Israel in Prophecy
Who is Israel?
[YHWH] said to me in the days of King Josiah: "Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, 'After she has done all this she will return to me,' but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense … . Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
The nation of Israel under Moses arrived at Mount Sinai at the beginning of the third month, a month and a half after the nation had left Egypt … the New Covenant (Jer 31:31–34; Heb 8:8–12) replaces the covenant made with the fathers of Israel on the day when the Lord took Israel by the hand to lead the nation out from Egypt, not the covenant made a month and a half later.
Greater Christendom has traditionally assumed that the covenant made at Mount Sinai—the first Sinai covenant, not the second Sinai covenant—is the covenant replaced by the New Covenant, but this assumption comes from Christians having little or no familiarity with Scripture. After all, it has only been since the invention of the printing press that common people had their own copies of Scripture. Not until recently could a Christian read Scripture for him or herself. Before the printing press, a Christian heard Scripture read and he or she then had to memorize passages heard as best as he or she could, or more typically, the Christian heard homilies based on scriptural passages, nothing from Scripture itself. So for the Christian laity, the New Covenant replaced whatever covenant the laity was told that it replaced: the people could not check for themselves to see what covenant was made with Israel on the night Israel left Egypt.
That covenant was the Passover Covenant.
The problem of access to Scripture isn’t new; for until the Book of the Covenant was found in the dilapidated temple during the reign of King Josiah, no Passover as detailed in the Book of the Covenant had been kept since the days of the Judges (2 Kings 23:22–23). The so-called oral Torah apparently had the kings of Israel taking the Passover at a time and in a manner different from what Moses commanded. Apparently no one really knew what was written in this Book of the Law. And even in the 1st-Century CE, familiarity with the Book of the Covenant wasn’t great as the author of Hebrews reveals:
Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place. Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail. (Heb 9:1–5)
Again, the covenant the Lord made with Israel on the day when He took the fathers of Israel by the hand to lead them out from Egypt was the Passover covenant, not the first Sinai covenant:
It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. … If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you." All the people of Israel did just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the Lord brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts. (Ex 12:42–44, 48–51 emphasis added)
The problem evident in the giving of this covenant is presence or absence of circumcision, and whether Israel was continuing to circumcise under the kings; for apparently the barrier from neighbor caused by circumcision had been torn down by not circumcising males, with Jeremiah recording:
Thus says the Lord: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight … .Behold, the days are coming … when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart." (Jer 9:23–26 emphasis and double emphasis added)
Evidently, the house of Judah and the cities of Judah (including Jerusalem) were uncircumcised, with the house of Israel at this time already in captivity but outwardly circumcising its males … when the boast of Israel should be that the person understands and knows the Lord, not in any physical thing (even human wisdom), then understanding that the circumcision that matters is circumcision of the heart, a euphemistic expression for no longer being stubborn, unbelieving, resisting obeying the Lord simply because the Lord says this or that. Understanding that circumcision in the flesh is merely a shadow and copy of circumcision of the heart is in short supply even today, two and a half millennia later. For understanding that <circumcision> as a linguistic signifier has dual referents is evident in Jeremiah’s words, Behold, the days are coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—
Among those people to be punished would be, all the house of Israel [that] are uncircumcised in heart.
So perceiving that <circumcision> as a linguistic signifier has/had dual referents since the days of Moses should not have been difficult, with the prophet Ezekiel recording,
And say to the rebellious house, to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD [this is a DP clause]: O house of Israel, enough of all your abominations, in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple, when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You have broken my covenant, in addition to all your abominations. And you have not kept charge of my holy things, but you have set others to keep my charge for you in my sanctuary. Thus says the Lord GOD [this is a DP clause]: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary. (Ezek 44:6–9)
On the day when the Lord took the fathers of Israel by the hand to lead this nation out from Egypt, the covenant made with these fathers of Israel said nothing about construction of the temple or about sacrifices or about the high priest entering the Holy of holies.. So the author of Hebrews, reflecting the cultural opinion of Second Temple Jews, is wrong about what constitutes the First Covenant that will be replaced by the New Covenant. And it would be difficult to make a passage more plain than what Moses told the people of Israel about the Passover:
The Lord* said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, "This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. … Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. (Deut 12:1–8, 21–24)
* — The Tetragrammaton YHWH would never have been pronounced since its origins was as an unpronounced linguistic determinative; so there would have been no way to read aloud the opening line of the preceding citation without substituting another linguistic signifier for the Tetragrammaton. The conventions of Christendom has <LORD> used as the substitute signifier while the conventions of Judaism has <Adonai> used as this substitute.
