Any honest Bible exegete will have to acknowledge the dual nature of Israel.  We see this duality demonstrated in Abraham’s response to God’s promise to give him a land flowing with milk and honey.

Instead of building a permanent dwelling or a city called by his name upon his arrival in the land of promise, oddly, he wandered around in tabernacles (Temporary dwellings) with Isaac and Jacob.  He considered it a strange country – Hebrews 11:9  Why?  He had finally arrived in the land that God swore to give him.  His search should have been over.  Because he did not consider the promise of natural land the crown jewel of God’s promise to him.  Vs 10 is clear that his search was for a land far more enduring than mere physical land.  His view was on a spiritual city not built by man, Zion/Spiritual Jerusalem.  

We have a vivid picture here of two cities – one is the physical fulfillment of the promise built by man and is in bondage.  The other, Zion/Spiritual Jerusalem, was built by God and is the mother of us all – Galatians 4:25-26.

 There is an underlying spiritual nature to the Old Testament scriptures that requires a spiritual connection to God to ferret out.  God often hide truths in this manner from the wise in their own conceits and reveal them unto babes.  The Old Covenant, Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 10:11, is for types and for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world have come.  The Greek word  “ensamples” in the text is Typos.  It means a figure or an image.   Jesus, throughout His ministry, taught in this way using natural types to reveal greater spiritual truths.  

 If one has a carnal and natural approach to scriptures, it’s easy to get tripped up by the letter of the Word (Nicodemus did)  and miss the simple Spirit of the Word – 2 Corinthians 3:6.

 So far, we can glean from the scriptures that there is a group of people who follow the same faith as Abraham having the same foresight and vision – Romans 3:9.  There is also another group whose view is completely physical and natural. Paul, expounds on both groups in Romans 2:28-29.  He brings into focus who the real jews are and who they aren’t.  He lets the seeker of truth know that the physical act of cutting away the foreskin of the flesh is actually a type of the spiritual act of circumcising the heart.  

 It is impossible to understand who we are as the body of Christ or understand eschatological events without understanding that the anointed assembly (Church) is indeed Israel and we as members of the body of Christ are the real jews.  According to Paul, natural ethnicity is not a metric to determine one’s jewish pedigree.  Rather, following the same faith a Abraham and being one with Jesus Christ – Galatians 3:29.  

 For most of my Christian life, I have viewed myself as a gentile member of the “church.”  I have never associated myself as being jewish or the “church” (I prefer anointed assembly) as being Israel.  I have had to renew my mind in order to receive and believe who I really am in Christ.

  • I am a jew – Romans 2:28
  • I am Abraham’s seed – Galatians 3:29
  • I am a citizen of Israel – Galatians 6:16, Ephesians 2:12,19   

Who then, you may ask, are the people now occupying Israel?  Aren’t they jews? No, they aren’t.  They certainly are physical descendants of Abraham but as I said, they are the type, the shadow, the figure of the spiritual seed of Abraham. Paul is quite blunt about who they are in Romans 9:8  We may call them jews based on their ethnicity.  Ethnicity, however, does not qualify them for citizenship in New Testament Spiritual Israel.  They become citizens the same way you and I do, by grace through faith – Galatians 2:8.  This is the only way. There is not another.  You must be born again – John 3:3.  I should add here that the natural branches (Ethnic jews) were broken off the olive tree (Israel) and we gentiles were grafted into their place – Romans 11:17.  If they abide not in unbelief, they will be grafted back into Israel.  A remnant of them will as we approach the coming of the Lord.

Earth Dwellers vs Heaven Dwellers

 Revelation 1:7 is a scripture that dispensationalist use as the point where the ethnic jews accept Christ and are given the kingdom based solely on their ethnicity.  As I have pointed out, this scenario would be against scriptures. Revelation 1:7 is actually the flip side of John 16:20.  In John’s gospel, Jesus’ disciples, i.e. the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, were mourning for Him as one mourns for an only son – Zechariah 12:10, John 19:37. The Greek word for “mourn” is Threneo.  It simply means to mourn, lament, to bewail, deplore.  It embodies the same grief that one would have for a lost loved one.  The “world,” as Jesus said, was rejoicing.  The “world” in the text is comprised of everyone in Israel who was not a disciple or follower of Jesus.  Notice that Jesus did not say that the rest of Israel would rejoice.  He call them the “world.”  

Now let’s take a closer look at Revelation 1:7.  The salient points of the text are:

  • “They also which pierced Him” shall see him.
  • all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.

