THE ISRAEL OF GOD

by Dr. Ken Matto

The subject we are going to study is the Israel of God. In 1948 when Israel became a nation it became the literal Mecca of Christianity. Every pretribulational theologian has told us and will tell us, that national Israel is the place where all the prophetic events will take place at a future time. Is this true? Does the formation of national Israel set the stage for cataclysmic events which will usher in the end? Or could it be that since the time of the cross, God has changed or expanded the meaning and nature of Israel?

If He has, why are modern theologians telling us that national Israel is the prophetic hotbed and also God’s timetable for the end times? Could it be that the same situation exists in this subject as it does in the studies of the Millennium and Rapture? That situation being the isolation of verses without checking with the rest of the Bible to see if there is proper harmony.

The subject is quite complex, so to find out who God calls Israel, it is necessary for us to break this study down into topical sections to gain a clearer understanding. In the Bible there are four Israels, which means this name is not limited in its scope. We see:

Jacob is called Israel - Genesis 32:28

There was national Israel - 1 Kings 8:1

The ten northern tribes are Israel - 1 Kings 12:20

The Church is Israel - Galatians 6:16

The name "Israel" means "prince with God." We will attempt to find if national Israel is to be the recipient of the eternal covenants which God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We will also find out if national Israel holds special favor with God above all other nations. We will discover if God shifted His favor from national Israel to the church or if He has two sets of chosen people.

(Ezek 34:23 KJV) And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

THE EVERLASTING COVENANTS

THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT

In Genesis 12:1-3 we have a portion of Scripture known as the Abrahamic Covenant:

(Gen 12:1-3 KJV) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: {2} And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: {3} 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.

This covenant points out how God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and commanded him to go to a land which God would show him. Within this covenant we see promises which must be examined very closely to determine their meaning. In vs. 2 , God gives Abraham a promise that he will become a great nation. The word "nation" is the Hebrew word "goy," which may be translated "Gentile, foreign nation, or heathen." Right at the outset we see that the nation God has in view will not be limited to a single country. We establish this because within this nation there are going to exist Gentiles. We may conclude this nation will be worldwide in scope.

It must be worldwide if foreign Gentile nations are to be included. God also promised to make Abraham’s name great, and this has been fulfilled. The nation of Israel proclaims him, the Arab world proclaims him, and the Christian world proclaims him. God says he would be a blessing, but a blessing to whom? I believe the answer to that lies in the end portion of verse 3, "and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Now we must look at what God chooses to bless as these blessings are not man made but divine. Let us pose three questions:

Has God blessed Judaism?

Has God blessed Islam?

Has God blessed Christianity?

The answer to the first two questions is no because both of these systems deny Christ in His deity. The answer to the third is yes, because Christianity is not a world religion with a cultic overtone. True Christianity exalts the person of Christ, and God promised to bless those who are in Christ.

Now we must realize that the only way all families on the earth can be blessed is if the gospel is preached to them. There is not a country on earth which is void of Christians, Christianity, or the knowledge of Christ. Now when Russia relaxed its strict control on the people in 1990, the cry was to send Bibles, not other religious books.

Since the great nation is not limited to just a single nation or many as in the case of the Arabic countries, the great nation therefore encompasses all born again Christians in the world. God goes on to say, "and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee." The word "bless" carries with it the meaning of "benefits toward man" from God. The word "curse" means "to execrate, consider an abomination, or hate." Now we must find out who God hates in order to understand who is cursed.

In Psalm 5:5 we read: "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity."

The word "hatest" means to "hate personally, enemy, or foe." From one verse we may conclude that God considers all workers of iniquity as His enemy. God bears this out in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; 1 Peter 3:12; Deuteronomy 7:10. Here we see a clear message that God is going to take retribution on those who hate Christians and true Christianity. This promise is not limited to national Israel as the language will not allow it. All enemies of God’s universal church will be destroyed, and the curse in view is eternal damnation. Now am I taking liberty with this passage of Scripture? Am I taking something away from national Israel? The answer is no as we will see in Genesis 17:1-8. In this passage of Scripture God introduces some new language which sheds more light on the nature of the covenant.

(Gen 17:1-8 KJV) And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. {2} And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. {3} And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, {4} As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. {5} Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. {6} And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. {7} And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. {8} And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Vs 2 - "...will multiply thee exceedingly." The word "exceedingly" may also be translated "greatly."

