Key Verse: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
THIS LESSON IS INTENDED, in part, to be a continuation of matters considered in the previous week’s study. The scriptural background for our subject also comes from Ezekiel and discusses the land boundaries to be attained by Israel during the kingdom.
In the present conflict between Israel and the Arabs, there have been claims and counterclaims as to who is the rightful owner of the land. In the Bible, we are given a description as to the land rights for Abraham’s seed, and are also told in both the Old and New Testament that “in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”—Gen. 21:12; Rom. 9:7; Heb. 11:17,18
Nearing the end of his life, Moses spoke to Israel concerning possession of the land, saying, “Turn you, and take your journey, and go to the mount of the Amorites, and unto all the places nigh thereunto, in the plain, in the hills, and in the vale, and in the south, and by the sea side, to the land of the Canaanites, and unto Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.”—Deut. 1:7,8
It will be necessary for both Jew and Gentile to come into harmony with the requirements of the New Covenant in God’s kingdom. All, too, must become “Israelites indeed” in order to attain eternal life at that time. This being the case, the precise manner in which the present strife regarding boundary issues in the Middle East will be resolved in harmony with the foregoing verses may not be fully discerned at this time.
However, the glorious result of divine intervention in the affairs of man to create and maintain peace is clearly foretold in the Scriptures. “He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.”—Mic. 4:3,4
In contrast to our background scriptures which describe certain features of the earthly phase of God’s kingdom, the Key Verse addresses the privileges of discipleship during this present Gospel Age. Beginning with those Jews on the Day of Pentecost who repented from sin and accepted Christ as their Savior, consecrated followers of the Lamb have continued to receive the Holy Spirit, begotten as New Creatures in Christ and partakers of a heavenly inheritance. As this priestly class is now being developed, all who have been accepted as members of the body of Christ can attest to the Lord’s strengthening influence in their lives as he waits for the completion of his bride.
May each consecrated believer be spurred on to greater fervency in his sacrificial walk by the glorious promise, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”—Rev. 20:6