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Israel and the Purposes of God

“What is So Special About Israel?”

Date:September 6, 2023
Author: Wayne J. Edwards


We continue our study of Israel and God’s purposes, or as we have titled it, “What’s so special about Israel?” 
God made four unconditional and eternal covenants with Israel, and while each covenant was a further development of the one before it, each covenant also brought its own, unique blessings to the Hebrews, i.e., the Land, the Seed, the Blessings, and the Holy Spirit.   The ‘seed’ represents not only the Messiah, but also Israel who will one day occupy all the land she has been promised, and the blessings are the spiritual gifts that are also available to all believers.   So, it is through these four covenants that all of God’s blessings are mediated.
Because of this, the blessings which were contained in the covenants are also available to Gentiles, but only because of our relationship with Israel, for, in effect, the Church was grafted into the Olive Tree, which is the symbol of God’s blessings upon Israel. Therefore, rather than having replaced Israel as the benefactor of God’s blessings, the Church is being blessed through Israel. 

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Israel and the Purposes of God

“What is so special about Israel?”

A review of God’s covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

  • God gave the land to the Israelites. Psalm 105:1-11 – “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance.”
  • God promised Israel absolute security. Psalm 125:1-5 – “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.”
  • God promised Israel, even though they would be removed from the land He had given to them, they would eventually return. Psalm 126:1-6 – “When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.”
  • According to Romans 9:4-5, the Israelites were the first to be adopted by God; they had the glory of God and the five covenants, the Law, the promises of God.
  • According to Genesis 12-38, they can claim the Patriarchs of the faith: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and every true Jew must be in the lineage of all three.
  • Finally, they have the Messiah – prophesied from old, yet coming through a virgin’s womb – born of a Jew, and as a Jew, conforming to the Law of Moses; human, and yet Divine; Immanuel: God with us – Luke 1:30-32 – “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most-High.”

Prior to the fall, there was no need for a Redeemer. However, after Adam and Eve succumbed to Satan’s temptation, God said there would always be “enmity” between Satan’s seed and Eve’s Seed – the seed of the antichrist and the Seed of the true Christ.

  • While man’s redemption would require the death of a man, that man could not be one of a purely human lineage because all men born of Adam’s line were born in slavery to sin.
  • Therefore, sinful man’s redemption could only come through a man without a human father – Jesus, the God/Man.
  • In Genesis 22:18, God said to Abraham, “In your SEED all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”
  • Galatians 3:16 – “Now to Abraham and his SEED were the promises made.”
  • God’s Promised Messiah, and, therefore, our Savior, could not have come through any other lineage than the Jews.

There is also a connection between the nation of Israel and the Church.

  • In Ephesians 2:11-13, the Apostle Paul said, as Gentiles, we were once “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now, in Christ Jesus, you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
  • Therefore, those who are born again, having received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, are part of the commonwealth of Israel and, therefore, the beneficiaries of the blessings and the covenants God has made with Israel.

From Romans 11

  • Verses 1-2 – “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.”
  • Verse 11“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.”
  • Verses 16-18 – “For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.”
  • Verses 21-22 – “For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.”

Why and how did the Jewish people fail God?

  • In Leviticus 26:1-13, God established the rules of behavior for His people and the blessings they would receive for their obedience.
    • In Leviticus 26:14-39, God defined the punishment His people would receive for their disobedience and that such punishment would be meted out in five degrees.
    • Verses 14-17 – If the people disobeyed the Mosaic Law, God would inflict some form of terror upon them – a disease, or a famine, or to be defeated in battle.
    • Verses 18-20 – Should the first degree of punishment not cause them to repent, God would allow a severe drought so that their crops would not grow, and the severe famine would increase.
    • Verses 21-22 – Should the first two degrees of punishment not cause His people to repent, He would allow the land to become desolate and deserted, and they would suffer attacks from wild animals.
    • Verses 23-26 – If the people remained disobedient, God would allow the punishment to be increased through war, plagues, and starvation.
    • Verse 27-32 – If the people still did not turn from their disobedience, God would allow the cities of Israel to become infested with crime, the land would become desolate, and the people would be forcibly removed and taken captive.
      • Syria – In 721 B.C. Assyria swept out of the north, captured the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and took the ten tribes into captivity.
      • Babylon – The Jewish people lived in Babylon between 597 BC and 538 BC.
      • Rome – In 70 AD the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and looted its sacred contents. The Jews were scattered all over the world and hated by most of the people in the world – Vs. 33 – I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you; your land shall be desolate and your cities waste.”
    • The promises of verses 40-45 are being fulfilled today by many individuals, but not yet as a nation.
      • “If they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers.”
      • “If their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt.”
      • “I will remember My covenant with Jacob…Isaac…and Abraham: I will remember the land…for I am the Lord their God.”

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

Romans 11:33-36