FATE OF THE HOUSES OF ISRAEL
Who are the houses of Israel? There is an excellent and simple book on the five chief religions of the world by John Dickson, 'A Spectator's Guide to World Religions: An Introduction to the Big Five', 2004, 3rd Edn, Aquila Press, Sydney South, Australia. Our family has always had a soft heart for the Jewish people. Having received DNA data on my genealogy, in April 2019, I wonder whether I have a God-given spiritual link to the Jewish diaspora because I have 1.4% Jewish Ashkezani blood in my background, probably acquired in the 1700's. I suspect that there are many who, if it were possible to trace their geneaology all the way back to the 12 tribes of Israel, are descendants of those peoples. A German relative of mine was stunned when I pointed out to him that his family coat of arms prominently featured the Star of David.
In easy to read fashion, Dickson outlines the history and complexities of modern-day Judaism. There is an excellent overview of how the books of the Law and Prophets revered in the Christian Bible are also revered by Judaism except that they have been heavily overlaid by volumes of other material that are collections of oral traditions handed down since the days of Joshua and added to immensely since then by learned elders and rabbis. These separate books are known as the Mishnah, the Midrash and the Talmud which have become integral with Judaism. Nevertheless, the books of the Law and Prophets are esteemed as fundamental to and are the core of Judaism. They are known as the Tanakh, also as the Mikra or the canonical Hebrew Bible, which include the Torah, the five books of Moses.
In its quest to deal with the modern world Judaism progressively became more diversified especially since the 1800's as Jews in different regions developed different pathways of worship and beliefs such as bringing music into synagogues and allowing men and women to sit together. More importantly there were also changes in basic beliefs such as dress and eating codes. Secular Jews are more interested in Zionist patriotism and possession of the lands around Jerusalem, and in the modern State of Israel than in religious Judaism itself. Tel Aviv, with its night clubs and bright lights, differs so differently from the religious mood and tenor that can be found in Jerusalem. For example, they give high honour to Moses and the exodus from Egypt, but deny the miracles of God that achieved it. Secular Jews arrive at various political compromises with minor religious parties to govern Israel. Hence the various skirmishes and divisions that arise within the State of Israel about resettlement issues in Palestine, etc.
Dickson's discussion of Judaism unfortunately seems to totally ignore an important fact about Judaism, namely, that Israel was split into two kingdom's after the reign of Solomon, King David's son. However, a book by HA Sevener of Chosen People Ministries Inc (Israel's Glorious Future: The Prophecies and Promises of God Revealed, 1996) complements Dickson's discussions, in part, with the intricacies of Israel's history and prophetic future of a united Israel comprising all its tribes. Unfortunately Sevener's book on a third temple, as he describes, for the millennium and continuation of sin into the millennium is totally different from what I read in the Scriptures. Don't believe everything you read, not from some evangelists and not even from some Messianic Jews either, no matter how scholarly and sincere it may be portrayed! Get into the Scriptures yourself. The most important thing to remember about the 1000-yr millennium is that it is God's 7th Day of Rest in the Redemptive Week. He will deal with Satan and sin at the end of the millennium when the wicked are resurrected to walk the Earth.
'And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever' (Revelation 20:7-10).
HISTORY OF THE TWO HOUSES OF ISRAEL
Due to the harshness imposed upon the people of Israel by Rehoboam, Solomon's son, ten of the tribes of Israel separated themselves from Judah and Benjamin who remained with the Levites to worship in Jerusalem (1 Kings Chapter 12). Under the leadership of Jeroboam they moved into their own northern regions centred on the lands of Ephraim and Manasseh, the inheritance of Joseph's two sons which he brought into the world in Egypt through his Egyptian wife. The ten tribes became known as the northern kingdom and fought bitter battles against the southern kingdom, comprised mainly of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the priestly tribe - the Levites. Although separation was in the will of God the northern kingdom soon corrupted the order of worship, built false altars and appointed their own priests who were not Levites. They were eventually swept away entirely by the Assyrians who repopulated their lands with peoples from other pagan nations - hence Samaria was despised by the Jews of the southern kingdom. Strangely enough, when Samaria was plagued by lions, they sought help from God who allowed Levites to teach them about Himself. The plague of lions abruptly ceased. Therefore they had a knowledge and form of worship of God, which is evident from the conversation that Jesus had with the woman of Samaria at the well.