According to the scriptures, Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled at Calvary.  The house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem looked on Him whom they pierced at that time.  The “look” was described by Moses in Numbers 21:9.  Any one who was bitten by the serpents lived when they looked unto the Brazen Serpent.  This was a perfect type of our Lord being lifted up on the cross for humanity’s snake bite of sin – John 3:14-15.  Anyone who looks unto Him and believes receives eternal life.  Those who didn’t look unto Him then and who aren’t looking unto Him now in light of His grace being poured out abundantly, will look on Him whom they pierced at His second advent, but it will be a look of despair and hopelessness.  They will mourn, too, but they will not be mourning as one mourns for an only son.  it will be a wail of regret and of utter dejection and hopelessness.  The Greek word mourn or wail in the Revelation 1:7 text is Kopto.  It means to cut, to strike, to smite, to cut from, to cut off, to smite one’s breast.  The same word is used when they cut palm branches and laid them in the street during Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.   it is obvious that this word does not convey the same meaning as mourn in John 16:20.  Instead of the mourning FOR Him, they will be mourning BECAUSE of Him.  It is a wail of missed opportunity, a cry of terror for fear of having fallen into the hands of a living God.  They will be cutting themselves and smiting themselves on the breasts in bitterness and pain.

Let me ask you this dear saint of God.  Is this a picture of what the saints will be doing when we finally witness His glorious appearing?  Of course not!  We did our mourning when we came to calvary.  We looked to Him whom we pierced at that time.  When He finally cracks the eastern sky, We will be the ones rejoicing, Hallelujah!

There is a certain theme throughout the book of Revelation that underscores my points of duality perhaps more than in any other book.  There are two groups of people specified – those who dwell in the heavens and those who dwell on the earth. The former is referring to those who are in Christ. The scriptures confirm this fact in Ephesians 2:5-6.  We are now seated in heavenly places in Christ. Heaven is where those who are in Christ dwell in a spiritual sense.  Heaven is the source of our provision and our very existence.  I hasten to add that you can be a so called Christian and not necessarily be a heaven dweller.  By that I mean that your affections could be totally earthly.  We are admonished to set our affections on heavenly things – Colossians 3:2.  Our Lord sets forth the same truth in John 8:23.  What did He mean, “Ye are from beneath?”  They were earthly; their dwelling was on earth.  He on the other hand is the Lord from heaven.  His dwelling was in heaven and so is ours if we have been born from above – John 4:17.   Just as He is not of this world, neither are we of this world – John 17:14-16. Revelation 12:12 draws a clear line between the earth dwellers and the heaven dwellers. 

 Now take a look at the earth dwellers… Revelation 11:10 .   Here you have 2 prophets who dwelled in the heavens martyred for tormenting the earth dwellers.  The text is clear on this, and distinguishes, as do other passages in Revelation, between earth dweller and heaven dwellers.  Obviously, God’s people are not among this bunch who are rejoicing at the murder of God’s prophets? The book of Revelation is replete with passages that delineate between these groups.

  • Revelation 3:10
  • Revelation 8:13
  • Revelation 13:8
  • Revelation 13:14
  • Revelation 17:2
  • Revelation 17:8

It is incontrovertible that earth dwellers in all these passages mean those who are completely ruled by their lower nature and who don’t know Christ. Therefore, “Kindreds of the earth” in Revelation 1:7  has to be interpreted the exact same way.  In lights of this, the only reason to interpret this passage differently is intellectual dishonesty and doctrinal bias.   

If you are consistent in your exegesis of the passages I’ve mentioned, you would have to conclude that “Tribes or ‘Kindreds’ of the earth” in Revelation 1:7 refer to the same base characters as in Revelation 11:10 and all the other places I’ve enumerated.  Can you not see this?  

 Having established this, let’s take a look at the cognate verse of Revelation 1:7 –  Matthew 24:30-31.  Notice that the Jesus uses the same term that John echoed, “Tribes of the earth.”  Verse 31 is in perfect harmony with everything i’ve set forth in this treatise.  Jesus is gathering His elect from one end of heaven to the other.  This is a picture of the rapture – the resurrection of the saints who are asleep (one end of heaven) and the saints on earth who are alive and remain (the other end of heaven)  One thing for certain, he isn’t gathering anyone who is of the earth.  

God has hidden these things in the scriptures, and not everyone can see this.    The bottom line is this, there are only two groups of people on the earth, inhabitants of Heaven and by extension Spiritual Israel/Zion  and inhabitants of the earth.  Which are you?

A Tale of Two Israels

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…”
-Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

As most of you know, Charles Dickens wrote those famous lines in 1859.  The story is set during the French Revolution – a time when society was turned upside down.  The aristocracy who enjoyed all the privileges and comforts of the upper class was violently ousted and the underclass was, for the first time, embracing freedom and human rights.  For the underclass, things were better than ever but for the aristocracy, things could not have been any worse.

This dichotomy could aptly be applied to the nation of Israel.  The religious hierarchy had, by unbiblical traditions and policies, divided the nation between the religious elite who supported and maintained the status quo and the common people who longed for the promises and blessings of Abraham.

For centuries, these two groups coexisted and had all of the appearances of being knit together by a common set of ordinances and laws delivered to them by their patriarchs.  Appearances, however, can be deceiving.  

