“And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.”
“On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:
“To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates”
“Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
The Sovereignty of God in Choosing Israel
The land was given in promise from God to Abraham for his descendants after the flesh. It would not be through Ishmael, but Isaac, as God chose (Gen. 17:18-19). The physical line in the second generation would be traced through Jacob, not his twin brother Esau, and again the sovereign choice of God is in view (Rom. 9:10-13). From Jacob came the twelve brothers and the heads of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. The one brother among them that they hated and despised, in turn, through compassion for them, becomes their savior. Joseph is an amazing type of Christ in many ways. But God also spoke to Abraham about his descendants being captive in Egypt.
“Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.”
The nation of Israel descended from Abram. It is obvious that Almighty God promised the land to this particular nation. It is these initial promises to Abraham concerning Israel that establishes the earthly calling of that nation. They are tied to the earth and tied to the land as a people by the very promises of God. And God promised, “…to your descendants forever.”
The Character and Nature of Biblical Prophecy
When we study the overall content of Biblical prophecy, it overwhelmingly centers upon Israel and God’s dealings with that nation. Also the character of prophecy can be described as God’s dealings with the earth and His government of it. This government was exercised when God was present on the earth in Israel, His glory in the tabernacle and later in Solomon’s temple. Afterward God works only in providence from heaven. God removed Himself from the earth because of the many sins and apostasy of the Jews. God sent them, or what was left of them, into captivity.
God Sets Up All Civil Authority
God now exercises His influence from heaven in providence or by indirect judgments. He remains responsible for the setting-up of all civil authority, in the hands of the Gentiles. God’s oversight of all civil power is taught in Daniel (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32-37), and confirmed by Jesus (John 19:11) and Paul (Rom. 13:1-5). Through time and prophecy, God has acknowledged Israel as His people, and then as not His people. There is a time in the end, when He takes them back up and again acknowledges them as His people to fulfill the promises He made to Abraham and David. At this present time they are not His people and He is not their God (Hosea 1:9), but their house remains desolate, as the Lord says, until they say again, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Jehovah’s Inheritance – Israel Restored in the Land
In the midst of all this, we can see that God has promised that the physical descendants of Abraham would be established forever in the Promised Land. We clearly understand that this has never occurred, as in ‘forever’. Yes, there have been periods of time when Israel was in the land, but never there by themselves and never inhabiting the entire expanse of it as given by God. Regardless, forever means forever, and that simply has not happened either. I have no doubt that in the end it will be exactly as God has promised. God is not a man that He should lie, and the unbelief of Israel cannot negate the faithfulness of God. God is faithful to all His promises, in and of Himself (Rom. 3:1-4). Israel will be forever restored and established in their land, twelve tribes and all, by Jehovah, their God. Once restored, they will be His inheritance.
“For Jehovah’s portion is his people; Jacob the lot of his inheritance.”
1 Kings 8:53,
“For thou hast separated them from among all peoples of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spoke through Moses thy servant, when thou brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord Jehovah.”
“…whom Jehovah of hosts will bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance!”
Israel’s Inheritance in the End – to possess the Land and be a Blessing
Israel’s inheritance is to be in possession of the land, and in the end, restored and prospering in it under the hand of Jehovah. Israel and Jerusalem, as the chosen people of God (as a nation) and the city of the Great King, will be the centerpiece of the millennial government of the Most High God as possessor of the heavens and earth (Gen. 14:18-20). Jesus Christ will be the Melchizedek priest, a royal priest in Israel, as the mediator between heaven and earth (Heb. 7:1-3).
“This is the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance, and these are their portions, says the Lord Jehovah.”
“Thus says the Lord Jehovah: This shall be the border whereby ye shall allot the land as inheritance according to the twelve tribes of Israel: Joseph shall have two portions.”
“…save when there shall be no one in need among you; for Jehovah will greatly bless thee in the land that Jehovah thy God gives thee for an inheritance to possess it,”
So we easily see that all these prophecies and promises connect Israel as a people to this earth and to the Promised Land. All of prophecy never contradicts this thought. Now other promises were added and given by God over time concerning Israel, yet these additions never altered the basic premise. For example, God made promises to Israel about choosing Jerusalem as His holy city and Mt. Zion as Jehovah’s habitation.
