The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

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Put Up Thy Sword

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 27, 2016

The following is Chapter 18 from Samuel Logan Brengle’s book, When the Holy Ghost is Come.

The Sheathed Sword: A Law of the Spirit
by Samuel Logan Brengle

‘ Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.’

Just as the moss and the oak are higher in the order of creation than the clod of clay and the rock, the bird and beast than the moss and the oak, the man than the bird and the beast, so the spiritual man is a higher being than the natural man. The sons of God are a new order of being. The Christian is a ‘ new creation ‘. just as there are laws governing the life of the plant, and other and higher laws that of the bird and beast, so there art higher laws for man, and still higher for the Christian. It was with regard to one of these higher laws that govern the heavenly life of the Christian that Jesus said to Peter,’ Put up thy sword.’

Jesus said to Pilate, ‘ My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight’ (John xviii. 36). The natural man is a fighter. It is the law of his carnal nature. He fights with fist and sword, tongue and wit. His kingdom is of this world and he fights for it with such weapons as this world furnishes. The Christian is a citizen of Heaven and is subject to its law, which is universal, wholehearted love. In his Kingdom he conquers not by fighting, but by submitting. When an enemy takes his coat, he overcomes him, not by going to law, but by generously giving him his cloak also. When his enemy compels him to go a mile with him, he vanquishes the enemy by cheerfully going two miles with him. When he is smitten on one check, he wins his foe by meekly turning the other cheek. This is the law of the new life from Heaven, and only by recognizing and obeying it can that new life be sustained and passed on to others. This is the narrow way which leads to life eternal, ‘ and few there be that find it’ or, finding it, are willing to walk in it.

A Russian peasant, Sutajeff. could get no help from the religious teachers of his village, so he learned to read; and while studying the Bible he found this narrow way and walked gladly in it. One night neighbours stole some of his grain, but in their haste or carelessness they left a bag. He found it, and ran after them to restore it ‘for ‘, said he, ‘fellows who have to steal must be hard up.’ And by this Christlike spirit he saved both himself and them, for he kept the spirit of love in his own heart and they were converted and became his most ardent disciples.

A beggar woman to whom he gave lodging stole the bedding and ran away with it. She was pursued by the neighbours, and was just about to be put in prison when Sutajeff appeared, became her advocate, secured her acquittal, and gave her food and money for her journey.

He recognized the law of his new life and gladly obeyed it, and so was not overcome of evil, but persistently and triumphantly overcame evil with good (Rom. xii. 2 1). This is the spirit and method of Jesus; and by men filled with this spirit and following this method He will yet win the world.

He came ‘ not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many’ (Mark x. 45) His spirit is not one of selfseeking, but of self-sacrifice. Some mysterious majesty of His presence or voice so awed and overcame His foes that they went back and fell to the ground before Him in the Garden of His agony, but He meekly submitted Himself to them; and when Peter laid to with his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus said to him, ‘ Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? ‘ (John xviii. 11). This was the spirit of Isaac. When he digged a well the Philistines strove with his servants for it; so he digged another; and when they strove for that, he removed and digged yet another, ‘ and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth (room); and he said, For now the Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. . . . And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed’ (Gen. xxvi.22, 24).

This was the spirit of David when Saul was hunting for his life; twice David could have slain him, and when urged to do so, he said, ‘As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord’s anointed’ (I Sam. xxvi. I 0 I I).

This was the spirit of Paul. He says, ‘Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat’ (I Cor. iv. 12, 13). ‘The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men ‘ (2 Tim. ii. 24). This is the spirit of our King, this is the law of His kingdom.

Is this your spirit? When you are reviled, bemeaned and slandered, and are tempted to retort, He says to you, ‘ Put up thy sword into the sheath.’ When you are wronged and ill-treated, and men ride rough-shod over you, and you feel it but just to smite back, He says, ‘ Put up thy sword into the sheath.’ ‘ Live peaceably with all men’ (Rom. xii. 18). Your weapons are not carnal, but spiritual, now that you belong to Him and have your citizenship in Heaven. If you fight with the sword; if you retort and smite back when you are wronged, you quench the Spirit; you get out of the narrow way, and your new life from Heaven will perish.

An officer went to a hard corps, and after a while found that his predecessor was sending back to friends for money which his own corps much needed. He felt it to be an injustice and, losing sight of the spirit of Jesus, he made a complaint about it, and the money was returned. But he got lean in his soul. He had quenched the Spirit. He had broken the law of the Kingdom. He had not only refused to give his cloak, but had fought for and secured the return of the coat. He had lost the smile of Jesus, and his poor heart was sad and heavy within him. He came to me with anxious inquiry as to what I thought of his action. I had to admit that the other man had transgressed and that the money ought to be returned, but that he should have been more grieved over the unchristlike spirit of his brother than over the loss of the five dollars, and that like Sutajeff he should have said, ‘ Poor fellow! He must be hard up; I will send him five dollars myself. He has taken my coat, he shall have my cloak too.’ When I told him that story, he came to himself very quickly and was soon back in the narrow way and rejoicing in the smile of Jesus once again.

‘But will not people walk over us, if we do not stand up for our rights?’ you ask. I do not argue that you are not to stand up for your rights; but that you are to stand up for your higher rather than your lower rights, the rights of your heavenly life rather than your earthly life, and that you are to stand up for your rights in the way and spirit of Jesus rather than in the way and spirit of the world.

