Destruction of

Gentile World Power



By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were

compassed about seven days (Heb. 11: 30).



The historical account of the destruction of Jericho in Joshua, chapter six occurs after Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, after the entrance of the Israelites into the land of Canaan, but before the actual conquest of the land and the establishment of Israel in the land under a theocracy.  Jericho appears to have been the principal stronghold of power for the Canaanite civilization of that day, and the destruction of Jericho in its type-antitype arrangement sets forth the destruction of Gentile world power after the deliverance of Israel from a worldwide dispersion, after the entrance of the Israelites into the land of their possession, but before the actual placement of Israel in the land under a theocracy.



Prior to Israel’s deliverance from Egypt during Moses’ day, the people of God were brought to the place of complete helplessness under the reign of an Assyrian Pharaoh.  They had been relegated to the position of slaves and had nowhere to turn but to the God of their fathers.  We read that the Israelites in Egypt sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.  And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.  And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Ex. 2: 23-25).



Moses at this time was on the far side of the desert tending sheep.  He had previously appeared to Israel as their deliverer, but had been rejected.  As the rejected deliverer Moses remained in the far country, removed from the camp of Israel, until the Israelites, in their bondage, were forced to cry out to God for deliverance.  It was then that God appeared to Moses and commissioned him to return to the land of Egypt and deliver the children of Israel.  Upon his return, Moses was accepted the people and became the great deliverer of the nation.



All of these events foreshadow past, present, and future experiences of Christ and the nation of Israel.  Christ at the present time is in the far country (heaven) caring for the sheep (Christians).  He is the Great Shepherd portrayed in the twenty-third Psalm.  He appeared to Israel in time past, but was rejected.  He must now remain in the far country, removed from the camp of Israel until the Israelites, in their affliction, are forced to cry out to God for deliverance (Deut. 30: 1-3; Hosea 5: 15 - 6: 2).  This will occur under the reign of the future Assyrian (Antichrist; Isa. 10: 5, 12: 24-27; Micah 5: 5, 6) who will bear rule over the entire earth.  It is then that God will send His Son to the land of Judaea again to deliver the children of Israel.  Upon Christ’s return He will be accepted by Israel and become the nation’s Great Deliverer from a worldwide dispersion.



Pharaoh and his armed forces were overthrown in the Red Sea following the Exodus from Egypt. Since Egypt is a type of the world, the antitype of this destruction cannot occur until the Israelites have been delivered from a worldwide dispersion and placed in the land of Israel, for anywhere outside the land of Israel would be within the land typified by Egypt.  Consequently, the destruction of Pharaoh and his armed forces in the Red Sea foreshadows the same event as does the destruction of Jericho - the destruction of Gentile world power at the end of the present age, following Israel’s deliverance from the nations of the world.



The One Who is greater than Moses will lead the Israelites out from a worldwide dispersion, and the One Who is greater than Joshua will lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan.  This will then be followed by the destruction of Gentile power, as in the days of both Moses and Joshua.



Victory Through Faith



According to our text, By faith the walls of Jericho fell down …”  The Israelites under Joshua had received certain instructions from the Lord concerning the conquest and destruction of Jericho (Joshua 6: 1ff).  The Israelites acted upon God’s promise to Joshua that the city had been given into his hand, and the Israelites under Joshua followed God’s instructions concerning the conquest and destruction of Jericho.  The Israelites simply believed and followed the promise and instructions of the Lord.  The Israelites moved against Jericho by faith [they believed God and acted accordingly],” and the walls of Jericho fell down,” allowing them to march in and take the city.



God had instructed the Israelites to march around the city of Jericho once a day for six days.  Then, on the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times.  Seven trumpets of rams’ horns were to be blown following the last march around the city, and the people were then to shout, for at that time the Lord would fulfil His promise and deliver the city over to Israel.



The numbers six and seven are of marked significance in this account, as are numbers elsewhere in Scripture.  Six is man’s number, and seven is God’s number.  Man has been allotted six days, six thousand years (2 Peter 3: 8; cf. Ex. 31: 12-17); but the seventh day, the seventh one thousand-year period, belongs to the Lord.  Six days, six thousand years, will run their course; and at the conclusion of six days, on the seventh day, the antitype of the destruction of Jericho will occur.



Jericho was marked for destruction at the very beginning, and each day the Israelites marched around the city moved the impending destruction one day nearer.  Jericho was in its death throes throughout the six days; and the destruction of this city, which had allied itself against Joshua and the children of Israel came suddenly.



The present world system, likewise, has been marked for destruction from the very beginning; and each day, each, one thousand-year period which passes, moves the impending destruction one day nearer.  We are now living very near the sixth day, with the seventh day in the immediate future.  This present world system is, as it were, existing at a point very near the end of the terminal march around the city.  The judgments of the Great Tribulation, occurring at the end of the sixth day, await the present system; and its destruction will occur at the beginning of the seventh day, following the return if Israel’s Messiah.  The world system has been in its death throes throughout the six days (a situation to be intensified during the Tribulation); and the destruction of this system - which at the end of Man’s Day will find itself openly allied against both Israel and Israel’s Messiah - will come suddenly.



Israel’s Position Among the Nations



The day is near at hand when the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Rev. 11: 15, ASV).  For ages the kingdom has belonged to the Gentile nations of the earth, with Satan and his angels ruling from the heavens over the earth.  Satan is the god of this world [‘age’]” (2 Cor. 4: 4).  He is the present ruler over the kingdoms of the world” (Luke 4: 5, 6).  And throughout history - especially the history of Israel - Satan has used Gentile nations within his kingdom in his efforts to thwart the plans and purposes of God.



Since the inception of the nation of Israel, God’s dealings with the remainder of mankind have revolved around this nation.  Israel is the apple [lit. ‘pupil’]” - of God’s eye (Zech. 2: 8).  God looks upon the Gentile nations of the world through the nation of Israel.  Israel has been placed in the midst of the nations” (Ezek. 5: 5; 38: 12), and the Gentile nations occupy their appointed place in the sphere of human activity within the bounds of their habitation,” “according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deut. 32: 8; Acts 17: 26).



God announced Israel’s status relative to the Gentile nations at the time Israel was brought into existence. Israel was God’s firstborn son, not Egypt; and Moses was instructed to announce Israel’s God-ordained position to the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt (Ex. 4: 22, 23).  Through this announcement the Pharaoh of Egypt would know that supremacy was about to pass from Egypt to Israel - from the centre of Gentile power to a nation of slaves.



The word of God remains in force.  Consequently, Israel’s standing as God’s firstborn son can never be changed.  Israel remains God’s firstborn son today and must retain this position throughout time and eternity. Israel must possess the gate of his enemies” (Gen. 22: 17).



Note that both the heavenly and earthly seed of Abraham are in view in Gen 22: 17.  The future destiny of Israel (earthly seed of Abraham) and the future destiny of the Church (heavenly seed of Abraham) are inseparably linked.   The Church, following adoption into sonship, must, as Israel, also possess the gate of his enemies.”



The gate has to do with the key point in the conquest of a city or realm.  Possessing the gate is equivalent to possessing control.  The possession in store for the Church [of the firstborn]* is heavenly.  Satan and his angels are presently in control, but they are to be put down (cf. Eph. 6: 11ff; Heb. 3: 1; Rev. 12: 7- 12).  The possession in store for Israel [as a nation] is earthly.  The Gentile nations under Satan are presently in control, but they, likewise, are to be put down (cf. Psa. 2: 1ff; Isa. 14: 1, 2; 24: 21-23).  Both the Church [of the firstborn] and Israel will occupy positions of supremacy in the coming age - one heavenly, and the other earthly.


