The Most High has unfailingly connected Himself with Israel: land, people and the city of Jerusalem, to bless the nations and the world. To this end He has committed Himself with eight Covenants.
Seven of these Covenants/contracts are unconditional, they are everlasting and they are all ratified with a solemn oath of the Most High Himself, sworn on His own Name, because He cannot swear on anything or anybody higher or greater than Himself. Because there is nothing or anybody higher than Him. Hebrews 6:13 “When God made His promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for Him to swear by, He swore by himself…” Psalm 105:8-11 “He remembers His Covenant forever, the promise He made for a thousand generations, the Covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting Covenant: “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.” All of these seven Covenants are everlasting, and they are without conditions, and therefore independent of Israel’s behaviour.
“The Most High has unfailingly connected Himself with Israel: land, people and the city of Jerusalem, to bless the nations and the world. To this end He has committed Himself with eight Covenants”
When we have to take an oath, we use the words, “So help me God,” sometimes with one hand on the Bible and the other raised towards Heaven. A more serious declaration cannot be made, and perjury is severely punished. The Lord cannot swear by anyone higher than Himself, for no such person exists, so He swears by Himself: “…By Myself I have sworn, My mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked…”, the Lord says to Isaiah, 45:23. And to Jeremiah He says, “…But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by Myself that this palace will become a ruin…” Jeremiah 22:5. In Psalm 89:35 the Lord says, “…Once for all I have sworn by My holiness—and I will not lie to David…” Balaam solemnly declares: “…God is not man, that He should lie, or a son of man, that he should change His mind. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not fulfil it?…” Numbers 23:19 (ESV)
Psalm 105:8 “…the promise He made for a thousand generations…” When a generation in the Bible is about 40 years, then it means that for 40,000 years the Lord will remember this Covenant. And when a generation is considered to be 70 years, then it means that the Lord will remember this Covenant for 70,000 years. And when a generation is considered to be a 100 years – as Genesis 17:13 and 16 seem to suggest – then it is even for 100,000 years that the Lord will remember this Covenant. So this means: forever, everlasting!
It is even longer than 40,000 or 70,000 or 100,000 years that this Covenant of the Eternal One with Israel will exist. It is a Covenant that will exist as long as the Universe and the laws of nature are functioning. So forever, till the end of time, according to the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 31:35-37 says: “…This is what the LORD says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar- the LORD Almighty is His Name: “Only if these decrees vanish from My sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before Me.” Only if we can follow the intelligence of the Creator in the macro-cosmos and the micro-cosmos, in the particles, the atoms, the wavelengths of light and the Universe at large – and we never can – only then will Israel cease to be a nation before Him, meaning: never. As long as there is the Universe, there will be Israel.
And not even because of all the wrong-doings Israel did, will He forever reject them. Jeremiah 31:37 “This is what the Lord says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the Lord. So, not even because of all the wrongdoings of Israel will He forever reject them.
“So, not even because of all the wrongdoings of Israel will He forever reject them”
Temporarily? Yes. Forever? No.
Leviticus 25:23 “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you are but aliens and My tenants.” Leviticus 20:3 and 24-28 “You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices… “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep My decrees and My laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.”
Amos 9:13-15 ““The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, and I will bring My people Israel back from exile.” “They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.”
What does the word eternal or everlasting mean? Only until Jesus Christ came and the Jews rejected Him? When a large portion of the Jewish people rejected Jesus, declaring, “…We don’t want this man to be our king…” Luke 19:14, did the everlasting Covenant suddenly dissolve? No, of course not. Eternal means eternal, everlasting, forever. That Covenant covered by an oath of God, is still valid today.
“Eternal means eternal, everlasting, forever. That Covenant covered by an oath of God, is still valid today”
The year 1948
1945 was the year of the founding of the United Nations
1948 was the year that the State of Israel was proclaimed
1967 was the year of the liberation of Jerusalem from the occupation by Jordan
1948 was the year of the establishment of the World Council of Christian Churches
Therefore the year 1948 was the year that actually ‘replacement theology’ that controlled Christianity for centuries died an inglorious death. Biblical prophecies were fulfilled before the very eyes of the entire world. And are still being fulfilled. We ourselves see it happen with our very eyes. For that matter, we belong to a very special generation.
For centuries Christians were taught and believed that they as Christ’s Church replaced the Jewish people as the chosen people of God. That God rejected His people Israel because the Jewish people for the most part rejected Jesus – while the Church was accepting Jesus. A Christian theology that led to Jew-hatred and persecution of Jews for centuries.
