Go into Your Land, Israel

Saturday, February 25, 2012

“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” (Deuteronomy 30:5 KJV).

In 1948 Israel became a nation in modern times. Was that the “budding of the fig tree” of Matthew 24:32-34 and Luke 21:29-32? Is God supernaturally guiding dispersed Jews back to the land of Palestine today? Many people answer both questions in the affirmative, but according to the Bible, this is simply denominational hype and tripe. The above passages refer to Israel’s program, not events in our Dispensation of Grace.

Today, in the Dispensation of Grace, God says that Israel’s prophetic program is suspended and Israel is blinded nationally (Romans 11:11,12,15,25)—Israel is “Loammi,” or “not [God’s] people” (Hosea 1:9; cf. Romans 10:1-3). But, Israel’s blindness is only temporary. Once our program is terminated (at the rapture), Israel’s program will resume. Only then will Israel inherit her land. If prophecy were being fulfilled today, we are forced to conclude that the rapture already took place, and that would mean we Christians are living in the seven-year Tribulation, which is impossible. Thus, no Bible prophecy is being fulfilled today.

At Christ’s Second Coming, He will establish His earthly kingdom. Israel will be restored to God and she will inherit the Promised Land (Acts 3:19-26; Romans 11:26-29; Hebrews 8:8-13). In that day, the LORD will say to Israel (Isaiah 62:4): “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”

“Hephzi-bah” means “My delight is in her;” “Beulah” means “married man; husband.” Israel’s land will no longer be “Desolate” and she will no longer be “Forsaken.” Restored Israel will inherit her land one day, without our help, our funding, and our prayer, because God Himself will accomplish it (Deuteronomy 30:1-5 [today’s Scripture]; Jeremiah 23:1-6; Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 34:11-16; Ezekiel 36:24-38; Ezekiel 37:21-23).

After our dispensation concludes, then God will declare, “Go into your land, Israel!”

The Jews, the Greeks, and Paul’s Gospel

Friday, February 24, 2012

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24 KJV).

Jews were fixated on “signs,” miraculous demonstrations that God had long used to teach them and their forefathers, whereas Greeks were obsessed with “wisdom” (philosophy, human viewpoint). These distracted them from focusing on what really mattered—salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ!

  • JEWS AND SIGNS: After Jesus performed miracles before Israel the Bible says “many believed in his name,… but Jesus did not commit himself unto them…” (John 2:23-25). Jesus understood they were just awed by the miracles; they overlooked the doctrine He was teaching through the miracles!! When Paul preached the Gospel of Grace to Jews, they too just wanted miracles, not the salvation that the miracles represented. Also, to Jews, “Christ crucified” was a “stumblingblock,” something offensive, for did they not crucify Christ (today’s Scripture; cf. Isaiah 8:13,14; Romans 9:32,33; 1 Peter 2:6-8)?
  • GREEKS AND WISDOM: In Acts chapter 17, when Paul encountered the Athenian philosophers near Mars’ Hill, they wanted to learn from him “new doctrine… for all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing” (verses 19-21). Notice again how these Greeks focused on learning/philosophy. Yet, once they learned God’s wisdom, Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace, they considered that “foolishness” (today’s Scripture; cf. Acts 17:18,32; 1 Corinthians 1:18).

Thankfully, today’s Scripture teaches that for Jews who were “called” (members of the Church the Body of Christ), Christ was TRUE POWER, “the power of God”—for God demonstrated His miraculous power by raising Christ from the dead (cf. Romans 1:4; 2 Corinthians 13:4). For Greeks who were “called” (also members of the Body of Christ), Christ was TRUE WISDOM, “the wisdom of God”—for God demonstrated His unrivaled wisdom in saving us using “the foolishness of preaching” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:21, 25-30; Colossians 2:2,3).

The Jews Require a Sign

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:” (1 Corinthians 1:22 KJV).

Today there is much discussion in Christendom about signs, miracles, and wonders. Charismatic preachers filled with the supposed “Holy Ghost” claim they cast out devils, handle snakes, speak in tongues, heal the sick, and, yes, allegedly raise the dead! The Bible does teach these practices, but are they really doing God’s work, or merely “wresting” God’s Word to make it say something God never said?

