The Coming Kingdom 027

The Coming Kingdom 027
John 14:16-17 • Dr. Andy Woods • November 15, 2017 • The Coming Kingdom


Andy Woods

The Coming Kingdom

11-15-17     John 14:16-17               Lesson 27

If we could take our Bibles and open them to John’s Gospel, chapter 14:16-17.   Thank you Jim for the prayer, directing prayer.  Do you guys ever look at your calendar?   I was looking at my calendar the other day so let me review that with you, not the whole calendar,  just the part that concerns you.  Tonight is the 15th so next week is the 22nd; that’s one day before Thanksgiving so we’re not going to be meeting on the 22nd; we want  you to be prepared to eat a lot of food the next day so we don’t want to wreck that with a Bible study.  I’m just kidding of course!  So if you come here next week and no one’s here you’re going to think you missed the rapture.

But then we’re coming back on the 29the, we’re going to meet on the 29th and then December 6 will be the last Wednesday night Bible study in 2017.  And we’re going to meet again, I believe January 3, so we’re just going to pick up January 3 where we left off on December 6.  And Dec 13th is Gingerbread houses, and then December 19th there’s nothing going on at the church that Wednesday I don’t think.  And December 27th there’s nothing going on at church.  In other words, we have tonight and the 29th and the 6th and we won’t be teaching Wednesday nights any more for to17.  But I invite you to come to the gingerbread house event December 13th.

Let’s open our Bibles to John 14:16-17.  And we’re continuing to deal with this whole subject of the kingdom so really we’re taking a look at what does the Bible say about the kingdom.  This is number 27 so there’s a lot of ground that we’ve covered. We’ve developed the concept of the kingdom from the Old Testament and we basically saw, if you look at number 9, that was what was offered to the nation of Israel on a silver platter in the first century with the coming of Jesus Christ.  That’s actually number 8.

Number 9, tragically the nation of Israel turned down that offer and the moment that happened is the moment the human race was thrust into a time period where the kingdom would not be cancelled but postponed.  And because God never leaves the earth without a witness of Himself, even though the kingdom is not here and hasn’t been here for the last 2,000 years God is still at work. Amen!  It’s just a present work of God shouldn’t be confused with the kingdom; it’s rather something that we call the interim age.  And the interim age consists of two ingredients, as we have studied: number 1, the interadvent age parables, and those are found in Matthew 13, there’s 8 parables, so we walked through each of those and basically saw that God is clearly at work (as these 8 parables indicate) but it’s not to be confused with the kingdom.

The second thing a person needs to understand, and this is what most directly impacts our lives, the second thing a person needs to understand or to grasp the interim program of God is the institution of the church.  That is the time period that we’re living in now, we’ve been living in that time period for 2,000 years; it’s not the kingdom but it’s called the age of the church.  So to help us understand the age of the church we decided to break this down into five parts.

We looked at, number 1, the definition of the church.  The church is basically a spiritual man consisting of people, both Jew and Gentile, who have trusted in the Messiah that Israel rejected in the first century.  We looked at the beginning of the church.  Does anybody remember when the church began.  Acts 2, and I gave you I think six reasons why that is so.  Then we looked at number 3, what is the church supposed to be doing.  And these are the purposes of the church.  The church basically has three functions, they are to glorify God, edify the saints, and fulfill the great commission.  We walked through those.  And then number 4 I tried to show you very carefully that the church is not the kingdom and that’s where the confusion is today; people are equating church and kingdom.  And I don’t want you to believe something just because I say it’s true; I gave you 13 reasons why what is happening today in the church is very, very different than what is prophesied or predicted concerning the kingdom.

And then number 5 we moved into, and this is where we’ve been the last few weeks, the idea that the church is not Israel.  Why is that a big deal?  Because God predicted, based on His covenants, that the kingdom would come to the earth through which nation?  The nation of Israel.  We looked at Old Testament passages, New Testament passages that teach that.  So if you can demonstrate that the church is not Israel you can demonstrate that the church is not the kingdom.  And one of the most fundamental rules of Bible study that you could ever learn is to properly distinguish Israel from the church.   Israel and the church are like two trains on different railroad tracks; they represent separate programs of God.

