A Universal Kingdom: Part 4
May 24, 2007
This series is not complete without a brief study on the idea of a Chosen People. The word itself indicates a higher class of people who are more favored than others in the sight of God. How can Christ break down the dividing wall (Eph. 2:14) and still retain this dividing wall between Chosen and non-chosen people?
It is often said that the Jews are God's Chosen People. When a Christian makes such a statement, he generally is referring to a genealogical connection with Abraham that makes people "Chosen."
What is it exactly that makes a person Chosen? Is it one's genealogy or one's character?
And what is the benefit of being Chosen? Does it mean Privileged? Does it mean Saved? Does it mean Loved by God more than others? Does it mean Being part of the Bride?
Another question is this: Does God love Jews more than Christians? Is there more benefit to following the religion of Judaism than in being a Christian?
Since the 1960's, when Pat Boone converted to Judaism after being told by Christians that the Jews were God's Chosen People, there have been thousands of Christians who have followed his example. Most of them try to follow all the traditions of Judaism and Talmudism--and then try to splice Jesus into it. They think that by becoming Jews, they can somehow become one of God's Chosen People and be "closer" to God. Some of them do so, thinking that they can evangelize Jews in this manner.
This has contributed to the emergence of Christian Zionism today. Or rather, Christian Zionism has popularized Judaism among Christians to such an extent that there are more Christians converting to Judaism than the other way around.
It is plain from reading Scripture that many people who were genealogical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were unbelievers and even "wicked" people. The majority of them worshipped false gods. The prophets tell us that God cast out the entire house of Israel for their wickedness and apostasy. Jeremiah tells us that God put the house of Judah into a Babylonian captivity for the same reason, saying that they were WORSE than the house of Israel (Jer. 3:11).
The prophets were stoned regularly for their witness. They were stoned by these genealogical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--these "Chosen People." Are we to believe that their genealogy will save them when they stand before God at the Great White Throne? I do not believe so. If they will be judged impartially by the law, then of what benefit is their genealogy?
The only benefit is that they received the oracles of God--that is, they had an opportunity to know God that few others enjoyed. But unless they took advantage of that opportunity, they were judged by the same law that judges all mankind. In fact, they are judged more severely, because "to whom much is given, much is required" (Luke 12:48).
So rather than being given a license to sin with immunity from judgment, the actual situation is precisely the opposite. The law in Israel was primarily to judge Israelites, though the law applied equally to all who were in the land.
In the New Testament we find Peter telling us about Jesus in Acts 4:12,
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."
He was talking to the people in Jerusalem--not in some "gentile" nation. Those today who seem to think that Jews can be saved apart from Jesus Christ are in a great apostasy themselves. I don't care how well they preach or how good the choir sounds. And anyone who supports such teaching is participating in that apostasy and will receive the same reward given to those apostate teachers.
There are so many contradictions within the "Chosen People" theology that it is hard to know where to begin. Christian Zionism teaches opposite things at the same time. Jews are "chosen," but most of them will be destroyed in Armageddon. Jews must accept Christ to be saved, but they are already in a covenant relationship with God apart from Christ. Most Jews are going to hell, but all Israel will be saved. The middle wall of partition has been broken down, but God still makes a distinction between Jews and non-Jews.
This confusion comes out of Dispensationalism. Some tried to rationalize these contradictions by lengthening the middle wall of partition. Christians will inherit heaven, but Jews will inherit the earth. Christians are saved by grace, but Jews are saved by the law. Christians are under the New Covenant, but Jews are under the Old Covenant. Christians must accept Jesus to come under the New Covenant, but Jews do not need to accept Jesus, because they have their own covenant apart from Christ.
This perverted gospel characterizes the Laodicean Church of the past century. They are blind and in need of "eye salve" to help them see the truth. They think it is the so-called "Liberal Churches" that need eye salve, but in fact, it is Christian Zionism and Dispensationalism that form the bulk of the great apostasy at the end of this age.
Where does one start to deal with all of this?
The idea of being "chosen" is the same as "the elect." Calvinism taught that God "elects" some to be saved, and "elects" others to be lost and to burn in hell. But Calvin did not have a good grasp of the feast days, so he did not understand much beyond Passover. He certainly had a limited view of Pentecost, which did not come into clear focus until the beginning of the 20th century. And the revelation of the feast of Tabernacles was not really introduced until 1952--other than in a purely Jewish context of building literal booths.
Election has to do with holding a position, or "office," or authority, or calling. To be "chosen," then, has to do with being called, equipped, and given the authority to bring the blessings of God to all families of the earth.
This view of election, or chosenness, does not reconstruct the dividing wall along racial lines. It does not make genealogical Jews or Israelites better than other people with inferior parentage.
There is certainly a clear difference in the New Testament between those who will rule with Christ and those who are just citizens of the Kingdom. But even then, there is no wall between these groupings. It is just that each has his own calling. Those who qualify for rulership are not separated on genealogical grounds, for we read in Rev. 4:9, 10,
" (9) . . . for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, (10) and Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
Those who "reign" are taken from every nation. They qualify, not on genealogical grounds, but upon their character and their relationship with Christ. These are not just Jews or Israelites, but a cross-section of humanity.
These are given immortality (life) in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6). They rule with Christ until such time as the general resurrection, when the rest of humanity is raised for judgment--including the rest of the believers, as Jesus said in John 5:28, 29.
This is the distinction. It is not a racial wall establishing a Jewish Kingdom, but an elect group based upon one's character and conduct during one's life time on earth. That is the biblical distinction, whereas the Christian Zionist position reconstructs the wall of partition first erected by the traditions of men.
Appened by Thom Mills / Highcalling.
You should be aware of a recording related to this topic is available called "What Does it Mean to be an Israelite?" by Stephen Jones as noted below that complements and expands upon this weblog.
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This is the final part of a series titled "A Universal Kingdom." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones