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Amos 9 and the Order of the Return

Amos 9 and the Order of the ReturnWhat do you make of the fact the week the British mandate ended and Israel became a nation, May 14 1948, the Torah portion reading [more]

Shut Up to the God Who Raises the Dead

Shut Up to the God Who Raises the DeadAs it is written, I have made you a father of many nations... before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and [more]

Understanding God's Purposes with Israel (with Joel Richardson) - [VIDEO]

Understanding God's Purposes with Israel (with Joel Richardson) - [VIDEO] The Underground Episode 44: Understanding God's Purposes With Israel with Reggie Kelly from Joel Richardson on [more]

More Thoughts on the Restrainer

More Thoughts on the RestrainerI have heard you say that Satan is the "restrainer". How can this be? Wouldn't this put the timing of the end into Satan's hands [more]

Thoughts on the Timing of the Lord's Return (with Joel Richardson) - [VIDEO]

Thoughts on the Timing of the Lord's Return (with Joel Richardson) - [VIDEO]Reggie had a good discussion recently with Joel Richardson concerning the timing of the return of the Lord in relation to the Millennium: Pre-mill, Post-mill, [more]

Israel, the Church and the One New Man

Israel, the Church and the One New ManI have always taught that the church is not separate from Israel. It is however obviously distinct from Israel, in the same way that the [more]

When the LORD Brought Again the Captivity of Zion

When the LORD Brought Again the Captivity of ZionI am contemplating the church's necessary awakening to the necessary birth of the millennial nation of the long resistant natural branches, that great 'without which [more]

Apocalyptic Righteousness - [VIDEO]

Apocalyptic Righteousness - [VIDEO]What kind of righteousness have we been brought into in Christ? In this segment Reggie probes the nature of Israel's righteousness "in That Day", and... [more]

"Never Again"

When the general boasts that the IDF is sufficient guarantee that the nation will "never again" suffer another Holocaust, it is nothing new. But surely [more]

"They Were Longing for a Better Country, A Heavenly One"

What could be more "heavenly" than a country whose inhabitants transcend death and inherit God Himself? That this should be in a literal Land that [more]

The Waters of Shiloah vs The Waters of "The River"

The Waters of Shiloah vs The Waters of You rightly point out that the comparison between the stream and the river [in Isaiah 8:6-8] is a comparison between kingdoms and the nature and [more]

Dispensationalism and the Reversal of Pentecost

Dispensationalism and the Reversal of PentecostIf we can interpret and establish Rom. 11:15 "......what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" to be the same time [more]

The Judge Is Already Standing at the Door

The Judge Is Already Standing at the DoorOn the question of the time statements, I have written much off and on and really need to collect those observations as many of them, [more]

"Prophetic False Alarms" - UPDATE

Sept 17th, 2015 - Adding this statement to our other articles on Avoiding False Alarms. It may be attractive to calculate symbolic numbers, 7's, 40's and [more]

"Lo, in the Volume of the Book It is Written of ME" - [VIDEO]

God is straightening His people into the place of rest; that is, His finished work (the works He has prepared in advance for us to [more]

Some Thoughts on "Keeping the Law" - [VIDEO]

Some Thoughts on This is a 13 minute exerpt from the recent study in Hebrews 7. In this clip Reggie mentions one of the first Articles we ever [more]

The Rest and the Refreshing

The Rest and the RefreshingThis is the kind of mystery (see the post "After Two Days...") inscribed in the scriptures of the prophets that only Jesus understood in His [more]

After Two Days He Will Revive Us...

After Two Days He Will Revive Us...Originally published in Oct of 2013, we are bringing this article back to the front page for reference of an up-coming article. "After two days He [more]

The Mystery of Election

The Mystery of ElectionAs to the mysteries of foreordination and predestination, there's too much connected to this than can be accounted for by divine foresight of what men [more]

Jacob's Trouble and the Dilemma of the Covenant

Jacob's Trouble and the Dilemma of the CovenantThis is how I approach the question of the futurity of Jacob's trouble. It is to build first the covenant background and the eschatology that [more]

You Have Boasted Against ME

You Have Boasted Against MENotice the oft overlooked fine print. Ezek 35:10-15 10 Because thou hast said, These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess [more]

Amos 9 and the Order of the Return

Posted: September 26th, 2016, by Reggie Kelly

What do you make of the fact the week the British mandate ended and Israel became a nation, May 14 1948, the Torah portion reading included Amos 9?

