As previously discussed in this course, God has ordained three strands of the human family that have been present at different times throughout history. Paul lists the three strands of the human family as being the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church of God (I Corinthians 10:32, KJV).1 It is vital that the student of the Bible understands the origin and purpose of each of these strands so that a correct hermeneutical interpretation of Bible prophecy can be accomplished. A review of each origin is necessary to further discuss the prophetic implications with each group.
The first mention of a group of people in God’s Word is that of the Gentiles. It is in Genesis, chapter 10, in dealing with a post flood world that says “by these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands…” (Genesis 10:5, KJV). Because no other nation is mentioned up to this point, the assumption must be that the Gentile is the first strand of the human family and the first group of people God placed here on this earth. That would further declare the fact that Adam, Noah, and even Abram, were Gentiles. While it is not until Genesis, chapter 10, that “Goyem”, or “Gentile” is named, it is evident through study of the first twelve chapters of Genesis that Gentiles alone made up the entire human family for almost two thousand years. While many choose to think that the early Patriarchs were “Christian” or “Jew” the fact remains that Noah, Enoch, Adam, and other righteous God fearing men of this early time in history were of the Gentile nation.
Gentiles have been on this earth throughout all of human history. It is the Gentile who brought the first sin into the world, who committed the first murder, but who would also give rise to the strand of human family who would bring forth the Messiah. The period of Gentile domination on this earth is termed the “times of the Gentiles”. This period began with the Babylonian captivity (Daniel 1, KJV), and will end with the defeat of the Antichrist and his kingdom in Revelation. The Prophetic outlook for this strand of the human family is bleak. In a time of history where humanism abounds, the Gentile world and powers of today seek to obtain a society and world where the human is god- a place where power and authority comes from a world governmental system, and not from the Creator of the Universe. Such a system will continue to culminate into a final worldly system of governmental and religious control, headed by the Antichrist. It is the fate of this Gentile world that these powers will finally be put down and destroyed in Judgment by Christ as He returns at the Battle of Armageddon. Encapsulated throughout this Gentile domination can be found all the false doctrines and humanistic religions of the ages. Man will finally see that he is indeed but a vapor on God’s stage of time and eternity.
The second strand of the human family to appear on the scene is that of the Jew. It is clear through previous discussion and study that the first Jew was indeed a Gentile. There are also actually two other titles that are announced in the Old Testament prior to the introduction of the “Jew”. In Genesis 14:13, “Hebrew” is used of the Gentile Adam. The second title given is that of “Israel”, which is given to the Gentile Jacob in Genesis 32:28. Finally, “Jew” is used for the first time in II Kings 16:6. To realize that the Gentile does indeed precede the Jew and is even responsible for the ancestral origin, the logical question then becomes why God had to bring a second group of people into existence. What could He do with the Jew that He could not accomplish through the Gentile?
Perhaps the answer to the dilemma above could be as simple as God wishing to set apart a race of people who could be wholly dedicated to Him and His statutes. The beginning of such a relationship can be seen in Genesis, Chapter 12. A very important covenant is given by God that would forever change human history. A “Line of promise” that would extend from the first recipient, Abram (Genesis 12:1-3, KJV), to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-5, KJV), and later to Jacob (Genesis 28:13-15, KJV). God promised to “make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great: and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in the shall all the families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3, KJV). This Covenant required no duty or commitment on the part of the Jew. It was all on the shoulders of God for fulfillment. This would be the first of several covenants that would develop a specific relationship with God and the Jew. In the end, the fact still remains that God had pre-ordained the promised Messiah to come through the Jewish line and for that reason alone was sufficient to weave this strand into the human family.
What great misunderstanding and heresy has occurred over the years in relation to Israel and Bible prophecy! As always the case, the misunderstanding and even the improper translation of people and events of the Bible has created a “world without Israel” mentality. Perhaps is this no clearer seen in today’s religious circles than that of the “Replacement Theology” movement. In an attempt to account for what appears to be Israel in an ever declining state as a nation and no longer in God’s favor, false teachers have concluded that God’s hand has been removed from Israel, and that all of her blessings and promises have been given to the Church. What a toxic lie of Satan this has been. Through this false teaching, other ill taught doctrines such as “Kingdom Theology” and “Faith Movement” have sprung up in an ever growing pharisaical and dark religious society. The fact remains that God’s covenants and His protection remain on Israel. She still will be brought to prominence as God has promised. While Israel will indeed be the recipient physically of these covenants, there are spiritual application and blessings that can be derived by the third strand yet to be discussed. Yet again, a proper understanding of each human strand and their prophetic destiny is a necessity for the overall big picture of end times events.
