Who Are You? (Part 6)

Who Are You? (Part 6)

The United Nations created the modern nation of “Israel” in 1948 as a homeland for Jews displaced during World War II. Many English and American politicians supported this because their religious beliefs rested on the belief that a political nation of Israel MUST always exist, as God’s “eternally-chosen” people. The idea that the church could replace “national” Israel as the focus of God’s affection completely disrupts their theology!

The bible’s image of a “Jew” is very different from the modern, cultural concept. Our society assumes a person is a “Jew” either because of their ethnic/cultural background or their religion. (Biblically, “Jew” did not originally even refer to all Hebrew people, but only to someone from the tribe of Judah.) What set Jews “apart” in ancient times was their devotion to the ONE and ONLY God, and He chose them to bring the Savior (of ALL people) into the world. How ironic that they rejected Him when He came, John 1:11! The new testament plainly identifies the church as the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless all nations through Abraham, the great patriarch of ancient Israel!

Concerning the church and Christians, the new testament says “…he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:28-39). In Philippians 3:3, Paul wrote of Christians – including “gentiles” – that, “…we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” He even describes “HOW” a Christian becomes a “spiritual Jew” in Colossians 2:11-12:

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

In Galatians 6:15-16, Paul called the church “God’s Israel” – “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” In this context, “the Israel of God” is the church – not national Israel!

Paul was not the only one to emphasize that the church is now God’s “Israel:” In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter shows that all Christians are now the priesthood of God, and that the church is His “house/temple” – “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people,
that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” In vs. 5, he had written, “…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The image of a “spiritual house” looks back to the ancient TEMPLE, and calling Christians a “holy priesthood” means there is no longer a Levitical priesthood; rather, every Christian is a priest before God! (Isaiah foretold this in Isaiah 61:6 and 66:18-21, and John confirmed it in Revelation 1:6.)

Everything in the old testament was a “shadow,” a “hint” of what would come in the NEW testament, through the Christ. Just as ancient Israel illustrated God’s love for His people, the church embodies all that He has done for us. Who ARE you? If you’re a Christian, you’re part of spiritual “Israel!”


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