Good evening everybody. Let’s take our Bibles and open them to the book of Exodus, chapter 19 and verses 5-6. If you’re visiting with us for the first time we started a few weeks ago a study on what does the Bible say about the kingdom, which is no easy study because that takes you through the whole Bible. So this is a great way to learn the whole Bible because probably the kingdom is the dominant theme of the Bible. And the first major section of this study is simply what does the Bible say about the kingdom. Thus far we’ve looked at the Garden of Eden and this is where God was reigning through a man, Adam, and he along with his wife were governing creation for God. That’s the beginning of the kingdom.
You know the sad story, Adam and Eve, first Eve then Adam started listening to the animals they were supposed to be reigning over; they listened to a talking snake and in the process they rebelled against God. So the moment that happened the kingdom is lost to the world and who becomes the god of this world? Satan. So the goal of history is how that kingdom is restored. And we spent two weeks on this, through the Abrahamic Covenant, his dealings with Abraham starts to make promises and those promises later take on covenantal force. And these are promises that God has made whereby the kingdom, we start to see really the first glimpses of through whom and how the kingdom is going to be restored to the earth.
So we saw the Abrahamic Covenant, why it was necessary, we looked at the promises God made to Abraham, I tried to show you that these promises are very literal and they’re made through and to Abraham’s physical descendants, how these promises take on the force of a covenant and how these promises basically promise to the Jewish people land, seed and blessing. These promises are ironclad reliable and they’re the basis of what we call the sub covenants that God later made with the Jewish people. Are these promises conditional or unconditional? Unconditional, and they’ve never been fulfilled. So that’s sort of where we left off last time. So therefore God has to move His hand in history at some point and make good on these promises or else He’s not God.
I think we stopped last time with Ezekiel 36:22 which says, “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.’” So when God, in Ezekiel 36 makes good on these promises He’s not really doing it so much for Israel’s sake; He’s doing it for his holy namesake. He has to work in history to be faithful to the promises He has made. So we see really the first glimpses of this coming kingdom as its promised in the Abrahamic Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant is a big BIG deal in the Bible.
So that takes us to where we move into what’s called the Mosaic Covenant which is a different covenant entirely and to understand the Bible you have to understand how the Abrahamic Covenant works alongside the Mosaic Covenant, or better said how the Mosaic Covenant works alongside the Abrahamic Covenant. So I’m going to try to, as God allows me tonight, try to explain that.
The nation of Israel has, by the time we get to the Mosaic Covenant and that’s basically God’s dealing with Moses, by the time we get to the life of Moses the nation of Israel has been in bondage in Egypt. Now how did they get into Egypt? They got into Egypt because of a famine and around Genesis 46 the nation of Israel uprooted from Canaan and went down into Egypt. And who did God use to get Israel down into that area? A guy named Joseph, right? You may know the Joseph story, God has providentially worked in the life of Joseph; Joseph becomes second in command over all of the land of Egypt. And so the nation of Israel leaves Canaan and goes down into Egypt to receive grain and things of that nature in the midst of famine. And then there arose a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph and so at that point the nation of Israel is now subjugated in Egypt.
And how long are they in Egypt for? Four hundred years. And I get that number from Genesis 15:13-16 and it was actually a prophecy God gave to Abraham in the days of the Abrahamic Covenant. [Genesis 15:13-16, “God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.  But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.  As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.  Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”]
He basically said your descendants are going to sojourn elsewhere for four hundred years and then they’re ultimately going to come back into this land. You’ll find that in Genesis 15 verses 13-16. So God, through what is called the Exodus, after this four hundred year period was over, through the ten plagues brings the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, they pass through the Red Sea, and remember God closed the waters on the pursuing Egyptian army. And there’s about a two month period, I get that two month period from Exodus 19:1, you’ll see that two month period; it takes them about two months to sojourn from that area all the way to Sinai. [Exodus 19:1, “In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.”]
Mount Sinai is where they’re going to receive the what? The Law or the Mosaic Covenant. Sometimes you’ll notice in the Bible that Mount Sinai is called Horeb, Mount Horeb but those names are used interchangeably. So they leave Goshen where they had been in captivity for over four hundred years, they cross the Red Sea and two months later they come to Mount Sinai and it’s at this point the nation of Israel, which already has the Abrahamic Covenant, going back to the time of Abraham six hundred years earlier, God now gives them a different covenant entirely, and this is called the Mosaic Covenant.
