Concise Study on the True Israel
We read in Jeremiah 31:31-34: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they break, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
We know by the context of Hebrews chapter 8, and how this passage is re-quoted there, that this new covenant with the house of Israel is the covenant with the Christian church. They are one and the same covenant. How is that? Scripture explains in Ephesians 2:11-22: “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 (gentiles who have truly believed in Christ are no longer alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, no longer strangers from the covenants of promise, they are no longer without hope, and no longer without God in the world). For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances (Jesus basically fulfilled, or it could be better said, set into motion the fulfillment of the shadows of Him which are displayed in the ordinances of God’s ceremonial law given to Israel, which is a schoolmaster to Him; hence there is no need for gentiles to become Jews outwardly, even though God chose to wait several years until Cornelius’ conversion and the Acts 15 council to officially release those who afterwards believed in Christ from having to be outwardly circumcised and keep the ceremonial law); for to make in himself of twain (i.e. two) one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh (near; Jews; how can natural Jews then have any part in God’s covenant, which Christ is the chief cornerstone of, when they reject Him? They don’t; and they have nowhere else to run to). For through him we both (natural Jews and gentiles who believe in Jesus Christ) have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Since Christ is the foundation of the house of God, there is no way to have any part in God’s people and to partake of the blessings of the covenant which God has with His people (i.e. the true Israel), apart from being rightly related to God through Christ.
We read in Romans 9:6-8: “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For 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.” This passage shows how Jews who were wicked before God never were acceptable to Him and never were regarded as heirs of salvation. Under the Old Covenant (or, the Sinai Covenant) God’s worship, God’s service, God’s glory, and many of God’s promises (especially that of the coming Messiah) were given to Israel as a nation (Romans 9:4-5). Yet after the nation of Israel’s rejection as a whole of the Messiah which God had promised them, and the inauguration of the New Covenant on the Day of Pentecost, God arranged things so that within a relatively short time (as the Jewish nation sealed their rejection of Christ by rejecting the testimony of His servants regarding Him) His worship would no longer be centered in the nation of Israel and around its Temple. The Temple’s destruction itself by the Romans ultimately sealed this fact. It was a judgment which Jesus and other men of God had warned would happen. Jesus said in Matthew 22:2-7: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”
As a result of these things, Christ’s church, His true people, are the true Israel. The church did not replace Israel because the Christian church is built upon the Jewish Scriptures and its foundation stones are Jewish people- since the earliest Christians were faithful Jews. To have a foundational place in the establishment of the Messiah’s church and to be part of the springboard whereby His gospel was to go forth into all the world was indeed an immense honor for these. We can’t rightfully say that the Christian church replaced Israel, but it is right to say that the nation of Israel itself and the Jewish religious economy were rejected by God while the spiritual Israel remains. Natural Jews who don’t believe in Christ are not part of that spiritual Israel. Faithful Christians, whether they are natural Jews or gentiles, are indeed part of the spiritual Israel.
Galatians 3:27-29: “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 (this is not a setting aside of God’s order, it is rather stating that all these groups have equal access to God through Christ and the same inheritance in Him): for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (i.e. all part of Christ’s body). And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Galatians 6:14-16: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
The true Israel is thus composed of those who have died to sin with Christ in true repentance and live unto God in Him through His High Priesthood, walking in the truth before God and overcoming the evil ways of the world by Him. Galatians 1:4-5 says of Christ: “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
We’ll now examine something which many people misunderstand. This misunderstanding is something which leads many to wrongly conclude that God has a separate covenant with Israel besides His covenant with the true Christian church (as we have seen, the true Israel before God and Christ’s church, His true people, are one and the same). This misunderstanding is foundational to the doctrines of the theology of Dispensationalism. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament which seem to talk about the restoration of Israel as a nation at the end of the age; and in relation to that, a kingdom associated with that restoration which reigns over the earth that Jesus Christ Himself is the King of. And I believe that the Scriptures do indeed teach about such a kingdom and that several New Testament passages echo such a truth. Yet many reach unwarranted conclusions about unbelieving Jews and modern Israel due to not receiving this truth about the coming kingdom in line with the rest of Scripture.
