Vol. 28 New Series August, 1967 No. 4
"Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they will no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up thechildren of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the houseof Israel out of the north country, and from all the countrieswhither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their ownland." (Jeremiah 23:7, 8 and 16:14, 15).This prophetic statement could hardly be put in stronger fashion. What occurred three and a half millenniums ago on a local scale, when God redeemed Israel from Egypt is to be emulated at some time, yet future, worldwide and, just as in the former, not a soul nor a hoof were to be left behind. Even so, in the restoration of scattered Israel, every descendant of Abraham, through Isaac, known and unknown to man, will be separated from the peoples amongst whom they are living and will be brought out of the countries where they reside. This will not be by Zionist influence, nor political manoeuvre, nor by force of arms, but by the Spirit of the Living God.
"As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, andwith a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I ruleover you:And I will bring you out from the peoples, and will gatheryou out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand , and with a stretched out arm , and with fury pouredout." (Ezekiel 20:33, 34).In this passage God declares the certainty if His intention, the means of it's accomplishment and the object. He then gives the first two steps in this process and repeats his means of carrying them out. This action on the part of Jehovah, although it is His intention, is not unprovoked, for,
"And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come uponthee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee,and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whitherthe Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shall return unto theLord thy God, and shall obey His voice according to all thatI command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thineheart and all thy soul; that then the Lord thy God will turnthy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will returnand gather thee from all the nations , whither the Lord thyGod hath scattered thee. If any of thine be driven out untothe utmost parts of the heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee: and theLord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fatherspossessed." (Deut. 30:1-5).These words are perfectly clear. They were addressed to the children of Israel, by Moses, on behalf of God. They were directed to inform them of the consequences of persistent infringement and eventual disregard of the covenant just made by God with them, and that they would be scattered among the nations. The words imply that this is the way that they will go. and when that does happen and the time arrives, then they shall call them to mind, give the words serious consideration, on account of some great urge, and return unto the Lord their God, by wholehearted and wholesale (in so far as Israel through-out the dispersion is concerned) obedience to God's commands. Then God, on His part will take action in their favour. He will separate them from those not of Israelite stock, wherever they may be, under the distant heavens or in countries close by, removing inhibitions that, all the centuries, have prevented them from coalescing and forming a comprehensive nation amongst the other nations of the earth. He will then bring them, from all points of the compass, back to the land, of which their fathers took possession from the Canaanite, nearly three thousand five hunred years ago. The land was given them for an inheritance, for tenancy only, for which the rental was (not a peppercorn) obedience to the covenants and righteousness. Their nonfulfilment of the conditions required led to their being scattered.
After the rebellion of Israel, inside three months from the Exodus from Egypt, in erecting and worshipping the golden calf and thereby breaking the first covenant of Sinai irreparably, God would have destroyed the children of Israel but for the intercession of Moses (Ex. 32:10). Later He threatened to depart from their midst and turn them over to the leadership of an angel; but again Moses intervened and God answered his prayer and promised that His presence would go with them. Following this, the Lord (Jehovah) revealed Himself to Moses, after he had hewn the second tables of stone and again ascended the mount, "and proclaimed, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth" (Ex. 34:6). These characteristics of God were abundantly displayed throughout the centuries to follow, until, first the Northern kingdom and then, some 130 years later, the Southern were taken from the land by their conquerors and, since these events, they have been scattered over the whole earth, to dwell among the nations. Since that date only a remnant have ever returned to a part of the land in order to carryon the purposes of God, much of it in fulfilment of prophecy, paramount or which were the birth, life, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, from the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70 by Titus, any title to the land has been withdrawn from them. With the exception of a few from time to time being able to live in Palestine with the restricted permission of the occupiers, it has not been inhabited by the children of Israel until the turn of this century. They had no real rights in the land before it was taken from the ruling power, Turkey, in the first World War, placed under a mandate and governed by Britain.