And one of the things to understand about the Mosaic Covenant and the Law of God, and this is very important to understand because a lot of people are trying to go back under the Law today. The Law of God and the Mosaic Covenant was given only to the nation of Israel. So we, in the church age, are really not under the Law of Moses. If you want to go back under the Law of Moses then James 2:10 says if you’re guilty of part of it you’re guilty of what? the whole thing. [James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.”] So the moment you put one little finger under the Law of Moses you’re under the whole thing.
So what we teach is we today are under the law of Christ, the law of the Spirit, but it’s very different than the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was only given to national Israel. Psalm 147:19-20 says, “He declares His words to Jacob,” who’s Jacob? Israel. “He declares His words to Jacob, His statutes and His ordinances to Israel.  He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His ordinances, they have not known them. Praise the LORD!”
So the Law of Moses was not given to Sugar Land Bible Church; the Law of Moses was not given to the United States of America. The Law of Moses was given specifically to the nation of Israel and if you want to under part of the Law then you have to go under the whole thing which would include sacrifices, meeting on Saturday rather on Sunday, going back to the temple system and all of those things. So this is what’s called the Sinai revelation and this is what God is giving to the people of Israel through Moses.
I had you turn to Exodus 19:5-6, what you discover is this office of theocratic administrator, remember we talked about that in Genesis, where God is governing through our forbearers, Adam and Eve and they’re governing creation for God, that office which was lost in Genesis 3 with the fall of man. Now what we discover is this office of theocratic administrator is restored in a limited sense. So it comes back to the earth in a limited sense where God is governing through an intermediary, in this case Moses, he’s not governing the whole world for God the way Adam and Eve did, but He’s governing the nation of Israel for God.
So when you look at Exodus 19:5-6, and this is right when he brought them to Sinai and began to enter into this covenant with them, this is what it says. It says, “’Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant,” what covenant are we talking about here? The Mosaic Covenant, by the way the Hebrew word there is berith, that’s the same Hebrew word that’s used with all the covenants we’ve studied so far. “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;  and you shall be to Me a” what? “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” See, the phrase “sons of Israel” shows us that this is a specific covenant that God tailor-made with the nation of Israel.
So you’ll notice there that word “kingdom,” and really this is the first time in the Bible that I’m aware of where the word “kingdom” is used to describe God’s dealings with His own people, the nation of Israel. So that’s why I think that the office of Theocratic administrator that was lost in Eden gets restored in a limited sense in the days of Moses. And that office is going to continue as God is going to govern Israel through various intermediaries. After Moses who would come who? Joshua, and after Joshua would come a whole bunch of guys, most of them didn’t do that well, called the judges. And then after judges God is going to govern the nation of Israel through the various kings. And that office of theocratic administrator that’s restored in a limited sense in the time of Moses is going to govern about 800 years of Old Testament history and it’s not until the Babylonian deportation that that office is going to leave planet earth.
And the event through that office leaves planet earth in the days of the Babylonian captivity is the Shekinah glory of God which Solomon constructed. Remember Solomon constructed the temple; remember the Shekinah glory of God filled the temple and that Shekinah glory of God was in the temple all of those years up until the days of the Babylonian captivity. And the book of Ezekiel, chapters 8-11, roughly, describe that Shekinah glory of God leaving. And that Shekinah glory of God is not going to be restored until the Millennial kingdom. So the office of theocratic administrator which was lost in Eden gets temporarily restored in the time of Moses and God governs the nation of Israel through various intermediaries right up until the days of the deportation, then the office of theocratic administrator leaves again because of Israel’s disobedience and it’s not until the millennial kingdom that that office is going to be brought back. So I think that’s the significance of this word “kingdom” being used here at Sinai… to my knowledge that’s the first time that is ever used relative to God’s dealings with Israel.
So there’s a very interesting verse in Romans 5:13-14. It says, “for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses,” so it talks about a very dark period of history from the time of Adam when the office of theocratic administrator was lost until Sinai, the time of Moses when it was restored. And I think the reason Paul highlights that is that was the time period where the office of theocratic administrator, God governing indirectly through a king, was not present.
