"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

The MILLENNIUM: REIGN of the MESSIAH - Part NINE

By James Fire

For some 1800 years after the diaspora of the Jews from their native land of Israel in 70 AD, the idea of a Millennial Kingdom established in the nation promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob where the Messiah would rule His people Israel (LUKE 1:32-33), even among the most competent of Bible scholars, seemed unlikely. The Jewish people were dispersed throughout the world. The land known as ‘Palestine’ (a name created by Israel’s enemies) was a barren wasteland of parched, dusty deserts and malaria infested swamps. Muslims who owned much of the land around major cities would apply a tax on any tree that the Jews had on their properties to promote further desolation.

Very few pastors and teachers taught that Israel would be reborn, but those who took the Word of God seriously, understood that her day would be coming prior to the Second Advent of Christ!
But before we continue in this series on the Millennial Reign of Christ, I want to address this issue of Israel’s rebirth as a nation (there are some, even professing Christians, who deny the authenticity of the State of Israel and dismiss it out of hand for certain reasons I would like to respond to) and what is in store for her. So, let’s have a look at this amazing prophecy in EZEKIEL 37!



EZEKIEL 37:1-3
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.

The prophet is given a vision of a wide valley, full of bones – “. . . very dry. . .” bones, utterly lifeless. Ezekiel got a good look at all of these bones, and nowhere was there a trace of life among them. That was when God asked him a question. “Can these bones live?” Ezekiel had the correct answer – “You know, LORD.”
The All-Knowing God indeed is able to accomplish the impossible; but just as any of us would look at a valley full of bones and think bringing them back to life would be beyond hope, for almost two millennia, people likewise believed that there was ‘no hope’ of Israel becoming a nation again as the Bible prophesied.
The Spirit of the LORD then began to work. And God declared that He would breathe life into these lifeless, dry bones. He testified that He would produce sinews and flesh and apply them, and skin as well, completing these bodies that were once ivory-colored skeletal waste upon the ground:

EZEKIEL 37:4-6
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

Twice in verse 5 and 6, God states that He would cause breath to enter into them; they wouldn’t be merely lifeless bodies, but living, breathing people. And that these people would eventually understand that He is the LORD!

EZEKIEL 37:7-10
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

Then as the prophet prophesied, it all came together, just as God declared it would, except there was no breath (“ruach” in Hebrew) in them. Now the Hebrew word for breath, just like the Greek word (“pneuma”) can also mean “wind, air or spirit”. Certainly, there was physical life, but no Spirit by which they would partake of spiritual life. This is the condition of Israel today.

The nation was without hope, utterly lost and “cut off” but they were brought back into the land, the land began to blossom as a rose (ISAIAH 35:1) and the nation grew to such a degree that this little sliver of land has become a major global provider of produce for Europe, selling their flowers to Denmark and micro-tech to Japan. Their military is among the best in the world and their Air Force is second to none.

However, the Ruach has not yet been breathed upon them; they have physical life, but they are – as were all Christians prior to salvation – without the Spirit of God, without spiritual understanding and subject to their Adamic nature. Sinners, with evil hearts of unbelief (HEB 3:12)!

EZEKIEL 37:11-13
11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

Note - this is not just the house of Judah, but the entire house of the nation of Israel (some would say that the 10 tribes are lost, and only Judah ('Jews') remain.
It was during the Holocaust  that Jews were rounded up from their homes, transferred to ghettos and from there to concentration camps where unspeakable atrocities were committed upon them. Huge numbers were escorted outside of those camps, lined up in front of freshly dug pits and then shot to death. Their lifeless bodies would fall into those pits and then bulldozers would bury them.
For more on this, watch this video with Ray Comfort from LIVING WATERS ministry, that deals with abortion, but compares the issues surrounding this legalized form of murder to what transpired in Nazi Germany: The 180 Movie  
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However, some of these poor people were still alive, not mortally wounded, and they literally “[came] up out of [their] graves”! The Jews were liberated from this pernicious plan – the Nazi’s “final solution” – (EZEK 38:8) by God’s grace and delivered in a small march of years to their homeland, where they were recognized by the world at large as the State of Israel!

