| Re: By faith|
This Scripture has captivated my thoughts often. It is something that is not yet clear but I know it speaks to your thoughts.
"And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the [u][i][b]testimony of Jesus.[/b][/i][/u] Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus [u][i][b]is the spirit of prophesy."[/b][/i][/u] Revelation 19:10
"Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, [u][i][b]searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand..."[/b][/i][/u] 1 Peter 1:10-11
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you." John 15: 15
I believe that Jesus is the source of all prophesy.
| 2004/10/22 18:22||Profile|
What does it mean to have the "testimony of Jesus?" I believe this speaks to having God reveal Himself to us. This revelation is not only speaking to knowing things about God, but is speaks more of how He has changed us into the image of His Son. Remember, He is the King of Righteousness and King of Peace. Those who reject His righteousness will understand His rod of iron. Those who submit, and learn of His righteousness, will understand the peace that comes from living for Him.
By faith all are given all things in Christ. By faith we too acquire the testimony of Jesus. This Life gives us insight into His ways. This Life gives us insight into His plans. This Life gives us understanding of His unchanging nature as the One who bears the iron rod and the One who restored us to a relationship that was lost by the first man Adam.
I am sorry, for the lack of words and my stammering lips. Some day we will know Him as He is, but for now we only see dimly the glories of the Lord.
| 2004/10/23 0:17||Profile|
| Re: Man spake from God: Chap 1; the prophets, para 2|
Chap 1, para 2.
Quote:The two texts quoted by Ellison are key to a biblical understanding of Moses.
Moses is not so much the law-giver as the prophet par excellence (Deut. 18:15; 34:10).
H L Ellison
1.The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (Deu 18:15-19 KJV)There are some elements here which help us to define the sense of prophet and prophecy better.
a)The LORD thy God will raise up. The prophet is not a formal position open to election or popular choice. It is not hereditory, as was priesthood and kingship. There is always something of the spontaneous about prophets; they frequently arrive on the scene unannounced and without explanation. eg Elijah 1Kings 17:1. There origin is God, not development . At one moment they are not 'a prophet' and the next they are.
b)from the midst of thee, of thy brethren. The prophet has to have some point of common cause with those to whom he prophesies. In this sense we don't usually speak of angels (messengers)as being prophets although they sometimes fulfil a similar function. This prophecy was well used by the early Christians who saw in Christ a Mediator of the New Covenant in contrast to Moses' mediation of the Old Covenant. (Acts 3:22, 7:37, )In this sense it was necessary for Christ to take on 'brotherhood' to our race before He could fulfill this prophetic role.
c)(I)will put my words in his mouth. This holds the mystery of inspiration. 'men spake from God'. Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. (Act 1:16 KJV)Again, this is speaking of the inspiration of scripture but there is a similar process in all true prophecy. 'the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David'. There is much to ponder here; the personality of the prophet is key to the message. It must be authentically 'David's mouth'. He will receive no words that he does not use in the ordinary pattern of his life. And yet, it will be the Holy Spirit who speaks. This is not dictation, but inspiration of an order which seeks the channel of 'the mouth' but is not hedged in my the 'mind of David'.
d)whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. The prophet speaks 'my words, in my name'. There are men who speak God's words, but if they do not speak 'in God's Name ie with His specific authority, they are not prophets. John Baptist was a prophet, the Voice, crying... A man who speaks 'God's words' without God's specific authority is at best at echo, at worst a trap. 'I will require it of him', that is God holds the hearer responsible for his response to prophecy. You may not like the prophet, but if you do not respond to his words God holds you responsible. The prophet is God's spokesman and as a herald executed his commission with royal authority, so does the prophet.
2.And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, (Deu 34:10 KJV)This is why Ellison calls Moses 'the prophet par excellence.' We can see here a familiar them that it is access to God which gives the prophet his authority. Elijah was a prophet of a different order but his opening prophecy is very instructive; And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. (1Ki 17:1 KJV)Elijah, in consciousness, is 'still' standing in the presence of the 'living God of Israel'. Men who are conscious of God are not 'phased' by Ahabs!