So what existed in pre-fall Eden is restored to a limited sense in the time of Moses, and that continues all the way through 800 years of Jewish history, up until the days of the Babylonian captivity or deportation. And you see, this is a window into God’s high purpose for Israel. God wanted to govern indirectly through an agent, like Moses and He wanted to use that as an example to the whole world concerning look what you lost and look what you could have if you simply trust in Me. So he wanted to use Israel sort of as a microcosm or as a teaching tool for the whole world to give the whole world an appetite for His kingdom. And that’s why it was so disappointing to God when Israel fell or failed from her high calling.
The other thing to understand about the Mosaic Covenant is it’s not like the Abrahamic Covenant which is unconditional, the Mosaic Covenant is conditional. Remember we talked last week about the Abrahamic Covenant, how it’s unconditional. What does unconditional mean? Basically it means that God is going to act regardless of what Israel does. There are no conditions that Israel has to fulfill in order for God to keep His promises under the Abrahamic Covenant. And we saw last time, didn’t we, the Ancient Near East covenant ratification ceremony where the oven and the torch passed through the animal pieces. Remember that? And where was Abraham at that time? Sound asleep. If the covenant was conditional Abraham himself would have to have passed through the animal pieces. And Genesis 15, as we studied, gives no conditions at all for Abraham or His descendants to fulfill.
And we also saw that the covenant is eternal and immutable, which means it can rest only on who? God, who alone is eternal and immutable. And then we also saw how this covenant keeps getting reaffirmed over and over again despite Israel’s disobedience throughout the pages of the Old Testament. So the only conclusion you can really come to is the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional. Now what’s a conditional promise? The other party, other than God, has to do something before God makes good on His promises. So here’s a conditional promise that you probably have on your refrigerator at home or wherever you keep your Bible verses, plaques or what not. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will” what? “make your paths straight.
You say well why isn’t God making my paths straight. Well, maybe you didn’t do the first three things. So I’ve got to do one, two, three, I’ve got to do A.B. C. for God to do D. That’s a conditional promise. The Abrahamic Covenant is not set up that way at all. But the Mosaic Covenant is. While the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional the Mosaic Covenant is conditional. How do I know that? Going back to Exodus 19:5, God says to the children of Israel at Mt. Sinai, “’Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;” And this is where He promises them that they’ll be a kingdom of priests, they’ll be God’s representatives on planet earth. [Exodus 19:6, “and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.”] But notice that God is not going to do this unless they fulfill their condition.
So if you’re into fancy names the Abrahamic Covenant, the Ancient Near East, we call it a royal grant. That’s where a superior comes along and just grants something to somebody and then a son, a relative, and that relative doesn’t have to do anything to gain the inheritance. So the unconditional covenants of the ancient world are called royal grants. So the Abrahamic Covenant would be a royal grant and the Mosaic Covenant is called… a fancy name for it is a suzerain vassal treaty. So these are royal grants, suzerain vassal treaties, these are common ways that you entered into an agreement in the Ancient Near East. God is using the covenant structure with Israel that they would know from their surroundings and their surrounding neighborhoods and so forth.
So let me see if I can explain a suzerain vassal treaty, I know that’s a big word but it’s not that hard to understand. We found many, many remnants of suzerain vassal treaties dispersed throughout the Ancient Near East, dating to the time of Moses and sometimes before the time of Moses. So it’s a well-known treaty structure. The suzerain, just remember “s”, suzerain, the suzerain is the superior, the vassal is the inferior. So a superior comes alongside an inferior and makes an agreement with them: if you obey the terms of the covenant text (they had a covenant text drawn up) then the suzerain promises to bless the vassal, protect the vassal, bless the vassal. But it the vassal disobeys the terms of the covenant text then the suzerain promises to do what? Curse the vassal.
So in this case who’s the suzerain? God is the suzerain. Who is the vassal? The nation of Israel. So what God did is He took Israel to Mt. Sinai and He entered into a covenant that they all were very familiar with, called the suzerain vassal treaty. Now a suzerain vassal treaty had about six parts to it. And as you go through the book of Deuteronomy what you’ll discover is the whole book of Deuteronomy is set up like a suzerain vassal treaty. It has all the elements’ there’s a preamble, and I have those verses in Deuteronomy that mirror the suzerain vassal treaty structure. Then there’s sort of a prologue, it sort of traces the history of the two parties before they got together, the suzerain and the vassal. And then there comes a section called the covenant obligations. So these are the things that the vassal must do to gain the blessing of the suzerain. And in this case the covenant text would be the Ten Commandments. Now there are Ten Commandments and then there are 613 additional laws explaining the Ten Commandments. And you read about that in Exodus, you read about it a little bit in Leviticus, you read about it in Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 5-26, chapters 5-26 gives you all that historical information.