It is, today, common to speak of reverse engineering a product, with specific patent laws in place that require separation between those who take a product apart and then write the specifications for making a copy and those who actually make copies … during the Deportation and possibly a little before and for a couple of centuries after a remnant returned to Jerusalem, Imperial Hebrew scribes redacted the writings of Moses to improve narrative efficiency and to bring Moses’ proto-Hebrew inscription into then-current Hebrew usage: grammar and syntax. And it would have been from these redactions that the Septuagint and five other Hebrew-to-Greek translations of what Christians call the “Old Testament” were made.
But by the time scribes redacted Moses, Hebrew had been an inscribed language for long enough that some of the conventions of orality were abandoned and not understood, one of which was the use of linguistic determinatives to give the inscribed language parity with the spoken language.
Unspoken [not vocalized] linguistic determinatives visually conveyed to readers information that the hearer of an utterance would have had by the hearer simply being present when the utterance was made. Determinatives convey to auditors removed from the utterance knowledge of who said what, when, and in what language, among other things. And linguistic determinatives can, in inscription, appear as nouns, but they are not nouns.
A determinative phrase [DP] differs from a noun phrase [NP] by what is the “head” of the phrase; by what can be used to convey the essence or object of the phrase, with the hard linking of the definite article to a definite noun in Koine Greek permitting the article by itself to be used as if it were a pronoun for the noun, thereby making categories of naming phrases in Greek determiner phrases, not noun phrases. (This concept remains controversial, but has gained academic acceptance.)
As a youth, Moses would have been trained to read and write hieroglyphic inscription that employed linguistic determinatives for divine entities as part of the inscription. Hieroglyphic script included both phonetic symbols as well as visual [silent] symbols. Thus, it would have seemed normal for Moses, when he wrote a Semitic language in modified Canaanite script to have included linguistic determinatives as part of his inscription; for when Moses wrote, inscription of language was still a fairly new art form.
The concept of reverse engineering a narrative undergirds literary deconstruction of the text, with deconstruction most often employed to reveal unwritten biases, values, and codes embedded in a text by what the author included or excluded. But literary deconstruction can also be used to reveal previous versions of a text, again by what has been included or excluded in the received version.
While this article on Israel in prophecy isn’t where an endtime Christian would expect to find a discussion of the Old Testament as a redacted text, enough discussion of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton YHWH needs to be included to remove the clunkiness produced by the textual redaction of Imperial Hebrew scribes; by their conversion of the linguistic determinative <YHWH> and determinative phrases including this determinative into a noun and noun phrases, masculine in gender and singular in number, with these noun phrases used as naming phrases.
In other words, in deconstruction of what endtime Christians receive as the Old Testament, the almost unreadability of style that hinders the Old Testament from being read as a relatively smooth-flowing narrative didn’t originate in the composition of the texts, but came about as Hebrew scribes sought to retain the consonant clusters they received as words, but “write out” of existence any implied plurality of deity; for they perceived that it was Israel’s worship of many gods that brought the Lord’s wrath upon the nation and the people. But the assignment of singularity to linguistic plurals, justified by the concept of pluralis majestatis, concealed the Father from Israel.
At the beginning of inscription, reader sophistication was low. Scribes didn’t trust readers to correctly assign speaking roles to characters involved. It was believed that readers needed more help from authors than modern readers receive … modern authors trust readers to mentally keep track of who is speaking, with Earnest Hemingway, eighty-five years ago, being one of the first to speed up narration by eliminating line-by-line identification of speakers. An example passage from Farewell to Arms, chapter three, is here cited:
"Ciaou!" he said. "What kind of time did you have?"
We shook hands and he put his arm around my neck and kissed me.
"Oughf," I said.
"You're dirty," he said. "You ought to wash. Where did you go and what did you do ? Tell me everything at once."
"I went everywhere. Milan, Florence, Rome, Naples, Villa San Giovanni, Messina, Taormina "
"You talk like a time-table. Did you have any beautiful adventures?"
"Milano, Firenze, Roma, Napoli "
"That's enough. Tell me really what was the best."
"That was because it was first. Where did you meet her? In the Cova? Where did you go? How did you feel? Tell me everything at once. Did you stay all night?"
"That's nothing. Here now we have beautiful girls. New girls never been to the front before."
"You don't believe me? We will go now this afternoon and see. And in the town we have beautiful English girls. I am now in love with Miss Barkley. I will take you to call. I will probably marry Miss Barkley."
