Too Late

Jaban, look at the size of those grapes. Two men are carrying one bunch. They are huge.

Yes, and pomegranates too.

And figs.

I told you it would be a good land Hazor.

Israel had waited forty days for the spies to return from searching the land. The young people could not contain their excitement as they listened to the men give their report.

Moses, the land flows with milk and honey; and we brought back this fruit.  “Nevertheless, the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there…” Numbers 13:27-29.

Murmurs rise from the congregation. Caleb calls for the people to be quiet. “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30. 

But no one is listening. 

Tears flow, and angry voices cry out. “Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in this wilderness! … Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.” Numbers 14:2-4.

Moses and Aaron fall on their faces. Joshua and Caleb tear their clothes and cry out, People, people, listen, “The land… is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us… only rebel not ye against the Lord… the Lord is with us: fear them not.” Numbers 14:7-10.

It is no use. 

The congregation is angry and they pick up stones to cast at Caleb and Joshua.

Suddenly, the glory of the Lord appears in the tabernacle, and God’s voice fills the air. Moses, “how long will this people provoke me?... I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.” Numbers 14:11.12.

No Lord, “the Egyptians will hear of it… then the nations which heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness…. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy…” Numbers 14:13-19. 

The congregation waits in silence.

Moses, “I have pardoned according to thy word... (But) all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it… 

Tomorrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea… your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness… from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me… and your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.” Numbers 14:21-

“… and the people wept that night.” Numbers 14:1.

Next morning, the men of the congregation rise early and prepare themselves for battle. “Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned.” Numbers 14:40. 

Immediately Moses cries out in a loud voice, No, you cannot go into the land now. “Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.” Numbers 14:42.

But they will not listen.

Israel, it is too late. You wanted to die in the wilderness – your wish is granted. Do not go up and fight. You will lose the battle.

And it was so.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The attitude of the people affected the whole nation, for not only did the rebellious wander forty years in the wilderness, but Moses, Joshua and Caleb were obliged to suffer with them.

Israel had been delivered from Egypt that they might make known the only true God to the nations. They were to teach men and women to worship Him alone, and to keep His holy Law. If Israel had been faithful, the nations of the world would have made pilgrimages to the capital city seeking salvation.

“And many nations shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:3.

But the Jewish nation did not become the light of the world. 

Before Moses died, the Lord told him, “Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a-whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land… and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them…” Deuteronomy 31:16.

After their settlement in the promised land, and the death of Joshua, with his elders and all the people, the new generation “…forsook the Lord God of their fathers… and followed other gods.” Judges 2:10. 

Instead of fully destroying the nations in the land, they “…mingled among the heathen…” learning their works. 

“Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.” Psalm 106:34-38.

During the four-hundred-and-fifty-year period of the judges, every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”  Judges 21:25.  Acts 13:20.  They worshipped Ashteroth, goddess of the Zidonians, Molech, fire god of the Ammonites, Chemosh, god of the Moabites, the gods of the Philistines, the gods of Syria, and Baal. Judges 10:6.

God sent warning after warning, but every reformation was followed by deep apostasy. It is a story of “backsliding and chastisement, of confession and deliverance”, repeated again and again. Patriarchs and Prophets p545.

God had set forth the result of unfaithfulness through his servant Moses many years earlier --- curses in every area of life, until finally they would be driven from the land.

“The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from afar… as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a nation of fierce countenance… he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down…

If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book… and the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods… And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee…” Deuteronomy 28:

Despite the warnings, apostasy continued. “At times these warnings were heeded and rich blessings were bestowed upon the Jewish nation and through them upon surrounding peoples.” Prophets and Kings p20.

But Satanic agencies worked to confuse the minds of the people in regard to true and false worship, and they became an easy prey. 

After the death of Solomon, ten of the tribes revolted and headed north, leaving Judah with the remnant of Benjamin in Jerusalem. Under the leadership of Jeroboam, two altars were set up in Dan and Bethel, upon which were placed golden calves.  

In defiance, Jeroboam proclaimed, “Behold, thy gods O Israel which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” 1 Kings 12:28. It was a repeat of the apostasy at Sinai -- golden calves, with exactly the same words. At this blasphemous act, and the choosing of priests from any tribe, the Levis returned to Jerusalem.

