by H.C.Heffren

Chapter Four

THE DIVISION IN ISRAEL...

"And His feet shall stand in that day (the same gospel day previously mentioned) upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a great valley: and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; ... like as ye fled before the earthquake ... and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee." Zech. 14: parts of 4-8.

We reiterate that this portion of Scripture is a stronghold of millennial doctrine. They interpret this to mean that when Christ returns, He will at His 2nd coming stand on the Mount of Olives and the mountain will literally cleave in two as His feet touch it. Having demonstrated the gospel application, which Christ Himself applied in this context, we appeal to the Scriptures to interpret this verse also. It is not difficult and is very conclusive.

In Ex. 8:23 we read, "And I will put a division between my people and thy people." The margin substitutes the word "redemption" as the division God puts between His people and all others. This division is maintained in all of God's dealings with man. Elijah lamented that he was the only true follower of God left, but God said He had 7,000 others who had not bowed to Baal. Certainly most of Israel was spiritually bankrupt and far from God, but God was keeping the census of His own. "The Lord knoweth them that are His." 2 Tim. 2-19b. The yawning chasm that separated the Jewish followers of Jesus from the Jews who rejected Him could not be demonstrated more aptly than if the Mount of Olives were cleft in twain. His message is the watershed of history. It is the dividing of time. The response given to His earth shaking, soul-searching words, determines every man's eternal destiny. How was the division of Israel affected?

In Luke 12:51 we find: "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather DIVISION." The next two verses describe the personal nature of the division, even within households and closest human ties. This mounting division continued throughout the ministry of Christ. "So there was a DIVISION because of Him." John 7:43. "Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God because He keepeth not the Sabbath day. OTHERS said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?" And there was a DIVISION among them." John 9:16. "There was a DIVISION therefore again among the JEWS for these sayings." John 10: 1 9. As time went on the political and ecclesiastical official elements in Israel solidified in rejecting Jesus. Those political and ecclesiastical segments are the two parts referred to by Zechariah, which he prophesied would be cut off and die. The third part is the Remnant to whom Jesus said, "Fear not little flock- for it is your Father's good pleasure TO GIVE YOU the Kingdom." Luke 12:32. This is the part, which Zechariah prophesied would go through the fire (of persecution), to be refined (cleansed) and tried as gold, (purified) until God could say "it is MY people." The same remnant replies, "The Lord is my God." This is the group to whom Jesus gave such detailed instruction concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, that at an unmistakable sign Luke 21:21, they should flee to the mountains. Zechariah prophesied that they should flee as the people did from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah. Isaiah described this group as a very small remnant, but it is the only part of Israel that remained as the people of God. Paul said "The rest were blinded." The marginal meaning given is "hardened."

This division is further, emphasized by Paul, as he elaborates, on what is meant by a true Jew. "He is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." Rom. 2-28,29. Paul pursues this truth relentlessly. "For they are not all Israel, which are OF Israel: neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Issac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh (natural descendants) these ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." Rom. 9:6b-8. This does not need an explanation for it is Paul's explanation. Moreover it does explain Rom. 11:26, "And SO all Israel shall be SAVED." God only has a SAVED Israel. They are saved in only one manner, SO, when they enter Christ's Kingdom through the new birth. These are the heirs to the promises of God singled out by Paul. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." Rom. 8:17. Negatively, Paul says, "Cast out the bond woman and her son, (whom he identified with national fleshly Israel) for the son of the bondwoman SHALL NOT BE HEIR with the son of the free woman." (The church) Bal. 4:30.

In Eph. 3:6 a great mystery of the ages is unfolded and revealed, "That the Gentiles should be FELLOWHEIRS, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel." The subject is endless and the evidence of God's true Israel shines through with convincing certitude that the remnant of believing Jews formed the only nucleus of Abraham's true seed.

