Party Time at the Visitation

 PARTY TIME AT THE VISITATION When will God visit his people?

Many times I have stood in a church while the congregation sings of the return of the Lord and the party we will all have.  A song I experienced in church recently used the term “the visitation of the Lord” in the context of a party.

Got me to thinking!

Note that this blog post is primarily a list of Scripture verses.  To those who want to get to the intent of the post, do a search (Ctrl f) for “multitude of verses”.

Otherwise, Consider the Bible and the message it has for us concerning God visiting His people!

Exodus 32:30-35

The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold.
But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.”
But the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.
But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
Then the LORD sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.

The preceding passage occurs just after the golden calf had been destroyed, and Aaron tried to explain how the calf came to be.

Exodus 32:24

So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”

I would find that to be hilarious if it wasn’t so true to the human nature.  We so often want to either blame someone else of simply deflect responsibility.  Aaron cast the gold in the fire, but the calf simply came out.  But this isn’t about Aaron!

I was listening to this passage the other day when verse 34 literally jumped into my ears – remember I was listening to the Word so I couldn’t say the words jumped off the page – but forgive my wandering….

 PARTY TIME AT THE VISITATION

Anyway I wondered to myself – when might this visitation be?  Could it be the end of the world?

The Lord states that He will judge His people – those who sinned will be blotted out of His book.  Then the Lord commands Moses to lead the children of Israel into the land. He informs Moses that the angel of the Lord will lead them into the land.

Then He adds, Nevertheless…..

What?  I thought judgement was declared in verse 33.  Is the Lord simply reiterating the same truth?  Or is He declaring a specific day of visitation upon the Israelite’s?

I think the latter, for the following reasons.

A quick review of the term “visit” in the Old Testament reveals some very interesting information.  Take a quick look – I have emboldened portions of the verses that describe God doing the visiting.  (For the sake of brevity, I have not included numerous Old Testament passages that include the concept of visiting, but are defined as times of punishment.)

A Multitude of Verses

Genesis 50:24

And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Genesis 50:25

Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”

Exodus 13:19

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph[fn] had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones with you from here.”

Exodus 32:34

But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”

Isaiah 23:17

At the end of seventy years, the LORD will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.

 

Jeremiah 15:15
O LORD, you know:
remember me and visit me,
and take vengeance for me on my persecutors.
In your forbearance take me not away;
know that for your sake I bear reproach.

Jeremiah 27:22

They shall be carried to Babylon and remain there until the day when I visit them, declares the LORD. Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place.”

Jeremiah 29:10

“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.

Jeremiah 32:5

And he shall take Zedekiah to Babylon, and there he shall remain until I visit him, declares the LORD. Though you fight against the Chaldeans, you shall not succeed’?”

 PARTY TIME AT THE VISITATION

As you can see, there is a multitude of verses that link God with visiting his people, usually in judgement, although a few verses do describe visiting with salvation.

This is the background of the New Testament message, and if Jesus speaks of visiting, or a time of visiting, or a day of visiting, the people of Israel most assuredly connected with this thought.

   Party time at the visitation

Therefore consider the Old Testament background when you read the following passage.

Luke 19:44

“…and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

I ask again, When was this visitation Moses speaks of in Exodus 32:34?  I have a hard time thinking that the party atmosphere is appropriate!

Thanks again for coming to visit.  I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.


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Purpose of Prophecy – Mark 15:43-46

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Biblical prophecy has a purpose. Am I sure I get it?

A few days back I was listening to Mark 15 and a few verses grabbed my attention.

Mar 15:43-46

Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.

In that passage, Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus, wrapped it in fine linen and placed it in a tomb.

OK – so did he perform this action out of obedience to the Word?

Did he see an Old Testament passage and decide to take action to fulfill the prophecy? The text says that Joseph “took courage”, but does not define the motivation of the action. Was it simply to bring some honor to his Rabbi, or was it due to his seeking to obey Isaiah 53:9.

Isaiah 53:9

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

In this instance, the text seems to teach that the fulfillment of the prophecy was not Joseph’s objective.

If so, this particular prophecy in Isaiah was not given to inform prior to its fulfillment, but after its fulfillment.

Well – if that is generally true of prophecy, do we in the modern church look at Biblical prophecy correctly?

Do we try to find out the future for our own purposes? Granted, some information – the Olivet discourse comes to mind – was given to the apostles prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, that they might escape the judgement of God through the Roman armies on the nation of Israel.

Even considering the Olivet discourse though, might the higher purpose of that prophecy be somewhat different from merely saving the disciples lives? After all, most of the apostles were going to be martyred, and persecution was going to fall on the church shortly after the fall of Jerusalem.

I suppose the general thought of trying to figger out the future is very popular among western Christians of a certain stripe. I admit I used to delve heavily into future forecasting, but am now considering the wisdom of that attitude.

