Israel of God ( language of the new)

Posted: June 9, 2010 in Church, Holy Spirit, Israel, salvation
Tags: , , ,

When the apostles came to teach the Bible to their new converts what did they use?  The New Testament had not been written. So it would be no great stretch of the imagination to realise that the early church would use the Old Testament to teach the believers.  Now what many do not realise is that the New Testament is full of expressions which are actually Jewish in origin.

Today we have the New Testament, and many after reading the new find it difficult to connect the God that is expressed in the New with the God expressed in the old. They find it hard to understand.  Some give up thinking well the Old Testament is really for the Jews and the New for the church.  But they fail to see that the New is not just full of prophecies which are fulfilled in the New but that the language and thinking is also Jewish.    The apostles apply that language to the church as the fulfilment of what the Old taught

God our father:

  • 1 Thess 1: 1 “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians [which is] in God the Father and [in] the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from GOD OUR FATHER, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 2 Thess 1:1  Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians IN GOD OUR FATHER and the Lord Jesus Christ:

This is the covenant:

  • Heb 8:10 “For this [is] the covenant THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”

The language is predominantly Jewish in every aspect.  This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel”.  In the New this it is fulfilled in one group of people, and that is the church.  This peculiar called out bunch of misfits from all races.  Now if these people do not constitute the Israel of God then the writer of Hebrews must also be a liar.   For how can we have a promise that was made to one group of people suddenly be made applicable to those who were not even Jewish?   Unless the basis of what now constitutes Israel has changed.

Heirs of Abraham

  • Gal 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

Now biologically no gentile had any connection to Abraham.  So what was the point of Paul teaching this to the church?  There can be only one relevant point.  The gentiles were being included into a direct  lineage whereupon they become heirs.  This connection is again Jewish in language.  Paul does this because the gentiles were being linked into something that was promises as far back a Abraham.  Paul thinking is Jewish through and through.

Today we have the New Testament to look at.  But then these teachings would have been revolutionary.  Suddenly to the gentiles GOD BECOMES OUR FATHER.  Again this must come straight out of a  Jewish mind.  Together Jewish and gentile believers were one.  That was unthinkable for no Jew had fellowship with the unclean.  But what God was making clean was also being made acceptable.  What was made acceptable was also included in a new Israel of God.  Not based upon a physical birth but a spiritual birth.

The church / Assembly

The very name church is also connected to Israel of old.  The fact that the term was also used by Stephen at his death to refer to the church in the wilderness.  Means the connection is there.  We are the ekklesia of God.  The great assemble of the redeemed.  When the Septuagint was translated into the Greek from the Hebrew  by Jewish scholars  they used the word Church as the translation of the Hebrew word assembly.

Vine:

Now this aspect of the vine is again totally Jewish in thinking and practice.  Israel was set up as the fruitful vine that would bear fruit in her season.  But that vine became unfruitful.  Nevertheless the thinking is Jewish in thought.  Jesus as the sinless obedient son steps up and he becomes the new true vine.  All who are included in that vine will become fruitful.  He is the foundation which cannot be moved.  He is the rock from water came forth

The true Circumcision:

  • Rom 2:26 “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, SHALL NOT HIS UNCIRCUMCISION BE COUNTED FOR CIRCUMCISION?”

Circumcision is very Jewish in thought.  Every Jews was circumcised, but we gentiles were not. Again what was the relevance to teaching this to gentiles?  Who cares if the Jews were circumcised?  Paul again was making something clear that was very much fundamental to the covenant.  This speaks about a new circumcision but a circumcision which has direct relevance to Gods commands to Israel.

  • Deut 10:16 “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked.”

Now what Israel in the flesh could not achieve God in the New does.

  • Eze 36: 26 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”

Jew

  • Rom 2:29 “But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.”

The definition of the word Jew is now applied to one who is circumcised inwardly and of the heart.  This is the true circumcision and all who are circumcised in this way are the true Jews.  Why would this be applicable unless it is also applicable to the church.

