W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
News Radio April 10, 2002
The Advertiser, idem
THERE IS NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT
A Match is a Match
In a religious magazine, some time ago, there appeared a rather pitying piece of correspondence, averring that really, though someone had been quoting the scriptures nicely, yet there was rather a dim point of view. Not really was it the case that the Biblical Israel had ANYTHING WHATEVER to do with the current version. How sad that the writer being assailed did not realise this.
What however was the so deep and penetrating vision, view or vista which the destroyer had in mind ? By what means was the biblical picture, not given so much as space in the depreciation of the viewpoint of the other writer, to be made irrelevant ?
It was so simple, simplistic indeed. Was the current Israel, a thing of Zionism, and by no means a religious phenomenon, to be confused with the ancient Israel of theocratic splendour ?
That seemed to be that.
For an example of logical bombast, textual oblivion and confused irrelevance, it would serve a text book in logic.
It is necessary, always, in giving an answer, to know what is the question.
The question is this: What does the Bible claim concerning itself, concerning Israel and concerning Israel after its long predicted sojourn abroad ? This needs to be KNOWN.
Next, what is the performance of the Bible, as providing such predictive functions ? what is the verification quotient ?
Thirdly, what indeed IS the nature of the present Israel, and how does it compare with the biblical picture of what such a contemporary version must be, if as on this site has been demonstrated, it be the case that the end of the Age is near ? (See Answers to Questions Ch. 5.)
Let us now address some factual answers to the necessary points in logical demand in this case. As to what the Bible claims concerning itself, see SMR Appendix D. It claims, in short, and in summary, to be a book of the Lord, who is God and knows the end from the beginning, and that the precision and power of the predictions will give, and does give, a wholly incomparable picture of His being, which being inimitable, has no products to imitate His own (Isaiah 41, 43, 48). The challenge to provide something comparable is essentially rhetorical: there is nothing at all.
This being so, it is necessary scientifically, to consider the relationship between the actual prediction and the time for which it is given, the present time and the nature of the contemporary situation which we now have (see ref. above). In fact, as seen in SMR Appendix A, there is a biblical depiction of a return of Israel after it came to be given an exile, both desolatory and lethal to many. It is to be from many nations, realised by many Jews, who in diverse ways fail to realise the grace of God, who in short, as a group, are not saved sinners, who come to the land while themselves in need of sprinkling (Ezekiel 36), who institute a State in a moment in a way beggaring description, who are to face wars, be most victorious in them, though statistically minuscule by comparison with their foes (Zechariah 12).
In due course, this multinational set of returnees to their homeland, after wars have been fought (as has been since 1948), are to come to a point of repentance for killing the Christ.
This means that some 500 B.C., before the killing of the Lord Jesus Christ, that there was a predictive forecast. It was in God's name, as well as constituting a prediction. It implied that the Lord Himself in human form would have to be pierced, and killed (Zech. 12:10). This is filled in with vast detail in Isaiah, especially chs. 52-53, as in Psalm 22. These things are treated in Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Chs. 5 and following, for Isaiah, and in Joyful Jottings 22-25, for the Psalms. See also SMR Ch. 9.
Repentant from these earlier anti-Messiah actions (national, as in Isaiah 49:7), there was to be a large corps in Israel who would at this late stage (Zech. 14:5) deplore the thing, and turning from the national posture to the point, constitute a vast revival of Christian faith in Israel*1. (Cf. Romans 11, and The Biblical Workman Chs. 1 *3, and 3 *1.)
Our present point is this: that sets out the fact that PRIOR to that relatively late stage in the series of internecine wars described in Zechariah 12, when the vast victories of the restored nation are already chalked up, there is NOT such a position. That repentance being future, to call the nation so constituted, 'religious', is going far too far. Indeed, it is not, for the returning body of Jews prophetically depicted , even a matter of having a restored religious connection with God at all, at this stage. In terms of this predictive prophecy, indeed, they are shown not even religious concerning their OWN MESSIAH at this stage. On the contrary, HE is the One whom it belatedly recognises! (On Zechariah in its contexts, 12:10, correlation with Isaiah, the Messiah in this books, and the Messiah, see The Impregnable Tower Chs. 7 and 8 , and With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength as above. )
So much for the cheap, factually deprived, unscientific approach to the matter. IF you are going to estimate the relevance of prophecy, you need to know what it is, with precision as with any other scientific matter, and to apply it to the venue, treating this with the same rigour, and to find the point of application, true or false. It is not enough to have a pre-conceived idea of what the prophecy presumably would be, and then to declare it irrelevant from the pit of ignorance!
