Archive for the ‘Prophecy and Mystery’ Category

Right Conclusion: Israel from Prophecy the Body of Christ from Mystery

February 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) [italics added].


The Bible presents God overseeing two overarching programs: one for heaven, the other for earth (Gen. 1:1). God’s program for heaven involves the mystery Body of Christ and our inheritance there in heaven with Christ (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6), “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25). His program for earth involves prophecy for Israel concerning the coming Davidic Covenant Kingdom (2 Sam. 7:16; see end time’s kingdom in Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14) aka the Millennial Reign of Christ prepared “from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34), promised and propagated through His Covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12, 15, 17). From there, Israel’s earthly future has progressively unfolded to her “by the mouth of the prophets since the world began” (Luke 1:70) in “time past” (Eph. 2:11-12; see Luke 24:27, 44; Acts 14:16; Heb. 1:1) to be fulfilled in the “ages to come” (Eph. 2:7).


The Covenant Kingdom will be inaugurated following the Revelation of the Lord Jesus to Israel (Zech. 14; Rev. 19:11-21) which occurs “immediately after the Tribulation” (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:29) or Daniel s seventieth week (Dan. 9:24-27), a time when God will punish the world for sin while preparing Israel for the Kingdom (Jer. 30-31; Ezek. 20:37; 22:18-22; Dan. 2:44; 7:13-14; Hos. 5:15). If the Body of Christ (church) is present on earth during Israel’s Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel; Zephaniah; Matt. 24; Rev. 6-19), the Holy Spirit went to great lengths to keep us from knowing it.


To wit, while we can easily find Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations on earth in Tribulation “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1) passages of Scripture (Deut. 4:30-31; Isa. 2; Jer. 30-31; Dan. 7-12; Joel 2; Zeph. 1) – the heavenly Body of Christ – which has been promised deliverance from this divine punishment (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19). In fact, there isn’t a verse anywhere in the Bible clearly and unequivocally placing the Body of Christ on earth for a single moment of Israel’s holocaust without redefining the words “saints” and “elect” and “disciples” which in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse and Revelation are specifically linked to Israel.


The Prophecy Program


The prophecy program concerns an earthly kingdom for the nation of Israel spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21).


Prophecy >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Kingdom
Earth Israel Nation
“spake by the mouth of his holy prophets which have been since the world began
(Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21)


As introduced in a previous chapter, the Prophecy Program is God’s plan for earth featuring the nation of Israel and her Covenant kingdom that God “spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, [1]  which have been since the world began” (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21; see Matt. 25:34).


The prophecy program – which unfolded to Israel from the prophets – continued through the apostles (Acts 1-8) who not only preached the Kingdom Gospel message with Christ, but witnessed His rejection and crucifixion. Peter their representative explained to the Jews the gravity of what they had just done. By crucifying Christ, they had likewise rejected the Abrahamic Covenant postponing the kingdom they claimed to be waiting for. Peter didn’t let them off the hook when he said, “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, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed” (Acts 3:24-25; see Gen. 12:1-3; 22:18). Paul later revealed that Israel’s rejection of the Messiah actually caused her diminishing and blindness (Rom. 11:7, 12, 25). [2]


Importance of the prophets to Israel


God never advanced His program for Israel or earth without revealing it to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7). Additionally in the overwhelming number of prophesies given to Israel we find that eighty percent of the Bible is to Israel from which the prophets were an indispensable part.


The prophets predicted a future where King Jesus will rule the earth from Jerusalem, Israel. The Body of Christ is merely provisional “fill in” on earth during Israel’s blindness, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). Once we are removed, Daniel’s [3] prophecy clock which paused at Christ’s rejection by Israel (Dan. 9:24-27) will begin ticking again. Until that time, we will remain on earth – an unknown entity to any of the prophets – provoking Israel to jealousy.


Fact: It was prophecy – not mystery – that pronounced the upcoming Day of the Lord –that includes Israel’s Tribulation for Israel first prophesied to her by Moses (Deut. 4:30). The prophets never saw the Body of Christ and thus didn’t include it in their writings. Since Israel is destined for her earthly kingdom, God must ultimately reinstate her to prophetic significance, which fits perfectly with Daniel’s seventieth week. In a precious twist of divine irony, prophecy (Israel, earthly) gave way to mystery (the church, heavenly) at Daniel’s 70th week; now mystery must give way to prophecy, which will resume for the one week still future.


Fact, the foremost intention of the prophecy program is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth as promised to Israel in the Covenants. Peter explained this,


“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses … But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” (excerpted from Acts 3:13-18).


Then, in another show of mercy and grace, God through Peter offered Israel another chance to receive the Messiah and the kingdom:


“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 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 3:19-21).


Again, Israel refused her King (Acts 4-7); Paul was saved (Acts 9), and a new dispensation emerged the prophets were not privy to.


The Mystery Program


The Mystery program concerns a heavenly inheritance for the Church Body of Christ kept secret since the world began (Rom. 16:25).


Mystery >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Inheritance
Heaven Church Body
“the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began
(Romans 16:25).

The Mystery Program is God’s plan for heaven featuring the Body of Christ and our inheritance there in heaven with Christ given to Paul in “the revelation [4] of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25).


When studied in its entirety we discover the Mystery is that body of truth revealed to and proclaimed by the Apostle Paul  alone (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 1:9-10; 3:1-11) concerning Heaven and the exaltation of the Body of Christ together in Heaven with Christ (Eph. 2:4-10, 3: 1-4; also read carefully Col. 3:1-6).[5] The student who understands the distinction between prophecy for Israel and earth, along with the mystery of the Body and heaven, is thoroughly equipped to avoid conflating Israel’s expectation of a coming Revelation of a King and kingdom – with His parenthetical plan for the Body. The blood bought, born again church (ekklesia- called out assembly) is the Body of Christ (Col. 1:18, 24). Since she has NO inheritance on earth [6]there’s no reason for us to be here during a single moment of Israel’s Tribulation (study Eph. 1-3; Col. 3:1-6) trying to eke out a safe existence in order to earn an earthly kingdom.