Vs 4 - " A father of many nations." - The word "many" may also be translated as "an abundance or multitude." Therefore this covenant cannot be limited to national Israel but refers to the world. This idea is repeated in vs. 5 which means God is putting an emphasis on it.

Vs 6 - God introduces a new word, "kings." Now if we are to be biblical in our approach, it is important that we know what type of kings. Since the covenant is worldwide in scope, it must be referring to kings on a worldwide scale.

Revelation 1:6 gives an answer to the query of the kings.

(Rev 1:6 KJV) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The kings are the born again believers. Out of the lineage of Abraham came the Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, all those who believe are made kings before God.

Vs 7 - "an everlasting covenant" - Here God describes the nature of the covenant. It will be a covenant without end. The only people in Scripture who are chosen for eternal life are born again Christians. The fulfillment of this covenant as with all other covenants of this nature are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Eternal life is not through the law but through faith in Christ. All those who are in Christ have experienced the fulfillment of this covenant.

Vs 8 - "All the land of Canaan" - Canaan in Scripture is a figure of heaven. This cannot be a physical Canaan because the world as we know it will end, and a new heaven and new earth will be ushered in. Therefore, since the present world is not everlasting but the new heaven and new earth are, it is then logical the "everlasting possession" of Canaan is heaven and not real estate on this earth.

The Abrahamic covenant is applicable only to those who are in Christ and is not applicable to the physical Jews unless they become saved. They must be saved the same way everyone else is, and before the last day. This covenant shows us that God has not elected to salvation a certain race but His election extends to all parts of the earth. As we discuss covenants, we must never discount

the fact that God did have a special relationship with national Israel for about 1800 years. National Israel was never chosen for salvation as a corporate body but the Bible does clearly state that a remnant would be chosen out of her. National Israel in its corporate sense was chosen as a type of the corporate body of Christians which make up local congregations.

In every congregation there are some who are not saved. Not everyone in national Israel was saved nor will be saved and the same is for the churches. God fulfilled the Abrahamic covenant to Israel and granted them the land, which was a figure of God fulfilling the promise of heaven to the Christian as their final destination. But the type ends here as Israel went into rebellion against God and lost their land but the Christian will never lose their inheritance because God’s covenant is everlasting being fulfilled in Christ. This does not mean there will not be apostate churches today but God’s covenants are to the Christian and not to the corporate congregations of local churches.

THE DAVIDIC COVENANT

2 Samuel presents what is known as the "Davidic Covenant."

(2 Sam 7:16-17 KJV) And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. {17} According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David.

Here God promises a successor who will reign over the house of David forever. Now to see who this successor is who will rule the house of David, we must go to Revelation 3:7:

(Rev 3:7 KJV) And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

This verse tells us that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one who holds the key of David. In Revelation 20:1, the word "key" means an opening or shutting in a figurative sense. This verse is also taken as a figure for Christ being the only one who has the authority to grant salvation. We also see that "the House of David" is a synonym for salvation. Those who are saved are considered to be of the household of David. This is borne out in Scripture as Christ is referred to as the "Son of David." He was not a literal son of David but He was in the lineage of David and the term is used as an acknowledgment of the fact that He is the Messiah and only a small portion of the people recognized Him in that capacity. (Matt. 9:27; 15:22) Whenever we read a covenant in Scripture that has the word everlasting or forever attached to it, look for the spiritual meaning of it, not the literal alone. It will be pointing toward salvation and Christ.

THE PROMISE OF THE LAND

One of the major teachings of the prophecy preachers is that God did not fulfill His promise to the Jews of giving them the land which He promised Abraham. So they tell us for God to fulfill His promise it must be done during the millennium. In other words, they preach God owes Israel. To say God owes any mere human is outright blasphemy. I do not understand how they can arrive at this because the Scriptures I am going to share refutes this to the utmost. The following six verses teach that God has indeed fulfilled His promise to national Israel concerning the promised land. To arrive at the theory that God still owes a homeland to national Israel requires a flagrant denial of Scripture which refutes this heinous lie.

(Josh 21:43-45 KJV) And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. {44} And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. {45} There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

There is no way that these verses can be interpreted any other way than the fulfilling of the promise to Abraham. Twice in these passages God tells us that the land which Israel was dwelling in was the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham. In verse 45, God is plainly telling us that He didn’t fail to keep His promise because He brought all to pass. How can any commentator look at these verses and say God still owes Israel a land? The only reason I can think of is that when verses do not make a case for a certain view, biblical or not, they are intentionally avoided or explained away in generalizations.

