! To accept it, at the moral level, this becomes supine to its impudence, instead of strong against its aggression.
There is no kindness in becoming a participant in such folly; for in the end, God Himself will act as in Micah 7:15, Deuteronomy 32 and Isaiah 59. Fighting God is one of the most foolish actions of mankind; and if it is to have new dimensions, woe to those who practise it. Alas, it is a grief which would be better avoided.