The Chosen People, Pt. 2

The Chosen People, Pt. 2

Scripture: Deuteronomy 28:1-2, Matthew 21:33-46, Galatians 3:28-29
Who is Israel today? Do modern Jews need to travel back to Israel or does the New Testament teach that all followers of Jesus are children of Abraham and comprise spiritual Israel? This broadcast looks at who Israel is today.
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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.

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

Gary Gibbs: And I'm Gary Gibbs.

John: Today we are going to be talking about something that affects the belief system of hundreds of thousands of Bible believers in this country and the millions around the world. We talked last time on Bible Talk about Israel, who Israel is, how God promised Abraham that he and his descendants would inherit the earth. We see that God's promises to believers that they would inherit not just the patch of dirt Israel, but the entire earth and more so, heaven and everlasting life. We finished last time by talking about how anybody who believes in Jesus Christ is counted by God as spiritually being a Jew, a descendant of Abraham. If I remember rightly, we just touched on that. Let's take some time because this is going to shock some people. They say God's true people, the Israelites, that the people fighting for the land over there in the Middle East, to the ones who were taken out of settlements and so forth, this is going to be a lot for someone to swallow but I do believe that the person who has ears listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit will see the Bible very, very clearly because the Bible is clear.

Gary: There's this teaching, John, that's mentioned in most every church is that Israel, literal Israel in the Middle East, is still God's covenant-keeping people. I want to say something that our listeners should really perk up and listen to and they may find it shocking actually. Literal Israel in the Middle East is no longer God's covenant-keeping people. All this preaching that we're hearing about, they have to get back on the land, they're going to be the prime focus of last day prophecy, we have to facilitate all this... All of that, I believe, is actually a deception of the devil. In today's program, this is what we want to address. We want to look at literal Israel in the Middle East. Are they still God's covenant-keeping people?

John: Something we got to make very, very clear. Jews can still be saved. A person who lives in Israel, an ethnic Jew can still be saved and have salvation. We wouldn't call that into question now. But according to the Bible - you get into Romans 11 - makes it very clear how. By faith in Jesus Christ, some branches were broken off the vine, but they can be grafted back in. They're not naturally there anymore. They can be grafted in, pretty well like anybody. To have salvation, you are grafted back in...

Gary: The Jewish nation has some very special blessings that are residual in them.

John: No question.

Gary: Because they did receive the word of God. Jesus was Jewish. By no means should this be taken as being antagonistic. It's looking at the role. You see, God called Israel in the beginning. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob... He called them to perform a specific task and that was to share the Gospel to the world. Why else did he put them there at the crossroads of the world? They were at the crossroads. If you want to go to Europe, you came out of Africa. If you're coming from Asia, you typically went through the Middle East there where Israel was. They were at the crossroads to share the Gospel to the world.

John: Many people believe that Israel is still God's covenant people today. Gary has said and we'll say it again before we're done that biblically that just doesn't hold up. Let's look at who the Bible says constitutes true Israel today.

Gary: We want to do that, John, and I also want to remind our listeners that we have an offer, a free offer, a little booklet that you can get by calling us or writing us at the number and address that we'll give at the end of the program. "Spiritual Israel," that you'll be able to study this topic thoroughly so if you're driving in the car and you can't write down these Bible texts, at least get that number punched in to your cell phones so you can call it and get our free offer. There's a little word, John, in the Bible that we often overlook while we're reading about these promises and the covenant that was made with Israel.

John: And what word is that?

Gary: Two-letter word. I-F. If. Whenever you read, think about the covenant made with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, it's always conditional. "If you do this, then I will bless you. Then I will give you the land. Then I'll make you a great nation." Let me give you one example here in Deuteronomy 28. Now, it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you because you obeyed the voice of the Lord your God.

John: So receiving all of this was conditional upon their obedience, correct?

Gary: That's correct.

John: Yeah. Now, that makes sense, right? God says to them, He called them to reveal Him to the world. That was their purpose. Israel was God's church essentially. Bible calls them the church in the wilderness and their role was to reveal God and the blessings of God and the goodness of God. If they refused to do that, steadfastly refused to do that, what was God going to do with them? You take a look at the parables. Jesus made this so very, very clear. But let's get back to Deuteronomy and other places before we get into the parables.

Gary: In Deuteronomy 28 still. There's the other side of the coin. If you obey me then blessing I am going to make you a great nation.

John: Sure, we think of the verse "if you are willing and obedient, you will eat off the fat of the land." That kind of thing.

Gary: But now in the same chapter, verse 15, he says, "But it shall come to pass if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statues which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city. Cursed shall you be in the country." He goes on. All these curses that show that they are not going to prosper. They're not going to be the head of the nations. They'll be the tail.

John: Well, we asked the question, did Israel fulfill the mandate and obey God?

Gary: This is where the answer becomes clear. The covenant, the reception of all the blessings was determined upon the choices that Israel would make. They weren't going to receive these blessings carte blanche without them having any say on it. If they make the right choices then they can continue being God's people.

John: We do that with the children all of the time, right? Yes you may have that if... That is, the responsible parent does that. God didn't say to Israel just do whatever you want I'm going to give it all to you. I'll give it if.

