THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
Copyright © 1997 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 is only one Head of Christ, one Body of Christ, one goal, one destiny of all true saints. The Head of Christ is Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of Heaven and earth. Christ, the Anointed Deliverer, the Servant of the Lord, includes the Lord Jesus, who is the exalted Head, and also the saints who form the Body of the Head. To plant the heavens, to lay the foundations of the earth, and to say to Zion, “You are My people”—this is the work of Christ.
Table of Contents
THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, that I may plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’” (Isaiah 51:16)
First we will speak of the Person of Christ, and then of the work of Christ. We will discuss the work of Christ in three parts: planting the heavens; laying the foundations of the earth; and saying to Zion, “You are my people.”
The Person of Christ
The Lord Jesus, the Rabbi from Nazareth, is Christ. He is the Son of God. Christ of the Hebrew Prophets has come in the flesh. He is Israel in a very real sense. He is the Servant of the Lord who is to return in the future and bring justice to the nations of the earth.
The terms Christ and Messiah are synonyms. In this paper we will use only “Christ” when speaking of the Anointed One of God.
In our day there is a disturbing lack of understanding concerning the “Jewishness” of the Christian redemption. In fact, the abomination of anti-Semitism is found among professing Christian people. One wonders how supposedly devout people who profess faith in the Christ of Israel could be anti-Semitic! In addition, the deplorable Christian doctrine that states there is a Gentile Church and a separate Jewish Kingdom makes a correct interpretation of the Scriptures impossible.
The idea that the Christian Church has replaced the physical people and land of Israel also is total error.
We would like to help with the program of restoring the concept of the Jewishness of our common salvation. We hope also to aid our understanding of the convergence of the Church, which is the Body of Christ, with the destiny of the nation of Israel. The destiny of the physical nation of Israel is set forth by the Hebrew Prophets and it is also the destiny of the Christian Church.
Nowhere in the Scriptures is a destiny of the Christian Church presented that is different from the destiny of the nation of Israel. The goal of the redemption of Israel is the restoration of Jerusalem as the center of power, authority, law, instruction, righteousness, and blessing for the whole earth (Isaiah 62:1).
The goal of the Christian salvation is exactly the same: the restoration of Jerusalem as the center of power, authority, law, instruction, righteousness, and blessing for the whole earth.
Our goal as Christians is to become part of the new Jerusalem—the city whose gates are named after the sons of Jacob. The new Jerusalem will be the center of power, authority, law, instruction, righteousness, and blessing for the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
Will we Gentiles be resting in mansions in Heaven while the Throne of God and of the Lamb are in the new Jerusalem on the earth? Let us hope not!
There is only one Christ, one Body of Christ, one goal, one destiny.
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)
The second chapter of the Book of Ephesians (the context of the above passage) shows that both Jews and Gentiles are included in the one new Man—Christ, the Servant of the Lord.
Notice the following:
“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)
“They shall all have one shepherd.”
“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)
Any “Gentile Church” that is outside of the one fold is not of God.
Christ (the Anointed One) is Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of Heaven and earth. He is the Son of God, the Creator of all things and the King of Israel. He is to be worshiped as God, being the Word of God from the beginning and the firstborn Son of the Father in Heaven.
Jesus was born (by a miracle) of a Jewish mother, was raised in a Jewish home, had Jewish brothers and sisters, was trained by the rabbis of Israel, and was accustomed to all the laws and traditions of Israel.
The Word that Rabbi Jesus brought was (and yet is) the “children’s bread” (Mark 7:27), meaning it primarily is for the Jews. We who were Gentiles but who now are part of Christ are receiving our eternal life from the food that is the inheritance of the Jews.
Notice the “Jewishness” of the following passage:
“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)
Salvation always is for the Jew first. Abraham is the father of all who believe. We Gentiles have been grafted on a tree that altogether is Jewish. The Scriptures never—not in one instance—speak of a Gentile Church.
The Jews of today are waiting for Messiah (Christ)—the One who is to come and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth with Jerusalem as the center of government.