God carefully hid the mystery Body of Christ from the prophets until it was unveiled to Paul by our heavenly risen Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20) in a personal post ascension revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:1-9). The mystery features the Church as the Lord’s BODY (Eph. 1:3; 2:6) and the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:22-33; Rev. 21:9) in a “but now” time-period (Eph. 2:13). I repeat, the prophets didn’t know about us and never mentioned us in any of their writings, so we aren’t included in the promises and prophecies concerning earth and the future of the NATION Israel. The fact is, even Peter and the apostles didn’t know this new doctrine until Paul taught them (Gal. 1:12; 2:6-7) later admitting how hard it was to understand and yet theologically destructive it was for all who fought against it (2 Pet. 3:15-16).


Here’s Paul’s explanation of the mystery exclusivity:


“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:10-12).


In chapter two, he continued defining the distinctiveness of his doctrine by contrasting the gospel he preached with the one Peter preached:


“But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” (Galatians 2:6-9)


Fact: The dispensation of the mystery of the church [7] isn’t Jewish and it wasn’t known by any of the prophets or the twelve apostles until Paul taught them (Gal. 1:11-12; 2:6-9; 2 Pet. 3:15-16; see also 1 Thess. 2:13). It was secretly revealed by the Lord Jesus to Paul – the Apostle to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:3) – literally as a mystery (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:4-5, 9) – after the Lord temporarily set aside Daniel’s prophecy at the end of the 69th week (Dan. 9:24-27). Sadly, this very special revelation of the mystery given by Jesus to Paul has been the object of defiance and disdain accompanied by bitterness, badgering, and blackballing on the part of inflexible men who fight tooth and nail against it even though it is specifically for this dispensation. Recognizing the damage this causes, Peter lamented,


“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16).


Fact: The Church is the Lord’s heavenly BODY (Eph. 1:3; 2:6); a mystery “kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25), given to Paul alone by our risen Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:20) during His current heavenly ministry in a personal post ascension revelation (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 3:1-9). Once the mystery Body of Christ (Rom. 16:25) is removed at the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51), Israel’s prophecy clock will resume at Daniel’s seventieth week (one week of seven years – see Dan. 9:27; Rev. 11:2-3), the time of Jacob’s trouble that Jesus referred to as (great) Tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 29).


Consider the following facts about the church Body of Christ:


  • Presented as a Body where Christ is Head [no laws, land, or covenants] [8]
  • The Body exists as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) that will one day disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51).
  • The Body of Christ was unknown by the prophets and has no association with prophecy or future Tribulation. [Our salvation is secure; sealed forever in Christ (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30) with no further purification required].
  • Our inheritance is not in the earth, but in heaven with Jesus where we spiritually exist in Him (Eph. 1:3-4, 10; 2:6; col. 3:1-3) [9] at this moment, awaiting the promise Jesus made to return and take us to heaven (John 14:2-3; see 1 Thess. 4:13-18). This will happen at some undisclosed time in the future when the “fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).
  • Paul is our apostle (Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:7-8). His epistles (Romans-Philemon) provide all doctrine and duty for those in this “dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) personally given to him by Jesus in the “revelation of the mystery” (Rom. 16:25).
  • Occupies a temporary position on earth during Israel’s hiatus between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27)
  • Was established by God to provoke Israel to jealousy leading to her conversion (Rom. 11:11).
  • Was unknown to any of the prophets (Col. 1:26)
  • Was never included in earthly prophecies featuring Israel’s Davidic Kingdom, and Tribulation (“Jacob’s trouble” – Jer. 30:7) preceding it.
  • Appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) [10] during Israel’sblindness (Rom. 11:7),
  • Will disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) when “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25).
  • Cannot be seen anywhere in Israel’s Tribulation! [11]

Time to reflect on something: the necessity of God’s revelation for the future, must include the prophetic word: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). Since Israel’s Tribulation is prophecy for Israel, it cannot begin while the mystery Body of Christ is here. The church Body of Christ is NEVER MENTIONED anywhere in prophecy and thus the church which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) after Daniel’s prophecy clock stopped after the 69th week must be removed in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51; see 2 Thess. 2:7) in order to restart that prophecy clock at the 70th week. That event is imminent; it’s the rapture of the church in the heavenlies by Christ and it removes us before Antichrist [12] is revealed and the time of Jacob’s trouble begins with the signing of a seven year covenant of peace (2 Thess 2:6-8; see Dan. 9:27). The Revelation of Christ occurs on earth immediately after Israel’s Tribulation (Matt 24:29) and just before the kingdom begins (Matt 25:31-46). The fact that the Body of Christ returns with Him at the Revelation demands that we be removed prior to that event. Although PreWrath [13] advocates argue for a removal of the church about ¾ of the way through Israel’s Tribulation their charts are perplexing and pretentious.


Chart: Prophecy and Mystery


Prophecy – Israel – Earth Mystery – Church – Heaven
Concerns a kingdom; a political

Organization (Dan. 2:44; Matt.6:10).

Concerns a body;  a  living  organism (I  Cor.12:12,27;Eph.4:12-16).
The  kingdom to be established on earth

(Jer. 23:5; Matt.6:10).

The body given a position in heaven (Eph.

1:3; 2:5-6; Col.3:1-3).

Christ to be its King (Jer.23:5; Isa. 9: 6-7). Christ its living Head (Eph.1:19-23; Col. 1:18).
The  kingdom prophesied “since the world

began” (Luke 1:68-70;Acts3:21).