If men wrong you intentionally, they wrong themselves far worse than they wrong you; and if you have the spirit of Jesus in your heart you will pity them more than you pity yourself. They nailed Jesus to the Cross and hung Him up to die; they gave Him gall and vinegar to drink; they cast votes for His seamless robe, and divided His garments between them, while the crowd wagged their heads at Him and mocked Him. Great was the injustice and wrong they were inflicting upon Him, but He was not filled with anger, only pity. He thought not of the wrong done Him, but of the wrong they did themselves, and their sin against His heavenly Father, and He prayed not for judgment upon them, but that they might be forgiven, and He won them, and is winning and will win the world. Bless God!

‘By mercy and truth iniquity is purged,’ wrote Solomon (Prov. xvi. 6). ‘ Put up thy sword into the sheath ‘, and take mercy and truth for your weapons, and God will be with you and for you, and great shall be your victory and joy. Hallelujah!

‘HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED? ‘

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Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Christian Life, nationalism, persecution, Suffering | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Walking after Christ, or Glorying in Shame?

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 26, 2015

Christian soldiers

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil 3:17-20)

From this passage, 6 points stand out to me:

1. We are to imitate Paul’s way of life as he also imitated Christ’s way of life.

2. If we are imitating Paul and Christ, our citizenship is in heaven, not a place on earth.

3. Many religious men are instead enemies of the cross of Christ because they do not walk as Christ walked.

4. Such people serve not Christ, but their own belly or earthly appetites, caring overmuch for earthly things.

5. These people glory in (are proud of) that which should make them feel ashamed.

6. The end of such people is destruction.

1. First, we are to follow Paul’s example, as he has stated elsewhere: Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (I Cor. 11:1) And what example has Paul, imitating Jesus, given to us? Although he was born with elite Jewish privilege and could have had all the honor from men associated with that privilege, he has counted it as worthless so as to pursue Christ. (Phil. 3:2-11) He understands that the true Circumcision includes only those who are worshiping God in the Spirit (vs. 3). He has not joined the Jewish Resistance to fight the Roman occupiers for land, just as Christ did not. He has not made the advancement and supremacy of his earthly nation his goal, just as Christ did not. He has not sought to protect his physical life from danger and death, just as Christ did not (2 Cor. 6:4-5). And this blessed man followed Jesus to the end, overcoming all things by not loving his own life to the death.

2. The one who is walking the same path as Paul and Christ has his citizenship in heaven. He is loyal to heaven and heaven’s goals. He is not an earthly man, but a spiritual man. He belongs to that kingdom which is not of this world (John 18:36); he no longer seeks/fights for things the world offers–including freedom from captivity, servitude or death. He knows his inheritance is reserved in heaven for him, and mortal man can do nothing to take it away, provided he remains faithful to the end (I Pet. 1:4, Matt. 10:28; Rom. 8:38-39). As a citizen of that holy country, he will speak to the people of this world as calling them out of their own perishing countries and into that enduring one. He will not give up his ambassadorship and ministry of reconciliation to fight instead against flesh and blood, for things he has already written off as loss.

3. While those who refuse to walk as Christ and Paul walked are often called “good conservative Christians” in our day, God calls them “enemies of the cross of Christ.” They do not want to empty themselves, give up their reputation among men, and go to the cross as Jesus did; they refuse to let that mind be in them which was also in Him (Phil. 2:5-7). The ways of God are foolishness to them. Instead they exalt themselves, attempting to harness the secular powers through the political process or military strength, not understanding that this illicit lover will turn on them (Rev. 17:16). They succumb to the temptation of the devil, which was,“All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” (Matt. 4:9) Who is like my country, they say, and who can make war with him? And they wave their flags and celebrate their holidays commemorating death and destruction. They are enemies of the cross because they despise its humility, its poverty, and its pain; all while claiming to serve its Christ.

4. Such people serve carnal appetites, not Christ, regardless of what they claim on Sunday morning. Their boast is not in how the cross has subdued and mastered them, but in what they have accomplished in this world by their flesh. They are not crucified to the world, and the world is not crucified to them (Gal. 3:14). They want land, they want privilege (which they call “freedom”), and they want the world to be under their immediate control–a deceptive illusion of reigning with Christ, when they will never reign with Christ if they do not go by way of the cross. The love of the world is still in their hearts. They have not so learned Christ (Eph. 4:20). This is not how Christ walked, and it is not how Paul walked. But these dual witnesses are ignored by those who must have their carnal appetites fed.

5. They glory in, and are proud of, that which should make them ashamed. There are many things earthly men–even religious men–will esteem, that God looks upon as pure abomination (Lk. 16:15). Most horrifying is when men purporting to serve Christ glory in the things Christ abhors. A perfect example can be seen in the picture above. Men proudly holding the Word of God (“Love your enemies”) in one hand, and a destroying weapon in the other. This picture is making the rounds in social media, and the comments are enough to break a child of God’s heart. Professing Christians glorying in such a picture! Glorying in our “might”–and purposely forgetting the suffering caused by it. Saying, “God is with us”–and purposely forgetting that God is never with people whose sins stink to high heavens, and whose faces remain proud despite the continuing stench. Forgetting also the gospel. Forgetting the call to love not the world and have no fellowship with the world. Forgetting the command to bless those who hate us. Forgetting the example of Paul and the example of Jesus. Willfully forgetting in far too many cases.

