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ANOTHER SAMUEL RECOGNISES
Israel's True King
The Lord Himself!
Washington Post April 15, 2002
... In its historical setting
When Little Angel returned from his time in the Celestial Territory, and his visit to heaven, he found LA much better informed.
In fact, he had been immersing himself in Jewish affairs. Did you know, he asked, that in 1977, according to the National Prayer Network, a statute was passed to allow imprisonment if people attempted to proselytize a Jew from his faith, in Israel ? He cited the passage.
It is used most frequently in Israel, becoming
common with the passage on December 25, 1977, of Israel's infamous
"anti-missionary" law.1 This is a statute that decrees a prison term of up to
five years for any gentile attempting to proselytize a Jew away from his faith.2
Proponents say this is vital to the survival of Israel because so many young
Jews are being seduced away from the fold, largely by Christianity. The severity
of the sentence, they argue, is warranted because such theft of Jewish souls can
lead to genocide, or the extinction of a race.
However, there appears in the actual law, to have been a reference to material inducement, a form of 'seducing' may be the thought, and although this can be deemed the case with the gift of a Bible, which depending on the case, could be the travesty of imagining that a study aid is a material inducement per se, it does reduce the severity of the matter. In 1997, there was something far more exclusivist. It proposed, in bill form, that the tremendous efforts made by various governments, including that of Finland, and organisations, to prevent this were no doubt somewhat effective.
Netanyahu, former Israeli PM, in 2002 declared much concerning terrorism, in an historic speech about liberty; and it is in that regard that it is significant. Listen to it, for it was reported in the Washington Mall, April 15, 2002, as from a Pro Israeli Washington Rally.
At this very hour, the entire nation of Israel is silent. The Jewish state is commemorating the 20,000 soldiers who gave their lives to defend the state of Israel and the thousands of civilians struck down by the forces of terror in our long battle for freedom. Just a few months ago, America too lost thousands of its citizens to terrorist savagery. And we stand here today to honor these fallen sons and daughters of liberty.
But I've also come here today, my dear friends, to give thanks, to thank all of you for standing up for the Jewish state when so many outside America stood silent – (applause) – to thank the American people and their government for remembering the difference between freedom and tyranny, between right and wrong, between good and evil, to thank President Bush for
boldly declaring that terrorism, the deliberate attack on civilians, is never justified; it's always evil – (applause) – and for bravely charting – a course that will lead the free world to victory.
No greater friend of Israel has ever been in the White House, and no president has ever championed a cause that was more just. Israel and the United States are today fighting the same battle, waging the same war, confronting the same evil. Like the United States, Israel did not seek this war. It was forced on us by a savage enemy that glorifies in a culture of death, a culture where murderers are called martyrs and where suicide is sanctified.
My friends, an enemy that sends children to die and to kill other children is an enemy that cannot be placated. (Applause.) An enemy that openly preaches the destruction of our state is not a partner for peace. (Applause.) With such evil, there can be no negotiations and no concessions – (applause) – because the only way to confront – to fight such evil is to confront it. The only way to defeat it is to destroy it. (Applause.) And once terror is defeated, I believe other Palestinians will come to the fore with whom we will forge a genuine and lasting peace.
Now, I don't want you to be fooled by the apologists of terror. They tell us that the way to end terror is to appease it, to meet or give in to the terrorists' demands – because – listen to their argument – because, they tell us, the root cause of terrorism – did you ever hear that? – the root cause of terrorism is the deprivation of national and civic rights.
Well, let's examine that proposition. If that were the case, then in the thousands of conflicts and struggles for national and civil rights in modern times, we would expect to have found endless examples of terrorism. But guess what: We don't.
Mahatma Gandhi did not use terrorism in fighting for the independence of India. (Applause).) The peoples of Eastern Europe did not resort to terrorism to bring down the Berlin Wall. (Applause.) But one other example; one other example. Martin Luther King did not resort to terrorism in fighting for equal rights for all Americans. (Applause.) In fact, speaking in this city, in this very place, four decades ago, Martin Luther King preached a creed that was the very opposite of terrorism – not violence, non-violence; completely the opposite.
So now we must ask ourselves, why did all these people pursue their cause without resorting to terror? Because they believed in the sanctity of each human life, because they were committed to the ideals of liberty, because they championed the values of democracy; simply put, because they were democrats, not terrorists. That's why. (Applause.)
But, you see, those who practice terrorism do not believe in these ideals. In fact, they believe the very opposite. They believe that the cause they espouse is so all-encompassing, so total, that it justifies anything and everything. They believe that it allows them to break any law, to discard any moral code, to trample all human rights into the dust. They believe that their cause permits them to indiscriminately murder and maim innocent men and women. They believe that it lets them blow up a bus full of babies.
My friends, there's a name for the mindset that produces this evil. It is called totalitarianism. Indeed, this is the root cause of terrorism. The root cause of terrorism is the totalitarian mindset, a tyranny that systematically brainwashes the minds of its subjects, to suspend all moral constraints for the sake of a twisted cause. And this is why, from its inception, totalitarianism has always been wedded to terrorism, from Lenin to Stalin to Hitler to the ayatollahs to Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden
to Yasser Arafat. (Applause.)
My friends, I want you to listen to me carefully, because I want to say something else. It is not merely that the goals of terrorists do not justify the means they use. It is that the means that they choose tell you what their real goals are, because those who target the innocent will never protect freedom and human rights.
And how can we see that? We can see that clearly every time terrorists come to power. Those who fight as terrorists rule as terrorists, setting up dark dictatorships, whether in Iraq or in Iran or in Afghanistan or in Arafatistan. (Applause.)
And indeed, Yasser Arafat is the quintessential terrorist. Both his means and his goals are illegitimate. Arafat pursues a goal of policide, the destruction of a state, by employing the means of suicide, suicide and mass terror. Arafat does not want a Palestinian state next to Israel. He wants a Palestinian state instead of Israel. (Applause.)
But my friends, any time that Israel was confronted with an Arab leader who was genuinely interested in peace and delivered a message of peace to his own people in Arabic, every time we were confronted with such a leader, we made peace.
