Month: July 2018

THE ORACLE OF DAMASCUS – MESSIAH – JUDAH & EPHRAIM??

THE ORACLE OF DAMASCUS – MESSIAH – JUDAH & EPHRAIM??

Brethren –

Allow me to clearly explain the three-fold revelation given by Zechariah in Chapter 9 of his book:

(1)  Zechariah 9:1-8 – These verses are exceedingly relevant for today.  This is the prophetic war which precedes the 70th Week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) and the Second Coming of Messiah (specifically, Daniel 9:27; Ezk. 38-39; Daniel 11:40-45).  It is seen in Isaiah 17 as well and involves on one side the following belligerants against Israel:  Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the Stronghold of Ephraim (Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority HQed in Ramallah) – this is happening NOW and is coming to a rapid conclusion.

(2)  Zechariah 9:9-10 – These two verses are perhaps the most potent prophetic texts regarding Messiah in Scripture, with Zechariah 9:9 being recorded in all four gospels.  Zechariah 9:9 bespeaks of His First Coming; whereas, Zechariah 9:10 bespeaks of His Second Coming in glory!  These verses are interlinked with the Oracle of Damascus because the Oracle of Damascus signals the Messianic Era is fast upon us!

(3)  Zechariah 9:11-17 – These verses deal with Messiah’s bringing together in the Latter Days both Judah and Ephraim (vs. 13).  It is a “divine amazement” of His work of restoration and reconciliation of the Two Houses–and is reflected, as well in Ezekiel 37:15-28 in the prophecy of the Two Sticks (Judah and Ephraim) coming together in the Latter Days.   All three sections of Zechariah 9 are an astounding climax of God’s Eternal Plan and Purposes for the Ages; they involve the “nations” allied against Israel (Zech. 9:1-8); the Messiah (Zech. 9:9-10) and the reconciliation of ALL ISRAEL (God’s corporate people) in Zechariah 9:11-17; therefore . . . .

After Doug Hamp’s marvelous disclosures in Zechariah which I likened to Doug H. traveling into the Grand Canyon on a donkey; whereas, yours truly in his book on Zechariah (Unsealing the End of Days—The Visions, Prophecy, and Messianic Scenario of Zechariah) simply flew over Zechariah Chapters 7-14 at 40,000 feet viewing on the “right side of the plane the Grand Canyon” as announced by the Captain . . . I got to thinking about that “donkey” and discovered this, after a sister in Christ prompted my interest as to where we may be in the present prophetic time table . . .

THE ORACLE OF DAMASCUS

I have suggested that the Oracle of Damascus (Zech. 9:1-8) is NOT some miscellaneous insertion into Zechariah’s ultimate lead up to the events clearly outlined in Zech. 9-14 but commences the End of Days/End of Time, End of the Age and the splendid fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Rule and Reign of the Son of David upon His Millennial Throne over the nations, etc., found in Zechariah 14.

I reached this conclusion due to several facts:

  • 9:1-8 concludes by the announcement of the two-fold expression of the Messiah as KING riding into Jerusalem (i.e., His Triumphal Entry) on 10 Nisan, 33 A.D. (which, I know we are not all in total agreement [iviz., 30 to 33 A.D.]—but bear with me).
  • Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ALL RECORD Zech. 9:9 (Matt. 21:5; Mark 11:7, 9; Luke 19:38; John 12:15).  What I find interesting in the gospels is the fact that Zech. 9:10 is completely omitted; however, Mark’s gospel states:  “Blessed is the Kingdom of our Father David” (Mark 11:9) which may, in turn, express the intent of Amos 9:11 (shown in Acts 15:13-17) regarding the United Kingdom of David even in His First Coming (“Until Messiah the Prince” – Daniel 9:26 – at the conclusion of the 62nd Week or the end of the 69th Week).

What rivets my attention is Zech. 9:10 which is directly related to His Second Coming again in Glory:  “I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem (Judah); the battle bow shall be cut off . . . He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”

Ephraim (the Ten Tribes of the North—Israel, Jezreel, Samaria or Ephraim) and Judah (Jerusalem – the Two Tribes of the South being Judah and Benjamin) are DIVINELY DELIVERED by the Deliverer, I affirm, Who shall roar out of Zion, and so ALL ISRAEL shall be saved (Romans 9:26-27).

