ISRAEL—SPIRIT AND FLESH
Copyright © 1990 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
There are three misconceptions and one true Scriptural concept of the relationship between the Christian Church and the “Israel” spoken of by the Hebrew Prophets. Let us stand fast in the true Scriptural concept. The coming of the Kingdom of God is hindered when we accept any division between the Christian Church and the people and land of Israel. Let us destroy the middle wall of partition that Satan and human self-seeking have established. Let us recognize the unity of Jerusalem, of the Church of the Firstborn, of Zion.
When the full number of Gentiles have been grafted on Christ, on the one Olive Tree of God, God will turn once more to physical Israel, pouring out His Spirit on the Jews and bringing them into the one Body of Christ, the one Olive Tree. All Israel, all those who are of Christ by promise, will come to perfection together in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
Table of Contents
Misconception: Christianity Has To Do Primarily With Gentiles
Misconception: True Israel Is Spiritual and God Has No Plan for the Jews
Misconception: There Will Be a Gentile Church in Heaven and a Jewish Kingdom on the Earth
The Scriptural Concept
Spiritual Israel joined with physical Israel
The Kingdom of God and the spiritual fulfillment of the last three feasts of the Lord
The whole house of Israel
ISRAEL—SPIRIT AND FLESH
There are three misconceptions and one true scriptural concept of the relationship between the Christian Church and the “Israel” spoken of by the Hebrew Prophets.
The three misconceptions are as follows:
- Christianity primarily is a Gentile religion and has little to do with the Jews and the nation of Israel.
- True Israel is spiritual, being the believers (mostly Gentile) in Christ. God no longer considers the Jews and geographical Jerusalem as being Israel.
- There will be a predominantly Gentile Church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth.
A corollary of the first and third of these viewpoints is that when the Hebrew prophets refer to “Israel” they almost always are indicating the people and land of Israel and not the Christian Church.
There is a tendency on the part of some of those who adhere to these concepts to relegate the writings of the Old Covenant to the past as though they have little if any significance today.
The first of the misconceptions, that Christianity primarily is a Gentile religion and has little to do with the Jews and the nation of Israel. is not new. We do not know the historical antecedents of the second viewpoint, that true Israel is spiritual, being the believers (mostly Gentile) in Christ, but no doubt it also has been held by Christians for some time.
The third, that there will be a predominantly Gentile Church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth may have resulted from the Dispensational model of biblical interpretation.
It can be noted at once that Satan strives mightily, as evidenced by each of these misconceptions, to maintain a wedge between the Gentile believers and the Jews. Each of the viewpoints holds apart the Gentile believers in Christ and the nation of Israel and geographical Jerusalem. These concepts disinherit us Gentile Christians from the city of Jerusalem—the only city on the earth that God has chosen for His elect.
Today Jerusalem on the earth is in spiritual bondage with her children. But the Hebrew Prophets teach us that Jerusalem is to be restored and Christ will reign from there (Jeremiah 3:17).
Let it be established forever that we who belong to Christ have our inheritance in Jerusalem, in Israel and we will not be disinherited by anyone. Although we once were not a people we now belong to the house of God. The Lord Jesus will do nothing apart from us because we are His Body, His fullness.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22,23)
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (Ephesians 2:19)
Satan knows that once the Gentile Christians have been joined to Israel, the Kingdom of God is ready to be established on the earth.
What is the true scriptural concept? The true scriptural concept is that Israel is one. There is one fold and one Shepherd. There is one Body of Christ. There is one Wife of the Lamb. There is one Kingdom of God. There is one new Jerusalem. There is but one Christian Church, one Church of the Anointed, of Christ. How could there be two?
“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
Speaking of the one new Man (Jews and Gentiles in Christ—Ephesians 2:15):
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Will God turn again to the Jews and restore a natural kingdom? Will the Law of Moses and the animal sacrifices take the place of the Lord Jesus now that He has come who has fulfilled both in Himself?
Does the resurrected Jesus have two Brides, one Gentile and spiritual and the other Jewish and physical? Where does the Scripture speak of two brides of the Lamb?
Let us first demonstrate that each of the three misconceptions is unscriptural, and then we will discuss the true scriptural concept.
Misconception: Christianity Has To Do Primarily With Gentiles
It is believed that this unfortunate viewpoint came into being in the early centuries of the Christian Era. When great numbers of Europeans were brought into the Christian faith the Jews began to be regarded with suspicion as being murderers of God. This attitude has been largely responsible for the vicious persecution the Jews have received at the hands of the Gentiles throughout history.
It is not uncommon to hear Christians of today give voice to the opinion that God has special heavenly blessings for Gentile believers while the Jews are doomed to suffer through the reign of Antichrist and the great tribulation.
It is easy to demonstrate from the New Testament writings, as well as from logic, that such a viewpoint is completely without support. There is not one passage that states the Body of Christ will be divided into a Gentile branch and a Jewish branch, and the Gentile branch is favored of God and will be carried off to Heaven while the Jewish branch is left to suffer on the earth.
Why are we preaching what is not found clearly in the Scriptures, in fact, that which is against the teaching of the Prophets and Apostles? Why are we preaching traditions and fables in place of the Word of God?
There is no such thing as a “Gentile Church.” Christianity was Jewish in origin and will be Jewish in fulfillment.
The new covenant cannot be made with Gentiles, only with the House of Israel.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Hebrews 8:10)
In order to come under the new covenant a Gentile must become part of the House of Israel. We Gentiles become part of Israel through our union with Christ. Because we are part of Christ we are the one Seed of Abraham, the Seed that is by promise.
Just as Asenath the Egyptian was part of Joseph, and her children were claimed by Jacob as tribes in Israel, so it is true that we, being an integral part of Christ, living by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, are of the one Seed of Abraham.
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)
The one Seed of Abraham is not the physical Jews. The one Seed of Abraham is Christ.
If the so-called Gentile Church is a special “mystery,” as is being taught, and the promise to Abraham that His seed should bless the nations of the earth is to the physical Jews, why does Paul state that the Law was given until the true Seed should come?
What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19)
If the physical Jews are the seed of Abraham, and Christ and those who are in Him are another seed of Abraham, then there are two seeds and not one seed and the writings of Paul are found to be in error.