Unquestionably, the Lord Jesus Christ told His apostles to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” (Matthew 10:8). He instructed them to “cast out devils,” “speak with new tongues,” “take up serpents,” drink poison, and “lay hands on the sick [so] they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18). But, notice the context—Jesus is sending His apostles with “signs” to lost Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Mark 16:17,20). Jews will only believe if they first witness God’s miracles.

Signs, miracles, and wonders were significant in Israel’s program. Jews always “required signs” (today’s Scripture). The Lord Jesus said (John 4:48): “Except ye [Israel] see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” Miracles in Israel first appear in Exodus 4:1-9, when God gave Moses the ability to heal sickness and handle snakes (to teach Israel that he was God’s servant to deliver them from Egypt). Verses 30 and 31 explain that once Israel saw these signs, “the people believed” (cf. John 4:48).

Jesus performed many miracles during His earthly ministry to prove to Israel that He was God’s servant, their Messiah-King, the God whom their fathers worshipped. Sadly, sinful Israel crucified Him in unbelief.

When God began turning to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul, these miracles transferred to the Gentiles, teaching Israel that God was now working amongst the Gentiles (Romans 11:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:21,22). Eventually, when Israel’s program ceased, these miracles faded, and at the close of Paul’s ministry, he could no longer heal (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20).

So, it begs the question, today’s charismatic preachers are using whose power to perform their “signs, miracles, and wonders?” Not the God of the Bible!

Diets and the Dispensations

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5 KJV).

Opponents of dispensational Bible study claim that because God never changes (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), His dealings with mankind never change. Certainly, God’s essence—His character and nature—never changes. But, His directions to man do change, and this is easily exemplified by comparing today’s Scripture with the following:

  • NO MEAT, VEGETATION ONLY — Genesis 1:27-29: Before sin, God instructed Adam and Eve to eat only vegetation like nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits (no meat).
  • ALL MEAT AND VEGETATION — Genesis 9:1-4: After the Great Flood, God taught Noah to eat any animal that he could catch (1,600 years after Adam, meat is incorporated into man’s diet).
  • ONLY CERTAIN MEAT — Leviticus 11:1-31 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21: In the Mosaic Law, some 850 years after Noah, God ordered Israel to abstain from some meats, the “unclean” beasts which included bats, owls, camels, vultures, lizards, and swine. These kosher food laws of Judaism remained in effect for the next 1500 years.

Which passage should we obey? Eat only vegetation (Genesis 1:27-29)? Or, eat any meat we choose (today’s Scripture and Genesis 9:1-4)? Or, eat only certain meats (Leviticus 11:1-31 and Deuteronomy 14:1-21)? While these seem like contradictions, notice God spoke them to different groups of people at different times (dispensations). We must never mix the directions God gave in the various dispensations because Bible “contradictions” will arise. “Rightly dividing the word of truth” is necessary to determine which passage is God’s Word to us (2 Timothy 2:15).

As Gentiles, Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13): Paul is God’s spokesman to us. In today’s Scripture, the Holy Spirit through Paul tells us that since we live in the Dispensation of Grace, we are not bound to observe Israel’s kosher food laws. We can eat all meats, provided we give God thanks (but note how God did not allow this in other dispensations).

No clearer example of the importance of dispensational Bible study could be presented.

Do We Have Guardian Angels?

Monday, February 6, 2012

“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of the scores of verses that speak of “guardian angels.” But do we have guardian angels today, in our Dispensation of Grace?

Throughout the Old Testament, angels protected and guided the nation Israel (Exodus 23:20,23; Exodus 33:2; Judges 6:11,12; 2 Kings 19:35; et al.). “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11,12).

In the New Testament, angels ministered to Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43). Angels rescued the imprisoned apostles (Acts 5:18-26) and delivered the Apostle Peter from prison (Acts 12:1-11). Yet, when we come to our Apostle Paul, God uses an earthquake—not an angel—to free him from prison (Acts 16:23-28). Why?

