The Study of Scripture
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Jew, Gentile, Christian
Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the Church of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:32)
The Word of God divides the human race into three separate and distinct groups of individuals, forming three creations:
These three creations, brought into existence at different times, will exist separate and distinct from one another throughout not only the present dispensation but also during the coming Messianic Era and the endless ages that follow, comprising eternity.
Mankind began and remained as only one creation for two millennia. Then, a second creation was brought into existence after the first two millennia had run their course, and a third creation followed after two more millennia had passed.
But within the plans and purposes of God, all three were seen in the beginning, prior to the creation of Adam. In the beginning, when God made and arranged the ages around the pre-planned activity of His Son within the framework of these ages (Hebrews 1:2), He had these three divisions of the human race in view.
And nothing can ever hinder the plans and purposes of God.
Man — ignoring God’s revealed plans and purposes through the three segments into which He has divided mankind — talks about the human race in a global, oneness sense, with time and conditions as we know them today going on and on indefinitely.
But God deals with the matter in His Word after a completely different fashion. God deals with the matter through three separate and distinct creations on a 6,000-year redemptive timetable, with a seventh 1,000-year period lying beyond the 6,000 years (with this seventh millennium followed by an unending sequence of ages, comprising eternity).
God established and revealed His timetable, along with His redemptive work within this timetable, at the very beginning of His Word. But the ones to whom God revealed His plans and purposes after this fashion have, for the most part, ignored them. And doing so, man in this respect, remaining ignorant of God’s plans and purposes, goes about following his own plans and purposes, little realizing that his own plans and purposes will shortly and suddenly be interrupted and be completely done away with (cf. 2 Peter 3:3-8).
When man ignores the revealed Word of God, tragic consequences always follow. Such consequences may not be ushered in immediately. In fact, they seldom are. But consequences of this nature must always ultimately follow unbelief.
There is a God-established law of the harvest — sowing and reaping — which must come to pass:
A person always reaps that which he sows.
A person always reaps more than he sows.
The reaping occurs at a later time than the sowing.
The 6,000-year history of man is replete with examples, but the climactic consequence of man’s actions in this respect, climaxing the entire 6,000 years, awaits a future day. The coming “time of Jacob’s trouble” — a time when millennia of sowing will be reaped — will affect not only Israel but the entire Gentile world (Jeremiah 30:7; Revelation 6:1-17). And during this time, God, by bringing to pass a time of trouble “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21, 22), will climax His dealings with man during man’s 6,000-year day.
God began the human race through the creation of one man. Then He put the man to sleep, removed a rib from his side, formed a woman from the rib, and presented her back to the man, providing not only a helpmate for the man but completeness as well (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7, 18, 20-25).
Thus, in the beginning there was simply the man, Adam, the woman, Eve, and their progeny that followed. And any thought of divisions within mankind of a nature seen in the distinction between Jew, Gentile, and Christian had to wait for 2,000 and 4,000 years of human history, though certain events during this first 2,000-year period did foreshadow and portend these divisions.
1) Saved and Unsaved
During the first 2,000 years of human history, the central or main division seen within mankind was a division into saved or unsaved segments, a division seen throughout Man’s Day. Other types of division though were seen as well — the division of mankind at the time of the Flood in Genesis chapters six through eight, the division into three segments of the human race in Genesis 9:25-27, or the division by languages and national boundaries in Genesis chapters ten and eleven. But none of these were the same types of division seen by/through God later bringing into existence a second creation within mankind, and then later yet a third creation.
Viewing a distinction between saved and unsaved individuals during the first 2,000 years of human history would be similar to viewing a distinction between saved and unsaved individuals among the Gentile nations during the coming Tribulation, following the removal of the one new man “in Christ.” The salvation of Gentiles during the coming Tribulation will not separate them from their Gentile heritage in the same sense that it does during the present dispensation (cf. Galatians 3:28).
During the present dispensation, when a Gentile (or a Jew) is saved, that person becomes part of an entirely new creation, the one new man, the new creation “in Christ.” But during the coming Tribulation — which will be the fulfillment of the last seven years of the previous dispensation (ref. Chapter 5 of this book) — this will not be the case.
