Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters nine through twelve of this New Testament book. ISRAEL HAS NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN! ISRAEL HAS NOT BEEN CAST OFF! AS SURE AS ELECTION IS FOR THE SPIRITUAL ISRAEL, WHICH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST, SO ALSO IS ELECTION SURE FOR THE NATION AND PEOPLE OF ISRAEL! THE LORD HAS NOT DESPISED HIS PEOPLE! THE LORD HAS NOT FORSAKEN HIS PEOPLE! CONSIDER HOW ISRAEL IS THE ONLY NATION THAT HAS BEEN TWICE RESTORED AND TWICE BORN AGAIN! THE NATION OF ISRAEL WAS BORN AGAIN AFTER SEVENTY YEARS OF CAPTIVITY IN THE LAND OF THE CHALDEANS WHEN THEY WERE RESTORED UNTO THEIR LAND! THE NATION OF ISRAEL WAS BORN AGAIN AFTER THE EVENTS OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY WHEN AFTER YEARS OF EXILE THEY WERE ONCE MORE RESTORED UNTO THE LAND! RESTORED THROUGH CONFLICT! It would be very easy to read the words which are found within the first eight chapters of the New Testament epistle written unto the Romans and to think that because of the salvation that was provided unto the Gentiles, and because circumcision no longer avails anything when it comes to being justified by faith in the sight of the living and eternal God that the LORD has somehow cast off the nation and people of Israel. If and as you come to the ninth, tenth and eleventh chapters of this New Testament epistle you will be brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth declared by the apostle Paul that the LORD has not cast off, the LORD has not despised, the LORD has not rejected, and the LORD has not forsaken His people. Despite the unbelief of the Jews toward the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, and despite their rejection of the Messiah it is important that we recognize and understand that the LORD has not cast off His people, and that the LORD has not forsaken His covenant, nor His promises, nor His blessings which He bestowed upon the nation of Israel. In all reality, this truth and this reality is evidenced twice within and throughout history when the nation and people of Israel which were exiled from the land and scattered among the nations, and yet they were on two separate occasions brought back unto their own land which was sworn and promised unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome and tremendous fact that the nation of Israel is and has been the only nation that has been reborn and “born again” if you will, as the nation of Israel would be born again after spending seventy years in exile and captivity in the land of the Chaldeans. It would be during the days of Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel the nation and people of Israel would live and dwell in captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, and it would be during these days when the southern kingdom of Judah—together with the city of Jerusalem—would be cast forth out of the land after having violated the commandment and covenant of the living God. Although the LORD repeatedly sent unto them prophets who would warn and speak unto them they would not only disregard and fail to hearken unto their message, but they would also kill the prophets. It would be this reality which the Lord Jesus the Christ would allude to when He would indict the scribes and the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. If and as you read the words which are found in the final verses of the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus the Christ not only speaking directly to the truth that the ancestors and forefathers of those within His generation killed and stoned the prophets, but also that they themselves within that generation were rejecting and had rejected their hour of visitation—and not only their hour of visitation, but also their Messiah who had come unto them. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome and powerful truth, for the words of Jesus not only speak to that underlying mindset that was present during the days leading up to captivity and exile, but also how it was present during those days and within that generation in which He was living. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the Temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chikcens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:29-39).