Menachem Begin made peace with Egypt's Anwar Sadat, and Yitzhak Rabin made peace with Jordan's King Hussein. (Applause.) But five Israeli prime ministers have been unable to make peace with Arafat. Do you know why? For a simple reason: Because Arafat does not want peace. (Applause.)
Now, let me show you the difference between one leader and another. Until the day I die, I will not forget the day that King Hussein came with me to visit the bereaved families of seven young Israeli school girls, 12 years old, gunned down by a deranged Jordanian soldier. He knelt before the families, before the mothers and fathers. He was weeping. There were tears
streaming down his eyes and he said, "Please, please forgive me. Please forgive me."
Now, contrast that to Yasser Arafat. Do you know what he does? He glorifies these mass killers. He calls public squares after them. He names buildings, streets in their honor. He has suicide kindergarten camps. He has suicide universities. He has suicide museums. For God's sake, this is the man who pays the checks. He signs the checks for the explosives of the suicides. He is a terrorist, if there ever was one.
Now, you may remember that many right here, right here in this town, and many in Israel, many in Washington and many in Jerusalem, had hoped, at the beginning of the Oslo accords, that Arafat would prove to be a statesman, a Palestinian King Hussein. Instead he's proved to be a Palestinian Saddam Hussein. (Applause.)
And I ask you, what do you do with Saddam Hussein? Do you negotiate with him? Do you make concessions to him? Do you appease him? No, exactly. You do the same thing to him that the U.S. just did to the Taliban. You defeat him.
America rightly defeated the Taliban. And today, in an historic mission that deserves the support of civilized peoples and nations everywhere, President Bush is courageously leading the free world to dismantle Saddam's regime before it acquires nuclear weapons. (Applause.)
Well, if we're to end terror and begin peace in our own part of the world, Israel must too now dismantle Arafat's regime, a mission also worthy of support from all foes of terror and all friends of liberty.
I think that garnering this support is much easier now than it was a year ago. I think that the face of Palestinian terror has finally been unmasked. The people of this great nation are not fooled by Yasser Arafat and the con artists he employs on American television. Americans know that Yasser Arafat is nothing more than Osama bin Laden with good PR. (Applause.)
Americans know that if it looks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it talks like a duck, it's a terrorist. (Applause.)
Today, gathered in the capital of liberty, we send a powerful message to the entire world. To those in Europe who 60 years ago did nothing to prevent the slaughters of millions of Jews and who today side with the mass killers who seek to destroy the Jewish state, we send this message: History's shame will once again fall on you. (Applause.)
To the anti-Semites of the world, we send a message of defiance. The Jewish people are not afraid. We will roll back the savage assaults, those assaults that you direct against us. We will courageously stand up to you and to all other enemies. And to the terrorists and terror regimes that support them, we send a warning: The free world, led by President Bush, has awoken to your evil. Terror will be given no quarter, no peace, until it is wiped out from our world. (Applause.)
My friends, I want to congratulate all of you on the largest rally in support of Israel in Israel's history. (Applause.) I want to assure you that standing tall, standing proud, we will win this war. We will secure our states and we'll preserve our liberty. And in defending the Jewish state, all of you here today in Washington, Jews and non-Jews alike, are defending the cause of liberty, a cause that has once again made America, Israel and the defenders of freedom the last, best hope on earth. We shall
Thank you very much, all of you, and God bless you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
You see, the emphasis on "defenders of freedom" and the opposition to totalitarianism; you observe the stress on mentality, and what underlies terrorism, the absolutistic force, the disregard of what he calls “human rights". This is no mere inference. In 1998, as PM, he assured the Anti-Defamation League that the government in Israel would not pass the then recently proposed bill which would restrict missionary activity in Israel. There was a grave threat to religious freedom in Israel, pushed in various bills and bodies. There is a perceived threat that Israel will be proselytised into weakness, and action designed to prevent this in a Judaising manner, exists.
For example, a body called Jews for Judaism has published on its website the point that the hearts of lovers of Zion have been heavy for some years, because not only has their been a continuing reign of brutal terror, taking hundreds of lives, crippling thousands and devastating their spiritual homeland, but there has been what to them is an added burden. There is deemed to be an insidious spiritual threat posed by Christian missionaries. Rightly, it appears - apart from lags in law-enforcement and delays in visas in many missionary cases, and civil disorders resulting in destruction of church property in Israel, in some cases - it declares that it is an error to think that missionary activity in Israel is illegal and thus not a 'problem'.
There is cited the computation that 7000 converts to Christianity are in Israel, who have established more than 100 Hebrew Congregations. It grieves at the point that Jews for Jesus have employed six full-time Jewish evangelists or missionaries, and that Chosen People Ministries report that 15 Israeli Jews are about to get baptised, via their Tel Aviv branch, a body hoping to create a congregation in Jerusalem. The article then itemises publication and meetings on the part of Jews for Judaism, and steps to meet the thrust they deplore, on the part of Christian missionary organisations.
It is not just towards Christians that the State of Israel seeks restraint, despite strong efforts which came near to creating a virtual moratorium on missionary activity, but failed. It is even to Moslems that many openings are allowed. This is immensely tolerant in view of the threat to the very existence of the Jewish State which so many Moslem bodies comprise: people who not merely will not allow JEWISH religious activity to proceed freely in their own midst, but seek to destroy Israel.
This is a classic fulfilment of the conditions of the Balfour Declaration, as noted confirmed later internationally, despite the removal of most of the territory in view, to add to the already enormous Islamic territories surrounding Israel, and often used towards her extinction, annihilation, thrusting into the sea, or whatever other language may be in mind.
Israel is in this way enhancing its reputation as a democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it even makes some State contribution, we read in the Jewish Virtual Library, to schools which are not State but private schools, even non-Judaistic religious ones! That Library, incidentally, is a division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.
LA, I'm really impressed with many things in Israel, and courage and conviction are amongst the chief ones.
Sure, there have been many ugly incidents, but this is small by comparison with their established laws, which have not come without great travail as they seek to exist in the midst of international affront and intrusion on a vast scale, often by friend and enemy alike!
Their upholding of democratic principles has been considerable. Thus, there was further affirmation of this tolerance to be, before they even existed as a modern State, when even the Palestine Mandate of 1922 contained various provisions to ensure freedom of religion and conscience, along with protection of holy places, and prohibition of discrimination on religious grounds. The Palestine Order in Council of that year required that "all persons ... shall enjoy full liberty of conscience and free exercises of their forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals".