Jerusalem – the Capital City of God on the Earth
“Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’”
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD.”
“So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, and no aliens shall ever pass through her again.”
“Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me! We are for signs and wonders in Israel, from the LORD of hosts, Who dwells in Mount Zion.”
The amount of prophecy related to these promises is too numerous to print here (some other passages from Psalms for your studying – Ps. 9:11, 14:7, 48:1, 87:2, 99:2, 102:16, 21, 110:2, 125:1, 128:5, 132:13, 134:3, 135:21, 146:10). God also made promises to David about his physical descendants, an eternal throne, Judah, and a Messiah for all of Israel from his lineage. This doesn’t change anything of the original promises. It simply gives a fuller picture of what God will do, and how God will work for them in the end. What God does and how God works for Israel brings an understanding of what is contained in the counsels of God concerning the earthly glory of Christ. For example;
1 Kings 2:33,
“Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the LORD.”
1 Kings 2:45,
“But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.”
“Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
The last reference above is the kingdom of the Messiah in Israel, established as the throne of David reigning forever on this earth. Again the numbers of scripture in prophecy that confirm these thoughts are too many to list. They just add to the body of prophecy, which I remind the reader again, always has the character of God’s dealings with Israel and God’s government of this earth. The content of Biblical prophecy connects Israel, as a people and nation, to the earth.
A remnant of Israel under grace and in the Body of Christ
That does not mean that individually some cannot come in under grace, as many as the Lord may call in this present age of the gospel. Certainly in the past, from the day of Pentecost on, some of Israel were saved, and came under grace and into the body of Christ. But those have always been considered a remnant. This specifically is discussed in Romans; the calling in grace of at least two different remnants of Israel — two remnants separated in time.
“I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”
The Holy Spirit indicates that at the time Paul was writing, there was a remnant out of Israel according to the election of grace. Paul himself was part of this remnant that was now under grace and part of the church. But it certainly is individual, for the nation of Israel as a whole failed to obtain the election of grace.
We can address some important spiritual points. It should be obvious to anyone that after the day of Pentecost, those initially saved were all of Jewish descent. This continued on through the stoning of Stephen and the calling of Paul. In this period of time the individuals saved, all being formerly of the Jewish nation, formed a remnant according to the election of grace. In a sense they were a Jewish remnant, a type prefiguring the 144,000 in the end waiting for their Messiah (Rev. 7). They certainly formed a remnant in the midst of Israel in the beginning chapters of the book of Acts. They were a remnant in comparison to the nation of Israel, not in comparison to the overall numbers that were saved at the time. This latter part would quickly become true after Jerusalem was destroyed and God turned to the Gentiles (Acts 28:28).
The teaching and doctrine of the Body of Christ was first revealed to Paul and through Paul, a dispensation of grace was given to him for the Gentiles, to reveal the mystery of Christ (Eph. 3:1-6). These important truths concerning the existence of the church and its relationship to the glorified Son of Man had to wait until Paul’s epistles. In his writings alone do we find the church, the corporate Body of Christ.
In the Body of Christ there is no Jew or Gentile
In Ephesians we are taught that there no longer exists a wall of partition between Jew and Gentile – that is, in the Body of Christ (Eph. 2:11-16). Therefore, as concerning this remnant, if any individual through grace came out of Israel and into the Body of Christ (for example, Paul), then that person is in a place where there is no Jew or Gentile (Gal. 3:27-28, Col. 3:10-11). Formerly Jews, now they have lost their connection with that nation and their nationality. Further, as being in Christ, they no longer have a connection to this earth. They are not part of this world, and they have no hope in the earthly calling of Israel. They are now part of the heavenly calling in Christ, and they are no longer the proper subject of prophecy. Now we must remark that their new position in Christ is far superior and blessed than anything they thought they had previously in Israel. But many have a hard time letting go.
The composition of the body of Christ, according to scripture, will always be a remnant out of Israel in the midst of a mass of Gentile believers. This was true in the time of Paul and will be similar to this until the church is removed from the earth. The Holy Spirit has been sent down from heaven to gather together His Body, His Bride, and will continue to do so until the fullness of the Gentiles comes into the Body of Christ – Rom. 11:25.
