God Initiates Sacrifices, Festivals & Practices in the Messianic Kingdom

God Initiates The Ordinances of the Offerings

 

Ezekiel 43:18-27

18And he said unto me, Son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: These are the ordinances of the altar in the day when they shall make it, to offer burnt-offerings thereon, and to sprinkle blood thereon. 19Thou shalt give to the priests the Levites that are of the seed of Zadok, who are near unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord Jehovah, a young bullock for a sin-offering (ASV, 1901).

This first set of ordinance offerings initiate the operation of the Messianic Temple. This is God’s first official act to consecrate the Temple and inaugurate its nearly full thousand year operation following its construction and operation. These very specific sacrificial offerings will be made upon the altar described in the previous verses in full sight of the Messiah as He sits in the inner Holy of Holies and looks out on the inner court as they are made in loving obedience to the Savior. The altar will be cleansed by the shedding of blood and used for offering whole burnt and peace offerings. Blood which the Bible regards as containing the life of the offering will be placed in the prominent place on the altar to communicate holiness. It imparts holiness and removes sin. This is a direct reference to the Lord Jesus whose blood imparted holiness to us and removed our sins. Now He is celebrating the fact that these two factors of the Messianic Kingdom have been achieved by Him. This is very similar to what Moses was commanded to do in the wilderness to inaugurate the Tabernacle over a seven day period. Details are important because similarity does not mean sameness.

 

Source: http://bible.ag/en/enezekieltranscript.htm

Leviticus 8:14-15

14And he brought the bullock of the sin-offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock of the sin-offering. 15And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured out the blood at the base of the altar, and sanctified it, to make atonement for it (ASV, 1901)

Since Ezekiel has been promised to be resurrected he will be able to actually give to the priests, the Levites that are of the seed of Zadok, who are near unto me, to minister unto me, saith the Lord Jehovah, a young bullock for a sin-offering. This is promised to the faithful Old Testament saints in at lease two places. This is God’s Promise.

Isaiah 26:19:

19 Your dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for your dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead (ASV, 1901).

While this passage promises that a resurrection will some day take place a more specific promise regarding timing is found in the second passage found in the book of Daniel.

Daniel 12:2:

1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt (ASV, 1901).

This passage  is making a clear distinction between the resurrection of the righteous and the resurrection of the unrighteous. Only the righteous saints will be resurrected at this time in order to partake of the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom. These are the friends of the bridegroom (John. 3:29) who will be invited to the wedding feast with which the Messianic Kingdom will begin. The rest of humanity will be resurrected to everlasting destruction at the Great White Throne judgment after the Messianic Kingdom. Since Daniel chapter twelve begins with a discussion of Michael the Archangel prevailing at a time of trouble greater than any ever, it clearly points to the time of the end of the Tribulation. Therefore Ezekiel will be resurrected and provide the necessary first sacrifice to the Sons of Zadok of the priestly line to inaugurate the Messianic Temple. He may be the High Priest or at least have a significant role in the High Priest’s activities.

The Sons of Zadok are a very special group of which Ezekiel belongs and as God says, “are near unto me, to minister unto me.” All Hebrew names have meaning. The  Sons of Zadok have a unique name meaning “righteous.” As such Zadok was a type or model of the Lord Jesus. Zadok was a priest, who descended from Eleazar the son of Aaron  the first High Priest (I Chronicles 6:4-8). He aided King David during the revolt of his son Absalom and was subsequently instrumental in bringing King Solomon to the throne. After Solomon’s building of The First Temple in Jerusalem, Zadok was the first High Priest to serve there. The Sons of Zadok have always been faithful to the Lord and His chosen elect.

In their rebellion Israelite priests had violated the Lord’s covenant by allowing foreigners to bring their detestable practices into the temple. Because the Levites had been unfaithful to the Lord, they will be demoted in the Messianic Temple. They will tend the temple gates, slaughter sacrificial animals, and assist the people, but they will not be allowed to handle the holy objects or offerings of the Lord. As a reward for their faithfulness the Zadokite line of the Levitical family would function as the Lord’s priests. Zadok was a descendant of Aaron through Eleazar and Phinehas (I Chronicles 6:3–8, 50–53). They will be the priests selected for service of the altar called in Hebrew the Mizbeyach in the Messianic Temple. The sacrifices while memorializing the atonement that Jesus provided for the world will also emphasize the divine election of the nation Israel. They will have been chosen to perform the very sacrifices that will impress upon the whole world the blessings of salvation and peace that have been provided by the Messiah Jesus. The very first sacrifice will be a young bull as a sin offering. The Hebrew word for sin is chatat.  Since Hebrew words are built on a root of three letters this word’s root is chat which means cleanse. It is actually more accurate therefore to describe this as a cleansing offering.

Administration of the Cleansing

 

Ezekiel 43:20-21

20And thou shalt take of the blood thereof, and put it on the four horns of it, and on the four corners of the ledge, and upon the border round about: thus shalt thou cleanse it and make atonement for it. 21Thou shalt also take the bullock of the sin-offering, and it shall be burnt in the appointed place of the house, without the sanctuary (ASV, 1901).

Similarly was the case in the Mosaic Law when the blood was applied to the four horns of the altar with the priest’s finger (Exodus 29:12). Actually every sin offering mentioned in the Law was a blood applied on the four horns of the altar. Then in the Mosaic Law the remainder of the blood was poured on the base of the altar. In the Messianic Temple the blood will be sprinkled first on the four horns of the altar and then also sprinkled on the corners of the settle which went round it, for the priests to walk on, and carry out their activities.

This could be either the uppermost, or the lowermost settle, or both (see diagram).  Some will also probably be applied on the border or ledge that enclosed the settle. Here is another distinction between the Messianic Temple sacrifice and that of the Mosaic Law found in the book of Exodus.

Exodus 29:13-14

13And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul upon the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar. 14But the flesh of the bullock, and its skin, and its dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin-offering (ASV, 1901).

In the Mosaic Law the inner parts of the bullock were burned on the altar. Here the command is to burn all the bullock outside the Temple. There is no mention of the Mosaic practice of allowing the priests to eat the flesh of the private sin or peace offerings here in the memorial sacrifices.

The Second Day’s Offerings

Ezekiel 43:22-25

 22And on the second day thou shalt offer a he-goat without blemish for a sin-offering; and they shall cleanse the altar, as they did cleanse it with the bullock. 23When thou hast made an end of cleansing it, thou shalt offer a young bullock without blemish, and a ram out of the flock without blemish. 24And thou shalt bring them near before Jehovah, and the priests shall cast salt upon them, and they shall offer them up for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah.

The Lord changes the offering for the second day from a bullock to a he-goat. This did not occur in the Mosaic Law at the Tabernacle’s inauguration. The bullock was used for the full seven days of that inauguration. The object of the offering of the “he-goat” was the same as that of the offering of the bullock is to continue the cleansing of the altar. Simmarily to the scapegoat in the Mosaic Law, the scapegoat took on the sins of the Israelites and removed them (Leviticus  16:10). This is again a memorial to what Christ has done for the world. After which on the same day a bullock and finally a ram all without any blemishes or flaws shall be offered. The use of salt with an offering is associated with the idea of covenant (Numbers 18:19; II Chronicles 13:5).  Salt was used as part of sacrificial communal meals and was a sign of purification and preservation. Therefore salt is a symbol of preservation of the promises of God and a sign of the purity of the  New Covenant, which promises no possibility of failure of God or His people in the Messianic Kingdom who will be under it

Jeremiah 31:33-34

33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more (ASV, 1901).

Ezekiel 36:25-27

25And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them (ASV, 1901).

 

Seven Days Shall be The Inauguration

 

Ezekiel 43:25-27 

25Seven days shalt thou prepare every day a goat for a sin-offering: they shall also prepare a young bullock, and a ram out of the flock, without blemish. 26Seven days shall they make atonement for the altar and purify it; so shall they consecrate it. 27And when they have accomplished the days, it shall be that upon the eighth day, and forward, the priests shall make your burnt-offerings upon the altar, and your peace-offerings; and I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah (ASV, 1901). 

The pattern commanded for day two will be carried out for the entire seven days of the inaugural ceremony. That is, a he-goat, a bullock, and a ram all perfect without any blemishes. This also was not a practice of Moses when he inaugurated the Tabernacle. It was also not done by those that returned to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah after captivity in Babylon. This is another major change in the order of sacrifices in time to come, under Messiah. So this ceremony lasting seven days will provide a consecration of the altar to our Messiah. These particular sacrifices in this order will have the specific purpose to inaugurate the Messianic Kingdom’s services in the new Temple. From the eighth day forward the sacrifices will continue every day but they will be burnt offerings and peace offerings all ceremonial for what Jesus our Messiah has done for us. For God says that, “I will accept you, saith the Lord Jehovah.”

