Israel is God’s Preeminent Nation on Earth

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Dr. Mike Johnston

3 Israel is God’s Preeminent Nation on Earth

“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the Earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:5-6).

The greatest obstacle to Biblical exegesis comes from not recognizing the division between God’s prophecy program for Israel and mystery program for the Body of Christ. In fact, until one understands this, they will depreciate Israel’s Earthly preeminence by mixing the two programs together which leads to hermeneutic chaos.

Understanding right division God placed in Scripture is a prerequisite to arriving at right conclusions. To begin with, Israel is God’s only Covenant nation (Ex. 19:5; Psa. 119:9). She enjoys a divinely appointed exclusivity not shared with any other nation on the planet. She is elect (Isa. 45:4), she is a peculiar treasure (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 14:2; Psa. 135:4; 1 Pet. 2:9), and she is blessed and protected (Gen. 12:2-3). [1] Treating Israel maliciously [2] is the equivalent of touching the apple of His eye (Zech. 2:8). No other nation has enjoyed Israel’s rich Earthly history and no other nation can claim her glorious Earthly future. Israel is special in every way.

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer concurs,

“An elect, sacred, and everlasting nation is the plan or purpose of God for Israel. This people came into being miraculously as the seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. They are the object of immeasurable covenants and promises and this becomes their major identification or destination, for the covenants are secured or sealed by the act of Jehovah. Israel stands alone, in distinction from all other nations combined. Those many nations are known as Gentiles, but Israelites as Jews. Individual Jews are such because of the fact that they were born into covenant relations with God by a physical birth. Herein lies a great contrast, since Christians are such because they were born by a spiritual birth into right relations with God. Because Israel sustains a covenant relationship to God, He gave them a specific rule of life through Moses. Keeping the rule of life, however, did not and could not make them children of Jehovah’s covenant. They were to keep the rule of life because they were already in the covenant.” (Systematic Theology, 1948)

Israel was Chosen for a Kingdom

“The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways. And all people of the Earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee” (Deuteronomy 28:9-10).

“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 …” (2 Samuel 7:23)?

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

“Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zechariah 6:13).

Prophecy proves Israel is very special to God, and His prophets have always guided and guarded her (Amos 3:7; Luke 1:70; Acts 3:12-26). Beginning in Genesis and continuing through the first half of Acts [3] – a prophetic pattern is progressively dispensed [4] regarding the Earthly Jewish kingdom and Israel’s Messiah King. Here’s an overview of God’s prophecy program leading to Israel’s Kingdom.

  1. An Earthly Kingdom has been on God’s agenda from the beginning (Gen. 1-2; Jer. 23:5-6; Matt. 25:34).
  2. God’s will and His Word have been revealed through God’s inspired servants the prophets (2 Kings 9:7; 17:13; Ezra 9:11; see especially Amos 3:7).
  3. Israel exists from prophecy spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21).
  4. God chose and Covenanted with Abraham (Gen. 15:18; 17:1-14) commissioning him as prophet (Gen. 20:7) and the father of Israel (Gen. 17:5; Deut. 9:5; Matt. 3:9; Luke 1:55; etc) whereby blessing would flow through his family, from His calling to her Kingdom (Gen. 12:1-8; 13:14-18; 15; 17; see Ex. 19:5; etc). [Jesus is the ultimate blessing].
  5. Over the years, God expanded the Abrahamic Covenantfour times to include Kingdom laws (Ex. 20:1 – 31:18);  land (Deut. 30:1-10); and a Jewish born King with a New Covenant Constitution for the Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Matt. 5-7; Jer. 31:31-40).
  6. God specified Israel’s Kingdomwould commence following a 490 year prophecy of seventy weeks of seven years broken into two parts: 483 years and 7 years that the nation Israel herself must fulfill (Dan. 9:24-27).
  7. “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4) who offered Israel her Kingdom, and was rejected precisely at the end of the 69th week just as Daniel prophesied (Luke 1:32-33; Matt. 4:17; Dan. 9:244-26).
  8. Israel has been diminished (Rom. 11:12) and exists today in spiritual blindness (Rom. 11:25). As such, Daniel’s seventieth weekis currently on hold until “he who now letteth … be taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2:7) which will occur when “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) and “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph 1:15) aka Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30-31; Matt. 24:21, 29; Rev. 7:14) begins.
  9. The Revelation of JesusChrist occurs in Israel immediately “after Israel’s Tribulation of those days” (Matt. 24:29) to consummate the Covenant’s by inaugurating the thousand year Millennial Kingdom in Jerusalem (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Ezek. 34:11-31; Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-20:7).
  10. With Israel’s Covenants fulfilled concerning the Kingdom – and bear in mind they MUST BE – eternity will begin.

