22nd October 2023

Understanding Biblical Covenants

Passage: Genesis 9:8-17, Exodus 19:5-8, 24:3-8, Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-13
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

In the bulletin, as we give it out in the morning services, and sometimes there's a few left over lying around the church if you did want to get one later, the question asked on the opening page is, what is a biblical covenant? Now that could be taken the wrong way. I think there are many covenants people in Christian churches use that to a fair degree, differing from one to one, are biblical. But I'm not asking the question, for example, some people have a marriage ceremony and they make it a covenant that two people are drawn together in. And they have that as a part of the marriage ceremony. This is the covenant of marriage that people are coming into. And they could take my question the wrong way, which is they're thinking that I don't think that their marriage is biblical, because it's not in the Bible to have marriage necessarily as a covenant. There might be spots in the Bible, though, that teach that general idea. And so I'm not questioning. There's lots of things that we do which have a biblical basis. But really what I was trying to ask is, which covenants are mentioned and taught in the Bible? So they're biblical in the sense that it's the scriptures that have presented that idea to us. And basically there are not as many as you might think. There is the covenant that God made with Noah. And so you could say the Noahic covenant, that he wouldn't judge the world by water ever again. And there's other covenants of that nature. But basically to do with salvation, the only real covenants there are are the old covenant, that God made through Moses, and the new covenant that God made through Jesus. And those are indeed taught as the covenantal framework in which our salvation is set. There are other theologians sometimes come with ideas in order to help us to understand all of the revelation of the scriptures. And so there's such a thing called the covenant of grace. But it's not taught in the Bible as a covenant. But it is bringing together the idea that God wants to establish with people His relationship. His relationship with them, through a covenant mechanism. So in a sense it's not unbiblical. And if you read my article, I hope you then understand what I'm saying. But the only two covenants that we have to watch for, that are taught in the Bible, is the old covenant that God made through Moses with the Jewish nation, and the new covenant that God made through Christ. And we've been talking about the move from the old covenant to the new covenant, in our church, mainly the morning service, but I've been letting those ideas filter into the evening as well, because I wouldn't want those who might only be able to come in the evenings miss out on understanding the importance of the new covenant, which we are in if we have come to Christ. And coming to Christ is the way that we get into the new covenant. And there's a number of questions that you could ask. You could ask, what about the people who lived in Jesus' day, and they're subsequent to all the action to do with Moses in the Old Testament, etc. And they are not yet a part of what happens when the day of Pentecost comes and the Holy Spirit is given to live within people and to make them Christians. What about the people in the transition period? And are they in the old covenant still, or in the new? Very interesting question. What about Zacchaeus, who was a little man who skinnied up a tree and hid there, or he got there so he could see Jesus walking below. But Jesus stopped underneath where he thought he was hiding and clear to be left alone, and Jesus looked up, and Jesus saw him. And he says, Zacchaeus, his little mind must have raced and says, Jesus knows me! And then he says, Zacchaeus, come on down, I'm coming to your place for dinner. And then Zacchaeus says, and he wants me. You couldn't pick on somebody in the New Testament narrative who was definitely found by Jesus, and Jesus announced to the crowd that this person is now being saved. Saved from his sins and saved. So was he becoming a Christian then? Interesting question, because becoming a Christian and getting into the new covenant is something that we don't know. It's something that he wasn't yet able to do. And in this morning service, we got on to John 7, verses 37 to 39, where Jesus takes one of the things of the old covenant, one of the ceremonies, and he interprets it to do with himself and to do with people believing in him, and them receiving the rivers of living water, which is what he's talking about as the Holy Spirit. And he says, he stood up, and in the middle of a feast that had to do with the old covenant, gave a mighty shout and cry and says, if any person's thirsty, come to me and drink. Now you can guess they all were very thirsty because they'd watched that ceremony year after year. If they were older people, they might have watched it 50 times. And the ceremony entailed some of the priests going and getting all this water and carrying it up some stairs and eventually getting to where there was an altar out there in the open, and they'd pour all this water, all this water over the, over the altar. And it was a symbol of the fact that their Jewish religion was going to lead to the reception of the Holy Spirit. Then Jesus said, if any person believe in me, as the scripture has said, he shall know rivers of living water flowing from him. And then the commentary that John's gospel has attached to verse 39, it says, this spake