Mar 062012
 

(1) The Millennial Sacrifices

The references in Scripture to the Millennium, the thousand year period between Christ’s return to His people and Satan’s release from his prison, have been a source of puzzlement and confusion to many. This study sets out to shed some light on this problem, and to do so we must investigate those portions of the Word wich make reference to this time. We will consider two areas that concern believers, the part that Israel play during the Millennium, and why the Levitical sacrifices will still be made at that time, in view of the fact that our LORD made the ‘all sufficient sacrifice’ for us.

We will start by giving an outline of Israel’s part in the Millennium, and where better to start than the only place where Scripture tells us directly about this time, in the book of The Revelation, chapter twenty, where the phrase ‘a thousand years’ appears several times. Verse four gives an indication of the responsibilities of the Twelve and those of Israel who suffer for their faith in the Tribulation:

  • ‘And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgement was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years’ (Rev. 20:4).

We have used the term ‘The Twelve’ to describe those first mentioned in this verse; Peter and the apostles were told that, in the ‘kingdom of heaven’, they would ‘sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel’ when the Son of man will ‘sit in the throne of His Glory’ (Matt. 19:28); this disclosure appears to justify this supposition. The second group are those who were beheaded, for witnessing to the ministry of Jesus and the Word of God, on which it rested. Their reward is to ‘live and reign’ with Christ during the thousand years. We shall see that this witness and the Word of God will loom large in all Israel’s way of life during that reign, in the ‘kingdom age’.

Having revealed that those who suffer for their witness will reign with Christ, the reward for their faithfulness, John tells us that they will also have a part in the former ressurection:

  • ‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’ (Rev. 20:6).

He adds another Israelite office to that of ‘ruler with Christ’; they will be ‘priest of God and of Christ’. We have here demonstrated the role of two groups from amongst the children of Israel; these are the apostles, who will reign and judge, and the Overcomers who will have a privileged position in the ‘kingdom of priest’, the ‘holy nation’, witnesses of the New Covenant, as the nation of Israel should have been under the Old Covenant (Exod. 19:5,6).

Our second subject is that of the sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel’s prophecy, being carried out in the Third Temple [Fourth … T], under the Law, during the kingdom age. Paul mentions the Law and its significance in two of his epistles, Hebrews and Galatians, and both instances are relevant to our quest:

  • ‘Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission’ (Hebr. 9:21,22).

Moses sprinkled the Tabernacle and contents with blood; according to the Law almost all things are purged with blood, because without the shedding of blood there is no remission. Purging here means a ritual or legal cleansing allowing remission, the deliverance of the sinner from the power of sin although not the presence of sin; that will come later, after the ressurection at the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:23).

The articles so purged are only patterns of the reality in heaven, not the true:

  • ‘It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with the better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:’ (Hebr. 9:23,24).

So what was the point of purging these things with the shed blood? The answer is here, but first we are drawn to a statement about Christ’s sacrificial death:

  • ‘So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation’ (Hebr. 9:28).

We are told that Christ died to bear the sins of many and that He will return to this earth, the Perfect Sacrifice, to bring salvation to many. Ignoring the chapter break, we read why our Lord will return:

  • ‘For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats take away sins’ (Heb. 10:1-4).

The Law is a shadow of good things to come; not the true image, and cannot make those who come to it perfect. Had it that power then the sacrifices would have ceased to be offered because those cleansed by them would have no recognition of sins. However, the sacrifices do act as a reminder of sins and the need for a Saviour, especially on the Day of Atonement, one of the yearly feasts; but it is not possible for the blood shed in these sacrifices to take away sins; only the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ can do this.

Paul follows this same line of thought in his epistle to the Galatians; in the third chapter he speaks of justification by faith and the Law:

  • ‘For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them’ (Gal. 3:10-12).

All who have lived under the Law, and tried to keep it but failed, are under a curse; no man can be justified by the Law, for the Law is not of faith but works, and ‘the just shall live by faith’. However, the man that does works of the Law will live in them; this appears to contradict what Paul has just said. We have similar words in the eighteenth and twentieth chapters of Ezekiel’s prophecy:

  • ‘But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right … that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, hath walked in My statutes, and hath kept My judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD’ (Ezek. 18:5-9).
  • ‘Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes, and shewed them My judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them My sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them’ (Ezek. 20:10-12).

This appears to confirm that by living under the Law and obeying it, as God intended that Israel should do, they would have life eternal; how can this be? We have the answer in Paul’s next statment:

  • ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:’ (Gal. 3:13).

So Christ, in His Perfect sacrifice, also redeemed those who lived under the Law; what purpose then did the Law fulfil? It was added to point to Israel where they had transgressed (Gal. 3:19; Rom. 4:15). The Scriptures point out that all have sinned (Rom. 3:9,19,20,23) and Paul goes on to say that this is in order that those who have faith may receive the promise of Jesus Christ:

  • ‘But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed’ (Gal. 3:22,23).

However, before this act of faith sufficed, Israel were kept ‘as if by a garrison’ under the Law and ’embraced in a common subjection’ to the faith which would be revealed later; what a beautiful expression Paul uses to express God’s care and concern for His People. But to those who, despite the ministry of John, Christ Himself and the disciples, still did not recognize the change in access to redemption from ‘via the Law’ to ‘through faith’, Paul uses a concept which conjures up thoughts of discipline for the unwilling and unruly:

  • ‘Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3:24-26).

Paul here uses the Greek word paidagogos, from which we get our word pedagogue. In Paul’s time this family servant would ensure that the pupil went to school and also that he was attentive to his lessons; the servant was allowed to discipline the pupil if he did not comply with the head of the family’s requirements. Paul is telling his fellow Jews that the law was there to bring them to Christ. The statutes were to remind them that they were sinners, the sacrifices to demonstrate that the remission of those sins required the shedding of the blood of a perfect sacrifice; the blood of bulls and goats was not able to provide this, it required the true sacrifice of God’s only Son.

From the time of Moses, through the time of the prophets until John, Israel had been under the Old covennant; they had been looking forward to the reality of Christ’s sacrifice in the daily celebration of the requirements of the Law. They continued this remembrance during the ministries of John and our Lord himself and some at this time came to believe their witness (John 3:9-18). Luke’s account in the Acts of the Apostles covers a time period with stretches from the forty days of Christ’s teaching and the Ascension to some time just prior to the destruction of the Temple. The priesthood continued to practice the sacrifices whilst ever the Temple still stood; Peter, Paul and James all continued to refer to it in their writings during this period, when trying to bring their brethren to a knowledge of faith in their Lord:

  • ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation’ (1 Pet. 2:9-12).

Here, Peter quotes the words of Jehovah at the inception of the Old Covenant (Exod. 19:5,6). He writes them in the context of reminding his fellow Jews of their responsibilities under the New Covenant; where they should give a practical witness to the nations. He tells them that, if they do this then their good deeds will cause the Gentiles to glorify (worship) the Lord at His return.

At the time that Peter wrote these words, the sacrifices were pointing Israel back to His true sacrifice, they were backward-looking where previously they had been forward-looking. This situation will prevail in the Millennium; a repentant Israel, who have then turned back to God, will be providing a witness to the Gentile nations, thus fulfilling the requirements of the Old Covenant. The nations will look back to Christ’s sacrifice and will reminded of their own evil ways; they will see the Law as a just law and will live by it.

As Luke records, Israel as a nation failed to be converted, to turn back to God, and their setting on one side ‘for a season’ is recorded in Paul’s words in the book of the Acts:

  • ‘And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxes gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it’ (Acts 28:25-28).

We can see that Paul uses the words of the prophecy by Isaiah to explain the temporary setting aside of Israel. We must now turn to the Old Testament to see the context of this pronouncement and confirm that the things that we have just considered are true.

(2) Isaiah’s Prophecy

As we have seen, Paul’s words to his brethren at Rome announced the temporary setting aside of the nation of Israel and the suspension of the Kingdom of heaven; this was a direct result of their failure to turn back to God (Acts 28:25-28). Part of Paul’s statement was a portion of the prophecy of Isaiah:

  • ‘And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed’ (Isa. 6:9-10).

We can see that this has been the continuing condition of Israel, spiritually destitute, as one of Isaiah’s contemporaries echoed (Hos. 4:1,6). Hosea condemns Israel, they have no knowledge of God; they have rejected such knowledge, they have forgotten the Law, they are rejected by God as His priests. However, this rejection is not for ever:

  • ‘… until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land’ (Isa. 6:12,13 N.I.V.).

