DAYS OF FULFILLMENTPublished by admin on Mon, 11/19/2018 - 13:01
DAYS OF FULFILLMENT
By: Malcolm Hedding
Posted on: 16 Nov 2018 (All day)
Seventy, or derivatives of seven in the Bible, constitute the idea of rich fulfilment. For instance, Moses appointed seventy elders to help him fulfil the daunting mission that God gave him in terms of leading a million people out of Egypt (Numbers 11:16). The great exile of Judah to Babylon that took place in the sixth century before Christ would be fulfilled after seventy years (Jeremiah 25:12), and thus when the Prophet Daniel read this in the book of Jeremiah he went about fasting and praying about the fulfilment of this promise (Daniel 9:2). Daniel also received an oracle from heaven that announced that Israel’s unique destiny on the earth would be fulfilled after seventy weeks of years (Daniel 9:24-27).
In terms of the New Testament scriptures, we are told that Jesus appointed seventy disciples to help Him fulfil the mission that God His Father had given Him (Luke 10:1,17). Jesus told us that we are to forgive others who offend us “seventy times seven times”, in order to fulfil the demands of God’s righteousness in us (Matthew 18:22). Also, in the end we all have 70 years in order to fulfil God’s personal plan for each of us on earth (Psalm 90:10).
From all of this we understand that in God’s economy seventy designates fulfilment or evidence of His allotted purpose. So, in terms of Israel, the message is clear: Her existence is no accident of history but clear fulfilment of God’s plan and purpose for her and for the world. Israel is God’s vehicle of world redemption and His actions in her modern-day restoration are a herald of great things to come.
God’s promises to Abraham
Indeed, Israel’s existence rests on unconditional and everlasting promises that God made to Abraham and His descendants. Israel is therefore evidence of these and a clear testimony to the Church and the world at large, that the God of the Bible fulfils His promises. This is precisely why we can all trust Him fully in all things. To Israel, through Abraham, God promised land as an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:7-8); He promised that the blessings of eternal salvation would flow to the world from her by the coming of a ‘Seed Messiah” (Genesis 22:18; John 4:22) and; He promised that blessings and curses would fall upon many depending on how they related to her (Genesis 12:1-3). Today Israel stands strong at 70 because the nation is beloved “for the sake of the fathers” (Romans 11:28), meaning that the God of the Bible does not lie and will therefore not turn back on the undertakings that He made to Abraham. Abraham is forever God’s friend and the God we serve does not turn His back on His friends; although many in the Church assert that He does! Israel’s modern-day restoration is a vexing contradiction to the wayward theological thinking of those who espouse replacement theology and it exposes their inability to rightly understand the character of God.
God’s prophetic markers
Israel’s modern restoration has taken place because God has fully honoured and fulfilled His undertakings to the nation given in the Abrahamic Covenant. The prophetic portions of scripture confirm these and date them so that we have no excuse in terms of recognizing the hand of God in Israel’s national destiny.
So, for instance, the Prophet Jeremiah speaks prophetically of a coming day when more Jews would return to the land of Israel from the North Country than those who returned from Egypt under Moses, 1300 years before Christ (Jeremiah 23:7-8). This is an extraordinary prophetic oracle, as at no time up until the present day did this happen. The return from Babylon after seventy years of Exile saw nothing like the number that Moses brought out of Egypt since the numbers in this regard are clearly recorded in the pages of scripture (Ezra 2). But, in recent years, beginning with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, more than a million Russian Jews have returned to Zion and they are still coming. The God we serve is a God of fulfilment!
In addition, the Prophet Zechariah predicted that a day would come when Jerusalem would spill over its wall and straddle the surrounding hills of Judea (Zechariah 2:1-5). This has not happened until the 20th Century when for the first time homes and dwellings of all types began to spring up around the ancient walled and biblical city of Zion. In fact, the first community to be built in this regard was that of Yemin Moshe, easily recognised by the windmill that stands amongst its dwellings.
Amos, that remarkable “Shepherd Prophet” (Amos 7:14-15), wrote of Israel’s trials and tribulations in terms of judgment and exile, but he also saw a day, by the hand of God, when Israel would return to her ancient homeland never to be “plucked up again” (Amos 9:13-15). This is no reference to the return from Babylon as the nation was “plucked up again” in A.D. 70, but rather a prophetic picture of our day. God has fulfilled His promises before our very eyes. He is the friend of Abraham and thus a God of fulfilment.
And then Jesus gave a prophetic oracle that is known as the Olivet Discourse, which is recorded in all the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). In this discourse He stated that the Jews would be dispersed into all the nations of the world and that Jerusalem would be “downtrodden by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). Here again the idea of fulfilment is brought into focus and consequently in 1967, by the Six Day War of June of that year, the gentile nations lost their grip on the holy city and it returned to Jewish sovereignty. This is amazing and again a testimony to the faithfulness of God to His covenant with Abraham.
God’s promised Son
There is no doubt that the greatest gift of Israel to the world is Jesus of Nazareth, God’s only unique Son. He has saved millions of people of all colours, creeds and nations from their sins and has become the most famous person of all time. He has no competitors, since He towers above all the human icons of time and divides history itself by His existence. Moreover, He is alive at the very right hand of God from whence He will soon return to the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11). Israel’s modern-day restoration constitutes a platform by which the Son of God will return to the earth in power and great glory (Matthew 24:30). The Psalmist wrote that there would come a time when the Lord would “build up Zion” and then “appear in His glory” (Psalm 102:16-17). This time is upon us, yes, the time has come or has been fulfilled for the Son of God to shortly come as King to His people.
God’s people of prayer
Because all these things are true, it is clear that we have responsibilities as Christians to Israel and the Jewish people since we share in “their spiritual things” (Romans 15:27). In short, we should bless what God is blessing and work where God is working. Our God is working in all the earth, but He is doing mighty and wondrous things in Israel. Paul tells us that God has not forsaken His people (Romans 11:1,11) and He has not abandoned the calling that He placed over them in Abraham four thousand years ago (Romans 11:29). He has faithfully fulfilled all His promises to them, and Israel’s seventieth anniversary brings this into focus. Consequently, for the Apostle Paul this means that we should:
1. Resist the notion that He has abandoned them (Romans 11:11);
2. Resist anti-Semitism (Romans 11:20-22);
3. Resist pride and arrogance (Romans 11:18).
We should actually give ourselves to prayer and fasting for Israel as Daniel did when he discerned the times of fulfilment in Israel’s long historical journey (Daniel 9:1-3). Also, the Psalmist, while speaking of a future day of the up building of Zion, stated that this would happen because God has heard the prayers of His people (Psalm 102: 15-17). Paul knew that his major contribution to the well-being and salvation of Israel would be that of prayer (Romans 10:1). We must not fail God now but arise to take hold of the days of fulfilment. This means that Jesus’ Church should be a “house of prayer”.