The Resurrected Israel--Part 3
Apr 15, 2009
Israel "died" in 721 B.C. when Samaria was conquered by the Assyrians. In other words, it was the death of "statehood," though many of the individual people themselves survived and were taken captive to the area around the Caspian Sea.
The prophets continued to extend hope of restoration to Israel, even though God had given them a bill of divorce (Jer. 3:8). They were destined to be lost (Hos. 2:6), even as Joseph had been lost in Egypt and presumed dead for many years. Joseph, the holder of the birthright (1 Chron. 5:1, 2), had also been given the name Israel (Gen. 48:16), but his descendants were stripped of that name when they went into captivity.
And so, when Samaria was destroyed, the situation was as follows: first, the Israelites were divorced from God and sent out of the house, according to the law in Deut. 24:1. Most of them married false gods, except for a few righteous men such as Tobit, whose story is written in the apocryphal book by that name.
Any righteous Israelite in captivity remained in a covenant relationship with God. These few were not divorced from God AS INDIVIDUALS, even though they were part of a NATION whose covenant had been annulled because of national disobedience.
Meanwhile, back in the house of Judah there were righteous and unrighteous people there as well. That nation was not divorced, but the individual unbelievers among them did NOT enjoy a covenant relationship with God (as individuals). The righteous, however, who had genuine faith in God (such as Jeremiah) were united by faith with those ex-Israelites of the dispersion that retained faith in God. Together, these were the beginnings of the NEW NATION that God was forming under the New Covenant.
In addition to these, of course, any non-Israelite who had faith in God was equally united to them by the faith that they all had in common. All were citizens of the Kingdom of God under the New Covenant, for their hearts were circumcised as the law commanded in Deut. 10:16,
"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."
Jeremiah confirms this in Jer. 4:4, saying,
"Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. . ."
Although the New Covenant was not fully ratified until Jesus did so by His blood on the cross, the New Covenant has existed from the beginning and is often mentioned in the Old Testament. It is fully described in Jeremiah 31:31-34, the passage that is quoted in Hebrews 8.
This New Covenant was made with "the house of Israel and the house of Judah" (Jer. 31:31). This is not meant to exclude genealogical non-Israelite individuals. Instead, it meant to exclude nations that are not united with Israel and Judah. The New Covenant will not come through any other nation. This means that other people must become citizens of Israel in order to participate in the New Covenant.
Keep in mind, of course, that I am not speaking of the nation in the Middle East that currently calls itself Israel. That is not a New Covenant nation, nor do they have the right to adopt the name given to the sons of Joseph.
No man can become an Israelite without first becoming a Judahite. Faith gives one citizenship in the tribe of Judah, because such people are united with the King of Judah, who is Jesus Christ. All others are excluded from the tribe, regardless of genealogy. Those citizens who qualify for rulership as overcomers become Israelites by the highest definition of the term. These rule and reign with Christ.
But this new nation itself is called Israel in Scripture. The day is coming when true Israel will be given that name, after the current "Israel" is "broken" as a potter's vessel that cannot be made whole again (Jer. 19:11). Then the true Israel of Jer. 18:1-10 will emerge as the Potter's vessel.
Other nations, then, will come to learn the laws of God (Isaiah 2:2-4), declaring Jesus Christ as King, and His laws as the law of their own nations. Isaiah 19 boldly and confidently states that Egypt and Assyria will join with Israel. This is startling in view of the fact that both those nations had been Israel's slave-masters. Isaiah makes it very clear that these nations will be EQUALS insofar as being "chosen" is concerned. Isaiah 19:21-25 reads,
" (21) and the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day . . . (24) In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a BLESSING in the midst of the land, (25) whom the Lord of hosts shall BLESS, saying, 'Blessed be Egypt, My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance'."
There is no thought here of second-class citizenship, no hint of Israel oppressing them or merely reversing the slavery. Far from it. Here we see three nations totally independent, yet all under God, knowing the God of the Creation, being divinely blessed and, I believe, being a blessing to all families of the earth.
It is evident from this that being "chosen" is not a matter of genealogy but of faith. Egypt as a nation is "My people," a description normally reserved for Israel. Nor is this limited to either Egypt or Assyria, for ALL NATIONS will want to know Jesus Christ in that day. God says in Isaiah 45:23,
"I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness and shall not return (void), that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear (allegiance)."
Paul quotes this in Phil. 2:10, 11, adding that they will do this "to the glory of God the Father." This is about the restoration of all nations.
At the present time, the New Covenant is in force among individuals who have a genuine faith in Jesus Christ. There is no nation that officially recognizes Jesus Christ as King, no nation that has adopted the divine law as its law of the land. Nations have made some feeble attempts in the past, but none have succeeded, because it was not yet time.
God has been calling individuals in order to form a citizenry. He has been training some of them in the principles of His law, in preparation for statehood. I believe that the first nations to form this Federation of Kingdom Nations ("Israel") will come through the genealogical ex-Israelites of the dispersion. I believe they will take the lead in bringing the Abrahamic blessings to the rest of the earth.
If you disagree with this, I challenge you to prove me wrong by working to establish the Kingdom of God in your own nation. I welcome the friendly competition, because all that matters is that the Kingdom of God is established in the earth in its fullest expression--including citizens, laws, territory, ruled by King Jesus.
I believe that we are now about to enter a final era of preparation that will ultimately result in whole nations declaring Jesus Christ as King--as demanded by their citizens. The first step, however, is to see a heart change among individuals.
This is the third part of a series titled "The Resurrected Israel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones