Hope of Heaven

Romans

Hope of Heaven

January 23rd, 1955

Romans 13:11

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
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HOPE OF HEAVEN

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Romans 13:11

1-23-55    10:50 a.m.

 

You’re listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in downtown Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the morning message entitled Our Hope of Heaven.  In our preaching through the Word, we are in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Romans; and this is the last message from that chapter, and it is a sermon based upon a text – almost an aside: a remark of Paul that he made as he was discussing something else.  As he speaks along of these different Christian virtues and admonitions, he says in the eleventh and the twelfth verses:

 

And that, knowing the time, it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand.

[Romans 13:11-12]

 

"For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand" [Romans 13:11-12].  Paul lived almost next door to the other – the upper and the heavenly world.  To him, it was just right over there – not far away, but close, close by.  I can see that in the apostle far more by the inadvertent, unplanned opportunistic remarks that he will make more than by the studied theology that he will write.

This is one of them – this little aside that he writes here about our Christian living and the Christian virtues – that he’ll just incidentally say: "Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed . . . The day is at hand.  Therefore, we ought . . ." [Romans 13:11-12].

Could I give you one other?  In the seventh chapter of the first Corinthian letter, as he’s talking about home and marriage and life and this world and its fashion, he will suddenly stop to say:

 

But this I say, brethren, the time is short

– the time is short –

it remaineth . . .

That they that weep as though they weep not, they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, they that buy as though they possessed not,

They that use this world as not abusing it.  The fashion of it is passing away.

[1 Corinthians 7:29-31]

 

The time is short.  The Lord is at hand.  Maranatha.  The Lord is at hand. 

And that was all through his life.  It first began with him on the Damascus Road, and there was the Lord Jesus.  The One that he was persecuting, there He stood.  Above the brightness of the Syrian sun, there He was just in the road in the way [Acts 9:1-6].

It was in his life in Corinth: discouraged and ready to quit and to leave the city, the Lord appeared to him and said, "Not so, Paul, I have much people in this great city.  You must stay" [Acts 18:9-10].

It was, again, in the story of the terrible storm in the Mediterranean Sea that resulted in the terrible shipwreck [Acts 27:1-44].  While Paul was praying and fasting, there appeared unto him the Lord [Acts 27:23] who spake to him and said, "Don’t be afraid.   You are to stand before Caesar, and I have given thee also all them that are with thee" [Acts 27:24].

The other world, I say, to Paul was just over there.  Here were the angels, and there was the Savior, and just beyond were the vistas of the golden stairway and the celestial city and the people of God.

When he faced his final departure, he said:

 

My departure is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day . . .

[2 Timothy 4:6-8]

 

And you can just see the Lord standing as He did for Stephen when Stephen was martyred [Acts 7:55-56] – the Lord standing there to receive the spirit of the great apostle.  He was just over the way.

Now, that is the Christian faith and the Christian hope and the Christian gospel.  To us, it is almost incredible that there should be men who renounce such a faith and who scorn such a hope.  To us it is so dear and so precious that it is almost inconceivable to us, unthinkable to us, that there should be men of learning and scholarship, men of thought and academic achievement, men of philosophical insight, men of learning, that they should scorn and ridicule such a precious, to us, thing. And yet, through the centuries, that has always been true. 

They’re not all madmen either.  They’re not all fools or fanatics who reject this conception of God, of Christ, of immortality, of heaven, of the hope to come.  They are learned men and wonderful men, many of them.

For example, one of the strangest texts in the Bible to me is this: in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord gave word to His disciples – now, His disciples.  He gave word to His disciples that He would meet them upon a certain mountain in Galilee [Matthew 28:7, 16].  There would they see Him.  When He was raised from the dead, He appointed that rendezvous up in Galilee.

Now, in this Bible, it says, "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into the mountain where Jesus had appointed [them]" [Matthew 28:16].  And then in the fifteenth of 1 Corinthians, we found there were five hundred of those brethren [1 Corinthians 15:6] – not only the eleven but five hundred of them.  "And when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted [Matthew 28:17].

