Monday, June 27, 2011

Back in the Land to Stay?

And 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, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the Islands of the sea.
Isaiah 11:11

If you have the impression that Glen likes to stick to his subject you are right. He keeps to his outline and to his time schedule. People count on it. Although he always maintains his time schedule, there have been rare occasions when he will depart from his subject matter. Tonight was one of those occasions.

He had been introducing lesson on the seven churches of Revelation chapters 1-3, when a young woman held up her hand. She was aglow with happiness as she asked her question. “Don’t you feel that the time of the rapture must be close since Israel is back in the land?”

Listening to Glen answer this type of quest was fascinating to me. He once described it as untangling two sets of fish lines tangled up with one another, it was a multiple question.

“Let me address the time of the rapture first” he said. “I believe you are keeping the rapture of the Church separate from God’s dealing with Israel. This is good. The Bible shows us that the Church and Israel are separate, and although sometimes there is an overlap in His dealing with them as in The Acts of the Apostles, by the time we get to Revelation they are separate until after the great tribulation.

As for the rapture, the only indication we have in the Bible as when it will occur is that there will be a falling away of some of the church, a serious departure from the faith. Many believe we are in that time now, which would mean the rapture is imminent and could occur at any time. I know it can’t come too soon for me.”

The young woman still had the glow, she obviously felt she was on to something and wouldn’t let it go. “Do you have any idea of the timing?" she asked, "after all Israel is back in the land.”

“As for timing, I never talk about when” he said. “Prophecy tells us the sequence of events, but doesn’t set dates. Not until you get into a timed event as in the ninth chapter of Daniel. Then you have a starting point, but, by definition, that is years away. I am like a bus driver taking people on a tour across the country from east to west. Someone asks what time we’ll get to San Francisco and all I can say is it will be after we pass the arch in St.Louis and visit Yellowstone Park. The Bible gives us the sequence of events and, except for the 70th week of Daniel, it does not give us dates.”

The young lady was disappointed, you could see it in her face. Glen told me he was always concerned about such expressions. He told me these people often don’t even complete the study. “They’re looking for a thrill” he told me, "and I’m not the one to give it to them. The people who are good students don’t smile all the time, they're careful thinkers, not thrill seekers.”

She tried one more time, “But it must be soon, don’t you think?”

“As I said” Glen replied patiently, “the rapture could be soon, but not because Israel is in the land.”

A young man next to her, maybe her husband, spoke, “In 1948 the nation of Israel was formed by the partitioning of Palestine. President Truman said that signing that paper was the proudest moment of his life. It has been way over a generation since then, don’t you feel it must be time?”

Glen showed great patience, he was happy people were thinking about this. He felt it was very important and treated it as if it was.

“First of all” he said “Israel is not back in the land.”

There was a collective gasp from a number of people as he said these words. But before anyone could protest Glen continued. “What we have is an attempt to create the nation Israel by giving some Jews some of Abraham’s portion, a mighty small fraction of the land God has promised them. From the Euphrates to the Nile, from the Mediterranean to the Great Arabian Desert, that was Abraham’s portion. The Jews don’t even own all of Jerusalem. The United Nations is not going to create Israel, God will do it. Anyway the Jews are going to be scattered again before they return the final time.”

The young man and woman were talking together, quietly and rapidly.

He turned towards Glen “It’s not like we don’t believe you, but do you have scriptures that tell about that, I mean the Jews being scattered again.”

“So glad you asked about the scriptures. That is what we are here for, the scriptures. Let us turn to the great prophet Moses” said Glen, smiling to himself. He knew there would be a reaction to this remark. “We may become so involved with the past life of Moses, the ancient history of Israel, we can forget that Moses foretold details of the nation Israel’s future that are found nowhere else in the Bible.”

Glen loved to see people sit up, even if they were about to take exception to what he was saying. He wanted people to question and from the looks he was getting tonight, that is what was taking place.

“Let’s turn to the book of Deuteronomy” he said. “We’ll be reading from Deuteronomy 28. Moses is telling his people the blessings for them if they keep the law covenant. But then, beginning in verse 15, he tells them the consequences if they violate the covenant. This passage is very long, but you asked for scriptures and this is the main passage dealing with their future dispersion. You need to read all of Deuteronomy 28 to get the picture. But tonight, let’s look at verse 68. It is so horrible to think of what lies ahead for Israel,..."

