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Evangelical Christians come under attack as more move to oppose Israeli occupation

Interesting article today at Mondoweiss. If you’re not familiar with the blog, it is ran by a small group of (Jewish) journalists who stand opposed to many actions taken by the Israeli government. Today’s post appears to be written by guest author John Wagner.

Quote,

On October 26, 2014, the Jerusalem Post carried an article entitled “Bethlehem Bible College – purveyor of anti-Israel propaganda” in their Christian News section. The Rev. Alex Awad, a Baptist minister who works both for Bethlehem Bible College and The United Methodist Church, was personally named as part of a “a blatant attempt to demonize Israel.” The article goes on to denounce a video the college produced on the bombing of Gaza. Though not immediately apparent, the writer of the article is on the staff of “Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting,” a controversial US based pro-Israeli organization.

That the Jerusalem Post felt it necessary to publish this frontal attack on a well known Bible college is actually a good sign.

The mainstream Israeli press, and no doubt Israeli policy makers themselves, are now having to deal with the fact that unqualified support for Israel’s territorial expansion can no longer be assumed even among US Evangelical Christians. While it is certainly true that many of the most ardent supporters of the occupation are Christian Zionists, there are growing numbers of theological conservatives, including some who might be included among the “Christian Right,” who are viewing the human rights situation in the Holy Land in a far different light.

Much of this change has to do with a greater variety of trips to the Holy Land, trips that include the West Bank and encounters with an indigenous Palestinian Christian community. Tourists who in years past might have been limited to visiting Holy sites are now returning home with a sense of profound indignation at the way Palestinians have been treated. I am one such tourist myself; I’ve taken sides on this issue whereas before I was quite neutral. I also know my experience is not unique.

There is also increasing opposition among Evangelicals to a Biblical understanding that gives modern day Israel the right to all of historic Palestine. According to Dr. Gary Burge of Wheaton College, such interpretations have trumped the teachings of Christ (PDF):

“Christian Zionists believe in Jesus, but I wonder if they are always thinking like Christians in this matter. They have uncritically inherited the territorial world view of Judaism and wed this to prophetic predictions that are unsupportable.”

Dr. Burge is one of a growing number of critics of Christian Zionism among moderate and conservative Evangelicals.

Continue reading here

Hope you will continue at the link. Personally, I’m overjoyed to read many Evangelicals are beginning to question their long-held position concerning this situation; it would appear many are doing  just that in light of what God’s Word has to say. Praise the Lord! That many of these Evangelicals are just now becoming aware of the existence of Palestinian Brethren, is astounding on one hand but understandable when you consider all agency-led tours (or tours led by US Christian Ministries) of the “holy land” never (NEVER!) included visiting the areas in which these Churches and people reside. This was no doubt purposefully done.

Again I say Praise the Lord! Thank you Father for beginning to wake up those who have an open heart and a desire to follow the teachings of your Son…  

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Russian Law-Maker Wants Millions of “Baby-Putins”

This takes the cake. I’m of the opinion all lawmakers in every Nation on earth, are insane. While it should bring some comfort to know it’s not only those in America, it doesn’t. It’s spooky to realize the world is being led by murderers, thieves, liars, and egomaniacs who like to play “god”.

NewYorkObserver

Royal-Baby-Vladimir-Putin‘Each female citizen of Russia will be able to receive by mail the genetic material of the President’ 

The Russian-language newspaper, Trust, is reporting that an actual lawmaker—albeit one with a history of strange ideas—has introduced to the State Duma a bill…..

“The essence of my proposition is simple”, says the Chairwoman Of Parliamentary Commission on Women’s affairs, Children and Family, Yelena Borisovna Mizoulina. “Each female citizen of Russia will be able to receive by mail the genetic material of the President, get pregnant from him and have a baby. These mothers will be receiving special allowances from the government.”

