Out of Israel's Prophesy
Translated from Dutch
This work originally written as a book, was later on edited to a series of articles for the magazine « Uit de Schriften » (Out of the Scriptures). Because of that it was extended or rounded off. As reprint of these articles, which were published in said magazine under the title « The Prophetic Word », we now offer it in its whole. Only a few things were altered. The shortened articles have been brought back to their initial sizes.
The Goal of this work is to give, a more or less systematic though not complete, disquisition of Israel's prophecy to show with that 1° that the subject of the O.T. prophets is the nation of Israel and not the « Church », nor Christianity; 2° that the N.T. is for the most part about Israel. Israel's restoration and future is a subject that keeps more and more believers busy in our days and gets more accepted. Much has already been written about this restoration and more than once Israel's future was outlined. About 15 years ago (1918) appeared in « Maranatha, a study about unfulfilled prophecy » by Ref. H. Bultema, a wider explanation and well thought through vindication of Israel's restoration which is worth investigating. Also his « Practical Comment on Isaiah » is very instructive. This all said, we felt a new editorship of Israel's prophecy had to be made because of the following reasons:
First to pull the Israeli line through to the N.T.. To little it has been noticed, that the boundary of the « intermediate-dispensation », in which we live now, doesn't start in the gospels, but only then when God, by virtue of Paul, sets Israel aside in Acts 28, and opens the special dispensation we still live in today, in which the Body of Christ gets prepared. As far as we know there is only one Dutch writing that sharply establishes the boundary of this dispensation namely: « The Purpose of the Aions and the Church of the Mystery » by Aristarkos. The smaller work « Does the Church start with Pentecost » by S.v.M. is an addition to this. Since both were written with a different goal and do not exclusively put Israel's prophecy on the forefront, we meant to design a set up of our own, while for further investigation we could not let the other mentioned works unnoticed.
Too little has been noticed, that the largest part of the N.T. deals with and is about Israel, the phrase « Kingdom of Heaven » isn't understood, and because of this, one assumes that with the gospels something new began. To understand anything of the N.T. there has to be insight in the O.T.. And that find its roots in Genesis. That's how we ended up there, to take it as our starting point, but first we will treat more in general the explanation of prophecy.
Secondly, we came to a independent editorship to give a preface to the work that is a result of this, namely: « The Times of the Ages » in which we outline what the H.S. (Holy Scriptures) mean with the term « for ever » which will widen our Scriptural understanding. We need this book as a « preface » to understand that work. Scripture teaches us to see the fixed lines of God's progressing revelation. It is also at His disposal that we present the insight God gave us into His Scriptures, to our fellow believers and scholars.
With one warning. Our work is not meant to make reading the Scriptures obsolete, but indispensable. God's Word is in its whole and in its parts absolute. A help to investigating that absoluteness is what this work is a means to. One has to dig further and learn to draw from the well of God's revelation. We can learn a lot from others, but each believer has to investigate God's Word and then come with the confession: We no longer believe because of what others say, but because we heard Him ourselves. Like this we hope and wish one — also because of our work — will hear for one selves as from God's mouth and understands and absorb what He says. Our work doesn't want to do more than level the road, and show how one through concordant examination can get to know God's Word more intimate. Each believer can, without knowledge of the source languages, investigate the Scriptures. If one would do that with the assistance of a good concordance, we might get to more unity in faith. God's Word is not so difficult, it's being made difficult by tradition, personal opinions etc. The H.S. is as much the book of the simple to its content as it is the book of the scholars concerning its form and content. Any believer can with enlightenment from the Spirit, but only with that, learn to understand God's Word better as is the case now. May that Spirit enlighten the reader at this study.
Opening God's Word gives light, Psa. 119:130. The light of the Word is presently quite necessary, since the darknesses of this aion put everything in the umbra. Especially now becomes true: Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psa. 119:105
A few final remarks
The Structures are taken from the Companion Bible. Since all human work is imperfect, we are aware of the defectiveness of ours, may the Lord give His forgiveness and grace over our efforts.
1933 — The Writer
As you probably understood this book is originally written in Dutch and its translation has been a labor of love, not of professionalism. Therefore if the English seems a bit odd or if you find errors a native speaker would never make, please forgive me, I did it to the best of my ability and had no editor to correct me. May the Lord give His forgiveness and grace over this as well.
2017 — The Translator
Leading Principles. It is of importance before everything else to establish the leading principles, that form the foundation of this work and our other writings. They are these:
1° All scripture is given by inspiration of God. May there have crept in errors — how they condemn the negligence of the transcribers — we still believe God made sure that; they were either very small, or can be adjusted from other Scriptures, or will not have any major damaging consequences. The search for and research of the best manuscripts remains obligatory and will bring and confirm the truth and give more light. The N.T. is a brilliant proof of this. One had to admit, that the N.T. of the old Church in the first century, is the same that we own now. The manuscripts may not agree completely, the differences are minimal. We believe the Lord will show the same one day for the Hebrew manuscripts. We completely stick to the inspired manuscripts. Bibles are translated manuscripts, they are not inspired. Where necessary we have to go back to the source languages; Bibles though indispensable are not enough all the time and can't decide the outcome of an investigation, but a full concordance can help the more or less educated layman to get to the source.
Known translations from the reformation appear more and more to have inaccuracies, that intercept the pure light here and there. The King James is still the best although other translations like; Luther's, the AV and the French translation have their benefits. Often they complete one another. All this said, they are for deeper study of the Scriptures inadequate, they let us down in more than one way.
2° Where possible we take the H.S. literally. In the same context we do not wish to take a part literally and the part close after that spiritually, symbolic or figurative. Only when forced by style figures, we leave this rule. One will see how much the H.S. gains in strength when we take her literally where possible. Where possible means, when there is no inducement to not accept just simply what God says. One doesn't read « Church » where it literally says « Israel » or « Kingdom » etc. The only exception to this rule is when it is obvious we're dealing with an adjustment to the way of presenting things according to the old times.