“ALL ISRAEL” IN ROMANS 11:26 IS JUDAH AND EPHRAIM!

This ALL ISRAEL (Romans 11:26) is again amplified in the verses following Zech. 9:9-10 regarding Messiah’s First and Second Comings – First, as King, though He was the Suffering Servant (Zechariah 3) He still came to raise up the Tabernacle of David—THE UNITED KINGDOM OF DAVID (Acts. 15/Amos 9:11)—but He will come again in glory as the King of kings, and Lord of lords” wherein “His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:10b).

This said, the immediate verses following the fact that Judah (Jerusalem) and Ephraim (Israel) shall not be delivered by their own efforts but only by His DIVINE INTERVENTION.  Some of the following verses which follow the Oracle of Damascus (Zechariah 9:1-8) and the Messianic insertions found in Zechariah 9:9-10, utterly substantiate the coming together of Judah and Ephraim in the latter days and, no doubt, so it appears, after the Oracle of Damascus:

11 “As for you also, Because of the blood of your covenant,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12 Return to the stronghold,
You prisoners of hope.
Even today I declare
That I will restore double to you.
13 For I have bent Judah, My bow,
Fitted the bow with Ephraim,
And raised up your sons, O Zion,
Against your sons, O Greece
,

And made you like the sword of a mighty man.”

14 Then the Lord will be seen over them,
And His arrow will go forth like lightning.
The Lord God will blow the trumpet,
And go with whirlwinds from the south.
15 The Lord of hosts will defend them;
They shall devour and subdue with sling stones,

They shall drink and roar as if with wine;
They shall be filled with blood like basins,
Like the corners of the altar.
16 The Lord their God will save them in that day,
As the flock of His people.
For they shall be like the jewels of a crown,
Lifted like a banner over His land—
17 For how great is its goodness
And how great its beauty!
Grain shall make the young men thrive,
And new wine the young women.

ZECHARIAH 9:11-17 – CERTAINLY PROPHETIC

These verses, I affirm, are set within, in the main, the context of the Final Week—Daniel’s 70th Week—in particular, I would draw our attention to vs. 13:  “For I have bent Judah, My bow; Fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man.”

Herein is a wonderful truth – Judah and Ephraim are found together within this context wherein they have become THE SWORD OF A MIGHTY MAN.  Judah and Ephraim are now seen as the SONS OF ZION juxtaposed to the SONS OF GREECE – yes AGAINST the “sons of Greece.”

In vs. 12 it speaks of the PRISONERS OF HOPE—for Israel was often carted off to Greece and enslaved by Greece (Joel 3:6).  Indeed, the reference to Zech. 9:13 is MOST UNUSUAL in that Zechariah commenced his writing cir. 520 BC or COMING OUT OF BABYLON no doubt from 537 BC (Decree of Cyrus the Great) unto some 49 years thereafter (488 BC—the probable date of the completion of the Second Temple). The conquest by Alexander the Great of the Persian Empire was completed cir. 330 BC – therefore, this statement in Zechariah 9:13 was written cir. 450 BC

The fact of the matter is this:  History clearly records Alexander the Great’s defeat of the Persians cir. 331-329 BC—many decades before this time—therefore, the reference to Greece in Zechariah 9:13 has, I believe, within its mentioning an immense prophetic import in reference to the “latter rain” (spring rain) mentioned in Zechariah 10:1 – “Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain…”

I think, considering Judah and Ephraim’s “consolidation” in this period of the “latter rain,” juxtaposed, over and against, the sons of Greece, that the KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD—headed up by the WEST (viz., Greco-Roman or Greece) shall in no way ever again inhibit the PRISONERS OF HOPE.  The best the world can offer cannot compare to the Deliverer and His coming Kingdom!

Indeed, as brother Gavin Finley elucidates:  “The LORD their God will save them in that day, as the FLOCK OF HIS PEOPLE, FOR THEY SHALL BE LIKE THE JEWELS (*lit. STONES) OF A CROWN, lifted like a banner over His land–for how great is its goodness and how great its beauty!”