Ms. Mizoulina, who holds a PhD in law, made the proposal in a roundtable discussion regarding the issue of fertility and Russia. She went on to describe what would happen after President Putin’s babies were born..

“And after the birth of the child, he will have to be given to be raised into the special institutions that resemble Souvorov Schools with the aim that he will be loyal to the Motherland and personally to the President of RF.”

A Souvorov school resembled the “military boarding school” concept familiar to Americans and RF means Russian Federation.

“Children born from the Russian president in the future will form the military and political elite of the state,” Ms. Mizoulina is quoted as saying (her name is sometimes spelled Mizulina). The article further states, “According to the deputy of the State Duma, the measure will contribute to the improvement of the demographic situation and the education of the population in the spirit of patriotism.” (more at link)

(Someone please tell me this is a joke, pleeeeease

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“Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart….”

trust meWhile reading this devotional from (Wonderings of a Pilgrim) written by David Harsha in 1856, Jesus’ words to his disciples came to mind.

 “…. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16: 33

Folks, the world is a mess. I cling to any good report, as I’m sure you do, for we appear (on the surface) to be surrounded by evil-doers: they are so to speak, “at the door”. But the truth is, God is in control even when we can’t see it. We’re operating within God’s “Plan A” brethren, for see, God has no “Plan B” for there is no need for one!  Everything is going just as planned. The real question is, are we going to trust Him?

I’ve mentioned this before but feel to repeat it tonight; Its been over 10 years now, when while in prayer I asked God what the Spirit was saying to the Church today. I received an answer (unexpectedly) by these verses in Hebrews 3, a warning of unbelief, suddenly coming to mind:

Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end, 15 while it is said,

“Today, when you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

The generation which left Egypt fell into doubt and unbelief and missed out on what God had for them. With all my heart I believe the Spirit was telling me this is the greatest danger we, the Church, are facing (and will) face prior to our Lord’s return: That of falling into doubt and unbelief. We will cease to trust God, to believe He is in control of any and all situations. If not careful, fear will destroy the faith of many. We will forget, we are “only sojourners” in this world, with a promised rest awaiting us if we persevere in faith (and trust) until the end. Jesus has already overcome the world folks! And God’s not desperately looking to enact a “Plan B” because His plans have been disrupted by evil-doers. Everything is happening according to God’s schedule.

So, are we going to trust Him?

From The Wonderings of a Pilgrim:  

We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace. 1 Chron. 29:15

Beyond this darksome valley of tears and death there lies a bright and joyous region of immortality, where weary pilgrims meet to stray no more. In that happy land their wanderings will have forever terminated, and they shall sit down in everlasting repose under the delightful shadow of the Tree of Life, in the midst of the paradise of God, and enjoy, through the blissful ages of glory, the presence and smiles of that Friend and Savior who, in the tenderest love for them, once poured out his own most precious blood on Calvary, that he might present them, faultless, before the throne of Heaven!

O’ how transcendently glorious must be the future eternal home of the Christian pilgrim! On those golden plains beyond the river of death, rays of divine glory are beaming in full effulgence. There, the Sun of Righteousness is shining in all his meridian splendor, making eternity one constant noontide of untold and indescribable glory and blessedness– a day without clouds. There, our Immanuel shall be as the “light of the morning when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds.”

Eternal day will dawn without a cloud. No gloom or darkness will ever overspread those blissful realms beyond the shores of time. The celestial world will always be irradiated by the glory of God and the Lamb, and the redeemed shall forever bask in the gladsome sunshine of Infinite Love. In that bright home of pilgrims, the Savior will conduct his ransomed ones to living fountains of waters– streams of immortal joys, and God shall wipe away all tears. In the presence of Jesus there is fullness of joy; at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has the human heart ever conceived those things which God has prepared for those who love him.