3° The H.S. contains all the truth God thought to be necessary for this aion and this life, to reveal what's needed for our salvation. We can only approach this with our insight as well as expressing it. Not a single Church or group can claim to represent THE truth, or have put it for ones and for all in writing in confessions. It, on the contrary, should be our endeavor to approach the truth as much as possible and continue to do so. Many build on existing confessions without going back to the H.S.. The consequence is more and more division. The H.S. is the only absolute Witness in the center of all these relative ecclesiastical truths and in the center of the impurities of all systems.
4° Archeological and other discoveries we wish to use thankfully. One thing one keeps in mind: Without archeology and science, be it whatever field of expertise, the H.S. form a whole in itself. The danger these days is one tends to forget that God is using human language but gave it it's own character. God's word is tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. With all care he chose every word and ordered them. Scripture therefore should be explained by Scripture. The inner connections will proof to be closer than we expected. The H.S. is an organism that does assimilate elements of the language and morals and states of people, but doesn't submerge in them.
5° The H.S. is first and foremost a revelation book for all people, not a group of people, for example scholars. This way we wish to examine it. We want to point out the main moments of revelation and promises of God. Much therefore has to stay untreated and has to wait for a more competent pen than ours. We just wish to give some insight in God's ongoing revelation and main truths necessary for our time.
6° God provides for each large era one or more specific truths. He has something to give for our era as well. Initially these will be old and relatively simple truths, but since they were buried under the layer of dust of tradition, at first sight they will appear to be something new and with a lack of necessary preparation seem to be something complicated. With deeper reflection everything will be clear and sound. Like in the times of the reformation, Christianity is at a turning point. One searches and fumbles for something different and feels a shortage. Well this can be supplemented by researching the H.S. in its fullness. The reformation only partially gave us back Scripture, i.e. its content. Now we live in times to view Scripture in its fullness. It is probably the last time in this dispensation. Everything will succumb once. We're not there yet. The Antichrist hasn't arrived yet. God wants to bring something up front first, old in essence, deep for the thinker, simple for the spiritual believer, large in conception, beautiful by inner strength.
7° There is not one Church but one Christ. Like a country has multifarious regions and population, likewise the heavenly homeland has multifarious groups. Like a wedding has multifarious parties involved, likewise the wedding of the Lam has multifarious partakers. Like the temple has multifarious groups serving, likewise the heavenly tabernacle has multifarious serving classes. The teaching of uniformity of believers is therefore unnatural and contradicts Scripture. One doesn't unite what God has separated. One notices the things that differ (Php. 1:10). The doctrine of uniformity takes away from the honor of Christ, with His multifarious functions and from the glory of God's manifold wisdom. Only the Church that is His Body, form a unity that will radiate above all groups. God's manifold wisdom manifests in the groups, His all overriding Grace will be seen in the Church which is His Body, the Perfect (adult) Man.
8° The H.S. has to be explained by the various dispensations, opened by God. One has to take into account the times and occasions. The first requirement for this is: hold on to the inspiration and as much as possible to the literal perception of the by God revealed things. (See N° 2). The second requirement: learning to understand the true meaning of the words « for ever ». The third requirement: ascertain where God adjusts His speech to the speech usage of a dispensation, of the times, how God meets men. The latter is necessary when a truth seems to cross another without harmony. One first finds the main thread, then the difference has to be explained from the speech usage or the idiom of those times. The latter for example concerning the resurrection of the Lord (the third day, after three days, three days and three nights) and the meaning of spirit and soul. We should not lose sight of the main truths because of language peculiarities or national expressions. Scripture often speak in a human way, nevertheless consistently keeps God's truth up until the end. To the human speech usage, we also count figures of speech, language specifics (idioms) and if necessary the way words are written.
We hoop it will be given to us to work within these boundaries. There is so much unfinished work of the Reformation waiting to be finished that more than one person could work a lifetime on it. Our work will no more be than preparation. That the Lord may give more capable men with more wisdom and more skilled pen than ours, to continue the enlightening work in these dark times, strengthening the light by means of fellow workers whom with skill, intelligence, fullness of spirit and manifold wisdom, unfold God's majestic Word. The Glory of the unique Word of the Lord, expressed in poorly human languages, is already exultingly beautiful, how majestic will it be when He shall develop the initial language, or create a new world language in which He for all ears will unfold His Glory.
I. Conception, Explanation and
Inspiration of Prophecy. ↑
a. The prophetic interspace
About the Explanation of Prophecy. Pertaining to the conception and explanation of prophecy one can primarily take three stands. First of all one can ignore it, i.e. leave it for what it is, don't try to understand it, don't search for clarity, actually pretend it's not there. That does short to the fullness of the H.S. « All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. » says 2 Tim. 3:16, 17. Who therefore neglects prophecy is not only deprived of a lot of teaching, but also misses the armament to confute and is weak in the battle. And that is the case with many these days. One is no longer oriented. He who doesn't rely on the H.S., concerning the spiritual, as the rock on which the building of faith has to be constructed, will see it go down by the downpour of doctrines and will not have shelter against the torrent of ideas and opinions. He who neglects the H.S. concerning the prophecy can't come to improvement of ones old opinions often based on inherited teaching of the (Church) fathers. Since now everything is under criticism and painstakingly examined, it is the more important to sift out the wrong, to clean and make sure everything is resting on the H.S.. And how can this be, if one neglects a large part and pretends it's not there. This way nothing or very little of instruction in righteousness, i.e. compliance with the standards, will come to pass. It is therefore not strange the man of God is nowadays so deficient and not ready to all good work. The basic fault, lies in neglecting the prophecies, because they give us the key to open the O.T. And only if this is understood, one can learn to understand the N.T.. Not the other way around.
