The End of Days
The Message of the Covenant
Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. (JPS)
Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS)
The chapter entitled "The End" is obviously not the final chapter of this book despite the fact that most authors would be inclined to position things in that manner. This is partly due to the nature of the subsequent material, but it is also because the End of Days not only closes an epoch, but also begins a new one. The chapter called The End here is not about the end of this book, but about the End of Days.
Daniel 12:9 And he said: 'Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
The End of Days is also known as the Day of Jacob's Trouble or the Tribulation and this period culminates in a special Day of the L-rd. During the second half of the Tribulation is the Great Tribulation and this period lasts for 3 ½ years. Therefore, the Tribulation lasts for seven years.
Zechariah 14:1 Behold, a day of the Lord cometh, when thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. (JPS)
Zechariah 14:6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall not be light, but heavy clouds and thick; 7 And there shall be one day which shall be known as the Lord'S, not day, and not night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light. (JPS)
The Tribulation will be a seven-year period of increasingly tumultuous events. The specific moment that Zechariah was speaking of in Zechariah 14:7 as a special Day of the L-rd is at the end of that period.
The End Has Come
The period of Tribulation is a time when G-d pours out His wrath on his people as well as the entire world to bring things into compliance with His program and this will last for seven years. Despite the fact that seven is obviously a significant number in the Bible, it is also relevant to question why this period lasts seven years. One might recall the explanation of the significance of the seventy weeks spoken of by the prophet Daniel from chapter five. Daniel also mentions the last week and this is generally interpreted as referring to a seven-year period known as the Tribulation or End of Days. When considering the one week, one might question why this period of wrath will last for seven years or exactly where the seven years came from.
Daniel 9:20 And while I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 yea, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, approached close to me about the time of the evening offering. 22 And he made me to understand, and talked with me, and said: 'O Daniel, I am now come forth to make thee skilful of understanding. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Daniel 9:23 At the beginning of thy supplications a word went forth, and I am come to declare it; for thou art greatly beloved; therefore look into the word, and understand the vision. (JPS)
Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to forgive iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the most holy place. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto one anointed, a prince, shall be seven weeks; and for threescore and two weeks, it shall be built again, with broad place and moat, but in troublous times. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Daniel 9:26 And after the threescore and two weeks shall an anointed one be cut off, and be no more; and the people of a prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; but his end shall be with a flood; and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and upon the wing of detestable things shall be that which causeth appalment; and that until the extermination wholly determined be poured out upon that which causeth appalment.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
In chapter five, the source of the seventy weeks was considered, but this leaves the important question as to the source of the seven years of Tribulation. The source of that period of time is simply this:
1 Kings 6:38 And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
While some have assumed that the covenant spoken of in Daniel 9:27 will consist of a peace treaty, this is not the case, per se. It is important to remember that this man will be accepted as the Messiah. Therefore, he is a false god and this covenant will be a counterfeit of the covenant of Moses housed in a counterfeit ark.
The New Covenant
Up to this point, every effort has been made to avoid using any references from the New Testament. There have been a few uses of that material, but generally, it has not been necessary to include scripture from that collection. From this point on, however, it will be necessary to use scripture from the New Testament because it adds a great deal of information about future events. While most Jews might not embrace that material, it is also certain that many rabbis do occasionally make use of it for study. For example, one can observe extensive references from it in contributions by rabbis to the Jewish Encyclopedia. Since this whole book is essentially a study, it is conceivable that one might wish to consider the New Testament from its informational perspective alone.
New Testament actually means New Covenant and as was clearly shown in Chapter 6, a New Covenant has been necessary since the days of Solomon. Obviously scripture clearly indicates that the covenant was transgressed at Adam (Hosea 6:6; Joshua 3:16) and the only possible incident that that statement can refer to is the fabricating of items for King Solomon's Temple (1 Kings 7:46). More information about the necessity of the New Covenant is forthcoming. For now, it is hoped that Jews will accept these references from the New Testament simply on an intellectual level if for no other reason.
The Abomination of Desolation
The second half of the Tribulation is known as the Great Tribulation and the division of the two periods is marked by a special event, the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation in the temple. It is important to recognize what this item consists of and that is a good part of the mission of this book. The Abomination of Desolation is a counterfeit ark of the covenant or aron and it is simply a worthless idol by itself. It is apparently more worthless than most idols because it has no supernatural counterpart whatsoever as most idols did. However, since it contains a false set of stone tables of the decalogue with changed wording from the originals, it is especially detestable. As if this were not enough, it seems to not take on its full detestableness until the Antichrist sits upon it claiming to be G-d. Since the real Ark was the throne of G-d, the Antichrist sits on this counterfeit ark as if he is G-d. This counterfeit ark was set up long ago and it still exists today and it will be incredibly important in the future. It is the idol spoken of that provokes G-d to jealousy. This will be the Abomination of Desolation that will be set up marking the beginning of the Great Tribulation. When the Man of Sin sits upon this counterfeit ark, he claims to be G-d and projects himself to be G-d by seating himself on this counterfeit throne of G-d. This brings forth incredible disasters the likes of which have never occurred since man has been on the earth and will never occur again.
The following passage from 2 Thessalonians reveals many details about this object that can only be determined by reading between the lines as it were. From this passage alone, one should be able to determine that this must be a reference to a counterfeit ark. One might wish to review the Characteristics of the Ark chapter to validate this conclusion.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him; 2 to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is just at hand; 3 let no man beguile you in any wise: for [it will not be,] except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. (ASV) (Emphasis added)
It is logical to conclude that if this man sits in the temple of G-d projecting himself to be G-d, then he must sit upon something similar to the Ark of the Covenant because that was the throne of G-d. Since one would have to imitate G-d to project himself to be G-d, he would naturally seat himself on something as close as possible to the throne of G-d, that is to say, the ark.
Jeremiah 17:12 A glorious throne, exalted from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary. (NIV)
Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water. (NIV)
Isaiah 16:5 And a throne is established through mercy, and there sitteth thereon in truth, in the tent of David, one that judgeth, and seeketh justice, and is ready in righteousness. (JPS)
Notice that Isaiah states that the throne was in the tent of David but strangely omits any mention of a throne in King Solomon's Temple. This tent of David mentioned by Isaiah would obviously refer to the tabernacle that David pitched in Zion. It seems exceedingly probable that this counterfeit ark is the ark discovered by Ron Wyatt. There are several reasons why Wyatt's ark must be the counterfeit, one being that Mr. Wyatt stated that he saw the stone tables of the covenant. It is highly unlikely that he could actually gaze upon the real stone tables and live because the violation of any one of the commands brings about an automatic death penalty. It was postulated in Chapter 4 that a simple test for the authenticity of any ark would be to see if it had nails used in its construction because it is highly improbable that the real ark has any nails at all. Recall that the whole ark had to be covered with several layers of veils before it could be removed from the tabernacle and even the Levites charged with transporting it could not approach it until the sons of Aaron had covered it. No matter which ark or Aron is placed in the next temple, it will definitely be the wrong one and this item has been preserved for such a time as this. The history of this future is already written and will not be changed.
Jeremiah 8:5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
For Christians that teach backsliding, this literal change of the real Ark for a counterfeit was what backsliding refers to. The concept of backsliding has no application beyond those events. As a case in point one should consider the fact that the term never appears in the New Testament.
Deuteronomy 4:23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, even the likeness of any thing which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee. 24 For the Lord thy God is a devouring fire, a jealous God. 25 When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have been long in the land, and shall deal corruptly, and make a graven image, even the form of any thing, and shall do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke Him; 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over the Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. 27 And the Lord shall scatter you among the peoples, and ye shall be left few in number among the nations, whither the Lord shall lead you away. 28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from thence ye will seek the Lord thy God; and thou shalt find Him, if thou search after Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 4:30 In thy distress, when all these things are come upon thee, in the end of days, thou wilt return to the Lord thy God, and hearken unto His voice; 31 for the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them. 32 For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? 33 Did ever a people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? 34 Or hath God assayed to go and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before thine eyes? 35 Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightiest know that the Lord, He is God; there is none else beside Him. 36 Out of heaven He made thee to hear His voice, that He might instruct thee; and upon earth He made thee to see His great fire; and thou didst hear His words out of the midst of the fire. 37 And because He loved thy fathers, and chose their seed after them, and brought thee out with His presence, with His great power, out of Egypt, 38 to drive out nations from before thee greater and mightier than thou, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 4:39 know this day, and lay it to thy heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and upon the earth beneath; there is none else. 40 And thou shalt keep His statutes, and His commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
The counterfeit ark that Solomon made still exists today and it will play an important role in the future. The counterfeit ark of the covenant is about 66.6% of the abomination of desolation that will be set up in the temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation. Solomon sitting upon it again claiming to be G-d is what makes it a complete abomination. It is highly probable that Solomon was the prince of Tyre spoken of by Ezekiel, something that was examined in greater detail in the chapter about Solomon. One may wish to ponder just exactly who could be wiser that Daniel. That attribute limits the field of possible candidates a great deal.
