Who Are God’s Chosen People and Why Are They Chosen?


Who Are God’s Chosen People and Why Are They Chosen?

by Adam Maarschalk (September 22, 2010)

What follows is an actual discussion which took place on my Facebook page during the month of August 2010, concerning the very pivotal theological question of who God’s chosen people are. I was pleased that the discussion drew out the common ideas which are normally expressed on this topic. Lord willing, this won’t be the only post at this site dealing with this question, but I believe that the reader will find the following conversation to be educational and profitable. Anyone is more than welcome to add further thoughts, as well as to express agreement or disagreement with any of the thoughts expressed in this discussion. All of the 29 comments have been numbered for easy referencing, and they are also color-coded to indicate which participant wrote them (Adam, Dan, Mike, Manuel, Nadia, David). Last names have been removed for the sake of privacy. Here are the questions posed, and the comments which followed:

ORIGINAL POST: Important Christian theology question: According to the Bible, who are God’s chosen people at this present time? For what purpose are they chosen? How many chosen peoples does God have? One? Two?

COMMENT #1 (by Dan):  Ah, your favorite subject. God can choose different people for different things simultaneously. He doesn’t have to cancel out one choice for one purpose before he makes another choice for another purpose. He can have more than one plan in operation at one time. God chose us, the church, for eternal life. He didn’t choose Israel for eternal life, He chose them for other things, like for preserving His words and for being a means of revealing the true God to this world, etc. So, 2 peoples chosen for 2 different purposes. There’s no conflict here.

COMMENT #2 (by Adam): Hi Dan. Thanks for your comment. I’ll share my own viewpoint later today after I see what feedback comes in. In the meantime, I have a few questions for clarification, in particular regarding the second group you named (Israel):

[1] Do you believe that all who live in Israel today are presently chosen to preserve God’s words, reveal Him to this world, etc? In other words, does this include Palestinians and foreigners who are working/studying there? Does this exclude Jews who happen to live outside of Israel?

[2] Do you believe that God had only one chosen people (the Church) from 70 AD – 1948 when there was no established nation of Israel, and that ever since 1948 He has had two chosen peoples?

[3] What, if any, New Testament Scriptures speak of a present calling for the political nation of Israel (or for ethnic Jews, if this is what you mean instead)?

COMMENT #3 (by Mike): My question would be… EVERYONE in Israel? Just the Jews? Or Christians? What about Israeli Muslims? Is it a question of religion or ethnicity? Also kind of along the same lines, who are the 144,000 in Revelations? I used to think that was a big number, then I grew up.

COMMENT #4 (by Manuel): 1) Those who have trusted in Christ for salvation. 2) They are saved and therefore are the “chosen” to spread the good news of God’s redemption through Christ. 3) God only has one chosen people which are the spiritual seed of Abraham. In other words, the believers in Jesus Christ (people of faith in Christ). This is also known as spiritual Israel (not the nation of Israel). In my opinion.

COMMENT #5 (by Adam): Manuel, you have articulated my position on this matter, and I very much agree with what you have written. God has only ever had one chosen people, and no one (regardless of race) is part of God’s chosen people if they are outside of Christ. God’s chosen people in Old Testament times were chosen for the same purpose as God’s chosen people at this time. Compare what was spoken by Moses to “the people of Israel” (Exodus 19:3) to what has been spoken to the Church through Peter. The parallel language is unmistakable, and I have letter-coded the parallels (A, B, and C):

[1] To ancient national Israel: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, you shall be [A] MY TREASURED POSSESSION among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to Me [B] A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS and a [C] HOLY NATION…” (Exodus 19:5-6).

[2] To the Church: “But you are a chosen race, [B] A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, a [C] HOLY NATION, a people [A] FOR HIS OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people…” (I Peter 2:9-10).

Can there be any question that the Church is chosen for the same purpose that the nation of Israel was once chosen? In fact, Dan, I forgot in my previous reply to ask about your statement that ancient Israel was not chosen for eternal life. I believe the people of Israel were indeed chosen for this, and that the faithful among them have this inheritance as much as we do. Otherwise, should we expect that Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and many other faithful servants from Israel fell short of inheriting eternal life? Will we be separated from them for eternity? The people of Israel were to make known the path to eternal life (faith in the coming Messiah) to the nations surrounding them, but this often did not happen. The kingdom was eventually taken away from faithless Israel, as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 21:43, cf. Matt. 22:1-14), and given to “a people producing its fruits” (clearly the Church, those who belong to Christ and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit who enables us to produce spiritual fruit). This “people” (some translations say “nation”), of course, is made up of both Jews and Gentiles (i.e. those who trust in Christ).

As Manuel said/implied, Israel has never ceased to exist. The body of Christ today IS Israel in every true sense (see, for example, Romans 9:6-8 and Galatians 6:16). Outside of Christ there is no Israel (as God’s people), despite the fact that a secular, political nation in the Middle East happens to bear that name today. Romans 9:6-8 is most profound on this point (parenthetical notes are mine): “…For not all who are descended from [natural] Israel belong to [spiritual] Israel, and not all are [spiritual] children of Abraham because they are his [physical] offspring…it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” See this article for an excellent explanation of Galatians 6:16’s use of the phrase “the Israel of God” to refer to the Church: http://www.bible-researcher.com/gal6-16.html. Furthermore, we who are in Christ are spiritual Jews, so to speak: “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…” (Romans 2:28-29; see also Philippians 3:3).

Galatians 3:16 further points out that all the promises were made to Abraham and his offspring, “referring to One, ‘And to your offspring,’ who is Christ.” In the same chapter, Paul says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29). Does Paul leave any room for those who are outside of Christ to be heirs of the promises? No, he doesn’t, not even for unbelieving Jews. Nor did Jesus (see, for example, John 8:31-47), nor does the New Testament in any place.

Today many teach that the Jews (meaning all ethnic Jews) are God’s chosen people. I believe this is classic false teaching. I Peter 2:9-10, already quoted here, makes it explicitly clear why God’s chosen people, the body of Christ (believing Jews and Gentiles), are chosen. His people have been called out of darkness and now have the privilege of proclaiming His excellencies to those who are still in darkness. Unbelieving Jews remain in darkness, and cannot possibly carry out any such calling. For those who teach that all ethnic Jews are God’s chosen people, the question remains: What are they (allegedly) chosen for at this present time?

Another implication of this teaching (that all Jews are God’s chosen people) is that it makes Jewish believers superior to non-Jewish believers, something that the New Testament declares cannot be the case (e.g. Romans 10:12-13; Galatians 3:16, 28-29; Gal. 5:6, Gal. 6:15-16). The reason this superiority is implied is that Jewish believers would then be heirs of two sets of spiritual promises/blessings. One set of promises would be theirs simply because they are ethnically Jewish, and the other set would be theirs because they belong to Christ. Gentile believers could only partake of the second set of promises, and could never partake of the first set. The New Testament doesn’t allow for this, and in fact combats this idea, saying, for example: “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him” (Romans 10:12).

God never rejected the entire race of Jewish people, but continues to have a remnant from among them (Romans 9:27, 11:1-5). Any Jew who trusts in Christ for salvation is part of God’s one and only chosen people, the Church. In Christ there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, no partiality, no superiority for one group over the other, and no special plan that applies to one group and not the other. Any Jew who does not trust in Christ is just as much lost and in darkness as any non-Jew who does not belong to Christ. They are chosen, along with lost Gentiles, only for condemnation (John 3:18).

COMMENT #6 (by Adam): An excellent, though lengthy, treatment of this subject of God’s chosen people can be seen here in this article by Stephen Sizer:

http://www.cc-vw.org/articles/zcs2.pdf

COMMENT #7 (by Adam): Hi Mike. I appreciated your thoughtful questions above. And I liked your line about the 144,000 (“I used to think that was a big number, then I grew up”). I can identify with that. :-) Regarding the 144,000, I personally believe they were first-century AD believers (all Jewish, or mostly Jewish) who fled from Jerusalem to Pella (in modern day Jordan) before that city was invaded by the Romans. They did this in response to a very specific warning given by Jesus (see Matthew 24:15-20 and Luke 21:20-23). I believe their virginity (Revelation 14:4) was not necessarily physical, but rather spiritual (this is language commonly used in the Old Testament for faithfulness versus faithlessness). If interested, feel free to check out the studies on my blog on Revelation 7 and 14 (where the 144,000 are mentioned):

[1] http://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/09/27/revelation-7-study/
[2] http://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/11/30/revelation-chapter-14/

COMMENT #8 (by Nadia): Adam, I see you have your own theological forum. Nice work:)

COMMENT #9 (by Adam): Thanks, Nadia. Do you have any thoughts you’d like to add to what’s already been stated here?

COMMENT #10 (by David): The beginning of the Mission to the Gentiles is very strong evidence that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah. It was God’s purpose all along that the blessings promised to Abraham and his seed should go out to all the nations of the world. It is this that we see unfolding in the book of Acts.

COMMENT #11 (by David): We should learn to read the whole of the Bible missiologically, rather than see world evangelism as being based merely on the texts traditionally known as The Great Commission. That’s the grand narrative expounded in Christopher J H Wright’s book, “The Mission of God”.

COMMENT #12 (by David): Don’t you hate it when people who oppose Adam’s position accuse us of teaching “replacement theology”? If ever there was a bad description of consistent Biblical theology, surely that is one.

COMMENT #13 (by David): Often overlooked when Christians are debating this theological topic: The suffering of Palestinian Christians. Brethren – pray for them.

COMMENT #14 (by Adam): David, thank you for your comments. Yes, world evangelization was a Biblical goal long before Jesus delivered what is known as the Great Commission. I also understand what you’re saying about the common accusation of teaching “replacement theology.” This phrase seems to be used quite often as a cop-out or a conversation stopper. Ironically, those who use it as a weapon often assign promises made to the Church to either the modern nation of Israel or to the Jewish people as a race, the majority of whom are completely separated from Christ, in whom all promises are fulfilled. In effect, then, it’s the Church that becomes (at least in part) “replaced.”

