Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

I have a non-traditional view of the scripture (to put it kindly, according to some) and in my mind’s eye, I see God discussing with the others in the Trinity over steaming cups of nectar, his script for our universe before zapping us into existence. We all know what happened…Satan immediately threw a wrench into the works and by appearances this caused the Lord to rewrite the script of the complicated sim game that is our existence and reality1, so to speak, with that in mind, I want to discuss patterns I see.

I look for patterns everywhere, and the bible is no exception as I see them peeking  out at us from the scriptures as I peruse the pages of this awesome book. On my journey through the testaments, I find many patterns from the beginning of the scriptures, to the end. For instance, one pattern that I see is that after the Jews turned chicken and refused to invade Canaan the first time, The Lord sent them wandering for thirty eight years around the Median wilderness before they were allowed to occupy the land. Fast-forward several hundred years and we have the Jewish nation reject God again by rejecting His Son. Thirty eight years after the rejection and crucifixion (see the pattern?), in 70AD, the Roman siege began, causing the destruction of the temple and the horrendous massacre of over a million Jews during this lengthy siege and subsequent occupation of Jerusalem. In my minds eye, I can’t help but wonder if this was simply a modified script from the original one, the original script possibly being one where the Jews accepted him as the Messiah as Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem and thirty eight years later, the chosen people, with Christ as their King, started the rule of the earth from Zion instead of watching it being destroyed, just as they had captured and occupied the promised land so many centuries before.

I also see potential patterns that would have been fulfilled, if they hadn’t been broken. An example of this was Moses and the water from the rock during the wilderness wanderings. If you recall, the Lord asked Moses in Exodus 17 to strike the rock and after he did so, a great volume of water came gushing out to give sustenance to the people and their animals in the Median desert. If you carefully read the second account in Numbers 20, the second time Moses was asked to provide water from the rock the Lord asked him to speak to the rock, but because of the grumbling of the people, Moses became annoyed and frustrated with this ungrateful horde and struck the rock again out of anger at the people. Water did spew forth from the rock, but this wanton act by Moses landed him in the penalty box and prevented him from entering into the Land of Canaan. If  Moses had spoken to the rock, it would have established a pattern relating to the plan of salvation where the first time the Jews struck Christ (as Moses struck the rock the first time as requested). The second time if Moses had spoken to the rock, it would have related to the passage in Hosea 5:15 relating to the second coming where we read of the Children of Israel asking Christ to save them when they acknowledge their offense and Christ returns to rule from Zion as we read in Hosea 5:15…think of who is referred to as the Rock throughout the scriptures…Christ is called the rock. See the potential pattern that never was?

Jim

02-18-20

1 I personally think we are some sort of giant SIM game where our reality is all smoke and mirrors and the real reality is what we refer to as the ‘spirit world’. The apostle Paul supports that view, by the way in Ephesians 6:12

I am fairly certain everyone that has done more than a cursory reading of the bible knows that there are prophecies all through this holy tome. Some events and prophecies in the bible are straight forward and generally self-explanatory…then there are some events or prophecies or things mentioned in the scriptures that appear to have no purpose and are seemingly insignificant in their importance except for historical reference or record-keeping. However, I personally believe everything mentioned in the scriptures is put in there by the Holy Spirit for a purpose, and Peter confirmed that in his second letter…2 Peter 1:20-21: knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.(NKJV). I am going to highlight two apparently separate events that occurred centuries apart and demonstrate how one utterly innocuous request and the subsequent ruling, coupled with another almost completely unknown and insignificant event, helped set the stage for the coming Messiah.

The first event we read of has a strange request by five daughters of a cursed Israelite named Zelophehad wandering in the Median wilderness. This odd request is a passage that is easy to pass over without a second glance, but upon inspection, we find that it subtly opened the door to Jesus Christ legally being able to claim ties to David’s Throne, Subsequently we find that the ruling by Moses accepting their request to allow them to inherit their father’s land, opens the door to another almost totally insignificant event that allowed a loop-hole around a curse by God upon King Jehoiachin that has caused some commentators to want to pull their hair out because of the apparent implications of this curse on the royal line of David in regards to the coming Messiah.

The daughters of Zelophehad and Jehoiachin’s curse

I imagine that the events of Zelophehad’s appeal to Moses and Jehoiachin’s curse by the Lord are just a couple of the thousands of strands of prophecy that is woven throughout the bible to form proof of the power and the majesty and of the unmistakable and irrefutable fact the The Lord is the only true God and the Creator of all things.

How do these seemingly unrelated events that happened many centuries apart relate?

Let’s begin with a summary of the wilderness wanderings. At the end of about two weeks travel from the Red Sea, the Israelites were camped in the Median wilderness at the border of Canaan. The Lord had Moses send twelve spies to sneak in to inspect and report on the land. Most of us know that only two of the twelve spies came back without fear of the inhabitants and demonstrated their trust in our Lord by giving a good report and suggested they attack immediately while the other ten spies spread fear and indecision with scary stories of the giant inhabitants of Canaan. We know the rest of the story about how the people swiftly ignored all the miraculous stuff the Lord had just demonstrated a few weeks back and started murmuring against Moses. This, coupled with the evil influence by Korah that roused up the people against God’s plan of invasion, caused the Lord to curse the adults of the congregation, resulting in a relatively short trek through this wilderness to suddenly turn into a 38 year wandering with the intention of making sure all the grumbling adults would die, save for Joshua and Caleb (the two faithful spies). At the end of the thirty eight year wilderness wandering, only the these two adults, as well as the those that were children almost four decades earlier were allowed to enter Canaan, according to the record in Numbers chapter 14. However, if we go back to the early portion of the wanderings, we read in Numbers 26 about an obscure man by the name of  Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh, that had five daughters. Other than the fact he was part of the cursed adult congregation that died many years before they were to win the land of Canaan for the Lord and enter into it to claim it as their own, why would the scriptures highlight this seemingly innocuous man?