"I have to get washed and report. Doesn't anybody work now?"
"Since you are gone we have nothing but frostbites, chilblains, jaundice, gonorrhea, self-inflicted wounds, pneumonia and hard and soft chancres. Every week some one gets wounded by rock fragments. There are a few real wounded. Next week the war starts again. Perhaps it starts again. They say so. Do you think I would do right to marry Miss Barkley — after the war of course?"
"Absolutely," I said and poured the basin full of water.
"To-night you will tell me everything," said Rinaldi. "Now I must go back to sleep to be fresh and beautiful for Miss Barkley."
Modern narratives move at a much faster pace than do even 19th-Century melodramas, with <melodrama> being a literary trope that conveys excessive emotion for the action recorded, with a reason for this emotional surplus being 19th-Century authors’ attempts to cause readers to take ownership of the story by emotionally attaching readers to the story.
Modern authors use ambiguity for the same purpose of “attaching” readers to the story; for with narrative ambiguity, the reader has to “add” to the text whatever information is needed to mentally resolve the ambiguity, thereby individually “creating” the completed text in their minds. For a person’s mind hates ambiguity and seeks clarity from unclarity.
The ability of readers to receive and to process information is an aspect of cultural sophistication: while mostly illiterate cultures have the ability to orally convey very sophisticated narratives (the quality of minds has never been a narrative limiter), the restricted schooling of readers in oral cultures had authors using additional words to eliminate narrative ambiguity, perceived as the enemy of narrative, with these excessive words dating back to Egyptian hieroglyphic writings. Moses would have used a linguistic determiner to identify the deity that self identified Himself as I Am … the determinative Moses employed was the four consonant Semitic glyph <YHWH>, with the modern letter /H/ representing aspiration if the consonant cluster were to be pronounced. It isn’t to be pronounced; so the letter /H/in the glyph conveys absolutely silent aspiration as would be found in being born of the spirit/breath of God [pneuma Theou].
Linguistic determinatives “head” determinative phrases … in modern language use, controversy exists as to whether a simple naming phrase such as <the Law> is a noun-phrase, with the noun <Law> being the head of the phrase or whether the phrase is a determinative phrase with <the> being the head of the phrase. There is a difference, again especially in Koine Greek in which the definite article can alone be used to represent a naming phrase as if the article were a pronoun. This will have the definite article being the determiner and the naming phrase being a determinative phrase [DP], not a noun phrase. And judging from the controversy that presently exists between linguists when it comes to determiner phrases versus noun phrases, it is easy to imagine the difficulties that the glyph <YHWH> presented to Imperial Hebrew scribes who transformed a silent linguistic determinative into an always unpronounced naming noun, with the syntax of texts slightly modified to accommodate this change. However, in these scribes’ attempts to honestly maintain the words of the scroll, the former determinative now as a naming noun stayed where it had appeared as a determinative, thereby creating textual reading that have the God of Abraham saying, says Me, in the middle of His utterances as if He were Popeye the Sailor.
Again, when a remnant of Jews returned from Babylon to Jerusalem, the Tetragrammaton YHWH was considered too holy to pronounce: the signifier <Adonai> was uttered instead of trying to pronounce the determinative. Only ignorant Christians would even consider uttering the four consonant cluster, inscribed without vowels; for any attempt to utter the Tetragammaton would be “adding” to Scripture what is uninspired but expired [exhaled]. Therefore, in citing passages where it is obvious that redaction of the passage has occurred, and obvious that in the redaction DPs were changed into NPs, the determinative phrases have been eliminated, their position replaced by ellipses to denote missing text.
The preceding—everything since the asterisk—has been a long digression to address why the says Me phrases have been omitted from translated citations … .
Following making a second covenant (Deu 29:1) with the uncircumcised children of the nation that left Egyptian bondage,
Moses spoke the words of this song until they were finished, in the ears of all the assembly of Israel:
Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
May my teaching drop as rain,
#160; my speech distill as the dew,
like the gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
ascribe greatness to our God!
The Rock, His work is perfect,
for all His ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is He.
They have dealt corruptly with Him;
they are no longer His children because they are blemished; [p/s]
they are a crooked and twisted generation. [s/s]
Do you thus repay the Lord,
you foolish and senseless people?
Is not He your father, who created you,
who made you and established you?