We have seen moreover the accompanying circumstances of this end of the Age return of Israel (noting Luke 21:24, which specifies that the restoration of Jerusalem to Israel, is a token that the Age IS ending, the Gentiles having then HAD their innings, as the Jews earlier their own, again as in Romans 11, which deals structurally with these things, most pointedly). There was to be a huge afforestation and large flower activity in the recovered land. That has been seen with many such features in SMR Ch. 9 (cf. p. 791ff.).
In terms of the current terrorism and the vastly abrasive voice, as it now seems to be, of George W. Bush, telling Israel, GET OUT, NOW! or something very like it (as in The Advertiser, April 10, 2002). I MEANT WHAT I SAID! there is another prophetic feature to be noted.
President Bush announced, almost as if the divine right of kings, of famous English vintage, had suddenly come to life in a presidential nuance and vein, the departure for Israel from part of Jerusalem. He said it; he meant it; it is to be done. One trembles for such an utterance. One does not like to hear words from a land which has many lovable features, asking for correction!
address of these presidential words from a country far from Israel,
is to Sharon, who however feels it necessary to finish the deconstruction
of the lairs of the defiant murder squad(s) of Palestinians, who can claim
responsibility for these post-Hitler atrocities as if it were something
not requiring the rubric of shame. Sharon plans to proceed to complete
the removal of their infra-structure, something he apparently sees as quite
unsanctified by jihadic excuse, which exults so in crushing kids and the
like in Israel.
The burden to be felt for those oppressing Israel relative to Jerusalem, seeking to surround it, to overcome it, reminds one of the exhortation in Psalm 2, to the kings of the earth.
to Zechariah 12, its thrust is this at our current point of interest: that
those who seek to embarrass and harass Jerusalem, in effect laying siege
to her, seeking her for themselves or their allies, are to find it a difficult
will like a 'burdensome stone'.
You know what these can do to your back when they are found heavier than
you thought ? Even so here.
in TROUBLED WATERS
George W. Bush appears to be putting himself into this category, now, for after some commendable (relatively to many others) times of restraint and more objective notations to Arafat, concerning the cessation of the murder mass jobs, the US President is himself personally now asking for Israel to withdraw from ... half of Jerusalem. Asking ? He is summoning them to such an action. Who is this who speaks, then ? In the Bible, it is the LORD.
The immediate point to be found in the fact that half of Jerusalem is just what Israel took, when threatened with extermination in 1967. It is this which Bush is saying is now to be vacated. It is a sad error on his part.
Nor is this all. In the predictive phases of the Bible, you also find this, that there is to be a massive falling away, or apostasising of many church institutions (II Thessalonians 2, II Peter 1), as the end of the Age approaches. This has happened and has often been noted on this site, with some reference in the last chapter. It is this which now interestingly interlocks with the Jerusalem issue.
How is this the case ? It is, in answer, quite simple. AS churches and evangelists gradually make apostate truces with Rome (the Lutherans and Uniting Churches are in this direction now, and the Anglicans have been virtually leading it for decades cf. A Question of Gifts, Ch. VI, while Rome is an attraction for many such churches, allowing them to show their departure from the biblical faith), and as others have long made truces with rank and frank unbelief in the Bible, for reasons of the most bizarre, led by philosophy (cf. Ch. 2 above), these derelictions have a certain result. There is a certain ground swell. The very ground is swelling upwards, as the faith is going downwards on the part of many once regarded as bastions.
There is a boil on the earth, painful but apparent. It is not only political and social, academic and psychic; it is religious.