So to help us grow in understanding what we were talking about is 24 differences between Israel and the church.  There’s the first eight we walked through. There’s the next eight we walked through and we walked through number 17 and this is where we left off last time, the Holy Spirit.  Israel and the church are different in all of these areas, including how the Holy Spirit is at work today.  The way the Holy Spirit is at work today is different than any other age that’s ever existed.  We are literally living in what I would call the age of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is doing things today, as He’s been doing over the last 2,000 years in the church age that He has never done before.  And if the people in Old Testament times could see what the Holy Spirit would do one day  in the age of the church, I think they would be astounded at the privileges that we have today in the Holy Spirit, just by virtue of the time period that we’re living in.

Here’s a chart that shows you what the Holy Spirit did in the prior age.  And remember the prior age consists of the Old Testament and it also consists of the Gospels because Jesus, in His earthly ministry was not ministering under the age of the church.  He was predicting the age of the church but His ministry did not take place during the age of the Church; His ministry took place during the age of the Law.  That’s why the Book of Galatians, chapter 4 and verse 4 says, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the …” what’s the rest of it, “the Law.”

A lot of people have this view that well, if it’s in the New Testament it’s the church and the reality of the situation is Jesus’ whole ministry occurred before the church age started.  The church age doesn’t start until Acts 2; Jesus is on the earth all the way till Acts 1.  So He is ministering under the prior dispensation of the Law.  And so that Old Testament dispensation has to also include the gospel material, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Not that there aren’t things in the Gospels that don’t speak directly to us and relate to us, I’m not denying that. But you have to kind of get a grasp on the idea that the gospel is really part of the prior dispensation.  And we don’t normally think that way because the Gospels are in the New Testament.  But in the mind of God the great break with the Old Testament age doesn’t really occur until Acts 2.

So when you study the Old Testament and the Gospels and compare it to what the Holy Spirit is doing today the ministry of the Holy Spirit dramatically changed in Acts 2.  And I have here three ways it changed: Number 1, in the prior age people oftentimes received the Holy Spirit long after they were believers.  So a person could believe in a coming Messiah and be saved, as was Abraham, if they had no contact with the Holy Spirit until a later point in time in their personal lives.  A good example of this is the tabernacle workers Bezalel and I keep forgetting the other guy’s name but in Exodus 31:3 the Holy Spirit came upon them. [Exodus 31:2-3, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah  [3] I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.”] Obviously they were believers because they were working on the tabernacle, but the Holy Spirit came upon them long after their personal salvation in order to equip them for the task of building the tabernacle.  And the Holy Spirit gave them all kinds of skill in carpentry and construction and building, but they didn’t receive that ministry until long after they were already believers.  See that?

Now compare that to today; when do you get the Holy Spirit?  At the point of faith!  How do we know that?  Because of Romans 8:9 where Paul says, “But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”  So what is normative in our age is a person believes and immediately their body is indwelt by the Holy Spirit; their body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit.  And because this is so normal in Christianity we think that’s the way it’s always been but it has not always been that way.  In fact, what the Holy Spirit is doing today, indwelling every child of God at the point of faith, is something that does not happen in the Old Testament age.

Another big difference is how long is the Holy Spirit in people for?  When you back into the prior age what you discover is that the Holy Spirit could come upon a person for a specific task and then the Holy Spirit can leave.  You see that happening with Saul in 1 Samuel 16:14.  [1 Samuel 16:14, “Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.”  And this is why David, in Psalm 51:11 prays, “take not thy” what? “Holy Spirit from me.”  And I think I mentioned last time I was in a youth group, one time I used to be a youth believe it or not, back when the earth’s crust was cooling, and we would sing songs and things, and one of the songs we would sing is Psalm 51:11, (I won’t sing it for you, that’s not my spiritual gift) but it was a song and we would sing “take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”  And then I started thinking, why are we singing this because we’re living in a different age than David was in 1000 B.C. when he wrote that Psalm, when the Holy Spirit could come and depart from people.

The age we’re living in is the age of the church where the Holy Spirit is in you for how long?  Forever.  Now how do I know that?  Because Jesus, in the Upper Room is ministering under the dispensation of the Law, the change hadn’t happened yet until Acts 2, but in the  Upper Room Discourse He begins to give hints of a change that’s coming.

And in John 14:16-17 He says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper,” now the word “Helper” there is the word Paraclete, or the one who comes alongside and assists, and this is speaking of the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.  And they’re all upset at this point because He’s giving hints of His soon departure and He’s trying to calm them down by saying it’s actually to your advantage, and they’re very upset over news of His departure.  And you can imagine why because He had been with them for over three years and He was personally mentoring them and all of a sudden He starts talking about His departure.

