When the LORD Brought Again the Captivity of Zion

I 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 not’ of the kingdom come on earth. But without this awakening, how will the church know its role as prophet priest intercessor and mid-wife in travail, just as Paul understood that only through travail can Christ be formed in his erring Galatians (Gal 4:19). It is this principal of travail that has been all but lost to the church in its indispensable role and relation to the foretold conclusion of the age. Before it is waiting on the revelation of the Antichrist, the age is waiting on the church, and the church is waiting on God to crowd and constrain her to the appointed finish line, which is something far more than a sudden rapture.

Little considered, but essential to the promise is the relationship between the heavenly Zion and the earthly Zion. The two shall at length meet in glorious unity of spiritual birth and transformation of nature. A comparison of Isa 66:7-8 with Rev 12:1-14 makes us to understand two distinct travails of two distinct births of two distinct Zions, first the heavenly, then the earthly made heavenly through spiritual rebirth. The birth of the man-child is significantly BEFORE the tribulation, as the birth of the nation ‘in one day’ is significantly AFTER the tribulation (Zion’s travail). A careful comparison of Isa 66:7-8 with Rev 12:2-6 compels our recognition that while the birth of the man-child (divine offspring of the woman) takes place without the travail of the earthly Zion (i.e., the literal, unequaled, pre-day of the Lord tribulation), His birth does not come without travail. This is the pre-tribulational travail of the heavenly Zion of God (the heavenly woman).

It is a view that is to be argued more on the basis of spiritual principle than strict exegesis of just the immediate context. However, when these key texts are considered, not only in the light of their more immediate context but the principles enunciated elsewhere in scripture, these combine to argue for the fulfillment of a pattern that extends, not only to the Messiah as the personal seed of the woman, but to His seed, as the corporate seed of the woman, the godly remnant born of the Spirit of Christ. In this sense, the travail of the heavenly woman is not only Mary but the godly remnant, which in this age is identified with the body of Christ, the corporate seed of both Messiah and the heavenly woman. This is why we cannot restrict the birth and ascent of the man-child only to Mary and Jesus. There is something more cosmic and corporate in view that pertains to the coming of the kingdom on earth through a principle of spiritual travail that is born of faith and earnest longing. According to Paul’s cosmology of glory, when Jesus was taken up, we were taken up in Him. This is something utterly glorious that requires spiritual apprehension to begin to fully fathom or appreciate. As the Son of Man is in heaven, even while on earth (Jn 3:13), there is a profoundly real sense in which this is true of all His seed.

In Rev 12 we see that a great transition in heaven must take place in order for the final tribulation to come on earth that finishes the mystery of God (Rev 10:7). It cannot be missed that the revelation of the mystery of iniquity in the incarnation of Satan in the man of sin, for which the return of Christ awaits (2Thes 2:3-8; Rev 12:10-12), takes place at exactly the same time that Michael casts down Satan from heaven to begin the tribulation (Rev 12:12), obviously in the middle of the week. Though the text by itself does not require it, we can infer on the basis of the analogy of Dan 10 that Michael’s heavenly victory does not happen independently of the intercessory travail of the faithful, in notable analogy to Daniel’s self-abasement and deep intercession.

This leads to the further inference that the travail of the heavenly woman is not exhausted in Mary and Jesus, but forms a pattern that implies another great transition when the church will travail in like pattern to Daniel, so that Michael’s expulsion of Satan permits what Paul calls, ‘the mystery of iniquity’ (2Thes 2:7). We believe the mystery of iniquity is revealed when Satan takes up full and unhindered residence in the fallen and then revived body of the Antichrist. This cannot happen apart from Michael’s heavenly victory. We we believe Michael’s expulsion of Satan will not, cannot take place independently of the intercessory travail of the church. But such travail of love and holy groaning, as represented in Daniel and Paul for the longed for necessity of the covenant redemption of Israel, is not likely to issue from a church that has little consciousness of what must necessarily precede and attend the coming of the kingdom. Otherwise, we would know that apart from the regeneration of the long estranged prodigal nation, there can be no return of Christ and resurrection of the church, no resurrection of Israel, no resurrection of the church, and really, no God, since it His unbreakable Word that has bound the two inextricably together.