And then another part of the suzerain vassal was storage and reading instructions, so the suzerain told the vassal to store the text somewhere and also to read it periodically. And that fits exactly wit God’s dealings with Israel because what did they do with God’s Law? Where did they put it? In the ark. And then as you look at the book of Deuteronomy, I have all the verses there, there were instructions whereby the nation of Israel was to publicly read God’s Law so they would remember what their obligations are under this treaty. [27:2-3; 31:9, 24, 26]
And then every suzerain vassal treaty had witnesses; you had to call witnesses. The problem is who can be a witness for God? Nobody. So God in Deuteronomy 32:1 calls heaven and earth as His witnesses. [Deuteronomy 32:1, “Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.”] And then every suzerain vassal treaty had a section in it of blessings and cursings. If you obey the covenant text here are the blessings that will be given by the suzerain to the vassal. If you disobey the covenant text here are the curses that will be given by the suzerain to the vassal.
So if you go over to Deuteronomy 28 the two chapters that give you the most detail about the blessings and curses are Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. And if you study those two chapters you start to see Israel’s history in advance, because God specifically says if you this here are the curses; if you disobey Me here are the curses; if you obey Me, here are the blessings.
So looking just for a minute, just to give you a flavor of it, Deuteronomy 28, beginning at verse 1. It says, “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if” see the “if” language, “if you obey the LORD your God:  “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.  “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.  “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” And it goes on and on like this for about 14 verses describing very real material blessings that would come upon Israel if she obeyed the covenant text. So you’ll be the head and not the tail, you will lend and not borrow, you will go out and you will fight against overwhelming odds and you’ll win.
[“Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.  The LORD shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways.  The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.  The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, as He swore to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.  So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will be afraid of you.  The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. 12] The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully,  and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.”]
And this is how the Joshua generation was able to take Canaan, despite the fact that Canaan was occupied with giants that outnumbered them numerically and obviously stature wise, yet the Joshua generation won victory after victory after victory because God promised them victory if they obeyed the covenant text. See that?
Now beginning at verse 15 all the way through verse 68 are curses for disobedience. So notice, we only have 14 verses for blessings, the rest of the chapter is curses. So God is sort of anticipating what would happen. Verse 15 says, “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: ]16] Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country.  Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.  Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.  Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.” It goes on and on like this and the height of the curses really climaxes around verses 49-50, where he says, “The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand,  a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young.”
So at the height of Israel’s rebellion God is actually going to bring a pagan power against them to disperse them and subjugate them. So this is basically 700-800 years in advance, 1500 years in advance going into New Testament times, the history of Israel, because we know 700 years later that the Assyrians came and scattered the northern tribes and then in 586 the Babylonians came and subjugated the remaining southern tribes, then they went back into the land, they rejected their own Messiah and who did God bring against them in A.D. 70? The Romans. And I would argue that right on to the present day these curses are continuing to follow unbelieving Israel because they haven’t been faithful to the covenant text. So you’re going to go out and fight your battles and you’re going to lose, you’re no longer going to be the lender, you’re going to be the borrower, you’ll no longer be the head but you’re going to be the tail, and why are all these things coming upon Israel? Because Israel had a suzerain vassal treaty with very real blessings and cursings.
So that is the covenant that God entered into with the nation of Israel. Now at this point you’re probably saying I’m confused because earlier today and last week you told us that the Abrahamic Covenant was unconditional, now you’re coming along this evening and you’re saying the Mosaic Covenant is conditional. So which is it, does Israel have an unconditional covenant with God or a conditional covenant with God? And the answer is “yes” because it’s both. So let me, the best I know how to, show you how the whole thing fits together.