As mentioned, the original ten tribes were driven from their lands, in small and larger family groups, generally assimilating to various degrees with the gentile nations all around bringing with them a corrupted view of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As has become evident in recent years some managed to retain some of their customs from Judah which has surprised modern anthropologists - those that have some awareness of their original roots call themselves not Jews but Israelites. Most of the ten tribes however have intermarried with gentiles and only God knows where their DNA has spread to.
Of the three major Feasts instituted by the Lord Passover is the most widely celebrated throughout the world. The symbolism of this feast was demonstrated at St Kilda Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia, at Easter in 2018. It symbolizes the 'Way Out', literal meaning of the Exodus from slavery to sin for every Jew and Gentile, which the Lord instituted first in Egypt when innocent blood was smeared on the lintel and door posts of every household. Jesus described Himself as the door and as the Way. Christianity was first called 'The Way'.
Jewish Messianic Passover Celebration, St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia 2018
The first song on this video is a portion of 'God is ever faithful'. The second song is Israel's mournful longing for the return of Elijah who was prophesied to precede the long awaited Messiah. Children were sent to the front door of the hall to see whether Elijah had returned. Of course, they came back announcing that there was no one there. Messianic Jews recognize that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah pointing to the lamb who takes away the sin of the world. The third song, accompanied by dancing, 'Hava Nagila' meaning 'Let us rejoice', is a staple Jewish folk song almost always performed at Jewish celebrations whether they be secular or not.
So there are two houses of Israel - Those currently known as Jews and those that belong to the ten lost tribes (Israelites). The Old Testament prophesies that God will reunite them in His good time. That will be fairly soon in the future as Harold Sevener beautifully reviews in the first part of his 1996 book (but take great care in the second portion of his book where he includes future blood sacrifices in a Jerusalem Temple).
ISRAEL'S PROPHETIC FUTURE
Although Israel's prophetic future allows some leeway for different interpretations I would generally hold some of Sevener's belief's to do with events prior to the millennium because at a set point of our future history there will be a separation within the people of God between those who are caught up to heaven (symbolized as the Manchild), or those taken with eagle wing power into the wilderness under the Lord's protection from the 'red dragon' and those who will have to remain and 'face the music' so to speak. This is made clear in Revelation Chapter 12:
'And the earth helped the woman (The bride of Christ, shining with the glory of the Sun and crowned with 12 stars - symbol of authority and apostolic power). And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged over the woman and went to make war with the rest of her seed who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ' (Revelation 12:16-17).
Therefore, in the interpretation of prophecies relating to Jews and gentiles, many confounding facets have to be kept in mind whether the Scripture is referring to united Israel (Israelite and Jew) or just the Jews, or all believers in the Messiah (Jew and gentile) or the distinction between the bride and the remnant of her seed both of whom hold the testimony of Jesus Christ. Thus, we all need to await further clarification by the Holy Spirit and unfolding of events. [Note: The half-hour of silence in heaven (Revelation 8:1) is another unexpected time dilation on Earth during the time of the 7th seal because, if one day in heaven is 1000 years on Earth, it speaks of a duration of time of 0.5/24 x1000 which is approximately 21 years. This is in fact the period of time during which the events HA Sevener speaks of will occur, not during the millennium where he mistakenly seems to think that wickedness can occur again.]
During the millenium, God's 7th Day of Rest, there will be peace and joy for the righteous as will also be the case in eternity for which He will create a new heaven and a new earth. "Pay close attention now: I'm creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I'm creating: I'll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight. I'll take joy in Jerusalem, take delight in my people: No more sounds of weeping in the city, no cries of anguish; No more babies dying in the cradle, or old people who don't enjoy a full lifetime; One-hundredth birthdays will be considered normal— anything less will seem like a cheat. They'll build houses and move in. They'll plant fields and eat what they grow. No more building a house that some outsider takes over, No more planting fields that some enemy confiscates, For my people will be as long-lived as trees, my chosen ones will have satisfaction in their work. They won't work and have nothing come of it, they won't have children snatched out from under them. For they themselves are plantings blessed by GOD, with their children and grandchildren likewise GOD-blessed. Before they call out, I'll answer. Before they've finished speaking, I'll have heard. Wolf and lamb will graze the same meadow, lion and ox eat straw from the same trough, but snakes—they'll get a diet of dirt! Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill anywhere on my Holy Mountain," says GOD" (Isaiah 65:17-25, MSG).
