Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MIXED MESSAGES ABOUT APPOINTMENTS--THE CHURCH OR ISRAEL?

This is the beginning of yet another series.  In it, I’ll share scriptures that clearly differentiate between Israel and the Church, who will fall under the WRATH OF GOD and who won’t, and how does Jesus fit into these things?  (For a few of you, this will be a repeat.  However, I want this posted on my formal blog, as well as in my Facebook notes.  Today’s blog will also contain some repeated material concerning Israel and her Covenants, but these are so important to understand, that the repetition is profitable.)

A verse that defines this series:  2 Timothy 2:15.  “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”


MIXED MESSAGES ABOUT “APPOINTMENTS”--CHURCH OR ISRAEL?

I want to ADDRESS another form of ANTI-PRE-TRIBULATION “argument”--one which seems to be gaining PRECEDENT, even as the RAPTURE draws EVER CLOSER. The wicked enemy, Satan, is very much aware of the TIMES and SEASONS, and in ANTICIPATION of that UNKNOWN DAY of the RAPTURE, he STEPS UP his attacks AGAINST it.

THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH IS DEFINITELY PRE-TRIBULATION

SOMETHING TO NOTE--At the VERY MOMENT I wrote that the RAPTURE is definitely PRE-TRIBULATION, I had THE IDEA that I could INDEED substitute the words PRE-WRATH--and the concept would be still remain THE SAME.  IN MY UNDERSTANDING of prophecy, a PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE is indeed one that’s PRE-WRATH of God.  I VIEW the START of God’s WRATH as the time WHEN Jesus TAKES the SEVEN-SEALED SCROLL in Revelation 6 and RIPS OFF that very FIRST SEAL.

In my browsing the Internet, however, I’m VERY MUCH AWARE of another definition of PRE-WRATH--and I’m AWARE, also, of how FALSE this idea is. People who ADHERE to a “PRE-WRATH” position say that THE WRATH of God does NOT BEGIN until the POURING OUT of the SEVEN BOWLS in Revelation 16. Therefore, these people emphatically declare, the CHURCH must be on earth during the TRIBULATION PERIOD until just BEFORE the POURING OUT of the SEVEN BOWLS of God’s WRATH.

ARE THEY CORRECT? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

In this post, I’ll BEGIN to lay out A PROPER UNDERSTANDING of some ISSUES and ELEMENTS that the PRE-WRATH supporters IGNORE. (I feel these people pick up MODERN BOOKS about the END TIMES and believe EVERY WORD they find WRITTEN THEREIN. If these people FULLY UNDERSTOOD the Bible, they’d QUICKLY discover many HOLES in the PRE-WRATH position.)

ONE OF THE KEY MIX-UPS IS THIS: They IGNORE God’s APPOINTMENTS concerning Israel. They mix THE CHURCH into a TIME which is APPOINTED to Israel. Because of this, much confusion ensues.

What do we see about APPOINTMENTS in the Bible?

(1.) The CHURCH is NOT APPOINTED to WRATH. 1 Thessalonians 5:9.

(2.) The ANTICHRIST will be REVEALED in his OWN APPOINTED time, which is AFTER “the Restrainer” is REMOVED--“AND THEN shall that WICKED be revealed.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

(3.) A prophecy is DETERMINED upon Israel EXCLUSIVELY, which is their APPOINTMENT-- “SEVENTY WEEKS are DETERMINED upon your people and upon your Holy City.”

I state these TRUTHS right up front, and will RETURN to discuss them, one at a time, and NOT NECESSARILY in the order I listed them. I’ll begin with Israel.

Much of the CONFUSION ABOUT end time prophecy comes as A RESULT of people MIXING the CHURCH into ISRAEL’S APPOINTMENT. I’ll use an example to illustrate THE ABSURDITY of this.