[* See Heb. 12: 17 and context. – Ed.]



Following the Exodus from Egypt, the establishment of the old covenant, the erection of the tabernacle, and the Glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle, the nation of Israel occupied the position of national supremacy within a Theocratic Kingdom.  This kingdom existed in Old Testament history for over eight hundred years, but through disobedience Israel failed to attain the heights required by her God-appointed position.  The old covenant was conditional, and because of the nation’s failure to keep this covenant the kingdom was eventually taken from Israel.  God allowed Israel to be taken into captivity by the Gentiles, the Glory was removed from the temple in Jerusalem, and the times of the Gentiles began.  Now Israel must await the completion of the times of the Gentiles, the subsequent restoration of the nation and the Glory, and the establishment of the new covenant before the nation can realize the fulfilment of God’s promise in Gen. 22: 17.  The new covenant, unlike the old, will be placed in their inward parts,” and written in their hearts” (Jer. 31: 31ff).



Ensuing events in the world during nearly 3,500 years of man’s history following Moses’ announcement to the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt have brought us almost full circle.  Today we are living at a time immediately before the Great Tribulation, the restoration of Israel, and the destruction of Gentile world power.  The same announcement which Moses delivered to the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt will be delivered to the future Assyrian (Antichrist) by the One Whom Moses foreshadowed, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And the destruction of Gentile power - as in the Book of Exodus, and its counterpart in the Book of Joshua - will follow.



In the interim, from the announcement during Moses’ day until the announcement during the days of the coming of the Son of Man, a main thrust of Satan’s attack is centered on the nation of Israel.  In the light of what Scripture reveals about Israel, the reason for this attack is easy to understand: the destruction of Israel would mean the continuance of Gentile power under Satan.  (In this respect, note the late Gamel Abdel Nasser’s statement broadcast over Radio Cairo for all the world to hear on May 28, 1967, along with similar statements of like-minded individuals today [e.g., the PLO], and you can better understand the entire explosive Middle East situation: Our basic aim [in the Arab-Israeli war] is the destruction of Israel.”



Within this framework of thought concerning Israel’s position and Satan’s attack, one will also find that Satan moves with equal enmity against the Lord Jesus Christ and against the Church.  The reason is obvious.  Satan, the incumbent ruler residing in the heavens and holding power over the nations, has disqualified himself and is to relinquish his position to the One Who has shown Himself fully qualified, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And the angels of Satan, the incumbent rulers who reside in heavenly places and hold power over the nations under Satan, likewise, have disqualified themselves and are to relinquish their positions to Christians who qualify.



The Lord Jesus Christ is today seated at the right hand of His Father, removed from the sphere of Satan’s dominion.  Thus, Satan’s attack on Christ must come through the Church.  But once the [the faithful from amongst the] Church has been removed, preceding the Tribulation,* the centre of Satan’s attack on earth will, of necessity, be directed toward Israel alone.  Satan will know that his time is short, and for seven years - especially following his being cast out of heaven in the midst of this time - he will launch his final and most intense onslaught against Israel (Rev. 12: 7-17).


[* Note God’s conditional promise of escape: Because thou hast kept the word of my patience [endurance], I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation [of trial], which will come upon all the world [inhabited earth], to try them that swell upon the earth:” (Rev. 3: 10).  Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day comes upon you unawares.  For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass…” (Luke 21: 34-36).]



Israel Is My Son ...



Sonship, ‘as the firstborn,’ already implies the rulership ... Adam was ‘the Son of God,’ having dominion accorded to him, which he forfeited …. The ‘Sons of God’ to be truly such must be restored back to their forfeited dominion.”  - George N. H. Peters



After the removal of the Church and the establishment of a seven-year covenant with Israel by the man of sin, there will be two main conflicts prior to the Messianic Era:



1. The battle against Russia and her allies.


2. The battle of Armageddon.



These two battles will be fought in the land of Israel.  Gentile nations will come against Israel in each instance, and in the latter battle, against Israel’s Messiah as well.  Within the confines of these two battles God will bring a terminus to all Satan’s efforts during Man’s Day to effect the destruction of God’s people, Israel.



1. Anti-Semitism



The Amalekites were the first of the Gentile nations to war against Israel following the birth of the Israeli nation and the Exodus from Egypt (Ex. 17: 8; Num. 24: 20).  Because of this move by the Amalekites, God pronounced judgment upon this nation: I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” (Ex. 17: 14).  The Israelites became the appointed executioners of the Amalekites (Deut. 25:17-19), but because of repeated failures to carry out the Lord’s command completely, the Amalekites remained in existence as the bitter enemies of the Israelites for over seven hundred years beyond the Exodus (cf. 1 Sam. 15: 2, 3, 7-9; 2 Sam. 1: 6-10).



The sentence pronounced upon the Amalekites in Ex. 17: 14 was not carried out in its completeness until the days of Hezekiah (1 Chron. 4: 39-43), and from that point in history the Amalekites ceased to exist.  Although the Amalekites figured prominently in Old Testament history, dating all the way back to the days of Abraham (Gen. 14: 7), archaeologists today have failed to unearth a trace of this nation’s existence.  The Amalekites have been utterly put out of remembrance,” just as God promised.



There is a law of first mention in Scriptural interpretation which states that the first time a subject is mentioned, the subject remains unchanged throughout Scripture.  Exodus, chapter seventeen presents the first mention following the Exodus of Satan’s move against Israel, along with God’s attitude toward this move. Thus, the pattern is set in this chapter for Satan’s strategy in his efforts to destroy Israel through the use of Gentile national powers, and the pattern is also set (based on previously revealed principles) concerning God’s attitude toward a Gentile nation which would allow itself to be so used.  The basic principles governing God’s attitude toward and treatment of individuals or nations participating in anti-Semitism were established during the days of Abraham (Gen. 12: 3), and these principles, as the principles governing the law of first mention in Exodus, chapter seventeen, remain unchanged throughout Scripture.



Every nation which has lifted its hand against Israel throughout history has either suffered destruction or awaits destruction.  The Assyrians, like the Amalekites, were wiped out of existence for allowing themselves to be used by Satan against Israel.  No trace of this once mighty nation remains today.  Other nations throughout history which succumbed to the same manner of Satanic leadership have also suffered destruction, but have been allowed to continue their national existence as base powers.  None has escaped the edge of the sword.  Biblical principles governing Israel and her relationship to the Gentile nations have been established, and God must act in accordance with these principles set forth in His Word.



During modern times the world has witnessed anew one of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated upon the Jewish people by a Gentile nation.  The only thing which will explain the actions of the Third Reich under Hitler during the years 1933 - 1945 is what Scripture reveals concerning Satan’s attitude toward and method of attack against God’s son, Israel.  The leaders of the Third Reich allowed themselves to be used by Satan in his ceaseless efforts to destroy Israel.  The result of this effort at the end of twelve years was the death of six million Jews, the death of six and one-half million Germans (both military and civilian), and the German nation itself left in ruins.



Germany will by no means be the last of the nations to raise its hand against Israel and suffer destruction, for Satan remains very active in the affairs of man within his kingdom.  Consequently, anti-Semitic nations presently exist - nations awaiting destruction.  Russia and her allies, mentioned in Ezek. 38: 1-6, wait in the wings; and the Gentile nations of the world, which will turn against Israel in the end time and appear at the battle of Armageddon, wait behind Russia and her allies.