How hard they have striven while being blown apart, even if only in the minds of many of their assailants, but at least insidiously, implacably and continually assaulted by this or that terrorist group, supported by Syria, or Iran, or at one time, Iraq, reportedly giving bounties for each slain Israeli! It is not easy to be tolerant of murderers.
She has striven even while being impacted with frenzied hatred.
That's a good bond for Israel now, to the extent she wants to appeal to the original League of Nations arrangements based on the Balfour Declaration, which also required recognition of civil liberties for those not Jews, JA, responded LA. I understand that there is much more along these lines since those days, also, in terms of democratic liberties.
Yes, LA my dear angel, such things as these have been recognised in the Israeli legal system, you find in Professor Shimon Shetreet's "Freedom of Religion in Israel" in the Jewish Virtual Library.
He notes that Israel's Declaration of Independence, promulgated when Britain's mandate ended in 1948, guarantees freedom of religion and of conscience. In fact, that declaration, made hours before the British Mandate ended in May 1948, included reference to Balfour, positing the international recognition of the Jewish people’s right to return to the country, in the Balfour Declaration.
It stated this:
"In the year 5657 (1897), at the summons of the spiritual father of the Jewish State,
Theodore Herzl, the First Zionist Congress convened and proclaimed the right
of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country.
"This right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration of the 2nd November, 1917,
and re-affirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which, in particular,
gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people
and Eretz-Israel and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home."
There is a strong desire for accuracy, in the midst of the international subterfuges and deceptions. Indeed, in terms of freedom, that Declaration itself at the very first of it, had this:
"THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering
of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel;
it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."
It also declared this:
"On the 29th November, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel; the General Assembly required the inhabitants of Eretz-Israel to take such steps as were necessary on their part for the implementation of that resolution. This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable."
Professor Shetreet (in the same presentation) evidences how the Supreme Court of Israel shows considerable recognition of the view that the general right to human dignity protected by the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, 1992, includes freedom of religion and conscience, though it has not made any sweeping promulgation on the topic. Certainly it explicitly states that its purpose is to protest those very two things in its own title! Accordingly, Judaism has not been proclaimed the official religion of Israel.
On the other hand, you can see that in terms of the Declaration of May 1948, that the "freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel" is far from making it a mere democracy, but rather a religiously inclined one. It is in this like England, where despite the real liberty of expression and conscience, there is nevertheless a series of official requirements which make the Church of England the State Church. You do not have to go, but it is, more than in the parallel exemplified in Israel, the national Church.
It is really interesting LA, that this reference to the Jewish prophets enjoys this status, for in the end, this is really making for the establishment of a Jewish State which is Christ's! for HE is the crux and criterion of the Old Testament as well as the New, and no one but Jesus Christ died in the circumstances of being pierced, as in Psalm 22, being rejected by the nation, as in Isaiah 49:7, being of the tribe of Judah, as in Micah, sold for 30 pieces of silver as in Zechariah, around AD 30 and so on.
I believe therefore that we have real freedom to speak to Samuel and we ought to set about this NOW.
Thanks for your Report, JA, and I should tell you a little about my own interviews while I have been away, before we act.
Agreed! responded JA.
I have received some exposure to what are called higher norms of conduct, and been allowed to consider their relationship to the Bible and to the love of God, but received commendation for enterprise and initiative, imagination and resolve. It is forbidden for me to refer to you, in this context, but they were made to understand, in the Celestial Territory, how much we have enjoyed our co-operation, and how instructive it has been for us. My commission is extended, and we can now redouble our efforts in the Holy Land. THIS, it is thrilling, for who knows at what point the Lord Himself will return right there as in Zechariah 14:4 and Isaiah 59.
Not however before all Christians have been removed, does He return with them.
Not until! agreed LA, but once they are gone, action is swift!
As they winged to Sam, whom they had discovered by reference to the Angelic Terrestrial Foundation, to be living in Tel Aviv, they were in for a great surprise.
They saw him preaching in a church of people. It was not large - about 50 in all, but it was radiant in expression, and he apparently was their pastor. Not all were Jews, but most were, and he was expounding from Micah 6, pointing out that Assyria, now nearly equivalent to Iraq, had indeed suffered at the hands of a multi-national group in 1991 in just the way indicated there, and was now indeed receiving the divinely promised come-uppance. He went on to Micah 7, and there paused, while tears and laments came from the congregation.
It was so moving for them to see the words,
"Rejoice not against me, O my enemy.
"When I fall, I shall arise.
"When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him until He pleads my case, and executes justice for me.
I will see His righteousness."
Pointing out that this referred to the time when the Lord will shepherd His flock Himself, as in Ezekiel 34, Psalm 2, he divulges the decree: "Shepherd your people with Your staff, the flock of Your heritage, who dwell solitarily in the woodland": a geographically designated national group.
Just as the former follies of the people had been specified in national terms, so he spoke of the sufferings of Israel, which in fact were to stretch from the loss of the third Temple, of Herod, to that of Jerusalem itself, with the crucial sufferings of many, and by report, with many crosses for Jews, just as they had provided one for Christ. The difference, this time it was for them, and it was at the hand of the Roman invaders in AD 70.
But of what else does Micah speak in his prophetic overview, leading on to the time when the Lord directly acts to deliver His people, in a manner comparable to that of the Exodus from Egypt (Micah 7:15) ? The sufferings loom to nearer and nearer doom, and small wonder there is this exquisite sense of tortured patience and waiting on God, for repentance is to come as in Zechariah 12:10 and Deuteronomy 32, and the Lord Himself will be there.
Of what then Micah speak, in his coverage of the intervening years before this coming climax, in Ch. 7 ?
He spoke of the diaspora, of the scatterings into ghettoes, of the unchristian unkindness of those who had mistaken divine justice for their own, and had sought to add to the griefs of a rebellious chosen people, by adding their own persecutions in pogroms, Inquisition and stripping of assets, culminating in Hitler's million by million factories of death.