Spiritualization. Secondly, one can spiritualize the prophets. Then one says: a part is fulfilled literally, but the other, not literally fulfilled part, most be taken spiritual, i.e. read it differently from what it actually says. The advocates of this perception don't neglect the prophecies, they admit, a part is not literally fulfilled, so they see that, but that's about as far as they get with their insight. They do go further with their interpretation. But that is subjective. One see for one selves. Judah for example is in one case the literal tribe of Judah, but in the unfulfilled part of a prophecy it's the « Church ». The House of Jacob is one time Israel and another the « Church », Zion one time Jerusalem on earth, another the heavenly Jerusalem. We can go on like this. Properly considered this takes away the power of the H.S., dissolves it, undermines its foundation. Modern criticism cuts off the steadiness, the spiritualization method cuts it away, one dismembers, the other mutilates. Both the spiritualization method and modern (high) criticism assault the steadiness of Scripture. One doubts it, the other dissolves it. Both agree in this: Don't take the Word as the context demands.
It seems the spiritualization method respects the Word. And it means to, in this respect it differs from modern criticism. It wants to keep the Word, but not as God gave it, that, it holds for impossible. To believe when God says Israel He means Israel, House of Jacob means the nation of Israel, Jerusalem city and population of the capitol of Palestine and Babel is Babel and not Rome etc., it won't accept. Mostly this finds its cause in being prejudiced by the constructed system, which has no room for the consistency of the H.S.. The spiritualization method volatilizes the H.S. and is subjective, i.e. what IT thinks the H.S. means.
The Current Torrent of Spiritualization. Spiritualizing the H.S. starts to really rule. The truths that get in the way are volatilized. The Moderns started with it. Christ is not God's Son in factual sense, but in ideal sense, not the son but a son. The Swedenborgians went even further, they are grand master in this method. Christian-Scientists and theosophists also accept the H.S. if they are allowed to distract the inner, symbolic sense. This is bad enough, but not the worst. The worst is, when they who say to accept the whole H.S. as it is given to us, but use it in a way that defies all logic, let alone all reality and bend it to breaking point.
A torrent of teachings about the last things flushes the steadiness of the old orthodoxism. One thinks the end of the world is near. It can't go quick enough. And what gets in the way has to be run over or sublimed. All measure is gone, all norms are lost, all steadiness vanished. Many mountains are now the powerful, many hills rulers. Was Babel once Rome, now it is the whole of Christianity that doesn't belong to the « party ». The all eyes will see Him is denied by Jew and Modern, but the spiritualization method solved it by making it an « invisible seeing ». They're not bothered by any reality.
This is the result of what the Reformation started. Take the not fulfilled spiritually, has become an avalanche under which orthodoxism is collapsing. The foundations shake, the fronts are rolled up, the apparently fixed dam is broken, the water rises and threatens to swallow everything. The Reformation can no longer resist, because itself worked undermining.
Rightly Dividing. The third perception, is the literal better the real which has as its norm staying equal to itself. And only on that can be build, only that can lead to steadiness. It learns to rightly divide the Word, i.e. separate it in the correct parts. Literal or real interpretation doesn't mean we wouldn't notice the images, style figures and poetic expressions. In that the H.S. is richly endowed as well. With literal we mean that the parts that have the same context we don't take one part literal and the next part in the same context spiritual. Context and common sense show what is meant. If one part is literally fulfilled and the next directly following is not, we should not say: this is spiritually fulfilled. Now we have to — loyal to the text and context — say that the not fulfilled part will be so in the future. We make an incision in the parts, and he who will learn to do so enlightened by the Spirit, will learn to do this rightly and be a worker who doesn't have to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15.
This principle is very far reaching. Not only the textual context, but also the Bible book as a whole has to be taken into account. If at the beginning of a Bible book Judah and Jerusalem are mentioned or Israel, and also at the end of that Bible book, we have to say: This also concerns Judah, Jerusalem etc. It is after all said to the same group. The prophet didn't mean it any other way. Only the time can be different, but the group is the same, not according to the persons, but their origin, lineage. If in 1549 at the Pragmatic Sanction of the Dutch would have been predicted that at the peace of Munster the river Scheldt would be closed off permanently and that closing would cause discomfort, complications and a possible annexation, then we would if we believed this prophecy, not say we take the first part for Holland and the second part for New Holland. And if in 1648 the first part would be fulfilled, anybody believing the whole prophecy would say: Now the second part is going to happen to Holland as well.
Scriptural Explanation. With the literal or real conception we mean the equal to itself assertion, things in the same context give the same meaning to the same words, but sees the fulfilling to different times and occasions.
This is demanded in three ways.
First on the basis of the « reasonable religion » we have. If for example House of Jacob in Gen. 46:2, 7 means Jacobs natural descendants, we can't see why the same term in Luke 1:33 should mean believers from the gentiles. If Judah and Jerusalem in Isa. 1:1 means the descendants of the son of father Jacob and Jerusalem is the capitol of the tribe, why would Judah in Isa. 2 be a metaphorical « nation » and Jerusalem the « Church »? If mountains of Israel in Eze. 6:2, 3 means: the geological elevations in the country Israel lives in, why would this term, in the same book but more to the back (34:14; 38:8 and 39:17) mean something different? That is unreasonable. We will work this out later on.
Second the statements of the inspired writers demands it.
Take James in Acts 25, he doesn't say: now the promises must be applied spiritually on the gentiles. On the contrary, he proves we have make an incision. The « after this » points to it. Which means, not in our day, but in the the day the Lord will make, not in the day of men, but in the day of Christ. That's why he explains it clearly to us and says: After this I will return, and will build again etc. James leaves the prophecy where it is, doesn't spiritualizes it, but divides it, he sees the unfulfilled part real — not spiritual — fulfilled in the future.
