The Coming Rule of God
Would you take your Bibles please and turn to Ezekiel chapter 20...
>Ezekiel was a prophet.
Now there are some preachers today who think of themselves as prophets...
And there is such a thing as prophetic preaching even today.
But there are no prophets today like there were prophets in the days of the Old Testament.
A prophet was a man of God who was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God...
To foresee into the future and foretell what the future held.
Now there have always been quacks and frauds in the area of fortune telling.
Every once in a while youíll be driving down a road and youíll see a big palm painted on a sign...
Advertising that inside that what is usually a little dumpy looking house...
Is someone who can tell you your future.
Well I believe if they could really tell the future theyíd live in a better house than that.
I have to be honest with you.
But I want you to understand that while this is an area of great fraud and fakes...
The Old Testament prophets because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God...
They really could tell things that were going to happen.
And Ezekiel was a Holy Spirit inspired prophet of God.
>Now many of the things that he said were going to happen have already happened.
Much of Ezekielís prophecy has already been fulfilled...
But there are still parts of his prophecy that have not yet been fulfilled.
And tonight the verses fall into that second category.
And these verses that deal with something that has not yet taken place.
This is still a future prophecy of the word of God.
Now as is true of all prophecy, one day it will happen just like God said.
>You see, hereís the way it works.
God makes a prophecy, and then that prophecy becomes a reality...
And then that reality becomes a part of history.
Thereís prophecy...it becomes reality...and then it passes into history.
Much of what Ezekiel said was going to happen has already happened.
It took place at a given point in time, and now it has passed into history.
But this one is still an unfulfilled prophecy.
But I want to tell you, one day it will become true just like the word of God says.
>Did you know that the Bible is the only religious book in the world that dares even to deal with prophecy?
Thereís not any other religion in all the world that has any kind of a holy book tat deals with prophecy.
Now they deal with ethics and they deal with morality and they deal with certain things about their gods.
But only the Bible dares to say something is going to happen years and sometimes even millennia before it happens.
But you see, the word of God is so sure and so certain...
Godís reputation and character are so holy and so righteous...
God could tell us something was going to happen a thousand years in advance...
And not have any doubt about it coming into fulfillment...
Because God only knows whatís going to happen.
God determines whatís going to happen.
What a God we serve!
>Now the key to understanding the passage of scripture that Iíve read for you is to note the "I wills" of God.
God said, "I will rule. I will bring out. I will bring in. I will take note...
I will cause to pass under the rod.
I will bring you into the bond of a covenant.
I will purge...I will accept."
Over and over and over God says, "I will...I will...I will."
>Did you know that the most amazing thing about the Bible...
And the most amazing thing about history itself is the nation of Israel?
I mean folks, thereís not anything like it.
Not in the Bible, nor in history itself, the nation of Israel is the most amazing thing ever known to man.
It was the only nation that was ever founded by God.
When the nation of Israel was founded by God, there were other nations on the face of the earth.
There were Perisites and Hittites and Jebusites and Carmelites...
And all other kind of ites but they were not founded by God.
God did not found the nation of Russia.
God did not found the nation of China.
God did not found the nation of Africa.
God did not found the nation of Brazil or Peru.
God did not even found the nation of the USA.
The only nation God ever founded was the nation of Israel.
>And not only did he found the nation of Israel, God entered into a covenant relationship with Israel.
God made a covenant with them.
God didnít make a covenant with Japan.
God didnít make a covenant with Kenya.
God made a covenant with the nation of Israel.
>But not only did God establish and found the nation of Israel...
And enter into a covenant relationship...
God manifested unto them the Shekinah glory of God.
They beheld his glory.
Sometimes it was a pillar of fire.
Sometimes it was a pillar of clouds.
Sometimes there were other manifestations of it...
But they beheld, they witnessed the Shekinah glory of God.
No other nation could say that.
God gave to them the law.
God gave to them the prophets.
God gave to them the priesthood and the sacrifices.
God didnít give any other nation that.
It was through the nation of Israel that Jesus Christ came.
He did not come through the lineage of Americans.
H did not come through the lineage of Africans.
He did not come through the lineage of Russians.
It was through the Jews, the nation of Israel, that Jesus Christ came.
He was born of a virgin, but his virgin mother was a full-blooded Jew.
Jesus Christ came as a result of this nation.
>The nation of Israel existed for a long, long time...
And then about 2,000 years ago the nation of Israel was completely destroyed...
And it ceased to exist for 2,000 years.
The people who lived there at the time were scattered into the four winds.
They were scattered to all directions of the earth.
And yet 2,000 years later their nation on May 14, 1948 was born again.
And all of the descendants...now hereís the amazing thing.
