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Clear New Testament Confirmation of God’s Plans for the Jews

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #26 ~

Does God say anything in the New Testament about the future of the Jews? Of course He does, and that’s because He wants us to know for certain that His promises to the Jews are still true. Here are some key verses:

Luke 24:45 – “All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Jesus needed to remind His disciples, and us, that all the things written in the Old Testament about Him would come true, which would include reigning as King over the world, and carrying out His promises to the Jews.

Romans 11:25-26 – “A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved.” These are the most crystal clear verses in the entire New Testament about the salvation of the Jews in the end times. It’s going to happen, and it’s after this church age is over, after the salvation of a great number of Gentiles.

Hebrews 11:10,13,16“He (Abraham) was looking for the city which has foundations… All these died in faith without receiving the promises.” These verses once again prove that God’s promise to the Jews about their land will be fulfilled, and this will take place after the end of this church age.

Luke 1:54-55“He (God) has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and His descendants forever.” All the Jews knew about God’s promise to Abraham, and now through Mary, God lets us know that He’s not going back on His word – He will most definitely keep His promise!

Acts 3:20-21“that He (God) may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets.” Here’s another verse validating the truth of God’s Old Testament promises to the Jews, that they would be blessed with land, and with a Kingdom that would be ruled by Christ Himself.

Revelation 11:15“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.” God made this promise to David that one of His descendants would be King over Israel, and over the entire world, and it will finally be realized at the 7th trumpet, at the very end of Daniel’s 70th week.

Luke 1:31-33“You will conceive and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High… He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” This is another confirmation of God’s promise about His Son being the eternal King over this earth. And it was Mary’s first born son Jesus who would be the Son of God, in fulfillment of His promise to His people.

These verses were placed in the New Testament because God wants Christians living during this church age to know and be convinced of His future plans for the Jews. All these verses are clear confirmation that God has not nullified His plans for the Jews, but will faithfully carry them out. And there is nothing in the New Testament that negates God’s promises to the Jews. Those who say there’s no future for national, ethnic Israel are in error, for God never says that the church replaces Israel when it comes to the Old Testament promises. And in fact, here are some other New Testament verses that specifically relate to this subject of the Jews and their future: Matthew 23:37-39. Matthew 24:15-27. Mark 13:14-23. Luke 21:20-24. Luke 22:29-30. Luke 24:25. Acts 1:6-11. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9. Revelation 7:1-8. Revelation 11:1-13. Revelation 12:5-17. As we look at the world around us, and as we closely examine the above passages, it’s obvious that God’s end time work with the Jews will soon be moving full speed ahead.

At this time Christians should focus on the church. But we are to also have our eyes open to what God is doing around us, and to know that the future of the church relates directly to the future of the Jews. God will not do His prophetic work with the Jews apart from His prophetic work with the church. Old Testament believers had promises for their land, their King, and their salvation, but they wouldn’t see them realized apart from the New Testament saints. Hebrews 11:39-40 says it well, “All these (Old Testament believers), having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us (New Testament believers), so that apart from us (New Testament believers) they (Old Testament believers) would not be made perfect.”

Let me conclude by giving you the big picture perspective: Christ’s 1st coming was transitioning God’s work from the Jews to the church, and Christ’s 2nd coming will be transitioning God’s work from the church to both Old Testament believers and New Testament saints. That takes us into the next age, the millennial kingdom age.

P.S.  I’ve just published a short article about the importance of the Word of God with a long list of some of my favorite verses:  The Instructive, Commanding, Comforting and Encouraging Word of God!!!

Why the Jews Are Important for You and the Church

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #25 ~

Why? Why is this the 7th week in a row that I’m doing a blog post related to the Jews? Because all that you read in the Bible about the Jews is God’s Word and is true. Because the Bible talks about their past but it also talks about their future. Because hundreds of promises for the Jews are still unfulfilled – they haven’t been cancelled, only suspended. Because you can’t understand God’s future plans for the church if you can’t understand God’s future plans for the Jews. Because error is being taught about the Jews that needs to be corrected. Why? Because it relates to the purposes of God, the work of God, and the glory of God. The truth about the Jews is very important!!

Many Christians haven’t learned everything they need to know about the Jews, and are therefore confused, in error, or uncertain of God’s overall purposes for the world. Because they don’t understand God’s past, present and future working with the Jews, then their knowledge of His plans for the Jews and the church is incomplete and incorrect.

Since we live in the church age, then it’s necessary that we focus on the church, but it’s also important, especially at this time in history, to back up and see the big picture. We need to go back to the past, and then come back to the future, so that we can see where we’ve come from, and where we’re going. A big picture Biblical perspective of God’s work with the Jews is essential for the spiritual growth and health of the church.

