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The Church Age

1 The Church Age

The Church Age

1.1 The Condition of Israel During the Church Age
1.2 The Church Age is a Mystery Revealed in the New Testament
1.3 The Rapture is Imminent
1.4 The Church Age Closes is Apostasy


1.1 The Condition of Israel During the Church Age

1.1.1 Israel is Distinct from the Church
1.1.2 Israel is still God’s Chosen People
1.1.3 Israel has NOT been Superseded by the Church
1.1.4 God Has Yet Unfulfilled Promises to Israel
 – 1.1.4.1 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the Abrahamic Covenant
 – 1.1.4.2 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the Palestinian Covenant
 – 1.1.4.3 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the Davidic Covenant
 – 1.1.4.4 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the New Covenant
1.1.5 Israel Temporarily Set Aside
1.1.6 Individual Jews Can Become Part of The Church


1.1.1 Israel is Distinct from the Church 

“That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.”
Romans 9:30-31

“What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did.”
Romans 11:7

“Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.”
Romans 11:11

“Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:32 NASB
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1.1.2 Israel is Still God’s Chosen People

“The LORD your God has chosen you (Israel) out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”
Deuteronomy 7:6-9

“The people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.”
Romans 9:4

“I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.”
Romans 11:1-2

“Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.”
Romans 11:11

“As far as the gospel is concerned, they (Israel) are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
Romans 11:28-29
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1.1.3 Israel has NOT been Superseded by the Church

“The people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.”
Romans 9:4

“That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it.”
Romans 9:30-31

“I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.”
Romans 11:1-2

“What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did.”
Romans 11:7

“Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.”
Romans 11:11

“Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.
1 Corinthians 10:32

However, the following scriptures may cast some question on whether Israel has or has not been replaced by the church:

Romans 2:28-29 indicates that a man is a Jew not by birth or circumcision, but instead is a Jew by the Spirit working inwardly in his heart. But this is really a contrast on an individual basis between a natural Jew and a believing Jew, not a general contrast indicating that Israel has been replaced by the Church.

Romans 9:6-8 indicates that not all who are descended from Israel are (true) Israel, but rather believing Israelites are the children of promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring. Again this is an individual spiritual distinction, not a general indication that Israel has been replaced by the Church.

Galatians 3:6-7 indicates that those who believe are (true) children of Abraham. This is a spiritual application on an individual basis, and does not indicate that Israel has been replaced by the Church.
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1.1.4 God Has Yet Unfulfilled Promises to Israel

God’s promises to Israel are sure; some are already fulfilled and some (see below) are not yet fulfilled.

“I am with you (Israel) and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you.
Genesis 28:15

“’In those days, at that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten.’”
Jeremiah 50:4-5

“For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. Afterwards the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.”
Hosea 3:4-5

1.1.4.1 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the Abrahamic Covenant

“Whoever curses you I will curse.”
Genesis 12:3

“All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.”
Genesis 13:15

“The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.”
Genesis 17:8

“Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.’”
Genesis 17:19

“Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’”
Exodus 32:13

“The covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.’”
1 Chronicles 16:16-18 & Psalm 105:9-11

See Section 5.3 for a more complete description of the Abrahamic Covenant.

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1.1.4.2 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the Palestinian Covenant

“Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. …. The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul and live.”
Deuteronomy 30:3-6

“In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people. …. He will …. gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.”
Isaiah 11:11-12

“I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.”
Jeremiah 23:3

“I will bring you from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered.”
Ezekiel 20:34

“These bones are the whole house of Israel, They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. …. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land.’”
Ezekiel 37:11-12,14

“This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people and I will be their God.”
Ezekiel 37:21-23

“See, I am going to rouse them (Israelites) out of the places to which you (Gentiles) sold them, and I will return on your own heads what you have done.”
Joel 3:7

“’I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.”
Amos 9:14-15

See Section 5.4 for a more complete description of the Palestinian Covenant.

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1.1.4.3 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the Davidic Covenant

“Your (David’s) house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.”
2 Samuel 7:16

“Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. …. He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor. He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon through all generations. …. In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more. He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. …. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. …. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.”
Psalm 72:1-2,4-5,7-8,11,17

“I have sworn to David my servant, I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.”
Psalm 89:3-4

“Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness – and I will not lie to David – that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.”
Psalm 89:35-37

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. …. With righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. …. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious.”
Isaiah 11:1-2,4,10

“’The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.’”
Jeremiah 23:5-6. Similar to Jeremiah 33:15-16

“The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
Daniel 2:44

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
Luke 1:32-33

“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants (Jesus Christ) on his throne.”
Acts 2:29-30

“After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it.”
Acts 15:16. Similar to Amos 9:11.

“Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.”
1 Corinthians 15:24

See Section 5.5 for a more complete description of the Davidic Covenant.

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1.1.4.4 Yet Unfulfilled Promises of the New Covenant

“’The time is coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD. ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the LORD,” because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’”
Jeremiah 31:31-34

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
Romans 8:3-4

“’This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
1 Corinthians 11:25-26

“He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, …. will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?”
2 Corinthians 3:6-8

“’The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.’ …. By calling this covenant ‘new,’ he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”
Hebrews 8:8,13

See Section 5.6 for a more complete description of the New Covenant.

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1.1.5 Israel Temporarily Set Aside

“As for you, O house of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterwards you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols. For on my holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve me, and there I will accept them. …. There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done. You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, O house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
Ezekiel 20:39-40,43-44

“I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: ‘Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel will never again defile my holy name.’”
Ezekiel 43:6-7

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him
as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
Zechariah 12:10

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.’”
Luke 19:41-42

“What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: ‘God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.’”
Romans 11:7-8

“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.” Romans 11:11

“For if their (Israel’s) rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
Romans 11:15

“And if they (Israel) do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”
Romans 11:23

“Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’”
Romans 11:25-27

“But their (Israel’s) minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.”
2 Corinthians 3:14-15

In summary, Jewish people are temporarily set aside during the Church Age. That is, because of unbelief in Christ, the Jewish people are largely unsaved during the Church Age. However, they are still God’s Chosen People (see 1.1.2 above). And, individual Jews can become part of the Church through faith in Christ (see 1.1.6 below). Then, after the Rapture of Church Age believers to Heaven (see Section 2), God will bring about a big change for the Jewish people. They will lose their spirit of stupor (Romans 11:8), lose their hardness of heart (Romans 11:25) and lose their dull minds and veiled hearts (2 Corinthians 3:14-15). This will occur during the Tribulation. See Section 3 below, and especially 3.1, 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6. Multitudes of Jews (but not every Jew) will come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation. This will be a time of severe testing and persecution, and some will be martyred for their faith in Christ. Then, after the Second Coming of Christ to earth, believing Jews will play a central part in the Millennium.

See Section 5

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1.1.6 Individual Jews Can Become Part of The Church

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. …. Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:36,38

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.”
Acts 17:11-12

Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized.”
Acts 18:8

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”
Romans 1:16

“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
Romans 3:22

“There is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.”
Romans 3:30

“Even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.”
Romans 9:24

“For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
Romans 10:12-13

“Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people (Israel) to envy and save some of them.”
Romans 11:13-14

“And if they (Israel) do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”
Romans 11:23

“Even to this day when Moses is read (by Jews), a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”
2 Corinthians 3:15-16

“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 2:15

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. …. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:26,28

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two (Jews and Gentiles) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
Ephesians 2:14-16

“This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 3:6

Here (in Christ) there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Colossians 3:11
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1.2 The Church Age is a Mystery Revealed in the New Testament

“Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known …. so that all nations might believe.”
Romans 16:25-26

“We speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. …. But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 2:7,10

“The mystery made known to me by revelation …. The mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. …. this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known.”
Ephesians 3:3-6,9-10

“For the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Colossians 1:24-2
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1.3 The Rapture is Imminent

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:3

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who …. will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Philippians 3:20-21

“To wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead – Jesus, who rescues us (by the Rapture) from the coming wrath (the Tribulation).”
1 Thessalonians 1:10

“For you know very well that the day of the Lord (which begins at the Rapture per 3.8 below) will come like a thief in the night.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath (in the Tribulation) but to receive salvation (at the Rapture) through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9

“The appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time.”
1 Timothy 6:14-15

We wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Titus 2:13

“The Lord’s coming is near.”
James 5:8

“They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” he promised?’”
2 Peter 3:4
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 1.4 The Church Age Closes in Apostasy

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
1 Timothy 4:1

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People …. having a form of godliness but denying its power. …. These men oppose the truth – men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.”
2 Timothy 3:1-2,5,8

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4

“There will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.”
2 Peter 2:1-3

“These men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed – an accursed brood! They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Boer, who loved the wages of wickedness.”
2 Peter 2:12-15

“’In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.’ These are men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit“
Jude 18-19
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