Remember the days of old;
consider the years of many generations;
ask your father, and he will show you,
your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when He divided mankind,
He fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
But the Lord’s portion is His people,
Jacob His allotted heritage (Deu 31:30; 32:1-9 emphasis added)
Indented lines are spiritual portions of couplets.
Couplets in spiritual portions are designated physical/spiritual.
The use of <Jacob> in the spiritual portion of the last couplet cited suggests an hierarchal elevation of this song above that of the historical/prophetic song of Moses composed and sung after Israel crossed the Sea of Reeds (Ex 15:1–18) … the first song of Moses forms a mirror image of the song of Moses composed on the plains of Moab.
The position of a concept or thing in thought-couplet verse needs to be noticed and “read” by readers with spiritual understanding (with spiritual sophistication); so that it is understood that Moses naming of the unpronounced Tetragrammaton <the Rock> (e.g. verse 3a with 4a) is a physical name, a physical attribute, with <justice> being in the spiritual naming position. So what will be seen in Moses’ testimony against Israel is “justice”: the children of Israel will deserve what they receive.
The second song of Moses, like the first song of Moses, is prophetic:
But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked;
you grew fat, stout, and sleek;
then he forsook God who made him
and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
They stirred Him [the Rock] to jealousy with strange gods;
with abominations they provoked Him to anger.
They sacrificed to demons that were no gods,
to gods they had never known,
to new gods that had come recently,
whom your fathers had never dreaded.
You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you,
and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
The Lord saw it and spurned them,
because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.
And He said, 'I will hide my face from them;
I will see what their end will be.
For they are a perverse generation,
children in whom is no faithfulness.
They have made me jealous with what is no god;
they have provoked me to anger with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with those who are no people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. (Deut 32:15–21)
Indented lines are spiritual portions of couplets.
Moses changes speakers, from himself as narrator to the Lord, with this change signifying “movement” in the verse from an indictment against the children of Israel to prophecy that goes beyond justice being administered to the children of Israel and on to Israel being made jealous by a foolish nation, something the Apostle Paul introduced in his treatise to the holy ones at Rome (to wit, Rom 11:11, 14).
Paul linked the calling of Gentile converts and the formation of a second referent for the signifier <Israel> to Moses and his testimony against the children of Israel. John’s Jesus also spoke of Moses’ testimony against Israel when He was challenged by Jews after healing the invalid of thirty-eight years:
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?" (John 5:45–47)
Returning to the cited passage from Jeremiah chapter nine for a moment: no person has the right to boast about strength, health, wealth, wisdom, and not even understanding the mysteries of God; for this understanding comes spiritually through having the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), inherited when born of spirit through the indwelling of Christ. So as Paul’s boast was of his weakness, so too should be the boast of every Christian if any boast is to be made. For how many centuries has Moses been read without understanding that the song of Moses in Exodus 15 forms a dark copy and type the song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, these two songs framing Israel’s journey through the wilderness. As such, endtime Christians should expect to see themselves in these two songs for greater Christendom’s journey through the wilderness begins with the Second Passover liberation of a second Israel. Until then, the Elect are as Moses was when tending his father-in-laws sheep on the backside of the mountain.
In the first song of Moses, note the emphasized lines and their position in the thought-couplets where they appear, all the while keeping track of how the Tetragrammaton YHWH [transcribed as LORD] is used:
The LORD is my strength and my song,
and He has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise Him,
my father's God, and I will exalt Him.
The LORD is a man of war;
the LORD is His name.
Pharaoh's chariots and his host He cast into the sea,
and his chosen officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
The floods covered them;
they went down into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power,
your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries;
you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up;
the floods stood up in a heap; [p/s]
the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. [s/s]
The enemy said, “I will pursue, I will overtake,
I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. [p/s]
I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.” [s/s]
You blew with your wind; the sea covered them;
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness, [p/s]
awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? [s/s]
You stretched out your right hand;
the earth swallowed them.
You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed;
you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
The peoples have heard; they tremble;
pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed;
trembling seizes the leaders of Moab; [p/s]
all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. [s/s]
Terror and dread fall upon them;
because of the greatness of your arm, they are still as a stone,
till your people, O LORD, pass by,
till the people pass by whom you have purchased.
You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain,
the place, O LORD, which you have made for your abode, [p/s]
the sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. [s/s]
The LORD will reign forever and ever. (Ex 15:2–18 emphasis added)
Indented lines are spiritual portions of couplets.
Where couplets appear in the spiritual portion of a thought-couplet, the lines are denoted by /p/ (for physical) and /s/ (for spiritual).
