……..For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Rom 9:6
The tiny nation of Israel once again finds itself atop the headlines of the world press and in the midst of a war against an enemy that has vowed to destroy her. Many Christians in this country have the idea that the United States as well as all true Christian churches have a God ordained obligation to back the secular state of Israel in all circumstances. Through my study of scripture I have come to a slightly different conclusion.
I realize that by writing this piece, some will accuse me of anti-Semitism. Others will claim that I am preaching the dreaded doctrine of replacement theology. Neither of these assertions are valid. I invite the reader to set aside the traditions of men and allow the scriptures to speak for themselves.
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
Paul makes a rather astonishing statement here that has two components. Most Christians understand at least vaguely that when they came to Christ they became Jews in the spiritual sense. What most fail to grasp is the first part of Paul’s statement.
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly…….
What Paul is saying here is very simple and yet most pass right over it. Those who claim to be heirs of Abraham by virtue of their physical traits (bloodline) alone are not really Jews at all. Paul explains in Chapter nine why ethnicity now plays no part in who God considers to be a Jew.
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. Rom 9:6-8
Paul is saying that only those who accept the promises by faith are the true children of Abraham. Not only does that make Christians into Jews spiritually but it specifically excludes those who claim a relationship with God based solely on fleshly attributes
In Chapter 11, Paul uses the branches of an olive tree to describe the relationship between natural Israel and spiritual Israel.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Rom 11:17
The branches that were broken off represent some (but not all) natural Jews. It is obvious that not all natural Jews were broken off because the man writing these verses was himself a Jew. Why were they broken off?
Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: Rom 11:20
Can the broken branches be restored?
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again Rom 11:23
So we see that those who are Jews by nature but who reject the atonement of Christ are broken off from the Olive tree and stand outside the promises of God. They can be restored to their previous position. Indeed God desires to restore them, but that restoration can only come through their repentance and acceptance of Jesus as Messiah.
The implications of this truth are astounding. How often do we hear God’s promise of blessing to Abraham used to support any and all Jewish causes?
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Gen 12:3
Taking into account Paul’s teaching in Romans, to which of Abraham’s descendents do these promises apply? Do they apply to Abraham’s ethnic descendents or to his spiritual descendents?
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. Gal 3:16
The promises that God gave Abraham were not given to you, or me, or any of his physical descendents. The promises were given to Abraham and Christ alone. We can appropriate those promises only when we allow Christ to abide in us and we in him. In other words we must reckon the old man dead and put on Christ. We must enter into the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord. No person living or dead can rightly claim the promises of Abraham outside of that condition.
So, when God said he would bless those that bless Abraham and curse those who curse him, to whom was God referring. Was this promise to apply only to his physical descendents? Does it apply at all to his physical descendents? Does Genesis 12:3 obligate us to bless unsaved Jews in any way? Naturally we believe the greatest blessing we could give anyone be they Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or agnostic is the blessing of the gospel. It is the gospel in which God promises that all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Unfortunately, the idea that the Jewish people have some sort of special relationship with God outside of Christ has put down deep roots in the institutional church. While most church leaders deny that they believe in this idea of a dual covenant, in practice, that is exactly what they promote.
If you are still with me this far I trust that you will stay a little further. I do not wish to suggest in any way that God is finished with the Jewish people. Far from it. God specifically promises to restore a remnant of physical Jews in the last days.
Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. Rom 9:27-28
Paul here quotes Isaiah as saying that a remnant of the Jewish people will be saved.
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. 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: Rom 11:25-26
Here we see the timing of that work. It will come when the fullness of the gentiles has come in or when God’s work among those who are not Jews by birth is complete.
Many Christians misinterpret the passage here that states: all Israel shall be saved. Taken in context (coming immediately after Paul’s Olive tree parable), all Israel must be understood to mean both Jewish and gentile believers. To place any other meaning upon this verse would make it incompatible with the surrounding verses or any of the others we have quoted above.
