Abrahamic Covenant Fulfilled in Jesus’ Second Coming
We’re wrapping up our 11 week series on The Common Thread. We’ve seen how the unconditional, never-ending covenant God made with Abraham in Genesis 12 connects the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As we conclude, Chris will share what will happen when God ultimately fulfills His promise to Abraham. The Jewish people thought that the Messiah’s first coming would solve Israel’s problems with their enemies. Rome was their enemy and as we know from Scripture, many missed Jesus as the Messiah because He did not lead them to take down Rome. But what many missed is what will happen in the Messiah’s Second Coming. When Jesus returns He will rule from Jerusalem as a King! Do you believe that?
What is it that has been a common theme in this series? It’s faith. By faith Abraham left his life and followed God. Faith caused Moses to stand up to Pharoah. Faith moved David to repent. Faith was the motivating factor as Jesus said, “not My will but Yours, Father.” It is faith in our creator that binds us together!
If you’ve missed the previous episodes of this series, you can find them in our Archives.
Steve Conover: The Bible says Jesus is coming back. His feet will touch down in Jerusalem. As Christians, it's a day we're all looking forward to. But what exactly does the return of Jesus mean for Israel and the Jewish people?
Thanks for joining us. This is the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover.
Chris Katulka: And I'm Chris Katulka, and we are wrapping up our Common Thread series. For the past 10 weeks, we've been looking at how the promise that God made to Abraham impacts all of the bible. It's really the common thread that binds the whole bible together. Today, we're going to end our series with God's promise to Abraham and how it finds its completion, how it finds its fulfillment at Christ's second coming.
Steve Conover: We're looking forward to Chris's concluding thoughts on the common thread, but first in the news, the terror group Hamas encouraged Palestinians to protest Israel's closure of the Temple Mount compound. This, after a Palestinian threw a fire bomb at an Israeli police station located on the Temple Mount. Hamas, the Palestinian Authority along with Jordanian and Turkish officials claim Israel is stoking a religious conflict amid concerns over increasing tensions at the sensitive holy site.
Chris Katulka: Steve, this is interesting because Israel doesn't wish to prevent Jewish people or Muslims or Christians from worshiping in Jerusalem. They don't control the Holy Sepulcher, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or the Temple Mount where the Dome of the Rock is, but Israel does however have the right to ensure these places are safe places of worship. In fact, I'm reminded of just a couple of ... maybe about a year or so ago, Israel went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and told them you need to fix up what's going on in the church, in the worship area because it's starting to fall apart and you could hurt your worshipers.
So, Israel actually demanded that they close down, fix the church, and then people could come back in. They weren't trying to prevent people from worshiping. They were trying to make the place a safe place for everybody. The same goes for the Temple Mount. They're not trying to prevent Muslims from worshiping. Palestinians should not be throwing fire bombs on the Temple Mount, period. So they want to make sure the place is safe for all worshipers. So really let me turn the tables here. Hamas, the Palestinian Authority along with Jordanian and Turkish leaders are doing more to stoke religious conflict in the Middle East than Israel ever could.
Wow. For the past 10 weeks, we have been walking through the bible together through this series that we've been calling The Common Thread, and what I've been hoping to show you as you've been trekking along with us is that there is a theme that runs through the bible that there is a common thread that binds the bible together from Genesis to Revelation. The bible isn't a self-help book where we grab whatever verses we want and just apply them to our life. There's a deeper meaning in the Scriptures. God is communicating how he wants to redeem His creation.
And the theme that binds the whole bible together is this promise, the promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis 12, that God promised to Abraham a land, that's Israel, and the people, that's the Jewish people, and a blessing. That God would bless and protect Abraham and his descendants, the Jewish people, and that's why God says I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. Then God promised to Abraham that through him and his people, God would bless all the families of the earth.
Friends, just think about this, if you believe in Jesus, it doesn't matter what your ethnic background is. If you believe in Jesus, you have been blessed. God's promise to Abraham was looking forward to the coming of His Son, Jesus. Over the past few weeks, we've been looking through the Bible at how the promise made to Abraham binds all the Scriptures together, and we saw how after God made the promise to Abraham when the Israelites were in Egypt, it says that God remembered the promise he made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and how the story of the 10 plagues and the Israelites' exodus from Egypt is God moving the promise to Abraham forward.