The third strand of the human family is that of “Christian”. This strand is not seen in the physical, earthly realm in its origin. There is no human “flesh” or ancestral line that can be traced back to history past, but it does hold within its strand previous members of both the Jew and Gentile race! Instead, this strand occurred through the miraculous creation by God through Christ and His completed work on the Cross of Calvary. The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 2, describes this new strand: “for he (Christ) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broke down the middle wall of partition between us…for to make in himself of twain one new man…that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross…through him we both have access by one spirit unto the father…” (Ephesians 2:14-18, KJV).
The Christian, as described by Paul, is that person, whether Jew or Gentile, who has accepted Christ as Savior and becomes a Child of God. In God’s eyes, that person, though still owning physical, cultural, and ethnic traits on Earth, is no longer seen as “Jew” or “Gentile” but as “Christian”. The fact must also be stated that it is not being “Jewish” that will gain entrance into the Kingdom, but rather being a blood washed repentant sinner that will create the “new man” and conversion to that of “Christian”. It is not a partial payment for redemption, as can be construed from the Messianic Jewish movement of today, where one believes that Jews indeed have a “separate path” that can be obtained through ordinances and practices in addition to God’s Salvation. This combines law and grace, which thereby comes no remission of sins. What then, is the eschatological fate of this strand? Where a new strand is made of members of two previous strands, how then does God fulfill his end time plan for the ages? The simple answer to that is there is yet another player on the prophetic stage of end times events with a different part and function.
A review of the origins of the three strands of the human family has been completed. Through Scripture, it is plain that Gentile, Jew, and Christian are three separate strands of the human family with different functions and origins. What then, awaits them in the future days? It is important to remember that Gentiles first populated the Earth and were the sole inhabitants until the Jews were called out of the Gentile ancestry by God. It then became a time of co-existence for these two groups until the third group, the Christian, came into being during the Church age which began with the resurrection of Jesus Christ and will continue until the Rapture of Christ’s Church from the Earth. At this point in time, during the Church Age, is the only time in which all three groups will exist together on the Earth. The three specific groups have three specific futuristic roles that will play out in God’s End Time Prophetic scenario.
As discussed earlier in this course, there are two phrases that are associated with the Gentiles: the “times” of the Gentiles and the “fullness” of the Gentiles. The “times” deals with that period of time from Daniel’s captivity through the future to Christ’s return. The Gentiles rule the Earth due to Israel’s hard heartedness to God and His Prophets. The “fullness” of the Gentiles is that point in time when the last Gentile on earth, known already by God, will accept Christ as His personal Lord and Savior. Once that is accomplished, the Rapture will happen, and the Tribulation period will soon begin. During this period known as the Tribulation, God will bring an end to Gentile world domination. There awaits in the future an evil Satanic Trinity of the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Satan himself will meet their final doom. The Antichrist and False Prophet will be used to run this Gentile world system but will meet with utter destruction in the end. It is also during this time that key players throughout history will finally receive God’s judgment. These players include a heretical, satanic religious system that has existed and flourished on this planet for thousands of years. As it has traveled through different stages, locations, and even names, this mother-son cult will finally be destroyed as God’s Word will reign Supreme and judgment of this great satanic system will finally occur. Another Satanic religious system encapsulated within this Gentile strand that will be destroyed during the Tribulation is the Islamic system. To date, there are approximately 58 moslem states. All of these states have one satanic goal in common: to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. Ultimately, the Koran calls for the total annihilation and death of the infidels: “Slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. Fight against such of those who have been given the scripture and believe not in Allah nor the last Day…go forth, light-armed, and heavy-armed, and strive your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah!” (Sura 9:5,29,41, Koran)². Islam has been used, and will continue to be used, throughout the world by Satan to fight against Israel and the Jewish people. Unrest will continue throughout the Middle East as “wars and rumors of wars” increase as the end approaches. It will seem as if Israel will be annihilated, yet God will intervene and will ultimately wipe the Islamic world out of existence.