Noting that the lines, The LORD is a man of war, and, Pharaoh's chariots and his host He cast into the sea, and, The floods covered them, appear in physical portions of couplets and that a change of perspectives occur in the physical portions of couplets between verse ten and verse twelve—“You stretched out your right hand” instead of, You blew with your wind—an endtime Christian should realize that there is movement within this song of Moses from the historical happening of Pharaoh being drowned to the futuristic happening of the armies coming after faithful disciples being destroyed by the Lord when He fights as on a day of battle (e.g., Zech 14:3–5; Rev 12:15–16; Dan 9:26).
The lines, the earth swallowed them, and, pangs have seized the inhabitants of Philistia, appear in spiritual portions of couplets as prophecy supercedes history: readers are left with the conclusion that this song of Moses is prophetic for Pharaoh and his army weren’t swallowed by the earth but by the sea, and the Philistia didn’t know anything about what happened at the Sea of Reeds the following morning. Trembling couldn’t have yet overtaken the leaders of Moab, nor could the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. So the movement in this first song of Moses is, again, from what physically had happened [the historical] to what would happen in the future.
So too is the movement in the second or last song of Moses, the song composed on the plains of Moab, only in this second song of Moses, the ones who are killed will be lawless, faithless Israel, thereby making way for figurative “Egypt” and “Assyria” to come to the Lord:
Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the LORD afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. (Zech 14:16–19)
For the sake of pedagogical redundancy, let it again be said, the song of Moses composed on the plains of Moab forms the mirror image of the song of Moses sung after crossing the Sea of Reeds, with this mirror image being at one level spiritually higher than the first song of Moses; for again, the Moab song of Moses forms Moses’ testimony against Israel that Jesus referenced.
Moses speaks of the Lord, the Logos, calling Him the Rock. In Moses’ song, the referent <They> represents the nation of Israel that left Egypt, as well as their children that learned the ways of their fathers (Ezek 20:18, 21). The Lord’s heritage forsook Him and would again forsake Him. His heritage scoffed and would scoff Him (Deu 32:15); His heritage forgot and would forget the One who gave birth to the nation (v. 18). And because of their blemish of lawlessness, they were not accepted even though they were penned in God’s rest (Ps 95:10-11) on the tenth day of the first month (Josh 4:19), penned as the paschal lamb to be sacrificed for the household of God.
The Lord saw it and spurned them,
because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
And He said, “I will hide my face from them;
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
children in whom is no faithfulness (Deut 32:19-20)
This was the history of the physically circumcised nation of Israel, both when still circumcising their males on the eighth day and when neglecting to circumcise their males. And this is also the history of the spiritually circumcised nation of Israel that neglected the Law and the Passover covenant in the late 1st-Century CE, and that still neglects the Passover covenant.
The Lord has hidden His face from Israel to see what the nation’s fate will be. And what He saw and now sees is a nation that whores after every god imaginable, making of sticks and stones and the works of their hands idols to which they sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their firstborn sons and daughters. What else would a disciple call practiced cohabitation instead of marriage, or openly displayed sexuality, and homosexuality?
In the Apostle Paul’s dual referent theology, one nation—Israel—goes from physical to spiritual. One history goes from worshiping touchable abominations to worshiping intangible imaginations. The inheritance of the Lord has, truly, many disciples being called, but few chosen (Matt 22:14). For the many have learned the ways of their physical fathers, not their Father in heaven. Their statutes form the faith once delivered, but delivered in the 3rd and 4th Centuries CE.
The tendency of the Sabbatarian Churches of God, a theological division within greater Christianity and the division in which The Philadelphia Church finds itself, has been to believe that Christ Jesus controls every act or action of the spiritually holy nation of God. Therefore, more than a century ago pseudo Sabbatarian scholars determined that greater Christianity, because of its attempt to enter God’s rest on the following or 8th day, cannot be the Body of Christ, but must necessarily consist of “nominal Christians” in counterfeit fellowships. The reasoning was that Jesus would never have allowed such grievous violations of the Laws of God to enter His Body; hence, when Sabbatarians researched the history of the “true Church,” Sabbath-observance was the “trace” used to track the Church.
Unfortunately, these pseudo-scholars, to prevent the gates of hell from seeming to have prevailed against the Church, assigned Sabbath observance to schisms in the Body that did not keep the 7th-day Sabbath.
