THE LITERAL ISRAELITES UPON
Whom was the name Israel first bestowed?
"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." Genesis 32:28.
NOTE. Israel means a "prince," or "one who prevails with God."
Afterward who came to be called by this title?
"Now these are the names of the children of Israel, which came into Egypt; ... Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan, and Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. . . . Joseph." Exodus 1:1-5.
NoTE.—In other words, the descendants of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, were known as the twelve tribes of Israel. What special blessings were conferred on the Israelites? "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all." Romans 9:4, 5.
THE TRUE, SPIRITUAL ISRAEL
Who constitute the true Israel, or seed of Abraham?
"They are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are of the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." Verses 6-8.
What did John the Baptist say to the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism?
"And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Matthew 3:9.
What determines whether one is a child of Abraham?
"Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." Galatians 3:7.
Note.—Because of unbelief many of the Israelites fell in the wilderness, and were not permitted to enter the Promised Land. (Numbers 14:27-33; Deuteronomy 1:34-36.) To whom must one belong in order to be Abraham's seed? "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Verse 29.
In what scripture are Christians recognized as Israel?
"And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." Galatians 6:16.
To whom is the epistle of James addressed?
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting." James 1:1. To whom is the gospel the power of God unto salvation? "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16.
CHRIST'S EARTHLY MINISTRY TO LITERAL ISRAEL
To whom did Jesus first send the twelve disciples?
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samari- tans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 10:5, 6.
When the woman of Canaan came to Christ, beseeching Him to heal her daughter, what did He say?
"But He answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 15:24.
When she persisted in her request, and fell down to worship Him, what did He say?
"But He answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs." Verse 26.
NOTE.-By her persistent faith, this woman, although a Canaanite, showed that she was really a true child of Abraham.
While dining with Zacchaeus, what did Christ say?
"This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham." Luke 19:9. What did He say to the woman of Samaria- as to the source of salvation?
"Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." John 4:22.
GENTILES BECOME SPIRITUAL ISRAELITES
When the Jews rejected Paul's preaching of the gospel, what did he and Barnabas say?
"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlast- ing life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." Acts 13:46.
NOTE.—From all this it is plain that had not the Jews as a nation rejected Christ, they would still have maintained the pre-eminence as the children of God, and as God's light bearers to the world. But because of this rejection, they were rejected as God's peculiar people, and others took their place, and now bear the name of Israel in common with those who were first called by that name.
Under what figure are the Gentile believers represented who have become a part of the true Israel of God?
"And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them par- takest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches." Romans 11:17, 18. Lest the Gentile grafts should boast, saying that the Jews were broken off to let them come in, what warning is given them? "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou stand- est by faith. Be not high minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee." Verses 20, 21.
What encouragement is held out concerning the branches which have been broken off?
"And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graged in: for God is able to grail them in again." Verse 23. What will be the final result of the gospel? "And so all Israel shall be saved." Verse 26.
Before the Gentiles become Israelites, in what condition are they?
"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles, . . . at that time, ye were without Christ, being aliens from the common- wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." Ephesians 2:11, 12.
NOTE.—If, in order to be saved, Gentiles must become Israelites, as is everywhere asserted, then when converted from their Gentile ways to the ways of Israel, they certainly must have faith in Christ, and their lives must conform to the moral law which God gave to Israel, otherwise it would not be the commonwealth of Israel, but of the Gentiles. The writing of the law in the heart is one of the provisions of the new covenant with true Israel. (See Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12.)
GOD'S LAST-DAY REMNANT PEOPLE
How are God's remnant people described?
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.
Whose names are in the foundations of the holy city?
"And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." Revelation 21:14.
Whose names are on the twelve gates of the city?
"And [the wall] had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel." Verse 12.
Who will walk in the light of the city?
"And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it." Verse 24.
NOTE.—This city, the New Jerusalem, will be for all the nations of the saved; and yet all who enter therein will enter through gates on which are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, from which it is evident that all who are saved will belong to Israel. The name Israel will be per- petuated in the new earth state, and very appropriately so, because of its meaning. All who share in that future home of the saved will be over- corners—princes and prevailers with God. (See Revelation 3:12; 21:7.) Christ recognized this division of the saved into twelve nations, in selecting His apostles. He chose twelve. He recognized it again when to the twelve He said: "Ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28. And the apostles, after Christ's resurrection and ascension, themselves recognized it, when, to fill the place of Judas, who fell, they appointed another, in order to preserve the proper number, twelve.
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