I think it was a token that the Lord is gracious to encourage those who had so lately endured so much that the promise of return is faithful and running on schedule. This is the Hatikvah [“The Hope”]. But this is not the only return. Just as the exile to Babylon was not the last exile, and the return not the last return. The present return is subject to further dispersion, as the far greater number of return prophecies speak of a final and complete return to follow an unequaled trouble that ends with Israel’s national repentance and the judgment of all their enemies.

It is very important that we not neglect the larger context of Amos 9, lest many be deceived and unprepared for what lies still ahead. There is an order to the return that is often overlooked. We must remind ourselves when Amos penned these words. It was before the fall of the northern kingdom. Since then, there has been, not one but two returns to the Land. The return from Babylon proved far short of the promise as described in Amos 9, leaving Israel vulnerable to further judgment and exile. It is the same with the present return.

Since Amos 9:15 is often cited as proof that the people of Israel will “never again” be uprooted out of their Land to which they have so lately returned, let us review the context:

“On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” says the Lord who does this thing. “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it. I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. 15 I will plant them in ‘their’ Land, And they shall NEVER AGAIN be pulled up out of their Land, which I have given THEM, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:11-15, NKJV, NIV).

This is descriptive of the arrival of the Davidic kingdom. So long as Israel remains threatened surrounding enemies, the promise of the Davidic covenant has yet to be fulfilled (2Sam 7:10) The return in view is NOT the pre-tribulational return, whether past or present, but the post-tribulational return that follows the final judgment of Israel’s enemies. This full and complete return to everlasting peace and secure continuance in the Land is most typically the context of the far greater number of return prophecies.

“And I will make a resting-place for my people Israel, planting them there, so that they may be living in the place which is theirs, and NEVER AGAIN be moved; and NEVER AGAIN will they be troubled by evil men as they were at the first” (2 Sam 7:10, BBE)

Jeremiah appears surprised to see that the return from Babylon would not at once fulfill all the glorious conditions described in Amos 9. Jeremiah’s vision of Jacob’s trouble expresses the popular assumption that the promised kingdom of peace would immediately follow the predicted judgment on Babylon (Jer 25:12-15; 29:10-14). Instead, he is astonished to see ‘the day’ that is like no other.

“For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jer 30:3-7).

Now consider. Jeremiah had predicted that Israel’s return from Babylon would not come until after the predicted seventy years of exile (Jer 29:10-14). So when Jeremiah speaks of ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’, what ‘day’ could he have in mind? It can only be the everywhere mentioned day of the Lord, because only then is the final oppressor destroyed and peace in the Land secure forever under the messianic king, as described in Jer 30:8-10, 16:22, and all throughout the so-called, ‘book of consolation (Jer chs 30-33).

This is our exegetical choice. Do we interpret “that day” of Jacob’s trouble as an event lying only in the past, only in the future, or with some, both past and future? To be sure, there have been visitations of divine judgment that presaged the day of the Lord, and some would argue for multiple ‘days’ of the Lord, but there is only one ‘day of the Lord’ that ends in the messianic kingdom that so clearly follows immediately after the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30:8-10, 16-22 with Dan 12:1-2; Eze 39:8, 22, 28-29 et al).

Even on the basis of Jeremiah’s limited perspective, the destruction of 587 B.C. must be ruled out as constituting ‘that day’, because this was not followed by the abiding peace and everlasting righteousness described in Jer 30, and reiterated all throughout the ‘book of consolation’ (Jer 30-33), but by seventy years of captivity in a foreign land. And by no stretch of the imagination can the term, ‘that day’ be made to stand for the entirety of the exile. Furthermore, Jeremiah would have been aware of Isaiah’s prophecy that associated the ‘day of the Lord’ with Babylon’s destruction at the hands of the Persians (Isa 13:1-19; 44:28; 45:1).

It is noteworthy that the conditions that are described as following upon Babylon’s fall to the Persians in both Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s prophecy (Isa 13:17-19; Jer 29:12-14; 50:9; 51:28-29 ) stand in marked contrast to the prophets’ vivid descriptions of the messianic era. Even before Daniel’s prophecy of a continuous succession of world empires, Isaiah and Jeremiah sees beyond Persia’s overthrow of Babylon, which proved only a type of a yet greater and more ultimate day of the Lord still to come. This is further evidence that Jeremiah sees this climactic, and ultimately transitional day somewhere quite beyond the liberation that Isaiah had associated with the destruction of Babylon at the hands of the Medes and Persians under Cyrus (Isa 13:16-19; 48:28; 45:1-5 with Jer 25:12-14, 25; 51:11, 28).