6. In conclusion, Scripture is clear that enemies of the cross will be destroyed. Those who do not repent of living and warring in the flesh (Rom. 8:13; 2 Cor. 10:3-4) will die the second death in the lake of fire. Murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them (I Jn. 3:15). Those who are still entangled in the games of this world, swearing oaths to obey earthly men and destroying flesh and blood, are not serving the Lord. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot fulfill two commissions at one time–one of reconciliation and the other of destruction. You cannot love both the world and God (I Jn. 2:15-17). Paul made his choice–he counted as worthless all that the world would have praised about him. He set his sights on eternal things and made up his mind to run his race in careful imitation of Christ. He let the mind of Christ Jesus be in him, ruling his behavior and deciding the course of his life. Many early believers did follow Paul as he followed Christ, and they suffered many things in their flesh. But in knowing Christ and being conformed to his death, they obtained an inheritance that will never fade away.

Posted in Apostasy, Church, nationalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Two Kingdoms

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 21, 2014

The following was written by my friend Steve Thomas, and is posted here with his permission.

The Bible Describes TWO KINGDOMS – We each belong, individually, to one, or the other:

1.) The Kingdom of Heaven & God (in and amongst the disciples of Jesus)
2.) The Power of Darkness (operating in the ‘children of disobedience’).
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Many proponents of Christian Zionism & Messianic Judaism would have us believe the primary distinction on the earth, is between Israel and the nations – Jews and Gentiles – as it was under the Old Covenant. It seems many are living according to the terms of the former covenant still (which is a bit embarrassing if not fatal) as it has been displaced (by God!) – replaced with the New Covenant, 1984 years ago.)
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Jesus came to lift humanity from the flesh (fallen & mortal) to the spirit (righteous & eternal in Christ). Opponents, some operating in an antichrist spirit, tend to demean anything that (as they say) ‘spiritualizes’ the physical. They complain when Christians ‘spiritualize the promises’. By this, it is usually meant, allegorizing, or making into an imaginary thing or an unreal thing. And normally, in a bid to defend the political / military / cultural restoration of Israel as the center-piece of God’s (alleged) intentions today.

But the work of God is done in the Spirit, by His Spirit, in union with the born again spirits of regenerated saints of God. God *is* a Spirit. Those who worship him must do so in Spirit and truth – not now in the mountain of Zion on earth, nor in the derelict & non-existent remains of the former stone temple. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God – but only those who have been born of the Spirit – born again in the image of the heavenly man – Jesus Christ, (not the earthy man – the ‘first Adam’).
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The Apostle John described the antichrist spirit. Much is written and said about ‘the antichrist’, but in fact we have noticed there are only four references to antichrist/s in the entire Bible, in just three passages – all of them in the first two epistles of John. In a nutshell, the antichrist spirit works in tandem with human antichrists – basically anybody who denies the Deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ, or operates in another spirit contrary to the gospel and truth of Jesus.
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Jesus knows those who are his – those who love him and talk with him, and draw off his wisdom, living in his Spirit, in communion with him in their regenerated spirits, in reverence for God. These are the ‘chosen people’ of God – his own children – those who walk now after the Spirit, not after the flesh – not according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.
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John the Baptist was very clear in his warnings to Israelites and Judeans, (and anyone who would listen) to not even say within themselves that they had Abraham as their father. The very thing that many today in the CZ / MJ movement are placing at *top priority* – John, the greatest prophet of the Old Covenant (according to Jesus) – told us effectively to not even THINK! – let alone to teach it as a central and primary doctrine, defining our fellowships according to this criteria – emblazoning it across our ministry materials.
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Faith in Jesus is the only given way to God. The only way to be his child. It is the way of the CROSS – not the way of the blue & white HEXAGRAM!
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It is said that God is displaying his power and glory in the nation of Israel today – that this nation is his chosen vessel to honor and sanctify his name. Whereas we do not single out Israel for particular opprobrium amongst other nations of this fallen world, and whereas we maintain a positive outlook towards her citizens – holding out the hand of friendship; There is no recognition (amongst CZ/MJ groups) that any application of such statements regarding her elevated position in the eyes of God, in the bible, pertains specifically to the former nation under the old covenant, leading up to Christ. Little or no recognition is in evidence that the planned SHIFT **from Judah to Christ** occurred at his first coming (Genesis 49:10) – and now unto HIM is the gathering of the people – all people.
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Jesus said his kingdom is *not of this world* – not from here. (I think he meant it.) He said this in Jerusalem – in front of the Roman world power of the day and the gathered Jewish leaders seeking his demise – Almost his last and final statement before his death. Thus removing all grounds from the ones who seek to establish a power structure, or physical kingdom, on this earth, in the present age (- and certainly not in his name!).
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Two kingdoms: We each either belong to Jesus, or to Satan. God, or the devil. The way to tell, is to ask somebody who is their Lord – their God. Who do they worship? Who/what do they live for? [and, what do they primarily focus on in conversation, private reading, viewing, conference attendance etc?] If they say Jesus Christ, (in public,) chances are they belong to the Kingdom of God (if they are living for God in the secret place as well – relying on the blood of Jesus for their eternal justification before our righteous God.)
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But Israel, as a corporate secular entity, is no way even *remotely* in submission to Jesus Christ. Thus, sadly, she is (predominantly) under the power of darkness – satan – the devil – the god of this age – the spirit of antichrist. Of course the grace of God *is* towards her, and her citizens – grace upon grace – an open way to be restored to right standing for each and every one.
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I have managed to identify just 2 Members of the Knesset in Israel who self-declare as Christian, out of a total of 120.

