2001-11-17 - Messiah: His Final Call to Israel
To the churches which Paul established on his first missionary tour and which he visited, the Apostle declares that "through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:21, 22). It is clear that Paul meant that all who would live godly in Christ Jesus should suffer persecution. No Christian of any period can hope to escape being persecuted on account of his godly life in Christ Jesus. Some interpreters claim that in Revelation 7:14, John was talking about the same tribulations mentioned by Paul. Such a position is impossible since John, by the idiom which he used, pointed to a definite time and called it the Tribulation, the Great one.
In the discussion thus far, we have seen that God has at different times partially fulfilled the promise made to Abraham-that in his seed should all families of the earth be blessed. Now let us see what the Scriptures say concerning the final and complete fulfillment of this promise. In Psalm 67, the answer to our question is found. The Book of Psalms is Israel's song, book-inspired and infallible. Since Psalm 67 is one of the hymns of the inspired Psalter, its message is final:
"God be merciful unto us, and bless us, And cause his face to shine upon us; Selah That thy way may be known upon earth, Thy salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee. Oh let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For thou wilt judge the peoples with equity, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah Let the peoples praise thee, O God. Let all the peoples praise thee. The earth hath yielded its increase: God, even our own God, will bless us. God will bless us; And all the ends of the earth shall fear him."
The entire Psalm is a prayer and at the same time a prophecy. In a vision, the Psalmist sees the nation of Israel praying for God to bless it, "that thy way may be known upon earth, thy salvation among all nations." At the time that the nation of Israel is praying this petition, God's way will not be universally known upon Earth, neither will His salvation be the joyful experience of the nations. Seeing and understanding God's plan for Israel to be the channel of world blessing, and since the promise has never been fully realized, the penitent remnant of the nation of Israel will pray for forgiveness and restoration to fellowship with God, in order that they might make known His way among the nations and that all people might have an opportunity to be saved.
Continuing their petition, the remnant will ask the Lord imploringly, "Oh let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For thou wilt judge the peoples with equity, And govern the nations upon earth" (Ps.67:4)
In what way and for what reason does the remnant want the peoples of earth to praise God? In this connection, these words on the lips of the penitent remnant of Israel are virtually a pledge to the Lord, assuring Him that they will make Him known among the nations if He will forgive and restore them to fellowship with Himself. For the necessary inference from the facts is that God will let the nations of Earth praise Him by His forgiving and using Israel to make Him known among the nations.
Three times the worshipers implore God to bless them that they may prove a blessing to all peoples of the world (vv. 3,4,5). As we have already seen, God promises to bless all nations in and through the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In this passage, we see Abraham's seed praying that they may be used of God as a channel of world blessing, as God foretold (Gen. 12:1-3). Then will be fulfilled the marvelous prediction, "In the days to come shall Jacob take root; Israel shall blossom and bud, and they shall fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6).
In His Service,