The prophets show an implicit understanding of typology. Consider. As much as Isaiah knew that Babylon would be succeeded by Persia, and that Cyrus was only a figure of the liberation that could only come through the Messiah Redeemer from David’s line (Isa 9:6-7; 11:1-5). And as much as both Isaiah and Jeremiah knew that neither Assyria nor Babylon was the last of the great world empires to stand before the kingdom age, but that both stood as figures of a more ultimate oppressor to be destroyed by none other than the Messiah (Isa 9:4, 14; 10:5, 17, 20-27; 11:4-5; 14:3-4, 24-27; 30:31; 31:8; Jer 30:8, 14; see especially the Septuagint translation of Isa 11:4 as cited by Paul in 2Thess 2:8), it becomes evident that not only the Spirit who inspired them, but the prophets themselves were quite aware of a recurrent pattern of partial fulfillment that prefigured a more ultimate eschatological crisis that would usher in the rod iron rule of David’s greater son and Lord (Ps 2; 110). This is something to ponder.

Consider too that in both Isaiah and Ezekiel, the day of the Lord is depicted as coming upon a nation that has only recently returned to the Land after ‘many generations’ of desolation (Isa 61:4; 63:18; Eze 38:8). This return would not be to the permanent peace of the messianic era but to continued threat from their enemies at a time when the Land has become prosperous (Eze 38:12-13), with its beauty likened to Eden (Joel 2:3). Context will show that these prophecies are not speaking of millennial conditions, as in Eze 36:35, but of the state of the Land that exists just prior to the day of the Lord, the day that will be ‘like no other’ (compare Joel 2:1-3; Isa 13:5-8; Jer 30:5-7).

Even if it should be questioned whether Jeremiah sees this unequaled time of trouble as taking place in the Land AFTER the return of Jer 30:3, it cannot be disputed where Daniel puts the time of unequaled trouble, as he has obviously contemplated Jeremiah’s prophecy (Dan 9:2) and will appropriate the language of Jeremiah’s prophecy of Jacob’s trouble to describe the final tribulation (compare Jer 30:7 with Dan 12:1). Clearly, Daniel places the unequaled trouble at ‘the end of days’ when his people will be delivered and the righteous raised to everlasting life at this time (Dan 12:1-2, 14).

Very clearly, in both Daniel and Revelation, the unequaled tribulation is equated with the last half of the final seven years that begins with Michael’s heavenly victory over Satan and the placing of the abomination in the temple (Dan 7:25; 9:27; 11:31; 12:1, 7, 11 with Mt 24:15, 21; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 11:2; 12:6, 7-14; 13:5). Furthermore, the later prophets of the return (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) show clearly that the return from Babylon by Persian decree was only a precursor to a much greater and more complete return that takes place AFTER the still coming day of the Lord (Zech 8:7-8; 10:6-10; 14:1; Hag 2:6-7, 22; Mal 4:5).

Therefore, before we ‘over-conclude’ for the present return (though indeed a sign of the first magnitude), we must not forget that until Israel has attained to the ‘everlasting righteousness’ of the New Covenant (Isa 45:17; Jer 31:31-34; 32:40; Dan 9:24), the great tribulation that concludes the age is manifestly still future.

What Jeremiah and the prophets understood of the return from Babylon is no less true of the modern return. As with the return from Babylon, the Jews are home again, but they’re not yet ‘home free’. Remarkably, and wondrously, the Jews are back in the Land. The return from Babylon was after seventy years, which is only one generation, but this return will be after “the desolation of many generations” (Isa 61:4). That is a significant distinction! Nevertheless, a final suffering at the hand of a ‘cruel one’ (Jer 30:14) is yet ‘determined’ (Dan 9:24, 27; 11:36) to, at some point, follow the present return.

In notable contrast to both of these returns, the return that will follow the day of the Lord will end the diaspora forever, because from that return, not one will be left behind (Eze 39:28-29). Until ‘that day’, whether in the Land or out of the Land, Israel remains under the abiding threat of covenant judgment. Only after a final tribulation of unequaled severity (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21) will all Israel be saved and justified with an everlasting salvation (Isa 45:17, 25). “From that day and forward” (Eze 39:22), all (and not only a remnant) will know Him, so that there is no more need for evangelism among the Jews and their children again forever (Isa 54:13; 59:21; 60:21; 66:22; Jer 31:34 et al). This is astounding! No wonder interpreters cannot conceive of such an uniform salvation among the Jews ever happening here, on this earth.

