• Cross-section diagram of the location of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, in relation to the site believed to be Golgotha | Photo credit: Yupi666 at English Wikipedia - Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

The Secret of Israel (15) – When will it be?

Rev Henk Poot - 9 April 2019

The coming of God’s Son has enormous consequences for the history of salvation and for Israel. First and foremost, God’s Anointed One has robbed the Satan, the great adversary of God’s involvement with the world, of his power base. On the way to Golgotha(*) Jesus sees the devil falling from the sky like a bolt of lightning.

And the New Covenant is made by God and confirmed by Jesus’ sacrifice. Soon He will, exalted to the right hand of the Father, dispense its gifts: Forgiveness of all of Israel’s sins and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. In the encounters with their risen Master it dawns upon the disciples that the gates of the restoration of all things are wide open. Nothing can frustrate God’s plans anymore and the kingdom is waiting for those who believe in the name of Jesus. The beautiful future spoken of by the prophets will dawn in full glory.

I think that the disciples are fully convinced that one mission is waiting: All of Israel must be informed about what Jesus has done and all children of God’s chosen people must be prepared of the coming of the future age. In the name of Jesus they will undergo the final cleansing, the baptism of forgiveness of sins and thereupon they will receive Christ’s Spirit to enter the life in the Kingdom.

All disciples were given to understand that that mission is placed on their shoulders. For forty days they are prepared to this and receive education in all the details of the Kingdom. Jesus initiates them, explains all secrets and teaches them what they will have to preach soon. They are the first who will receive the Holy Spirit and with this they will be sent forth into Israel. And their mission will be crowned on Christ’s return when they will rule as kings in Jerusalem on twelve thrones over the twelve tribes of God’s people.

It will be an all-embracing work: Not only Judea and Jerusalem, but Samaria too will be their field of work in the last phase of the history of salvation. They will even be sent out to all corners of the world to proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom. To the Jewish people in the Diaspora and also the gentiles who joined Israel will be reached, the proselytes or God-fearing ones.

But then it will happen and moreover their work will not take long. It is a matter of time, months, perhaps no more than years. That is why the final question of the disciples to Jesus is: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). And that is what this ultimately is all about: Israel and her glory will be restored in a world that lies in the power of darkness.

Later, Christians will say that the disciples didn’t understand it at all and that their question is a clear proof of that. But that is a remark that will be made when replacement theology will be widely spread in the gentile Christian Church: The ignorant Jews misunderstood their own Bible and didn’t understand Jesus like they and their ignorant disciples are a case in point. But nothing is further from the truth!

Of course did the disciples understand after Jesus’ teaching that in the recovery of all things, in the coming of the kingdom, Israel will be at the centre. But one thing is apparently not clear yet and later it will be shown how someone like Peter is grappling with it: The message of the Gospel will have to be brought into the world beyond the bounds of the Jewish people. God’s salvation will reach until the end of the world. The nations will be invited too and will be engrafted as wild branches in the cultivated olive tree.

In Acts 10 the Roman centurion Cornelius will be the first gentile who is accepted and soon a new apostle will appear, Paul the Pharisee, who will spread the name of Jesus in the world of the nations.

With that the history of salvation will take a dramatic turn. And it will not be long before these developments will lead to an enormous complication and confusion in the relationship between Israel and Jesus’ followers and the new believers from the nations.

*) Golgotha (John 19:16-18 ESV) is the Aramaic name of the place where Jesus was crucified outside Jerusalem. Calvary (Luke 23:33) is used in the King James Version in reference for the same location. Calvary is derived from the Latin phrase “Calvariae Locus”.

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