Yet, despite all these incredibly targetted woes, sometimes from hatred of people who worshipped a piece of bread, sometimes from those who did not, but followed national pride, sometimes from opportunists, from those with greed for their assets, from philosophically deluded people, or racial partisans, from those jealous or those fearful: the Jews were still a highly distinctive people.
The Lord has preserved Israel as He said, and this is not for nothing. It is to be a warning to the other peoples, both of the result of pride and unbelief, and of the power of God to do what He says, whether to Jew or Gentile; for we have here been a divinely propagated illustration of the results of deferring mercy by murder, and pardon by pugnacity.
You see that, he continued, in Ezekiel twice, once in 36:35-37, and in 39:25-29. He read these out from the pulpit. Speaking of the Gentile nations seeing the restoration of Israel, the word of God shows their response.
"So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it."
"Thus says the Lord God: 'I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.’ "
That he said, is the first, and here is the second.
"Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name - after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid.
" 'When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer.
"And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.' "
In fact, this stresses chiefly the impact on Israel itself, when the ultimate mercy and pardon of the New Covenant in Christ reaches them (as in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 16:60), and kisses the same contextual idea as seen in Isaiah 62, where the believers of Israel are to have a 'new name' and those who refuse are to be left 'a curse to my chosen', in Isaiah 65:13-15.
But now, continued Sam, look at Ezekiel 39:21-24:
"I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day forward.
"The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them.
"I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them."
There you see that not only in that blessed day, for which we ardently wait, when the Lord by His own power brings much of Israel en masse, to Himself and to repentance for the judicial murder of their own and the world's only Saviour (as in Isaiah 42, 49, 53, 43:10-11), will Israel recognise the amazing simplicity of their career. That is just one phase of it. In no small scope likewise, the Gentiles will do so as well. Illumination will break into the darkness, and the simple singularity of it all will break like dawn. WHY did the Jews fail so utterly as a nation, after such might that they were a cause of fright to many nations ?
It was because they defiled the covenant of the Almighty and defiled His provisions, and kept at it till there was no hope, no remedy as in II Chronicles 36, and then at length in killing their own Messiah, they simply cut out the channel of mercy, and so became a lesson to all. Why did they return ? It was because God is faithful and has repeatedly stated just that in confirmation of His covenant to Abraham as in Genesis 17:17-8 and Micah 7:19ff..
At last, they realise that the journey to God has been aborted with elaborate folly, by Jew and Gentile nation, and that fantasy’s flight to the infernal has been even more useless and godless than the endless endeavours to subject space itself to man’s momentum, which despite almost endless frustrations from spiritual inanity, continues despite Psalm 115.
Why do they realise this, at last, after millennia ? There is one very good reason. They have come to the end of the road.
This, it is because it is the ultimate environment when Christ comes to reign, and ultimate power is shown in the deliverance of the people of the Lord from their invading and pitiless enemies, as Micah 7 and Deuteronomy 32, where the history of this people is covering. Here, covering the last from the first, God has made it so dramatically clear, that the angels would weep.
The peoples stand shaking on the threshold, vainglory wilting as the clouds gather for the glory. In Isaiah 24:5, you see this, the entire world confronted at the breach of “the everlasting covenant” from the Lord, which is to all peoples; and it shakes exceedingly.
But why is it that they now realise what has been happening ? It is because it is the threshold of the ultimate environment when Christ comes to reign, and the events of judgment, in Matthew 25 are not slow to realise themselves. Even in the prelude, there is a quaking and a shaking, even as the culmination arises, and light dashes darkness to its devious depths, and truth judges (as in Revelation 19, and I and II Thessalonians Chs. 1-2).
The glory of the Lord is coming on Christ's return as in Zechariah 14:5, he told his congregation, and you could see by the expression on his face that he esteemed them as the LORD's congregation to whom he had the privilege of speaking. They were all brother to brother, sister to sister, person to person in Christ.
The angels felt a delicious delight, for here was some fruit for their winging labours and heart-concern expressed for so long in so much. Here was a church aflame, a set of lighted candles, more, a set of torches protected, their light projected, here was an alliance of faith, a conveyance of spiritual comfort, an occupied territory of the Lord of hosts, people of life eternal.
Do you not see, continued Sam, meanwhile, from his pulpit, how both Jew and Gentile at that ultimate time before the End of the Age compresses history in a new dimension, that ALL will have to realise that SIN was the reason why Israel was allowed to be excluded from its land, and that this same SIN was the reason why the Gentiles had the opportunity to become a peculiar or special people in the grace of God meanwhile; for the Jew as ambassador had become defunct with the death of Christ, but not forever.
Now they see that Israel went OUT for a reason - unbelief. Just as at the first they did not occupy the promised land, as seen in Numbers 14, through lack of faith in Moses' day, so by that very same lack of faith, in Christ's day, they did not as a nation come to Him, did not receive Him. The one and the other: they were for EXACTLY THE SAME REASON.
First, they lost the land, and wandered in the deserts for 40 years before the next generation entered it instead.
Much later, the generation in the day of Christ, these lost the Lord, as a nation, and wandered in the deserts of time some 1900 years, before the generation of mercy arrived, and these first regained the land in 1948. This geographical restoration would come first, as predicted in Ezekiel 36-37; and now we are coming near the time of the spiritual restoration, when they regain the Lord, in large numbers, through an epic in repentance which Zechariah 12 exhibits, in the vast recesses of their souls.
A great weeping gripped the community of souls, and some prayed eloquently for the conversion of their people.
Then Sam continued.
NOW, the Gentile peoples also see their profound blindness, as pagan nations, that Israel was not excluded because any religion will do, and it makes no difference; but for breach of covenant, truth and reality, as in Ezekiel 39:22-26, Jeremiah 16:10-13. They see with new clarity that God is not to be mocked by idiotic human inventions saying anything at all about him and about sinners, even exempting them from title 'sinner' in some cases, as flesh exulted in itself.
No, it is seen that it was because of the sin of the chosen people, that those not so chosen have space to repent and come to Him; and that it was for the faithfulness of the God who unconditionally promised this land, our land, he continued, to Israel, that we were brought back. So do we find in Romans 11 as in the prophets. God has desired all, and has planned for all, and now is reaching all, so that as many as are His, come home, not only to a country, but to their King and Lord, God Himself; for it is He who is the target, truth and condition of life for man. His creation.
