I’ve had a particular thing revealed to me, which I believe is very pertinent for the church in our day.  The revelation pertains to end day events, and I believe it is essential to take heed to it.  Now, please don’t take me too odd here – honestly end day events are things that I have never tried to look too deeply into, nor to minister, or speak on – partly for the same reason I try not to be too political.

I feel that, generally, there is a great deal of interest in end-time events in the church, and that many ministers spend over much time emphasizing things that often amount to no more than speculative theology.  Wrong theology of end time events is terribly destructive.  If something does not hold True from the beginning, it will not be found True in the end. I.e. there should be plain, evident teaching of it throughout the scripture, it will not just be a singularly placed, stand-alone revelation.  For God is God who ‘declares the end from the beginning.’ (Is 46:10)  Remember that in questions relating to the end days – if an interpretation of something does not line up with the rest of the Word, it is out of place.  It will be found an untrue interpretation.

Further, the scriptures can only be interpreted through the revelation of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:14-16), how much more with the visionary elements of the prophets! (I mean, wheels and eyes, multiple headed beasts that look like leopards, bears and lions, horns sticking up everywhere, etc. …)

I have resisted any desire to emphasize latter-day things, though in my resistance to it, I often find that the Lord reveals certain things to me concerning that topic unsolicited (Ex: Elijah 1, 23 & 4) – to which I say: ‘His will be done.’

I look forward to sharing that revelation with whosoever will listen; as I search, and cultivate the Word I find it more and more conclusive from scripture, and more and more collaborated in reality.

Before I get to the revelation I speak of, I will need to lay some ground-work of thought, and so I have chosen to spend a little time answering the titled question.  Do bear with me, as this will all lead in to the thing that I believe the Lord has revealed to me.  These things may not seem to correspond any way with latter-day events, but again:

Isa 46:9-10
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:


WHO is the Israel of God?

There are just about as many perspectives in the church on this question as there are noses.  In our day one standard and commonly accepted perspective among Christians is that the genetic descendants of Abraham – the Jews – are the Lord’s chosen people: the Israel of God.  Christians are accepted under the covenant of Jesus Christ, yet Jews are elect of God and will one day return as a nation and accept their Messiah.  The belief is that we are in quote: ‘The age of the Gentiles.’

This belief comes centrally from Romans 9-11; the core verse is:

Rom 11:25
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS IN PART IS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL, UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN.

A natural assumption that follows this belief is that in the end days, the Jews will, again, become God’s chosen people, and that the geographic, and political nation of Israel will be re-established.  The temple will be rebuilt, and Israel will once again offer sacrifices in the physical temple.  Continuing this thought, the stage would, then be set for Antichrist to arrive, and shew himself to be God in the temple.

I think this is all pretty standard fair, which most evangelicals believe.  I am now going to bring some of these conclusions into question.  Bear in mind, I agree whole-heartedly with everything that Paul said in Romans 9-11, what I am bringing into question is some of our interpretation, and conclusions regarding what he said there – not the text itself.

So, I come back to the question: ‘Who is the Israel of God?’

And here I will begin as early as possible in the context of the New Testament revelation, and try to flush out the question so that we have a solid scriptural foundation to work from.

Let’s start with the initial inception of the concept of Christianity in the days of Jesus, with a man named John the Baptist.  John was the first actual teacher of the New Covenant, he prophesied the coming Christ, and his ministry was for the purpose of preparing our hearts to receive Jesus.  His central message was of repentance – those who repented of their sins, and believed in Christ would be accepted before God.  This message was intolerable to the priesthood because they trusted in their genealogical heritage for salvation.

Contrary to the popular view of his day, John declared that physical descent from Abraham had no bearing on salvation.  Here’s what he said:

Matt 3:7-12
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Whoa!  Intense!  Yeah, we could call John the original hell-fire, and brimstone preacher.

Here John makes a couple of very interesting statements, however.  First – he is speaking to whom?  ‘Many of the Pharisees, and Sadducees’ – that is: the official members of the Jewish religious council known as the ‘Sanhedrin’ (put a pin in this thought, because later we’ll visit some very clear and definitive prophecies that Jesus declared to the same group (the Sanhedrin) in another post… well we’ll look at some things Jesus said to the Sanhedrin in this post as well, but a certain other vital teaching in a later post.).

So John, speaking officially to the Sanhedrin (in fact a conversation is recorded in the book of John, where the Sanhedrin sent an official delegation to John in order to determine who he was (that conversation with the official Sanhedrin delegates is recorded in John 1:19-27), declares in no uncertain terms that physical descent from Abraham is of no value in the New Covenant but only those who bring forth fruit meet for repentance, and receive the Messiah will be accepted.

In fact, by his statement, John makes descent from Abraham of no value at all: ‘…God is able of these STONES to raise up children to Abraham.

How offensive!  The prophet is actually speaking of the hard-hearted; those who were not the people of God [the Gentiles], as we will see as we continue – not literal stones.  Surely to leaders of a religious counsel who believed their own salvation was sure based on their genealogical descent, this was the very height of insult.

He followed this with a strict prophetic declaration:

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Those of the sons of Abraham – he says – will be cut down, and: ‘Cast into the fire.’  A plain allusion to the lake of fire.  Not only does he warn the Sanhedrin counselors that their genealogy is of no value, but that although they have trusted their heritage, they are in danger of being cast into the lake of fire!

He goes on to declare the imminent coming Messiah:

Matt 3:11-12
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

The clear implication being: you have to obey my ministry and repent – you will, further, have to submit to the full cleansing power of the Messiah’s ministry, if you want to be included in salvation.  Those who do not receive the ministry of Messiah – including children of Abraham – John calls chaff, and says they will burn in the lake of fire.

