The GLORY OF GOD Departing & Returning to “The Church”
Section #1: The GLORY OF GOD Departing & Returning to “The Church”
Section #2: Divine Acceptance or Divine Rejection
The GLORY OF GOD Departing & Returning to “The Church”
In Phase #5 we observed the final stage of chastisement at which, God said, “My soul shall abhor you” (Lev. 26:30). Notably this was an undoing of what the love of God did express in Leviticus 26:11-12, when God said, “And I will set My Tabernacle among you: and My soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people.” Because this hatred was an undoing of the aforementioned love of God, the Lord said, “I will…bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours” (Lev. 26:31). As exhaustively noted before, God readily beheld their iniquities (in a special sense) because His presence was in their midst, thus when God was angry with His people the language of His anger was termed, the Lord said, “set My face against you” (Lev. 26:17), “walk contrary unto you also in fury” (Lev. 26:28), and “My soul shall abhor you” (Lev. 26:30) – all things were in reference to the Person of God! With this in mind we will be enabled to understand what is meant by the promise applicatory in New Testament reality, according to Paul, who said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall by My people” (2 Cor. 6:16). No doubt, this reality has become more and more clear to the reader because of all the aforementioned scriptures, but a further study of Israel’s scattering and regathering will crystallize these truths all the more.
By way of introduction, my reader, take a close look at the beginning and end of Israel: Israel begun (Ex. 24:18-31:18, 34:10, Lev. 26:11-12) & Israel consummated (Rev. 21:1-7). These two points of redemption serve as good examples of the beginning and the end, or in other words: the establishment of Israel as The Church via a material housing (the Tabernacle) whereby it might be known unto Israel that God Almighty was in-dwelling and among-dwelling the people (Ex. 24:18-31:18, 34:10, Lev. 26:11-12), and finally, at last, we see the establishment of Israel as The Church via a material housing (the Tabernacle) with the in-dwelling and among-dwelling presence of God Almighty in perfection of glory for an unchangeable eternity (Rev. 21:1-7)! Historically and futuristically speaking, what did happen and what will happen between these two points?
Leviticus 26 foretold the tragic and troublous course Israel would undertake between these two points of redemption. Take note how the regathering of God’s people was promised in Leviticus 26 directly after the Phase #5 punishment was fully detailed (Lev. 26:40-45). If God’s people persisted in sin then God would perform all the aforementioned woes (from Phase #1 to Phase #5), albeit He gave them a way of re-establishing the Covenant after the just anger of God was fully exerted. If and when the conditions to re-establish the Covenant were accomplished, God said, “THEN I will remember My Covenant with Jacob, and also my Covenant with Isaac, and also My Covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the Land” (Lev. 26:42). Even after Israel was scattered worldwide, God would reestablish the Covenant yet again (see Lev. 26:40-42)! Throughout the longstanding struggle existing between saint and God from century to century, God promised that no matter what, no matter how many perished from before the face of GOD, the Lord said, “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will NOT cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them UTTERLY, and to break My Covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the Covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the Land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD” (Lev. 26:44-5). That was to say, no matter what happened or how many perished, God would eventually save His people and eternally consummate the Covenants of salvation, notwithstanding many castaway generations. Depicting this, it was written in Revelation Chapter 21 verses 3 and 7, that the consummation of salvation will be performed in redeemed humanity in these terms, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God… He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." Hallelujah! Can you see the significance of “He will dwell with them”, the “Tabernacle of God” being with them, God being “their God” and the people being His sons?
Yes, my reader! The difficulty of and longstanding controversy because, namely, God chose to dwell in & among man so as to save them, does not come to a rest or finally consummate until the New Jerusalem descends upon the New Earth! This controversy did not cease at the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth, God Incarnate, otherwise Paul would not have written about it in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1, furthermore. The glory of God abiding in or departing from the congregated people of God, The Church, is still the greatest dilemma of Church History past or present, the Old Covenant or the New Covenant. To help guide our understanding, let us decipher the theme of the controversy as it was recalled by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1. From thence, God willing, we will be able to identify the present-tense significance of what happened in the old time (before, and going into, the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities), when, namely, the glory of God departed from the House of God. Notwithstanding, also, finding significance in the language cited by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1, it was prophesied that the Glory of God would once again return in its fullness and beyond!
2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1
“And what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols? for ye are the Temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
A Salvific Glory Exclusive to “The Church”
“for ye are the Temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
The special and immediate presence of God in the midst of and among Israel warrants the following charges of necessary conduct. Emphasizing this, Paul said, “Wherefore…”
Charges of Conduct which Belong to and are Imperative for “The Church”
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;”
Because The Church is in the special and immediate presence of God, they must be inviting and acceptable to God who is holy and separated from all uncleanness!
The Salvific Glory Exclusive to “The Church” Rephrased into a Legal Identity
“and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
When God said, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people”, namely by dwelling among and in the people of Israel, The Church, it meant that the people became the Family of God individually and collectively. Rephrasing this salvific reality which is exclusive to The Church, the Lord said, “I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters”! Understandably so, “the people of God” are “the Family of God”, but according to Paul’s application drawn from the Old Testament this glory can be forfeited upon certain conditions (Ex. 4:22, Deut. 32:5-6, 18-21, Isa. 63:16).
The Continuance of this Exclusive Communion and Legal Identity with God is
Conditional upon the Keeping of Peculiar Charges of Conduct
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
The Inspired Text is careful to articulate that this glorious communion is fit for those who are legally identified as God’s Family, a status which is conditionally dependent upon the charges of conduct which were shared beforehand (2 Cor. 6:17) and here again, reiterated (2 Cor. 7:1), lest anyone be mistaken to think that “these promises” have no conditions!