God wanted his people, the descendants of Abraham in the land that he promised them and how wanted them in the land to be a blessing to all the nations that went through Israel because Israel was the centerpiece of the world at that time. All the nations of the world were kind of forced to go through Israel to travel all around. We saw how King David's faith to defeat Goliath was built on the promise that God made to Abraham and how the prophets were always looking back to this promise as well, and that even though Israel would often sin and fall away from God, God was always providing a way to return to him because the promise God made to Abraham was not a conditional promise. There was no strings attached. It was unconditional. It was totally up to God to see it through to make sure the promise found its fulfillment.
We also saw how the prophets had a vision of all the nations in mind that God's promise to Abraham would be one that would welcome all the nations into God's blessing. We saw how many Jewish people leading up to Jesus' first coming were anxious for the Messiah's arrival because they knew the Messiah would fulfill the promise that God made to Abraham. Jesus's coming, his death, and resurrection is what will provide the spiritual need to fulfill the promise that God made to Abraham.
We also saw how the Apostle Paul, knowing Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise, went to the nations of the world to make it known that Jesus is the king and the promised one who would bring blessing to all the families of the earth. And yet at the same time, there is still a tension in the New Testament that the promise isn't fully complete. Paul reminds us in Romans 11, God is not through with Israel and the Jewish people. That's why last week we talked about Israel being back in the land, that Jewish people returning to their ancestral homeland is really a modern miracle that God is even working today to show us the promise he made to Abraham hasn't been abandoned. We live in the most unique time just as the prophets promised to the Jewish people that they've returned to the land.
But what will be the thing that ultimately fulfills this promise that God made to Abraham 4,000 years ago? Again, there's still a tension in the New Testament even after the resurrection of Jesus that things still aren't the way they should be. It's interesting that the Jewish people leading up to Jesus' first coming definitely thought the Messiah's coming would take care of Israel's enemies. Remember, Rome was Israel's enemy at that time, but Jesus didn't come to defeat Rome. Jesus' first coming was to correct the spiritual problem in Israel to usher in the new covenant. But friends, that doesn't mean Jesus isn't coming to deal with Israel's enemies. That doesn't mean Jesus isn't coming to fulfill what the prophets promised to make Israel the head of the nations not just the tail. Just because Jesus didn't do that in his first coming, doesn't mean he isn't going to do it.
Look, I believe Jesus is returning again in order to fulfill those prophetic passages that strongly indicate that Israel's Messiah will rule from Jerusalem and fulfill the promise made to Abraham. I mean just listen to what Isaiah, the prophet predicted about the coming of the Messiah in Isaiah Chapter 9, verses 6 and 7. Listen to this. For a child has been born to us. A son has been given to us. He shoulders responsibility and is called extraordinary strategist, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace. His dominion will be vast. He will bring immeasurable prosperity, and he will rule on David's throne and over David's kingdom establishing it and strengthening it by promoting justice and fairness from this time forward and forever more. The Lord's intense devotion ... I love this. His intense devotion to his people will accomplish this.
From Isaiah Chapter 9 verses 6 and 7. This is a vision of the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham. First, a Jewish messiah, a Jewish king is ruling from Jerusalem. The government will rest on his shoulders. He will be a wonderful counselor or an extraordinary strategist. That's what the Hebrew means, which means he will know how to fight strategically against his enemies. He will also be both God and the giver of peace globally. Look, it says his dominion will be vast and he will promote justice and fairness to everyone. Every family of the earth ultimately will be blessed.
Isaiah is not just talking about the Messiah's rule from Jerusalem just for Israel. Isaiah is looking at this from a global perspective that the Messiah will rule in Jerusalem and the global government will be on his shoulders. He will minister to everybody, and he's sitting, look what it says, on David's throne and will rule over David's kingdom. Listen, David's throne is in Jerusalem so there must be an Israel ... David's kingdom is a Jewish kingdom so there are Jewish people, and it says Jesus's dominion. His rule will be vast, which means he will rule over all the earth.
Friends, this is why Paul and Peter and John and all the writers of the New Testament epistles looked forward to the glorious return of Jesus the Messiah. See, they all knew Jesus's second coming would bring the culmination of God's promises especially the promise made to Abraham. Again, they knew, the writers of the New Testament, they knew what the prophets had promised. I'm reminded of Zechariah Chapter 12 and Zechariah Chapter 14.