2.  The Coming Russian Invasion of Israel (Ezek. 38, 39)



Russia is an anti-God, anti-Semitic nation whose fate was made known through Divine revelation over 2,500 years ago.  God has devoted two entire chapters in His Word to reveal the end of the largest and most powerful anti-Semitic nation the world has seen to date.  When the time arrives, God is going to bring the armies of a nation which denies His existence into the land of a people which this nation has allied itself against, and destroy this nation’s armies in that land.  The nation which today is building the most powerful offensive military armed forces the world has ever seen has a predetermined meeting with God on the mountains of Israel where their power and might will be reduced to naught.  When Russia invades Israel, God will intervene, deliver His people from the hand of the enemy, and the carcases of the invading forces will be left for the carrion birds of the air and the ravenous beasts of the field (Ezek. 38: 21 - 39: 6).



Russia desires supremacy among the nations, and has been moving toward this goal for decades.  But Russia made a fatal mistake.  This nation dared to set her hand against the nation which God called into existence, set apart, and designated to be the one to occupy the position Russia has sought.  And when Russia makes her move against Israel by coming down into Israel’s land, God states that then, my fury shall come up in my face” (Ezek. 38: 18).



This will be the day of Russia’s madness, for no Gentile nation can become more insane than to move against the nation of IsraelGod’s firstborn son - in quest of world dominion.



3. Armageddon (Isa. 63: 1-6; Joel 3: 2-16; Rev. 14: 14-20; 19: 17-21)



The Russian invasion of Israel and the battle of Armageddon are two entirely separate events.  Russia and her allies will invade the land of Israel and be overthrown during the first year of the coming Tribulation (Ezek. 38: 8-11; 39:1-9), but the battle of Armageddon will not occur until after Christ’s return at the conclusion of  the Tribulation (Rev. 19: 11-21).  Only five other nations will be associated with Russia when she invades Israel (Exek. 38: 5, 6).  But the armies of the Gentile nations of the world (allied under a ten-kingdom confederacy) will appear at Armageddon (cf. Rev. 13: 1; 17: 12; 19: 19; Dan. 2: 40-45).  Both battles will be fought for the same basic reason - continued Gentile world dominion under Satan - but that is where the similarity ends.



The battle of Armageddon has to do with Satan’s final attempt to prevent Israel’s Messiah from exercising the dominion which he himself presently possesses, and to prevent the nation of Israel from occupying the supremacy which Gentile nations have occupied for the past 2,500 years.  This battle will be the outgrowth of all Satan’s efforts to destroy Israel through the man of sin during the Great Tribulation.



Satan’s final effort, climaxing in Armageddon, is foreshadowed in Psa. 83: 1-8 by a ten-kingdom confederation of nations moving against Israel.  Their avowed purpose in both type and antitype is the same: Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance(v. 4).  The thought goes all the way back to the death of the firstborn in Egypt (Ex. 4: 23; 12: 1ff), and God’s announced destruction of the Amalekites in the wilderness (Ex. 17: 14).  The expressions my son, even my firstborn and thy son, even thy firstborn in Ex. 4: 22, 23 refer to both national and personal entities.  Sonship has to do with rulership.  Egypt was the ruling nation under Satan, and Israel was about to become the ruling nation under God.  God destroyed Satan’s firstborn (Egypt); and, following the Red Sea passage, God announced the He would utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”  Armageddon will be Satan’s final, climactic attempt to reverse the God-decreed death of his firstborn (the future world kingdom under the Assyrian, typified by the Egyptian kingdom under the Assyrian). And he will vainly seek to accomplish this task by destroying God’s firstborn (Israel), that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance an imitative countermove on his part.  (Note that sonship is also involved with the leaders of the two opposing forces for the leader of the leader of the Gentile nations will be Satan’s son [Gen. 3: 15], the false Messiah while the Protector of Israel will be God’s Son, the true Messiah.)



Christ will return at the end of the Tribulation, Old Testament saints will be raised from the dead, and the “whole house of Israel [both those who are living and those who are raised from the dead], will be restored to the land of Israel.  It will be then - prior to the actual ushering in of the Messianic Era that the kings of the earth under the leadership of the beast will move against the King of kings, and Lord of lords in Jerusalem (cf. Joel 3: 16; Rev. 19: 19).



Just as Satan has used various Gentile nations throughout Man’s Day, vainly seeking to accomplish his God- dishonouring purpose, he will use all the Gentile nations of the world in his last great attempt to effect his own plans and purposes immediately preceding his dethronement.  The beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies,” will be gathered together to make war against him [Christ] that sat on the horse, and against his army” (Rev. 19: 19).  Although Christ will possess an accompanying army (composed of angels, cf. 1 Thess. 3: 13; 2 Thess. 1: 7; Jude 14; Deut. 33: 2), He will fight the battle alone.  It was alone that He suffered, bled, and died; and it will be alone that He treads His enemies under His feet (Isa. 63: 1-6).



At the first coming of Christ, immediately before His crucifixion, Roman soldiers led Him to the governor’s palace, stripped Him of His arrayed Him in a scarlet robe, and placed a crown of thorns on His head and a reed (symbolizing the sceptre of governmental power) in His right hand.  This was done in order to openly ridicule the One Who claimed to be King of the Jews.”  The Romans (the centre of Gentile power in that day) had subjugated God’s son, Israel; and soldiers from this same Gentile nation were ridiculing God’s Son, Jesus. They bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’  And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head” (Matt. 27: 27-31).



This same Jesus is the One Who will tread the winepress alone.  He appeared on earth the first time as the Lamb of God,” but He will reappear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah(cf. John 1: 29; Rev. 5: 5).  He was mocked in the governor’s palace and smitten upon His head with the sceptre.  But in that coming day, when He reappears, He will break the sceptre held by the Gentiles, executing judgment resulting in victory(cf. Matt. 12: 20; Isa. 42: 1-3).  That will be the day when the Seed of the Woman in Gen. 3: 15 crushes the head of Satan.



The same scenes which witnessed Christ’s suffering and humiliation will one day witness His glory and exaltation.  Satan’s final attempt to prevent the transfer of supremacy - his own (exhibited through the beast in that day), his angels, and the Gentile nations, transferred to Christ, the Church, and Israel respectively - will, as in all previous attempts, be quelled.  The beast and false prophet will be taken and cast alive into the lake of fire, becoming its first occupants.  The kings of the earth, along with their armies, will then be slain in the plain of Megiddo (called the valley of Jehoshaphat,” which means valley of Jehovah’s judgment,” in Joel 3: 2), and Satan will be bound in the abyss.



Following the events of Armageddon, God’s Sons will then exercise their rightful positions of authority and power on and over the earth.  God’s son, Israel, will be the supreme nation on earth, holding the sceptre previously held by the Gentile nations; God’s son, the Church [of the firstborn], will exercise supremacy over the nations from the heavens, holding the sceptre previously held by angels ruling under Satan; and God’s Son, Jesus, will exercise supremacy over all things, holding the sceptre (and far more) previously held by Satan.



Thus will the present age end and the new [millennial] age begin.  What a termination!” “What a climax!  What a new beginning!



The Salvation of Gentiles



By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not,

when she had received the spies with peace (Heb. 11:31).



There are two occurrences of the nation of Israel preparing for entrance into the land of Canaan following the Exodus from Egypt.  The first occurrence was under Moses about one and one-half years following the Exodus, and the second occurrence was under Joshua forty years following the Exodus.  In each instance, with the nation anticipating entrance into the land, spies were first sent in to obtain a report concerning the land and its inhabitants.