It says here that 'there arose not a prophet 'since' in Israel like unto Moses' but there is certainly a prophet 'before Moses who shared this extraordinary intimacy with God; Abraham, My Friend.
| 2004/10/23 7:28||Profile|
| Re: ABELS BLOOD and "THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS"|
ABELS BLOOD and "THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS"
But ye are come
. to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh (Hebrews 12:22,24, 25).
And the Lord said to the serpent... I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: He shall bruise thy head..." (Genesis 3:15).
"... the old serpent... and they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their life even unto death" (Revelation 12:9,11).
THE ISSUE IS THAT OF LIFE AND DEATH
The main issue in the Testimony of Jesus, in and through and by His Blood, is the issue of life and death, or death and life. That is the main issue. Oh, do follow me closely, for you will see in a moment some of the great content of this thing. The main issue in the Testimony of Jesus as by the Blood of Jesus is the issue of LIFE AND DEATH. If the Lord's people recognized that enough, they would have their ground set and fixed, they would know exactly what their business is in the world, and they would have a full explanation of all that which they meet in the spiritual realm when they become related to the Testimony of Jesus. IT IS THE ISSUE OF LIFE AND DEATH. It is not only of sin and sanctification, and it is not only the issue of an old man and a new man, but in all that, and over all that, and around all that is the far bigger issue, the issue of life and death. And until this main issue is recognized the whole question of sin, and of the new man, and the new race, and the bringing in of the new creation, and of the escape of men and women from the power of Satan unto God could never be. You will be held up until you recognize the main issue. Where does the whole question of sanctification begin? Where does the whole question of a new creation begin? Where does the whole question of the emancipation of souls from the grip of Satan begin? It all begins at the place where the power of death is met. It is not sins with which you and I are contending, nor merely with the old creation. We can be locked up and bound and tied by the absorption and obsession with our old man and never get anywhere. We can be locked up and tied hand and foot with all kinds of truth and teaching about sanctification, the question of sins or sin specifically, and get nowhere because we are not recognizing the main issue. The main issue is death, the power of death, and we have got to come to that central issue of the Blood of the Lord Jesus - the question of life and death. That is the Cross at its heart. Unless the Lord had settled that issue once and for all in His Blood in the Cross then all other matters would have failed entirely and there would have been no complete Gospel.
Then, that being the Cross and the content of the Cross, we see what the Testimony of Jesus is in essence. It is the Testimony to life, making possible a new creation. That Testimony, when it really is recognized at its centre, is a Testimony concerning life which is brought into being upon the basis of death being destroyed, death having its power broken, and him that had the power of death being nullified. When that Testimony comes into being, and it is recognized, and anyone enters into that Testimony and makes that their testimony, what happens? Immediately the murderer is brought out.
THE ENEMY OF LIFE COMES OUT
He who, as the Lord Himself said, was a "murderer from the beginning", always has acted in that capacity towards any who were called into the Testimony of Jesus, whether in the Old Testament or in the New.
Abel was the first to take up the Testimony in history. What was Abel's testimony? The Blood! Whether Abel understood all the content of that symbolic thing or not is not our concern for the moment, but God understood what it meant. He had established it, and it was His way through all history. That fragment in the Hebrew Letter has governed all sacrifice in the mind of God: "without shedding of blood there is no remission". The Blood was the key from the first movement of sin in this world in the mind of God, and Abel himself stepped into that Testimony of the Blood with all its significance concerning sin, death, the race, and him that had the power of death - and immediately the murderer came out and Abel was murdered, not by Cain, but through Cain; and so it has always been!
(from T. Austin-Sparks The Testimony of the Blood)
In His love and to His glory,
| 2004/10/23 7:56||Profile|
| The testimony|
Br Jeff and Br Roger
Your comments on the testimony of Jesus are fascinating. I do not know how relevant you may find this but consider the following verse:
Exodus 7: 89 When Moses entered the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim. He spoke to him [that way].
