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What we believe and teach: Israel

30 January 2016

What we believe and teach: Israel

holy-bibleThe Jews (or Israelites) are descendants of Abraham and are the people whom God foreknew and towhom were committed the oracles of God and with whom God made a covenant after He brought them out of Egypt. However the wrath of God came upon them many times because of the stubbornness of their heart. We can see this very clearly in the Bible. While they were in the wilderness on their way to the land of Canaan, and after they entered the promised land (during the period of the Judges) they broke the commandments of God and God punished them for their transgressions. Even after theKingdom of Israel was divided in two kingdoms, that is, the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom ofIsrael, the people rebelled against God many times giving themselves over to idolatry and to many other sins. God sent His prophets to them to warn them to forsake their evil works and to return to His Word, but they refused to listen to the prophets. Therefore God punished them by sending foreign armies against them, and many of them were killed and many others were carried away captive (to Assyriaend to Babylon). But God in His mercy and in His faithfulness did not forsake the Israelites, for He caused them to return to the promised land. Afterward, in the fullness of the time God sent Jesus, the Messiah, to Israel to save His people from their sins, but the Jews (or rather most of the Jews) did not recognize Him as the Messiah that God had promised through His prophets of old and they killed Him by the Romans, who at the time were ruling over their country. The people of Israel and the Gentiles did whatever His hand and His purpose determined before to be done. Only a small number of Jews accepted Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote. Most of the Jews who live in Israel (as well as outside Israel) still don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah; only a small number of Jews believe that Jesus is the Messiah, they are the remnant according to the election of grace whom God appointed to eternal life; the other Jews were hardened by God so that they might stumble over the stumbling stone. However this hardening in part one day will have an end, for the apostle Paul states that a hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved. Therefore, even though God has hardened many Jews, He has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Concerning the Gospel they are enemies for our sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.

Therefore let us see that we do not say, ‘God has rejected Israel’. And let us not boast against the unbelieving Jews. Let us remember the following things: first, we who are Gentiles by birth were once excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise; second, we were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree through faith in Christ by the mercy of God, who decided to save us; third, the root of this olive tree is a Jewish root. Some branches were undoubtedly broken off because of their unbelief, and we were grafted in by our faith, but let us take heed to ourselves because if we don’t continue in the goodness of God we also will be cut off.

We reject Anglo-Israelism. (Giacinto Butindaro, from http://www.the-new-way.org/wwbat/index.html)

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