Friday, August 5, 2011

We can ALL be Israel, part 2

Well, here's the second part of this (one-sided) discussion. Now that we've established that Israel "as a nation" has been rejected as God's "chosen" people, proclaiming God's law and character to the world, we can go to the Bible again to see that there is now a new Israel, or "Spiritual" Israel, and discover who makes up this people, and see what their commission is.

As we established last time, God's promises are largely conditional (not ALL of them of course, but most of them).  God makes, as it were, a contract with us - individually or as a people/nation.  He contracted with Abraham, the father of the Jewish race.  His descendents were to be a blessing to those around them and point them to the coming Messiah.  I mentioned this in part 1.

It had very little to do with salvation - only pointing the WAY to salvation - Jesus.  (Salvation was, and still is, offered to anyone who believes in God and wants to follow Him, then and now.)  There are many examples of "Gentiles" or heathen, who found the way of salvation through the Israelites - too many to mention all of them but here are a few: Rahab {Joshua 6:17}; Ruth {Ruth 4:10-17}; a multitude of Egyptians who joined with the Israelites {Exodus 12:38}, King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:37}, King Darius {Dan 6:26,27} and MANY others...

On to Spiritual Israel:

In the old testament, we read that one day God was going to include Gentiles in His "special people".  Isaiah 66:12 says, "For thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream...".  Verse 16, "For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh",  verse 19, "and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles", verse 23, "And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord."  But, you say, this only talks of including anyone in worship of God, and of salvation, not of being "Spiritual Israel".  Bear with me.

Paul, who was a preacher specifically to the Gentiles, includes them in the same fold as biological Israelites.  Then he goes on to qualify a true Israelite: Galatians 3:7, "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham"; verse 8,9, "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed, So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham". Gal 3:14, "That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith"; Gal 3:26-29, "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.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise".

Ephesians 2:11-14, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye 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: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; verse 19, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;..."

Ephesians 3:6, "That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:"

Colossians 3:11,12, "Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;"...

Romans 2:28,29, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God".

Rom 4:11,13, "And he (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that the righteousness might be imputed unto them also;...For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith".

Rom 11:1,2 says God has not cast away Israel but has kept a remnant (v.5) and v.7, "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded."  Then he goes on to say that the Gentiles, "being a wild olive tree" were grafted onto the tree (of Israel), and now "partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree."  He goes on to warn them that although they are now part of Israel, they too, could be cut off from the tree due to unbelief and lack of faith (v. 21);  as faith is now the criteria for being part of Israel, which is called Spiritual Israel.

Further evidence of this is that ALL Israel will be saved, v. 26 "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."  Obviously we know that only those who accept Jesus will be saved, so all the promises to "Israel" for the future, are NOT to temporal, national Israel but to a Spiritual Israel - made up of individual believers in Jesus from any and all nationalities.

Spiritual Israel is therefore all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, and who "follow the Lamb (Jesus) where ever He goes" (Revelation 14:4).  Our new commission is given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19, 20, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen".

Let us make sure we all are a part of that Israel;  and don't pin your hopes on a national Israel.  They can and will be saved as individuals - just like any individual in any country and nation in the world, but not as a corporate nation of temporal Israel.

No comments:

Post a Comment