A remnant, a tenth of the seed of Israel, will remain in the Land and is likened to the stump of a tree. As many gardeners who have tried to remove a tree from their garden will know, apparently dead stumps will bring forth shoots and prosper again; Paul repeats this analogy of a yet future repentant and usable people, in his letter to the church in Rome (Rom. 11:16-24).

In his prophecy, Isaiah goes on to describe in some detail the path that Israel will take on the road to their national conversion and how they will finally become the ‘kindom of priests’. We now follow the theme of blindness, deafness and hardened hearts:

  • ‘Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but My servant? or deaf, as My messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’s servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honourable. But this is a people robbed and spoiled …’ (Isa. 42:18-22).

The words servant, messenger and ‘he that is perfect’ all refer to Israel; in the latter phrase, the Hebrew words read ‘he that continues to be restored or made whole’. The LORD made the Law great and glorious, but His people were not obedient to it in Isaiah’s day. In the next chapter Isaiah reassures the people that this will not be forever:

  • ‘But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine … Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west … bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears’ (Isa. 43:1,5,8).

At some future time God will gather the scattered of the seed of Israel from around the earth, His redeemed, those who will see and hear.

  • ‘Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth’ (Isa. 43:9).

All the nations will be gathered together, but who amongst them will be able to proclaim the ‘former things’ (the Law); let them bring in their witnesses to prove they are right, but will others say their words are true? The answer to these questions is plainly no; the LORD declares that Israel are His witnesses for the Truth to the nations:

  • ‘Ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God’ (Isa. 43:10-12).

They are His servants, chosen in order that they may believe and understand that He is the only God, there is no other Saviour; they are to witnesses to that fact. Jehovah showed and demonstrated His power to save, once there was no strange god amongst His people. The strange gods are counterfeit, despite what the nation’s witnesses may say.

Our opening statement, defining the age of the Millennium, said that it covered the period from the return of Christ to the release of Satan from his prison; this is followed by the creation of the New Heaven and the New Earth. The book of the Revelation also describes this time as The Marrige Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7-9; 21:1-3). The supper starts when the Bridegroom has come, His Wife is now ready and the Guests are present. The nuptials conclude with the appearance of the New Jerusalem, adorned as a Bride, in which dwell the faithful individuals described by Paul (Heb. 11:1–40; 12:22-24). It will descend to the earth and God’s presence will ‘tabernacle’ with men. Isaiah foreshadows these things in the fifty-fourth chapter of his prophecy.

  • ‘Fear not; for thou shall not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God’ (Isa. 54:4-6).

God’s People are here portrayed as the unfaithful wife, living in widowhood; this Hebrew word does not always presume the death of the husband, it is used of David’s concubines and can mean ‘without a husband’ (2 Sam. 20:3). But the LORD spoke to Israel as one calling a wife forsaken:

  • ‘For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee … For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee’ (Isa. 54:7,10).

But only for a short time are Israel now abandoned; He will yet gather Israel; and not only this, His Covenant of Peace will remain with them.

Why did the Lord single out this covenant to remain, and what did it contain? This covenant is first made with Levi, as Malachi informs us. In the words of his prophecy, Malachi records Jehova’s words regarding Levi, and a covenant of peace with him, because he spoke of the Truth, the Law; he guarded the knowledge of the Law. Israel should have sought the law from him, it was in his mouth, and he was God’s messenger. But Israel went away from the Law, they corrupted it, they polluted the priestly covenant of peace, they were not fit to be His kingdom of priests (Mal. 2:4-8). They are in that unusable state to this day.

The covenant is confirmed with Phinehas and his seed, an everlasting, priestly covenant. It was made after he turned away God’s wrath from Israel, by being zealous for the Law, in that he slew the man of Israel and the Midianite woman, thus making atonement for the children of Israel (Num. 25:6-13). The thoughts that we should  hold on to here are that the Covenant of Peace was everlasting and priestly. When Ezekiel wrote his prophecy for Israel, he too wrote of Israel’s Covenant of Peace, this time in the context of their restoration. In the same chapter that the LORD describes how the ‘dry bones’ of Israel will take on flesh and live, that the two kingdoms will be united, He also tells Ezekiel that, at that time, David will be Israel’s king and prince; Israel will follow His statutes and judgments, His sanctuary will be amongst them as will His dwelling place, His tabernacle. Israel will be sanctified, made a holy nation, they will be a kingdom of priests, serving in His sanctuary, and this will their Covenant of Peace (Ezek. 37:24-28; Exod. 19:5,6).

What will be the context of these yet future events? If we return to the prophecy of Isaiah we shall find an answer:

  •  ‘Arise, shine; for thy light is come; and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising’ (Isa. 60:1-3).

At a future time, when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, the nations will come to Israel’s Light; when Simeon held the infant Jesus in his arms he called Him ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel’ (Luke 2:32). Is not this present world becoming a place of spiritual darkness; and can we not say by application that gross darkness covers the people? The word translated gross darkness is the Hebrew word araphel which literally means ‘a dark cloud’; it is used of the pillar of cloud wherein God dwelt (Exod. 20:21; 1 Kings 8:12); the thick darkness so covered the glory of God that it was imperceptible during daytime. This light only became apparant in the pillar of fire by night, when it was contrasted with the absolute darkness of the night. This is indeed what is happening to our present culture; the Truth is being systematically obscured by a slow process of attrition, through the media and, sad to say, some who would seek toreinterpret the Scriptures in order to make them fit today’s society; thus its light shines ever clearer to the believer. The only solution to this darkness is the LORD’s return, in the light and glory, amongst His people Israel.

This same chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy confirms Israel’s position in this great reformation; the gates of Jerusalem will be open day and night to receive the kings and riches, not forces, of the nations. Nations that do not come to do service will be punished; this is confirmed by Zechariah’s writings when he describes the LORD’s Coming and the aftermath of the last siege of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:17-19).

The riches of the nations will be used to beautify the Sanctuary that will reside in Zion, which city they will recognize as the city of the LORD (Isa. 60:11-14). This action is reminiscent of the Egyptians giving of their gold and ornaments to Israel upon their release from Egypt (Exod. 12:33-36). Later on in Isaiah God speaks of His ongoing plan for this creation; His ultimate goal is a New Heaven and New Earth, but, before that can come about Jerusalem and God’s people must be made objects of rejoicing:

  • ‘For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, not come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying’ (Isa. 65:17-20).

Prior to the creation of the New Heavens and the New Earth, sin will be present; Satan is only bound. It follows therefore that the remaining verses of this chapter describe the Millennial period when God’s people will enjoy the fruits of their labours and there will be no hurt nor destruction in Zion.

But before this takes place a change must come over Israel; in the first four verses of the next chapter of this prophecy the LORD describes His people as polluting His Law; He has no house or place of rest, the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ dwells there, it has polluted His sanctuary. However, there are a faithful few at this time, whose sense of shame and reverential fear of God’s Word will bring about the rebirth of Israel:

  • ‘Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at His word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompence to His enemies’ (Isa. 66:5,6).

A voice from the Lord will give His enemies their just reward, utter destruction for their evil deeds (Zech. 14:1-3; 12-15). We then come upon two verses which appear totally unrelated to their context:

  • ‘Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be borne at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children’ (Isa. 66:7,8).

Who is ‘she’ that gave birth to man child before her birht pains began, is she Zion? Which nation will be borne at once? If we look at the N.I.V. translation we get a clearer impression of His words:

  • ‘”Before she goes into labour, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever  seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her children …”.’ (Isa. 66:7,8 N.I.V.).

She is Zion, the locality of Jerusalem the refuge of those under siege just prior to the Lord’s return, the nation of Israel (Zech. 12:2,8,9). Miraculously, the nation of Israel will be reborn in a day (John 3:4-8); this will come about in Zion (Zech. 13:1,8,9 N.I.V.) where the surviving one-third in the land will be tried by fire, (Isa. 66:15-17), the other two-thirds having died for their abominations. In desperation, they call on His Name; He will say They are My People, they will say ‘The LORD is our God’, Israel the nation will finally be converted; they will turn back to Him.

Because of the actions of the nations, God vows that He will enlighten the gross darkness under which the people of the world have lived; those who have not even heard of the Lord and His glory; He will gather them to come and see His Glory:

  • ‘For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory’ (Isa. 66:18).

How will this come about? The survivors of the siege of Jerusalem will go out into the nations:

  • ‘… and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations … to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations … to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD’ (Isa. 66:19-21).

