The Times of the Gentiles
Now he says he is a “post tribulation” believer. And by what he has written, believes that the rapture comes after the tribulation and believes that God is forever done with Israel. He wrote saying that he is really “trying to help” me. Since he approached me, I sought to give him what I see in the Scriptures, and when he saw I did not agree with him, he said I was “arrogant” and needed to take a “humble pill”. And I have no problem with that. We always need to guard against the flesh rearing its ugly head.
But aside from that, I just wanted to pass along a reply to a specific portion of one of his comments, for the benefit of any who thinks that God is over and done with the nation Israel. He wrote,
“I was just at another place years ago and wanted to learn the dispensationlist view to see if my view was wrong. Obviously from years of studying both ways I saw what was more biblical. I gave you one on the plans and programs. You all believe the plan & Program for gentiles started with Paul in acts 9. I've read it a million times and obviously that was incorrect. Peter was the first to bring gentiles to Christ (acts 10).”
In reply I said,
Paul, I do not really identify with groups and people. If what you call the "dispensational view" teaches that "the plan & Program for gentiles started with Paul in acts 9". They are certainly wrong on that point. It is clear that the first gentile converts were from the house of Cornelius, eight years after Pentecost. This caused a big stir among a certain sect of Pharisees who believed, so much so that the apostles had a special council in Jerusalem about it where James concluded the matter saying,
"Simeon hath declared how God at the first [literally, for the first time] did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things." (Acts 15:14-17)
I am not sure if I understand what you mean by the "plan & Program for gentiles", but here is what I see in the Scriptures. James discerned in Peter's visit to the house of Cornelius, that God was now at work among the Gentiles, calling out of them a special people for His name. This in essence is the meaning of the church, ek-klesia, called out assembly of believers, gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and is distinct from Israel and the nations. That calling-out process started at Pentecost with the Jews. Now it was extended by Peter to the Gentiles, and ever since, the commission has been to go into all the world, and in every nation to preach the gospel.
So God's present purpose is the calling out of the world a people for His name, the Church. Now James goes on to support his argument saying that God visiting the Gentiles is agreeable to the words of the prophets. "After this", after Christ is done building His church, He will return again and rebuild the "tabernacle of David".
Here is the text of Amos that James quotes from. First Amos says, "I will sift the house of Israel among all nations" (Amos 9:9). This is what Jesus said, they "shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) Amos goes on to say, "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God." (Amos 9:11-15)
Jesus said, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). And so it has been, century after century, starting way back in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem has been held by the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the Arabs, the Turks, the British, and the United Nations. And even though Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967, vowing never to let it go again, the Mosque of Omar sits on the temple mount and is controlled by the Muslims.
But when Christ returns, He "will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel... And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God."
This is what Jesus said when He quoted Moses and Isaiah, "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:31, Deuteronomy 30:3-5, Isaiah 11:11-12; 27:12-13) And shall "restore the kingdom to Israel" (Acts 1:3, 6)
This is what Peter said after the Day of Pentecost, "Ye men of Israel... those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:12; 18-21)
The apostle Paul would pick up on this saying, "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, UNTIL the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:25-27)
When Christ is done building His Church, calling out of the world a people for His name (primarily of the Gentiles), He will call them UP to be with Him. THEN He shall return and build the "tabernacle of David", which shall commence in the final 7 years of Daniel's Seventy Weeks, where He will once again revert to dealing specifically with "Israel" and "Jerusalem" (Daniel 9:24-27).
So many times we are told, "be not ignorant brethren". Unfortunately it seems to be the biggest denomination going today, "the ignorant brethren". You just cannot say that Israel is the church, it does severe violence to the Scriptures. Anyway, Do you agree with James and Amos, Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, Paul and Daniel? And if not, you will have to be very specific with Scripture references and personal explanation if you really want to help me. Sorry if I come across as arrogant to you, really trying to speak the truth in love. Don't mind humble pills either, but pill needs to come from the Scriptures, the gosPILL.
Your explanation is as clear as any I've ever read. Thanks.