I will call them my people and I will be their God:

This comes straight out of a whole host of old Testament verses and is totally Jewish in thinking and expression.  Again this is fulfilled in one group of people and that is the church.  It is not applied to the natural Jews, who remain outside of Christ,

  • Rom 9:25 “As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
  • Heb 8:10 “For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:”
  • 1 Peter 2:10 “Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

New Jerusalem

Now Jerusalem was always the home of the Jewish people.  But to a gentile Rome was just as good as the next.  His home is where his roots are.  But the church is not promised an earthly city called Jerusalem but a heavenly city.  Many would argue for a last minute return of a Jewish saved remnant to the earthly Jerusalem.  However when a Jew gets saved his home becomes the New Jerusalem.  He will no longer look to the earthly but his vision will be settled as the patriarchs did on the heavenly city whose builder and maker is God

  • Gal 4:26 “But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

The New came with an even greater revelation.  The calling was never to an earthly paradise or some reconstructed earth, but its final expression is in a New Heaven and Earth.  We become the citizens not of a small strip of land but a whole world.  When you are truly born again your heart is settled in that city.  None of us have ever seen it; we have no pictures of it other than a brief description in the book of revelation.  Yet there is this longing for that city four square.  It’s a heart desire which cannot be fully understood by those who are not born again.

Now time after time we see Jewish prophecies and Jewish thinking and concepts being applied to the church.  None of this would have any meaning if the Church was not the fulfilment of what was originally promised to Israel.   The church was prophecies in the old and revealed in the new.  The church is not an after thought in Gods plans but the fulfilment.

Now this does not mean we start practicing Jewish practices because we were never incorporated into a physical Israel.   There is still no physical circumcision for the gentiles.  But we do fulfil the true circumcision of the heart.

  • Eph 2:13 “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:”

We were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and today the gentiles are still aliens.  But we are being called to something greater.  We join with those who become part of those who are the faithful remnant of true Israel.

Suddenly those who were privilege with the promises and covenant are suddenly left out in the cold.  Suddenly they must approach God just as any gentile heathen must do.

  • Eph 2:19 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God”

Now the term SAINT is also Jewish in language.  This is who we were joined with.  We are to become one company with them.  But we are not called to be joined with the unsaved Jew or gentile.   I suppose that is why this ministry is called UC Ministries which is short for Upward Calling Ministries.  At the heart of every true believer is this desire for that upward call.  We long for the true expression, and the true reality to which we are called to.  We might not be able to verbalise it.  But there is a longing which I believe the Holy Spirit creates within the believer that says this is home.  This is where I belong.  This world is no longer home but a dust bowl.  We long for that great reunion with all the SAINTS, our true brothers and sisters.  This is our true family and there is a longing in each believer to be both complete in Christ and with our true family.  I have to say if you claim to be a believer and you do not have this longing, May I ask why not?

The fellowship which is coming will make anything we have down here looked like hatred in comparison.  This is a fellowship that will never end because of a wrong word, or a misunderstood glance.

The whole book of Hebrews is without doubt Jewish in mind and thought.  Showing clearly what we have in Christ. The book is full of the language of the Priesthood and off things sacrificed.  But rather than taking the believer back into the Old Testament way we are lifted up into a new way.

  • Heb 13:10 “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.”

For Hebrews speaks about a greater high priest which comes from the tribe of Judah.

  • Heb 3: 1 “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus”
  • Heb 6:20 “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, [even] Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”

Jesus is now our high priest who will never age, or fail in his intercession.  Under the Old Covenant the high priests grew old and died.  A new high priest had to be appointed to take over the job and sometimes you got a good high priest and sometimes you did not.  But whatever the reality that priest grew old and died.  Under the New we have a priest that never sleeps, grows weary or has to be replaced.  Now to be truthful few really grasp this reality of a priest that continues forever interceding for his people.  I think if we really grasped that reality, people would find us running up and down the isles singing glory.

Under the Old Covenant the Levi Priests have access to some of the food which was sacrificed.  This was their portion.  But we are being told that we have a portion which even they do not have.  So while we are constantly introduced to Jewish thinking we are also being uplifted onto a higher place.

The Old gave way to the new.  The Levi priests surrender their place to the priesthood of all believers.  Jesus becomes the bread of life and the Holy Spirit the well that will never run dry.

What started in the old is fully realised in the New.  The journey back to the garden and fellowship with God had begun.  But it did not just start in the New.  It started in the Old Testament by faithful men who started that Journey and we today continue that journey.  Under the new we have a greater vision and greater promises.  In many ways we see more than those under the Old Covenant. But also we have a greater responsibility to hold unto what God has given us.

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