Hebrews 119 March 27, 2008
NKJ Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."
In Hebrews 8 we have come to this very important passage starting in verses 6 and 7 and 8 that connects the high priestly ministry of Christ, the fact that He is High Priest. Back in Hebrews 7 we covered the fact that because there is a change in priesthood, there is a change in law. So these two things go together. Because you have a new law, it's related to a new covenant. Then in the first 5 verses of Hebrews 8, there is the focus on Jesus as the High Priest related to His ministry today at the right hand of the Father and that He has a more excellent ministry as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant. So this better covenant is what is introduced then in verse 8 which is a direct quote out of Jeremiah 31.
Now it's easy when we get into the kind of study that we've had the last couple of months (almost ten lessons now dealing with the New Covenant) to sort of lose the forest through the trees. I try not to do that, but as I get into some of these other passages it's really interesting to see some of the connections that are going on especially in light of where we're about to go in the next chapter – chapter 9 and chapter 10 in Hebrews which pulls together a lot of information about the sacrifices in the Old Testament, the Levitical offerings, the different facets, features and functions of the tabernacle and the Levitical worship and how all of this connects. So we're going to spend a lot of time going back and forth between Hebrews and these other passages.
Even as I've gotten into this passage where we stopped last time (Ezekiel 36 and the New Covenant passage there) as I looked at the broader context of Ezekiel 36 it becomes evident that there is terminology that is interwoven in that passage that dominates the Ezekiel 20 to 40 section of Scripture which is the description in the Mosaic Law of the tabernacle, all of the articles in the tabernacle, the priesthood and the role of the priest, the dedication and consecration of high priest and whole of the Aaronic priesthood and the Levitical priesthood. Then when you move from Leviticus, Numbers doesn't say that much. (Excuse me.) You get into Leviticus and right in the middle of Leviticus in Leviticus 10 there is this episode of the sons of Aaron (Nadab and Abihu) bringing strange fire into the tabernacle. God instantly executes them.
Then you have that chapter using certain terminology that is then used – all of this terminology is only used in Ezekiel 36 and Ezekiel 44 where you have all these words together. We'll see that in a minute when you are dealing with holy and profane, clean and unclean. Those are the only three passages of Scripture that put all of those together. It's very important to understand this because Ezekiel 36 is obviously looking forward to the kingdom whereas the passage in Leviticus 10 is dealing with the role of the priesthood at that time. That function gets right into a whole interesting section where you go from Leviticus up through chapter 10 - deals with the consecration of the priesthood and the initial consecration of the temple and first day where there is the offer of sin offerings and burnt offerings and trespass offerings. Then there is the sin of Nadab and Abihu. Then you immediately go into these chapters from 11 through 17 that go through all these different laws. People get involve in that.
You go read that and you say, "Why do we get into all these different intricacies of all these different Levitical rules and regulations on - if you do this you are unclean, if you do that you are unclean, if you touch this you are unclean, if you touch that you are unclean, and if you do this you have to do this kind of sacrifice or if you do that you have to do that kind of sacrifice. There is so much detail there and people get lost in it.
Then you come to chapter 18 and it says, "Then after the death of Nadab and Abihu," which locates the time of Leviticus 18 which is the law of the Day of Atonement to come right after the events in Leviticus 10.
The way most of us are taught about the Day of Atonement is to think about the Day of Atonement in terms of something soteriological, primarily.
Now that takes us into another thread of study that I did a number of years ago dealing with the meaning of the word that is normally translated atonement. That is the Hebrew word kaphar which traditionally has been understood to mean cover, but there has been a lot of debate among language scholars in the last 20 years or so that the meaning of atonement really has more to do with cleansing. Now that is backed up in one sense not just through the etymology; but it's also backed up by the fact that when you look at the Septuagint in numerous (not all by any means but in numerous) passages the rabbis who translated the Pentateuch into Greek translated kaphar with the Greek verb katharizo which is cleansing. So the issue is - are we talking about positional or are we talking about experiential? Are we talking about phase 1 salvation being pictured in these sacrifices or are we talking about ongoing fellowship in these sacrifices? That makes a huge difference and people get very confused about this whole set of terms – holy - profane and clean-unclean and just what that means. People have a tendency to make the mistake when you talk about just that word group of assigning soteriological value to those words. So if you are holy you are saved; if you're profane you're not. If you're clean you are saved; if you're unclean you are not. Salvation has nothing to do with this.
