I find it quite strange that when I communicate this perspective, there are very few who are acceptant of it. As if saying that we won’t be raptured is bad enough, when you then compound upon that the belief that Israel will be the priesthood to the nations and that Jesus will return and set up His Kingdom from Israel, ruling and reigning from Zion, it is the final straw. For some reason, people are unwilling to come to terms with that. The most common response is not Scriptural rebuttal, but instead are questions like, “Why can’t God do it differently? How do you know that God wants to do it that way? How can you tell (which is the same as how do you know) that God wouldn’t do something else? He does work in mysterious ways, right? His thoughts are not our thoughts, right? So how would you know that this is what He has in mind?”
These are fair questions at face value. I’ve answered them, but haven’t fully answered them. It goes back to the God that chooses. Why would He choose Jerusalem? Why would He choose Zion? Why would He choose Israel? Why did God choose Gideon? Why did God choose Samson? Was there something intrinsic in Gideon or Samson that God saw? Or was it quite the opposite?
If we think that Samson was some muscular man that was 7 feet tall and 250 pounds of pure muscle, then we have a wrong basis from which we perceive. God chooses that which is foolish and that which weak to confound the wise and strong. It is not so much about the person of God’s choosing that make the man spectacular. It is the God that chooses that makes the man spectacular. This needs to register deep within us. If we think that God would choose us as the mostly Gentile Church to be that end time people to intercede for Israel because of our merit or qualifications, then we have left the faith. It is not in our strength that God is calling us, but in our weakness.
The whole view comes from a much larger view. So in order to answer the rebuttals that claim I don’t know whether God would or would not act and react in this or that manner, we need to step back and view things from a cosmic level. We find such a cosmic level in Genesis. Of all places in Scripture, the book of Ephesians and the Garden of Eden are the 2 that most specifically address the cosmic and eternal perspective.
8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17
Something that is a good study is to look up the Hebrew. What did God command that Adam not do? What would be the result? Then you cross reference with the next chapter and read what Eve says, it is completely different. Though the sentence in English looks the same, the Hebrew is very distinct. Then the serpent repeats what God really did say. Satan deceived the woman by telling her the truth.
But here in our study, I want to examine this text closely. Nowhere in the text does God say that Adam was to not eat of the tree of life. He was only told not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What is it about knowledge of good and evil that God would forbid Adam to eat of this tree? What is it about the tree of life that Adam would choose to not eat of it?
Do you understand my questions? Out of all of the things that God could have set up in the garden and said not to partake of, why was it a tree that would reveal to Adam good and evil? Does God intend for humanity to be undiscerning? And what was so repelling of the tree of life that Adam would have possibly been in the garden for 100 years and not once taken from that tree of life? Did it look displeasing, whereas the tree of the knowledge of good and evil looked pleasing?
There are zero Scriptures anywhere in the Bible that will tell you what the trees looked like. There are also zero Scriptures that will tell you what these trees represent. This is something that needs to be discerned collectively and by the Holy Spirit. So lets start with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Why would God forbid Adam to take of that fruit? Is there something about knowing good and evil that God does not desire for us?
I think that this is easiest to answer. Obviously, God wants us to know the difference between good and evil. He tells us to discern right from wrong. He tells us to discern the spirits. He tells us to separate the precious from the vile. He tells us to walk in the light instead of in the darkness. He tells us to be holy as He is holy. He tells us to choose life over death. How can God require this of us if we aren’t to be discerning?
This is a different kind of discernment. What the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents is human efficiency. This is what we are able to accomplish outside of God. We can establish morale. We can use our rationale and our intellect to determine that it is wrong to rape, kill, and steal. We don’t want someone to come up to us and stab us, so that is obviously “wrong.” But by what basis do we judge others if atheism is true? To what degree is there a moral standard that is universal? At best, we can determine according to communities, societies, nations, and maybe even internationally what is good and bad. But can we truly decide whether Hitler was a good or bad person?
By what means, outside of God, do we gain our morality? This is key. Is morality simply a list of do’s and don’ts? Is there something else to morality? I think so. Morality is a necessity. But it goes beyond what is right and wrong. We think that morality is living life in a way that we dodge the “big sins.” Yet, we lack the understanding that morality doesn’t stem from what we do. It stems from who we are.
The grotesque sins that we can commit aren’t always connected to something obviously vile. I’ll give you an example. I know a family that has two kids. Both of them have grown up to be hellions while still being involved in their church. She is quite sexually active, and he is always doped up on drugs. What caused this? When you take a look at the family as a whole, the parents are very lenient. They have the attitude that you can’t decide for yourself until you try it. So they allow their kids to be demons and hooked on drugs and sexuality with full expectation that they’ll grow out of it. But then it doesn’t stop with the sex and drugs. Now they disrespect their parents. Why?
The question doesn’t start with the disrespect. That is what the parents are so offended about. It doesn’t start with their lack of obedience. The place to start looking is the parent’s lack of love. It was their lack of being parents that led their children to find some other fill. It was that drive to find another fill that led to the bigger problem: a hatred of their own parents. The hatred isn’t the problem. That is a side effect of the problem.