We must needs pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for it is what we find here that not only speaks to that generation which lived in the days leading up and prior to the exile and captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, but also the generation which was present within Jesus’ day. It would be the generation that was present during those Last Days which led up to the siege of the city of Jerusalem, and the ultimate destruction of the city of Jerusalem with the Temple of the LORD that would not only experience famine, pestilence and the sword, but would also witness devastation and destruction. Moreover, there would be three successive waves of Babylonians that would enter into the land of Judah and would carry away men and women captive out of and from the land sworn unto their fathers, and would bring them unto the land of the Chaldeans. It would be a total of seventy years the people of Israel would live in captivity and exile in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans before the LORD would not only visit them, but would also visit that nation and people which had carried them away captive. Oh we have great need of watching and paying close attention to this particular truth, for when you read the twenty-ninth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah you will find this ancient Hebrew prophet not only providing instruction concerning their captivity and exile, but would also declare unto them the appointed time of their deliverance from captivity and exile. In other words, although Jeremiah would indeed prophesy concerning captivity and exile, and although the LORD would indeed remove the people from the land and allow the land to remain fallow for a period of seventy years, He would ultimately come unto His people there in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans and would bring them back and restore them unto the land. It would be through the prophet Jeremiah we encounter and understand the appointed time ordained and decreed by the living God for their captivity and exile—much like there was an appointed time for their slavery, and appointed time for their wilderness wanderings, and an appointed time for their captivity. [Pause for a moment and consider that despite the fact the people of Israel would live enslaved in the land of Egypt, despite the fact that the people of Israel would wander in the wilderness, and despite the fact the people of Israel would live in captivity and exile in the land of the Chaldeans, the LORD would have an appointed time for deliverance and salvation]. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-ninth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah concerning the appointed time of captivity and exile:
“Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon; (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem) by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. For thus saith the LORD, THAT AFTER SEVENTY YEARS BE ACCOMPLISHED AT BABYLON I WILL VISIT YOU, AND PERFORM MY GOOD WORD TOWARD YOU, IN CAUSING YOU TO RETURN TO THIS PLACE. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive” (Jeremiah 29:1-14).
Oh we must needs recognize that which is found within this passage of Scripture, for it is what we find here before us that clearly indicates that there had been seventy years decreed for the captivity and exile of the people of Israel, and that after seventy years had been completed in the land of the Chaldeans the LORD would both visit that people which carried them away captive, and deliver the people of Israel out of that land and bring them into and unto their own land once more. Please don’t miss what is being presented here, for although the LORD had indeed caused and allowed His people to be removed from the land, and although the LORD had indeed allowed His people to be carried away into a strange and foreign land where they would live as captives and exiles, He would deliver and bring them forth from the midst of the land of their captivity and restore them unto their land. How absolutely and utterly captivating and astonishing it is to think about and consider this truly astonishing and captivating truth, for the people of Israel would indeed be in captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, however there would be an appointed time for their captivity and exile. The LORD would not allow them to rot and diminish in their captivity, but rather desired that they prosper and be preserved in the midst of the land. What a truly wonderful and powerful thing it is to think about and consider that although the LORD would remove His people from the land, and although He would allow them remain as captives and exiles in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans, He would watch over and preserve them—and not only watch over and preserve them, but also preserve them that when the appointed time would come for them to be delivered and brought forth from the midst of their captivity they would be able to return to the land.
It is this reality of there being an appointed time for the captivity of the people of Israel that is something worth noting and pointing out, for it directly coincides and is intrinsically linked to their time of slavery in the land of Egypt, as well as their wandering in the wilderness. If and as you read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, as well as the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Numbers you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the LORD would declare unto Abraham that his descendants would be strangers and slaves in a foreign land for four-hundred and thirty years. What’s more, is that it would be the LORD who would speak unto Moses and the children of Israel and declare unto them that there would be an appointed time for their journeys and wandering in the wilderness. Upon reading the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Numbers you will find the LORD speaking unto the children of Israel and declaring unto them—not only that they would wander in the wilderness for forty years, but also how that entire first generation which emerged from the slavery of Egypt would perish in the wilderness. In other words, that initial generation which would emerge from the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt would not be permitted to enter into the land of Canaan which had been sworn unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. When we think about and consider the slavery in Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness, and even the captivity in Babylon we must needs understand that the nation and people of Israel were indeed conceived within the womb of Egypt, and were brought forth at the appointed time ordained and appointed by the living God. What’s more, is that we must needs understand that this nation which was conceived within the land of Egypt would have an appointed time decreed for them concerning their slavery, as well as an appointed time decreed for their journey and wandering in the wilderness. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis when the LORD spoke unto Abraham, as well as the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Numbers when the LORD spoke unto Moses:
“…And He said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river Euphrates: the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Genesis 15:9-21).
“…And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: but as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD> Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now 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: but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereint he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: your carcases shall fall in this wilderness: and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwel therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. And the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breah of promise. I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die” (Numbers 14:20-40).
