What I believe

How I understand the prophecies and promises in the Bible.

I write from the conviction that Israel – the Jews – are still God’s chosen people and all his promises to that people that are preserved in the Bible (OT and NT) will all be fulfilled. They are unconditional (read Jeremiah 33). God would scatter them among the nations when they broke their part of his covenant – he did this in OT times and then finally in 70 AD when the Romans captured and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple – but He would never break his part of his covenant. This means that the Lord will gloriously restore his people Israel both physically as a nation in the land promised to them, and spiritually in terms of a living faith in Him. But that restoration will be according to the revelation given in the New Testament. It will require each of them to accept that Jesus of Nazareth, as revealed in the NT, is their Messiah, to believe in him for their personal salvation, and to accept that only through faith in Jesus can they come back to God, their God, be forgiven and welcomed by Him and enter into all the promises that He has for them and for their nation Israel. As they study what the NT says about Jesus, they will realise that the fulfilment of all the promises to Israel centre on Jesus’ return to this earth – to Jerusalem (Acts 1.11; 3.20f).
But God’s salvation is for Gentiles as well as Jews. The future destiny of Jews and Gentiles who believe in Jesus (the NT calls them saints) is identical: to be one people living under one (new) covenant. This will be realised initially when Christ returns to earth as King of kings, destroying the final anti-christian world ruler and his forces, delivering Jerusalem, and instantly raising from death and giving glorious resurrection bodies to all believers in him, Jew and Gentile. Satan, the deceiver of mankind, will be imprisoned, and the resurrected saints will administer Christ’s millennial reign over the nations and help these people to live lives of faith in Christ in his kingdom. See Revelation 20. This kingdom will be the fulfilment of the OT prophecies about restored Israel and peace and prosperity for the whole world.
At the end of this millennial reign, Satan will be released and will once again deceive the nations, who will rebel against Christ’s rule and take up arms. But their rebellion will be crushed by God and Satan will be thrown into the place of eternal punishment. At this point, God will raise all the dead to stand before him in judgment and destroy by fire the present heaven and earth. As the result of that judgment mankind will go one of two ways: either into just eternal punishment, or into the permanent and final home of all God’s people (Jew and Gentile) and of God himself – the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and earth.
(In theological terms, this follows the Classical Premillennialist interpretation of Revelation and prophecy more generally, to be distinguished from Dispensational Premillennialism or Pretribulational Premillennialism. For further detail, see Annex 3 on this website; also the very readable book by David Pawson, “When Jesus Returns”, Hodder & Stoughton 1995, from which book some of the phrases above have been taken.)

Subjects: Bible prophecy; Israel’s restoration; Israel turns to Christ; Christ’s return; church; the Beast; Armageddon; resurrection of the dead; Satan; 1,000 year reign; Kingdom of God; God’s judgment day; new heaven and new earth; new Jerusalem; rewards to Christians; Classical premillennialist.

JIM SHAW