Hebrews Lesson 117 February 28, 2008
NKJ Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
The Texas Revolution in 1836 was a mirror of the American War for Independence that had occurred just a couple of generations earlier - some 60 years earlier had witnessed the birth of our nation and in assertion of liberty on this continent in a unique form of government liberty that was defined as freedom from government interference. That liberty is the same kind of liberty that the settlers in Texas wanted although they were fighting - many of them not just for independence from Mexico initially but as they flew the flag. (Tom Wright made available a replica of the 1824 Mexican flag that hung over the Alamo that is in the study in the conference room – library in there and if you haven't seen that you ought to take a look at it.) But, they were fighting for liberty. What had happened as I've said the other night is that the Mexican government had become quite fearful of the influx of illegal aliens and as a result of that they had tightened down controls and they were removing freedoms and they were increasing the presence of Mexican troops in Texas and they were confiscating weapons and all of this was going on and there was of course a reaction from those very genetically calm people known as the Scotch-Irish. They were of course ready to draw and quarter anybody who represented the government.
William Barret Travis was just one of many who were very much in favor of independence and completely throwing off the Mexican government. So he was dispatched by the head of the Texas government at that time. He showed up in San Antonio with 30 men and there was a little bit of a power struggle because Bowie was already at the Alamo with a group of volunteers. Then Davy Crockett showed up as he brought some Tennessee volunteers with him. So you had these three men who allegedly could fight one another just to see who was in control.
I always liked Crockett's parting speech to the Congress of the United States. When he failed to get reelected as he left Congress he addressed the United States Congress and he eloquently said, "Y'all can go to hell. I'm going to Texas."
He was quite a legend in his own time as was Bowie. Travis (known as Buck Travis) was also a young man and he really hadn't made his reputation yet, but he was developing one in Texas when he went to the Alamo. They were taking stand at the Alamo as I pointed out on Tuesday night because earlier in the fall of 1835 Santa Ana had sent up his brother-in-law General (?) to hold the fort as it were in Texas and San Antonio and he was basically surrounded and was forced to surrender the Alamo to the Texans. He had to retreat to Mexico in disgrace. So that's how they came to hold San Antonio and came to hold the Alamo which was a former Franciscan mission.
It needed a lot of work to make it into a fortification. Some of the walls were crumbling and some of the walls weren't completely intact all the way around so they were having to do a lot of work to fix it up. They didn't really expect Santa Ana to arrive until late March or early April.
Suddenly they received word that he was crossing the Rio Grande. But they dismissed that, but then they heard on February the 22nd that he was only 8 miles outside of San Antonio. So they were scrambling to get as much as they could into the Alamo – as much food, as much supplies, as much powder, ammunition, all the things that they needed in order to withstand the siege.
So on February the 23rd I pointed out that Santa Ana arrived. He issued an order that no quarter would be taken and they were not going to take prisoners. They were angry and he had issued that order to all of his commanding generals who were spreading out different directions in south Texas. They were not to take any prisoners. So beginning on the 23rd of February they were basically shut up in the Alamo. Now we went through some of the events on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th the other day. I'm trying to sort of follow the calendar. We are up to the 28th so I'll catch us up tonight.
On February the 26th, the Mexicans began to move their troops around to the north side of the Alamo. The men in the Alamo, the Texicans, began to dig more earthworks again to begin to continuing to reinforce their defenses. General Sesma's cavalry (He was one of Santa Ana's generals.) arrived that morning in all of their glory. As they pulled in their artillery they began to organize them around the south, the southeast, southwest side of the Alamo and began to fire at the Texans who were working to strengthen their defenses. So they had to watch out for that. But the Mexicans weren't that accurate and they couldn't get close enough. But the ammunition and powder inside the Alamo was so low that they men held their fire. There was little that they could do. One man John McGregor had brought his bagpipes with him like a good Scot-Irishman does and he would play his bagpipes and then Davy Crocket would get his fiddle and he would fiddle. Then the two of them would have a contest with each other to entertain the men and keep their minds off of what was going on outside of the walls.