The sins of the northern kingdom continued to increase.

They left all the commandments of God, and “walked in the statues of the heathen… (they) did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities… and they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen… for they served idols…

And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.” 2 Kings 17:8-12.

God suffered long with His people. 

“Patiently He set their sins before them and in forbearance waited for their acknowledgment. Prophets and messengers were sent to urge His claim upon (them), but instead of being welcomed, these men of discernment and spiritual power were treated as enemies….(they) persecuted and killed them.” Prophets and Kings p21.

The closing years of the northern kingdom were marked with violence and bloodshed, “such as never had been witnessed even

in the worst periods of strife and unrest under the house of Ahab.” Prophets and Kings p279. Finally, the Assyrians attacked Samaria, and in the siege, multitudes perished miserably. 

“The city and nation fell and the broken remnant of the ten tribes were carried away captive and scattered in the provinces of the Assyrian realm.” Prophets and Kings p291. 

What about Judah in the south?  Did they remain faithful?

No, for the prophet said, “And Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God…” 2 Kings 17:19.

Judah also built high places and burned their sons and daughters in the fire. Jeremiah 7:31. “Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan…” Psalm 106:37.38.

Not only did Judah worship idols, but they “set their abominations” in the temple. Jeremiah 7:30.

The prophet Ezekiel saw greater and still greater abominations in vision. “I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry… Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz…

And he brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the Lord, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.” Ezekiel 8:5.14.16.

During the time of Hezekiah, a remnant of the scattered northern kingdom returned in repentance. Twelve sacrifices were offered, one for each tribe. It was a wonderful Passover.

Sadly, the king’s son Manasseh caused much corruption and idolatry. 

The temple became defiled, and so full of rubbish that the sacred Book of the Law was lost. No one knew where it was until young King Josiah ordered the cleansing of the temple. 

While cleaning out the sacred rooms, Hilkiah the priest found the lost scroll.  He gave it to Shaphan the scribe, who took it to the king.

“And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes… for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in the book.” 2 Chronicles 34:19.21.

Go and enquire of the Lord for me, said Josiah.

The prophetess Huldah gave counsel. “Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods… therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.” 2 Chronicles 34:25. 

Tell the king of Judah that because he humbled himself before God, he will go to his grave in peace. 2 Chronicles 34:28.

Destruction was certain; nothing could change it. 

Finally, the Babylonians attacked, taking captives and treasures from the temple. Daniel and other nobles were taken in the first assault. In the fourth siege, the magnificent temple was burnt to the ground.

Now a captive in Babylon, Daniel is given a vision for his people and Jerusalem. (From now on Judah will be referred to as ‘the Jews’, the ‘Jewish nation’, or ‘Israel’)

“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness…” Daniel 9:24. 

Not only was the vision a prophecy of the coming Messiah, but it was  a  warning  that  unless  the  Jews  put  an  end  to rebellion and

apostasy, their probation would close -- four hundred and ninety years to repent and amend their ways. If they truly repented, the Messianic age would begin, bringing with it reconciliation and righteousness.

But when John the Baptist arrived to prepare the way for the Messiah, the Jewish nation was not ready.

Although Babylon had taught the uselessness of gods made of wood and stone, a more subtle form of idolatry arose – pride in being the chosen people.  The temple and its rituals were almost worshipped.  The Jews “looked upon Jerusalem as their heaven, and they were actually jealous lest the Lord should show mercy to the Gentiles.” Desire of Ages p29.30.

Certainly Israel was a privileged people, having received “the adoption, and the glory,  and the covenants,  and the giving of the law,  and the service of God, and the promises.” Romans 9:4. Ahead was a glorious future, if they were willing to repent and obey God’s holy  Law.

As the seventy-week prophecy neared its climax, the priests and leaders began to expect the Messiah to arrive.  Desire of Ages p133.  His coming would be with power, as they believed it was the “day of vengeance” against Rome.  Isaiah 61:2. 

They “looked for the Messiah to come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor’s power, and exalt Israel to universal dominion.” Desire of Ages p30.

