Return, LORD! #5

Monday, November 23, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

The Berean Bible student notices “return.” Jesus Christ ascended into heaven 2,000 years ago as a royal exile. Israel, favoring and worshiping idols, rejected and crucified Him instead. After our dispensation closes, Israel’s believing remnant will be enlightened. They will return unto God. They will pray for their Messiah-King to come back to and for them. “Our Father which art in heaven,… Thy kingdom come,” Jesus taught Israel to pray (Matthew 6:9,10).

Since Israel left JEHOVAH first, she has to return to Him first, that He return to her. She was unfaithful to Him by worshiping and serving idols. He did not leave her—she left Him! “If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations [idols] out of my sight…” (Jeremiah 4:1). “The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God” (Isaiah 10:20,21) “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart” (Jeremiah 24:7).

Once Israel returns to God, Jesus Christ, who went to heaven to receive the kingdom from His Heavenly Father, He will “return” and establish that kingdom on Earth for Israel’s sake (Luke 19:12). James talked about this “return” of Christ to Israel, which will occur once God quits forming us, the Church the Body of Christ (Acts 15:16). Psalm 80: “[14] Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine;…[19] Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

With Israel’s believing remnant forsaking their pagan idols during the seven-year Tribulation, recognizing Jesus as legitimate instead of an impostor, they will be redeemed and cleansed to enter their kingdom once Christ “returns!”

Return, LORD! #4

Sunday, November 22, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

As mentioned in an earlier study, God’s earthly kingdom was originally available to all descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All people of all 12 tribes of Israel were to be God’s “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:3-6; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23).

However, Jesus declared to Israel’s religious leaders who were caught in Satan’s snare: “[43] Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. [44] And whosoever shall fall on this stone [Jesus Christ, see verses 33-42; cf. Psalm 118:22,23] shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. [45] And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them” (Matthew 21:43-45).

That wrath would consume the unbelieving Jews, allowing only the believing Jews to enter the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. Zechariah chapter 13 spoke of Israel’s believing remnant: “[8] And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. [9] And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.”

Note Luke 12:31-33: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” This would be those Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah-King, the “nation” of Matthew 21:43 above (cf. 1 Peter 2:6-10). Jesus Christ will “return” to Earth to receive them unto Himself, that they function as His kingdom of priests!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Are Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 contradictory?

Return, LORD! #3

Saturday, November 21, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

Historically, as Israel approached the Promised Land under Moses, every time the Ark of the Covenant was lifted, Moses told JEHOVAH to “rise up” and cleanse His land of His enemies, that His people enter and dwell in His kingdom. Every time the Ark “rested,” placed on the ground, Moses called God to “return” to Israel.

The Berean Bible student notices “rest” in today’s Scripture. When describing God’s earthly kingdom, the writer of the book of Hebrews repeatedly called it God’s “rest” (3:7-19; 4:1-13). Chapter 3 warns Israel (future from us) not to repeat the mistakes their ancestors made under Moses (cf. Psalm 95). They are to be faithful to God’s Word to them—Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry, early Acts, and particularly Hebrews through Revelation. They are not to join the Antichrist’s false religion as ancient Israel did with heathen religions. Had Israel been faithful to JEHOVAH, they would have entered the Promised Land under Moses. They are to be faithful to enter God’s “rest” under Jesus Christ. Repeatedly, the future mirrors the past. The Bible’s Author knew the end from the beginning!

Almost 500 years after Moses, David was cognizant of JEHOVAH God dwelling with Israel. His capital city was Jerusalem, specifically a hill called “Zion.” In light of David seeking to build the Temple in Jerusalem, a permanent place for the Ark of the Covenant to “rest,” the Holy Spirit penned Psalm 132: “[4] I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, [5] Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. [8] Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength. [13] For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. [14] This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”

Jesus Christ will “rise” and “return” to Israel so she can enter His “rest!”

Return, LORD! #2

Friday, November 20, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

God was not at all surprised when Israel conspired with Rome to sentence Jesus Christ to death. The Holy Spirit had written in Psalm 2 nearly 10 centuries prior: “[1] Why do the heathen [Gentiles] rage, and the people [Israel] imagine a vain thing? [2] The kings of the earth [Gentiles] set themselves, and the rulers [Israel] take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed [“Christ” Jesus], saying, [3] Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. [4] He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them [Gentile and Jew] in derision. [5] Then shall he speak unto them [Gentile and Jew] in his wrath, and vex them [Gentile and Jew] in his sore displeasure.”

The Old Testament provides various previews of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming in wrath (cf. today’s Scripture). Amos chapters 1 and 2 identify the “flight path” the Lord Jesus Christ will take once He leaves the third heaven, His return “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). He will enter Earth’s atmosphere in Damascus, Syria, along the eastern Mediterranean shore. Flying southward, He visits (Gentile) Gaza and Edom. Turning northward on the Sinai Peninsula, He sends fire also into the land of the Ammonites, and Moab. Finally, flying westward, He crosses the Jordan River, reaching Palestine, judging the Jews—Judah (southern kingdom) and Israel (northern kingdom). Judgment not only falls on the Gentiles, but also on Israel.