I also agree with you about the plight of Palestinian Christians. Their suffering is not only far too often overlooked, but is even perpetuated by hardline Zionist policies which are rabidly supported by many American professing Christians. But that’s perhaps a subject for another time and place. Indeed, let’s pray for them.

COMMENT #15 (by Nadia): Unfortunately, I don’t have any thoughts to add. This was our last week’s assignment and I am behind :( Maybe later I will put my two cents :)

COMMENT #16 (by Dan): ‎? I guess I needed to be more specific. I didn’t use the word ‘Israel’ to mean the current political entity in the Holy Land. That seems to be the assumption behind the questions. God called the descendants of Jacob, “Israel’, regardless of whether they were living in the promised land or not. For example, the prophet Ezekiel was among the captives of Judah in Babylon, long after the northern tribes were taken captive by Assyria. He used the word “Israel’ almost 200 times. It looks like most of those times were the words of God talking to Israel and calling them ‘Israel’ even though they weren’t in their land. That’s the meaning I intended.

All Israel (all ethnic Jews) haven’t been saved (received eternal life). All the Church has been saved, or they wouldn’t be the Church. So, I meant Israel, as a whole, isn’t guaranteed eternal life. This doesn’t exclude Abraham, Moses, David, etc. from attaining it. The problem with contrasting Israel and the Church is that there is a lot of overlap between the two, as well as the contrasts. The Church wasn’t something completely separate from Israel. God gave the New Covenant to Israel, but called Gentiles to be a part, also, as wild olive branches grafted into the natural olive tree (Romans 11). God didn’t create a whole new tree, He grafted us into the old one. That’s why the parallel passages from Moses and Peter make perfect sense. At the same time, God does have covenants with ethnic Israel that are irrevocable (also Romans 11). Caboose…

COMMENT #17 (by Adam): Dan, thank you for following up on your previous comment, and for addressing some of my (and Mike’s) questions. OK, so I think we’re clear now that you believe that all ethnic Jews are God’s chosen people, and that this chosen people is distinct from God’s other chosen people, the Church. You and I have talked briefly about dispensationalism in the past, but I know that it’s this system (invented by John Nelson Darby in the 1830’s) which holds that Israel and the Church are distinct, with each entity having separate (although some overlapping) promises.

To me, the parallel language used by Moses (Exodus 19) and Peter (I Peter 2) only makes sense if the Church now IS Israel, and if outside of the Church there is no Israel (regardless of the fact that a political entity bears that name today).

You said that God grafted Gentile believers into God’s natural olive tree. However, was/is the olive tree natural or spiritual? I believe it’s spiritual, and that it’s the natural branches (the Jews) who, because they didn’t believe in Christ, were cut off from the tree (Romans 11:17-24) but can be grafted in on an individual basis if they believe on Christ (verse 23). The grafting in of Gentiles is likewise on an individual basis, only for those who believe. You also said that the New Covenant was given to Israel, which you have defined as referring to ethnic Jews. Surely we agree, though, that unbelieving Jews have nothing to do with the New Covenant, right? The New Covenant was established through Christ’s work on the cross. Also, in response to what you said, what exactly are the covenants that God maintains with ethnic Israel to this day, and how do we reconcile this idea with New Testament teaching (see previous comments) that all spiritual blessings belong to the Church and that all promises are fulfilled in Christ (and therefore none are fulfilled outside of Christ)?

In any case, the words of Moses and Peter simply cannot be true of ethnic Jews as a whole or for anyone who does not belong to Christ. So the question remains: If ethnic Jews are God’s chosen people at this present time, where does the New Testament express the purpose for which they are chosen? On the other hand, here is what the New Testament has to say about God’s chosen people and why they are chosen (I did a quick Bible Concordance search for NT passages speaking of God’s chosen ones in a corporate sense):

[1] “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14; see verses 1-13 for context).

[2] “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you” (John 15:16).

[3] “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).

[4] “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him…” (Ephesians 1:3-4; see also verses 5-14 for an even fuller description of what belongs to God’s chosen people).

[5] See also Ephesians 2:11-22 [The word “chosen” is not used, but this passage speaks of God bringing those who were far off (Gentiles) “near by the blood of Christ,” creating “one new man”, “one body,” and breaking down the wall of hostility that separated them (us) from the “the commonwealth of Israel” and “the covenants of promise.”]

[6] “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” (Colossians 3:11-12).

[7] “As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… 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. 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” (I Peter 2:4-10).

Clearly God’s chosen people, according to these passages, are strictly those who belong to Christ. It’s all about bearing spiritual fruit, not being of this world, having every single spiritual blessing, being holy and blameless, being God’s own special possession, proclaiming His excellencies to those who are in darkness, receiving mercy, etc. None of these things can be true for unbelieving Jews, or for the Jewish race as a whole. So where is the evidence in the New Testament that all ethnic Jews are chosen for any unique purpose at all? What are they presently chosen for?

COMMENT #18 (by Dan): I guess John Nelson Darby organized ideas in the 1830′s about Bible dispensations to a greater degree than previously, but he didn’t invent it. Writings about various ‘dispensations’ (also called ‘economies’) in the Bible goes back to Justin Martyr (110-165 A.D.), Irenaeus (130-200 A.D.), Clement of Alexandria, who specified 4 dispensations (150-220 A.D.), and Augustine (354-530 A.D.). Some of them were even premillenialists, believing that Jerusalem and the Temple had to be rebuilt because of prophecies about the Antichrist. Nearer to Darby, Pierre Poiret (1646-1719) wrote a 6-volume systematic theology that included 7 dispensations. John Edwards (1637-1716) wrote a 2-volume systematic theology titled “A Complete History or Survey of All the Dispensations”. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote about 6 dispensations. Even the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians refers to a future dispensation: “… the dispensation of the fullness of times…” (Eph. 1:10). That would be the last dispensation, sometimes called ‘the eternal state’.

Actually, I’ve never warmed up to the term, ‘Dispensationalism”. It’s never made sense to me to focus so much on dispensations. If someone says that I’m a dispensationalist, I think, “OK, whatever.” I also don’t think much about ‘Covenantalism’, the antithesis of Dispensationalism. I can’t get into the debate about whether to focus on dispensations or covenants. I see them both in the Bible, and I don’t understand this whole thing about drawing a line in the sand and lining up on one side or the other. I think it’s much more important to focus on whether to take the words of the Bible literally or to take them symbolically. And I realize that some of the differences between Dispensationalism and Covenantalism DO involve this. Dispensationalists tend to take the Bible literally and Covenantalists tend to allegorize the Bible. I read recently that any kind of ‘ism’ in systematic theology has problem scriptures. I suppose that’s true. Some dispensationalists are realizing the necessity to fine-tune some of their doctrine. They’re called Progressive Dispensationalists. Mostly, they’re realizing that Classic Dispensationalism makes too much distinction between Israel and the Church and that they shouldn’t keep them distinct forever. Some Covenantalists are also realizing the necessity to fine-tune some of their doctrine. They’re called Progressive Covenantalists, and they realize that they can’t just allegorize the wealth of specific details in all the prophecies about Israel’s future, including their national restoration in their land. I’ve also read that anyone’s beliefs about Israel indicate whether they’re a Dispensationalist of a Covenantalist. That’s actually not true. After reading some of Stephen Sizers articles on his website, I read a couple books by his friend, David Pawson, defending Christian Zionism. I was really suprised to find out that David Pawson, even though he is a Christian Zionist, is NOT a dispensationalist, and very much against dispensationalism. So, I find this whole ‘ism’ thing in systematic theology not very helpful in understanding things. Caboose time again (that pesky Post Office)…

COMMENT #19 (by Adam): Dan, I also don’t have a problem with seeing a few different ages or dispensations in history. I understand that some in the past have seen three dispensations: law (up until Christ), grace (this present age), and kingdom/eternal state. Others have seen four: patriarchal, Mosaic, Church age, Zionic and/or kingdom age. Darby, however, is credited even by Classic Dispensationalists as having developed the modern system of dispensationalism. You’re correct that some now favor Progressive Dispensationalism (which I’m not really sure how to define), and that some Christian Zionists are not classic dispensationalists.

Beyond the breaking up of history into ages (dispensations), the key component of dispensationalism seems to be the distinction between national Israel and the Church, as well as the assertion that God’s promises to national Israel have never been fulfilled but will be in the future. Another key component is the idea that this present Church age is an unforeseen parenthesis (interruption) in God’s program with national Israel, which He will allegedly fully resume during a future 7-year Tribulation period after the Church is taken away (raptured). According to classic dispensationalism, the “Tribulation saints” will somehow be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit (the restrainer of II Thess. 2), who will have been removed from the earth together with the Church. John Nelson Darby also championed the idea that all ethnic Jews are God’s chosen people, even if they reject Christ. It’s these ideas that I personally reject more so than the breaking up of history into different ages (although I also don’t believe that there will be a future earthly kingdom based out of Jerusalem–premillennialism, nor do I believe that the Great Tribulation is future or that it was ever said to be 7 years in length).

Anyway, as much as I’m happy to discuss dispensationalism, I hope this topic doesn’t become a rabbit trail leading away from the specific topic at hand:

“Who are God’s chosen people? Does He have one chosen people or two, and for what purpose are they chosen?”

Dispensationalism is related in a way, though, since Darby (and C.I. Scofield after him) did so much to promote the idea that all ethnic Jews are God’s chosen people. So feel free to respond to what I’ve written here about dispensationalism, but if at all possible I’d like to hear from you (and anyone else who shares your viewpoint) why you believe that even unbelieving Jews remain among God’s chosen people. That is, for what purpose are they presently chosen? In particular, I’d like to know which New Testament texts express this idea. Feel free to invite anyone else here to tackle this question.