Then you add another layer on top of this. I am kind of letting you know the kind of connections that all of these passages have. You get into these New Covenant passages and if you approach this from the position of covenant theology, you approach this from a position of high reformed theology; then there is this idea that the New Covenant is not only established at the cross where the cross is the basis for the New Covenant.
Jesus said. "This is the New Covenant of My blood."
But, in Acts 2 (and we've gone through this before) when Peter says, "This is what the prophet Joel spoke" about in Joel 2:
NKJ Joel 2:28 " And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
If that is interpreted to mean that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 is the literal fulfillment of the prophecy in Joel 2, then it's clear that the language in Joel 2 is New Covenant terminology. That would mean that the New Covenant is established and enacted in Acts 2.
Now you go back and you look some of these passages where God says, "I am going to put in you a clean heart, a new heart and you will do My will."
Wait a minute! Putting a new heart, putting a new spirit in me, that sounds like regeneration because in regeneration we get a new spirit. We're born again. That sounds like I'm getting a new spirit. It's regeneration. Regeneration means now I'm going to do God's will. It is the next easy step to this lordship concept of perseverance that the person who is truly born again is going to do God's will and that somehow he's not going to be the dirty rotten sinner or corrupt sinner that he was before he was saved incapable of all the sins before hand.
So you see that what I'm trying to show you is theology makes a difference not because you use theology to understand the text. But if you misunderstand the text and you misinterpret some of these terms, then it takes you in the wrong direction theologically and you misunderstand what salvation is and what it does. You add that to the mix that reform theology historically is heavily dependent on the theology of Augustine in the 5th century and Augustine misinterpreted Matthew 24 which as you all should know Matthew 24 is the Mt. of Olives and Jesus is answering the question - what are the signs of My coming. Jesus gives a discourse on the tribulation and what happens in the tribulation period.
In the middle of this He says. "Those who see these things happening (referring to the abomination of desolation) need to flee into the wilderness and escape."
They need to go down to the mountains. We've studied that in relation to regeneration last time. This is when numerous Jews (Romans 11) after the two witnesses are killed (which I believe occurs right before the middle of the Tribulation). There is this great earthquake in Jerusalem and as a result of that the text says that 7,000 are killed in Jerusalem.
NKJ Revelation 11:13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest
…which means everybody else in Jerusalem.
were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.
…which indicates that's when you get this mass of tribulation Jews getting saved.
And then right after that there is the abomination of desolation and they see that. That is why they flee into the wilderness because now they are listening to Jesus in Matthew 24 and they understand what they are supposed to do. They leave. And then after they leave there is a further statement from Jesus in Matthew 24. He says:
NKJ Matthew 24:13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
When Augustine read that, he read the word "saved" and he took it as spiritual justification salvation and not physical deliverance. Well, Jesus is saying that those who persevere in obedience in fleeing to the wilderness and persevere to the end of the Tribulation period - they will be physically delivered by Christ when He returns to deliver Israel at the Second Coming.
But, Augustine misinterpreted that to mean that those who persevere in their salvation and in obedience to God will be saved - justification. So that enters into the stream of doctrine and is the background for what we call Lordship salvation. At the core of Lordship salvation it's not just the idea that you have to make Jesus Lord of your life in order to be saved. The real core in Lordship salvation is that a person who is truly justified is incapable of committing certain sins or certain failures in life or even for the rest of your life, even apostatizing for the rest of their lives. If they do, then that's a sign that they weren't actually saved to begin with. It is a confusion of regeneration that in being born again somehow the sin nature is minimized, diminished or its power is reduced because now you are given this new nature. It really flows out of several threads of theology.
Now all of that comes to bear in some of these passages that we're dealing with. That's why a while back in this series I took a good bit of time talking about Acts 2 and how Acts 2 quotes Joel 2. We talked about how Arnold talked about the 4 different ways in which rabbis would quote the Old Testament.
- There was the literal future prophecy. The Messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem. That was a prophecy – a literal prophecy. Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
- Then you have another situation that refers to a literal historical event when the Jews came out of Egypt and then that is applied typologically to Jesus in Matthew 2 when Joseph and Mary and the infant Jesus come out of Egypt. So that is applied typologically. It's a literal historical event applied typologically to Jesus.
- Then the third use was the use of a literal Old Testament event when the mothers or Ramah are weeping as they see their sons and daughters taken off to Babylonian captivity. There is only one point of similarity. In Matthew 2 the mothers in Bethlehem are weeping over their children and the death of the infants. That is the point of similarity – the sorrow that the mother's had. So it's an application. The third was a summary.