To begin with, according to God’s decree in Numbers 26, only each one of the male members (for the census only counted the males of each tribe) of the different tribes of Israel could inherit land but their daughters could not inherit according to the law. Therefore, the daughters of Zelophehad found themselves in a bad situation; their father has five daughters and no son, therefore their family name would pass without inheritance or land grant and die with him. They decided to petition Moses to appeal the law so his namesake would continue within the tribe and his heirs could claim their tribal inheritance. Moses took it to The Lord and The Lord told Moses to grant the tribal exception (Numbers 27: 1-8). Years later, after the Israelites conquered Canaan and the tribes were set to divide the land, the daughters of Zelophehad went before Joshua and reminded him of the exception granted by The Lord through Moses and they received their inheritance which stated as long as they marry within the their tribe, their husband would be adopted into their family as a legal son, and their tribal line and inheritance would be preserved (Joshua 17:3). This seemingly insignificant event however, will have major ramifications several hundreds of years in the future as it helps to fulfill a very significant prophecy first mentioned in Genesis 3: 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”(NKJV).

The second somewhat related event I want to bring to mind is the curse of Jehoiachin (also called Jeconiah and Coniah) by the Lord. Jehoiachin seemed to follow the footsteps of a string of evil kings of Judah, as listed in II Kings chapters 22, 23 & 24 (most of the research I did referred to this king as Jehoiachin, but in this particular translation of the passage below, the Lord uses the name of Coniah). The Lord had all he could take of these evildoers and pronounced a curse on Jehoiachin and his descendants in Jeremiah 22: 24-30 “As I live,” says the LORD, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; “and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear—the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. “So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. “But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return. “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol— A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.”(NKJV). This in itself is bad enough, but when you consider the implications of the Lord’s Covenant with David that the Throne of David would be established forever as was written in II Samuel 7:16 “And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever”. (NKJV), it seems to throw a wrench into the works. While researching this, I found several discussions pointing to the curse of Jehoiachin as proof the Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because of the curse, for after the Babylonian captivity, no descendant of David sat upon a Throne of Israel. I also saw many sites with discussions trying to prove that the curse was later lifted and all was forgiven. All of these discussions and all of these websites totally miss the point of the virgin birth that was prophesied in Genesis 3 and the ancestry of Mary (even though it says Joseph)1 laid out in Luke 3 beginning in verse 23.

What ties these two otherwise unrelated events together is the lineage of Mary provided by the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Luke. Luke 3:23 states: And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was [the son] of Heli,(KJV). Matthew’s account of the lineage of Jesus say this in chapter 1:16: And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. (KJV). Matthew covers the descendants through the legal line, (Joseph’s father Jacob) even though that line was cursed by God after Jehoiachin that no direct descendant would sit upon the Throne, Luke covers the descendancy through the untarnished, royal line from the Messiah’s mother, (Joseph’s adopted father through his marriage to Mary, Heli) back through David, which means God’s promise to David is secure through his mother’s ancestry and legal through his earthly father’s line.

This all sets the stage for the prophecy of Christ to rule on David’s Throne in the end-times. Something I have read all my life and never understood were the direct, simple statements that began and ended Christ’s earthly existence. Matthew 2:1-2 says: Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem (I have an interesting theory about these magi, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.(KJV) While Matthew 27:37 states: And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.(KJV). I have read these verses all my life and never understood the simple plain logic that Jesus has yet to fulfill this destiny…to Rule as KING OF THE JEWS.

God Bless…

Jim Bussell

2-15-11 (02-15-20)

1 Mary’s father was Heli, but for the most part, Jewish ancestries only lists male descendants. Joseph was the adopted son of Heli according to Jewish law established with the agreement with the daughters of Zelophehad.

I grew up in a church that taught that the Jews lost their position as the “Children of God” when they arranged and clamored for the death and crucifixion of our Lord. At the time that idea seemed plausible and correct. However, after leaving the faith as a teen and rediscovering the Lord many decades later I began to read the scriptures with a new, fresh perspective. It was after rediscovering the word of God I began to realize that Christ’s crucifixion was in the the works and was part of the plan of salvation from the beginning instead of some knee jerk reaction by the Jewish religious leadership in Jerusalem.

There are several old testament references or illusions to the crucifixion. The first one that comes to mind is Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac as an offering on Mount Moriah and there is speculation that the spot the Lord led Abraham to was the same spot that Christ was crucified 800 years later. Also remember reading about the Lord sending fiery serpents amongst the grumbling mass of Jews in the Median wilderness and then giving them a cure, in the form of a brass serpent on a staff raised on high for all to see, and those who looked upon it would be saved? In the book of Psalms,  Psalm 22 implies the Christ was given over to the Gentiles and to whole psalm seems to have been written from the perspective of Christ on the cross.