An exceeding and eternal weight of glory will crown every pilgrim who has found the happy shores of Immanuel’s Land. In the Palace of the King of kings, all will be perfectly blessed, and from that “building of God, that house not made with hands,” there shall be no more going out; but we shall forever be with the Lord, beholding his glory and enjoying the soul-ravishing manifestations of his endearing love. O, happy abode of Zion’s pilgrims! O, sweet and pleasant world, where the balmy zephyrs of Heaven refresh the weary soul; where there flows not a tear; where there enters not a pain; where death itself shall be swallowed up in victory! This is the heritage of those who fear the Lord.

But before our feet stand on the blissful shores of the heavenly Canaan, we have to pass through a wilderness. This world is that wilderness, where Zion’s pilgrims wander until they are taken home to glory. It is a thorny pathway that leads to the realms of eternal day; but, by the grace of God, the Christian is enabled to hold on the good way with joy, until he passes through the wilderness and over Jordan, more than a conqueror through Jesus, and takes up his seraphic song of triumph amid the undying splendors of immortality.

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All crossings closed, Gaza is totally isolated from the world

The Israeli response comes at the height of movement of goods, funds and building materials for the rehabilitation of the thousands of homes and buildings damaged or destroyed during the summer fighting. It “joins” the closure of the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian side, and is in practice totally disconnects Gaza from the rest of the world. Hamas has already asked Egypt to open the crossing on its side, in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster. – YNETNEWS; All crossings closed, Gaza is totally isolated from the world

My prayers tonight go out to my Christian brethren, and all the people of Gaza. The enemy desires to see this part of the body totally destroyed: Did you know some of the earliest Churches in Christendom were/are located in this part of the world?  I don’t believe God will permit the enemy to wipe-out this part of Jesus’ body, but they are suffering terribly, and have been for over 60 years. If that knowledge doesn’t touch you deeply and drive you to pray, you need to check yourself, to determine if you are truly abiding in Christ.

(A prayer for deliverance from Psalm 143)

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications!
In thy faithfulness answer me, in thy righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with thy servant;
for no man living is righteous before thee.
For the enemy has pursued me;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.

Make haste to answer me, O Lord!
My spirit fails!

Hide not thy face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear in the morning of thy steadfast love,
for in thee I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to thee I lift up my soul.

AMEN

 

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Jesus’ Teaching About the Land

This is a very good essay presented by Robert L. Reymond at Knox Theological Seminary in 2006 on the topic of “Who Owns the Land”. (HT to Psalms115three blog).

Below is only one section of this presentation, which I hope those who visit here will take time to read and study in it’s entirety.

Jesus’ Teaching About the Land and the Future of Ethnic Israel

32501_all_021_01-AbrahamWhen Christ came two thousand years ago, the Biblical doctrine of the land experienced a radical advance. By inaugurating his public ministry in Galilee of the Gentiles along the public trade route (Isaiah 9:1, cited in Matthew 4:12-16), Jesus was making a statement. That land would serve as the springboard to all nations. The kingdom of God — the central theme of Jesus’ teaching — would encompass a realm that extended well beyond the borders of ancient Israel. As Paul so pointedly indicated, God’s promise to Abraham meant that he would become heir of the whole world (Romans 4:13). Jesus’ pointing his ministry toward the whole of the world rather than confining it to the land of Canaan cleared the way for the old covenant “type” to be replaced by the new covenant “antitype.”

Teaching that the kingdom of God had appeared in its grace modality with his first coming and that it would appear in its power modality at his second coming, he transformed the imagery of a land flowing with milk and honey into a rejuvenation of the whole of God’s created order. It was not Canaan as such that would benefit in the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom: The whole cosmos would rejoice in the renewal.13