These four themes are apparent in the age-old controversy between God-and-man according to the prophets, as you will soon see. The sheer magnitude of inspired text which has been devoted to this subject is not only inestimable but eye-opening, and for me, I must confess, it has been a bright and shining light upon otherwise dark passages which were never opened to my understanding aforetime. The purpose and meaning of Paul’s charges to the Gentile Church in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1 will be inconceivable to us, poor Gentiles, except the contextual landscape of Judaism (Church History) is beheld in full volume just as Paul comprehended it. The controversy has not ended, my reader! Therefore the apostle Paul made reference to the controversy in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1 in application to the Gentile Church.
Beginning with the prophet Ezekiel, for example, the entire content of his prophesying is rendered unintelligible unless one perceives the contextual casement around which his prophesying was made: that is, namely, the departure of the glory of God (Ezek. 11:22-25) and the return of the glory of God (Ezek. 43:1-9). The rest of the content of Ezekiel’s prophesying was in reference to and made significant by these two events. That being the case, what about the Gentile Church in the New Testament according to 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1, my reader? Do we even understand Paul’s burden communicated therein? The four thematic divisions extracted from 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1 existed in the vast majority of all the content from every prophet who was sent to Israel or Judah in the Old Testament, and to prove this, my reader, consider the following texts in the light of the aforementioned themes [Note: the four themes will blend and overlap in the following categorical studies.].
Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Hosea spoke of this salvific glory exclusive to “The Church” in that it departed… and upon this happening the LORD spoke of visiting Israel yet again (“prepare to meet Thy God”-Amos4:12; the visitation: Jer. 5:29, 6:15, 8:5-12, 9:9, 10:15, 14:10, 23:12, Hos. 9:7), but how? If the presence of God departing meant damnation, shouldn’t the presence of God visiting mean salvation? It depends on the legal identity of the people to whom God Almighty was visiting, my reader. To explain this further and to understand the difference between these two events, we need to remember the thematic points referenced by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1. With these in mind, let’s look at some examples of where the prophets spoke about the glory of God departing, and then we can grapple with the significance of God visiting Israel yet again, only this time to execute damnation.
Ezekiel: Judah filled the House of God full of the idols of the House of Israel, “that I should go far off from My Sanctuary”, God said (Ezek. 8:6). What was committed “here”, at the Temple, was proportionately more aggravating to God inasmuch as it was nearer in proximity to God.
Ezekiel: The glory of the LORD departed from abiding within the House of God and from the midst of the City of Jerusalem (Ezek. 11:22-24 [see 1 Kings 8:5-11]), that Jerusalem might be destroyed. What compelled GOD to leave? The Lord said, “as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads” (Ezek. 11:21).
Jeremiah: The LORD gave a forewarning of coming destruction in the language of, “lest My soul depart from thee”, which means that God would make the people and Land desolate and uninhabited (Jer. 6:7-8). Understandably so, because what was done “in the midst” of Jerusalem (Jer. 6:1, 6-8) was of supreme importance to the people of Israel because, shockingly, God was in the midst of her, therefore whatever was done in that place was a deed committed “BEFORE ME”, God said (Jer. 6:7). [Note: This leaving is not the absence of His presence, for this is impossible, but it is the absence of His presence in saving union and familial reception, the union which had been spoken of from the beginning (Ex. 33:16).]
Jeremiah: Indicative of the judgments pronounced in Jeremiah 7 in reference to Shiloh, the Lord said, “Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave My people, and go from them! For they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men” (Jer. 9:1-3). Notably, the destruction of the Tabernacle and the expulsion of the people from the Land go hand-in-hand yet again in Jeremiah 10:18-22, and the Lord was wounded in bitter lamentation as seen in Jeremiah 9:1. If the presence of the Lord was departing from Israel, the Tabernacle must be destroyed and the people must be scattered: no GOD = no Temple, no people, & no Nation.
Jeremiah: The Lord so despised the House of God (in this language: “I have forsaken Mine House, I have left Mine heritage”) that He compared it to a lion in the forest crying out against Him, to a speckled bird in the midst of birds round about her, thus the Lord hated it and would destroy it, therefore the sword of the Lord would devour from one end of the Land to the other (Jer. 12:7-12).
Jeremiah: Jeremiah does here express God’s hatred in the language of damnation, namely, the destruction of the Temple. Fearfully, as a consequence of this destruction, the whole Land, Nation, and people must also be destroyed… “And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest. The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast. The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together. Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.” – Lam. 2:6-9
Hosea: Their offerings were unacceptable (Hos. 9:4), therefore they shall not dwell in the LORD’s Land or House (Hos. 9:3-4). God was bringing a destruction via driving them out of the LORD’s House as castaways, which was the message of the language which God spoke, saying, “I will love them no more” (Hosea 9:15, 17). The Lord said, “Woe also to them when I depart from them” (Hos. 9:12)! By these statements the Lord is bringing into view an unsalvageable people who had multiplied their wickedness in Gilgal with all the idols of the House of Israel (the prophecy is to Israel, see Hos. 8:11-9:17).
