THE CHURCH VS ISRAEL

1) PURPOSE

ISRAEL:

God's purpose for Israel is related to her covenants, promises, and the provision for fulfilment of these on the earth.

God promises unilaterally - unfailingly - to give a specifically defined area of land on the earth to Abraham and a promised innumerable population of descendants to occupy forever with their Messiah Jesus Christ Himself as Ruler and Israel as the world's leading and priesthood nation, in spite of Israel's repeated unfaithfulness and exile.

[Gen 15:18]:

"On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,

'To your descendants I have given this land,

From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates"

[Gen 17:7-8, 19]:

(v. 7) "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to your and to your descendants after you.

(v. 8) And I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

(v. 19) But God said, 'No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."

[Gen 26:2-4]:

(v. 2) "And the LORD appeared to him and said, 'Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you.
(v. 3) Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.
(v. 4) And I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and will give your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants all the nations of the earth shall be blessed."

[Gen 28:13-15]:

(v. 13) "And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, 'I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.
(v. 14) Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
(v. 15) And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."

[Notice: "I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" = A guarantee from God that He will honor His promise to Israel]

[Isa 11:10-16]:

(v. 10) "Then it will come about in that day That the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; And His resting place will be glorious.
(v. 11) Then it will happen on that day that the Lord Will again recover the second time with His hand The remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

[Here is a clear prediction that God will set up His kingdom on the earth by gathering the Jewish people who were scattered to the four corners of the earth. So the kingdom must be one which is to be established on the earth because it is clearly portrayed in earthly terms, not heavenly ones]

(v. 12) And He will lift up a standard for the nations And will assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.
(v. 13) Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart, And those who harass Judah will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, And Judah will not harass Ephraim.
(v. 14) And they will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west; Together they will plunder the sons of the east; They will possess Edom and Moab; And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them.
(v. 15) And the LORD will utterly destroy The tongue of the Sea of Egypt; And He will wave His hand over the [Euphrates] River With His scorching wind; And He will strike it into seven streams, And make men walk over dry-shod.

(v. 16) And there will be a highway from Assyria For the remnant of His people who will be left, Just as there was for Israel In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt."

[Isa 14:1-2]:

(v. 1) "When the LORD will have compassion on Jacob, and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob
(v. 1) When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob, and again choose Israel, and settle them in their own land, then strangers will join them and attach themselves to the house of Jacob.

(v. 2) And the peoples will take them along and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the LORD as male servants and female servants; and they will take their captors captive, and will rule over their oppressors."

[Compare Isa 60:1-22]:

(v. 1) "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.

(v. 2) See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.

(v. 3) Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

(v. 4) Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm.

(v. 5) Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come.

(v. 6) Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD.

(v. 7) All Kedar's flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple.

(v. 8) Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests?

(v. 9) Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.

(v. 10) Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you. Though in anger I struck you, in favor I will show you compassion.

(v. 11) Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nations - their kings led in triumphal procession.

(v. 12) For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined.

(v. 13) The glory of Lebanon will come to you, the pine, the fir and the cypress together, to adorn the place of my sanctuary; and I will glorify the place of My feet.

(v. 14) The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you The City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

(v. 15) Although you have been forsaken and hated, with no one traveling through, I will make you the everlasting pride and the joy of all generations.

(v. 16) You will drink the milk of nations and be nursed at royal breasts. Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

(v. 17) Instead of bronze I will bring you gold, and silver in place of iron Instead of wood I will bring you bronze, and iron in place of stones. I will make peace your governor and righteousness your ruler.

(v. 18) No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.

(v. 19) The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

(v. 20) Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.

(v. 21) Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of My hands, for the display of my splendor.

(v. 22) The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly."

[Isa 66:20-21]:

(v. 20) "Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,' says the LORD, 'just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.'

(v. 21) 'I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,' says the LORD.

(v. 22) 'For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me,' declares the LORD, 'So your offspring and your name will endure.' "

In view of the afore-quoted passages Israel could not not be supplanted by the Church for the Church was never established in just one place from one national entity, from which it was saved from Egypt then scattered as a result of God's discipline upon them and then brought back from Assyria then scattered again to be regrouped in Palestine in the future as a the leading national entity as is established here in these passages. And terms such as the house of Jacob, Ephraim, Zion, etc. have never been applicable to the Church in the age of grace. Nor does the Church have Levitical priests. Finally, these prophetic Scripture passages are communications from God's prophets directly to Israel and cannot be applied to any other group of people when they are stated in terms that only apply to Israel.

THE CHURCH:

ITS PURPOSE

The promises for the church relate to heavenly realities and her heavenly citizenship.

[Phil 3:20-21]:

(v. 20) "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

(v. 21) Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body."

[2 Cor 5:19b-20a]:

(V. 19b) "And He [God, (vv. 18-19a)] has committed to us [believers, (v. 18)] the message of reconciliation.

(v. 20a) We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us."

The church is united to Jesus Christ as His bride and His body, who will corule with Him from heaven on earth: the New Jerusalem, a distinctly different destiny from Israel's earthly one.

[Eph 5:22-32]:

(v. 22) "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

(v. 23) For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the savior.

(v. 24) Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

(v. 25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her

(v. 26) to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,

(v. 27) and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

(v. 28) In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

(v. 29) After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church -

(v. 30) for we are members of His body.

(v. 31) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

(v. 32) This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church."

[2 Cor 11:2]:

"I [Paul] am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him."

[2 Tim 2:12a]:

"If we ]believers, (v. 11)] endure, we will also reign with Him."

And the eternal residence of the church age believer is a heavenly one:

[Jn 14:2-3]:

(v. 2) "[Jesus said] In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

(v. 3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."

And Rev 21:9-27 describes that heavenly dwelling that the Lord prepared:

[Rev 21:9-27]:

(v. 9) "And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, 'Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.'

(v. 10) And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

(v. 11) having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper.

(v. 12) It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.

(v. 13) There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west.

(v. 14) And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

(v. 15) And the one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its gates and its wall.

(v. 16) And the city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal.

(v. 17) And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements.

(v. 18) And the material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.

(v. 19) The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;

(v. 20) the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst.

(v. 21) And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

(v. 22) And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.

(v. 23) And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

(v. 24) And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it.

(v. 25) And in the daytime (for there shall be no night there) its gates shall never be closed;

(v. 26) and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it;

(v. 27) and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."

2) RELATIONSHIP TO ABRAHAM

ISRAEL:

ISRAEL IS DISTINGUISHED FROM OTHER RACES OF PEOPLE AND NATIONALITIES UNLIKE THE CHURCH WHICH COMPRISES ALL RACES AND NATIONALITIES:

[Isa 14:1-2]:

(v. 1) "The LORD will have compassion on Jacob: once again He will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.

(v. 2) Nations will take them and bring them to their own place."

ISRAEL IS COMPRISED EXCLUSIVELY OF PHYSICAL DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB OR GENTILE PROSELYTES WHO CONVERT TO JUDAISM

God's promises to Abraham are stated as being exclusively for Abraham and his descendants and only for those descendants of Isaac:

Ishmael's descendants are specifically excluded:

[Gen 17:15-21]:

(v. 15) "Then God said to Abraham, 'As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

(v. 16) And I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall come from her.

(v. 17) Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, 'Will a child be born to a man one hundred years old?" And will Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?

(v. 18) And Abraham said to God, 'Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!

(v. 19) But God said, 'No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

[So descendants of Abraham through Ishmael are not in the physical line of God's promises to Abraham which are stated as being made to Abraham through Isaac]:

(v. 20) And as for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly, He shall become the father of twelve princes and I will make him a great nation.

(v. 21) But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year."

God promised Hagar, Ishmael's mother that Ishmael's descendants would become a great nation, but in so doing this destiny was distinguished from that of Israel:

[Gen 21:17-18]:

(v. 17) "And God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, 'What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.

(v. 18) Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him by the hand; for I will make a great nation of him.