And so in the Upper Room Discourse He’s basically saying you know what, it’s actually to your advantage that I go, because when I go the Paraclete will come and I, through the Holy Spirit, will be intimate with all of you whereas when Jesus was on the earth He was only intimate with twelve disciples and even within that group of twelve there was a smaller group of three, consisting of Peter, James and John.  But now we’re moving into a new age where Jesus is going to be crucified, He’s going to rise from the dead, He’s going to ascend back to the Father’s right hand, and He’s going to give to us the Holy Spirit which will be in every single child of God.  And that is a dramatic shift.  I think their jaws probably dropped to the ground when He started informing them of this.

“I will ask   that He may be with you forever;” now that’s not how it worked in the Old Testament, as I’ve tried to explain.  He goes and says,  [17] “that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him,” now look what He says here, “but you know Him [because He abides with you and will be in you.]”   You shouldn’t get the impression that the Holy Spirit had zero ministry in the Old Testament.  The Holy Spirit is extremely active in the Old Testament; the Holy Spirit is active as early as Genesis 1:2 where the Spirit was hovering on the waters there in creation.  And you see glimpses of the Spirit’s activity with the tabernacle workers coming upon certain kings for their tasks and other things.  So they knew about the Holy Spirit.

But what was new is the Spirit would be “in” them and “with” them forever.  He says, “you know Him because He abides with you,” so they knew a little something about the Holy Spirit.  But then He says He “will be in you”  forever.  And that is a dramatic change in the rules that the Holy Spirit is going to begin to operate by in the church age as compared to Old Testament Israel.

Number 3, who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit?  I don’t think in Old Testament times every believer was indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Why do I say that?  Because Joel 2:28 talks about a time that would come when the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh.  [Joel 2:28, “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.”]  And understand that to mean every child of God, all of Israel would experience the Holy Spirit.  And if the Holy Spirit was already in everybody who was a believer that would be no front page news, would it?  One day the Holy Spirit is going to poured out on all flesh, they would just be yawning, tell me something I don’t know.  So that statement, in order for it to have gravity has to mean that the Holy Spirit was not indwelling every child of God.

But compare that to the church age; compare that to today.  Who does the Holy Spirit indwell? Everyone that’s a Christian.  Everyone that is a believer in Christ, who has received the new birth, which is the only kind of Christian you can have, is indwelt forever by the Holy Spirit.  And this is what  Paul is getting at when he writes to the Corinthians in the New Testament.  He says, “For by one Spirit we were” what? “all” that word “all” is huge, VERY important because Paul is also revealing that what is happening with the church age and the Holy Spirit is different than what happened in the prior age.  “For by one Spirit we were all baptized, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, we were” what?  He says it again, “all made to drink of one Spirit.”

And keep in mind who he’s talking to here… the Corinthians; they’re not necessarily known for their exemplary spiritual lives are they?  But even to that carnal crowd, and they happened to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, even they in their carnal state were “all baptized” by one Spirit.  So that is a privilege that is happening today that the Old Testament saints couldn’t even fathom; couldn’t even dream about.  So we take the Holy Spirit for granted but we have to understand that we’re living in the age of the Holy Spirit where the Holy Spirit is doing things today in the age of the church that has never happened before in biblical history.

So we receive the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation; the Holy Spirit is in us forever and everyone that is a child of God is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  That is why you cannot define the pattern of the Holy Spirit’s present activity from the Old Testament.  And you can’t even define the present work of the Holy Spirit’s activity today through the Gospels.  You have to go to Acts 2 and go forward.  Jesus is only giving hints of the change; the actual change doesn’t occur until Acts 2.  And all the way through the Gospels Jesus is making a hint of a transition that’s coming.

For example, in John 7:37 and 39 it says, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”  [38]“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

Now this is John’s commentary on what Jesus was saying, [39] “But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet” what? “given, because Jesus was not yet” what? “glorified.” When would He be glorified?  Acts 1. So His first order of business as high priest, once He ascended to his position of glory which He had with the Father before the world was, His first order of business was to make good on these promises and to give the Holy Spirit.

But here John is indicating that the shift hadn’t happened yet.  So Jesus here is announcing something that’s right around the corner. We’re already read John 14:16-17, the Spirit will be in you and with you “forever”!  That wouldn’t be a very big announcement, would it, if that ministry was already happening by the Holy Spirit.

And you recall what Jesus said in Acts 1:5, this is post cross, post resurrection, the ascension is coming in that same chapter, and before Jesus ascends He said, “For John baptized with water but you” that’s the disciples, “will” future tense “be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” I think there He’s predicting the Day of Pentecost where the shift would occur beginning in Acts 2.