Great play was made of the date of the capture of Jerusalem in 1917 by those who held the historicist interpretation of prophecy, but however that may be, one of the most important of proclamations, in these days, was the Balfour declaration, which declared that Britain would uphold that captured Palestine should be a National home for the Jews. With the virtual failure of this Mandate and the reluctance of Britain to continue, the United Nations partitioned the land between Arab and Jew. The unrest and anarchy that followed eventually led to the uprising and war of liberation in 1948, in which Israel took over much of the disputed ground, but had to call a halt because of threats against her by the great Powers. Since that date the borders have been lined on both sides by armed forces. All this has worked out, basically, under the national aspirations promoted by Zionism, founded in 1897, the date of the first Zionist Congress. Under their auspices and other organizations Jews have returned to their land by their tens and hundreds and thousands "Until, today there are some two and a half million Jews in Palestine. This is but a fraction of the children of Israel in the world, of whom there are estimated to be some twelve million and, as six million perished in the last war, it is safe to say that there would have been a full twenty million, but for that tragedy. However, it is not extravagant to envisage that figure being reached again in the near future. But, as it is today, the land is population-saturated. Those who live there have gone there, not by the Spirit of God, nor for their love and acknowledgement of Jehovah their God, but by Political operation and force of arms. Of those who are there a very small proportion are believers in the Lord their God.
Although the presence of two million Jews in an autonomous State, called Israel, today, is in all probability a setting of the stage for the curtain to rise on an era when Israel will be reconciled to their Lord God, Jehovah Elohim, when they will again occupy the land, as they did under Joshua, yet whatever we see before our eyes, as the result of the foregoing manoeuvring and conquest for occupation, IT IS NOT THE FULFILMENT OF ANY BIBLICAL PROPHECY. The claims made for such are fallacious and unscriptural. The prophecies that are quoted to support the argument that Israel are in the land now in fulfilment of Biblical prophecy is a false deduction. The whole of the prophecies are to be fulfilled in their proper place in their due time. The statement so often made that 'Israel must first return to the land in unbelief' just cannot be supported from any Scripture and is a cliche that has its basis in men's minds only. If, by unbelief, it is meant a refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah, yes, that is true; but in dealing with the restoration of Israel to the land, the antitype of the Exodus and crossing of the Jordan under Joshua, one is not at liberty to introduce any form of Christianity. One must consider only their relationship to JEHOVAH, their God, their estrangement from and their reconciliation with Him. This can only come about in one way, which has been laid down clearly in Deuteronomy 30:1-5, already given above. It is clear from this passage that those who are at present in Palestine in no way answer to this requirement. There are other relative passages, such as Deut. 4:20-30; Lev. 26:40-42; and Ezek. 20:38. Unless one observes and accepts the plain statements in these passages interpretation must go wrong, for no one passage of Scripture contradicts another, though it may decidedly gainsay interpreters' cherished ideas on the subject.
The burden of the prophets was to call Israel to turn back from their evil ways to obedience to the Commandments of God and righteousness, which they seldom heeded until they were in dire straits, when God effected deliverance. Turning back or repentance are the initial requirements to a right relationship. The finest pattern of a prayer of repentance is that in Daniel 9. He was then making intercession for his people, having had understanding from the books the purport of Jeremiah's prophecies:
"He set his face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer andsupplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: andprayed unto the Lord his God, and made confession. . . ."Daniel, being a righteous man (Ezek. 14:14) was brought to his knees by the Scriptures; but in the case of unrighteous Israel, some external factor will have to be introduced to make them turn to the Lord in supplication. The bondage and oppression in Egypt was the means before the Exodus.
"And the Lord said, 'I have surely seen the affliction of Mypeople which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reasonof their taskmasters; for I know their sorrow.'" (Ex. 3:7).God heard their cry for deliverance and exactly at the appointed time He effected it, having carefully carried out His plan for their redemption, step by step, none of which was the subject of prophecy. The only prophecy relative to this event was the Word given to Abram in Gen. 15:13, 14:
"Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a landthat is not theirs (and shan serve them; and they shall afflictthem) four hundred years; and also that Nation whom theyshall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come outwith great substance."Compare with this Exodus 12:40, 41:
"Now the sojourning of the children of Israel (who dwelt inEgypt ) was four hundred and thirty years. And it came topass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, eventhe self same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lordwent out from the land of Egypt."The Exodus had a revealed specific date for accomplishment, but none such has been vouchsafed for the restoration in the latter days. Nevertheless, one may be sure that there is one and when that day arrives, the curtain will rise and the first act will begin.
The traditional enemies of Israel surround Palestine today: Egypt, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Amalek, Midianites, Philistines, Tyrians, Syrians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Elamites and Canaanites (in the land itself). These are covered today by the following, so called, Arab nations: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. In the last two outbreaks of war, the Israelis have been on both occasions victorious, on account of their superior qualities. On both these occasions Russia, although having armed and giving support politically to the Arab nations,was restrained by some influence, power, caution or fear. But who knows what Russia's attitude will be next time war breaks out?