Though individuals will be saved during the Tribulation exactly the same way man has always been saved — by the Spirit breathing life into the one having no life, on the basis of death and shed blood — these individuals will not become part of the new creation “in Christ” (as any believing Jew or Gentile becomes today). The new creation “in Christ” (God’s third creation in the human race) will have previously been removed from the earth, leaving only two creations — Jew and Gentile — on the earth.
Thus, a Gentile being saved in that coming day, remaining on earth, could not become part of a creation no longer present on the earth. Consequently, he will simply remain a Gentile, though saved. And if he survives the Tribulation he will be among those Gentiles entering into the kingdom, forming a part of the Gentile nations that will populate the earth at the beginning of the Millennium.
And so will it be with unsaved Jews during the Tribulation or at the end of the Tribulation who look upon their Messiah, believe, and are saved. They will not relinquish their national identity, as believing Jews do today. Rather, they will remain Jews (as during Old Testament times), forming a part of the Jewish nation (along with resurrected Jews from Old Testament days) who will enter the kingdom here on the earth.
In this respect, during the first 2,000 years of human history, though there was a division between saved and unsaved segments of mankind, the type of divisions that God later brought into existence (separate creations, Jew and Christian), as previously shown, did not exist. There was simply man in his fallen state (saved or unsaved) belonging to one creation, the only one that existed.
And this one creation in which mankind found itself was not really “Gentile” per se, though it was later looked upon as Gentile after God had brought a second creation (through Jacob) into existence (Isaiah 43:1), forming two divisions within mankind. Following that, Jacob and his progeny were looked upon as a separate and distinct creation, and all the other nations comprised the creation that had existed throughout the prior 2,000 years.
Only after God produced a special creation in the person of Jacob did a division exist in the human race of a nature that allowed the word “Gentile” to be used — a name referring to someone outside the lineage of Jacob through his twelve sons, later called “Jews.”
And going 2,000 years beyond that to the time God brought a third creation into existence — the new creation “in Christ” — the word “Gentile” then distinguished that new segment of mankind from two other segments — both Jews and Christians. A “Gentile” was then/is now looked upon as someone who was/is not a Jew or a Christian.
2) Portending Divisions, Types and Antitypes
Though there were no divisions within mankind during the first 2,000 years of human history of a nature that later occurred — when Israel was brought into existence, and later the new creation “in Christ” — certain events did occur during this time that foreshadowed both the existence of the nation of Israel and subsequently the existence of the Church. Then other events occurred during this time, apart from typology, which portended the existence of the nation of Israel, prior to its actual existence.
Those comprising the nation of Israel are Semites, descending from Shem, one of Noah’s three sons. And following the Flood, Shem was the only one of Noah’s sons said to have a God, with any of God’s blessings that either of the other two sons would receive flowing only through Shem, as they dwelled “in the tents of Shem” — i.e., as they came in contact with and associated themselves with Shem, the only one with a God and the only one through whom God had chosen to channel His blessings for mankind (Genesis 9:26, 27).
Though this division within mankind can be seen following the Flood, portending the existence of the nation of Israel centuries later, all three sons of Noah remained of the same creation. Again, the separate and distinct creation, forming two divisions within mankind, did not exist until Jacob appeared.
That which is revealed in Genesis 9:26, 27 though sets forth a central purpose surrounding Shem’s greater descendants, the nation of Israel, which would form a second creation within mankind. With respect to that which is seen in this section of Scripture, the nation of Israel, about eight hundred years later was called into existence to be the channel through which God would bless all the Gentile nations. Following Noah’s statement in Genesis 9:26, 27, there can be no such thing as blessings flowing out to the remainder of mankind except through Shem and his descendants.
(In the preceding respect, note that which lies behind anti-Semitism as it has existed in the world down through the centuries [e.g., during modern times — actions of the Third Reich in Europe during World War II or those of certain Gentile nations in the Middle East today].
Satan and his angels have ruled the earth from the heavens through the Gentile nations throughout Man’s Day, and they know full well the place that Israel occupies in God’s revealed plans and purposes [a nation separate from the Gentile nations, through which they do not and cannot rule]. As a result, they, by/through moving rulers within the Gentile nations, have done and continue to do everything within their power to prevent God’s plans and purposes surrounding the Jewish people. And man, by following Satanic leadership of this nature, continues attempting to do away with and destroy the very channel tha God has chosen and brought into existence to bless all of the Gentile nations, including even those nations attempting to destroy Israel.
