Has God “cast away” His people?
One of the four areas that are to be considered when seeking to identify the signs of the times is that of the Nation of Israel. There are those that would openly reject this and conclude that the Church now replaces Israel regarding unfulfilled prophecies recorded in the Old Testament. Then you get those that are of the view that Israel cannot do any wrong, to the point that they act as if the government of Israel has God in their pocket. Both of these extremes do incredible damage grieving the Holy Spirit. Christian Zionists openly oppose the doctrine referred to as ‘Replacement Theology’, but do themselves no justice by condoning specific treatment of the Palestinians. It is clear even from the Old Testament in relation to the old covenant; Gentiles living in Israel are to be treated well. Generally this is the case, but it is very misleading to believe the Israeli government is representing and implementing God’s will.
Laying these two extremes to one side, there is no doubt that God has a prophetic plan for the Nation of Israel, even though the requirements of the Old Covenant are obsolete. (Heb 8: 13) This can be viewed by the signs that are taking place with and within Israel today. These signs are very significant regarding the return of the true Messiah Jesus [Yeshua].
In the Apostle Pauls letter to the Romans, we have three chapters that give clear explanation to the standing of Israel regarding the New Covenant (Romans chapters 9-11). Paul explains with great clarity the relationship between Israel and the Church, not just Gentiles and Jews (Rom 10: 11-13). Yet, when referring to Israel he says, ‘For they are not all Israel who are of Israel’ Rom 9: 6-7.
Significant signs have already taken place regarding the Nation of Israel, as mentioned in Part I of this series. However, Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah in relation to a ‘remnant’ (Is 10:22-23/Rom 9: 27-28). He describes them as having ‘zeal’ for God, but not according to knowledge, and then continues to explain their ignorance of Gods righteousness (Rom 10:1-4). So there is a clear divide in the prophetic programs, which can be clearly identified with the major sign of Isaiah 66: 7-8.
The overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians believe that these verses were fulfilled on the 14th May 1948. However, there is a group that have a zeal for the law and the scriptures that would put any seasoned evangelical Christian to shame. They are known in the secular world as Ultra Orthodox Jews. This very title is openly rejected by them with great distain. They refer to themselves as the ‘Haredi’ or Haredim [charedi]. The name is a description found in Isaiah 66: 2 & 5. It is the phrase ‘who tremble at His Word’’. This is their boast, that no one fears the God of Israel and His word more than them. They openly reject the existence of Israel and believe that the verses of Is 66: 7-8 will be fulfilled when their Messiah comes and rebuilds the temple. For them the Nation of Israel ceased to exist in 70AD when the Temple was destroyed, and only will be a Nation again the day the sacrifices recommence at the construction of the 3rd Temple.
I am sure many Christians believe that God will never let this happen, due to Jesus being the ultimate sacrifice. This is where we fall into error regarding eschatology. When we impose the churches prophetic program on Israel, then we get contradiction of scriptures and confusion. The Temple will be rebuilt, irrespective that we as Christians know that our own bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that there is no more sacrifice required for sins. However, let it be known, the Temple will never be a Holy place, the ‘shekhinah glory’ will not fall as it did in the first Temple, and even if the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ is laid to rest in the Holy of Holies, it will only be a symbol of the Old Covenant.
One needs to appreciate, that those that have a zeal for God under the Old Covenant are living under a 2,000 year old deception. It is a deception that is hindering them realizing that Jesus [Yeshua] is the true Messiah. This will not happen until their deception has run its course. The deception that I refer to, can be observed when Jesus stood before spiritual leaders of the day, The Sanhedrin Council. The concept is that God cannot have a son, so The Haredi are waiting for a messiah that is just man, a ‘Man of Peace’ and NOT divine. The admission by Jesus of being the Son of God was seen as outright blasphemy, forcing them to hand Jesus over to Pilot to be judged (Matt 26: 63-67).
30 years ago the Temple Institute was founded with the long term goal to build the 3rd Temple. Its short term goal is to restore and construct the sacred vessels for the service of the Holy Temple. I purposely write ‘Holy’ for this is what they believe, due to their strict observations of the requirements laid down by Moses. It does not matter what man thinks, or how accurate it is to the Old Covenant it will never be Holy.
One of the main signs that point to an acceleration of this process, is the success that the Institute has had in terms of completing their short term goal. For example, after many years of research to be able to cast the golden Menorah as one single piece, in accordance with the biblical requirements, Exodus 25: 31-40, has been achieved. Today it is on display behind bullet proof glass waiting to be placed in the 3rd Temple.
In Part IV of this series, we will look at other developments that illustrate how close we are to seeing a physical Temple constructed on the Temple Mount.