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This Week’s Bible Question:
What is the significance of the House of Judah and Israel?
Michael Pearl: Hey, now wait a minute! We’re going to have Bible study, aren’t we? This is supposed to be question and answer time! I’m Mike Pearl, and that’s Jared back there behind the thing, and I just squeezed in a little concertina playing. So, Jared’s got some questions that you have been sending in, and I am going to try to give you an answer from the Bible. So, Jared, what’s the first question for today?
Jared: While reading the Old Testament, I noticed the division between the House of Judah and House of Israel, and didn’t understand the significance. And now, there is a two‑house theology movement saying that the House of Judah in Scripture refers to the Jews, and the House of Israel refers to the 10 lost tribes of Israel or Ephraim. Could you explain this further? And does Galatians 3:16 or being a “seed” of Abraham have anything to do with this view?
Michael: Alright! As long as there has been Christianity, there has been an attempt for Christians to become Jews. There’s this romantic concept that if you are Jewish, then somehow you get this special edge, and so everybody wants to be Jewish. I am Jewish by blood, but I don’t want to be Jewish. I want to belong to Jesus. Nothing wrong with Jewish nationally, but what I want to do is belong to Jesus Christ, not an ethnic group.
I know what the attempt is. The attempt is to replace the Jews with the Church, so that the Church can receive the blessings promised to the Jews. But I guarantee you, the blessings promised to the Church are much greater than those promised to the Jews.
Now the passage in question was Galatians 3:16. So, let’s look at that. It’s about Abraham. Here we are. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.”
The concept that somehow being a spiritual descendant of Abraham qualifies us to be Jewish is ridiculous. You see, Abraham was a gentile, and he was not even Jewish. He was not an Israelite.
It wasn’t till Abraham had Isaac, and then Isaac had Jacob, and Jacob had 12 sons, and the 12 sons went into Egypt, and stayed for 400 years, and came out, that God adopted the people of Jacob, which the name was changed to Israel. And so the Israelites became God’s special people.
Now everyone who believes like Abraham believes becomes sons of Abraham by faith. But all the Arabic people are sons of Abraham as well. As well as many other Middle Eastern people groups there, which were descendants of Abraham after he and Sarah had children — Abraham had additional children through Keturah. So, Abraham is responsible for several different national groups, and that doesn’t qualify them to be in spiritual promises.
Back to our passage here, he says, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” So he is speaking of one particular seed. “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgression, till the seed should come, which seed is Christ,” he said, verse 21. “Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid,” and so forth, and he goes on down and deals with the law; he says the law was our schoolmaster.
That has nothing with spiritual descendants, or physical descendants, rather, of Abraham; that strictly is pointing out that God justified Abraham by faith and that we too are justified by faith.
Now, if you want to get into that doctrine, more pertinent passages would be found in the Book of Romans, chapters 9, 10, and 11. Those are the passages usually referred to support the concept of Israel being the Church.
This is such a preposterous doctrine; it’s embarrassing to have to deal with it, so embarrassing. Okay, in chapter nine of Romans, where he deals with the Jewish people and the promises. I tell you what, let’s skip nine and go all the way to chapter 10.
He says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” Israel remember now is the descendants of Jacob, that’s three generations after Abraham. “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” — he is talking about a particular ethnic group of people which are the Israelites. And he goes on down to say, “that if they confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in their heart, they will be saved,” and so forth. And then you skip down to verse 19. He says, “But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them which are no people,” that’s the gentile church, “and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” That’s the gentiles. And then he comes to chapter 11, he says, “I say then, hath God cast away his people?” That’s the Israelite people. “God forbid. For I also am an Israelite,” not just a seed of Abraham, but a particular group of the seed of Abraham, and Israelite, “of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” So, he’s tracing his lineage all the way back. “God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew.” He is talking about the Israelites.
“Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? How he maketh intercession to God against Israel” … and I am skipping down for the sake of time … he says, verse five, “Even so then at this present time there also is a remnant according to the election of grace.” This is of the Israelites.
And then skipping on down again… “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” The rest of Israel, the Jewish people. “As it is written, God send them the spirit of slumber,” and so forth.
And then he says, verse 11, “I say then, have they stumbled, that they should fall?” That is, in a permanent way. “God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles.” He’s clearly contrasting Israel and the gentiles.
Now the gentiles are descendants of Abraham by faith, just like saved Jews are descendants of Abraham by faith. But being a descendant of Abraham by faith doesn’t make you, three generations later, a physical descendant inheriting the promises through Israel.
For he said, let me get that again, 11:11, “Salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them,” the Jewish people, to jealousy, “For if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them,” which is, where Israel is now, they are diminished in favor with God.
“If the diminishing of them be the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?” So he is anticipating a time when they, not us, Israel, comes into a state of fullness. “For I speak to you Gentiles,” making a division, “insomuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” So gentiles are believers, he is referring to here. “For if by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh,” talking about Israel, “and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”
And then he talks about the branches being broken off, and he says that Israel was branches in the vine of God, and the vine was broken off, and then the wild bramble of the church, the gentiles, were grafted in, in the place of Israel. And then he warns that, in the future, when the gentiles come into unbelief, God will break them away, that will be at the rapture, and graft back in the natural branches, which is Israel.
And so he says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits.” That’s what the people are, following this doctrine; they are wise in their own conceits.
“That blindness in part is happened to Israel.” So, there’s an admission, blindness in part to Israel, not to the church, to Israel. “Until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved.”
So, here is a clear statement that, after God has finished His work with the church, and removes the church, then God’s going to commence His work with Israel, with the Jewish people.
He said, “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved,” the Israelites, “for the Father’s sake.” And it goes on and he says, “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.” And then he exclaims over the wisdom of God in this act.
You see, all of dispensationalism is based on an understanding that God has worked with the Jewish people under the law differently from how He works with gentile people in the church.
And that the promises God made to Abraham, and even the promises Jesus made where it said the meek shall inherit the earth, where he promises a coming Kingdom of Heaven. All those promises will be fulfilled in the natural seed of Jacob, in Israel. Not just Abraham, but in Jacob, Israel. And those promises will be fulfilled in the future. But God is making a difference in several other passages, between the gentile church and Israel. So when God has brought in the fullness of the gentiles and takes them out, then he commences His work with the Jewish people.
If you read the Book of Revelation, you read all about a 144,000 from 12 tribes in the nation of Israel. The church is not involved on the earth during the tribulational plagues that fall upon the earth. No one is there but the Jewish people and unsaved gentiles.
You never find a group of believing gentiles or of the church after Revelation chapter three. Commencing in four, it’s just God’s work with Israel upon the earth. So, clearly there will come a time in the future when God will turn again the hearts of the Israeli people to Him.
Why try to be a Jew when God has put blindness over their heart? Why not be a gentile Christian. In fact, in Christ he says there’s neither male, nor female, Jew nor gentile, bond or free, we have all been made to drink in the one Spirit.
So, just accept your place in Christ and quit struggling to be something you will never be.
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