The prophet Zechariah paints the picture that just prior to Christ's second coming, Israel is surrounded by the nations ready to be cut off, and the nations have literally backed Israel up against the wall, and Zechariah 12 indicates that it's at that moment, the Messiah will reveal himself to them. That it's at the second coming of Jesus that Zechariah 12:10 says this, that the Jewish people ... "They will look upon me," it says in Zechariah. An Old Testament prophet writing this. "They will look upon me whom they have pierced." They will lament for him as one laments for an only son and there will be a bitter cry for him like the bitter cry for a first born.
Lamenting carries the idea here in Zechariah 12:10 of repentance. Zechariah 14 indicates that it's at this moment, God both delivers Israel spiritually and physically. This really is the culmination of the promise that God made to Abraham. Look, this is why Paul writes in Romans 11 that God is not through with Israel. Why? Because God is not through with his promise he made to Abraham. At the end of Romans 11, Paul writes in Romans 11:25, "For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited, but a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of Gentiles have come in. And so, all Israel will be saved. The deliverer will come out of Zion. He will remove ungodliness from Jacob and this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins. God will restore his people to the land and bless all the families of the earth."
Friends, all of that happens when Jesus returns. Now, we're going to take a quick break. So don't go anywhere because the Second Coming of Jesus is going to fulfill the promise God made to Abraham, but it also has a direct effect on your life as a believer today, so stick around.
Steve Conover: At the Friends of Israel, we want to provide you with every available resource for understanding the depth of the culture and history of the nation of Israel.
Chris Katulka: That's why we're pleased to offer the video Israel, My Home. This DVD captures the spirit of the Jewish people as they turned adversity into opportunity. Beautifully filmed to capture the landscapes of the Holy Land, this film is a new look at the State of Israel and the fulfillment of God's promise. One of the best ways to experience Israel is to see it yourself, but next to that is Israel, My Home. Whether you've been to Israel or not, I highly encourage anyone who desires to encounter the Holy Land to purchase this DVD.
Steve Conover: If you love Israel, then you are sure to love this DVD. Don't delay, visit foiradio.org and get your very own copy of Israel, My Home. Again, that's foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back everyone. We're concluding our series called The Common Thread today, and that common thread is the promise God made to Abraham way back in Genesis 12. Now, I believe Jesus's Second Coming is when God will finally fulfill in total completion the promise. He will restore Israel to the land. Jesus will rule from his throne in Jerusalem and all the families of the earth, as Genesis 12 says, will be blessed.
But what about today? You know, the imminent return of Christ, which we believe is the rupture of the church, should have a direct connection to your spiritual life. I love what Peter says in 1 Peter 1:13. "Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed."
What Peter is saying here is that the revealing of Jesus Christ is His Second Coming and Peter is reminding us even today that Jesus could return at any moment. So don't busy yourself with worldly things, investing in a world that will one day be judged. Instead, invest your life in God's coming kingdom by staying sober-minded and setting your hopes on Him who could come at any moment.
When I attended Dallas Theological Seminary, I was privileged to sit under Dr. Dwight Pentecost. For some of you, you may know his name and for others you may not, but either way, he was a bible scholar and a man of humility. In his heyday, he would travel and speak at various prophecy conferences, and the rooms would just be packed to the brim, he said. People wanted to know what the future held according to the Scriptures. He told us, in the class, that when he or another teacher would transition and lecture on the Christian life, all of a sudden, the attendance in the room would go down noticeably.
Friends, this whole series on The Common Thread looked back at biblical history and looked forward to God's prophetic word. The beauty of this series is that history and prophecy are not disconnected. They are linked by God's promise to Abraham. God's people looked for its fulfillment then, and even today, we anticipate its fulfillment now. But friends, prophecy shouldn't just be about what's going to happen in the future. It should be about how the events of the future are shaping our lives today. The Word of God, whether it's looking back or looking forward, demands one thing of us that can radically change us, and that's faith.
It was faith that caused Abraham to step out. It was faith that caused Moses to stand up to Pharaoh. It was faith that moved David to repent. It was faith that compelled Jesus to say "not my will but yours be done." It was faith that compelled Peter and Paul to step out of their comfort zone and to share the good news with the nations. It was faith that led you, a person, who has never seen Jesus in the flesh to believe and trust in him, and it's faith in His coming that gives us hope that we will see Him. Friends, faith is what binds us together, and it's faith in Jesus's future coming that should change us more into his image every day.
Now, I hope next time you're reading through the bible, before you ask God, what's that passage mean for me?, you ask, "Lord, how does this passage connect to your common thread that runs from Genesis to Revelation?"