Let me share my experience. About five years ago I was teaching the book of Revelation at our Wednesday Bible study. We came to Revelation 20 which is about the kingdom age, but there weren’t many details given, and so I felt stuck. I couldn’t just zoom past 1000 years of our lives, a glorious time when we’ll be reigning with Christ on earth. I had to figure out what this millennial kingdom age was all about. Then I realized God didn’t say anything about it in Revelation 20 because all He needed to say had already been said in the Old Testament, and He expected me to read what He had already written. Why should He repeat Himself? I knew I needed to go back to the Old Testament and learn some things about the Jews that I should’ve learned a long time ago.

For the next year our Bible study examined the Old Testament to see what it said about the Jews’ future (and the church’s future). I have to tell you, that was one of the most enlightening and encouraging studies I’ve ever done – WOW! It was revolutionary – it changed my view of my life, my view of the church, my view of prophecy, and my view of the future! I have to admit, the Bible made a lot more sense. Like never before God gave me a glimpse of the plans He had for the Jews and for the church. But more than that, my enlarged view of God and of Christ, of their purposes and character, and of their greatness and glory, transformed my heart like never before. I was really humbled.

My desire is to pass on to you what I’ve learned, to keep sharing with you what I know; but I want to encourage you to read the Old Testament yourself. By God’s grace, might you begin to more clearly see God’s promises and plans for the Jews, and how that fits in with your future, the future of the church, and the future of our world.

And since the Jews are back in their land, then we know that God is moving full steam ahead in carrying out His prophetic plans. Now is the time to understand how His end time work with the Jews fits in with His end time work with the church. In this last part of this church age it’s all coming together for God’s elect, and you need to see this, and know that Christ is coming soon for the church, and for the Jews.

Well, I have 2-3 more blog posts about the Jews and then I’ll again be focusing on the end of this age. I have a lot more I want to tell you. We need to learn from Daniel, Luke 21,1-2 Thessalonians and Revelation. We need to learn about all the things the Bible says will be taking place before Christ’s coming. We need to learn about Israel, realigning nations, the United State’s decline, the Antichrist, great tribulation, the gospel, hope, suffering, perseverance, the rapture, the Day of the Lord, the salvation of the Jews, and the millennial kingdom. And we also need to learn how to live in these days leading up to Christ’s return. Most importantly we need to learn more about Jesus Christ.

P.S.  I have just posted another important article which I believe will be very helpful to deepen your understanding of this subject:  Replacement Theology: It’s Not True – Part 3.

Daniel’s 70th Week, One of the Keys to Unlocking the End Times

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #24 ~

For the past five months we’ve looked extensively at the end times, but there’s one thing you need to understand, and that’s Daniel’s 70th week, a prophecy packed 7-year timetable. Once this 70th week makes sense to you, then you’ll be able to clearly see how, when and where specific events fit in with regard to the end of this age, the return of Christ, and the rapture of the church.

About 2600 years ago, the prophet Daniel wrote about 70 weeks, a 490-year time period. “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city…” (Daniel 9:24). This timeframe began in 445BC, but in 30AD, after 69 weeks, after 483 years, Jesus Christ was “cut off”, was crucified, was buried and raised from the dead, and then He ascended into heaven. Since that time Christ has been building His church. But in 70AD, 40 years after the church age began, the Jews were defeated by the Romans and were then scattered all over the world. But since the 1880’s, the Jews have miraculously regathered back to their land, this being the sign that this final and climactic 70th week is soon to begin.

The event taking place at the very start of this 70th week is the Jews signing a peace treaty, and it is the Antichrist to come (probably unknown to us at that time) who will be a key player in making this deal. It’s debatable whether we will even know when this signing is actually taking place. But it is at this point that God’s end time prophetic work will be in full swing for both the Jews and the church, and for the entire world.

The birth pains, that is, wars, earthquakes, famines and plagues, will be growing in intensity. People, desperate for a strong leader, will be desiring peace. Nations will be forging new alliances. Jews will be sacrificing at their temple in Jerusalem. Unbelievers will be getting more wicked. Jews and Christians will increasingly be hated. And the coming Antichrist will be increasing in power.

Then the Antichrist is revealed to the world, a huge earth changing event occurring at the midpoint of this 70th week. Unbelievers will love this devilish man, actually worshiping him like he’s God. But Christians and discerning Jews will know he’s really the Beast, the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist. Then persecution will break out against Jews and Christians, but there’s “peace” for the non-Christians. The Antichrist lovers will gladly be taking his mark and worshiping his image. They are so happy, for life is now “normal” – they are eating and drinking, buying and selling, but are totally oblivious that God’s wrath is soon to be poured out on the world.

