God’s People will always be the nation of Israel. Though all Israel is not of Israel (Rom 9:6) does not take away that the Jew’s are they who are referred to in Romans 11, and God certainly has not cast away his people, yet through their fall salvation has come to the world (Rom 11:11).
Lets consider why this is so important as we deal with the issue of the Rapture of the Church, The Blessed Hope.
With such a focus for us upon the blessed hope, the pre-tribulational Rapture of the Church, one might think the reference was rightly appointed to ourselves, the Christian. Well, not in the passage we are going to consider this morning. “Gods people” refers to Israel. All of the prophetic timeframe, that is, from now to the end of the Millennial period, saving the Falling Away and the Rapture of the Church, has to do with Israel.
Israel is Gods time piece.
All the “signs of the times” that Jesus referred to and that should be watched are to do with Israel alone. Nothing needs to occur before the Rapture of the Church, no prophecy in scripture needs to be yet fulfilled prior to that event coming to pass. But why is Israel so important to our study of the Rapture of the Church?
Because without a Biblical understanding of how God feels about his Elect, we will run into grave error, not only concerning his coming for the Church, but also our relationship to Israel.
A PROMISED PEOPLE
1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham,of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.Romans 11:1-2
We live in a day of rising anti-Semitism when the world believes God has cast away his people. Yet it is a time predicted in the last days where the entire world will have a particular hatred for the People of God.
An Anti-Semite is a person who holds both a prejudice and an active hostility of the Semitic people. The Term Semite is one coined in the 18thcentury and refers particularly to the descendants of Shem, just as Hamites and Japetites refers to Noahs other sons, Ham and Japheth. Shem was the longest surviving son of Noah. Semite refers to those of Caucasian distinction, particularly ALL the descendants of Abraham today including both Arab and Jew, Turk and Kurd.
But historically it is Israel that is the most focused people group identified by this term.
An Anti-Semite is one who has prejudice against the Jew, one who hates Gods People. And they have been there ever since Genesis 3.
Israel is a Promised People unto the Lord and there is nothing that will take away that promise from the nation of Israel. But the Bible teaches clearly that the entire world will be against Israel in the Last days.
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round
about,when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
The rising hatred we are seeing against Israel the world over today will continue to rise until all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
When my family were in Israel in 2012 we went to a museum known as Yad Vashem (A monument and a name), the Holocaust museum set up as a monument to remember the tragedy of Nazi Germany.
The lies and propaganda, the board games and card games sold, the literature and news articles that circulated, the education materials children studied in school, the scientific reports created by scientists, all of which was directly hostile to the Jew. It was incredible.
- It reminds me of the propaganda of Global Warming forced on children today to change their belief in reality.
- It reminds me of the propaganda of Evolution forced on the children today to change their belief in reality.
- It reminds me of the propaganda of Gender Theory that will be forced on the children today to change their belief in reality.
Similar propaganda circulates through the web, the United Nations and European nations about Israel today. Watch for it as it increases, Israel is Gods timepiece.
The argument over the nature of the Rapture of the Church stems directly from the question relating to the nation of Israel. “hath God cast away his people” yes or no? If God has cast away his people, and God has replaced Israel with the Church, it is plain in scripture, that Israel is present during the Tribulation.
In Genesis 15:12–18God makes a UNILATERAL (ie. One Sided) Covenant with Abram for the land the nation today partly inhabits. Abram was placed in a deep sleep as the Lord pronounced the terms of the UNCONDITIONAL agreement, from the River of Egypt until the great river of the Euphrates.
The Abrahamic Covenant continues in Genesis 12:1-7, 13:14-17, 17:1-14, 22:15-18. Essentially it was to make the people a great people, as the stars in the heavens for multitude, a great nation. So profound was this promise that Jeremiah records of it;
35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts
ishis name: 36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then theseed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
Does the sun give light in the day? The moon and stars in the night? Jeremiah is plain in his words, As long as the Earth abides, so too shall the Lords covenant with Israel remain. The language is plain, the promise is sure.
2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.
These are a promised people, a people preserved by the Lord.
