WHAT WAS ISRAEL’S SIN?

Israel’s sin! Herein lies the reason for the Tribulation. It will not suffice to say simply that Israel sinned. What we need to do is to see and learn what the sins are, for which cause, there must be a Tribulation.

  1. This Evil people which refuse to hear My words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall be even as this girdle, which is good for nothing” (Jer. 13:10; Zech. 7:4-14). One of the most damaging indictments against Israel is that they were “destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). A knowledge of God’s Word was neglected and refused. An understanding of the Word of God would have strengthened the men and stabilized the nation. If a person rejects the Word of God, it is a sure thing that they will soon, as surely as night follows day, depart from the Lord!    
  2. My Sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out My fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them” (Ezek. 20:13-24; 22:8,26; 23:38). The seventh day, like the seventh year, taught a lesson in grace; namely, that God rested from the work of creation on the seventh day, and, thusly, hallowed the Sabbath day/year; the intent being that the believer should rest his soul entirely on the completed work of God. The reason we do not set aside the seventh day or year in this Dispensation of Grace is because God’s plan was for man to rest the eternal welfare of his soul entirely in the redemptive work that Christ finished on the Cross (Rom. 10:4). For the Grace believer in this dispensation, every day is a Sabbath! The rejection of the Sabbath was equivalent of the Jews saying, “Please God, we’d rather do it ourselves” or, “We reject grace and the finished work of Christ!”                                                                                                    
  3. Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departed from the LORD”(Jer. 17:5-9; 2:17-19; Hos. 8:8-10). The Israelites trusted unregenerate man, whether he be Jew or Gentile, to seek out the solution to his problems – independent of God. The Israelites, like today’s Modernists, departed from the wisdom and strength of God’s Word and were left to stand upon the shifting, sinking sands of emotionalism and subjective, human reasoning. They trusted their “vain imaginations” for direction. The wisdom of this world had turned them into fools. This proves once again that the heart of man is incurably diseased and hopelessly corrupt (Jer. 17:9).                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  4. Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made: and the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself…” (Isa. 2:8-9, 20; Jer. 17:1-4). Israel turned to idolatry. Their gods of stone, wood, or gold were a poor substitute for Jehovah God, Maker and Ruler of Heaven and Earth. The Psalmist has rightly said of Israel and their gods, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths but they speak not: eyes have they but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that made them are like unto them: so is every one that trusteth in them” (Ps. 115:4-8).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  5. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots” (Isa. 2:7-8). Israel was entrapped by the kind of thinking and living that sacrificed the eternal for the temporal. Their priorities were all wrong! God’s commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deut. 6:5) had been set on the back shelf. Israel was content to pay lip service to God, while their hearts were moving farther and farther from Him (Isa. 29:13). The mistake Israel made was to think that they needed something more than the Word of God. It may be their thinking was like that of modern man who believes that his security or success depends on having more money, more possessions or more government control, etc. The Apostle Paul would have reminded them, as he does us, that in all things Christ must have the “preeminence” (Col. 1:18).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  6. “…They have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words” (Jer. 19:15; Hos. 5:4; Ezek. 3:7). Like the hands of a working man, the heart of the rebellious Israelite grew calloused with the passing of time. They hardened their hearts as in the days of the “provocation in the wilderness” (Heb. 3:8) until they were “past feeling” for God. God gave them up (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:28), even as He “gave up” the Gentiles because unbelief had hardened their hearts (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  7. “…They also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment” (Isa. 28:1 ,7; Jer. 13:13). Drunkenness and drug addiction proved to be the perverter of all moral conduct and character for Israel; an escape from reality! Do not the headlines in the newspapers and nightly newscasts have something to say about America? Does history repeat itself?                                                                                                                                                                                 
