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The Mystery of Israel and the Church

By: Art Katz

Author's Preface
We are going to be taxed to the uttermost in order to stay with God in the extraordinary complexity and richness of the subject of the mystery of Israel and the Church, and we need to ask the Lord to escort us on a journey, by the Spirit of the Lord. Can we safely trust Him? Even if He will bewilder us before we have an understanding? The Church needs to have a proper attitude toward the mysteries of God, a sense of reverence and appreciation for them, and a desire that they be revealed, because that revelation should influence everything that we are about in God. God is jealous over His mysteries, and He is not going to allow them to be mishandled, trifled with, or rudely examined by those who do not have a right disposition of spirit toward them. Paul is not interested in promulgating a mystery in order that we should have our curiosity aroused, but in order that the mystery might be effectually fulfilled and administered through the Church. We need to have a revelation of the mysteries of God, to embrace and experience them, or we will be unfitted to be the Church in its full apostolic constituency that alone is able to fulfill these mysteries. Mysteries are reserved for holy apostles and prophets, and they must come to us through them; then the teachers can follow to sift, refine and show the application. With the introduction of this subject of the Church's role in the mystery of the restoration of Israel, the whole faith comes into a new and intensive focus. That is what it did for me. I had been a believer for twenty-five years, and I am Jewish, but that did not automatically give me any necessary insight into the mystery of Israel. When the insight came, in a moment of God's choosing, in a season of death and humiliation, all of my cherished pieces of knowledge and understanding of apostolic and prophetic things came together, bringing coherence and cohesiveness to my understanding of the faith. When God inserted this key, it all came together. In Amos 9:14, and elsewhere in Scripture, God says, I will restore the captivity of My people Israel them...

[1], and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in

For a long time I used to think that these Scriptures referred to the cities of antiquity, the ancient cities, but now I believe that God is referring to the present-day cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, etc. Jerusalem itself shall be built upon its own rubble 'as unto the Lord,' which its present building programs are not doing. But future, millennial Israel will be built 'as unto the Lord.' He will call them by a new name; He will give them a crown, and they will be a diadem in His hand, and they will be called the ministers of the Lord: In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you" (Zech. 8:23). It will be a nation of "Pauls" released to the nations, fulfilling what Paul said:

For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead (Rom. 11:15). They will be a nation of priests, finally coming into their irrevocable call, and being to the nations what God intended for them from the first. It is the function of priests to teach the people the difference between the sacred and the profane. We need priests who will plead, teach and persuade, under the anointing of God, to save men from the wisdom of this world, and the things that disfigure mankind and rob them of reflecting God's image. We have no idea how the world will be transfigured by the release of a nation of priests, and as we shall see, the Church is at the heart of that release in the wisdom and mystery of God. The author is sensibly aware that the contents of this book are not conducive to an easy, systematic exegesis of this mystery. The subject matter has been compiled and collated from spoken messages on a theme that is so all-encompassing and so interwoven with the great doctrines of the faith that one has rather to be apprehended by its message than to seek to rationally understand the divine intention. It is with this in view that I commend this first attempt at expressing this most holy mystery. Art Katz Laporte, MN USA December 2003

[1] The present, political state of Israel is indeed, and in every way, the nation of prophecy, but not yet the
nation of promise. This text anticipates the millennial restoration of Israel, and we need to understand the distinction.

If the Church, particularly the Church of the Last Days, is indifferent to the theme and mystery of Israel, or rejects it, and chooses not to be an agent in its fulfillment, it loses its validity as Church. The issue of Israel and the Jew is the foremost and central factor of God's end-time activity in the earth. The scriptures are full of references to this; for example, in Romans 11:25, the apostle Paul writes, "For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation [conceits]," and we need, therefore, to be alerted that there is something intended here for our consideration, the absence of which will condemn us to a much less glorious place in our earthly sojourn. That is the nature of the mystery in God's own wisdom. We are not saying that the Church would cease to hold services and conferences, but it would disqualify itself as an apostolic[1] entity, and it is only as an apostolic entity that the predominantly Gentile Church can succeed in moving the Jew to jealousy in the Last Days. We need to understand that there is a controversy over Israel and the Church, where many say that the Church today is Israel, thereby dissolving the unique difference between the Church and Israel. This misconception robs God, therefore, of the glory that comes from the reciprocal relationship between the two. We need to be watchful of this tendency. In a sense, it is true that the Church has been grafted into Israel's tree, and we have become, so to speak, the Israel of God. And yes, we have come into their commonwealth, but that does not mean that the Church is Israel. There is yet a distinct, national destiny for that nation, obtained primarily through the instrumentality of the Church at the end of the age, the obtaining of which, we believe, ushers in the Lord's own Kingdom. If we blur these distinctions, we lose the glory of the reciprocal relationship between Israel and the Church. We have to be jealous over this unique God-given difference, or we will find ourselves, ironically, in opposition to God. God's jealousy for the Church does not eliminate the distinctiveness of Israel as a special nation. She has a yet unfulfilled and God-given call for a unique ministry in the world as a nation among nations. A promise was made to Abraham that "in you [your seed] all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3f.). Israel has a purpose that yet remains to be fulfilled as a 'kingdom of priests' (Exodus 19:6) and a 'light to the nations' (Isaiah 42:6). Her strategic position is not confined to her past; nor has the Church absorbed it. It is a vast conceit and mistake of the Church to see Israel only as a 'type' or a 'shadow,' and itself exclusively as

the substance. That is one of the conceits about which Paul warned us in Romans 11:25. We may often find rich sermon illustrations in Israel's history, but that is not the primary purpose in God's giving of those scriptures; we rob God of His literal meaning, and that is what many have blindly done. Many see God's dealings with Israel only as instruction, and yet completely ignore the fact that she still has a future destiny as a nation. The Church desperately needs to see Israel and the Jew as God Himself perceives them, and not as we would desire to see them, which is too often from a sentimental perspective. We need to see the nation as the prophet Ezekiel had to see her, namely, in the 'valley of dry bones' (Ezek. 37). Every valley, as we know, is a place of depression, and if we do not have a stomach for the depressing, or unhappy aspect of truth, we will find ourselves necessarily cut off from any kind of redemptive use in God. We have got to see as God sees before we can speak as He speaks. In fact, as we shall see from the same Ezekiel 37 passage, our corporate speaking as the prophetic 'son of man' company, in the mystery of God, at the end of the age, is the whole issue of Israel's salvation and her resurrection from the 'dead.' The nation, Israel, is moving toward that death even now, and does not understand the scenario that they themselves are fulfilling in their own apostasy and alienation from God. The subject of Israel calls for everything we are in God: mind, body, spirit and soul, as Paul concludes in Romans 12:1-2, I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. If we are not yet persuaded that we are living in the Last Days, then this remarkable drama will persuade us. God's dealing with Israel is the focus of His Last Days' attention. It becomes, therefore, the issue of the Church, and actually separates, in a sense, the true Church from that which is essentially false. In other words, Israel becomes God's 'litmus test' for the Church. The Church that is authentically true takes a stand for the Jew, for whom a Gentile should ordinarily have no natural affinity, especially in the face of peril and death. In fact, the mandate to the Jew cannot be performed on the basis of natural affinity, and that is the whole point. Sentimental and religious obligation, or whatever else presently motivates us to come to the aid of the Jew, will not suffice here, only the uttermost spiritual authenticity. Overflowing, true faith and true love of an abounding kind by the Church will be the requisite of God in our role toward that people. It will require an uttermost preparation because we are confronted with a mandate that is demanding to the uttermost. The outworking of this mystery is the concluding, historical act of God by which human history itself ends and the millennial age commences. Everything, as we see it, hinges on the whole issue of Israel's restoration. And the remarkable thing is that the Church, which is God's agent to restore them to their God, is predominantly a Gentile Church. That is to say, there is no natural reason why a Gentile should have any interest in this people, who, in their stubbornness, have given God all kinds of fits, and even to this day deport themselves in a way that does not honor God, but defames His name, even in the land of Israel. Yet their redemption is central to the purposes and wisdom of God! That is why Paul uses the word 'mystery.' It is something that has been concealed in times past, but is now being revealed, and which defies all rational understanding. It is as if God had gone out of His way to choose the most unlikely factors to succeed in His own coming as a King. He will first be King over that restored nation before the "law can go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3) to all nations. And He will do it in a way that seems impossibly hopeless with an Israel who has no willingness to be chosen, a nation which has no apparent interest in fulfilling its own destiny; in fact, she does not even care to consider it (Is. 1:3 and Is. 42:24-25)! And the principal agent, in the wisdom of God, in bringing this about is a predominantly Gentile Church! It is a remarkable divine strategy of God; and in order for it to succeed, the Church itself will become transfigured. The crisis of Israel constitutes the Church's ultimate challenge, and compels the Church to a place of ultimacy in a way it would never otherwise have considered Him. The centrality of the Cross needs necessarily to be restored, along with the primacy of the Holy Spirit, the issue of true relationship of the saints, as also the issue of truth itself. The only explanation of a Church willing to embrace a calling so demanding as this is that the issue is not Israel alone, per se, but the glory of God that is obtained only through Israel's redemption. Of all the things God could have chosen to promote His glory in the Last Days, He chooses the most untoward and difficult things, things that are so contrary to success, and He makes that His choice. The

issue of Israel is really a great moral issue; it is a struggle between the Powers of darkness and God. Both reflect two diametrically opposed 'wisdoms.' God wants to exhibit something as a demonstration to the powers of the air for which He has "created all things in order that the manifold wisdom [reflecting the moral character] of God might now be made known through the Church to the rulers and the authorities [Principalities and Powers] in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:9f-11). The election and destiny of Israel forms the context of God's eternal purpose in Christ; it is His eternal mystery; it is the demonstration of His manifold wisdom, because it includes the willingness of Gentiles to extend themselves on behalf of the Jew! There is nothing natural about that; it is totally unnatural and unreasonable. We would hardly extend ourselves for our own flesh and blood; why should we extend ourselves for a people who have been a bane to us and an irritant, and an object of jealousy and resentment? The willingness to do that, at sacrifice, is the demonstration of the wisdom of God, and the ultimate evidence of the triumph of God in Gentiles whom He has taken off the dung heap to make to sit with princes! And if believing Gentiles will succeed in that, indeed, they will sit with princes, ruling and reigning with Christ, in the Millennium and eternally, from His throne! We are now at the threshold of the Last Days, and we are going to see such furies and conflicts, and such epochal movements of opposition, tugs and tensions that natural things will not sustain us. And that is why the Last Days are marked by 'a great falling away.' There is an apostasy in the Church that is even now taking place. What will it be when things become tough, when we open ourselves to opposition and persecution by virtue of our faith? The day will come when the anti-Christ spirit will be global, and believers will not be safe anywhere. How many of us will stand then? Do you see why it is so critical that our faith not rest on natural things, on pseudo-spiritual things and affected spiritualities where choruses or catch-phrases sustain us? We need to become increasingly authentic in God.

[1] See our book, Apostolic Foundations, for our perspective on what constitutes an apostolic Church.

Chapter 1 - An Overview of the Mystery

The apostle Paul is the principal author of the great letters to the Churches, and there is something about his letter to the believers in Rome that is distinctively different from his other letters. In general, they are corrective and practical, and have to do with questions and situations that were peculiar to each individual Church. Consequently, they are full of divine wisdom and illumination. In complementary fashion to them, his letter to the Church in Rome is distinguished by the fact that it is the most comprehensive, systematic statement of his apostolic theology and view of the faith. And the subject most central and dear to Paul, and that to which he gives the most specific attention, is found in chapters nine through eleven-the mystery of Israel and the Church. We need to see how enormously significant these chapters are, the eleventh of which is the concluding, authoritative and definitive statement. The material is remarkably rich, yet sadly the Church as a whole virtually ignores these chapters in their entirety. Untold numbers of ministers have gone their whole lifetime never having preached from these particular texts. This is omitting the most critical, apostolic statement of the faith concerning God's purpose for both Israel and the Church. A revelation of the knowledge of God and an understanding of His way is uncovered in this mystery, so much so, that Paul is compelled to break forth into a pan of praise that concludes Romans chapter 11: Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Rom.

11:33 - 36). In the wisdom and mystery of God, there is a reciprocal relationship and connection between the two that is so profound, so inextricable, that neither the Church nor Israel will ever come to their ultimate fulfillment independent of the other. God has locked us in, the one with the other. In fact, the issue of Israel, rightly apprehended, becomes a vital hermeneutic or interpretative key to all the faith. The issue of Israel requires a radical ecclesiology (a view of the Church); it requires a radical eschatology (a view of the Last Days); it requires a radical pneumatology (a view of the Holy Spirit), all of which, in the absence of the mystery, have been reduced, denigrated and cheapened in our superficially charismatic generation. The scriptures in Romans chapters 9-11 are terse, compact and intense, and put a great demand upon us to draw out the meaning of them, which is not the least of God's purposes for giving them in the first place. God wants us to be students of the Word; He wants us to draw out His intended meaning by the operation of His Spirit and by our dependency upon Him. So much, if not everything in God, is the issue of revelation, and revelation is the issue of the Spirit, and God is not going to give revelation to independent, arrogant personalities, to those who want knowledge for the purpose of flaunting or exhibiting it. The revelations of God are precious, but they are requiring, therefore, we need to approach these chapters in Paul's letter to the Romans with humility, a right disposition of heart. Paul's Pan of Praise As mentioned, chapter 11 of Romans is the conclusion of Paul's enormous statement on Israel and the Church, and it ends with a remarkable flow of praise. Paul's words bear such weight and content that he does not have to look for any kind of rhetorical device to make his communication more impressive. The words speak for themselves. When Paul becomes profuse, we need to know that something has burst in his understanding, for which reason he cannot contain himself: What is Paul celebrating and what he is so rapturous about? Evidently, Paul, in reviewing this great mystery, cannot contain himself any longer. He breaks out, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" Something has broken upon his consciousness that even language strains to express. We need to ask ourselves, "Why have we not become equally as rapturous?" Until we break forth in this kind of exclamation, we have not yet seen what Paul has seen. Until we do, we can assure you, our perception of ourselves as the Church will be transfigured. Paul has caught a glimpse of the wisdom of God, not only with regard to Israel, but even more so with regard to the Church's relationship to Israel, which is the only way to see the Church in its deepest and fullest identity. The identity of the Church, we believe, cannot be known in any deeply authentic way except in conjunction with its relationship to Israel. The same thing is equally true for Israel; her identity cannot be realized independent of that of the Church! The issue, however, is much more than Israel's deliverance and restoration to the Land after millennia of apostasy and alienation from God. As great an event as that will be, more importantly, Israel's return or acceptance will be, as Paul says in this very chapter, life from the dead (Rom. 11:15). Can you conceive of a phrase that is more potent than that? As an essential aspect of the Second Advent, it is as great a miracle in its historical significance as the very resurrection of the Lord Jesus Himself! That is why Paul uses the language of death and resurrection. He is not a man to merely adopt the language of resurrection as a metaphor to make a point. The restoration of Israel will be just as great an event in magnitude as the resurrection of the Lord Himself, and it will come about by exactly the same power. Present-day Israel, therefore, and unbeknownst to herself, is on her way unto 'death.' This is not by accident. God's very design is that the nation, or as we shall see, a surviving remnant of that nation, be raised from the 'dead' in a quite literal way, in order that their return might be openly displayed as 'life from the dead.' To Him be the Glory When Paul ends his great doxology with, "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" (Rom. 11:36), we need to pause, because it is a divinely inspired pronouncement that speaks volumes. It gives us an entry and glimpse into the genius of what the apostolic distinctive itself is. We need to desire, to seek and to rescue this distinctive, or we will have no Church worthy of that word. Until that word glory has a place in us in the same measure as it had in Paul, there will be no possibility of our walking in apostolic understanding. The hallmark of a true apostle is this issue of the glory of God. If we had to just pick one thing from all that we could say about Paul: his remarkable erudition, his deep knowledge of the mysteries of God, his selfless service, his labors, his fasting, his counsel or his writing, it

would, of necessity, have to be his profound and intense jealousy for the glory of God. The apostolic genius, or mindset, is Christ fully formed in a man whose whole life has been given over, who has counted all things as dung, including his own Jewish brilliance and natural abilities, that he may gain Christ. Even this phrase, "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things," is an accurate statement of Paul's own life. In other words, Paul's fascination and preoccupation with the subject of Israel is not due to his being Jewish, but due to his profound apostolic jealousy for the glory of God. God has revealed to him that the issue of Israel is designed to reveal that glory. Paul chooses Israel because God desires to be known as the God of Israel. The question at the end of the age is, "Will we be willing to choose what God chooses, though all the world be offended at God's choice?" The Wisdom of God as Mystery A mystery can only be understood by being revealed, but will God reveal His mysteries to Gentile hearts that are contemptuous of Israel or who have no delight in seeing her future restoration? What would one say of a Church that is indifferent to the subject of Israel? Would that indifference not constitute the very conceit of which Paul warned? Can a Church that is conceited yet be the Church in any true way? Or, if the Church is the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head, and therefore shows forth the character of Him who is the Head, namely, the humility of God, can it be the Church and be conceited at the same time? It can conduct services and be known as, and called a church, but can it be authentically the Church, especially at the consummation of this age? Conceit is a deadly thing, and a synonym for conceit is pretension. In fact, could there be any greater pretension than for the Church to think that it itself is Israel, and see itself as replacing Israel, because it believes that Israel is finished? Once it takes to itself the identity of Israel, it is not too far from taking on another identity and presumption, namely, that it is the Kingdom. Then, it does not have to wait for the coming of the King, because it sees itself, as the Church, as being already 'the Kingdom come.' If we allow the leaven of conceit to blind us to this one mystery, then we set in motion a series of things that actually disfigures us to the degree that we are not the Church anymore, and puts us, ironically, in opposition to the very purposes of God Himself, even ostensibly in God's own name! We become so conceited that we are blinded to our error and condition. In His great wisdom, God takes the most foolish, the most despicable and the most distasteful thing to the Church, which is the unsaved Jew, and makes him a major key to the Church's sanity and character. And the Church, composed essentially of Gentiles, likewise the most foolish, the most despicable and the most distasteful thing to an unsaved Jew, is the instrumentality and the chosen agency of God for Israel's deliverance and restoration in the Last Days. This is at the heart of the mystery, namely, that God must choose, and has chosen, the foolish and least likely thing, humanly speaking. From the Jewish perspective, Gentiles are to be despised and looked upon with contempt, as being morally less than what Jews are, and historically, they have every reason to harbor this attitude. Through the ages, it has been Gentiles who have inflicted suffering of every kind upon them, even in the name of Christ: the Crusaders with the white crosses on their tunics, the Spanish Inquisition, the forced conversions under Catholicism, the expulsions, the pogroms, the Holocaust. We have no idea how horrendous the Christian Church's relationship with the Jew has been through the ages. There is nothing more repelling and more repugnant to the Jew than the name of Christ, because it was in that name that they have been historically persecuted, driven out, hunted down and burned at the stake. With that history of violence and bloodshed, however, it is still the Church whom God has chosen to be the agent of Israel's earthly deliverance in her final time of chastisement known as the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30 & 31). But as we shall see, it is a Church, then, of a particular and peculiar kind. The issue of Israel, and the need for the Church to identify with that people, itself brings the whole issue of the Last Days before the Church. What kind of a Church will we choose to be? Do we want to succeed on the denominational, institutional model, or do we go for the heavenly and authentic thing? Will we stand for God and His purposes, even though it brings hostility against us? If we are neutral, or worse, indifferent to God's purposes for Israel, we nullify ourselves as the Church toward the Jew. It is much more than the issue of an ethnic nation; it is rightly the issue of the faith which, in turn, is the issue of God! This is how important the subject of Israel is. It is just as wrong, however, to regard Israel from a sentimental view as from a view that totally rejects it. Both views are wrong. There is only one view that is right, namely, the apostolic view of the mystery as Paul saw it, and which needs again to be communicated, understood and received. The strains and the pressures of the Last Days, as they will come upon the Church with regard

to Israel, cannot be sustained on the basis of human sentiment. No natural affinity for Jews, or Israel, will have the strength to carry the weight that God will ask us to bear; therefore, no other attitude towards Israel will suffice than that which is apostolic. Somehow, as we have said, the failure to understand this mystery opens us to a particular conceit. It has been our observation that the Church at large, particularly in its charismatic forms, is largely conceited, puffed up, inflated and more or less views the faith in a self-centered, self-aggrandizing way, for the benefit that can be derived out of it for oneself. Such a disposition condemns us to conceit over this mystery as well as conceit over all the mysteries of the faith. Ignorance of this one comprehensive mystery is a guarantee for the Church to become inflated in its estimation of itself. Conceit is antithetical to the Kingdom and to the character of God. God's counter-provision as antidote is the mystery of Israel. Mystery is something that has to be given to those who will receive it, who are contrite and broken in spirit. Only a heart with such a disposition can apprehend and be apprehended by this mystery. In the wisdom of God, the Church will never be the Church in the apostolic and prophetic stature and fullness of God's intention, independent of the mandate that God has exclusively reserved for it with regard to His people Israel. God chose an obdurate and resistant people, the Jew, who is symbolically a statement of all mankind. In fact, Paul calls them "the enemies of the gospel" and then he adds, for your sake (Rom. 11:28). The Church needs to hear that. Have you witnessed to a Jew lately? They are unsparingly sharp and critical. They can see right through our shallow and comical tele-evangelists while we continue to dote and palpitate over them, even sending our contributions in to support them. The Jewish apostle Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles, to communicate this mystery, because in the process of taking up its mandate of being Israel's earthly 'deliverer,' the Church attains its eschatological fullness as the Church. And it attains that fullness because the mandate is so ultimately requiring, so extraordinarily sacrificial, and makes such an ultimate demand. Jews are tough and resistant, but in the very act of being faithful to God's requirement toward Israel, the Church demonstrates what has always been its calling. But the Church cannot fulfill its mandate and requirement except it comes to full apostolic and prophetic stature in itself, which is to say, authentic, through and through. Moving Israel to Jealousy Every card is stacked against the Church if we are to move the Jew to jealousy in the Last Days. Every historical thing is against us, yet Paul tells us that "salvation has come to the Gentiles, [so as] to make them jealous (Romans 11:11)." What kind of a Church can conceivably move Israel to jealousy? You will have to be an extraordinary saint not to join the increasing chorus of anti-Semitic hatred that already is becoming global in a soon-coming time. And, except that we are extraordinary saints that can love a people who are unlovely and antagonistic, we will be swept up together with the world in its opposition to this people. We are moving, clearly, toward a radical conclusion of the age. Centrifugal factors and forces are tirelessly working to polarize and to radicalize, and we are daily allowing ourselves to be brought to the one ground or the other. There are decisions being made, of which we might not even be aware, that are fraught with significance in that they are either moving us more radically toward God or more radically away from God. We will either end up apostate or apostolic, for there will be no neutral ground. The word 'apostate' is not limited to men with fists clenched in anger at God, but includes the countless millions found in church pews, mindlessly singing choruses and hymns. Paul continues with the mystery, ...that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25-26a). This 'fullness of the Gentiles' is not so much the designation of a time frame, but the fulfillment of an event, or the consummation of the Church's missionary objective in the world. God is waiting for a certain number of believers from all nations of both a qualitative and quantitative kind. To believe that the Church has the responsibility to save nations, per se, is naive and conceited. The Church's mission task is no more than to "save from among the Gentiles a people for His name" (Acts 15:14). The evangelization of the nations, per se, will become Israel's task when she becomes the first nation saved and restored to a relationship with God. Israel's restoration, therefore, waits on something outside of herself, namely, a certain fullness of Gentiles from among the nations. How many of us in our missionary endeavors link the two things together? "When the fullness of the Gentiles comes in," something is released that has been held in abeyance that means deliverance for Israel. Israel is not itself the agent of her own deliverance and restoration, nor can she be.

Something has to happen to effect her restoration, and which must come from outside of her. We are suggesting that it comes when a certain requirement has been met by a Church come of age, releasing the Deliverer who comes out of Zion. whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:21). And thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, 'The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob' (Romans 11:26). This phrase, 'just as it is written,' brings in a whole new issue, namely, the fulfillment of God's Word. As remarkable as Israel's restoration back to God will be, it is not the primary issue. A God who has given a word and a promise, and cannot, or will not fulfill it, is no longer God as God. God's name and character, therefore, are at stake! When the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, God is released, and Jacob is acted upon. God is going to restore to Himself, and to their Land, a people who have been thousands of years in apostasy. They stoned the prophets that were sent to them; they crucified the Lord of Glory. They have supplied the world with the likes of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, and have given us a present-day Israel that is utterly secular, and who trusts wholly in the arm of her own flesh. Can such a nation be restored? Can God pull it off? Yes, He is going to pull it off, not in a corner, but before the face of all nations. That means there will no longer be the option of Islam or Hinduism, or whatever other deception one chooses to embrace. God will have revealed Himself exclusively as the God of Israel, the God of the patriarchs, and the God of His Word, and He will save His ancient people out of 'death' and extremity supernaturally. The nations that observe both the 'death' of Israel and her restoration unto life will be without excuse as to who God, in fact, really is. After that, anyone who still insists on worshipping Allah, or another, will have judged themselves eternally. God is letting this one issue be the eternal factor. Everything comes to a head in a point of time, exposing who, in fact, we are, and where we are in God, as revealed in our response, of all things, to world Jewry in that moment of historical extremity. It is one thing to think ourselves spiritual, but when the 'fat is in the fire,' what is revealed, in that hour, is the statement of where we are in God. The Church has a responsibility not to miss its mandate, for if they will not extend mercy to the Jews in the time of Jacob's trouble, neither will the Jews obtain it.

Chapter 2 - The Heart Cry of Paul

By and large, chapters 9 through 11 of Paul's letter to the Romans bewilder commentators and theologians. They do not know how or why these chapters were included, or whether or not they are just a parenthesis that is to be circumvented and leaped over. Everything from chapters 1 through 8, however, is preparation for chapters 9 through 11, and everything that follows in chapters 12 through 16 is the practical outworking of what went before chapters 9, 10 and 11. In fact, the very first verse of chapter 12 begins by saying: I urge [plead with] you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice...(Parenthesis and emphasis mine, here and throughout). This implies that chapters 9 through 11 are not going to be fulfilled short of that kind of ultimate and sacrificial living on the part of the saints who take the text seriously. Chapter 9 begins with a great cry to which there is no comparison, except the cry of Moses, who was, himself, also willing to be blotted out for this same people: For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh (Rom. 9:3). That cry has a very important application for today, especially with regard to the popular 'two-covenant theory' that is currently being promulgated, which teaches that either God is finished with Israel, and that we, as the Church, are the inheritors of their promises, or, equally deceptive, that God has another covenant for Israel, and that we need not occupy ourselves with it. By implication, therefore, we, as the Church, have the new covenant, while Israel has its own covenant, called the old covenant. For the

Church to hold this view with regard to Israel is to thereby absolve itself from all obligation and responsibility toward the Jew. It believes that God will magically do His independent and sovereign will toward the Jew at the end of the age without any participation by the Church at all. And the Church, therefore, believes and acts as though their beliefs and actions will have no bearing on the unfolding of the events in these Last Days, or as many believe, the Church will not even be present in the earth at that time.[2] This is, in our estimation, a tragic view, and it is certainly not God's way. In the subsequent chapters of this book, we are going to see that the Church is the explicit agent, chosen of God, to obtain the restoration of Israel to their God and to their Land in the Last Days. When you see the magnitude of this, knowing Israel's historical opposition to the gospel and their Messiah, you begin to realize that it will require a Church of an ultimate kind. In fact, it has got to be a Church that, to some significant degree, even takes Paul's own heart cry, stated above, as its own. A Church that merely gives mental assent to the significance of Israel, but has not the heart for that people, which Paul exhibits in his cry, cannot possibly succeed in being the instrument of God for their salvation. In Christ How does Paul come to this disposition of heart and spirit? How does he have such a compassion and attitude toward the Jew? From where does he get his great concern for their eternal salvation, so much so that he is willing himself to be cut off from Christ, thus losing his own salvation, and willing to bear substitutionally their judgment, as Christ Himself before him, if only they could be saved? The answer lies solely, we believe, in Paul's union with Christ. It is certainly not his intrinsic Jewishness by birth that explains this compassionate disposition. Paul writes, I am telling the truth in Christ, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1). Twice in his very first statement, and without a self-conscious design to impress anyone, he reveals his secret, namely, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This is the beauty of an apostolic man. He is making a statement of such a strenuous and ultimate kind, that someone would be tempted to dismiss it as Paul in his ethnic Jewishness identifying with his own nation. But, if so, it would have the effect of absolving Gentile believers from needing to have a corresponding disposition when they themselves are not ethnically Jewish. Indeed, Paul's basis for the depth of his compassion is not his natural identification with this people, but, as we have said, his union with Christ. It is precisely this basis that needs to be ours as well. In fact, the whole challenge of these scriptures is to compel us to that relationship with Christ, which, otherwise, we might not have earnestly enough sought. To be in Christ, both in your emotions and will, even to the point of being considered an anathema, means to be devoid of any self-concern, even concern for your eternal destiny. There is no way to come to that place, except by a complete separation at the Cross. In the last analysis, and whenever we scratch deeply enough, every issue of the faith is always the issue of the Cross. We need to be discerning and recognize that this issue is implicit right here from the beginning of chapter 9 of Romans. And if this is true for the apostle, then it has got to be true for the whole apostolic people that Israel will meet in the wilderness places as they are sifted through the nations at the end of the age (Amos 9:9). As we shall see, Jews are once again going to be dispersed throughout the world, and they have got to see believers of this separated kind, because to see this kind of believer is to see Christ! It is this recognition that brings them into the bond of the covenant. As we shall see, it is in the wilderness of the nations that they will meet with Him face to face (Ezekiel 20:35). So, it is not by natural sentiment that Paul expresses himself; he speaks as a man in Christ. In fact, the phrase 'in Christ' is one of Paul's favorite phrases. And it is not a mindless phrase; it is a statement that is the foundation of Paul's whole apostolic life. There is a way to be 'in Christ' that God has made available by our identification with Him in his death and resurrection that He intends as the root principle of the authentically spiritual life. On the other hand, there is a kind of Christianity in which we can embrace principles, quote Scripture, and invoke choruses, but we are living our lives essentially in ourselves and through ourselves; we are living a Christian life naturally. It has become a Christian form, even culture, and perhaps that is what has prevailed in Christendom in recent generations, and particularly now. And every great move of God has always been a cry to bring people out of a Christianity that had degenerated into a mere culture, and to bring it back again into its vital power, by living in His life. If Paul spoke as a man in Christ, then there is hope for us, and that we too can speak as Paul, we can live as Paul; we too can be in Christ, and have the mind of Christ and the character of Christ, and the ability and the strength of Christ. The genius of the faith is that God has intentionally called us to things that are

patently beyond ourselves. In a word, we will never be God's salvific agency to Israel in the Last Days except on the basis of being 'in Christ.' God is concerned for Israel's restoration, but He is also concerned for the Church's transfiguration! He is not content that we should be mere 'respectable' Christians. He gave His life for more than that; His call to us is to be formed in Him, and to be Christ-like, particularly in the Last Days when men's hearts will fail them for fear when they see the things that are coming upon the earth. We will need to be islands of sanity, people of such faith that we are not at all moved, depressed or defeated by external circumstances; that we will be in a place in Christ that is triumphant. And when crisis-ridden Jews see this demonstration before their eyes, they will be arrested! There is a yet greater mystery of which what we have been saying is only the beginning and the paradigm, namely, the reconciling of all things unto Himself, both in heaven and on earth. The work of the Cross was the work of atonement, of oneness with God and reconciliation: ourselves with God, ourselves with ourselves, and the Jew and the Gentile as one new man. This is the model for all the world, and then for all things, both in heaven and earth, to be reconciled unto Him. This is God's full 'Salvation History.' Paul speaks in Christ as a man whose whole being is renewed and illumined, and a man who at the very time of writing is conscious of being under the direct operation of God's Spirit. This is God's own cry. It is not as a natural man, but as a spiritual man; it is not as a Jew, but as an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile; it is as an inspired apostle that he speaks. And it is as an inspired apostolic people that God would have us to speak, and to be and to have our being. Our whole vision for the faith and for the Church needs to be greatly enlarged, and brought back to God's original intention, because it has degenerated, more than we realize, into a mere Sunday culture. I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 9:1). Who would ever think that the apostle would, or even could, lie? How would you like to live like that, not just with regard to the Jews, but in everything? In fact, if we do not live like that consistently before the advent of the Last Days' trials of the Jews, then be assured, we are not going to find it when the Last Days are upon us. Conscience is a mechanism that God has implanted in mankind as a device to keep us from the evil that would otherwise consume us. We need to be brought to a place in God, where our consciences are so sensitive, that a wrong word, a wrong look, a gesture, a thought or disposition of spirit stops us immediately. That I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart (Rom. 9:2). This implies that the rejection of Christ has grievous consequences, and unquestionably, Paul is looking, as Jesus did when He wept over Jerusalem, to the future of what that rejection would mean. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh...(Rom. 9:3). These are the same brethren who said of Paul that he was not fit to live, and who vowed neither to eat nor drink until Paul was dead. To have this kind of a sensitive and tender regard for the same people who are out for your life is a remarkable thing. It is a revelation of the extraordinary Christ-likeness of Paul, and this kind of character is what God is after in the whole of His people, His Church. The point is that we cannot dismiss this, saying that this is just some Jew pleading for his own; this is the apostolic man whose proximity to the heart of God and whose knowledge of God are so deep that he is expressing God's own heart! And if the apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the Church, and if the Church is built on that foundation, God can reasonably expect that we too should see as Paul sees, cry as Paul cries, take Paul's apostolic heart for our own, in having as much privileged access to God as Paul himself had! My kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites...(verses 3b-4a). There is a difference between Israelites and Israel, because later we are going to read that not all Israel is Israel, though all are Israelites. One is a physical, generic and ethnic description, and the other is a spiritual statement. Not every Israelite is the 'Israel of God,' but every Israelite is an ethnic Jew making up the past and present nation of Israel. Israel's Privileges whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises... (Rom. 9:4). This is a people who are not only missing their salvation, but also their call and the privileges that belong to them alone. In their rejection of Christ, they are acting contrary to every advantage to which God has

uniquely called them as a nation from among all nations. This reference to 'sons' goes back to Exodus 4:23 where Moses was commanded by God to say to Pharaoh, "Let My son go that he may serve Me." God was speaking of Israel as an entire people, and the privilege was to have God as Father. ...And the glory... In Israel's Old Testament experience, the glory of God was not an abstract figure of speech, but a visual and experienced phenomenon. Whenever they saw the glory, they fell on their faces and cried out, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God." The fire that fell was the glory of God. At other times the glory filled the temple in such a way that the priests had to come out, unable to minister. The mountain that was wreathed with fire, the cloud by day and the fire by night, which were continually with them for forty years, were also visible manifestations of His glory. Glory and presence are one and the same thing. For us it is all too often hypothetical and an allusion to something theoretical, but never actual. It is for that reason we do not have a jealousy for the glory of God. We tend to think of the glory of God as some kind of an abstraction, some kind of ethereal thing that is not visible or demonstrable. God wants, however, to fill His house with His glory, and we can probably say that it is the absence of any sense of God's glory that accounts for the shallow condition of the Church today. There simply is no fear of God, because the glory also inspires the fear. ...Whose are the fathers... What a distinguished lineage of men like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with whom we have a continuum-men who knew God and walked with God! ...And from whom is the Christ... Paul cannot resist bringing in this last great glory, namely, the coming of the Messiah out of Israel. ...According to the flesh... That is to say, Jewish flesh. ...who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen (Rom. 9:5). Everything has been rejected. In fact, if they had properly esteemed, maintained and kept their adoption as sons, the priestly service, the covenants and the promises, then they would have likely been prepared for, and been able to recognize, their Messiah. The Messiah's coming revealed the covenantal failure that had had a much longer history. The sin of Israel's rejection of her Messiah and the bringing of Him to death, awesome though it is, is not so much the sin in itself as it is a final statement of a much longer history of apostasy and alienation from God. The apostasy of Israel had its final crystallization and expression in the tragic rejection of Messiah unto death, which was the final statement, the culmination of their long history of turning their backs on their adoption as sons, the priestly service, the covenants and the promises. Paul's great sorrow and unceasing grief are the whole recognition of that. The theme of this letter, then, begins with Paul stricken in his grief, and if he did not begin in that way, then it is safe to say that nothing else would have followed. Paul as the quintessential apostolic man is the pattern for the entire Church. God is calling the Church to an apostolic stature and mode of being, and this grief, as it hurts the honor of God, over Israel's apostasy is one of the deepest expressions of it. Paul is not a man debating in his mind the things that might bless the Church two thousand years later; he is a man who is being utterly unselfconscious, and it is this very thing that truly reveals the depth of his union with Christ. By every logical reasoning, the man who was the principal persecutor of the Jewish believers would have carried out that same hostility, not now against the Church, but against his own unbelieving kinsmen. In his natural humanity, he would have retaliated against them in kind, in the way that they were against him, but we see the profound transformation of the man. Likewise, the issue of the Jew is God's provision for the transformation of the Church, and we will not obtain it independent of Israel. It is clear that there is a sanctification that works continually, but the depth of it is reserved for that final relationship with Israel and the Church's own conscious, willful preparation and anticipation of that relationship.

