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Friday, May 25, 2018

The Seventy Nations and the Great Parenthesis

We have been looking at Israel's central part in the plan of God for the earth. Through Israel, God will bless and refresh the nations. We see this pictured as the children of Israel left slavery in Egypt by the hand of God:

"And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters."
-Exodus 15:27

In scripture, the gentile nations are seen as the 70 nations.

"The haggadic assumption that there are seventy nations and languages in the world is based upon the ethnological table given in Gen. 10., where seventy grandsons of Noah are enumerated, each of whom became the ancestor of a nation."
-Kaufmann Kohler (Jewish Scholar)

It is through Abraham that the gentiles would be blessed:

"And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, 'In you all the nations shall be blessed.'"
-Gal 3:8

Through the seed of Abraham, Christ, were believers in the Acts age blessed with Israel. We, of course, are also blessed (although our blessings are "in the heavenly places" -Eph).

That concerns individuals. The earth itself, and the nations, will be blessed through the channel of Israel.

Now, while all of this is true, and while we are to bless the seed of Abraham, that does not mean Israel is above judgment. Hardly. As we have seen, tremendous judgments have been declared upon the nation and the tribes.

We saw that in the treatment and judgment of Ephraim. We see this in Reuben, Levi, and Simeon being chastised by Jacob on his deathbed. Reuben loses his double inheritance as the firstborn. Their sins? Reuben's was immorality, Simeon and Levi anger and cruelty. Again, loss of reward, not relationship.

Israel will be restored. This is what the chosen apostles of the Lamb were expecting in the Book of Acts (1:3,6). It is this kingdom which Paul proclaimed. It is this hope that is central in the ministry of the Lord and in the Acts Age.

"For this reason, therefore, I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain" ... So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets..."
-Acts 28:20,23

At Paul's trial, he testified that he preached "nothing" except that which Moses and the prophets said would come; the kingdom to Israel (26:22). NOTHING.

You might be wondering, so where do we come in? Those with blessings and a hope not on the earth, but in heavenly places?

We are part of something Paul tells us was hidden from Moses and prophets and revealed to him only. In the Acts age, he preached Moses, the kingdom, and withheld nothing.

"And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God."
-Acts 20:25-27

He hid NOTHING that had been revealed to him at that time.

Paul's revelation of the "one new man" with blessings "in heavenly places" was new, unknown to the prophets and unknown to Paul in the Acts age. Ephesians chapter 3 tells us that to Paul alone was given this ministry; to reveal something God had hidden in Himself from BEFORE the foundation of the ages.

"He chose us in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world"
-Eph 1:4

As we head back into Matthew 25, we note that at the judgments there, the earthly kingdom is in view:

"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you FROM the foundation of the world...'"
-Matthew 25:34

Here are the two great plans of God: one revealed FROM the foundation of the ages, the other hidden BEFORE the foundation of the ages; then revealed to Paul.

We live in the GREAT PARENTHESIS in the plan of God for the earth. There is an Israel today, but it is in the land in unbelief. There is great immorality still. This is why she must go through her cleansing so that God can sift the wheat from the chaff and establish the earthly kingdom with the remnant (true Israel).

"His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
-Matthew 3:12

We see that unquenchable fire in Isaiah 66, after the establishment of the kingdom in the land. It is a real fire where "corpses" [dead bodies] are cast. (Is 66:24)

We covered this in more detail in our studies in the parables of Matthew 13.

We must RIGHTLY DIVIDE scripture and MARK THE THINGS THAT DIFFER. Otherwise, we end up in contradiction and confusion.

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