Who is the holy nation that is God’s very own possession?
This blog follows Foolish Preachers Versus The Foolishness Of Preaching where I wrote in more detail on the importance of the message of the cross of Christ being protected from being made of no effect.
This issue is one of the many where the cross of Christ is reduced to no effect, especially among those who hold to a “special favored status” theology for natural Israel. What I mean by that is the notion that “all of Israel will be saved” when they see Jesus coming in the clouds instead of having to come to the cross for their deliverance from sin.
As I stated in Foolish Preachers Versus The Foolishness Of Preaching blog I addressed this and so much more in two teaching series’ – WHO IS THE ISRAEL OF GOD, And What Does That Have To With Me; and JESUS AND JERUSALEM.
Well meaning and [I will be kind] most probably mistaken Christians promote that the natural State of Israel, and unsaved Jewish people, are God’s possession and holy nation.
You see them write or say things like:
- God will bless those who bless [natural] Israel [the unsaved Jews] and God will curse those who curse [natural] Israel [unsaved Jews].
- There is not one verse of Scripture in the Old or New Testaments that say this. In fact, the very opposite is said in the Scripture.
Or they say or write,
- The day America turns its back on [the State of] Israel [unsaved Jews], is the day God turns His back on America.
- This irresponsible statement is based on the previous statement and has zero basis in Scripture.
What does the Scripture say? The Scripture must be our only guide to understanding this very important truth that is clearly laid out for the intellectually honest to see.
By the way, God turned His back on natural Israel and spoke Ichabod [the glory has departed] over it 2000 years ago. God has not stopped loving them. He loves everyone where they are but that never means He loves where they are.
By the way, they became enemies of the cross when they rejected God, and His plan of salvation for the whole world – by the cross of Christ Jesus, His only begotten Son. They remain enemies of the cross to this day!
Matthew 23:37,38 NKJV
“37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate.”
Listen to the impact of His words – “See! YOUR HOUSE IS LEFT TO YOU.”
First He said “Your house”. This is a clear revelation that it was not His house. Jesus was also making the point that “their house” was of their own making. God’s house is now the individual and corporate body of Christ that is made up of everyone who has been born again and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Next He said, “Is left”. Jesus made a present tense [2000 years ago] declaration that God was abandoning them, right then. And by the way, God has never moved back in to that “house”.
Then He said, “To you”. Can it get any scarier than this. “YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.” Another way to see this portion of His denunciation is to realize that He was very serious about their isolation and the removal of His protection. By the way, He is not protecting them even to this day contrary to the popular theological arguments to the contrary.
They have been on their own for 2000 years! Please do not say God brought them back to their land. God has not brought them back. For God to be responsible for their return He would have had to violate His own word stating that for Him to restore them to the land they would have to repent for violating their relationship to Him.
I cannot recall where they have repented for murdering the Son of God!
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” [Acts 2:36]
“Desolate” literally means, abandoned, divorced, uninhabited, deprived of the aid and protection of others, especially of friends, acquaintances, kindred, a flock deserted by their shepherd, a waste [place].
Jesus said, “See! I HAVE LEFT you all alone, and you will remain on your own unless, and until you repent.
Verse 39 says, “For I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” When Jesus says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” He was speaking of His current and contemporary coming at the time He was speaking, 2000 years ago.
Jesus was not talking about some time in the distant future from when He was speaking. He was speaking to His generation which was the terminal generation – for within 40 years the end came for them.
“Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”[Matthew 23:36 NAS] It takes a lot of manipulating the text to stretch “this generation” 2000 years into the future.
Why this extreme rejection of this historic people who had been chosen by God out of all of the nations on the planet thousands of years before? The answer is found in verse 38, “BUT YOU WERE UNWILLING.”
Friends, it is NEVER a good plan to be unwilling to do God’s will. It is never a good idea to continuously reject the overtures of a loving God who continuously does everything He can to reach you.
“How often I wanted to gather you together under My wings.” Jesus was expressing His exasperation at the lengths the natural Jewish people had gone to reject His every overture to love and protect them. He was also stating the many times He wooed them, called them, corrected them, communicated to them to come to Him – in the Old Testament!
We must understand that until Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected everything in the Gospels was Old Testament. The New Testament was being revealed [it was being unveiled, uncovered] through the life and ministry of Jesus but it was not inaugurated until the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
They left God no choice but to move on from them to a people who would value Him and His love for them.