In between stints Crocket (and we have records of this in some of the diaries of the Mexican soldiers)… Crockett would go and stand in plain view on the parapet up on the wall and he would take his flintlock rifle (his Kentucky rifle) and he would look for a Mexican who would show himself. See, initially they thought that they were outside of range at 200 yards. They would be out working and he would pick them off. This was standard marksmanship for any frontiersman of that day because most of the settlers out on the frontier didn't have a lot of lead. They couldn't waste a shot. They would have maybe one or two shots to go out and get dinner. So it was either kill it or die. So they learned to be excellent marksmen. So he would do that on a regular basis and pretty soon the Mexicans learned that they had keep undercover most of the time because their muskets could only fire 70 yards. So we did a little better than they did in that department. They just had us outnumbered about 4,000 to 182.
Well, on the 25th a "norther" had come into Texas and it was blowing – cold and windy. The wind was blustery. It was blowing 20 to 30 miles an hour and the skies were low and gray. You know what that's like in Texas in February so it must have been pretty miserable for those men inside of the Alamo.
On the 27th of February which was a Saturday, Mexicans tried to move in closer. The men in the Alamo were getting water from an irrigation ditch that flowed into the mission. The Mexicans tried to block it so Travis ordered a squad to dig an interior well which solved that problem.
On the night of the 26th he had sent a letter to Fannin one more time to request aid. But little did he know that on the 27th Fannin had already tried and decided to go back. Fannin was down in Goliad with about 400 men and he had attempted to leave with 320 men; but it was a combination of things - just discouraged him and his officers so they turned back. The weather was bad and every time they would go about a couple of hundred yards another oxcart pulling artillery would break. The wheel would fall off and they would have to rebuild that. The roads were muddy so they held a council and decided it was wiser to stay behind in Goliad. So there was really no aid coming
By the 28th the wind had died down. The weather was beginning to warm up a little bit and the men still stayed huddled as they watched more and more Mexicans come to reinforce Santa Ana.
On the 29th the men were increasingly worn down. They were exhausted. Santa Ana was using psychological warfare. He was having his buglers get up and sound various calls at all hours of the night which would cause the Texans to have to get out of bed and run to the walls expecting some kind of attack and something would happen. The Mexicans were also doing anything they could to create noise. They were firing artillery into the Alamo all through the night to keep everybody awake. But that not only kept the Texans awake, it kept the Mexicans awake as well. So they were beginning to show signs of stress from sleeplessness as well. Still there was no sign of help, no indication, no letters. Nothing came. The men continued to strengthen their earthworks, reinforce the walls that they had.
Then on the 29th, Santa Ana sent out a battalion of infantry. They could watch them late in the afternoon. They saw this battalion move out to circle around to the south. They didn't know what was up or what they were trying to do, but Santa Ana had heard that Fannin was coming with reinforcements. Now Fannin had already turned back, but he didn't know that. So, he was sending out this battalion to ambush Fannin on his way in from Goliad. So there were a number of Mexican soldiers out that night looking for reinforcements from Goliad and there was a group coming.
There was a group of 32 volunteers that had gathered together in Goliad. They were feeling their way in the dark trying to get passed the Mexican troops and into the Alamo. As they approached somebody stepped on a branch and made some noise and alerted the sentries in the Alamo. One of the sentries took a shot and hit one of the Texas volunteers in the heel. He yelled out a typical American curse and that alerted the men in the Alamo that those were American out there and not Mexicans. So, they opened the gates and they made their way in. So that's how things ended at 3 am on March 1st. We have March 1st coming on Saturday and then March 2nd is Texas Independence Day. That is Sunday so we'll have to figure out some sort of appropriate way to recognize the independence of Texas on Sunday.
Now the reason I'm doing this is not just because it's good history and every Texan ought to know this. In Texas I think every school child is still expected to learn Texas history. But we have to appreciate our freedoms and we don't talk about this enough in this country any more - what it cost to get our freedoms. And, it's not talked about enough at the university level. It's not talked about enough all the way through school. People forget this. It's not politically correct, but we have our freedom because men and women were willing to sacrifice their lives because they had a vision for a nation where people could live free without interference of the federal government.
What's happened since Abraham Lincoln is that there has been an increasing strength given to the federal government - increasing power given to the federal government. That's one of the things that was lost when the South lost the War of Northern Aggression was that it… I firmly believe that it was about state's rights. Slavery is just sort of the straw that broke the camel's back, but there were other issues that were involved as well. That's another history lesson for another time. But what came out of the Civil War (what came out of Lincoln's presidency), was a totally different vision of the federal government than what the Founding Fathers had. My opinion is that Lincoln was probably the worst president this country ever had because what he did to freedom. That has increased from him through Wilson through Roosevelt and on up into the present time.
We see a continued deterioration of that and as believers we have to recognize that this is the cycle of world history. We live in the devil's world and we're never going to have the kind of true freedom for long that gives a foundation for the proclamation of the gospel and the proclamation of truth because the one thing that Satan wants to destroy is any platform for the proclamation of truth. He has worked in numerous ways throughout history and in the last 2 or 3 hundred years to completely subvert all of the gains that were made in the 1500's and 1600's in terms of solid biblical theology.
We live in a world today where those who go by the name of conservative Christians are so abysmally illiterate about the Bible and about theology. We live in a world today where the average person does not think that religion is something that you should fight and die for. By religion I mean that if you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins as a substitute and somebody believes that he was just a man that he was not God. Those were fighting words up until the 1600's. With the Enlightenment (as we studied in our history of doctrine class) - with the Enlightenment man becomes enlightened so that religious beliefs are no longer something worth fighting for. Political freedom is something worth fighting for. See before 1600 Western Europeans would not have thought that political values were something to fight for. Jesus Christ is something you fight for, but you don't fight for political values. So we see that things have really shifted as a result of the Enlightenment.
What happens fundamentally in the Enlightenment is that God is written out of the whole picture of how do we know truth? It introduces this whole concept that there are two books of truth. There is the book of revelation (or religion) and then there's the book of reason. You can arrive at truth by either way. They're equal. Of course what happens as soon as you get two books that are true authorities that are equal, one has to circumvent the other. One has to destroy the other. So reason eats up revelation. That's what happened in the last 200 years. So reason becomes the ultimate determiner. By reason I mean autonomous independent reason becomes the ultimate determiner of what is right. When you follow that out to its logical conclusion it ends up being everybody's individual reason. So your opinion is just as right as anybody else's opinion. That's just as right as the Muslim's opinion or the Buddhist opinion or the Shintoist opinion or the animist or the secular humanist's opinion. Nobody can really say that one is right or one is wrong because that's just going to offend somebody and that's the worst thing we can do is to offend somebody or possibly be offensive by saying that there's only one truth. This is where we are today.
I don't have it up here with me, but Skone gave me an article the other day from the New York Times. It's reporting on the fact that last month three men (Walid Shoebat and two of these men that he frequently speaks with) were invited to speak at the United States Air Force Academy on terrorism and on Islamic terrorism. So they did. Of course these men were formerly terrorists. These men are now Christians. That's just a terrible thing according to this article. They received a lot of opposition both from CARE which is nothing more that a jihadist support group that's protected by our Constitution. That's Center for Arab-Islamic relations. They're promoting all of their policies so they're attacking. Then there is some group within the military and one of their spokesmen said that we have to do everything we can to stop this terrible incursion of evangelicalism in the military.
"How horrible to have men coming to a military academy and mentioning the name of Jesus Christ and spreading the gospel. This is just horrible."
"If we're going to learn about terrorism why in the world (This is the gist of this article)…if we are going to have our military men learn the truth about Islamic terrorism, why should they learn it from men who were formerly terrorists. They need to learn from the real experts which is the State Department."
Yeah, the anti-Semitic, divorced-from-reality, liberal United States State Department…like they have a clue what the real issues are.
So this is where we've come in our country. The more we suppress the truth in unrighteousness, the more we live in a fantasy world and the more we're unable to identify who the enemy is, what the enemy is and what the problems are. See that's nothing new in history. The same thing happened in Israel in the ancient world. It happened in the Northern Kingdom as they separated themselves from God and got involved first in idolatry worshipping the golden calf that they identified as Yahweh who delivered them from Egypt following in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nabat and then that escalated under Ahab and Jezebel to the worship of Baal and the Ashera and the whole fertility religion. That eventually lead to divine discipline and they were destroyed by the Assyrians in 722.