Zechariah 14:4 says Jesus Christ lands and stands on the Mount of Olives, exactly where He left Earth some 2,000 years earlier (Acts 1:11,12). He and His angelic armies defeat the Antichrist and his armies (Revelation 19:11-21; Zechariah 14:1-3,11,12), and all lost Jews (Zechariah 13:8,9), allowing only the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant) to enter His earthly kingdom. The King has “returned” to Israel!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Have we been ‘grafted into Israel?’

Return, LORD! #1

Thursday, November 19, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

The Berean Bible student understands “rise up” is an imprecation for JEHOVAH God to enter the Promised Land and thoroughly cleanse it of all its ungodly inhabitants. In Moses’ day, it was the pagan Gentiles, whose horrific lifestyles are described in Leviticus chapter 18. The LORD’S purpose in forming Israel was to put her, His nation, in that Holy Land, that they do His will and not follow their pagan neighbors (note especially Leviticus 18:24-30).

Yet, Israel repeatedly ignored God’s warnings to remain separate. She joined those false religions, becoming so polluted with erroneous thinking that she sided with the Gentiles against the LORD! By the time Jesus Christ came, He called them “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24). They were so far gone, unable to be His kingdom of priests. Actually, Jesus declared point-blank in John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil!”

Our completed Bible canon provides the full layout. Moses’ words in today’s Scripture not only apply to idolatrous Gentiles, but in the future, it will also be true of idol-worshipping Jews. Whether Jew or Gentile, all idolaters hate Jesus Christ. As Peter forewarned in Acts 3:19-23 (cf. Moses’ warning in Deuteronomy 18:18,19), Jews who refused to hear Jesus Christ’s words will be “destroyed from among the people.”

The Prophet Zephaniah foretold 600 B.C.: “[1:18] Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. [2:1] Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation [Israel] not desired; [2:2] Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you.”

Now, the LORD will “return” to Israel!

Rise Up, LORD! #6

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

In Acts chapter 7, a window into the third heaven was opened, and Stephen, standing on Earth, saw Jesus finally standing at His Father’s right hand. When Stephen told Israel what he saw, they recalled their Old Testament prophecies and were convicted. Remembering the closing warning of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost just a year earlier (Acts 2:33-40), these lost Jews knew God’s judgment against their persistent unbelief was coming.

Today, 2000 years later, strangely, we can declare that wrath never came. Not because God was bluffing, but because He interrupted that prophetic program and introduced our mystery program. God wanted to demonstrate His wisdom. While Israel was uncooperative with Him in reaching the lost and dying Gentiles, He would still reach them without Israel. He would save and use one of Stephen’s murderers, Saul of Tarsus, commissioning him as the Apostle Paul of the Gentiles. Jesus Christ did return, but not in wrath. He returned in grace, mercy, peace, and love to save Paul (1 Timothy 1:13-16). (But, that, friends is another marvelous story we must forgo here!)

Had Israel entered the Promised Land under Moses in faith, Jesus Christ would have come to reign over them (note Exodus 15:17,18). Alas, they did not and He did not. How Israel saw JEHOVAH God cleansing His land of pagans so they (His people) could enter in, they were getting a glimpse of JEHOVAH God coming to finish the job at Christ’s Second Coming. Except, at the Second Coming, not only will that wrath be directed toward lost Gentiles, but also toward lost Israel. Only redeemed Israel—her Little Flock—will go into the land. The descendants of Abraham who reject Jesus Christ, they are His enemies, and have nowhere to go but to God’s punishment against their sin, eternal hellfire.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Cornelius have to hear Peter’s preaching?

Rise Up, LORD! #5

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel (Numbers 10:35,36 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture mean?

Stephen, in Acts chapter 7, one year after Calvary and Pentecost, preached to Israel’s unbelieving leadership: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. [54] When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. [55] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. [57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [58] And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.”

Sadly, many preachers and commentators have poorly handled verses 55 and 56. Why was Jesus standing? Was it to receive Stephen into heaven? (Ridiculous!) The Bible says He was standing to pour out His wrath on unbelieving Israel! Lost Jews knew it, and they, convicted, picked up stones and killed Stephen. The Holy Ghost now rejected, now blasphemed against, Israel has nowhere else to go (Matthew 12:31,32). Jesus Christ was moments away from returning to Earth in Acts chapter 7. He was not only coming to destroy His Gentile enemies in His Promised Land (cf. today’s Scripture), but His Jewish enemies, too (Acts 3:19-23)!

For more information, you can see our study, “Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?