It's that third one that is parallel to Acts 2. When the writers of Scripture are saying "this fulfills that', we want to take it as always - like that first example of Micah 5:2 or Isaiah 7:14 that a virgin will conceive - literal prophecy, literal fulfillment. But, there are these other ways in which that fulfillment terminology is used. If Acts 2 is not a literal fulfillment, then we're not in the New Covenant. A covenant was only established at the cross, but the New Covenant which is with the house of Israel and the house of Judah does not become initiated. It does not become established until the Second Coming which is what all of these Old Testament passages are showing. So in terms of the introduction (kind of a review here), this is why I've been going through all of these Old Testament passages chronologically.
We started with the passage in Hosea. Then we went to Isaiah. They were contemporaries. Then we went from Isaiah to the key passage in Jeremiah 31:31-33. Now we're in these two chapters of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 36 has a key passage. Ezekiel 37 has a key passage. What these are showing and what we have to understand is that every single one of these passages is talking about this phenomenal thing that happens to every Jew in Israel. They're all already saved soteriologically in the tribulation, but something in addition happens to them when Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation and establishes the New Covenant. It has to do with their spiritual life and the nature of what happens in the Millennial Kingdom. It is very different from what is going on in the Church Age. When you don't make these dispensational distinctives, you can really get messed up in your understanding of what's going on in these passages and you can go to one extreme of Lordship salvation.
You can go to the other extreme of saying, "Well, we're supposed to have dreams and visions and prophesying and speaking in tongues and all this because we have this unique role of the Holy Spirit today because we're living in the New Covenant."
That's a charismatic position. So this ought to give us great comfort that in understanding the distinction between Israel and the church and God's plan for Israel and God's plan for the church, we see these distinctions play out.
Ultimately what we're going to end up with when we get back into Hebrews 8 is understanding that our relationship to the New Covenant isn't because we are a covenant partner. There is no New Covenant with the church which is something that a lot of you have heard before. That was a position taken by Walvoord, Chafer, and Scofield. But, there's no mention of a New Covenant with the church anywhere. It's always New Covenant with Israel, New Covenant with Judah.
But, Jesus as a High Priest and mediator is the mediator of this better covenant which connects His high priestly ministry today with the New Covenant with Israel and Judah. That's what Hebrews 8 does. It doesn't say in verse 8 that it's a new covenant with the church. It's a high priestly ministry which is church related isn't connected to a new covenant with the church; but it's connected to a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
A lot of this gets into technical studies, putting a lot of different verses together and bringing these threads together. Sometimes people get a little lost and it's not always easy. You get into these studies especially in Leviticus and there's not … it's really easy to get lost in the high weeds. And so what I'm trying to do is constantly kind of raise our heads up a little bit so we don't get too caught up, lost in all the details and feel overwhelmed. You can see where I'm going with this because when we come out at the end of this when we get into Hebrews 9 and Hebrews 10 and we're talking about all these analogies with the tabernacle and the temple and the priesthood; this was understood by these Jewish believers that the writer of Hebrews is writing to were former Levitical priests. They understood all of this and they're connecting all these dots because they are so schooled. They've got Leviticus memorized; they've got Exodus memorized. They understand all of this; but, we don't. We don't have that background and so that's one of the reasons that Hebrews is a difficult book for a lot of people to understand is because we don't have as thorough understanding of Leviticus and of the ministry of the tabernacle and all the doctrine that's in 8, 9 and 10 grows out of our understanding of Exodus and Leviticus and Deuteronomy as well. So that gives us our understanding.
Now what I'm saying is what we have in this chart. That is that the New Covenant is an outgrowth of the blessing paragraph of the Abrahamic Covenant. The land promise is expanded in the real estate or Palestinian Covenant. The seed promise to Abraham is expanded in the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant is the expansion of the third part of the Jewish covenant, the Abrahamic Covenant – I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.
Now let me take a parenthetical aside here and ride the hobby horse for a minute. One of the questions that I've raised years ago (others raised) is that to be pro-Israel does not mean that you have to affirm and validate every decision that the Israeli government makes. They've made a lot of bad decisions. It's one of the most socialist countries in the world. There have been a number of… right now I wonder if Ehud Olmert even has brain cells that connect to each other because of some of the decisions that he is making in terms of the long term protection of a nation. I mean every nation has the right to defend itself. So this question constantly comes up whenever you talk about…especially when it relates to politics. Time and time again you see somebody from George Bush, Sr. and who was his Secretary of State? Baker, Jim Baker. They're in bed with the Saudis. They were pushing for a Palestinian state and Palestinian solution. Clinton did that at Y River and forced Ehud Barak to come up with the greatest concession that the Israelis ever made. What's his name? Arafat. (I'm doing real good tonight!) Arafat just turned it down because he wanted the destruction of Israel. Now these men are …this is an anti-Semitic policy that is being followed because it's anti-Zionist.