Select Concepts to Consider Regarding the Sacrifices on the Altar

 

  1. The sacrifices are a gift to our God and in burning them they become irrevocable as in a covenant that cannot be broken. They are promises of the people to God to keep His Law. The salt is a symbol of the preservation of these promises.
  2. Fire in the house of God is a type of the Shekinah which provides, power, (Exodus 9:24), wrath (II Kings 1:9–12), approval (Leviticus 9:24), guidance (Exodus 13:21–22), protection (Zechariah 2:5), purity (Isaiah 6:5–7), deliverance (II Kings 2:11), God’s word (Jeremiah 5:14), the Messiah (Malachi 3:2), the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3), judgment (Matthew 25:41), the return of Christ (II Thessalonians 1:8), and the end of the present age (II Peter 3:10–12).
  3. A sign of God’s presence with His people (Ezekiel 43:27).
  4. It was associated with holiness, purity, and mercy, especially the horns of the altar (Ezekiel 43:15, 20; 1 Kings 1:50–51; 2:28). The sprinkling of blood on the horns of the altar was a rite of purification (Ezekiel 43:18–21).
  5. The altar was a tool of mediation (Ezekiel 40:47; 43:19). Offerings were translated from the physical world by burning and given to God as the smoke rose to heaven.
  6. The sacrifice was a means of communication with God and was considered a form of prayer (Psalm 141:2).
  7. The act of sacrifice was for a temporary atonement of sins committed knowingly and unintentionally (Ezekiel 43:25–27; Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:3–4, 15, 18; Numbers15:22–31).

 

At the conclusion of the seven days of cleansing God will completely accept the population of the Messianic Kingdom. The cleansing ritual is passed and from then on the  daily sacrifices are memorial for the world to affirm Christ’s love and sacrifice for us. It will be a reminder of the order, peace ,and promises He provided for this world.

The Second Cleansing  Sacrifice

Ezekiel 45:18

18Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In the first month, in the first day of the month, thou shalt take a young bullock without blemish; and thou shalt cleanse the sanctuary (ASV, 1901).

God speaks directly to Ezekiel giving him explicit instruction for the cleansing of the Sanctuary. Earlier in Ezekiel 43:19-20 a young bull was offered to cleanse the Altar.

With the Exodus (cir. 1444 B.C) God inaugurated a religious calendar for the Children of Israel that would replace the civil calendar for ceremonial purposes.

Exodus 12:1-3

1 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household (ASV, 1901)

The events of the Exodus 12 passage took place in the seventh month according to the civil calendar which began in September with the new harvest. The passover & deliverance from their slavery was such a significant event that God would change the basis point from which they reckon time. A new year would signify a new beginning apart from the Egyptian solar calendar to a new lunar calendar.  So God then changed the religious calendar to the first month of the year which then He called Abib to commemorate a new start. This name was change to Nisan during the Babylonian captivity. God wanted this new start to be so significant to the Nation Israel that even the calendar was going to reflect it. The Antichrist as a false Messiah will try and do the same (Daniel 7:25). The rest of Israel’s law is given at Sinai, but this memorial of redemption was established in the land of Egypt. The religious calendar would begin in the time period of March-April.

This new Messianic cleansing will take place in Nisan but on the first day of the month not the 10th day as specified in Exodus 12:3 for the new beginning. The significance of this is that the 10th of Nisan was the month of Israel’s redemption from the persecution in Egypt. The final redemption of Israel’s persecution from this present age will also end on Nisan but on the first day of the month.

Ezekiel 45:19-20

19And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering, and put it upon the door-posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the ledge of the altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. 20And so thou shalt do on the seventh day of the month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye make atonement for the house (ASV, 1901).

Once the bull has been sacrificed by the Levites they will put it on the door-posts of the Temple Doorway and the base of the four corners of the upper platform of the Altar and on the doorpost of the gate of the Inner Courtyard. Presumably this is the inner eastern gate.

This will be for any Gentile who unintentionally sins because intentional sin will not be possible for the Jew due to the New Covenant’s provisions. The simple person is also known as one who was foolish. It is generally seen as those who when the Babylonian captivity had ended decided to stay in Babylon instead of going back to Jerusalem. This procedure will be repeated on the seventh day of the month.

The Messianic Passover Celebration

Ezekiel 45:21-25

21In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. 22And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin-offering. 23And the seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt-offering to Jehovah, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a he-goat daily for a sin-offering. 24And he shall prepare a meal-offering, an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and a hin of oil to an ephah. 25In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, in the feast, shall he do the like the seven days; according to the sin-offering, according to the burnt-offering, and according to the meal-offering, and according to the oil (ASV, 1901).

Passover will be celebrated on the fourteenth of Nisan as it has been since the Exodus. In keeping with the celebration of what the Messiah did for us by sacrificing Himself on the fourteenth of Nisan, the Passover will continue to occur on the same day. The actual festival of Passover (Pesach) begins the nightfall on the fifteenth day of Nisan. But on the fourteenth day, after the sixth hour of the day. Chometz, unleavened bread,  or any food that contains leaven (yeast) will be forbidden. Yeast is represented as sin in the Bible because it puffs up as in pride like the first sin of the anointed Cherub Hallal who became Satan the adversary of God and then mankind’s adversary. Then in the afternoon the Korban Pesach (Pascal lamb) is offered. Interestingly Jesus was sacrificed on the Passover, went into the tomb on Unleavened Bread and rose from the dead on First Fruits the third holiday of the Jewish agrarian year.

The Prince David will be the director of the services first for himself then for the people of the land with a bullock for a sin-offering. in the Mosaic system, the Passover was held within individual families with the head of the household performing the ceremony. In the Messianic Kingdom the Prince David will perform the ritual on behalf of the nation. In the Mosaic Law, the Passover was a one day festival, while in the Ezekiel, it will last for seven days. The Mosaic offered an unblemished lamb, while in the Kingdom a bullock will be offered.

David will offer a flour offering on the first Passover in order to consecrate the newly operational Temple. This and the timing of the seventh month in the fifteenth day will signify the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) which will have a significant attendance including all the Gentiles in the world.

Zechariah 14:16

16And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the (Gentile) nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Jehovah of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles (ASV, 1901).

Closing of the Inner Court East Gate

Ezekiel 46:1-2

 1 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath day it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of the gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate; and the priests shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening (ASV, 1901).

The Sabbath of the Old Testament will be reinstituted. The Sabbath will be in force as soon as the Church is Raptured from the earth. This will continue for the entire reign of our Messiah during His one-thousand year Kingdom. The glory of our Messiah and in His honor the east gate to the inner court will be opened only on the Sabbath and the first day of the month (Hebrew Rosh Chodesh). The Prince will lead the worship and it will last until the evening at which time the east inner court gate will be shut again. It is by this gate that the Prince will enter into the sanctuary to preside over the worship services as the Levites prepare the designated offerings to our Messiah. The Hebrew text says the Prince will prostrate himself before the Lord not worship as our translation says. This is the appropriate level of obedience and honor one gives the king of the earth who gave us His life for our salvation.

People Worship at the Inner Court East Gate

 

 

Ezekiel 46:3-5

3And the people of the land shall worship at the door of that gate before Jehovah on the sabbaths and on the new moons. 4And the burnt-offering that the prince shall offer unto Jehovah shall be on the sabbath day six lambs without blemish and a ram without blemish; 5and the meal-offering shall be an ephah for the ram, and the meal-offering for the lambs as he is able to give, and a hin of oil to an ephah (ASV, 1901).

 

All people will come to worship at the Messianic Temple at the sabbath and the new moons.

In the Mosaic Law, the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles was required for Jews only. But this will change under the Kingdom Law, it will be mandatory for both Jews and Gentiles (Zechariah 14:16–21). Under the Law of Moses, only Jews could be priests, but under Kingdom Law, Gentiles will also serve as priests (Isaiah 66:18–21). This is not at all a return to the Mosaic Law, but it is a brand new Kingdom Law. It does not conflict with the  New Testament teaching that the Mosaic Law ended with Messiah’s death. Isaiah made it quite clear that these observances would occur when God gave him these prophecies nearly seven-hundred years before Jesus was born.

Isaiah 66:23-24

23And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith Jehovah. 24And they shall go forth, and look upon the dead bodies of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh (ASV, 1901).

God makes it quite clear through His prophet Isaiah that the people coming to Jerusalem shall see the multitude of people who perished in the last siege of Jerusalem during the Great Tribulation. These nations that came against Christ will find themselves being trodden down by the King of the Jews. The city is Jerusalem and the winepress metaphor is the battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat which today is called the Kidron Valley. It lies between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.