[2] A booklet is being prepared to elaborate our position on the issue of the time of the Church's rapture

Chapter 3 - Israel and the Election of God

From verse 6 of Romans chapter 9, Paul rolls up his sleeves and begins to dig into the great issues that are

raised by Israel's rejection of her Messiah. The fact that Israel could reject her own promised Messiah and Deliverer according to her own scriptures has got to be one of the greatest anomalies and contradictions of the history of mankind. That God Himself foresaw, even ordained it, is staggering in its proportions. Even more significant is the question of God's apparent failure: How could God and His Word fail? But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "Through Isaac your descendants will be named." That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is a word of promise: "At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son" (Rom. 9: 6-9). The same apostolic man whose heart is grieved over Israel and its lost condition, and who wishes that he himself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of his Jewish kinsmen, is as grieved over the question of God's honor and the truth of His word. Paul's jealousy for the glory of God, His name, His honor and His faithfulness to His word makes him to grieve over the unsaved condition of his kinsmen; this is the apostolic heart. He is grieved that Israel's failure to recognize their Messiah would appear to be a demerit against God; and that the people who were appointed and called sons, and who were given the privileges of adoption, the covenants, the promises, the glory and the ministry of the Temple, are bringing, by their unbelief, a reproach against God and a blasphemy against His name. But if God's word fails, then God is no longer God; for God is eminently the God of the word, the God of the word of the covenant, and the God of the word of promise. If He cannot keep the word that He Himself gave, then that is the end of God as God. This is the great enigma. How could God's word have failed? Can God fail? Can God's word fail? These are the great, theological problems that Paul had to answer for the Church in Rome and, by extension, all the churches in every generation. He is thrust, therefore, into an uncanny and precarious place, and has got to wrestle his way through. The Israel of God Paul begins to answer them by showing that the failure is not with God's word. God's word will succeed. The fact that the nation rejected the Messiah is not the statement of the failure of God's word. It shows, rather, that not all the nation was Israel. It is more than the issue of being naturally Israel and being descended from Abraham. Ishmael was also a son, but it does not make him the 'Israel of God.' As Paul says in verse 8, is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God (Rom. 9:8). A Jew may be a physical descendant of Abraham, but that does not automatically make him a candidate for glory. The fact that Israel has rejected the Messiah shows that they were not among the elect; it was just as much a statement then as it is now. If a Jew or a Gentile is unregenerate, he is neither the child of promise, nor the descendant of Isaac. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul uses the phrase 'the Israel of God' (Galatians 6:16) to indicate something beyond, or other than, just ethnic Jews. Paul continues to probe deeper into an unfolding of the genius of God in all of this. What seems to be disappointment and failure on God's part is shown by Paul to be the revelation of God's glory. In the outworking of His whole redemptive purpose, there always seems to be two tracks, as has been suggested historically through the choosing of Jacob and the rejection of Esau, or the choosing of Isaac and the rejection of Ishmael. It is the true, the chosen and the called, as opposed to that which appears to be all the above, but is rejected of God. It is no coincidence that the thing rejected by God often seems to have all the right credentials. But from the beginning of His whole salvation history, God is showing that He will choose whom He will choose; it is not our democratic notions of what we think is fair. God's whole intention through Israel is to show mankind that He is God, sovereignly God! Mankind is so stubborn and self-willed in his own categories that nothing less than what God will actually demonstrate at the end of the age, in the choosing and sifting of the Israel of God, will reveal how much God is God, even to the nominally Christian nations. I AM WHO I AM When Moses asked God to name Himself to the people of Israel, God replied, "I am who I am," and "...The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you." This is My name forever, and this is My memorial name to all generations" (Exodus 3:14a, 15b). 'I am who I am' is also taken to mean, 'I will be who I will be,' which is to say, 'I will do what I will do' because

'I AM GOD.' In other words, "I am God, and I will choose what I will choose, and I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy. You don't think that Israel deserves it? That is all the more reason why I have chosen them. Your thinking shows the rottenness of your heart. It is a good thing you are not God, because it shows that your mercy would have been proportionate to those whom you think deserve it, especially yourself. But I will yet choose whom I will choose." And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls (Rom. 9: 10-11). This is a laser beam aimed at the heart of the whole mentality of the world and of human wisdom, both of which are contrary to God. The wisdom of the world is predicated upon works, merit and performance, and upon what we think we deserve because of what we do. In God's economy, everything is predicated on one principle only: "I am God, and I will choose what I will choose." That is the historical conflict. In his deepest heart, where man really lives his life, he wants a 'god' made in his image, which, in fact, makes him secretly 'God.' Paul's statement here in Romans 9:11 contains the whole antagonism between the world and God as well as the whole antagonism between Judaism and Christianity. The whole issue of man versus God is summed up in that one statement in which God demonstrated throughout the history of Israel, and even in the sons of Rebekah, that He will choose whom He will choose. God does not give us mere abstract principles; they are exemplified and written in the flesh and blood of men. To turn our back, therefore, on the history of Israel, or to have a faith that has voided or lost its Hebraic content, is not to have the faith. Israel's history reveals God in His deepest principles and mind. Not by Works Two sons were born, order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works... (Rom. 9:11a). In other words, the decision was made simply in their being birthed. They had not yet an opportunity to do anything that would influence God's choice, which in itself cuts right into the heart of a world that is totally predicated on doing. When the heavenly dove came down over Jesus in His baptism, the Father's voice was heard from heaven, "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22b). It is a remarkable statement made to a Son who had not yet done anything so as to please the Father. God is not pleased because we do something. If we are ever called to do anything, it will be out of a love that has been obtained on another basis, namely, our acceptance in the Beloved through the Cross, the suffering and the death of His Son. We cannot obtain that relationship by doing, but having obtained it by grace, we had better do, because then the doing becomes the measure of our apprehension, as also of eternal reward. God is completely deaf to the principle of 'works' as the justification for a relationship with Himself. If ever we could get the idea that we do not have to do or perform in order to obtain God's esteem and perfection, we would have the most liberating and freeing of truths. Only then could we truly serve God selflessly, with no holds barred, no strings attached. There would be nothing that we need or want in return, or things for which we would secretly hope. A relationship with God on the basis of works would be a symbiotic and self-loving relationship, motivated by self, and this is, for the most part, at the root of the Church's present attitude toward Israel. Any act of man will instantly be rendered as no longer priestly by the slightest unconscious twinge of motive for one's own interest, even those actions that are supposedly for the purposes of God. Only priestly acts bear the anointing of God for the purposes of God. To come to that place in one's life and ministry requires this extraordinary confidence that there is nothing we can do to obtain God's esteem. We are accepted in the Beloved, and therefore we can be freed from the depth of this most pervasive thing that runs through the whole tenor of modern civilization. The world is a works-oriented, performance-oriented civilization that predicates its rewards, its certificates, its 'Oscars,' and everything else on the basis of performance. It is a wisdom whereby men are compelled to do and to perform. Oh, the hidden depths of what is in man! Who can know them? Who can know his own heart? Who can know the depths of his own sin? That is why it is the greatest grace of God to reveal our iniquity. And so, when the twins were born, and before they could do anything, a choice was expressed which was God's: order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but

because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger" (Rom. 9:11b-12). Not only is God repudiating conventional Jewish wisdom, but also His own ordinance, because in Hebraic life, the first-born is rightly the inheritor: Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! (Rom. 9:13-14). God has a preference that is not affected by what either of these two men did. The choice was God's before they were capable of doing anything. How should we understand that? God has made a choice, but the choice is not predicated upon performance, which is the very basis upon how we esteem men. But God is not God on that basis. God has spoken, therefore, let every mouth be stopped. God has called. God has chosen. That is the issue. And this is from the very inception of Israel's history and the bringing forth of a Jacob who, however intense he was in wanting the spiritual inheritance and blessing, could not obtain it by his natural birthright. He obtained it only by the forfeiture of his strength when he wrestled with the angel of God and was made lame. Only then did he become Israel. Only the lame find favor with God, not man in his works, nor man in his sap and in his humanity. God works through the weakness of men, indeed, His strength is made perfect in weakness. The great principles of the faith that are described in the New Testament are already explicated in the Old, for He is the same God. The issue of Israel, therefore, is the issue of God as nothing else is calculated to reveal Him. It is not because of Israel's qualification or their deserving, but because of God's choosing. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy (Rom. 9:16). Man is so triumphant in his flesh and egoism that God, in wanting to make His point, has chosen to demonstrate Himself in His dealings with Israel, a people who exemplify man in the flesh. Jacob is the quintessence of the man of flesh, even in his spiritual aspiration, and therefore he requires the most strenuous dealing in order that, at the end of the age and for all eternity, all creation will know that God is God. Israel is chosen to reveal Him as His witness people, not in their success, but eminently in their failure. That lesson is so eternally necessary for all mankind that God does not think it too elaborate to use Israel as an illustration throughout her whole painful history. She will be saved by the mercy of God through a Church who themselves have been dealt with by God. It is only by Israel's shameful rejection of her Messiah that the questions revealing the deeper mystery are opened, and that is true for all of us. It is in the failure, the disappointment and the thing that defies what we had hoped for, even spiritually, that the greater thing is opened. The Judgment and Mercy of God Paul is negotiating through very difficult statements, but that is his great task. His reasoning, interpretation and use of Old Testament scriptures sometimes seems arbitrary, or he will quote the Old Testament from the Septuagint, the Greek rendering, which often 'seems' not even quite accurate, but he will bend it to make a point that he is seeking with complete confidence that this is God's perspective. He is handling extraordinary concepts that have to do with God's judgment and His mercy that, on the face of it, seem to present an image of God as being ruthless. It would appear that God created a certain people as vessels for destruction and others for mercy in order that His glory might be revealed. What kind of a God is it who makes men His device to reveal what He wants to reveal about Himself in a seemingly cruel manner? How do we reconcile that with a God whom we know is 'just and righteous altogether?' God is mercy, and He manifests what and who He is in His acts. God does what He is. That is not always true for us! We can put on a nice face and be cordial and polite while all the time our hearts are set on something else. But God is One, inseparable and indivisible, much the same as the seamless garment that Jesus wore. He is one through and through. He is mercy, and we know it because He demonstrates it, and that is how we know what He is in Himself. When the Church is like that, we will have 'arrived.' When the world sees what we as the Church do and are, and that those are one and the same because there is no disparity or contradiction between our words, our conduct and our character, then we will have come to the place that God is after. The Name of God

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." (Rom. 9:17). This is more than a mere vocalization. Jesus said in John 17, "I have revealed Your name." It is a form of language unique to the scriptures, but it is getting at something that we, as modern people, have lost sight of. God is jealous for His name. A name is indicative of the character of the one who bears it. To proclaim His name, therefore, is to let the earth and the nations know who God, in fact, is. His name is in keeping with what He is in Himself. Jesus was saying, "I have set You forth as God. I am showing people who and what the Father is by the way in which I have deported Myself." We read that God raised Pharaoh up that He might bring him down. The judgments on Egypt were horrendous. God displayed His power to deliver His people from a Pharaoh king that would not let them go, "that he [Israel] might serve Me" (Exodus 4:23b). To serve God is to proclaim His name throughout the earth. So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? (Rom. 9:18-20a). Paul construes raising a question about God as being the same as answering back to God. Do we realize how often our raising a question to God is a form of rebellion rather than a request for information? We are really provoking God, if not mocking Him. What we are saying is that His way does not make sense to us. The greatest surrender and submission to God is to not raise the question at all, but to simply submit to the truth of God as it pleases Him to express it. In this instance, to raise a question is itself a statement of rebellion, where no question ought to have been raised at all, because God is God and "Who are you, O man?" These questions are implying that no one has a legitimate argument with God. After all, He has got the power, and though we do not agree and do not really like what He chooses and what He has mercy on, who has an argument with Him? It is striking a note of contempt and saying, "If I could, I would really take issue, but since He is God and I cannot really battle with Him, I will just surrender." But it is surrender with clenched teeth, a begrudging condescension, and not the surrender of a sweet-spirited yielding before a God who alone is right. The Holy Spirit is giving Paul the quintessence of man in his naked rebellion against God, summed up in the terseness of this question, "Who is He then that we should argue against Him?" In an imagined statement it bespeaks the condition of man, not only in the time of Paul, but for all generations. Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? (Rom. 9:20a). What an affront! It is a remarkable impertinence to answer back to God. The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? (Rom. 9:20b). Yes, it will, if it is yet carnal! Or does not the potter have the right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? (Rom. 9:21). If the potter makes something from the clay, but it does not come out right, then he is free to smash it and to rework it. It is his prerogative, and we do not argue with a potter. Just to be, and not to be productive, is a great stigma of shame in our performance and production-oriented world. It is because we are unwilling to bear that shame that we, as the clay, take ourselves off the shelf and do our own thing. We end up forming our own image of God and performing our own functions instead of bearing the suffering of waiting. 3 The Revelation of God's Glory What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory (Rom. 9:22-23). What do you think of a God who, in order to make His power and glory known, will demonstrate something through wrath and judgment? What if God is that God, then what? Is He still your God? What if God would go so far as to employ wrath and judgment to make His power, His name and His glory known? Paul raises this very question. What if He is not the God you would like Him to be, and He would go so far as to employ wrath to bring His purposes to pass? We are not playing with a little, chintzy word here. Biblical wrath or the judgment of God is devastating, and what if He will go so far as to employ it to make His power known, since that is the revelation of His glory? Paul's question is a weighted and calculated offense against our religious

sensibilities with regard to how we would like God to be and to be known. If we have a problem with the wrath of God, we need to see it as it was demonstrated at the Cross. The Cross is the final statement of God in His wrath, and the ultimate contradiction of all religious categories. The wrath of God for the sins of mankind was visited upon Jesus in utter devastation, so much so, that He could hardly be recognized as a man. When you see that 16th century, glorious Holy Spirit masterpiece, The Isenheim Altar,4 painted by Grnewald, you would think you were looking at an animal more than a man. The figure of Christ looks so deranged; the body is so elongated, so grotesque and broken that you wonder whether it is a man or some groveling beast. Will God go that far? What if God, in order to show His glory, will manifest His wrath and His judgment? What if it is the only way and the most profound way that God reveals His glory, will you surrender to that? The fact that Israel could not surrender to that revelation has left them without God for two thousand years and more, because they could not buy the fact that that wretched piece of humanity was the Son of God, suffering the judgment of God as God. The greatest revelation of God, however, is precisely where we least expect it to be, and it comes in the manner in which we least think it will come. It is God's calculated stroke against man's religious imaginings, daring to make God in his own image. God calls it idolatry, and the end of it is death. It is the most deplorable of sins, and in order to break into that, God has got, for our sake, to reveal Himself through wrath. Israel is going to be brought into this final revelation of God, whom they have forsaken and rejected for millennia, through their own Last Days' judgment. God's wrath is the ultimate statement of His love and mercy. The greatest love toward God is to love Him in His judgments and, moreover, to love His judgments. It is not a mere tolerating or bearing of them like castor oil that somehow must be swallowed down. The most distasteful and most painful thing, and the thing most calculated against our own religiosity is the most precious and deepest revelation of God. We should not despise the chastening of the Lord, but rather esteem it. It is only out of the fires of judgment that we will recognize the goodness of God in the severity. ...He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles (Rom. 9:23-24). To miss the words 'for glory' is to miss everything, because it shows that He is not just arbitrarily doing these things in order to announce the fact that He is God. The ultimate issue is the issue of His glory. He is not an egoistic who needs to be glorified, but the truth is rather that mankind is the beneficiary of a God who is glorified. The world is dying for the lack of the visible demonstration of God's glory. Drug addiction, sexual molestation and every corrupt thing that mankind is doing have their origin in the vacuum of the absence of God's visible glory. He is not just a God jealous over His own delight in His glory, but He recognizes that it is an ultimately redemptive thing, even for all of His creation. It is no accident that in the messianic and millennial era, the glory of the Lord, the true knowledge of Him, will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9b). And there is nothing that will bring the revelation of that glory better than a wrath and judgment that precedes this mercy. It is a judgment that we will find, in every case, totally deserved. The retribution of God against Israel is not an arbitrary matter, but will be in exact proportion to Israel's sins, whose sins are mounting every day. God's mercy is His glory, but it is a mercy that cannot be revealed except it first be preceded by judgment. Only then does it become mercy. As we will see, the last acts against the present political state of Israel will be violent; but what concludes it is the totally undeserved mercy that will bring them back from the places to which they will have been brought as captive. In the absence of any hope in themselves, God Himself supernaturally and powerfully restores a surviving remnant of Israel in His mercy. The brokenness and repentance that will follow has no basis for description or comparison. The depth of their coming down before God at the revelation of that kindness, out of hopeless despair, will result in a new name for them. They will become His ministers and be honored above every nation on the earth. They will no longer remember fear and terror or any such thing, for God will wipe away every tear. God's Choice God is inextricably drawn into the life of the nation, Israel. But what was His whole purpose in choosing Israel? What are they chosen for? Why should He be required to choose at all? Why did He not just somehow demonstrate His salvational principles and make them available on an equal basis to whomsoever will among all the nations? Why was He required, by the very necessity of the thing, to choose a nation and set that nation before all other nations? Even Israel, who is the chosen nation, does not understand it, and is

offended by their being that choice. They would rather be just like everybody else, but God's love for mankind will not allow them that condescension. Israel was chosen to be God's witness nation because God is faced with the problem of communicating heavenly reality and truth to people on the earth, and it cannot be communicated as abstract principle. It has got to be made incarnate, embodied and exemplified by the acts of a people relating to the truth and reality of God. That should not be so foreign an idea to us as believers because we also are called to be witnesses unto Him, to show forth His, rather than our own virtue. How a person or nation acts in response to God and His requirements, and how God deals with them, is the revelation of God, both in judgment and in mercy. That is why there are some vessels fitted for wrath and some for mercy, but in Israel's case, they are fitted for both, though they do not seem to understand or be aware of it. Even Isaiah chapter 53 is interpreted traditionally by Jews in saying that the Suffering Servant is not Jesus, but the nation, Israel. In fact, it may well be that one of the principal ways in which Israel will finally surrender to the truth of God about the character of their Messiah King, in His humility and willingness to suffer humiliation, is to experience it themselves. Out of their experience, they will catch a glimpse of the Suffering Servant, the Lord Himself, and catch the revelation of what they failed to recognize two thousand years ago. They did not recognize God then, because a Suffering Messiah was not part of their religious concept of who God is, and yet God chose to reveal Himself in the witness of this very same Servant. At this present time, in the dispensation of the Gentiles, it is the Gentile Church that is called to reveal the Lord, because what is the Church but the Body of the Head? It was a Gentile, Simon from Cyrene, of low public esteem, who bore the Cross. This is very appropriate because the Church, also, is called to be a lowly entity, an object of derision and contempt in the world in every generation, especially in the time of Israel's soon-coming suffering. That is why a Church that is full of swagger and believes they 'have it all together' nullifies and disqualifies itself as being the witness of the Lord to Israel in the Last Days.

3 See the author's audio tape message "The Potter" 4 See our audio tape "The Crucified God"

Chapter 4 - Israel and the Nations

We need to open our spirits and catch the flavor and sense of this mystery. God, in His wisdom, has chosen a nation to be central to all nations. This is not an unusual concept in the economy of God. Israel herself had twelve tribes, and God did not think it extravagant that one of the twelve, Levi, should have no other function but to be priests to the other eleven. In exactly the same way, and by the same principle, the entire nation of Israel is to be a nation of priests unto the world (Exodus 19:6). We know that the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29); and when God makes a promise, establishes a covenant, or declares something, then we need to know that it is irrevocable. Some biblical scholars suggest that the number of nations that proliferate today is the result of man's rebellion against God. We can see everywhere around us the splintering of national entities into sub-entities based on ethnic and religious lines. When the smoke clears from the devastation and destruction at the end of the age from the consequence and outcome of man's own inordinate ambition for nationhood, rivalry, sovereignty and pomp, we will find a vast reduction to the over two hundred nations that now exist. It is clear that God intended a definite number of nations at the first, in proportion to the number of the sons of Israel: When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the children of men, He set the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For Jehovah's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance (Deut. 32:8-9). Acts 17:26-27 seems to substantiate that: And He made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:

The nations must not think they can go on in an autonomous existence independent of the nation, Israel. God has made a provision to keep nations in certain boundaries and relationships that would keep them sane and healthy, with God the recognized Head over all, rather than them imposing themselves on one another by the use of violence. There is a place for legitimacy of nations, but only within a certain comprehensive structure that God Himself provided, namely, the centrality of Israel to all nations. The greatest tragedies that have afflicted mankind through history have come out of the rebellion of nations in their own independent determination to rule themselves, to their own self-aggrandizement, without regard to that nation which God intended as central. There will be no peace until that pattern is established on earth, which, in fact, marks the beginning of the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:6). The Millennium begins when Israel is restored to her God-appointed place in Him, and indeed, the nations will finally come up to Jerusalem on the Feast of Tabernacles to pay homage to God, whose sanctuary and dwelling place will be with the people Israel (Zech.14:16). The law must go forth out of Zion and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem or there never will be a turning of swords into plowshares (Micah 4: 2-3). God is so in earnest about this that He says that the nation that will not honor Israel will suffer a curse (Zech.14:17). He will take from them rain and bring upon them the consequences of judgment if they still stubbornly refuse to submit to God's design and intention. The rebellion of mankind is deep-seated against God, and it is no more clearly reflected and revealed than in mankind's opposition to the nation that He has chosen. God's choice is the revelation of Himself as God, and it is a choice that is exactly the antithesis of man's. It is His choice, however, that will prevail, to the everlasting praise of His glory. Nations cannot be related to God and recognize the boundaries and purposes of God independent of their recognition of, and their submission to, the centrality of Israel for all nations. The greatest drama of the Last Days, now already in process of coming to the fore in world history, is the attempted annihilation of Israel by the nations in order to remove God's very provision for their relatedness to Him. To remain, as a nation, outside of that relationship with Israel is to be outside of God. Has God Rejected Israel? With this in view, Paul finds himself having to answer a question raised by the believers in Rome, "Is God finished with Israel?" I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin (Rom. 11:1). Paul gives his own faith in God as the evidence that God is not finished with Israel. In a very real sense, Paul is in himself the very personification of that nation, all the more in his militant opposition to the faith followed by his radical conversion. We have in him an exact pattern of what the future of the nation itself is. He is in himself already explicating and setting forth Israel's own destiny and apostolate to the nations, namely, to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. This temporary setting aside of the Jew by God, however, is not some arbitrary decision independent of the judgment that Israel has incurred upon herself: Just as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes to see not and ears to hear not, down to this very day (Rom. 11:8). Their blindness is a judgment,5 particularly over the issue of the rejection of their Messiah. It was not some momentary failure at a historical point in time; it was rather the culmination of a long history of apostasy and alienation from God that had become so deep-seated that when very God came in the person of Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of their own scriptures and expectation, He simply could not be recognized. He was rejected, despised and brought to the place of death, albeit the instrumentality of that death was the Roman authorities. Their blindness was, and still is, the consequence of their own sin and must be judged by a righteous God. God's Cosmic Purposes The whole of this mystery is predicated on God's unswerving principle of death and resurrection. The glory of resurrection (the mercy of God) can only issue out of 'death,' so, in order to demonstrate His mercy as His final testimony before all nations (Ezekiel 39:7), a surviving remnant of the nation of Israel is scheduled for death and resurrection. We have known the resurrection phenomenon as individuals, but God intends it for Israel as a national demonstration. They will, and must, pass through death in their experience, without the comforting knowledge that it will result in resurrection (Ezekiel 37), for how else is death, death? Unless this takes place, there will be no consummation of the age; there will be no return of the Lord, and there will be no establishment of His kingdom. For His kingdom, by necessity, is the kingdom of David, the kingdom

promised to Israel. It is not a kingdom for Israel's exclusive gratification, but a kingdom that will bless the nations through the nation that God has appointed and chosen to be central to all nations. We need, therefore, to have a sense of God's cosmic design for the nations, understanding that Israel is central to God's redemptive dealing with all the nations. Our view of redemption must be elevated from personal salvation to national salvation. But the reader may ask, "Why should Israel be so central to us as the modern Church, since it was not central to generations of saints before, who were quite spiritual, yet did not recognize the centrality of Israel?" The answer lies primarily in the fact that these are the Last Days, and the Church that is impervious, or indifferent, to the purposes of God for the Last Days is, ipso facto, not the Church. In fact, reference to Israel is conspicuously absent from current teaching in the Church. It is simply outside their consciousness. The Church has a lot of great things to say, but in these Last Days, they are missing the focus of God that compels the Church to be Church. Israel's final redemption is the final consummating event of God that concludes this age. Any preoccupation with prophets and prophetic things that omits reference to the great, epochal event that is yet future, namely, the restoration of Israel to her God after thousands of years of apostasy and alienation from God is also, by that definition, not prophetic. In fact, our continuing lament and criticism of the present celebration of prophets is that there is, even among them, for the most part, an absence of any significant reference to Israel and the Church's relationship to Israel. This is the most momentous thing that is before us historically, yet there is so little awareness or preparation that we cannot conceive of the fact that there should be a prophetic upsurge and this theme be absent. The very conspicuous absence of the theme makes us suspect whether indeed what is being celebrated is truly prophetic. A serious hour has come, and we have to prepare ourselves, both spiritually and physically, in a way that we would not have ever conceived or bothered about before. We would have been content to be merely charismatic or evangelical, because that was sufficient for our purposes, but now a purpose has come to our attention that is His purpose, and it is an ultimate purpose. God is setting the stage, and Israel is appointed by God to be the nexus of His whole design for the government of the nations. The Government of God He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end (Luke 1:32-33). If that God, and that King, can reign over that stiff-necked people, a people whose last national statement towards God was, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15f), then what do you think will be the disposition of other nations? If God can possess Israel, a people who, in all their unbelief and opposition to Him, have blasphemed His name in the nations, then He will have all the nations. It is going to take a final breakdown of Israel's last rebellion and self-will. There is no other way, but they will be grateful later. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6-7). We are brought right into the whole reason why a Child is born and a Son is given, namely, that the government will rest on His shoulders. It is the rule of God going forth in His own character, that is to say, in the meekness of the Lamb. The rod of iron speaks of an absolute uncompromising stance, but it will be in the gentleness of the Lamb. It is the glorious benevolence of God! It is His great wisdom going out to the nations that will keep them from their own violence, hatred and perversion. Is our government, then, upon His shoulder? How shall it come to the nations if it has not yet first come to the Church? Are there pockets of rebellion, self-will and independence of spirit to be found in the very congregations of God? Are we more ruled by convenience than we think? For example, are we saying, "Did you like the service? Do you like the pastor? Do you like the program, the worship?" If we do not like it, we find an alternative down the street. We should rather be asking the Lord where He would have us to be planted, and to suffer with that people, in that place.6 It says in Isaiah 2, Now it will come about in the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established

as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it (Is. 2:2). This is highly symbolic language. The word 'mountain' always refers to rule and government. However mighty the nations think they are, there will come a time when they will humble themselves and stream to Israel. Can you imagine the proud nations, who are now devouring one another, being broken and submitting to God and God's choice? This is future. In the Last Days it shall come to pass. And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths" (Is. 2:3a). That is what government is. It is not bureaucracy; it is not shuffling papers, or men stuffing their pockets with political gain. The purpose of government is to teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths. It is the righteousness of God as it pertains to the relationships of a moral mankind on earth. For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war (Is. 2:3b-4). When the kingdom of God comes, men will be changed in all of their ways, but in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit this one thing is cited: Men will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. God has put His finger on the heart of the kingdom of violence and death that has raised up an elaborate and enormous network of profit-feeding agencies that make men dependent upon it for their livelihood. Nice guys, who go to ball games, are trembling lest peace should come and there be no need for the weapons they produce. They would lose their high-paying jobs and the lifestyles that such an income supports. The most drastic thing that could happen to nations today is peace, real peace, where there is no necessity for armament, nor for having a great military establishment that designs and requires the high-tech implements of war. If the veil could be lifted, we would be shocked to realize how much the production of armaments is dominating and directing the course of nations. The manpower, the energy, the time, the brilliance, the brains and all of the faculties that could have ended poverty in the world overnight are producing, instead, the things that pertain to death. It is the wisdom of the Powers of the air, promoting and fostering greed, ambition, lust, power, influence, violence and death. This is cosmic in its proportions. These fallen angels, who want to continue to manipulate mankind and exert their notorious, false rule over them will be finished when the King comes. The Restoration of All Things Jesus is waiting, ...whom heaven must receive [or, contain] until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (Acts 3:21). God has bound Himself, and confined and kept His Son from actual entry into His creation to rule and reign as King, until the restoration of all things spoken by the prophets has been fulfilled. When you read the prophets, there is one great theme that they express, namely, the restoration of Israel from ages-long apostasy, at the end of the age, out of a time of unbelievable calamity, back to God and back to the Land.7 That people and that Land are God's locus and the conveyer of the millennial kingdom that will be established with them physically and geographically, and be expressed through them. Israel is finally brought into their call as a nation of priests and a light unto the world. Jews are brilliant and gifted people, but God did not primarily call them to music, to the stage, to the theater, to the film industry and all of that. The ushering in of the millennial kingdom brings true government from Zion, the government of God, the only government that is a true government and that will ever bring peace and righteousness on this earth. Naturally speaking, we do not actually anticipate the kingdom as a literal, explicit and political entity. There is a sense in which the kingdom is inward, subjective, and consists of kingdom principles and values. This, however true in part, should not, however, be allowed to eclipse or to displace the larger part, an anticipation of an actual, literal and political rule of God. The government of God is theocratic; it is executed in perfect righteousness without any self-seeking. It is the benevolence of God, and the wisdom of God on how to live being brought to mankind. We must not take the literal statements of God and spiritualize their meaning away. By so doing, we do a disservice to God that is presumptuous and tantamount to blasphemy. Our whole faith will be revolutionized when we give to God's Word the literal meaning that He Himself intends for

it to have. It is so radical in its implications that it is little wonder that we spiritualize it away. Could it be that we do not have the courage, nor faith, nor desire to take it at face value? a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins" (Rom. 11:25b-27). This does not mean every Jew, but only that surviving remnant from among them that constitutes the elect Israel of God. The rest will suffer the attrition and death that comes to those who are rebellious against God and will not receive His salvation, despite His every appeal, as we shall see when we begin to examine the book of Amos. It is an enormous Last Days' saga, and the Church is the principal actor. It is the Church coming into the solemn configuration of what God intended for it as a glory. It is brought to fullness and maturity, and prepared for its own millennial destiny and glory, namely, to rule and reign with Christ from heavenly places (Rev. 20:6). To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Eph. 3:21). That means the end of the Church as a plaything and a denominational enterprise where men of ambition find platforms for themselves. God has chosen Israel, not because she is lustrous, nor because she is numerous, nor because she was one of the great ancient powers. She was always a nothing people, and that is precisely why He has chosen her. He will be who He will be, and He will choose what He will choose. The critical question is: "Will the Church choose what He chooses?" Israel is becoming increasingly aggressive and offensive in her self-defense, and her behavior is going to become worse; this must, we believe, of necessity, be so. Jews everywhere are suffering the adverse consequence of Israel's declining reputation. This is part of the program of God to bring Jews worldwide into a place of opposition, contempt and finally, persecution by unregenerate man in the nations. It is the Powers of darkness themselves who are aiding and abetting in all of this hostility and opposition. They want to avoid losing their place of power by annihilating this people from the face of the earth so that Israel cannot be restored. That is the nexus of the fierce anti-Semitic hatred that is presently escalating. If we do not understand this invisible realm of reality that underlies the world, its structures, its governments and its society, then the mystery of Israel will continue to be bewilderment to us, and we will be ourselves offended in Israel's impending calamity. We are summarizing the mystery of Israel as the issue of world government and rule over creation, which includes the place that God has designated for this people with regard to other nations. When the kingdom comes, it is not only theocratic and millennial, but also forever. We are not talking about some transient thing or some temporary administration, but rather the final, decisive and conclusive work of God for all creation, and that endures eternally. In other words, when the Powers of darkness are finally out, because Israel is finally in, they are out eternally, and therefore it helps us to understand why they are so vexed. We can expect a global anti-Semitism of which the Nazi era was a mere forerunner. However vicious the systematic annihilation of six million European Jews was, it must yet be seen as a preview of what we shall expect globally in the Last Days when that same satanic hatred is poured out in every nation.8 The Church in Germany collapsed like the 'proverbial deck of cards' under that demonic power; we need to be instructed by their collapse, because we have every reason to expect the same phenomenon, this time as it will be seen in every nation, including our own!

5 See the author's book The Holocaust - Where was God? for a fuller explication of the subject of judgment. 6 See the author's book True Fellowship for a detailed explication of this theme. 7 To usurp this scripture as meaning the restoration of the 'Church' (of which the prophets had no inkling or
anticipation) is a piece of the conceit of which Paul warned as following the ignorance of the mystery. This arrogance and presumption has marred the Church historically and presently and, ironically, keeps her from the realization of her own apostolic call! 8 See the author's book The Holocaust - Where was God? for a fuller explication of the subject of judgment.

Chapter 5 - Israel And The Powers

There is an invisible realm over the nations and over every locality occupied by an order of fallen, rebellious angels. They have influenced, and continue to influence, the course of history in nations, races and men. The genocidal horrors that are taking place worldwide have their source and origin in the influence that is being exerted by these angelic Powers through men on the earth, though mankind is unaware that they are being played upon and enslaved. These angels were created and endowed by God with gifts in order to administer His creation and to preserve a certain order and structure of it in a way that would be conducive to God's eternal purpose. In their rebellion, however, they are using the role and offices that were given them to turn the attention of men away from God. When this administrative order fell, it took on the spirit of Satan who said, "I will rise above the Most High." This is the most perverse egotism. Not content to serve the purposes of God administratively, the Powers of the air use that place to win the allegiance, loyalty, devotion and worship of men unto themselves. They are fallen and defeated Powers, yet they can still influence, corrupt and adversely affect entire societies, communities and nations. They operate through culture, religion, commerce and institutions.

There is a remarkably acute statement in Scripture that shows the depth of the vehement bitterness and opposition of the Powers of darkness toward God's governmental scheme for the end of the age and the ushering in of His millennial kingdom through the restoration of the nation of Israel. It is found in Psalm 2, and it reveals just how ancient and timeless this whole mystery is: Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed: Let us tear their fetters apart, and cast away their cords from us! He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury: But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain (vs. 1-6). The picture given here is that the nations of the world, their kings and rulers, are vexed and foaming at the mouth in indignation. They want to tear apart the cords of the Lord and His Anointed, and do not want to be under His authority. They do not want to have this King rule over them. We need to distinguish between kings and rulers. The kings are the visible, human, earthly magistrates, but who, then, are the rulers? We are suggesting that they are the unseen, invisible spirits of this world, the gods of this world, the Principalities and Powers of the air, who manifest their wisdom through earthly rulers. They operate through the unregenerate ambitions of men, and find ample opportunity to ventilate their hatred, their bitterness, their mentality and their perverse 'wisdom' through those who are susceptible to it and who share those corrupt values. Power, force, intimidation, threat, prestige, dominance and violence are intrinsically the character of the Powers of the air. What are they, therefore, foaming against? They are not just bemused, irritated, or somewhat piqued; they are in uproar ['rage' - KJV]. You do not rage unless your deepest interests are threatened. The vain thing they imagine is that somehow they can reverse the foreordained purposes of God. Even though God has a holy intention of restoring Israel to Himself, to the Land, and making it the locus of His theocratic rule, the Powers of the air still believe they can prevent its fulfillment by annihilating every last Jew.10 God speaks to them in His anger because they are opposing His millennial intention: ...I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain (verse 6b). That is His design, and He will do it. The Specificity of God This is so much the issue of God in His electing whom He will elect. He is God, and if He wants to set His King upon a lowly hill, then that is the statement of who He is as God in His choosing of the weak and foolish thing. If we oppose His purpose and design for Israel, it is not so much Israel that vexes us, but God.

Our opposition to Israel is our opposition to God. We are saying that we cannot abide with His sovereignty, His rule, and His choosing of what He determines and elects. There is something about God being so specific that rubs us raw, especially when it is has to do with someone other than ourselves. If God were to set His King on the hill of Washington, DC, or Geneva, or whatever capital happens to be our own, we would love it. But when it is specifically about another land, particularly the land of a despised people, then our repressed rebellion against God is brought to the surface. Nothing so reveals this stubborn and latent rebellion in us as effectively as this. It finds its ignition over the issue of God's specificity about Israel, but it is a much larger rebellion. To be in rebellion with God over any one thing is to be in rebellion with regard to everything. To take issue with God over the smallest thing means that in that one thing you have exalted yourself above Him and are not under any obligation to agree with Him. What, then, about the other areas where you are agreeing? And on what basis is that agreement? There is one thing that betrays the whole thing, and the issue of Israel is remarkably that one thing! In order to see the issue of Israel in this context, we need to know that there is a cosmic struggle between two value systems: the gods of this world and the God of creation. God calls us as the Church to a battle with the Powers of darkness over the whole issue of which wisdom will prevail over His creation. We are entering the last of this struggle, and the sparks will fly fiercely right up until the last resolution. There are only two kinds of wisdom or moral systems in the earth: the wisdom of the gods of this world versus the wisdom of God. The former is predicated upon power, force, violence, threat, prestige, ambition, lust, fear and intimidation, while the other is predicated on weakness and foolishness. Wherever on earth a congregation of God's people are free from the influence of the Powers of the air, that congregation is on the way to liberating those in that locality who are bound. It is not our 'shouting down the Devil' or 'taking cities for God' that will affect our localities. But where there is a visible evidence of freedom from the influence of these same Powers in a fearless people, who cannot be intimidated or threatened, it is precisely from there that the Devil is required to flee. The Eternal Purpose of the Church Paul is now going to reveal the heart of the mystery of the Church and its purpose for being in relation to the Powers and Principalities of the air. It is the same mystery as the mystery of Israel spoken of in Romans 11, insofar as the fulfillment of the one is also the fulfillment of the other. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places (Eph. 3:8-10). There is nothing in the world that can fit us to understand these verses. In fact, everything in the world is calculated to keep us from the understanding of them. God is at odds with every rationalistic and conventional understanding of life, its purpose and meaning. Unless we comprehend this foundational premise, we will never grasp God's purpose for the Church. We will limit our view of the Church to some kind of Sunday addendum, some kind of institutional function that has for its essential purpose ourselves, rather than God and His purpose. This would be a lamentable, if not fatal mistake. We are not true church until God's purposes for it have the central place of consideration in our consciousness. If we are rooted in the immediate, rooted in our needs11 and in the visible and temporal, we will remain fixated at another and lesser level. We need to apprehend the unseen and eternal that alone are calculated to free us from the bondage of narrow self-interest. God knows that if we are not occupied with something that is beyond this age, then we would become so rooted in this age as to be null and void, both for this age and the age to come. To Whom are the Mysteries Given? Paul talks about the mysteries of the faith that were given to him to administer, having been withheld up till that point. We need to have a proper attitude toward the mysteries of God; a sense of reverence and appreciation, and a desire that they be unveiled and revealed. It is a revealing and unveiling of God Himself that changes everything. God is jealous over His own mysteries, and He is not going to allow them to be mishandled, trifled with, or rudely examined by those who do not have a right disposition of spirit for them. Paul is not interested in promulgating a mystery in order that we should have our curiosity gratified, but in

order that the mystery might be administered and effectually fulfilled through the Church. The mysteries of God are given to those who will embrace them. If we fail to embrace them, we will be unfitted to be the Church in its full apostolic character that alone is able to fulfill these mysteries. Mysteries, already given, need to be recovered and propounded by holy apostles and prophets, and the understanding of them must necessarily come to us through them. We are therefore compelled to consider as extant apostles and prophets in our own generation, and to desire and anticipate them, because pseudo-aspirants are already seeking to fill that void.12 When Paul speaks of being the least of all the apostles, he is not playing on words in a kind of false humility. This is Paul as he really saw himself, and as God saw him, and because he saw himself as the least, he was given, therefore, the most. God will not give His mysteries to self-assertive and ambitious people who would use them to further their own religious career and the recognition of men. This is the Paul who saw himself as the least of all saints, not just then, but throughout his entire apostolic career. The test of the maturity of a believer is that the longer he goes on with God and the more deeply he understands God's way and is brought into the reality of His mysteries and call, the more he is aware of his own nothingness. God has reserved something that can only be performed through the Church, a demonstration of a certain magnitude that is not even to be performed for the world or in the world. It is not, essentially, evangelizing or being a witness to the nations. This purpose is beyond and more ultimate than that. It is cosmic, and has to do with something that is beyond the earth, and occupies all the ages to come. It is something that delights God, and He has created all things in order that this should take place. It has absolutely nothing to do with our success or well being, or any of those things with which we are so occupied. It is totally irrelevant to the practicalities of our daily life, and yet our daily life will suffer in exact proportion as we are indifferent to the eternal purpose of God. Is that not precisely why we have problems in our daily life? Are we not suffocated and taken up with a myopic concentration upon ourselves? Are we not more concerned for the health and well-being of our congregations? How many of us realize just how much we are rooted in an egocentric Christendom? Ironically, we will never be saved from sins, lusts and the distractions of the world until our souls are occupied with God's purpose for our salvation. The only thing that will liberate us is to be taken up with the eternal purposes of God in Christ Jesus. Nothing else has the power to counter the pull of the world with its seemingly mundane and legitimate things. Good, respectable and conventional things have a way of occupying us beyond normal bounds. A preoccupation with God's eternal purposes is divinely intended as a way of countering and breaking that power. To take this eternal mandate seriously is to alert the Principalities and Powers that we have now become something formidable. From then on, they are required to regard us with a certain terror of apprehension and fear with which we were not regarded before (Acts 19:15). Let them see a people who are earnest for the eternal purposes of God, and there is a war on in the heavenlies that we will encounter and feel. At the same time, this very opposition is part of God's very process for maturity to prepare us for the age to come. The Manifold Wisdom of God These verses in Ephesians chapter 2 hint at a primeval, cosmic conflict between the God of Light and the Powers of darkness that preceded even the creation of the world. It is a struggle between two value systems. It is so enormous in God's sight that He did not think it too extravagant to create all things in order that this drama could be played out. The world was created to support an entity called the Church that would bring this conflict to its final conclusion by something that it alone can demonstrate, namely, the manifold wisdom of God. It is a demonstration important to God, but which does not seem to have any immediate relevance to our daily existence, not even to show off to the world what the Church is. The Church is not called to solve the world's problems, or to make people happier. This demonstration has got nothing to do with any benefit for mankind that we can observe with our senses. In fact, this wisdom is not to be demonstrated to the world, but to the invisible spirit realm of the Powers of the air. In other words, this mystery has nothing to do with anything that we can recognize as being apparently valid or important for the Church. Rather, there is something here that pleases God: a calculated demonstration to an invisible angelic order, which must be made exclusively through the Church, and it must be a manifestation of His wisdom. It is totally other than anything that we might have understood to be the purpose for the Church's being. God does not tell us why He wants that demonstration, but it is important to Him, therefore we do not need to know anything more than that. We do not need to have an explanation, nor

is God obligated to give us one, or we would be, by that insistence, on the adversary's moral ground. The wisdom of this world is predicated on practicality, namely, "What is in it for me? What benefit do I gain by believing?" God wants another wisdom to defeat that wisdom through a people who will give their lives for something that has no immediate or practical relevance or consequence for themselves; a demonstration of another wisdom that is heavenly. It is a magnanimity that frees us from self-interest. It gives us a motive for being and for doing in things that are outside ourselves. The world's system does not believe you can do it. They want to bring you into their vortex and make you march by their beat: "You have got to take care of number one. Be practical! After all, what about your responsibility? What about your children? Why leave your profession and thrust your family into insecurity and risk because you think God is calling you? If you do not take care of yourself, then who will? Self-preservation is the law of life. Don't get absurd and radical about it. Do what is required to preserve your life, to advance it and to promote it. And in the last analysis, if you have to use a shady thing or two, or even employ a threat or an inducement, well, that is the way the world goes." It has all the trappings of sound, conventional wisdom, but however seemingly persuasive and enticing, it is yet the voice of the world! To Him be Glory in the Church We have been brainwashed and have consciously or unconsciously accepted the world's definition of Church, for which we receive their tax-deductible accommodation. They give it because they want us to agree that the Church is only a social institution serving human need. This is an absolutely perverse definition of what the Church is. Serving human need is incidental. Its whole purpose is to serve Divine need and to glorify God, and there is no other agency given in the earth whereby that glory is to be obtained than the Church: To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen (Eph. 3:21). A fellowship that has lost the meaning of the word 'glory' has voided itself as church. If the purpose of church is that God might be glorified throughout all generations forever and ever, and if we ourselves have lost the sense of what that glory is, then what are we about? Glory is not just a fanciful word. God intended His glory to be normative, a radiance to permeate His creation. There is a whole world that does not know what glory is, but God has so calculated it that there is only one means by which His glory is to find entry into the earth and be made known, namely, through the Church. A fellowship that has already opted for programs and for things that will only serve the needs of its congregation has, by that very means, disqualified itself from being the agency through which God's purposes can be fulfilled. And if we miss the glory, we resign ourselves to becoming merely institutional. We will find ourselves accommodating to men and their human need, but we will have missed their greatest need, namely, to make the glory of God known. We shall never come to kingdom righteousness so long as our need is the predicate of our lives, the hub and pivot around which all things turn. We will never come to sanity and wholeness, nor will we ever come to the end of all our deliverance and inner-healing ministries so long as our real sickness is our self-centeredness. To come into the eternal purpose of God will ruin us for church programs and the various other kinds of things we think we need in order to pacify those in the pew. Even to have programs is a statement that the fellowship has lost this apostolic view, and like the world, it has got to make available services and benefits to hold the attention of its congregants. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:11). What kind of a fellowship can there be that does not make as its first priority the taking to itself God's eternal purpose? A fellowship that does not live for the eternal purpose of God is not living. It is hardly more than a succession of services. It has lost, if indeed it ever had, this vital perspective as the reason for its being. A congregation that has been gripped or apprehended by this understanding cannot possibly have boring services. In fact, are we truly saved unless we have been fully apprehended by the purposes for our salvation? We are in an unbroken continuum with those who have embraced the purposes of God, for which reason they were hacked to death, tortured, murdered and butchered in a kind of satanic fury that seeks to nullify this ultimate intention of God through the Church. That is why there are so few who want to hear the call of God, because God calls us, not to our own purposes, but to His costly ones. The Two Wisdoms

Wisdom does not mean what we would ordinarily think it to mean. It is not wise sayings, but more like a value system. As noted, the wisdom of the gods of this world is a system predicated on force, violence, threat, fear, ambition, lust, intimidation and the terror of men to preserve themselves and to make their own survival the first law of life. It is the unchallenged premise by which the world lives its life, namely, the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure. The world makes that the foremost principle of being. The ability to lay down one's life and not to consider one's life as dear to oneself is the wisdom of God and is predicated on contemptible weakness and foolishness. The one wisdom lives for itself, its own preservation and its own advantages, while Gods wisdom lives for another; it is selfless. It is the wisdom of the Son of God who never initiated anything in Himself, or for Himself, but lived entirely for the gratification of His Father. This is contrary to human nature and how we think we have to live. Anything that is resolved through violence is the wisdom of this world. That is the way the world has lived its life throughout history. God's wisdom is to relinquish, to give up, to yield and to believe that there is something greater than death and, by that, not to fear death. It is a wisdom that is centered in the Cross of Christ Jesus, namely, to serve and glorify Him. We will know that we have aligned ourselves with God when we constitute a threat to the realm of spirit Powers that brood over us. The overcomers of the end of the age are not those who avoid pain and pursue pleasure, but who overcome, ...because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death (Rev. 12:11b). The world cannot bear this kind of wisdom. The only one who can live like that truly is one who does not think that this life is the whole story, and who realizes that there is a life beyond this life for which this life is preparation. There is an eternity, and it is the true appreciation of that reality that enables us to be fearless in this life. If we suffer the loss of our life, we are fully persuaded that it is not mere happenstance or accident, but ordained of God, and that there will be eternal reward for that sacrifice and suffering. Defeating the Powers If we ourselves are insecure, fearful, jealously guarding our lives, afraid to take the risks of faith, playing it safe, then the Powers of the air are not required to acknowledge us at all. They are only impressed with the same thing they saw in both Jesus and Paul, namely, apostolic authenticity. They have only one incumbent requirement, and that is to recognize that which is authentic, namely, of God and like God, as authentic as He Himself is. God is wanting authenticity (a synonym for apostolic) in His people: heavenliness, truth, unfeigned love and all the gritty things that are so painful to obtain. We all are the products of a devious civilization that majors in appearances and outward things, but where the Powers see the truth of God in the life of His people, they will retreat. They know whom to fear and whom to acknowledge. We cannot defeat them by turning up the amplifiers in our worship, or by shouting them down. It is not noise that impresses them, but character. It is the truth of life where we really live, not the brave show that we put on when we think we 'have it all together.' They have got to see in our conduct and character the visible evidence of our freedom from the influence of the Powers. The wisdom of God was superbly demonstrated at the Cross when the supreme Son of God relinquished the right to His own life and gave it up by the Eternal Spirit, the Spirit of sacrifice, without spot and without blemish unto God, without complaint and without answering His mockers back. He was as a lamb who went silently to the slaughter. He was goaded by His own people to come down from the Cross before they would believe Him. He suffered that anguish for others while at the same time hearing their taunts and mocks, when anything that is left in a person that has to do with self-justification and self-vindication would rise up and say, "You fools! I am doing this for you! Don't you understand?" But, instead, He says, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." Another wisdom was expressed, contrary to the logic that the agonizing moment would have justified. It was at the Cross that two systems of wisdom collided. God's wisdom does not seek for itself, but does the Father's bidding, even unto death. Jesus would not speak His own words, or do His own thing, though He was supremely capable in Himself of doing anything He pleased. He fully absorbed the fury of the Powers of darkness, who wanted to utterly destroy Him, and thought that by doing so, they would obliterate the threat that He represented to their kingdom. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him (Col. 2:15).

At the Cross, Jesus disarmed and brought a foundational and devastating setback to the Powers of the air by demonstrating the self-sacrificing wisdom of God. The Powers of the air exhibited their wisdom: threat, intimidation, and the use of force and violence, in order to get Jesus to react in kind, and to rail against those who were railing against Him, but Jesus demonstrated something consistently unto death by voluntarily bearing the worst that they could inflict. Wisdom is not something that is only vocally expressed; it has got to be demonstrated in life. Ultimate malignity met ultimate magnanimity, the ultimate graciousness of God, the forbearance of God, the humility of God and the forgiveness of God. Meekness triumphed over viciousness. It is the same demonstration that will again make God eternally vindicated, but this time through the Church, for which reason He has created all things. The Powers thought they had won because they had brought Jesus into death, but Jesus bore that death in a way that revealed the wisdom of God, and that defeated them. If force cannot compel a man to react in kind, what else can they use? If they cannot manipulate us to be like them and to protect our carnal and bodily lives, and cry out and compromise and do anything to stay alive, then they have no more power over us. We have defeated them, because the worst that they can do has come upon us, and we have stood and remained faithful to God, and exhibited the character of God in that very suffering. If the Powers of this world had only known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8). They did not realize that by imposing their full wisdom, which is predicated upon force and destruction, they were releasing a resurrection and a Life that would billow out over mankind throughout all generations, and would bring the final triumph of God and the raising of the dead. It set in motion the very things that would establish His throne, in the very city where He was put to death. Through His death, and out of His rent side, would be birthed a Church. The Holy Spirit would be poured out from the Throne of God that would give an enablement to the Church to fulfill its mandate and commission of ushering in His millennial glory and Kingdom upon the throne of David. The Powers suffered a severe setback with the crucifixion of Jesus when He made an open spoil of them and took the keys of death and of Hell. He disarmed them, but He did not inflict the final defeat. Their final defeat remains to be fulfilled by the Church in the mystery of God. A Corporate Demonstration We are coming to the end of the age, and the magnitude of this eternal purpose and demonstration is of such a kind that it cannot be made by mere individuals alone. It is for the Church in its entirety, because the Church is the Church only in its corporate make up and in all of the diversity of what constitutes it. We are in something together, both the minister and the housewife, and we need to be consciously aware of that, and to prepare ourselves for the final conclusion of this mystery. It requires a people freed from the influence of the Powers of the air; a people who are not insecure, fearful, and living for themselves, who are gloriously freed from mammon, who are indifferent to shopping malls, who can have their car crunched in an accident and walk away smiling, who can suffer affliction and inexplicable things without becoming undone. They are those who can receive the stripping of their earthly goods with joy, knowing that they have in heaven a more enduring substance (Heb. 10:34). In fact, the only people who can fulfill this mystery are those who would be strangers, pilgrims and sojourners in the earth. They have risen above and beyond their national culture. They are not fearful, but gloriously free from intimidation and threat. They know that their security is not from the Government or from their employer, but from God. And if that should dry up, the Lord has alternative sources, and if it pleases Him not to provide for them, then they will prefer to die in faith rather than that they should subsist and prolong their bodily life by initiating some course of action out of themselves. When Elijah was at the brook Cherith, being fed by ravens in a drought that had been occasioned by his own word of judgment, you have a man submitted to the wisdom of God. It says that he watched the brook dry up, but he did not allow the visibly decreasing water supply, which is life, to affect or determine his next move. He was not moved by things external or seen, but by the word of God only. Imagine an entire fellowship like that! Jews will be coming to us in their most ungainly condition, frothing at the mouth, having been suddenly uprooted from their places of security and affluence, and find themselves in threat of death, pushed, prodded and driven through places they never would have chosen. It will be an ultimate test for the Church. There must be a people on the earth in the Last Days that are not moved by circumstances, or by dwindling streams of supply, but only by the word of God, for that is the greater wisdom. It is a people who are free from fear, who, like Job, will yet trust God, though He may allow them to be slain (Job 13:15). Let the Church become an apostolic entity and a forerunner to a kingdom that will displace the Powers of this world, and you will see the world take off its mask and come at it with gnashing teeth. Unless we get

this into our spirits and understand the cosmic proportion of the Last Days' struggle between kingdoms and wisdoms, we will not understand how Israel has a place in this and why the Powers of darkness are intent upon Israel's destruction. So long as Israel exists on the face of the earth, they are a statement of God's intention to establish His rule over His own creation, which rule has come under the influence of the Powers since Adam's fall. If there shall ever be a kingdom of God upon this earth, then it must of necessity be the kingdom promised to Israel upon the throne of David. God is a God who keeps His promises. The Powers of darkness know better than the Church what God's scheme is. They see the restoration of Jews to their God and to their Land as a threat. They will seek, therefore, to eliminate that threat through the instrument of death, their wisdom. That is why we are going to see a relentless pursuit of the Jew in the Last Days: hatred, prejudice, escalating anti-Semitic fury, skinheads and neo-Nazis. As in the Nazi era, this phenomenon will become increasingly prominent. Having its origin amongst the gutter elements of Germany, it was not long before it took possession of the whole nation, and if it could happen in Germany, how then shall any nation be able to withstand it when that demonic power shall be released and allowed by God, with a fury poured out (Ezek. 20:33-34)? This is the final showdown. The Powers of darkness are not going to give up and let go of the vested interests they have enjoyed undisputed since time immemorial. They intimidated and manipulated the German people in a space of less than a decade. Who will be able to stand in opposition to a system of government when it becomes totally captive to the demonic, and makes anti-Semitism a principle of its rule? It will be the Beast system prevailing over the world. How else can we understand that all nations shall come against Jerusalem to destroy it? The only reason that any of Israel will survive that Last Days' bitter fury is because of the mercy shown to them by Gentiles, who have received their covenant mercies, or those same Jews would have perished.

9 See the author's fuller development of this crucial, little-known subject in the book, Apostolic Foundations. 10 They have come close as the recent, tragic Nazi Holocaust reveals. 11 See our booklet Anatomy of Deception. 12 See our booklet Spirit of Prophecy on the subject of true and false prophets, as well as our fuller website
version The Prophetic Call.

Chapter 6 - Israel And The Glory

The genius of God in the mystery of Israel is not merely His purpose for Israel, or even the Church's role in that restoration, but it is the profoundest revelation of God Himself as He in fact is. In Romans chapters 9 through to 11, there are many references to one principal word: mercy. Mercy is a central attribute of God Himself. When the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the seas, it will be the revelation of the mercy of God, what God Himself is. Something of God's mercy is going to be revealed in His final dealing with Israel, as will not be seen in any other place. If we lose the mystery of Israel, we are not only losing the dynamic of God's dealing with that nation, we are losing God in the way in which He chooses to communicate and reveal Himself. What then is the knowledge of God that we are presently communicating if it does not eventuate in a call to repentance? We need to ask what God's ruling purpose was from the beginning in electing Israel as a nation. Why did God need to have an earthly representative? He employs men in His purposes, but Israel, as a nation, is called to show God forth. Israel was to be a literal, physical and visible presence in the earth, communicating the reality of God by the visible demonstration of the glory that God has invested in His people. In fact, when you really get down to the question, can there be glory except it be exhibited through an earthen vessel? Can glory be glory except it has a structure that shows it forth, be it a tabernacle, a temple, an individual believer, a fellowship, or a nation? That is why Paul ends chapter 3 of Ephesians with, Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. This is astonishingly literal: a habitation of God by the Spirit in a people who are joined together, who have been fitted together, where His Spirit is not grieved, or alienated, and can abide and dwell. That is why the

nations will come up to Jerusalem in the millennial age, because His manifest glory will dwell there. It will be His sanctuary, His tabernacle and His dwelling place. For Paul, the revelation of God's glory is the whole issue. He saw the restoration of Israel and the role of the Church as means to this greater end. The issue is, and has always been, the glory of God, and that He should be glorified forever. The significance of Israel in the Last Days, restored through the instrumentality of the Church, is that this will be the last time when this issue can be met and answered. God's glory is going to be visibly demonstrated at the end of the age by Israel's restoration through the Church, but it is a glory of such a kind that it endures forever. Once the age ends, there is no longer a second shot at it. You cannot go back and do it over. The key is not a lapsed Israel, but the Church as an active, dynamic agent of God operating out of its own freedom to fulfill its enormous mandate, namely, to be God's instrument as Israel's 'deliverer.' The Church is the key, but not a Church that is having its arm twisted; rather one who freely and voluntarily gives itself for the fulfillment of these purposes. You cannot understand how jealous God is for His own glory, and that He will not allow any flesh to boast. The whole mystery is from Him; the fulfillment will be through Him in order that the glory be to Him forever. This puts the Church on a radical ground. Is that descriptive of the modern Church's mode of operating now? Can the Church say that what we do and what we are about is through Him, or even from Him, or consciously to Him? Paul is absolutely insistent on this formula. The mystery of Israel will not be fulfilled on any other basis than from Him, through Him, and to Him (Romans 11:36a). This mystery is certainly not going to be fulfilled by human expertise. Modern-day Israel was established by Jewish prowess, expertise, ability and savvy. There was a day in 1948 when the United Nations had a vote and Israeli statehood was established. We are, however, talking about the Israel that will be the millennial glory of God, and that will come, not by the dictates of men or their agreement politically, but through the sovereign, supernatural work of God out of death. There can be no other way because this must be from Him, through Him and to Him. It even raises the question of whether God has not allowed a political preliminary state to be formed merely to contrast what men can establish to what God Himself will establish. Present-day Israel is perhaps humanly impressive, but there is one thing that it lacks, namely, the glory of God. What God will establish out of His own sovereign power will be glory to Him forever. We may think that the present resettlement of Israel is a masterful stroke of God's success in the affairs of men, but from the heavenly perspective, can we bring ourselves to consider that it must be a profound failure? The only reason that we applaud it is because we do not see as God sees. God allows what we call successful to become a failure in order that He might bring forth something that is larger than the issue of success, namely, the thing that pertains to His eternal glory. We think humanly of the things that we desire, but we do not think of God's desire, or the things that pertain to His name, His honor and the fulfillment of His eternal purposes. Our problem is that we have been so desirous to see the nation Israel receive some kind of relief and satisfaction. Humanly speaking, we want to see them established. But what is our focus? What is our object? What is our jealousy? Is it their establishment and their deserving satisfaction at last, or the glory of God? If our jealousy is not for God's glory, then we may have to suffer the pain and the anguish of watching present-day Israel subside into death. Mere sentimentality is as destructive to the purposes of God for Israel as outright rejection or anti-Semitic disdain. Everything in you will want to rush to Israel's bedside and lay hands on, pray for, and lift her up and help and sustain her. When Jesus heard that His friend whom He loved, Lazarus, was sick, that is precisely what He did not do. He did not rush to the bedside of Lazarus, to bolster up and to preserve that natural physical life, though He loved him. Jesus remained longer where He was, sufficient for that life to die, and said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified by it (John 11:4)." The same thing that makes Paul an apostle is the very same thing that makes Jesus the ultimate, quintessential Son of God. They both had a passion for the glory of God. This passion has a higher criterion than the sickness of a friend. What anguish of soul are we willing to suffer for that glory, because suffering must necessarily precede glory every time, without exception? No Cross, No Glory Israel will not be saved or restored except by a Church so intensely jealous for the glory of God that it will exhibit the obedience of the Son by not acting prematurely out of its own humanity, its own compassion, or its own desire to alleviate suffering. It will allow death to have its full course, that there might be a

resurrection from the dead that will glorify God and the Son of God. And there will be no entering into, and identification with, suffering unless there is a very actual, existential and real expectation of the glory that follows. The Church at large is more or less content to talk about the glory of God, but has not any realistic expectation to see that glory. It wants its own success and the perpetuation of its own establishments. What will it take to restore this apostolic and prophetic vision to the Church? Where are the candidates? Anyone who brings this vision will likely be a threatening figure, because everything that we are talking about, the intensity of facing issues of truth and reality, is everything the Church does not want. What it wants is turning up the amplifiers, the euphoria and the impression of an alive fellowship, without the costly foundational and unmistakable reality. In fact, a good definition of present day Christianity is that it wants the sense of the power of God, and of the gifts of God, but without the Cross of God. The crisis of Israel, then, is not only for Israel's sake, per se, as it is for the Church. Nothing less will raise it from its torpor; nothing other will obtain its glory.

Chapter 7 - Israel and the Kingdom of God

There is a great corrective that is needed in the Church, all the more in those segments of the Church that are most applauded, where we presume to think that we have a 'full gospel' and the 'fullness of the Spirit.' Any part of the Church that is not preoccupied with the jealous guarding of that which pertains to the glory of God as its central and foremost consideration, or has substituted the needs of men, however real such needs may be, is no longer the Church in any true or apostolic way. The glory of God is going to be realized in the coming of the King and His theocratic kingdom in these final and consummating Last Days. Though we may be persuaded that the kingdom of God is exclusively 'within,' and something personal and subjective, the kingdom of God, in its most awesome aspect, should be understood as a ruling entity over the nations. There is a God who is actually going to rule out of the nation, Israel. There is going to be a law that will go forth out of a literal and geographic Zion in Jerusalem. The result of that rule will be that men will not study war any longer, they will beat their swords into plowshares, and nations will come up to the God of Jacob in the place where He will have established His sanctuary, His dwelling, and the locus of His theocratic rule out of a restored Israel. Our failure to know, believe, expect and desire this has had great consequence for the Church. It should be central to our every perspective and our every preoccupation with the faith. When the Lord inserts the critical key of an apostolic and prophetic perception of the centrality of Israel, as being significant and foremost in the Church's own consideration, all of the separate and isolated good things, given of God, come together in a new coherence that makes the faith the faith indeed! God has not forsaken His ancient people, Israel; His promises and covenant intent will yet be fulfilled, or how shall He then be God? Probably the greatest presumption of the Church is its triumphalistic assumption that it now is the Israel of God, and that this ancient and original people have lost it, and have no place of return or restoration in God's purposes. That is a tragic error, and has condemned the Church to something much less than the glory, power and significance of God's intention. The issue of Israel is central for the Church's own recognition of itself as the Church, and to remove this aspect from our consideration is to leave us lopsided and out of joint, and subject, therefore, to every whim, every passing fad, and every hope for something to fill the void that is sensed and needed. We must restore the thing that God Himself intends, not because Israel necessarily deserves that consideration, but because God has spoken, because God has promised, because God is the God of covenant, and will keep it even when His own people will not. Because the kingdom is the kingdom of David, so must it be established from the throne of David in Zion. These are not mystical, poetic allusions; these are concrete and specific indications of the scandalous specificity of God, of a literal people and a literal place that must be the seat and locus of His rule over creation. That we are not jealous for that rule is an embarrassment to the Church, and I trust that our human governments, however much we may hope in them, will invariably show their inadequacy. When we say, "Come, Lord Jesus!," we are not praying for escape, but for righteousness to come into the earth through the rule of God from the place which He has designated, and which will not be obtained except through the instrumentality of the Church to the Jews in these Last Days.

This is to be accomplished by a self-sacrificing Church that demonstrates the very mercy of its God, not in a corner, but must take place before the face of all nations. The nations will have to acknowledge that the God of Israel, the God of Jacob, the Creator of the heavens and the earth is alone God, to the eternal praise of His glory. The nations presently have given scant consideration to the God of Israel. They see Him only a contending deity among the whole bewildering array. But the God of Jacob is alone God, and the demonstration of His mercy to Jacob, after His judgment, will persuade the world that He alone is God, for they will witness both the expulsion as well as the return of His own people through their own nations. God has said that He will not do this in a corner, but before the face of all nations (Isaiah 52:9-10). We are at the conclusion of the age; an antichrist time of great severity, challenge and devastation is coming, not only upon Israel, but also upon the saints. What we lack, and what was distinctive of the early Church, and needs to be restored, is the significance of Israel in the eschatological (pertaining to the end) and apocalyptic (judgment and devastation) content of the faith. The first Church anxiously awaited the Lord's appearing, which in turn gave to the Church the sense of urgency, a dynamic of great and high seriousness, altogether the antithesis of the lightness that has characterized our 'charismatic' time. To not have these components as a vital center in our Christianity disfigures our Christianity, and relegates it to the kind of harmless and innocuous culture by which the world perceives us. The issue of Israel is the issue of the Church, but it is the issue of Israel rightly understood, and not idealistically minimized. The turning point for the Church will be the discovery of Israel in the sense that we are describing it, not in the condescending acknowledgement of the present, Zionist state and its success, for which many hope, but in the sense of the mystery central to God's redemptive glory and theocratic intention. Significantly, a merely benign and sanctimonious approval of present Israel does not threaten our petty kingdoms; rather it leaves them strangely quite intact. The revelation of a redeemed nation resurrected out of the death of the present one, like its Lord before it, shatters all our petty kingdoms, all of our categories, and requires and makes necessary anew the review of our understanding even of God as God. One can know that one has apprehended the issue of Israel rightly when it jostles and requires a complete realignment of one's entire understanding, and the forsaking and foregoing of one's own petty kingdoms. Will God go that far? We anticipate a soon-coming catastrophe that will eclipse the Nazi time, and the Church has not the slightest awareness of its coming, and has made no preparation, either physically or spiritually, to expect it. In fact, most of the Church has presumed its own absence at that time. This puts the great premium on our relationship to the Holy Spirit. Only He can bring the perception of reality and understanding that has been so lost to us that it cannot even be humanly communicated. Even Paul speaks of it as mystery, and warns us to not be ignorant of it (Rom. 11:25). It is the only mystery of which Paul gave such a warning. We might miss some of the other mysteries, but if we miss this mystery, there is a consequence that is fateful for the Church, namely, it will become wise in its own conceit. It will remain pompous and inflated, and believe that it has become the Israel of God, and that it will bring the kingdom of God to the earth; that the Church, in fact, is the kingdom of God, the 'kingdom now,' and that it is going to influence and take over society. God has, on the contrary, called the Church to a humbling and secondary role. We are called as a proviso in order to bring back to Himself a people who have been broken off from the tree into which we, in their place, have been grafted. When we perceive the issue of Israel rightly, we are compelled to consider the God of Judgment, to consider apocalyptic devastation; to consider people being dispelled again into the nations, exile, and a subsequent return; to consider suffering and its significance; to consider the meaning of the Cross and the suffering that precedes the glory, not only for Jesus, but for that nation called in Exodus 4:22, "My firstborn son." And that son has a destiny more comparable to its Pattern Son and Messiah, and must, in substantial measure, also follow Him in a road to Calvary. If God will take sin that seriously as to judge His ancient people so devastatingly, how well do we know Him? And what 'Jesus' is it that we promulgate? Is it, in fact, really the Son of God? The One who is going to judge the earth in equity and justice? Do we know God as God? And can we know Him if we have dismissed the revelation of Himself, so accurately set forth in His full triune Godhead except in His dealing with the people Israel? This is the divinely chosen context of God's own self-revelation. The absence of that critical knowledge has made the Church light and frivolous, open to the celebration of personality, feeling, experience and excitement, to the point where our souls have been so indulged that we cannot scarce tell now where soul ends and spirit begins. We can hardly distinguish between the faculty of soul and spirit, and have equated the one as the other. How much do we realize that our souls are being stirred through hype,

through all of the various devices that betray a foundational emptiness in the Church for the lack of that centrality God intended as normative? Little wonder there is a pride in the Church that is reluctant to give to the Jew place of prominence in the Last Days. There is a remarkable episode of an incident that occurred in another age, in an hour when the Spirit of God prevailed in such magnitude and purity that the very same act which might well be applauded today resulted, in that day, in sudden judgment and death. Let someone come today with a great contribution (as with Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5:1-10), and we would not ask too much about its source or the spirit by which it was offered. Probably such a person would be given a place of honor and acknowledgement, a deacon, at least, if not an elder, but the Church that identified the lie, and was not impressed with the sum, is quite contrary to the Church of today. The Church then was in its glory because it was alert to the issue of truth and deception; it knew that before the Spirit of God is the Spirit of power, He is first and foremost the Spirit of truth. When truth is compromised, we will find that the Spirit is not going to be around to perform the expressions of power that serve our needs and gratify our souls, especially if we have forsaken Him and His first designation and identity as the Spirit of truth. There needs to be a jealous regard for the truth, and Peter was therefore able to discern the pretence of a man and his wife, giving a sum of money as to be the whole, when it was only the part.13 Almost in the next breath we hear that "with great power, the apostles gave testimony to the resurrection of Jesus Christ," and that when the shadow of Peter would fall upon those who were sick and infirm, they would be healed. The respect for the Spirit of God as the Spirit of truth allowed for the demonstration of the Spirit as power. It is much easier to try and reverse that order, and many have, and have celebrated the power, the signs and wonders, and relegated truth to a distant consideration, if indeed, any consideration at all. And who of us has not played the game of giving the part and making that to appear as the whole? The distinctive character of truth is that it is the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or it is not the truth. Any disqualification, any cutting of corners, anything less than what is whole and full converts what seems to be impressive into the lie. So much of our fellowship life does not have the modesty and humility appropriate to a Church whose Lord is the Lamb, whose essential character is meekness. We are too often full of exaggeration, pompous ambition and activity, and think that the appearance constitutes the whole. The greater part that is missing, and that would have made us to a large extent whole, is the part that that has to do with the centrality of Israel in the Church's consideration. It needs to be restored if the Church is to be the Church of the Last Days, and thereby become the very provision of God for the redemption of His people whose time has come, for that is the time to obtain the kingdom.14 It is Israel's kingdom, not exclusively for national aggrandizement, but out of the nexus of their Jerusalem, and out of their Zion, shall the law of the Lord go forth to all nations, which can only go forth from them as the redeemed nation. God has made promises to their patriarchs and to themselves that must be fulfilled. A deliverer must come out of Zion and take transgression from Jacob according to the covenant that He has made with them (Rom. 11:26-27). We need to ask ourselves whether we are doing anything different from what Ananias and Sapphira did when we seek and expect the evidence of power while consecrating ourselves only in part to the Lord, while yet presuming to have given ourselves wholly. We all want the semblance of these things, the comfort of the Spirit, the intimate communion, but we want it at the lesser price of acknowledging truth as only being doctrinal, or the issue of being biblically correct rather than as the very sum and substance of the reality of our lives. There is a way we can delight to speak truth, but, in our deeps, we do not want to be true. We want correct words, we want to acknowledge truth, but we do not want to obey it. We are bringing our partial, phraseological truth, and making that to stand for the whole, as if we have already the reality that we are describing! To tolerate one's deceit is to violate the whole truth. To be ninety-nine percent true, or mostly true, and represent that as the whole truth, is to lie utterly. To sin in one part is to sin in the whole. We can talk about our love for the Lord, and our submission to Him, but the issue of truth is found in the place where we are most tempted to keep back for ourselves. There is always one final and ultimate reservation that keeps us back from that utterness towards God. This is the thing that makes truth really the truth, and brings to the Church the reality of His presence and His glory. How true is true if we are still celebrating the Church over Israel as being the essential center of God's enduring glory and rule? The issue of truth, stubbornly awaiting our consideration, will require an alignment in

terms of our traditions and understanding. Until we do, dispositions remain that have opened us for deception, for pseudo-revival, for experience, for emotion, for the kinds of things that are questionable and dubious at best and may actually be demonic at worst. There is something about the radical apprehension of the centrality of Israel as the Zion of God over every other consideration. Once apprehended, we find that the power of deception is broken; it puts an iron into our souls that steadies us, and keeps us from being disposed to the kinds of things that make for deception. The New Wineskin The proper recognition of Israel's centrality is the greatest provision of God for the Church, and the absence of that provision has left us in a questionable condition. Even the best of what we have known charismatically has not been the answer. Perhaps it is because the wineskin was always inadequate. We are suggesting that the wineskin is more a wineskin of comprehension of an apostolic and prophetic way of perceiving all the faith, thus fitting the Church for its apostolic mandate and indeed, the very purpose for God pouring out His Spirit. Is not the Holy Spirit rather a provision to prepare us for the suffering, the opposition and the persecution that will come with our identification with Jews in the Last Days, when they will be a hated people among all nations? When the predominantly Gentile Church receives the Holy Spirit, we are in fact appropriating the promise made first to Israel. We need to understand that, and to be humbled by that fact. The error of the charismatic and other similar movements is that we have forgotten the auspices by which the Holy Spirit has come to us, out of Israel's own promise, and have extrapolated Him for our own purposes even at Israel's expense. Why was the Spirit initially given to the Gentiles? Why was it not enough to give it to the 3,000 or the 5,000 original Jewish converts? Why has God turned now to the 'foolish nation,' Gentiles? In our opinion, the eschatological Spirit was given that we might be a witness to Israel, moving them to jealousy. In other words, we have stopped short of the issue of the glory of God and the resurrection life, the ends for which the Spirit was given. We have lost both the eschatological framework and God's strategy. Paul magnified his office so that he might have a humbled people who would so express the Shekinah glory that Israel must say, "Now there is our God!" We are saying that this is the new wineskin, not as it is currently understood as a change in ecclesiastical forms or church structures, but as an apocalyptic framework of understanding. Like Paul, our gospel needs to be one that is according to the revelation of the mystery hidden in other ages. (Col. 1:26). It is a context of an Israel that would stumble, of a Son of Man who would be rejected and crucified by His own nation, and then a calling out of a foolish, Gentile people, a 'no people,' to move Israel to jealousy. What is the gospel if it is not preached in this context? What is lost? Paul preached his gospel in that context, and it is a context that should compel and direct our attention to the issue of death and resurrection, which then restores the gospel as 'Christ-centered.' It restores Jesus to the true center as King, because it recaptures the theocratic context, and this, we are saying, is the 'gospel of the kingdom.' When we talk about 'the mystery of the kingdom,' or 'the mystery of the gospel,' we are talking about the context of the mystery of two comings of Messiah to Israel. This is the key to the whole mystery, and if we do not understand that the Messiah came a first time to make Israel stumble, as a judgment, an eschatological judgment, and that we are living between the two advents of Messiah, under and during the judgment of Israel. There was a plenitude of salvation promised to Gentiles, of Israel going forth to the nations as a priestly, theocratic kingdom, the knowledge of the Lord would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. In other words, if God was just interested in evangelism, He would have restored Israel and the Gentiles would have had an abounding access to the grace that would come to them. Now that will be true in the Millennium. "For if their rejection be the reconciliation of the world [nations], what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11:15). In other words, if their fall has brought this much grace to the Gentiles, how much more will their fullness bring but more abundant grace to the Gentile nations! The first Jewish believers in Messiah knew that when Israel was to be restored, the nations would be blessed, and Abraham's promise be fulfilled, but what they did not conceive, or consider, was that God would be calling out a people from the Gentile nations "to move Israel to jealousy," and that the gifts of the Spirit would be given to a "strange and another people" to make Israel jealous as a judgment, as a testimony against them. Both Moses and Paul were in agreement. That context has been lost, but it is a theocratic framework that constitutes the mystery. according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal

God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith (Rom. 16:25b-26). Only a gospel preached in this context will do that. Is this not the plumbline that divides between the true and false church? Israel is the missing link, and nothing so accentuates and underscores the core of the gospel, namely death and resurrection, than the issue of Israel. God has given Israel to underscore in her own experience the issue of death and resurrection. And He has given the Gentiles to Israel to press that reality home to them. Israel has been given to us to compel us to that reality, and we, in turn, to them. That Israel would not know the 'time of their visitation' was foreordained of God. In the absence of this theocratic context, the gospel that has been promulgated has been reduced to something personal, rapture-oriented, 'place in heaven,' and enjoyment, satisfaction, and prosperity in this life. Or, as the institutional religion of Rome, the gospel is completely of a 'displacement' orientation. It takes to itself all the prerogatives that God intended for theocratic Israel. It conceives of itself as the theocratic entity in the earth, a kind of millennial phenomenon. In other words, being identified with another gospel results in our establishing a present kingdom on earth, exempting Israel's national restoration, her resurrection from the dead, the glory of God forever! The whole interim that the Gentile Church is in now is a 'between-the-times' phenomenon, and it is given as a call for repentance, to prepare the way of the Lord for the coming of the apocalyptic, intervention of His kingdom. We enter by the Spirit now, into the kingdom that must come to Israel. We are entered as a first fruit, a foreshadowing of Israel's millennial glory in ourselves. The reality of that kingdom should have a power and a presence now, but it should be with one view: to preparing a people for that kingdom, which will bring the restitution of all things spoken of by the prophets (Acts 3:21). The first saints were living in the imminent expectation of the destruction and overthrow of Jerusalem, and the imminent restitution of all things. It was a time of great urgency, but that apocalyptic framework has, for centuries, been lost, exacting, thereby, an enormous toll. Unless the Spirit of God and the gifts of God are understood and are seen in the context of the apostolic framework of God's intention as a besieged community in the midst of a sea of hostility and worldly hatred, then we make the Spirit of God and His gifts serve a lesser purpose. They accommodate us rather than God, and one wonders if God is in that business, providing that accommodation, or, that something questionable has come in its place, and that we have not the discernment to distinguish. If it seems to bring a measure of excitement, a measure of enjoyment, a measure of relief, a measure of healing, which the Powers of this world can easily provide in order to bring in an ultimate deception. The Holy Spirit needs to be restored to the context of God's intention, of which the center is the restoration of a people who have not even the faintest notion of their eternal destiny or a desire for it, and want only to be as other nations. Nevertheless, God's word toward them, and the gifts and callings of God, must be fulfilled, for they are irrevocable and without repentance, or God is voided as God. Let us not lose this ultimate and apocalyptic expectation, the dynamic that gave the early Church its distinctive. To substitute lesser 'excitements' leaves completely unchallenged the Powers of the air in the heavenly places, who rage against God and against His Anointed, and whose final defeat comes only with the restoration of Israel through the Church. To forfeit this eschatological calling constitutes a Last Days' apostasy, the great falling away of which Paul spoke. However much we might be occupied with the benevolent needs of men, for their healing, their deliverance, even their salvation, etc, it is to be occupied only in part, rather than in whole. It is the occupation with the whole that is the radically requiring aspect. It is little wonder that we shun the Jew, "the enemy of the gospel," and that we would much rather engage one another than to take up the central task of the Church, and, indeed, in a great part, the divine strategy in the salvation of Gentiles "so as to move them [the Jew] to jealousy." In the unfathomable wisdom of God, the issue of Israel, rightly and prophetically understood, is God's provision for an errant Church, because it alone provides the framework by which the Church itself is to be understood. Its origins are derived from Israel, "for salvation is of the Jews." By being grafted into her tree, and living by the Life that is expressed through her root, the Church has a destiny as God's salvific agency for the restoration of that people in moving them to jealousy and showing them the face of their own God, who is full of mercy and unconditional in His love. What has been too long confused is that the Church is not the kingdom, per se, but an interim provision in Israel's restoration, and it is time now to restore the kingdom of David to that literal people on David's throne, on the holy hill of Zion. The kingdom of God will either go forth from that place, or it will not go forth at all.

Until that kingdom comes, no true divine law will go forth to the nations. Wars, suffering, death, incest and every kind of vile mayhem will continue to prevail over the world until the law of God can go forth from the one place specifically designated. Only one redeemed nation has the honor of expressing it, and whose redemption has come through a Zion (the Church of the Last Days) out of which, alone, their Deliverer comes (Rom. 11:25-27). There is something foundationally wrong when we desire to enjoy a semblance of the Spirit, and its 'excitement,' without the Cross. We want the reality of God without the suffering that precedes that glory. Church, as every earnest believer knows, is a place of suffering, before it is a glory. The Church is a means, not an end in itself, but by being that means, it obtains, at the consummation of the age, something more glorious than that of the redeemed millennial Israel herself, namely, a ruling and reigning with Christ in the heavenly places. We, who are a "no people" as the Church, have become the "people of God" to move to envy a nation, Israel, that has lost that very identity. In the final frenzy, which is even now brewing, Jews will likely regard us, the Church, as enemies and a threat to their Jewishness in the anti-Semitic furor of the Last Days' persecution. In the failure to recognize that ours is a heart of love toward them, we may possibly have to suffer martyrdom even at their hands, as Stephen did, as a critical necessity, a sacrifice, to bring by it, if that alone is the final requirement, the revelation of the Lord that turned Saul from persecutor to apostle, and will bring that nation from opposing God to its own apostolate in blessing all the families of the earth. Our coming under these purposes of God for Israel's redemption, this first-born among the nations, is calculated for our humility. We must not expect Jewish understanding, let alone gratitude for our sacrifice on their behalf, and, like Christ dying for us as sinners when we were dead in our transgressions, we also must 'suffer' for them while they are yet in their transgressions. In that mutuality and in that willingness to suffer for them as He suffered for us, we show forth the essential character of their God. The crisis that the Jew of the Last Days brings to a Church called to their redemption will reveal the truth of our condition in its depths, a condition calculated by God to bring us to the need for a full sanctification, which would not otherwise have been recognized, nor sought.

13 See fuller discussion in author's book Spirit of Truth. 14 Consider the explicit reference to the establishing of the kingdom that follows the restoration of Israel in
the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), which subject we will be taking up in a later chapter.

Chapter 8 - Israel And The Church

This cosmic drama is the setting for the Church of the Last Days. The Powers of darkness will not regard as a serious threat a local church that does not see this cosmic setting. They are the masters of deception, having a faculty for recognizing the authentic. They tremble and fear wherever they see apostolic authenticity in God's people. Wherever they see a congregation of the casual, and a conglomerate of individual entities going about their own business and their own self-will, whose government is not upon His shoulder, who do not take His Word seriously, who do not see themselves as participants in the eschatological future and are just wanting to 'get by' in a mere succession of services, these same Powers yawn and are unmoved. Israel is God's designated test for the Church, to reveal its authenticity and the degree of the truth of its sanctification. Historically, many great saints have failed that test. Luther, the giant of the Reformation, most grievously collapsed at this test. He spent some time with three prominent Rabbis thinking naively that he would persuade them about the truths of the Reformation, and that they would recognize in the Reformation Church the revelation of the messianic faith of the God of Israel, but those Rabbis refused to be persuaded. Jews were no more impressed with Reformed Protestantism than they were with Catholicism. Jewish refutation of Luther's biblical arguments for Jesus as the Messiah, according to the fulfillment of Scripture, were, to Luther, of such a horrendous kind that they bordered on blasphemy. And, by that, Luther saw that the very presence of a Jewish or a Judaistic-rejecting body in Reformed Europe constituted a threat to the early Reformation itself. He then lapsed into a vitriolic opposition in which he produced a book called, The Lies of the Jews, which fueled, in part, the Nazi German persecution of Jews four centuries later! The Jew has ever and always been the severest test for the Church. They have always been a goad and thorn in its side because there is something about Jews in their mocking, skeptical attitude that is so galling and intimidating, especially to a self-congratulating, triumphalistic Church.

Moving the Jew to Jealousy Where Paul says that "...salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them [Israel] jealous" (Rom. 11:11), we need to know, as the Church, that there is something that will be required of us because of Israel's fall. From God's side, a principal purpose for our salvation is to move Jews to jealousy, and if we are not occupied with His purpose for our salvation, then we are not apostolic; we cannot say that we are authentically under His Lordship. We can have our services, our outreaches, our programs and we can bless the people, and the Lord permits us, but we should not, by that, automatically assume that we will have any part with Him in the things that pertain to His eternal purposes. If the predominantly Gentile Church only knew that God has brought them into something exclusively reserved at first for Israel, they would have a very different attitude about what it means to be a believer. It would give the Church a certain kind of chastening and humility to see that the graciousness of God has now been made available to the Gentiles also. There is, however, a reason for that: I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous (Rom. 11:11). There is a strategy to God's bringing the Gentiles in. We Jews were broken off from our own root because of our rebellion and disobedience, and you as Gentiles were grafted in, not just to enjoy services, but to come to such a place of faith that you would exhibit what should have been our blessedness. You are in covenant relationship with our God and are grafted into His root, and therefore the sap of God should be coursing through you and exhibiting its fruits and blessings. This should be something so observable in Gentiles that it would alert unbelieving Jews to an awareness of their own God, in such a way as to move them to jealousy. The first and foremost thing that distinguishes true church from any other religious body is not its preoccupation with the needs and benefits of its congregations, but its preoccupation with God's benefits. Making a demonstration to the Principalities and Powers of the air of the manifold wisdom of God is not for our benefit, but for His. The single defect at the heart of the Church today that threatens it from being the Church in the apostolic sense is that it has not taken to itself as foremost, God's purposes and God's satisfaction. The Church is still centered in itself: "Our blessing. Our benefit. What accrues to us by believing. We are saved from tribulation. We are going to heaven. Was the service good? How did you like the preaching? What did you get out of it?" Everything is predicated on us, our likes, and our satisfactions. We have brought into the Church the egocentrisms that occupied us in the world, and which now have another face: religious or spiritual, but equally egocentric. Can you see that even unconsciously and inadvertently we are deeply self-centered, and that the very air that we breathe, the self-centered wisdom of the world, has permeated even the Church? Every question, in the last analysis, is seemingly predicated on what benefit we receive. We need something to break the power of that inescapable and intrinsic orbit, and God, for that reason, has given us a mandate and a call for something beyond ourselves, namely, that a primary purpose for our being and salvation, from God's perspective, is that, as Gentiles, we might "move Israel to jealousy." As we have said, the key to Israel is the Gentile Church. And the key to the Church is this dynamic of obligation that it would never have chosen for itself, yet that obligation is calculated to save the Church from its inveterate religious self-centeredness and spiritual egocentricity that has been the ruin of its apostolic character. In other words, were it not for that obligation, we would be inextricably and unavoidably self-centered. Even the consciousness of this requirement is presently absent from the Church's consideration. What kind of demonstration can the Church make that will provoke Jews, who have been the historical enemies of the gospel, to the jealousy of the thing that they have despised and resisted till now? Do we have to become more charismatic or pentecostal? What does 'true church' mean? What must Jews see? What will do it? The remarkable thing is that Paul lets that statement stand: ...salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous (Rom.11:11). He gives no explanation as to what he means, or how it is to be performed. But this much we do know, the Church that can move Israel to jealousy is the same Church that can defeat the Powers of the air. Whatever is required for the one, serves also for the other. We know that there are two mysteries to be fulfilled. One is the mystery of Israel and the other is the eternal purpose of God, through the Church, of manifesting the manifold wisdom of God to the Principalities and Powers of the air (Eph. 3:10). These are two mysteries that are waiting to be fulfilled for which purpose God has "created all things." Ought that not to concern us?

Back to Beginnings These things that we are groping for and touching cannot be obtained by only meeting on Sunday mornings with an occasional mid-week Bible study. It is clear that requirements of this kind demand a totality toward God and with those to whom we are joined. Sunday church is a convenience, but what I am suggesting is profoundly inconvenient. This is the going from house to house once again, breaking bread daily. This is working through issues, tensions, difficulties and misunderstandings, and it is amazing how easily they pop up and how quickly they can bring to nothing a relationship that has been years in the making. It requires and compels us to a daily vigilance and dependency upon God. We cannot, from our own humanity, produce the unmistakable sincerity and authenticity that is required of us. We cannot stamp it out on the production line. We do not get it by going to a three-month discipleship school. It is, rather, a labor of love, of sacrifice and of suffering under the hand of God, and one will only get it in a prolonged period of time in a fellowship that is itself a place of suffering. Church is a suffering before it is a glory. The suffering we speak of is not from an attack that comes from without, but that which comes from within, in the misunderstandings, confusions and accusations. It is an astonishment the way people can sometimes be pressed because of the intensity of issues that arise! How could they say such things to you? Often there can be no explaining and no arbitrating; rather it is just something that needs to be borne. We have to bear each other up in our different places of maturity, self-control and understanding. Wherever church endeavors to be true, wherever it seeks for the intensity of true relationships, face-to-face living, speaking the truth in love, correcting, reproving and exhorting one another, then there is, of necessity, likely going to be much misunderstanding amongst ourselves. We are going to have to face tensions. Tensions can so deepen that you think, "This is it. This fellowship is finished. There is no way that there could be understanding and reconciliation here." We find ourselves utterly cast upon God and His mercy. A warp comes when the Powers of darkness find opportunity to insinuate themselves in our own subjective awkwardness and inability. It is difficult to hear one another objectively. We meant one thing, but it was heard in another way. To untangle that, and to come finally to an understanding and an agreement requires a tolerance and a patience beyond one's capability. The time it takes, the anguish of it all, is a suffering. But we will not be able to move Israel to jealousy until we have broken through and beyond our own natural ability to be patient and into the divine patience that is of God. It is easier to send monthly contribution to Jewish evangelism organizations and let them do the work of evangelism, than for the Church in every locality to take up this mandate and obligation to the Jews of its own area. This is also God's criterion of success as church; it is not whether we are pleased with the services or what we enjoy, but that whatever has been established and created is able to touch resistant Jews as well, at the same time, manifest the manifold wisdom of God to the Principalities and Powers of the air. That is why Paul cried, "Who is sufficient for these things?" We need to know our inadequacy and insufficiency, and it ought to compel us to God. It forces us to the issue of the love of God, which is no abstraction, but which grows out of the gratitude for His faithfulness, especially when we have cast ourselves upon Him again and again in crisis situations that we could never have met on the basis of our own ability or wisdom. If it were not for the issue of the Jew, we would never have had the urgency to come into this mode of being. We, as the Church, would have satisfied ourselves with something much less than that which would have glorified God, because the Church that can move Jews to jealousy is the Church that will be unto Him a glory. We would not have known that glory if we had not had this mandate of requirement toward the Jew. For Your Sake There is not one fellowship in a thousand that has so much as considered the fact that the criterion of its success is not what it enjoys, but its ability to move the Jews of their locality to jealousy. That criterion is hardly ever considered because we instinctively know that it is an ultimate requirement. Jews are the enemies of the gospel. It is not just that they resist the gospel or are indifferent to it, they actively oppose it. Yet Paul says that they are the enemies of the gospel, and then he tacks on, "for your sake" (Rom. 11:28a). Can you understand why this page has been ripped out of the Bible in modern times? It is as if the Church and its teachers have passed over and omitted it because it is radical in its requirement, and both Jew and Gentile have suffered immeasurably for that omission. What does Paul mean, "for your sake"? Do we need enemies, particularly enemies like that? We are not talking about a bunch of harmless amateurs. Jews are a characteristically powerful people; they are brilliant;

they are intellectual; they are authoritative. Have you ever had a confrontation with a Rabbi, or a Jewish intellectual or radical? As a former missionary to the Jews, and having been one myself for a long time, there is no more formidable 'enemy of the gospel' than the Jewish people. For the most part, we have never faced them nose-to-nose. We have never allowed ourselves to venture into a situation where we would have a door slammed in our face. We have never experienced bristling Jewish anger and indignation. We have never been cut to shreds by the cruelest words that insulted and offended human ingenuity can express! They can make you to feel like a fool, "How dare you present this message to us; we who have been on the receiving end of two thousand years of 'Christian' persecution culminating in the Holocaust! Are you going to tell us that we need your Christ?" You do not know what confrontation is until you meet such a people head-on. All of a sudden you feel like a weak little nothing; your gospel seems now so utterly vain, futile and foolish; you just want to shrivel up and blow away! Our God is not taken by surprise by these factors, for He knows them well. In fact, He has overseen the factors that would make the Jew, especially in the Last Days, the most conspicuous and powerful opposition to Jesus Christ. That is why Paul says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, [Foolish though it is, intellectually speaking] for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, [and here Paul comes again] to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16). If only we could try the gospel out on the Greeks first, and if it is successful there, then we will try it on the Jew, because they are the toughest! But no, in the wisdom of God, it is, "To the Jew first." We are not to begin where it is easiest, but where it is hardest. "Go into all the world, but begin at Jerusalem where I was crucified and where the prophets were stoned to death. Then you can go on to Samaria and all these other places, but begin with the Jew first (Acts 1:8 paraphrased)" We signal something to the Principalities and Powers of the air when we do not take this mandate seriously. They look down and say, "You guys do not take the Lord seriously. You have not obeyed His word of command to go into all the world and to preach this gospel to every creature, beginning in Jerusalem and to the Jew first. We regard you, therefore, as lightly as you regard Him. You have not acknowledged the Lordship of His Word. You have not acknowledged the divine priority that He has given the Church towards Israel. You have done your own thing, and have nicely circumvented the most difficult requirement of all. You are cowards, afraid, and have no confidence in your own spirituality. You have taken the easy way. You have allowed the Jews to have their own existence, because their synagogues are to be found in the same communities with your churches, which is the statement that you accord to the synagogue a comparable validity of an equal kind with Christianity as being tenable, authoritative and valid." To authenticate Judaism by honoring and respecting the synagogue and having dialogues with them, as if they constitute an equally redemptive faith, would have made Paul grieve. How could he have done that and still begin Romans chapter 9 by saying, For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh (v. 3). If a Christ-less Judaism were valid, why then would he have wished himself accursed? If there is anything that makes the Church conscious of its inadequacy, it is confronting the Jew. The Jew is symbolic of the world, and the world at its most prestigious and powerful. Jews have won more Nobel prizes, more distinctions and awards in the fields of medicine, literature, culture and science, out of all proportion to their smaller number in population than any other people. They are a gifted people, but they employ their gifts, independent of God rather than for God, in the spirit of the world, and that makes them powerfully intimidating. When God says, "To the Jew first," He knows what He is talking about. When you touch Jewish life you are touching a whole world system, a whole humanism and a whole elaborate, moral, ethical, religious and secular system that is opposed to God in every point and particular. Although it is a false light, Judaism would be worth subscribing to from a humanistic viewpoint; it has the most formidable endowments of wisdom and reason. But when God and His Christ are factored in as Living Reality, it makes that very same body of humanism inhumane in defrauding Israel and the nations of both reality and eternity. The Fulness of the Gentiles For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel, until... (Rom. 11:25a). Put a circle around the word until. There is a condition, and here is the point. It is a condition that only the

Church can meet. The issue of Israel becomes the issue of the Church. ...until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom. 11:25b). When God says 'fulness,' He means the completion of all that He has intended. There is a fulness for which God waits, the "calling out of a people for His name, from among every nation" (Acts 15:14). This has always been the mission mandate of the Church. But according to Paul's letter to the Romans, the greatest incentive that God gives the Church to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel is that, ...the Deliverer will come from Zion (Rom. 11:26a). When that mission is completed, something will happen independent of Israel's own spiritual condition. The Deliverer is released in the moment that the fulness of the Gentiles has come in. Israel is delivered, and the Deliverer takes His throne on the holy hill of Zion and rules over the nations. The world is in a hapless condition until the Lord Himself comes. Only thereafter can there be a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. It is clear that this view opposes the 'pre-tribulation' rapture mentality, a mentality that sees the Church as being removed before the tribulation. It is a widely accepted doctrine, but to challenge it is to be looked upon as challenging some sacrosanct foundational doctrine of the faith. It is as if you are introducing heresy, when it is not a doctrine of the historic faith at all. Nothing, in our opinion, has more disarmed the Church of the necessity for preparation, discipleship, maturity and of being the Church that can stand in the Last Days and overcome tribulation, than the misguided confidence that it will not have to face it! It is because of this 'pre-tribulation' rapture expectation that the Church, for the most part, is presently operating now toward Israel from the place of guilt, namely, that the Church is removed while the Jews remain to face the music. Anything that issues from the Church that has an ulterior motive, that relieves our conscience, where we operate out of guilt rather than from a priestly place, is not a an effectual place of ministry. Only priestly ministry is valid. The heart of priestly ministry is that the priest derives no advantage or benefit for himself in his priestly ministration. However, if you are operating out of guilt and a bad conscience, then you are alleviating something for yourself by being condescending to Jews. If we, as the Church, elevate and exalt ourselves as something separate, independent or superior to the Jew, then, by that one thing, we are no longer the Church. The Church loses its character when it loses its essential humility. The Church needs to be reminded that we were grafted into their root and that we are made, by the gospel, partakers with them. The Church is not some phenomenon independent of Israel; it is the graciousness of God to allow Gentiles to come into their promise, into their hope and into their expectation, which they themselves have lost by default and no longer know. Part of our task is to remind Israel, not only verbally, but by being a demonstration of what it means to have been invited into the privileges of their 'commonwealth' (Eph. 2:12). Moving the Jew to jealousy is a truer measure by which we should be assessing our spiritual condition. The very nature of the present Church is to be satisfied in itself. It gauges itself by itself or by others, and is happy with the measure of things that God gives, which defeats the very purpose for them being given. God calls us to ultimacy and to a purpose beyond ourselves that cannot be measured by ourselves, but only by our ability to move Jews to jealousy by the corporate word that we speak and incorporate as 'life together.'15 It can only happen with a people who have come to one mind, one heart, one understanding and one speaking. This is not an invitation to become automatons processed off the assembly line and who come in some monotonous submission to speak the same thing. It means a people, richly individualistic, formidable in themselves, alive to having the possibility of their own opinions and views but now brought by the divine process of God, which necessitates suffering through trial, to being in a complete agreement with God. And when He requires it, we can then speak a word that alone is creative and life-giving, because it is a word given in agreement with God. Unless we are in preparation now toward that end, we need not think that it can be summoned from us when the drama of the Last Days shall come upon us suddenly. Will we have an incentive for this quality of integration, unity of life and agreement, and the depths of it? By what means shall we attain that end? One of the principal ways that a work of that depth has the greatest potential is in community, the daily life with the saints, who have taken up, consciously and willingly, their apostolic task!

15 See the classic book on this subject: Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Chapter 9 - The Israel of God

To some degree, we have all been victims of a dispensational mentality. In other words, Christianity, as we know it, is seen as independent of its Hebraic roots. But this is a distortion of God's salvation purpose in history, and there needs, therefore, to be a radical return to the fullness of the faith, which will not be ours until we see the face of Israel in it. In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul astounds us with a statement of the cosmic proportions of the faith, and unless we understand this dimension, and have it presented to us in the Church, we are hearing something that is much less requiring, much less glorious, and risks being false. Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by the so-called Circumcision, which is performed in the flesh by human hands - remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household (Eph. 2:11-19). These verses are addressed to the Gentiles in Ephesus, and Paul is telling them to remember something, which they at one time evidently knew, maybe even by virtue of his own apostolic preaching. Few, if any, are teaching the Gentile Church today that they have been grafted into the root and commonwealth of Israel, and that this is their deepest and truest identity. Paul is calling us to the recognition of that fact, in times past were Gentiles in the flesh who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision. If you know anything about the history of Jew and Gentile, we Jews have invariably looked down at Gentiles with no little disdain and contempt. Gentiles were looked upon as pagans, while we Jews were the people of the Covenant, and we bore the seal of it in our own flesh via circumcision. The contemptuous term for those who were non-Jews was 'the uncircumcised.' The Ephesian believers had not understood the rudiments, origins and the source of the faith, and did not see that they had been brought back into that very faith itself, namely, into the faith of Israel. The Unbroken Continuum are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints. When Paul wrote this, he clearly meant the Jewish saints, the saints of old, the patriarchs, and all who had preceded them in the one faith of God. There is an unbroken continuum between the Hebrew people of the past and what is called the Christian faith today. It is one faith, one God and one hope. Those who were far off, and without hope, and without God, have been brought nigh by the blood of Jesus, into the hope, calling and promises of Israel, into, as we have said, the very commonwealth of Israel, being made one new people with them. Is it possible to have authentic, valid hope in God, indeed to have God, the God of Jacob, without having, at the same time, a deep recognition that we have been brought by Him into Israel's commonwealth and made partakers of their covenants, their promise? Though it may seem elementary to say it, to be a Christian means to be in conscious covenant relationship with Israel's God. Has it really penetrated our own consciousness, that there is one God, and that He Himself chooses to be identified as the God of Israel and the God of Jacob? Israel may have forsaken their own inheritance, they may have broken their own covenant, and they may have been cast away temporarily, as Paul says in Romans 11, but they are not permanently cut off. God is not to be relegated to an ambiguous concept, but the particular Deity who is uniquely the God of Jacob. It is in the lack of this specific identification with God as that God that something very grave is lost, namely, the reality of God as God. There is something in the genius of God that makes Him Israel's God. Of all the people with whom He might have identified Himself, He enlists the name of a people who are the most abrasive, whose history is the most disgraceful, and who have historically been the most apostate, stiff-necked and backslidden. To what

degree is this calculated for the breaking of stubborn human pride that presumes to have God on its own terms and conditions? Have we really made our peace with the humbling recognition of God as the God of the Jews? The fact that the Jews themselves do not submit to God does not in any way alter His identification, His relationship or His heart toward them. We must not be deflected away from Him being the God of the Jews simply because of the way that Jews themselves have lost that identification. God has insisted upon this identification, and we need to ask ourselves whether we, in fact, have willingly submitted, all the more if we have no natural affinity or disposition for Israel and the Jew. The Revelation of God God is the God of Israel's history, and it is a history that has been "written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Cor. 10:11b). The history of God with Israel is the history of God, and the revelation of God, as He in fact is. Nothing more reveals Him than in the way in which He has been pleased to express Himself in His relationship to that people historically. To take Him out of that context is to remove an understanding of God in a way He has chosen to reveal Himself in His particular relationship with that specific people, both in severity and also in blessing. This may well account for the woefully inadequate knowledge of God so rampant in the modern Church. We have not understood the severity of God toward Israel in judgments that have fallen upon that nation, nor in that which will yet befall them. If He did not spare Israel, and indeed, has temporarily cut them off from the root of God, then will He spare us if we do not abide in faith? The absence of fear toward God and the knowledge of His judgments are altogether, in our opinion, directly related to the absence of our knowledge of God's direct dealing with Israel in judgment. Our witness, therefore, to Israel is equally as inadequate. Something is lacking that would have brought us to a texture of the faith, to an integrity of the faith, and to a sense of identification of things future that could only be ours because of God's past relationship with Israel and what He prophetically declares of Israel's future. The God of Covenant Messiah is not Messiah except in the Hebraic content and the counsel of God as given in Old Testament Scripture. The very terms that have been coined Old Testament and New Testament lend themselves to an artificial severance of what is organically inseparable. The New Covenant [Testament] is comparatively meaningless unless you understand what was spoken in the prophets, in Jeremiah chapter 31, of a covenant to come that would be everlasting. The New Covenant goes back to the Old Covenant itself. It is not some innovation. God did not make some new thing. He made a new provision for the fulfillment of the old thing. "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel" (v. 31), but not in terms of its content or requirements. What makes it new is that, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it" (v. 33). It will no longer be an outward conformity to external requirements. God Himself will dwell in them. The Covenant Maker will be the Covenant Keeper within them. He will give them the very enablement, and for that reason it will be everlasting. Israel has shown that she does not have the propensity to be covenant keepers. God sees the nation as covenant breakers, who do not keep the promises of God and who do not cherish the Word of God. But He is going to do something for them in the Last Days purely out of His mercy. God is going to restore them to Himself, and make with them a covenant that they cannot break. For the God who makes covenant is the God who will keep it in them to the eternal praise of His glory. This is the very covenant into which the blood of Messiah Jesus has brought us who believe. The Old is not annulled, but reaffirmed by the New. The only difference is the form of the covenant. The New Covenant is not, therefore, a different covenant, but the original covenant established, now, everlastingly, as once-and-for-all. Jesus did not do away with the Old Testament dispensation by putting something new in its place, but only in the sense that the Old has found its ultimate and deepest fulfillment in the New. There is an unbroken continuum; it is one faith, one hope and one God, and He is the God of Israel. The idea that we are now living under the dispensation of grace, as if the dispensation of law is over, is artificial and false. It breaks the whole continuity of the faith and makes us think that we belong to something other than what God has established with Israel. God has not abolished the Law. He has only abolished the law-keeping as a means by which salvation is to be obtained, but the righteousness of the law is still very dear to Him, and is obtained by those who walk in His Spirit and not in the flesh. Nothing has been abolished, but something new is provided by which the Old can be obtained. This is the one God, the one faith, the one call, and when it takes hold of us and comes into our spirits, it will transform our whole perception of the faith. We have no awareness of how anemic, loveless, narrow,

predictable and mechanical a fellowship or people are that have lost their identification with Israel, and do not understand that the rudiments of the faith and its very root go deep into the life of that people and that people's God. Gentiles, who were far off and who were sucking beer out of skulls in pagan lands, and who were without God and without hope in the world, have been brought nigh by the blood of the Messiah Jesus. And by that access and entry, they have full right to Israel's covenants, her promises and her inheritance. It is enlarging and liberating to know that we have such an ancestry and such a destiny as had been exclusively reserved for one people alone, the Israel of God, into which now we have been brought by the blood of the Messiah when we were far off. There is a reason why God is calling the Church, presently, to this remembrance. If it loses that identification, it loses, to the same degree, its identification as the Church. The Church is the magnificent creation of God; He has taken those who were far off and joined them with His ancient people in one blood and in one Spirit through one Father by the gospel, and made of them, where there were two, one new man, thereby making peace. That statement is not for our convenience. That union of the two peoples, Jew and Gentile, who were once at such historic enmity, now reconciled by the blood of the Messiah and brought into the commonwealth of Israel and into the destiny of that nation to bless all the families of the earth, is a paradigm and pattern of God's intention to reconcile all things both in heaven and in earth! The reconciliation of the Gentile with the Jew into a corporate entity called the Church paves the way for His ultimate intention, which is to bring the whole benign pattern of God to very creation itself. It is a cosmic destiny for the Church, and it has everything to do with Israel and Israel's God. How can we understand Jesus' exaltation as King except as the King of Israel? There was a mocking sign over His Cross in three languages: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." It was a statement of the ironic twist of men in their revulsion from the recognition of that fact. He is going to be celebrated and honored, however, in the very place where He was crucified. He will be the King of the Jews, and only as the King of the Jews will He be the King of all nations. shall not see Me until you say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matt. 23:39). There will come a day when Jews will say these words to the representatives of that coming King, a 'Church' who already shows forth in its corporate life the glory, purity, holiness and covenant blessing of that God who comes as King. Jews will see in us the reality of what might have been theirs if they had not been broken off from that root. They will begin to cry out, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" We are saying that even before the Lord's return, something of the anticipation of that glory, namely, the "light to lighten the Gentiles" (Luke 2:32a KJV), will beam from our faces. The Church's Identification This is an ultimate call to the Church in the willing setting aside of our own cherished cultural and ethnic identification. It calls for everything that both Jews and Christians want to preserve, but which must be brought up to the 'mount of sacrifice,' for God has something in the bush that is better. That something will not be ours until we are willing to forsake that which we presently clutch in our need for an identification of some kind, even one that is earthly, natural and demonic. We have not had an appeal presented to us that transcends culture, race, nationality and ethnic distinction, and there is only one gospel that does. It is the gospel of God, which has made a way for those who were far off to be brought in by the blood of the Messiah Jesus that they might enter, and have full participation in the purposes and the glory of that commonwealth. In the very doing, they move a presently unrepentant nation to jealousy. Now we can better understand why Paul concludes Rom. 11 with "Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" (Rom. 11:33). A Jew that can be moved to jealousy is one who can recognize in that Gentile something transcendent that is beyond race, culture and nationality. He needs to see a resonance of the depths of the God of Israel and the reality of that God through one in whom he would never have suspected it could be found. Now that is the mystery, and it is a mystery that has been lost to the Church for millennia. It seems that we, as the Church, have wanted a God who is, like unto us, either through anti-Jewish sentiment, or ignorance of the nature of the faith of Israel into which we have been brought. The Roots of the Faith Our hope, then, is rooted in having part in Israel's covenants and promises. To be without hope and without

God in the world, and strangers to the covenants, is to be, at the same time, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel. To have hope, to have the promises, to have expectancy is to be in the commonwealth of Israel. Even while the state of Israel is itself presently far removed from this commonwealth, we, remarkably, are in it, and in it for the purpose of bringing back those branches that were broken off. They will recognize in us what they have been missing for so long, and what they have been missing is not just an equivalent to their Judaism, but it exceeds anything that can be called Judaistic, and precedes even the adoption of present rabbinical Judaism. Jews are presently seeing in the Church a religious, cultural alternative that is essentially non-Jewish. One reason for this would be the Church's failure to take to heart the fact that God has not called it to be an alternative to the Hebraic faith that preceded it, but that it is its very continuation, completion and fulfillment. This is not a call to some kind of affectation of Jewishness that brings a sentimental dimension to our otherwise arid Christian life, but rather, the deepest spiritual appropriation of the faith of God as being the faith of the "God of Israel" in all of His deep-rooted history with that people. With the advent of Messiah, both Jews and Gentiles are included in the "Israel of God." We are not in some fictitious, ethnic identity that is ours by reason of the faith. We are still Jews and we are still Gentiles, or else we rob God of the potential of the mystery that makes of the two, one new man. First-century Judaism was so hostile towards Gentiles that Jews were not even permitted to be in the house of a Gentile. The apostle Peter, himself, was so steeped in the historical prejudice, pride and superiority that he required a vision of the transformation of what had been considered unclean until then. The inclusion of the Gentiles was a mystery and a surprise to the first Jewish believers, who were expecting the Lord's imminent return, but they did not realize that God was revealing something that was yet to have a two thousand year history, a parenthesis, and that this was the Church age made up predominantly of Gentiles with a small remnant of Jews. They did not see the Church being the key to the restoration of Israel to their God and to their Land at the end of the 'times of the Gentiles.' The early believers had to be instructed in this because it had been hidden to them. Gentiles have been grafted in, but the God who grafted us in by His power is also able to graft Israel in again. Can He not do for erring Jews what He did for us who were dead in our sins and transgressions? Not only can He do it, He will, and it ought to be the most glorious celebration when we welcome our kinsmen and brethren into their own faith that we have preserved for them through these centuries. We were grafted into the living body of historical Israel, and now the only thing that remains is that they themselves be grafted back into their own root. The issue of their re-entry is our witness, our moving them to jealousy, the depth of our supplication and travail and our anxious desire for them to be part, because we know we are not complete without them. We know that their King, and ours, will not come until they come, and they will not come until they see a demonstration from us that is something far more than what they have historically observed. The Reconciliation of All Things The faith of God, the call of God and the gospel of God have to do with the gospel of the kingdom, the theocratic rule of God over the nations from Zion as well as the redemption of all creation. The world today is awash in the blood of racial hatred, animosity and ethnic differences that provoke men to be at each others throats, but the ache and heart of God is reconciliation. The wisdom of God is the reconciliation of men through the power of the Cross, by which is made the one new man. When that is demonstrated to the Powers of the air, the story is over, the drama is finished, and the saga is concluded. The purpose for the Church in its creation has been established; the Powers of the air are defeated and the King comes to establish His throne and His glory. His nation is restored. The earth, long in bondage and groaning and travailing, even until now, in the corruption that has been visited upon it, breaks free, and then the trees will clap their hands and the hills skip like lambs, for redemption has come to the reconciled sons of God! The Powers of darkness know better than the Church the centrality of Israel to this faith, and have done everything to oppose this heavenly realization. The Ephesian letter, by virtue of its breadth and majesty, describes the supremacy of that which, in the divine intent, eclipses time, culture and nationality, and is the calling and eternal purpose of the Israel of God, comprised of Jew and Gentile in Messiah Jesus, one as He is one.

Chapter 10 - Israel and the Mercy of God

There is yet another place where Paul makes it unmistakably clear that the Church is exclusively God's agent for Israel's restoration. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience [unbelief], so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all (Rom. 11:30-32). God has shut Israel up in disobedience and unbelief. Israel is unable to demonstrate the righteousness of God even if it wanted to, which, in fact, it does not. God is therefore judging them for their failure, but their failure serves His every purpose. They are shut up into disobedience. The only thing, therefore, that can extricate the nation from that hopeless fix is the mercy of God. What is the mercy of God if it is in any way deserved? Mercy is not mercy except as it is undeserved. That is what makes it mercy. Mercy is not merely an attribute of God; it is central and the distinctive of His whole being. When God shows His mercy, He shows His glory, He shows Himself. And when Paul says, "to Him be glory forever," he is saying that the glory of God is going to be revealed by the mercy of God when it shall be extended to a people who are totally undeserving, up to the very moment in which they will receive it. This shall be done before the face of all nations, so that no nation will be with excuse for not acknowledging who, in fact, God is. They will have witnessed both the severity of His judgments in the casting of that people again into all nations where only a remnant will survive the terrible devastation of those days; and they will have witnessed the mercy of God as shown in their supernatural restoration. There is going to be a Last Days' crisis in which world Jewry, both in Israel and in the nations, will be hounded, persecuted and pursued. And except there be a tangible, palpable mercy extended to them by the Church of the kind that we are describing, not one would have survived. The only way that a remnant will survive the Last Days' attrition of the fiercest anti-Semitism, eclipsing even the Holocaust of World War II, is that there will be places established in the nations where they will find refuge and mercy in that time of need. Our spirits need to be put on alert because it sounds so unthinkable. How can we conceive of a global crisis of this kind? The scriptures, however, are quite clear. This final drama will test and search out the Church, and identify who, in fact, the true Church is, as being that people who are willing to be identified with Israel at that time, when they are so desperately hated (Matt. 25: 31-46). What is Mercy? This issue of mercy is enormous, and we need to know first, what mercy is and how it is to be extended, and whether in fact we have obtained mercy that we might ourselves extend it. Have we existentially obtained mercy in a way that we can know it? How deep is the comprehension of our own salvation? Is it a salvation deeply aware of being the recipient of the mercy of God? In other words, if mercy is only a verbal category, a commonplace clich, then we do not yet know the mercy of God. If we think we have been saved for the purpose of doing God a favor, that He needed us because of our giftedness, attractiveness, or our ability, we are far removed from His salvation. Deep in the secret hearts of many believers there is an acknowledgment of the doctrine of grace, but existentially, in their deepest heart, they believe that they are doing God a favor. Their faith is more in 'decisional' response than in their knowledge of a God who raises the dead. Face to Face We have an indebtedness toward the Jew, but if we only fulfill it as a kind of obligation, we will have missed the significant thing required. In Ezekiel 20:35, God says, ...and I shall bring you [Israel] into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. Something has got to be exhibited by the Church in that crisis moment that is more than obligation, namely, the face of God Himself. Moses asked to see God's face, and God showed him His mercy. It is one thing to be polite when people are irritating and imposing upon you by their coming; it is yet another thing to show them the face of God. Merely to show them the face of religious obligation will not be enough. They have got

to see the Lord, face to face. The revelation of the Lord will be the saving factor in this time of crisis in order that those who have been uprooted, cast out and dispersed will return to Zion as the redeemed of the Lord. The scriptures suggest that they will become redeemed in the encounter with the Lord, through encountering His people, in the last hour of their extremity. Our faces are the keys, being the statements of what we are in the deeps of our heart, and Jews will know that. They are well able to see through the appearances of things. We have got to, therefore, show the authentic face of the Lord in our utter graciousness, magnanimity and love. They have yet to see in us a willingness to take risks for their sakes, and count it a privilege, even if it should require our lives! This is the condition that will move Jews to jealousy: the revelation of a love that is willing to lay down its own life, not only to suffer inconvenience and peril, but death, that they might be saved. If we are disposed to needing applause, acknowledgment and recognition, then we need to know that we will not likely receive it from a panicking world Jewry passing through our midst. For us to exhibit the face of the Lord means an unconditional love that cannot be offended against, no matter what they, in their perplexity, say or do. We have no expectation; we do not evaluate and measure them by merit or how they perform. They are not required to pass any test. We have for them the love that is unconditional, that makes no requirement, because the spirit of requirement in us, the persistent, pharisaic thing, has been crucified long before. The very willingness to extend the last of our 'oil and flour,' as the Sidonian widow did for Elijah, might not only be a provision for them, but also for us until the 'drought' is ended. "Give and it shall be given unto you," even when we are looking at what appears to be the last of our supply. If they see in us unbelief and fear, we will have failed in this most historic moment. Israel's redemption is the issue of God's intention for all mankind, for Israel is a microcosm of all of mankind. It is the issue of man, and God's dealing with man, as exemplified in one test case, a nation that He has chosen, a nation that is so 'human, all too human.' If God can succeed in His mercy with them, especially in the light of their known and appalling track record, on the basis alone of an undeserved mercy, then there is hope for all mankind! And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life (1 Tim. 1:16). Everything is tied together in this extraordinary way, for which reason it will be bitterly opposed unto death. The Powers of darkness want to exterminate this people Israel, whose survival and restoration are the key to the coming of another kingdom and the end of their false rule. That is the underlying hatred that explains the enormous persecution that will come upon world Jewry in the Last Days. The Lord, however, will employ it to root up our kin and bring them out of their places of safety and security, and to cast them again in and through the nations in that sifting that brings a remnant of them through. Those who refuse the evidence and testimony of God in His mercy, expressed to them through the overcoming Church, will be lost; for the mercy of God is the statement of God. As one can see from both the books of Amos (Amos 9:8-10) and Zechariah (Zech.13:8-9) the majority of Jews evidently will not survive. Only a remnant will constitute the restored nation to which the Lord can come and rule as King, and from that place, in Zion, out of Jerusalem, restored from ruins, the law shall go forth to all nations.

Chapter 11 - Israel in Flight

Though an intelligent people, secular Jews are, for the most part, biblically illiterate. That is our sad condition. We have little or no idea of what the prophets say about us as a nation, or our call as a nation, or even our centrality in God's whole salvation history. There is, however, a portion of scripture in the book of Amos, repeated in many other places, that describes world Jewry coming to a condition of final extremity. It will, from that account, be a crisis of such proportions as to eclipse the Holocaust of Nazi-Germany.16 It is not, this time, going to be confined to Europe; every nation will experience it and be implicated. There will not be a single nation exempt from witnessing the drama of this Last Days' extremity of the Jewish people. God is going to allow horrendous calamity to fall

upon us as Jews. It will be a judgment of such a severity that the majority of Jews now alive in the world will not survive. When the smoke clears, as it will, God will have for Himself a surviving remnant as an Israel for His name. We know that God is not interested in numbers; He shucks off the indifferent and the God-rejecters, and at the end of the age, which also marks the introduction of His millennial glory, there will be two remnants that stand for God before the nations, namely, a redeemed Israel and a true, overcoming remnant people of God, predominantly Gentiles, who were also the instruments toward Israel's final and enduring redemption. The Prophetic Testimony The prophetic scriptures are difficult insofar as they do not follow on from each other in a linear fashion. In the wisdom of God, there are no systematic line-upon-line statements to make it easy for us to understand them. We need, therefore, to be apprehended by the implicit pattern rather than by a methodical, chronological approach. When read in a certain light, the prophets, both minor and major, all speak of this one theme: Israel's Last Days' judgment, dispersal into the nations, wilderness wandering, restoration, return and exaltation. God has been prolific concerning this testimony and making clear, contextually, that it is yet future and will conclude the age. Paradoxically, we as the Church have so little awareness or knowledge of this coming drama that it is just not part of our present consciousness. Our view of the place of Israel in the end-time scenario is lacking in direct proportion to our knowledge of God and His ways, because the two things go hand-in-hand. The prophet Amos is known as a Minor Prophet, not because his message is less significant, but because it is not as voluminous as that of the Major Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah. But all that is in Amos' writings is altogether related to everything that the Major Prophets understood and stated about the issue of Israel in the Last Days. Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth; Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob, declares the Lord (Amos 9:8a). God does not mince words as we do. There is no disguising the intent of His heart and purpose. When He uses the terminology sinful kingdom, He means it in its literal sense, but despite this, God is going to redeem the remnant of this sinful nation. It is not because we have any qualification in ourselves, or any deserving that commends us to God's mercy. Mercy, by its very definition and nature, is something that issues out of God Himself towards an object that is totally undeserving, or it would not be mercy. Mercy is what God is in Himself, and the greatest demonstration of who He is will be directed to a people totally undeserving of it, namely, a sinful nation. Israel's Predicament Something of present-day Israel's predicament must come into the Church's spirit and understanding. Israel's moral condition is deteriorating daily. Has it ever been heard of in modern Jewish history that Jews should be violent towards themselves or others? Historically, we have been the objects of violence; it has been visited upon us, but it has been contrary to our nature as a people to visit violence upon others. Jews in the Diaspora are usually quiet and unobtrusive, but certainly not violent. That all changed with the events leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. In fact, is it not the use or threat of violence that preserves the state today and keeps her from the onslaught of its enemies? Tragically, a 'Never Again' mentality compels the necessity of violence as a justified means of self-preservation. But God's pronouncement is eternally binding, Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord (Jer.17:5,7). Present-day Israel cannot be called a blessed nation. How can it be when she does not know her God or trust in Him? She hopes in herself and in her own strength. And there is a painful, daily revelation of something that Jews ought to have seen historically, namely, that we have no special distinctive in ourselves. We may have thought we had some distinctive, and wanted to demonstrate it to everyone by having our own nation, and thereby show the Gentile world what a Jewish nation is like. It would not be corrupt and violent like the Gentile nations; rather, it would be a nation distinguished by its elevated morals and ethics. In fact, it would be everything we have been unable to demonstrate in the past half century. And yet, Israel has a unique call to be the blessed nation that one day will be the very locus of the kingdom

of God in the earth. It is not unlike God taking the murderer Paul, whose name was then Saul, and making him the chief apostle of the Church. God takes the worst and makes of it the best, and He is going to do the same thing with an entire nation. This nation will be the 'Paul' of the millennial age. They will have an apostolate to the nations. It is critical that we begin to elevate our understanding from merely personal salvation to that of a national salvation. Whatever the world is suffering in pornography, filth, corruption and defilement will be no more when Jews, bearing the Life and holiness of God, will be the moral mouthpieces of God. They will bring to the nations that priestly ministry that was Israel's calling from the first. If we are going to be the remnant Church that will be used to obtain this on Israel's behalf, then we must identify with this drama and understand the mystery of it as being the essential logic of our faith. Paul calls it a 'mystery,' and that mystery is the chosen means by which God is glorified. In other words, God would not have had as much glory, as much honor and as much credit if He had taken a people who showed themselves to have attributes and distinctions of a spiritual kind that He could employ. He is much more glorified when "He takes beggars off the dung heaps and makes them to sit with princes" (Psalm 113:7-8). The issue is the glory of God forever, and it is evidently going to take the least likely candidate: a sinful kingdom. ...and I will destroy it from the face of the earth (Amos 9:8b). How are we equipped to understand a God who will utterly destroy it in His judgment? Do we know or even want to know a God who is that severe? If we do not know God as Judge, as Paul knew Him as Judge, then our lives will show it through a tendency toward indulgence and a generally slack attitude. Our lives will be commonplace and predictable, because what is lacking is His fear. One of the greatest provisions God has given to instill in us the knowledge of His fear has been the testimony of His judgments towards Israel. How are we going to respond when we see God destroy this sinful nation, especially when we have an inadequate understanding of what we think God's nature to be? We are going to witness tremendous fatalities, but God will save a remnant that He will elect and appoint unto salvation, because He is the God who will elect. It will be a demonstration of His mercy; for He will elect whom He will elect. The God Who Makes Alive At the heart of the redemptive nature of God is His unerring propensity to allow His creation to be brought into death in order that He may raise it up into a newness of life. He slays, but He makes alive. This most especially glorifies Him. Have we made our peace with that? Why should we stagger over it? Is it so great a thing for God to raise the dead? Are we not here as believers precisely because He has? Since He has raised Jesus, are we not encouraged to believe that He will raise us also? After the Lord's return, we believe, therefore, that that which concludes the age is the resurrection of the survivors of an entire nation out of the 'death' of God's Last Days' judgment upon them, as we shall later be seeing in our examination of Ezekiel 37. The reason many are opposed to the view that present Israel must come into death in order to be raised up, is because it is a reflection of our own unwillingness to see, for ourselves, the same necessity for death and resurrection in our own Christian lives. We have only subscribed to resurrection as doctrine. In the deeps of our hearts, where we really live our lives, we believe more in progressive improvement than we know, for ourselves as the Church, and for Israel; we are more humanistic than we would recognize or admit. Those who want to see present Israel made better and improved will accuse us of being anti-Semitic and opposed to Israel. Will we be able to bear the reproach of that? It is ironic that those who have the greatest love and prophetic burden for Israel, waiting for the true fulfillment, will have this accusation come against them! To patiently bear this accusation is, in itself, a suffering unto death. Israel will not be adopted, so to speak, as the holy nation where the kingdom of God will have its location and its expression, except out of a transformed and transfigured resurrection Life. Only in that condition can it bless all the families of the earth. It is the whole, final logic and outworking of what was put into time and history with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ Himself. Israel's Afflictions Can we believe in a God who will destroy, yet, who is also the God of love? Many of us are going to be offended by such a God because we have never allowed for His judgments in our own lives. Or, when those judgments have come, we have not rightly understood them. We have, instead, attributed them to men or other factors like the economy, but we have not understood the principle of God's judgment to be the underlying basis of adversity, crisis and death.

...Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob, declares the Lord. For behold, I am commanding, and I will shake the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is shaken in a sieve, but not a kernel shall fall to the ground (Amos 9:8f-9). God's Last Days' dealing with world Jewry is a final extremity of sifting through all the nations. In our opinion, there will not be a nation on the face of the earth exempt from this process. In fact, one peculiarity about the Jewish people is that there is hardly a nation in which Jews are not to be found now. We have been cast out into the nations as judgment, and just as flour is sifted to get the impurities out, God will do that with an entire nation. He is going to do it through the nations and in the nations, and "not a kernel [of the remnant] shall fall to the ground" (Amos 9:9f). We need to grasp something of the depth and tenacity against believing that resides in Jewish hearts, and how far God has to go with cynical and God-rejecting men to bring them to a place of understanding and faith. That is why it is going to take an enormous display, particularly in a time of affliction, to demonstrate that God is in the midst of our calamity and that nothing less than calamity and uprooting is sufficient to bring us to the true knowledge of Him. The failure to rightly interpret the past Holocaust as judgment has robbed us of that knowledge, and needs, therefore, to be repeated again. All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, those who say, "The calamity will not overtake or confront us" (Amos 9:10). The determining factor that will identify those who are opposed to God, and who refuse His salvation, will be these words coming from their lips: "The calamity will not overtake or confront us." Unfortunately, that is likely a description of the majority of present world Jewry. Refusing in past calamities to recognize the hand of God, we will continue to refuse to recognize it in our present calamity, thinking that somehow we can avoid what will be coming upon us. This sifting through the nations, as the judgment and wisdom of God, is going, at the same time, to bring us into contact with a people prepared to receive us. Only such a Church will be equipped to explain the prophetic understanding, while, at the same time, extending mercy in our time of calamity. No nation will be exempt from the demonic outpouring of the Last Days. It will bring a global hatred into every government and people against the Jew. The only portion of mankind that will have any compassion for this people, utterly degraded and made despicable, will be His Church. This compassion will, in turn, itself identify who, in fact, the true Church is. But why, then, should we extend ourselves for a people whom the world will then come to despise and blame for everything? Jews have always been the scapegoat for the failures in the nations. Why should we, as the Church, have an attitude other than what the world has? Why should we have a concern and compassion? Why should we be willing to extend ourselves, especially when it means we would be putting our own necks on the line? Is it not because we have obtained mercy? This would certainly require the grace of God, expressed in our deep identification with Him in His love for that despised nation, no matter how abhorrent their condition might be (Zeph. 2:1). The mark of God's Last Days' Church is that they will be so in union with their God that His love is their love, His seeing is their seeing and His compassion is their compassion. The Witness of the Church It is little wonder that Jews have historically been untouched by the Church's witness. To what charismatic conference could we have invited them where they would have done anything more than yawn? In the Lord's wisdom, Jews are tough critics, and they are not going to be impressed as easily as we are impressed. There is something in the Jew, despite their unbelief, that is uncanny when it comes to the thing that is authentic. They see right through our Christian phoniness. They will not be impressed by any demonstration less and other than the reality of Jesus Himself, manifest in His people. We have to be ruthlessly honest and admit that we are presently nowhere near the condition that this kind of scenario requires. We do not have that kind of compassion for each other, let alone for Jews. We cannot presently speak a word that raises the dead. We have trouble even mustering the faith to pray for someone's cold and sniffles. We are going to have to become a people that can bear the weight of the assault that will come to us physically, morally and spiritually. Jews will be in a completely upturned and uprooted condition. Their mouths will be full of invective and hatred against what has happened to them at the hands of Gentiles construed as 'Christian.' We are going to have to take that onslaught, but it will have to be like 'water off the proverbial duck's back.' That means there needs to be a deep, sanctifying work in the people of God, the Church, which needs to begin now because it is not likely to be obtained hastily in that final moment.

The Tabernacle of David Here is what is at stake: In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old (Amos 9:11). The phrase, in that day, does not mean a twenty-four hour period of time; rather, it is better understood as the period of time that encompasses the final dealing of God in the Last Days. Here, we have God bringing us into the whole theocratic context of the faith and His purposes. To begin with, the raising up of the Booth or Tabernacle of David has absolutely nothing to do with the restoring of 'Davidic worship,' tambourine banging or Israeli melodies, though it has come to mean that in some expressions of contemporary church life. This is a faulty exegesis, because the context is clearly a reference to millennial government.17 God is not going to go through all of this elaborate life and death agony of an entire nation, its greatest numbers dying by the sword, having been hunted and pursued in a Nazi-like terror, in order to introduce Jewish dancing to our church services! The very fact that we think along these lines is a statement of our immaturity and triumphalistic attitude, elevating the Church over Israel, not understanding God's literal intent for that nation. This is the conceit about which Paul warned us in Romans 11. Rather, we contend, the Tabernacle of David is the theocratic government of God, His rule and reign over His creation. It is the statement of the house of God, the government of God, and the authority of God that will come again to this people in the day that He sifts them, restores them and establishes with them His rule.18 It is called the Tabernacle of David because it is where His rule and its character must center. There needs be someone descended from David to sit eternally on the throne of David, or there will be no 'Davidic' theocracy. When God establishes His sanctuary in Jerusalem, His dwelling place, His Tabernacle and His residence, it will also be the seat of His government. How anxious are we for that government? Are we longing for a "new heaven and a new earth, wherein righteousness dwells"? Are we satisfied with human governments, administrations and programs that are supposedly going to not only end poverty, but also change the moral condition of the nations? What a frail expectation that is! There is only one answer to any hope we might have had for peace and stability, and there always was only one answer: the theocratic rule of God Himself. 'Theo' means God. Theology is the study of God. Theocracy is the government of God, perfect, righteous, holy and true, and it will not come until the nation of Israel is itself first restored. God will restore Israel because these prophetic scriptures must be fulfilled: And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever (Dan. 2:44). The law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war. (Isaiah 2:3f-4).19 We must not spiritualize the clear and literal statements of God. Nations will hammer their swords into plowshares and never again will they learn war. That means the unspeakable billions of dollars expended in armaments, one of the principal industries of the United States, as also other nations, will no longer be required, and the fruit of the earth and of men's labors can be directed to the benefit of mankind and not to its destruction. Nations will never again learn war, but only when the law of the Lord goes forth from Zion. But there has got to be a Zion out of which it goes forth. The Restoration of Israel And the ransomed of the Lord will return and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10). The sorrow and sighing is the painful process of this sifting. The everlasting joy upon their heads is the end of their tribulation forever. It is their final suffering, their final sifting and their final refining. Their government comes, their kingdom comes and the King comes who alone is a descendant of the son of David and who can occupy that throne,

That they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name, declares the Lord who does this (Amos 9:12). Not just Edom or the Arab nations; all Gentile nations will be affected and come under the government of God, when that Tabernacle is restored with the restoration of the nation. The word possess is better understood as meaning to influence and govern. God's promises and covenants that were made to the patriarchs to "bless all the families of the earth" are at stake; but it rests on God's ability to first restore Israel to Himself and to their Land in the Last Days. God will magnify His purposes in grace, all the more with a nation that does not know nor desire to see the fulfillment of the things that are spoken of it, and, as a secular nation, are even ignorant of the promises that God has made. The chapter ends with a totally millennial statement: Behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him that sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine, and all the hills will be dissolved. Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them (Amos 9:13-14). The ruined cities will have come through the destruction and satanic fury poured out upon them in the literal land of Israel. The cities of today: Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tiberias, etc, will be made waste. That means that there is a history or an experience of destruction, devastation and calamity right up to the inauguration of the millennial age. The last thing in the experience of Israel is devastation and ruined cities, for the first thing that is to be rebuilt and restored in the Millennium are those same devastated places. The first act in their return is the rebuilding of them,20 and they will never again be forced out. I will also plant them on their land, and they will not again be rooted out of their land which I have given them, says the Lord your God (Amos 9:15). The tragedy is that many are citing this verse now about present Israel. They have ignorantly neglected what must precede it. First the suffering, then the glory. First the dispersion, then the return. It has not yet happened. What we call present Israel is only the preliminary for the desolations that must immediately precede the advent of the kingdom. The restoration of Israel will usher in the millennial kingdom, and with it, the millennial blessing. Before the harvest is gathered, seed is planted; abundance and blessedness will abound in the earth. The millennial blessing is not merely the continuation of things as we now know them; "the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirthwaiting eagerly for our adoption as sons" (Rom. 8:21,23), the millennial age, the blessedness and abundance which God intended. We have lost, or never had, as the contemporary Church, a millennial expectation. We are not even eternally-minded and therefore living in a substandard Christian way. Living in the very anticipation of the eschatological expectation must affect our present life and walk now. It is intended to give us a different kind of incentive and a different kind of hope. It is a hope that has a particular power that affects practical things; it animated the first church and the saints of that generation. It has ever been this blessed hope set in the context of this coming, this kingdom and this millennial glory, Israel's restoration. Our indifference and disinterest in Israel, as the Church, reveals how little we do, in fact, honor His name and His Word, and how little we look for it to be fulfilled by His bringing this people back to Himself and to the Land. How jealous are we for the Word going forth to the nations? In fact, in the millennial age, the nation that will not come up to that place to celebrate and worship Him on the Feast of Tabernacles will suffer a curse (Zech. 14:17-19). That is how specific God is, and our unwillingness to surrender to the specificity of God, and our offense at the scandal of what He has chosen reveals our true condition. Have we really surrendered to God's sovereignty and choice? We have thoughts and opinions of our own, but the Church of the Last Days, who are His remnant, will choose what He chooses and rejoice in it. If we understood God, we would know why He chooses an insignificant hill like Mt. Zion. It is for the same reason He was born in a stable, and for the same reason that He died outside the camp on the dung heap. He chooses what the world despises, and what the world exalts and honors, He condemns. He will always choose the foolish things. That is why He has chosen us! Through the foolish thing that we are as the Church, He is going to fulfill His millennial destiny, both for the Church and for Israel. Israel is our finishing school; she compels us to be what we always ought to have been and have never had the stimulus or provocation in our conventional church life to be. That is why Paul could say at the end of Romans chapter 11, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Who has been His counselor?" Paul was staggered when he saw this. And until we see it as Paul did, and cry out joyously

in the same way, have we yet seen it?

16 See also Daniel 12:1. 17 See especially Isaiah 16:5 18 See Ezekiel 20:33-44 and Daniel 2:44 19 The one verse makes clear the future historical context; the other reveals the character of the kingdom.
Compare also Rev. 17:12 with Daniel 2:44. 20 See Ezekiel 36:33 - clearly showing this will only take place after the Spirit is given.

Chapter 12 - Israel's Devastation and Restoration

Chapters 36 and 37 of Ezekiel reiterate and confirm this most remarkable and devastating Last Days' dealing of God with His ancient people Israel. Unless we have an understanding of Israel's millennial destiny and calling, we are going to be offended by the lengths to which God will bring that nation down into the utterness of death. It is imperative for us, as the Church, to gird our loins, and to bear the shock that is going to come, both in disappointment and disillusionment, due to an inadequate apprehension of the Cross and the cruciform character of Israel's restoration. The prophetic scriptures have a peculiar character, like the weaving of a tapestry. There is a blend of encouraging statements followed by horrendous proclamations of judgments and apocalyptic gloom, and then again, a verse of hopeful restoration, and so on. The Lord knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust, and that the grit of the things that we have to face has got to be broken up and interspersed with moments of encouragement before that final, comforting fulfillment comes. It is like the rhythm of breathing, in and out. For I will take you [Israel] from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances (Ezek. 36:24-27). We need to ask whether the 1948 establishment of present Israel has brought Jews to this condition of having the indwelling Spirit resulting in the true fulfillment of the Law. According to the first principle of biblical interpretation, which is to take scripture in its literal, grammatical sense, these scriptures clearly imply that this is a yet future condition at a time appointed by God, and not to be confused with anything that political, humanistic Zionism has yet sought to establish. There is a final re-gathering, but with it comes this change of heart. And you will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God. Moreover I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field, that you may not receive again the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and your abominations (Ezek. 36:28-31). The world has not yet seen the depth of contrition, brokenness and repentance that will be exhibited by the nation Israel when this shall be fulfilled: when He brings them back from the nations wherein they have been scattered; when He restores them to the Land; when He puts His Spirit within them; when He is their God, then and only then can they fulfill His statutes and be His Messianic people, through a totally undeserved mercy that comes to them in their most desolate condition.21 They will break and remember their transgressions, and confess the sins of their fathers as their own,22 and loathe themselves in their own sight for their iniquities and abominations. That is future. We need to realize that Jewish self-esteem is essentially free from any sober understanding of the concept or consideration of sin. Our self-celebration is famous; we see ourselves as virtuous and ethical. We look

down our noses at the Gentiles as not having our moral sensitivity, and yet God is saying here that the day is coming when we will loathe ourselves for our iniquities and our abominations. For this to happen, something has got to come to our notice of such a radical kind that it absolutely contradicts present Jewish self-perception. The nations can only be blessed by those who come to them out of an utter brokenness and devastation, those who have experienced the mercy of God, and to whom it has come totally undeserved. This is the scenario that God is setting. "I am not doing this for your sake," declares the Lord God, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel." Thus says the Lord God, "On the day that I cleansed you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the wastelands will be rebuilt. And the desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passed by. And they will say, 'This desolate land has become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.' Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it" (Ezek. 36:32-36). Is this past, present or future? After all, there has been a rebuilding of cities since 1948. So how do we know that this described occurrence has not yet taken place? We need to remember that this rebuilding is in conjunction with the nation that first has been repentant, given God's Spirit, and has been restored to the Land before it rebuilds the waste places. At this present moment, Israel is surrounded by nations that are hostile towards her, and who are bent on her annihilation. The only thing that holds them back is somehow the fear of Israel's nuclear ability to retaliate. In that, what did we notice? "Then the nations that are left round about you..." (v. 36). This is devastation, not only for Israel, but also for the nations that are left and remain around about them. After suffering this tremendous attrition, they "...will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places..." It is clearly a future description, so much so, that even the surrounding nations will know that this is the testimony of God. Right now, Israel's neighbors attribute the present-day state of Israel to Zionism, not to the God of Israel. Only such a future restoration will be acknowledged by them as clearly the work of God. Thus says the Lord God, "This also I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them" (Ezek. 36:37a). In all of Israel's present calamities, we know of no time when any of her Prime Ministers have called on the nation to fast and entreat the Lord for supernatural intervention. As an essentially secular nation, Israel's deepest crises have not been sufficient for them to turn to the Lord, to consult and ask Him to 'do for them.' They much prefer to do it for themselves, and that is why calamity must come. We might just as well be speaking about the United States, France, Germany or any modern nation that is predicated on liberal and secular lines. To such a mindset as this, it is an offense to think that God could even be asked. If Israel will ask, it means that they have no hope of any possibility that they can 'do it for themselves.' That is what it means when the scriptures use the word desolate. It is a condition of being bereft of any hope in oneself. Why must God go that far? Why has God got to reduce Israel to such a condition of desolation and ruin that they would finally ask Him to restore their nation for them? We believe that it is because of the Divine jealousy that no flesh should glory. What, then, does this say about Israel, or to put it more accurately, what does it say about man and the human condition? We have not understood the depth of what it means to be man in his self-sufficient pride. Our self-justification and independence from God's justification is so deep that it takes this much to obtain this turning to God. As it is for men, so is it also for nations, and especially this nation. Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the waste cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am the Lord (Ezek. 36:38). Does Israel know that 'I AM' is the Lord? It is the name God gave to Moses out of the Burning Bush, when He said, "This is My name forever, and this is My memorial name to all your generations (Exodus 3:15b)." And here is God saying through Ezekiel, "Then they will know that I am the Lord," and that the Lord is I AM. Israel will know that the God who spoke to Moses out of the Burning Bush is the God who will deliver Israel in that day. It is going to be a very expensive knowledge, but a knowledge that is imperative for Israel, for how shall they bless all the families of the earth except out of this true knowledge of God? It is the knowledge of Him, not the knowledge about Him, and evidently, it can only come out of devastation and ruin. The deepest kind of repentance comes from having both a sense of one's sin, but equally, a sense of unutterable unworthiness, of the realization of my utter helplessness. It is true for individuals as well as for nations, and this is the question that we are going to be discussing, namely, Israel coming to the end of herself, to the end of any sense that she can perform, or be for God what she assumes she should be. God

must, of necessity, bring that nation down into a repentance of this kind, having now a sense of complete unworthiness or inability to do or be anything for God. Can anyone be entrusted to serve the purposes of God and the issue of His glory and not come to this poverty? Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who have no confidence in themselves. The fulfillment of Israel's call to bless all the nations of the earth can only be the result of the Lord Himself being that blessing through her. It will have nothing to do with Israel's own natural ability to be impressive; indeed, it will require the death of that very impressiveness, her natural ability, in order to release the blessedness of God. If we cannot understand this, it is likely because we have not experienced it in our own life personally. If we are to be a blessing, then it is not merely our defects and vices that need to be crucified, but also our virtues, our abilities, our talents, and all the things with which we think we are going to impress or bless people. They are, in fact, an obstruction to the flow of the Life of God, and they are the last things we want to relinquish. But there is something about death that is total. God's statement of the human condition is that "in us there dwells no good thing," and what is true of us is true of nations and true, first, for the nation Israel.

21 See Matt. 24:15 together with Jer. 30:7; Daniel 12:1 and Rev. 11:2 22 Implied in Lev. 26:40

Chapter 13 - The Resurrection of Israel

Israel will bless all the families of the earth, but not in her present condition, character and mentality, because to confer blessing is nothing less than a priestly right and privilege. More than a platitude, blessing is a palpable reality that is actually conferred in priestly authority and power. If ever there was a generation that needed to receive blessing by those who can bless, it is this generation. Otherwise, we are steeped in its alternative, which is curse; but where are the people who have priestly authority? It is a question for both the Church and Israel, for no one else has that privilege or call. Ezekiel chapter 37 speaks of the nation, Israel, brought to the end of herself, in order that she might finally come into her call as a 'nation of priests' and 'a light unto the world.' The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord God, Thou knowest." Again he said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say unto them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord God to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. And I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord'" (Ezek. 37:1-6). The fact that Israel shall know that "I am" is the Lord is evidently important to God. The whole object of the entire process of the 'death and resurrection' of Israel is this one thing: "And you will know that I am the Lord." This is beyond Talmudic or academic knowledge about God; it is existential knowledge. It is the knowledge of that God who "raises the dead and calls into being that which is not." Until we know God as the God who raises the dead, is He known at all? This knowledge is imperative for Israel, because it is the only basis upon which they can bless all the families of the earth, communicating the knowledge of God as He in fact is, that is, the God who raises the dead. It is important to God that He be known in this way. Israel's communication of that reality will be all the more powerful, because they will have known it in their national experience. If there is no other reason for the death and resurrection of Israel than this, that would be reason enough. The world does not need more religion, more humanism, or more charismatic novelty, but rather, the knowledge of God as He in fact is and wills to be known. Evidently, it is only the extremity of being reduced to the condition of 'dry bones,' and of being raised up out of it, which will confer the true knowledge of God to others. How dear is the knowledge of God to us? How extensive or deep is that knowledge? Is this the God the Church presumes to know? Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses and other sects and heresies are not the only forms of deception; there are countless numbers who, for the want of this knowledge, consider themselves Christian, subscribing to the correct doctrines of

the faith, and who are as much deceived and out of the faith as a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness. That is why the Scriptures warn us to 'examine ourselves' to see whether we are in the faith. Mere subscription to right things and right responses are not, in themselves, indications that we are in the right place. The true knowledge of God is always expensive. How far down would we be willing to invite and welcome God to take us in extremity, trial and dealings in order to obtain the knowledge that will enable us to stand in these Last Days? The Word of Life So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord God, 'Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life'" (Ezek. 37: 7-9). They are the 'slain' of the Lord, evidently, the people who have survived the desolation and ruin that has brought their cities into destruction and reduced them to a place of hopelessness. It will, nevertheless, be a very real 'death,' and the power to be raised from that death, therefore, cannot issue from herself. Sin is death, and Israel's death will be in exact proportion to her sin. Her death, as depicted here, will be so complete that even the ability to call on the Lord must come from outside herself. As with Lazarus, dead for four days in his tomb, there will need to be a prophetic word of a resurrection kind that alone is able to quicken the dead. A resurrection word is a word of an ultimate and altogether different kind; it is a "Lazarus, come forth!" kind of word, and it can only come out of the mouth of a vessel who has, himself, been raised into a newness of Life. Israel will remain in her grave unless a word of that kind comes to her. We can be well-meaning and desirous for Israel's resurrection, but we cannot be to them the agent for their resurrection unless we ourselves are first the sons and daughters of the resurrection. It is remarkable how singular God is, and that He will not depart from the principle of His glory, which is resurrection or nothing. He makes no concession; if resurrection was required for His first begotten Son, how much more, then, will it be required for everything that pertains to His glory? Israel's Confession So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off'" (Ezek. 37:9-11). This is the pivotal point of the whole chapter. To our understanding, there has never yet been a time when Israel, as a whole nation, has acknowledged that it is "cut off, without hope, and as dry bones." We Jews do not give up easily; we are an indomitable people, the inveterate optimists, confident, not in God, but in ourselves. Not even the Nazi Holocaust resulted in such a statement as the verse describes, because we gathered up our rags, found ourselves in new places, and established our fortunes. We returned to a wasteland, drained the malarial swamps, and established a modern civilization. We resuscitated the liturgical Hebrew language and, in forty years, had the supreme accomplishment of making it a modern language for a nation. We are a formidable, capable people, with great expertise and prowess. Had such a people ever acknowledged, "we are cut off, we are without hope, we are as dry bones"? In fact, the phrase that came out of the experience of the Holocaust, which is as close to dry bones as we have ever been, was the ultimate statement of human presumption: "Never again," which is a far more stringent and a far more militant statement than, "cut off" and "without hope." That statement should never be made in the face of the God who intends to be their Strength, Redeemer, and a High Tower to run into and find safety. Israel's whole posture today is predicated on the proud and defiant note struck by "Never again." God is required, therefore, to bring down that nation that thought it could be its own defense.23 "Never again" is predicated, not on a confidence towards God to keep us, but on an ability to keep ourselves. It is a supreme confidence in one's self and in one's own ability. God's intention with Israel is ultimate, and therefore, it requires ultimate dealing.24 Israel's national anthem of today is entitled 'Hatikvah,' or 'The Hope,' but it is hope in man; it is hope in human ability, and in what the state represents for a people who, since the destruction of The Temple in

Jerusalem in 70 A.D., have been stateless and without nationhood. Dispersed throughout the whole Roman Empire, we have been living in ghettoes, often persecuted and cut off from occupations and careers. Lowly and disregarded, we have suffered immeasurably at the hands of the nations in which we happened to find ourselves. And so, if only we could have our own nation, and not be at the mercy of host nations, then we could show the world, the uniqueness of what a distinctively Jewish nation is. It was to be more than a place of safety in the world, but rather, a place to exhibit the moral uniqueness of what a Jewish nation should exhibit. Even when we were in the ghettoes, and powerless, we were proud of a distinction we thought we had above the Gentiles, namely, that we were morally and ethically superior. What a wonderful fantasy to contemplate when powerless, but once in power, what is revealed? 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' Could it be that God has allowed the resettlement of the present state of Israel as probationary and preliminary, in order to reveal the patent failure of all human resilience? This is the pattern: God takes away the first that He might bring the second; first the natural and earthly, then the spiritual and heavenly.25 Our mistake is to celebrate the first as being the enduring one, not recognizing that it was given to fail. That is what Jesus, the Pattern Son, had to experience in the brilliance of His humanity. As the Son of Man, He had to be brought to death in order to be raised as the Son of God, and to be exalted on high, and given a name above every name. Israel is being required, in the wisdom of God, to follow in the path of its own Messiah. Israel must fail To invest one's hope in a nation and one's own ability is the essence of idolatry. Hope is only a hope when it is in God, and anything less and other than that is idolatry, however much the nation's success is a thing to be desired. God must rid us of false hopes until He establishes Himself as the Hope. There must first be the natural, because we have something to learn from it; that however gifted and capable we are, we cannot establish a nation that will bless all the families of the earth. We might impress the families of the earth, but we cannot bless them. There is something higher than morality and ethics, namely, the holiness of God, and one cannot fabricate that from human intention. Little wonder, then, that when everybody was about to celebrate the success of forty years of statehood, something erupted called the Intifada, the Palestinian uprising. It started with the throwing of stones, which, today, is going far beyond stones, as Jews are being stabbed to death and blown up in the streets of their cities. The violence has multiplied and become such a threat, within and without, that the nation has been required to act in ways it would never have previously thought possible. Would it not be ironic if history comes full circle, and Jews, who were formerly the victims of others, would now be required to victimize another people out of the very necessity to preserve their statehood, their existence, their survival? When one trusts in the arm of flesh for survival, how far will one go for one's own preservation, if God be not one's safety? The Church needs to understand that Israel must fail; that God Himself is the Author of their predicament; that things are set in motion by which they must show themselves violent; that they must disappoint themselves; that they cannot be the hoped-for nation, until they come to such a final impasse of desperation, futility and hopelessness, that they cry with one voice, "We are cut off, we are without hope, we are as dry bones," (Ezek. 37:11) in terms of any fulfillment for which they could have hoped. The 'whole house of Israel' in verse 10 does not necessarily mean all Jews, but rather the surviving remnant of the Israel of God from among them who are the elect, yet who must pass through this death. It is necessary that Israel comes to a place where their problems are so insuperable, so beyond solution, that they cannot save themselves. If we do not understand that the perplexities afflicting Israel are God-given, and that Israel's increasing failure to resolve those perplexities is also God-given, we will find ourselves inevitably drawn into a place where we join the increasing chorus in the world that condemns that nation for her failures. There is a going down before there is a coming up; there is a death before a resurrection; there is a suffering and humiliation before a glory. God yearns to hear men repent of any confidence they have in their own flesh. Human pride clutches for anything, so long as men will only esteem them, appreciate them, and acknowledge them on the basis of what they are and what they can do in themselves. That pride dies hard. Jesus would not even allow Himself to be complimented when a man called Him 'good' master. He replied, "Why callest thou Me good?" Jesus knew that this man was flattering Him as a man, and would not allow His admirer that kind of ideological or philosophical ground, because for that man to call Jesus good, is to imply his own goodness, who obeyed all the laws and the commandments from his childhood up. "There is no one good but God," and Israel will

never bless all the families of the earth until they believe that. When Israel recognizes that, then God turns to the 'son of man,' and says, "Speak to these bones." That is why this whole chapter begins, not with Israel, but with the 'son of man.' The Son of Man Ezekiel 37 is not only about Israel, but it is also about a 'son of man,' a prophetic entity of a mystical kind, who, in the end, becomes the voice of God's speaking, and whose word raises Israel out of her death. God does not, Himself, directly speak to that nation, but employs a 'son of man,' who is first brought down into the valley of dry bones, and moved around and in them, right into the grit of their death. Why does God use the figure of the valley of very dry bones? Why that metaphor, and why the use of that image? There is no death that is more dead than dry bones. It is one thing to be a Lazarus in the grave for four days, but this is a condition even beyond that death. This is after you have decomposed, your flesh is gone, and your bones are so desiccated, so utterly dried up, that they are ready to crumble to powder. Who is this prophetic 'son of man' who has the authority, the creative power, the union and identification with God Himself that he can speak for Him and as Him, so as to raise an entire nation by the words, "Come forth!"? We are suggesting that this describes a corporate 'son of man,' that is to say, a Church, or remnant thereof, that has come to its full prophetic constituency and stature, who speaks as one voice in perfect and total agreement, just as the Church of old, where they were of one heart, one mind and one soul. This is not a call for us to become automatons stamped out on an assembly line; we still retain our distinction as individuals, but through the dealings of God in our lives, and in the process and formation of our own growth and maturity, we come to a place of agreement with God, and therefore, with each other. Only a Church that recognizes the profound centrality of resurrection for itself will equally, by that recognition, understand the necessity for Israel's death and resurrection. Then God asks the 'son of man' the ultimate question, "Son of man, can these bones live?" Have you ever felt like a 'son of man'? For all your spirituality, are you ever aware of your limited humanity at the same time? The great prophetic man of faith could not reply in the affirmative, but could only say, "O Lord God, Thou knowest." When the crucial moment comes, when the nation confesses that it is without hope, God turns to the 'son of man,' and says, "Therefore, prophesy to these bones that they might live." Why would the God of Israel not Himself speak directly to the bones? He does not need anything from anyone, but He has chosen to employ the 'son of man,' because Jews will be in their graves in the nations. God could have sovereignly done it by Himself, but it is our conviction that God is as much concerned for the transfiguration of the Church as He is for the restoration of the nation. It is a mystery. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! (Rom. 11:33). This is what Paul sees in Romans chapters 9 through 11. This is why he broke through every constraint of language when the mystery broke upon him. He could not contain himself; it was more than just Israel's restoration; it was the transformation of the Church at the very same time, by the crisis that came to the Church, the 'son of man' company, called to speak to the dead bones in a faith that could believe that those bones could live. God's concern for the Church is as great as His concern for Israel, and the glory of this reciprocal relationship alone compels the Church to a place of ultimacy. It is the ultimate requirement, and it is in meeting it, that we become ultimate as the Church. It is the Church's final challenge, which can only be met on that resurrection ground to which we can say, "For to me to live is Christ." The Challenge to the Church Our grasping of this mystery, and the giving of ourselves to the fulfillment of it, is a critical key to the Church coming into the fullness of God's intention in the Last Days. This is in accordance with the calculated stratagem of God for our rising to a fullness of an apostolic and prophetic kind. There will be no other challenge of this magnitude than the challenge that comes to us by a prostrate, inert and dead nation, who cannot help itself, and to whom something must come from outside of itself, or it would have remained in the grave in that irremediable condition. This is an ultimate requirement for the Church, and will identify who, in fact, the true Church is. Only a people who are in authentic union with God in His nature, and share the purposes of God, and desire the glory of God, will give themselves to this final requirement. True unity comes from an agreement that the Lord forges out of a suffering that takes pain and disillusionment to temper and establish that we might be "one as He is one." It is a death to our

individualism, our many opinions, our self-will, and our self-centeredness. This is a unity that can only be obtained at the Cross. How does God get us from our present condition to a place where He can command us to prophesy, especially when we are not habituated to being commanded? A crisis is coming that requires us to speak as one voice with the power to raise a dead nation. Are we willing for that ultimate requirement? Just to see Israel apostolically and prophetically in its death, is itself, a radical requirement. This is the genius and the mystery of God. We have a long way to go, and our desire for the glory of God is the incentive to make that journey. The Church is called to be a prophetic entity that can speak for God, with the authority of God, a speaking that is not just inspirational instruction, but an 'event' that causes a nation to rise from death. With what authority do we presently speak, we who have given our mouths to trifles, to gossip, to chit-chat, to nonsense, and all the things that debase the currency of words? We have so little understanding, so little respect for the spoken word, and there needs to be a much greater regard for silence on our part, so that when the speaking does come, it will be consequential. To respect silence is to respect speaking, which, for us, means discipline, because we are a generation that cannot endure silence. Israel's Millennial Destiny As long as the nation of Israel remains in its grave, we will continue to have incest, abortion, child molestation, perversion, and every sick and defiling sin, even unto a Sodom and Gomorrah. We will be inundated with every grotesque form of iniquity until Israel comes to be a priestly nation, instructing the world in the difference between the sacred and the profane, blessing all the families of the earth because now they know God as the God who raises the dead. The true knowledge of God is not knowledge about God, but it is the experiential knowledge of a God who raises the dead, the experience of the resurrection in our own lives that, alone, empowers us to effect it in others. Except we have experienced that resurrection from our death, how shall we believe it for them? Except our word be a resurrection word in resurrection power, how shall they be raised from that death? Since Israel has a millennial destiny central to all nations, there is no alternative but for God to bring her out from the place of man in his self-sufficiency and dependency upon his own competence, and into a union with Him by which she is divinely enabled. The unhappy thing is that no one can come into that, short of death. It is really a remarkable revelation of our own condition that we have not understood this necessity for Israel, perhaps because we have not been willing to understand it for ourselves. The Church itself is operating too much from its own humanity, and making a brave show of it in terms of seeming success, but it is only when the issue of the glory of God is raised that our presumptions and failures are apparent. We are persuaded that all of our error and failure to understand how God will bring Israel down, our reluctance to consider the necessary suffering and devastation that will result, stems from the fact that our central consideration is not the glory of God, but the success of a nation, a fellowship or an individual. We need to understand that Israel's predicament shall worsen, both from within and without. There has never been a nation so bewildered, so bedeviled as Israel, with vexing problems rising from differences in culture, national origin and ethnicity. Israel is surrounded by hostile enemies who are determined to see her destruction; they have a Palestinian presence within, and even if there is momentary resolution, the intractable hatred, bloodlust and revenge that is characteristic of the extremist, Islamic mentality will not be placated. This is neither accidental nor haphazard, but the calculated wisdom of God to bring a proud, stubborn, self-willed and self-assured people down and out, in order that He might raise them up in the power of God, supernaturally, by a word spoken through Gentiles, whom Jews would consider the least likely source. Believing Gentiles will be the key to Israel's national restoration, and that is why God Himself does not speak the word; He has us to speak it, together, in agreement, one heart, one mind, one will, when it is commanded, and in a faith that must work by love. The unconditional love of God cannot be offended against, regardless of the condition of the one upon whom that love is visited. In a word, the 'son of man' who speaks for God has got to be in unsullied union with God; his love is God's love, his faith is God's faith, and for him to live is Christ. How many of us can say that that is our present condition? It means choosing not to live by one's own wisdom, or be moved by one's own energy. It is to become emptied, to become weak, helpless and frail. And except that He lives, I do not live either. I am dead and hid with Christ in God until His life is revealed; then is my life revealed unto glory.26

Crisis unto Death If Israel were not in this crisis unto death, but in a less demanding place where the Church could help them, then, in what condition would we, with them, be eternally fixed, both as the Church and as Israel? It would be a condition less than what glorifies God; it would not be a condition that fitted us for our own eternal calling, and if we miss this, we miss something immeasurable. We cannot discuss the issue of Israel except in the context, then, of eternity. The issue is not their immediate need, security, and being helped through; there is an issue of eternity at stake. This is the last occasion in time and history by which that is to be effected. It is ultimate and final, both for Israel and for the Church. How can this be communicated to the Church in such a way that the Church would become willing to embrace this death so as to know this life?" A Church that is merely well-meaning could never succeed in bringing itself to this awareness, conviction and understanding. Only a prophetic call of an unsparing kind could conceivably bring the Church to this awareness. The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry (Ezek. 37:1-2). Does this indicate that the prophet would necessarily like to be in the midst of the valley of dry bones? When the Allies arrived in Germany at the end of World War II, they came upon scenes of mounds and mounds of stinking corpses and bones in the most horrifying configurations. Men puked upon seeing the ugliness of those mass graves, unburied corpses, and bodies in their final convulsions of death. It is not something that is pleasant, but if the prophet, or anyone, will not come to the place of truth, however grim, if he will not see things as they in fact are, as God Himself sees them, then is he equally powerless to address them. The 'son of man' is as much a concern in the purposes of God as the valley of dry bones itself. It describes God's preoccupation and jealousy, not only for Israel, but that something symbolized in the phrase, 'son of man,' the prophetic calling in the man. Unless the Spirit of the Lord brought him there, and the hand of the Lord was upon him, he would not, himself, have chosen to come down into that valley. A valley is invariably a place of depression. Unless we will allow the hand of the Lord to come upon us as a corporate 'son of man,' as a prophetic end-time people, to bring us out of a lesser but more comfortable place, which we have ourselves preferred, and bring us down into the place of desolation and death, we forfeit the true place in God. It is always the issue of truth. We need to begin to see how much man is desperately evil in his own humanity, and why 'death' is the only answer. Deep-seated in our humanity, we have our delusions, our wishful thinking, the way we like to color something in our views, or see the better side of it. We naturally want to avoid the hard, painful seeing of something as it, in fact, is. Self-induced deception, born out of the carnal heart, refuses to see something as it in fact is, and transforms it to the point that it believes its own perception and its own lie. In that condition, we will never prophesy anything. A prophet is a seer before he is a spokesman, and if his word is not in keeping with the truth of what is to be seen, it is not a true word, and it will not raise the dead. This text suggests that this prophet, like ourselves, is not naturally willing, that there is a degree of reluctance to see things as they in fact are. True Seeing How do we perceive the present-day state of Israel? Is she just struggling through some temporary problems? There have been some unhappy things, yes; and yes, they have had to use some force and even brutality; and yes, it was a very sad episode about that Jewish doctor going into the Mosque in Hebron, and killing those praying Muslims in cold blood. But is that not, rather, a symptom and a statement not of a man, but of a condition of a nation? When a man, who is both orthodox and highly educated, can, in cold blood, calculate the death of others as being the means by which Israel will obtain its security, then we have something much more here than an aberrant individual. Are we seeing with a degree of wishful thinking that wants to dismiss painful considerations, or are we seeing something deeper and truer? We have to ask if the act described in Hebron was an act of a deranged man, or whether the extremities and the pressures of his nation's situation have revealed what man in fact is, and always has been, and is revealed again in this extremity. We can ask the same question about Nazi Germany, the land of

philosophy, ethics, morality, music and culture. Is what we see now the true Germany, or is the true Germany the one that was unmasked by the pressures of the 'thirties,' revealing the pagan heart of that nation in the Nazi time? In fact, does God allow, if not bring into being, the circumstances that will reveal the truth of our condition? God will not bring His redemptive answer to the changing of that condition until we acknowledge it and make no excuses for it. We love Israel, but we are not going to allow that love to deceive us as to their condition and their need, let alone our own. Before the Church can speak prophetically, it needs to see prophetically. That means dying to every illusion and desire it has to see things in a rosier light. God is not saying to the son of man, "Just take a glimpse at this." He brought him down into the midst of those dry bones, and walked him all around, and thrust him into the grit of it. What do you think of a God like that? Might we not just as well be talking about community living? If one wants to live with delusion, then be a Sunday Christian, wear the pious face, and let others wear theirs, and greet each other in the foyer of the building, and ask, "How are you doing, brother?" If one wants to see the true condition of the fellowship, then live in community for the rest of the week, and see people when their religious masks are off, as they, in fact, are. Even more shocking is to see what we, in fact, are! Disillusionment is not a bad thing, because illusion is another name for a lie. It is only the grace of God that enables us to give up our illusions, and see things as they in fact are, and it is on that ground that God meets us. That is when His mercy and grace are available, but only on the ground of truth. He is not going to allow us to feed our suppositions, romantic imaginings, or any such thing. He is full of grace, but also full of truth. Where are a prophetic people like that? It is for as many as will allow the Spirit of God to bring them out from their comfortable views and their wishful thinking, and down into the situation as it in fact is, grim and full of death, and from that place, to speak as God in the place of God. That is why the priests were barefooted; their feet had to touch the ground; they had no illusions about the truth of Israel's condition, and only in that condition could they go in and make sacrifice for the nation. Before you are a prophet, you are a priest, or you are not a prophet. Only priestly identification with the people, in the condition that they are in, can bring the prophetic benediction and blessing. We have got to recognize that God is as concerned for the 'son of man' as He is for Israel and it is only in the interaction between the two that both come forth into the place of truth, the place of resurrection and glory. One with God There is a very interesting conclusion here that we should not miss. After 'the son of man' prophesies, and bone comes to bone, and flesh upon the bones, and when they are brought up out of their graves and into the land of Israel, we read, 'Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,' declares the LORD (Ezek.37:13-14). How can the Lord say "I have spoken it," when it is clear from the text that the 'son of man' is the one who prophesied? How can both things be true at the same time? "God is not a man that He should lie." Is it not because the two are one, which is the very genius of the faith? There has been a coming together in union where God's word is the prophet's word; God's thought is his thought; God's will is his will, and God's impulse is his impulse. He has no independent life of his own. For God to have performed the speaking Himself would not have been a glory. The glory is always revealed when it is expressed through another vessel, especially an earthen one. This will be the final demonstration to Israel of the genius and glory of God, coming through a Gentile Church, the last agent that Israel would have selected to be their 'Deliverer.' What would you rather be: a believer who receives help from the Lord so that you can do 'such and such' for the Lord, or a 'son of man,' who has come to a place of union with the Lord, so that you cannot tell where the 'son of man' ends and where God begins? Your speaking is His speaking; your thought is His thought; your will is His will. You have no independent existence. What would you rather have, an independent Christian existence with your speaking, your thoughts and your desires, which are nice and good, or be brought into union with the Lord Himself that He becomes your life and speaking? Can He presently say about your speaking that it is His? We would hazard a guess that the majority of Christians would prefer not to make this radical transition from the one mode of being to the other. Yes, they would like the help that God would give them, so that they could do something for God, but they do not want to cross over to that other side where "to live is Christ."