God is dealing with mankind today as He has done for the past nineteen centuries, in grace, making up His church (ecclesia). When the last member of that church, His body, is reconciled to God, God's dealings will be changed. The body will be removed from the earthly sphere, with all it's restraining power and control of vital points and organizations, and the civilised world will be left in choas, but not Russia and her Satellites who allow no Christians to hold high office. This will be the opportunity for the further outbreak of war between Arab and Jew, but this time Russia and her satellites behind the Iron curtain will not hold back, but will come in to the attack with all their power. What chance then will the Israelis stand? They will be driven back to extermination and their country devastated, their cities destroyed. Is this so fantastic as it would seem?
The United Nations, if they still function, would be powerless to call a halt in the holocaust, pillage, murder and rape. The two million Israelis will be brought to their knees, together with the (say) fifteen million others throughout the world, crying unto God for their deliverance. Jehovah Elohim is now He with whom they have to do. It will be this that will bring about the condition under which they will be heard and the supplication and prayers will be answered immediately.
"And He said unto me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' And I answered, '0 Lord God, THOU knowest. . . . And shall putMy Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you inyour own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord (JEHOVAH)have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. " ( Ezek.37:3, 14).Turning to the next chapter, 38, we find the description of an assault that is to be made on the land by Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. They will see that the cities of Israel are not fortified and the land worth much plunder. They will come from the North and join up with other nations to assault the land of Palestine, in which are dwelling prosperously My People Israel, whom they attack fiercely, causing much destruction. The reason for so stating is that according to other Scriptures, the cities are found burned and destroyed, when Israel comes into the land. Ferrar Fenton gives the following translation for Ezek. 36:33, 34:
"The Mighty Lord says thus, 'In the time when I cleanse you from all your passions and restore you to your cities, and yourebuild the burnt ruins, and the desolate land that was a wasteto the eyes of all that passed through it, is again cultivated.'"This gives an excellent description of the state of affairs on their arrival in the land.
Let us, however, return to Ezekiel 38 and 39, Gog and his allies appear to have made a great conquest, when
"It shall come to pass at the same time (in the latter days, verse16 ) when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith theLord, that My fury shaIl come up in My face. For in Myjealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken. Surely inthat day there shalI be a great shaking in the land of Israel. . .And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood;and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon themany people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and greathailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify Myself, andsanctify Myself; and I will be known in the eyes of manynations, and they shall know that I am the Lord." (vvs. 18-23).Then it goes on in the next chapter:
"Behold, I am against thee, 0 Gog . . . . I will turn thee backand leave but the sixth part of thee. . ."The complete overthrow of Gog and his allies by God Himself is described most vividly in the succeeding verses, which should be read, especially in a Ferrar Fenton Version, if available. When destruction is finished, the remnant of the people in the land, who dwell in the cities, shall go forth and bury the corpses that lie about the countryside, which will take seven months to accomplish, before the land is cleansed.
This is the disaster that will bring Israel throughout the world to it's knees, pleading for national and personal forgiveness and deliverance. Possibly, in the North countries at least, a great persecution of the Jews will break out simultaneously. As God delivered their forefathers from the Egyptian host of Pharoah at the Red Sea, so will He deliver the land and the people from their enemies again and enable them, by the fear that comes upon the nations, to leave them and proceed to the appointed rendez-vous, called" the wilderness of the peoples." Here we are back again at Ezekiel 20:35. Look at the amazing detail in these few verses. How can anyone possibly ignore their graphic description?
Verses 33 and 34 have already been quoted at the beginning, but they merit a closer examination. Almost the same words are used in connection with the Exodus five times in Deuteronomy and on numerous other occasions, and by Jeremiah in chapter 32, verse 21. It commences with almost an oath (c.f. Gen.22:16), which guarantees the certainty of the fulfilment of all that is to follow; not that any statement that God makes needs any such oath, but it emphasises the importance of the prophecy. Even the great declaration by God of His inward intention of Gen. 8:21, 22, was not accompanied by any statement under oath, and this, from the merciful point of view, was of great importance.