There is a difference between ownership and possession. Another name for possession might be enjoyment; those are two different legal concepts. For example, I could own a beach house in the Hamptons (which I don’t, wish I did); I’m the owner of that house but I’m so busy with my life, I’m so busy working I never actually get down to the Hamptons to enjoy the house. So I’m the owner but I’ve never really possessed it. See that? Or enjoyed it. So what you have to understand is the Abrahamic Covenant gave the nation of Israel unconditional ownership of her blessings. Those blessings are Israel’s land, seed and blessing and they will always be Israel’s she owns it. But whether a given generation enjoys or possesses what they own, is based on their response to the Mosaic Covenant. So Abrahamic Covenant—ownership; Mosaic Covenant—possession.
So here’s the nation of Israel going throughout her history in disobedience to God, over and over again. Why doesn’t God just cut the cord and get rid of them? What covenant prevents Him from doing that? The Abrahamic Covenant, He can never get rid of Israel because of the Abrahamic Covenant. Well then, if they’re God’s chosen people and they own the blessings why doesn’t God just let them enter into, possess or enjoy what they own? What covenant prevents that? The Mosaic Covenant.
You might see in this sort of a prototype of your own salvation. You are, if you’ve trusted in Christ you’re eternally secure; you’re going to heaven because your salvation is not based on what you do, it’s based on what He has done. It’s a grace gift. But sometimes as Christians we can become very disobedient and we don’t really enjoy the fellowship with God that we should and “whom the Lord loves the Lord” what? “chastens.” So there are many, many people that are heaven bound but they’re really not living the victorious life they should because “whom the Lord loves the Lord chastens.” See that? They’re still going to heaven but man, it’s a bumpy ride. So in the same way the nation of Israel has ownership but whether a given generation actually enjoys or possesses what they own they have to respond correctly to the Mosaic Covenant.
And when you begin to understand this you start to understand what in the world these 17 writing Old Testament prophets are doing. We have 17 books in the Old Testament called “Prophets,” Isaiah, Jeremiah, all these guys, what are they doing? Take a look at Hosea 4:1-2 which says this: “Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, for the LORD has a” what? “a case against the inhabitants of the land, [because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.  There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.”]
The Hebrew there is reeb and it essentially is talking about a covenant lawsuit. Why? Because there’s no faithfulness, kindness, knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, adultery. So what were they violating? Which covenant? The Mosaic. So what happens is prophets of God show up at times of national disobedience and they file what is called a covenant law suit, a reeb, against the nation of Israel. And you’ll notice that as you study the prophets they keep citing which covenant? The Mosaic Covenant, and they say you’re disobeying God in this area, this area, this area, this area, and they basically say that’s the reason you’re a curse. And guess what? You’re going to keep being under a curse as long as you’re in disobedience. And in fact, they begin to prophesy of powers that will come against the nation of Israel and take them into dispersion or captivity, which is language going all the way back to which chapter of the Bible? Deuteronomy 28. Which verses? Verses 49-50.
So Moses already outlined the cycles of discipline and the prophets are just coming along and reiterating what God said in the Mosaic Covenant. But then the prophets say to turn back to God and go back to the covenant and you begin to pursue covenant loyalty, then no longer are you going to be cursed but you’re going to be what? Blessed. And this is where the prophets start giving tremendous glimpses of what the future could and will be like when the nation of Israel is in compliance with the Mosaic Covenant, because that will involve the lifting of the curses and the implementation of the what? Blessings.
So notice, for example, the book of Ezekiel, chapter 43:9, it says, “Now let them” Israel “put away their harlotry and the corpses of their kings far from Me; and I will dwell among them forever.” And it goes on and it starts to describe the kingdom. Do you want the kingdom, Israel? Then you need to do something first, because the Mosaic Covenant is what? Conditional.
So once the nation of Israel is in compliance with the Mosaic Covenant they will not just be the owner but they’ll be the what? The possessor. And once Israel is the owner AND the possessor then what materializes on planet earth? The kingdom. So the tension or the goal of history is how Israel is going to be brought into compliance and how the kingdom of God at that point will be established because Israel will be not just owner but possessor.
As long as Israel is owner and not possessor the kingdom is what? Not cancelled, what covenant prevents the cancellation of the kingdom? Abrahamic. The kingdom is postponed and that’s why today, in the year 2017 the kingdom is still postponed because Israel is in disobedience; you look at the nation of Israel today and I’m very pro-Israel but the fact of the matter is that’s a Christ rejecting nation. And as long as they’re a Christ rejecting nation they are the owner but not the possessor and the kingdom is not in a state of cancellation but in a state of postponement.
