PART 1 – THE LAST GENTILE AND THE COMING KINGDOM
“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”
(Romans 11:25, KJV).
What many believers don’t often think about or consider is that the Church Age has not only a definite beginning – Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), but it will also have a specific ending point – the resurrection/rapture of the Church (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Titus 2:13; John 14:3; Philippians 3:20-21; 2 Thessalonians 2 :1-12).
These two events mark the beginning and ending of the Church Age, also known as the Dispensation of Grace – a dispensation unique to all others. During the Dispensation of Grace – the Church Age, upon one’s belief in THE gospel alone for salvation – the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune Godhead, is sealed within each Church-Age believer. During the Church Age, the Holy Spirit actually dwells within each individual believer and is eternally sealed within each one who believes according to the scriptures:
SALVATION – (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-10; John 3:14-18; John 1:12; John 3:36; Acts 16:30-31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
SEALING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT DURING THE CHURCH AGE (Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:5).
The sealing within of the Holy Spirit is unique to the Dispensation of Grace (the Church Age) alone.
In every previous dispensation in Time, the Holy Spirit would “come upon” those believers whom God had called such as prophets, and apostles (up until the Day of Pentecost AFTER Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and ascension back to the Father when the Holy Spirit came into the Upper Room and sealed all new believers with His Spirit).
After Pentecost, ALL new believers, Jew and Gentile, have ever since been sealed with the Holy Spirit upon salvation. In other dispensations, the Holy Spirit would stay beside believers enabling and empowering them, but only during the Church Age would the Holy Spirit actually INDWELL believers. This eternal sealing of the Holy Spirit within each believer is the unique characteristic of the Church Age alone.
Just as the Church had a supernatural birth, so will her departure from the earth be a supernatural event. This event is a twofold event separated by an instant of time so short that it can’t be measured or quantified. This event is, of course, the pre-tribulation resurrection/rapture of the Church. The resurrection of all of the “dead in Christ” from the birth of the Church to the last believer to die physically before Jesus snatches away His bride, will occur a nanosecond before “we who are alive and remain” – that is all living believers who will also be “changed in the twinkling of an eye.”
This dual event which will remove from the earth in a split second ALL believers of the Church, both the dead and the living, is the great “catching away” – the “harpazo” (snatching away) of the full body of Christ which is the true Church. ALL believer’s both living and dead “in Christ” will be snatched up to “meet the Lord in the air.” This event is what we call the rapture of the Church.
In scripture, the Church, is called “the body” of whom Christ is the head, and “the bride” of whom Christ is the bridegroom. Both terms, “the body and bride,” pertain ONLY to those during the Dispensation of the Church Age – those who have believed THE gospel as defined by scripture. Only those who have believed in Jesus Christ ALONE; believed in His perfect, sinless life, His death on the cross that FINISHED and paid-in-full ALL that would ever be needed to procure and preserve the eternal salvation of “whosoever believes” upon Him, and all who believe in Jesus’ BODILY resurrection – only those who believe in this gospel according to the scriptures are, during THIS dispensation, part of Christ’s body/bride which IS the Church.
ALL believers in ALL dispensations are and ever will be saved by grace alone through faith alone, in Christ alone; they are genuinely saved; but it is only those believers during the Dispensation of the Church Age that make up the eternally indwelt and sealed body/bride of Christ.
During this dispensation, for all who believe according to the scriptures, there is no longer a division between Jew and Gentile, but ALL BELIEVERS are now made ONE NEW BODY “in Christ.” (Galatians 3:28-29; Romans 10:12; Romans chapter 3).
You see, up until Pentecost and the birth of the Church, God had divided humanity into two people groups: ethnic Jews and all other non-Jews who are called Gentiles. God had made an unconditional promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (whose name God changed to Israel – Genesis 35:10), and to their posterity. God granted to national Israel certain unconditional promises or covenants – a land grant and certain blessings that, as yet, Israel has not fully possessed. However, God ALWAYS keeps His covenants.
Even now, God is preparing a remnant of Israel to inherit ALL that God promised Abraham. Israel is due an earthly kingdom AND a Messiah King to rule over it – to rule over the entire earth from Jerusalem Israel (Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:33; Psalm 89:29 & 36; Psalm 132:12; Ezekiel 37:25; Daniel 7:14; Daniel 2:44; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 11:15 among many other kingdom passages).