Then during that period of time as God is warning the nation of their coming judgment (both the north and the south), it's in that period that you have the rise of these great prophets like Isaiah and Micah; and then as thing deteriorated in the south after you have the fall of the Northern Kingdom and you have the eventual rise of the Neo-Chaldean or Babylonian Empire under Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. Isaiah had warned back in the 700's that Babylon was going to come in and rise up. Babylon was going to come in and conquer Israel. This was going to be divine judgment and so they could see it. They could see the prophecy fulfilled and they turned their backs on it. They were so divorced from reality by this time because that's what carnality does. That's what sin does. It blocks your soul so that you can't see truth for what it is. So by the time you get to Jeremiah and Ezekiel who were prophets at the time that Nebuchadnezzar has risen to power and the first invasion, he takes captives back in 605, the second invasion in 597. The third invasion comes in 596 when Nebuchadnezzar destroys the Temple, conquers Jerusalem. These are the operating prophets at that time - Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Daniel goes with the first captives and he is raised up in Nebuchadnezzar. He writes prophecy, but he does not have the office of prophet. He has the gift of prophecy, but he doesn't have the office of prophet which was part of the theocratic structure. The prophet as we've studied in the past was a man who challenged the king with God's truth and challenged the people with God's truth and was basically a prosecuting attorney bringing the claims of God and the Mosaic Law to the people saying, "Because you have disobeyed the Law, God said he would bring these judgments on you."
But there is hope. That is a message of hope with substance, not this kind of meaningless hope that is bantered about by politicians today where hope is nothing more than emotional enthusiasm. It was hope because the God of the universe, the faithful God of the covenant said that there would be a time when Israel would turn back to Him and when they did and when they turned back to Him with a whole heart that He would bring them back to the land and fulfill all the promises that God had made to them – the Abrahamic Covenant, the land covenant (the Davidic Covenant), New Covenant would all come to fulfillment at that time.
That's the backdrop to the prayer of Solomon that we are studying in I Kings 8 and it's the backdrop for God giving the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31. These covenants are given at a time when everything looks hopeless because God's discipline is truly coming on the nation. They are going to be destroyed as a national entity. They're going to…many of them are going to lose their homes. Many of them are going to lose their lives. They're going to lose their families. They're going to lose everything they have worked for. Thousands upon thousands are going to be forcibly deported to a foreign country where they will die. They will never again see the land God had given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – at least not in this life.
God never leaves us without a message of true hope. The true hope was a confident expectation that there would be a future restoration to the land and in that future restoration to the land there would be a spiritual dimension that would bring a restoration of the spiritual life of the nation, a restoration of the heart of the nation as a collective whole. That is the message of the New Covenant. We have been studying this the last few weeks in Jeremiah 31:31 because this whole section Jeremiah 31:31-34 is quoted in Hebrews 8. To understand what is happening and why the writer of Hebrews is citing the New Covenant passage of Jeremiah 31 there in relation to Christ's high priestly ministry we have to do an investigation through the Old Testament of this.
You know, it's a funny thing - things that happen in the world and as things deteriorate. There is a prevailing philosophy among homileticians and seminaries and Greek departments and Hebrew departments that if you're going to teach a passage like Hebrews 8, then you can't leave Hebrews 8. Isn't that silly? It is the silliest thing that I've ever heard of because how in the world can you understand what is going on there? Those to whom the writer of Hebrews was writing understood all this. That was their common frame of reference so that the writer of Hebrews didn't have to go back and spend the time on the Old Testament passages like I am because these Levitical priests (former priests, now believers in the Lord Jesus Christ) were fully aware of all these Old Testament passages unlike most of us today. We're not that familiar with them so we have to go back and work our way through the Old Testament so that we can have the frame of reference to fully appreciate what is happening, being explained in the doctrine that's developed in Hebrews 8, 9 and 10. It's the background for the coming chapters and dealing with the whole issue of Christ's high priestly ministry and His present session in heaven. So we've gone through Jeremiah 31 and we've pointed out various facets related to this covenant. I'm gong to skip through those and summarize this quickly so we can move on.
