“Seeing Through a Glass, Darkly”
Vol: 44 Issue: 20 Friday, May 20, 2005
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)
We discussed the four rational creations of God in the last briefing, but, judging from some of your comments, I didn’t do such a bang-up job of explaining it all. I will try and clarify the murky spots.
Some of you questioned the application of the word ‘creation’ to describe them. Nobody disputes the fact that the angels were created, or man.
One member argues that Jews were not ‘created’ separately, but were selected from an already living group. Jewishness is both a spiritual and a physical manifestation, neither of which existed until God created it out by an act of His own will.
Abraham was chosen out of the land of Ur to be the father of a great nation. Abraham decided that, given his age and that of Sarah’s, that he would father this great nation through Sarah’s Egyptian slave, Hagar.
But God said that HE would create a great nation:
“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:” (Genesis 12:2)
It was by the sovereign act of God that Sarah conceived, it was the sovereign choice of God that the Abrahamic covenant would flow through the descendants of Isaac, and it was by Divine decree that his descendants would be a peculiar people, unique from all the rest of humanity.
The Abrahamic covenant resulted in a new spiritual creature, not Gentile nor angel, but children of the Promise. The Jews are genetically unique; the priestly caste of Cohanin bear the unique genetic signature of Aaron, enabling the modern Jews to positively identify the hereditary priests that are necessary to the restoration of Temple worship.
Abraham didn’t make his descendants the children of the Promise. God did, by an act of His sovereign will. Until the creation of the Jews, there were just two spiritual creations — angels and Gentile descendants of Adam.
That is the operative phrase here; ‘SPIRITUAL creation’.
Let’s define ‘creation’ for the sake of clarification as that which comes into being by the sovereign will of God.
By an act of His sovereign will, God introduced a third spiritual creation, one that had not previously existed. Jews are not Jews by choice, they are born Jews.
A Buddhist Jew is still a Jew. No matter what religion a Jew practices — or none at all — the Jew is still a Child of the Promise and has a unique spiritual standing before God.
It isn’t a question of attitude or whether or not the Jew has a ‘right relationship’ toward God. I don’t know exactly how God accomplishes His plan for the Children of the Promise, but I trust the Bible.
“And so ALL Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” (Romans 11:26)
Angels were created with spiritual attributes unique to angels. Man was created with his own unique spiritual attributes. He became a Gentile, separated from God, with Adam’s fall.
Out of Gentile spiritual humanity, God created a third unique spiritual being, the Jew, and endowed him with spiritual attributes unique from other men.
The fourth spiritual creation is the Christian. This spiritual creation also comes into existence as the consequence of a sovereign act of God. This spiritual creature, like angels, Jews and Gentiles, has an eternal component, but unlike the Jews and the Gentiles, it is a new form of spiritual creation.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
No matter how hard he tries, a Jew cannot become a Gentile by an act of his own will. No matter what religion he practices, (or even no religion at all), he will always be a Jew. I was born an Irish Catholic. But no matter what religion I practice, Catholicism, Christianity, Buddhist or Hindu, I will always be Irish.
But, uniquely, only the Jew who becomes a Christian is no longer a Jew. By becoming a Christian, a Jew isn’t even a Jew to other Jews. Even Israel recognizes that he becomes a ‘new creature’ in Christ and often revokes or refuses Israeli citizenship to Messianic Jews.
Equally uniquely, a Christian can never become a Gentile. Spiritually, he is already a ‘new creature’. His transformation is accomplished the sovereign act of God of forgiveness by grace through faith.
A Gentile can become a Jew, or he can become a Christian. Reversing the process by an act of man’s will is impossible, since the process itself is accomplished by God, and “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)
The second question revolves around the continued existence of the Gentiles in the Millennial Kingdom. More than a few of you questioned that.
We opened this briefing with Isaiah 2:4, which speaks of the ‘nations’ that will “go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.”
Note that this is what a Gentile would say, not a Jew.
Isaiah also says He will judge between the ‘nations’ [more than one] and will settle disputes for ‘many peoples’.
They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, “nor will they train for war anymore.”
Israel is but ONE nation. The Church is raptured and has received their translated bodies. The only possible explanation for the ‘nations’ is that they are Gentile nations.
Will there be Gentile survivors of the Tribulation Period who enter into the Millennial Kingdom AS Gentiles?
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Zechariah 14:16)
“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.” (Matthew 25:32-33)
Jesus is speaking of the destiny of nations, not individuals.
“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: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” (Matthew 25:34-35)
The sheep and goat nations will be judged as either worthy to enter the Millennial Kingdom or unworthy, based on how each nation treated Israel.