Jesus, just before His crucifixion, offered Himself to Israel as her Messiah King, and in doing so, offered to Israel her kingdom. Being both God and Man, Jesus knew that national Israel would reject Him as her Messiah; and in rejecting Him, Israel also rejected the kingdom which ONLY Jesus, being their true Messiah, could bring. As a result of Israel’s rejection of Jesus and the kingdom, God sent a “blindness in part” to Israel (Romans 11:25). Because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus as her Messiah, God placed Israel on the back burner, so to speak.
God NEVER has a “plan B.” Because God is omniscient (all knowing), He knew from before He created the cosmos that Israel would reject Jesus, and so God had already planned to bring in the Church for a period of time until such time, in His great Plan of the Ages, He was ready to close out the Dispensation of the Church Age and ready a remnant of Israel to receive ALL that God has covenanted with Abraham to grant to him and his posterity.
The Jews’ rejection of Jesus never took God by surprise. Jesus HAD to die in order to pay the penalty for mankind’s sin debt; however, Jesus’ offer of Himself to Israel as her King and His offer to her of the Kingdom was a real and legitimate offer but one that, in His divinity, He foreknew Israel would reject.
So God had already planned for the Church Age. He already planned to make ONE NEW BODY IN CHRIST after Jesus had paid man’s sin debt in full and made the eternal salvation of man possible.
We’ve already established that the Church has a definite beginning and will have a definite end, but what many believers don’t realize is that the Church has a FINITE NUMBER who will belong to the Church Age. This does NOT mean that once the Church is removed in the resurrection/rapture that no one else can or will be saved. NOT AT ALL! In fact, the greatest number of salvations that will have ever occurred will take place DURING the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9).
There will also be an incalculable number of believers during the coming Kingdom. Myriads will become believers AFTER the Church will have been removed in the rapture. However, these Tribulation believers just like the Old Testament pre-Calvary believers and the Kingdom believers WILL be saved, but they will NOT be part of the Church.
The Church is only made up of believers from the time of Calvary up to the time of the resurrection/rapture. Only those who become believers DURING the Dispensation of the Church Age become part of the Church – the body/bride of Christ. Thus, there is a FINITE NUMBER of those who will belong to the Church; and once that full number is reached, the Church will then be “complete.” In other words when the “fulness of the Gentiles” will have “come in” (that is when the full allotted number that will complete the Church will have been reached), THEN the Church Age will be COMPLETE and the Church will be removed.
This is critical to understanding both the Dispensation of the Church Age, but also in our topic we are looking at today. Who and where is THE LAST GENTILE?
There is often confusion over the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), and the “fullness” – full number of the Gentiles. The “times of the Gentiles” and the “fullness of the Gentiles” are not the same thing. The TIMES of the Gentiles speaks of the rulership of Gentile nations over the world. The FULLNESS of the Gentiles speaks of the “full number” or full complement of Gentile believers that are to be saved during the Dispensation of the Church Age – the full number of believers that will complete the Church and go in the rapture before the time of the Tribulation. The complete number of Church-Age believers must be complete pre-rapture. This finite number of Church Age believers will make up the completed body of Christ during the Dispensation of Grace, also known as the Church Age.
Only God knows the number of those who will make up the full complement of Church Age believers and who and where each one is now. The reason it is referred to as “fullness” of the GENTILES is because God has “grafted in” to His chosen people the Jews, a body of Gentile (non-Jew) believers who are now, after Calvary, ONE BODY in Christ (Romans 11:1-25). It is in this very chapter of Romans that God, through the Apostle Paul, clearly states that although God “set aside” Israel for a time because of her unbelief and rejection of Jesus, God has NEVER abandoned Israel, and is carrying out His plan for the redemption of national Israel to whom God has COVENANTED an earthly kingdom – one He WILL fulfill to the letter to ISRAEL.
There IS a coming kingdom from which Jesus Himself will rule the entire earth. Israel will be the epicenter of that earthly kingdom. Jerusalem will be the epicenter of Israel, and the Temple the epicenter of it all. Israel will be the jewel of the entire earth, and ALL the earth will worship the Lord, King Jesus, from His throne in Israel. But before that time comes, three events must occur:
(1) The LAST GENTILE must be saved in order to complete the Church.
(2) The completed Church must be Raptured out of this earth.
(3) The Tribulation – the Time of Jacob’s Trouble – must run its prophesied seven-year course.
