ISRAEL WAS SPIRITUAL FROM THE BEGINNING
Is there really a division between national and spiritual Israel? Before Jacob wrestled with the Lord his name was Jacob, which means “the deceiver”, but afterward his name became Israel. Was this a physical battle that changed his name, or was it all about a spiritual battle, that he, after having fought, became a new man?
Is this similar to what all “born again” believers face when they experience the tribulations of becoming new creatures in Christ. If this is so, then all Israel is spiritual in nature, and it has always been about Christ being the head of His people, and not about nationality or bloodlines.
I realize this maybe an extremely controversial look at this issue, but one that has much merit when considering that the whole of the Bible is about Jesus and those who become His people. When we look at this bigger picture, we can see that many problems, that have issued forth from dividing Israel into physical and spiritual, melt away, and we find that it has always been about the spiritual, even in the Old Testament and the Old Covenant, and that Jesus is the center of it all, right from the foundation of the world.
Whether you agree or disagree on this issue, I think you will find the following study has some incredibly interesting and valid points. Looking at Israel as representing just the people of God, and not dividing them into categories by nation or race, brings a unity to the Word that can be very enlightening, and explain the Plan of God in a complete and united way, that includes each individual experience and also encompasses the whole of the Body of Christ that must worship in spirit and in truth.
Link of article or video : [url] http://www.israelofgod.net/The%20Israel%20of%20God.htm[/url]
THE TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD
By Joe Domingo
It was Christ who began teaching the transformation of a national Israel to a spiritual Israel. It was Christ who chose men of mixed Israeli bloodlines for his Apostles, instead of pedigreed Jews. It was Christ who defied the Pharisees’ Jewish customs and traditions. It was Christ who resolved the Samaritan woman’s religious and ethnic argument by revealing the essence of worship in spirit and truth. It was Christ who revealed the true nature of the Sabbath of Israel, by healing and performing miracles and demonstrating with power how he is the Lord of the Sabbath.
It was Christ who told certain descendants of Abraham that they were not of the house of Faith but of their father the Devil. It was Christ who revealed to his apostles that there were other sheep which were currently not a part of national Israel, but that they also would join the Kingdom of the Israel of God. It was Christ who prayed that his followers would be one nation of believers, even as he and his father are one. It was Christ who revealed the true purpose of the Feast Days of Israel and how they pertained to him and his ministry of redemption. It was Christ who was crucified as the King of the Jews. But was he the King of the Jews of the flesh or of the Spirit?
This teaching of a faith based Israel is not popular within today’s Church. Since the ascension of Christ, Satan has been busy distracting the Church from its ultimate objective – to mature into the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Jesus Christ.
Scriptures teach the believers of Christ are to one day In the future uniting in faith. But how can it be accomplished in our time with so many opposing denominations, doctrines and faiths? The answer is found in our ability to come together as a nation of believers and become a worldwide faith based Israel of God. I am convinced that this will be the last great revival before the return of the Lord.
Israel was spiritual from the beginning
From Syrian to melting pot
Not long ago I embarked on a study regarding the ethnicity of the Patriarchs of Israel and found Deuteronomy 26:5. After generating a chart, using that scripture as my base, I learned that all of the patriarchs and their wives were all Syrian, including the sons of Jacob. However, upon further study I soon realized that the sons of Jacob began to marry outside of their Syrian ethnicity. Simeon and Judah produced children with Canaanite wives and Joseph had two sons with his Egyptian wife. Further down the ancestry Moses married a Midianite and Boaz married a Moabite. These are just some of the relationships that are recorded in the Bible. Now just imagine what has not been recorded.
Ultimately, God was making good on his promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. But how could such a promise have been kept if the nation of Israel would be comprised of just one ethnicity? Thus the biblical evidence reveals that God’s promise to Abraham was never intended to be made of just one chosen race. No more than three generations removed from Abraham and Israel’s Syrian ethnicity was no longer pure. By the time the Israelites left Egypt they were a conglomerate of several ethnicities that were now divided into twelve tribes, thirteen if one includes the Levites.
God who is all knowing allowed the sons of Jacob to marry outside of their ethnicity because it would be necessary to diversify bloodlines before their Egyptian isolation in the land of Goshen. It is understood that Jacob’s grandchildren would have had to intermarry. Thus without the genetic diversity that the Egyptian and Canaanite wives brought to the group, their children could very well have been subjected to birth defects.
The Bible does not document who the other sons of Jacob married. To assume they married Syrian wives does not appear to be supported by the biblical timeline of Jacob’s sojourning in Canaan. It is also recorded in Genesis that all the person’s that came from Jacob’s body numbered 70. This did not include the wives of Jacob’s sons. Therefore it can be assumed some of them may have married woman of various ethnicities in the land of Canaan at the time.
Interesting to note how God allowed the sons of Jacob to marry outside of their Syrian ethnicity before entering Egypt, but forbade their descendants to marry those ethnicities when returning to Canaan. Some do err in thinking that God was trying to preserve purity of race by commanding the children of Israel to not marry the inhabitants of Canaan. However this does not make sense when put in the light of their history. Many of the descendants of Jacob were already part Canaanite and whatever other ethnicities they may have shared.
So why then did God give Moses such an instruction for the children of Israel? The instruction to not marry the inhabitants of the land of Canaan was given to preserve purity of faith. In the Torah God warned the children of Israel with clarity, that they if they married women of the ethnicities found in Canaan, their sons would turn to worship other gods. God was not preserving ethnic purity, he was preserving religious purity. But take note that the Torah made provision for any stranger of any ethnicity to join the children of Israel and become one of them if they converted to their religion.
Beginning with the fourth generation from Abraham, the nation of Israel had already begun to become a melting pot. By the time they entered the land of Canaan, the argument for a “chosen race” was biblically unsupported. God was already proving that Israel was not a nation of race but of spirit.
Scattered tribes – God’s assurance of no boasting in the flesh
After the twelve tribes settled in the land of Canaan and named it after Jacob’s spiritual name – Israel; not more than four hundred and eighty years had passed before a major rift occurred between the tribes, resulting in two groups and dividing the land of Israel. The two groups became known as the House of Israel and the House of Judah. Ten tribes of the House of Israel occupied the north including Samaria and Galilee, while two tribes occupied the south which is called Judea. This division spanned from the time of the reign of King Rehoboam until the destruction of Jerusalem and its second Temple.
After the conquests of northern and southern Israel by the Assyrians and Babylonians respectively, the tribes began to become scattered throughout the Middle East. The tribes never reunited! Hence why the Samaritan woman questioned why Jesus asked her for water. When the second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., all records of tribal lineages were destroyed as well, leaving no ability to identify the pedigree of any Israelite thereafter. By 135 A.D., the land of Israel was decimated of its Israeli inhabitants, as a result any and all persons identifying themselves as Jews do so without irrefutable evidence of their ancestry.
With no real way to physically trace anyone’s lineage back to the Patriarchs of Israel, we begin to understand why God allowed the sons of Jacob to marry outside of their ethnicity from the start. God, knowing all things before they take place, intended from the beginning to make a nation out of faith and not of flesh. This is why I am convinced that Israel has always been a faith based nation. Today, we are given no choice but to accept that Israel is a spiritual nation.
Carnality distracts spirituality
Carnality and spirituality are both a reality for the children of God. We know that we exist as a person of flesh and we know we exist as a person of spirit. God is more concerned with our spiritual nature more than our carnal nature, for God is a spirit. Now he is calling out a spiritual revival amongst the followers of Christ. God is doing a new thing. He is going to resurrect the dry bones of Israel and unite the tribes again unto a spiritual nation. Thus the followers of Christ mature to the place that God has promised Abraham. That place is found in spirit, it is the Kingdom of Israel. The Kingdom of Israel is the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of heaven, they are synonymous and spiritual. Jesus is the King and these three names represent his Kingdom.
The biggest and most powerful stumbling block the enemy has perpetrated on the followers of Christ is the notion that God has a “chosen race”. Once believers in Christ allow themselves to believe in the ruse of a “chosen race”, a major distraction occurs in the thought process. Carnality distracts spirituality. This hinders the Church and has her falsely thinking that she is a gentile and prohibits the Church of Christ to unite under the one umbrella of Israel. I can only hope by now that the reader discerns the futility in this delusion.
