“[Albert] Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train, when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets.
“It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
“The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’
“Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
“The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’
“Einstein looked at him and said, ‘Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.’”1
Many believers in the Church today don’t know where they’re going when they pass from this life, whether they are heading for the Kingdom on the earth, or to heaven above, or to heaven for a while but then coming back to the earth. When you rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15), all is made clear, and you can know for sure where you’re going.
Christ’s earthly kingdom is a hope that is prophesied and plainly spelled out in God’s Word (Jer. 23:5-6; Luke 1:32-33). The ultimate theme of all prophecy is Christ’s reign on earth and Israel’s exaltation with Him in His earthly kingdom. This is the hope for the nation of Israel in accordance with the promises and covenants made with her by God. And it will still most certainly come to pass. As Isaiah 9:7 says of that kingdom, “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
However, when Israel rejected her Messiah (Acts 2:22-24; 3:14-15) and then continued in her unbelief by rejecting the ministry of God the Holy Spirit (7:54-60), God temporarily “paused” His program with Israel and set her aside in unbelief (Rom. 11:11-15). He then ushered in a new dispensation, “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2). This is how the Church, the Body of Christ, a previously nonexistent agency (2:15-16), came to be.
During this dispensation, this parenthetical time of unknown length, we who trust the gospel of the grace of God—that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day (1 Cor. 15:3-4)—become members of the Body of Christ and are saved from our sins by grace through faith alone in Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).
As members of the Church, the Body of Christ, we are not Israel. The hope for the Church, the Body of Christ, is not earthly. Our hope isn’t to rule and reign with Christ on earth; it is to rule and reign with Christ in heaven.
When we turn to the epistles of our apostle, the Apostle Paul (Rom. 11:13), we learn about a new program, “the mystery,” never before revealed prior to Paul (Col. 1:25-26). Under this program, God has revealed a new heavenly hope and calling for the members of the Church, the Body of Christ. In the truth revealed to the Apostle Paul, we learn about Christ’s reign in heavenly places (Eph. 1:20-23), and the Body of Christ’s exaltation with Him in His heavenly kingdom above.
In Colossians 1:5, the Apostle Paul refers to “the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” Paul doesn’t say the hope which is laid down here for you in the Millennial Kingdom on earth; rather, he says that the truth of the gospel for today declares a hope laid up for us in heaven. In his letters, Paul teaches the Body of Christ that:
- Our spiritual blessings are in heaven. “God…hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
- Our exalted position is with Christ in heaven. “[God] hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6).
- Our citizenship is in heaven. “For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20).
We will not be coming back to the earth with Christ at His second coming when He comes to establish His earthly kingdom. That is the hope for the nation Israel. Our eternal hope and home is heaven above and we, the Body of Christ, will reign with Christ forever in heavenly places. Praise the Lord!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.