The Coming Kingdom 025Matthew 16:18 • Dr. Andy Woods • November 1, 2017 • The Coming Kingdom
The Coming Kingdom
11-1-17 Matthew 16:18 Lesson 25
Good to see everybody tonight. Let’s open our Bibles to the Book of Exodus, chapter 19 and verse 5. As you know we are continuing on, talking about what does the Bible say about the kingdom, which is really a sneaky trick on my part because if you have to study the kingdom in the Bible you’ve got to study the whole Bible. What a dirty trick that is. So we’re kind of learning how to put the whole Bible together since the kingdom is really the dominant theme of the Bible.
We’ve traced the kingdom all the way through the Old Testament. We saw in the New Testament, in the Gospels, it was offered to Israel and rejected. And consequently at that point the kingdom was postponed. So we’re sort of in that section where we’re trying to figure out what does the Bible teach about the present program of God while the kingdom is in a state of postponement? And that’s an age of time we call the interim age, the intervening age and it’s revealed in two places in the Scripture. The first are the Matthew 13 parables, 8 of them together collectively tell you exactly what’s happening today while the kingdom is not here. And we’ve completed the Matthew 13 parables a few weeks ago.
The second area is the age of the church; the church began in Acts 2 and ends with the rapture. So it’s a period of time that’s a little tighter fit, it’s included in the interadvent age but it’s more specific. So to help us understand the church and what God is doing today even though it’s not the kingdom but He’s at work through the church, we’ve looked at number 1, the definition of the church. What is the church? It consists of all people, Jew or Gentile, who have trusted in the Messiah that national Israel rejected. So God used national Israel in the first century, her rejection of her own Messiah, turning her over to the Romans for crucifixion to pay the sin debt for the world. So God took lemons and turned them into what? Lemonade. And beginning in Acts 2 He created a new spiritual man called the church and anyone that’s trusted in that Messiah, rejected by national Israel in the first century, is part of this new man, this body of Christ, the church, which has been going on for about 2,000 years.
Number 2, we saw the beginning of the church, which is Acts 2, and I gave you six reasons why that was so. And then we looked at number 3, the purposes of the church. The church has three basic purposes: to glorify God, to edify the saints and to fulfill the great commission. We talked about those.
Last time we were together we talked about why the church is not the kingdom. And there are 13 reasons we gave why the church is not the kingdom. If you’re into geometry there’s really not enough points of correspondence between what the Scripture reveals about the kingdom and what God is doing currently in the church. The differences are insurmountable. So it’s hard to argue that the church is the kingdom, as many people are doing today.
And what I want to start talking about tonight is number 5, that the church is not Israel. One of the most important things you could ever learn in Bible study interpretation is the Israel/church distinction. Israel is Israel and the church is the church and never shall the two trains meet. They are two programs of God that are completely separate. And understanding that saves you from so much confusion and theological error that’s happening today. But how does this Israel/church distinction relate to the subject of the kingdom. In the passages that we’ve looked at in the Old Testament the kingdom cannot come until who repents first? Israel. So this goes right back to Sinai with the Mosaic Covenant. God says if you do this then I will do that. It’s a conditional covenant that God entered into with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. And what is being held up if the condition is not met is the kingdom. We talked about that passage, didn’t we, Exodus 19:5-6.
And the thing that Israel has to do, and all of the kingdom program is being held up because they have not done this, is they must enthrone the King of God’s own choosing. And they had a golden opportunity in the first century, with Jesus, and they turned it down. And so the way the covenants are structured, and we’ve gone through this very carefully, the kingdom was in a state of postponement at that point.
So Jesus, just before He left the earth says to Israel, [Matthew 23:37] “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, I wanted to gather you but you were not willing, behold,  your house is left to you desolate.”
Verse 39 of Matthew 23, the last verse in the chapter, “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until” and the “until” is very important, right? “… until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” which is a Messianic psalm. You’ll notice it’s in quotations; it’s Psalm 118:26. [Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD; We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.”]
So until Israel, by reciting Psalm 118:26, until Israel does that and in so doing enthrones Christ nationally the kingdom will remain in a state of postponement and Jesus is not coming back for that nation until that condition is met. The purpose the great tribulation period is to invoke Israel under divine pressure to do this but those are events yet future. And because Israel has not done this the kingdom remains in a state of postponement for 2,000 years; it’s in a state of postponement today. The thing to understand is the whole world could get saved but if tiny Israel has never fulfilled her condition then the kingdom can’t come. That’s how the covenants are set up by God Himself.