There are many more references and illusions to the crucifixion from the old testament written centuries before Jesus became man to live among us and they allow us to understand that the capture, trial and crucifixion of our Lord was planned from the beginning and that the Jewish leadership were nothing more than instruments the Lord used to fulfill the prophecy and the plan of salvation.

Now, it is a little more complicated than that, but you get the gist (the above synopsis is sort of the cliff notes version of events).

The Lord from the beginning knew the Jews couldn’t keep the commandments and the law He provided and He also knew that even though they had, from the book of Daniel, the prophecy that foretold the exact day the Christ would present himself as the Messiah to the city of Jerusalem that they were not diligent enough to remember the little details…sort of the “can’t see the forest for the trees” syndrome. The new testament explains to us that the Lord blinded Israel for not paying attention to the prophecy of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem as their king. It also explains that they are blinded for certain period of time, and not forever.

What does all this have to do with the holocaust?

Many writings from early church fathers and historians reveal that the early church understood those passages meant the Jews were being punished for certain length of time only and held that view, but beginning in the second century we start to see an antisemitic viewpoint emerge amongst the church leadership. The writings of Justin Martyr show that he was basically so intent on converting the Jews to Christianity that he developed and pushed the propaganda that the Jewish race is sunk because of their actions against Christ when he was crucified. He also tended to twist Paul’s writing to prove that he was also antisemitic, thus solidifying his position. Later church fathers such as Augustine picking up and ran with this antisemitic viewpoint. From this point forward we see a basic Church doctrine of antisemitism.

Even though the Catholic Church (which represented the entirety of the Christian religion at the time) had a basic antisemitic attitude toward the Jews, until the eleventh century the records show that there were understandings and working relationships between the Jewish and Catholic leadership. Remember the crusades? The crusades, which began in the eleventh century, were the turning point that increased antisemitic attitudes and behaviors amongst the Catholic church and it’s leaders, as the crusaders attacked Jews and burned their synagogues around Jerusalem and the middle east, as well as the Muslims and their mosques seemingly without distinction between them which destroyed any relationship the Jews and Christians had prior to these holy war campaigns.

A new Christian movement erupted on the scene in the sixteenth century that was labeled as the Protestant Reformation. This protest against the direction the Church was heading was spearheaded by a Jesuit named Martin Luther who believed the Catholic Church had become too hierarchical and that there was too much of a disparity between the clergy and masses, as well as straying too far from the teachings of the bible. The Protestant movement had a superb opportunity to reverse the centuries old antisemitic direction that was started by Justin and Augustine centuries before, but they did not. Instead the antisemitic, replacement theology concept was carried over from the Catholic Church and unfortunately is one the prevailing teachings among the protestant denominations today.

By the time the twentieth century rolled around the Jews were looked upon and despised as a hateful, reproachful race of people that did not deserve the same consideration as the Caucasians in Europe. The term antisemitism was popularized in the late eighteen hundreds by a German journalist, as rampant hatred toward the Jews as the killers of Christ was evidenced all across the European continent as well as in Russia and the Balkans and this viewpoint helped set the stage for the coming holocaust.

Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany in the early nineteen thirties amid a deep economic depression in Germany. He was raised in the Catholic church and was exposed (as most Christians were) to the idea that the Jews were a bunch of Christ killing thugs. This attitude coupled with fact that the Jewish community and culture afforded the believing Jews a good grasp on economics as well as frugality. Therefore the Jews were known for their ability to save and make money, and often they were seen in the banking industry across Europe. Throw all of this together and it became a recipe for disaster. Hitler noticed that overall the Jews weren’t suffering as badly as others in Germany (because of their dedication to the teachings of the Lord in the Torah) and decided to convince the eager populous that the cause of the poverty and the monetary woes of the German people following the loss of the first world war and the strangling debt load placed upon Germany by the victors was the fault of the Jews. Of course, Hitler was merely using the Jews as scapegoats to direct the anger of the starving German somewhere, and what better direction to point it than a hated, vilified people. To tell the people the real reason for the crumbled economy was that fact that Germany had leaped into a costly world war and was held largely responsible for the costs of that war would not have sat too well with this proud people. His ploy worked and the Jews became even more vilified and were targets of all kinds of retribution, including the decision to rid Europe of the Jewish race once and for all…thus the holocaust began, and before it was over over 6 million Jews were slaughtered across Europe because of their race.

Were the Jews responsible for Christ’s crucifixion? Only as instruments used to carry out the physical act. The bible tells us that Christ died on the cross for a distinct purpose. Simply put, if He hadn’t died, He couldn’t have been resurrected. The death, burial and the resurrection was the reason He died, for the scriptures teaches that without the shedding of innocent blood there can be no forgiveness of sin. So, any person that has ever, or will ever sin is the reason Christ was crucified, not the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem two thousand years ago.

However, human nature inserted itself into the Church and the desire to place blame with incomplete facts from the scriptures is what ultimately caused the attempted mass genocide of the Jewish race called the holocaust…and their whole premise about the Jews was wrong from the beginning, for the scripture does tell us that after the “Church age” is over and we have been caught up (or raptured), the Lord will deal with the Jews once again as the “Children of God”. The book of Amos is about that…the book of Joel tells the same thing and we find Peter and Paul explaining to us the same idea about the blindness of Israel.