Say you needed to see a doctor, and as you arrive, another person shows up at the very same time. The doctor sees each one of you individually and PRESCRIBES the MEDICINE which is pertinent to each of the complaints. You have a slight infection. The other person has pneumonia and needs to be hospitalized. The doctor gave you an ointment for the infection and said it was all you needed. BUT YOU DON’T BELIEVE HIM. You INSIST that you must be hospitalized and receive the VERY SAME treatment as the one with pneumonia. IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE, DOES IT?

The same ANALOGY can be applied to THE CHURCH and to ISRAEL. Each have PROMISES and APPOINTMENTS from God, but they ARE NOT THE SAME!

When Israel was driven from their Holy Land by the Romans in 135 A.D., the RESULT was that WITHOUT ISRAEL in their land, THE RETURN of Jesus could NO LONGER happen as prophesied.

Years went by, and the CHURCH “lost” their sense of IMMINENCY, which is so CRITICAL to the PROPER UNDERSTANDING of the Lord’s return. In order TO EXPLAIN the prophecies, THE CHURCH began to APPLY new INTERPRETATIONS to the LITERAL word of God. They said the book of Revelation was an ALLEGORY--just a METAPHOR about the TRIUMPH of good over evil. They said that THE CHURCH itself would bring about a THOUSAND YEARS of peace and righteousness, after which, Jesus would be happy to return with holiness, praising THE CHURCH for its VICTORY. They said Israel was NO LONGER PERTINENT because it was OBVIOUS that God had abandoned them.

Such blatantly FALSE TEACHINGS still exist in THE CHURCH today. They SURVIVE in DENOMINATIONS which REFUSE to CHANGE their TRADITIONS. They’re REPEATED by NEW GROUPS of “Christians” who REHASH the same DOGMAS. Two of these MORE RECENT groups are the KINGDOM NOW and DOMINION movement.

The KEY element in ALL these groups, whether the OLD TRADITIONALISTS or the NEW “KINGDOM NOW,” is the IDEA that THE CHURCH has REPLACED ISRAEL in God’s work on the earth. They believe this DOGMA, even though a REBIRTHED ISRAEL stares them right in the face. (They EXPLAIN AWAY the REBIRTHED Israel by declaring that THE JEWS in Israel are NOT “true Jews,” but instead are IMPOSTERS. Such a belief plays right into the SATANIC HAND of “antisemitism.”)

There’s another group of people who fall into THE CAMP of this DECEPTION. They’re BRITISH-ISRAELISTS who claim that the populations of Great Britain and the United States are the “TEN LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL.”


ALAS!  IN THIS QUAGMIRE OF DECEPTION, WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THE TRUTH?

It’s easy. Study God’s Word! God has NEVER abandoned His people, Israel! And THE CHURCH was NEVER meant to be a REPLACEMENT for them! “GOD FORBID!”--as the Apostle Paul would say! (See Romans 11:1 and 2. Also Romans 11:25 to 29. I could type these passages for you, but I HOPE you do your HOMEWORK, and READ them.)

Now, I’ll turn our attention, for a few paragraphs, to the REASONS why God has NOT abandoned His people, Israel. It’s a simple answer, one which every Sunday School student SHOULD know. But unfortunately, many do NOT KNOW these FACTS, or else they CHOOSE to IGNORE them, in the attempt to BOLSTER their OWN INTERPRETATIONS, not allowing God’s Word to INTERPRET ITSELF.

God made EVERLASTING COVENANTS with Israel. He gave PROMISES to Abraham, the FATHER of Israel, and REAFFIRMED those COVENANTS to Isaac, Jacob and David, and to ALL their descendants, for the ages to come, and into forever. When God gives an OATH and a VOW, He is NOT a man who will break His Word!

I’ll offer a summary of GOD’S EVERLASTING COVENANTS to Israel (and please DON’T confuse the EVERLASTING COVENANTS to the CONDITIONAL elements of the MOSIAC LAW--they are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.)

