Following in Their Footsteps
by Rev. Eric R Towse

JESUS lamented over Jerusalem. He was their last and only hope. A stubborn and stiff-necked people, the Jews were typical of all sinners in need of a Savior. They had killed the prophets, and in less than forty years even their temple would be completely destroyed. No animal sacrifice for atonement would be possible from that point on. Yet, when Jesus was “lifted up” He indeed drew all men unto Himself. Some accepted, but most rejected. He knew that would happen. He knew that in spite of the signs, wonders, and miracles, and even His resurrection from the dead, the Jews would reject Him as Messiah. He did not fit into their plans. They looked for an earthly king—a deliverer from the yoke of Rome. Jesus offered them the very Kingdom of God but they would not have it.

After the period of time God allotted for the preaching of the gospel to the Jews, the Gentiles were then offered this priceless gift of salvation. Some accepted, but most rejected. Sound familiar? If Jesus returned here today, He would not find things to be very different than when He grieved over Jerusalem. He would find a system of “religion” that was as self-serving as in the days when He walked throughout Israel as the Fullness of the Godhead in human form. He would now find both Judaism and Christianity existing as apostate religions, fallen away from the Spirit of God into “systems” of worship and formalism. This is why the Bible speaks of a remnant.

Today some Christians are not satisfied with the promise of Jesus to prepare a “mansion in heaven” for the believer according to John 14:1-3 but, like the Jews of Roman-occupied Palestine, demand a “Messiah-king” for the modern State of Israel! Jesus must return there (so they believe) to gather His “people” (including the Jews that do not believe in Him) to establish a kingdom—an earthly kingdom. Sound familiar? So many schools of eschatological thought overemphasize the focus on the modern nation of Israel when considering last-days’ events that the thrust of evangelism in other parts of the world is supplanted. (Even in our own back yards!)

Study very closely I Thessalonians 4 to see that the return of Jesus will not be a local event. Every believer both dead and alive everywhere on planet Earth will see Jesus when He returns and be gathered up to meet Him in the clouds. As for Israel, “Today” is the day of salvation (Hebrews 4:7). The Book of Revelation is very clear as to what will happen when the time comes to, once again, judge that land. Furthermore, I believe that it is also clear what will happen to America—a land blessed of God whose people, but for a remnant, turned away to follow the desires of their own hearts. I believe America is the “Babylon” described in Revelation 18 which is destroyed by God in a single hour for her adulteries.

As we approach the time of the end we must not be distracted from the course we were called to run by Jesus—the author and finisher of our faith!