Israel in the Consummation of History
June 11th, 1967 @ 10:50 AM
ISRAEL IN THE CONSUMMATION OF HISTORY
Dr. W. A. Criswell
6-11-67 10:50 a.m.
On the radio and on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Israel in the Consummation of the Age. It is a far different sermon from that published, announced in your program and in the Reminder. It is a sermon concerning the developments of these last few days, Israel and the consummation of the age; Israel in the Consummation of History.
In the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Luke, verse 24, "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" [Luke 21:24]. "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled"; and whether we are Jewish or anti-Jewish – and when people go to visit Palestine, they all come back definitely one way or the other. I’ve been over there twice, walking up and down, riding up and down that country. The first time I came back one way, and the next time I came back the other way. Whether we are Jewish or anti-Jewish, there are some things that are very clearly delineated in the Word of God. And those delineations, as briefly as I can encompass in so small a time, I shall present this morning.
We are living in significant and critical times. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" [Luke 21:24]. Apparently we are coming to the great consummation of the age. In May, 1948, the State of Israel was created. There had not been a Jewish state for almost two thousand years. But in May of 1948, the nation of Israel came into existence. And a small part of Jerusalem lay in the hands of the Israeli soldiers. Today, the entire Holy City is possessed by the Jew. Whether he will keep it or not, whether the city will be internationalized or not, lies in the hands of the diplomats who shall seek to settle the issues of this war.
But the Scriptures say, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" [Luke 21:24]. Our Lord said that. We are apparently coming to the consummation of this age. I have seen it again and again as I have been preaching through the Bible. For example, in preaching through the Revelation, the Philadelphian age of the church, the sixth age [Revelation 3:7-13] that precedes the seventh, Laodicean, and the last [Revelation 3:14-22].
The Philadelphian age of the church is the church and the age of the open door. When I was a youth, when I was a boy, all of this earth was open to the missionary and the preaching of the gospel. You could go anywhere in Asia, in China, to preach. You could go anywhere in Russia or Czechoslovakia or Bulgaria or Albania. You could go anywhere in Cuba. Anywhere in this earth, when I was a boy, a missionary could go with the good news of the gospel of the Son of God.
I have seen in my lifetime most of the great populations of this world closed to the gospel of the Son of God. You can no longer go to the vast reaches of Asia. You can hardly find opportunity for a missionary, even in India whose nation is our friend, much less even to carry a Bible into the Soviet Union or into any Soviet country. We have lived in a vast change. I have seen the Philadelphian age of the church close. I have seen the Laodicean and the last age come [Revelation 3:14-22]. And now we are looking upon Israel as they are taking over the ancient city and their capital of Jerusalem.
"And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" [Luke 21:24]. In keeping with the significance of the holocaust we have witnessed this week, there are several things that are very clearly presented, delineated, outlined in the Word of God. One: God says, I do not say these things, God says that the consummation of history will be reached in Palestine, in Israel, and in no place else [Zechariah 14:1-2]. Not in Asia, however our warfare may rage in Asia. Not in Africa, not in Europe. God says the consummation of history will reach its ultimate meaning and climax in Palestine, in the Holy Land.
How emphatic that is seen in all of the newspapers of the world today! It is we who are fighting in Vietnam. We are not fighting in Israel, but our war in Vietnam is on the second, or the third, or the last pages of the newspapers. This conflict in Israel covers the front page of every newspaper medium in the earth. This is according to the Word of God. The final issues of history and of human destiny will be settled, God says, in Palestine [Zechariah 14:1-2]. As God said, the world will move to some final world government and world dictator [Revelation 13:2].
As it is outlined in the thirteenth of Revelation; in the seventeenth of Revelation; and in the Book of Daniel; this world in its final frame, political life, will fall into ten great orbits. And those ten kingdoms, or nations, will deliver their ultimate power to a final dictator who comes saying that he can bring peace to the earth, the white horseman [Revelation 6:2]. God says the world is moving to that great consummation, a world government [Revelation 13:5, 7]. God says that the world will move toward a world religion [Revelation 13:8, 14-15]. I see that every day of my life in every newspaper and magazine. The amalgamation, the getting together, the ecumenical movement, God says the world will move toward a great, vast world religion. The same Lord God said that the denouement of human history and the consummation of all political, social, cultural, religious life of this earth will find its climax in Palestine [Revelation 17:15-18].
The battle of Armageddon, at which time Christ intervenes in human history, is outlined in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation [Revelation 19:11-21]. And when somebody rightly asks, "In the days of the atomic bomb, and in the days of nuclear fission, how could it be that the armies of the entire earth are gathered there in Palestine?" The answer God gives in the sixteenth chapter of the Revelation.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
For they are the spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth unto the rulers of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, Armageddon, the hill of Megiddo, the battlefield of Esdraelon.