COMMENT #20 (by Dan): I agree with much of what you said here. I’ve also heard that the Church age is an unforeseen parenthesis, and that God will someday ‘resume’ His program with Israel. Completely untrue. Even back at the beginning, when God first called Abraham, He promised him that all the families of the earth would be blessed through Abraham’s one, specific seed/descendent – which we know is Jesus. “All the families of the earth” reaches way out beyond the promised land to include the whole planet, and reaches way out beyond one particular line of the sons of Shem to include all men. The church would only be ‘unforeseen’ to someone ignorant of the Bible. And God’s dealings with ethnic Israel doesn’t have to ‘resume’ because it was never put on hold to begin with. God’s dealings with ethnic Israel during their diaspora/dispersion were fully explained by Moses in Leviticus 26 and elsewhere, so rather than being on hold, the program of God for Israel has been ongoing in just the way the Bible said it would.

You’re also correct that the Great Tribulation was never said to be 7 years in length. We’ve heard the phrase “seven-year Tribulation” so often that many think it comes from the Bible. It doesn’t. It comes from people thinking that the entire 70th week of Daniel is the Tribulation, but there’s no Biblical reason to think that. And you brought up the teaching that the ‘Tribulation saints’ will be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit. Right – saved without the Holy Spirit. Where do people come up with this stuff? It’d be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Christians should know better.

“Who are God’s chosen people? Does He have one chosen people or two?” Answering that with either a simple “one” or “two” could be misunderstood and misleading and wouldn’t communicate effectively or satisfactorily. The answer has to have more information with it than just one word. It has to also include some explanation. So, the best answer I can think of right now is to say that God has one chosen group and one group of chosen individuals. This is a very important distinction! We’re not comparing apples with apples here, or even apples with oranges – we’re comparing apples with trees. Again, God has one chosen group and one group of chosen individuals – and the chosen group is chosen for different purposes than the chosen individuals are chosen for. I think the distinction is profound. There’s no reason to think that God has to unchoose the group before He starts choosing the individuals. As I said before, God can have more than one plan in operation at one time. He’s God.

Israel was chosen as a nation, not as individuals – chosen as a group, irregardless of what any specific individuals within the group did or didn’t do; or what they believed or didn’t believe. God chose to bring about certain results/purposes through this chosen nation-group as a whole. He blessed them as a whole and judged them as a whole. It was primarily the whole – ‘the big picture’.

The church, however, is chosen one at a time, individually, and not as a group, a nation, or a people. They’re randomly scattered and completely unrelated. Like Peter said, “once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people“. 1Pt.2:10

Why did God choose ethnic Israel?
And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them;…” Deut. 4:37
The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples;
“but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers
,…” Deut. 7:7,8
The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day.” Deut. 10:15

What about now?
“…they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers.
“For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call
.] Rom. 11:28,29 Amplified.

After Jesus came, was there still a legitimate expectation that God would still restore national Israel according to the words of the prophets? The disciples asked Him about this in Acts 1:6, “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus didn’t tell them that God wasn’t dealing with the nation of Israel anymore. He said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” In other words, God has decided when the restoration of Israel will happen, but is keeping that timetable to himself right now.

Caboose.

COMMENT #21 (by Manuel): To say that God loves the Jewish people more than any other is a racist statement. God chose Abraham as an example of the faith people and his seed or people of faith (in Jesus specifically for our time). Jesus himself wept over Israel’s decision not to follow Him. that He came unto his own but His own did not receive him. So what did Jesus do – He chose those who would believe in Him. Remember when Jesus’ 1/2 brothers and sisters came looking for Him. Jesus said to the onlookers – “But he answered and said unto him tahat told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Mat 12:48-50
So Jesus did not respect a blood line. He only sees a spiritual line to believers.

There is another principle we have to consider: God is not a respector of persons. And by the same token of nations, or creeds, or whatever.
God the Father is no respecter of persons, and He will not be showing any type of partiality or favoritism to any man or woman He has ever created.
Acts 10:34, Gal 2:6, Deut 10:17, 1 Peter 1:17

Now let’s look at the Jewish response to Jesus according to Jesus himself:

Matt 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”  Verse 38 “Behold your house is left desolate.”
Verse 39 “For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

On verse 39 – Jesus is saying that He will not be seen by the Jewish people until they individually can see Him as the Savior. In other words, until they become his spiritual children, not his physical ethnic group. Please remember that God does not save nations, He only saves individuals from nations. God will not wait for the whole nation to change its mind. If I have already decided to follow him now, I am accepted when I say yes to Him. When I say yes, then I am included into His spiritual family and become a child of God. Now I can rightly say that I am his brethren as noted in Mat 12:50.

I can’t make this more clear than using the Lord’s own words from the word of God.

I think that we as believers should concentrate more on the lost than to wait around for the Jewish nation to repent and see Jesus for who He really is – messiah. There should be an outreach to the Jewish nation as other nations that do not know who the savior is. God loves all people and has children in many nations. We clearly see that God is not showing any favoritism to Israel. We can choose Jesus as savior, or eternal judgement, regardless of our ethnic background. Period.

COMMENT #22 (by Dan): ‎”To say that God loves the Jewish people more than any other is a racist statement”. I agree – who said that?

COMMENT #23 (by Adam): Dan, I’ve been meaning for some time now to reply to your response from over a week ago, but here it is finally. I appreciate your openness regarding the claims of dispensationalism, and where you stand on some of these things. It all makes for very interesting discussion, and helps in getting to know you better. At some point in the future I’d be interested in knowing how you view the 70th week of Daniel (e.g. who makes—or made—the covenant with many, who the “many” are, how the sacrifices and offerings of Daniel 9:27 are to be viewed, etc.). That’s such a pivotal prophecy.

I agree with you that no program of God’s has been postponed or put on hold, including His program with Israel. The difference we have in this regard seems to be in how we identify Israel. In the viewpoint that you’ve articulated, Israel is made up of ethnic Jews. On the other hand, I see Scripture teaching that Israel is the Church, and that outside of the Church there is no true Israel. In other words, there is only continuity, and God has never ceased to have one special and chosen people for Himself, Israel. Some passages to examine on this point are those already quoted above: Romans 2:28-29, Romans 9:6-8, and Galatians 6:15-16.

Prior to Christ’s first coming, Israel as a nation was chosen, as you have said. Still, God always had a faithful remnant, just as He has now. Even at that time, provision was made for those who were unfaithful to be cut off from among God’s people. For example:

And God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations… Every male among you shall be circumcised… So shall My covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant” (Genesis 17:9-14).

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:15; see also verse 19).

“…but the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the Lord’s peace offerings while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people…” (Leviticus 8:20-21).

Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the Lord… For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places” (Leviticus 23:27-31).

The ultimate cutting off from God’s people was to come upon those who reject(ed) Christ:

Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to Him in whatever He tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up His servant, sent Him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness” (Acts 3:22-26).

Under the Old Covenant, God’s people weren’t as plentiful as it might seem that they were, for there were many who descended physically from Abraham but were not counted as being among God’s people, Israel, because of their unfaithfulness. God’s people were those Israelites who served Him faithfully, as well as those from other nations who joined them in this service. When John the Baptist (Matthew 3:7-12) and Jesus (e.g. John 8:37-47) refused to allow their Jewish audience to claim to be among God’s people because of their physical descent from Abraham, they really weren’t saying anything different than what Moses and the Old Testament prophets had said.

Prior to the cross, the majority of those who were counted as God’s people were ethnic Jews. God’s people today are those who belong to Christ, whether Jew or Gentile. There has been an expansion, a very intentional opening up of the gospel to the Gentiles, and today the majority of those who are counted as God’s people are Gentiles. Aside from this difference, there is also much continuity. God had a faithful remnant prior to the cross, and the same is true today.

I have to confess that I don’t understand the distinction you tried to make between God having one chosen group and one group of chosen individuals. I have pondered what you said, but I just don’t see it. You said that the chosen group (and by this, I understand that you mean ethnic Jews) is chosen for different purposes than the group of chosen individuals (the body of Christ) is chosen. But how is this true? As already shown in previous comments, “the people of Israel” (Exodus 19:3-6) were chosen for the very same purposes that the body of Christ is presently chosen (I Peter 2:9-10). You also said that the nation of Israel was chosen as a group, regardless of what individuals did/believed or didn’t do/didn’t believe. However, as shown above, provision was made to cut off faithless individuals from among that group known as Israel, so that only a faithful remnant remained (from God’s vantage point) to make up God’s people. You also said that a distinctive of the Church is that we are chosen “individually, and not as a group, a nation, or a people.” We are saved individually, yes, but our calling/purpose/choosing is certainly corporate, and we are declared by Scripture to be a people and a holy nation (e.g. Matthew 21:43, II Corinthians 6:16-17, Ephesians 2:11-22, I Peter 2:4-10).

Regarding Romans 11:28-29, the Jewish people are spoken of as “beloved for the sake of their forefathers.” This speaks of the historical significance of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, and to me it also fits with what Peter said (quoted earlier): “God, having raised up His servant, sent Him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness” (Acts 3:26). Jesus lived and ministered among the Jews, and the gospel was first made available to them, before being proclaimed throughout the nations. At the same time, “God has consigned all to disobedience, that He may have mercy on all” (Rom. 11:32). In other words, Jews are just as lost as anyone else without Christ (and on this I know we agree). However, the Jews are not utterly cast off, for any Jew who would turn from disobedience, drawn to Jesus by the Father (John 6:44), would receive mercy (just as any Gentile would). At that point, and at that point only, could they possibly take their place in fulfilling the purposes for which God’s people are chosen (both in ancient times and also now): to be a holy people, a nation of priests, a people for His own possession, and a light to the nations.

My response concerning Acts 1:6 will follow in the next comment…

COMMENT #24 (by Adam): Regarding Acts 1:6, you’re right that Jesus didn’t explicitly rebuke the disciples for asking a nationalistic question. Their question was similar in nature to the statement made by the two men on the way to Emmaus: “But we had hoped that He was the One to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Jesus was patient in His reply to these two men, just as He was with the question asked by the apostles as recorded in Acts 1:6 (“Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”). In addition to His statement regarding times and seasons, part of His reply was to again prophesy of the Day of Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit with power, and the mandate to be His witnesses even to the end of the earth. It’s interesting, and I would say very revealing, that after Pentecost came the apostles never again spoke of the kingdom of God in nationalistic terms. I appreciate the explanation that Stephen Sizer gives regarding Acts 1:6.