I’ll give another example. I know someone who is divorced. They had a child out of wedlock. Their relationship to their ex-spouse is rocky. What came first: the rocky relationship or the divorce? Well, common sense would say the rocky relationship. That isn’t the case though. They had both divorced one another before even having trouble in the relationship. I don’t mean that they left one another. I mean that they were still allowing their interests in other men or women dictate. They were still flirtatious. They were still willing to show their love to another at their spouse’s expense. This was from both sides. The sin wasn’t the divorce. It wasn’t the child out of wedlock. The child out of wedlock and the wedding were both attempts to try to keep the relationship going. The downfall was that neither one of them were devoted.
What am I getting at with this? We need to be people who are willing to plumb the depths of our sins. We need to be willing to see it for what it really is. Morality doesn’t start with a question of right and wrong. Morality starts with devotion and determination that nothing will go unchecked and unnoticed. Everything that we do in life will be observed carefully to see if there is anything behind it that is evil in disguise.
It is a nice thing to pick up the check for someone else at the dinner table. What is the motive? Are you trying to be nice? Are you trying to show off? Are you trying to hold it over their head so that next time you can say they owe you? The righteous does righteous acts and doesn’t even realize they have done it. You can bring it up to them that the way they conduct themselves is very righteous. They wouldn’t have noticed.
For example: it says in Deuteronomy 15 that we are to take care of the orphans, widows, foreigners, traveler, family, and that we should not knowingly try to oppress anyone. This isn’t hard for the righteous. They just live in that kind of lifestyle. They are generous. When someone is seen without a coat, they give him or her their coat. They don’t even have to think about it. That is just who we’re taught to be by God. You see someone in need, so you supply the need.
This is where morality starts. It starts with motives and core actions. If you are an introvert, there are certain things that you need to be careful of. You need to be careful of not keeping quiet when it is necessary to speak. If you are an extrovert, you need to be careful not to speak when you need to be quiet. It isn’t about whether it is right or wrong. The issue is over a love of truth.
There are certain situations where it is more loving to keep quiet and allow someone to suffer and ask, “Why would God allow this?” There are times where if you keep quiet, you are now doing disservice. It takes discernment. It also takes a lot of agony. God will form you. I won’t say that I have arrived because this is the biggest struggle I have. Trying to find the absolute root of things is tough.
But this is what morality is. Morality is searching to the root. It is digging up everything until you find that first initial problem. This doesn’t always involve your own life (although that is most frequent). Would it have been the moral thing to do if Dietrich Bonhoeffer would have succeeded in killing Hitler? Hitler was a monster, but the Bible says to submit under the governmental authority. It says that vengeance is the Lord’s.
Probing the depths of morality takes effort. It takes more than effort. It takes a certain kind of moral stamina. It is easy to raise questions of whether it is “right or wrong.” It is much more painstaking to not be content with right or wrong but digging to the root to see where the issue really lies. Is it okay to kiss before marriage? Is it okay to display any kind of physical affection outside of marriage?
When we have a moral deficiency in any area, that deficiency will expose itself somewhere. This is certain: your sin will find you out. Moral deficiency isn’t about addictions to cigarettes or pornography. Moral deficiency is about a lack in even believing that there is a right or wrong in certain matters. Where were those parent’s morals when they allowed their children to grow up watching sex and drug filled movies? Where were those parent’s morals when they allowed their kids to go out partying all night? Now suddenly when they don’t have respect from their kids they want to play the morality card. You forfeited your morality when you allowed blatant sin and corruption to be displayed before their eyes daily in your own home.
I see a lot of people who have pictures of their whole family in a certain sport jersey. Then they want to talk about how their lives are devoted only to Jesus. You can’t have them both. If you have that severe of a pride for your favorite football team that your kids are forced to wear the jerseys before they even understand the sport, then you aren’t devoted to God. You can take your pick.
Morality must issue from God. He is the only fully moral being. Anything that will block us or keep us from seeing Him clearly and expressing Him clearly to others through our actions is not moral. Any kind of deception, whether inward or outward, is amoral. To be amoral is to reject morals. It is to say that morality doesn’t exist. There are no morals; there are only my own desires and lusts.
Lets take this back to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If man is the one deciding what is good and what is evil, then can there be true morality? Do we have that desire to probe the depths? Do we have that ability to discern the root of sin? It takes God’s speaking and discernment from His Holy Spirit to reveal to us the depths. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a cheapie. It is a cop-out, an evasion.
This is the struggle. We have two systems that have been established: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. The one says that we can decide what is good and evil, the other claims there is none good but God. To which do you prescribe? Does the basis of all morality come from God? Do you search the inner depths of self to see if there is anything that comes from something outside of God? Jesus got to the root when He said that to look upon another woman with lust is adultery.