he, for the spirit that those who believed in him were yet to believe, were yet to receive a word to receive, for as yet the spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified. So even though Zacchaeus, I'm lumping him together with the story of the rivers of living water announced by Christ, even though Zacchaeus having announced by Jesus is saved, yet obviously from what he said, Jesus said at the feast, he hadn't yet received. The spirit now there's two ways you can go from that. You can invent a doctrine where yes, invent a doctrine when you get from Jesus, the Holy Spirit as a second blessing other than salvation, which is a quite an error. Or you can recognize the fact that Jesus is speaking about the coming of the new covenant time, which brings the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit when you respond and have it happen. And it's just not yet available. But Jesus did say that Zacchaeus was saved. And the reason for that is that the whole idea of being saved has been saved with respect to the judgement on your sins. And Zacchaeus was set eventually to go to heaven and was saved from all of his rebellion. He was a tax collector and he was hated by his own nation and he was kicked out of the synagogue system. And they believed if you didn't, if you didn't work in their synagogue system, you were lost and Jesus was restoring him to his Israelite faith that he would be a person saved through it. And the Old Testament people are not all a whole lot of them, millions of them lost because they lived in the time before the new covenant, because salvation is that God doesn't count your sins against you, but lets you into heaven in the end. And there are a lot of people through the Old Testament who were saved, because they did what the Old Covenant required. The New Covenant though says that when you come to Jesus to have him as your King and Saviour, that you get saved as well, but you also received the gift of becoming a Christian which is the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And that was what was meant by John the Gospel writer's words, this spake he of the Spirit that those who believed in him were, yet to receive, or were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified. Well the glorification of Jesus the Bible teaches is through how he gave himself to the cross, of how he finished with the sins of the world, with how he died and then rose again out of the tomb and went back to heaven. All of that was a part of the glorification of Jesus. And the event that follows immediately after, Jesus in heaven being crowned, King of kings and Lord of lords, is that the Father passed the cross to be Jesus to one who sends the Spirit on his behalf, actually the Father and Jesus, together send the Holy Spirit upon the believing disciples. This is the day of Pentecost. And that Holy Spirit came differently from the Old Testament where sometimes he'd come on people for a season and then go again, the Holy Spirit. But in the New Covenant the Holy Spirit is given as a permanent gift. And the permanent gift, is one that is the seal that you belong to God. If you've got the Holy Spirit, you are going to heaven, you are saved under the New Covenant, and the presence of the Spirit in your life is the proof. This morning I did have a message on persecution and brought out from the Scriptures that there's another proof to you, that you are someone who is saved and has the Holy Spirit, you are a genuine Christian. It's a rather interesting proof. It is the presence in your case of persecution. And one of the things that persecution happens when you stand for Christ and you've taken on board being righteous like him, you've let him make you more and more righteous. One of the Bible verses says, if any person seeks to live godly in Christ Jesus, then he will suffer persecution. And the persecution coming to you, if it's not because of your silly way of going about things, or your cranky character or something, if it's not because you've done something stupid in your society, but it's because, you've let Jesus make you more and more righteous in the sanctification he's worked in you, will trigger the dirtiness of the world. The sinfulness of this human race of ours, the fact of the work of Satan and his demons, will cause you to be persecuted. But Jesus says in the Beatitudes, and this was this morning's sermon, which I was determined to give a little bit of tonight to you as well. He says, Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven. So persecuted they the prophets before you, in tremendous company, when you get to heaven. And there'll be Elijah, getting all the cheers and blessings. There'll be Elisha, he did the most miracles. And there'll be you, because you let your Jesus make you righteous, and then you got persecuted. And we will be, you need to rejoice, if you're that signal that you really do belong to Christ, by being persecuted as happening in your life. Well, that's about the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. And the questions I'm seeking to get to answer just a little bit here is, is about when does that change happen? And what about the period of time when Jesus was ministering, and he was helping people to find salvation, he was healing, he was demonstrating what the New Covenant was going to look like, and particularly how the kingdom of God, under his rule, was going to be exemplified by it. And what we realise is, is that there is this message of the kingdom of God, that the Jewish people in particular were asked to give, the disciples were asked to give, and it was called the gospel of the