ISRAEL TO-DAY AND TOMORROW

 

By

 

D. M. PANTON

 

The Jew is so the enigma of history, the insoluble exception to all national rulers, that Hagel, the German philosopher, said:- "The history of the Jew is a dark, troublesome enigma to me.  I am not able to understand it.  It does not fit in with any of our categories.  It is a riddle."  Moreover, it is the key, and the only key, to all history.  Herr Streicher, probably the bitterest Jew-hater in the world, said:- "I shall not rest until the motto - The Jewish Question Explains All World-History - appears on the wall of every University, and every elementary school, and of every school teacherís home."  A keen-eyed enemy of Jehovah thus discovers, through the observation of hate, one of Jehovahís master-truths.  Every day the Jewish problem grows more acute all over the world, and every day it becomes more vital that we should grasp Godís solution of the problem, so that we may tread warily in the dangerous spiritual country we are entering.

 

LO- AMMI

 

First of all, Scripture makes the present position of Israel perfectly explicit.  Hosea sums it up.  "And Jehovah said, Call his name Lo-ammi; for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God: yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea" (Hos. 1: 9).*  Israel to-day - disowned, disinherited, without God and without hope - [i.e., for as long as they continue to reject Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, and up to the time of His second advent,] - exceeds, in its 15,000,000, all limits in its long history.  There is, as Paul says, "at the present time a remnant according to the election of grace" (Rom. 11; 5), and no Christian mission in the world has been - in ratio to its numbers - so successful as the appeal of Christ to the Jew; but, as a race, once Godís select and solitary people, it has now been wholly supplanted by the Church.  God never has two peoples on the earth at once.  As Hosea (Rom. 9: 25) says again:- "I will call them my people, which were not my people: and her beloved which was not beloved."  The unceasing sin of fifteen centuries culminating in Calvary produced our Saviourís terrible summary of Israel:- They "which say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 2: 9).

 

[* In 1790 there were 3,000,000 Jews in the world; in 1881 there were 7,500,000; in 1914 there were 14,000,000; in 1923 there were over 15,000,000.]

 

THE ISRAEL OF GOD

 

For a deeper truth lies beneath.  The "Israel of God" never was, and will be, on this side of the Kingdom, anything but a core of life in a rind of death.  Paul puts it (Rom. 2: 28) thus:- "He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward, in the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter."  All down the centuries, the real Jew, the Israel of God, was the Israelite who had been born again.  "For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but A NEW CREATION: as many as shall walk by this rule" - the experience of the new birth - "peace be upon them, and upon the Israel of God" (Gal. 6: 16) - all the redeemed of all ages who are Abrahamís blood.  It is a striking confirmation that no sooner does Nicodemus stumble over the doctrine of regeneration than Jesus says (John 3: 10):- "Art thou the teacher of Israel, and understandest not these things?"  The whole Bible (e.g. Ezek. 11: 19, etc.) states always the necessity of a new birth.

 

THE TEMPLE

 

Israelís age-long apostasy can only ripen to its close.  The vast resurgence of the Jew to Palestine which all the world is watching can, both in normal development and in prophetic fulfilment, have but one certain goal - a rebuilt Temple.  Here is a petition in the Prayer Book of the British Jews:- "May it be thy will, O Lord our God and God of our fathers, that the temple be speedily rebuilt in our days, and grant our portion in thy law.  And there we will serve thee with awe, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years.  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years."  The final tragedy of Israel she herself thus prepares.  For a crowning covenant (doubtless made for their own protection) with Antichrist of a weekís duration he suddenly breaks, the resumed sacrifices are at once stopped, and the Image of the Beast is erected in the Holy of Holies as a final insult to Jehovah.

 

A REMNANT

 

But a second selection within Israel - not now a remnant according to the election of grace - appears.  Out of the twelve tribes, rediscovered doubtless supernaturally, a new remnant arises for which a peculiar destiny is reserved.  "A hundred and forty four thousand," John says (Rev. 7: 4), were "sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel."  It is to all restored Israel in Palestine that our Lord directs His command:- "When ye see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place" Ļ - Antichristís image in the rebuilt temple - "then let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains" (Matt. 24: 15). These "fly into the wilderness" - beyond the mountains - "where they are nourished" - doubtless again by Angels with manna (Rev. 12: 14) - for the three and a half years of Antichristís world dominion.

 

GODíS PEOPLE

 

But a tremendous revolution occurs, necessarily, as the new age dawns; and the whole attitude of the Jew is revolutionized, probably by the appearance, and inspired instructions, of Elijah returned from the heavenlies.  Church standing departs with the day of Grace: righteousness - that is, law - returns; therefore Old Testament distinctions once again sever the nations.  This is most strangely disclosed when the entire mass of mankind is brought before the Lord on Olivet.  The treatment of the Jew - Godís people once again, with the enormously rich added asset that Incarnate Deity has since been born of that race - becomes the criterion of international judgment.  "Inasmuch as ye did it" - good or bad - "unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me" (Matt. 25: 40); for the Saviour identifies Himself, on the Judgment Throne, with the race out of which He was born; and this crucial dividing line Christ drives through the entire mass of humanity alive on earth in those closing years.  So, exactly as of old, Israel, irrespective of its internal spiritual condition before God, is again the Chosen Race, chosen with a Divine choice which God demands that the nations shall recognize. "ALL THAT DEVOUR HIM SHALL BE HELD GUILTY: evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord" (Jer. 2: 3).