“It is interesting that in this question, the Apostles at least, see ‘Israel’ as having a separate existence as a people without sovereignty in the land. In his commentary, John Calvin writes, ‘There are as many mistakes in this question as there are words.’ John Stott, in his commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, succinctly appraises errors made:

‘The mistake they made was to misunderstand both the nature of the kingdom and the relation between the kingdom and the Spirit. Their question must have filled Jesus with dismay. Were they still so lacking in perception?… The verb, the noun and the adverb of their sentence all betray doctrinal confusion about the kingdom. For the verb restore shows they were expecting a political and territorial kingdom; the noun Israel that they were expecting a national kingdom; and the adverbial clause at this time that they were expecting its immediate establishment. In his reply (7-8) Jesus corrected their mistaken notions of the kingdom’s nature, extent and arrival.’

Since the Holy Spirit had not been given, the disciples may be forgiven for still holding to an Old Covenant understanding of the Kingdom with the reestablishment of the monarchy and liberation from the brutal colonialism of Rome. Had they been present at Jesus’ trial they might have understood things differently. Jesus explained, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place’ (John 18:36).

Jesus repudiated the notion of an earthly and nationalistic kingdom on more than one occasion (see John 6:15). This is why, in reply to the disciples, Jesus says that he has another agenda for the Apostles:

It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

The kingdom which Jesus inaugurated would, in contrast to their narrow expectations, be spiritual in character, international in membership and gradual in expansion. And the expansion of this kingdom throughout the world would specifically require their exile from the land. They must turn their backs on Jerusalem and their hopes of ruling there with Jesus in order to fulfill their new role as ambassadors of his kingdom (Matthew 20:20-28; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21). The Acts of the Apostles suggests that they needed something of a kick-start to get going. It is only when the Christians in Jerusalem experience persecution following the death of Stephen and are scattered that they begin to proclaim the gospel to others (see Acts 8:1-4). The Church was sent out into the world to make disciples of all nations but never told to return. Instead Jesus promises to be with them where ever they are in the world (Matthew 28:18-20).”

Source: http://www.cc-vw.org/articles/zcs3.pdf (pages 14-15)

COMMENT #25 (by Adam): Manuel, thank you very much for your latest response as well. I most appreciated your opening up of Matthew 23:39. This is my understanding as well, that Christ was speaking of an individual response, not a corporate one, and that both Jews and Gentiles (us included) have been responding in this way during the last 2000 years. May we continue to labor in the vineyard so that even more will do so.

COMMENT #26 (by Nadia): Adam, I think it’s time to publish a book based on these insights :) looks like you have enough material!

COMMENT #27 (by Manuel ): I have to agree with Nadia on this Adam. That way we can reference from that resource.

COMMENT #28 (by Dan): Adam, I’m getting the distinct impression that we don’t completely agree on some of these things. ;-)

Actually, I know that any difference of opinion in these things is just a temporary situation. Ultimately, we will see and know and understand these things in exactly the same way. Now, we know in part, but then we shall know as we are known. Imagine Stephen Sizer, Hal Lindsay, and John Hagee all being in complete agreement about Israel and the Church (OMGosh). It will happen. That’s the power of God.

It’s been awhile since I looked at anything connected with Daniel’s 70th week, so I remember generalities, but I’m a little hazy on specifics. I’ll have to look at it again, and then I’ll get back to you about it.

COMMENT #29 (by Adam): Now, Dan, what gave you that impression? :-) Yes, that day you’re speaking of, when we will know fully even as we have been fully known (I Cor. 13:13), is definitely something to look forward to. Very good reminder. I have to admit that the image of Sizer, Lindsay, and Hagee being in complete agreement is a startling one.

I would very much look forward to a discussion of Daniel 9:24-27, if we’re able to do so. When that time comes, it would be good to start a new discussion thread, rather than host it here in this thread. I do continue to appreciate your willingness to dig deeper on some of these things, to challenge and be challenged, etc. It’s very good exercise for the mind and spirit.

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

This wraps up the discussion as it took place on Facebook. What viewpoint do you, the reader, have on this subject of the identity and purpose(s) of God’s chosen people? Are God’s chosen people the physical descendants of Abraham (ethnic Jews)? Are they the spiritual descendants of Abraham (all who belong to Christ through faith)? Do both of these groups make up God’s chosen people? In any response that you may have, please—if you are able to—make an effort to interact with the question of why God’s chosen people are presently chosen. Thank you.

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

All posts on the subject of Christian Zionism can be found here.

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35 thoughts on “Who Are God’s Chosen People and Why Are They Chosen?

  1. Hey Adam

    Excellent subject, i had not noticed before the parallel language of Exodus 19:5-6 and 1 Peter 2:9-10.I think Peter wrote a TIMELESS message,that applied to ALL who trusted in Christ in that age (when the letter was written) and to All who trust in Christ today,Jew and non Jew alike.

    However, i do not believe that what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 9:27 is TIMELESS. Paul spoke of a ‘short work’ upon the Earth (land) in 9:28. Perhaps referring to a time that has past already?

    It is false (as you have indicated) for anyone to believe that a Jew who comes to faith in Christ naturally has greater standing (double blessing) before God than a non Jew who comes to faith.

    Many believe that the Jew whom comes to faith TODAY,is of a REMNANT,and is of the original olive tree,even the root,which supports all the grafted in branches).

    Some take the phrase ‘ALL Israel’ will be saved,either applying it to ethnic Jews who come to faith in Christ or spiritual Israel,ALL people who have faith in Christ.I am not sure (anymore) that All Israel will be saved,applies to ANYONE or any particular group TODAY.

    Taking from what you have already written Adam,i add,that i believe that Romans 9:27 and 11:1-32 was fulfilled in the 1st century,either in the 144,00 of Rev or in the devout Jews ‘ regathered ‘ at Pentecost.

    Therefore God’s chosen people Today are those spoken of in 1 Peter 2:9-10 which includes both Jew and Gentile TODAY without distinction,as Paul has also written in Romans 10:12.

    Seroled

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    • Hi Seroled!

      Thanks for your reply. Amen to what you said about Peter writing a timeless message for all who trust in Christ. Indeed, there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile among those who belong to Christ, that is, among God’s one chosen people. Romans 10:12, which you mentioned, is crystal clear that God’s blessings and riches are poured out equally upon all who call on Him, regardless of ethnicity.

      My thinking on Romans 9:27-29 seems to be much the same as yours. I believe Paul was hinting toward what was soon to take place, and what took place in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. As discussed elsewhere on this blog, the phrase “the earth” in verse 28 can just as well be translated “the land,” meaning the land of Israel/Palestine. At that time, only a remnant was saved. There is perhaps also application of this passage beyond the events of that time, if Paul’s intent here was also to say that the total number of “the sons of Israel” will never be saved, but only a remnant. Just a thought, but I’m not sure…

      Whether or not Romans 11:26 (“…all Israel will be saved…”) was fulfilled in the first century, and is connected to the 144,000 of Revelation 7 and 14, I’m not 100% certain. I’ve considered that possibility, especially in light of verse 25, which speaks of the partial hardening upon Israel, a hardening which I believe was temporary and parallel to the indictment that Jesus and the apostles placed upon their own faithless generation (e.g. Matthew 23:29-36, I Thess. 2:14-16, etc.).

      At this present time I lean toward the idea that the fulfillment of Romans 11:26 is ongoing. In other words, I take the language of verses 26b and verse 27 to be a reference to Christ’s work on the cross (Jesus came from Zion in order to banish ungodliness from His people, He established a New Covenant in which sins are taken away from all who believe). Since that quote from Isaiah 59 is used to explain verse 26a, it seems to me that we are being told that it’s in this manner that “all Israel” (all who trust in Christ; see Romans 9:6-8) will be saved (i.e. is being saved even at this present time). Do you have any further thoughts on that?

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  2. Hi Adam!

    I have to agree with you Adam,since Romans 11:26b and 27 does refer to Jesus’ work on the cross,then absolutely All Israel(all who believe in Christ)are being saved at this present time.No event(past)is greater than the cross,Jesus is saving all who believe today.

    As we have agreed before,that the regathering of Israel took place at Pentecost,so there is but an ongoing ‘gathering’ of the church of God,both Jew and non Jew.

    Which means to me,that there can be no future ‘regathering’ of ethnic Israel.There is no Remnant ‘at this present time’(Romans 11:5) And certainly no blinded people who are Jews ‘unto this day’ (Romans 11:8) God has but one chosen people today (Romans 10:12)

    Thanks Adam

    Seroled

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    • Amen, Seroled. This great gathering of Jews and non-Jews is ongoing, and you and I are privileged to be a part of it.

      Regarding the partial hardening upon Israel, and the fullness of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25), have you read the article by Mike Blume titled “When and What Are the ‘Times of the Gentiles’?” I highly recommend it:

      http://mikeblume.com/timesgen.htm

      There’s one idea toward the end of the article that I’m not sure about, but otherwise I think he did an excellent job, especially in his comparison of three parallel passages: Luke 21:24, Romans 11:25, and Revelation 11:2. He also does well to point out that Scripture never ties the phrase “fullness of the Gentiles” in with salvation of Gentiles, nor does it equate this time period with the Church age. In Mike’s view, and mine as well, the “times of the Gentiles” ended in 70 AD rather than beginning at that time (as those with a futuristic interpretation of Luke 21:24 often assert).

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  3. Hey Adam,

    Thanks for the article! I think that he did a good job as well – with the exception of the ‘manner’ in which Jews would be saved.I do not believe that Paul intended as doctrine – that the manner in which Jews are saved is by provoking them to jealousy with Gentile salvation.