The religious leaders and the elite espoused a very rigid, legalistic view of the Word of God.  The common people, on the other hand, longed for the simplicity and profundity underneath the letter of the Word delivered to them centuries earlier.   

Jesus was the embodiment of God’s Word,  John 1:1).  He was also the catalyst that exposed and divided Israel and thus shined a light on false-feigned worship and true worship, Luke 12:51. 

Image Courtesy of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at Patheos Blog
Image Courtesy of Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts at Patheos Blog

The division between the two was consummated by the death of Jesus.  As Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished,”  He bowed His head and yielded up His spirit to God.  At that time the temple veil which separated the holy place from the most holy place was torn from top to bottom.  It is said that the veil was 6 inches thick and required 300 priest to move.  So, the ripping from top to bottom could not have been done by human hands.  I should point out here that the ripped veil represented several things.  1)  Animal sacrifices would never again be accepted by God, Hebrews 10:14.  2) Their temple, Jesus said, was left desolate (empty), Matthew 23:38.  After He spoke those sad words, He departed from their temple.  God will never again live in a temple made by human hands; “natural” Jerusalem will never again be a place of worship, John 4:21.  Last, the ripped veil represents the flesh of Jesus which was torn to provide access to the throne of God by the blood of His sacrifice. Carnal priest are no longer needed.  As spiritual priest, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices daily and are granted entry into the very throne room of God, Romans 12:1.  Praise God!

The Apostle Paul describes the duality of the nation in Romans 9:6.   Paul is clearly saying that there is a group within Israel that is not really Israel. They bear the name Israel; they go through all of the motions of closeness to God but in reality, their hearts are far from Him.  Their rejection of God’s son demonstrated that they did not know God, John 8:19.

Jesus, again, delineates between the two Israels when He said in John 16:20 that one group, the world, would rejoice at His death and the other group would lament and mourn.  It should be obvious that Jesus is speaking about His death and resurrection.  Those who were truly children of Abraham mourned and lamented when He was crucified.  The “world,” however, rejoiced.

Just ask yourself: who was mourning when Jesus died and who was rejoicing?  

Jesus’ disciples and those who loved Him were the ones mourning;  the pharisees, the religious leaders, the political leaders and the elite were the ones rejoicing.  Jesus said they were the “world.”

I should point out that anyone who rejects the Lord Jesus, Jew or Gentile, is considered the world.

Now, having said all this, I would like to trace a connecting thread from John 16:20 back to the prophet Zechariah who began his ministry circa 520 BC.  

THE HOUSE OF DAVID AND THE INHABITANTS OF JERUSALEM

 Zechariah 12:10

I know that dispensationalist will chafe at what I’m about to reveal concerning this prophecy in Zechariah, but I feel very strongly that this is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me.

Just as there was a duality in Israel in the days of Jesus.  The same phenomenon exists in the body of Christ today. There are those in the body of Christ today who see only the dead letter and whose approach to scripture is completely carnal.  Conversely, there are those who are hungry for and willing to receive the spirit underlying the holy writ. The latter will receive what I’m about to share the same way I received it from the Lord – with great joy, hallelujah!  

First, let me point out a position that many, if not most, dispensationalists hold vis a vis Revelation 1:7; the Jews at the second advent will look on Him whom they pierced and at that point mourn for Him and receive Him as their Messiah.  This position is false on so many levels.  

  • First, faith does not come by looking or seeing John 12:37.  The unbelievers saw all the miracles and yet rejected Jesus.  Faith, instead, comes by hearing the word of God Romans 10:17.  I don’t know of any other way of acquiring faith.
  • Second, and more importantly, the real Jews looked on Him whom they pierced at least 2000 years before the second advent.  It is incontrovertible that Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled at Calvary,  John 19:36-37  

Now that we’ve established that Zechariah 12:10 was fulfilled at Calvary, let’s unpack this gift God has given us and see what’s inside.

The text is clear that God will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (I will share more about the inhabitants of Jerusalem in a subsequent post.)  

I need to reiterate that all of this was taking place at the cross.  The house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem received a spirit of grace and supplication at the cross; the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem looked on Him whom they pierced at the cross; the house of David and the inhabitants Jerusalem mourned for Him as one would mourn for an only son at the cross.

The Cross of Jesus

Who then are the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem?  

They certainly aren’t the ones rejoicing.  Are they?  The “world” was rejoicing at that time John 16:20.  Jesus said the “world” would be rejoicing at His death. Amen?  

On the other hand, His disciples and those who loved and followed Him were the ones who were mourning for Him as one mourns for an only son, just as Jesus said in John’s gospel.  And of course, we know that they looked on Him whom they pierced.

In summary, the ministry of Jesus exposed a divide in Israel – a divergence of two groups of people and the emergence of the inhabitants of spiritual Jerusalem.  

One group was inhabitants of natural Jerusalem which is a type of Hagar and is in bondage.  The other group inhabits spiritual Jerusalem, the mother of all and is a type of Sarah, the free woman.  Galatians 4:25-26

To be continued…