The body chosen in Christ before the world began, but “kept secret since the world began”
(Rom.16:25; Eph.1:4-11;3:5-9).
Israel to be given supremacy over the

Nations (Isa. 60:10-12; 61:6).

Jew and Gentile placed on the same level

Before God (Rom.10:12; 11:32; Eph.2:16-17).

The  Gentiles to  be  blessed through

Israel’s instrumentality
(Gen.22:17-18; Zech. 8:13).

The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s

Obstinacy (Acts13:44-46; Rom.11:28-32).

The Gentiles to be blessed through Israel’s

Rise (Isa. 60:1-3; Zech.8:22, 23).

The Gentiles blessed through Israel’s fall

(Acts28:27-28; Rom. 11:11-12, 15).

Prophecy mainly concerns nations as such (Isa. 2:4; Ezek.37:21-22). The mystery concerns individuals (Rom.

10:12-13; II Cor.5:14-17).

Prophecy concerns blessings, both material and spiritual, on earth (Isa. 2:3-4; 11:1-9; etc.). The mystery concerns “all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies” (Eph.1:3; Col. 3:1-3).
Prophecy concerns Christ’s coming to the

Earth (Isa. 59:20; Zech. 14:4).

The mystery explains Christ’s present absence from the earth (Eph.1:20-23; Col.3:1-3).
In prophecy salvation by grace through

Faith alone  is not contemplated.

Salvation by grace through faith alone lies at the very heart of the mystery (Rom.3:21-26; 4:5; Eph.2:8-9).
The proclamation of the prophetic program Committed particularly
to the twelve
(Matt.10:5-7; Acts1:6-8; 3:19-26).
The proclamation of the mystery committed particularly to Paul (Eph.3:1-3, 8-9; Col.1:24-27).
The prophetic program revealed through Many of God’s servants (Luke1:70; II Pet. 1:21). The mystery revealed through one man: Paul (Gal.1:1, 11-12; 2:2, 7, 9; Eph. 3:2-3).


Old testament writers frequently did not under- stand the prophecies made known through them
(Dan. 12:8-10; I Pet. 1:10-12).


Paul longed  that  others might understand the mystery revealed to and through him
(Eph.1:15-23; 3:14-21; Col.1:9-10;2:1-3).
This chart adapted from Cornelius Stam


God’s program for earth comes from prophecy revealed in His Word by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began. It’s main subject is the inauguration of a Kingdom with His Son as King in a nation He chose specifically for this purpose. This is the subject of our next chapter.

[1] Prophecy is the distinguishing factor separating the Bible from all “religious” books in the world. Prophecy is what drew my dad to Christ in 1975 and kept him excited about the Lord’s return until April 10, 2009 when the Lord took him home. In short, prophecy for Israel is the main subject connecting our tribulation trilogy together.

[2] Romans 9-11 Explains Israel’s past, present and future. Regardless of the tradition that told you otherwise, none of the Covenants God made with Israel were ever retracted nor given to the Body of Christ in the revelation of the mystery Paul received (Rom. 16:25). The Body of Christ is merely the provisional beneficiary of His work through Israel during this her diminishing (Rom. 11:12) and blindness, only however, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). Indemnifying this are prophesies God gave Israel for her future which still includes the seventieth week (7 years) of Daniel’s prophecy that must be fulfilled by her (see Dan. 9:24- “thy people”). Paul’s explanation in Romans 9 through 11 makes clear God’s intention for Israel in the future. Romans 9 tells us the Covenants of Israel are not set aside by Gospel, and the blinding of Israel led to God’s mercy to the Gentiles. Romans 10 proves Israel’s attempt at law keeping wasn’t accepted because self-righteousness is not a ground of salvation and provides a way for Gentiles to be saved. Only our humble faith in Christ’s satisfaction of the law, and so be “justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Finally, Romans 11 warns against boasting the church replaced Israel. It reveals although temporarily blind, God’s program for Israel is still on. In due time she will emerge when “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) and the church is gone.

[3] Daniel is part of the prophetic landscape of earth and thus features Israel. In order to fit the pieces together leading to the Kingdom, we need to understand Daniel’s seventy weeks. Remember, the vision was delivered by the angel Gabriel (Dan. 9:21), to the prophet Daniel, for “thy people” (Jews) concerning “thy holy city” (Jerusalem; see Dan. 9:24). Although it is a comprehensive narrative, the prophecy is incomplete; it’s missing a single week of seven years that must be fulfilled through Israel according to the Davidic Covenant and the prophetic Word (Dan. 9:24-27). The Jewish prophet Daniel saw the Lord’s first presentation of the Kingdom in a prophecy he foretold of seventy weeks of seven years (for Israel) leading to the cutting off of the Messiah (Dan. 9:24-26). With the Davidic Covenant in mind, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ began preaching “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). This of course was God’s offer to inaugurate the Davidic Covenant (2 Sam. 7:16) and fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. When Jesus was officially rejected on the exact day Daniel’s seventieth week was to begin, the prophetic calendar for Israel stopped; allowing for a parenthetic body to be inserted into the fabric of God’s providence- a mystery that was unknown by the prophets- called the church. However, this left unfulfilled one seven year period the prophets and dispensational scholars refer to as the time of Jacob’s (Israel) trouble (Jer. 30:7); the day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; Joel 1:15, 2:1; etc); a time of trouble (Dan. 12:1); and the Tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Matt. 24:21-29). Bear in mind, the day of the Lord is a Jewish phrase used by at least nine Jewish prophets that centers on earth and concerns Israel not the church (see Zech 12-14; Matthew 24; Rev. 12: the focus is Jerusalem and the abomination of desolation in the Temple Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4). The Body of Christ is NOT in view during the time of Jacob’s trouble!

