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Posts Tagged ‘dispensationalists’

Great Study, can’t wait for part 2, hopefully next week…

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The Gospel of the Kingdom Vs. The Gospel of Grace

by Jack Kelly


 

Part 1.  The Gospel Of The Kingdom

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matt. 3:1-2)

Prophecies of a Messianic King appear throughout the Old Testament and many in the Jewish leadership saw John’s arrival on the scene as their fulfillment.  They sent representatives to the place where John was baptizing to see if he was the promised Messiah. He said he wasn’t, but that the one they had been expecting was even then in their midst (John 1:19-28).

750 years earlier Isaiah had said when the Messiah came He would reign on David’s throne forever (Isaiah 9:6-7) but the throne of David had been vacant for 600 years.  John had come to tell them the time was finally at hand and they had better get ready for Him.

When Jesus began His ministry, John introduced Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:8) and publicly testified that Jesus was the Son of God (John 1:34).  Right from the beginning Jesus began teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven was near (Matt. 4:17), and sent His disciples through out the land to alert the people to this fact as well (Matt. 10:7-8).

But even with Isaiah’s prophecies, John’s testimony, and the Lord’s teaching, the Jewish leaders refused to accept that Jesus was the Messiah. They questioned His claims, His doctrine, and His miracles in spite of the fact that all were clearly foretold in their prophecies.

Isaiah had also said when He came the Messiah would have no beauty or majesty that would attract them to Him and that nothing about His appearance would make them desire Him (Isaiah 53:2). The fact that Jesus was not like they expected Him to be was a big problem for them.

Just before John was executed, He had sent a delegation of his disciples to confirm for themselves that Jesus was who He claimed to be.

In reply Jesus said, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (Matt. 11:4-6)

Jesus fed the multitudes, walked on water, healed the sick and raised the dead and still they asked for a miraculous sign.  Finally in frustration He responded, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40). They would get their sign, but only after they had executed Him.

Later, just a few days before His execution, He warned them again.  “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit (Matt. 21:43). He was speaking of the coming Church.

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God is amazing, I just finished reading this article by Jack Kelly on the exact topic I wrote yesterday morning.  Jack does an amazing job connecting the dots on what we are seeing unfold.

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Why Ezekiel 38 Will Precede Daniel 9

 by Jack Kelly


“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble” (Daniel 9:24-25).

Dispensationalists believe, with good reason, that there’s one week of years left to fulfill from the promise the angel Gabriel delivered to Daniel near the end of the Babylonian captivity.  We know the prophecy as Daniel’s 70 weeks.  Each week in the prophecy represents 7 years.  69 of these weeks (7 plus 62) had passed when the Messiah presented Himself to Israel as their King on the only day in His life that He did so.  On our calendar it became known as the first Palm Sunday.

In the prophecy 69 weeks equals 483 years (69 x 7).  This is the exact time that had passed since Artaxerxes Longimonus issued his decree giving Nehemiah permission to begin rebuilding Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:1-10).  (The city had been destroyed when Nebuchadnezzar’s army conquered Judah and took its people captive to Babylon.)  Daniel’s prophecy was being fulfilled in specific detail, and Israel’s failure to realize this marked the beginning of the end for them (Luke 19:41-44).

After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed (Daniel 9:26).

The Hebrew word for Anointed One is Messiah.  Four days after He presented Himself to them,  they executed Him, which is what the Hebrew word translated “cut off” means.  Nothing the angel Gabriel had promised to Mary (Luke 1:32-33) had come to pass.  Three days after that He rose again, fulfilling a sign He had promised to the religious leaders to prove His authenticity, the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matt. 12:39-40). He gave them 40 days to recognize the most dramatic fulfillment of a prophetic sign in the history of mankind and accept Him as their Messiah, and when they didn’t He ascended into Heaven, fulfilling another prophecy in the process.

Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt.  And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me” (Hosea 5:15)

About 38 years after that the Roman armies destroyed the city and the sanctuary, and for all practical purposes the nation of Israel ceased to exist.  But a few years before that happened, the Jewish leadership of the Christian movement called the Church had become divided over the issue of whether Gentiles who were coming into Christianity had to put themselves under the Law first.  In other words did a Gentile have to become a Jew before becoming a Christian?  The unspoken question that lurked behind it was even more troublesome to them, and that was, “If not, what’s to become of Israel?” They had been taught that the only way to God was through Israel.  Was this being changed?

The Council At Jerusalem

They all came together in Jerusalem, where James, the Lord’s half brother and head of the Church in Jerusalem set them straight. Israel is being temporarily set aside, he told them, while the Lord takes out of the Gentiles a people for Himself. After that He will restore Israel to allow the remnant of mankind one more chance to seek Him (Acts 15:13-18).  Therefore, Gentiles would not be required to convert to Judaism in the process of becoming Christians.

The Greek word translated “take” in Acts 15:14 means to carry away for one’s own purpose and the  one translated “out of” means to remove from a specified time and place.  Before restoring Israel to fellowship with Him, the Lord will take a people for Himself out of the time and place of the Gentiles.  James was describing the rapture of the Church and saying it will precede Daniel’s 70th Week.

Paul, who was at the meeting, confirmed this by saying Israel has been blinded in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in. After that Israel will be saved (Romans 11:25).  As I’ve indicated in previous studies this is another testimony that the rapture of the church will precede Israel’s restoration and redemption.  From these two prophecies we understand that Israel’s rejection of the Messiah did not end the Old Covenant.  It merely interrupted its 490 year post exilic duration 7 years short of its allotted time.  After the Church is gone this seven years has to be completed.