=> Basel Ghattas – an Arab Christian from Rameh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basel_Ghattas
=> Hana Sweid, an Arab Christian from near Nazareth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hana_Sweid
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Whereas this is a good thing – being thankful for their presence – How is Israel, in truth, especially in it’s Jewish aspect, remotely the nation of God? With zero Christian Jewish presence (as far as I can tell – please correct and I will edit without hesitation).
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Can we imagine the entire collective of Judah returning from exile in Babylon, in complete denial of the Lord who sent them to the nations to purge them of their sins, and humble them to bring them back to himself? (which did happen as described – in fact, this the given reason for the God-defined *biblical* Diaspora.)
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What happened to the Israelites leaving Egypt? That entire generation (except faithful Joshua & Caleb) fell in the desert, in their negation of the work of God in their midst. What has changed? Why are Christian Zionists and Christian lovers of Israel not issuing forth clear & persistent warnings to the nation they love – to not fall after the same example of disbelief? As if it matters not a jot. Preferring instead to post anti-Arab propaganda, support for militarism, technology, and Israeli political prowess. Fawning over the marvellous Bibi Netanyahu, Lieberman & co. (like they are Zerubbabel, Ezra and Jeshua…. or Moses, Joshua and Caleb)
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God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His calling and drawing of men is as it always was. If God would simply convert a nation en masse, would he not have done so at Pentecost? *The gospel* was given as the power of God unto salvation – then as now. There is no indication this will change between now and the day of the Lord, at his coming in power and glory to judge the world – the living and the resurrected dead.
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I dare to say the Christian Zionist Israel-centred paradigm is flawed in far too many places to stand up. Nobody seems to be willing to come forward to hold a decent conversation to show the veracity and clarity of the biblical foundations of this belief system against even the most moderately presented questions. Try as we might, whenever we almost embarrassingly are duty bound to expose false claims, misapplications of prophecy, the clearly mistaken context of OT statements cut and pasted over today’s nation – the protagonists generally evaporate. Delete then block. The power of deception must be very strong, as doors are bolted, and barricades erected against the biblical truth, when it is laid out with genuine respect and care and friendship.

Steve Thomas. 17.12.14

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Apostasy, End Times, nationalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vengeance is Mine

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 20, 2014

Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom. 12:17-21)

When the prophet Jonah was called to go to a people–who had persecuted his own people– with a message that God would forgive them if they would repent, he was more than reluctant. Only after nearly perishing in the ocean did he agree to obey. After they repented at his preaching and received God’s mercy (chapter 3), Jonah admitted his motive for running away was that he didn’t think they deserved that mercy!

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” (Jon. 4:1-2)

No one deserves mercy. That’s what makes mercy what it is. Jesus rebuked His disciples when they were too willing to call down fire on a town that did not receive Him (Lk. 9:51-56.) His rebuke was not a soft one; He said they were of another spirit!

There is a vengeance and a destruction that is coming–the Day of the Lord. God’s enemies will be destroyed; we can be sure of that. In fact, they are already abiding “under His wrath.” (Jn. 3:36)

But ambassadors of God’s kingdom who are sent out with the Great Commission are not sent out to bring His wrath. They are sent out with an offer of God’s mercy on the conditions of any sinner’s repentance and faith. Unfortunately, some feel like Jonah–none too keen on seeing certain subsets of humanity receive God’s mercy. Or, they would like to see those people redeemed, but only if it doesn’t cost THEM something. Sometimes, being swept up in the worldly mindset produced by patriotism, and controlled by that mind instead of the mind of Christ, they leave the ranks of God’s ambassadors and join the ranks of the world’s destroyers of men. They may destroy by firing the weapons; they may destroy by supporting those who fire the weapons.

But our instructions, if we are God’s children, are very clear in the Romans passage above. These instructions are repeated in different ways elsewhere in Scripture also. It isn’t that God’s instructions aren’t clear or abundant enough; it’s that men don’t want to obey. They’d rather run from their responsibilities because they deem other people groups too far gone to be recipients of God’s mercy.

But as God revealed His heart concerning the lost to Jonah (4:10-11), He will also reveal His heart to us, unless we are content with that “other spirit” that insists we take vengeance in our own hands. Unfortunately, many professing Christians are so taken up with the importance of their earthly country and personal safety, those perishing things trump the value of men’s souls in their eyes. They are thus easily caught up in fleshly reactions to men, rather than spiritual war with spiritual weapons against spiritual principalities.

If Jesus came in the flesh today, pitying the souls of Muslims and calling us to be willing to die for them, He would likely be cast out as an apostate by the American church.

If a false savior came passing out carnal weapons and instructions for how to take Jerusalem from the infidels, he would gain some popularity–but only among those who are first rejecting the true King’s instructions.

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Apostasy, Judgment of God, nationalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Most Moral Army in the World?

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 29, 2014

Let me just say that I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “moral army” when we are talking about carnal armies who are fighting for carnal ambitions. Yes, we have an Old Covenant precedent for there being one moral army at one time which answered directly to the King of the universe–He whose judgments concerning nations could not be wrong. But that nation proved itself sinful like all others and the Old Covenant is now obsolete. The New Covenant is in place forever. God’s people have come to Jesus and are seeking to obey all His teachings, including the Sermon on the Mount. Anyone who is not doing this is not truly moral. I venture to say that wherever there is a carnal army, you are going to find it rife with immorality of all kinds. Many ex-soldiers admit this.

This is not an attack against a particular nation (in this case, Israel.) But what is called “the most moral army in the world” is not moral. Christians–of all people–should be able to see through such wildly inaccurate nationalistic flattery because we have the more sure Word of God which condemns all men under sin until they have individually repented and obediently believed upon Jesus. The relative morality of nations is largely pure self-righteousness. Men judge themselves by other men and call themselves “more moral.” Americans do this too, and I assume that Muslim, Communist, Hindu or pagan nations also have their self-assurances that their causes are more just, their ways more moral than the ways of others. I have heard since I was a child how America is so good, and even now with obvious corruption rampant across this sinking nation, I keep hearing that we are better than any number of other nations. I’m sorry, but I can’t call a nation “good” or even “better” that murders innocent children out of pure convenience, seeks wealth and happiness at the expense of others, adopts deviant sexuality, promotes nudity and satanism and drug abuse and false religion and……..Honestly, need I go on?