Number 1, in this passage the New Covenant is contrasted with the old covenant or the Mosaic Covenant. That's really the point of the quotation in Hebrews – that the word "new" in Jeremiah 31:31 means that the old covenant (the Mosaic Covenant) was never intended to be permanent. But, the New Covenant will be everlasting. That's the point we'll see.
The second thing that we see in this passage is it's a future covenant. It's not in effect at the time of Jeremiah and it was seen as something that would come into effect in the future.
Third, it was said to be made with the house of Judah and the house of Israel. There is not a single…I know this is something that some of you are still trying to work your way through here because you heard that there's a New Covenant for the church and New Covenant for Israel. But, you can't jump to theological covenants to somehow make something make sense as dispensationalists any more than you can as a covenant theologian. Remember those two covenants in convent theology – the covenant of grace and the covenant of works. Where do you find those in the Bible? You don't. They're theological extrapolations in order to make a hermeneutical system work. Well, dispensationalism at least at the interpretation level rejects that methodology. Every time we have those involved with the New Covenant mentioned it's always the New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Jacob. Even Jesus Christ's present high priestly ministry – this is what's so important. In Hebrews 8:1-6 His present high priestly ministry is connected by that quotation there with a New Covenant made with - not the church – the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
So what we have to do is figure out how a covenant with Israel impacts that. That's what we're going to get to because everything that has happened since Abraham is the outworking of God's call of Abraham. It is that call of Abraham that changes and defines history from 2000 BC to the time that God destroys the present heavens and the present earth. That is how radical the Abrahamic Covenant is. Yet most Christians you talk to can't tell you anything about it.
Most of you are going to sleep saying, "Land, seed and blessing. Land, seed and blessing. Land, seed, and blessing."
About the fifth time you say it, you go to sleep at night. So, you've got it down.
But the blessing aspect occurred in the Old Testament. God commanded Abraham right there in Genesis 12.
NKJ Genesis 12:2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
"Go. Be a blessing", is what it says. It's a command. As He was integral in providing blessing by association with those around him, so the Jews provide blessing by association down through history in light of a future covenant that hasn't been realized yet. So, in some sense that's provisional.
Can you think of anything else that was done early and the sacrifice didn't occur until some thousand of years later? Everybody that got saved in the Old Testament got saved in light of something that was going to happen in the future. So just because the New Covenant isn't...I mean the basis is laid at the cross. But, it's not established; it's not instigated until the Second Coming. But because that's what's coming, in the mind of God it sees the end from the beginning. In the mind of God that's as real to Him even though it hasn't come into our experience yet. It's as real to God now as it will be in the future. So, on the basis of the reality of that future covenant instigated with Israel in the kingdom He then in turn is blessing Gentiles and Jews today and bringing them into the body of Christ, which immediately relates them to who? Christ. You've got two sides of the covenant – Christ and the house of Israel and the house of Judah. So if you're in the body of Christ, which party are you related to in the covenant? You're related to Christ. We have a priesthood that is related and serves under His high priesthood. His high priesthood is established by the New Covenant. That's where the connection comes in. So, just because there's not a contract with the church doesn't minimize the church in any way. What it does is it shows God's whole plan…everything dovetails together in light of that Abrahamic Covenant. We see that everything just falls out of the Abrahamic Covenant all the way down through history until it's all fulfilled. So the third point was that it's made with the house of Judah and the house of Israel.
The fourth point is…and this is where it gets hard for us to understand because we come to this and say, "Well, what about their volition?"
Well, in some sense there is going to be a volitional override for the Jews – not for the Gentiles but for the Jews in the kingdom because every one of them – and that's one reason I want to go through all of these passages. The first time I taught this that all the Jews are going to be saved in the Millennial Kingdom, I caught flack.
"How can you say that? What about their volition?"
I don't know. I can't answer that. All I know is what the text says again, again, again and again. Jeremiah says it. Joel says it. Ezekiel says it. Paul says it in Romans. I'm not going to argue with it. I can't explain what the dynamics are. But, what God is showing is ultimately man can't do anything unless God does it all including giving Him a totally new nature. This is not regeneration as I have said the last few weeks. It's not regeneration. If you are going to use the term regeneration you must define it very carefully in terms of corporate regeneration. We Americans just have a very difficult time understanding this concept of God dealing with a corporate body on the basis of corporate responses as opposed to dealing with individuals because we come out of this Western European post-Enlightenment, pro-individual culture that it's about the individual. It's not about the group.
