The Chosen People, Pt. 1

Scripture: Genesis 12:1, Hebrews 11:13-16, Galatians 3:8
Many people who are interested in Bible prophecy believe that all eyes should be on modern Israel and the Holy Land. If it is God's chosen nation, should we not have a high interest in the Jews returning to Israel and rebuilding the temple? What does the Bible say about Israel? This broadcast especially looks at the promise to Abraham.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw as they open the Bible to deepen our understanding of God's word. [music]

John Bradshaw: Hi and welcome to Bible Talk where we talk about the Bible and how the Bible affects us today. I'm John Bradshaw.

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Gary, I want to tell you about a conversation I had recently and see if there's something wrong with this picture, at least the way you see it. Talking to a fellow who told me that he was on his way home from Israel. Now, I'm very interested in that. I've never been and I'd like to go and I asked him about that. He told me the reason he was there was to campaign with and for the Israelites, the Jews, so that they could keep their land. He told me in the Bible, God promised that land to Israel and modern Israel today or to occupy all that land that is apparently there's in the Middle East. And really, his whole understanding of the Bible was based upon this idea of Israel ought to be occupying this land in the Middle East. This is a widely held view through Christianity today. But I wonder if, as we look at this biblically, whether there is something wrong with this picture.

Gary: It is widely held, John. I believe our listeners will recognize that as well. You can't go to here teaching a Bible prophecy or pick up a book on Bible prophecy without Israel being mentioned. There are people that spend a lot of money in Israel. In fact, I did a study years ago. I don't know what it is like today but years ago, I did a study and I discovered that the United States was spending more money or sending more money to Israel per capita than any other place in the world. You have poor, starving Africans who are getting 50 cents per head. In Israel, they were getting... Years ago, three, $4,000 a person aid money from the United States. It made no sense because we don't get anything out of Israel. We are getting natural resources. They don't have the pressing poverty, all these stuff. So why do we do it? It's because of our view of Israel being God's people.

John: Certainly, today, Israel receives as far as I know, more US aid than any other nation. Egypt, I think, is second. So, biblically speaking, what's wrong with that picture then? Israel is God's chosen nation. We have a vested interests in there so viable. This friend that I spoke to on the plane said to me when we blessed the Jew, we are going to be blessed of God because they are God's people and god has this plan to restore them to their land. Doesn't the Bible say something about that? About the Jewish people inheriting their land and having their land?

Gary: It does and I want to get to that. I also want to point out that evangelical Christian view of Israel really isn't quite flattering to Israel at all. Here we are, trying to facilitate and returning them to their land. The reason for that is because we believe they have to take over the land there, reestablish themselves in order for prophecy to be fulfilled.

John: Right. And it doesn't... The view of prophecy doesn't do much for them.

Gary: No because the next scene in the drama is once they get in their land and they control the temple, mountain, all that is anti-crisis is going to come along, subjugate them, wipe them out and all these other bad stuff. It's really not a good picture for Israel if you follow that scenario.

John: I read where a rabbi said of his idea we are merely pawns in this scheme or players in this scheme. I think anybody thinking through this sees that all this focus on Israel doesn't do Israel many favors, actually.

Gary: And the real question is, is the Israel or there in the Middle East truly the Israel that the Bible is talking about when it comes to the Last Day events? Who is the real Israel? Before we go there, I'd like for us John to remind our listeners of our free offer we are going to have today.

John: Now, this is something you want to get your hands on. A little book called "Spiritual Israel". Now, we'll give you a telephone number to call, an email address to write to. You want to get your hands on today's free offer, "Spiritual Israel". It won't cost you a thing. At the end of the program, listen to those contact details and we'll be sure to get you your copy of a fabulous little book.

Gary: To understand who the true Israel is today, you have to go back to the call of Abraham. Abraham was called to separate from his people. By the way, Abraham lived down in what became Babylon, the Ur of the Chaldees. That's Babylon. God was calling Abraham out of Babylon because Babylon, that area had become corrupt. They were worshiping idols and God wanted to preserve the true faith. And so, He removed Abraham from his family and those surrounding influences that would have eventually corrupted Abraham's faith.

John: That is something to Christians today. As far as possible, get away from those influences that are going to corrupt your kids and corrupt your faith.

Gary: And also ties in a prophecy in Revelation 18 and Revelation 14. The call to come out of Babylon is the walk and the steps of Abraham to get away from these corrupting influences. Abraham leaves and God says, "I'm going to take you to a land and I am going to give you a land" because he was leaving his land. "I am going to give you a land and I am going to build of you a great nation". God makes a covenant, an agreement with Abraham. You read this covenant, reiterate it, several times in Genesis. But in Genesis 12, he says, verse 1, "Get out of your country and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation". He says, "I will bless you, make your name great". He says, "In you, all the families in the earth shall be blessed". And then in Genesis 13, He says, "I will give you a land that you will inherit". Now, Abraham followed God. But Abraham actually never experienced the fulfillment of that promise.

John: OK. My friend is going to say that Jews today are the descendants of Abraham and so, if you want God's promise to be fulfilled, you've got to crowd them into that little patch of dirt, sand, in the Middle East, notice Israel, Palestine as well. Get them in there because this is the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham. What's wrong with that?

Gary: The problem is we are not using the New Testament to interpret the Old. We are chopping into the Old Testament. We are reading these promises to literal, local Israel in the Middle East. And we are not letting the New Testament interpret what God really meant there. When you get to the New Testament and you read how Paul interprets this, it's a totally different picture. Let me give you a couple of examples here.