Ezekiel 28:1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: 2 'Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyre: Thus saith the L-rd GOD: because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said: I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the heart of the seas; yet thou art man, and not God, though thou didst set thy heart as the heart of God-- 3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel! there is no secret that they can hide from thee! (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Sitting upon a counterfeit ark containing a counterfeit set of stone tables with false commandments inscribed upon them in the temple would seem to be plenty of provocation to make G-d very angry. In this way, this person attempts to project himself to be G-d, but he is not G-d, only a man. It is important to remember that this counterfeit ark was switched with the real ark secretly.
Deuteronomy 27:15 Cursed be the man that maketh a graven or molten image, an abomination to the Lord, a work of the craftsman's hand, and putteth it up secretly! And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 12:13 The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man. 14 For God shall bring every work into the judgment concerning every hidden thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, 'See this is new?' It has already been in ancient times before us. (JPS)
The Darkest Hour
Immediately after this counterfeit ark of the covenant or abomination of desolation is again set up, incredible disasters will ensue. Therefore, some will be confronted with the task of restoring order to the universe, saving what remains of the world, and in essence, placating G-d. The following material is somewhat of a roadmap through this time.
Matthew 24:15 When therefore ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which is spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in [what is a] holy place, (he that reads let him understand,) 16 then let those who are in Judaea flee to the mountains; 17 let not him that is on the house come down to take the things out of his house; 18 and let not him that is in the field turn back to take his garment. 19 But woe to those that are with child, and those that give suck in those days. 20 But pray that your flight may not be in winter time nor on sabbath: 21 for then shall there be great tribulation, such as has not been from [the] beginning of [the] world until now, nor ever shall be; 22 and if those days had not been cut short, no flesh had been saved; but on account of the elect those days shall be cut short. (Darby)
In the following passage of Isaiah 10:20, one will observe that in that day Israel will no longer rely on the one that struck them down, but they will rely on the L-rd. This verse refers to the time of the End of Days or Tribulation. It should be clear by this point that although the one that struck them down - that is to say Solomon - just recently did so, that person actually struck the critical blow thousands of years ago.
Isaiah 10:20 In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
The Chabod or Shekhinah
When all of these disasters have come forth, some will wish with great earnestness for G-d to come with deliverance because a miracle will obviously be the only hope. This will partially consist of wishing to make the Chabod reappear - something that has not been done in thousands of years. In part, this is the essence of seeking G-d in earnest. This section will consider the Chabod in more detail and roughly outline the processes for making it appear, something that will only be done out of the greatest desperation.
Deuteronomy 4:29 But from thence ye will seek the Lord thy God; and thou shalt find Him, if thou search after Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 30 In thy distress, when all these things are come upon thee, in the end of days, thou wilt return to the Lord thy God, and hearken unto His voice; 31 for the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them. (JPS)
The Chabod at Solomon's Temple
As we saw in chapter two, when the priests brought the ark into the Holy of Holies, they had to leave and could not perform their services because the glory of the L-rd, or Chabod, appeared as a thick-dark cloud in the temple (1 Kings 8:10 & 2 Chronicles 5:13).
1 Kings 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 12 Then spoke Solomon: the Lord hath said that He would dwell in the thick darkness. (JPS)
Apparently, the Holy of Holies was filled with darkness and Solomon stated in 1 Kings 8:12 that the L-rd told him that He would dwell in thick darkness (1 Kings 8:12 & 2 Chronicles 6:1). This is the last mention of the Chabod in scripture and this is likely the last time that it appeared as well as a clear indication that things had gone very far wrong by this point.
It seems that when the Chabod takes on this ominous dark appearance it is a clear indication that G-d is wroth. Furthermore, if one had ever heard of some symbolic meaning to a dark cloud hanging over something, that person might construe this to be a bad omen.
Lamentations 2:1 How hath the Lord covered with a cloud the daughter of Zion in His anger! He hath cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and hath not remembered His footstool in the day of His anger. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Making the Chabod Return
Near the end of the Great Tribulation, some will need to make the Chabod return to the temple in Jerusalem and the procedures for doing that are outlined in Leviticus 9. This will be the only hope of deliverance so this will be a very desperate moment the likes of which the world has never seen before and will never see again. The procedures for summoning the Chabod must be followed exactly - that is to say exactly - and when that is done the Chabod and the L-rd will return immediately with great power and deliverance. This will be the job of the priests, that is to say, the Levites. It should also be obvious that it is critically important that the priests be properly prepared according to the regulations found elsewhere. This will end the Tribulation.
Leviticus 9:6 And Moses said: 'This is the thing which the Lord commanded that ye should do; that the glory of the Lord may appear unto you.' (JPS)
It will reinforce one's faith and be extremely helpful to review the events recorded in 2 Chronicles 26:16 et seq. to get a feel for the way events will unfold, more-or-less. The whole affair will be somewhat of a repeat of the events from that time although there is no mention of the Chabod from that time.
2 Chronicles 26:1 And all the people of Judah took Uzziah, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in the room of his father Amaziah. (JPS)
2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up so that he did corruptly, and he trespassed against the Lord his God; for he went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense. 17 And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the Lord, that were valiant men; 18 and they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him: 'It pertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to the priests the sons of Aaron that are consecrated it pertaineth to burn incense; go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thy honour from the Lord God.' 19 Then Uzziah was wroth; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense; and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy broke forth in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the altar of incense. 20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out quickly from thence; yea, himself made haste also to go out, because the Lord had smitten him. (JPS)
This will take a great deal of - shall we say - chutzpah; but the priests, the Levites, must throw this false Messiah, the Antichrist out of the temple. Beyond chutzpah, it will require uncommon valor, faith and bravery. Then, the Chabod will appear and the L-rd your G-d will immediately return with deliverance and great power and countless myriads of His holy ones. This is actually all quite remedial since these events are what should have happened so very long ago in 1 Kings 1 - 1 Kings 11. The priests must keep their courses.
While there is this narrative in 2 Chronicles 26 of the events surrounding Uzziah's sudden change of heart about acting as priest and burning incense in the temple, there are apparently some details missing from that narrative. According to Zechariah, the whole scene was much more dramatic with earthquakes and the like.
Zechariah 14:1 Behold, a day of the Lord cometh, when thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, but the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (JPS)
Zechariah 14:3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fighteth in the day of battle. 4 And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, so that there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azel; yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and the Lord my God shall come, and all the holy ones with Thee. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Zechariah 14:6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that there shall not be light, but heavy clouds and thick; 7 And there shall be one day which shall be known as the Lord'S, not day, and not night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light. 8 And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter shall it be. (JPS)
Zechariah 14:9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the Lord be One, and His name one. 10 All the land shall be turned as the Arabah, from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and she shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananel unto the king's winepresses. 11 And men shall dwell therein, and there shall be no more extermination; but Jerusalem shall dwell safely. (JPS)
Zechariah 14:12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the peoples that have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their sockets, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Ending the Great Tribulation
So, this is how the Great Tribulation ends, with the priests going into the temple to throw out the Antichrist.
Daniel 11:32 By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. (NASB) (Emphasis added)
Then the L-rd comes with deliverance. It is apparent that since this man possesses the power of Satan and all of the demons are at his command and also probably a great army, this will take a great deal of courage. Nevertheless, the L-rd will protect the priests in advance and during this mission. There is no doubt that this will be an act of complete desperation and courage the likes of which few people that have ever lived have had to confront, but when those individuals decide to act, things will probably unfold rather quickly. Additional information about some of this can be found in the Book of Enoch despite the fact that it is not canonical.
Isaiah 66:6 Hark! an uproar from the city, Hark! it cometh from the temple, Hark! the Lord rendereth recompense to His enemies. (JPS)
Joel 2:1 Blow ye the horn in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain; let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is at hand; 2 A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, as blackness spread upon the mountains; a great people and a mighty, there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame blazeth; the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing escapeth them. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Joel 2:4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so do they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots, on the tops of the mountains do they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a mighty people set in battle array. 6 At their presence the peoples are in anguish; all faces have gathered blackness. 7 They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; and they move on every one in his ways, and they entangle not their paths. (JPS)
Joel 2:8 Neither doth one thrust another, they march every one in his highway; and they break through the weapons, and suffer no harm. 9 They leap upon the city, they run upon the wall, they climb up into the houses; they enter in at the windows like a thief. 10 Before them the earth quaketh, the heavens tremble; the sun and the moon are become black, and the stars withdraw their shining. (JPS)
Joel 2:11 And the Lord uttereth His voice before His army; for His camp is very great, for he is mighty that executeth His word; for great is the day of the Lord and very terrible; and who can abide it? 12 Yet even now, saith the Lord, turn ye unto Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with lamentation; 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for He is gracious and compassionate, long-suffering, and abundant in mercy, and repenteth Him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth whether He will not turn and repent, and leave a blessing behind Him, even a meal-offering and a drink-offering unto the Lord your God? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Joel 2:15 Blow the horn in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly; 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts; let the bridegroom go forth from his chamber, and the bride out of her pavilion. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say: 'Spare thy people, O the Lord, and give not Thy heritage to reproach, that the nations should make them a byword: wherefore should they say among the peoples: Where is their God?' (JPS)
Joel 2:18 Then was the Lord jealous for His land, and had pity on His people. 19 And the Lord answered and said unto His people: 'Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith; and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations; (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Joel 2:20 But I will remove far off from you the northern one, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the eastern sea, and his hinder part toward the western sea; that his foulness may come up, and his ill savour may come up, because he hath done great things.' (JPS)
Joel 2:21 Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice; for the Lord hath done great things. 22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength. (JPS)
Joel 2:23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He giveth you the former rain in just measure, and He causeth to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, at the first. 24 And the floors shall be full of corn, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. (JPS)
Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpiller, and the palmer-worm, My great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and shall praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and there is none else; and My people shall never be ashamed. (JPS)
The Future of the real Ark of the Covenant
The real Ark of the Covenant has an interesting future and it certainly still exists, but it will not appear in Israel again until the end of the Great Tribulation. As we saw in chapter 3, the Queen of Sheba somehow spirited the Ark away to Cush, which is now Ethiopia.