With an incredible climax: the Holocaust that took place in the Christian nations of Europe. Over 6 million Jews murdered in the lands of Christianity – among them 1 and a ½ million children – for no other reason than that they were Jewish. For Jews there was no future anymore, the Church had been teaching. No other future than to repent and convert to Christ and become Christians like all of us and become part of the Christian Church.
And all of a sudden that proved to be totally wrong. Already over a 100 years ago God began to lead His people Israel towards a new future, with as initial steps: the return from all parts of the world to the Promised Land of Israel, and the liberation of the city of Jerusalem in 1967.
Where does this all lead to? What else is going to happen? What does it mean that the Most High has made everlasting Covenants with Israel, meaning that they will last forever, all of them ratified by a solemn oath sworn by the Most High by His own Name, and that seven of these eight or nine Covenants are without exception unconditional, so not dependent on the behaviour of Israel itself?
What does this Covenantal loyalty of God to Israel mean to us? For His Christian Church that He is gathering from all over the world from the gentile nations, already for almost two thousand years? God’s faithfulness to Israel stretches out, even unto us, non-Jews. Also, to you and me. To every Christian. In a very personal way. What a great kind of perspective does this give to every believer personally!
What future will mankind and the world, Israel and the Christian Church, the nations and Creation and ultimately even the Universe face on the basis of all God’s Covenants and Promises? Is here hope for the world? Or are we on the brink of an all-destructive Third World War? Are we nearing the end of the world? Or are we on the way towards new beginnings, towards His Kingdom of Peace and Righteousness worldwide?
Signs of the Times
Earthquakes scourge planet earth. The statistics of the ‘killer-quakes’ – earthquakes and tsunami’s that take thousands of lives – are steeply on the rise. Weapons of mass-destruction – the so-called ‘ABC’- weapons: Atomic, Bacteriological, Chemical – are being produced even by smaller nations and are ready to be used as weapons of war. Terrorist groups are trying to get a hold of them. Radical Islam is worldwide on the rise. Faith in a personal God is in Europe rapidly declining. Anxiety and fear for the future are increasingly laming the lives of many, as a deadly stranglehold. Is planet earth heading for an all-devastating World War III?
The world-economy is stagnating. Diminishing sources of energy, pollution of water and air, slinking areas of fertile lands to grow crops, expanding arid areas and deserts and the average temperature on planet earth increasingly on the rise, global warming as a result. More and more species of animals and plants are becoming extinct. Sea-life in the oceans is increasingly being threatened. Overpopulation of human beings is reaching its billions. Is mankind on its way to destroy herself? Asteroids that are hardly visible or detectable – will they be able to penetrate earth’s atmosphere and hit our planet with the power of many atomic bombs? Will old and new diseases caused by viruses and bacteria that become ever increasingly more resistant against means of medical combat spread like wildfire in the foreseeable future?
Is there any hope? What is the message of age-old Biblical prophecies? Do they have any meaning for us today? Are we standing at the beginning of the end of mankind and planet earth? Or are we rapidly approaching the dawn of a splendid new future? Will science and technology be able to save us? Living in the final days of the end-times. But how? What will the future hold? Can anybody know? Nobody knows what the future will hold. Or is there Someone Who holds the future and has He revealed to the prophets of Israel what this future will hold? Is the Creator of heavens and earth personally involved in pushing the history of mankind and planet earth forward towards goals that He has in His mind? The renewal of Creation itself?
The Signs of the Times. The Lord Jesus speaks about them in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and 21. In His discourse about the Signs of the End of the Age. Many prophets in the Bible speak about it. It is impossible to deal with all of them in the framework of this book (i.e. “The Signs of the Times” by Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer, ISBN 978-94-9301-101-4). But I have tried to bring into the light a few of them, 52 enlightening signs in total. In order that we shall not be naïve about things to come. To make us all aware that He apparently knows about them. That the situation of mankind, planet earth and the Universe is not getting out of His hands. So that we realize ourselves that although the birth pangs will be increasingly painful, the end-result and the final outcome will be the birth of the baby. Right through baffling and bewildering end-times events He will ultimately reach His goals. In the case of mankind and planet earth: the Kingdom of peace and righteousness and the renewal of all things. Surely Jesus is Coming to make all things forever new.
The chronicle of the events in the foreseeable future is not a very pleasant one. But it is very comforting to know that the Everlasting One will never let go what His hands have started. He will bring His great plans of salvation to completion. The Kingdom is coming, because the Jews are coming home, back to the Promised Land of Israel and to Jerusalem. Already for over a hundred years. Because the King is Coming.
One thing is for certain: The Most High will be faithful to Himself. He cannot lie. Hence Israel is the great sign of hope that a world that is becoming more and more adrift can perceive with its own eyes. God is faithful. His plans will not fail. He will not abandon the works of His hands. Not in the life of Israel. Not in the life of the nations. Not in the life of His congregation. Also, not in the life of Creation and the Universe itself. And also, not in your and my life.
