Redeemed, And Soon Glorified

August 3, 2016

I was reading Isa. 44:21-23 a few mornings ago and this statement which God made there really struck me: “Return to Me for I have redeemed you.” (v. 22b) It is “O Jacob… O Israel” (v. 21) whom the LORD is addressing. Using present tense for something future, God is saying that He has redeemed this particular race (Israel), and that because He has, He exhorts them to return to Him. In the same verse, God tells Israel that He has swept away their offenses and sins, while in verse 21 God assures them, “ are My servant; O Israel, I will not forget you.” In verse 23 all heaven and earth are told to sing and shout for joy. Why? Because, “The LORD has redeemed Jacob, He displays His glory in Israel.” (Same verse) So besides redeeming Jacob’s descendants, the LORD says that He displays His magnificence in them.

This passage, and many like it, are promises God is making to a group of people, a particular race. The race these promises were directed to were those who came from the physical lineage of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, whom God later named Israel. They became a nation, they were dispersed (due to God’s punishment to them for their continued sin, as He promised would happen), but they have once again become a nation, and this because God has fulfilled that repeated promise of His that He would bring the Israelites back to the land He had given them, that He would make them a nation again, and that He would display His glory within them.

Can God do such a thing even while the people still have not returned to Him? Of course. Can they be His servants even while they remain unbelieving concerning Jesus, the Messiah? Of course. Even of Nebuchadnezzar, the heathen king of Babylon who had thousands captured as well as killed, the LORD called him, “My servant”. (Jer. 27:6) And to Pharaoh, God said, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17) God can, and is, definitely making His name famous throughout the earth through Israel, even in their unbelieving state; and He will do so on a much greater scale when they, as a whole nation, return to their God. (11:12,15,26,27)

The Scriptures Jesus used (the Old Testament) were written to and for Israel specifically, and the Jewish people believed this to be so, as did Paul (Rom. 9:1-5) and Jesus Himself. (Mt. 15:24 // John 4:22) The whole world has been invited to share in the salvation that comes through “the King of the Jews” –a title Jesus did claim (Mt. 27:11), but there has been no replacement of the recipients of the Covenants. Gentiles are invited to have a share in Christ by being grafted into the spiritual citizenry of God’s people (Rom. 11:17 // Eph. 2:11-22), but to claim that it is not the houses of Israel and Judah that God has contracted with through both the Old and the New Covenants (Heb. 8:6-13), is to commit the very arrogance about which Paul warns the Roman church. (Rom. ch. 11) As he reminds us concerning God’s firm choice about two nations: “The older will serve the younger” (Rom. 9:12) and, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” (v. 13)

In spite of God’s clear Word, those who hold to the false doctrine of Replacement Theology –which has morphed into doctrines such as Augustinianism, Covenant Theology, Fulfillment Theology, Liberation Theology, and Christian Palestinianism– choose to follow those who teach that God has rejected Israel and transferred all the promises He made to them over to the Church. The Church is the new Israel, they say. Some, in denying they teach this, claim that the Church has existed throughout Israel’s history, the believing remnant being the Church (they say) to whom God made all those promises about the land, nation, salvation, glory, and dominion.

Strangely, while these teachers teach that all these promises are now to be reinterpreted to mean a spiritual land, a spiritual nation, a spiritual rule, etc., they also, at the same time, teach that the Jewish people were, in fact, the initial recipients of the promises, even those promises about the literal land. But should we believe that God is okay with men twisting His words around to mean something entirely different than what He stated so very clearly and repeatedly? For who did God really make all those everlasting promises to as He spoke to and through Israel’s patriarchs and prophets? Did He make them to the Church? Or did He make them to the literal offspring of Jacob? Anyone who has read the Bible, objectively, knows the answer.

We know that God covenanted with Jacob’s literal descendants –a race, a nation, a cultural/ethnic group, the Israelites, the Jews. Many of the branches were broken off through unbelief (Rom. 11:20), yet this is no excuse to teach that God revoked what His Word says is an irrevocable election. (v. 28,29) God’s numerous, lasting promises to Israel will be inherited eternally by all those Israelites who turn to their Messiah, though mercifully, Gentiles too, though cut from a wild olive tree, can, also through faith in Jesus, be grafted into the Jews natural, cultivated olive tree. (v. 17-24) Yes, Gentiles have been invited to share in the blessings of the New Covenant which God made with the Jewish race (v. 17,18 & 15:8-12), though the majority of the Jewish people have yet to believe. But, as God’s Word promises over and over, this will change!