Conversely, the whole world could reject Christ but if tiny Israel fulfills her condition then the kingdom will come.
So we know from these types of statements, putting all the data together, that the kingdom is in a state of postponement and today, because the condition is not met God never leaves the earth without a witness to Himself, He is working in and through the church, which is what you’re part of, it’s what I’m part of.
But the thing to understand is the church is not Israel. So follow me on this: if the kingdom comes through Israel, as I’ve tried to explain, if the kingdom comes because Israel fulfills her condition and the church is not the kingdom today then the kingdom can’t be present. So the more you understand that the church and Israel are two different things the more you become solidified in your belief that the kingdom can’t be present since the kingdom is going to come only through Israel fulfilling her condition, if that makes any sense.
So the big question is, is the church Israel? Many people will tell you that. Well guess what? The name “Israel” is mentioned 73 times in the New Testament. And guess what it means every single time? It means Israel. You do a word study… Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his book, Israelology, the Missing Link in Systematic Theology, has a wonderful word study on this word Israel in the New Testament and he shows that every single time the word Israel is used it’s a technical word, meaning it always refers to the same thing every time it’s used. It refers to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, sometimes in faith, sometimes not in faith.
But Israel in the New Testament always means Israel; it’s never used anywhere as a synonym for the church. It’s never used as a synonym for the Gentile believers. Even in the famous Galatians 6:16 passage, which I wish we had time to look at tonight, where the church is called the Israel of God, in fact, when you study that carefully the church is not called the Israel of God, there’s a double epi there in Greek, “peace be upon them” that’s one epi, “upon them” “peace be upon them and upon the Israel of God.” Paul, when he uses the expression Israel of God is not referring to the whole church in Galatians 6:16. He’s referring to the Jewish Christians within the church. So that’s what he means by the expression “Israel of God. “Israel of God” is a very limited term.
So in the New Testament Israel always means Israel, it never means the church. And beyond that when you get into the Book of Acts, keep in mind that the Book of Acts records history right up to Paul’s first imprisonment beginning in A.D. 62. Now when was the nation of Israel pushed into worldwide dispersion by the Romans. In A.D. 70, so Acts was written in a time when Israel is functioning in unbelief and guess what else is functioning? The church, they’re functioning side by side. In that book Israel is mentioned 20 times and the church, which is the Greek word ekklēsia is referred to 19 times. They’re always separate. Never does Luke, in the Book of Acts, merge Israel and the church together.
So you look at some of these introductory facts concerning how the New Testament treats the nation of Israel and the church, and never does it comingle the two. Never is Israel used as a synonym for the church. Israel always means Israel.
So to help us grow in that what I have for you tonight, and I won’t be able to get through all of it tonight, are 24 differences between Israel and the church. I got this number, 24 from Lewis Sperry Chafer; he has a list of 24, I kind of tweaked a few things here and there. He’s dead now so he can’t complain that I did that. And you could probably find more as you study this on your own. There are, at a bare minimum, 24 differences between Israel and the church. Now the number 24, I don’t mean to get too allegorical on you, it’s very interesting to me because how many elders are there in heaven representing the church in the Book of Revelation? 24, that’s kind of interesting, isn’t it. I don’t know how far to push that, 24 elders, 24 differences between Israel and the church, but at least you won’t forget that. Right! You won’t forget the number 24.
So I’m trying to convince you… I’m not trying to convince you, the Bible is trying to convince you that Israel and the church are separate programs. So let’s go through this list of 24, shall we? I don’t think we’ll get through all 24 tonight but we’ll give it a good run, see how far we can do.
Difference number 1, Israel is the wife of Jehovah. You’ll see that in a passage like Isaiah 54:5. But the church is not the wife of Jehovah but is the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:22-33. Israel is pictured as married to God; we are pictured as engaged to God, not having gone through the formal marriage ceremony yet but the marriage ceremony is right around the corner; it begins with the rapture of the church and at some point I’ll show you the ten similarities between God’s end time program for the church and a Jewish wedding. The parallels are uncanny in terms of what the future is for the church and how God has patterned it after a Jewish wedding. But because the wedding ceremony hasn’t materialized yet we are not yet the wife, we are the bride. So as the bride how are we supposed to act. Well, like any woman that’s spoken for, right?