Revelation 14: 19-20:

And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (KJV).

From here the armies leave for Bozrah and then return ending the conflict. The blood stretches for 1,600 furlongs or 200 miles. Jeremiah best describes this:

Jeremiah 49:20-22:

20Therefore hear ye the counsel of Jehovah, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely they shall drag them away, even the little ones of the flock; surely he shall make their habitation desolate over them. 21The earth trembleth at the noise of their fall; there is a cry, the noise whereof is heard in the Red Sea. 22Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread out his wings against Bozrah: and the heart of the mighty men of Edom at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs (ASV, 1901).

The massive blood letting that began at Bozrah moves to the south down the Arabah until it empties into the Red Sea at the present-day cities of Eilat and Akaba. The distance to Jerusalem is about 200 miles. The level of the blood is about four feet high. The battle finally comes to an end in the Valley of Jehoshaphat ending the seventh stage of the campaign of Armageddon.

Offerings For The New Moon

Ezekiel 46:6-8

6And on the day of the new moon it shall be a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram; they shall be without blemish: 7and he shall prepare a meal-offering, an ephah for the bullock, and an ephah for the ram, and for the lambs according as he is able, and a hin of oil to an ephah. 8And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of the gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof (ASV, 1901).

Israel’s calendar was change by God as they left Egyptian time reckoning from a solar year to a lunar year. God commanded that this change be recognized of the new moon in a significant manner. The feasts were all reckoned in relation to the various phases of the moon.

Today in some of Orthodox Judaism’s followers special prayers are recited at the appearance of the new moon.  This Messianic Kingdom change is a new offering brought by David and it differs from the Mosaic Law as prescribed by the Torah in that there is no mention of a sin offering (Numbers 28:11, 15). This is a brand-new offering unique to the Messianic Kingdom.

David enters by the outer door on the side of the east and he goes out the same way. He has a very prominent role as the representative of the people. He presents his offerings to the Lord God our Messiah, while the people stand as worshippers at the outer side of the inner east gate. The offerings the Prince is to bring on the Sabbath are larger than those commanded in the law. Both the burnt-offering and the meal offering brought by him on the Sabbath are more abundant than those offered under the Mosaic Law. This represents a higher form of worship of the Messiah who will live with us and restored Israel.

The Worship Procession

Ezekiel 46:9

9But when the people of the land shall come before Jehovah in the appointed feasts, he that entereth by the way of the north gate to worship shall go forth by the way of the south gate; and he that entereth by the way of the south gate shall go forth by the way of the north gate: he shall not return by the way of the gate whereby he came in, but shall go forth straight before him (ASV, 1901).

During the Messianic Kingdom there will be a orderly procession of all the people of the earth coming to Jerusalem to honor the King at the appointed festivals. This is a public display of worship and honor to God. In order to prevent congestion and confusion all the people will be entering the Temple compound through either the north or the south gate. The Temple proper, known as the Heichal, will be passed by as the worshippers stream through the inner court and prostrate themselves before the Messianic King of the universe. Whatever gate they enter by they will proceed straight through to the other side and exit that opposite gate. So if they enter by the north gate they will go out by way of the south and visa-versa. God is very concerned with appropriate decorum in His House as well as worship practices and has stated that in the Mosaic Law as well as the New Testament.

Deuteronomy 16:16

16Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before Jehovah thy God in the place which he shall choose: in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles; and they shall not appear before Jehovah empty (ASV, 1901).

This same concept holds true in the New Testament too. The apostle Paul when giving us rules of order in the proper expression of Spiritual Gifts (Greek Charismata), says that we should “Let all things be done decently and in order” (I Corinthians 14:40). Paul does not limit the proper order to charismata. He says, “All Things,” which focuses on the worship and honor we pay to the Lord. In fact the book of I Corinthians from Chapter 11:2 to 14:40 reveals the proper order of Christian worship leading up to this section’s conclusion of the proper functioning of charismata. It includes the state of women and headship as well as the state of all at the Lord’s Supper. We will all stand before God to give and account. (Romans 14:12; II Corinthians 5:10). God does not want us to follow the culture. He wants us to be obedient to Him in all things.

There will be an unknown number of people in the millions coming to Jerusalem during the Messianic Kingdom so order and decorum must prevail in our public display of worship. What is important for us to realize is that everything is divinely ordered. We may not understand it but God does everything for a reason. He wants our obedience.

David The Prince With His People

Ezekiel 46:10-12

10And the prince, when they go in, shall go in in the midst of them; and when they go forth, they shall go forth together. 11And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meal-offering shall be an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and for the lambs as he is able to give, and a hin of oil to an ephah. 12And when the prince shall prepare a freewill-offering, a burnt-offering or peace-offerings as a freewill-offering unto Jehovah, one shall open for him the gate that looketh toward the east; and he shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, as he doth on the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate (ASV, 1901).

One of the most precious views of the attitude of David the Prince and why he was chosen for this role is the love for and obedience he had for God. He as the great leader is not pushing the people to properly worship God. He is showing them how to obey by doing it with them. Here he is in the midst of them; and when they go forth, they shall go forth together,  (David’s Lament in I Samuel 26:19; Sons of Korah Psalm 42:4; David’s Godly resolve in Psalm 132:1-5). God says that when David shall prepare a freewill-offering, a burnt-offering or peace-offerings as a freewill-offering unto Jehovah, one shall open for him the gate that looketh toward the east; and he shall prepare his burnt-offering and his peace-offerings, as he doth on the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate. So the gate on the east of the inner court will be open for him to make his obeisance to The King of the world. After he came in with the people he will then ceremonially go in  and out of the eastern gate in obedience to God. The gate will be opened for him and closed after he has made his ceremonial offering leading the people in worship with the specified offerings in the volumes required. The outer eastern gate is permanently closed now after Messiah entered the Temple compound. The lesser leader David will obey a model of that with the inner eastern gate. The New Year offerings, the Passover offerings, the offerings for the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Sabbath offerings, will all take place at the inner eastern gate. The inner eastern gate will be shut for six days, but will always be opened on the Sabbath throughout the Kingdom period.

The Lamb of  Sacrifice

Ezekiel 46:13-15

13And thou shalt prepare a lamb a year old without blemish for a burnt-offering unto Jehovah daily: morning by morning shalt thou prepare it. 14And thou shalt prepare a meal-offering with it morning by morning, the sixth part of an ephah, and the third part of a hin of oil, to moisten the fine flour; a meal-offering unto Jehovah continually by a perpetual ordinance. 15Thus shall they prepare the lamb, and the meal-offering, and the oil, morning by morning, for a continual burnt-offering (ASV, 1901).

During the period of the Mosaic Law the daily offerings consisted of a lamb every morning and of a lamb every evening (Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:1-8). In the Messianic Kingdom services the only burnt-offering mentioned is during the mornings. One more difference  to the Mosaic law is that the  offering volume is increased from one-tenth to one-sixth, and the oil from one-quarter of a hin to one-third.  This difference is intentional even though not clearly explained why. One observation we can make is that as the blessings of grace abound under the Gospel dispensation, and we should abound in our thanksgiving to God. The blessings of the Messianic Kingdom will be greater than at any time before and offerings should represent this greater blessing to us. This then brings an end to the commands for the new order of worship in the Messianic Kingdom.

The Rules of Inheritance of the Prince

Ezekiel 46:16-17

16Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: If the prince give a gift unto any of his sons, it is his inheritance, it shall belong to his sons; it is their possession by inheritance. 17But if he give of his inheritance a gift to one of his servants, it shall be his to the year of liberty; then it shall return to the prince; but as for his inheritance, it shall be for his sons. 18Moreover the prince shall not take of the people’s inheritance, to thrust them out of their possession; he shall give inheritance to his sons out of his own possession, that my people be not scattered every man from his possession (ASV, 1901).

David the Prince will have some special rights or privileges because of his exulted position in the Temple. The fact that the Prince has sons, natural descendants is conclusive that the Prince of these last chapters of Ezekiel is not Christ. Clearly by decree in the Messianic Kingdom whatever gifts he bestows upon them shall be their possession by inheritance. During the one-thousand year Messianic Kingdom there will be twenty Jubilee years. In compliance with one of the laws for the Jubilee property will revert to its original owner as in the Mosaic Law. The Jubilee was celebrated after 7 sabbaths of years or 49 years. Then in the 50th year, counting from Israel’s entry into the Promised Land certain practices were to be set free.  The land was to lie fallow during the Jubilee year, Hebrew slaves were to be set free and, hereditary lands that had been sold were returned. The Jubilee was, in a sense, an entire year of festival, a year of liberty that restored the nation to the state it had enjoyed when God first established it. With the Messianic Kingdom being set free of sin, Satan and the curse on the earth at the Fall it will experience true liberty in Jubilee fashion too. So it is in this requirement of the Prince that when he gives gifts to those outside his family these gifts will revert to the original owner in the year of Jubilee which, is him. God sets limits on this practice referencing the abominable practices of the Jewish leaders in the confiscation of the people’s land in the period leading up to the Babylonian captivity and unfortunately after. David while not guilty of these practices during his reign as Israel’s king is nevertheless charged with providing for his offspring from his own personal property not that of others. The people will be protected as to their own personal property. This Jubilee return of gifts only pertains to that which Prince David gave to others outside his family.