If we are of the Lord Jesus we are Abraham’s Seed and part of Christ. We are the Body of Christ. There is no other seed of Abraham. If there is, Paul’s writings are not Scripture.
There is only the one olive tree. The olive tree is Christ. Some of the Jews were broken off from Christ because of their unbelief. We Gentiles through faith have been grafted on the one olive tree. There is no Gentile olive tree.
And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, (Romans 11:17)
Consider: the olive tree, the true “Vine,” is Christ. The olive tree is Israel; not physical Israel but Christ and those who are part of Him.
Now, if we Gentiles were grafted on Christ, on the one olive tree, how can it be true that there is a Gentile Church? God did not turn to the wild olive tree and bless it. God cut us out of the wild Gentile tree and grafted us on Israel, on Christ, on the anointed royal priesthood. How, in terms of Paul’s writings, can there be a Gentile Church?
When the full number of Gentiles have been grafted on Christ, on the one olive tree of God, God will turn once more to physical Israel, pouring out His Spirit on the Jews and bringing them into the one Body of Christ, the one olive tree. All Israel, all those who are of Christ by promise, will come to perfection together in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:24)
The patriarchs of Israel cannot be made perfect apart from us Christians.
God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:40)
The patriarchs, prophets, and saints of Israel will be raised together with us Christians in the first resurrection from the dead. The first resurrection from the dead is the bringing to life of the army of Christ, the royal priesthood. The firstfruits of the elect of God will be brought to perfected spiritual life together, according to the foreknowledge and grace of God.
Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
At one time we Gentiles were strangers and foreigners without God, without hope. But now through Christ we have been made part of Israel, part of the elect of God.
that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12,13)
Salvation always is of the Jews. The Gospel is the children’s bread and belongs to the Jew first.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
To hold that the Gospel of Christ is Gentile in character is to fall back on tradition rather than on the Scriptures.
The Lord Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches by being born again. The true Jew is not one who has been born of Jewish parents. The true Jew is one who has been born again into the Vine that is Christ.
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. (Romans 2:28,29)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
It is useless to discuss the possibility of God once again sponsoring a Jewish kingdom of God on the earth. No person, Jew or Gentile, will ever see or enter the one Kingdom of God until he or she has been born again of Christ.
Christ, who is the Word of God made flesh, has no intention of marrying an adamic bride. The Bride of Christ is human but also has been born of God, just as the Lord Jesus is God but also has been born of a human.
True Israel, God’s elect, always is by promise, never by the flesh.
nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (Romans 9:7,8)
Isaac was not the seed of Abraham because he was born from Abraham but because God had promised Abraham he would be born. The inheritance comes by the spiritual promise, not by the natural birth. The Divine salvation is not by flesh and blood but by the foreordained grace of God in Christ.
The same is true of us Gentiles according to God’s promise in the Prophets.
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there it shall be said to them, ‘You are sons of the living God.’ (Hosea 1:10)
“On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old;
That they [God’s saints] may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” says the LORD who does this thing. (Amos 9:11,12)
Through the Lord Jesus we Gentiles are an integral part of Israel.
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15)
God revealed to Peter that He would receive the elect Gentiles.
Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. (Acts 10:28)
The elect Gentiles, therefore, are born after the promise of God and not by the flesh. The inheritance cannot come by the flesh but only by grace—by the foreknowledge and election of God. True Israel is by promise, not by natural birth.
Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
It is true also of the chosen of the Jews. As many as have, by the grace of God, been appointed to eternal life are the children of the promise. For the covenant of God never is by the flesh but by promise.
and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Romans 9:23,24)
Salvation came into being in the city of Jerusalem. Christ rose from the dead in the city of Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit fell first in the city of Jerusalem. The first great revival, as described in the second chapter of Acts, took place in the city of Jerusalem. The Apostles were Jews. The writers of the New Testament were Jews. The names in the foundations of the wall and on the gates of the new Jerusalem are all those of Jews. Christianity primarily is a Jewish salvation and after that a Gentile salvation.
The Hebrew Prophets spoke of the salvation to come. The Prophets did not speak to physical Israel but to the Christians (first Jews, and after that Gentiles).
To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into. (I Peter 1:12)
Was Peter, a Jew, inspired to write Scripture? If so, why do we not believe him? Why do we say the Prophets were speaking to physical Israel when the Apostle Peter declared they were not writing to physical Israel but to the Israel that has been born again of Christ?
How, then, can we divide between the nation of Israel and the Christian Church, saying the Christian Church is Gentile? Such a division is totally unscriptural and illogical. The Christian Church is the Body of Christ—the one olive tree of God.
The original Body of Christ was composed of orthodox Jews. At what point did the Body of Christ become Gentile in character?
Christianity is a Jewish religion. Salvation is of the Jews. Elect Gentiles have been added by the determination of God.
The Body of Christ is the “Israel” of Isaiah and of the other Prophets.
“And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ (Isaiah 49:3)
There are many verses in the Old Testament that obviously are speaking concerning the people and land of Israel. These are not always to be spiritualized and applied to the Christian Church. But the verses that clearly refer to the elect saints of the Messianic Kingdom, such as Isaiah 49:3 (above), are not directed primarily toward the physical Jews.
Paul viewed the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, as one new Man, one temple of God, consisting of the elect Jews and Gentiles. Paul taught that the Lord Jesus Christ broke down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile and made one new man. The new Man is Christ—Head and Body.
having abolished in His flesh the enmity [between Jew and Gentile], that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two [Jews and Gentiles], thus making peace, (Ephesians 2:15)
There is no truth to the teaching that the Christian Church is Gentile in character and has little to do with the Jews and the nation of Israel. The Jews and the nation of Israel reveal the earthly working of God—an earthly working that provided the cup into which salvation was poured.
Since the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, God will, after He has provoked His people to jealousy by giving His Spirit to Gentiles, turn once again to the land and people of Israel, giving them His salvation in Christ. That is what Paul taught (compare the eleventh chapter of the book of Romans). It is the writer’s point of view that this turning of God has commenced already, and now it is time for us Christian Gentiles to repay the debt we owe Peter, John, Paul, and the other Jews who have given to us our knowledge of the salvation in Christ.
