Well, hell and heaven on Earth anyway. Maybe not the real Hell and Heaven. Leviticus 26 describes seven phases of national existence as they relate to obedience or disobedience to God’s Laws. They only obliquely relate to faith in that faith in God is among his commands.
The Torah is both life and death, depending on how you relate to it. If you obey, it is life. If you disobey, it is death. (In another sense, if you rely for your salvation on your obedience to the letter of the law, then it becomes death again.) The first phase described is of obedience and blessing. Israel is promised an overabundance in every way if they obey God’s Torah.
The next six phases stem from disobedience. Each of these six phases, except perhaps the first and the last, is a sevenfold punishment, complete in itself. Each one represents another chance to repent and return to obedience. Before describing each of phases one through five God interjects an offer of forgiveness:
- “If you will not hearken unto me…”
- “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me…”
- “And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me…”
- “And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things…”
- “And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me…”
There is no offer of forgiveness before phase six, which is exile. Israel entered exile in the sixth century BC. Except for a partial reprieve from 531 BC to 70 AD, Israel has remained in exile until recently. Even now, the return to the land is not total. As before, only the southern kingdom has returned and only in part. Israel will remain in exile until “their uncircumcised hearts be humbled,” they accept their punishment for what it is, and they seek forgiveness.
Some of the rabbis teach that Israel was returned to exile by Rome because of baseless hatred and loshan hora or speaking ill of others. The leadership of Israel–and the nation–was certainly guilty of that. Some of them blasphemed the Holy Spirit when they ascribed Yeshua’s power to Satan. Most of them blasphemed Yeshua when they called him a liar, an antinomian, a heretic, and a bastard. Most of the Jewish leadership is still guilty of those same things, but that is changing. Many rabbis are beginning to back away from those accusations and to realize they treated their Messiah unjustly. Many of them are even beginning to realize that he is their Messiah.
Every eye should be turned toward Jerusalem, because Israel is being drawn back again. Judah is looking again at Yeshua, and Ephraim is looking again at Torah. At the beginning of the cycle was obedience and blessing. Six levels of hell on earth followed it, but God prophesied another level, one of repentance and forgiveness. The eighth phase may be approaching soon: A new beginning in greater obedience and greater blessing.
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