What God is saying is, "No, there is a corporate reality also."
In the First Advent there were thousands of Jews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah; but the leadership (the instituted leadership) rejected Him and the majority rejected Him. Even if 30% of the Jews at the time of the First Advent had accepted Jesus as Messiah because the authorities rejected Him and because the mass of the people (the other 70%) reject Him, the nation went out under divine discipline. There were believers at the first time God took them out. There were believers in the Northern Kingdom in 722. There were believers in the Southern Kingdom in 586 who suffered along with all of the stupid unbelievers. The stupid unbelievers caused the suffering because of their apostasy and because of their rejection of God.
So believers often go through these times of horrible national disaster. We go through discipline by association and there is a reason for that. It's so we can give the answer. We can give help to people who are without hope so that we can help people understand that even though things look dark today, there is still a light that's coming and that Jesus Christ still controls history even when things are at their darkest. Our citizenship isn't here. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are here as ambassadors and we have a different mission.
We need to remember that in the heat of all the political stuff that goes on this year. As believers sometimes you almost feel like you've got a conflicted personality or multiple personalities going on because at one level as a human being, as someone who was born in the United States of America. I have responsibilities as a citizen. I have responsibilities to use my freedom and the privileges that have been won for me on the battlefield to be involved in the political process to whatever degree I can - to be involved in precinct meetings, to be involved in electioneering, to do whatever it is that we think that we can do without it becoming a distraction to our own spiritual lives.
That is one reason next Tuesday night we will not have Bible class. On Tuesday night in Texas after the primaries you have your precinct meetings. I want to encourage people to be involved in their precinct meetings. I think that we are at an important time in this country. Believers have the right to have their voice heard and that's how you act as salt and light in your country. You take part and vote the way that your mind tells you to vote in light of the doctrine that's there. That is part of the processes. So we are to be citizens to the glory of God. But we can't forget that we also have a higher citizenship. That higher citizenship has to do with a totally different mission that comes into conflict with the mission of being a citizen of the United States. Now that doesn't come into conflict a whole lot right now. We're fortunate in that way. There were times in other nations in other countries where Christians came into great conflict with the authorities that were over them. They had to always stand their ground for the truth of God's Word over against the wishes and wills of tyrannical kings and dictators and tyrants. But we need to recognize that the only thing that's going to provide a solution to man's problems is Jesus Christ, not politics. The problem is a heart problem. That's why God has to give Israel a new heart in the Millennial Kingdom.
NKJ Jeremiah 17:9 " The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
That's really what according to great insights by Thomas Sowell in his book Conflict in Vision that when you boil it all down that's what makes the difference between a conservative and a liberal. A conservative looks at the world through the realistic eyes of recognizing that man is basically evil, basically bad, that he is fallen. It's a position that is consistent with biblical Christianity. Whereas liberalism looks at man as improvable, perfectible. Society is perfectible. It leads to blind utopic visions of perfection and of course it is a totally false view of reality. God is going to teach man through all these dispensations that it's only when we are living in complete dependence on the creator letting the creator totally overhaul the creature from the inside out. We're not to be like whitewashed sepulchers like the Pharisees, but we are to be changed from the inside out. The only thing that does that is the Word of God plus the Spirit of God. Period – nothing else. That's the sufficiency and the grace of God and the sufficiency of the Word of God and the sufficiency of the Spirit of God.
