by L. R. Shelton
Based upon the clear teachings of God's holy, inerrant, unbroken, verbally inspired Word, our purpose in this study on THE TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD is to show that the Scriptures teach in clear, bold, unmistakable truths, that all believers, God's children by the new birth, are the true Israel of God; and that they, and they alone, are God's chosen people upon the earth today and are the present heirs of the promises made to Abraham and his seed in Christ.
We will also be setting forth that the physical nation of Israel in the land of Palestine in the Near East today, is not God's chosen people or nation after the flesh, and neither will they ever again be dealt with as a nation in a so-called 1000 years of earthly prosperity with Christ sitting upon an earthly throne in Jerusalem. No, the Scriptures plainly teach that the nation of Israel was set aside at Calvary and that God's dealing with them now is the same as His dealings with the Gentiles: "For there is no respect of persons with God: there is no difference between Jew and Gentile for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 2:1, 3:22-23).
This precious truth of true believers being the true Israel of God has been lost among the rubble and trash of the false teaching of the past 150 years which says that God will yet deal with Israel as a nation, His chosen nation, and that most all of the promises of the Old Testament given to Israel are physical promises and not spiritual and that the Jew will again arise as the chosen people of God in a so-called 1000 year reign of Christ upon this earth.
As I have studied this subject in the past years, I have been greatly blessed to see my spiritual position in Christ, based upon His election of grace, and how that I, as a child of God, am an heir of Abraham and the promises made to him in Christ as his seed. My one desire therefore in setting forth these truths is to magnify my risen, exalted Lord Jesus Christ who sits upon His throne in heaven now ruling over His people and over all of the inhabitants of this earth. "All power [all authority] is given unto me [Christ] in heaven and in earth" (Mat 28:18). "Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him" (1Pet 3:22). For God has set Christ "at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all" (Eph 1:20-23). We will seek to show from God's Word that our Lord Jesus Christ is now King of kings and Lord of lords and that He already sits upon David's throne in the heavenlies.
Another desire in this present study is that the Holy Spirit will be pleased to open the eyes of His people to let them see the vast array of precious promises which are theirs as the spiritual seed of Abraham; and that they will feed and live upon these promises as they wait for the Lord from heaven.
Also my prayer is that when we have seen this gracious truth, we will no longer hold out any false hope to the Jews that they are the chosen nation of God, but that through repentance and faith they must have a present hope in Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God-a hope, I say, in His shed blood and righteousness as their only means of approach unto God and entrance into heaven: "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 2:28-29). These Scriptures teach that only a work of grace wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit will prepare a man for heaven, Jew or Gentile; and that the true Jew is one who has been born again.
Now with your Bible in hand, let us see what the Word of God teaches upon this subject. "To the law and to the testimony" (Isa 8:20)~What saith the Scripture? First, there is one Scriptural truth that must be kept in mind and it is this: the Scriptures teach that in all of God's dealings with mankind from the time of Adam we may discern the same principle at work: namely, "First the natural, then the Spiritual" (1Cor 15:45-46). God had progressively revealed His purpose through, first, His dealings with the natural Israel; second and finally, His dealings with spiritual Israel. There is no Scriptural basis for the regressive idea that God's dealings will again be centered exclusively on natural Israel at some future date, this would be going from natural to spiritual and back to natural again. If you will check your Bible you will find that the writers of the New Testament did not violate this principle of God, for in relating over 100 Scriptures from the Old Testament they always gave them a spiritual meaning and applied them to spiritual Israel, the Church, the born-again believers of all ages.
Now let us proceed. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul said that the revelation God gave him about the church unlocked a mystery which had been hidden in God since the beginning of the world, namely, that all of God's people, whether Jews or Gentiles by natural descent, were to be members of the same body (Eph 3:5-6,9).
To Paul it was revealed that it was God's eternal plan to have, not a small nation of His own, but a worldwide body of His people drawn from all "nations, and kindred, and people, and tongues" (Rev 7:9). This was the great and wonderful "mystery of Christ" (Eph 3:4) that Paul and the other New Testament writers came to understand and to preach.