[4] But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:11-12).

[5] Cornelius Stam has written extensively on this. PMI also offers more on Prophecy and the Mystery.

[6] Our inheritance is NOT earth. It exists “in heavenly places” where we are spiritually sealed (Eph. 1:13-14) and seated in Christ (Eph. 1:3, 20; 2:6; Col. 3:1-2; Phil. 3:20). We are simply occupying a provisional position on earth during Israel’s hiatus between Daniel’s 69th and 70th week (Dan. 9:24-27) to provoke her to jealousy (Rom. 11:11) until “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25). At that precise point, the church which appeared as a mystery (Rom. 16:25) will suddenly disappear in a mystery (1 Cor. 15:51) wherein Israel’s prophecy program will resume at Daniel’s 70th week where it was halted.

[7] Paul explains this very clearly in Ephesians 3:1-9.

[8] God made 5 unilateral covenants with Israel, none with the Body of Christ. We are merely the beneficiaries through Jesus.

[9] In Christ: 1:1,3,10,12,20; 2:6,10,13; 3:6,11; In the Lord: Ephesians 1:15; 2:21; 4:17; 5:8; 6:1,10,21;

[10] More information on the mystery nature of the Body of Christ discussed in Eph. 3:1-9; Col. 1:24-27.

[11] TO REITERATE IN TERMS AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE: If the Body of Christ (church) is present on earth during Israel’s tribulation (Deut. 4:30; Zeph. 1-2), the Holy Spirit went to great lengths to keep us from knowing it. To wit, while we can easily find Israel and the anti-Semitic Gentile nations on earth during the tribulation – aka “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15), the heavenly Body of Christ – which has been promised deliverance from this divine punishment (1 Thess. 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:5-7; Rev. 3:10; see also Rev. 4:1) – is conspicuously absent (Rev. 6-19). Since we are not mentioned anywhere, it is clear to objective minded students the Lord has mysteriously removed us, “in a moment in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:51). Hallelujah to the Lamb, Jesus Christ our Lord!

[12]Antichrist, aka the beast. This “Beast” is the “little horn” of (Dan_7:24-26), and “desolator” of (Dan_9:27), the “abomination of desolation” of (Mat_24:15), the “man of sin” of (2Th_2:4-8), earth’s last and most awful tyrant, Satan’s fell instrument of wrath and hatred against God and the Jewish saints. He is, perhaps, identical with the rider on the white horse of (Rev_6:2), who begins by the peaceful conquest of three of the ten kingdoms into which the former Roman empire will then be divided, but who soon establishes the ecclesiastical and governmental tyranny described in Daniel 7, 9, 11; Revelation 13. To him, Satan gives the power which he offered to Christ. (Mat_4:8); (Mat_4:9); (Rev_13:4). (Old Scofield Study Bible)

[13]We have information explaining the facts while exposing the fallacies of this confusing ruse.

Anti-PreTrib Gotcha Gimmick: The words saints, elect, and disciple all refer to the church

February 14, 2017 1 comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

Gotcha gimmick: The words saints, elect, and disciple all refer to the church

Wrong! In order to make their theories work, our adversaries exploit the conventional division between the Testaments[1], which allows them to assign partisan definitions to three key words that in context deserve no such treatment: saints, elect, and disciple(s).


Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defines saint as “sacred, holy, or set apart”. It is actually a generic term used to designate God’s people. On its own, it doesn’t designate either Israel or the church Body therefore context is crucial. However, our adversaries have exploited the truth by claiming the church Body is on earth during Israel’s Tribulation because Daniel and Revelation both use the word saints. This is a prime example of eisegesis advanced by those with a conclusion hunting for a gimmick to confirm it.

The first mention of saints in both Old and New Testaments are in connection with Israel (Deuteronomy 33:2; Matthew 27:52).

Deuteronomy 33:1-3  And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death.  (2)  And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.  (3)  Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.

Matthew 27:52-53  And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,  (53)  And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Saints in Daniel and Revelation

To begin with, the term saints in Daniel and Revelation does not describe the church Body without fudging the context and twisting the truth in order to reach a conclusion the passage won’t support.

Revelation fully explains what Daniel first exposed. As such, it is the “full color” expansion of Daniel’s prophecies to Israel (study “thy people” references: Daniel 9:15,16,19,24; 10:14; 11:14; 12:1). Therefore, using the comparative mention principle of hermeneutics, we must interpret the terms, prophecies, and imagery in Revelation in light of Daniel’s definitions. For instance, the 10-horned Beast in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 are the same. They both blaspheme God and make war with the saints (Rev. 13:5-6, Daniel 7:8, 20, 25; Rev. 13:2, Daniel 7:21). These saints in Daniel which are Jews (Daniel 7:18,21,22,25,27; 8:13) are the same saints in the companion book of Revelation (Revelation 5:8; 8:3,4; 11:18; 13:7,10; 14:12; 15:3; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24; 19:8; 20:9). Finally, the return – aka  Revelation of Christ, the Son of Man in Daniel 7 and Revelation 19 are describing the same event.

Daniel writes: “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth [Daniel addressed the influence of the beast over earth]. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Daniel 7:17-21).

In Revelation John writes: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea [John addressed the sea of people on earth comprising the Beast], having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1).

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:7-8).


Webster’s Dictionary 1828 defines elect as used in theology means “to designate, choose or select as an object of mercy or favor.” Like saint, is not an automatic term for the church Body as our adversaries infer. Nevertheless, our adversaries tell us the church Body is on earth during Israel’s tribulation because the Lord Jesus used the word elect in the Olivet Discourse.

“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:22-24).

