Series : Apostolic Eschatology
Sun am 12 November 2006 – Kobus Swart
1 Peter 2:4-12 ; Gen. 12:1-3; Gal. 3: 13-14; John 1:11-12;
Rom. 11: 5; Matt. 21:42-45; Matt. 23 : 37-39; Rom. 11:19-23; Rom. 10:12;
Before Christ came we had the story of natural Israel – “the Church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). The blessing came to Abram that through this Old Covenant people of God, all the families of the earth were to be blessed (Gen 12:1-3). But then Christ came, and Paul explains: “…. in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles…“(Gal 3:14). Fulfilment came in Christ!
Christ Jesus came and ushered in a whole new kind of humanity. Christ is the image of the invisible God and we are to be conformed to His image. Now suddenly history takes a whole new course. He came to His own (the Old covenant people) and they did not receive Him, but as many as did receive Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God (John 1:11-12). There was a remnant who received Him, the apostles were some of them, the disciples were some of them. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, the identity of the Old Covenant people dissolved. When Jesus stepped out of the grave into resurrection life, He was the first of a new kind of race – a New Covenant people. He ushered in a new nation, a holy priesthood, a chosen race. From now on there is nobody chosen outside of Christ. We are chosen IN HIM.
Those who rejected Christ, what happened to them? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it” (Matt. 21:43). “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills he prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children … but you were unwilling. Behold your house is being left to you desolate!” (Matt 23:37-38). “Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief…“(Rom 11:20).
But Jesus opened up a window of hope: “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matt. 23:39). Which means, “I’m taking the Kingdom from you, but if and when you receive My messengers and you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,’ there may be hope for you yet.” “And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again” (Rom 11:23). We don’t know what and how, but it is very possible that something is going to happen yet in Israel, that will turn many natural Jews to the faith.
How do we define this now? Whatever my background, I now have a new identity in Christ, and that makes up the Holy Nation. “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all ….” (Rom. 10:12). That’s the heart of God the Father.
Who is this olive tree? The olive tree is Christ (John 15:5-6). “I am the vine, you are the branches ….” That’s the identity, that root, that revelation, the Church is built on such people who have a revelation of who Christ is. “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Christ is the foundation. What happened when Jesus rose from the grave? It was the first baby steps of this new “temple” that is being built around the world, it’s a spiritual house. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession …..” (1 Pet. 2:9).