God Will Not Abandon Israel
By Matt Ward
Israel are besieged all about and many who should be defending her, are not.
Replacement theology-an insidious doctrine-is corrupting an entire generation of young Christians into believing that Israel no longer counts in God’s reckoning. They believe that the nation God once called the “apple of my eye” (Zechariah 2:8), has been replaced by the Church.
The main reason for this rejection, so replacement theology teaches, is Israel’s past disobedience and their rejection of Jesus Christ.
If this is true then woe to the Church of today. Does our church in 2016 really look like an obedient one to you? Apostasy is rampant, as is compromise in all areas and at all levels of leadership. The Jesus taught in many pulpits today is a “different Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4), from the one originally taught by the apostles of Our Lord.
If God so readily abandoned Israel for disobedience then why do we, the church today, believe God will not also abandon us for our own disobedience? Why will God not just raise up another people for Himself who will be obedient, in our place? After all, that is exactly what replacement theology teaches God did with Israel?
The Bible does clearly teach that, “God does not change” (Malachi 3:6) and that “God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11), so why would God not apply the same rules and criteria to the modern day church as He did to Israel?
In preaching replacement theology the church of today has robbed itself of its own assurance of its own eternal security in God. If God abandoned Israel because of sin and disobedience then we in the church are doomed because God is an impartial God. The same standards He applied to Israel will be applied to us also.
The reality, of course, is that God has not abandoned Israel at all. Instead, God has allowed Israel to, “…experience a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11: 25). Got has not forgotten about Israel. He is currently dealing with the Gentile world and the signs all around us are indicating that this gentile dispensation is about to come to an end. After this, God will once again turn His full attention to dealing with the remnant of Israel, then, “…all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11: 26).
Israel’s future is irrevocably bound up in the character of God. What many Christians fail to understand is that when they question the future of Israel in Gods plans, believing God to have abandoned his once “holy inheritance”, they are questioning the integrity of God Himself. They are calling God a liar and exposing Him to public shame because God promised the children of Israel,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
This issue, at its core is a question about honesty. Is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a God of integrity or not? Is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ true to his word or is He not? Is God a liar?
Proclaiming that the Church has replaced Israel is to publically state that the God we worship does lie, that we cannot take him at his word, that He is not trustworthy because He does not keep His promises.
In Romans, the apostle Paul, who was taught through revelation by Jesus Christ Himself, wrote to his own people, the Jews and addressed this question head on, “I say then, has God cast away his people?” (Romans 11:1) This exact statement is made week after week from pulpit after pulpit in Britain and America and many are those who believe it to be true.
Paul immediately and emphatically answers his own question in the very next sentence, “Certainly not!” The Greek translation of this term implies that this notion is so unthinkable and so unimaginable that it should not be something that even enters into our minds!
God has not finished with Israel and yet has a great future for her. He has made solemn covenants with Israel that back this up.
Our God is a Covenant making God, instituting no less than four separate Covenants with His people throughout time; The Abrahamic Covenant; the Land Covenant found in Deuteronomy; the Davidic Covenant and the New Covenant, inaugurated by God’s Son, Jesus Christ. God keeps His covenants and He made them expressly so that we who follow Him can know with certainty that we can trust Him.
Jesus Himself testifies to this truth,
“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18).
The Abrahamic Covenant
Still in effect today, the Abrahamic Covenant was conferred on Abraham, Isaac and then onto Jacob, whose name God changed into Israel. On Israel’s deathbed God subsequently conferred this covenant, and confirmed it, with each of Israel’s twelve children, who would later go on to become the twelve tribes of Israel.
There are two types of covenant in the bible, conditional covenants and unconditional covenants. A conditional covenant is an agreement dependant on both parties for its fulfillment. If either party fails to meet its obligations then the covenant is cancelled.
The Abrahamic Covenant is not a conditional covenant. It is an unconditional covenant. An unconditional covenant is an agreement between two parties where only one of the parties has to do something. The Abrahamic Covenant is not dependent upon Abraham, but on God. Abraham had to do nothing to ensure its fulfillment, the obligation and responsibility rests alone with God.
The ceremony performed in Genesis 15 indicates the unconditional nature of this covenant. In Genesis 15 Abraham halved some dead animals and God Himself, and alone, moved between the dead animals laid out on the floor. The smoking furnace and the flaming torch represent God and God Himself put Abraham into a sleep so deep that he could not physically pass between the animals.
God was binding Himself to this agreement with Abraham. In effect, God was saying “…if I do not fulfill the exact terms of this agreement then let what has happened to these dead animals happen to me!” God was staking His own life on its exact fulfillment.
This is one of the main reasons why Satan hates Israel and the Jews so much. If Satan can destroy the Jews and Israel, then he can prove God to be a covenant breaker. God, because of this covenant, would then be obliged by His own standards of holiness and justice to reap the consequences of this broken covenant.
How deeply shameful that many, many Christians are, in replacement theology, loudly and publically claiming God to be a covenant breaker.