An ultimate condition of being in God is implied here beyond anything we have ever contemplated as Charismatic, Pentecostal or Evangelical. This is more than being a sincere Christian; it is coming to a place where you no longer nourish an independent identity in yourself. You are "dead and hid with Christ in God." Until we come to that, Israel remains in her grave. God will not allow Israel's restoration on any basis other than this. We have got to come into the place where we are fused with God, one with Him, having come to the death of our own independent identity, purpose and being. On that basis, and that basis alone, can there be a resurrection word that raises the dead. The Consummation of all Things Unless our death and resurrection, as the Church, precedes Israel's, they remain dead, and this to the detriment of the nations, and the holding back of the establishment of the kingdom of God in the earth. The issue of the Lord's coming and the whole eschatological climax is so altogether interwoven with Israel's restoration, that to omit Israel is to lose the whole context and glory of the Lord's coming, the blessed hope of the Church.27 That is the mystery of the Church; it is the mystery of the Godhead; it is the mystery of Israel. It is climactic and final; it is the end of history; it is the whole purpose for which history has been established; it is the consummation of everything. The purposes in this age of history and the nations are fulfilled. The Lord returns. He has got an Israel that is one with Him, a Church that is one with Him. His glory is revealed. None can glory in anything. It is from Him, through Him, and to Him, to whom be glory forever. Now He can trust us to be co-heirs and co-laborers with Him in His eternal kingdom. Now, with Abraham, we can be the heirs of the world, where there is nothing left that would in any way threaten or jeopardize the interests of God or misappropriate His glory. The Last Days' dealings of God with Israel are not a novelty of some sort; it is not God putting on another face. This is God in His essential being. This is God in what was always intrinsic to Himself. This is the way that He has always performed His works, and the way His wisdom has always been depicted. It has always been set forth that there is a suffering that precedes a glory; the Lord demonstrated this principle in His own earthly tenure. Why should we be surprised that the nation that is called to be the "first-born" son should have a requirement less or other than the Lord Himself? Our problem is that we are not attuned to God; we are not in keeping with the basic thought of God and the disposition of God, the great symbol of which is the Cross. It has become a sentimental and ceremonial thing; we are seekers after experiences; we shrink from pain and are afraid to embrace the Cross. A jealousy for God's glory, and a desire to embrace and fulfill His ultimate and Last Days' purposes, makes one a candidate for suffering.28 My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever (Ezek. 37:27-28). This reads like it could be the last verse of the Bible; it is the consummation of everything. The kingdom is established under Jesus, the greater David, His rule is forever, and God has a priestly nation who will never again break covenant with Him, with a new spirit and another heart. We have to see the whole death and resurrection of Israel in the context of the establishment of God's theocratic rule forever. The last word is 'forever,' which implies finality, irrevocable and eternal. "It is finished" on the basis of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. When Jesus spoke those words, He was envisioning this climactic end. This was the "joy that was set before Him," and He set in motion, by His own death, the release of the power of the resurrection glory by which Israel, at the end, would be raised from the dead, that He might be King over them and rule forevermore. Everything is predicated on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Resurrection The one thing that will distinguish the apostolic church from the apostate church of the Last Days is the subject of resurrection. That is not to say that the apostate church will deny the truth of the doctrine of resurrection; they will continue to acknowledge it ceremoniously and religiously, but they have no intention of living in it. Whereas, the thing that will distinguish the remnant church is their qualification to say with Paul, "For to me, to live is Christ." They will be a people who live eminently in the power of the resurrection life, forfeiting any other dependency. Why would the apostate church be reluctant to also live and move and have its being in the resurrection life, if it is available? Why is it only the remnant church? Why is one content for the mere form of a Christian life, and the other insistent on the power of it? The answer lies in the fact that

death precedes resurrection power every time, and there are not too many who will make themselves candidates for that. If we want religious success, that is fine, it can be done on the basis of our own expertise, prowess and religious ability. But if we want our fellowship, our marriage or our life to be for God's glory and not merely our success, then they must all be predicated totally on resurrection ground. The question is, "How far do we want to go?" For most of us, success is all that we want, be it religious, marital, professional. The root problem of the Church is that we have a false center, namely, ourselves, when the true center should more rightly be the glory of God. We never will have gratification and satisfaction until we make that radical adjustment, and put God, His interests and the fulfillment of His eternal purposes by which He obtains His glory as the central purpose of our being. Our very failure, as the Church, to understand the necessary death of Israel shows that we have not truly understood God. The hope to see the fulfillment of Israel in fifty years as the prophetic, Messianic state is really an expression of our own impatience, immaturity and lack of understanding of the centrality of the Cross, and of suffering, in the effecting of things that are enduring and eternal. The prophetic scriptures will be fulfilled, but by an event that is much more painful, much more demanding and much more requiring of the supernatural demonstration of God than we have presently observed or desired to see in the recent history of Israel. How much of the Church's disappointment with Israel is predicated upon a false premise and hope of an idealized or romantic view of Israel? Have we been fascinated by the energy of this people, and their ability to raise themselves up in a generation? And how much is that really a statement, or a projection, of our own vain perception of ourselves, contrary to the whole tenor of the gospel that rests on the issue of death and resurrection, necessary for Abraham, necessary for Jesus, and therefore necessary for Israel as well as ourselves. We wanted an easier success both for ourselves and for Israel, but God is not accommodating our shallowness, for He must perform what He must perform, that He might be glorified thereby. The issue of Israel is the issue of the Church, because Israel, in its final Last Days' death, can only be saved by resurrection power. It makes, therefore, a requirement of the Church to become the Church indeed, in all of its full, apostolic and prophetic character and glory.

23 See Micah 5:1 24 See Daniel 12:7 and Deuteronomy 32:23-39 25 See 1 Cor. 15:42-48. 26 See Colossians 3:3-4. 27 See Acts 3:21 and Titus 2:13. 28 See Acts 9:15-16

Chapter 14 - The Anatomy of Resurrection

Of all the doctrines of the faith, resurrection is the most offensive to human sensibility and reason, and the most difficult to consider. So deep-seated in man is the innate resistance to resurrection that the disciples themselves were disbelieving (Luke 24:41), even though the resurrected Christ was standing before them. We need to understand the profundity of resurrection, and the equally great resistance to the truth of it, and how central it is to the whole purpose of God. Let us examine the genius and the anatomy of resurrection itself. What is it in resurrection that is so commendable and dear in God's own sight? It took a power to raise a dead man, Jesus Himself, from the grave, but now we are going to be talking about the power that it takes to raise an entire nation. The day of Jesus Christ is the day of resurrection. That is to say, it is an event which cannot take place gradually and which leaves no room for realization in steps. There are no transitions, no approximation, between the two. There is a sharp line of demarcation and all continuity from one to

the other by successive states of realization is excluded. This event is one which comes exclusively from God's side and not from ours (Emil Brunner - Source Unknown). This Swiss-German theologian is striking at the very heart of the liberal mind, which predicates everything on gradual evolutionary process, or by a process of change. Resurrection, however, is completely opposed to that; it is absolute, sudden, and a once-and-for-all event from God. It has nothing to do with process of change. Process implies the involvement of man through his ever-developing understanding. Resurrection has to do with man, dead and incapable of effecting anything, in any way, in and of himself. Therefore, anything that quickens him must be exclusively the operation of God that comes as 'event' in the moment of God's own choosing. There is something in the evolutionary mindset that includes man as a necessary component in the process, but resurrection is absolutely God's doing, and in it, there is no room for man at all. When all basis for hope was gone, Abraham hoped in God and believed, and he became the father of many nations according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be." His descendants would be exactly like him. When every basis for their hope was gone, they also would be resurrected to a new hope on the same basis of the word of God as it had come to Abraham. The final demonstration to Israel of the sovereignty and the omnipotence of God will be due to the fact that He is the God whose very speaking constitutes their life. Abraham had to see that there was no basis whatsoever for life in himself, and God must bring His restored Abrahamic nation to that place as well. It is not a pleasant process, but it is of eternal consequence, and therefore, worth it all. The issue of whether Israel is going to come into her millennial destiny and glory by process of change, or by resurrection, is a very great question. You wonder how Israel, having the destiny that it does, could be exempted from the subject of resurrection. God will not allow her to come into His glory in any other way but by resurrection, for anything that pertains to the glory of God must come by virtue of resurrection alone. The whole tenor of Scripture reveals the implicit wisdom of resurrection as the theme that runs through the whole of God's ways. There is something in man that wants to 'get in on the act.' Do we realize that the language we use betrays the depth of our understanding of God? For example, we say, "If God will help me, then I will walk in the way." This implies that there are two independent entities: God and I. And whether we say it or not, this is often our mentality, because we do not see ourselves as dead men wholly thrust in dependency upon the totality of His Life. There is a world of difference between saying, "If God will help me" and Paul's statement, "For to me, to live is Christ." Paul does not ask God to help him. Paul asks God to be him. Paul's whole sufficiency was Christ and "knowing Him and the power of His resurrection," for which reason he could count all things as rubbish, which does not mean just the questionable, murky things, but the best things: Paul's intelligence, his Jewish learning, his wisdom, his understanding, his own character, his own gifts. Very few have really understood and appropriated the power of resurrection because of the failure to recognize the totality of it, its being exclusively and entirely of God. We sin thereby, and fall short of the glory of God. His glory is not something He will share with flesh, or with any other, but only when it is exclusively Himself. As long as we feel that we can 'get by' in any measure with our puny, religious wisdom and understanding, we fall short of His glory. That is why we do not see the glory of God. We are not so much concerned with the glory of God as we are concerned with avoiding the embarrassment of failure, and we often see the fruit of this every Sunday from the majority of church pulpits. That is why we have so little resurrection event in that preaching. That is why apostolic preaching is different from conventional preaching. Conventional preaching can be biblical, doctrinally sound, interesting, informative and even inspiring, but it is not an 'event' in God.29 The Law of Life Death, i.e., death to all confidence in the flesh, is God's inexorably fixed law of Life. The thing that pertains to His glory is the life that arises out of death. For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah [i.e., the whole of God's Israel]. I, even I, [not Arafat, not terrorism, not the hordes of Islam] will tear to pieces and go away, I will carry away, and there will be none to deliver (Hosea 5:14). This is not a lion who is going to lick, but one that is going to tear. How do we comprehend God in using such an analogy for Himself in being to Judah and Ephraim a lion who tears? Israel certainly was ravaged and torn in the Hitler time, yet the Nazi horror was not the final statement of the scriptures that we are now

considering. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek me early (Hosea 5:15 KJV). This verse has not yet been fulfilled, for there is not one Jew in a ten thousand who thinks that there is any offense that needs to be brought before God, or that God needs to be sought concerning our offenses as Jews. God has a great, unanswered controversy with Israel, which goes all the way back to the sins of our fathers, of which we have hardly any cognizance at all. And yet God says that until we acknowledge the sins of our fathers and our own sins, He will not remember His covenant toward us (Lev. 26:40). Our God is such a lover of our souls and so jealous over us in truth, that He will not allow us to languish in our deception about our own condition. He will go so far as to even give us the state of Israel, not as something that is going to be established in success, but to reveal to us what nothing else would have revealed, namely, that merely having our own nation has not exhibited to the world a unique nation displaying an ethical and moral sensitivity unknown to nations. God, rather, wants us to see that we are equally as capable as any other nation, of every depravity and every kind of crime, brutality and use of force employed by nations everywhere historically, and to this day, to preserve their own existence. Come, let us return to the Lord (Hosea 6:1a). This is now Israel speaking, who are now seeking God out of an affliction, which is yet future, because there has never yet been this acknowledgment historically: "For He has torn us..." World Jewry and Israel have not acknowledged that "He has torn us." Circumstances have, and Hitler has, but not "He." It is a remarkable acknowledgement that the causative factor in Israel's distress is not Arafat and the terror, but God Himself, who employs nations and men as the rod of His chastisement. ...but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him (Hosea 6:1b-2). There is no more eloquent a statement than this, of Israel's death and resurrection "on the third day," which day we are approaching. Preceding the glory of resurrection is the necessary falling into death from which only a resurrection can raise us. Can we, like the Son of God before us, wait two days longer where we are, though we know that our friend Lazarus, whom we love, is sick unto death (John 11:1-45)? Are we able to remain under the will of God and not seek to alleviate or alter the sickness that God Himself has imposed? A word that is before its time, and is not "on the third day," but is calculated for comfort, is a false word. It will not bring release for that nation, but on the contrary, it will inhibit us from being the prophetic voice that raises that nation from the dead. Our motive must always be the glory of God the Father, not the alleviation of sickness and human ill. The greatest statement of the love of God is His allowing suffering to run its full course because it eventuates, not just in the recovery of the suffering one, but in the glory of God forever. We need to realistically understand God's stratagem; we need to die to those kinds of hopes and expectations that are not founded upon the Word of God, but upon our own humanistic assumption and projection for Israel, of the kind that we hoped for ourselves, namely, improvement and change for the better, not understanding that everything that pertains to the glory of God must issue from a resurrection out from death. So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth (Hosea 6:3). Only then will Israel be a blessed people that can bless all the families of the earth. It is the event that is exclusively from God's side and exclusively in God's time, "on the third day." We cannot order it sooner; we cannot be relieved of our death when we want to be, but only when He wants to do it. We are "dead and hidden with Christ in God, until His life is revealed" (Col. 3:3 paraphrased). The Intifada, the terrorism, the opposition of the Palestinians and the surrounding Arab states, and the growing world sentiment against Israel, are all part of God's program to bring Israel into death. There is something here that is more than just a momentary political upset. This is death working in the long run, and it will have its full work. It should more rightly be understood as the death of disillusionment, of despair and of a growing sense that, "We are not going to succeed as the kind of nation that we had hoped to establish. This is forcing us to realize that we are acting like every other nation. We are using so much force, intimidation, threat and terror, that even if somehow, miraculously, this Arab-Palestinian opposition would cease, and we could placate them, and give them what they want, so much moral damage has already been done to our national character that we can never recover. We can never be the kind of state that we hoped to be." Israel still thinks that they can extricate themselves from, or somehow resolve these terrible dilemmas, and find the basis for security, peace and national coherence, even to the point where they are willing to

negotiate now again with their own avowed enemy. Patient Love God is not rushing to Israel's side. The purpose of their sickness is to reveal the glory of God when He will raise them from the dead by His sovereign resurrection power "on the third day." As we have seen from Ezekiel 37, God does not do it directly Himself, but through a 'son of man,' and as we have said, this is where the Gentile Church comes in. However well-meaning we are, and yearn to see Israel established, and however much we want to say all the right things, there will not be a stirring in Israel's grave unless we ourselves are on the resurrection ground, because it is the word spoken from that side that opens that grave. 1 Corinthians 15 is the classic chapter on the theme of resurrection, and it would not be doing the scriptures an injustice to read Israel into these verses, particularly with regard to its present condition, and what it will increasingly become, until death has its full work. But someone will say, 'How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?' You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies (1 Cor. 15:35). It is hard to understand how anyone who sees this, and understands it in his own experience as a believer, can have a moment's hesitation before recognizing that it must be true for Israel as well. You can only be 'made alive' from the place of death. So also is the resurrection of the dead. Israel is sown a perishable body, Israel is raised an imperishable body; Israel is sown in dishonor, Israel is raised in glory; Israel is sown in weakness, Israel is raised in power; Israel is sown a natural body [a political, Zionist state]; Israel is raised a spiritual body [the millennial glory of Israel]. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit (1 Cor. 15:42-45).30 Israel will also be, as it were, a "life-giving spirit" but this time to the nations, and that is why her return will be "life from the dead" (Rom. 11:15). However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural [Zionist state]; then the spiritual [the millennial glory]. The first man [Zionist state] is from the earth, earthy; the second man [the millennial glory] is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable (1 Cor. 15:46-50). Those who resist the message of the necessary death and resurrection of Israel need to take particular heed to these verses. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, not even Jewish flesh and blood, as impressive as that may be. Flesh is flesh,31 earthy and natural, and therefore, cannot bless all the families of the earth. Only God, working through a resurrection, life-imbued people, can bless all the families of the earth. Our mistake is in thinking that present-day Israel is that final fulfillment, or can yet obtain it progressively. It is only the preliminary, natural entity that must precede the spiritual, the Ishmael before the Isaac. There is a corollary between those who celebrate present Israel as the final fulfillment of scriptures as those who believe that they will be raptured before the final tribulation. On the other hand, those who see Israel as the natural thing that precedes the spiritual, and see that there is equally a necessary death scheduled, are a people who, themselves, are ready to bear, for their sake, a measure of that dying in Last Days' opposition and tribulation of an antichrist kind. Someone who sees the Church going through a tribulation time, as we believe the scriptures indicate, will be more disposed also, to believe that Israel must equally go through a tribulation, a suffering and death. Those who see a rapture as being saved out of suffering want to see Israel also saved out of suffering and to succeed on her present, earthy and natural basis. We can become sympathetic for Israel and have a very high regard for Israel, but is that born out of a union with Christ in resurrection, or out of some measure of Christian guilt especially for the 'Christian' crimes that were inflicted on Jews through the ages? Guilt may be sufficient to engender sympathy and many good works, but it cannot enable one to stand by Israel's tomb and say, "Come forth!" One can only go so far with guilt and sentimentality, which in the absence of anything else may be quite impressive, but what the Last Days require are not something impressive, but rather, something unspeakably formidable, namely, to the raising of the dead itself! We prevent ourselves from both seeing and participating in Israel's restoration,

except from the more limited place of guilt and sentiment, which puts us strangely in opposition to those who do see the necessity of the death that precedes the resurrection. Our inability to see this reveals something very deep about the issue of resurrection. Is it a mercy of God to reveal our shortcoming now, rather than that we should die and learn on the other side of eternity that we had fallen short of the glory of God, and that our supposed well-meaning intentions and heartfelt sympathies were not enough. Even in Israel's apostasy and unbelief, she fulfills a function with regard to the Church that is priceless, namely, she reveals us. We would have preferred and been satisfied with sentimentality, and therefore, we would not have been aware that there was anything lacking until it is made clear that sentiment cannot raise Israel from the grave. Lazarus - The Ultimate Test for the Church How far will God go to perfect the Church for His purposes, especially in the Last Days? Our sense of things is that God will bring the Church, or at least a remnant of it, to a place of existential crisis, thus compelling it to break through into a place of ultimate abandonment and consecration. We prophetically believe, as already stated, that God will bring Israel into a death (Ezek. 37); analogous to the episode of Lazarus, in order to obtain something in the Church that evidently could not have been obtained in any lesser way. Are we are satisfied with the Church in its present condition? How we view present Israel is very much a projection of how we see ourselves. How we view ourselves is altogether related to how we view God. What does it take to see God and to see as He sees? A faulty view of God will show itself in our contentment with flourishing meetings, enjoyable conferences, and seeing present Israel successfully established. For those who lay claim to being believers and related to God, there is going to be a choice to be made. In fact the choice is so profound that not every one will be in the 'son of man' company so vividly portrayed in Ezekiel 37. Not everyone will be that corporate expression of His Life that will be called to prophesy. Many will fall away because the requirement is too great. But if we have any intent with God of a glorious kind, we need to understand God's Last Days' workings, and give ourselves to them. Israel's imminent predicament is going to place a requirement on the Church beyond all expectation, one that cannot be met on the basis of our unaided human or religious ability. There is clearly only one basis for the fulfilling of His purposes: it must be on the basis of the power of His Life by that which has died to its own. The death and resurrection of Israel implies the death and resurrection of the Church, or at least that part of the Church willing for it. As the ultimate Son of God, and as a son of obedience, Jesus was tested again and again in His humanity, but especially on hearing that His friend, Lazarus, was sick and nigh unto death. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. The sisters therefore sent to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." But when Jesus heard it, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it." Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When therefore He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days longer in the place where He was (John 11:1-6). Jesus would not allow Himself to be distracted away from the place where He was to remain. He would not be appealed to on the basis of His humanity to go and deliver His friend, whom He loved, from sickness. It was His obedience to remain another two days, contrary to His every human impulse to go to His friend, which is the key to the prophetic power in finally raising Lazarus from his grave. Jesus heard the words: "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick," but He chose to remain where He was, itself a death. God will test us to the point of breaking. Our every impulse is to go now, or to speak now, or to do now. Everything demands and cries for it: the man is sick, he is soaking in his sweat, writhing and turning in his bed, waiting for his friend, who had healed untold thousands, to come and do the same for him. But no, Jesus did not appear. He knew only too well what His failure to appear would mean, especially considering He did not offer an explanation. Any explanation would have relieved the anxieties and tensions of men, and with it, the possibility of death as death, thereby nullifying any prospect for the resurrection that followed. Jesus was forsaking his friend Lazarus for the greater glory. God's glory is inexorably and always beyond the issue of what relieves us, but only what glorifies Him. To come to the place where there is no vested self-interest or any self-satisfaction, where it is all the same to you whether you speak or not, whether you are seen or not, whether you are used or not, is to come to the place of obedience, and only then can you be prophetically used. The prophet Balaam was not yet separated from himself. He had the gift to employ,

but he employed it for his own end and gain, and therefore was a false prophet. Though his prophecy may have been true, the man was himself false. For Jesus to wait for Lazarus' death was a form of ultimate suffering. It was an excruciating death to every corpuscle that cried out for an immediate alleviation of a present distress. Everything that is human, in the best sense, wants naturally now to alleviate the distress, but Jesus remained two days longer where He was. He was able to restrain Himself, the spirit of the prophet being subject to the prophet. In His humanity, He must necessarily agonize over the suffering of His friend. But God's purposes are never the alleviation of tension, only the revelation of His glory. As long as we remain need-oriented, we forfeit being used to bring life from the dead. A son of God is not at liberty to address need, merely because he sees it. Any true servant is not moved by his or her perception of the need. We live in an age and a world that does not know how to contain itself. If something comes up, we want it attended to; we have a question, we want it answered; we have a need, we want it met. Everything is predicated upon our immediate interest. The fact that it is a spiritual interest does not alter the fact that it is still self-interest. God wants us at a place beyond where our self-interest dominates us; it is the place that Jesus was called to when he heard that his friend Lazarus was sick. It was an extraordinary moment of testing. The fact of the matter is that this one act of Lazarus' resurrection set in motion the things that determined Jesus' own death: "So from that day on they [the chief priests and Pharisees] planned together to kill Him [Jesus]" (John 11:53). It was the final offense, the straw that broke the camel's back, which really infuriated the religious establishment against Him, and infuriates it still. The demonstration of resurrection power is always invariably the dividing line. Either we have to fall before a Man capable of performing that by His word, or we have to reject Him, and put Him death. There is no middle ground. We do not want Israel to pass through what we ourselves are unwilling to pay the cost to obtain, but God is not going to allow us that luxury. The 'son of man' company that is qualified to raise Israel from her death must of necessity also have passed through its own death and resurrection. Only a word from such a place will raise the dead. It is interesting that the one sister, who was considered spiritual, and the other, who doted in the kitchen, both said exactly the same thing to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died." However spiritual we think we are, when the crisis comes of this kind, we reveal that we are just like Mary and Martha, and that we have certain expectancies we think ought to be fulfilled. And so, we become disappointed when they are not fulfilled, and it is reflected in an accusatory tone, even against God. There is a conjunction between the willingness and the ability to be unseen and unheard and to wait, and which has everything to do with the power, the glory, the authority that is exhibited when one is finally called to be employed. One never knows when that calling will come, or even if it will come at all. We have got to come to a priestly place where it makes no difference. To wait on God, silently, is as much to render Him priestly service as to go. The waiting precedes the going, the silence precedes the speaking, the death precedes the resurrection. If we find ourselves too prolific in our speaking, or too verbal, and that we are trying to make up by volume of words what could have been expressed by few, there will be a dissipation of the value; our words will lose their cogency and authority, their life and power. There is so much unnecessary noise, and verbiage that have no lasting value. How much of our speaking is really for ourselves to be heard, to be observed, to be acknowledged, to be accepted? What is our motive? The value of speaking is relative to esteeming silence, patiently holding and containing it. The act of waiting as a discipline is central to the whole priestly posture, and priestliness precedes and validates propheticness. As long as we feel ourselves superior and above the condition of other men, we cannot be in the priestly 'son of man' company, or, for that matter, in any true ministry. We need to identify with the world, not at its best, but at its worst. Only then can we minister and be a blessing. Our tendency is to lapse into a kind of religious superiority. We need to realize, however, that we are capable of anything and everything, and the only reason we have not fallen is not by any virtue of ours, but the God who has kept us.32 We must not presume to think ourselves better than those to whom we are ministering. The greater our spirituality the more true our understanding that "the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer.17:9 KJV). We have no virtue in ourselves. If we have not condescended to the worst depths of depravity, it is only because God's grace has kept us, and not we ourselves. Unless we really know that as shared identification, how then can we speak the word of resurrection to those who are in such depths as Israel will inescapably be?

Israel's true death is the acknowledgement that "Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off" (Ezek. 37:11). Israel, as well as much of the Church, is still fighting against that acknowledgment. And the truth of that is revealed in the way Israel arms herself with the latest military technology and nuclear deterrents, while the Church arms herself with the comparable 'spiritual' weapons of some new fad or program to relieve the boredom, monotony and predictability of conventional church life. God is bringing both to the necessary revelation of our own wicked heart. Israel and the Church have not been willing to surrender to the radical truth of the word of God about the human condition, but more especially its own, and have elevated its own subjectivity over the word of God. That is sin, and sin brings death and judgment. When Israel's repentance does come, it will exceed anything previously known. It will be of such a depth of wailing, of gasps of contrition, the crying out of the ravaged soul as will take place in this people when the revelation, through His mercy, of the depth of their sin breaks through. As we read, it will be every family apart and every husband and wife apart (Zech. 12:10-14). It will be so agonizing that they will not even bear to be in the presence of each other. It is oneself, alone before God in utter prostration. This kind of convulsive gasp and sob is death itself, and the one who can come out of that will not be the same person that went into it. This is how Israel comes into the newness of life, to become an entirely other people, out of the death of the convulsive repentance of the deepest kind, nationally, that has ever been historically experienced. The redeemed of the Lord will return to Zion, but only after the mourning and sighing has fled away.

29 See the author's chapter on "Apostolic Proclamation" in his book Apostolic Foundations. 30 For emphasis sake, we are taking the liberty of using the word 'Israel' where Paul uses the word 'it.' See
also Eph. 2:1 31 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63a). 32 Compare Hebrews 7:25 and Luke 22:32

Chapter 15 - Israel and the Time of Jacob's Trouble

It is an unwelcome task to put forth an overview of what the Scriptures call, "The time of Jacob's Trouble," a painful survey of the devastation and suffering, yet future, for Israel and the Jewish people. But, the Church needs to have this view brought into its understanding, lest it finds itself offended at the lengths to which God will go in dealing with this Jacob nation to bring them to the place they might become, finally, the true Israel of God. It is not only the Jacob in Israel who will be subjected to such devastation, but Jacob wherever he is to be found in the earth. It is not so much the time of political Israel's trouble, but the time of Jacob's trouble. The present political state of Israel is Jacob, but it does not encompass the Jacob that is outside the Land. We need this brought home to us as the Church, because the 'Jacob people' who are in the nations of the world will not be exempt from the sifting and refining fire of God. God has a purpose with Israel, but it is not because of Israel's virtue. He chose them for no other reason than that He loves them and not because of their lovableness, but because of who and what God is. The final revelation of God in His severe dealings and mercy upon this nation and people is a revelation of Himself. "I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy," not because the mercy is deserved, but because "I AM WHO I AM," and "I will be who I will be," and until that is established, God is not yet God in the eyes of mankind. As long as we think that there is any condition or qualification, in either Israel or the Church that compels Him to be merciful, we still do not understand. There is still something in us of a human self-righteousness that wants to be acknowledged for itself and this 'something' has not come to the poverty of spirit that alone inherits the blessings of God. It is only the poor in spirit who recognize that they have no distinction or qualification in and of themselves, and God has got to go to great lengths to establish that point with us, because we have not correctly understood how deep-seated our human intransigence and sin are. The history of God's dealings with Israel is God's textbook, but primarily, His dealing with them is the revelation of Himself; He is revealed in His dealings with them. It has been a painful lesson for Israel, but it is a lesson that is going to last for all eternity. Israel, even in her unbelief and apostasy, is the nation chosen to reveal God to the world.

God's free sovereign grace has chosen Jerusalem, the very same city where He was crucified and where the prophets were stoned and slain, yet, it is still His choice. What would you say of a God like that? We would have long ago rejected and discarded any people who had so shamefully abused their privilege as Israel has. God's promises, nevertheless, remain irrevocable, even independent from and contrary to the desire of the people themselves, who give absolutely no thought to fulfilling their destiny, and who do not even want to be chosen. If we are having difficulty with these statements, the issue is not intellectual, but it is because there is somewhere in us a residue of self-righteousness and confidence in ourselves as man, which we project onto our view of Israel. We want them to succeed because we want to succeed on the basis of our own virtue and ability, rather than on the basis of His. But God will not allow even the partial participation of man in his unaided humanity because He knows what is in man. The name 'Israel' was given to Jacob after his climactic confrontation with the Son of God, the pre-incarnate revelation of Christ, when he saw Him face to face, wrestled with Him, was touched, made lame, and received the blessing. 'Israel' means, 'one who has prevailed both with God and with man.' The name was given after a final, ultimate kind of confrontation between a man who lived in his 'Jacob' energy, strength of mind and determination, so much so that he virtually stole the inheritance from a willing Esau, whom God hated because he so readily gave it up. Even though Jacob had a well-meaning intention, he was not much more than a 'conniver' (which is what the word 'Jacob' means), who succeeded by his own artifice and conniving, and no conniver is going to bless all the families of the earth. Something has got to happen to the conniver in a final showdown in which he comes to the end of himself, and has such an intense interaction with God in a wrestling of ultimate combat that he becomes another man-a lame man, who will no longer depend on his own sap and natural strength. This is the very same scenario that is happening now in Israel. The nation is called Israel, but 'Jacob' would be a more fitting name for it. It is vexing its neighbors, and threatening the Middle East in the defense of its Jacob strength and life, trusting in the confidence of its own arm. Jacob must become Israel, and it is not an exaggeration to say that this Last Days' time of Jacob's trouble is the beginning of the final end of Jacob. He must pass through the searing dealings of God in a final wrestling, and he will not survive it, or come through it, except as the Israel of God in a transformed condition, because he has met Him face to face. The whole saga will be a re-enactment of the struggle of the original Jacob with the Lord in order to become the Israel of God. As long as Jews remain in their arrogant disdain and contempt for the Gentiles, they cannot bless the nations of the earth. For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. And the nations will see your righteousness...(Isaiah 62:1-2a). When that people will be revealed as having a righteousness not of their own, but His, then God will be glorified in the sight of all nations. To bring Israel to that place where her righteousness is God's will require a purging away of her own self-righteousness by a burning judgment, the likes of which has not been seen before. By a certain logic, this judgment must be greater than all past tribulations. Can we not assume, therefore, that being greater, it must subsume and exceed all past calamity, and again, necessarily include dispersion, exile and devastation in the Land? When God says, 'great' or 'greater' than any previous calamity, it raises the question, "How great, then, must this final calamity be that purges Israel from its filth by the spirit of burning and of judgment?" Jesus referred to this time in Matthew 24:21-22, ...for then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life [Jewish life] would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect [of Israel] those days shall be cut short." (Parentheses mine). In Isaiah 6, the prophet saw the Lord high and lifted up, and cried out, "Woe is me, for I am ruined!" (v. 5a). And after the angel had applied the coal to his lips, in agreement that he was a man of unclean lips, Isaiah's answer to, "Who shall go for Us?" (v. 8b) was, "Here am I. Send me" (v.8b). He then received the most fearful mandate, to be the mouthpiece that will not so much speak blessing, as it was to pronounce fearful judgment: Go, and tell this people: "Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand." Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, lest they see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed (vs. 9-10). It was a word that was going to desensitize the people, deafen them and dull their hearts, fixing them in an

apostate condition. God's sending of the prophet was not to bring salvation, but judgment, and His word would condemn the nation to an inability to turn or hear. But the prophet rightly asks in verse 11, "Lord, how long?" Isaiah understood God's character well enough to know that judgment is not God's final word, but rather, a penultimate one, the word before the last word. He wanted to know how long this condition would prevail. It is not an exaggeration to say that this dullness of heart and deafness of ear describes Israel's present condition, and, in fact, Israel's historical condition. That condition has not been alleviated or altered from Isaiah's time until this day, and the history of Israel, past and present, attests to that. Israel is still under this judgment condition, and so the question of 'how long?' that Isaiah raises is enormously significant, and here is the answer, Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people, and the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth part in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump (vs. 11-13). There has always been a saved remnant of Jews in every generation, but as a nation, Israel is still under this judgment and curse, until the 'until' is fulfilled-until a vast devastation comes upon the nation, laying waste its cities, its inhabitants, houses without people, the Land utterly desolate, and a great expulsion. There will be a vast emptiness in the midst of the Land, and though only a remnant remains, the text suggests that even they shall be burned. We have here an initial statement indicating that there is an until not yet fulfilled, and when it comes, it will require this devastation in the Land itself. This is a devastation in the midst of the Land, so it requires a presence in the Land to suffer this judgment. And when the Lord brings the 'redeemed of the Lord' back, the first function that awaits them is the rebuilding of the cities that lie in ruins and desolation. It is clear that in order for Israel to be removed from this apostate condition, a certain character of events must take place that will leave the Land wholly desolate and in ruins, uninhabited, and the people cast far away. This is suggestive of other periods in Israel's history where there has been desolation, expulsion and exile. How, then, do we interpret this statement as being not yet fulfilled, and figure that it will be fulfilled only when these conditions are experienced? These conditions are waiting for the 'until' of devastation and a great forsaking in the midst of the Land, also requiring a presence in the Land. Our mistake is to view the present state of Israel as being, itself, the enduring Israel of God's intention, rather than the initial presence that must first experience desolation and ruin, out of which is to come the establishment of the millennial glory. Our sense is that these verses are not a description of any of Israel's experiences to date, both of calamities and exiles, because a heart condition remains there now that would otherwise have been alleviated by this catastrophe, had it already taken place! The Scriptures clearly state that when this violence of an ultimate ruin and devastation takes place, then the condition has been given by which the spiritual blindness, deafness and obdurate heart would be removed from the nation. It takes an almost willful blindness to believe that the time of Jacob's trouble is past, and that, as some say, it was fulfilled in the Holocaust of Nazi Germany. Deception has its opportunity when men are unwilling to consider hard things, when they have scant ability to bear things of an apocalyptic kind, and want to believe for a 'good' thing. Deception comes to those who have not taken to heart the issue of the Cross and suffering. In fact, this sense of what the future must hold need not come by some mystical revelation; the whole tenor of Scripture is clear that the redemptive way of God is always through death and resurrection. It is a root principle of God from which even His own Son was not exempt, and neither His chosen nation nor the Church, for that matter, will be exempt from it. To expect that Israel will somehow succeed without fulfilling that necessary requirement, though the Scriptures are explicitly clear that it will, is remarkably nave. My own prophetic understanding is that the cities that will be rebuilt upon the final and enduring return, effected by the Lord Himself, are not the cities of antiquity, but the existent modern cities of Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Tiberias, and so on. Thus says the Lord God, 'On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. And the desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passed by. And they will say, 'This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited' (Ezekiel 36:33-35). This can be confusing, because it is easy to look at present day Israel, and assume that the building taking place now is the fulfillment of these Scriptures. However, scrutiny of the Scriptures and attention to the detail

of them, are more necessary now, in order to discern whether something being described is past or future. And here we have to be careful Bible students, because it says that the desolation is the result of violence, and the rebuilding is in keeping with the time when "I cleanse you from all your iniquities," which, as Israel's present condition indicates, is yet future. The devastation is future, the restoration is future, and the Scriptures indicate a certain time-"On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities"-which has not yet come. Ezekiel continues in chapter 36, Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it (v. 36) There is a knowing that is yet future, and the statement "that are left round about you," indicates a kind of regional disaster that may include Israel's use of its military capability. This is clearly a statement of that which is still future, and culminates in the nations themselves recognizing God in both the desolation and the rebuilding. The same text concludes with a reference to the millennial blessing-yet future, Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so will the waste cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they will know that I am the Lord (v. 38). Yes, there have been judgments, desolation, and expulsion in the past; this has been the characteristic pattern of God's judgments on Israel's sin, but this Scripture refers to a future and concluding judgment, because it ends with both Israel and the nations round about knowing that God is the Lord. No previous desolation or ruin has ever eventuated in this knowledge, so, the Scripture itself indicates that we are speaking about a future time. There is another supportive text in Amos 9, "In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they might possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name," declares the Lord who does this (v. 11-12). "Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them" (v. 14). From the context, it is clear that in Amos 9, the reference to the tabernacle [fallen booth] of David is not speaking of a form of worship, but a form of government. The Scriptures that follow speak of an Edom and all the nations that are called by "My name" coming under, or being submitted to, or affected by, the restoration of the tabernacle of David. It is not speaking of the performance of Hebraic dances (as some interpret the meaning to be), but the coming under the authority of the theocratic government that will be raised up at that time. So, with Israel's restoration, there also will come the restoration or the establishment of the Kingdom of God, the Davidic Kingdom, which we know to be still in the future. The word 'Edom' is a symbolic term that refers to Gentile nations. "It is I who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited!' And of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built.' And I will raise up her ruins again" (Isaiah 44:26. Italics mine). "For your waste and desolate places, and your destroyed [devastated] land-surely now you will be too cramped for the inhabitants, and those who swallowed you will be far away" (Isaiah 49:19. Parenthesis mine). The whole of Isaiah 51 speaks of Israel being trapped, as "antelopes in the net," with the enemy "walking over them." It indicates a colossal defeat and humiliation, which makes greater sense, now, in the context of present world events. The enemies of Israel, including Islamic hatred, are not satisfied with mere defeat, but want, and will obtain, an ultimate humiliation of Israel. And so, it is not uncommon to have to wait until we come closer to the time of its fulfillment for an understanding of a prophetic text. This reference in Isaiah 51 was in the Scriptures seven centuries before the advent of Christ, but it comes into greater focus now in this present hour, with the threat to Israel of the enemies that are surrounding her with their vitriolic hatred and their insatiable Islamic need for vengeance. This is a way of reading and understanding Scriptures, which have been positionally there, but have waited for a closer proximity to the time and events of their fulfillment to become clearer. Chapters 30 and 31 of the book of Jeremiah are the classic texts that graphically depict this devastation. "For, behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will restore the fortunes (captivity) of My people Israel and Judah." The LORD says, "I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it."

Now these are the words which the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah, for thus says the LORD, "I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. Ask now, and see, if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale? Alas! For that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it ['out of it' - King James version]. And it shall come about on that day," declares the LORD of hosts, "that I will break his yoke from off their neck, and will tear off their bonds; and strangers shall no longer make them their slaves. But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. And fear not, O Jacob My servant,' declares the LORD, 'and do not be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you," declares the LORD, "to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, and will by no means leave you unpunished." For thus says the LORD, "Your wound is incurable, and your injury is serious. There is no one to plead your cause; no healing for your sore, no recovery for you. All your lovers have forgotten you, they do not seek you; for I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the punishment of a cruel one, because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous. Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous, I have done these things to you. Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and those who plunder you shall be for plunder, and all who prey upon you I will give for prey. For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds," declares the LORD, "because they have called you an outcast, saying, 'It is Zion, no one cares for her.'" Thus says the LORD, "Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwelling places; and the city shall be rebuilt on its ruin, and the palace shall stand on its rightful place. And from them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; and I will multiply them, and they shall not be diminished; I will also honor them, and they shall not be insignificant. Their children also shall be as formerly, and their congregation shall be established before Me; and I will punish all their oppressors" (Jeremiah 30: 3-20. Italics mine). The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back, until He has performed, and until he has accomplished the intent of His heart; in the latter days you will understand this (verse 24). We need to ask whether what is being described here is a description of things already in Israel's past. Yes, there have been defeats; there have been expulsions; there have been enemies that have brought Israel into captivity. But, "I will save you from afar," implies that Israel is cast out again into many nations, "and your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, and no one shall make him afraid." This cannot be a description of the resettlement of Israel in 1948 because they are still being made afraid; they are not in that place of security. This 'peace, rest and quiet' is something that follows the time of Jacob's trouble, and is evidently yet future because Israel's present condition cannot be described as being 'at rest.' It is evident by the yet unchanged condition of the nation today that this is not the consequence of previous disasters. Israel must exhibit its moral bankruptcy, not because it is Israel, but because it is statement of man in his unwillingness to recognize the declaration of God on the human condition, and therefore must be condemned to seeing it in its own degenerate conduct. But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them (Jer. 30:9). This is identical to the promise given in Ezekiel 37, after the dry bones of the whole house of Israel, or what remains of it, are given life, and raised out of their graves, and Judah and Israel, the two branches, are united, and then the Lord says, "And My servant David will be King over them, and they will all have one shepherd" (v. 24a). This is another aspect that needs to be considered in the whole review of Scriptures that speak of devastation and return, namely, the millennial conclusion, that the King Himself, the greater David, Jesus, is raised up to rule over the nation now being restored, and whose ruins are being rebuilt. "For I am with you," declares the Lord, "to save you; for I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, and will by no means leave you unpunished" (Jer. 30:11).