It was not because the Gentiles are good that they had the opportunity, nor as in Deuteronomy 7:7, was it because we were good that we too were chosen in the first place. Now that we are brought back, precisely as He said, still intact, still in our own Holy Land, yet as a nation, still unrepentant for divorce from Christ as in Ezekiel 37, we are being given plenty of scope to realise it. For that, our current history is a tonic!
It is this that we come to see. It was NOT because of our merits or courage or skills that the Lord brought us BACK once again, to our land. It was because of divine grace and faithfulness. THAT, he declared roundly, it is in Ezekiel 36:22 and on:
"Therefore say to the house of Israel,
‘Thus says the Lord God:
"I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.
"And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,' says the Lord God, 'when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.
"For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
"Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
"I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses ..." ' "
One of the congregation then arose and read Romans 10:1-10:
"Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law,
'The man who does those things shall live by them.'
"But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way,
'Do not say in your heart,
Who will ascend into heaven?’
(that is, to bring Christ down from above) or,
Who will descend into the abyss?
(that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
"But what does it say? '.he word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
"For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Hallelujah's rang out, and this was a signal to the organist who in a manner obviously prepared before the service, after the choir had been ushered in for the purpose, proceeded to play Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, and the people, with tears in their eyes, arose as one and stood while it was sung.
These, they are near to heaven already, declared JA.
Heaven is near to them also, responded LA with tears streaming down his angelic countenance.
Following this, it seemed almost a privilege to talk to Sam as they did, after the Service, when all the business was done.
Sam! said LA, I congratulate you. Did you win all these to the Lord ?
No, but most of them, said Sam; for the Lord operated in such a style that it gave me trouble to follow Him aptly and closely, such was His zeal. This has been the greatest privilege of my life.
Long into the night they spoke, and the planned a whole day excursion with Sam, on the following week, and there we leave them, for such happiness as this is between man and angels, and all but unspeakable in kind.
As we turn our eyes lovingly from Sam to our common Lord, we cannot help being delighted at finding the spiritual strength he found in the Way which is Christ. First he had been besieged by friends and relations, NOT to be baptised, for though circumcised, he had no baptism at any stage in his life.
Arguments were presented - Do not increase the tensions; do not endanger work, for employers may inwardly revolt at your new faith, and you may be disadvantaged, and in fact spoil your whole life; do not embarrass your friends, for it will place new tensions on your relationship with them, and if it be publicly known that you are so open about your Christianity, it may compromise them for being seen to continue socially close to you; do not trouble your own besieged nation, surrounded by yapping foes, and not a few wolves, for is it not enough that you have made this change, that you must publicly lessen the impact of social unity in our midst by such an action ... and on and on.
However, to all these things, Samuel had but three answers.
The first and the chief had been this, that the command was clear, baptism was not an option, as in Matthew 28. It had to be done: period.
His second aspect would be this.
Just as circumcision was not optional for the Jew in the Old Covenant, which was now replaced by the new one of Jeremiah 31:31 which had now come to pass in the JEWISH Christ, so now baptism was required for those not yet baptised. Even Moses, in the Old Covenant, had been chastened for delaying the application of the covenantal sign of circumcision, as in Exodus 4, and now whether on child or proselyte were in view, the new rite was to be performed as a visible signal of the covenantal faith. Sam himself had not been baptised at birth, as a Jew, so therefore in parallel to the circumcision as Paul displayed it in Colossians 2:11-12, this new covenantal seal was required.
Orders from God are there to be obeyed, and just as surely as it should not be repeated, when once administered to a child, so too it should not be deleted, when this had not been done, and Christian faith had arisen. Had no Paul made it so abundantly clear: IF you are baptised. THEN you are circumcised.
That is, the new symbol wholly replaced the old one, and was in no need of revision from human philosophy and autocratic, democratic ideas, misplaced at that. IF circumcision was for children as a signal of family attitude and hope in what God earlier said in the Old Covenant, then so for the new, where the parallel symbol is expressly used in substitution.
If God changed His opinion He would tell you, said Sam, and He has said the exact opposite as in Colossians 2:11-12 together with Acts 16:9. In the former text, the engulfment of circumcision by baptism is spelled out clearly, so that the principles of the one apply to the other, unless otherwise instructed. In the latter text, we find that the GROUND of the baptism of the household was in the term involved - it was the household as in the Old Testament cases, from first to last (cf. Genesis 17:7ff., Leviticus 22:11). It is the same Hebrew word for 'house' or 'household' in the translations, and it is this in Greek translation that Paul uses. It means all that pertains to your control, authority or sustaining goodness, under your roof, tent-flaps or whatever.
The 'saving' of all the 'house' of course, meant precisely what the circumcision parallel implied - it implies a sanctifying of all in the sense of being committed initially to Christ, and hence good savour for that household as a public testimony to the Lord; and it implies for those who are already believers, the salvation itself which the symbol then attests, from prepared minds and ready hearts.
Teaching God what to think is not man's business, said Sam, and diversifying His approaches with your own so far from being enlightenment, is mere rebellion. Hence, he would say, firstly it is commanded, and secondly, it is in principle required as a open thing, just as was that circumcision which was demanded of Moses. There are to be no loose ends in the Christian household's connection to God; and since I am now adult, unbaptised, I have the privilege of acting for my own part.
Sam's third reason for his baptism in the face of all the attempts to persuade him against it, or at least making it public, was this: Would you marry and refuse a wedding ring ? Would one be a Christian and refuse a baptismal signal, visible to all concerned ? Is Christ of less importance than Israel ? THAT, he had said, that is the crux. Is the symbol of union with Christ as Saviour to be dispensed with, out of concern for those who do not like the 'marriage'! Is the ultimate in union, that with God as Lord, Friend and Deliverer, to be subordinated because some do not want to surrender to the Lord themselves ? Is rebellion the best example to others ?
Is culture king, or Christ, he would say. eventually many listened.
A fourth reason would sometimes arise. Israel, he would say in those early days following his conversion, Israel is Messianically oriented in its books of the Jewish prophets, and the Messiah is demonstrably Christ, who died about AD 30, as shown in Daniel 9, as well as in all the prophecies which He fulfilled, a virtual identikit for those who use eyes as given by God, and verified in all His own prophecies, now coming true in vast displays of divine sovereign power, like fireworks on a clear night.