Israel Restored on the Earth in the Land
As far as Israel and their earthly calling, let us consider prophecies concerning their restoration in the land and earthly physical blessings.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord,
“When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
And the treader of grapes him who sows seed;
The mountains shall drip with sweet wine,
And all the hills shall flow with it.
I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;
They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them;
They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them;
They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.
I will plant them in their land,
And no longer shall they be pulled up
From the land I have given them,”
Says the Lord your God.”
“Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming to the goodness of the LORD— For wheat and new wine and oil, For the young of the flock and the herd; Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, And they shall sorrow no more at all.”
“Those who come He shall cause to take root in Jacob;
Israel shall blossom and bud,
And fill the face of the world with fruit.”
Israel – the Earthly Glory of Christ
We have seen many things concerning God’s promises establishing the earthly calling of Israel. God has pledged to the physical descendants of Abraham possession of a mass of land, and a restoration in that land with prosperity and physical blessings. A Deliverer is promised, coming out of Zion defeating all their enemies (Zeph. 3:14-20) and purging ungodliness from Jacob (Rom. 11:26-27, Ps. 110:2). This Deliverer will be the Messiah of prophecy, reigning on the throne of David over the twelve tribes of a united Israel. All this describes the earthly glory of Jesus Christ. Israel, the earthly calling, will be the center of His earthly glory.
How will these promises be fulfilled in the end? In a general way the answer is simple. These promises will be fulfilled by the working of God in His sovereignty and faithfulness, and that, exactly according to the prophecies. It will be a work of God on the earth, and for the earth, as the curse on creation will be lifted at that time. Certainly we see how the prophecies concentrate end time events in the Promised Land and around Mt. Zion and Jerusalem (Zeph. 3:16-17). But in the end it will be a remnant of Israel (Is. 10:20-23, Zeph. 3:12-13). They will be sealed with an earthly seal (Rev. 7:1-8), preserved by God in the world (Rev. 12:6, 14), redeemed as the first fruits from the earth and among men, and walking with their Messiah on Mt. Zion (Rev. 14:1-4). Certainly there are many more events that will occur at the close, but they all relate to an earthly bound Israel and God’s government of this world.
There are two perspectives I want to share with the reader that help considerably in gaining an overall understanding of God’s purposes and counsels towards Israel. Both perspectives have a relationship with Israel and the earth. The first concerns God’s government of the earth and His saying to Israel in Hosea;
“Call his name Lo-Ammi, For you are not My people, And I will not be your God.”
Jehovah governed the Earth from the midst of Israel
God’s presence was on the earth and He governed the earth while dwelling among Israel. This started at Mt. Sinai and the tabernacle, through David’s tabernacle on Mt. Zion, and then Solomon’s temple. The glory of God indicated the presence of God, which was always behind the veil. In the first eleven chapters of Ezekiel the prophet sees the glory of God and the cherubim leave the temple, leave Jerusalem, and leave the earth. God could no longer tolerate the sins, idolatry, and apostasy of Israel. He could no longer live among the people and He declares, ‘Lo-Ammi’ to the prophets. Until that point in time the presence and glory of God, and the throne of God, was on the earth for the purpose of governing from Israel. The conclusion is that the acknowledgment of Israel by God as His earthly people corresponds to God’s presence on the earth for government. The two go hand in hand.
The Times of the Gentiles
The glory of God is the presence of God. What did God’s presence on earth mean? It meant that God ruled the earth from the midst of Israel. What did the glory of God leaving the earth with the cherubim mean? It meant God no longer acknowledged Israel as His people and He as their God – Lo-Ammi was declared by God (Hosea 1:9). Then what happened? The times of the Gentiles began (Luke 21:24), and the four beasts of Daniel come forth upon the face of the earth — for civil government, and to rule the world (Dan. 7:1-8). The fourth beast was in the time of Jesus Christ as the Roman Empire. The times of the Gentiles started with Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon and continue on until the end with the two beasts of Revelation thirteen. The first beast of that chapter is the fourth beast of Daniel 7, a revised Roman Empire, raised-up again, coming out of the bottomless pit (Rev. 11:7, 17:8). Until the end Israel remains Lo-Ammi; not acknowledged by God. Until the end there is no direct government of God on this earth and in this world. Until then, the times of the Gentiles continue.