A second proof for this is Paul. Hath God cast away his people, he asks. No. He himself is evidence for that. If God had cast away Israel, He would never have called Paul to be the Apostle of the gentiles. He would have called a Cornelius or a Luke (not the one who wrote the gospel). God did not cast away His people which He foreknew says Paul. Is Israel's hardening then unforeseen? Not that either. God foretold that through Moses, Rom. 11:8 and through David v. 9. That is literally fulfilled to Israel, to whom it was said. Literal we know, means explained to times and occasions pertaining to the addressed group. In due time Israel was blinded and hardened. Will it stay that way? No says Paul the prophecy stays for Israel: « And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: » Does he understands Israel to be the N.T. Church, Jacob to be the believers of « the new day »? Not at all, because he talks about the literal Israel. He lets God's promises where they are, incises them and says (11:25) that blindness in part is happened to Israel (the literal Israel) until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: How? As is written namely because there shall come out of Zion (a part of Jerusalem) the Deliverer.
We see Paul also sticks to the dividing explanation. He quotes from Isa. 27 and 59. One read these chapters and will see we have here also the strong waves in prophecy, which creates « undulation mountains » and « undulation valleys ». But they are undulations in Israel's national existence. They come after one another, but they undulate over the same nation.
Both inspired writers point to the fact, that whatever happens, God will fully fulfill His Word over His nation of Israel. They divided the Word and of course rightly, since they were under direct guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Christ'S Example. Third, the highest Prophet Himself stamps His seal on our perception, Who gives to James and to Paul and to Us the instruction how we should explain the prophecies and what to think about the unfulfilled prophecy. We find this in Luke 4:16 — 21.
When the Lord arrives in Nazareth, He goes to the synagogue and they give Him the scroll of Isaiah. « And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. »
What does the Lord do now? « And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. »
If you look what part of Isaiah this is, it's chapter 61:1 — 2a. There we read just about the same. We quote only the second verse « To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, ». Until there the Lord read. Then He closed the book and said: « This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. ». Not what follows, 2b — 8 « and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. » (Hebrew: Covenant of the Olam).
The day of vengeance. Isa. 61 from v. 2b is therefore future.
We wish to check that out.
The day of vengeance is first mentioned in Isa. 34:8. When we read that chapter, it turns out to be a prophecy concerning the end time. « All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. » v. 4 That verse is quoted in Rev. 6:13 and 14 and therefore refers to the time of the sixth seal. However conceived, it was future, relative to fullness of times and is not fulfilled in Isaiah's days. The Lord Jesus Whom as the highest Prophet always rightly divided the Word, also cut the future day of vengeance off of the back then fulfilled part. So what follows after v. 2a is future, the day of vengeance is the first that will hit Israel and the nations. Israel because of its deviation, the nations because they prosecute and oppress Israel out of hate. Isa. 34:1 and 2 say therefore: « Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies ... ». We see this elaborated in Revalation.
In Isa. 63:4 we read about the day of vengeance again, v. 1 — 4 say: « Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? » Then follows the answer: « I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. ». In Rev. 19:13 we find: « And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood » and in 19:15 « ... and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. » This word is not yet fulfilled, while Christ is not yet returned. Isa. 63 and Rev. 19 put side to side prove therefore that the day of vengeance still lingers and will come in the end time.
Getting insight in the prophecy thus means often to rightly divide them, i.e. cut them, placing the cut off part in a future dispensation. Sometimes one has to distinct between a pre-fulfilling and an end-fulfilling.
That the rest of Isa. 61 is future also follows from the 2 expressions: eternal joy and eternal covenant (Hebrew: joy of the age and covenant of the age). Both look at the age to come and not on the « endless eternity » that western dogmatics made of it.
The Intermediate-Dispensation. With the clear example of the Lord Jesus before us, so clear, only one is given, but with which all had to suffice, it is easy to get insight in the prophecy in general and that concerning Israel specifically. There is between the fulfilled and the unfulfilled part a space that has lasted now for over 19 centuries. Although the parts stand together, they don't belong together time wise; they do concern Israel, but not Israel in the same dispensation. The first part is the « acceptable year of the Lord », the other that of « day of vengeance of our God ».
And between both lies the large intermediate-dispensation of over 19 centuries. The acceptable year of the Lord ends in Acts 28:28 when Paul turns away from Israel and a new dispensation starts, that still runs now. We can't go any deeper in to this in this work. Just this:
When one in a mountain country sees all the mountain tops behind each other, they appear to be close to one another. Coming closer, one notices, there are often large distances between. At a city, seen from a distance, the high rises seem to be on one line, as if connected. Only when we practically go from one building to the other, we see, that they are sometimes in completely different districts and there is much more between them than we thought.
It's like this with prophecy. Contemplated from behind, God has kept something secret, which lies between the parts. Specifically with Isa. 61 this is clear. This has not been noticed by the Churches of the Reformation. With all their power they tried to keep those parts united. What God however has separated, men can not unite. And He has separated. Why, will show later.
Incised Prophecies. In the following texts we give examples of incised prophecies. What is before the two vertical lines is fulfilled, the other is future.