When Jesus began His Messianic ministry, the leaders refused to accept Him as the promised One. Pride, self-worship, and a misinterpretation of the Scriptures, paved the way for rejection. 

How could this Nazarene be the Son of God? Psalm 2:7. The Messiah was to “break (the heathen) with a rod of iron… and dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalm 2:8.9.

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled…” Psalm 2:12.  No way would the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, rulers and lawyers submit to such a One as Yeshua of Nazareth, who claimed to be the Son of God.

One day Jesus asked the rulers, Tell me, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?” 

“The Son of David”, they reply.

Quoting Psalm 110:1 Jesus responds, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” 

He asks the question, “How then doth David in spirit call him Lord? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?”  Matthew 22:42-45.

The Jewish leaders clearly understood and interpreted the passage of Scripture as Messianic, but Jesus’ question baffled them. Matthew 22:46.

One day Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” After various answers, Jesus asked, “But whom say ye that I am?” Matthew 16:13.15.16.

Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Many in Israel recognize Yeshua as the Messiah and rejoice in His powerful teachings. Church leaders refuse to believe. They will not accept this young preacher from Nazareth as the Messiah. 

Hatred grows until they begin to plot His death.

It is the final week of the 70-week prophecy and Jesus walks through the temple doors for the last time. Sorrowfully He declares to the priests, “Your house is left unto you desolate”. Matthew 23:38.  God’s presence has been withdrawn, and its symbolic rites are now meaningless. “The whole system must be swept away.” Desire of Ages p36. 620.  

Less than forty eight hours later church officials arrest Jesus and put Him through the mockery of a trial. During the proceedings, the high priest defiantly puts the question to Jesus, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” Matthew 26:57.63.

Jesus must answer under oath, and He says, “Thou hast said: nevertheless, I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 26:64.

The high priest is furious. 

Jesus has once again identified Himself as the Messiah with Psalm 110:1 and also Daniel 7:13. Immediately Caiaphas asks, “What think ye?” and they all cry out, “He is guilty of death.” Matthew 26:66.

With an agreement to put Christ to death, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme court of justice, can now take Jesus to the place of stoning to be put to death. But this is not their plan. They have a better one – God Himself will curse Jesus, “… for he that is hanged (on a tree) is accursed of God.” Deuteronomy 21:22.23. (Crucifixion “was an improper execution of rabbinic law.” Talmud. San 43a)

When Jesus is taken to Pilate in the early hours of Passover, the governor turns to the robed dignitaries and asks, “What will I do with Jesus which is called Christ?” 

The priests and religious leaders answer, “Let him be crucified.”  

“Why, what evil has he done?” 

The answer comes back, “Let him be crucified.” 

When Pilate saw he could not prevail against them, he asked for water and bowl, and washed his hands before them all, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it.” 

The priests and people cry out, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Matthew 27:22-25. 

“The awful cry ascended to the throne of God. That sentence, pronounced upon themselves, was written in heaven. That prayer was heard. The blood of the Son of God was upon their children and their children’s children, a perpetual curse. Terribly was it realized in the destruction of Jerusalem.” Desire of Ages p739. 

Thirty nine years after the death of the Messiah, Titus besieged Jerusalem. 

Christians had already fled, but once the Roman army surrounded the city, no one could escape. Those remaining suffered for weeks without food or water. Yet, Jewish leaders continued to cry, Jerusalem will never be destroyed. God will spare the city. We are His people; the temple of the Lord is holy. Jerusalem will not be destroyed.

False prophets quoted the Scriptures, “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night… If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.” Jeremiah 31:35.36.

A man’s voice continued to wail in the streets -- Woe upon Jerusalem. Woe upon the people. Woe. Woe. Woe. After sounding forth a message of doom for seven years, he died with thousands in the siege. 

Men and women shut themselves up in their inmost rooms and ate corn without grinding it. Others baked bread, but snatched it out of the fire half-baked. Parents refused to give bread to their children, and still others killed and roasted their infants for food. The warnings of Moses were being fulfilled. Deuteronomy 28:53-57. 

Those who did not die in the siege were taken captive as slaves, and finally scattered around the world. 

