THE ELECT AND THE WORLD
An excerpt from What I Have Learned From the Lord.
Copyright © 2012, by Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
One of the main topics of the Scriptures has to do with Israel, and the purpose of Israel in God’s Kingdom. By Israel I am not referring to the physical land and people of Israel, but to those who have been called to be part of the Olive Tree, whether they are Jews or Gentiles by physical birth.
I might add that God, I believe, has a special destiny in mind for the physical land and people of Israel. The callings of God are without repentance. Nevertheless the Messianic prophecies in the Scriptures are not to Israel after the flesh but to those who are of the promised Seed of Abraham. As Paul stated, “Not all Israel are of Israel; only the children of the prophetic promise.”
It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. (Romans 9:6-8)
The question is, “What is the relationship of the true Israel, the Seed of Abraham, to the people of the nations of the world?” It is this question that needs to be answered clearly if God’s people are ever to understand the Kingdom of God.
The common perception is that everyone who “accepts Christ” goes to Heaven to live forever. There are various doctrines about the destiny of the “Jews,” meaning all who are Jewish by race. I have not heard of too many teachers who divide the Jews into the prophetic Israel, that Paul described, and the physical land and people of Israel.
I guess the idea is that once a Jewish person receives Christ, he or she becomes a Gentile. Really, I am confused about what is taught. One prominent evangelical leader said that in the beginning a Gentile had to become a Jew to be saved, but now a Jew has to become a Gentile to be saved. I wonder what passage of Scripture he would use to support that notion!
The original Christian Church consisted of Jews, and they followed Jewish customs. Most, I guess, adhered to the Law of Moses. Perhaps it was the Apostle Paul who recognized that all who are of Christ are the true Seed of Abraham and the true Olive Tree.
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)
True Israel are those who are of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. When I use the term “Israel,” I am not referring to the physical people and land of Israel, I am speaking of the one Seed of Abraham—those who are of Christ.
Let me pose the question once more, for the answer is vital to our understanding of the Kingdom of God: What is the relationship of Israel, the Royal Priesthood, to the nations of the world?
Think of the world as being divided into just two sets of people—prophetic Israel, and the nations of the earth. What are the destinies of these two sets of people?
The purpose of Israel, the Royal Priesthood, is to govern and bring the Presence of God to those of the nations who are saved. The members of the nations are saved by believing in Christ and being baptized in water.
Please keep in mind by “saved” I am not referring to going to Heaven when one dies. “Heaven,” as I have mentioned previously, is Mount Zion, a small part of the spirit world. The saved people from the nations do not go to Mount Zion. Only God’s elect go to Mount Zion. There they are being prepared to descend to the new earth as the Royal Priesthood.
The “lost” are those who have absolutely refused to set Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life. Their destiny is to become the incarnation of evil, part of Satan. Thus they no longer are eligible to receive the gift of repentance from God.
The individuals from the nations pass into the spirit world when they die and are gathered to people like themselves; possibly family members, or acquaintances, or wherever they fit. There they are trained in the ways of Heaven, unless, being wicked, they are assigned to the Land of Darkness.
Being “saved” means they are saved from the Divine wrath. If their name is in the Book of Life at the time of the last resurrection and judgment, they will be carried over to life on the new earth. There they will have access to the new Jerusalem, which is Mount Zion, so they may partake of the water of eternal Life and of the Tree of Life.
But then they have to return to their community on the new earth. The new Jerusalem is the Tabernacle of God, the Wife of the Lamb, and it is composed of the Royal Priesthood, that is, God’s elect, His Israel.
The saved people from the nations, as I said, will have access to the water of Life and the Tree of Life, for their renewal. But they never can become part of the elect. As our Lord said, “I pray not for the world for but for those whom You have given me.”
The world is the world and the Church is the Church. The massive wall of the new Jerusalem is a symbol of the separation between the people of the world, whom God loves, and the Seed of Abraham. In fact, the saved people from the nations are the inheritance of the Royal Priesthood, and the priests of God shall govern them and bring the Presence of God to them.
To the saved from the nations, the Spirit of God and the Bride, the Royal Priesthood, say “Come. Drink of the water of Life without charge.”
It really is a simple design: there is the Church, and then the nations of the earth. The government of the Kingdom of God is the Royal Priesthood. The saved people from the nations also are part of the Kingdom, but not part of the government. Just as in America, all citizens are part of America but all citizens are not part of the government.