Regardless of how clearly the former prophets saw beyond the destruction of Babylon, Daniel and the later prophets are very clear that the sufferings of the Jews does not end with the return from Babylon. Daniel sees the rise and fall of many kingdoms, some fierce persecutors of his people. It is this state of affairs that is expected to continue until “the coming in of the ‘everlasting righteousness'” (Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24). Although Daniel does not use the specific phrase, ‘the day of the Lord’, it cannot be mistaken that his seventy week prophecy ends just there, with Israel’s ultimate deliverance and the resurrection (Dan 12:1-2).

On ‘that day’, when the great trumpet will sound (Isa 27:12-13), the penitent survivors of Israel begin their trek back home, this time over the great waterways that have been lately dried up, evidently by the events presaging Armageddon (compare Isa 11:15-16; 27:12-13; Zech 10:10-11; Rev 16:12). The penitent survivors of Israel will be assisted by willing gentiles that have also survived (Isa 14:2: 49:22; 60:9; 66:20; Zech 8:23). This is the far more complete and final return from which no Jewish survivor will be left behind in the nations (Eze 39:28-29).

The prophets well knew that no revival or return could be sufficient to secure abiding peace in the Land that did not attain to the ‘everlasting righteousness’ from which they will “never again depart” (Isa 59:21; Jer 32:40). They understood that until ‘all Israel’ (and not only a remnant) attains to THIS righteousness, the discipline of the covenant continues and further desolations are determined (Dan 9:26; 11:31; Mt 24:15-16, 21: Rev 11:2).

That this well established axiom of biblical eschatology is not more commonly understood and taught is as strange as it is haunting. Its oversight or denial leaves the Jewish people open to great deception, as also the shattering of the faith of many who join them in saying, ‘this will not come to us’ (Isa 28:14-15; Amos 9:10; 1Thes 5:3).

This raises the question of the church’s job description. If the church is, as Paul calls her, “the pillar and ground of truth,” where is the clear voice of warning that is in agreement with these prophets of return? Who will tell them that the modern return has no more guarantee of permanence than the return from Babylon?

Whereas we agree that the remarkable repatriation of the Land is in accordance with the irrevocable promise made to the fathers (Jer 30:3), it is the prophets of Israel who insist that there can be no final and secure inheritance of the Land that is not based on the everlasting righteousness that has come to full light in the gospel. It is the church’s task to not only speak of this kind of righteousness but to demonstrate it in a way that makes the contrast compelling, thus moving some of them to emulation.

Jewish right to the Land is unconditional, but their ability to keep it is clearly conditioned upon covenant obedience. It is always ‘their’ land, even in their blindness and disobedience. The divine grant of the Land was never based on their righteousness (see Deut 9:4-6). God holds the nations accountable to understand this. This is seen in the ferocity of the judgements that God has decreed on the nations that presumptuously dismiss and disregard the ‘everlasting covenant’ that includes the Land grant (Ps 105:8-11). The divine threat on those who curse Israel in their hearts is not based on Israel’s righteousness but their election. This is evident as the very nations that are brought down in judgment of a disobedient Israel become the objects of divine wrath for their disregard of the covenant. But secure peace in the Land depends on the righteousness that is God’s alone, the ‘everlasting righteousness’, as only this righteousness can make true covenant keeping possible by the power of the Spirit.

Just a few thoughts your question sparked. Reggie

The Prince of Tyre and the Everlasting Hatred – [VIDEO]

Posted: August 27th, 2016, by Tom Quinlan

Shut Up to the God Who Raises the Dead

Posted: August 16th, 2016, by Reggie Kelly

As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations… before Him whom he believed, even God, who quickens the dead, and calls those things which be not as though they were. Who against all hope believed in hope…

I awoke this morning pondering this question: “What is required for the kingdom of God to come on earth?” How does a nation, prone always to backslide come at last, not only prolong their days in the Land, but to inherit it forever, in everlasting, indestructible peace? This is the dilemma faced by Moses and the prophets. This thought may be nothing new to many, but my invitation is to consider its implications for the bearing it should have on the church’s understanding of New Covenant righteousness, as it will be true in that coming day of an entirely saved Jewish nation after their final and greatest suffering, called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Joel 2:1-2; Mt 24:21).

Throughout the vicissitudes of Israel’s history — before apostasy had reached the point of no return — the prophets would hold out the hope that disaster could be averted by repentance and return. But this was never looked upon as more than a temporary fix.

Repentance and reform might indeed forestall disaster and constitute a ‘lengthening’ of the nation’s temporal tranquility (Dan 4:27), but such could never be sufficient to secure lasting peace in the Land, nor the coming of the kingdom on earth. For this, the hope was for the ‘bringing in’ of an ‘everlasting righteousness’ (Dan 9:24) that would secure everlasting peace, not only to a remnant, but to the whole of the nation, who would be preserved in this righteousness forever.