 That text: "but some doubted" [Matthew 28:17].  There, on that mountain appointed of the Lord, was the raised, resurrected, immortalized, transfigured Lord Jesus Himself.  And yet, as they stood there and looked at Him and talked to Him, there were some of His own disciples who did not receive it.  They didn’t believe it.  They doubted it though there the Lord Himself stood before them [Matthew 28:17].  Then, how much more – how much more down through these centuries are there those who scoff and scorn and ridicule the idea of immortality, of heaven, and of the hope we have in Christ Jesus? [2 Peter 3:3-9]

Now, this morning, this message follows this kind of a turn – of an outline.  We’re going to look at these men.  They shall be typical.  We’re going to look at these men who, through the centuries, have scorned and ridiculed, scoffed and sarcastically spoken of, the hope we have in God.  Then we’re going to look at some who have embraced that faith and have confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims in the earth [Hebrews 11:13].

Now, to begin with: those who have rejected the idea of immortality, of a heaven to come, of a world that is yet to be.  First of all, in the days of the Lord Jesus Christ, they were called Sadducees [Matthew 22:23; Acts 23:8].  The Sadducees were pragmatists.  Practical results were the criteria of all truth.  In the coin of the realm, everything had to be changed, and if it was not something that could be handled and held, if it was not something to be possessed to further one’s cause or pleasure or joy, then it wasn’t.  That is the Sadducee; and they ridiculed the idea of immortality, of a heaven, of a resurrection, of an angel – of any of the spirit world.  And they had a stock story; and with that stock story, they annihilated their enemies.

The story is one that you already know.  According to the Levirate marriage system, if a brother died and he had no child, lest his family perish and the tribe perish from the earth, why, his brother must take his wife and raise up seed, raise up a son, to him [Deuteronomy 25:5-10].  So their stock story [Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38]: There was a brother who had a wife, and he died having no child.  So the second brother took her, then the third, then the fourth, fifth, sixth and the seventh.  All seven brothers were married to her, and they all died – the seven – then, finally, the woman died.  And then the Sadducees drove home their barb of sarcastic ridicule and unbelief: "Now, in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be, for all seven had her?  Ho, ho, ho." [Matthew 22:28; Mark 12:23; Luke 20:33]  And with that story, they annihilated their enemies.  Those are the Sadducees.  In the days of Christ, they laughed and scorned and scoffed at the idea of a resurrection and a life to come.

In the days of the Apostle Paul, typical of those whom he met were, in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Acts, the Epicurean and the Stoic philosophers [Acts 17:16-34].  They listened to Paul in the Agora, in the marketplace, as he spake, and they were enticed, intrigued, by the gods – plural – that he preached for Paul was preaching Iēsous  anastasis.  Iēsous was [masculine], and anastasis was feminine – Iēsous, "Jesus"; anastasis, feminine, "resurrection."  And they thought he was preaching a strange pair of male and female gods that they had never heard of before [Acts 17:18].  They’d heard of Jupiter and Juno, of Adonis and Venus.  They had heard of Osiris and of Osis, and they had heard of many combination of gods, but they never had heard of Iēsous and anastasis.

So they took Paul and put him in the center of the court of the Areopagus and said, "Now, what is this strange doctrine and these strange gods?" [Acts 17:19-20]  So Paul stood there, and when he mentioned the resurrection, they laughed at him and some of them, being more courteous said, "We’ll hear thee again," and bowed out [Acts 17:32].  They were the Epicureans and the Stoics. 

The Epicureans were philosophical hedonists.  They sought the criterion of all life in pleasure and happiness.  The highest good is happiness.  One of their stock mottos was, "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."  They had the atomic theory of the universe.  Of this, materiality was made out of coarser atoms and the soul was made out of finer atoms; and in death and dissolution, why, the body would go back to the coarser atoms and the soul made of finer atoms would go back into space in those finer atoms.  And to them, the idea of a resurrection was ridiculous and funny and silly and laughable.  So the Bible says when Paul preached the resurrection that the Epicureans laughed.  They just laughed out loud.  It was funny to them.  It was silly.  It was inanity [Acts 17:32].

The Stoics were more courteous.  The Stoics: "We will hear thee again on the matter," and they bowed away [Acts 17:32].  The Stoics were pantheists: that is, everything is a manifestation of God and God is everything, and there is a world soul.  And to the Stoic, when one died, he was just enmeshed again – he was dissolved again – into the great world soul:  pantheism.  And that there should be a resurrection of the dead to the Stoic was intellectually untenable.  So when Paul preached the resurrection to the Stoic, why, he just bowed graciously and courteously, "We’ll talk to you again," and left [Acts 17:32].