It is for this reason that there could occur such an appalling abomination, biblically speaking, as the President of the USA engaging personally and presidentially in prayer with Islamic and other faiths wholly alien to Jesus Christ, others who deny Christ's redemption, status and salvation. Similarly is the offence offered to the cross in his explicitly stating that it was good teaching that the Moslems had. Whatever the intention, the result is appalling.
This is so like the fateful error of Jehoshaphat, a good king, when he foolishly joined forces with his father-in-law, who ought not to have been his father-in-law, in a war where he very nearly lost his life. It was this which led to the rebuke of Hanani, noted in Ch. 2 above. (His later response is magnificent however, a massive change in response to the word of the Lord *1A. )
Still, one may ask, what does this nexus of affairs and events, developments and trends in this, the nearing end of the Age, have to do with Jerusalem ?
The answer is simple. BECAUSE of this trend, therefore the partnership with the Islamic bodies becomes more feasible, instead of rankly absurd. It is because of weakness in so many churches and apostasising in some evangelists, that the leadership can be misled, where they ought to have been warned, and indeed inspired differently; for where God is, is power, and power is not for conquest by arms, but for spiritual purity and the elevation of divine law and truth.
Puny pulsations of carnal, mundane power are like ripples on the surface, or sometimes, waves in a storm. They go. God however does not go; nor does His word, the Bible, which thrusts on, direly direct like a polished arrow.
loves; and this is the way that is His; and where it is dishonoured, no
love will be in the end.
Instead is denudation, a spiritual erosion, and the protestations of worldly words will not at all equate with the eventual actualities. Thus the US administration has taken this appalling route, already possibly compromising themselves in the escape of bin Laden, when some of their 'allies' were deeply involved. NOW the Islamic peoples are bringing more and more obvious pressure on Bush, in just the way outlined as likely, earlier*2 . It seems that he is to be spread out with his zeal, and then undercut by his 'friends' so that they can manipulate him: this appears the not-so-difficult to envisage result, if not indeed policy, of his new allies. Was he not months ago TOLD from a specific Arab source that the USA should LEARN what was needed relative to Israel, from September 11 ? And what was that ... need, what was the learning required ? It was this: As to Israel, STOP AIDING THEM!
As now, so long afterwards, this pressure relays itself to Colin Powell, now amazingly seeking the faces of various Moslem monarchs, he is to be found visiting the sovereign of Morocco. And what does today's news advise us on this score ? Oh yes, the majestic one has this to say to the Secretary of State of the USA: it is strange, good friend, that you are seeing us, when surely you should rather make haste to be in Jerusalem! What is hindering you!
That is the reported purport of the majestic remarks burrowing into the ear of the Secretary of State, as a sort of hospitality donation from the Moroccan house where he has chosen to be guest! Surely this is undiplomatic diplomacy, or it is rather the finger snapping of the partners who mean to get their REWARD, and have no qualms about throwing words roughly around. That, it is PRECISELY the sort of result that one envisaged, as the likely trend of events. Bush is to be embarrassed by being extended while his allies are to be opportune in using this fact for their own purposes, one of which is to dismantle if not destroy Israel.
One of the first steps in that pursuit, or any like it, is to remove Jerusalem from Israel's grasp (like removing Buckingham Palace from the English!), to make it at least half Arab. That is important because then there would be a loss of STATUS for Israel, and in effect, almost a loss of State, for to have to endure a halved capital, which nation is eager, and what sort of a nation is it expected to become, in such a state of existence as this!
Further, with the relinquishing of further elements of the already reduced Israel, relative to the proffered gift of Palestine, made by the Allies after World War I, there would be a more readily subduable Israel; and with all the Arab nations and Moslem resources STATEDLY directed to the assault and onslaught on Israel, from Teheran 1991 on, there would be a statistical delight in seeing Israel, to the mind at least, wither beneath odds only God Almighty could overcome.
To be sure, He HAS overcome just such seeming impossibilities, having already WROUGHT SUCH FEATS as this, in the years issuing from around the mid-20th century. That, in turn, is just what He predicted He would do, some two and one half millenia ago - through Zechariah (12).