kingdom. And I did notice that going through the book of Acts, that the apostle Paul also had another phrase that he talked about his ministry. It was about the gospel, there's only one gospel. But there's a context there, so it's different. And he wasn't necessarily expecting that his ministry time with the gospel was going to end up in Christ's return, because he might get martyred first and go to heaven. And he talked about the fact that he was unsure whether he wouldn't prefer to go to heaven to be with Jesus there, or get to spend more time with the Philippians and the others down here on earth. And he wondered which would be the best use of his time, you know, to get martyred and get all the cheers, the crowds of, they welcome him into heaven. But that, he wasn't saying that necessarily at his death and his martyrdom, the kingdom of God would come. And there might be a lot of, in fact there was a lot of time after he eventually died that the kingdom of God, I hope the kingdom of God doesn't come to him quickly. Well, Paul makes a differentiation in the phrases he used. And we, as we try and read the Bible and understand it, ask ourselves the question, is there just another way to say the same thing? Or is there a subtle difference to be implied? And that's what I wanted to really answer tonight. And I'll be mentioning this across a couple of weeks. But there's two particular verses that talk about the gospel. And two styles of saying it. And four instances about Jesus in his ministry has one style. And there's another style that Paul has. And we'll put these up on the screen, whichever way you can put them first. And this is in the book of Acts. Now this is Paul when he's considering about all the persecution he's getting and whether he'll end up dying pretty soon or whether he'll manage to get another opportunity, which he did actually, he sort of believed that he went off to Spain and did more evangelising. But he says, I don't account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course. That's what counts. He actually finishes what God has for him. That I might finish my course and the ministry that I receive from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. There's a particular way that he's referring to the gospel, which is the gospel of the grace of God. Now there's no doubt that the grace of God is right at the heart of the gospel, whichever way you might word talking about it. The fact that God forgives people as a gift that's not deserved, but comes to you because someone else has paid the price. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God, the gift of God, what is it? Is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. A little test. Sometimes in the evenings I ask the audience whether you hear what you know. But tell me, anybody know the Greek word for that verse? It's Romans 6.23. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God, and some translations word it free gift. The gift or free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Does anybody know what is the Greek word there for gift of God, or the gift, free gift? Just to hear if there's any Greek knowers. Alright, I have said it before. Yes, you said the charisma, exactly. Because the word charisma, the ma part just means things, and in the plural charismata, things, and charisma is a thing. And charisma is the word charis, which is the word for grace. And when something comes to you, by grace, it is a charisma. Now you've probably heard the word charisma in the connection to Holy Spirit gifts that churches have. And that's correctly used because the gifts the Holy Spirit brings to different members of the body of Christ, differing, not everybody gets the same gifts. Some are very certain what gifts they've got, and others have yet to discover. But that word gift, when used of a charismatic endowment, is just that the endowment of the Holy Spirit is a grace gift. You didn't deserve it, it's not that you're better than anybody, but Jesus gave you a gift that's come by His grace. But eternal life, which is becoming a Christian, is the biggest of all grace gifts. And that's why that verse says, the wages of sin is death. You've done the sins, the death is already down for you. Down for it to come to you. But the free gift of God, and the reason why some translations say free gift is because it's just so entirely of grace. One, to get you forgiven in the first place, and two, for the Holy Spirit to help you gradually get sanctified and begin to live it out. And thirdly, because when you get to heaven, your sanctification will be made complete. So we Protestants call ourselves saints right from the moment of getting the gift. The Catholics calls themselves saints only if they arrive in heaven successfully. But they're basically talking about the same thing, that no one gets there by just themselves. It's a free gift of God. I think the Catholic system has a little bit that you've got to work very hard. But it's not that we shouldn't be working for it, but that it never is a consequence of what we do that earns it. And so, becoming a Christian is a charisma. And, well anyway, as I was saying that, let me get back on the course again. I received from the Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God is the fact that always the gospel has to deliver the fact that this is not dependent on you to earn salvation, but it's entirely what God gives you as a grace gift. The reason why he can is because someone else has paid the wages of your sin. The wages of sin is death, and that's what happened to Jesus. Jesus on the cross. And because he bore our sins, he