“From that day and forward,” all Israel will know the Lord throughout all their generations, so that never again will a Jew say to his neighbor, “know the Lord; for they will all know Me from the least to the greatest” (Jer 31:34. See also, Isa 4:3; 45:17, 25; 54:13; 59:21; 60:21; 66:22; Eze 20:40; 39:22; Zeph 3:13; et al). Moreover, this righteousness would not fade nor fail, but continue unabated, and without lapse ‘unto children’s children’ ( (Isa 54:13; 59:21; Eze 37:25).

Such an extravagant and unimaginable circumstance would not be possible except that the righteousness that the will justify all the seed of Israel (Isa 45:25) is not their own, but God’s alone (Isa 54:17). Because the righteousness of God is indestructible, so will be their peace, “world without end” (Isa 45:17). No weapon formed against them can prosper and no foe prevail (Isa 54:14-15, 17; with Rev 20:9)

Many think such an extravagant promise can only be fulfilled in heaven. Such unassailable righteousness and peace on this earth sounds preposterous. Add to this the even more inconceivable evidence of scripture that such completely uniform salvation is promised to no other nation. Rather than conceive the inconceivable, the natural recourse is to spiritualize these otherwise plain scriptures and to detach them from the people and Land of Israel.

But for the promise to be established, as literally described and understood by the prophets, it shuts us up to the faith of Abraham in the God who raises the dead. This is so much more than salvation of a goodly number of Jews at the end of the age; it is the sudden resurrection and birth of a nation ‘at once’, in ‘one day’ (Isa 66:8; Zech 3:9; Eze 39:22). This is the divine logic of how a people who will never come, must be forcibly brought back ‘into the bond of the covenant’. “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant” (Eze 20:34-35, 37)

A remnant is not sufficient:

The salvation of ‘all Israel’ means there will no longer be a remnant of saved Jews in the midst of a largely unsaved nation. This has always been the case but here is why it cannot always be so, and why the prophets all looked ahead to the great transition of the day of the Lord:

History is witness that a mere remnant was never enough to keep the nation from further lapse and repeated exile. Regardless of temporary peace or fleeting revivals, the prophets well understood that the nature of human nature would always tend towards backsliding, thus my term, ‘prophetic pessimism’. As Jesus knew what was ‘in man’, so did the prophets (Jn 2:25 with Jer 10:23; 13:23; 17:9 et al). Thus my habit of saying, If history teaches anything, it is that if God were waiting on Israel, He’d be waiting forever.

In despair that the nation could ever sufficiently cooperate with God’s requirement for holiness to sustain themselves in the Land, particularly in the kind of permanence required to fulfill the promise, the prophets understood that Israel was being ‘shut up’ to the necessity of a miracle of divine intervention. For this cause, they would look on ahead to a time of radical, apocalyptic in-breaking of deepest shaking of judgment, resurrection power and new creation. They would call this time, ‘the day of the Lord’.

“When He sees that their power is gone …” (Lev 26:19; Deut 32:36 with Dan 12:7).

This principle of resurrection out of death tells us about the nature of power itself. The power of the veil lies in power itself, which is to say that intractable human tendency to put trust in any other power (Jer 17:5), which is quintessential idolatry. This innate confidence in the flesh is what is broken for the believer in the day of new birth and waits to be broken for all the surviving remnant of Israel in the coming day of the Lord. Confidence in the flesh is humanism, whether secular or religious. Thus, from the beginning, God has been at war with humanism, which is pride.

As Paul would show how the law works to ‘shut up’ (straighten, crowd) the believer to the necessity a transforming revelation (Gal 3:23), because the law was given to take away our power and to straighten us to Christ. By the same rule, Israel is raised ‘at the end of their power’. This is a very revealing principle that lies at the heart of what Paul will call, ‘the wisdom of the cross’. It is why Paul, and by the same rule, every believer, is always delivered over unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also might be manifest in our mortal flesh (2Cor 4:11). Here is answer for the church of today, because where there is not this death, there cannot be this life. We could say much on this but suffice it to say, here is the anemia of the modern church. It is cross avoidance!

Through much tribulation (Acts 14:22), even the great tribulation, the veil that covers the nations is destroyed (Isa 25:7). In that day, at the end of strength, Israel will see what Job saw so clearly through his suffering, which is often the place the veil gives way, as false reliance is shattered (Dan 12:7). It’s the place of truest seeing, perhaps the only place of the kind of seeing that truly transforms and quickens the divine nature. Though preceded by a process, Israel’s transformation is not a process; it comes ‘at once’, in ‘one day’ (Isa 66:8; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:39; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7). It comes “when He sees their power is gone.” How instructive this is for a triumphant, complacent, Laodicean church! “I counsel you to buy of Me gold refined in the fire.” Where else did we expect?