Gary: The reason for this, their buy-in was they... The goal was they were to give the Gospel to the world. If they weren't going to agree, if they weren't going to work and cooperate with God to share the Gospel to the world, then God would have to move on. And that's the intent of Jesus' parable in Matthew 21, where he talks about when the temple was being rebuilt, there was a stone that was misplaced. Everybody walked around this stone and they kept looking for this main cornerstone that was to hold up the building, hold it all together. They couldn't find it. Jesus points out that he was the missing cornerstone. That if you reject him as the cornerstone of the Jewish faith and economy, then you've missed. You've missed your calling. You've missed the purpose of the temple.

John: How about that other parable where Jesus says there's a man who had a household, he had a vineyard. He appointed some people to be the custodians of this vineyard...

Gary: Part of the same story here, in Matthew 21. Go ahead.

John: He says to them, "Go down there and bring forth some of the fruit. I'm expecting it to be fruitful." The people running the vineyard throw out the servants and eventually he says, "I'll send my son." And they kill the son. Jesus said to these Jewish leaders, he says, "What do you think the man who owns the property is going to do with them?" With those servants who killed the son. What was their answer?

Gary: He said he'll destroy those wicked men miserably and lease his vineyard to other vine-dressers who would render to him the fruits in their seasons.

John: That's pretty clear, isn't it?

Gary: What makes it really clear is verse 43 after he talks about this stone that was rejected. He's tying it all together. He says, "Therefore, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it."

John: Important to remember that. "The kingdom will be taken from you." Verse 45 says, the chief priests and Pharisees, when they heard his parables perceived that he spake of them. That's just too clear. God said to Israel, "I'll give it all to you as long as... upon the conditions of... providing you do this." Now, it wasn't as a result of their work, it was as a result of their faith. Faith would be demonstrated by the way they related to God and lived their lives. "I'll give it to you if..." No one in their right mind can say Israel fulfilled the conditions. You'd have to be out of your mind to say Israel did everything and believed like Abraham believed. They didn't. The history shows that. Therefore, this rampant theology that says Israel's going to go back and they're all going to occupy their little homeland there and then God's purpose is going to be somehow be wrought. Man, it's based on a shaky foundation that does not stand up to scrutiny.

Gary: Israel today... A lot of people won't recognize this but the Israel today is secular.

John: Entirely secular.

Gary: A lot of the Jews don't even believe in God. They don't even have a faith in God. It's a bit orthodox, too. And some others. When you look at literal Israel today, they're secular.

John: Very much not a religious place.

Gary: It's very important for us to understand the promises of blessing to Israel, literal Israel, were conditional upon their obedience. Here's another example of this, Jeremiah 18. God says, "At one instant I stall speak concerning a nation, concerning a kingdom to pluck up and to pull down and destroy it. "If that nation against whom I pronounced turn from the evil, I'll repent of the evil I thought to do unto. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, concerning a kingdom to build in a planet if it do evil on my side, that it obey not my voice, then I'll repent up the good that I said I would benefit them."

John: OK, let's run through that again. If the nation purposed to do good or is supposed to do good but did not do good, and God would change his mind as it were about the blessings he was going to pour on them.

Gary: Israel had opportunity as a nation - what we're talking about is a covenant nation, not as individuals - but they had opportunity over and over again. The whole history of the Old Testament story about Israel is them going into sin, God wooing them back, them repenting, going back into sin, God wooing them back, them repenting, but over and over again they do not fulfill the purpose. Their last opportunity was when Jesus came. Actually, I should correct that. That wasn't their last opportunity. When Jesus died on the cross...

John: There was still time.

Gary: That's right. He sent his disciples to the lost House of Israel. They did not go to the Gentiles for another three and a half years. The hope there was that hindsight would be 20/20 that the leaders in Israel would look back and they'd say, "Yes, we fulfilled all the prophecies." That's why when you read there in Acts five and 6, about Stephen the disciple. He goes before the Sanhedrin which is the highest authority in the Jewish nation at that time. He actually gives them a whole Bible study on the call, history and purpose of Israel, literal Israel. And they rejected... In fact, they kill him in the middle of it. And it's after that in Acts eight that you find now the disciples are scattered and they're going everywhere preaching the Gospel to the Gentiles now.

John: You find in Acts 13:46, Paul and Barnabas said it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you. But seeing you put it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. Listen, it's important we cover a couple of verses. One we did in our last program, Romans chapter 2. He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, but he is a Jew which is one inwardly.

Gary: Whose circumcision is of the heart and not of the letter.

John: If you have a circumcised heart, you are a Jew. Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, bound or free, male or female." Verse 29, "If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed and heir according to the promise." Verse 27 talks about the person who is being baptized. If you are a believer, if you believe like Abraham, you are a descendant of Abraham.

Gary: God is gathering Israel back again. But he's gathering Jew and Gentile who will believe in him, will surrender their heart to him, be baptized and follow him. He's gathering them not to inherit a little piece of dirt, dusty dirt in the Middle East. He's gathering us to be ready to inherit the earth made new after the second coming of Jesus.

John: My friend, the promises that God has made to His covenant people are wonderful and according to the Bible, when you accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, you become part of God's covenant nation. If you have not done that, won't you do that? Won't you give your heart to Jesus Christ today? Be sure to get our offer and be sure to listen for more next time here at Bible Talk.

Male Announcer: If you'd 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 discussed and expands on the 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-BIBLE-SAYS. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058 Roseville, California 95678. Or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk is being produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Live Talk Radio.

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