The foregoing interpretation differs in many fundamental aspects with current millennial doctrine. Millennialists claim the fleshly Jews are God's Chosen People. The Bible says those who make such claims without having Abraham's faith are of the synagogue of Satan. Millennial doctrine teaches that Christ will set up His kingdom on earth and rule the world. Jesus said, "My kingdom is NOT of this world, and that it does not come with observation." The Scofield notes on p. 1100 flatly deny this statement of Christ. Millennial doctrine teaches that the Seventieth Week of Daniel is still future, and that God's clock stopped. To suggest that God did not keep His appointments borders on blasphemy for it makes God a liar. Certainly this statement is not based on either facts or evidence from Scripture. "Him being, delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God..." Acts 2:23. In Acts 4-25-30, we are told that the whole world was arraigned against Christ, including Herod, Pontius Pilate, Jews and Gentiles, "For to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done." Certainly God's clock had not stopped up to this point. Any doctrine that has to infer that God's clock stopped in order to bolster its interpretation should be scrutinized critically. Millenialists claim that God is going to restore Israel as a nation. Even if He did, it would not fulfill prophecy for Jeremiah foretold that God's Israel would never CEASE from being a nation. This promise is stated in terms more certain than the continued shining of the sun, the moon and the stars. Likewise the throne of David and the ministering of the Levites, is so perpetual that they too will outlast the solar universe. Jer. 31:35,36 and Jer. 33:15-18. Natural Israel ceased from being a nation in A.D. 70. David's earthly throne has been vacant almost 2,000 years. The Levitical priesthood came to an end centuries ago. Restoration cannot fulfill this prophecy for the Bible clearly declares they would never cease. Peter supplies the answer in these words, "But ye are a chosen generation, (the Chosen People), a royal priesthood, (reigning priests- the priesthood of the believers), an holy nation, a peculiar people...'f 1 Pet. 2:9a. This holy nation is the one that has not ceased from being a nation. This is the only nation of whom it can be said, "David shall never want a man to sit on his throne and neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings. Jer. 33:17,18. The answer is simple. Christ is our eternal King and he is also our eternal High Priest. David's throne is occupied with its rightful Sovereign ruling over the holy nation and performing the office as Mediator simultaneously. Even the millennia] insistence on claiming to believe the Bible literally is at variance with the Word of God. Paul wrote: "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spirituals I Cor. 15:46. Millennialists would change this Divine principle by maintaining God now had a spiritual kingdom, the church, but after this dispensation of grace He will set up a literal lsraelitish one. God operates on Divine law and set principles, which are never reversed or revoked. Natural Israel; has been superceded by spiritual Israel, through Calvary and the New Covenant. Millennialists assert that the Jews have certain promises, which Christians are not entitled to claim. (Scofield notes, p 1204.) The Bible says, "ALL the promises of God in HIM are yea, and in HIM Amen unto the glory of God by us." 2 Cor. 1:20. No exceptions. Finally, millennialists maintain that the Great Tribulation is still future and that it will be centered in Jerusalem. Jesus declared that with the fall of Jerusalem by the Romans, and their resulting world wide dispersion that, "These be the days of vengeance, that ALL THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN MAY BE FULFILLED." Luke 21:22. Any doctrine that contradicts the plain statements of Christ should be shunned.

In conclusion, it should be reiterated that God does have a Kingdom. Christ is the reigning King. "Now unto the KING, eternal, immortal, INVISIBLE, the only wise God, be honor and glory FOREVER AND EVER. Amen." I Tim. 1:17. This is the kingdom over which David never WANTS a man to sit on his throne. It is the kingdom that never WANTS a priest or Levite to offer sacrifices. It is the only possible kingdom that fulfills prophecy in the sense that it never CEASED from being a kingdom or nation. It is the only kingdom that has Covenant claims on the promises, whose subjects are heirs and whose citizenship is in Zion. It is the only kingdom that is recognized in God's sight as being Abraham's seed, being numberless as the sands of the sea, or the stars for multitude since it is universal. It is the only kingdom that takes you out of the kingdom of darkness and translates you into the kingdom of His dear Son. Col. 1:13. It is the only kingdom whose inhabitants travel on the highway of holiness, on which the unclean (sinners) are excluded, a highway for the ransomed which is a one way street to Zion, on which the redeemed remnant sing songs of everlasting joy." Isa. 35:8,10. Since Christ is the Great Promiser and Blesser, it follows that those who are His children receive the blessings and ALL the promises. This is Scripturally confirmed in Acts 3:24,25: "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of THESE days. Ye (converts) are the children of the prophets, AND OF THE COVENANT which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed." He then adds that the blessing is salvation from sin. Christ's parting words to His disciples say: "ALL things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets and in the Psalms, concerning Me. THEN OPENED HE THEIR UNDERSTANDING that they might understand the Scriptures. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that REPENTANCE and remission of sins should be preached in His Name among ALL nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of THESE things." Luke 24:44b-48.