[Notice that after Abraham had banished Hagar and her son Ishmael from further association with the family, God visited with Hagar and promised also to make Ishmael's descendants into a great nation. A destiny obviously not the same as Israel, as the context indicated].

God confirmed to Isaac that His covenant with Abraham would be fulfilled only through Isaacs physical descendants:

[Gen 26:3-5]:

(v. 3) "[The LORD said to Isaac, (vv. 1-2)] 'Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham

(v. 4) I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,

(v. 5) because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My requirements, My commands, My decrees and My laws.' "

And then God reconfirmed His Covenant with Abraham's physical grandson, Jacob, attesting to the fact that God's intention was to confine the Covenant to a unilateral promise to Abraham's physical descendants:

[Gen 28:13-15]:

(v. 13) "And behold, the LORD stood above it and said [to Jacob, (v. 10)], 'I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.

(v. 14) Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south...

[And in addition to this, individuals of all nations will be affected - blessed - in ways that are not specified here, but which are explained elsewhere in Scripture, (ref. Gal 3:6-9; Eph 2:11-14)]:

...and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

["in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed" = a statement made by Moses under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit which indicates that it is through Abraham and his physical descendants, (Israel), that the blessings come to all of the families of the earth. Israel therefore cannot be supplanted by another entity such as the Church and still have this statement be true]

(v. 15) And behold, I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Compare Gen 35:9-12; 48:3-4).

And then, Jacob's physical son, Joseph, reconfirmed the Covenant with the understanding that God made it with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their physical descendants:

[Gen 50:24]:

(v. 24) "And Joseph said to his brothers, 'I am about to die, but God will surely take care of you, and bring you up from this land to the land which He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob.'

(v. 25) Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, 'God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones up from here.' "

"Moses promised that even though Israel would become idolatrous and evil and would be scattered and suffer because of its sin, in the latter days [i.e., the end times] it would have opportunity to return to God and be obedient because God would not fail Israel, nor destroy it, nor forget the Abrahamic Covenant which He swore to their fathers (Dt 4:25-31:

[Dt. 4:31]:

"For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the Covenant with your fathers which He swore to them."

Several things should be noted concerning this promise.

First, it is the same people (literal Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham) who would depart from God and be scattered from the land of Canaan (v. 26) who would also have the opportunity [and be sovereignly moved by God] to return to Him and be obedient in the latter days and that God will have a program for that nation during that period of history.

Second, the Abrahamic Covenant would still be in effect with the literal nation of Israel in the latter days in spite of its idolatry, evil, and traumatic history of dispersion and suffering.

Third, Moses made it clear (v. 31) that this promise in Deuteronomy 4 would continue to be in effect because of God's faithfulness. Even though Israel would fail Him, He would not fail it. He would be faithful to His Covenant commitment which He had sworn to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

"...Even after the nation of Israel had sinned innumerous ways over the course of several centuries, David regarded the Abrahamic Covenant to be in effect with Israel in his day..."

[1 Chron 16:15-18]:

(v. 15) "[David said:] Remember His Covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,

(v. 16) The Covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac.

(v. 17) He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

(v. 18) Saying, 'To you I will give the land of Canaan, as the portion of your inheritance.."

(Compare Ps 105:8-11)]

Even after Israel had compiled its sordid record of sin throughout all its centuries of Old Testament history, the Holy Spirit indicated that the Abrahamic Covenant was still in effect with that nation and that that Covenant had something to do with Israel's deliverance from its enemies... Shortly before Jesus' birth the Holy Spirit prophesied through the Jewish priest, Zacharias."

[Lk 1:67-75]:

(v. 67) "And his [John the Baptist's] father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying;

(v. 68) 'Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,

(v. 69) And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant -

(v. 70) As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old -

(v. 71) Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;

(v. 72) To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy Covenant,

(v. 73) The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,

(v. 74) To grant us that we being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,

(v. 75) In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days."]

"Even though Israel committed its ultimate sin of rejecting the Son of God, Jesus, as its Messiah, the Apostle Peter still regarded the Jews (even the very Jews who had rejected Christ) as children of the Abrahamic Covenant"

[Acts 3:12-15, 25-26]:

(v. 12) "But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, 'Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?

(v. 13) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His Servant Jesus, the one Whom you delivered up, and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.

(v. 14) But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

(v. 15) but put to death the Prince of life, the one Whom God raised from the dead, - a fact to which we are witnesses.

(v. 25) It is you who are the sons of the prophets, and of the Covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'

(v. 26) For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.' "]


"Peter's use of the present tense ('are the sons') indicates his conviction that these Jews were still sons of the Covenant and that the Covenant was still in effect with them.

Furthermore, hundreds of years later, the Apostle Paul made it clear that God would fulfill His promises to Abraham and His physical descendants:

[Ro 11:1-2a; 26-29]:

(v. 1) "I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

[Notice that Paul indicates here that the physical seed of Abraham has not been rejected relative to the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant]

(v. 2a) God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew...."

[And what God has foreknown He had called, i.e. predestined or decreed, (Ro 8:29), and thus it will inevitably and unchangeably come to pass, (v. 29)]

(v. 26) "And thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, 'the deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob (a name exclusively applied to Israel)

(v. 27) and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.'

(v. 28) From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; [to whom the promises of the Covenant were made]

(v. 29) for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

So when God promises blessings and gifts and when God calls, it is inevitable, unchangeable and irrevocable.

Finally, in the last and most significant analysis, the fulfillment of all of the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant could only be through Israel because they are all as a result of the Seed of Abraham, Jesus Christ and what He came and did:

Compare what the Apostle Paul wrote relative to the inevitable and unchangeable promises of eternal life and blessings through the Abrahamic Covenant:

[Compare Gal 3:15-21]:

(v. 15 NIV) "Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.

["in this case" = In the case of the Abrahamic Covenant, (vv. 14, 16). Paul begins by stating that one cannot make changes to a covenant once it has already been established, especially the Abrahamic Covenant to which he is specifically referring]:

(v. 16 NAS) Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, 'and to seeds,' as referring to many, but rather to one, 'and to your seed,' that is, Christ.

[Paul here is focusing on the promise of eternal life as the key blessing under the Abrahamic Covenant with the view that it was unconditionally promised by God as a result of Abraham's faith alone in God's plan through the Messiah Savior Jesus Christ. That is to say that the promise of eternal life is to be delivered on the basis of faith apart from any human doing like the Law to which Paul is referring. Furthermore, the promise of eternal life is to be delivered through the Seed, (singular), of Abraham, Jesus Christ, without Whom none of the other promises of blessings and the occupation of the Promised Land would be finally and completely fulfilled. So the original and unilateral promises of God to Abraham to be fulfilled through the Messiah/Savior Jesus Christ cannot be changed, Paul is saying, through the Mosaic Law which came 430 years later, (v. 17), although people were maintaining that that was the case. As a matter of fact, people were maintaining, as many do today, that the Law, (or any code of behavior, (Gal 3:21), replaced, even supplanted the promise, often claiming that the promises were fulfilled before the Law was instituted. So Paul is narrowing in on the word "spermati" = "seed" and although he teaches that the promises were made to Abraham's physical descendants elsewhere in Scripture, (Ro 4:16-18; 9:6-8), he is emphasizing here that it is solely through the Seed singular, i.e., through faith alone in Christ alone, that the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant are to be completely fulfilled - especially eternal life to all peoples]:

(v. 17) What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.

(v. 18) For if the inheritance is based on law, [law without the article 'the' = any law, i.e., any code of behavior] it is no longer based on a promise but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

(v. 19) Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the Seed should come to whom the promise had been made.

(v. 20) Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.

(v. 21) Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law."

"a law" = any code of behavior.

Finally, those physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who are of the faith of Abraham are true Israel; just as those who are of the congregations of the local Christian church who are of the faith of Abraham are true believers.