Since the believer’s new birth is a personal application of this principle in obvious analogy to the eschatological resurrection / birth of Israel, it raises the question: How many have been truly born again by a removal of the veil over the heart (again in analogy to Israel) who have not first had their own power broken? Until we have despaired through the law (the quickened law) of any hope in ourselves (Isa 57:10), have we really come through to real resurrection life? If coming to such an end of their power is required for Israel, what is required for the church?

According to Acts 14:22, what is true of Israel and the coming of the kingdom, is no less true of every believer. Thus the faith of Israel’s future is based in pattern and principle on the faith of her beginnings. As Sarah would be visited at the “set time” (Gen 17:21), and as Paul was arrested on the road to Damascus “when it pleased God … to reveal …,” just so, will He “arise, and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favor her, yea, the ‘set time’, is come” (Ps 102:13). Until resurrection, we are shut up to the power and initiative of the God who raises the dead.

As God, in a perfectly timed sovereignty (Gal 1:15), arrested Paul on the road to Damascus, and transformed this self assured persecutor into the apostle to the nations, just so will He stop a nation in its tracks, and bring them all the way down, that He might bring them all the way up in the power of the resurrection by the sudden, transforming revelation of the gospel. That is why the natural man cannot really ‘get it’, at least not unto true transformation. It is because he is still trusting something in himself. He has yet to come to the end of his power.

In any view of scripture that has not been spiritualized beyond recognition, God has bound up His Name, His oath, yea, the very return of Jesus with whether He can, against all odds, bring in the very nation that He first brought out of Egypt, not momentarily, not provisionally, not as under probation till another cycle of judgment, but finally and forever!

What will it take?

What will it take? It will take resurrection that comes at the end of power. It will take the quickening of a transforming revelation. This is why the saving revelation of Christ comes, not only at the end of power; it comes at the end of the law. Christ is revealed at the end of the law, because true revelation comes at the end of strength, and the law was given to take away our strength, which is the strength of veil to hide the gospel. This is why Paul could say, “the strength of sin is the law” (1Cor 15:56), because to trust in the holy commandment as a means of life is nothing else than trusting in ourselves. It is fatal confidence in the flesh. In this sense, the strength of sin is strength, our strength. This principle of resurrection faith is as true for the church now, as it will be true for Israel in that day.

The answer to the often asked question, ‘what will it take’ for the church? is shown us in the eschatology of Israel. As surely as the church is indeed the ‘pillar and ground of truth’; as surely as she is built on the rock of divine revelation; and if “unto Him be glory in the church …, world without end …,” then we may be sure that God will not suffer this age to conclude in a lackluster, ‘Laodicean fizzle’. No! Before He will have His glory in “Israel My glory,” He will have it no less in the church as demonstration and power, all the more now, in this present evil age where the battle rages. He will be no less vindicated in the church in this age, as He will be vindicated in Israel in the age to come. Besides, Israel, together with all who will be called and joined to her in that day, will be no less the body of Christ on earth for the purposes of God for that time.

Why a millennium?

It is not enough that God have an elect in this age in partial and somewhat hidden fulfillment of the promise made to the fathers. No, His covenanted promise must be openly and literally vindicated on this earth. He is jealous for this, as nothing else can so fully show His power and glory in frail jars of clay, in the very presence of His enemies. He is a God of incarnation and embodiment and demonstration. He has a point to prove, not only to His people and the nations, but to the rebellious powers.

By bringing in, finally and forever, “not another people” (Dan 2:44), but the very people He first brought out, THIS will bring the rest to Jerusalem and to the nations for which the age, and God Himself has waited and commanded the unceasing prayers of His saints. When this outrageous impossibility will be ‘done’ (Eze 39:8 with Rev 16:17), the day breaks for Israel. As He said in reply to Moses’ intercessory protest, when THIS will be accomplished, the whole earth will be filled with His glory. “But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord!” (Num 14:21). Truly, Israel is God’s own, self-appointed ‘mission impossible’. Through them, grace is put on display to destroy all boasting.

Their resurrection from their helpless condition will be God’s most open demonstration and public vindication of His everlasting, covenant Word. It will confound and silence, as nothing has ever silenced, the original question: “Hath God really said?”