Earlier in the chapter we saw that Abraham was told by God that his physical descendants would be captive in Egypt (Gen. 15:13-14). When God delivered them, He brought them into the wilderness to be before Him at Mt. Sinai. There He gave Israel the law after they agreed to obey all the Lord Jehovah asked them to do (Ex. 19:8). This was before Moses went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone. Israel made a golden calf and worshiped it before Moses made it down the mountain with the tablets. We see Israel’s failure from the very beginning of their history as a nation. The tablets of stone never made it into the camp. The law was broken in more ways than just Moses throwing the tablets down at the base of the mountain. The tabernacle was moved outside and away from the camp of Israel, so Moses could speak with God away from the people. This was all related to Israel’s failure in being responsible from the very outset. In spite of all their failures, God will remain faithful to keep all His promises to Abraham and David in the end. Inevitably Israel will possess the land by the sovereign hand of God. This is a certainty.
“You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old.”
Interesting enough, we find a prophecy in Jeremiah 30 concerning Israel being brought back and restored in the land in the last days (vs. 18-22). This ends with the Lord saying to Israel, ‘You shall be My people, And I will be your God.’ As I said earlier in the chapter, there is coming a time when Israel will once again be acknowledged by God as His earthly people (also seen in prophecies in Ez. 37:23, 27, 34:30-31, Jer. 31:33). Messiah will again be among them, as their Deliverer (Ez. 34:23-24, 37:21-28, Jer. 33:14-17). It will be a time when the presence and glory of God will be re-established on the earth for the government of this world. It will be in an earthly Jerusalem and again Jehovah will live among Israel as His earthly inheritance. Israel will be established in the land under a new covenant that Jehovah makes with them.
In the End, Israel will have a New Covenant with Jehovah
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
This new covenant is what Israel will walk in under the reign of Messiah during the millennium. Jehovah will write His Law, not on tablets of stone, but on their hearts, so they will obey it. Please note that this is not at all the position that the New Testament believer or Body of Christ has with God. This is an earthly covenant for God’s earthly people Israel. At this time they are still an earthly people, having not experienced a resurrection and glorification. Throughout the millennium, they will be maintained in their natural bodies by the sovereign power of God. This new covenant is the Law of God as it was with Moses. At this future time, by His sovereign work, the law will be written on their hearts by the finger of God, just as He did in the tablets of stone at Sinai. This is all still very earthy in character and nature. In the last part of the prophecy, Jehovah will again acknowledge Israel as His earthly people. The government of God will be re-established on the earth.
When the glory left Solomon’s temple early in Ezekiel, God brought Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem, the temple, and to take Judah captive to Babylon. God sets up Nebuchadnezzar as king in the first of four Gentile world monarchies (the four beasts of Daniel 7). When God presented Messiah to Israel at first, it was during the beginnings of the fourth beast, the Roman Empire. In making the connections, we can see that as long as Israel is not acknowledged by God, the Gentiles rule. And God exercises providential control over the earth from the heavens. The general outcome of prophecy in the end has God taking back direct control of the government of the earth, as the only real God of the earth (Rev. 11:4). Of course the ruling Gentiles put up a fight, as does the dragon, but their time has run out. But this all leads to a better understanding of some general principles that help to paint a more accurate picture of the plans and counsels of God, in the earthly calling of Israel.
Israel’s History shows an External Redemption in the Flesh
God lives on the earth among Israel only after they are externally redeemed in type, God delivering them from slavery in Egypt and out from under Pharaoh’s oppression. He brings them through the Red Sea, Moses stretching out his staff and saying, “behold the salvation of the Lord.” Israel’s whole external state and condition was changed. And we know that God did not live on the earth prior to living in the midst of Israel. He did not dwell with Adam. He did not live with Abraham. He lives among Israel after Sinai, but they have no access to Him, as He stays behind the veil. His presence is about the government of the earth from Israel. He gives them His law, but it is external as well. There is no internal spiritual redemption of man at all, no actual atonement, just types and shadows, all in the flesh.
