Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be brought forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born in one step?”
Psalm 19 tells us that the heavens already declare the glory of God. But, in Revelation 12, we are told that before the end of this age, God will use the heavens to proclaim the story of His Son as never before. The Father’s use of the heavens to proclaim the gospel of His Son to all mankind was foretold by Jesus. In Matthew 24:30, he said that shortly before he would return to earth, all people would see “the sign of the Son of man” in heaven. He said in Luke 21:25 that there will be “signs in the sun and moon and stars” just before his return. This is what John saw in Revelation 12.
God will arrange the starry host in such a way that men around the world will see a woman “clothed with the sun” (Israel) give birth to a child “who is to shepherd all nations with an iron rod” (Jesus). Then men will see in the sky a fierce beast (Satan) attempt to destroy the child, but the child ascends into heaven (Jesus’ ascension to the Father in Acts 1). The story that the Father will tell in the sky will continue to show that the devil grew so angry and full of hatred against the Son that he determined to kill the woman (destroy Israel) because through her, the Messiah came. John described the devil’s attempt to destroy the woman with these words:
15. Then the serpent spewed out of his mouth water like a river after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood,
16. but the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon spewed out of his mouth.
Now, in Revelation, the “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and languages” are represented by the sea (Rev. 17:15). On the other hand, God’s people are referred to as “the earth”. This is “the earth” that “opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon spewed out”. In other words, what has prevented the “peoples, and multitudes, and nations” of this world from destroying Israel is the influence of God’s New Testament saints on the world, with their prayers and their love for Israel, through whom the Savior came. As this world continues in its downward moral and spiritual spiral, it will become increasingly hostile against the nation of Israel, in spite of the presence of the saints, but to date, that little, besieged nation has survived because the people who love Jesus are still here, praying for her.
Another prophetic significant mention of “the earth” in reference to the saints of God has to do with the figure in Revelation called “the second beast”, or, the “false prophet”, the man who will work with “the Beast”, that great world ruler who will gather all the nations of the world against Israel (Rev. 16:13-14, 16). We are told that this Beast is a man who arises out of the sea (Rev. 13:1). That means that the Beast will be a man who does not belong to God’s family. He will simply be a man of the world. However, the False Prophet does not come from the sea; he does not come from the “peoples, and multitudes, and nations” of this world. Rather, he comes from “the earth” (Rev. 13:11). In other words, he is a child of God, and obviously one who had been, at some point in his life, chosen and anointed with power by Christ. In other words, the character called “the False Prophet” will be a backslidden, Spirit baptized servant of Jesus Christ.
The “earth” which rescues Israel with its prayers and influence, and out of which will come that second beast called the “False Prophet”, is the earth which Isaiah prophesied would be “brought forth in one day”. And that “one day” in which “the earth” of believers was brought forth was the day of Pentecost, in Acts 2. The Hebrew word for “brought forth” in that verse from Isaiah refers to the suffering of birth pangs by an expectant mother. Here is the whole verse again:
8. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be brought forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born in one step?
We are imagining nothing in saying that this verse refers to the new birth which the followers of Jesus experienced on the day of Pentecost. Isaiah 66 is filled with clear references to the New Testament people of God, including the holy Ghost being given to men.
Many of God’s parables in both the Old and New Testaments refer to God’s people being expected to “produce fruit” or some such thing. In Isaiah 5, God’s saints are His vineyard; in Matthew 13, God’s saints are His wheatfield. Hosea pleads with God’s people to “Sow righteousness for yourselves; reap lovingkindness. Break up for yourselves fallow ground, for it is time to seek Jehovah, until He come and rains righteousness upon you” (Hos. 10:12). In Hebrews 6:7-8, the man of God warns all the saints that although God’s rain falls on all His people, not all of His people are the same kind of soil and that, while some produce fruit to His glory, others bear thorns, “whose end is to be burned”:
7. For the earth that drinks in the rain which often comes upon it, and then produces useful plants for those for whom it is also cultivated, receives blessing from God,
8. but in bearing thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed, whose end is to be burned.
Finally, in the parable which Jesus said must be understood before any other parable can be understood, Jesus said that, concerning the kingdom of God, there are four kinds of soil. Each one of us, spiritually speaking, is one of those four kinds of soil into which the Word of God has been sown. What kind of fruit are we bearing?
The False Prophet, the servant of Satan and the Beast, was the kind of soil that, at first, bore great fruit, but then, near the harvest, it all turned bitter. May God help us to be the kind of earth that, with patience and understanding, bears good fruit until the end.