So, in our search through the idea of the Kingdom of God, let us remember that it is a Kingdom come. It has come – here and now and among us and with us. That is the whole point of the Christmas message – God is with us. It is a literal Kingdom with a literal rule and literal people in it. These aren’t spiritual terms.
So next what we need to consider before we get into the Kingdom of God forever, as mentioned to Mary by the angel and the shepherds by the angel and the prophets of old, we need to understand something about this kingdom. It is Israel’s promise. God chose them, not people like myself who are from any descendant except Abraham. I read in Ezekiel today about how God will reunite “Ephraim” and Judah (Ezekiel 37). In Isaiah, God says that He will accept the eunuch (even giving them a better name than anyone else) and He will not push away the foreigner that obeys His commandments.
What is being expressed here?
When we talk about Israel, our reality and depth with God is equally as found out as with the principalities and powers. First, I’d like to say that we’re talking about Israel, not the Jews. The Jews are a part of the whole. It is true that they are what most people (including myself) seem to think of first when we’re talking about Israel. Before Israel was divided into two kingdoms, God knew each and every person. He has followed their line, and He still knows those who are Israel yet their heritage has been far lost.
When we read our Bibles, we start to come to the understanding that Israel is not just a people who missed their opportunity with God. They are the key to the profound mystery, which is the Kingdom of God. There is a coming time where Israel will be sifted through all nations. They will endure extreme hardship. This is probably also the time of the great falling away. Many Christians will see their suffering and ask the question of, “How is this happening to them again?”
The rulings of God with that nation are coming soon, and are going to be very harsh. We, who are not prepared for it nor believe it, will see it for what it is and probably fall away from the faith. God’s dealings with Israel must be harsh. They are the people who shall rule, and it shall be in their land.
“The law shall go forth out of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem,” Isaiah 2:3. When we talk about Israel and their identification with the Kingdom, I like to start in Romans 11. Romans 11 is the most obvious display of it to me, and it seems to easiest for me to interpret from.
It seems like those who would like to say that the Church is the new Israel, and that God has cast her away and has made us His new delight and plan for salvation does not ever reference Romans 11. This chapter seems to be the most misquoted and there seems to be the least written about it. When properly understood, it is also one of the few chapters in all of Scripture that can fracture and devastate wrong theologies, mindsets, and ideologies.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
Here is the mystery: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. Do you understand that? The Israel that has always been blinded and rejected their God will come to a place where the Lord will lift that blindness, and they won’t forever be cast out. They won’t forever be forgotten. They won’t forever be in a place of spiritual stupor.
Notice that Israel shall be saved. All Israel, in fact, shall be saved. They are necessary parts of the kingdom of God, and they must be a part of it. Without Israel, there is no kingdom. But notice their glory and their being brought into this kingdom aren’t by their own merit. Their salvation happens entirely by something other than them.
If you know anything about those who are Jewish, you know that they are very good at pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. It is for this reason that it can’t be by their own doing, lest they should boast. The purpose in Israel is not to celebrate Israel; it is to celebrate God. The full number of Gentiles must come in.
As it is written: The deliverer shall come out of Zion. God waits for it, not from Israel. God waits for the Gentiles. He waits for you and me. He waits for His Church. When we are an apostolic body that isn’t caught up with our own thing and mission, then God has something to work with. It is entirely by His glory, and not our own. It isn’t something that we would naturally do or be a part of. We don’t desire this. Everything within us kicks against the idea of God making the Church only for the purpose of Israel’s salvation. It is in humbling ourselves to that kind of abandonment to God that it matters not whether we receive reward or curse, but that God gets the glory that we challenge the principalities and powers.
When our desires and our hopes aren’t the cause of our living, we challenge everything they stand for. It is a requirement that we lay down our own lives and even our own dreams for one thing: the glory of God. Israel is inert. They must be acted upon. They are dry bones; they have nothing in themselves. You are the one who must prophesy to the breath and the wind for them to be raised. It takes a quality of life from you, as the Church, to be able to raise this people into an army for God.
Israel would normally have disregarded us, but in the providence of God, we should show them something that they cannot achieve on their own. Thus, we “drive them to jealousy.” But that which has no beauty or comeliness becomes the key to Israel’s final restoration and redemption that is carried on, not only through the Millennial Age, but also throughout all eternity.
And unless it comes from you, it shall not come. We find a text in Psalm 102 about this very thing. (Yes, even in the Old Testament). When you read Psalm 102, you find these statements that sound like they are straight out of the Nazi Holocaust. “For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers.” “In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones.” “For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears.”
Here is the kicker: this is an end time prophecy. Though there are parts that sound like the Nazi Holocaust, this doesn’t describe the Nazi time. This is a prophecy that is yet future, and has its inception in Jerusalem. If you do your history searching, you’ll find that the magnitude of these kinds of merciless genocide eclipses national pride. It stems much further than the German against the Jew. This kind of killing, with gas ovens, starvation, and the horrors of the Nazi camps, cannot be ignored. It goes beyond human ability. It challenges everything that people would say that humanity has something good about it. Apart from God, there is nothing good.
The Japanese, when attacking China in World War 2, hung people by their tongues. They used men as bayonet practice. They raped women to death. They chopped off women’s breasts and let them bleed to death in the street. The kind of killings that took place in China by the Japanese are horrors that cannot be explained outside of the influence of the principalities and powers. It challenges that which we purport humanity to have: namely an inherit goodness.
Psalm 102 is talking about a future holocaust, which according to Zechariah and Jesus will be greater than the holocaust of the Nazi time. If it weren’t for God, all of Israel would be terminated. Zechariah claims that 2/3 of Israel shall be slayed.