Jim Bussell

02-14-2020

Most of the people I know subscribe to the theory that the Nation of Israel blew it’s chance at the brass ring with the crucifixion of Christ and therefore were cast aside as ‘the Children of God’. I grew up with this belief that we are the new Israel, we are the new children of God. I was taught there probably will be some Jews that accept Christ as the Messiah and will be saved but Israel, collectively as a nation, screwed up big time. I also was taught that Revelation is to be taken allegorically, because of the first verse of Revelation 1: THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, (NKJV) The religion of my youth believes that the word signified (using signs) in that first verse means that Revelation is a book of signs and therefore to be taken wholly allegorically. In addition, I was taught that Revelation was basically significant only to the 1st century Christians because it was about the destruction of Jerusalem that took place in 70 AD by the Roman Army under the leadership of Titus 1.

This puts what I was taught into the category of replacement theology even though I had never heard of that term until recently. Apparently, the idea of replacement theology was first espoused by second century church leaders such as Justin Martyr even though the writings of his predecessors inform us that they didn’t subscribe to the theory of replacement theology. By the fourth century, the writings of church leaders such as Augustine (Catholics refer to him as Saint Augustine) imply an increasingly anti-Semitic viewpoint and embraced replacement theology and that viewpoint continued not only with the Catholic church, but also with the reformation movement, so today most of the protestant religions hold this view.2 According to replacement theology, this means that all the blessings and promises God made to Israel throughout the Old Testament and any mention of them in the New Testament are allegorized. To substantiate the theory I was taught as a child that we are the new Israel, verses such as the one below in Galatians are used to offer proof. Galatians 3:28-29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (NKJV) They say this means any reference to the heirs of Abraham and Israel now means Christians. So, does this verse prove that replacement theology is in fact correct?

As I was growing up I was taught by my mother to read the bible daily and I was taught the book of Revelation has no bearing in our lives because it only applied to the New Testament Church and the hardships they encountered during and after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Why have it in the scriptures at all, then, I used to wonder? I was also taught that the Old Testament was a ‘good old history’ of a people that blew their chance at the brass ring. Using that philosophy as a benchmark of interpretation of the bible, a lot of pieces just didn’t fit and coalesce with me as I read the scriptures. I also realize using replacement theology forces you to not only allegorize Revelation, but much of the rest of the New Testament as well. Also, because that viewpoint creates disorder in the pattern and orderly nature of the progression of the scriptural nature of our existence as outlined by God (as I now see as I look back), it was explained to me at that time that much of the bible has to taken on faith if it doesn’t make sense to the reader. I therefore equated the religious teachings of my youth to pounding square pegs into round holes to try and make them fit, and when they didn’t fit…”oh well, that’s one you take on faith”. That didn’t really fly with me and the more I asked questions, the screwier the explanations got from the bible school teachers and church leaders to the point I was politely asked to stop asking these questions (you, know, just take it on faith).

It is my opinion, if you really believe in Replacement Theology, you need to tear Romans chapter 11 out of the bible. No, that’s being too generous…you need to tear the rest of the book of Romans out of the bible along with Hebrews and also the reference to Israel’s blindness in Luke 19:42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. (NKJV). An explanation of the passage in Luke by Paul, along with additional gems of information, come from Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (NKJV). According to Strongs, the word until in the bible is an interesting word that always means a temporary condition of time, followed by a succeeding  event. That definition, in itself, means that the blindness of Israel is not a permanent condition.

Also, we need to look at the history of the Jews since the destruction of Jerusalem. The fact that there are still Jews existing in the present day to talk about is nothing but miraculous. A quote taken from The Miracle of Jewish History say it very well, Over three hundred years ago King Louis XIV of France asked Blaise Pascal, the great French philosopher of his day, to give him proof of the existence of miracles. Without a moment’s hesitation, Pascal answered, “Why, the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!”3 If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years? Why are they still in existence if their ticket on the train to glory has expired? If you accept the fact that the Jews still survive and are back in the Holy Land is nothing short of miraculous, then how can you accept the theology that Revelation is not about the Jews. I agree it says up front that is a book of signs. It is also a book of specific time periods, specific events and specific locations. If we start allegorizing complete books because they contain signs and symbols, that changes the whole complexity of the books of the prophets in the Old Testament.

Luke 19 tells us God placed blindness up the Israel as a nation because of their lack of attention to prophecy that had been laid out of them four centuries earlier by Gabriel in Daniel 9 when he gave Daniel the exact day the Messiah was to present himself as King in Jerusalem. As I read the history of Israel, I read about how God set them up as his people, performed miracle after miracle in their behalf, and how they continued to turn their backs on him. With Gabriel’s revelation to Daniel, God did everything short of screaming in their ears about preparing for the day of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Some of the Jews were prepared for the day and welcomed him with celebration, but Satan, of course, was hard at work behind the curtain with the Jewish leadership trying to work his wiles to thwart God’s plan and the Jewish religious establishment corporately ignored the prophecy given by Daniel five centuries earlier, thus cascading the nation of Israel down the path it is currently on. I think of the passage in Romans 11 you read earlier where it talks about God casting away his people and explaining that he has blinded them until the fullness of the Gentiles in verse 25. The prophet Hosea gives reference to how they will turn back to the Lord when he says that they will seek his face when they acknowledge their offense in this end-time prophecy, in fact the whole book of Hosea is about this subject. Hosea 5:15 I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (NKJV)

