Friday, September 3, 2010

Israel the Picture

As God’s people the Old Covenant nation of Israel was physically redeemed, but they were only a picture of the true spiritually redeemed people of God because they were mostly an unbelieving and spiritually unredeemed people. It is incorrect to speak of them as God’s people in the same way that the Church is called God’s people. This is clear from the Old Testament:
Deut. 31:16 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them.

It is also clear from the New Testament:

Romans 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved

As children of God they were a type of his children that are adopted in Jesus Christ, but in reality they were never a spiritual people because they were rejected by God.

Matthew 8:12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

From a spiritual and salvation perspective, Israel’s bloodline and national heritage meant nothing.

Rom. 9:8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Being a covenant child by flesh meant nothing spiritually. God said the following about the twin grandsons of Abraham:

Rom. 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Israel was a picture of God’s holy and redeemed spiritual people, but they were not loved in the same manner that God loves his church that he showers his mercy and love upon.

1Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Therefore the holy nation spoken in Exodus 19:6 was not national Israel. No, the holy nation is the church of Jesus Christ that Peter described in this passage. The love that God has for his church is described by Paul in Romans 8:31-39 where he concludes by saying,

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This is quite a contrast to the physical nation of Israel that was formed at Mt. Sinai. They were rejected by God for unbelief as the following passage shows:

Hebrews 3:16-19 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

God’s word did not fail and he did not reject his Old Covenant people that he foreknew. However, these people God did not reject were not the entire nation of Israel. They were a small remnant only.

Romans 11:4 But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”

This does not mean the nation of Israel was not a special people. While they were not a spiritually redeemed people as a whole, they had a special role in redemptive history including the physical line from which Jesus came according to the flesh. Many great men and women of the faith were Jews, but as a whole they were mostly an unbelieving nation. The Old Testament nation of Israel was a picture foreshadowing the New Covenant church, but they were not the church or even the church under age.

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