Paul says to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.  But I fear lest how somehow as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” And he basically says a woman when she walks down that aisle is wearing white for a reason. White speaks of purity. By putting herself in white basically she is saying I have kept myself pure sexually and morally for this man that I’m about to marry. That’s the whole significance of the woman in white when she walks down the aisle.
So since we are engaged spiritually then we are to put aside sins and things that would cause us to be unfaithful to the one that we’re engaged to, to the one that we’re betrothed to. That’s why sin in the life of the Christian is analogized to fornication here, sexually. James 4:4 makes that case and so forth. [James 4:4, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”] So what is the church? The church is the bride of Christ.
Difference number 2 is Israel birthed Christ. Right! Jesus came into this world through which nation and that’s why Matthew in his genealogy in Matthew 1:1-18 is very clear that Jesus’ lineage goes back, first of all to David, ultimately to Abraham, His genealogy written to a Jewish audience goes back to Abraham, the beginning of the nation of Israel. So Jesus was not a Presbyterian; He was not a Methodist, He was not a Southern Baptist, He wasn’t even a member of a Bible church. He was as Jewish as they come because the nation of Israel gave birth to Christ. God said I will bless the world through Israel and one of those blessings, the most dominant blessing is the Messiah Himself. It’s Jewish all the way, Jewish blood through His veins from beginning to end. You go through the Gospels you see Jesus doing what? Going to Jerusalem to honor the various feasts which is what Jewish people do/did and to some extent continue to do.
Now compare that to the church. Did the church give birth to Jesus Christ? It’s the other way around, isn’t it? Christ gave birth to the church. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; [and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”] So the church is a product of Christ. With Israel it’s the exact opposite; Christ is a product of Israel. And so that would be, to my mind, a major, major, major distinction.
Which takes us to a third difference between Israel and the church. When is Jesus coming back for the nation of Israel? He’s coming back for the nation of Israel at the end of the tribulation period when they cite Psalm118:26 which we talked about earlier. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather” that word “gather” is very important, it’s the Greek word episunago, sunago kind of sounds like synagogue, doesn’t it? What is a synagogue? A Jewish gathering. And what Jesus is saying is when I came here the first time to Israel I wanted to have synagogue with the nation, I wanted to gather you together and be with you. And He gives this beautiful metaphor, [Matthew 23:7] “How often I wanted to gather you together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,” the problem wasn’t Me, Jesus says, the problem was you, first century Israel, “you were unwilling.  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.  For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’’” I’m not going to have synagogue with you, I’m not going to come back and gather you nationally until you acknowledge me as your Messiah which you’ve never done.
Matthew 23 which these verses are at the end of Matthew 23, Matthew 23 is followed by Matthew 24 which is a description of the tribulation period, which is the instrument that God is going to use to induce Israel to trust in Him. It’s the instrument God uses in every person’s life, He brings people to Himself through tribulation. That’s what He’s done in my life, it’s probably what He’s doing or done in your life. And the tribulation period was described there in Matthew 24:21-22, “For there will be great tribulation since has not occurred from the beginning of the world unto now, nor ever will be,  Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”
It’s a time of unparalleled distress and what’s the end result? Verse 31, “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL” what’s the next word? “GATHER TOGETHER [His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”] What’s the word for gather? Episunago where we get the word what? Synagogue. I wanted to do this when I came to you the first time but you wouldn’t have Me so you’re going into a time of unparalleled distress where you’re going to recognize that everything you’ve trusted in has failed. Then you’re going to acknowledge Me as the Messiah, Psalm 118:26 you will cite, and then I will gather you. And He returns, not in the rapture, it’s not talking about the rapture here, we’re talking about the second advent at the end of the tribulation period to gather them and protect them from the satanically energized antichrist who is trying to kill them. So what you start to see is Christ is coming back for Israel in His second advent at the end of the tribulation period.
Now how about the church? When’s He coming for the church? He’s not coming back for us at the end of the tribulation period; He’s coming back for us in an event called the rapture where He is going to take us to the Father’s house for seven years which precedes the tribulation period and you see a description of that event first handed out in John 14:1-4. [John 14:1-4, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’”]
So what you start to see is oh my goodness, God is coming back to Israel in one time period but He’s coming back for the church in a completely different time period. And you see, this is the birth of a doctrine which is very attacked today and one of the reasons it’s attacked is the devil hates it; it’s the blessed hope of the church.
