It is popular in some circles of heart believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour or true Christianity or merely professing Christianity (Christendom) to think that all references in God's Word the Holy Bible to saints are to Christians. This seems to be especially true for those from covenant theology especially replacement theology background within Christianity. Covenant Theology Christians according to a book Dispensationalism by Charles Ryrie believe all of time in the Bible is divided into two or three covenant times the covanant of works from the creation of the first people Adam and Eve until their falling into sin, then the covenant of grace from the fall for the rest of time or until Jesus' salvation work with His death on the cross for our sins and His ressurrection from the dead to give us new life if we trust in Him. Some covenant theology Christians would call this last covenant time including the time for the Church the covenant of redemption. A basic distinction between covenant theology and dispensational Christianity (which I hold to and is a more literal interpretation of the Bible) is that covenant theology holds that there is only one people of God that includes Jews or Israelites and Christians for all time while dispensational theology holds that there are basically two separate people of God that God focuses on dealing with and through in different ages or dispensations. Dispensational Christians such as myself also believe God acts in distint way in different ages but with more ages or of the way God acts to people in those ages with the way God acts or administers His acting then as a dispensation. We believe God acts sometimes through Israel, sometimes through the Church and sometimes through believers in Him before Israel and the Church. The main dispensations would then be the Dispenation of Innocence from the creation or Adam and Eve to their fall into sin, the Dispensation of perhaps Conscience from the fall of Adam and Eve until the end of the Flood of Noah, the Dispensation of Government from the time of Noah after the flood until the call the tower of Babel and the call of Abraham to God, the Dispensation of Israel including under the Law of Moses from Abraham until the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Church Dispensation from Pentecost until the Rapture of the Church, the Dispensation (of Tribulation or Trouble) in the 70th week of Daniel from the Rapture to the Second Coming to Earth of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom (visibly on earth) of God Dispensation in the 1000 year visible reign on this earth of the Lord Jesus Christ that will be followed by the Dispenation or Rest in Eternity When God will bless all of His saved people of Israel, the nations and the Church with rest and fulfilling service to Him in the New Jerusalem, New Earth and New Heavens.
The physical descendents or Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) are the Israelites including the Jews that God worked through from the call of Abraham to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ covering most of the Old Testament and most of the Gospels in the New Testament except for the latter part of them especially that from the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and afterwards. Israel or the Jews are the physical or earthly people of God in a dispensational view. There are also people of the nations who trust in the true God while God worked through Israel who can be called the saved of the nations and would be associated with the saved Israelites as the restored earthly people of God. In distinction to this is the true Church that God has focused on working through and with from the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost 50 days after Jesus' resurrection from the dead and is currently still working through and with but almost finished and will be finished with the rapture or catching up to heaven of the then completed true Church or all true Christians. The Church is the spiritual or heavenly people of God. The Church is not covered in Old Testament scriptures and is called a mystery in the scripture from the Apostle Paul because the teachings of God for or through the Church were some things not revealed to the human race including through Israel but have been revealed since Pentecost to the human race through the Church or true Christians. Scripture teachings for the Church are primarily in the latter part of the Gospels especially in the parts after Jesus rose from the dead and the Upper Room discourse in John 13-17, in the Book of Acts of the Apostles, in the Epistles of Paul, Peter, John, Jude and James and in Revelation chapters 1-5, 19-22. The scriptures for Israel in the Old Testament and first parts of the Gospels also give substantial prophecy about God restoring Israel both physically to their promised land of Israel in the Middle East and spiritually for more of them individually as well as generally to trust in Him as the true God and in Jesus of Nazareth as their true Lord and Messiah including as God who took the form of a man two thousand years ago. These yet future times of God again focusing on Israel as His chosen earthly or physical people will start on earth immediately after the rapture and removing of the true Church in what is sometimes called the tribulation or 70th week of Daniel and includes the events on earth with the second coming in glory at the end of the tribulation of the Lord Jesus Christ. At Jesus's second coming He will judge the world and set up God's visible Kingdom on this earth for 1000 years. Although the true Church as God's spiritual people will have a part in God's working on earth in the 1000 year, Millennial or Messianic rule of God through His Son and Messiah Jesus Christ Israel as God's chosen earthly people will be God's focus as the people He works through and with in that period also. It should be mentioned that not all of the Israelites or Jews are part of God's restored or saved people through eternity only those who in their hearts trusted in the LORD or Jehovah or Yahweh or HaShem personally as their Creator and Redeemer God will and they are sometimes called the believing remnant of Israel but will be a much larger portion by the end of the tribulation and in the Messianic Kingdom such as about a third of them by the end of the tribulation according to the prophet Zechariah.