Tell me, if God breaks this solemn promise to his People Israel, what confidence do you have that you will be preserved? Every doctrine in the Bible is vitally important, like a tapestry that would otherwise unwind. If God has cast away his people, what confidence can we have that our sins wont separate us from a similar promise?
A RETAINED REMNANT
Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image ofBaal. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.Romans 11:2-5
Paul, quoting 1 Kings 19:10-18 when Elijah fled after he slew the 400 prophets of Baal. His mind troubled, not only because of the wicked Jezabel and her desire to have him dead by the next day, but because he thought himself the only one left of all Israel, faithful to the covenants of the Lord.
For centuries Israel showed so little faith, so often disobeyed the Lord, they even “killed thy prophets and digged down thine alters”, Turn to Matthew 23 (keep your finger in Romans 11) and listen to the testimony from Jesus own lips;
In Matthew 23:29–33
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Yeserpents,yegeneration of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
But even so (v4), what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee tothe image ofBaal.
Even with all the sin of Israel, God has reserved to himself a faithful remnant in the time of Paul and so too will there remain only the faithful remnant in Last Day, the Day of The Lord.
Turn to the book of Zechariah.
During the second world war 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazi war machine in an attempt to rid the world of the nation. It was what Adolf Hitler referred to as “The Final Solution”. That number equated to one third of all the Jews. To this day the phrase “never again” is employed against that event.
But in the Book revered by the Jews they must know that it will happen one last time, in the Last Day, The day of the Lord, only a remnant will there be calling out blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The secularism of the Jew will match the secular nature of the world and of all those present during the Tribulation period, but a remnant shall be saved.
8 And it shall come to pass,thatin all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut offanddie; but the third shall be left therein. 9And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, Itismy people: and they shall say, The LORDismy God.
The context is the last days.
When the apostate Church desires to make the claim that it has replaced Israel, you might wonder how it deals with such an end. If today, the Church is Israel, the words with which they should comfort one another is not very comforting!
A remnant shall be saved even during that wretched time on earth in those coming days.
Perhaps it’s difficult for us to look upon the time to come with hope when we know what it will mean for the world, and perhaps that is one motivation why so many might choose to deny what the Bible teaches respecting the Rapture of the Church occurring prior to that ‘never before seen’ event.
Nevertheless, there will not be a single soul sad that they missed the tribulation when they are ever with the Lord!
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
There is a purpose in God’s work and at this present time a remnant of Jews only will come to believe in the Lord and not all.
AN EXCLUSIVE ELECTION
7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
Paul concluding that passage with a quote from Psalm 69:22-23. This passage might seem disturbing as we witness with clarity the perfect teaching of the sovereignty of God. That he is perfectly in control is without question, and it will become our study in the weeks to come from Romans chapter 9. Suffice to say that God is perfectly sovereign, and man is perfectly accountable.
God is demonstrated in this passage to sovereignly elect some and blind the rest. God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear. Please do not imply evil with the Lord, unlike the many false notions of God, he is not arbitrary when it comes to election, he chooses in direct accord with his perfect sovereign will and not by the flip of a coin. And neither is man unaccountable.
Those blinded are blinded by choice, it is what we can refer to as WILFULL IGNORANCE. Those who’s hearts are tuned to seek after the Lord, will find him (Jer 29:13). Those who forsake him, he will forsake (2 Chron 15:2). Gods election is not arbitrary and never should be considered against the accountability of man. Nevertheless, what we discover is Gods purpose.
Look forward in this chapter to;
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
It’s not full blindness, but partial, blindness in part,And it’s for a purpose. As the branch was cut off that we gentiles might be grafted in, so too is blindness occurred in part to ensure the fullness of those appointed do come in!
2 Corinthians 3:12–16
12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vailis done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
What an incredible passage to help us see the simplicity of the doctrine. Even in the reading of the Old Testament the people of God have a veil upon their hearts that they cannot understand it. There certainly was a cost against Israel for their unbelief, but it was not their casting away, but only their ability to see fully and to understand their own doctrine.
Keep verse 16 of this 2 Corinthians 3 passage in mind;
16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.