For this very cause, there must be a millennium of open demonstration and manifest divine embodiment BEFORE the final perfection of new heavens and earth. This must be accomplished here on this earth, not off in an invisible, perfected realm that is outside and beyond the test of time, but here, while yet in a natural bodies of frailty and imperfection, the Jewish race will be preserved on this earth for a thousand years in a blessed state of brokenness and holy weakness (Zeph 3:12-13). Truly, this will be a table spread in the presence of the enemy that has been bound to look on helplessly for a thousand years of open vindication of the Word of God.

True, Satan will be bound for a thousand years, and impotent to deceive the nations, as in times past, but this does not mean the righteous of Israel will not continue to war against the flesh. We know this, because chastisement continues to be threatened, even in the millennium, as there are highly descript provisions for continual cleansing and renewal in the kingdom age, but never is God’s covenant kindness completely removed them, because they are the true, spiritual, as well as natural seed of David’s greater son (2Sam 7:10, 14-15; Ps 89:22, 28-37; with Isa 55:3; Amos 9:15; Ro 8:28-39). They shall NEVER AGAIN depart (Isa 54:10; 59:21; Jer 32:40).

This raises the question: With it understood that redeemed Israel will be dwelling in the Land in mortal bodies, and given the notorious nature of the flesh to subvert even the most promising beginnings, how can such permanence be possible? Only by an abiding continuance in righteousness, not only of the few, but of ‘all Israel’ (the nation as a whole), can abiding peace in the Land be possible to a people who are yet in the frailty of their natural bodies, having children and building houses, as specified in many scriptures.

We really must take in and reflect deeply on the implications of what the scripture here implies. How is this possible? This could never be the case so long as only a remnant was righteous, as seen when the righteous would endure captivity along with the rebellious.

Consider that even during national revivals, when the righteous remnant would swell greatly, bringing great blessing upon the nation, and during the great reforms that followed their return from Babylon, the prophets living after the captivity would continue to look on ahead to the inevitable drift towards backsliding that would not be finally and permanently cured until the great day of the Lord and the coming in of the everlasting righteousness.

Not only does Israel start out in New Covenant righteousness; they continue in it forever. When we see the righteousness by which Israel will be kept a thousand years, can it be any other than the righteousness that keeps the believer now? (Ps 121:3-8). This says much about the kind of righteousness that is promised in Christ, as there is no other kind. His righteousness is the everlasting righteousness of millennial promise that all Israel will enter into after Jacob’s trouble (Jer 30-32). Is this not that millennial rest of ‘full assurance’ that is even now available to the believer who labors to enter into His rest? “And His rest shall be glorious!” (Isa 11:10). It is glorious now.

This righteousness is necessarily an apocalyptic (‘revealed’) righteousness (Ro 1:17). When Israel sees Him whom they pierced, they are seeing much more than Jesus’ glorified body; they are seeing the gospel by the Spirit, and behold the change that follows!

Such revelation necessarily transforms. It also necessarily produces after its own kind in some real measure (Mk 4:8). According to 2Cor 3:18, it is impossible to ‘see’ in this way and NOT be changed. This brings the question: Have we received the gospel, not only ‘as’ revelation, but ‘by’ the Spirit of revelation?

When Jesus said, “upon this rock I will build my church,” He wasn’t just speaking of Peter’s accurate confession. He was speaking of the great divide between the living and the dead. He was speaking of the way He must be known, not by mere teaching, but by revelation that flesh and blood is helpless to convey (Mt 16:17 with Gal 1:11).

Scripturally, the gospel forbids us to put too great a divide between the power and glory that will come to Israel after the tribulation and the power that has come, and is now available to the church, provided the essential conditions and dynamics are the same. This is why Paul could say in Hebrews that the powers of ‘the age to come’ can already be tasted, as the power of the kingdom shows itself now in mighty signs and wonders, even in its present form as a mystery (Heb 6:5; Mt 23:13; Mk 4:11; 9:1; 12:34; Lk 11:20).

In that day, the veil that covers the nations will be destroyed (Isa 25:7), as the mystery of God is finished at the seventh trumpet (Rev 10:7). Because of this, Israel will show forth openly what is no less true of His saints in this age, only in this age, there is the mixture of the tares and wheat in the visible, deeply beset and embattled church of God while Satan has not yet been bound.

Yet, the everlasting righteousness that will secure permanent peace for Israel at the end of Daniel’s 70th week has already come in for church with the cutting off of the Messiah at the end of the 69th week. The sealed vision that will not be unsealed for Israel until the end of the 70th week, has been revealed to the remnant (the ‘maskilim’ of Dan 11:32-35; 12:3, 10) who became the pillars of the fledgling assembly of Messiah. With the descent of the Spirit at Pentecost, not only did power come on the gathered assembly of disciples; the mystery of the gospel that was concealed in the writings of the prophets was revealed for the first time (Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:11-12).