They are Gentile nations, neither Jew nor Christian. Christianity, as we understand it, ends with the conclusion of the Church Age.
When the ‘elect company’ being called out of the world as the Bride of Christ reaches its complete number, the Rapture takes place, followed by the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. There are tribulation saints, but those saints are not saved according to the Dispensation of Grace, but rather are saved according to the Dispensation of the Law.
Tribulation saints, [with the exception of the 144,000 of Revelation 7] are NOT sealed ‘with the Holy Spirit of Promise’ (Ephesians 1:13) — since the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is unique to the Church Age.
If all Tribulation believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, like the new creatures of the Church Age, there would be little point in devoting an entire chapter to describing the ‘sealing’ of the 144,000 Jews during the Tribulation.
The Tribulation saints are NOT ‘new creatures’ transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but remain Gentiles, saved the same way the Jewish saints of the Old Testament were – by being declared judicially righteous by God.
The Bible indicates that judicial declaration of righteousness is directly related to their treatment of the nation of Israel. It also says that the Gentile nations who enter the Millennial Kingdom will serve Israel.
Melchizedek, king of Salem, was a Gentile, but the Bible calls him the ‘priest of the most high God’ for siding with Abraham against the King of Sodom and bringing Abraham bread and wine. (Genesis 14:18).
I realize a lot of this challenges what is taught today, mainly because of a fundamental misunderstanding of Dispensational truth. Dispensationalism holds that, during different periods throughout history, God dealt with man’s salvation in different ways.
He walked with Adam ‘in the cool of the garden’ during the Age of Innocence. After the Fall, but before the Flood, God allowed man to pretty much govern according to his own will in what is called the ‘Age of Conscience’. After the Flood, God dealt with individuals one-on-one as he did from Noah until Moses.
When Moses received the Law, it introduced a new Dispensation in which God dealt with His people judicially in a corporate, rather than individual manner, setting up Judges over Israel to rule according to Divine Decree.
After the Jews failed miserably at keeping the Law, Jesus introduced a new Dispensation, the Age of Grace. The Age of Grace concludes with the Rapture of the Church and the withdrawal of the Restrainer. (2nd Thessalonians 2:7)
There is yet a final seven year period for the Age of the Law, during which God pours out His wrath against unbelieving Jews and Gentiles, called the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’.
Then there is the final Dispensation, the Millennial Kingdom, in which Jews and righteous Gentiles will live under the direct reign of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem for a thousand year period.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15)
‘Rightly dividing the word of truth’ means that there IS a division in the word of truth. It means one cannot apply the tenets of the Age of Law to the Church Age and get any understanding of salvation by grace through faith.
One cannot apply the tenets of the Church Age to the Tribulation Period and get any clear understanding of how the Tribulation saints can be saved, or how they could later subsequently be lost by accepting the Mark of the Beast.
During the Church Age, the saints cannot be overcome by Satan — “resist the devil, and he will flee from you” does not apply in some metaphysical sense that eventually, we will die and be outside Satan’s power. In the Church Age, it means what it says. The devil cannot stand before an indwelt believer who pleads the Blood of Christ.
But during the Tribulation, “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.” (Revelation 13:7)
Without an understanding of the division in the Word, that would appear to be a contradiction. The power ‘to overcome them doesn’t mean he has the power to kill them.
Satan has ALWAYS had that power. Over the course of human history, he has killed uncounted billions through sin. But during the Church Age, believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Whose ministry is to guide the Church in all truth.
During the Tribulation, the antichrist will be able to deceive ‘even the very elect’ and any, Jew, Gentile or Tribulation saint, who accepts his mark will be forever damned.
” . . .and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)
Those who worship the beast and receive his mark are not among that company.
Where, under the Dispensation of the Law, God says, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’; under the Dispensation of the Age of Grace, Jesus says, ‘turn the other cheek’.
Were it not for the understanding of Dispensationalism, one could argue that Scripture contradicts itself.
But unregenerate Gentiles are sinners. How can they enter the Millennial Kingdom? David sinned. Noah sinned. Abraham sinned. But note that, “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness. . .” (James 2:23)
It is a difficult study, since the Bible doesn’t say that much about the Gentiles of the Millennial Kingdom, other than they will live in a restored ecology, will enjoy lifespans similar to those before the Flood, and that they will eventually be deceived one last time by Satan and will make war against God.
The first six Dispensations are outlined in great detail, where we are only given a shadowy look at the Millennial Kingdom. The Millennial Kingdom will be administered directly by Christ from earth. There is no real need for detail. When the time comes, those alive then can enquire directly of Him.
The Apostle Paul explains; “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1st Corinthians 13:12)