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Chapter 5 - Eternal life for Christians
Jesus instructed the twelve disciples that they would be overseeing what is called 'the great commission' with the expectation that Israel would receive the kingdom.
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. - Matthew 19:28
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. - Mark 16:15-18
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. - Matthew 28:16-20
In the ministry of Jesus every word was towards the faithful acceptance of Israel of the kingdom. There was not a hint that there would be a 'plan B' if Israel neglected the offer of the kingdom. If the kingdom had been received, Israel would bring in the gentiles to faith in Jesus. The first example we have of Jews going to gentiles with the good news (gospel) of the kingdom is with Cornelius.
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? - Acts 10:44-47
One of the reasons gentiles were being saved before the formal establishment of the kingdom was to provoke the Jews to jealousy.
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. - Romans 11:11
Israel had the promise of a new covenant as declared by Jeremiah.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. - Jeremiah 31:31-34
While many Jews did believe and place their trust in Jesus, most did not. Even the gentiles receiving supernatural gifts from God proved insufficient to motivate most to receive the offered kingdom. With the ministry of Paul we see salvation being offered to the gentiles outside of the kingdom ministry of Israel. This allowed gentiles to be saved without any works or law following.
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. - 2 Timothy 1:11
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? - Galatians 3:1-3
Even though Christians today are saved outside of the law and immediately receive eternal life, we still have to have our physical bodies changed to be suited for the age to come.
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow 7777not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
It is interesting to note that those 'which sleep in Jesus' (Christians who have died) come with Jesus but their bodies are separate. These verses seem to describe a resurrection but describe no 'change' as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15. It may be that such a change will occur but is just not mentioned.
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