finished with our sins, he cried, it is finished. Debt paid. Deed done. Jesus has done what's necessary so that you can receive a free forgiveness and know what it is to belong to him. You could do that tonight if that's something you've never been certain of if you wanted to. Because Christ has already paid for you. Now the people like Zacchaeus who became right with God, they got restored to the way of being right with God through the Old Covenant. He was able to go back to being accepted by the synagogues. He'd been kicked out earlier because he was a tax collector. And Jesus proclaimed that he was a man who was saved. So salvation came in the Old Covenant by them adhering to and complying with that which the Old Covenant asked. And the first thing about the Old Covenant was that it's showing you up for your sins and the second thing is that it's drawing your attention to the fact that you need something or someone to be your substitute. And in their system it was the cow that had its throat slit or the little lamb that lost its life or in some cases the birdies that got brought along that poor people were allowed to do. But there was always a substitute. And the whole purpose of the Old Covenant was to teach people. One, that we're sinners. No doubts about it. And the proof of the people of Israel how they kept rebelling and kept sinning and kept getting into trouble with God just proves over and over again the heart of sin that is ours as humans. But it also demonstrated God's insistence that sin had to be paid for. And there has to be a substitute and the book of Hebrews eventually says well the blood of the bulls and goats didn't really do anything. It was a picture for them to learn. And when Christ came he was the sacrifice that earned forgiveness and the grace of God. Well we looked at Acts 20 verse 24 because it's emphasising the gospel of the grace of God and isn't mentioning what you'll find in the other verses and in the morning service I've been quoting these four places. Three of them are in the life of Jesus and if you look at Acts if you look at the gospel of Matthew we've got four from this gospel the first three are about Jesus and what was the content of his preaching. And it says that Jesus heralded and he uses the word for herald not just teaching he preached, he heralded the gospel of the kingdom. And the final one, Matthew 24 verse 14 that's put up on the screen this gospel of the kingdom Jesus speaking will be proclaimed this time not by him I'll tell you who by in a minute this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come. I said in one of the morning services that when you find the passage that talks about the rapture the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4 that talks about Jesus coming and people he brings the disembodied saints the ones that have been in heaven without being raised from the dead physically God brings them with Jesus and they get joined up with a raised body and it's called the rapture because after they get their souls and spirit put into a reconstituted body they get caught up to meet Jesus in the air. Now people who have never heard of that find that a fantastic thought for a preacher to be putting over but it's just there in 1 Thessalonians and we'll have ourselves look at it on the screen 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and it's the passage that talks about the fact that Jesus they come with him when he comes back from glory and so some people have dubbed it as a passage where Jesus comes with his saints other people have said well also at the end of the age he's going to come for his saints to rescue them when they're being chased around by the antichrist but in actual fact in this case it's both but the thing that people often use this passage for is that Jesus is coming with his saints the people who've died and gone to heaven they're in a disembodied condition but when Jesus comes back at the end of the age to have the second event he brings them with him that's what it's talking about so I'll read through but we do not want you to be ignorant brethren or uninformed about those who are asleep it's the way nice way to speak of people who've died as Christians you will find you know that nowhere in the Bible does it talk about non-Christians being ones who are just asleep because they died but it's the way nice way to speak of people who've died as Christians you will find you know that nowhere in the Bible does it talk about non-Christians being ones who are asleep because they died because no usually it's a bit more graphic about them but when it talks about these brothers who are asleep it means it's a nice way of saying that they've passed away and they're with Jesus for verse 14 since we believe that Jesus died and rose again even so through Jesus or with Jesus by means of Jesus God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep which is why they're called the people who have fallen asleep which is why we read all this passage about the saints coming with Jesus for this we declare to you by the word of the Lord that we who are alive and who remain were left until the coming of the Lord will not go ahead will not precede those who have fallen asleep and the concern of some of the Christians still living knowing that the Apostle Paul was teaching these things was are we going to get in ahead of our loved ones who've died and we'll get in the kingdom and we're rejoicing in the kingdom with the return Jesus thought of as what will be available after he comes back in the second advent but these ones who've died they've gone to heaven but they're missing out and Paul