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The Israel of God (1c)

The Israel of God - Part 1, #3

In Revelation 2-3, the ascended Lord Jesus Christ sends messages to seven churches existing in Asia Minor in the first century AD, churches consisting of believers from Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. To the church in Smyrna the ascended Christ declares, "I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" (2:9). To the church in Philadelphia Christ says something similar: "Behold I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee" (3:9).  Here is the assessment of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: the unbelieving Jews lie when they claim to be Jews. They are not Jews. They are the synagogue of Satan. Satan is the accuser of the brethren and the adversary of God. Strong words from the Son of God! Who are the Jews, then? The Christians, as we call them today, are the Jews. Is that Anti-Semitism? Only if the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is an Anti-Semite!

Who are the children of Abraham? 

We have already seen from the words of Jesus that He repudiated the claim of unbelieving Jews to be the children of Abraham (John 8:44). They are not all Israel (or the children of Israel) which are of Israel! Within Israel even in the days of Christ there were children of Israel or children of Abraham. And they were found in the most unlikely places! About Zacchaeus, the despised tax collector, Jesus declared, "he also is a son of Abraham" (Luke 19:9); about a crippled woman, whom He healed on the Sabbath, Jesus declared, "this women, being a daughter of Abraham ..." (Luke 13:16); about Nathaniel, Jesus exclaimed, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile" (John 1:47). Others, such as the high priest, Caiaphas, or Judas Iscariot, were not children of Abraham, Jews or Israelites at all! 

The apostle Paul develops the concept "children of Abraham" or even "seed of Abraham" at some length, and makes it very clear that the children or seed of Abraham include all those who belong to  Jesus Christ and who make up what we call in the New Testament the "church."  We begin in the book of Romans. We have already seen that Paul restricts the term "Israel" to the elect Jews, excluding the reprobate from the number (Rom. 9:6-8). In verse 23, having developed the subject of election and reprobation at some length, Paul writes, "that [God] might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles."  Now, notice how Paul proves his point that God elects and calls His people from Jews and Gentiles. He quotes from the prophet Hosea! ("as he saith also in Osee," v. 25). This is a quotation from Hosea 2:23 and 1:10. Peter also quotes Hosea in I Peter 2:10 and applies it to the gathering of the Gentiles. In other words, believing Gentiles gathered with believing Jews into the church in the New Testament age are called "the children of the living God" (v. 26) and "the children of Israel" (v. 27). The ethnic, unbelieving Jews, no matter what their genealogical pedigree might be, are not the children of God, not the children of the promise, not Israel and not Jews!


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Last modified on 16 March 2014
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McGeown, Martyn

Rev. Martyn McGeown

Ordained: 2010

Pastorates: Missionary-pastor in Limerick, Ireland for the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Northern Ireland - 2010.


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