The resurrection or the rapture, as some refer to it, occurs at the second coming of Christ. The 1000-year millennium or the 1000-year kingdom age as some refer to it, only proceeds once all the wicked have been killed and the fallen angels have been imprisoned until they will be released again for a brief moment at the end of the 1000 years. During the millenium period there is no evil on Earth, in contradiction to HA Sevener's beliefs, and all believers from since the beginning of time will be in their resurrection bodies, as was exemplified by Christ when He appeared to his disciples after the resurrection. Note that I deviate totally from the proposals made by HA Sevener in his 1996 book on Israel's glorious future during the millenium for at least the following 2 major reasons:
1. 'Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years' (Revelation 20:6). The raptured faithful, both those who were raptured alive and those who were raised from the dead, are in resurrection bodies as they enter the 1000-year kingdom or millennium, and are holy to God incapable of failure or sin. This is why it is God's 1000-year day of rest, the 7th day of the Redemptive Week. The second resurrection of the wicked, that form the nations, will be deceived by Satan to imagine, now that they have been resurrected, that they can overcome God's holy people. However God knows the difference. They are resurrected at the end of the Millennium for judgement. They will die the second death because God will devour them with fire (Revelation 20:9).
2. On page 69 of his book Sevener, writing for Messianic Jews, suggests that an area near the Holy Place of the Third Temple (fashioned after Ezekiel's vision by zealous Jews in the near future) will be set aside for sacrificial animals in the Millennium. In that case Jesus died in vain and would have to die again! He can't do that because He is now in His resurrection body which is eternal, holy and indestructible. That suggestion comes from Satan.
Please don't fall into HA Sevener's unfortunate mistake. A physical third temple in Jerusalem will become an abomination to God. (See the end of this article and the article on the Third Temple on this website, https://www.creation6000.com/the-third-temple)
DEMISE OF THE SOUTHERN KINGDOM - GENERALLY KNOWN AS JUDAH OR JEWRY
It’s time to be frank and speak the truth without partiality as did also Harold Sevener in his book on Israel's glorious future. Sevener points to Ezekiel's prophecies how Israel would one day be gathered together as one state yet not really believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I had a friend in Israel who called himself a Hebrew and all his books were in Hebrew. He held Moses, David and others in high esteem but did not believe in a God of miracles. He was a secular Jew, proud of Israel's achievements, a Zionist as is true of most of Israel today. Current day Israel (2018) is a mixture of Messianic Jews of various sorts, Orthodox Jews and Israelites of various sorts holding fast to the law, secular Jews, gentiles and gentile Christians. Messianic Jews are growing in number. Messianic Jews, of course, hold fast to the teachings of Jesus as do evangelical Christians but prefer to retain their Jewish identities, which I am certain will be used by God in the end-times.
In the Tanakh, many prophets, particularly Jeremiah, delivered scathing prophecies to the ancient houses of Israel and Judah because of their continued unfaithfulness and wicked ways even sacrificing their children in the fire to the foreign god Molech in the days of the Kings. His chosen people often betrayed God and killed His prophets. God warned them patiently over and over again that He would bring horrors upon them and upon their lands. He warned them that in times of siege they would be eating their own children and will bring misery upon generations to come. Their stubbornness to pay only lip service, with religious rites and continue cheating their neighbours and burning cakes to the Queen of heaven, often angered God to the extreme.