What about the rapture of the church? 2 Thessalonians 2 and Matthew 24 make it clear that Christ’s coming is after Antichrist’s coming. Since the Antichrist is revealed at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th week, then we know that the rapture of the church is after the midpoint, but at a time completely unknown to us, for we don’t know the day or the hour. Sometime then during the 2nd half of this 70th week, Christ will return to rapture the church, redeem us from our bodies, and rescue us from this coming wrath.

The great Day of the Lord, the wrath of God, will take place after the rapture, during the last part of Daniel’s 70th week. Then at the very end of this week, at exactly the 7-year mark, a great remnant of Jews will be saved, at which time “the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, and He will reign forever.” (Revelation 11:15). Let me sum it up this way – Christ was cut off at the end of 69 weeks to be our Savior, but will be crowned at the end of the 70th week to be our King.

For you to truly make sense of end times prophecy, you need to understand Daniel’s 70th week inside and out. You have to look at it like a divine time frame, for it will help you to see when key events will occur. My sincere desire for each of you is to be able to read prophecy passages (Matthew 24, Luke 21, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, 2 Thessalonians 1-2, Revelation, etc.), and then using Daniel’s 70th week, be able to figure out where everything fits. And if you happen to be living during Daniel’s 70th week, then you’ll be seeing all kinds of prophesied events taking place, but you won’t be surprised – you’ll know God is carrying out His plans – and by God’s grace, you’ll be enduring, and looking forward to seeing Christ come in the clouds to take you home to heaven.

P.S. I’ve just posted my second article on the error of replacement theology: Replacement Theology – It’s Not True – Part 2.

The Divine Timetable, Daniel’s 70 Weeks

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #23 ~

Image result for daniel 70 weeks

What really amazes and encourages me is how much God has told us in His Word about the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. I’ve recently written about an enormous number of Old Testament prophecies that’s particularly relevant to those of us living in the end times. It’s necessary that we rightly interpret these prophecies so we can have the understanding God wants us to have about His plans for both the Jews and the church.

Today, I want to focus on one prophetic passage. It’s Daniel 9:24-27, and it speaks of a divine schedule, a timeframe that’s absolutely essential to help you see the sequence of events in the end times. This timeframe is the 70 weeks of Daniel, where 1 week equals 7 years, and 70 weeks equals 490 years.

Biblical scholars believe these 70 weeks started in 445BC. Now Daniel 9:26 predicted that the Messiah would be cut off after the first 69 weeks, or 483 years. What’s so amazing is that mathematicians have calculated that God’s timetable was perfect, for these 483 years take us right up to 30BC, the exact time when Christ was crucified. Again we see that God’s prophetic Word is to be taken literally, and is completely, 100% accurate.

But what about the 70th week? Has it started yet? No, it hasn’t. Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:9-26, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, and Revelation 13 all tell us of specific events that need to take place during this 7 year timeframe, but they’ve not yet occurred, meaning the 70th week is still future. It’s obvious that this church age has now been going on for close to 2000 years, meaning there’s a long gap between the 69th and 70th weeks.

Yet, over the past 130 years, the Jews have miraculously regathered back to their land, and this is a clear sign from God that we now live in the end times, and that the start-up of the 70th week is not far away. In fact, Daniel 12:4 first used the phrase, “the end time”, which is the time period when these 70 weeks will come to an end. The fact that God is again actively working with the Jews means He’s wrapping up His work with the church, and it won’t be long before Christ’s return. Of course only God knows when the 70th week will start. But when it does, then we’ll see a great deal of prophetic activity, and the glorious fulfillment of many of God’s promises to both the Jews and the church.

Here are some of the major prophesied events that will take place during Daniel’s 70th week:
1. At the very start of Daniel’s 70th week, there’ll be the confirmation of a covenant (or peace treaty) between Israel, the Antichrist and other nations (Daniel 9:27). Obviously, for many years now, the United States and other nations have been trying to get a peace treaty signed. Even this week we have been seeing the pursuit of a peace treaty over in Israel.
2. At the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel, the 3½ year mark, the Antichrist will be revealed, and he will desolate the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:27). True Christians and many Jews will discern that this is the Antichrist, this most wicked man who will then begin greatly persecuting them all over the world. (Revelation 12:13-17)
3. At the very end of Daniel’s 70th week, the 7 year mark, a great many Jews will be saved (Daniel 9:24, Romans 11:25-27). At this time the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:15).
4. Christ’s coming and the rapture of the church will take place sometime during the last half of this 70th week, but no one knows exactly when (Matthew 24:31-36). The day of the Lord, God’s judgment of unbelievers still alive on earth, will begin right after the rapture.

Only as you understand this 70th week timeframe will you be able to clearly figure out “what happens when” in the end times. I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing this divine schedule, for then you’ll be able to know how to put the prophecy pieces in their proper place. Otherwise you’ll be blind, and you won’t be able to see what God wants you to see about the future God has for you, your family, and for your church.