Ezekiel did, for an isolated example, communicate the charges of conduct which belonged to and were imperative for “The Church”, but these charges were not normally isolated from the other four themes listed before (normally the Lord would blend all four themes into one Divine Argument)…
Ezekiel: The conduct of men who were able to dwell in the presence of God in the Land of Israel was expressed by a terrifying vision of angelic manslaughter seen by Ezekiel (Ezek. 9:1-11). All who were allowed survival met the characterization described by God in communication to the angel, “men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezek. 9:4; see Ps. 34:11-14 as a justification for the slaughtering). The slaying of all the men in Israel except Ezekiel began at the Sanctuary (consequentially defiling the House of God by filling the courts with the slain) and then yonder (Ezek. 9:4-8). The sense of incrimination which merited this punishment was thus depicted by this heavenly situation: evidently wrath was justifiably infuriated insomuch that Israel and Judah profaned and defiled GOD Almighty who dwelt in their midst, who inhabited the House of God and was in and among the City, thus when these crimes were specified in their abominableness, it was written, “all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof”, because God was in the midst thereof and these crimes were a disgraceful and sacrilegious profanation of His holiness! Whosoever he be whose heart was not utterly broken over the disgrace shown toward God in this very specific way, he was doomed. This says a lot, if indeed this doctrine has not been abolished from application in New Testament reality, my reader! Do we have this heart?
All of this being heretofore laid forth, evidently, the glory of God could, would, and did depart from Israel, but how does this doctrine coexist with the threatening of God via “the days of visitation” (the visitation: Jer. 5:29, 6:15, 8:5-12, 9:9, 10:15, 14:10, 23:12, Hos. 9:7)? When God spoke of His reaction to Israelite apostasy in this regard, saying, “that I should go far off from My Sanctuary” (Ezek. 8:6), or like Jeremiah expressed under prophetic utterance, “lest My soul depart from thee” (Jer. 6:7-8), or when the Lord lamented, saying, “Oh…that I might leave My people and go from them” (Jer. 9:1-3), or when God would finally fulfill the pronouncement, “I have left Mine heritage” (Jer. 12:7-12), how then does the Lord threaten the people of Israel regarding their day of visitation when, namely – HE COMES! – and yet His arrival was expressing the execution of damnation and not the restoration of salvation?
Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, and Zechariah spoke of the cessation of the legal identity which was inherent with the special and immediate presence of God, meaning that, when the glory of God departed the legal identity was lost, and each prophet was careful to declare that the reason the glory of God departed was because the charges of conduct which demanded holiness and cleanliness were defied… therefore because the legal identity of the people was forfeited and God departed, when God visited the people again it was for damnation instead of salvation, for the fury of war instead of the friendliness of family, because the Israelites became God’s enemies instead of God’s Family.
Ezekiel: Israelite salvation begun was expressed in terms of adoption from the family and people of the Canaanites, the Amorites, and the Hittites (Ezek. 16:3) via the voice of God (Ezek. 16:6), a Covenant made by oath whereby Israel became God’s possession, family, and people (Ezek. 16:7-8), a Covenant which happened by operations of salvation in terms of: a washing with water and an anointing with oil (Ezek. 16:9), a clothing, girding, covering, and decking (Ezek. 16:10-13) whereby Israel was made “perfect through [God’s] comeliness” (Ezek. 16:14). Because Israel did later backslide by becoming a harlot and an adulterer against God (Ezek. 16:15-40), this warranted judgment. The goal of judgment was to make the harlotry to cease completely (Ezek. 16:41-42), for until then and only then, Israel could not be God’s people nor He their God – the Lord would reckon them to be of the family and people from whence they came before salvation, a people who was not of the LORD (i.e. the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Sodomites –Ezek. 16:43-59), and thus destruction was warranted and justified!
Ezekiel: The destruction of Israel and Judah was warranted because of un-purged and un-purge-able filthiness (the peculiar charges of conduct given to Israel and Judah were continuously defied), thus the people of God needed to be destroyed (see Ezek. 22:14-31); notably, there was no reason for the people of God to exist if they are not fit for the glory of God’s presence! The awful and conduct-destroying heresy of the priests and prophets which rendered them unable to stand in the presence of God was, namely, “Her priests have violated My Law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezek. 22:26). Oh, the fearfulness! That this sin is commonplace among The Church of the 21st century in its New Testament reality! If this was irrelevant to The Church of the 21st century, why did Paul reference this reality in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1? Weren’t we told already by Paul in 1st Corinthians Chapter 10 that “all these things happened unto [the Israelites] for ensamples”, that they were “written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11)? The sinfulness of Israel was emphasized in relation to the defilement and profanation of the presence of God which was in the House and Sanctuary of God (Ezek. 23:38-39), so what about the presence of God in the sanctuary of The Church in the New Testament (“where two or three are gathered”-Matt.18:20)? God says, “touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:17)!
Ezekiel: Furthermore, the destruction and dispersion of Israel and Judah was warranted because of un-purged and un-purge-able filthiness in the House of God (the peculiar charges of conduct given to Israel and Judah were continuously defied, charges such as Ezek. 22:26), thus the House of God and nation needed to be destroyed (see Ezek. 24:12-21). My reader, there was no reason for the House of God to exist if the glory of God departed from it! God spoke of “filthiness”, my reader. Filthiness! What for? Why did Paul put the Gentile Church in memory that they must cleanse themselves from all “filthiness of the flesh and spirit” in 2 Corinthians 7:1, my reader? At the indictment which was thus spoken, “In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou was not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused My FURY to rest upon thee” (Ezek. 24:13), the LORD was deciding upon the destruction of the House of God, the Temple. Speaking of this, the LORD said, “Behold, I will profane My Sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword” (Ezek. 24:21). Shockingly, the event at which God would accomplish the destruction of the Temple and people of Israel and Judah was at “the visitation” of Israel and Judah via the Assyrian and Babylonian armies – God joined these heathen armies and wielded the barbarian people as hand-held weapons in His Almighty hands (like an axe) to destroy the Temple, people, Nation, and Land of Israel and Judah (Isa. 10:5-15, Jer. 34:21-22)! Nevertheless, afterward, there was a fearful turnaround judgment upon the heathen which cumulated into a punishment of total annihilation, a destruction which was emphatically necessary because of their sins in reference to the Sanctuary of God; namely, for example (speaking of the Ammonites) when they said, “Aha, against [God’s] Sanctuary, when it was profaned” (Ezek. 25:3).