is showing no they're not going to miss out and have us go ahead of them for this we declare to you by the word of from the Lord that we who are alive and who are left until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep you lost me then I can remember will not precede those who have fallen asleep and then it goes on to say about some of the concomitant shouts that happen when Jesus comes back for this moment for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command and with the voice of an archangel and the sound of the trumpet of God I heard a negro preacher in America preaching on this I'll tell you what he sent a tickle through my home it really did it really made you sit up straight but what he brought out was that this cry of command is wording that was not just a little shout is what you heard if you had some of those races horse races and there's a man with a whip and they're trying to get the horses to win the race and they cry with a shout of command at their utmost or it's a word that is used sometimes when there's a warfare and they command for the men to go running in it's a command of command a great mighty shout of command and as Jesus descends from heaven he gives a shout and at the voice of Jesus something happens now there is a precedent about knowing what happens when Jesus shouts do you know what it is it was when Lazarus had died and Jesus deliberately didn't go straight away to be with Mary and Martha his sisters he waited a bit and no one could understand why and when he got there they really told him off for not coming straight away but he talked about the resurrection and to Martha and he went and said show me the site where he's buried there's a cave he's inside there's a rock probably across the door and Jesus gives a mighty shout Lazarus come forth and it's call it is a cry of command and something happened and I don't know how much of a rock there was there but something happens but Lazarus comes out but he's got all the wrappings so it's one of those dramatic scenes where Lazarus comes out as best he can Jesus has to give the command unwrap him give him something to eat and Lazarus becomes a living person who's raised by Jesus there after people used to love to go to that town to try and get a sight of the man Lazarus and they not only came to hear Jesus speak but they came the scriptures tell us because they wanted to see Lazarus the person who'd been dead and got called out of the tombs and they had to then unwrap him and give him something to eat they all knew he'd died well the cry of command made Lazarus come to life now the negro preacher I was hearing he said just as well Jesus put the little word Lazarus in front of his cry because if he just had a shout and come forth the whole of the side of the mountain would have had people coming out now I don't know whether that's true or not but it's a very dramatic way to picture Jesus and the cry of his command but when he comes from heaven and I guess he's coming with his saints to be put in their own bodies as a reconstituted body the dead in Christ will rise first then we who are alive and who are left will be caught up together now I didn't say it carefully enough in the morning service the other time the other week but the actual word if you've written if your Bible's written in Latin which in history was the case for a while the word that's used here is repairing r-a-p-e-r-e r-a-p-e-r-e r-a-p-e-r-e r-a-p-e-r-e is the infinitive of it if you put it into Greek it's the word harpazo which means to be snatched up but the Latin is the word that got the word rapture now lots of people are saying oh there's those extreme fundamentalist types they believe in the secret rapture well first of all the Bible doesn't make a very secret and secondly what do you do with a Bible passage like 1 Thessalonians it reads quite straightforwardly it's not a mysterious passage as I wonder what the meaning is it says and the dead in Christ will rise first then we who are alive who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and you get a little reading of what it means and it's used in other places where somebody has been whisked away and kept as a captive and some brave man gets on his horse and goes riding in and grabs the poor person who's been tied up slices the ropes I'm dramatising and picks them up onto the horse and snatches them away and gallops out before the others can do anything caught up together and with them but the other with them are all the people who've come out of their their tombs when I was studying in Dallas there was a movement at the time of having trouble real estate wise for funeral places the problem was that a lot of people in Dallas believe the conservative Christian viewpoint it's very hard you know when you try and find someone to witness to and they say yeah I go to church I know what you're talking about it's hard to find people who didn't haven't heard what Christ is going to do but anyway this happening in Dallas was that the real estate values were such that the funeral places were running out of room because they get people who wanted to be buried but when they buried them they started to tear past the knees they wanted to bury you because their families that they called up rejoice I know that at that time it was awful people they were considerate there was some there was a family there was everything had to um raining the at the temple and they were it was so sad then the people altogether in the resurrection body. It's different, but yet still it is you. But is it exactly the same molecules? And a lot of young people ask that question. Is this talking