I think that a lot of people, myself one time years ago included, are a little confused about Israel. I am speaking about physical Israel. The Jews today.
We have so many proponents of Christian Zionism which view the Jews today as well as the country of Israel in a very high almost God-like regard. It can be frustrating because anyone who tries to show that biblically this isn't supported is accused as being anti-semitic (Which is totally false)
Like any other area of scripture we should always do solid research before just believing what the mainstream pulpits are telling us.
The truth about it all is simply that God chose Israel as a nation to be the means He used to bring redemption to mankind. It was never all Israel as in every single person in Israel was a child of God. It was never about bloodline. It was always about faith.
God ALWAYS had a remnant as far back as the days of Noah and even earlier.
God destroyed all of mankind and left his remnant, Noah and his small family. The people of Israel were washed away. This concept, although maybe not on such a grand scale, is repeated many times in scripture. Again, there was never a point when literally ALL Israel was God's people. There was always a remnant of the faith. A true Israel within Israel if you will.
Part of the problem is that nobody really knows about the judgement that fell on the Jews when the Lord returned at the end of the age. Just like God had done many times before, He returned in judgement upon the Jews and showed no mercy. This fact isn't taught in mainstream Christianity which is strange considering EVERY end time event revolved around and was linked to this world shattering event. (their whole world in that day, not ours)
If God had plans of coming back to save all of Israel in the future, He sure could of fooled us by the way He ended their existence in the first century. Truly, the only ones that made it out were the remnant Jews who believed in the Lord and had heeded His instructions to flee the city when they saw the armies surrounding Jerusalem. Normally, when an enemy would approach for attack, all people would flee inside the city walls for protection. It was very hard to penetrate such high and thick walls. But Jesus tells them to "FLEE to the hill of Judea" for this one. This would not be a normal attack by any means. This would be "the end" of the Jewish world as they knew it.
Storing this fact in our minds as we go into our New Testament studies will help us greatly when being dividers of the Word.
The gospels and epistles are very clear that it was never about being a physical descendant of Israel. Paul goes to great lengths to get this point across to the early church. Clearly there was some confusion about it both on the part of the Jewish believers and also on the part of the Gentile believers because we can see Paul addressing it numerous times in numerous letters. He was trying to help them understand the beauty of the mystery hidden from the beginning. That mystery was that salvation was available to all men.
Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus and he seems to be addressing mainly Gentile believers. We read the following in Ephesians chapter 1: 7-11...
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the FULLNESS of the times He might GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. "
For the sake of keeping this from becoming too long today, we won't go much further but this is a good place to start. Paul is setting the stage to really hammer home the point in the next couple chapters of his letter to these Gentile believers. But notice what he said....
"In the dispensation of the FULLNESS OF TIMES, He will GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.
He is referring to the New Kingdom where there would be no Jew and no Gentile but they would both be grafted into ONE new man. He is also referring to what Jesus said in the Lords prayer. Remember how Jesus told those first century disciples that He would come in His Kingdom before they died? Well He also instructed them to pray and ask for that same Kingdom to come until it came. He told them to ask like this...
"Thy Kingdom Come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." (Matthew 6)
It would be at the coming of the Kingdom at the end of the age when God would join the faithful Jew and faithful Gentile together as one and gather the elect into the Kingdom. He would "restore all things" and call up the dead out of Hades. The believers alive on earth would be "caught up" into His presence and would be united with the rest of those who had already entered into the Kingdom. Not united physically as in taken out of the earth but united spiritually as in having eternal life now. Remember, Paul says the dead would precede the living at the last trump so the living would be caught up and joined to those who were already shining forth in the Kingdom of Heaven. The fullness of that reality would be experienced (and will be experienced) by the living first century believers when they died (and when we die today).
The fullness of times came and the spiritual Kingdom began in heaven as well as on earth. The way into the holy of holies was opened up. (Hebrews 9)
Faithful Gentiles were grafted into the remnant of faithful Jews.
Thus combining to make the true "Israel of God". (Galatians 6:15-16)
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