As we approach Christmas, Holy Scripture reminds us that Jesus was a Jew. The Christmas story, beginning in Matthew 1:1-17, chronicles His descent from Judah, one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
All the great prophets, including Christ, reproved sinful Israel. Yet, they never forgot that, despite Israel’s sins, God has a long-term destiny for His chosen people. These are that remnant out of Israel who believe in Christ, both now, and at His second coming.
This article, posted previously at truthtellers.org, attempts to embody such Biblical balance and perspective.
11 May, 2005
Thousands of years ago, storytellers discovered that to most effectively keep the attention of their hearers, a story should have the following elements: a hero; a villain; romance; and a happy ending.
God also wants to create high interest for his human audience. If he loses their attention, how can he save them? Therefore, he planned his whole story of redemption to include all the lively and enduring elements listed above.
Let’s consider, in its simplest form, God’s fascinating story of Redemption, particularly as it involves the Jews.
At the very beginning of God’s great drama is the arch-hero, Jesus Christ. Christ, the Son of God, is the creator of the universe and of man in his image, for “All things were made by Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16). Christ is also the creator of the nation Israel. She was chosen as his unique bride among the nations (Ezek. 16), the first to have a spiritual relationship with him. She was ordained as the special vehicle to make his eventual incarnation possible, bringing redemption to all peoples.
Yet Christ’s bride became a harlot, committing spiritual fornication through idolatry. In fact, Israel, being the first to “marry” Christ, became the “mother” of the principle of spiritual whoredom, the “Mother of Harlots.” Christ divorced her (Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:8), but He yearned for the affection of their children, the children of Israel. Finally, he came to earth in human form in a bold attempt to become their friend. Yet, she violently prejudiced most of her children against him. Together, they crucified him.
As a result, Christ vowed that she and her unbelieving children would be spiritually desolate and would never see him again until they call him blessed (Matt. 23:38-39). But before he ascended back to his Father, he married a beautiful Gentile bride, clothed in a wedding gown of spotless white linen.
Christ had given his harlot bride a glorious land and jewel of a city, Jerusalem. But it came with conditions. Although the land was to be held in trust for her obedient children forever, nevertheless, if she did not respect and obey him, she would be cast out of her land. She could never return until she or her children were chaste and obedient.
Consequently, after the crucifixion, Christ allowed the Romans to smash the harlot’s walls and exile her to the nations. For nearly 1900 years, the harlot, Israel, wandered with her children, which now included a host of adopted children from the Khazar nation. (See, "The Khazars: Do They Destroy God’s Plan for the Jews?") She yearned for the legitimacy and security of dwelling in her ancestral home and city. She vowed to return someday to live in her native land, whether her former husband liked it or not.
During the twentieth century, the harlot persuaded the nations to allow her and her children to re-occupy the land of Israel – a land sacred to faith – reserved only for the obedient Jewish bride of Christ in every age.
Since such a return was spiritually lawless, it naturally produced every kind of friction and discord, inflaming its occupants, the Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinians, like the ancient Samaritans in the time of the Babylonian captivity under Nebuchadnezzar, were allowed by Christ to occupy his holy land until the time when his children become obedient. Then, and only then, will Christ authorize the peaceful removal of foreign occupants and re-entry by its rightful owners, the believing children of Israel.
But the harlot brazenly continued to occupy the promised land, brutally mistreating its temporarily legitimate occupants. Eventually, flaunting God’s law, she dominated not only the Middle East, but the entire world. The prophet Ezekiel describes her and her children in this period as having been gathered from the nations and dwelling at peace, militarily uncontested, “without walls and having no bars or gates” (Ezek. 38:11). They are in supreme control, for “there is no one able to make them afraid” (Ezek. 39:26).
