Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

      Q: It makes me uneasy when Christians claim God’s promises, that He specifically gave to Israel  such as Genesis 12:3, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” And, 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Also, Psalm 91:7, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” Is it presumptuous to claim God’s promises to Israel for ourselves? 

      A: The answer is YES. Due to false teachings such as “Replacement Theology,” and wrong attitudes about the nation of Israel, some advocate that all of the blessings and promises made to Israel are now the Church’s to claim. It is true, both have been set apart to be a special people and a royal priesthood, but the promises vary because one inheritance is earthly and the other spiritual (Genesis 13:14-17; Deuteronomy 14:2; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 2:9). God does not rescind promises or gifts. It is important to note that many of these promises to Israel are part of the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in relationship to their biological descendants, as well as being extended to King David. Covenants are ongoing and passed down from generation to generation until they are fulfilled, and the promises made regarding the nation of Israel have not yet been fulfilled; therefore, they still stand.

      The Apostle Paul brings this out in Romans 11. Israel serves as the natural branches of the olive tree, while the church (Gentiles) came from a wild olive tree, but its members were grafted into the olive tree to partake of the spiritual legacy and future promises that come down through Abraham to all who believe. A slumbering spirit was put on national Israel so the church could be brought forth, but one day the slumbering spirit will be removed and national Israel restored; therefore, the grafted in branches must never become high minded because they can likewise be cut off from the olive tree. Keep in mind, the olive tree was where the oil came from. Oil points to the Holy Spirit and anointing. In Scripture, the oil to both Jews and Gentiles comes from the same source.  

      The promises and covenants of God to Abraham and his biological descendants were in relationship to land. Notice in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God is speaking about healing the land of Israel because it was defiled. Granted, there are principles within such instructions that we, as a body, can glean. If we want our homes, churches, societies and nation truly healed, we must repent and humble ourselves, while seeking the Lord in prayer. True repentance is a pre-prerequisite to ensure God’s forgiveness, healing, and restoration in all matters concerning His work and presence among His people. However, when it comes to the nation of Israel these promises and covenants are still very much in place, and the prophets of old such as Zechariah clearly stipulated that the main covenant surrounding national Israel will not be fully realized until their King, the Messiah, is reigning in Jerusalem.

      The problem is that many people do not realize that Israel was set apart to be a nation among the pagan nations and the church was and continues to be set apart in this world to be a spiritual kingdom on earth (John 18:36). The physical land given by God to the people of Israel was/is an earthly inheritance from God to enable them to carry out their calling and purpose to bring forth the Messiah, while spiritual blessings from above is the church’s calling card which is necessary for the body to carry out its commission to proclaim the person, work of redemption, and ministry of the Anointed One, Jesus Christ. 

      The people of Israel are Abraham’s biological descendants who have a spiritual legacy, where believers are spiritual heirs of heaven and are to serve as a visible witness and representative on earth (2 Corinthians 3:2-3; 5:18-20). The people of Israel are identified to Abraham through lineage and believers are identified to Abraham through faith (John 4:22; Romans 4:12-18).

      The Jewish practices are nothing but beggarly elements and shadows that all pointed to Jesus Christ (Galatians 4:7-10; Colossians 2:14-18). I shake my head at the thought that Christians would rather get caught up with the beggarly elements and shadows of the Jewish religion, than to be caught up with the fulfillment of all things Jewish and prophetic, Jesus Christ.

      Recently, I accepted the request of a “Christian” man to be my friend on Facebook. However, when I was trying to encourage believers in one of my posts by lifting up Christ, he inserted himself by pointing people to the beggarly elements and shadows of the practices of Judaism. I immediately deleted his insertion and unfriended him.

      We are never to stray from the narrow path of truth in order to explore detours that lead us away from what is real and eternal. Abraham understood that God was his real portion and we as believers must realize that Jesus in all of His glory is the total sum of our inheritance and blessings. Jesus was clear as to our commission to preach the Gospel and to make followers of Him in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18, and Paul summarized the simplicity of it in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, saved Jesus Christ and him crucified.”