Another key player that will be destroyed within the Gentile world is Edom. Esau and his descendants have continued to be at war with the Jewish people throughout history. The modern day Palestinians are indeed descendants of the Edomites of Scripture as discussed earlier in this course. Obadiah records the judgment that awaits Edom. The two reasons why they will be judged stem from the pride of their heart (Obadiah 3, KJV), and violence against Jacob, or Israel (Obadiah 10, KJV). Obadiah describes in the future that “as thou has done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been (Obadiah 15-16, KJV). Study reveals that the final calamity of the Palestinians will happen at the end of the Tribulation period, when Christ returns and empowers the Jews to overtake the Palestinians. They will be totally destroyed at that time.
As for the Jews, they will also enter into the great time of trial known as “Jacob’s trouble” in which God will punish the many centuries of neglect and distortion of His Word and rejection of His Son, the Messiah- Jesus Christ. It will be a great time of trial and suffering for the Jew, but it is also through this great torment that the Nation as a whole will finally recognize her Messiah. God will, in his sovereign grace and knowledge, will remember the Covenants promised to the nation of Israel and His judgment promised to all of her enemies. No other time has existed in history which has held such horrifying and agonizing judgments for mankind on this earth as those that will occur during this time period. It is a time of reckoning, judgment, but yet still a time of grace and victory for His people Israel. The Millennial Kingdom will finally be established at the end of the Tribulation period. Armageddon will have been fought, the Beast and the False Prophet thrown in the lake of fire, and Satan bound for one thousand years in the bottomless pit. Israel will flourish and be the recipient of all of the promises made to her by God and will be restored as a “light to the nations”.
With the Gentile and Jewish prophetic outlook complete, there remains yet one member to discuss. That member, as previously discussed, is a new strand created by God through members of the previous to groups- Jews and Gentiles. This group has been formed through the completed work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary and His redemption of all who will come to Him. This group, known as “Christian” and collectively as the “Church” awaits a time not too distant in the future. This event in the future will be unannounced, and yet it is the hope of every Christian on earth. That event is the “Rapture” of Christ’s Church off of this Earth to be with Him in the heavenlies. Though almost two thousand years have separated the early Church from the present day, one thing remains common for both: each expected that Christ could return at any moment. Paul clearly believed that Christ could return in his lifetime and taught as such: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, KJV). In writing to the people, Paul was clear to address the order of the reconciliation to Christ in the air: those believers who had died would arise first and then those believers who were alive at that time would be caught up with them in the clouds to be with the Lord forever. The promise of the rapture has been a “mystery” that was presented to the early church and remains a promise even to this day. Paul admonished that “Behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (I Corinthians 15:51-52, KJV). Also in this mystery is the promise of Christ removing His bride before the Tribulation period: “Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10, KJV). The rapture is also confirmed by the absence of the church in Revelation 4:2 through Revelation 19:10. The word “church” is found 19 times before Revelation 4:1, and 6 times after Revelation 19:11.
The seven year period of time known as the Tribulation is but a short summons away. It is within this time frame that all three strands of the human family will reach their prophetic end game. Christians will precede that horrific event with the Rapture into the heavenlies to be forever with the Lord, and Jews and Gentiles will enter into that devastating time of judgment. Following this dreadful time in history, the millennial kingdom will be comprised of two groups of people alive at the end of the Great Tribulation. First, those believers who are alive at the end of the Great Tribulation will enter into the new Kingdom in their physical bodies. These Gentiles will have accepted Christ as their Saviour during the Tribulation period. The second group will be those Jews who have also accepted Christ as their messiah during this period of time. These events still await in the portals of eternity future. There has not been a kingdom set up at this time in history and cannot be established until all of God’s Word is fulfilled in the order of His timing. All three strands of this human family continue to travel on the path of God’s Sovereign plan and will. To understand these three strands and how God intends to deal with them in the future, is to clearly understand God’s prophetic events in the last days.
1All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible version, Royal, 1971.
²Quotations taken from the Koran.