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Peace restored;- Reunion

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posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 05:02 PM
The Bible identifies God’s people Israel as a community.
They are described in the Old Testament as the descendants of one man.
It is more important (and perhaps more true) that they are a community of faith, combining in the worship of the one God. They are brethren.

Their unity was always imperfect.
During the period of the Judges, the nation was dominated by the central tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh- “the house of Joseph”. They never quite reconciled themselves to the upstarts of the house of David, and soon broke away to form a separate kingdom. There was constant bickering between the two kingdoms as long as they both survived.
They were also troubled by a long series of external enemies, who brought about the destruction of both kingdoms and took their populations into exile.

Some of the prophets of the Old Testament promise a final battle in which the enemies of God’s people will be overcome conclusively. I looked at this theme in The Last Battle in Old Testament prophecy

Following this victory, God’s people are able to return to the land, and the restoration of the people is to be accompanied by a reunion of the people.

Reunion; Old Testament version

The heirs of the northern kingdom will not be excluded from this restoration.
Jeremiah promises (ch31) that the Lord will have mercy upon Ephraim, as well as upon Judah. He observes(ch33 v24) that the Lord has not rejected the two families which he has chosen.
Ezekiel, indeed, extends the promise not just to Samaria but also to Sodom; they will both be restored at the same time that Jerusalem is restored (ch16 v53).
The two communities will be able to live in peace;
“In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel” (Jeremiah ch3 v18).
“Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim” (Isaiah ch11 v13).
While Ezekiel acts out the promise that God will take “the stick of Joseph” and “the stick of Judah” and combine them into one stick. His vision of the restored land (ch48) includes allocations for all the former tribes.

And what will be the fate of the defeated enemies of God’s people?
One strand of prophecy offers the promise that they will be destroyed; “Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries, and all your enemies will be cut off” (Micah ch5 v9).
But if the enemies are dead, they cannot be conscious of having been defeated. There may be more satisfaction, for Israel, in a turning of the tables which leaves them as the new rulers of the world.
“With their faces to the ground they will bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet” (Isaiah ch49 v23).
“Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you” (Isaiah
ch60 v10).
“We shall raise against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men; they shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword” (Micah ch5 vv5-6).
For this purpose, former enemies must be revived;
“But in the latter days I will restore the fortunes of Elam, says the Lord” (Jeremiah ch49 v39).
“At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre… her merchandise and her hire will be dedicated to the Lord” (Isaiah ch23 v17).

This, in turn, implies that the former enemies are submitting themselves to Israel’s God.
“In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt… when[Egypt] cry to the Lord because of oppressors he will send them a saviour and will save and deliver them” (Isaiah ch19 vv19-20).
“The nations shall see and be ashamed of all their might… they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God”(Micah ch7 v17)
“The inhabitants of one city shall go to another and say ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favour of the Lord’… In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah ch8 vv22-23).
“They shall follow you… they shall make supplication to you, saying ‘God is with you only and there is no other’” (Isaiah ch45 v14).

Jerusalem shall become the worship centre of the world.
“Then every one that survives of all the nations that have come up against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the king, the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah ch14 v16).
“Many nations shall come and say ‘Come, let us go up to the house of the Lord… that he may teach us his ways…’” (Micah ch4 v2)
“At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem” (Jeremiah ch3 v17).
“I am coming to gather all nations and tongues and they will come and see my glory” (Isaiah ch66 v18).

The effect of this development is the disappearance of the boundary between Israel and the rest of the world. They have become a single worshipping community.
“In that day Israel will be a third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage”(Isaiah ch19 vv24-25).
“At that time I shall change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord” (Zephaniah ch9 v9).
“The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah ch11 v9).

Their God will rule them, and they will live in peace;
“Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Micah ch4 v4).
This will be a more complete reunion, healing the state of division symbolised by Cain.
“And the Lord will become king over all the earth” (Zechariah ch14 v9).

posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 05:04 PM
Reunion; New Testament version

The New Testament is focussed on the latter aspect of reunion, the healing of the division between the Jews and the Gentiles.

Jesus said that his own mission was to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, but he was willing to respond to the faith of occasional Gentiles like the centurion.
Then the gospels end with the instruction to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew ch28 v19).
The narrative in Acts shows how that command was obeyed.
The story of Cornelius confirmed the implication that “to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life” (Acts ch11 v18). Like a certain translation of the Bible, the mission to the Gentiles is “appointed”, and therefore “authorised”.

More specifically, this was the historic mission of Paul; “I will send you far away to the Gentiles” (Acts ch22 v21). He was commissioned “to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light… that they may receive forgiveness of sin and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts ch28 v18).