A PURPOSEFUL PROVOCATION
11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them bethe riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Verse 13 makes clear that Paul is addressing this letter to you and I, to the gentiles of the world. But the subject of his discourse is Israel, the “Gods people” of verse 1, and the manner of his conversation is the joyof the world THROUGH THE JEW, consider;
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles,
And that salvation that now is the JOY OF THE WORLD is not without purpose either, it is there for to provoke them to jealousy.
You recall beloved, the sermon last week and how we discovered the incredible consistency of the scriptures how, that when the prophetic narrative in the Old Testament of the coming of the messiah reached its fulfillment, so too did the pending wrath of God come upon a rebellious world.
Yet what we see historically is that, rather than the wrath of God come upon the world at that time, an opportunity that has lasted some 2000 years has appeared for the SALVATION OF THE GENTILES and for the purpose of PROVOCATION to JEALOUSLY for ISRAEL.
This mystery of the Biblical Church has made its way into the prophetic calendar of events and yet nothing further is found in the New Testament concerning Prophecy for the Church other than its FALLING AWAY and RAPTURE.
BUT THERE WERE HINTS!
This is not seen in the Old Testament but in small glimpses, fragments of indication that another nation will serve the Lord.
Turn to Psalms 18:43
So many are the scriptures that are written by the men of the Old Testament, not knowing that they are penning prophecy, and this Psalm of David is one of them. It was written by him in praise to the Lord for delivering him from the hand of his enemies, namely King Saul.
He writes of beating down his enemies in the earlier verses and then in verse 43 states;
43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people
; andthou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whomI have not known shall serve me. 44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.Isaiah 42:1-3
6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
Consider what the Redeemer of Israel says in chapter 49:6
6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
The Apostles themselves, in hindsight came to understand this as hope for the Gentiles, Paul stating in Acts 13:46-47
46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
In the last few verses of the book of Acts, Paul rebukes the Jews and gives answer to their obstinance.
26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: 27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with
theirears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that theywill hear it.
But we can also see that Peter too recognized a passaged in the Old Testament referring to the pouring out of Gods spirit, identifying in Joel;
Turn back to
16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
Notice here, at the beginning of the Church, Peter also seems to see NO GAP, but recognizes the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, fully expecting THE DAY OF THE LORD to follow.
CAN YOU UNDERSTAND THEIR ZEAL FOR THE LORD NOW?
Peter did not know of the Rapture of the Church at this time, IT WAS ONLY REVEALED TO PAUL, but he was not even saved yet!
Beloved, there was a purpose in God’s plan for the opportunity of the Salvation of the world. You and I are saved because of the ‘stumbling of the Jews’. Because they halted in their faith, because they, as the natural branch were cut off, and we, as a wild branch have been grafted in (v17).
What a joy, what an opportunity!
And still there is time, time to tell more gentiles of the wonderful opportunity to be found in Christ, and to do so WHILE THERE IS STILL TIME.
We, like PETER, have no idea when the Lord will return for his church, BUT WHEN HE DOES, it will not be long before he will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
For every person alive, TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION, there is no guarantee of tomorrow.
Consider the close of the opportunity in Romans 11:25
25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, untilthe fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
This is one of the great “untils” of scripture, if you have not heard Bro Alan Parry’s sermon on this be sure to have a listen online. LINK
until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
There is a ‘fulness’, a clearly pre-determined number of Gentiles to be saved, and when that comes, the partial blindness of Israel will be lifted, and opportunity limited for Satan will know his time is short. Two thousand years of opportunity has been given the world to come to the Lord. Will you be willing to extend it to your neighbor? Have you extended it to your family, to your friends? Have you preached the urgency of it to all the family members? Some you might see today if you gather with family.
Beloved, remember also to shake the dust of your feet as your preach the piece of God, don’t argue, but be earnest.
12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?Romans 11:12
Can you imagine what the fulness of Israel will bring if their fall and diminishing has gained the riches of eternal life to us? We should pray for the salvation of the Nation that we might have a share in the blessing that will be gained from their fulness.
Imagine what blessing might be received if we had a zeal for them, they are the apple of Gods eye? Pray earnestly for Israel, and those who might find their messiah?