Israel’s Penitential Confession…Isaiah 52-53 pt 3

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.(Isaiah 53:1-3)

We have been looking at the 4th Servant Song of Isaiah, the first part of which is God’s introduction to the one whom He designates as “My Servant”,in the beautiful yet mysterious words of Isaiah 52:13-15,

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

We come now to the second part of the prophecy, which is the penitential confession of the nation of Israel. It occurs at the end of the tribulation, when the chosen nation will be brought face to face with the realization that the one they had rejected and pierced, was and is their Saviour and Messiah.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.(Zechariah 12:10)

The whole tone of this prophecy is that of heartfelt remorse, godly sorrow and a bitter sense of regret, as the Nation is caused to “look on Me, (The LORD) whom they have pierced and mourn as for Him as for an only Son…”, in that last day when God grants his long estranged people, a complete and lasting repentance.

Who has believed our message? And to whom is the Arm of the LORD revealed?

The implied answers to these questions is, “few if any at all…” have believed in the message of a lowly Servant who has bought full salvation for God’s people, through his own suffering and death.

Those who do believe in the message, do so only because of a gift of revelation, “Flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to (them), but the Father in heaven”, has shown them that hidden in the spectacle of the defeated, crucified servant, derelicted of all friends, lovers and even God himself, is all of the power and wisdom of God.

The “Arm of the Lord”, is personified and appealed to directly earlier in the prophecy of Isaiah, for it is a metaphor for God in His mighty power.

Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over? (Isaiah 51:9-10)

Israel wanted to see the power of God, or as Paul put it “the Jews seek after a sign”

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:(I Cor 1:18)

But for the most part, the nation couldn’t perceive the power of God in the figure of the suffering, Servant. He wasn’t what they considered to be “powerful”, he didn’t fit the ideal that they held of the Messiah. They had misread the prophecies, so they rejected Him , as the confession that they will soon make affirms,

For He grew up before Him as a tender plant- The servant’s development was in lowliness and obscurity. Slowly and quietly, without fanfare,He lives before God, and among an enslaved and humiliated nation. He is born in Bethlehem, but raised in Nazareth, literally “Shootsville”.

A tender plant is a frail shoot, a “sucker” coming out of a trunk or branch, merely a twig that normally would be pruned.

By contrast, Isaiah had earlier predicted that the Messiah would be as a vigorous shoot out of the stump of the felled house of Jesse, and would become an “Ensign” for all to see and seek God thereby,

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord…And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”(Isaiah 11:1-2,10)

But that is a prediction of the Messiah as revealed in glory.

Here in Isaiah 53, Israel confesses that all they could see of Jesus of Nazareth, was one as a root out of dry ground, that is an unlikely growth, in an unpromising environment.

Israel in the first century had certainly become “dry ground“spiritually speaking. The Priesthood had become corrupt, rationalistic and self-serving. The people of Israel were defeated and occupied by a pagan power, Rome, and there hadn’t been a prophet, nor a “Son of David” upon the throne for more than four centuries. No one expected anything of the tiny shoot, (Netzer) from Nazareth.

He has no form or comeliness, there is no beauty that we should desire Him…

The confession of the nation will acknowledge that there was nothing in Jesus, of the greatness, charisma , power and beauty that they had expected to see in the Messiah. Jews were looking for something else, The same is true for all men. It is only possible to see the beauty hidden in Jesus the Messiah, when one is allowed to see the desperate need for salvation from sin and it’s power and consequences.

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He Shall Be Abased And Exalted…Isaiah 52-53 pt 2

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.(Isaiah 52:13-15)

The fourth Servant song is composed of three sections. First of all, we have this introduction in Isaiah 52:13-15. Secondly we have the great and final confession that a chastened and restored Israel will offer, after the time of tribulation and their final conflict and deliverance, (Isaiah 53:1-9). Finally there are three verses ,(Isaiah 53:10-12) which reveal the fruit of the Servant’s travail.

Isaiah’s prophetic Servant Songs have described an individual whom God holds forth as the answer to the idolatrous world’s sad predicament. He is the one person in whom the LORD delights, and he has been given the task of restoring Israel and the nations of the world to God.

His work involves “establishing Judgment”in the earth, that is bringing the truth of God to the world which has embraced lies. It also means , setting things right, and bringing people into a right relationship with God, first of ll Israel, then the nations. Therefore, his ministry will be a ministry of the Word, he will bring “a word to the weary ” from the LORD himself.