MESSIAH BEARS THE TRIPLE CROWN

Could this, as well, allude to the “Crown atop the head of Joshua, the High Priest” found in Zech. 6:11-13?  Certainly, the Melchizedekian dual office of Priest and King—wherein Messiah becomes the “Mediator of a New Covenant” bringing man to God as our High Priest in His First Coming (Zech. 9:9); then, coming again in glory at His Second Coming as King of kings (Zech. 9:10) is in view here.

Even so, this “elaborate crown” is described by Jewish authorities as a BRAIDED crown having THREE distinct golden braids interwoven around the entire “crown” (literally forming the crown) with the frontal portion of the crown bearing a signet with the “Name of God” inscribed thereon.

This is the TRIPLE CROWN—“Crown Him with many crowns” (Rev. 19:12)—this can be no other that the emphasis upon the work of Messiah as the PROPHET wherein the Stem & Bowl of the Universal Lampstand shown in Zechariah 4—having two Olive Trees astride the Central Stem/Bowl displays not only the office of the High Priest (Joshua) and that of Zerubbabel (the Governor/King) but boldly declares that Zechariah is seen as the PROPHET in the midst of the Two Olive Trees (the “two sons of oil“); therefore:  MESSIAH IS:  PROPHET, AND PRIEST, AND KING!  He wears the elaborate, triple crown with YAH emblazoned upon it!

THE TIMING OF JUDAH-EPHRAIM BECOMING ONE STICK

Again, the bringing together of Judah and Ephraim cannot be divorced from BOTH the Oracle of Damascus (Zechariah 9:1-8; Isaiah 17:1-14) and the overarching impact of DIVINE DELIVERANCE through Messiah’s First and Second Comings (Zech. 9:9-10) AND the subsequent discoveries of that ongoing deliverance found in the elaborations of His workings with Judah and Ephraim found in Zechariah 9:11-17.

We simply cannot avoid the sequence of these events and their prophetic dynamic which substantiates the uniting of these Two Sticks in the eyes of the Lord during our mutual and immediate future (Ezekiel 37:15-28).  Our opposition to the imprisonment of Greece seems apparent within the context of this Divine Deliverance and bringing together of the Two Houses.

The immediate prophetic RELEVANCE of Zechariah 9 appears upon us at this assiduous hour in time and space—if we are living in 2018 A.D. at the climax of the Oracle of Damascus with war raging in Syria and Damascus pending utter destruction—then too, we find that Judah (the Jews) and those being gathered these past 2,000 years from among the Gentiles to be a people for His Name (Ephraim and Edom, the “Rest of Mankind”—Acts 15) are immediately destined to become ONE STICK IN THE HAND OF THE LORD!

Likewise, it seems obvious to me that Zechariah knew full-well that the vast majority of those returning from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple and the City/Walls, etc. (confirmed by Ezra and Nehemiah) were JEWS—those taken into captivity from 608 BC unto 537 BC—the 70 years captivity— with the 10 Tribes of Israel/Ephraim simply “swallowed up of the nations” from 745 BC to their extremity in 712 BC (the year of King Hezekiah of Judah’s elongated year and defeat of the armies of Assyrian King Sennacherib and some 185,000 soldiers killed by the Angel of the Lord).

In other words, by 537 BC the Ten Northern Tribes had been disbursed/deported off to Assyria for nigh 200 years (i.e., from 745 BC to 537 BC) with 745-712 BC being the period of Israel’s deportations into Assyria!  It is difficult to think that these “Israelites” of Ephraim when deported to Assyria could not number, as we have previously discussed, upwards of 10 million persons and that during a 200-year time-frame could readily, through upwards of 20 generations, replicate their population many times over!!  (Based upon the fact of their populations having been recorded by David [I Chron. 21; 2 Sam. 24] and elaborated through sundry wars between Judah and Ephraim thereafter–2 Chron. 13:17)

When we consider the approximate number of some 50,000 who returned from Babylon (Ezra 2)–this is, in comparison to those who were scattered among the nations, a minuscule number indeed!  Truly, Ephraim has been multiplied far and beyond their original numbers when they were deported. Demographers could have a field day with their numbers.  Indeed, Josephus’ remarks regarding the number of Israelites beyond the Euphrates was simply INNUMERABLE! (cir. First Century AD – Antiquities of the Jews, Books IV and V – Flavius Josephus).