Leviticus 25:23-24

23And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is mine: for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. 24And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land (ASV, 1901).

The Law of the Boiling of the Sacrifices for The Offerings

 

Ezekiel 46:19-24

19Then he brought me through the entry, which was at the side of the gate, into the holy chambers for the priests, which looked toward the north: and, behold, there was a place on the hinder part westward. 20And he said unto me, This is the place where the priests shall boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, and where they shall bake the meal-offering; that they bring them not forth into the outer court, to sanctify the people. 21Then he brought me forth into the outer court, and caused me to pass by the four corners of the court; and, behold, in every corner of the court there was a court. 22In the four corners of the court there were courts inclosed, forty cubits long and thirty broad: these four in the corners were of one measure. 23And there was a wall round about in them, round about the four, and boiling-places were made under the walls round about. 24Then said he unto me, These are the boiling-houses, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people (ASV, 1901).

This is a continuation of the discussion that the Messiah was providing Ezekiel which stopped at chapter 43:17. Starting at the side of the north gate He shows Ezekiel the spot where there is a one cubit gap in the northern wall of the inner wall and the knife depository. This is the place where the priests will boil the trespass-offering and the sin-offering, and where they shall bake the meal-offering; that they bring them not forth into the outer court, to sanctify the people.

The priests will cook the guilt offering and the sin offerings so as to not bring them out into the outer court. Since these sacrifices are of the highest quality and most holy, any transportation to the outer court would disqualify them for use in the services. If they went to the outer court then they would be exposed to non-priestly people wearing unsanctified apparel and this would render them unfit for use. The outer court where the Angel of Jehovah leads Ezekiel is also called the Women’s Court. This is because it completely surrounds the Temple and Inner Courtyard. From Proverbs 12:4 we see that a virtuous women is the crown of her husband. So it is that the women of the Messianic Kingdom are all virtuous and the outer court surrounding the inner court as a crown is known as the women’s court. In Solomon’s Temple the women’s court did not surround the inner court but stood east of it. The text in this section of Scripture ends with a description and location of the cooking chambers. Here the priests will cook portions of the sacrifices of the lesser holiness offerings such as the peace offerings and thanksgiving offerings, which are not disqualified if they are taken out of the inner courtyard.

Messianic Temple will not have the Ark of the Covenant.

http://www.bibleprobe.com/ark.htm

Jeremiah 3:16-17

16And it shall come to pass, when ye are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith Jehovah, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of Jehovah; neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more. 17At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of Jehovah, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart (ASV, 1901).

Since the Messiah who is God Himself will be dwelling in and reigning from Jerusalem, there will be no need for any Ark of the Covenant. The contents of the Ark of the Covenant were the  tablets of stone that were the embodiment of the Law of Moses, a jar of manna and Aaron’s budded rod. The fact that the Law of Moses is no longer in effect is another reason why the Ark of the Covenant will be missing. Finally the Law of the Messianic Kingdom will be the New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

31Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more (ASV, 1901).

The Ark will not be needed because God says, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Earth’s Population in The Messianic Kingdom

People in The Messianic Kingdom

Who will live in the Messianic Kingdom (Millennium) at the end of the Tribulation? What will they look like? How many will there be? These are good questions, and Scripture supplies a lot of the answers.

During the Millennium there will be two people groups on earth: the Jewish people, and the Gentiles. Additionally, there will be two different types of bodies for the Millennial population, resurrected bodies and natural bodies.

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

Those going into the Messianic Kingdom in resurrected bodies will be:

  • The people who are in the Church from the first Pentecost until the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:14-17; I Corinthians 15:54; Jude 1:14; Revelation 19:14).
  • Old Testament Saints (Isaiah 26:19).
  • Great Tribulation Saints (Revelation 20:4).
  • Possibly the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (to be described later).

Those going into the Messianic Kingdom in natural bodies will be:

  • The Jews who made it through the Tribulation.
  • The Gentiles who survived the Tribulation and the Lord’s judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

It is impossible to determine the population numbers of the Messianic Kingdom for these reasons:

  • Unknown number of the members of the Church for its entire length of time.
  • Unknown number of the Old Testament saints.
  • Unknown number of Tribulation Saints.
  • Unknown number of the Gentiles who enter the Kingdom.

The Jewish People in the Messianic    Kingdom

STC172909 A Rabbi tying the Phylacteries to the arm of a boy (oil on canvas) by Jewish School (19th century) oil on canvas Private Collection The Stapleton Collection Israeli, out of copyright

STC172909 A Rabbi tying the Phylacteries to the arm of a boy (oil on canvas) by Jewish School (19th century)

The present world wide Jewish Population stands at 13, 900,000

(2015, www.worldometers.info/world-population ). During the Tribulation two thirds (2/3), or 9,174,000, will die (Zechariah 13:8). That leaves 4,726,000 who will remain. This remaining 4,726,000 is known as “the remnant” because they made it alive through the Great Tribulation. Within this group, 144,000 will be “sealed” (Revelation 7:4). “Sealed” in the Greek is the word is sphragízō, from Strongs G4973, which means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security” or “preservation from Satan (literally or figuratively, or possibly resurrected)” for the purpose of evangelizing the world for Christ during the last half of the Tribulation. The protection they have could have come from a resurrected body. 4,582,000 Jews with natural bodies remain. This is a minimum number of Jewish people going into the Messianic Kingdom.

The New Covenant With Israel

Jeremiah 31:31-34

31Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more (ASV, 1901).

All the Jews going into the Messianic Kingdom will be converted and become connected to God. As Jeremiah said, God will place His law in their hearts and they all will know Him.

The Remnant will be Sinless

Zephaniah 3:13

13The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid (ASV, 1901).

This verse clearly states that “the remnant” of Israel will be sinless in the Messianic Kingdom. They will do no iniquity, nor speak any lies, or utter any deceit.

Ezekiel 36:25

25And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. 28And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29And I will save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine upon you (ASV, 1901).

 God says to the Nation Israel, “And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” He also says that He will give them “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you”. He says He “will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes” which will create a sinless state in each Jew. None of this will be resisted by “the remnant” ,who now clearly believe in the Messiah.

Israel’s Population Will Increase in The Messianic Kingdom

Scene from the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments.

Scene from the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments.

Ezekiel 36:37-38

37Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: For this, moreover, will I be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them: I will increase them with men like a flock. 38As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am Jehovah (ASV, 1901).

 This text follows from the previous section, and explains that the national salvation of the Nation Israel will result in a population increase of Jews, all knowing the Lord. This increase must come from the remnant of 4.5 million who made it through the Tribulation because they will have the natural bodies.

Ezekiel 37:23

23neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God (ASV, 1901).

 This is another affirmation that the Jews in the Messianic Kingdom will be sinless as the Lord will “cleanse them” and they will no longer defile themselves with idols, detestable things, or any other sins. As a result they will not participate in the Gog and Magog uprising led by Satan at the end of the Messianic Kingdom (Revelation 20:7-9).

 The Gentile People in the Millennial Kingdom

There will be three groups of Gentile people in the Messianic Kingdom:

  • Those who were part of the Church.
  • Those who were saved during the Great Tribulation.
  • Those who survived the Great Tribulation and the Lord’s judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

The Bible does tell us something of the number of Gentiles who will perish during the Tribulation. The present world population is approximately 7,300,000,000 (2015, www.worldometers.info/world-population). Combining the different verses of the book of Revelation, we learn that about 58% of the world’s population will die in the Great Tribulation:

 

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

Revelation 6:8

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth (KJV).

This verse in Revelation describes what happens as the Lord Jesus opens the fourth seal of the scroll. It releases a figure that is named “Death and Hell” (in the Greek “Hades”) who rides the pale horse, and he kills 25% of the earth’s population, that is, about 1,825,000,000 people. Some of these will be Jews and are accounted for in the two-third reduction.

Revelation 9:15, 18

15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men…. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths (KJV). 