The first mention of elect in the Old Testament addresses Israel under the Old Covenant (Isa. 42:1; 44:9). The first mention in the New Testament is from the Olivet Discourse where the Lord Jesus is also addressing Israel under the Old Covenant: “Throughout the Olivet Discourse,” Dr. Chafer explains, “Christ refers to Israel as the elect. The most casual contemplation of this discourse (Mat. 24:1-25:46) will disclose the truth that only Israel is in view as the elect of God. Similarly, a revealing Scripture from Paul (Rom. 9:1-10:4) sets forth the truth respecting Israel’s election. Too often this portion of Scripture has been applied to believers today who comprise the Church. The salient facts in the case which make it impossible, however, are that in Israel’s election there is a national objective and that an individual Jew, though belonging to the elect nation, did not have any personal election assured him. God is thus sovereign in His dealings with Israel. He disregards the enmity and hatred of the nations as they resent the fact of Israel’s election. The election is made a public matter, indeed, for Jehovah selects, preserves, and defends this one people out of all the nations of the earth. They are His “chosen people” above all the nations and chosen specifically for His glory. In relation to Israel’s election, then, God acts in sovereign authority. All other nations must eventually take a subordinate place. During Israel’s kingdom on earth, accordingly, the nation or peoples that will not serve Israel shall perish (Isa_14:1-2; Isa_60:12). No true interpretation of the Old Testament is possible if the fact of Israel’s national, sacred, eternal election be rejected.” (Systematic Theology, 1948)


Our rivals tell us the Body of Christ is on earth during Israel’s tribulation because the Lord Jesus was referring to the church Body when He used the word disciple(s) in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:1, 3). However, they are wrong for many reasons including the following.


To begin with, they violate the Context Principle to advance their pretext. This is done by ignoring the nagging Jewish setting surrounding the Olivet Discourse that extinguishes their assumptions. In it Jesus answered questions presented by Peter, James, John, and Andrew (Mark 13:3) concerning His return to inaugurate the Kingdom with carefully outlined signs preceding it. The message had nothing to do with the Body of Christ which was unknown at that time to the disciples who therefore had no frame of reference [2] for it whatsoever (Gal. 2:6-9; 2 Pet. 3:15-16).

By ignoring and downplaying the context, our opponents have been free to pull from it a single word – disciple – to use as proof for their hypothesis that frankly falls flat under examination.

The word disciple is a generic term meaning “learner.”[3] Dr. Chafer confirms this, “(Disciple) is not equivalent to the terminology believer or Christian.” (Systematic Theology, 1948).

The first appearance of the word disciple also disproves their theory. In both the Old and New Testaments describes Jews following God’s law (Isa. 8:16; Matt. 5:1). Disciple(s) is used used 274 times in our King James Bible and over 240 of those occurances appear in the Gospels to describe Jewish followers of Christ. Interestingly, the specific designation of “His disciples” and “the disciples” is used 210 times. The remainder of occurences appear in Acts where it describes early believers linked to the first church of Jerusalem. It is seldom if ever used in Acts in reference to what Paul later revealed as the mystery Body of Christ.

You may be surprised to learn that while connected in Acts to the Jewish church the term disciple is never linked to Christianity as a whole until Antioch (Acts 11:26). From that point on, its usage is mixed between Jews and Gentiles – mostly Jews – with a Jerusalem church undercurrent that seems to have disappeared after the revelation of the mystery.

However, here’s an unavoidable proglem. Paul – our apostle – who was charged with providing the aggregate body of mystery information. However, we find it very strange that if the term “disciple” is to be the definitive moniker of the Body of Christ in the Olivet Discourse as our adversaries want us to believe, why Paul NEVER used the term “disciple” one time in any of his 13 letters of doctrine and duty when referring to the Body of Christ (Romans through Philemon).

Our conclusion here – based on the facts as they are – is simple. The saints, elect, and disciples referred to in Daniel, the Olivet Discourse, and Revelation are in fact Jews awaiting the Messiah Jesus’ return in the last days. Denying the truth presented here is disingenuous at best and only makes sense if one is following a contrarian agenda.

[1] They teach the Old Testament ended at Malachi and the New Testament begins with Matthew when in fact the New Testament didn’t officially begin until the death of the Testator, the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 9:16-17).

[2] The Body of Christ was unheard of for another 20 years. Forcing Christ’s Kingdom expositions for Israel on the church (ie the Sermon on the Mount) always leads to disastrous results and can be seen in cults such as Seventh Day Adventists.

[3] A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato. (Webster’s Dictionary 1828)

Why is Israel’s Tribulation Necessary?

February 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

Answer: repentance of Israel and restoration to the Abrahamic Covenant: “he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them” (Deut. 4:31; see Ezek. 20:37-38 below).

Israel awaits her King and kingdom but she is out of fellowship with God, and God will not bless sin. He made a Covenant with Abrahamic (Gen. 15-18) that was a non-negotiable factor in receiving His blessing. “And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you ... And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (excerpted from Genesis 17:9-14).

Israel and the earth rejected Christ and are in sin. “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants [context here is Israel] thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isaiah 24:5-6; see Isaiah 26:9; 33:8; Ezek. 17:18-19)

Punishment and Purging

“And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible” (Isaiah 13:11).

Throughout Bible history, Israel rebelled, God responded with judgment, and Israel repented (study the Book of Judges). Although she is returning to the Covenant land as prophesied (Isa. 11:10-12; Ezek. 37:12) she is not in full compliance to the Lord’s Covenant(s). The Tribulation is God’s final restorative act. It is only when His judgments are in the earth that Jews and earth’s inhabitants who survive the carnage will learn righteousness. Punishment [1] and purging will be done as the prophets [2] pictured in punitive and preparatory last day’s Tribulation event (Deut. 4:30; Isa. 24; Jer. 30-31; Joel 2).