Indeed Christ shall come and save the Jews from their enemies. Every word of the Prophets of Israel will come to pass.
Confusion surrounds the relationship of the Christian Church to national, political Israel. Numerous passages of the Scriptures reveal that God will bring back the Jews to their land in the latter days. But we Christians, for the most part, think only in heavenly terms.
It is difficult for us to understand how our Christ can be occupied with our spiritual redemption and also with the physical establishment of national Israel. How and at what point do these two works of Christ come together?
The teaching that King Jesus actually will rule from the Throne of David is understood and accepted by many Christians. But the physical and political aspects of this concept are not always discussed with clarity. Also, the error-filled teaching of the pre-tribulation flight of the Gentile believers to Heaven has forced a division between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians with the resulting destruction of any clear understanding of the rule of Christ from Jerusalem.
At what point do the spiritual kingdom and the natural kingdom converge? The answer to this question involves a mystery. The understanding of the mystery was given to the Apostle Paul, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin and a Pharisee.
The Christian church, as defined by election and refined by suffering, is the Body of Christ. We are not referring to the groups of believers who make up the Christian churches on the earth but to the one true Church that will, during the days of trouble to come, emerge from the churches.
The one true Church is the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb of God. Because she is married to Christ, being one with Him as He is One with the Father (John 17:21), she is an eternally indivisible, integral part of Christ. She is as Eve to Adam.
The Bride of the Lamb is neither Jewish nor Gentile, having been born again of the Nature of God through Jesus Christ. She is the fullness, the glory of Christ.
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)
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. (I Corinthians 12:12)
Remember, when Paul was writing the Greek word Christos, he was not thinking of a Gentile “Christ.” Paul was thinking only of Messiah of the Jews, of no one else.
God revealed to Paul, the Jew, the Pharisee by sect, that Christ includes an exalted Head, the Lord Jesus, and also a Body. Christ consists of a Head and a Body.
In one sense, only Jesus, the Son of God, is Christ. It is only as He Himself is being formed in us and is dwelling in us that we are part of Christ. We are anointed with the Oil of the Spirit of God only because the Lord Jesus is making us an integral part of Himself. Apart from Him we are of little importance.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
The Christian believer who is dwelling in the life of the flesh most assuredly is not an integral part of Christ. It is only as Christ is abiding in us, and we in Him, that we are a genuine part of the One who is destined to plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “You are My people.”
The true saint of God already has been raised with Christ to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Christ is his Life. He is dead but his life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ is revealed the members of His Body will be revealed together with Him (Colossians 3:1-4).
We saints are the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27).
Christ is in us. This mystery was revealed to the Apostle Paul (Colossians 1:27).
Christ is being formed in us (Galatians 4:19).
Christ, who is the eternal Temple of God, the One who will bring justice to the nations of the earth, the One who will exalt national Israel, was born in a manger two thousand years ago. He shed His blood as a sin offering to make an atonement for the sins of the world.
But God raised Him from the dead!
After Christ rose from the dead He ascended to His Father in Heaven. He then sent down the powers and abilities of His anointing on His followers in the form of various ministries and gifts. The purpose of the several ministries and gifts is that He—the crucified and resurrected Christ—may be formed in His followers.
The Head of Christ is established forever at the right hand of God Almighty in Heaven and our life is there in Him. Now we, through the gifts and graces almighty God has given us through Christ, are growing in Him. We are partaking of the Divine Life of the Head. As a result we are being changed from human life to Divine Life. We are being brought down to participate in Christ’s crucifixion and therefore are experiencing the Life of His Divine Substance and the power of His resurrection.
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)
The members of the Body of Christ are called out from among the nations of the earth, including the Jewish nation, by election, by the predestination that works according to the foreknowledge of God.
But then we must give total diligence in order to make our election certain. Only those who come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, will participate with the Head, Jesus, in the work of Christ.
The emergence of the true members of the Body of Christ can be observed in the words of the Lord Jesus to the believers in Sardis. Of this assembly of Christian believers only a few were found worthy to participate with the Head.
