Isaiah

Israel and the Nations According to Isaiah: A Brief Survey

I enjoy reading large “chunks” of the Bible rather than taking in little “sound bytes” each day, because it better helps me understand the whole flow of a book in the Bible. Yesterday, I read through Isaiah. It doesn’t take as long as you might think…maybe an hour or less, and that was even with jotting down a few notes.

I know people like Derek Leman have written copious amounts about Isaiah and I will never match that level of scholarship. I’m just a guy who reads the Bible sitting on the patio in my backyard on a gorgeous southern Idaho summer morning. On the other hand, God didn’t write the Bible just for theologians and didn’t reveal His Word just to the highly educated:

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.”

Matthew 11:25 (NASB)

I’m not knocking education. I believe in learning as much as you can. I’m just saying that the rest of us aren’t locked out of the Bible because we don’t have advanced degrees in theology or divinity.

I’ll try to keep this short (yeah, right) and I won’t share everything I wrote down about reading Isaiah, but I want to illustrate something about Israel and the nations from what I believe is Isaiah’s (and thus God’s) point of view. I want to illustrate that in Messianic Days both Israel and those nations who choose to cleave to Israel’s God will be serving God. What this means for us is that we Gentile believers, we non-Jewish disciples of Jesus (Yeshua) are not and do not ever become Israel. We have our own part to play in the redemptive plan of God.

A short tour of what it says about Israel and the nations in Isaiah. Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotes come from the Stone Edition Tanakh:

If [Israel] would grasp My stronghold, then he would make peace with Me; peace would he make with Me. [Days] are coming when Jacob will take root; Israel will bud and blossom and fill the face of the earth like fruit.

Isaiah 27:5-6

Admittedly this is midrash, but the sages understand “My stronghold” to be the Torah, indicating that in Messianic Days, the Jewish people are still expected to grasp the Torah tightly and to observe the mitzvot.

Chapter 40 in its entirety speaks of the end of the Jewish exile and the return of the Jewish people to their Land, to Israel.

But you, O Israel, My servant, Jacob, you whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham who loved Me — you whom I grasp from the ends of the earth shall I summon from among all its noblemen, and to whom I shall say, ‘You are my servant’ — I have chosen you and not rejected you.

Isaiah 41:8-9

Notice the language mentioning Israel and Jacob and the offspring of Abraham. This would seem to eliminate the possibility that God is talking about Jews and Gentiles. I suppose “offspring of Abraham” could be leveraged toward the Gentiles since Abraham is supposed to be the Father to many nations (Genesis 17:5) but Jacob and Israel used together can only mean the Jewish people. No non-Jewish person in their right mind would call themselves a Son of Jacob. Even modern converts to Judaism refer to themselves as “ben Avraham” (sons of Abraham).

Fear not, My servant Jacob and Jeshurun, whom I have chosen. Just as I pour out water upon a thirsty [land] and flowing water upon the dry ground, so shall I pour out My spirit upon your offspring…

Isaiah 44:2-3

This connects to the New Covenant made with Israel and Judah and the giving of the Spirit as we see in Ezekiel 36 and Acts 2. Verse 6 in the same chapter says God is:

King of Israel and its Redeemer.

Verse 21 states:

Jacob and Israel, you are My servant.

Isaiah 45:14-17 is the “confession” of the nations and God says:

They [the nations] will prostrate themselves before you; they will pray before you, ‘Only with you [Jerusalem] is God, and there is none other, except for God’

Isaiah 45:16

JerusalemThe nations will pray to God and prostrate themselves before “you” where the “you” is Jerusalem. That hardly sounds like “mutual submissiveness” as J.K. McKee puts it in his book One Law For All.

Verse 20 states:

Gather yourselves, come and approach together, O survivors of the nations…

Then verses 22 and 23 say:

Turn to Me and be saved, all ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other. I swear by Myself, righteousness has gone forth from My mouth, a word that will not be rescinded: that to Me shall every knee bow and every tongue swear.

And then in verse 25:

All the seed of Israel will be vindicated and will glory in Hashem.

Over and over there is a clear indication that God expects both Israel and the nations to serve Him and in the Messianic Age, He continues to distinguish between Israel and the faithful Gentile nations.

So how can we Christians become Israel?

But there’s more.

If you had hearkened to My commandments, your peace would [flow] like a river and your righteousness like waves of the sea.

Isaiah 48:18

Further indication that God continues Jewish Torah observance both in the past and I believe present into the Messianic Era. This dovetails into my belief that one of the vital roles of Gentiles in Messiah is to encourage and support Jewish repentance and return to the Torah.