[Ro 4:12]:

"And he [Abraham, (v. 9)] is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised."

[Compare Jn 8:39-47]:

(V. 39) "Abraham is our father,' they [Pharisees, (v. 13)] answered. 'If you were Abraham's children,' said Jesus, 'then you would do the things Abraham did.

(v. 40) As it is, you are determined to kill Me, a man Who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.

(v. 41) You are doing the things your own father does.' 'We are not illegitimate children,' they protested. 'The only Father we have is God Himself.'

(v. 42) Jesus said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on My own; but He sent Me.

(v. 43) Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.

(v. 44) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

(v. 45) Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me!

(v. 46) Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe Me?

(v. 47) He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.' "

[Jesus said that the devil was the unbelieving Jew's father not Abraham for they were not of the faith of Abraham for they were not of the faith of Abraham but trusted in the works under the Mosaic Law]

THE CHURCH:

Abraham set the pattern of faith alone in the Messiah Jesus Christ alone unto eternal life by the grace of God for the Church and all mankind for that matter. Abraham is thus the spiritual father of all those who are saved by grace through faith alone in Christ alone:

[Ro 4:11]:

"And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised [i.e., the Gentiles], that righteousness might be reckoned to them."

God promised eternal life to Abraham on the basis of faith alone:

[Gen 15:5-6]:

(v. 5) "He [God] took him [Abraham] outside and said, 'Look up at the heavens and count the stars - if indeed you can count them.' Then He said to him, 'So shall your offspring be.'

(v. 6) Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness."

And this eternal life would be through God's promise of providing a physical heir to Abraham whose descendancy would lead to the Messiah/Savior through Whom all the promises would be fulfilled:

God presented a visual image to Abraham along with His promise of an heir - an actual physical heir who was to come through the loins of Abraham, (Gen 15:4). This image was painted by God across the star studded night time heavens. Billions of stars were visible to Abraham; and God promised that just as the universe contained such an innumerable number of stars, so would be numbered the descendants of Abraham. This picture gave to Abraham the concept of him seeing countless numbers of descendants - a picture of his having eternal life in order for this to be possible. The number of stars in the day were in fact so numerous as to be virtually uncountable - representing to Abraham an infinite number. And so, Abraham was promised by God to have an infinite number of descendants obviously over an infinitely long lifetime, i.e., eternal life. In other words, God promised eternal life to Abraham. Abraham believed God's promise. And God then declared Abraham to have the position of being perfectly righteous as a result of Abraham's faith, thus qualifying him for spending the rest of eternity with God in His kingdom. This was not just an image of Abraham's countless descendants living long after he died and had gone into oblivion. What would be the purpose of that if Abraham would never see them - being condemned to the Lake of Fire? Why would God make such a promise to Abraham if Abraham had no chance of ever seeing them in person, i.e., having eternal life? So this indeed was a picture of God's promise to Abraham of eternal life - eternal life with countless descendants over an eternity of time. And when Abraham believed in this spectacular promise of God, then God accounted to Abraham the gift of absolutely perfect righteousness - that kind of righteousness that God requires that a man must possess in order to spend eternal life with Him, (Gen 15:6; Phil 3:9). So Abraham was now qualified to have eternal life by being credited by God with the absolutely perfect Righteousness of Jesus Christ as a result of his faith alone in God's plan alone of eternal life. And this eternal life would be through God's promise of providing a physical heir to Abraham whose descendancy would lead to the Messiah/Savior through Whom all the promises would be fulfilled:

[Compare Gen 13:14-15]:

(v. 14) "And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, 'Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;

(v. 15) for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your Seed [Jesus Christ, (Gal 3:16)] forever."

[Compare Isa 9:6-7]:

(v. 6) "For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

(v. 7) Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on david's throne and over His kingdom,

[Note: A throne and a kingdom of the physical seed of David who is a descendant of Abraham]

establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

The Apostle Paul comments on God's covenant with Abraham relative to it including the gospel of salvation unto eternal life for Abraham and all individuals who exercise faith in God's plan, Jew and Gentile alike:

[Gal 3:6-9, 14, 16]:

(v. 6) "Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.

(v. 7) Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith that are sons of Abraham.

[i.e., the Covenant blessing of eternal life is one which is available by faith alone for all mankind: Jew and Gentile alike. Those who have trusted alone in Christ alone are sons of Abraham - not in a physical sense so as to receive Covenant blessings meant for physical descendants but in a spiritual sense so as to receive the blessing of eternal eternal life - whether Jew or Gentile]

(v. 8) And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'all the nations shall be blessed in you.' "

[Notice that Paul indicates that God's Covenant with Abraham is in essence the gospel of salvation unto eternal life for all mankind. And the central Figure of that plan of salvation is the Seed, singular, of Abraham: the Messiah Savior, Jesus Christ, Himself]:

(v. 13) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us - for it is written, 'Cursed is every one who hangs on a tree, (Dt 21:23)

(v. 14) in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith...

["so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith". = so that Gentiles too might receive the "the promise of the Spirit", i.e., eternal life and the consequent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13-14), "through faith".. So one of the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant is made available to all mankind, Jews and Gentiles alike: eternal life. And continuing in Galatians chapter 3]:

(v. 16) Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, 'and to seeds,' as referring to many, but rather to one, 'and to your Seed,' that is, Christ."

[So the promise of eternal life which was granted to Abraham as a result of his faith in what God promised through the seed of Abraham would be demonstrated by innumerable descendants through the Seed of Abraham - Who is Christ the Savior Himself.

Compare Jn 8:56 to verify that Abraham was indeed looking forward to Jesus Christ as the Author and Perfecter of God's plan of salvation for him]:

[Jn 8:56]:

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad." [Cf. Heb 12:2]

[Everett F. Harrison states, (EXPOSITOR'S BIBLE COMMENTARY, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vol. 10, 1976, p. 48)]:

"The nature of Abraham's faith was essentially the same as that of the NT believer despite the difference in time. (Abraham looked forward to something God would do, whereas the Christian looks back to what God has provided, in Christ). Can we go further and say that the object of faith is the same, implicit in the promise to Abraham, explicit in the gospel? It does seem that we are warranted in concluding that Abraham trusted in a promise that pointed to Christ (John 8:56; Gal 3:16)..."

[Compare Ro 4:1-3]:

(v. 1) "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?

(v. 2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God.

(v. 3) For what does the Scripture say? 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' "

And notice that the seed through Whom the promise of eternal life was to be received was Jesus Christ:

[Compare Gal 3:16]:

"Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, 'And to seeds, ' as referring to many but rather to one, 'And to your Seed,' that is , Christ."]

[Gal 3:6-9, 14, 16 cont.]:

(v. 7) "Understand then, that those who believe [in Christ unto eternal life] are children of Abraham.

(v. 8) The Scriptures foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you!'

(v. 9) So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith."

The context of salvation in Galatians chapter 3 limits the particular blessing referred to in verse 18 to salvation. So one cannot conclude on the basis of this passage that the rest of the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant also apply to born again Church Age or any age believers.

3) ISRAEL IS A NATION OF ONE KIND OF PEOPLE: JEWS VS THE CHURCH WHICH IS COMPRISED OF PEOPLE FROM ALL NATIONS UNITED INTO ONE BODY -THE BODY OF CHRIST.

ISRAEL

[Isa 14:1-2]:

(v. 1) "The LORD will have compassion on Jacob [i.e., Israel, never used to refer to the Church] once again He will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob.

(v. 2) Nations will take them and bring them to their own place."

[Isa 11:10-16]:

(v. 10) "In that day teh Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His place of rest will be glorious.

(v. 11) In that day the LORD will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of His people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea.

(v. 12) He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.

(v. 13) Ephraim's jealousy will vanish, and Judah's enemies will be cut off; Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah hostile toward Ephraim.

(v. 14) They will swoop down on the slopes of Philistia to the west; together they will plunder the people to the east. They will lay hands on Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites will be subject to them.