[Revelation 16:13-14, 16]
How is it that these armies of the earth are gathered there in the Middle East? Because of the deception and enticement and leadership of the kingdoms and the powers of darkness.
And in the ninth chapter of the Revelation, God says that one of those rulers will come across the Euphrates, that is from the East and from Asia, with an army of two hundred million men [Revelation 9:16]. Such a thing is fantastic, were it not for the revelation that it is the powers of darkness that entice and deceive and lead to that final and ultimate holocaust [Revelation 16:14, 19:19-20].
I can see a piece of it now. It lies in the decision of the Kremlin, but if Russia were to intervene in this war, and the United States has made a sovereign promise to Israel to preserve her national status, there would be no other choice of the United States but to confront Russia. And when Russia and the United States come to that final confrontation – and someday they will – you are entering the last great war of the age. What is left from those atomic bombs and those guided missiles is known but to God. I am just saying that according to the Word of the Lord, the final consummation in history will not be in Asia or in the Americas or in Africa or in Europe, but it will be in Palestine, in the Middle East [Revelation 16:14-16].
A second thing that God reveals in His Word; the final consummation will revolve around the Jew. This is one of the most amazing and unbelievable revelations that I think mind could conceive of. There are not as many Jews in this whole world as half of the population of the state of Texas. They are an infinitesimal minority in the billions of the populations of this earth. But God said that the final denouement of history will revolve around that Jew [Revelation 6:17, 7:3-4].
Now, several things God says about him. One: that he’ll be here to the end. Haven’t you heard me expatiate on that so many times? Where has anyone ever known anyone, who ever saw anyone, who ever heard of anyone, who ever looked upon an ancient Babylonian, or a Girgashite, or a Hittite, or a Hivite, or any other of those ancient peoples? But Jesus said in the great apocalyptic discourse in Matthew 24:34, "Verily I say unto you, This race," this genus, this kind, "will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled." Jesus said, God said, "The Jew will be here when I come back to the earth again." That’s the first thing about him. The nations of the world have never been able to digest the Jew. He is still with us, and will be, God says, to the end.
Number two, that God says about the Jew: God says that the land of Palestine belongs to him. On the radio I heard a representative of the Arab block saying, "The Lord said to Abraham, ‘To thee and to thy seed will I give this land.’ And Ishmael, our forefather, was a son of Abraham; therefore, the land is also ours."
He did not say it according to the Word of God. I have not time in this brief moment to go through Genesis. I will take a passage out of the one hundred and fifth Psalm. Listen:
God hath remembered His covenant for ever,
the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.
Which covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac;
And confirmed the same unto [Jacob] for a law, and to [Israel] for an everlasting covenant:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.
God has promised by an oath He will not break, by a covenant to a thousand generations, by an everlasting law, that to Abraham and to Isaac and to Israel the land of Palestine shall belong [Psalm 105:8-11]. Now, whether we receive that or not is in our choice. Whether we accept that or not, we are free moral agents. I am just repeating, and I’m nothing but a voice of an echo. I don’t generate, I don’t invent this message. I just proclaim what is in the Word of God. And the Word of God expressly, and meticulously, and repeatedly, and reiteratingly avows that to the seed of Abraham and to the seed of Isaac and to the seed of Israel the land belongs.
All right, a third thing: first, God says the Jew will be here until He comes again [Matthew 24:34]. Second, God says the land belongs to them [Psalm 105:8-11]. Third: God says that the Jew will return to Palestine in unbelief, in unrepentance. I haven’t time to follow through the passages and the passages and the passages that depict that revelation. I choose just one out of the thirty-sixth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. "I will take you," this is God speaking, "I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land" [Ezekiel 36:24]. And then, having brought them back in unrepentance, in rejection, and in unbelief, the next verse says, "Then," after Israel is returned to Palestine:
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you,
and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness and from your idols,
And ye shall dwell in the land that I give unto you;
and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God.
[Ezekiel 36:25, 28]
God says Israel, in rejection and in unbelief, will return to Palestine. And in the consummation of the age – and the last part of this sermon is that – they will turn to their rightful Lord and kingly Prince [Ezekiel 36:25, 28]. For almost two thousand years, there were no Jews in Palestine. They were buried; they were scattered among the nations of the earth. But God said they will return, and in your lifetime, you have seen that prophecy of God come to pass. And the Jew will continue to return, however the war, however the holocaust, however the cost, the blood, the terror, the decimation.
When I was there this last time, those men, those farmers, live under the muzzle of those guns. And I’d ask them, "Why don’t you return to America or to Germany or to France or to Australia? Why do you seek to till the soil under the very muzzle of these guns, in the mouths of these cannons?" He could hardly reply. Mostly unknown to him, there’s a higher sovereign power that guides his life and his destiny, and he’s there, whatever the sacrifice, or whatever the cost. That makes him a fierce contender and a vicious fighter. One Jew is equal to five hundred Arabs any day, any time, on any battlefield, in any age in the history of the world. There’s none like him, none like him. Nasser could say, "I have learned, yes."