Time, it is a small thing with the LORD, who made it, and is not bound by its ways (Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 1:4, Isaiah 46:10).
it all coheres, the developments past, with prophecy, and the trends present,
CRITICAL TO CRITICISM IS KNOWLEDGE
It is, then, important, when criticising something, at least to KNOW WHAT IT IS. The biblical depiction is of an unbelieving Israel arising suddenly, most suddenly (Isaiah 66:8-9 and see Ch. 6 of Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength, in which volume much of Isaiah's predictions are seen in one place, for inspection and presentation). That is just what Zionism helped to gain. It is of course not entirely irreligious, that esprit, that movement, as the presence of multitudes of the orthodox in Israel, as they are called, ensures; and indeed, their participation and leverage through aiding this or that party, has enabled a significant and in some ways substantial religious element in the State. Nor is it the case that at least one of its Prime Ministers, since 1948, has failed to be religious. Netanyahu - the author has the tape of one of his addresses - made much of the prophetic fulfilments which relate so triumphantly to Israel of today!
Nevertheless, the current Israel is not a specifically religiously founded State.
In fact, we are seeing, in the restoration of Jerusalem to Israel, the unbelieving state of Israel, the triumphant wars, the terrible and aweful problems which Jerusalem consistently creates to those trying to snare it, its successive liberation for the Jewish people in 1948 (first half) and 1967 (second half), and in all these things, the precise performance of prophetic propositions. How much further those who are careless will suffer, will be seen. God is not mocked. He has stated His intention, that the nations will know that it was HE who took out Israel, AND brought them back (Ezekiel 39:25-39).
As we see in SMR pp. 510ff. If you will not hear what God has to say, you will have to see what He has to do. THIS TOO is specified in Ezekiel as in Revelation 19.
The world is growing hotter, to quite a red heart temperature, like red faces during exercise; it is not only a physical, environmental matter. It is spiritual as well. Wise is he, is she who heeds the phenomenon, and looks to the Lord in trust, for His word is not merely about His land, but about His people. These ? they are not the Jews in this, that they apostasised and killed their King; but it yet from these that a people are to be drawn precisely as in Zechariah 12, at the end of that chapter, who will augment the Christian ranks, which after all, are the Messianic ranks, those of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
It is moreover on God's divine agenda (see the work of that name, SMR Appendix A and Galloping Events)
It is strange how many people want to worship at the shrine at the constantly changing 'knowledge' of science, which is only possible because God has made the universe with an extreme, radical logical insight and brilliance, so that its match, in man whom He also created, with his mind, can begin to find out what this logical precision has put in. Man is clever; he was MADE that way; but he merely limps as he seeks to find more and yet more of the magnificence of the creation, by logic tapping into its inherent logic.
It is the work put INTO nature, not the natural universe itself, which is truly and essentially awesome. The latter is a remarkable product. It is the Producer however alone, who needs worship, not His product: since His actions in creation and in redemption, the very date of which He forecast hundreds of years before it happened (SMR pp. 886ff.), are not merely splendid. They are moreover magnificent in forbearance, grand in conception and wonderful in work (cf. Isaiah 28:29, Psalm 8, Romans 1:17ff., I Timothy 3:16ff., II Timothy 3:16).
for man as a man is simple in outline, profound in performance, of an infinitude
of love. Not dictatorially taking him home, is a staggering forbearance;
entreating him COME! is a splendour of mercy. Let us then gain a little
SHRINE, GO BACK
The timeliness of time
The works of men are often admirable; the works of God are munificent in majesty and unique in exquisiteness, and they incorporate judgment as well, which is now hitting the world as did the curse at the start (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 7). One of the specific judgments to come is on those who seek to enchain the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, constraining and seeking to pluck Israel like strings, to make a more mournful music, that of desolation again. It happened first in A.D. 586 when Jerusalem fell to Babylon, for discipline as forecast by Jeremiah (25), and Micah so bravely.
It happened again, as forecast by Christ and Daniel (9)*4, following the death of Christ at the time appointed in the words of the prophet Daniel.