With the revelation of the gospel, the cornerstone of the whole divine edifice has been revealed as the glorious ground and basis of the everlasting covenant established in the Redeemer’s blood. In that day, when the surviving remnant of Israel will look upon Him, as the Spirit of grace and supplication is poured out (Zech 12:10), it is this gospel that they will immediately see to their lasting change and everlasting continuance in the Land. How astonishing! How glorious! How contrary to everything known or ever seen or imagined! And this is to be on this earth? Can it be? This is the faith of Abraham, who ‘against hope believed in hope’ that before the Word of God could fail, the very dead would rise (Heb 11:19).

If this is the righteousness that will be theirs in that day. If this is the covenant into which we have gained advance entrance through Messiah’s blood. If the power of continuance and the blessing of peace is based on this righteousness that is not their own but God’s own, what are the implications for the church of the present age? How far have we understood this righteousness? Have we laid hold of what will so gloriously sustain and set Israel apart for a thousand years?

Although every Jew in the Land will be fully alive to God; they will not be perfect. A considerable number of scriptures show their continued battle with personal weakness and sin and regular need of cleansing. No less then than now, their faith will be tested and proven whether it is ‘born of God’. They will have to overcome the power of the flesh, but they surely will overcome, because their faith will be ‘born of God’ and such faith ‘must’ overcome, precisely because it is born of God (1Jn 3:9; 5:4-5, 18). So now this question:

As surely as there is only one everlasting righteousness, then so far as one is truly ‘in Christ’, they are complete in Him (Col 2:10). They are a new creation right now, and not simply on the way to becoming one. We see that this life is claimed by many but what we see does not come up to the standard God gave us in the book of Acts. Why? What went wrong? Why did the glory fade? If we have the life, where is the power of the life? We see it at Pentecost. We see it at the return of Christ. We also see it in mighty exploits and anointing from the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week and forward (Dan 11:31-33; Rev 11:3; 12:11 with Isa 40:29). Why then aren’t we seeing more of this power now?

I’ve already written much more than I set out, so I must cut this painfully short, but I believe the answer lies in what has been suggested. It is the issue of the Spirit. Of course, that is true, but the issue of the Spirit is the issue of the veil that receives its power to veil, to rob, and to hinder through the deceitful power of the flesh. It is thus, most ultimately, the issue of brokenness, as Watchman Nee develops in his classic, “The Release of the Spirit.”

The gospel may be ever so well taught and even substantially understood but it can only be “known” (in the biblical sense of that word) by the Spirit. When we survey the transitional events of the first century, with other great epoch moments throughout the OT, and compare these with the seismic transition that takes place in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, we can begin to see the conditions and dynamics that are commonly at work. The setting is invariably one of crisis.

My beloved brother, Art Katz, used to turn Lord Acton’s famous quote, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely” into “crisis reveals and ultimate crises reveals ultimately.” Our apocalyptic perspective demands a theology of crisis. What will take place in the middle of Daniel’s final week is simply a much deeper, corporate experience and apprehension of nothing else or other than the gospel, the old, old story, apprehended and appropriated as never before. Why? Because the urgency of crisis that will straighten the church to holy weakness and the brokenness of the quickened Word. For Israel, this kind of willing, total surrender comes, not in the time of their choosing, but “in the day of His power” (Psa 110:3). It will be no less so for the church. We will be straightened to resurrection life and power for the final witness. As Jesus said to Peter, “when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”

There is a sense in which revival waits on something that is required of the church. That is ever true, though God is the author and initiator of all that will stand and abide. But there is another sense, equally true, in which the church is ‘shut up’, as it were, to the initiative and orchestration of God. In this sense, the church is waiting on God who has ordained in their due season the necessary constraints and inducements that no amount of will or desire can ever bring about. There is a sense that flesh and sin is always to blame for what is not, while, paradoxically, only grace and nothing of man is to credit for what comes forth that counts with God.

In short, God will not leave His church to its own best intentions. We may be sure that the will is already very much present with the true bride, but ‘how to perform’ what is in her heart waits on God to supply the constraints and inducements that will get her from here to there, to the confounding and shame of every proud, legalistic, accusing spirit of denial. We are His handiwork. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves …” (Ps 100:3), to the end that no flesh can glory.

Yours in the Beloved, Reggie