The apostle said that in time past the Gentiles 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" (Eph 2:12). But now God was freely offering His unsearchable riches (Eph 3:8) to people of all nations without requiring a change in their natural citizenship. Gentiles who had been aliens from the commonwealth of Israel were now, in Christ, "no more foreigners, but fellow citizens" with the new and spiritual Israel. Those who had been strangers were now, in Christ, "no more strangers ... but members of the household of God" (Eph 2:19).
So the commonwealth of Israel, the family and household of God, now contains both Jew and Gentile. Paul argued that this family and household was made up of only those who believed in Christ as their Lord and Savior. "Those who were citizens of the Israel of Old, but who had not received Christ, were simply unsaved members of one of the many nations of the world. Thus, he said: "They are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom 9:6) and those who were not, he termed "Israel after the flesh" (1Cor 10:18).
Also, when we look into Galatians, we find the apostle Paul again dealing with this great subject of Abraham's seed the true Israel of God. There had come among the believers at Galatia the Judaizers, who were teaching that a man could not be saved except he became a Jew outwardly, by circumcision of the flesh. Therefore, the grace of God had been perverted by these Jews who would not bow to the authority of God's Word, that is, the truth that He was through with physical Israel as a nation. They took pride in the fact that they were the physical descendants of Abraham, and because of this, they were more favored than the Christians. So Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this letter to refute this false teaching.
In chapter one he calls it "another gospel" which teaches that a man has certain advantages in the flesh because he was born a physical descendant of Abraham. In chapter two he states emphatically that a man is not justified before God on the basis of law-works (anything after the flesh), but justification comes only by the faith of Christ as he looks away from all merit and trusts his never-dying soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus on the basis of His cross-work and His resurrection.
In chapter three Paul said that Abraham's standing with God came by grace, through faith, and that Abraham was saved by the same gospel that is preached today (v 8). He states that Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness" (v 6 & Rom 4:3). Also he said that Abraham's children are only those people who are saved by the gospel: "They which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham (v 7).
Therefore believers alone are the true descendants and offspring of Abraham. Natural descent is meaningless. To be a child of Abraham and the true Israel of God we must "walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham (Rom 4:12). Abraham and his God-fearing descendants in those years before Christ, looked forward by faith to the coming of Christ; and all of those who today would be God's children must took back by faith to that same event and to that same person of Christ.
So it matters not from which nation we came, for God "preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed" (Gal 3:8). Therefore those of every nation who avail themselves of the truth of the gospel become the children of Abraham, the children of God. There is no other way, "for ye are all the children Of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:26).
Also in this third chapter we note that the promises were made to Abraham and his seed. And who is the seed? "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ (v 16) So if Christ is the Seed then all who are in Him are included: "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (v 29).
Dear friend, I ask you this, are you Christ's? Have you been born again from above? Have you committed your life to Him? If you have, then you are the seed of Abraham, a Jew, which is one inwardly (Rom 2:29), and an heir with your fellow believers of all the Old Testament promises.
Further proof of this great truth is found in Rom 4:13-17. "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 ... it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham who is the father of us all, (as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations)."
Nothing could be plainer than this truth that only they who are in Christ are in Abraham, and therefore are partakers of the Old Testament promises.
"They are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children: but in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed!" (Rom 9:6-8). "The flesh profiteth nothing, it is the Spirit that quickeneth" (John 6:63). "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1Cor 2:14).
The plain Word of God is not to be argued with. These verses tell us that the natural descendants of Abraham after the flesh are not the children of God. Therefore 20th century Israel is not the chosen nation of God; they cannot be, for they have rejected Christ as their Messiah just like the 1st century did. They abide under the curse of God as unbelievers. The only chosen nation today are both Jews and Gentiles who have been born again by the Spirit of God and have availed themselves of the blessings of the gospel of the grace of God in Christ. These only "are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people" (1Pet 2:9).
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