The success of the mission to the Gentiles already goes a long way towards fulfilling one of the major components of the Old Testament expectation, viz. that the nations of the world would turn themselves towards the God of Israel and begin “going up to Jerusalem”.
Since what is literal and physical in the Old Testament is normally spiritual in the New Testament, the journey “to Jerusalem” does not need to be understood in the literal sense. The point is that the nations are joining in the worship of Israel’s Creator God.

Therefore, in principle, the Jews and the Gentiles should form a single worshipping community, as promised in the Old Testament.
In that last quotation, the Gentiles are offered a place among those who are sanctified.
In Romans, Paul takes the old image of the olive tree, representing God’s people Israel, and he tells the Gentile Christians that they are a wild olive shoot which has been grafted onto that tree. They now share in the life, the “nourishment”, which the tree receives from God.
He does NOT suggest that the Gentiles have been planted as a new tree. There is only one tree in this metaphor, and God’s people are understood in the Bible as one people.

Just to recap, the community of Israel begins with Abraham.
It is a faith community, fundamentally, because it rests upon Abraham’s faith.
The member tribes, historically, may have been first recruited as a faith community.
The bonds of the community were reinforced by the tradition of descent from a common ancestor.
By the time John the Baptist came along, the Jews were placing too much trust in their sense of common descent, and he rebuked them for that.
So part of the work of the New Testament (especially in Galatians and Romans) is to reinstate Faith as the criterion which defines the community of God.
Which ought to include, more specifically, faith in Christ.
As far as Paul is concerned, descent from Abraham is not important. The only thing that matters is the “new creation”, and those who live according to THAT rule are now defined as “the Israel of God” (Galatians ch6 v16).

The Israel of God began as twelve tribes, shrinking a little to become the Jews, but expanded again in Paul’s time through the inclusion of the believing Gentiles.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek… for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians ch3 v28)
Strictly speaking, of course, this is a unity between those Jews and Gentiles who are “sanctified by faith in me”.
Many other Jews are unwilling to put their faith in Christ, and they appear in Paul’s olive-tree metaphor as the “some branches” which have been broken off the tree.
But Paul refuses to believe that God has rejected the old Israelites altogether, and offers the hope that the broken branches will be grafted back in again (Romans ch11 vv23-24).
So God’s people Israel now contains the believing Jews and Gentiles, in full membership, and also extends in a broader sense to include those Jews who are “faithless” (Romans ch3 v3)- or perhaps a better translation is “unbelieving”.

What about the promised reunion with the ten tribes of the northern kingdom?
The difficulty is that those tribes have lost their sense of identity, and their descendants have been absorbed into the Gentile world.
For practical purposes, then, this reunion has been caught up in the more general union between Jews and Gentiles.
The names of the twelve tribes appear in Revelation ch7 as being “sealed” by God, but they are also inscribed on the gates through which the whole people of God enter the new Jerusalem. So these references can have nothing to say about the literal twelve tribes. Once again, the symbolic meaning is that the name of “Israel” belongs to the full community of God’s people.

There, as the new Jerusalem, they will be gathered and standing in the presence of God.
And in this way, the Old Testament prophecies of permanently restored union will find their fulfilment.

posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 05:04 PM
This new series keeps the promise made in the recent “Old and New” thread, viz-

This thread will be followed up by a short series considering what happens after the Day of the Lord, in what might be called “the state of lasting peace”.
[The series title has been changed, to express more clearly the contrast with our present condition]
The overall story can be summed up in this way;
There is a final and conclusive defeat of the enemies of God.
Once the battle is over, the exiles come home.
They are safe in their own land.
Their God rules over them, and their Temple is restored.
They are re-united with their brethren, and even reconciled with their former enemies.
They are holy to God.
And they will have the full blessings of life.

I’ll be taking different aspects of the story in turn. In each case taking the message of the prophets in the Old Testament, and then considering how the New Testament is reinterpreting the message in the light of Christ.
Thus, like the wise householder, making the best use of the old and of the new.

posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 05:27 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI
When do we get the new heaven and new earth with the New Jerusalem coming down the bride of Christ?

posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 05:30 PM
a reply to: PhilbertDezineck
That's Revelation's version of what I'm describing, but I don't know any date except "once Christ has returned".

posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 06:05 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

I'm always looking at the last page so to say. The OT does describe the coming of the Lord in some very dramatic terms as mountains melting like wax, trees clapping, and stars falling. I look foreword to reading this series. Thanks

posted on Aug, 9 2019 @ 06:11 PM
a reply to: PhilbertDezineck
Revelation ch19 is also very dramatic, this being the equivalent, though some of the details in both cases are not meant to be taken literally.

Incidentally, this is already the third in the series.

edit on 9-8-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 11 2019 @ 11:12 AM
The previous threads in this series covered;
Blessing and prosperity
edit on 11-8-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

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