After Daniel wrote these prophesies, he was instructed to “seal up the book until the end time.” (Daniel 12:4, 9). Well, about 2450 years later, with the regathering of the Jews back to their land, this book was unsealed. How exciting and encouraging to be living in the end times that Daniel predicted. I’m sure he would’ve loved to be alive now, but God meant it for us. This is our time! It won’t be long now before the start of Daniel’s 70th week, and not many years later, the wonderful rapture of the church, the devastating wrath of God on earth, the promised redemption of the Jews, and then the glorious reign of Jesus Christ on earth. Psalm 72:18-19

P.S. I have just posted an important new article explaining why replacement theology, which believes God’s promises for the Jews are no longer valid, is wrong: Replacement Theology: It’s Not True – Part 1.

A Jewish Reading Lesson

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #22 ~

It was about seven years ago, that by God’s grace, I finally figured out how to read the Old Testament. I was so excited! For the first time in my life, I could see the whole big scheme of things, how everything in the Bible fits in with God’s future plans. My prayer and desire is to help you know how to read the Old Testament, so you too can more clearly understand God’s plans for the Jews, the church, and the ages to come.

First, here are some basic, Biblical ground rules that you need to know:
1. The Old Testament is true, and it needs to be taken literally. For example, Israel means Israel; Jerusalem means Jerusalem; and forever means forever.
2. God’s promises to the Jews regarding their land, salvation and King have not been changed or nullified. They are still true, and God will most definitely carry them out.
3. Israel has not been replaced by the church with regard to God’s plans. Promises made to Israel are not figuratively being fulfilled by the church, but will literally be fulfilled by the Jews.
4. You can’t understand the future of the church if you don’t understand the future of the Jews, for God’s work with the Jews in the end times is in conjunction with His work for the church. Daniel’s 70th week is a key time frame for both Jews and Christians.
5. Old Testament prophecies can usually be placed in one of four time periods: (1) The prophecy relates to the writer’s time period, and shortly thereafter. (2) The prophecy relates to Christ’s 1st coming. (3) The prophecy relates to Christ’s 2nd coming. (4) The prophecy relates to Christ’s kingdom age. (A prophecy may have both a near and far fulfillment.)

Here are some examples of how Old Testament prophecies fit in one of these four time periods – (1), (2), (3) or (4). Psalm 22:1-21 speaks about Christ’s suffering on the cross, and this refers to Christ’s 1st coming (2). Then Psalm 22:28 says, “The kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations” and this refers to Christ’s coming kingdom age (4).

Psalm 37:29 says, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” This Psalm tells us about the fulfillment of God’s promise to the Jews that they will inherit some land, and this too is speaking about the coming kingdom age (4).

Psalm 98:2-3 tells us, “The Lord has made known His salvation… He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel.” This verse is talking about the house of Israel, and so this is not referring to the salvation of people during the church age, but to the salvation of the Jews at the 2nd coming of Christ (3).

Isaiah 9:6 is a classic, for the first part of the verse, “A child will be born to us, a son will be given us” is referring to Christ’s 1st coming (2), and the very next part of the verse, “and the government will rest on His shoulders” talks about the kingdom age (4).

Ezekiel 37:21-23 is one of my favorite prophetic passages, for right here in these three verses we read about the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews with regard to their land (verse 21), their King (verse 22), and their salvation (verse 23). These prophecies are clearly referring to Christ’s 2nd coming (3), and His kingdom age (4).

Micah 5:2-5 tells us two different things, that the coming Messiah will be born in Bethlehem which takes place at Christ’s 1st coming (2), and that “He will be great to the ends of the earth”, and this no doubt is speaking about the kingdom age (4).

Christians living in the end times of this church age have a distinct advantage. We can look at a particular prophecy, and then look back in history, and see if it has taken place or not, if it is a past or future event. We can see where everything fits, in time periods (1), (2), (3) or (4). It’s essential to learn how to rightly read the Old Testament, to properly interpret God’s prophetic word, and then you can understand His future plans for both the Jews and the church. I believe you’ll be thrilled as God gives you understanding, and then enables you to Biblically visualize the future God has for you, and for all His people on this earth.

There are 100’s and 100’s of verses in the Old Testament that predict God’s plans for the Jews. Here are some others I’d encourage you to check out in your spare time: Psalm 47, Psalm 67, Psalm 102:12-28, Psalm 105:5-8, Psalm 130, Isaiah 2:1-5, Isaiah 60, Isaiah 61:1-2, Jeremiah 32:6-44, Ezekiel 37:24-28, Daniel 12:1-13, Hosea 1:10-11 (the triple play), Joel 2:27-32 (Jews and church), Haggai 2:4-9, Zechariah 2:10-12, and Zechariah 14:9.