Christ doesn’t just appear. His return is dependent on these necessary preceding events.The Word of God stands or falls together and Satan knows it. That’s why his primary focus is to exterminate, not only the church as appointed to an heavenly, and, to mortal eyes, invisible destiny of rule over the millennial earth, but particularly the Jew who is appointed to national re-birth and millennial headship over the nations in public vindication of God’s corporate election of Jacob (Ro 9:11). Knowing this destiny as essential to the fulfillment of the Word, Satan mounts an all out assault on the natural seed of the woman when he sees his time as short, as now cast down by Michael in the middle of the week. It is only as he “sees” that the earth has helped the woman (by reason of the saints in the earth who foresaw the evil) that he turns his rage on the church, the spiritual seed of the woman. Satan’s logic is clear: If the natural branches survive to become an holy nation at the end of the tribulation, his tenure over the nations is over and his eternal damnation sealed.

But most of Christendom is blissfully unaware that such things are even at stake. Thus, to a very large extent, they are ignorant of the cosmic war that has raged, with its special focus on the Jew and the little hill of Zion ever since God declared the decree (Ps 2). It’s final focus will surface and concentrate and be required of all nations in what Isaiah calls, ‘the controversy of Zion’ (Isa 34:8). How can a church that is out of touch with the elect objects of this ‘everlasting hatred’ pray intelligently, let alone travail, for a kingdom that must come on earth but can only come through much tribulation?

When will the church see, or even care that apart from the redemption and return of the natural branches at the appointed day of the Deliverer’s return (Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7), there can be no kingdom on earth? This omission is much more costly than we tend to conceive, since the day of the Lord, which is now revealed as the return of Jesus, is everywhere depicted as inseparable from the restoration of the prodigal nation, whose return will be life from the dead. In scriptural revelation, God has bound up our resurrection with theirs (Ro 11:15), as the elect object of divine longing and open vindication of the everlasting covenant, “My covenant with THEM! (Ro 11:27).

The absence of this from the church’s consciousness, let alone expectation and hope, let alone intercessory travail, is nothing short of an abomination of utter detachment from, not only the plan, but the pain of God’s heart for Zion, as the great test and proof that puts finally to rest Satan’s original question, “Has God really said?” But the secure evangelical asks only this: “If one has salvation in Jesus, then how is Israel’s redemption and return to the Land necessary for the church’s hope?” This is what happens when men separate what God has united. This is the mentality that has won the day throughout most all of evangelicalism. It’s a light, ‘que sera sera’ attitude towards any of the controversial ‘details’ of prophecy. But here’s the maxim that is missing from the church’s consciousness and responsibility: There cannot be a birth without travail. But where does the travail come from? Does God travail in Himself alone? Is it only creation that shares in His travail? Is the travail of the heavenly woman accomplished in Mary and Jesus without further reiteration in the heavenly woman, i.e., the godly remnant, which is the church of God? Indeed, heavenly woman is comprised of the people of the Spirit who show themselves in union with Spirit, who travail till Christ be formed most particularly in that people whose long awaited salvation will make Jerusalem a praise in all the earth. This does not happen without the church as witness and intercessory mid-wife. It brings the question, what is the church?

In all of scripture, God does nothing but that He first reveals His secret to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). A prophet is one who is heavy with the burden of the Lord, with the vision of the glory of God. Ideally, just as the church is called to a corporate servant, she is called to be a corporate prophet to the nations. But a church that doesn’t know, or is out of touch, with the truth can hardly travail in unison with the Spirit of truth. So for what does the age wait? It waits for the travail of Zion, but not only the travail (final tribulation) of the earthly Jerusalem but the travail of the heavenly Zion, the mother of us all, as the pillar and ground of the truth.

Because the church, by very definition, is the pillar and ground of the truth, we can say that where the church is, there is the truth. Conversely, where the truth is not, there the church is not. And what is a prophet? A prophet is a friend of God, one in whom God is pleased to confide the secrets of His heart and mind (Jn 15:15; 1Cor 2:14). “Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do?” (Gen 18:17). “But you, Israel, are My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham My FRIEND” (Isa 41:19). A prophet may not speak well, may not speak everything, is certainly not the whole body, but simply one who has been sent to declare the truth by the Spirit of truth. “Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that He would put His Spirit upon them!” (Num 11:29). If the church is anything, it is prophetic! It is the organism of the Spirit incarnate in jars of clay. If the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy, then to be prophetic means much more than someone who is occupied with unfulfilled future events; it is about the very nature of seeing, and implies a deep saturation in the covenant as governing structure to all the principles, prophetic mysteries, and goals of God.

