A Time to Weep
Prophecy - Signs
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
What's the starting gun for Tribulation? The Rapture? Nope. A treaty. Why? I think it's safe to say that God does not box as one ''beating the air''; everything He does has a purpose. And to understand His purpose you have to remember who this period of time is decreed for.
God tells Daniel (Daniel 9:24) that those last seven years of earth history is decreed;
"For your people and for your holy city.." (The nation of Israel) "To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy."
The tribulation is a period of time decreed for the Jews.
God's purposes for the Tribulation are all about the Jews. And a specific action of the Jews brings it on --for a specific reason. And it's no accident that the revelation of that treaty as the starting point was revealed in the Old Testament, not the New. God wants all to come to repentance, especially the Jews. The Gospel was first for the the Jews, then for the Gentiles, so He made sure that the nation of Israel would know that a treaty with a specific individual--well described in scripture, would bring on the "time of Jacob's trouble". So you would think they'd avoid that.
So why in the world will they sign on that line? For one thing, about 70% of the Jews in Israel are secular -- they don't really believe in Judaism. But there is another, more urgent reason as well, and God (in a passage that mocks Israel for making that treaty) reveals it:
"Hear the word of the Lord, you scornful men, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, It will not come to us, For we have made lies our refuge, And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.” (Isaiah 28:15-16 NKJV)
Israel signs on that line because they think it will bring them national security.
That’s a valid concern for Israel. In the barely 64 years Israel has existed, it has been attacked and drawn into six full-scale wars, and when it's "at peace" Israel is subjected to consistent shelling and acts of terrorism from its neighbors. The Jewish population of Israel is currently just under 6 million, while the combined Muslim population of its neighbors, all within marching distance, totals nearly 1.5 billion!
And this isn't Mr. Roger's neighborhood.
Israel spends ten times the global average on security, with good reason.
Isaiah 28:17-28 gives us God's perspective on this treaty:
"Hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place."
The security they desire will elude them, because their refuge is The Lie.
He goes on:
"Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the realm of the dead will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it. As often as it comes it will carry you away; morning after morning, by day and by night, it will sweep through…The bed is too short to stretch out on, the blanket too narrow to wrap around you."
God's answer to Israel's security problem was laid out for them in Micah:
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days….And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace." (Micah 5:2-5 NIV)
He reiterated it at the beginning of this Isaiah passage:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic." (Isaiah 28:16 NIV)
The Isaiah 28 passage mocks Israel for turning to someone else to solve their problems (that blanket that's too narrow to wrap around them), and then it gives us God's response:
"The Lord will rise up …to do his work, his strange work, and perform his task, his alien task. Now stop your mocking, or your chains will become heavier; the Lord, the Lord Almighty, has told me of the destruction decreed against the whole land." (Isaiah 28:21)
God issues a decree of destruction against Israel (and the rest of the world), a strange work because whoever comes against Israel comes against the apple of His eye. (Zechariah 2:8)
Why does God issue the decree? This is personal. He sent His only Begotten Son.
"I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him." (John 5:43)
They rejected Him but believed The Lie.
We pick the action up in the throne room of God (Revelation 5).
"Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it. 4 So I began weeping bitterly because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered; thus he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”… “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation." (Revelation 5:2-5, 9)
Jesus has spent thousands of years sitting at the right hand of God, waiting for the Father's signal. The nation of Israel enters into the fateful treaty, and it's finally time to redeem His sin-infested creation. It's finally time for the rightful King to take the throne. It's finally time to reconcile His chosen people to Himself. God issues the signal--the "decree of destruction" described in Isaiah 28-- and Jesus rises up (just like Isaiah 28 predicted) and takes the scroll from His Father's hands.
And we see the Lamb that was slain, standing by the throne.
Jesus, the Kinsman-Redeemer of planet earth, breaks the first seal, and …ominous drum roll…thus begins the Tribulation.
The time of Jacob's trouble.
"But in their affliction they will seek Him earnestly." (Hosea 5:15)
Don't we all. Weeping will come for a night. But joy comes in the morning.
About Wendy Wippel
Last week: Born of the Spirit
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