Undivided Under David: The Two Sticks Prophecy Of Ezekiel - Part III
“hus saith the Lord, I will take the stick…in the hand of Ephraim…and will put them with the stick of Judah…and I will make them one nation….and they shall have one shepherd” (Ezekiel 37:19, 22, 24).
In our multipart look at the Two Sticks prophecy, we’ve not only sought to show how Jesus Christ has already arrived as the “one king” who presides forever over the Spiritually re-united houses of Israel (Ephraim in the text) and Judah, we’ve also associated the faulty concept which says the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, with the denial of Christ seen in I John:
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (I John 2:22).
The crux of the conflict is the very real fact that Christ is manifested as the Son of God by the fact that He fulfills a multitude of Old Testament prophecy; and the central prophetic theme is the redemption of Israel. The salvation of Israel occurs with the establishment of the New Covenant – when God writes His law in the hearts of the believer. This is the “everlasting covenant” which is established as the LORD puts the “two sticks” together:
“Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them…My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Ezekiel 37:26, 27).
Because these two events are intertwined within the same prophecy, the salvation of Israel and the re-unification of Ephraim with Judah, occurs at the same time. Thus the attempt to subtly shift the fulfillment of the joining together of the Two Sticks into the realm of a “postponed prophecy,” also pushes the redemption of Israel into the future. In effect, by saying that Jesus did not yet fulfill that which was required of Him, in order to manifest Himself as the Messiah, the middle ground of the saved or not saved polarization is created.
“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatosoever is more than these cometh of evil” (Matthew 5:37).
By claiming that Christ will eventually accomplish the joining of the lost sheep of the house of Israel with the long separated house of Judah, the Spirit of Antichrist avoids a clear-cut denial that Jesus is the Christ, and the instant repudiation such a position would invariably receive. This intermediate ground of redemptive expectation seeks to counter the crucial fact that Christ redeemed Israel at His first incarnation – as opposed to the Satanically inspired fiction that God will ultimately save all physical Israelites during a convoluted series of tribulational events, coinciding with His 2nd coming.
Be de-coupling the believers’s present Spiritual reality from the Lord’s finished sacrificial work, and re-connecting it to the demonic neverland of not yet, the principalities and powers have shifted our expectations to where they parallel that of unregenerate Israel – who is still waiting for her Saviour.
Further, this is not a Preterist (or non-millennial) versus Futurist paradigm, in which those who see the finished work of Christ on the Cross are guilty of Spiritualizing away the future, even as the Jewish Supremacists try to force what is obviously prophetic imagery into a literal, futurist box. Indeed, the labeling of theological positions now tends to serve as shorthand for prophetic rejection.
To return to the central issue of Undivided Under David, the Two Sticks prophecies in Ezekiel speak of the Saviour, and His glorious redemption of Israel. The minute we move towards the position that suggests that Christ was unable to accomplish that magnificent feat, we are on the shakiest of ground. Because our study (or training) has conditioned us to believe in a futurist paradigm (such as a 7 year tribulation and Armageddon, followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on the Earth, etc) does not give us a license to reject what has already occurred.
Furthermore, because modern members of the body of Christ recognize the work of redemption was concluded at the Cross, does not mean there is no place for futurist prophetic fulfillment. The fact is, the earth shaking events associated with the establishment of the New Covenant adds a deeper dimension to the worldview of the believer – and the Old Testament prophecies which are projected to occur in the ensuing period of the Christian era, continue to unfold precisely as the LORD ordained.
For instance, Daniel’s epic prediction of four beast kingdoms arising out of the sea in Daniel 7 (the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the diverse fourth beast) have been conclusively identified as the British Commonwealth (the lion), the Soviet Union (the bear), the Nazi Third Reich (the leopard), and America (the diverse beast). Obviously, all of these emerge long after the generation which saw Jesus on the Cross, so to say there is no future prophecy after Christ establishes the kingdom of God is grossly inaccurate.
Furthermore, although the predicted kingdoms of the world (the four kingdoms just mentioned) are all functioning in the Spirit of Antichrist, does not mean that futurist prophecy has no relevance to the sons and daughters of God who are now in the kingdom of God:
“Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:5,6).
We certainly take note of the past tense running throughout verses of this nature, for God has already “raised us up,” even as the text does not say at some point in the future, He will arrange for us to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” There are dozens of proof texts which show our Spiritually generated, eternal life in Christ is already underway.
Simultaneously, we see futurist prophecies where various factions in this world, in the Christian era, will adversely affect our lives in the physical realm, where we also exist. For example, in the same texts predicting the kingdoms of the age, the dreadful and terrible fourth beast, which we’ve repeatedly shown is the American Empire, sustains the ten horns where the Little Horn arises, and assaults the believers:
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Daniel 7:21).
Thus, our present timeline is inhabited by the elect who interact with the children of the wicked one, even as we are seated in the Kingdom of God – the Kingdom that Jesus said is not of this world:
“Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory” (I Corinthians 2:6, 7).
--- James Lloyd
[Next: The Intersection Between The Kingdom Of God And The End Of The Age - Undivided Under David - Part IV]
More information on the true identity of the nations in prophecy, is found in the James Lloyd book THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE LEOPARD.