Jeremiah listed option after option how they could return to the Lord if only they would show mercy to the oppressed and to the stranger but they would not. Kings extended their luxurious palaces without paying their workmen. Even famed King Solomon is stamped with the number 13, the number of sin, when it took him 13 years to build his palace signifying that he had gone overboard on luxuries levying heavy taxes on his own people (1 Kings 7:1). He lavished gifts upon the queen of Sheba and annually received 666 talents of gold (1 Kings 10:14), the number of the beast in the book of Revelations. Despite the wisdom God had given him Solomon followed his excessive pleasures and numerous marriages, which enticed him to pay homage to other gods. His own son, Rehoboam, admitted that his father had been a very hard taskmaster proclaiming that he would be even a harder ruler. This is why the northern tribes, under the leadership of Jeroboam, split from Judah and Benjamin creating the division between the Northern and Southern kingdoms who would be at each other’s throats.
When Rehoboam took over the southern kingdom he defied the wise counsel of the elders and announced ‘My father made your yoke heavy and I will add to your yoke. My father whipped you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions’ (1 Kings 12:14).
The only reasons the Lord chose to remain in Jerusalem is because He had caused His name to dwell in the Temple and because He had promised that the sceptre would remain with King David, a man after his own heart – despite David’s own serious failings.
At no other times were Israel’s actions more serious than when Jesus walked the Earth. Jesus prophesied the destruction of Herod’s Temple and Jerusalem, which came to pass under Prince Titus of Rome in 70 AD. The horrors that unfolded on the mountain fortress at Masada are held in honour by the State of Israel. Masada is promoted as the sort of heroism and patriotism that the Israeli military should emulate. God intended to bring His chosen people to repentance through such events, but the lessons remain unheard and are instead still being glorified. History has witnessed the resulting demise of the Jews over the millennia and recent centuries from which the horrors of the holocaust unfortunately cannot be excluded. Nevertheless, according to God's mercy a remnant was allowed to escape the holocaust that embroiled Europe. Many gentiles risked their lives helping the Jews.
One is saddened by the countless tragedies the wandering Jews have experienced over the years, but because of political correctness few dare to ask why God allowed it. Even Christians forget that, on behalf of most of Jewry, the people declared in the days of Jesus, ‘Then all the people answered and said, Let His blood be on us and on our children’ (Matthew 27:25). God took them at their word, and not only destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70 but also delivered them over to temporary blindness for 2000 years as the apostle Paul said himself being previously a zealous Jew and a Pharisee of Pharisees (Romans 11:7-15). However, God has been watching with a heavy heart over all Israel and is surely determined to restore a remnant in the end of days as several prophecies declare in the Bible. We can wonder about modern equivalents in our own countries and churches that are angering God.
One only has to read the book of Jeremiah to realize how often God’s anger was provoked despite all He had done for the twelve tribes and their forefathers. The royal households, including the priests, wanted to kill Jeremiah for telling the truth and prophesying against them and against Jerusalem. God’s prophecies become reality over time.
This lesson ought to be taken to heart by the whole world, not only the Jews. Nobody can blame anyone but themselves and the progressive decline in family and moral values for the environmental disasters and wars that are predicted to escalate to a much worse degree in the book of Revelation.
It’s no good saying that God is not love for He has perfect love that demands repentance, accountability and loyalty to God. Many people call God heartless, but they fail to see things from God’s perspective. His ministers continue to plead that if only people would change their ways God would repent from the evil that He has devised for the wicked. Unfortunately, the innocent suffer alongside as they see the rest go through terrible times (Psalm 91). I remember a testimony by a member of the Full Gospel Businessmen in Washington who sat in a plane that collided with another plane taxiing on the tarmac. The fire came from the front cabin devouring passengers row after row. The Christian sitting towards the back remembers a man on fire cursing God at the top of his voice. The Christian passenger prayed instead. The aluminium melted above his head. He managed to crawl out through the shell of the aeroplane which saved his life, injuring only his hands.
Jeremiah and Baruch could not escape the horrors of personally witnessing the destruction of Jerusalem, but God rewarded their righteousness with their lives. ‘The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the mouth of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah saying, 'So says Jehovah, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: You said, Woe is me now for Jehovah has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing and I find no rest. So you shall say to him, Jehovah says this: Behold, what I have built I will break down and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even all the land itself to Me. And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring evil on all flesh says Jehovah. But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places where you go’ (Jeremiah 45:1-5). The righteous can expect the same today!