So what is the bottom line?  The bottom line is  you cannot find  define what the Spirit is doing today based on a reading of the Old Testament or even a reading of the gospels.  The gospels, the very best they’re going to give you is hints of the change but the actual change doesn’t start until Acts 2.  This is important to understand because we’re talking about the differences between Israel and the church.  Israel’s relationship with the Holy Spirit was completely and totally different than our relationship with the Holy Spirit today.  And I hope that makes you feel blessed and privileged because that’s what you are.  That’s what we are.  You’re blessed because of the time period you’re living in.

Let me take you to another major difference between Israel and the church and that has to do with the farewell address.  Remember George Washington’s farewell address?  The Lord gave a farewell address to Israel in what is called the Olivet Discourse.  And He gave another farewell address to the soon to be birthed church and that’s called the Upper Room Discourse.  I mean, if Israel and the church are the same then why do we have two farewell addresses on the same week as the Passion Week, the final week of Christ’s life prior to His crucifixion.  So notice this chart here, it shows  you the differences between the Olivet Discourse and the Upper Room Discourse.   The Olivet Discourse is found in Matthew 24-25.  The Upper Room Discourse is found in John 13-17.  The Olivet Discourse takes place on the Mount of Olives.  I asked one of my classes one time why do we call it the Olivet Discourse and someone said well, that’s because we get all of it, and that would be a wrong answer.  It really isn’t even a discourse, it’s a conversation and it takes place on the Mount of Olives.  He’s asked a question about the temple’s destruction and He begins to describe the future of Israel in the Olivet Discourse.  The Upper Room Discourse takes place in the Upper Room, two different locations.

The Olivet Discourse take place on the third day of the Passion week.  The Upper Room Discourse takes place on a totally different day; it would be day six of the Passion week.  So what is the focus of the Olivet Discourse ?  Jesus is saying farewell to Israel and He, in the process, is outlining for Israel her future.  If you look for just a moment at Matthew 24 you see it gets really Jewish, this Olivet Discourse.  You see, for example, in verse 15, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken through the prophet, Daniel,” now you guys know something about the seventy weeks, right?  Remember my ten facts about the seventy weeks prophecy?  What was the first fact?  The seventy weeks prophecy concerns who?  Israel.  Seventy sevens are decreed, Daniel, for your people and your city.   [Daniel 9:24, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.”]  That’s why Jesus is making reference to that seventy weeks prophecy there in verse 15.

And then if you drop down to verse 20, this is what the Jews are supposed to do when they see the temple desecrated midway through the tribulation period.  “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.”  [Matthew 24:20]  Now doesn’t that sound Jewish.  He’s speaking to Jews.  He’s telling the Jews what they’re to do when they see the temple desecrated.  So what Jesus is doing is He’s saying farewell to Israel, but He’s outlining her future; He’s outlining the circum­stances through which unbelieving Israel will be brought to faith in Christ in the events of the tribulation period.

Now compare that to the Upper Room Discourse, He’s not saying farewell to Israel at all; He’s saying hello to the what?  The church; He is revealing something that is yet future concerning the church.  So Matthew 24, goodbye Israel; Upper Room Discourse, hello church.  What is the specific focus of the Olivet Discourse?  It’s Israel’s future.  It’s basically how Israel is going to be brought to Christ in the events of the tribulation period.  What is His focus in the Upper Room Discourse?  Divine provisions for the church.  And His whole point is it’s actually to your advantage that I’m leaving because when I leave and I ascend back to My position of glory at the Father’s right hand the Holy Spirit will be poured out in an unprecedented way.  And He specifically told them in Acts 1, before He ascended, to wait in Jerusalem until “you are clothed from on high by the Holy Spirit.”  [Luke 24:49, “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”]

And frankly, the New Testament church would have never gotten anywhere, they would have never gotten off the ground if they had ignored that command.  If they had just gone out and done the work of God through human power, without the Holy Spirit, Christian would have sputtered out a long time ago.  And yet here we are 2,000 years later, on a different continent as members of Christ’s church, and that has to be the work of the Holy Spirit.

What prompted the Olivet Discourse?  It concerned Jewish questions, questions about the temple for example.   So when you go to Matthew 24:1-2 it says, “Jesus came out from the temple” see the Jewish focus here, “and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. [2] And He said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.’”  Now there He’s making a prediction about something that’s about to happen about forty years later, the events of A.D. 70, because Israel is under discipline because they rejected the offer of the kingdom in Matthew 12.  So Israel is under the suzerain vassal Mosaic Covenant, as we have studied, and part of that covenant is blessings and curses.