They will proclaim the good news to the nations; they will bring all their fellow Jews from out of the nations; these will now be declared ceremonially clean by the Lord, He will choose some of them to be priests and Levites. They will perform these duties, in His Sanctuary.

The nations will come to worship at Jerusalem to enact the feast of Tabernacles (Zech. 14:16); the New Moon and the Sabbath will also be celebrated there:

  • ‘For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, said the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, said the LORD’ (Isa. 66:22,23).

These are not the only priestly duties that Israel will perform, as we shall see as further investigate the Scriptures; this time in the prophecy of Ezekiel.

It is worth noting that the last verse of Isaiah’s prophecy describes how those of the nations who go up to Jerusalem will be able to look on the carcases of those who rebelled against God, burned fire or eaten by worms, as a constant reminder to mankind. There is no reference here to eternal torment of the wicked.

(3) Ezekiel’s Prophecy

The closing words of Isaiah’s prophecy define the role that the children of Israel, God’s People, will play during the Millennium. In the prophecy of Ezekiel we have greater detail of Israel’s duties at this time and we also gain an insight into the sacrifices which will be offered. We must first establish a link between this prophecy and the things that Isaiah describes; we can do this by looking at what was revealed to Ezekiel about Israel’s restoration.

The LORD tells Ezekiel that Israel had profaned His authority and reputation, His Name, amongst the nations; because it was scornfully said of them ‘These are the LORD’s people, and yet they have had to leave His land’ (Ezek. 36:16-20 N.I.V.). But the Lord God had concern for His Name; He tells Israel that He will gather them and sanctify His Name through them, not for their sake, but for His Name’s sake:

  • ‘But I had pity for Mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes’ (Ezek. 36:21-23).

This action would also result in the nations being made aware the He is Jehovah. Just as Isaiah says, Israel will be brought from amongst the nations and will be brought back to the Land:

  • ‘For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you … A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God’ (Ezek. 36:24-28).

Like Aaron, the people will be first washed and then anointed; but there it is an anointing, not with oil, the type of the spirit, but with the reality, a new spirit. The stony heart which Paul referred to when he declared his fellow Jews to be set aside by God, for a season (Acts 28:26-28), will be taken away. The people will walk in the statutes of the Law, they will preserve and carry out His judgments. Then He will be their God and they will turn from being Lo-ammi, ‘not My people’ and be Ammi, ‘My people’ (Hos. 1:9-11); they will then enter into the New Covenant and be His kingdom of priests.

Having announced the restoration of Israel, Ezekiel further describes its accomplishment. He pictures the resurrection of His people, in the vision concerning the ‘dry bones’; this is followed by the re-unification of the two kingdoms into which God’s people had split after the death of Solomon, this is represented by the joining of the two sticks. This kingdom will be ruled over by David:

  • ‘And David My servant shall be king over them; and they shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in My judgments, and observe My statutes, and do them. … My servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore’ (Ezek. 37:24-28).

David will be the LORD’s regent in His Kingdom, the shepherd of His flock, Israel. The Covenant of Peace, the new priestly covenant, between God and Israel, will result in His people being made holy once again (Exod. 19:5,6), they will indeed obey His voice. Jeremiah tells us that the Lord will ensure that His Law is at the very centre of His people’s existence, it will be written on their hearts. All His people, without exception will know Him; He will forgive them, He will forget their sin; the Lord will set His sanctuary amongst them (Jer. 31:31-34,38).

What are we told of this sanctuary and Israel’s duties therein? Chapters forty to forty-two of Ezekiel’s prophecy describe in detail the physical attributes of the Millennial Temple. We do not have time to discuss this here, but anyone reading this narrative cannot help but be impressed by the size of the Oblation; what will this structure of some 3600 square miles in area be used for? We must move on to chapter forty-three to find out:

  • ‘Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: and, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory. … And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east’ (Ezek. 43:1-4).

Ezekiel is given a vision of the Glory of the God of Israel, Jehovah, returning to His sanctuary, from the eastern side of the Temple Mount. He is also told of one of the functions of the building:

  • ‘And He said unto me, Son of man, the place of My throne, and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile … ‘ (Ezek. 43:7).

Jehovah will come to dwell in the midst of Israel, just as He did in the Tabernacle and the First Temple. An inkling of Israel’s ministry for the Lord is given in the following verses:

  • ‘Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them’ (Ezek. 43:10,11).

They are to be shown the design, along with the regulations and laws; they are to be faitfhul to the design and follow the regulations. There is however one caveat to this proposal; this can only come about if His People are ashamed of all they have done. When the initial cleansing of the Altar is accomplished, then burnt offerings and peace offerings can be offered; only then will the nation be accepted.

  • And when these days are expired, it shall be, that upon the eighth day, and so forward, the priests shall make your burnt offerings upon the altar, and your peace offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord GOD’ (Ezek. 43:27).

It is worth reminding ourselves here that ‘The Peace of God’ is a state in which there is not only no hostility, but also all reason for enmity has been removed. Once the enmity between God and Israel is removed, the Nation will be accepted for duty. What these duties are can we find out from the next chapter:

  • ‘And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to My judgments: and they shall keep My laws and My statutes in all Mine assemblies; and they shall hallow My Sabbaths’ (Ezek. 44:23-24).

Those Messianic Jews who have been chosen for priests and Levites will begin to teach their brethren the difference between the holy and the common, the ceremonially clean and unclean. Prior to their turning back to God, the Nation will be just like Judah, who had sunk so low that the LORD punished them by letting them be taken into exile in Babylon (Ezek. 22:26-31). Once appraised, His ministers will stand in judgment, taking cognisance of God’s judgments; they will keep His Law, assemble for the Feasts and keep His Sabbaths holy. Israel will keep His covenant, as He has required them to do since He gave Moses His commandments; and as the next chapter reveals, Israel will not give an oblation but, as the Hebrew says, will themselves be an oblation, an offering to God:

  • ‘All the people of the land shall give this oblation for the prince in Israel. And it shall be the prince’s part to give burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the sabbaths, in all solemnities of the house of Israel: he shall prepare the sin offering, and the meat offering, and the burnt offering, and the peace offerings, to make reconciliation for the house of Israel’ (Ezek. 45:16,17).

How can this be? We are reminded here of Paul’s exhortation in his letter to his fellow Christians in Rome; he told them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice, in God’s service. What is the context of this statement? (Rom. 12:1). It follows on from his allusion to his believing brethren as firstfruits, a leavened mass of dough (Rom. 11:15,16).; surely this was a reminder of the day that the Feast of Pentcost was fulfilled, when the two leavened loaves which represented the two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, were offered to God. The fulfilment of another Feast is also referred to here in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

We get our clue from the second verse to those we are considering; the service here has to do with reconciliation. This Hebrew word kaphar means to make atonement and is derived from kippur, which appears in the Hebrew title of one of Jehovah’s Feasts, Yom Kippur, the feast of Atonement; these words in Ezekiel describe the fulfilment of that feast. Israel have afflicted their souls, they have recognized their sins and been ashamed; their High Priest has made the atonement for their sins and the ‘escape goat’ has taken it away (Lev. 16:29-31). In the book of Deuteronomy the same word is translated, ‘be merciful’, ‘be forgiven’ and in the last instance ‘be merciful’; this latter verse describing the fulfilment of the Day of Atonement (Deut. 21:8; 32:43). Daniel, when writing about Gabriel’s message to him regarding the ‘Seventy Weeks’, mentions about the ‘finishing of trangression’, ‘an end of sins’, and ‘making a reconciliation (atonement) for iniquity’; Gabriel further links these with Christ, Israel’s Messiah (Dan. 9:24-25). In his gospel, John the Evangelist records the words of John the Baptist at the Lord’s approach ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29); the use of the words ‘takes away’ provides another link with the Lord’s death and the offering of the sacrifice and the scapegoat at the Feast of Atonement. Again, Paul has mentioned this act of atonement in his epistles written during the Acts period. Returning to his letter to Rome we find, in the very verses which we have just considered, that Israel are involved in the ‘reconciling (atonement) of the world’ (Rom. 11:15). Another instance of the word atonement may not at first appear relevant to our investigation, but it reminds us that Israel, as the unfaithful wife, has been reconciled (1 Cor. 7:11,12); they are not ‘put away’ forever. Our last reference confirms Israel’s part in this Millennial fulfilment of the Feast; Israel are charged with the implementation of the reconciliation of the world, both in word an deed (2 Cor. 5:18,19).