Now how did this doctrine come into existence? It’s always been there but the man who sort of brought it out into the forefront was a man named John Nelson Darby who was not one of the bad guys (in my estimation) despite what you read about him on the internet. He was one of the good guys in Ireland in the 1800’s. He was a man of God, He was baptizing probably a hundred people a week. God was using him greatly in his parish. But he got into a horse riding accident and I believe it was his leg that was broken.
Now this is the 1800’s, this is prior to X-rays and hyperbaric chambers and all of these medical advances that we have today. So the only thing you could do is to be immobilized and try to heal. So he’s a man of God and what do you think he was studying? What book do you think he was studying? This was before cable, it was before Christian best sellers, maybe there were some, but he was studying his Bible and what he starts to see is oh, my goodness, Israel and the church are different. Which made him happy because the government of that day was coercing him to make his converts loyal to Ireland (I think it was). And he hated that because he felt that that was a hindrance put on his ministry that God never put on his ministry. And this idea that the church is the state and the state is the church is always something that bothered him.
Well, in this time of convalescence he saw that Israel and the church are different because they are described completely different. I’ll be giving you more differences that he saw a little bit later as we continue through the list. But if Israel and the church are different, if they are two trains on different railroad tracks, if they are separate programs of God guess what? God is coming back, Christ is coming back at a different time for the church than He is for Israel. So his understanding, John Nelson Darby, the Israel/church distinction led him in the direction of the pretribulational rapture. Do you see that?
If you believe that Israel and the church are different, not just different people, different programs, then the stage has already been set for you to be a convert to the pretribulational rapture. And that’s the way it worked for Darby and that’s what I believe to this day. I don’t put the church in Israel’s end time program because Israel and the church are basically separate programs.
So a third difference is He’s coming back for Israel at the Second Advent, at the end of the tribulation period. He’s coming back for the church at what’s called the rapture. Now I only underlined the ones where I have extended slides so if I don’t have any underlining on there that means we’re just moving to the next one down.
The fourth difference is leadership. How is Christ’s leadership role described relative to Israel. He is described as their what? Their King. All the way through the Old Testament He is described as their King over and over again. For example, in the Book of Isaiah, chapter 33 and verse 22 it says of Israel, “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our” what? “king, He will save us.”
Now you get into the New Testament and the imagery that’s used to describe Christ’s relationship to the church is never the King subject the way it is for Israel. Other images are used. He is the groom, we are the bride. The Book of Ephesians develops that quite a bit. Another imagery that’s used, He is the head, we are the body. So Ephesians and Colossians were written about the same time, from the same place, Rome, Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. And Colossae and Ephesus are probably about a hundred miles apart when you look at them on a map. So you have to take Ephesians and Colossians together to get the whole picture. Ephesians is all about the body, which is the church. Colossians, on the other hand, is all about not the body but the what? The head.
So the emphasis of Ephesians is body, church; the emphasis of Colossians is Christ, the head. And if you want to understand what we are relative to Christ you flush out those two metaphors. It’s not king subject, king kingdom the way the analogy is used for God and Israel in the Scripture.
How about the beginning? When did the nation of Israel start? Anybody remember? Genesis 12, the calling of Abraham. Why did God call Abraham? We’ve talked about because of the spread of the mother-child cult; that affected every nation because of what happened in Genesis 11 which describes the tower of Babel. Genesis 11 is followed by Genesis 12; Genesis 11 is the crisis, Genesis 12 is the solution. See that. So God has to have a nation to channel His blessings to the world so He separates Abram. You’ll notice I’ve got Joshua 24:2-3 on that map there towards the bottom; it’s a verse that tells you that Abraham, whose name at that time was Abram, was an idolater just like anybody else in the world at that time. [Joshua 24:2, “Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘From ancient times your fathers lived beyond the River, namely, Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, and they served other gods.  ‘Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River, and led him through all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac.”]
But God separated him from the Ur of the Chaldeans, told him to walk by faith. He got saved, he learned the life of separation and gradually God began to unfold to this man various promises and ultimately a covenant called the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 15, and from that whole structure and God’s dealings with Abram, who later became Abraham you have the beginning of the nation of Israel. So the birthday of Israel is Genesis 12, that’s when it started.
