God’s Everlasting Decree To Israel
December 31, 2014
Rom. 15:10 says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people.” This is a quote from Dt. 32:43 which says, “Rejoice, O nations, with His people.” Thus we see that God’s Word equates the word “nations” with the term “Gentiles”, and that it separates the words “His people” from the word “Gentiles”. Consequently we can see that the term “Gentiles” is in contrast to the term “Jews” or “Israelites”. In other words, God’s people are the Israelites.
And why are the Gentile nations to rejoice with the Israelites? The rest of Dt. 32:43 tells us: “…for He will avenge the blood of His servants; He will take vengeance on His enemies and make atonement for His land and people.” Do we hear this? Do we accept that God is going to avenge the blood of His servants and that the term “His servants” refers to the Israelites? This is the context. Do we accept that God will make atonement not only for His people, but also for “His land”? If “His land” actually means “His people”, then the word “land” would be unnecessary in this promise.
God’s inheritance consists of both a land and a people. He chose a particular piece of real estate to be His own (Lev. 25:23 // Isa. 14:2 // Ezek. 36:1-15) and He chose a certain race to be His own –those who have descended from Jacob. (Dt. 7:6 & 14:2 & 32:9,10 // Ps. 135:4) Both the land and the race were what God separated from all others to be holy unto Himself. (same verses // Ps. 78:54) This chosen nation of people was commanded to possess the land God had chosen for Himself. As God promised the Israelites through Moses: “I will take you as My own people, and I will be your God… And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.” (Ex. 6:7,8) It was through this people group that God chose, and will choose again, to bring salvation, justice, and righteousness to the earth. (Gen. 12:1-3 // Isa. 9:6,7 // John 4:22) In this land God decreed that He would set up His sanctuary in which His Spirit would dwell and His Son would return to live and rule physically. (Isa. 9:6,7 // Acts 3:21)
Numerous passages in God’s Word state the Lord’s promise to the Israelites concerning His physical land. It is the land He swore to their forefathers to give them (Ex. 13:5), doing so with an oath. (v. 11) As Gen. 15:18 says, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates.” God told Abraham again in Gen. 17:8, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” God confirmed the covenant with both Isaac and Jacob and in Gen. 48:3,4 we see Jacob reminding Joseph of it, saying, “God Almighty appeared to me… and said to me, ‘…I will give this land as an everlasting possession to your descendants after you.'”
In David’s psalm of thanks to the Lord found in 1 Chron. 16:15-18, we read, “He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant He made with Abraham, the oath He swore to Isaac. He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.'” Is this difficult to understand? God made a covenant, He swore an oath, He commanded and confirmed an everlasting decree.
Unfortunately, there are those who teach that God later changed this promise to something like this, “Abraham’s descendants have rejected their Messiah so My promise to Abraham is now null and void. Instead, ‘this land’ has become ‘a spiritual land’, and the recipients are those who do accept the Messiah.” Thus they go on to twist multitudes of Scripture verses to support their blatant contradiction of God’s Word.
Are born-anew individuals also God’s people? Of course. But we have been grafted in (Rom. 11:17) and we are not to be arrogant toward the Jews (v. 18,20,25) who are experiencing “a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (v. 25) Must a Jew accept Jesus as the Messiah in order to be saved? Of course they must –just as any Gentile must.
But does the present unbelief of the majority of Jews wipe out God’s promises to Abraham and his descendants? It does not. (Rom. 11:1,2, 25-29) There will be a remnant delivered when the Lord returns with judgement on the nations (9:25-29), and that remnant will all turn to their Messiah (11:26,27) who will then rule –both physically and spiritually– over the whole earth, with His headquarters in Jerusalem. (Mi. ch. 4 & 5 // Rev. 11:15 & ch. 21) And “the remnant of Israel will do no wrong.” (Zeph. 3:13) For the Lord will purify them (v. 9-11), restoring them to Himself and granting them peace, prosperity, and safety forever. (v. 9-20) “‘In those days, at that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.'” (Jer. 50:20) Since Israel is still guilty before God, this verse refers to the future; and if anyone wants to claim that it refers to the church, they are wrong, for in verse 19, while promising that Israel will come back to his own pasture, God names specific geographical places. (See also Jer. ch. 30-33)
Over and over in God’s Word the promise of redemption –both spiritual and physical– is given to Israel. Over and over it is stated that it will be when the Lord comes with vengeance to rescue them from the nations who scattered them, who divided up their land, who oppressed them, who insulted them, and who have gathered against them for war. (Joel ch. 2 & 3 // Zeph. ch. 2 & 3 // Zech. ch. 12-14)
Isa. 14:1 prophesies that “once again He [God] will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land.” God does it. He does it through people –through other nations who bring the Jews to their own place (v. 2) and through the deliverance, salvation, and security He brings them after helping them defeat their oppressors. (same verse // Zech. ch. 12) The Lord Himself will fight against those nations that attack Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2,3) and He will defeat and judge them. (Ps. ch. 2) He will rule those nations with an iron scepter (v. 9), and “reign over the house of Jacob forever.” (Luke 1:33) For when “The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against His Anointed One” (Ps. 2:2) the Lord rebukes them in His wrath (v. 5) “saying, ‘I have installed My King on Zion, My holy hill.'” (v. 6) And the nations will become His inheritance, the ends of the whole earth His possession. (v. 8) For as Zech. 14:16 prophesies, “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty.”