It is absolutely necessary that we pay close and careful attention to the words which are found within these passages, for these words bring us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that when it came to the slavery and bondage of the children of Israel there was an appointed time—namely, four hundred years. When it came to the wandering and journeys of the children of Israel in the wilderness there was also an appointed time—namely, forty years in which their children and that next generation would bear the whoredoms of the parents until that first generation was consumed in the wilderness. Concerning the captivity in the land of the Chaldeans there would be an appointed time for that, as the LORD through the prophet Jeremiah would appoint and ordain seventy years for the captivity. We must needs recognize and understand this, for within and throughout history there is this underlying and powerful principle of election that would surround the nation and people of Israel—and not only election, but the LORD’s willingness to continue to protect and preserve them. Despite the fact that they would be enslaved in the land of Egypt for four hundred years the LORD would bring them forth. Despite the fact the children of Israel would wander in the wilderness for forty years the LORD would bring their descendants into the land which He swore unto their forefathers. Despite the fact the children of Israel would be captives and exiles in the land of the Chaldeans for seventy years the LORD would bring them back into and unto the land. It would be after four hundred years in the land of Egypt the LORD would deliver and bring them forth out of that slavery, and it would be after forty years in the wilderness the LORD would finally bring His people into and within the land. Moreover, it would be after seventy years of captivity and exile in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans the LORD would bring His people back into the land. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this tremendous reality, for it is this reality which helps us to recognize that the LORD has never and will never forsake His people. Not only this, but we must also recognize and understand that the nation of Israel is and has always been the only nation that would essentially be “born again” twice. Scripture and history are two powerful and profound witnesses that speak to and reveal this awesome truth regarding the nation and people of Israel being “born again”—and not only being born again, but being born again twice. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the words which are found in the first and third chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John, the words which are found in the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul, the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews, as well as the words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah concerning this nation and people being “born again” and being “born” in a single day:
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN, HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicoduemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And now man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:3-13).
“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:10-14).
”And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:26-35).
“Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A avoice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the LORD that rendereth recompense to his enemies. Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? Saith the LORD: Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? Saith thy God” (Isaiah 66:5-9).
“Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD” (Ezekiel 37:11-14).
“Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: and I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore” (Ezekiel 37:21-28).
“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them. After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israe, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them. Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be ilke a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. Thus saith the LORD God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: and thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safetly, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, to take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezekiel 38:8-12).
I sit here thinking about and considering the awesome and powerful reality of the words which I have just presented you in these verses and I am brought face to face with this concept of being “born again” and it’s connection and application to the nation and people of Israel. There is not a doubt in my mind that the nation and people of Israel have indeed experience two different rebirths within and throughout their history after they had originally experienced their birth as a people in the midst of the land of Egypt. It would be through their slavery, their bondage and their oppression in the land of Egypt they would be conceived and brought forth as a people, however, it wouldn’t be until they actually entered into the land they would be born as a nation. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this absolutely awesome and captivating truth that the nation of Israel would initially be born when they entered into the land which was promised unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob whose name would later be changed to Israel. It would be in the wilderness the people of Israel would receive that which the apostle Paul wrote about in the ninth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome—the Law, the covenant, the tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the sacrificial system, the priesthood, and all the LORD had given unto them there at Sinai in the wilderness. It’s important to realize and recognize and understand that it would when the children of Israel were brought into the wilderness they would be given the Law, the covenant and the promises—those realities which they would bring with them into the land which was sworn unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It would be in the wilderness they would receive the covenant, the Law, the tabernacle, the priesthood, the sacrificial system, and that which would become an integral part of their culture and society, while it would be upon their entering into the land they would experience an initial birth as a nation—a birth not according to the will of man, nor according to the mind of man, but according to the will of the living and eternal God. Oh we must needs pay close and careful attention to this reality, for it serves as the foundation for the truth surrounding the nation and people of Israel being reborn—and not only being reborn, but being reborn twice.