Why did Christ not tell about the Millennial Kingdom doctrine here, if He planned it their way? I submit it is because on the cross he said, "IT IS FINISHED!" It is complete. Redemption fulfilled God's plan and promises to, the world. Since this is the message Christ commissioned His disciples to herald in His Name, we accept the mandate and obey His command. No one can find a plain statement or even a hint of a plain statement that Christ ever said He is coming back to earth to set up a millennial kingdom None of the apostles uttered any such plain statement. There is no mention of the Israelitish Kingdom in the Bible after the Day of Pentecost, when they were filled with the Holy Spirit, Who among other things was to guide the followers of Christ into ALL truth." John 16-13.

Lest it should perplex some to accept the prophecy of Christ coming to the Mount of Olives in a spiritual sense, may we suggest a parallel comparison in Christ's statement that if we have faith as a grain of mustard seed we could say to this mountain "Be thou removed and be cast into the sea; it shall be done." Matt. 21-.21. This feat has never been accomplished literally. But on countless occasions mountains of problems, difficulties, obstacles and impossible situations have been dissolved as completely through prayer as if cast into the ocean.

However, we do not have to rely only on a spiritual interpretation. There is still more substantial evidence of fulfillment. In Matt. 28:26, we read, "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, unto a MOUNTAIN where Jesus had appointed them." The question is, "What mountain?" Luke tells that Christ led the disciples out as far as Bethany. Luke gives a detailed account of the Ascension: in Acts chapter one. Luke tells us of how Christ parted from the bewildered disciples as they gazed until a cloud enveloped Him from view. Then they became aware of the presence of two angelic beings. Next we are told, "Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the MOUNT CALLED OLIVET, (Mount of Olives) which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey." Acts 1:12. Thus the feet of the resurrected Son of God did touch the Mount of Olives and from that site the most significant event in history took place. This fulfilled to a letter, the inspired prophecy of Zechariah. The effect of the resurrection and the Ascension has made Christ a living FACTOR in history and not a mere fact of history. This event, has divided all mankind into two camps, the believers and the unbelievers, the living and the dying, the ones who are delivered from their sins, those who accept the gospel and those who reject it. Nothing so earth shattering, far reaching, revolutionary and transforming can be compared with this event that took place on the Mount of Olives. No future event could ever match or conform to the fulfillment already made by the resurrected Christ Himself, literally in the event of His ascension from the Mount of Olives, to assume "All power in heaven and in earth seated on His throne at the right hand of God." Thus, was God's original plan achieved and His promises fulfilled.

It will be interesting to observe that both Ezekiel and Zechariah: prophesy of rivers issuing from the temple and from Jerusalem. Ezekiel describes this river as originating and flowing from the temple, first as a mere trickle only ankle deep, but rapidly gathering momentum and volume until it soon becomes an impassable river merged with the universal sea. Its waters have a healing effect wherever they course, and its banks are lined with trees bearing perpetual fruit. Prophecy is not fulfilled by accident or even by coincidence. Prophecy and fulfillment: are designed by God, and each operation is carried out with precision. So let us scrutinize this singular river, which so closely corresponds with the river of life in Revelation.

Although it is commonly taught that the Holy Ghost descended upon the disciples as they waited and prayed in an UPPER ROOM, there is really no Scriptural support for this widely held belief. The Bible, when read carefully, will leave no doubt that the Holy Ghost came upon the disciples as they worshipped in the temple.