“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
What, then, of the Christian believers who have not been found worthy to walk in white with Christ? We are not certain. The Father has given all judgment to Jesus.
Present Christian doctrine holding that all believers in Christ will be given approximately the same reward is a destructive error. Will all those who followed Jesus of Nazareth sit on thrones judging the tribes of Israel and the nations of the earth, or just those who left all and bore His reproach to the end? (Matthew 19:28).
It is not true that all who profess faith in Jesus Christ will participate in the glory of the first resurrection from the dead. This marvelous reward will be given to those who, through the Divine grace in Christ, have overcome the world, Satan, and their own lusts and self-will (Revelation 12:11).
Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is Jesus. He is Lord of all. One of the main purposes of the interval of time between His first and second comings is the forming of a Wife from His body and blood. She is His Body. She is His fullness, His glory. She is bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh.
She eternally will be with Him in all He is, in all He does, in every place He goes. She is one with Him. His inheritance is her inheritance. His destiny is her destiny. He has surrendered His individuality in order to be one with her and she has surrendered her individuality to be one with Him. It is the greatest love story of all.
She has been made perfect in Him, having been refined in the fire of God. She never can be considered apart from Him and He never can be considered apart from her. She is one in Him as He is One in and with the Father. The Father loves her as He loves His only begotten Son. She has been formed from the body and blood of God’s dear Son. She is of His Divine Nature as well as of His humanity.
This is the true Church, the Body of Christ. She is called, justified, and glorified by election. She is made perfect in righteousness, in holiness, in obedience to God, and in union with her Head, by Divine Glory and fiery suffering.
She is “the choice one of her that bare her” (Song of Solomon 6:9). There is a firstfruits, a bride who will be born of the larger bride, the Church, who will be a “holy of holies” to the Lord Jesus (Revelation 14:1-5). She is as beautiful as the moon, as pure as the sun, and as terrible as an army with banners.
At what point do the destiny of the Christian Church and the glorifying of the nation of Israel converge? The beginning of the convergence will occur, we believe, when Christ through the Holy Spirit comes to reconcile a remnant of His own nation to Himself. This initial reconciliation will take place, as we see it, during the great tribulation.
At the same time, Christ will draw out from the Gentile churches a holy remnant, using Antichrist to force the remnant to flee from the major cities of the earth.
We believe the Jewish remnant and the Gentile remnant will become one stick in the Lord’s hand. This will take place in the Valley of Achor, spiritually speaking, in the place of judgment. It is only as everything is stripped from us by the judgment of God that we are betrothed to the Lord.
I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. (Hosea 2:15)
The reconciliation of the two remnants, whom we hold to be a firstfruits of the larger Church, is revealed in the type of Joseph and Asenath being reconciled to Jacob and his sons during the famine.
Asenath was one with Joseph to such an extent that her two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, became Jacob’s sons and tribes in Israel. Yet, Asenath was an Egyptian by birth.
If we are one with Christ we are of the true and only Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29). We have a common inheritance with the Head, a common destiny, a common work to perform. God has put His words into our mouths and has covered us in the shadow of His hand in order that we may, as Jesus enables us through the Holy Spirit, plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and reconcile God’s elect to Himself.
The Work of Christ
Planting the heavens. The Lord God of Heaven, the Father, has determined to remove all sin and rebellion from the heavens and the earth.
Sin is a spiritual force, not a physical force. Sin originated in the spirit realm, not in the garden of Eden.
One of the present-day assumptions is that after we die and pass into the realm of spirits we can sin no longer. We are looking for physical death to accomplish what we have not allowed the Lord Jesus to do for us during our lifetime on the earth. We are regarding physical death as our redeemer from sin.
There are religions and movements that regard matter as evil and spirit as good. The proponents of these religions do all they can to leave the body and live in the spirit realm while they yet are physically alive on the earth. They are seeking peace, power, and assistance from the realm of spirits. Hindus stream into their temples at night, hoping to obtain assistance from the spirits.
