A Perpetual Marriage

Friday, September 21, 2012

“And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD” (Hosea 2:19,20 KJV).

The nation Israel is engaged to the LORD, but the wedding is postponed….

In the context of today’s Scripture, the LORD is sending the prophet Hosea, who preached circa 785–725 B.C., to warn Israel of His impending judgment. “For [Israel] hath committed great whoredom, in departing from the LORD” (Hosea 1:2). Pagan idol worship abounds in Israel, and it has for centuries. Spiritually, Israel is “playing the harlot” (Hosea 2:5): she was the LORD’s wife, but now she is an adulterous wife by worshipping other gods.

God’s wrath came on apostate Israel! Eventually, the Assyrians captured and deported Israel’s ten northern tribes (722 B.C.), and the Babylonians captured and deported Israel’s two southern tribes (606–586 B.C.). From the time of these deportations to our present-day, the Jews are scattered worldwide, still waiting for their Messiah to come the first time and rescue them (sadly, they are blinded, unaware that their Messiah, Jesus, came 2,000 years ago).

But today’s Scripture is a gleam of hope for Israel: after God would judge her, He would restore her to Himself (Christ’s Second Coming to establish Israel’s kingdom). After our Dispensation of Grace ends (rapture), God will return to dealing with Israel, and she will be saved (Romans 11:25-29; cf. Hosea 2:23). Peter writes to future Israel: “which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God…” (1 Peter 2:10). Had God not interrupted Israel’s program with our dispensation, Israel would already be married to the LORD!

Israel was unfaithful to God, but never has God been unfaithful to Israel. At Christ’s Second Coming, He will fulfill His promise (today’s Scripture) to Israel. Via the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:8-13), Israel will be rejoined to the LORD, forgiven of all her sins. She will be married to the LORD forever, living with Him in her Promised Land forever (Isaiah chapters 61 and 62). Wow!

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #4

Thursday, September 13, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

For nearly 1,600 years (Moses to Paul), Israel strained to keep the Mosaic Law. Unlike their heathen (Gentile) neighbors, the Jews had the Law of God, and other advantages (Romans 9:4,5; cf. Ephesians 2:11,12). Despite their privileged position, however, they were just as sinful as the Gentiles (non-Jews). Hence, the Gentiles observed that “God’s” people, Israel, acted just as shamefully as they did (Romans 2:17-29)!

Sinful Israel broke this Old Covenant (Mosaic Law), thus necessitating the institution of the (future) New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13). If Israel, sinful sons of Adam that they were, could not keep the Mosaic Law, should we Gentiles fare any better, also being sinful sons of Adam? I trow (think) not (1 Corinthians 10:1-14)!

Actually, when believing, Law-keeping Jews (saved in Israel’s program) demanded that Paul’s Gentile believers (saved in our program) keep the Mosaic Law to be saved (Acts 15:1-5), the Apostle Peter asked (verse 10): “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” Law-keeping is a burden, for no sinner can bear it!

The Apostle Paul reaffirms that Mosaic Law-keeping is a “a yoke of bondage:” Law-keeping is impossible for us sinful creatures, and this performance-based acceptance system makes void (cancels) God’s grace-based acceptance system which is in operation today in our Dispensation of Grace (Galatians 5:1-4). If we attempt to make ourselves acceptable to God by doing “good” works, then we ignore Christ’s perfect, finished crosswork on Calvary (the only means whereby we can be—and ultimately are—made acceptable to God, for only Jesus Christ will ever please God; Matthew 3:17).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”