THE MARK OF GOD AND ISRAEL’S STUMBLING

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Ezek 9:4  And YHVH said to him [, the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side], ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark (tav) on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’

Rev 7:3; 9:4; 14:1  the seal of God on the foreheads of His servants; 144,000 having the Father’s name on their foreheads.

Ex 12:23  For YHVH will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lintel  and on the two doorposts, YHVH will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.

Mt 5:4     Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Hos 14:1 (2 Heb)   OIsrael, return to YHVH your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.

Rom 10:1-4  . . .For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own   righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

1Cor 1:17-25  . . .For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ (Is 29:14). . .For Jews require a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling blockand to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. . . .

Why are not more Israelis being saved?  God’s judgments begin in His own household and amongst those who have greater moral responsibility.  “Begin at My sanctuary.” (Ezek 9:6; 1Pet 4:17)  But pride causes those with greater privileges to think that they will be favored:  “Again the Word of YHVH came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your kinsmen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the LORD; this land has been given to us as a possession’.  Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Although I have cast them far off among the gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’  Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the Land of Israel. . .Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.  But as for those whose hearts walk after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads, says the Lord GOD’”. . . And the glory of the God of Israel went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain on the east side of the city. (Ezek 11:14-25)

God has cut a New Covenant with Israel; He has not simply renewed the former covenant which is passing away.  The Lord is not merely setting up again that from which the glory departed, but much more, better than the Garden of Eden even.  By the cross the Holy Spirit is going to make new the inner manby which the Jewish people will truly become the true seed of Abraham and the heirs of all that God promised him.  Neither the Law, nor all its sacrifices; nor wisdom, and all its value; nor good deeds, or prayers, or good intentions – none of these things can change a person from the inside, cleansing his conscience, converting the soul to love YHVH with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to love his neighbor as himself; to live for God’s glory and not his own.  Only the blood of the cross, and those who come to God by that Way which Jesus is and made, can make a person a child of God and know Him as his Father.  Only this stumbling block can break a sinner’s heart and bring forth praise and thanksgiving to God, who is seeking those to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Only by the message of the cross can “self” be slain and God alone be known as good and worthy.  The message of the cross is proof that the gospel is neither Jewish nor Gentile:  the Jews do not accept it, and the gentiles do not respect or honor it.  It is from God; it is His mark, His seal.  It is brought to light through the reality of the New Covenant.  The cross is God’s mark upon His people, and represents the life of Messiah.  To the carnal and unbelieving it is a mark of shame and dishonor – or perhaps a decoration; to the spiritual person in Christ, it is the mark of God’s glory in the person and character and atoning death of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  The cross is God’s mark to separate the world from His people and His people from the world (Gal 6:14), and it is by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross which we, as it were, sprinkle (1Pet 1:2) on our hearts and minds, that God will save us from the day of His wrath.  His judgments begin today, as in Ezekiel’s time, in His own household. (1Pet 4:17)

A true Jew–and a true Christian–seeks God’s approval.  God approves of us when we believe in and obey His Son.  The Lord Jesus acknowledges us as being His when we do the will of His Father in Heaven.  God is working both withinIsraeland within the Church to cleanse and to purify His people.  To be a disciple Jesus says that we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and follow Him.  Both baptism in water and the cross speak the same message:  death to the self-life; alive unto God in the Spirit by faith.  The “sign” of the cross has been God’s secret way of power from before the beginning of time to save sinners who put their faith in Him:  the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.  It shows up again at the Passover with the sprinkled blood over the threshold to the house; it appears in the Tabernacle and theTemplearrangement of the approach into God’s presence and glory – and of His approach to us.

The road which we travel, and which Israelis being required by her God and Savior to travel, is long and hard and narrow.  It is a well-traveled way, and many more will yet know suffering on it.  Jesus, the King whom the Jews say they do not want to reign over them, but whom the LORD God intends that they will have, has walked this same way—this way of the cross.  He exposed Himself to the condemnation of man and became a curse for us under God’s own Law, in order that we could receive God’s approval and righteousness.  And for this Jesus has received from God the Name above every name.  The way home to peace and security and joy in the Father’s house is the cross of our Lord.  Despite the sentence of death in ourselves, we go on in victory in Messiah because God has forgiven us of our sin and our sins.  We are called to intercede in mercy as His priests for the Jewish people–and for the Gentiles—to repent and to believe the gospel, for the Kingdomof Godis near.  Until they do there will continue to be much sorrow and anguish.  Until we let God’s spiritual mark distinguish us, then we, too, stand in danger of suffering from God’s righteous judgments upon the world (1Cor 11:31-32).

