Recently, blogger Marv (a.k.a asphaleia) posted an excellent series of discussion regarding his view of the redemptive plan of God. It winds up being a progressive dispensational model but was interesting enough to house here on the Bible Archive for consumption by friends and family. This is post 4 of 5.
Christ came as the Messiah to His nation, sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24). His sheep knew His voice and follow Him (John 10:27). Yet He was largely rejected by His own Nation (John 1:11), but He had other sheep (John 10:16).
The high priest unknowingly prophesied that Christ would die for the Nation, but not only for Israel, but “also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (John 11:50-51).
Isaiah had prophesied that He would be rejected (Isaiah 53:3). Even as Christ inaugurated the New Covenant in His blood (1 Cor. 11:25) God was putting into place the means by which the blessings of that covenant would spread to the nations.
As the nations were formally set aside so that the remnant would run along the line of the Nation, now the Nation is set aside for the benefit of the nations. By their trespass salvation comes to the nations. The nations enjoy the New Covenant blessings prior to the Nation, to in turn make the Nation jealous (Rom. 11:11). This is a deliberate act of God, a temporary and partial hardening of Israel (Rom. 11:25) to enrich the nations (Rom. 11:12). Note that it is temporary.
The nation-based structure itself remains intact, but the remnant principle is turned ninety degrees, so that it runs in a transnational sense. So now the transverse ray of the light to the nations becomes the axis of the redemptive plan during this phase.
Daniel’s seventy sevens sits on the Israel national line [“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city” (Dan. 9:24)] and while the sevens are continuous on one another—in the national line, the third phase is not following the line but sitting athwart it. This phase continues “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Rom. 11:25) So though it has now lasted nearly two millennia, the end of the age remains nearby all the time.
The New Covenant brings new blessings, particularly in relation to the Holy Spirit as Christ prophesied (John 15-17). Old Testament believers experienced regeneration, and some few theocratic leaders served under the anointing of the Spirit. Now however the Holy Spirit comes to indwell all believers as Joel prophesied (Joel 2:28ff; Acts 2:17ff), which baptizes believers into Christ’s Body (Acts 1:5).
This is Christ’s Church, of which He had spoken in the future tense (Matt. 16:18) As Christ’s Body they continue to minister as He began (Acts 1:1), being sent by Christ as Christ was sent by the Father (John 20:21). During the entirety of the age He is with His Church (Matt. 28:20) as God had been with Christ (Acts 10:38).
He has placed the members of His body to do His works (John 14:12) because He was returning to the Father and sending the Holy Spirit. The whole body being a microcosm of Christ, each member functions in a part of that ministry (1 Cor. 12:4-7). [However, it may be that the apostles themselves served individually as a microcosm of Christ’s ministry (2 Cor. 12:12).]
One manifestation of the Spirit apparently new with the Church occurred at Pentecost when those gathered there spoke in other languages, recalling the national separation at Babel, and signifying the reorientation of the remnant from the Nation to the nations. (1 Cor. 14:21-22). The wall of separation (illustrated by the gray line of the Law) in this age is gone and Israel is now simply one of the nations as the remnant is oriented (Eph. 2:14). The Church is sent to all the nations of the earth. (Matt. 28:19).