Notice what Paul writes about angels today. They should not be worshipped (Colossians 2:18) and that, if a supposed “angel” appears to us today, it would do so only to deceive by preaching to us a false gospel (Galatians 1:8; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14). But, Paul’s epistles are silent about guardian angels in our Dispensation of Grace. We are not guaranteed physical protection with angels like God promised Israel, but we Christians have some better: we have eternal spiritual protection because the indwelling Holy Spirit is guarding our souls (Ephesians 4:30; cf. Romans 8:35-39).

Furthermore, Paul writes that, while angels have no ministry to us today, we have a ministry to them! The angels are curious about what God is doing, so they learn this by watching us, the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 5:21). Smile, they are watching! 🙂

But, what about Hebrews 1:14: “Are they [the angels of verse 13] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Notice, this is the book of Hebrews—this is speaking of future Israel.

We do not need angels today—they need us.

I Will Be Their God

Sunday, February 5, 2012

“And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is part of the Abrahamic Covenant, the basis for God creating the nation Israel. The LORD promised Abraham in Genesis chapter 12 that he would have a son Isaac, who would give birth to the Jewish race. God would also give a geographic area to Abraham and his “seed:” this is the “Promised Land” or Palestine (“all the land of Canaan”).

God formed Israel in order to use her as the vessel to restore His authority in the earth. Israel was to be a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5,6), but before Israel could bring God to the Gentiles, God first had to be her God. The LORD repeatedly says in the Old Testament: “Israel will be my people, and I will be their God” (Exodus 29:45; Jeremiah 24:7; Jeremiah 31:33; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 11:20; Ezekiel 34:24; Ezekiel 37:23, 27; Zechariah 8:8).

But, Israel rejected and crucified her King Jesus, and refused to bring salvation to the Gentiles. Thus, Israel’s kingdom is currently and temporarily postponed. Salvation is coming to us Gentiles through Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of Grace of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, without Israel’s kingdom (Romans 11:11-13). Israel is not God’s people today (Hosea 1:9; Romans 10:1-3); who is? WE ARE, the Church the Body of Christ!

Paul quotes the Old Testament when God spoke to Israel, and writes about us members of the Body of Christ: “…For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people(2 Corinthians 6:16).

Today, Israel is spiritually blinded and lost (Romans 11:7,25), but at Christ’s Second Coming, Israel will finally be saved and forgiven (verses 26-29). In that day, God will establish the New Covenant, and our God will be Israel’s God too (note Hebrews 8:10 cf. Hosea 1:10).

Saints, never forget—God has not forgotten Israel.

Why Twelve Apostles?

Friday, February 3, 2012

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:27,28 KJV).

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ choose twelve apostles during His earthly ministry? Today’s Scripture elaborates.

When God separated Abram (Abraham) from the human race in Genesis chapter 12, He purposed to create a nation for His name. Using Abraham’s bloodline, God would also send the King-Messiah-Redeemer (Jesus), the seed of the woman, that He promised in Genesis 3:15. As God swore, elderly Abram and Sarai (Sarah) had their son Isaac (Genesis 17:1-22). Isaac fathered Jacob, and Jacob had twelve sons (Genesis 35:22-26). Jacob’s twelve sons head “the twelve tribes of Israel” (Genesis 49:1-28; Acts 7:8).

In Bible numerics, 12 is the number of the nation Israel. God used twelve men and their wives to give birth to the Jewish race. According to today’s Scripture, when Jesus Christ came (First Advent), He chose 12 men to be His apostles, individuals that He sent out to evangelize the rest of Israel (Matthew 10:5-7). But, not only that… we gather from today’s Scripture that Christ had actually chosen the twelve rulers of Israel, who would govern Israel when He would set up His kingdom (cf. Luke 22:29,30)!

The program operating during Christ’s earthly ministry was the prophetic program, which God had operated since the world began (Acts 3:21). Today, Israel’s program is currently interrupted by our mystery program, the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 16:25,26a). When this present dispensation is concluded (at the rapture), God will return to Israel’s program. After Jacob’s trouble (Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation), Jesus Christ, at His Second Coming, will return to establish His earthly kingdom. Then, He will fulfill today’s Scripture. (Albeit, Matthias will assume Judas’ position; Acts 1:21-26.)

Why twelve apostles? So Israel can one day have twelve princes!