This, in connection with man’s attitude toward Christ, is undoubtedly the greatest oxymoron of all times. Fallen man, who would desire God’s blessings, has rejected one of God’s firstborn Sons and is seeking the destruction of the other firstborn son.
For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s books, The Most High Ruleth and God’s Firstborn Sons.)
Then, viewing the matter after a different fashion, though the whole of mankind comprised only one group during the first 2,000 years of human history, both the second and third groups (Jews and Christians, yet to be brought into existence) can be seen in different accounts of the history of the first group (which formed types of the second and third groups).
Israel can be seen in the account of Cain slaying Abel, foreshadowing Israel slaying Christ 4,000 years later (Genesis 4).
Or, Israel can be seen again in the account of Noah passing safely through the Flood, foreshadowing Israel passing safely through the coming Tribulation over 4,000 years later (Genesis 6-8).
Or, note the previously mentioned account of Noah’s son, Shem, and His God-appointed position relative to Ham and Japheth following the Flood; this foreshadows Israel’s future God-appointed position among the nations following the Tribulation over 4,000 years later (Genesis 9).
Then, the Church, as Israel, can be seen in this same manner before its actual existence as well.
Note the account of Eve being removed from Adam’s body and presented back to Adam to reign with him as his bride, as consort queen, foreshadowing the called-out group of firstborn sons (Hebrews 12:23) who will be removed from Christ’s body and presented back to Christ to reign with Him as His bride, as consort queen 6,000 years later (Genesis 2).
Or, the Church can be seen again in the account of Adam finding Eve in a fallen state and partaking of sin to effect her redemption so that both might one day eat of the tree of life together. This foreshadows Christ finding His bride in a fallen state and being made sin to effect her redemption so that both the Redeemer and the redeemed might one day eat of the tree of life together 4,000 and 6,000 years later (Genesis 3), with the tree of life providing the required wisdom and knowledge to rule and to reign for those Christians forming Christ’s bride in that day (reference the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ, Chapter 5).
Or, the Church can be seen again in the account of Enoch being removed from the earth alive preceding the Flood, foreshadowing the Church being removed from the earth alive preceding the Tribulation over 5,000 years later (Genesis 5).
The beginning of the nation of Israel is usually looked upon as originating with Abraham, the father of the nation. He is the one who was called out of Ur of the Chaldees, crossed the Euphrates, and was the first person to be called “an Hebrew” (thought to mean, “the one who crossed over,” i.e., the one who crossed the Euphrates in route to the land of Canaan [cf. Genesis 14:13; 40:15; Joshua 24:2, 3]).
1) Abraham and Isaac
Abraham though became the father of many nations after he entered the land of Canaan. He fathered a son by Hagar (Ishmael [Genesis 16:16]), through which, for the most part, the present-day Arabic nations sprang. Then he fathered a son by Sarah (Isaac [Genesis 21:5]), through which the nation of Israel sprang. And, following the death of Sarah, he fathered six sons by Keturah (Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah [Genesis 25:1, 2]), through which other Arabic nations sprang (though, for the most part, evidently later assimilated into the Ishmaelite Arabic nations).
Then Abraham’s grandson, Esau, became the father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:9), a nation whose history can be traced up to but not beyond the first century A.D.
Abraham was the person whom God called out of Ur to be the channel through which He would bring His plans and purposes surrounding man to pass.
1) To bring forth the Redeemer.
2) To give man the Word of God.
3) To be the channel through which blessings would flow out to mankind.
And these plans and purposes were to be realized through one nation, the nation of Israel.
But to complicate the matter somewhat, Abraham, as previously stated, became the father of many nations. Scripture though leaves no room to question which of the nations God recognized as “Abraham’s seed” insofar as His plans and purposes being brought to pass were concerned.
God rejected Abraham’s firstborn, Ishmael, at the time Isaac’s birth was announced (Genesis 17:15-19); He again rejected Ishmael following Isaac’s birth, at the time Isaac was weaned (Genesis 21:5-12); and nations descending from the sons of Keturah or the Edomites descending from Esau, though all Abraham’s seed, are not seen in Scripture as even being mentioned relative to the matter (as was Ishmael).