Ah, but maybe this was a hyperbole for effect?  John is a pretty intense, and uncompromising dude… obviously.  Perhaps he was just rigorously pontificating, and got a little carried away.  Let’s see what Jesus had to say about the Jew’s acceptance before God based upon their descent from Abraham.

First the context of this conversation: it takes place entirely inside the Jewish temple (John 8:2).  The scribes, and Pharisees (again, the Sanhedrin) bring to Jesus a woman who was caught in adultery.  This, also, is an official correspondence with the Sanhedrin.  In this case, the Sanhedrin was acting in its official capacity of religious rule – they were in judgment of a woman caught in adultery.  Most know this story – ‘who is without sin let him cast the first stone.’  Then one by one her ACCUSERS left (not the Sanhedrin – remember this is in the temple – her ACCUSERS left; these were probably community members, family, etc.), until she was left standing alone before Jesus, and the Sanhedrin with no one remaining to accuse her.  Then Jesus declared that He would neither condemn her, ‘…go and sin no more.’  (John 8:11)

After this Jesus began speaking to the Sanhedrin.  In context:

John 8:10-12
When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those THINE ACCUSERS? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

12 Then spake Jesus again unto them [the Sanhedrin counselors, still standing by], saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

13 THE PHARISEES therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true.

The first thing Jesus says to the Sanhedrin – that is the Jewish religious leaders – is that in order to walk in the light of salvation they needed to follow Him (His teaching, His way of life, etc.).  The Jews understand what He is saying, and immediately begin to deny it.

That is the context of this conversation – Jesus is speaking officially to the Sanhedrin.  Reading John 8 you’ll notice that in retelling this episode in full, John refers to the people Jesus is conversing with as quote: ‘the Jews’ (v. 27, 48, 52) as though He is speaking to ALL Jewish people.  Guess what?  He is.  (Remember this is another official conversation between Jesus and the Sanhedrin – the ruling council of the Jewish nation.  A distinction is even made in the narration between the general council of the Jews, and the ‘Jews which believed on Him.’ (v. 31))

Now the context is laid, we will pick up in verse 32.

John 8:32-33  Jesus says:
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Now this is the beginning of an interesting conversation about being descended from Abraham.  Jesus makes the declaration: ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

First I will point out that here Jesus’ declaration indirectly states that genealogy makes no difference to salvation, but that knowing the TRUTH is what makes one free.  The Sanhedrin counselors are not stupid, they understand that the premise of the statement infers that they are in bondage, and need to be liberated.  The Jews respond with their self-assured theology of their eternal salvation based upon the fact that they are descendants of Abraham.

In v.34 & 35 Jesus defines what He means: that even the Jews are in bondage to sin, and must be liberated only by the Son of God.  The rest of this thought is rather interesting:

John 8:36-40
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

37 I KNOW THAT YE ARE ABRAHAM’S SEED [Jesus gives recognition to the fact of the Jew’s genealogy]; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.

39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, IF YE WERE ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN, YE WOULD DO THE WORKS OF ABRAHAM.  [Above Jesus acknowledged they are the children of Abraham – here He DENIES that they are the children of Abraham.  The thought: if they are really Abraham’s seed, they would be so in spirit, not merely according to the flesh.]

40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

Abraham loved the Messiah, but THESE Jews, though they were physically Abraham’s descendants, rejected the Messiah!  So Jesus plainly declares (my paraphrase of v 39) ‘You are not REALLY Abraham’s children, or you would love me.’

Okay, now not to beat a dead horse, but we started with Paul.  How does this descent from Abraham line up with the Pauline revelation in the book of Romans?  Interestingly enough, Paul speaks specifically of Abraham, and God’s covenant with him and his seed in Romans chapter 4.

Well, since I have already taken a lot of time with the teachings of John, and Jesus, I will jump directly to the central essence of Paul’s message:

Rom 4:12-13
12 [Abraham,] the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, BUT WHO ALSO WALK IN THE STEPS OF THAT FAITH OF OUR FATHER ABRAHAM, which he had being yet uncircumcised.


Then in Romans 9, Paul gives a further declaration, as he speaks of the genetic Jew’s place in the New Covenant:

Rom 9:6-8
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. FOR THEY ARE NOT ALL ISRAEL, WHICH ARE OF ISRAEL:

7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.


And the final passage from Paul’s Romans that I will quote declares two things plainly 1) that the natural seed makes no difference, and 2) that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation:

Rom 10:9-13
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE JEW AND THE GREEK: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.


Okay, so according to Paul, Abraham’s seed are not those of his genetic lineage, but to those who walk in faith – specifically those who believe in, and call upon the Jew’s Messiah.  He declares plainly that being Abraham’s seed does not have anything to do with genealogical lineage.  ‘Abraham’s seed’ means those who have been adopted into the faith of Abraham – those who receive the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Rough conclusion of the New Testament revelation on Abraham’s descendants:

  1. John Baptist: Genealogical descent does not matter; REPENTANCE (we could call this ‘circumcision of the heart’ (Jer 4:4)), and RECEIVING THE MESSIAH matters
  2. Jesus Christ: Genealogical descent does not matter; RECEIVING THE MESSIAH matters
  3. Paul: Genealogical descent does not matter; FAITH IN GOD VIA RECEIVING THE MESSIAH matters

Who is the Israel of God?

Is it those who, in outward form, are Jews?  I will let the scripture answer these questions:

Rom 2:28-29
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:


The Israel of God are those who receive Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  According to Paul (and other prophecies) I believe that there were, are, and will be a remnant of genealogical Jews who receive the Messiah, (Rom 11:25-27) but all are accepted on account of faith in Jesus Christ, not heritage or native custom.


Link to next in series: WHO is the Israel of God? Pt 2. ‘First Glimpse into the New Covenant Era’