Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Focus Of The End Times Is Israel, Not The Church.....

The Focus Of The End Times Is Israel, Not The Church

So long as Satan is the god of this world and believers are on this earth. there will be trial and tribulation to face. This arises from the very nature of things. The world is opposed to everything that is of the Spirit of God. The Christian's trials arise from the adverse circumstances through which he is passing, like Israel of old journeying through the wilderness. More than this, there is the direct opposition of the enemy: "All they that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." But there is one character of tribulation that God's children in this age will never have to know, and that is exposure to divine wrath.

We look for His return as our deliverer from the coming wrath. This is a principle of great importance when it comes to defining the church's relationship to the great tribulation, when the vials of wrath will be poured out on apostate Christendom, apostate Judaism, and unbelievers.

First, let's begin by looking at all the verses which tell us that we are not appointed to wrath, or are saved from wrath:

1 Thess 1:10, "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."

1 Thess 5:9, "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ"

Romans 5:9, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."

Eph 5:6, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."

God has said,           

"In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: but the harvest shall be a heap in the day of grief and desperate sorrow."

                                                                                                                             Isaiah 17:11

Whose grief and whose desperate sorrow will this be? 

The answer to this question will settle the problem that is before us. In this passage God was speaking of Israel's apostasy and His dealings with them. When our blessed Lord was on the earth, Palestine was one of the most fruitful of lands. Josephus's account of the conditions prevailing in Galilee before the siege of Jerusalem is almost unbelievable, so productive was that land and so thickly populated. But they did not know the time of their visitation, and when the Saviour was rejected as Messiah and His authority refused, God rejected the people and cast them out and blasted their land. Since then Palestine has been like a great desert, with here and there an oasis, unable to support a large population. 

Now let us turn to the prophet Jeremiah:

And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord: We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of JACOB'S TROUBLE: but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them (30:4-9).

What I particularly wish to stress here is the different name now given to the era of tribulation. It is called specifically "the time of Jacob's Trouble," and it is important that we have this clearly in mind. IT IS NOT THE TIME OF THE CHURCH'S TROUBLE. As we have seen, we are having our time of trouble now. We have been enduring tribulation ever since the beginning of the church's testimony here on earth. But the passage before us refers to something very different, a time of unprecedented distress that is called "Jacob's Trouble." If Christian students of the scriptures would always distinguish carefully what prophecy has to say concerning the Jew, the gentile, and the church of God, it would not be difficult to clear up this entire subject. It is by confusing these three distinct classes that many unscriptural theories are foisted on the people of God.

Observe that the time of Jacob's trouble is to be immediately followed by the repentance of the remnant and their deliverance from gentile oppression, when once more they will serve the Lord their God. The true Son of David will be recognized as their Messiah and will be seated on David's throne: David means "beloved." and God the Father has already designated the Lord Jesus Christ as His beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. He was refused as the Son of David when He came in grace the first time. He will be received in that very character when He returns in power and glory. Israel is the focus of the end times, of course many unbelievers will realize the error of their ways as well.  

A careful consideration of many scriptures, particularly in the Old Testament prophets, would how us that when the Lord thus returns, He will smite apostate Israel and the rebellious gentile world with judgment. They will be destroyed at His presence. On the other hand, a remnant of Israel will not only be spared from judgment, but will welcome Him as their long-looked-for King and Messiah. A great multitude of gentiles will be saved from the wrath that will fall on the worshippers of the beast and will form the nucleus of our Lord's kingdom on this earth for a thousand years. This is the predicted program for the coming of the Son of man.

The term "the coming of the Son of man" never refers to that particular aspect of the second advent for which the church is taught to look. When our Lord addressed Israel when He was on this earth He used this expression over and over again. In John 14 our Lord announced an aspect of His return that is NOT depicted in the synoptics. He spoke of coming to receive His own to be with Himself. This is the first clear word we have in the New Testament regarding what is commonly called the rapture. This particular aspect is always distinguished from the second coming of Christ.

With the above facts in mind, let us now turn to Revelation 3:10- 11. Writing to the angel of the church in Philadelphia, our Lord said:

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation
[of trial], which shall come upon all the world
, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."

This promise expressly declares that real believers of this dispensation, that is, the true church, will be kept from this coming hour of trial. They have not been kept from the frequent trials and tribulations to which Christians throughout the past centuries have been exposed, but they will be kept from this particular hour.

The 7 Year Tribulation brings God's focus completely back to Israel 

1. To purify Israel and bring the nation back to a place where God can fulfill the everlasting covenants made with the fathers of Israel (Isa. 2:6;Isa 3:26;Isa 16:1-5; Isa 24:1-23;Isa 26:20,21; Ezek. 20:33,34;Ezek 22:17-22; Rom. 11:25-29).

2. To purify Israel of all rebels (Ezek. 20:33,34;Ezek 22:17-22; Zech. 13:8,9; Mal. 3:3,4).

3. To plead with and bring Israel into the bond of the new covenant (Ezek. 20:33,34;Ezek 36:24-28; Jer. 30:3-11; Zech. 12:10 -Zech 13:9; Mal. 4:3,4).

4. To judge Israel for their rejection of the Messiah and make them willing to accept Him when He comes the second time to the earth (Ezek. 20:22,34; Zech. 12:10 - Zech 13:9;Zech 14:1-15; Mt. 24:15-31).

5. To judge the nations for their persecution of Israel (Isa. 16:3-5; Joel 3; Rev. 6:1 -Rev 19:21).

6. To bring Israel to complete repentance (Zech. 12:10 -Zech 13:9; Rom. 11:26-29; Mt. 23:39).

7. To fulfill the prophecies of Dan. 9:24-27; Rev. 6:1 - Rev 19:21; Mt. 24:15,29, etc.

8. To cause Israel to flee into the wilderness of Edom and Moab (modern Jordan) where they will turn to God for help (Isa. 16:1-5; Ezek. 20:33-35; Dan. 11:40 -Dan 12:7; Hos. 2:14-17; Mt. 24:15-31; Rev. 12).

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