P.S. I encourage you to look at the charts (links) which we have in the above post, for they will help you to understand this lesson.

P.P.S. We have also just published a new article that I believe will help you understand our heavenly Father’s great love for us: The Father’s Love for His Children.

Unfinished Business

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #21 ~

God has a lot of unfinished business left to do with regard to the Jews. But many Christians don’t understand His plans, or are uninformed, confused, or in error. In fact, there are some who actually believe God’s work with the Jews is done, is over, is finished. Yes, they say the Jews were the ancestors of the Messiah and the writers of God’s Word, but they say they blew it when they killed the Messiah – they had their chance, and they took themselves out of the picture. Now they readily admit that the Jews have reoccupied Israel,  but they still adamantly say there’s no Biblically prophesied future for ethnic Jews, for those who are Jews physically speaking. They say that we’re now in the church age, and that all God’s future plans relate directly and only to the church. Let me explain why their thinking is wrong:

God’s Word is true – it was true when it was written, it is true today, and it is true forever. God is not a man that He should lie or that He should change His mind, and therefore, every single word of God will be fulfilled, which includes His promises to the Jews. “The word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does… The Lord’s counsel stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. Blessed is the nation (Israel) whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own possession.” Psalm 33:4, 11-12

God’s character is at stake. Do you think God would give all these promises to the Jews, and then not keep His Word? If God has changed His mind, then He has deceived many people, even Jesus’ own mother (Luke 1:28-35). If God doesn’t keep His promises, then He is a liar. But God is not a liar – He will always be faithful to His Word. “Do you think I came to abolish the Law or the prophets? I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17-19

God’s promises are not based on law but on grace, and therefore are unconditional. They depend on God’s Word, and on God’s power, mercy and faithfulness, and therefore can’t be annulled because of Israel’s sin and unfaithfulness. God’s promises to the Jews that they’d inherit some land (Genesis 13:14-17), that Messiah would be King over the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-13), and that a Jewish remnant would be saved (Jeremiah 31:31-34), will, without question, be fulfilled! “God has remembered His covenant forever.” Psalm 105:8

God’s promises are literal. They are not to be spiritualized. You can’t take some of God’s promises literally, and others figuratively. The promises of Christ’s 1st coming were fulfilled in every detail, and the promises of His 2nd coming will be fulfilled in every detail. How can a person say Jesus was literally born as a baby but won’t literally come back as a King? How can a person say that Old Testament promises for the Jews are not to be taken literally, but are now true for the church? You can’t say these things. Listen to what God says: “Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it and I will do it.” Isaiah 46:9-11

God’s promises to the Jews are eternal promises. “All the land which you see, I will give it to you and your descendants forever.” Genesis 13:15. How can anyone say God’s promises are not eternal when God says they are eternal? God is not going back on His Word, is He? His promises cannot in any way, shape or form be taken back, be rescinded – they will come true, and they will be true forever. “Thus says the Lord…” Jeremiah 31:35

God never said His promises were changed. Neither God, Christ or any New Testament writer ever actually denied these promises to the Jews, or said they were altered or reneged, and then given to the church. In fact, they were affirmed to be true. Luke 1:54-55, 1:68-79; Romans 15:4

Most of God’s Word is about the Jews. Nearly 70% of the Bible is about the Jews, and close to 23% is about the church. And then you have way over 1000 Old Testament verses that restate and amplify God’s promises to the Jews. How can anyone say that the Jews are irrelevant, and that God’s promises to them are null and void? Anyone who thinks God’s future plans for the Jews have been nullified and invalidated are terribly mistaken. Don’t believe those who say there’s no future for the Jews. Believe what God says: “Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem for all generations.” Joel 3:20. “I will make a covenant of peace… an everlasting covenant with them. I will multiply them and set my sanctuary in their midst forever.” Ezekiel 37:26

This is a very important post. I write this for there are many who question God’s promises to the Jews – but we should never question God and His Word. With regards to His future working with the Jews, read the Old Testament, particularly the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. Take them literally, and believe them, and see how God’s plans for His people, for both the Jews and the church, are now coming true at this time in history. And stay tuned, for there’s much more to be said on this subject in future posts and articles.

P.S.  Here is another important article about what the Old Testament teaches us about the Kingdom Age on this earth: Hidden Treasure in the Old Testament.

Old Testament + New Testament = The Word of God

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #20 ~

Image result for isaiah 53

The Old Testament is the truth of God. It is a set of 39 books, that together with 27 books in the New Testament, make up the Bible, the word of God. And just like you need to read all the chapters in a book to get the whole story, so too you need to read the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to get the whole story, to understand God’s past, present and future working with His people, and with this entire earth.