This scripture shows the effect of God's judgment on the nations which are employed to bring the chastisement to Israel. He says, "I will destroy them." We have not seen a destruction of the nations being used as the 'rod of chastisement,' indicating that the chastisement itself is yet future. It is noteworthy that in the past, the nations employed to bring the destruction of God's judgment have historically and invariably gone beyond God's intention, spurred by demonic fury, and have taken an especial delight in bringing dimensions of suffering and humiliation to Israel, for which reason they themselves have suffered judgment. "For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you [Israel] completely" suggests that some of the nations existing today will lose their identity when God fulfills the judgments of which He speaks. Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and those who plunder you shall be for plunder, and all who prey upon you I will give for prey (Jer. 30:16). The word devoured implies something of catastrophic proportions, rather than some minor discomfort, and shows the vehemence, bitterness, and total dominance that Israel's enemies shall have over them in this time of Trouble. This violence will precipitate an expulsion of Jews, not only out of Israel, but also out of all nations, in fulfillment of Amos 9, For behold, I am commanding, and I will shake the house of Israel among all nations (v.9a). Ezekiel 20:23-44 supports this flight into the wilderness of the nations where Jews will encounter another entity, face to face, and in whose face will be seen the light of God. At the end of this statement in Jeremiah 30 and 31 comes the millennial blessing, after the promised restoration. In Ezekiel 36, the Scriptures speak about Israel abhorring herself for her own sins after her return. For I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow (Jer. 31:13f). The frequency of those words clearly indicates that Israel's last experience in her history is the memory of mourning, sighing, and sorrow, even as everlasting joy now comes upon their heads. This has never been descriptive of any return to Israel, including the advent of the State in 1948, but it will be descriptive of the return that will come after the time of Jacob's Trouble. They will return as the redeemed of the Lord, with mourning and sighing fleeing away. In many other places, God's promise is that Israel will no longer sorrow, no longer be afraid, and no longer experience terror. This indicates that the last historical experience of Israel, both in the nation and in the world, is fear, terror, violence, being devoured, being swallowed up and a mourning and sighing. Mourning and sighing must precede the rejoicing and the dance, both young men and old together. God is explicitly the agent, both of the expulsion and the judgment, as well as the return and the comfort. Israel must know that "I am the Lord Who has spoken and done this." God Himself will turn their sorrow to joy. And the ransomed [redeemed] of the Lord will return, and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10. Parentheses mine). They will obtain from their God comfort and joy. Israel must know God in this totality, both in the severity of their expulsion, and in the gladness and joy of their return, when they will obtain it, and not before by some humanly achieved alternative. Part of my controversy with other prophetic spokesmen, who claim that the time of Jacob's Trouble was the Nazi Holocaust, and therefore, in the past, is resolved by the fact that the time of Jacob's Trouble does not have its inception in Europe, but in Israel itself, in the Land. And this also indicates, therefore, something that has not yet taken place, although the stage is being set for that eruption and expulsion by the present Jewish presence in the Land. Our mistake is to misconstrue the current resettlement, however extensive it is, to be the final return out of the chastisement of the Nazi Holocaust, and to continue in that error will bring about a tragic disappointment and a shameful unpreparedness to be to Israel what we will need to be for them in that hour. And Jacob shall return, and shall quiet and at ease, and no one shall make him afraid (Jer 30:10f). If Jacob's trouble and the return have already taken place, Israel should be experiencing a condition in which "no one shall make him afraid." On the contrary, present Israel is riddled with fear, terror, apprehension, and anxiety, not knowing when the next human bomb is going to explode at a shopping mall or discotheque. The fact that they are afraid clearly indicates the time of Jacob's Trouble is future. And if Jacob's Trouble is future, and we are not giving warning and making preparation, then Israel and the Jew are going to suffer a sudden devastation without the mercy of someone telling them. And we believers

will be equally undone at the coming catastrophe, for which we have no expectation, at the very time when we should be providing refuge for a fleeing and panic-stricken remnant. There are other unmistakable signs that indicate what is future or past, as we will see from other texts, and most important of the statements that God makes is, "In that day, Israel will know that it is God who has both spoken and performed it." Israel does not know that now. You may ask, where is the justice and righteousness of God, that He would expel them again, having brought them from Russia and Ethiopia in their hope for security in the Land? What kind of righteous God is this? Have they not suffered enough? Is He a God who will bring calamity merely to serve His purposes, or are His judgments altogether righteous and true, and in exact proportion to the sins of the people who are experiencing them as judgment? The judgments of God are not arbitrary; He is not cruel and malicious; He does not inflict without reason: For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the punishment of a cruel one, because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous (Jer. 30:14). There are many acts of injustice and violence presently being perpetrated on the stranger in the Land: imprisonment without cause, brutal beatings, intimidation, fear, threat, and the kind of conduct that we could well understand coming from Gentile nations, but shocks us as coming from Jews. God is allowing to be revealed what is in our hearts as man, and especially Jewish man, because Jewish man is not exempt from the nature of man. God will allow it to have its expression so that our sins will judge us and find us out. Being devoid of divinity, we shall be devoid of humanity. The Land, we must remember, is not automatically guaranteed to Jewry, but the possession of it is relative to our covenantal obedience, and walking in the light of that enablement alone makes possible the understanding of how to treat the stranger in our midst. Increasingly, there are certain sectors of Jewish society (40% in a recent poll) that would see the 'stranger' ruthlessly expelled without any mercy. History has come full-circle, and ironically, Jews, who were once persecuted in other nations, are increasingly finding themselves in the role of the persecutor because of the presence that threatens their own security and preservation! As a nation, Israel is exhibiting character of another kind, which will only worsen, and not get better, despite their own intention. It must be so, and God will do whatever it takes to show them their self-deception. Though God, in His sovereignty, allowed the resettlement of Israel in 1948, men were certainly prominent in effecting that return by their own finances, strength and prowess, so, my conclusion is that God has preserved them through previous wars because of the necessity of giving them this experience, that they might compare their own failed attempt with that which He Himself will bring when He will restore them and plant them in the Land. In the final analysis, and much more than we know, it is our own lusts and desires that affect our theology and doctrine. So, what is the lust and desire here but an unwillingness that Israel should again face calamity; a wanting so much to see them succeed, particularly by Gentiles whose consciences have been bruised by the Holocaust and Jewish suffering, and who are unable to consider the Holocaust as the judgment of God, but rather as the failure of the Church, and want now to make up for it, and to encourage Israel to every false assurance of their safety. It is a well-meaning desire, but as it is commonly said, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." A careful examination of the prophetic Scriptures indicates calamities for Israel that are yet future, because the things that follow are millennial blessedness, security, acceptance, restoration and the knowledge of God, for which there is no evidence in present Israel. Present Israel is only 'of God' in the sense that it is a necessary preliminary to the full, true and ultimate return. If there were not a nation to experience defeat and exile, there would not be the brokenness and dependency upon God that will characterize the final and enduring Israel. There would not be the spiritual and heavenly unless there was first a natural (see I Corinthians 15). It is 'of God,' which saves men from condemning and judging Israel, "Look at how they are failing. Look what they are doing with the Palestinians." We must remember that Israel must fail in the sense that there must be the death of their hope in themselves and of themselves in order to become the witness nation of God that they are meant to be. Our failing to understand this may well be due to our failure to open our own lives to such dealings from God, where He will allow us a measure of success only to bring it to the place of failure, disappointment and heartbreak. God wants to show us that we cannot have our confidence in ourselves, and we cannot learn that

principle in any academic or abstract way, but only out of our own painful experience unto death. You call that a loving God? Yes, absolutely, especially in the light of eternity. It is because we have wanted for ourselves to be spared the pain of God's dealings, that we want to spare Israel from similar such dealings. We have been guilty of thinking only in terms of ourselves, and not in terms of "the glory of God forever" (Rom. 11:36). That is why we have an inadequate view, because our focus has been on the issue of the avoidance of pain and suffering, rather than the issue of God's glory. There is another unmistakable sign that can show us the difference between the judgments of God in the past, and those that are future: it is how God Himself judges the Gentile nations which bring His severity to Israel. Look at verse 16 of Jeremiah 30, Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and those who plunder you shall be for plunder, and all who prey upon you I will give for prey. Has Germany been devoured? From other texts we know that what we today call Jordan (Edom) and Syria (Moab) are among those nations that will be judged; they are annihilated as nations. God's judgments are severe upon those nations that have inflicted themselves upon Israel. The fact that this has not yet taken place shows that we are speaking of something future. ...because they have called you an outcast (verse 17). Let that word sink in. An outcast is someone who has been cast out. It is Zion, no one cares for her (verse 17). That means that there was no evidence of any mercy being afforded this people. The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back, until He has performed, and until he has accomplished the intent of His heart; in the latter days you will understand this (verse 24. Emphasis mine). Jeremiah 31 brings us into the New Covenant that is made with His restored people, but look first at verse 2, Thus says the LORD, "The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness-Israel, when it went to find its rest." Out of the debacle of devastation, flight, persecution, exile and being cast into the wilderness, a remnant of Israel will yet find grace there. God will prepare for them a place of safety and rest in the wilderness. There is a further symbolic description of this in Revelation 12:6 where the Dragon seeks to devour the woman, who flees on the wings of an eagle into the wilderness, to a place prepared for her, where she can be fed for three-and-one-half years. Look how God speaks in Jeremiah 31:4a, Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Though Jerusalem is called 'the Sodom and Gomorrah' where the Lord Himself was crucified, here God speaks of Israel as a virgin! How do we understand that? It is the precious redemptive language of God, despite Israel's historic sins and the fact that we have blasphemed Him in every nation where He has driven us. When He restores us, it is as if the past is blotted out and the remnant is called 'the virgin' and 'the redeemed of the LORD, with everlasting joy upon their heads." This is our resurrection glory. We have a new life and character that is virginal, which is what happens to us when we are saved, but now it happens to a complete nation for the first time. God's redemptive dealings move from individual salvation to national salvation, and Israel is the first of the nations to experience it. With weeping they shall come, and by supplications I will lead them (verse 9a). What will be the root of this weeping? It is not the sentimental 'kissing of the ground' that we see on our television screens when Jews make return [aliyah] to Israel. It is the weeping of the recognition of God, whom we have blasphemed and rejected, who has now proven Himself to be our very Deliverer out of a condition in which we would otherwise have found ourselves to be entirely hopeless. God's returning of Israel to the Land will be one of the greatest miracles of the Last Days. There will be no confusion at that time as to whether it was the work of man in his own ability and financing rather than the work of God. It will be utterly supernatural, and at the same time, the magnitude of our sin will be revealed to us. We will see our condition, our judgments, and God's mercies, and if that does not break our heart for weeping, then nothing will! It will be the deepest national contrition and remorse ever seen in the history of the human race. If a grace were not given, we would not be able to bear it. We will be racked with convulsive sorrow, unable even to repent before each other:

And the land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves.... (Zechariah 12:12). There will be an incredible depth of recognition of the historical sins of our fathers and ourselves, and the mercy of God that has yet saved us out of it. Notice the admonition to the nations in Jeremiah 31:10: Hear the word of the LORD, O nations, and declare in the coastlands afar off, and say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock." It is not men who have scattered Israel, neither is it adverse nations, the P.L.O. or Arafat. God may employ such, but it is God who will scatter Israel. The same God who is the God of severity and judgment is also the God of mercy and return. Tell that to the nations, because they need to know it. For the LORD has ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he. And they shall come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the bounty of the LORD-over the grain, and the new wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; and their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again (verses 11-12). This is clearly a description of something that has not yet come into the experience of Israel as a nation-but it will. When God promises that they will never languish again, He is speaking of the millennial blessing. Those who are now trying to bring a false comfort, and saying that Israel need not fear these things, are prematurely invoking a millennial blessedness before the time. Has there ever been such a moment as this, when careful exegesis of the Scripture is a critical issue of a life-and-death kind for the Church? We are being required to search the Scriptures, because the issue of whether something is past or future affects everything. Then the virgin shall rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together, for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow (verse 13. Emphasis mine). All of these references to sorrow, mourning and fear are clearly a description of something future. There is a joy, but this joy will come when God alleviates the mourning and sorrow His own judgments have precipitated; this joy shall be their eternal condition. There shall never again be a blight of this kind, for there can only be a sorrow and mourning of this kind when one's deepest hope has been made absolutely desolate. When our hope for a place of security among the nations of the world, exhibiting a character of Jewish civilization of a superior moral and ethical kind, and which we thought we could have, finally crumbles and goes up in smoke, then shall the sorrow and mourning ensue. It will be more than just a grief for physical loss; it will be a sorrow and mourning that comes when human hope, devoid of God, is made absolutely barren. Thus says the LORD, "Restrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded,' declares the LORD, 'and they shall return from the land of the enemy" (verse 16). For the most part, present emigration to the Land has come from nations that cannot be described as, "the land of the enemy," so, does this scripture describe those who are yet to be their enemies? And there is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall return to their own territory (verse 17). It is a final, redemptive event: Bring me back that I may be restored, for Thou art the LORD my God (verse 18b). Here is Israel acknowledging their God: For after I turned back, I repented (verse 19a). Notice that even the issue of repentance is the work of God, and not of men. God does not even give Israel the liberty or luxury of performing that act on the basis of their own ability. In Zechariah 12:10a, God says, And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son... That is to say, except that that Spirit be poured out, the depth of mourning necessary for the required repentance will not take place. Look how absolute God is in His insistence upon Himself being the sole agent of Israel's total redemption. God is determined to not allow Israel to be the agent of its own restoration, or even its own repentance, that even their capacity to repent is contingent upon the Spirit being poured out

upon the house of David! He will not trust us in anything, so that we can say afterwards, "It was my repentance that turned me," and that "I saw. . ." etc. If He had not given them that grace, they would not have been able to repent. God will not share His glory with another. Israel represents Man in his self-sufficiency, therefore, God has got to demonstrate through Israel that in man, there is no good thing at all; that He is all in all, and must be the God of their restoration as much as He is the God of their judgment. God is insistent, because, as we have said earlier, Israel needs to see the comparison of millennial Israel, built by God out of His own power, compared to her previous Zionist state, built on her own human prowess and ability. God must go this far with that nation because Israel and the Jew are mankind in its stubborn and perverse humanity, and God is not going to give us an inch to do anything in which we can boast. For it will be "from Him and through Him," even the repentance, in order that it might be "to Him" as glory forever. If we have problems with this view, it is because we are not as absolute as Paul was for God's glory. We ourselves want to mix in a little bit of what we do with what He does, that we might somehow catch a little bit of that glory. Our inability to see God's dealing with Israel is the statement of our inability to see God for ourselves. As the Church, we are projecting on to the state of Israel the liberty that we desire for ourselves, and have not recognized how absolute and jealous God is with regard to His glory forever. How many of us like to live with God that way? How many people want to be this destitute of any ability in themselves 'to do' for God? Paul was not being poetic when he said, "For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things." He knew this from the reality of his own life in God. His statement, "For to me, to live is Christ" was not a little generality, but it was the most profound description of Paul's apostolic life and, unless it becomes ours, there will be no fulfillment of the mystery of the Church and Israel. In Ezekiel 36:23, God's gives His last historical statement to the nations of Himself, by what is to be demonstrated in His conduct towards Israel: "And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord," declares the Lord of Hosts, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight." In other words, "You have blasphemed My name in every nation where I have driven you, and do not think that I am bringing judgment on you for your sake, but it is for My holy Name's sake. Your very expulsion from the Land is the statement of the blasphemy of your sins which demanded this kind of dealing from Me. But I will be sanctified through you; My holiness will be proven and made apparent to all; through My dealings with you, My name will be rescued and honored again before all nations, and they will recognize that I am your Savior, Redeemer and Restorer, the Mighty One of Jacob." This clearly does not correspond to any past restoration in Israel's history. There has been the same pattern of sin, judgment and expulsion, but never this kind of witness or testimony to the nations, or even to Israel's own recognition of the Lord as Lord. This acknowledgment is crucial, because the nation has a calling to bless all the families of the earth, and we cannot understand the extremity and length to which God will go in this dealing with Israel in painful judgment, devastation, expulsion and return, unless we consider it in the context of Israel's destiny and calling to be a nation of priests and a light unto the world. The gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. They must be fulfilled; His word and covenant must be honored. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (verse 33). "I will do itI willI will I will." It has nothing to do with them, but Him. "And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (verse 34). If we were to count the number of "I wills" in these two verses, we would find exactly seven, the number of perfection. Nothing will come from Israel; God reserves that right for Himself. It will be an everlasting covenant that they will never break. Up till now, however bad Israel's track record in covenant unfaithfulness is, we will never break the new covenant, because "I will, I will, I will, I will, I will..." You can say that the past covenants were given to demonstrate our failure to keep them, and only God can succeed in honoring His own Word and His own law. That, and only that, is what makes a righteous nation. What a revelation of God! "I will, and I will do it by choosing the absolutely foolish and weak thing, that no

flesh shall touch My glory, and all the world shall know." This is the revelation of God, the last and final one. It is to His everlasting glory for Israel, in her abject failure, and only in her abject failure, to reveal the greatness of God, because He will choose whom He will choose, and He will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. In His "Olivet" discourse (Matthew 24), Jesus is asked by His disciples, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" (v. 3b). Jesus answers by giving one of the most pronounced signs of a time of trouble that shall come for the nation Israel, For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. And unless those days had been cut short, no life [Jewish life] would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short (v. 21-22. Parenthesis mine). Jesus' whole statement in that chapter refers to the 'abomination of desolation,' which is referred to in Daniel, chapters 11 and 12, where he speaks of an antichrist coming to desecrate the temple and make the oblations and the sacrifice to cease, requiring the worship of the nation, having made with them a covenant of death that has brought a seeming peace for a short period of time. All of this is clearly future, because there has been no such event in the history of Israel that has eventuated in an explosion of violence against them in their refusal to condescend to this antichrist figure, who has effected a seeming peace for a short time, through negotiation, that finally makes Israel to know that they have made a covenant with death and hell. This is a sign of the end and of His coming that must take place in the Land, even as we read in Isaiah 6, that this is a desolation in the midst of the Land, which gives every reason why there needs be a preliminary Jewish existence in the Land. The present-day state of Israel is not intended to fulfill the millennial intention of God for the nation, but rather, it sets in motion those tensions and conflicts that require this devastation, humiliation and expulsion, which, in turn, gives God the opportunity to effect their restoration and return, when the cities that have been laid waste shall be rebuilt, and in such a way that those nations that remain round about shall know that He is the Lord who has spoken and done this. God gives to those who hold the office of prophet a view of prophecy that is not given to others, and when, in all my years as a believer, this issue of the church and Israel opened up to me for the first time, the questions came to me with a new intensity: who is truly speaking for God, and where is the prophetic voice that is giving a right interpretation of prophetic Scriptures? The whole issue of true and false prophets came into focus in a way that I had not seen it before, and it is a critical issue for the Church to be able to discern and recognize which of these voices is indeed speaking the counsel of God. Historically, false prophets have always said "peace, peace," when there is no peace. The true prophets have always been the harbingers of doom, of coming devastation, and of judgment, which the nation has not wanted to hear, so their voices, being unpopular, have been shunted away. That same alignment and reality is true to this day. To assure Israel, therefore, that the time of judgment is past, when it is actually yet future and imminent, is to leave her wholly unprepared for both the suddenness and extent of the catastrophe. To warn of its inevitability is to encourage as many as will into the ark of safety, the saving knowledge of the Messiah. In the light of what I am suggesting, should we not be 'disturbing' Jews with the issue of the Gospel and salvation, especially if there is an imminent destruction? And telling them that there is a place of safety that can be found, even now, in the Ark of Safety that Jesus Himself is? In other words, we have every incentive to not relax the Gospel, but to promote it. Our comprehension of the prophetic Scriptures, and our understanding of those things that are future for Israel, will determine our present stance and posture toward the present nation. For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins" (Romans 11:25-27). The issue of Israel's return is the issue of the character of God Himself, and incorporates His ability to keep covenant and to honor the word He has spoken. The knowledge of God as God for Israel and the nations is the reason for these Last Days' severe judgments and mercy upon the nation, which is why God says, "I will show Myself holy through you." When His global mission is accomplished, and God will have obtained a people for His name from among all nations, that "fulness being come in" releases the Deliverer to come out of Zion, and take ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.

So that gives to us an incentive to complete our mission task, as the Church, of finding a people for His name among all nations. It seems the Lord is interested in a specific number, a 'fulness' of Gentiles, possibly the number that corresponds to the vacancies that will have been created in the heavenly places by the expulsion of Satan and his fallen angels, who, up till now, have been the usurping, false rulers of this world. According to the Scriptures, they will be cast out in the Last Days by a demonstration from the Church in the earth. Those through whom that wisdom has been displayed, as the Church, and their willingness to suffer in that demonstration, will themselves be occupying those same places. There is a ruling and reigning from the very places left vacant by the fallen angels. I am not saying that I have this by any special revelation; rather, it is a kind of educated hunch, knowing that there will be a vacancy created in the heavenlies over nations that must be filled, some ruling over five cities, some over ten, in their glorified bodies, both in the stratum above the earth, and in the earth, with a restored Israel, equally in co-operation with God, now being redeemed and returned to Zion. This is the millennial Kingdom and glory, but it waits on the Church, not Israel. What if there is a qualitative aspect to this, as well as quantitative? What if the 'fullness' means not only the actual number, but a certain quality that God waits for in the Church, a certain character, a certain identification with Himself, which has to do with our sanctification, the truth of our life, and what we are in the representation of Him? Then again, both in number and in character, the issue of Israel's deliverance is the issue of the Church. What is the responsibility of the Church if these things be true? Do we have an obligation to sound a warning of impending disaster without which the unsuspecting would be left devastated? Will their blood be on our hands if we do not? To give Israel an advance comfort rather than warning before the time is to disqualify us, as the Church, prophetically. To give Israel a false comfort now is to disqualify ourselves from standing later at their tomb, and saying, as it were, "Lazarus, come forth." In His obedience to the Father, Jesus restrained every humane impulse to go to the bedside of a friend, whom He loved, and to wait for the moment of God's choosing, not just to effect a relief from illness, but a resurrection from the dead unto glory. Israel is on its way toward that death, and then to be raised from it, but the word, "Come forth!" will have to come from a prophetic people speaking in the authority of God. If we act prematurely, or out of a humane wanting to comfort, we will lose our prophetic ability to be the voice of God to bring about the greater resurrection from the dead, and therefore, the glory of God through it. A Church that shrinks from such an apocalyptic view makes itself a candidate for apostasy, when the disillusionment and disappointment of unexpected calamity falls. The Apostle Paul speaks of a great falling away in the Last Days, and we believe that part of this falling away will come out of the disappointment of a Church naively hoping that present Zionist Israel would be the fulfillment of God's prophetic intention. In that 'failure,' God will be looked upon as having failed. To save the Church from an apostasy which could arise out of disappointment, it is imperative that we have a correct and prophetic anticipation of those things that must necessarily come to pass, and not be disappointed when we see the present State dispersed and brought to nothing, knowing that there is a greater thing in store, for which this chastisement is necessary. To hope that the nation, Israel, can be 'improved' is more of a progressive view of change than an apocalyptic view. It is the humanistic mindset to think that there could be an improvement rather than the requirement of an apocalyptic judgment, death and resurrection. So there is a remarkable question here of how we understand God and His redemptive work. Even if the present threat to Israel were alleviated, have they not already crossed a point-of-no-return condition of moral character that cannot be retrieved? The moral loss that comes through violence, corruption, and the use of torture cannot be regained. Israel has already gone too far in a response to the threats from her enemies that we ourselves may have encouraged, so, even if the threat is alleviated, the character of the nation is already irretrievable, and can never be improved. If the character of the nation could be improved, we, as believers, would not need our own salvation; we, too, could be improved in our natural condition, and would not ourselves need to be brought into death and raised up unto newness of life. It is exactly the same question for us, as it pertains to Israel herself. The crisis of Israel is God's provision to wake the Church up from its own escapist sleep and unpreparedness. It should compel the Church to return to apostolic consciousness that has at its heart a necessary suffering that precedes the glory. The issue of the "glory of God forever" ought to bring us to the kind of recognition of the Cross, imperative for us in the fulfillment of our own role toward Israel. It is what we, the Church, will extend to Israel, at great cost to ourselves, that will cause "the ransomed [redeemed] of the

Lord to return, and come with joyful shouting to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing will flee away" (Isaiah 35:10. Parenthesis mine). In Psalm 102, there is another reference to the Deliverer coming out of Zion when the set time to favor Zion has come. God is waiting for something, not from Israel herself, but 'someone' called 'His servants.' Thou wilt arise and have compassion on Zion; for it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come. Surely Thy servants find pleasure in her stones, and feel pity for her dust (vs.13-14). At that time, the Deliverer will come out of Zion, and take away Israel's transgressions and restore her, not for anything that Israel does, but something that His servants do, who are not themselves Israel. For if Israel were His servants, they would not be requiring judgment at all. Is the dust referred to here the dust of antiquity? Or are the stones, the stones of ancient cities? Or of Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and all the present modern cities of Israel? Could the servants be the believing Gentile Church, who are so identified with Israel, as to not be repelled by her judgments, but rather identified with her in them, and can, therefore, have godly compassion on sinful Israel in her judgment? Did not Jesus identify with us, while we were yet in sin? When we finally have an attitude toward Israel, in her sin, of the same kind the Lord had toward us while we were in ours, the fulfillment for which God waits will come; the set time to favor Zion comes when the true Church is in an identification with God, in ultimate union with Him, and in His compassion for Israel, as He expressed toward us in His compassion for us while we were yet sinners. To have compassion on Israel's stones and pity on her dust will come at the same time that the world will be gloating in delight at the devastation that will bring Israel to ruin. There will only be a small remnant in the earth that will not join this global chorus of delight in Israel's distress, namely, the true people of God, those who will have compassion on her stones and pity on her dust. When God has obtained that in the Church, the set time to favor Zion has come, for the Church will have come into the place of God's intention, which releases Him to deliver Israel, a deliverance that does not depend on what Israel says or does, because she will be inert, helpless, and devastated. It will be what we, as the Church, exhibit-not what we can express out of our humanity or religious intention, because, it is one thing to have a sentimental affection for Israel, but to have a compassion and mercy when she is in judgment for her sins, requiring the devastation of her cities and expulsion of her people, is an identification beyond anything we can perform humanly and religiously. It is nothing less than what God is in Himself, now wrought in His people. When He has a bridal Church like that, the purposes of God have been fulfilled, both for the Church and Israel. The same thing is expressed in Isaiah 66 in a very cryptic and mysterious way: "Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. Shall I bring to the point of birth, and not give delivery?' says the Lord. Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?" says your God. "Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her, that you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, that you may suck and be delighted with her bountiful bosom" (vs. 7-11). What had been an object of mourning, has now become an object of delight. What had been barren is now so copious in her bosom, that she is nursing and feeding the very ones who mourned for her, prayed for her, and birthed her into a nation, born in a day. For thus says the Lord, "Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall be nursed, you shall be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees" (v.12). Those who travailed in birth for Israel's redemption shall now be carried on her arms, and be nursed by her. What you brought into being, by your labor of birth, is now benefiting you by a particular comfort that can only come from the consolation of an Israel that has been born in a day. But if you had not travailed, if Zion had not travailed, there would be no birth. Israel will be so stricken, depleted, and incapable of any action in herself to effect her birthing, as a nation, in a day, that someone else has got to bear the pangs of birth for her. It is a rare woman today who has ever experienced the pangs of birth, and who would be willing to bear that pain for another woman. It is precisely there that you have a picture of what God is waiting for in the Church. Travail is painful, ultimate, and an embracing of 'death,' in order that something might be birthed out of death, even an Israel incapable of her own birthing. It is entirely voluntary, but you will receive the benefit of what shall be birthed, and receive consolation and blessedness from what has been born in a day. It is a mystery!

It is debatable whether Isaiah understood what he was talking about, but he had to express what the Spirit was giving him, and now we are the ones who need to fathom, interpret and rightly understand what is being mystically described here. Who is this Zion? Who is this servant who has compassion? What is this fulness of the Gentiles? Because wherever you look in the Scriptures, it is the confirmation of the mystery of which Paul speaks in Romans 11, that the Church is God's appointed agency. Isaiah 35 shows a further role that this mysterious, unidentified servant people play where it says, "the wilderness and the desert will be glad" (v.1). Inanimate nature rejoices in seeing something that passes through the wilderness, that makes it to leap and to blossom as Sharon. They are seeing bedraggled Jews coming through the remote wildernesses, and they are rejoicing because they know that this is the final, redemptive dealing of this people, and that it will result in their conversion and return. It will mean that the curse, which is upon creation itself, will be lifted; it is rejoicing for the end of its own bondage in which nature itself has been kept, until the restoration of all things. Then we read in the text, Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance;" (v. 4a). Israel is not being addressed here. The "say to them" is referring to someone in the wilderness with Israel, and being commanded to speak something to those who are spent and lame. Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble (v3). The exhausted and feeble will mostly be comprised of urbane Jews, who have never been on a desperate march like this in their life, in the most primitive of places and conditions, full of despair, and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. It is terrifying to be lost in a wilderness, especially for city dwellers, as we Jews are, and all of a sudden to be thrust into the most unfamiliar and hopelessly barren situations. But there is, evidently, someone there with us, who is being commanded by God, Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy. For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah (desert). And the scorched land will become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water (vs. 5-7). In the very speaking of that word, the lame leap, the blind see; nature itself is affected, the dry places break out in pools of water. It will be a word that is more than human assurance, more than human well-meaning encouragement; it will be a word that always constitutes an event. Something takes place when a prophetic word is spoken, because it is issued in the authority of God. But it is also a word that is spoken by some mysterious and unidentified presence in the wilderness with the Jews, out of which salvation comes to them, even before the Lord's appearing. A hope has come that makes them to leap merely on the statement, "Your God will come!" But it has got to be with an assurance of such conviction that it creates the reality itself, and that is what a true prophetic word is. Who will speak it, and who is willing to be in the wilderness with this bedraggled and suffering people, and who will instantly heed the command, speaking with such an authority that it brings their restoration, even before the advent of the Lord's coming? That is the task of the Church of the Last Days, and we are not going to find that prophetic unction or authority in a final moment, if it is not consistently the sum of all the moments that have preceded it! The Church has always been called to be a prophetic presence in the earth, speaking for God with His authority, to communicate a hope, and, if it does not come to Jews in that condition of ultimate destitution, they will not survive. The survival rate in the Nazi death camps was not highest for those who had the greatest physical strength, but those who had the greatest hope. Hope has an inherent power. Hopelessness comes when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, when you are filled with despair and ready to perish because your knees are feeble and your hands are dragging; you are downcast and lame, you are ready to go, and if you do not get a word of hope, you will not survive. That word, therefore, is critical. What, then, gives a prophetic word power and authority? As the Church, we are called to be a prophetic presence, to speak in the authority of God to this people as they pass through, an authentic, authoritative word of hope that proceeds from the reality of our own corporate condition and experience. This is altogether different from merely reciting a formula. Do we really know a God who comes in ultimate distress, because we ourselves have been placed in ultimate distress, where we ourselves would have expired for the lack of encouragement? Have we been tested in a comparable kind of situation to which we now are able to grant a word of assurance to Israel in that like situation? Are we willing to be sifted? Are we willing to receive the intensive dealings that are its prerequisite? Remember that the 'son of man' in Ezekiel 37 had to be brought down and into the valley of dry bones. He

had to see the grit of Israel's death before he could address it. We shun painful things, and our contemporary Christianity has disposed us to desire happier scenarios. There will be a glorious ending for Israel, but not before the necessary suffering that precedes the glory. Israel will be a chastised, broken nation, and that brokenness will remain as a permanent aspect of character that constitutes her priestliness. Only in that condition can she minister to all of the nations of the earth, not out of the arrogance that we associate with Jews and Israel today, but out of the contrition and brokenness that comes with God's severest dealings and chastisement. Israel's chastisement will not come in some cruel, arbitrary way, but in exact proportion to the sins that makes that judgment righteous, and indeed, it may well be the greatest statement of God's love. We are suffering from a generation of fathers who do not love their sons enough to chastise them. God says in the Book of Proverbs that the failure to chastise your son reveals an actual hatred for him, and a greater love for yourself in the sparing of it. But true love requires the severity of a chastisement, one that God will not withhold from Israel, and in the severity of God's dealing, Israel will recognize His uttermost love. God administers the chastisement, but, although He has experienced the excruciating pain of it, He did not withhold it. Something happens in the moment of the son and the Father coming into an embrace of tears and brokenness, through the chastisement, that bonds the nation with the Father in a way that it has never known Him. And it is in this relationship that Israel will continue to know Him all of the days of their lives. This chastisement must come, and we must not be offended by it, but rather welcome it as such, or we will not be able to be to Israel what we must. Even as God brings the chastisement, and inflicts the judgment, in His compassion, He Himself is broken-hearted over the necessity. He does not delight in what Israel must experience, even at His hand, nor must we delight either, though we know that it is necessary. Humanly speaking, we would rather hope for some other way in which Israel's restoration could be effected, saying with Abraham, "Can't Ishmael live?" But we need to understand how glorious a destiny this nation has, and that it cannot be fulfilled on any cheap or lesser terms. Israel's Last Days' chastisement, prophesied of in the Scriptures, must be fulfilled. A remnant of Jews will meet their God face to face in the wilderness of the nations (Ezekiel 20), and, by it, come into the bond of His covenant, and under the rod of His authority, in order that they may return to the Land, to Zion, as the redeemed of the Lord.

Chapter 16 - Israel's Salvation Waits on a Word

In the wisdom of God, the Jews, who have been historically opposed to the gospel, are to be brought into its benefit and blessing by the spoken word. But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"-that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whosoever believes in Him will not be disappointed." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for "whosoever will call upon the name of the LORD will be saved." How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!" However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, "LORD, who has believed our report?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:8-17). There is a logical order here, namely, that hearing must precede believing, and believing must precede calling upon Him. Believing unto salvation, however, can be reduced to a mere mental exercise, or formula, by putting before the consideration of Jews, or anyone, an 'easy-believism,' a recitation after the speaker of a 'decision,' only to, for many, miss the whole profound point. This, in fact, characterizes much of modern day evangelism, and leaves many outside the kingdom. God, in His genius for the Church's necessary maturity, has so calculated things that the Jews are "the enemies of the gospel for your sake" (Rom. 11:28). We need that slap in the face, or we will further degenerate into a shallow spirituality that affects neither the Jew, nor anyone else for that matter. Israel's

salvation will not be obtained by presenting before them a step-by-step formula on 'how to' get saved. There is a certain kind of hearing that is required for a certain kind of believing, and that requires a certain kind of preaching and a certain kind of word, which we would call, for the lack of any better definition, apostolic proclamation. The Gospel In the quote from Romans, Paul is citing from the Book of Isaiah, where the prophet writes, How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:7). And it is preceded by something remarkable in verse 6, Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore in that day I am the one who is speaking, "Here I am" (Isaiah 52:6). The word 'announce' in verse 7 would convey better the true meaning of the scripture if it were translated as 'pronounce' or 'proclaim.' An announcement is a mere vocalizing and conveying of facts, but a proclamation is a word from the heart of God, which constitutes an 'event' when it is sounded, and this is the distinctive of true and authentic preaching. The proclaimed word is more than informative, and even beyond the inspirational; it is the word as a creative 'rhema' and breath of God, in the hearing of which an event occurs so that, where there was no faith, precisely there, faith is established. As intellectual as Jews are, God does not say a word to us about propounding the faith to them in some systematic way by which their sense of logic can be satisfied, or by some kind of invincible sequence of argumentation. Instead, God insists that the key to their believing, and subsequently, their calling on the name of the Lord, is the hearing of a particular word, namely, the "word of Christ," not the word about Christ, though necessarily that will be the subject, but the "word of Christ," Himself. The feet of those who are to bear good tidings are called "lovely" or "blessed" because it is God who is speaking through those whose feet bear the good tidings: "I am the one who is speaking. Here I am." It is Christ who is speaking through the earthen vessel on the mountains, because it is He who possesses that life. They will actually hear Christ's uniquely inspired, own word, the voice of their own Messiah, their own God. Even as we read this, our faith staggers, especially as we are called to be the bearers of that kind of proclamation. It is still our feet, the lowliest part on the body, but the voice, the speaking, the content and the words that constitute the creative event that establishes faith to believe is actually His voice, His speaking and His words, so that those who had up to that point been hostile and resistant can call upon Him. We might believe that the phenomenon can take place through some giant of the faith like Paul, but can we believe it of ourselves? Can God have full possession of us that we might say with absolute certainty, "It is not we that speak"? However great individual salvation is, the context of these scriptures has to do with the consummation of the age, which waits upon the restoration of a remnant from the people Israel. How shall they believe in what they have so long rejected? Unless they hear Him, Christ's message and voice, they will not believe the truths of His death and resurrection, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." Do we realize that the most staggering and impossible doctrine for people to believe is the resurrection, that God can raise the dead? Tell that to a secular Jew if you want to have him laugh in your face. Jews, as a whole, are rational, logical and secular-minded. In fact, the Jew is the very embodiment of an entire mind-set that is arrayed against the foolishness of God in the gospel. This is the final Last Days' encounter between the Church and that people, and if something does not come out of that confrontation by which they will be provoked to call upon the name of the Lord, there will be no consummation of this present age; the Lord will remain contained and bound up in the heavens (Acts 3:21); there will be no kingdom come, nor will Israel be able, finally, to say, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 23:39). As we have said, at that time, the Church will not have been conveniently raptured out of the earth. But being present in the earth, and in the midst of affliction and seeming hopelessness, it will say to the Jew with an absolute certitude and conviction, "Your God reigns." And because He reigns, their affliction will eventuate in "everlasting joy" upon their heads. But if we are not the bearers of that life-giving word, which they will not hear from another, they would have certainly perished.

The God who judges is the God who redeems. Are we so well-grounded in the knowledge of a God who reigns, who is a Savior in the midst of distress, that we can also appreciate Him as Judge? Have we flinched from that, or have we welcomed His judgments and loved them because we know Him and trust that they are righteous altogether? Do we really know our God, and can we make Him known to this people, so that, in the midst of their despair, and even before the Messiah comes, they will say when they encounter us, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord"? In one sense, nothing has changed; the Church which shook the world at its inception, will likely shake it again at the end. The enormous collision over the radical question of whether the gospel is, in fact, true will again be tested and contested by those who are constitutionally disposed to resist it: the cerebral, intellectual, secular, rationalistic and empirically-minded Jew! There needs to be, therefore, a people who are commissioned for this task. The root meaning of the word 'apostolic' is 'sent one.' There are many that 'went,' but few that are sent. Men are sent by the laying on of hands in a commissioning that recognizes and authenticates the call in God. If that laying on of hands is mere ceremony, if it is only a little gesture of a conventional kind, then we might as well stay home. A true sending body is the rarest of all phenomena. Those who authentically express God do not grow on trees; they are formed, shaped, and conditioned by the intensity of a daily life with the saints, with all the accompanying issues that arise in such a setting. It is in this kind of matrix of life that God fashions apostolic character, apostolic men, and apostolic sending bodies. The Challenge of the Jew The Church's mandate towards the Jew during their final extremity is to call them back to a seriousness towards God. Unless they show a repentance toward God first, there is little prospect of a faith in their Messiah. We are barking up the wrong tree when we seek to promote the issue of Jesus to those who have not yet rightly considered the issues of sin and of God. After more than two thousand years of not considering God, and being satisfied with political Zionism, liberalism or rabbinical Judaism, we Jews may find ourselves required to acknowledge that those '-isms,' those man-made systems of thought, are the substitute wisdom of man, and have deterred us from really considering God seriously. Jews remain unsaved because, generally speaking, they have not heard a compelling word which would cause them to believe, releasing them to "call upon Him who is rich in mercy, both to Gentile and Jew, to all who call upon His name." How shall they believe on Him unless they believe that He was raised from the dead? How shall they believe that He was raised from the dead except that the evidence of the resurrection is in the very words, the demeanor, the voice, the tenor, the gait, the disposition and the constitution of the one who stands before them, whose feet are blessed on the holy mountain of God, and who shows forth, in himself, as a son of the resurrection, the truth of the resurrection, and whose very words are resurrection words of creative power enabling the hearer to believe? That is the issue of the salvation of the Jew in the Last Days; it is what we authentically are ourselves, and what we present to them that will bring them to salvation. Their calling on His name is vitally interwoven with the Lord's coming as King, by which His kingdom is established, His millennial rule begun, so concluding the whole climax of the age! In hearing the words of the one who is sent, they hear Him, the Lord, who was raised from the dead. Those who "believe that Jesus is Lord" and that "God has raised Him from the dead shall be saved" are the two inseparable requisites. Why should any Jew call a man 'Lord'? Indeed, something is required that goes far beyond correct biblical instruction for the Jew to call any man Lord. But the remarkable truth is that resurrection is inextricably tied to the authenticity of Jesus' Lordship. No resurrection, no Lordship (Rom. 1:4). In encountering the resurrection of Christ, in hearing the voice of the resurrected Christ in the messenger, the unbelieving Jew encounters his God. The Jew has every historical disposition to resist this encounter, but more so, it means also the end of his lordship over his own life, the end of his bank account, his film studios, his business mergers, of what he is going to do, his philanthropies by which his self-justification is established. All of that is finished when Jesus becomes Lord and says, "Now you will do My bidding." The reason that people baulk at God, who would otherwise enjoy God as God, is that they are not willing for the Lordship part. It is the issue of His Lordship that compels those to baulk who desperately clutch their own autonomy. Paul at Mars Hill

The messenger or 'sent one' is, in himself, the evidence of that resurrection, and there is no more beautiful a demonstration of that than the apostle Paul at Mars Hill. He was brought by the circumstance of God to the most adverse audience with which a man could be faced, namely, Greek philosophers, the Stoics, the Epicureans, as well as unbelieving Jews. In them he had the opposition of people who had been honed to the finest degree in the things that constitute both philosophical and religious antagonism to Christ, and yet, he was brought to Mars Hill so they could hear what the 'babbler' would say. Paul's message was: Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31). Of all of the foolish things to say! How does he expect those Greeks, who believed in reincarnation, to know anything about resurrection, or the Jews for whom such a doctrine would be equally as offensive? Paul, however, puts all his eggs in that one basket, and makes everything the issue of the resurrection of that Man who will judge all men, whom God has raised from the dead. "Oh," some said, "we will hear you again concerning this matter," but likely never did, and will spend their eternity in Hell. Others turned in disdain, but some "joined themselves to Paul and believed." How do we understand that? How can they believe in a doctrine that is calculated to contradict their upbringing and their intellectuality? The only explanation is that the proof of the resurrection was Paul in himself, and they joined themselves, or as some translations say, "cleaved" to Paul, and believed. To believe the resurrection is to believe that Jesus is Lord. To believe that Jesus is Lord is to believe the resurrection. To believe at all is a miracle that takes place by the operation of God through the speaking and the hearing of one who is sent, who brings the glad tidings that those who hear it might believe and call upon the name of the Lord. This is more than just giving Him a little honorific acknowledgment; it means the surrender of the independent life to the totality of God's authority, once-and-for-all. This is salvation, and anything less and other than that falls short. It is a powerful phenomenon, but it is not reserved for Jews alone. The whole world needs to hear, and indeed must hear, that kind of word. The Powers of darkness oppose Israel's return to their God. That is why the smallest attempt to reach a Jew with any kind of message evokes such a powerful reaction. The most beatific, reserved, intellectually modest and ethical men become savage when you bring the gospel to them in a challenging way. Something deeper in their own life, which has been their life more than they know, is being threatened, namely, the Powers of darkness that have operated upon and through them, that power which is at the heart of the world's values, the world's mind-set, the world's wealth, the world's commerce, the world's culture, the world's sensuality and ambition. Jews epitomize the world in its wisdom, power, lust, ambition and wealth. When you touch a Jew, you are not just touching a little piece of another ethnic people; you are touching a world system at the heart of its power and animosity against God. God forbid that these considerations should encourage the reader toward anti-Semitism. It is just that these are the realities we need to know, because we are called to face this people in a final confrontation. If they will not call upon the name of the Lord, and remain fixed in their stubborn obstinacy and resistance to Him and to His gospel, then the whole consummation of all things remains in abeyance. This is the issue; it requires an apostolic authority by those who are sent out from apostolic bodies, not just to places of their own choosing, but into the fiercest configurations of iniquity and resistance to God. Can we believe that there is innate power in the gospel sufficient to reveal Jesus as resurrected Lord? God blesses the feet of those who bring good news, who pronounce peace, whose word actually constitutes peace, and who say to Zion, "Your God reigns," because the one who is saying it is the one in whom God, in fact, reigns. He is on Mars Hill because God reigns, and not some other place where he would rather be. When he says "God reigns," the truth of the Lordship of Christ is evident in the man who is speaking. There is a God who reigns, and the truth of His reigning as Lord is demonstrated in the posture, the voice, the face, the demeanor and the character of the one who brings the glad tidings and says "Your God reigns." The messenger is everything; he is a 'sent' one. That is why Jesus says, "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me" (Matt. 10:40). We, sent ones, are the vital linkages with the living God, requiring to be something more than well-meaning Christians; we have to be the evidence of the resurrection itself!