The question that naturally follows all this is what part then does the secular state of Israel play in end time events. Here is what I believe God has shown me.
It is undeniable that God has gathered from all nations the physical descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and set them once again in the land of promise. This is no accident of history. It is indisputable that many of the ancient prophecies are being fulfilled by the ethnic Jews returning to the land. However, since God’s word is true and cannot be a lie, and since God no longer considers ethnicity as a factor in determining who is a Jew, the return of these Jews by birth to their physical promised land cannot be the only true fulfillment of these end time prophecies.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 1Cor 10:11
The old testament writings all point toward Christ as the coming Messiah. Paul says in 1 Corinthians that the things that happened to the physical Jews were to be examples unto us. We are that generation upon whom the ends of the world (age) has come. When we read what happened to the Jews physically we must understand that these same things happen to us spiritually. God always works in types or patterns down through history.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecc 1:9
Let me give you an example.
God brought the children of Israel out of bondage or slavery in Egypt which is a type of the world. Before you were born again, you were in bondage to the world system. You were a slave to sin and to the prince of this world system, Satan. When you were saved God brought you out of that system spiritually.
The children of Israel passed through the Red Sea. This is a type of baptism. After you were saved you were baptized into Christ (or at least you should have been). This baptism is a type of your death with Christ.
When the children of Israel came up out of the sea, the Egyptians followed and were drowned. This signify’s the death of the old man. When you were raised from the baptismal waters, your old man remained in the grave. You were raised in newness of life or in the likeness of Christ.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom 6:4
After the Egyptians were buried in the Red Sea, the children of Israel were led into the wilderness for 40 years to be tested by God. After Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, he was led by the spirit into the wilderness for 40 days to be tested. Every Christian after baptism must go through a time of wilderness testing. I realize that you don’t hear much about this wilderness period in the churches today but it is true and everyone who will follow Christ will be tested in a wilderness. Your only choice is whether or not you will go willingly like Christ did or go kicking and screaming like the children of Israel did.
So you see my point. Everything that happened to Israel in the natural happens to us spiritually. I believe that remains true today.
God has gathered (and is still in the process of gathering) natural Israel from all the nations where they had been exiled. At the same time God is gathering spiritual Israel (his true Israel - the true church) from all the nations (apostate religion) where they have been exiled.
When you see a passage of Old testament scripture like this:
My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Ezek 34:6
For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. Ezek 34:11-12
You must understand that these passages have a dual fulfillment. Certainly they apply and have applied to physical Israel. But the real fulfillment is found in spiritual Israel.
Go back and read all of Ezekiel 34. God here tells Ezekiel to prophesy against the Shepherds of Israel. Now everyone understands that he is not speaking to actual shepherds but to the spiritual leaders of natural Israel who had led his people astray under the old covenant.
But what many fail to see is the application of these same scriptures to the spiritual leaders of God’s people (his sheep) under the new covenant! Again, I reiterate, this is exactly what Paul meant when he said that these things happened to them as an example to us and they are written to us, the people of the new covenant.
Natural Israel is still a sign to spiritual Israel
Lets look at the parallels today between natural and spiritual Israel.
The nation of Israel currently occupies only a tiny portion of the land that God promised to Abraham.
In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: Gen 15:18
Under the Abrahamic covenant, Israel was to occupy the land from the Nile River in Egypt all the way the Euphrates River in what is now Iraq. This is a much greater tract of land than natural Israel has ever occupied.
Spiritual Israel (the church) occupies only a tiny portion of the land God promised to us. When I speak of the church here I mean both the church as a body of believers and the individual believers which make up that body.
What land am I talking about? I’m talking about our spiritual land. Our spiritual land is the kingdom of God upon the earth. This is our promised land and we must conquer it just like Israel conquered her promised land one city at a time.
