Tuesday, December 6, 2011
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV).
According to the Abrahamic Covenant, God’s purpose in forming the nation Israel was to make her a kingdom of priests through which He would send salvation and blessings to the world (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5,6; et al.). Sadly, during the 2,000-year period between Abraham and Christ, sinful Israel drifted from JEHOVAH. Furthermore, Satan kept Israel from becoming what God wanted her to be. The devil sent false prophets to deceive and encourage Israel to embrace pagan idol worship (Deuteronomy 13:1-18; Jeremiah 6:13; 2 Peter 1:21–2:3; et al.).
Just before her Messiah-King Jesus comes, the Jews are “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 9:36; Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24). So, God sends John the Baptist to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). John preaches, “Repent ye, the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).
The Jews who believe and obey John’s message of “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” form the “little flock,” the believing remnant in Israel (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24). Contrariwise, the remaining Jews refuse John’s baptism and message, and thus willingly continue in apostasy and spiritual blindness (Luke 7:29,30).
When Jesus’ ministry begins, shortly after John began his ministry, He preaches to Israel the message John proclaimed: “the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15; cf. Matthew 4:17). John’s converts now begin to follow Jesus (their Messiah); this includes the twelve apostles (John 1:40ff).
Jesus then sends the twelve apostles to convert the rest of Israel and continue forming the “little flock” (Matthew 10:5-7). Once Jesus dies, is buried, is raised again, and is ascended, He again sends the twelve apostles to convert the remaining Jews (the first eight chapters of Acts).
Unfortunately, most of Israel remained in unbelief, so God temporarily paused their program and opened our dispensation. But, Israel’s program will resume one day. Then, as today’s Scripture says, God will give the “little flock” their earthly kingdom!