This is the definition of the two trees. One is morale; the other is life. To one we grant access that we are all supposed to be “good people” and that we ought not to be unkind and this is how civilized people ought to live and move and speak and treat one another. There are certain standards that have been made by society. It is improper to go around yelling the n-word. But why? Is it wrong because it is offensive, or is it wrong because the root comes from ungodliness?
If morality is merely doing and performing the things that cause the least amount of offense or human pain, then we have a cheap morality. And this is only setting the stage. The true depths come when we add in Ephesians. This is only describing the two sides. This is only defining terms. We have the wisdom of God versus the knowledge of men. But where does that knowledge come from? Who is it that gave the knowledge to man?
Here is where the plot thickens. Satan deceived Eve, and in that has given us our morality. The devil doesn’t care how moral we are. We can be good people. He will still destroy us in our morals. There are good atheists. They aren’t all evil. Some are. But by what definition do we prescribe someone as good or evil? If Jesus Himself questioned the rich young ruler for calling Him good, then why would any of us take the title of good? Even Jesus said that God alone is good; we ought all the more to recognize our failure.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
I did not put the full statement here on purpose. I don’t want to rush into this. Let it sink in. Paul was given the ability to see this mystery because he really believed that he was the least of all saints. It is from this that he goes into the depths of this mystery mentioned in verse 9. But let me prelude. This is a mystery, but Paul calls it, “the fellowship of the mystery.” Why would he call it that? It is because it is from fellowship that this mystery is obtained. I haven’t told you what the mystery is yet. But view carefully what is being said. Outside of fellowship with God and with each other, this mystery has no place.
We find in chapter 2 the kind of fellowship that Paul is talking about. He mentions that there is no distinction between the Jew and the Gentile. When we read Paul, we have to take him at all the words that he has spoken. We can’t just read the epistle to the Ephesians and suspect we know what he is talking about. The Romans are the only Church he wrote to that he did not also visit before he wrote.
It is within the Book of Romans (chapter 11) that we find Paul explained that we as Gentiles have been grafted into the House of Israel. So when we see Paul expound that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, he is saying that we are both grafted in.
This is extremely important. The better we can view and believe that, the better we can prepare and believe the rest of the eschatological Scriptures. Do you truly believe that you have been grafted in and are now a part of Israel? You, though you might be Gentile, are now the Israel of God. But that does not diminish Israel at all. It paradoxically fulfills Israel even more. Because we are grafted in, God now has an Israel (both Jew and Gentile alike – whether saved or unsaved (Romans 11:26)) that is a fuller representation of who He is in the Earth.
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
It is from this Israel that is the fullness of Him who fills all things that God is going to display to the principalities and powers (demons) the manifest wisdom of God. What is the manifest wisdom of God? It is the value system. It is everything we have been discussing about morality up to this point. There is an entire system that has been made where people follow and believe they are doing rightly, and yet are completely duped. God’s wisdom is to give strength to the weak. God’s wisdom is to use the fool to confound the wise. God’s wisdom is to take a sinner and be able to show the world through that wretch the righteousness of God.
How is it that we can display God’s wisdom? It is through being that Israel. It is from accepting the Jew, whether saved or unsaved, as part of the Kingdom because they are under the same Head – whether they know it or not. We are brothers and sisters with them. We are incomplete without them. They are incomplete without us. It is in unity that we are able to display the character of God. What kind of characteristic are we displaying? Drum roll, please.
God is a trinity. Jesus did nothing of Himself. In all things, He did only what He saw the Father do. He spoke only the words of the Holy Spirit. The Father only did that which would glorify the Son. He used the Holy Spirit to give strength and edification to Jesus. The Holy Spirit only desired to reveal the Father through Jesus. They were all interwoven together where you cannot see the one without seeing the other two. This is the basis of community. When you see me, you see my wife. You see those saints that God has put us in community with.
This is the fellowship of the mystery. When we can live sacrificial lives where our only desire is to promote and glorify our brothers and sisters (yes, that even means Israel), then we have come of age and are now qualified to rule and reign with Christ. It is by losing your life that you gain it. In living solely to glorify God and to promote those around you and to deny your own life so that Israel might live, you have now performed the priestly function of intercession. This is how God intends to display the manifest wisdom of God to the principalities and powers. This is how He intends to defeat Satan. By our deaths, and by the Antichrist overcoming us, we gain the victory. It is the same wisdom of the devil that put Jesus upon the cross. It is the same wisdom of God that raised Jesus from the dead and defeated Satan and death.
But there will be an ultimate triumph over both Satan and death. It awaits the consummation of the ages. It takes our death and sacrifice for Israel to defeat the powers that blind them. It takes Israel’s death and Calvary experience through the nations that defeats the demonic forces blinding the nations. It is in the death and resurrection of the saints that life is given to Israel. It is in the death and resurrection of Israel that life comes to the nations. As it is written:
12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?
13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
Romans 11:12-15 (emphasis mine)
It is with this perspective that we can rightly appreciate and perceive the eschatological framework. Therefore, I will give an overview of the end times for those who are going to need this repeated several times. In this overview, we will not be examining too many of the details. That will come in with Daniel and Revelation.