A year or so back, a particular passage in John got me thinking. Actually, when I read it carefully, it created more questions than answers! Jesus is talking to His disciples, telling them of a particular future event and actually lets them know WHY He tells them.

 John 13:19

I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.

Did you catch it? “…that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.”

The purpose was to direct the disciples faith to the person of Christ after the fulfillment of the prediction, not to instruct them on how to save their own bacon. Not for some temporal reason, but to direct the attention to the Messiah.

Could this be the highest purpose of prophecy?

Should we consider this to be the primary focus of prophetic interpretation?

When we come to a particular prophecy in the Word, would this concept Lightning help us to know the heart of God better?

Would it help us to rest in Him instead of hurrying about protecting ourselves from what we think may happen?

Lets consider Biblical prophecy to be a gift, not to primarily inform us of future events, but direct our attention to the One who is faithful!

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Promises to Israel – 4. A Conclusion

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In a previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future?

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament. Each of the following promises have been discussed in previous blogs.

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation

Let’s wrap up and try to provide a conclusion.

A SIMPLE CONCLUSION

The conclusion of the matter is that each of the three central promises of God to Israel (via Father Abraham) have been fulfilled physically. The people of Israel enjoyed the status of nationhood and resided in all or part of the land for centuries. Jesus the Christ is the seed upon all the faithful flock to.

Abraham’s physical offspring received the physical promises.

Joshua 23:14

14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things[a] that the Lord your God promised concerning you.

All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.

Although Joshua was reminding the people of his day regarding the fulfillment of the promise of the land, this sentiment is also applicable for the promise to Israel of nationhood and the seed.

Abraham’s spiritual offspring (the Body of Christ) can look to the faithfulness of God to the physical offspring of Israel and learn much.

But we have so much more in the way of promises. So much more.

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Promises to Israel – 3. The Nation

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In a previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Nation.  So, “let’s get at ‘er”

THE NATION PROMISE

The promise of a nation, I feel is an extension of the land promise in some regards. (“Promises to Israel – The Land“) First off, the Lord stated that He would make Abraham a Father of many nations. We sometimes forget that, and the promise completely came to fruition with the many (mostly extinct) nations that grew out of Abraham’s physical seed. Consider the family tree below. Patriarch+Lineage+Abraham+through+Joseph.JPG?format=original

Kingdoms included the Ishmaelites, Edomites and those of Abraham’s last wife, Keturah. Dang – for a man who had all his children so late, his posterity is huge!!!

The promise of nationhood may be found in the following verses

Genesis 12:2-3

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 17:5-6

No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham,  for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.

But what does it mean to be a nation? What was the Lord implying when He promised this?

One distinguishing feature of a nation is a governing body of authorities, a government, combined with laws and statues to frame a social order which defines the nation. A nation has to have a territory to reside in. A nation usually possesses, to varying degrees, a unifying culture, language and religion.

Abraham’s family, in Egypt possessed a unifying culture, language and religion. But without laws, statutes, and a land to reside in, they were simply a really big family, twelve tribes from the loins of Israel.

The laws and statutes came at Sinai under Moses. The land came during Joshua’s time. So could we say that between Sinai and Canaan, the Israelite’s were a nation without land?

But let us leave that for another post – The point is that the Lord fulfilled His promise in creating a nation of the family of Abraham. His word was true and faithful. He kept His word.

 Exodus 33:13

Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.

Deuteronomy 4:6-8

Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

II Samuel 7:23

And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods?

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Promises to Israel – 2. The Seed

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In a previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Seed.  So “let’s get at ‘er”

THE SEED PROMISE

Growing up with the KJV, I always read the following verses with “seed” being used instead of “offspring”. Paul makes a deal about this in Galations. I am using the ESV below (and throughout the post) for clarity sake.

This promise is murky in my mind, and I am thankful we have an Apostle defining the intent of the promise in Galations 3.

Murky, cause it seems to emphasize Abraham’s genetic offspring, that is, all of his children. This isn’t Paul’s point in the New Testament. Paul emphasizes “the seed” as referring to Christ, not “the seeds”, referring to the multitudinous children of Abraham.

The offspring in this verse are linked directly to the promise of the land. We’ve considered the land promise and if this was the only verse relating to the “seed”, we might conclude that when the land was forfeited, the offspring would be effected somehow. (After all, where would the offspring settle without the land?)

Genesis 12:7

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Genesis 15:5 seems to be defining the promise in relation to the volume of Abraham’s offspring. Abraham’s offspring would be innumerable!

Genesis 15:5

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Genesis 17:7 gets hairy – What is He promising? This promise relating to Abraham’s offspring has the intended result of an everlasting covenant of God being God to the offspring.

Genesis 17:7

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

How did this work out? Before we get to Galations, lets consider the story of Elijah.