about the very molecules that I have now will be the ones that I'll have then? The reason why that's actually a silly question is that you are unaware of the fact that your molecules keep changing over. And as your hair falls out, and the new one hopefully grows, it's growing from carbons and whatever makes up hair molecules, which aren't necessarily the same ones that dropped out. And what would happen, by the way, if you were a fisherman like the Apostle Peter had been, and you get fish from the water and you eat it, and so you've got the fish molecules in you, and they eventually get to be in your skin molecules. Fish is good for your skin, they say. But then you fall, I'm making up a story, you fall out of the ship when you're fishing late one night because you're so tired and you drown. And later on, the little fishies eat up your corpse, and they're swimming around. And about a month later, John, the Apostle to be, goes fishing. And he gets a good haul, and he takes it home and eats the fish. So the fishies are at the bottom of the ship, and the rest of the family are actually getting old Peter molecules into them. And then what would happen if you had the moment of this happening, and the molecules have to be in Peter, but they've got to be in John and the others? It's silly to have to worry about that, because I don't think the resurrection is about the exact molecules you had when you were seventeen, getting to be new when God raises you. They're just a reconstitution. John, do you want to go to your next stage in your life? Yeah, I do. constitution of your body. In fact, you're going to be a changed type of body, so there's an awful lot of differences as well. But there in Dallas, they didn't want to be 17 feet down. Well, that was people's real ignorance, I think, a little bit as to how. When God does it, I don't know how he'll do it, but there is a resurrection body. The book of Corinthians tells us that we shall not all die before Christ comes, but we shall all be changed. And so if Christ were to come while we're still talking here, we won't miss out on the change happening to our bodies. I've got more to lose than you do. Because when you get older, you're thinking about what you could do when you were young. And then we who are alive and who are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so will we always. So will we ever. Will we ever be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. Now the thing that makes me believe in the doctrine of the rapture is the straightforwardness of the language. I don't think there's any way, if it's scripture, and if Jesus believed in the scripture and quoted it, trusted it, I haven't got any way out not to believe in the fact that there is going to come a rapture. And at that moment, you are someone who is with Christ. But the interesting point to make is that some of the things that are in the other spots in the Bible are going to talk about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ. That's going to happen after certain things occur when there's antichrists and all sorts of terrible things happening, the one Revelation talks about. And then the Jews get converted. I didn't know whether to do it tonight, but go home and look up Ezekiel 37, about the fact of the coming back of the Jewish people to their homeland that was prophesied by Ezekiel in chapter 37. It also, in that chapter, talks about the fact that the first happening is one whereby they're back there, but they're still not spiritual. And there will be a moment when a second help is given to the Jewish people when they get converted to Christ. I'm very glad for that differentiation that Ezekiel has, that there is an action where God brings the Jews back to their homeland as one thing. That's happened, 1947, 48 and on. But it's another thing for them actually to become Christians, which most of them are not. And so as I hear the news of some of the things the Jewish people do, I understand politically they have to defend their country, and so I'd agree with our Prime Minister for having had that point to make when he went across there. Or at least the comments. I'm not sure where geographically he spoke from, but we in the Western nations have been commending the Jewish people to have to defend their land, but I don't see a very Christian set of Jews in the way they're doing it. But they will be more akin to the Sermon on the Mount and how to suffer persecution and yet still have the grace. And that's a future thing because Ezekiel 37 tells of... ... them having a second step in the work of God to bring them into the homelands. It is a step where the Spirit comes on them and the prophet hears the voice of God saying to him, ... Can these bones live? The answer is, You know, Lord, You know! And he's told to prophesy to the bones ... And he prophesies to the bones and then he prophesies to the wind . ... I'm not sure if my details exactly when they do what, but he prophesies to the wind, and the wind represents the Spirit. God says to Ezekiel 37... spirit and the spirit comes and breathes on those slain and they all stand up and in his vision they stand up a mighty army and it's a picture it is a prophecy of the fact that one day the people who are returned to israel but are not yet converted are going to come to christ and they will become spiritual people they probably will have a different attitude to how to deal with the persecution that they're having when that occurs so there's an awful lot that's going to happen so don't be heavy against the jews because they don't always represent themselves well at being merciful in my opinion but