No Time Calculation. We want therefore explain prophecy, when needed, with what we would like to call the prophetic interspace. The star world can learn us something about this. When looked at superficially, all stars in the firmament seem to be next to each other. Why is that? Because our view projects them like that, puts them on one level. The accurate observer soon notices, they are on different distances and the astronomer can tell us even more about it. It's the same with the prophecies. One stands or stood closer than the other. One turns out in the light of a past dispensation, another in the light of a dispensation to come. It is not given to us, like to the astronomers, to calculate the correct distances in the time order. God kept it hidden from us. Many have tried, non of them succeeded or will succeed, because, what God hides we can not calculate. No matter all these attempts, it remains irrevocable what 1 Tim. 6:15 says: « Which (Chirst) in his times he shall shew (be), the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords ». In due time He will reveal Himself. With this all calculation expires. We can and will not calculate the distance between the fulfilled and unfulfilled prophecy. A whole different matter is if we can ascertain it. And that, we can and must do.
The reformation failed to do that. It projected all prophecies to the field of the « Church ». It is determined for our time to correct this error. We should not project, flatten, but observe, distinguish sharply, not appoint everything to the « Church » but notice the things that differ. Php. 1:10. Then we shall see the interspace en learn to understand the prophetic depth, even though we can't measure it. This will also be a learning school to come to the confession that in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3) and that we must wait and leave it to Him, when He in due time will work out God's council and with that fulfill the prophecies.
« Pre- and End-fulfilling ». Many prophecies have a pre- and end-fulfilling. This can only be seen clearly if one has eye for the intermediate-dispensation. The unfulfilled prophecy makes the pre-fulfilled sensed and recognized. Since the Reformation had no eye for the dispensation of the Kingdom and Israel's vocation in the age to come, where they didn't recognize the incision, they came to taking the pre-fulfilling literally and the end-fulfilling symbolic and spiritual. Spiritual —: the blessings were for the « Church », the curs for the Jew. Symbolic —: the end judgment concerned the world in general, Israel was (and is) no longer seen as the first bearer of the judgment. With this all steadiness is lost. The incision in the prophecy lightened by the Spirit, gives also insight in the pre-fulfilled prophecy. In other words: In Israel, often the prediction of the prophets, on a smaller scale had a pre-fulfilling and will have in the future is its final fulfillment.
An example. Elijah once fulfilled a calling in Israel. Nonetheless he will appear again, Mal. 4:5. His second appearance will look like his first, but sensible on a wider scale. One can also turn everything around and say: The pre-fulfilling was only the forerunner of the real thing, the end-fulfilling. Once all the cooperating factors will be present in full force and the tragedy of the present will transform in the by God prepared happiness of the future. The final act has to be unfolded yet.
That there is a pre- and end-fulfilling, finds its cause in Israel's pertinacity and impenitence. If Israel had accepted its Messiah, God would have moved to the full fulfilling. Now this was not possible. In His council He took this into account.
Explanation and Application. Many suppose, that this way of explanation, i.e. by making incisions, impoverishes Scripture. Now Scripture itself can never impoverish, while it's God's gold mine. What they mean is, by this explanation many parts of Scripture appear not to be for us. Here begins the confusion between explanation and application. The explanation of the O.T. and the larger part of the N.T. concerns Israel, the application is individual to times and occasions. In other words: The O.T. is about Israel and is to our education. It gives examples, 1 Cor. 10. Who thinks that the O.T. promises were handed over to the « Church » and to the believers of our dispensation, have fallen into incurable inconsistency. The curses are than for Israel, the blessings for the « Church ». One has to learn to clearly see two things: The whole of God's Word is FOR US, i.e. in all parts is doctrine, reproof, correction, etc., but not the whole of Scripture is ABOUT US. The O.T. is about Israel, the nations, etc. not about the « Church ».
How should we perceive the prophecies? Like this: Leave the curse and blessing for Israel but also see that individual believers or groups of believers can be in circumstances, that are equal to those mentioned in Scripture. Especially in our dispensation there is a large variety. From what this originates we won't look into now. One thing is sure: There are different stages of faith. This has been lost out of sight to much. It is also proof, that one can apply the prophecy on, but they do not concern the believers of our days. That application is individual.
Our expectation is not that of the O.T. believers. It is much higher. The O.T. revelation is purpose serving, not purpose setting for « the day of salvation ». Therefore one has to read Scripture, taking in especially that of which the Holy Spirit makes us notice, what « hits » us and what we feel we have to reread and rethink. That is the personal teaching, the « application ». With all that, the explanation and final fulfilling stays for Israel. That nation will see in full truth what God has spoken, Israel as nation will experience the promises (and punishments). At present God applies to times and occasions. One will by this of Isaiah, the second by that of Jeremiah, a third by something of Ezekiel. If the O.T. prophecies were about us, we would all experience the same at the same time. And that is not the case. Application therefore is individual, according to different times, the unfulfilled concerns the whole of Israel in the next dispensation or aion. (There is a difference between dispensation and aion.)
The Basic Mistake. The basic mistake of making-the-application-to-explanation lies in the idea, that there is only one congregation, one « Church », that is assembled from the foundation of the world. That is not the case. Eph. 3:15 speaks of all (Greek: each) lineage (not family) in the heavens and on earth. God prepares many groups and for each of these groups He has specific promises. Now the word for a group with a more limited calling can also serve a group with a wider calling. There can be a certain parallel, because all groups consist of people, which have been placed in a personal relation to God. Herewith one can learn from the other. This however does not mean that believers of this dispensation would receive Israel's promises as a heritage. Teaching that leads to « spiritualization » of Scripture. With that one reads instead of Israel, « Church ». Notwithstanding that one is liquefying Scripture, the danger arises one gets a « Church faith », because what God gave as a lesson, becomes a doctrine, i.e. is pushed into a certain system, which one is not allowed to leave without being affected by the judgment of having « deviant feelings ». That danger is far from imaginary these days. The personal appropriation of salvation gets hampered and obstructed. There must be spiritual growth. That is promoted by the O.T. used as application by its examples. One has to learn to see: What God says to Israel, often runs parallel with the life of individual believers concerning the process of sin and salvation, still our position is different, our calling a higher one.
