the grand purpose of
the eteranal spirit (3)
The Hope of Israel
In our previous two studies on this subject, we established the following points from Scripture:
- Salvation is the means to a greater end (Psa. 85:9)
- The purpose of Salvation is to fill/populate the earth (Isa. 45:18)
- The entire earth will be populated with righteous men and women who show forth the glory of God (Prov. 10:30, Num. 14:21)
- The wicked shall not dwell in the earth (Prov. 10:30, Psa. 37:22)
- But the meek shall inherit the earth (Mat. 5:5)
In this article, we propose to demonstrate how Israel features in the outworking of the Divine Purpose, and how the restoration of the kingdom to Israel is the very means by which that Purpose will be realised.
Jeremiah describes the relationship between Israel and the nations:
“I am with thee, saith Yahweh, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished” (Jer. 30:11).
Sometimes this passage is used to describe how the kingdoms of past ages have come to an end: for example, there is no longer a Babylonian kingdom, or a Moabite kingdom, or a Philistine kingdom in existence. But what about Britain? Or America? What about modern nations who have persecuted the people of Yahweh—particularly Germany and Russia? What about the Arab nations? According to this prophecy, those nations, and indeed all nations will be made “a full end of”, and clearly this has not happened yet. But by contrast, when all the other nations will cease to exist, Israel will continue. Thus saith the prophet Isaiah:
“But Israel shall be saved in Yahweh with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” (Isa. 45:17).
By contrast to the nations then, which shall all vanish away, Israel will continue to exist and prosper “world without end”. And notice how far reaching the terms of this prophecy are: “an everlasting salvation” “world without end”. The implication is that the individuals who make up this holy nation will have an immortal life, for otherwise how can they be said to have “an everlasting salvation?” We find then, that Israel has a hope of survival, whereas the nations do not. And in order to receive an “everlasting salvation”, we need to be separate from the doomed nations, and join ourselves to Israel and her hope.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST – AS KING OVER ISRAEL
According to the Angel to Mary, the Lord Jesus Christ is going to be the king over Israel’s kingdom:
“he shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Lu. 1:32-33).
Notice again the terms used here, echoing the sentiments of Isaiah: “he shall reign … for ever” “of his kingdom there shall be no end”. The kingdom which has “no end” will be the “world” which is “without end”. True, the nature and form of the kingdom shall change as we shall shortly consider, but the kingdom itself shall continue without end, with it’s inhabitants receiving “an everlasting salvation”.
ISRAEL AND SALVATION
The Scriptures are clear in teaching that the salvation of individuals is dependent upon their relationship with the purpose of God centred in Israel. So the Great King himself told the Samaritan woman: “ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (Jno. 4:22). Here Messiah was not only teaching that salvation would come through him, a Jew, but that salvation can only be obtained through association with the Jews. We have seen this from the Old Testament prophets, cited earlier. The Apostle likewise taught: “if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:15). The restoration of the kingdom to Israel will mark a further development in the Divine Purpose, as it will be at this time that there will be a twofold resurrection: a national resurrection for the nation, and a individual resurrection for those who embrace it’s Hope of salvation.
By contrast, the Scriptures portray those who are separate from Israel as being in a desperate situation:
“at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).
To be separate from, or being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel defines a position of hopelessness, being “without God”. The only True God is Yahweh, the Deity of the Hebrews, and to be strangers to Israel is to be strangers to their God also. But those who embrace the promises made to the fathers of old become fellow citizens, and heirs of the covenants:
“Now therefore ye are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Eph. 2:19).
There is a vitally important point that emerges from a consideration of these things: Gentiles who believe and obey the Gospel become “fellow citizens” with Israel. There are those who teach that the Gentiles replace Israel in the purpose of God, and that Yahweh has no further purpose for them. But Scripture does not so speak: Gentiles must become part of Israel, and not replace them. Here is the mystery revealed, “that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and of the same body and partakers of the promise in Christ by the Gospel” (Eph. 3:6). The covenants and promises were made to Paul’s “kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:3-4), and the Gentiles are privileged to become partakers of those things, being fellow-heirs, and not substitutes.
ROMANS CHAPTER 11
Romans chapter 11 plainly describes this situation:
“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. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew …” (Rom. 11:1-2).
The chapter progresses to describe the relationship between Jew and Gentile using the metaphor of an olive tree. Israel is described as an olive tree which has some of it’s branches “broken off” because they do not yield fruit. This answers to those of the nation who did not believe the things concerning Jesus Christ: “because of unbelief they were broken off” (Rom. 11:20). But Gentiles were then grafted into the olive tree, being “graffed in among them”. Notice, the olive tree is not replaced: the Gentiles do not form a new olive tree, rather they become part of the existing tree which represents Israel—there is no substitute tree. But what of the natural branches? “God is able to graff them in again” (Rom. 11:23). So the Apostle continues:
“… for if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches be graffed into their own olive tree?” (Rom. 11:24).