nonetheless they're the fact that they end up still there in the homeland is because god has promised that and he is going to look after them so there's a way to think about those current events that are happening at the moment now we did in the mornings go through the way of talking about the gospel that's different from what we had in acts in acts we saw it worded as the gospel of grace and paul's getting around everywhere and getting people to become christians was because he was given the ministry with the gospel of grace but in the first all the mentions in the book of matthew which is very concerned with the role of the jewish people in taking the gospel don't word it that way and so if we look at matthew 24 and verse 14 please you will find that the way and all four of these references use the same thing this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed and the word proclaim is a word for heralding and the same with jesus when he went and he was teaching but he heralding the gospel of the kingdom proclaimed through the whole world as a testimony to all the nations and then the end will come and so this mention of the gospel and its proclamation is going to be followed by the end pretty quickly i think what we read in thessalonians about the rapture doesn't necessitate that the final end where jesus finishes up all the problems of the world and where he puts all the other nations who have been persecuting the jews in their place all of that is something later than what we read in the thessalonians and if we go to the book of thessalonians and chapter four and chapter five that is david read to us in the bible reading and you'll find something very interesting and what it says is you've got the passage that i've taken you partially through about um the rapture but then as it goes on and i can see if my eye can catch um you might have yeah down the bottom now concerning the times and the seasons concerning the times and the seasons i think that's disappeared um in between the two lot now and there we are now thank you now concerning the times and the seasons brothers you've no need to have anything written to you for you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the lord and here's the phrase here is the the the wording that is about the final end of the gospel and it's about the final end of the covenant when jesus brings about all sorts of enormous things the day of the lord will come like a thief in the night while people are saying there is peace and security then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman and they will not escape but you will not but you are not in darkness brothers for that day to surprise you like a thief if you're a christian you know that god has his final day of reckoning and uh for you are all children of light children of the day who were not of the night or of the darkness when the day of the lord comes and that's subsequent to what was in the previous chapter four about the rapture so there's a little bit about the end times now to establish your best guess that's how the order of things are is a pretty difficult thing to do i wasn't intending to try and do that but to simply believe that the day of the lord will come and that's what i'm that there is a rapture of the church there is a day of the lord of judgment there is actually going to be a time when it's the jewish people converted jewish people and if you go after ezekiel 37 i was telling you to read and read the next chapter 38 some of the circumstances of nations coming down and trying to destroy israel and having their backs against the wall they cry to god in prayer and that's partly perhaps going to be what triggers the conversion spiritual conversion of the jewish nation and then becoming ones who will then be going around the world with the gospel of the kingdom what's the difference between the kingdom of grace or the good news of grace the gospel of grace and the gospel of the kingdom is not the actual facts of the gospel but it is the time setting and the gospel of the kingdom is the heralding it's about to happen and so the final gospel of the kingdom is the heralding of the gospel of the kingdom not really the gospel delivering is in the hands of the jewish people that are around the world hunting down some of them and martyred but they won't make all even the towns of israel itself before christ comes and he will rescue them from the jeopardy that they're in being chased down as they deliver the gospel of the kingdom the good news of the kingdom i hope that's an encouragement to you to know how the end is going to work out and that god has a plan he's what he's doing. And in that case, the Jewish people converted will have joined in the covenant, the new covenant that we will already be in by being Christians. Let's have a moment of prayer. Heavenly Father, we thank you for all of these things that the Bible does talk about them. It's somewhat overwhelming, somewhat as it presents to us, there's so much to know, and we don't know that we have the capacity to really get all the details right. But thank you that actually knowing the details right, details, is not the biggest need. It is to know our Saviour, and know that we can trust him, and he's going to be working on our behalf. Thank you that that chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians encourages us to know that you're going to look after us. We've no need to despair, because the day of the Lord is going to be when we're kept by him. It is not our danger at all. We praise you for these truths in Jesus' name. Amen.

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