“But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that this day should overtake you like a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4
Gregory Wilson, J.D. (December 7, 2014)
The apostle Paul made a statement which stands out in Scripture as profound. Paul says that salvation came to the Gentiles "to provoke [Israel] to jealousy". Romans 11:11
In other words, someday the Jew would become jealous of Christians. Today, this statement seems audacious. It would take a miracle to cause Israel to become jealous of Christians. Jesus, God's Son Savior, is the distinguishing characteristic of Christianity. Is such a thing possible with God?
Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek". Romans 1:16. However, God chose to reconcile the world to himself through Israel's unbelief in Messiah Jesus. Romans 11:15
God described Israel's blindness to their Messiah Jesus as a mystery. Romans 11:25. He stated that this mysterious blindness which had overcome Israel would end someday at a time known as the "fullness of the Gentiles".
No one knows when this day of "fullness" should arrive. However, Paul goes on to say that when this day does arrive that "all Israel shall be saved". Paul was quoting Isaiah 59:21 in Romans 11:26.
Those of us who believe in a pre-tribulation "catching away" of God's true believers necessarily subscribe to the notion that this event occurs at the "fullness of the Gentiles". From a dispensational viewpoint, God's declaration that Israel should be saved signals a change in God's course for Israel and humanity.
The Church Age necessarily ends when God removes Israel's blindness and confirms His salvation covenant. Imagine that God holds an Israel time clock in His hand, the one spoken of by the prophet Daniel. It tracks His and Israel's prophetic time in 70 weeks of years. In Daniel 9:24 God stated that "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people (Israel) and upon thy holy city (Jerusalem).
When Jesus died being "cut off" as described in Daniel 9:26, God stopped His prophetic time piece at the end of the 69th week. His clock was placed in stop watch mode. While "on hold" another mystery was playing out known as the Church Age, the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
God will begin His clock again at a future date. This time will begin with God's declaration that the "fullness of the Gentiles has come in" and God confirms His salvation covenant with Israel. Romans 11:27; Isaiah 59:21; Daniel 9:27. These two events are necessarily linked together in time as confirmed by Paul in Romans 11.
The Church age resides between Daniel 9:26 and 9:27. I am persuaded that Daniel 9:27 begins as a memorial day for the blowing of trumpets, trumpets to remind Israel of all that their God has done for them. Daniel 9:27 states "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week:". I believe that "he" is God who confirms the Isaiah 59:21/Romans 11:27 covenant with Israel.¹ It is the day that brings in the fullness of the Gentiles and heralds the great "catching away" described by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. God finishes Isaiah 59 in verse 21 confirming Israel's salvation covenant. In the very next verse of Isaiah 60:1 we see God removing the true Church in the "catching away" event. Isaiah 60:1-8 is a picture of the Rapture.
It is this removal, the rapture of the true Church, the Hebrew natzal event which will occur on the Festival of the Lord called Yom Teruah, Rosh Hashanah or Feast of Trumpets. It is this Jewish Sabbath and Holy Day Natzal event which will provoke Israel to jealousy. It will be a remnant of Jews who will realize that Jesus is their Messiah, the God of their salvation. This day will herald the beginning of Jewish evangelism for Messiah Jesus.
This day is followed by Daniel's 70th Week, a period of 7 years of Tribulation when God focuses on saving the remnant nation of Israel through a belief in Messiah Jesus. National Israel will be tried in fire and refined as a precious metal.
When Jesus began His ministry to Israel, He proclaimed that it was the "acceptable year of the Lord". Isaiah 61:2a Daniel's 70th Week is time when God finishes the Isaiah 61:2b work. He calls it the day of the vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn".
It is instructive to consider that Daniel's 70th Week begins the completion God's redemptive plan for Israel and mankind. This 7-year week culminates by "bringing in everlasting righteousness". Daniel 9:24. It establishes the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, the Kingdom the prophets declared was coming to Israel.
Israel will be provoked to jealousy when the true Church is raptured or "caught away" out of this world on the Feast of Trumpets.
On the day prior to the rapture, "the sign and witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt" will declare the day.² On the third day following the rapture, there will "appear a great wonder in heaven; a women clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered". Revelation 12:1-2.³ This wonder is about Israel recognizing her Messiah at the beginning of the Tribulation, Daniel's 70th Week.
Paul tells us that the riches of God's wisdom and knowledge is beyond our understanding and intellectual discovery. His glory is not comprehendible !