Jeremiah: At the destruction of the Temple, God’s Beloved (“I am pained at My very heart”), there was a subsequent unraveling of Israel in its totality! Jeremiah heard an alarm of nationwide destruction and saw a vision of everything suffering a near annihilation, but of what kind? By what cause? Jeremiah said it was an annihilation which was being accomplished by “the presence of the LORD” and “by His fierce anger” (Jer. 4:19-28)! Certainly, then, the familial bond and legal identity of Israel and Judah as God’s people had been lost and the Lord was meeting them as an enemy and a stranger in furious anger!
Jeremiah: Jeremiah stood in the gate of the LORD’s House to address all men “that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD” (Jer. 7:2), according to the commandment of God. The LORD argued that their sin was making it impossible that they would “dwell in this place” (Jer. 7:3). The people were trusting in the Temple without recognizing the God who indwelt the Temple (Jer. 7:4), therefore upon threatening them of their destruction, the Lord laid forth the terms whereby He would fulfill the promise of old given to their fathers to make them dwell in this place forever (Jer. 7:5-7). God Almighty was angry, and said, “will ye…come and stand before Me in this House which is called by My Name” (Jer. 5:10)? “Is this House, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. But go ye now unto My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My Name at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel” (Jer. 5:11-12). In the language of God’s “reckoning powers of justice”, He said, “I have seen it” (Jer. 7:11), and in the language of damnation He said, “I will cast them out of My sight” (Jer. 7:15). To assure the people of God’s willingness to do this, to destroy the House that God delighted to dwell in, He reminded them of what He did to the Tabernacle which was at Shiloh in the days of Eli the high Priest (Jer. 7:12, 14). The Lord would do this thing because He, having sent prophets to them again and again to cry out to them (Jer. 7:13, 25), was continually and steadfastly rejected. The people rebelled while cleaving to the hope that God would accept them via their sacrifices and burnt-offerings, but the LORD would not accept them (Jer. 7:21-23)! The people polluted the House of God (Jer. 7:30) in their rebellion, thus the Lord decided upon the matter: they would not be His people and He would not be their God (Jer. 7:16, 21-23, 29-30)! Speaking of this, the Lord reminded Israel of the paramount condition of their Covenant agreement which existed from the beginning (the first commandment given to them since the day they came out of the grasp of the Egyptians – Exodus 15:26): “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people: and walk ye in all my ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you” (Jer. 7:23). You see, my reader, this generation of Israelites were doomed because they steadfastly disobeyed the voice of God, and upon so doing, according to the condition given of old, their familial identification with God was forfeited! They were no longer the people of God... therefore, understandably, God rejected their assemblies and abhorred their sacrifices and offerings in the House of God! When the ministerial services of the House of God were rejected (the sacrifices and offerings), the people were rejected. In such a case God was ready to abandon the House, the people, the Land, and the nation, if they would not repent. God would then go away to gather an army so He could return and drive all of His enemies out of the Holy Land so that He might, thereafter, delightfully re-inhabit it with His presence once again!
Jeremiah: The Lord punished Israel and Judah like as the heathen because to Him they were the heathen – both of them were uncircumcised (Jer. 9:25-26)! The Lord reckoned Israelite physical circumcision as uncircumcision in His sight because they were uncircumcised in heart.
Jeremiah: God reiterated in Jeremiah 11:1-15, yet again (like Jer. 9:21-23) how obedience to God’s voice was always the foremost commandment given to the people of Israel since the day He brought them out of the Land of Egypt, and because Israel disobeyed and refused to hearken to the Lord the verbalized recompense came upon them – Israel was no longer “God’s people” and He was no longer “their God”, which meant, necessarily, the Lord would not hear them when they cried, He denied the intercession of all prophets, He refused all sacrifices, and, thus, destroyed the House of God because Israel had no right to be in God’s House (Jer. 11:14-17)! The conditional agreement which Paul brought into view in 2 Corinthians 6:16 could not be any more clear than how it was written here in Jeremiah 11, and staggeringly relevant, as God said, “Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this Covenant, Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: SO SHALL ye be My people, and I will be your God: THAT I MAY perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day…” (Jer. 11:3-5). If Israel was going to be “God’s people” then they could dwell in friendship with God’s Person, and God’s people would obey God’s voice, period, but if Israel was NOT going to be “God’s people” via the obedience of God’s voice, then they would and did dwell at enmity against God’s Person to their own destruction.
Jeremiah: Jeremiah the prophet plead with God who was leaving Israel and Judah, who was becoming as a stranger to her (as an enemy), thus Jeremiah cried, “O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night? Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not” (Jer. 14:8-9). The people were unacceptable, the Lord said (“the LORD doth not accept them”, “I will not accept them” – Jer. 14:10-12), which meant that they could not be saved, they could not be heard, and they could not be interceded for. The Lord’s abhorrence of the people was manifest in the destruction of “the Throne of [God’s] glory”, which was the breaking of the Covenant according as the people had broken it (Jer. 14:20-21, 11:10). The Lord said in response to Jeremiah, “Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth” (Jer. 15:1)! The language of damnation was, yet again, “cast them out of My sight”!
