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Israel and the Purposes of God

What is so Special about Israel?

Date:August 9, 2023
Author: Wayne J. Edwards



Is God Through with the Jews? Absolutely not!

In spite of what even some misguided evangelicals would have us believe, and even though the seed of Abraham is certainly not living in obedience to God’s desires, according to the Word of God, (Romans 9-11) He has not revoked His promise, and He never will. In fact, as goes the nation of Israel, so goes the world. Israel is God’s time clock for the future, and what happens to Israel affects God’s prophecy for all other nations.

I will start a new series of sermons on Israel and God’s Purposes. In this study, we will lay the foundation of what it means, and what it doesn’t mean that the Jews are God’s chosen people.

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Israel and the Purposes of God
“What is so special about Israel?”

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

  • Obviously, the scriptures document the events of the past, which would be called “history,” but the Bible also describes the events of the future, which would be called “prophecy.”
  • However, what is prophetic can be both history and future in that there has already been a partial fulfillment of prophecy, but the final fulfillment rest is yet to come.
    • Daniel 11:21-35 – Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem in 167 BC by offering the sacrifice of a pig on an altar to Zeus.
    • 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, for all Jews are not from the tribe of Judah.
  • However, throughout much of history, certainly from the return of the exiles from Babylon, the term ‘Jew’ has been extended to cover all Hebrew people, regardless of their tribal background.

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

  • Replacement theology (supersessionism) essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and that God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel.
  • Kingdom Now theology is a theological belief that God lost control over the world to Satan when Adam and Eve sinned, and He is now raising an army of prophets and apostles who will lead the church into the overthrowing of the sin of the nations and the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom on earth.
  • God’s Chosen People – God has 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 may do, or however much they may fail, God’s promises will hold, for His purpose is to use His relationship with Israel, not to exhibit their holiness, but to prove Himself as a promise-keeping, covenant-keeping God.

   In Romans 1:16-17, the Apostle Paul said God’s divine plan was for the gospel message to be given to the Jews first and then to the Gentiles.

  • “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith,” and the word “is,” in Greek, is present tense; i.e., the righteousness of God continues to be revealed as the

   In Romans 1:18-32, the Apostle Paul said God’s wrath against all unrighteousness is indivisible from His righteousness.

  • For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

   In Romans 2:8-11, the Apostle Paul said there is no partiality with God.

  • “Indignation, wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for there is no partiality with God.”

   The Jews get “special” treatment because they are the only recipients of God’s covenant promises, and the blessings we receive as believers in Jesus Christ are mediated to us through those covenants. Therefore, we are indebted to the Jews for our salvation.

  • In John 4:22, Jesus said, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.”

   In Romans 2:17-18, the Apostle Paul said, “Indeed, you are called a Jew, and rest on the Law, and make your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the Law.”

Notice the five benefits that make the Jews a unique people:

  • They bear the name “Jew,” which is derived from the royal tribe of Judah, from which David came. The primary purpose for the Jew is to give praise to God, so it is an honorable privilege to be called a Jew.
  • They were given the “Law,” which is called the Torah; commandments which established the standards by which they were to live. No other nation has such a list.
  • They had the knowledge of the one true God. Every other nation was pagan and polytheistic, but God called His people to be the people of God. (Isaiah 48:1-2)
  • Because of the Law, they knew the will of God. The Law was their only textbook of learning, other than the Holy Scriptures.
  • Because of their knowledge of the Scriptures, they were affirmed by God. This knowledge of their superiority over the other nations was often their undoing. Still, their understanding of who they were was not just intuitive but based on divine revelation through the prophets.
  • Romans 2:19-20, “Being instructed out of the law, 19 and confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law.”
    • They thought they were superior just because they were Jews, which is blasphemy. They failed to realize that any superiority they had was a result of God’s choice, and of His divine grace – nothing else.
    • God’s privileges were not given to the Jews for self-gratification, but that the Jewish people should evangelize the world and lead all people to worship the one true God, but they didn’t do that.
    • Paul said they had only the “form” of knowledge and truth, but because of their arrogance, they had missed out on the real truth.

   In Romans 2:21-24, Paul explains how the Jews fell short of God’s perfect righteousness.

  • “You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

   In Romans 2:28-29, Paul defines the present position of the Jewish people.

  • “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 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.”
  • 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.”’

The weighty question being raised here is this:

  • What, then, is a true Jew?
  • What makes a Jew complete in God’s eyes?
  • Paul said the real Jew is not merely Jewish on the outside through the circumcision of the flesh, but the one who has experienced the physical circumcision of the flesh and the spiritual circumcision of the heart.

 Paul continues, in Romans 3:1-2, to defend God’s judgment by highlighting His promises:

  • “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”
  • Paul highlights the fact that the Jews were the ones who received, copied, and preserved the Tanakh – they had been entrusted with the very Word of God.
  • This was an advantage to the Jews because it meant the gospel would be preached to them first and then to the Gentiles.
  • Truly the good news, as Paul continues, is that both Jews and Gentiles now have access to righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ.
  • However, Jews don’t get saved because they are Jews any more than Gentiles are lost because they are Gentiles, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  • Therefore, salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, and that is for everyone!

Israel Restored to the Land: Ezekiel 39:25-29

“Therefore, thus says the Lord God: ‘Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. After they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God.”