John: Now, make them good examples because if you are saying to somebody who has been going to church and listening to their pastor say, "We got to help the Jews get home to Israel". This man is everywhere. I sat in the lady's living room one day. She told me as I was discussing prophecy with her that she and her husband have been sending lots of money to some organization that was committed to getting Jews out of Russia into Israel so that prophecy could be fulfilled. As we talked, she said to me with the horrified look in her face, "I've been wasting my money, haven't I?" A lot of people have got this idea they had about Israel. They get it from their pastors, TV speakers and so forth. Now, if you are going to show Israel isn't Israel then please do a good job here and make it very clear. The New Testament ought to speak very clearly about this, if Israel ain't Israel, if you know what I mean.

Gary: Abraham did enter the promise land. Abraham did established a home there. He didn't end up taking over the whole land. There was a time when the Israelites did control the land. But Hebrews 11:13 says, "These all died in faith" talking about Abraham and others they died in faith "not having received the promises. But having seen them and greeted them from afar and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth". Now, here it says that they died not receiving the promise. Well, what is the promise? You read down and you'll see what it is. That encompasses much more than what we consider to be the territory of Israel today. It says here in verse 14, "For they that do such things declare plainly they seek a country". And verse 16, he says, "They desire a better country that is a heavenly. Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city".

John: So, you're really saying that the Bible is saying that today God is concerned more with inheriting eternal life?

Gary: Heaven and eternal life, that's right. And then the earth made new. Jesus said in the beatitudes that the meek will inherit the earth.

John: Surely.

Gary: And the Apostle Paul in Galatians actually makes us real clear. He says in Galatians 3:8 that this covenant made with Abraham actually was preaching the gospel. He says the Scripture foreseen that God would justify the gentiles by faith. Preach the gospel to Abraham beforehand saying, in you all the nations shall be blessed.

John: OK.

Gary: God's promised to Abraham wasn't you are going to control all this land here in the Middle East and you are going to be this wealthy, rich nation. No. God's promise was you are going to bless the world with the gospel. In you, all the nation shall be blessed. And by doing so, you are going to reclaim planet earth for God. God is going to ultimately move His kingdom here to planet earth, the whole world.

John: Let's make this really clear. Remember you've got to get our offer, "Spiritual Israel," a wonderful, power-packed little book. We'll give you the phone number to call, the email address soon. Israel, God promised Abraham was going to inherit the land. What we are seeing here is in the New Testament, God has an Israel that was going to inherit everlasting life. Through them, the world will hear of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

Gary: That's correct. He says that he would inherit the world. I like to find that text for you. I think it's in the Romans 4:16.

John: Yeah, that's a lot different than just inheriting...

Gary: Here it is, Romans 4:13. "For the promise, that he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith". The promise was you are going to inherit the world. Here we are spending money to get Jews back into the Middle East so that they can have their nation, their heritage. God's intent was never that. God's intent was they were placed there at the crossroads of the world so that on the trade route as people came through, they could learn the gospel. That way, all the world will be blessed. They learn the gospel. People would be converted. This converted group of people one day will inherit the earth.

John: This thing is so intertwined with so many other things in the bible because I hear somebody saying, "Oh, no, man, we are living in the Church Age but the Jew Age is going to come back". God has this big plan for the nation of Israel and it's a tangled web. It's a real web. We are going to try to untangle this a little bit. God called Israel. He said, ultimately you are going to inherit the land. His Israel finally will inherit the entire earth and heaven as well.

Gary: The true Jew then is the one who believes in God like Abraham did. Abraham took God at his word and he trusted him. That's why you see this righteousness by faith. Righteousness is right doing. Here, Abraham as an old man. He is told he is going to have a son.

John: Yeah.

Gary: The Bible says in Hebrews 11 that Sarah's womb is dead. Abraham is good as dead as far as creating children. God comes along and says, "You are going to be able to have a son. You are going to have children".

John: That's going to take some real faith to believe in that.

Gary: He believes God. He doesn't understand how it's going to happen but God create something where there was nothing before. Abraham has his own son. He has Isaac. God says, listen, that's the faith of Abraham. The same type of faith that was demonstrated when Abraham took Isaac up to the Mount Moriah to slay him at the command of God. He has the knife raised in the air and God says, Halt, now, I see that you'll not keep your own son from me. Abraham's faith is a faith that obeys God implicitly, not being able to see how God is going to work it all out. In Hebrews 11, the writer says Abraham didn't know how God was going to fulfill his promises of making him a great nation if he was killing his own son. He trusted that God would resurrect Isaac if he needed to.

The faith of Abraham is the faith that God wants us to have today. The true Israel has that faith. Let me share with you this verse in Romans 2. It says...

John: We've got to get a moment here. This is going to be a powerful verse so listen very careful to this.

Gary: For he is not a Jew, Romans 2:28, who is one outwardly. Nor circumcision is that which is outward in the flesh.

John: OK.

Gary: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter whose praise is not for men but of God.

John: Say that again. He is a Jew which is one where?

Gary: Inwardly and circumcised in the heart. In other words, we've cut off the self life and heart out. Life has been surrendered to Jesus. We are willing to follow him and not follow our own plans but we are totally submitted to God so God will live in our heart. That is the true Israel that will inherit the earth one day, whether they are Jew or Gentile.

John: You can be a Gentile and be a Jew. You, no matter what your ethnicity, can be a child of the living God and according to the Bible, a descendant of Abraham. What exciting news today. The privileges that God wants to give to Israel, according to the Bible, he wants to pour into your life and get our study. It's powerful and whatever you do, make sure you join us next time for more of Bible Talk. [music]

John: If you like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we just discuss. It expands on this subject including information you want to know. To receive this free informative Bible study guide, simply call, write or email and ask for "Spiritual Israel". The toll free number is 866-BIBLESAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA, 95678. That's P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, CA, 95678, or email us at Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of LifeTalk Radio.

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