At Kadesh-Barnea, Moses, by commandment of the Lord, sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan.  These twelve spies journeyed throughout the land for forty days; and at the termination of this time, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua, they returned with a false report concerning Israel’s ability to enter into, conquer, and take possession of the land.  This false report resulted in unbelief among the people.  The Israelites refused to believe that the Lord could bring to pass what He had commanded.  In their unbelief, they even sought to appoint a new leader and return to Egypt.  Consequently, God caused this nation to remain in the wilderness, outside the land of Canaan, for thirty-eight and one-half additional years.  The Israelites were caused to wander in the wilderness until every single individual in that generation, “twenty years old and upward ... save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun,” had died (Num. 13 & 14).



At the termination of the complete forty years, with a new generation on the scene, the Lord spoke to Joshua saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel ...” (Joshua 1: 2).  This new generation under Joshua was about to move forward at the point where the former generation under Moses had failed.  This time though, rather than twelve, only two spies were sent into the land, to view the land, even Jericho.”  And, following their surveyance of the land, these two spies returned to the camp of Israel with a  true report concerning the land and its inhabitants: And they said unto Joshua, ‘Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us’” (Joshua 2: 24).



Faith and Works



The two spies sent into Jericho prior to its destruction were provided with lodging in the house of Rahab the harlot, which was located on the city wall.  Rahab hid the spies, and she then helped them escape from Jericho by letting them down through a window on the outside of the wall with a scarlet line.”  Two things account for the inclusion of this incident at this point in Hebrews, chapter eleven:



1. Rahab’s Faith



Rahab, a Gentile alienated from God (Eph. 2: 12), believed what God had revealed far more readily than the generation of Israelites who, with God dwelling in their midst, fell away at Kadesh-Barnea.  Rahab’s response to the two spies constitutes one of the great confessions of faith recorded in the Word of God: I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.  For we have heard ...” (Joshua 2: 9, 10a).  Rahab heard, and then believed.  Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10: 17).



2. The Chronological Sequence of Events



Rahab was a Gentile saved out of the destruction of Jericho through the instrumentality of two Israelites sent to her house.  The destruction of Jericho in verse thirty typifies the coming destruction of the present world system; and the salvation of Rahab, by faith, out of this destruction in verse thirty-one typifies the salvation of Gentiles, by faith, out of the coming destruction.  The salvation of Gentiles out of the coming destruction will, as in the type, be effected through the instrumentality of Jewish messengers.



Rahab received the spies with peace.”  She believed the Word of God surrounding their journey.  It is evident from Heb. 11: 31; James 2: 25 and the account in the Book of Joshua that Rahab’s reception and treatment of the spies was the result of her faith.  The king of Jericho sent men to Rahab’s house in search of the spies, but she hid them and sent the king’s men elsewhere.  Thus, the two spies experienced protection at the hands of Rahab; and Rahab later experienced deliverance from the destruction of Jericho because of her treatment of the spies, based on her faith.



During the Great Tribulation 144,000 Jews will carry God’s message to the Gentiles throughout the earth. These Jews will minister to the earth-dwellers during a time when no man will be able to buy or sell,” save he possesses the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13: 17).  These individuals will be as the two Israelites in Jericho - within a world system about to be destroyed, with the king of this system (Antichrist) seeking their destruction.  The only place they will be able to find lodgement and safety will be at the hands of those typified by Rahab.  Gentiles in that day will befriend these Jewish witnesses because they, as Rahab, will believe the Word of God surrounding their ministry.



The position which Gentiles will occupy relative to the ministry of the 144,000 during the Great Tribulation is clearly brought out in the account of the judgment of the nations (Gentiles) in Matt. 25: 31ff.  This judgment occurs following Christ’s return, following His dealings with Israel, and following the battle of Armageddon. The armies of the Gentile nations of the world will come under God’s judgment at Armageddon, and Gentiles who survive the Great Tribulation and do not appear among the armies at Armageddon will then be judged. (Note that over fifty percent of the earth’s population will die during the judgments of the Tribulation, preceding Christ’s return; cf. Rev. 6: 8; 9: 15, 18; 11: 13; 13: 15.)



Following Armageddon, the Son of Man will sit upon the throne of his glory,” and all the Gentiles coming out of the Great Tribulation will be gathered before Him.  They will be separated, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.”  The sheep (saved Gentiles) will be placed on His right hand, and the goats (unsaved Gentiles) will be placed on His left hand.  Saved Gentiles will be allowed to enter into the kingdom,” but all unsaved Gentiles will be cast into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”



The revealed, determining factor surrounding salvation in this judgment will be centered on the Gentiles’ previous treatment of Christ’s “brethren during the Tribulation (vv. 35-40), as the revealed reason for Rahab’s salvation centered on her previous treatment of the two Jewish spies in Jericho (Joshua 6: 25). However, as Rahab’s treatment of the two spies in Jericho was based on faith, so will the treatment accorded the Jews by Gentiles during the Tribulation be based on faith.  Rahab acted by faith,” and so will Gentiles who befriend the Jews during the Tribulation.  Salvation cannot be effected apart from faith.  Without faith it is impossible to please God.



The Message Concerning the Kingdom



The message which will be carried to the ends of the earth by the 144,000 Jewish witnesses during the Great Tribulation is called in Matt. 24: 14, the gospel of the kingdom.”  The gospel of the kingdom was proclaimed to Israel in time past, but it is not the gospel presently being proclaimed to Christians.  The facet of God’s message having to do with the kingdom which is presently being proclaimed is called the gospel of the glory of Christ” (1 Cor. 4: 4, ASV).  However, following the removal of the [accounted worthy” (Luke 21: 36)] Church, the gospel of the kingdom will once again be proclaimed.  The ministry of the gospel of the kingdom has been committed to Israel, not the Church.  This message was proclaimed by Jews during the years immediately preceding the Church Age, and it will be proclaimed by Jews once again during the years immediately following the Church Age.



All facets of the message concerning the coming kingdom must be understood in their proper framework if one is to have a due appreciation and understanding of what God has done, is doing, and is about to do.  Thus, the remainder of this study will centre around the past, present, and future ministry of “the word of the kingdom” as it affects Jew, Christian, and Gentile.



1. The Kingdom Offered to Israel - Past



Almost 2,000 years ago John the Baptizer appeared to Israel as the forerunner of Christ with the message, Repent ye: for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matt. 3: 1).  After John was imprisoned, Jesus began to proclaim this same message.  He then commissioned His twelve disciples to carry this message, and later commissioned seventy other disciples to also carry this message.  The gospel of the kingdom proclaimed by Jesus, the twelve, and the seventy was a message directed only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and the message was accompanied by signs, wonders, and miracles (Matt. 4: 12ff; 10: 1ff; 15: 24; Luke 10: 1ff).  The signs, wonders, and miracles which accompanied the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom were visible manifestations of future kingdom conditions (Isa. 35: 5, 6), and, thus, constituted the credentials of these messengers to Israel (Acts 2: 22).



The kingdom offered to Israel was the kingdom of the heavens,” not the kingdom covenanted to David.  “The kingdom of the heavens is simply the rule of the heavens over the earth.  The governmental structure of this kingdom is located in a heavenly sphere, the subjects of this kingdom are located in an earthly sphere, and the kingdom itself is worldwide in its scope,under the whole heaven (Dan. 2: 35; 7: 27).



