Who is the true Israel of God?
This question can be put as: Who are the legitimate heirs of God’s promises?
The answer isn’t in those who claim to be descendants of Jacob, such as the citizens of the modern State of Israel, or the many people groups who assert they are the ‘lost tribes’, etc.
The true Israelites of God are those individuals who meet the Covenant conditions, who by belief in God and in their moral and ethical behavior, prove they belong to Him. 1 Peter 2:9-10
It was always possible for foreigners to join Israel, therefore parentage and actual descent is irrelevant. Leviticus 19:3-34, Isaiah 56:1-8. Jesus said: Other sheep I must gather….John 19:16 and the Apostles made it clear that it is only by righteousness and faith that anyone is counted into the House of Israel.
Romans 9:6-9, Galatians 3:26-29, Ephesians 2:11-18
So to determine who qualifies as an Israelite person of God, we know:
1/ They cannot be determined by natural descent from Abraham, or more specifically, from Jacob. There are no proofs of ancestry extant today.
2/ They cannot become Israelite by conversion to Judaism.
3/ Any person can become an Israelite of God by faith in Him, obedience to His Laws and the acceptance of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. John 3:16-17
Jesus is the ‘root and tree trunk’ of Israel. Paul said that the promises made to Abraham were to one Person and they are all ‘yes’ in Christ. Galatians 3:16, 2 Cor. 1:20
So now all we Christians, in Christ as His friends and working with Him, are now the branches of the ‘olive tree’ of the true Israel. They are all true born again people from every tribe, race, nation and language. Romans 2:28-29, Revelation 5:9-10, Isaiah 66:18
This truth that all righteous Christians are the Israel of God, Galatians 6:16, destroys the false ‘rapture to heaven’ theory. We will never go to live in heaven, but eventually heaven comes down to earth. Revelation 20:4
The prophesies about Judah, the Jewish people, are clear: only a remnant will survive. Isaiah 6:13, Luke 19:27 They have set up their own religion and refuse to acknowledge Jesus. Romans 10:1-4
It will be all the true, righteous Christian people that will inherit the holy Land and they are the people who will display God’s glory and be His witnesses to the nations, in the last few years before Jesus Returns. Ezekiel 39:21-29, Isaiah 66:18-21, Isaiah 49:8-13, Ephesians 1:11
God has never required that someone prove to be sinless or flawless in order to be called a "true Israeli!" Even if they distanced themselves from the covenant for which Israel was created they would not thereby be dismissed as an Israeli.
However, I do accept the fact that Israel was created by God to live in covenant with Himself. Therefore, those Israelis who distance themselves from God and from His covenant do disqualify themselves as a "true Israeli" in the sense they are not a true *religious* Israeli. This is more like calling them an *unfaithful* Israeli, rather than stripping them of their identity as a genuine Israeli!
That is not true. It is not true that parentage and actual descent is irrelevant. The fact that foreigners could join the State of Israel and intermarry with them, thus joining with their family heritage, does not in any way discard the family heritage. Nations always have a family heritage, even if mixed. And the source of Israel's family heritage was Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Joining that nation is not joining a religion. It is joining a State, a nation, and an ethnicity.Originally Posted by Keraz
Can you imagine that if I became a citizen of the U.S. that I said to the Immigration authorities that it doesn't matter if I continue my allegiance to my Chinese family in China? Can you imagine if I told the Immigration authorities that my loyalty is not to the culture of America, but to any number of Moslem cultures, because my family is there?
It really doesn't matter what proof you may have of descent from Jacob. It is highly unlikely that the Jews adopted their religion by imitating another people that did the same, although at times it may happen to some ethnic group that they adopt Judaism as a nation. The ethnicity of Israel is not determined by their Christianity. Can you imagine that Israel in the time they worshiped Baal were no longer called "Israel" by the prophets?Originally Posted by Keraz
You are re-identifying Israel as Christianity. But Israel is a nationality, a people, and an ethnicity. You are not defining your words correctly. When the Scriptures refer to Israel as "illegitimate" they are simply describing Israel as apostate--they are not stripping them of their ethnic identity!Originally Posted by Keraz
I reject Replacement Theology. It is both illogical and untrue. The Scriptures promise that Israel remains Israel while they await their salvation. That will happen when Christ comes again. But that is also happening in the present age among a relative few, the remnant of Israel who become Christians.Originally Posted by Keraz
Randyk, Sure; citizens of the State of Israel are Israeli's. This truth is waaay different from them being Israelites of God. Only those who follow the Christian Way, qualify for that title. Galatians 6:16
You deny much scripture in your reply, as you must, so as to maintain your 'rapture to heaven' theory.
