Home > Antisemitism, End Times, Israel, Pre-Tribulation Rapture, Prophecy, Prophecy and Mystery, Tribulation > ISRAEL is the primary subject of the Tribulation

ISRAEL is the primary subject of the Tribulation

Dr Mike Johnston

“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deut. 7:6-8).

God addresses three main entities in Scripture we ll call subjects: Israel, the church, and the Gentiles. Our concern in this study is with Scripture clearly distinguishing between Israel and the Body of Christ. Together they occupy the overarching Biblical themes, as each becomes the subject of specific passages and Books unfolding into an intricate colossus of systematic theology.

The Bible makes it clear that Israel is NOT a perfect nation. Unfortunately, those of us that support her as Scripture commands are often attacked for doing so. Let s be clear. The Lord s love, mercy, and patience are beyond human comprehension. Israel s rebellion in no way abrogates God s promise of a future King and kingdom. Prophecy has been preloaded with immutability guaranteeing His providence and protection on through to Covenant fulfillment. Find that with any other nation on earth.

Dr. Scofield offers this insight into God s purpose for Israel yet to be fully realized: Israel, so named from the grandson of Abraham, was chosen for a fourfold mission: (1) To witness to the unity of God in the midst of universal idolatry (Deu_6:4); (Isa_43:10); (Isa_43:12); (2) to illustrate to the nations the blessedness of serving the true God (Deu_33:26-29); (1Ch_17:20); (1Ch_17:21); (Psa_144:15). (3) to receive, preserve, and transmit the Scripture (Deu_4:5-8); (Rom_3:1); (Rom_3:2). (4) to produce, as to His humanity, the Messiah (Gen_3:15); (Gen_12:3); (Gen_22:18); (Gen_28:10-14); (Gen_49:10); (2Sa_7:12-16); (Isa_7:14); (Isa_9:6); (Mat_1:1); (Rom_1:3). According to the prophets, Israel, regathered from all nations, restored to her own land and converted, is yet to have her greatest earthly exaltation and glory.

Israel s Prophets

“Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets” (2 Kings 17:13).

God s prophets were men God appointed during a time when there was no completed canon of Scripture. The fact is, Israel owes her existence to the Spirit-inspired prophets of God who wit-nessed to her, warned her, and predicted her future with 100% accuracy. We find this of extreme significance when Israel first constituted as a nation under Moses (study Exodus). During his tenure as leader, he was God s voice to the people. He wrote five Books called the Pentateuch. In these Books (Genesis-Deuteronomy), God taught Moses how to work, worship and walk in the Lord, which included an elaborately detailed system of commandments, judgments, and ordinances. He in turn taught all of this to Israel. He also taught her about God s mandate for holiness, demanding separation from the egregious occult religious practices permeating Canaan, including child sacrifice [modern day abortion], sodomy [homosexuality], and bestiality that awaited her in the land.

In the end, it was Joshua, not Moses God chose to lead Israel across the Jordan into Jericho and on to the conquest of Canaan. Once settled in the land, evil wasted no time presenting itself in the form of a seductive “religious” system with priests and “prophets” Moses had warned about. In order to distinguish His prophets from the devil s, God s men were required to speak bold clear messages that were verifiable by any number of supernatural signs including miracles, and prophesies both short and long range that had to be fulfilled with 100% accuracy (Deut. 13; 18).

This was the beginning of the office of prophet originating with Samuel (Acts 3:24). From that time forward, everything the Lord wanted Israel to know, these Holy Ghost inspired men received and relayed: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Dr. Henrietta Mears carefully condensed the prophetic topics into four major categories [my comments in brackets]:

The dispersion and captivity of God s chosen people.
The coming of the Messiah: [The Jew is still looking for his Messiah]
The restoration of the chosen people to their own land under the coming Messiah, David s greater Son. [This is happening in record numbers today]
The reign of the Messiah over the whole earth. (What the Bible is All About, 1953, 1983, p. 209)
A Nation that exists from prophecy

“And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods” (2 Samuel 7:23)?

We opened our book with a premise that runs throughout our treatise: Israel and the Body of Christ aka the church are not the same and neither are God s plans for them. Israel exists from prophecy spoken by the mouth of the prophets “since the world began” (Acts 3:21), and the church exists from a mystery revealed only to Paul which was kept secret “since the world began” (Rom. 16:25). To briefly contrast them once again:

Prophecy program for Israel: “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). An earthly Kingdom is the promise from “time past” and in the “ages to come”.

Mystery program for the Body of Christ: ” according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25). A heavenly inheritance is the promise made in the “but now” revelation of the mystery.

It s crucial to Bible study, therefore, to build on the Biblical distinction between Israel and earth (time past, ages to come) – the Body of Christ and heaven (but now) – and their distinct programs because this provides us with a working dichotomy that actually lends itself to sensible systematic theology. It includes separate ordinances for Israel (earth) and for the Body of Christ (heaven) (Jer. 33:25) that actually began without much fanfare in Genesis Chapter One, which is the first mention,

“In the beginning God created the HEAVEN and the EARTH” (Gen. 1:1).

Read what that says carefully. Notice what it does not say- God “created the UNIVERSE”, or God “created the heavens and the earth” as many people make the mistake of saying. It says God created the HEAVEN and the EARTH. This is because He has a special purpose concerning Israel and earth, which is completely different from His purpose concerning the Body of Christ and heaven. While the Body of Christ occupies a settled position in “heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6; etc), Israel is the most important nation in the earth. “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem” (1 Chron. 17:21). With regard to her overall importance, as Dr. Chafer points out, “Israel occupies nearly four-fifths of the text of the Bible, while the Church, with respect to primary application, occupies slightly more than one-fifth. Because of a strange inattention on the part of many, it needs to be stated that there are two major divine purposes, both quite apart from that which concerns either the angels or the Gentiles. The distinction between the purpose for Israel and the purpose for the Church is as important as that which exists between the two Testaments. Every covenant, promise, and provision for Israel is earthly, and they continue as a nation with the earth when it is created new. Every covenant or promise for the Church is for a heavenly reality, and she continues in heavenly citizenship when the heavens are recreated..” (Systematic Theology, 1948)

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