From the birth of Isaac forward, the Old Testament centers around one nation — the nation descending from Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons. Nations descending from the other sons of Abraham, along with the Edomites, though Semitic nations, were looked upon as being among the Gentile nations. And these nations, as all the other Gentile nations, occupy a place in Scripture only as they come in contact with and/or have dealings with the nation of Israel.
(The preceding, for example, is why Middle East nations that come in contact with Israel are often mentioned over and over in Scripture, in complete keeping with the frequency of these nations coming in contact with or having some type of association with Israel. “Egypt” would be the classic example in this respect.
On the other hand, this is also the reason why other nations, removed geographically from Israel and not really having any type of contact or association with Israel, are not mentioned at all.
And today, with the United States having befriended Israel since statehood in 1948, one might expect to find the United States to be mentioned, after some fashion, in Scripture. But such is not the case, and there’s a reason.
Actions involving the United States and Israel are occurring during a time when Israel has been set aside for a dispensation, and God is not presently dealing with Israel on a national basis. Rather, God is presently dealing with the one new man “in Christ.”
The existence of a present nation of Israel in the Middle East, resulting from a Zionistic movement begun under Theodor Herzl over one hundred years ago, is covered in Scripture only to the extent that a Jewish nation must exist in the Middle East at the time God resumes His national dealings with Israel. And, at that time, nations coming in contact with Israel are once again seen on the pages of Scripture.
Thus, though the United States has had and continues to have a central part in the Gentile nations’ dealings with Israel during modern times, biblical prophecy does not cover the matter. Prophetic revelation of a nature that covers events in the Middle East today — allowing the United States to be mentioned — simply does not exist, contrary to the attempt by some to make Scripture say and mean things that it doesn’t say and mean at all.
And even during that future time when God completes His dealings with the one new man “in Christ,” removes this new man, and then turns to and resumes His dealings with Israel, the United States is not even seen in Scripture, unless in an indirect manner.
In Ezekiel chapter thirty eight, the United States is possibly among the nations spoken of in an indirect manner in verse thirteen. Other than this possible one indirect reference, the United States is not seen on the pages of Scripture. And this reflects directly on the probability that the United States will no longer even be a world power of any significance once the one new man “in Christ” has been removed and God resumes His national dealings with Israel.
Note how the removal of the one new man “in Christ” can only deplete the ranks of those in every area of life throughout the United States, where a large percentage of the population is comprised of Christians — from every part of the government, to every part of the military, to every part of the populace in general. The resulting ramifications of the removal of the one new man “in Christ” [something that will occur] are unimaginable.)
There is a special creation involved insofar as the nation of Israel is concerned; and accordingly, as in Adam’s creation, the time when two divisions within mankind would exist had to, of necessity, await that day when a divine work could be produced in a particular person at a particular time.
Such a creation could not have been brought to pass in the person of Abraham, for he was the father of many nations. Thus, had God performed a special creative act at this point in the genealogy, it would have resulted in all of the Semitic nations descending from Abraham being looked upon as separate from the Gentile nations. That is, all of Abraham’s descendants — through Ishmael, Isaac, and the sons of Keturah — would be part of a separate (single) creation, separate from all the other nations.
Accordingly, this special creative act could not have been brought to pass in Abraham’s son, Isaac, for he had one son (Esau) outside the correct lineage. Had God performed a special creative act in the person of Isaac, the descendants of Esau as well as the descendants of Jacob would form a separate (single) creation, separate from the remaining nations.
(Note that the whole of the matter is introduced through Noah’s youngest son, Shem, in days immediately following the Flood, nine generations preceding Abraham. But, for reasons previously given — whether in Shem’s genealogy extending through generations to Abraham, or in Abraham’s and Isaac’s genealogies — a separate, special creation in the human race, of the nature seen, had to await Jacob.)
Thus, a special creative act awaited Abraham’s grandson, Jacob. And this special creative act, which occurred just as much within the physical realm as Adam’s creation, was then passed on to his descendants.