When such worshipers die they will discover to their dismay that the spirit realm is filled with personages of all types, not all of whom are friendly. Some of the inhabitants of the spirit realm are incredibly lovely and filled with the love, joy, and peace that humans desire. Others are unbelievably hideous and filled with murder, violence, misery, and raging unrest. The worst nightmares of humans have to do with being trapped by horrible demons and fallen angels.
Since this is true, it is not enough just to leave the physical and live in the spirit realm. We must ensure that we will enter the area inhabited by the holy angels who do God’s will. The only guarantee we will be received by the desirable angels is that we are pleasing to Christ. He is in control of all.
Dying does not of itself bring us peace or make us holy. Only the Lord Jesus can sanctify us.
It has been said that Satan originally was one of the two cherubim who overshadowed the Throne of God with their wings. If that were the case, sin and rebellion originated around the Throne of God in Heaven and will not be overcome simply by our dying and going to Heaven. Sin originated in the realm of spirits and will not be removed just because we have entered the realm of spirits.
Sin came to us from the heavens, and our redemption also comes from “heavenly things.” The Lord Jesus had to sprinkle His own blood upon us and also before the Presence of God in Heaven (Hebrews 9:12,23). Even the heavens have been defiled.
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23)
The heavenly things had to be purified with the blood of the Lord Jesus.
God always creates the heavens before the earth. The work of Christ over the past two thousand years has been that of developing righteousness in our spiritual nature, which is at the right hand of the Lord. We already have come to the heavenly Zion. This is the location of the spirits of righteous people made perfect (Hebrews 12:23).
God’s entire plan of redemption depends on the creation of a company of sons who, through Christ, are made righteous in spirit. They have struggled ceaselessly against wicked angels of high rank, against evil, unclean lords in the heavenlies. They have conquered them through the blood of the Lamb, through the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives to the death.
The heavens are being planted by Christ who is creating His love of righteousness and hatred of sin and rebellion in the members of His Body. The resistance to sin being formed in the overcomers is the wall of the new Jerusalem. It is Zion—the fortress that protects Jerusalem.
This is the area of the greater David (the Lord Jesus) and His mighty men—mighty in righteousness and spiritual warfare.
It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of the creation of righteous, holy, and obedient conduct in the saint, in the Christian believer. This is the first work of Christ. Apart from righteousness of personality and behavior the will of God has not been accomplished in the believer and cannot be accomplished through the believer. Redemption has not taken place.
The Christian redemption is vastly more than forgiveness of sins. It is total transformation of personality.
By stressing imputed (ascribed) righteousness and neglecting the necessity for righteous character and behavior many present-day Christian preachers and teachers are destroying the work of God in the earth. The heavens cannot be planted with people who are righteous only by legally assigned righteousness. The members of the Kingdom of God are not righteous only by ascribed righteousness. The new Jerusalem is not holy by ascribed righteousness.
The Scriptures do not teach that dying and passing into the spirit realm will accomplish our sanctification. It is not death that makes us holy, it is life—the Divine Life in Christ.
Jesus has commanded us to put to death, through the Spirit, our sins and rebellions. He has warned us that if we do not do this we will die spiritually (Romans 8:13).
The Lord Jesus sends fiery trials on us in order to purify us from our sins (I Peter 4:1). The members of the Body of Christ are learning to not practice sin.
Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. (I John 3:6)
Heaven, the new Jerusalem that is above, is being planted with Divine righteousness. The righteousness of God in Christ is being created in the members of the Body of Christ. This is the first work of Christ.
Nothing can be done about the restoration of our environment until the spiritual life of the Body of Christ has been established in righteousness of personality and behavior at the right hand of God in Heaven. We humans desire to enter the Paradise of God. God is interested primarily in our being transformed into His moral image and in our being sternly obedient to Him in every instance.
The spirits of the righteous must be made perfect before the work of restoration can proceed. If we hope to participate in the work of Christ, in the glory of the first resurrection, we must follow the Lord Jesus in every point in which He is putting to death our first personality and raising us into newness of life in Him. The rewards go to the conquerors.