To say God did not fulfill His promises, when He did, is total heresy and blasphemy. It is a shame that so many Christians place prophecy books above Scripture, and accept their heresy as if it was gospel. Scofield, the high priest of prophecy, offers no comment on these verses, plus many claim it was part of a promise and not the fulfillment. I have no idea how they arrived at that erroneous conclusion but it was definite evasion of truth on part of the commentator. Remember the Bible said, "all came to pass" not part! In other words, you the reader, will accept unbiblical Pretribulationalism whether it is of God or not.

(Neh 9:7-8, 23 KJV) Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; {8} And foundest his heart before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous: {23} Their children also multipliedst thou as the stars of heaven, and broughtest them into the land, concerning which thou hadst promised to their fathers, that they should go in to possess it.

In these verses we have a reaffirmation that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and gave Israel the land. Here also, God is telling us plainly that His promise to Abraham was fulfilled concerning the physical land of Canaan. Again, to neglect these verses is evasion of truth. As the reader, stop and ask yourself the question, should I believe what the Bible says or should I believe the prophecy books? Should I build my theology on the hard truth of Scripture or do I build it on the unbiblical theories of prophecy books?

WHO IS A BIBLICAL JEW?

Now we face a crucial question, who is a biblical Jew? The name "Jew" is derived from the name ‘Judah" who was the son of Jacob through whose lineage the Lord Jesus Christ came. It was also the name of the southern kingdom during the divide kingdom age. By the time of Christ, the name became synonymous with everyone living in Israel. In Scripture there are two types of Jews:

First, the physical descendants of Abraham and the Spiritual descendants of Abraham. For 1800 years God had a special relationship with national Israel but something happened at the cross which changed the meanings of many things.

This is a subject which is seldom, if ever, broached. Since 95 % of all churches are pre-trib, they see no reason to go any further than that view. They comfortably believe that Israel in the New and Old Testament is the same Israel which exists in the Middle East at present. This is a tragedy because we will see from many Scriptures, that because of Calvary, the emphasis is no longer upon national Israel but upon Spiritual Israel, or, "The Israel of God." God no longer has a single nation as His people but instead His nation is universal in scope. (Matt. 8:10-12; Luke 13:28-30; John 10:16)

Before the cross, the Lord Jesus Christ had set Israel aside because He knew what was about to happen would be worldwide. Since Israel had become totally apostate, they were rejected as God’s special people, yet God promised a remnant would come forth from them unto salvation. They would no longer be the vehicle by which God would send forth the gospel. They had failed miserably as God’s representatives and as a result were now rejected. (The modern church is following the same pattern.) To understand the changes that took place at Calvary we must go to the Bible and ascertain some definitions. The definitions which we will look at will be of a single subject, but it will be according to two time frames, before the cross and after the cross.

ABRAHAM’S SEED

Before Calvary, God called the physical nation of Israel the seed of Abraham (Joshua 24:3). He also called it the seed of Isaac and Jacob (Deut. 34:4). In this context God was dealing with Israel on a special favored status because from them would come the Messiah, so it was necessary for God to protect them and deal specially with them. They served three functions:

First, they were chosen to bring forth the Messiah; secondly, they were a figure or a type of the worldwide church which was to come; and thirdly, their obedience and disobedience was to serve as an example to the church today.

Now when we switch to the New Testament, we plainly see that God no longer dwells upon the subject of the physical seed but upon the spiritual seed. The physical seed was important up to the point of the cross. Since Christ died, the physical seed was no longer needed as a type owing to the fact the church would soon be born on a universal scale.

In John 8:38-40, we see the Lord in a hot debate with the Pharisees concerning their status of being Abraham’s seed.

(John 8:38-40 KJV) I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. {39} They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

If you notice, the Pharisees are claiming they are Abraham’s seed while Christ is saying they are not. The reason for this is that the Pharisees were viewing their status from a physical point of view, while Christ was viewing them from a spiritual point of view. Keep in mind what the works of Abraham was, it was faith. Is this taught in Scripture? Let us dissect a very clear passage of Scripture at this point. Galatians 3:6-9:

(Gal 3:6-9 KJV) Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. {7} Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. {8} And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. {9} So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

Vs 6 - This tells us what the work of Abraham was. It is belief in God and as a result, God imputed righteousness to him. In other words, Abraham was saved as he received the grace of God.

Vs 7 - This verse tells us plainly that the seed of Abraham in the New Testament side of the cross are all the born again Christians in the world. This is the seed of Abraham that God is now concentrating on because of its eternal nature. There is no way that Abraham’s seed is limited to a single race of people. The Bible will not allow this. The reason why the Pharisees did not qualify at being the children of Abraham because they were not of faith but still under the curse of the law. (Gal. 3:10-11)

Vs 8 - Do you recall when we discussed the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12:1-3 and we uncovered the fact that this promise was to the Christian in its ultimate sense. God protected Israel since it was out of her the Messiah came but once Christ came, all the covenants that God made with Israel were transferred to the church. Do you remember the words of the covenants and how they dwelled on eternity? The only way these covenants can find their ultimate fulfillment blessings to nations, not Judaism. According to Galatians 3:10, Judaism is a cursed religion because it attempts to find its fulfillment in the law and not faith. Judaism is also the religion of a single race of people, so the universal blessing could not come through it, but only through Christ.

Therefore we may safely conclude that the Old Testament is as Christian as the New Testament, because it looked forward to the fulfillment of the eternal covenants. I will be bold to say that the term used frequently today, "Judeo-Christian," is a misnomer since the entire Old Testament was looking forward to Christ. The festivals and covenants have no meaning if you remove the person of Christ from them.

Christianity must never be mixed with any Christ rejecting world religion or else we will lose the entire meaning of what the Old Testament stands for. The festivals and sacrifices of the Old Testament were in no way to stand on their own because they were only temporal foreshadows of an eternal event.

Vs 9 - Every born again Christian is a partaker of the same relationship which Abraham had with God. This is laid out in detail in Ephesians one. The same spiritual blessings that Abraham received are enjoyed by every Christian.

In Galatians 3:29 we read:

(Gal 3:29 KJV) And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

In this verse God puts to rest the question of who is Abraham’s seed. Only those who belong to Christ will partake of the eternal covenants and promises that God made throughout the Old Testament. Judaism will find its end on the last day while Christianity will continue into eternity. This is what the Bible clearly teaches, there is no other teaching in Scripture.

CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART

In Genesis 17:11, God commanded Abraham that he was to undergo circumcision as a sign of the covenant God made with him. Circumcision in Israel is akin to infant baptism in the church. It did not guarantee anyone’s salvation, instead it was an indication that the person was identified with the nation of Israel, or in the church it identified the person with their specific congregation. Physical circumcision was only a sign of the covenant and guaranteed no one’s salvation. Physical circumcision was an earthly act while spiritual circumcision was a heavenly act. Let us examine some Scripture to see if we are correct.

In Deuteronomy 10:16 Moses elevates circumcision to a symbolic deed. The word "circumcise" may also be translated "cut short," and in a figurative sense means "destroy." Moses is telling the Israelites to destroy their hard hearts toward God. Only those who are unsaved can have a hard heart. Pharaoh proved that point well. Let us go to the New Testament and see if we are on track. Ephesians 2:11-13 speaks of the Gentiles who were considered outcasts from the kingdom of Israel and who were not partakers of the covenants in times past. But in verse 13, because of being under the blood of Christ, they were considered partakers of the covenants and members of the commonwealth of Israel. Now did that mean the Gentiles were to convert to Judaism, and were to keep the law so they could be included in the keeping of the covenants? The answer is no, because the fulfillment of all the covenants are found in Christ and the Israel in view here is not national Israel but rather Spiritual Israel, which is the church. (Gal. 6:15-16)

In Philippians 3:2-3 Paul gives a distinction between the true and false circumcision. Paul tells us what the true circumcision is:

(Phil 3:2-3 KJV) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. {3} For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

They are the ones who worship God in spirit, and are in Christ, and who put no trust in the flesh. The circumcision that was given to national Israel was a foreshadow of the circumcision that was to come, namely salvation. Physical circumcision showed that you belonged to national Israel, while spiritual circumcision shows you belong to Christ. So God again makes it very clear that national Israel is no longer carrying on a special relationship with Him. To be in God’s grace, you must be born again but the opportunity for salvation will cease on the last day. A true biblical Jew is one who is born again.

A SPIRITUAL JEW

This section deals with what the Bible considers a true Jew. These passages also tell us who makes up the Israel of God that Paul speaks of in Galatians 6:16. We have discovered that the Bible speaks of born again Christians as the true circumcision, the seed of Abraham, and the recipients of the eternal covenants. Now we will look at some passages which are very open on the subject of who a true Jew is.

