Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
by John C. Whitcomb, Th.D.
At the dawn of the millennial kingdom on earth, our Lord Jesus Christ will reveal Himself in bodily form to all glorified and non-glorified believers. Just as He revealed Himself and His true identity to His astonished disciples for 40 days after His resurrection, often at mealtimes, so also will be His self-revelation at the inaugural kingdom banquet.
At the second coming of Christ in glory, probably culminating at this banquet, the nation of Israel will experience a transforming confrontation with their Messiah God. The Apostle John said that at His coming “every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Rev. 1:7, KJV).
Especially at the banquet, as He serves them, they will see His nailed-pierced hands, just like the Apostle Thomas did in the upper room. A week earlier, Thomas, who had not been in that room when Jesus appeared to the 10 apostles, emphatically declared: “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
The amazing thing is that God spared his life for verbalizing such unbelief and rationalistic evidentialism! In infinite condescension, our Lord appeared to him in that same room eight days later and said: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).
Now many Christians have assumed that the nation of Israel will not be converted until they see the Son of God at His coming. But that is highly improbable for at least two reasons. First, seeing Christ, even in His glorified state, cannot save people. Saving faith “cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). It must be remembered that Thomas was a genuine believer (cf., John 13:10-11) before he saw his glorified Savior and cried out, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Thomas was like those few “brethren” (1 Cor. 15:6) among the 500 who “doubted” even at the sight of the resurrected Christ (Matt. 28:17). And he was also like the two on the road to Emmaus who doubted that He would ever rise from the dead (Luke 24:21; cf., Mark 16:9-14). To them our Lord sadly admonished, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26).
Today, we cannot see the risen Savior. But by the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, we can trust in Him and be saved. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). Yes, “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).
This will also be the case for the nation of Israel. Several years before they see their Messiah, they will put their faith in Him and be saved! How this is confirmed in the prophetic Scriptures will be our next study, God willing.
|Dr. John C. Whitcomb has been a professor of Old Testament and theology for more than 50 years and is widely recognized as a leading biblical scholar. He taught at Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, IN) from 1951-1990 and gained much recognition for his work on The Genesis Flood (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company), which he co-authored with Dr. Henry Morris in 1961. That book has been credited as one of the major catalysts for the modern Biblical creationism movement. His ministry homepage is Whitcomb Ministries, and his sermons are available at SermonAudio.com.