Israel’s religion is for man in the Flesh. God was testing mankind in Adam
The law, which is Israel’s religion, was given to man in the flesh, as we have discussed previously. It was a testing by God of man in the flesh and in the first Adam. These were the circumstances in which God originally gave the law to Israel. These circumstances did not change the entire time Israel had the law and practiced it, from Mt. Sinai through the coming of Messiah. This entire time was the testing by God of man in Adam. God wanted to see and prove whether man could produce righteousness as a fruit before God, and therefore receive life. But the religion of Israel could not produce righteousness and could not give life (Gal. 3:21). It was, as the Spirit declares, a ministration of death and condemnation (II Cor. 3:7, 9). With the coming of Messiah to Israel the testing was complete. Israel had failed in responsibility. Mankind in the first Adam was proven universally corrupt and ruined. At the rejection of Messiah, God judged and condemned the entire world (John 12:31). Every mouth was stopped and all the world became guilty before God (Rom. 3:19).
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”
From the time at Mt. Sinai until the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 AD the entire nation of Israel were the ‘many’ that were ‘of the works of the law.’ Those ‘of the law’ are always under a curse. During that time Israel existed with cursing and condemnation individually and corporately, although God always kept a remnant. The law was external requirements demanding human righteousness of man in Adam, in the flesh, and sinners already. It could only be an administration of death and condemnation. In this period of time, whether Israel was a complete nation or partially represented, they were always a cursed people. Not one individual among them could ‘continue in all things…to do them.’
Judaism is God’s religion of the Earth
The law is simply a grand appeal in itself to the flesh of man, and to his senses. It had to be exactly this because of the original circumstances in which it was given – to man in Adam and in the flesh. The law was never a walk of faith, but rather always a walk by sight and senses. It is earthly in its character. But here is another perspective we must understand concerning God giving the law to Israel. Even though the law was a ministration of death and condemnation to man in the first Adam, it still remains the religion God gave to the earthly calling, the nation of Israel.
In all respects, Judaism is God’s religion of the earth. Those of Judaism, by the religion itself, are connected to the earth and of this world. When the law was given to Israel it served to separate this nation in their worship of Jehovah from all the false religions in the world. Jehovah was the one true God among all the gods that mankind worshiped (Rom. 1:18-25). Judaism distinguished Israel from everybody else – they worshiped the one true God. The nations around them would soon come to know that there was a God in the midst of Israel.
Please note this important point – Judaism always kept Israel connected to the earth and of the world. Judaism never separated Israel from this world. The law only separated the Jews from the Gentiles. This was an obvious external separation in the flesh. Yet there never was a separation of Israel from the world. If we look for the biblical understanding of the composition of the world, what is it? The world is made up of unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. Israel remains an integral part of this world.
What do I mean by saying Judaism is God’s religion of the earth? It is the one and only religion God ever gave to man in Adam. The first man was of the earth, made of dust (I Cor. 15:47). As long as there is man on the earth and in Adam, Judaism is God’s intended religion for them. There will be man in Adam on this earth throughout the entire millennium. The saved remnant of Israel will have the law, as a new covenant, written on their hearts and minds by the finger of God (Heb. 8:7-13, Jer. 31:31-34). Yet this Jewish remnant is still man in Adam, in the flesh, and connected to this world. As the greatest nation on the face of the earth at that time they will perfectly practice the law by the sovereign grace and power of God. This will be the religion on the earth throughout the thousand years. Judaism is God’s religion of the earth.
It is an amazing privilege for the believer to be invited by God to know His counsels and understand His ways. Israel was never given this privilege and they will never have this privilege. By their religion they are always servants and in bondage (Gal. 4:24-25). They are never made friends, brethren, or sons in God’s house (John 15:15, Rom. 8:29, Heb. 2:10-11, Gal. 3:26, John 8:34-38).