If you look at the actual prophecies in the Old Testament which talk about Israel’s restoration and its kingdom at the end of the age, you will notice several statements and implications that God will purge Israel and Jerusalem before He delivers them and dwells among them. Some key examples of these which you can examine on your own time are Joel 3:12-21, Zechariah 13:7 until the end of the Book of Zechariah, and Zephaniah chapter 3.
It’s obvious that no natural Jew is going to have any part in this millennial reign who does not in truth repent, turn to Jesus Christ, and serve Him faithfully in this age. Since Christ’s church is the true Israel in God’s eyes, and since Jews who reject Christ have no part in Him, then of course modern Israel is not the people who will inherit the land which God promised to Abraham’s seed. As the Apostle Peter preached to the multitude of Jews in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost, shortly after Jesus had died and rose again, and also immediately Peter had been involved in healing a man in Jesus Christ’s name, he made a statement about the coming restoration of the kingdom of Israel which utterly proves that natural Jews who reject Christ will have no part in it; and that those who believe in Jesus Christ will have a part in it, whether they are naturally Jews or gentiles. And it’s also obvious that Peter believed such a restoration was going to happen.
Acts 3:13-26: “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot (i.e. know) that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed (which we know is a reference to Christ- Galatians 3:16 proves) shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”
And as a result of these things, another implication is that modern Jews who reject Christ are gentiles or heathens in a spiritual sense. This is actually stated plainly in the Bible. Revelation 11:8: “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” That is God’s own verdict about the state of Jews who reject Christ and of modern Israel. Peter had told the Jewish crowd in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:22-24: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked (this word implies lawless or gentile; it could have been translated as either and been accurate) hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”
Jewish synagogues now, filled with those who reject God’s counsel by refusing to bow to Jesus Christ as their rightful King and Lord whose deliverance they utterly need, might as well be Pagan Temples then. Stephen said this much to unbelieving Jews whom he witnessed before and rebuked in Acts chapter 7. It is no wonder that this testimony got him killed by the same crowd. Stephen was not preaching a new concept. He was reinforcing a concept which God had established already and he proved how it applied to his hearers in their rejection of Christ. Jeremiah 9:25-26 says: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” Philippians 3:3 thus says of true believers in Jesus Christ: “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
And speaking of those who identify with the God of the Bible, yet are in reality heathen, that extends into the realm of Christendom (i.e. the realm of professing Christianity) as well. A profession of Christ is vain or meaningless without this true circumcision of the heart which aligns with God’s means of redeeming man from sin, wholeheartedly shunning carnality, following the instructions of His Word, and coming to Christ on His terms in order to cooperate with Him in His mission of redemption. The church which is not governed by God’s Word and opposes its light is not substantially better than a Pagan Temple either.
Faithfully worshiping God from the heart, which involves casting away sin and not walking after the flesh, as expressed by the Law which gave God to the Jews, has always been the basis of whether an individual is in God’s favor or not. Jesus preached the true intent of God’s Law which the carnal Jews did not (and do not to this day) receive. To believe, as some do, that these have the land of Canaan promised to them now and in the millennial kingdom, even though they will go to hell afterwards, is ridiculous (and that is an understatement). And there is also not some sort of secondary favor for any person or group who won’t be obedient to God from the heart and walk in truth and righteousness according to His instructions. That applies to Jews who reject Christ; and it also means no purgatory, no reincarnation, no place in Christ’s kingdom for the lukewarm Christian (who will be spewed out of Christ’s mouth, as Jesus said in Revelation chapter 3), no salvation period for those who dabble in sin and don’t walk faithfully on the strait and narrow way of Christ to eternal life while they are on earth, no grace in the millennial kingdom nor in eternity for those who won’t have the Ultimate King to reign over them here and now before their death and the judgment afterwards (Hebrews 9:27), and it means no alternative faiths to authentic Bible believing and obeying Christianity which lead to a happy Judgment Day. Bible believing and obeying Christianity alone prepares a person to be properly ready to stand before God. And that Bible believing and obeying Christianity is the faithful, authentic continuation of Judaism- the chapter following the chapter where Judaism was ordained by God to represent His faithful worship. That chapter ended with the Jewish nation’s hardhearted rejection of its Messiah and its accompanying forfeit of His divine favor upon it, evidenced and sealed by the destruction of its Temple in AD 70. There are simply no excuses which are going to hold up on Judgment Day to not turn from sin and serve Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords now with your whole heart, in subjection to His Word.
Aaron’s email is: [email protected]