In all of those 2,000 years that the nation of Israel did not exist on the earth...
And the descendants of those Jews that were there when it was destroyed...
The descendants throughout all of those 2,000 years with very few exceptions...
They did not inter-marry and they kept the race of Israel pure.
And when on May 14, 1948, when the nation of Israel was reborn...
That began a pilgrimage of Jews coming back from all over the earth...
Back to the nation of Israel and they came back speaking the same language that their ancestors had spoken 2,000 years ago.
And folks, I tell you that is absolutely unbelievable except thatís what happened.
No other nation on the face of the earth has ever had anything happen to it like that.
And hereís something else.
Jesus said that the generation that was alive to see the fig tree bud...
Itís in Matthew 24, Jesus said the nation that was alive to see the nation of Israel had been dead now for 2,000 years...
He said the nation that is alive to see that come back would be the nation that would be alive to see the coming of JC.
Hallelujah! Now thereís no other nation that has a history like that.
None of them...not Egypt...not the Arab nations...none of them.
Only the nation of Israel.
It is the most amazing thing in all the word of God...
And it is the most amazing thing in all the course of history.
>Now when Ezekiel was written where were most of the Jews?
Most of them had already been taken into captivity and led over into Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.
The nation of Israel had a northern part called Israel and a southern part called Judah.
The northern part was completely already wiped out.
All of those people had already been taken into captivity.
The only part that was even left was the southern part of Judah...
And it was on shaky, shaky ground.
And yet God says to this prophet, "You tell the people they are living in hard times...
And theyíre going to live in even harder times...
But I am not through with them."
You know there have been times when the nation of Israel in their history, it looked as though they were done for.
I mean it looked as though they were going down for the third time never to rise again.
And the only reason theyíve ever risen again is because of the promise God made to them.
Itís not because theyíre warm or cute or fuzzy or cuddly.
Itís not because theyíre smarter than anybody else.
Itís not because theyíre stronger than anybody else.
Itís not because theyíre bigger and tougher than anybody else.
It is simply because of the promise of God.
Itís an amazing, amazing thing.
>Now what does God tell Ezekiel to tell the people thatís going to happen one day?
Well look in verse 33: "as surely as I live", declares the Lord, "I will rule over you with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with outpoured wrath."
>Now there is a sense in which God rules over everyone.
But there is also a sense in which he doesnít.
The Bible tells us that one day we will see all things put under the feet of our Lord...
But it goes on to say we do not yet see all things put under his feet.
Jesus prayed, "Lord, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
That is not being done today, but one day it will.
Godís will is not being done on earth as it is in heaven...
But one day his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
God said, "You tell them, Ezekiel, that one day Iím going to rule over them."
He says, "Iím going to rule them with a mighty hand."
As you read throughout the Old Testament, youíll find over and over again that expression, "the mighty hand of God"...
And almost every time you see that expression it refers to the power of God to deliver.
God delivered them out of Egypt with his mighty hand.
God delivered them from oppression with his mighty hand.
God rescued them with his mighty hand.
It speaks of the power of God.
God says, "You tell them, Ezekiel, one day Iím going to rule over them in power with a mighty hand."
He says also, "You tell them that Iím going to rule over them with a stretched out arm."
All the way through the Bible you find that expression, "Godís outstretched arm, heís stretched out his hands...
Heís stretched out his arms."
Over and over and over and almost every time you see it...
It refers to Godís love, his mercy, his compassion, his redemption.
>But also he says, "You tell them that Iím going to rule over them with outpoured wrath."
Now I have to believe that refers to the protection of God.
Itís not his wrath poured out on them.
Itís his wrath poured out upon those that would try to overcome them.
So he says, "You tell them, Ezekiel, one day Iím going to rule over them.
Right now theyíre over there on Babylonian captivity because of their sin...
Because they rebelled against me...they rejected my authority...they turned to idols.
They turned away from me, and theyíre over there living like theyíre living...
Because of the sin in their life.
Theyíre over there being ruled by foreigners and enemies that hate them.
But you tell them one day Iím going to rule over them again...
And Iíll do it with the power of my mighty hand...
With the compassion of my outstretched arm...
And with the protection of my wrath being poured out upon those that would oppress them."
>Now when is that going to take place?
When is God going to rule over them?
Well itís going to be after the rapture.
Now some people donít believe in the rapture.
The Bible tells us one day thereís going to come a great catching up.
"We who are alive and remain shall be caught up."
The rapture, brother.
And so sometime after the rapture, God is going to rule over the Jews.
Hey, itís going to be after the tribulation.
You know when itís going to be?
Itís going to be during the millennial reign.
>You know what the Bible teaches?