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)
Following the point in time referred to in Isaiah 43:1, mankind found itself divided into two segments — those in Adam and those in Jacob. The special creation in Jacob (as the later special creation “in Christ,” forming a third creation within mankind) wrought no change in man’s fallen condition inherited from Adam (retention of the old sin nature, with all of its ramifications).
Whether dealings with the Jews, Gentiles, or Christians, when the old sin nature is in view (which is associated with and can only result in death), the matter is always taken back to Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22).
But in God’s separate and distinct creation surrounding Jacob, though it produced a change in the physical realm, the old sin nature inherited from Adam was retained (as it is today by Christians). And this change that God brought to pass in Jacob is passed on through procreation from one generation to the next.
(Adam was created from a piece of earth, prior to the ground being cursed. Thus, in Adam’s creation, there was no connection with sin or the results of sin.
God’s creation of Jacob though was different. Jacob was created from a descendant of Adam, following the fall. Thus, even though a separate creation was involved, the sin nature was passed on to this separate creation, for the creation involved the natural man, “Jacob,” not “Israel.”
And as will be seen, in the new creation “in Christ,” matters are different yet. It is spiritual, positional, and no sin can be involved because it is a creation “in Christ,” where no sin can reside.)
By means of the special creation that God performed through Jacob, because it had occurred in the physical realm, God could bring forth a nation through which His plans and purposes would be realized. The nation emanating from Jacob would be separate and distinct from all the other nations (now looked upon as Gentile nations in the true sense of the word), and God would bring His plans and purposes to pass through this nation. In this respect, though the nation of Israel looks back to Abraham as the father of the nation, the special creative act — separating this nation from all the surrounding nations — did not, it could not, occur until Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, appeared.
From Jacob sprang twelve sons. And from these twelve sons sprang the twelve tribes of Israel, forming the nation through which God gave man the Redeemer, the written Word of God, and through which all blessings for mankind have flowed, continue to flow, and will flow in all their fulness during the Messianic Era.
(Of interest to note: The name “Israel” is derived from a combination of two Hebrew names — Sarah and El. The name Sarah means “princess,” and El is the Hebrew singular form for “God” [Elohim is the plural form found throughout the Old Testament].
El is a common ending for many Hebrew names, combining different meanings of names with the Word for God [e.g., Ezekiel, Daniel, Joel]. Thus, the meaning of “Israel,” as seen in Genesis 32:28, is derived from the name — “a prince, a princess [God’s firstborn son, the wife of Jehovah]” who has “power with God and with men” [power with men because of power with God].
And, with this in mind, note the typology of Genesis 21-23, where Sarah, the wife of Abraham, is seen as a type of Israel, the wife of God.
Regal implications are seen throughout, whether in the type in Genesis or in that which the type foreshadows. It is “Israel” who is destined to one day possess princely/princessly [regal] “power with God and with men” [cf. Genesis 35:10-12].)
The Church of God
This then brings us to the third and last of the special creative acts of God within the human race, leaving mankind divided into three separate and distinct segments rather than the previous two. And this creation, rather than occurring in the physical realm, occurred in the spiritual realm. The former two creations (Jew and Gentile) could be passed on through one’s progeny, but not the third creation (Christian).
1) Purpose For
Before seeing the different things about this creation as Scripture presents them, a purpose for the new creation’s existence needs to be seen. After all, God’s plans and purposes, resulting in spiritual blessings for mankind, were to be realized through Abraham and his seed (something which could never change). So, why call a third creation into existence?
And, again, if this third creation is to be placed, after any fashion, as another channel (as Israel) through which God’s plans and purposes are to ultimately be realized, this creation must somehow be “Abraham’s seed,” though, at the same time, be separate and distinct from the nation of Israel (or the Gentiles). Such a relationship with Abraham must exist, for spiritual blessings can flow out to mankind only through the seed of Abraham. And a separation from Israel (or the Gentiles) must exist as well, else God’s purpose for the new creation could not be carried out. This third creation must be separate and distinct from the creation in Jacob (or in Adam) and exist solely as a completely new creation, a new creation “in Christ.”