(v. 15) The LORD will dry up the gulf of the Egyptian sea; with a scorching wind he will sweep His hand over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into seven streams so that men can cross over in sandals.

(v. 16) There will be a highway for the remnant of His people that is left from Assyria, as there was for Israel when they came up from Egypt.""

CHURCH

THE CHURCH IS COMPRISED OF PEOPLE FROM ALL NATIONS UNITED INTO ONE BODY - THE BODY OF CHRIST

[Eph 1:22-23]:

(v. 22) "And God placed all things under His [Christ's, (v. 20)] feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the Church,

(v. 23) which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills everything in every way."

[Compare 1 Cor 12:13]:

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."

4) ISRAEL WAS ESTABLISHED IN ABRAHAM'S TIME EXCLUSIVELY AND IRREVOCABLY THROUGH ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB.

THE CHURCH WAS THEN A MYSTERY TO BE REVEALED THOUSANDS OF YEARS LATER THROUGH GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

ISRAEL

POINT #2 PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED THIS POINT.

THE CHURCH

THE CHURCH WAS THEN A MYSTERY TO BE REVEALED THOUSANDS OF YEARS LATER THROUGH GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

[Col 1:24-27]:

(v. 24) "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.
(v. 25) Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might full carry out the preaching of the Word of God,
(v. 26) That is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has not been manifested to His saints,

(v. 27) to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

[Eph 3:2-7]:

(v. 1) "For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles -

(v. 2) if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;

(v. 3) that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.

(v. 4) And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

(v. 5) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;

(v. 6) to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

(v. 7) of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power."

5) ISRAEL BEGAN WITH A MAN: ABRAHAM.

