Middle East Peace
Your House Left Desolate (2)
Desolation to Continue Until . . . Then . . .
Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
See! Your house is left to you desolate;
for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:34-39)
When Christ came the first time, He appeared to Israel and offered the kingdom of the heavens to the Jewish people, based upon national repentance. The message was very simple:
Repent [the entire nation], for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. (Matthew 3:1, 2; 4:17; 10:1-7)
The theocracy could have been restored (cf. Acts 1:3-7); and though only the heavenly aspect of the kingdom was being offered to the nation at this time, any realization of the heavenly would have necessitated a realization of the earthly as well. One cannot exist in its fullness in this respect apart from the other.
Israel, at Christ’s first coming, was viewed as sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head” (Isaiah 1:4-6). Supernatural signs were being manifested — supernatural healings of individuals, supernatural provision (Matthew 4:23-25; John 2:7-10) — pointing to that which the entire nation could experience and have if the nation would repent.
(“Repentance” and the use of the word in Scripture is, more often than not, misunderstood [e.g., unsaved individuals often called upon to repent prior to believing (some attempt to make repentance and belief synonymous or inseparable); or, in a similar respect, seeing the call for Israel to repent in the gospel accounts and in Acts as a call to the unsaved].
The word “repent” is a translation of the Greek word, metanoia, or in its verb form, metanoeo. Both are compound words [the preposition meta (meaning, “with”) prefixed to words derived from vous (meaning, “mind”)]. Thus, these compound words, in their base sense, mean “with the mind.”
The word [either noun or verb form] refers to doing something with the mind, and that which is referenced through the use of this word has to do with changing one’s mind. And that is really all that the word means.
The Jewish people in the gospels and Acts were called upon to change their minds relative to their continued disobedience, which would lead to a change of actions, etc.
Relative to salvation today, does an unsaved person have to repent? He does if he has to change his mind about Christ before he can believe, though most today would probably have to make up their minds rather than change their minds prior to belief. But either way, it is believing that saves a person, not making up or changing one’s mind. The latter would only place a person in the position where he can believe and be saved.)
The message proclaimed to Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry was God through one Son calling His other son to acknowledge that which had been done, and repent (cf. Exodus 4:22, 23; Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15; Hebrews 1:6). But the other son refused, and the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis chapter four began to be fulfilled in the antitype.
One son rose up against the other Son, and slew Him. As Cain rose up against Abel and slew him, Israel rose up against Christ and slew Him. And as the blood of Abel cried out “from the ground,” the blood of Christ “speaks better things than that of Abel.” (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).
Then the story continues from Genesis chapter four. Cain’s punishment for this act was something that he looked upon as greater than he could bear. He was to be driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth, he was to be a “fugitive and a vagabond . . . on the earth [a fugitive moving from place to place across the face of the earth, with no permanent home]”; and, in this condition, he would find himself at the mercy of those upon the earth.
Others would seek to slay him, but would be unable to do so. God, in spite of that which Cain had done, would not only supernaturally protect Cain, but He would judge those who did seek to slay him (Genesis 4:13-15).
And this is exactly what has happened to the Jewish people over the centuries since they slew their Brother. Israel has been driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth (among those “without God,” dwelling in the tents of Ham and Japheth [cf. Genesis 9:26, 27; Ephesians 2:12]).
Israel has been scattered among the nations — a fugitive, one guilty of blood, with no permanent home (cf. Deuteronomy 28:64-67) — and Israel, in this condition, has been placed at the mercy of these same nations.
Israel and the Nations — Past, Present
Some of these Gentile nations where the Jewish people have been scattered have sought to help God chasten His son by and through forwarding the affliction (Zechariah 1:14, 15). They, as Cain feared would happen to him when he was driven out in this manner, have sought to take Israel’s life (Genesis 4:14).
But Israel possesses the same promise Cain possessed. God would supernaturally intervene, protect His son’s life (though allowing the nations to enact their anti-Semitism), and then judge the nations that did interfere with His treatment of His son.
