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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Israel and the Resurrection

We've looked at Israel in God's Plan in recent studies. We've seen that Israel has a future role to fulfill. The New Covenant with the House of Judah and the House of Israel.

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah."

-Heb 8; Jer 31

We also looked at how the plan includes the promises to David and the ‘sure mercies [blessings] of David' (Acts 13:34). These blessings are connected to that covenant.

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure blessings of David. -Isaiah 55:3

So what does this have to do with the resurrection? I didn't point this out in our recent study, but notice the context of the blessings.

And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the [Jewish] fathers. God has fulfilled this for us [Jews] their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure blessings of David.’ -Acts 13:32-35

Israel's future blessings are made possible by the resurrection of their Messiah.

There is a horrible teaching about that Israel was done away with at the cross (and a similar teaching that she was done away with at Pentecost). But "Men of Israel" and "House of Israel" (etc.) are referenced throughout the Acts Age. The "church" as we know it is NOT "Israel." Christians are NOT the "real Jews."

What was being preached to Israel in the Acts Age is that the resurrection, in part, shall be the restoration of the Israel. As we have seen in recent studies, the earthly kingdom in Israel is dependent upon her repentance. Peter declares to the men of Israel that if they repent God will bring the Restoration and that he will send back Jesus (Acts 3). This restoration of the earthly kingdom is what the enlightened by the Holy Spirit apostles asked about after 40 days being taught by the risen Lord (Acts 1:6).

But the resurrection was hardly the end of Israel, it was just the beginning of an offer that will some day come to fruition.

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. -Acts 5:30-31

The forgiveness of Israel's sins is expressly stated in the New Covenant.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. -Heb 8:12-13

Note that the Old Covenant was still active ("becoming obsolete"), waiting for Israel's repentance. The resurrection of the Lord was the affirmation of the complete work of payment for sin.  God was waiting for Israel to repent (nationally) allowing the Kingdom to be restored and the stony heart removed.

Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Although I have cast them [Israel] far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.” ’Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” ’ And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God. -Ezek 36:16-20

The "them" and "their" in this passage refers to Israel. This is not a "gospel" passage for today. I does not apply to Christians. And Israel is currently "Lo-Ammi" or "Not My People" (Hosea). God is not working through Israel in the present dispensation. But he will again soon.

Then God said:

“Call his name Lo-Ammi,
For you are not My people,
And I will not be your God.

“Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’
Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel
Shall be gathered together,

And appoint for themselves one head;
And they shall come up out of the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel! -Hosea 1:9-11

 We see the parallels to Ezekiel and to the New Covenant.

Later in Hosea we get a glimpse of how long Israel shall wait.

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,

That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth. -Hosea 6:1-3

This "two days" may refer to "two thousand years" as we are told by Peter, "with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Thus, the third day would be the Millenium. But I would not argue about this being absolute.

The promises of Israel's repentance and restoration and God's blessings are all through the prophets. We cannot simply apply these to the current church (Israel is called "the church in the wilderness" by Stephen and repeatedly in the Septuagint. There are a number of "churches" in scripture. Israel has its own calling and hope. It is an earthly hope, in the promised land, and it shall come to pass.

They will look on the one they crucified and the one who was raised from the dead and mourn for their brother according to the flesh, the Lord Jesus as a Son of Israel.

It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. -Zech 12:9-11

I would encourage the reading of all of Chapter 8 of Zechariah to see again the restoration and cleansing of Israel as she once again takes her place as the people of God.

But in this present dispensation, she is set aside and God knows no Jew or Gentile. He calls all to come to him and to find our blessings "in the far above the heavens." (Ephesians). If you have not come directly to the Lord to ask for forgiveness and a new nature based solely on his death, busial, and resurrection, I implore you to do this today. 

The end of days may soon be upon us.