The purpose for the existence of the third creation in the human race goes all the way back to the beginning within the mind of God, when He made and arranged the ages around the pre-planned work of His Son within the framework of these ages. This is why the third creation (along with the second) is seen time after time in Old Testament typology. But the working out of matters and the bringing into existence of this third creation — the one new man “in Christ” (Ephesians 2:13-15) — did not occur until Israel’s Messiah had been sent to the earth, had offered the kingdom of the heavens to the nation of Israel, had been rejected, had been crucified, and had been raised from the dead.
In the Old Testament, Israel was made the repository for both heavenly and earthly promises and blessings. And these promises and blessings — to be realized by Israel, resulting in the Gentile nations being blessed — were to flow out to the Gentile nations through Abraham and his Seed from two spheres, heavenly and earthly (Genesis 12:1-3; 14:17-22; 22:17, 18).
This is the manner in which God has decreed that the matter exist. It has been established in this manner, it can never change, and there can never be an exception.
When Christ appeared on earth the first time, His message to Israel — a message proclaimed first by John the Baptist, followed by Christ and His disciples — was,
“Repent [a plural pronoun, referring to the entire nation], for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matthew 3:1, 2; 4:17; 10:1-8).
That would be to say, the nation was called to national repentance in view of the Israelites occupying proffered positions in heavenly places in the kingdom; and these positions were to be occupied at a time in the immediate future (the kingdom was “at hand [or, ‘had drawn near’]”), for the Messianic King Himself was present, proclaiming the message and extending the offer. And the establishment of the proffered kingdom was contingent on the nation’s positive response to the King’s call.
Then it must be recognized that the passing of this part of the kingdom (the heavenly realm, then in the hands of Satan and his angels, as it is today) into the hands of the seed of Abraham could only have been accompanied by the earthly part of the kingdom being established as well (necessitating the overthrow of Gentile world power, also under Satan). It is one kingdom with two realms or facets, and there could have been no such thing as one realm of the kingdom being established without the other realm also being established.
The nation as a whole though, as led by their religious leaders (mainly the Scribes, Pharisees, and sadducees), was not interested in the proffered heavenly portion of the kingdom. And regardless of what the people of Israel understood or didn’t understand relative to the complete scope of the proffered kingdom (one kingdom with two parts, which must be established in conjunction with one another), the nation subsequently not only rejected the offer but the Jewish people crucified the One who made the offer.
All of this provides the backdrop for the new creation “in Christ” being brought into existence.
Israel’s rejection of the proffered kingdom provides the reason for God bringing a third creation in the human race into existence. This third creation, the new creation “in Christ,” the “Church of God,” was brought into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected, i.e., the heavenly sphere of the kingdom (cf. Matthew 21:43; 1 Peter 2:9, 10).
Then, again, there is another side to the matter. Israel’s rejection of the heavenly sphere of the kingdom allowed God to bring a third creation into existence. This new creation, occupying the position “in Christ,” was Christ’s body, with Christ the Head of the body (Ephesians 1:22, 23). And according to the original type (seen in Adam and Eve [governing all subsequent types, along with the antitype]), Christ’s bride — the one who is to reign as consort queen with Him from the heavens over the earth during the coming age — is to be removed from His body (cf. Genesis 2:21-23; Ephesians 5:23-32).
This was something not possible for Israel (for Israel was God’s wife and did not comprise Christ’s body). And no Gentile nation could even come under consideration (for all of the Gentile nations were completely removed from the matter at hand, “having no hope, and without God in the world” [Ephesians 2:12]).
Thus, a third creation, separate from both Israel and the Gentile nations, had to be brought into existence.
And that’s exactly what God did following the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. God brought the one new man “in Christ” into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected, and He performed this act in such a way that His Son’s bride could also be removed from this new creation, in accord with the original type in Genesis 2:21-23.
Christ, God of very God, knew at the time He offered the kingdom of the heavens to Israel that Israel wouldn’t — the nation couldn’t — accept the offer, though a bona fide offer was made.
This is why the Son could tell the religious leaders in Israel that the sin they had committed, in Matthew chapter twelve, attributing Christ’s power to perform miraculous works to Satan rather than to the Spirit of God (referring to a miraculous work performed in connection with the proffered kingdom), would not be forgiven Israel for two ages — the present age, Man’s Day, and the coming age, the Lord’s Day, the Messianic Era (vv. 22-32).