Laying the foundations of the earth. It is the desire of the Father that His Kingdom come to the earth, that His will be done in the earth as it is in the heavens. When the spiritual travail has been accomplished in the heavenly realms, the will of God can be done in the earth as it is in Heaven. The strong man of sin must be bound before his house can be spoiled.
God has founded the earth, the physical creation, on the seas and the floods (Psalms 24). God deliberately has placed the material creation on an unstable foundation, having in mind to build everything eventually on Christ. Abraham understood this and was looking for the city that has foundations. That city is the new Jerusalem. The wall of the holy city has twelve foundations and in them are engraved the names of the Apostles of the Lamb.
Walls and foundations are exceedingly important in the Kingdom of God. Where there are no walls, as in Eden, sin enters.
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3)
God will establish the entire universe on Christ, on the Word—the Person who has issued from God Himself.
that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Ephesians 1:10)
Every person and thing God saves, both in the heavens and on the earth, will be gathered together into one and headed up by the Lord Jesus.
In the present hour there is chaos in the earth. Men and devils run here and there, each following his own fears, lusts and self-will. There is confusion, uncertainty, destruction. The Divine curse is on the earth. The inhabitants are destroying themselves. The large nations of our day will not be able to withstand the Divine testings and shakings that are at hand because they are not trusting in God.
But we saints are the firstfruits, after Christ, of the new, eternal world. Every area and particle of our personality is being filled with the eternal Life flowing from Christ. The old nature, the old world in us, is passing away. The new creation is being developed and it is of God through Christ.
The new creation is spiritual and eternal. It cannot be shaken by any test or stress. What dies and is raised again in Christ can never die again. It has been created in and founded on the unshakable, incorruptible Christ.
Christ Is the Resurrection and the Life. The Resurrection and the Life now are being fashioned in the members of the Body of Christ.
As soon as the Divine Truth that is the Life of Christ, which indeed is the true Light that illuminates every person who comes into the world, has been developed perfectly in the personalities of the saints, Christ will appear to the world along with all those whose life He is.
The Life of Christ will flow from the saints into the nation of Israel causing all Israel to be saved. Jerusalem will become the capital city of the world. The Holy Spirit will fill Jerusalem and its surrounding cities and villages.
“At that time Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the LORD, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts.
“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers. (Jeremiah 3:17,18)
The Jews will return from Europe, from Russia, and from all other countries in which they have been dispersed. They will return to the land of Israel.
God gave Abraham two inheritances. He gave Abraham the Seed and He gave Abraham the land. The Seed is Christ and all who are part of Him. The land is the traditional Holy Land.
As soon as Christ’s Body has been brought to the necessary standard of maturity the Lord will appear with His Body. This is the return of the spiritual Seed of Abraham to the land.
The natural seed will have returned to the land of Israel by then. Those Jews who are dwelling in Israel when Christ returns will all be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit because of the overflow of the glory of His appearing. All Israel shall be saved.
We see an example of the effect of the overflow of glory when many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem were revived after the Lord rose from the dead.
and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;
and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52,53)
The light of Christ will arise on all the elect and the nations will come to that light. The peoples of the earth will come to Jerusalem to learn of God: of His Person, of His Word, and of His will concerning them.
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)
God will lay the foundations of the earth on Christ. Every saved man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth will live by eating of the Tree of Life, which is Christ. Every angel of the heavens will live and move and have his being according to Christ. Every created thing of the physical universe will reflect the Glory of Christ.
We who are being brought into total union with Him by eating His body and drinking His blood will be His fullness, His Bride, His living, holy city. Those who have suffered and have overcome Satan through Christ’s Virtue and power will govern the earth as His kings and priests.
The new Jerusalem will be the capital city of the world, and the victorious saints of today will be as Zion, as the wall of protection surrounding the living Temple of God. The saints are the pillars, the strength of the eternal Temple.
Now we can see why it is so important the heavens be planted in and by Christ. Christ is totally righteous, totally the Personification of the Word and will of God.
Christ came to earth as the Babe of Bethlehem. As an adult He was known as the Rabbi from Nazareth.