Jesus established the kingdom of God upon the earth. The kingdom of God is defined as that place where God’s will rules and reigns. Jesus walked in Gods will perfectly. He told us that we should do the same.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Mat 5:48
Since Jesus walked perfectly in the kingdom of God, he manifested the power of God everywhere and in every situation. The apostles walked in this power also after the day of Pentecost. But for the last 2,000 years we have seen very little of that power in operation upon the earth. Even today the church as a whole manifests only a small portion of God’s kingdom in the earth.
Many churches and groups claim to have God’s power but most of that is not real power at all. Most Christians today don’t see the power of God in their everyday lives. They don’t see their needs met supernaturally. They don’t multiply loaves and fishes or heal the sick or raise the dead. They may see a little healing once in a while but for the most part they use the same methods that the world uses to get healing or finances or whatever else they need. So, just like physical Israel we occupy only a small portion of what God has promised.
Natural Israel is surrounded by enemies. Israel’s enemies hate her and have vowed to drive her off of the little piece of land that she currently possesses.
Likewise, Christians are surrounded by spiritual enemies who hate them and are determined to drive them from their spiritual land.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph 6:12
Every time a Christian determines to walk in the power and promises of God a battle ensues. Principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world go to battle to make sure that the Christian does not succeed in actually manifesting that promise.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:13
When we persevere and see God’s will manifested in our lives we have conquered a spiritual foe. We have taken a little more land and the next time we have a need in that area it is a little bit easier to receive it. God also refers to this as bearing fruit. In other words we are manifesting the character, nature, and authority of Christ in us. We are occupying the land.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:7-8
Israel’s leaders refuse to obey God. The continually try to make peace with her enemies. They have come to believe that if they will only give up a little more land her enemies will stop making war on her. They do this because they want to be friends with the world. If Israel’s leaders would actually obey God, the world would hate her.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. Num 33:51-53
God told the children of Israel that when they went into the land they were to drive out the inhabitants. They were to force them out and remove all their religious shrines and symbols. God even warned them what would happen if they failed to follow these instructions.
But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Num 33:55
These were the instructions God gave to natural Israel the first time they went into the promised land. But these instructions are just as valid for natural Israel today. What we see happening in natural Israel today is simply what God said would happen.
Instead of driving out all the inhabitants of the land (the Muslim Arabs) Israel allowed them to stay. They allowed the molten images and high places to remain and even have allowed many more to be built. The famous Muslim Dome of the Rock mosque sitting on the temple mount (high place) with its glittering golden dome (molten image) is a very visible testament to Israel’s disobedience. And just as God promised, those enemies that have remained in the land have become pricks in the eyes and thorns in the sides of natural Israel.
Likewise, the leaders of the church continually compromise and try to make peace with her enemies. They too seem to think that they can have peace by giving up land a little at a time. Instead of preaching the true gospel, most churches are using man made programs to increase church growth. The idea of growing the church by whatever means possible has replaced true evangelism. These programs eliminate or water down the truth of the gospel in order to make it more palatable to sinners. This is a great way to attract more people and keep them coming.
Church leaders today for the most part refuse to warn people of the wrath that is soon to come upon the earth. They refuse to tell people that in order to follow Christ they must be separate from the world and from worldly ways. If they did preach these things they would become enemies of the world and the world would hate them.
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:4
By making friends with the world, church leaders ensure themselves full pews and even more important full bank accounts. Anyone who is invited to be interviewed on Larry King Live can be assured he’ll sell plenty of books. Of course a man who wasn’t friends with the world would never be invited to be interviewed on one of these shows unless he was being set up to look like a fool. That’s no way to sell books. Better to compromise and make friends with the world rather than to bite the hand that feeds you.
Do you see what God is doing? He is still using natural Israel as an example to us. They are a vivid example of what not to do! Both Israel and the church refuse to obey God because they want to be like (and be liked by) the world. The sad thing is that they are both setting themselves up for death.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Mat 16:25-26
If Israel would obey God and drive out their enemies they would be hated by the world but they would find protection from their enemies at the hand of God himself. As it is, they continue to seek to save their lives by compromise. In doing this they are losing their lives little by little. The same is true of the church. The parallels couldn’t be clearer.