Right Division and Israel’s Kingdom

When the Word is rightly divided, we find that it is Israel, not the church, that was promised a coming kingdom of heaven [5] which occupied much of the preaching of the prophets (Luke 1:68-80; Acts 3:12-26), John the Baptist, Christ and the twelve disciples (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7; see Gal. 2:7-9). It will one day emerge in fulfillment of the unconditional Davidic Covenant which was built upon the Abrahamic (Gen. 17). Prophecy – via progressive mention or revelation – reveals this kingdom will last on Earth 1000 years (revealed in Rev. 20:2-7) of unprecedented peace (Micah 4:2-4; Isaiah 32:17-18), joy (Isaiah 61:7, 10), comfort (Isaiah 40:1-2), prosperity, and health (Amos 9:13-15; Joel 2:28-29). It’s location is Jerusalem, the blessed Zion of God (Isa. 30:19).

It’s important, therefore, that we understand God’s purpose for Earth – revealed thoroughly in prophecy – is a kingdom in Israel: “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints [Jews] shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations. (Psalms 145:10-13 – my comment in brackets).

Prophecy for Earth ——————->Kingdom in Israel

Time past Ages to come
Genesis – John Hebrews – Revelation
1st Coming of Christ to Israel 2nd Coming of Christ to Israel
King and Kingdom rejected King and Kingdom received

Prophecy tells us the glorious appearance of the Messiah to Earth [6] to establish Israel’s kingdom under the lineage of David in the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 24:23; Mic. 4:7).

The fact is, the inauguration of Israel’s Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16) has been in the works for thousands of years. The Lord Jesus revealed its commencement following what’s termed “the sheep and goat judgment”: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). Therefore, when studying the Kingdom, keep in mind the following factors revealed by God through the prophets:

  • It is for Israel that the Earthly kingdom was “prepared from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34) and through whom the Messiah was born and to whom He was presented, rejected, and yet one day will return to fulfill the Lord Jesus’s prophetic prayer, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in Earth…” (Matt. 6:10).
  • It is to Israel the Lord Jesus explained this Davidic CovenantKingdom will be inaugurated following His visible Revelation in Jerusalem (Matt. 24; see Zech. 14; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21) “immediately after the Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21, 29). [7]
  • It is Israel to whom God’s prophets presented five covenants [8] guiding and guaranteeing her future on Earth, including a lineage, land, laws, and a Lord – King – that began with the Abrahamic Covenant(Gen. 15:18) and will continue through the Millennium.

In our next section, we’ll learn that Israel’s Kingdom is Earth’s destiny and five unilateral Covenants guarantee this by leading Israel from her calling to the Kingdom.

Israel’s 5 Covenants
Guide and Guarantee her Kingdom

Purposes for Israel and the promises God made with Israel are hers exclusively and everlastingly. [i] These are unveiled beginning with the calling of Abrahamic and the first Jewish Covenant. From there, five Covenants tell the story of God’s forever-elect Israel. While scant numbers of Bible students have stopped to realize this, fewer have really factored in just what this means. Below is a summary of the five covenants and their relationship to the coming King and Kingdom in Israel. [9]

The Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-8) – the Kingdom Family is Chosen

“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates … And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after” (Genesis 15:18; 17:7). [10]

This Covenant is the foundation of all 5 Covenants. In seed form, it provided blessing for the nation Israel from which the Kingdom would come. By divine decree, Abraham received posterity, prosperity, perpetuity, and property which included the title deed to the land of Canaan, future home of the Earthly kingdom. The blessing of Israel to the world notwithstanding, Christianity owes everything to this Covenant. The prophets of God, the majority of writers of the inerrant Word (the Bible), and foremost on the list our precious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ have all come through God’s Covenant with Abraham.

