(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 3)
Tonight, I read Ezekiel 11:16, which states of the Israelites, God’s chosen people in the Old Testament:
- “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.”
Wow! I thought to myself. This is most likely the reason why, according to reports, the Jews (Israelites) do so well economically in the United States and presumably, in other countries, outside of Israel, where some of them live. I have heard reports that in the United States, they are the most wealthy and prosperous people.
I thought about the history of the Israelites as recorded in the Old Testament, which began with God’s promise or covenant to Abraham and I thought to myself that it must be lovely to be an Israelite today, related by blood to Abraham and to be part of the family which God considered in the Old Testament to be his precious, holy people.
Then I remembered, that today, under the New Covenant (which replaced the Old), although I am a Gentile and used to be estranged from the commonwealth of Israel, I am now a part of the people that God regards as his holy, precious people. The Israelites may have been the natural branches yes but by the grace of God and through my FAITH in Jesus who rose from the dead, after they were broken off due to unbelief, I was grafted in! This means that I am now a part of God’s Royal family!
I have nothing of which to boast, save the miraculous work of God, to take me, a vile Gentile, a worthless sinner and to wash me perfectly with the blood of Jesus, imbue me with eternal life and bring me in to this blessing.
I remembered in that moment, that it is far better to have been grafted in to God’s family today by faith, as a Gentile (heathen), than to be an Israelite, belonging to a family that is holy in name only but lost and on the way to hell because I did not believe in who Jesus said he was while on earth or that he rose up from the grave on the third day and therefore, rejected his blood atonement for sins.
The Word of God reads of me, a Gentile:
- “… 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 that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
- 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; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:12-20 KJV)
- “…Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. 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 THROUGH FAITH, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
- So then they which be of FAITH are blessed with faithful Abraham…
- Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through FAITH.
- …For ye are all the 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.” (Galatians 3:6-9; 13-15; 26-29 KJV)
In Romans 11, Paul stated of the Israelites:
- “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? 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. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
- What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, 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. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
- I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
- Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?… For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
- And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
- Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by FAITH. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
- Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
- And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
- For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in…As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
- For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
- For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”
It is so easy to get puffed up and to forget from whence we, Gentiles who believe in Jesus Christ (called Christians), came. We are merely sinners, saved, not through our own merit but by the grace of God and according to his divine election. We were also considered to be the heathen, ungodly, hopeless, estranged from God and the commonwealth, which Israel benefitted from in being God’s holy people.
Where we came from ought to keep us humble always with gratitude for what God has done and how we, wretches, have benefitted, yet we often forget and in pride, become wise in our own conceits, look down at others, behaving as if we are entitled and earned our salvation by our own effort and that we were always born a part of God’s holy family.
(Written on 02nd December, 2020)