“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”—Revelation 3:13
One thing that is being said by the Spirit unto the churches is that God is fulfilling the promise He has made in the Old Covenant that the Gentiles are to share in the blessings that God has given to Israel. The coming of Jesus was not a failure with the Jews, but a triumph. The Lord’s timing could not have been a failure because the timing was perfect. The Bible says that “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4, 5).
The promise to Abraham was that all the nations of the earth were to be blessed. “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Gen. 22:18). It was not an afterthought of God that the Gentiles would become part of the covenant blessing. That was the original purpose of God.
Psalm 87:4 says, “I will make mention of Rahab [Egypt] and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia [Cush]; this man was born there. “And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. 6 The Lord shall count, when he writeth [registers] up the people, that this man was born there. Selah” (Psalm 87:4-6). What the psalmist anticipated was the day when the historical enemies of Israel would be converted and they would be the same as those born into the covenant relationship with God.
Commenting on Psalm 87:4, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “This shall be a glorious subject to speak of concerning Zion, that her old foes are new born and have become her friends, worshipping in the temple of her God. Rahab or Egypt which oppressed Israel shall become a sister nation, and Babylon in which the tribes endured their second great captivity, shall become a fellow worshipper; then shall there be mention made in familiar talk of the old enmities forgotten and the new friendships formed.
Some consider that these are the words of God himself, and should be rendered “I will mention Rahab and Babylon as knowing me”: but we feel content with our common version, and attribute the words to the Psalmist himself, who anticipates the conversion of the two great rival nations and speaks of it with exultation. Behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia. These also are to bow before the Lord. Philistia shall renounce her ancient hate, Tyre shall not be swallowed up by thoughts of her commerce, and distant Ethiopia shall not be too far off to receive the salvation of the Lord. This man was born there.
The word man is inserted by the translators to the marring of the sense, which is clear enough when the superfluous word is dropped, —”Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this was born there”—i.e., this nation has been born into Zion, regenerated into the church of God. Of the new births of nations, we will make mention, for it is at once a great blessing and a great wonder. It is a glorious thing indeed when whole nations are born unto God” (Treasury of David).
The vision of the Psalmist, and the vision of Revelation anticipates that blessed time when all the people, Jew and Gentile, are made pillars in the temple of my God. And one that that heavenly temple is going to come down to earth as a spiritual temple that God will build in the New Heaven and New Earth.
This concept is not new to John. When Paul speaks about the wall of division being broken down, it is so the Gentiles can be brought in.
“For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. 2:14-18).
Romans 11 speaks about branches being broken off so that others, the Gentiles, might be grafted into the tree of Israel. “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert gaffed in among them, and with them partakes of the root and fatness of the olive tree… 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:19, 25).