More happened to the hapless Jew, harrowed and captured, slaughtered and quartered, despised and mocked by many, for centuries at the hand of Islam and the Romanist body, with its detestable and wholly anti-Christian Inquisition (q.v. - see SMR 1032ff. et al.). It happened further as Jeremiah forecast (cf. The Biblical Workman Ch. 1, Jeremiah 30-31), later, when the day of Jacob's trouble came, so that there would be none like it! That episode, involving historically half of Jewish lives, or near it, extinguished in one short, sharp, dreadful ruler's dreams, is past. The arrival of much of Israel at the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31ff.) is as noted, yet to come.
Soon the world itself will be past. The time will be past for repentance of ANYONE, Jew or Gentile; for THIS is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men have preferred darkness (John 3:19's sombre and sobering reflection following John 3:16-18). In context, in John, that light is DEFINED to be God incarnate as Christ Jesus the Lord. This Redeemer is available; and efforts to dismiss and dispense with the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7) are multiple, in Islam, other sects or false prophecies, in fallen 'churches' and falling nations. Like all the other 'alternatives', one at a time, each for his own, each for the sheep going astray, each one to his own way, the endeavours no more change the Son of God, than the sun; and less indeed, for there is nothing to move God concerning the Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9, Ephesians 1:10).
What then will become of such vagrancies ? They will succeed, like a lamp-post for a sports car, only in being ground to powder. That, interestingly enough, is precisely what Christ declared:
"... whoever falls on this stone will be broken, but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder"What IS this stone ? It is the one identified in Matthew 21:33-41, the stone rejected, the Son of the King, of God! It is Himself. There is no other rock but GOD! (as Psalm 62 tells us and many another scripture).
It is intriguing to follow in Isaiah some of the things that were to come, are to come, and do come.
Thus, Isaiah 66 fascinatingly proceeds to show from the outset, the futility of animal sacrifices, with misled hearts astray, and ends with the staggering (as it would have been then) picture of people drawn from the nations about Israel, acting as PRIESTS! Of course, as Isaiah 53 makes so clear, with Isaiah 49, and 42, CHRIST is a light to the GENTILES. It is too little for Him merely to find Jews alone for His kingdom, wonderful as that is: it is to be all one, of One, in One and for One; and it is He (Romans 11:26-35). Yes, it is even among the Gentiles that such phenomena are to occur, for it is a NEW COVENANT (Jeremiah 31:31) which is to be, and all of mankind is invited, though (relatively) few may come.
There is no force, in the kingdom of heaven (on which see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 2) . Those who live there, love, and first of all, the love is to God. Indeed, the earth itself and the heavens are appointed for removal, like goods from a house, or a house condemned on earth (Isaiah 51:6). The force of man is to be denied even its site of parade (Isaiah 2, 24, 66:1-4, 51:6), while the Gospel and the grace of God in Jesus the Christ, will endure past all things (Isaiah 59:21, Psalm 73), whether on earth first, or in heaven last (Colossians 1:19-21, Revelation 5, 22).
Force on earth is going to its appointed destiny, as an absurd irrelevance when it comes to the heart of man. The red heart of the assassin, terrorist or other, the dead heart of the betrayers, leaving the light as if it hurt the spiritual eyes: this will become, on this earth first, the pure heart of the resurrected (Zech. 14:5, I Thess. 3:13), for all who come to the spiritual therapy, the realistic redemption and the necessary salvation to rejoin broken man with God who builds.
And then ?
in heaven, purity among purity, is found the supreme wonder of all, seeing
God face to face. What then is this earth with its woes and worries, witless
and extravagant in straying, that one should follow it. What is ITS heart!
The actual restoration of Israel at the consummative level is spoken of in Ezekiel 36ff., and in 37.
Here we find that the Messiah will rule over them, those who came to the land as those outside the kingdom of God, but who being sprinkled would become His once more, in large measure (Ezekiel 36:25, 37:24); and indeed, in this consummative wonder, there is to be a cessation once and for all for the idolatries that scorched their hearts and lives in the past (Ezekiel 36:23).
In fact, there is a new covenant (as also in Jeremiah 31:31ff.), which will change their very hearts (Ezekiel 36:22ff.), so that these events are in predictive focus, whether told directly as in Ezekiel 36 or in the following famous parable of the dead bones and the restoration coming home first in unbelief and then finding faith in the coming King, the Messiah, ruling over what He has written, whether in word or in heart. The Gentiles have an additive phase in the same salvation phrase (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6), and Israel is vastly disjoined as an unbelieving nation in its day (Isaiah 65:13-15), but an end of this cancer comes and life is restored as to the dead.