Now let me explain this. Anti-Zionist means that you don't believe the Jews have an inherent right to that piece of real estate. Zionism means that you do believe that the Jews have a God-given right to that piece of real estate. That's the difference. Zionism and anti-Zionism don't mean that you put the Good House Keeping Seal of Approval on every decision that the Knesset makes. It just means that you believe that Jews have a divine right to that piece of real estate.
The second thing (and we studied this in the Israel series) is that you recognize that in 1900 there was no Syria, there was no Lebanon, there was no Trans-Jordan, there was no Iraq, there was no Saudi Arabia. In 1900 you had the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire was breaking up at the end of World War I you had all of these different political machinations and empirical machinations done by both the French and the British. You had the coming into existence of the League of Nations. The League of Nations gave France a mandate to govern Syria and Lebanon. The League of Nations gave a mandate to Britain to govern the area that we now call Trans-Jordan or the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Israel. This wasn't Israel and Jordan at that time. It wasn't Syria and Lebanon. They came into existence during the period between World War I and World War II.
But at the end of World War I when you have the Balfour Declaration…in the Balfour Declaration there's an official recognition by the British government that the Jews had the right to a national homeland. The Arabs had a right to their land, to a homeland. The Israelis had a right to their homeland. Initially it was going to be that the entire piece of real estate that today includes both Israel and Jordan – that all of that was to be given to the Jews. Then of course what happens is you see the impact of 19th century liberalism on British society begin to introduce itself because up through the end of WWI your upper level leadership in British government which included Balfour and David Lloyd George and other key leaders in Britain. These were the elder statesmen. They were in their 60's – they were in their 70's. When they were raised, their mamas believed in the Bible, read them the Bible, and read them Old Testament stories. They believed that the Jews were God's people that they still had a right to the land. But, by the 1850's when Europe shifts to and is influenced by 19th century protestant liberalism, the next generation that comes up after them which would include TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and others who begin to dominate politics about the end of WWI and through the '20's and '30's – they didn't grow up with the same biblical background that the elder statesmen did. So they become pro-Arab. So you have an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel mentality dominating the British foreign service in the 20's and in the 30's. They're backing the Arabs. So, there is an erosion of the land that is going to be given to Israel. Instead of giving them all that territory, they reduce it to the part that is west of the Jordan, between the Jordan and Mediterranean. They were going to give the land to the east, the Trans-Jordan, to the kingdom of Trans-Jordan. If you read the literature at that time (the 30's and 40's), it is referred to as the kingdom of Trans-Jordan. Now it is called the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. So there's this erosion of support.
Then there is a further partition that occurs in the 40's (1946-1947) by the UN which even takes away more land from between the Jordan and the Mediterranean from the Jews and gives part of that to the Arabs. Now see what we have to understand, the Arabs want a Palestinian state. If you look at it historically the Palestinian state is the kingdom of Jordan. The Jews were to get the other land. When the Jews established their state and declared independence in May of 1948, they did not tell the Arabs that they had to leave. In fact even today the Arabs that live in the state of Israel have more freedom, they have more abilities and they have more freedom of religion than the Arabs that live in the Palestinian controlled territories and even those who are living in Jordan.
The point that I'm making here is that the nation of Israel is formed just as the nation of Trans-Jordan is formed, just as Lebanon is formed, just a Syria was formed – out of the break up of the Ottoman Empire and it was western powers that basically determined what those nations were going to be and what those boundaries were going to be. It was all established according to international law.
So Israel isn't coming in and stealing land from the Palestinians or running them out. In fact the reason most of them left and became refugees is because the five Arab powers that were going to invade Israel when they declared independence when they were going to do that they basically said that the Palestinians that were living there needed to seek protection and get out of the way so they would not get in the way of the invading armies.
So back to our questions – what makes you a Zionist? It's not that you believe that Israel is always right, but that the Jews have a right to the land and they have just as much a right to that piece of real estate as the Jordanians do to Jordan and the Syrians do to Syria and the Lebanese do to Lebanon, number 1.