For him, therefore, to ignore PUBLICLY its OWN Messiah is asking yet the more, and with new offence since his eyes were now opened, for the very calamities Israel has suffered - it would be like electing to go about without your head!
Our Head, He would say of himself and his fellow Christians, He is necessary for Israel, a covenantal people, and social concerns, so far from being a negative to a PUBLIC baptism, are a plus, for it intimates to Israel the way it should go.
SO he had been publicly baptised, and a relative, following the discussions concerned, had become a Christian also, and some of his friends likewise; at which two more members of Sam's family had been converted, and a cluster of professional acquaintances had followed. Sam being gifted with children, had soon established a Sunday School equivalent, and before long his impassioned preaching had led to a sense of impending wonder, as they waited on the Lord, whose presence became clearer and clearer. Their kindness became notable and some came for counselling.
We leave him in his great work, with a little auditing to one of his addresses, where we peep in and then leave quietly. So far from being bold to go where angels fear to tread, we are only following JA and LA, in this, for they too are busy auditing his preaching. Let us then join them, and listen to Samuel.
Don't you realise, he was saying, that the great outpouring of God's Spirit of Zechariah 12,
"I will pour out the spirit of grace and of supplications,
and they will look upon Me whom they have pierced,"
and the reference in Isaiah 32, following the revelation of the Messiah in the earlier verses of that Chapter,
"Until the Spirit be poured out from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest",
are references to the end and culmination of a punishing beginning ? Isaiah 32 continues with the very Gospel of peace, saying this,
"Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
And righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
The work of righteousness will be peace,
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever."
The work of God's righteousness is indeed that of Christ as in Isaiah 53, where on Him was laid the sin of all whose souls He would heal, and the effect of the reception of this gift of divine righteousness, which Paul focusses in Romans 5:15ff., is indeed peace and quietness of heart. Yes, and it is for ever, he continued, for to the Samaritan woman did he not say this, as seen in John 4:
"Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give, shall never thirst again,
but it will be in him a well of water springing up into eternal life."
It is as in Isaiah 27:5, where the Lord declares this,
"Or let him take hold of My strength,
That he may make peace with Me,
And he shall make peace with Me."
Alas, our people have not taken hold of His strength, but tend at this time, to trust in their own, and they have not made peace with Him, nor accepted His divine work that produces the gift of righteousness as in Romans 5:15-1! Rather have they, as in Paul's day, attested in Romans 10, making a pointless journey. They are going about to establish their own righteousness.
Until the day comes when they submit -
not to other nations in their inveterate greed, hostility or ideological obsessions, never satisfied until Israel is dismantled, as with Iran -
but to the Lord Himself, how are they to be delivered ?
If God is not for them, what is the good of being for themselves! And this, it applies to one as to all, to them as to any nation or individual. If the other nations are increasing a riot of disgrace, is this then some sanction to allow Israel to avoid sanctification by grace in the Lord, and to disown still, to this very day as a nation, their own Messiah ?
Let no one here tonight imagine that there is any other way than that of our own sacred Scriptures, which intimate at length the coming of the Messiah, when, who and how, and let none think that anything short of the sort of repentance specified in Zechariah 12:10, for the piercing of the Lord, the Christ, deep and valiant, is of any use.
Look at Isaiah, how it moves, continued Sam. A soft hush fell on the assemblage as he spoke with a deep, but controlled passion.
It is beautiful like a sailing ship in full canvas. It rushes, it surges, it continues.
In Isaiah 42, you see the Messiah, and it is, says Isaiah, insufficient for Him to bring to Himself the REMNANT of His people, for it is for Him appointed that He be a light to the Gentiles, and the same is in Isaiah 49. It is HE, says Isaiah, who is to be a COVENANT for the people. This, it is the new covenant in His blood of Matthew 26, and Isaiah 50,52-53, and it is this which must be accepted or as in Deuteronomy 18, the sinners shall merely be cut off, for there is no other mercy than that portrayed, prophesied and performed in the Messiah, for any.
His death is for many, as you see clearly stated in Isaiah 53 - are you one ? The sin cover is for those who are healed as you see in Isaiah 53:1-6, it is all OF THESE whose iniquity is laid on Him. That is why it is for MANY! Are you one of them ? You find NOTHING if you think yourself healed already! He did not come to save the righteous, but to bring sinners to repentance, and SAID SO in the most divisive of manners, as seen in Matthew 9:12.
"But go ye and learn what that means,
I will have mercy, and not sacrifice:
for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
It is no spiritual super-market which He provides, but an avenue for faith. Only faith opens the toll-gate, though it is He who paid. The cars are searched, and only faith opens it.
Is there any here tonight not yet reconciled to God in the Messiah ?
As Sam went on, the congregation became moved, and more were brought home, to the Good Shepherd of Ezekiel 34 and John 10, to the Christ who alone fulfilled that ancient and divine promise; and a little later one could still hear Sam, completing his address.
Isaiah covers so much! Look with me at the thrust of the book, for in Isaiah 50 you see the desolation of the afflicted, in 51 the impotence of any but the Christ to redeem and deliver, in 52, the wonder of His coming, so that even feet bringing this gospel are accounted beautiful, and the horror of His tribulations, when He is deformed to the point of scarcely appearing human by the venom of rejection and the tortures inflicted upon Him. Ch. 53 moves to the beauty of His holiness as He suffers. Many thought it was for His own transgressions, says Isaiah, that He was afflicted; but it was not, for it was for our transgressions that He was smitten. It is by His knowledge, bearing sin in its innermost and utmost impact, that He will justify many.
Do you not see, Sam pursued the point, that this is the result of His bearing the sin of many! as in Isaiah 53:11.
But in Isaiah 54, we move to the wonder of the result for those who receive Him.
" 'So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
"For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,"
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.
" 'O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
Your gates of crystal,
And all your walls of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established ...' "
In Isaiah 55, we find the wonder of buying water for no money, instead of spending wages on worthless things, is placarded, and the abundant pardon of the Lord to the sinner who calls on the Lord while He is near. 57 tracks down the follies of perpetual idolatries, and the release in restoration to the Lord by this free Gospel as in 57:15:
"For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
'I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.' "
No arrogant onrush of making use of God is here, but a sober change of heart to hate sin and love righteousness, to mourn at the follies past and to welcome the life that now is in Christ.