Here the “four angels” that are released to kill “by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths”, and an additional 33% die. Note that these “angels” are specifically prepared for this job to be done at a certain predetermined time. This happens during the sounding of the sixth trumpet judgment. This amounts to another 2,409,000,000 dead of the world’s population. Many more Gentiles will be killed at the Campaign of Armageddon, which are unquantifiable. Some of these will be Jews and are accounted for in the two-third reduction.

To summarize these figures so far:

Approximate Word Population Reduction

7,300,000,000   people in the world as of 2015

9,174,000   Jews who die during the Tribulation

1,825,000,000     25% who die in the fourth seal judgment

2,409,000,000     33% who die in the sixth trumpet judgment

3,066,000,000     Remaining, minus the unknown Campaign of Armageddon deaths

The Nature of the Two Bodies in the Messianic Kingdom

The Bible speaks of two types of human bodies that will be in the Messianic Kingdom, natural and resurrected, and Jews and Gentile will be present in both types of bodies.

Natural bodies do not need further explanation, but resurrected bodies do.

Resurrected Bodies

The very act of resurrection implies immortality in which we are raised to live forever.

The Resurrection of Israel in The Vision of Ezekiel by Francisco Collantes Cir 1630.

The Resurrection of Israel in The Vision of Ezekiel by Francisco Collantes Cir 1630.

 

The Doctrine of the Resurrection states that at death the human spirit is separated from the body (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:8). A “resurrection” is an event where a dead body is raised to immortal life for an explicit purpose. This is different from somebody “coming back to life”. This doctrine is two-fold and pertains to (A) the resurrection of Christ and (B) the resurrection of humanity, including both saved and unsaved. In other words death does not end life it starts it!

In the Old Testament, the Doctrine of Resurrection is taught in Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2-3; Hosea 12:14. It was believed by the patriarchs, and revealed through the prophets (Genesis 22:5; with Hebrews 11:19; Job 19:25-27). The word “resurrection” itself does not appear in the Old Testament. It is usually described as dead men rising from the earth to life.

In the New Testament it is taught in John 5:25-29,I Corinthians 15:20-23; I Thessalonians 4:14-17; and Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15. This doctrine contains the implication of immortality, which means that they are raised to live forever. Christ was the first one to be raised from the dead with a resurrected body. Others were raised from the dead, such as Lazarus, had a normal body and physically died again later.

The Resurrection of the dead Believers occurs in five stages, beginning with 1 Corinthians 15:20-23:

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (KJV)

The rest of the stages of resurrection are described in other books of the Scripture:

  1. First, Christ rose from the dead (I Corinthians 15:2-23).
  2. Next will be the resurrection of the Church age believers at the Rapture. (I Thessalonians 4:16).
  3. Next will be the resurrection of the two witnesses in the middle of the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 11:11-12)
  4. Next will be the resurrection of Old Testament Saints (Isaiah 26:19).
  5. Last will be the resurrection of the Tribulation Saints (Revelation 20:4)

There is one more resurrection, and it is for unbelievers only. It happens after the one thousand year Millennial Kingdom on earth is completed, and none of these unsaved people will be in the Eternal Kingdom (Revelation 20:13).

 Our Bodies Change

These verses in I Corinthians 15:54-58 describe that the body changes from corruption to incorruption, and is the final victory over death:

From Godlikeproductions.com Artist unknown.

From Godlikeproductions.com Artist unknown.

I Corinthians 15:50-58 

50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law 57But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (KJV)

The nature of the glorified body is described here:

1 Corinthians 15:35-49   

35But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36[Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: 38But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds. 40[There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another. 41[There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory. 42So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. 48As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (KJV)

 Believers have a glorified, incorruptible body. We have Christ’s Risen body as an example:

 Philippians 3:21  

21Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (KJV)

Some further information may be seen from the resurrected Jesus’ body, but we do not know what attributes are from the resurrection and which are attributed to His deity:

Resurrection by Giovanni Bellini cir 1475-79

Resurrection by Giovanni Bellini cir 1475-79

 

  • His voice was recognized as being the same one He had before His death. (John 20:16)
  • His physical features were recognized although not always immediately. (John 20:26-29)
  • It was a real body of flesh and bone since it was embraceable. (John 20:17; 27)
  • He was able to suddenly disappear. (Luke 24:31)
  • He could go through walls. (John 20:19)
  • His body could eat food. (Luke 24:41-43)

To summarize, a resurrected body will be:

  • A body of resurrection power.
  • A spiritual body.
  • A heavenly body.
  • An immortal body.

Conclusion

The population of the Messianic Kingdom will be made up of both Jews and Gentiles who will have either a resurrected body or a natural body. All will acknowledge Jesus as their King and Messiah. The Jews with resurrected bodies will consist of those who were in the Church, The Old Testament Saints, and those who were martyred because they will be believers in Jesus. The other Jews going into the Messianic Kingdom will be those who converted during the Tribulation and survived it. They will not have resurrected bodies but will be sinless.

Daniel E,. Woodhead

Reference

 

 

www.worldometers.info/world-population.

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The Seventy Five Day Interval

The Seventy-Five Day Interval

The Millennium (also called the Theocratic Kingdom, or the Messianic Kingdom) does not start right away at the close of the Great Tribulation. Scripture tells us that the duration of the first half of the Great Tribulation is 1,260 days (3 ½ years). This is the length of the time between two significant events. They are the signing of the covenant with Israel by the Antichrist, initiating the Great Tribulation, and the Abomination of Desolation being set up in the Temple, which is the mid point event. Scripture also tells us that the last half of the Tribulation will be 1,260 days counting from the Abomination of Desolation to the demise of the Antichrist. These two sets of 3 ½ years each equal a total of seven years. When comparing several Scripture passages, that reference the Great Tribulation’s duration, another specific time interval is noted. This is a seventy-five day interval at the end of the Great Tribulation and prior to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The interval is described in Daniel, and the differences in numbers are intentional, they are not scribal error:

Daniel 12:11-12

11And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days [1290]. 12Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days [1335].” (KJV, brackets added)

The Daniel passage gives us two additional figures. The first is 1,290 days, or an additional thirty days, during which time the Abomination of Desolation will remain in the Temple before it is removed. The second figure is 1,335 days, which is another 45 days beyond the 1,290 and 75 days beyond the 1,260 days. A special blessing is pronounced upon those who survive to the 1,335th day. The blessing is, for those who survive, to be able to enter into the Messianic Kingdom. Many will not make it that far, even though they made it to the end of the Tribulation. The events and the time intervals are illustrated on the following chart: Read more

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God’s Kingdom Overview

The Announcement of the Kingdom

Mark 1:14-15

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel (KJV).

Simeon's Moment by Ron dicanni

Simeon’s Moment by Ron dicianni

Kingdom Overview

God had an earthly Kingdom in mind before the creation of the universe (Matthew 25:34;; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3; I Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:18). The Kingdom is what God has been trying to set up in a visible manner on the earth since the creation of mankind. It is this creature (humankind) to whom He gave a clear dominion over the earth. It was lost at the Fall and Satan usurping God’s authority made himself the Prince of this World (Matthew 4:8-10; John 14:30).

God selected a people group, the Jews to begin setting up the earthly Kingdom starting with Abraham. After a refining period in Egypt the Jews under Moses’ leadership began an outward form of the Kingdom called the Commonwealth of Israel. This reached its high point in the theocracy under the kings of Israel and then the Kingdom was delayed from being set up on the earth due to the sinfulness of the nation Israel. They were punished by God through the Assyrians and Babylonians who removed their national existence, expelled them from the land starting their exile in 586 B.C.

It is important to notice how God is allowing His people to come to the realization that they need the King. Sin in its grossest form is idolatry or turning away from God and worshiping the creature instead of the Creator. As long as this continues on this earth the Lord will not establish His earthly Kingdom. His people the Jews must nationally repent by accepting Jesus as their Savior and asking Him to return. God in His Divine Providence is allowing His people to receive the various forms of punishment meted out by this earth until they cry out for Him.

Romans 1:18-25

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (KJV).

The Old Testament scriptures teach that there will be an earthly, visible Kingdom over which the Son of Man is to rule (Daniel 7:13–14, 2:34–35, 44–45; Jeremiah 23:5; Zechariah 14:9). At the time of Jesus’ birth there was a widespread expectation of the coming of the Messiah. For example, Simeon and Anna waited in the Temple for the “Consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25–38).

 

Peter Receives the Keys to the Kingdom by Pietro Perugino Cir 1481-82

Peter Receives the Keys to the Kingdom by Pietro Perugino Cir 1481-82

 

When six hundred years of the Times of the Gentiles had been completed God sent Himself, The King to the earth. He had the angel Gabriel announce to Mary that she would give birth to that King.

Luke 1:26-33

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (KJV).

