Preparation of a Kingdom

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In His covenant with Abraham, God promised land and descendants…a kingdom.  He gave Abraham and His descendants the land of Canaan (Israel today), establishing “headquarters” for the earthly kingdom.  But a new kingdom is being developed!  This kingdom is a worldwide family made up of those who receive the Messiah.  (Jews and Gentiles)  In this kingdom, there is no distinction.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
~Galatians 3:26-29

This is the Millennial Kingdom…the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant!  It will be established when Jesus returns physically to this earth.  But remember, He must be invited back!  Here is what Jesus said in Matthew 23:37-39:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

But interestingly, did you know Jesus heard that invitation previously?  Mark 11:9-10 records His triumphant entry into Jerusalem a few days prior, when the people welcomed Him with the very words, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”

That was the first preparation for the Kingdom.  A practice run, perhaps.  But what it tells us is the Jewish people have been looking for the King and the Kingdom since the time of Jesus!  This is a long pursuit because they saw but didn’t believe.  Next time, they will see and believe!

As for the timing of the King’s return, we must remember there are two “finish lines.”  Spiritual Israel looks to the rapture, when those who have put their trust in Jesus are snatched away to meet Him in the air.  For unbelieving (natural) Israel, the earthly “finish line” is the glorious appearing of Jesus when He physically sets foot on the Mount of Olives and sets up His Millennial Kingdom.  The Second Coming is actually 1 event in 2 phases (rapture, glorious appearing).

Oh, what glorious days those will be (with a 7 year tribulation period in between).  To see the Lord and to be with Him for all eternity is the only thing worth living for!  I hope you are living to see that day!

Tomorrow’s focus will be on the immanency of Christ’s return, including a special surprise I want to share with you.  Come back tomorrow for the excitement!

 

3 Conditions Needed to Bring the King Home

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What is required in order for Jesus to return?  Did you know it has to do with the Davidic Covenant…and that happens to be our topic of discussion this week?  If you missed yesterday’s lesson, I encourage you to scroll back to it before jumping into today’s lesson.

In Acts 1:6-8, the disciples were trying to understand what Jesus was teaching them about His return (and the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant).  Jesus taught them “kingdom lessons” when He told them it wasn’t for them to know, since the kingdom they knew about would be destroyed in less than 40 years.

Today, we might ask the same question: “Lord, when will you restore Your kingdom?”

To get to that answer, recall the 3 great covenants we studied last week (Abrahamic, Mosaic and New).  Those will culminate in one final great covenant: the Davidic Covenant.  But there are 3 conditions needed to bring King Jesus home and fulfill that last great covenant:

  1. Israel must be back in her land.
  2. Israel’s historical mission (vehicle of world redemption) must not fail.
  3. Israel’s destiny must be national, not just spiritual.

Israel must be back in her land.

Jesus foretold destruction and dispersion of the land and the people prior to His return (Mathew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).  How could Jesus possibly rule if no one is there?  Scripture says the Jews will welcome Him home…not the Gentiles!  Yet, for years, Gentiles ruled over Jerusalem.  In fact, the battle still rages over control of the Holy City.  However, on May 14, 1948, Israel was reborn and is now back in her land!  That condition has been met almost before our very eyes!

Israel’s historical mission must not fail.

If Israel’s historical mission fails, then God is a liar!  That will never be!  When God told Abraham (Genesis 12:3) that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed, He was actually making Abraham and his physical descendants (Israel) the vehicle of world redemption!  That is the blessing He had in mind!

God has not changed His mind…He has not replaced Israel…Israel’s role has never changed.  God made a promise, and He intends to keep it!  He does, however, use their unbelief to achieve His purpose!  How so?

God loves Israel and wants to save her.  Not because they are “better,” but because He desires that none should perish.  But notice something:

  • The OT prophets were saved by looking forward to the cross in faith.  In that faith, they gave us the Scriptures!
  • We are saved by looking back to the cross in faith.  In Israel’s unbelief, God opened up a plan of salvation for the Gentiles.  (Check out Romans 11 if you need reference.)