Establishing judgment also means that the Servant will be the standard of the final judgment of all men. Eternal destinies will be determined by how individuals respond to God’s Servant.To hear Him is to hear God, to accept Him is to accept God, God cannot be known except by Him, He who refuses the Servant of God, condemns himself.

His manner with people will be gentle, restorative, for He will not discard “the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flax”. He calls all who are “weary and heavy laden” to come unto Him, that they might find rest for their souls.

Though he is chosen of God and fully equipped for the task, He is human also, and subject to discouragement, and weariness at times. But his personal comfort comes from his constant reliance upon God, for He is God’s own disciple.

Finally, we already have seen hints that the Servant’s work will involve suffering,humiliation and rejection. He is the one “Despised of the people” and who “gave his cheek ” to be plucked.

Thus says the Lord,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:(Isaiah 49:7)

I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.(Isaiah 50:6)

We come now to the beginning of the fourth and most detailed Servant Song which details the reasons for His suffering, and of the glory which will surely follow,

*Behold My Servant Shall deal prudently…In other words, “See that my servant shall act wisely”, He is the LORD’s servant, he has been sent on a mission, he has a task to accomplish. Echoes of Psalm 40 come to mind here, in which the pre-incarnate Son of God discusses his mission with the Father, in eternity,

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.(Psalm 40:6-8)

The servant knows what needs to be done to bring men back into right standing with God, and He doesn’t hesitate to do it, regardless of the personal cost”. One translation says, My Servant’s wisdom shall prosper. In other words, His wisdom was effective, he took the action that brought about the desired result.

*…he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high… This is a sentence which is breathless, as if to say, “He shall be raised… no, not just raised… but He shall be lifted up…and yet more than that…He shall be highly exalted!” Thus Isaiah predicts that the Lord’s servant shall be thrice exalted. Could this be a reference to the Resurrection, Ascension, and Seating at the right hand of the Majesty on High?

*As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:… But people will look at the Servant in horror, they will be appalled at the sight of Him. Shockingly, His face will be disfigured, He will almost not look human!

How do we reconcile the exaltation of the Servant with this vision of horror? The Servant will be Exalted, lifted up, highly exalted ? Yet He will be a picture of disfigurement,pain, and rejection? This is the theme of the fourth Servant Song,

*…So shall he sprinkle many nations;… The partial answer is that humiliation of the Servant will serve to fulfill some kind of priestly ministry. He will sprinkle many nations, as Moses and Aaron and the long line of God appointed priests of the Old Testament would do, ritually sanctifying the worshippers with the blood of sacrifice.

*…the kings shall shut their mouths at him… Kings of the earth shall be dumbfounded at him, they will have nothing to say, their mouths will be stopped, that is how overwhelmed they will be at Him. Who is this one, so disfigured and rejected that men turn away from him in abject horror? Yet who also is this glorious one who is thrice exalted, and before whom ‘every knee’ must one day bow ?

*…for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider… As the truth begins to dawn on the Kings of the earth of who this “despised one” truly is and what He did, they are awestruck. They could never have conceived of the actual truth that reconciles the horror,suffering and disfigurement of the Servant, with his exaltation, ascension and glory, unless God had shown them something that had never entered into their thoughts.

What is it specifically that these Kings will “see” without being told? They will perceive that the one whom the world has hated, condemned, humbled and persecuted, is actually the one chosen by God himself, fully vindicated and exalted by the Holy One. Who could ever imagine such a thing? It can only be revealed as truth by God!

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Behold My Servant…Isaiah 52-53 pt 1

Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider…(Isaiah 52:13-15)

Before we look closely at the Evangelical jewel known as the 4th Servant Song of Isaiah, consisting of the above three verses in chapter 52, and all of Isaiah 53, it would be good to look at the setting of this prophecy within the latter half of the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah has a curious structure. It mirrors the structure of the entire Bible. Isaiah’s prophecy is composed of 66 chapters, (the Bible contains 66 books). Like the 39 books of the Tanach, the first 39 chapters of Isaiah are composed of pronounced judgments upon Judah, Israel, Jerusalem, the surrounding nations, and eventually engulfing the whole earth in tribulation. “The earth staggers like a drunkard…”, as the LORD judges it in righteousness.

