COME AND LET US RETURN UNTO THE LORD
P. O. JohnsonTHOSE of us who recognise the present day identities of the Children of Israel would do well to consider the many very important prophecies in the Holy Bible which directly relate to Israel at this present time.
The words of Hosea 6:1 "COME AND LET US RETURN UNTO THE LORD" were written in the eighth century B.C. at the time of the Assyrian captivity of the northern House of Israel. Hosea, whose name rneans "The Lord saves" was writing about the continuing unfaithfulness of Israel. So often throughout the whole history of Israel, we read of their disregard of God's holy laws and statutes, and the constant cry of all the prophets for repentance and for a "RETURN UNTO THE LORD".
Israel are described as "A PERVERSE AND CROOKED GENERATION" by Moses in Deuteronomy 32:5. Again, in Psalm 78:8 Asaph calls them "A STUBBORN AND REBELLIOUS GENERATION". Then in Matthew 12:39 the Lord Jesus says "AN EVIL AND ADULTEROUS GENERATION, SEEKETH AFTER A SIGN, AND THERE SHALL BE NO SIGN GIVEN TO IT, BUT THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH". Surely a warning of the dire consequences of failure to repent. For although the people of Ninevah repented in Jonah's time after his warning and were then forgiven, eventually, after reverting back to sinful ways, they and their city were destroyed.
At this present time can anyone doubt that contemporary Israel is still not returning to the Lord. Paul, when teaching about the day of the Lord and the second advent in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says "THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME EXCEPT THERE COME A FALLING AWAY FIRST". Bearing in mind that the redemption, reformation and identification of the true Israel is to be in that time period, Paul's prophesy is yet another sign of the times.
We have the promise of God in Zechariah 1:3
"THUS SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS, TURN UNTO ME, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS, AND I WILL TURN UNTO YOU, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS".
Again in 2 Chronicles 7:14
"IF MY PEOPLE, WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME, SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES, AND PRAY, AND SEEK MY FACE, AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS, THEN I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN, AND WILL HEAL THEIR LAND."
In Hosea 5:15 to 6:2 we read
"I (God) SHALL GO AND RETURN TO MY PLACE, TILL THEY (Israel) ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR OFFENCES, AND SEEK MY FACE; IN THEIR AFFLICTION THEY WILL SEEK ME EARLY (Lit. earnestly). 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 AFTER TWO DAYS SHALL HE REVIVE US; IN THE THIRD DAY HE SHALL RAISE US UP AND WE SHALL LIVE IN HIS SIGHT."
This wonderful section of Hosea's prophesy categorically links the reformation of Israel to the redemption through the gospel of Jesus the Christ - without which ALL is lost. After all, belief in the gospel of Christ is peremptory for the nation of Israel as it is for the individual.
So far we have considered:
1) the evidence of Israel's unfaithfulness,
2) the promise of God to heal them if they will return to him,
3) Hosea's positive affirmation of the necessary link between Israel's reformation and salvation through Jesus the Christ.
We must also now consider the stern warnings in the Holy Bible if Israel fails to turn to God. Moses in Deuteronomy 28: 15 warns Israel
"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".
He then goes on to list in this long chapter the terrible curses which would ensue. All of these curses have overtaken Israel as a result of unfaithfulness over many centuries.
In Ezekiel 36:32 talking of the promised future cleansing Israel, God says
"NOT FOR YOUR SAKES DO I THIS, SAITH THE LORD GOD, BE IT KNOWN UNTO YOU; BE ASHAMED AND CONFOUNDED FOR YOUR OWN WAYS, 0 HOUSE OF ISRAEL".
A most humbling proclamation against us all.
We now come to two rnost remarkable prophesies concerning the cleansing of Israel:
1) Ezekiel 36:37.
"THUS SAITH THE LORD GOD, I WILL YET FOR THIS BE ENQUIRED OF BY THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, TO DO IT FOR THEM".
2) Zechariah 13:9.
In the last part of this verse God says
"THEY SHALL CALL UPON MY NAME, AND I WILL HEAR THEM. I WILL SAY, IT IS MY PEOPLE, AND THEY SHALL SAY, THE LORD IS MY GOD".
So we now know that God will cleanse us when we call upon his name! In verse 31 of Ezekiel 36, the predicted resultant dire remorse is recorded.
"THEN SHALL YE REMEMBER YOUR OWN EVIL WAYS, AND YOUR DOINGS THAT WERE NOT GOOD, AND SHALL LOATHE YOURSELVES IN YOUR OWN SIGHT FOR YOUR INIQUITIES AND FOR YOUR ABOMINATIONS".
The Holy Bible tells us that all prophecies must be fulfilled. But who today will call on God to cleanse us? The State? The Church? The United Nations? No, none of these we can be certain!
The Holy Bible refers to the remnant of Israel in these latter days, as being scattered throughout the world. Several prominent nations today plus smaller enclaves comprise this remnant. We who recognise the identity of true Israel, of which we are a part, are the only people who can approach our God with such a request. Let us therefore get down on our knees on behalf of all true Israel, as individuals or groups, to confess our sins and ask the Holy One of Israel, Almighty God to cleanse us. As Hosea 14:2 so eloquently states "TAKE AWAY ALL INIQUITY, AND RECEIVE US GRACIOUSLY". If our faith is firm, God will answer these prayers, and prophecy predicts he will answer positively. However, remember, as always it will be in God's own good time and in accordance with his divine will.
Keep in mind:(1) God has said he will do this, but not for our sakes, but for his holy name's sake. (2) As individuals, we must be true believers in the blessed Gospel of Lord Jesus the Christ. (3) We must approach the throne of grace with deep humility, trusting only in God (not ourselves - for we are nothing) and recognizing that none of us are fit to ask such a blessing, but for the grace of the Lord Jesus the Christ.
My friends, is it not time to stand up and be counted? We are a small part of the remnant are we not? Let us do it! May I suggest the basic outline for such a prayer:
1) A moment of silence to recognise that we can only approach the throne of grace in prayer, through the mediation of Jesus the Christ our Saviour.
2) To ask our heavenly Father to help us pray from the heart in spirit and in truth.
3) To acknowledge and confess our sins.
4) Quietly to ask God our heavenly Father to cleanse us and all true Israel from our iniquity, to create in us all a clean heart, forgive us our sins and receive us graciously.
I suggest that we include this supplication in our daily prayers and that ...
SUNDAY 8 OCTOBER 2001 BE EARMARKED AS AN ISRAEL DAY OF PRAYER
... when our people may individually or in groups or congregations in churches or elsewhere, pray for cleansing and the fulfilment of Ezekiel 36:37
"THUS SAITH THE LORD OUR GOD, I WILL YET FOR THIS BE ENQUIRED OF BY THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL TO DO IT FOR THEM".
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