This is also why Christ could later call Peter’s attention to the fact that the Church was about to be brought into existence (Matthew 16:18).
And this is why Christ could still later announce to the religious leaders in Israel that the kingdom (the proffered heavenly portion) would be taken from Israel and given “to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matthew 21:43).
2) In Christ
The existence of the one new man “in Christ” could not be just another creation, separate from Israel and the Gentile nations. As previously stated, the new creation had to be both Abraham’s seed and Christ’s body.
This new creation had to be the former (Abraham’s seed) because the heavenly sphere of the kingdom, as the earthly, could not be inherited by individuals who were not of Abraham’s seed. Blessings during the Messianic Era are to flow out to the Gentile nations from both heavenly and earthly spheres, and Scripture is very clear that blessings of this nature can flow out to the Gentile nations after this fashion only through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12:2, 3; 22:17, 18).
Then, this new creation had to be the latter (Christ’s body), for the bride who is to reign as consort queen with Christ from heavenly places is to be taken from His body (cf. Genesis 2:21-24; Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Ephesians 5:22-32).
And, along with the preceding, this new creation could be neither Jew nor Gentile, though it had to be removed from one or both of the former creations. And, in this case, as the second creation (Jew) was removed from the first (Gentile), the third creation (Christian) was/is being removed from the previous two (both Jew and Gentile).
Fifty days following His Son’s resurrection, God established this creation at events surrounding Pentecost (Acts 2:1ff). Events on this day occurred in connection with a Jewish festival portending the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and with individuals being filled with the Spirit in keeping with Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:4 [reference the author’s book, From Acts to the Epistles, Chapter 1]).
And though there was a re-offer of the kingdom to Israel during about the first thirty years of the dispensation (in keeping with a beginning fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy [cf. Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21]), with the message “to the Jew first,” the message was now “also to the Greek [‘Gentile’]” (Romans 1:16; 2:9, 10).
The latter is why God chose and called Paul about five years following Calvary. Paul was chosen and called forth to proclaim the message to “the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15; Galatians 2:2, 7).
Apart from a new creation, the message could not have been “also to the Greek [‘Gentile’]” after the manner seen (Gentiles brought in after such a fashion that they found themselves associated with heavenly positions in the kingdom). There was a baptism, an immersion, in the Spirit (Acts 1:5); and, aside from its connection with Joel’s prophecy in Acts 2:4 (because the kingdom was being re-offered to Israel), this immersion in the Spirit that occurred on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D. could only have been the same as the Christian experience today — bringing into existence the one new man “in Christ” on that day (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:15).
(The expression “Gentile” was used of saved Gentiles during this time [e.g., Romans 1:16; Galatians 2:14; Ephesians 3:6], during the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, to distinguish between saved Jews and saved Gentiles [saved Jews who were still part of the nation (who had lived before Calvary and were still present following Calvary), not saved Jews who were part of the one new man “in Christ”; and saved Gentiles who were no longer part of the Gentile nations but part of the one new man “in Christ”].
Once the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel had been withdrawn [about 63 A.D.] and this saved generation of Jews had passed off the scene, terminology of this nature would have been out of place. Beyond this, in terminology, a clear distinction is drawn between Jews, Gentiles, and Christians.
Also, along these same lines, note that those baptized [immersed] in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost were not unsaved individuals. The immersion in the Spirit had nothing to do with eternal salvation; nor does it have anything to do with eternal salvation today. The work of the Spirit relative to eternal salvation — salvation by grace — was set forth in an unchangeable manner at the beginning, in Genesis 1:2b-5; 2:7; 3:21; 4:8-10; and, accordingly, this work of the Spirit has always been the same in relation to eternal salvation.
Eternal salvation is effected through the Spirit breathing life into the one having no life, on the basis of death and shed blood. The baptism [immersion] in the Spirit is something additional [peculiar to the present dispensation], which, today, could only be seen as occurring in conjunction with and at the same time as the Spirit’s work surrounding salvation.
One produces life [the Spirit breathing]; and the other brings about the new creation [immersion in the Spirit], placing the person “in Christ.”)
