A brother posted this on the new humanity website as a kind of response to a question I had. And a statement I made.I hope its interesting/clarifying /insightful.
May Jesus bless and keep you all thanks for your input into this subject.
What is – & Who are – Israel?
1 Comment / Addressing heresies, Awareness, church, Humanity, National Borders, politics and religion / By Peter Cohen
Who or what is Israel? That which establishes itself through politics and military might, or that which is founded through the New Covenant, by the Spirit, through faith in the Messiah?
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him (Deuteronomy 7:6-10).
in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:6-10).
This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar — the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” This is what the Lord says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the Lord (Jeremiah 31:35-37).
I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.” I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (Romans 10:19 – 11:4).
There are currently 195 countries in the world and all of them, except for 2, are members of the United Nations. There are only two countries which are not members and are considered observer states, the Vatican and Palestine (source: How many countries are there in the world?).
It has often been suggested that in the world you have, for example, the country of Greece for the Greeks, Britain for the British, Ireland for the Irish, Germany for the Germans, Italy for the Italians, Persia [Iran] for the Persians [Iranians], Egypt for the Egyptians etc. It was also once suggested, before 1948, that there was a nation called Israel who had no country and that a place in the Middle East, the original borders of Israel, was an open country “with no people” that would be ideally suitable for a “scattered people without a country”. So, as you have Greece for the Greeks, so too ought you have Israel for “the Jews”. But who are the “Jews”?
This is very important to grasp and to comprehend: As quoted above, the Lord said through the Prophet Jeremiah, that as long as the sun shines upon this world and the moon is in the sky, Israel will never cease to be a nation. There are now false teachers who even quote this verse to suggest that in 1948, Israel “once again became a nation”. Such a suggestion is utter nonsense because it implies that for a time, from 70 AD until 1948, that Israel did perhaps cease to be a nation. A nation, whom God said would never cease to exist, actually never did cease to exist – and could not, therefore, come into being – or have been born gain as a nation in 1948 – (because, from the time the Lord spoke to Jeremiah, long before 1948, the sun and the moon remained and so too, Israel never ceased to exist as a nation even though they were scattered throughout the world.)
Paul taught: It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring (Romans 9:6-8).
It is now a fait accompli and widely accepted that a person who calls themselves a “Jew”, through their natural line of birth, (particularly through their mother being a Jew) or through conversion to Judaism, have the right of return to the country, Israel. This assertion is utterly false and must be exposed as false even at the risk of the unwarranted charge of “antisemitism”.
A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God (Romans 2:28-29).
I will state this quite emphatically and categorically, A person who joins himself to the God of Israel in faithful obedience to His New Covenant which He has made through His Anointed King, Jesus, is born again and fully counted as a member of God’s holy, priestly nation, Israel, quite regardless of their former natural birth, (whether formerly Jew or Gentile). The New Covenant has replaced the former Old Covenant.
Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) — remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:11 – 3:6).
If any people living as foreigners scattered among the nations is redeemed through their faith in Jesus the Messiah and they are born again from above, circumcised by the Holy Spirit, they are one body with the Israel of God, which includes Jews and which is also no longer exclusive of the other nations of the world. That which is expanded by God’s mercy certainly has not replaced the original people born according to the flesh who also are redeemed through faith in Jesus.
So I ask: Who have the right of return to the country in the Middle East – a people exclusively calling themselves “Jews”, or the redeemed people called to the obedience to God through their faith in Jesus the Messiah.
All these people [the faithfully obedient] were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:13-16).
He has founded his city on the holy mountain. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, city of God: “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me— Philistia too, and Tyre , along with Cush— and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’” Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.” The Lord will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.” As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you” Psalm 87:1-7).
Those who call themselves “Jews” and who want to be counted among the redeemed people of God are faced with two main choices and a third choice of waiting in doubt and limbo: Believe in Jesus the Messiah and receive the promised inheritance through faithful obedience to the King of kings, or reject the Messiah and try to take possession of the earthly country by political and military human effort and find that you have struggled in vain. The third passive choice, which many Jews in the exile have opted for, is to resist Zionism and wait for another messiah to hopefully come because they do not believe that Jesus is indeed the Messiah who came at the appointed time in history.
However, a true “Zionist” blessed and approved by God is one who is in Jesus the Messiah and waiting for the heavenly City of Jerusalem to be revealed in God appointed time. They are Israel, a nation scattered among the nations, with opportunity to return to an earthly country, but who are rather waiting for that heavenly country, the home of the righteous.
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken —that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:22-28).
The kingdom of God is being restored to Israel as Israel’s membership expands to include, not only Jews who believe in Jesus, but people called out of darkness from all the nations of the world. They have no compulsion to return to the small strip of land in the Middle East, because they are patiently and faithfully waiting for a new country. It is very unfortunate that we now need to contend with a political motivation of so-called “Zionism” that tries to take the place of the larger, expanded Israel through what they narrowly and racially classify as being “Jewish”.
But the King of kings has said – and his final word remains, “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:7-9).
Our vindication as the Israel of God will be through our faithful obedience to Jesus the King of kings. Amen.