Sunday, January 22, 2012

The last days.

After the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 a great number of Jews’s were killed or taken captive and sold as slaves. Concerning Jerusalem, Moses said, in Deuteronomy 28:68 "And the LORD will take (you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you), 'You shall never see it again.' And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves), but no one will buy you." (emphasis added)
The tallest and most beautiful of the young men were saved for the triumphal procession; everyone else over the age of seventeen was sent in bonds to work the Egyptian mines. A great number were also sent into the provinces to provide amusement in the theaters. (Josephus 37:B.C A.D. 70 p. 230)

At the rise of Christianity anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews began to creep into the church toward the Jews just because they are Jewish. The church became greatly influenced by gentile thinking such as the Church, was God’s plan B after the Jews reject their Messiah. However the birth of the early first century Church was brought about from within the womb of Judaism. The Church was thoroughly Jewish from its earliest days (since there were no Gentiles in it from 32 to 42). When the Gentiles did begin to come into the church it was at the council in Jerusalem. ( Acts 15)

Along with the gentile influence came the idea of the last days on the New Covenant. However, in order to determine whether we are in the last days, we should determine how the phrase was originally used in the Hebrew Scriptures. This will help us in regards to our interpretation of the New Testament usage of the term "last days."

First, I would like to consider the first usage of the phrase "last days" and consider those who are primarily addressed: Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. So, it is clear that Israel is the subject of Jacob ‘s swan song about the last days and the last days concern the Jews.

Moses confirms that in the latter days the Jews would be ultimate scattered among the nations. Deuteronomy 4:27 And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. Deuteronomy 4:30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice.

Moses says, the Jews would be scattered among the nations in a (time of tribulation that will come upon them in the latter days). There is no reference to Gentiles being the subject of these latter days.

Was the nation of Israel ultimately scattered among the nations in a time of tribulation? You bet they were, many were taken back to Egypt in ships, to work the Egyptian mines. (Deuteronomy 28:68 concerning Jerusalem) "And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, 'You shall never see it again.' And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you." (emphasis added) (Josephus 37:B.C A.D. 70 p. 230)

Moses continues this omen toward the end of the book. Deuteronomy 31:29 For I know that after my death you will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because you will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands. Moses was speaking to a nation of Jews, who evil will befall in the latter days; because they did evil in the sight of the LORD,

Ezekiel identifies Israel also concerning its doom under the nations in the latter days. Ezekiel 38:16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. Nowhere in these passages are referring to the last days of the physical planet, but, rather, the last days of Judah and Jerusalem.

Isaiah predicts these last days as well. Isaiah 2:1-2 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. The vision was concerning Judah and Jerusalem not the physical planet.

Throughout the Old Testament God predicts when these latter days come the people of God will understand what He will do to the nation of Israel in destroying it and punishing it for its wickedness.

Along with the punishment of the fleshly nation of Israel for its wickedness, the elect remnant of national Israel would be saved in the latter days. Hosea 3:5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

The fear here is one of reverence in those who worship and serve the God. In the Old Testament, “reverence” occurs as the translation of two Hebrew words: Yare’ (pronounced yaw-ray’), which carries the meaning of “fear.” This word is used to express the attitude toward God Himself. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him (Psalm 89:7). The thought was one of fear, awe and respect.

Certainly the writers of the New Testament were very aware of those passages we studied involving the last days of Judah and Jerusalem. Therefore, it is safe and logical to say Paul believed they were living in the end of the Jewish age as well: 1 Cor 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the age are come.

Paul was describing the history of the Jews and their rebellion against God in the wilderness. We should not ignore the fact that Paul, is discussing the ancient rebellion of Israel, which took place in the wilderness before entering into the earthly promised land, was describing the rebellion taking place during the 40-year period in which he was living in the period between the giving of the New Testament and the entering into the heavenly Promised Land.

It is evident that national Israel is the main subject involved in these last days. However, one might try to argue that the last days concerned the spiritual Israel of God. One would be hard pressed to find scripture where God is bringing such evil upon His beautiful bride.

Consider the statement of Daniel about an everlasting kingdom. How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation. Daniel 4:3

Daniel 7:14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed..

Daniel 7:27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the wholes heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.'

Hebrew 13:20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Of course you cannot place last days on an everlasting covenant.

The point is most, if not all the disciples were dead not long after the start of the early Church. And there understand about the last days from the Old Testament scripture died with them. As the Gentiles began to come into the Church they gave birth to a last day totally alien to Judaism and Old Testament scripture.