I was recently asked about my view of seeing all people as God’s children. As my response became quite long, I opted to create a mini-series about it. This is Part 3. Part 1 can be found here.
The “limitation” of belief in Christ in the New Testament, then, is tied directly to God’s coming wrath against Israel. Think of the “shadow” of the passover in Exodus—when the angel of death (or God) swept through Egypt, killing all the firstborn, he would “passover” the home that had blood on the door frame (Exodus 12). Likewise, when God’s “rod of anger” (the Romans) was used against Israel, it “passed over” those who believed in Christ. Eusebius stated that not a single follower of Jesus was killed in the war (Eusebius, Book III, 5.4).
Or think about the “shadow” of the wilderness wanderings of the Exodus. Those who moaned and complained died in the wilderness while those who remained faithful entered the promised land (Exodus 17; cf., Heb. 4). Likewise, Paul saw the time between the resurrection and “the end of the age” as the true Exodus (1 Cor. 10.1-11). Therefore, those who rejected what God was doing through Jesus suffered God’s judgment while those who remained faithful entered into God’s fully established Kingdom. Oh! And by the way, the “shadow” wanderings lasted roughly forty years as did the true Exodus.
Or, think about this “shadow,” albeit a bit backwards—the “mark of Yahweh” contrasted with the “mark of the beast”. As we know, the “mark of the beast” represented one’s allegiance to the enemy of God and Christ. Those with the “mark” were judged (Revelation 13; cf. John 19.15). Conversely, in Ezekiel, God’s messengers were sent out among the people of Israel and anyone found repentant of their sins and that of the nation were given the “mark of Yahweh.” Then the angels of God’s wrath were sent out and whoever was unmarked was killed (Ezekiel 9).
One last point in this section: There’s also a “shadow” regarding when people were rescued. As we noted above, Israel’s rescue from sin wasn’t fully accomplished until the priest returned to the people after offering the sacrifice (Lev. 17). Furthermore, according to the book of Joshua, Israel was not fully rescued from Egypt until the men born during the Exodus were circumcised (Joshua 5.1-9). Note that. Israel was not fully rescued during the Exodus. Likewise, as we saw above, Paul believed he and his contemporaries were living in the true Exodus (1 Cor. 10.1-11). And the New Testament states that the followers of Jesus weren’t fully rescued until Jesus returned. Jesus said to the disciples, “Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near” (Luke 21.28). And Paul wrote, “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13.11; cf., Heb. 9.28). Those who followed Jesus were given the Holy Spirit as a promise of their coming salvation (Eph. 1.13-14; 2 Cor. 1.22; 5.5). But this coming salvation, this complete rescue, was contingent at the time on the faithfulness of those who trusted in Christ. Just as ancient Israel would only see the promised land if they remained faithful to Yahweh during the Exodus, so also only those who remained faithful to Christ during the new Exodus would received the coming salvation, their complete rescue (Matt. 10.22; 24.13; 1 Cor. 15:2; Heb. 13.4; Rev. 2.10; etc.).
All of that to say this: The reason there were warnings about faithfulness in the New Testament was because God’s Kingdom hadn’t been fully established yet! But, like those born in the promised land didn’t need the same faithfulness and warnings as those who were wandering in the wilderness—because they were already living in the promised land—those of us who’ve come after the establishment of the Kingdom, the New Covenant Age, don’t need to have that same type of faithfulness as those living during the true Exodus; we’re already living in the New Covenant Age!
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC