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They Will Mourn for Him
Prophecy - Signs
Friday, June 23, 2017
Alf Cengia

And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. Zech 12:10

One day Israel will mourn for its Messiah Jesus Christ. That's a wonderful promise.

Hank Hanegraaff once interviewed Gary Burge regarding Israel. Burge argued that Gen 12:3 does not apply to Israel because it is out of covenant with God. He went on to argue that his criticism of Israel was in line with the "truthful" OT prophets. Burge claimed he was actually blessing because he was telling the truth.

One always hopes that criticism is fair and truthful and Israel's neighbors are judged by the same standard. But as I've argued in another article, such isn't usually the case.

It's true that secular Israel currently rejects its Messiah and the biblical principles of holiness. See, for example, the Tel Aviv Gay Pride celebrations. In fact the sin of homosexuality is celebrated in the west and Israel is no exception. Such isn't the case in Islamic regimes where homosexuals are executed. This seems to escape the attention of Israel's "social justice" critics.

Given this, Christian opponents of modern Israel sometimes refer to Revelation 11:8 and connect Jerusalem with The Harlot (Rev 17:1). See also Andy Woods' rebuttal. Moreover Christian theologians have tended to appropriate Israel's blessings for the church, but not the cursing.

To illustrate this tendency, Dr. Michael Vlach writes that John Calvin, Kenneth Gentry and Kim Riddlebarger claimed that Isaiah 2:2-4 is fulfilled in the church. This is despite the fact that Jacob, Judah and Jerusalem are clearly being addressed. For more on this see Vlach's excellent book He Will Reign Forever (pp 150-154).

God has provided ample information confirming Israel's future restoration in covenant relationship with Himself. Zech 12:10 is just one of many verses describing this process. Chapter 12 of Zechariah portrays a period in which Jerusalem (and Judah) will be under siege, and become a "cup of trembling to all peoples around."

It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it... And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. Zech 12:3, 9

This conflict is confirmed and elaborated upon in Zechariah 14:2-3. The Lord gathers the nations against Jerusalem, and then goes out to fight against them. He is not only judging and refining Israel; the Lord is also judging these nations.

The pouring of the "Spirit of grace and supplication" is facilitated by the events in Zechariah 13:9. God will refine Israel as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will become God's people and He will be their Lord. Malachi 3:3-6 speaks of this same process.

Hosea 5:15 further states:

I will go away and return to My place Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. Hos 5:15

Hosea is echoed by Matt 23:39 where Jesus prophesies that Jerusalem will not see Him again until it says, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."

We again see the word "mourn" used in Matt 24:30. Many scholars have noted the connection between this verse and Zechariah 12:10. Some point out that the "tribes of the earth" includes Gentiles. But even if believing Gentiles are included here, the prevalent Jewish context cannot be ignored.

The Olivet Discourse speaks of a period of tribulation which recalls Hosea and Malachi. Taken together (along with Matt 23:39), we have the ingredients: tribulation, refining, mourning and the Lord's return to fight for Israel. Compare also Dan 12:1 and Matt 24:21.

Note that Hosea 5:15 and Matt 23:39 indicates that the Lord's premillennial return (Rev 19:11) occurs after Israel's refinement and repentance. When we see the term "elect" in Matt 24:31, we shouldn't automatically assume this is the church. Not only is Israel God's chosen nation, by this point it has also been refined.

Israel is called chosen in Isaiah 45:4 and 1 Chron 16:13. 2 Sam 7:23-24 states that Israel is an elect nation will be forever. It is called chosen in Acts 3:12, 13-15, 25. Rom 11:26-29 confirms Israel's continual standing as a chosen nation. Israel is the elect.

This brings me to the much debated "gathering" of Matt 24:31. Even premillennialists who see a future redemption of Israel often take this verse to be the rapture of the church, rather than Israel's re-gathering.

One view even has Christ returning to earth after the church's rapture to re-gather Israel into the land. This is an unnecessary superimposition of an assumption onto the text. The natural Jewish reading of v 31 is Israel's gathering after the tribulation, and before the inauguration of the millennial kingdom.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum has identified two gatherings of Israel. The first one is in unbelief for the purpose of future refinement: see Ezek 20:33-38 and compare Isa 1:22, 25, 48:10; Jer 6:27-30, 9:7; Zech 13:9; Mal 3:2-3 and Zeph 2:1-2.

The second is in belief and blessing: Isa 11:6-12, Isa 11:12, 27:12-13 (note the trumpet), Jer 16:14-15, 23:3-4, 7-8, 31:7-10; Ezek 11:14-18, 36:24; Amos 9:14-15; Zeph 3:18-20; Zech 10:8-12.

Are we not seeing the stirrings of Israel's future refinement today? The world's preoccupation with attacking and criticizing the Jews as a people, and Israel as a nation, is supernatural. It can only be understood through God's Word. Satan wants to destroy Israel because it is a factor in the ushering in of the millennial kingdom. He will fail.

And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), He  says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:5-6

Yes, national Israel will one day mourn for its true Messiah. This will mean that God's Kingdom has arrived. Not only will God bless Israel but, through this process, ultimately the nations as well.

How I long for that day!

Maranatha!

About Alf Cengia

Last week: Navigating Stormy End Times Seas



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