And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Man was created by God to rule and reign and govern the kingdom of God – on earth. When Adam sinned, God set in motion a glorious plan that would redeem mankind. ‘The Seed’ of the woman was to crush the head of the old serpent.. called the devil, and down through the centuries the Seed was passed from one generation to another. The Seed travelled through Enoch to Noah – from Noah to Shem and on to Abraham. It continued through Isaac and Jacob, whom God renamed as Israel, prince with God.
The sons of Jacob became the 12 tribes of the little nation of Israel – the people of God. They were to be a holy people unto God, for He had chosen them to be a people for His own possession –selected from all the people groups on the face of the earth. Israel was to be a witness to the world that Yahweh was the one true and living God. God made Himself known to Israel and they were to make God known to the world.
God chose to reveal Himself more and more to Israel so that they would know Him as the powerful Creator God and trust in Him, as their loving Lord and gentle Saviour. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I am the Lord; and there is no Saviour beside Me. Isaiah 43:10-11. Israel was to tell of God’s saving grace and turn the gentile nations back to Him – for God desires that ALL people know and love Him as Creator, Saviour and Lord.
Israel was to tell the good news of salvation to all the gentile nations of the world. Israel was to be God’s tool – to turn the nations back to Himself and His truth. Israel were God’s chosen people to be His witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth. God made covenant promises with Israel – and one was a conditional promise.. If the nation was faithful to their calling – God would bless them mightily. If the nation was unfaithful to their calling – God would punish them severely.
But this is the kicker….. Irrespective of their being faithful or not they would one day witness to the world. Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 24 that the gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a testimony to all nations – and then the end will come – and Israel is the nation that will one day preach this kingdom gospel worldwide… for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29
But as a nation, Israel rebelled against their God and did evil in the sight of the Lord. Prophet after prophet was sent to Israel to call the nation to repent of their sins, but they would not repent of their evil deeds and were taken captive into Babylon. Yet silently the Seed of the woman continued to travel through a faithful remnant.
The nation of Israel was required to repent of her collective sins against her God, and generation after generation that Seed travelled down the corridors of time. After 400 silent years the Lord sent John the Baptiser to call the nation to REPENT` Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near. John the Baptist was the last and greatest of the old testament prophets to Israel. Jesus Himself said: for I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist. Luke 7:28
The Baptist was to herald the Seed Who came to save His people from their sins. The Baptist was God’s forerunner to Israel’s Messiah – promised so long ago. The Baptist announced, I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One..” He pointed the people to the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.
The ministry of the Baptist was to prepare Israel for the coming kingdom of God. Paul also reminds us that John’s ministry to Israel was a baptism of repentance, for John called the people to Repent of their sins, turn to God and to believe in the One Who was to come after him – that is, Jesus, for the Kingdom of Heaven was near.
John was Israel’s last prophet who was to call the nation of Israel to repentance as the time to set up the kingdom of God had finally arrived – their Messiah had come… but the nation of Israel rejected their Messiah and crucified their King and so the kingdom of God had to be delayed for a time – during the church age, and given to a people who would produce its fruit – and so Israel was set aside – for a time…
The witness of Israel was to be replaced with the witness of the Church – for a time. The gospel of the kingdom was to be replaced with the gospel of grace – for a time. The promised kingdom was to be postponed – until the whole nation of Israel repents.
And Acts covers a special, unrepeatable period of time – a unique time of transition. It was a period of history that bridged the old covenant with the new covenant. It was a bridge between Old Testament living and New Testament life.
Israel’s gospel of the kingdom had to be postponed during the church dispensation – and the Church proclaiming the gospel of grace became God’s witness to the world. But the day is coming when Israel will once again be God’s witness to the nations. The day is fast approaching when the gospel of the kingdom will again be taught.
The day is fast approaching when Israel will again be God’s witnesses and proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the nations – for this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Today we live in the church age when the gospel of grace is taught to the nations. Today God is continuing to do His work through the body of Christ – the Church.. but a day is coming when the Church will be raptured – and in that day the gospel of the kingdom of God will be taught to all nations…by a faithful remnant of Jews.
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