Friday, June 24, 2016

reading the lay of the land

The Word for today:
Ezekiel 35:1-36:15
mark this: Ezekiel 36:8
But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit to prepare for my people's return – and they will be coming home again soon!
From the very beginning, the physical condition of the land has been tied to the spiritual condition of the people. In the Garden of Eden, when man sinned, the land felt the curse:
And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you. (Genesis 3:17-18)
The people and the land go together.
I worked for a dozen years in the dirty heart of Niagara Falls, NY. If you want to see a literal picture of the fall of man, of the ruin sin has wrought, of the Garden gone to hell, then drive through Niagara Falls.
What God's hand carved out, a delight to the eyes, (1) has been cursed at the hand of man.
I don't even know where Love Canal, the infamous ecological crime scene, happens to be. I don't have to, because there's enough curse to be seen without seeing that. There are the towering garbage hills; ahh, the fragrance. There are the dark, long-shuttered, satanic mills along the powerful and proud Niagara River. There are the tawdry shops. There's the stupid casino. All of it a monument to petty politicians, petty businessmen, petty unions, petty Mafia, petty greed, and monumental ignorance.
And the irony is that if they'd all shot straight, they could all be making a fortune off the Falls to this very day.
Sometimes as Bible students we get hung up on the little prophecies, the specific little prophecies concerning the end times. We would do well to consider Scripture's meta-prophecies. The condition of the land is one of these over-arching prophetic indicators.
Though national Israel has returned, we can tell that spiritual Israel has not returned, because when God restores the spiritual condition of Israel, He will also restore the land:
But the mountains of Israel will produce heavy crops of fruit to prepare for my people's return – and they will be coming home again soon! (Ezekiel 36:8)
That has not yet happened. Much of Israel is uninhabitable and unproductive. That is one sure indication that (as you will read in this space on the day after tomorrow) the flesh is on those bones, but the breath's not in those bodies.
As Bible students, we must learn to read the lay of the land--from Israel to Niagara Falls.
(1) Genesis 3:6

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