MYHB - Teaching - Israel

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Teaching - Israel

Who is Israel?

Theologians argue about who 'Israel' is. It is the name given by God to Jacob. [1] But it also refers to his children as the Sons of Israel who were brought into Egypt by Joseph when he was King of kings. [2] Then the nation of Israel split into Two nations: Israel and Judah. After the captivity, the returning people were known as Israel. Some also call the church Israel. In 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed and the nation ceased to exist. In the last century, the Rothchilds took possession of the land of Israel from the British in payment for war debts, and a new nation was formed.

A man, several nations, and a church are all called Israel. How do you know when it means one or the other? Is a promise made to the man valid for the nation, nations or the church? Are commands given to the nation, but not to the man, valid for the church?

Surely God must have given us a way to know which Israel is which and how to apply his word.

  1. Ge 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
  2. Ge 47:28
Meaning of 'Israel'

'Israel' ישראל means 'man יש joined to God אל by revelation ר. It always means this in scripture. Whether a man, a nation, a split nation, a destroyed nation, a faithful nation, a harlot nation, or a spiritually born nation; Israel always means 'man joined to God by revelation'.

'Elohim' means 'God separated from man by ignorance'. God's solution to this was to reveal himself to make himself known. He revealed himself to each entity he called Israel.

The name is given to those to whom God has revealed himself.

Abraham - the father of Israel

Abram's name was changed to Abraham when God revealed himself to Abram and gave him the promise [1]. He is called the Father of Israel because he is the literal progenitor of Jacob; named Israel.

Abraham is not simply the father of Jacob, but the Father of the revelation of God to the people known as Israel. God made a promise to Abraham which was passed through Isaac and through Jacob. [2]

Through many concubines, Abraham became the father of many nations, but only Jacob received the promise and inheritance. Man יש was joined by revelation ר to God אל ; Israel.

  1. Ge 17:5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. [{Abraham: that is, Father of a great multitude }]
  2. Ge 17:9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
Abraham - the father of spiritual Israel

At the time of Jesus, many Jews thought that their bloodline made them special. [1] But Jesus quickly corrected that. [2]

Only those who did their part of the covenant remained in the covenant. They must serve him in holiness and righteousness. [3]

Claiming a bloodline to Abraham does not make one a child of spiritual Israel. [4] But the one who does the work of serving God in the covenant is the child of he covenant.

  1. Lu 1:71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; Lu 1:72 To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; Lu 1:73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
  2. Mt 3:9 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.
  3. Lu 1:74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, Lu 1:75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
  4. Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Jacob is Israel

Jacob is Israel not merely because God changed his name [1]; but because the man had been joined to God by revelation. [2]

Jacob had two significant encounters with God. The first was in a dream concerning Jacob's ladder. [3] Though he had given Jacob a sign that the dream was true [4], God gave him a second encounter where he lost everything, but was blessed through it [5]; to confirm his first encounter.

Jacob was joined to God by at least two major revelations. He was called Israel: 'man יש joined to God אל by revelation ר.

  1. Ge 35:10 And God said unto him, Thy name [is] Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
  2. Ge 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. [{Israel: that is, A prince of God }]
  3. Ge 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
  4. Many stones become one
  5. Ge 32:20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob [is] behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me. [{of me: Heb. my face }]
The first nation of Israel

The first nation to be called Israel was formed in Egypt. [1] The nation of Israel multiplied, while the man Jacob lived seventeen years in Egypt.

Jacob is called 'Jacob' when referring to his flesh. His children were called Israel because they had been connected to God by revelation as Joseph told them God intended to save them through their betrayal of him. [2]

When one is joined to God by revelation, he may be called Israel whether we are told so or not. Peter was Israel. [3] He was later told to lead the church.

  1. Ge 47:27 ¶ And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the country of Goshen; and they had possessions therein, and grew, and multiplied exceedingly. Ge 47:28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years: so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. [{the whole … : Heb. the days of the years of his life }]
  2. Ge 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.
  3. Mt 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Israel apart from Judah

The twelve tribes are counted differently at different times. After the death of Solomon, the nation was split. Ten tribes with Manasseh half-tribes each counted as a tribe became Israel of the north. Judah became the southern kingdom which included Simeon [1] which was not counted because of his sin [2]

The ten tribes of Israel in the north rebelled against the kingdom in Jerusalem. Though they set up worship apart from the temple, they were still joined to God by revelation; the promise made to Abraham.

Judah, though disobedient in many ways, kept the worship of God in the temple active. They remained coupled to God by his command. The name 'Judah' יהו(ד)ה displays this as 'Yahweh' יהוה with the command ד in his heart.

  1. Jos 19:9 Out of the portion of the children of Judah [was] the inheritance of the children of Simeon: for the part of the children of Judah was too much for them: therefore the children of Simeon had their inheritance within the inheritance of them.
  2. Ge 49:7 Cursed [be] their anger, for [it was] fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel., and Levi had cities spread among them all.
Disciplined Israel

After 200 years of existence, and nearly continual disobedience, God disciplined Israel by conquering them by the Assyrians. Israel is sometimes called Ephraim (by the largest tribe) or Samaria (by the largest city). They began to lose their association with God by revelation.

The ten lost tribes were not lost because we don't know where they went, they were lost to Israel (those joined to God by revelation) because they intermarried and became the Samaritans.

Judah also was disciplined and taken captive by the Babylonians. But were permitted to return to their home and rebuild Jerusalem under the prophet Nehemiah, and according to revelation concerning king Cyrus. They became the ones called 'Jews' and also teetered on the edge of no longer being joined to God by revelation.

Divorced Israel

God used the imagery of marriage concerning his relationship with Israel. Idolatry was called adultery. And when God had enough, he divorced Israel. [1]

God doesn't hate divorce because it is some sort of unforgivable sin, he hates it because he was divorced; it is the separation of two who should be one. [2]

Any illusion that Judah; 'the people of God's command', became Israel; 'man joined to God by revelation', was dashed when the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and they could no longer make sacrifices according to the command.

  1. Jer 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
  2. Ge 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
New Israel

'Israel' is used of the children of Abraham because they were joined to God by revelation. But Isaac was not the only son of Abraham; he had other children. They are called 'dust' [1], 'sand by the sea', and 'stars' [2].

His children called 'dust' are those without the word of God (symbolized by water). The ones called 'sand by the sea' are washed by the word. The ones called stars are those who Jesus called the 'light of the world' [3], which are the lights in the firmament of Ge 1. [4]

The church does not replace the nation of Israel, Israel was never the man or the nation. Those are just symbols of those who are changed by the revelation of God. People who are taught by Christ are changed by Christ and are Israel; man joined to God by revelation'.

  1. Ge 13:16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, [then] shall thy seed also be numbered.
  2. Ge 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
  3. Mt 5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
  4. Ge 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: [{the day … : Heb. between the day and between the night }]
But what about Israel?

In Hebrew, 'name' means 'reputation'. God's name, Elohim אלהים; 'God was separated from men by ignorance' identifies the problem. He fixes that problem by revelation - Israel ישראל; 'man joined to God by revelation'.

Jacob was given the reputation of being joined to God by revelation and when he does not act that way, he is still called Jacob. His children are called children of Jacob or children of Israel depending on their reputation.

Today, those who have a reputation of being joined to God by revelation; by his teaching, are Israel. They have not replaced anyone. They were called 'stars in the firmament' from the beginning. 'Israel' has always referred to those who have a reputation; a new name, given by God.