My theology replaces nothing; the continuation of a faithful group of true God fearing people, remains.
Jews have as much, no a better; chance of salvation as any other person on earth. Loyalty to race, culture or country, count for nothing, in God's sight; only by belief in God and keeping His Laws: one of God's people, or go your own way - as every other person on earth.
As for descent from Jacob, it can be proved that every one alive today must have him as an ancestor. 100 + generations having passed, makes that a certainty.
I fully agree that Israel was designed to be a godly nation that should have ultimately turned Christian, and did not. Therefore, they are *temporarily* illegitimate. I do not completely reject your terms. Christianity sort of fills the bill until Israel gets her act together.
But Israel has always remained "Israel" in times of apostasy or religious failure. Never has it meant that the word "Israel" has changed meanings, or suddenly refers to a new entity, the Church. We fully agree that Israel should adopt the Christian religion. But until she does so--and I believe she will do so--she remains Israel as an ethnicity and as a nationality. Israel has always remained Israel in times of backsliding and in times of national apostasy.
You just don't recognize what the Scriptures mean by delegitimizing Israel. It is a *religious delegitimization,* and not a change in the word's definition!
From what you have said that is not true. You may have maintained a Jewish ethnicity in the Church, but now, for you, the Church has displaced a purely ethnic Israel. It has been "spiritualized" to mean something entirely different than it meant in the OT Scriptures.Originally Posted by Keraz
Some argue that in the OT Scriptures Israel already had a different meaning than a purely ethnic meaning. Can you imagine that I said a British person has always been only a British person who is Christian, that if the British person converts to Islam he is no longer a British citizen? Ridiculous! We may agree that a British person traditionally has been Christian or *should* be Christian. But this kind of delegitimization is religious, and not a change in defining who a British person is!
I already addressed that. Israel is not superior to any other ethnic group--not even if she as a nation turned to Christianity. But Christianity is, of course, a superior religion, because it is true and representative of a superior God. Defining who Israel is has zero to do with ethnic superiority.Originally Posted by Keraz
I have no clue what you're talking about? Are you referring to DNA testing?Originally Posted by Keraz
Same thing Jesus taught almost verbatim in John chapter 8; regarding who the true sons of Abraham were and weren't; and Paul likewise teaches in Galatians 3 and Romans 9.
That has never changed. When the Scriptures speak of the delegitimization of Israel they are not *redefining* what the word "Israel" means. And it never meant a group within a group, a faithful religious group within Israel proper. Israel has always meant Israel proper.
So when the Scriptures reference "illegitimate Jews," or "illegitimate Israel," they are referring to who in Israel is actually faithful to their charter--the calling to which they were born as a nation. Obviously, not all Israel is true to God. But that means that even unfaithful Israel is, by definition, Israel. There is false Israel and true Israel, illegitimate Israel and legitimate Israel, godly Israel and ungodly Israel. But they are *all* Israel!
The original precedent for this kind of selection process is Cain and Abel. God did not look with favor upon Cain, but He did look with favor upon Abel. Abel was faithful and true to his calling as a child of man. And Cain was not.
Can we say then that Cain ceased to be an illegitimate child of man, or not even defined as a man? After all, man was created in the image and likeness of God. If Cain did not present in his life the likeness of God he appears to be illegitimate and not what God made man to be!
But no, we cannot redefine the word "man" just because Cain was untrue and an "illegitimate representation" of man, as man was meant to be. The word "man" remains the same, despite the poor example of one. And the word "Israel" remains the same despite Israeli backslidings, apostasies, and failure to accept Christianity.