I have a personal comparison, (in my mind at least). We have a few simple rules in our house based on morality and respect. Our oldest daughter in her late teens decided she didn’t have to follow our rules. First we talked to her a few times, then the serious punishments started, we took away some liberties, took away her car, and finally we kicked her out, or ‘cast her off’. We didn’t stop loving her and we kept an eye on her from afar to make sure we could be close in case of a catastrophic event. We had friends keeping their eyes on her also just to make sure she remained OK. She eventually got off the drugs, saw the light and asked her mom if she could come back home. Her mom said she could if she was ready to follow the rules. Our daughter acquiesced and asked for forgiveness, demonstrated her sorrow and came home a changed person. So she, in her own way, ‘sought our face and asked our forgiveness’ and we welcomed her back. My wife and I are extremely fallible people with probably more faults than good areas and patience is not one of our points of shining glory, but when it comes to our children, we find the patience. Our Lord’s patience is incredibly infinite as demonstrated by the history of Israel and humanity in general…it would have to be, for him to still accept someone like me after my history of turning my back on Him and his Son and His followers before I asked for salvation a few years ago.

I personally feel that one major reason the US hasn’t been judged by God yet, is our alliance and protection of the Nation of Israel as God decreed in Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”(NKJV) In this time period of Israel’s blindness I kind of see the USA as a sort of thug, hired to help protect his recalcitrant children from the evils of the world “until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in”. As long as we act as the friends and protectors of the miraculous State of Israel, I believe we will be spared judgment. I pray regularly to God, thanking him for giving me the grace I don’t deserve and the mercy He imparts for not giving me what I do deserve. I also pray he do the same for my country.

So what about replacement theology? I think if you accept the Bible as a holy, integrated message system from Our Lord that flows and weaves a history of his grace, redemption and salvation for his children, real and adopted, then Replacement Theology doesn’t hold up. If it’s not an integrated message system, then the veracity of the scriptures start to fall apart. With the same token, if you allow the text to speak to you as Christ and the apostles did (and in my opinion, they are fairly reliable examples), and if you accept the scriptures as the integrated message of Our Lord, then you need to believe that the bible “says what it means and means what it says” and that the blindness of Israel until the ‘fullness of the Gentiles come in’ means exactly that; a specific length of punishment for the first children of Yahweh that will end when Christ comes for the Church, and body of Christ is taken up.

God Bless, Jim

Revised 02-2-20

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_%2870%29

2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersessionism

3 excerpt from “History News Network” by Benjamin Blech http://hnn.us/articles/38887.html

I was raised in a denomination that believes in replacement theology and also believe because the Israeli religious authority were responsible for the crucifixion of Christ that Israel blew their chance at the brass ring and that the church is the “new Israel”. They also believe the old testament was a great collection of stories that really have no bearing on our salvation and because of these factors, Israel didn’t hold a lot of significance to me for other than being the genetic ancestors of Christ. Therefore some of the more ‘boring’ books of the Old Testament (which there were many back then) just got glossed over to fulfill the ‘reading the scripture’ requirement that my mother enforced on me while growing up.

In January 15, 2010, the Lord saved me from myself and I started on a marvelous journey of discovery that has taken me all through the ancient history of God’s people. I quickly discovered that the bible has more than twenty seven important books and that the other forty nine books are much, much more than a bunch of filler, as I was taught as a child. Now that I have realized that the significant part of the word of God starts in Genesis and ends in Revelation and that every fact entered into the scripture by the Holy Spirit has been placed there for our learning, if we are willing to pay attention to detail. It also reveals to us throughout its marvelous pages that it is a continuous web that is woven into a cohesive structure, designed to stand up to the forces throughout the ages that have been, and still are, trying to destroy the veracity of the word of our Lord. Once those facts sunk into my head, then those ‘boring’ books became exponentially less boring and I began pouring through these wonderfully educational and eye-opening books.

Judges was one of those ‘boring’ books to me growing up. Other than the story of Sampson and Delilah, I knew almost nothing about the book. Now that I have actually sat down and read the book with my new understanding, it seems quite interesting and lays out a four hundred year decline from an appreciative, worshipful people into a nation that continually turns its back on The Lord. One of the curiosities of Judges is the opening; everyone did what was right in their own eyes. The author (which many commentators believe is Samuel) used this phrase to open a couple of different chapters to explain the attitude of the Israelites throughout this four hundred year period of the history of the Lord’s chosen. This is not a pleasant comment, rather it’s a judgment stating that they had turned away from following the statutes laid out in Deuteronomy 12:8 when the Lord warned them of doing just this before they crossed the Jordan to possess the land. While this topic isn’t a synopsis of the book of Judges, this opening statement written during this dismal period of Israel’s history and contained within the pages of Judges, should be a warning to us all. So, what does it mean and why should we care?

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (NKJV)

This is a scathing indictment against Israel’s attitude. The Lord chose the Jews to be his people. He brought them out of Egypt using supernatural powers that scared the wits out of the leader of the world. He guided them throughout their wanderings in the Midian wilderness and protected them with a special cloud that was unmistakable in it’s unnaturalness during the day and an obvious cloud of fire at night, preparing them to come together as a nation so they could defeat the Satanic kingdoms in Canaan, and what happens…they lose faith in the Lord at the last minute, even though they have all this extraterrestrial stuff going on around them. He punishes them for ‘doing right in their own eyes’ by causing all the unfaithful adults to die in the wilderness, while protecting them with more of the supernatural stuff for thirty eight more years and do they learn their lesson? No. Within a couple of generations, they revert back to ‘doing right in their own eyes’ again.