So just as Israel in the Old Testament was brought into captivity at the hands of the Babylonians, and the northern kingdom was scattered by the Assyrians, as Yogi Bera said “it’s déjà vu all over again. all over again.”  The same cycles of discipline are about to happen again, this time at the hands of the Romans; not the Babylonians or the Assyrians but the Romans because Israel is still under that Mosaic Covenant.  And this announcement of the temple’s destruction really bothered the disciples because this was the temple that the Babylonian returnees had rebuilt as recorded in the Book of Ezra.  And over in John 2:20 there’s a reference to how Herod had taken that temple and built it into a beautiful, magnificent edifice.  [John 2:20, “The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’”]  Josephus goes into great detail explaining the glamor of that temple and Jesus is saying the whole thing is going to be torn down forty years from now.  Now He doesn’t give the date but in hindsight we can look back and see when Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled.

And it says in verse 3, [Matthew 24:3] “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately,” I mean, they were shook up by this, they “came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’”  So they connected the temple’s destruction with the end of the age.  And so what does Jesus start talking about?  He starts answering their question in Matthew 24 and 25 about the end of the age, and in the process He is outlining Israel’s future, how she’s going to be brought to Christ under great distress.

Now switch over to the Upper Room Discourse; that’s not what Jesus is talking about at all.  In the Upper Room Discourse what prompted the questions from the disciples was His announcement that he was leaving and this very much bothered them.  For example, if you look over at John 13, which is the beginning of the Upper Room Discourse, John 13, it says, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father….”  See to interpret these two discourses you have to pay attention to the questions that start each discourse.  In Matthew 24 and 25, in the Olivet Discourse the question is all about the temple.  But in John 13-17 the initial questions are about His announcement of His soon departure and this is where He begins to explain to them that it’s to their advantage that I go away because when I go away the Holy Spirit is going to come and He begins to outline the future provisions, not for Israel but for what?  For the church, which concerns and includes us, doesn’t it.

In the Olivet Discourse what is He explaining exactly?  In the Olivet Discourse He is explaining written Old Testament concepts so the nation of Israel already knew from their own Bible, Hebrew Bible, that there would be a time of distress and Israel would be converted through this time of distress.  Now what Scripture did they have that we spent a lot of time on Sunday morning studying?  They had the Seventy Weeks Prophecy.  They had other Scriptures too, they had the Book of Jeremiah, chapter 30 and verse 7, which talks about a time of unparalleled distress for Jacob.  Now who was Jacob?  Jacob is Israel.  Jeremiah 30:7 talks about an unparalleled time of distress for Jacob but he will be saved out of it.  [Jeremiah 30:7, “’Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.”]  So they already knew about a time of distress that would come through which Israel would be converted and all Jesus is doing in Matthew 24 and 25 is he’s taking those Old Testament ideas and expanding on them, and that’s what you have going on in Matthew 24 and 25.

Now switch over to the Upper Room Discourse; Jesus is not explaining the Old Testament at all in John 13-17.  In fact, as you travel through John 13-17, other than the brief references, the Old Testa­ment references to Judas’ betrayal of Christ, to my knowledge there’s not a single Old Testament verse quoted.  So what Jesus is doing in the Upper Room Discourse is He’s not elucidating or expanding upon written Old Testament material, he’s already done that three days earlier in the Olivet Discourse.  What He is talking about is unwritten New Testament material which would be the canon of Scripture that we call the New Testament that hadn’t even been written yet.  And this is when He begins to talk about things like, “When the Spirit comes,” John 16:12-13, “He will guide you into” what? “all truth.  [John 16:12, “‘I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  [13] But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.”]

And He says things like there are many things I have to tell you but you’re not yet able to receive them because the Spirit hadn’t been poured out yet.  “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will” what? “guide you into all truth.” So what He is explaining there is a body of material that is coming that is yet future, called the 27 books of the New Testament that the apostles, or the disciples that he’s addressing in the Upper Room, He’s only addressing eleven people in the Upper Room, all eleven people are believers because Judas, the only unbeliever, left the group in John 13.  So He’s only addressing these disciples; He is saying, “I’ve got many things to tell you but you can’t bear them now, but when He, the Spirit of truth  comes He will guide you into all truth.”  He’s speaking of a coming New Testament canon that the disciples He’s talking about are going to be responsible for writing, primarily.