Misconception: True Israel Is Spiritual and God Has No Plan for the Jews
There are Christian teachers of today who are advancing the concept that true Israel is the Christian Church and that God has no intention of returning once again to the land and people of Israel. It is possible to derive such a misunderstanding from Paul’s statement that the true Jew is not outward but inner, and circumcision is of the heart and not of the flesh.
But such teachers are ignoring the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New, that portray the Redeemer coming out of Zion and turning away ungodliness from Israel.
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; (Romans 11:25,26)
God has not forgotten His original people. He has promised to turn once again to them. God will pour out His Spirit on the Jews as He did in the first century. Then they will turn to the Lord, being born again “at once.” The nation of Israel will be born again and brought into the Body of Christ.
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
But, one may protest, God cannot save people apart from a concerted, systematic effort of the Christian churches and workers!
Can’t He? Consider how Saul of Tarsus was converted. Consider God’s work in Wales, in Nagaland, in Indonesia, and in other areas where the sovereign Spirit of God has come down and swept thousands of souls into the Kingdom. Salvation is of the Lord. God saves whom He will, when He will. Our part is to serve faithfully in the capacity assigned to us. God then saves according to His own foreknowledge, mercy, and power.
Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest. (Isaiah 32:15)
God blesses Israel, not according to the will of man but according to His own sovereign will and purposes. (There is a relationship between godly behavior and the Divine blessing, and prayer and the Divine blessing, but we will not discuss these relationships at this time.)
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10)
God has promised to turn once again to the people of Israel, and He has begun already. The Gospel is the children’s bread. Once again the Spirit is bringing Christ to the Jews.
The door will be held open for the Gentiles while the witness of the Gospel of the Kingdom is borne to the nations in latter-rain power. Meanwhile, God is bringing about historical events that will culminate in the salvation of the Jews.
Finally the greater Son of David will be crowned King in the city of Jerusalem. We who are members of His Body will be with Him there for we shall always be with the Lord.
The spiritual life of Zion is being perfected in the heavens. We Christians, whether we were born a Jew or a Gentile, are of the Zion in the heavens. There the spirits of righteous men are being perfected.
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
A soon as the saints have been perfected the life of the heavenly Zion will descend on Jerusalem, and all elect Israel will be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. The heavenly Jerusalem is the spiritual counterpart of the Jerusalem on the earth. One day Christ will come. At that time the Spirit of life from God, the Spirit of the heavenly Zion, will enter Jerusalem on the earth. Then there will be one fold, and one Shepherd—Christ.
The entering of the Lord into His Israel is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The elect of God, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth, will be raised from the dead and brought into Jerusalem with Christ. From Jerusalem they will rule all the nations of saved peoples of the earth, for they constitute the governing priesthood.
Misconception: There Will Be a Gentile Church in Heaven and a Jewish Kingdom on the Earth
According to our understanding, this position has arisen from the attempt to make the doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture” appear to be consistent with the Scriptures. It is difficult to assess the extent of the confusion that has been brought about by such a belief. It has served to cut off the Gentile believers from the writings of the Prophets. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Joel, are considered to be speaking to physical Israel and not to the members of the Body of Christ.
Meanwhile the destiny of the Gentile believers is understood to be in Heaven where they will live in mansions (a belief arising from an erroneous interpretation of John 14:2). Such a concept does away with the importance of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
According to the teaching of the Church-Kingdom division, the “Gentile Church” will be caught up to Heaven along with the Holy Spirit while the Jews, without the Holy Spirit, will be left to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.
The anti-Semitism of the Church-Kingdom doctrine is obvious. God loves the Gentiles so much He will not allow them to suffer. But God does not mind how much the Jews suffer. Is this scriptural? Can you imagine the Jews attempting to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in the face of Antichrist without the Holy Spirit?
There is, of course, only the one Kingdom of God, of Heaven. The one Kingdom of God will descend from Heaven along with the King, and then God’s will shall be done in the earth. This is what the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, teach. What is being presented today has removed the concept of the Kingdom of God from the minds of the Christians. The original Gospel of the Kingdom of God has been changed into a flight to Heaven to escape Satan and his Antichrist.
It is not the forgiveness of the believers that represents a threat to Satan’s rule over mankind. Rather, it is the Kingdom of God, the actual practice of God’s will in the earth, that marks the end of Satan’s reign.
The Hebrew Prophets, John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostles of the Lamb preached the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. What is it that has removed the original Gospel of the Kingdom from the understanding, faith, and hope of God’s people? What is it that has changed the coming of Christ in His Kingdom into an escape to the spirit realm?
It is the teaching that the Kingdom of God is for the Jews, while the Christian Church, the Body of Christ is to be carried off to Heaven to an obscure destiny—a destiny not found in the Hebrews Prophets. This is the fallacy that has changed the Gospel of Christ from the hope of deliverance for the prisoners of the earth into a totally unscriptural exodus into the spirit realm.
If the present Christian doctrines were the truth of God, then physical death would be the friend and not the enemy of the saint (I Corinthians 15:26). Our goal would be a peaceful death, not a triumphant resurrection.
The enemy, Satan, has managed to corrupt the Christian Gospel until there is little relationship between belief in Christ and righteous behavior. The ability of the enemy has been underestimated. While the believers are looking for a flight into Heaven to escape the Antichrist, the Antichrist has managed to rob them of their ability to serve God in righteousness, holiness, and obedience.
The whole purpose of the creation of the Christian Church is to bring the practice of righteousness into the earth. Establishing God’s will in the earth can come to pass only as a righteous Church is formed. When a righteous Church has been formed, then the Lord Jesus will return, bringing His Church with Him, and establish righteousness on the earth.
Now we can understand why Satan strives so intently to drive a wedge between the Jews and the Gentiles, leaving the Gentiles with the unscriptural idea that they are to be carried into the spirit realm to live forever. Not only are they to be carried to mansions to live forever, all they need to do to get there is to make a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus. There is no fundamental need for them to become a new creation of righteous behavior. If this indeed is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, then righteousness and justice will never come to the earth. The Hebrew Prophets will have spoken in vain.
