The rejection of Israel and the establishment of a Millennial Zion are juxtaposed in these verses.
In the contemplation of why God rejects Israel, there is the discovery of temptations and tendencies that are common to discipleship, and which may be experience perhaps no other way. A common critique of the Scribes and Pharisees was their ability to remove themselves from the “wicked” in their piousness. Safe in their pretended righteousness, they were not guilty of the more serious, outward transgressions of the law, and so there was plenty of ample room to wallow in the filth of their own self-righteous judgments. This is a cankered condition that can only occur among those that claim to be faithful — a subtle derailment of faith.
Verses 1 – 16 deal with the rejection of Israel and the Lord raising up another people. There is the temptation to read these verses and say “I am glad I am not that people!” However, that is the very thing that they were guilty of: “Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou.” (vs. 5)
I cannot help but feel that I am almost as the house of Israel in most of the Lord’s condemnation towards them. I am no better than were they.
A new day, fresh eyes, and a reminder to be centered on Jesus Christ: this causes me to see where Israel fell. Israel was rejected because they first rejected Christ. Being realigned to focus again on the message of Jesus Christ, this chapter becomes infinitely more comprehensible. Israel would not be subjected to their God, who is Christ. They would rather prepare feasts for idols, gods of some other form, than to worship the true and living God. (see vs. 11 plus footnotes)
Starting in verse 13, the Lord begins to make reference to a people that do believe in Him. He calls them his servants and contrasts their blessed state with the house of Israel’s forsaken state.
- Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry:
- behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty:
- behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:
- Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit.
Why does a knowledge of a Millennium benefit me today?
Things continue to grow in the Millennium. The reality is that Christ, and a knowledge of Christ is what makes the Millennium possible. The fruits of a Millennial lifestyle shall be the same as they can be now if my life is centered on Jesus Christ, right here and now. So what is the difference. Growth goes uninterrupted. It’s expedited.
(To be continued tomorrow. Still looking for the answers as to why this is important in a per-Millennial state.)
At the start of my morning, I have a handful of questions that I am wrestling with this morning as it pertains to agency and the Millennium and opposition:
- Does opposition go away in the millennium?
- At what point does true growth start?
We know that when Christ comes again, the knowledge of Him will fill the earth. Satan will be bound however because of the righteousness of the Saints, because a people will be actively choosing to believe in Christ. But in the Millennial Day, there will be those that are growing up without the opposition of the world as we now know it, without the temptations and evil influences of the adversary that surround us on all sides.
The biggest question that is sitting in my mind this morning is this:
- Is opposition requisite for spiritual growth?
- How does agency work in the Millennium?
- How do we grow?
- What does opposition look like when we are all choosing to do right?
- How does faith in Christ change?
Answers (from prayer):
- Agency works the same, and is not taken away during the Millennium.
- Growth may look something like this: knowledge of Christ fills the earth. So our starting point in our growth process is in good soil.
- There is a new world and a new heaven. Memories of this older world are mostly lost and forgotten. But those that are faithful transition from the old to the new.
- Just as an apostle is not void from the experiences of mortality because of their faith, there will still be opportunity to grow and learn.
- Though here is where I get stuck: we will still need to work. Hard work will not be done away with. But pain, sickness, disease, sorrows, suffering: these things are done away with because of Christ.
- Faith in Christ is still required. Healthy trees grow in fertile ground.
Yet, I feel that I am more questions than answers still even after prayer.