So do you see the difference?  Olivet Discourse He’s basically expanding upon, elucidating Old Testament material; Upper Room Discourse He’s talking about a body of material, the 27 Books of the New Testament that are yet to be written.  So I guess what I’m trying to get at is there is a world of difference between the Olivet Discourse and the Upper Room Discourse.

And here is what’s happening today with a lot of people; they’re trying to build their rapture doctrine and they’re all going over to Matthew 24 and 25 to do it and that is wrong right out of the gate because the rapture concerns the church and Matthew 24 and 25 concerns Israel.  So because people aren’t able to make this basic distinction they’re basically fishing in the wrong pond.  They’re looking in the wrong place for truth.  If you want to find truth related to the church, which would include the rapture, you don’t go to Matthew 24 and 25; you go to John 14:1-3 which I believe is the first reference to the rapture.

What Jesus is doing  in the Upper Room Discourse is He’s revealing truth in germ form, or seed form, that is going to be watered and amplified by the New Testament writers and those New Testament writers are the who?  The apostles.  So the rapture is in John 14:1-4.  That’s the first reference to the rapture.  “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. [2] 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.  [3] 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.  [4] And you know the way where I am going .” There in infant form is the rapture doctrine.

And in fact there’s a scholar, I wish I’d brought in my chart as I’m talking about it, but there’s a scholar, I believe he was Mennonite, if I’m not mistaken, he compared John 14:1-4 to the key rapture passage in the New Testament, which is where?  Anybody know?  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and he say there’s a one to one parallel, eight parallels and they line up exactly  which would be in defiance, wouldn’t if, of the law of probability.  And it’s conceptually starting with sorrow and I’m coming again and J.B. Smith (at some point I’ll be showing you this chart if I haven’t shown it to you already) lines them up identically.   We would expect that, wouldn’t we, because Jesus, in the Upper Room Discourse is giving seed truth that is going to be later watered by the apostles in the 27 New Testament books that we call the New Testament.

And it’s not just true with the rapture; I have another chart which I wish I’d brought in, which shows you verse by verse almost every single doctrine you can think of in the New Testament letters has its roots, not in the Olivet Discourse but in the Upper Room Discourse.  So obviously Israel and the church are completely different because Israel and the church have two different farewell addresses.   Are you with me on that?  They had a totally different relationship with the Holy Spirit than we have and they also had a totally different farewell address.

Another difference, I think I can do this one a little faster; the designation, what is the nation of Israel called?  She is called God’s firstborn what?  Son.  Exodus 4:22, concerning the upcoming Exodus event, says this, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.’”  Now have you ever wondered why God, in plague 10,  in Egypt killed all of the firstborn all over Egypt?  It’s related to this right here, Exodus 4:22.  Remember what God said in the Abrahamic Covenant to Israel?  “The one who curses you I will curse.”  So Egypt, you mess with My firstborn son, guess what I’m going to do?  I’m going after your firstborn.  And that’s an outworking of Exodus 4:22 and Genesis 12:3, “I will curse those who curse you.”

By the way, have you ever wondered why God drowned  the pursuing Egyptians in the Red Sea?     I mean God could have killed off those Egyptians any way He wanted to; he could have sent a hurricane, a lightning bolt, an earthquake, He could have opened up the ground like He did in the Book of Numbers and swallowed up the Egyptian army.  He parted the Red Sea as you know from the Bible, that nation was going to cross through the parted waters, so they got to the other side, the Egyptians foolishly went through the parted river and God closed the waters and drowned them.  Why would he drown them?  Well, it goes back to Exodus 1.  What were the Egyptians doing with his people?  They were drowning the babies as you’ll remember, in the Nile, and God says okay,  you drown My people Egypt, I’m going to drown  you.  Genesis 12:3, “those that curse you I will curse.”  [Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”]

So the nation of Israel is called God’s firstborn son and apparently when  you read the rest of the Bible God takes that pretty seriously.  The church, on the other hand, is never designated that way.  We are never called God’s firstborn son; our designation is the bride of Christ.  So we’re designated something completely and totally different than the nation of Israel.

Now how about this one here: Revelation in the Old Testament.  Is the nation of Israel revealed in the Old Testament?  Of course!  Beginning in which chapter?  Genesis 12 forward it’s all about Israel.  And the nation of Israel continues to be spoken of in the New Testament, doesn’t it?  Doesn’t Paul, in Romans 9, 10 and 11 deal specifically with the nation of Israel?  Doesn’t he deal with Israel’s future in Romans 11.  Now Paul is not coming along and reteaching everything in the Old Testament; if he came along and retaught everything in the Old Testament we wouldn’t need an Old Testament.  Right!  So the New Testament is not going to be redundant; it’s not going to restate everything that’s already been spelled out in the Old Testament.  It will just kind of sum up things at key points.