In the MOSAIC LAW, if Israel DISOBEYED, there were CONSEQUENCES.  The DISOBEDIENT people were be cut off and chastised, time and again--suffering captivities within conquering foreign nations, falling prey to famines and pestilences, and even succumbing in death.

THE EVERLASTING COVENANTS are a DIFFERENT MATTER. God BASED those PROMISES upon HIS OWN ETERNAL and GRACIOUS NATURE, NOT upon the FICKLENESS of people. So even if Israel SEVERELY DISOBEYED, and were EVEN SCATTERED from their land for YEARS and many CENTURIES, God’s COVENANTS with them remain INTACT.  This is because GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED when He KEEPS His Word to them.

WHAT’S CONTAINED WITHIN THOSE EVERLASTING COVENANTS?

(1.) God selected a NATION, whose FATHER is Abraham, through which the SAVIOR, Jesus, would be born. God told Abraham that He would make of him a GREAT NATION. That Abraham’s NAME would be GREAT. That Abraham would be a blessing, and through Abraham’s descendants, the whole world will be blessed. Genesis 12:1-3.

(2.) In Genesis 15:18 to 21, God added A PROMISED LAND to His COVENANT with Abraham.  God declared-- “Unto YOUR SEED have I given THIS LAND, from THE RIVER of EGYPT unto the GREAT RIVER EUPHRATES.” (When we study this, and place the BIBLICAL TERRITORIES across a modern map, we discover that God’s plan is to EXTEND Israel’s BOUNDARIES from EGYPT in the south, to IRAQ and SYRIA in the north, and to include the land of JORDAN on the east.  WOW! 

(This is WHY, when the Abomination of Desolation happens [Mid-Trib], Israel can HIDE from the Antichrist in Bozrah, in present day Jordan.  Would Jordan offer them a hiding place now?  NOT if you’ve been listening to the recent words of King Abdullah!  He’s turning anti-Israel.  This means that Jordan’s land must RETURN to the rightful possession of the Jews BEFORE the Abomination of Desolation.  There’s a war scheduled in end time prophecy BEFORE the Tribulation can start--in which Israel will regain territory that rightfully belongs to her!  Psalm 83.  Obadiah 18-21.)

Back to the COVENANTS--

(3.) God keeps adding to His COVENANT with Abraham.  In Genesis 21:12, we see that ISAAC is the son through which the PROMISE will PASS.  In Genesis 25:23, God reveals to Rebekah (Isaac’s wife) that she’s carrying twins, and the younger son, Jacob, is the one through which the COVENANT will pass.  God RENEWS the COVENANT to Jacob (who’s later renamed Israel) in Genesis 28:13-15.  In Genesis 49:10, we find that Jacob’s (Israel’s) son, Judah, will be THE LINEAGE through which Jesus will be born.

(4.) In 2 Samuel 7:9 to l6, we see David added to the COVENANT.  This is a KEY promise.  David’s HOUSE and his KINGDOM shall be established FOREVER.  How? When JESUS SITS on the THRONE OF DAVID to rule and reign in ISRAEL during the MILLENNIUM, and this continues forever and ever--when the NEW heaven and earth are established.

(4.)  God promised the NEW COVENANT to Israel in Jeremiah 31:31 to 34.  (Please read this scripture--it will bless your soul.)  The New Covenant is established through the work of Jesus Christ (and at the present time, we, the true Church partake of the New Covenant).  In the future, as the nation of Israel repents of their sin of rejecting Jesus, they, too, will enter the New Covenant.  What is involved in it?  The Word of God, His Holy law, will be written upon the hearts of His people (showing an indwelling of the Holy Spirit).  All God’s people shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest.  The sin of the people will be forgiven, and REMEMBERED NO MORE.

Oh, yes! God’s COVENANTS with ISRAEL play a KEY role in what’s yet TO TRANSPIRE on earth during the TRIBULATION.  Satan and the UNGODLY WORLD seek to PREVENT God from fulfilling His COVENANTS with Israel.  But God’s Word IS TRUE, and WHAT God has DECLARED will INDEED come to pass!