“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you [natural Israel] and given to a people [born again saints], producing the fruit of it.”
This is the punch line [pun intended] that followed a scathing parable illustrating how natural Israel had been unfaithful to God, to the point of killing His Son, and He had had enough.
So, who is the only true nation that belongs to God.
Psalm 33:12 NASB
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.”
There is ONLY one nation on this earth who can claim this verse as their own. That nation is the nation whose God is the Lord Jesus Christ!
1 Peter 2:9, 10 NASB
“9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people OF GOD; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
God has NO other nation and He has no other people that are His possession [inheritance] and to proclaim otherwise is not Scriptural and very unwise.
If you hold to the belief that there is some other nation, an unholy nation, that God calls His own possession then you are diluting the effectiveness and affect of the cross of Jesus Christ.
I have written blogs and taught extensively on this deceptive doctrine that carried out to the extent of its illogical logic reduces the sons and daughters of God [the Church and the Bride of Christ – God’s holy nation] as second class citizens and hostages of a God who according to those who hold to this doctrine punishes people who reject the false notion they perpetrate on an uninformed people.
Should we love and bless the unsaved Jewish people and the State of Israel?
But not under the threat of a curse from God coming to ruin our lives.
We are supposed to bless those who curse us according to Jesus in Luke 6:28. We are to love our enemies according to Jesus in Matthew 5:44. But never is a curse from God associated with not doing these things. We are told that doing these things make us like our Father.
What God do they serve? I believe they serve a god they have created in their own minds. Minds which are not renewed in the New Testament revelation Jesus and the original apostles and other writers of the New Testament preached.
We will see in the following Scriptures the reason we [the holy nation of God as the people of God] are to love and bless all the nations of people of the earth, not just the Jewish State [nation, people].
How are we to love them? By telling them the truth about their need for repentance and God’s forgiveness.
In fact, John the apostle writes this in his gospel that Jesus, the Son of God and Man said.
John 3:16,17 NASB
“16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
- To me these two verses clearly state God’s heart is the world, not just the Jewish world. God sent Jesus into the world to save the world. The unfortunate truth is that many in the world, both the Jewish and non-Jewish world, refuse to believe God by receiving Jesus as God’s only hope and Savior of the world.
John 3:18 NASB
“”He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’”
- Jesus makes it abundantly clear that those who do not believe in Him are ALREADY judged by God, and those who do believe God does not judge. So, quit with all the God is going to curse you if you do not bless natural [the State of] Israel and the natural Jew.
John 3:36 NASB
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
- Those who believe in God’s Son, Jesus, HAVE eternal life and those who do not believe not only will NOT SEE life, but they are presently abiding in the wrath of God. God’s wrath is upon those who reject Jesus, not on those who do not bless those who have rejected Jesus.
Do I have to go on? No, but I will!
John 8:31,32 NASB
“31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’”
- To those Jewish people who “believed” in Him he said, “You MUST continue in my word to qualify as My true disciples.”
- Thus, those Jewish “believers” who ceased believing in the continuing revelation of the cross and all of the benefits revealed and released through it ceased being His disciples – PERIOD!
- We need to understand that even demons believe in Jesus but that does mean they are in a right relationship with God [James 2:19]
- We also need to understand Jesus made all of these statements prior to dying on the cross and that every one of His original disciples were Jewish, believed on Him, but had to come to the cross in order to be saved.
- So, if there is some other way for the Jewish people to be saved, like seeing Jesus in the clouds, then God will have to apologize to all of the Jewish converts in the first century and beyond who were persecuted and killed for their faith in the cross of Christ.
We have already heard from Peter in the text from 1 Peter above where he very succinctly reveals who the real people of God are post cross of Christ.
Now let’s take a quick look at what Paul the apostle had to say concerning our subject.
Galatians 3:6-9 NASB
“6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you.’ 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.”
- Abraham, according to Paul, was an Old Testament believer in the New Testament Gospel. Abraham’s faith was in the message that God was going to bless the entire world, not just the Jewish world, through their faith in the message of the Messiah, which is salvation from sin and the punishment of sin by the life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Holy Spirit baptism to all who would believe in Jesus Christ of Nazareth as their personal Savior and the Lord of their life.
Now, as to the assertion that God will bless those who bless natural and unsaved Israel and curse those who curse them, let us take a look at what God actually said and to whom He said it.
Genesis 12:1-3 NASB
“1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; 3 And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
- Ah! The promise of blessings and curses was given to Abram who became Abraham. This is the same Abraham who Paul said the gospel was preached to and who believed the gospel.
- So based on the text where the misguided and mistreatment of what God actually said, a curse is reserved for those who do not bless the Abraham who believed God through the receiving of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as all those who like Abraham, have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Folks, this is not complicated. God said what He meant and He means what He says. “And in you [Abraham the believer] all the families of the earth will be blessed [by believing God just as Abraham did].”
So, to accurately divide and rightly handle the word of truth [God], we must admit that this promise was not made to a natural people but a born again person who had believed God’s gospel that through him ALL the nations [people] of the earth would be blessed by believing the gospel as he did.
Therefore, this promise cannot and does not pertain to the natural and unsaved [unbelieving] Jewish people called the State of Israel, for they are not inheritors of the promises of Abraham – Period!
So, why do people still follow this misguided teaching? Because they, just like those in the first century that were misguided “believers”, want to keep the flesh in the forefront of their theology, to their demise. These folks are persecutors of the cross of Christ. They are deluded and they distort and dilute the power of the message of the cross of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 6:12-16 NASB
“12 Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.”
- I wrote about verses 12-14 in my previous blog so I will not comment here.
- Paul in verse 15 makes it very clear that there is no advantage nor disadvantage in being Jewish or not being Jewish. The point of this text is “a new creation” which we know to be those “in Christ.”
- There are those who try to parse the last verse where it says, “peace be upon them [the new creation – the believers in Christ Jesus], and upon the Israel of God”, as meaning there are two separate and distinct groups of people Paul is talking about.
- One is the new creation meaning those who are in Christ Jesus, and
- The other is the Israel of God meaning the natural and unsaved Jewish people
Let’s look at another text and see if this way of interpreting the Scripture holds up.
Mark 16:7 NASB
“But go, tell His disciples and Peter, `He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’”
- Is the angel of the Lord saying that Peter is not one of the disciples by there being an ‘and’ between the word ‘disciples’ and ‘Peter’? Could it be that because of Peter’s denial of Jesus three times that he forfeited his place among the twelve? Or is the angel simply specifying that Peter needs special attention as a disciple and one of the future pillars of the Church because of his poor choice?
I want to tell you that Peter never was removed from his place in the special group of the apostle’s of the Lamb. And in the same way the use of the word ‘and’ in Paul’s text in Galatians 6 does not communicate a separation into two distinct groups. It simply communicates the special designation of the Israel of God – those who are part of God’s new creation, those who are in Christ Jesus.
Lastly, do not believe the “believers” who want to take you back into a natural reality and diminish or destroy your faith in and faithfulness to the revelation of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Believe it or not we still are dealing with Judaizers who cannot or will not let go of the notion that God’s blessings are tied up in natural and still unbelieving Jewish people.
They will accuse you of spiritualizing the text. I know because I get accused of that often. I also get accused of twisting the Scripture to fit “my theology.”
There is a principle in interpreting Scripture. It is simply take literal what is literal and not to take literally what is not literal.
Paul said this, “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.” [1 Corinthians 15:46]
This is another principle that must be understood to understand the Bible. The Old Testament, among other things, was about a natural people [Israel] seeking spiritual encounters with God. The New Testament, especially starting in the Book of Acts, is about a spiritual people living in a natural world.
First [OT] the natural. Then [NT] the spiritual. Jesus illustrated this in John 3 in His conversation with Nicodemus. He gave him natural examples of spiritual truths but Nicodemus could not understand those spiritual truths because the natural mind cannot receive anything from the Spirit of God [1 Corinthians 2:14].
These naturally minded people are either unaware of, or do not care to admit, that all of the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus, and no one and no where else.
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us [saints].” [2 Corinthians 1:20]
Stay close to the cross of Christ and the Christ of the cross, for in Him you live, and move, and have all of your being.
For more information on this subject please watch my series on Youtube/Bethel Church Brunswick, GA or download it from iTunes on WHO IS THE ISRAEL OF GOD, And What Does That Have To Do With Me, and my series called JESUS AND JERUSALEM.
Keep HIS Faith! Keep HIS Passion! Keep HIS Truth!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury
One of His Hisstorymakers