A fourth thing. God says he’ll be here [Matthew 24:34]. Second, God says the land is his [Psalm 105:8-11]. Third, God says the Jew will return in unbelief [Ezekiel 36:25-28]. Fourth, God says he will rebuild that temple and reinstitute the Mosaic sacrifices and the Mosaic legislation [Ezekiel 37:26-28, 44:10-11].
All of you who have been to Palestine know that on Mount Moriah is the mosque of the Dome of the Rock, the Mosque of Omar, one of the most beautiful mosques in the earth. The time is coming when every tainted, baked tile in that beautiful mosque, and every gorgeous oriental rug that covers its floor, and every golden lamp that shines, and every stone with which it is erected will be torn down, and the Mosque of Omar that crowns the Dome of the Rock will be taken out as unclean stones and buried in the earth.
And there in that exact place will be reared the temple of the Jews with its sanctuary, its holy place, its veil, its Holy of Holies, its seven-branch lampstand, its table of showbread, and its golden altar of prayer and incense. In front, the laver, and beyond that and first the brazen altar of sacrifice; God says that will be rebuilt [Ezekiel 43:13-18]. And to my amazement, when I finished preaching the 8:15 service this morning, one of the men in this church brought me an ad out of a daily newspaper in America in which they are already raising the money to erect that temple of Jehovah on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. God says it will be built.
And in the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, and I haven’t time to speak of it, in the middle of that final seven years, after three and a half years, forty-two months, a time, times and half a time, one thousand two hundred sixty days, in the middle of that final seven-year period, the great dictator is going to break his covenant with the Jewish nation and those sacrifices are going to be obliterated [Daniel 9:27]. But that temple will be built, God says, and those sacrifices will be reinstituted [Ezekiel 44:11].
The heart of the Jew, wherever he lives, vibrates when you mention Palestine and Jerusalem. He can’t help it. He may not be a Zionist. Zionism is that part of Judaism that seeks to create and support Israel as a nation. The other part of Judaism has no interest in Israel as such. They look upon their faith as religion and their people not as a race. Zionism is that part of Judaism that looks forward to the creation of this State in Israel. But whether a Jew is a Zionist or whether he is not a Zionist, if he is a Jew anywhere in this earth, his heart vibrates like strings on a harp when you talk to him about Jerusalem and about Canaan, the Promised Land.
When I was down in Panama, I went into a dry goods store. It was owned and run by a Jew. I had just not too long before come back from my second journey to Israel. And when I began to talk to him about the desert that blossoms like a rose and what the Jewish state was doing, turning that arid, rocky desert into a veritable garden of Eden, he wept unashamedly as I talked to him about Jerusalem and the Promised Land. The tears literally fell off of his face.
At Miami Beach, Florida a week ago – where I went to speak to the Southern Baptist Convention – one of the businessmen there took me to a restaurant, a very famous one run by a Jew, just happened to be there. He’s old and retired, learned I was there, came and sat down across the table from me, and we began to talk about Palestine and about Jerusalem and about Israel. He is not a Zionist, he’s a thousand miles away from it. But when I began to talk to him, what I had seen, what my eyes had looked upon and the transformation in that land and the state of Israel, you should have seen his face! They’re all that way. That’s God. That’s the Lord.
We must hasten. The first great point I have said from the Word of God is that the denouement of the age is there; not here, there [Zechariah 14:1-2]. Second, that God has given that land to the Jew [Psalm 105:8-11]. Third, God says, the implacable and the ultimate and the bitter enemy of the Jew is Russia [Ezekiel 38-39].
If we had several hours, we would look upon what God has to say about Russia. I turn to one passage: the thirty-eighth and the thirty-ninth chapters of the Book of Ezekiel concern Russia. I begin reading, "The word of the Lord came unto me saying, Son of man, set thy face against Gog, of the land of Magog" [Ezekiel 38:1-2]. Gog is the prince and Magog is the land, and Magog is all of that land north of the Black and the Caspian seas. You know it in modern parlance as the Soviet Union.
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the chief of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, of Meshech and Tubal,
and prophesy against him, Saying,
Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, of Meshech and Tubal."
And when you follow the names of those places etymologically, geographically and historically, Gog, the land of Magog, used to be called Scythia. Now it’s called Russia: the prince of Rosh, the prince of Russia; of Meshech, Moscow; of Tubal, Tobolsk, cities of Russia.
Incidentally, God will say that the enemy of Israel will be from the south, Egypt. Incidentally, God may say the enemy of Israel will be Arabia, from the east. But there is no exception in the prophecies of the Word of God that the enemy of Israel comes from the north and that he is the prince of Rosh. He comes from the Soviet Union.
