The True Israel
Matthew 3:7-10: “But when he (John the Baptist) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
The threat we just read would truly be vain if Jews who reject Christ have any part in the blessing which God promised to Abraham and his seed. And yet a large portion of evangelical Christians do not really believe this, as evidenced by the common belief in evangelical Christianity that God has a separate covenant with Israel as a nation. In other words, a covenant with Israel besides His covenant with the Christian church. Another outcome of this belief is the great support among evangelical Christians for the modern nation of Israel.
You cannot have it both ways. If you acknowledge the obvious conclusions derived from the threat above in Matthew 3:7-10, combined with the obvious truth that the faithful Christians, who compose Christ’s true church, are the true Israel in God’s eyes and (thus) the spiritual seed of Abraham, then there is no place to say that natural Jews who reject Christ have any part in God’s promises to Abraham (otherwise John the Baptist would be wrong to warn the natural Jews not to say within themselves that they have Abraham as their father as a justification for rejecting refusing to repent).
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.
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 (i.e. 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 (i.e. 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 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.”
A closely related Scripture to this is 1 Peter 2:4-8: “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed (this is saying that God gives those who harden themselves against Christ’s true gospel over to the delusions which they have chosen).”
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, 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). Being a natural Israelite then gave a person great advantages and great privileges, not as a license to be ungodly, but rather advantages and privileges to excel in godliness! Yet after the nation of Israel’s rejection as a whole of the Messiah 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 of 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 and was a judgment which Jesus and other men of God had warned would happen.
Matthew 21:42-44: “ Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”
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.”
Matthew 23:37-39: “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.”
The Jewish inheritance before Christ was the hope of a Messiah coming that you, as an Israelite, would get to have among you- and maybe even see and hear yourself! The desire of all nations, the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of God’s person incarnate (see Haggai 2:7 and Hebrews 1:3)! And if you want to know a good song to express the hope that would have been held by a Jew in line with God under the Sinai Covenant before Christ came, one such song is “Come, O Come Emmanuel”. It is sung now as a Christmas song, and we’ll talk later about how corrupt the concept of Christmas is, but that is a song that can properly be sung anytime and it does not need to be associated with what the world considers Christmas. And it is a song that a Christian can sing to express their hope of Christ’s second coming as well. Yet now that Emmanuel has come, and He has been rejected by the Jews as a whole, the nation of Israel is not God’s special vineyard anymore. And now the Jewish heritage involves guilt for the blood of Christ. Jews now, in order to be in God’s favor, must renounce this hideous choice of the vast majority of their ancestors, and hence they must turn against their own people in a very real way, in order to partake of the grace of God in Christ. And 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. And to have a foundational place in the establishment of the Messiah’s church and the springboard whereby His gospel was to go forth into all the world is indeed an immense honor! We can’t rightfully say that the Christian church replaced Israel, but it is right to say that the nation of Israel itself was rejected by God and the spiritual Israel remains. Jews who don’t believe in Christ are not part of that spiritual Israel; while faithful Christians, whether they are natural Jews or gentiles, are indeed part of the spiritual Israel.
John 4:20-24: “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews (Jesus is the Jewish Messiah who is the author of salvation and whose Gospel is founded upon the Jewish Scriptures, what we know as the Old Testament). But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
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 (and this is not a setting aside of God’s order, rather stating that all these groups in Christ have equal access to God through Him 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.”
Obviously, the true Israel, the one that matters to God, are those who are new creatures in Jesus Christ who have died to sin with Him in true repentance and live unto God through His High Priesthood, walking in the truth before God and overcoming the evil ways of the world by Him.
Galatians 1:4-5: “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.”
Philippians 3:3: “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
This implies wholehearted, unwavering agreement, cooperation with, and hope in His goal and purpose in giving Himself for our redemption.
We’ll now examine something which many people misunderstand. And this misunderstanding is something which leads many to wrongly conclude that God has a separate covenant with Israel than 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). 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 which the Lord Himself is the King of. And I believe that the Scriptures do indeed teach this 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 with the rest of the Scriptures. Before we deal with that though we’ll establish Christ’s coming reign on the earth which will commence with His second coming.
John 18:33-37: “Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
Consider then Revelation 11:15-18: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”
A millennial kingdom upon earth where Christ and His glorified people reign over nations of mortal men while Satan is bound for one thousand years, continuing on eternally after Satan’s final insurrection after he has been loosed from his prison for a season at the end of those of those one thousand years, as is indicated by a straightforward reading of Revelation 20, makes sense to me with the rest of Scripture considered. Jesus’ closest disciples expected such a kingdom; and they were not rebuked for their expectation of it when they asked Jesus about it after His resurrection. In line with Revelation chapter 11:15-18 quoted above, it seems to be a fairly obvious implication that such a kingdom will happen at Christ’s second coming.
Acts 1:1-11: “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
So how does this relate to Jews who reject Jesus Christ and to the current nation of Israel which is composed mainly of the same? It does nothing for them except ensure they will face His wrath and have no part in His kingdom during the thousand year reign nor afterwards in eternity!
The following was written to a Christian church, composed of Jews and gentiles who believed in Christ, which was being persecuted by both Jews and gentiles who rejected Christ (see Acts chapter 17, and see the Books of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, to read about the Church at Thessalonica).