The present existing kingdom of the heavens is under the control of Satan and his angels, who reside in the heavens.  These principalities and powers are designated as world-rulers (Gk.) and are associated with darkness, not light.  These world-rulers, existing apart from light, govern a world which is itself in the grip of spiritual darkness - the Gentile nations, apart from God (Eph. 6: 12; cf. Eph. 2: 12; 5: 8).



[Fallen] Angels under Satan, holding various positions of power in this heavenly realm, govern the earth through men, holding various positions of power in the earthly realm.  The breakdown of governmental powers among men on earth has its counterpart, wherein the real controlling power lies, in a parallel breakdown of governmental powers among angels in the heavens.  Although the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men,” establishing and removing rulers and nations (Dan. 4: 17, 25, 26, 32; cf. Ezek. 28: 14-19; 38, 39; Gen. 10: 32; Ex. 15: 1ff; 17: 14), the kingdom of this world is presently in the hands of sinful man under the dominion of the incumbent Messiah and his subordinates - Satan and his angels.  The entire structure, under Satan, is a rule of darkness within a kingdom where darkness reigns supreme (Col. 1: 13).  And the governmental structure of the earth will remain in this fashion until the completion of Man’s Day.



Satan’s present rule extends over all the Gentile nations, but this rule does not include Israel.  Israel is not to be reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23: 9).  The prince over Israel is “Michael,” an angel governing Israel’s affairs directly under God, apart from Satan’s rule (Dan. 10: 21; cf. vv. 12-20).



Israel is God’s firstborn son, a special creation of God called into existence to rule upon this earth at the head of the nations (Ex. 4: 22, 23; 19: 5, 6; Isa. 43: 1).  Israel’s calling centers primarily around earthly promises and blessings.  Although Israel was in possession of heavenly promises and blessings in Old Testament times (Gen. 22: 17), the nation’s primary interest lay within her earthly calling - within the promises and blessings bound up in the covenants.  Consequently, when Christ offered the kingdom of the heavens to Israel, the leaders among the people were not interested, and the proffered kingdom was rejected.



2. The Kingdom Offered to Christians - Present



Following Israel’s rejection of the offer of the kingdom of the heavens this kingdom was taken from Israel, and the Church was subsequently called into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel ejected (cf. Matt. 16: 18, 19; 21: 43; 1 Peter 2: 9, 10).  Whereas in Old Testament times God had an earthly people who were in possession of both earthly and heavenly promises and blessings, today He has both an earthly people and a heavenly people in possession of these same promises and blessings.  Israel, God’s earthly people, remains in possession of all the earthly promises and blessings (associated with the nation’s present position as God’s firstborn son), which will be realized in the coming age; and the Church, God’s heavenly people, is presently in possession of all heavenly promises and blessings (associated with the Church’s coming position as God’s firstborn son), which will also be realized in the coming age.



Israel will yet realize her God‑ordained status for which she was called into existence, separated from Egypt, and directed toward a land previously given to this nation through an unconditional covenant established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  In order for this to transpire, Israel must be placed back in the land designated by the Abrahamic covenant, elevated to a status above all nations, and dwell in the land under a theocratic governmental structure with her Messiah dwelling in the midst of the nation.  Israel, however, in this future position will realize no heavenly promises and blessings, for these have been forfeited and are in possession of the Church.



The Church, as Israel, is yet to realize her God-ordained status for which she was called into existence. Christians have been called to separate themselves from the world and journey toward another land, typified by Israel’s separation from Egypt and journey toward Canaan.  Canaan was an earthly inheritance which lay before the nation of Israel, and the antitype has to do with a heavenly inheritance which lies before Christians. The ones standing in the way of the Israelites going in and possessing the land were Gentile nations, and the ones standing in the way of Christians going in and possessing the land are fallen angels ruling over the Gentile nations.  The Israelites were to conquer (overcome) the inhabitants in the land of their inheritance, and Christians are commanded to do likewise in the land of their inheritance.  Israel’s warfare was earthly, but the Christians’ warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [‘against the spirit forces of wickedness in heavenly places’ (an expression describing and locating the previously mentioned ‘world-rulers,’ i,e., the ‘principalities’ and ‘powers’)]” (Eph. 6: 12).



Just as surely as Caleb, Joshua, and the second generation of Israelites moved in and possessed the land of their inheritance, so will overcoming Christians one day move in and possess the land of their inheritance.  The incumbent rulers, as in the type, are to be put down; and Christ with His Church (which will then be His bride) are to dwell in that land in their stead, exercising a rule from the heavens over the earth.



In that day the governmental structure within both the earthly and heavenly spheres of the kingdom will be in harmony with Matt. 6: 10: “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  The will of Satan with his angels, exhibited in the heavens, is presently being manifested on the earth, contrary to the will of God.  But in the coming Kingdom - with a change in administration - the will of Christ with His bride, exhibited in the heavens, will be manifested on earth.  (Note the prominent place these words occupy in what could be termed the model prayer in Matt. 6: 9-13.  We are to pray, after this manner; and the very first petition set forth immediately following Hallowed be thy name is Thy kingdom come …” We are to pray concerning the coming kingdom; we are to pray concerning that time when a transfer of power will be effected, and righteousness - in heaven, and on earth - will be the order of the day.)



The gospel of the kingdom was proclaimed during the earthly ministry of Christ when the offer of the kingdom of the heavens was extended to Israel, but such is not the case with the offer of this same kingdom presently being extended to Christians.  The King is absent, and the kingdom can no longer be proclaimed as being at hand.”  The present time (Church Age) is the day of the proclamation of the gospel of grace and the gospel of glory.  An individual is to hear the gospel of the grace of God first; then, he is to hear the gospel of the glory of Christ.



a) The Gospel of the Grace of God



Key verses for this gospel are Rom. 1: 16 and Eph. 2: 8, 9.  This is the good news that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15: 3, 4).  This is a message for the unsaved alone.



Rom. 1: 16 reveals that this gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  God requires shed blood to atone for sin.  God’s Son paid the price on Calvary, and, according to Rom. 1: 16, God is satisfied with the price which His Son has paid.



Man can add nothing to that which God’s Son has already paid in full.  This is the reason we read in Eph. 2: 8, 9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”



Salvation is free for fallen man only because Someone paid the price - a price which God required, and a price which fallen man could not pay.  Your [eternal] salvation and my [eternal] salvation cost plenty.  This salvation cost the death of God as Son on Calvary.  The very blood of God was shed to purchase our [eternal] salvation (Acts 20: 28).



A present tragedy in Christian circles is the light regard many hold for the salvation which we possess merely because it didn’t cost us anything.  The tragedy for those in the world is the fact that God as Son has already paid the full price for their salvation, and this salvation is being spurned.



The Gospel of the Glory of Christ



Key verses for this gospel are 2 Cor. 4: 3, 4 and 1 Tim. 1: 11.  This is the good news concerning the glory of Christ which will be revealed in the coming age.  This is a message for the saved alone.



The words glorious gospel” in 2 Cor. 4: 4; 1 Tim. 1: 11 (KJV) should be translated gospel of the glory.”  This gospel was committed to the Apostle Paul, and is, on several occasions, called my gospel,” i.e., Paul’s gospel.  Shortly after his conversion Paul was taken into the Arabian Desert, Christ personally appeared to him, and spent approximately three years instructing Paul in matters concerning this gospel (Gal. 1: 11-18).



