Principle truths of the New Testament: The Christians are the Focus;
1/ The coming of Jesus into the world is the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. The promise of Abrahams seed, blessing all the nations of the world has been fulfilled in preaching the gospel in all the world and the conversion of the Gentiles over the past 2000 years. Galatians 3:26, Romans 9:8
2/ It is the gospel church that is central to God’s purposes today. This is not some parenthesis that we are living in, heading for some extraordinary new time when God stops dealing with Christians, and goes back to Jerusalem and the State of Israel, the Jewish people. The Great Commission going out from Jerusalem, to Judea, to Samaria and all the world is not going to end. Jesus sent them out, as previewed in Luke 10:1-10 and in the last days, the 144,000 will finally cover the uttermost parts of the earth. God’s focus is His righteous, faithful people in all the nations of the earth and Jesus builds His church, ready for Him to Return to in glory.
3/ God’s chosen people are Christians. They are no longer the Jews. Membership of the chosen people of God is open to every ethnicity on the basis of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Even in the Old Testament other races were welcomed into the true Israel of God, Rahab from Jericho and Ruth from Moab. In the New Testament the word ‘chosen’ is only used of converted Jews and Gentiles. Christians alone under the New Covenant are the chosen peoples of God. Psalms 87:4-6, Isaiah 56:1-8, Revelation 5:9-10
4/ The promised Land belongs to Godand residence in it was always conditional on obedience to God. The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. Leviticus 25:23 God never gave away the freehold. Permanent residence is on the basis of faith in the Lord not ethnicity.
The House of Israel, the ten Northern tribes and the House of Judah, the two Southern tribes were removed from the Land because of their apostasy and sins.
Jeremiah was directed to buy a field and bury the title deed for a long time to come. Jeremiah 32:6-15 That prophecy and many others say how the Lord will restore all the holy Land and then only His people will live there. Isaiah 49:8-13, Romans 9:26
5/ God does not have a plan for Israel separate from the church.
In Romans 2:28-29 Paul declares, A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No: a man is a Israelite if he is one inwardly and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. Romans 2:27-28
We Christians have been grafted into the spiritual olive and vine that is Jesus Christ. Barren branches have been pruned or cut off and we non-Jews are admitted for our belief and faith. Christians have received the Holy Spirit which is the promise God made to Abraham. We are the true circumcision of the heart: All Christian Gentiles and Jews who trust in the Lord Jesus are the Israel of God. Galatians 6:16
6/ God has not rejected the Jews. As unbelievers, they are exhorted to put their trust in Christ and be saved. Whoever believes in him, Jew or Gentile, shall have everlasting life. There is now one new humanity. There is only one people of God. There is no longer Jew or Gentile; we are all one in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 4:4-6, John !0:16 We are the heirs of the promise. Galatians 3:29
7/ The Jews have experienced a partial hardening. Most of them sided with Caiaphas and their leaders who judged Jesus to be a phony, a blasphemer and a criminal who deserved the capital punishment he got. They judged Jews who believe in Jesus to be turncoats and wicked men at worst, and gullible, misguided fools at best. Unbelieving Jews experienced a hardening against Jesus Christ and his message. But it was not a total and comprehensive resistance. The apostles themselves were all converted Jews, and so were the 3,000 converted to becoming disciples on the day of Pentecost, and so were the hundreds of priests who were a little later to believe in him. It was only a partial hardening of the Jews. Lots of them became Christians and are Messianic Christians today, but scripture is clear: only a remnant will be saved. Romans 9:27
8/ The full number of the Gentiles is continuing to be added to the people of God. How did this great fullness of the Gentiles come in? Today there are millions of Christians in the continents and countries of the world, as many Christians alive today as all the Christians since Jesus came. You know how it came about, that these Jews, Matthew and Mark and also Luke: though from Gentile descent had become a God-fearing convert to Old Testament religion before becoming a follower of Christ. Then; John, Peter, Paul, James, Jude and the writer to the Hebrews, all these Jews accepted the gospel message. Then some years later they began to commit it into writing with the supervising help of the Spirit of God. They wrote the message of the whole counsel of God. When that was completed, in the full New Testament – all 27 books – it went out and out into all the world in the following centuries, sometimes in great irresistible surges of the Spirit as in the Reformation and the Great Awakening and in the missionary expansion of the church. And the effect of the Jewish written Scriptures read and preached was life from the dead for the blinded, deaf, idol-worshipping Gentile world. It transformed Europe and the Americas, South Korea and now increasingly China and Africa. All of them are amongst the full number of the elect men and women whom God the Father gave to Jesus the Son before the foundation of the world. The Son willingly came into the world to show the Way, the Truth and the Life and he died the death that they should have suffered under the judgment of God, and he did all this as their substitute and advocate to become their Saviour. All those chosen, called and faithful people were saved and will be saved as the Jewish written Scriptures are preached to them in the power of the Holy Spirit.
9/ All Israel will be saved. That is: all the chosen and called and elect descendants of Jacob, be they Jews or from the other tribes, known only to God, Amos 9:9, will one day irresistibly be saved, but not any of those who refuse to repent or trust in Jesus, Ezekiel 20:37-38, but all who believe on the Lord Jesus will be saved. Every person from every tribe, race, nation and language, Revelation 5:9-10, are saved by grace through faith in our Saviour alone. God said this would happen and so it did, and so it continues to be done.
10/ All Israel will be saved through personal faith in the Deliverer.
…..as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins. Romans 11:26-27
What did the prophets say? The deliverer will come from Zion. Who is the deliverer? Jesus the Son of God, of course, the only deliverer, that Jewish man, born in Bethlehem who lived in Nazareth, preached in Galilee, and died in Jerusalem.
What did the deliverer do to Saul? He turned godlessness away from him. Was there a more godless Jew in the first century than Saul? What did he call himself? The chief of sinners. Yet Jesus turned his godlessness away from him and from all of Jacob/Israel – the name for all the elect, believing Christians. He changed their hearts, making them godly with god-fearing hearts.
The Bible proof text for believing that Israelites means the people of the whole church made up of Jews and Gentiles together being saved and bearing that rightful covenant name of Israel, is found in Paul’s letter to the Gentile church in Galicia. Paul writes a farewell to the Galatians, and he phrases it like this, “Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. Galatians 6: 16 So all Israel means every single Christian.
This has been how most of the Christian church understood the meaning of this verse in the early centuries, and how John Calvin interpreted this verse. Ref: Geoff Thomas