As I watched this video, I wept for the corruption of these precious girls’ souls. Notice their consciences troubled them in the beginning. But they made choices day after day to just ignore the injustices, to hide the sin, to fit in with the crowd. Because after all, when you are in an army, you are sort of in a legal “gang”–and the gang is your family. If you let them down, you are now alone. That’s a hard place to be in, when it comes time to make moral choices. Notice how guilt plagues these women, how one says she can’t get the blood off her hands, how another says something evil inside her makes her afraid, and how another drinks to try to forget the memories of her own actions. These women desperately need Jesus! They don’t need someone assuring them that they were part of the most moral army on earth, and that they did a fine job. They really do have blood on their hands, and they really have committed evil deeds. They need someone to agree with them that what they did was against God and their neighbor, but lovingly point them to the only Savior who can give them clean hands and a pure heart after so much defilement. May they sorrow to repentance and find mercy in Jesus Christ!

If you’d like to hear more testimonies from ex IDF soldiers, please watch the videos at Breaking the Silence. There are also many textual testimonies to read there. See also the testimony of Israeli Eran Efrati here, and the testimony of Miko Peled, author of The General’s Son, here.

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, nationalism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Dispensational Zionism Proof Texts Examined, Part 2: Ezekiel 37:1-14

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 7, 2014

Introduction

Many people believe that Ezekiel 37 has been fulfilled by the creation of the Israeli state. This includes the Prime Minister of Israel himself, who claimed the following in a speech:

Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet, as Ezekiel prophesied:

“Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.”

Well, that certainly is an astounding claim, but let’s examine the Scriptures to see if these things be so!

Read Ezek. 37:1-14 here.

God defined the dry bones as the “whole house of Israel.” Ezekiel gave this prophecy (while in exile himself) after the capture of Jerusalem (33:21), at a time when Israel and Judah were overthrown by enemy nations. We can understand, then, why Israel was pictured as a valley of hopeless dry bones. How could they ever rise to life after such thorough judgment had befallen them? When asked by the Lord if these bones could live again, Ezekiel could only reply, “Oh, Lord God, you know.”

Notice that God did not give, as an antidote for Israel’s problem, a military plan by which to overthrow the oppressing countries. Instead He told Ezekiel to prophesy the Word of the Lord to the bones (4). Israel’s calling was spiritual, its problem was spiritual, and its remedy must also be spiritual. The only hope of life is the Word of the Lord–received, believed and obeyed. Israel had become a valley of dry bones through disobedience. Thus thoroughly humbled, some (a remnant) would respond to the Word of the Lord, and again “rise from the dead.” For are we not all dead in sins while in a state of disobedience, yet alive again when we receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save us?

God said He would put His very Spirit in those who would arise from their graves. Remember that God’s Spirit is not given indiscriminately to everyone, but to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32)! The “exceedingly great army” that would arise in obedience to the Word and Spirit of the Lord, was not a military army. It was a spiritual army made up of people who had returned to the Lord in obedience after being humbled by judgment.

Obedience Necessary for Blessing, No Exceptions

Deut. 30:1-10 contains the requirements Israel would have to meet after falling under God’s judgment, if they wanted to be restored to a blessed state again–

Now it shall come to pass, when all these things (the curses of the covenant) come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today…For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

It is very clear that any blessing after judgment could only follow renewed obedience to the voice of the Lord. Lipservice wouldn’t do; they would have to keep God’s commands out of circumcised hearts that had sincere love for Him.

So, is Ezekiel’s prophecy of Israel’s resurrection still yet to be fulfilled, or has it already been fulfilled by events in history? There is a very clear fulfillment of this prophecy in earthly Israel’s history not too long after it was given. There is also a greater fulfillment in the spiritual Israel, which I will discuss later.

Earthly Fulfillment of Ezekiel’s Dry Bones Prophecy

In Daniel 9:2, Daniel understood from reading Jeremiah (25:1-12) that there would be 70 years of judgment, and then the repentance and restoration of Israel would occur. This is the very restoration promised in Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones coming alive again. Remembering that Ezekiel’s prophecy was written between 593-565 BC, let’s look at the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which record the rebuilding of the nation after that time.

Ezra

The first group of exiles to return to Jerusalem came under Zerubbabel’s leadership between 538-520 BC. Ezra 1 records the stirring up of Cyrus King of Persia by the Lord, who issued a proclamation that any of the exiles who wished to return to Jerusalem were free to go! The time of judgment (70 years) had been fulfilled, and what had seemed impossible for many years (the bones were dry) was suddenly possible (God resurrected the humbled remnant). Ezra 1-6 records the rebuilding and re-dedication of the temple over a period of years, under the protection of kings Cyrus and Darius. Once the temple was completed, “the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God of Israel.” (Ezra 6:21)

Beginning in Ezra 7, we see that Ezra is a very godly man who had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel (7:10). Persian king Artaxerxes allowed Ezra to take a second group of exiles back to Jerusalem, and even gave money to the God of Israel! He gave Ezra authority to set up leaders and judges who “know the laws of your God; and teach those who do not know them.” (7:25) Having testified to the king that “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him” (8:22), Ezra did not request a military escort, but had the people humble themselves and fast, asking for God’s protection. They arrived safely in Jerusalem, not due to military superiority, but because “the hand of our God was upon us.” (8:31)