Jeremiah: To be cast out of God’s presence was to be forsaken and forgotten of God (Jer. 23:39). God did this, literally speaking, just as scripture stated, “He…cast [Jerusalem and Judah] out from His presence” (Jer. 52:3)! [Note: “And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.” – 2 Kings 23:27] Nobody, except those who were legally reckoned as God’s Family and people could abide in the LORD’s immediate and special presence, my reader! Even so, God’s enemies could not, would not, and did not dwell in God’s presence and live to tell the story, oh no! They learned the terrifying implications of the event which they were forewarned of by Amos, who said, “prepare to MEET thy GOD” (Amos 4:12)!
Hosea: The day and hour of “no more mercy” for Israel (Phase #5) meant dispersion and captivity (Hosea 1:6-7), but why? Legally speaking, God disowned the people so that they were no longer “His people” and He was no longer “their God” (Hosea 1:9). Any Israelite would wonder how this could be, thinking, ‘What about the prayers of Moses and the promises of God to our fathers of old (Ex. 32:10-14)?’ Knowing this, the Lord reckoned the promise to be eventually fulfilled nevertheless, though it be by unforeseen means (Hosea 1:10, 2:23) and despite Israel’s coming annihilation. Likewise, also, the LORD denounced Israel as His wife (Hosea 2:1-2) but promised a future marriage to consummate nevertheless (Hosea 2:18-20). Similarly, also, the infrastructure of salvation in Israel would be removed and then later restored (Hosea 3:4-5). Israel was God’s people, but they forfeited this identity because, fearfully, they failed to learn the knowledge of God (Hosea 4:1, 6-11). Have we learned it, the Christians of the Gentile Church? Paul knew it, but have we understood his words (2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1)? Israel had dealt treacherously against God in that they had begotten strange children in defiance of holiness and cleanliness (“Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not…” - Hosea 7:7-10), therefore, the prophet Hosea said, “He hath withdrawn Himself from [Israel]” (in the sense of familial identification; Hosea 5:6-7). The implications of this were fearful! This did not mean that God would not be in or among Israel at all, oh no! God was certainly going to be in Israel, notwithstanding, the way He was going to be in their midst was, He said, “as a Lion, as a young Lion to the House of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My Face: in their afflictions they will seek Me early” (Hosea 5:14-15, 13:7-8; see also Amos 3:2-12)!
Amos: Amos spoke similar prophecies as Hosea in that, here, in Amos 3:2-12, for God to walk contrary to the people of Israel in fury translates to mean that He would come to them as a devouring Lion (Amos 3:2-12)! The language of their damnation was thus rendered, “Prepare to meet thy GOD” (Amos 4:11-12)! What a staggering and fearful event! Are we ready (see 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1)? The Lord was not with Israel prior to this meeting which was then foretold, even though Israel thought that God was with them (He had abandoned them), but the LORD was gracious to instruct them concerning the conduct by which they might walk in friendship with God (Amos 5:14-15). Except this conduct was achieved, the Lord said, “I will pass through thee” (Amos 5:16-20). This is fearful! Why was it so dangerous and detrimental that the LORD, the God of Israel, passed through the Land? The prophet Amos gave the reason, saying, “The Lord GOD hath sworn by Himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate His palaces: therefore will I deliver up the City with all that is therein” (Amos 6:8). Take note that God’s hatred was expressed in the destruction and captivity of the people and nation of Israel, no matter how goodly they had become through the prosperity of their covetous practices (Amos 6:1-8). All intercession had failed, Amos explained (Amos 7:1-9), therefore God Almighty endeavored to meet with Israel to relieve Himself from the personal distress and grief caused by unjudged wickedness, saying, “I will not again pass by them any more” (Amos 7:8). This word, “I will not again pass by them any more”, meant, in greater context, “The end is come upon My people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence” (Amos 8:2-3)! To pass by was to, literally, pass them by… but if the Lord was to come into near proximity with the people and merely pass them by (without slaying them), this was because God had repented of the purpose of His just anger (see Micah 7:18). An unrepentant purpose was, on the contrary, “I the LORD have drawn forth My sword out of his sheath: it shall not return any more” (Ezek. 21:5, 7:2-9, Jer. 15:6). The Lord revealed through the prophet Amos that God had repented theretofore, but He would not do so anymore – in the event that Israel-MEETS-God, He will not pass by! God was coming to SMITE the false House of worship that Israel had created, and the language of His pursuit took the form of a Deity-to-man confrontation: “I will set Mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good” (Amos 9:1-4), to purge all sinners from among the people of Israel (Amos 9:8-10), and to raise up a pure Church once again (Amos 9:11-12)! Amazing.
Hosea: As a conclusion to the details of this theme heretofore laid forth, it must be noted: there exists in God a fullness of His Divine Being whose appearance and communion with man is so dangerous man cannot endure it. The Lord was well-nigh going to accomplish a total annihilation as He thought to do many times (“my repentings are kindled together” – Hos. 11:8; see also Ezek. 20), howbeit for the oaths sake the Lord would not do it. God would not make Israel and Judah as Sodom & Gomorrah (Hos. 11:7-9), this is true, but what was the language of the total annihilation which God was moved unto many times but never able to fully accomplish? The Lord said, “I will not return to destroy Ephraim…I will not enter into the city” (Hos. 11:9; see Ex. 33:3, 5), though His repentings were kindled together many-a-time so to do! What a fearful and shocking reality, my reader, that their damnation WAS GOD! If Israel-MET-God when the LORD was manifest in the full potential available when man-meets-God, the result would be total annihilation; this thing, the Lord was unwilling to do. With this God-meets-man potential in mind we can understand the essence of what hell is, my reader. Hell and the Lake of Fire do burn with vehement and devouring flames because GOD IS THERE (Rev. 14:10), my reader, the God who is “A Consuming Fire” (Heb. 12:29)!
Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Hosea, Zechariah, and Joel spoke of the restoration of the legal identity which was inherent with the special and immediate presence of God, meaning that when the glory of God returned the legal identity was restored, and each prophet was careful to declare that the reason the glory of God was returning was because the charges of conduct which demanded holiness and cleanliness were being performed…
Ezekiel: The Covenant of salvation restored will be, namely, Israel without detestable things or abominations of any sort (Ezek. 11:17-21). The work of God in the heart, spirit, and walk of the people of Israel in this wise would make them worthy of the title which they shall inherit, “they shall by My people, and I will be their God” (Ezek. 11:20).
Ezekiel: Whether isolated cases or broad agendas, all judgments from God were alive in imminent readiness for this purpose very specifically, God said, “that [Israel] may be My people, and I may be their God, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezek. 14:8-11). All throughout the text of Church History it is apparent that Church judgment is for Church Purity, and Church salvation (the God-to-man familial bond) is conditionally dependent upon Church Purity.
Ezekiel: The destruction and dispersion of Israel and Judah was to the end that all rebels were driven out of the Land of Israel, purging it, until the regathering was completely and entirely pure (see Ezek. 20:33-42); this was the judgment of God. Then and only then, when The Church is entirely pure and perfected in holiness (“I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against Me”-Ezek.20:38), God said, “I will accept you with your sweet savour” (Ezek. 20:41), a benefit reinstated once again after it was lost according to Phase #5 of Leviticus 26:30-31 (see Ezek. 20:33-42), a benefit enjoyed exclusively by The Church. The Lord God reckoned the terms of the Covenant via Church Purity, saying, “For in Mine holy Mountain…there shall the House of Israel, ALL of them in the Land, serve Me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things” (Ezek. 20:40). I say again, my reader, take note: the reinstatement of the Covenant was made possible because “ALL” the people in the Land of Israel (The Church) were serving God, because God brought forth out of the Land of Israel (The Church) all people who would not serve Him (“the rebels”), saying, “they shall not enter into the Land of Israel” (Ezek. 20:38). Therefore we see here the terms of acceptance via the establishment of Church cleanliness and holiness, the fulfillment of the blessed word, “I will accept them” & “I will accept them” (Ezek. 20:40-41), recalled and applied in New Testament reality by the apostle Paul, saying, “I will receive you” (2 Cor. 6:17). Throughout the centuries of Church History it is observable that there are seasons wherein God allows the exercise of judgment to tarry from coming upon His people, The Church, in the full measure the letter would require, but the energies of Divine prerogative do drive Almighty God to reinstate judgment in its fullness at “the time” appointed (“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the House of God”-1Pet.4:17). There are times of judgment and there are times of no judgment. During a time of “no judgment” the prophet Habakkuk lamented, “judgment doth never go forth” (Hab. 1:4), but why? Why did God allow the cessation of judgment? The times of Israel and Judah which led up to the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities were notably marked by the absence of judgment, but it was the forbearance and longsuffering of God which (firstly) waited for a remnant to repent, and (secondarily) waited for the iniquity of the rebels to reach the full measure which would merit the coming chastisement ordained by God. We can understand that when judgment tarries and is notably absent, it is because a greater and more schematic judgment is underway in the heavenlies, soon to be revealed. The time of tarrying had come to an end in Ezekiel 20, wherefore, God said, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a might hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I RULE OVER YOU…I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the Land of Egypt [a time when judgment was imminent and Church Purity was jealously guarded], so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the Covenant”, which means, necessarily, “I will purge out from among you the rebels” (Ezek. 20:33-38). The revival of judgment is, necessarily, the revival of salvation!
Ezekiel: During a time and season where judgment tarried, Israel, The Church, was oppressed, abused, neglected, lost, and scattered like sheep without a shepherd (according to Ezekiel Ch. 34). In perfect timeliness, however, judgment would be revived and the sheep would be regathered, the Lord promised. The warrant for the coming destruction of Israel was impurity, the goal of the destruction was the re-establishment of purity, and the point of a regathering was because of purity - a revival of the Covenant via the revival of Church Purity! The Lord is very forthright to say, “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I WILL DESTROY the fat and the strong; I will FEED THEM WITH JUDGMENT. And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I JUDGE between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats…Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; Therefore will I save My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I WILL JUDGE between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and My servant David a Prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it…And they shall NO MORE be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and NONE SHALL MAKE THEM AFRAID. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be NO MORE consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen ANY MORE. Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the House of Israel, are My people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 34:5, 9-11, 16-17, 20-24, 28-31) [the “ANY MORE”, “NO MORE”, “NO MORE”, “NO MORE”, & “ANY MORE” of 34:10, 22, 28-29 are entirely fulfilled in the 2nd Advent of Christ and not before; and in correlation with this see 36:33-38 with 34:25-27 & Hos. 2:18]. Notice, my reader, the end-all conclusion of biblical revival: “Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the House of Israel, are My people”. This reinstatement of Familial Identification with Israel, The Church, happened via the exercise of judgment for the performance of Church Purity, just as Paul recalled and applied in New Testament reality in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1!