While it might have been unclear if the Ark had any importance beyond ancient times, it is certain that it does and the Apostles knew a great deal more about it than is readily apparent in their writings. From this, one can conclude that the Ark was supposed to fade into the background for a time and that period must be coming to an end.
Hebrews 9:1 The first therefore also indeed had ordinances of service, and the sanctuary, a worldly one. 2 For a tabernacle was set up; the first, in which [were] both the candlestick and the table and the exposition of the loaves, which is called Holy; 3 but after the second veil a tabernacle which is called Holy of holies, 4 having a golden censer, and the ark of the covenant, covered round in every part with gold, in which [were] the golden pot that had the manna, and the rod of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tables of the covenant; 5 and above over it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat; concerning which it is not now the time to speak in detail. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
In Daniel 11, one will note that some of the military activities during the Great Tribulation involve the Antichrist attempting to destroy the Covenant of Moses in the land of the South. It is absolutely certain that this is speaking of the covenant of Moses and this war is in essence a futile attempt to wage war against G-d. If one were inclined to construe this as having application to the New Covenant, that person should be able to see that since the New Covenant will be inscribed on men's hearts, it would be extremely difficult to conduct siege warfare against it. Some interpretations require a degree of common sense. The main point of this passage for the purpose here is simply the scriptural evidence that the covenant of Moses still exists and is located in a certain place, Ethiopia. It is also relevant to note that in almost all instances of the mentions of the Abomination of Desolation throughout scripture, there is in close proximity a mention of the covenant. This aspect alone tends to lend great support to the theories presented in this book.
Daniel 11:27 As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time. 28 Then he will return to his land with much plunder; but his heart will be set against the holy covenant, and he will take action and then return to his own land. 29 At the appointed time he will return and come into the South, but this last time it will not turn out the way it did before. 30 For ships of Kittim will come against him; therefore he will be disheartened and will return and become enraged at the holy covenant and take action; so he will come back and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice and they will set up the abomination of desolation. 32 By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action. (NASB) (Emphasis added)
Because of several other aspects of the already written history of the future, some people will be aware of the wrong ark and its implications shortly after it reappears. At this point, some will search for the real ark, but it will not be available until after the real Messiah returns. Therefore, those individuals will need to seek G-d and persuade Him to come down from heaven. This effort is critical to ending the tribulation and obviously there will be plenty of incentive to do so. It is important to remember that the real Ark was called G-d in many cases, so in other words, they will be seeking G-d in earnest. This will no doubt be facilitated by the events of the tribulation period similar to the way those on a sinking ship seek to make peace with G-d before their certain demise. However, in this case, G-d will return with deliverance, so demise will be averted for some. The earnest seeking of G-d and the real Ark will therefore will happen during the darkest hour that the world has ever seen. It is actually not so important to seek the real Ark, but to recognize the counterfeit ark for what it is, the Abomination of Desolation.
After the real Messiah returns, the Ethiopians will bring back the original Ark to Israel. This can be determined from Isaiah 18.
Isaiah 18:3 All ye inhabitants of the world, and ye dwellers on the earth, when an ensign is lifted up on the mountains, see ye; and when the horn is blown, hear ye. 4 For thus hath the Lord said unto me: I will hold Me still, and I will look on in My dwelling-place, like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. 5 For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the bud becometh a ripening grape, He will cut off the sprigs with pruning-hooks, and the shoots will He take away and lop off. 6 They shall be left together unto the ravenous birds of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the ravenous birds shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 18:7 In that time shall a present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people tall and of glossy skin, and from a people terrible from their beginning onward; a nation that is sturdy and treadeth down, whose land the rivers divide, to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the mount Zion. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
One need only question what this present mentioned in Isaiah 18:7 could possibly be since it is obviously something that has been preserved for thousands of years as a gift for the L-rd of all heaven and earth. It would seem obvious that there is not much that would make an appropriate gift for YHWH. If, however, the Ethiopians were in possession of the Ark of the Covenant, then it is highly probable that that would make an excellent gift for YHWH.
In Jeremiah 3, there is a passage that some have interpreted to mean that the Ark of the Covenant no longer exists. That conclusion is the product of faulty exegesis.
Jeremiah 3:16 And it shall come to pass, when ye are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more: The ark of the covenant of the Lord; neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they make mention of it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem The throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Since the passage in Jeremiah clearly states that it is referring to the time called, "in those days," it is certain that "those days" are even now in the future, to wit, the end of days. It is important to note that although the passage might on the surface of it appear to say that the ark will no longer exist, this is not at all what it actually says. What it actually says is they will say no more the Ark of the Covenant of the L-rd, and so on. In Jeremiah 3:17, notice that at that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the L-rd. Now, the real key to understanding this is the shift from the Ark of the Covenant to the throne of the L-rd. The Ark of the Covenant was the throne of the L-rd.
Jeremiah 17:12 Thou throne of glory, on high from the beginning, thou place of our sanctuary, 13 Thou hope of Israel, the Lord! All that forsake Thee shall be ashamed; they that depart from Thee shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
While Jeremiah 3 might seem to indicate that the Ark will no longer exist, what it actually says is that the Covenant of Moses will no longer exist. The time that the Covenant of Moses is put away is at the End of Days and this is exactly the same point where the New Covenant comes into effect. Not only should this be obvious, but also, this should be clear because at the very end of verse 17, one will note that "neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart." This aspect alone is the definitive characteristic of the New Covenant, so this is a clear indication of exactly when this New Covenant is instituted and the Covenant of Moses ends. The time that this occurs is at the End of Days.
This shift from referring to the Ark of the Covenant as such to calling it the throne of the L-rd in Jeremiah 3:17 does not say that it will not exist, it says that it will no longer be called the Ark of the Covenant and this is logical because the old covenant will no longer exist. This throne will be located in Jerusalem. This does not say that the Ark will no longer exist because the Ark was the throne of the L-rd. Therefore, the Ark as it is now known will exist forever and ever; however, it will no longer be known as the Ark of the Covenant because there will no longer be any covenant housed therein.
Psalm 45:7 Thy throne given of God is for ever and ever; a sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Hebrews 1:7 And as to the angels he says, Who makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire; 8 but as to the Son, Thy throne, O God, [is] to the age of the age, and a sceptre of uprightness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness and hast hated lawlessness; therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with oil of gladness above thy companions. 10 And, Thou in the beginning, Lord, hast founded the earth, and works of thy hands are the heavens. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
The following passage makes clear mention of the real Ark of the Covenant, but since this signifies the end of the Covenant of Moses, the real Ark will no longer be called the Ark of the Covenant because it will then be called the throne of the L-rd. The covenant will no longer exist so therefore, it will no longer be an Ark of the Covenant. It will be simply be called the throne of glory.
Matthew 25:31 But when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit down upon his throne of glory, 32 and all the nations shall be gathered before him; and he shall separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and he will set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on [his] left. 34 Then shall the King say to those on his right hand, Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from [the] world's foundation: (Darby) (Emphasis added)
It is important to note that in Isaiah 18:5 it is clearly indicated that this present will be brought to the L-rd "before the harvest." This is quite an important tidbit of information because the Ark would seem to be quite important during the harvest in that the mercy-seat is an integral part of the Ark. The mercy-seat is the provision for atonement or mercy or reconciliation to favor, so it is an integral part of the final reconciliation. Therefore, it is highly likely that the Bema Seat judgment would need to be conducted from the mercy-seat upon the Ark because the atonement for individuals has not yet occurred. The sacrifice has occurred, but not the atonement and purification.
Isaiah 18:5 For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the bud becometh a ripening grape, He will cut off the sprigs with pruning-hooks, and the shoots will He take away and lop off. 6 They shall be left together unto the ravenous birds of the mountains, and to the beasts of the earth; and the ravenous birds shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 16:5 And a throne is established through mercy, and there sitteth thereon in truth, in the tent of David, one that judgeth, and seeketh justice, and is ready in righteousness. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Hebrews 4:16 Let us approach therefore with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace for seasonable help. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
It is important to realize that there will be judgments, both for those that will be forgiven and for those that will not be forgiven. These consist of different judgments, one before the Throne of Grace - vicariously known as the Ark of the Covenant - for those that will obtain forgiveness and another judgment before a different throne. Those that will be forgiven will include those Israelites that lived under the covenant of Moses up to the point that it was transgressed beyond repair and those that accepted that salvation afforded through Y'shua (Jesus). There will be a few Jews that lived in the breach that obtain forgiveness after the Old Covenant was broken solely on the basis of forbearance or extreme grace, but this only constitutes a remnant, a miniscule percentage.