1 Kings 19:18

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Abraham’s physical offspring resided in the nation of Israel at the time of Elijah, and yet God informed Elijah that a remnant existed within the nation. The apostate nation could not be considered to be included in the “everlasting covenant” since they were apostate. (God was not their God!)

But they were the physical offspring! This distinction is critical to note. Jesus made much of this concept in His teaching.

Matthew 3:9

“and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

 Matthew 8:11

“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 19:9

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;

 John 8:39-40

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.

Notice that Jesus did not associate Abraham’s children as physically related, that is by blood, but by the actions performed in their lives.

It think my point is obvious and I don’t want to get too distracted so lets move on. (How ‘bout John the Baptist talking about repentance – No – I said I would stop!)

Galations 3:16

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

If Paul’s point is that the covenant promise was between God and His Messiah, things become somewhat clearer. The Christ is the only One who truly established an everlasting covenant for the offspring of Abraham. That is, the offspring of Abraham, those who have the faith of Abraham. Physical lineage was not crucial. Consider Ruth, Naaman, the Egyptians that joined the exodus, Rahab…. The remnant has always existed and that remnant recognized the Savior when He arrived.

OK, so we made a few minor detours going through the post. Sorry bout the remnant rant, but finding that thread of truth through the Word has helped me understand so much!

What is the conclusion of the matter? Does God have any responsibility to the people of Israel?

Oh nooo! That is another problem – Who specifically are the children of Israel today? Can a Jewish person prove his lineage back to Abraham Isaac and Jacob? I understand that it is impossible to trace lineage back to the fathers since all the records were destroyed in the temple fires during the Roman siege. But that is another rabbit trail that I may tackle at a later date.

It looks like the New Testament confirms God’s promise of the Seed to be an accomplished fact in the person of Jesus Christ.

Contact me or make comment to further our discussion in Considering the Bible.  I look forward to your thoughts.

Hope to see you in the next post.

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Promises to Israel – 1. The Land

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In our previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Land.  So, as my brother used to say – “Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er”

THE LAND PROMISE

 Genesis 17:8

And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

There you have it – He promised Father Abraham all the land of Canaan. Genesis 13:15 states that the land will be given to Abram and his offspring forever. The verse above speaks of an everlasting possession.

But there seemed to be a condition, as the next set of verses seems to indicate.

Deuteronomy 19:8-10

And if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land that he promised to give to your fathers—provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the LORD your God and by walking ever in his ways—then you shall add three other cities to these three, lest innocent blood be shed in your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, and so the guilt of bloodshed be upon you.

Joshua 23:15-16

But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”

Even with this condition stipulated, and the nation of Israel rebelling constantly, the Old Testament speaks of God fulfilling His end of the bargain. Remember that this land promise was a bilateral contract / covenant and One of the parties in this agreement kept His word.

Nehemiah 9:7-8

You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.

Joshua 21:43-45

Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

If these verses are to be believed, it looks like the concern over God’s honor is misplaced. He is faithful, and has performed all His promises in relation to the people of Israel in occupying and possessing the Promised Land.

It looks like the Old Testament confirms God’s promise of the Land to be an accomplished fact.  Contact me or make comment to further our discussion in Considering the Bible.  I look forward to your thoughts.

Hope to see you in the next post. 

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Promises to Israel – An Introduction

brown book pageThere is a new end times book based on the US recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel!

First off, I need to say that I have not read this book, and that I found out about this publication based on a conservative talk show commercial.

Nevertheless this commercial got me to considering a time when this end times topic would have grabbed my attention. Now it just makes me angry. Anger due to the bare faced profiteering off of the modern day church, but more so due to the distraction and confusion the topic causes believers.

Distraction from the Word of God. (How often have I chosen man’s thoughts over God’s?)

Confusion in that so many books elevate the nation of Israel as the focus and purpose of all that God does. (Spoiler alert – The focus and purpose of all that God does is to reveal Jesus Christ.)

Of course, this raises a central question in my thinking that will provide the fodder for the following posts. The overarching question is…

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future?

I suppose if the promises God made to Israel in the Old Testament have not been fulfilled, two consequences occur to me.

  • The promises have yet to be fulfilled, for no other reason than to maintain the honor of God. This thinking fuels the futurist theology that seems so popular in the modern American church.

  • God is a liar.

No one wants to think of the second bullet – Dang I had a hard time typing it! The desire to see God honored is fantastic. No denying that.

But wait – The two consequences above are a false dichotomy – I think I’m seeing another possibility!!

What if the promises made to Israel in the Old Testament have been fulfilled?

Lets consider.

God made three big promises to Israel in the Old Testament. The next three blogs will deal with these promises, with a final post supplying a conclusion, that hopefully ties together the discussion and provide some insight.

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land

  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed

  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation

Each post will offer a chance for discussion and comment, which I look forward to receiving.  Hope to see you in the next post.

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