RESTORATION OF THE REMNANT OF BOTH HOUSES OF ISRAEL
God is full of compassion and always has an eye out for a remnant. After all, the first Christians were Jews. Jeremiah and Isaiah included in their prophecies the coming of the Messiah and the return of joy and God’s blessings to His chosen people. I do not wish to dwell on these prophecies; exactly how the house of Judah and Israel, the ten so-called ‘lost tribes’ who were dispersed by the Assyrians, will be gathered again in the last days only God can know. God knows where they are and will search them out to gather them back into the land of their forefathers. This is slowly happening even as we speak. Some Israelites have returned to their homeland from central Asia not knowing which tribe they belong to yet they have retained traditional customs of kosher foods, prayer shawls and use Jewish proverbs in daily speech. Other groups are well aware of their tribe, however.
In the book of Zechariah we read an interesting prophecy that had and has two applications, separated by a gap of over 2000 years for its second fulfilment. Such prophecies are common in the Bible and are called prophecies with a double reference.
‘The burden of the Word of Jehovah for Israel, says Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the peoples all around and it shall also be against Judah in the siege against Jerusalem. And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples. All who lift it shall be slashed and all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. In that day, says Jehovah, I will strike every horse with terror and his rider with madness. And I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart the people of Jerusalem shall be my strength in Jehovah of Hosts, their God. In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood and like a torch of fire among cut grain. And they shall devour all the peoples all around, on the right hand and on the left hand. And Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her place, in Jerusalem. Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the people of Jerusalem may not be magnified above Judah. In that day Jehovah shall defend around the people of Jerusalem. And it will be he who is feeble among them, at that day, shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of Jehovah before them. And it shall be in that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the people of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be bitter over Him, as the bitterness over the first-born. In that day shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem like the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, each family apart; the family of David apart and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart and their wives apart; all the families who remain, each family apart and their wives apart’ (Zechariah 12:1-14).
I repeat the prophecy by one of their own prophets: 'And I will pour on the house of David, and on the people of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of prayers. And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be bitter over Him as the bitterness over the first-born. In that day shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem'. This is already happening. There are over 100 Messianic Jewish congregations in Israel alone and numbers will surely escalate shortly. They believe that Jesus was, and is, the Messiah they have been waiting for. After all, Yahweh Son became incarnate as a Jew, the man Yeshua.
It is interesting to note that Israel appreciates Christians. 'Israel has no better friends than those in the global Evangelical Christian community. And the global Evangelical Christian community has no better friend than Israel. That was the message conveyed on Sunday by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Brazil's massive Evangelical Christian community' (Monday, December 31, 2018, Israel Today).
The first fulfilment of this prophecy was realized on the day of Pentecost when 3000 Jews were struck to the heart – they heard from the apostle Peter, only a few weeks previously, that they had crucified the Lord of Glory. They immediately committed their lives to serve the Lord.
‘Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him—this Yeshua whom you had crucified—both Lord and Messiah! Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the emissaries, “Fellow brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be immersed in the name of Messiah Yeshua for the removal of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach ha-Kodesh. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away—as many as Adonai our God calls to Himself.” With many other words he warned them and kept urging them, saying, “Save yourselves from this twisted generation!” So, those who received his message were immersed, and that day about three thousand souls were added’ (Acts 2:36-41, TLV, Tree of Life Version).
Zechariah’s prophecy will be fulfilled shortly even more dramatically. So far there has only been a trickle of Jewish conversions to Christianity but with an ever increasing momentum.
Messianic Jews would surely admit that what has been achieved so far has been the outcome of effective preaching by gentile men and women of God. Gentile Christians have been supporting and encouraging the Messianic Jews. It is they who brought Christ into their lives. And they will continue to do so. Watch this testimony by a Jewish man,
In Ezekiel’s vision the shekinah glory of the Lord departed from the Ark, from Solomon’s Temple and from the rebellious city altogether. Where to? Symbolically to the mount East of the Temple – the Mount of Olives. ‘And the glory of the God of Israel had gone on from the cherub, where it was on it, to the threshold of the house……And the glory of Jehovah went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain which is on the east side of the city’ (Ezekiel 9:3; 11:23). Why there? That happens to be the same geographical location where Jesus also ascended into heaven (Luke 24: 50-51; Acts 1:9-12). This firmly links Jesus with the shekinah glory of the Ark which emanated from the midst of the cherubim. This is why the East Gate on the wall of Jerusalem, opposite the Mount of Olives across the Kedron Valley, has been bricked up - to prevent Jesus from returning via the Mount of Olives, as if blocking the gate would have any effect on the outcome of prophecy.