Now, he had one other in the Bible here in the day, I say, of Paul.  In the 2 Timothy letter, Paul says here of these who have erred "of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is passed already; and they’ve overthrown the faith of some" [2 Timothy 2:17-18].  That is, they were spiritualizers.  They took the resurrection and said, "Why, that’s already done.  That’s already past.  A man is resurrected when" – and in those days, they had sophists who went everywhere and tried to induct the people into the gnostic life, into the mysteries of all true knowledge and truth, and they would say – Hymenaeus and Philetus – that the resurrection is a spiritualized matter.  It refers to the rebirth of the inward man.  It refers to his initiation into the mysteries of the divine knowledge of which we will tell you for a certain price.  The resurrection is past.  That’s something that a man’s gone through when he is initiated into the divine mysteries.

Well, in the days of Paul, they scoffed and laughed at the doctrine of a resurrection.  Now in the days of the early church fathers, there was a brilliant Platonist, a Platonic philosopher by the name of Celsus, and he lived, say, somewhere 150 to 180 AD.  And there is no argument – there is no argument brought against Christianity – ancient, medieval, or modern – that was not brought against it by Celsus [True Discourse (or True Reason), by Celsus, c. 178 CE].

Origen is the one who answered what he said [Against Celsus, by Origen, 248 CE].  He did it at the instigation of Ambrosius who said, "This man, Celsus, is a power in the world, and he must be answered."  And you will find in Celsus arguments against Christianity that are as new as the argument you’ll find down here in this Fifty-Five Theater of about a week ago when the play ridiculed and scoffed at the Bible, the Word of God.

Now, the days passed and we come to the days of the great Reformers.  Shakespeare refers to – he uses an adjectival form also – Machiavellian.  Machiavelli was the Florentine statesman, and his most famous work is The Prince, and his model in The Prince is the most infamous scoundrel of all history – Caesar Borgeia.  And his thesis is that any means, however treacherous and murderous and unpardonable and unspeakable, is justifiable for a ruler to hold in subjugation his people.  Machiavellian is an adjectival form of his name that refers to anybody who is treacherous and crafty and unscrupulous.  He’s a Machiavellian.

Now, I say what brings it to my mind.  The greatest preacher of the Medieval Age was Savonarola of Florence.  There never was a flame that burned and shined like Savonarola, the Dominican monk, who was the morning star of the Reformation; and there in the great Duomo – that vast cathedral you’ll see in Florence today – he stood there and preached the Word of God, and he did it powerfully, wonderfully, and the Spirit of the Lord was upon him: Savonarola.

Now, Machiavelli went to hear Savonarola preach time and again, and he would stand there.  They don’t have any pews in those ancient churches.  People stood up to hear a man preach.  Machiavelli would stand there, and he’d listen to the great Florentine Savonarola.  And as he stood there and looked at him and listened to him, he did so with a smirk – with a smile of irony and sarcasm on his face.  To him, the doctrine of truth, of virtue, of righteousness, of immortality, of a heaven to come, was inanity.  It was ridiculousness.  It was silliness, and no man of intellectual bearing or stamina or strength or achievement would ever embrace such inane and childish fancies as that.  And so as he stood there and listened to Savonarola, he laughed and he smiled sarcastically.

Now, let’s come on down to our modern day.  In our day, there have developed three tremendous philosophies that have overrun and overturned our world and plunged it into tremendous, tremendous sorrow and present fear.  And the men, the men who brought about those philosophical concepts, those men were contemporaneous.  They lived at the same time.  One of them was named Friedrich Nietzsche, and the other one was named Karl Marx; and they were contemporary, and both of them were Germans.

Friedrich Nietzsche devoured avidly the pessimistic philosophy of Schopenhauer [Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)], and he developed a system – he developed a concept of life, a philosophy of life, that went like this.  He said the degradation of the German people was due to the Judeo-Jewish Christian tradition.  He scoffed at democracy.  He laughed at the Christian virtues of care for the weak and philanthropy and alms for the poor, and he developed a doctrine that war was to be coveted and sought after because it proved the might of the mighty and would ultimately produce the "super man."  And his philosophy was inculcated in the "Iron Chancellor" Bismarck [Otto von Bismarck], and, finally, in Kaiser Wilhelm II, and again, in what we know today as Fascism.

