The Chosen People, Pt. 5

Scripture: Luke 21:29-33, Matthew 21:33-46
Is there spiritual and biblical significance to the year 1948 when the Jewish state was reorganized. Jesus' fig tree parable is often used to establish this point. This broadcast looks at the Bible and the role of ancient Israel in prophecy.
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Announcer: It's time now for "Bible Talk." Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi, and welcome to "Bible Talk," where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects you today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Dates, Gary, there are some important dates. Let's start talking about dates today. December 7th what does that make you think of?

Gary: Pearl Harbor.

John: Alright, July the 4th?

Gary: July the 4th is the founding of this country, the United States of America.

John: There you go, OK. Another big date when you think of 9/11, what do you think of?

Gary: September 11. You'll never forget it. The Twin Towers falling, the Pentagon, the attack on America.

John: OK. Within Christianity there's a big, well it's a year, but the same idea, an epoch in time or a moment in time, a year in time, 1948.

Gary: 1948, most Christians would say that is an important year because that is the year that the Jewish state was reorganized and it looked like a miracle really because Judaism, as a state, a political entity, it didn't have a hope of a snowball in a hot place. And here they come back in and they regain their independence and they're reorganized as a state.

John: And many Christians seized upon this and they said, "OK, we see this now." Well, I would say that little later Christians seized on this. It wasn't such the big deal then, for the most part. In later years, Christians seized on this and said, "Here's evidence. God has raised up his people. Israel's going to reoccupy the land. Here is the literal Jews receiving. They are about to receive the covenant promises that were made to Abraham originally," but as we have been studying over last few "Bible Talk" programs, that line of thinking is riddled with a few errors.

1948. I think if you go to Luke, chapter 21, here's what you read: "He spoke to them a parable," Luke 21:29, "Behold a fig tree and all the trees ..."

You don't hear that part so much, "... and all the trees. When they now shoot forth, you see and know of your own selves that summer is now at hand. So likewise you, when you see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand," and I've been told again and again, this means that fig tree coming into play there, is when Israel became a nation again in 1948 and it all meant it was all about to happen. A prophesy was going to be fulfilled.

Gary: And then the important text there is Verse 33, "Heaven and earth ..." Well, excuse me, verse 32, I should say.

John: That's it.

Gary: "This generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled." So the idea was that there would a generation that would be on earth between '48 and when Jesus would come. A generation is what? About 40 years.

John: Well, that's what they said, Gary. A generation would be 40 years, but what that meant was that in 1988, something big was going to have to take place.

Gary: Now there was a very popular preacher that wrote some books and they're actually still out there wrote the book "Late, Great Planet Earth." It was made into a movie. In fact, it was that movie that led me to begin studying Bible prophesy ...

John: And funny enough ...

Gary: ... and actually got me where I started considering becoming a Christian.

John: Sorry to interrupt you, but I was kind of excited there. Funny enough, that same book got me thinking and got me interested in prophesy, got me interested in reading the Book of Revelation and asking searching questions.

Gary: And the writer of this book actually made some really outlandish predictions. I'm sure he didn't feel that they were outlandish at the time, because he thoroughly believed that this was what prophesy was predicting, but based on this interpretation, he felt that the time of the end, Jesus would come well before, actually, 1988, if I remember correctly.

John: Yeah, that's right. My understanding is the prediction was Armageddon would take place in 1988. Well, unless I missed something, Gary, Armageddon didn't happen in the year 1988 and none of us really would say Jesus has returned. He was just plain wrong. What has happened now, you know, I've had people say to me, "Well, we used to think that a generation was 40 years, but now maybe it's 60 years, so it could be 2008 or even 70 years, 2018, meant 'soon.' If the Lord didn't return, that generation was going to be 200 years. You know? You just stretch this thing and extrapolate this thing to suit yourself.

To say that the fig tree represents categorically the nation of Israel coming into being in 1948, well, ignores a few things. It doesn't explicitly say that's Israel.