He said: It is insufficient that you be a servant for Me [only] to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the ruins of Israel; I will make you a light for the nations, so that My salvation may extend to the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 49:6

This idea of “light” turns up more than once, and as far as Israel being the source of the salvation of the world:

Salvation is from the Jews.

John 4:22 (NASB)

From verse 9 to the end of chapter 49 speaks of the return from exile for the Jews, God’s remembering Israel, that Jerusalem is rebuilt and resettled, and, going into the beginning of chapter 50, how Israel is encouraged to repent.

Here’s another tie-in to the New Covenant:

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, the nation with My Torah in its heart…

Isaiah 51:7

This is God referring to Israel, the Jewish people as “the nation with the Torah in its heart…” Yet another indication that Torah observance is connected to the righteousness of Israel, even into the days of Messiah.

At the start of chapter 52, the prophet speaks of Jerusalem and how the “uncircumcised and defiled people will no longer enter you.” Of course he could have meant uncircumcised of heart, but it doesn’t actually say that. Reminds me of the following:

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Revelation 22:14-15 (NASB)

MessiahDepending on your point of view, Isaiah 53 either describes the Messiah or Israel. If it’s a Jewish point of view, then it describes the wonderment of the nations at the miracle of Israel’s redemption, once again establishing that the nations exist outside of Israel and this redemption is that of the Jewish people as a nation.

The sages midrashically interpret the beginning of Isaiah 55 as “Come! Study Torah!” but it also speaks of the Davidic covenant as “an eternal covenant” which obviously references the eternal Messiah. Verse 5 says:

…a nation that had not known you will run to you…

and at least in English, “you” could either be Messiah or Israel.

Isaiah 56 is the first time in the entire sixty-six chapter book that says anything specifically about how the nations will serve God. I was wondering if the word “foreigner” in verse 3 might indicate “resident alien” and somehow distinguish between Gentile disciples of the Messiah and the rest of the nations, which could bolster the claim of some that these “foreigners” merge with national Israel, but these foreigners, also mentioned as such in verse 6, are contrasted with “the dispersed of Israel” referenced in verse 8. Actually, verse 8 says:

The word of my Lord Hashem/Elohim, Who gathers in the dispersed of Israel: I shall gather to him even more than those already gathered to him.

So we have the dispersed of Israel gathered and then we also have others who are to be gathered, most likely the aforementioned foreigners from the nations. This is not unlike the words of the Master:

I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

John 10:16 (NASB)

Although we have one shepherd and are in one flock (ekklesia), we of the nations are not of the same fold as the Jewish sheep of Israel.

And the foreigners who join themselves to Hashem to serve Him and to love the Name of Hashem to become servants unto Him, all who guard the Sabbath against desecration, and grasp my covenant tightly…

Isaiah 56:6

This is the main indication that foreigners among Israel will also observe or at least “guard” the Sabbath (some Jewish sages draw a distinction between how Israel “keeps” and the nations “guard”), and the question then becomes, grasp what covenant tightly? Is this a reference to some of the “one law” sections of the Torah that laid out a limited requirement of observance of some of the mitzvot for resident aliens which includes Shabbat?

I won’t attempt to answer that now since I want to continue with a panoramic view of Isaiah in terms of the relationship between Israel and the nations (and since it requires a great deal more study and attention).

Nations will walk by your light and kings by the brilliance of your shine.

Isaiah 60:3

This could be seen as the nations walking either by God’s light or Israel’s, but in either case, the nations are still being differentiated from Israel. Verse 5 says:

…and the wealth of the nations will come to you [Israel].

In verse 9, God is referred to as “the Holy One of Israel,” and verse 12 states:

For the nation and kingdom that does not serve you will perish.

This indicates that there are nations that serve God and nations that don’t. Any nation not playing ball, so to speak, is utterly destroyed, which means the only nations left on Earth besides Israel, are serving God. If all Gentiles serving God became Israel, then there would be no nations to serve God, only Israel, and Isaiah’s prophecies would be false.

Referring to Israel, verse 21 says:

Your people will all be righteous; they will inherit the land forever.

This refers to Jeremiah 31 and Romans 11 where we read that God will forgive all the sins of Israel and all Israel will be saved. It also says that the Jewish people will inherit the Land of Israel forever. No other people need apply for citizenship of national Israel in the Messianic Kingdom.

Foreigners will stand and tend your flocks and the sons of the stranger will be your plowmen and your vineyard workers. And you [Jewish Israel] will be called “priests of Hashem.”

Isaiah 61:5-6

sukkot jerusalemYes, we’re all going to “make it” if we keep the faith, both the survivors among the nations and the remnant of Israel, but our relative roles seem to be very distinct, though according to Rabbinic commentary, this may more reflect the “Spiritual preeminence” of Israel.