Again, Zechariah 9 is perhaps one of the most relevant prophetic passages of our time!!  I am elated to have “stumbled” across this validation of the bringing together via DIVINE DELIVERANCE of ALL ISRAEL at the close of this age.  Likewise, I affirm the rise of “Biblical Zionism” both among Bible-believing Christians and among the Jews, especially in the land of Israel—is a DIVINE PREPARATION of the uniting together of these two sticks in the hand of the Lord.  I say this no matter the confusing doctrines which seem to proliferate concerning this future fulfillment (raptures, dual covenants, etc.)

Believers in Jesus today find their affections for things “Jewish” (Feast Days, Sabbath, Torah observance, visiting the Land of Israel, celebrating the yearly Feast of Tabernacles in Israel, etc.) is ALL preparation for this inevitable prophetic fulfillment and the coming again of Messiah in Glory!

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 10 “Receive the giftfrom the captives—from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon—and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. 11 Take the silver and gold, make an[b] elaborate crown, and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Then speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, saying:

“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!
From His place He shall [c]branch out,
And He shall build the temple of the Lord;
13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between [d]them both.” ’

14 “Now the elaborate crown shall be for a memorial in the temple of the Lord for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. Even those from afar shall come and build the temple of the Lord. Then you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”  (Zechariah 6:9-14) . . . 

His eyes were like a flame of fire, and he wore many crowns on his head. He had a name written on him, but no one except himself knows what it is.” (Rev. 19:12)

Bless

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL–WHO’S INCLUDED?

THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL–WHO’S INCLUDED?

Brethren – as you all may know, in my text, COMMONWEALTH THEOLOGY—An Introduction — I briefly covered the issue of those who “were without Christ” – “who once were far off” – but who “have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:12-13 – Excerpts).

Upon reading a number of commentaries on this portion of Scripture—especially, those of Dispensational conviction, such as Dr. J. Vernon McGee* (but others as well of the Dispensational persuasion), there seems to be a preponderance of interpretation that being without Christ, without God, without hope, does NOT include participation in the Commonwealth of Israel once one is in Christ—in other words, once one is with Christ, or IN Christ through the blood of Christ does NOT constitute entrance into the Commonwealth of Israel.

One is viewed as a non-citizen, an ALIEN, a stranger from the covenants of PROMISE, having no hope and without God in the world but now IN Christ we can pick and choose those items which were outside our immediate purview—we obviously now have God in this world of ours; we now have hope; and we’re hardly strangers from the covenants of promise; especially, now, since we are all “children of promise” via the Seed, which is Christ (Galatians 3:15-18, 29; 4:28)—likewise, since we at least are spiritually sharing in the blessings (Darby) of the New Covenant or have our own New Covenant (with natural Israel awaiting their own New Covenant as the Dispensationalists contend at the Second Coming of Christ).

But somehow, through it all, those “who were afar off” are brought nigh to all these divine realities by being IN Christ, the “S”eed but forbid we enter into the Commonwealth of Israel for our “citizenship” is in heaven and we “eagerly await a Savior from there” (Phil. 3:20). Notwithstanding, and although we who were once aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, have, now in Christ, been brought near through His blood, but that apparently, according to our Dispensational brethren, does not open to us the door into the Commonwealth of Israel?

I find this “pick and pull” method of interpretation most convenient for our Dispensational brethren whereby those of us being called out from the nations (aka, Gentiles) are given a form of citizenship which excludes entry into the Commonwealth of Israel but simultaneously declares we are no longer strangers from the covenants of promise, now have hope and God in the world; and, most definitely, are no longer ALIENS.

ROMANS 9

Paul repeats a similar catalog of divine blessings in Romans 9 wherein he lists those “who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises” (Rom. 9:4). Immediately, Paul in Romans 9 presents justification is not of the flesh (i.e., “we have Abraham as our father” [Matt. 3:9; John 8:39]) does not justify a sinner; but justification is of the “faith of Abraham” in the promise of the Seed, which is Christ. Thus, being “born of the flesh is flesh” but being “born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Thus, Paul contends: “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham, but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’” (Rom. 9:6-7).