A lady in the front row had been taking this all in. She looked very troubled as she spoke, “Isn’t there any way they can avoid this?”

Glen spoke with conviction, “For the nation, no. But some individuals will escape. We have some with us tonight”, he smiled at a couple and their young son. "God is still calling some Jews into his church, they will escape.”

“Escape what” asked an older man. He looked very skeptical about the whole idea.

“They are going back to Egypt again.” said Glen.

I saw the disbelief in many faces. It was obvious that they had never heard of such a thing.

Glen once said “Many people want to plunge into Revelation, but have no knowledge of the Old Testament, and even those who do study the Old Testament don’t read the prophecies of Moses.”

I asked him why and he told me, “People don’t think systematically, they wait for cues from preachers and teachers, even movies and videos. Then they study within these guidelines. They believe what they are told to believe, and don’t follow the Word, unfortunately.”

“Let’s look at it” said Glen and he read:

And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.
Deuteronomy 28:68

“Nothing in the history corresponds to this scripture. The Jews have never been taken to Egypt in ships. They have never been offered for slaves, that is what bondmen and bondwomen means. And, the pathetic thing is, no one will buy them. At least under pharaoh, they had food.”

“Then what will become of them?” someone asked.

“For that” said Glen, “we need to turn to the Book of Isaiah, chapter eleven. This is the Second Exodus!

And 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, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isaiah 11:11,12

People were recovering from the shock of hearing what was, to them, a new teaching. Hands went up. “What are the islands of the sea?” asked one.

Glen welcomed the question,”The first series of countries are the ancient Bible lands mentioned in the Old Testament” he said” You could travel to them on foot or by riding an animal. But when the Bible mentions the islands of the sea, countries away from the contiguous land mass are in view, other continents and land masses. It could include North America and other distant lands. Isaiah says from the four corners of the earth. This shows you the extent of the dispersion, and the scope of the recovery.”

“How will they return from Egypt” someone wanted to know.”Does the second Exodus mean a second parting of the sea?”

Glen told everyone to continue reading in Isaiah. “Here is your answer in verse fifteen", he said.

And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people which shall be left , from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
Isaiah 11:15,16

You see” said Glen, “this goes completely beyond any UN resolution or anything man has done or can do. Before Israel is settled in the land, a lot of prophecy must be fulfilled, and it is prophecy that is almost never studied.

Every effort of mankind to bring about the kingdom of God will fail, until He brings it about. Today, God is working with the church, not Israel. When the church is complete, then we will be caught up to heaven with Jesus. When we are safe with him, he will turn back to the earth and work with the gentiles and the nation Israel.

For those who want scripture for this, and I hope you all do, we have it all laid out in the Acts of the Apostles chapter fifteen.

This is the first church council. James quotes from the Old Testament book of Amos, and he sets a good example for us all in so doing. The Simeon James speaks of here is Peter."

And after they had held their peace, James answered saying, Men and brethren , hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
Acts 15:13,14

“Here we are” said Glen, “a people for his name” refers to Christians, we bear his name.”

And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Acts 15:15-17

A hand went up, “What does ‘after this’ refer to?”

“James said that at that time God was calling out a people to be called after his name. So he is saying after God has called out the church. Then he will turn to rebuild the fallen tabernacle of David. David’s tabernacle is his kingdom.”

“No kingdom of David until the church is complete?” someone asked.

“You got it” said Glen, “even if the UN has other plans.”

“Who are the residue of men?” asked someone.

“Well, they are not gentiles” said Glen. “Because the rest of the verse says and all the gentiles upon whom my name is called. Since the church is complete, that leaves the residue of Israel. See how Isaiah 11:15 says ‘remnant’ of his people which shall be left? Residue and remnant mean the same thing. Like a remnant sale, what is left from something greater. The wonderful thing about Acts 15:13-17 is that all three types of people that God is saving are mentioned in one passage and in the order by which He will save them. When you have a passage like that you have a treasure. You can’t go wrong when they are mentioned together like that.”

“So we are now in the church period waiting for it to be complete, then God will start to deal with Israel and the gentiles later on?" said one of the original questioners.

“That’s right" said Glen. “I had us scheduled to talk about the seven churches in Revelation, but we obviously needed to talk about this tonight. I thank you for the questions. You are thinking, and nothing makes me happier than that”.

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