 

EXTERMINATION

 

So now we close the double secret of Israelís last dread tragedy.  On the one hand, from the side of God the judgment for Calvary down all the ages culminates in the agony of ĎJacobís troubleí: from the side of Satan, the last physical embodiment of the Divine - Israel, who produced both the Bible and the Christ - becomes their last crucial obstacle to Hell.  The double provision works the tragedy. Privilege unexampled met by sin unexcelled - the crucifixion of the Son of God supplemented by a rebuilt Temple after two thousand years of gospel appeal, on the one hand: on the other hand, the plot of Hell to make this Divine judgment, carried out by the nations, Israelís extermination, so stamping out even the records of God:- these together, from opposite poles, combine to produce a national agony without precedent in the history of the world.  Two-thirds of the restored Zionists of Palestine will be massacred or otherwise destroyed (Zech. 13: 8); and nothing will prevent the annihilation of the Jew but the descent of our Lord on Olivet.

 

SALVATION

 

But now we reach the most extraordinary fact of all.  Godís Word remains inevitable.  After forecasting their total fall, Hosea (1: 10) says:- "And it shall be, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people" - that is, throughout the whole earth - "there shall they be called sons of the living God."  So Paul says (Rom. 11: 25):- "A hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; AND SO ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED."  ĎFulnessí means a patch sown into a rent, the filling up of a gap: the moment, therefore, that the last Gentile is sewn into salvation before the Apocalypse of Christ, the hour strikes for the salvation of the Jew.  Amid its sobbing millions (Zech. 12: 11) a nation is born again in a day; and with our Lord once again on earth Jehovah says:- "Thy people shall be all righteous, they shall inherit the land forever" (Isa. 60: 21).

 

THE ROYAL NATION

 

So finally, in the Age to Come, Israel receives that royalty of the nations for which she was created.  "And it shall come to pass in the latter days that many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2: 3).  That Israel will be the Royal Nation shines forth in the fact that a unique reward of the Apostles is that they "shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19: 28); and the only earthly Monarch in the Kingdom revealed to us by name is Ďthe man after Godís own heart.í  "And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David" (Ezek. 34: 23 and also Hos. 3: 5).  So of the earthly Jerusalem Jehovah says:- "That nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted" (Isa. 60: 12).  Gabrielís announcement to Mary - "The Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David" (Luke 1: 32), is accomplished in the words of Jeremiah (3: 7) - "At that time they shall call JERUSALEM THE THRONE OF THE LORD: in those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north that I gave for an inheritance unto your fathers."

 

Israel now:-

 

No prophets now their hearts amaze,

Forsaken Israel wanders lone;

Their fathers would not know Thy ways,

And Thou hast left them to their own.

 

But O, when stoops on Judahís path,

In shade of storm, the frequent night,

Be Thou, long suffering, slow to wrath,

A burning and a shining Light!

 

Israel then:-

 

O come O come, Immanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here,

Until the Son of God appear:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

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[Note. 1

 

Matthew 24: 15 is directed to "the disciples" (ver. 3): not Ďto all restored Israel in Palestineí.

 

It has been pointed out that the "blessed hope" of the church, is the "glorious appearing ["appearance of the glory" (Greek)] of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ" (Tit. 2: 13): it is not a secret, invisible event.

 

Paul writing "to the Church" (1 Thess. 1:1) in ch. 2 says: "Donít let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day the day of the Lordí, 2: 2.) will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, and even sets himself up in Godís temple, proclaiming himself to be God" (ver. 3, 4).

 

The words "appearance" and "glory" are a repetition of the words used by Christ in Matt. 24: 30 on the same topic: "At that time" [that is, after the events that immediately follow the Great Tribulation] "the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, ... they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (G. H. Lang.)

 

"That the "elect" (of Matt. 24: 24) refers to disciples who are Christians is certain, as G. H. Lang has pointed out:-  (1) "No gathering of Jews to Palestine at this hour is known to Scripture. There is to be one before the reign of the Beast, for he will persecute them there, and another, expressly termed the second, after Christ shall have come to Jerusalem (Isa. 11: 10, 12).  If this at the moment of the appearing were Jews that latter one would be the third.  (2) This gathering of the elect is universal: were it of Israelites none of these would be left for that later and second gathering.  (3) The Gentile nations, not angels, will be agents of that second gathering of Israel (Isa 11: 12; 14: 2; 49: 22; 66: 19,20).  (4) This gathering takes place while Christ is yet in the clouds, whereas Israel are not to be gathered there, but to their land and city.

 

Christ further stated that the gathering of the elect should be accompanied by "a great sound of a trumpet" (Matt. 24: 31). This is repeated in 1 Thess. 4: 16, and 1 Cor. 15: 52 describes this as the "last trump."  The last trump of Scripture is recorded in Rev. 11: 15-18.  Under it four events are grouped:  (1) The anger of the nations and Godís wrath upon them;  (2) The time of the dead to be judged - the godly dead, for it is before the millennium: comp. Dan. 7: 22;  (3) The rewarding of the prophets, saints, and those who fear God;  (4) The destruction of the destroyers of the earth.

 

Thus the raising and rewarding of the godly take place at the same epoch as the destruction of the wicked, and all is after the Tribulation, for it is the time of the destruction of the Beast, and is after he has persecuted, and has killed the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem (Rev. 11: 1-3).  Thus the church of God is viewed as continuing in affliction right down to the apocalypse (public appearing) of Christ."

 

Therefore the rapture of the watchful, prayerful and all "able to escape all that is about to happen," [ i.e., the Great Tribulation] who will "be able to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21: 34-36); must therefore be only a section of the redeemed; and this is taught also in Rev. 3: 10: "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world" - this is a conditional promise, and therefore does not embrace all the redeemed.

 

Two raptures must therefore occur, the first before the Tribulation, and the other at its end; and the former is selective.  That is, it includes only those who are Ďcareful,í Ďalways on the watch,í and Ďable to stand before the Son of Maní (Luke 21: 34, 36).]

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