In first Samuel, the Lord is explaining the Israelites rejection of the Him as their king, to Samuel.

I Samuel 8:7-20 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. “According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. “Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.” So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. “He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. “He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. “And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. “He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. “And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. “He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. “And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, “that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” (NKJV)

The book of Judges is a dismal account of the continued breakdown of faith and the patterned slide into a self-reliance spiral of failure that can be explained in a nutshell in the above scripture when the Lord tells Samuel they have totally rejected Him. This passage is sort of a companion to the book of Judges and helps enlighten us to the meaning behind the indicting phrase: “everyone did what was right in their own eyes”

The Lord ended up granting their wish for an earthly king and we find that Moses in Deuteronomy explained about the roles of a future king and the rules he was expected to follow. God knew they wouldn’t stay with it, but gave them the statutes to follow anyway. One of the statutes was a commandment for each King to write out his own copy of the Torah. It sounds like a time-consuming process, and I’m sure it was, but it was designed to burn the Mosaic Law into the brain of the King by the time he had finished this massive project. One look at the history of the kings of Israel and Judah tells us that very few bothered to give more than a cursory nod to the statutes laid out by the Lord. The priests all had intimate knowledge of the Torah, but that doesn’t mean every Jew did. Handwritten copies of the law would have been rare and expensive and also required the ability to be able to read. The practice of having the king write their own copy of the pentateuch was designed to make sure the King intimately knew the law and would deny him an excuse when he would ultimately break it. The Lord may have put it into place for the same reason as the rest of the Mosaic Law, to expose the weak and sinful nature of the Jews which were a small insignificant nation of people chosen to represent the Lord, hand-picked from a sinful, broken human race.

Just because the Lord allows us to do things, doesn’t mean that is what he would have us do. The Lord wanted the Jews to accept him as their ruler, their King to rule from the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies, but as He told Samuel, they rejected him. In fact the whole history of the Jews is a history fraught with rejection and disobedience spattered with small periods of time of faithfulness and trust and love. The book of Judges as well as the books of the prophets are written records of failure to follow the Lord, time after time. We have a compressed history of the Israelite nation to look back on and shake our heads in dismay as we read of their apparent lack of faith in their deliverer, savior, guide and father, but we need to be conscious of the time periods we are dealing with. We are looking at a history of thousands of years this record has recorded. By perspective, we have just a little over two hundred years under our belts and look how far the United States has slipped from a country founded on freedom of religion and principles based on the bible and faith in our Lord to one that wholly rejects God and anything associated with Christ, Christianity or support of Israel in it’s short history. Comparatively, Israel is the shining example of faith and redemption and loyalty, because overall, they were faithful for much longer at a time before sliding into self righteousness.

The bigger problem though, is that it is simply a reflective attitude of all of us humans. People have to make a concerted effort to rely on the Lord and not their own inflated and contorted views of their own abilities to manage their own lives and the lives of others around them. Unfortunately we as a modern people do no better than the Jews of the time of the judges and we have their failed examples to learn from and to fall back on.

God Bless, Jim
rewritten and expanded 1-31-20

I’ve been familiar with the story of Cain and Abel all my life but until I really started re-exploring the Holy Word of our Creator and Savior, I never actually noticed or really paid close attention to what I was reading or what I was being taught. In the past, I would read the scriptures much as one would read a required novel in school for credit; without a lot of enthusiasm or joy, but simply reading the words to get a bare-bones grasp of it in case I was tested. Now when I read the tragic tale of these two brothers, I see a lot more than I ever did before, somewhat similar to looking at an old familiar picture you have glanced at all your life but suddenly noticing the background scenery in that old picture for the first time.

Before we delve into the story of Cain and Abel, I want to mention that Genesis covers a huge chunk of time, especially in the early chapters and I want to point out a few things that show there are a lot of small items not covered but implied that are easy to miss if you’re not looking for them. For instance, the scripture doesn’t explicitly mention that Adam and Eve had a lot of kids. In fact Genesis 4 opens with the statement in verses 1 and 2 that Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel, but Genesis chapter 4 implies in verse 14 when Cain mentions there will be a price on his head for murdering Abel that there at least a few other siblings. Also as a side note, we find in chapter 4 verse 2 the first mention of sheep in the bible. The fact that Abel was a keeper of sheep, implies God had created sheep to be domesticated and kept, watched after and protected from the beginning of our existence after the fall. I believe we as students of the Most Holy Tome ever written need to be sensitive to these hidden constructs.