THE CHURCH BEGAN WITH GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT

ISRAEL

THIS POINT ESTABLISHED BY POINT #2 EARLIER

~~~church_beg

CHURCH

INCEPTION OF THE CHURCH

A) INTRODUCTION

Even though a number of the basic elements of the church were there at the beginning of our Lord's 3 year ministry, especially the 12 disciples, these elements, however, could not constitute the church at that time. For just as one cannot describe the ingredients of a recipe a cake before they are combined and baked in the proper manner; so one cannot describe the elements of the body of Christ the church until the final steps of making those elements into the church occur: especially the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of our Lord and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every church age believer.

B) THE KINGDOM WAS PROCLAIMED TO ISRAEL DURING OUR LORD'S EARTHLY MINISTRY - PRECEDING THE INCEPTION OF THE CHURCH

****************************************

OUR LORD'S IMMINENT PROMISE TO BRING IN THE KINGDOM

During our Lord's earthly ministry, before His death, burial and resurrection, the message proclaiming the kingdom was preached, stipulating that if Israel trusted in their Messiah Jesus, our Lord would bring in the kingdom as promised before the church was even formed. At this time the church was not yet in view. The disciples themselves were Jews at this time and not Christians. They were not yet part of the church.

[Mt 3:1-2, 6-8]:

(v. 1) "In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the desert in Judea and saying,

(v. 2) 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven, [the eternal rule of God in heaven over the earth, Dan 2:34-36, 44-45] is at hand [is imminent].

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" =

"at hand" = imminently ready to begin]

This passage is speaking about the Jewish people, (compare Isa 40:1-3 & Mt 3:3), who came to John the Baptist in order to come to a point of repentance relative to faith in the coming Messiah for their entrance into the kingdom of God.

[Compare Jn 1:29-31]:

(v. 29) '''The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!

[Had the nation Israel accepted our Lord as Messiah and Savior, then the cross and the kingdom would have been imminent & without 2000 years of church age. But this is not what the Bible predicts would happen: The offer to Israel of the Kingdom through faith alone unto salvation in the Messiah was made and rejected. Our Lord then changed the direction of His gospel of eternal life, and began to establish the foundation of the church through which the Gospel message would then be carried to the world. The Mosaic Law Age was thereby abruptly interrupted in its 383rd year with 7 years left to be fulfilled in the future, (Dan 9:24-27). The once for all time sacrifice for sins was then made - the basis for eternal life for both Jew and Gentile - followed by 2000 years of the church age.

After the rapture of the church there will be a resumed period of time when Israel will finally accept their Messiah: the last 7 years of the Age of the Mosaic Law - the Tribulation period, (Dan 7:25, 12ALL, 2 Thes 4:13-18, Rev 12ALL)]

[Jn 1:29-31 cont.]:

[So John the Baptist continues to describe Israel's Messiah to the nation Israel]:

(v. 30) This is the One I meant when I said, 'A Man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.'

[A GodMan Who comes after me in time -has surpassed me because He was before me - being God, He is eternal]

(v. 31) I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel."

[Notice that John's water baptism ministry focused on the nation Israel. And John testified that his water baptism had something to do with the revelation to Israel of the Messiah Jesus Christ - that He was the Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world.

Every Jew in the nation of Israel who had trusted in the Messiah to come at that time indicated this trust by going to John the Baptist and receiving John's water baptism. So what were those people who were baptized in John's baptism saying then? That they had been united to Christ as part of the church? Obviously not! That wasn't the issue! What they were saying with the Baptism of John was that they were ready to be identified with the Messiah Savior and the offer of His Kingdom - His earthly Kingdom. In other words, the Millennium was ready to be inaugurated right then 2000 years ago! It was only waiting upon the acceptance of the Jewish people of the King which God had provided: God Himself, God the Son, the One Who was born on that first Christmas day and Who now had grown to Manhood and had just begun His ministry... ...John's baptism was...... a religious rite for Jews only, signifying confession of sin and commitment to a holy life in the anticipation of the coming Messiah [Mt 3:6-8]. It never occurred outside of Israel! No one hearing John preach asked him what he was talking about relative to the kingdom of heaven, for the concept of Messiah's rule over the kingdom of earth was a common thread in Old Testament prophesy. The requirement for the Messiah's coming was that the nation Israel repent.. [i.e., trust in the Messiah for eternal life and not in their heritage through Abraham: Mt 3:1-2, 8-10]"

When Christ appeared to the Jewish people, the next event in prophesy as they understood it should have been the setting up of the Davidic kingdom with their Messiah as King. Even our Lord's disciples understood it this way:

[Mt 24:3]:

"And as He [Jesus, (v. 1)] was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sing of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"

At the time of John the Baptist the Lord Jesus Christ also baptized Israelites in the Jordan River and preached the same message as John the Baptist: the message of the good news of the kingdom of heaven for Israel for those who trust in Him as Messiah for eternal life in the kingdom:

[Mt 4:17]:

"From that time on [from the time when John the Baptist was imprisoned, Mt 4:12-16] Jesus began to preach, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. ' " Cp. Mt 9:35-38; Mk 1:14; Lk 4:43-44.

[Mk 6:6b-12]:

(v. 6b) "Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.

(v. 7) Calling the Twelve to Him, He sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits.

(v. 8) These were His instructions: 'Take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no bag, no money in your belts.

(v. 9) Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.

[Notice that the context of this passage indicates local towns - WITHIN JUDEA - WITHIN ISRAEL]

(v. 10) Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.

(v. 11) And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.'

(v. 12) They went out and preached that people should repent."

And in the parallel passage in Matthew, our Lord issues the following instructions to His disciples:

[Mt 10:5-7]:

(v. 5) '''These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.

(v. 6) Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

(v. 7) As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' " '''

"The kingdom of heaven is near [i.e., imminent, at hand]" =

"near" = "eggiken" = caused to approach, to draw near, i.e., imminent, ready to be ushered in.

Notice that our Lord commanded His disciples NOT to preach the gospel of the kingdom to Gentiles. The message was exclusively for the nation Israel - if they accept Him as their Messiah our Lord was ready, right then and there, to bring in the millennial kingdom. So the water baptisms that our Lord had His disciples perform were for the same symbollic purpose as the baptisms that John the Baptist performed: identification by each individual Jew with the nation Israel and with the bringing in of the kingdom by trusting in the Messiah Jesus Christ:

[Jn 4:1-2]:

(v. 1) "The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John,

(v. 2) although in fact it was not Jesus Who baptized, but His disciples."

[Jn 3:22-36]:

(22) '''After this, Jesus and His disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where He spent some time with them, and baptized.

(v. 23) Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.

(v. 26) They [some of John's disciples] came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, that man Who was with you on the other side of the Jordan - the One you testified about - well, He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him."

(v. 27) To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given Him from heaven.

(v. 28) You yourselves can testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of Him.'

(v. 29) The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for Him, and is full of joy when he he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

(v. 30) He must become greater; I must become less." '''

So John the Baptist testifies here that the Messiah, Whom he announced as the "Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world", (Jn 1:29), is here, ready to usher in His kingdom. Our Lord also preaches to and water baptizes individuals of Israel so that they would "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand". Messiah's kingdom is imminent and only awaits Israel's changing its mind and accepting Christ as Savior and Messiah.

The church was not in view in any of these passages, nor could it have had an inception at this time. The disciples and all of the followers of our Lord would have to have been ushered into the kingdom as Jew or Gentile, not the church, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. This is precisely what will occur 2,000+ years later, at the end of the 7 year tribulation period: The millennial kingdom will be ushered in, with all mortal believers being either Jew or Gentile - no church in view amongst those in mortal bodies since they went up in the Rapture, (I Thes 4:13-18).

[Lewis Sperry Chafer states, in Systematic Theology, vol. 2, Victor Books, Wheaton, Ill., 1988, p. 208]:

"When the church is called to heaven at the time of the Rapture of the church, God will resume His program for Israel, including the time of Great Tribulation and suffering, and then will rescue the godly remnant of Israel at the time of Christ's second coming."

If the church's inception was to be before the time of Pentecost, the question as to why our Lord did not explain the disciples' role in it must be asked.

[Chafer, op. cit., p. 208]

"In His earthly life Christ did not deal with the subject of the church in any detail until the Upper Room Discourse the night before His crucifixion. The apostles only slowly understood the dramatic difference between the present age and the previous dealings of God with Israel."

C) THE CHURCH WAS A YET FUTURE EVENT - TO BEGIN AFTER THE TIME OF OUR LORD'S EARTHLY MINISTRY

UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH

[Mt 16:18]:

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock [ = the foundational truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, v. 16] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it."

"I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it." = Notice that the verb is in the future tense. Our Lord is stating that, at some time in the future from the time he made the statement to Peter, He would commence building His church.

[Chafer, op. cit., p. 237]:

"Each of the five words, 'I will build My church' has great doctrinal significance, and the phrase could be quoted each time emphasizing a different word.

In referring to Himself as 'I,' Christ stated that the building of the church is something He undertakes. It is Christ who is calling out, saving, and perfecting this specific company. The word 'will' shows a prophetic aspect to Jesus' statement, and implies that the church was not in existence at that time and was not the work of Christ while He was on earth but would be realized in the future. This contradicts the thought that the church existed throughout the Old Testament. The word 'build' suggests that this is a slow process continuing throughout the present age (Eph. 2:20; Heb. 3:6). Though God will use human instruments to proclaim the Gospel, the calling of the church to salvation and the forming of the church into the body of Christ is a work of God not of man. The expression 'My church' points to the distinction between God's work for Israel and His work for the Gentile world. Though God loved Israel (Jer. 31:3), it does not complicate the fact that God also loved the church to an infinite degree (John 13:1; Eph. 5:25). This introductory word of Christ amplified in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-17) points to the conclusion that the church was a future undertaking to be fulfilled in the present age."

D) OUR LORD'S DEATH HAD TO PRECEDE THE CHURCH

[Lewis Sperry Chafer states, in Systematic Theology, vol. 2, Victor Books, Wheaton, Ill., 1988, pp. 238-239]:

"Though many theologians do not recognize the distinctive use of ekklesia for the body of Christ in the present age, good reasons are advanced in Scripture to indicate that the church began at Pentecost.

CHRIST'S DEATH. There could be no church in the world constituted as she is and distinctive in all her features until Christ's death (Acts 20:28: Rom. 3:24-26; Col. 1:13-14). The death of Christ is more than a mere anticipation, but the church, the body of Christ, is based wholly on His finished work, and she must be purified by His precious blood."

[Jn 10:7-18]:

(v. 7) "Therefore Jesus said again, 'I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.

[Our Lord is speaking of the sheep of Israel since this is the time before the cross. Our Lord went first to the lost house of Israel, (Mt 10:5-6)

(v. 14) "I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep [believers in Israel - Jews, cp "other sheep" = Gentiles (v.16)] and My sheep know Me -

(v. 15) just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father - and I lay down My life for the sheep. [i.e., our Lord's dying for the sins of Israel]

(v. 16) I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, AND THERE SHALL BE ONE FLOCK [THE CHURCH] and one Shepherd.

[So here in the Gospel of John, our Lord is speaking of a single flock, i.e., group of believers who follow Him composed of Jew and Gentile: the church. And this single group it indicates will be such AFTER our Lord's death. Cp Isa 56:8; Jn 17:20; Acts 15:7-9; Eph 2:11-19]

E) OUR LORD'S RESURRECTION HAD TO PRECEDE THE CHURCH

[Chafer, op. cit., p. 238-239]

"CHRIST'S RESURRECTION. There could be no church until Christ rose from the dead to provide her with a resurrection life (Rom. 4:24; Col 3:1-3). This is a new feature that had not been introduced before."

[Ro 4:22-24]:

(v. 22) "Therefore also IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.

(v. 23) Now not for his [Abraham's, (v. 2)] sake only was it written, that it was reckoned to him,

(v. 24) but for our sake also, to whom it will be reckoned, as those who believe in Him Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."

[Col 3:1-3]:

(v. 1) "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

(v. 2) Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

(v. 3) For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

F) OUR LORD'S ASCENSION HAD TO PRECEDE THE CHURCH

[Chafer, op. cit., p. 238-239]:

"CHRIST'S ASCENSION. There could be no church until Christ ascended on high to become the Head of the church (Eph. 1:19-23; Heb. 7:25; 1 John 2:1). The church is a new creation with a new Head in the resurrected Christ. As such, He is also the Head of the body of Christ which is the church. The church in the present age could not survive if it were not for Christ's intercession and advocacy in heaven."

[Eph 1:19-23]:

(v. 19) "And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.
(v. 20) which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
(v. 21) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

(v. 22) And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
(v. 23) which is His body, the fulness of Him Who fills all in all."

[Heb 7:25]:

"Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

[1 Jn 2:1]:

"My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous."

G) THE CHURCH BEGAN AT PENTECOST AT THE HOLY SPIRIT'S ADVENT

The Bible speaks of a unique group of people all united into one body: the body of Christ, the Church. Scripture indicates in numerous places that this body did not become an entity until the Holy Spirit united Jewish and Gentile believers at that 'first' Pentecost.

Dr John Walvoord wrote, ("The Millennial Kingdom", Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Mi; 1971, p. 226):

"...saved Israelites under the old economy [under the Mosaic Law system] were placed into the body of Christ at Pentecost."

[Chafer, op. cit., p. 238-239]:

"HOLY SPIRIT'S ADVENT. There could be no church on earth until the advent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5; I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:30). The coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to indwell and seal the church made the church a temple or habitation of God. Saints had been regenerated before Pentecost but only at Pentecost was the church baptized by the Spirit onto one body. Inasmuch as these important works essential to the character of the church did not occur before Pentecost, the church could not begin until that date. A church without the finished work on which to stand, a church without resurrection position of life, a church which is a new humanity but lacking a Head, a church without Pentecost or what Pentecost contributed is only a figment of theological fancy and is not the teaching of the New Testament."

Now that Holy Spirit baptism was inaugurated, a new creation has come out of the mass of Jews and Gentiles that inhabit the earth, (cp. Gal 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17):

[Compare Gal 3:28]:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

[Eph 2:14-15]:

(v. 14) "For He Himself is our peace, Who made both groups [Jew & Gentile, vv.11-13] into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,

(v. 15 N.A.S.) by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two [kinds of people] into one new man, [into one new and unique kind of man - a member of the Body of Christ] thus establishing peace,"

[Charles C Ryrie states in "Biblical Theology of the New Testament", Moody Press, 1959, p. 120]:

"Although it is not expressly recorded in Acts 2 that the baptism of the Spirit occurred on the Day of Pentecost, it is said in Acts 11:15-16 that it did happen then in fulfillment of the promise of the Lord. However, it is Paul who explains that this baptism places people in the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:13). In other words, on the Day of Pentecost men were first put into the Body of Christ. Since the Church is the Body of Christ (Col 1:18) the Church could not have begun until Pentecost and had to begin on that day."