No proof – no pedigree, no blind acceptance
We know that the Ashkenazi Jews are not descendants of Jacob or Judah. We know that there are a few small communities that date back to Jewry of antiquity; however they cannot be proven by genealogy. We know that the Arab Christians share the ethnicity of the Patriarchs of Israel but they also cannot be proven by genealogy. Neither can any other person irrefutably claim a lineage back to the ancestral patriarchs of Israel.
Whether we realize it or not, we have been indoctrinated into accepting by faith, that Jewish people of any sort have descended from Jacob. There is something wrong with this picture. How can we accept that someone has descended from Jacob showing no proof and blindly trusting their claim because they are Jewish? Doesn’t it take a level of faith to do that? Faithfully believing that someone is a Jew or an Israelite in the flesh without proof is a contradiction to pedigree. Lineages and pedigree require proof, otherwise they are unfounded. If you have no proof of your Israeli pedigree dating back to Jacob, I cannot accept through blind faith that you are his descendant.
The unfinished work of the Apostles
I have concluded that there is only one acceptable understanding of the Israel of God. Because no Jewish person can show the proof of their lineage back to Jacob, I argue that all roads lead to just one way to understand the Israel of God – it is a spiritual nation. Any and all persons of any race can join the Israel of God, it happens every time someone gives their life to Jesus.
Jesus commanded his Apostles to go and teach the nations, but what would they teach them? Were they to teach the nations to believe in Jesus as outsiders looking in? Were they to teach the nations that they were saved but only as gentiles? Is this biblical? Or, were they supposed to teach the nations that when they accept Jesus and are saved that they become a part of the nation of Israel? The latter teaching seems to be the case, since it is exactly what Paul was teaching in Romans 11 and the entire book of Galatians.
I would like to expound on a portion of the disciples’ a prayer that concerns the Kingdom, I quote, “your Kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven”. Every time we say the disciples’ prayer we are charged to work on the Kingdom. Every time that we say the disciple’s prayer, we invoke the work of the Kingdom. This is the work of the great commission that Jesus charged his Apostles with – to build the Kingdom.
Every soul delivered to Jesus joins the Kingdom. When we minister to the unsaved, we are inviting and ushering them in to the Kingdom. We are the subjects of our King and we belong to his Kingdom. When Jesus was crucified he was officially titled “The King of the Jews” by the Romans. This was the divine will of God at work, for Jesus is indeed a King and he does indeed have a Kingdom. We are supposed to be advancing the Kingdom on earth as it is being advanced in Heaven. The Bible reveals that the Kingdom of God is the Kingdom of Israel, because its capital, New Jerusalem will descend from Heaven when Christ reigns over the new Earth.
Old Jerusalem was the capitol of the carnal Kingdom of Israel, but New Jerusalem is the capitol of spiritual Israel. Its twelve foundations have the names of the twelve Apostles which were the founding fathers of the Israel of God, which is spiritual. Also found in Heaven are the 144,000 leaders of the Israel of God who will preside over the multitudes that follow them – these are all Israel, indeed all of the believers who have been saved by God. It is now time for God’s Church to embrace her heritage, time to embrace who she really is and to reflect her identity so that the World may know that God’s Kingdom is soon to come.
The Israel of God, definition of spiritual Israel
While the term “spiritual Israel” is not found in the Bible, Paul alludes to it in Galatians 6:16 “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God”. Paul is calling special attention to the words “Israel of God”. The entire letter to the Galatians is written to contrast Law versus Grace, faith versus works and flesh versus spirit. Paul makes his argument clear to the converts in Galatia who received Jesus Christ as savior that they are spiritually born as children of the promise. This is the same promise that was made to Abraham, that he would be the father of many nations.
Now Paul speaks specifically in this letter about Abraham’s spiritual seed which is found in Isaac and not in his other son Ishmael. Paul uses a revealing analogy and compares Ishmael’s mother Hagar to the Old Covenant, while Isaac’s mother is compared to the New Covenant. Paul also makes another analogy in reference to the two women. He compares Hagar to the present state of Jerusalem which is in bondage and Sarah to the New Jerusalem which is in Heaven and is free. One is in bondage to the flesh while the other is free in the spirit.