The object of this prophecy is "will I (or, I will) rule over you" is clear on examination, but as it is in the A.V. it does not stand out as it should, by reason of its position in the sentence and the order of the words. Ronald Knox, in his version highlights it thus:
"As I am a living God, the Lord says, I mean to reign overyou, though it should need all the exercise of My restrainingpower, all the outpouring of My vengeance."If the A. V. had followed the LXX. it would have been better:
"Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord, I will reign over you, witha strong hand , and with a high arm , and with outpouredwrath."This preserves the threefold means, rather obscured by Knox, which is brought out in the A.V. and definitely pins these on Israel and that it is not there directed against others. The R.V., instead of saying" I will reign" says, " will I be king over you." It all comes to the same thing which demands and will obtain implicit obedience.
"surely with a mighty hand,and with a stretched out arm,and with fury poured out."It seems that the translators of the A.V. were impressed with the emphasis by repetition that escaped the paraphrase of Ronald Knox. The second occurrence appears to include any who might be in opposition to the departure of God's People from their lands, as was the case with Pharoah and his chariots.
These three phrases indicate God's consummate skill in the carrying out of the operation, the great display of His power in the overcoming of all obstacles and his boiling indignation.
God, after revealing Himself to Moses as JEHOVAH says, in Exodus 6:6,
"I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem youwith a stretched out arm, and with great judgments." In Deut. 4:33, 34, God says,
"Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of themidst of fire, as thou hast heard, and lived? Or hath Godassayed to go and take Him a Nation from the midst of anotherNation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and bywar, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and bygreat terrors (fears), according to all that the Lord your Goddid for you in Egypt before your eyes." Ten other references might be given, but it is not considered necessary to stress the parallel any more.
From Egypt the children of Israel went into the wilderness (MIDBAR—common or pasture land, not YESHIMON—a desolate place, nor ARABA—obscure or unknown place, nor TSYYAH—a dry place, nor TOHU—a waste or ruined place, but somewhere that flocks and herds could find some sort of grazing) and there God made them face up to Him, at Mount Sinai.
"And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples." History repeats itself in this world wide EXODUS. This is the third separation. First, from other peoples, second, from their abodes in other countries, and now, a People alone with their Lord God, face to face, in the wilderness of the peoples.
"And Moses caIled all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, OIsrael, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your earsthis day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. TheLord God made a covenant with us in Horeb. . . . The Lordtalked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of thefire." (Deut. 5:1-4)."And I will cause you to pass under the rod" (Ez. 20:37). This is the figure of the shepherd mustering and examining his flock, to see that none of them were missing or suffering from any injury. As the children of Israel were numbered by Moses and Aaron after they left the land of Egypt, even so will it again take place and as they were brought under the jurisdiction of the second Sinai covenant, they will again be brought
"into the bond of the covenant." The covenant that they broke (the first of Sinai) was not one of bondage, but a benevolent one. The Second, however, although it embodied the first was extended by regulations and instructions, precepts and injunctions that, given for their learning, was
"a yoke upon the neck. . . which neither our fathers nor wewere able to bear." (Acts 15:10). Israel was last under this bondage in A.D. 70, when the Temple was destroyed and sacrifices ceased. Now, however, they will render willing obedience, because the Spirit of God will be upon them. But there are some that rebel and these will not obey.
"And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and themthat transgress against Me: I will bring them forth out of thecountry where they sojourn and they shall not enter into theLand of Israel." Ez. 20:38 The Nation, apart from these do so. Where there is an EXODUS there is also an EISODOS, an entry in to the land of promise. The first thing that happened after the crossing of Jordan under Joshua was that they were circumcised at Gilgal, when the reproach of Egypt was rolled away. Now, however, there is to be circumcision of the heart in addition to the circumcision of the flesh.
"And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and theheart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thineheart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." (Deut.30:6).
"For in My holy mountain , in the mountain of the height ofIsrael, saith the Lord, there shall all the house of Israel , all ofthem in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and thereI will require your offerings , and the firstfruits of youroblations, with all your holy things. I will accept you with yoursweet savour , when I bring you out from the people, andgather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered;and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen." (Ezek.20:40, 41).As God raised up Moses for the purpose of leadership of His People from Egypt, so will He again make provision for a leader to exercise authority in this greater EXODUS.
"I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, likeunto thee, and I will put my words in his mouth; and heshall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And itshall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto Mywords which he shall speak in My name, I will require it ofhim." (Deut. 18:18, 19). In one sense this passage can be applied to the Lord Jesus, but not altogether, for if He, having ascended into heaven and
"Heaven must receive Him until the times of restitutionof all things which God has spoken. . ." and the restitution (Dan. 9:24);is not to take place until He comes again, then it must speak of another, who will lead under: the command of JEHOVAH from heaven.
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