First, to suggest that the Commonwealth of Israel abides with Israel of the flesh alone, including citizenship therein; then is God, hope, etc., incompatible with the context presented in Ephesians 2, as well as in Romans 9? It is abundantly clear that “not all Israel is of Israel”—that is, to be of Israel, if you would, TRUE ISRAEL, one would have to possess the “faith of Abraham” not just his flesh—one would be anchored in the Promise found in Isaac who Paul declares as the “S”eed—Christ, the Messiah and we are all “sons of Promise, through Isaac” for “In Isaac your seed shall be called” (Rom. 9:7; Gen. 21:12; Heb. 11:18). And: “That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed” (Rom. 9:8).

The principle is the same today (viz., within the New Testament context). We, from among the nations, even we of Ephraim/Israel who were “swallowed up of the nations” (Hosea 8:7-11) and were no longer “My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved . . . and it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the living God.’” (Rom. 9:25-26; Hos. 2:23; 1:10).

We are now brought near, from afar, by the blood of Messiah—into the very Commonwealth of Israel, no longer aliens; no longer “scattered among the nations.” However, within this very Commonwealth of Israel, not all are Israel, who are of Israel. There are, as the Hebrew Scriptures validate, a “mixed multitude” among the Israelites—even the “sons of Korah” who participated in the rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16) were not of Israel, though they most certainly were within the boundaries of the Commonwealth of Israel, if you would. A multitude of illustrations can be made of Israelites who were without faith but were wholly of the flesh—even so, the Ten Northern Tribes who rebelled had naught but evil kings who reigned over them but they were still considered Israelites.

The New Testament speaks of similar language when Jesus declared that the “tares among the wheat” would “grow together” until the end of the age—Matthew 13:24-30. Yes, “not all Israel is of Israel!”

Even so, today, within the Commonwealth of Israel we find those in “name only” who profess but do not possess faith. Are they to be considered as a “mixed multitude” and/or as “tares among the wheat?” I think so. Were not the “sons of Korah” those “to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises”? Absolutely! But “without faith, it is impossible to please Him!” (Heb. 11:6—which goes on to list scores of Old Testament saints who possessed faith).

Do we find ourselves as believers in Messiah, Jesus/Yahoshua, within the confines of the Commonwealth of Israel, no longer aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel? Absolutely! Are there among us unbelievers, a mixed multitude, tares, those who are NOT justified by faith alone? Absolutely! These blemishes on our garment, these “spots at our love feasts,” have not experienced the cleansing by the blood of the cross.

Somehow we have forgotten, that “all the promises of God in Him are YES, and in Him AMEN” (2 Cor. 1:20) and that “concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the father . . . for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29; Num. 23:19) – in other words, all of the aforementioned divine promises and attributes are still available within the Commonwealth of Israel—TO BE APPROPRIATED THROUGH FAITH alone.

Today’s 30+ million aliens now living in the United States are within, if you would, our Commonwealth, but have not partaken of full citizenship—but have not been “adopted” and/or gone through the process of becoming citizens—in our “spiritual” case that process is one of FAITH ALONE in the Promised “S”eed which is Messiah in His finished work of Deliverance through the blood of His Cross!

Now, what is glorious is this: It is through the blood of Christ that the “middle wall of separation” between Jew (Judah) and the nations (i.e., the “Gentiles” or “those scattered among the Gentiles . . . the rest of mankind” – Acts 15) has been broken down whereby “He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. . . and He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near . . . NOW, THEREFORE, YOU ARE NO LONGER STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS, BUT FELLOW CITIZENS WITH THE SAINTS AND MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD” (Eph. 4:14-22, excerpts). [Note:  “Saints” here are both O.T. and N.T. “Saints” – although, below you will find that Dr. J. Vernon McGee, a Dispensationalist, states that “saints” here refers to only N.T. saints, not O.T. saints–keeping Israel and the Church separated.]

Israel’s Commonwealth is OUR COMMONWEALTH. Away with this corrupt notion that we who once were aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel places us outside the bounds of this wondrous Commonwealth of Israel or excludes those to whom the promises were originally given!