Christ was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem as an offering for our sins.
Christ was raised from the dead and placed at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens. Now God has given to Him a people chosen from the ranks of mankind, especially from among those who are Jewish by race. Each member of Christ is called by predestination, chosen on the basis of his response to his calling, and proven faithful in the furnace of tribulations and afflictions.
Each member of Christ is righteous by imputation (ascribed righteousness) and is being fashioned in actual righteousness of personality and behavior by means of tribulation. Zion is being redeemed by judgment, that is, it is being released from the personality of Satan by the coming of Divine judgment upon the sin and rebellion that abide in the saints. The fourth chapter of First Peter describes the redeeming of the saints by fiery testings and afflictions.
Each aspect of personality of each member of the Body of Christ is delivered to death. The part of the personality that Christ desires to save is raised to eternal life in Himself. In this manner the heavens are being planted in the Life and righteousness of Christ. The living Word of God is being enlarged in people through the working of the power of God.
Next, that Life and righteousness must come down from Heaven in the saints and rule, teach, and bless each of the nations of the earth that Jesus has decided to save—each of the “sheep” nations. God has chosen Israel to be a kingdom of priests to Himself, a chosen race, a holy nation. Israel will rule the rest of the nations of the earth forever (Isaiah, Chapter 60; also, Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22).
We have come now to the third work of Christ—reconciling God’s people, Israel, to Himself.
Saying to Zion, “You are my people.” Only Christ is able to bring God’s people into union with God. By the Lord’s people we mean the elect Jews and the elect Gentiles.
The elect Gentiles consist of those individuals whom God has called out from the nations of the earth so that during the Kingdom Age they may serve along with the elect Jews as a ruling priesthood over the saved nations.
The elect Jews are composed of those Jews with whom God has dealt according to predestination and foreknowledge. During the Church Age the elect Jews have been but a remnant of the nation of Israel.
What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (Romans 11:7)
At the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, God will bring back the Jews to the land of Israel. God then will send anointed deliverers to the nation of Israel and pour His Spirit on the Jews. The entire nation will then be saved. This has been foretold by the Prophets. There is no authority or power in the heavens, on the earth, or in the realms under the earth’s surface that in any manner can prevent the return of the Jews to their land and their physical and spiritual deliverance. God never shall break His covenant with the nation of Israel.
“And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.
“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
“Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:23-28)
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)
The third part of the work of Christ is to reconcile to God all of God’s elect, God’s Israel. God’s Israel includes the elect Gentiles, the elect remnant of Jews, and finally the whole nation of Israel.
Let us speak first of the reconciliation of the nation of Israel, and then of the deeper work of reconciliation to be accomplished in the firstfruits of the elect.
The first members of the Body of Christ, the first Christians, were Jews of the city of Jerusalem. Have we Gentiles forgotten that?
But these Christian Jews were only a remnant. The bulk of the nation remained in spiritual blindness, according to the election of God.
Then God turned to the Gentile nations. He began to add Gentiles to Christ. He grafted Gentiles on the good olive tree. But God’s chosen people, the Israelites, were dispersed among the nations of the earth.
For nearly two thousand years the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom announced by the Hebrew Prophets, a kingdom that is of the nation of Israel as to its political role on the earth, has been preached among the Gentile nations. One of God’s purposes in doing this is to provoke His own chosen race to jealousy.
God never has cast off from Himself His original chosen nation. God fully intends to establish the nation of Israel as the ruling nation on the earth, as the Prophets teach clearly.
However, such a long period of time has elapsed without the words of the Prophets being fulfilled that Christianity now is viewed as a Gentile religion. It is understandable this should happen. Nevertheless, the concept of Christianity as a Gentile religion is completely false. There is not one passage of the Scriptures in support of such a notion.
The salvation in Christ always is for the Jew first.
We who at one time were Gentiles by race, but who by the Lord’s grace have been made partakers of Christ, have entered an inheritance belonging to the Jews. It is the bread of the Jews.
