The Gathering Of God's People
The coming of Jesus Christ to die for mankind marked a great turning point for good in the history of the world. The inhabitants of the earth who hitherto had walked in darkness and in the shadow of death suddenly had the chance of gaining perfect life, peace and happiness in God’s Kingdom fully established. It was for this divine purpose that Jesus Christ, having been endowed with regal power and authority, is, along with the remnant of the saints in these last days, calling his people into his kingdom fold notwithstanding the devil’s evil machinations to mislead the people through false religious organisations.
After the fall of man, the Perfect and All-wise God, in keeping with His divine promises, created the nation of Israel to serve as a means through which He will bring His people to walk in harmony with Him again. Unfortunately most of the Jews were stubborn and disobedient and so God scattered them across several nations as He had earlier warned them in Deuteronomy 28:25; 1 Kings 14:15, etc. This prophecy fulfilled to the letter as Israel was conquered, pillaged, humiliated and taken captive by their enemies, which include the Assyrians, Babylonians, and the Romans.
The nation of Israel was a Roman colony when Jesus Christ was born. He was sent by God to save the entire human race including the natural Jews. But being that they were in captivity they looked for political freedom instead of spiritual freedom. (John 8:31,32,36; Luke 4:16-18; John 6:15; Acts 1:6) As a result, only a few of them believed in him. Because they rejected him, Jesus Christ cursed Jerusalem when he said “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” -Matthew 23:37-39.
Furthermore, Jesus Christ declared that the stubbornness of the Jews would bring upon them misery and anguish. Speaking of the fate that would befall them he asserted: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” – Luke 21:24.
The words of Jesus Christ fulfilled on Jerusalem in AD 70 when General Titus, a Roman commander, marched into the city destroyed its temple, killed many of the Jews, and forced most of them into captivity. Thus, the last vestiges of the state of Israel were wiped out. Most of the Jews then went into Diaspora, a word which means dispersion. It was not until May 14, 1948 that the state of Israel was reborn. This followed the historic decision by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 29, 1947 to partition Palestine into two other independent states, one for the Jews, the other for the Arabs.
The proclamation of the state of Israel in 1948 was the fulfillment of the Scriptures that the Jews will in course of time regain their land. But the major fulfillment of that prophecy is the gathering of the people of God in various parts of the world into His Kingdom to serve Him in truth for their blessing and salvation in the end by His grace and power as it is written: “My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.” – Ezekiel 34: 6,11-16.
It goes without saying therefore that what God did for the natural Jews in gathering them to their own land was only a type of what He promised to do in a greater measure to His children the world over through Jesus Christ, the antitypical seed of Abraham. (Galatians 3:16) The sacrificial work of Jesus Christ opened the door of salvation to both the natural Jews and those who were not Jews by birth, then known as the gentiles. All those who believe in Jesus Christ, from any part of the world are today spiritual Jews. In his letter to the Christians in Galatia, St. Paul declared as much when he stated: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:7-9, 26-29. See also Romans 2:28,29) Thus, faith and not blood relationship has become the mark by which the true children of Abraham the spiritual Jews are identified. These spiritual Jews are also known as the “Israel of God” in Galatians 6:16.
The Gathering work
Referring to His children the world over, God Almighty declared in Isaiah 43:5-7,21 “Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.” The work of gathering the people of God has been entrusted to Jesus Christ who is referred to as Shiloh (which means Peaceful One) in Genesis chapter 49 verse 10 as it is written:
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah nor a law giver from between his feet until Shiloh come. Unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” Similar prophecies to the effect that God will use Jesus Christ to bring light to the gentiles are contained in Isaiah 11:10; 42:5-8, etc.
This gathering work will go on despite the devil’s opposition. In John 11:49-53 we read of how the chief priests and the Pharisees convened to discuss how to check the popularity of Jesus Christ. They declared: “What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation. And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Moreover, God Almighty used picture language to describe how He would use Jesus Christ to call those of the apostle’ class, and through them, all people of goodwill to Himself as it is written: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” (Zechariah 8:20-23) The “Jew” is Jesus Christ. “The skirt” refers to the anointed Christians who constitute the body members of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:27) The “ten men” that would take hold of the skirt stand for all people who love truth and righteousness from all parts of the world, that is, “the Other Sheep” who are gathered to God through the preaching of the apostles.