So here is the whole picture: we have the Abrahamic Covenant, land, seed, blessing and how each of those provisions are amplified in the various sub covenants which we went over last time. And that’s a beautiful structure but the Mosaic Covenant, I have it down at the very bottom of the screen, comes alongside the Abrahamic Covenant and adds a condition. The condition isn’t do you own or do you not own, the condition is do you possess or do you not possess. See that. To understand the Bible you really have to understand how the Mosaic Covenant functions alongside the Abrahamic Covenant.
Now take a look at Deuteronomy 17:15. One of the things that Israel had to do under the Mosaic Covenant is they had to accept the King of God’s choosing for them. So Deuteronomy 17:15 says, “you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses,” and it starts to give the qualification of this king, “one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.” And in essence what God is saying is if you want to fulfill your obligations under the Mosaic Covenant you must submit to the authority of the king of God’s choosing. Now who ultimately is this king? A guy named Yeshua, Hebrew name for Jesus. That’s why early Matthew starts with a genealogy and if you’re doing your one year reading program in the Bible you get to this genealogy and you’re just bored out of your mind, you don’t know what this is doing here, all these strange names that have no real significance to you and you can hardly pronounce them, let alone read them.
That genealogy is a big deal because it shows you that Christ is the King they should have been waiting for, because it anchors Christ genealogically back to David and back to Abraham. So Israel, in the first century, had the chance of a lifetime, the chance of several lifetimes, to enthrone the king of God’s choosing. And that’s why Jesus says to the Jews this in John 5, “Do not think I will accuse you before the Father, the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hopes,  For if you believed Moses, you would believe” who? “Me, for he wrote about Me.”  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”] In other words I’m here, I’m your King, you can fulfill right now Deuteronomy 17:15, you can accept Me on My terms; you will have met your covenant obligations under the conditional Mosaic Covenant and now you’ll not just be the owner but the possessor. So theoretically the kingdom of God could have materialized in the first century. And this is what is meant by the expression used by John the Baptist, Jesus and the Twelve. “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand,” it’s right there in your grasp.
And of course as you study the Gospels it’s a tragic story of how the nation of Israel turned down the offer. Why did they turn down the offer? They turned it down for a lot of reasons, one of the reasons they turned it down is because they wanted the politics of it, the overthrowing of Rome without the submission to His moral authority. So that’s the significance of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7, because he is explaining to them that the kingdom is not just political; it is that, but there’s a moral dimension to it. And these are people that basically wanted to be saved by works instead of by faith. And so you get to the end of Romans 9, into Romans 10, it talks about how they tripped right over the offer.
So the acceptance of Jesus, Yeshua as their king is the sole condition upon which Israel becomes the possessor alongside the owner and the kingdom comes to the earth. That’s basically what’s going on there in the Scripture. So this whole covenant structure that I’ve described here, I would call it this: an unconditional covenant with a conditional blessing. The conditional blessing is possession if they respond properly to the Mosaic Covenant, which points to who? Christ. The unconditional part of it is what God has obligated Himself to do through Israel; that’s why Israel always owns these blessings although she doesn’t necessarily possess them.
So God has set up the whole thing related to Israel, related to how they’re going to respond to their king, Jesus Yeshua. His First Coming they rejected Him so today Israel is the owner but not the possessor and the kingdom is in a state of postponement. The Second Coming is different, she will respond properly to her king, she will not just be the owner but also the possessor, and the kingdom will be established upon the earth.
So one of the things Stephen, if you study Acts 7, what he says is the Jews always get it right the second time. He say look at Joseph, you rejected him, his brothers rejected him as a 17 year old but later they from Canaan to Egypt and submitted to his authority. They got it right the second time. And then he says look at Moses, the nation of Israel really didn’t submit to Moses’ authority so he had to flee for forty years in the Midians, then he came back from Midian forty years later at the ripe old age of 80 and they submitted to his authority as the one who was going to lead them through the Exodus. And Stephen says, Acts 7, you get it right the second time, you never get it right the first time, you always get it right the second time.