But the last 27 chapters of Isaiah correspond in a loose way to the “New Testament”. His vision in chapter 40 begins with “A voice crying out in the wilderness…”(John the Baptist), and ends in chapter 66 with a new heaven and a new earth,(similar to the book of Revelation).*

The second part of Isaiah, (chapters 40-66) can be divided equally into 3 sections of 9 chapters each. The three sections conclude with a variation of the phrase,”There is no peace saith my God for the wicked”.

*Isaiah 48:22- There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.

*Isaiah 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

* Isaiah 66:24-And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

The first section, Isaiah 40-48, concerns the new exodus of Judah and the remnant of Israel, God’s servant, out of Babylon. Isaiah had predicted that Judah would go into captivity as Israel had, but that God would redeem his servant again and restore him.

God would raise up and use another anointed servant, a pagan king named Cyrus, whom the LORD called “My servant…my anointed who will do my will…” to bring this Exodus from captivity in Babylon . King Cyrus commanded the release of the Jewish remnant and even financed the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. **

The last section of Isaiah is a vision of the restored children of Israel and Judah, back from captivity, again reconciled to God, and restored as priests of God, radiant in the garments of salvation.

The forces of wickedness are amassing against them, but “No weapon formed against you shall prosper and any tongue which rises up in judgment against you, shall be condemned…” . This section portrays the final restoration of Israel, into the Messianic Kingdom.

But this final restoration of Israel isn’t the result of the aforementioned Exodus from Babylon. Israel would lapse back into captivity again and remain there for many long centuries.

This final and lasting deliverance of Israel comes to pass as a result of the person who is the primary subject of (chapters 49-58). The Messiah of Israel, is the very embodiment of “Israel my servant…” , he is the ultimate Servant of the LORD, who takes Israel and the world far beyond the deliverance of “Cyrus, my servant”.

There are 4 Servant Songs which emerge in Isaiah,

* He is introduced in Isaiah 42:1-4

*His Discouragement and ultimate triumph is sung of in Isaiah 49:1-7

* In Isaiah 50:4-11 we hear of His discipleship under the hand of the LORD himself.

* In Isiah 52:13-53:12, we hear the song of his redemptive sacrifice and exaltation.

*I am indebted to a wonderful Bible teacher named David Baron for these structural insights, from his little exposition called “The Servant of Jehovah”.

** (Cyrus would not come forth for another 200+ years, in the days of the Medo Persian empire. When Isaiah’s prophecy was shown to him, calling him by name 200 years in the past, the Pagan king was astonished!)

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Palestine,Gaza and The West Bank; The Nation Not Desired…

In view of Obama’s intent to press for a “Two State” solution at the U.N. , as petulant revenge on Benjamin Natanyahu for winning the recent Israeli elections, in spite of Obama’s fervent(U.S. Tax payer funded) election interference, I decided to re-run an earlier article about the Divine view of the “Two State Solution”. There will never be an established and lasting  Palestinian State, it is the “nation not desired”, and is doomed to disappointment and failure.

In fact there are no Palestinian people. The name “Palestine” was imposed on the land of Israel, as a humiliation by the Romans. It refers to the Philistines, a Phoenecian people that were subdued centuries earlier by King David and Solomon. 

Those who designate themselves as Palestinians are Arabs. They swarmed into the Holy Land as hired labor in the late 1880s, when Zionist settlers began buying tracts of land, draining swamps, and establishing agriculture.It wasn’t until the 1960s that these people adapted the designation as Palestinians, (remember the terror group, the PLO?), and began pressing for ‘liberation’ and ‘return to their land’. 

The “West Bank” of the Jordan River has been designated with Gaza as the new “Palestinian” state, and the pressure will begin to mount to force this on the Jewish people. The real name for the “West bank” is Judea and Samaria, the heart of Biblical Israel.

In the definitive chapter of the Bible about the “End times” according to Jesus, the signs of the times are universal, floods, earthquakes, false prophets, wars and rumors of war,  until you come to verses 15-16. “Then let them which be in Judea…”.

When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:  Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:  Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.  And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.(Matthew 24:15-21)

Something will happen over the conflict for Judea(The West Bank) that will lead the entire world into great tribulation such as the world has never seen before, nor will ever see again”.

Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks.(Zephaniah 2:1-5)

The eyes of the world were riveted upon two events in late August of 2005. On August 22 The Gaza eviction was accomplished, in which the Government of Israel, pressured by the United States forcibly removed the remaining Jewish presence in the Gaza strip and in four settlements of the West Bank. In some cases bodies were disinterred from graves, to be reburied in Israeli occupied land.

The world watched a self-imposed Jewish exile, over the tearful protests of Jewish home and business owners, to make room for a Palestinian state as dictated by the U.N.. Thriving businesses were left behind, only to completely trashed by the “Palestinian” occupants of the vacated towns and cities, as were the remaining Jewish cemeteries. The Gaza is now being used as a staging area for rocket attacks on the rest of Israel.

One week to the day later, August 29,2005, hurricane Katrina made landfall in and on America’s Gulf coast, rendering tens of thousands of Americans homeless, and the disinterment of bodies out of cemeteries. Katrina wreaked havoc on the Presidency of George Bush that up to then was considered successful.

Although the U.N., The European Union, the United States Government, and Russia, all insist on the creation of a Palestinian state in the midst of the Holy land that God gave to the seed of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Bible doesn’t desire one.

Could the Gaza/West Bank, artificially imposed “Palestinian state”, be the “nation not desired” in Zephaniah?

Commentaries say no, for the most part, they claim that the “nation not desired” is Judah, but the Hebrew word for nation, in the Zephaniah passage is e-Gui, the word transliterated as Goy, that is the word ‘gentile”, “heathen”, or “Nation”.

The word of God has something to say about the future of Gaza, the nation currently run by a popularly elected terrorist group, Hamas, and the focal point of the world’s attempt to divide the Holy Land into a “two state solution’ to the middle east conflict.

Gaza has been designated by the U.N. as part of the homeland of the new Palestinian state. So also has the so-called “west Bank” of the Jordan River, biblically called Judea and Samaria. Since the Israeli Government has forced the Jews who lived and traded there to leave, Gaza has been turned into a complete terrorist enclave, a staging place for terror raids, a persecutor of Jews and Christians.

Gaza was recently in the news for the grisly street celebration held in the streets of her towns after an armed terror cell broke into a Jewish settler home in the West bank and slit the throats of the Fogel Family; a Father, an eleven year old boy a three-year old and an infant as they slept in their own beds. They then surprised the families mother, as she emerged from the bathroom, and murdered her in cold blood.

The response? Wild celebrations in the streets, passing out sweets and candies to neighbors, prayers and gunfire, a festive celebration! What sane nation would celebrate such atrocities?

Zechariah tells us that the celebration will one day be turned to agonizing fear for Gaza, after something happens to Syria, and to southern Lebanon, in the day when all eyes of men are turned to the LORD,

The burden of the word of the LORD in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the LORD. And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets.Behold, the LORD will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire.Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited.(Zechariah 9:1-5)

Something happens to Syria, particularly Damascus, which terrifies the hopes of Gaza, turning her citizens into streams of refugees. It involves southern Lebanon as well, which today is the stronghold of the Hezbollah terror group, and is also being used as a staging ground to rain rockets upon Israel.

There is no future for a Palestinian state in Gaza or for the “West bank” in spite of the world’s desire. The world will soon see that the only desire that matters is that of the God of the Bible.

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Paul’s Burst of Prophetic Praise…Romans 9-11 pt 18

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

how unsearchable are his judgments,

and his ways past finding out!

For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?  

Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.Romans 11:33-36

Israel was chosen by God to bring into the world the Scriptures, the true worship, and the Messiah. She was created by a miracle birth, protected and preserved amidst much opposition, human and Satanic. All of the other nations had forgotten God, so God created Israel.

But she apostasized. She would not remain in faith, she departed from her husband, the LORD. In spite of all of His mercies and kindnesses, Israel rejected his love and went into a long suspension. The nation has died,  but has been kept in state. All of this was predicted of course, by Moses and the Prophets.

Israel’s temporary suspension has been gain to we gentiles. God told Israel He would make her jealous by a “non people”, to prove to her that she was not indispensable and to draw her to Himself.

Jesus told a parable with the following punchline, “If the invited guests won’t come into the feast, go out into the highways and hedges, and round-up the poor, halt and lame ones!”.

Hey beggar! You, Blind man, and you lame over there! Do you want to come to the King’s feast?

