Bible Warns of Apostasy and Persecution: Birth Pang 2B
In our last article – Bible Warns of Apostasy and Persecution: Birth Pang 2 – we highlighted the fact that Birth Pang #2 is all about Israel. Unfortunately, too many Bible commentators today ignore the plain and obvious meaning of Scripture and instead opt for a more allegorical meaning to suit their purposes. This literally changes what I believe to be God’s intended meaning so that the emphasis is off Israel and onto the Church. Those who interpret Scripture in such a way are going to have to answer for it. These commentators then teach their error to people who fail to do their own research and the error is compounded. The ramifications of this are astounding. In fact, it’s downright scary.
I cannot emphasize this enough that we must all do everything we can to ensure that we are teaching what God’s Word actually says, not what we think or hope it says. This is at least part of the reason people should bounce ideas off of one another because “iron sharpens iron” if we allow it to do so. Of course, those who are set in their theological ways will listen to no one and start to see others with opposing viewpoints as the “enemy,” which must be avoided at all costs, especially when it’s a peripheral issue not directly dealing with salvation.
In our last article, we actually included quite a bit of Scripture, from Ezekiel and also Isaiah. I believe it is very clear that these portions of Scripture point out the fact that there will come a time when God will restore Israel, literally bringing it back from the dead. It was not long after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 that Israel itself ceased to exist as a viable nation. It has been since that time that the world has been without Israel as a nation, that is, until 1948 when Israel became a nation again officially.
Today, there are unfortunately many Christians who believe in something called Replacement Theology. This view espouses that God ultimately rejected Israel because they rejected their Messiah. Therefore all remaining blessings that were to be bestowed on Israel have been transferred to the Church. This line of thinking is absurd, especially if one considers that throughout the book of Ezekiel alone, God makes statements like “This is what the sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake that I am about to act, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy reputation which you profaned among the nations where you went,” (Ezekiel 36:22).
This is God’s warning throughout Ezekiel and elsewhere. He will be faithful to His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in spite of the lack of faithfulness Israel has shown God. If God was somehow going to “transfer” His promises to the Church, how would it be possible for Him to show that He is being faithful to Israel? It isn’t possible at all.
But the sticking point for many is this idea that God has a special plan “of salvation” for Israel and one for everyone else. This is ludicrous and anti-biblical! He has one plan of salvation for all people – whether Jewish or Gentile. However, it is also very clear that God has plans for one person that may not be the same for another. We refer to this as God’s will in a matter.
We referenced Ezekiel 36 and 37 last time. Chapter 37 focuses on the Valley of the Dry Bones. While some commentators point to this as God’s dealing with the Church, it is patently clear from the text itself that God is focusing solely on Israel here. He states as much in Ezekiel 37:11.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel.”
I’m not sure how much clearer God could be. He specifically states that the bones in the valley are the people of Israel. Allegorizing it to mean all eventual believers is wrong and people do this based on passages in Hebrews, etc., but they are incorrect. God has a plan for the nation of Israel that is being worked out in His economy. We are privileged to live in what is likely the last generation before the Lord returns and we have already seen how God’s plan of rebuilding (or “rebirthing”) Israel is coming about.
If we refer to Ezekiel 20:33-38, we see that this process of rebuilding, rebirthing, or regathering Israel happens in spite of the unbelief of the Jewish people being regathered. We need to note this.
33 As surely as I live, declares the sovereign Lord, with a powerful hand and an outstretched arm, and with an outpouring of rage, I will be king over you. 34 I will bring you out from the nations, and will gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a powerful hand and an outstretched arm and with an outpouring of rage! 35 I will bring you into the wilderness of the nations, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 Just as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the sovereign Lord. 37 I will make you pass under the shepherd’s staff, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. 38 I will eliminate from among you the rebels and those who revolt against me. I will bring them out from the land where they have been residing, but they will not come to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord.
Please read the above section carefully. Notice that God is going to pour out His “rage” (v. 33) and He will be king over Israel, whether they like it or not. Notice v. 34, which promises to draw Jewish people out from the nations to which they’ve been scattered (since the final destruction of Jerusalem of AD 70 by the Romans). Notice that God uses “a powerful hand and an outstretched arm and with an outpouring of rage!” He is not happy to say the least, but His will is going to be done!
Verse 35 is reference – I believe – to the coming Tribulation (the time of Jacob’s trouble, etc.) when God will “enter into judgment with” Israel. Finally, verse 38 speaks to the fact that God will delete all the rebels from among these regathered Jewish people.
What is also very important to understand about this particular passages is that this is obviously going to be done in unbelief. In other words, Jewish people will be brought back into the Land by God Himself and will most likely have no clue that He is bringing them back. There have been numerous global situations that have forced Jews back to Israel. In modern times, it began with WWI and then when Hitler’s atrocities became known to the world, Jews by the thousands realized they needed a safe haven so they began to relocate to Israel. Since that time, there has been a steady march back to the Land.
Even today, with mounting terrorism from Islamists who want nothing more than to obliterate all Jews, more Jewish people continue to make the trek back to Israel where they believe there will be some measure of safety for them that they would not otherwise experience in the rest of the world. None of this would have occurred or be occurring if not for the fact that God has allowed global situations to occur in order to use those situations to force the Jewish people back to Israel.
Ezekiel 22:17-22, highlights the fact that Israel is being led back to the Land in order to be judged (refined) by God and please do not miss the fact that God is going to bring them back to “the middle of Jerusalem” to accomplish this (v. 18)!
17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become slag to me. All of them are like bronze, tin, iron, and lead in the furnace; they are the worthless slag of silver. 19 Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘Because all of you have become slag, look out!—I am about to gather you in the middle of Jerusalem. 20 As silver, bronze, iron, lead, and tin are gathered in a furnace so that the fire can melt them, so I will gather you in my anger and in my rage. I will deposit you there and melt you. 21 I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my fury, and you will be melted in it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you will be melted in it, and you will know that I, the Lord, have poured out my anger on you.’”
Unbeknownst to most Jewish people at this time, God has been regathering His people back to the Land where Jerusalem continues to be a powder keg. He is using the situations in order to judge/refine His people and will pull out from them the final remnant of Jewish believers who will place their faith in Jesus, their Messiah. It will be this final remnant that will utter the words stated by our Lord:
“For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’,” (Matthew 23:39).
We will have more to say about Israel and specifically Jerusalem in our next installment, which will be Birth Pang #3
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Emotional virtue, Islam, israel, Judaism, Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, Radical Islam, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming, temple mount. Tags: ad 70, ezekiel 20, ezekiel 22, ezekiel 36, ezekiel 37, jerusalem, replacement theology.