Whatever a prophet is or isn’t, there can be no change to God’s own fixed rule that He will surely NOT do anything until He has first confided His secret (hidden purpose) to His friends. That is a rule that does not change with times and dispensations. One might say that He has done this once and for all in the revelation of the mystery to His first century apostles and prophets, and that would be, in one sense, correct. But it also means that there will be a faithful witness to that revelation in all the earth at the time of the end, sufficient to make all accountable for what the Lord is about to do in that day, and this extends to the vital particulars of prophetic prediction.

As much as the warning of Ro 11:25 has had its dread fulfillment in the false presumptions of a triumphal, often anti-Semitic Christendom, we may also rest assured that a faithful witness to the true implications of Ro 11:25 will be sounded far and wide throughout all nations before the end can come. This is because it is always the Lord’s way to warn very clearly before His final judgments fall, particularly the judgments that conclude the age. Not only the what but the why of those judgments must be in open declaration and powerful evidence before the final strokes of judgment will fall. The world will be unwary but NOT unwarned.

So the church will stand forth in its ordained fullness and prove faithful to the end (Dan 11:32-33; Rev 12:11). The world will be without excuse. Because God is faithful, there will be a faithful witness and the church, as pillar and ground of the truth, will be that faithful witness. So while the age waits for the church to be the church, the church waits for God to constrain her to an pre-ordained maturity that makes her a fit mid-wife for the final travail of Zion, as those who understand what it will take for the kingdom to come on earth. As another would take Peter to a place he would not naturally have chosen, just so will the Lord take His church to its own cross, as we are sure that the final witness to Israel will not be entrusted to a church that has not first passed through the cross. This divine jealousy to reveal the Son in jars of clay is why judgment MUST first begin at the house of God. God has undertaken to see that quite apart from her own power, the church will be the church for such a time as this, even when, and especially when, such fulfillment is so manifestly against all odds, to the end that no flesh might glory.

This means that so far from the church being conveniently absent, there is no other appointed vessel by whom the witness to Israel and the nations can be fulfilled. This tells us that even before the Antichrist, the age is waiting for the church to be the church. The coming forth of the Antichrist is NOT the cause but the result of church’s maturity (pregnancy unto travail and birthing). As we have often made the case, Jesus cannot return until the mystery of iniquity is first revealed in its final embodiment in the man of sin (2Thes 2:3-8). And this cannot take place apart from Michael’s heavenly victory that casts down Satan to begin the tribulation that finishes the mystery of God (Rev 10:7; 12:7-14). In notable analogy to Michael’s intervention on Daniel’s behalf in Dan ch 10, we believe Michael’s engagement and victory over Satan in the middle of the week will NOT be apart from a similar intercessory travail on the part of the believing remnant who know and understand the truth (Dan 9:25; 11:33). For reasons everywhere witnessed in scripture, I cannot conceive that this great transition can take place independently of the role of the church as prophetic intercessor. How will God get us there, to such an urgency of travail for Israel and the kingdom? I believe the answer lies, in part, in the strategic use that God intends to make of the first half of Daniel’s final week and the events that will then be in clearest evidence to “those who understand among the people” (Dan 11:33).

In this sense, the end of the age is waiting on a church that has come to travail for a kingdom that they know must come through great tribulation. They will also know that the kingdom cannot until Satan is first cast down. The greatest woe for the earth will mean greatest rejoicing in heaven. This is because it is only with Satan’s expulsion that the mystery of iniquity can be revealed in the Antichrist. This is that one great event that must take place for Christ to return (2Thes 2:1-8; Rev 12:7-14). For this cause, it is cause for great rejoicing in heaven, since with Satan’s removal from his place in heaven as accuser, not only is the mystery of iniquity revealed, but the church has come into an unhindered apprehension of her place in heaven with the ascended Lord of Glory, even while she suffers the rage of Antichrist on earth. With Satan’s removal, the kingdom at once comes with power. This suggests a form of kingdom power that precedes the actual return 3 1/2 years after Satan has been thrust down. This appears to be the release and anointing that comes to a church who loves not its life unto the death (Rev 12:11).