Isaiah 6:12 And the Lord have removed men far away, and the forsaken places be many in the midst of the land. 13 And if there be yet a tenth in it, it shall again be eaten up; as a terebinth, and as an oak, whose stock remaineth, when they cast their leaves, so the holy seed shall be the stock thereof.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Romans 11:1 I say then, Has God cast away his people? Far be the thought. For *I* also am an Israelite, of [the] seed of Abraham, of [the] tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away his people whom he foreknew. Know ye not what the scripture says in [the history of] Elias, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have dug down thine altars; and *I* have been left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what says the divine answer to him? I have left to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed knee to Baal. 5 Thus, then, in the present time also there has been a remnant according to election of grace. 6 But if by grace, no longer of works: since [otherwise] grace is no more grace. 7 What [is it] then? What Israel seeks for, that he has not obtained; but the election has obtained, and the rest have been blinded, 8 according as it is written, God has given to them a spirit of slumber, eyes not to see, and ears not to hear, unto this day. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
One might want to consider the number of the remnant that entered into the promised land as compared to the myriads that left Egypt to determine the dire predicament that could possibly be faced. The group of those to be forgiven actually comprises the Register of Israel, a list maintained by G-d whose members may be stricken from or added to at the sole discretion of G-d. Since the days of Solomon, being of Jewish origin in no way guarantees inclusion in that list, that is to say salvation, so all Israel will be saved just as scripture contends, however, this in no way implies that all Jews will be saved. There is only a guarantee that a remnant of Jews will be saved. While many have been aghast at some of the atrocities that have befallen the Jewish people, it is entirely probable that the only constituents of the remnant from particular generations were the victims.
John 5:39 Ye search the scriptures, for ye think that in them ye have life eternal, and they it is which bear witness concerning me; 40 and ye will not come to me that ye might have life. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Some Christian scholars have erroneously developed a theory dubbed "Replacement Theology," a flawed theoretical model that postulates that the church has replaced Israel in G-d's plans. This concept is certainly not correct, but not completely wrong either. In fact, the concept should be corrected slightly and given a new and improved name of "Interruption Theology." It actually is the case that the Christian church practically replaced Israel for a time while salvation was extended to Gentiles.
Mark 3:31 And his brethren and his mother come, and standing without sent to him calling him. 32 And a crowd sat around him. And they said to him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren seek thee without. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother or my brethren? 34 And looking around in a circuit at those that were sitting around him, he says, Behold my mother and my brethren: 35 for whosoever shall do the will of God, *he* is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Nevertheless, even during that period there has been a remnant of Israel preserved to salvation. After the time of Y'shua, it is probable that this only consisted of the few Jews that accepted Him.
Hebrews 9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
There will be judgments both for the saved and for the lost. However, these are entirely different judgments and consequential. For the saved, the judgment constitutes an evaluation of works. This judgment is not to be taken lightly, however, because this is a trial by fire.
1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which has been given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation, but another builds upon it. But let each see how he builds upon it. 11 For other foundation can no man lay besides that which [is] laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any one build upon [this] foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, 13 the work of each shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare [it], because it is revealed in fire; and the fire shall try the work of each what it is. 14 If the work of any one which he has built upon [the foundation] shall abide, he shall receive a reward. 15 If the work of any one shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss, but he shall be saved, but so as through [the] fire. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 3:16 John answered all, saying, *I* indeed baptise you with water, but the mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not fit to unloose; *he* shall baptise you with [the] Holy Spirit and fire; 17 whose winnowing-fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his threshing-floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner, but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
It is unfortunate - but nonetheless the case - that the full implications of 1 Corinthians 3:15 consist of the fact that some individuals appointed to and eventually obtaining salvation will have to perform a stint in hell due to their lack of diligence over their talents in service to the L-rd. "If the work of any one shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss, but he shall be saved, but so as through [the] fire." Sorry, that is exactly what Paul meant despite some popular contemporary misinterpretations. Recall that it is also possible to be so lackadaisical as to completely forfeit salvation in some cases as outlined in Matthew.
While there is grace, it is also important to realize that works are required, not optional; except in the case of a deathbed conversion. In fact, if one ponders the meaning of salvation that person will determine that one is saved from certain works to certain other works.
Ephesians 2:8 For ye are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God's gift: 9 not on the principle of works, that no one might boast. (Darby)
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before prepared that we should walk in them. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
It is all about works either for salvation or for damnation. Indeed, one is saved FOR good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Philippians 2:12 So that, my beloved, even as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you both the willing and the working according to [his] good pleasure. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
The works that one is saved from - and indeed one is saved from works - would be those of iniquity and the new works that supplant them should obviously be good works. It is highly relevant to note that some are also saved from works of the law under the Old Covenant that no longer are valid. In most cases, New Covenant writers mentioning that one is not saved by works are referring to those works under the law of Moses that at one time were indeed valid for salvation. There are certain works of iniquity that failure to repent of certainly precludes salvation. By the way, these good works are frequently more easily said than done.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; (ASV) (Emphasis added)
Indeed, one is saved by grace, but salvation should not be considered an end in and of itself. The point of "getting saved" is a new beginning, hence one theoretical implication of the idiomatic phrase "born again." It is important to note that one is not saved by works lest any man should boast, but when the passage from Ephesians 2:8-9 is quoted independently it tends to produce the false impression that the point of salvation is an end in and of itself. This is definitely not the case as Ephesians 2:10 clearly maintains. The result is frequently that one might accept Christ at a crusade or something and never do anything with it again in their life thinking they will be OK on that day.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has before prepared that we should walk in them. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Works are the manifestation of true belief and grace is the divine gesture that makes reconciliation possible. The scriptural applications of the words "grace" and "mercy" have some connotations of synonyms.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; 13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people for his own possession, zealous of good works. (ASV) (Emphasis added)
One should note clearly that grace appeared to bring salvation to ALL men; but it is blatantly obvious that few will take advantage of that grace. The difference between the saved and damned will consist of works. The overemphasis of grace becomes for many a lazy spirituality and deadly heresy that potentially leads to the destruction of those being hoodwinked by such teaching. While it has oft been said that one cannot work his-or-her way into heaven, it should be evident that idleness is not the calling. One is going to have to serve somebody as this is the lot of man and serving does tend to carry the connotation of some form of service.
1 Corinthians 3:8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
1 Corinthians 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be in subjection to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready unto every good work, 2 to speak evil of no man, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all meekness toward all men. 3 For we also once were foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4 But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, 5 not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. (ASV) (Emphasis added)
While some might jump to the conclusion that this document promulgates legalism, it should not be -- but nonetheless is -- necessary to point out that the works of the Law of Moses that are noted as being great transgressions in this book are historical events and the Mosaic Law was indeed in effect at the time. While the following passage is sometimes quoted in respect to grace and the fact that works are not required, in all reality the passage is written specifically to Jews and the "works of the law" mentioned therein refer exclusively to the Mosaic Law and the processes of temple worship.
Galatians 2:15 We, Jews by nature, and not sinners of [the] nations, 16 but knowing that a man is not justified on the principle of works of law [nor] but by the faith of Jesus Christ, *we* also have believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified on the principle of [the] faith of Christ; and not of works of law; because on the principle of works of law no flesh shall be justified. 17 Now if in seeking to be justified in Christ we also have been found sinners, then [is] Christ minister of sin? Far be the thought. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Galatians 2:18 For if the things I have thrown down, these I build again, I constitute myself a transgressor. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Galatians 2:19 For *I*, through law, have died to law, that I may live to God. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Unfortunately, when grace is overemphasized and skewed into a heresy it subverts the far more important message of repentance and preparation that is essential. Grace really cannot be considered independently in any meaningful way. One will not find grace considered independently in scripture; and therefore, it is inappropriate to teach it independently. The really crucial message is simply "repent, for the kingdom of G-d is at hand." This has always been the most important message. It is not possible to wallow in grace and present the message of repentance. Failure to repent can - and in many cases will - result in total failure to salvation. It does depend on what one is failing to repent of; however, since most people are far more skilled at sin than righteousness, it is obviously far more relevant to spur people on to righteousness than make them feel good about their sin. Since teachers will be held accountable, it would obviously be far safer to err on the side of caution and overemphasize repentance than grace. If this book is anything close to what it purports to be, then there obviously is not much time. It is urgent. Many sins cannot be remitted without repentance. One can compile a clear list of transgressions that absolutely must be repented of from scripture. It would be a good idea to do that and teach it.