You probably already know about the testimony but for the sake of fluency of this post, I will add this description from my commentary:
the testimony--that is, the two tables of stone, containing the ten commandments, and called "the testimony," because by it God did testify His sovereign authority over Israel as His people, His selection of them as the guardians of His will and worship, and His displeasure in the event of their transgressing His laws; while on their part, by receiving and depositing this law in its appointed place, they testified their acknowledgment of God's right to rule over them, and their submission to the authority of His law. The superb and elaborate style of the ark that contained "the testimony" was emblematic of the great treasure it held; in other words, the incomparable value and excellence of the Word of God, while its being placed in this chest further showed the great care which God has ever taken for preserving it.
I think it is significant that God spoke to Moses (the prophet) through the testimony. The testimony has been replaced by a better (1John5:9 If we accept the testimony of men, God's testimony is greater, because it is God's testimony that He has given about His Son.) testimony; that of Jesus Christ:
John 5: 36 "But I have a greater testimony than John's because of the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish. These very works I am doing testify about Me that the Father has sent Me.
I hope this links with the ideas of the testimony that you guys have brought to the table. I think your thoughts will help bring more substance to this post.
James Gabriel Gondai Dziya
| 2004/10/25 13:42||Profile|
Chapter 1. para 3,4
History as Prophecy.
We can now understand why Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, are reckoned as prophetic books. The anonymous authors of these books or it might perhaps be better to say editors may well have been prophets themselves. At any rate they were given to see that the history of Israel was, in itself, a revelation of God. Their record of it sought less to give a history of the doings of Israel and more an account of the doings of God in and through Israel. This explains the stress on what the modern historian would consider non-essentials and the omission of apparent essentials.
This thought of Jehovah as the God of history permeates the Latter Prophets. The partial loss of this vision in our day has largely weakened the Churchs preaching.
In the historical books we are introduced to prophetic activity of a strange nature, e.g. ISam. 10:10-13; 19:20-24. It is reasonable to attribute this partly to the baleful influence of Canaanite religion during the period of the Judges. However that may be, there is little, if any, trace of it in the written prophets. The wild men had degenerated into professional prophets, with their ecstasies and dreams (Jer. 23:25), and are repeatedly condemned by the written prophets. Their last pitiful state is described in Zech. 13:2-6. Amos indignantly refuses to be called a prophet, if it involves his being classed with them: I am no prophet, neither am I one of the sons of the prophets (Amos 7:14, R.V. mg.).
In contradistinction to these false prophets, the written prophets seem to have obtained most of their messages verbally we cannot go further in our explanation than this though we do meet with visions from time to time. As the prophets never really explain how the message came to them, it would be unwise for us to speculate too far on the subject.
Ellison: Men Spake from God.
| 2004/10/28 11:19||Profile|
Chapter 1, para 5
The Form of the Prophetic Message.
The majority of the true prophets were bitterly unpopular Ezekiel is apparently a major exception and there is no evidence for this after the exile. As a result, they could seldom rely on a large audience for any length of time. Their messages had to be packed into short pregnant form, generally in poetry, that they might be the more easily remembered. It should be remembered that before the days of printing, the only possibility of a message becoming widely known was for it to be passed from mouth to mouth (For the form of Hebrew poetry see Appendix, p. 150.).
The best example of the prophetic message in its simplest form is given in Jonah 3:4. We need not doubt that Jonah expanded it, whenever questioned about it, but basically this was his message. We find the prophetic tradition carried on by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:2), and our Lord (Mark 1:15).
The fact that the bulk of the earlier prophets and not a little of the later (not Daniel) is written in poetry should serve as a warning to us in our interpretation. It means that we are dealing not merely with the natural exuberance of Oriental language, but with the vivid metaphors and pictures of poetry as well.