The Bible teaches that for a period of 1,000 years Godís will is going to be done on this earth just like in heaven.
God is going to be absolute sovereign Lord of this planet.
Folks are gonna do what he says, go where he says go...
And believe what he says believe whether they like it or not.
Godís gonna rule on planet earth.
Not gonna be any liquor stores...abortion clinics...drug pushing...prostitution.
Bless God, itís gonna be like God wants it.
Itís gonna be just like that.
When is that going to happen?
Itís gonna happen upon that millennial reign on earth, 1,000 years on this planet without any sin...
Without any rebellion, without any of that.
Godís gonna rule over Israel during that time.
>But you know what?
Godís got to get them ready for that, and thatís what the tribulation is.
Between the time that Jesus comes in the air and the saints of God go up to be with him...
Thatís the rapture, and the time that Jesus comes back and puts his feet on planet earth...
Thereís a seven-year period.
The Bible calls it the day of Jacobís trouble.
Itís called the day of tribulation.
Itís called the day of wrath.
Itís called many things, but basically itís a time when God is going to deal one more time with the nation of Israel.
>Now what is God doing that for?
Heís getting them ready to rule over them with the hand of power and an arm of love and wrath of protection.
God is going to get them ready.
"Well how, Bro. Joe, is he going to do it?"
>Well, Iím so glad you asked that.
Thatís what these verses are about.
First of all, heís going to gather them.
Look there in verse 34.
Where are Jews today? Theyíre everywhere.
Theyíre in Russia...China...Africa...
Canada...South America...Australia...America...theyíre everywhere.
Everywhere you go the Jews are scattered all over the earth.
What did God say heís going to do?
He says he is going to gather them.
Hey, I want to tell you something.
Thatís already started.
That started back on May 14, 1948.
Godís been at it for 56 years.
>God says, "Now before I rule over you, Iím going to gather you."
>Now whereís he going to gather them?
Well I donít know.
Look what he says there.
He says in verse 35...
Whereís that? I donít know.
It must be somewhere over there close to Israel.
But heís gonna gather all of the Jews.
Every living Jew at some point, Godís going to gather them over there probably toward the end of the tribulation.
Heís going to gather all of them there...
Many of them are there right now.
But all of them are going to be there in some wilderness.
>Now what is God going to do with them?
I mean what are you gonna do with a bunch of Jews?
What is God going to do with them?
God is going to discipline them.
Why? Because they need it.
Well doesnít he discipline us? You better believe it.
Iíve been to the woodshed many times. Havenít you?
But you see, we will already be gone.
He doesnít have to worry with us.
Weíve done been raptured.
Now heís dealing with the Jews that are left behind...
And heís gonna get them all over there in the wilderness and heís going to discipline them.
>Look at what the Bible says there in verse 35.
If you have a KJV it says "plead".
Itís not that heís on his hands and knees pleading and begging.
Oh no. It is that he is beginning a process of discipline.
He repeats the same thing in verse 36.
And he continues that thought in verse 37.
>Now you know what most Bible translators, how they translate that word "rod"?
They use it as though God is counting them.
Now must of the books that Iíve read, thatís what they say.
Itís like that old shepherd, you know, heíd hold out the rod and the sheep would come under the rod...
And he would count them as they went under the stick.
I donít believe God has to do that.
I mean, if man can come up with computers, surely God wonít have any trouble counting the folks.
I mean he has never had any trouble.
I mean if he knows how many sparrows there are flying around...
And he knows the hair on all of our heads...
Then surely itís not gonna be hard for God to count Jews, okay?
I mean he doesnít have to use a stick to say "1, 2, 3, 4, 5"...
I believe this is a rod of correction.
The Bible says, "He that spareth the rod hateth the child."
It is a rod of correction...it is a rod of discipline...
Heíll cause them to pass under the rod.
My daddy used to cause me to pass under the rod, but I seldom passed under it low enough.
God says, "Iím going to gather them."
And God says, "Iím going to discipline them."
>And then God says, thirdly, "Iím going to convict them."
Look down in verse 42.
Hey, if you want to know what conviction is, you read verse 43.
Thatís the greatest description of conviction anywhere in the word of God.
Maybe you donít know how to call it conviction, but you remember that time you stood there in that pew...
And the pastor preached the word of God.
And all of a sudden there was a holy tornado going on in your soul.
You knew that you were sorry and worthless and shiftless and low down and mean...
And deserved to go to hell and fry like sausage forever.
You knew that you were lost and condemned and ungodly and wicked.
That was conviction.
Thatís what God said.
God says, "Iím gonna gather you, and Iím gonna discipline you...
And Iím gonna convict you, and youíre gonna see just how rotten and sorry and low down you are."
