2001-02-10 - Call to the Northern Kingdom
Messiah: His Final Call to Israel Series, Part 20
Israel will find peace someday. I believe that the events foretold in the Bible speak the truth in this matter. The "Final Call" Series is dedicated to bringing the truth of the matter home to our readers. Because the subject of peace in the Middle East is an extensive one, it is being broken down in short installments. God is merciful and just and He honors His Word. What a glorious day it will be when the Holy Spirit covers the Earth like the waters cover the sea. What a day it will be when the Bible will be examined by the Jewish nation and the facts regarding real peace will be sought.
Jeremiah 3:6-0 Moreover Jehovah said unto me in the days of Josiah the king, "Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? She is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. And I said after she had done all these things, 'she will return unto me.' But she returned not: and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorcement, yet treacherous Judah her sister feared not; but she also went and played the harlot. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that the land was polluted, and she committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not returned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly," saith Jehovah.
According to verses 6-10, the Northern Kingdom had been very sinful. But her treacherous sister, Judah, had done worse things than the people of the Northern Kingdom had done in that Judah had enjoyed more light and greater opportunities than Israel. Increased light brings added responsibility. According to this principle, God deals with His people.
Jeremiah 3:11-13 And Jehovah said unto me, "backsliding Israel hath showed herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go, and proclaim these words toward the North, and say, 'return, thou backsliding Israel,' saith Jehovah; 'I will not look in anger upon you; for I am merciful,' saith Jehovah. 'I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Jehovah thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice,' saith Jehovah."
As noted above, God gives an urgent invitation for backsliding Israel to return to Him. As the Lord instructed Jeremiah, He looks toward the North saying, "return. . . I will not look in anger upon you; for I am merciful. . . I will not keep anger forever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against Jehovah. . . and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers. . . and ye have not obeyed my voice," saith Jehovah. Notwithstanding Israel's having played the harlot with foreign gods, the Lord urgently invites the sinful people to return. He states their guilt and pleads with them to return without any coercion on His part. God never forces the will of any man, but uses moral suasion, always stopping short of stepping over the threshold of the individuality of his creatures.
As has been seen, the word return of verse 12 was an invitation to the people of Jeremiah's day to lay aside their idolatrous practices and return to God. In verse 14 the word return is again used. Does this word repeat the invitation of verse 12? Or does it refer to something else? When people of Israel heed this admonition and accept the invitation, God promises that He will take them, one of a city, and two of a family, and will bring them to Zion. Moreover, He will feed them with true knowledge and understanding. Then the Prophet connects these promises with a vision of Jerusalem when it is the praise of the whole earth. These facts prove that, when the Prophet uses the word return the second time, he is looking out into the future and speaking of the Kingdom Age. Following the law of double reference, Jeremiah blends the two invitations into a single picture - a principle which the prophets often follow.
In Isaiah 11:1-2, for instance, the Prophet speaks of the first coming of the Messiah; in verse 3-5 he speaks of events that will occur in connection with His Second Coming.
Isaiah 11:1-5 And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. And his delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears; but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the Earth; and he shall smite the Earth with the rod of his mouth. And with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.
Another example of this principle is found in Zechariah 9:9-10. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold, thy king cometh unto thee. He is just, and having salvation, lowly, and riding upon an ass - even upon a colt, the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off. And he shall speak peace unto the nations: and his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth."
As the facts show, verse 9 deals with the first coming of the Messiah; verse 10 on the contrary, foretells His Second Coming and the events connected therewith. The centuries separating these two events are in these verses passed over without mention, and the two comings of the one Messiah are here blended into a single picture.
As the Bible plainly states, someday Israel will realize these truths. They will look to Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, and peace will be the order of the day. Thank you for your prayers in these matters. Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: They shall prosper that love thee.
In His Service,