Gary: No, and it's out of context with what's really happening here. Jesus is talking about other things here. He's talking about signs of the times and we can know when the coming of Christ is nearby. These other signs just like figs, when figs are coming on, you know spring is here.

John: That's correct. Luke 13:6, if you remember, Jesus used a fig tree if you're going to accept this ...

Gary: As Israel.

John: As Israel. If you're going to accept this Remember the parable? A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. And he came and sought fruit thereon and he didn't find any. He said to the dresser of his vineyard, "I've been coming here three years looking for fruit and I haven't found any. Cut it down. Why is it cumbering the ground?" Like Jesus was on the earth three years looking to Israel to be the fruit of the Gospel. Answering, said to him,"Lord, leave it alone this year also until I dig it about and dung it or fertilize it. If it bears fruit, well. If not, after that, cut it down."

Israel didn't bear fruit. Israel ceased to God's chosen covenant people. The reason it's important to understand this is a misunderstanding of this permeates Christianity and affects the entire scope of interpreting Bible prophesy.

Many, many, many people you talk to today believe that certain things have got to take place in the Middle East, in Israel. [clears throat] Excuse me. Temple's got to be rebuilt, red heifer has to be wheeled out. All these thing must take place. The Jews are somehow specially favored of God.

You read the New Testament, you find it's just not so. We have found out that God's Temple is that spiritual church made up of true believers who love God and live lives that are surrendered to him.

Gary: That's right John, but it's all based on this misunderstanding of who Israel is, what the role of the Temple is, and we have a wonderful Bible study resource today, don't we, to offer our listeners? Call a toll free number, write an email, we'll send this out free to them.

John: It's called "God Drew the Plans" and you will understand the real spiritual nature of the temple. You'll understand more about what Jesus is doing and what is going on in Heaven. You ought to have it. "God Drew the Plans." It's free. Contact us, request that, we will send that out to you, gladly.

Gary: John, if Israel is not God's covenant people, then what is God's role for them today? I mean, are we back to what the crusaders are accused of doing and the pogroms and all that where we're saying, "Oh, the Jews killed Jesus, therefore they're no good." Is that what we're saying?

John: Never let that be said. God loves Jews, Gentiles it doesn't matter your ethnicity, your race, the shape of your eyes or the color of your skin. And we don't want to get into even sounding like that at all. If you read in the Book of Romans, you find out that he says certain branches were broken off from the parent stalk if you like, but it's God's will for them to be grafted back in. And God would want that every Jew and every Gentile would be grafted into his kingdom, if you'll permit me to put it like that, through faith in Jesus Christ. It's an interesting thing that the Israel watchers today overlook the fact that Israel is simply not a very religious country.

They're certainly not a Christian country. It's a very, very secular country with the exception of the, well, really, the orthodox. To suggest that God is going to establish his covenant with a group of people who are living the same kind of life as when they broke his covenant all those years ago, is just a funny idea to entertain.

Gary: And, John, God still loves the Jews, doesn't he?

John: Oh, let's understand that. Of course he does.

Gary: And here, the apostle Paul was a Jew and he's the one that really took the Gospel to the Gentiles, but he still loved the Jews. He mentions that over and over again.

John: He loved them so much he worked for their salvation. Isn't that right? He worked for their salvation and God, who loves Jew and Gentile, is working for the salvation of every last being on planet Earth.

Gary: A lot of people, when they go back to the crucifixion of Jesus, they ascribe significance to that that I don't think is warranted, where they say, "The Jews rejected Jesus and therefore they can't be saved." It's like they've committed the unpardonable sin.

John: Oh, no, that's not true. There's not a Jew living today who rejected Jesus 2,000 years ago. And the Bible says that the son is not going to be held accountable for the sins of the father.

Gary: But something significant did happen and transitioned with Israel as a nation. Did it not at the crucifixion?