In the Abrahamic Covenant, still in force today, God promised Abraham three main things; the land, descendants after him who would make a “great nation,” and the promise of blessings and ultimate redemption.
This covenant will receive it ultimate fulfillment in the Messianic Kingdom. (Gen12: 1-3; 12:7; 13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-21: 22:15-18) All other covenants in the Bible are based on the foundations laid by this one covenant.
The Land Covenant (found in Deuteronomy)
This covenant is crucial because it ensures Israel’s inheritance, despite their potential future unfaithfulness. This covenant guarantees Israel’s repentance and future restoration to the land in the millennial reign of the Messiah (Deuteronomy 30:1-10).
The Davidic Covenant
The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7: 8-16), is also an eternal covenant. It guarantees Israel an eternal King who will rule from David’s throne forever. Every Christian in the world today, including those who subscribe to replacement theology, prays for the fulfillment of this Davidic Covenant from their very first experiences in Christianity, most without recognizing it.
In Our Lord’s Prayer, the line, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10), is a direct and explicit reference from Jesus Christ of the time yet future when a descendant of David will sit on David’s throne and rule Israel and the world from Jerusalem. This did not happen during Christ’s first incarnation, in fact the opposite. Jesus was rejected and despised by Israel.
A time is fast approaching when Jesus-the Lion of the Tribe of Judah-will come again. He will not come in meekness and humility like the first time, but in majesty and awesome power to sit on David’s throne where he will rule all the nations of this earth from Jerusalem. At this time the name of Jerusalem itself will be changed to “the throne of the Lord” (Jeremiah 3:7), reflecting the worldwide eminence of this great, Jewish city.
Jesus, when he returns, will be returning as a racial King – a Jewish King, and he will rule all with a “rod of iron” from an eternal Jewish, capital city. We Christians testify to this truth each and every Christmas when we send simple Christmas cards to one another inscribed with the famous biblical story,
“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1: 30-33).
This part of the verse never happened during Jesus’ first ministry. Its fulfillment relates to the time yet future when the Davidic Covenant, which is predicated upon the Land Covenant and in turn the Abrahamic Covenant, will be fulfilled.
A Jewish King ruling the world from a Jewish country. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Messiah Jesus.
The New Covenant
We all look forward to the time when,
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them” (Isaiah 11:6).
This prophecy will become a reality in the millennial reign of Christ. The New Covenant, ushered in by the Son of God Himself, is crucial to the fulfillment of the other Covenants that find their own ultimate fulfillments in the Messianic kingdom.
It is because of the New Covenant, paid for in the blood of Jesus Christ spilt on the Cross, that the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, The Land Covenant and the Davidic Covenants are possible. It all hinges upon God’s son, Jesus.
It is through this New Covenant of the blood of God’s Son that provision is made for Israel’s national forgiveness of sin, for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and complete regeneration based on the perfect substitutionary work of the Messiah who was slain for sin, (Lev. 17:11; Jer. 31: 31-37; Ezek. 36: 24-28).
The Mashiach Nagid, the Messiah, the King, has done it all. He has completed the work necessary to bring us before God in peace. He has clothed us with His own personal righteousness and finally dealt with our sin. His death means that creation itself can be restored. It is His substitutionary death on the cross that will mean all Israel can be saved.
To deny the right of Israel to exist or to suggest that God has abandoned Israel because of sin is to also forsake our own salvation. Our salvation is intimately bound up with the salvation of Israel. It is the same blood that we claim as a propitiation for our own sins that will also provide the atonement for Israel’s national sin. To reject Israel’s future salvation is to therefore bring our own into doubt.
Our God is a faithful God and He has sworn over and over again to deliver Israel, physically and spiritually. Replacement theology is an attack not upon Israel, but on the very nature of God; it questions His integrity. The God of the Old Testament is a covenant maker but this theology makes God a covenant breaker. God made an eternal covenant with Israel and He staked His own life on fulfilling that covenant to Israel,
“I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”(Genesis 17:7)
God does not change His mind, or revoke covenants because of disobedience,
“…the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” (1 Samuel 15:29)
God loves Israel. The obvious convergence of Bible prophecy in our own generation tells us that the time is fast approaching when He will soon begin dealing with Israel once again. The time is also fast approaching when God Himself will stand up and in the clearest possible terms demonstrate to Israel and the world that He alone is God and that Israel are His, and nobody else’s.
That time to come is when a horde of nations, led by a ruler known as Gog, sweeps down upon Israel and with them will be:
“Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee” (Ezekiel 38:6)
They will descend upon Israel like a storm to cover the land, “…to take a spoil.”
It will be at this point that the Lord God Himself will personally stand up and fight on the behalf of Israel, His holy inheritance,
“When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.
I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.'” (Ezekiel 38:18-23)
In that day all the world will know that God still loves Israel. The alliances are forming right now that will soon sweep down into Israel, the beautiful land. That day of infamy fast approaches, as does Gog’s day of reckoning with the Lord God Himself.
In that day, there will be no confusion in anybody’s mind of just how important and beloved Israel still is to God.