In Isaiah 58, we are moved to see the contrast between form and function, artifice and reality in things spiritual, and the testimony of truth concerning help for the oppressed, as a practical outcome of God's own mercy in man. We see also the keeping of the day of rest as holy to the Lord in spirit, as an inward one, in which is much strength and wisdom, for the Gospel is salvation by grace, not licence for making a new God with new ways.
The old law of symbol is replaced, but not the ways of the Lord, for His ways do not change. Indeed, this is showing mercy to oneself, for this provision of the Lord is precious to those who love Him, and to be traded in for NOTHING!
In Isaiah 59 there is such a vast and appalling revelation of the continuing wickedness of man as matches Christ's own words in Matthew 23; and it is completed with the return of the Messiah in power and impact at the end of that Chapter. This return for which we now wait, just as our nation waited for nearly two millenia for the now accomplished return to our homeland in Israel, it is not far off. These things hasten. It is as Christ foretold of Himself in Matthew 24, for He came, as He said, as portrayed in the prophets, first to suffer and then to display the glory, yes and to judge, as in Matthew 25.
Don't wait, for waiting is unwise before the crash of cultures, the forces of the nations, the decline of morals, the impending end where the surge crushes all in its path, and the folly of man, having done all it can to destroy, both life and soul, meets the judgments of God, which, they too, impact on the revolt. Remember what Christ declared in Matthew 24:29-44:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
"For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
"Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.
"Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
Speaking, then, in Isaiah 59 at the end of that Chapter, God assures them that His words will ALL come to pass, and that nothing will divorce the pronouncements of His mouth from the announcements of history: spoken, they will happen, given, they will come.
These things, they will not leave the divine revelation, but will come to pass, God there proclaims; and so they have done in Christ, whose second coming is rushing like a tsunami into this world, its early warning already apparent as the seas draw back, in this world, before a deluge worse than that of water. We are, my friends, back in Jerusalem as Christ and the prophets made so clear, Christ in Luke 21, and Isaiah in 59, 66, with Micah 7, Ezekiel 36-39 and so on.
But we are not yet as a nation back with our own Messiah, and the devastating waves are indeed insurgent into our land, but they do not wash, but rather leave our pavements wet with blood.
It is time for our nation to repent as Zechariah portrayed some 2500 years ago, in his coverage of the first coming and second coming of Christ, the former often, but also in 9:9, and the latter, you may have noticed in 14:5.
But Isaiah! he proceeds in Isaiah 60 to show the very wonder of the Christian Church, of which our people are to be part, and in 61 the glory of the Messiah, and the wonder of His "new name" for His people, Jew or Gentile as in 42, and 49, which of course, since the Messiah is the revealed pivot, fulcrum and wheel, all, is He. It is thus Messiah-ans or Christians, that is the new name, to put it in the Greek related term.
In Isaiah 62, we read that watchmen are to be set on the walls of Jerusalem, "They shall never hold their peace day or night." The walls, still there in the prophet's time, are seen as a basis for proclamation. Then it proceeds, "You who make mention of the LORD, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes, and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth."
This is a command delightful to obey, and though of course it relates to the Church with that 'new name', it relates also to that Jerusalem on whose walls the watchmen were to be set, and to cry. Thus the giving of grain to the enemies is true only of Israel, as is the giving of the new wine for which they have laboured to their oppressors: as to these things, they are something once done to it, and now not to be done, when the their salvation arrives as in 62:11.
As to the Church, it suffers prodigiously to this hour. In fact, the return of the Lord is deliverance for both the Gentile Church, and that massive return to the Lord of which Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11, speak, when the 'blindness' afflicting Israel (Isaiah 42:18), and to what are they 'blind' but to the Lord and to His salvation. Neither then of these narrow views is correct, for while the Jerusalem on whose walls the watchmen are set is the actual one, blighted and blind, yet the deliverance of Israel in such numbers, soon to come in the way which Paul declaimed, is likewise at the very edge of the divine deliverance for what then becomes simply the REST of the Christian Church, for as He acts for the One, so is His coming near for ALL His people as in Revelation 7. Indeed, the very restoration of Jerusaelm NOW to Israel shows it is "near" (Luke 21:24). The first of the two-phase deliverance of a scattered Israel, as in Ezekiel 37, is already accomplished, and how near is the second one, their awakening to the Lord Himself, as Saviour!
Accordingly, we are not surprised to find in Ch. 60:16, that the very walls of the Jerusalem in which Christ is to inhere, also have a new name. For the ultimate Jerusalem, the very walls are called salvation! It is to this blessed estate that the people are in large numbers, suddenly to come. It is to that Messiah depicted in Isaiah 61, that they come.
The symbol is to have a concrete expression, as in Micah 4, and Isaiah 2, yes and His power throughout the earth is coming as in Isaiah 11. "Say to the daughter of Zion," it proclaims, "Surely your salvation is coming." But we have failed to receive Him: yet it is not too late, even now.
In Isaiah 63 you have such an expression of divine judgment as God deals with the insolent neighbours of Zion, whose greed to dispel and disperse, to disrupt or corrupt her knows no bound; and here you find a review of the tender mercies to Israel which were so beautiful for so long in Isaiah 63:13-14. The national side of thing is near, and the Gospel flows in and out, as now the wonder to come, and then the condition of the nation, both then and to come is reviewed.
This review of the specifically Jewish past, it is in Isaiah 63, a thing of exquisite beauty, and it reminds our own nation of what it is now missing.
"Who led them through the deep,
As a horse in the wilderness,
That they might not stumble?"
14 As a beast goes down into the valley,
And the Spirit of the Lord causes him to rest,
So You lead Your people,
To make Yourself a glorious name."
The prophet, as if a barrister for the people, calls on the name of the Lord in the closing verses of Isaiah 63.
"Look down from heaven and see from Your habitation, holy and glorious. Where are Your zeal and Your strength, the yearning of Your heart and Your mercies toward me ?"