John: Well, that's true. Israel was backing out very rapidly of its covenant relationship with God. It says a lot about the character of God that even after the death of Jesus at the hands, essentially, of the Jewish leaders and the Romans who were in power then, but it wasn't the Romans who said, "His blood be upon us and on our children." Even after that event, God labored with the Israelites, with the Jews. And the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem some three to four years, three and a half years laboring with them, but they were certainly letting the privileges of the Gospel slip through their fingers like sand.

Gary: I think that's the thing we have to remember is Israel was called. You go back to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob they were called for a purpose. We've mentioned this several times in this series on Israel. They were called to share the Gospel with the world. That's why he says, over and over again, these covenant promises "And in you the nations will be blessed. Through you the nations of the world will be blessed." Well, they not fulfilling their calling. That's why Jesus gave that parable about the vineyard in Mathew 21. He says that he came, the vineyard owner leases out the vineyard to these caretakers and he's going to come back to get the fruit, but every time he comes back to find fruit, they beat his servants, they kill them, they stone them.

Finally he says, "I'm going to send my son and my son will be able gain their respect. They'll reverence him, and they'll return the fruit to him." When they see the son, they say, "Oh there's the son."

John: "Let's kill him."

Gary: "Let's kill him, too," and so they kill him, and Jesus asks the Jewish leaders. He says, "When the lord therefore of the vineyard comes, what shall he do to those husbandmen?" And the answer of course is they say, "He'll miserably destroy those wicked men and will let out the vineyard unto other husbandmen who will give the fruit in season." And so what Jesus is telling them here is, listen, if you don't fulfill the purpose of sharing the Gospel and doing the work of bringing forth the fruits of being My covenant people, I've got to go on to others and get them to do this, because every day that Israel did not fulfill their goal to share the Gospel with the world, people were being lost.

John: That's correct.

Gary: They were going down into eternal graves of damnation. And so here God's saying, "I'm going to move on," and He did move on, didn't He?

John: Yes, he did and you know something? Down through history, God has continued to move on. He'll call people, individuals, sometimes I believe, if I may say so, he may allow for a church organization to be raised up.

Gary: Well, you read about that in Revelation, chapters one, two, and three. He's talking to the seven churches and he says, "You have many good things going for you, but if you don't repent, I'll remove your candlestick. You'll lose your place as a church." I believe there have been entire denominations that have lost their calling.

John: God, at times, quite obviously has raised individuals and organizations up to do a specific work and proclaim a specific message and to move people forward with the Gospel. Unfortunately, we, as churches, often get raised up to a certain level and won't press on any further. We won't say, "Is there more truth? Is there something else? Let's grow with this. Let's take the Gospel a little bit further." We just camp around our leader. God raises up another leader and says, "Maybe this person will take it further." You see it down through the Reformation. One man would be raised up, then another and another and usually they would add a little more light, a few more puzzles to the prophetic picture pieces to the prophetic puzzle, sorry.

Gary: That's right. We can learn from 1948. We can learn from this history. We can learn this that if we don't accept Jesus personally, individually today, that we're not going to make it. We're not really in the center of God's will. And we're going to be looking for all this external stuff, what's happening in somebody else's life, somebody else's nation, where the real issue is, "Are we ready for Jesus' coming today? Have we made Him our King and Savior?" [background music playing]

John: Friend, let that be your question as you look around the world and consider the prophesies of the Bible and how God is working. Look in your own heart. Ask yourself, "Is God the king of my life? Is Jesus the Lord of my heart?" If he's not, make him. Pray that prayer where you would repent and confess and accept him as your savior. And what we're going to do is look forward to seeing you next time for more. God bless you. See you again on "Bible Talk."

[outro music]

John: If you'd like information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject, including information you'll want to know. To receive this free and informative Bible study, simple call, write or email and ask for "God Drew the Plans." The toll free number is 866-BIBLESAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at "Bible Talk," P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678. That's P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678.

Or email us at, "Bible Talk" has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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