I can’t help but consider the language that is found within the first and third chapters of the New Testament gospel of John and how in the first and opening chapter we find the apostle John writing how those who received Jesus were given the right and power to become sons of God. It would be in the third chapter of this New Testament when we find the discourse and dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus. It’s in the midst of that dialogue we find Jesus speaking unto Nicodemus concerning the need to being born again—and not only being born again, but also being born of the water and of the Spirit. These realities of being born again are actually quite captivating when you take the time to think about and consider them, for if you study the history and narrative of the nation and people of Israel you will find that they were a nation that was born once, yet reborn twice. ONCE BORN, TWICE REBORN! ONCE BORN, TWICE BORN AGAIN! It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this reality, for it helps us to truly understand the language the apostle Paul wrote in chapters nine through eleven in the epistle written unto the saints which were in Rome, for the apostle Paul would call both the Jews and Gentiles alike in the midst of Rome to recognize and understand that the LORD has never and will never cast off and cast aside the nation and people of Israel—not only because of the covenant and promises He has given unto them, but also because the LORD has twice brought the people of Israel back into their land and has twice restored them unto a land they had been removed from. Despite the fact that they would not only reject Jesus as the Messiah, and despite the fact that they would reject the gospel concerning Jesus the Christ, and as a result of these two rejections they would be scattered abroad among the nations of the earth. From the year 70 A.D. all the way through unto the year 1948 the children and people of Israel would be scattered among the nations. What’s more, is that not only would they be scattered among the nations of the earth over an almost two-thousand year period of time, but they would also survive a mass genocide and attempt to eradicate them from the face of the earth. It would be during the days of Hitler, the third Reich and World War II the Jewish people would face utter and complete annihilation at the hands of Hitler and his gas chambers and concentration camps. It should be noted, however, that even despite Hitler’s attempt to eradicate all Jews from within Europe the Jewish people would survive thanks to heroic acts which were performed on their behalf.
The more I think about the awesome truth surrounding the nation and people of Israe the more I can’t help but be brought face to face with the powerful reality that this nation was not only one that was born once, but they were a nation that was reborn or “born again” twice. The nation and people of Israel were reborn and born again the first time after having spent seventy years in captivity and exile in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans. After seventy years of living as captives and exiles in the midst of the land of the Chaldeans the LORD would visit His people once more and would not only bring them forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, but would also bring them into the land which He had sworn on oath unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. What makes this so absolutely incredible is when you think about the fact that even though they were cast out of the land and were cast out for a period of seventy years the LORD not only never gave the land away to any other nation and people, but neither did the LORD cast off His people from being His people. The LORD not only faithfully watched over and preserved the land during those seventy years, but the LORD also watched over and preserved His people in the midst of their captivity and exile that the people and the land might once more be united and joined together. Even though the people would be cast out of and removed from the land and forced to live as exiles in a strange and foreign land the LORD would not take the land away from the people, nor would the LORD cast the people off from being His people. This reality must be carefully understood, for it would be seen and manifested once more within and throughout history as the nation and people of Israel would be reborn and “born again” a second time after being scattered among the nations of the earth as strangers, as vagabonds, as exiles, and as a people essentially without a home and land of their own. For almost two thousand years the nation and people of Israel would be scattered among the nations belonging to other people—much like the people of Israel would spend forty years wandering in the wilderness while Edom, while Moab, while Ammon, while Philistia, and while Egypt would all have their own place in the earth. For forty years the people of Israel would wander in the harsh wilderness waiting for an entire generation to die and perish in the wilderness that they might finally be able to enter into and take possession of the land that had been sworn unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
I so love and appreciate this concept of the nation and people of Israel being reborn and “born again,” for within the history, the narrative and story of the children of Israel we find a powerful example of what it truly means to be born again. It is truly something worth noting and pointing out when reading the words found in Scripture—and not only the words which are found in Scripture, but also that which is written concerning the Jewish people within history—for this would be a people who would serve as a powerful example of what it looks like to be “born again.” This people would be born again after seventy years of captivity and exile in the land of the Chaldeans, and this people would be born again after spending nearly two thousand years as strangers and exiles in nations and lands which wasn’t their own. Even with this being said, however, we must needs recognize and understand that this second rebirth would not come without and apart from conflict, struggle, and warfare as from the time of their rebirth—a reality which was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in the final chapter of that prophetic book—the nation and people of Israel would be engaged in conflict against their enemies round about them. From the time they had been brought back into the land, and from the time they had begun to be established in the midst of the land the nation and people of Israel would be engaged in conflict, struggle, warfare, battle and continuous tension with their Arab neighbors and those who felt they had no place within the land. Not only this, but for more than seventy years the nation and people of Israel have faced constant tension, pressure and conflict from its Arab neighbors which would rise up against them as enemies and adversaries. Even with this being said, however, we must allow ourselves to come face to face with the truly wonderful and powerful truth that the nation and people of Israel have never been, would never be, and will never be cast off, cast aside, abandoned, neglected, ignored, forsaken, and forgotten by the living God.