When it was revealed to Ezra that some of the people were marrying unbelievers, he tore his clothes, fasted, and prayed with great humility. He acknowledged that Israel had been justly punished, yet God extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us (9:9–the same revival Ezekiel prophesied in his dry bones vision). Then he cries, “O our God, what shall we say after this [new sin]?” (9:10) Look at his humble confession:

And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, since You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this, should we again break Your commandments, and join in marriage with the people committing these abominations? Would You not be angry with us until You had consumed us, so that there would be no remnant or survivor? O Lord God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!” (9:13-15)

Ezra acknowledged that if they broke God’s commands again after their revival, God would be likely to be so angry as to consume them for good! While he knew the prophesies of restoration, he obviously believed the promises were conditioned on obedience. The people were apparently stricken with conviction, for they came confessing their sins. They then made a law that whoever would not come and listen to Ezra, that person’s property would be confiscated and he would be cut off from the assembly (10:7-8). Apparently, they didn’t view the land as unconditionally theirs based on genetics! Instead there was an emphasis on spiritual fidelity to God. An investigation was then carried out in an effort to bring the people into conformity to God’s law.

Nehemiah

The third group of exiles to return was led by Nehemiah, and this is recorded in the book by that name.

Nehemiah’s prayer of repentance on behalf of himself and the nation is found in Neh. 1. It includes confession of sin and a humble plea that God would do for those “who desire to fear your Name” as He promised in Deut. 30. There was no assumption on Nehemiah’s part that God would bless anyone who was unrepentant.

Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Under exile, Nehemiah had become the servant of Persian King Artaxerxes. He apparently had served him respectfully, in the fear of God, for Artaxerxes seemed to genuinely care for him when he was downcast about the condition of Jerusalem. God gave Nehemiah favor with the king, who not only allowed him to return to Jerusalem, but also gave him letters which protected him on his journey. As with the first two groups who returned to Jerusalem, the restoration was not brought about by rebellion and warfare, but God supernaturally resurrected the humble remnant, directing the hearts of kings to let them go and even help them.

When threatened by neighboring peoples while rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, Nehemiah resorted to prayer (4:4). He armed his men but reminded them, “Our God will fight for us.” (4:20) When Nehemiah discovered that some of the Jews were taking advantage of their poor brethren, he rebuked them and commanded them to fear God and do what was right. He even said if they didn’t repent, “may God shake out each man from his house, and from his property, who does not perform this promise.” (5:6-13) Obviously, Nehemiah (like Ezra) did not hold to an unconditional land promise. Once the returned remnant was again living in Israel’s cities (7:73), the Book of the Law was read by Ezra the priest, and “the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.” (8:3) After hearing the Word of the Lord, they agreed with it, and humbly bowed their faces to the ground, worshiping the Lord (8:6). Neh. 9 finds the people assembled with fasting in sackcloth, confessing their sins and the sins their people had committed over a period of many years. They confessed that God had justly judged them for their wickedness (9:33), and offered themselves as God’s servants once again (9:36). Again in Neh. 13, the people repent and obey God when challenged by Scripture.

Can you see that Ezekiel’s prophecy of dry bones coming to life again was fulfilled?! The remnant heard the Word of the Lord and were obedient. They returned to Israel “not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit.” There, the Lord would soon bring forth His Servant Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea, who would save His people from their sins.

Spiritual Fulfillment of Ezekiel’s Dry Bones Prophecy

First, I contend that the earthly fulfillment of the prophecy was, in fact, also spiritual–because the remnant had to get right with God spiritually in order to be “resurrected” in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra. But as the days of Nehemiah and Ezra brought a repentant spiritual people to an earthly Jerusalem, that fulfillment stands in contrast to the return of a repentant, spiritual people to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is a spiritual reality which the earlier fulfillment foreshadowed.

Consider the days recorded in the four gospels and Acts. John the Baptist came preaching the Word of the Lord in Israel (prophesying to dry bones) when a relapse into sin and apostasy had once again enslaved the people under Roman occupation. Did he preach about how God gave the land to Abraham and therefore the Romans had better take their hands off the apple of God’s eye?–On the contrary, he preached that the Jews needed to Repent, for the kingdom of heaven was at hand! (Matt. 3:2) He did not allow anyone to rest in earthly heritage (Matt. 3:8-12). He did not teach the supremacy of the Jews or an unconditional land promise. In fact, he said nothing at all about land or rebellion against occupation, but exhorted people to press into the spiritual kingdom.  The gospel of the spiritual kingdom was preached to the Jew first, and many “dry bones” came together in response to the Word of the Lord. The Spirit of God filled these resurrected people through the breath of God (Jn. 20:22; Acts 2), and empowered them to be the army of the Lord–a spiritual army which the very gates of hell could never overcome.

Though the earlier prophets did see and describe the glory of the coming spiritual kingdom, the time of John the Baptist marks a transition from their looking forward to the kingdom, to “the kingdom is at hand.”  From this time forward, Scripture places all importance on the heavenly kingdom preached by John, Jesus, Paul and the others, and pays almost no attention to earthly kingdoms (except to assure us that they will come to an end). For the law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it (Lk. 16:16). This heavenly kingdom, even now being populated, is a fuller fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies of a glorious restored Kingdom. Peter pointed to this spiritual Kingdom being the fulfillment of the prophecies, saying “all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.” (Acts 3:24) Its final and most glorious fulfillment will occur when Jesus returns for His complete international Bride and destroys the wicked in the same day (Lk. 17:29-30 is very clear that these two events happen on the same day.)