Now what did Jesus teach about the future of ethnic Israel? In his parable of the wicked farmers (Matthew 21:33-45, Mark 12:1-12, Luke 20:9-19), Jesus tells the story of a landowner who leased his vineyard to some farmers and then went into another country. When the time arrived for him to receive his rental fee in the form of the fruit of the vineyard, the landowner sent servant after servant to his tenants, only to have each one of them beaten or stoned or killed. Last of all he sent his son — Luke says his “beloved son”; Mark says “yet one [other], a beloved son” — saying: “They will respect my son.” But when the tenants saw the landowner’s son, they said: “This is the heir; come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.” This they did, throwing his body out of the vineyard. When the landowner came, he destroyed the tenants and leased his vineyard to others. The interpretive intentions of the parable are obvious on the face of it: The landowner is God the Father; the vineyard, the nation of Israel (Isaiah 5:7); the farmers, Israel’s leaders; the servants, the prophets of the theocracy (Matthew 23:37a); and the son Jesus himself.

The central teaching of the parable is obvious — as indeed it was to its original audience (Matthew 21:45): After having sent his servants the prophets repeatedly in Old Testament times to the nation of Israel to call the nation back to him from its sin and unbelief, only to have them rebuffed, persecuted, and often killed, God, the Owner of Israel, had, in sending Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Godhead, moved beyond merely sending another servant. Listen once again to the pertinent verses in this connection: Matthew 21:37: “Then last of all he sent his son.” Mark 12:6: “…having one son, his beloved, he also sent him to them last.”

From Matthew’s “last of all” and Mark’s “last” it is clear that Jesus represented himself as God’s last, his final ambassador, after whose sending none higher can come and nothing more can be done.14 The Son of God is the highest messenger of God conceivable. In sum, God had in Jesus finally (Matthew: hysteron; Mark: eschaton) sent his own beloved Son whom the nation would reject. But the rejection of his Son, unlike the rejections of those before him, was to entail neither God’s continuance of dealing with the recalcitrant nation nor a mere change of politico-religious administration. Rather, his rejection, Jesus taught, would eventuate in “the complete overthrow of the theocracy, and the rearing from the foundation up of a new structure [Christ’s church] in which the Son would receive full vindication and supreme honor.”15 His very words are as follows:

I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit [Matthew 21:43].

What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others [Mark 12:9; Luke 20:16].

Here is a Biblical “replacement theology,” and it is Jesus himself who enunciated it: National Israel, except for its elect remnant, would be judged, and the special standing that it had enjoyed during the old dispensation would be given to the already emerging international church of Jesus Christ made up of both the elect Jewish remnant and elect Gentiles. So as Jesus predicted, Israel’s rulers rejected him and incited Rome to execute him; the Temple was soon destroyed (see Matthew 24:1-35); the people dispersed; and Israel ceased to exist as a political entity, as Moses had predicted in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 (see Deuteronomy 31:24-29). Paul declared in 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16 that the Jews who “killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets…displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved — so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But God’s wrath has come upon them at last [eis telos16].” Since Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians in A. D. 50 or 51 it is unlikely that he intended by his phrase, “God’s wrath has come upon them” the destruction of Jerusalem that occurred in A. D. 70. More likely, he was referring to the divine rejection of national Israel that Jesus referred to in his parable of the wicked farmers and elsewhere (Matthew 23:38; 24:15-28), a rejection that Paul declared in Romans 11 has come to expression in God’s hardening the mass of Israel, save for an elect Jewish remnant. So once again Israel as an ethnic entity has become lo-ammi, “not my people,” only now with a finality about it save for an elect remnant (Romans 9:27-29).17 Accordingly, Paul writes in Romans 11:7-10:

Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking [that is, a righteousness before God, Romans 9:31]. The elect [remnant] obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”

And David says: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever [dia pantos 18].”