Paul is the man whom God choose in His grace to reveal this higher calling. Without abolishing Israel's promises, God reveals us not only the lineage of the earth — Israel and the nations — but also the lineage of the heavens. Yes even more than that, the Body of Christ.
One of the basic mistakes of the Reformation is to not, or barely, see this, let alone work it out. Departed from Rome's house of bondage, it has to be baldly admitted that the Reformation is still wandering in the desert of State-Church and Church-State. They stayed at the spiritualization, which looks very pious, but robs God's Word from its strength and loses sight of the higher calling. Later we hope to have the opportunity to work out one and the other. For now one keeps in mind, that the prophecies are about Israel and to that nation the prophecies will eventually be fulfilled and that God encourages, comforts, reprimands and admonishes the individual believer by personal application of Israel's Scriptural words, and by presenting Israel's history as instructive teaching.
The Symbolism of Luke 4. For those who love to spiritualize the unfulfilled prophecy, we lastly like to point out the symbolism contained in Luke 4. There the Lord closes the book, after He read a part of Isa. 61, and gives it back to the servant. After and next to the literal meaning is a symbolic one. The servant — Israel — receives its book back! This means: the not fulfilled part is also for Israel albeit fulfilled in another dispensation. What the « Church » sees wrongly predicted for itself, has to be given back. The Lord gave more than that in the Pauline Scriptures, Israel gets its prophecy back. From the mass-conversion to the « Church » our fathers believed in, nothing has come true. Israel forms its own group and once converted, it will mostly not follow the Pauline line, the « Church » should have followed, but stand in relation to God as a servant to his lord, Israel is not in a brother relationship with Christ, like the believers in Romans see in Him their Firstborn Brother, nor as the members relate to the Head as Ephesians show us, but as subject to King. Israel is God's servant, God's nation. Its Lord and Monarch will lead it in such a way that they will receive their prophecies back, and lift themselves from the sobriety and the impurity incurred in the tombs of the nations. He will prepare Himself a people, to be willing on the day of His power.
Now that the servant receives the book back, and the deed of Christ in Luke 4 is symbol of returning to Israel the to them entrusted words of God (Rom. 3:2), and the book of Isaiah is symbol of all of Israel's prophecy, there lies a clue in Christ's way of acting, to see described in the Servant's Book, the Servant's History. In other words, the O.T. speaks of Israel, not of a church which was only revealed later, first to Paul, and of which he became the first servant at the beginning of mentioned intermediate-dispensation.
b. Some special terms ↑
It is desirable from the above general section to give some applications by discussing some terms.
Mountains of Israel. « Mountains of Israel » occurs 17 times in Ezekiel and only there.
For the first time in Eze. 6:2 — 4: « Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. ». One further reads the chapter. One will see the judgment over Israel announced.
Eze. 19:9. Jehoiakim's voice would not be heard again on the mountains of Israel. (V. 2 one of the cubs is Jehoahaz, see 2 Kings 23:31; 2 Ch. 36:1, the other is Jehoiakim 2 Kings 24:1; 2 Ch. 36:6). That is fulfilled.
Eze. 33:28 « For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through ». Etc. this is also fulfilled.
Eze. 34:13 « And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel ... » See also v. 14.
One reads also Eze. 35:12; 36:1, 4, 8.
Eze.37:22 « And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: » Etc. This is not yet fulfilled. What to believe? This. From Eze. 6, 19, 33 and 36 it shows that the mountains of Israel lie in Palestine. Respect for God's word demands that we understand the same in Eze. 37 and not change it into something else.
The same in Eze. 38:8, 39:2, 4, 17. Gog and Magog will come on the mountains of Israel. Leaving in the middle how this should be taken, this word is certainly unfulfilled, because according to Rev. 20 this will not occur but after the 1000 year, long after Christ has returned. How to explain this word? Based on the previous we mean, keeping ourselves consistent to what Scripture teaches, here also the literal meaning must be kept. On the literal mountains of Israel will Gog find his end. God means what He says. The fulfilling lies in the future. Why would « mountains of Israel » mean something different here? Scripture explains itself, specifically concerning these terms.
Land of Israel I. The term « Land of Israel », Hebrew: Adàmàh Israel, i.e. the homeland of Israel, occurs 20 times in Ezekiel. Eze. 7:2: « Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. »
Eze. 11:17 « Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. »
Eze. 12:19 « And say unto the people of the land, Thus saith the Lord GOD of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and of the land of Israel; They shall eat their bread with carefulness, and drink their water with astonishment, that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all them that dwell therein. » See v. 22. Eze. 13:9; 18:2; 21:2, 3; 25:3, 6; 33:24; 36:6. Judgments over the land or mentioning of the land. In Eze. 20:38 it's is about the judgment, v. 42 about the recovery.
Eze. 37:12 « Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. » Those « you » are the dry bones, depicting the whole House of Israel.
While the previous taught us what the land of Israel is, we have to give the same explanation of it in Eze. 37. It's the literal geologic area between Egypt and the Euphrates. Why make something different of it then the Spirit has made written down?
In Eze. 38:18 and 19 we read that Gog will come in the land of Israel. Does this now mean he will rise up against the « Church »? If so, against which « Church »? Or will the « Church » become a unity again? Let's take the Scriptures as God gave it. Why make it hard on ourselves with all kinds of different explanations? Let's remember the lesson God gave us about the land of Israel and say: If the beginning of Ezekiel teaches us that the land of Israel is a geographical area, it makes no sense and leads to great confusion, to change the same term into something else at the end of Ezekiel, for example a spiritual congregation or whatever. Anybody then has the right to make of it what he wants. In not a single official writing one can afford to behave like this, yet with Scripture one can? And what one does strifes with all laws of language and revelation, reason and logic. That's not all. It's not the question what we think we have to make of it, but this: What did the Israelite understand of it? If they understood the term as land of Israel, can't they later say to God: « But Lord, You said: land of Israel and now it is the « Church » that we never even heard of. » If we stay true to ourselves and say: This term means the same all the time but there is an interspace between the fulfilled and unfulfilled part concerning that land of Israel, then Scripture keeps its strength and the prophecy stays for Israel.