While Israel has violated this Covenant with Abraham many times, it has never been revoked. It played a major prophetic role in Christ’s first coming (Luke 1:72; Acts 3:24-25) and has often served as the basis for God rescuing Israel. “If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:40-42) (see Ezekiel 16:60)

The Mosaic Covenant (Ex. 20:1 – 31:18) – the Kingdom Nation is Assembled and its Laws are Enacted

Kingdom Laws written on tables of stone will during the Kingdom be written in the fleshly tables of the heart.

Abraham believed God which was imputed to him for righteousness. The Law was given through Moses as its mediator for the purpose of governing Israel’s (national) relationship with God. It was mainly made up of (a) the commandments, the express will of God, (b) the judgments, the social and civic life of Israel, (c) and the ordinances. This system ceased when the mystery Body convened and the Temple was destroyed. Once the mystery church is taken in the mystery rapture, Daniel’s seventieth week will begin and this legal system will again be in place and the third temple will be rebuilt to host sacrificial Levitical Judaism (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4).

The Land Covenant (Deut. 30:1-10) – Title Deed to Kingdom Land is Guaranteed

It is an unconditional guarantee that Israel’s Kingdom will be located in the Covenant land [11] of Israel. This is a great assurance given the aggressive actions by the UN and Islamic nations who are trying to steal Jerusalem from Israel (study Zech. 12-14).

“And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers” (Deuteronomy 30:5-9).

Israel was driven from Jerusalem in 70 AD by Roman armies destroying the city and the Temple. In the latter days God promises to restore her to the land – including a third temple (2 Thess. 2:4) – and the commensurate blessing given Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the original Covenant (see Deut. 4:30-31; Lev. 26:42; Ezek. 16:60; etc). We see this coming to pass on May 14, 1948 when Israel once again became a functioning nation poised for her prophetic future. [12]Praise the Lord!

The Davidic Covenant  (2 Sam. 7:4-16; 1 Chron. 17:3-15) – the Kingdom and the King’s seed are established in Perpetuity

God promised David in perpetuity that his seed – ultimately the Lord Jesus – would occupy a perpetual throne in Jerusalem.

“(David) He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. (2 Samuel 7:13-16)

The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-40)
– the Kingdom people in their Kingdom land, with the King’s Seed on the throne obeying Kingdom Laws now written on the heart

It is a New Covenant with Israel in contrast with the old (Mosaic, “which they broke,” Jer. 31:32). Christ Jesus is the Mediator (in His blood) of this New Covenant which was inaugurated at the cross and is described in Scripture as, “enacted on better promises” (Heb. 8:6). The Mediator of this covenant has become, for all mankind, “the source of eternal salvation” (Heb. 5:9) to all who obey Him; as well as the cornerstone and Head of the Church (Eph. 2:20-22; Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:23) which is being built during this dispensation; individuals called out from both Jews and Gentiles alike. Ultimately and literally, this new covenant with its unconditional and eternal blessings will be established with NATIONAL Israel at Christ’s second advent to Earth. Now before discussing His second advent, let’s discuss His first.

God’s Prophets Progressively Reveal
Israel’s King and Kingdom

Prophecy concerns Israel primarily (Hos. 12:10; Luke 1:70; 24:25; Acts 3:21). It is to Israel the Lord speaks, “Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the Earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted” (Isaiah 49:8-11).

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet …

(Jesus Christ) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Matthew 1:22; Luke 1:32-33). The Lord Jesus revealed that this Kingdom has been a major component in God’s prophecy program for Earth since creation: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you [13] from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

Israel’s Kingdom is God’s plan revealed to the prophets and initially revealed in part to Abraham. When God promised to bless Abraham as a blessing to the world, Christ was in view. When the Lord Jesus appeared in Israel offering the Kingdom, Israel’s leaders mocked and maligned His ministry and message while devising what they hoped would be a final plan for destroying both.  Notwithstanding, Christ perfectly fulfilled all prophecy [14] about His first coming and He will fulfill all prophecy about His seconding coming just as literally. He was and is God in the flesh (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1; 1 Tim. 3:16; etc). In that capacity, He is the Premier Personage (Gen. 3:15; Deut. 18:15-19) of Scripture, seen in every one of the 66 inerrant books. Christ was incarnated on Earth (Isa. 7:14; 9:6-7; Matt. 1:23) for Israel as the representative of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15-17; Acts 3:13) to fulfill the Davidic Covenant (Matt. 4:17) to be administered under a New Covenant (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8:8-13; 12:24) in the coming Kingdom.