Ezekiel: Israel defiled the Land thus they were driven out of the Land, but the Lord will return to the Land (Ezek. 36:9, 28-30, 33) so as to become their God, on what terms? The Lord will cleanse them from “ALL” their filthiness (Ezek. 36:25), “ALL” their idols (Ezek. 36:25), “ALL” their uncleanness (Ezek. 36:29), and “ALL” their iniquities (Ezek. 36:33), the Lord will remove all the reproach and shame that Israel has borne thenceforth and forevermore (Ezek. 36:15-38)! The terms of Familial Identification with GOD exist in the cleanliness of perfected holiness, my reader, just as the Gentile Church is exhorted by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:16-7:1; therefore the Lord will receive and avouch Himself afresh to His people when they are in a pure and acceptable condition before the eyes of His glory, saying, “And ye shall dwell in the Land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God” (Ezek. 36:28).
Ezekiel: Yet again, it is when Israel is not defiled anymore and wholly cleansed, the Lord said, “so shall they be My people and I will be their God”, which means, furthermore, “I…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” (Ezek. 37:23, 26-28; see the whole passage in Ezek. 37:11-28). When and if The Church assembles in an undefiled and wholly cleansed condition, my reader, THE GLORY OF GOD RETURNS!
Ezekiel: The regathering of Israel into the Land of Israel was for a revival of The Church via a revival of the shining Face of God, and this accomplishment will result in the following: the heathen will no more terrorize and intimidate the Israelites, all Israelites will dwell in the Land of Israel, all the heathen will be judged by God, and God will never hide His Face from Israel again forevermore (see Ezek. 39:21-29). The purpose of the regathering which enables eternal salvation is apparent in Ezekiel 39:7, “So will I make My holy Name known in the midst of My people Israel; and I will not let them pollute My holy Name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.” What is this purpose, in other words? God purposed to return to His people whom He had left a long time ago, my reader. This is the return of the glory of God! What does this mean in terms of the legal identity of the people of Israel? God said, “So the House of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward” (Ezek. 39:22).
Ezekiel: The message of cleanliness and perfected holiness for the return of the glory of God to The Church (recalled and applied by the apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 6:16-7:1) was never so clear as in Ezekiel Chapter 43 through Chapter 44. In verses 2-6, Ezekiel expressed the vision of the return of the glory of God to the House of God for the first ever since it departed in Ezekiel 11:22-25. What a wonder! Ezekiel said, “the glory of the LORD came into the House”, and, “behold, the glory of the LORD filled the House” (Ezek. 43:4, 5)! This is the place, God said, “where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and My holy Name, shall the House of Israel no more defile…” (Ezek. 43:7), but how? How shall this glorious vision come to pass? “Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from Me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever” (Ezek. 43:9). After all the necessary cleansing and purging is done within the House of God, it was written, “I will accept you” (Ezek. 43:27). Hallelujah! Ezekiel gave an explanation of the reasons for God’s departure and potential return in Ezekiel Chapter 43 in a general sense, but Ezekiel Chapter 44 enlarges upon the matter in a specific sense. The glory of the LORD filled the House, and for what? To memorialize the Laws of the Sanctuary in a renewed way for the coming Israelite restoration (Ezek. 44:4-16, 23-24; compare with an explanation of the sin of Israel which merited their destruction in Ezek. 22:15-31). Ezekiel sees the glorious vision again, saying, “Then brought He me the way of the north Gate before the House: and I looked, and, behold, THE GLORY OF THE LORD filled the House of the LORD: and I fell upon My face. And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the House of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the House, with every going forth of the Sanctuary. And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the House of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye House of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, In that ye have brought into My Sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in My Sanctuary, to pollute it, even My House, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken My Covenant because of all your abominations. And ye have not kept the charge of Mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of My Charge in My Sanctuary for yourselves. Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into My Sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel” (Ezek. 44:4-9). Speaking of the priests in the dawn of this glorious time, the Lord said, “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to My judgments: and they shall keep My Laws and My statutes in all Mine assemblies; and they shall hallow My Sabbaths” (Ezek. 44:23-24). Final salvation is expressed in the language indicative of the same age-to-age conflict and controversy coming to final resolve. It is written of the city of Jerusalem, like as the Millennial Reign depicts, “the Name of the City from that day shall be, The LORD is there” (Ezek. 48:35), and we know the reasons why.
Jeremiah: Of the coming restoration, Jeremiah prophesied, “I will set Mine eyes upon them for good” (Jer. 24:5-7), the Lord said. What does this mean? This is the language of the regathering, replanting, and rebuilding of Israel in their own Land! This experience with the Person of God was the exclusive privilege of, “My people”, God said, therefore He would be “their God” (Jer. 24:7). This is, in other words, the glory of God returning! Why? “For they shall return unto Me with their whole heart”, the Lord said (Jer. 24:7)!
Jeremiah: When the Lord restores, heals, regathers, multiplies, and establishes Israel once again as a sovereign nation, the Lord said (Jer. 30:17-24), “ye shall be My people, and I will be your God”, but why? The Lord would set up a Nobleman and a Governor (Jer. 30:21), the Lord Jesus Christ by name (Isa. 9:6-7), who would establish justice and judgment for the perfection of cleanliness and holiness thenceforth! The Lord spoke of Christ saying, “I will cause Him to draw near, and He shall approach unto Me: for who is this that engaged His heart to approach unto Me” (Jer. 30:21), indeed, my reader… who is this? This is the Man “whose fan is in His hand, and HE will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but HE will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12). Indeed, “the Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:41-42). Jeremiah was prophesying (because of this Man who approaches God the Father) that the promise will be fulfilled, which said, “And ye shall be My people, and I will be your God” (Jer. 30:22)! Even so it shall be finally heralded, “Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3)! Therefore right now, in the Gentile Church, let us “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Php. 3:14), however unobtainable it may appear to be in our generation.