Dr. David Reagan offers this additional insight: “What’s it all about? Why is there going to be such carnage? How could a God of grace, mercy and love allow such an outbreak of unbridled terror and bloodshed? One reason is to satisfy the justice of God. Yes, God is characterized by grace, mercy and love, but He is also a God of perfect justice, righteousness, and holiness. Therefore, He must deal with sin. His justice demands it. Even His love compels it. How could a God of true love simply overlook the actions of a murderer or a pedophile? The prophet Nahum understood the true nature of God. He wrote that “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him” (Nahum 1:7). That is the love and mercy of God. But the same prophet wrote (Nahum 1:2-3): A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; The Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, And the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” [3]

But “And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times [4] more for your sins” (Leviticus 26:15-18).

“And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin … When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning” (Isaiah 1:25; 4:4).

The solemnity of this time is staggering: “For it is the day of b, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion … For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates” (Isa. 34:8; Jer. 46:10).

Israel’s Tribulation, therefore, is God’s preparatory and punitive judgment on sin. “And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.” (Ezekiel 20:37-38)

Israel’s prophets agree:

Ezekiel: “And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me …” (Ezekiel 20:38).

Zephaniah: “And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung” (Zephaniah 1:17).

Isaiah also warned: “The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” (Isaiah 24:4-6).

In breaking Covenant with God, Israel has established herself as the enemy of God (James 4:4).[5] Nahum warns: “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies” (Nahum 1:2).

Let’s consider something extremely important. The Tribulation from beginning to end is God’s wrath against His enemies. The church isn’t His enemy. We are the Bride and Body of Christ and Christ will not exercise wrath against His Bride or Himself.

The Tribulation is God’s wrath (Isa. 13:13; Rev. 14:10, 19; 15:1) and His vengeance (Isa. 34:8; Jer. 46:10) [6] exercised on behalf of Israel’s disobedience. [7] His wrath will also encompass all anti-Semitic earth dwellers [8] (see Isa. 24; Rev. 3:10; 6-19) hating and opposing Israel (Gen. 12:2-3; Deut. 30:7; Psa. 2:1-5; Isa. 41:11; Matt. 25:31-46). God’s wrath (Rev. 14:10, 19; 15:1; etc) will continue until the Revelation of Christ to Israel (Rev. 19:15). The wrath begins with the Lamb (Rev. 6:16-17), rejected, beaten and murdered some two thousand years ago. How fitting that the inhumane treatment Christ received was stored up by God to mete out against Israel and earth’s godless during this unparalleled carnage (Jer. 16:18; now. During this awful time the nation of Israel will be invaded and suffer the loss of two thirds of its population according to Zechariah 13:7-9 pushing her to the brink of annihilation at the valley of decision known as Armageddon (Joel 3:14; Rev. 16:16).

[1] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion (Isa. 34:8).  For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates (Jer. 46:10).

[2] Total prophets number about 60 or so. Not all were writing prophets, however.


[4] The word “times” is used in Daniel (the prophecy Rosetta Stone) as a reference to years (Dan. 7:25; 12:7). Seven times used here may be a veiled reference to the seven-year Tribulation.

[5] Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

[6] “For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion … For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates” (Isa. 34:8; Jer. 46:10).

[7] As Dr. Scofield points out, for apostasy there is no remedy but Judgment (Isa. 12:7, 24-25; Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-31). God has done this throughout Israel’s idol worship and rebellious history (2 Chron. 34:25; 36:16; Ezra 5:12; 8:22, etc.)

[8]Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. (Isaiah 13:9-13)

The 5 Covenants of Israel – Guard and Guarantee her future Kingdom

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston, Editor

Our studies of prophecy (Israel, earthly kingdom) and the mystery (church, heavenly kingdom) have taught us that Israel was created, led, and blessed from the prophetic Word. In order to understand Israel’s future, one must understand her past, pictured in  five covenants God made exclusively with her. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum offers this: “Since much of God’s relationship to man is based upon covenantal relationships, a study of the eight covenants is a very important aspect of correctly understanding Scripture. The most common way to divide the Bible is by Dispensations. The dispensations, however, are based upon specific covenants, and knowledge of these covenants will help Bible readers to “rightly divide the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). Although the dispensations may come to an end, the covenants themselves often continue.”

 Types of Covenants

A covenant is a unilateral or bilateral grant or promise that can be signed, sealed, and implemented. Three different things happen once a covenant is sealed: first, some go into effect right away; second, some provisions go into effect in the near future, which may be twenty five years away or five hundred years away; and third, some provisions go into effect only in the distant prophetic future, not having been fulfilled to this day. There are two types of covenants in the Bible: conditional and unconditional.


  • 2 Conditional Covenants– 2 (Edenic and Mosaic): A conditional covenant is a bilateral covenant in which a proposal of God to man is characterized by the formula: if you will, then I will, whereby God promises to grant special blessings to man providing man fulfills certain conditions contained in the covenant. Man’s failure to do so often results in punishment. Thus one’s response to the covenant agreement brings either blessings or cursings. The blessings are secured by obedience and man must meet his conditions before God will meet His (see Lev. 26; Deut 28).
  • 6 Unconditional Covenants (Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Land, Davidic, New): An unconditional covenant is a unilateral covenant and is a sovereign act of God whereby He unconditionally obligates Himself to bring to pass definite blessings and conditions for the covenanted people. This covenant is characterized by the formula: I will, which declares God’s determination to do as He promises. Blessings are secured by the grace of God. There may be conditions in the covenant by which God requests the covenanted one to fulfill out of gratitude, but they are not themselves the basis of God’s fulfilling His promises.

God Made Eight Covenants

Of the eight covenants God made, the first three were made with man while the remaining five were made exclusively with Israel. Only one of these is conditional: the Mosaic Covenant. The other four covenants with Israel are unconditional: the Abrahamic Covenant (promise of a nation), the Land Covenant (promised land of Canaan- Israel), the Davidic Covenant (promised an everlasting king and kingdom), and the New Covenant (promised eternal salvation).

