ISRAEL, THE LAND GRANT, THE BLESSED HOPE, AND THE KINGDOM
We hope to pique everyone’s interest through this series of articles about the coming the Millennial Kingdom. So many, even among the Remnant Church, do not understand much about the coming Kingdom Age or the fact that the Raptured Church will only be in Heaven in our resurrection/raptured new bodies for the 7 years while the Tribulation is occurring on earth. After that, we live on in the renovated earth for 1,000 years of Jesus’ kingdom before eternity begins with a new heaven and earth. Through this series, we hope to clear up any confusion and fill in any gaps we may have in our understanding of what the kingdom is and what its purpose will be.
Part 1 is The Last Gentile and The Coming Kingdom. If you’ve not already read it, it would be helpful to begin there.
Israel: The Land Grant
“After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
“And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
“And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give thee this land to inherit it.
“And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
“And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
“And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Genesis 15:1-21. [All scriptures KJV].
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).
“Who is a God like unto Thee, that pardoneth iniquity,
and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He retaineth not His anger for ever,
because He delighteth in mercy.
He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us;
He will subdue our iniquities;
and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham,
which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old” (Micah 7:18-20).
THE BLESSED HOPE OF THOSE IN CHRIST
So much of our “blessed hope” during the Church Age is tied to the coming earthly kingdom; a topic that, when understood, gives us great joy and comfort as we face a wicked world ever descending into demonic insanity and debauchery.
As we await the redemption of our bodies in the imminent rapture (Romans 8:23-25), it is easy to lose sight of all that does await us. The darker and more violently insane this world gets, the more targeted the true Church becomes by all of the Principalities and Powers of the Air – Satan’s minions – the more difficult it gets for the body of Christ to keep our heads above the flood tide of evil that threatens to engulf us with despair. However, the more we know about what is coming (for both us and the “earth dwellers”), the more we can rise above all of the evil that surrounds us. Yes, we eagerly await the rapture which, for all of us who are “in Christ,” both the living and the dead, will result in us being changed and given our new immortal bodies.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Just as these scriptures comfort us while we await our deliverance via the rapture, there is yet MUCH more that we have awaiting us which we often neglect – much more do we have to look forward to than just our rapture, which is only the beginning!
What we want to do through this series is to delve in depth into what else we, the born-again, blood- bought, ransomed and redeemed believers have to look forward to BEYOND the rapture because, you see, not only is the coming kingdom going to be the literal fulfillment of God’s everlasting covenant with Israel, but it will be the literal fulfillment of “peace on earth” where the whole earth will be renovated and ruled by King Jesus, the “Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace”; and WE in our immortal, glorified bodies will be a part of this coming new kingdom!
So, with this great anticipation in mind, let’s look at what God has planned; first for mortal Israel, then for the glorified Church, and for the rest of mortal Gentiles during the coming kingdom.
What we need to do first is to examine Israel’s part in the coming kingdom because the Kingdom, first of all, belongs to the final remnant of a soon-to-be saved nation of Israel whom God will have brought through her time of travail during the Tribulation in order to prepare her for the coming kingdom. We WILL get to the Church in the kingdom, but first we need to look at Israel’s covenant promises that tie her directly to the coming kingdom.
The last Dispensation in Time will be the Dispensation of the Kingdom Age. It is this least-known dispensation that is the focus of this series. We begin with:
ISRAEL’S PART IN THE COMING KINGDOM
As we showed in the first section, God made an unconditional covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (whose name God changed to Israel), and their posterity forever. Abraham’s physical descendants, through ISAAC, the son of promise (not Ishmael, Abraham’s son by the Egyptian Hagar), would become the nation of Israel – the Jewish people. It was to Abraham’s physical descendants through Isaac that this unconditional covenant would be made and, in due time, fulfilled by God Himself. This covenant of an EARTHLY KINGDOM, ruled over by God Himself in human form – the Messiah having been born through the Jewish lineage, will one day rule and reign over the entire earth as the holy, righteous, divine, Absolute Monarch. The earthly kingdom promised to the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people –the “apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8). To Abraham and the nation of Israel, God promised these particular things:
(1) The Savior of the world would come through the Jewish bloodline.
(2) God would grant Israel a particular land grant that would encompass the majority of the area known today as the Levant.
(3) That Israel would be the epicenter of the entire earth, that Jerusalem would be the epicenter of Israel, a city which God claims as HIS city, and that the Temple would be the epicenter of Jerusalem.
(4) That Messiah King Jesus would one day rule the entire earth from “David’s throne” in Jerusalem, Israel, and that this earthly kingdom would last for 1,000 years – hence the term the Millennial Kingdom.
As we look at these things, we see that one of them, the first one, has been fulfilled to the very letter. God the Son (2nd Person of the Triune Godhead) did indeed wrap Himself in mortal flesh, becoming God the Father’s “only begotten Son – that means the only One of His kind (John 3:16). In the fullness of time, God the Son, incarnated into flesh and becoming the one and only God/Man, being both fully God and fully man, Jesus became the” Word made flesh” who “dwelt among us” (John 1:1-14). Jesus DID INDEED come as Israel’s Messiah and as Savior of the world.
Sadly, as we showed in part 1 of this series, Israel REJECTED Jesus as her Messiah; and as a result, forfeited FOR A TIME the Kingdom Jesus offered to her. However, as we shall see, because GOD made the covenant to Abraham and his descendants, for an earthly kingdom, GOD WILL bring it about, AFTER He has redeemed a remnant of Israel and after He will have brought that remnant through the coming “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) – also known as the seven-year Tribulation.