But will the world, the nations, take any notice of the words and deeds of Israel? We know that the nations will be commanded to go up to Jerusalem to worship and keep the feast of Tabernacles, or face punishment if they do not (Zech. 14:16,17). We also have an indication that many of them will not need persuading:

  • ‘But in the last days it shall come to pass … And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more … For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever’ (Micah 4:1-5).

It is the Law of God, spoken and practised by the Israelites, which will draw the Gentiles to Jerusalem and they too will follow the Law. This is why such a large area is set aside for The Oblation (Ezek. 48:20). What has drawn the nations to this Law? The words of Moses, as those who did not fall in the wilderness prepare to enter the Promised Land, explains the attraction. The people have been taught God’s statutes and judgments; Moses encourages them to guard and live this Law, for by so doing they will impress the nations with their wisdom and understanding. The Gentiles will see that God is very near to the nation of Israel; they will accept that God’s regulations, and the judgment on anyone infringing those regulations will be righteous, it will be an irrefutable system of Justice (Deut. 4:4-8). The result of this system will be real peace, peace such as cannot be found in this present age.

The Millennial system of worship, as defined in Ezekiel’s prophecy, differs from the Aaronic order which is contained in the Pentateuch. The two systems are much the same when it comes to the offerings or sacrifices; the only ones missing from these ordinances listed by Ezekiel are the heave and the wave offerings. In the Millennial order, the Feasts are limited to Passover, Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles. Those omitted are Pentecost, Trumpets and Atonement; this is because these latter were specifically associated with Israel as far as Pentecost and Atonement are concerned, and all three will have been fulfilled at Christ’s return. Pentecost signified Israel’s service in God’s plan; the two kingdoms represented by the two loaves baked with leaven (Rom. 11:16); the nation has not yet taken up their responsibilities. The Day of Atonement was to remind Israel of their sinful state and the fact that their sins could only finally be taken away by the shedding of blood; they have yet to recognize Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Jeremiah sums up the fulfilment of these two feasts when he speaks of the New Covenant, in Christ Jesus (Jer. 31:31-34). The feast of Trumpets is fulfilled in the heralding of Christ’s return (1 Thess. 4:15,16).

The other feast mentioned, by reference to date rather than by title (Ezek. 45:25), is the Feast of Tabernacles. This will remind Israel of their pilgrim journey in coming to the state they then find themselves in; they will be fulfilling God’s desire for them to be His servants, a kingdom of priests, doing His will. They will be enlightening the nations, drawing them out of their ‘gross darkness’, into the kingdom of His dear Son; the nations too will be led to look back to His death and know the efficacy ot it. Tabernacles will also remind the Gentile of his longer journey back to God, from Babel and his vain imaginations.

Another difference in the two systems in the omission of any reference to the Ark of the Covenant and the other typical vessels of the Temple in the eartly Kingdom; the reality will be in heaven (Rev. 11:19); on the earth they will not be remembered (Jer. 3:14-17).

There is one remaining difference between the two systems, which, small though it may be, is the most significant of all. On the day of the Millennium Passover, on the fourteenth day of the first month, the sin offering is a ‘young bullock’; there is no sacrifice of a lamb:

  • ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the sanctuary: and the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle (ledge) of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house. In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten’ (Ezek. 45:18-21).

The Lamb is not sacrificed on the day of Passover because the Lamb of God (John 1:36) has made the vital ‘all sufficient sacrifice’ and no further offering of the ‘typical’ Passover Lamb is required. The putting of the blood on the doorposts of the House is reminiscent of the original celebration of the Passover held in Egypt; the sacrifice is one of atonement and the bullock reminds us of the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:3,6). Thus we see that these sacrifice, although not necessary for remission of sins, will remind the onlookers of what Christ’s death has done for the believer. They will look back to His sacrifice on our behalf; that both redemption and reconciliation were accomplished by Him will be plain for all to see.

But what of this present age? The book of Revelation describes the period at the end of the Millennium as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, were Wife and Guests are present (Rev. 19:7-9; 21:1-3) and which culminates in the appearance of the Bride, the faithful remnant. The Body of Christ, are told that they are to be blessed in heavenly places (Eph. 1:3; 2:6). Their battle is with principalities and powers, spiritual wickedness amongst the world rulers, the directors of the darkness still lurking in the world. Although the Millennium is a time of wordly peace, there are still those who will ‘yield feigned obedience’ (Psa. 66:3,4; 81:15 margin) to God, who will receive their just reward at the end of the thousand years (Rev. 20:7-9).

The Millennium is not the final age in God’s plan and we will consider the subsequent phases in our next study.

(4) The New Heaven and the New Earth

We have nearly reached the end of our study of the Millennium and as we have come close to the end of God’s great plan, it would be remiss not to look at what comes next. We must now look at what the Scriptures say about the New Heaven and New earth.

We started this study of the Millennium in the book of Revelation; there we found easily identified, definitive statements that were made concerning that time and so we will conclude our study there also:

  • ‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. An I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God’ (Rev. 21:1-3).

In his vision, John saw a new, not ‘mended’, heaven and earth, the former heaven and earth having passed away. One of the features of this new earth is that there is no more sea (the deep of Genesis 1:2). At the same time as this new heaven and earth are created, the New Jerusalem descends out of heaven, adorned as a Bride for her Husband.

A voice tells John that this City will be His tabernacle and He will dwell with them in this New Jerusalem. Later in the narrative we are told that there is no longer any need for a Temple, God and our Lord, the Lamb, make up the new Temple (Rev. 21:22).

The Lamb is the container, the lamb, from which the Glory of God shines forth, this state being the penultimate one in the progression from Father and Son to the time when ‘God may be all in all’ (Col. 2:2,9; 1 Cor. 15:28). All of creation has always been a dwelling place for God, and ohel, and outer covering or tent, for His mishkan, ‘place to live’ (Isa. 40:22; Exod. 25:8,9; 26:7). Now, to God’s dwelling places, the Cloud, Tabelnacle, Temple and Millennial Temple, is added the Lamp in the New Jerusalem.

We are then told that at this time, when God will wipe away all tears from the eyes of those who are His, in this new creation, there will be no more death, sorrow, crying nor pain, for these former things are passed away along with the former heaven and earth (Rev. 21:4).

Further, we are told that the unbelieving, abominable, and sundry other sinners have no part in this creation; they will die in the lake of fire:

  • ‘But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burnt with fire and brimstone: which is the second death’ (Rev. 21:8).

That there will be no such persons within the new creation, nothing that defiles (Rev. 21:27) we may confirm by looking at the next chapter of Revelation. It speaks of the river of the water of life; it mentions the tree of life; access to which was denied to Adam after his fall, and through whom sin had entered this current creation, lest he eat of it and live for ever (Gen. 3:22-24).

In Revelation 22 we see that John’s experience ‘in the spirit’ ends and his narrative returns to the time then current, in Patmos:

  • ‘And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things’ (Rev. 22:8).

There then follows a conversation between John and the angel which centres on those Jews living at that time; the unjust and the filthy as against the righteous and holy. The blessings of those who do His commandments in John’s lifetime and afterwards, will be a right to the tree of life and access into the New Jerusalem at a time yet future; they will have free access to the water of life:

  • ‘Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches … And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’ (Rev. 22:14-17).

Those who loved and fabricated lies, along with the dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers and idolaters at that time, will be outside of the New Jerusalem, they will not even have a part in the New Creation; they are consigned to the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).

The Book of Revelation is not the only place in the Scriptures that the New Heaven and the New Earth are mentioned; Peter and Isaiah both have something to say on this matter.

The last two chapters of Isaiah’s prophecy speak of the time of faithful Israel’s reduction to a chosen remnant, a seed out of Jacob. Their fellow Jews have turned away from and profaned the Law and are working abominations; they have forsaken the LORD and forgotten Jerusalem, His Holy Mountain; there is nothing left but fire and slaughter for them. The reputation of apostate Israel will be like a curse to His Chosen; His servants will have another reputation (Isa. 65:1-15).

God then speaks of the time when Israel will return to the Land, after the Lord has returned to this earth, when His servants will only invoke a blessing or swear an oath by the God of truth:

  • ‘That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from Mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind’ (Isa. 65:16,17).

This is possible because He will forget the past troubles and they will be hidden from His eyes; there will be a time when even the people will not remember the former things or bring them to mind; this time will be that of the New Heaven and New Earth. These two actions are grammatically linked together by the word ‘For’.