Chapter 17 - Israel and the Judgment Seat of Christ

In the scheme of God, Matthew chapter 25 is set in the very context of the Last Days preceding His coming, and it begins with Jesus saying, "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne [here He is now taking His rightful throne as the Son of David on the hill of Zion]. And all the nations will be gathered before Him [for that is where the God of the nations is]; and He will separate them from one another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and gave You drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothed You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me'" (Matt. 25:31-40). The 'least' mentioned here, in our opinion, are Jews of the Last Days. They will be the despised outcasts of Israel, and the dispersed of Judah. No nation will receive them. They will be cast about as they were in the time of the Nazi oppression in Europe, where, in one instance, a futile attempt to find a country that would receive them, and none would, their ship, the St. Louis, was forced back to Germany and they ended in the ovens. Who will take them in the next time, especially with being identified and associated with them would put one's own life into jeopardy? No one will want to touch them. They will be loathed as lepers; they will be the 'least' in that day. True Identification The Lord gives only one criterion here for a person's eternal destiny, namely, what he did to the least of these His brethren. That criterion is a real issue of seeing, "When did we see you hungry; when did we see you thirsty; when did we see you naked?" Do you know how Jesus sees? He sees Himself completely joined with the least of these as His brethren, and His view is that whatever happens to them, happens to Him. Our attitude towards the Jew in their extremity is, more than we recognize, our attitude towards Him. Our attitude towards the Jew, in all his ungainliness and unattractiveness, is our attitude towards God. The way that the world is constituted, and the way that God has made men, makes inevitable that there will be, indeed, always been, an enmity between the Gentile and the Jew. The reason that God will condemn those who say 'Lord, Lord...' is because they did not see. Why did they not see? It is because one only sees from the light of His Life, and in His light we shall see light. The Life of God issues from the light of God. In the Last Days, seeing truly will be critical to our whole eternal fate. On what basis do we see now? How do we see, and by what light, and by what reckoning? To see from the light of God is another kind of seeing. To see the mystery of the Church, and to see the mystery of the Jew and the Church are to see Jesus. There is a seeing that must come from the light of God, which issues from His Life. "When did we see you...?" Even though you say, "Lord, Lord..." you are not in the place of faith that qualifies you for the inheritance of the saints in righteousness. To find our identification in that people, in the Last Days, affects our eternal destiny. Jesus calls the Jew "these brothers of mine" long before their actual salvation comes. He has an identification with them in their unbelief that remains unbroken. They are still the apple of His eye. Men could not recognize Jesus as King, and they mocked Him by nailing a sign to the Cross above His head on which was written in three languages, 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.' It was a bitter joke. Who could recognize the King of Israel in His humiliating road to Calvary? Who could see it, and see it in the pain, the suffering, the humiliation, the degradation and the rejection? That is exactly the issue that is going to be put before us in the Last Days' 'Calvary Road' that Jews will walk. Despised, rejected, beaten, pursued, bearing a type of Cross, not in the sense that they are going provide an atonement for the world, but in the remarkable identification and resemblance between their Last Days' sufferings and His suffering two thousand years before. The suffering that preceded His glory will also be theirs. Will we Identify?

Who will extend aid and kindness to the Jew at a time when to do so will put one's own head on the block? That is how it was in the Nazi time, when one could not buy or sell for a Jew, and that is the same challenge we are going to be faced with in the Last Days. Only the righteous will be able to bear it, for righteousness requires it to bear. We will never be able to perform this 'by principle;' but will have to flow from us as an intrinsic outworking of our faith. Mere principles and 'nice-guyism' will fail, but righteousness will never fail, because righteousness is God, and it is the Life of God, contained by those who live by His Life, and are constrained by his Life, and cannot do anything other than what the logic of His Life demands. Our response to the despised Jew is the test then of whose life we are in. Righteousness is not a moral posture or a set of principles by which we should act and bear ourselves. In fact, our adherence to principles alone stands in the way of His Life. To be righteous is to say with Paul, "For to me, to live is Christ," because the righteous Life of Christ will do righteously, even when our own flesh is being tested and threatened with extinction. The righteous did not know that in their feeding the least of the brethren, they were doing it for Him. It was not because they knew, but because they did for the least of these, and they did it because they could not do otherwise. Righteousness is an act, and the Life of Christ, which is the very righteousness of God, compels us to act righteously no matter the cost. What about the others, who said, "Lord, Lord..."? They were Christians, subscribing to the correct doctrines and creeds, but they were living from self-life that is intrinsically unrighteous, namely, their own. Only the life of God will suffice in the final crisis moment when, to be identified with the Jew and to extend to them mercy, will require our very life, and only the righteous will be able to give it, because they have already given it. That is why they are righteous. They have brought their own natural life to death at the Cross long ago, and have been living in His Life consistently, even before the crisis of the Jew came, and when it came, they could not act in any other way, but as the Life itself prompted them. There have always been these two options, and the greater multitudes of those who call themselves Christians today, even so-called 'Spirit filled' Christians, are not necessarily living in the Life of God. They cannot truthfully say with Paul, "for to me, to live is Christ," because they live out of their own humanity, out of their own knowledge of things by principle. They may have a measure of support by the grace and Spirit of God, but they are not living consistently by the power of that Life. Whose life, then, presently prevails in us? If we have been living consistently out of our own humanity, intelligence, strength and energy, we will not, in that final moment, find and appropriate the Life of God, which, alone, is righteousness. This is not an option that we can ignore, but who is there who would even consider repenting from living out of his own life? God waits for such a man to agree with Him, who will go down into the waters of death, to rise up and live consistently in a newness of Life. There was an occasion we were tested in our own fellowship when a Jewish hobo, a drifter, was picked up near a local town, and someone brought him to us, thinking we were all Jewish. A Jewish brother, the sweetest of all brothers, received him into his home. This brother showed the drifter a place to sleep and served him a meal. He was just about to leave and the guy began to complain; it wasn't good enough; he didn't like the facilities. He asked, "Is this the best that you've got?" This brother was hit from the blind side at the ingratitude, and something rose up in his gut that astonished him-it was murder! How will we react, not being Jewish, when this same sort of thing comes to our door? How shall we prepare for it? How do we react now to the little indignities of the day? The Challenge to Sanctification "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." There is no anger like hospitality spurned, especially when it is given at the risk of your life or your children's. In what mood will Jews be in, being suddenly uprooted by a fury poured out upon them? They will have left behind them their bank accounts, their checkbooks and cars; they will be helpless, with rags on their backs, having been pushed and led from place to place. Do you think that they are going to be grateful? This is when they are going to be decidedly unlovely. It is going to be a test for us, a supreme test, of the truth of the sanctifying work of God in our lives. This moment will come "with fury poured out" (Ezek. 20:33-36) and with great suddenness. There will be no time to 'get our act together' and be on our best spiritual behavior. By that time we had better come to a place in God where our face reflects the face of God, and however they act towards us, however unmannerly, however disrespectful, however ungracious, however unkind and however ungrateful, they cannot ruffle nor disturb us. We love them with the unconditional love of God; we are not expecting to be appreciated, nor do we need that. Our reward is in heaven. We are eternally-minded, and if we get caught with those people, and

are taken into custody and find ourselves in a concentration camp, there will be only one logical response: a rejoicing, counting it all privilege that we can suffer for His name's sake, and that we have been chosen to be an instrument in furthering His purposes and bringing the age to conclusion, ushering in His government and rule, for which, in succoring the Jew, we will have obtained eternal reward and crowns! If this is only doctrine, we will fail. If this is only in our head and not suffused in our being, deeply rooted in our entire consciousness, then the test of this will collapse us even as it reveals us. The issue of Israel, in the Last Days, will reveal who in fact the true Church is, namely, those who "overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death" (Rev. 12:11). A Martyr Church The posture of not loving one's life, even to death, is the quintessence of the meaning of the word martyr, and it is not incidental that the man most profoundly affected by witnessing Stephen's death was Saul of Tarsus. In Saul, we have the archetypal Jew, intractable and self-righteous, with the Jewish propensity for legalism, Pharisee of the Pharisees. He is not the kind of person who could be won over by handing him a tract. What he and the people whom he represents need, particularly in the throes of their Last Days' extremity, is the example of Stephen's martyrdom. Something was exhibited by this 'heretical' busboy, Stephen, of a magnificence in dying that was beyond anything that Saul could attain to religiously. Though we would all like to see Israel moved to jealousy by some means less than that, with some lesser requirement, we need to anticipate and prepare ourselves for a yet more difficult and demanding scenario. There is a remarkable correspondence between Stephen's death and that of Jesus who preceded him; both contain the very same elements, namely, a patient resignation in suffering, inflicted by a people in violent opposition to them, and who think that killing them will eradicate the threat to themselves. And yet, there is a capacity to forgive their murderers. While in the very act of being killed by them, both could say, "Father, lay not this charge against themForgive them for they know not what they are doing." We will not move the Jew to jealousy except by the same radiance that was on Stephen's face. That radiance is the visible effulgence of something that has been worked deeply into the life of the believer by the sanctifying process of God. Could a Saul of Tarsus have been moved by anything less than a reiteration of the death of Jesus seen now in the martyrdom of Stephen? This very thing will be a preparation for Israel, the capstone of which will come when "they shall look upon me [the Lord Himself] whom they have pierced" (Zech 12:10b). In observing the death of a people willing to be martyred for their sake, something is evoked, though they may not show it immediately. This will sow something into their consciousness and hearts though it will prod and goad them, which the Lord will call for later in that revelation of Himself by which the whole thing comes together, and then they will understand. God is after this deepest kind of conversion that Paul himself knew, which, evidently, could not be obtained by anything less than the sacrifice of those who witnessed to him as martyrs, and Stephen had resolved the issue of martyrdom long before it was required of him. It is not enough to take a deep breath at the time that the ultimate requirement is made of us, but the issue needs to be resolved before its coming. Martyrdom, as a mode of living, has always been the logic of a life lived in God, whether or not actual martyrdom is required. It matters not whether we are taken into custody, thrown into prison, or even have our children share that fate with us. In a sense, we have already been brought back from the dead; we are already in the resurrection. Of what, then, shall we be afraid? Can you see why merely subscribing to the truth of the doctrine of resurrection will not be enough? We need eminently to be in it, with such a sublime confidence in the sovereignty and power of God, that we will not mourn nor lament our fortune. If we should fall victim to such persecution, it is because the sovereign Lord has allowed it, and perhaps has purposes to be performed in a witness33 to those who will oppress us in those prisons as a final testimony to them that, "Truly, this man was the son of God." Our trust in God's sovereignty must be so complete that, whatever happens, we will receive it with a total peace and even a rejoicing! Are we at that place now? Are we in that place by which the sanctifying work of God can be accomplished through the sacrifice and suffering in the Body of Christ? Are we willing to be brought to that place by the nail-pierced hand of Him who is the supreme Paradigm, the True Witness? There will be a remarkable similarity between the Roman centurion standing at the foot of the Cross, watching this agonized Victim suffer that agony in a unique way, and now Israel itself, World Jewry, standing

at the foot of the Cross of the Church, and watching the Church suffering in an extraordinary way for its own sake, and saying, "This thing that we have ridiculed, dismissed and blasphemed, we see now in this, the very Son of God." To see the Son of God is to see God, because what is a Son, but one in whose face we behold the glory of the Father? The Son shows or reveals the Father, and that is why Jesus said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." When this 'son of God,' which, in our opinion, is the remnant people of God, shows the image of God as a son, they are, in fact, exhibiting the humility and character of God. As insensible, obdurate and blind as Jews are, comparable to the insensibility of the Roman centurion, this demonstration in suffering unto death will be the ultimate communication of the truth of the gospel, and may well be the Church's destiny. Moving Jews to jealousy is exhibiting, as Gentiles, the fruit of a covenantal union with the God of Israel, so unmistakably Hebraic, that Jews will be astonished that it can issue from Gentiles. It is an ultimate quality of being, so deep, that lies beyond articulation and definition. Suffering reveals, and it revealed God in Jesus on the Cross. It will take a similar kind of demonstration to reveal God for the oppressed people Israel in the Last Days, as they behold our suffering in their behalf. Ultimate Challenge There are several significant references in the Book of Revelation that should not be overlooked, that speak of the affliction that must come when God gives to the Beast the power to overcome the saints. This is totally inexplicable, and totally contrary to the theme promulgated by the revivalist movements, the spokesmen of which say that the defeat of the Powers of the air comes through a militant use of worship, using hype to arouse the people. But the Powers yawn unimpressed, "What else is new?" They are not impressed by decibels of sound and shouts that come from vacuous and carnal Christians who contradict and impugn the Cross in their own lives, marriages and fellowships. Much of what is called worship today is a vain demonstration of mere noise, "sound and fury signifying nothing" (Shakespeare). The final defeat of the Powers comes only in the same way as the initial defeat came; when Jesus made of them open spoil at the Cross. Though they know this, the Powers of the air will yet seek to 'crucify' the Church, and in the crucifixion of us comes their final defeat. But only if we bear our suffering and death with the same magnanimity, graciousness, lack of complaint and ability to forgive that was exhibited by Jesus and Stephen, which is to say, exhibiting God as God. However, if we self-pityingly whimper, or react in anger and retaliation, or rail against those who are railing against us, then we have grievously failed. What if the ones who are persecuting us are the Jews themselves, for whom we are suffering these things, which is exactly how Jesus and Stephen obtained their death? With what grace will we bear that? Jesus did not answer them a word; He offered no self-defense, no self-justification, nor did He answer back in kind. He was willing, rather, to suffer being misunderstood and reviled against. Jews in flight are necessarily going to be abrasive, demanding, inconsiderate and unthankful. If there is anything in our flesh that can yet be found and touched, anything indignant that can be triggered, they will instinctively find it. Unfailingly, this has historically, in fact, been the characteristic response towards the Church. Some of the Church's greatest saints have been stung, and have revealed an aspect of their unsanctified self-life that, otherwise, would never have been seen, except through the provocation of Jews. Put anything or anyone that is presently a cause of provocation in place of Israel, for example, a boss, a spouse, or anyone who is now the greatest vexation, challenge and difficulty in your present life, and consider that it may be that God is employing these situations as preparation toward a final showdown, because this degree of spiritual maturity is not magically obtained. It may well be that that is why he or she is the greatest present difficulty, and that is why God is already employing our present situations in the Church whose refining work is too often attributed to the Devil. God is after something ultimate and beyond what would have satisfied us spiritually. Essentially, we are all contented with our present condition, and even applaud our spirituality. But we are very far removed from where we need to be because we have not begun to consider the magnitude of the challenge before us. If we miss this final witness, it will not only be to our eternal chagrin, but it means that Israel does not see the Lord, because they had not had the opportunity to meet with Him face to face in us. They will instead meet with a religious people, whose smile is forced, whose patience is short, and thus they move on without having been turned, not constituting the redeemed of Israel that return to Zion. God and His people Israel

As we have seen, there is an election according to grace, and there are things operating that we need to understand, or our attitude toward Israel will be wrong and condemning, rather than affirming and patient. The revelation of God's just dealing with Israel, and the issue of election, is the revelation of God. Nothing more acutely and accurately reveals God as God than in His relationship to the Jew. To miss the history of that relationship, as well as Israel's destiny and calling, is to miss God. It is to have an inadequate notion of our own making, which, in fact, is not God. That is why the issue of the Jew is critical to the Church for its own understanding of God. We are going to see many, who presently exhibit affection for Israel, and who cannot run fast enough to attend a conference or plant a tree, who will be the very ones, who will react with anger when the bottom falls out and this same people disappoint them. There is something about betrayal and disappointment that provokes the deepest kind of hostility and anger, and that is likely what is ahead. The quashing of the idealistic view that was held by the nave, whose affection was on the level of sentiment, will eventuate in hatred. The only love that will prevail is the love that has its origin and source in God. Such a love cannot be disappointed. The love of God, which is manifested in a love towards the Jews in their time of extremity, can only be demonstrated by one whose heart's disposition is brokenness and humility. Can we identify with them out of our own failure to establish the righteousness of God in our own lives? Psalm 102 reveals something of this spirit, Thou wilt arise and have compassion on Zion; For it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come. Surely Thy servants find pleasure in her stones, and feel pity for her dust thereof (Psalm 102:13-14). The affection for her stones and dust is not for a romanticized or idealized Israel, but for the grit and dust of a judged nation. It is not her archaeology, but the nation itself, its history, its apostasy, its tragedy, its rejection of its prophets, its rejection of its Messiah, its stiff-necked obstinacy, and its failures. When that dust and those stones, even of the devastated cities of present Israel, will be dear to the Church, in a compassionate identification with them, God shall arise and have mercy on Zion. The Church for which He has been waiting has come of age. By this, He has procured a Bride adorned for the Bridegroom, having the glory of God! This is perfectly in keeping with Paul's New Testament disclosure of the mystery of Israel, namely, that the Church that has been obtained through Israel's fall is perfected by being the very agent of their restoration. God makes this Church the key; they are "the servants who will cherish Israel's stones and esteem her dust." This is an identification with Israel's condition as she in fact is, and is, unhappily and increasingly, presently becoming. Present Israel, in her abject and melancholy condition, is not to be blithely swept away and dismissed in a preference for "the Jerusalem from above." We must not disdain the one that is presently below. It is not even because Jesus once trod on her dust that her dust is to be esteemed, though that is true also, but it is because we, as the Church, have embraced the whole nation in the totality of her entire history of shameful apostasy and judgment, as well as in her moments of glory, as being one with her. When God sees a people who will love Israel's stones and dust by embracing the actuality of the nation in the grit of everything that constitutes Israel as Israel, something comes out of Zion that culminates in Israel's deliverance. Those who love Israel's stones and esteem her dust are equally the ones who are consumed with jealousy for God's glory. The disposition for the one is the disposition for the other. There is no love for Israel, and for Israel's stones that is not also the consequence of the deepest love for God and the jealousy for His glory, the very apostolic distinctive itself. An apostolic church is that body of people whose central impulse, principle of life, being and service are one thing only: the radical, total jealousy for the glory of God. It includes embracing whatever pertains to His glory in terms of being Christ's fool, and suffering for His sake. If an obedience serves the purposes of His glory, then that is the only issue. A saint of that totality is also inexorably a lover of Israel's stones and dust, because that kind of love is not humanly affected, but issues out of union with the God of Jacob. To love God's glory is to love Him, and love what He loves, and esteem what He esteems, even the stones and the dust of a fallen, backslidden and apostate nation that has no natural reason to commend itself to our affection. The psalmist writes, So the nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory (Psalm 102:15). Yes, but only after the time to favor her has come. Can you see the step-by-step, divine logic of God here?

God waits for something in His servant, the Church, namely, an authentic love that is not make-believe, or some fanciful, imagined thing of an idealized, romanticized Israel, but the grit of her dust and stones, and when He sees that, He is released to be their Deliverer. This is a much deeper phenomenon, born out of union with God, and not out of boredom with a Church by finding a more exotic and interesting alternative in Israel. When the Lord is thus released, "the nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all of the kings of the earth His glory," for He will have been revealed as being Israel's Deliverer out of that Zion. The thing that obstructs the Lord from arising to bring mercy to Israel is the Church's failure to be on a priestly ground. The heart of priesthood is that there is nothing in the priestly service that gratifies oneself, but it is entirely for the sake of the other, and for the Lord's sake; it is an identification and union that embraces another people, not when they are attractive only, but also in their most pathetic, beggarly and degraded state. This is nothing less than embracing Jesus, not in His honorific robes and crown of glory, but on the Cross with all the sweat, blood and gore, and, in fact, everything that is repulsive to the flesh, and from which it wants to shrink and turn away. Unless there is a real identification with the present Israel, the Israel that is below, there will never be a Jerusalem that will come down from above. Priestly identification takes place when one embraces a distasteful and despised people because they are the beloved of God, especially when all the world will, at that same time, be rejecting her. We are joined with them, we "who formally were far off have been brought near" (Eph. 2:13) and into the commonwealth of Israel. God is requiring the death of every identification with Israel that is less than what is being described here, and which we have been cultivating in a shallow affection for Israel. Ironically, to remain in this self-serving love will keep God from concluding His work in bringing that nation's restoration. Those things that are culturally endearing about Israel, staving off our boredom with a fascination with the Jewish mystique, may actually be for us the deepest hidden vestiges of concealed self-life. Idealism is yet self vaunting itself in a way that seems commendable, but it is still self. It is a final and particularly subtle humanism, disguised as well-wishing intention. It ironically defeats the very purposes of God for that nation; therefore we need to dig it out, expose it, and bring it to a willful and needful death. Israel's resurrection from the dead releases the Lord's coming, and by that, the raising of the dead who are asleep in Christ. His coming is triggered by Israel's resurrection from the dead, and His coming revives those who are asleep in Christ. It is resurrection triggering resurrection that, "what shall their return be but life from the dead," not only for Israel, but for all the saints who are yet asleep in the dust, and who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, whose coming is predicated upon Israel's restoration and return. Israel: God's Hermeneutical Key Though Israel is only presently a part of the Church's consideration, nevertheless, we need to have a greater appreciation for Israel as a hermeneutical key to the entire faith. We see the result of that omission in our shallowness, and the ease with which we give ourselves to every wind of doctrine that blows our way. We must, of necessity, be lacking something very vital at the heart of our church life, if we have not this interpretive principle. This is not proposing a false center by substituting Israel for Christ. We cannot rule and reign with Him in the Millennium in any condition less than, or other than, what we have been suggesting. This is the overcoming that qualifies for rule, and it is obtained in the final redemptive relationship with Israel. We are coming to the consummation of the age, and these are the vital, imperative factors of the Last Days. "Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" It is not only for Israel's sake, but for our sake that these things are brought to pass. Jews are the "enemies of the gospel for our sake." As the Church, especially the Church of the Last Days, we would have died in a place less than God's intention for us, and would have been fixed eternally in that lesser place to our eternal dismay, disappointment and embarrassment, had it not been for this mandate to the Jew. We are compelled to a place where a Jew, in seeing us, sees His God, and we thereby have a place in heaven that is eternal, full of rejoicing, honor and glory. "Oh, the depth of the riches!" Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, But when did we see you hungry, and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?" (Matt. 25:37). God calls these people righteous, and says, Come you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of

the world (Matt. 25:34). Being called 'righteous' and 'blessed' are statements that they did the right thing when called for, because they were righteous all along, and this was the outworking of their righteousness. The test of these despised, nothing people is a revelation of where, in fact, we are with regard to God, because look at those who do not make it, Then He will also say to those on His left, "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41). They failed to see that to serve those despised Jews was to have served the Lord, and because they did not see it, they are cursed. If they had been blessed, if they had been among the righteous, if they had been people of the Spirit, if they did not love their life unto death, then they would have seen. Their not seeing is the very statement that they are out of the place in God that they should have occupied, not esteeming a despised Jesus depicted again in His despised people. It says that the Lord shall gather all the nations, separating the sheep from the goats, and it is an interesting question whether it means the Gentiles of the nations or the Church in the nations. If God would bring such a judgment on the unregenerate of the nations, what then of the Church of the nations who failed in this test, who would have had more reason to have passed it than the unseeing, unregenerate Gentiles. Whatever it is, the Lord remarkably makes this one thing the issue and test for all eternity. Is it fair that God should make this one thing the decisive determination of a nation's or a person's eternal destiny? There is a way in which, in the coming to the end of a matter, that one thing subsumes all things. Every issue is ineluctably caught up in this one issue. Our true relationship with God and our understanding and spiritual condition can be reflected or revealed by one thing that exposes all things. Crisis reveals, and absolute crisis reveals absolutely. This is absolute crisis, and it reveals absolutely and totally who, in fact, we really are, and what, in fact, we have all along been in God. It is interesting how we never measure our spirituality, or our knowledge of God, or relationship with God, by our attitude to the Jew, but, rather, assess our condition by our feelings, our euphoria, how we are moved at worship, and other kinds of subjective and personal criteria. But God's criterion is "What did you do with these, the least of My brethren?" Our doing reveals our being, and if we were really righteous, we would have taken the risk of suffering. Even if we did not recognize that they were "the least of His brethren," we simply cannot allow someone who is hungry and thirsty to pass by and fail to attend them. We cannot allow someone to be naked and not seek to clothe them. There is something about where you are in God that demands that, no matter what the consequence for oneself. It was the ultimate test of the truth of our spirituality and relationship with Him. How do we profess to be godly, and love Him, the God of righteousness and mercy, and let a people pass through our midst, and look the other way? Righteousness demands it. This one thing is all-revealing. It is as if God has deposited into the earth, and in the midst of the nations, the people, Israel. They are stubborn, stiff-necked, their history with God is an abhorrence; they have blasphemed His name in every place where they have been scattered, giving us every natural and religious reason to avoid them. In fact, it is the religious who are most stirred up against them, as God makes the Jew the litmus test of our authentic spirituality, and the measure of our love of Himself. Jesus even says that if you love those who love you, what is that? Even the Pharisees can do that. To love the unlovely and the unloveliest of all, particularly in their Last Days' extremity and condition, is a remarkable test and revelation of where we are, not with regard to the Jew, but with regard to Him. In our opinion, those saints who have gone on before us will stand before the Judge and be judged on the basis of what they have done in their bodies, both good and bad, and to some degree, though they were not tested by this, they will receive an appropriate judgment or reward. The first judgment performed when Jesus ascends His throne is this one, because this incident of Israel in her Last Days' trial and sifting will be the episode that concludes human history. The millennial age, the harvester and the reaper, the hills dripping with wine, being brought back from captivity, the rebuilding of the cities, being made forever secure and at peace, and never again being pushed from their borders, are the final acts of this age.34 This, we are proposing, is why Israel is the hermeneutical key of interpretation, not only for this text in Matthew, but indeed, all texts. Once you substitute something else for Israel, your every consideration is necessarily askew, not only about Israel, but virtually all subjects. It is a deadly conceit, and the Church has

been wallowing in it for almost two millennia, but this is now the time of restoration. Now we can better understand why Jesus said that Elijah must first come and restore all things. This is the Elijah task. This threatens everything, and only that one who will be willing to be upturned in all his categories, even as he himself turns the world the right way round, is the one who has the glory of God forever as his motivating passion.

33 The Greek verb 'to bear witness' is martureo, from which we get the English word 'martyr.' 34 See whole of Amos chapter 9.

Chapter 18 - Israel and the Fullness of the Spirit

"And it shall be in the last days," God says, "that I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind [alt. 'flesh']; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon My bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. And I will grant wonders in the sky above, and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come. And it shall be, that every one who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:17-21). Peter is referring here to Joel's prophecy, a salvation from a yet future Day of wrath. The signs that Joel spoke of: devastating judgments, the cataclysmic signs in the heavens, the moon turning to blood, etc., are what biblically-minded Jews of that generation had anticipated in regard to the apocalyptic conclusion of history and the age, so that when they saw the one sign of the Spirit being poured out on the flesh present there that day, they assumed that the other signs would soon follow, and that indeed the apocalyptic end of the age was imminent. And, if anyone wanted to be saved out of the judgment coming upon the world, and upon an apostate Israel, then it would behoove them to "Be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:40b). We, who have come to regard the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a matter-of-fact, commonplace experience, need to know that the gift of the Spirit is a sign of something yet future, even to this hour, and that the context of Joel's prophecy is that the 'all flesh' being spoken of is all Jewish flesh. The Church, as we have said, has been historically guilty of a usurpation of Israel's promises, and needs to understand that what happened on Pentecost fell on Jewish flesh, but it was only a foreshadowing, a token and a down payment of something that was reserved in full for the empowering of a restored Israel in the Last Days! In a word, we have not yet seen the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all Jewish flesh. And the reason we have not seen it, and do not anticipate it, is that we took what Peter clearly describes as a shadow, a token, and made of it the complete measure. There is a danger that arises from what we have done historically, as the Church, in giving our denominations a certain kind of arrogance of spirit, and a 'we have it all' attitude that is just not compatible with the spiritual facts; and if we are ruthlessly honest, we know that we do not have it all. One of the disappointments concerning the absence of the power and fullness that we thought would be our experience is the fact that it was never intended to be our experience, except as a down-payment, a foretaste of the fulfillment that would come, in order to direct our attention and prepare us for the future and the things that are yet before us. We sympathize with untold numbers of evangelicals worldwide, who have been turned off by the kind of bumptious mentality and spirit that has been expressed by the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements. Instead of the appropriate humility of a people who have been privileged to receive a down-payment and a foretaste, 'the people of the Spirit' have tended to demean those other 'poor souls' who do not have 'it.' This is the kind of error that comes by our failing to recognize the context for the gift of the Spirit in the future destiny of Israel as a nation in the purposes of God. We are saying that the baptism of Pentecost is a national pledge of something that is to be fulfilled at the end of the age, not through the predominantly Gentile Church (though there is some fulfillment), but the Jews! The Church, made up of Jews and Gentiles of all ages, will receive glorified bodies upon the Lord's

return, and Israel receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit in full measure of what, we the present Church, have only known in part, to give them the means whereby they fulfill their own millennial destiny and calling. Those who have attained to sonship will be ruling and reigning with Christ, the glorified saints ascending and descending upon the Son of Man, but the restored Israel will be ruling from the plateau of the earth, from a restored nation, aiding and abetting the kingdom in the earth that has its central location in its own capital city, Jerusalem. As the Scriptures say, "For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Micah 4:2). The Spirit as a Down-Payment It is clear, from a look at history in the light of the scriptures, that the prophecy alluded to in Joel was not completely fulfilled at the Day of Pentecost. It was only the foreshadowing, the first measure, of the Holy Spirit being poured out. The other signs in the heavens also did not take place as they are yet future. " the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory" (Eph. 1:12-14). It is quite clear that Paul understands the baptism of the Holy Spirit, not as a thing in itself, but as a foretaste, a pledge and a down payment of a fullness that would come later as an inheritance, in the redemptive and final workings of God for Israel. It would do us a world of good to bring our perspective into alignment with God's! That is not to say that the down payment we have received is insignificant, for the Spirit is very God Himself, but the outpouring has its final and ultimate fulfillment with Israel. Even our raising up of 'spirit-filled' denominations grows out of our failure to see that the fulfillment of it is yet future, that what we have now is humblingly partial, and a sign of what is yet to come with the coming of the King and the establishment of His kingdom. The Lord is not coming to provide escape for the Church through a convenient rapture, though there is a 'going to meet Him in the air.' The Greek word parousia used here, is best understood as 'a rising to meet and accompany a dignitary as he comes to his place of honor, and there to rule and reign with him.' If Israel is going to have the honor of being the location of the seat of that rule, and of participating with Him in extending that rule to the nations, then they need the baptism in the Holy Spirit in a measure beyond anything that we have ourselves ever known. Conversely, they will not have come to that place except by the power of that Spirit expressed in us! However much we have received it in part, it is a most precious part, and not to be either denigrated nor ignored. The Church has been robbed of much of its sense of the future, by thinking that we have the whole fullness rather than only the pledge or the down payment. A church without a future is depleted and no longer a church. A church that does not anticipate a climax and consummation of the age as being the glory of God forever is not the Church. When we do not have that future, we risk degenerating into a mere succession of Sunday services. Our children are bored, and we often have to drag them by the scruff of the neck to our functions. They would not be sitting in the back of our congregations waiting for the thing to end, nor would they be drawn off and attracted to questionable amusements, if we were living in this expectation. The general character of our meetings is a terrible indictment on a Church that has not raised up for our own children a standard and quality of life that compels their attention and their participation. We have not persuaded our children that what we are about is earnest. Though they may not articulate it, we are to them no more than some kind of adult Sunday culture. When we lose a sense of the future, we lose sight of God's intention for the restoration of the nation, Israel, who would not have been our choice, but which is His choice, as the God who chooses.

Chapter 19 - Conclusion
In the final analysis, failing to know God as He is, and having an improper view of ourselves, go hand in hand, and are at the crux of mankind's every disorder. Truly, we do not know Him as we ought. One of the ways in which it has pleased the Lord to communicate the knowledge of Himself is through the example of Israel. Nothing is more instructive in the way of God than in His dealing with the people whom He calls the apple of His eye, but now mourns as a father for a prodigal son. If God will go as far as to bring them nigh unto death, in a severity that eclipses anything that we could fathom that He would allow, then how far will He go with us

as the Church? How far will He go with the nations? The lightness and frivolity that we presently have in the Church likely stems from this inadequate knowledge of God, both in His goodness and especially in His severity. Our souls shrink from beholding His severity as well as His goodness, but if we will not learn from the goodness of God, then we will, assuredly, have to learn from His severity. The false prophets of old always gave false comfort and security to Israel by voicing the presumption, "God is not going to allow that to happen. He is not going to allow His own temple to be destroyed and His holy city to be leveled." Jews made of the temple and Jerusalem a fetish, and a hoped-for security. But sadly, history has shown us what has happened to dash that vain hope. God has allowed His temple to be destroyed, His city to be laid waste, and His people to be exiled over the face of the earth. Who are we to tell God what He will allow? Only as a nation restored back to God can Israel demonstrate a life of unity, peace, righteousness and justice to the human race. And only nations who model themselves after Israel's example can live in a truly peaceful relationship with one another. Imagine what Israel's restoration will be, as the land of the Messianic kingdom in the millennium. It is said that if you get two Jews, you have three arguments. Are there a people more opinionated and more divisive than we? But Israel will be an example to the nations, a redeemed society in which God is to be glorified, modeling a societal salvation to all the nations. Israel will be a model to all nations of what God's millennial rule will be, but only if they will allow their government "to rest upon His shoulders" (Isa. 9:6b). Only an entirely restored nation can demonstrate a life of unity, even as the Church is called to demonstrate the same. This is not a call for individual spiritual virtuosos, but for a Church in its totality, its corporateness, in all of its diversity, being one! God as Creator God takes the initiative to dispose Israel to obey, and to be capable of obeying; in fact, no differently from what He has done with us. The self-determination of His creatures is placed in abeyance as the Creator God works a deliverance in the very heart of man. God's act of transformation is amplified so that God as Creator perfects and refashions all of nature, as well as Israel's inner being. That is why creation is groaning and travailing until now, waiting for the redemption of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19). To know God as Creator is to know God as God, and with the same power that it took Him to create the universe and all that is in it, He will redeem, re-create and restore it. Our knowledge of God, as we have said, affects our every reckoning. Therefore, God's Last Days' stratagem is calculated to reveal Himself as He in fact is: the God who does not hesitate to devastate, but who also restores; the God who judges, but who also blesses; the God who is unsparing in the judgment that needs to be administered, but who is also full of tender mercy and kindness. Unless we see God in that totality, we do not see God in the depth in which He desires to be known. We Jews suffer from an inadequate and inferior concept of God because we missed it at the most important juncture where God revealed Himself in truth, namely, at the Cross of Christ Jesus, the judgment that came upon the Son of God. Nothing is more instructive about the nature of sin than what was required of Jesus at the Cross, to be a propitiation for it. But because we have shrunk from that revelation, and would not consider it, we have scant knowledge of sin, either about ourselves, or man in general. We therefore remain supreme humanists, having a rosy view of man, and have to learn the truth of what man is by suffering at his hand as we did, for example, in the Holocaust, and see now, increasingly, in our own behavior. God shall have His final glory because He has purposed it. In the day of His power, we will be willing. He will break the privatistic power of selfishness, and bring us to be the incarnation of God that we must be. Everything hinges on our being that kind of Church. We must enter the depth of this grand and intense epoch of Israel's history, the physical restoration of Israel's kingdom, as a chief participant, if not the principal agency, of our own eschatological hope. Israel remains the people of God with a yet unfinished destiny, according to the covenantal promises of God to their fathers. But why should that be of concern to us? It is because our God is a God who keeps His promises, and how shall we be assured that He will keep His promises to us if He fails to keep them to Israel? How is He then God? The cosmic conclusion of God's redemptive saga consummates in the establishment of an eternal kingdom, a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. What makes them new is that they will converge into one. They will no longer be separate and distinct regions. Heaven has come to earth, and earth has become heaven. It is an apocalyptic scenario of things violent and devastating that requires the obliteration of this present earth and of the heavens, except for any part in the earth and heavens that is

already in the realm of the eternal kingdom of God. It is the final, ultimate and last reconciliation of all. The Jerusalem from above comes down and over the Jerusalem below, and everything is one. God is One, reality is one, and creation is one; it is the final consummation of everything. The government is upon His shoulder, and every knee has bowed and every tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord. When Jesus, in His resurrected body, instructed the disciples for forty days on the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, they asked Him, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). Jesus did not reprove their question, "When are you guys going to wise up? This is not a kingdom for you; this is a universal, global rule." He replied, rather, "It is not for you to know times and epochs..." which implies that there is a time, and that, as Jews, they have every legitimate, biblically-affirmed right to expect a kingdom that pertains to them. In fact, if it does not come to them first, it does not come to the rest of mankind at all. Israel has been chosen that the world might know the true God. Jewish history itself is the visible, experiential act of revelation. Israel is called to demonstrate to all who want to see that the God of Israel is not a humanly derived concept, but the living God. Israel is God's testimony to the nations, particularly His deliverance of her in her destitute and finally broken condition, when she will be supernaturally raised from it, and be restored to the Land. We will then be able to distinguish the difference between Israel establishing herself to the Land, and God's planting her in the Land (Amos 9:15). It will be the Zionist experiment of 1948, which was humanly commendable and impressive, God-sanctioned and necessary, contrasted to the divine and supernatural restoration that is yet to come. This is the mystery of Israel and the Church. This is the final stroke of God that comes in the Last Days, at the consummation of history, that raises the nation, and brings in the millennial kingdom and the King Himself, through the Church, in order that: "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen" (Rom. 11:36).