Rom. 11:25-27 is just one passage where this promise of redemption is repeated, so let’s look at it closely, even while taking note at how it relates with the three Isaiah verses in my first paragraph above. Let’s then compare it with the way Replacement Theology adherents interpret it.

Here is Rom. 11:25-27, translated correctly, a couple different ways: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part [a partial hardening / a degree of hardening] until the full number [until the fullness] of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it has been written [through the Jewish prophets]: ‘The Deliverer [the Delivering One] will come from Zion [out of Zion]; He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My Covenant with them [Jacob’s descendants] when I take away their sins.'”

Now, in every instance that the Israelite’s race, city, or land is referred to, let’s insert the words “the Church” to see if teachers of Replacement Theology are interpreting God’s Word accurately. Indeed, if they were consistent and faithful to their doctrine, they would have to read Rom. 11:25-27 like this: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, fellow Church people, so that you may not be conceited: The Church has experienced a partial hardening until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all the Church will be saved, as it has been written: ‘The Deliverer will come from the Church; He will remove ungodliness from the Church. And this is My Covenant with the Church when I take away their sins.'”

Some Replacement Theology teachers claim that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises, or that by being in Jesus everyone is a recipient of all of God’s promises, including every promise He made to the patriarchs. Obviously Rom. 11:25-27 makes zero sense when we insert the name Jesus in place of the names Israel, Jacob, or Zion, so let’s try inserting the idea of “those in Jesus”. It then reads like this: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers in Jesus, so that you may not be conceited: You who are in Jesus have experienced a partial hardening until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all those in Jesus will be saved, as it has been written: ‘The Deliverer will come from that spiritual place in Jesus; He will remove ungodliness from those in Jesus. And this is My Covenant with those in Jesus when I take away their sins.'” Really? Those in Jesus have experienced a partial hardening until the full number of the Gentiles has come in? Does that make sense? And haven’t those in Christ already had their ungodliness and sins removed? Unquestionably, Rom. 11:25-27 is referring to the literal, physical Jewish people, the descendants of Jacob in the physical land of Israel.

So, let’s ask with the apostle Paul, “What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew?” (Rom. 3:1) Let’s believe Paul’s answer, for he says, “Much in every way!” (v. 2) And why? He says, “First of all, they have been entrusted with the very words of God.” (Same verse) “First of all” reveals that there are other advantages as well to belonging to the Jewish race; and of course we can read of these throughout the Word of God such as in Rom. 9:4,5, Mt. 5:35, Zec. ch. 2, Jer. 31:7, Dt. 14:2, etc.

After saying that there are many advantages to being a Jew, Paul promptly asks, “What if some [Jews] disbelieved? Will their lack of faith nullify God’s faithfulness [to His promises to them]?” (Rom. 3:3) Let’s believe Paul’s answer when he exclaims, “Not at all!” (v. 4) and when he emphatically reminds us that although men lie, God does not! (Same verse)

In verse 1 of Rom. 11 Paul asks, “I ask, then, Did God reject His people?” Immediately he answers, “By no means!” (Same verse) So how can Replacement Theology teachers claim that God has?! Paul continues (also in the same verse), “I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.” Paul is identifying with a physical, literal, bloodline within the Jewish race. He is emphasizing the Jewish race, stating that they are God’s people whom the Lord has not rejected. He is identifying God’s people as being the physical descendants of Abraham. Then he emphasizes the unending relationship again: “God did not reject His people…” (v. 2)

So even though God did, as punishment for their unfaithfulness to Him, remove His favor from them for a time, God has not rejected Israel, the nation He chose as His own inheritance forever. (Dt. 10:15 & 32:9 // Ps. 135:4 // Isa. 14:1,2 // Amos 3:1,2 & 9:11-15) Instead, by the Word who created the world and became a Jewish man (John 1:1-3,14), and though most of “His own [His own possession / His own people] did not receive Him” (v. 11,12), God’s faithfulness to His promises will manifest in a soon-coming spectacular physical deliverance, spiritual revival, and brilliant display of Christ’s glory for and throughout the entire nation of Israel. And every knee in heaven and on earth and under the earth will bow to the King of the Jews dwelling in Zion! (Isa. 9:6,7 & 66:7-24 // Zec. 14:16-21 // Phil. 2:9-11 // Rev. 11:15)

The Jewishness of our Lord Jesus is emphasized across the pages of Scripture, including in Christ’s own words even to the last chapter of the Bible: “I, Jesus… am the Root and the Offspring of David… Yes, I am coming soon.” (Rev. 22:16,20)

with love,

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