Revd Anthony Martlew, Dip. Th.
MY PEOPLE WHICH ARE CALLED BY MY NAME
TEXT: "If my people, which are called
by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their
land." - (2
IT is important that we should ponder deeply upon these words. They were spoken to Solomon when he was instructed by Jehovah in about 1000 BC, on how to build the Temple. Let us be quite certain that this promise is for the whole nation of Israel in perpetuity.
As she entered a new phase of her history with the building of this magnificent temple, we would suppose that her future was assured. There was no reason to suppose that it should be otherwise.
The Lord had blessed Israel with a royal line of kings, and now the Temple, and its form of worship given by the Lord, so what could go wrong?
One small word in this verse has changed the nature of the promise: IF my people shall humble themselves... The promise is therefore conditional, the nations future is in their hands.
That word IF has changed the course of history for 3000 years. The result of Israels disobedience to the voice of the Lord is shown in Deuteronomy 28:15-19:
"But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep."
The idea persists today that God is not the same as the God of the Old Testament; that He has now become the gentle Jesus of the New Testament. How easily we have forgotten those telling words in Malachi 3:6:
"For I am
the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Ponder deeply upon these words,
for the meaning is patent: not consumed means that the nation is not
annihilated, but still exists in its entirety - albeit under difficult and trying
At the beginning of
this 21st century, we have entered into a new, and final era of world history as we know
When Jesus walked on the earth 2000 years ago, He gave mankind a further opportunity to return unto Him. He came, firstly, to the Southern House of Judah, and, as John so movingly wrote:
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not." - (JOHN 1:11)
Remember this: although Judah rejected Him, He also came to the Northern House of Israel, which had settled by that time in the Isles of the North and the West, as prophesied by Isaiah and other prophets.
"Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." - (MATTHEW 21:43)
The word nation must not be confused with the church. Nation is from the Greek ETHNOS, meaning 'race'. If our Lord had meant the church, He would have used the word EKKLESIA. That He was referring to the dispersed Northern House is made abundantly clear from the instructions which he gave to His disciples:
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." - (MATTHEW 10:5-6)
When churchmen say that our Lord didnt mean Israel, He meant the church, they imply that He didnt know what He was saying. Others say that our Lord meant Judah, not Israel. That doesnt make sense either, because they were already in the midst of Judah.
Jesus explained His mission so clearly that there can be no doubt:
"But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel" - (MATTHEW 15:24)
So we may see the threefold mission of Christ:
* (1) To Judah, who rejected Him
* (2) To the dispersed Northern House
* (3) To the Gentiles, that all who believe in Christ, whether Jew, Israelite or Gentile, that is, other races who are not of Hebrew origin.
Furthermore, it should be understood that all who believe in Christ, whether Jew, Israelite or Gentile, will become the true church. Race does not enter into this equation.
Having made that point clear, we will now return to this present time period. Some of us are old enough to remember a time, not so long ago, when peoples behaviour was very different from todays. The words made in Great Britain meant quality and reliability. We remember a time when the world said An Englishmans word is his bond. We remember a time when honesty, integrity, hard work, discipline, punctuality, smartness, deportment, education and the Christian religion all went hand in hand. We remember a time when there was control upon what was allowed on the stage, screen and radio, when bookshops were not filled with pornography, and young people could not borrow evil videos, and television had high standards for its programmes. We remember a time when children were taught using well-tried methods and were given Christian teaching; a time when people took sufficient exercise, and ate wholesome food; a time when ministers of the churches had a calling and faithfully preached from the Scriptures; a time before spin doctors and political correctness; a time before constant surveillance and intrusion into peoples private lives.
In all these things, we have forgotten the God of our Fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The western world has become greedy, and is totally absorbed in the lust for money, entertainment and material goods.
Is it any wonder that the world of Islam believes that they, and only they, have the one true religion? They view the western world as an evil cancer, and they believe that they have a divine right to destroy the infidel nations.
We have so recently seen an example of their hatred of the West. We have suddenly been brought to realise that our great, invincible cities and business empires can be brought crashing to the ground, with appalling loss of life.
This terrible thing was caused by Satan, but allowed by God. Had it not been so, He would have prevented it, but He is always able to bring good out of evil, as we have seen so many times in history.
What is the Lord saying to us? Could He not be saying, My people, you have gone too far, return unto Me? Is it not significant, then, that within hours of those terrible events in America, people were flocking into the churches, yes, even the young people, some of whom had probably never been inside a church before.
Within three days, a magnificent service was held in St. Pauls Cathedral, graced by the presence of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. The streets were lined with weeping people, and for once, Gods Name was invoked by all those present. As this event was televised, people at a great distance were able to join with those who were actually present on
the streets of London.
Not since the last war has there been such grief. (I do not include the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in this category, for that was mainly sentiment).
In spite of the beauty of that service, the Bible readings, the wonderful singing and the prayers, there was still a vital missing dimension. Just as that word IF was ignored, and still is by many people, so too, today, one small word is ignored.
That word, which will make a world of difference to how the Lord will respond, is the word REPENT. In all the sentiments expressed, including sorrow, no bitterness, forgiveness, love, rebuild, not once did the cry go forth, Lord, we have sinned against Thy Holy Laws; forgive us for all those things which offend. We repent of our misdoings, the remembrance of them is grievous unto us.
Until the nation does this very thing upon its knees, the Lord will not answer.
It is quite possible that such tragic events could occur in these islands, for we, too, are an easy target. As we have learned in these past few weeks, the enemy is not short of those who are willing to give up their lives in what they see as a Holy War.
Today, we are in even greater danger than in those dark days of the I 940s. Scripture tells us that Israel will return to her God, albeit, not willingly. The truth is, we have gone so far down the slippery path, and we are actually enjoying it. If you read the first chapter of Romans, you will find a list of the evil things that people do, and in the final verses:
"Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them." - (ROMANS 1:32)
I now come to my final thoughts on this grave matter. We all know that the Lords Coming is near, for many prophecies of the Scriptures are being fulfilled in these last days. We also know that Israel will be the body politic in the New Age. It follows, therefore, that something will happen to the nation before that day. This is what Scripture clearly teaches. What will bring
us to our knees, I cannot say.
The words of our Lord, recorded in Matthew 24:22, warn of events to come shortly:
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.. but for the elects sake those days shall be shortened."
Something will happen, which, if not stopped by the Lord, would bring all life to an end. What is equally certain is that we shall have to humble ourselves, and pray, and seek the Lord, and turn from our wicked ways.
In these past few years, many people, including the author, have petitioned the Queen to call for a National Day of Prayer. These requests have been passed to a government department, which merely acknowledges receipt of the letters, but no action is taken.
The time is coming shortly when the nation, of its own volition, will flock to the House of God, and repent, and sincerely seek the Lords help.
Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil,
and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the
heathen:" - (JOEL
and again to:
"Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up." - (HOSEA 6:1)
and lastly to EZEKIEL 36:37:
"Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock."
Thus, I am able to conclude on a triumphal note. The nation will repent and seek her God, and, for His part, He will heal the land, and return in glory to reign over the House of Jacob for ever.
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