(Delivered at “The Government Shall Be Upon His Shoulder” conference in Canberra, Australia, July 23, 2010)
Acts 17:30-31 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising [Jesus] from among the dead.
Some basic assumptions:
–Jesus Christ is Lord/YHVH!
–The whole of the Bible is the Word of GOD, and inspired by the Holy Spirit.
–The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age (end of the last days). 1Cor 10:11, Rom 15:4
–Messiah came to fulfill all that is written in the O.T., not to annul them. We are not to add to them nor take away from them. Mt 5:17-19
–Each of us is responsible for searching the Scriptures if we are unsure about anything taught. Acts 17:11
–The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again! Rev 22:7,12,20
The prophets of Israel – or, better, the prophets of YHVH in Israel – spoke the Word of YHVH not only to the Israeli/Jewish people, but also to the nations round about the Land and People of Israel. God chose Israel to be His first-born [nation], His son. (Ex 4:22-23a), but there were other nations already in existence before Israel: Babylon, Egypt, Amalek (Gen 10:11; Num 24:20). (Jesus is also the first-born, although He was not the first person who was born: God has declared Him to be the first-born. Ps 2:7-8; 89:27; Rom 8:29; Col 1:15-18)
Christians from the nations that write off Israel – or ignore the many ways that God has given her as an example to the Church – write off their own people and nations (if it were possible), or at least misdirect them.
Rom 8:29 For whom [God] did foreknow He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. All IN Messiah are firstborn with Him.
Heb 12:22-23 But you have come to Mt. Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in Heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect
Heb 11:39-40 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.
1Cor 4:8,14 You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us – and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you! . . .I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.
Before there was Israel, there were ‘only’ Gentiles, and we know some of them believed in YHVH God, even if they did not know Him by that name. (Ex 6:3) For some examples, there are Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Amongst nations which God says that He will destroy, there are still individuals that the Bible mentions that we know He has shown mercy to and given them a place in His kingdom: Rahab, the Canaanite; Uriah, the Hittite; Nebuchadnezer, the Babylonian. Some nations about which it is written that they will come against Israel, for example Syria, but Elisha the prophet healed Naaman the leper (2Kg 5); Lebanon, and YHVH sent Elijah to the widow in Zarephat to give her hope in the one true God (1Kg 17:8-24); Cush (Ethiopia/Sudan), yet we have the Ethiopian eunuch who was saved by the God of Israel in the New Testament, plus the Ethiopian, Eved-Melech, who saved the prophet Jeremiah out of the pit (Jer 38:10; 39:15-18; Acts 8:26-39). Of course, YHVH God blessed the father and mother of the Arab peoples – Abraham, Hagar, Ishmael – with a future and a hope, and many Arabs are also believers in Jesus, even though their nations are against God’s covenant with the Jewish/Israeli people. (Gen 17:20; Ps 83:6)
The classic beginning of God making sovereign choices between nations is between Ishmael and Isaac (Gen 16:12; 17:19-20) and between Jacob and Esau, even while they were still in the womb of their common mother, Rebecca. (Gen 25:23) There is a destiny of two nations given here which remains until the end, but for individuals within those nations, there is good news for whosover will hear, repent, and believe it for salvation. Let us remember: the Lord Jesus has said, “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years”. (Rev 20:6)
Rom 11:25-27 All Israel shall be saved when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
GOD IS PRESENTLY AT WORK THROUGH THE GREAT COMMISSION TO PUT A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT INTO INDIVIDUAL PERSONS – WHOSOEVER – FROM ALL NATIONS, TRIBES, PEOPLES, AND TONGUES, RULING IN THEIR HEARTS THROUGH THEIR FAITH IN CHRIST CRUCIFIED, AND RISEN FROM THE DEAD. (Rev 5:8-10 for born-again individuals)
THE TRUTH THAT YHVH GOD IS KEEPING HIS COVENANT PROMISES TO SAVE A REMNANT PEOPLE/NATION ISRAEL, WHOM HE HAS CHOSEN UNIQUELY FROM ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH (Am 3:1-3), GIVES SIGNIFICANCE AND HOPE TO ALL OTHER NATIONS. Having a firstborn implies having others who will have been born (Rev 7:9-15 for sheep nations (?) Mt 25:31-46), coming out of the great tribulation. . . .
Is 19:23-25 Egypt, My people; Syria, the work of My hands; Israel, My inheritance
**The prophets of YHVH spoke about and to the nations round-about Israel:
Jer 46:1 The Word of YHVH which came to Jeremiah the prophet against the nations (Paul is the apostle to/for the nations.):
—46:25-26 Egypt, but with a hope
—47:1 against the Philistines in Gaza
—48:1,47 against Moab (middle Jordan), with hope
—49:1 against Ammon (northern Jordan)
—49:7 against Edom (southern Jordan and part of the Negev)
—49:34, 38-39 against Elam (part of present-day Iran and Iraq), but with a hope
—50 – 51 against Babylon
Ezek 35; Obadiah against Edom
Joel 3:1-2,12; Zech 12:2-9 All nations/ all surrounding nations YHVH will bring against Jerusalem, and He will judge them
Jonah against Nineveh; Jonah was the first missionary, sent by YHVH, to Gentiles, who were also Israel’s enemies. They repented at the word preached by Jonah, and he is the sign which Jesus gave the Jewish people, and in the synagogues every Day of Atonements, Jonah is read! (Mt 16:4)
**Where are we now in God’s plan to have His King on His holy hill of Zion?
The Holy Spirit is bringing to pass ALL that is written in the Law and the Prophets. Not one word will fail! The realization, the full-fillment of all this will be during the Millennial Kingdom. For Israel the first-born, and so for all the other nations who will become God’s children.
Mt 10:34-36; Mic 7:6 Do not think that I (Jesus) came to bring peace on Earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’, and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
1Pt 1:3-5,13-15 living hope for believers until the revelation of Jesus Christ: ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’
Mt 28:18-20 the Great Commission is until the end of the age
Wherever we are, whatever we are. . .in the marketplace of the world (to use a current term), our message today is the same as that of the prophets and of the apostles: repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand! God has not changed His ‘script’, and has already seen the end from the beginning.
God’s love and grace and mercies are all around in His longsuffering, but His righteousness will be revealed at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we all seek to identify with, and be a blessing to our nations, let us be careful not to be as Israel still is: an enemy of the good news. (Mt 2:4-6; Lk 19:45-48; Acts 5:34-40)