So God is going to give them a New Covenant that's going to have a manifestation of the Holy Spirit that is even greater than the manifestation that we have in the Church Age today it seems. So we look forward to a different dispensation with different characteristics. Now the problem I've pointed out in the last few weeks is the problem is that a lot of theologians (well-respected theologians men I have studied under, men I respect, men I've spent a lot of time reading and studying because of their grasp of the Scripture and their understanding of the Scripture; but they've let this terminology slip in – lose terminology (fuzzy terminology) that this speaks of the regeneration of Israel. The problem that we have is that when we talk of regeneration most people normally think of moving from spiritual death to spiritual life. If I say that it is when Israel calls upon Jesus Christ to come and deliver them at the end of the tribulation period, that that is when they are regenerated as a nation; then the question that ought to come to your mind - well are these people saved or not at this point? Are they individually regenerate or not? As we said before they at the middle of the tribulation Jesus had warned them in Matthew 24 that when you see the abomination of desolation, drop what you're doing and head to the wilderness, head to the hills. Escape because the judgments that are about to be poured out are horrendous. There are many who will not drop what they're doing and there are those that will. Those that will are responding to the message of Jesus. That means that these Jews are already trusting in Jesus.
If you have your Bible, I want you to turn with me to Revelation - jump ahead in our study of Revelation. It's interesting how at time we study three different books and at times they always intersect. You never… I've had times when I've almost needed to teach the same Bible class three days in a row because all the studies came together on the same doctrine. You are sort of scratching your head trying to figure out...how can I add a new wrinkle on each night. Revelation 12 talks about the three images here: the woman, the child and the dragon. Of course the dragon here is Satan. There is debate over who the woman is – not among most dispensationalists. But the woman is Israel. The child of course is the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the first part of the chapter we get an identification.
NKJ Revelation 12:1 Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
Well, the last time you see that kind of imagery in the Bible it's in Joseph's dream where he sees that his father is the sun, his mother is the moon, and his 11 brothers are the 11 stars bowing down to him. So this tells us…see the imagery that's used in Revelation isn't just conjured up out of thin air. Revelation basically takes all of these loose threads that you have from Genesis to Malachi and even some in Matthew and some of the other gospels and starts bringing everything together. So you have to understand all this other symbolism, everything else in the Bible to put this together. So we see that the woman is Israel.
NKJ Revelation 12:2 Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
NKJ Revelation 12:3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
These are the nations that he is empowered and pulled together at the end time.
NKJ Revelation 12:4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
He wants to destroy the male child who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.
NKJ Revelation 12:5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
That's Psalm 2. That's the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then we get the imagery, the picture of the heavenly warfare and his angels cast out of heaven. That's described in verses 7 through 9. Then in verse 10 John:
NKJ Revelation 12:10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
NKJ Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
So this is a great praise. This is right before the end. This section of Revelation is an interlude setting things up for the final judgments.
Then I want you to skip down to verse 17 now that you know who the players are.
NKJ Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman,
Satan is enraged with Israel. Satan is going to do everything he can to destroy the Jews in the Tribulation period.
and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring,
Incidentally the woman isn't the church. See that's replacement theologians say: the woman is the church. They try to make this the church and that's absurd.
who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Now are those regenerate or apostate Jews who are keeping the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ? They're believers. These are tribulation regenerate believers - born again believers in the tribulation. Have they fled to Basra yet? No. Have they come together as a corporate entity to call upon Jesus Christ to return as their Messiah to deliver them? No. That's mentioned in Joel 2 and in Romans 10. We'll get there as we study this.
But this is a key passage because this passage tells us that they are already trusting in the testimony of God, the testimony of Jesus Christ. They are believers before they flee – before the instigation, the establishment of the New Covenant and the regeneration of the nation.
Now I think we can use that term if we carefully define it in the same way we talk about the apostasy of the nation at the time of Christ. When we talk about the fact that the nation rejected Jesus, we don't mean every individual in the nation rejected Jesus. Maybe only 70% or 80% rejected Jesus. The disciples didn't reject Jesus. The 5,000 saved on the Day of Pentecost didn't reject Jesus. The 4,000 men that were saved a couple of days later didn't reject Jesus. All of the Old Testament believers that trusted in Jesus like the Samaritan woman in John 4 and the man born blind from birth in John 9, they were all regenerate believers. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea – they were all regenerate born again believers before the advent of the Church Age. So just because you speak corporately in terms of the general position of the nation, you can say that because they are all regenerate they are corporately call upon Jesus. In that, there is going to be a corporate confession of sin just like when Daniel confessed sin of the nation. Now there may have been tens of thousands of individual Jews who had confessed their sin of idolatry after Nebuchadnezzar showed up in 586, but it was too late.
