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Israel and the Purposes of God

What is so special about Israel - # 2

Date:August 16, 2023
Author: Wayne J. Edwards



Has God abandoned Israel? Has the Church replaced Israel in God’s eyes? Will God keep His promise to Abraham’s seed? 

These, and many other questions are asked and answered in our Wednesday night study: “Israel, and the Purposes of God.”

The background material for this study was researched and written by my dear friend, and co-laborer, Edward Thomas of Cumbria, England. Since he was unable to get it published as a book, he has allowed me to use the material as the background for these sermons.

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Heritage Baptist Church Sermon

The Bible is primarily a history book of the Jewish people from Abraham to the Millennial Kingdom.

  • The scriptures that document the events of the past are called “history,” and the scriptures that describe the events of the future are called “prophecy.”
  • According to J. Barton Payne, there are:
    • 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament
    • 578 prophecies in the New Testament
    • For a total of 1,817 prophecies that total 8,352 verses of the Bible.
  • There are 31,124 verses in the Bible, which means 26.8% of the Bible is prophecy.

   There are a few passages in the Bible that can be both history and prophecy, in that part of the prophecy has already been fulfilled, and the remainder is yet to be.

  • Isaiah 9:6 – “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
  • Daniel 11:21-35 – Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem in 167 BC. Midway through the Tribulation, the Antichrist will desecrate the newly built Temple in some abominable way.

   The word “Jew” is derived from Judah, the name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Every Jew is an Israelite, but not every Israelite is a Jew. 

   Within the Evangelical Church, there are three views of the people of Israel; two are heretical.

  • Replacement theology (supersessionism) the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan.
  • Kingdom Now theology God is raising an army of prophets and apostles who will lead the church into the overthrowing of the sinful leaders of the nations and establish the Lord’s kingdom on earth.
  • God’s Chosen People – God declared that the Jewish people are a special, peculiar, and chosen people, according to the promise (covenant) He made with Abraham.
  • Deuteronomy 26:18-19 – “Today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people…that you are to be a holy people to the Lord your God.”
    • While they were to keep God’s commandments, their obedience was not a “condition” to His promise.
  • Deuteronomy 28:9-11 – “The Lord will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you,”
  • The Hebrew word for “sworn” is “shaba,” which means an eternal oath. Therefore, no matter what Israel does, God’s purpose is to use His relationship with Israel, not to exhibit their holiness, but to prove Himself as a promise-keeping, covenant-keeping God.
  • Jeremiah 31:33 –” But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My People.”’
  • Ezekiel 36:26 –” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”’

Romans 9-11:

  • Romans 9:1-3 – Paul had such a desire to see His kinsmen saved, he said he was willing to be “accursed,” if that would open their eyes to their need of salvation.
    • To be accursed means to be cast into the lake of fire.
  • Romans 9:4-5 – Paul identified eight privileges that God granted exclusively to the Israelites:
  • “Those who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and of whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.’
  • Romans 9:6-29 – Paul said Israel’s rejection of God was not a surprise to God, but rather it was all part of God’s divine plan for Israel to reject Jesus as the Messiah at His first coming. However, Israel’s downfall did not reveal any failure on God’s part to keep His promises.
  • Verses 6-13 – the present condition of Israel had not nullified God’s promise to the seed of Abraham.
  • Verses 21-25 – Paul uses the example of the Potter to explain the difference between the Jews of the flesh and the Jews of the seed of Abraham. What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory.”
  • Paul did not say God “prepared” the Jews of the flesh for destruction, but that He allowed them to make their choices. God will glorify Himself to these by revealing the power of His wrath. God will glorify Himself to the seed of Abraham by the power of His grace and mercy.
  • Notice Paul said God will deal with the Gentiles in the same way.
  • Verses 27-28 – “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth.”’
  • Verse 29 – Paul said, in the period of time known as Jacob’s Trouble, the destruction of unbelieving Israel will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • Verses 30-33 – Paul explains the paradox of believing Gentiles and unbelieving Jews, even though the Law was given to the Jews and not the Gentiles. What ended up being a “stepping stone” to faith for the believing Gentiles ended up being a “stumbling block” for the unbelieving Jews, because they wanted obtain God’s righteousness in their own way – to display their self-righteousness and good works, as opposed to the finished work of Jesus Christ.
  • Romans 10:1-5 – Paul contrasts:
    • Legal righteousness – created by man for man recognition.
    • God-created righteousness – by man’s faith alone and in Christ alone.
  • Verses 12-13 – Paul makes it clear that God’s gift of salvation is available to anyone. This is where the Jews made a serious error, thinking that because they were Jews, they had an exclusive right to salvation simply on the basis of their attempts to obey the Law.
  • Romans 11:1-11 – God has not cast away His people. Paul knew the Jews rejection of Jesus will be reversed and the nation of Israel will be restored, for the reason for their temporary stumbling was so salvation could be made available to the Gentiles. (Acts 15:13-17)
  • Romans 11:25-27 – “All Israel will be saved, as it is written, the deliverer shall come out of Zion, and He will turn away the ungodliness from Jacob, this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”