(Rom 2:17 KJV) Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,

In this verse Paul is admonishing the physical Jews concerning their religious life and how one who tries to keep the law will never be able to do it. So Paul concludes this chapter with two revealing verses.

(Rom 2:28-29 KJV) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: {29} 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.

In verse 28 Paul is openly stating that a person is not a Jew who is one that tries to keep the law. He also states that physical circumcision does not make a true biblical Jew. Circumcision has no spiritual value at all. Paul goes on to say in Verse 29 what a true Jew is. Verse 29 details four ways to identify a true biblical Jew.

A. "ONE INWARDLY" - A true Jew is one inwardly. The word "inwardly" may also be translated "secret, hid, and hidden." A true Jew has his identification with God in the secret places of the heart, not on the outward physical body. Is it biblical that our relation to Christ is hidden? Let’s look at Colossians 3:3:

(Col 3:3 KJV) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

B. "CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART" - A true Jew is one whose heart is circumcised toward God. As physical circumcision showed one belonged to the corporate nation of Israel, so circumcision of the heart shows that one has a special relationship to God, and this comes through Christ.

C. "NOT IN THE LETTER" - A true Jew does not keep the law for salvation as in the days before the cross because when a person is in Christ, they are considered keeping the law through Him, as He is the fulfillment of the law. Those who are in Christ have satisfied God’s requirement of keeping the law in its entirety. No human being on their own can ever fulfill the law because we are all tainted with sin but through Christ’s perfection it is attainable.

D. "PRAISE OF GOD" - This can only be borne out as one reads the Scriptures and notices in both the Old Testament and New Testament how God views the born again Christian. We also are given a new song as Psalm 96 and Mark 16:17 proclaim as we will speak with new tongues. Here are some examples of how God views the body of believers:

1. Assembly of the Upright - Psalm 111:1
2. A Pleasant Portion - Jeremiah 12:10
3. City of Truth - Zechariah 8:3
4. Pearl of Great Price - Matthew 13:45-46
5. His Workmanship - Ephesians 2:10
6. Heavenly Jerusalem - Revelation 3:12

In these verses we plainly see that a true Biblical Jew is one who is a born again Christian because only in Christ is the law kept and fulfilled.

(Rom 9:6-8 KJV) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: {7} Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. {8} 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.

In this set of verses, God is making a clear distinction between physical and spiritual Israel. He is giving us clear indication that the blessed Israel is the spiritual Israel as we will read.

Vs 6 - Here God is stating that not all Israel are of Israel. A strange statement indeed but we have insight as to what God means because of our previous studies. He is simply stating that not every physical Jew is a saved spiritual Jew. God has in mind that just because one is a physical Jew, this does not give him a special standing with God. The ones who have the special standing are the spiritual Jews or the born again Christians. Are we on the right path? God makes an identical comparison in the next verse.

Vs 7 - God tells us that just because the nation of Israel descended from Abraham, does not make them the children of promise. What is the promise? The seed of Abraham came through the lineage of Isaac. The seed in view here is the Lord Jesus Christ. God is not making a statement to the effect that the chosen people will not come through Ishmael. The Arab nation being another descendant of Abraham is not the issue of this section, rather God is making a definite distinction between the physical and spiritual aspects of Israel. God continues in verse 8 and clarifies the matter.

Vs 8 - Those of the nation of Israel who are not born again are not the children of promise but the children of promise are those who are born again. The promise being the coming of the Messiah and those who are in Him are the recipients of the promise of eternal life which was so beautifully displayed in the covenants.

So God tells us that one single nation is not specially favored by God, namely national Israel, because God’s favor or grace is given to all those who have become saved throughout the entire world. In the seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2-3, which could also be considered seven warnings, God places two verses in there which would seem strange if we isolated them. Since we have a good understanding of this subject, we will not find interpretation difficult.

(Rev 2:9 KJV) I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

God warns the church of Smyrna to beware of those who say they are Jews but are the synagogue of "Satan." The early church was made up of mostly Jews, and we already saw that God’s definition of a true Jew is one that is saved. So here God is warning this church to beware of those who claim to be Christians but are unsaved. Only the unsaved in the Bible belong to Satan. These people who are unsaved in the churches are the destabilizing element in every church. Instead of the church leaders rejecting their unchristian attitudes and actions, they will embrace them, especially if they are the power brokers in the church or we don’t want to offend them. (Remember in Acts 5, God took the lives of two liars to keep the church pure.) This is probably why God is warning this church of coming tribulation owing to the unsaved elements in the church. This is explained easily by the parable of the Wheat and Tares. (Matt. 13:24-30)

(Rev 3:9 KJV) 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.