And then he explains the parable of the olive tree thus:
“… blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob” (Rom. 11:26).
Notice again, that the entire olive tree will be saved, consisting of both natural and wild branches, both together in the same tree. Both types of branches are defined to be “all Israel,” who are saved with an everlasting salvation, as per Isaiah 45 which we considered earlier.
By this means, Gentiles become fellow-heirs of the promises made to the Patriarchs of the Israelitish nation:
“… if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29).
And again, speaking of the true believers:
“whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:4).
According to this testimony then, the promises are given “unto us” who believe in Messiah, and his power to save. That is, we who become Jews inwardly, for “he is not a Jew which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew that is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter: whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Rom. 2:28-29). Salvation does not come to Gentiles replacing the Jews, but rather those who become Jews through faith in the promise. As we saw earlier, “salvation is of the Jews”.
THE FUTURE FOR ISRAEL
The prophet Jeremiah describes the future restoration of Israel both to their land, and to their God:
“… fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of thy captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make them afraid … I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished” (Jer. 46:28).
This passage reiterates the point that Israel will indeed be restored to their land and to their God, and that the nations will ultimately be made a “full end” of.
The Scriptures speak of Jerusalem as being the future capital of the world:
“it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Yahweh’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. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:2-3).
So it is that the nations shall continually flow to “the house of the Elohim of Jacob”. They shall bow the knee before the King set up in Yahweh’s holy hill (Psa. 72:11, Phil. 2:10), and prostrate themselves in his presence. In that day, Jerusalem shall become a praise in all the earth (Isa. 62:7), and the House of Yahweh shall become a “house of prayer for all people” (Isa. 56:7). Israel shall be exalted, and the nations humbled. Yahshua Messiah shall “reign over the house of Jacob for ever: and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33) in terms of it’s scope and duration. Truly it will be that Israel shall be saved with “an everlasting salvation.” And in that day, the nations shall be subservient to Israel, as it is written:
“… therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nations and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” (Isa. 60:11-12).
THE THOUSAND YEAR REIGN OF CHRIST
The Scriptures teach that Messiah is to reign over the earth for a thousand year period, which will essentially be a transitional period between the flesh and the spirit. His brethren will be co-rulers with him, for it is testified:
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such, the second death shall have no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
During that period, the nations will continue to exist, but have their sovereignty removed. Daniel saw the nations in a vision in terms of particular beasts, and speaks concerning them, “… they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time” (Dan. 7:12). But at the end of that “season and time”, or the period of 1,000 years, the nations shall cease to exist. As John saw in vision, the sea of nations shall be taken away: “… I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1). Then, all that remains will be glorified Israel, saved with an everlasting salvation, showing forth the glory of Yahweh throughout the earth.
AFTER THE MILENNIUM
The Scriptures provide us with very little information regarding what will transpire following the millennial reign of Messiah. The apostle, however, does inform us that then the ultimate purpose of the Deity will be accomplished:
“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power … when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).
This will constitute the “world without end” that Isaiah speaks of, with all things being subject to Israel’s God. Then, Yahweh will be “all in all” – that is to say, All of Yahweh’s glory will fill all the earth. The earth will have been brought into a state of Harmony between Creator and Created.
The importance of Israel’s restoration can be easily seen from the forgoing. If the nations are to cease to exist, and only Israel will be perpetuated, logically, we must become part of Israel, and believers in the promises made to their fathers of old if we wish to be “saved with an everlasting salvation”. Brother Robert Roberts, in whose lifetime there was no nation of Israel in the land, recognised the importance of their national destiny, and wrote concerning them thus:
“… in the purpose of God, the salvation of the world is bound up in the destiny of the Jews: apart from their national glorification, such salvation is a dream, to be realised neither by nations nor individuals, spiritually nor temporally, – and the man who is either ignorant or sceptical of this coming future development, is darkened in his understanding on one of the essential features of Christian teaching” (Robert Roberts, Christendom Astray).
So it is that the purpose of the Deity is to create a single “holy nation,” comprising those who are Jews in spirit (Rom. 2:28-29). This involves the restoration of the kingdom to Israel – and in that day, those who are “called, chosen and faithful”, who have been taken from the Gentile nations will also share the inheritance, becoming part of the Israel of God. And it is to this aspect that we shall proceed to consider in the next issue, if our Lord Permit.