How can we KNOW that God will FULFILL what He’s promised (to give Israel) in those EVERLASTING and UNCONDITIONAL COVENANTS?  What God told the Prophet Jeremiah settles it:

“Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, Who divides the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of Hosts is His name.  If those ordinances (the sun, moon and sea) depart from before Me, says the Lord, THEN SHALL the seed of Israel ALSO CEASE from being a nation before Me forever.”  Jeremiah 31:35 and 36.

Does the sun still shine?  Are the moon and the stars in their places?  Is the sea still present?  Of course!  So also, Israel REMAINS a people within God’s heart and His plans!  God will NEVER forsake His Everlasting Covenants with them!

Don’t fall prey to the LIE that God has abandoned Israel.  His COVENANTS with that nation are BINDING upon God’s VERY OWN CHARACTER. That character is His GLORY, His TRUTHFULNESS, His IMMUTABILITY--in which He will NEVER CHANGE. God will make SURE His word is FULFILLED.

Yes, Israel REJECTED Jesus as their MESSIAH, and they screamed for His crucifixion, but God’s COVENANTS with Israel remain INTACT.  Yes, Israel SORELY DISOBEYED God, BUT His EVERLASTING COVENANTS with them are NOT BASED upon their obedience or disobedience.  These COVENANTS are UNCONDITIONAL, and ARE BASED upon God’s OWN UNCHANGING CHARACTER.

We see God’s character displayed BEFORE Israel, and the world, in Ezekiel 36.  In that chapter, God describes how He scattered Israel (in their unbelief and rejection of Jesus) among the heathen.  Israel dispersed into EVERY nation in the world as they sought to escape multitudes of persecutions.  In Ezekiel 36:21 to 28, God declares that He’ll gather them again--from among ALL the countries to which they had run.  He will cleanse them, give them a new heart and a new spirit, and they will DWELL in the land that God gave to Abraham.

God says, “I do this NOT for your sakes, O house of Israel, but FOR MY HOLY NAME’S SAKE, which you have profaned among the heathen, whither you went.  And I will sanctify MY GREAT NAME, which was profaned among the heathen, which you have profaned in the midst of them; and THE HEATHEN SHALL KNOW that I AM the Lord, says the Lord God, WHEN I SHALL BE SANCTIFIED in you (Israel) before their eyes.”

Yes, Israel was TERRIBLY FICKLE, but God is NOT fickle. God is NOT like men, who are “trucebreakers” and who “ignore solemn vows.”  God is NOT a LIAR that He would withdraw His PROMISES from Israel, and RESCIND His EVERLASTING COVENANTS with them through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David.

SATAN is the LIAR.  He’s COVETS God’s throne and has devoted MILLENNIA to achieving that goal.   IF Satan can somehow SHOW everyone on earth, and all the heavenly host, that God is a LIAR and a COVENANT-BREAKER, then he EVILLY BELIEVES he’ll USURP control of the universe.  Ever wonder why, time and again, that Israel faces EXTINCTION?  If the devil can totally WIPE OUT Israel, he can gloat to God that he won!  (Don’t worry.  God will NEVER ALLOW that to happen.)

So WHO are the men, who SAY that God ABANDONED Israel, who DECLARE that the CHURCH has REPLACED that nation?  They’re BADLY IN ERROR, at the best, and PARROT the DEVIL’S LIES, at the worst.

I felt it NECESSARY to teach on ISRAEL’S EVERLASTING COVENANTS, and since it’s a COMPLEX topic, it NECESSITATED a LENGTHY post. I hope you’re encouraged with this look at God’s FAITHFULNESS.  He will NEVER cast away the people that He FOREKNEW!

May you be BLESSED and ENRICHED in your understanding of God and of His Holy Word!

EVEN SO, COME QUICKLY, LORD JESUS. WE LONG TO SEE YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE.

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