There is also much confusion between different interpretations of the term Kingdom of God or of Heaven in different parts of the Church today and these too are basically differences between covenant and dispensational theology and Christians. Probably both types of Christians would agree that the Kingdom of God began with the preaching of John the Baptist who was a forerunner to Jesus in the beginning of the Gospels and continued to develop from the beginning of the public ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and I would agree with that. However covenant theology Christians would again say there is only one people of God that includes both the Israelites and Jews and Christians. The replacement theology Christians among covenant theology Christians would say the Israelite part of the Kingdom stopped by the time of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ or perhaps at Pentecost and from then on the Kingdom of God is just composed of Christians while other covenant theology Christians would say that the Kingdom of God has its early part in the time of John the Baptist and Jesus' first earthly ministry as Israelites or Jews but will still include Israelites as well as Christians in the last days that they view us as already having entered to some extent. However dispensational Christians such as myself believe the term Kingdom of God includes the Israelites or Jews from the preaching of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ until the death on the cross of Jesus or perhaps until Pentecost and the sending of the Holy Spirit on believers, then the Kingdom of God on earth is focused on the growing Church or heavenly people of God until the very soon removal to heaven or rapture of the true Church. After the rapture of the Church the Kingdom of God on earth will be focused on the Israelites especially those being restored to God also spiritually in the tribulation and Messianic or Millennial Kingdom on earth. Again when God deals through Israel on Earth He also calls some of the nations or Gentiles to Him but they are not on the same relation with Him as Jewish or Israelite believers mostly because of distinctions from the Law of Moses but also from some earlier distinctions going back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) such as physical circumcision for males at 8 days old.
All the above background of whether there is one or two peoples of God and one or two components of the Kingdom of God has relevance for how one interprets references to the term saint(s) in God's word the Holy Bible as I have found talking with or reading about the beliefs of both dispensational and covenant theology Christians. Basically at least some covenant theology Christians think all references to saints are to Christians or one could say to those of the Kingdom while dispensational Christians believe that depending on the context and the literal interpretation of God's word the Holy Bible some references to saints are to Christians, some to the Israelites as well as some of the Gentiles who then believed in the God of Israel and became some of the saved of the nations and that there are even some references to angels with the term saint in the Bible. In the rest of this article I try to give some examples in each of these categories and why I believe they apply to either Israelites, Christians or to holy angels.