Paradoxically, the casting down of Satan will also mean the church’s finest hour, at least as not seen since the apostolic period, as the gospel goes out in final kingdom power to all nations, reaping a harvest that no man can number. With the removal of the accuser, there is evidently a greater grasp and appropriation of the gospel that enables great power and anointing on those who will do great exploits. This suggest that the power that comes on the two witnesses at the start of the tribulation comes, in some measure, on a far greater number. It is now that the church will face the ultimate and final expression of the mystery of iniquity in the incarnation of Satan in the man of sin (“all power”; 2Thes 2:9). This is directed, not at first on the church (‘the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of Jesus’), but most especially and significantly against Jerusalem and the Jews in particular. It is the climactic end of the ‘everlasting hatred’, as Satan’s aim has always been to stop the seed and so make void the Word of God that threatens his eternal destruction (Isa 14:13; Eze 25:15; 28:17-19, 25-26; 35:5; Dan 11:28, 32).

I like to say, ‘when the church will travail, Michael will prevail!’ Then and only then will the mystery of iniquity be revealed SO THAT the mystery of God can be finished (Rev 10:7). This is not only because Jesus has returned; it is also because His return will mean that the nation of covenant promise has been born in one day, the day of the Lord, the day His praise fills the earth as His feet touches down on the cosmically contested hill of Zion. So we believe and so we speak.

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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… by extension… our righteousness now.

From the Saturday night Bible Studies, this Session was on Isaiah 17.

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“Never Again”

The following was commentary on THIS article:

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 there is a tragic prophetic irony to be detected when he unconsciously casts the ill-fated promise in the very language of scripture (“no weapon or intent formed against you will prosper”). Whether secular or religious, it is this deep humanism, by no means peculiar to Israel, that condemns the favored nation to another and another, simply because it is the object of God’s special election.

Isaiah shows that the source of Israel’s continued calamity lies in their failure to say that “there is no hope” (Isa 57:10). The eschatological metaphors of birth and resurrection find their fulfillment in one place only, “at the end of their power” (Deut 32:36; Ps 102:13, 17, 19-20; Dan 12:7). This is the message of Jacob’s trouble; and the church that does not know this principle for itself cannot be to Israel what it must in that hour or in any other. The great need of our time is for the church to know God as “the God who raises the dead,” since nothing less is required for barren wombs to give birth and for the dead to live and bear fruit unto God.

More than the content of creeds based on NT revelation, this is the root principle behind what Paul calls, “the mystery of the faith.” Many know the creed that do not know the mystery of the faith, and therefore the God of the faith. This was the basis of Jesus’ reprimand of Nicodemus. Not that Nicodemus had access to any particular verse that said a person must be born again, but it was expected this “teacher in Israel,” should have well observed that if a nation is moribund and dead apart from the regenerating Spirit of God, could it be any different for the individual? If a nation will born in a day at the end of an ultimate travail, and sprinkled with clean water at the end of a final desolation unto death, how can it be otherwise for the individual?

Whether for a nation or an individual, God is not truly known until He is experimentally known as “the God who raises the dead.’ As for the nation, so for the individual, the curse of the transgression must continue to threaten until the kingdom of God is made personal and experiential in true spiritual birth and resurrection. Whether it is created by the Word or by adversity, this kind of resurrection / spiritual birth comes only out of what we might call, ‘the crisis of the Word,’ since true and irreversible resurrection comes only at the end of power, the death of carnal confidence. Anything less or other is tragically “short of the glory of God.”

In this sense, Christ is the end (goal) of the law, because the law was given, not to strengthen humanism, but to destroy all hope and therefore all boasting. Christ is the end of the law, precisely because He is the revelation at the end of the veil, which is to say, the end of strength.

Therefore, the question of the modern state is not whether it is a miraculous fulfillment of prophecy. We would all say, “much every way!” The question is rather what will will it take to bring the final death stroke to the invincible resilience of humanism. More than any particular sin, God is at war with humanism. If He will not forever suffer it in His nation, He will not suffer it in His church. That is why judgment must begin at the house of God (1Pet 4:17).