The letter to the Galatians demonstrates Paul’s superior understanding of Genesis 32:28, “And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” This renaming of “Jacob” to “Israel” was done to define the spiritual character of Jacob as the chosen seed. But not just Jacob, it would become the principle character defining all of the chosen seed of Abraham. When we accept Jesus and are born again, we inherit the struggle against evil. We do not fight against evil on our own. We fight as partners with the indwelling Holy Spirit against evil. And since we are a part of the body of Christ’ we share this fight alongside each other as well.
As a chosen nation of God, we will also prevail with God at the end of this fight. And so the believer in Christ is to understand that he has enjoined himself to the chosen nation of Israel. Not of the flesh but of the spirit. Paul’s main purpose for writing the letter to the Galatians was to reveal to them that they are the Israel of God if they follow the rule of spirit over flesh. I invite you to embrace your true identity in the Lord Jesus Christ – you are a part of the Israel of God if you walk according to the spirit.
The Jew, definition of spiritual Jew
Colossians 2:11, In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. Romans 2:29, but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. A spiritual Jew – is one who practices the doctrine of the Israel of God. A spiritual Jew has the circumcision of Jesus Christ – that is, because Jesus Christ was circumcised in the flesh as a Jew and because he now lives in you, you are also circumcised and made a Jew.
No other person in the World has the ability to live in you but Jesus, and therefore no other person has the ability to infuse his personality into you but Jesus. That is why this spiritual quality is unique and only given to those who have Jesus Christ on the inside. If Jesus lives in you, then you have the right and ability to become a Jew in the Israel of God.
Why the Israel of God
One might ask, what’s this Israel of God thing all about? Why the Israel of God? Why can’t the Church just be the Church?
Unity always requires common ground. While some will argue that Jesus is our common ground, they are not entirely correct. The Apostles have mentioned in their letters that there would be other gospels and other Jesus’ being taught and preached in the Church. Sadly, many of you have seen this for yourselves all too often. One Church preaches a Jesus of anything goes and another preaches a Jesus of condemnation and bondage. There is even a white Jesus and a black Jesus. This is why the unity of God’s Kingdom will not be found just in Jesus. But rather, the unity that Jesus requires of his followers will be found in Jesus and his Kingdom – which is spiritual Israel. This is the only way unity can be established in God’s people. You must have Jesus as your savior and enter his Kingdom – the Israel of God.
Isms and Schism have no place in God’s Kingdom
When Christ ascended back to heaven and left his Apostles, they were on one accord and of the same mind. Christ left a united Church and he is coming back for the same thing. It was not until several years after Christ ascended that men teaching false doctrines began to creep into the Church. By the time they had their way, the Church was no longer united. The Apostles taught the Gentiles of their time that they were joining the household faith after receiving the Gospel of Christ. The gentiles observed the Sabbath and the Holy Feast Days of Israel. Paul considered the gentiles as ‘grafted in” to Israel. Paul even went so far as to say that if they were circumcised in their heart, they were as a Jew. Paul taught that all believers in Christ were now the Israel of God. This was the Church. But through time and with much false doctrine and traditions, the Israel of God that Paul taught was buried.
Eventually, the Roman Catholic Church would monopolize the people of God with her doctrines and traditions. Nevertheless, there were still Christians dispersed throughout the Middle East and Africa that were not Catholic, but they were of no effect to that church’s world dominion. After a while, through the moving of God’s Holy Spirit, certain men dared to opposed the grip of the Catholic Church and began what is called the protestant movement. Through Protestantism the Kingdom of God was released from the grip of the Catholic Church and men were free to worship outside of its doctrines. While this was a good work of revival in the Church of Christ, it would ultimately lead to a world of isms and schisms.
We cannot begin to count the various Christian denominations and doctrines that abound throughout the World today. And while the situation may appear to be dismal, it is the perfect opportunity for the Church of Christ to move to mature into the Israel of God. The protestant movement is an unfinished work. While many believe that the freedom of religion was the ultimate achievement for the body of Christ, it was just the beginning of the ultimate end time revival for God’s Church.
Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Jesus prayed that his followers would be one even as he and his father are one. My friends, you and I both know that the body of believers in Christ is more divided now than ever before. These isms and schisms have no place in the Kingdom of God. It is time to remove the Isms and Schisms from the body of Christ.