In this respect, the bringing into existence of the new creation “in Christ,” the beginning of the present dispensation, or the beginning of the fulfillment of the antitype of Genesis chapter twenty-four (the Spirit’s search for a bride for God’s Son) can only be placed in Acts chapter two.
But aside from the preceding, and looking at the matter as it has existed throughout the present dispensation, a Jew or a Gentile can become a new creation “in Christ” simply by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30, 31). By believing, as the Spirit breathes life into the one possessing no life, he passes “from death to life.” And the person — whether Jew or Gentile — is, at the same time, immersed in the Spirit, allowing him to occupy a positional standing “in Christ.” The person becomes a new creation, in the spiritual realm under discussion; and, within this realm, he is no longer associated with his prior creation (whether Jew or Gentile).
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
If he were a Jew prior to the time of belief, he ceased to be a Jew. He relinquished his national identity and became a new creation “in Christ.”
The “old things [having to do with the old creation in Jacob] have passed away,” and “all things [having to do with the new creation ‘in Christ’] have become new.” The latter part of the verse should literally read, “. . behold, he has become new [i.e., he has become a new creation].”
On the other hand, if he were a Gentile prior to the time of belief, exactly the same thing occurred as happened to a believing Jew. He relinquished his national identity and became a new creation “in Christ.” And 2 Corinthians 5:17 applies to him in exactly the same fashion as it applies to a believing Jew.
Both believing Jews and believing Gentiles become part of the one new man “in Christ,” where there is neither Jew nor Gentile. And together they become “fellowheirs [in relation to heavenly promises and blessings], and of the same body [Christ’s body]…” (Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 2:13-15; 3:1-6).
A Jew, relinquishing his national identity, relinquishes his place among a nation destined to one day realize earthly promises and blessings. And, by so doing, he comes into possession of a higher calling. He now finds himself part of a nation destined to one day realize heavenly promises and blessings (1 Peter 2:9, 10).
A Gentile, relinquishing his national identity, relinquishes his place among the nations that have “no hope,” and are “without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Thus, by so doing, he simply comes into possession of a calling, having possessed no previous calling. He, as the believing Jew, now finds himself part of a nation destined to one day realize heavenly promises and blessings (Ephesians 3:5).
And this has all been made possible because, being “in Christ [who is Abraham’s Seed],” individuals are looked upon as being “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise [heavenly, not earthly]” (Galatians 3:16, 29).
The expression “in Christ” is the key involving the one new man. This is a positional standing, brought about through a baptism (an immersion) in the Spirit, which occurs at the same time that the Spirit breathes life into the one having no life, on the basis of the Son’s finished work at Calvary.
Thus, the matter surrounding the new creation “in Christ” is spiritual, and the matter surrounding the prior two creations (in Adam, in Jacob) is physical, or natural. The first two creations can be passed from one generation to the next via the natural birth, but the latter creation cannot. The latter is spiritual, completely separate from the natural, and it must be experienced on an individual basis by/through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Accordingly, the Spirit’s work in the individual — breathing life into the person on the one hand and bringing about the new creation on the other — results in no change in the physical, the natural man. Paul, a new creation “in Christ,” could also refer to himself as “an Israelite” (Romans 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22), “a Jew” (Acts 21:39; 22:3), and “an Hebrew” (2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:5).
The former (the Spirit’s work) had to do with his identity through being in Christ, associating him with that which was spiritual, that which was from above; and the latter (natural birth) had to do with his identity outside of Christ, associating him with that which was natural, that which was from below.
(Note that the old sin nature is associated only with the latter [the natural], never with the former [the spiritual]; and being born from above, brought forth out of God [John 1:13; 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3, 23; 1 John 3:9; 5:1] is associated only with the former [the spiritual], never with the latter [the natural].)
Within a type-antitype framework, the former [the spiritual] had to do with “Isaac” and the latter [the natural] with “Ishmael” — individuals typifying the man of spirit and the man of flesh respectively, which cannot co-exist harmoniously or after an inseparable fashion with one another (cf. Genesis 21:9, 10; Galatians 4:22-31). That’s why there can be no such thing as a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian, for that would be placing Ishmael and Isaac together, as a single entity.
Rather, there are Jews, Gentiles, and Christians; and that’s the way it must remain, with each of these three creations looked upon as separate and distinct from one another.