ME? I have never been invited to any feast let alone the King’s feast?

Come on in, the table is set and the main guests are hesitant to come, hurry up and enter, the food is free and the King is handing out robes to replace your rags!

I can picture the King walking through the banquet hall, as a people who don’t know a salad fork from a soup spoon, heartily enjoy a table such as they have never known!

He says, to one former beggar, How do you like the food my friend ?

The beggar says, heartily and with gusto- “This is the best food, the best music and the most beautiful party I have ever been to!”

I get what Paul is saying, in his burst of praise. As we say, “You can’t make this stuff up, it is so beautiful and rich”! The chief guests refrained from the party so the Master did the unthinkable, he opened the doors to the rabble!

But there is a wistful sadness about it all. I look at Israel and mourn, “You were the ones who the table was originally set for, You are the prince, the ‘best player on the team’, when will you take the field again? I read your book, I wear your robes, I name my children after your prophets and sages, I worship your God, usually singing Zion’s songs! God, please save Israel!

Paul assures us that if Israel repents of her unbelief, she will indeed be restored, but then warns we gentiles, that if the church  imitates the apostasy of Israel, we too will be cut off!

What a God! What a beautiful plan! No man could devise it, and the telling of it is all but inadequate. Words fail me as I ponder the Love and Justice, Truth and Peace, yea,goodness and severity that have met together and kissed in the gospel.

Who could tell God what to do, or that there is a better way? Who? People hate the Jews because they don’t think it right and fair, but their problem is with Grace and Mercy. Didn’t God say in another parable,“Is your eye evil because I am good?“.

Who can ever put God in debt to themselves? He who gives us all things, owes no man anything! Why does an employer go out one hour before sundown to hire a worker, and then pay him a full days wages?

Not because He needed us, but because we need Him!

May God bless and restore Israel to Himself!

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How All Israel Will Be Saved…Romans 9-11 pt 18

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.(Romans 11:26-32)

Israel is at present estranged from God, in unbelief, and at times even enemies to the gospel. But at the same time the nation is beloved and elect of God, and destined to be re-instated as the holy nation of priests, evangelists and teachers that God ordained her to be. All of the gifts and callings enumerated in Romans 9, are irrevocable.

The estrangement of Israel was well documented and predicted by Moses and all of the prophets throughout scripture. Had Israel listened to Moses, she wouldn’t have been surprised by the long night she has had to undergo, of pograms, exile, disappointment, insecurity and rejection.

And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.  And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.  And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind:  And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:  In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. (Deuteronomy 28:62-67)

But all of the prophets agree on this; that at the end of the present Age, Israel will come back into the Holy land in unbelief, and undergo a siege by the nations. When her enemies seem to be prevailing over her, God himself will come to her, and in one day, the nation will be saved. This is the climax of world history.

And the Lord shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the Lord shall lead you.  And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.  But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.  When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;  (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.(Deuteronomy 4:27-31)

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without seraphim:  Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.(Hosea 3:4-5)

Israel shall return, in two senses; first of all she returns to the Land she was expelled from in 70 AD, and secondly she will return,”Teshuvah”, i.e. repent of her sin and “seek the Lord and his goodness” in the last days.

There is one particular sin that Israel must acknowledge before she can be saved. Hosea the prophet refers to the need for Israel to acknowledge her sin(singular) in the time of her “Affliction”. God speaks through the prophet in the first person,

I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.(Hosea 5:15)

In what sense could the omnipresent God “go and return to His place”? Only in this, God had taught Israel to sanctify a piece of real estate, the temple mount, and to build a “holy house”, which he indwelt in a cloud of glory as recorded in the book of Kings.

But Ezekiel saw what Hosea prophesied, for the Shekinah glory of God left the temple, lingered shortly on the mount of Olives, and ascended to heaven!

Then the glory of the Lord departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim’s. And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and mounted up from the earth in my sight: when they went out, the wheels also were beside them, and every one stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.(Ezekiel 10:18-19)

Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.(Ezekiel 11:22-23)

Jesus acted this prophesy out, when He, the glory of the Lord, stood for the last time in the temple in Matthew 23, and preached repentance and judgment to the nation.After proclaiming that “Your house is left to you desolate”, he pronounced this condition upon the nation, for salvation. “You will not see me again until you say,”Blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD”. He then retired to the mount of Olives, and within 45 days, Jesus ascended to heaven from the mount of Olives, just as Ezekiel saw in the vision.