The impassioned plea for the people reaches a crescendo, as if encapsulating many of the prayers at the weeping wall in Jerusalem. This cry for help reaches on into Isaiah 64, and the survey looks down on the post-Messianic ruin which Israel was to become; for after all, the Messiah has been so placarded in Isaiah 2, 7, 9, 11, 12, 22, 32, 49-55, 61, that it is almost a Gospel in advance! the Gospel of Isaiah, the Prophetic One!
No, the Lord's people are to be called by a New Name (Isaiah 62:2), and as the report surges into Isaiah 65, we see the abhorrence with which the Lord is regarding His people of yore, who have as nation rejected the Messiah (49:7). In contrast to their useless pining, since it is a presumption now to seek Him without the name of the risen Messiah, He shows that the Gentiles in many cases, will be precisely those who did not seek the Lord, just as through rebellion the nation of Israel had failed. Yet God is found by these Gentiles, while forsaken by His own chosen people, as a nation, ISRAEL! Thus He declares at the outset of 65:
"I was sought of those who did not ask for Me,
I was found by those who did not seek Me."
He then displays the ground of this new thing, that His own nation is so far off, while the new ones have so many coming so near so suddenly.
"I said, 'Here I am, here I am,' to a nation that was not called by My name. I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walking a way that it not good, according to their own thoughts, a people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face, who sacrifice in gardens and burn incense on alters of brick ... who say, 'Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holier than you!' "
"Behold, My servants shall eat,
But you shall be hungry.
Behold My servants shall drink
But you shall be thirsty.
Behold My servants shall rejoice,
But you shall be ashamed ..."
The declamatory apostrophe, the grave words of divine contempt for sin, continue till HE declares this,
"You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen,
for the Lord God will slay you,
And call His servants by another name."
You find that in Isaiah 65:13ff..
Then follows the final terrestrial scene, the millenium of peace, the coming of the King, and in Isaiah 66, you see the rejection of animal sacrifice, an unspiritual slaughter, now that the Messiah has come, as in Isaiah 49-55.
In this final Chapter, the results are worked out as the prophecy moves to contemporary times, the end of the Messianic Age and that of the ongoing Gospel to an ignorant earth. God who knows the end from the beginning, readily and accurately depicts the times some 2700 years or more, after the prophet's own life on earth. What a privilege to have basked in the light of this supervising time-survey, better than any 'time-machine'.
Earlier, the Lord in Isaiah traced the institution of the Jewish State, as in 49:20ff., as it would become all but too small for the astonishingly sudden growth.
"Will the earth be made to give birth in one day ?" the Lord asks in Isaiah 66:8.
"Who has heard of such a thing ?
Who has seen such things ?
Or shall a nation be born at once ?
For as soon as she was in labour, she gave birth to her children."
So it was in 1948, but we have yet to find the new name, that of Christ Jesus our Lord as a people. Yet there is no need for any individual to wait. Isaiah in Ch. 66 proceeds to narrate, as does Joel 3, Micah 7:15ff., Habakkuk 3, Isaiah 59, for example, the coming of God in power to deliver His people who have so sinned, and that so systematically and in such individual ways as a nation, and for so long: The Lord in deliverance comes, as repeatedly told from ancient times, with a power that sweeps all enemies aside: and He comes to deliver this sinning people.
That is a heritage from the days of Deuteronomy 32, where this same tracing of our national history is anointed with this same end, and the Gentiles will rejoice we find, for this is the very prelude to His second coming and to the millenium.
You read of this series of events in Ezekiel 38-39, following the restoration of our people to its place in Ezekiel 36-37. NO MORE, will they serve idols, we find in 37:23 of Ezekiel, and David's divine descendant, through Mary as we now know, as foretold in Jeremiah 31, He will then be King! This we find in the next verse of Ezekiel 37.
These are things we have seen before, declared Sam the preacher; but I am here reviewing them now to help your overall perspective. Isaiah 66 then sweeps on to cover the Gentile missions in which Jews themselves may also freely participate, and depicts the ultimate deliverance and doom.
Such is the vast sweep of this prophecy as it moves in time from Israel of the prophet's day to the Messiah, to the results, to the things that continue, to the things which involve radical change, when symbol is replaced by the Lord Himself in His suffering, and on it goes, challenging the nation as you see the whole Gentile era before you, and begin to gain a glimpse of the co-operation to come. This ? it is that between Jew and Gentile believer at the end. It makes so clear the divine divorce from Judaism, and the divine availability under the new name, as also the divine rescue of the nation by power, when they turn to Him, as in Zechariah 12:10.
What a book ? It is like a time capsule, conveying us from around 700 B.C. to the present, moving in its survey as if watching it through a time telescope, bringing far things near, and then near things far, as it reproves a predictedly slow nation, for its failure to find its own peace in Christ.
We are to be delivered, as the promises to Abraham are not conditional in Genesis 17, but oh with what loss, with what fearful and dramatic loss! We have indeed had the day of Jacob's trouble, as in Jeremiah 31, a woman has indeed encompassed a man, in the virgin birth, as Jeremiah revealed it there, and the mighty God has certainly come as man, as in Isaiah, Psalm 45, Zechariah 12 and Micah; but has man come to God ?
If there are any who wish now to come to our unchanging God, who has told the end from the beginning as in Isaiah 46:9-10, this will be the beginning of a new end for you, one which is an eternal life which replaces doom, deserved, just and foretold.
The Lord's blessing now on His people, both now and to come.
The angels covered him with their wings in ecstatic joy for a moment, so that he had a strange sensation of blessedness, and then left him to the people, those enquiring, those replete, until the time should come when they could freely meet again.
As to Sam, his address was long, but it was the culmination of many addresses, and he had earlier made available many background materials for his people.
The reader may wish to know of some of them, and as this particular ones are at this site, they are still available.
SMR Chs. 8-9, Appendix A,
Galloping Events Ch. 1, 4 and 8,
Highway of Holiness Ch. 4
Of the Earth, Earthy ... Ch. 3,
Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 2,
With Heart and Soul Chapters 4 -7,
The Biblical Workman Ch. 1 ..., Comfort ... Ch. 7,
Defining Drama Ch. 10,
Answers to Questions Ch. 5,
Let God be God Ch. 4.