The gospel of glory has to do with the “mystery” which was revealed to Paul while he was with Christ in the Arabian Desert (Eph. 3: 2-12).  A mystery concerns a truth which had previously been hidden, but now revealed for the first time.  It is often taught that the Church is the mystery, but this is true only if one views the Church in its true sense - a called out group, synonymous with the bride of Christ.



Only in the gospel of the glory of Christ does one find the heirship (v. 6), and the unsearchable riches of Christ (v. 8).  The salvation which we presently possess is not an inherited salvation.  According to Scripture our inheritance can be forfeited, but not our eternal salvation.  Nor does the gospel of grace involve the unsearchable riches of Christ, but, rather, the shame, suffering, and humiliation of Calvary.



God has visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15: 14), and the mystery concerns the fact that God has accorded to these Gentiles (now Christians) the same privilege He has accorded to believing Jews (now Christians).  They have both become a part of the body of Christ.  God has broken down the middle wall of partition,” creating one new man in Christ (Eph. 2: 14, 15).  And the offer has been extended to individuals comprising this one new man - apart from any distinction between believing Jews and believing Gentiles - to participate in the Son’s inheritance as joint-heirs with the Son in the coming kingdom when His glory is revealed for the entire universe to behold.



3. The Kingdom Offered to Gentiles - Future



Israel was called into existence to be Jehovah’s witness to the ends of the earth, but Israel refused to go.  Israel was subsequently set aside, and another nation was called into existence to carry this message.  This other nation is the one new man,” the new creation in Christ.  But Christians, as a whole, have also refused to go; and following the removal of the Church [of the firstborn], God will turn once again to Israel.  Israel will then go to the Gentiles in numbers and in a manner which the Church has never been able to approximate.



This is graphically set forth in a type-antitype treatment of the Book of Jonah.  Jonah was called and commissioned to carry God’s message of salvation to the Gentile city of Nineveh, but he refused to go and ultimately ended up in the sea (typifying Israel’s present position - scattered among the Gentile nations).  The time came, however, when God heard Jonah’s cry for deliverance, removed him from the sea, placed him back in the land, and re-commissioned him.  Jonah then carried the message of the one True and Living God to the Gentiles throughout Nineveh, resulting in their salvation.  Likewise the day is coming when God will hear Israel’s cry for deliverance, remove Israel from the Gentile nations, place Israel back in the land, and re-commission this nation.  Israel will then carry the message of the one True and Living God to all the Gentiles of the earth, resulting in their salvation.



The nation of Israel will not be removed from the Gentile nations and go forth as God’s witness until the coming age.  Jonah was not placed back in the land until the third day (cf. Matt. 12: 40; Luke 24: 21), and neither will the nation of Israel be placed back in the land until the third day - the third one thousand-year period (Hosea 5: 15 - 6: 2; cf. 2 Peter 3: 8).  Israel’s national conversion occurs when Christ returns to the earth, and the nation’s completion of God’s purpose in her calling follows this time (Isa. 43: 9-12; cf. Rom. 11: 26, 29).  However, before the time if Israel’s national conversion, but following the Church Age, a segment if the nation - referred to as the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14: 4) - will be converted and go forth as God’s witness.  The firstfruits out of the nation are identified as the 144,000 (v. 3), synonymous with the 144,000 of chapter seven, who will carry God’s message to the ends of the earth prior to the conversion and ministry of the entire nation.  Thus, the 144,000 will bear witness during the Tribulation, preceding the witness borne by all Israel during the Millennium.



The message of the 144,000 will be the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 24: 14), for the kingdom of the heavens can then once again be announced as being at hand.”  Results of the ministry of the 144, 000 are described as a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues ...” (Rev. 7: 9).  These individuals, however, are only the ones martyred for their faith during the Great Tribulation (vv. 13‑15; cf. Rev. 13: 15; 20: 4).  There will also be an innumerable multitude of saved Gentiles who escape martyrdom and come out of the Great Tribulation alive.  These Gentiles will comprise the sheep appearing at the judgment of the nations in Matt. 25: 31ff.



Gentiles who are saved under the ministry of the 144,000 and suffer martyrdom will be accorded the privilege of ruling and reigning with Christ a thousand years” (Rev. 20: 4, 6; cf. James 1: 12; Rev. 2: 10).  These individuals will have all tears wiped from their eyes, something not said of everyone until after the Millennium (cf. Rev. 7: 17; 21: 4).



The promise of rulership with Christ held by the Tribulation martyrs (which must, of necessity, be “from the heavens”) does not appear to be equally held by saved Gentiles appearing at the judgment of the nations.  Of these it is said, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 5: 34).  Nothing is said about ruling with Christ, as is said of the Tribulation martyrs.  These individuals will, then, form the sheep nations which will enter into the earthly sphere of the kingdom with Israel.



Israel, converted and restored, will be placed at the head of the nations; saved Gentiles surviving and coming out of the Great Tribulation will form the nations over which Israel will exercise supremacy; and Christ with His bride will rule from the heavens, a rule which will also include Tribulation martyrs.



A Good Report



And what shall I more say?  For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned. they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goat-skins; being destitute. afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Heb. 11: 32-40).



The great issue in the Book of Hebrews is Faith.”  God has spoken, and man is called upon to believe what God has revealed.  The opening words in the first chapter of this book form the foundation upon which the remainder of the book rests: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son [lit. in Son’] ...” (Heb. 1: 1, 2a).  Old Testament saints were called upon to believe the Word of God in time past, and New Testament saints are called upon to believe the Word of God in these last days.



God’s revelation in the Book of Hebrews pertains particularly to issues surrounding a type-antitype treatment of the land of Canaan and the people of this land.  Within this framework, the book deals with an earthly calling in the type and a heavenly calling in the antitype.  The exercise of faith relative to the beginning point in an individual’s pilgrim walk is an issue in Hebrews (11: 4, 17-19), but this is not the main issue of the book.  Faith in Hebrews has to do primarily with the pilgrim walk itself in relation to the expectation of what God has promised beyond the pilgrim walk (11: 5-16, 20-40).



There are two great epistles on “faith” in the New Testament  - Romans and Hebrews.  Romans deals primarily with the salvation which we presently possess, the salvation of the spirit; and Hebrews deals primarily with the salvation to be revealed, the salvation of the soul.  Faith in Romans looks back to the issues of Calvary, and faith in Hebrews looks beyond this point to issues surrounding the present Christian life and the coming kingdom.  Herein lies the key to a correct understanding of belief or faith as presented, not only in these two books, but in the remainder of Scripture as well.






Hebrews, chapter eleven forms a climactic point toward which revelation in the first ten chapters move.  The response, by faith,” on the part of individuals throughout this chapter was occasioned by the promises of God.  God had, through His revelation unto the fathers by the prophets,” revealed certain things concerning His plans and purposes.  And within the scope of God’s revelation concerning His plans and purposes lay the promises of future blessings which would one day be realized by His people.  Numerous Old Testament saints became interested in these things, took their eyes off the present, and looked out into the future, believing that God would ultimately bring to pass what He had promised.



Outlining Abraham’s walk by faith in Heb. 11: 8-16, two things stand out above everything else - the promise of an earthly inheritance, and the promise of a better inheritance, that is, an heavenly.”  It is clear from verses 10-16 that not only did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob desire the heavenly inheritance above the earthly, but so did many other Old Testament saints (v. 9).  And it is also clear from passages such as Matt. 8: :11 and Luke 13: 28 that these Old Testament saints who moved through their pilgrim life by faith, looking beyond the earthly inheritance to the heavenly, will one day realize this heavenly inheritance.