Yesterday, at the "Y," I watched a Jewish businessman. He had come there to exercise, to keep himself fit and healthy. He wasn’t exercising. He had forgotten why he had come to the "Y." He sat there alone. It was late. Everybody had gone, practically, except a few of those colored men who worked there. He was seated there alone, riveted before a television, listening to the United Nations delegate from Russia castigate with venom and infective and vituperation his people Israel.
And as I walked by and looked at him, I thought of the Word of God. God says the implacable and bitter enemy of Israel will be Russia! Don’t you deceive yourself into thinking that this holocaust was precipitated by Nasser or by the socialistic government of Syria or by Hussein, king of Jordan. Back of every dark and evil thing that has lead to this present war is the bloody, criminal hand of the Soviet Union – the leaders who rule Russia now are the same men who gathered around Stalin and who buried their hands in the blood of millions of their own people – and conniving and egging-on and promising is Russia.
What a poor defense and what a sorry and shameful and miserable ally is Russia! Every time she is confronted, she cowers like a dog. When our president confronted Russia over the Cuban missile crisis, she gathered her toys and silently stole away. And Russia never dreamed, when they gave a billion dollars worth of planes and tanks to Nasser and billions of dollars of help to the Arab bloc, she never dreamed that in four days and a few hours Israel would cut them to pieces. And Russia is out on a limb, way out on a limb. That’s why, the hurriedness of the Security Council meetings in the middle of the night, "We must stop this. We must stop this." Stop it why? Because Russia has backed the wrong armies and the wrong leaders, and the whole Arab world and the Soviet Union itself is in humiliation and in shame. And, of course, they’ll do their best to retrieve out of the debacle the best they can, especially saving face.
I’d hate to have an ally like Russia. Does she come and help her Arab neighbors? No. Does she keep her private and secret commitments? No. Why? She’s afraid. And I’ve always felt that America does the wrong thing when we act here in this nation as though we were afraid of communism. My brother, there’s no communist nation in the earth that can even feed itself, much less carry on a war against the United States of America.
Oh, we must hasten. First: the issues of history will be settled there [Isaiah 13:9-11]. Second: God has promised that land to the Jew [Psalm 105:8-11], that he would go back, that he would rebuild his temple [Ezekiel 37:26-28]. Third: the implacable enemy of Israel is Russia, always will be [Ezekiel 38-39]. Fourth and last: there will be no peace for Israel. There will be no diplomatic achievement of boundary lines whereby she can live in peace. There is no peace for Israel. According to the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, wars and desolations are determined to the end [Daniel 9:26]. And according to the Word of God, there will be no peace for Israel until she accepts the Prince of Peace.
O Jerusalem, said our Lord, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gather the brood under her wings, and ye would not!
Behold, behold, your house is left unto you desolate, trouble, war, pressure.
I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, until ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Will peace ever come to Israel? Will they ever be saved? Yes, at the denouement of the age, at the consummation of history, at the intervention and the coming of the Prince Messiah. Israel will accept their rightful God and their Lord and King, and that will be peace for them and peace for the world. In the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth chapters of the prophet Zechariah,
I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced,
and they shall mourn for Me, as one mourneth for his only son,
And one shall say unto Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? And then He shall answer, these are the wounds which I received in the house of My friends,
And in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness,
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the East,
And the Lord shall come with all His saints,
And the Lord shall be king over all the earth.
Think of it! And we may be living in that consummation. Peace for them and peace for the nations of the earth.
I close. I preached a sermon here one time from the ninth chapter of the Book of Isaiah and the sixth verse. "And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace" [Isaiah 9:6]. And the substance of the sermon was the consummation in that series of appellations and epithets for God. "His name shall be called Wonderful," hallelujah, "Counselor," amen, "the Everlasting Father," glory to God, "the Mighty God," bless His name, and the consummation, "the Prince of Peace."
When He comes there will be peace in the valley, there will be peace on the hills, there will be peace in the mountains, there will be peace in the cities, there will be peace in the country, when Jesus reigns Lord over all the earth. "Even so, come, blessed Savior. Amen" [Revelation 22:20].
Now, while we sing our hymn of appeal, somebody you, give himself to Jesus; a family you, coming into the fellowship of the church. As the Spirit of the Lord shall press the appeal to you heart, would you come now? Would you make it now? On the first note of the first stanza, come. "Pastor, I give you my hand. I give my heart to God. Here’s my wife, these are our children. All of us are coming this morning." In the balcony round, on this lower floor, into the aisle and down to the front, "Here I am, preacher. Here I come." Do it now. When you stand up in a moment, stand up coming, and God bless you in the way, while we stand and while we sing . . .