Luke 3:2 in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, [the] word of God came upon John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. 3 And he came into all the district round the Jordan, preaching [the] baptism of repentance for [the] remission of sins, 4 as it is written in [the] book of [the] words of Esaias the prophet: Voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of [the] Lord, make straight his paths. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 3:5 Every gorge shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked [places] shall become a straight [path], and the rough places smooth ways,: 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 3:7 He said therefore to the crowds which went out to be baptised by him, Offspring of vipers, who has forewarned you to flee from the coming wrath? (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 3:8 Produce therefore fruits worthy of repentance; and begin not to say in yourselves, We have Abraham for [our] father, for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 3:9 And already also the axe is applied to the root of the trees; every tree therefore not producing good fruit is cut down and cast into [the] fire. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 3:10 And the crowds asked him saying, What should we do then? (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Luke 3:11 And he answering says to them, He that has two body-coats, let him give to him that has none; and he that has food, let him do likewise. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
The point that repentance is necessary for salvation seems to be highly ignored or belittled currently, although it is frankly not optional. Incidentally, as a side note to the passage from Luke, some will give the poor a whole dollar in a great stroke of kindness and never seem to consider that they could get nothing to eat with less than ten. Another great false gesture of benevolence is the statement that "I will be happy to take you someplace and buy you something to eat, but I am afraid you will spend money on drugs or alcohol." Please just have the common grace to say, "no, I don't want to help you." If you believe somebody is hungry, it is highly unlikely that drugs or alcohol will take precedence over hunger.
Proverbs 31:6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul; 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Grace brings one to salvation, but beyond that exact point, the point of salvation and maintenance of that situation, one should expect to perform some form of service although the modes of that service can vary widely. It should be readily apparent that since the saved are frequently referred to as servants some form of service must be involved. Most positive works spoken of in scripture are those that are not highly conspicuous. In most cases, there probably should be some subtlety. Despite some popular confusion, works are not optional and it would be fruitful to consider the parallelism that frequently exists in scripture in the applications of the words works, service, duty, stewardship, servant and faithfulness. Such a word study could be conducted using any run-of-the-mill English dictionary such as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate or Unabridged Dictionaries. Collegiate is probably better. Understanding could be greatly augmented in these types of studies by using a thesaurus, such as Roget's.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the compassions of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your intelligent service. (Many translations render this "your reasonable service.") 2 And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of [your] mind, that ye may prove what [is] the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace which has been given to me, to every one that is among you, not to have high thoughts above what he should think; but to think so as to be wise, as God has dealt to each a measure of faith. 4 For, as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office; 5 thus we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and each one members one of the other. 6 But having different gifts, according to the grace which has been given to us, whether [it be] prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; 7 or service, [let us occupy ourselves] in service; or he that teaches, in teaching; 8 or he that exhorts, in exhortation; he that gives, in simplicity; he that leads, with diligence; he that shews mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be unfeigned; abhorring evil; cleaving to good: 10 as to brotherly love, kindly affectioned towards one another: as to honour, each taking the lead in paying it to the other: 11 as to diligent zealousness, not slothful; in spirit fervent; serving the Lord. (Darby)
There are several points in the previous passage that need special attention. One of these is simply that perhaps the most important gift is service. This is probably not the most spectacular gift at the current time, but nonetheless it is probably the most highly esteemed by G-d; and therefore, it is perhaps the most highly prized in the eternal sense. In addition and more importantly, it is crucial to become fully aware of the applicable definition of the word "diligent." The word "diligent" actually means the attention or care legally expected or required of a person. This then would tend to indicate a gravity that is too often regarded flippantly.
Expanding consideration of the previous material from Romans, one might wish to reflect on the following material regarding an individual that did not work his gift that he was given through grace.
Matthew 25:14 For [it is] as [if] a man going away out of a country called his own bondmen and delivered to them his substance. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his particular ability, and immediately went away out of the country. 16 And he that had received the five talents went and trafficked with them, and made five other talents. 17 In like manner also he that [had received] the two, [he also] gained two others. 18 But he that had received the one went and dug in the earth, and hid the money of his lord. 19 And after a long time the lord of those bondmen comes and reckons with them. 20 And he that had received the five talents came to [him] and brought five other talents, saying, [My] lord, thou deliveredst me five talents; behold, I have gained five other talents besides them. 21 His lord said to him, Well, good and faithful bondman, thou wast faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things: enter into the joy of thy lord. 22 And he also that had received the two talents came to [him] and said, [My] lord, thou deliveredst me two talents; behold, I have gained two other talents besides them. 23 His lord said to him, Well, good and faithful bondman, thou wast faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 And he also that had received the one talent coming to [him] said, [My] lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hadst not sowed, and gathering from where thou hadst not scattered, 25 and being afraid I went away and hid thy talent in the earth; behold, thou hast that which is thine. 26 And his lord answering said to him, Wicked and slothful bondman, thou knewest that I reap where I had not sowed, and gather from where I had not scattered; 27 thou oughtest then to have put my money to the money- changers, and when I came I should have got what is mine with interest. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that has the ten talents: 29 for to every one that has shall be given, and he shall be in abundance; but from him that has not, that even which he has shall be taken from him. 30 And cast out the useless bondman into the outer darkness; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
According to scripture, grace provided talents that are to be worked at and without working at those works one may forfeit salvation.
Since everyone's works or lack thereof will be tried with fire, it is important to remember that all that believe on Christ and confess that belief will be saved. There is a work, confessing the belief in Christ. It is probably well to do that at an appropriate time and situation. Of course, there are both positive and negative works. Positive works are listed as those activities for which rewards will be given. There are some others. Naturally, it is important to keep in mind that "His yoke is light." So, obviously it is not necessary to work one's fingers to the bone. For families with children, that is the number one priority and a work in and of itself, to raise G-dly children or at least provide a G-dly upbringing.
James 2:18 But some one will say, Thou hast faith and I have works. Shew me thy faith without works, and I from my works will shew thee my faith. 19 Thou believest that God is one. Thou doest well. The demons even believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and that by works faith was perfected. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness, and he was called Friend of God. 24 Ye see that a man is justified on the principle of works, and not on the principle of faith only. 25 But was not in like manner also Rahab the harlot justified on the principle of works, when she had received the messengers and put [them] forth by another way? 26 For as the body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (Darby)
1 Corinthians 4:1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Isaiah 55:6 Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near; 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have compassion upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon 8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, except it water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, except it accomplish that which I please, and make the thing whereto I sent it prosper. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
The Covenant of Moses
In chapter six, the instance of transgressing the Covenant of Moses beyond repair was examined in detail. This consisted of failing to observe the Day of Atonement in the year that Solomon's Temple was dedicated.
Leviticus 23:26 And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying:
The 7th month of Ethanim, the month that the temple was dedicated, roughly corresponds to the months of late-September to mid-October on the Gregorian calendar, so these extremely important holy days occur in the early fall after the year's harvest has been brought in to the barns. In the Western world, many cultures observe their fall festivals at about this same time.
Jeremiah 8:20 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the swallow and the crane observe the time of their coming; but My people know not the ordinance of the Lord. (JPS)
Cut Off from His People
Being "cut off from his people" or "cut off from His people" as the case may be as noted in Leviticus 23:29 is a small phrase with monumental meaning. The phrase is rendered differently in various translations of the Bible and it also appears differently in other verses. Sometimes the phrase reads "cut off from the tents of Jacob" and it also appears as "stricken from the register of Israel." These all mean the same thing and what they actually mean is damnation. This is completely logical because that is the performance term of the Torah. If one's sins are not forgiven, then obviously they will be counted against him. Since atonement was the means of reconciliation, it obviously was important that one made avail of that provision. It should be obvious that if one were cut off from his people, then that person is no longer a part of that people. Obviously, once this occurs, it is impossible to restore successive generations to the register of the people that one was cut off from because they are now of the lineage of some other people.
It should be understood that all Israel will be saved; however, it is also clear throughout scripture that the register of Israel is actually a roll compiled and maintained by G-d listing the names of those upon whom mercy will be bestowed. While it worked on the basis of heredity up until this breach, it is also possible for G-d to appoint others to the list as well as strike names from it. If one's people were Israelites and that person was cut off from his people, then he is no longer an Israelite - at least as far as G-d's list is concerned. Since G-d is G-d, it really does not matter what variance of opinions one may personally or culturally hold. Obviously, one would have to be an Israelite to produce Israelite offspring. If all Israel was cut off from that register as scripture clearly states, then there really has been no Israel in respect to salvation, that is to say the register of Israel as maintained by G-d, under the covenant of Moses for about 3000 years as one can clearly see.
Ephesians 2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)- 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 8:20 'The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Those currently depending on heredity for salvation, that is to say, Jews, are depending upon salvation under the terms of a covenant that is broken beyond repair. The only assurance of salvation afforded by that covenant is based upon forbearance and this consists of grace to a remnant. The only performance terms of the Covenant of Moses that survive today are curses.
Deuteronomy 28:15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. 16 Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock. 19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 20 the Lord will send upon thee cursing, discomfiture, and rebuke, in all that thou puttest thy hand unto to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the evil of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken Me.(JPS)
Deuteronomy 28:45 And all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee. (JPS)
Unfortunately, the Torah contains no remedy for the predicament of having broken the covenant in this way. If one's salvation is based upon heredity and their ancestors were cut off from the lineage upon which that salvation depended, then it should be obvious that there is no remedy for that situation.
