by Marilyn Mack
I once had a good friend and fellow bible studier deny that there was any such thing as a spiritual Israel in the Holy Bible. The thing about it was, as I was talking along, I took it for granted that he knew and agreed with what I was talking about. That'll teach me to assume that people agree with me, right? Nevertheless, there IS a literal Israel, and as we all know, the land is currently being fought over by the Israelis and Palestinians on the eastern continent.
That having been said, let's move on to the real point: although there is an "actual" Israel, and an "actual" Jewish people, there is also a figurative Israel, and thus, a figurative Jewish people in the Bible.
'Why bother with this nonsense,' you say. Furthermore, you can't understand why you would want to be a figurative Jew. I'll tell you why. In the Old Testament, God chose Abraham to literally father a class of people (the Hebrews, Israelites, Jews� they are one and the same) who would be his Chosen People. Yes he did! And the Bible states plainly in Hebrews 11:8 that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Yes ma'am�he is a one-third part of the Changeless God.
Now the child by whom Abraham fathered the Israelites was Isaac, the son of Promise. God, in his promise to Abraham, laid a plan from the beginning whereby all men are able to be saved. Therefore, God laid out history so that by looking at the literal, we would be able to see and understand the figurative. Abraham had a literal son and through him fathered the Israelites. Abraham believed God's promise and fathered Isaac, his literal son of promise. Through belief in God's promise, Abraham became, through faith, the father of all who believe. Which is why little children learn a song in Sunday School called "Father Abraham."
The Bottom Line? Abraham fathered two nations: a literal nation, and a figurative nation. Literally, he fathered the Israelites/Hebrews/Jews. Figuratively, he fathered all those who have faith, or believe in God. It is for the second nation that Abraham is important: this is why he is considered a Patriarch. Not for the temporal, earthly nation, but for the heavenly, spiritual nation, of which you and I and any who repent of their sins can be a part.
I have set forth the scriptural support for my statements below, and I strongly encourage you to read through them to gain a complete understanding of what I have said.
Finally, I invite your comments!
Galatians 4:22 � 31
For it is written that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, and the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he who was of the freewoman was by promise.
Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that barest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
Now we brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh [Ishmael, Abraham�s son w/Hagar the bondmaid] persecuted him that was born after the Spirit [Isaac, Abraham�s son w/Sarah his wife, the freewoman�son of promise] even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Romans 4: 1, 11 � 16
What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? And he received a sign of the circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith which he had, yet being uncircumcised: that he might be a father to all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed to them also; and the father of circumcision to them who are not of circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham, which he had yet being uncircumcised.
For the promise, the he should be heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the righteousness of the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For it they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Therefore, it is of faith, that is might be by grace, to the end that the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.
Wherefore, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. BUT, after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ�s, then are ye Abraham�s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Romans 4: 20 � 23, 28, 29
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and prophets. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he a God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are called the children of Abraham. And the scripture, seeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Romans 2:17, 25 � 29
Behold thou are called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God. . .
For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision, which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? 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.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly of the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to the God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
Romans 3:1, 2, 9
What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly because unto them were committed the oracles of God. What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
Romans 9: 3 � 8, 22 � 26, 30 � 33
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. 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 promise are counted for the seed.
What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known his riches in glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God.
What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
Romans 10: 1 � 3, 12
Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, being ignorant of God�s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.
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.
Ephesians 2:11 � 19
Wherefore remember that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands. 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:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; . . .
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Colossians 3:8, 10, 11
But now ye. . . have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him, Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Romans 2: 9 � 11
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.
Revelation 21:2, 3
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Galations 5:2, 6
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Ephesians 3:1 - 3, 6
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard . . . how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery: . . . that the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.