But because God has by no means rejected every Jew, choosing in grace a Jewish remnant (Romans 11:5), today elect Jews continue to be saved by being “provoked to jealousy” (Romans 11:11, 14) by the multitudes of saved Gentiles who are enjoying the spiritual blessings originally offered to their fathers, and who accordingly through faith in Jesus Christ, their Messiah, are being grafted back into their own “olive tree” (Romans 11:23-24). The justification of Gentiles is then the primary avenue to the justification of the Jewish elect; indeed, in this way (houtÿs) “all Israel” will be saved (Romans 11:26).19

In light of these Biblical data we can affirm the following five propositions:

1.The modern Jewish state is not a part of the Messianic kingdom of Jesus Christ. Even though this particular political state came into being on May 14, 1948, it would be a denial of Jesus’ affirmation that his kingdom is “not of this world order” (John 18:36) to assert that modern Israel is a part of his Messianic kingdom. To put it bluntly, modern Israel is not true Israel at all, but is rather “the spiritual son of Hagar” (Romans 9:6-8; Galatians 4:24-25) and thus is “Ishmaelitish” to the core, does not necessarily intend a small, insignificant number but simply that which is “left.” But when Isaiah declares: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sands of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved,” the implication is that God will harden the mass of ethnic Israel. It has accordingly forsaken any legitimate Biblical claim to Palestine.

2. The land promise of the Old Testament served as a type of the consummate realization of the purposes of God for his redeemed people that encompasses “all the nations” (Genesis 12:3) and the entire cosmos (Romans 4:13). Christians as members of the Messianic kingdom of God are the real heirs, along with Abraham, of the land promise in its antitypical, consummated character.

3. Because of the inherently limited scope of the land promised in the Old Testament, it cannot be regarded as having continuing significance in the realm of redemption other than in its function as a model to teach that obedience and divine blessing go hand in hand while disobedience and divine retribution also go hand in hand.

4. The Old Testament predictions about the “return” of “Israel” to the “land” in terms of a geo-political reestablishment of the state of Israel are more properly interpreted as having fulfillment at the “restoration of all things” that will accompany the resurrection of believers at the return of Christ (Acts 3:21; Romans 8:22-23). To interpret these predictions literally would be a retrograde elevation of type over antitype.

5. The future Messianic kingdom will embrace the whole of the recreated cosmos and will not experience a special manifestation that could be regarded in any sense as Jewish in the “holy land” or anywhere else. Peter, the apostle to the circumcision (who surely would have had his ear tuned to any and every future privilege Jews might enjoy), when he wrote of future things in 2 Peter 3, said nothing about a Jewish millennium or about a restoration of a Jewish kingdom in Palestine but rather divided the whole of Earth history into three periods: the first period — “the world of that time” — extending from the beginning of creation to the Genesis flood (2 Peter 3:5-6); the second period — “the heavens and Earth that now exist” (2 Peter 3:7) — extending from the flood to the final Day of the Lord, at which time the Earth will be destroyed by fire (2 Peter 3:7) and the present heavens “will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved” (2 Peter 3:10); and the third period — “new heavens and a new Earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13) — extending throughout eternity. If he had believed in a Jewish millennium following this present age 2 Peter 3 would have been the appropriate place to mention it, but he makes no mention of a millennium, much less a Jewish millennium, placing the entirety of Earth history within the three time frames.

Conclusion

What should we conclude from all this? The twin facts of ethnic Israel’s unbelief and God’s wrath exhibited toward ethnic Israel (1 Thessalonians 2:15-16) pose a problem for Christians today. On the one hand, should not our attitude toward these people through whom came not only our Old Testament Scriptures but also our Messiah and Savior according to the flesh (Romans 9:5), indeed, our very salvation (John 4:22) be one of gratitude, and should Christians not do everything in their power to treat the Jewish people as they themselves would wish to be treated? On the other hand, were not the Jewish people complicit in the crucifixion of Christ, declaring him to be one in a long line of false messiahs, and do not these same Jews, when pressed, acknowledge that they regard Christians as idolaters, worshiping as they do a “mere man”?