In this chapter Moses recounted the giving of the law at Mount Sinai to God's chosen earthly people the Israelites through him as a mediator between them and God and gave a blessing from God to each of the 12 tribes of Israel. First Moses mentioned the LORD (God the Father) coming down to Mount Sinai and then leading Israel through the wilderness. God came from Heaven to Mount Sinai and at least 10,000 holy angels (the saints mentioned in verse 2) helped in giving the law of Moses from God to the Israelites from Moses as also mentioned in the New Testament in Galatians 3:19, Hebrews 2:2 and Acts 7:53 and elsewhere in the Old Testament at least in Psalm 68:17. This is an example in God's word the Holy Bible of saints referring to holy angels and is another example in God's word that saints don't always refer to true or born again Christians. In verse 3 it is stated that God the Father loved the people, that is His chosen earthly people the Israelites including the Jews in this case rather than the Church that is mentioned more in the New Testament. The term saints in verse 3 is also referring to God's chosen earthly people the Israelites and is an example in God's word of the term saints referring to them. The reference to the Israelites sitting down at God's feet in the context is probably referring to the Israelites encamped around Mount Sinai when God came down there personally and gave them His law through Moses. The Israelites receiving God's law when God came down to Mount Sinai is likely also the meaning of the reference to His (earthly people Israel including the Jews) receiving of His (God the Father's) words. The reference from Deuteronomy 33 of saints referring to holy angels and to God's chosen earthly people the Israelites at God giving the Law of Moses on Mount Sinai to the Israelites as some scriptural examples of the term saint in God's word not always referring to the true Church God's chosen spiritual or heavenly people is as follows:
And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at they feet; every one shall receive of thy words. Deuteronomy 33:1-3
The apostle Paul was in the Letter or Epistle to the Ephesians was writing to the Ephesians Christians or saints in the local church he had planted there. This was in Asia Minor in the western coast of what is now the country of Turkey. The apostle Paul praises the Christians or saints there for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and their love or unselfish agape love after the new nature in Christ to other saints or true Christians or true members of the Church. He mentions that he doesn't stop to give thanks for them and to pray to God through Jesus for them. The apostle Paul mentions that he prays for them to God the Father might give the Ephesians saints or true Christians the greater wisdom of God and revelation of God in His Son Jesus Christ through their developing a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Paul goes on to say that he prays for them that their hearts or spirits, the eyes of their understanding, would be enlightened or would more insight or clarity of the hope of Jesus' calling which is to spend eternity in heaven and the Millennial and New Earth with Him and God the Father and share in His glory and eternal home and fellowship with Him and His people. The riches of the glory of Jesus' inheritance in the saints is especially also talking about the eternal blessings in heaven and the renewed Earth with God the FAther and Jesus and His people but also God's blessings through Jesus to in this life give His people of this age, true Christians or Church saints who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ that He died for our sins on the cross and risen from the dead to give us new life HIs spiritual blessings and meet our material needs. The scripture reference from Ephesians 1 of how Church age saints or true Christians should relate to each other in love and Paul praying for the saints or true Christians at Ephesus to have and understand in greater measure the inheritance that God's Son Jesus Christ from the God the Father has in them especially in the life to come but also in this life is as follows:
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:15-18
The Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ who died for the sins of the world but in practice especially for true Christians of the Church and true believers in God of other ages, after he took the book of the first plagues of the tribulation is worshipped in heaven by the four beasts and the 24 elders. The 24 elders represent the whole true Church that is pictured already in heaven before the tribulation starts. The four beasts worship the Lamb the Lord Jesus Christ in music with harps but also with presenting to Him golden vials, bowls or saucers full of odours or incense which symbolically represent the prayers of saints. In this case this is referring especially to Church Age saints from Pentecost that was 50 days after Jesus' resurrection to the time of the rapture or catching up to heaven of the true Church of all the people who admitted we are sinners and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts in Him as our personal Lord and Saviour who died on the cross for all our sins and rose again from the dead to give us God's new life. The 24 elders or the mentioned saints, in either case representing all the true Church, worship Jesus the Lamb more saying before Him in heaven that He is worthy to open the book with the seals of the first series of judgments of