Thirty years later Jesus Himself as well as John the Baptist announced that the Kingdom is “at hand.” This means that the King has arrived and is offering the Kingdom to the chosen people the Jews (Matthew 3:1-2, 4:17-23; Mark 1:14-15). Jesus the King sent out the apostles (Matthew 10:7) and another seventy disciples (Luke 10:1-9) telling them to proclaim to the Jews the same thing. Now the ruling governmental, Temple and Religious authorities rejected the offer as well as the King. They crucified Him and the Kingdom was again postponed. It now had a mystery form called the Kingdom of Heaven.

The “Kingdom of Heaven” is a New Testament term, and is found in Matthew’s Gospel only, where it is mentioned thirty two times. The characteristics of the Kingdom of Heaven are described in the twelve “Kingdom of Heaven” Parables (Matthew 13:1–50; 18:23–35; 20:1–16; 22:1–14; 25:1–30). From these Parables we see that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is limited as to its Time and its Sphere. Its Time is from the First to the Second Coming of Christ, and its Sphere is over that part of the world that we call Christendom. In the “Kingdom of Heaven” there is a mixture of good and evil, of “Wheat” and “Tares,” of “Good Fish” and “Bad Fish,” of “Wise Virgins” and “Foolish Virgins.” These Kingdom parables describe the character of the Present Dispensation in its earthly aspect during the absence of the King. The Lord Himself in the following parable teaches it.

 

Parable of the Wheat and tares by Abraham Bloemaert -The Devil Sowing Tares Cir 1566-1651

Parable of the Wheat and tares by Abraham Bloemaert -The Devil Sowing Tares Cir 1566-1651

Luke 19:11-27

11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. 12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. 13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. 15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. 17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. 20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: 21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. 22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: 23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? 24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. 25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) 26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. 27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me (KJV).

Jesus is describing the nature of the administration of spiritual gifts during the time on earth between His first and Second Comings. Many on this earth hate Him and will receive their just reward. Those in the Church have been given gifts to use for building up the Church and He will reward us for the seriousness, which with we used them. The believing Jews will be given authority over many cities. Interestingly the world at large called him a nobleman a term, which He uses in this parable. Most of this world will admit to Him being of some value such as a good teacher. When He returns He will be the King of the earth.

After Jesus’ resurrection His Jewish followers asked if now was the time for the Kingdom to be set up on the earth. They realized that the King Himself was here. He told them that it was not going to occur then (Acts 1:6-7). He left them with the belief that there was to be an “earthly and visible Kingdom” some day.

Because of the King’s rejection it was impossible to establish it at that time. Its establishment will require the Jews to affirm Him as the King. They will do this at the second Coming (Zechariah 12:10). They will look on Him whom they have pierced. This has all been part of the broad “Plan of God,” who knew that Israel would refuse to accept Jesus as King, and that they would not nationally repent until after the Church had been formed and taken out of the world. The Church is not the Kingdom or any aspect of it. The Kingdom is an outward visible political theocracy yet to be set up on earth (Daniel 2:44) whereas the Church is a spiritual organism that will be taken out of the world at the rapture (Matthew 24:40-41; Luke 21:34-36; I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The impact of Christianity over this world is diminishing as the Prince of this World gains more control and adherents. Whereas many western world governments were influenced by Christianity causing them to adopt laws and social practices patterned after the Bible’s teaching this is coming to an end. The influence of Christianity on this world, which is called Christendom, is referred to in Matthew’s Gospel as the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus has not yet received the Kingdom. He must finish His High Priestly and Mediatorial work first.

 Daniel 7:13–14

13I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (ASV 1901).

The form of Government will be a “Theocracy.” Christ will reign through a “King” or “Prince” called David (Hosea 3:5; Jeremiah 30:9; Ezekiel 34:24, 37:24), whose Throne shall be at Jerusalem. The Temple will be rebuilt, and the “Aaronic Priesthood” reestablished (Ezekiel 44:15–31). There will be a revival of the Land of Israel (Joel 3:18), and the length of human life extended (Isaiah 65:20–22. Zechariah 8:4).

Characteristics of the Future Earthly Kingdom

The general characteristics of the Kingdom are revealed through a great many of the Old Testament prophets. In general they are:

  1. Man will be rightly related to God
  2. Universal peace between men
  3. Animals will return to their Edenic state
  4. Renovation of the heavens and earth
  5. Elimination of infant mortality
  6. Minimum human longevity is one hundred years
  7. Death in the Kingdom is limited to unbelievers
  8. The incentive for sin will be greatly reduced
  9. Many of the effects of the curse will be removed
  10. Warfare and inter-human calamity will be removed
  11. The Church Age saints as well as Tribulation and OT saints will have glorified bodies
  12. God will control the entire government from Jerusalem
Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

 

Isaiah 11:6-9

 

6And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. 9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea (ASV 1901).

Most of the exact nature of the effects of the Fall will be removed from the earth at that time. When Satan lured Eve into disobeying God she let sin and decay into the arena of time and space. What exactly was this sin that Satan imparted to Eve and has become endemic to mankind; even celebrated? It is pride, the source of all sin and that, which is an abomination to God.

We are warned the effects of pride in our lives in multiple Scripture passages.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride [goeth] before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall

It was the principal reason that God destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah.

Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: pride, fulness of bread, and prosperous ease was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy

God hates pride within mankind and especially within His Church. There is no room for prideful ambitions in our lives. It stunts our spiritual growth and causes us to be out of fellowship with the Lord when we are prideful. This will all be removed through the Great Tribulation. God has expressed three distinct reasons for the Great Tribulation.

  1. To make an end of sin and sinful people (Isaiah 13:9; 24:19-20)
  2. To bring about world wide evangelization (Revelation 7:1-17)
  3. To break the power (will) of the Jewish people (Daniel 11-12)

So sin and its source are eliminated at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

Only the Biblically illiterate fail to realize that we are in the final throes of the Last Days. Conservative and hermeneutically sound Bible teachers are presently teaching that world events have reached a point in the long session of Last Days “Birth Pangs” that Jesus spoke about in the Olivet Discourse. We should be aware of  what He said and  pay attention to Him. This should heighten our expectations of Christ’s soon return. They are as follows:

  1. World Wars I & II (coupled with famines and earthquakes)
  2. The Reestablishment of Israel (we will cover this in detail next session)
  3. Jerusalem under Jewish Control
  4. The Northern Alliance Invasion of Israel
  5. The One World Government
  6. The Ten Kingdoms
  7. The Rise of Antichrist
  8. The Period of Peace and Security
  9. The Seven Year Covenant

It is extremely important that we do not fail to realize that Christ explained in the Olivet Discourse that these things must happen before the Great and Terrible Day of The Lord. The Olivet Discourse provides detail of each of these Birth Pangs or Travails as some translations render these events.

As the economic distress, persecution, and conflict as well as political turmoil increase we must be aware of how we are commanded to respond.

  1. Believers Should be Watchful and Alert

(Matthew 24:42-44; Mark 13:33-37: Luke 12:35-40; 1 Thessalonians 4:4-6; Revelation 16:15

2.Believers Should be Motivated to Godly Living

(Matthew 24:45-51; 1 Peter 31:13-15; 2 Peter 3:11-14; 1 John 2:28)

3. Believers Should Consider His Coming Very Soon

(Romans 13:11-12; Phil 4:5; James 5:8-9; 1 Peter 4:7)

4. Believers Should Eagerly Await It

(1 Corinthians 1:7; Phil 3:20; Titus 2:11-13)

5. Believers Should Encourage One Another

(Romans 8:23-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

6. Believer Should Long for It

(2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Peter 3:12; Revelation 22:20)

7. Believers Should Persevere

(Matthew 24:12-13; 1 Corinthians 1:7-9; 2 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Timothy 6:12-14; James 5:7-8)

 

The Kingdom Chart in its various stages by Clarence Larkin Cir 1918

The Kingdom Chart in its various stages by Clarence Larkin Cir 1918

Daniel Woodhead

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The Olive Tree Anti-Semitism and Bible Prophecy

 

THE OLIVE TREE, ANTI-SEMITISM AND BIBLE PROPHECY

imagesDr. Thomas S. McCall

At a convention of the Pre-Trib Study Group in Dallas, Dr. John Walvoord presented a paper on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and Premillennial teaching, including the history of doctrines throughout the Church age.  I was very much struck by something that Dr. Walvoord said as he analyzed the transition from widely held pre-millennial views of the early church in the first three centuries to the predominantly amillennial, postmillennial or anti-millennial views that developed afterwards, and it centered around Augustine.