Jeremiah: “Like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down…so I will watch over them to build, and to plant” (Jer. 31:28), the Lord said. Why? Because God would at this time “be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be [His] people” (Jer. 31:1). This legal identity means a revival of the Face of God for acceptance in familial pleasantness, thus the people would be turned from sin into obedience to God’s Law, and, thus, the Lord said, “I…will be their God, and they shall be My people” (Jer. 31:33). This is a restoration of holiness in the people and place among which God would dwell, and, shockingly, “the whole valley” and “all the fields…shall be holy unto the LORD” (Jer. 31:40)!
Jeremiah: The primary reason for the damnation of Israel and Judah via the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities was the pollution and defilement of the House of God (Jer. 32:34, 50:7). The primary reason for the total annihilation of the heathen was the pollution, defilement, and destruction of the people and House of God in Israel and Judah (Jer. 50:28, 51:11, Ezek. 25:3, 6). Necessarily and, furthermore, the regathering of the people of Israel and Judah is for the purpose that they would exist before God in the condition which they failed to maintain before their dispersion, which was, of course, that they would be cleansed and pardoned from ALL iniquity (Jer. 33:7-8, 50:19-20). Because the regathering of Israel and Judah is in such a case the LORD said He will “rejoice over them”, which means, furthermore, “they shall be [His] people, and [He] will be their God” (Jer. 32:38)! God rejoices with His friends and Family, and no one else (Rom. 8:7-8, Lk. 15:10). At this time, when the legal identity of the people of Israel and Judah is restored by a God-to-man reunion, the “burnt-offerings” and “meat-offerings” are revived in the House of God and accepted (Jer. 33:11, 18)!
Jeremiah: The sinfulness of Israel and Judah which merited their near annihilation was emphasized in relation to the defilement and profanation of the House of God, here called, “the Habitation of justice” (Jer. 50:7). The impending destruction of Babylon is vindicated in that they rejoiced when they destroyed, God said, “Mine heritage” (Jer. 50:11)! This is fearful…The Lord is very bold to declare the warrant of His vengeance because the regathering Zionists called it, “the vengeance of the LORD our God, the vengeance of His Temple” (Jer. 50:28, 51:11)! The people of Israel were thus charged by God to flee out of Babylon to be regathered in the Land of Israel yet again, but the Lord needed to awaken and hasten them because of their lingering (Jer. 50:8). Doing so, the LORD recited the words of their confoundedness and promised a swift judgment upon Babylon, saying, “We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the Sanctuaries of the LORD’s House. Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her Land the wounded shall groan” (Jer. 51:51-52). This is incentive to flee out of Babylon and return to the Holy Land, indeed!
Zechariah: Those that fled out of the midst of Babylon unto the Land of Israel would (Zech. 4:7), because of revival, flee into the midst of the glory of God (Zech. 2:5)! Hallelujah! “I…will be the glory in the midst of her”, the LORD said (Zech. 2:5)! This meant that the glory of the Lord returned to Israel, therefore necessarily, God said, “I will dwell in the midst of thee” (Zech. 2:10), because the LORD their God is the glory of Israel! What does this mean in regards to the legal identity of the people who are in God’s midst? The Lord said again, “many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee…” (Zech. 2:11)! Amazing! Only God’s people dwell in the midst of God.
Zechariah: The language of God’s return to the Land of Israel had legal implications, plainly put. “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a City of truth; and the Mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy Mountain. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in Mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save My people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness” (Zech. 8:2-8).
Zechariah: What is the one single truth that all nations shall know about Israel at their regathering into the Promised Land? They will say, “we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23)! When Israel returns to their Land, the Lord said, “they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them” (Zech. 10:6). The Lord’s return is inextricably connected to Him being “their God” who hears them when they call and saved them by His mighty strength, who is delighted by and receptive of their ministerial worship via sacrifices, incense, solemn assemblies, and feast days. The Lord was intending upon full restoration in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra, in which He said through the prophet Haggai (a contemporary with Zechariah), “According to the word that I Covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not” (Haggai 2:5). Why is this happening, you think? The conditions of the regathering is here made evident, in Zechariah 13. Sin and uncleanness in Israel would and must be cleansed (Zech. 13:1), idolatry would and must be completely eradicated (Zech. 13:2), unclean spirits would and must be completely expelled (Zech. 13:2), and the people would and must be refined and purified as by fire so as to call upon the name of the Lord who would respond to them, by saying, “It is My people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zech. 13:8-9), but tragically this generation fell short of this glorious vision through sin (see the book of Malachi). Therefore we, according to the promise, look for another generation in which all these glorious prophecies shall be fulfilled, a time at which, shockingly, not only are the people of Israel ALL holy and ALL Saved, but every bell, horse, pot, and person in Israel and Jerusalem shall be HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD, as the Lord God hath said of old (Zech. 14:20-21)! What a glory.
Joel: Based upon the aforementioned conditions, the regathering, restoration, replanting, and rebuilding of Israel is confirmed by the prophet Joel in these words, “And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the Name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and NONE ELSE: and My people shall never be ashamed” (Joel 2:26-27)! Despite every instance of backsliding in every called-out generation, there is coming a day when the sun and moon shall be darkened, when the LORD shall roar out of Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem, when the heavens and earth will be shaken terribly until ALL Israelites shall know the truth of what Joel prophesied, saying, “I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, My holy Mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more”, for, “the LORD dwelleth in Zion” (Joel 3:15-21).