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God’s Unchangeable Purpose with Israel, part 3

Oct 18, 2019

The Bible was written first, for Israel’s benefit (and ultimately, for all the world!)

Thus far we have discussed the Bible being written by Israelites, and the Bible was written to Israelites. What about the next statement? That the Bible was written for Israel’s benefit? Obviously, we have just discussed that to some extent in the previous blog. But additionally, if the Bible is written to Israel, then it stands to reason that it is for their benefit.

However, in stating that the Bible is for Israel’s benefit, I want you to understand that fact in this way: Remember this because it is one of the keys to understanding the Bible. It’s all about timing.  The Way of Life described and commanded in the Bible is for Israel first, and later, Israel will administer the Ways of Righteousness to the other peoples of the earth.

So, in that sense, in the overall, long-range Plan of God, the Bible is for the benefit of all people. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Habakkuk.

Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Remember grade school geography? How much of the earth is covered by seas and oceans? Roughly speaking, it is three-fifths, right? Ah, but that is not the analogy that the Father gave us here in His Word, is it? The question here is: In terms of percentage, how much of the seas are covered by water? Could we agree that it is approximately 100%? ????

So if 100% of the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, then does that leave out the Germans? Or the Mexicans? Or the Irish? Or the Japanese? Does it leave out anybody?  So what this means is that when Jesus commanded His disciples to teach all nations, that over a long period of time, Jesus’ desire and command would be fulfilled.

Next, we assert that the Bible is written about Israel. We would qualify that statement by noting that Israel did not even come into existence until about midway through Genesis (chapter 25), so technically, we would have to say the Bible being about Israel starts there.

Before that, we see that it was a continual process of selection—and parenthetically, this was not a Darwinian process of natural selection, but it was a process of Divine selection; beginning with the formation of Adam in the garden. He was the progenitor of all of MANkind.

Then, God’s line of election is traced down through the patriarchs and down to Noah, out of whose three sons, God selected Shem. And from Shem’s descendants, Yahweh selected Abram, then Isaac (not Ishmael), then his son, Jacob (but not Esau). Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.

So we observe that the Scriptures describe a continual narrowing down process until God chose Jacob and his twelve sons whose offspring formed the twelve tribes of Israel, which are collectively known as Israelites. This is all elementary material, I realize.

But from this point on, we can see that the Bible story is about the Israel people. It is not about the wonderful Japanese people. The Bible is not about the fascinating people of central Africa, nor is the Bible about the Inuit people, whom we used to call Eskimos.

Nonetheless, we do find that other non-Israelite peoples do figure prominently in the Bible, but only as they relate to Israel. For example, we could say that the Bible is not about the Arab people, yet the Arabs today understand that they sprang from Ishmael (son of Abraham through Hagar).

There is much in the Bible about Ishmael and the Ishmaelites; but again, it is only as their stories are intertwined with the divinely-selected people Israel. Likewise, with the Amalekites, the Canaanites, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Medes, the Persians, etc.

One of our subsidiary purposes in this study is to demonstrate that the entire Bible is written to the Israel people. We will be focusing more on the books of the New Testament because that is where most church-goers get confused. There is generally no problem with seeing that the Old Testament is written to Israel, but the books of the New Testament—excluding the four gospels—are often referred to as being written to the so-called “gentiles,” by which most Christians mean “non-Israelites.”

We will show in this set of blogs, from the internal evidence of those New Testament books to “gentiles,” that in fact, in most cases, those gentiles are Israelites, and that all the New Covenant books are written to Israel. We are delving into considerable Scriptural detail in this study because this knowledge is foundational to understanding the context when the Bible speaks of salvation and redemption.

Understanding the context includes two of the major laws of Bible hermeneutics. Some of you wonder: what’s hermeneutics? Hermeneutics is the study of the methods and principles of Biblical interpretation and explanation. Two of the basic hermeneutical principles are these:

  1. Who is speaking?
  2. To whom is the writer speaking?

Okay, did you notice a above that I referred to the books of the New Testament as the books of the New Covenant? You see, the words “covenant” and “testament” are virtually interchangeable in a Bible context, because both English words are translated from the same Greek word, which is diaqh,kh diatheke {dee-ath-ay'-kay} which means: a compact, a covenant, a testament. 

Now, if we follow the logic for a moment, we will see that this entire Bible study is almost unnecessary—but not really, of course. Follow this: Since the Bible is made up of two major divisions called the Old Testament and the New Testament, and we have just seen that the words “covenant” and “testament” are virtually interchangeable, then we could just as correctly call that first batch of books “The Old Covenant” and the second batch, starting with the gospel of Matthew, we could call “The New Covenant,” right?

Now, if we recall that a testament or a covenant is, in fact, a compact or a contract between two or more parties, then we need to ask a very important question, which is employing those two fundamental hermeneutical principles. The questions again are these: who is speaking and who is being spoken to?

Or in the complete Biblical context, who are the parties to these contracts or covenants? No one will argue but that the Old Covenant was made with the children of Israel, but when it comes to the New Covenant, modern Christians are likely to waffle or stutter as they search the gray matter in their hard drives for the answer…. Hmm…whirr…click…ah…, then their answer comes to them.

