'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
Everyone looks forward to a reunion. Whether it is a reunion of family, a class reunion, a reunion of former military personnel, or of fellow employees who worked together many years ago, it is a unique and unsurpassed high point in life.
There is another reunion coming. One which will be grand beyond any that we can have individually. This reunion is one that has been planned by God from eternity; one that you and I can be a part of if we endure. The need and purpose for this reunion is laid out in the Bible, and is one of the most astounding examples of God’s providence and supreme power and authority over all things. All to bring His plan for mankind to completion.
One key to the understanding of this reunion is given by Jesus Himself, almost as an afterthought it would seem in Luke 21 when His disciples asked Him about the time of the end: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (v 24) What could be these “times of the Gentiles”?
In the book of Romans, chapter eleven, the Apostle Paul explains what was happening at that time in the church and the world regarding the gospel and it's affect on the Jews of that day, in relation to the Gentiles of that day. It is here that God reveals the future of Israel, the reason for their unbelief in general, and what will eventually occur to Israel and what is now occurring in the world in relation to Israel and other nations of the world. He begins in Romans 11:1 by saying: “So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not!…” Many have wondered and marveled at the utter unbelief of the Jews in rejecting their Messiah. Why - with all the miracles and other proofs did most of them not believe Him? Paul explains that it is all part of God’s plan. Part of His plan, in bringing about the Kingdom of God on earth, was for most of the original chosen would not believe. Unknown to them at the time, their unbelief would open the door of the preaching of the gospel to the Gentile world. In this way, their unbelief as a service to the Gentile world. But as the Apostle Paul relates, this was only meant to be temporary - “until the times of the Gentiles come in”.
But something else must also happen. In the history of Israel - the twelve tribes - it eventually became divided into two nations - Judah and Benjamin, the two to become known as Judah, and the other ten tribes which would retain the name Israel. The history of how all this came about is found in the books of Kings and Chronicles of the Old Testament.
In Ezekiel 37 we read: “As for you, son of man, take one branch, and write on it, ‘For Judah, and for the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another branch and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the branch of Ephraim and all the house of Israel associated with him. Join them as one stick; they will be as one in your hand.” Then, “Look, I am about to take the Israelites from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from round about and bring them to their land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over them all. They will never again be two nations and never again be divided into two kingdoms.” The two nations - Judah and Israel have never been joined together since that time. They will again become one nation under Christ in His kingdom. The remainder of the chapter explains in further detail how this will occurs.
Paul in Romans 11 states that eventually “all Israel will be saved”. This statement is not made regarding any other nation or peoples. How can this be true? The Israelites of Old Testament times have died and no longer are identified. There is a dramatic revelation regarding how all Israel and Judah can be saved. “The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. He made me walk all around among them. I realized there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry (Ezekiel 37:1-2). Next, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, “‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. I will place my breath in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord – I have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’”
The whole house of Israel and Judah will be resurrected to physical life and will see their King that they so often rejected for the sake of the Gentiles. As the Apostle Paul has explained in Romans 11, their hope is not lost. All those who died in the desert all those forty years, and all others who rebelled, did not recognize their Messiah - all was for a purpose - to make them jealous of the Gentile calling. God has never forsaken Israel. They are a branch that has been broken off, so that a “wild” branch could be grafted in (Romans 11:16-21).
During the intervening times since Jesus came, the gospel has been accepted primarily by the Gentile nations of the world although there seems to be more and more converts among those of Jewish decent. The dispersions of the Jews after their captivity, and apparently also of Israel, provided a network of clusters of people that enabled the Apostles to plant the gospel message. So the spread of the gospel was in many ways facilitated by the complete scattering of Israel throughout the world of that time. This is evidenced in the book of Acts especially (Acts 14-17, etc.) There may be “great awakening” among them prior to Christ coming. Eventually, as the Apostle Paul emphasizes, “all Israel will be saved”.
Notice: “For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:25-27)
Then speaking to the Gentile convert in the church to which he was writing Paul explains: “Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.” (Romans 11:30-32)
Jew and Gentile will eventually be united in one spiritual organism. Just as Israel and Judah will be reunited in one nation - all one in Christ for eternity (Galatians 3:28).
The invitation to the reunion has gone out. Have you accepted yours?
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to God that God needs to repay him?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.” - Romans 11:33-36 (NET)
"Refreshment in Refuge" from
Take Your Small Group Off Life SupportRead Article »
Receive the newest devotional each week in your inbox by joining the "'Christ in You...'" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.