The doctrine of the superman [Ubermensch]: there are people – Prussians Friedrich Nietzsche [1844-1900] would say – there are people, Prussians, who are ordained to rule the world.  They are a super race.  They are super men, and the way to prove their right to rule is by conquest and by triumph.

Now, before you could ever succeed in teaching a people a doctrine, a philosophy, like that, you must do away with the Christian faith.  You can’t believe in God and in Christ and in humility and meekness and in care for the sick and the poor – you can’t believe in that and the same time believe in the march of a superman.  So one of the first things Nietzsche had to do was to do away with the Christian faith.  I just want to quote from Nietzsche from his The Will To Power:

Listen to him:

 

I have searched the New Testament.  All is cowardice in it.  All is closed eyes in self-delusion.  Christianity is a typical form of decadence, of moral softening, of hysteria amid a general hodgepodge of races and people that had lost all aims and had grown weary and sick.  Christianity is a degenerative movement consisting of all kinds of decaying and excremental elements.  It is opposed to every form of intellectual movement, to all philosophy.  It takes up the cudgels for idiots and utters curses upon all intellect.

 

That’s Friedrich Nietzsche, and he inculcated that in the German mind, in the German university, in the German king, in the German Fuhrer, and the result was the Fascism – the Nazism as they call it there – that plunged us in to unutterable grief and the Second World War.

Now, his contemporary was Karl Marx, and I need not expatiate nor will I take time because you already are familiar with the doctrines of Karl Marx.  The doctrines of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and Sorel – their doctrines resulted in what you know today as Communism, and the by-word of Communism toward our faith is this: that "religion is the opiate of the people" ["Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right," by Karl Marx in Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher, 1844].  That is, the purpose of the minister and of the church is to lull the people and to make them satisfied with their poverty and misery promising them pie in the sky by-and-by.

And Communism could never succeed and never will until, first, faith in God is destroyed.  That’s the reason that it has to war against the church.  To live, it must annihilate faith and religion.  That is Communism.  That is the doctrine, the philosophy, of Karl Marx.

I have in my study at home – I have a cartoon out of Russia.  Down here below are the churches and the ministers of Christ and the Bible, all destroyed and in an upheaval.  There’s a great ladder in the cartoon, way high, and it leans against the cloud.  And on top of that cloud on the ladder is a workman, a Russian workman, and he has a hammer in his hand; and the hammer is upraised, and before him, above the cloud, are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.  And the caption underneath says in Russian, "As we have destroyed with this hammer God on earth, now we shall destroy God in heaven."  That is Communism and the teaching of Karl Marx.

Now, there is one other in our day and in America.  In America, we have developed the doctrine of materialism, of secularism; and as an exponent of that, I have taken a man who has died because I don’t want to speak of anybody living.  I have chosen Clarence Darrow.  I have chosen Clarence Darrow maybe personally because I was always intrigued by that lawyer.  I used to read about him in the paper.  I used to follow those trials that he – where he tried to champion maybe somebody that ought not to be championed, but he was a wonderful man.  When he wrote The Story of My Life, I bought it immediately, and I read it and I devoured it.  Clarence Darrow was the epitome, the personalization, of modern secularism – American materialism.

And I quote from that book The Story of My Life:

 

If there is one scrap of proof that we are alive after we are dead, why is not that scrap given to the world?  Certainly under all of the rules of logic, the one who assumes that an apparently dead person is still alive should be able to produce substantial proof.  Not only is there no evidence of immortality, but the facts show it is utterly impossible for us that there should be a life beyond this on earth . . . The whole conception of immortality and heaven is too illogical, absurd and impossible to find lodgment in any healthy brain.

[The Story of My Life, by Clarence Darrow, 1932]

Clarence Darrow.

Well, they seem so final, and they seem so conclusive, and that’s that.  But somehow, it isn’t that.  Somehow, there is more to it than that.

 

Pity him who never sees

God beyond the cypress trees.

Who hopeless, lays his dead away.

Nor ever taketh time to pray.

[adapted from "Snowbound," John Greenleaf Whitter, 18KR/92]

 

There’s more to it than that.  Well, what more, then?  We’re eager to hear and to know.  What more?  This more: somehow, however you think, however you study, and however you try – somehow to explain Jesus away is an intellectual task that I think is beyond the grasp, the achievement, of any philosopher that ever lived.