As we close out part 1 of THE COMING KINGDOM series, we need to fully understand that we are at the very end of the Church Age. We know this because all of the “signs of the times” are occurring rapidly and exponentially.
We must always keep in mind, though, that these “signs” ALL pertain to ISRAEL and the coming Tribulation – NOT to the Church. There is NOTHING – not one thing – that has to occur before the rapture can happen. The rapture is an always imminent event. It can and will happen when the “fullness of the Gentiles” finally “comes in.” When that last Gentile who will complete the “full number” of the Church body believes and is saved, THEN the completed Church will be raptured out, and the Tribulation will begin with the “confirmation of a covenant” between Israel and the coming Antichrist. At the end of that, then the coming kingdom will arrive.
Who is the last Gentile and where is he/she? Only God knows. But here’s the issue that should be uppermost in our minds; here’s the thing that should spur us on with greater fervent than ever before – we need to share the gospel!!
What if that “last Gentile” is someone YOU know and love? Only God knows who, where, and how many more need to be added to the number who will complete the full complement of the body of Christ; and he/she/they may be anywhere! Perhaps the last Gentile may be in a closed country such as North Korea or China. Perhaps he/she may be in an atheistic country like Russia or Germany, or in a Roman Catholic dominated area like South America, or in pagan countries such as India, or perhaps somewhere in the Muslim-oppressed countries. Truthfully, the last Gentile can be anywhere – including, perhaps, right in your own home.
What does scripture say about giving the truth of the unchanging gospel?
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).
In the past, God called certain individuals and families to actually go into foreign lands as missionaries. He still does that to some degree, but now, with the advent of the internet, the worldwide web, and all forms of social media, ALL of us can be “sent” anywhere in the world at any time at the speed of light!
Today, we have NO EXCUSE not to spread the gospel to every place on earth. In my own personal friends’ list on Facebook, I have dear brothers and sisters in Christ whom I’ve never met from all across the United States and from other countries such as the Philippines, Canada, Australia, England, Scotland, India and Cambodia; and that’s just my own personal friends with whom I interact on an almost daily basis.
Via the internet, God is “sending” each of us believers all over the world with the gospel of salvation! Every single time one of us who shares the gospel, or posts and teachings that contain the gospel, that shares articles that contain the gospel on our home pages, to friends’ pages or to other groups; in each of these scenarios, the message of the saving gospel is being “sent,” and we are the senders – the missionaries God is using to reach those who will be the last Gentiles of the Church Age.
However, I want to close with this: what if that last Gentile is NOT in some faraway place but is instead standing next to you at your family cookout, or sitting beside you at lunch or in the office? What if that last Gentile is your grandparent, your aunt or uncle, your niece or nephew? What if the last Gentile is your husband or wife, son or daughter, granddaughter or grandson?
If you are saved, have You personally ever given them the only gospel that can save their immortal souls? Have YOU told them that they are sinners in need of a Savior?
Even if you get tongue-tied in speaking to them, have you sent them the gospel in writing? Have you sent them the gospel by private message, text message? Have you emailed them a letter or an article that contains the gospel? Have you given them a Bible with the passages on salvation marked for them to find? Have YOU done everything and anything YOU can to tell them about Jesus who alone can save them? If not, WHY NOT? Do you love them enough to risk their hatred and even banishment from their lives just to make sure they HEAR the only truth that can save them?
You see, we MUST share the gospel because time is running out in the Church Age. SOMEONE SOMEWHERE will be the last Gentile to believe. Only God knows, but could that last Gentile be someone YOU LOVE – someone YOU know PERSONALLY? Could that last Gentile be someone you know who has placed his/her faith in a FALSE gospel that cannot save anyone? There are some people who will only listen to YOU – some people whom God has placed in YOUR life to reach. Others may share the gospel with them, but YOU may be the one to whom they will at least listen. Could that last Gentile be someone close to YOU?
There are many who THINK they are saved but who, in fact, have believed and placed their trust in “another gospel” (Galatians 1:8-9). Could that last Gentile be YOU?
We don’t know who or how close we are to the salvation of that last Gentile, but we do know this: the more we spread the gospel, the wider we spread the good news of salvation according to the scriptures, then the sooner we get to that last Gentile being saved. Then after the Church is removed, there’s only seven short but incredibly horrendous years until the dawning of The Coming Kingdom.
Spread the gospel, and hasten the day of the coming kingdom and eternity that follows.
“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:12).
Stay tuned for Part 2.
(All scripture KJV)