He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law.” (Isaiah 42:4)
Let it be decided once for all time: there is only one Kingdom of God, of Heaven. The Kingdom was preached at the beginning of the Christian Era. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached also at the conclusion of the Christian Era (Matthew 24:14), but not by Jews who have not been born again of the Spirit of God. It will be the Spirit-filled saints of God, both Jewish and Gentile, who will bear the tremendous testimony of the last days.
Would God wait until the most desperate, the most oppressive hour of earth’s history, and then bear witness to the nations through physical Jews who do not have the Holy Spirit to help them? This is what is being taught today by many—perhaps the majority—of the Christian preachers and teachers.
The Scriptures teach that the Lord Jesus will appear in His Kingdom with His elect, His saints. Then will Jerusalem be filled with glory. Then will the nations of the earth be ruled and judged with righteousness. This is the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ—good news to the Jews and good news to the meek of the Gentile nations.
Throughout the centuries of the Christian Era the Jews, who always should have been at the center of the Christian Gospel, have been treated with contempt and hatred. When the Christians have attempted to evangelize the Jews it has been with the concept that the Jews are in spiritual darkness, possessing nothing at all of God. In order to become a Christian the Jew has had to become a Gentile.
Since the Jew rightfully sees no reason why he should leave his religion and culture in order to please the God of his fathers, the Gospel of Christ has not borne the fruit that would have resulted had the Gospel been presented to the Jews as their own religion, their own bread, their own salvation, their own Kingdom—the continuation of the revelation of the Lord to them.
The proper approach to a Jew is that we Gentile outsiders are ready to give him his Christ, His bread. The Jew does not need to leave anything. It is his “tree.” He is the “natural” branch. It is we Gentiles who must be broken off from our tree and grafted on Israel.
The Jews hate the Christians, and with good reason. In many instances the Christian Church fathers have regarded the Jews as the enemies of God. We have driven them away from their own table, their own Christ, as though Jesus were a Gentile and the Body of Christ were a Gentile institution.
Today a genuine love for the Jews is moving through the ranks of Christians. This is the beginning of the turning again of the Lord to the Jews.
Recognizing the harsh manner in which Christians historically have presented the Gospel to God’s own people, the devout of today are coming to Israel with love—not with the Gospel as such but with concern for their material circumstances. Many Gentile Christians have made a good impression on numerous Jews in the country of Israel. It is necessary that this healing love come as a first step in the restoration of the Jews to the fullness of the blessing of God in Christ.
We do not mean by this that the Christians are endeavoring to gain the confidence of the Jews so they then can convert them. This would be an act of treachery, of deceit. We mean, rather, that the Christians are showing love for love’s sake, making it possible for Jesus to come to the Jews in His own time and manner.
There is a spirit of proselyting among Christians that is not of God but of the flesh. It is this spirit of proselyting, of institution-building, that has changed the revitalizing Life from Heaven into a fleshly, sometimes belligerent attempt to gain members for one’s own program. It is the spirit of proselyting, not the Spirit of God, that fills the Jew with rage as he attempts to preserve his own religion, culture, and race.
In the present hour God is calling the Jews out from the various nations among which they have been dispersed. The Spirit of God is bringing the Jews back to Israel in preparation for the promised outpouring of the Spirit of God upon them.
The return of the Jews to the land of Israel is of God. The Spirit of God has spoken to a number of devout Christians concerning the Divine plan to bring back the Jews to their own country, adding them to the nation of Israel.
The present move is not to be confused with the Great Commission to teach the nations of the earth. Rather, it is a sovereign move of the Lord God to restore the Jews to their own land in fulfillment of the words of the Prophets.
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that they shall no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’
“but, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.” (Jeremiah 23:7,8)
Several passages of the Scripture speak of the return of the Jews from the nations into which they have gone—nations which in some instances are holding the Jews captive. In the present hour some countries are preventing Jews from emigrating. All Christians must pray that God will fulfill His Word by bringing the Jews out from the nations holding them against their will.
Today is the time for the return of the Jews to their land. The Jews are returning to Israel in fulfillment of the Prophets. The desert is blossoming as the rose.
God is preparing all nations, especially the nation of Israel, for the events of the last days. Even though the return of the Jews to Israel does not appear to be part of the Christian Great Commission, their return is, nevertheless, of Kingdom significance. The restoration of the nation of Israel was declared in advance by the Prophets of Israel. It will occur exactly as written. Woe to the nation that attempts to hinder the Jews as they return home!
The coming to the earth of the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom of God is the entrance of righteous spiritual life into the physical world.
The Scriptural Concept
Israel is the Servant of the Lord. Israel is God’s overcomer, God’s warrior. Israel is the only Church of God.
Israel is by promise. The true Seed of Abraham is Christ. We who belong to Christ are the one true Seed of Abraham. There is no seed of Abraham other than Christ and those who are an integral part of Him.
This does not mean that God is through with the physical land and nation of Israel. Physical Israel’s greatest day is coming. Meanwhile God is dealing with the remnant of Jews whom He has called. The remnant of Jews, those who have received Christ, are the Israel by Divine promise.
Spiritual Israel Joined with Physical Israel. We who are Gentiles in Christ are as much a part of Israel by promise as are Isaac and Jacob. We look forward to the day when we are joined with physical Israel. Then we shall be of the land and of the people. After all, we Gentiles have no city of our own. If we do not have Jerusalem we have no city on the earth. We have no land unless we have an inheritance in Jacob.
But, the Christian may protest, we have an inheritance in Heaven. True! So do Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But our stay in Heaven is temporary, as is true of them also. We shall return with Christ for He will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. Then will Jerusalem be glorified, and we shall be glorified also. We Gentile Christians are not separate from Jerusalem, from Christ, from the Son of David.
If we are separate from the Son of David we are separate from God, for Divine salvation can be found only in Christ
Jesus will reign over the nations of the saved from His throne in the city of Jerusalem. We who walk in victory with the Lord Jesus, who are “Israel” (for Israel means “he struggles with God”), shall, as coheirs, reign with Jesus over the nations of the saved.