    I agree with what you wrote previously.

    ‘ At this present time I lean toward the idea that the fulfillment of Romans 11:26 is ongoing. In other words, I take the language of verses 26b and verse 27 to be a reference to Christ’s work on the cross (Jesus came from Zion in order to banish ungodliness from His people, He established a New Covenant in which sins are taken away from all who believe). Since that quote from Isaiah 59 is used to explain verse 26a, it seems to me that we are being told that it’s in this manner that “all Israel” (all who trust in Christ; see Romans 9:6-8) will be saved (i.e. is being saved even at this present time).’

    Thanks again,Adam

    Seroled

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  4. Hi again Adam,

    There was one another thing in Mike Blume’s article that did not set right.He said that God took the remnant out of Israel and placed it into the church and that Paul himself was of that remnant.

    Considering the ethnic make-up of the church at it’s inauguration on the day of Pentecost, including the 3000 thousand souls that were added to the church (Acts 2:5-11,41)it seems to me that the church began with believing Jews first.

    What do you think?

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    • Seroled,

      You and I both found the same point of disagreement with Mike Blume’s article, i.e. his idea that Paul meant for us to understand that the manner in which first-century Jews (his apparent definition of “all Israel”) were saved had to do with them being provoked to jealousy by Gentile conversions. We both agree that the manner in which “all Israel” (believing Jews and Gentiles) are being saved is explained by the prophecy from Isaiah 59 which follows after Paul’s statement in Romans 11:26a.

      Regarding your last comment, I agree that the Church began with believing Jews first, particularly those (and they were all Jews) who were converted on the Day of Pentecost. I looked, however, for where Mike Blume said the following (or anything like it):

      “…God took the remnant out of Israel and placed it into the church and…Paul himself was of that remnant.”

      I couldn’t find where he said that, though. Is it toward the end of the article? Here’s the closest thing I could find where he said anything similar to that, but here Mike was saying something different–that Paul didn’t see a future time when Israel would be brought into the Church:

      And that was the very thing Paul was doing, giving us the understanding that Paul’s words had nothing to do with a future time when Israel might come into the Church. He was the one who wrote the words of the times of the gentiles being fulfilled. And he fully believed that would occur in his day.”

      So I agree with you about the Church beginning with believing Jews first. I’m just trying to find where Mike Blume may have said otherwise. Thanks.

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  5. Good morning Adam,

    Mike Blume stated that (Paul taught) that God took (a) remnant out of Israel and put them in the church. (My mistake – i changed his words)

    See below…

    Paul taught that God took a remnant out of Israel and put them in the church. He was one of them! (verse 5). And verse 7 says that Israel did not obtain what it looked for. The remnant or election obtained it instead. Why? Israel rejected Jesus. The rest of the people of Israel were blinded. Now, we must not forget about Romans 1 when we read about the blinding of Israel. Romans 1 teaches us that God presents truth to people, and then awaits their reaction. If they accept the truth and glorify God with it, then He reveals His righteousness to them, and saves them. But if they hold the truth and refuse to honour God with it, but continue on as though nothing has changed, then God reveals wrath to them. He gives them over. It is in this sense that Romans 11 says that God blinded Israel. They refused Jesus. Therefore God revealed wrath against them and blinded them.

    Thanks Adam,

    Seroled

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    • Seroled,

      Good morning to you too. Thanks for that quote. I found it in the article now. It’s about halfway through. I was looking further down in the article. You quoted him quite accurately.

      You’re right. The way that line reads makes it sound like there was already a significant Gentile Church body before God did His work among the Jews gathered at Pentecost. I suppose a more correct way of stating it is that God began the Church with a remnant saved out of Israel.

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      • Hi Adam,

        I’m glad you saw that.

        Yes,God began the church with a remnant saved out of Israel,that sounds a more correct way of stating it.

        Reading Romans 9-11, it seems that Paul (at least in part) was answering some (non Jews) in the churches in Asia minor or the Province of Rome – who believed even then, in a form of replacement theology…

        We are blessed (Today) and have a great advantage over those first century Christians to whom this letter was originally written.We have all of the letters and the Gospels! Just knowing that the inauguration of the church took place some 25 years before Paul wrote Romans is amazing, even if he was not referring specifically to the Jews of Pentecost as the Remnant,in this letter.

        Again,this was a great discussion you folks had on facebook,Adam.Thanks for sharing it.And always thank you for teaching!

        Seroled

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  6. Hi Adam,

    I had stumbled upon your blog through Google-ing for “Vespasian” and “dragon” just two days ago — what a rich research of references and cross-references and how grateful I am that your blog is available! I derived great personal application of your exposition on “the abomination of desolation” too, but this would be off topic here…

    I’d just like to leave a comment here on “why God’s chosen people are presently chosen”, because this post immediately prompted me to re-examine the passage in the gospels about the Gentile woman whose daughter Jesus healed (Mark 7:24-30, Matthew 15:21-28). Jesus’s two statements had always puzzled me, until just before now!

    He said:
    “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
    and,
    “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

    It was such joy to me to realize that when He said “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, that He said this to initiate His choice, which is on condition of her acceptance of it, to which she responded with worship.

    This joy materialized because then I also realized that his next statement was an affirmation of her worship — “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” — which is acknowledging that she is of the house of Israel, even though she is not descended from the bloodline of Israel, and although she is an acquired item inside the house of Israel, yet she is of the house of Israel.

    And the statement for which Jesus praises her faith — “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” is that she sees a master for who he is — he who acquires the little dogs will be faithful to take care of them.

    So, that’s just how my thoughts played out after encountering your blog and the framework that you laid out so clearly with the different passages about God’s plan for the Jew and for the Gentile, so that I think I would articulate “chosen” to mean that it is God who chooses the conditions on which we can interact with him (if you are a lost sheep of Israel, you worship Him; if you worship Him, you acknowledge Him as your Master), and it is God’s mercy that He helps us fulfill our need of Him to be our Master who cares for us.

    Sophia

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    • Hi Sophia,

      Thank you for your comment here, and for your kind words about what’s available at this blog. Your thoughts on the Gentile woman whose daughter Jesus healed are interesting food for thought. Forgive me for not replying to you earlier.

      Feel free to express your thoughts as well under the post on the Abomination of Desolation.

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  7. Though I’m no scholar and I’m not well educated in theology, I rather enjoyed reading this forum and following the debate and I must say that I agree with your beliefs on this subject Adam. I also liked what Manuel had to add to the conversation and I wonder where Dan was coming from when he said the things he said about Israel.

    I too think you should consider writing a book on the topic as Nadia had suggested.

    I’ll continue reading :D

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    • Corinne,

      I’m glad you enjoyed following this debate. I thought it turned out to be a great conversation. Dan and I do see things quite differently on this subject, but for the record I think he’s a great guy and I consider him to be a friend. He attends the church I grew up in back in Ohio. We had a great time over coffee when I went back to Ohio for a visit this last Christmas. As far as writing a book on the subject, we’ll have to see. I don’t know that I would add anything new that hasn’t been published by others.

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  8. Hello Adam,

    If you decide at some point to do a follow up on the this great post-here are two articles that you may find more than helpful.

    http://karleenp.tripod.com/askoldtimer/root.htm

    http://www.jcblog.net/romans/11/396-romans-1117-grafted-in-sharing-the-nourishing-sap-of-the-olive-root

    I held the position (most recently) that Jesus was the true elect of God – the Firstfruit to which God himself planted. Also that non Jews were ‘ grafted ‘ into the church that was inaugurated at the first Harvest festival after Jesus’ ascension. In a ‘ sense ‘ these things may be true. No matter, for it is evident by the scriptures and brought to light in these articles – is that non Jews like Jews who believe are grafted into Christ ALONE.

    He is the ROOT (Romans 11:13,16-24). The Firstfruits, the elect/chosen of God were the Fathers.They are the reason that the nation of Israel was beloved by God (Romans 11:28). Moreover, Jesus told his disciples that he was the TRUE VINE – as such they were branches abiding in him (John 15:1-7). So too, James made the argument that those who are brought forth by the word were also ‘ a kind of first fruits ‘ onto God (James 1:18).

    These articles say it so much better.

    Seroled

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    • Hi Seroled,

      Thanks for the articles and new feedback! We are “grafted into Christ ALONE.” I hear you! The first article at the “karleenp” website is most helpful, as we can see the Old Testament basis (Isaiah 11 and 53) for Paul’s description of the olive tree root. It’s very interesting that Paul in Romans 11 uses the word “root” in the singular and not in the plural. He doesn’t say “roots.” I think I passed over that before. Thanks again!

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      • Hi Adam,

        Yes that article caused me to read Romans 11:16 again ‘ ROOT ‘ in the singular! i had not noticed that either.
        Also as you have said the premise is Isaiah 11 and 53!

        Seroled

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  9. QUICK REBUTTLE TO DISPENATIONALISM

    We could spend the entire day and provide you scripture that would plainly counter (especially Old Testament verses cited by Premillennial Dispensationalist, but will only touch briefly on a few.

    (1)Dispensationalsists believe God deals in different ways with different people at different times denying the glory of a God who is the same, today yesterday and forever!

    (2) The eternal promise to Abraham was in regard to eternal salvation in that it would be fulfilled through his “seed” not his ethnic descendants: 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[a] meaning one person, who is Christ, (Galatians 3:16).

    Sadly, dispensationalists use this verse in an inferential manner to have their minions believe that all of God’s promises were made primarily to ethnic Jews and need to be fulfilled before Christ returns. They never follow the road that all promises were fulfilled though Jesus Christ. It would take volumes to cite them all. But we highly recommend (to serious Bible students) that they purchase Hans K. La Rondelle’s book, “The Israel of God in Prophecy” which breaks down the varying exegetical and hermeneutical approaches used by dispensationalists as opposed to the orthodox means interpreting of the Bible.

