The “3 R’s” for Israel.

No, this isn’t about “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”.

Our last post was on “The Spaceships of Ezekiel,” the title of a book written in 1974 alleging that Ezekiel actually saw, rode in and described some sort of space ship.  I referred to the book by that title written by Josef F. Blumrich, who was an aerospace engineer and consultant for NASA.  Perhaps he might be excused for his “take” on Ezekiel because of his training and his profession.  And he did make a lot of sense, describing things that were way beyond the Israel of Ezekiel’s time, but not so much for ours.

At the same time, he missed the point of the whole thing.

God wasn’t just describing modes of transportation.

My own reading through the Bible just led me through the book of Ezekiel.  It’s clear that Ezekiel didn’t see some kind of interstellar travelers who were here on some sort of good will tour or as good neighbors, as Blumrich thought.  He saw a representation of the God of Israel, and everything that he saw and that God did and told him to write was so that Israel might understand the reason why they were in so much trouble, politically and spiritually.  Israel had turned her back on the true God and was worshiping Baal, with the accompanying terrible immorality, and the priests, who had the responsibility for teaching Israel the truth, were at the head of the wickedness.  They were in a state of continual and deliberate rebellion.

While Ezekiel was in Babylon itself, Jeremiah had the same message back in the land of Israel.  Both these men have something to say about our subject.

The reason God did all this, and why He appeared to Ezekiel as He did, was ultimately to tell Israel that what they were going through wasn’t for their destruction, but was a means of discipline because of their sin.  God said that the ultimate design of their troubles was that “they shall know that I am THE LORD,” a phrase that occurs 65 times in the book.  The nation will one day be led to repentance, “for,” as He promises in Jeremiah 31:34, “…they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD.  For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more,” NKJV.

Ezekiel 33 describes the news of Jerusalem’s defeat and fall reaching Ezekiel.

But that wasn’t the end of Jerusalem and Israel.  Though promises of blessing are scattered throughout the book (e.g., 5:9, 10; 11:14-20; 16:60-63; 20:33-44; 28:25, 26; 34:11-31; 37:21-28), chs. 40-48 describe a city and a temple with sacrifices and worship.  He concludes, “And the name of the city from that day shall be:  THE LORD IS THERE,” 48:35.  This will be the blessing of restoration.  Now, Ezekiel himself was a priest and would not have dared write such things on his own.  But God specifically told him to write them, 24:2; 43:11.

In Zechariah 12-14, Scripture reveals that there is coming a time when it will seem that Israel will finally, once and for all, be defeated and destroyed.  I don’t know the exact timetable for it or all the events involved, but probably the newscasts will be filled with it.  CNN will have their reporters there, along with all the other networks, interviewing “experts” in their fields  who will likely say something to the effect that the “Jewish problem” will finally be solved and now there can be peace in that part of the world.

It will be a terrible time for Israel, without doubt.  Zechariah describes terrible atrocities against her people.  The countries which surround her, who all hate her, will quite probably rejoice greatly, maybe even take part, much as some nations rejoiced when 9/11 happened here.

I love Zechariah 12-14; it’s likely my favorite passage, at least in the OT.  Not because of the sufferings of Israel, but because of the event that will end them – forever.

In Zechariah 12:8, 9, God says of that time, In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them.  It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.  This follows v. 6, which says, “In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in a woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place–Jerusalem.” 

But that’s not all.  God continues, “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they shall look on Me whom they pierced.  Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn, v.10 and continuing through 14.  This may not mean much to our culture, where the unborn are expendable and babies are more of a nuisance than a blessing, but it meant something to Israel.  It’s an expression of the inconsolable grief Israel will feel when she realizes that the Jesus whom she crucified all those centuries ago was, in fact, the promised Messiah.

As we mentioned, Zechariah 14 describes the terrible atrocities the inhabitants of Jerusalem will suffer.  Again, we don’t know an exact timetable, Scripture doesn’t provide one, but it seems that at least part of the city will be captured and destroyed.  It could be that the inhabitants of what’s left will be making a final desperate attempt to defend themselves, when, suddenly,….

….out of nowhere…,

….the sound of a trumpet,

much like the old Westerns, where the cavalry comes charging in at the last possible moment, trumpets a-blaring and hooves a-flying.

But this time, it won’t be make-believe…

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, and in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…, Zechariah 14:4.

And crushing defeat will be turned into eternal victory.

No, my friends, contrary to the teaching of many, among them good, earnest men who know and love the Lord, God is not done with Israel.

She will, one day, learn her “three R’s”.

May it be soon….

Comments? Feedback? Much appreciated. Thanks.

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