Through disobedience, Israel had lost the land, the temple, and all their privileges. “Terribly has it been manifested in the condition of the Jewish nation for eighteen hundred years – a branch severed from the vine, a dead, fruitless branch, to be gathered up and burned. From land to land throughout the world, from century to century, dead, dead in trespasses and sins!” Desire of Ages p739.

Think about it -- Is Israel still a dead branch?

Do the Jewish people appear lifeless and ready to be burned?

Although threatened and attacked by the Moslem world, the Jewish nation still praises God that the land of Israel was declared a Jewish State in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. 

This is believed to be a fulfilment of prophecy for the dispersed to return to the land from all over the world. “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 the islands of the sea… and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth…” Isaiah 11:11.12.

Jewish praises sounded loudly in Jerusalem after their victory in the Six-day War -- Israeli soldiers had captured the Temple Mount. It was the first time in almost two thousand years that the sacred Mount was again in their hands.  (Six-day War in 1967 to the Destruction Jerusalem in AD70 = 1897 years)

But once again, the Jews have misinterpreted Scripture. 

Sadly, millions of Evangelical Christians have fallen for the same false understanding, and in their enthusiasm proclaim Israel’s divine right to the land. Old Testament prophecies are seen with literal fulfilments – “the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose”. Isaiah 35:1. Carefully planned irrigation is responsible for transforming the desert.

In reality, the prophecies have not been fulfilled. 

If Moses was permitted to visit the Jewish people today, he would cry out to them, No, Israel. No. Repent. You lost the land two thousand years ago. It is no longer yours. 

Stop preparing furniture for the third temple. The only temple is the heavenly Jerusalem which will come down from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. Your menorah, table, altar of sacrifice, vessels, red heifer, are now useless symbols. Your cohenim will never serve in God’s temple. (menorah – candlestick; cohen – priest, cohenim -- priests)

Israel, look to Yeshua, He really is the Son of God. 

He is seated on the throne of His Father in heaven. Soon He will come back.  Oh my people, accept Yeshua, He really is the Meshiach. He loves you so much and wants you to be ready to meet Him when He comes in the clouds of glory. 

Today the Wailing Wall represents the Jewish prayer for the city and its people. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.” Psalm 122:6.7. 

God has made it clear through the prophets that prosperity always depends on obedience to the commandments. If Israel had obeyed, they would have been blessed. “But if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord God, to observe to do all his commandments… ye shall be plucked from off the land… and the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other…” Deuteronomy 28:15.63.64.

In AD34, at the end of the 70-week prophecy, probation of the Jewish nation closed completely. Every promise in the Word of God has been transferred to spiritual Israel, those who accept Yeshua-Jesus as the Messiah and surrender to Him, whether they be Jews or Gentiles. Galatians 3:28.29.

Reader, do not miss the point.

The Jewish nation has totally rejected the judgments and warnings of God. It is as if He said nothing. 

And yet, presumptuously, they are still claiming the promises.  Enthusiasm never changes reality. 

The disobedient in Israel were severed from the spiritual olive tree two thousand years ago and only faith in Yeshua will graft them back, one by one.

The Bible says Israel is a type, and “all these things happened unto them for ensamples: they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11.

We must ask ourselves – Are we claiming the promises in disobedience, like Israel?

The Jewish nation strongly upholds the Torah and the Law of God, and we can admire their zeal. But to the Jew, the glory is always Israel. (Torah is the first five books of Moses)

Seventh-day Adventists have a great responsibility to instruct the precepts of the same Law of God to the nations. Where Israel of old failed, you and I have been destined to succeed. 

However, Laodicea cannot finish the work – We are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. Revelation 3:17.  The spirit of pride, like the Jews, bars the way. 

Praise God there will be 144,000 repentant and submissive believers who have the loving Philadelphian character.  To this remnant, Jesus is the glory of their self-sacrificing love.

* Laodicea can expect to be rejected if we continue to deny  Christ’s true Sonship to the Father.

* Laodicea can expect the curses to apply if we refuse to obey God’s Word.

* Laodicea can expect the counterfeit latter rain to fall upon us  while practising mystical meditation without our walls.

The warning stands, “Jerusalem is a representation of what the church will be if it refuses to walk in the light that God has given.” 8 Testimonies p67.

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