Friday, February 03, 2006
in Exodus 19, God tells Moses that he is making a holy nation from the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob's name was changed to Israel (because he wrestled with God), and he had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. In 2 Samuel 7, David is promised that his kingdom and thrown would last forever. For the next 1000 years, the Israelites awaited the Messiah, who would be the king from the line of David. Folks, it's not a coincidence that Jesus Christ fulfilled so many prophecies about his coming to earth. Throughout the Scriptures, God progressively reveals His plan. Born of a virgin, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, escape to Egypt, and God with us are just some of the prophecies he fulfilled.
Through Jesus' earthly ministry, we see that he ministered to the Jew exclusively. We see that God's plan was that Israel would be saved, and that Israel would reach all the nations for God. This is evident in Matthew 28 and Acts 1-7, where God is still working with Israel as his people. It's not until the stoning of Stephen that we see a change. The book of Acts is really the rise and fall of Israel. In Acts 9, God saves Saul, a Jew with Gentile rights. He is the chosen vessel to go to the Gentiles. Wait...one question? "Great Commission" ? Didn't Jesus already tell his 12 to go to the Gentiles? Why in the world did God choose Paul to be the chosen vessel? If Paul is preaching the same message as Peter, why didn't Jesus tell Paul to go talk to Peter, he can help you. If Peter is preaching the same message as Paul, why does Paul claim in Galatians 1 that he didn't go speak to anyone, especially Peter for at least 3 years. If Paul is preaching the same message as the "12", why does he (Paul) claim to personally have received the dispensation of grace? Why does Paul use the word musterion or secret, to explain that God revealed this dispensation to Paul (not spoken about in the O.T., the gospels, or even Acts 1-8)? (Romans 16:25, 1 Cor 2:7, Galatians1:13-17, Ephesians 1:9-10, Ephesians 3:1-11, Colossians 1:25-27).
Paul went to the Jew first in the early part of his ministry. At the end of the transition period, he makes the statement that as a nation, God has postponed his dealings with Israel. Acts 28: 26-28, Romans 11:25. We also see that Paul participated in many Jewish ceremonies and rituals, that a) he stopped doing later in his ministry b) he wrote that he quit doing it c) he either de-emphasized it or used negative language in describing it
a) water baptism (Paul says he is glad he only did 2 or 3 people/families (how many churches would say this in 2006? )) replaced with spiritual baptism at the moment of salvation 1 Cor 1:13-17, 1 Cor 12:13, Ephesians 4:4, Titus 3:5-6
b) speaking in tongues (unknown languages) 1 Cor 13:8
c) healing (Phil. 2:25-30, 1 tim 5:23)
d) circumcision (replaced with spiritual) Romans 2, Col. 2
e) meeting on the Sabbath ( 1 Cor 16, now they meet on the 1st day of the week, instead of the last day), Col 2:16
f) dietary laws (col. 2:16, 1 Tim. 4:4) Peter doesn't receive his vision about meat until after what? (Pauls' salvation) Peter doesn't receive vision about Gentiles being clean until when? (Paul's salvation)
So where does this leave Jerusalem? the Jew today? Paul says in Romans 9-11 that an individual Jew can put his or her faith in Jesus Christ and be saved. just like a Gentile, (American, Canadian, Filipino, Korean, Costa Rican, Arab, Mexican, etc...you get my point.
But as God promises, He will resume his relationship with Israel someday. We know after the rapture, there will be a renewal in Israel. God will save 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel. There will be a terrible persecution in the earth (Matthew 24, Daniel 9, Revelation 3-19). This 7 year period will be unlike anything ever experienced. But God will be faithful. Christ will come down on the Mt. of Olives (Zech 14:4, Acts 1:9-12) and set up His kingdom on earth for a 1000 years (Revelation 20:6). Jerusalem will one day be devoted to Jesus Christ again!! Praise God for these promises, that He is faithful indeed.
Some famous people were born around this once and yet future Holy Land. David, son of Jesse. Jesus son of God son of man, and Natalie Portman.