“God is faithful. His plans will not fail. He will not abandon the works of His hands”
The seven unconditional Covenants are:
There is one conditional Covenant, the eighth Covenant: the Covenant of the Law. And within that 8th Covenant was another Covenant: the Covenant of Shabbat, a 9th Covenant one could say. Exodus 31:12-18 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe My Sabbaths. This will be a sign between Me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy. “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you… For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, holy to the Lord… The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting Covenant. It will be a sign between Me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’” When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the Covenant Law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.”
The Covenant of the Law, the Covenant of Sinai, the Mosaic Covenant, the ‘Old’ Covenant.
In Deuteronomy 28:1-68 it repeatedly says in verses 1-14 “IF you…” then I will bless…” and in the verses 15-68: “IF you do not… “ then “I will curse…”. They have to meet certain criteria in order to receive the blessings of this Covenant. This Covenant was renewed on the plains of Moab, on the mountains of Ebal and Gerizim and in Shechem. This Covenant of the Law is the “old” Covenant. Hebrews 8:13 says bout this Covenant: “By calling this Covenant “new,” He has made the first one [the “old”, the Covenant of the Law] obsolete. And what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.” By Christ’s fulfilling of the requirements of the Law in a perfect way the curse of the Law has disappeared, although the wisdom of the Law as God’s guidelines for life for Israel and the nations continues and will exist of course forever.
Look at Isaiah 2:2-4. Verse 3 says: “Many peoples/nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the House/Temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths.” The Law/Torah will go out from Zion, the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
If the Most High has unfailingly and unconditionally connected Himself with Israel and the Jewish people with everlasting Covenants, should we also not be the same as well? Should not we also be connected with unconditional love with the Jewish people and with Israel just like God is? With all our heart and soul, like He is? Jeremiah 32: 36-41 “…this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in My furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. They will be My people, and I will be their God. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear Me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. I will make an everlasting Covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear Me, so that they will never turn away from Me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.”
Everything that is happening today in and around Jerusalem and that which is going to happen in the (near) future, makes many people worldwide look towards Jerusalem. With eager expectation Jews and Christians read their Bibles, particularly the Books of the Prophets. Because, according to many the times are not improving. A feeling of fear and fright creeps up on many when they look to the future. And yet: Israel and Jerusalem are the greatest signs of hope the world has ever seen!
In that holy City of Jerusalem once there was God’s holy Temple.
In that place on Mount Sion, Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount, Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac, Genesis 22:1-19.
That place God has chosen as a dwelling for His Name, Deuteronomy 12:11.
That place was chosen by King David, 1 Chronicles 21:22-22:1.
That is where his son Solomon built the holy Temple, see 1 Kings 5:8, 2 Chronicles 3:1.
There, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by king Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Captivity of the Jewish people the Temple was rebuilt under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah.
This Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by Titus and his Roman legions.
This place, Mount Moriah/Zion, makes Jerusalem to be that very special place: “the navel of the earth”, Ezekiel 38:12. Israel and Jerusalem: the very heart of the earth.
There, in that place with its rebuilt Temple, baby Jesus was presented to the Lord by His parents. There in that same Temple, 12-year-old Jesus is breathlessly caught up in the things of His Father. There in Jerusalem, during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), He reveals Himself fully. There He makes His entry, sitting on a colt of a donkey, as the Prince of Peace.
There He is greeted by the Jewish crowd, calling out to Him, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosannah to the great Son of David.”
It is there as well that the Lord Jesus establishes the New Covenant during the celebration of Passover (Pesach) with His Jewish friends, of which the signs are: His broken body and His shed blood, Luke 22:19-20, Jeremiah 31:31-34.
There was His cross.
There the bodily Resurrection takes place.
From there He ascended to Heaven from the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem and it is there where His Coming in Glory will be, Acts 1:1-11, Zechariah 14:4.
There during the Jewish Feast of Shavuot, the Feast of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out and will be poured out on Jewish people, in accordance with Joel 2:28-32 and Zechariah 12:10-14.
There the judgment upon the nations will take place, according to Joel 3 1-6 and Matthew 25:31-46.
From there, from Zion, once the Law will go out, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem and the nations will train for war no more, Isaiah 2:2-4.
To that place one-day the Shekinah Glory of the Lord will return, Ezekiel 43:1-7.
And finally, there, one-day the Heavenly Jerusalem will descend on earth, so that Heaven and earth will be “united as one” and “God will be all in all”, 1 Corinthians 15:28b.