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“They Were Longing for a Better Country, A Heavenly One”

I was attending a class at my church last night, led by a 90+ year old mighty man of God, who happens to believe in a pre-Tribulation rapture. During the class, he drew our attention to Hebrews 11:8-16:

[8] By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. [9] By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. [10] For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. [11] And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. [12] And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

[13] All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. [14] People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. [15] If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. [16] Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

He used this passage to show that Abraham understood that the promises of God would be fulfilled in Christ, and in the heavenly Jerusalem.

I think there is some support for the view that Abraham saw “the big picture”. In John 8:56, Jesus himself said that Abraham “saw (my day) and was glad”. But is it reasonable to conclude that Abraham understood the entire fulfillment of God’s promise of the land to be about a “heavenly country”, as Hebrews 11:16 could be read? (forgive me for going back to square one for the moment) I find great difficulty in imagining that Abraham is asking about a “heavenly country” in Gen 15:8 when he asks God “how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” And in Genesis 15:18, when God refers to “this land”, He gives some very specific boundaries. It seems very clear that the promise at least included the physical land.

When attempting to reconcile this with Hebrews 11:10, do we take the “city with foundations” to mean earthly Jerusalem? If so, how do we take the phrase “heavenly country” in verse 16, which seems to refer very explicitly to the heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation?

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 is inherited “forever” is no contradiction at all.

Even if we discover by ‘progressive revelation’ that the Land will someday be transcended by a new heavens and earth, this does not make the thousand year reign of Christ on earth, or the promise of an eternal inheritance of the Land any less heavenly. For Abraham to regard the promise as “heavenly” certainly need not imply that he understood the distinction that was not clearly revealed until Rev chapters 20-23. It is edifying, however, to consider how remarkably the language of Hebrews anticipates the more developed revelation that we see written several years later by John on Patmos.

Abraham well enough understood the hope as entirely heavenly, meaning miraculous and eternal, transcending of all present limitations. Even when Paul will say “eternal in the heavens” (2Cor 5:21), he is not contrasting this to a real location on earth. This should be admitted even by those who deny a millennium, since even they recognize a new heavens and earth. So even such language as “eternal in the heavens” is not set in opposition to existence on real terra firma, even if it’s the ‘new’ earth of Rev 21:1. See what I mean?

All’s to say, it is not necessary to suppose that Abraham would have understood the distinction between the millennium and the eternal state for him to conceive of the inheritance as heavenly. With you, I don’t think he saw the distinction of Rev 20-21. If he did, it is certainly not recorded. Even so, promise of unending inheritance of a Land, together with all all your children in perfect communion with God, how do you get more heavenly than that?

I think we are creating distinctions between earthly and heavenly that never existed in the Hebrew mind. When the writer of Hebrews (I’m sure Paul), speaks of earthly, he means carnal and temporal, NOT the tangible ‘good’ creation of God that was corrupted by sin and death. Remove the sin and death and make the inheritance indestructible and eternal, and you’ve got heavenly.

In the Beloved, Reggie

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The Waters of Shiloah vs The Waters of “The River”

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 disposition by which they rule, as seen in 2Sam 22:3-4 & Ps 72:4, 6, as gentle and just, as over against the arbitrary will of unjust man. The principles by which the two kingdoms are regulated are decisive for peace or wrath, not only ultimately, but all along the way. So if one will not choose the slowly / gently flowing waters of Shiloah, the peace of divine rule, then the overwhelming waters of the great river, Euphrates will flood all the Land (wrath). We were just talking about this in our last two Saturday evening sessions.

As noted by Kimchi’s commentary, the Davidic throne, for all its weaknesses and deficiencies, is the one sanctioned and ordained by God and the Word of prophecy. Thus, to cast off that kingdom to form another was no small thing, even from the inception of the division.

In Isa 7-8, the very survival of David’s line, and therefore the promise, was in great jeopardy, as the confederated kings of Syria and Israel had conspired to set a puppet king upon the throne of Judah. All seemed bleak and hopeless, but Isaiah showed unwavering faith in the impregnability of the unconditional promise made to David that also guaranteed the ultimate, if not always the immediate, future of Jerusalem, as the eternal city of the great King, the divinely established centerpiece and symbol of the kingdom of God promised to come on earth.