To say that today’s Jews have their own Commonwealth (though it be in ruins because of unbelief) and we Christians have our citizenship recorded only in heaven, simply, as I have said before, is but a subtle attempt to theologically ghettoize the Jews just as in the days of the Emperor Constantine. Today’s “Rejection/Replacement” theologies boldly proclaim they are the exclusive Israel of God and in point of fact, today’s Ecclesia is in sum and substance the Commonwealth of Israel—the Jews have been, if you would, expunged, kicked out or broken off as a natural branch, from their own commonwealth; whereas today’s Dispensationalists exclude today’s believers in Jesus from the Commonwealth of Israel and tell us that today’s Jews still have their Commonwealth of Israel but we believers in Jesus have NOTHING to do with the Commonwealth of Israel—brethren, do you see what’s going on here?

Replacement theologies boldly proclaim we have inherited all the promises, the covenants, hope, God, all blessings in Christ Jesus which were, in the main, rejected outright by the unbelieving Jews; whereas, the Dispensationalists at least give the Jews a stake in some form of spiritual renewal and blessing but condescend by enunciating that futurity as wholly inferior to that of the so-called “Church” . . . giving the Jew a separate New Covenant; a separate Resurrection; a separate Gospel to be preached after the Church’s rapture; a separate Wedding Feast since they are a separate Bride of Jehovah; a separate Holy City; a separate Son of David—for it is mandatory that these Jews be kept in their theological-eschatological ghetto apart from the superiority of their erstwhile brethren/saints who (as wild olive branches) occupy the Father’s fortunes apart and afar from the “natural branches” of that, nevertheless, ONE OLIVE TREE (Rom. 11).

This GREEN OLIVE TREE (Jeremiah 11:16) is ONE and is both “Lovely and of Good Fruit” (Psalm 51:8; Rom. 11:17). How peculiar, but totally in keeping with the tenor of Dispensationalism, that some among these beloved brethren, now embrace the thought that for the “natural branches” of this GREEN OLIVE TREE to abide in accordance with “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) then the “wild branches” must be broken off (although they have been grafted into the GREEN OLIVE TREE) at the Church’s rapture, in order for the “natural branches” to be “grafted in again.” PREPOSTEROUS! This wholly obliterates the work of the Cross and, once again, keeps the Jewish side of Israel, from those wild branches who have been grafted into the GREEN OLIVE TREE!

The Commonwealth of Israel is greater than its earthly component—for it is the recipient of all that is IN CHRIST . . . in the ONE who bridges heaven and earth and brings together as that Ladder of Jacob, the Son of God and Son of Man upon whom the angels ascend and descend (John 1:45-51). Yes, that takes a revelation of WHO HE IS . . . just as Peter was told by Jesus: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My ECCLESIA, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it . . . and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matt. 16:17-19).

Do we see it? Heaven and earth is our sphere in which the ASSEMBLY OF CHRIST operates—this is our commonality—this is the Commonwealth of Israel. The “Church in the Wilderness” (or “ECCLESIA in the Wilderness”) (Acts 7:28) has been enlarged with its chief characteristics being the reconciliation through the blood of Messiah of both Jew and those called out from the nations into the Commonwealth of Israel, into the One New Man, so making peace – and THIS “uniting bond of peace between them both” will thwart the “gates of Hades” which shall not prevail against His Assembly!

Yes, the same Assembly, the same Ecclesia (same Greek word as found in the Septuagint—Acts 7:28) but now His Assembly, His Ecclesia, His Commonwealth has taken in a “great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” who shall “stand before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Rev. 7:9-10) . . . but lest we forget, prior to this heavenly scene upon the earth are the 12 Tribes of Israel wherein, once again, heaven and earth resound in prophetic unity that He has made of the TWO, ONE NEW MAN, SO MAKING PEACE!

DISPENSATIONALISM’S CITIZENSHIP EXCLUDES N.T. BELIEVERS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL–DR. J. VERNON McGEE…

*MY COMMENTS IN BRACKETS:  Dr. McGee’s exposition/commentary on Ephesians pp. 237-241; Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. V, 1 Corinthians–Revelation, Thru The Bible Radio, BOX 7100 PASADENA, CALIFORNIA 91109); to wit [excerpts only] –

“Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” or, alienated from the citizenship of Israel.  That is the accurate definition of a Gentile.”

[Note:  Here McGee builds his case for a “heavenly citizenship” alone for those coming into the “Assembly of Christ” juxtaposed to the “earthly citizenship” of Israel]

“The Gentile had no God-given religion as had Israel.  They had no right to go back in the Old Testament and take the promises which God made to Israel and then appropriate them for themselves.