~~~church_beg

6) ISRAEL'S RULE OF DAILY LIFE IS THE MOSAIC LAW SYSTEM THE CHURCH'S RULE OF LIFE IS BY GRACE THROUGH THE LEADING OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.

ISRAEL

ISRAEL IS UNDER THE MOSAIC COMMANDMENTS AS A RULE OF LIFE:

[Ex 19:5-6]:

(v. 5) " 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine.

(v. 6) and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.'

THEN WHAT FOLLOWED FROM GOD WAS A LIST OF HUNDREDS OF COMMANDMENTS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED FOR ISRAELITES, BEGINNING WITH THE FIRST TEN IN EXODUS 20 THROUGH LEVITICUS & DEUTERONOMY

CHURCH

THE CHURCH'S RULE OF LIFE IS BY GRACE THROUGH THE LEADING OF GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT.

[Ro 6:14]:

"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law [no article, i.e., any code of behavior] but under grace."

~~~ro8v4

[Compare Ro 8:1-4]:

(v. 1) "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

[All those who are "in Christ", i.e., believers, are eternally secure from going to hell whether they continue to obey Christ or not, (compare I Cor 3:11-15, II Tim 11-13).

Note that some translations have the phrase "who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit". This phrase is omitted from the end of verse one above because it was discovered that it was erroneously copied from verse 4 in a number of later manuscripts. Earlier, more reliable manuscripts do not have this phrase. Its placement here in verse one by someone who was transcribing manuscripts contradicts many other passages which teach God's exclusive and sovereign role in preserving the eternal security of the believer, (ref: Ro 8:38-39; Jn 10:28; Eph 1:13-14, 2:8-9, 4:30 & Ro 11:29). How the believer lives his life does not effect his eternal destiny. Whom he has placed his faith in does!]

(v. 2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

["The Law of the Spirit of life" = The law of perfect Christian freedom which is energized by living by faith in Jesus Christ and His Word - energized by the love of Him, (cp. Gal 5:1-6, 13; I Cor 8:9); which law makes provision through the blood of Christ for eradicating the effects of the believer's daily sins, (1 Jn 1:1-9), and also for preserving his eternal destiny in heaven, (1 Jn 1:7; 1 Jn 2:2).

Once a person has expressed his faith alone in Christ alone as Savior he is now subject to this new law: the law of the Spirit of Life which is administered by God the Holy Spirit indwelling in him. This new law he can obey and walk in the Spirit by faith; or not obey and walk in carnality by the world and be under God's discipline. Either way he walks, this new law of the Spirit of life that he is under has permanently and eternally set him free from the law of sin and death. He is eternally secure from condemnation under the law of sin and death because he has trusted alone in Christ alone. The law of sin and death is that law which keeps an individual who is subject to it under the slavery of sin, (Ro 6:17a; 20), and then under eternal condemnation when he dies, (Jn 3:18; I Jn 5:12). An unbeliever has no choice under this law but to sin in everything he does. Even the good that he does, not being directed by God the Holy Spirit, is contaminated by his evil nature in some way, (Isa 64:6; Jer 17:9; Ro 6:20; Lk 18:19). The unbeliever is truly a hopeless slave to the law of sin and eternal death, (Ro 6:20)]

[Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 3 NIV) "For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man..."

["His own Son in the likeness of sinful man: = God the Son became flesh - became in the likeness of man without a sin nature, yet He remained fully God at the same time, (cp. II Cor 5:21; Phil 2:6-8; Col 1:15-16). He came to earth as a Man "to be a sin offering" = to die for the sins of the whole world, (cp. 1 Jn 2:2).

"And so He [the Lord Jesus Christ] condemned sin in sinful man.." =

"condemned" = "katekrinen" = passed a judicial sentence upon sin. In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ died for the judgment due for our sin and thus paid the penalty that our own sins required us to pay, 1 Jn 2:2. So all that remains for the individual is to trust in our Lord's payment for his sins and that individual will receive forgiveness and eternal life, (ref. Acts 10:43)]

[Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 3c cont)

".....And so He condemned sin in sinful man,

(v. 4) in order that the [perfect & righteous] requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

[When a believer is controlled by, i.e., walks according to the Spirit Who now indwells him, (Eph 1:13-14); he fulfills the righteous requirement of the [Mosaic] Law. It is a matter of choice for the believer. So if he chooses to follow his own way he will be unrighteous. But if he chooses to be controlled by the Spirit, he will be righteous.

[Compare Eph 5:15-18]:

(v. 15) "[Believers] Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise,

(v. 16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

(v. 17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

(v. 18) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled [controlled] with the Spirit."

[Just as being filled with wine, i.e., alcohol, controls the behavior in a sinful way, so one instead should be filled with - controlled by - the Spirit of God which controls the behavior in a godly way.]

[Ro 8:1-4 cont.]:

(v. 3c cont.) "And so He condemned sin in sinful man,

(v. 4 AMPLIFIED) so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us, who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit - our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the (Holy) Spirit."

[Notice: "might be fully met" = "pleroe" = aorist tense, passive voice, subjunctive mood = so that a condition of possibility but not certainty is established. Maybe you will act righteously and maybe you won't. But now at least you as one who is now a believer can fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law by submitting to the leading of God the Holy Spirit. Before, as an unbeliever, you could not at all.

So Jesus Christ "condemned sin in sinful man" in order that the perfect standard of the Mosaic Law might be fulfilled on a moment to moment basis in the lives of those believers who for those moments are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Therefore believers at times do choose NOT to live according to the Spirit and at those times are NOT meeting the righteous requirements of the Law. They are then out of fellowship with God but not out of salvation, (Ro 8:1, 38-39). Their position in Christ relative to eternal life remains sovereignly intact. The out-of-fellowship problem is then resolved by confession and by obeying the Word again, (1 Jn 1:5-10, Jn 14:15)]

[Gal 5:16, 18]:

(v. 16) "So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

(v. 18) But if your are led by the Spirit, you are not under law."

On the one hand church age believers are not under the hundreds of specifically stipulated commands of the Mosaic Law enumerated in Exodus, Leviticus & Deuteronomy, as the Israelites were. On the other hand, the standard of righteousness that obedience to all of the Mosaic Law provision established for the Israelite is also the standard of behavior for the Christian when he follows the leading of the Holy Spirit:

Although church age doctrinal statements contain hundreds of commands for the believer, many of which have been carried over from the Mosaic Law period, there are no specifically stipulated blessings, disciplines or punishments enumerated for obedience or disobedience respectively. And those particular commandments are kept when one follows the leading of the Holy Spirit.

~~~ro8v4

7) ALL CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS WERE BAPTIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO ONE BODY.