Land of Israel II. The term Arets Israel (not Adàmàh Israel) occurs 12 times in the O.T.
1 Sam. 13:19 « Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel ... »
Furthermore 2 Kings 5:2, 4; 6:23; (1 Ch. 13:2); 22:2; 2 Ch. 2:17; 30:25; 34:7; Eze. 27:17.
Eze. 40:2 « In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel ... »
Eze. 47:18 From v. 13 on the border of the 12 tribes are described. The land of Israel borders in this description to the Jordan in the east. In Ezekiel we find this term 3 times. Where we use the criterion of Scripture, we must take this term literally. Eze. 40 sees the House in the land of Israel. This House has never been seen there. Eze. 40 therefore waits on its future fulfillment as well. As is Eze. 47.
One can see that we, explaining this way, don't use our own criterion, but Scripture's. We have to leave it to God, when He shall fulfill the unfulfilled. Also one can see, that if we seek the norm in the H.S. itself, all will come to the same conclusion. If the land of Israel, is really the land of Israel, i.e. the geographical area east of the Mediterranean sea, and nothing else, then there's only one opinion left pertaining to Eze. 40 and 47. Then this part, God speaking the truth, must be future. We believe therefore, that the prophecy one day will become reality.
Cities of Israel. 1 Sam. 18:6 « And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. » 1 Kings 15:20 « So Benhadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abelbethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. » See also 2 Ch. 16:4.
2 Kings 13:25 « And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel. »
Eze. 39:9 « And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years: »
Four times we are taught outside of prophecy what « cities of Israel » are. There are even some called by name. Shall we now say the fifth time, forget the fourfold lesson, and say we don't know at all, or that we don't believe that Israel will come in its cities? We believe that for the fifth time we should also keep « cities of Israel » to be cities in the land of Israel and place Eze. 39 in the future, specifically, after what happens in Rev. 20:1 — 6.
Cities of Judah. 2 Sam. 2:1 « And it came to pass after this, that David enquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up into any of the cities of Judah? ... »
Jer. 1:15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne ... and against all the cities of Judah.
Jer. 4:16 « ... watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. »
Jer. 10, 11 « Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: (i.e in the aion to come) ... » Who reads through the chapter, will notice it reaches far beyond the recovery from Babel (See v. 17 — 26). Should we now see in the cities of Judah spiritual cities of the « Church »? Or simply believe, what God teaches us by virtue of Jeremiah?
Judah and Jerusalem. Isa.1:1 « The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem ... »
Isa. 2:1 « The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. »
Should the latter now be the « Church »? Than what is the mountain of the House of the Lord, what are the mountains, the hills? Why should we take « gentiles » literal and also the nations, but the other symbolic? One stays real and take also in Isa. 2:1 Judah and Jerusalem literally. Its fulfillment lies in the future.
Isa. 3:1 « For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water. » Is it now the literal Judah and Jerusalem, because it concerns a judgment?
See also Jer. 4:5; 17:20; 19:7; 27:20.
Jer. 33. One reads this beautiful chapter in its whole. We only point out v. 15 and 16:
« In those days (i.e. of the reconstructing of Israel), and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David. » This concerns Christ in His second coming, of which 2 John 7 says according to the Greek: « For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is coming in the flesh. » (Not come as the KJV says, as if in the past).
V. 15 continues: « and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. ». Is this fulfilled? Do we see Christ' judgment seat established on earth? Surely not. Now v. 16.
« In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. ». If one takes literally that Christ will execute judgment and righteousness, one also takes literally that in those days Judah and Jerusalem will be saved. See also Jer. 40:1; 52:3.
Joel 3:1 « For behold, in those days, and in that time, when I turn back to the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem. »
In which days? Joel 2:31 tells us, in the days of which is written: « The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. ». In those days the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem shall be turned back again.
Joel 3:20 « But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation ». For ever means in the age to come, from the parallel words: From generation to generation it shows that age is a time space. How one wants to apply this to the « Church », is a mystery.
For those who leave the Word in its strength, it is clear evidence God will remember Israel and will fulfill this word over Judah and Jerusalem. For those who hold on to the literal meaning, the intermediate-dispensation is clearly visible.
Zec. 14:14 « And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem ... ». 14:21 « Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts ». This can also be taken literal. Why not? Consistency leads to clarity.
« House of Judah » The researcher check this out himself after reading the text where House of Judah occurs first. This is 2 Sam. 2:4 « And the men of Judah came, and there (i.e. Hebron) they anointed David king over the house of Judah. ». This therefore is the tribe of Judah.
See also: 2 Sam. 2:7, 10, 11; 1 Kings 12:21, 23; 2 Kings 19:30; 1 Ch. 28:4; 2 Ch. 11:1; 19:11; 22:10; Neh. 4:16; Isa. 22:21; 37:31; Jer. 3:18; 5:11; 11:10, 17; 12:14; 13:11; 31:27; 33:14; 36:3; Eze. 4:6; 8:17; 25:3, 8, 12; Hosea, 1:7: 5:12, 14; Zep. 2:7; Zec. 8:13, 15, 19; 10:3, 6; 12:4.
The norm can be easily laid out here. One keeps these terms the same also. And even though the fulfilling is outside of the current dispensation, that is no reason to change the criterion. All we have to say is: The time of fulfilling of many parts is not yet been, but will once come.