…………..For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:
They are not all Israel who are of Israel and they are not all Christians who are of the church. Only those who receive the promise by faith are counted as seed. God is using natural things to illustrate spiritual things.
Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that the apostate leaders of the church are bringing the sheep into unholy alliances with unsaved Jewish groups to promote the policies of secular Israel while at the same time refusing to allow evangelism of ethnic Jews.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 2Cor 6:14
Groups like Christians United For Israel founded by John Hagee funnel money from unsuspecting Christians into Jewish organizations such as the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The I.F.C.J was founded and is run by Rabbi Yechiel Z. Eckstein. You may have seen Eckstein on TBN or Daystar or some other Christian television network. The I.F.C.J. spends lots of money in America getting Christians to donate money to be used to resettle Jews from foreign lands back into Israel.
What you probably don’t know about Eckstein and his organization is this. He is not a Messianic Jew. He is rabidly anti Christ. His organization will not work with any Christian group that targets ethnic Jews for evangelism. Here is a quote from the Jewish Times explaining Eckstein’s break with the Southern Baptist convention.
In December, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the Orthodox founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and a longtime defender of evangelical Christians, broke with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) leadership.
For Eckstein, the final straw was the SBC’s reaffirmation of its decision to send 100,000 missionaries to his hometown of Chicago to seek converts.
Despite a longtime friendship with SBC President Rev. Paige Patterson and a history of dialogue with the SBC and evangelical Christians, Eckstein had had enough.
In a statement he said, “[The SBC’s decision] sent the message that its own narrow interpretation of its religious duty outweighed the good relations with other denominations and other faiths that so many have worked so hard to build up over the past several decades.” The Jewish Times Feb 4, 2000
Eckstein has convinced many Christian leaders that it is more important to yoke themselves and their people together with unbelieving Jewish groups than it is to bring the gospel to the very people who need it most. This list of endorsements from the I.F. C.J website looks like a who’s who of evangelical Christians
Natural Israel will have no peace until she accepts her Messiah, the prince of peace. It is the height of apostasy for the blind shepherds of spiritual Israel (the church) to lead us into alliances with the unsaved shepherds of natural Israel. These alliances take money that should be used for evangelism and for building God’s kingdom and gives it to heathens who hate God and his son.
In summary, the Israel of God is no longer limited to people of a specific bloodline. It is open to all who call upon the name of the Lord.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. Rom 10:12
People who claim to be Jews only by blood are not actually Jews at all but are liars.
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Rev 3:9
Physical Israel is not holy but is in bondage along with her children. These things are an allegory or a sign for the two covenants, one of the flesh which leads to death and the other of the spirit which leads to life.
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. Gal 4:24-25
All the physical promises given to natural Israel are played out spiritually in spiritual Israel. These promises are fulfilled in Christ. Since every prophecy concerning physical Israel actually points to Christ, the Messiah, these prophecies are fulfilled spiritually in God’s new covenant people, those through which Christ lives today.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal 2:10
The idea that ethnic Jews have some kind of special relationship with God outside of Christ prevents the church from fulfilling its mission to take the gospel into all the world which includes unsaved ethnic Jews
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16
The blind shepherds of the apostate church are teaming up with the blind leaders of natural Israel to lead God’s people into unholy alliances with organizations that are hostile to the gospel. Claiming to love the Jewish people, their actions prove otherwise. If they really loved the Jewish people they would tell them that their Messiah was born 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem. If they really loved them they would tell them that their adherence to the Torah is worthless without a sacrifice. True love would disregard the persecution and hostility to tell them that the only sacrifice God will ever accept is the sacrifice of his son on that cross 2,000 years ago.
And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? Luke 6:39
So, the next time you hear some well meaning Christian tell you that unsaved ethnic Jews are the “apple of God’s eye” or that if we don’t bless natural Israel we’ll face the wrath of God, stop and think. Who is Israel and who is really a Jew according to the word of God?
Steve Lumbley 2006 http://www.apostasywatch.com/
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