  8. For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in My house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD” (Jer. 23:9-40; II Chron. 15:3; Isa. 56:9-12; Lam. 4:13-14). The profane prophets and priests taught what the people wanted to hear, not what the people needed to hear. The people needed truth and compassion to bind up their wounds and make them strong; but the pagan pastors of Israel destroyed and scattered the flock “by their lies and by their lightness.” These ancient theological liberals, like their modern counterparts, taught the lying imaginations of their own heart and not the council “out of the mouth of the Lord.” For these, God reserves His worst condemnation (Hos. 4:9). I believe that one of the greatest thrusts being made by the journalists and politicians today is to neutralize Bible teaching and infiltrate America’s churches with apostate, legalistic clergy. Like in Israel’s days of old, these evil workers are destroying the “vineyards” (Jer. 12:10-11). Israel’s politicians and pastors were dead at the top! If the head is corrupt, then the body becomes corrupt. Everything rises or falls on the quality of leadership! A tried and true principle – then and now! It is true in all walks of life – business, home, sports, etc. It is certainly true in politics and government. As goes the national leadership, so goes the nation (Isa. 3:12-15; 9:16; Ezek. 22:6-7).                                                   
  9. “…The land is full of bloody crimes, and the city is full of violence” (Ezek. 7:11, 23-24; Hos. 7:1; Isa. 1:21). Death, mischief, destruction and fear stalked the streets of the ancient world. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood” (Hos. 4:2; Ezek. 22:1-12, 24-31; Jer. 7:8-10). Character, justice, honor, and righteousness are gone! The foundations of Israel’s society and nation are gone! Corruption, like leaven, infuses the whole nation from top to bottom. No one is exempt, not even those most thought of as being most trustworthy and honorable.                        
  10. They caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger” (2 Kgs. 17:17; Isa. 2:6). Israel turned to the cults and the occult! This was strictly forbidden and was a manifestation of the depth of Israel’s departure into spiritual darkness. Have you noticed lately that the cults and the occult religions are the fastest growing religious groups in America?
  1. “…They rejected His statutes, and His covenant that He made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them” (II Kgs. 17:15; 18:12; Isa. 24:5-6; Jer. 34:18-20). When Spiritual laws of the Bible and sound doctrine are no longer taught and pastors and politicians are no longer trustworthy, then the whole nation stands in jeopardy. The nation of Israel had been given specific guidelines for the operation of the Kingdom. These guidelines are called the Covenants (see also: Statutes, Judgments, Laws and Commandments) which had two divisions – unconditional clauses and conditional clauses. In the conditional clauses, God said in effect that “if you will do this, then I will do this.” This is illustrated in Deuteronomy 27-28 and 30:1-6. The history of Israel is filled with Israel’s rotations of obedience and disobedience. The Tribulation Period represents the final round in Israel’s disobedience and judgment (Lev. 26).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  2. Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it(Jer. 5:1; cf., Isa. 43:10-12 w/ 22-28).This is the result of neglected evangelism! Israel had been given the custodianship of the truth that would set men free – not just the Israelite, but all men. The nation of Israel was elected of God to be a “kingdom of priests” (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6) to the whole world. However, Jesus said that the appointed place and people for the worship of God had deteriorated into a “den of thieves.” Evangelism was the thing closest to the heart of God. He said He “was not willing that any should perish.”

Does this partial list of Israel’s sins bother you? It bothers me! I am deeply concerned. These are the sins that provoked God to wrath! One day, in the not-to-distant future, Israel and the whole world will be placed into the “winepress of God’s wrath” (Rev. 14:19-20; 19:15) during the Tribulation. All the references in this study are in some way, either directly or indirectly, connected with the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” God will use this strong disciplinary action to cleanse Israel for their future role in Christ’s Kingdom.

Somewhere near the end of the “week”/seven years of Tribulation, Israel “will look upon Him Whom they have pierced.” God has promised that “before they call, I will answer” (Isa. 65:24; 58:8-9). Praise the Lord! The Apostle Paul says, at that time, “…all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:25-26).

CONCLUSION

Only a blind man would fail to recognize that this list of Israel’s sins paints an accurate picture of the sins of the world we live in today – 2013! Question: If God has and will again judge Israel and the world for their sin, will He dismiss the sins of this Christ-rejecting world? I guarantee you, He will not. If they do not repent, they “shall likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3-5).

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