Jeremiah 8:21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I seized with anguish; I am black, appalment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? 23 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! (JPS) (Emphasis added)
The only thing that could help a people in that predicament would be the forbearance of the breached party - that is to say - G-d. In fact, that was the case up until the appearance of Y'shua and this is the only reason that there has been only a remnant preserved for all of the successive time since this breach occurred. After the appearance of Y'shua, it is apparent that a few Jews must have accepted Him throughout history. Since it is well known that few Jews have accepted Him, obviously very few have been appointed to preservation.
Isaiah 10:20 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and they that are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 A remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto God the Mighty. 22 For though thy people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return; an extermination is determined, overflowing with righteousness. 23 For an extermination wholly determined shall the Lord, the GOD of hosts, make in the midst of all the earth. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Romans 11:5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (NIV)
Under the terms of the Torah, it is impossible to revive the covenant since it was broken beyond repair by failing to observe the Day of Atonement. Because this exact clause of the covenant was the one violated, there is no possibility whatsoever of reconciling the breach. While the breached party can forbear the violator's obligations, it is really impossible to revive or continue this covenant. Therefore, the only realistic possibility in a case like this should the parties wish to resume some type of contractual relationship would be the drafting of a completely New Covenant.
It should be clear that most of this book has been concerned with the Covenant of Moses, and realistically, the events of the Tribulation and the Day of the L-rd have as much to do with that than with anything else. While most Jews have not been overly willing to accept that there is any covenant besides the one created in the days of Moses, many Christians have been under the erroneous impression that a New Covenant is actually in effect before the Day of the L-rd. Actually, the New Covenant is only instated at the End of the Ages, a concept that would seem to be quite logical to the point of common sense. Not only is it common sense, it is also the only thing that is stated in scripture, despite the fact that few seem to read it that way.
Hebrews 9: 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. (NASB) (Emphasis added)
The New Testament outlines the provisions of the New Covenant that G-d has made available. It should be obvious by this point that the only surviving terms of the Covenant of Moses are actually curses, so the New Covenant is the only hope for assured salvation for anyone including Jews. While some Jews might be granted salvation as a remnant, since this is a miniscule percentage, it would seem to be wise to make avail of greater assurance of salvation. That assurance is made available through Y'shua in the New Covenant. The following quotes clearly establish the fact that the only surviving terms of the Covenant of Moses are liabilities and not assets.
Deuteronomy 31:16 The LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. (NASB)
Deuteronomy 31:20 "For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. (NASB)
Deuteronomy 32:5 They have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
It might not actually be such a good thing that the L-rd will remember the Covenant of Moses as mentioned in Deuteronomy 4:31 below, since this transgression provoked Him to great wrath (Deuteronomy 4:31 below).
Deuteronomy 32:18 Of the Rock that begot thee thou wast unmindful, and didst forget God that bore thee. 19 And the Lord saw, and spurned, because of the provoking of His sons and His daughters. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. 22 For a fire is kindled in My nostril, and burneth unto the depths of the nether-world, and devoureth the earth with her produce, and setteth ablaze the foundations of the mountains. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 4:30 In thy distress, when all these things are come upon thee, in the end of days, thou wilt return to the Lord thy God, and hearken unto His voice; 31 for the Lord thy God is a merciful God; He will not fail thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them. 32 For ask now of the days past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and from the one end of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Deuteronomy 11:26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: 27 the blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day; 28 and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 31:20 "For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. (NASB)
Deuteronomy 32:5 They have acted corruptly toward him; to their shame they are no longer his children, but a warped and crooked generation. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
While the contractual terms of the Covenant of Moses are clearly negative for Israel at this point, it is also clear that some Jews, a remnant, have been spared down through history solely through G-d's mercy and forbearance. If the Covenant of Moses consisted of blessings, the entire nation would have been spared from all of the calamities that have befallen them down through history if G-d were still with them. Therefore, if one wanted to be assured of salvation, the only alternative is to accept the terms of G-d's New Covenant because this is now the only means of assured salvation.
Since the Covenant of Moses was breached beyond repair and a G-d made a New Covenant, through this New Covenant Gentiles also became recipients of the possibilities of reconciliation to G-d's favor that previously had only been available to Jews. This gave Gentile recipients the special position mentioned by Moses below.
Deuteronomy 32:21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Romans 11:11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! (NIV) (Emphasis added)
A closer examination of the Register of Israel reveals that it is actually a list maintained by G-d containing the names of those upon whom mercy will be bestowed. While all Jews are probably listed by virtue of being Jewish, names can be and have been stricken from the list and names can be added to it at G-d's sole discretion. The list goes by several other names including the Book of Life. Since the great breach at Solomon's Temple, it is evident that most Jews are no longer His children, that is to say, they were stricken from the list. Therefore, G-d extended His mercy to Gentiles and this no-people is Christianity. Since this salvation is now under the terms of this New Covenant, Jews must also enter into the terms of this new covenant in the same way that Gentiles do, through acceptance of Y'shua.
Romans 11:25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." 28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Ephesians 3:4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. (NASB) (Emphasis added)
1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY. 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. (NASB) (Emphasis added)
Israel's salvation in ancient times was based upon heredity. This concept is stated with such phrases as "heirs to the promise," etceteras. Since the Mosaic covenant was breached so that all descendents of the generation that breached the covenant were lost, it would obviously be necessary to derive one's heritage from an entity that was part of the extant covenant. In the New Covenant scriptures, one will encounter an odd concept, namely, that one must be "born again" to inherit the Kingdom of G-d.
While the concept at first seems ridiculous, there is a reason for this provision and this exact situation of being cut off from the Register of Israel is the reason. If it were possible to derive one's immediate ancestry from an entity that was not cut-off from the Register of Israel, then one's claim to salvation could be intact. Obviously, that is not ordinarily possible so G-d makes the provision for a spiritual rebirth.
John 1:11 He came to his own, and his own received him not; 12 but as many as received him, to them gave he [the] right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name; 13 who have been born, not of blood, nor of flesh's will, nor of man's will, but of God. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born anew he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus says to him, How can a man be born being old? can he enter a second time into the womb of his mother and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except any one be born of water and of Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not wonder that I said to thee, It is needful that *ye* should be born anew.
Most beneficial promises contained in scripture are derived from G-d's covenant with Abraham and not the Mosaic Covenant. This appears in the works of the prophets and continues into New Covenant Scripture. This is because the Mosaic Covenant is broken. This is not all together bad, however, in that the Abrahamic Covenant contains some broader and more liberal provisions.
At this point, the full provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant extend to the class of the bona fide members of the Register of Israel. This then, would include both Jews and Gentiles that accepted Y'shua. This covenant has certain terms that are well known and portable to each member of the class. Many people have heard the terms of the Abrahamic Covenant as presented in Genesis.
Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Generally, up until this point, the harsher terms of the covenant have not generally been instituted due to the period of grace. However, now that the Day of the L-rd is near, the full provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant will again be in effect. One will notice that Paul stops short of the harsher terms of the Abrahamic Covenant in Galatians.
Galatians 3:9 So that they who are on the principle of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Paul stops short of the negative provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant. However, now it is possible to extend the full provisions of this covenant to all believers. It is also necessary.
Obadiah 1:15 For the day of the Lord is near upon all the nations; as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee; thy dealing shall return upon thine own head. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Time and Place
As it so happens, the New Covenant is not in effect at this time and it can only be instituted at the Bema seat judgment and thereafter for later believers. While some have come to the erroneous conclusion that the New Covenant is already in effect, one need only consider that every mention of it is in the future tense to discern the primary flaw in that reasoning. It is important to consider that the only way that for all practical purposes the New Covenant can be instituted at this time is through the death of the parties that are members of the New Covenant class. This follows through simple analysis of the terms of the New Covenant. One of the most prominent characteristics of the New Covenant is that its beneficiaries will be able to sin no more. This is a concept that needs an d will shortly receive further development. Anybody on the planet at this point in time that believes that they are actually in that situation is delusional. While that much is certain, there are those that are designated beneficiaries at the time that that covenant in initiated.
Hebrews 8:4 If then indeed he were upon earth, he would not even be a priest, there being those who offer the gifts according to the law, 5 (who serve the representation and shadow of heavenly things, according as Moses was oracularly told [when] about to make the tabernacle; for See, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern which has been shewn to thee in the mountain.) 6 But now he has got a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is mediator of a better covenant, which is established on the footing of better promises. 7 For if that first was faultless, place had not been sought for a second. 8 For finding fault, he says to them, Behold, days come, saith the Lord, and I will consummate a new covenant as regards the house of Israel, and as regards the house of Juda; 9 not according to the covenant which I made to their fathers in [the] day of my taking their hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in my covenant, and I did not regard them, saith [the] Lord. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Hebrews 8:10 Because this [is] the covenant that I will covenant to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: Giving my laws into their mind, I will write them also upon their hearts; and I will be to them for God, and they shall be to me for people. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach each his fellow-citizen, and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know me in themselves, from [the] little one [among them] unto [the] great among them. (Darby)
Hebrews 8:12 Because I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and their sins and their lawlessnesses I will never remember any more. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
Hebrews 8:13 In that he says New, he has made the first old; but that which grows old and aged [is] near disappearing. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
The following verses address that fact that a testament only becomes effective upon the death of the testator. Testament in essence means will. It should also be obvious that in this particular case the testament only becomes effective upon the death of the beneficiaries since most of the terms of the promise pertain to the life hereafter.