So “on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and the house of Jacob will possess its inheritance.” (Ob. 1:17) “And the kingdom will be the LORD’s.” (v. 21)
Though God has repeatedly, and throughout His Word, stated His promises concerning the physical people and the physical land of Israel, there are people who disbelieve. One individual is Israeliteindeed, and she has spent the last six months, in post after post, stating the opposite of what God says on this issue. I can only conclude that her continued efforts stem from her need to actually convince herself. However, in doing so, she has strayed far from “correctly handling the Word of Truth” (2 Tim. 2:15) so that it would now take pages to address all of her errors. Moreover, it is truly grievous that while calling others ill-informed, racist, arrogant, wicked, and blasphemous, she herself could be in danger of such labels.
Though I do not wish to bring up all of Israeliteindeed’s misinterpretations on this subject, I will comment on something that especially struck me: That sometimes she interprets “Israel” in Scripture to mean all who are Christ-followers, and other times she admits the name does refer to the nation of Israel. She teaches that God’s promise of bringing the Jews back to their ancestral land was fulfilled in Ezra and Nehemiah’s time (see her 9/2/14 and 9/7/14 posts in particular) and that after they were dispersed again in 70 A.D., God rejected them (as a nation) with finality, meaning that their present national status is not the Lord’s doing. She reasons this by pointing out that the nation presently does not acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. Furthermore, though she quotes from Ezek. ch. 37, she apparently does not consider it significant that the body parts in that passage come together after the bones are prophesied to (v. 4), and that it takes another prophecy –to the breath (Breath / Spirit of God –v. 14)– for them to come to life. (v. 10)
Oddly as well, while teaching from Ezek. 37:1-14, Israeliteindeed does not include the rest of that chapter –verses 15-28. And why not? Because these verses make it plain that verses 1-14 are about the physical nation and land of Israel. So once she has said that the first fourteen verses are about the Jews’ return during Ezra’s time, she cannot switch and say that the rest of the chapter refers to the church. However, for her to admit that it does not refer to the church, means she must refute her own foundational view.
For God says, “I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel…” (Ezek. 37:21,22) “They will no longer defile themselves with… any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be My people, and I will be their God. My servant David [meaning Jesus] will be king over them… They will follow My laws and be careful to keep My decrees. They will live in the land I gave to My servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David My servant will be their prince forever… Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when My sanctuary is among them forever.” (v. 23-28) I left out some wording, but it is because it is repetitious. It is repetitious because God is stressing His promises. –The promises about physical land to the physical descendants of Abraham. And it is the same promises He makes multitudes of times in His Word.
For the Lord will let the nations advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat where He will judge them. (Joel 3:2,12) Thundering from Jerusalem, the Lord will protect the Israelites (v. 16) and make desolate those who committed violence against them. (v. 19) “Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, My holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.” (v. 17) After Ezra’s time foreigners did invade her and demolish her, so this can only be future. It cannot be about the church, since in the chapter God tells particular cities and nationalities of His judgement coming on them for what they committed against “My inheritance, My people Israel.” (v. 2) “For they scattered My people among the nations and divided up My land.” (same verse)
Thus the chapter, and the book, ends with God declaring, “‘Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem though all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.’ The LORD dwells in Zion!” (Joel 3:20,21) “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:26,27) Those who teach others that this will not happen and that it refers to the church (even in light of the fact that verse 25 distinguishes Israel from Gentiles!), should remember that teaching contrary to God’s Word is to teach rebellion against the Lord (Jer. 28:15-17) –a dangerous thing! (same verses)
Therefore, “Rejoice, O nations, with His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants; He will take vengeance on His enemies and make atonement for His land and people.” (Dt. 32:43) Are we like the world’s people who try to befriend the enemies of God (the unrepentant / those rebellious against God / those who belong to Satan), or do we rejoice that God will one day silence His enemies?