September 5, 2010 – September 11, 2010
“Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours. … Their prophesying is in force for us. … Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel … spoke of things that … reached down to the future, and to what should occur in these last days.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 338, 419, 420.
This lesson (number eleven) is a pivotal lesson in our series. Several of the previous lessons, notably number five, have prepared us to examine the seeming contradictions in this lesson. In this lesson we see that Israel will be destroyed, and Israel will be saved. Much depends on the student’s ability to: first see this seeming blatant contradiction in the black-and-white narrative of the ancient prophets, and secondly, be able to explain it.
1 What are the results of captivity; to what does it ultimately lead?
At this point in our study, the student must now be following Israel in prophecy; in parallel: in one case as a church that achieves stunning success when failure looks to be certain and in a second case as a church that is destroyed while claiming the protection of God.
- a) First, for one group, the result of captivity is a complete severance from all connection with sin:
“Behold, I will refine them and try them; For how shall I deal with the daughter of My people?” Jeremiah 9:7.
“… the remnant of Israel, and the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer depend on the one who struck them, but they will faithfully depend on the Lord.” Isaiah 10:20. …
“My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray. … Move from … Babylon. Go out … I will punish Babylon … I will bring back Israel. … In that time … the iniquity of Israel shall be sought, but there shall be none.” Jeremiah 50:6, 8, 18–20. [Emphasis supplied.]
“For those of Israel who have escaped. And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.” Isaiah 4:2–4.
“Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! For the … unclean shall no longer come to you. Shake yourself from the dust, arise; … Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion! … You have sold yourselves for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money. … My people went down at first into Egypt to dwell there; then the Assyrian [Babylon] oppressed them without cause. … For they shall see eye to eye when the Lord brings back Zion.” Isaiah 52:1–4, 8. [Emphasis supplied.]
“Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.” Psalms 14:7; 53:6.
“The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no longer send you into captivity.” Lamentations 4:22.
“The Redeemer will come to Zion … to those who turn from sin in Jacob.” Isaiah 59:20. “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong. … Sing, O Daughter of Zion! … The Lord has taken away your punishment.” Zephaniah 3:13-–15.
“For on My holy mountain … declares the Sovereign Lord … the entire house of Israel will serve Me … when I … gather you from the countries where you have been scattered.” Ezekiel 20:40, -41.
- b) Second, for another group—and their offspring, the result of captivity is complete destruction:
“And many among them [both houses of Israel] shall … be snared and captured. … They will be driven into darkness.” Isaiah 8:15, 22.
“Oh … that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.” Jeremiah 9:1.
“… rulers have destroyed My vineyard.” Jeremiah 12:10.
“I said, ‘You are gods, you are all sons of the Most High. But you will die like mere men, you will fall like every other ruler.’ ” Psalm 82:6, 7.
“All the sinners among My people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’ ” Amos 9:10.
The following two questions are worded identically with purpose:
2 What ultimately happens to “both houses of Israel”?
The houses of Israel will be saved!
“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; For this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’ ” Romans 11:26, -27.
“I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be.” Amos 9:11.
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel.” Ezekiel 39:25.
“I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.” Jeremiah 33:7.
“ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers.’ ” Jeremiah 30:3.
“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north.” Jeremiah 3:18.
“… and I will take the children of Israel from among the nations … and will gather them … I will make them one nation … they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. … I will deliver … and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people.” Ezekiel 37:21–-23.
3 What ultimately happens to “both houses of Israel”?
The houses of Israel, through pride and misplaced confidence, are prepared for complete destruction!
“… priests … and … prophets [of Zion] … lean upon the Lord and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.’ Therefore because of you Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.” Micah 3:11, -12.
“And many among them [both houses of Israel] shall … be snared and captured. … They will be driven into darkness.” Isaiah 8:15, 22.
“I have forsaken My house … I have given the dearly beloved of My soul into the hand of her enemies. … Come, assemble all the beasts of the field, bring them to devour!” Jeremiah 12:7–-9.
“I will destroy My people, since they do not return from their ways … And the remnant of them I will deliver to the sword … says the Lord.” Jeremiah 15:7, -9.
“Then he said to me, ‘Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain.’ … While they were killing … I fell facedown, crying out … ‘Are You going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem? ’ He answered me … ‘The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great. … I will not look on them with pity or spare them.’ ” Ezekiel 9:7-–10.
“After seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, He [Jesus] went to find out if there was anything on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ ” Mark 11:13, 14.
“O Jerusalem … your house is left to you desolate.” Matthew 23:37, -38.
“My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt. … I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them.” Jeremiah 44:26, 27.
“By the wrath of the Lord … the people will be fuel for the fire. … Each will feed on the flesh of his own offspring. Manasseh will feed on Ephraim, and Ephraim on Manasseh; together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, His anger is not turned away.” Isaiah 9:19–-21.
