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After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
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Redemption, by the Book
Prophecy - Signs
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Wendy Wippel

Today's ''church'' seems largely (and inexplicably blissfully) unaware that Scripture is primarily prophecy, one intriguing statement of Amos being, ''Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.'' God revealed everything, prophetically? Absolutely. And you only see the truth of that when you dig deep.

Hosea (a decidedly prophetic book, BTW) has a lot to say prophetically about the future of Israel, particularly their ultimate redemption. Hosea tells us that God is  orchestrating Israel's history so that the nation ultimately will turn wholeheartedly  back to Him:

“Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, And wall her in, So that she cannot find her paths And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now." (Hosea 2:6-8 NKJV)

It's repentance that God wants, repentance that will bring reconciliation. And it doesn't take much Bible (particularly if you're in the Old Testament) to know that that reconciliation will eventually happen. What isn't evident (until you dig) is that amazingly, all of the important milestones in the history of the nation of Israel are recorded prophetically (in advance) in Scripture.

Chastisement (see Hosea, above) gets your attention. God hedges Israel in to get her to her breaking point. What's really amazing is that God actually recorded for us the moment at which the obstinance of the nation reaches its breaking point. Specifically. It's inscribed for us in Joel in a long passage that starts with a warning:

"Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble."  (Joel 2:1)

The passage goes on to tell us why:

A people come, great and strong, The like of whom has never been; Nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations. 3 A fire devours before them, And behind them a flame burns; The land is like the Garden of Eden before them, And behind them a desolate wilderness; Surely nothing shall escape them…. Over mountaintops they leap, Like the noise of a flaming fire that devours the stubble, Like a strong people set in battle array. 6 Before them the people writhe in pain; All faces are drained of color……12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,“ Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness;  And He relents from doing harm. (Joel 2:2-13)

It is the end times (note that the land is described as the Garden of Eden, placing it squarely in the agricultural miracle that is modern Israel), with the combined armies of the world on the horizon, moving fast, with one common goal: to see the defilement of Israel with their own eyes. (Micah 4:11)

At this future point, recorded prophetically, the total destruction of God's people seems imminent. And the crack in the nations' resistance toward God appears. What happens next follows the description of the terrifying army:

"Blow the trumpet in Zion, Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; Gather the people, Sanctify the congregation, Assemble the elders, … Let the priests, who minister to the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar; Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:15-17)

The leadership of Israel finally calls the nation to seek God. This plea from Israel's leadership (fitting, as Isaiah 28 defines the "many" who entered into the treaty with the antichrist as Israel's leadership) to return to the Lord is also recorded in Hosea 6:

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. 3 Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” (Hosea 6:1-3)

Israel's elders lead the return to the Lord, encouraging the nation to believe that God, in fact, will come to their aid.

But they have to repent. And the repentance that God requires also has a required format. First of all, (recorded in Leviticus 26:40), God requires that this future generation confess their own sin (their denial of Jesus, now known throughout the modern world, as the Messiah).

But that's not all.  Leviticus 26 also dictates that that future generation also confess the sin of their fathers, meaning their rejection of Jesus when He came to them (as promised) and walked the earth.

And, amazingly, that confession, required by God in Leviticus, is recorded for us in Isaiah 53:

He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they[a] made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth."

God had one more requirement. The acknowledgement of sin was only half of it.  God also requires that the nation ask their Messiah to return. (Hosea 5:15, Matthew 23:23-39)

And, actually, Israel's pleas for God to return are recorded prophetically in three different books.

The first passage appears in Psalm 79:

"O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance; Your holy temple they have defiled; They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. 2 The dead bodies of Your servants they have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. 3 Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And there was no one to bury them. ….5 How long, Lord? Will You be angry forever? …? 6 Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You, And on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name .7 For they have devoured Jacob, And laid waste his dwelling place. 8 Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us For we have been brought very low. 9 Help us, O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name; And deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, for Your name’s sake!... You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth! 12 Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, Stir up Your strength, And come and save us! …18 Then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name."

A second passage is Isaiah 64:

"Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! … 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to[b] our sins. 8 Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9 Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.

And a third appears in Psalm 80:

"Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. 3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.

God, long before, had made a promise to Israel in Hosea:  “In that day I will respond,” Hosea 2:21

 His response (Part I) is also recorded in Hosea:

Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. “She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 16 “And it shall be, in that day,” says the Lord,“ That you will call Me ‘my husband,’.

Part II is recorded in Zechariah 12; 10-31 with a little more detail:

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit[a] of grace and supplication. They will look unto me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. … “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity…. “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty.

Prophecy is nothing more than watching God keep His promises.  And who needs Ticketmaster?  As we watch Israel being hedged in, with (as one radio pundit this week, noting current US administration's diffidence to their dilemma) no "lovers" in the world left,  All you have to do to have prime seats is read your Bible. 

Their redemption draweth nigh!

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: The Triune Trifecta



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