The East Gate, also known as the Golden Gate or Gate of Mercy. Note the graves of those who hope to be resurrected first when the Messiah approaches the gate.
Mount of Olives across the Kedron Valley, viewed from the direction of the East Gate
Jesus is our Ark of salvation - Our salvation is found in Him in the same manner in which those who found salvation during the great flood boarded the ark in the days of Noah through the only doorway, on the middle floor (representing The Father, SON, and Holy Spirit). And there is salvation in no other One; for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). ‘He who partakes of My flesh and drinks My blood dwells in Me and I in him’ (John 6:56). Jesus said He was the door (John 10:7-9).
1. We, the church, are the ark of salvation for the lost.
We cannot save anybody, but the Spirit of Jesus in us can.
Jesus is in our flesh ministering to the lost by the Holy
Spirit. As the apostle said, ‘Do you not know that you are a
Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you’
(1 Corinthians 3:16)?
Let us value our true status in God for we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). It’s true, isn’t it? We bear and carry His name. We are commanded to lift up the name of Jesus! ‘And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself’ (John 12:32). Look at the illustration. When the Priests lifted up the Ark of the Covenant they were lifting up Jesus.
Can you see the correlation and typology? In lifting up the cross we are also lifting up the Ark of His Covenant as did the priests under the old covenant. After all, we are kings and priests according to the apostle Paul.
2. In other words the Ark and the presence of the Lord carried by the priests across the Jordan as they began to possess the Promised land and the procession of priests blowing trumpets, is collectively represented by the church of the end-times, consisting of both Jewish and gentile converts. ‘And made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen’ (Revelation 1:6). This is confirmed by the 7’s in the account of Joshua and Israel taking Jericho. The number 7 is always indicative of end-times.
3. Since the 1960’s a significant numbers of Jews have received Jesus as their Messiah having heard the witness of the Christian church and their Messianic brethren. These are now also in the Ark of God, in Christ, waiting together with other Christians for more of their fellows to receive Christ. There is no distinction between Jew and gentile in God’s eyes (Galatians 3:28) even though, at this time, Messianic Jews prefer to practice Christianity rather differently and display allegiance to Israel in many of their ways. There is no doubt that God is going to use their Israeli identity to demonstrate something special to the world – that God is once again with Israel. At the moment the scriptures are rather obscure as to how this may happen.
4. To make their mark as the original chosen people, favoured by God because of His promise to Abraham as indeed the apostle Paul Himself pointed out, Messianic Jews have stayed within a movement known as Messianic Judaism, some retaining much of their distinct Jewish culture and food restrictions which are foreign to most Christians.
5. Depending on the degree to which they choose to retain aspects of Judaism, such as the covenants of God, abstaining from non-kosher foods and revering historic sites and feasts, Messianic Jews fall into different categories and are not united. Comparatively, they are as much divided as is the gentile Christian church. Nevertheless, as far as God is concerned we are all in Christ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianic_Jewish_theology.
6. It is because of God’s imposed blindness upon Jewry that Jewry has lagged behind by 2000 years in coming to Christ, but they are rapidly catching up year by year.
7. The body of Christ (the Ark of God), composed of Jew and Gentile, is standing secure on solid ground, in the midst of a world-wide flood of depravity and unbelief, showing both Houses of Israel and remaining gentiles the way forward. There are masses of Jews from both Houses of Israel yet to come. The gentile church, despite its many imperfections, has been an important path-finder for the Jews https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messianic_Judaism.