Latent Anti-Semitism Caused Amillennialism

I appreciated especially what Dr. Walvoord said, as quoted from the audio tape of his message, in his analysis of what happened in the case of Augustine:

“Augustine arbitrarily made the millennium non-literal, while everything else was literal.  Now as far as I’ve been able to find out, there has never been a book on doctrine that explains this.  But there is possibly an explanation.  In the first two centuries the church was largely Jewish in its background.  They were the evangelists, and they were the apostles.  But as the gospel grew, the church became largely Gentile.  And, of course the millennium is a time when the Jews are prominent, and it could be that there is a latent anti-Semitism here that they were quite unconscious of, that made them question whether Israel is going to have a literal future like it says.  And that, of course, would lead to a non-literal millennial kingdom.   In any case, that’s what happened, and the Roman Catholic Church became amillennial, and the Protestant Reformers like Calvin, Luther and others went back to Augustine rather than to the Bible, and adopted amillennialism.  They brought in, though, a lot of other things that were important, like “every man a priest” and “interpret the Bible yourself,” and so on, very important doctrines that have been the bulwark of Protestantism.  But, it wasn’t until the 19th and 20th Centuries when the Bible Conference movement began, and people began to ask what does the Scripture actually say?  It was not until then that premillennialism became a prominent feature in the church–as it is today in some churches, at least.  And that’s the background.  So we have to understand there’s a long history of this, and we are a minority.  We believe the Bible is literally true and they don’t, and we believe we have the facts on our side.  That’s why we believe what we believe.”

Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Boticelli 1840

Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Boticelli 1840

 

Thus Dr. Walvoord said it was his impression that it was latent anti-Semitism that caused Augustine and those around him to have this transition in their thinking.  That’s a remarkable statement.   How in the world can latent anti-Semitism have anything to do with one’s eschatological viewpoint, and how can it impact the eschatological viewpoint of the whole church?  Well, I think that it does, and that’s one of the things we are going to be looking at in this article.

There is an inherent connection between one’s attitude toward the Jewish people and Israel and one’s attitude toward the Scriptures and eschatology.   How does that happen?   It’s an understanding of what the Scriptures teach about the nature of the church, the nature of Israel, and the nature of the Olive Tree.  As Dr. Walvoord brought out, at the time of the beginning of the Bible Conference movement, there was a rediscovery of Israel and the promises to Israel in the Scriptures.  Some of the early works published in this movement had to deal with the future of Israel, as scholars began to rediscover premillennialism and literal eschatology.  Of course many of the amillennialists, including Augustine, would have been shocked if someone were to say they were anti-Semitic, and they would deny it strenuously.  And they would say, why, there’s not an anti-Semitic bone in my body!  All we want to do (they might say) is to take away the promises that God has given to Israel and apply them to the church!  Well, that sounds pretty anti-Semitic to me.

The Meaning of the Olive Tree

If then it is true that latent anti-Semitism is a basic cause of much eschatological error, what is the solution?  I would suggest that a Biblical understanding of the Olive Tree discourse in Romans 11 would do much to combat latent anti-Semitism among Gentile believers in Christ. The Olive Tree of Romans 11 has been an enigma to many Bible interpreters throughout the centuries of the Church Age:

. . . if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:16b-24)

Most amillennial commentaries have jumped to the conclusion that the Olive Tree is the Church, beginning in Old Testament times and continuing on to the present in its current form.  Thus, the Church becomes the New Improved Israel, and the Jewish people are relegated to the dustbin of history, as an outmoded, irrelevant part of God’s plan, sort of like an appendix – a vestigial organ.  With this type of thinking, replacement theology was born and continues as the dominant teaching of the vast majority of Church scholars.

At the other extreme, some more recent interpreters have suggested that the Olive Tree is Israel, the Jewish people, and that Gentile believers, through their being grafted in, have become Israelites, now have a “Jewish heart,” and should be considered themselves as Jews.  While this interpretation may lie closer to the truth than the replacement theology noted above, it too seems to fall short of what the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Spirit, is endeavoring to teach us.

To understand the Olive Tree, it seems we have to see it in its broader context in association with the Church and Israel.

The Church, Israel and the Olive Tree

The Olive Tree by Thomas S. McCall Th.D.

Various Entities Created by God

For instance, God created the entity of marriage.  That was the first entity or institution, as it were, He created, and we who are married find our relationship with our spouse to be that we are actually “one flesh.”  Marriage is an entity in which we have to find our proper Scriptural relationship.

Then there is the entity of the family.  That’s a little different.  It includes the marriage, but it’s more.  There is the relationship between the parents and the child.  We have to find and understand our relationship there.  There are different Biblical principles involved in our relationships within the family.

He created human government, and we have to find our relationship to Caesar.  “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” We have a responsibility as citizens of government, especially when we are fortunate enough to be in a constitutional republic.  The Lord has created the concept of government as well as all of these entities.

God has also created work.  We have to find our relationship either as an employee or an employer in a Biblical sense.  There is a Biblical attitude we must understand, if we are directed by a boss or if we direct others in our livelihood.

In the realm of divine covenants, though, God has also created the Church, Israel and the Olive Tree.  We need to know our Scriptural relationship to all the entities God has created.

The Church

The Church as the Body of Christ is described in Eph. 2.  Outside the Body of Christ, are the unsaved Jews and the unsaved Gentiles.  The Jews are described as being very near.   Strange, many have thought that they were a long ways off out in left field, but the Scriptures describe the Jews as being near.  The Gentiles are seen as being far off.  Unsaved Gentiles are very far off, and between the two, Jews and Gentiles, there is a middle wall of partition. This was symbolized in the Temple, where no Gentile could pass the middle wall of partition, upon penalty of death.  Outside of Christ, this wall remains, as forbidding as it ever was, and I don’t think it’s ever been removed.   There is still this great wall between unsaved Jews and unsaved Gentiles.

However, when Jews receive Christ, they are baptized into the Body of Christ; and when Gentiles receive Christ, they are baptized into the Body of Christ, the middle wall of partition is broken down, and we are one in Him.  There is no difference in status: neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free, neither male nor female, we are all one in Him.  We are seated together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  What remarkable doctrine is the Body of Christ!

To the Church belong unique prophetic promises, including the Rapture before the Tribulation, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Marriage of the Lamb, Reigning with Christ during the Millennium, and the New Jerusalem for eternity.  As a member of the Body of Christ, I would not want to trade places with any other entity God has created.

Israel

Next is Israel.  Israel has many facets.  There is the nation Israel that is under the covenant of God, and that covenant relationship began with Abraham.  It continues to this day, and will continue through the Second Coming of Christ, when He will establish Israel as the head of the nations and no longer the tail.  All during this time of the covenant, the majority of the nation is unsaved.  The majority of the nation is, for all intents and purposes, unbelieving.  However, there has always been a remnant according to the election of grace.  In Elijah’s time, in Joshua’s time, in our time, there has always been a remnant that has been saved.  This is God’s promise.  It is one promise God has made to Israel that He has not made to any other nation, that every generation will have a remnant according to the election of grace.  In the Church age, the remnant of Israel is a significant part of the Body of Christ.  It’s a remarkable thing.  But the vast majority of the nation Israel does not know the Messiah.  They missed the opportunity to see the Kingdom established when He came to Israel (“the hour of their visitation”), and He has told them “You will not see me henceforth, until you say, ‘Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

Israel has a glorious future: the restoration of the nation, the national salvation of Israel when Christ returns to the earth, and the glory of being the head of the nations during the Millennium.  We are seeing the beginnings of this process now, as the “dry bones” of Ezekiel’s prophecy are being gathered together in preparation for the Tribulation and the Millennium

Furthermore, the Gentiles have a relationship to Israel.  It is part of the Abrahamic covenant, and it’s either a promise or a warning to Gentiles: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.”  Thus, Gentiles can be blessed by God depending on how they relate to Israel:  blessings for blessings, curses for cursings.  Also, some Gentiles have become and still do become, to a certain extent, proselytes to Israel.  They are added on, by submission to circumcision, the Law of Moses and to Judaism as such.

The Olive Tree

Then there is the third entity, which is the Olive Tree.  It has as its roots in the fathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  If the root is holy, so are the branches.  This is the good and cultivated Olive Tree, which has been tended to through the centuries, and the natural branches are the Jews.  They are born into the Olive Tree naturally.  But, it is only believing Jews who remain in the Olive Tree.  Unbelieving Jews, of all things, are broken off.  They are dead, lying at the side of the tree.  Strangely enough, there are  also these wild olive trees, and branches from the wild olive trees that are grafted into the good Olive Tree, the cultivated Olive Tree, and live off the nourishment from the roots and the sustaining power of God.

That is how the Olive Tree is described.  But what is the Olive Tree?  How can it be defined?  First, it helps to clarify what the Olive Tree is not.