Of course, not all Jews are currently living in Israel – of the entire ethnic group, approximately one Jew out of three are there, numbering more than 6 million today. Yet the LORD promised that He would bring them to the land. We have witnessed this in the 20th century, still seeing it in the 21st and we shall one day, upon the (REAL) Return of the King, see all those Jews who have indeed placed their faith in Y’shua ha Meschiach, be brought back into the land.

This is an unprecedented phenomena: no where else in the annals of history have we seen a nation dispersed for not merely 500 years or a thousand, but for over 1800 years - and then brought back together again with their own national identity, language, culture, government, economy, military and all aspects of society. This was a one time event, and the Bible foretold it, nearly 2600 years before it came to pass!


EZEKIEL 37:14
14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.

There are those who disparage the Jewish people, even professing Christians, who deem the State of Israel and their treatment of their neighbors as reprehensible and ungodly; as such they are unworthy to be called “God’s Chosen People”.

As stated previously, the nation of Israel is alive and well, but not truly spiritually alive and well. They do not yet (in the majority) have a saving knowledge of Christ. 
And while no nation is comprised of perfect people, I would say in the main, Israel has conducted herself admirably, given the amount of political and economic stresses she has had to endure from the preponderance of governments the world over, trying to force them into a peace alliance with those who have vowed their destruction.

These same people who deny Israel’s right to exist, as well as be the beneficiary of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob point out that Israel promotes Gay Parades, that her people are composed mostly of agnostic, atheist, Humanist sorts, as well as New Age adherents, or Judaism of a liberal or Talmudic sort. By what right do supporters of Israel claim that these people have any special status or favor with God after following such beliefs, policies, actions and endorsements? 

There is some substantiation to prove that those who were involved in establishing the State of Israel were or are a part of the mystical form of Zionism, which employs a commitment to Kabbalistic (occult) teachings; see the following article (note: TTUF does not necessarily agree with everything in this article, or in the assertions made by the author of this website). 
These have donated huge sums of finances to see this done, and these same groups insisted that the national flag to be the Seal of Solomon (the six-pointed star, an occult symbol), not the Menorah as was customary to the nation.
Again, what right do supporters of Israel claim that these people have any special status or favor with God?

Today, as was said already, the Jewish people are not yet born of the Spirit of God, because they have not yet received Christ as their Savior – and so I may put this question to anyone who would demand such an answer:

What were you like before you were born of the Spirit of God? What sort of conduct were you guilty of prior to receiving Christ? Is Israel deserving to be called God’s People? No. They are so called strictly by the grace of God just as certainly as we who are Christians may claim that we are the children of God (JOHN 1:12-13): solely based on the grace of God, apart from any work or conduct of our own!

There is the biblical form of Zionism (PSALM 2), which is part of God’s plan for the nation – to re-establish them in the land (and being sovereign, He is free to use whom He will to see this done. Remember, the LORD can and even does at times use Satan and wicked men for His own purposes), to bring them through the remaining period of time known as Daniel’s 70 weeks, of which there is one last seven-year period yet to be fulfilled (what we know as the Tribulation period or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble), and finally once the nation has been purged and the remnant remains, who seek for the Messiah, the LORD Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel, for 1,000 years!

Lest we forget, God started this whole program in creating Israel as a nation with one person: Abram (Abraham), a Gentile from the land of Ur of the Chaldees, who quite likely was an idol worshiper before God called him. God established His covenant with Abraham solely by grace, with God fulfilling all obligations to keep it; it was a unilateral covenant where all Abraham had to do is receive it (GEN 15:16-18).

God has promised to pour out His Spirit upon His people (ZECH 12:10), and He began that process at Pentecost in ACTS 2, but that was the “former rain” – when the LORD returns, He will pour out His Spirit in the “latter rain” JOEL 2:23) and that is when all Israel shall be saved; yet for now, as a nation they are still spiritually blind. But there is coming a day when God shall turn ungodliness away from - Judah? It states "[He] shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" - the entire nation of Israel.

ROMANS 11:25-27
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

The LORD then gave Ezekiel a further revelation regarding Israel’s future:

EZEK 37:15-22
15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, 16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
20 And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.

