A Transcript Of The Video Study
In our previous study, I highlighted four reasons why the Jewish people as a nation are the focal point in the Old Testament scriptures:
1. They are the lineage through which the Messiah would be born.
2. They served as the repository for the Old Testament scriptures.
3. They served as a house of gospel witness.
4. They are a parable of God’s spiritually elect people.
It is this last reason which underscores the distinction between two groups of God’s elect people. To better explain this point, allow me to increase the size of the timeline and align it with TriUne Jehovah.
The first group are the eternal, gracious and spiritually elect unto salvation; the second group are the temporal, racial and nationally elect which is only a picture of salvation. Do you see? The Jewish people as an elect nation are designed to illustrate the spiritually elect people, who are prepared unto glory; and, the Gentile nations are designed to illustrate the spiritually non-elect people, fitted to destruction. Now, it is a common error among many believers, to think of the Jewish people as God’s elect people unto salvation—but as I am showing you by way of this diagram, the nation of Israel is only a parable, or a picture, of God’s spiritually elect people unto salvation. Just as baptism is a picture of a regenerate sinner’s new life in Christ, so the nation of Israel is a picture of God’s spiritually elect people unto salvation.
The question which naturally follows—does God have a purpose for the Jewish people today? If you are familiar with the teachings of Dispensationalism, then you will know they put a great deal of emphasis on the Jewish people. They believe God’s redemptive plan for the Jewish people as a nation is different from His redemptive plan for Christians. In essence, they believe God’s redemptive plan for the Jewish people as a nation will be according to the Mosaic Covenant, after Christ returns; whereas His redemptive plan for Christians is unfolding at this time, before Christ returns. It is from this point of view Dispensationalists spend an excessive amount of time attempting to reconcile various prophecies of the Old and New Testaments with current events. They tend to speak more about speculative issues connected with prophecy, than concrete issues connected with the fundamentals of the faith.
Now, in my view, Dispensationalists waste their time with such pursuits. I put what they’re doing into the same category as the “fables and endless genealogies” the Apostle Paul warned Timothy to avoid. Rather than edifying the Lord’s people with gospel truth, Dispensationalists are more concerned about entertaining people with their newfangled theories of unfulfilled prophesies. I would caution you as Paul did Timothy—do not give heed to dispensational teachings, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying in the faith.
Having said this, the question remains—does God have a purpose for the Jewish people today? I have a twofold answer:
First, the purpose of God for the Jewish people as a nation ended in AD 70. Keep in mind, the Jewish people as a nation began in 1491 BC, when God instituted the children of Israel a nation under the leadership of Moses. The nation ended around AD 70, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. If we keep before us the four-fold purpose for which God instituted the Jewish people a nation, then you will observe that all four purposes were fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the work of redemption for His spiritually elect people—Christ had come into the world through Jewish lineage; the Old Testament scriptures had been written and canonized; the church had been organized by Christ to replace the temple as a house of gospel witness; and, its narrative as a nation fully illustrated the spiritually elect people of God. All of the leading purposes for which God created the nation of Israel were fulfilled in Christ, after He accomplished His redemptive work at Calvary. However, we mustn’t think of the nation of Israel as coming to an immediate and abrupt end in the year AD 70. Rather, the nation slowly and gradually faded away, beginning with the gospel ministry of Christ’s forerunner, John the Baptist, and ending with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Henceforth, I believe the purpose of God for the Jewish people as a nation ended around 2,000 years ago. “But,” you ask, “What about the State of Israel today—hasn’t God already reconstituted the Jewish people into a nation?” No, the State of Israel today is not one and the same with the nation of Israel as God instituted it under the Mosaic Covenant. Not only are the types of government entirely different, but so are the national laws which govern the people. I do not believe the scriptures support the view that God has a purpose to reinstate the Jewish people as a nation, according to the law of Moses. But this leads me to my second answer.
Second, the purpose of God for the Jewish people as a race continues in the same vein as the other races of the world. Obviously, the Jewish people as a race still exist, and God does have a purpose for them today and in the future. You see, there are numbered, among God’s spiritually elect people, men and women belonging to every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation—both Jews and Gentiles. Likewise, there are numbered, among God’s spiritually non-elect people, men and women belonging to every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation—both Jews and Gentiles. What distinguishes the members of the human race, is not racial privileges or national identities, but rather, God’s electing love and saving grace. Henceforth, even though God’s purpose for the Jewish people as a nation ended 2,000 years ago, yet His purpose for the Jewish people as a race continues to this day—some of the Jews, along with some of the Gentiles, are set apart by God the Father as objects of special love (the elect) unto salvation, while the other Jews and Gentiles are set aside by God the Father as objects of less love (the non-elect), fitted to destruction.
This was the answer given by the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 11, when responding to this same question—Romans 11:1-8: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people (the Jews)? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin (as a regenerate sinner, I am evidence that God has a purpose for the Jewish people today). God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew (as God has set some of the Jewish people apart as special objects of His love unto salvation, it is impossible that He would then cast away the Jewish people after His purpose for them as a nation ended). Wot (know) ye not what the scripture saith of Elias (Elijah)? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace (there is a small number of Jews whom the Lord has set apart as special objects of His love unto salvation—the election of grace is a reference to the eternal and spiritual election of Jews and Gentiles unto salvation). And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for (as a nation, Israel was in an unregenerate condition, just as all other nations of the world; they sought to be made right with God on the basis of free will religion); but the election hath obtained it (those Jewish people who are numbered among God’s eternally and spiritually elect people unto salvation have obtained saving grace, having experienced the new birth), and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day (the rest of the Jews remain in an unregenerate condition, blinded to the glorious gospel of Christ, for God has not set upon them His special love unto salvation).” Do you see? What Paul describes of the Jewish people as a race, is true of every race in the world—there is a remnant according to the eternal and spiritual election of grace. This is the gospel, my dear friends, and it should cause us to rejoice in Christ and triumph in sovereign grace, for it so happens that you and I are part of that remnant according to the election of grace.
Now, the question which follows, what is the leading message of the Bible? I look forward answering that question in our next study.
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.