The text now retuns to the time of the Millennium, the word ‘but’ separating it from the New Cration:

  • ‘But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying’ (Isa. 65:18,19).

There are clues which confirm that this is a Millennial context. Verse 19 states that there will be no more weeping but the verse which follows indicates that death is still present (Isa. 65:20). The last verse in the chapter reflects the nature of the thousand year reign and is similar to Isaiah’s earlier reference to these times:

  • ‘The wolf and the Lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the LORD’ (Isa. 65:25).
  • ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the Lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them … They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea (the Dead Sea)’ (Isa. 11:6-9).

Both quotations contain a reference to the fact that ‘they shall not hurt nor destroy in all My Holy Mountain’ during the Millennium.

In his last chapter, Isaiah describes what will happen at the LORD’s Coming and immediately afterwards. Those polluting the Law will be consumed by fire and sword at the end of this present age (Isa. 66:16), unlike after the Millennium when only fire is used (Rev. 20:9).  The nations will be gathered and will see God’s Glory. Israel’s future is then foretold:

  • ‘And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations  … to My holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, sait the LORD. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the LORD. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh’ (Isa. 66:20-24).

Herein is our penultimate reference to the New Heaven and the New Earth; it is used as an analogy when referring to the longevity of Israel’s reign as priests and Levites during the Millennial Kingdom.

Verses 21 and 22 are linked by ‘for’, because, and it is in verse 22 that the New Creation is mentioned. Thus Israel’s seed and good reputation will remain, in the same way that the New Creation will remain, until the end of the Age.

Verses 23 and 24 continue the narrative of the time after the LORD’s return when all the nations will come to Jerusalem to worship God (Zech. 14:16); these will see the burning, wormeaten bodies of those who had transgressed against Him, which bodies will be a constant reminder to all flesh.

Our last reference to the New Creation is contained in Peter’s second letter and this passages reiterates the form of the transition from Millennium to New Heaven and New Earth as that seen in the Revelation (Rev. 20:11; 21:1):

  • ‘But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men … But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnend up … Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness’ (2 Pet. 3:7-14).

The present heaven and the earth are kept in store and ‘watched over’ for judgment in the Day of God. On this day the ‘ungodly’ sinner, those who have literally ‘not worshipped’ Him, will be subject to perdition or ‘waste’; they will not have ‘believed to the saving of the soul’ (Heb. 10:39).

This Day of God will be unexpected and violent. The heavens and earth will pass away; the ‘works of the earth’; will be burned, the works of men (Rev. 20:12,13) and the works of Satan (1 John. 3:8); as will Satan himself (Rev. 20:10) along with all the ungodly (Rev. 20:15). The power of the fire will be such that the very elements will melt. No natural body could survive this conflagration and so only those raised with spiritual bodies, the image of the heavenly, will survive (1 Cor. 15:44,49). Sin and death will be eradicated; in this New Creation will righteousness permanently dwell.

After the New Heaven and New Earth there is only one thing left in God’s great plan, when the Son has delivered up the kingdom to God and has put down all rule, authority and power, God will then be ‘all in all’ (1 Cor. 15:24,28).

BARRY MARPLE – The Berean Expositor – May – July – September – November 2011 – www.bereanonline.org

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Theocratie op aarde

Wat kan de zin en de betekenis van het messiaanse rijk op aarde zijn? De overtuiging van vrijwel allen die op goede schriftuurlijke gronden dit rijk in de toekomst (eindhistorisch) zien, is dat God ook op déze, eenmaal door de satan wederrechtelijke geroofde “oude” aarde volledig tot Zijn eer moet komen.

In de eerste plaats in het van voor de grondlegging der wereld uitverkoren “lichaam van de Messias Jeshua”, de gemeente van de Messias, die met Hem over de aarde zal heersen. En ook in het uitverkoren Israel, de “vrouw” van de HEER, dat in het messiaanse rijk eindelijk geheel en al op haar plaats komt en dat uitverkoren is – onder geestelijke leiding van Messias Jeshua en Zijn gemeente – de volken tot God te brengen.

De tweede Psalm en andere oudtestamentische noties van profetische strekking van het “lachen” Gods over de opstandige volken, die Zijn banden willen verbreken. Het zijn ook de koninkrijken van deze wereld, die zullen moeten buigen onder de ijzeren scepter van de Davidszoon! Ook al zal er uiteindelijk een nieuwe hemel en een nieuwe aarde komen, ook op deze aarde zal de gerechtigheid Gods uitspruiten en zal de HEER volkomen tot Zijn eer komen. Er is nog zoveel dat niet vervuld is en dat ook niet vervuld kan worden in de eeuwige, onvoorstelbare zaligheid van het “God alles in allen”, waarin geen onderscheid tussen volken en bedelingen meer zal en kan bestaan.

Daar zijn de talrijke profetieen over het “hoeden der heidenen” met een ijzeren scepter, het “stukslaan” van de heidenen, de heerschappij van de Messias over de rijken van deze wereld, de wederherstelling van Israel, de heilsbeloften aan het volk dat zo lang verstoken was van de Man, die zij ontrouw was en tot wie Israel nog zal zeggen “mijn Man” (Hosea 2:15). De onberouwelijke beloften en eden over Jeruzalem en het erfland, het land van Jahweh.

De profetie dat alle volken zullen optrekken naar de tempel te Jeruzalem om het loofhuttenfeest te vieren, dat de volken die Israel vervloekt en vervolgd hebben, Israel zullen dienen. De profetie dat de Syriers en de Egyptenaren toch in vrede en broederlijk met Israel zullen samenwonen, de nog nooit vervulde profetie dat de volken de oorlog niet meer zullen leren en dat een jongeling 100 jaar oud zijnde, zal sterven.

Ofschoon sommige profetieen uit de Tenach in overdrachtelijke zin op de eeuwigheid zouden kunnen worden toegepast, is de in het uitzicht gestelde heilrijke tijd voor Israel en de volken bestemd, waarin talrijke zeer concrete beloften nog nooit werkelijkheid zijn geworden. Veel van deze heilsprofetieen zijn onmogelijk te “vergeestelijken” en evenmin zijn zij in hun bijzonderheden toepasselijk op de eeuwige heerlijkheid.

Het is niet goed in te denken, in welke bedeling juist deze messiaanse profetieen voor deze aarde, met hun duidelijke onderscheiding tussen Israel en de volken (op de nieuwe aarde en in het “God alles in allen” niet meer van betekenis), anders zouden vervuld worden dan in het duizendjarig rijk. Dán immers – zo staat er geschreven – zullen de volken niet meer verleid worden, dan zullen de volken met een ijzeren scepter gehoed worden (Ap. 19:15; 20:3) en alleen dán kunnen alle heilsbeloften aan Israel en de heidenvolken vervuld worden. Het onderscheid tussen Israel en de volken onderling vervalt immers in de eeuwigheid. En hoe zouden we ooit kunnen veronderstellen dat God niet alle beloften aan Zijn uitverkoren volk, in onderscheid van de ‘gemeente die Zijn Lichaam’ is, zou vervullen?

Het Millennium is nog provisorisch, het is de “aanloop” tot de eeuwigheid. Zoals de gemeente van Jeshua Messias een Lichaam is van individuen uit de volken en Israel, zo is het duizendjarig rijk de grote, heilrijke ruimte waarin de heidenvolken als zodanig van Gods wegen geleerd zullen worden. Het zijn de volken die gehoed en geweid zullen worden, die de oorlog niet meer zullen leren, die de HEER zullen eren in Jeruzalem.

Waarom dan toch dat nog aardse rijk, dat “provisorium”op de eeuwigheid? Is het mogelijk dat God “een stap terug doet” en na Zijn hoogste doel: de gemeente van Jeshua Messias, nog een theocratie op aarde voor Israel en de volken schept? Maar hier mag men niet zeggen “na”, doch moet men veeleer hierarchisch denken. “Onder” de hoogste, hemelse zaligheid der gemeente, moet de HEER ook nog Zijn plan voor de volken als zodanig verwerkelijken. Het duizendjarig rijk is ondergeschikt aan het hemelse rijk: het een sluit het ander niet uit.

De Messias Jeshua moet Zijn overwinning ook volkomen aantonen op deze aarde, die zo lang vervloekt en bezet was door de satanische macht. Na de onttroning van de wederrechtelijke “vorst dezer wereld” zullen de dan levende volken ervaren (“alle knie”) wat het is, onder de tucht van het koningschap van de Messias te leven. De Kerk als zodanig heeft dat vroeger trachten te imiteren en te simuleren, maar daar kon niets dan onheil van komen. Ook de tegenwoordige inspanningen om dit rijk vanuit de zgn. “evangelische inspiratie” te construeren, lopen op niets uit!