    (3) Christian theorists try to make many points by using (actually misusing or abusing) cherry-picked verse and applying them in a haphazard manner. They admonish that all Christians should believe that Jesus has told them that we must deal with Israel from both a land and a people perspective.
    (a) Land: The entire issue of land has been settled and recorded in the Bible. Every land promises God made to Abraham all the way down to the 12 tribes of Israel was fulfilled. You can study the totality of the Book of Joshua to see this in explicit detail. The caveat God gave them after He fulfilled ALL of His land promises, Joshua relayed to his people thus:
    14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.15 But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has given you. 16 If you violate the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you.”
    The people of Israel and its land occupiers violate God’s covenant daily! Inherent in those promises God made to Abraham was a deeper and more profound message. And it is not solely a “spiritual” one as many imply and infer, but the message that God’s TRUE PROMISED LAND was not going to be a restored ‘Old” Jerusalem, but a heavenly city, a country of their own, who’s architect is God Himself as we CLEARLY and ever so succinctly read in Hebrews 11:8-16):

    8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he[a] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

    In Hebrews 13, we read about this city (which is confirmed in Revelation 21:1-4) and ever so clearly noted “The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”

    Old Jerusalem is not The Promised Land! The wars and contentions going back after Rome razed Jerusalem in 70 AD rages on because the Jews (and Christan Zionists) would rather believe the Pharisaical cabal of money-changers who have strived to get the power back Jesus took away from them when He paid the price and redeemed God’s Kingdom forever!

    (b) This is so easy I fail to comprehend how Bible-believing Christians cannot understand what happened when Christ ascended to Heaven after His resurrection. There is no longer any Jew or Gentiles that have to be considered in prophetic discussions, as we see CLEARLY in Ephesians, Chapter 2 (Replacement Theology? Never! We Are All One in Christ):

    11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
    19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit, (Ephesians 2:11-22):
    What is the relationship the Patriarchs (the faith-believing remnant) were looking forward to, that God intended to accomplish: We see again clearly in Hebrews 11:39, which states:
    39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect, (Hebrews 11:39).
    In conclusion: We can continue to focus (eschatologically) on the political machinations we were warned not to concern ourselves with, which divides the church of God as no other issue) or we can believe in Jesus Christ, who fulfilled ALL prophecy on the cross.
    But, yet, unfortunately the devil is deceiving so easily the church that it makes one wonder how they will deal when ‘the man of lawlessness’ appears on the scene and begins to seduce and deceive so many in the church. This is happening now on such a grand scale, and this is why I wrote my book as a clarion call, and to explain that by abiding in Christ (and His word) we will be protected by God through what I call The End Times Passover. Many do not understand this and many will not be prepared to deal with the imminent persecutions in the immediate horizon, which is why I wrote the above book’s sequel, Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation
    In His Peace,
    Joe Ortiz -

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    • Hi Joe. Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. Amen to your point that all promises are fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Indeed, all the land promises were fulfilled long before Christ came the first time. I know there’s another reference in Nehemiah saying the same thing. As you said, the theology and the misguided activism of Christian Zionism is doing a lot to perpetuate the conflict happening right now in the Middle East.

      I have a question about something you said toward the end of your comment. You said that Jesus “fulfilled ALL prophecy on the cross.” Then you said that ‘the man of lawlessness’ will appear on the scene. Since you phrased that as a futuristic prophecy, I’m just wondering how you reconcile these two statements. Thanks!

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  10. absolutely great stuff adam ! really enjoyed reading these posts, this is the first time i have read them as i came across it via ‘Israel today’
    enjoyed selored’s posts too, utterly fabulous !
    much love in Jesus christ our lord and saviour.
    Margaret

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  11. It seems very clear that in Romans 11 regards the Jews in an ethnic sense, as reflected in his reference to his own tribe of Benjamin and his comparison with the gentiles He is emphatic that the Jews remain beloved because of the Patriarchs and that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. It couldn’t be clearer.. He also makes this clear in Romans 15 b y pointing out to the gentiles that if they benefited from the Jews’ spiritual blessings, it is only right that the Jews ( the Jewish saints in Jerusalem ) should benefit from the gentile’ spiritual blessings. However,we understand from Romans 9 that not all Jews are saved just because they are Jews., but from Romans 11 that we may expect a significant number to return. The 144000 reference in Revelation bears witness to this. The well known argeuemt that these tribes do not represent physical Israel also does not hold water. Dan is omitted because of the history of the tribe of Dan. Ephraim is omitted because as Jooseph’s firstborn he represents his father’s tribe. ( very correct in Judaic thinking ) Judah is listed at the top because it is the physical tribe of our Lord Jesus. The references to Israel’s history are too obvious to entertain any doubts as to the tribes not pertaining to real Jews.

    Paul

    Paul

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    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for chiming in on the subject of Romans 11. I agree that the apostle Paul was speaking quite a bit about ethnic Jews, his people, in this chapter. I also agree with your observation of Paul’s argument in Romans 9. You might have to clarify what you mean when you say that “from Romans 11…we can expect a significant number to return.” I’m not sure what kind of a return you’re talking about.

      Do you have thoughts on the main subject of this post: “Who are God’s chosen people?”

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  12. Hi Adam

    I really like the questions that you have posed on this subject because I believe it touches the heart of message of the Bible – God’s faithfulness and our Lord Jesus, full of Grace and Truth. Of course, as Spurgeon once said, none of us has an airtight theology and we can all learn from each other.

    In answer to the question, who are God’s chosen people, I would say that the Jews ‘ choseness is a picture of our choseness..
    I believe the Jews remain chosen for the following reasons. They are chosen as a result of God’s promise to the Patriarchs. In Deut.10:15 we read ” and the Lord set His affection on your forefathers and He chose you, their descendants , above all the nations, as it is today.’ Clearly this promise remains the same , because God’s relationship with Abraham has not changed. Moreover, we cannot claim that this applies to a spiritual Israel, as Paul refers to this in Romans 11 in regard to physical ethnic Israel, and included the whole of Israel, even its unsaved state. They are beloved because of the patriachs. It is an unconditional promise. I think the problem comes when we think of the Old and New Testaments as two covenants only when in fact there are 5 covenants, , four of which remain in place. The Mosaic covenant has been annulled,by the new Covenant but the Abrahamic Covenant remains. Paul draws on the strength of this Covenant in Hebrews, so there is no doubt in his mind that it is actual .Mary refers to it in the Gospels. By contrast, although the Jews remain chosen because of an unconditional promise to Abraham, their tenancy of the land is conditional. It is clear that the ownership of the land remains Jewish as this is part of Abrahamic covenant – the land and the promise to his descendants is connected. Yet even here we see that the conditions may be met after the return to the land. It is clear in Ezra that the Jews only put off their strange wives and practices after their return to the land, and we see a significant shift in Israel now with many thousands of Jews who believe in Jesus, including some important rabbis,. As in the time of the first exile, the return to the land is gradual. At no point in Biblical history did God allow His people to live in the land without His permission. He is sovereign .

    Finally, on this issue, one is reminded of the promise given to the Jews in Jeremiah 31:35 ; ” This is what the Lord says: He who appoints the sun to shine by day, Who decrees the moon and the stars to shine by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar – the Lord Almighty is His Name – “only if these decrees vanish from my sight”, declares the Lord will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before Me ” In case there is any doubt that this applies to ethnic Israel, rather than a spiritual Israel, it is followed by ” Only if the heavens above can be measured or the earth below searched out will I reject the descendants of Israel because of all they have done.” This is a clear promise that even takes into account ethnic Israel’s disobedience, but God’s faithfulness. Yes, it is conditional – as long as natural law is in place, which I think we can agree ,still is.

    Does this mean that we believing gentiles are not chosen? Decidedly not, as evidenced by 1 Peter , 2: 9-11 I rather like the way David Pawson explains it in is his book ” Defending Christian Zionism, Pg 77 . ” In reference to Sizer he writes ” Take for example his valid claim that Old Testament descriptions of Israel are used of the Church in the New. That is obviously true and beyond dispute .But how is that to be understood? There are at least two ways to interpret its significance.

    On one hand ,it can be seen as the transfer of one people to another , ,from Israel to the Church. That is the way anti Zionists take it. It is a fundamental assumption of “replacement” or “supersessionist theology.” But the logic is flawed. It is a considerable leap from the transfer of some functional language, and a limited amount at that, to believe that everything said to and about Israel in the Old Testament has also been transferred, and an even bigger one to believe it has all been taken away from Israel. It is a slender argument. On the other hand , it can be understood in an inclusive rather than an exclusive way, meaning the Church now shares in the function that is still God’s purposes for Israel, namely to be a light to the world ( Isaiah 42:6,49:6 Matthew %:14, Luke 2:32, Acts 13:4726:23. This application is much more aligned to statements in the New Testament that Christian s are now fellow citizens WITH God’s people (ie Israel ) ( Ephesians2:19, not “instead of” or “part of” but “with”: that gentile Christians have been grafted into the one olive tree of God, alongside the Jewish branches, ( Romans 11:17-18 )and she will one day fulfill it. So the transfer of functional language taken in the context of the whole New Testament, far from demolishing the Zionist case, actually builds on it! ”

    This takes us to the second question posed on your website – ” Why are they chosen? ”

    I think the answer is stated din Romans 9 :4-6 . They produced the patriarchs, the prophets, to them the very words of God had been entrusted and from them the human ancestry of Jesus Christ is traced. This follows them into the future, if any doubt should ever be cast on their current relevance in Revelation12 5-6 It is clear that the male child is Jesus as only He will rule all nations with a rod of iron, and only He has been caught up to the throne of God. The woman mentioned here is Israel, the Jewish people, Many try to claim that this is the Church, but the Church cannot be said to have brought forth the Messiah. He is God, the Second person of the Trinity. Only the Jews can be said to be the source from which he sprang in the flesh . ( From them is traced the human ancestry of Christ ” ) It is evident here that Satan will turn his wrath towards Israel as a nation having been unsuccessful in attempting to destroy the Male Child. The 144000 , which I mentioned in my last post , are unmistakably Jewish, and also speak of God’s dealings with the Jews in the Last Days. Jesus said ” Salvation is of the Jews” His name means salvation in Hebrew.

