Online Bible College
Carelinks Home
FREE Literature
'The Last Days' Home
Bible Books Home
Buy this Book!
The Last Days Duncan Heaster  
email the author




By baptism we become members of spiritual Israel, and therefore all the experiences of natural Israel must be relevant warnings to us in some way. That such a significant proportion of God's revelation in the Bible is concerning the Jews highlights this point. The uncanny thing is that natural Israel were a spiritual failure. Whilst the Gentiles were intended to be a more productive tree for spiritual fruit, the following evidence suggests that we should not be over confident that spiritual Israel will be any better than natural Israel. It seems that God's true people have always been a remnant of a remnant.

- The ecclesia in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) were tempted to commit the same sins in principle as we are tempted to (1 Cor.10:1-10). Twice Paul hammers home the point: " These things were our all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and are written (i.e. the process of inspiration became operative) for our admonition" (v.6,11). Paul seems to read the minds of many Gentile Christians as they quietly reason 'But that was Israel- we Gentiles have been called because we shall do better'; he warns that such an attitude places us in grave spiritual danger: " Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man" (v.12,13). This could be paraphrased as follows: 'The Jews (" man" ) had the same human nature as you; if you think that you can stand up to it better than they, then such spiritual arrogance will lead you to fall'. Such reasoning goes against the grain of what we would naturally like to hear, which is that we will certainly reach salvation just as we are, with no conditions, and without having to have any conflict with our sinful nature. Paul therefore concludes by saying that only the spiritually wise will grasp his line of argument here: " I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say" (v.14).

- The way the Lord speaks of dividing the sheep from the goats and not vice versa could suggest that there are far fewer sheep compared to goats (Mt. 25:32). This would imply that the majority of those who are responsible are in the goat category.

- Paul's parable of the Olive tree in Rom.11 warns that in some ways the Jewish branches are preferable to the Gentile ones (11:24; 3:2; Jn.4:22). Because we stand by faith, " be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee" (v.20,21). By the use of 'thee' (singular) rather than 'you' (plural) the impression is being given that each Gentile believer is hanging on to his place in God's purpose by the skin of his teeth, compared to the Jews. " I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits" (v.25).

- Paul perceived through the Spirit that Isaiah cried aloud with passion the idea that although there were many people theoretically " of Israel" in that they were the seed of Abraham, only a remnant of them would be saved. And Paul implies that this holds true in our dispensation too (Is. 10:22 cp. Rom. 9:27).

- " Many" of those who call Christ their Lord and who regularly break bread in his presence, where two or three others are gathered believing they are in his name, will find they are rejected, and they just won't be able to understand why on earth they were rejected (Lk. 13:24-27 cp. Mt. 18:20). Anyone who thinks the majority of believers must surely make it through to salvation needs to think again. Please God, we will- but " many" (the Greek can mean, but not always, 'the majority') will be in for this inexplicable (to them) rejection, when they were sure they'd lived a good Christian life.

- Moses' sprinkling of Israel with blood and then going away for forty days (the period of probation), returning after a perceived delay to a people lost in revelry with only a faithful minority, must point forward to our Lord's ascension to the Father's presence after the blood sprinkling of the cross, and His subsequent return. Christ's words of Mt.24:48,50 suggest he read this incident along these lines: " That evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming (cp. " Where is the promise of his coming?" and the people feeling Moses had delayed to return); and shall begin and drink with the drunken (cp. " the people sat down to eat and drink" , 1 Cor.10:7); the Lord of that servant shall an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder" - recalling the Levite's sudden massacre of the people on Moses' return. If the return of Moses from the mount is indeed typical of the second coming, then it would follow that the majority of the new Israel will be unprepared at the Lord's return also.

- When the Lord said that many are called but few chosen (Mt. 22:14), He was actually alluding to a well known saying from 4 Ezra 8:3: “Many have been created, but few shall be saved”. He was as it were raising the bar. It was to be a minority of those called, not just a minority of all creation, who were to be saved.

- " Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the Gospel preached as well as unto them" (Heb.4:1,2). As in Rom.11, there is the command to fear because of the real possibility of our being like natural Israel. There is a very powerful parable in the account of the wilderness journey through life, whereby the Red Sea represents baptism, eating the manna daily corresponds to daily feeding on the word etc. This parable is alluded to in so many parts of Scripture. However, only a minority of those baptized in the Red Sea actually reached the promised land. Can we expect the parallel with the new Israel to break down at this point? An analysis of church news in one magazine over 40 years indicates that for every three baptisms there is one disfellowship- and the ratio is worsening. Just look back at your own Christian experience if you can't believe it. Add to this the number of those who spiritually fall asleep, and the frightening similarity between natural and spiritual Israel comes abruptly into focus.

The present materialism of Israel and neglect of their real responsibilities towards God may have some parallels with the position of the new Israel.  The following words describe the reasons for the holocaust to come upon " all Israel" : " Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked...then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the rock (Jesus) of his salvation. They provoked Him to anger with strange gods...newly come up (telly, flash cars and holidays), whom your fathers (Abraham? Paul? Robert Roberts?) feared not...and when the Lord saw it...He said, I will hid my face from them, I will see what their end shall be (the holocaust will reveal our true colours)...they are...children in whom is no faith...I will provoke them...with a foolish nation (the beast)...I will heap mischiefs upon them...they shall be burnt with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter destruction (the faithful are described as coming out of a latter day tribulation of hunger, heat and fire in Rev.7:14-17): I will also send the teeth of (Daniel's) beasts upon them...O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end" (Dt.32). But perhaps this final verse is embedded somewhere in Dan.12:10: " The wise (in our last days) shall understand" - won't we.

Some may feel that considering these things is unduly negative. Yet the Biblical facts as presented above still remain. We must constantly remember that God is not willing that any of His people should fail of His mercy. The history of Israel is surely the supreme example of God's mercy and patience with sinful man. We have been chosen because it was God's intention that we should learn from the mistakes of Israel, and thereby please Him where they failed to. This in itself underlines the importance of constantly re-reading and meditating upon their history. We can never be made too aware of the deceitfulness of sin within our very nature; our nature is the same as Israel's. This is why we need the constant warning not to feel that we are intrinsically superior to them. Israel generally failed to struggle against their human nature; yet God was love and patience itself to them, and only rejected them with great pain to  His own fundamental nature, which is love and mercy. This should surely inspire and gloriously encourage all of the new Israel who, unlike natural Israel, do at least strive, in their weakness, against sin.