The new Jerusalem is a living city composed of saints on whom the name “Jerusalem” has been engraved for eternity. Wherever such victorious saints go is the going of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will reign over the nations of the earth.
The nations of the earth will come to Jerusalem to learn of God. The members of the Body of Christ will be their teachers, their priests, their kings, their judges. This is what the Scriptures teach.
Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion [body of Christ] shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2,3)
Let each of us pray for the uniting of true Israel. Let us, as the Lord directs, bring their own bread, their own Christ, to the Jews. The Gospel belongs to the Jew first. We Gentiles are the outsiders.
If we have no inheritance in Israel we have no inheritance at all. Our ideas about mansions in Heaven are only traditions. God’s Word has to do with the coming of His Kingdom to the earth, not with our resting for eternity in mansions in Heaven.
God desires that each Christian whom He has prepared so carefully, whom He has taught of His own holiness, ways, power, and love, be a light to mankind, a minister of deliverance and blessing to the nations of saved peoples of the earth. We are God’s kings and priests, the source of blessing for mankind.
“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” (Genesis 22:18)
And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. (Revelation 21:24)
Ours is a wonderful period in which to live. We yet shall see a nation born “at once.” The expression “a nation born at once,” found in Isaiah, refers first to the sudden coming to maturity of the Body of Christ at the end of the present age. But spiritual Israel and physical Israel are on a converging course, and so the expression applies also to physical Israel, referring to the salvation that will come out of Zion and bring Divine righteousness to the physical people and land of Israel.
We shall be present (and hopefully a participant) when the nation of Israel is born again of the Spirit of God. God never has forgotten His people. They are beloved for the patriarchs’ sake. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.
The names of the tribes of Israel are written on the gates of the new Jerusalem. The names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are engraved in the twelve foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem. The Church is one. Christ has come to Israel, and we Gentiles have been made an eternal part of the Divine family by the mercy and grace of God.
Let us stand fast in the true scriptural concept. The coming of the Kingdom of God is hindered when we foster a division between the Christian Church and the people and land of Israel. There is only one elect of God, one royal priesthood, one chosen people, one Christ, one Body, one Spirit, one Father in Heaven. Let us destroy the middle wall of partition Satan and human self-seeking have perpetuated. Let us recognize the unity of Jerusalem, of the Church of the Firstborn, of Zion.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect,
to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
We have considered three viewpoints we believe to be misconceptions, concerning the relationship between the Christian Church and the land and people of Israel.
- Christianity is a Gentile religion.
- True Israel is spiritual and unrelated to the land and people of Israel.
- There will be a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth.
A corollary of these three misconceptions is the applying of the Messianic prophesies to Israel by race rather than by election. It is evident from the Scriptures that such an application is misdirected.
We feel the power of God moving among those who are “loving” Israel. We sense also the power of God pressing on us concerning a need for additional understanding of the Scriptures.
The Kingdom of God and the spiritual fulfillment of the last three feasts of the Lord. Is there a common denominator here? Does the current need for additional understanding of the Scriptures have anything to do with the burden of the Lord toward the land and people of Israel?
We believe there is a point at which these two burdens, the one for the land and people of Israel and the other for a return to apostolic doctrine, will converge.
The area of convergence is the Kingdom of God and the spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts of the Lord. The last three feasts typify the entrance into the physical realm of the spiritual dimension of the Kingdom of God.
The last three feasts of the Lord are the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:24,27,34). The spiritual fulfillments of the last three of the seven feasts of the Lord are not nearly as familiar to Christian people as is true of the spiritual fulfillments of the first four observances.
For centuries the Christian Church has been pursuing the spiritual, religious dimension of the Kingdom of God, as typified by the first four of the seven feasts of the Lord: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost (Leviticus 23:5,6,10,16).
The spiritual dimension of the Kingdom of God has been emphasized for so long a period of time the Christians have come to believe that the goal of the Christian salvation is to make one’s eternal home in the spiritual Heaven.
Now we are coming to understand that there is a material dimension of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, like a human being, is spiritual in its spirit and soul but material in its outward form.
Throughout the Church Age God has been developing the spiritual nature of the Kingdom. Now, however, we are drawing close to the hour when the invisible, spiritual nature of the Kingdom of God will appear in glorified flesh and bones.
“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:39)
A Greek term often employed in the New Testament for the coming of the Lord is the word parousia. Parousia may be employed to signify presence, or being near, as distinguished from an emphasis on travel from a far-distant place.
“For his letters,” they say, “are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” (II Corinthians 10:10)
The coming of Christ and His Body will be the bodily manifestation of a spiritual nature that has been perfected throughout the hundreds of years of the Christian Era. The emphasis is on presence rather than on a journey from a distant place.
Christ and His saints in glory are “far away” from the peoples of the earth only in the sense they are in a holy spiritual realm. They are not “present,” not because they are a long distance away necessarily but because they are in the spirit realm in the Presence of God. As soon as Christ removes the veil by which He hides Himself from the sight of earth’s people He will be “present”; He will be near.
And He will destroy on this mountain [victorious saints] the surface of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations. (Isaiah 25:7)
The coming (or “presence”) of the Kingdom of God is the entrance of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life into the material realm. It is the bringing of the holy Presence of God into the world. The kingdoms of the world will come under the dominion of God and His Christ. What is holy will once again be available to mankind on the earth, as was true in Eden (Revelation 11:15).
The memorial of the blowing of Trumpets, the fifth of the seven feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23:24), signals the beginning of the Jewish civil year. The Blowing of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah—New Year’s Day) comes after the feast of Weeks (Pentecost). To us Christians this means that as soon as we experience the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost, which is the work of the Holy Spirit in our life, we can expect God to speak to us about the coming of the Kingdom of God. We begin to look for the entering of the holy Life of Christ into the earth such that God’s will is done in earth as it is in Heaven.
The first manifestation to us of the coming of the Kingdom is the judgment that falls on our deeds. The sincere saint of today is experiencing the judgment of God and is kept busy obeying the Lord while the Divine fire burns away the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of self-will that are in him.
The transition from a spiritual emphasis to a material emphasis is revealed clearly in the two overlapping years of the Jewish calendar.