Identity crisis – Revival through Personification
The Church today is suffering from an identity crisis. There are so many denominations competing with one another. So many at odds with one another, Catholics versus Protestants, Methodists versus Baptists, Seventh day Adventists versus Sunday Churches and there are so many more contrasting doctrines that are too many to mention. At the surface, they all try their best to portray unity in Christ, but at their core doctrinal positions, they are divided. While we think we do a service to one another by keeping the peace and fronting skin deep smiles, the fact is that the Devil has the Kingdom right where he wants it! And to add salt to the wound, the World is not blind, they see how divided the followers of Christ remain. My friends, this ought not to be.
The Church has an identity crisis! The Church of Christ has not been able to come together in unity as Christ prayed for in the 17th chapter of the gospel of John. But if Christ prayed for it, then it must come to pass. My friends this is the age that it will come to past. We are at the cusp of the most supernatural revival to ever occur in the Kingdom of God, and here is how it begins.
It is not enough for you to acknowledge that you are spiritual Israel, you must personify it. You must act like it, you must accept its culture, and you must accept its observations and celebrations. The Israel of God has its own doctrine, its own set of rules, its own laws and bylaws. The Israel of God has its own Commandments, Statutes and Judgments. The Israel of God does not need the standards and traditions of men.
God himself has already ordained our standards. He himself has already given us his measure by which we must all be accountable to meet. They are found in the Word of God and not in the code of anyone’s church or religious organization. My friend’s do you know what these rules of God are today? Well some of you may very well know them and some of you may not. They are the same rules that God gave to Israel. Except now they are a spiritual set of rules, for Christ himself said that if you were to even lust after a woman in your mind you have already committed adultery in your heart. Yes, they are an even better set of rules for Israel to day, for he said that we are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice.
God declared it futile for sheep and lamb to be sacrificed for an unrepentant soul. After all, what was the use of sacrificing a lamb if you never repented from your sin in your heart? And what was the use of stoning one to death if others would still go on to sin again. The objective of capital punishment is to discourage others from repeating the same mistake. But God made the law of Israel a better law; he gave us grace and forgiveness through our King, grace to get it right and forgiveness to accept our repentance. And what was the use of keeping a group of priests who monopolized the service and worship of God? But God provided us a better approach to his throne; he made us a nation of priests and a royal priesthood.
He gave us a High Priest in whom we can trust, one we would not have to fear of dying in the Holy of Hollies. He gave us Jesus Christ the mediator of his New Covenant. He even gave us a better Sabbath. One in which we don’t have to worry about not cooking and lifting and one that we can look forward to healing and deliverance. Yes he gave us a New Covenant, a spiritual covenant for a Spiritual Israel, which was sealed by the shedding of his own blood, the blood that washes our sins away once and for all eternity.
We have a new identity. We are no longer black, white, Indian, Hispanic, Chinese or any other race. These are all carnal and not spiritual. Paul said there is neither Jew no Greek, bond nor free, these were all carnal as well. But we are a spiritual house and a spiritual nation. We are the Israel of God, who daily struggle with God and with our fellow man in our fight against evil.
My friends I ask you today to seriously consider the words that I’m sharing with you today. Give the scriptures a good reading and consult with the Holy Spirit of God. Let him guide you and lead you into all truth. Jesus is coming and that right soon. The Kingdom of God is near. And he is coming for a Kingdom united.
It’s naive to think that a God who has taken nearly six thousand years to work out his will among men will just instantaneously convince us all to unite at the sound of the last trump. That’s not reality. The ten bridesmaids had time to prepare for the bridegroom. Some were ready and some were not, but they all had time to gather enough oil. My friends this is our time to gather our oil, and prepare for the coming of the Lord. Start now by personifying yourself as the Israel of God.
May God bless you and keep you, may he make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, and may he lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
The Israel of God is a spiritual race of His people. Although many of us see this as true in the New Testament, we find it difficult to consider when reading the Old Testament, and yet, when we really research and look at it, it becomes something important to consider. It unites the whole plan and purpose of God from Genesis to Revelation and ceases to show the Children of God as a divided people, one by blood and one by spirit. We are all one in Christ and that is what matters. Also, we need to remember that a house divided falls, and stop dividing up the Plan of God into separate plans for different people.
The Lord has been laying this on my heart much lately, and I am trying to do justice to what He is showing me. There is union in His plan, about our union with Christ and a union of His Body; untied as one people in His name.
JESUS IS ALL AND EVERYTHING!!