The Israel of God
“Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.” Galatians 6:16
Before I begin this teaching, I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not endorsing, teaching, espousing, nor do I believe in, Replacement Theology. Some might read this article and think that I believe this. Replacement Theology is unscriptural and it is my prayer that this article will help you see why.
We will begin this teaching with this verse translated out of the 27th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (which most Greek scholars consider to be the most accurate of the 3 major ones in print today) along with its English translation (taken from the RSV). I am adding the Greek translation of it for those who know Greek and prefer its historical accuracy. Please take note that the last “and” in the KJV or NKJV verse will not be in the RSV; which will change the meaning, stress, and inflection of the verse. This is very important to understand. “καὶ ὅσοι τῷ κανόνι τούτῳ στοιχήσουσιν, εἰρήνη ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς καὶ ἔλεος, καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ.” – “Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.” So in the Holy Spirit’s mind, the Israel of God are those who walk “by this rule.” What rule is He talking about through Paul? The rule He just laid out in verse 15 of course; which says, “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.”
Today we will be discussing a subject that I’m sure will not set well with some, but will bring light to others. There have been many before me that have seen this error and exposed it for what it is; so my attempt may not even come close to their messages or their insight on this. I’m sure others have expounded on this to a greater degree and depth than I.
Jesus always spoke to the hearts and consciences of men. Some could receive His words and others could not. To the woman at the well in John chapter 4, He became the “Water of Life” – but to the rich man in Matthew 19:22, He became the “Man of Offence.” One of them could receive His words that addressed her conscience; whereas the other man couldn’t receive His words and walked away. Why did he walk away? Because he had many possessions. He was more interested in keeping his own ideas and his possessions than he was in the words of our Lord.
He spoke some things to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:12, and afterwards as they were leaving the disciples came to Him and said, “Do you not realize that what You said to the Pharisees offended them, after they heard what You said?” Jesus was always saying things to challenge the hearts and consciences of men. He wasn’t real concerned if they got offended or not; He was more concerned in speaking the word of God to people and being obedient to His Father. We have to become as little children before Him, and lay aside all of our preconceptions and misconceptions and our personal doctrines and traditions.
There is nothing new under the sun. There’s nothing new coming down the pike. The enemy is always at work to bring a counterfeit into the church. He is always seeking to sow tares among the wheat. And today is no different. Today we will be looking carefully at some verses and commenting on them. Try and receive in the spirit and not in the mind. There are others who have belabored this issue before me. I have not looked up their articles online as I don’t have the time to do that right now. And also we don’t wish to build upon another man’s foundation.
So then…who is this “Israel of God”. I submit to you today that this is the Church of the living God, and NOT the nation of Israel. Galatians 3:7 says that those who believe are the children of Abraham; and elsewhere it calls us the seed of Isaac. And also it says that anyone who desires to live under the law is under a curse!!! Galatians 3:10. Therefore my brothers and sisters, we are the “Israel of God” & unless I am mistaken, Jesus never prayed for Israel. But then who did He pray for? John 17:9 says, “I pray for THEM (the apostles): I DO NOT PRAY FOR THE WORLD, but for them which you have given to Me.”
Now that is a powerful truth. His prayer was for those whom God had given to Him and for those alone. Hmmmmmm…interesting. But some would say to me, “what about the verse that says ‘”Pray for the peace of Jerusalem?’” And to them I would say that the word of God has two things to say about this: #1: Heb. 8:13 says that the old covenant has been laid aside to make way for the new one. He has made the first one obsolete. So many people wish to live in the Old Testament. In doing this they are choosing to live under the law and add to the sacrifice of Christ. #2: “For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem which is from above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Galatians 4:25-26
So then, I would have to ask, “which Jerusalem are you talking about?” If you are talking about the natural Jerusalem, then you are in error because she “is in bondage with her children” until this day. But brethren, we are of the Jerusalem which is from above. There is a natural Jerusalem and there is a spiritual Jerusalem. If you are majoring on the natural one, then you have been sidetracked away from the simplicity that is in Christ and I am amazed as to how quickly you have been drawn away by some.
Brethren, Paul said in Romans 11 that Israel has been “cast away” v.15, “cut off” v.22, “broken off” v.19, “blinded” v.25 “until the fullness of the Gentiles be fulfilled” v.25.
Do I love the nation of Israel? As much as I do all the nations of the world. Do I believe they will be saved? Romans 11:26 says that they will. But I don’t (and you shouldn’t) give any undo attention to them in any area. Now if someone wants to be a missionary to Israel, then praise God. But know that there is no difference in being a missionary to Israel as there is in being a missionary to China. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, male or female. Everything has to do with who has believed and who hasn’t. It all has to do with the circumcision of the heart. At least 5 times in the Old Testament it speaks of being circumcised in the heart (Lev. 26:41, Deut. 10:16, Deut. 30:6, Jer. 4:4, and Eze. 44:7). I really think the Lord is attempting to bring across a spiritual truth more than a natural one. The Jews were Paul’s greatest enemies throughout his entire ministry, and he wrote in Romans 11:28 that “they are enemies for your sakes.”
I know that there are many teachers and ministries out there that offer all kinds of Israel stuff and doctrines, and teachings and news, etc., etc., etc. It seems as if the list is endless. These ones are drawing away many unto themselves. The only way to “behold Israel” according to 1st Cor. 10:18 is “after the flesh.” Really think about that verse.