Christ Jesus as the Logos [’o Logos] hid His face from a wicked and perverse nation and watched to see what the nation’s fate would be as the priests of Israel who sat in Moses’ seat lead the nation into captivity. As the Logos, Christ Jesus did not stop circumcised Israel from burning their firstborn children to Molech. Rather, after watching and because the nation would not keep His commandments, nor walk in His ways, and would not keep His Sabbaths, the Lord said through the prophet Ezekiel, ‘“Moreover, I gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which they could not have life, and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the Lord”’ (Ezek 20:25-26 emphasis added).
The Lord did not initiate the practice of circumcised Israel burning their firstborns, nor did He stop them. He observed them to see what the nation would do—and when the nation’s fate became apparent, He acted in a manner that revealed the awfulness of this practice to the nation. But Israel as a nation was not appalled by its sin. It took its practice of burning firstborns into the captivity from which it never returned.
When the early Church accepted false teachers as genuine ministers of God, a problem that Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude address, Christ Jesus as the Head of the Son of Man didn’t remove those who were false. He didn’t strike them dead. Rather, He allowed them to flourish until the spiritual nation, like its physical counterpart, defiled itself through its lawlessness. He, then, delivered the nation to Satan, the spiritual king of Babylon, so that through the destruction of the flesh, the spirit of some might be saved. Christ Jesus did to the greater Church what the Apostle Paul commanded the saints at Corinth do with the one who had his father’s wife (1 Cor 5:1-13). And this was what the Logos did with the physically circumcised nation (Jer 25:8–9). As such, the Lord is consistent in His methodology. Satan is useful in destroying the flesh, in revealing the sinfulness of sin. Thus, Satan will be kept alive for the Thousand Years of the Millennium. He will then be loosed from the bottomless pit for long enough to remove the dross that has accumulated atop the spiritual nation of Israel during Christ’s millennial reign.
Disciples are, indeed, the children of God—but the reasoning that would have Christ immediately striking dead anyone who harmed these children is fallacious. Disciples are today the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16-17), but they are not many temples. They are not many nations. They are one temple, in one city, in one nation.
It is apparent that disciples cannot today get along with one another, but divide themselves into many splinters and slivers, with the larger divisions headquartered the farthest from the Jerusalem above. These divisions are necessary, according to Paul, to determine who is genuine (1 Cor 11:19). These divisions also show the reality that many are called but few will be chosen (Matt 22:14). The ones who will be chosen are <one> with Christ Jesus.
The ones chosen will leave spiritual Babylon, with its underhanded and disgraceful ways, with its mindset of lawlessness, and will mentally journey to Judea where they will live as Israel … spiritually, Sabbath observance equates to entering the Promised Land, a land far larger than just Judah.
The ones chosen (as well as the many who will not be chosen) are presently being observed by the Lord to see what their fate will be. He is not intervening (with very few exceptions) to stop them from sinning, or to stop others, especially brethren, from taking advantage of them. He is observing, and recording. He is not forcibly correcting Israel, the spiritually holy nation of God, just as He did not prevent the physically circumcised nation from sinning. He will address their lawlessness by, again, turning them over to Satan, even to the point where the Jerusalem above was as desolate as the Jerusalem below was desolate following when Nebuchadnezzar took Israel captive.
The Israel of endtime prophesy is the holy nation of God, which, when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30), will be spiritually naked. This holy nation will not be today’s greater Church, or even today’s Christian Sabbatarian fellowships. It will not be the physically circumcised nation; i.e., Judaism. Rather, it will be all of humanity that hasn’t taken the mark of death (the tattoo of the Cross — chi xi stigma) unto itself. For all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13). Endtime Israel is the nation that shall be saved from sin (Egypt) and death (Assyria), with its recovery from the north country (death) being the remembered event that causes its recovery from sin to be forgotten.
So in prophesy, who Israel is cannot be answered by saying, “The Church.” The firstborn son of the last Eve, like the firstborn son of the first Eve, will slay his righteous brother, and will be marked for death. These two sons—a spiritual Cain and Abel—will account for most of Christianity and Judaism. Thus, the single nation that will remain when Christ returns does not, today, identify itself as Christian. It receives its calling and birth from above when the Holy Spirit is poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28). It is today hostile to Christianity, and as such, unblemished by the Cross, Death, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse. It is the third part of humanity that during the last half of the seven endtime years of tribulation will be tried by fire, being refined as silver is refined, and will be tested under pressure, being tested as gold is tested (Zech 13:9). It is a chosen generation, the great harvest of the earth. And today, it has no knowledge of what will happen to it once the Son of Man is revealed.
(to be continued)
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."