And then Stephen says the same thing is happening right now, you rejected him the first time, the kingdom is in a state, not of cancellation but postponement, but you’ll get it right the second time in the events related to the return of Christ. And of course the Jews hated that speech so much they picked up rocks and they killed him, right there on the spot, the first martyrdom in the age of the church.
So what I’m talking about here is really the spine, the tools that you need to understand the totality of the Bible. Everything is sort of hanging on Israel’s response to this man, Jesus Christ. So in the first century Israel rejected Christ so she is the owner but not the possessor; the kingdom is not cancelled but is postponed. That’s why Jesus, when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday said this when He approached Jerusalem he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known this day, even you, the things which make for peace,” what is he talking about? The manifestation of the peace of God on earth which is the kingdom. “But now they have been hidden from your eyes.  For days will come upon you that your enemies will cast around you a barricade, and will surround you and will hem you in on every side,  and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
What is he talking about here? He’s talking about a foreign power coming against the nation of Israel to discipline them. What foreign power is he referring to? Rome. Now what text is he referring to? Deuteronomy 28:19-50. [Deuteronomy 28:49-50, “The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down, a nation whose language you will not understand,  a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young.] Moses outlined the cycles of discipline. The cursings are part of Israel’s suzerain vassal treaty.
However, in the Second Coming, and this is the problem, let me back up for a minute; you’ve never had a generation of Jews that have complied with the Mosaic Covenant. So consequently right up to the present hour the kingdom is in a state of postponement. However, in the Second Coming the nation of Israel will embrace Christ; at that time they’ll not just be the owner but the possessor, and the kingdom will be manifested to the whole world.
This is what Jesus meant when just prior to leaving the earth He said to them, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” who’s He talking to there? The nation of Israel. “…who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” but the problem is not Jesus but who? Israel, “you” Israel “were unwilling.” So it’s a beautiful picture of how He wanted to gather them. And that word for “gather” there is episunago, where get the word synagogue which is a Jewish gathering; the problem isn’t me, the problem is you.  “Behold, your house was left to you desolate.” The temple is going to be destroyed because of the covenant curses, Deuteronomy 28.
And then fortunately it doesn’t stop in verse 38, he goes on to verse 39, “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you” who’s the “you”? Israel, “say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” Which is Psalm 118:26, which is a Messianic Psalm. And what he’s saying is I’m done with this generation, and this nation will not see me again until you acknowledge Me as the Messiah; then I will come back and episunago, gather you.
So what I want you to see based on these covenants… now have I quoted one bit from the book of Revelation? I don’t think I’ve said anything about the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation just is the summation of what God has already revealed in the covenant. The book of Revelation is just the end of the matter, the whole eschatology and the end times is built on your understanding of how these covenants function.
The whole world today could get saved but if tiny Israel remains in unbelief the kingdom cannot come. Do you see that? Conversely, the whole world could reject Christ but if tiny Israel embraces their King then the kingdom can come. Whether the kingdom comes or doesn’t come is not based on the church; the church, as I’ll be explaining in this series, has a different function entirely. The manifestation of the kingdom is totally 100% conditioned on the response of the nation to their King. And I’m getting all of this just by understanding how the covenants work together and function.
This takes me to the bottom of my outline: what is the purpose of the coming seven year tribulation period? Daniel 9:27, a seven year period. [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”] It is to traumatize Israel so severely, this is what God is going to do, He’s going to traumatize Israel so severely and knock out under them every prop they’ve ever trusted in, to the point where they have no one to depend on but God. And the event which will trigger that is the midpoint where the antichrist will go into the Jewish temple that will be rebuilt at that time and he’ll desecrate the temple; he’ll stop the Jews from offering sacrifices, set up a pagan image in the temple. You find a description of that in Revelation 13:15.
And what you need to understand is this scenario has already happened relative to Antiochus Epiphanes who did this identical thing, and you can read about it in the Maccabees books which are good historical books but we don’t accept them as canonical. And we’re going to get into this on Sunday mornings as we continue through Daniel but Antiochus went into the Jewish temple and desecrated it. And when the antichrist does that… and what you have to understand is what Antiochus did is etched on the souls of the Jewish people. It’s an event in history that cannot be forgotten.