This unconditional promise to David’s seed does not guarantee temporal peace to his natural descendants but eternal peace to his spiritual descendants, that is, to all the spiritual seed of the greater David (see Ps 89). Nor does the certainty of the continuance and preservation of David’s natural line according to the flesh secure against disaster. Obviously, the sure survival of David’s seed does not guarantee individual election, or we might say, ‘personal regeneration’. What it does guarantee is a corporate election that in turn guarantees preservation of the line of the physical line of promise until the “Seed” (personal) should come.

In Him is the promise made sure to all His spiritual seed (corporate), not only of the Jew but of all the seed of true, Abrahamic faith. But even after the personal Seed has come in the twofold nature of Christ, the promise is short of complete fulfillment until Christ is formed in the Jewish survivors of the unequaled tribulation, so that now, all of the nation, as born in one day, can inherit the Land forever, because of an everlasting righteousness from which they will not again go back, because it is not theirs but God’s. That is the mystery and the glory of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is NOT a new start; it’s a new nature!

Israel’s hope, the divine guarantee of a New and Everlasting Covenant, is based on the hope of a spiritual resurrection that must precede the national and bodily resurrection. It is based on the predetermination of God to raise, quicken, and transform what has first been brought down and emptied of its own power.

This raising up by the Spirit depends on nothing of man but on ‘the God who raises the dead’. It is not based on any righteousness, merit, or ground of standing in the fallen and corrupt creature but in God’s own righteousness alone, as perfectly realized only in His uniquely begotten Son.

The incarnation and the New Covenant in Jesus’ blood means that, from the beginning, the only righteousness that God can accept is His own. This righteousness that belongs to God alone is mediated by faith alone, not as its cause but its instrument, since it too is no less a gift, lest any man should boast.

Israel’s hope, the hope of a New Covenant that is sure and everlasting and because it does not depend on man (as foreshore in Abraham’s deep sleep) is based on the God who raises the dead, as He quickens at once and in one day the surviving remnant that will know Him, one and all, from that day and forward. How shall this be? Like all heirs of the New Covenant, they will be born of the Word of God and therefore in union with His divine nature. What then of the danger of falling?

How will “all Israel”, from the least to the greatest, be secure from lapsing and exposing themselves again to curse and exile? How indeed! It because of the New Covenant, which imparts the divine nature. Only because of an everlasting righteousness that is not one’s own can “all Israel” be assured of an abiding righteousness that will not fade or fail, so that now, at last, they can inherit the Land forever, so that “never again” will the children of wickedness afflict them as before (2Sam 7:10; Amos 9:15).

To live in this now revealed, New Covenant is to be in the unconditional, everlasting covenant of peace and righteousness, despite all present dangers, because it is to be on the resurrection side of the promise, as raised up and seated with Him in His triumphant Ascension over all principality and power.

The gospel reveals this everlasting life as no longer waiting for the age to come, as the Jew would see it on the other side of the great transitional day of the Lord. Rather, the powers of that still coming age have arrived in the presence and resurrection power of the Spirit, albeit only in part, as first fruits, earnest, and seal of all that remains.

The conditions and warnings, the danger of apostasy, and the necessity of perseverance in faith cannot defeat the New Covenant. All these very real perils only prove and find out whether the faith by the which we overcome is indeed ‘born of God. It must be so, because it is an inviolable divine principle that “whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world” (). The faith of God’s elect must necessarily overcome, precisely because ‘whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world’. That is what all that comes against our faith is ordained to find out. Only by this rule is our overcoming not credited to anything as generated by ourselves but the unmixed gift of grace, so that to Him alone be all glory.

The proof and evidence of all is perseverance in true holiness, not by mere human resolve, but by the power and resilience of His indwelling life, the life of the resurrection. Those who have this life are partakers of His divine nature, the indwelling seed of the woman, the evidence of reality being that inviolable principle of both nature and the Spirit that the seed will necessarily produce fruit (in some real measure) “after its own kind”.

I like the way you paired Ps 46:2-5 with the slow and un-overwhelming, but ever faithful stream of Shiloah is being made a symbol of that spiritual stream of endless divine life that makes glad the heavenly city (comprised of all His saints, that will, of course, first be realized and vindicated here on earth before it’s heavenly counterpart comes down onto the new earth). Never saw that connection but must imagine that that’s exactly what the Psalmist had in mind in his comparison.

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