It is quite possible that you have heard that Israel is God’s chosen people. While that is true, we need to define just what Israel was and is. First of all, we need to understand that there is a difference between the Israel of old and the Israel of today. The Israel of old is a reference to the nation that came out of Egyptian bondage long ago. They were the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Israel of today is a reference to the church of Christ. They are the spiritual descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Paul referred to the church this way when he wrote, “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). With that being understood, let us examine why God chose Israel to be His people.
First, we will examine why God chose the Israel of old. There is no doubt that God did such. It is clearly written, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth” (Deut. 14:2). His reason for choosing the nation of Israel is easily proven. Moses stated, “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deut. 7:7-8). God’s love, and the keeping of His oath, are explicitly revealed as to why God chose Israel long ago. If one were to do an extensive study of God’s love, one would come away with a great appreciation for just how loving He truly is. He is not fickle with His love as some men are. God loves deeply and purely. It was because of God’s love that the Messiah would come through the seed line of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3). This love, coupled with God’s commitment to His Word, is why Israel was chosen. When God gives His Word, then you can be certain that it will be kept.
Now let us turn our attention to the Israel of today. First of all, the Israel of today has nothing to do with physical genealogies or physical location. In other words, the nation in the Middle East that identifies itself as Israel, is not truly the Israel of today. As was mentioned earlier, the Israel of God today is the church of Christ. The church is the body in which we find the chosen of God. Just like the physical nation of Israel long ago, the church is identified in similar ways. When describing the church, Peter wrote, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10). In choosing the church to be the Israel of today, God knew that just like the Israel of old, the majority would not be part of the body. Jesus had taught, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). Also, just as before, God chose the church as the Israel of today because of His love and commitment to His Word. First of all, God did not simply love the physical Israel of old. God loves all of mankind. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The church was the way that all nations of men could be united together, thus becoming spiritual Israel. By being in the church, one is also “in Christ”. This allows God to keep His Word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Paul wrote, “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).
What a privilege it is to be a part of spiritual Israel! To be the chosen of God! All that one has to do to be a part of such is obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By so doing, Jesus will add you to His church, and thus you will be part of the chosen of God (Acts 2:47). ~ Corey Barnette
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