So the nation of Israel is a two testament people group.  They are dominant in the Old Testament and they are spoken of quite frequently in the New Testament.  Now compare that to the church.  Is the church found in the New Testament?  Yes it is.  Is the church found anywhere in the Old Testament?  There’s not a single word about the church in the Old Testament.  You can read the Old Testament until your eyeballs bleed and you will not find any reference to the church as a new man consisting of Jews and Gentiles in one new spiritual man.  You won’t find that church age concept anywhere in the Old Testament.

And to be completely honest with you it’s hardly even mentioned by Christ in the Gospels.  Christ is functioning in His ministry under the Old Testament Law. Israel and the offer to Israel of the kingdom and her turning down of that offer is still center stage.  It’s really not until Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says, “I will build My” what? “church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”   You say church? What church?  And notice the verb “build” is in which tense.  Future tense meaning the church was not something contemporaneous with Christ, it wasn’t going on with Christ, it was something totally future.

So the church is  New Testament doctrine only; it’s barely spoken of in the Gospels.  We don’t even learn much about the church  until Christ’s statement here.  But not so the nation of Israel; the nation of Israel is not a one testament people group as is the church.  The nation of Israel goes not just in the Old Testament but also the New Testament.  What is the church?  The church, Ephesians 3:3-6 is a what?  It starts with an “M.”  Mystery.  [Ephesians 3:3-6, “that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. [4] By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, [5] which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; [6] to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”]

Well, what is a mystery?  A mystery is a new truth never before divulged.  That’s the New Testament concept of “mystery.”  Paul defines a mystery as that which has been hidden from past ages and generations but now has been manifested to you.  And this is part of the confusion, is people come at this word “mystery” with the English definition.  The English definition is a mystery is something that has to be searched out with great diligence.   If you are reading a mystery novel you don’t even know who the bad guy is until the last chapter.  If you’re watching a mystery movie you don’t know who the bad guy is until the last five minutes.

But that’s not how the Greeks used the word mystery.  The New Testament was written in which language?  Greek, and in Greek the word is musterion, translated mystery in the English Bible and it refers to something hidden now revealed.  That’s why you can’t find the church anywhere in the Old Testament and there’s just a few veiled hints of it in the Gospels, because it’s a mystery.  That’s what the word “mystery” means.  In the New Testament it, musterion, denotes not the mysterious, as with the English word, but that which is being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension and can be made only known by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and a time appointed by God and those who are illumined by the Holy Spirit.  Paul calls the church a mystery in Ephesians 3:9.  [Ephesians 3:9, “and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;”]

Well what’s the mystery exactly?  Ephesians 3:6, “to be specific” now Paul is explaining the mystery, “that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” what is the mystery?  It’s a new spiritual man consisting of believing Jews and believing Gentiles on equal footing” that’s the mystery, “as joint heirs,” that’s the mystery.  It’s a time period where the Jews or the Hebrew race is not elevated and preeminent over the Gentiles.  That’s the mystery.

And this mystery is… keep in mind they had been functioning the old way for 1,500 years and when God changed the rules in Acts 2 it took them a while to catch up.  Remember Peter saw the vision of the sheet in Acts 10 and what was in the sheet?  A barbeque lunch and a bunch of animals that a Jew is not supposed to eat.  Right!  And so God says to Peter, “Arise and eat.”  And what does Peter say?  It’s one of the greatest contradictions in the whole Bible.  “Not so Lord.”  Think about that, “Not so, Lord.”  [Acts 11:8, “But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.”]  If He’s your Lord why are you telling Him no?  That’s what you call an oxymoron, right? That’s a self-contradicting idea.   It’s like saying Microsoft works, postal service, government intelligence, jumbo shrimp, and reasonable attorney’s fees.  These are things that don’t go together.