“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).

The final seven years  will begin with a covenant to be signed by the “ruler who will come”, mentioned in Daniel 9:26.  Gabriel said this leader will come from the people who would destroy the city and the sanctuary after the Messiah’s execution.  In the middle of this last seven years He will put an end to sacrifices and offerings by setting up the Abomination of Desolation which kicks off the 3 ½ year Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:15-21).

Put this all together and you can begin to see why I believe the Rapture of the Church will precede the beginning of Daniel’s missing 70th week.  According to these prophecies the church has to be gone before Israel returns to their covenant relationship with the Lord.

And That’s Not All

But my main purpose in reviewing all this with you is to find the answer to one very important question, and here it is.  What event will suddenly cause Israel, currently a predominantly secular  nation, to officially restore their Old Covenant relationship with God? The study of human nature tells us that while people typically fall away from their beliefs gradually, they don’t come back to them the same way.  Usually, some external change or event, often catastrophic in nature, has to take place to snap them back.  And so it will be for Israel.

And remember, it has to be a return to the Old Covenant because they’re seven years short of completing the time God allotted to them, and the only reason they will need a Temple is for the purpose of Old Covenant worship.  If it was the rapture of the Church that gets their attention they’d be motivated to enter a New Covenant relationship rather than return to the Old Covenant. Something else has to happen . And it will.

An unexpected event that will threaten Israel’s very existence is set to take place soon and God will use it to bring them running as a nation to Him, ending a 2000 year estrangement. This event won’t be a protracted one that causes them to slowly conclude that they’re doomed and drive them to their knees in a desperate plea for help.  Rather it will be one orchestrated and executed  by God Himself for the specific purpose of opening spiritual eyes that have been blinded since that first Palm sunday.   It will happen so fast that they won’t realize what has transpired until it’s all over.

God will cause a coalition of enemy forces to strike with out warning in such numbers that it will seem like a cloud has covered the land, and when they do, He will decimate them with torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulphur.  Then He’ll sew such confusion in the ranks that they’ll turn on each other.  When it’s over there will be so many dead bodies that it will take Israel seven months just to bury them all.

Of course the event I’m referring to is the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39. Four times during Ezekiel’s prophecy of this battle God’s objective was made clear.  Ezekiel 38:23, 39:7, 39:22, 39:28 all tell us His goal is to  show His greatness and holiness to Israel and the nations so Israel will know He’s the Lord their God. This is the event that will cause Israel’s national reconciliation with God and kick off the remaining seven years of the Old Covenant.

Today there appears to be a  growing desire among some in Israel for a Temple.  But if you read between the lines you’ll see it’s a nationalistic movement, not a spiritual one.  Advocates are hoping a Temple will underscore their right to the land by demonstrating their historical presence there.  But this movement is by no means reflective of the national mind set. Most people realize the danger in such a thing.

But after the Battle of Ezekiel 38, the demand for a Temple will be a spiritual movement that will represent the great majority of people in Israel. They’ll want to worship the God they’ve rediscovered and Old Covenant worship requires a Temple. It won’t be just a monument to their past but a necessity for their future.  And with the great victory God will have just handed them, who will dare to deny them? Even the coming world leader will appear to be championing their cause, enforcing a covenant that will allow them to build their Temple.  To Israel it will seem like peace has finally come.

One More Time

Sad to say, the Battle of Ezekiel 38 won’t result in a permanent peace for Israel.  They’ll discover they’ve been deceived by the very one who they thought to be their champion, bringing about the worst period of persecution the Jewish people have ever known.  And this time when foreign nations are mobilized against them, it won’t be just a regional coalition.  Zechariah 12:3 says all the nations of the world will line up against Israel. This time Israel will know in advance what their fate will likely be and  will come crawling to God for help (Hosea 6:1-2).

This time God won’t just use His signature weapons of rain, hail, earthquakes and fire that He can deliver from afar.  Nor will He sow confusion into the enemy’s mind to have them defeat themselves.  This time He’ll fill the sky with the armies of heaven, with His own Son at their head. The Son will slay them all with just the Word of His mouth.  This time they won’t spend multiple months burying the dead.  This time the birds will devour the carcasses (Rev. 19:11-21).

This time will be different because this time it won’t be only the Father they will have recognized.  This time it will be the Son as well (Zech 12:10).  The reconciliation will finally be complete and the Kingdom Age will begin.   You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah 09-08-12.

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Click on the article title for a link to full original referenced article.

If you’re not certain you’re saved, here is what you should do, right now:
  1. Acknowledge that you have sinned against a holy God and ask for forgiveness (even if you don’t feel you deserve it) (Rom. 3:23).  Genuinely feel the pain of your sin and be willing to turn from it (repent) (Acts 3:19).
  2. Believe in your heart and mind that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died on the cross for you (John 3:1-18) in your place, and was raised back to life.  There is no one else you can turn to (John 14:6): “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”
  3. Confess that you are trusting Jesus as your personal Savior.  Since Jesus is alive, you can talk to him.  This is called prayer.  So talk to him right now, in your own words, accept his invitation to know him.
It’s simple faith through grace, the kind of faith a little child would have.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
Welcome brother or sister in Christ!  This is just the start of the journey, we are called to live in this world but not be of this world.  Begin studying God’s word (the Bible) daily to give you the strength and wisdom to live this calling out.  There are many sites like this that can help you as well.

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