Yet such seeming millennial peace and safety is not a result of divine blessing. Ezekiel also sees her as profaning God’s name (Ezek. 39:7), iniquitous and treacherous against God, transgressing and unclean (Ezek. 39:23), and in disgrace (Ezek. 39:26). In fact, the harlot and her children are so wicked that God is hiding his face from them! (Ezek. 39:23)
It is during this time of world dominion that the harlot at last finds her long-anticipated, substitute husband, the “Beast” or “Antichrist” to replace the one she crucified at least two millennia earlier. No longer bearing the reproach of being a widow that killed her husband, the harlot rides upon the Beast’s broad shoulders, proudly proclaiming, “I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.” (Rev. 18:7)
Yet she is ripe for judgment. Her garments are soaked with the blood of Christ’s Gentile bride, the saints and martyrs (Rev. 17:6). Soon, the Antichrist tires of his cruel, conceited lover. Suddenly, he throws the harlot from his back, goring her with his seven heads and ten horns. He burns her with fire, slaughtering two thirds of her children. (Rev. 17:16, Ezek. 5:12)
Fulfilling God’s timeless law, the children of Israel are once again exiled from a land devoted to obedience. The Jewish remnant is ruthlessly persecuted and hunted down among the nations. The Arab world rises in bitter revenge, keen to destroy every last Jew from planet earth.
After about three an a half years of the greatest “holocaust” of suffering that her children have ever known, and just as extinction of the Jews is imminent, suddenly, like lightning flashing from one part of the heavens to the other, Jesus Christ, the Great Harlot’s first husband, appears in the skies. (Matt. 24:21-28).
As Christ comes, he judges and destroys, in the Battle of Armageddon, the armies of those nations that have tried to destroy his people. He kills the Beast and casts Satan and all his demons into the bottomless pit. There they will be unable to deceive the nations for one thousand years. (Rev. 20:1-3)
Seeing his great judgment and deliverance from the heavens, the harlot’s surviving children look upon him, the holy Son of God, whom their mother once pierced. They mourn bitterly, realizing the enormity of their mother’s sin. At last, they believe in their true Messiah, and the Holy Spirit is poured out upon them (Ezek. 39:29). From that moment, Christ becomes again Israel’s spiritual husband (Ezek. 39:22).
Imprisonment of the world’s arch trouble-makers, Satan and his demons in the bottomless pit, makes it possible for a radically different order to be established on earth, one of international obedience. Christ, the benevolent king, nevertheless rules the world by a “rod of iron” – by law.
After polluting and being polluted by generations of spiritual whoredom, both Jews and Gentiles are morally degraded and confused to an extent probably unknown in human history. They will have to re-learn the difference between the sacred and profane, clean and unclean. Christ effects this through the same legal system he designed to enlighten his people when they first came out of the defilement of Egypt – his mosaic law.
Thus, the Gentile nations must send ambassadors to the Feast of Booths annually – or go without rain (Zech. 14:17-19). Similarly, the remnant Jews, only lately delivered from defilement in Sodom and Egypt, are required to live by faith, but they must also observe the ancient mosaic law with all its strictures (Ezek. 40-47; Zech. 14:16-21).
That law is charged with symbols that looked forward to Christ; however, Christ’s harlot wife had never allowed her children to honor him through that law or its symbols. Now, the nation of Israel must look backward to the law, keeping it perfectly for one thousand years, celebrating all that the law says about the great hero and husband of the true Israel.
After a thousand years of peace under Christ’s kingship, the devil and his demons are released for a short period. This is so that man’s free will can be honored. Most of humanity rebels against Christ, but, in just judgment, he incinerates their bodies and casts their souls into the lake of fire with the demonic hosts (Rev. 20:7-10).
Christ’s great experiment called LIFE has been a resounding success! It has been foretold through a prophetic story-line that keeps us gasping until the final curtain begins to close.
Scripture gives us one last glimpse into the future. It is of the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven (Rev. 21). In it dwells Christ’s precious treasure, no longer called Jewish or Gentile Christians, but the Bride of Christ. They are united like diamonds in his crown, loving their great hero and being loved by him forever.
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