Jesus put an end to earthly sacrifices (and the Old Covenant) by the sacrifice of Himself (Dan. 9:27; Heb. 9:26), and was resurrected to His eternal throne, where He sat down, having finished the work of redemption. His kingdom is not of this world, and His servants don’t fight for earthly land, but instead are busy seeking the Kingdom of God (remember the earliest Jewish believers were known for giving up their possessions and lands to help the poor–Acts 2:45; 4:34-35. This stands in sharp contrast to the buying/stealing/occupying of land that is happening today in the Middle East.) Once it appeared that the Jews of that generation had been reached, some of the Jewish converts turned their attention to bringing Gentiles into the kingdom. Gentile converts were grafted into the same olive tree to which believing Jews belonged, thus putting an end to division between Jew and Gentile forever. This Mount Zion to which all believers come, is supernaturally protected. The repentant “exiles” of the whole earth come to her, and God Himself sees to it that all who desire to, arrive in their beloved city–the Jerusalem Above (Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22).

Now, God’s people no longer worship Him on the mountains of Samaria or in earthly Jerusalem, but in spirit and truth wherever they are on the earth (Jn. 4:19-24). Regardless of national borders or races, all who enter Christ by faith are counted as the seed of Abraham (Rom. 4:16, 9:8; Gal. 3:7-9). These inherit all the promises–for all the promises of God ***in Christ*** are Yes, and in Him Amen (2 Cor. 1:20).

Why the Modern State of Israel Has Not Fulfilled Ezekiel’s Prophecy

Was the founding of the modern Israeli state a fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy, as Netanyahu and Christian Zionists claim?–No, for it does not meet any of the qualifications.

Was the state founded upon obedience to God, who sent His Son Jesus to die once for all men, and now commands all men everywhere to repent and believe on Him?–No.

Is the state the home of people who have circumcised hearts that love the Lord and keep His commands?–Again, No.

Are its citizens all Spirit-filled, and do they obey and promote the Word of the Lord?–Sadly, no.

While we can certainly sympathize with the desire of any people to have a safe place to live after the horrors of the holocaust, the events of 1948 have nothing to do with Ezekiel’s prophecy. It was simply the founding of another secular state by force. Yes, it was created in the place where ancient Israel once dwelt, but anyone who is honest must admit that it identifies more with the rebellious Israel than the repentant Israel. As we saw in our study of Nehemiah and Ezra, disobedience to God disqualified one from possessing the land even under the Old Covenant, regardless of ethnicity.

Furthermore, the even more glorious restoration of God’s Kingdom has already come through Jesus Christ, as the apostles believed and taught. God’s Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven, fulfills the restored Israel of God. This olive tree has had all unbelieving branches removed, and it has admitted believing branches from all over the world. The raising of Israel’s temple began with the resurrection of Jesus; it is still being rebuilt, as the lives of individually saved/resurrected believers become stones in the temple walls. Israel’s King can never be dethroned, Israel’s High Priest is a Priest forever (Heb. 5:6), and the veil which was rent cannot be un-rent. What place in this mystery, then, is found for an earthly Israel still ruled by ungodly people who may or may not return to animal sacrifices one day? If they did so, it would be a massive insult to Jesus Christ. The only appropriate place for such is the lake of fire. I can only agree with Paul, who wrote that this earthly nation will not inherit the promises (Gal. 4:29-30), no matter what they might be able to accomplish in their flesh. However, any Israeli can enter the kingdom of God through the only door, Jesus, by faith. 

It is imperative that we learn to recognize and discern the Lord’s Body/Assembly/Israel, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. The Lord’s Body is not a state. The Lord’s Body is a unified people who obey the Lord. These are the chosen people–people who abide in the Chosen One. Lots of politicians quote snatches of Scripture to legitimize their worldly ambitions; do not be deceived. We are repeatedly told by false teachers today to “watch (earthly) Israel,” but the Kingdom of God does not come with observation; in this lifetime, it is within us (Lk. 17:20-21). These false teachers seem to be under the same darkness and confusion as the deceived Jews who fought for their homeland in the Jewish/Roman wars. The Christians of those days, believing Jesus and the apostles, simply left their homeland and took the gospel with them, knowing their inheritance was spiritual and was “reserved in heaven” for them (I Pet. 1:4).

Isn’t it time to begin interpreting the Old Testament prophecies in the light of the New Testament, and how its inspired writers interpreted them?

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Dispensational Zionism Prooftexts Examined Part 1: Ezekiel 34 & 36

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 2, 2014

I will be examining some Old Testament prooftexts often used to undergird blanket Christian support for the modern state of Israel today (regardless of the nation’s obedience or disobedience to God). If you haven’t read the introduction, you can read it here.

Ezekiel prophesied to Israel (and its surrounding nations) from about 593-571 BC while he himself was already captive in Babylon. Two of his contemporaries were Daniel and Jeremiah. The capture of Jerusalem occurred at Eze. 33:21. Prior to this point, Ezekiel primarily prophesied of destruction and judgment to his people (with some exceptions), but after this point (in chapter 34), he began to prophesy of hope and restoration.