When did the church start? As we’ve studied Acts 2, so Israel and the church have two different birthdays. How about Scripture, how much of the Scripture deals with the nation of Israel? Four-fifths or 80% of the Bible deals with the nation of Israel. A mere one-fifth, or 20% of the Bible deals with the church. Now just to kind of get this point across you might want to take your Bible and open it to Genesis 12, the birthday of Israel, and just put your index finger of your left hand in Genesis 12 and then keep turning in your Bible to Acts chapter 1, go over to Acts 1 and with the same hand, with your thumb of the same hand put your thumb in Acts 1. So you should have your index finger in Genesis 12, same hand thumb in Acts 1. Now without wrecking your Bible, you want to pull it up gently by the bottom because these Bibles, some of them, aren’t well put together, particularly as they get older, which is a good thing, a Bible that’s falling apart is usually owned by a person who is not falling apart. Amen. So if your Bible is falling apart that’s a good thing.
So hold it up and just go like this and hold this up to your face; is that not staggering. Look at how much of the Bible deals with Israel and look how much of the Bible deals with the church, this little dinky bit over here. Now even that little dinky part, not all of that deals with the church. After you get outside of Revelation 4 the rest of it continues on with the nation of Israel, primarily.
So what I’m saying is there is a voluminous amount of information in your Bible about the nation of Israel. The church is a wonderful thing and it’s the part of the Bible we’re most comfortable with because it directly affects us, but only one fifth of the Bible deals with the church. Yet most Christians today know, I would say next to nothing about that eighty percent. In fact, most of the sermons that you get today in modern day Christendom, in modern day Christianity do not come from that giant part, they come from that small part. And I’m wondering sometimes if that should be true given the amount of information God devoted to the nation of Israel.
So you have a guy like Arnold Fruchtenbaum who comes along and he’s a Hebrew Christian and he says you know, we’ve got all these areas of systematic theology, we’ve got pneumatology, the study of the Spirit, Christology, the study of Christ, ecclesiology, the study of the church, why don’t we have an area called Israelology? And it’s like duh, of course we should have an area called Israelology; why didn’t I think of that? We should have an area of theology that systematically arranges everything that God has said about the nation of Israel, which is a major undertaking since 80% of the Bible deals with that. So that becomes the basis of Fruchtenbaum’s doctoral dissertation which he complete at NYU, New York University, and the title of it, and some of you own it and I own it, I recommend you buy it, Israelology, The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. And his dissertation committee made him cut out about a thousand pages so it should be a thousand pages longer than the published volume that you possess. But obviously Israel and the church are very different in terms of the amount of space that is used in the Bible one to the other.
What about the covenants? Haven’t we studied the covenants in this class, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, the New Covenant, the land covenant? What is Israel’s relationship to those covenants? What is our relationship to those covenants? Well, Israel was a direct party to the covenant. Take a look, if you could, at the Book of Jeremiah, chapter 31 and notice if you will verses 31 and 32. When God entered into these covenants He always intended to bless the world through these covenants but He entered into them with one nation, the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel is the only nation in the history in the history of mankind that the God of the universe made a contract with.
Jeremiah 31:31-32, it says: “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with” First Baptist of Houston… it doesn’t say that! “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,  not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD.” By the way, you see the husband imagery there? He never calls Himself the groom to Israel, He calls Himself the husband to Israel. So Israel is a party to the covenants.
Well, what are we relative to these covenants? I mean, don’t we take communion? Aren’t we getting ready to take communion this Sunday, in celebration of the what? It starts with an N; New Covenant. So obviously we have some kind of relationship to these covenants. Well, here is the best conceptual tool I know of to explain this. We are not a party to these covenants for the simple reason that the church wasn’t there when these covenants were made. The church’s birthday hasn’t even occurred until Act 2. So we are not a party to the covenant; we are, you can put this is contract terms in law, third party beneficiaries. You say what in the world are you talking about?
Well, let me use an illustration; does anybody’s car here need to be washed? [someone answers, can’t hear name, sounds like Alla] I’ve seen your car, you’re right, that does need a little wash. And I’m driving in and I look at [same name] car and I say that’s a nice car, but it could use a little bit of a wash. So what I do without [same name] even knowing it is I hire Ray, do you want to wash a car Ray, I hire Ray and I say Ray… [same name] doesn’t even know what I’m doing, I say Ray, I’m going to pay you money and I want you to wash [same name] car. So we get the terms of the agreement spelled out. Alla doesn’t have any idea that we’ve entered into this arrangement. So who are the parties to the covenant? Me and Ray.
