April 7, 2010

“Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but in Isaac shall Thy seed be called” (Rom. 9:6, 7).

 When one begins a discussion of Israel he soon hears it said that Gentiles who believe on the Lord are spiritual Israel. In this regard we want to make a statement to be noted well and kept always in mind: Every time the word Israel is used in the word of God, it is used to designate the lineal descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Gentiles who have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are called “of the seed of Abraham” but are never called Israelites. In the sixth verse quoted above we read, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”

 Weymouth’s translation gives it in these words: “For not all who have sprung from Israel count as Israel.” (Here Israel means Jacob, whose name had been changed to Israel.) The truth is that not all of the lineal descendants of Israel are called the children of Israel; neither are all the descendants of Abraham called Israel. The children of promise came through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Neither the descendants of Ishmael, the sons of Abraham by Keturah, nor Esau are called Israel because they are not the children of promise. I am a Gentile believer, but that does not make me an Israelite, because I am not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

 Much trouble exists today in the land of Palestine between the descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishmael. Not only do the Arabs, but also many Gentile Christians, refuse to accept the Word of God in Gen. 21:10, which tells us concerning Ishmael: “The son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.” Therefore, the son of the bondwoman is not to inherit any of the promises made to Abraham which were also confirmed to Isaac and Jacob. Paul quoted that passage of Scripture in Gal. 4:30, calling attention in this particular instance to the fact that the promises of God are to the son of Sarah and not to the son of Hagar.

 In order that we may know that the distinction between Isaac and Ishmael is because of God’s election and not because they had different mothers, we have the experience of Jacob and Esau given in Rom. 9:8-13. These two sons had the same father and the same mother, and were twins. God chose Jacob and rejected Esau. This reveals to us, as stated so clearly in the Word of God (Rom. 9:11), that election is of God and not of the person elected. Permit just a word or two pertaining to the doctrine of election. Do not ever be guilty of saying that you do not believe in election, predestination, and foreordination, but say rather that you do not understand these things, though you do believe them. These doctrines are clearly taught in the Word of God.

 Election is primarily for service. God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob out of multitudinous thousands, that through them, an elect group, He might bless all the rest of mankind. Today we have the Church who are the elect of God. God is calling out of the multitudes today a people for His name (Acts 15:14), that through this minority group of the elect, He might bless all the rest of mankind. The election of God does not mean that the others are predestined to be damned. All were born under the curse and none had any claim on God. If God chooses to elect certain ones, then the others have not a word to say except in the light of the fact that God has manifested His grace by saying, “Whosoever believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life.” Election, predestination, and foreordination are of God. Man’s part is to recognize the scope of God’s grace and know that he can qualify under the designation “whosoever,” and by believing, be saved. Election is a family expression, and after one comes into the family of God, he appreciates the fact that he was elected of God.

 Charles H. Spurgeon’s illustration of election is very clear. He said that it was as if he approached a door over which was inscribed the words, “Whosoever will may come.” Realizing that whosoever included him, he entered the door. Upon entering he looked back at the door and saw inscribed these words, “Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.” God does the electing — man does the believing. A man goes to hell not because he was predestined to but because he refused to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Now the election of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob manifests God’s Love in setting aside the posterity of these men and designating them as the children of Israel. Their election was not to damn the rest of the world but that through them all men might be blessed (Gen. 12:3). God’s election of Israel was for the following purposes:

 1) To establish a people through whom Christ should come in the flesh (Rom. 9:5; Acts 2:30).

2) That through them His revelation (the Holy Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments) might be given to mankind (Rom. 3:1, 2; Psa. 147:19, 20).

 3) That the testimony of the one true and living God might be preserved and propagated through them.

 4) That they might be Jehovah’s witnesses to all the nations of the world.

 Though Israel is set aside today as a nation and enjoys no national privileges, neither assumes any national responsibilities, we will learn in Romans XI that during this period of national rejection, opportunity has been extended to the Gentiles to be Jehovah’s witnesses. But because of the Gentile’s unbelief they shall surrender that privilege and it will be again given to the nation of Israel.


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