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Text Sermons : Art Katz : Israel and the Apocalypse: A Hermeneutical Key for all the Faith

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Eugene Pederson in his devotional message for February 25 in Living the Message speaks of the effect of the Book of Revelation in stimulating his spiritual life.
It is the message of Israel that has had a like affect upon me and which I believe is God¬ís normative intent for all the Church. Because it ¬ďforces and enables me to see with fresh eyes, to look at what is spread out right before me, because being the concluding book, i.e., the concluding act I cannot finish my call apart from it.¬Ē With the message of Israel, my inmost being is called into participation of a radical kind as it brings a corrective against soulish counterfeits and lesser alternatives in the earnestness of what is at stake.
The issue of God’s judgments, so prominent in the finale of the Age, provides a hermeneutical key [principle of interpretation]. It brings an urgency of what is real, primary, ultimate—a virtual counteraction against last days’ deception, even the sense of Reality itself! We recapture an elemental involvement in the basic conflicts and struggles that establishes moral existence itself-and then go on to ignite the true worship and adoration and primal affirmations for which God created us.
The salutary effect of the apocalyptic message of Israel will save us from a depleted eternity. As Matt. 25 indicates, a response to ¬ďthe least of these My brethren [Jewish life]¬Ē is the issue of righteousness and eternal reward to those who do not withhold it. Likewise, Psalm 102 indicates that the ¬ďset time to favor Zion¬Ē is precipitated by those servants who have compassion on her dust and mercy on her stones! Finally, a prophetic presence in the wilderness with frayed and depleted Israel in Isaiah 35 speaks a word that enables the lame to leap and the blind to see, nature itself spouting pools of water in waste places! ¬ĒGod empowers them [Israel¬ís comforters] to gather His people from exile to Zion through all the hostile elements-fire, water, and wilderness¬Ē (Avraham Gileadi in his book The End from the Beginning, p.138).
Is this not the very provocation for the attainment of the fullness of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25? ¬ócompleting the Church even as it delivers Israel!
¬Ö[I]n all His chastisements and judgments with which He has to visit his people on account of their great and manifold sins¬Öthey may, by these very judgments, as well as by the abundant mercy which He will reveal to them ¬ďin that day,¬Ē be brought as a nation, fully and forever, to know Him, in all the divine perfections of His glorious character, so as to be able to fulfill their foreordained mission to show forth His praise, and to proclaim His glory among the nations. (David Baron, Commentary on Zechariah p. 485).

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