Jesus Conducted Messianic Ministry to Israel

The Lord Jesus – of all who have ever lived on Earth – understood the difference between Israel and the Body of Christ. His ministry purpose spotlighted His nation. However, Bible teachers – pastors included – often open the Bible at Matthew and begin misleading their congregants with Kingdom teaching from Christ that while profitable for us is NOT personally to us. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer adds some forceful clarity here:

“There is a very dangerous and entirely baseless sentiment abroad which assumes that every teaching of Jesus must be binding during this age simply because He said it. The fact is forgotten that the Lord Jesus, while living under, keeping, and applying the Law of Moses, also taught the principles of His future Kingdom, and, at the end of His ministry and in relation to His Cross, He also anticipated the teachings of grace. If this threefold division of the teachings of Jesus is not recognized, there can be nothing but confusion of mind and consequent contradiction of truth” (cited by Miles Stanford in his article, “The Teachings of the Kingdom”).

Understand. This Kingdom is covenanted to Israel and although Jesus is our Lord and Saviour by faith (Rom. 10:9-10, 13), He is uniquely the Jew’s Messiah. He was manifest at a time designated by God through prophecy (Matt. 2:23; Gal. 4:4). “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet” appears 14 times reinforcing all God promised (Matthew 1:22; 2:15,17,23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 22:31; 27:9,35; Acts 2:16; Romans 4:18). “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven [ii] is at hand … But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 4:17; 15:24).

So vividly significant was the Lord’s ministry to Israel that it was a shock to the disciples (Luke 18:31-34) when He explained His death and resurrection to them. In fact, Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him after which the Lord harshly corrected him(Mark 8:32-33). However, after Jesus revealed the mystery to Paul, he confirmed the Lord’s primary mission was to in fact to Israel, stating, “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision[15] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8-itallics added).

Remember, until the shedding of blood, the Old Covenant was in force. Therefore, all of Christ’s ministry was conducted under an Old Testament setting underwritten by messages He preached concerning Israel’s Kingdom that when misunderstood leads to all manner of misapplication:

  • 4: Jesus began by preaching the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 5-7: Jesus taught the principles of the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 6:10: Jesus prayed “thy kingdom come . . . in Earth” in the presence of the Jews
  • 13: Jesus gave parables of the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 21-23; 26-27: Jesus presented the Jewish Kingdom to Jews
  • 24-25: Jesus promised[16] He would return to establish the Jewish Kingdom to Jews. As a side note, in Matthew 24:29 the Lord predicted He would return to set up the Kingdom immediately after the time of Tribulation which originated in the prophecy program for Israel. When studied in context, Christ gave the Olivet Discourse to describe the holocaust in Jerusalemprior to His return. Even so, this single verse in Matthew 24:29 continues to be the premier “gotcha” moment used by anti-PreTrib proponents who ignore setting to advance their argument. Question: Since the Olivet Discourse is incessantly quoted to “prove” a post-Tribulation rapture, would it matter that the entire teaching was delivered from a strict Old Covenant setting where the Body of Christ wasn’t known and was never in view? If you answered no, then the remainder of this treatise will be meaningless because your study system is outcome based eisegesis rather than objective based exegesis.

Israel Diminished at
Rejection of Christ’s Kingdom

“Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, [17] And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the Earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:24-26; see Gen. 12:1-3; 22:18).

With the above in mind, remember that Daniel’s prophecy of 490 years (Dan. 9:24-27) was specifically to and for Israel, leading to the Kingdom. It codified for her a future involving seventy weeks [18] of seven years that must be fulfilled by Israel “thy people” (Dan. 9:24-27). Later, when Christ presented His Kingdom to the lost sheep of Israel in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, He was cut off at the seventieth week just as Daniel predicted (see Dan. 9:25-27), causing the diminishing and ultimate blindness of Israel (Rom. 11:12, 25) while leaving one week of seven years that according to the prophetic word must be fulfilled by Israel, “thy people” (Dan. 9:15, 16, 19, 24; 10:14; 12:1). Once again, prophecy verifies God’s message and messengers. Everything predicted about the first coming of the Lord Jesus came true. Therefore, if you had no more evidence than that, Christ’s incarnation on Earth and subsequent Kingdom offer provide proof of the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible. However, Israel rejected the pure and accepted the profane, ignoring God’s specific warnings such as this from Ezekiel, “Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity” (Ezekiel 5:11). Israel’s diminishing occurred after three corporate rejections of Christ and His Kingdom in Jerusalem before the High Priest.