The 3 rules of interpretation of scripture agreed upon by all theologians: 1) Who is doing the talking?, 2) Who is being spoken to?, and 3) What is the context of that which is being spoken about? So for those of you that desire to hold onto the “fig-tree” analogy and the “generation” doctrine, consider the 3 rules of interpretation and you will do well. And also remember a little phrase hidden in the writ of divine scripture in the same section: “let him who reads understand” (which is for the reader that will be going through it at that particular time in history). And also the writers of the Old Testament and the New Testament liken Israel (as a nation) to the olive tree. If you want to know who is likened unto the fig-tree, then read the book of James. Some of this stuff is downright laughable. I mean, come on…really? Oh God, give us wisdom to walk away from our toys and take up our tools.
They came to Jesus in Acts 1:6 and asked Him concerning when the time would be for the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. His reply to them? “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power.” So then if this is what our Lord said to His own apostles…who do we think we are to spend our time and energy and financial resources trying to figure all this stuff out?!!!
Consider Romans 9:6, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” What is Paul saying here? Well…who was Israel? It was Jacob; and his name was changed to Israel. So then he is saying that not all of the offspring who came from his loins are actually of him. Who then is of Israel? Those who believe. Paul bears this out again and again in his writings (see Romans 11:23, 32). Here’s the problem…you won’t see these truths for yourself unless you dig deep into the word of God and search these things out for yourself. Some people spend more time reading about Israel and getting caught up in all the nonsense of it that they miss the truth. We are the Israel of God!!! Paul said in Romans 2:29 “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly…” If you’re a Christian, then you’re a Jew, plain and simple. Have you forgotten that God said in Exodus 12:48 that a stranger or foreigner who wished to join them had to do only two things: keep the Passover (believe in the blood), and be circumcised (showing a change of heart).
Quit following these teachers that major on all this Israel teaching. It only draws disciples away and steals your affections and your time. If you want to pray for Jerusalem, then pray for the Church just like Jesus did. Why do these men and women major on all this Israel stuff? For a couple reasons; 1) they are deceived, 2) it’s a huge money-maker, 3) they don’t study God’s word and see the real truth, 4) they love drawing people away unto themselves, 5) they are trying to add to the plan of salvation by saying that we must do this and do that for Israel, and 6) they are just misinformed. Make no mistake about it, these will give an account for building their lives and ministries on this teaching. There are ones in my own area who will plant an olive tree in Israel for you for the low price of $100.00. Brethren, beware of these people. Read Phil. 3:1-3 and see what Paul had to say about these ones.
Some of these tares (a tare is a weed that looks exactly like wheat but produces no grain in the head) who are bringing in “damnable heresies”. Steer clear of them brethren. Paul said “beware of them”!!! Jude calls them self-seekers. Quit worrying about Israel, and worry about working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.”
Anything that draws the disciples away is another gospel. And this teaching about Israel and following the signs of the fig-tree, etc., etc., etc are a smokescreen, and another gospel. And if you can’t see it, then you had better get into the word of God for yourself and search these matters out. Quit trying to compare things in the natural to things in the spirit. They don’t mix. It’s like oil and water. The dross always floats on the top.
God has cut them off until the fullness of the gentiles has been completed. Quit trying to graft them in – that is God’s job and it will be done in His own good time as we saw in Acts 1:7. Now I realize that there is Israel as a nation and Israelites as an individual. Any Jew can become a Christian if he fully believes in the atonement and all that it represents. In God’s eyes though, there is no difference in a Jew getting saved or an Indian in South America getting saved.
I personally think these issues really offend the Lord when He looks down and sees that His own Children are easily carried away with the error of some. I think it hurts His tender feelings if the truth be told. Come out from under these teachings and be reconciled in your mind to Christ in this area. Pray about this and study (STUDY) the word concerning it and He will cause you to see as you’ve never seen. In just the last 2 weeks I’ve had the opportunity to discuss these very issues with two different individuals and they have really begun to see the light in this area and are beginning to withdrawal themselves from the natural the more they see the spiritual. As long as you remain in your mind and covet these teachings, Christ can profit you nothing in this area; but as soon as you come over to the spirit and really see the error of it all – Christ will set you free of it and you will be free indeed. Jesus didn’t say “the truth will set you free” – but He said “you shall KNOW the truth and the truth will make you free.” In other words, it’s the truth that you have a working knowledge of that will set you free and make you free in a particular area of your life. I hope you caught that divine nugget – for it is a deep, deep truth!!
Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I say unto you that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it.”
Romans 9:8 “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise as accounted as the seed.”
Ephesians 3:6 “That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body.”
If anyone will just study the word of God and not the teachings of men and deceivers, they can see these spiritual truths for themselves. These are all types-and-shadows and must be discerned spiritually and not with any senses of outward form. Which the latter of is passing away (the outward form). And is making room for the new, that is the heavenly things of His tabernacle and of His temple. Brethren, let us not be swayed by these teachings – let us look unto Jesus and no one else and nothing else. For He is coming in great glory and power to wash everything away that is not of His Father’s nor of His eternal plan for the consummation of all things. Continue to pray and live (and I mean LIVE) in His word, and by doing so you will stay in the spirit until He can present us faultless before His Father. Paul said “let us not be children anymore in our thinking, but to be men.” These issues are for children – and not for Son’s. There is much more that can be said here, but let us leave these silly things far behind us and move on into perfection.