In response to this problem, I would first say that no Christian should advocate anything evenly remotely resembling discrimination against Jews because of their ethnicity or religion. At the same time, in light of the fact that the only hope of salvation for the Jewish people resides in the provisions of the Christian Gospel, it would be wrong, indeed, unloving and un-Christian, for Christians to encourage or to support Israel in the establishment and maintenance of its ethnicity or religion as the ground of its hope before God.  (For) The Bible denounces every hope for approbation before God that is not grounded in the person and work of Christ. Such approbation pursued through ethnicity or through good works is futile (Galatians 2:16). Therefore, the Jew, if he is ever to know genuine forgiveness by God, must forsake the notion that his racial connection to the patriarchs and/or his allegiance to Torah make him acceptable to God (Romans 2:17-29; Galatians 5:3-4).

It is a strange twist of thinking, if not downright disloyalty to the Gospel, for Christians to aid and abet Israel in the retention of its ethnic/religious distinctives that provide the ground of its hope for divine approbation, the holding on to which only solidifies Israel in its unbelief. And yet, in order that the blessing of Genesis 12:3 might be theirs, and in order to escape the threatened curse enunciated in the same verse, many Christians fervently believe that they must support Zionist causes whatever the cost and must rejoice with every “Israeli advance” in the world. They fail to realize, as they do so (1) that as long as they encourage the Jew to continue to hold his un-Biblical perception of what constitutes “Jewishness,” and (2) that as long as he continues to hold to Judaism as his religion,  just that long will he continue to reject Jesus Christ, who is Israel’s only hope and thus be eternally condemned!

The Roman Catholic Church, in its modern efforts at aggiornamento, has not helped here either, declaring in its 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church that because the faith of the Jewish people — catechetically described as the “the first to hear the Word of God”“unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant” (paragraph 839), because to the Jews belong all the privileges outlined in Romans 9:4-5 (paragraph 839), and because with Christians they “await the coming of the Messiah” (!) (paragraph 840), the People of God include the Jewish people.

Never mind that the Jewish people for the most part deny the deity of Jesus Christ and thus the doctrine of the Trinity; never mind that they for the most part rejected their Messiah, the first time he came, as a misguided prophet at best and a blasphemer at worst, and accordingly believe today that Christians are idolaters because we worship him whom they contend was simply a man; never mind that they see no need for Christ’s substitutionary atonement. According to Rome’s teaching they are still related salvifically to the people of God and may go to Heaven!

The great mass of world Jewry today neither believes that the Old Testament is the inspired, inerrant Word of the living God nor does it have a clue about what the Old Testament teaches. We must think more carefully here, for can one truly believe the Old Testament and not acknowledge Jesus Christ to be the Messiah, Savior, and Lord revealed therein? No one who has heard of the Messiah and his atoning work and then rejects him believes the Old Testament. Jesus himself expressly declared: “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).

When the modern Jew claims that he believes and follows Torah, even though he may say that he sees grace taught therein, but who at the same time also believes that he must live a certain way if he is to remain a “son” or “daughter” of Torah, he does not believe the Old Testament and is denying the saving provision of which Torah actually speaks. The Levitical sacrificial system pointed to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who alone takes away the sin of the world.

Christians must realize that to bring any unbelievers, including ethnic/religious Israel, to the Christian faith, they must show them the futility of any and every hope for God’s approbation apart from faith in Jesus Christ. The fact that Jews have Abrahamic blood flowing in their veins (Matthew 3:9; John 1:13), or that they are physically circumcised (Romans 2:25-29; Galatians 5:2-4; 6:15), or that they are practicing “sons and daughters of Torah” (Romans 2:17-24; 3:9; Galatians 3:10; 4:21; 5:1) are all insufficient for salvation.

*Complete essay may be accessed HERE

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The Substance is come and the Shadow has gone; and we do not remember it

Spurgeon“Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people.”—Isaiah 65:17-19

THIS PASSAGE, like the rest of Isaiah’s closing chapters, will have completest fulfillment in the latter days when Christ shall come, when the whole company of his elect ones shall have been gathered out from the world, when the whole creation shall have been renewed, when new heavens and a new earth shall be the product of the Savior’s power, when, for ever and for ever, perfected saints of God shall behold his face, and joy and rejoice in him.