It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the words that are found within these chapters, for with these words the apostle Paul expounds upon what is perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the nation and people of Israel. As you read the words found in this portion of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul writing from a place of heaviness and continual sorrow within his heart for his fellow countrymen and for his people—the nation and people of Israel. The words which you will find in this passage of Scripture are absolutely and incredibly unique and powerful when you take the time to truly understand what the apostle is saying, for what the apostle sets forth to do is demonstrate a truth that many among us have failed to realize, recognize and understand. Throughout history there have been countless men and women who have attempted to preach and teach that the LORD has somehow abandoned and has somehow forsaken His people Israel. There have been those—even those within the Church—who have preached and proclaimed how the LORD has indeed cut His people off, and has indeed cut them off and forsaken them. There would be those among us who would seek to explain that the Church has somehow replaced Israel within the earth as God’s chosen people, and that the LORD somehow no longer has any affection or compassion toward them. There are others who have thought, believed and even taught that America has somehow replaced Israel within the earth as God’s chosen people. What we must guard and protect ourselves against is this idea and concept of secessionism—that idea and that teaching that the LORD has somehow abandoned and forsaken His people Israel. I am absolutely and completely convinced that to even think and believe that the LORD has somehow neglected and abandoned His people Israel would not only be to ignore and doubt Scripture, but also to deny the rebirth of Israel as a nation just over seventy years ago. To think and even believe the LORD has somehow cast off, forsaken and abandoned His people Israel would be to completely and utterly ignore the prophetic found in Scripture, for it is through the prophetic language that is found in Scripture we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that the living and eternal God has set Israel as one of the foundational pieces for end times events. In fact, I would dare say the more you study Scripture the more you will encounter and come face to face with the fact that it is fundamentally irresponsible and exegetically incorrect to presume and preach the LORD has somehow cast off His people Israel. Consider if you will how the apostle Paul opens the ninth chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Roman saints:
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth) IT was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger, As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:1-13).
The words which are found before us within this passage of Scripture directly confront the undeniable reality and truth that the LORD has not, the LORD cannot and the LORD will not cast off, neglect, abandon, nor forsake His people Israel. Despite the fact that the LORD has indeed raised up a new people within the earth—a spiritual people who are known as the spiritual body of Christ, and the bride of Christ, and the Church—the LORD has not cast off, nor has He forsaken His people. The apostle Paul begins and opens the ninth chapter speaking of election, for there is a fundamental difference between the election of Israel and the adoption of the Gentiles. Now I fully realize that according to Scripture we have also an element of election, for it was the apostle Peter who wrote concerning the need to make our calling and election sure. I am fully aware of that which the Scripture preaches and teaches concerning our own election in the LORD our God, however, if there is one fundamental truth we must needs realize and recognize concerning the nation and people of Israel it’s that they weren’t adopted by the LORD as the Gentiles were. The nation and people of Israel were indeed the original people whom the LORD had chosen for His plans and for His purposes in the earth from the time He brought and called forth Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans. From the time of Abraham in the midst of the earth all the way through this present generation it has always been the desire and plan of the LORD to have a people, a witness and a testimony in the midst of the earth. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that the LORD called forth Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and the LORD did indeed cause seed and life to be brought forth from the bosom of Abraham, and the underlying reason and purpose for that was to have a witness, a testimony, a kingdom and a people in the midst of the earth. It’s quite unique to think about and consider the narrative of Israel and how the narrative of Israel began with and as a man, would continue unto a household of seventy which would go down into the land of Egypt during the days of Joseph, and would eventually and ultimately become a people of one million plus by the time Moses led the children of Israel out of the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt. What’s more, is that while the Hebrews were indeed a people when they emerged from the land of Egypt, and were even as such during those forty years wandering in the wilderness, and even during the days of Joshua, there would come a point in time when a people would become a nation.