In Ephesians 2:11-22 the Apostle Paul explains that we Gentiles have been made one with the Jewish saints through the cross of Christ. There is no possibility of an alternate understanding of this passage. One cannot read the passage and state there is, nevertheless, a Gentile Church, without being suspected of willful ignorance.
For nearly two thousand years Christ has been creating His Body. It is an army of “mighty men,” of conquerors—a firstfruits to God and the Lamb. These conquerors have been selected out from among the ranks of the believers in Jesus (both Jewish and Gentile) just as the twelve Apostles were chosen out from among the thousands of Jews who followed Jesus and heard His word.
As soon as the elect of the Gentiles have been brought into the Kingdom of God, God will turn once again to the nation of Israel. The salvation of the nation of Israel will come “out of Zion,“—out of the heavenly Zion being formed from the spirits of righteous men made perfect (Hebrews 12:22,23).
Precisely how Christ will save the nation of Israel, and what role the members of the Body of Christ will play in reconciling the nation of Israel to Christ, is not clear in the present hour. However, we do feel the program has commenced already. In the day in which we are living there is a strong drawing on the part of devout Christians toward the Jewish people and toward the land of Israel. We think the present drawing of the Spirit of God is heralding the hour when Christ reveals himself to His “brothers” of the Jewish race.
We think Christ will appear to a godly remnant of the Jews during the great tribulation. This follows the type of Jacob being forced out of Canaan by the famine, resulting in the reconciliation of Joseph’s family to himself.
The Lord Jesus warned the Jews concerning the “abomination of desolation.” He instructed them to flee from Judea and go into the mountains (Matthew 24:15-22).
Our understanding is that the spirit of Antichrist finally will be personified in one individual. He will take his place between the wings of the cherubim in a restored temple in Jerusalem. Antichrist will claim to be the true and living God.
Jesus urged the Jews to flee from Judea when they see this take place because Antichrist, being filled with the spirit of Satan (always the relentless enemy of the Jews), will proceed to persecute the devout Jews savagely.
God’s response to such blasphemy will be to send a force of desolation on the earth so destructive that mankind scarcely will survive—in fact, mankind’s very survival depends on God’s shortening of those days.
As we stated previously, the devout Jews will become one with the refined remnant of believers on the earth. There will be deliverance in Mount Zion, in the persecuted remnant of Jewish and Gentile Christian believers who have not accepted the marks of Antichrist on themselves.
At some point the nations of the earth will attack Jerusalem.
First, according to our understanding, Russia (or some other country of the north) will attack the nation of Israel. Five-sixths of this unfortunate army will be slain by the Lord on the mountains of Israel.
“and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. (Ezekiel 39:2)
At a later time, the nations of the earth under the leadership of Antichrist will once again come up against Jerusalem and successfully invade the nation. Then Christ, and the members of His Body with Him, will return from Heaven and wage war against the forces of Antichrist, utterly destroying them.
Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You. (Zechariah 14:5)
The all-powerful Son of David will overcome the enemy and then be crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.
The Light of God will be seen on Israel. All the surviving nations of the earth will realize it is the Lord God who has sent Christ. They then will come and bring their wealth to Jerusalem.
Therefore your [the Church’s] gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day or night, that men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles, and their kings in procession. (Isaiah 60:11)
We understand, therefore, that through Christ the nation of Israel will understand it is the chosen nation of God. The citizens of the nation of Israel will realize, because of the Presence and deeds of Christ, that they are God’s people.
In addition to reconciling to God the nation of Israel there will come also a deep work of reconciliation to God in the hearts of the members of God’s Church, beginning with the firstfruits of His Bride and extending finally to the entire Bride of the Lamb. The Bride of the Lamb is the new Jerusalem—the holy city destined to rule the nations of the saved on the new earth throughout the ages of unending ages.
The deep work of reconciling the firstfruits to Jesus has begun now. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Judaic Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement has commenced. It will continue until the Lord returns to earth and then operate throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
We Christians need to be reconciled to God. We believe in Jesus but we also love the world, sin, and our self-will. We are not fully reconciled to God until the world, sin, and self-will have been driven from our personality. The Lord accomplishes this reconciliation largely by suffering, by a baptism of fire.