After the reign of Solomon, his son Rehoboam assumed the throne; the nation was already under considerable taxation, burdening the people, and they petitioned the new King to ‘lighten the load’ as it were, but Rehoboam vowed:

1 KINGS 12:13-14 (read from vs. 1 to get the full context)
13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; 14 And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

From that point on, the northern half (the majority of the entire nation) broke away from Rehoboam’s reign and Jeroboam became their king. The nation was from that point onward divided into the House of Israel and the House of Judah. After the Jews returned to Israel from their captivity in Assyria and Babylon, they were under the rule of various Gentile nations, and neither House presided in power over the nation. That’s the way it was all the way up to the days of the Roman Empire and to the time of Israel’s second dispersal in 70 AD. 

When the nation was brought back from various Gentile nations for the second time (ISAIAH 11:11) in 1948, it was the fulfillment of this prophecy given here in EZEKIEL 37. The people were brought back from the Gentiles and united as a singular entity in the land of their fathers (vs 21-22). The ten tribes were not "lost" - but gathered together along with Judah (vs. 19-22).

EZEKIEL 37:23
23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

A primary cause for Israel’s captivity in Babylon was their predilection for worshiping idols and false gods, which they served alongside YHWH, in blatant violation of the 2nd Commandment. Needless to say, they learned their lesson well; they do not serve – as a nation – any gods, but as yet, still do not serve the living God, their Husband (ISAIAH 54:5); yet! They will endure a time in the fiery furnace of affliction (ISAIAH 48:10), and endure a time of unparalleled suffering and tribulation (JER 30:7; ZECH 13:8-9), but this will refine them and prepare them as God’s people, to receive their Messiah (ZECH 12:9-10; 13:6). Then they will be cleansed and God shall claim them as His own; and He shall be their God!

EZEKIEL 37:24-28
24 And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince forever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.

We understand that since this is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled, it must have a future application; therefore the mention of David infers that he is at this time, resurrected, along with all the righteous saints (at the commencement of the Millennial period) to enter into the inaugurated Kingdom of Israel. Obviously, it is the LORD Jesus Himself Who will reign over Israel as her King, and so David would be His immediate subordinate, a steward if you will – or if one considers Jesus as the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords, then He would hold the title of ‘emperor’ and David as King. Note words like "forever" (2x) and "everlasting" and "ever more" (2x). One gets the distinct impression that this isn't an overnight situation!

The LORD declares that Israel shall “walk in My judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.” This is something that they never did in all of her earthly history with any kind of interminable integrity. Perfectly flawless adherence to the Law was not possible for sinful man (ROM 3:30), and so various sacrifices were instituted, and by their shed blood, the people’s sins were not washed away, but covered over, until the Ultimate Sacrifice, the LAMB of GOD came and took away the sins of the world (JOHN 1:29).

Yet once the Spirit of the LORD enters into the faithful remnant of Israel, they will be endowed with the same grace that the church now enjoys. Still, they will not be perfectly sinless in practice, even as the church is not today, but for the first time in her history, Israel will be able to “walk in the Spirit” just as they will be “born of the Spirit” (JOHN 3:8; ROM 8:1,4; GAL 5:25).

The term “everlasting covenant” in regards to Israel is differentiated from the Mosaic covenant, which they broke in their inability to keep it (JER 31:32). It is that covenant that is sealed, not with the Old Testament sacrifices, but with the singular and supreme sacrifice of the New Testament:

HEBREWS 10:1-12
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God (See also 1 COR 11:25; HEB 9:15);

The everlasting covenant was spoken of long before Moses was born, spoken of first (in regards to Abraham and his seed) in GEN 17:7; this term is expressed fifteen times after this throughout the Scriptures and has to do with Israel primarily – specifically the land and progeny covenants (Abrahmic) as well as the covenant of the throne and government in Israel (Davidic Covenant). 

For more on these issues relating to the everlasting covenant, see the following article from Crossroads ministry:
GOD’s COVENANT with HIS PEOPLE 

So ends this chapter, and part Nine of this study; next time we will return our focus on Scriptures as they directly relate to the Millennium: Reign of the Messiah! Until then, keep your eyes on the skies and don't believe the lies - Jesus Return Soon from On High!

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