Summary: A message explaining the reason why God chose Israel for himself and outlining the purpose he had (and still has) for this special nation.

The Two Kingdoms

The Kingdom of Heaven part 2

Israel – A nation chosen by God

In spite of the many scriptures predicting a coming, earthly kingdom of heaven, many Christians persist in believing that Israel has been passed over - rejected as a people of God because of its continual, persistent disobedience and that, as a result, the nation as such has been permanently replaced by the church. This view is known as Replacement Theology.

We know that Israel always had a special place in God's heart. She is described in the O.T. as God's treasured possession (Ex.19:5; Deut.7:6) and His inheritance (Isaiah 19:25; 1 Kings 8:51), a chosen people (Deut.7:6-8) God's first-born son (Ex.4:22) and even as Yahweh's wife (Jer.3:14, 31:32).

The issue is this: given the inauguration of a heavenly body, the Church, does God still have a specific future and purpose in mind for the earthly nation of Israel? Does the fact that Jew and Gentile alike share in this spiritual body without distinction (Gal.3:28) mean that the Church has effectively replaced Israel entirely - as suggested in Gal.6:16?

To resolve this issue satisfactorily, we need to understand just why God chose Israel to be His special nation in the first place.

(i) Why was Israel chosen by God?

The first thing to understand is that Israel was not chosen for its own sake. Yahweh had made clear to Abraham that not only would Israel be blessed but that He intended to use this tiny nation as a conduit of Divine blessing to the whole world.

Genesis 12:2

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

The blessing that would come through Israel as a nation still, I believe, awaits a future realisation because the promise given to Abraham was later couched in the following words:

Gen.22:18, "...through your seed (offspring) all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

One nation would therefore prove a blessing to all the other nations because of one man's obedience.

Now consider this: the gospel which we preach today is promulgated by born-again individuals (surprisingly, evangelism is nowhere said to be the remit of the Church as a body) and is targeted, not at the nations, but at individuals from among the nations – bringing them into a heavenly body (the Church), which recognises no national distinction (Gal.3:28).

That's why, addressing Jewish saints who were no longer members of national Israel as such, Peter assures them that they were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. (1 Pet. 1:2). We know from Eph.1:4 that Peter is here making a reference to the election of the Church in eternity - before time began!

So what is the apostle driving at? Surely this: that they were chosen to belong to one heavenly nation before earthly nations even existed!! That's why the gospel is so individual! That's one reason why the present conversion of the nations as a whole - as espoused by post-millennialism - is not something entertained in Scripture!

By contrast, the knowledge of God which brings salvation to each nation as a whole, will, by definition, cover the earth! (Hab.2:14). And in keeping with its national character, it will be spread to the nations via an entire nation (Israel), bringing the nations, as a whole, under the rule of Christ.

So God says in Isaiah 49:6

“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

But there was much more to Yahweh's promise to Abraham! So now let's appreciate the true miracle of Gods foreknowledge and wisdom:

God had said to Abraham:

'....through your seed (offspring) all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.'

But Israel could not be a blessing to the nations of themselves! And that was never God's intention! Listen to the words of

Galatians 3:16,

The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.

So it was Christ, after all, who was the actual subject of the prophetic promise given to Abraham! God's ultimate purpose had always been that salvation and Divine blessing would flow outwards from Israel to the Gentiles; not only from Israel itself (something which has not yet happened nationally because of disobedience) but through one man - an Israelite by the name of Jesus Christ: the Saviour of the world! (John1:11; Rev.12:5). He was the seed of the woman, Israel - as depicted in John's vision

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