Four things should be noted concerning the nature of the unconditional covenants God made with Israel:

  • First: they are literal covenants and their contents must be interpreted literally as well.
  • Second: the covenants that God has made with Israel are eternal and are not in any way restricted or altered by time.
  • Third: it is necessary to re-emphasize that these are unconditional covenants that were not abrogated because of Israel’s disobedience; because the covenants are unconditional and totally dependent upon God for fulfillment, their ultimate fulfillment can be expected.
  • Fourth: these covenants were made with a specific people: Israel (not the church). This point is brought out by Paul in Romans 9:4: who are Israelites; whose is the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. This passage clearly points out that these covenants were made with the covenanted people and are Israel’s possession.

This is brought out again in Ephesians 2:11-12: Wherefore remember, that once ye, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision, in the flesh, made by hands; that ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. As stated, five of the eight Bible covenants belong to the people of Israel and, as this passage notes, Gentiles were considered strangers from the covenants. 

God’s 3 Covenants with Man

  • Begin the Dispensation of Innocency (Gen. 1:28) [All references below can be studied fully in the Old Scofield Bible]
  • The EDENIC Covenant (conditional), Gen. 1:26-31;2:16-17 Made with Adam in which life and blessing or death and cursing depended on the faithfulness of Adam. Adam and Eve failed, died spiritually and physically and their sin plunged the whole human race into its pattern of sin and death. 
  • Begin the Dispensation of Conscience (Gen. 3:23)
  • The ADAMIC Covenant (unconditional), Gen. 3:16-19 Here God declares to man, after the fall, what his lot in life will be because of his sin. It includes the promise of the Redeemer. 
  • Begin the Dispensation of Human Government (Gen. 8:21)
  • The NOAHIC Covenant (unconditional), Gen 9:1-18 Made with Noah and his sons after the flood, introducing human government to curb sin, the normal order of nature reaffirmed (Gen. 8:22; 9:2) and the permission for man to eat the flesh of animals. Also His promise never to destroy all flesh again by water. 
  • Begin the Dispensation of Promise (Gen. 12:1)

God’s 5 Covenants with Israel – Leading to the Earthly Kingdom and King

  • The ABRAHAMIC Covenant – Kingdom family chosen (unconditional), Gen. 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8 This Covenant is the first God made with Israel and the one from which all others derive. By divine decree, Abraham received posterity, prosperity, and title deed to a promised land. Through Abraham would come a great nation (Israel) and through him (via that nation) all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Messiah). Through Abraham’s descendants (the Jews) came the prophets of God, the writers of God’s written Word (the Bible) and Christ/Messiah according to the flesh. Begin the Dispensation of the Law (Ex. 19:8)
  • The MOSAIC Covenant – Kingdom nation assembled and its laws established (conditional), Ex. 20:1 – 31:18 It is contained in Exodus but amplified in many other portions of Scripture. It 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. It was temporary and would terminate at the cross of Christ. Though it had gracious elements it was basically a covenant of works. It could not impart life to the sinner in Adam (Gal. 3:21) but it served as a tutor which would lead those who were under its jurisdiction to the only One who could impart LIFE (Christ Jesus, Gal. 3:24). [Israel will rebuild Temple and reinstitute blood sacrifices during the day of the Lord- Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4]
  • The LAND Covenant – Kingdom Land guaranteed in perpetuity (unconditional), Deut. 30:1-10 God promised land to Abraham. This Covenant assures Israel will have that land forever. However, it is erroneously called the “Palestinian Covenant” in that the Bible does not assign to it that name. It is the land of Israel because it was divinely covenanted to Abraham’s descendants through Jacob (Israel). It is an unconditional promise regarding Israel’s final possession of their ancient land (study Gen. 12-17).
  • The DAVIDIC Covenant – King’s seed chosen (unconditional), 2Sam. 7:4-16; 1Chron. 17:3-15 God promised David an unending, royal lineage, throne, and kingdom. Though God reserved the right to interrupt the actual reign of David’s sons for chastisement, the perpetuity of the covenant cannot be broken. The Abrahamic Covenant launched the nation and the Land Covenant promised them property, the Davidic Covenant guarantees an everlasting Throne, King and Kingdom connected to that people (the Jews) and the land of Canaan. Jesus Christ, the Son of David, is the rightful heir of this promised Throne (Matt. 2:2; Lk. 1:32-33) and on it He will reign over this literal, promised, earthly, future Messianic Kingdom from Jerusalem at His second advent. Begin the Dispensation of Grace (John 1:17)
  • The NEW Covenant – The Kingdom commences with laws written upon hearts (unconditional), Jer. 31:31-40 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. Begin the Dispensation of the Kingdom on through Eternity (Eph. 1:10)

It’s Israel’s Earthly Kingdom by Covenant –

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

When the Word is rightly divided, we find that it is Israel, not the church, that was promised a coming kingdom of heaven which occupied much of the preaching of 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. 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 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 Covenant Kingdom 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). It is Israel to whom God’s prophets presented five covenants 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.

First, 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” (Genesis 12:2-3).

Second, David’s seed, which is from the lineage of Abraham, was promised 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).

Third, 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).

Fourth, 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 Abraham …Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven … ” (Matthew 1:1; 6:10).

Fifth, 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.

Sixth, 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 the 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).

The Right Division between Two Gospels: Kingdom (circumcision) and Grace (uncircumcision)

February 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

If you’re ever itching for a fistfight with a carnal Christian, tell him that the gospel of grace he preaches in this but now dispensation (Rom. 15:1-4) is NOT the gospel of the kingdom John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter and the apostles preached (Matt. 4:23; 10:7).