Israel had three Davidic Covenant Kingdom offers

  • Jesus offered the Kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4-20, 22-27. Rejection beginning with the Triumphal entry (Matt. 21), by religious leaders (Matt 23), later by High Priest and elders (Matt. 26:3, 51, 57, 58, 62, 63, 65). Executed by crucifixion (27)
  • Peteroffered the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 2-4) Rejected by High Priest and religious leaders (Acts 4:1, 6, 23; 5:17, 21, 24, 27) Imprisoned (Acts 5; 12) and later executed by crucifixion

(from history, not recorded in the Bible)

  • Stephen offered the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 7). Rejected by High Priest, leaders, and people (Acts 7). Executed by stoning (Acts 7).

Paul observed the diminishing while extolling the result, which accrued to our benefit as a Body of Christ, “I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness” (Romans 11:11-12)?

The Disciples’ Questions about the Covenant Kingdom

From the three kingdom offers and rejections we discussed in the previous section, Israel diminished with her prophetic destiny set aside (Dan. 9:24-27; Rom. 9-11). Make no mistake, Christ’s kingdom rejection and subsequent crucifixion landed a blow to His followers. However, it didn’t change Israel’s ultimate future, which was foremost on the minds of His closest disciples who continued to inquire about it right to the end.

First question(s) about the Kingdom

The disciples knew that the Earthly Covenant Kingdom in Israel is God’s program outlined by the prophets. They preached the Kingdom with Jesus for about three years or so. In the end, He was rejected and their hopes dashed. The Olivet Discourse was a private briefing to four of Jesus’ closest men: Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) who asked Him concerning the establishment of the Kingdom just been rejected by the elders of Israel.

It bears noting that these men were patriotic Jewish converts following Christ. In simple understandable terms, they were recognized ministers of the circumcision aka the Jews – (Gal. 2:6-9), awaiting the Kingdom with many others (study Matthew – John; Acts 3). Keep in mind that Christ’s ministry to the disciples and Israel was Old Covenant and Kingdom oriented.

From the beginning, Christ sent these Disciples to the lost sheep of the house of Israel to preach the gospel of the kingdom and gospel of circumcision (Matt. 10:6-7). The fact is, when Jesus explained His death and resurrection, it came as a total shock to the disciples (Luke 18:31-34). Moreover, they knew NOTHING about the mystery Paul preached involving the Body of Christ (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; 2:6-9; Eph. 3:1-9; study Peter’s words carefully in 2 Pet. 3:15-17) so they were NOT concerned with it. Their focus was the national interests of Israel concerning Christ’s final return to establish the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:8-16; Matt. 24:3; see Acts 1:3-6). Dr. William MacDonald stresses this: “We must remember that these Jewish disciples’ thinking revolved around the glorious age of the Messiah on Earth. They were not thinking about Christ’s coming for the church; they knew little if anything about this phase of His coming. Their expectation was His coming in power and glory to destroy His enemies and rule over the world.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995)

The setting – vital to exegesis – is very clear:

  • These four men were ministers of the circumcision (to Jews)
  • They were primarily concerned about the Earthly Covenant Kingdom promised to Israel
  • They knew nothing about the mystery Bodyof Christ revealed later to Paul (see Acts 9; study carefully Peter’s explanation and warning – 2 Pet. 3:15-17)

Therefore, unless gripped by an agenda, it’s incumbent upon us to be honest with the setting.

These Jewish patriots were pre-Pauline meaning they were primarily concerned about the Kingdom. Since that’s an established fact, why would the Lord Jesus insert information into His answer about the mystery Body of Christ that these men didn’t know about, didn’t ask about, and didn’t exist at the time anyway?

Answer, He wouldn’t. The fact is, these men were asking questions as Jews concerned about the future Davidic Covenant Kingdom up until the day He ascended.[19] In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus outlined the signs describing Israel’s Tribulation (Matt. 24:4-28), and His return at the conclusion of it to separate sheep from goats for the Kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world:

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, [see Appendices for a chart of these occurrences] and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other … When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-34). [comments in brackets and bold emphasis are mine]

Final question about the Kingdom

The Book of Acts is transitional from prophecy to mystery and reveals the disciples with Christ at the end of His 40 day post-resurrection ministry. These men at this point were still pre-Pauline in their thinking. They knew nothing about the mystery Body of Christ (Gal. 1:12; 2:6-9; see also 2 Pet. 3:15-16) which wouldn’t be revealed until after Paul’s conversion (Acts 9). Their concern centered around Israel’s Kingdom grounded in the five Covenants promised to Jews (2 Sam. 7:8-16). In that setting, they asked:

“Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6)?