Israel is fulfilling her historical mission.

Israel’s destiny must be national, not just spiritual.

The Abrahamic Covenant guarantees a national destiny.  Israel will have land and descendants of Abraham forever!  God needed a physical nation from which to love the world, and He placed real, physical people in the real, physical land He gave them!  One day, Romans 11:26 says, “All Israel will be saved!”  It will be a national revival, not simply a spiritual one.

BTW – if for no other reason than that, the church cannot be the “new Israel,” as Replacement Theology would suggest.

So, those are the 3 conditions, and keep in mind that God’s call is irrevocable!  His promises and His calling to Israel remain the same today as they have been throughout history.

I want to leave you with two passages that will set us up for tomorrow’s study.  Take so time and just let these passages sink in:

  • Isaiah 46:8-10 – God’s purpose is established and He will accomplish it!
  • Ezekiel 37:24-28 – God’s people will live in the land and David will rule over it!

Intriguing!  Come back tomorrow and let’s talk this out!

A Fig Tree and Dry Bones

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What a tremendous week of study!  I hope you are enjoying the discussion.  We’re in the midst of examining signs of the times and today’s lesson focuses on perhaps the most crucial parable and prophecy in all of Scripture when it comes to God’s plan for the Jews in end times.  Let’s jump into Mark 13:28-29:

“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door.”

Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience who would most certainly have known the parable of the fig tree referred to Israel.  (The fig tree is the national symbol of Israel.)  Once again, Jesus was making it very clear what the signs are of the end times.  The branch “put forth leaves” on May 14, 1948 when Israel became alive again, declaring independence!

Similarly, the prophet Ezekiel clearly prophesied Israel’s re-birth.  In Ezekiel 36, the prophet prophecied to the land, in preparation for the return of the Jewish people.  Then we hear this in Ezekiel 37:

 

Yes!  Dry bones now live!  Will you dedicate some time today to praise God for the fulfillment of this great prophecy?  Understand, dear Christians, God’s purpose cannot be fulfilled unless the people of God are in the land of God!  Praise His Holy Name!

“What will be the Sign of Your Coming?”

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Pull up a chair, friends!  We’ve entered into “Signs of the Times: Storm Clouds Rising,” week 3 of a our study, Why Israel Matters.  Yesterday, we discovered Jesus’ rebuke of Pharisees, Sadducees and the crowds who followed Him because, while they were so adept at discerning the weather, they failed to discern the signs of the times in which they lived.

Jesus’ disciples had relevant questions regarding the signs of the end.

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
~Matthew 24:3

Jesus told them the specific signs!  No guess work here.

  • The Temple would be destroyed (which it was, in 70 AD)
  • False messiahs
  • Wars and rumors of wars
  • Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom
  • Famines and earthquakes

Wow!  Sounds like what we see today…right?  False messiahs have existed since that time, there has hardly been a day in world history void of war, saber-rattling between nations happens constantly, and the frequency and severity of natural disasters (including famine and earthquakes) are at all time highs.

Those are the signs Jesus said we would see!  We are living in the time and season Jesus described as the end times.

But…before we get too carried away, remember NO ONE knows the day and hour the rapture will occur.  (Matthew 24:36, 50, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:32, Luke 12:46)  Yet, false prophets have incorrectly predicted the day for years:

 

Before we end the day, let me very briefly address the latest craze that turned out to be false prophecy: blood moons.

There are several big name “prophecy experts” who proliferated the false idea that the four blood moons (“tetrad”) of 2014-2015 were to result in the rapture.  Yet here we are in 2018…still on this earth!  The false theology was based on the mention of blood moons in Joel 2:31.  The problems are many-fold, not the least of which:

  • It is a single verse taken out of context, and
  • The verse also references the sun going dark (yet that part of the verse was conveniently disregarded)

Dear Christian friends, be diligent to discern the truth of God’s Word.  Be a Berean!  Study to discover what things are true.  (Acts 17:11)  Do not be deceived by false doctrine.

We’re back for more signs of the times tomorrow, so see you then!