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Featured "If My People..." A Promise God Never Made and A Prophetic Application Overlooked

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Nov 30, 2017.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

    This verse is, first of all - as it is often presented - a promise never made.
    The implication of many American websites, sermons, books, posters, songs, and bumper-stickers is that if America, or the Christians in America, will seek God's face then He will hear their prayer and heal our country. The reason why many misconstrue this verse as having special application for America and for her revival is that they take these words out of context, focusing instead on special words and phrases that can be reloaded with other meaning. Once the text is denatured and re-natured it comes out red-white-and-blue - and totally at odds with the context. The essential points of misunderstanding are these:

    "My people" = Americans. Rational: Were we not a Christian nation?
    "Called by My name" = Christians. Are we not called by Christ's name?
    "I.. will heal their land" = America. God will heal our country.

    As I said, these applications are arrived at by seeing this verse as self-contained. One well-meaning pastor even makes this verse part of his "single, stand-alone Scripture series"! But to see any verse - especially one like the present - as stand-alone is a recipe for exegetical disaster.

    Context, always helpful for understanding
    Other websites I visited - a minority of them, unfortunately - gave due credit to the rest of the passage, chapters 6 and 7 of 2nd Chronicles. As one reads the rest of the passage one notices a recurring theme: the Temple! This whole passage is set in Solomon's Temple, and was God's answer in the night to Solomon. It was after Solomon's dedication of the Temple, and in response to his prayer during that dedication, 2nd Chron. 6:1-42.

    And what did Solomon pray? That God would honor prayers of His people "toward this place".

    He refers to "this place", "this temple" thirteen times: 6:18, 20 (twice), 21, 22, 24, 26, 29, 32, 33, 34, 38, and 40. God's answer to Solomon, likewise, refers six times to "this place" or "this temple". He also mentions four times the "name" that is associated with this temple.

    My point in all this enumeration is to show that God's promise is closely associated, not only with the ancient covenant with His people, but with the Temple as well. It is revealing that those who quote 2nd Chron. 7:14 rarely quote the verses before, or those that follow immediately after (emphasis added):

    "Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: 'I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.", vs. 12.

    "Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually." vss. 15 - 16.

    Looking at this context we see that God's oft-quoted "I will hear from heaven" must be qualified with the very next verse, His ears being "attentive to prayer made in this place" [that is, the Temple]. Not prayers in America, but Jerusalem.

    And if one sees how important the context and setting is here then it is much easier to follow the application: the "land" spoken of which God, upon prayer and repentance, promised to heal was Israel, not America. But this application is hard for many American Christians to see, because they cannot see beyond their own "Americanness".

    The whole point is that this promise was made to the only nation on the Earth that had (past tense) a national covenant with God - Israel. And, thus, the only nation that could ever have expected corporate healing per this promise is Israel.

    America has nothing to do with this promise.
    America, as a nation, has no right to this promise.
    American Christians have no need for it.

    But what about the Principle?
    Surely, someone might object, there must be some application for us? Yes. One is that God is faithful in all His promises. Even in those situations that don't apply to us.

    But one principle we cannot draw out from this passage is that we are able to pull a nation out of a moral nosedive, or into a "national revival", by the spiritual exertions of a Christian minority, however sincere. That is the promise not given. We have the proof of this in Ezekiel 14:13 - 20:

    "'Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it, and cut off from it both man and beast, even though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,' declares the Lord God."

    In this whole passage God makes it clear that the unrighteous nation - and America certainly has the right to put themselves in this passage (in Ezekiel 14) - will not avoid judgment by the spiritual exertions of the righteous few.

    Second Chronicles 7:14 was a promise given to national, covenantal Israel at the transient height of their spiritual blessedness. It was for a limited time, as well: the age of legitimate temple worship. How ironically inappropriate and anachronistic for any nation to take this specific promise for themselves!

    But the misuse of this verse not only entails a wrong application; it also covers up a Messianic truth.

    A Prophetic Messianic Application Overlooked
    "But He was speaking of the temple of His Body." John 2:21. See also 2nd Peter 2:4 - 10.

    "Jesus said to her, 'Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father...
    "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
    John 4:21, 24

    "For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us." 2nd Cor. 1:20

    The New Testament is Clearer
    There is much in the Old Testament that is prophetic of the brighter, clearer New Testament. Not only teaching and prophecy, but also types point to Christ. The Temple is one of those types that directs us to Christ, our Messiah.

    Christ is our Temple.
    As we abide in Christ, "a holy nation" studying His Word, worshiping in the spirit and in truth, we are also being built up (edified) into a holy building, living stones resting upon - and resting in - the living, precious Stone of Christ.