Now in the contractual relationship in the analogy I’ll put myself in the place of God, which I don’t like to do but let’s just pretend. And if you think I’m God you can ask my wife and she’ll tell you otherwise. So I’m God and Ray would be who? Israel. [same name] on the other hand would be who. The church. See how it works there. We have been radically blessed by a lot of these covenants but we were never in the design of God an actual party to the covenants. The very best we are is we get a spillover effect; we’re third party beneficiaries. We celebrate the Lord’s Table and the New Covenant not because we were there in the sixth century B.C. when the covenant was made but we get the spillover effect because God always knew He was going to bless us some way through this covenant, although we were never parties. So that would be a key distinction. Israel is a party to all of these covenants that we’ve studied; the church is not a party to any of these covenants. Rather the church has been indirectly blessed, in a third party beneficiary relationship, by these covenants.
Another difference is Israel is a political nation. As such, as you study the Old Testament you will discover that she has borders like any other nation would have, that are very easily defined. Genesis 15:18-20 defines Israel’s borders from modern day Egypt ultimately to modern day Iraq. Not only does she have borders but she has a capital. When the nation of Israel was divided north and south the capital of the north became Samaria; the capital of the south became Jerusalem. And you go through the Old Testament and you’ll see borders, you’ll see capitals, you’ll see tribes, twelve tribes, and then you’ll see kings because these two split sections of the nation were governed by various kings. Most of them weren’t that good. The southern kingdom had 20 kings, 8 of them were good. The northern kingdom went 0 and 19, that’s a pretty lousy season, isn’t it. They had 19 kings, they didn’t have a single good one. And actually we have a whole book in our Bible talking about this called the books of 1 and 2 Kings, because there’s a lot of kings in those books.
So the nation of Israel has kings, it has a capital, it has borders, because the nation of Israel is just that, a nation. Now let’s compare that to the church. Does the church have anything like that? Not at all; in fact, Paul calls the church in Romans 10:19 “not a nation.” [Romans 10:19, “But I say, surely Israel did not know, did they? First Moses says, ‘I WILL MAKE YOU JEALOUS BY THAT WHICH IS NOT A NATION, BY A NATION WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING WILL I ANGER YOU.’] Why are we not a nation? Because we consist of people, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, as a body, a spiritual man, from all the nations. We don’t have a race, we don’t have a nation, we don’t have a capital, we don’t have tribes, we don’t have kings, we don’t have a border. In fact, what God has done in the present church age is He has made both groups, Jew and Gentile into one new spiritual man.
So the church, if it’s called anything it’s called a pilgrim in this world. In the book of 1 Peter, chapter 2 and verse 11, a New Testament epistle describing the church. It describes us as “strangers and aliens, sojourners, because this world is not our home. [1 Peter 2:11, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”] Israel is never described that way. Israel is right at home in the world. Why is that? Because she’s a nation just like the United States of America, just like Canada, Argentina, Japan, Venezuela, Brazil or any other nation you want to talk about. In fact, when the United Nations meets there is the nation of Israel, right there alongside the other nations because she has a place in this world as given by God as a political entity and a political nation. Not so the church. The church is a no nation; the church is a non-nation.
Now you say well, why are you rambling on about things that aren’t practical? Let me tell you how practical this is. The Roman Catholic Church, which sees itself as the new Israel, as the manifestation of the kingdom of God on the earth, the Roman Catholic Church who believes that all of Israel’s blessings have been transferred to her, functions and acts like a nation. She has a capital, doesn’t she? Called what? Vatican city. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church is very active trying to influence the politics of the world. Now why are they trying to do that? Why do they have a capital? Why do they have a Pope, a papal type leader who goes from place to place in kind of a bullet proof Pope mobile. I mean, the whole thing looks very political to me.
Well, it makes sense if you understand what they think, that they are Israel. If they are Israel and they are the new Israel they’re acting like a nation. See that? But you see, that’s not the calling of the church; that’s not the New Testament description of the church. We transcend borders; we are a spiritual man, a spiritual body worldwide that has gone into all nations. This is how practical what I’m talking about is; it’s not just pie in the sky theology. If the church gets confused on something like this its purpose changes. It becomes a political entity and a political animal.