Number 2 if you don't believe that they have a right to the land then you're an anti-Zionist. Now the logical result of anti-Zionism is that you think that the Jews ought to basically self-destruct and commit national suicide because they need to give all the land back to the Arabs and let the Arabs come in and create another holocaust on the Jews. So whether you are willing to admit that or not, that makes you anti-Semitic.
The current literature today is that anti-Zionism is just a cloak for anti-Semitism because after WWII and the Nazis no one wants to be anti-Semitic. But, we just think the Jews need to give up the land especially the land that was gained in 1967. In the 1967 war Israel was again attacked by their Arab neighbors. They did not instigate this. They didn't initiate it. But, they were attacked by their Arab neighbors. Once again they defeated their Arab neighbors and in the process of defeating their Arab neighbors, they won territory. The territory that they won included most of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the Gaza Strip (which they recently vacated) and the Golan Heights. Now the Golan Heights are a high ridge line that's on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. If you are standing in Tiberias on the west side and you look across the Sea of Galilee and you're looking about 2 miles across the Sea of Galilee (maybe a mile and a half) and you see that ridge line over there. Up to 1967 the Arabs had their artillery lined up down that ridge line and every day they were lobbing artillery rounds into Tiberias and Capernaum and all those towns and villages on the west side of the Sea of Galilee - every single day. How would you like to live like that?
So the Jews realized that this was strategically indefensible. They couldn't stay like that. So when the Syrians invaded in '67 and they were defeated by Israel, Israel captured the Golan Heights. It would be national suicide to give up the Golan Heights. Does Israel have the right to gain territory in military conquest taken from its neighbors when the neighbors are the ones who initiated war? Now you can answer that two ways. If you answer it "no", then that means then to be logically consistent you need to give Texas back to the Mexicans (now we know they're trying to take it back), give California and Arizona and New Mexico back to the Mexicans. You need to give all this land back and all us western Europeans, Caucasians need to leave. That is the logical result of that position. Now that's stupid. That is just irrational.
Any nation has the right to gain and acquire territory in warfare when they are attacked by their enemy and especially when that territory is of strategic importance and by giving it up it would virtually be committing national suicide because another principle is that every nation has the right to defend itself just like every person has the right to defend themselves.
Now incidentally that righteous self defense is being questioned by your wonderful Congressmen in Washington. They don't believe that that's a right. You don't have a right to defend yourself. That's part of what's going on with this Supreme Court decision related to handgun ownership and the gun band in Washington D. C. But, that's another story.
The point that I'm making is that when you look at political leaders that we have who are running for office and they take positions (and this is Republicans as well as Democrats) where they want Israel to return to the 1967 borders… and incidentally the Air Force general that is one of the top advisors to Barak Obama has stated that numerous times in print. He believes that and has been writing on this since the mid 70's that Israel needs to return to the '67 borders. When you have people who believe that and that is their political agenda, then that is not only anti-Zionism, that is anti-Semitism because what you are basically saying is that Israel doesn't have a right to defend themselves as a nation and Israel needs to put themselves in a position of national vulnerability to its enemies. This idea of support for Israel doesn't mean – that goes back to Genesis 12:3.
NKJ Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
Those who bless Israel will be blessed. Those who support Israel's policies of national defense and national existence – not support everything that they do, but support their right to self existence in the land that God gave them. That's what Zionism is. It's not supporting everything. It doesn't mean that we have to believe that everything that they decide is right. So that is a key issue.
So Genesis 12:3 is still in effect. That was expanded in the New Covenant because in the third paragraph – I will bless those who bless you – that's ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ -those who bless Israel and accept that they will be blessed through the ultimate blessing of the seed who is Jesus Christ.
Those who curse Israel (that is those who treat Israel lightly) God says, "I will curse you harshly."
There are two different Hebrew words there for curse. The first word has to do with …almost as light as disrespect. Those who (?) Israel I will squash. That is what God is saying. 'Those who treat you lightly (have a slight disrespect for you), I will judge harshly." So God is protecting them whether they are apostate or not.
As we get into the passage in Ezekiel 36, turn with me to Ezekiel 36. The key passage is in verses 25, 26, 27. That is our key passage for the New Covenant. In this chapter… earlier in the first part of the chapter, look back at verse 3. This is the beginning of this prophecy. God says to Ezekiel;
NKJ Ezekiel 36:3 "therefore prophesy, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side,
so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people" –
Now who is the ultimate cause of Israel's divine discipline? God. Okay, but He uses these other kingdoms. He used the Babylonians; He used the Assyrians. He used the Edomites – all of these people.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:4 'therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around --
NKJ Ezekiel 36:5 'therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
This is in relation to the Babylonians, the Assyrians, all of the gentile nations.
"Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom,
Where is Edom today? That's down in southern Judah and over into Jordan.
who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with whole-hearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country." '
NKJ Ezekiel 36:6 "Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations."
NKJ Ezekiel 36:7 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "I have raised My hand in an oath that surely the nations that are around you shall bear their own shame.
God's going to judge them. Now God is judging them. Why? Because of their attitude towards Israel. Even though God used that attitude to discipline Israel, God is still going to judge them which means - in what condition was Israel in at this time, in 600 BC?. Are they apostate or are they spiritual? They're apostate. See, the point is that God is going to maintain the Abrahamic Covenant and protect Israel and bless those who bless them even when Israel is in apostasy and curse those who curse them even when Israel is in apostasy. So Israel is in apostasy today, but God is still true to the Abrahamic Covenant. It's still in affect so God is not going to change His mind and start turning His back ignoring the fact that nations in Western Europe are becoming anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic by their policies.
Now they're going to cloak that and put that in a veneer of justification and say, "Well we want to be fair to all of these poor refugees."
Because people are historically ignorant and they don't understand what went on in the 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's in relationship to the Arab nations and Israel that they think, "Oh well, all these poor Arabs were just kicked out of their houses by the Jews."
That's the Palestinian propaganda. So you have presidential candidates who go to churches where they print Hamas literature in the bulletin. You know, we get a president like that we're just on the road to divine judgment because the policies that are going to flow from a mentality from that are just terrible. You know the others aren't exactly a whole lot better. The same thing is true for even the current administration. They constantly have bought into this lie that the Palestinians have a right to their own state. This is another form of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
So I hope that answers some of those questions. It ties into what we see going on that eventually God will restore Israel to the land as a regenerate people. But remember we looked at Isaiah 11:11 which says:
NKJ Isaiah 11:11 It shall come to pass in that day That the LORD shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea.
That second time is in salvation. They're saved. But the first time is I believe is what is going on today because it is the only other time in history that God has been returning them from all the corners of the earth.
Now let's look at the passage in Ezekiel 36:25. God says after He goes through all this prophesy - He then comes down and He talks about how He is if we look at verse - at the beginning of this section. It really begins in verse 16.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:16 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
NKJ Ezekiel 36:17 "Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds;
Circle that word defile.
to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity.
Circle that word (uncleaness).
That's right out of the Mosaic Law. When a woman is in her monthly cycle she is ceremonially unclean. That's the point of the analogy. Is that sin? Does that mean that during that time a woman is in carnality? No, but she is ceremonially impure. Now that's critical to understanding that distinction because obviously what we are talking about here when we're talking about these words like impure and unclean, we can't be talking about sin because that's not sin anymore than touching a dead body is sin. But, it renders you ceremonially unclean. So there's a distinction between being ritually or ceremonially unclean and personal sin. They're not the same thing. But ritual uncleanness is designed in a physical level to teach lessons about spiritual sin and about personal sin and carnality. So you see this terminology and from 17 down through 20...Lets see 17 talks about clean and unclean. Then in verse 18 you have the word defiled. Then God judges them. Then in verse 20 down through 22, the contrast is between holy and profane. So we have clean-unclean terminology and then we have a shift to holy and profane terminology and then we're going to come back to verse 22.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:22 " Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned
You have treated as common.
among the nations wherever you went.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:23 "And I will sanctify
Same basic word group (qadash) to make holy.
My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD," says the Lord GOD, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.
Then there's the promise.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:24 "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
Now when does that take place? That takes place at the end of the Tribulation period when you have regenerate Jews brought back to the land to establish the kingdom. So it is at that time when God takes them from among the nations, gathers them out of their countries, then verse 25.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Circle the word "then".
So the order of events is that they're personally saved. That's why they're brought back to the land. They're personally saved and then they're brought back to the land at the end of the Tribulation. We saw that last time that they're saved, Revelation 11. Revelation 12 they flee into the wilderness because of the testimony of Jesus and the testimony of God. So they get personally saved in the tribulation period. At the end of the tribulation period, God brings them back, regathers them to the land and then we have the events of verse 36.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Now does cleansing here have to do with salvation cleansing, what we would call positional cleansing? No, because as I've already demonstrated they're already justified. They're already regenerate under the terms of the tribulation period under that dispensation. They're already individually saved so this is an additional cleansing. It's like when we confess our sins individually there is a post salvation cleansing. But, this isn't an individual post salvation cleansing. This is a corporate or national cleansing. Now I want you to hold your place here in Ezekiel. I want you to turn over a few pages to Daniel 9.