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (unbelieving Jews then are sure not receiving Christ’s kingdom and reigning with Him!): Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”
So 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 (I am not going to read these prophecies on the recording for time’s sake, but the samples I have recorded in the written study of such prophecies are from Joel 3, Zechariah chapters 13 & 14, and Zephaniah chapter 3). They can be found in the written notes to this study which will be posted at eternalevangelism.com (Lord willing) under the study “The True Israel.” It’s obvious that no natural Jew is going to have any part in this restoration and in this reign who does not in truth repent, turn to Jesus Christ, and serve Him faithfully. Since Christ’s church is the true Israel in God’s eyes, and since Jews who reject Christ have no part in Him, of course modern Israel is not the people who will inherit the land which God promised to Abraham’s seed. Jews who reject Christ will surely not have any part in His kingdom. I could see how such a misunderstanding could happen if God didn’t clarify so obviously over and over that those who have believed in Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah, are partakers of His promises to Israel while those natural Israelites who reject Christ are not.
(If you’re reading the study notes, take a look at the passages recorded here. I’ll continue the recording by picking up on my last thought at the spot immediately after where Zephaniah chapter 3 is recorded in the study notes).
Joel 3:12-21: “Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion.”
Zechariah 13:7-9: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
Continuing in Zechariah chapter 14: “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. 3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. 6 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: 7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. 8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. 10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses. 11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. 12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the Lord shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbor. 14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. 16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. 17 And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. 18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 20 In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. 21 Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.”
Zephaniah chapter 3: “Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city! 2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God. 3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow. 4 Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law. 5 The just Lord is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame. 6 I have cut off the nations: their towers are desolate; I made their streets waste, that none passeth by: their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, that there is none inhabitant. 7 I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou wilt receive instruction; so their dwelling should not be cut off, howsoever I punished them: but they rose early, and corrupted all their doings. 8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. 9 For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering. 11 In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. 12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. 18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. 19 Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. 20 At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.”
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 almost immediately after his famous sermon on the Day of Pentecost which is recorded in Acts chapter 2, he made a statement about the coming restoration of the kingdom of Israel which also utterly proves that natural Jews who reject Christ will have no part in it; and that those who believe in Him will have a part in it, whether they are naturally Jews or gentiles. And it’s also that he 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 (ie. 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 i.e. lawless deeds).”
It is clear here the advantage that the natural Jew had in the 1st century of being the first to hear the Gospel and the chance to be a part of the early Christian church which was the springboard of Christ’s Gospel going forth to all the families of the earth. And the obvious implication is that those Jews who reject Christ reject God’s favor (i.e. grace), as well as their part in the blessing which God had promised to Abraham; while those who (from the heart, obediently) believe in Christ, whether they be Jews or gentiles, receive God’s favor and partake of the blessing which He had promised to Abraham.
And as a result of these things, the obvious 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.
As 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 harden themselves against God’s counsel in refusing to bow to Christ as their rightful King and Lord whose deliverance they utterly need, might as well be Pagan Temples. Stephen said this much to unbelieving Jews whom he witnessed to and rebuked in Acts chapter 7. It is no wonder that this testimony got him killed by the same crowd.
Acts 7:35-54: “This Moses (whom he was obviously preaching in this context as a type or a precursor to Jesus Christ) whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not (i.e. know not) what is become of him. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus (this is referring to Joshua, the KJV says Jesus; Jesus is a Greek derivative of the Hebrew name Joshua) into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favor before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”
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 9:23-26: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. 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.”
Again: Galatians 1:4-5: “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.”
Philippians 3:3: “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
This implies wholehearted and unwavering agreement, cooperation with, and hope in His goal and purpose in giving Himself for our redemption.
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) also. A profession of Christ is vain or meaningless without this true circumcision of the heart which aligns with God’s means of redeeming man, which involves wholeheartedly shunning carnality and seeking to be redeemed from sin, following the instructions of His Word, coming to Christ on His terms in order to cooperate with Him and attain that. The church which is not governed by God’s Word and resists its light is not substantially better than a Pagan Temple either.
One evidence of the widespread acceptance of error in Christendom, even error adopted right out of Paganism, is the celebration of Christmas. It is no great secret that what is called Christmas is an adaptation of the Roman Pagan holiday Saturnalia, which was a time of debauchery and gluttony. Saturnalia was modified and adapted to be a celebration of Christ’s birth by the Roman Catholic Church in order to accommodate Pagans and transition them into professing Christians. And such accommodation to Pagans, by one means or another is the standard practice, both then and today. Modify the Pagan behavior and practices some to make them not look quite so bad, call them Christian, and now Pagans at heart can (allegedly) be Christians. How convenient! People marvel at how Christmas has become so materialistic and commercialized. Here’s another not so well kept secret: Christmas was always in general materialistic and commercialized. And the Christmas tradition does not reveal Christian to be a pure, wholesome indisputably Christian holiday. Rather, many in early America recognized Christmas’ Pagan origins and did not see it as a proper celebration of Christ’s birth. I was shocked to find out six years ago that Christmas was not even an official holiday in any state until Alabama made it one in 1836. Christmas never even became a federal holiday in the USA until 1870. And that illustrates that just because something has a reputation of being Christian does not make it such.
Like many other celebrations and rituals in both synagogues and churches which have no basis in the Word of God, and which are often done while true obligations towards God are neglected, there is an attraction in such things because of the feeling of holiness involved in them. Yet there is a potentially vast difference between the feeling of being holy versus actually being holy. God warned in His Word that to obey is better than sacrifice. It is better to attentively hear God’s Word with a ready mind, to accept His verdicts and judgments regarding things He saw fit in the Bible to give verdicts and judgments over directly or in principle, and to carefully follow His instructions with self-interest put aside. And self-interest includes one’s own feelings of holiness and spirituality which cause a desire to bear with and/or seek out religion which one finds comfortable or otherwise suitable to their own concept of what religion ought to feel like.
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. And that applies to Jews who reject Christ, 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), 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 next 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.
There are simply no excuses which are going to hold up on Judgment Day to not turn from sin and serve the King of Kings and Lords now with your whole heart, in subjection to His Word.
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