In Deuteronomy 32.8-9, Moses declared, “When the Most High delivered to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” God has an overall prophetic program we often subdivide into three distinct plans: a plan for Israel, a plan for the Church and a plan for the Gentile nations, all three of which center around the Jewish people.
In connection with Israel, God’s sovereign purpose is accomplished through the eternal, unconditional covenants God made with the Jewish people, the Abrahamic, land, Davidic and new covenants. But how does God’s program in connection with the Church relate to Israel? Paul teaches the spiritual blessings the Church enjoys are actually Jewish spiritual blessings, which come from the Jewish covenants; therefore, Gentiles are partakers of these spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants; Ephesians 2.11-16 and 3.5-6, Romans 11.17 and 15.25-27.
The key purpose of the Rapture is to remove the Church from the earth before God pours out His wrath upon Israel and the unrepentant Gentiles. While the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the Gentile world is due to the violation of the Noahic Covenant (Isaiah 24.5-6), God’s outpouring of judgment upon Israel is to bring its people to national repentance.
How God deals with the Gentile nations has consistently been the outworking of a principle within the Abrahamic covenant: “I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee,” Genesis 12.3. In fact, in the judgment of the Gentiles, the sheep and goats of Matthew 25.31-46, only the sheep, those believing Gentiles whose faith will be evidenced by their positive treatment of the Jews during the Tribulation, will enter the Kingdom. The goats, unbelieving Gentiles, will be excluded from the Kingdom and go into eternal punishment, see Joel 3.1-3.
How God deals with the future Gentile nations in the Kingdom will be based upon their relationship to Israel in the past. His judgments upon them and the fulfillment of His prophecies concerning these nations are often based upon His statement to Israel in Zechariah 2.8, “He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of His eye.”
One of the most famous prophecies related to the issue of time, prophecy and chronology is the seventy weeks prophesied Daniel 9.24-27. God tells Daniel these seventy weeks are decreed “upon thy people” and “upon thy holy city,” that is, Israel and Jerusalem. This prophecy does not apply to the Church.
Israel is truly God’s timepiece of history and prophecy. God’s overall prophetic program, be it for Israel, the Church or the Gentile nations, works its way out directly or indirectly through the Jewish people. Too often believers have attempted to see where they are in God’s prophetic program based upon how world events affect their particular country. But the true determination as to where we are in history is based upon how world events affect Jewish history and the Jewish people. Thus, when world-shaking events take place, the criteria for their relation to Bible prophecy is not how they affect the Church nor any particular Gentile nation, no matter how great and powerful, but how they are affecting Jewish history and the people of Israel.