What is the Old Testament about? It is about Jesus Christ, who He is, what He’s like, and what He’s doing – His office, character and purpose. There are many verses, types and illustrations of Christ in the Old Testament, giving us a very good picture of our Lord, Savior and King. Jesus Himself used the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms from the Old Testament to help His disciples understand who He was (Luke 24:25-27, 44-45).

The Old Testament is about the Jews. Their purpose was to write God’s word, to be recipients of God’s Laws and covenants, to carry out the temple service, and to be the “Woman” who’d give birth to the Messiah, to Jesus Christ. We also read stories about the Jews, their lives and service for God, which give us many good examples of faith, hope, love and perseverance. There’s Adam, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Esther, Nehemiah and many others. But these are not just saints with godly character that make for nice Sunday School lessons. The Old Testament is more than just a lot of stories with no larger context, but it’s part of the entire Bible, and therefore a necessary part of the whole story. Consider the following:

First, there were the promises, the covenants from God. Abraham knew that from his lineage would come a great multitude of descendants (Genesis 12:1-3). David knew that the Messiah would be one of his descendants, the future King of the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Jeremiah knew that a great number of Jews would be saved in the future. (Jeremiah 31:31-34). These three promises are extremely important, for they not only speak of God’s plans for the Jews, but they also relate to the church and to our future.

Second, there were the predictions of the prophets. They “predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” 1 Peter 1:11. For example, Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah and Daniel all spoke of the coming Christ (Isaiah 9:6-7, 53; Micah 5:2-4; Zechariah 14:9; and Daniel 7:13-14). As we now know, some of their predictions literally came true at Christ’s 1st coming, but others will literally be fulfilled at Christ’s 2nd coming, and in the kingdom age to follow. For example, Jesus was literally born as a Baby on this earth, and  in the near future He will literally appear and be the King over this earth.

Third, there were the parts played by godly Israelites. There was Moses, and if it weren’t for him, the Jews would never have made it to the promised land. There was Ruth, a key player in the big scheme of things, for she was the great grandmother of David. There was Esther, whom God used to preserve the Jewish race, and without her, Jesus would not have been born. And then there was Ezra, and he helped bring the Jews back to Israel, and so Jesus could be born in Bethlehem. These stories, seen on earth, were all part of God’s plans. But behind all this has been the invisible spiritual war between God and Satan. Revelation 12 tells us that Satan has been fighting like the devil to stop the work of God as it relates to both Jews and Christians, but God has defeated him again and again.

You can’t disregard the Old Testament. When you read it, you need to realize that it’s not just isolated events that took place in the past with no connection to the future. You have to see the Old Testament promises and predictions of God, all pointing to and leading to New Testament events, Christ’s 1st coming, His 2nd coming, and His kingdom age. You have to see that God’s people played key roles in the past, but were also necessary for God’s future plans. You need to see God sovereignly directing people and events in accordance with His eternal purposes and plans. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Psalm 33:11

At this time in history, we are in the last part of the church age, for the Jews are back in their land. God’s working with both Jews and Christians is now in high gear, and it won’t be long before His end time plans for them will be fulfilled. Then in the next age, we will all be worshiping and serving the Lord together. Hebrews 11:13, 39 is instructive – “All these (Old Testament saints), having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had something better for us (New Testament saints), so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” 

P.S. I have an important new article for you to read – “Why Do Believers Die?” ~ A Memorial Service Message.   Also, just as a reminder, we have been continuing to post new Español posts every week!

A Short Summary of God’s Working With the Jews

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #19 ~

When we talk about end times prophecy, we can’t just focus on the church. We have to understand the past history of the Jews to understand God’s present working with the Jews, and that His present work with them in these end times is in conjunction with His work with the church. Here is a summary of God’s past working with the Jews.

It was about 2050 BC that God began to carry out His plans for the Jews. He promised Abraham that he would inherit a large area of land, and be given a great number of descendants (Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-16). Then came Abraham’s son Isaac, and then his grandson Jacob, and then his great grandson Joseph. It was Joseph who was providentially taken to Egypt, and years later was joined by his 11 brothers. From the 12 sons of Jacob came the 12 tribes of Israel, and the birth of the nation of Israel in the nation of Egypt.

It was in 1445 BC that God chose Moses to miraculously help the Jews escape out of Egypt and into the desert. There God gave them the Law, and the means by which they were to worship Him. Moses humbly led the Jews in the desert for 40 long years, but it was Joshua who led them into Canaan where they soundly defeated God’s enemies, finally taking possession of the promised land. But it wasn’t long before the Jews were disobeying the laws God had given them, and were doing what was right in their own eyes. Therefore, God began appointing judges who led Israel for the next 325 years.