To get back to our story, as we read Genesis chapter 4 we see what seems to be a test for the boys from their version of a Grandfather…The Lord. It’s as he is seeing what they have learned from his lessons He has been teaching them. An example of one of these lessons is a subtle lesson in Genesis 3:21 that God shed innocent blood to provide covering and protection for them by clothing their parents with animal skins that replaced the paltry, unacceptable cover of leaves from the plants of the ground, and that The Lord expects an offering in kind to remind of what he has, and will do for us to protect us (the first instance of shedding of blood for our protection and salvation). It is revealed to us in verse 4 and 5 that Abel offers a fat firstborn lamb and Cain offers the fruits of his toiling the ground. Verse 5 also tells us that The Lord accepted Abel’s offering but rejected Cain’s. Afterward, Cain got angry and his mood darkened but God called him off to the side and explained to him why he had accepted Abel’s offering in the manner of a life lesson. When I first read this, I was of the mind that Cain had probably accepted God’s chastisement and explanation and then maybe Abel started goading him and Cain’s anger got the better of him…but…what if his mood stayed dark and he brooded and he didn’t actually accept God’s chastisement and decided to get even with his pure, sweet, innocent brother? (this is basically the version I was raised with; the evil, malevolent Cain and the jury is still out on his motive and I’m not sure the latter one works for me). I think his attitude matters because of the Lord’s reaction to the murder of his brother. The Lord could have struck him down and told Adam and Eve to produce even more offspring, but he didn’t. Instead, he punished Cain by cursing the fruits of his labor, forcing him to have to work harder and banished him from his family. When Cain in verse 14 complained that his siblings would hunt him down like a dog and exact revenge (another inference…the eye-for-an-eye rule that the Israelites would practice later on), the Lord could have said, “well Bub, you should have thought of that before you started going around committing murder!”…but he didn’t. He made sure no harm would befall Cain from his apparent siblings and he made sure he was protected by placing a mark of protection on him for all to see..does that sound like a reaction the Lord would have if it were a malevolent, premeditated, cold-blooded murder? After Cain was exiled to the land of Nod, Cain’s descendants, whose name meaning are reverential towrd the Lord, later went on to serve the Lord. It sounds like the lessons the Lord was impressing on Cain stuck and was passed down by Cain to his offsprings.

So this is the way I think this may have played out…verse 8 tells us Cain and Abel were talking about the whole sacrifice thing out in the fields and (knowing brothers) Abel probably started bragging about his sacrifice and goading Cain, and then Cain, most likely in a fit of rage, killed him. Seeing what he had done, he buried Abel trying to hide the evidence. Of course when you kill a major percentage of the Earth’s population in one fell swoop1, it would be hard not to notice the loss even if you weren’t God. Obviously, since God happens to be the omnipresent creator of the universe, He noticed. So God caught him, questioned him, punished him and banished him. There are multiple lessons to be learned here, but let’s just concentrate on a couple of major ones.

The first lesson to be learned is the acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. God explained to Cain that the spilling of blood of the healthy firstborn sheep is what is required to defeat sin. Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (KJV) Even more than that he also reminded him that Satan, the author of sin, wasn’t satisfied with deceiving Eve (which I’m sure Cain knew all about), but he was swirling all around them at all times like an evil wind, looking for an opening to blow their barriers away, exposing their weaknesses and frailties much like predators stalking the sheep in his brother’s fold. This is the second inference in the scriptures of the pattern, or model, of the need for the shedding of innocent blood to protect us and to help keep sin away from the door of our soul. Because Cain wasn’t protected by the offering of the acceptable sacrifice, he as was vulnerable to the evils of Satan as a sheep outside the fold is vulnerable to wolves, and regardless of motive or intent, he ended up committing sin by murdering his brother.

A second lesson to be learned from this chapter is the Lord’s reaction to the sin. We are told that Cain murdered his brother. In many societies this is punishable by death, but the Lord has a peculiar reaction to this apparent heinous crime. He shows compassion and grace to Cain. In this way, Cain is a model of us humans that blow it on a daily basis, but are saved through the Lord’s compassion and grace.

Thirdly, I believe Cain is a model or type of Israel. Much the same way Cain caused the death of Abel and was shown mercy and was given protection from those who would do him harm even while exiled. Israel, even though they were responsible for plotting the death of the Son of God, God punished them in an odd way for this heinous act, he blinded them but is also protecting them from those wanting to eradicate them until he brings them back into the fold, which is according to Paul in Romans 11:25 until the fullness of the Gentiles come in. After that event, Israel will once again take center stage in the world’s arena.

God Bless, Jim

revised 1-25-20

1 Think about this…(to throw a number out there) if there were 10 kids and Adam and Eve, that’s a population density of 12 people. You knock off one of them, you have just decimated 8% of the population of the world…

Israel has been one the dominating and driving forces behind world politics for several decades now and political questions regarding the future of this seemingly tiny, insignificant nation seem to be at the center of many of the world’s problems today. The question regarding Israel’s future is also a sticky subject that helps create divisions within the body of Christ as many churches deny Israel has a prophetic future, which, in my opinion, denies the integrity of the scriptures.

That being said, if we could all try to becomes Bereans (Acts 17:11) and scripturally verify the opinions of some of our church leaders while allowing the text to speak to us as we study the scriptures for ourselves to see what the Holy Spirit has to say, we will find that the bible develops and carries a few major themes from cover to cover. The primary theme, I feel, is the coming of the Messiah, His death and resurrection on our behalf and His future as the final world leader. Another major theme that the Holy Spirit writes about from Genesis to Revelation is Israel, it’s beginning, it’s history and its future. I could pull scriptures from Genesis through Revelation to prove the continuity of the woven web of the scriptures, however, I believe I can take a few chapter from one book of the Old Testament, written six hundred years before Christ1, and use these chapter to answer the questions that deals with an event that, in part, is yet to happen! Isn’t God’s word wonderful, that it is structured to allow us to do this? The book I am referring to is the book of the prophet Ezekiel.

Following is a quick synopsis of this fascinating book.