Our text in Heb. 11: 32-40 centers around the thought of a better resurrection” (v. 35), a resurrection having to do strictly. With [overcomers and] Old Testament saints.  Certain Old Testament saints, by faith, passed through trials and testings, refusing to accept deliverance, even to the point of death, in order to obtain something which God had promised – “a better resurrection.” 



Hebrews, chapter eleven is divided into two parts (vv. 4-16; vv. 17-40), and each part begins at the same point and also ends at the same point - the blood sacrifice, and the Kingdom Age.  At the beginning of part one Abel offered a lamb (v. 4), and at the beginning of part two Abraham offered his son (vv. 17-19).  Part one terminates with Abraham and the heirs with him passing through their pilgrim life on earth, by faith, desiring a better country, that is, an heavenly” (v. 16); and part two terminates with Old Testament saints (heirs with Abraham) passing through the same pilgrim life on earth, by faith, that they might obtain “a better resurrection” (v. 35).  The heavenly inheritance into which Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and certain other Old Testament saints will enter is millennial in its scope of fulfilment; and, within the parallel between the two parts of Hebrews, chapter eleven, the better resurrection must also be millennial in its scope of fulfilment.  The better resurrection must also be inseparably linked with the heavenly inheritance.



It is clear from verse forty that the Old Testament saints who, in that coming day, have a part in the better resurrection will not be made perfect [brought to the goal of their calling]” apart from New Testament saints.  The goal of their calling during Old Testament days was a better country, that is, an heavenly; and this calling must be realized at a future time in the heavens with New Testament saints.  According to Matt. 8: 11, individuals outside the nation of Israel - Gentiles who have become Christians - and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are to sit down together in the kingdom of the heavens.



The fact that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be found in the Kingdom of the Heavens seems to reveal a mystery of which very little is said, although it is plainly corroborated by other Scriptures.  This is, that saved Israelites, like believers of our own Age, will ultimately be found to consist of two classes, the one, and much the smaller, of which will dwell in the Heavenly City of God; while the great bulk of the nation will, as Ezekiel tells us [Ezek. 37: 12-14], be raised from their graves when the Lord returns, and be led back to the land of Israel” (G. H. Pember).






All through Hebrews, chapter eleven there are parallels between the experiences of Old Testament saints and those of New Testament saints.  The better resurrection associated with the Israelites’ pilgrim walk by faith is no exception, for this resurrection has its counterpart in the out-resurrection associated with the Christians’ pilgrim walk by .faith.  And a study of one resurrection will shed light upon the other resurrection.



In Phil. 3: 10-14, Paul’s driving ambition, governing his entire pilgrim walk, was to attain unto the resurrection [lit. out-resurrection’] of the dead” (v. 11).  The out-resurrection in this verse appears in connection with the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 14).  A prize necessitates a conflict, which has to do with the present conflict between Christians and the world-rulers of the darkness of this age (Eph. 6: 12ff); and the reception of this prize requires victory in the conflict. 



The regular Greek word for “resurrection” appearing throughout the New Testament is anastasis.  This is a compound word comprised of ana, which means “up,” and stasis, which means to rise,” or to stand.”  Thus, anastasis means to rise up or to stand up.”  When used relative to those who have died, the exact meaning of the word would be, “a resumption of life allowing one to rise up or stand up from the state [and place] of death.”



The Greek word appearing in Phil. 3: 11, erroneously translated resurrection in most English versions of Scripture, is ekanastasis.  This word is made up of three parts (ek - ana - stasis).  The latter two parts of the word (ana-stasis), as we have seen, means to rise up,” or to stand up.”  But the preposition ek prefixed to anastasis adds a new dimension.  Ek means out of,” making ek-ana-stasis mean “to stand up out of [the state and place of the dead].*



[* The out-resurrection (ekanastasis) of Christians, will be a separation of “the dead in Christ,” from ‘Hades’ / ‘Sheol’ the place of “the dead” in the underworld.  At the time of the out-resurrection, certain Christians, will be separated from other Christians.   It is not a standing up out from amongst those who will be resurrected at the time of Christ’s return.]



Understanding ekanastasis in the light of its context in Phil. 3:11 will clearly reveal that a resurrection per se (rising from the dead) is not what is in view at all.  The subject at hand is overcoming,” “winning a prize in a conflict,” and these things are associated with the issues of the the judgment seat of Christ ant the coming kingdom.  Ekanastasis has to do with certain Christians (the overcomers) being elevated to a status above - “standing up out of[the place of the dead in the Underworld, (Luke 16: 19-31; Acts 2: 27, 31; Matt. 16: 18b. cf. Matt 12: 40; Rev. 6: 9-11, etc.] - the status occupied by the remaining Christians (the non-overcomers).  At the judgment seat of Christ certain Christians will be shown to have overcome the world, the flesh, and the Devil - the three great enemies of Christians - and the remaining Christians will be shown to have been overcome.  Overcoming Christians will then be elevated to a standing above Christians who were overcome and will be set apart for the distinct purpose of occupying positions with Christ in the kingdom.  They will realize the “prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”



Paul’s magnificent obsession in Phil. 3: 10-14 centered around an intimate relationship with Christ during his present pilgrim walk (v. 10) of such a nature that would allow him to ultimately be among those who would “attain unto the out-resurrection” (v. 11), receiving the “prize” (v. 14).






During Old Testament times Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob were in possession of both an earthly calling and a heavenly calling.  Many Old Testament saints looked beyond their earthly calling to a higher calling, the heavenly calling.  The removal of the kingdom of the heavens, from the nation of Israel during the earthly ministry of Christ (Matt. 21: 43) cannot void the fact that certain individuals, beginning with Abraham, qualified to occupy positions in the heavenly sphere of the coming kingdom. The nation of Israel itself - [un-resurrected, and therefore unable to be “like the angels” (Luke 20: 36)] - can have nothing to do with the kingdom of the heavens in the coming age.  Israel’s lot is earthly, and the heavenly sphere of the kingdom is being reserved for the Church – [the resurrected and glorified saints].  But individual Israelites during Old Testament days who aspired to heavenly places, passed through the trials and testings set before them, by faith, looking for better resurrection,” will one day realize the goal of their calling.  They must, else the promises of God to these individuals would fail of fulfilment.



Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were strangers and pilgrims in a land which they were to receive for an everlasting possession (Gen. 13: 14-16; 15: 13; 17: 7, 8; 26: 3, 4; 28: 13, 14); and in order for the promises of God to be fulfilled concerning this land, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must be raised from the dead and placed back in this land, no longer strangers and pilgrims (cf. Gen. 37:1). Then, for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to realize their heavenly inheritance as well, they must also dwell in heavenly places but still retain their status relative to the earthly inheritance.



The positions which Old Testament saints will occupy in the kingdom of the heavens must, of necessity, be over the nation of Israel.  Christians, outside the twelve apostles (Matt. 19: 28), are never promised positions of rulership over Israel, only over the nations (Gentiles).  And Israel is not to be “reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23: 9).  The numerous positions of rulership in the kingdom of the heavens over the nation of Israel are being reserved for a select group of individuals who have already been called out for this purpose.  They were called out during Old Testament days; and these individuals, having a part in the better resurrection,” will be elevated to heavenly places and occupy positions of authority over Israel in the coming age.  Their place in the kingdom of the heavens must be after this fashion, else they would lose their association with the land in the Abrahamic covenant - a land given to them for an everlasting possession.