He told them to wait for the enabling power from on high (see Joel 2; Acts 1:8) to carry the kingdom message to the world (Matt. 28:19-20). Ten days later the power arrived.

Joel’s prophecy to Israel [20] was fulfilled in Jerusalem on Pentecost (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21) signaling the last days had begun. With the kingdom message fresh on his heart, and overflowing with the fire of the Holy Spirit, Peter preached a soul-stirring message to the Jews: Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem (Acts 2:14) highlighting prophecies regarding the Messiah King Christ in OT history.

While some repented, the leaders did not and hope for ratifying the Covenant of the Davidic Kingdom that began with Abraham was rejected for the second time. God later used the heartfelt preaching of Stephen (Acts 7) but for the third time Israel rejected her King and God’s messenger was murdered. This final act of corporate rejection formed a dark spiritual blindness in Israel (Acts 28:26-28; Rom. 9-11; 2 Tim. 1:11) while at the same time halting the 70 week prophetic calendar abruptly at the final week, and drew back the curtain for the mystery program Jesus revealed to Paul that had been completely hidden from the prophets and separate from Israel since the world began (Rom. 16:25).

Pause to consider what you’ve just read about Israel’s historical tie to her future.

With Scripture as our irrefutable evidence, we continue to maintain that no person having trusted the Lord Jesus Christ in this current dispensation will have to endure God’s Tribulation judgment on Israel because the church Body of Christ is part of the mystery program that was unknown by the prophets, and never mentioned by the prophets. In fact, the church Body isn’t clearly identifiable on Earth during Israel’s Tribulation in a single verse of Scripture without redefining the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation connected in some way to Israel or her Tribulation proselytes.

Review of God’s Covenant Kingdom Plans

God chose to bless Abraham and His family [nation of Israel, Jews] as the source of blessing: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the Earth be blessed[21] (Genesis 12:2-3). God went on to Covenant with Abraham as the foundation of four Covenants to follow.

David’s seed, which is from the lineage of Abraham, was Covenanted the throne forever:

“And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever” (2 Samuel 7:16). “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Daniel saw the Kingdom given to Israel at the Revelation of the Messiah (Christ): “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed … But the saints of the most High [Jews] shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever … Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High [Jews]; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom … And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High [Jews], whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 22, 27).

Christ came as the Son of Abraham and of David to fulfill the Covenant and claim the throne: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of AbrahamThy kingdom come. Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in heaven … ” (Matthew 1:1; 6:10).

The Covenant, the Kingdom, and the King were summarily rejected on the day Daniel predicted (Dan. 9:24-25). King Jesus was crucified, yet resurrected, and after forty days of further kingdom instruction (Acts 1:3) – ascended to heaven, and a seat at the right hand of God. Prompted by questions from four Jewish patriots (Peter James, John, and Andrew – Mark 13:3) wondering when Christ would inaugurate Israel’s Kingdom, Jesus promised to return at the end of Israel’s Tribulation (Matt. 24:29; see Zech. 14:4-5; Rev. 19:11; etc) to set up the Covenant kingdom Israel had rejected (Matt. 21-27).

This kingdom rejected at Christ’s first coming, Israel blindly waits at His second coming.

Please keep open your King James Bible for the next chapter so you
can study in context every verse and passage of Scripture I’m going to provide.

[1] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the Earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

[2] This will become a frightening reality to all the cavalier anti-Semitic Earth dwellers in the last days here with Israel during her Tribulation holocaust. Zechariah made very clear those who seek harm for Israel would be more kindly served while standing in a puddle and grabbing a 22,000 volt power line.

[3] Bear in mind Acts is a transitional book, from prophecy to mystery about midway through.

[4] God dispensing His truth over time in a variety of ways to a variety of people is known as dispensationalism. As the truth was given, individuals were held accountable for obeying it. Example, Adam was told not to eat from a particular tree. Noah was told to build an ark. Abraham was told to go to Canaan, and so on.