Hebrews 9:16 (For where [there is] a testament, the death of the testator must needs come in. 17 For a testament [is] of force when men are dead, since it is in no way of force while the testator is alive.) 18 Whence neither the first was inaugurated without blood. (Darby)
Notice that Paul does not say that that which is old has disappeared, it says that it is near disappearing. It should be blatantly obvious to nearly anyone that nothing has happened since the time that Paul wrote that up until the writing of this that would have any possibility of changing any of the terms of any covenant. Furthermore, the most marked characteristic of this New Covenant is that the laws will be inscribed on people's hearts and minds and they shall be able to sin no more. As one can observe, there are no people fitting that description alive today. It is impossible to understand how anybody could possibly think at this point that they are unable to sin.
Hebrews 9:24 For the Christ is not entered into holy places made with hand, figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us: 25 nor in order that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy places every year with blood not his own; 26 since he had [then] been obliged often to suffer from the foundation of the world. But now once in the consummation of the ages he has been manifested for [the] putting away of sin by his sacrifice. 27 And forasmuch as it is the portion of men once to die, and after this judgment; 28 thus the Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear to those that look for him the second time without sin for salvation. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
The previous passage clearly states that the putting away of sin will occur at the consummation of the ages, a moment that is yet in the future. Therefore, it should be extremely evident that the sacrifice and the completion of atonement did not occur simultaneously as some have erroneously postulated. While in ancient times under the sacrificial system the sacrifice and the atonement were conducted in short order, the sacrifice did come first and the atonement through the sprinkling of blood came subsequently. Obviously, the time period between these two events has been extended considerably in this instance. At any rate, no covenant can be said to be in effect until it is manifested. This then, is the real essence of the promise in that it is a promise until the point that it is manifested.
It was noted in chapter three that several things were missing from the Ark of the Covenant when it was taken up to Solomon's new temple and the only possible explanation for their disappearance is that G-d removed these items from the Ark Himself. This should be plainly obvious because since no one can touch or approach the ark without G-d's blessing, nobody would be able to remove something from it without His blessing either. These missing items are extremely important and tell a great story. The first of these is the pot of manna and the second is the staff that budded.
The Pot of Manna
Recall that Moses placed the pot or jar of manna in the Ark as the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. It was placed in the Ark purely for its symbolic meaning, that being, G-d's provision for Israel as they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. The pot contained some of the manna that G-d caused to fall from heaven as food.
Exodus 16:31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna; and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32 And Moses said: 'This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded: Let an omerful of it be kept throughout your generations; that they may see the bread wherewith I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt.' 33 And Moses said unto Aaron: 'Take a jar, and put an omerful of manna therein, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept throughout your generations.' 34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. (JPS)
The fact that the pot of manna was no longer in the Ark does not mean it is missing, it is just not in the Ark. Nevertheless, the pot still represents G-d's provisions for Israel, but now it contains the seething vitriol of G-d's anger. While most of Israel's subsequent calamities were simply caused by their loss of G-d's protection, some of them were the direct result of G-d's wrath. Since the nation has never really returned to the L-rd and many are actually agnostic at this time, further wrath is forthcoming to bring the nation back into compliance with G-d's program.
Jeremiah 1:13 And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying: 'What seest thou?' And I said: 'I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is from the north.' 14 Then the Lord said unto me: 'Out of the north the evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the Lord; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And I will utter My judgments against them touching all their wickedness; in that they have forsaken me, and have offered unto other gods, and worshipped the work of their own hands. (JPS)
Ezekiel 7:5 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Disaster! An unheard-of  disaster is coming. 6 The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come! 7 Doom has come upon you-you who dwell in the land. The time has come, the day is near; there is panic, not joy, upon the mountains. 8 I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 9 I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I the LORD who strikes the blow. (NIV)
Some have attempted to apply Jeremiah 1 to the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem in ancient times, but this is not the case. It actually addresses the Great Tribulation, events yet in the future. While the Babylonian application of this passage is the most common, other scholars contend that it applies to the to the Scythians who threatened Philistia and Judah in the 7th century BC. While there are parallels in these events and their symbolism, the passage cannot have any application to either of these conquests and must regard events yet in the future.
The interpretation of Jeremiah 1 as applying to Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon has no doubt been aggravated by the fact that there is a very similar prophecy with similar symbolism in Ezekiel 24 that clearly concerns Babylon. The similarities are simply references to the same provisions, G-d's provision for Israel, the fuming corpus of His wrath. Despite the common threads of symbolism, Jeremiah 1 is speaking of the End of Days.
The overall theme of the first few chapters of Jeremiah is about G-d's plan to bring about the completion of the divine word. That obviously did not occur in ancient times nor has it occurred yet, but it soon will. The passage cannot refer to Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon) for several reasons.
Jeremiah specifies a conquest by the kingdoms of the North. Babylon was East of Israel and not North of it. Some have attempted to construe this as being fulfilled by the route taken by the Babylonians because they entered from the North, but the structure of the sentence requires foes whose homelands are to the North. "For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north." Therefore, for that reason alone this cannot be a reference to Nebuchadnezzar because the passage would have to state families of the kingdoms of the East.
While the situation of the land of Israel made conquest from any other direction except the North nearly impossible in ancient times, it is no coincidence that many prophecies concerning military operations of the Day of Jacob's Trouble involve movement from the North by a foe from the North.
Isaiah 29:14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the prudence of their prudent men shall be hid. (JPS)
In consideration of the context of Jeremiah's subsequent and connected prophecy, it is significant that he later mentions the complete reunification of Israel and Judah, something that never happened in ancient times. Later, Jeremiah sees many events that are characteristic of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the L-rd.
Note that in Jeremiah 4:23-28 the light will be dimmed and the earth will tremble. Since these celestial and geological events are characteristics of many other prophecies concerning the Day of the L-rd, it should be obvious that Jeremiah's preceding material must refer to that time.
Jeremiah 4:1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, yea, return unto Me; and if thou wilt put away thy detestable things out of My sight, and wilt not waver; 2 And wilt swear: 'As the Lord liveth' in truth, in justice, and in righteousness; then shall the nations bless themselves by Him, and in Him shall they glory. 3 For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: break up for you a fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest My fury go forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. 5 Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem, and say: 'Blow ye the horn in the land'; cry aloud and say: 'Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the fortified cities.' 6 Set up a standard toward Zion; put yourselves under covert, stay not; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. 7 A lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations is set out, gone forth from his place; to make thy land desolate, that thy cities be laid waste, without inhabitant. 8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and wail; for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us. 9 And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the Lord, that the heart of the king shall fail, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. 10 Then said I: 'Ah, Lord GOD! surely Thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying: Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.' 11 At that time shall it be said of this people and of Jerusalem; a hot wind of the high hills in the wilderness toward the daughter of My people, not to fan, nor to cleanse; 12 A wind too strong for this shall come for Me; now will I also utter judgments against them. 13 Behold, he cometh up as clouds, and his chariots are as the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles.--' Woe unto us! for we are undone.'-- 14 O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy baleful thoughts lodge within thee? 15 For hark! one declareth from Dan, and announceth calamity from the hills of Ephraim: 16 'Make ye mention to the nations: behold--publish concerning Jerusalem--watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.' 17 As keepers of a field are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against Me, saith the Lord. 18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness; yea, it is bitter, yea, it reacheth unto thy heart. (JPS)
Jeremiah 4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved to and fro. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful field was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and before His fierce anger. 27 For thus saith the Lord: The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it. 29 For the noise of the horsemen and bowmen the whole city fleeth; they go into the thickets, and climb up upon the rocks; every city is forsaken, and not a man dwelleth therein. (JPS)
Since the days of Solomon, the pot representing G-d's provision for Israel has contained the same provision, wrath. It was not and is not missing. The following verse is from the time of King Josiah of Judah. The passage where it is found concerns the events many years before it was written that provoked G-d's anger.
2 Chronicles 34:24 Thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah; 25 because they have forsaken Me, and have offered unto other gods, that they might provoke Me with all the works of their hands; therefore is My wrath poured out upon this place, and it shall not be quenched. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
There are several more prophecies of Moses about this great wrath in the book of Deuteronomy. One of these is extremely important because the words were written specifically to be given due consideration at the End of Days. In this chapter the focus is the End of Days, but also pay careful attention to the mentions of the Rock because this will be important in a subsequent chapter. Deuteronomy 32 is called the Song of Moses and these words have clearly been preserved for the End of Days.