‘And if the Jews abandon their unbelief they will be put back in the place where they were for God is able to do that. You Gentiles are like the branch of a wild olive tree that is broken off and then, contrary to nature, is joined to a cultivated olive tree. The Jews are like this cultivated tree and it will be much easier for God to join these broken-off branches to their own tree again. There is a secret truth my friends, that I want you to know for it will keep you from thinking how wise you are. It is that the stubbornness of the people of Israel is not permanent but will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to God. And this is how all Israel will be saved. As the scripture says, "The Savior will come from Zion and remove all wickedness from the descendants of Jacob. I will make this covenant with them when I take away their sins." Because they reject the Good News, the Jews are God's enemies for the sake of you Gentiles. But because of God's choice, they are his friends because of their ancestors. For God does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses. As for you Gentiles, you disobeyed God in the past; but now you have received God's mercy because the Jews were disobedient. In the same way, because of the mercy that you have received, the Jews now disobey God, in order that they also may now receive God's mercy; for God has made all people prisoners of disobedience, so that he might show mercy to them all’ (Romans 11:23-32, Good News Bible).
THE ROLE OF MESSIANIC ISRAELITES IN END-TIMES
The Bible is very clear that the two Houses of Israel, once united in Christ, and the city of Jerusalem will have a huge role to play in end-time affairs. These people are still an apple in God’s eyes because of promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Together with the gentile church there will be a united front led by 12 latter-day apostles of the lamb against ungodly powers. There is much more that could be said. However, and there is always a ‘however’, there are dangerous temptations that will present themselves to both the gentile and Israelite Christians as explained below.
BUILDING A LITERAL THIRD TEMPLE MAY BECOME AN ABOMINATION TO GOD
Jewry and some Christians hope for the temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem.
Some present day Messianic Jews are possibly undecided whether the Messiah wants a third temple built in Jerusalem or not. Will it mean for some to sacrifice animals again? Mainstream Messianic Jews declare that all the offerings in the Temple were fulfilled by Jesus Christ and there is no further need for such rituals and the shedding of blood for the remission of sins. Some apparently favour retaining Judaism in some forms and have loyalty to uphold the holiness of the temple mount. A Messianic journal suggests, using both Old and New Testament scriptures, that Messianic Jews would not be prohibited from entering and participating in some way in a third temple as long as they believe that Jesus the Messiah has already come.
I would suggest that the reality is more in line with Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel Chapter 40 onwards) not with a literal reconstruction of a temple as is being envisioned by some. At this time I prefer the view expressed as one of the options in ‘gotQuestions?.org’, https://www.gotquestions.org/Ezekiel-temple.html.
‘the vision of Ezekiel’s temple says that God has not forsaken His people and that His relationship with them will be restored and elevated to a new, never-before-conceived glory and intimacy’. In this, those of gentile origin will have a place in the kingdom; exactly how will require further revelations from the Lord.
Since the formation of the State of Israel in 1948 there has been a flurry of activity to claim access to the Western Wall of the Temple. There, Jews from every nation, gather in pilgrimage and for prayers to God. Prayer requests are squeezed into cavities in the hope that God will read them. The greater hope of Israel is to gain an even greater access to the temple mount and that the Messiah will personally return by way of the Mount of Olives through the Eastern Gate. This is why Muslims bricked-up the Eastern Gate to this day, not wanting the Messiah to come to Israel.
United States President Trump, in recognizing Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel, has hastened Jewish desires in some circles to reclaim the temple mount and evict the Muslims. If that were to happen it would virtually be a declaration of war. The book of Revelations prophesies that something like that will eventually happen. Kingdoms and powers will take sides and come against each other in Israel.
With such hopes in view societies have been formed to research ancient temple documents, as well as designs for musical instruments and temple vessels, to recreate these for service by hand-picked Levites in a third temple. Some well-intentioned gentile and Messianic Christians have encouraged these efforts, and no doubt are planning to contribute financially to the construction of a succeeding temple in Jerusalem. However, here is a warning,
Whoso creates a mouth, must also feed it
Has it really entered into minds what the Tabernacle of Moses and the first and second temples were used for? As detailed in part on this web-site, God’s instructions for the layout and construction of the sanctuaries, and their strict religious protocols, were for the atonement of Israel by the shedding of blood foreshadowing the once and for all sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 10:1–4; 11–14).