Alles wacht op de wederkomst van de Messias Jeshua, die alleen waardig is de zegelen van gericht en heil te verbreken, de “lossersakte” te openen (Ap. 5).

Het duizendjarig rijk is de aioon (eeuw) van het “leren van gerechtigheid door tucht en opvoeding”. Het is één groot leerproces voor de heidenvolken.

Voordat de nieuwe hemel en de nieuwe aarde geschapen worden, zal de HEER éérst nog Zijn heilsorde op deze aarde herstellen; onder de gunstigste voorwaarden zullen de volken beproefd worden of zij zich werkelijk oprecht zullen buigen onder strenge, maar heilrijke theocratie. Dáárom de “test” van de laatste, korte, satanische stuiptrekking aan het einde van dit rijk.

In dit rijk komt alles op deze aarde op zijn plaats. De Messias neemt Zijn rechtmatige erfenis in bezit en daar de gemeente van Jeshua in Zijn heerlijkheid en rechten deelt, regeert zij met Hem; Israel wordt wederom aangenomen en “gehuwd” en ontvangt tot eigen satisfactie, na zoveel lange eeuwen van lijden, alle geluk en glorie die het volk beloofd zijn.

Die bedeling van het messiaanse rijk, welke onmiddelijk voorafgaat aan het eeuwige Rijk, door de Messias en de apostelen “de toekomende eeuw” genoemd, is totaal anders dan de tegenwoordige bedeling van de gemeente. In de tijden der kerk worden de leden uit alle volken met zachte drang en desnoods smekend geworven. Alles is daar vrijwillige keuze.

In het Millennium, wanneer Messias Jeshua in grote majesteit en kracht als de grote Koning op aarde is, wanneer Hij geopenbaard zal zijn met de gemeente die Zijn Lichaam is met Hem,  zal er geen sprake meer zijn van een vrijblijvende keuze! De knecht-Messias stierf als offer voor de zonden; de Koning-Messias zal de volken hoeden met een ijzeren scepter. Alle knie zal zich dan voor Hem buigen; alle valse religie zal dan van de aarde verbannen zijn en doorbroken door de ene, grote dienst aan de HEER.

Anders dan de bedeling der genade Gods van de duldende, geduldige, alles verdragende genade, is het Millennium de aioon (eeuw) van de tuchtroede en de stok waarmee de Herder Zijn schapen weidt en tot orde roept. Het zal een aioon (eeuw) zijn van strenge tucht en goddelijke orde, van waarlijk welzijn en vrede in gebondenheid aan de goddelijke wetten en ordinantien. Een pedagogische onderwijzing der volken, die een geheel ander aspect van de liefde Gods zal vertonen dan de liefde die de gemeente betoond is.

In alle opzichten worden de woorden Gods vervuld, voordat de hemel en de aarde voorbijgaan (Matt. 24:32-33). Ook de Messias Jeshua zelf heeft gezegd dat dit geslacht – Israel – niet voorbij zal gaan, voordat al deze dingen zijn geschied en dan doelt Hij op alles wat Hij in Zijn rede over de laatste dingen voorzegt is:

  • de profetie over het Beest
  • de gruwel der verwoesting in de tempel
  • Zijn komst om alle dingen weder op te richten
  • oorlog, ziekte, hongersnood, aardbevingen, het builderen der zee
  • de liefde die verkilt met een toename van wetteloosheid etc. … …

Het moet onder de zegenrijke Messiasregering op aarde zijn dat de volken in rechtmatigheid gericht zullen worden. Dan zal God de breuk van Zijn volk Israel verbinden en dan zal de opbrengst van het land “vet” zijn en het licht der zon zevenvoudig. Dit alles heeft betrekking op de eeuwige heerlijkheid, wanneer de HEER Zelf het licht zal zijn (verg. Jes. 30:26).

  • Geen  inwoner zal zeggen: ik ben ziek, en daar zal niet meer wezen een zuigeling van weinig dagen, noch een oud man die zijn dagen niet zou vervullen. Iemand die dan op honderdjarige leeftijd sterft zal nog “jong” zijn. Ook dit aspect wijst niet op de eeuwige heerlijkheid, wanneer ook de dood niet meer is, maar op een nog aardse heilstoestand, waarin de leeftijden zeer hoog en ziekten verbannen zijn (Jes. 30:18-26; 33:24; 65:20-23).

Het overgangsrijk, tevens proefperiode onder de gunstigste denkbare condities voor de volken die dit heil ontvangen, is niet denkbaar zonder de zware gerichten die eraan vooraf gaan.

De volken zullen door de gerichten sterk uitgedund en het oppervlak van de aarde zal drastisch gewijzigd zijn. Het “zevenvoudig” effect van de zon en de rijke oogsten wijzen ook op ingrijpende klimatologische veranderingen. De schepping zal dan naar Paulus’ woord vrijgemaakt zijn van de dienstbaarheid der verderfenis. Het gewas zal zich vermeerderen en de volken zullen zich verblijden:

  • “Wijsheid en kennis zullen de vastigheden der tijden en de sterkte der behoudenissen zijn” (Jes. 33:6).

Nog een aantal bijzonderheden over het messiaanse rijk op aarde geven wij direct overgenomen uit de profetie weer, opdat een ieder kan weten dat het leven op deze aarde niet uitzichtloos is, maar dat er een paradijs wacht op allen die hun leven overgeven aan de HEER en die Hem dienen in gehoorzaamheid.

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

De HEER zal rechtspreken over de volken en tussen de volken die geschillen hebben, dus geen armzalige vertoningen meer in de Verenigde Naties en het Internationale Hof van Justitie.

  • “De volken zullen de oorlog niet meer leren; vrede zal heersen” (Jes. 2:2-4).
  • “Eindeloos zal de vrede zijn op de troon van David” (Jes. 9:6).
  • “De wolf zal bij het schaap verkeren en de panter zal zich neerleggen bij het bokje. De leeuw zal stro eten als een rund en een baby zal bij het hol van een adder spelen. Men zal geen kwaad meer doen, maar de gehele aarde zal vol zijn van de kennis van de HEER, zoals het water de bodem van de zee bedekt” (Jes. 11:6-10).
  • “De HEER zal een feestmaal aanrichten voor alle volken en Hij zal voor eeuwig de dood vernietigen en de tranen afwissen van alle gezichten” (Jes. 25:6-9).
  • “Het zal gedaan zijn met de geweldenaar en de spotter zal vergaan en allen die op kwaad uit zijn zullen worden uitgeroeid” (Jes. 29:17-21).
  • “Leraars zullen de weg wijzen waarop de mensen moeten gaan als ze dreigen af te wijken. Het brood zal smakelijk en voedzaam zijn en het licht van de maan zal als het licht van de zon en het licht van de zon zevenvoudig als het licht van zeven dagen zijn” (Jes. 30:21-26).
  • “Geen inwoner zal nog ziek zijn en de tijden van de mensen zullen vast zijn. De HEER zal koning zijn, Wetgever en Rechter” (Jes. 33:5,6, 17 e.v.).
  • “De woestijn zal bloeien, de blinden worden ziende en de lammen zullen springen als een hert en de stommen zullen juichen” (Jes. 35).
  • “De HEER zal voor koper goud brengen en voor zilver en voor hout koper en voor stenen ijzer. Van geweld zal geen sprake meer zijn en overal zal vrede heersen” (Jes. 60:17-22).
  • Baby’s zullen niet sterven en zelfs een zondaar kan wel honderd jaar worden. De mensen zullen huizen bouwen, zonder dan anderen erin zullen wonen en zij zullen de vrucht van hun eigen grond eten, zonder dat een ander het op een of andere manier in beslag kan nemen. De mensen zullen niet vergeefs zwoegen en geen krijgen die jong zullen sterven. De HEER zal antwoorden voordat de mensen Hem roepen en terwijl ze nog spreken zal Hij hen verhoren” (Jes. 65:20-25).
  • “Jeruzalem zal de troon van de HEER genoemd worden en alle volken zullen zich daarheen begeven om de Naam van de HEER te aanbidden en zij zullen niet meer leven naar de zin van een kwaad gemoed” (Jer. 3:17).
  • “Vele natien zullen het Huis van de HEER bezoeken, om te leren hoe zij leven moeten. Want uit Sion zal de wet gegeven worden” (Micha 4:1-3).