I hope and believe that the following verses will actually describe the condition of the redeemed during the reign of Christ upon the earth:

“There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old. They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.”

But the work which is spoken of in the text is begun already among us. There is to be a literal new creation, but that new creation has commenced already; and I think, therefore, that even now we ought to manifest a part of the joy. If we are called upon to be glad and rejoice in the completion of the work, let us rejoice even in the commencement of it. The Lord himself will joy and rejoice, and we who are in sympathy with him are exhorted and even commanded to be glad; let us not be slack in this heavenly duty.

Do you know what this work of creation is, which is here thrice promised in the words, “I create.. I create.. I create”? It is evidently a second creation, which is altogether to eclipse the first, and put it out of mind. Shall I tell the story?

The first creation was so fair that, when the Lord looked upon it, with man as its climax and crown, he said, “It is very good;” but it failed in man who should have been its glory. Man sinned; and in his sin he was so connected with the whole of the earth, that he dragged it down with him. The slime of the serpent passed over everything. The taint of sin marred the whole of God’s work in this lower world. The creation was made subject to vanity, and it groaneth in pain together until now. But the Infinitely Blessed would not be defeated, and in infinite condescension he determined that he would make a new creation which should rise upon the ruins of the first. He resolved that under a second Adam something more than Paradise should be restored to the universe. He purposed that he would undo, through Jesus Christ, the Seed of the woman, all the mischief that had been wrought by the serpent. He has commenced to undo this mischief, and to work this now creation, and so commenced that he will never withdraw his hand till the work is done. He has commenced it thus—by putting new hearts into as many as he has called by his Spirit, regenerating them, and making them to become new creatures in Christ Jesus. These the apostle tells us are a kind of firstfruits of this now creation. We are the commencement of the future ingathering. Our new-born spirits are the first ripe ears of corn out of a wonderful harvest that will come by-and-by.

By-and-by (our) bodies shall be new-created, when, from beds of dust and silent clay, they shall upleap into immortal beauty. The resurrection will be to the body what regeneration is to the soul. When body and soul are thus created anew, the whole earth around them, in which they shall dwell, shall be, at the same time, renewed also; and so God shall make the spirits, the minds, the bodies, and the bodies of men, all now. These bodies, quickened by his Spirit who dwelleth in us, and united to souls purified and refined, shall tread upon an earth delivered from the curse, and shall be canopied beneath new heavens. Have they not new desires? Should not all above them be new? They shall tread a new earth for they have new ways.

There is one reason why you are called upon to rejoice in this, namely, that you are a part of it. When the angels saw God making this world, they sang together, and shouted for joy; but they were not a part of this lower world. They had nothing to do with man’s estate, save as a matter of sympathy. But as for this new creation of our gracious God, you and I, beloved, who have believed in Jesus, are part of it. That same grace, which has quickened others into new life, has quickened us. The same Spirit, who has given new principles and new desires to others, has given them to us also. The Father hath begotten us again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We are the central beings of the new creation, and so let us joy and rejoice in it with all our soul, and mind, and strength.

Brethren, did any one of you ever weep because you did not sit at the Passover? Did you ever regret the Paschal lamb? Oh, never, because you have fed on Christ! Was there ever man that knows his Lord that ever did lament that he had not the sign of the old Abrahamic covenant in his flesh? Nay, he gladly dispenses with the rites of the old covenant, since he has the fullness of their meaning in his Lord. The believer is circumcised in Christ, buried in Christ, risen in Christ, and in Christ exalted to the heavenly places. Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt-offering, or the red heifer, or any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the feast of tabernacles, or the dedication? No, because, though those were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away, and we now live under new heavens and a new earth…

The substance is come, and the shadow has gone; and we do not remember it!

*From C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon, God Rejoicing in the New Creation

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