    This is the point of 2nd Peter 2:4 - 10. This passage should remind us of both Matthew 7:24 - 27 (the house on the rock) and Matthew 16:18 (on this Rock I will build My church).

    How does this relate to 2nd Chronicles 7:14?
    The whole setting and basis for God's erstwhile promise has changed. It is not as though the Old Testament assurance has become null and void. No, rather it has been amplified in Christ our Saviour:

    Prayers once made in the earthly temple are now made in Christ.
    Worship once performed between temple walls, in Jerusalem, is now done in spirit and in truth - everywhere known
    The holy name Solomon invoked we know now to be the name above all names, the One in whose name we pray. And, Peter tells us, we are the holy nation - believing Jews and Gentiles - the largest, most glorious nation in the world, a spiritual diaspora that will know no boundaries, nor ultimate defeat.

    All of these things were wonderfully prefigured in 2nd Chronicles chapter 7. To take that one verse 14 and make it be merely about America is to cover up something comforting, gloriously prophetic, and Messianic with something transient and - by comparison - quite shoddy.
     
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  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    The accusation in the op is completely false "my people" are never seen as "American". How it is understood is that this is a principle that can be applied to anyone as it reveals not a special promise only to Israel, but the character of God.
     
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  3. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Then I guess you don't get around much. I certainly have heard that very application. And - if you bothered to read the post - you would have noted actual instances of the same.

    But, judging by how quickly you responded, I don't think you even got that far before you hit the keyboard.
     
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  4. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    I get around plenty. Most likely you have an anti American agenda. And I don't care what you think of how far I got. I'll be so upset about what you think of me to the point I will still carry on just as I already planned. But I do see the James White debate tactic going on here.
     
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  5. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    I agree this verse does not apply to America.

    So, if this verse only applied to Jews in a narrow band of Israel's history, why/how can the Calvinist oft-used scripture of Ezekiel 36,

    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

    apply to anyone nowadays?

    Apology for going off-track here. Maybe a more generic question would be--how do we determine if an Old Testament verse applies to Israel only or applies in principle to everyone?
     
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  6. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    I don't read James White so have not the foggiest idea of what you are talking about - except I'm clear on you not reading my post. You just wanted to vent. Fine.
     
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  7. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    My dad used to say, "I am so upset I think I'll sit down and eat fried chicken!" :D:D:D
     
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  8. Jerome

    Jerome Well-Known Member
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    Fourth rehash of this OP, is that a record?


    Previously, on the Baptist Board:
     
  9. InTheLight

    InTheLight Well-Known Member
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    Deja Vu...Here is asterisktom's response to revmitchell (Aug 29, 2014)

     
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  10. TCassidy

    TCassidy Administrator
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    2009, 2012, 2014, 2017. Yep. When he loses a debate and takes his dolly and goes home he makes himself feel better by spamming the board with cut and pastes from the past. :D:D:D
     
  11. Covenanter

    Covenanter Active Member
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    My understanding is that, while prophecy normally has an immediate application to those to whom it is addressed, Old Covenant prophecy is ultimately concerned with Christ - his coming, saving work & the Gospel kingdom age.

    Most prophecy was before the exile & Babylonian destruction - & therefore immediately concerned the return & restoration led by Zerubbabel & Joshua et al. And most prophecy looks beyond that to the coming of the Messiah & the Gospel, & beyond the present age to Jesus return & the NH&NE.

    Thus those chapters in Ezekiel look forward to regeneration, baptism in water & baptism by the Holy Spirit. The rebuilt temple prefigures the spiritual temple built with living stones.
     
  12. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Yes. And?
     
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  13. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    How did I lose the debate ? The ones losing the debate are the futurists.

    At any rate, your insulting demeanor speaks volumes. Maybe I'll notify admin. Oh, wait...
     
    #13 asterisktom, Nov 30, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  14. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    You may have noticed that zombie threads are being closed right and left. At this point, cutting and pasting an old thread without change comes close to making this a zombie thread.
     
  15. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Yes, I read Rev's response just before I posted this. He reacted the same way, so why should it surprise you that I answered the same way?
     
  16. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Yes, but I did make changes. Besides, the readership has changed since 2024.

    But, OK, no more zombies.
     
  17. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    Thank you for being the first one to actually respond to the post. I pretty much agree with you except for the timing.

    That would be a good study in itself, the prophetic significance of the various features of the Temple.
     
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  18. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson Administrator
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    I think you meant 2014. Just be clear what you are doing with some verbiage like:
    I last posted on this evergreen topic in 20XX. As that thread is now deep in the archives, I am bringing the topic up again for those who weren't here for the last go round.
    Or something like that.
     
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  19. asterisktom

    asterisktom Well-Known Member
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    OK. Thanks.
     
  20. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Watch out for your BRAINS!!

    HankD
     
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