No, what Paul was talking about was a failure to maintain the role to which Israel was called, and faithful to live up to the faith of Abraham. God promised a certain product, a godly nation patterned after the faith and fatherhood of Abraham as patriarch. Those who didn't live up to this billing could not fulfil the promise. And this was all Paul was saying--not that the word "Israel" always meant something other than ethnic Israel, nor that the word "Israel" changed its definition from a national ethnicity to a purely religious entity following the change in legal dispensations.
At the Synod of Jerusalem, this Christo-centric interpretation of election and redefinition of Israel in line with the prophetic texts was officially adopted and it was Peter who gave such eloquent testimony to this interpretation that Gentile believers, no less than Jews, are justified by grace through faith without any distinction. Acts 15:8-11 Circumcision counts for nothing: everything turns on faith in Christ, announced by the gospel. Romans 2:17-29
The attitude we must have toward ethnic Jews is that of Paul the Jewish apostle to the Gentiles, who would have willingly born Israel's "anathema" in her place. Romans 10:1-3
At the same time, we must remember that this anathema is not over Jews as Jews, but over all of humanity living apart from Christ. If we really follow through with the Pauline logic (maintained elsewhere in the New Testament, as it was throughout the prophets), there is no more guarantee that a particular visible church that bears the name Christian will not fail to have its candlestick removed should it live by any principle other than faith in Christ.
It is therefore, not ultimately a question of whether one is a Jew or a Christian in terms of outward organization, but of whether one is "inwardly circumcised”, that is: buried and raised with Christ. Jesus is not only the high Priest and mediator of the covenant; he is in his very person "a covenant to the people". Isaiah 42:6
The problem is that the Old Covenant that the people made with God at Sinai was being allowed to determine the answer to these questions:
How are we saved? By fulfilling the law. Who is Israel? Those who fulfill the law.
Paul held this view before his conversion, as a Pharisee and persecutor of the church, but on the Damascus Road everything was turned upside down when he encountered a vision of the very "cursed" one according to the law. cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree, triumphantly seated at the Father's right hand in glory. Now the questions receive different answers that are, in fact, perfectly consistent with the expectations of the prophets.
How are we saved? We are saved in the same way that all of the saints in redemptive history were saved: by trusting in God's promised Messiah.
Who are the people of God? The children of promise: those who share Abraham's faith. The heirs of the Sinai Covenant are those who are ethnic descendants of Abraham, circumcised in the flesh.
But the heirs of the Abrahamic covenant (fulfilled in the New Covenant) are: all people, Jew and Gentile, who are "in Christ" through faith alone, circumcised in their hearts.
I have no clue what you're talking about? Are you referring to DNA testing? Quote Randyk.
If you do a multiplication of your ancestors - parents=2. Grandp. =4, GGP =8, GGGP = 16. etc, it only gets to the 12th generation when the number of ancestors become huge. So after 100 generations, the number is truly astronomical and as the earths population at the time of Abraham could not have been more than several million, it follows that every person living today has some of Abrahams DNA.
Here is a website proving this truth;
All of this speaks to how small our planet really is - and, indeed, always has been - a powerful reminder of how little real difference there is between us all. As Joseph T. Chang, Douglas L.T. Rhode, and Steve Olson observe in their 2004 paper on the Most Recent Common Ancestor, we're all shockingly interrelated, and getting more so all the time:
"No matter the languages we speak or the color of our skin, we share ancestors who planted rice on the banks of the Yangtze, who first domesticated horses on the steppes of the Ukraine, who hunted giant sloths in the forests of North and South America, and who labored to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu. [And] within two thousand years, it is likely that everyone on earth will be descended from most of us."
Whereas Paul focuses on the Church (redeemed Jews and Gentiles in one Body) in his epistles, and the above is applicable to the Church, Paul does not deal in great detail about the future of redeemed and restored Israel. However, he does not ignore it either. Please note (Rom 11:25-29):
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.
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:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
This is a reference to the second coming of Christ and the deliverance of the nation of Israel (not necessarily the state of Israel as we know it).
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