The redemption of Israelis assured.  The full redemption of the Body of Messiah and of the whole creation is connected to Israel’s salvation.  YHVH God Himself will see to it.  He speaks through Ezekiel that He will require Israelto ask Him to accomplish what He so much wants to do to bless His people.(36:37)

The Lord Yeshua confirms this when He cries out to Jerusalem that her house is left desolate, and that she will not see Him any more until she says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH”. (Mt 23:37-39)

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

PAUL: BELOVED FOR THE SAKE OF THE FATHERS

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Gen 17:1-8      YHVH made an everlasting covenant to Abram (Abraham) and to his descendants for an everlasting possession of all the Land of Canaan.

Gen 26:1-5       YHVH reaffirms to Isaac the oath He swore to Abraham.

Gen 28:10-15  YHVH, God of Abraham and Isaac, confirmed the covenant promises to Jacob.

Dt 4:32-39      Because God loved their fathers, He wants Israel to know that YHVH Himself is God in Heaven above and on the Earth.  He is involved with things on Earth.

Rom 11:28-32  Concerning  the election, Israel is beloved for the fathers’ sake, that God may have mercy on all who were committed to disobedience – both among Jews/Israelis and among gentiles.  He has committed Himself to His promises to A, to I, to J, even though it brings reproach.

Rom 11:26-27  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:  The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins. (Is 59: 20-21)   

Is 4:2-3           In that day the Branch (Plant/Tzemach) of YHVH shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.  And it shall come to pass that the one left in Zion and the one remaining in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.

Rom 9:6-7      But it is not that the Word of God has taken no effect.  For they are not all Israel who are of  Israel, nor all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ (Gen 21:12)    

Is 1:9     Unless the LORD of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah.

Is 19:18-25      In that day, Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will be saved and serve YHVH together as a blessing in the midst of the Earth.

Rev 7:2-8; 14:1-5  the sealed servants of God on their foreheads:  144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel. . . redeemed by Jesus from among men, first-fruits to God and to the Lamb

Ezek 47:13 – 48:35  the borders and division of the repossessed Land of Israel among the twelve tribes of Israel, for the native-born and for the strangers who sojourn among them and who bear children among them, during the millenial Kingdom of Messiah on and over the Earth

Rev 21:9-27   The bride, the Lamb’s wife, the new and holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God; the gates are named after the twelve tribes of the children of Israel; the foundations named after the twelve apostles.  Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life can enter the city.  Certainly an expression of everlasting love and honor to have the gates and foundations named for you!

Jn 3:3-21      Only those in Israel and from other nations who are born again from above can see or enter the Kingdom of God.  Life is given only to those who have living faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

In Adam all have sinned, yet God has His plan to redeem and to save all who hear, believe, and obey His way to repent/return to Him.  So Israel—a nation of “adams”—has sinned, and the same God over all has His plan to redeem and save a sinful nation personally chosen to be His inheritance.  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Since Israel is given by God to be an example to the Church to learn from, it becomes evident that not all Germans, or Americans, or Egyptians will be saved, even though each nation has its own place and destiny in God’s purposes.

 If we are unfaithful to God, God remains faithful to Himself:  He cannot deny Himself.  Jesus’ death and resurrection secure for God everything that He has promised, both for blessing and for cursing; both for life and for death; both for justification of those who believe and for condemnation of those who do not.  This is all in accord with His word that He will be merciful to whom He will be merciful (Ex 33:19).

The gospel, of which the apostle Paul in particular received by revelation, is of grace, not of law; is received by faith, not by works or by wisdom.  The Lord Jesus commissioned Paul to speak to gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  Chapters 9-11 of Romans are the Isaiah 53 of the New Testament.  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets will be fulfilled by Him.  Until so, the whole counsel of God—the whole of the Bible—is living and relevant.  The redemption and salvation of Israel AS ISRAEL is necessary for the sanctity of God’s Name—YHVH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.