Now why would Peter tell the Lord no?  Because God changed the rules but he hadn’t caught on yet because he had been functioning the old way for 1,500 years.  So when Paul goes out on his first missionary journey and all these Gentiles start getting saved like crazy, what does the Jewish leadership of the church want to do?  We’ve got to make Jews out of these people; we’ve got to make them submit to circumcision and the Law of Moses.  And they have a great big pow-wow, it’s all there in Acts 15, and they discern the will of the Lord that the rules have changed.  When did the rules change?  In Acts 2, it just hadn’t caught on yet.  So they discerned the will of the Lord that to be a member of the church you don’t have to become a Jew.  Of the decision had gone the other way the church would have kept functioning like Israel had been functioning for 1,500 years.  To grow in a knowledge of Yahweh in Old Testament times  you had to convert to what?  Judaism.  Such Gentiles were called proselytes.  The most famous proselyte in the Old Testament is who?  Anybody know?  Ruth!  Ruth, who was not a Hebrew but she was from the land of Moab, which is on the other side of the Jordan, an adjacent nation.  And through the story of Ruth and her contact with Naomi she became a believer in the God of Israel.  And so what did she have to do to grow in her knowledge of her newfound faith?  She, Ruth said to Naomi, her mother-in-law, “Your people shall be” what? “my people, and  your God shall be” what? “my God.”  She became a proselyte.

So what they’re trying to figure out in Acts 15 is do we make all these Gentiles that just got saved, proselytes?  Do we continue to function as Israel functioned, going all the way back to the time of Moses?  And the answer was no, because they discerned that the rules had changed there in Acts 2.

So what you have in the age of the church is a new spiritual man where the Jews are no longer in a place of preeminence over the Gentiles.  The primary servants of God in the Old Testament was the Hebrew nation.  All of the blessings to the rest of the world spilled over from the Hebrew nation.  But that is NOT how it works in the church age.  Today, as has been happening for the last 2,000 years, the primary servants of God is the church consisting of some Jews but mostly Gentiles in a new man, spiritual man, not a nation, called the body of Christ.  That’s the mystery.  That’s the new disclosure.  It started in Acts 2 but they didn’t figure out what was going on until later and consequently God raised up Paul, not to start the new man… do you follow me?  There’s a lot of confusion out there, a lot of people think the church started with Paul.  Paul did not start the church.  Man never starts a new work of God.  God started it in Acts 2.  Paul just explained what God started.  Are you with me on that?

So what I’m trying to get at is simply this: the nation of Israel is a two-testament Old Testament, New Testament, people group.  The church is not; the church you’re only going to find in the pages of the New Testament, not even in the Gospels very much, mostly in The Book of Acts and the Epistles.

So do you see all these differences between Israel and the church?  We just went over four tonight, four in twenty-four.  We have a totally different relationship with the Holy Spirit than Israel did.  We have a totally different farewell address than Israel had.  We have a totally different designation; Israel is called God’s firstborn son; the church is never called that.  And we are revealed in the New Testament only.  The nation of Israel is disclosed in both testaments.

Now what about evangelism?  We don’t have time to talk about that.  But both Israel and the church had a missionary calling.  God gave to Israel a different strategy for reaching the world than He had given to the church.  The nation of Israel was given a come and see strategy.  That’s why there’s so much emphasis on the temple and its beauty, because the plan was the nation… and this is what the Queen of Sheba did, right?  She traveled all the way from Arabia, she made a jaunt of 1200 miles to sit at Solomon’s feet to learn of his wisdom. So the whole strategy for Israel in terms of evangelism is, if I can quote the movies here, “if we build it they will come,” which comes from the movie The Field of Dreams.  So let’s build this beautiful edifice and look at all the riches, and the world is going to come and see it and they’re going to learn about Yahweh by coming.

And when you understand that you understand why Jesus was so ticked off when He went into His Father’s house, the temple, and they had turned it into “first colony mall.”  They had commercial­ized it because what are the nations supposed to think when they come to learn of Yahweh?  God is a materialistic God and He’s into money only.

The church, by contrast, does not have a “come and see” strategy.  We have a go and proclaim.  In fact,  you go through the Old Testament prophets, God never sent out an Old Testament prophet to any nation; the only one that He did is who?  Jonah, and he didn’t want to go, remember?  There is no “let’s have missions Sunday” in Israel.  Let’s reach the world for the nation, let’s send people, because that was not Israel’s strategy; it was a come and see strategy.  When the church started it’s a totally different strategy; it’s a go and proclaim strategy.  In other words, get built up and get out of the four walls and reach the world.  And so that’s a completely different concept.

And to be honest with you, a lot of mega churches need to start understanding this because mega churches are still under the old strategy, they’re into a come and see strategy, “if we build this beautiful building, whether it’s made out of pure glass or whatever, we’re going to get the world in here.  That is not a strategy that God gave to the church!  That is a strategy that God gave to who?  Israel!  So I told you I’d talk about that next week and I just ended up talking about it.

So I’m going to stop talking while I have a change.  That’s the direction we’re going next week.