In his superb book “Why So Many Churches”, Dr. Noah Hutchings, one of my favorite Bible teachers, writes, “It is important for Christians to understand … Paul and Peter did not preach the same message. They preached the same Christ, but not the same gospel.” (Why So Many Churches, 1992). You will understand this shortly when I unfold it.

The word gospel means “a good message” (Strong). The fact is, there are several of them listed in the Bible [1] that God dispensed through history. Two primary Gospel messages exist within the harmonious framework of the entire time triad spectrum.

  • Time past: Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) Ended sometime after Paul’s conversion in mid Acts and the revelation of the mystery he received from Jesus (Rom. 16:25).
  • But now: Gospel of the Grace of God to Jews and Gentiles alike. Ends when the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25)
  • Ages to come: gospel of the Kingdom to Israel. Daniel’s prophecy calendar resumes at the 70th week of seven years known as Israel’s Tribulation or “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 12:1; Zeph. 1:15).

1. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – to Israel in “time past”:

The gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) – is also called “the gospel of the circumcision” (Ga. 2:7-9) that Peter preached. It is good news to the Jews which Christ preached “in time past” (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) connecting Israel to the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 15:18)[2] including circumcision (Gen. 17; Gal. 2:7) by offering to confirm the Davidic Covenant by inaugurating the earthly Kingdom promised to the seed of David (2 Sam. 7:8-16). [3]

Once again, keep in mind this gospel of the kingdom is NOT the gospel preached by Paul, nor is it the gospel we preach in this dispensation. Ours is the gospel of the grace of God, but only provisionally until the church is removed at the rapture.

2. The Gospel of the grace of God during the Mystery Program – to us in the “but now”:

The gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) – is also called “the gospel of the uncircumcision” (Gal. 2:7-9)  which is good news for Jews and Gentiles who come to Christ by faith and are saved, justified, sanctified, glorified, and spiritually baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) where we are seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) and sealed forever (Eph. 1:13-14) apart from anything other than faith in Christ’s shed blood which permanently removes our sin from us. By Paul’s own words this was a “but now” gospel unique for the uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), never before preached or taught:

“But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). [4]

This is the only gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13; see 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:6) for this dispensation. [5]It will continue, “until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25) in the latter days before Israel’s Tribulation.

3. The Gospel of the Kingdom during the Prophecy Program – to Israel in the “ages to come”:

Following at some point in the “ages to come” after the mystery church has disappeared in the mystery rapture, one of the chosen angels of God will seal 144,000 Jewish servants of God as Tribulation evangelists (Rev. 7:2-8) preaching once again this gospel of the kingdom [6] heralding the Lord’s return to inaugurate His Davidic Kingdom in Jerusalem (Matt. 24:14).

In summary, God’s program for Israel and the church are as different as the time period they occupy and the gospel message assigned each of them to preach during that time.

[1] Salvation in God’s economy has always involved faith and grace that He dispensed separately to particular individuals at any given time. For instance, Adam and Eve never heard the Name Jesus Christ, but God pictured His sacrifice by shedding the blood of innocent animals to cover their sin (Gen. 3:21). They apparently demonstrated their faith the moment they put on this new clothing.

[2] The Abrahamic Covenant is an everlasting covenant (Gen. 17:13, 19). O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: (Psalms 105:6-11)

[3] God made 5 unilateral Covenants with Israel and none with the Body of Christ. Bear in mind our time past status: “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise …” (Ephesians 2:12).

[4] Dr. William MacDonald observes that this “is the thrilling message of God’s undeserved favor to guilty, ungodly sinners who deserve nothing but everlasting hell. It tells how the Son of God’s love came from heaven’s highest glory to suffer, bleed, and die on Calvary in order that those who believe on Him might receive forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, 1995)

[5] This includes the gospel of uncircumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for Gentiles as Paul explains, “Ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:11-13). [No Covenant, Dispensation of Grace]

[6] This includes the gospel of circumcision (Gal. 2:7), which is good news for the Jews preached “in time past” linking them to the Abrahamic Covenant, the foundational contract for Israel’s relationship with God. It formed the groundwork for the promises that would be revealed in the other covenants. The Lord Jesus Christ, James, Peter (Cephas) and John were all ministers of the circumcision (Rom. 15:8; Gal. 2:7-9). [Old Covenant, Dispensation of the Law]

Burden of proof for Rapture before Israel’s Tribulation?

February 1, 2017 Leave a comment

Dr. Mike Johnston

The burden of proof for the PreTrib Rapture isn’t on us, it’s on them!!

Let me explain …

Over the past forty years, I’ve discussed the rapture and Israel’s Tribulation with well-meaning men representing every angle imaginable and yet all totally convinced of their scriptural integrity and infallibility. Curiously, one “gotcha” question continues to surface: “Can you give me a single verse proving the rapture is pre-Tribulational.”

Let me answer this with two observations.

First, just as Genesis is part of the progressive revelation of OT history, requiring dozens of other books to fully explain it, the rapture is part of the progressive revelation the Lord gave to Paul about the removal of the Body of Christ prior to Israel’s Tribulation. Unless you study it in its overarching context, any one single verse probably won’t convince you.

Second, and perhaps most important, is that the burden of proof isn’t on us to prove we are raptured prior to Israel’s Tribulation – although dozens of verses in this book collectively prove that we are. The onus is on those who insist we are here without a single verse of Scripture anywhere verifying this speculation.

Please listen with spiritual ears as I reiterate an important point.

The church Body is a mystery that was unknown to the prophets (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:1-9). Since they didn’t know about us, and never mentioned us, how could we possibly be included in the Tribulation with God’s elect Israel (Isa. 45:4) and the unsaved nations of the world?

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