Israel's Inalienable Possesions - The Gifts and the Calling of God Which are Without Repentance/Chapter 07

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VI

THE PROMISES

" Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers "

" A ND the Promises." This constitutes another of God's great and irrevocable " gifts " to Israel. Perhaps the great Abrahamic promises with regard to the land and the promised seed, in whom all families of the earth should be blessed, are uppermost in the Apostle's mind the promises

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which are unfolded and ampli- fied in the words of God sub- sequently spoken to Isaac and to Jacob, and, later, to the whole people, through Moses and the prophets, and which are wonder- ful and comprehensive in their scope ; and are God's guarantees for the blessing of Israel, and through Israel, for all the nations of the earth.

Now, on this point, espe- cially professing Christendom, and many true Christians even in Protestant countries, have through ignorance been at vari- ance with the Apostle and with the clearly revealed mind of God. The general belief of Christians for many centuries has been that the promises made


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to Israel have, in consequence of their rejection of Christ, been either annulled or bodily trans- ferred to the Church. This has arisen from the erroneous belief that God hath utterly cast off His people which He hath fore- known, and that there is no more a national future for the Jewish nation.

" The attitude of such Chris- tians in relation to the Jews has been humorously illustrated by that prominent Jewish witness for Christ, the late Joseph Rab- inowitch, in the following story : During the last Russo-Turkish war, after a great battle, a certain number of men in a particular regiment were returned in the list as dead, and an officer with


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a company of soldiers was com- missioned to attend to the sad duty of seeing them decently buried.

"While engaged in this task, they came across a poor man who was badly wounded, and left on the field for dead, but who had life enough in him to refuse to be buried. But the amusing part of the business was that the officer in command seemed very much perplexed. He asked the poor man's name, looked at his list, and then said, ' Well, I do not know what to do with you ; in my list you are put down as dead.' This, Mr. Rab- inowitch said, is the attitude of many Christians in relation to the Jew.


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"In their political and re- ligious creeds, the Jews as a nation are put down as dead, and even many true Christians, when reading in the Scriptures the exceeding great and precious promises which God made to Israel, say, 'Oh yes, Israel that is a nation that once lived, but died some nineteen centuries ago, when they rejected Christ, and now " Israel " means no longer Israel, but the Church which has entered into their inheritance.' But Israel, though seriously wounded, is not dead, and re- fuses to be buried ; and the remarkable signs of vitality which as a people they are now mani- festing are in themselves suffi- cient to show that they are not


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merely a nation of the past, but pre-eminently the nation of the future." *

When the Apostle Paul wrote these words, Israel had already rejected Christ, and it was on that account that he pours out the great sorrow and uninter- rupted pain of his heart, yet and this is one great purpose he had in writing these three chap- ters he proceeds to show how that, though all men be liars, God abides faithful, and that His gifts and calling of Israel (in spite of all that has happened) are "with- out repentance " or a change of mind on His part.

Therefore, it is with design

  • Quoted from my book, " The Ancient

Scriptures and the Modern Jew."


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that he says, not that they were Israelites, and that to them be- longed the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the service of God, and the pro- mises : but who are Israelites, and that theirs still are all these gifts which constitute their high calling, for God hath not cast off the people which He had foreknown ; and though the ma- jority of many generations of Israel may exclude themselves through unbelief from the enjoy- ment of these great privileges, they are reserved in the purpose of God against the time when "all Israel shall be saved," and when, through Christ, they shall experience nationally what we now experience individually, that


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all the promises of God, " how many soever they be," and whe- ther relating to spiritual bless- ings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, or to national and " tem- poral " blessings in earthly places in Canaan " in Him is the yea " of verification, " and through Him also is the Amen " of response and of experience "to the glory of God through us " (2 Cor. ii. 20).

Meanwhile, far from the death of our Lord Jesus being the occasion for the cancelling or annulling of the promises made to Israel, the Apostle assures us that " Christ was made a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God that He might confirm the promises made unto the


THE PROMISES 8r

fathers" (Rom. xv. 8); and since they have been ratified with His own precious blood, they have been made doubly sure, and can never fail.

I am speaking to Christians, and do not want to be misunder- stood. I believe that there is not a promise in reference to spiritual blessing which the least and weakest believer in Christ may not apply and enjoy as if uttered to himself, and (as I said elsewhere) remember that in all His words and acts to Israel the heart of Israel's God is opened up to you, whoever you may be, who have learned to put your trust under the shadow of His wings. For this God is your God for ever and ever the


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Father of your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who wants you to learn from His infinite grace and faithfulness to His unworthy Israel that His faithfulness to you, too, can never fail.

But what I want you to know is that your inclusion into pro- mises made to Israel in no way alters the meaning and force of the words as primarily uttered to that nation, and that you can be no gainer, but rather much of a loser, by the so-called spiritualising, or phantomising, method of interpreting Scripture, by which " Zion," " Israel," " Jerusalem," etc., are explained to mean the " Church," or " hea- ven " a method which is largely responsible for the fact that the


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Bible, especially the prophetic Scriptures, has become a sealed book to the majority of profess- ing Christians, who in conse- quence become an easy prey to every wind of false doctrine, or to the specious rationalism in re- lation to God's \Yord which now, alas ! permeates the Churches.

" Theirs are the promises," and not one thing that God spake will ever fail " For thus saith Jehovah, like as I brought all this great evil upon this people [and so literally fulfilling all the threatenings and curses which He had uttered against them], so will I bring upon them all tJie good that I promised them." "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us ; He will


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subdue our iniquities, and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Thou wilt perform the truth unto Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old." And then, when Jehovah " hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel, all the ends of the earth shall see the salva- tion of God " (Jer. xxxii. 42 ; Mic. vii. 19, 20 ; Psa. xcviii. 3).