the tribulation mentioned in Revelation 6 and that Jesus was the one who had redeemed us to God (the Father) by Jesus blood shed on the cross to call out to Jesus and God the Father His Church of every kindred, tongue, people and nation. I believe there will be some people in the Church of each of these groups but that the remainder of people that will hear the word of salvation through Jesus and believe in Him to salvation out of all these groups will be saved in the tribulation especially by the witness of the 144,000 Jewish or Israelite believers in Jesus mentioned in Revelation 7 and that these latter believers are tribulation saints and not part of the Church although it is true both Church saints and tribulation saints and Millennial Kingdom saints and saints that trusted in Jesus for salvation during His first earthly ministry are all part of the kingdom of God. The Church saints referred represented by the 24 elders or the saints whose prayers are referred to in Revelation 5 will be rewarded for our genuine trust in and then service to God through His Son Jesus Christ by allowing us to be kings and priests to God and to reign on the earth including in the Millennial or Messianic Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ after His second coming at the end of the tribulation to judge the world and set up God's visible kingdom on earth. The scripture reference in Revelation 5 of saints whose prayers are presented to the Lord Jesus on His throne in Heaven and the 24 elders both representing Church Age saints already in heaven before the tribulation starts is as follows:
And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Revelation 5:8-10
After the seal judgments of Revelation 6 had finished and after the true Church had been raptured as depicted in Revelation 4:1-3 by the rapture of the apostle John and the Church represented by the 24 elders already in heaven in Revelation 5 and after a multitude of Gentiles or people of the nations are called out to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the witness of the 144,000 Messianic Jewish witnesses especially in the 1st half of the tribulation there is a scene in heaven. In this scene angels present bowls of incense representing the prayers of saints particularly to ask God for vengeance on those that persecuted them for their faith in Him or His Son Jesus Christ. Most true saints of God from the beginning of human history starting with Adam and Eve's son Abel have endured some persecution at the hands of unbelievers and/or demons.This scripture in Revelation 8 does mention the prayers of all saints which would then include that of Old Testament and Church Age saints as well as people that trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ after the rapture of the Church in the first half of the tribulation through the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by the 144,000 Messianic Jewish witnesses. However the emphasis on these saints mentioned in Revelation 8 is probably on the tribulation saints as they would be the ones mentioned immediately before Revelation 8 who had just suffered intense persecution for Jesus and God the Father and in many cases were martyred for God or His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. The focus of these prayers are for God's vengeance on the unbelieving world who persecute those who place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father with the Holy Spirit as also the true and living Creator and Saviour God. These prayers are then partly answered by the same angels that present these prayers to God as they are the same angels that carry out the immediately following trumpet judgments on the world that takes up most of remainder of the 1st half of the tribulation until the Beast out of the sea and the false prophet take total control of this world as allowed by God in the second half of the tribulation. The scripture reference from Revelation 8 of the prayers of especially tribulation saints brought before God in heaven for vengeance on those of the unbelieving world that immediately starts to occur in the trumpet judgments by the same angels that brought these prayers to God are as follows:
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. Revelation 8:1-6
The fourth beast in its first form represented the Roman Empire but in its last form, including with its ten horns, represented the Antichrist or Beast out of the Sea and his government and ten kings of especially ten regions of the earth that will reign with him in the second half of the tribulation as also in Revelation 17. The three horns that fell and the other or little horn that came out of the fourth beast represents three regions of the world, likely Eastern and Western Europe and possibly still English North America (although this is more complicated since Britain leaving the European Union) or the Middle East, that will have their power seized by the Antichrist and his government more totally (the little horn) to totally rule the world in the second half of the tribulation. A mouth speaking great things by this horn means that the Antichrist or little horn will be quite boastful but also quite blasphemous against God and His Son Jesus Christ and try to put himself above the true and living God when the Antichrist is worshipped as God in the tribulation temple in Jerusalem by the world in the second half of the tribulation. This little horn or the Antichrist will make war against the saints and overcome them which corresponds in Revelation to Revelation 