Caterpillars Can’t Fly
Vol: 154 Issue: 24 Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Bible identifies four intelligent, sentient (self-aware) spiritual creations of God. The first of the created beings are the angels.
“Praise ye Him, all His angels: praise ye Him, all His hosts. . . Let them praise the name of the LORD: for He commanded, and they were created.” (Psalms 148:2,5)
The Bible further teaches that their home is in heaven (Matthew 24:36), their activity is both on earth and in heaven (Psalms 103:20, Luke 15:10, Hebrews 1:14) and their destiny is the Eternal City of Revelation 21:12.
“But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. . .” (Hebrews 12:22)
Angels are unique creations of God, not to be confused with any other of God’s created beings. Even though some fall, as was the case with Satan, the fallen angels remain angels throughout their existence. Their numbers are constant; they neither propagate nor die.
The second sentient creation of God was man. Man was created in perfection in both body and spirit and remained in fellowship with God until the Fall.
Adam’s physical descendents were known as Gentiles, from the Hebrew word “gowy” a word which means figuratively, “a troop of animals.”
Gentiles are born with both a living spirit and a sin nature. As soon as the sin nature comes to the forefront with the first deliberate sin, the spirit dies and must be reborn, or ‘born again.’
“For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Romans 7:9)
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:7)
The spirit of a newly-born baby cannot knowingly sin, but it is “born of the flesh” – with a sin nature. When he is old enough and mature to understand sin and knowingly sins anyway, his spirit dies and must be “born again.”
Every person from Adam to Abraham was born a Gentile, albeit sinless, yet estranged from God at birth, at first too young to have fellowship, and then too sinful – alive in the flesh only, like a gowy, an animal.
As to their estate, from Adam until Christ, the Gentiles were:
“without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12).
God created, through Abraham’s grandson Jacob, a new class of spiritual being out of the existing spiritually-dead Gentile (animals of flesh) stock that we know now as the Jew.
For 1500 years, they were known as the Children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) or ‘Israelites” until the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, leaving only the descendants of Judah and Benjamin in Judea.
Judea’s inhabitants were captured by Nebuchadnezzar and were known henceforth as ‘the Jews.’
They are the Children of the Promise – that ‘Promise’ being that God would take them out of the world of the Gentiles and make them a great nation, separated unto Himself that He would personally redeem in the last days.
A Jew is not born a Gentile – he is born a Jew. A Jew cannot become a Gentile, even if he changes his religion or abandons it altogether. Not only will God not allow it, neither will the Gentiles.
A Jew is always hyphenated, even in Israel. An Israeli-Jew is different than an Israeli-Arab or other Gentile.
There are German-Jews, Irish-Jews, English-Jews, Russian-Jews; about the only nationality that doesn’t automatically hyphenate Jews are Americans (who hyphenate everything else; African-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Japanese-Americans, etc.)
A Jew can even become a Christian – but he is still hyphenated; as a Christian in the Church Age, he becomes a Messianic-Jew.
So different is this race of spiritual beings that some five-sixths of Scripture bears directly or indirectly on the Jews. The destiny of the Jews is traceable through the Millennial Kingdom and into the new heaven and earth which follows.
In this present Church Age, all Divine progress in the national and earthly program for Israel is on hold; individual Jews have the same opportunity as do individual Gentiles for salvation by personal faith in Christ as Savior.
But Scripture is clear that, when the present age concludes, God will again turn His full attention to the national, rather than personal, redemption of Israel.
Note that each of these spiritual entities is a direct creation of God. Adam and Eve were not created as spiritually dead human animals (Gentiles) – they were created spiritually alive.
The Gentile race was created by God as a result of spiritual death and the curse(s) imposed thereby; sin, work, sweat, childbirth, illness and death.
“And He will lift up an ensign to the nations from far. . . (Isaiah 5:26)
The Jews were created by God to serve as His ensign, or His symbol, like the flag on a ship. When a ship is flagged with a national ensign, it is deemed to belong to that nation. The ensign of the Jews God Himself – they are a unique spiritual creation of God, created neither as angels nor Gentiles.
Finally, the Scriptures reveal a new spiritual creation of God, neither Jew nor Gentile, but reborn out of both. That new creature is a Christian.
When one becomes a Christian, the Bible says;
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [Gentiles – ed]: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.” (Romans 10:12)
A Christian is a NEW creature that is reborn out of the old man, either Jew or Gentile, in much the same way a butterfly is ‘reborn’ out of a caterpillar. Caterpillars can’t fly, but butterflies can.
A caterpillar has to endure a kind of ‘death’ in the cocoon before being transformed, and the transformation is not merely beautiful, it is permanent. A caterpillar, once reborn as a butterfly, cannot by an act of his own will, turn himself back into a caterpillar.
A Christian is a Gentile or a Jew who dies to himself and is reborn in Christ.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)
The Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20), having been raised WITH Christ (Colossians 3:1-3) and are so different than any other created rational being that Jesus says of the Christian;
The Scriptures which direct a Christian in his walk with the Lord are adapted to the fact that the Christian is no longer striving to secure a standing before God, but is already ‘accepted in the beloved’.
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)
Christians, by their existence, have already attained every spiritual blessing;
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ . .” (Ephesians 1:3)
Obviously, no human effort can bring a person to fulfill God’s standard of sinless perfection. God, anticipating the believer’s inability to walk worthy of his high calling, freely bestows His empowering Spirit to indwell each believer.
Scripture also promises that when their elect number is complete, as unique citizens of heaven, they will be removed from the earth at the Rapture.
At the Bema Seat in glory, believers will be judged as to their rewards for service. (1st Corinthians 3:9-15, 9:18-27, 2nd Corinthians 5:10,11), the Body of Christ will be wed to the Bridegroom, (Revelation 19:7-9) and return WITH Him to share as His consort during the Millennial Reign.
This new creation, like angels, Gentiles and Jews, can be traced into eternity future, but they are unique from the rest. They are promised no land, no house, no earthly capital or city, no earthly kingdom and no earthly king.
Scripture promises that the Jews will inherit the earth. The Gentiles will inhabit it with them as a subordinate people. But the Church does not share in that inheritance.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17)
The Church inherits what Jesus inherits and the Age of Grace concludes at the Rapture. The Body of Christ – the Church – is complete.
The Tribulation Period is the final seven years of the Age of Law, under which God will judge a Christ-rejecting world. During this period, some Gentiles will become believers, but, unlike during this present age, they are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Whose earthly ministry also concludes at the Rapture.
During the Tribulation, without the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to resist the devil, with the promise that ‘he will flee from you’ – the Bible says that is no longer true.
How else could they be ‘overcome’ by him as Revelation 13:7 says the Tribulation saints will be?
It is not POSSIBLE for Church Age believers to play a role in the Tribulation, other than as recipients of God’s justice for sin, although believers, by definition, have already been judged and found righteous at the Cross.
Consider the Promises of Jesus, given the Church, in the context of the horrors of the Tribulation Period sent to ‘try them which dwell upon the earth.’
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)
If the destiny of the Church is to partake in God’s judgment against the world, then my heart should be troubled indeed. And I should be very, very afraid. But I’m not afraid.
“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.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)
When the bottom falls out, caterpillars can’t fly. Butterflies can.
Featured Commentary: The First Four Days ~ J.L. Robb