See Daniel understands the dynamics of what's going on. We looked at this last time in Deuteronomy 30. We also looked at it Tuesday night.
Deuteronomy 30:6, the promise that when you're out of the land and you turn to me and you turn back to Me then I will restore you from the land where I sent you.
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.
Daniel understands that, understands the promise in Jeremiah that they're going to be out of the land for a period of 70 years. He can count up on his fingers and toes how many years they've been out of the land and go, "It's time to go back."
So we read here in Daniel 9:2:
NKJ Daniel 9:2 in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
4 And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
We're seeing the same thing in Solomon's prayer in I Kings 8. Daniel is representing the whole nation and he's confessing the national sin of failure to apply the law, failure to follow the sabbatical laws and idolatry and he is making a national confession as a representative for the whole nation. He says:
Mercy there is chesed – faithful, loyal love to the covenant.
NKJ Daniel 9:5 "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.
So, now back to Ezekiel 36. The point I'm making is that just as Daniel has a prayer of confession for the nation and the result of that is that at the end of a 70 period God restores them partially to the land. Those only in Babylon come back. Just as you have Daniel making a national confession so what we're talking about in Ezekiel 36 is a national cleansing dealing with the two great sins of idolatry and rejection of the Messiah. This is when they are ceremonially cleansed.
This word translated cleansing is a word that is always used of ritual cleansing in the Old Testament.
Now, pause – another aside – bring another string into this thing. In the Old Testament you have this terminology of clean and unclean. This is very physical. It is very physical things that render you clean and unclean. Most of the things that render you clean and unclean have some relationship to the curse of Genesis 3 so that when you touch a dead body, where does death come from? Physical death is a result of the curse of Genesis 3. If you touch a dead body, it's a physical act. You are physically, ritually unclean and there has to be a sacrifice so that you become ritually clean and can then participate in temple ritual and come and worship God. So it has to do with this idea of ritual cleanness.
What's happening in the tabernacle is God is not only spiritually present, but He is physically present. See every individual believer is a temple of the indwelling of the Shekinah of Jesus Christ spiritually. In the Old Testament you have the physical presence of God in the tabernacle and in the temple. So there is this ritual cleansing. But, when you get into the Millennial Kingdom and Jesus returns and establishes the kingdom, He is going to establish the millennial Temple and His personal physical dwelling is going to be upon the earth in Jerusalem and there will be those who will be worshipping Him again in a physical temple. So once again we go back to the need for ritual physical cleansing in relationship to worshipping God.
A point I made years ago in a series of articles I wrote for the Chafer journal is that this shows that in every dispensation there is the necessity for some kind of post salvation cleansing from sin.
The key idea of I John 1:9 isn't confess your sin. The key idea is if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to CLEANSE us from all unrighteousness. That's the key word. You go from Exodus all the way through Revelation and you look at Ezekiel 38, 39, 40 and following and the deal with the temple sacrifices. They have to do with post salvation cleansing in relationship to ongoing fellowship. God always puts an emphasis on some kind of post salvation cleansing. So I John 1:9 is no different in the Church Age is no different. So when Ezekiel 6:25 comes along we read:
NKJ Ezekiel 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean;
It's national cleansing, national forgiveness for Israel.
I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Moreover, in addition to this:
NKJ Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
Let's just stop there. That's a lower case s. In the original Hebrew they don't have upper case and lower case. When you have spirit (lower case) in the English text it makes it look like it's something other than the Holy Spirit. That is why – just look a the English text it says:
I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit in you.
Ah! That's regeneration. Doesn't it sound like regeneration? I will put a new Spirit in you. You were spiritually dead now you are spiritually alive. Right? So the question we have to ask is – is new spirit a reference to the human spirit or the Holy Spirit? The lower case spirit shows that the translator has made an interpretation, but the Hebrew could easily refer to either. In verse 27 God says:
NKJ Ezekiel 36:27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:28 "Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
That's a result now.
See the land – the return to the land – establishment in the land as a regenerate nation is linked to the New Covenant. So you can't have the New Covenant in effect today because they're not in the land as a regenerate people. Earlier we saw it's also connected to the fulfillment of the Davidic promise.