In Acts 1:13, we are told that the upper room was the "abode" of certain named disciples. It is most likely the same upper room where Jesus directed His disciples to prepare for the Last Supper. Following the crucifixion we read, "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews..." John 20:19, This would indicate that the upper room was used as a sort of "hideaway" with barred doors in some undisclosed area in downtown Jerusalem. It provided transient accommodation for the believers as well as a measure of security from arrest, which they feared. But by no stretch of the imagination could this, or any other tiny upper room in Jerusalem, accommodate the thousands who congregated together on the Day of Pentecost. The number of believers alone totaled some three thousand so the huge multitude may have been several times larger. To accommodate such a throng would require a very large place indeed.

As a matter of custom, all Jews worshipped in the temple, including Jesus and His disciples. It is not surprising, therefore, to read that following the outpouring of the Holy Ghost that, "THEY CONTINUED WITH ONE ACCORD IN THE TEMPLE." Acts 2:46. To corroborate this conclusion we find that Acts 3:1 commences thus: "Now Peter and John went up together INTO THE TEMPLE at the hour of prayer..."

It may seem of little consequence to contend that the Holy Ghost came to the temple rather than the upper room, but in the light of prophecy it is significant. And it is exactly as Ezekiel prophesied it would be. We are told that this group numbered approximately one hundred and twenty. This Remnant of believing Jews were first filled with the Holy Spirit and immediately Jews from every corner of the nineteen acre, temple area converged on the "place" (it does not say upper room) where the disciples were. The greatest revival in history was born! It trickled out throughout Jerusalem. Excited heralds were soon racing through the province of Judea exclaiming the Good News, which is what the gospel means. The "old doctrinal bottles" soon burst and swept aside centuries of prejudice about the Jews having no dealings with the Samaritans with the gospel of reconciliation and brotherhood. The explosive effect of the "new wine of the gospel" continued with irresistible force until it embraced the Gentile world in its universal sway. The result of this spiritual dimension in the world is history itself! The missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul have had a greater impact on history than all the marches of Caesar's legions.

Ezekiel mentions that one fork of the river went to the desert and the other to the sea. The rejecting portion of Israel was dispersed throughout the world with a history that is barren of any spiritual light or life. In this respect it resembles the desert. It is left there both in prophecy and in history.

But God still has HIS Jews. They include the first believing Remnant plus the ever increasing and all-encompassing universal aggregate of believers which makes Abraham the "father of many nations," and swells his seed into multitudes exceeding the sand of the sea shore or the stars in the celestial skies.

God does not reign over a nation of spiritual paupers, nor over a kingdom of millennial wailing-wall beggars, pleading for future earthly felicity. "For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of the Testator." Heb. 9:16. When Christ died He became by the Heavenly Father's Divine appointment, the sole Heir of all the resources of Almighty God and His inexhaustible heaven. The Jewish Remnant became joint heirs with Him and the great mystery of the ages unraveled when the Gentiles became fellow-heirs. Heirs don't have to beg for their legacy. They don't have to wait or be told it was postponed to a future era. A Will cannot be postponed after the death of the Testator! They don't have to question their blood, their flesh, or consult the will of man. It is all settled: by the WILL of God. John 1: 1 3. Heirs have a right to the provisions of the Will. The heirs are as rich spiritually as the Divine Source, the inexhaustible Giver. In examining this Will, I fail to find any disposition of any real estate in Palestine for the heirs, for this world is not our home anyway. I find no mention of any restored national partiality, which was obliterated by the Cross. I do find that the heirs are invited to help themselves to the RICHES of His grace, to enjoy eternal life, to a heavenly citizenship, to peace with God, to Divine healing, to the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit, to fellowship with God and to receive His Kingdom, and all the innumerable advantages and benefits comprehended in living the abundant life. When life is ended here, we have heaven as our eternal reward. Not bad! Not bad at all! No wonder the Remnant and the heirs return on the highway of holiness with songs of EVERLASTING JOY on their heads. Praise God forever! [ The End ]