Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Harry Shepherd Prophecy 4

This is the fourth installment of my grandfather's prophecy book.
III. God's Work On This Four Promise Program
Let us now turn to a consideration of how God has worked and is working on this program. His work will finally bring the Coming for the Second Time of the Jewish Messiah—our blessed Lord Jesus. God's work in the past, as well as in the present, was seasoned with mercy, expediency and wisdom. Although Abraham was willed the entire Holy Land, God let him be a sojourner only in it and never let him possess personally one foot of it except the cemetery lots which he bought of Ephron the Hittite among the children of Heth—namely the field of Machpelah with its cave near Hebron. Here he buried Sarah. God's mercy is seen in this in that the cup of iniquity of the Amorite was not yet full (Genesis 15:16) so God postponed their destruction and dispossession of the land. The expediency and wisdom is seen in that God's instrument of destruction—the children of Israel—was not yet available. As we have indicated before, God sent Jacob and household of seventy-five souls into Egypt in order to form the nation and build this instrument till the cup of iniquity above was filled. Then God under Joshua destroyed and dispossessed the Canaanitish tribes and gave possession of the land, under warnings and promises, to the 12 tribes of Israel. Just before they entered, Moses (Deuteronomy 11:7-21) told them that God was the great, divine Caretaker of this Holy Land—from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates—and that the Lord's "eyes were always upon it from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year" (verse 12). He also promised that economic prosperity would be theirs for wholehearted obedience to the Divine Caretaker and that reverses and chastisement would follow their failure in obedience. According to Joshua 24:31 Israel gave this obedience all the days of Joshua and all the days of the contemporary elders who overlived Joshua. Afterward failure upon failure followed till God's chastisement fell upon them and God's instrument of punishment, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, destroyed their capital city, burned Solomon's temple and carried the people into the seventy years Babylonish Captivity. Up to this time God and His work on the Four Promise Program to Abraham had carried out mainly only 2—(1) the making of the nation and (2) the giving of the Land for that Nation. On account of Israel's failure and the consequent Babylonish Captivity, God's work on the Four Promises was partially suspended.

When the seventy years Captivity was accomplished in 536 B. C. God resumed His work by causing the great Persian king Cyrus to command his Jewish captives to return to the Holy Land and to rebuild the temple. Some over 49,000 under the governor Zerubbabel returned and finally built the Second Temple called Zerubbabel's. Later under Ezra the scribe and Nehemiah the Persian King Artaxerxes' Butler, another group returned, rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and helped to restore the nation in the Promised Land. Thus God resumed His work on the promises to Abraham. If we want to understand the Bible and the meaning of prophecy we need to remember the part the descendants of Abraham through Isaac have in God's purposes and plan for our world and also remember that they will play the leading earthly role under God in the millennial earth. Israel is a key to Bible truth. With the return from Babylon and with the remainder of the Old Testament, God was shaping things for and working toward the third promise to Abraham—namely to bless him by sending his greatest Son, Jesus Christ, into the world.

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