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Presently Heavenly

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This article may not necessarily be presently useful but may merely be thought-provoking for possible future use due to the subject (Israel Eschatology) often seemingly to be unclear in Scripture, thus in my estimation not all questions or comments here can be sufficiently addressed. Thankfully, like most spiritual growth truths in the NT, these issues do not affect the essentials in the Gospel of redemption, but can affect, as all growth truths do, spiritual growth in the faith. The basis of the information related to Israel‘s end times within dispensationalism is premised on what I think is the concept that Israel (Jewish believers in God. esp. those alive at His coming – Jhn 14:1) will finally believe in the Lord Jesus after seeing Him at the beginning of the millennium period (Rev 20:4), resulting in Israel (esp. those alive at His coming) inheriting the New Earth, but is a lessor “blessing” (Jhn 20:29) than the New Heaven for believers in Christ before seeing Him (my personal opinion).

It is obviously seen that many yet fully understand God’s Covenant with His people of Israel by not only attempting to commingle the two systems of Judaism and Christianity in desiring a Judeo-Christian system, but also that Judaism (Covenant of Law) itself, even for the Jew, has been “taken away” (Heb 10:9: also 7:11, 12, 18, 19; 8:7; 12:27). Nowhere is it written supporting the admixture of these two Covenants.

[CENTER]Presently Heavenly[/CENTER]

The time was when God said to the children of Israel, “Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.” This was a “worldly sanctuary” (Heb 9:1), a sanctuary suited for God’s dwelling place in the world, and suitable also for the worship for people in the world. God had constituted Israel to be His worldly people. He had fenced them off from the nations round about them by statutes, judgments and ordinances; and He had prescribed likewise “ordinances of divine service,” adapted to their sanctuary and to their standing. All here was consistent—all was worldly (“earthy” representation of God, as those who are “heavenly” are heavenly representations of God - 1Co 15:48—NC).

Worldly worship, therefore, was then a holy thing in itself, for God had them appointed it to. It would be so now also, if God had a worldly people and a worldly sanctuary (presently God has only those who are heavenly in Christ—NC); but seeing He now has neither the one nor the other, the attempt to approach Him even by ordinances of divine service which He Himself originally prescribed is most sinful (though ignorantly so—NC). “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that offereth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an olblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol” (which all are done by those who “have chosen their own ways” - Isa 66:3 – e.g. attempting to live by a nonexistent Covenant—NC).

Now if such was God’s estimate of His own ordinances of worldly worship, when those to whom they were given used them corruptly and willfully, what must be the iniquity of introducing an order of worship which God has distinctly set aside? But has not this been done in the history of the church? Is it not with renewed zeal being attempted in our own day? Forms and rituals of worship suited only to a worldly sanctuary and a worldly people are now sanctioned and established on every hand.

The prophet of old was commissioned to rebuke Israel for their corruption and abuse of the worldly sanctuary and its worldly ordinances; but the Apostle Paul rebukes the saints of God when tending to turn back to worldly “elements” (Rom 8:3; Gal 4:9). God was dishonored of old by any neglect of the worldly sanctuary; He is dishonored now by any attempts to copy or reestablish it.

This enables us to determine the character of things now done by the professing church—such things, for example, as an alter on earth, repeated sacrifice, the burning of incense, the consecration of building and of ground, and of persons also, by an outward ceremonial. Such like rites and ceremonies were so early borrowed from the Jewish worldly ritual, and transferred into the Christian church, as to have become almost universal shortly after the Apostles days. But where is their warrant in the New Testament epistles? How can one read therein and not see the introduction of such things prophesied of and solemnly warned against?

How searching then is such a word as this: “I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer (Isa 66:4)!” How needful is that to recall the only source of authority found in the Word. “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.” This marks at once the place from whence our wisdom and guidance must be sought—not in antiquity, or in the examples of Judaized churches, but in the unquestionable teaching of the Holy Spirit Himself to the churches.

This leads us away from all whose wisdom or authority can be questioned; it places the Word of God itself before the conscience of every saint. Errors, however ancient, or venerable, or attractive, are thus detected, and the child of faith is forbidden to countenance them. This makes the path of faith at all times sure, though oftentimes difficult.

Nothing can be more sure than the steps of one guided by the Spirit of God and His Word of God, and yet nothing more difficult than to have to walk in separation from all that exists around. It is indeed difficult to have to wind one’s way through things so perplexing and so different as the religious systems of our day. We have to allow that such things were given by God, and that they will yet again be introduced by Him (Jer 31:31-34; Eze 36:27—NC), while invariably contending that they are positively opposed to His present working by the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven.

There was a worldly sanctuary; there is yet, in the coming dispensation (millennium), to be a worldly sanctuary; but now there is none (Christ moved the sanctuary to heaven – Heb 8:1, 2—NC). Existing systems are variously compounded of things proper to three periods. Some have drawn most from the past, some from the future, while some it may be, from the present; but all involve sad confusion in the things of God. How many, who may in some measure have been emancipated from the ordinances of the ancient worldly sanctuary of the past dispensation, do not allow that there is a worldly sanctuary to come, and have consequently chosen and instituted that in which God delights not, as much as others who are professedly imitating the ancient ordinances (e.g. repeated sacrificing of Christ via supposing His literal presence in the bread and wine during communion—NC)!

Thus while denouncing worldly elements they really have invested themselves with that which can only properly belong to a worldly part of the dispensation to come. Thus they are involved in the sin of mingling things heavenly and things earthly. Is not all this a work of the flesh? Is it not an admission of worldly principles in the Church of God? Do we not see this in the fond desire for official distinction, dedicated buildings, permanent institutions and ordinances, and attempts to attract worldly repute, so common in systems around? For all this is not confined to the church of Rome by any means.

Surly all these things, under whatever form seen, must be alike offensive to God. We may go back to some ancient institutions of God, or forward to something He intends yet to introduce, or we may assert our own right to worship according to a pattern of our own devising; but in each and all these cases we subject ourselves to that word, “When I spoke they did not hear” (Isa 66:4).

It is important therefore to show that there yet will be a worldly sanctuary and worldly worship (with “statues” and “judgments” - Eze 36:27 - which will be “unlike” the Old Covenant – Jer 31:32—NC). This is very largely revealed in the prophets. Their subject of hope is the restored nation, restored polity, and restored worship of Israel; but all, when so restored, under and in connection (leadership—NC) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now the Christian church has in a great measure applied these predictions to itself; and hence we have the thought of Christian nations, instead of the holy nation soon to be gathered from out of all nations. Hence too the (erroneous—NC) thought of the union of the church and the state—a thought to be most blessedly fulfilled when Christ as King and Priest shall sit upon His millennial throne (all of which are mistaken concepts—NC).

All attempts to establish a worldly sanctuary now are therefore in direct opposition to the present testimony of the Holy Spirit. He by His coming was the conviction of the world’s sin in having rejected the Savior, because testifying that God had exalted Him; but that blessed Spirit is also, by His very presence in the Church, the conviction of sin of every attempt to set up a worldly sanctuary. He has to testify only of a High Priest now ministering in the heavens, “Jesus the Son of God, who is passed through the heavens”; and consequently, He can only lead the soul to Him He glorifies. All who worship “in Spirit” must therefore worship in the heavenly sanctuary, the Holiest of All; for there alone does the Spirit lead.

- J L Harris

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