If and as you study the narrative found in Scripture concerning the people of Israel you will find that their narrative began as a man whose original name was Jacob, yet was later changed to Israel. It would be from this man Israel twelve sons would be born, and it would be from these twelve sons that would eventually come the twelve tribes of Israel. By the time you come to the days of the revelation of Joseph in the land of Egypt and Israel’s subsequent journey down into the land you will find Israel no longer being one single man, but rather being a house of seventy souls. Even when you find Jacob returning home and seeking to meet his brother Esau for the first time in at least twenty years you will find him speaking unto the Lord how when he had left his father’s house he had only a staff in his hand, but upon the return to his father’s house he had become two camps and two groups. We must needs recognize and understand this, for it would be the household of Israel that would enter into the land of Egypt, and within the land of Egypt would begin to multiply and metastasize exponentially. It would be there in the land of Egypt the house of Israel would eventually become twelve tribes present among the Egyptians in the land of Goshen. By the time Moses arrived to bring the people out of their slavery, their bondage and their oppression the people of Israel had so multiplied and so grown that Moses would deliver six hundred thousand plus men, which didn’t include women and children. It is this reality that is aptly demonstrated and manifested in the book of Numbers, for not only were the people of Israel counted twice within the wilderness, but on both occasions that number totaled more than six hundred thousand men—this not including women and children. Oh we must needs pay attention to this, for it wouldn’t be until the people of Israel would enter into the land that they would be transformed from a people unto a nation. It would be during the days of the judges the people of Israel would become a nation, however, it wouldn’t be until the time of Saul the first king of Israel, and truly under the reign of David that the nation of Israel would indeed be transformed one more time into a kingdom in the midst of the earth.
ISRAEL: GOD’S ORIGINAL WITNESS IN THE EARTH! ISRAEL: GOD’S ORIGINAL WITNESS IN THE LAND! ISRAEL: GOD’S ORIGINAL PEOPLE! Oh we dare not, we cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this truth, for there is absolutely no place for any teaching within the Church and among the saints and brethren that would declare the LORD has somehow abandoned, neglected, forsaken and cast off His people Israel. There is not a doubt in my mind that to somehow declare and proclaim that the LORD has cast off His people Israel is not only to deny the prophetic words which are found in Scripture—not only concerning Israel, but also concerning the last days—but also to deny the events which have taken place over the past seventy years. To even think for a moment that the LORD has somehow neglected and abandoned His people Israel is to deny the restoration and rebirth of Israel as a nation in the year 1948 during the presidency of Harry S. Truman. It would be after the dark night of the Holocaust and the events of World War II that a mandate and declaration would be made—one that would not only give the Jewish people a land within the earth, but would also allow them to return unto that land and once more be established within it. Oh how absolutely incredible and powerful it is to think and consider how the Jewish people were not only given a land, but were indeed brought back unto the very land which the LORD had sworn unto their fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How absolutely and incredibly powerful it is to think about the fact that just over seventy years ago the nation and people of Israel would be reborn in the midst of the earth—and not only reborn, but reborn for the second time. I still continue to find it absolutely remarkable and astonishing to read the narrative concerning the Jewish people, for the Jewish people are the only people to have been reborn as a nation twice within and throughout their history. You would be hard pressed to find and point to a single nation and people that has experienced new birth and being born again as you find within the narrative of the nation and people of Israel. You can search history through and through and you will find never has there been a people who has been twice reborn in the midst of the earth—and not only twice reborn within the earth, but also twice reborn in the same land they originally dwelt in and occupied. You would be hard pressed if not tasked with an impossible assignment to try and find any nation and any people that has been reborn in the earth—and not only reborn in the midst of the earth, but reborn twice—as you would the nation and people of Israel.