Now we have a lot of political activists in our church and I say amen but the reality of the situation is politics is not the primary task of the church. I think it can be a task in terms of holding back evil but the reality of the situation is Jesus didn’t tell us to go into the world and subdue the political systems of the world. I love it when I see Christians involved in that but the primary purpose of the church is to go and make disciples of all ethnos, all the nations. We’re not into collective salvation. We’re into personal salvation. And when the church gets confused on this what it starts to talk about more and more is social causes, right or left, pro-life or left type causes, health care, environment, and these kind of things become the focus. Not that the church can’t have some kind of minor influence on those kind of things but those things by the design of God were never intended to be our focus. The focus is to reach and teach. We don’t waste our time communicating collective salvation for nations. What we’re talking about is personal salvation for human beings and individuals.
So the problem with the human race is not the fact that they don’t have the right political system; the problem with the human race is personal sin which separates them from a Holy God. And human beings are headed towards a Christless eternity unless they trust in the gospel. That’s the message of the church. And see, these things get lost when we stop seeing ourselves as a spiritual entity but a political entity.
Another difference between Israel and the church: Israel went out and fought political wars, with who? With the Philistines, with the Hittites, with the Girgashites, with the Amorites, with the Amalekites, with the Jebusites, with the electric lights and the out of sights, and the termites and the mosquito bites, all of those groups. You read the Old Testament and there’s actual physical conflict going on; there’s wars, there’s armor, there’s casualty camps, there’s real people dying. There is no such New Testament description of the church. Not that I don’t support people and honor people that want to go out and defend their country in a patriotic sense, praise the Lord. But the reality is that’s not the institution of the church; that’s the institution of human government.
What kind of wars does the church fight? “We wrestle not against flesh and blood,” see the difference? “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,” in other words, put on the full armor of God. Our whole conflict is spiritual; Israel’s whole conflict was political and physical. And you say well there Andy goes again, rambling on about subjects that don’t matter. Well, here’s why it matters. You’ve got situations in church history where the church sees itself and the political vehicle of God to go over to the Middle East and through the Crusades and liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims. And they’re all citing, as they go, a bunch of passages from the Old Testament. Well, the reality of the situation is maybe God told Israel to do that in Old Testament times but there’s no such instructions for the church because the church is not involved in physical, political warfare; she’s involved in spiritual warfare.
Here’s another difference; timing statements. And this is really the thing that switched John Nelson Darby into his belief that Israel and the church are different during his time of convalescence. You see, Darby, who was baptizing about a hundred people per week, he was having a great effect there in Dublin, Ireland and what the Lord did is say I’m going to help you have a greater effect. How are you going to do that Lord? I’m going to allow your leg to get broken and I’m going to put you in a place of convalescence where you’re not busy any more and the only thing you have to do is to study the Word of God because in that place of convalescence the Holy Spirit is going to illuminate to you something, the Israel/church distinction. And from the Israel/church distinction comes for the doctrine of the pretribulational rapture, which has been a doctrine trans generationally since the time of Darby. Do you see that?
The Lord could have used Darby in his generation to do great things but the Lord says I’m going to do something greater in your life but it’s going to take a broken leg to do that. See, that’s a different way of looking at trials, isn’t it? We think being sidelined and being sick, being taken out of the game so to speak, we think that’s some great setback. Let me tell you something, without the sovereignty of God in Darby’s life via the broken leg his transgenerational effect didn’t happen.
So one of the things that Darby started to see in the Scripture is what in Latin are called a quo ad quem statements. What does that mean? It’s just a Latin word that means beginning and end. What Darby started to see in the Scripture were the fact that the nation of Israel always had a number.
For example, in the Book of Genesis, chapter 15 and verses 13-16, God said Israel is going to go into Egyptian bondage for how many years? Four hundred years. [Genesis 15:13-16, “God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. [14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.  As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.  Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”]
Then in the Book of Jeremiah, chapter 25:11 and chapter 29 verse 10 He says you’re going to go into captivity for how many years. Seventy years. [Jeremiah 25:11, “’This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Jeremiah 29:10, “For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.’”]
And then when you go over to the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 4 and verses 5-7 it says, “For I have assigned you a number of days corresponding to the years of their iniquity, three hundred and ninety days; thus you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.  When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah; I have assigned it to you for forty days, a day for each year.  Then you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared and prophesy against it.”