Het nieuwe Jeruzalem

Het einde van het messiaanse rijk op aarde zal niet het einde der zegeningen zijn die het aanbrengt. De jaren eindigen; ook de oude aarde zal verdwijnen en de oude hemel, waar zoveel strijd is gevoerd tussen de satan en zijn met hem  gevallen engelen enerzijds en de Godsgetrouwe engelen anderzijds, waarin ook de gelovigen naar hun strijd tegen “de machten der lucht” hebben gevoerd.

Als Gods heilsplannen voor deze aarde vervuld zijn, als alle doden hun loon ontvangen hebben en de aarde ook geen graf meer is, schept de HEER een nieuwe hemel en een nieuwe aarde, zoals ook de profeet Jesaja reeds voorzegd heeft. Of de nieuwe aarde een nieuwe planeet zal zijn, weten wij niet; de uitspraak dat er voor de aarde “geen plaats meer gevonden zal worden” (Ap. 20:11) kan daarop wijzen, maar het is ook mogelijk dat de tijdens de gerichten sterk veranderde aarde volkomen vernieuwd zal worden, met een andere “hemel” in de zin van een nieuwe atmosfeer. De oude aarde en de oude hemel zullen ook naar Jeshua’s’ woord “voorbijgaan” en in dit verband is het tekenend dat het nieuwe Jeruzalem neerdaalt vanuit de hemel van God, d.i. het overhemelse, de niet-geschapen hemel, de tijdloze en ruimteloze “woonplaats” van God, die wel onderscheiden moet worden van de geschapen hemel en de geschapen aarde waarover Genesis handelt (Gen.1:1).

Wij staan hier voor de menselijk onvoorstelbare overgang van het historische naar het boven-historische van de nieuwe schepping Gods, die geen aionen, geen door de tijd begrensde “eeuwigheden” meer zal kennen, maar die in alle eeuwigheid, zonder einde zal bestaan.

Dan zal ook het aardse Jeruzalem niet meer de functie van Godsstad hebben; dan heeft ook Israel geen missionaire functie op de oude aarde meer, maar is dit Godsvolk opgenomen in het nieuwe Jeruzalem, dat neerdaalt uit de hemel van God, de stad die niet met mensenhanden is gebouwd, maar waarvan God de Bouwmeester is. Dan zal God Zelf bij de mensen wonen. Als letterlijk alles aan de Zoon onderworpen zal zijn, een onderwerping die in het messiaanse rijk geschiedt, zal ook de Zoon weer terugtreden en wordt alle macht weer overgedragen aan de Vader, opdat God alles in allen zal zijn (1 Kor. 15:24-28).

De tekst van 21:2 spreekt van de hemelse stad die neerdaalt uit de hemel van God. Hier valt niet zonder meer uit op te maken of dit gigantische lichaam van ongeveer de grootte van de maan neerdaalt op de nieuwe aarde. Het is onwaarschijnlijk, ook al zou de nieuwe aarde van veel grotere afmetingen zijn dan onze planeet. Veeleer moet gedacht worden aan een geweldig bouwsel, dat weliswaar neerdaalt, maar dat niet op de nieuwe aarde zal rusten.

Het nieuwe Jeruzalem, een kubus met “ribben” van zo’n 3000 km, of een pyramidevormig lichaam met een basis van 3000 km in het vierkant, zal hoogstwaarschijnlijk op een zekere afstand van het oppervlak der nieuwe aarde blijven. Het is een onvoorstelbaar prachtige stad, met straten van transparant, doorzichtig goud, overstraald door het licht van God Zelf, met een kleur van zuivere jaspis, maar ook transparant. De afmetingen kunnen ook duiden op een pyramide. De gelijke hoogte, breedte en lengte kunnen n.l. ook toepasselijk zijn op de basis en de hoogte-as in de pyramidevorm. De 144 ellen van de muur duiden m.i. ook weer op Israel in haar volheid (verg. de 144.000 uit de hoofdstukken 7 en 14), de lichaamsfunctie van de vrouw, die de Man (Messias en Zijn gemeente) omvangt. De HEER zal immers iets geheel nieuws scheppen, n.l. dat de vrouw (Israel) de Man (Messias en de gemeente) omvangt (Jer. 31:22).

Naar alle richtingen zijn er drie poorten, elke poort bestaande uit één reusachtige parel. In oude Joodse symboliek vormen de eerstgenoemde oostpoorten de oorsprong, de daarna genoemde noordpoorten het stoffelijke, daarna de zuidpoorten het heilige, goddelijke licht en tenslotte de westpoorten de ontwikkeling.

In deze symboliek is er de goddelijke oorsprong, die zich vervolgens in de vorm uitdrukt, waarna de vorm (het materiele, lichamelijke) geheiligd wordt en het wezenlijke zich openbaart en zich ontwikkelt naar God. Uit God via de stoffelijke weg en de loutering door de heiliging tot God terug; de weg van Israel en die van de gemeente, zo treffend uitgedrukt in het woord: ABBA, Vader. Van de Aleph (de Eerste, die God is) naar de Beth (die de wereld is of het “huis”‘); van de Beth (de wereld) weer naar de Aleph, die God is (1-2-2-1). Hier daalt immers het Vaderhuis neer (“In het huis Mijns Vaders zijn veel woningen”).

Deze door God gebouwde hemelstad is de Bruid, de vrouw van het Lam; het is het verheerlijkte Israel, wat niet alleen uit de twaalf poorten met de namen van de twaalf stammen van Israel blijkt. Ook de fundamentstenen met de namen van de twaalf discipelen wijzen op Israel. Deze twaalf discipelen waren de  Joodse navolgers van Jeshua, toen het Koninkrijk in Israel werd geproclameerd. De overeenkomst van de edelstenen, waarmee de twaalf fundamenten versierd zijn, met de borstlap van het gericht die Aaron als priester draagt, wijst óók op Israel (Ex. 28:17-20), waarbij sommige afwijkingen in de benamingen gezocht moet worden in de Griekse vertaling van het Oude Testament, de zgn. “Zeventig” of “Septuagint”. Uiteengezet dat de vrouw van het Lam Israel is en de gemeente het Lichaam van Jeshua Messias. Het huwelijk tussen tussen Messias Jeshua en Zijn gemeente (Bruidegom) enerzijds en Israel (Bruid) anderzijds heeft in het Nieuwe Jeruzalem, dat uit de hemel neerdaalt, volmaakte gestalte gekregen. Het vrouwelijke, het lichamelijke (Ap. 21:2,9), de vorm, het uiterlijke, is wat zichtbaar uit de hemel van God neerdaalt; het wezenlijke is binnen of in de hemelstad. Daar is de troon van God en de troon van het Lam, daar is de Bruidegom die de hele stad verlicht en doorlicht. En de Bruidegom is de Messias mét Zijn gemeente tesamen. De tempel is niet meer, want God Zelf is haar Tempel. En het Lam, wordt daar met nadruk bijgevoegd. Want wel is het middelaarschap van Jeshua dan opgeheven, maar de Zoon troont in alle eeuwigheid, want Hij is de lichamelijkheid van de Vader. In het eerste visioen van de Apocalyps zag Johannes dan ook de Messias Jeshua als de levende van alle eeuwigheid (1:17-18). En de Messias is in het nieuwe Jeruzalem belichaamd met Zijn gemeente, die aan Hem gelijkvormig is geworden en de goddelijke natuur heeft ontvangen.

Dat is de heerlijke, onvoorstelbare kern van de hemelstad, het einddoel van God: de Vader belichaamd in de Zoon en de Zoon belichaamd in Zijn gemeente en de Zoon – in het lichaam van de gemeente – gehuwd met Israel.

In die wonderstad wonen alle gelovigen, die van Israel en die van de gemeente; het is het Vaderhuis met de vele woningen, de stad die Abraham reeds verwachtte, de stad met fundamenten, waarvan de Bouwmeester God is (Hebr. 11:16). Dit is de stad waarvan Jeshua bij Zijn afscheid tot de discipelen zei dat Hij heenging om plaats te bereiden (Joh. 14:2,3). Staat er in de Brief  aan de Hebreeen niet geschreven dat wij hier geen blijvende stad hebben, maar dat wij de toekomende zoeken (Hebr. 13:14)?

Dáár is de erfenis waar in de geloofsstrijd hunkerend naar uitgezien is!

uit: ‘De terugkeer van Jezus Christus’ (H. Verweij), bewerkt door G.J.C. Plas.

