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In our last message we noted that as we enter Zechariah 5 there is an evident change of tone: a change from consolation to warning: Here we leave the vision of the white robes of innocence for the high priest, as in chapter 3. Here we no longer see the miraculous impartation of the pure oil of the Holy Spirit as in chapter 4. The representations of the Gospel hope vanish from view. In this chapter the people are brought face to face with the demands of the law and the potential curse it threatens against the lawless. Our covenant theology understands the significance of the prophets as standing for God's lawyers, representing God and His legal suit against Israel. So they necessarily demand law obedience.

You see, Zechariah not only urged the rebuilding of the Temple, but also confronted the national conscience regarding the awful nature of its sinfulness. He begins with words of consolation and grace, speaking the wonders of God's love. But as a true prophet of God he cannot forget the demands of God's righteous Law. Soothing words are protected against abuse.

Old Testament passages regarding Jubilee are found in: Leviticus 25:8-55; 27:17-24; Numbers 36:4; and Isaiah 27:13; 61:1,2. A study of these reveals the following:

1) Jubilee took place at the end of every seven "weeks"/sabbaths of years, i.e., every fiftieth year.

2) In the Jubilee year the land was to rest, debts were cancelled, lsraelite slaves were released, and the land was to be returned to the original family owners. Non-Israelite slaves, however, were not released. As non-covenantal persons, they were always to be enslaved.

3) Jubilee was not a communistic redistribution of wealth. Rather, it was a return of the land to the God-given, tribal owners. Jubilee, however, did bring about a stabilization of the economy and help for the poor. Social and economic justice was assured through the Jubilee.

"Newsweek" titled the latest check-bouncing scam by the U.S. Congress as "Rubbergate". Americans continue to be bombarded with improprieties of our political leaders, and "Rubbergate" will undoubtedly cost a number of congressmen their political careers.

Technically, the House Bank was not a bank. It was a cooperative of congressmen with guaranteed loans (overdrafts) available to each member of Congress from a common pool of funds. Policies and actions are permissible in a cooperative which would not be allowed in a traditional bank. Assuming the pool of funds did not involve public money, the anger of the American public has probably been unjustified and overly harsh. Unless a law is broken, we must refrain from indictments.

II Chronicles is God's trumpet blast calling His church to revival and reformation. It is the ultimate solution to the political confusion, injustices and oppression, the economic decline, the moral anarchy and the religious apostasy we face on the threshold of the Twenty-First Century.

Essential to the restoration of the future is the preservation of our past heritage. As Israel of old, the church in the Twentieth Century has lost her memory. Therefore, revival and reformation begin with a renewal of our memory, and of our commitment to the foundation God has laid for us in Christ and His Word.

II Chronicles reminds us of that solid base on which we must build for the future, "all other ground is sinking sand."

In the passage before us we come to the concluding vision of the series of visions that Zechariah received on one night. The next visions are not received until a later date. The last date mentioned in Zechariah 1:7 was where the visions began; it is not changed until Zech. 7:1.

In a sense, Zechariah has come full circle in this series of visions. In his first vision, recorded in Zechariah 1:8-11, he saw the vision of the Four Horsemen on horses colored similarly to the horses pulling the Four Chariots in Chapter 6 (Zech. 6:2-3; 1:8). Those Four Horsemen were also in a valley, as are these Four Chariots (Zech. 6:1; 1:8).

"SoftPorn" Plays Hardball: Its Tragic Effects on Women, Children, and the Family by Dr. Judith A. Reisman.

Perhaps you have been tempted to pick up a copy of Playboy just to see what was in it. In reality, you knew what was in it, that is why you wanted to pick up a copy and leaf through. Hopefully you did not yield to temptation.

Each month the "Cross-Examination" column presents a summary statement of a Reformed and Reconstructionist conviction in theology or ethics, and then offers brief answers to common questions, objections or confusions which people have about that belief. Send issues or questions you would like addressed by Dr. Bahnsen to the editor.

In Scripture, is there a distinctive future promised for the Jews as an ethnic group or nation? With respect to the question of the relationship of the Christian gospel to the Jews, as well as their place in Biblical prophecy, we believe the following truths to be based on God's word:

The Old Testament promises to Abraham and to the nation of Israel, when properly interpreted in light of the whole Bible, were all pledged in and through Christ for God's true people in all ages.

Mark and Lonna Akin were recently interviewed by Debbie Raines. They tell of God's mercies to them in the midst of Lonna's current battle with Leukemia. Lonna is still in need of a bone marrow donor.

Two years ago in the Republic of South Africa, 3,500 youths went to a Christian youth conference at the Kwasizabantu mission to speak to Pastors Erlo Stegen and Kje1l Olsen. These young Christians ranged in age from 10 to 16 years old. They told the pastors they were ready to take a stand against the African National Congress (ANC)and other Communist parties who were continually threatening them and trying to scare them into joining and serving the communist groups.

"These groups have intimidated and persecuted our Christian friends for their faith throughout the country," said Pastor Olsen, during a recent visit he and Pastor Stegen made to the U.S. We have documented, factual case after case of these persecutions. Young people are threatened with knives and are beaten for refusing to join "The People". ANC offices are set up inside the schools and children are called in and threatened. And the youth are standing for Christ."

At the request of a few friends, this month's column will address a critique of the theonomic position in Christian ethics which was written, as well as personally published, by John W. Robbins in his own newsletter, The Trinity Review (no. 84: Feb, 1992; for a copy write to P. O. Box 700, Jefferson, MD 21755). I understand that other periodicals declined to publish it.

What has come to be called the "theonomic" approach to ethics has been expounded in this column previously (see Sept., Oct., Nov., 1991). It is also explained at length in my books Theonomy in Christian Ethics (1977, 1984), By This Standard (1985), and most recently No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Critics (1991).

Oddly enough, the 1992 piece by Mr. Robbins comes to us in the form of a book review of my By This Standard, which was published fully seven years earlier (1985)! It has taken him some time to accomplish the task.