If you stand with Israel, with which Israel do you stand? The word “Israel” can mean different things, based on the context in which it is found, such as: 1) The grandson of Abraham (originally named Jacob) who had twelve sons; 2) The nation which proceeded from Jacob and his twelve sons; 3) The modern nation commonly called “Israel,” which may or may not be true descendants of Jacob (nobody today can prove that his lineage goes back to Jacob—cf. Ezra 2:62; Neh. 7:64); or 4) The entire group of people today who are saved, regardless of their genealogies—the body of Christ.
There can be legitimate reasons for nations such as modern Israel to defend themselves, but if you stand with people who claim to be Jews simply because you believe they are “still God’s chosen people,” you are mistaken. Genesis chapter twelve records God making a promise to Israel’s grandfather Abram that consisted of three main parts, fulfilled in this order: 1) God would make a great nation of Abram’s descendants (Deut. 26:5); 2) God would give Abram’s descendants the promised land of Canaan (Josh. 3:19; 23:11-14); and 3) God would bless all families of the earth through Abram’s seed (Matt. 1:1-25; Gal. 4:4; cf. Gen. 12:1-7).
Those blessings have now come to pass. The physical nation of Israel was God’s peculiar and holy nation until the time of Christ’s death (Ex. 19; Eph. 2:11-20), but that nation has already fulfilled its main purpose—to bring the Messiah into the world so all families (Gentiles included) can be blessed through Him (Acts 10:34, 35). The Law of Moses was a wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles for over 1400 years from the time of Moses to the cross. Christ came and nailed the Law of Moses to His cross (Col. 2:14-17), having “broken down the middle wall of partition” between Jews and Gentiles. Now there is “no difference” between Jews and Gentiles in the eyes of God (Acts 15:9). There is really no such thing as “Jew” or “Gentile” anymore spiritually, because the only distinction that matters now is whether one is “in Christ” or “out of Christ.” Those who call themselves “Jews” and reject Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God cannot be pleasing to God, as will be noted.
Notice what Paul wrote to some who failed to understand that there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles:
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 (Gal. 3:26-29; cf. Col. 3:11; Gen. 12:3).
Under the New Covenant, those who have been “baptized into Christ” are the only spiritual heirs of God’s blessings promised through Abraham (Gen. 12:3). Later in the same epistle Paul mentions “the Israel of God,” which today is Christ’s church, consisting of saved souls from all over the world of various family lineages (Gal. 6:15, 16; cf. 5:3-6; Mark 16:15, 16).
Paul also spoke of spiritual Israel (the church) when he wrote to the Romans. The main purpose of the Letter to the Romans was to prove that, whether Jews or Gentiles, the only way to be saved is through obedience to the Gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:5; 2:6-11; 4:12; 6:1-22; 8:1-13; 10:16, 21; 12:1, 2; 13:1; 13, 14; 16:26). Paul said that the true “Jew” is one inwardly, not outwardly, because, whether Jew or Gentile, he believes what the Old Testament prophesied about Christ and obeys Christ (Rom. 2:28, 29; cf. Col. 2:11-13). Paul said that just because one may be “of Israel” (a descendant of Jacob), that does not mean he is a part of today’s Israel (the Lord’s church):
…For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed (Rom. 9:6-8).
Paul’s words above echo what he wrote to the Galatians that we previously mentioned (Gal. 3:26-29). In fact, Paul (of a Jewish background himself) prayed for other Israelites who had not submitted to Christ, because they were lost:
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:1-3).
Speaking of “standing with Israel,” at one point in his life, Saul of Tarsus had “stood with (fleshly) Israel” against the true Israel of Christ, the church of Christ, and was sharply rebuked and blinded by the Lord (Acts 9). It was not until Saul obeyed the command to “be baptized, and wash away thy sins” that he became a part of New Testament Israel, being added to the Lord’s church (Acts 22:16; cf. 2:36-41, 47; 9:18, 19).
Those who stand with fleshly Israel for religious reasons instead of spiritual Israel are just as blind and misguided as Paul was before he learned the Truth. Those who believe the physical descendants of Jacob will be saved unconditionally:
1) Dishonor the Son of God, implying that He is not the only way to Heaven. They also imply Jesus was a false teacher, because Jesus told unbelieving Jews that He was the only way to the Father, and that they would die in their sins and thus go to Hell for not believing in Him as the Son of God (Matt. 23:33; John 8:24; 14:6; cf. Luke 21:20-22).
2) Imply that Paul was a false teacher, because Paul taught that God only saves through obedience to the Gospel of Christ (Romans, Galatians, etc.).
3) Imply that Peter was a false teacher for saying that Christians comprise God’s “holy nation” and that there is “no difference” between Jews and Gentiles in the mind of God (Acts 15:9; cf. 10:34, 35, 48; 1 Pet. 1:17, 22; 2:9, etc.).
4) Imply that God’s judgment is not fair and that He is a respecter of persons, choosing to save or condemn people eternally, simply based on their family lineage (cf. Acts 10:34, 35; Rom. 2:5-11, 1 Pet. 1:17, etc.).
5) Fail to understand the general message of much of the New Testament (including entire epistles such as Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews)—faithfulness to Christ is what matters, not genealogies or keeping the Old Law.
Much more could be written about this subject including these basic truths:
1) The nation of Israel was already restored to their land in 536 B.C. by Cyrus the Great, so all those Old Testament promises have been fulfilled (Isa. 44:28; Ezek. 37; Ezra 1, etc.);
2) God exacted vengeance upon the Jews by destroying the Jewish temple and Jerusalem in A.D. 70 (Matt. 23:38-24:34; Luke 21:20-22). The belief that the physical temple will be rebuilt and animal sacrifices will be reinstated with God’s approval is blasphemous (1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Pet. 2:5; the Epistle to the Hebrews);
3) Christ’s Kingdom which was to come in Jerusalem during the Roman kings has already been established, and it is a spiritual kingdom. It is His church (Isa. 2:1-4; Dan. 2; Matt. 16:18, 19, 28; Mark 9:1; John 18:36; Acts 1:8; 2:1-47; Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:9);
4) When Christ returns, He is returning for His kingdom, for those “in Christ,” which is His church, not fleshly Israel (1 Cor. 15:22-24; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).
5) The wrath of God abides upon the Jews or anyone else who rejects Christ:
…the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost (1 Thess. 2:14-16; cf. Matt. 23:33; John 8:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Dear reader, you are encouraged to stand with New Testament Israel, which is the Lord’s church. This, of necessity, means standing against religious errors related to the physical nation of Israel and Judaism. Today any person of any family may be a part of Christ’s holy nation/kingdom/church/body by: 1) Believing in Jesus as the sinless, resurrected Son of God (John 8:24; 1 Cor. 15:24); 2) Repenting of sins (Matt. 4:17; Acts 2:38); 3) Confessing faith in Christ before men (Matt. 10:32; Acts 8:37); 4) Being baptized in water “into Christ” (Acts 8:36-39; 10:47, 48; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:20-21); and 5) Living faithfully by the Word of God (1 John 1:7; Rev. 2:10).