This verse is an identical warning as in 2:9. Those who are not saved are really lying that they are saved. These destabilizing people were in the church of Philadelphia, which dispensational theologians deem as a missions minded time of the church. They normally apply the timetable of 1517-1700 A.D. to it but time spans are not in view and should not be heeded because they are a figment of the imagination. They remove the real meaning of these letters.

ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED

One of the most unbiblical and destructive doctrines being taught today is the belief that all the physical Jews will become saved when Christ returns. In essence Pretribulationalism teaches two separate salvation plans, one for the physical Jews and one for the rest of the world. It seems they believe Gentiles are saved through the blood of Christ and the physical Jews are saved at the return of Christ en masse. This is a cruel doctrine because the Jewish people have been lied to by a false doctrine. Jewish evangelism is not a priority because many believe that since they will be saved anyway, they should concentrate on other people groups who won’t be saved. Nowhere in the Bible is this even intimated. It is here because of personal beliefs of some theologians of years past who believed and built on a vision rather than Scripture. This doctrine is built on an isolated verse without biblical substantiation.

(Rom 11:25-26 KJV) 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 fullness 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:

This verse seems to be telling us that the entire nation of Israel will be saved. Some believe it is a restoration to the glory she once had during the reigns of David and Solomon. The answer to this puzzling verse lies in verse 25 where we read, "...until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." The word "Gentile" may also be translated "ethnic or nation." This means that before Israel can be saved a multitude of other races must be included in God’s salvation plan. Once God has saved the last person He plans to save, then Israel will be completed. Do you remember in our study who the Israel of God is? It is the entire body of believers. In verse 26 God has in view the completion of His salvation program. The Israel of God is complete with all those in the body of Christ. No single nation is chosen for mass salvation because we read in Acts 10:34 that God is not a respecter of persons. Only those who are saved in Christ before the last day are included in this "all Israel."

If you read my study on the millennium, we saw in Romans 9:28 that God was going to make a short work on the earth. National Israel will not have a restoration in its entirety because the Bible contradicts that in many places. We read the word "remnant" frequently. Let me give you some verses and you do your homework: 2 Kings 19:30-31; Isaiah 10:20-22; 37:31-32, Joel 2:32; Micah 4:7; Zephaniah 3:13; Zechariah 8:1-8, 12; Romans 9:27; 11:5

Each of these verses speak of the nation of Israel but they speak in reference to only a remnant being saved. We have seen that twenty-one verses of Scripture declare that only a remnant of national Israel will be saved. Since God specifically states that a remnant will become saved, how can theologians continue to teach that all Israel will be saved, when the rest of the Bible contradicts that theory. So we go right back to the root question again, do we believe the Bible or prophecy books?

As we continued in our prophetical investigation, we have discovered that the Bible continually refutes the pretribulational view. The modern nation of Israel is not the focal point of prophetic events, rather, it is spiritual Israel or the church.  When Israel was formed in 1948, that was not a sign of the end times nor was it to become our focal point or the Mecca of Christianity. God is no longer dealing with only one race but is dealing with them all. Salvation is being proclaimed throughout all the earth and Christianity is the vehicle.

We have approached the subject of Israel from seven different ways and all the biblical evidence points to the fact that God is dealing with Christianity as His vehicle for salvation.

Let us recap our Biblical conclusions:

1. Abraham’s seed is the Christian.
2. The true circumcision is the Christian.
3. The promise of the land was fulfilled in Joshua’s time.
4. A biblical Jew is a Christian
5. The everlasting covenants find their fulfillment in Christ, not a future golden reign.
6. The Israel of God is the Church.
7. The "all Israel" that God has in view for salvation is not national Israel but it is the completion of the body of Christ at the last day.

The Bible must be our final authority, not what we want to believe or these worthless prophecy books which build on the vision of Margaret MacDonald in the 1830 prophecy conferences in Port Glasgow, Scotland. I am still waiting for someone to show me a pre-trib writing from before 1830. All we see is Early Fathers with biased interpretation. Till we meet at Jesus’ feet. - 10/2/95

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