I speak of this privilege in order to share a further insight into the ways of God. In every situation in man’s history where God has given him responsibility, the outcome has always been failure. These failures were usually immediate. Yet during the millennium every failure of man in responsibility will be made good by the sovereign grace and power of God. Where there was failure and ruin by the first Adam, God makes good in the rule and reign over all the earth by the second Adam, the Son of Man. Where there was failure in the royal line by Solomon, the son of David, and the kingdom divided, God will make good by the true Son of David, the Messiah reigning over a united Israel. Where the Jews failed in their responsibility when given the law, God will write it on their hearts and by His sovereign power they will fulfill it perfectly. Every failure of man in responsibility, God takes responsibility to make good. The means and end of all the ways of God are for what purpose? The eternal glory of God alone.
Judaism – an Appeal to the Flesh and Senses of Man
Judaism is a religion of the senses. It is walking by sight, by the senses. The Law of Moses is not a walk by faith, but a religion designed for the flesh. It had its thundering and lightening and smoke on Mt. Sinai and tablets of stone. It had God as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It had its tabernacle and furniture, made after the pattern of heavenly things no less, but still only a pattern, a similitude, and very much still on the earth. In Jerusalem they built a temple that was very beautiful and ornate and pleasing to behold. Certainly Solomon’s temple was glorious, while its replacement had an inferior glory compared to the first. Regardless, it caught the disciples’ eyes one day. They had animal sacrifices and blood and gold and brass coverings, beautiful vestments, candlesticks and trumpets to sound. They had the burning of incense and the ark of covenant and the artifacts hidden therein. Their washings were of the outer flesh. The sprinkling of blood and anointing with oil was of the same effect. The sign of God’s covenant with Israel was circumcision in the outer flesh. They had pilgrimages back to Jerusalem to worship and sacrifice. They had businesses set up in the outer courts selling everything you might need to worship properly once you arrived. Judaism, simply put, is God’s religion of the earth and of this world. It is a religion for the eyes and flesh of man, according to the weak and beggarly elements of this world (Gal. 4:9). It is the religion of the earthly calling.
Hagar, the Slave Woman – a Type of the Covenant of Law and the Nation of Israel
If we look in Galatians chapter four, we see what should be an unmistakable connection of Israel with the earth and the flesh (Gal. 4:21-5:3). Hagar, the slave woman, and her offspring Ishmael, the slave son of Abraham, is a type used by the Spirit of God prefiguring a whole list of things. It includes the workings of the flesh and the covenant from Sinai (the Law of Moses – Judaism). This is said to be a covenant that only gives birth to bondage. Further, the type is said to correspond to an earthly Jerusalem, a city that is in bondage with her children (the Jews). It would be hard to say anything different as to the meaning of this type, because the Spirit of God provides the exactness of the interpretation. As it was from the time Israel was at Mt. Sinai it remains the same today. Those who are of Judaism (the law) entangle themselves in bondage (Gal. 5:1). They are connected with the weak and beggarly elements of the earth and world (Gal. 4:9), and are involved in the workings of the flesh (Gal. 4:23).
This chapter shows the attachment of Israel in the promises of God to the earth. All the above establishes Israel as the earthly calling. In Deuteronomy we view the counsels of God concerning Israel as the center of the earth when God divided the nations.
“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, and He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel.”
In the End, God Makes Israel the Center of the Earth
In the end, during the millennial reign of Christ, Israel will be the center of Christ’s earthly glory, and the center of God’s earthly government. He will reign from Jerusalem over a restored and united earthly people. The Gentile nations will be gathered and blessed in them. We discussed briefly in a previous chapter how this name for God as ‘Most High’ points to millennial government and blessing. This is what God will bring to pass on the earth during the millennium, in the earthly kingdom and glory of the Son of Man (Luke 21:27, Matt. 25:31, Dan. 7:13-14). These are the counsels of God established by His promises in prophecy and to be fulfilled by God in His own faithfulness and sovereign power and grace.
Abraham’s many seeds, in the flesh and on the earth, will eventually be as innumerable as the sands of the seashore (Gen. 22:17, Heb. 11:12). In the counsels of God, the earthly calling of Israel will be fulfilled by twelve tribes united and restored in the Promised Land in an earthly Messianic kingdom. These are the earthly things. In the fullness of the times all things on the earth will be gathered into Christ (Eph. 1:10). This is the earthly glory of Christ.