Israel has a special calling and destiny, which has not been fulfilled.  That Messiah came through her was not the whole of the covenant promises spoken and given her.  But to her belong the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service, and the promises; of whom are the fathers, and through whom is the Messiah, according to the flesh.  Paul also states plainly that they are not all Israel who are of Israel; neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children.  It is according to promise, not merely natural considerations.  By analogy, not all who are called Christian are in Christ, but only those who have faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and know that their sins are forgiven. 

God is sovereign; no one can successfully oppose Him.  There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against YHVH (Prov 21:30).  We must all come to Him on His terms.  He came to us in His love to save all who would believe on the name of His only begotten Son Jesus, because no sinner can abide in His presence.  Yet this is God’s covenantal promise to Israel:  everlasting possession of the Land of Canaan, and an everlasting remembrance of the name Israel in the eternal Kingdom.  All the promises of God are “yes and amen” in Christ Jesus (2Cor 1:20).  No weapon formed against Israel will succeed, and as long as God controls the regularity of the solar system and universe, Israel will remain a nation before Him, and His covenant with David will remain in force.

But the promises are received through faith, and obedience with faith and thanksgiving.  It is all of grace—of a loving Father to His beloved child, of a loving husband to His beloved wife.  Israel has not believed this, but rather made the fact of being chosen its basis of righteousness, and of relegating the gentiles, whom the one true God also loves, to lesser status.  For even orthodox religious Jews do not obey all the requirements of the Law, so they begin to lower the standard or to rationalize and make relative their righteousness.  Self-righteousness is one of the worst sins.  Paul claimed himself blameless as touching the Law, but being so he persecuted the church and blasphemed the Lord Jesus, and so referred to himself as the chief of sinners.  But God justifies those who believe and trust Him for their worthiness, their significance, their identity.

The present election by grace of Jewish believers, and the present day return of Jewish people back to part of the very same Land of Israel—as the LORD spoke and promised through the prophet Ezekiel—is an on-going demonstration of God’s unchanging purposes.  Just as counting the sheaves each day between Passover and Shavuot was an indication of faith in the reality of the harvest to come – and as Jesus’ 40 days after His resurrection demonstrated that He was really alive and strengthened the faith of His disciples and of others — so God’s fairly recent intervention in the restoration of Israel as a nation gathered in its own land is an indication of the sure fulfillment to come.  Israel’s restoration is a sign to the world just as was the ark which Noah built:  the holy and righteous God is preparing to judge the world in righteousness and to save the remnant of His people and of the nations.   Again, not all Israelis/Jews will believe, but all Israel—the full remnant of Jacob’s descendants who turn from ungodliness —will be saved.  Like the apostle Thomas, these will believe the full love of the truth only after they have seen Him whom they pierced, and their individual and national soul will be afflicted, and God will fully cleanse and heal them from all their sin.

God’s wisdom deals with the pride of men and of nations, with envy and ridicule, with sin, righteousness, and judgment.  The gentiles have been brought in to God’s covenant relationship through Israel’s temporary fall and blindness.  But the promises of God remain sure for the sake of the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The root and tree are the Messianic promises and hope—realized in Messiah Jesus—which quickened the fathers Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and which their descendants are still learning through much struggle.  The good news rests in the goodness and faithfulness of God, and of His righteous ways.  As it is written, both gentiles and Israel have been disobedient so that salvation is of mercy to both Jew and non-Jew.  Israel’s salvation is assured, and her special calling to be forever memorialized in the new Jerusalem.  No other nation has such a promise which extends beyond time.  But Israel’s salvation and resurrection from the dead AS A NATION assures the CHURCH of her hopes and destiny, and assures Egypt and Assyria, for example, of theirs.

To Israel double judgment for all her sins as the first-born amongst the nations.  To Israel double honor as a holy kingdom of priests unto YHVH.  The name of Jerusalem shall be, YHVH our Righteousness is there!  

May it come speedily in our day!