Steve Conover: Israel, on the verge of becoming a state, a teenage Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy Land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory.
While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collective writings from well over 50 years of ministry continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: Last week, I had an extraordinary experience. As I was walking with my children in the old city of Jerusalem on the way to buy groceries, we passed an ice cream parlor. David asked me to buy him an ice cream cone, and naturally, Ruth, Meno and Victor wanted the same, and so we went inside and bought the treats. As the children were eating their ice cream, I noticed a man sitting at a table reading aloud the Psalms. I knew this man and realized that he was not the Psalm-reading type. So I asked him if someone in his family was sick. It is customary among Jewish people to read the Psalms when a family member is sick. "No," he replied. "No one in my family is sick."
He then led me into a backroom where I saw four men sitting at a table playing cards. Intrigued, I asked, "Does reading the Psalms have to do with playing cards?" He told me a sad and sordid story. He was an habitual card player and had lost all of his money. In desperation, he went to a so-called wise man for advice. This wise man counseled him to borrow more money and hire an expert card player to win back what he had lost.
He therefore borrowed a considerable amount of money and even pawned his wife's gold watch which he had given to her before their marriage. Then he started to recite the Psalms thinking that would help him win back his money and his wife's gold watch. Soon however he had lost the borrowed money and the money received from the watch, and now he was ashamed and even afraid to go home. "What shall I do?" He asked in despair. "First," I replied, "you must immediately stop playing cards or participating in any other form of gambling. Otherwise, you will suffer an even greater calamity. And then you must pray to God to give you a new heart and a new spirit."
In his anxiety and embarrassment, he promised to do all that I told him but he begged me to go home with him as he was ashamed and afraid of his wife and children. After completing my shopping, I took my children home and then accompanied this man to his home. Then I find his wife distraught and very angry. The children looked hungry and dirty and lacked proper clothing and shoes. I spoke quietly to his wife and told her she should try and forgive him. Otherwise, the situation would become even more desperate.
Little by little, I managed to quiet her. Her husband wept and promised never to play cards again. But I told him, "Unless you accept the Messiah in your heart you will never be able to keep that promise." His wife then asked, "How can a decent man like you befriend such a wretch as my husband who sins way more than he himself?" I told her that our Savior came to heal those who were sick, people just like her husband. "It is possible," I said, "that the Lord allowed him to get into this predicament so that he would realize his own helplessness. Perhaps God used me as his messenger to help him."
After I left, the husband and wife were reconciled. A few days later, he found a job and now he works at my side. Last Sabbath, I went to this family's home and took them with me to our place of worship. After the service, I invited them to my home for dinner. Let us pray for the salvation of this family. The Lord is able.
Steve Conover: Thank you for listening today. Chris, as we are closing our series on The Common Thread and God's promise to Abraham and how we relate to it, is there one thing you would like us to remember before everything else? What is the main takeaway from this series?
Chris Katulka: You know, The Common Thread is designed to show us that there's a theme in the bible that when you open the bible, it isn't just a bunch of self-help verses that God gave us but that God is actually communicating a message to us. So that my prayer is that next time, maybe you open the bible, you open it and you say "How does this connect to God's plan?" before you say "How does it connect to me."
I actually think that when you find out how it connects to God's plan, that's when the deeper meaning of how it applies to your life comes out. That's really my hope and prayer from this whole series.
Steve Conover: Thank you, Chris. The Friends of Israel Today is supported by our listeners and it keeps this program on the air. Please consider going to foiradio.org and supporting us with a donation. Chris Katulka is our host and teacher. Tom Gallione produced today's program. It's co-written by Sarah Fern. Apples of Gold was voiced by Mike Kellogg. Jeremy Strong composed our theme, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer.
The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide Christian ministry communicating biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.
Israel, My Home DVD
This DVD captures the spirit of the Jewish people as they turned adversity into opportunity. Beautifully filmed to capture the landscapes of the Holy Land, this film is a new look at the state of Israel and the fulfillment of God’s promise. One of the best ways to experience Israel is to see it yourself. But next to that is Israel My Home. Whether you’ve been to Israel or not, we highly encourage anyone who desires to encounter the holy land to purchase this DVD.
Apples of Gold: The Peacemaker
Seeing a man distraught one evening, Zvi approached him and asked if he was okay. When he heard the man had spent all of his money on gambling, Zvi told him he needed to find peace. He helped the man go home and tell his wife then took time to share God’s promises for everlasting life with them.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.