Question: You once stated that “...‘my people’ refers to Israel, not to the church; and ‘I will heal their land’ refers to the promised land of Israel, not to the United States.” If Christians are not God’s people, then who are they? What about Nineveh? Do you not believe that God might heal our nation just as He did Nineveh? I understand that God will not answer prayers addressed to other gods, but is it in vain to pray to Him for a national revival? You also said that “Christians are ‘not of this world’ but have been called ‘out of this world’ to be in it but not of it.” If Christians and Israelites are two distinctive people in God’s eyes, and if Christians have been called out of this world, then to where are the Israelites called? Are they destined to stay on earth during the Millennium, while Christians are not? I am confused. Would you please clarify these issues for me?
Response: The often-made statement that Christians are distinct not only from Jews but also from Gentiles (i.e., from all non-Christians) is clear: “Give none offense, neither to Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Corinthians:10:32). The gospel is both to Jews and to Gentiles; and when either believes in the Lord, he or she becomes a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians:5:17; Ephesians:2:8-10) and a new member of His body, the church (Ephesians:2:19-22; 5:30, etc.). Nor am I the one who said Christians are “not of this world” but have been called “out of this world.” Christ said that: “…Ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world” (John:15:19). Of His followers, Christ said in prayer to His Father: “…these are in the world” (John:17:11)…. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John:17:11, 15-16).
I don’t say it is vain to pray to God for national revival or to heal our nation. I have often prayed for that myself, and it should be the heart’s desire of every Christian in this country. I only say that there is no biblical promise that such a prayer will be answered, as there is for Israel in 2 Chronicles:7:14. Prayers for America legitimately express our longing for God’s blessing and salvation to come upon all mankind. We are, however, to pray with understanding.
Thus, when we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” we realize that never will happen until Christ returns and reigns. Yes, Christians are “God’s people”—not His earthly but His heavenly people. The church has no land; it is the Jews to whom God gave a specific land. God never gave America to the American Christians or Germany to the German Christians. Therefore, I cannot properly apply God’s promise (that when His people cry to Him He will “heal their land”) to anyone but the Jews, His people, and to the land of Israel, which He promised to them.
To inherit the kingdom eternally on earth, Jews must have the same faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that those patriarchs had. In my opinion—and many Bible scholars disagree—everyone, whether Jew or Gentile, who believes in Christ both before and after the Rapture, but before the Second Coming, will be in the church. Jews who have rejected Him, but who at His Second coming “look upon” Him and believe in Him when He descends from heaven to rescue them at the Battle of Armageddon (Zechariah:12:10)—like the Gentiles who believe at that time as well—will continue into the Millennial Kingdom to experience Christ’s earthly reign on David’s throne.
Jews, of course, will be gathered by angels “from the four winds” on earth to Israel (Matthew:24:30-31). They are destined to dwell upon earth in the Millennium and in the new heavens and new earth. The prophets promised this blessing to Israel (Isaiah 62; 65:17-25; Jeremiah:30:8-11; 31:1-12; 27-40; Ezekiel:34:11-31; 36:8-15, 22-38; 37:21-28; 39:21-29; Zechariah:12:10-14:21, etc.). All of Israel will believe in Christ when He appears to rescue her in the midst of Armageddon. Only believing Jews will remain upon the earth, as the verses just referred to declare, and so do many others, such as Matthew:24:13, Romans:11:26, etc.
The church, Christ’s bride, united to Him eternally to always be at His side (from every nation, including Jews), having been made one in Him, will rule and reign with Him both during the Millennium and throughout eternity (Matthew:19:28; Luke:19:12-19; 22:30; Revelation:20:4, etc.).