Hallelu-Yah!  Amen.

EZEKIEL: A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT TO KNOW YHVH

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Ezek 20:41-44   I [YHVH] will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the gentiles.  Then you shall know that I am YHVH, when I bring you into the Land of Israel, into the country which I raised my right hand in an oath to give to your fathers.  And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils which you have committed.  Then you shall know that I am YHVH, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O House of Israel, says the Lord GOD.

Twice in these four verses, we read and heard by the Spirit of God that the Word of YHVH says, ‘You shall know that I am YHVH’.  This expression occurs 61 times through 24 chapters, half of the book of Ezekiel! 

Ex 3:14-15  And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’.  And He said, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.  Moreover God said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, YHVH 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 to all generations.    Ex 6:3-4  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by My name YHVH I was not known to them.  I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the Land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers.    Ex 34:6-7,14  And YHVH passed before him and proclaimed, YHVH, YHVH God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth, keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and upon the childrens’ children to the third and fourth generations, for you shall worship no other god, for YHVH, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous GodRev 4:8  Holy, Holy, Holy, YHVH God of Hosts, who was, is, and coming.

YHVH is the one true God. He is the Living One.   From the Old and the New Testament scriptures, it is evident to those who are born again from above that the one true God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is also evident by revelation from the Father that Jesus Christ is LORD: He is YHVH.  Jesus is the Savior God of Israel, just as He is for you and for me.  We come to God our Father only through Jesus His Son, and this only by the Holy Spirit dwelling in us personally.  This is the redemption which God is going to accomplish for His inheritance, Israel, His priestly nation.

It is by God’s mercy, and not due to Israel’s initiative to repent and return back to Him.  God’s sovereign love will bring Israel back to Him, even as He has now been bringing Jewish people back to the land for over 120 years, in accord with His promises, despite Israel’s continuing unbelief and lack of repentance.  Thank God for the love of the Father! 

Ezekiel is God’s servant to bring forcefully Israel’s sin, and God’s necessary judgments, to the people.  The sin and uncleanness of Israel will be fully exposed in order for complete cleansing and healing.  Each person has to bear his own responsibility (Ezek 18).  This prepares the way for the glad tidings of restoration and forgiveness, and the re-establishment of the Kingdom of God to Israel.  (Remember the disciples’ question to Jesus?)  The gospel, too, must include the experience of the truth of judgment and repentance in order to receive the grace of forgiveness and restoration.  YHVH is God and does not change; it is we who must change, and be changed.  Both Ezekiel and Paul, with the other prophets, make it clear that only a remnant of the people will be saved.  Even should Noah, Daniel, and Job all pray and intercede, they could not change God’s righteous judgments against the nation (14:12-23).  God’s judgments cause suffering for both the wicked and the righteous:  for the wicked it is only judgment; for the righteous it is a refining fire (ch.21).

For this, God must give Israel—as to each of us—a new heart and a new spirit.  We need to be made new in order to see how unrighteous and unclean we have been in the sight of the Holy One of Israel.  To have everlasting possession of God’s blessings and promises we must first be restored to Him personally.  It is in the light of His glory that we see ourselves, and so can receive more fully the abundant grace and mercy of His forgiveness for ourselves and for our sins.  The New Covenant promise to the House of Israel of a new heart and a new spirit—God’s Spirit—is to enable us to keep His commandments:  LOVE of YHVH God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength; to love others as we love ourselves; to love fellow redeemed brothers and sisters as Jesus has loved each of us.  Love is keeping the commandments of God in Christ.  Israel and the redeemed of the nations will all know the LORD, from the least to the greatest.  The Creator who has not been recognized or accepted will be known by all through the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, the express image of the invisible God.

God has His appointed King—a Priest-King whom He has chosen and anointed to receive the Throne in Israel. (Ezek 21:25-27; Gen 49:10; Zech 6:12-13; Ps 2; Mt 23:37-39)  Until that day, God will overthrow every false ruler (Jn 10:7-16) until He comes whose right it is, and the Father will give it to His Son Jesus, the Son of David.