The nation doesn't corporately confess their sin until Daniel does it in Daniel 9. When he asks God to forgive the nation at that point, that is because he understands Leviticus 26 and 27 and Deuteronomy 29 and 30. That it is when the nation turns back to God that God will then forgive them and restore them to the land. That is what Daniel was praying in Daniel 9 when he had the vision of Daniel's 70 weeks and that final 490 year timetable for the nation Israel. So that's what we're talking about here is this corporate aspect. So once Jesus returns to a regenerate people individually who are saved individually and the nation then has something new happen to them as a corporate nation.
Now this is described in Jeremiah 32:36 down through 40. We read:
NKJ Jeremiah 32:36 " Now therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city
of which you say, 'It shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence':
NKJ Jeremiah 32:37 'Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them
That's the hope. Verse 36 is the judgment. Verse 37 is the gracious promise of future restoration to the land. God says:
in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath;
Anger, wrath, and indignation are all terms expressing the severity of God's justice and God's judgment for their sin.
I will bring them back to this place,
That's the promise.
and I will cause them to dwell safely.
That hasn't ever happened. The Jews have never come back to the land and dwelt in safety. This is a Second Coming prophecy, not a 537 prophecy.
NKJ Jeremiah 32:38 'They shall be My people, and I will be their God;
That terminology is heavy in New Covenant passages.
NKJ Jeremiah 32:39 'then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them.
See that's this internal transformation. The land covenant focused on the land. The Davidic Covenant focused on the fact that if you're going to have any kind of nation that is going to glorify God, then it can't be led by some man because sinful men do sinful things. You've got to have a king whose heart is changed. So the Davidic Covenant solves the problem of leadership and the New Covenant solves the problem with the people. That was the whole issue in Judges. Judges isn't about how wonderful Othniel and Deborah and Gideon and Jephthah and Samson are because they're not. They get increasingly worse to show that sinful men can't provide perfect leadership. As long as we live in a fallen world, you can't put your hopes and dreams in politics and in leaders. Then you get into the appendices in Judges and that shows that the priesthood gets corrupted and people are corrupted. You got to change the heart of the leaders and the heart of the religious leaders and the heart of the people or you're never going to have the problem solved. Until that happens we're always going to be living out the consequences of our sinful natures.
So God says:
NKJ Jeremiah 32:39 'then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them.
NKJ Jeremiah 32:40 'And I will make an everlasting covenant with them,
That's the New Covenant (an everlasting covenant) because the Mosaic Covenant was a temporary covenant.
that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.
They're not going to have the option. They will not turn away from Him again. Now that may come from their own volition, but somehow God is saying there is going to be an inner transformation here and "they're not going to turn away from Me". It's a different dispensation, a different dynamic. God is teaching different things.
NKJ Jeremiah 32:41 'Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.'
See the fulfillment of the New Covenant is connected to the fulfillment of the land covenant. Now as we close in the last 30 seconds before next time I will start with Jeremiah 50. I want to go back to Deuteronomy 30.
Deuteronomy 29 is where we normally go for the land covenant. Deuteronomy 29 and 30 deal with the land covenant. Moses writes:
NKJ Deuteronomy 29:1 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab,
Moab, not Sinai.
besides the covenant
In addition to the covenant.
which He made with them in Horeb.
This is not the Sinaitic covenant. Then in chapter 30 verses 1 and following we read:
NKJ Deuteronomy 30:1 "Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you,
NKJ Deuteronomy 30:2 "and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,
What did we just read? "I will faithfully plant with all My heart and with all My soul," God says.
NKJ Deuteronomy 30:3 "that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you.
Where is he bringing them? Back to the land.
NKJ Deuteronomy 30:4 "If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.
NKJ Deuteronomy 30:5 "Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
NKJ Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
That is the first indication of the New Covenant, but it's embedded within the land covenant. The issue in 29 and 30 is the land and there's a hint that there's going to be a spiritual change. When you get into passages like Jeremiah 32, the issue is the internal spiritual change and then at the end it connects it to the land. So it pulls these things together.
We'll come back next time and pick up in Jeremiah 50 and make our way through Jeremiah and then the cleansing passages in Ezekiel.