House of Israel. From Exo. 16:31 we learn what the House of Israel is. « And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna » That House of Israel were the twelve tribes, sprouted from Jacob.
Exo. 40:38 « For the cloud of the LORD was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. »
See also Lev. 10:6; 17:3, 8, 10; 22:18; Num. 20:29; Jos. 21:45; Ruth 4:11.
Isa. 5:7 « For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel ... »
See also 8:16; 14:2.
Isa. 46:3 « Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb. »
Isa.63:7 « I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. »
Should this now concern the « Church », because it's a beautiful promise? Or would the Lord now mean the twelve tribes as well? Who bows for the H.S. says: House of Israel is ... House of Israel i.e. the twelve tribes born from Jacob.
See for one selves: Jer. 2:4, 26; 3:18, 20; 5:11, 15; 9:26; 10:1; 11:10, 17; 13:11; 18:6, 6; 23:8; 31:31; 33; 33:14, 17.
Eze. 3:1, 4, 5, 7, 17; 4:,3, 4; 6:11; 8:6, 10, 11, 12; 9:9; 11:5, 15; 12:6, 9, 10, 24, 27: 34:30; 35:15; 36:10, 17, 21, 22, 32, 37; 37:11, 16; 39:12, 22, 23, 25, 29; 40:4; 43:7, 10; 44:6, 6, 12, 22; 45:6, 8, 17, 17.
Here also one applies the rule. In the beginning of Ezekiel is House of Israel the twelve tribes. Why not in Eze. 37, 38, 40, 44, 45? One stays consistent to the literal meaning. Such terms are constant through the whole of the Scriptures. God means the same House. Not the « Church », but Israel is the subject of the O.T. prophecy. One makes oneself acquainted with that thought and see the prophetic interim.
House of Jacob We find this term for the first time in Gen. 46:27 « And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten. » One sees the simple lesson: House of Jacob means: Jacob's natural descendants.
Exo. 19:3 « And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel »
Isa. 2:5 « O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the LORD. »
Isa. 8:17 « And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. »
Isa. 10:20 « And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. »
Isa. 14:1 « For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. »
Isa. 29:22 « Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale. »
Isa. 46:3 « Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: »
Isa. 48:1 « Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the LORD, and make mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness. »
Isa. 58:1 « Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. »
Jer. 2:4; 5:20; Eze. 20:5; Amos 3:13; 9:8.
Oba. 17, 18 « But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, ... »
Mich. 2: 7 ; 3:9.
Straight Scriptural view takes all of this literal for the twelve tribes of Israel. This way one doesn't put in a subjective opinion, but believes simply God's Word, the way it is given to us. The consequence of it is, one also takes literally Luke 1:31: « He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest » That the orthodox Christian will take real, not ideal. Christ is really God's Son, not just called that way because of his excellence as an ideal man.
« and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David » That, the orthodox Christian usually takes spiritual. We ask however: Has David's throne ever been in heaven? Or is David ever been king of the « Church »?
« And he shall reign over the house of Jacob » That is supposed to be the « Church ». Why, we cannot see. To our opinion God means what He says. Christ will for real be King over the House of Jacob, i.e. over the twelve tribes of Israel. After all, it was written above the cross: The King of Jews. Was that a lie? Above all that, He is called the King of Israel four times in the N.T.. See Mat. 27:42; Mark 15:32; John 1:49, 12:13. One time He will be that. The criterion, that House of Jacob means also in the N.T. the literal people of Israel, should be maintained throughout the N.T., unless we want to have our own opinion. God will fulfill this word in the future. One day Israel will acknowledge Christ to be its King and worship Him.
Seed of Israel This term occurs 7 times in the O.T., namely in 2 Kings. 17:20; 1 Ch. 16:13; Neh. 9:2; Psa. 22:23; Isa. 45:25 en Jer. 31:36, 37. It concerns Israel each time, also in Psa. 22. Notice that in Psa. 22 between verses 21 and 22 lies the intermediate-dispensation, which we already mentioned. From v. 22 and on this psalm is future. Thus also v. 23: « Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. » (Also v. 27 and 28 « All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations. ») One read further this beautiful Messianic psalm of humiliation and future glory of Christ.
Jacob and Israel. This term occurs in Isaiah in the chapter 9:7; 14:1; 27:6; 29:23; 40:27; 41:8, 14; 42:24; 43:1, 22, 28; 44:1, 2, 21, 23; 45:4; 48:1, 12; 49:5, 6. This does not refer to the « Church » but to Israel. Just look at Isa. 14:1 « For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land ... »
The « Church » has heavenly blessings. For the « Church » doesn't count what Isa. 14:1 says of Jacob and Israel. Where chapter 14:1 teaches us that Jacob and Israel is God's chosen people, to whom He will give the land Canaan, should we now think in the second part of Isaiah about the « Church » and thus read something else than it says because these verses contain beautiful promises? One leaves those promises for Israel. If the « Church » appropriates those promises it impoverishes Israel and enriches itself with an unlawful part while rejecting its more glorifying possession. Let each keep its part and let them that receive more than Israel, not want to have what is meant for that Nation.
In Isaiah it is not about us. Our appropriation doesn't benefit us, we loose sight of our vocation, if we take Israel's promises meant for us. Appropriation of Israel's promises leads to confusion, obscurity and insecurity. God has written things for His nation Israel, gave them promises. For us there are others. Even though He didn't fulfill them all, doesn't mean they stay unfulfilled. In due time He will re-establish the connection with Israel.
Again we mention that application is something different then explanation. Likewise He remembers Israel, no matter what they did, likewise He remembers His children even though they might forget Him for a while. With explanation it's about the question: About whom is a Scripture or prophecy, to whom is the word aimed; with the application: What lesson is there to learn. Isaiah, deals with Israel, not with the « Church ».
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