Deuteronomy 31:15 And the Lord appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud; and the pillar of cloud stood over the door of the Tent. 16 And the Lord said unto Moses: 'Behold, thou art about to sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go astray after the foreign gods of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day: Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us? 18 And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evil which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 31:19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach thou it the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. 20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I swore unto their fathers, flowing with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten their fill, and waxen fat; and turned unto other gods, and served them, and despised Me, and broken My covenant; 21 then it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are come upon them, that this song shall testify before them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed; for I know their imagination how they do even now, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.' 22 So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 31:30 And Moses spoke in the ears of all the assembly of Israel the words of this song, until they were finished: (JPS)
The Song of Moses
Deuteronomy 32:1 Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:3 For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:5 Is corruption His? No; His children's is the blemish; a generation crooked and perverse. 6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? is not He thy father that hath gotten thee? hath He not made thee, and established thee? (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee, thine elders, and they will tell thee. 8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the portion of the Lord is His people, Jacob the lot of His inheritance. 10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste, a howling wilderness; He compassed him about, He cared for him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. 11 As an eagle that stirreth up her nest, hovereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her pinions-- 12 the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with Him. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:13 He made him ride on the high places of the earth, and he did eat the fruitage of the field; and He made him to suck honey out of the crag, and oil out of the flinty rock; 14 Curd of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and he-goats, with the kidney-fat of wheat; and of the blood of the grape thou drankest foaming wine. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked--thou didst wax fat, thou didst grow thick, thou didst become gross--and he forsook God who made him, and contemned the Rock of his salvation. 16 They roused Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations did they provoke Him. 17 They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods, gods that they knew not, new gods that came up of late, which your fathers dreaded not. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:18 Of the Rock that begot thee thou wast unmindful, and didst forget God that bore thee. 19 And the Lord saw, and spurned, because of the provoking of His sons and His daughters. 20 And He said: 'I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end shall be; for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. 21 They have roused Me to jealousy with a no-god; they have provoked Me with their vanities; and I will rouse them to jealousy with a no-people; I will provoke them with a vile nation. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled in My nostril, and burneth unto the depths of the nether-world, and devoureth the earth with her produce, and setteth ablaze the foundations of the mountains. 23 I will heap evils upon them; I will spend Mine arrows upon them; 24 The wasting of hunger, and the devouring of the fiery bolt, and bitter destruction; and the teeth of beasts will I send upon them, with the venom of crawling things of the dust. 25 Without shall the sword bereave, and in the chambers terror; slaying both young man and virgin, the suckling with the man of gray hairs. 26 I thought I would make an end of them, I would make their memory cease from among men; 27 Were it not that I dreaded the enemy's provocation, lest their adversaries should misdeem, lest they should say: Our hand is exalted, and not the Lord hath wrought all this.' (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:28 For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. 29 If they were wise, they would understand this, they would discern their latter end. 30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had given them over and the Lord had delivered them up? 31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter; 33 Their wine is the venom of serpents, and the cruel poison of asps. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:34 'Is not this laid up in store with Me, sealed up in My treasuries? 35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, against the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that are to come upon them shall make haste. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:36 For the Lord will judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants; when He seeth that their stay is gone, and there is none remaining, shut up or left at large. 37 And it is said: Where are their gods, the rock in whom they trusted; 38 Who did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offering? let him rise up and help you, let him be your protection. 39 See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me; I kill, and I make alive; I have wounded, and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand. 40 For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say: As I live for ever, 41 If I whet My glittering sword, and My hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine adversaries, and will recompense them that hate Me. 42 I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy.' (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:43 Sing aloud, O ye nations, of His people; for He doth avenge the blood of His servants, and doth render vengeance to His adversaries, and doth make expiation for the land of His people. (JPS)
Deuteronomy 32:44 And Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun. 45 And when Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said unto them: 'Set your heart unto all the words wherewith I testify against you this day; that ye may charge your children therewith to observe to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing ye shall prolong your days upon the land, whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it.' (JPS)
The Staff that Budded
The symbolism of Aaron's staff that budded is considerably more complex than that of the pot of manna despite the fact that these items shared similar purposes and were preserved inside the Ark solely for their symbolic meaning.
One may wish to refer back to an earlier chapter such as chapter 2 to review the complete story of the creation of the staff if desired. It can also be found in the Tanakh in Numbers 16:1-17:26. This item was created specifically for its symbolic meaning, that being, as a witness to the rebellious of G-d's choice of leaders. As one might recall, due to a rebellion against Moses and Aaron by Korah and his band, G-d instructed the Israelites to place cuttings of almond trees into the tent of meeting overnight with their names written on them, one for each of the twelve tribes. In the morning, the branch of the tribe that G-d chose to be priests had not only miraculously budded, but it also had blossomed and produced almonds. Soon afterward, Moses placed the staff of Aaron's family into the Ark to serve as a memorial of those events.
1 Kings 8:9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel when they came out of the land of Egypt. (JPS)
Both the almond branch and the pot of manna remained in the Ark of the Covenant up until the time that it was brought up to Solomon's Temple. The narrative in 1 Kings 8:9 then notes that there was nothing in the Ark except the two tables of stone that were placed inside it by Moses. Since the almond branch was preserved as a witness to the rebellious of G-d's choice of leaders, it should be obvious that since it was missing, Solomon was not G-d's choice of leaders. There can be no clearer sign.
Aaron's staff that budded is in some cases referred to as a staff, stave, rod, branch or shoot since it was made from the tender branch of an almond tree. While it seems to have mysteriously vanished, it should be clear that it is only possible that G-d removed the staff Himself since nobody can touch the Ark without His blessing. The staff vanished from the narratives, but the prophets mention it frequently beyond Solomon's time.
Jeremiah 1:11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: 'Jeremiah, what seest thou?' And I said: 'I see a rod of an almond-tree.' 12 Then said the Lord unto me: 'Thou hast well seen; for I watch over My word to perform it.' (JPS)
Ezekiel 7:10 "The day is here! It has come! Doom has burst forth, the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed! 11 Violence has grown into a rod to punish wickedness; none of the people will be left, none of that crowd-no wealth, nothing of value. 12 The time has come, the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice nor the seller grieve, for wrath is upon the whole crowd (NIV) (Emphasis added)
Similar to the explanation of Jeremiah 1, it is important to realize that although some have construed Ezekiel chapter seven to be in reference to the Babylonian Conquest, this is not the case. This can be easily deduced from Ezekiel's clear statement that the prophecy regards the end, that is to say, the End of Days. Nevertheless, in both cases there are similarities to earlier events in that history frequently repeats.
The symbolism of the staff goes far beyond the dynasty epoch of Israel, however, because it also clearly delineates G-d's choice of leaders into the future. The staff that disappeared is not only a symbol to the rebellious, but it also becomes a symbolic reference for G-d Himself. It is important to recall that G-d actually served as king up until the time that the Israelites requested a human king just as all of the nations around them had. In the words of the prophets, the staff is also referred to as the Branch or Shoot, depending upon the choice of translators.
Zechariah 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee; for they are men that are a sign; for, behold, I will bring forth My servant the Shoot. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone are seven facets; behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts: And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. (JPS) (Emphasis added)
Zechariah 3:8 Hear now, Joshua the high priest, thou and thy fellows that sit before thee -- for they are men of portent -- for behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua -- upon one stone are seven eyes; behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in one day. (Darby) (Emphasis added)
While this explanation of the symbolism might be somewhat unclear, notice that in Zechariah 3:9 the symbolism now changes to a Stone with seven eyes and this is obviously a symbolic reference to G-d Himself. One can find addition parallels in Zechariah with the lamps on the single gold lampstand and this shares symbolism with the lampstand from the tabernacle. The Stone was and is the Rock of your salvation - that is to say G-d - and the symbolism is parallel with the Branch. This Shoot or Branch shot up in similar symbolism to the staff budding and bring forth almonds back in the days of Moses. Considering that all of this looks forth upon thousands of years of history, the days of a man's life probably would share a similar percentage of overall time as the overnight sprouting of the almond branch did. However, this prophetic Shoot has further symbolism and alludes to something of a man, the true Messiah. Tragically, apart from being prophetic, many of the characteristics have ancient historical aspects for Jews; something that will eventually be examined further.
Isaiah 53:1 'Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him. 3 He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed. 6 All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, though he humbled himself and opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before her shearers is dumb; yea, he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and with his generation who did reason? for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due. 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich his tomb; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.' 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to crush him by disease; to see if his soul would offer itself in restitution, that he might see his seed, prolong his days, and that the purpose of the Lord might prosper by his hand: 11 Of the travail of his soul he shall see to the full, even My servant, who by his knowledge did justify the Righteous One to the many, and their iniquities he did bear. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion among the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the mighty; because he bared his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (JPS)
Isaiah 52:13 Behold, My servant shall prosper, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. 14 According as many were appalled at thee--so marred was his visage unlike that of a man, and his form unlike that of the sons of men-- 15 So shall he startle many nations, kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they perceive. (JPS)
Jeremiah 5:11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against Me, saith the Lord. 12 They have belied the Lord, and said: 'It is not He, neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine; (JPS)
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