For Israel, as for Christians, to receive what God has promised to give, the people must come to God on His terms by His way.  Only by seeing her true condition and calling upon the Name of YHVH (Ezek 36:37will Israel receive all that she truly seeks for—and far more than she can even think or imagine (v.11).  Israel wants peace and security, to live life without fear of enemies.  God alone can provide that , but it is grounded in worshiping Him in spirit and truth.  God brought Israel out of Egypt by Moses to serve Him and so be free.  The present immigration from all the nations in which we were scattered, as Ezekiel was given to prophesy, is a greater exodus than that from out of Egypt (Jer 23:7-8)God makes it very clear (v.22-23) that it is not for Israel’s sake that He does this, but for the sake of His holy name.  He sill sanctify His great name, which we have profaned.  And the nations, Israel, and God’s enemies will all know that He is YHVH God, the Holy One of Israel.

When Jesus taught us how to pray, the first thought is the sanctification of the Father’s name.  God Himself says that the sanctity of His great name is connected with Israel’s redemption and His dwelling place being established in her midst in the Land of Israel, as promised to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob and to their descendants.  For this to happen Israel must be cleansed from all her uncleanness and ungodliness.  God can not dwell in the midst of a sinful and rebellious nation.  To help serve this purpose, YHVH God will stir up Israel’s lovers—those nations with whom she has prostituted herself unfaithfully against her God and husband—that they will turn against her, leaving her rejected and desperate (ch. 23). 

According to Ezekiel, Jesus, Paul, there will be much tribulation for Israel in order to enter the Kingdom of God.  Wars will come, but the victory is the LORD’s!  The coming of the Kingdom of God always implies destruction—condemnation and death–to His and His people’s enemies, including the antichrist, who is probably identified here as Gog (Ezek 38-39).  We see this at Sodom and Gomorrah, yet God knew how to save righteous Lot.  We have the examples of Pharoah and Egypt, when the true living God defeated all their gods, but He delivered the households marked with the blood of the lamb.  We see the same thing even within Israel after the incident of the golden calf, but the tribe of Levi was rewarded.  Again, when the Israelis entered the promised land, Jericho and all that it contained was destroyed, except for Rahab and her family.  In the New Testament we have Ananias and Saphira being judged and killed on the spot for lying and deceit soon after the Holy Spirit was given to the first believers.  At the end of the age, when Jesus comes to establish the Kingdom, we see the separation of the goats from the sheep.  And we see when the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Anointed One, He destroys those who destroyed the Earth.

God’s purposes for Israel include reconciling Ephraim and Judah (37:16-22).  Israel will be Israel and Israeli, not “Jewish” as we now think of it, but the Israel of God whose culture is reflective of that unity of all the tribes in a restored relation of brotherly love honoring to God their Father and to the King of Israel, Yeshua, the Son of God.  Israel’s salvation and redemption allowing her to enter her inheritance and destiny as a priestly nation is ultimately dependent upon the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to save His people from Gog and the nations—Turkey, Iran, Sudan, and Libya–joined together with him against Israel.  Jesus will then establish the Messianic Kingdom on Earth, with the full remnant of each of the tribes of Israel inheriting their allotment in the Land which God promised on oath to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob/Israel and their descendants.  All the other surviving nations will also inherit their lands whose boundaries have been set by YHVH God (Dt 32:8).  The name of the holy city Jerusalem will be from that day, YHVH Is There! (48:35)

Israel will no longer have malicious neighbors (28:24).  As both Mary and Simeon exclaimed and proclaimed surrounding the conception and birth of the Messiah Yeshua, God will scatter and put down the proud, and exalt the lowly; He will deliver Israel from the hand of our enemies that she will serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him forever. 

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Summary of Ezekiel:  Ch. 1-32: Judgment and Horror; Ch. 33-48: Hope and Restoration

Ch. 1-3     Ezekiel sees the glory of YHVH and receives his call to the children of Israel, a rebellious nation

Ch. 4-24  Judgment upon Israel precedes that of other nations (cp. 1Pet 4:17-18).  Israel made the first-born from among the nations by the sovereign will of God, and to whom much is given more is required.
            –YHVH is departed! (11:33)

Ch. 25-32  Judgment of nations in near proximity who oppose Israel and her God.  Vessels of dishonor, of wrath, reserved for God’s righteous judgment for refusing the light of His covenant relations with Israel (and with the Church, for there is only one Mediator and one Savior).

