WHO ARE GODíS 
CHOSEN PEOPLE TODAY?
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NO ONE who believes the Bible will doubt that the Jewish people were Godís chosen people in the Old Testament, but are they Godís chosen people today? It seems that much of so-called Christendom is all wrapped up in this concept. But being a citizen of an eternal kingdom not of this world (John 18:36; Hebrews 12:28; Philippians 3:20), whose law is love (Galatians 5:14), this writer tries to maintain an aloof and independent position as far as worldly governments and conflicts are concerned. Some are all wrapped up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as if this were in an Old Testament setting. Those who look upon the Jews as Godís chosen people today have failed to understand (1) the purpose of the promise made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and (2) the conditional promise made to Israel by God (Exodus 19:4-6; Leviticus 18:24-30; 20:22-24; Deuteronomy 28:9,15-68; 30:19,20).
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The Purpose of the Chosen People
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 (1) Mankind sinned. The human race became a dying race. Godís plan called eventually for salvation, in destroying the power of the devil over death (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:10). He narrowed the human lineage to that of Abraham in bringing this about. In the call of Abraham, God laid out promises before him: "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:2,3). But the bottom line and end result of all these promises made here is in the words "in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." God called Abraham and made of his descendants a nation with the express purpose of bringing the Savior into the world through them. Read the related article, "The Emphasis and Impetus of Faith (and Grounds of Assurance)" (elsewhere on this web site).
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Their Position Was Conditional
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 (2) Notice all of the Scriptures given at the end of the first paragraph of this article. Godís continued blessing of Israel as a nation and people would be determined by their obedience to Him. It was all conditional. The big "if" was there. Otherwise the land would spew them out just like it did the Canaanites. In their exodus from Egypt, God had already threatened two times to destroy them and start over with Moses (Exodus 32:9-14; Numbers 13:31-14:12). We know that when they became a nation, they werenít faithful to God for very long at a time (and time and time again the prophets were sent to call them back to God). Finally they were carried into Babylonian Captivity because of their sins. God made great promises to them in their return from captivity. But by the time of Christ, they were so engrossed in spiritual apathy and apostasy that they were not about to accept who he was. John the Baptist rebuked their arrogance in thinking that just because they were Abrahamís descendants they were Godís people. He said, "Bring forth therefore fruits meet [appropriate] for repentance: 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" (Matthew 3:8,9). Jesus marveled at the faith of one centurion, who was a Gentile, in contrast with the Jews of his day as he emphatically said, "And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:11-12). In His long dealings with the Jewish nation, Godís cup of wrath was filled to the point that Jesus said that all of the righteous blood that had been shed from Abel until then would be required of that generation (Matthew 23:32-39). This came about when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A. D. and in the dispersion of the Jews. (Read Matthew 24; Luke 19:41-44). Obviously sounding just like what Jesus had foretold, Stephen was charged with teaching that the Lord would destroy that place [the temple, etc.] and change the law (Acts 6:14). In his defense before the high court of the Jews in the 7th chapter of Acts, Stephen pointedly tells them that from the very beginning they had never obeyed the law of Moses, and who were they to bring such hypocritical, sanctimonious charges against him? He was stoned to death.
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Godís Chosen People Today
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 The apostle Paul more explicitly deals with who the chosen people of God are today. It all has to do with the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham and faith. The physical now blends into the spiritual with the coming of the "seed." That was what the promise to Abraham was all about anyway, and much of the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah were clothed in the physical imagery of the times. In the earliest of Paulís epistles, he instructs the Galatians, "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen [Gentiles] through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed" (Galatians 3:7,8). In the last verse of this same chapter in Galatians, he further asserts that if we are "Christís, then are ye Abrahamís seed, and heirs according to the promise." Paul, again looking at the crux of the matter in Romans 2:28,29, said, "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 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." Paul enlarges more upon this in the 9th chapter (Romans 9:2-8). In particular, listen to him: "For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." Itís plain, isnít it? In Godís sight fleshly Israel is not Israel today. There is "Israel after the flesh" (1 Corinthians 10:18). There is spiritual Israel, the church, which replaces physical Israel. Paul in Galatians 6:15 and 16 identifies those who are "a new creature" in Christ as being "the Israel of God." In view of fleshly Israel (and the present situation), Paul continues this same line of thought in Romans 11:1 and following. He rhetorically asks the question, "Hath God cast away his [Old Testament] People?" His answer: "God forbid." He gives an illustration of himself, a Jew, as being part of spiritual Israel, the church (thus they were not all cast away). He further illustrates with Elijah who thought that he was the only one left serving God in the face of the prophets of Baal. But God reassured him, "I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal." Then Paul notes, "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." He is talking about Jews like himself who had become Christians and were a part of the church, the Israel of God. He goes on to say in this chapter that fleshly Israel that had been broken off because of unbelief could be grafted back in when they believed in Christ. This is done on an individual basis as they accept Christ.
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Old Testament Imagery
Conveys New Testament Truth
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 More than once Paul speaks of Christians as being Godís chosen people (Colossians 3:12; Titus 1:1). Paul hints at the Old Testament concept when he tells us that Christ "gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar [special] people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14; Deuteronomy 14:2). Certainly such Old Testament Scriptures as Exodus 19:5 and 6 must have been in Peterís mind when he wrote, "But ye [the church, Christians] are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9,10).
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 What great and wonderful truths! The church now constitutes Godís chosen people. The church is the Israel of God today. Let us cease in our thoughts of the Jews being Godís chosen people and appreciate the unique standing of every Christian before God. The ultimate blessing that would come through the promise made to Abraham will likewise be that of every Jew when they accept Christ like the rest of us. Ask Peter (He knewóActs 3:25,26). Amen!

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