So in other words, Ezekiel, I want you to lie on your side for 390 days and then I want you to turn over and I want you to lie on your side for 40 days. Well why am I doing that Lord? Well, the 390 days corresponds with 390 years of Israel’s disobedience and the forty days corresponds with the forty years of the southern kingdom’s disobedience. See what’s going on in the Old Testament? You’ve got actual years. And then God gave Israel a clock called the seventy weeks of Daniel, which I hope you know something about now since we’ve spent six weeks Sunday morning going over it; it’s a 490 year stopwatch. See how Israel keeps having a number.
Not only that, the nation of Israel is given a calendar for spring feasts (three), fall feasts, here’s where they fall on the calendar system. A few feasts were added later in Israel’s history. So Israel has numbers, Israel has calendars, Darby is looking at his New Testament, the 20% of it that relates to the church and he says you know what? There is not one calendar in the New Testament related to the church. There is no number. Why is it that Israel has all these numbers and all of these dates and has all of these calendars and yet you go into the New Testament and you read what God says about the New Testament church and there’s not one date given, there’s not even a calendar.
So you have a quo ad quim statements related to Israel but not a single one related to the church. And Darby, the light goes on, he says you know what, Israel and the church are different spiritual organisms and if they are different spiritual organisms then Christ is coming back at a different time for the church than He is for Israel. And thus you see from the Israel/church distinction the corollary position of the pretribulational rapture. See that.
If you believe what I’m saying about Israel and the church being different the pre-trib rapture is a chinch. Well, you know, why is Andy talking about all these kind of things and not talking about anything practical. Do you want to know how practical it is? Do you know how many churches there are out there that try to impose a Christian calendar on their congregations? And they’ve got the whole thing worked out; we’ve got the Advent season, we’ve got this season, we’ve got that season. I grew up in a church like this, we’re going to celebrate Pentecost at this particular date and this particular date and they’ve got a whole calendar worked out. And then you start to say well, why in the world are we doing that when God never gave the church a calendar, not that a calendar can’t be a nice organizing tool just to see where we are in the season. The reality is we are such a different DNA spiritually that we don’t have a calendar. Israel had all the calendars; the church doesn’t have a calendar.
Now let me take this one step further. I just got back from a prophecy conference, I’ve done two prophecy conferences in October, do you realize how confused people about all this stuff, out there? Do you realize how many people there are that think the rapture is going to occur on Rosh Hashanah, which is the Feast of Trumpets, and this is how they think. They think well Paul talks about a trumpet associated with the rapture and let’s connect that trumpet with Israel’s feast of trumpets on the Jewish calendar.
So there are people, and I know a guy in particular, he puts out extra food for his animals and things, extra milk for his cat on Rosh Hashanah, the feast of trumpets because he thinks he’s going to be raptured on that particular calendar day. And I’m thinking well, the cat is still going to starve because you’re going to be gone permanently. [Laughter] But there is all these people doing this. They’re trying to set these dates for the rapture. The reality is when you do that what have you just comingled? Israel and the church.
Why would you take the rapture, which is an event for the church and the church by nature is dateless? Why would you impose upon that new spiritual man a calendar system for something to occur in church history which concerns Israel? This is how practical this is. There are churches today that are completely wrapped up in these Jewish feasts and they make it sound as if you don’t celebrate these you’re outside the will of God. Some Messianic fellowships push the envelope greatly in this direction, in my estimation.
Now don’t get me wrong, as we’ve been studying the Book of Daniel we’ve made reference to these feasts. I want you to know they’re there; you have to understand these feasts in order to understand the Bible but they were never designed to be imposed directly on the church. Why is that? Because Israel and the church are what? Separate!
How could you set a calendar date for the rapture when the church by nature is calendar less and dateless. Do you follow? And the reason I interject these things is I want us to understand that what we’re talking about here, the Israel/church distinction that saves you from a ton of confusion that is widespread out there in the body of Christ. Well, speaking of clocks and calendars… I guess if I don’t have a calendar I can just keep going, right? I’m just kidding. I think in human terms it’s 8:04 so I’d better stop talking. So we will dismiss people to pick up their kids if the need to do that and we’ll pick it up here next time with the priesthood. And we can open it up for Q and A if you want to do that.