The Olive Tree is not the Church

It should be understood that the Olive Tree is not the Church.  Some people are born naturally into the Olive Tree, but no one is born physically into the Church, the Body of Christ.  The only way one can enter into the Body of Christ is by being born again by personal faith in the Lord Jesus.

Furthermore, it is clear from the New Testament that the Church began at the celebration of the Feast of Pentecost after Christ ascended to Heaven, when the believers were baptized into the Body of Christ. The Church did not begin in the Old Testament!  The Church began at Pentecost and will end its current ministry on the earth with the Rapture.  The Olive Tree, on the other hand, began with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), and continues on earth past the Rapture, and on through the Tribulation and the Millennium.  Thus, the Olive Tree cannot be the Church.

The Olive Tree is not Israel

Also, the Olive Tree cannot be Israel.  Some natural branches are broken off the Olive Tree, representing Jews who do not believe in Jesus the Messiah, even though they are physically still alive.  They are physically alive but are spiritually dead, broken off branches.  However, no one can be broken off of Israel, as long as he is physically alive.  The often-heard dictum, “I was born a Jew and I will die a Jew,” is an accurate saying.  Once a person is born into the covenant nation of Israel, he remains an Israelite until he is physically dead.

Furthermore, Gentiles are not grafted into the nation Israel as Gentiles.  The only way Gentiles can become a part of the nation Israel is by conversion to the Law of Moses and ceremonial circumcision.  The Gentiles in the Olive Tree remain Gentiles, even though they have been grafted in.  Thus the Olive Tree cannot be Israel.

While at the Pre-Trib Conference, and before I spoke to the study group about this issue, I wanted to discuss it with Arnold Fruchtenbaum, who has done a lot of work on Jewish studies, including his major book on Israelology.  He reviewed this material, and made an interesting suggestion.  He pointed out that since the Jews in the end time “will be grafted into their own olive tree,” this shows that the Jews possess the Olive Tree, and therefore the Olive Tree is not identical to the Jews or Israel.  This further strengthens the argument that the Olive Tree is not Israel.

The Olive Tree is the Spiritual Commonwealth of Israel

If the Olive Tree is not the Church and it is not Israel, what is it?  The Olive Tree is a tertiam quid, a third entity, in this whole series of relationships.  Some have suggested it should be called the Abrahamic Covenant, and that approximates a good definition.  It comes close to what is involved here.  Some say it’s the position of spiritual blessing, and that also comes close to the truth.  I would suggest that a good working definition of the Olive Tree is that it is the Spiritual Commonwealth of Israel, and each of those terms has meaning.

Paul elsewhere speaks of the Commonwealth of Israel, and I believe the Olive Tree could well be understood to be the spiritual commonwealth of Israel.  In the context of his description of unsaved Gentiles, Paul says in Ephesians. 2:

11Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

That is a very stinging rebuke of unsaved Gentiles.  The Scriptures say some pretty hard things about unsaved Jewish people, but nothing comes close, I think, to this description of unsaved Gentiles, “being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, having no hope and without God in the world.”  Did you know that you, if you are a Gentile, were an alien before you received the Lord?  But in Christ, we have been brought near to the Commonwealth of Israel, and it is indeed spiritual.  Let us consider further these distinct terms of our working definition: the Spiritual Commonwealth of Israel.

The Olive Tree is Spiritual, Composed of Righteous, Born Again People

In contrast to the nation Israel, composed of believers and unbelievers, the Olive Tree is spiritual, because only righteous, born again, blood bought believers are in the Olive Tree, whether Jews or Gentiles.  Nobody else is in it.  Unsaved Gentiles are not in the Olive Tree.  Unsaved Jews do not remain in the Olive Tree.  Only born again believers are in the Olive Tree.

The Olive Tree is a Commonwealth, with Allegiance to the King of the Jews

The word the Apostle uses for commonwealth is “politeiva” (politeias), akin to our politics, people-hood or nationhood.  Through the blood of Israel’s Messiah (Christ), we Gentiles who were once aliens, have been made nigh (near) to the Commonwealth of Israel.  It appears that what Paul is describing as the Commonwealth of Israel is very similar to what he describes in more detail as the Olive Tree.

Furthermore, the Olive Tree is the Commonwealth of Israel, because Gentiles who have been attached (grafted in) to the Olive Tree owe allegiance to Israel’s Book (the Bible), Israel’s God, and Israel’s Messiah.  It is similar to the British Commonwealth, in which the people of Canada and Australia are not actually citizens of England, but owe allegiance to the Queen, and have a special relationship with the British people.  We Gentiles who have trusted in Jesus the Messiah, have a special relationship with Israel, its people and Land, and have sworn allegiance to the King of the Jews.

My conviction, then, is that the Olive Tree is none other than the Spiritual Commonwealth of Israel.

Gentile Believers Must Recognize They are Grafted In Among the Natural Branches

In addition to our special relationship to Israel, we Gentiles who have been grafted in to the Olive Tree by faith in Christ among the natural branches, have a special relationship to the Jewish believers in Christ, who are the natural branches.  The tragedy is that the two kinds of branches in the Olive Tree (Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ) have such a hard time worshipping our Lord together.  What a powerful testimony we would have to the unsaved world if we could find a way to be seated together in earthly places, as we have been positionally “seated together in heavenly places.”

Gentile believers also have a special relationship with the revived nation of Israel.  To some Christians, Israel has no more significance than Uganda or Pakistan.  But if we understand our role in the Olive Tree, we see that we are in the Commonwealth of Israel, and everything about Israel is important to us:  its history, archaeology, politics, preservation and prophecy.  Nothing about the Land of the Bible should be foreign to us, as the time of the return of the Messiah draws ever nearer, when Jerusalem, Israel’s capital, will be a prime focus of the Lord’s Millennial reign on earth.

Boast Not against the Branches

How ominous and prophetic is the command the Apostle Paul issues to the Roman Christians, when he warns them, “boast not against the branches.  But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, “The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.”

Why would Gentile believers boast against the unsaved Jewish branches?  Amazingly, they would boast that the Jews were broken off, so that the Gentiles could replace them.  This is the origin of Replacement Theology, which blossomed so greatly early in church history, and continues unabated until today.  As it is understood today, the largely Gentile Church has replaced the Israel of the Old Testament.  Indeed, the Church is the new, improved and enlarged Israel.  This has become the predominant theological view in most Christian circles, and is also found in evangelical circles, as well.  The Lord, however, condemns this boasting against the branches as something that is abhorrent to Him.

Provoke to Jealousy

One of the responsibilities that Gentiles who believe in Christ have toward the nation Israel is to provoke them to jealousy, as we read in Romans 11.  We must admit we have not done a very good job.  Some have said, rather than provoking the Jews to jealousy, we have mostly just provoked the Jews.  But when a Jewish person sees Gentile believers in Christ, his reaction is supposed to be, “What is that Gentile, that goy, doing with my God, my Bible and my Messiah?  I want them.”  The good part about it is that we can all have them.  But I fear that we have not live our lives in such a way that it would cause many Jewish people to be provoked to jealousy.

Understanding of The Olive Tree is Essential to Biblical Ecclesiology & Eschatology

As stated as the outset, the Olive Tree has been an enigma to Bible interpreters for most of the church age, and is often ignored more than explored.  My conviction is that the Olive Tree is the Spiritual Commonwealth of Israel.  It does not detract from the unique features of the Church or Israel, but it is a special entity created by God.  Just as we need to find our proper relationship to the Church and Israel, we also must relate in an obedient manner with reference to the Olive Tree.  Anything less would be intentional blindness to the revealed Word of God.

There is also a serious problem about attempting to do prophetic study with an attitude that ignores the teachings of the Olive Tree and leans toward an anti-Semitic or anti-Israel position.  There are wonderful prophecies specifically about the Church in the Scriptures, including the imminent Rapture, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Marriage of the Lamb, the reigning with Christ in the Millennium, and the New Jerusalem.  However, most of the volume of prophecy in the Bible has to do with the future destiny of Israel, such as Preservation in the Diaspora, the Perpetual Remnant, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, the National Reconciliation with Messiah Jesus, the Restoration of Israel in preparation for and during the Millennium, and the New Jerusalem.

If we do not understand Israel or the Olive Tree, we will be prone to make many errors in interpretation of Bible Prophecy.  Sadly, this is what has happened in much of church history, in the development of Replacement Theology, Amillennialism, and, more recently, Progressive Dispensationalism.  It is only the Apostolic premillennial, literal interpretation of the Word that recognizes the Church, Israel and the Olive Tree, and their rightful position in the plan of God.

Posted with permission of the author

Thomas S. McCall Th.D.

Some Artwork selections by Daniel E Woodhead

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