Rights of the Firstborn



Israel, as God’s firstborn son, was in direct line to inherit the rights of primogeniture in the Old Testament.  The rights of primogeniture consisted of three things:



a) The firstborn was to be ruler of the household under and for the Father.


b) The firstborn was to act as priest of the family.


c) The firstborn was to receive a double portion of the Father’s estate.



Israel was placed in the position of God’s firstborn son to “serve” the Lord their God as a kingdom of priests, and an holy nationin the land of their inheritance - the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 4: 22, 23; 19: 5, 6).  In addition, at this time, Israel was also in direct line to inherit the double portion of the Father’s estate.  The Father’s estate included both heavenly and earthly territories, but Israel forfeited the heavenly portion of this inheritance.  This forfeiture nullified any claim which Israel as a nation possessed on the inheritance.  Only the select group of Old Testament saints who qualified to rule from the heavens could claim the inheritance beyond this point in Israeli history, for the nation’s relationship as a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation to the heavenly portion of this inheritance was gone.



The Church was subsequently called into existence to be the recipient of this forfeited inheritance, and the Church [of the firstborn] will inherit the double portion of the Father’s estate, following the adoption into sonship.  Although the blessings in store for Christians are heavenly, these heavenly blessings will include an earthly inheritance and possession.”  Christians are to be joint-heirs with Christ; and the Father has promised His Son, Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen [Gentiles] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession (Psa. 2: 8; cf. Rev. 2: 26, 27).  This earthly inheritance and possession - completely separate from Israel’s earthly blessings and inheritance - is associated with the kingdom of the world [present world kingdom under Satan ] - which will become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ [future world kingdom under Christ]” (Rev. 11: 15, ASV).



The Old Testament saints who qualified to rule from the heavens will realize the double portion of the Father’s estate at the same time as [overcoming] Christians.  As the saints of the present dispensation who rule from the heavens will possess an earthly inheritance (having to do with the Gentile nations), the saints of the past dispensation who rule from the heavens will also possess an earthly inheritance (having to do with the nation of Israel).  They will retain their rights of primogeniture, possessing a double portion of the Father’s estate - both heavenly and earthly.  The promise of the land within the bounds of the Abrahamic covenant, as an everlasting possession, will be realized in this manner by Old Testament saints who rule with Christ from the heavens.



Order of Rulers in the Kingdom



Within the coming kingdom of Christ, both in the heavens and on the earth, there will be two spheres of activity.  One sphere of activity pertains to Israel, and the other to the Gentile nations.  The order of rulers under Christ in the heavens will be divided between those who rule over Israel and those who rule over the Gentile nations, and supremacy among nations on earth will have passed from the Gentile nations to the nation of Israel.  Israel will be the supreme nation, and all the Gentile nations will be subordinate (actually in positions of servitude; cf. Isa. 14: 1, 2) to Israel.



The vice-regents who will rule under Christ in the kingdom of the heavens over the nation of Israel appear in Scripture in an orderly three-fold classification:



a) David.


b) The Twelve Apostles.


c) Old Testament Saints.



The vice-regents who will rule under Christ in the kingdom of the heavens over the Gentile nations also appear in Scripture in an orderly three-fold classification:



a) The 144, 000 Jewish Witnesses of the Tribulation.


b) Christians. [i.e., the overcomers, (Rev. 2: 26.)]


c) Tribulation Martyrs.



1. Rulers Over Israel



a) David: Israel’s first king from the kingly line, the line of Judah, was David; and David will be raised from the dead to rule over Israel in the coming age (Jer. 30: 9; Ezek. 34: 23, 24; 37: 22-25; Hosea 3: 4, 5).  David’s throne in Old Testament days was in Jerusalem, and his throne during the Kingdom Age must once again be in the earthly city of Jerusalem (11

(2 Sam. 7: 8-16).  Old Testament prophecies concerning David’s coming rule over Israel also place David among his people in the earthly sphere of the kingdom (e.g., Ezek. 34: 24).  But David was a prophet as well as a king” (Acts 2: 29, 30), and according to Luke 13: 28, 29all the prophets,” along with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,” will have a part in the heavenly sphere of the kingdom (cf. Matt. 8: 11, 12).  Consequently, Scripture clearly places David in both spheres of activity in the coming [millennial] kingdom - earthly and heavenly.



Such a rule will not be peculiar to David, for Christ, Who will be over David, will rule in both earthly and heavenly spheres of the kingdom.  He will exercise a rule from David’s throne in the earthly Jerusalem and also exercise a rule from His Own throne in the heavenly Jerusalem (Luke 1: 32, 33; Rev. 3: 21).  It is thus evident that David, as the first vice-regent directly under Christ over Israel, will exercise a rule with Christ in both spheres of the governmental structure of the kingdom.



b) The Twelve Apostles: Next in the order of rulers over Israel in the kingdom of the heavens will be the twelve apostles (Paul replacing Judas; Gal. 1: 1).  The specific promise concerning their place in the coming kingdom was given to the twelve during the earthly ministry of Christ: Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel’” (Matt. 19: 28).  These twelve will receive their authority from the Lord Jesus Christ through His first vice-regent, David. They will occupy positions directly under David over the twelve tribes of Israel.



c) Old Testament Saints:  Next in the order of rulers over Israel in the kingdom of the heavens will be the Old Testament saints - Abraham, Isaac Jacob, et al. - who qualified to rule from the heavens.  These are the ones who will have a part in the better resurrection of Heb. 11: 35.  They will apparently hold positions of rulership directly under the twelve apostles.



2. Rulers Over the Gentile Nations



a) The 144,000 Jewish Witnesses of the Tribulation: As the twelve who proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom to Israel for approximately three and one-half years at the first coming of Christ will occupy positions directly under Christ and His first vice-regent, David, the 144,000 who proclaim the gospel of the kingdom to the Gentiles for ‑ a comparable length of time immediately preceding - the second coming of Christ will occupy positions directly under Christ over the Gentile nations.  The specific promise is given in Rev. 12: 5: And she [Israel] brought forth a man child [lit. son’ (‘sons’ alone can rule; a ‘child’ cannot)], who was to rule [lit. is about to rule’] all nations with a rod of iron.”  The man child is to be identified as the 144,000 of Revelation, chapters seven and fourteen, not as Christ.



b) Christians - [i.e., the overcomers from amongst them]: Christians constitute the “peculiar people” to whom the offer to rule in the heavenly places over the nations with Christ in His kingdom is presently being extended.  The specific promise concerning this rule is given in Rev. 2: 26, 27; 3: 21: “And he that overcometh, and keepth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron ...  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne …”



Christians who qualify to occupy positions in the kingdom will rule in various positions of power and authority - some over ten cities, some over five, and some over one (Luke 19: 11ff).  Christians will apparently occupy positions of rulership directly under the 144.000 Jewish saints and the twelve who rule over Israel.



c) Tribulation Martyrs: The specific promise concerning Tribulation martyrs and their place in the kingdom is given in Rev. 20: 4: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark in their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”



This is the only information provided in Scripture concerning the place of the Tribulation martyrs in the kingdom.  Their rule with Christ must, of necessity, be from the heavens, for that will be the abode of those who rule with Christ.



Thus will the future kingdom of Christ be established following the overthrow of the present kingdom of Satan.  Christ will rule over all, and individuals from the camp of Israel in the prior dispensation; from among [the overcoming] Christians in the present dispensation, and from among [the overcoming] believers during the coming Tribulation will be positioned in heavenly places, forming the great company of saints who will rule as vice-regents with Christ during the kingdom age.






I am coming soon.  Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown:” (Revelation 3: 11, N.I.V.).