At times the prophet became so unpopular that he could only gain public attention by unusual actions. Examples are Isaiahs vintage song (5:1-7), and his going about dressed as a slave (20:1-6). Jeremiah had to do this kind of thing a number of times: among them his remaining unmarried (Jer. 16:2), his breaking of the bottle (ch. 19), his wearing a yoke (chs. 27-28), his buying of land (32:7-15), his use of the Rechabites (ch. 35), his hiding of stones in front of Pharaohs palace (43:8-13), his sinking of the scroll against Babylon in the Euphrates (51:59-64). This element is very common in Ezekiel, e.g. his acting the siege of Jerusalem (ch. 4), the symbolizing of the scattering of the people (5:1-4), the removal of his goods (12:1-16), the rationing of his food (12:17-20), his refraining from mourning (24:15-27). It is the more remarkable here, as there seems to have been no necessity for it. It may be that such actions had come to be expected of a true prophet. The non-mention of such details in connexion with the Minor Prophets may well be due to the virtually complete lack of personal details in their writings.
Ellison: Men Spake from God
| 2004/10/28 11:22||Profile|
Chapter 1, para 6
The Shaping of the Prophetic Book.
Apart from Jer. 36, there is no indication given us how the prophetic books were put together. It should, however, be clear that the recorded prophecies cannot represent the whole of the prophets activities, even if we allow for frequent repetition of his messages. The most obvious explanation is that the prophet only preserved those of his prophecies which best expressed the character and purposes of God, and would best make them real to the future.
This probably explains why we have almost nothing of the messages of men like Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha, preserved for us. They were so intimately connected with the circumstances of their own times that they had but slight importance for later generations. We may be sure that the same was true of much that the prophets dealt with in this book said. It does not take any very close study to reveal long periods in their lives from which we have few, if any, prophecies.
In most of the longer prophets the main guide in the putting together of the prophecies preserved was spiritual connexion. Chronology is not neglected, but it is obviously secondary, and there are clear cases where it has been ignored for the sake of spiritual connexions.
In Jeremiahs case we know from 30:2, 36:32 that there were at least two collections of his prophecies in existence already during his lifetime. Isa. 8:16; 30:8 may well point to something similar in the case of the earlier prophet especially when we consider Micahs knowledge of him (see p. 63). Nothing will really satisfy the evidence offered by Jeremiah, except the theory that it was put together after the prophets death by Baruch. In ch. VI in considering the evidence for the authorship of Isaiah 40-66, we have had to assume the transmission of Isaiah through a group of disciples, even though the book may well have been given definitive form by the prophet before his death. With Ezekiel there is every evidence that the prophet looked forward to publication from the first, and that it was he who shaped the book from first to last. A number of the Minor Prophets give the impression that they were put together by the prophet himself.
Ellison: Men Spake from God
| 2004/10/28 11:23||Profile|
Chapter 1, para 7
One of the major problems in the study of the prophetic books is the problem of unfulfilled prophecy. The question is shirked either by referring the fulfilment to the Millennium, or by spiritualizing the prophecy and referring it to the Church.
The former method is seldom legitimate. Prophecies which refer to the last things do so quite unmistakably. There seems no justification for picking out others and making them do so too, just because we know that they were not fulfilled in the prophets own time.
For the latter, there seems nothing to be said. Very many prophecies find a fuller meaning and fulfilment in the Church than they ever found in Israel. But this is by their having gained in spiritual depth. If a prophecy obviously does not refer to the Church in its primary meaning, its non-fulfilment in the prophets time cannot be explained away by discovering a spiritual application to the Church.
The problem is really brought to a head in Ezek. 26. This is a prophecy of the complete destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. Lest there should be any doubt as to its meaning, it is followed by a lamentation over Tire (ch. 27), its prince (28:1-10), and its king (28:11-19). Yet Tyre was not captured and destroyed and its king killed. Sixteen years later (cf. 29:17 with 26:1) the king of Tyre was able to come to honourable terms. Ezekiel simply says that Nebuchadnezzar has had no gain from Tyre, but God has given him Egypt instead (29:17-20). This is re-affirmed in the next chapter (30:10 seq.). In spite of this, and Jer 43:8-13, there is no clear evidence that Nebuchadnezzar ever crossed the Egyptian border; he certainly never conquered the country.
