2000-05-18 - Judgment of Israel
The Judgment Series, Part 3
Ezek 20:35-38 and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. 36 "As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you," declares the Lord GOD. 37 "And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD. (NAS)
Ezek 20:32-44 Verse 37. [To pass under the rod] i.e., to be gathered into the flock (Mic 7:14). [The bond] The shepherd collects the flock, and separates the sheep from the goats, which are rejected. Compare Rom 11:7-11. (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997 by Biblesoft)
In Romans 11:7-11 we see that God is not finished with Israel. For the sake of the nations, the gentiles, Israel has been given spiritual blinders. Are they still God's chosen nation? Yes. We see in this passage from Romans that there will be a day, perhaps in progress already, where Israel will waken from the 'spirit of stupor' which God has placed upon them. The 144,000 prophets during the tribulation come out of the 12 tribes bringing the Gospel to the nations.
From Barnes' Notes, we see that the rod is the shepherd's tool mentioned in Psalm 23, "Thy rod and Thy staff …" The rod we all probably recognize better as the shepherd's crook, the long pole with the hooked end. The rod is used to correct, to pull sheep from trouble, to pull wild animals away and to guide or redirect sheep along the path. Sound familiar as to how the Lord works with His church on a daily and hourly basis? Note that there is one flock, singular, mentioned. There is one Heaven we will all share, and in the end there will be one body of Christ.
One final time, God will pass judgment over Israel. It is unclear to me here whether this will be Israelites who are alive at the second coming of Christ, or all of Israel including the resurrected dead. I think the latter is unlikely, but I can not count it out. The place is somewhere on the earth, in the wilderness.
The Judge will be Jesus Christ. He was the pillar of fire and the column of smoke that led Israel out of Egypt. He was the One who split the earth open under the feet of those who rebelled and refused to repent when Moses returned with the Ten Commandments. He was the One who poured water from the rock in the wilderness of Sinai and delivered manna to 2.5 million Israelites every day. One last time, He will purge the unrepentant rebels from the ranks of those who will follow their Messiah.
Bringing Israel (back) into the bond of the covenant, or reasserting the promises made to Israel is also discussed in Romans 11:11. The Lord has not forgotten His promises to Israel, just as He has never forgotten His promises to His bride - the church. Even though both have wandered far away at times, God has remained faithful.
Just as being on the local church membership roll will not get you into Heaven, being a Jew will not guarantee that person eternity in glory either. It is the repentant heart and the individual's standing with their Messiah that will make them acceptable to the Judge. The ground is level at the foot of the cross for all of mankind. Jesus said that He was "the way" - singular. No meditation, no good works or amount of money given to the poor will pave your way into Heaven. It is what you do with Jesus Christ that makes all the difference. He is the Savior, you and I are the sinners in need of His salvation. All that means is we're not perfect and we need help. If you can admit that to God in prayer and ask for His forgiveness and ask Him into your heart and life, He has promised to come in and change you - to make you fit for Heaven and spare you at the judgment you will attend.
Grace & Peace,