Resumerend: …

Het aardse Jeruzalem als teken des tijds

Toen op 7 juni 1967 de derde dag van de Zesdaagse-Oorlog het Westelijke en Oostelijke deel van Jeruzalem herenigd (re-united) werden, [en de herovering van de Westelijke Jordaanoever (Judea en Samaria) op Jordanie], hetgeen geschiedde door het inzetten van luchtlandingstroepen van de IDF (Israel Defense Forces) die inmiddels een zware strijd hadden te voeren met het Jordaanse leger in Oost Jeruzalem, werd dit gebeuren op die zelfde dag nog bekroond met het blazen op de sjofar enwel op het Tempelplein als bij de Klaagmuur, hetwelk tot een uitbundige vreugde leidde:

  • ‘Toen de  HEERE de gevangenen van Sion terug deed keren, waren wij als mensen die droomden … Toen werd onze mond vervuld met lachen en onze tong met gejuich. Toen zei men onder de heidenvolken: De HEERE heeft grote dingen bij hen gedaan! … HEERE, breng een omkeer in onze gevangenschap, zoals waterstomen in het zuiden. Wie met tranen zaaien, zullen met gejuich maaien. Wie het zaad draagt en dat zaait, gaat al wenend zijn weg; maar hij zal zeker terugkomen met gejuich en zijn schoven dragen’. (Psalm 126:1-6).

The Fullness of the Gentiles … What Time is It?

Juist nu in het jaar 2012 waar we kunnen spreken van de ‘voleinding der tijden’ (Gr. ‘sunteleia’ – Matth.24:3) met de betekenis van, ‘het samenkomen van een knooppunt van (ont)sporen’ als bij een spoorwegennet, wat dan ook uitloopt naar het ‘eindpunt (Gr. ‘telos’) van het traject’ met de betekenis van ‘het tot een einddoel komen’ (Matth. 24:6) is het meer dan ooit geoorloofd de vraag te stellen: …

Hoe laat is het op Gods profetische tijd klok? Vervolgens is dan de vraag … weten we wanneer ‘de tijden der heidenen vervuld zijn’? Het antwoord is, Ja!

In het Nieuwe Testament wordt er tenminste tweemaal verwezen naar die bijzondere uitdrukking … ‘totdat de tijden der heidenen vervuld zijn’:

  1. In het Lucas-evangelie enwel de profetische rede van Jeshua handelend over de laatste dagen in deze boze aioon (eeuw) … ‘en Jeruzalem zal door de heidenen vertrapt worden, totdat de tijden der heidenen zullen vervuld zijn’ (Luc. 21:24b).
  2. In de Romeinenbrief waar de apostel Paulus schrijft aan de heiden-gelovigen inzake Israels verwerping van de Messias … ‘een gedeeltelijke verharding is over Israel gekomen, totdat de volheid der heidenen binnengaat’ (Rom. 11:25b).

In het Lucas-evangelie vinden we dus dat de stad Jeruzalem door de heidenen vertrapt zal worden, totdat de tijden der heidenen zullen vervuld zijn’.

‘Yerushali’im will be trampled down by the Goyim until the age of the Goyim has run its cours.’ (Luk.21:24).

We weten maar al te goed dat sinds de Babylonische ballingschap, de stad Jeruzalem de eeuwen door overheersd werd door de (Gentile domination) niet-Joodse volkeren, met uitzondering van de Hashmona’im Period (140-37 BCD). Het was pas ver in de 20e eeuwgedurende de Zesdaagse-Oorlog van 1967, dat geheel Jeruzalem na bijna 2.000 jaar in handen viel van de Israeli’s, als de ware afstammelingen van de stam van Yehudah, en is om deze reden dan ook de hoofdstad van Israel!

Zo kan worden afgeleid dat vanaf 1967 … ‘de tijden der heidenen vervuld zijn’, ten minste zo ver als het de stad Jeruzalem betreft, … has now ended!

In weerwil van … zal er nog een korte toekomstige periode zijn [in de laatste drie (jaar)weken] waarbij niet-Joodse volken Jeruzalem opnieuw zullen beheersen; dit zal zijn in het finale patroon, de tijd(en) van de antichrist en de valse profeet (Daniel 11-12).

Het bewijs van dit gebeuren tekent zich reeds af vanaf 1967, waarbij de (verenigde) naties in feite onwillig zijn Israel’s soevereiniteit over haar hoofdstad Jeruzalem te erkennen. De volkeren gaan in feite voort met het continueren in hun strijd tegen Jeruzalem a.w.h. het hun recht, in het blijven vertreden van die stad, als zijnde het hunne. Een recent en duidelijk voorbeeld hiervan is de eis van een bouwstop in de buitenwijken van Jeruzalem in 2010.

  • ‘Zie, er komt een dag voor de HERE, waarop de buit, op u behaald, binnen uw muren verdeeld zal worden. Dan zal Ik alle volken tegen Jeruzalem ten strijde vergaderen; … en dan zal de HERE uittrekken om tegen die volken te strijden, zoals Hij vroeger streed ten dage van de krijg; …’ (Zach. 14:1-3).

De blindheid verdwijnt

Belangwekkend genoeg is dat juist na de Zesdaagse-Oorlog van 1967 en in het begin van de jaren ’70 het verschijnsel zich voordeed dat een groot aantal Israeli’s begon in te zien wie Jeshua Hamashiach in reality is! Nu in 2012 is daar een ‘global messianic movement’ actief en levend voor hun HEER, ‘and in Jerusalem in particular’. Na 1900 jaar na de verdwijning van de Ebionites (Ebyonim – “the poor” or “poor ones”) een patristic benaming verwijzend naar een Joods-christelijke secte die leefde gedurende het jaar 30 – 150 A.D. Ook hier is sprake van een totdat,de volheid van de heidenen binnengaat …

The time is running out

Het aftellen is begonnen voor Israel en de Gentiles; juist het jaar 1967 leent zich voor een terugblik op een geschiedenis van 6000 jaar (de Zesdaagse-Oorlog * 2 Petr. 3:8) war against de Eeuwige en Enige God, HaShem.

Uit de visioenen in de Apocalyps valt op te maken dat er in de hemel, als de tijd “vol” is de voorbereidingen getroffen worden in de openbaarwording van Jeshua Messias, die de Losser (Goel) van de global is! In de Torah in het boek Leviticus wordt er op een heel bijzondere wijze gesproken over het jubeljaar, het 50e dat na 49 jaar (7×7 sabbatsjaren) manifest wordt en van toepassing is voor deze tijd!

Het is daar in de Apocalyps, waar op een wonderbaarlijke wijze aangaande een stuk Mozaische wetgeving wordt weergegeven, dat ook in het stramien van het verlossingsproces voor wat betreft Israel en de volken zoals beschreven in het boek de “Openbaring van Jeshua Messias” dit wordt verduidelijkt, en waar tevens het lot van het gehele bestaan van de wereld in de waagschaal ligt! (Lev.25:8-10; Ap. 5:1-14).

 

Zo suggestief en overtuigend treedt de onwaardigheid van alle schepselen hier aan het licht, dat de apostel Johannes bij het visioen weent. De oorzaak van dit wenen kan ons pas duidelijk worden als we beseffen dat Johannes in dit visioen in de geest in de hemel aanwezig is, in de tegenwoordigheid van God. Daar waar God Zelf is,  wordt gezegd dat niemand waardig is.

 

Deze ongeopende ‘Lossersakte’, waarvan gezegd is dat niemand deze kan openen; het de apostel Johannes is die een Lam ziet staan als geslacht, de Leeuw uit de stam van Juda, die de Spruit van David blijkt te zijn, hetgeen hier alles te maken heeft met de nog steeds vacante troon in de stad Jeruzalem (Ps. 2:8; 72:8).

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Year of Jubilee proclaimed?’ … Is de dag van ‘Jom Kippoer’ in 2015 het ultieme moment waarop na dat adembenemende schouwspel in de hemel, na de –49 Prophetic Years –7th June 1967Jerusalem Restored, … het Lam het eerste van de zegels opent (Ap. 6:1):

  • ‘En ik zag hoe het Lam het eerste van de zegels opende en ik hoorde een van de vier dieren met een stem als van een donderslag zeggen: Kom en zie! En ik zag en zie, een wit paard, en hij die erop zat, had een boog. En hem was een kroon gegeven en hij trok uit, overwinnend en om te overwinnen’ … … … …

Gerard J.C. Plas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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