[5] The phrase “kingdom of heaven” – which is a term used for the Earthly Davidic Kingdom – is used exclusively by the Lord Jesus 33 times in the Book of Matthew; the Gospel proving to Israel that Jesus was her Messiah and the Kingdom (of heaven) was at hand (Matt 4:17). Moses introduced this (Deuteronomy 11:21).

[6] Dan. 7:13-14; Zech. 14:1-4; compare Matt. 24:29-31; Rev. 1:7; 19:11-21.

[7] It’s important to know that the tribulation constitutes an unprecedented period of punishment, and purification of Israel (Isa. 2:19-21; Isa. 13, see v13; Isa. 13; 24; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7; 12:1; Joel 2; Zephaniah, see 1:15); Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; Rev. 6-19) in preparation of the establishment of the Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16; Rev. 20) in Jerusalem following the Revelation of Jesus Christ predicted for Israel in time past (Zech. 14:4; Matt. 24:29-31; 25:31-46; Rev. 19:11-21) to occur in the ages to come. From Genesis to Revelation, whenever the tribulation is mentioned, it is Israel’s and NOT for the Body of Christ, aka the church.

[8] The 5 Covenants God made with Israel unilaterally are as follows:   1. Abrahamic Covenant (God called a family He could bless and that would be a blessing), 2. Mosaic Covenant  (God formed a nation with Laws), 3. Land (Palestinian) Covenant  (God gave Abraham the land and promised Israel would possess it), 4. Davidic Covenant  (God promised the nation a righteous King and an everlasting Kingdom), and the5. New Covenant  (God promised a better covenant established on better promises resting on an accomplished redemption securing the perpetuity and future conversion of Israel).

[9] These are Jewish Covenants. They were NOT made with the Body of Christ.

[10] The strength of this Covenant brought the Lord to Israel’s rescue many times in history: And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

(Exodus 2:24; see Lev. 26:42, 45, etc). Once again, the Covenant is the hope of Israel’s future: I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant (Ezek. 16:60; everlasting covenant is also referred to in Psa. 105:10; Isa. 24:5; 55:3; 61:8; Jer. 32:40; Ezek. 37:26; Heb. 13:20).

[11] “The royal land grant that was given to Abraham and his seed through Isaac and Jacob, with an everlasting and unconditional covenant.” Cursed by Mike Evans p80.

[12] Her future is guaranteed in prophecies, not the least of which is Daniel’s seventy weeks which Israel must fulfill (study Daniel 7, 9, and 12 carefully). Scholars teach this seventieth week of seven years will begin at some future point when a sinister figure called Antichrist brokers a pseudo-peace covenant with God’s Covenant people for seven years (see Dan. 9:27) setting in motion once again the prophecy calendar and the beginning of the Tribulation, or time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15).

[13] The context here is the sheep and goat judgment by Christ. The word “sheep” is a colloquialism associated with Israel (Jer. 50:6; Matt. 10:6). Bear in mind that while Paul mentioned in Romans 8:36 being “accounted as sheep for the slaughter”, it was a quote from Psalm 44:82 which is a simile of innocence.

[14] He was first mentioned as the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15 then progressive revealed throughout the Bible. Moses spoke of Him as a coming Jewish Prophet: “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; see Acts 3:22-23)

[15] Paul distinguished his ministry from Peter’s thusly, “But contrariwise . . . the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter” (Galatians 2:7- italics added).

[16] Anti-PreTrib zealots make a case from nothing here. Since Christ’s offer to set up the Davidic Covenant Kingdom had been rejected out of hand (Matt. 21-23) Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to the Lord Jesus privately to ask when He would inaugurate the Davidic Covenant Kingdom in Israel (Mark 13:3-4). His response forms the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25) focusing on signs of the tribulation – aka time of Jacob’s trouble (Deut. 4:30; Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1) immediately preceding His Revelation return as King of kings to Israel. Bear in mind, Peter, James, and John were exclusive ministers of the circumcision (Gal. 2:7-9).

[17] Ultimately, the great blessing God promised Abraham is available to all of us who have trusted Abraham’s seed the Lord Jesus for our salvation. Yet while we are beneficiaries of this blessing, we were not the original target of the prophecies structuring the Covenant (Rom. 9-11). Israel is.

