This is an old question which Paul addressed in his letter to the Romans. “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 knew to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.'(Romans 11:15)
Paul affirmed God had not finished with Israel. What proofs did he give?
1. Paul claimed his own heritage as an Israelite of the seed of Abraham and as of the tribe of Benjamin. Although he converted to Christianity, he did not envision his conversion as being a castaway in Israel.
2. According to Paul, both from the quote in 1 Kings 19:10, concerning Elijah and his application of it, God had reserved a remnant from Israel. A remnant is part of the whole. Thus, not all the nation accepted Christ, (John 1:11). Those who did not are called the enemies of Christ, having stumbled at the law through unbelief in Christ, (Romans 11:19-23,28).
3. Secondly, John taught that when a Jew converted to Christianity, the seed of Abraham remained in him so that he did not forfeit his right to the Abrahamic promise. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9)
4. God required Israel to be born again per Ezekiel’s prophecy, (Ezekiel 36:24-25; John 3:3-5)
5. The fleshly descendants of Abraham do not constitute Israel. True Israel is determined by Abraham’s “Seed” which is Christ, (Galatians 3:16; 29). That God did not accept all the fleshly seed of Abraham or Isaac, is evident from the statement, “In Isaac shall they seed be called.”
In other words, both Jacob and Esau were fleshly descendants of Abraham, but God said, Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated. In other words, he chose Jacob, and the Israel raised no complaint that Esau was excluded from the promise.
Paul writes, “But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. for they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed….” (Romans 9:6-16)
6. Next, Abraham had “two” sons, one by a bondmaid, which answered the fleshly Old Covenant nation, and one by a “free woman” (Sarah) which answered to the children of promise who were of the New Covenant. The old covenant nation would be cast out, just as Ishmael was that he might not inherit with the children of promise, (Gal. 4:21-31).
7. The promises that Israel would remain before God as long as the sun, moon and stars continued, refer to Israel transformed through Christ, not to the fleshly nation as we demonstrated above. Isaiah (65:22) and Jeremiah (31:35-37), speak of the New Covenant Israel who form the church.
Therefore, God has not cast away his people whom he foreknew. It was always his purpose to save Israel through Christ. Those who rejected him in unbelief were cut off. Those, like Paul, Peter and the rest of the apostles and Israel who put their faith in Christ, along with the Gentiles constituted the new Israel of God. They were not cast away, but cast anew, (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Remember, Christ is Abraham’s “Seed.” It is he who determines the Seed of Abraham. Is God finished with Christ? No, for he will reign forever and ever at God’s right hand. Therefore, God is not finished with the true Israel, i.e. the church.
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