The religious year of the Jews, the year of religious observances, begins with Passover (Exodus 12:2).
But the civil year, the year of kings, birthdays, and contracts, begins with the first day of the seventh month of the religious year, with Rosh Hashanah (the celebration of the Blowing of Trumpets—Leviticus 23:24).
When we first come to Jesus we begin a “year” of religious, spiritual life. Many times the Apostle Paul urges us to concentrate on our citizenship in the heavens, to set our love on “things above.”
But after Pentecost, as we enter the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets, we commence a “year” of the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth. We can note this transition from the spiritual to the material as we pass from the first two words of the Twenty-third Psalm (“The Lord”) to the first two words of the Twenty-fourth Psalm (“The earth”). The Twenty-fourth Psalm is a prophecy of the coming of the King to set up His Kingdom in the hearts of men in the earth.
The Spirit of God is following the pattern of the feasts of the Lord as He restores to us the original Gospel of the Kingdom. Accompanying the original Gospel is a much clearer understanding of Paul’s teaching of grace. We have been shown that God’s grace in Christ is not a substitute for, an alternative to, righteous and holy behavior. Rather, God’s grace is the means of producing righteous and holy behavior in the earth, of producing the Kingdom of God.
Imputed righteousness has been emphasized far beyond its actual place in redemption. The unscriptural emphasis on imputed (ascribed) righteousness has destroyed the churches of our day.
The Kingdom of God is not ascribed righteousness. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven. The revival of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is a revival of righteous, holy, and obedient behavior on the part of the believers in Christ.
Imputed (ascribed) righteousness is the means by which sinners approach God, not an eternal way of relating to God. Imputed righteousness is associated with the sinner. The new creation is associated with the mature Christian, with the victorious saint.
While it is true that the blood of the Lamb continues to forgive the sins we have not outgrown, a new creation is coming forth in us that does not sin. That new creation is the Kingdom of God. Ascribed righteousness serves until Christ is formed in us, until the Kingdom enters us and we enter the Kingdom (I John 3:9).
At the same time, Christ is drawing closer to the land and people of Israel. There is an unprecedented interest in Israel on the part of Christians. This interest is coming from the Lord. He is preparing the Jews for their awakening, for the coming of their Christ in His Kingdom.
The Jews associate the feast of Tabernacles with the coming of Christ. We Christians are being brought past the feast of Pentecost. Now we are being confronted with the spiritual fulfillments of the blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles. There is a converging of the spiritual and natural dimensions of the Kingdom of God. The two are becoming one.
As we have stated, the Blowing of Trumpets, the feast observed after Pentecost, is the Jewish New Year’s Day. It is the first day of the year of kings and contracts. It signals the transition from the religious year to the civil year. Can you see the significance of this?
There is a converging. The Gentile believers are being awakened to the reality of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The body of tradition that has been built on the sure foundation of the blood atonement and triumphant resurrection of Christ is being blown away by the fresh winds of the Holy Spirit of God.
We understand now that the concept of a forgiven “Gentile Church” being carried off to live in mansions in the spirit realm is without basis in the Scriptures. The Spirit of God is calling to the Church of Christ to repent of its sins and self-seeking. The Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven, is at hand.
At the same time, and as part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets, of the Day of Atonement, and of the feast of Tabernacles, the Jews are being brought closer to their final acceptance of Christ in their own land and as an integral part of their own Jewish inheritance and culture. Not a Gentile Jesus but a Jewish Yeshua.
It is our understanding that the returning of the Jews to their own land is a sovereign work of the Spirit of God. We recognize that the power of God is moving Christian people to encourage and help the Jews return to the land of Israel.
The convergence of the spiritual and material realms, and of the Christian saints and the land and nation of Israel, is included in the spiritual fulfillment of the following:
The Blowing of Trumpets declaring war against the enemies of the Lord who hold God’s people captive, and also announcing the forming of the army of the Lord.
The Day of Atonement signifying the repenting, confessing of sins, and cleansing of the people of the Lord.
The feast of Tabernacles portraying the entering of God into His rest in us.
These three feasts take place in the seventh month of the Jewish ceremonial year, which is the first month of the Jewish civil year.
The spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles is the coming of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of those who are keeping the Words of Christ (John 14:18-23). The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in Christ in the saints over the nations of saved peoples of the earth, the rule of those who have experienced the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The whole house of Israel. Does the Scripture speak of a unifying of elect Israel in the last days? Indeed it does. The thirty-seventh chapter of the book of Ezekiel is a graphic portrayal of what is taking place in our own day. Remember, the Messianic “Israel” of the Prophets is Israel by election, by promise, whether Jewish or Gentile, and does not, according to the Apostle Paul, refer to Jews who are of Israel only by race and not by election.
The thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel speaks of the valley of dry bones. Who the dry bones are is defined in verse 11:
“These bones are the whole house of Israel.”
The phrase “the whole house of Israel” reminds us of an expression used by the Apostle Paul:
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; (Romans 11:26)
Before we claim that the resurrection of the dry bones includes those Jews and Gentiles who are part of Christ, we must show who is meant by “Israel.”
The key to the identity of Israel is Paul’s “olive tree.” Let us turn to the eleventh chapter of the book of Romans in order to determine precisely who or what is meant by the “good olive tree.”
Paul states that the unbelieving Jews were broken off from the good olive tree and that the Gentiles were removed from their wild olive tree and grafted on the good olive tree.
And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the [good] olive tree, (Romans 11:17)
What is the “[good] olive tree”? The good olive tree cannot represent the land and people of Israel, the physical Jews, because the Jews who did not receive Jesus as Christ were not broken off from the land and people of Israel. The land and people are not the olive tree.
If the olive tree does not symbolize the land and people, what does it symbolize?
The good olive tree represents the Seed of Abraham, Christ—Head and Body, the elect, the Lord’s saints, the Church (another name for the elect), the Servant of the Lord, the royal priesthood, the Kingdom of God, the Wife of the Lamb.
The good olive tree represents Israel—not the physical land and people of Israel, nor a Gentile Church, but the anointed, Divinely blessed Seed of Abraham.