When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, (Isaiah 4:4)
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (I Peter 4:1)
When the work of atonement, of reconciliation, has been concluded, all saved persons will have been reconciled to God. Not all persons will be saved but all saved persons will be reconciled to God.
The work of reconciliation, the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, makes it possible for us to move on to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the settling down to rest of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit in the personality of the human being. All saved people will experience the reconciliation and the indwelling but not all to the same extent. There will be the hundredfold, sixtyfold, and thirtyfold.
The time of the hundredfold reconciliation and indwelling has begun now. It is God through Christ saying to the firstfruits of the Bride, “You are My people.”
The work of reconciliation and indwelling beginning now with the firstfruits is a romance, a love affair. It is passionate, intense, unique to the individual. It is described in the Song of Solomon.
The principal persons of the Song of Solomon are as follows: the Shepherd, representing the Lord Jesus; the Shulamite, portraying the firstfruits, the “choice one” of her mother; King Solomon, representing the Christian church organizations; the daughters of Jerusalem, speaking of the various peoples who are part of God’s household.
The love of the Shepherd for the Shulamite is passionate, as we have said. There is an element of Divinity and an element of humanity in the relationship. It is not, of course, biologic. The passion of it, the intensity of it, far surpasses anything biologic love could sustain.
The firstfruits are being courted by the Lord Jesus. Can you hear His voice? If you can, He is telling you, you belong to Him; He loves you with a great love; He desires that you give all your attention to Him. No matter what takes place on the earth there will be a banqueting table spread for you.
In your heart there is a chamber in which Jesus desires to meet with you—with you. He is asking you to leave all with which you are familiar and go with Him wherever He leads you. He is making you an eternal part of Himself. The church world will continue with its business affairs but He and you will have your honeymoon among the stars.
Listen to His voice. Spend time with Him. Love Him. Let Him be the focus of your thoughts, the object of your desires. Jesus is coming now to claim the firstfruits of His Bride. You can answer His call if you choose to do so but everything else must be surrendered to Him. You cannot cling to one person, one thing, one circumstance. He wants you, and you alone.
He is ready to sacrifice His individuality in order to be eternally one with you. Are you ready to sacrifice your individuality, your right to be yourself, to go where you please, to do what you please, in order to be eternally one with Him?
God is waiting for your answer. Will you be His bride?
If so, tell Him so. Do it now. The way He will lead you is long, difficult, and treacherous. But it leads to eternal union with the Son of God if you have the courage, the faith, the patience to go all the way. Ask Him for His courage, His faith, His patience. He will give them to you and you will be able to finish your course with joy.
You belong to God! Let it be engraved in your personality. Refuse all other suitors. You belong to Him. He is ready to claim you if you so desire. If you are willing to give all of yourself to Him you will discover He is willing to give all of Himself to you.
The Divine romance requires total integrity on your part. You can be part of it but only if you are willing to let go of all else in order to enter in. There is no cheap, easy path. Either Christ is everything to you or else He is not. The choice is yours.
To plant the heavens, to lay the foundations of the earth, and to say to Zion, You are my people. This is the work of Christ.
Christ consists of the Lord Jesus, who is the Head, and also the saints who form the Body of the Head.
The heavens have been being planted for two thousand years. Soon it will be time for the righteousness, holiness, and obedience that have been formed in the saints to descend from Heaven and govern and bless the earth.
Meanwhile, the most marvelous of all the works of God, which is the bringing of people into union with His fiery personality, has begun. It has begun with the members of the churches who have obeyed the Lord Jesus, who have forsaken their life in the world, who have taken up their personal cross and following the Master through the wilderness of this life. They are guarding the word of His patience (Revelation 3:10). They are waiting patiently for Jesus to fulfill God’s promises to them.
To these whom the sun of tribulation has scorched, who have ears to hear, the Spirit of Jesus is saying, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
(“The Person and Work of Christ”, 3580-1)