In Christ’s day, these seeming counter prophecies of victory and utter destruction for Israel were both fulfilled in parallel. Do you see the potential of this happening once again?
4 How is the destruction in God’s church described? How is the shaking, through which the remnant survive, described?
“Therefore the Lord … will kindle a burning. … It will burn and devour His thorns … in one day. … It will consume the glory of his forest. … Then the rest of the trees of his forest will be so few in number that a child may write them.” Isaiah 10:16–19.
“For the leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed. … Wickedness burns as the fire; it shall … kindle in the thickets of the forest … Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land is burned up, and the people shall be as fuel for the fire. … Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and they together shall be against Judah.” Isaiah 9:16-, 18, 19, 21.
“What is My beloved doing in My temple? … Can consecrated meat avert your punishment? … The Lord called you a thriving olive tree with fruit beautiful in form. But with the roar … He will set it on fire … The Lord Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you.” Jeremiah 11:15–-17.
“Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to Me. … Therefore … as men gather silver [with other elements] into the midst of a furnace … to melt it; so … you shall be melted. … You are a land that is not cleansed or rained on. … The conspiracy of her prophets in her midst is like a roaring lion … they have made many widows … they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy. … So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore … I have consumed them with fire.” Ezekiel 22:8–20, 24–26, 30, 31.
“Alas … the day of the Lord is near; It will come like destruction from the Almighty. … Has not … joy and gladness been cut off from the house of our God? … Flames have burned up all the trees of the field.” Joel 1:15, 16, -19.
“He kindled a fire in Zion, and it has devoured its foundations.” Lamentations 4:11.
“My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place [Judah and Jerusalem] — on the trees … and on the fruit. … It will burn and not be quenched.’ ” Jeremiah 7:20.
“Say to the southern forest: ‘I am about to set fire to you, and it will consume all your trees … every face from south to north will be scorched by it. Everyone will see that I, the Lord, have kindled it; it will not be quenched.’ ” Ezekiel 20:47, 48.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Where is the certificate of your mother’s divorce, whom I have put away? … For your transgressions your mother has been put away. Why, when I came, was there no man?’ ” Isaiah 50:1, 2.
“In that day it shall come to pass that the glory of Jacob will wane. … Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it, like the shaking of a olive tree, two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in its most fruitful branches.” Isaiah 17:4, -6.
“As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.” Ezekiel 15:6.
“Take up a lament concerning the princes of Israel. … Your mother was like a vine … it was fruitful and full of branches … it was stripped of fruit. … Fire spread from one of its main branches and consumed its fruit.” Ezekiel 19:1, 10, 12, -14.
“This Mount Zion … The enemy has damaged everything in the sanctuary. Your enemies roar in the midst … they set up their banners for signs. They … lift up axes among the thick trees. … They have set fire to Your sanctuary; they have defiled the dwelling place of Your name. … They have burned up all the meeting places of God. … O God, how long will the adversary reproach? Will the Lord cast off forever? … O God, the nations have come into … Your holy temple … They have laid Jerusalem in heaps. … We have become a reproach. … How long, Lord? … Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ … How long will You be Angry against the prayer of Your people? Why have You broken down her hedges, so that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit? … The vineyard which Your right hand has planted. … It is burned with fire. … Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you! There shall be no foreign god among you. … But My people would not heed My voice. … Your enemies have … consulted together against Your sheltered ones. They have said, ‘Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.’ ” Psalm 74:2–10; 77:7; 79:1, 4, 5, 10; 80:4, 12 ,15, 16; 81:8, 9, 11; -83:2–4. [Emphasis supplied.]
“I will throw out … the inhabitants of the land. … My tent is plundered, and all my cords are broken; My children have gone from me, and they are no more. … For the shepherds have … not sought the Lord; therefore … all their flocks shall be scattered … a great commotion out of the north … To make the cities of Judah desolate.” Jeremiah 10:18-, 20–22.
“How doth the city sit solitary that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! … She [Zion] has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, those whom You commanded not to enter … The Lord … has abandoned His sanctuary. … The Law is no more … your prophets have seen for you false … visions; they have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captives.” Lamentations 1:1, 10; 2:7, 9, 14.
“My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt. … I will watch over them for adversity and not for good. And all the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end to them. Yet a small number who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah; and all the remnant of Judah, who have gone to the land of Egypt to dwell there, shall know whose words will stand, Mine or theirs.” Jeremiah 44:26–28.
Studies prepared by John T. Grosboll, P.E. John T. is a mechanical engineer living near Vancouver, Washington. His secular employment includes several years of experience in primary metals and transportation-related industries. He, along with his wife, Teresa, is actively involved in the work of the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be contacted by email at: email@example.com.