Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Job: Suffering and Loss

James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Job lost everything: his wealth, his health, and his ten children. All swept away in one satanic storm. Reduced to a heap of flesh, ashes, and tears—rebuked by friends and jeered by strangers—righteous Job wrestled over the purpose and presence of God in the midst of unbearable pain.

The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Israel Will Be Saved

Daniel’s 70th Week

Daniel 9:26-27 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

At first reading this passage is a bit confusing. It may be helpful to read it in context before reading commentaries on the passage. This passage is often understood with respect to the interpreters eschatological view. If you see a future Israel then verse 27 and following are future events. If you believe that there is no future Israel then verse 27 has already happened. I happen to be in the former camp.

One of the reasons I see a future for Israel is that future restoration is not only portrayed in the OT but it is also promised. The Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants are all everlasting unconditional promises. These covenants have not been fully realized. Another reason to believe that there is a future Israel is because the NT points to that and specifically declares it in Paul’s exhaustive treatment in Romans 9-11.

Romans 11:1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

Romans 11:25-36 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; 27 For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” 28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.
For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” 35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?” 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

If you take the plain sense of the text and understand that there is a future Israel then the mysteries of Daniel 9 become increasingly clear. Daniel predicted that the Messiah would be “cut off” or killed. The time was calculated to the day he walked into Jerusalem on 9 Nissan AD 30. (for further details see Sir Robert Anderson’s The Coming Prince)

There is a mysterious pause in the timeline between the 69th and seventieth week. This pause in the events is the church age.

Ephesians 3:9-10 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;
to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,

The rapture of the church will close the church age. It will mark the ‘fullness of the Gentiles” and God will glorify His name by restoring His people Israel. The unfolding of the seventieth week of Daniel is resumed in the Book of Revelation.

Romans 11:26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;