12 and is especially focused on the persecution of the Jews or children of Israel especially in the second half of the tribulation and this reference to saints is mostly to Jews or the physical children of Israel although especially those that by then have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ (Y'Shua HaMashiach) as their Lord and Messiah. The word saints in verse 21 likely also refers in a secondary sense to Gentiles that trust in the Lord Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior after the rapture of the Church and that are persecuted for their faith in Jesus in the second half of the tribulation. However this reference to saints has nothing to do with the true Church or true Christians that are of this present, almost ended, age and who will all be raptured or caught up to heaven before the Antichrist or Beast and Little Horn or he who works abomination is revealted with his covenant with Israel to allow them to build their third temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 7 year tribulation as in Daniel 9:27. This persecution of the Jewish and Gentile saints in especially the second half of the tribulation will continue to the end of it or the end of the 70th week of Daniel. At the end of the tribulation the Ancient of days will come with the Son of Man (the Lord Jesus Christ Who is also the Son of God) and the holy angels and judgment is given to the saints of the most high. The reference of saints of the Most High is either referring to holy angels as those that with God and Jesus execute judgment against the still ungodly people then of the world or to the Israelite and Gentile saints that by the actions of the Most High (God the Father) and Jesus taking away to hell the Antichrist, the False Prophet and the devil and demons will give them freedom from persecution any more and will let them start to reign with God the Father and Jesus in the then begun Messianic or Millennial Kingdom. The saints that possess the kingdom probably refers to especially the Jewish or Israelite (and Gentile) saints that endure the persecution on Earth of the Antichrist or Beast out of the Sea and his ungodly system but also of the true Church saints and holy angels that will then come from heaven to be rewarded for trusting in Jesus during our lives in this present Church Age or for the holy angels of their faithfulness to God and Jesus since their creation in the first week of creation. Part of that reward for saints of all ages up to Jesus' second coming with God the Father will be to reign over all the Earth with God the Father (the Ancient of Days) and Jesus (the Son of Man) in His Messianic or Millennial Kingdom on Earth. The scripture reference from Daniel 7 of reference to persecution of especially Jewish or Israelite and Gentile (but not Church Age) saints in the tribulation and God's blessing of Israelite and Gentile saints as well as true Church and angelic saints in the Messianic or Millennial Kingdom is as follows:
Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of the horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Daniel 7:19-22
A parallel passage with the above one in Daniel 7 is in part of Revelation 13 where the beast out of the sea in Revelation 13 is the same as the little horn of Daniel 7 and in both cases is the Antichrist. In both cases the saints are those people that come to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (Y'Shua HaMashiach) after the rapture of the Church from both Gentile and Jewish backgrounds. These saints as being those mentioned in Daniel 7 and here under the Antichrist in Revelation 13 are not any of the true Christians currently on earth who would not be mentioned particularly in Old Testament prophecy and because God will be focusing on restoring his chosen earthly people Israel in the tribulation not supposedly refining His chosen heavenly or spiritual people the Church that will be all raptured or caught up to heaven before the beginning of the seven year tribulation started as in Daniel 9:27 by the covenant of the Antichrist with the nation of Israel and other nations to allow the Jews or Israelites to build their third temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and resume the Levitical animal sacrifices and divine worship or service system there. These saints will be persecuted especially intensely by the Antichrist and the False Prophet or Beast out of the Land and the Antichrist's ungodly world system in the second half of the tribulation when the Antichrist becomes totally indwelt and possessed and empowered by the devil or Satan. God Himself will give this power to the Antichrist or Beast out of the Sea to make war with the saints and secure full world power but this power will only be for a short time about three and half years until Jesus' second coming to overcome the devil, the Antichrist and the false prophet and all demons and all at least Gentile or of the nations people that by the end of the tribulation haven't trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour when Jesus judges the world and sets up His with God the Father's Kingdom over all the Earth. There will however still be some persecution by the Antichrist of tribulation saints in the first half of the tribulation when the Antichrist quickly changes from his initial revelation of himself as a world peacemaker. God will supernaturally deal with the persecutors of the tribulation saints by having the individuals that are quite merciless against the tribulation saints especially often die quickly of violent deaths themselves as the saying he that killeth with the sword must be killed by the sword etc. The scripture reference from Revelation 13 to the tribulation saints that will be especially severly persecuted by the Antichrist or Beast out of the Sea and the Little Horn in the second half of the tribulation when the Antichrist secures full world control is as follows:
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Revelation 13:7-10
The mention of the rising of the sun to the setting of it is likely a mention of God's creation and rule over all the earth, but is probably also a reference to God the Father's Shekinah glory coming with His Son the Lord Jesus Christ at Jesus' second coming in glory at the end of the tribulation. This order from the rising of the sun to the setting of it is from east to west which is similiar to the direction Jesus mentioned for His second coming in Matthew 24:27 as lightning from the east to the west. The reference to Zion as the location from which God has shined is probably a reference to God's glory coming to the Millennial Temple in Jerusalem after Jesus' second coming. The reference of our God coming and devouring before Him is a reference to the God of Israel the true God coming again in the form of Jesus' second coming of Himself and the Shekinah glory of God the Father to the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem and destroying Israel's enemies gathered against her outside Jerusalem as also mentioned in Zechariah 14. God will then judge His people in particular those that are the faithful remnant of Israel that have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour and those of the nations that have trusted in the Lord Jesus in the tribulation partly in how they have treated His earthly brethren the Israelites including the Jewish people as in Zechariah 12:8-14, Malachi 3:2-18, 4:1-6, Matthew 25:31-46. The reference to saints here is to the tribulation saints particularly of Israel that will be faithful to God in the renewed Levitical sacrifices in the first half of the tribulation but who also realize these sacrifices are a memorial to cover their sins of the one sacrifice of God's Son the Saviour of the world and the Redeemer and Messiah of Israel who died on the cross to take away all our sins especially of those who trust in Him. The Gentiles or people of the nations who join themselves to Israel, God's chosen earthly people, including by offering sacrifices to God in the 1st half of the tribulation temple in rememberance of the Lord Jesus Christ who died to take away our sins will also be judged with God's blessing and allowed to populate the earth in Jesus' or Y'Shua's Millennial or Messianic Kingdom. God says here in Psalm 50 that his saints at that time were those who lived for Him of His chosen earthly people the Israelites or Jews or children of Israel. God says they had made a covenant with him by sacrifice that is they devoted themselves to God as their God and the true God through the Mosaic Covenant including its animal sacrifices which they were doing to honour God. The reference to God saying for His saints to be gathered together to Him and heavens declaring His righteousness is probably a reference that He will then also bring from heaven the tribulation saints both Israelite and Gentile who in the tribulation died in faith in God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ and showed their trust in God through in the first half of the tribulation offering the Levitical sacrifices in Jerusalem as a picture of the sacrifice of God's Son Jesus Christ to once for all take away all our sins on the cross around Jerusalem about 2000 years ago. God calls these saints Israel which He means in a literal sense as His chosen earthly people the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and not at all the Church as supposedly the new or true Israel although the true Church is God's present spiritual and heavenly people and will be with the restored of Israel and the nations for eternity. God does speak to the Israelite believers of Old Testament times in the times of the Psalmist and looking forward to the particularly Israelite tribulation saints however that they shouldn't try to view the animal sacrifices and that obedience to Him as a way to earn merit with Him but to offer thanksgiving and vows to God to show their thankfulness and devotion in their heart to Him and having a true relationship with Him and dependent of faith in Him or His mercy and keeping them in His salvation. However this thanksgiving or vows in the Old Testament and Mosaic covenant were also in the form of animal sacrifices and that was associated with Israel as God's earthly or physical chosen people. The scripture reference from Psalm 50 of those of the God's physical or earthly people the Israelites that were faithful to Him to offer animal sacrifices to Him under the Mosaic covenant they had with God as demonstrating they were His chosen earthly people saints especially when they viewed their service to God as way of acknowledging and depending on Him for their relationship and not trying to earn it through good works such as the animal sacrifices they offered to the LORD is as follows:
The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempetuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of they house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Psalms 50:1-15
For more information, comments, questions or counsel contact Doug Currie atContact Spirit and Truth Ministries