ISRAEL HAS NO SUCH BAPTISM

ISRAEL

ONLY AT CERTAIN TIMES DID THE HOLY SPIRIT TEMPORARILY FILL CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS, BUT NOT PERMANENTLY INDWELL EACH INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER AT THE POINT OF SALVATION:

CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS WERE TEMPORARILY FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO DO SPECIAL WORK IN BUILDING THE TEMPLE

[Ex 31:3-11]:

(v. 3) "And I have filled him [Bezalel, (v. 2)] with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship

(v. 4) to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze,

(v. 5) and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.

(v. 6) And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you:

(v. 7) the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent,
(v. 8) the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense
,

(v. 9) the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand,

(v. 10) the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood:

(v. 11) the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them according to all that I have commanded you."

THE LEADERS OF ISRAEL HAD THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

MOSES

[Num 11:17]:

(v. 17) Then I will come down and speak with you [Moses, (v. 16)] there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you shall not bear it all alone."

JOSHUA

[Dt 34:9]:

(v. 9) Now [that Moses had died, (v. 5), Joshua [Moses' successor] the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses."

SAUL

[1 Sam 10:9-10]:

(v. 9) "Then it happened when he [Saul] turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day.

(v. 10) When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them."

DAVID

[1 Sam 16:13-14]:

(v. 13) "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him [David] in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah."

[Ps 51:11]:

"[David says] Do not cast me away from Thy presence,

And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me."

[Note that David was aware that the Holy Spirit filling was not necessarily a permanent one]

CERTAIN ELDERS OF ISRAEL HAD THE HOLY SPIRIT PUT UPON THEM IN ORDER TO LEAD THE ISRAELITES WITH GOD'S WISDOM AND SHARE IN MOSES' BURDEN OF LEADERSHIP

[Num 11:16-17]:

(v. 16) "The LORD therefore said to Moses, 'Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.

(v. 17) Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you shall not bear it all alone."

AT SPECIAL TIMES FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES, MEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES WERE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO ACCOMPLISH GOD'S PURPOSE

[Jdg 6:34]:

"So the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him."

[Jdg 11:29]:

"Now the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, so that he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon."

AND THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD FILLED GOD'S PROPHETS SO THAT THEY COULD PROPHESY

[2 Ki 2:9]:

"Now it came about when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, 'Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.' And Elisha said, 'Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me."

CHURCH

ALL CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS WERE PERMANENTLY BAPTIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT INTO ONE BODY

[1 Cor 12:13]:

"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit"

THE HOLY SPIRIT'S INDWELLING AND BAPTISM IS PERMANENT IN THE CHURCH AGE BELIEVER

[Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

(v. 14) Who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory."

8) PROPHECY TELLS OF ISRAEL, NOT THE CHURCH, AS FINALLY ACCEPTING HER MESSIAH AS A NATION AT ONE MOMENT IN TIME AT WHICH TIME BEGINS THE KINGDOM RULE AND THE FINAL FULFILLMENT OF ALL OF THE BLESSINGS OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT.

ON THE OTHER HAND INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN TRUSTING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE AS SAVIOR ONE BY ONE AND THUS BECOMING PART OF THE CHURCH FOR SEVERAL THOUSAND YEARS.

ISRAEL

[Zech 12:10; 13:1]:

(v. 12:10) "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me Whom they have pierced [Jesus Christ] and they will mourn for Him, [evidence of believing in Him] as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born...

(v. 13:1) In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity."

Furthermore, hundreds of years later, the Apostle Paul made it clear that God would fulfill His promises to Israel:

[Ro 11:1-2a; 26-29]:

(v. 1) "I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

[Notice that Paul indicates here that the physical seed of Abraham has not been rejected relative to the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant]

(v. 2a) God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew...."

[And what God has foreknown He had called, i.e. predestined or decreed, (Ro 8:29), and thus it will inevitably and unchangeably come to pass, (v. 29)]

(v. 26) "And thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, 'THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.

(V. 27) AND THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.'

(v. 28) From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; [to whom the promises of the Covenant were made]

(v. 29) for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

THE CHURCH

ON THE OTHER HAND INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN TRUSTING ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE AS SAVIOR ONE BY ONE AND THUS BECOMING PART OF THE CHURCH FOR SEVERAL THOUSAND YEARS.

[2 Pet 3:9]:

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."

9) ISRAEL IS PORTRAYED AS THE UNFAITHFUL WIFE OF THE LORD GOD TO BE RESTORED TO FAITHFULNESS

THE CHURCH IS VIEWED AS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST TO CORULE WITH HIM IN THE MILLENNIUM AND ETERNITY FUTURE

ISRAEL

[Isa 54:5-17]:

(v. 5) "For your Maker is your husband - the LORD Almighty is His name - the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; He is called the God of all the earth.

(v. 6) The LORD will call you back as if your were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit - a wife who married young, only to be rejected, ' says your God.

(v. 7) For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.

(v. 8) In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,' says the LORD your Redeemer.

(v. 9) To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.

(v. 10) Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, Who has compassion on you.

(v. 11) O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires.

(v. 12) I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones.

(v. 13) All your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children's peace.

(v. 14) In righteousness you will be established; Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.

(v. 15) If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

(v. 16) See, it it I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I Who have created the destroyer to work havoc;

(v. 17) no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from ME,' declares the LORD.' "

[Compare Hos 3:1-5]:

(v. 1) "The LORD said to me, 'Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.'

(v. 2) So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley.

(v. 3) Then I told her, 'You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.

(v. 4) For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol.

(v. 5) Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to His blessings in the last days."

CHURCH

ON THE OTHER HAND THE CHURCH IS VIEWED AS THE BRIDE OF JESUS CHRIST AS OPPOSED TO ISRAEL AS THE WIFE OF GOD

[Eph 5:22-32]:

(v. 22) "Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

(v. 23) For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He is the Savior.

(v. 24) Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

(v. 25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her

(v. 26) to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water [i.e., the Holy Spirit] through the Word [i.e., Bible doctrine]

(v. 27) and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without satin or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

(v. 28) In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

(v. 29) After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church -

(v. 30) for we are members of his body.

(v. 31) For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

(v. 31) This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church.

10) IN ISRAEL ONLY LEVITES BECAME PRIESTS BUT ALL CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS ARE PRIESTS UNTO THEMSELVES

INTRODUCTION

C. I. Scofield states, (Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible, NIV, C.I. Scofield, Editor, Oxford University Press, New York, 1984, p. 1297):

"(1) Until the law was given, the head of each family was the family priest (Gen. 8:20; 26:25; 31:54),

(2) When the law was proposed, the promise to perfect obedience was that Israel should be unto God 'a kingdom of priests' (Ex 19:6); but Israel violated the law, and God shut up the priestly office to the Aaronic family, appointing the tribe of Levi to minister to Israel, thus constituting the typical priesthood (Ex 28:1).

(3) In the Church Age, all Christians are unconditionally constituted a 'kingdom and priests' (1 Pet 2:9; Rev. 1:6), the distinction which Israel failed to achieve by works. The priesthood of the Christian is, therefore, a birthright, just as every descendant of Aaron was born to the priesthood (Heb 5:1).

(4) The chief privilege of a priest is access to God. Under law the high priest only could enter 'the Most Holy Place,' and that but once a year (Heb 9:7); but when Christ died, the curtain, a type of Christ's human body (Heb 10:20), was torn, so that now the believer-priests, equally with Christ the High Priest, have access to God in the holiest (Heb 10:19-22). The High Priest is corporeally there (Heb 4:14-16; 9:24; 10:19-22).

(5) And in the exercise of his office the N.T. believer-priest is

(1) a sacrificer who offers a fourfold sacrifice:

(a) his own living body (Rom 12:1; Phil 2:17; 2Tim 4:6; Jas 1:27; 1 Jn 3:16)

(b) praise to God, 'the fruit of lips that confess His name,' to be offered continually (Heb 13:15; cp. Ex 25:22, 'There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you')';

(c) his substance (Rom 12:13; Gal 6:6, 10; Ti 3:14; 3 Jn 5-8;

(d) his service, i.e., 'to do good' (Heb 13:16).