The classic example of this in modern times would be that which occurred in Europe during the reign of the Third Reich (1933-1945). Germany, not realizing who they were dealing with (God and His son) or what they were doing (another Gentile nation fulfilling that which is stated in Genesis 4:14, 15; Zechariah 1:15), sought to help God chasten His son — though, in the process, attempting the impossible, attempting the destruction of God’s son — with grave consequences following in the wake of this attempt.
The Third Reich built the concentration camps, the crematoriums, and sought to produce a Jew-free Europe through the destruction of an entire race of people. And six million Jews in Europe (Jews dispersed in Gentile lands, at the mercy of the Gentiles) died during this time.
Where though was God when the Jewish people were suffering and dying by the tens and hundreds of thousands in the Nazi death camps? Moses provides the answer to that question as well, along with the answers to any other questions that can be raised relative to the Jewish people.
The answer is seen by asking: Where was God when the Israelites were suffering under the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt during Moses’ day? He was in the same place during Jewish suffering in modern times as He was during the sufferings of these same people in Moses’ day, or during any other sufferings that the Jewish people have undergone over the course of the intervening centuries and millennia.
Note where God was during the sufferings of the Jewish people in Moses’ day:
And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him [Moses] in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” . . .
And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt” . . . (Exodus 3:2-4, 7a).
The picture is that of Israel ever-burning in the fires of Gentile persecution, with God in the midst of the nation. God was allowing the Gentiles to help “forward the affliction”; and, at the same time, He was in the midst of His people, who were being afflicted. God Himself, along with His son, was being afflicted.
(Exactly the same thing can be seen through the sufferings of God’s Son at Calvary. One Son died, and this Son was God Himself. It was God who suffered. It was the very blood of God that was shed at Calvary [Acts 20:28].)
This is why treatment accorded either Son — whether good or bad — is treatment accorded God Himself (Matthew 25:31-46). It was God Himself, manifest in the flesh, dying at Calvary. And God is always seen in the midst of Israel. He is seen standing with His son, receiving exactly the same thing that the son receives.
The burning bush during Moses’ day, representing Israel continuously suffering in the fires of Gentile persecution, couldn’t be destroyed. To destroy the bush, one would have had to destroy God within the bush. The bush burned in a continuous manner, though nothing was being consumed in the process, for God could not/cannot be consumed.
Thus, where was God when the Jewish people were being gassed and placed in the crematoriums at Auschwitz, among other death camps? The answer is simple: God was there! God was in the midst of His people, just as He was in “the midst” of the burning bush during Moses’ day. And, as the bush couldn’t be consumed during Moses’ day almost 3,500 years ago, neither could the nation be consumed in the gas chambers and crematoriums during modern times. It was the same nation, with the same calling, with the same unchangeable God dwelling in the nation’s midst.
Israel could no more be consumed in the gas chambers and crematoriums during the reign of the Third Reich than could the three Israelites be consumed in the fiery furnace during Nebuchadnezzar’s day — a furnace heated seven times hotter than it was normally heated, so hot that it slew those who cast the three Israelites into the furnace (“seven,” a complete number, evidently indicating that the furnace was to be heated as hot as possible without destroying the furnace). The fire though had no power over these Israelites, none whatsoever. Not a single hair on their heads was singed by the fire; nor was there even the smell of fire or smoke on them or their undamaged garments.
(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Distant Hoofbeats, Chapters 1-3 and the two appendixes.)
Israel and the Nations — Future
Israel’s greatest time of affliction at the hands of the Gentiles still lies in the future. That which occurred in Europe under the reign of the Third Reich is little more than a precursor of that which is about to occur worldwide under the reign of a man who will shortly appear on the scene.
During “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7), when Antichrist exercises full power, he will enact a form of anti-Semitism without parallel in history. He will seek to destroy the Jewish people, not just in the Middle East and Europe, but worldwide. And he will be responsible for the death of far more Jews than were slain in Europe during the war years.
(Some 6,000,000 Jews were slain in Europe immediately preceding and during the war years, mainly from 1938 to 1945.
During the coming Tribulation, mainly during the last half [the last three and one-half years], two-thirds of the Jewish population of the earth will die [about 9,000,000 by today’s count]. One part will die as a result of famine and related diseases, the other part by the sword [Ezekiel 5:12; Zechariah 13:8, 9].