The very fact that Ezekiel neither apologizes nor explains in 29:17-20 shows that he must have recognized a principle in prophetic fulfilment which we tend to overlook. This is probably to be found in Jer. 18:7-10. Every prophecy is conditional, even when the condition is unexpressed. A prophecy of good may be annulled or delayed, if men do not obey, while repentance may suspend or reverse a prophecy of evil. We must make an exception when it is confirmed by Gods oath.
It is only because we have the story of Jonah as well as his message that we have no difficulty with the unfulfilled prophecy of the destruction of Nineveh. Could we know all the circumstances, we should doubtless find similar circumstances elsewhere, where prophecy has not been fulfilled. The recording of such unfulfilled prophecies without explanatory comment is ample evidence that the prophet thought little of the evidential value of fulfilled prophecy.
For all this, unfulfilled is not in every case the best word; suspended would often be better. Nineveh was not destroyed in forty days, but some 150 years later it ceased to be a city. Nebuchadnezzar did not destroy Tyre, but the day came when it became a bare rock, a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea. Egypt was never uninhabited for forty years (Ezek. 29:11), but it has become a base kingdom, which has no longer ruled over the nations (Ezek. 29:14f). Babylon did not sink like a stone in the Euphrates (Jer. 51:64), but surely, slowly it went down into oblivion.
If this is so, he would be a very rash man who would maintain that the prophecies concerning Israel in Isaiah 40-66 are abrogated and not just suspended; that they have found their fulfilment in the Church.
A number of these points have been expanded in my Ezekiel e.g. the use of symbols, the problem of false prophets and the conditional nature of prophecy.
Ellison: Men Spake from God
| 2004/10/28 11:25||Profile|
Chapter 1, para 8
Heralds of the New Testament
The fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and especially the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity, were most terrible blows and upheavals on an unprecedented scale for the Hebrew people. This was God's judgment for the betrayal of their covenant with Him and for their profound moral corruption. A night of utter darkness and, it seemed, hopelessness had begun for the people. Then there appeared a whole galaxy of persons to console them in their sufferings. Reproof and consolation; these are the two subjects of their proclamations and of their prophetic books, which comprise the last grouping of the books of the Old Testament.
The prophets' reproofs precede the last blows that sealed the fate of the Hebrew people, when there were still some remnants of prosperity, and the people's conscience was still slumbering. These reproofs are incomparable in their force, in their unsparing veracity.
Woe, O sinful nation, a people full of sins, an evil seed, lawless children... Why should ye be smitten any more, transgressing more and more? The whole head is pained, and the whole heart is sad. From the feet to the head there is no soundness in them; a wound, a bruise, a festering ulcer. they have not been cleansed, nor bandaged, nor mollified with ointment... Though ye bring fine flour, it is vain; incense is an abomination to me; I cannot bear your new moons, and your sabbaths, and the festival assemblies... Wash ye, be clean, remove your iniquities from your souls before mine eyes, cease from your iniquities, learn to do good, diligently seek judgment, deliver him that is suffering wrong, plead for the orphan, and obtain justice for the widow. And come, let us reason together, saith the Lord, and though your sins be as purple, I will make them white as snow; and though they be as scarlet, I will make them white as wool, proclaimed the Prophet Isaiah (Is. 1:4‑6; 13; 18).
The Prophet Jeremiah castigates, and he laments the people's fall with even stronger words. Trust not in yourselves, in lying words, for they shall not Profit you at all, when ye say, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord... But whereas ye have trusted in lying words, whereby ye shall not be profited; and ye murder, and commit adultery, and steal, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and are gone after strange gods whom ye know not, so that it is evil with you. Yet have ye come, and stood before Me in the house whereon My name is called, and ye have said, We have refrained from doing all these abominations. Is My house, there whereon My name is called, a den of thieves in your eyes? (Jer. 7:4; 8‑11).
Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes? then would I weep for this, my people, day and night, even for the wounded of the daughter of my people. Who would give me a most distant lodge in the wilderness, that I might leave my people and depart from them? for they all commit adultery, an assembly of treacherous men... Every one will mock his friend; they will not speak truth; their tongue hath learned to speak falsehoods; they have committed iniquity and they have not ceased, so as to return... Shall I not visit them for these things, saith the Lord?... And I will remove the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and make it a dwelling place of dragons, and I will utterly lay waste the cities of Judah, so that they shall not be inhabited. Who is the wise man, that he may understand this?... Thus saith the Lord, Be ye prudent and call ye the mourning women, and let them come... and let them take up a lamentation for you, and let your eye pour down tears, and your eyelids drops of water! (Jer. 9:1-18).
And when the disasters befell them and unheard‑of woes were heaped upon them, the Babylonian captivity came and there was no longer any consolation and then those same prophets became the people's only support.
Comfort ye, comfort ye, My people, saith God. Speak, ye priests, of the heart of Jerusalem; comfort her, for her humiliation is accomplished, her sin is put away; for she hath received at the Lord's hand double the amount of her sins... O thou that bringest glad tidings to Zion, go up on the high mountains; lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest glad tidings to Jerusalem. Lift it up, fear not; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold the Lord. The Lord is coming with strength, and His arm is with power. Behold, His reward is with Him, and the work of each man is before Him. He shall tend His flock as a shepherd, and He shall gather the lambs with His arm and hold them in His bosom, and shall soothe them that are with young (Is. 40:1‑2, 9-11).
Thus the Prophet Isaiah comforts, becoming in those days of lamentation a prophet of God's future deliverance and good will.
One cries to me out of Seir. Guard ye the bulwarks. I watch in the morning and the night. If you wouldst inquire, inquire and dwell by me. (Is. 21:11-12)
The night will pass, God's anger will pass. Be glad, thou thirsty desert; let the wilderness exult, and flower as the lily. And the desert places of Jordan shall blossom and rejoice... Be strong ye hands and palsied knees. Comfort one another, ye faint‑hearted, be strong and fear not; behold, our God rendereth judgment, and He will render it; He will come and save us. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall hear. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the stammerers shall speak plainly; for water hath burst forth in the desert, and a channel of water in a thirsty land... But the redeemed and gathered on the Lord's behalf shall walk in it, and shall return, and come to Zion with joy, and everlasting joy shall be over their head; for on their head shall be praise and exultation, and joy shall take possession of them; pain and sorrow, and sighing have fled away (Is. 35:1‑6; 10).
What is it that especially inspires the prophets with bright hopes in these distant visions of the future? Is it the political might of their people, her victories and triumphs which they see before them? Or is it a vision of plenty, riches and abundance in the future which is presented to them? No, it is not these objects of material prosperity or national pride that attract their attention. Could these holy men, who had resigned themselves to a life of suffering, and sometimes even to a martyr's death (the Prophet Isaiah was sawn in two with a wooden saw), really inspire their people with these earthly desires alone? They were contemplating another revelation of God: an unprecedented spiritual rebirth, times of justice and truth, meekness and peace, when the whole world is filled with the knowledge of the Lord (Is. 11:9). They proclaimed the coming of the New Testament.
But this is the covenant that I shall make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, Giving, I will give My laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts; and I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, for I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more (Jer. 31: 33‑34).Thus prophesies Jeremiah.
The same is proclaimed by Ezekiel. And I will give you a new heart, and will put a new spirit in you; and I will take away the heart of stone out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit in you, and will cause you to walk in Mine ordinances and to keep My judgments, and do them (Ezek. 36:26‑27; and 11:19‑20).
The prophets speak much about the requital of the other nations, the enemies of Israel, the pagan peoples, who were only the instruments of God's anger and His chastisement of Israel. They will receive their cup of wrath. But the future blessing of Israel will be a light for them also. And in that day, there shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall arise to rule over the nations; in Him shall the nations hope, and His rest shall be a reward, predicts Isaiah (Is. 11: 10).
The fulfillment of these hopes is linked with the mystical promise of granting Israel an eternal king. My servant David shall be a prince in the midst of them; for there shall be one shepherd of them all, for they shall walk in Mine ordinances... And David My servant shall be their prince for ever. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, we read in Ezekiel (Ezek. 37:24‑26).