Before we get into Eze. 34 & 36, I would like to note a previous passage which directly follows the capture of Jerusalem:

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.’ “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?”’ (33:23-26)

The inhabitants of Israel felt that the land was owed them due to their connection with Abraham, and the fact that it had been given to them by God in time past. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The same idea persisted in New Testament times, and still persists today.) They trusted in their heritage, their numbers and their swords. But God rebuked them for this, and pointed out their sin as the reason they should NOT NOW possess the land. They would need to repent of their sins first, as outlined in the conditions of the covenant outlined in Deut. 30! Even though God was about to begin prophesying hope to the Israelites who would repent during exile, their present day condition kept them from being in covenant with God. This is important because God always deals with people in the present tense. God does not reward sinners who are now in sin, or covenant-breakers who have not repented, even if He knows they will repent in the future.

Now let’s look at some of the promises of Israel’s restoration after judgment, written by Ezekiel, to see if they refer to what we are seeing in the Middle East today. For the sake of space, I will insert links to the passages.

Ezekiel 34:11-31

Here God promises that He will seek for His sheep and gather them out of the countries to feed them on the mountains of Israel. He will establish one Shepherd over them, whom He calls “My Servant David.” This prophecy was historically fulfilled in the natural. First, God brought many humbled exiles back from Babylon during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah (approx. 458-445 BC), and reestablished His relationship with them. This enabled Jesus to arrive on the scene in Bethlehem at a later time in history (when the Jews were once again occupied and largely apostate). Jesus then announced Himself as the “Good Shepherd” and became the fulfillment of “My Servant David.” As the son of David, He assumed David’s throne (where He sits forever), and manifested Himself as the Shepherd/King of Israel. His earthly ministry was primarily to the House of natural Israel, with some notable exceptions (as it pleased the Lord to give the New Covenant gospel to the Jew first, then to the Gentiles who would be grafted in), and Acts 2 records a great influx of Jewish converts who were gathered into the “sheepfold” of Jesus, from all nations, on the Day of Pentecost. So this prophecy has nothing to do with the modern state of Israel. It was fulfilled!

Ezekiel 36

Here God promises that the nations that plundered Israel during her captivity will bear their shame, and Israel will once again be fruitful. He reminds the prophet that it was Israel’s sin that induced Him to scatter them throughout the nations, and that He was not bringing them back because they deserved it (even the repentant do not deserve blessing), but for His Name’s sake. Again, this was fulfilled historically during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah! The exiles came back repentant, and Neh. 9 records their repentance while wearing sackcloth. Neh. 13 details how the people listened to the law and obeyed it, Nehemiah rebuking their sins and cleansing them of “everything pagan.”

Ezra 6:21-22 states:

Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Please note that the repentant Israelites at this time were succeeding because the Lord Himself was fighting for them. He was turning the heart of the pagan king to favor and help them. They were not trusting in military might. Their repentance was real, as they had “separated themselves from the filth of the nations in order to seek the Lord.” They were a meek (and weak) people inheriting the land not by might or power, but by God’s Spirit.

Later, when the prophet Ezra was bringing some families back from Babylon, he was ashamed to ask the pagan king for military protection on the way, for he had testified to him, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” (8:22) Obviously, Ezra understood the promise of Israel’s restoration to be conditional! The people humbled themselves and fasted and prayed for God to protect them, and He did so. (When God is truly on your side, you don’t need an “iron dome”!)

Returning to Ezek. 36, let us look at some specific verses which are often misapplied to the modern state of Israel today:

‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.” (36:33-36)

The misapplication generally sounds something like this: “The land of Israel was a desert while under the control of the Palestinians. Then once (modern) Israel came, it became like the garden of Eden again.” There is just one problem. This prophecy was already fulfilled in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra! It has nothing to do with the modern nation of Israel, which has been founded through theft and bloodshed (as most, if not all, modern nations are.)

Notice that God stated as a prerequisite to the desolate land becoming fruitful again, that He would “cleanse you from all your iniquities”! We have lots of evidence that in Ezra and Nehemiah’s day, the people were repentant and open to hearing/obeying the Word of the Lord. Thus God forgave their sins and blessed them in the land once again under the Old Covenant. We have absolutely no evidence at all that modern day Israel is in this repentant state which precedes being cleansed from iniquities.  In fact, many citizens of modern Israel are atheists, and most of those who believe in God deny Jesus Christ (so they do not have the Father either–I Jn. 2:23.) There are certainly individuals within her borders who know and love Messiah Jesus. This is in keeping with New Testament Scripture that confirms there will be a remnant of Jews saved, and Paul named himself as a prime example. But we have no New Testament Scripture saying the entire earthly nation or ethnic group will be saved. (In Romans 9 – 11 and elsewhere, Paul makes clear that there are 2 Israels, one after the flesh and one after the Spirit. Only the spiritual Israel, made up of Jews and grafted-in Gentiles, will be entirely saved by grace through faith. See here.)

In summary, when dispensational zionists offer proof-texts like these to claim that the modern state of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy (a claim that almost always leads to disobedience to the New Testament through fellowship with darkness, military involvement, etc.), we need to remember the following:

1. Deut. 30 outlines the conditions of re-inhabiting the land. Modern Israel has not met the conditions, so the promise cannot apply to them (even if the Old Covenant was still in effect.)

2. The prophecies of Ezekiel 34 & 36 were fulfilled in the natural during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. The exiles of this time period met the conditions required to re-inhabit the land under the Old Covenant (repentance/obedience/faith in God).

3. The prophecies were fulfilled notwithstanding Israel, at that time, had no organized army!

4. Since that time, the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant (Heb. 8:13), which has better promises. There will never be a return to the Old Covenant, and those who attempt to return to it are under a curse. It is those who have faith in Jesus Christ who will be blessed with Abraham (Gal. 3:9-11) and counted as his children (Rom. 9:7-8; Jn. 8:39; Gal. 3:29).

God bless you as you study the Word and seek after God’s heart!

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