Just Jesus – the fact of Jesus Christ: how do you explain away a life like the life of our Lord?  How do you explain away the words of our Lord?  How do you explain away the lift and the hope and the joy and the light that have come into the world wherever Jesus Christ has walked?

Somehow, our world has not been, nor will it ever be, the same again since the Lord Jesus lived and died in it; and however you may think or write, or whatever the philosopher may say, there He stands: His cross, His life, His resurrection, His ascension, His promised return [1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17].

And He grows greater [Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:18-23].  He fills the horizon [Psalm 19:1].  It’s in earth.  It’s in heaven.  It’s in the sky.  It’s in life.  It’s in death.  Somehow, to explain away the fact of Christ is an impossible intellectual attainment.

Again, I say, there’s something more to it than that.  Again, in the roll call of the faith [Hebrews 11:1-40] – the saints of God through the years and the centuries, their lives are at large on your pages of history.  They are men who fashioned government.  They are men who wrote great literature.  They are men who spake great words, and they were inspired by the holy, lowly, meek and humble Nazarene.

When Julian the apostate tried, after Emperor Constantine, to pull the Roman Empire back away from the Cross into the pagan religions, dying on a battlefield, Julian the apostate said, "Thou, O Galilean, Thou hast conquered."  And he said, "Truth," he said, "Truth – the lives of these saints all through these centuries comes down to us like a song.  Like a shaft of sunlight, they color our world.  They lift it up.  They sanctify and hallow our days" – God’s children who have loved and followed in the train of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Another fact – another fact: the tremendous blessing that the Christian message and the Christian faith are to those who live in a dark country, whose minds and whose hearts are filled with all of the ignorance and superstition that comes from religions and from civilizations and from cultures that have not been introduced to the faith and the culture of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I sat in a home of a missionary in Hiroshima in Japan, and while I was there, their Japanese teacher came.  He was a very scholarly, precise Japanese gentleman, and he was teaching the missionary and his wife the Japanese language; and after the lesson was done and he was gone, I was much interested in him.  He was so smart and so gentlemanly, and he was so nice and precise.  He much interested me.

And so I asked if he were a Christian yet and how come he to be a Christian, and this is it.  First, he was a commander of a ship in the war and was interdicted from having any office in Japan by General MacArthur because of his military background.   And the way he became a Christian was this.  He first was in the Japanese army in the war against China, and after the war was over and his contact with missionaries, he said, "When I went with the Japanese army, wherever the Japanese army went, there was rapine, and rape, and violence, and bloodshed, and war, and hatred, and greed, and death!"

But, he said, "In China, place after place after place, I followed and saw the work of the missionary.  And wherever the soldier of Christ goes," he said, "there was the church with its spire pointing up to heaven.  And there was the orphan’s home, and there was the hospital, and there was the school, and there were the people of God."  And he said, "The contrast was so great and so violent, I could not escape this ultimate and final conclusion.  I embraced the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ."

I cannot escape that fact either.  Wherever the gospel of Christ in truth and in earnestness is preached, there you will find the people lifted up.  The children are cared for.  The sick are remembered.  The poor are ministered to and the people find light and life in the glorious hope of our Savior, Christ Jesus.

And I must haste too, alas.  My own personal experience in the Lord which is the final criterion for any man.  However they may say or however they may do, how is it that you have found it?

Now, for just a minute, honestly as I look into your face and heart – tell me, is there any hope in infidelity that you know of?  Is there anything to sing about in unbelief that you know of?  Is there any better world?  Is there any savior?  Is there any life? Is there any hope in infidelity, unbelief that you know of?  Is there? Have you ever found any?  Have you?

But tell me, honestly, when you sit down and listen, say, to the "Hallelujah Chorus" written by a man who said, "And I heard the angels sing as I wrote it down" [George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)], tell me, isn’t there something in your soul that responds?  Tell me, when you hear the Word of God and its blessed revelation, isn’t there something in your heart that rises to meet the revelation of the glorious gospel of God in Christ Jesus, isn’t there?

And tell me, when you see a great saint die, isn’t there something in it that gives you an ultimate assurance of a final triumph beyond what we see in this grave and in this death and in this weary world?  Isn’t there something over and above and beyond?  And isn’t it God?  And isn’t it the hope we have in Him?