In consoling their contemporaries, the prophets direct the attention of all towards their future King. They present His image before them in these colors: in the light of meekness, gentleness, humility, righteousness. Jacob is My servant, I will help him: Israel is my chosen, My soul hath accepted him; I have put My Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up his voice, nor shall his voice be heard without. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench; but he shall bring forth judgment to truth (Is. 42:1‑3).
In such and similar words, the prophets depict the coming of the Saviour of the world. Before us, scattered throughout various passages of the prophets' writings, but abundant when taken all together, is a depiction of the future events of the Gospel and its portrayal of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Here, in Isaiah, is a reference to Galilee, the place where the Saviour first dwelt on earth and appeared to people: Do this first, do it quickly, O land of Zebulon, land of Naphtali, and the rest inhabiting the seacoast, and the land beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations. O people walking in darkness, behold a great light. ye that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, a light will shine upon you... For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given, Whose government is upon His shoulder. And His name is called the angel of great Counsel, Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty One, the Potentate, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the age to come (Is. 9:1‑2, 6).
Here is a reference to the Lord's glorification of Jerusalem: Shine, shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and there shall be thick darkness upon the nations, but the Lord shall appear unto thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And kings shall walk in thy light, and nations in the brightness (Is. 60:1‑3).
Here is the prophecy about Christ by this same prophet, which Christ Himself used in the synagogue of Nazareth to begin His earthly preaching: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me, He hath sent Me to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the broken‑hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to declare the acceptable year of the Lord (Is. 61:1‑2).
Does the prophet foresee that the Saviour will not be recognized or accepted by the leaders of the Jewish people, or by those people that follow them? Yes, he makes an oblique reference to this in the great depiction of Christ's sufferings which he gives in Chapter 53 of his book, which is one of the greatest prophecies, if not the greatest of them all:
O Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? We brought a report of a Child before him; He is as a root in a thirsty land, He hath no form nor comeliness, and we saw Him, but He had no form nor beauty. But His form was ignoble, and forsaken by all men; He was a man of suffering, and acquainted with the bearing of sickness
His life is taken away from the earth, because of the iniquities of My people He was led to death. And I will give the wicked for His burial, and the rich for His death; for He did no iniquity, neither is there guile in His mouth (Is. 53:1‑9).
The Gospel narrative testifies that the Jewish people did not recognize the time of its visitation. However, we cannot say that the prophecies of consolation were not fulfilled. For no one can take away from the Jewish people the boast that from their race came the Most‑holy Virgin Mary, that Jesus Christ was of the seed of David, that Christ's Apostles were of the same people, and that Jerusalem has become for all time the place of the glory of the Risen Christ. From Jerusalem, the preaching of the Gospel went forth into the whole world, and of her the Church sings: Rejoice, holy Zion, thou mother of the churches, and dwelling place of God: for thou wast first to receive remission of sins through the Resurrection (Octoechos, Tone 8, Sun. Sticheron on Lord, I have cried).
A full explanation of the fact that it was principally people from the pagan nations who entered the Church of Christ, and that the majority of the Jews remained in unbelief, is given to us in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul. In his writings, we find an exhaustive interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies concerning this. The Apostle writes:
What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endureth with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the nations? As He saith also in Hosea, I will call them My people, which were not My people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not My people, there shall they be called the people of the living God. Isaiah also crieth concerning Israel: Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved... What shall we say then? That the nations which have followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone; as it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumblingstone and rock of offense, and whosoever believeth in Him shall not be ashamed...
But I say, continues the Apostle in the next chapter, did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation will anger you. But Isaiah is very bold, and saith: I was found by them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked after Me. But to Israel He saith: All day long I have stretched forth My hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people (Rom. 9:22‑27; 30‑33; 10:18‑21).
This would seem to be too harsh a fate and too strict a sentence for the chosen people of old. But the Apostle Paul himself becomes a comforter of his people, saying, For I wish not, brethren, that ye be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits; that hardness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the nations be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob... For God hath enclosed them all in disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all. O the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! (Rom. 11:25‑26; 32‑33).
Ellison: Men Spake from God
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