So there is no reason for anyone to be confused about the role of Israel, God’s elect, and their relationship to the remainder of the world.
As for the physical land and people of Israel, God deals with them in a special way because of the fathers of the race. But they are not part of the Royal Priesthood, the government of the new world of righteousness.
It may be noted in the New Testament that the demands placed on the Royal Priesthood are different from the demands placed on those from the nations who are to be saved.
All that is required of a member of the nations is that he or she believe in Christ and be baptized. Whereas the members of the priesthood, the elect of God, are dealt with day and night that they might be conformed to the image of Christ, and might enter untroubled rest in the center of God’s Person and will.
However, every person who will live for eternity in the new world of righteousness must be obedient to Christ in every aspect of his or her personality. This is equally true of the elect who compose the new Jerusalem, and the saved people from the nations who walk in the light of the new Jerusalem.
Absolute obedience to Christ is required of all saved people. We can see why the thousand years of instruction are necessary, in that today neither the people of the world, nor most Christian people it appears, are willing to declare themselves ready to obey the Lord Jesus Christ completely and perfectly.
The essential aspect of the Royal Priesthood is the conception and forming of Christ in us. This is why we must be born again to see or enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ Himself is the Government of the Kingdom, the absolute rule of God.
It is my understanding at this time that all persons who are to participate in the Kingdom of God, whether rulers or citizens, must have a portion of Christ in them. We realize, from the parable of the sower, that some reap Christ a hundredfold; some sixtyfold; and some thirtyfold.
It is true of everyone in the new world of righteousness, whether of the Royal Priesthood or of the citizens of the new earth, that it is the presence of Christ in them that causes them to delight to do God’s will. The rule of the Kingdom is at first, external; and then becomes internal.
My guess, from the design of the Tent of Meeting, that those who reap Christ in their inward nature a hundredfold are God’s Firstfruits. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes—and my supposition is that this will be true throughout eternity. They are portrayed by the Most Holy Place of the Tent of Meeting.
Those who reap Christ to a sixtyfold extent, compose the remainder of the elect. The hundredfold and the sixtyfold together compose the holy city, the new Jerusalem, that shall govern the nations on the new earth.
The thirtyfold, then, would be the citizens of the new earth, the new world of righteousness.
It often is risky to make such neat, pat interpretations of the Scriptures. However, the above appears to make sense, and it does not violate the Scriptures in any manner that I know of.
Although I often present concepts that are not universally understood, my goal always is to exhort God’s people to press into the Lord Jesus. By speaking of a Firstfruits, then a less holy group, and then the nations of saved people, I am teaching the believers that there are rewards to those who follow Christ diligently. Thus my goal of bringing people closer to the Lord Jesus is achieved. I have no time to spend on novelties that excite the mind and do not lead God’s people closer to Himself.
There are several passages in the Book of Isaiah that point out how Israel will be seen in the future as priests of the Lord who restore that which was destroyed at the end of the Church Age. This role of the elect is seen also in the following passage:
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:24-27)
Here we see the people who have been saved from the nations bringing their wealth to the Royal Priesthood, as is mentioned also in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah.
The verse above says “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” The reference is to the nations of people on the new earth who come to the Royal Priesthood to receive the refreshing of the water of the Spirit, and the Substance and healing Virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ, which are given through the members of the priesthood.
And as for the daily lives of the citizens of the new earth:
They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (Isaiah 65:21)
Do you see from the above that life continues much as in our present day? We have a mythological concept of life after our death. Now Jesus is showing us that God intends to make all things new, not all new things. All of that which we are accustomed to, all that will bring love, joy, and peace, shall be made new in Christ. After all, that is what we really desire, isn’t it?
To sum up: God in His infinite wisdom and power shall remove all sin from where people live. Sin shall be confined for eternity in the Lake of Fire.
God is preparing a priesthood, an elect, who will restore Paradise to the earth, and then maintain it. This is why we Christians, the Royal Priesthood, are dealt with so sternly. We have to be established in God’s will so thoroughly that never again will there be a rebellion of angels or people.
The people of the nations of the earth, who are not called to be members of the Royal Priesthood, have only to believe in Christ and be baptized in water, signifying that they have set aside their old life and now are ready to serve the Lord Jesus.
This is a simple design, isn’t it? It is the answer to our heart’s desire for everlasting love, joy, and peace.
It is what God has planned from before the beginning of time, and there is no power on earth or in the heavens above that can in any manner prevent God’s will from being performed.
(“The Elect and the World”, 3323-1)