In my last visit to my former pastorate, I went to see one of my blessed, blessed deacons: saintly, godly, good man.  And when I rose to go, I’d never see him again, and he pointed upward and said, "Pastor, I’ll meet you up there."  Isn’t that a better way?  Isn’t that a better hope?  Isn’t that a precious promise?  "I’ll meet you, Pastor, up there."  That’s the Christian faith: precious, dear, beyond any way that a man could say it in song or write it in poetry.

With me, would you sing all of us together?  Everybody, let’s sing:

 

There’s a land that is fairer than day,

And by faith we can see it afar;

For the Father waits over the way

To prepare us a dwelling place there.

 

Now the chorus:

 

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore;

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

["In the Sweet By and By," by Sanford F. Bennett, 1868]

 

That’s what it is to be a Christian.  There is more to it than just what I see in this life.  The grave and death are not the end.  It but opens the vistas to the higher, greater world that is to come [1 Corinthians 15:50-56; Revelation 21:1-22:21].

Now, while we sing number 225, number 225, somebody you, anywhere, somebody give your heart to the Lord.  "I will take Him today, Pastor.  I will give Him my heart and my soul, and here I come."  You stand by me.  You stand by me.  Come.  In that top most balcony to that back row, anywhere, or a family of you: "Here I am, Pastor, and here I come.  I’m putting my life here with my family in the church."  As God shall say the word and lead the way, you come and stand by me while all of us stand and sing.

 

THE FUTURE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

ROMANS 11:24-29

NO DATE

 

The immutable promises.

 

The land: Genesis 17:8.  Jeremiah 23:5-8.  Ezekial 11:16,17.

 

The king: II Samuel 7:16; Psalm 88:35-37; John 33:20,21,25,26.

 

Luke 1:31-33.

Amos 9:11,14,15.

Hosea 3:45.

 

Christ during this age does not occupy David’s throne.  He is seated on his Father’s throne till his enemies be made his footstand.  Psalm 110:1; Acts 2_34=Hebrews 1_34= Matthew 22:44.

Revelation 3:21.

Hence the questions of Acts 1:6.

 

The prophetic promises made the Hebrew people gather around the 2 advents of their Messiah.

 

The first: lineage of David, born in Bethlehem…Isaiah 5:3, of Matthew’s gospel.

 

The second: to appear from heaven; Israel saved, delivered. 

 

The first fulfilled to minutest detail.

The second?

 

The two former restoration to their homeland by direct intervention of God.

 

Egyptian bondage.

Bablyonian captivity.

The third by the hand of God also:  “until the fullness of Gentiles..”  Romans 11:25.

 

11:2  Until the fullness of the Gentiles become in.

 

This first.  When this complete, then Israel’s hour of blessing, salvation, has come.

 

“fullness”  = the full number of the Gentiles.  A certain number, known to God, called out from the nation to constitute the church.  As soon as church complete as to numbers, then Christ comes.  Ephesians 1:23 the church is called his body, the fullness, the __ of Him.

 

This present age is an elective one:  Since Pentecost the preaching of the gospel has never won a whole nation, city, or community.  Always, some called out.  Hence the __.  The mission of the church in Acts 1:8. To continue until assembly is complete; the last one to be saved brought in; then caught up, translated.

 

Then the Lord begins to deal with Israel as a nation:  and the manifestation of the king and the kingdom are at hand.  After “the fullness of the Gentile”, then all Israel will be saved.  Jeremiah 31:33,34.  But Gentile dominion, not continue indefinitely over Palestine.  After the rapture, then the Lord deals with Israel nationally.

 

Jesus spoke of “the times of the Gentiles.”  Luke 21:24.

Jesus spoke of “the desolation until he returns.” Matthew 23:38,39.

 

The great prophecies of Isaiah 2:2-5; 11:1-9; Micah 4:1-5.  The earth ruled over the King of house of David, peace..preceded by the judgment of God poured out upon the earth.  Tribulation – “time of Jacob’s trouble..”  Then the great miracle Paul describes – the restoration of Israel.

 

Their fall – the salvation of the Gentiles.

Their restoration – “life from the dead.”

Romans 11:11b-12,15,24,25b.

 

Israel converted, restored, will be the blessing of all the nations:  it will result in the conversion of the nations of the world.

 

The remnant in the tribulation of Revelation 7: 12,000 from each tribe:  the world’s evangelists.  Then the glorious kingdom of Christ in millennial fullness.  All Israel saved, their King reigns forever.  Honored.  The first among many.