If there is one thing that makes the words the apostle Paul wrote so incredibly unique and captivating when you take the time to think about them—it’s that these words were written a decade before the destruction of Jerusalem, a decade before the destruction of the Temple, and a decade before the Hebrew people would be scattered among the nations of the earth. The apostle Paul would write these words based solely off the Jews’ rejection of the Messiah, and the Jews’ rejection of the gospel concerning the kingdom, and the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus the Christ. These words were not written from Rome after the Roman army had entered into and invaded the land of Judaea, had destroyed the city of Jerusalem, had burned the Temple to the ground, and had either killed or scattered the Jewish people abroad throughout and among the nations of the earth. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that there were essentially two great scatterings which took place in the years after Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension—namely, the scattering of the Christians from the city of Jerusalem when a great persecution broke out against them, and the scattering of the people Israel after the city of Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed. The words which the apostle Paul wrote in this passage of Scripture were written a decade before the destruction of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, and he had not even seen the destruction of the Temple, nor the scattering of the Jewish people, nor even the heroic and brave stand atop Masada. The apostle Paul wrote these words before all these events would take place, and I can’t help but wonder what it would have looked like for the apostle Paul to behold and witness the Jewish people being scattered abroad among the nations of the earth—a divine act of God that would protect and preserve His people throughout the years. Despite Hitler’s “final solution” and despite Hitler’s attempt to eradicate the Jews from the midst of the earth—much like Haman sought to do during the days of the Persian Empire—the Jewish people would remain and abide within the earth, and would be brought back and restored unto the land. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this truth, for it has the awesome and powerful ability to dramatically alter how we think about and view the nation of Israel and the people themselves.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel it is absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous and incredible truth that to somehow declare that the LORD has neglected, abandoned, forsaken, and rejected His people is to not only deny the restoration and rebirth of the nation of Israel just over seventy years—and not only the rebirth of the nation of Israel more than seventy years ago, but also the subsequent events which took place almost twenty years later when they united the city of Jerusalem in their control, and took control of the Sinai peninsula, as well as the Golan heights and the Gaza strip. To think and believe for a single moment that the LORD has somehow forsaken and ignored His people is to neglect and ignore the events of history which have taken place in the midst of the earth throughout history—namely, how the nation and people of Israel have been reborn and rebirthed as a nation on two separate occasions. What’s more, is that it is absolutely remarkable and astounding to think about and consider that not only was the nation and people of Israel reborn twice within and throughout history, but on both occasions they were brought back unto the original land that was sworn on oath unto their fathers. It wasn’t merely that the nation and people of Israel were restored and rebirthed in the midst of the earth, but they were restored and born again twice within the same land which had been given unto their ancestors. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it directly confronts us with the supernatural and sovereign providence of the living God for and toward His people—not only to once more give them a place in the midst of the earth, but also to return and restore them into and unto the same land which He had originally given unto them when their ancestors crossed the Jordan River and entered into the land during the days of Joshua and Caleb. With that being said it’s also important and imperative that we recognize that to somehow declare the LORD has cast off and forsaken His people Israel is to actually ignore the words of prophecy and the words which the ancient Hebrew prophets—even the words which Jesus Himself spoke—concerning the nation of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, and the events of the Last Days. To somehow think and believe that the LORD has cast off, abandoned, neglected, forsaken and rejected the nation and people of Israel is to completely and utterly ignore both Scripture and history. Oh it’s important for us to recognize this two-fold witness of Scripture and history, for both witnesses point to and paint a powerful picture in the midst of the earth of the election of the nation and people of Israel, and how the LORD has indeed restored them unto their land and caused them to be reborn twice within and upon the earth. Oh that we as the people of God would not only recognize the sovereign hand of the LORD upon the nation of Israel, but would also stand with Israel—and not only stand with Israel, but also pray for the peace of Jerusalem as the Scripture admonishes and encourages. Oh that we would truly come to understand that the LORD has not cast off, neglected, abandoned, rejected and forsaken His people Israel, and has indeed restored them within and unto the land sworn unto their fathers that He might use them for His plans and His purposes. Not only this, but we must also see how the nation of Israel—and specifically the city of Jerusalem—would indeed be a cup of trembling unto the nations, and how ever since Israel was reborn as a nation it has been a source of contention, a source of tension, a source of conflict, a source of struggle, and a source of offense among the surrounding nations who would love nothing more than to drive and cast them into the Mediterranean Sea. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand the important and prophetic role the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem play in the divine plan of God throughout these Last Days, and that we would recognize that there is coming a time when the nation and people of Israel will acknowledge Jesus as both Christ and Messiah among them in the earth.