(2) The N.T. priest is also an intercessor (Col 4:12; 1 Tim 2:1)."

ISRAEL

AFTER ISRAEL'S REPEATED FAILURES, GOD RESTRICTED THE PRIESTHOOD OF ISRAEL TO LEVITES ALONE

[Nu 8:19]:

"And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the sons of Israel, to perform the service of the sons of Israel at the tent of meeting, and to make atonement on behalf of the sons of Israel, that there may be no plague among the sons of Israel by their coming near to the sanctuary."

[Nu 18:21-23]:

(v. 21) "I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.

(v. 22) From now on the Israelites must not go near the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their sin and will die.

(v. 23) It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites.

[Heb 5:1-3]:

(v. 1) "For every high priest taken from among men [referring to the Old Testament period] is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;

(v. 2) he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;

(v. 3) and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself."

[Ex 28:1]:

"Then bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest to Me [God] - Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons."

CHURCH

ALL CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS ARE PRIESTS UNTO THEMSELVES

[1 Pet 2:9]:

"But you [believers, (v. 1:1, 2:7)] are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."

[Rev 1:5-6]:

(v. 5) "To Him Who loves us [believers of the Church Age, (v. 4)] and has freed us from out sins by His blood,

(v. 6) and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father - to Him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen."

[Heb 10:19]:

(v. 19) "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.."

11) OBJECTORS TO SEPARATION OF THE CHURCH FROM ISRAEL OFTEN CLAIM THE BLESSINGS BUT IGNORE THE DUTIES AND THE PENALTIES FOR DISOBEDIENCE.

EYE FOR AN EYE AND THE DEATH PENALTY FOR CURSING GOD OR ONE'S PARENTS, NEGLIGENCE, SORCERY, SEX WITH ANIMALS, SACRIFICES TO IDOLS, BLASPHEMY, VIOLATING THE SABBATH IN WHICH ALL MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION ARE TO CARRY OUT THE SENTENCE

[Ex 35:2]:

"For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death. [by stoning by the whole congregation]"

[Ex 21:17, 23-25, 29-30]:

(v. 17) "Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.'"

(v. 23) But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,

(v. 24) eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

(v. 25) burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise

(v. 29) If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull must be stoned and the owner also must be put to death.

(v. 30) However, if payment is demanded of him, he may redeem his life by paying whatever is demanded."

[Ex 22:18-20]:

(v. 18) "Do not allow a sorceress to live.

(v. 19) Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death.

(v. 20) Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed."

[Lev 24:15-16]:

(v. 15) "Say to the Israelites: 'If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible;

(v. 16) anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. [That means every one in the congregation] Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death."

PENALTY, CONFESSION AND ANIMAL SACRIFICE FOR ONE'S SINS PERFORMED BY EACH INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF THE CONGREGATION FOR HIMSELF

[Lev 5:1, 5-6]:

(v. 1) "If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.

(v. 5) When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned

(v. 6) and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin [by slitting the animal's throat in sacrifice]."

[Lev 1:2, 5a]:

(v. 2) "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When any of you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.

(v. 5) "He is to slaughter the young bull before the LORD...."

[Lev 4:27-29]:

(v. 27) "If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD's commands, he is guilty.

(v. 28) When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed a female goat without defect.

(v. 29) He is to lay his hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering."

THERE WERE THREE TITHES FOR ISRAELITES TO PAY WHICH AMOUNTED TO 23 1/3% PER YEAR, NOT JUST 10%:

FIRST: THE LEVITES' TITHE - THE TITHE FOR THE PRIESTHOOD WHO SERVED THE CONGREGATIONS

[Numbers 18:21]:

(v. 21) "And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even [i.e., which is to say] the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.

THEN THE SECOND TITHE: THE FESTIVAL TITHE, ALSO AN ANNUAL COLLECTION

So this now adds up to 20% not just 10%!

[Dt 14:22]:

(v. 22) "You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year.

(v. 23) And you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name [i.e., the Temple at Jerusalem], the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, in order that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always.

(v. 24) And if the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the LORD your God chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the LORD your God blesses you,

(v. 25) then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.

(v. 26) And you may spend the money for whatever your heart desires, for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.

(v. 27) Also you shall not neglect the Levite who is in your town, for he has no portion or inheritance among you."

FINALLY, THE TITHE TAKEN EVERY THREE YEARS FOR THE POOR

So this now averages out to 23 1/3% per year:

[Dt 14:28-29]:

(v. 28) "At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town.

(v. 29) And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do."

12) THE TERM CHURCH WHEN APPLIED TO THE ENTITY OF CHURCH AGE BELIEVERS IS A SPECIAL/TECHNICAL TERM NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH OTHER GROUPS USING THE SAME TERM

Lewis Sperry Chafer states, (The Kingdom in History and Prophecy, Moody Press, Chicago, 1944, pp. 73-74):

"The meaning of the word 'church' is the 'called out one,' and this, it will be seen, is identical with the present-age purpose 'to take out a people for His name.' The word 'church' appears for the first time in the Bible at Mt. xvi. 18, and here Jesus speaks of it as a then future thing: 'On this rock I will build My church.' An entirely new word is used, it would seem, that there should be no confusion of what this word represents with any Old Testament revelation. The general use of the word in the Scriptures is of a collection, or assembly, of people. Thus Israel, separated and called out of Egypt, is termed by Stephen as 'the church in the wilderness' (Acts vii. 38), and Luke uses the same word in mentioning the assembly of people in the town meeting at Ephesus (Acts xix. 29). When the word is now used to denote a company of professing Christians, or united worshippers, the reference is to an organization of people of one generation untied by human ties, and not all, necessarily, saved ones. The deeper and more important use of the word, however, is the designation of the born-again ones of all generations since Pentecost as 'baptized into one body and made to drink into one Spirit,' each one so perfectly in the saving and transforming power of God that he will rightfully appear in glory in the exact likeness of Christ; and the whole company, finally perfected, 'without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing' will be His bride and His body, 'the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.'

Such a perfect organism, with its heavenly destiny and glory, could hardly be confused with Israel in the wilderness, called out and separated from Egypt, or the ungovernable assembly of the town meeting at Ephesus, called out for the time being from their homes. The latter are merely incidental: the former is no less than the primary purpose of God in this age of grace."

13) ISRAEL WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD AT CERTAIN TIMES FOR CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS, BELIEVERS IN THE CHURCH AGE ARE ALWAYS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, BEING PERMANENTLY INDWELT BY THE SPIRIT

ISRAEL

[Ex 19:20; 20:18-23]:

(v. 19:20) "The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up...

(v. 20:18) "When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance

(v. 20:19) and said to Moses, 'Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.'

(v. 20:20) Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.'

(v. 20:21) The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.

(v. 20:22) Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Tell the Israelites this: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven:

(v. 20:23) Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold."

[2 Kg 17:22-23; 23:27]:

(v. 22) "The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them

(v. 23) until the LORD removed them from His presence, as He had warned through all His servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there."

(v. 23:27) "So the LORD said, 'I will remove Judah also from My presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, 'There shall My Name be.' "

[Ps 51:11]:

"Do not cast me [David] from Your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me."

CHURCH

BELIEVERS IN THE CHURCH AGE ARE ALWAYS IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, BEING PERMANENTLY INDWELT BY GOD THROUGH THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

[1 Cor 12:13]:

"For we [believers, (v. 1:1; 12:1)] were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink."

[Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

[Ro 6:3]:

"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized [by God the Holy Spirit] into Christ Jesus [2 Cor 5:17] were baptized into His death?"

[Heb 13:5c]:

"because God has said,

[to the believer, (v. 1)]

'Never will I leave you;

never will I forsake you."

[1 Jn 4:4]:

"You, dear children [believers], are from God and have overcome them [spirits of the Antichrist in the world], because the One [God the Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13-14)] Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."