I had often questioned why God had a chosen people and why God was to give them the kingdom. We are all made by God. Why is this group of Israelites special? The answer is found when we study the word of God in context and realize that not all of the Bible is written to us or about us. We must realize that when God makes a promise, He keeps it. But He keeps it in His own time. And God made Israel a promise thousands of years ago. And that promise was the Kingdom.
True, God did make all of mankind. His “first fruits” were the people who we know as Israel (Exodus 6:7-8). Do not confuse these people with the country Israel today. Israel was the name given the Jacob (son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham) by God in Genesis 32:28. Jacob’s descendants became known as the children of Israel. There were twelve tribes, which came from each of Jacob’s sons. These people suffered many tribulations because of sin. The Israelites were eventually made slaves in Egypt for about 400 years. But they were promised to be delivered to the Promise Land. This promise was first revealed to Abraham, the father of many nations, then to his son Isaac and then to Jacob.
If you have seen the movie with Charlton Heston The Ten Commandments or peeked at the Prince of Egypt cartoon, this should be familiar. So, Moses delivered the children of Israel with the intent of bringing them to the Promise Land. (We are getting to the Kingdom. Stay with me.) Despite witnessing the wonders of God including the ten plagues on Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, the children of Israel began to lose faith. They turned against God and started to worship idols in the desert. So, God gave them the law. Yep, the Ten Commandments. (Hundreds more laws followed but for some reason most people only talk about the ten. Oh well.)
Now God has established The Law.
The Kingdom Prophesied
This generation of Israelites did not see the Promise Land because of their sin. They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. However, God still fulfilled His promise. The next generation under the leadership of Joshua (Moses’s sidekick and general), made it to the Promise Land. Sadly, their reign did not last very long. You guessed it. Sin. The children of Israel became intertwined with the culture in this new land and many of them started to worship idols and committed all sorts of crimes against God. They fell under the influence of the Philistines. Because of this, the priests lost their authority over the people. The Israelites demand that the prophet Samuel find a king for them. Despite Samuel’s warnings against this, they insisted. So, they get Saul, who was a good king for a while. But Saul’s fate was sealed when he allowed jealousy of one of his generals, David, (yes that David—the one who fought Goliath) to take over his life. Saul turned on David and in a very sad turn of events, committed suicide. Now, in 2 Samuel 7: 13-16 God promised David the kingdom. David became king.
Again, this kingdom does not last very long. King David died and his son Solomon became king. Solomon was a wise, powerful and wealthy man. He built the temple of Jerusalem where the ark of the covenant was housed. His reign was long but started to decline when he married native women who worshipped idols and not God. Slowly, these sins worked their way into the lives of the Israelites. And again, because of disobedience, the children of Israel lost their blessing. The Bible says in 2 Kings that each generation became more evil than the last. After King Solomon’s death, the Israelites split into two kingdoms: the North and the South. (Sound familiar?) The South was the old kingdom in Jerusalem and the North was the new kingdom who worshipped the idol god Bael. The two kingdoms continued to fight, of course. The North lost their kingdom to Assyria. The original kingdom in the South tried to return to God and obey the laws of Moses. But they were invaded by Babylon and were forced into exile.
The Kingdom to Come
Now, the children of Israel, the faithful few, are waiting for the kingdom to be re-established. The prophet Amos tells of God’s promise to re-build the kingdom in Amos 9:11. This is why the disciples asked the resurrected Jesus in Acts 1:6 if he will now restore the kingdom. Jesus pretty much told him not yet and you will know when I do restore the kingdom. Can you see the answer in His words?
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
But you will receive power after the Holy Ghost is with you. And, you will witness not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles! Don’t you just love how Jesus gives you the tools to answer your own question?
So, God promised the Kingdom to the children of Israel thousands of years ago. They got it, lost it but God promised to restore it. That has yet to happen. But, in the process, God offered the gospel of salvation to ALL people in the age of grace which is where we are now. Jesus said it in his answer to the disciples. The kingdom will not be established until His message of salvation has been witnessed to the “uttermost part of the earth”.
The children of Israel will have their kingdom on earth. That is promised to them and God keeps his promises. Where does that leave the rest of us? In Romans 11, Paul tells us that through Israel’s transgression, we are offered salvation through grace.
Yes, beloved. We will be in Heaven.
The Kingdom Established
Once those of us who accepted Christ as our Savior are taken back to heaven, the age of tribulation will begin on earth. This is when the anti-Christ will appear. During this time, there is still hope for the world because they can still be saved.
The Bible tells us in Revelation 7 that 144,000, twelve thousand from each original Israelite tribe, along with a group of Gentiles will be witnesses to the gospel of Christ during this time. Notice how God has a select few throughout the Bible who carry on the word of God despite the persecution? Oh, those faithful few!
These 144,000 are the original tribes of the children of Israel. Beloved, please do not fall for those religions who claim they are the 144, 000 or only 144,000 people will go to Heaven. Study the word of God in its context.
This group of people are clearly the Israelites. At this point God has ended the age of grace. The church has been raptured to Heaven and now this group, Gods first fruits, are sharing the gospel in these end times (Revelation 14:4).
These redeemed people will be with Christ here on earth where He will reign for 1,000 years. Here beloved, is where God fulfills his promise to restore the kingdom. In Revelation 14, John depicts the 144,000 as being seen standing with Christ on Mount Sion.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
The kingdom is restored, the saints saved during the age of grace are in Heaven, Satan is defeated, and Christ is on the throne.