Now consider this: if the unbelieving Jews were broken off from the good olive tree they must have been part of it at one time. It is not possible to be broken off from something of which one never has been part.
Originally the people of Israel were the anointed of God, having the Law of Moses, the Scriptures, the Tabernacle, the Prophets. They were the members of the Seed of Abraham, of Christ, of the elect, of the saints, of the true and only Church, of the Servant of the Lord, of the royal priesthood, of the Kingdom of God, of the Wife of the Lamb.
The Spirit of Christ spoke through the Hebrew Prophets and the Glory was with them. But the Israelites continued to sin against the Lord until He removed them from their land and scattered them throughout the nations of the earth. They did not abide in the Lord who had been among them. They were broken off from the olive tree.
The “tree,” Israel, the Seed of Abraham of which we are speaking, at one time had Jewish branches only (or primarily). Today the “tree” has both Jewish and Gentile branches. The branches no longer are distinguished by race for it is one olive tree, one anointed servant of God.
For as the [human] body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:12,13)
We see, therefore, that the tree of God is not the land and people of Israel. Neither is the tree of God a “Gentile Church.”
The tree of God is the anointed Seed of Abraham.
The members of the “tree” are not those who are born Jews. The members of the “tree” are made so only by grace, by promise, by election. This was the case with physical Israel and it still is true today.
The “tree” came into being when God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, and then out of Haran.
The “tree” continued through Isaac, not because Isaac was born of Abraham and Sarah but because Isaac was born according to the promise of God.
nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (Romans 9:7,8)
Ishmael was born of Abraham. But Ishmael is not part of the “tree” because he was not born according to the promise of God.
The “tree,” the Messianic anointing and inheritance, continued through Jacob (Israel), not because Jacob was born of Isaac and Rebekah but because God had spoken concerning Jacob before he was born. Esau also was born of Isaac and Rebekah, but Esau is not part of the “tree.”
As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” (Romans 9:13)
The “tree” continued through the twelve sons of Jacob, not because they were born of Jacob but because the Spirit of Christ in Jacob was extended to them through the prophecy of Jacob. The promise and anointing of God rested on the twelve sons of Israel. Israel was (is) God’s chosen, anointed royal priesthood.
‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Exodus 19:6)
Then God spoke through the Hebrew Prophets that He would reach out to the Gentiles and include some of them among His chosen, His tree.
even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, and her beloved, who was not beloved.” (Romans 9:24,25)
At this point the promise was extended to include an elect among the Gentiles. It was because of election and foreknowledge that Paul stressed so heavily the fact that we are saved by grace and not by works. We did not choose Christ. He chose us and ordained us that we would bring forth the fruit of the good olive tree.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. (John 15:16)
John 15:16 (above) was spoken to Jewish followers of Christ. It applies also to us Gentiles who are of God’s elect.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Peter 2:9)
Neither Jew nor Gentile can come to Christ until he or she is called to do so by the Father. The Father must draw him or her. We see that salvation is by grace through faith, and even our faith must come to us as a gift from God.
We understand also that neither Jew nor Gentile is part of the good olive tree except by the promise and election of God. The “high hills leap” in vain. No individual can become part of the “tree” by natural birth, by works, or by any other physical means. The tree is by foreknowledge, by promise, by election.
The physical Jews who, after hearing Him clearly, have refused to receive Christ are not part of the tree of God. They are not part of the anointed Seed of Abraham. They are not part of Christ. The same is true of a Gentile who refuses the Lord.
Is God finished with the land and people of Israel? Not at all!
We know that when the full number of elect Gentiles, those whom God has chosen, have been grafted on the tree, God will turn again to the land and people of Israel. God will pour out His Spirit on the Jews and they once more will be part of the tree that is Christ—the anointed Servant of the Lord. The reviving of Israel is by promise, by election, and is of the good olive tree.
When the Hebrew Prophets spoke of Israel and the Kingdom of God they were referring to the “tree,” not to the land and people of Israel as such. It was the Spirit of Christ speaking in them
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into. (I Peter 1:10-12)
The expression “the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:11) or, as Paul put it, “all Israel”, refers to the good olive tree. The entire cultivated olive tree will come into glory as one whole, one Kingdom of God.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Hebrews 11:39,40)
It is our point of view, therefore, that Ezekiel chapter 37 is speaking of the days in which we are living. In our time all Israel, the good olive tree, the tree of God who is Christ, will be brought together as one perfect Body and army of the Lord Jesus. Christ’s army will be raised from the dead and brought into the land of Israel. There the Lord Jesus will be crowned King on the Throne of David.
“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
“And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:32,33)
The Spirit of Christ in Ezekiel described today’s condition of the tree of God, of the Body of Christ.
The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.
Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.
And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” (Ezekiel 37:1-3)
As we consider the state of the Body of Christ we can understand why the Spirit of Christ would refer to it as a heap of very dry bones.
‘Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. (Ezekiel 37:5)
Here again we behold the promise, the election of God. God has proclaimed that of His own sovereign will He shall cause the dry bones to live. The bones are the good olive tree because they are the children of God by promise. God has promised they will live.
Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. (Ezekiel 37:8)
Notice that God has promised to put breath in the bones. But before He does He first will bring them together into one whole and give strength, form, and beauty (sinews, flesh, and skin) to them.
We can notice in the book of Ephesians the same Divine determination to perfect the Body of Christ.
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fullness of Christ; (Ephesians 4:13)
There will be a Bride without spot, wrinkle, or blemish of any kind whatever. Such a state of perfection of the Christian Church appears to be impossible in the present hour. But God has promised that a perfect and complete Bride will come into being. Therefore we obey God in every detail in the joyful expectancy of beholding one day the glorious Wife of the Lamb, the perfected Body of Christ, the army of Christ, the new Jerusalem.
So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. (Ezekiel 37:10)
Here is the army of the second chapter of Joel, of the third chapter of Habakkuk, of the nineteenth chapter of Revelation. Here is the army of the Lord, the army of Christ. This is the army that will be caught up to meet the Commander in Chief in the air.
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. (I Thessalonians 4:16)
The army is Israel, the “tree,” the royal priesthood. We think that Ezekiel 37:10 is describing the first resurrection from the dead (Revelation 20:4-6). If not, what then is it describing?
Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’
“Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 37:11,12)
It says nothing here about the army being caught up to meet the Lord in the air. We feel that the catching up into the air is not significant. The only reason God’s Israel is caught up to meet the Lord in the air is so the army can be united with the Commander In Chief in preparation for the invasion of the Battle of Armageddon.
The “whole house of Israel” is the good olive tree—that on which the elect Gentiles have been and yet are being grafted. There only is one Church, one Israel, one Body of Christ, one Kingdom of God, one Wife of the Lamb, one elect of God, one new Jerusalem. The olive tree is Israel—the struggler with God.
Notice the sequence of events:
- The dry bones are brought together and given strength, form, and beauty.
- The Holy Spirit of God breathes on this new “Adam.”
- The army of the Lord comes from its graves and stands on its feet.
- God places His elect in their own land.
This is what we can expect to happen in the future. All the elect of God, whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth, will be brought together in the Head—Christ. The coming together of the Body of Christ will take place during the great tribulation and will be protected by a covering of the Glory of the Lord.
then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. (Isaiah 4:5)
Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. (Isaiah 26:20)
As soon as the Body of Christ has been brought to fullness of stature it will be filled with the Spirit of the Lord (compare the sixtieth chapter of the book of Isaiah.
The spirits of the members of true Israel will be joined with their bodies and will rise to meet the Commander in Chief in the air.
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.
And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. (Revelation 11:11,12)
The Lord Jesus Christ then will descend to the Mount of Olives followed by His army of saints. They will destroy the nations that have gone up against Jerusalem. Christ will bring His people, His saints, into their own land, which is the land of Israel; and also into the fullness of their spiritual inheritance, into the rest of God.
Here is the destiny of all the true members of the Body of Christ, a destiny hidden under a cloud of Christian traditions that describe our fleeing to the spirit realm to dwell forever in mansions. In actual fact our destiny, as members of the Seed of Abraham, of the Body of Christ, is to inherit the nations of the earth, having come first to our own city, to Jerusalem.
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father; (Revelation 2:26,27)
The land of Israel is the land of the holy olive tree. Israel is our land. Jesus is our King. Jerusalem is our city. We believing Gentiles have no separate city of our own. We now are part of the spiritual Jerusalem in Heaven destined to come down to rest on the earth.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
Notice how God will bring all Israel into one whole:
“As for you, son of man, take a stick for yourself and write on it: ‘For Judah and for the children of Israel, his companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel, his companions.’
“Then join them one to another for yourself into one stick, and they will become one in your hand. (Ezekiel 37:16,17)
All Israel will be gathered together. Judah represents the Jews. Ephraim represents the Gentiles who have been made part of Israel. Ephraim was half-Hebrew and half-Egyptian. But Jacob claimed Ephraim as one of the tribes of Israel and prophesied that Ephraim would become “a multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:5,19). The Spirit of Christ in Ezekiel is portraying the union of the Jews and the elect Gentiles.
“David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. (Ezekiel 37:24)
The above passage reminds us of John 10:16:
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold [apparently speaking of the Gentile believers]. I must bring those also, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
“The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”’” (Ezekiel 37:28)
The above verse corresponds to John 17:23:
I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:23)
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the dwelling of the Father and the Son through the Spirit in each member of the Body of Christ. According to the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament, when that indwelling takes place the nations of the earth will know that God has sent Christ and that God loves the saints as He loves Jesus.
The fullness of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is set forth in the last two chapters of the book of Revelation.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God [the Church] is with men [the saved nations], and He will dwell with them, and they [the nations] shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
Here is the point at which Israel is one and filled with the Father and His Christ. Here is the eternal Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the perfected Body of Christ, the Christian Church. Here is the good olive tree!
The nations of saved peoples of the earth will be required to come up to Jerusalem and be blessed by the Father in Christ in the saints.
And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)
The “tree” is one. Israel is one. There is one salvation, one Body of Christ, one Spirit of God, one Kingdom of God.
The Old Testament describes the events leading up to the coming of the Head of the Body of Christ. The New Testament describes the creation of the Body of Christ.
As soon as the Body of Christ has been made perfect in the Head the Lord God of Heaven will descend in His Glory to the city of Jerusalem. The armies of Antichrist will occupy Jerusalem, but the Lord will return with His army and slay the wicked nations.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations [the Battle of Armageddon], as He fights in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:2,3)
At that time Christ will be crowned King on the throne of His Father David in Jerusalem and the nations of the earth that have survived will serve and obey Him.
We of the elect Gentiles are an integral part of Christ, of Israel. We have no inheritance apart from the inheritance of Israel, apart from the good olive tree, apart from Christ and His elect.
We believe that the great tribulation will force a remnant of godly Jews to turn to Christ, just as the famine forced Jacob to go down into Egypt. Joseph was ready to receive and take care of his father and brothers. So will Christ receive and take care of His own people. As we understand it, the remnant of godly Jews will become one with the remnant of godly Christians who have been forced from the cities of the earth by Antichrist.
In that day we Gentile believers will be as Asenath, the wife of Joseph. We will be with Jesus as He is reconciled to His brothers, the Jews.
Those will be terrible days on the earth but God will protect His elect.
At the height of wickedness the Glory of God will come upon the olive tree of God. Then will the wicked be thrown down and the nations of the earth will come up to Jerusalem to glorify God.
We now are approaching the most eventful days of all earth’s history. We will be tested and stretched in every conceivable manner for we are being created the army of the Lord. The elect Jews will turn to Jesus. Satan will be cast out of the heavens. The lukewarm Christians will be tossed about like straw as Christ faces and destroys Antichrist.
It is time for the Israel of God, the good olive tree, to awaken from her slumber, to wash her robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Climactic events already are here. The conflict of the ages is at hand. Each individual must learn to look to the Lord Jesus for every aspect of life.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.
For your servants take pleasure in her stones, and show favor to her dust.
So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth your glory.
For the LORD shall build up Zion; He shall appear in His glory. (Psalms 102:13-16)
(“Israel—Spirit and Flesh”, 3205-1)