The major purpose of the Tribulation is to bring a remnant of Israel to belief in Jesus as her Messiah in order to prepare her to receive ALL of the promises God set forth in His covenant to Israel (Zechariah 13:8-9).
Both history and current events prove that Israel has never, as yet, received ALL that God has promised her. From the time God made this promise to Abraham until this very hour, God has NOT YET, fulfilled all of His covenant to Israel, but He WILL after Israel recognizes and accepts her true Messiah. That has yet to happen, and will not happen until God brings a remnant of Israel through the “seventieth week” of Daniel – aka the Tribulation – Daniel 9; Matthew 24-25; Jeremiah 30:7; Zechariah 13:8-9).
Why has God waited so long (over 4 millennia) in fulfilling His covenant to Abraham? Let’s look and see.
God called Israel to be His witnesses to the world. He promised to them a land that was the epicenter of the world. The “promised land” including the land Israel did possess. Israel, with Jerusalem as its epicenter, was situated strategically among three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia, that was and still is the gateway to the entire world. This was no accident. God had intended the Jewish people to be HIS WITNESSES on earth. From their geographic location, the knowledge of the true God of all would have access to three major continents; and from there, the rest of the world.
It was to the Jews that God revealed Himself PERSONALLY.
It was through the Jews that God promised to send the coming Savior who would pay in full mankind’s son debt, making possible eternal salvation that would cancel the sin-debt (incurred by Adam and passed on to the entire human race) to all who would receive it.
It was to the Jews that God gave the Law which pointed out mankind’s need for a Savior; and through the Jews would come Jesus, the Lamb of God, who FULFILLED that Law to the letter, thus BECOMING the propitiation (the turning away of wrath by Jesus becoming the sacrifice for our sins) for that sin debt to be paid – the blood sacrifice who alone would “take away the sins of the world (John 3:14-18; 1 John 2:2).
It was through Israel that the written Word of God – the infallible, inerrant, literally God-breathed word of God was given to humanity.
You see, God chose Israel to be His witness to the entire world, NOT because this race was superior or in any way more deserving of such an honor, but all because God loved Abraham and had made a covenant with him and his posterity. However, time and again, Israel failed. She rebelled, was led into idolatry, and finally into a pride-filled religious system that couldn’t even recognize their Messiah when He came. Still, God NEVER breaks His covenant.
In the fullness of time, God will fulfill EVERY SINGLE PORTION of His unconditional covenant He made with Abraham and Abraham’s posterity because God is faithful. Even though He is outside of Time; even though He works in eons, millennia, and centuries, God ALWAYS fulfills His Word. God ALWAYS keeps His promises. His unconditional covenants are not bound by fickle, sin-cursed man’s attempts to follow what’s right (we cannot earn or keep God’s favor by our failed, sin-cursed efforts); it is GOD who is faithful to do what needs to be done, not us.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people” (Exodus 32:9).
“And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).
“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” (Deuteronomy 7:6-9).
The entire Old Testament INCLUDING the first 3 gospels of the New Testament (the book of John being a transitional book between the ending of the Dispensation of Law and the beginning of the Dispensation of Grace with the birth of the Church in Acts chapter 2) – ALL of these books up to the resurrection of Christ, ALL recount the history and future of ISRAEL. The Church would not be birthed or even fully revealed until AFTER the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. The entire Old Testament and the Gospels of the New Testament, are ISRAEL-CENTRIC.
In these majority books of the Bible, ISRAEL – her beginning, her history, her future, her failure and the eventual national redemption of a remnant who WILL, DURING THE KINGDOM AGE, inherit ALL the blessings of that long-ago covenant – is the focus of the majority of the Bible.
Israel FAILED to be what God had intended for her to be, and the final rejection of Jesus as her Messiah and her spurning of the kingdom that only He could offer, caused God to TEMPORARILY set aside Israel. God already had the Dispensation of the Church Age planned and ready to do what God had intended Israel to do – to be His witnesses to the entire world, until such time as the Church Age would end. It will be during the coming Tribulation that 144,000 Jewish believers from all 12 of Israel’s tribes, who will ultimately fulfill ALL that God had intended Israel to do, but failed; they will finish what even the Church failed to do. These 144,000 Jewish young men will finally fulfill Jesus’ command in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is why Israel has always been and ever shall be central to God’s plan. God is in NO WAY finished with national Israel. The earthly kingdom, along with the entire land grant promised to Israel by God, WILL be given to her during the coming kingdom. Look carefully at the entire land grant that God has promised to Israel. She has never yet received all the land due her, but everything that is occurring now is in preparation for what is coming in order for God to ready a remnant of Israel to receive her earthly kingdom.
Lord willing, in the coming parts, we will look in-depth at these things:
When the kingdom begins:
(1) What the physical characteristics of the kingdom are
(2) What the kingdom entails
(3) Who will populate the kingdom
(4) Mortals and immortals in the kingdom
(5) What happens during and after the 1,000 years of the kingdom are finished
Now that we know that Israel will be the jewel of the coming kingdom, and as we see how God will bring the complete and utmost fulfillment of all of the promises to Israel that have as yet not been fulfilled, we will begin the next part, Lord willing, by explaining how the kingdom will begin, who will be in the kingdom, and what the earth will be like after the devastation of earth during the Tribulation just before Jesus renovates what sin, Satan, and man’s rebellion destroyed in preparation for the coming kingdom.