The big problem in the Church today, is that we do not not leave God’s programme for the nation of Israel alone, which was “under the Law”.
The “BIG QUESTION” is, “are we trying to incorporate and mix that which belongs to Israel “under the Law”, with what God is doing for us in this Age Of Grace?
For this has resulted in much confusion and chaos.
When God was dealing with the nation of Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry, it was “under the Law”.
A ‘dispensation’ is simply a period of time where God is dealing with people under certain set of instructions.
Jesus was very clear when He stated, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” [Matthew 15:24].
When HE sent out His twelve disciples on their first mission, His instructions were strict and clear, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” [Matthew 10:5-6].
Paul the apostle categorically tells us in [Romans 15:8], “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision”.
Who are the ‘circumcision’? The Jews. The nation of Israel.
Then Paul gives us the reason, “to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).
JESUS CHRIST WAS UNDER A COVENANT OBLIGATION. It was Jew ‘first’. It was God’s Divine order of plan according to the Scriptures.
The Promise To Israel Fulfilled
Jesus Christ came to fulfilled the promises made to the nation of Israel. He was the total fulfillment of everything the prophets wrote about hundreds of years beforehand.
The Promised Messiah would come and set up His Kingdom on earth to rule and reign.
These promises written by the prophets were what we call the “Messianic Prophecies”.
Jesus Christ was that promised Messiah. He performed all the signs and wonders needed to show them that He was the promised One that the Scriptures wrote about.
“For the Jews require a sign” [1 Corinthians 1:22].
He came preaching to them the “Gospel of the Kingdom”, telling them that, “it was at hand” and ready to be set up [Matthew 4:17].
That’s all they had to believe in to receive their salvation.
Should Israel have known Who He was? Absolutely, they should have.
But did they know? Many did believe that He was that the Promised Messiah. But most did not.
Israel as a nation had to believe that for the Kingdom Promise to be fulfilled at that time.
But, the Bible tells us, “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” [John 1:11].
They rejected Him, “We will not have this man to reign over us” [Luke 19:14].
Then they judged Him as a criminal, imposter and blasphemer and sentenced Him to death on a Roman cross, “Crucify Him, crucify Him” [John 19:6].
But God Still Continued To Deal With The Nation Of Israel
Jesus was laid in a heavily guarded tomb. But on the “third day” He rose from the dead to prove HE indeed was the Son God.
HE was the very Messiah they were waiting for.
‘“Men of Israel, hear these words”, Peter is preaching to the Jews. “Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested (approved) by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know”.
“Him”, says Peter referring to Christ, “being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God”.
And then he lays it out for them, “you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; Whom(Jesus) God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it” [Acts 2:22-24]
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” [Acts 2:36].
Paul the Apostle emphasizes this even further:
“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” [Romans 1:3-4].
The “Resurrected Jesus” met up with his disciples for forty days. There were as many as five hundred other eye witnesses, “After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep” [1 Corinthians 15:6].
Instructions Before His Ascension
Just before His Ascension back to Heaven, Jesus gave his disciples instructions to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit [Acts 1:4-5], which He had promised them in [John 15:26-27] and [John 16:7-14].
This took place in Acts Chapter 2. This would also be in line with the fulfillment of prophecy by the prophet Joel, about eight hundred and thirty years before Christ came [Joel 2:28-29] and [Acts 2:16-18].
Notice, that there is NO Gentile (non-Jew) involvement here as yet. It is yet to come, but all according to Divine order.
All prophecy for the most part, was solely for the nation of Israel.
There is not a single prophecy for the Church, the Body Of Christ.
So God is still dealing with the nation of Israel. HE is going to give them full opportunity to still accept Christ Jesus as their Messiah.
Through the famous sermon delivered by Peter on the day of Pentecost, three thousand believed [Acts 2:36-41]. Many more subsequently did believe, but still, Israel as a nation did not.
But God still continues to deal with them.
In Comes Stephen Onto The Scene
Stephen, “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” [Acts 6:5] now comes onto the scene.
God uses him mightily in [Acts Chapter 6] through signs and wonders and the disciples keep getting multiplied.
But what happens now? Stephen is arrested, falsely charged through false witnesses and put on trial before the Jewish religious hierarchy.
Stephen reminds them of the promises of God, starting with Abraham. He then goes through Israel’s entire history, reminding them of God’s Faithfulness in spite of their constant stubbornness.
He ends up addressing them in a nice way, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you” [Acts 7:51].
The religious leaders respond in their provoked wrath, by stoning Stephen to death.
Just before that happens the Bible shows us that Stephen, “being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the Glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” [Acts 7:55].
Notice that all Three Persons of the Godhead are present here in that one verse.
GOD THE FATHER REJECTED
In the Old Testament, The nation of Israel rejected God the Father, “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” [1 Samuel 8:7].
In the four Gospels, the nation of Israel rejected God the Son, “We will not have this man to reign over us” [Luke 19:14].
And when they stoned Stephen to death, the nation of Israel now rejected God The Holy Spirit, “You always resist the Holy Spirit;” [Acts 7:55].
So now all three Persons of the Godhead are totally rejected.
God Starts A New Thing
And so, God now sets aside the Israeli Kingdom programme, with all its commissions, benefits and instructions temporarily, to pick it up at a future date. And this will be done, when Christ Jesus returns for the second time to be recognized by the remaining Israeli remnant nationally.
God now raises up the apostle Paul, reveals and commissions him with the “Gospel Of Grace”, how that “Christ Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose for our justification” [1 Corinthians 15:1-4] and [Romans 4:25].
The dispensation of the Law starts to fade away and the dispensation or “Age Of Grace” starts to take preeminence and comes into full bloom.
The Old Is Gone And The New Is Here
It’s where we stand today.
God is not dealing with nations today. HE will do so one day.
RIGHT NOW, GOD is dealing with each human being individually through Grace and Grace alone.
“The ‘sole purpose’ of God today is,“to take out a people for His Name” [Acts 15:14].
To be continued in the Crumb 0030 following shortly…