Provoking Israel to Jealousy

There is another aspect of the resurrection when studying the end times and Israel which is often overlooked.  The reason why it is overlooked is because most people view the church as being a temporary replacement for Israel.  The Bible has illustrated the relationship between Israel and the church in several places.  Consider first the following scriptures.
 
Galatians 3:16 ~ The promise was destined to be fulfilled through Abraham’s seed, singular, not Abraham’s seeds, plural.  There is only one people of God and they are all children of Abraham.  Note Galatians 3:26-29 ~ Once we are in Christ, the distinctions of this age no longer apply, including no disctinction between Jew and Greek.  The reason why is that all who are in Christ are children of Abraham.  If we are all children of Abraham by faith, we are all spiritual Israelites.
 
Ephesians 2 ~ In verses 11-13, Paul explains the blessings poured out on Gentile believers through God’s grace.  It is one of inclusion within the nation of Israel.  Once they were spiritually uncircumcised, now they are spiritually circumcised.  Once they were without Christ, now they are with Christ.  Once they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, now they are benefactors from the commonwealth of Israel.  Once they were strangers from the covenants (that’s plural meaning more than one covenant), now they are participants in the covenants.  If we take the plain meaning of what Paul is writing, we understand that believing Gentiles are allowed to participate in the Old Testament promises made to Israel.  The following verses (14-17) explain that this happened through the work of Christ on the cross, by the blood of Christ.  Now the Gentiles are no more strangers and foreigners (18-22) but very citizens of the household of God being built upon the Old Testament foundation, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.
 
Now let’s move to the main text.  Romans 9-11 give the scriptural relationship between Israel and the church.  For brevity’s sake, let’s note that Paul states that God is absolutely not done with the nation of Israel, but has a future plan and, catch this, is presently working through the spiritual remnant of believing Israelites, 11:1-5.  National Israel has been blinded, but only in part, 11:25.  The participation of Gentiles in within the spiritual remnant of Israel is given to us as a picture of an olive tree.  Some natural branches (unbelieving Israelites) have been broken of for a season.  Some unnatural branches (believing Gentiles) have been grafted in to the tree.  Note Paul’s statement that the root bears the branches, not the other way around.  The foundation for the nation of Israel is what supports believing Gentiles, but so many people have it backward.  They think the church supports the nation of Israel.  That’s not the way scripture sets it forth.
 
But now let’s get to the reason God is doing all this.  God still wants to get the attention of the nation of Israel.  He will do it through the fullness of the Gentiles which provokes Israel to jealousy.  The original prophecy is back in Deuteronomy 32:21.  The entire chapter gives the context of the Israelites provoking God to jealousy through things that were not God.  Therefore God will provoke Israel to jealousy by that which is not even a people, not even an official nation.  Paul quotes this prophecy twice in the Romans passage, once in 10:19, and once in 11:11.  Paul states the way this OT prophecy will be fulfilled is through the church, that is, the inclusion of Gentile believers within the people of spiritual Israel.  Think about it; the church is a peculiar people, yet they have no capitol city.  The church is a holy nation, but with no land boundaries.  The church is a chosen generation, but with no age restrictions.  In times past they were not a people, but are now the very people of God, see I Peter 2:9-10.
 
So it is now the role of Gentile believers (within spiritual Israel) to provoke national Israel to jealousy.  Do you see the language Paul uses in Romans 11:11?  Through the fall of national Israel, salvation comes to the Gentiles in order to provoke national Israel to jealousy.  But for those who are concerned that God will be completely finished with the Gentiles once they have provoked Israel to jealousy, Paul addresses this concern in verse 15.  If the casting away of national Israel be the reconciling of the world, then what will the receiving of national Israel be but life from the dead?
 
Life from the dead.  It’s going to happen at the receiving of Israel, the grafting back in of the natural branches, the lifting of the blindness of Israel, the forgiveness of sins for all of Israel.  These things will all happen at the restoration of Israel and at that same time: life from the dead.  In the Greek, it is literally ZOE from NEKROS.  Again and again we see the connection between the resurrection from the dead and the restoration of Israel.  Along with this will be blessings for Gentile nations as well.
 
It is the function of the church to provoke the nation of Israel to jealousy, which results in life from the dead, the resurrection.  We know that in the end times scheme, the restoration of Israel happens during the time of Jacob’s trouble, at the coming of the LORD as He comes to pour out His wrath, see Isaiah 26 post.  Gentile believers within the church will accomplish their mission during the time of Jacob’s trouble.  Israelites will see a zeal for the God of Israel greater than their own.  Israelites will see that Gentile believers are willing to die for the God of Israel and will be provoked to jealousy.  The 144,000 will be sealed to remain here supernaturally protected from God’s wrath during the day of the LORD, while the rest of the church will be raptured.  The handoff of the torch will have officially occurred by the time the seventh seal is opened.  That’s the PreWrath position.  Here is a quote from Marv Rosenthal’s The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church
 
 "The symmetry, balance, and timing of Revelation 7 should not be
missed. With chapter 8, the Day of the Lord will begin. Therefore,
in chapter 7 the church is raptured. But immediately prior to the
Rapture of the church, the 144,000 Jews are sealed. It is almost
like a baton being passed between runners. The 144,000 must be
sealed for protection to go through the Day of the Lord before the
church can be caught up to the throne in heaven. God will not leave
Himself without a people on the earth."
 
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
 
-The Orange Mailman
 
P.S.  There is no room in scripture for a separate age with no Gentile believers grafted in to the body of Christ in between the present church dispensation and the time of the Great Tribulation or even the Day of the LORD.  Gentile believers will continue to be a part of the body of Christ until national Israel is provoked to jealousy at the sixth seal after the Great Tribulation.
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