Ezekiel was a prophet of God that was born into a priesthood lineage in Judea during the reign of Jeconiah (also known as Jehoiachin). Ezekiel lived most of his adult life in exile in Babylon and became a prophet after his famous encounter with God riding the ‘wheel within a wheel’ (Ezekiel 1:16 & also chapter 10) chariot being guided by four living creatures, which most likely were Cherubim.

For a person like me that has always found math and the sciences fascinating, Ezekiel has always been one of those rare gems of literature that stands out. From the first chapter he throws these strange descriptions at you of his encounters with God that you try to get your mind around. I picture his descriptions of the conveyances of the Glory of God to the best of his ability, from the perspective of someone living 2600 years ago, as being similar to him trying to give a description of a flashy ’51 Mercury, chopped and bobbed with immaculate paint and replete with chrome and spinners and side pipes, while traveling with some escorts circling in front and behind on fast shiny motorcycles (I can most definitely see God appreciating a fine, ’51 Merc). This first chapter sets the stage for the flavor and style of the rest of the book.

So what does Ezekiel say about Israel? The first several chapter are dedicated to warning the unfaithful children of God that they are getting ready to be hauled to the woodshed and punished by being sent into exile into Babylon. Chapter 9, verses 3-7 paint a pretty clear picture of the anger of God toward his chosen people: ¶ And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which [had] the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old [and] young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom [is] the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which [were] before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. (KJV) Chapter 10 gives us a vision by Ezekiel where God packs up and leaves the Temple because he considered it defiled. (This is one of many places throughout the scriptures where you can almost picture the Lord, shaking his head and mumbling, “Aye, yi, yi, what am I going to do with these kids!”)

Can you imagine what a faithful prophet, such as Ezekiel, seeing these vision that God is presenting to him; seeing the abominations of his people basically thumbing their noses at the Father? Can you imagine how he must have felt when he saw God order an angel to mark the faithful and order the other angels following him to slaughter every man, woman and child who didn’t have the mark of faithfulness to the Lord? Can we begin to understand what was running through Ezekiel’s mind when he saw the Glory of the Lord departing his Sanctuary in the Holy Temple at Jerusalem? I can’t, not really, but I think the preceding chapters of this vision that tell of the children of Israel worshiping idols and profaning and defiling the Temple, answers the question of why they were blinded.

The next several chapters of the book deal with judgment on Israel and on different nations and eventually to the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians during the twelfth year of exile (Ezekiel 33:21). At this point Ezekiel does something strange. He takes you from sixth century, B.C. and suddenly flings you into the future. Ezekiel 34 shows God examining those who are shepherding the children of Israel and pronouncing judgment on them. I believe these shepherds are idioms of the host nations of the Jews throughout history and God’s displeasure with them, until verse 22 where he talks about gathering his sheep together under his protection and speaks about how they will be safe with David as their prince. This is one of many places in the bible to make reference to the House of David being in their land in the end times, or as the question puts it, in the future.

The next few chapters of this wonderful book build upon the children of the Lord being once again in their land and receiving the blessing of the Lord, all the while hearing the rumbling of the nation’s gearing up against them. Chapter 38 tells us about the nations preparing and assembling themselves to go to war against Israel and about God talking to them and reminding them of a curious promise he made to them long ago2. Ezekiel 38:14-17 tells us how God is reminding the leaders that he set them up for this attack on his people, an attack designed to wipe the aggressors out once and for all: Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know [it]? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Thus saith the Lord GOD; [Art] thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days [many] years that I would bring thee against them? (KJV). Chapter 39 starts out with something even stranger. Verse 1 & 2 are telling these aggressors that God is controlling the pace of the battle and is in charge of the events as they unfold. It reminds me of the same situation in Jerusalem six hundred years later where Christ set the pace and controlled the events leading up to his death. (Ezekiel 39: 1,2) “And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; “and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel (NKJV). Pretty cool, huh.

This odd chapter continues with after battle descriptions that would seem familiar to DOD analysts, because it seems to describe a detailed after action report of a nuclear conflict. Verse 21 of chapter 39 changes gears again and gives us Gentiles a brief synopsis of the history and reasons for Israel’s punishment and their eventual forgiveness in the end. Verse 24 also seems to answer why they were blinded. (Ezekiel 39:24) “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them.” (NKJV)

Chapters 40 through 42 give really precise descriptions and measurements of a Temple in Jerusalem that has never existed…yet. Oh, yeah, remember back in chapter 10 where we read about God packing up and leaving the Temple? (Ezekiel 10:18) Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. (KJV) Chapter 43:2-5 describes to us the return of the Lord to his new Temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:2-5) And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw—like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. And the glory of the LORD came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east. The Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. (KJV)

I think this is fairly good evidence that God isn’t finished with Israel yet, don’t you?

I really need to add this is only one place in the scriptures that tells us God is not done with Israel.

What about the everlasting land covenant God talks about in several places in the bible?3

What about the book of Joel?

What about Paul stating the Jews are blinded only until the Church is out of here in Romans 11?

There are several more places, but those will do.

Jim

1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezekiel

2 This promise to Gog by Ezekiel, is one of those strange example of prophecy where we are given the foretelling today and we are told that we will be reminded of the warning centuries down the road. This is another good example of God being able to see the ‘big picture’ from beginning to the end.

3 I have a friend that tried to convince me that when God said everlasting and forever, relating to these covenants, that God really didn’t mean forever and everlasting. I still don’t understand that one…Acts 17:11 ya’ll.