In 1110 BC God first revealed Himself to Samuel, and He raised him up to be a prophet and a priest. Now the Jews desired a king, and so Samuel anointed Saul, but he was not a very good king. Then there was David, a man after God’s heart, and he was the best of the earthly kings. God then made an amazing promise to David, that one of His descendants would be the Messiah, the future King of the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-16).

Then came Solomon (970 BC), a world famous king, and he was responsible for building a temple for the Jews. After him came many more kings, some good and some bad. And sadly, instead of worshiping God, many of the Jews started worshiping idols. This terrible and grievous sin went on for over 350 years, stirring up God’s righteous anger, resulting in His wrath often being poured out upon His people. He also sent them prophets, like Isaiah, Joel and Jeremiah, to proclaim God’s truth, and help them see their need to repent of their sins. In all this God was very patient and very forgiving. It was during this time that God made a most gracious promise to Jeremiah, that in the future, He would save a great number of Jews (Jeremiah 31:33-34).

But finally, God had enough of the Jews’ sin, and so He punished His people by sending them out of Israel (722 BC) to Assyria, and out of Judah to Babylon (606 BC). Then after 70 years, God, through Haggai, Ezra and Nehemiah, began mercifully bringing these Jewish exiles back to their land. They rebuilt the temple and the city wall, and again began to worship the one true God. And as time went on, the Jews were sinning more and more, but it wasn’t idol worship as much as it was a proud and self-righteous rebellion against God.

Then, in the fullness of time, around 4 BC, JESUS, a Jew, a descendant of Abraham and David, the Messiah, the Son of God, was born. When He was 30, He began His ministry, teaching, healing and making disciples. Then He humbly and lovingly went to the cross, suffering and dying for our sins – but God raised him from the dead, and after 40 days He ascended into heaven. Amen!

Sadly, most Jews were hard hearted, and didn’t turn from their sin and trust in Christ for salvation. And so in 70 AD, God severely punished the Jews – close to one million of them died, and the rest were led captive into all the nations. But God’s promises and plans for the Jews were not then nullified or changed, as some believe, but were only suspended. The church age had begun: from heaven Christ was building His church on earth – it was the time for people to call on the Lord to be saved from their sin.

It is now 2017, close to 2000 years later, and it’s still the church age. But now we live in the end times, the last part of the church age, for the Jews, after being scattered for over 1800 years, have miraculously returned to their land. The prophetic pieces of the puzzle are being put into place; God’s work with both the church and the Jews is clearly evident; and it won’t be long before Christ returns to rapture the Christians, and then pour out His wrath on this world. Then God will be true to His Word, and fulfill His promises to the Jews – the promise of salvation, the promise of land, and the promise of a King. Finally, world peace. Shalom.

P.S.   My new article will further help you to  understand this subject of God’s working with the Jews:  Charting God’s Miraculous Working With the Jews.

Do Business Until I Come Back

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #18 ~

Image result for Iowa farmer

I want to look at a parable that has greatly impacted my life, that has made me very excited about serving the Lord in these days. Luke 19:11 – “Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that God’s kingdom was going to appear immediately.” This story was about a nobleman going away to receive a kingdom, and in the meantime his ten slaves were to invest his money, to put his money to work. He instructed them, “Do business until I come back.” Luke 19:13. The main lesson of this parable is that, during this church age, you are to use the talents, time and money God has given you for His purposes and glory.

God has given you unique gifts and abilities, and a certain amount of money to use, and a certain amount of time to live. And as a Christian, these things aren’t yours – you don’t own anything, for everything you have is what God has temporarily given you. He is the owner, He is the Master, and you are just a manager, a steward, a slave. And you are not to work for yourself but for God, using the gifts, abilities, money and time He has given you.

You have to realize that God Himself has made you a certain way, and has given you all you need to do all the work He wants you to. This should excite you, and motivate you to work for God, to “do business” right up until Christ comes back, right up to the rapture. As a Christian, you are extremely privileged to be God’s servant, and so work for Him and do His work. Be faithful. Be diligent. Be pragmatic. Work joyfully. Work hard. Work smart. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

This God-planned work can relate to serving in the church, and so use your spiritual gifts. It can relate to working at a job, and so use your talents. Yes, you may be a nurse, a teacher, an engineer, a factory worker, a farmer, a cook, a graphic artist, a wife and mother, a pastor, etc., but remember, all your work is spiritual, and it has both earthly and eternal value. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.” Colossians 3:23-24.

Now you may retire from working at a job, but you are to never retire from working for God. No matter your age, keep investing your life in God’s work until Christ comes back, or until you die. Don’t be short sighted, but see your life in light of the ages to come – and remember that God wants to eternally bless you for your earthly work. Look forward to what Jesus wants to say to you, “Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.” Luke 19:17

Then there is the sad part in this parable about the wicked, worthless and fearful slave, who wasn’t working for his master, and who was wasting his money. Luke 19:20-26. The master was right to take what he had given him and give it to someone else who would use it in a productive way. The lesson for us is simple – might we not be lazy, selfish or worldly, but might we wake up and get to work.