[18] Daniel is the Rosetta Stone for prophetic understanding; especially the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. Therefore the significance of the seventy weeks from Daniel 9 mustn’t be understated because it predicted the rejection of Christ to the day which immediately stopped the 70 week prophecy clock and allowed for the mystery to be revealed through Paul (Rom. 16:25). “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Jews] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem], to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness [the Kingdom and King], and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Daniel 9:24). The first 69 weeks were fulfilled exactly as planned for Israel, and so will the final week. In other words, the entire 70-week prophecy spoken by Daniel is for Israel which includes the final week. The Body of Christ was not seen, is never mentioned, and will not be here during the time of Jacob’s trouble regardless of how desperate men are to place us here.

[19] Remember the Jewish mind is kingdom oriented. To them, this meant the end of the current world system and the inauguration of the Davidic Kingdom on Earth.

[20] Pentecostal Charismatics wrongly assign this to the church under our new dispensation which has resulted in many heresies, including the Latter Rain Manifest Sons of God blasphemies. Request Latter Rain booklet explaining this.

[21] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the Earth be blessed. That blessing refers to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Appendix [i]

Excursus on God’s Everlasting Relationship to Israel

And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year. And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.  (Leviticus 16:34)

Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.  (Leviticus 24:8)

And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.  (Numbers 25:13)

And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant,  (1 Chronicles 16:17) And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:  (Psalms 105:10)

But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.  (Isaiah 45:17)

Appendix [ii]

Kingdom of Heaven vs. Kingdom of God

 

Moses introduced the kingdom of heaven: That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the Earth. (Deuteronomy 11:21)

 

At Matthew 3:2, Dr. CI Scofield offers this comparison:

 

(1) The phrase, kingdom of heaven (literally, of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic Earth rule of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the Earth (Mat_6:10) The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined; (Dan_2:34-36); (Dan_2:44); (Dan_7:23-27) as the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by “the stone cut out without hands,” of the Gentile world-system. It is the kingdom covenanted to David’s seed (2Sa_7:7-10) described in the prophets; and confirmed to Jesus the Christ, the Son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel (Luk_1:32-33).

 

(2) The kingdom of heaven has three aspects in Matthew:

 

(a) “at hand” from the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist (Mat_3:2) to the virtual rejection of the King, and the announcement of the new brotherhood (Mat_12:46-50).

 

(b) in seven “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” to be fulfilled during the present age (Mat_13:1-52) to which are to be added the parables of the kingdom of heaven which were spoken after those of Mt. 13, and which have to do with the sphere of Christian profession during this age;

 

(c) the prophetic aspect — the kingdom to be set up after the return of the King in glory. (Mat_24:29-25); (Mat_24:46); (Luk_19:12-19); (Act_15:14-17).

 

Dr. Scofield offers further clarification at Matthew 6:33:The kingdom of God is to be distinguished from the kingdom of heaven in five respects:

 

(1) The kingdom of God is universal, including all moral intelligences willingly subject to the will of God, whether angels, the Church, or saints of past or future dispensations (Luk_13:28-29); (Heb_12:22-23) while the kingdom of heaven is Messianic, mediatorial, and Davidic, and has for its object the establishment of the kingdom of God in the Earth

 

(2) The kingdom of God is entered only by the new birth (Joh_3:3); (Joh_3:5-7) the kingdom of heaven, during this age, is the sphere of a profession which may be real or false.

 

(3) Since the kingdom of heaven is the Earthly sphere of the universal kingdom of God, the two have almost all things in common. For this reason many parables and other teachings are spoken of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew, and of the kingdom of God in Mark and Luke. It is the omissions which are significant. The parables of the wheat and tares, and of the net (Mat_13:24-30); (Mat_13:36-43); (Mat_13:47-50) are not spoken of the kingdom of God. In that kingdom there are neither tares nor bad fish. But the parable of the leaven (Mat_13:33) is spoken of the kingdom of God also, for, alas, even the true doctrines of the kingdom are leavened with the errors of which the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Herodians were the representatives.

 

(4) The kingdom of God “comes not with outward show” (Luk_17:20) but is chiefly that which is inward and spiritual (Rom_14:17) while the kingdom of heaven is organic, and is to be manifested in glory on the Earth.

 

(5) The kingdom of heaven merges into the kingdom of God when Christ, having put all enemies under his feet, “shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father” (1Co_15:24-28). (Scofield Reference Bible, 1917)

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