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"And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:26-27).
I have long been intrigued by the phrase, "There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer." Clearly Israel's deliverance is a final, eschatological, closure event. But how is it to be effected? There is something in the heart-cry of David in v.7 of Psalm 14, "O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion!" that suggests something more than the physical locus of the Returning Lord's capitol and Kingdom, but something of the character of the King and His Kingdom obtained finally in the Church that is the key to Israel's deliverance!
This would be, it seems to me, every bit in keeping with the release that comes to the physical creation from the bondage of corruption that "waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:19f.). Acts 3:21 is another indication that God has bound Himself with regard to the release of His Coming and His Kingdom, and that there needs to be the fulfillment of certain conditions, "the restoration of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the age began." As I have tried to indicate in other papers, notably the article on Ez.37, the Church is the principal agent in that restoration¬óbut the Church of an ultimate kind! By that I mean, a corporate people brought to full prophetic and apostolic maturity sharing the character of God.
In a word, the King of glory, the Lord of Hosts is "at the gates" (Psalm 24:7), but as Karl Barth elaborates, "A bolt is fixed in place, it requires certain hands, different hands from our own, to open. 'Clean hands' are required for it...men with other hearts than our own...He who has 'a pure heart,' say the words of the Psalm, can 'ascend into the hill of the Lord' [i.e. Mt. Zion]...men who have 'not lifted up their souls to falsehood''. (From Come Holy Spirit, Wm. Eerdmans Co., Grand Rapids, Mi., 1978. p.6).
Is this not a description of "sons"? Can those who are able to approach that mount be of a character and kind that is different or other than that of Zion itself? For "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, or who shall stand in His holy place? "Clean, guiltless hands open the bolt that closes the entrance to the redeeming and freeing things [The salvation for all who are Israel and the turning away of ungodliness from Jacob] which God has to say to us"(ibid., p.6). Is it not to be expected that the Church of the Last Days that can "provoke them to jealousy" (Rom. 11:11) is exactly that 'Zion,¬í and provokes Israel, long-chafed by the historical Church's insensitivities and brutalities?
How compatible is such a view with the testimony of the prophetic Scriptures that speak of the method that God employs in effecting Israel's final redemption out of Last Days¬í extremity?
"Therefore, behold, I will allure [woo] her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly unto her. And I will give her vineyards there, and the Valley of Achor for a door of hope" (Hosea 2:14-15). Parentheses and emphasis mine.
"And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead [entreat] with you face to face" (Ez. 20:35) Parentheses mine.
That latter phrase I have always interpreted as revealing the character of God (His unconditional love and sacrificial mercies) in the face (i.e., the visibly demonstrated, consistent and unaffected demeanor) of His people despite the most excruciating demands of a frustrated, panic-ridden Jewry.
How much then, in light of the mandate which is exclusively ours and one that cannot be fulfilled on any grounds other than our total sanctification, should we welcome the most stringent dealings of God in preparation thereof? How much will we welcome the intensive conditions of true church life whereby they might be obtained? Should we not welcome the necessary judgments of God of hidden things as being the very grace of God? If we are to be the agents for opening the gates that the King of glory be come in, "We must divorce ourselves from the old existence, we must become ashamed of our imprisonment" (Barth, p.7), for how can the Church be this for Israel when it is not yet this for itself? What a new, deep seeking of God this will require. But then "Who will ascend into the hill of the Lord?...The generation of them that seek after Him, that seek thy face [the revelation of God in His character as He in fact is and not as we thought Him to be], God of Jacob." Parentheses and emphases mine.
Re: Noah and Enoch
Taken from Steve Highlander's The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Oberlin Christian Fellowship, P.O. Box 104, Oberlin, KS 67749 (913/475-3307).
Enoch means "dedication." "It is important to see that Enoch or dedication was where a translation was made. True dedication to God is the doorway by which God can move powerfully in a person's life. Dedication brings death to the flesh and life to the spirit faster than anything else. Enoch (dedication) fathered Methuselah, whose name meant "man of the dart and man of full length" (a full-statured man who becomes a weapon in God's hand). This man (the Church) that God is currently preparing will be a great weapon in God's own hand. He will ultimately use it to destroy the works of iniquity and the anti-Christ. However, it is first necessary for us to get rid of the iniquity (self will) in our own lives before we could hope to combat it in the world...Methuselah fathered Lamech (powerful). This is what the Church is to be in the Last Days just prior to Christ's Coming. Methuselah, Lamech and Noah all lived during the 100 plus years it took Noah to build the Ark. Methuselah died the year the Flood came. Lamech lived 777 years.
"Lamech (powerful) fathered Noah (rest) who built the ark through faith and obedience...This is exactly what the Church of Jesus Christ will be doing in the Last Day¬óbuilding an Ark, preaching righteousness and preparing a rest in God's provision and protection during the outpouring of judgment...It was Noah who came out the other side of the flood to inherit a cleansed earth...The fact remains the same; a more powerful ministry was left behind after the translation.
In the centrifugal tugs of the Last Days, there will be a polarizing of the radically committed and the apostate who "leave their first love to seek their own self will (iniquity) under the pressure of the world. They will be like Lot's wife, always turning back to the wickedness and things of this world, even when they know judgment is coming. Two mysteries conclude the age, the mystery of iniquity (II Thes. 2:7) and the mystery of God (Rev. 10:7; Col. 1:25-29). "Can you imagine the glory that will be revealed when God's people experience the full release of the Christ nature that already resides in us? God will truly have a people fully sold out to Him who have overcome sin and iniquity and who walk in the fullness of His power...There was no self-will in Jesus. This was the secret of His free-flowing power."
"Just as the world-wide Body of Christ will submit to God's will and come to completion (Rom. 11:25-26), the lost world will turn themselves over to the inner nature that controls them¬óiniquity...There is coming a time when every man, woman and child will have to yield to the one nature or the other, because both mysteries are coming to completion at the same time in the last days. The heat of the tribulation will be the catalyst dividing those who are sold out [to those who are "sell-outs"].
"The whole creation is waiting for the two events that will begin to occur simultaneously the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19) and the revelation of the man of sin. God's people becoming more godly, while the world gives itself over to the grossest sin nature." Noah who was "just and perfect and walked with God" (Gen. 6:5-8) was protected and provided for through the judgment and remained after the judgment to re-populate the cleansed earth. As sin comes to completion, so will God's judgment...As the world grows darker and darker because of sin, the Church of Jesus Christ will get brighter and brighter because of the revealed glory of God: "WHEN THE LORD SHALL BUILD UP ZION HE SHALL APPEAR IN HIS GLORY." (Ps. 102:16). Emphasis mine.