If a literal temple is built there ought to be a veil separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place (despite the fact that God tore the heavy massive curtain down from top to bottom to demonstrate that we now have access to the Father through Jesus Christ). Will there be a high Priest to sprinkle lamb’s blood on a replica of the Ark and its Mercy Seat? Will he expect Yahweh to speak from the midst of the cherubim? Will there be holy perfume for the incense once again and sacred loaves of bread? Will priests wash themselves in the sea and will priests examine the sacrifices for burnt offerings? Will every male gather three times in the year for the compulsory annual Feasts? Who is going to burn the red heifer?
That was the entire purpose of the tabernacle and the temples. That is what will have to be done for the sake of completeness once there is a literal structure. Where will it stop? Will moderate Messianic Jews be able to stop corruption? What will be sufficient to please zealous adherents? Is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to come to nothing?
UNFORTUNATELY HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
When Israel revered the brazen serpent in the wilderness it became an idol for the stumbling and corruption of Israel. The brazen serpent had its time and place. It brought healing at the time, but it will bring corruption out of time. The serpent on the pole represented Christ on the cross. Just what might happen in the proposed new temple? Similarly, revering a man-made serpent on the pole was never in God's mind for the people.
‘And Jehovah said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole. And it shall be when everyone that is bitten, when he looks upon it, he shall live’ (Numbers 21:8)
‘And it happened in the third year of Hoshea, son of Elah king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zachariah. And he did right in the sight of Jehovah according to all that David his father did. He removed the high places and broke the pillars, and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent which Moses had made for, until those days, the sons of Israel burned incense to it. And he called it Nehushtan (copper, meaning ‘just useless copper)’ (2 Kings 18:1-4).
HE OFFERED HIMSELF ONCE AND FOR ALL
I recently read a devotion entitled 'Once And For All, 'There were many pieces of furniture in the tabernacle, each served a different purpose. But there wasn't a single seat. Do you know why? Because the priest's work was never finished! The people sinned constantly, so lambs had to be constantly sacrificed to atone for their sins. However, when Jesus died, rose again and went back to Heaven, the first thing He did was sit down (see Hebrews 10:12). That's because the work of salvation was finished! The Bible says, Christ did not have to offer Himself many times. He wasn't like a high priest who goes into the most holy place each year to offer the blood of an animal....instead...He offered Himself once and for all so that He could be a sacrifice that does away with sin' (Hebrews 9:25-26 CEV). And because of Christ's 'once and for all' sacrifice on the cross, you have direct access to God at any time. The moment you say 'Father, I come in the name of Jesus,' you're made welcome and all your needs are met.
There's a story from Civil War days about a soldier sitting on a bench outside the White House looking depressed. A little boy passing by stopped and asked what was wrong. The soldier told him he needed to see President Lincoln, but the guards wouldn't let him in. Hearing this, the boy took him by the hand and led him directly into the President's office. 'Father', he said, 'this man really needs to speak with you'. That boy was the President's son. He had direct and continuous access to his father. And because you belong to Jesus, you do too'! Quoted from The Word for Today (Vision Christian Media, Thu 2nd Nov., 2017. https://www.vision.org.au)
Any Christians/Messianic Jews backing the building of a literal temple in all its ancient details and pleased with the return of traditions aligned to the Old Covenant will become accessories to the demonic corruption of Israel. Two witnesses will be brought to prophesy against Israel. The likely candidates are Moses and Elijah, who were taken alive to heaven, who, on the Mount of Transfiguration, talked to Jesus about His decease and who will come representing the Law and the Prophets to shame Jerusalem with plagues from heaven. Not a pretty picture of what was once called the holy city,
‘These have authority to shut up the heaven that it may not rain in the days of their prophecy. And they have authority over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with every plague as often as they desire. And when they complete their testimony the beast coming up out of the abyss will make war against them and will overcome them and kill them. And their bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified' (Revelation 11:6-8).
As in the days of Jesus those that bring the downfall of Jerusalem will be filled with false religious zeal of times past that were only shadows of the true temple, deluded that they are serving the God of Israel.