We read in verse ten, “because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside.” They realize that it isn’t some Hitler, or Palestinian, or Muslim government that imprisons them. God Himself has afflicted Israel.
How do I know that this is yet future? How do I know that it isn’t how the psalmist felt? There is nothing in the Bible that tells us this is David. David never endured this, as hard of a time as it was when he ran from Saul. If it is a prediction for Israel, there is nothing in their history that they have endured like this. They have never come to the point where they acknowledge the judgment of God. It is far from their consideration. They refuse to believe that they have done anything to deserve judgment.
How do I know that this time won’t be a repeat of every other time that Israel has been cast out of the land? They always come back and are equally humanistic as before. They continue to be cast out and be brought back, but they never truly repent and come to that point where “all Israel” is saved. Why should this time be different?
This time, it will be the Church (you and me) to tell them. We shall explain to them Scripturally and prophetically their condition, and the condition of their fathers. They have always rejected God, and this rejection of their King has always been the reason to why they get cast out of the land. Read Deuteronomy 28. You are the reason this will be different. It says in Ezekiel 20:35 that God shall bring Israel into the wilderness places and shall plead with them face to face. We are His face. Congratulations.
Could you imagine the kind of character you need for this? You need to be able to hear God and speak for Him in such a way as to communicate to those who don’t believe that He is an actor in history. History is simply circumstantial. God doesn’t play a role in it. Could you imagine the kind of anointing you need to communicate this in a way that they can hear and understand?
We come to verse 12 of Psalm 102. They acknowledge that God is enthroned forever. This acknowledgment isn’t to say that from that point forward, but that ever and always. He has always and will always be enthroned. They come to the point of understanding that God is indeed an actor in history. He has always been an actor in history. He has always put His finger into circumstances and situations and nations.
That kind of acknowledgment is itself an evidence of salvation. “You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.” Verses 13 and 14 express the reason I turned to Psalm 102. This portrays something that is outside of Israel being her deliverer.
The set time has come. The Psalmist knows that God’s judgments don’t last forever. There is a reason for them. He chastens those whom He loves. His judgment has come to the desired end. The Church now rises up to favor Israel. Israel’s stones are dear to God’s servants. It makes no sense to say the servants are angels.
This contradicts the ideology of Pre-Trib rapture. We are to go through the tribulation with Israel, because if we don’t then they won’t survive. This is the penultimate. It isn’t the last thing. It is the thing before the last thing. The last thing is glory. The last thing is God’s Kingdom being established forever.
It takes this kind of a judgment to bring us to the end of ourselves. It is true for Israel. It takes this kind of a judgment so that they can’t just pull themselves up out of it. It will take God’s intervention. It strips away the ideologies of “we can do this.” It brings about a kingdom mentality. God is enthroned, and we trust in Him only.
We’re looking for some sort of statement as to when the deliverer shall come out of Zion, and we find this ambiguous and poetic statement that needs to be interpreted. His servants find her stones dear; her very dust moves them to pity. The set time has come, not because of Israel, but because of the Church. Something has happened within the Church that they find the capacity to show compassion and pity.
What does it mean by stones and dust? We read in the prophets time and time again about Israel being desolate. Ezekiel 36 talks about (verse 33 onward) the ruins being rebuilt. The towns in Israel will be resettled. The desolate land will be plowed instead of lying desolate. All people will pass by and say, “The land that was laid waste has become like the Garden of Eden; the cities which were in ruin, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”
Other prophets talk about jackals and animals being present within the cities. They won’t be inhabited. They’ll be laid to waste. Israel will be a wasteland, and it is that barrenness that the Psalm is speaking of when it references stones and dust. The world will say, “They deserve it.” They were against peace. But the true Church… they shall have compassion and pity.
Those who are impressed with Israel today, and preach that we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem will be the first to reject her. Those who claim to be Christian, and they claim to love Israel, but they have not this understanding nor desire it will be the first to cast the first stone. Mark my words. They will be the first and most vehement.
I can say the same thing for those who want to protect the whales. They shudder at the thought of harming a cockatoo, or some other endangered species. When it comes to human violence, they don’t even wince. Sentiment is deadly. The same people who have sentiment will be the most violent and hate filled when their hopes and dreams have been crushed.
I warn you that having compassion and pity doesn’t mean apologizing. It means recognizing yourself with them. It means digging yourself in the ditch with them. It means standing up for them, even if that means your death. It means taking them in. Take care of them. The Lord will say at the end of the age, “Because you did not do this for the least of these my brethren, you did not do it for me.”
Our recognizing ourselves with them means a union with them. Our union with God’s people is the display of our union with Him. What God is waiting for is for a servant people who come into such relationship with Him that His heart is their heart. That is what is meant by hastening the day. God waits for us to be in union with Him.
According to Psalm 102:15, the nations will see this and be amazed. The fact that there is a people who are not Jews, and have no affiliation with Israel, and yet are putting themselves under the same persecution and humiliation for Israel’s sake will stagger the nations. These are the people who are opposed. And you, who have nothing to do with them, are going to stand up for them? It will cause for the nations to fear the name of the Lord. They will revere His glory.
How shall I conclude this? The issue of the Kingdom of God is the issue of Israel. It is dependant upon their recognition of God. “This is what the Lord Almighty says: In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you,’” Zechariah 8:23.
God has spoken that His law shall go out of Zion and His word out of Jerusalem. Israel is essential to the Kingdom, both as a people and as the land. The land is something that God has covenanted to Abraham. God has promised, and therefore it must be established.
Next time I’ll get into the real kicker: Israel and the Church are one. Lets look at Ephesians again for this (chapters 2 and 3).