    Even their disobedience has been used, as they fell with a purpose. Romans 11 says ”if their fall means riches for the gentiles, what will their return be but life from the dead? In other words, their rejection of the Messiah opened the way for the Gospel to be brought to the world. Did this surprise God ” God has not cast away His people, whom He foreknew.( Romans 11 )

    Finally, you asked if I would clarify what I meant by all Israel being saved. I think it is best answered by Paul’s comment in Romans 11 25-29 . Specifically, ‘ Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of gentiles has come in. And so, all Israel will be saved ” If Israel has experienced a hardening ” in part ”, clearly their unsaved numbers are partial , not complete. How long will this hardening last? . The answer is clearly ” until the full number of gentiles has come in.” As we can hardly say that the full number of gentiles who will ever be saved has been completed, we know that this return on a national basis is still in the future, and is clearly connected to the completion of gentile believers. We need not deduce from this that every single person in Israel will be saved. Sadly, it does not seem that every gentile will either. It refers, as with the gentiles , to the full number of Jews who will come in. Then , as Jesus says ” The two shall be one flock ” Paul says that if their fall meant riches for the gentiles, . what will be their return be but life from the dead?” So the nature of this return can be expected to have an even greater effect for the Kingdom of God than their fall.

    But what of verses like,” there is no Jew or Greek, slave nor free? I think this applies to us on an individual basis, both Jew and Gentile, for God is no respecter of persons, but is distinct from his Divine purpose for Israel as a nation. It applies, I think, to all believers, Jew and Gentile , in one flock.

    All best

    Paul

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    • Hi Paul,

      In regard to what God has done concerning Israel and the church, I see [1] a cutting off, [2] expansion, and [3] continuity.

      [1] God cut off from His people those who won’t listen to and believe His Son: “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:22-23). This included the majority of the Jewish people.

      [2] However, God preserved and has saved a remnant from among the Jewish people, those who have trusted in Christ. They are part of God’s chosen people, along with non-Jews who also have trusted in Christ. “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

      [3] The concept of God’s people, and the concept of being chosen, continued and never ceased, but it’s all wrapped up in Jesus, not in ethnicity. Jesus and Paul were crystal clear that being ethnically tied to Abraham counts for nothing and does not automatically qualify a person to be a recipient of God’s promises, blessings, or salvation.

      Nothing is lost from Jeremiah 31:35 in this view. God never completely rejected the ethnic descendants of Abraham. He kept a remnant from among them, as Paul points out in Romans 11. God’s nation also continues, but who are the descendants of Abraham according to the New Testament? They are those who trust in Christ, regardless of ethnicity. Galatians 3, for example, describes this truth very clearly.

      Regarding Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:6, Ephesians 2;19, etc., I believe it’s a serious mistake to assume that the church joins the entire political nation of Israel in these roles. Rather, the roles of being God’s people and being a light to the world only belong to the church, the body of Christ. Jewish believers, Palestinian believers, Australian believers, and any other believers (in Christ) living in Israel have these roles, as do all believers living in any other country, but all unbelievers (Jewish or otherwise) living in Israel have nothing to do with these roles.

      Romans 11:25-29 is a fairly difficult passage, but I’ll just say that I favor the translation of verse 25 that says “the fullness of the Gentiles,” rather than “the full number of Gentiles.” I see that expression as parallel to Luke 21:24 and Revelation 11:2. I believe this goes back to Daniel’s and Nebuchadnezzar’s visions of the four Gentile nations (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome) that would have dominance over Israel until the time that God would set up an everlasting kingdom. Those days have come and gone (but His kingdom remains). So I don’t believe that “the fullness of the Gentiles” or “the times of the Gentiles” is related to Gentiles being saved. A very good article on this subject, I believe, is this one: http://mikeblume.com/timesgen.htm

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  13. Hi Adam

    You are correct in your comments that those Jews who do not accept Jesus are cut off ( as mentioned in Romans !!. Jesus said that God could of these stones raise up children of Abraham. The point here is that anyone as an individual could be cut off. Being a Jew does not ensure salvation. Paul makes this warning to the gentiles as well. These warnings apply to the individual and are not connected to God’s plan for the nation of Israel. They have not lost their chosenness as a nation, and their disobedience does not disqualify Israel from this role, only unbelieving individuals within it. Paul makes this indisputably clear when he states ” As far as the Gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account, but as far as ELECTION is concerned, they are loved on account of the Patriarchs for God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable. Any other interpretation would require a manipulation of the text.
    I also cannot agree that the term ” fullness of the gentiles” does not refer to gentiles being saved. The entire context of Romans 11 is about Jews and gentiles being saved. This is particularly true in the verse you have just mentioned regarding the full number of gentiles coming in. ” And so, all Israel will be saved ” The Greek word used here is “hautos ” meaning SO, IN THIS WAY “.all Israel will be saved. It show the relationship between what has preceeded to what follows. If the preceeding statement has nothing to do with Gentiles being saved, this further strengthens the position that ALL ISRAEL refers to the Jews , which only weakens the replacement position even further.

    I do not agree with you that Jesus and Paul made it clear that being ethnically tied to Abraham counts for nothing. They made it clear that a Jew cannot assume he is saved just because he is a Jew. If Paul thought being ethnically tied to Abraham counted for nothing, he would not have said they are beloved because of the Patriarchs. It is , in any event, more about descent. Of course, many promises are spiritual, but there is a danger in spiritualising promises that are literal. Acts 2 29 states that David being a prophet knew that ” God had promised him on oath that He would place one of his descendants on the throne” The Greek word for this is accurately translated as of his loins, IN THE FLESH ” Jesus is the physical descendant of David. .As this promise has yet to take place , Jesus has yet to reign, as the descendant of David, the Jewish King of Israel’s throne. David’s throne was a physical one, and a Jewish one. As Jesus remains a descendant of David, that in itself is enough in my view to see the chosenness of the Jews is still in place. The Angel Gabriel said ” Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the House of Jacob forever. As David Pawson asks, did Gabriel get his wires crossed.? Was this a false message, soon to be out of date and misleading? The promise made to David was based on descent. So was the promise made to Abraham regarding the Jews. Yes, we Gentiles too are Abraham’s seed because we are in Christ. But if we look at Genesis, we find that the word seed in Hebrew is always in the singular grammatically. Thus we can only tell when it is plural or singular by the use of the third person for instance surrounding it. Genesis 22:17 shows both usages, and in the context of our Lord Jesus.I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven .and as the sand which is upon the sea shore.and thy Seed shall possess the gates of HIS enemies

    But that is a subject for another day!

    All best

    Paul

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    • Paul,

      I have to disagree with your assertion that Jesus is not reigning now. Ephesians 1:20-22, for examples, tells us that Jesus is sitting “in the heavenly places” at the right hand of the Father, “head over all things to the church.” This was true already in Paul’s day. See also Hebrews 10:12-13, Acts 2:25-36, and Revelation 3:21, among other New Testament texts. Daniel saw a vision of Jesus ascending to the Father and “then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus was given the authority to reign when He ascended to the Father, He has been reigning ever since, and He will reign forever.

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  14. Hi

    Yes indeed, Ephesians 1;20-22 speaks of the ascension, exaltation, and enthronement of Christ, and His sovereign dominion. As it says in Hebrews, He holds all things together with the word of His power. My reference is to His millennial reign and beyond As you will see from the following verses in Ephesians one, Paul mentions the prince of the power of the air – who now works in the sons of disobedience. We see in Revelation 20 that the resurrected saints will reign with Jesus for a thousand years, during which time satan will be bound and without influence in the world.. This can hardly be said to be the case now. although satan is already a defeated foe, this period is yet to come.

    Similarly your reference to Daniel 7:13-14 speaks of a future event. Our Lord Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:30 ” then the sign of the Son of Man shall appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven and in great glory.” You will see from this chapter that this event follows the tribulation, which can hardly be said to be a past event, much less the events in the skies that will be witnessed. first.

    All best

    Paul

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    • Hi Paul,

      The 1000 year period spoken of in Revelation 20 makes for a tough subject. I’ll just point out that this passage does not speak of a beginning or an end to Jesus’ reign. It only shows the saints who didn’t worship the beast living and reigning together with Christ for “a thousand years.” Jesus was already reigning when they began “to live and reign” with Him, and He has continued to reign after their time to reign with Him was up.

      As for Satan, his ability to deceive the nations was cut off for a time. That’s all we’re told about what he was unable to do during this time. I don’t find that to be an easy subject either.

      Jesus does indeed make reference to Daniel 7:13-14 in Matthew 24. Daniel’s vision clearly shows Jesus ascending to the Father, not descending to the earth. How could that be a future event to us? Furthermore, Jesus said that “ALL these things” He shared in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) would be fulfilled before His generation would pass away. He is a true prophet and He kept His word. If you have the time and are interested, you can read here about the fulfillment of all those things:

      http://kloposmasm.com/olivet-discourse/

      All the tribes of Israel (i.e. of “the land” or “the earth”) did indeed witness the Lord’s coming in judgment. As Adam Clarke [1762-1832] said regarding verse 30: “The plain meaning of this is, that the destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of Divine vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will, in consequence of this manifestation of God, be led to acknowledge Christ and his religion.” And as Kevin Daly of Messianic Good News (South Africa) wrote, “The fall of Jerusalem was itself the sign (evidence) that Jesus was enthroned at the right hand of the Father in heaven, bringing judgment on the city.”

