A Tale of Two Israels

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

As most of you know, Charles Dickens wrote those famous lines in 1859.  The story is set during the French Revolution – a time when society was turned upside down.  The aristocracy who enjoyed all the privileges and comforts of the upper class was violently ousted and the underclass was, for the first time, embracing freedom and human rights.  For the underclass, things were better than ever but for the aristocracy, things could not have been any worse.

This dichotomy could aptly be applied to the nation of Israel.  The religious hierarchy had, by unbiblical traditions and policies, divided the nation between the religious elite who supported and maintained the status quo and the common people who longed for the promises and blessings of Abraham.

For centuries, these two groups coexisted and had all of the appearances of being knit together by a common set of ordinances and laws delivered to them by their patriarchs.  Appearances, however, can be deceiving.  

The religious leaders and the elite espoused a very rigid, legalistic view of the Word of God.  The common people, on the other hand, longed for the simplicity and profundity underneath the letter of the Word delivered to them centuries earlier.   

Jesus was the embodiment of God’s Word,  John 1:1).  He was also the catalyst that exposed and divided Israel and thus shined a light on false-feigned worship and true worship, Luke 12:51. 

Image Courtesy of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at Patheos Blog
Image Courtesy of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at Patheos Blog

The division between the two was consummated by the death of Jesus.  As Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished,”  He bowed His head and yielded up His spirit to God.  At that time the temple veil which separated the holy place from the most holy place was torn from top to bottom.  It is said that the veil was 6 inches thick and required 300 priest to move.  So, the ripping from top to bottom could not have been done by human hands.  I should point out here that the ripped veil represented several things.  1)  Animal sacrifices would never again be accepted by God, Hebrews 10:14.  2) Their temple, Jesus said, was left desolate (empty), Matthew 23:38.  After He spoke those sad words, He departed from their temple.  God will never again live in a temple made by human hands; “natural” Jerusalem will never again be a place of worship, John 4:21.  Last, the ripped veil represents the flesh of Jesus which was torn to provide access to the throne of God by the blood of His sacrifice. Carnal priest are no longer needed.  As spiritual priest, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices daily and are granted entry into the very throne room of God, Romans 12:1.  Praise God!

The Apostle Paul describes the duality of the nation in Romans 9:6.   Paul is clearly saying that there is a group within Israel that is not really Israel. They bear the name Israel; they go through all of the motions of closeness to God but in reality, their hearts are far from Him.  Their rejection of God’s son demonstrated that they did not know God, John 8:19.

Jesus, again, delineates between the two Israels when He said in John 16:20 that one group, the world, would rejoice at His death and the other group would lament and mourn.  It should be obvious that Jesus is speaking about His death and resurrection.  Those who were truly children of Abraham mourned and lamented when He was crucified.  The “world,” however, rejoiced.

Just ask yourself: who was mourning when Jesus died and who was rejoicing?  

Jesus’ disciples and those who loved Him were the ones mourning;  the pharisees, the religious leaders, the political leaders and the elite were the ones rejoicing.  Jesus said they were the “world.”

I should point out that anyone who rejects the Lord Jesus, Jew or Gentile, is considered the world.

Now, having said all this, I would like to trace a connecting thread from John 16:20 back to the prophet Zechariah who began his ministry circa 520 BC.  


 Zechariah 12:10

I know that dispensationalist will chafe at what I’m about to reveal concerning this prophecy in Zechariah, but I feel very strongly that this is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

Just as there was a duality in Israel in the days of Jesus.  The same phenomenon exists in the body of Christ today. There are those in the body of Christ today who see only the dead letter and whose approach to scripture is completely carnal.  Conversely, there are those who are hungry for and willing to receive the spirit underlying the holy writ. The latter will receive what I’m about to share the same way I received it from the Lord – with great joy, hallelujah!  

First, let me point out a position that many, if not most, dispensationalists hold vis a vis Revelation 1:7; the Jews at the second advent will look on Him whom they pierced and at that point mourn for Him and receive Him as their Messiah.  This position is false on so many levels.  

  • First, faith does not come by looking or seeing John 12:37.  The unbelievers saw all the miracles and yet rejected Jesus.  Faith, instead, comes by hearing the word of God Romans 10:17.  I don’t know of any other way of acquiring faith.
  • Second, and more importantly, the real Jews looked on Him whom they pierced at least 2000 years before the second advent.  It is incontrovertible that Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled at Calvary,  John 19:36-37  

Now that we’ve established that Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled at Calvary, let’s unpack this gift God has given us and see what’s inside.

The text is clear that God will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (I will share more about the inhabitants of Jerusalem in a subsequent post.)  

I need to reiterate that all of this was taking place at the cross.  The house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem received a spirit of grace and supplication at the cross; the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem looked on Him whom they pierced at the cross; the house of David and the inhabitants Jerusalem mourned for Him as one would mourn for an only son at the cross.

The Cross of Jesus

Who then are the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem?  

They certainly aren’t the ones rejoicing.  Are they?  The “world” was rejoicing at that time John 16:20.  Jesus said the “world” would be rejoicing at His death. Amen?  

On the other hand, His disciples and those who loved and followed Him were the ones who were mourning for Him as one mourns for an only son, just as Jesus said in John’s gospel.  And of course, we know that they looked on Him whom they pierced.

In summary, the ministry of Jesus exposed a divide in Israel – a divergence of two groups of people and the emergence of the inhabitants of spiritual Jerusalem.  

One group was inhabitants of natural Jerusalem which is a type of Hagar and is in bondage.  The other group inhabits spiritual Jerusalem, the mother of all and is a type of Sarah, the free woman.  Galatians 4:25-26

To be continued…