>What do you reckon God does that for?
He does it to them for the same reason he did it to you and the same reason he did it to me.
So that we could get it right, amen?
So that we would repent and get right.
Because you see, not only is God going to gather them and discipline them and convict them.
Heís going to purge them.
Look back up there in verse 38.
God says, "Iím gonna purge you."
>And then he says in verse 37, there at the end of verse 37 he says...
"And I will bring you into the bond of the covenant."
God says, "Iím going to establish a new covenant with you."
Not that old covenant.
"Iím going to establish a new covenant with you."
That old covenant was a covenant of law.
Thatís not the covenant that Godís going to offer them now in this wilderness experience at the end of the tribulation.
God says, "Iím going to gather you."
God says, "Iím going to discipline you."
God says, "Iím going to convict you."
God says, "Iím going to purge you."
And God says, "Iím going to offer you a brand new covenant."
Thatís the covenant of Jesus.
>Why is God doing this? Because he wants to, amen?
Who are we to tell God what he can and cannot do?
Godís doing it because he wants to.
And then those Jews will begin turning to Christ and at the end of the tribulation Jesus Christ shall come...
And all of them will be saved.
In verse 41, God says, "And I will accept you."
>What about right now?
"Bro. Joe, youíve told me what Godís going to do with the nation of Israel...
What about Jews right now?"
Most of them are lost.
Now I donít say that to be mean or unkind.
Iím just telling you, most of them are lost.
As a matter of fact, if you go to Israel today, youíll find that there is a segment of Jews in Israel...
Who still attempt to worship God.
You can go to the Wailing Wall and youíll see many of those Rabbinical men...
And theyíll be bobbing and weaving at the wall, holding the Torah and holding other things...
Putting little prayers in.
I mean, you can see that.
There are some religious Jews in Israel today.
But in Israel today most of the Jews are atheists.
They call themselves secular Jews.
They do not believe in God at all.
They are atheists.
But I want to tell you, God hasnít thrown them away.
God still has a work to do in their hearts.
Whatís wrong with them right now?
Theyíre hardened or blinded.
Thatís what Romans 11 says.
The Book of Romans...look at it.
>Romans 11:7: what then? Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened.
God has hardened Israel today.
Why are they atheists? Because theyíre hardened.
I mean these are the people of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
These are all the people who have in their ancestry Moses and David and the prophets.
How could they not believe in God?
Because they are hardened.
>But look down in verse 25: I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in.
Well that doesnít mean that all Jews are hardened because many of them are coming to Christ.
Rocky Freeman, a great Southern Baptist evangelist, is a converted Jew.
Eddie Liebermann, a great Southern Baptist evangelist, is a converted Jew.
Many of our evangelists are converted Jews. Isnít that strange?
Here are men and women who are Jews who are turning to faith in Jesus Christ.
So the blindness that has happened to Israel is only partial.
There are some Jews still being saved.
But look what it says in verse 25: until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in.
What does that mean? Whatís a Gentile?
Well unless youíre a Jew, youíre one, amen?
One is white and one is black, but youíre both Gentiles.
Iím a Gentile...Iím not a Jew.
If youíre not a Jew youíre a Gentile.
All of us are Gentiles unless thereís a few Jews in here tonight.
Weíre Gentiles. What is God doing now?
God is predominantly saving Gentiles. Why?
Israel is hardened.
God hardened them and turned to us.
God is saving Gentiles.
But one day the fullness of the Gentiles will come in.
One day the last Gentile that God knows is going to be saved will be saved and that will be it.
Bless God, the trumpet will sound.
Jesus will come in the air.
The saints of God will be caught up with him.
Every time somebody walks the aisle and gets saved, I say, "Boy, is that the one?"
Then weíre out of here.
And then God turns again to the nation of Israel, and those Jews that endure the tribulation...
Many Jews are going to be killed during the tribulation.
Many of them are going to lose their lives and theyíll die and go to hell.
But many Jews will be saved during the tribulation...
And every Jew that lives through the tribulation and is living when Jesus comes back to the earth...
Every one of them will turn to Christ and repent and believe and be saved.
And thatís what verse 26 says: And so all Israel shall be saved.
That doesnít mean every Jew that has ever lived.
It means every Jew thatís alive when Jesus comes back to the earth.
>You know what?
Thatís what Paul said 2,000 years ago.
But I can top that.
Thatís what Ezekiel said 2,700 years ago, amen?
It doesnít matter whether God said it through Ezekiel or Paul or Jesus or whoever.
If God said it, itís true.
Right now they are hardened.
One day the scales will be lifted.
Their eyes will be open and those that are alive when he comes back to the earth, all of them will be saved.