Such is the case here as in Zechariah 12, where their revulsion in repentance from the earlier murder of the Lord (implied in their sorrow at having pierced Him - 12:10, as shown to them by the Spirit of God at that time, the Spirit of grace), is focussed together with the fountain for sin and uncleanness thus being opened in Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1).
Jerusalem ? It is a sacred site therefore
|1) not only as
part of a promised land for a people,
|2) not merely as
the one site chosen for them for their Temple (cf. SMR pp.
|3) not alone
as a people incorporating that seed in which ALL nations would be
simply as the site for the ransom
that makes salvation free for all men who receive it (Isaiah 49-55), but
|5) as the
one where a massive portion of Israel will repent
of their lonely historic outing into killing the Lord in human form, and receive Him.
Sacred for the nation, sacred for the prediction of the Messiah in the ONE PLACE for sacrifice requirement (as in the reference above), sacred as the centre for a people through whom would come God as man (as in Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12:10, Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 2, 110), it would also be sacred as the site of His crucifixion and resurrection and of His renewed self-revelation through the Spirit of grace and of supplications to Israel in the latter days which now are and progress smartly.
Indeed, as to Jerusalem, it is to be
the site, shown for the Messiah's coming in glorious power
the one of His own regal return, rebuke to His dismissal in that
very place }
That makes six sacred phases and historical components for this site. Secular aspirations meet divine warnings; and though the predicted sorrows of the Jews (as in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 32) which are there seen in parallel with their cumulative revolts against the Lord as there shown, including their dispersion, create for a time a devastation as Daniel 9 so summarily indicates, yet there is this merciful rebound and refurbishing after a long time (as in Hosea 1). As 1948 and 1967 declared, that time is past. They simply and empirically are back. The thing happened (cf. SMR Ch. 9).
There is this rattling of the dry bones as in the parable of Ezekiel 37, the restoration of the scattered people, still immersed in unbelief, and thee ensuing sequential phase of their (now still to come) national repentance of the piercing of the Lord, confirmed in Zechariah 12.
Meanwhile, the restoration of Israel at this time is so surely as an unbelieving people, that there are TWO STAGES in the parable of Ezekiel 37. There is one in which the 'dead bones', representing the world-wide dispersion of Israel, come back to the land physically, and another arriving by express command upon the completion of this first restoration, to endue these skeleton bare bones, now aligned, so that they have spirit and life, and be no more dead.
It is the once known, then forsaken, covenantally ruptured, shamefully sinful, graciously restored nation, coming still unbelieving back to their land, one where they will repel invasions (Zechariah 12), one which is then to find in this blessed new situation, by divine fiat in a post-restoration action, even their salvation as in Zechariah 12:10ff..
Thus comes a vast movement to the Messiah, national in large measure, and it is this and this in all clarity and simplicity which is predicted. Change from this, as in terms of Mark 7:7ff., where people try to alter things, does what ? It simply becomes a case of making void, by traditions of men, the word of God. We have a different task: ours is to see what it says, and to this we address ourselves here.
Jehoshaphat had the wisdom
and fear of God to relent from such actions, and is famous for his
amazing work of faith in battle. When praising the Lord in the face of
mighty foes, in terms of realistic covenantal love for Him, he was led
to one of the world's most amazing victories.
Thus, though in some things, earlier surging astray, he proceeded to follow the truth with a zest and zeal wholly commendable, with results historically clean and clear as the knife edge of a surgeon. For these developments, at once delightful and dynamic, after his initial error, see II Chronicles 19:4 to 20:30. In the process, some of the prophetic announcements made by and to the king do good to the heart, uplifting the spirit as does the rose with its exquisite array of perfumes and robustly designed delicacies of form, confer delight on the aesthete.
See Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy
For overview of Ezekiel containing elements in place, see Acme, Alpha and Omega (AAA) Ch. 10, and note End-note 1A of AAA 6.
See on Daniel and his prophetic word, Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 12.