2000-10-21 - Messiah His Final Call to Israel
Messiah: His Final Call to Israel Series, Part 9
The headlines that caught my eye this past week were "Cease Fire In Israel Peace talks back on track." This week we begin to dig deeply into the Bible for our answers about peace. I hope you will join us as we pray for peace in Jerusalem as we dig out God's plans and purposes for the nation in our devotional series. I hope you are blessed.
Someone has tersely spoken of the Book of Genesis as "the seed plot of the Bible." A careful examination of its contents confirms this position. Some Bible students call attention to the fact that many of the fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures are found, in their embryonic form, in the writings of Moses.
Among the very important doctrines of the Scriptures is the prediction that the nation of Israel will confess the national sin, repudiate it, and plead for mercy and forgiveness.
Leviticus 26:40-42 "And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their trespass which they trespassed against me, and also that, because they walked contrary unto me, 41 I also walked contrary unto them, and brought them into the land of their enemies: if then their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity; 42 then will I remember my covenant with Jacob; and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land."
In Leviticus chapter 26, appears one of the most important prophecies relating to Israel. This prediction was given by Moses at Mount Sinai and is a brief outline of the meandering course over which Israel travels during the centuries, from Moses' day to the time that the Chosen People are gathered from among the nations and are restored to their own land.
Moses begins the message by calling special attention to Israel's unique relation to Jehovah their God (vs.. 1,2).
In verses 3-13 he calls attention briefly to the special blessing which the Lord will bestow upon the people of Israel if they will be faithful to Him. God promises them rains in their seasons, abundance of crops, and protection from all enemies.
On the other hand, He warns them against disobedience, threatening punishment commensurate with their sins. If they continue in willful disobedience, the Lord threatens to punish them sevenfold. In the event that the punishment administered does not cause them to reform, He threatens to send punishment even sevenfold more severe. If, under these conditions they absolutely refuse to repent and to reform, the Lord again threatens them with punishment sevenfold more severe than they have already experienced. Finally, if they still stubbornly persist in rebellion against God and His will, He threatens to spue them out of the land and to scatter them among the nations.
While the people of Israel are sojourning in other countries, the Lord assures them that their land shall enjoy its Sabbath rests while it is lying in a desolate condition. This warning is vitally important to the understanding of God's dealings with His Ancient People.
Leviticus 26: 27-39 "And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; 28 then I will walk contrary unto you in wrath; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins. 29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. 30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your sun-images, and cast your dead bodies upon the bodies of your idols; and my soul shall abhor you. 31 And I will make your cities a waste, and will bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors. 32 And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell therein shall be astonished at it. 33 And you will I scatter among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you: and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. 34 Then shall the land enjoy its Sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye are in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths. 35 As long as it lieth desolate it shall have rest, even the rest which it had not in your Sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. 36 And as for them that are left of you, I will send a faintness into their heart in the lands of their enemies: and the sound of a driven leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as one fleeth from the sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. 37 And they shall stumble one upon another, as it were before the sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And ye shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them."
Verse 39 speaks of the last generation of Israel scattered among the nations that will "pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them." According to this verse, the generation of Israel that is left -- the last generation scattered among the nations -- will pine away from two causes: from their own iniquity and from the iniquities of their fathers. Something in the life of this generation is properly called "their iniquity." Since the word iniquity is in the singular number, it evidently refers to some wrong of which the people of Israel are guilty, and on account of which they are suffering. The second thing for which they will pine away is the iniquities of their fathers. Light upon this expression is gleaned from Exodus 34:6,7. In this passage God declares that He visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. People reap what they sow. Sin always leaves it's mark upon the sinner. According top this passage, the effects of the fathers sins are transmitted to his children, to the third and fourth generation. According to Proverbs 28:13,the sinner who "covereth his transgressions shall not prosper; But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy," In keeping with the fundamental principles of Leviticus 26:40, the people of the last generation of Israel left among the nations will have to confess both their own iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers. In the King James version of the scriptures verse forty reads as follows: "If they shall confess their iniquity..." the American Standard Version (1901 edition) renders the sentence, "AND they shall confess their iniquity..." this latter translation is correct. The King James version is wrong in translating the first clause as if it were conditional. Confessing or not confessing the iniquity is not an optional matter for Israel to decide God speaks of it as one of Israel's musts. "And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers … " the people of the last generation are guilty of an iniquitous act. Their fathers are also guilty of an iniquitous act. Are these two acts one and the same?
The act of iniquity of which the fathers are guilty is a trespass which the fathers trespass against Jehovah while they are in the land. In committing this trespass, the fathers walked contrary unto Jehovah, who punishes them by scattering them among the nations.
There seems to be but one iniquitous act which the fathers commit while they are in the land, and of which the last generation is held guilty. Will a righteous and just God hold a person responsible for the acts of another with which he had nothing to do? Every right thinking person knows that God will not. The fathers commit an act of iniquity for which God spews them out of the land and scatters them over the world. All Biblical students know that God allowed the Romans to overthrow the kingdom of Judah and spew them out of the land. If one studies the events of AD. 70 in the light of Leviticus 26:40-42 and in the light of the Gospel records, he comes to the conclusion that the one act of iniquity committed by the fathers of Israel, was the rejection and execution of Jesus of Nazareth, the Hebrew Messiah, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; 23 him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. " (Acts 2:22-24).
If the leaders of the nation of Israel of the first century, commit the act of iniquity, foretold by Moses, how can a just and righteous God hold their descendants of the twentieth century guilty for a crime committed by their ancestors nearly two thousand years before their day? Those who demanded his crucifixion held certain views and attitudes toward Him. They shouted," Away with Him, Away with Him, crucify Him! We have no king but Caesar" (John 19:15). "His blood be on us, and our children. (Matthew 27:25) If the descendants of those who crucified the Messiah take the same attitude toward Him they are just as guilty as those who perpetrated the crime. In the light of theses facts one is forced to conclude that the fathers of Israel committed the iniquitous act mentioned by Moses and that the people of the last generation of Israel scattered among the nations, holding the same attitude toward the Messiah that their fathers held, can justly and righteously be said to be guilty of the same iniquitous act.
"… if then their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity; then will I remember my covenant with Jacob … and I will remember the land" (Leviticus 26:41-42). When the remnant of Israel humble themselves and accept the punishment of their iniquity (acknowledge their offense against Jehovah in rejecting the Messiah), God will remember his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and will remember the land promise.
The day on which Israel sees the truth with reference to the Messiah and repudiates the national sin of rejecting and executing Him will be one of the highest mountain peaks of Israel's entire existence. Concerning that day Malachi says: "But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings; and ye shall go forth, and gambol as calves of the stall." (Malachi 4:2).
Next week we will take a look at some details of the days in which Israel will find lasting peace from the Book of Hosea. Until then keep looking up.
In His Service,