Ch. 33   The Watchman for the House of Israel to warn them from the LORD
             –Jerusalem has been taken (v. 21)

Ch. 34   The false shepherds versus the true Shepherd

Ch. 35    The judgment upon Mount Seir and Edom because of their everlasting hatred against Israel

Ch. 36   –The land claimed by YHVH and given back to Israel
               –A new heart and new spirit given with increase, fruitfulness, prosperity
            –Israel will loathe herself (as did Job and Isaiah) when she sees herself in the reality of YHVH’s goodness and  holiness

Ch. 37   New and resurrection life given to body and nation.  Ephraim and Judah restored:  one nation/one people/one  family

Ch. 38-39  Overthrow of last enemy, Gog (overthrow of antichrist – Dan 11:21;2Thes 2:8)
                   –YHVH is glorified, and His name is hallowed

Ch. 40-48  –God’s Kingdom restored forevermore in Israel and the world:  Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as in Heaven
                —44:15-16 Israel’s establishment as a priestly kingdom:  blessed and sanctified; millennial Sabbath rest for  God’s creation
                –differences from Law of Moses, including “holidays”
                –YHVH is there! 

ACCORDING TO THE LAW AND THE TESTIMONY – Isaiah 8:20

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Mt 5:17-19     Jesus came not to cancel or to break the Law and the Prophets, but rather to fulfill every jot and tittle of them
Ex 25:21-22     the Ark of the Testimony was set in the Holy of Holies; the blood of atonement was sprinkled on the Ark as a witness to the hope of redemption from the holy and righteous demands of the Law of Moses
Acts 24:14-15  Paul’s testimony about the hope of the fathers, as written in the Law and the Prophets, for the resurrection
Rom 8:18-25    the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection

The word redemption in English means to buy (purchase) back and restore what is rightfully mine but legally lost through forfeit (loss of privilege or honor through disqualification by breaking the rules or law).  The word ransom means the payment of a price for deliverance from some evil.  It could be a prisoner of war, a hostage, a slave, or one’s own life (Ex 21:29-30).  In the Bible, redemption requires two things:  the legally qualified person, and the willingness and ability of that person to pay the required price to buy back what was given up.  The year of Jubilee is all about redemption and restoration, both of people and of property.  A redeemed person or possession is restored to his or its intended purpose.  His dignity is regained.  And the honor given him is greater than before the loss.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us be clear from the beginning of these messages that the redemption of Israel is assured by the fact—by the truth—that Jesus Himself is her Redeemer.  Not only does He deliver prisoners, slaves, debtors, but by His very name, Yeshua is the Savior and Redeemer of sinners. If Israel could redeem herself from her bondages, then certainly the Holocaust would seem to be sufficient payment of her own sons and daughters.  But it clearly has not been so.  God wants the loss of intimate relationship with Him restored, so that Israel–and the rest of the world– can have rest and peace and joy.  Messiah Jesus is the uniquely qualified person who willingly paid the necessary price to buy back His own people and kinsmen according to the flesh, and the Land of Canaan, which YHVH, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, promised with an oath to give to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob and to their descendants forever.

Since Israel asked for a king like the heathen nations have, YHVH has not been Israel’s God in practice from their point of view.  Jesus came—and was also rejected for Caesar!—to restore God the Father’s Kingdom both to Israel and to the whole world, the gentiles already rejecting Him in Noah’s day, both before and after the Flood.   

Adam and Eve, through deceit and disobedience, lost the paradise and the authority that God provided and gave to them.  Both the people of Israel and the Land of Israel were forfeited by Israel through their breaking God’s covenant with them.  But Jesus was sent by God the Father to redeem His people, His land, even the whole of humanity and the whole Earth, even more—the whole universe of this creation, which has all been corrupted through sin and subjected to vanity, futility.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and the Savior of all, but especially for those who believe, for by faith we are saved through grace, not by law or through works or without condition.  Abiding in Jesus is the key to our faith and our love.  The Messianic/Christian faith is a relationship with the Father and the Son and with others who are born of God.