When will Israel be saved? Not until she confesses the national sin. What will it take to get her to do so? Nothing less than the Tribulation, the long night called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” spoken of by Jeremiah.In the day of affliction, distress and tribulation, she will seek the LORD truly and earnestly and He will come to her, to reveal himself to her as Joseph once revealed himself to his brethren,

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.( Zechariah 12:10)

What is salvation but the recognition of Jesus as He truly is, and the recognition of the trouble we are in without him? Jesus will come to His nation in their extreme distress, for by that time Jerusalem shall be over run and the enemies of Israel will almost be able to taste the victory over her that has long eluded her.

Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.  Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives…(Zechariah 14:1-4a)

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The Mystery Of The Olive Tree…Romans 9-11 pt 17

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.  For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.(Romans 11:22-25)

Israel is an ancient Olive tree. Israel was created by a miracle birth, at a time when all of the other trees (Nations) defected from God in the days of the Tower of Babel.

She was carefully cultivated by the hand of the original gardener. For centuries she was fertilized, dunged, pruned and nourished, in order to induce her to produce the finest of fruit and oil. The roots of this tree are Abraham,Isaac and Jacob, and the branches are mostly of the twelve tribes of Israel. There were of course other branches, such as Caleb and Ruth who were grafted in.

The time came when instead of the good fruit of repentance, the gardener only harvested pain, bitterness and rejection from the branches of this tree. Therefore he pruned those branches, and replaced them with the wayward branches of wild Olive trees. In God’s severity, he cut off some of the natural branches(Israel), and grafted  wild branches into the stock of Abraham,Isaac and Jacob.

I have a dear Christian friend in England, Rod Boggia,  who wrote a book about Olive trees, in the light of botany and scripture.

There are a number of physical attributes of the Olive Tree that have Spiritual parallels. The tree is almost indestructible and can shoot up again when cut down…Olive oil has seven uses;lighting,cooking,anointing,medicinal soaps,lubricants and cosmetics.

Finally the Olive tree has a unique property not shared by other trees;its ability to graft contrary to nature.

In horticulture,cultivated branches are always grafted onto wild,vigorous root stocks (i.e. roses) since grafting the other way around doesn’t work- except for the Olive tree. When wild olive branches are grafted onto a natural tree a remarkable change occurs; instead of a crop of olives small in number and size, the wild olive produces plentiful cultivated olives.

…When a farmer wants to increase his production of olives, but has no more space to plant additional trees, or doesn’t want to wait the many years for a sapling to grow into maturity, he does a remarkable thing.

He cuts off the perfectly healthy branches of a cultivated tree, and lays them on the ground at the base of the tree. Next, branches from a wild tree are grafted into the very places where the natural branches were cut off… Because these branches are from a different sort of tree and   a different DNA, and do not recognize the sap as being theirs. Consequently the tree needs to literally force the sap into these wild branches…for three and a half years, this stage of the process continues without alteration and without visible fruit. Once this period of time is over, the farmer drills holes alongside of the grafted in branches, and inserts the cultivated  branches that were cut off to make room for the wild ones.

My friend goes on to relate that though those branches had been cut off and had been laying on the ground for three and a half years and were dried out, an amazing thing takes place when the former branches are regrafted;

From a purely agricultural perspective and from the mouth of this unbelieving horticulturist, an amazing thing takes place; the engrafted cultivated branches become ‘jealous’ of the wild branches and begin to miraculously draw the sap- and come to life!(The Fig Tree, The Vine And the Olive Tree,Rod Boggia ,Old Mill Printers)

This is the mystery of the Olive tree, which Paul warned us not to be ignorant of. Israel is the planting of the LORD, her roots are deep, but some of her branches in history apostatized, and were cut off. In mercy God took branches off of wild trees and grafted us into the stock and heritage of Israel. We shouldn’t be proud, we should tremble! At the end God shall redraft into the tree, the branches that had been temporarily laid aside.

For a brief moment, did God turn away from Her, but at the end, when the last gentile is saved,God shall turn again in loving-kindness to his ancient people, and all of Israel will soon be saved.

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes;  For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.  Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.  For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.  For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.  In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.(Isaiah 54:1-8)

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