      Besides the link to our Olivet Discourse studies above, there is also valuable information here concerning the 3.5 year great tribulation (February 67 AD – August 70 AD) predicted in detail in the book of Revelation:

      http://kloposmasm.com/revelation/

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  15. Hi Adam

    That’s a lot of material to discuss, and , as you say, tough subject.
    Regarding the reference to Daniel 7:13 as evidence of the Ascension of our Lord after the resurrection ( which is what I assume you mean ) poses a number of insoluble problems. Firstly, linguistically the Son of Man comes WITH the clouds ( the Hebrew word is ‘im)
    No suggestion of ascent is made here. Apart from this, and more importantly, our Lord Himself makes it clear that this is a future event. The first problem this poses is that this view would contradict Acts 1:11 which specifically says ” Why stand ye gazing up into Heaven ?The same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven.” So clearly , Jesus will return to earth.

    The chronology of these events as our Lord presents it, also does not support the idea that this has already taken place.

    1)Our Lord predicted that some believers would be put to death. Even the disciples were only martyred after the Ascension. Jesus places this event before His coming in the clouds.
    2)Our Lord said ‘ The Good news will be preached in all the world, unto all nations, and then the end will come” If the coming in the clouds referred to His ascension, why was his last command before he ascended to preach the Gospel throughout the world beginning at Jerusalem? The Gospel certainly hadn’t been preached throughout the world , even at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
    3)Our Lord said ” Except those days be shortened there should no flesh be saved.” If those days meant that period, no one else would have been saved since.

    This discourse also points out that ‘ the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, the prophet ” would stand in the Holy Place. This happened once in the time of Antiochus, but Jesus could not have been referring to this, as that happened approx 250 BC. It seems unlikely that it referred to the sacking of Jerusalem, as the city was utterly destroyed.It therefore must refer to a rebuiliding of the physical temple in the future. This becomes a complex discussion, because Luke 21 speaks of Jerusalem being trampled by the gentiles and the Jews taken captive to all parts of the earth .Most prophecy however speaks of two time events often in a single paragraph.Take Isaiah and Zecheriah for example

    Now, for the verse ” This generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled’ Given that our Lord clearly states that all these other event must take place first, such as the Good news being preached throughout the earth to all nations, the matrydom of believers, the destruction of Jerusalem etc ,there is no place to assume that the coming in the clouds refers to the Ascension, which took place before these events. ” This generation” must be taken to mean the generation that lives in this time. It will all take place within one generation.

    The reference to all the tribes of the earth being the Jews in 70 AD makes no sense to me, as firstly this implies gentiles. However, lets assume it does mean the Jews. This is referred to in Zecheriah where the inhabitants of Jerusalem will have poured out on them the Spirit of grace and supplications, and will mourn for the One they have pierced as one mourns a long lost son. The inhabitants of Jerusalem did not do this in 70 AD. They ran.The Jews remain at the moment, largely unconverted, so placing this event in 70 AD doesnot fit in with the rest of the text.

    I’ll take a look at the website you suggested meanwhile. Sounds interesting. Meanwhile, tell me what you think of revelation 3:21 and Revelation 12:5,

    All best

    Paul

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    • Hi Paul,

      I just realized that I never answered your comment from January 4th. My apologies. At the same time, I don’t want to go on much longer, as our discussion here is no longer related much to the main post (“Who are God’s chosen people, and why are they chosen?”).

      Regarding Daniel 7:13, I will quote this verse here so we can clearly see what it says:

      “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.”

      Jesus is shown coming TO His Father who is seated on His throne. The next verse goes on to show Jesus receiving an eternal kingdom. When Jesus makes reference to this verse in Matthew 24, I believe He is communicating that the kingdom He would receive at His ascension would be given to His church at His coming (Parousia) nearly ONE GENERATION LATER at the time of Jerusalem’s judgment. This mirrors what He said in Matthew 21:43-44 about taking the kingdom away from the religious rulers of Israel and giving it to a fruit-bearing people (His church) at the time when Israel would be crushed.

      You said that “the Gospel certainly hadn’t been preached throughout the world, even at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” Scripture, however, says otherwise:

      [1] “Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven… And they were amazed and astonished, saying… ‘we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God’” (Acts 2:5-11).

      [2] “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world” (Romans 1:8).

      [3] “Now to Him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations…” (Romans 16:25-26).

      [4] “…the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing… (Colossians 1:5-6).

      [5] “…if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister (Colossians 1:23).

      Blessings,
      Adam

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  16. Dear Adam

    Thank you for your response. I agree with you that this discussion has probably gone on long enough, so I will not be contributing further to this website apart from what follows. I do not agree however that it has departed from the subject of the Jews as all these aspects are connected with them. One’s view of the Jews affects one’s view of Grace, predestination, justification by faith, and the fulfillment of prophecy. We can can agree that everything our Lord says is TRUE. We may fail when we do not always understand it, but His Word endures forever.

    Let me address your first comment regarding Matthew 21 and Israel being replaced by the Church. Firstly , that replacement is temporary and intended to bring back the Jews to their Messiah. Romans 10:19 gives this the required context.” I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation” Hence, Romans 11 deals with the way gentiles are used to bring Jews back to their Messiah. God has a purpose, and His Word will never fail. It will happen.

    Now, as far as the reference to Daniel is concerned, we have already covered why it should not be confused with the Ascension. As I pointed out to you, Acts 1 says ” Men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into Heaven/ The same Jesus whom you who was taken up from you into Heaven, will come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.” The Ascension was seen by some 500 people. His coming will be seen by the world, and certainly by the entire nation of Israel. Jesus Himself refers to His coming as a) something that will be seen, and b) with Him coming in the clouds seated at the Right Hand of the Power. Thessalonians also makes it clear that the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout. Some Preterists , I understand even believe that the resurrection was a past event. I do not think they would not be able adequaately to explain how Paul expects that also those who are alive at His coming will be caught up to meet Him,

    Jesus was not seen in 70 AD. To regard the judgment of Jerusalem as evidence of His coming is to deny what He Himself says about it. The Greek word used, from which we get the word optometrist tells of a literal seeing. There is another Greek word for seeing in terms of understanding. They will look on the One Whom they have pierced. Jesus refers to his appearance as lightening that shines so His return is seeable and undeniable. Again the Greek words here imply literal seeing. Matthew 24 also tells us that the elect will be gathered from the 4 winds. At 70 AD the opposite happened. They were dispersed. Four winds in Hebrew thinking means from the extremities of the earth. No attempt to spiritualise the meaning can be made here. They were already a part of Jesus’s heavenly Kingdom, a point emphasized in Colossians. The signs in the sky were also not seen . Peter expands on this by describing the Day of the Lord, coming like a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” Was this recorded in 70 Ad. Descriptions of a few shooting stars and a few earthquakes do not match Peter’s description. Also,the enemies of God are destroyed at this time. At 70 Ad the Romans emerged intact. Most of the Jews by the way did not live in Israel at this time. About one million lived in Judea, and 7 million in the Empire, mostly Rome.

    This brings us to the discussion on timing. Our Lord said that He would come like a thief in the night. The complexity of this discussions lies in the fact that the disciples asked Jesus more than one question which he therefore answered simultaneously.a) When will these things be? ( the destruction of the Temple ) b) what will be the sign of your coming, and c) and of the end of the age.

    One could assume that one generation meant the current generation who saw the destruction of Jerusalem. Clearly, Our Lord predicted this. The order presented in Matthew and mark would allow for the interpretation that ” THESE things ” apply to the fall of Jerusalem, and THOSE things apply to the Second Coming.David Prson explains it this way. However, Luke states that this generation shall not pass away tell all be fulfilled. The answer perhaps lies in a look at the semitic conception of the word generation. Remember the disciples were not Greek, they were Jews. Although the NT was written in Greek it was transcribed from Hebrew and Aramaic conversations and has to be interpreted in a Jewish way. The word for generation in Hebrew, apparently implies something circular, without a specific end, and therefore applies to a particular type of person, not a group of contemporary people. This is how it is often used throughout the Bible. Psalm 21 therefore says ” Preserve us from THIS generation FOREVER.” It is often used in a pejorative sense, as our Lord uses it throughout Matthew. ie ” Wherefore behold, I send unto you prophets and wise men and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify, and some of them you shall scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them form city to city: that upon you shall come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zecherias , son of Barachias whom you slew between the Temple and the alter.” Verily I say unto you, all these things will come upon this generation.” Now clearly, the Pharisees are the generation on which these things will come. But they were not there, when Abel was murdered. ( In fact Jews did not exist as a race at this time. The Pharisees, whom our Lord was addressing, were also not born when our Lord said they murdered Zacheriah. There is a simultaneous usage here, the Pharisees themselves, and the type of person they represent down the ages. Hence the use of the term, the generation of the wicked and the generation of the righteous. The same generation s to be seen down the ages. In this sense, it seems logical to see that the generation of the wicked will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled. This is also in keeping with the Jewish usage of the word and the way it is often used in the Bible.

    This is connected with the important points you made about the references by Paul to the Gospel having already been preached in all the world. The term , in Greek, ekoumene can be understood in three ways’ The Roman world, as in Luke 2, the cultural Greek world, or the inhabited world. It is used in more than one way in the New Testament. Paul’s usage of it is a turn of phrase, common at the time, meaning ”everywhere” , somewhat similar to the French phrase, partout. In Luke, it refers to the Roman world.In Acts 17:31, it refers to the final judgement of the world at the end of time.” He has appointed a Day in which he will judge the World ( not just the Jews, in righteousness. To understand what is meant by ekoumene in the Olivet Discourse, it might be helpful to consider what was meant by the end of the Age. Remembering again that our Lord Jesus and His disciples were Jews, we must look for what was understood in Jewish terms. Age in Greek is translated as aeon, and could mean period or age. In Hebrew, the word “olam” means much more than period. The end of the olam means the end of the world. This is how our Lord Jesus uses it only a few chapters before in Matthew 13:40 when referring to the judgement of the world. It does not mean as Preterists claim, the end of the Jewish age in 70 AD. The end of the ” Jewish age” by which one can only mean the Mosaic Covenant, took place at the Cross, not 70 AD.

    Well, thank you Adam for allowing me to discuss these things with you, I have learnt from it, and thanks to you, it has made me think. I wish you all the best and many blessings.

    Paul

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