Israel versus The Church
I. The OT speaks much of Israel, the land and the people. Almost the whole post-exilic period is about this. The focus was on the Land, the Temple, the Laws, and being in obedience and faithful to the God who revealed Himself to these people.
- 2 Kings 17:5-15, 18-19; Jeremiah 1:13-16; 2:1-13 Israel’s land was taken away and the Temple destroyed.
- Amos 8:1-3 Punishment on the people and land.
- Zerubbabel – rebuilt the Temple
- Nehemiah – rebuilt the Walls (such a focus on the actual place of Jerusalem)
II. The NT seems to silence the talk about the land and the people. The focus is now about The Church (The family of Faith–Gentiles included) and being in Christ and faithfully becoming more like Him.
- Ephesians 3:1-12 The Gentiles join into the riches of The Church
- Romans 9:6-8 Not all Israel is Israel
- Acts 3:24-26 Fulfillment of the prophecies to Abraham
- Hebrews 12:18-24 Mount Zion and the City of the Living God.
- Revelation 7:1-17 (9) The throne is filled with all nations.
- Revelation 19:15-19, The Temple and Ark of the Covenant are in heaven, not on Earth.
- Acts 7:45-50, Stephen is stoned because of downplaying the Temple
- 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16, The Church = The Temple
- Eph 2:19-22, Gentiles are part of the Temple of God
- 1 Peter 2:4-5, The Church = priesthood (breaking down the Levi wall)
- Romans 12:1, Bodies are a living sacrifice
- Revelation 21:9-10, 22-22:5, Heaven is a scene w/o Israel, only the Lamb’s bride-The Church.
Sin, Judgment, and Mercy
I. God takes disobedience seriously. There was judgment on those whom He loved and was committed to.
Habakkuk (circa 612 B.C.) was shocked that God would judge His people by the means of an even less righteous people. 1:1-4, 12-14
Just as there is a common grace (rains on all) to all men, so the righteous, at times, endure the judgment of the unrighteous (Daniel, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, etc.).
Ezra was reading the Law and the leaders were interpreting. Hear how they interpret God’s judgment on sin.
- Nehemiah 9:5-8, 16-21, 26-31 A display of God’s long-suffering, Israel’s sin and God’s judgment.
II. Nehemiah showed fear over God’s people going back into disobedience. He was afraid of more judgment and a return to exile. He repeatedly asked God to remember his own good deeds.
There was a fear of God repunishing the disobedience of the remnant:
- Ezra 9:6-15 Ezra repents for the people and asks for God’s mercy
- Nehemiah 13:14, 22, 29-30 Continually asks God to remember him even though God may repunish the remnant.
- Corporate prayer, confession, ownership of sin, is very biblical. You are not in this alone. It is not just you and Jesus.
III. God continually shows long suffering to his promises and mercy to the brokenhearted.
- Isaiah 1:18; 40:1-5; 45:22; 49:15; 54:8
Messiah = ‘anointed’
- A messiah was looked for to relieve the burdens of occupation of the Promised Land – The Day of the Lord.
- The prophet’s words were read to direct them to the Messiah.
- The lineage of David is key and yet it was minimized during the Roman rule.
The Messiah was going to be of David’s line, bring about an everlasting kingdom, and allow God’s people to dwell in the temple forever.
1. Davidic Lineage on Throne
• Genesis 49:10 – Scepter will not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes.
• 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:19-37; 132:11ff
• Perpetual sovereignty to David’s house.
–Fall of Israel and Judea
Prophets began to speak of the return of David’s house.
• Amos 9:11-15 (mid-8th century B.C.)
• Is. 9:6-7
• Is. 42:1-9 (739-686 B.C.)
• Is. 44:21-28
• Ez. 34:23; 37:24-37 (2 Cor. 6:16)
2. The Day of Yahweh
A day when the ideal is realized and the vindication of Yahweh’s cause in the world would bring security for His people. This was partial fulfilled by Zerubbabel.
• Is. 11:1-10
• Jeremiah 23:5-8; 33:14-22 / Zechariah 6:12-15
The Messiah would completely fulfill the prophecy.
• Isaiah 40:1-5; 42:1-9
• Luke 1:67-79, Zechariah’s hymn
Israel was thinking more about a Messiah around the birth of Jesus than ever before in their history.
Events / Places / People
- Israel (Northern Kingdom) Captivity – Assyria (722 B.C.)
- Judah (Southern Kingdom) Captivity – Babylon (586 B.C.)
- Daniel Deported (605 B.C.)
- Medo-Persian Empire conquers Babylon (539 B.C.)
- Temple rebuilding began by Zerubbabel under Cyrus’ proclamation (536 B.C.)
- Temple is finished (516 B.C.)
- Darius I turned back from Greece at Marathon (490 B.C.)
- Xerxes is turned back from Greece at Thermoplyae & Salamis (480 B.C.)
- Xerxes marries Esther (479 B.C.)
- Esther protects the Jews from genocide (479-473 B.C.)
- Ezra leads second return in 458 B.C.
- Nehemiah began to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls under Artaxerxes I (445 B.C.)
- Alexander the Great conquers the empire of Persia and beyond (334-323 B.C.)
- The Ptolomies rule Judea (323-198 B.C.) – Jews prosper
- The Seleucidae rule Judea (198-166 B.C.) – Persecutions
- The Maccabees gain independence for Judea (166-135 B.C.)
- The Hasmoneans serve as Rome’s appointed rulers over Judea (135-63 B.C.)
- Herod The Great rules over Judea (37-4 B.C.)