This will be the day when Satan, by through the one who will sit on his throne in that day — to whom Satan will give “his power ”and “great authority” [Revelation 13:2] — will seek to do and complete that which the Third Reich under Hitler, among others preceding him, attempted.
Satan in that day, by and through the one seated on his throne, will seek to bring about that which the Third Reich called, “The Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”
And the end result of that which Satan will attempt in that day will be exactly the same as the end result of any and all of his attempts to destroy the Jewish people down through history. It cannot be otherwise, for he can succeed only by destroying the One in the midst of the burning bush during Moses’ day, the fourth Person in the furnace during Daniel’s day.
Satan knows that the only way he can remain on the throne is to do away with Israel. Because of the manner in which God has structured the earth’s government among the nations [all the nations having descended from the first man, created for regal purposes]), he is left without a choice.
Israel MUST be destroyed.
God has established Israel at the heart and center of everything related to His purpose for man’s creation in the beginning, leaving Satan occupying the position in which he finds himself — a position in which he can only attempt the impossible if he is to attempt anything at all.)
The Jewish people, remembering the Holocaust, have a saying today: “Never again!” But, a problem exists. Israel is saying this in an unrepentant and unbelieving state, guaranteeing that something similar, if not worse, will happen again.
And that which is about to occur will be worse, far worse.
The Old Testament type for all of this is set forth in the book of Exodus. Moses wrote about the matter in great detail almost 3,500 years ago — detail that will be fulfilled exactly as recorded:
The Assyrian Pharaoh, seeking to destroy the Jewish people in Egypt during Moses’ Day (Exodus 1:8ff; Isaiah 52:4), typifies the Assyrian (Antichrist) of the end time, who will raise his hand against Israel after the same fashion (Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; 23:13; 30:31; 31:8; Hosea 11:5).
Just as God supernaturally protected His people under the past Assyrian, He will supernaturally protect His people under the future Assyrian (Exodus 1:11ff; Micah 5:5, 6).
Just as the Jewish people in the past were driven to the place where they cried out to God for deliverance, the Jewish people in the future will be driven to the place where they will cry out to God for deliverance (Exodus 2:23; Hosea 5:15).
Just as God heard His people’s cry in Egypt, remembering His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He will hear His people’s cry in the future, scattered throughout the earth, remembering His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:24-3:9; Hosea 6:1, 2; Ezekiel 39:25-29).
Just as God then sent Moses back to His people to deliver them in the past, He will then send Jesus back to His people to deliver them in the future (Exodus 3:10; 4:19ff; Revelation 19:11ff).
Just as the Jewish people received the one whom they had previously rejected (Moses) when he returned in past time, the Jewish people will receive the One whom they had previously rejected (Jesus) when He returns in the future (Exodus 4:29-31; Zechariah 12:10-14).
Just as the Jewish people slew paschal lambs and applied the blood in that past day, the Jewish people in the future will apply (through believing) the blood of the Paschal Lamb whom they slew 2,000 years ago (Exodus 12:1ff; Isaiah 53:1ff).
Just as God, in that past day, then led His people out of Egypt under Moses, God, in that future day, will then lead His people out from a worldwide dispersion under Jesus (Exodus 12:40, 41; 14:13-22; Matthew 24:29-31).
Just as the power of Egypt was destroyed during Moses’ day, so will Gentile world power be destroyed in the future, in the Lord’s Day (Exodus 14:23-28; Joel 3:9-16).
Just as the Jewish people subsequently dwelled in the land within a theocracy, they, in that coming day, will dwell in the land once again within a theocracy (Joshua 3:1ff; Joel 2:21-32).
The Son of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings (Malachi 4:2), a repentant nation will look upon the One whom they pierced, a nation will be born in a day, the nation will be restored to the land, and the theocracy will be restored to Israel (Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Isaiah 66:8; Ezekiel 37:1ff; Joel 3:17-21; Zechariah 13:6; Revelation 1:7).
The Prophets have spoken; and it will all happen, exactly as foretold in the unchangeable Word.
Then, and only then, will blessings flow out from God through Israel to the Gentile nations of the earth, as God originally intended through Israel’s calling.