Let us also remember the overall work of the church. Matthew 24:14 – “This gospel is to be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go and make disciples of all the nations…” Yes, we have different jobs we’re doing for the Lord, but they need to be seen in the context of preaching the gospel and making disciples. It’s important then to be in a church that’s focused on preaching the gospel and teaching the Word.

This parable is for all believers during this church age, but it has particular relevance for us at this time. About 2000 years ago, “they supposed that God’s kingdom was going to appear immediately.” But now we live in the end times, and so we know that Christ is coming back soon, and then His kingdom will appear. We should be thrilled to think that in all of history, now is our time, now is our opportunity to serve the Lord. Let it be said again, “Do business until I come back.”

P.S. Here are two links to information related to this post which I believe may encourage you: Luke 19 sermon – Being a Good Steward; and a new article: The Time of My Life.

The Suspension of God’s Plan for the Jews, and the Church Age

By Steven J. Hogan

~ A Saturday Morning Post #17 ~

The book of Acts is God’s history of the early church. But it is in Acts 1, 2, 3, where God tells us some things He wants us to know about the future of the Jews and the future of the church. God tells us that Christ ascended into heaven and that He’d come back, but in between there’d be this interval, the “last days”, the church age. God tells us that it’s during these last days that the gospel is to be preached, and then this age will come to an end. God also tells us that there will be the restoration of the kingdom to Israel, but more than that, the restoration of all things. Let me explain further:

Acts 1:4-11. Jesus was teaching the apostles about the kingdom of God, and this was both the spiritual kingdom of God where He’d rule in the hearts of Christians, and the physical kingdom of God where He’d rule over the world. These Jewish apostles then asked Jesus the question that was uppermost in their minds. “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus answered them, but He didn’t say that the kingdom wouldn’t be restored to Israel, but that they didn’t need to know when it would be restored – He just wanted them to focus on their new job, proclaiming the gospel to all the nations.

Not long after this, the apostles watched Jesus ascend into heaven. They had to have been confused seeing Him leave – they had to have been wondering what was going to happen. But the angel assures them, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” To hear that Jesus was coming back had to have been very encouraging, for they knew it meant that He would then be “restoring the kingdom to Israel.”

Acts 2:17-21. With passion and clarity Peter is preaching to the Jews. He calls the church age “the last days”, a phrase referring to the last part of this present evil age, an age that started a long time ago with the sin of Adam and Eve. But it was about 2000 years ago that the church age started with the outpouring of the Spirit, and an age that will end with the sudden appearance of signs on the earth and wonders in the heavens. The Jews knew from the prophets that these signs and wonders would occur before the Day of the Lord, God’s devastating judgment of the earth (Isaiah 13:6-11, Joel 2:30-31). But it’s during this church age that the gospel is to be preached, and that people need to call on the Lord to be saved from their sins – before it’s too late, before the Day of the Lord.

Acts 3:17-21. A primary purpose during the church age is stated again, that sinners are to “repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” But what happens after the last days, after this church age is over? It will not just be “restoring the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6), but the “the restoration of all things.” This restoration will be under the direction of Christ Himself, and will take place after the celestial signs and after the Day of the Lord. “The Lord will be King over all the earth.” Zechariah 14:9

Acts 1, 2, 3 makes it clear that God never diminished or negated His promises to the Jews, that the church never replaced the Jews. But what did happen back in the first century is that God suspended His plans for the Jews. One reason He did this was so His plans for the church would be fulfilled during the last days. “A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved.” Romans 11:25-26

In summary, Acts 1, 2, 3 tells us that the church age starts with the pouring out of the Spirit, and ends with the appearance of the signs and the wonders. Then Christ will come back and rapture the believers, and then the Day of the Lord, the wrath of God, will begin. After God’s justice is carried out, then Christ will rule over the earth for 1000 years, and there will be the restoration of all things, and the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Jews. As Christians, we will reign with Christ during His millennial kingdom.

Whereas the book of Acts talked about the beginning of the church age, now we live at the end of the church age, and we know that Christ’s return is very soon. The apostles had their time to serve the Lord and now it is our time to serve the Lord. With love and zeal for God, might we fight the good fight and finish the course He has given us. And maybe you and I will see Christ “come in just the same way” as the apostles saw Him taken into heaven, and then, “We who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we always be with Him.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Amen!

P.S. Please consider listening to the sermon series I just started on God’s Love here and here (and continuing on for the next several Sundays.)

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