Some sprung up joyfully hearing the word, but choked when attacked
When talking with friends who share my belief in the British Israel identity, I constantly hear of their puzzlement over the fact that our close relatives and friends eschew that proposition, sometimes denying it forcefully, treating us as crackpots or cult followers. Why, when it is so obvious to us that it represents the truth and provides the key which makes Bible understanding possible, is it so offensive to those we love? And that leads to the question; why is it so apparent to us? Why did God open our eyes and ears? Although we have been witnessing for about a century and a half, we have made few converts to the truth and indeed, like the parable of the sower, some sprung up joyfully hearing the word, but choked when attacked, as the thorns attacked in the parable, so that the seed died because it had fallen on shallow ground where the root could not flourish. And the seed that fell by the wayside was eaten by the fowls of the air which might be compared to Satan snatching away the seed in 1948, when the state of Israel was proclaimed.
Recently, I was moved to have another read of the book of Isaiah, which has a peculiar fascination for me, probably because he had those marvellous prophecies of Jesus’ birth and crucifixion and the coming Kingdom of God ruled by His Anointed in peace and perpetuity. In Isaiah chapter 6 verses 9 to 13, Isaiah receives his mission. “And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed but understand not; and see ye indeed but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, AND CONVERT, AND BE HEALED. Then said I, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate. And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten; as a tiel tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves; so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.”
Wow!! At first we think of the short term fulfillment of this prophecy when the people were carried far off into exile but the Assyrians in particular backfilled the land with another people from the region of Assyria so that the land did not remain uninhabited or desolate. That suggests that the long-term fulfillment of the prophecy is yet to occur and therefore, would be a part of Jacob’s trouble. The prophecy also seems to suggest that ten percent of the people would have eyes to see and ears to hear and it occurs to me that it may be referring to us, who do believe in the peoples’ identity having eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand.
Does Isaiah have anything further to say on this subject? Yes, he does! In chapter 35, he discusses the glory of the New Jerusalem, which, in my opinion, is a reference to the kingdom after Jesus has established His rule. In verses five and six he states, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. Again, in Isaiah 29: 18 & 19, he confirms the issue of understanding. “And in that day [When the Kingdom is established] shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek shall also increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” The concept of understanding is emphasized in chapter 32: 3 & 4, “And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall harken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.” So, we must wait for the coming of the Kingdom before the Lord will open our eyes and ears to understanding.
The Lord explains why He does this in the commission to Isaiah when He says, “Lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, AND CONVERT AND BE HEALED.” I would say that God is showing frustration with His people. Isaiah 48: 3 & 4, “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly and they came to pass, because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass. I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee; lest thou shouldst say, Mine idol bath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image hath commanded them. So, because of idolatry, God has removed truth and understanding from our grasp.
Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables;
This is further explained in Mark 4: 10 – 12, “And when He was alone, they that were about Him with the twelve asked of Him the parable. And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables; That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest at any time they should be CONVERTED, AND THEIR SINS SHOULD BE FORGIVEN THEM.” Is that not consistent with the message Isaiah was given? If the Bible is the Word and Jesus is the Word made flesh, we would expect this uniformity of direction and purpose. God never fails!
His people were removed from bondage in Egypt after seeing the plagues and the great deliverance through the Red sea and the destruction of the Egyptian army. But there was an even greater event recorded in Exodus 24:9-11, “Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; AND THEY SAW THE GOD OF ISRAEL; and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand; ALSO THEY SAW GOD AND DID EAT AND DRINK!! In spite of this wondrous occasion, (the marriage supper!), Exodus 32; I records, “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together with Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods which shall go before us; for as for this Moses who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” Talk about folly! We cannot understand how this could have happened! The Lord called them stiff necked. There are other adjectives I might use but I leave it to your imagination. So, if that celebration did not win their trust and loyalty, what would? And as we have seen, God decreed that they should not have understanding lest they be CONVERTED AND FORGIVEN.
God has declared His intention to redeem His people and the Bible bristles with descriptions of the second coming of the Lord, at which time we can expect the blindness and deafness to be removed. When Jesus comes with a shout and the call of the trumpet, those who died in Christ will rise from their graves to eternal life. What a miracle! Surely, disbelief will vanish and the elect of the Lord will be gathered together to rule with Him as predicted by Jacob. Genesis 49: 10, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.” At that time we shall see, hear and understand and in our new God-given hearts of flesh we shall have God’s laws written and in our minds, understanding, compassion and love reflecting the character of God, once again, as in the beginning with Adam, made in His glorious image! Amen.