Modern Christians are likely to tell you that God made the new covenant with the church…, or with born-again believers…, or with the gentiles, or …with everybody! However, there should be no argument here since the Bible tells us very clearly in Hebrews 8:8 that the new contract was made with the very same people as the old one was. Here it is:

Hebrews 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

So there we see it directly from within the New Contract or the New Covenant itself. It says that this contract is made between God and the whole nation of Israel, consisting of the House of Israel and the House of Judah.

Now, think about it. If we call these books from Matthew to Revelation the New Testament or New Covenant, then it is clear by definition that these books are written to Israel. These books are the contract. Then who should possess the contract except the parties to the contract, correct?

Illustration: If Exxon-Mobil Corporation makes a contract with Ford Motor Car company, does Honda or Texaco get a copy of the contract?  Of course not! Why not? Because the contract is not addressed to them; it does not concern them.

But let’s make the analogy closer to the reality of the Bible now. Let’s say that Microsoft makes a deal. Bill Gates and Microsoft are analogous to God the Father here. So let’s say Microsoft makes a contract with Hewlett-Packard (HP)—and HP symbolizes Israel, since HP stands for Highly Peculiar. (A touch of attempted humor there since Israel is called a “peculiar people.” {Exodus 19:5; 1 Peter 2:9})

Bill Gates makes a covenant with Hewlett-Packard computer company. The contract states that HP will use only Microsoft’s operating system on its computers. (You see, the operating system software is the set of rules the computer follows in order to operate; so the operating system is analogous to God’s laws, got it?)

So, Microsoft has this covenant or contract with HP, and HP starts off pretty well. They use Bill Gates’ operating system in their first production run of computers, and everything is going along hunky-dorry.

But then they start talking to other companies who persuade them to also use their operating system. That would be like worshiping other gods, wouldn’t it? It is idolatry. After a short while, HP is going ga-ga over this other operating system. It looks so enticing!

They are severely tempted and shortly thereafter they succumb. They wind up committing adultery as HP hops in bed with Apple Computers. …  Hmmm…did you ever wonder about that Apple corporate logo? You know, with the bite out of the apple?!

Anyhow HP’s computers are not working too well now. There are all kinds of viruses making them very unhealthy. Bill Gates tells the HP execs that if you had only obeyed the terms of the contract, these curses wouldn’t be happening to you.

Meanwhile, there’s Dell and IBM over there, and they have noticed the cozy relationship that HP had with Microsoft. Can IBM demand that Microsoft give them the same terms as they wrote in the contract with HP? No. It doesn’t work that way. Because Bill Gates made that contract only with HP. And that contract does not apply to IBM and Dell. 

However, Bill Gates has wanted from the very beginning to have every computer company in the whole world using his Microsoft operating system, and so he calls in HP’s top executives and he says to them:

“Hey, maybe you guys didn’t look at the fine print in our contract closely enough, but it says right here that you were specially chosen to be my alpha test case. I knew you would succumb to the Apple. And I let it go on because I wanted to show the world that the two systems are not and never will be compatible. So I let you fall on your face.

But notice here also in the contract, it says that after you have gone through all that, that you are going to bless the whole world of computer users, because when you use my operating system and only mine, and use it the way it was intended, then you will be the envy of the computer world.

And all companies will be beating a path to your door and then you can teach them how it’s done. But now, since you’ve broken our old covenant contract, I’m tearing it up and I’m giving you this new contract, and we’re going to give you sufficient tech support—that symbolizes the Holy Spirit—so that you won’t fail this time.

It’s going to take a couple of millennia for you to get it right, but with my tech support, you won’t fail. Do you agree to this contract? And all the people of HP said, “Yes, Lord Gates! All that you have spoken we will do.”

The key point is that although the contract was exclusively for HP—the Highly Peculiar people—that the fine print of the contract called for HP to teach the operating system to others. Why? Because Bill Gates ultimately desires the whole world to be using his operating system.

Now when we get back to Biblical reality, we find that even though the Bible—the Old and New Covenant—were made with Israel, the neat thing is that any non-Israelite can, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, place himself under and inherit many of the blessings, especially including eternal life.

Notice I said he could inherit “many” of the blessings. But not all, because some were exclusively for Israel by virtue of the fact that Israel has a special calling, this special role to play. Therefore, Israel needed to be equipped with special tools, as it were, to be enabled to do the jobs she was called to do.

Now, if the New Covenant was made with the Houses of Israel and Judah, then what in the world was Paul doing taking the gospel, the good news of the New Covenant, why was he taking the New Contract to the Romans, to the Corinthians, to the Ephesians, and so forth?

Well, it’s very simple, my friends. Paul knew what most church-goers today are totally ignorant of: that dispersed and scattered Israel was to be found among the people in Rome, in Corinth, in Ephesus, etc.

Like I said, the fact that Hebrews 8:8-10 tells us that the New Testament is made with Israel—that in itself is conclusive proof whom the New Testament had to have been written to, and thus that makes any further discussion moot. It would tend to make the rest of this series superfluous and unnecessary.

But I am going to go into it anyhow, so that hopefully you can use these blogs as teaching tools for our brethren who have not yet awakened to their birthright and their identity as the literal descendants of the Old Testament Israelites. And it is perfectly okay and fine that non-Israelites learn this truth as well. They will be blessed in so doing!

(To be continued.)

Click here for part 2 of this series.

Category: Teaching