Jesus says that the whole of the Book is written about Him, and that He has come to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets. He says that Heaven and Earth will pass away, but not before God has fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Word of God with respect to this creation, which is set and limited by time and seasons.  So as we look at the subject of Israel’s redemption as presented by the priest/prophet Ezekiel and by the priest/apostle Paul, we do so as recognizing that all Scripture is inspired by the Spirit of God, and is given for our learning to make us wise unto salvation.  By them we can know not only God’s statutes, but also His ways regarding His people and the world at large.  This being so, then there will be essential agreement between Ezekiel and Paul, for the redemption is by YHVH God, who is the God of both Ezekiel and Paul.

Israel’s redemption—both of people and land—gives hope and significance to other nations.  God is interested in nations of people, a corporate collection of individual persons bound together by a language, law, customs, culture, boundaries.  He has given each a destiny, and within each of the families of the Earth, the Father is seeking those who will love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Christians are expected to be stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  The Church—the Body of Christ—was a mystery which God revealed especially to Paul to explain.  And Paul also says that Israel’s salvation is a mystery, which again the Holy Spirit explains through Paul.  But without knowing the truth of who Jesus really is, we can not understand either the Church–which is a new creation not of this world–or Israel, which is distinguished from the other nations.   

YHVH is a covenant-making and -keeping God.  God is love, and so His covenants are expressions of His love and holiness.  Just as the Lord requires a husband and wife to remain faithful to each other, even more so is He faithful to His people—even His Bride—through the covenant relationship He has with us.  He cannot deny Himself.  Jesus’ death on the cross because of our sin–and His subsequent resurrection to justify Him in man’s sight, and to justify in God’s sight all who believe that God raised Him up from among the dead—is the costly ransom which God paid to redeem us from the “legal” claims of the devil—a price which Satan tried to subvert.  God is debtor to no one, and is not out to appease His enemy.  The New Covenant assures us that God will keep all His previous commitments, and on the basis of that ‘filling full’ of all His purposes regarding the world He made, He will create a new heavens and a new earth, also in accord with what is already written in the Holy Scriptures.

Therefore Israel’s redemption is assured, even though only a remnant from each of the tribes will be saved to constitute “all Israel”—those of Jacob who repent from ungodliness so that they can receive God’s forgiveness of all their sins, transgressions, and iniquity.  No weapon formed against Israel will succeed, just as the gates of Sheol will not prevail against the Church.  It is not by Israel’s or our own righteousness, but by God’s mercy we are saved through faith in Jesus, the beloved Son of God.  The redemption of both Israel and of the Church is connected with preaching the gospel to all nations—to the Jews and to the gentiles.  Israel’s partial blindness to the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is remaining until the fullness of the gentiles is brought in.  Gentile (i.e., non-Jewish) Christians have a calling and a responsibility to provoke Israel to jealousy over your own personal relationship with Israel’s own God and Father, while at the same time showing mercy to the Jewish people.  (It is evident that classic anti-semitism has no place in the heart and mind of a true Christian).  And just as God saves individuals through the forgiveness of sin by their repentance unto faith, so too with nations.  The same YHVH God, who speaks to Israel through His prophets whom He sent to them, also speaks to nations, not just about them, through these same prophets.

The whole of God’s purpose in creation and redemption is to make known that He alone is YHVH, the only true God, and that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of the Father.  God wants us to want Him to honor His holy name in the sight of all—even as Moses did when the Lord suggested wiping out the rebellious people whom He brought out of Egypt.  We, too, must call upon God to save His people Israel, for the sake of His own Name and His Word, and to establish His Kingdom of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit on Earth, as it is in Heaven.  For as Paul says, How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ (Rom 10:14-15; Is 52:7; Eph 6:15)

God is working from both sides – Jewish and gentile – to fulfill His redemptive history and purposes.  He has given us an active part in that, once we have been joined to the Lord through new birth, we become co-laborers with one another as we serve Him.  But, thank God, He will do it!  That is our and Israel’s security and hope.  YHVH has done it!  Jesus lived and died and rose from the dead and lives forevermore.  Nothing is too great for Him to do!