[Thus, McGee maintains that the “promises” made to Israel were NOT made to Gentiles, the nations – this being the case, “without God in the world, and without hope” were made only to Israel and not to the Gentiles?].

McGee:  “We don’t have that right either.  God didn’t make those promises to us.  ‘Strangers from the covenants of promise.’  God had made certain promises to the nation Israel.  The covenants which God made with Israel are still valid, but no Gentile has any right to appropriate them.”

[Note:  It is for this reason that the promise of the New Covenant found in Jeremiah 31:31-34 is NOT the same New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus in the Upper Room found in John’s gospel–nearly all Dispensational teachers adhere to this doctrine of dual New Covenants.]

God has promised the children of Israel the land of Israel–all of it.  They will get it someday, but it will be on God’s terms, not their terms . . . Paul reminds the gentile believers that though they were strangers and alienated from God, their present position is infinitely bettered.  They are no more strangers and sojourners (foreigners).  They are now fellow citizens with the saints.  ‘Saints’ is not a reference to Old Testament saints.”

[Note:  This is an arbitrary distinction “made up” by McGee–there is absolutely no heremeneutic which would support such a “distinguished” disconnect between the O.T. saints and the N.T. saints–but McGee seems to find one somewhere.]

McGee:  “Gentile believers are fellow citizens with the New Testament Jewish saints, the other members of the body of Christ.  They belong to a household, not as servants, but as relatives, as members of the family of God.  They are His dear children . . . This is a new relationship a relationship foreign to the Old Testament . . . Now this citizenship is not in Israel [Note:  It is not by MeGee’s definition within the Commonwealth of Israel.] and the earthly Jerusalem, but it is in heaven . . . We belong to heaven at the present time . . . We are ‘built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets’ [Note:  McGee must keep Israel and the Church utterly separated so he ultimately concludes by arbitrary conjecture that the “prophets” so mentioned are the prophets of the New Testament–not of the O.T. lest there be some sort of continuity of the so-called “community of grace” as espoused by Replacement/Reform theologians.]  This is important.  It does not mean that the apostles and prophets were the foundation but that they personally laid the foundation.  The early church built its doctrine upon that of the apostles . . . Much has been written about the identity of the prophets in verse twenty (Eph. 2:20). Are they Old Testament prophets or New Testament prophets?  The fact that the prophets are in the same classification as apostles without the article the would seem to designate them as New Testament prophets.  I think you will find this confirmed when we get into the third chapter.”

[Note:  One might inquire then, who were the prophets mentioned in 1 Peter 2:10-12?  To wit: “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, ‘the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.  To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into.”]

[Furthermore, how would McGee interpret John 11:49-51 when John expands the statements by the High Priest Caiaphas by saying:  “Now, this he (Caiaphas) did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad”?  Who would Jesus gather together in one?  Indeed, the “children of God who were scattered abroad.”  Were these, then, just Jews, the twelve tribes of Israel, those from among the nations who would yet believe?  I find it somewhat ironic that McGee finds that Israel were not considered children when repeatedly we are reminded of the CHILDREN of Israel.  Again, this mandatory separation between the Jews and Christians is intrinsically bound up in the Dispensational narrative.  By keeping the promises made to Israel of the flesh (aka “National Israel”) for the newly-birthed heavenly citizenship of the Church–McGee is able to keep, as well, N.T. believers from the Commonwealth of Israel.  But wouldn’t that of necessity keep believers, as well, from God and from hope?]

[The selectivity espoused within Dispensationalism perpetuates a doctrinal myth which has little or no bearing in Scripture regarding the inclusion of the nations into the Commonwealth of Israel–that’s why it states COMMONWEALTH.  The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland maintains a COMMONWEALTH of nations and peoples who participate within that COMMONWEALTH.  Nigeria is NOT Great Britain, etc., but it is a member of the COMMONWEALTH OF NATIONS.  The Dispensationalists simply must come to terms why the Cross opened up both the knowledge of the Son of God AND the Son of Man to BOTH Jew and Gentile wherein there is no longer Jew and Gentile but ONE NEW MAN SO MAKING PEACE–just as there is ONE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL!]