Now let's go to this slide. Verse 25 and 26 there is a new heart and a new Spirit that the Israelites are given. That should be punctuated as I punctuate it here – not with a semicolon after the "you", but with a period after the "you". Semicolon is the same thing. It's the end of your main thought and you are moving to the next one. But, I want to make it a stronger break.
Notice I capitalized "S" for Holy Spirit. Why? Well, in the next part of verse 26, in 26b we read:
NKJ Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Verse 26b gives us more details on the phrase "I will give you a new heart." It's typical in Jewish writing to give a summary sentence or summary paragraph – in some cases even a summary chapter – and then come back in the next section and give the specifics. Genesis 1 through 2:4 you get the whole general overview of the 7 day creation week. Then we come back in Genesis 2 and we get the specifics on what happened on the 6th day when God creates man. So you have this general overview and then specifics. That's what you have here.
"I'm going to give you a new heart and a new Spirit."
First of all let's talk about how I'm going to give you a new heart. I am going to remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. It's no longer going to be a heart that is deceitful and wicked above all things. See there's going to be something different for the Jews there. It looks like there is an affect on their sin nature in the Millennial Kingdom. But if you're trying to apply that to today as part of the New Covenant, you see where you get into error.
"We have a heart of flesh now. We don't have a heart of stone so we're always going to be obedient to the Lord."
The second thing that is said (that is expanded on) is the second phrase "I will put a new Spirit within you." This is clarified in verse 27.
NKJ Ezekiel 36:27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
There it is clear that it is God's Holy Spirit. So if it's God's Holy Spirit in verse 37, then it's got to be - that first mention of Spirit has to be the Holy Spirit. This isn't talking about regeneration. They're already regenerate in terms of being saved. They had to be regenerate to enter into the kingdom. That's what we covered last time when we went into John 3 when Jesus said to Nicodemus:
NKJ John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
He had to be regenerate before he entered the kingdom. But there is going to be something additional that's going to happen. Something that happens that's related to this additional pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
Now we don't have time to go into the next point that I wanted to do. But keep your place and turn over to Joel. We'll wrap up with Joel 2: Joel 2:28f are the verses that Peter refers to in Acts 2. In Joel 2:1-27 we have a description of God's judgment which is focusing on the early part of the chapter on the tribulation. Then it talks about how God is going to restore the people to the land starting in verse 18.
Then we come to verse 28.
NKJ Joel 2:28 " And it shall come to pass afterward
After what? After this judgment that is described in Joel.
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
"Your sons and your daughters" is not talking about the sons of daughters of all believers. It's talking to Israel and it's talking specifically to the sons and daughters of Israel. This is not going to be true of everyone in the tribulation period, only Jews.
Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
NKJ Joel 2:29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
So the pouring out of the Spirit is an expanded and enhanced ministry of the Holy Spirit on the Jews in the Millennial Kingdom beyond what we experience in the Church Age. It goes far beyond that and we can't confuse the two. You have people who try to come in and confuse the two because they think that somehow the New Covenant started in some way in Acts 2 from the Day of Pentecost. But, it's only a similarity.
So where this is taking us is to an understanding of the difference between ritual cleaning which verse 25 provides ritual cleansing for Israel…
NKJ Ezekiel 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
Verses 26 and 27 deal with the inner spiritual cleansing. You have both take place. There is an outer ritual cleansing and an internal transformation of the inner man. When we get into this next time we will come back and look at these key words for cleansing which is always contrasted with uncleanness which is the Hebrew word tame. It's never translated sin. It is never used for sin. So being unclean and being clean are not concepts related to sin and not sin. Although some sins can make you unclean, that's not the concept. It is a picture of what's going on.
Then we'll have to go back to Leviticus 10. In Leviticus 10:10 God is correcting Moses and says that part of the role of a priest is to make a distinction between the holy and profane (one category) and between the clean and unclean (another category). Now it looked in Leviticus 10:10 like those were all the same. But when you look at Ezekiel 22 you have holy and profane, then clean and unclean. They are separated. They are clearly two separate categories, the same as in Ezekiel 44:23. So these are passages.
Then in Ezekiel 37 you have clean and unclean, being defiled earlier in the chapter. Then it shifts to profane and holy – profane and then it comes back to clean and unclean. So you have to tie all this stuff together. Otherwise you don't know what the Word says. If you don't know what the Word says, you can't apply it if you don't interpret it correctly. That's what gets people into trouble.
Let's close in prayer.