When the antichrist, who they have been trusting in up to this point in time, does the same thing again the Jewish nation is traumatized; God has kicked out every single prophet from under them, they have no one to trust in but God. And this is the event that He uses to break the blindness off the Jewish people which precipitates the coming of the kingdom. The guy who led me to Christ gave me the best piece of theology I ever had and I’m going to give it to you. Here it comes—God knocks us down so we’ll look up. And if we’re honest with our own lives and how God has dealt with us individuals He’s basically done that to us to get us here. And there is a massive knocking down coming for national Israel.
So Jesus said, “For I say from now on you will not see Me until you say ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” That’s at the end of Matthew 23. [Matthew 23:;39] Matthew 23 gives way to Matthew 24 which is the Olivet Discourse given on the Mount of Olives where He starts explaining the Tribulation and the circumstances through which Israel will be knocked down so she will look up. In Matthew 24:15 you’ll see a description of the desecration of the temple. [Matthew 24:15, “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” Verse 20 he explains the wilderness at that time, he says, “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.” This is Jewish stuff here. Verses 21-22 he talks about a time of unparalleled distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world. [24:21, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.  Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”]
This is what it’s going to take to bring Israel to her senses. Verse 29-30 He talks about His return for them at the end of that time period.[ But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.”]
And then look at verse 31, “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Do you know the Greek word for “gather” here? Episunago. In other words, what I wanted to do the first time but you wouldn’t have Me I will do for you the second time because you’re going to have to go through a trauma to get you to this point.
And following that you have Jesus, Matthew 25:31, now in His kingdom reigning on David’s throne in fulfilment of 2 Samuel 7:12-16. [Matthew 25:31, “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” 2 Samuel 7:12-16, “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.  He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,  but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.  Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’]
And then verse 34 it talks about the kingdom, inherit the kingdom. Matthew 35:34, “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The kingdom isn’t coming until all of these events transpire because this is what it’s going to take to get Israel to comply with the Mosaic Covenant which points towards who? Jesus. So she can be not just the owner but the what? The possessor.
So that’s why you have all of these passages scattered throughout the Bible of Israel’s conversion through distress. See that? When you are distress and all these things have come upon you, when? In the latter days you will return to the Lord God and listen to His voice. Have you ever tried to witness to a Jewish person? I mean, occasionally a Jewish person gets saved but it’s difficult. Why? There’s a blindness over their eyes that’s going to take this time of distress to break it off.
Jeremiah 30:7 says, “’Alas! for that day is great,” this is talking about the Tribulation, “There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s” who’s Jacob? Jacob’s, Israel’s “distress, But he will be saved from it.’” God is not bringing it upon them to destroy them. He’s bringing it upon them so they will trust in Yeshua, so they’ll comply with to whom the Mosaic Covenant points towards, so they’re not just the owner but the possessor, then the kingdom comes to the earth.
And around this time you’re going to have Zechariah 12:10 fulfilled, where God says, “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” So Israel reaches this point in this distress and I think it has to do with the fact that they’ve trusted in the wrong guy, the antichrist who has now betrayed them and repeated what Antiochus did, which they well know in their history. And they begin to actually sob, mourn, cry, and suddenly the scales break off the eyes and they recognize that for these last 2,000 years we’ve had the whole thing wrong because Israel, you always get it right, not the first time but the second time.
And this is what the great prophecy of the seventy weeks is all about. I’ll unpack this on Sunday mornings if and when we get there, but it’s a clock that God has given to Israel, the final seven years of which her distress will, Daniel 12, I think it’s about verse 7, the scattering of the holy people. [Daniel 12:7, “I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.”]
God is putting them through this to shatter the holy people, and through that they will trust in Yeshua and as a result these six clauses mentioned in Daniel 9:24 will become a reality, Israel will not just be politically restored but spiritually restored.
So what am I trying to get at? Do not expect the kingdom of God to come until these events transpire. Do you see that? That’s what I tried to articulate is the Mosaic Covenant and how it comes alongside the Abrahamic Covenant and adds this very important condition.
That was chapter 4, so next week I would read chapters 5 and 6 but now you’ve got the basis of the whole thing, the rest of it is easy. Once you’ve got the covenants down the rest of it starts to really fall into place.
I’ll stop talking at this point and we’ll let folks go to pick up their kids if they need to do that and there’s no doubt you guys have some questions.