The inspired words of the prophet Zechariah found fulfillment when Jesus Christ came to the world and started the work with the 12 apostles as recorded in Luke 6:12-15; 12:32 and Mark 3:14. Before his passion Jesus Christ stated: “
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) After his resurrection therefore, he anointed and commissioned the apostles to continue the work of gathering the people of God “both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The gathering of people of other nationalities to God besides the natural Jews took a major dimension on the day of Pentecost when Peter and other apostles preached the word, and people of diverse nations were converted. (Acts 2:1-41) Indeed the Lord had begun to fulfil His promise through the prophet Isaiah to wit: “ The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” (Isaiah 56:8) In other words, both the natural Jews who were dispersed abroad and the gentiles will be gathered to Jesus Christ. See also 2 Thessalonians 2:1.
God used other apostles who were called later, such as Stephen, Paul, Cornelius among others, to continue the work. St. Paul affirmed that God had through Jesus Christ committed the work of reconciliation to the apostles when he said: “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; see also Ephesians 2:11-22.
The gathering work did not end in the days of the early apostles. Jesus Christ said at the time of his second presence, he will choose the remnant of the saints from all parts of the world. (Matthew 24:31) These are the “fishers” and “hunters” whom God will send to rescue His people “from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks.” (Jeremiah 16:16) The complete number of the apostles’ or saints’ class is 144,000. -Revelation 7:4-8; 14:1-5.
The Kingdom of God
God promised to set up His Kingdom on earth in this period known as the last days into which He will gather His people through the remnant of the saints as it is written: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” (Isaiah 2:2) “The Mountain of the Lord’s House” symbolizes God’s Kingdom belonging to Jesus Christ and his body members (the apostles or saints) who constitute the spiritual house or temple of God according to Luke 12:32; 22:28-30; 1 Corinthians 3:16,17; Hebrews 3:6. The “mountains” represent satan’s entire organization both visible and invisible. The hills denote worldly clubs and societies. “All nations” stand for all lovers of truth and righteousness the world over. What the prophecy is saying in effect is that in this age we are now living, known as the last days, the Kingdom of God belonging to Jesus Christ and the saints will be established on top of satan’s entire organisation and that this Kingdom will in course of time outgrow all other worldly societies and clubs as all people of goodwill will flow into it, obviously for safety and protection. Ultimately, all individuals and institutions outside the Kingdom of God will be destroyed. The signs of the times now staring everyone in the face show that we are now in the last days and that the prophecy has fulfilled. -Daniel 12:4,8-10; Matthew 24:3-8,21; Luke 21:25-36; 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
The Bible shows that any church that preaches the truth in any part of the world in this age of the end of the world, having been set up by one of the remnants of the saints is the Kingdom of God. By virtue of the fact that she preaches the truth unmixed with lies, having been founded by one of the remnant of the saints in person of St. Gideon Meriodere Urhobo, we have no doubt in our minds that the God’s Kingdom Society (GKS) the Church of the Living God is part and parcel of God’s universal Kingdom which He promised to set up in these last days as stated in Isaiah 2:2. Giving account of His call in February 1933 he stated “After three and half years’ diligent and prayerful studies of the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ revealed himself to me in a vision and commanded me to go and proclaim the good news of God’s Kingdom (or ‘Gospel of Peace’) to all nations as the only remedy for all human sufferings and woes; to expose all the false doctrines which Satan had used to deceive the people and to keep them in ignorance of God’s Kingdom and purpose of creation; and to pronounce God’s written judgment against all wickedness.” In spite of intense persecutions, the GKS was set up in the year 1934 in Lagos. She has since been championing the revealed truth of the Bible as expounded by Saint Urhobo.
It is of utmost importance that those gathered to God should strive to do His will at all times else they will not be saved. Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized this so clearly in the parable of the nets as well as that of the wheat and tares, on which, in concluding he said: “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” – Matthew 13:, 24-30, 39-43, 47-50.
Moreover God admonished His children through His prophet Zephaniah: “Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger.” – Zephaniah 2:1-3; Isaiah 26:20,21
May the Almighty God JEHOVAH help those gathered to Him to prove themselves worthy of their calling by holding fast to the end by God’s grace so that He will fulfil on them “all the good pleasure of His goodness” through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. – 2 Thessalonians 1:11.