Moving on to the end of the book, Isaiah 65:1 says that God can be found by those who are not looking for him, which means that God is ultimately accessible to all, every one of His creations. Isaiah 66:10 says we are to be “glad with Jerusalem and rejoice in her” which may also address the people of the nations rejoicing at the redemption of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation. Verse 12 again speaks of the “wealth of the nations” seemingly bankrolling this entire rebuilding effort.

In verse 19, God says he will put a sign upon some of the people of the different nations and tongues and send them to the survivors of the nations to declare His Glory.

The last words of the prophet speak of how we will worship in those days:

It shall be that at every New Moon and on every Sabbath all mankind will come to prostrate themselves before Me, says Hashem. And they will go out and see the corpses of the men who rebelled against Me, for their decay will not cease and their fire will not be extinguished, and they will lie in disgrace before all mankind.

Isaiah 66:23-24

That sounds more like a memorial and a cautionary tale than a worship service.

Over all, and this is just the short list, what I see in Isaiah is that not only do we faithful Gentiles never become Israel, but even under the best of circumstances in the Messianic kingdom, we are not at the top of the heap or anywhere near it. We serve, not only God, but Israel and the Jewish people. Yes, we guard the Sabbath, we pray and offer sacrifices in the rebuilt Temple, we come before God on each New Moon and Sabbath festival, but we are the tail and not the head.

Addendum: I had a conversation with my friend Tom about the core of this blog post yesterday afternoon over coffee and realized he had a more “one law” perspective. He believes there is a population of redeemed nations who are grafted into Israel vs. nations in general who do not cleave to God. He pointed me to Zechariah which I’ll have to follow up on at a later date. Needless to say, my learning is still in progress as I suspect it always will be.

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18 thoughts on “Israel and the Nations According to Isaiah: A Brief Survey”

  1. One law, as I’ve seen it explained and argued for, would be the natural place to “land” when coming from a Church, i.e.,supersessionist, pov since it is simply the other side of the very same coin. (“Israel”, as God defines them, is wrong and we’ve “replaced” them, to “we’re all Israel” and therefore God’s definition is still wrong).

    But God has already covenanted with Israel and Jacob, and it is Israel and Jacob who have been threatened with “the spirit of Amalek” in every generation (as prophesied), and it is the descendants of Israel and Jacob who are experiencing God’s judgment via the diaspora, and who God will restore His own name and reputation through (Ez) and therefore, they become the focus of the enemy of God (Satan, Amalek, etc) since if they ceased to exist the prophecies would have never come to pass prior to and including Messiah, nor those yet to come. In other words, rid the world of Jews and the Bible becomes worthless. Even if every Christian miraculously became “Israel” these conundrums aren’t accounted for.

    Allowing Israel and Jacob to be who God defines them as (physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) instead of re-defining them, as has been done for 2k yrs now, one sees the believers “among the nations” have a wholly different purpose.

    Sigh. Perhaps this will catch on at some point.

  2. I think it’ll “catch on” when Messiah returns, defeats all of Israel’s enemies, and lets the world know who’s large and in charge.

  3. Israelology, it’s catching on. But the enemy keeps trying to confound it by rasing up false flags and nations who despise us. The existance of Yisrael is the reason I have faith. This was the sign God used to convince this Jew about Messiah. The fact that ‘God so loved Yisrael that he sent his only begotten Son……’ To restore her. I never believed in Messiah more than when I realized he was God in the flesh who restores the land, his people, and the world to himself.

    When I realized God was preserving his people, my people I was impressed, and vowed to serve my God and never forsake him again. But when I realized God was preserving his people and restoring them through Yeshua Messiah I vowed to serve Messiah forever. Because he was Yisrael through and through, and the heart and love of God, for his people and the world.

    First God showed me the importance of my people, then he showed me the importance of our Messiah. The first brought me home, but the second brought me life from the dead! First the bones, then the spirit……. Israelology is the dividing line in my book. Your either for her or against her. And this not onlly is a window to your heart, it determines our very fate. He let her be hung on a tree and dipsersed her as cursed, but God does not see her as cursed, but blessed. Innocent and restored. Because his word does not come back void. God help the person who rejects what God has called holy.

  4. I wanted to draw few points, building your theology of Israel and the nations based off Isaiah, is not taking all of scripture into account. Basically, it is an incomplete picture. We have to analyze more than one book to have a more complete understanding…

    I was wondering if the word “foreigner” in verse 3 might indicate “resident alien” and somehow distinguish between Gentile disciples of the Messiah and the rest of the nations, which could bolster the claim of some that these “foreigners” merge with national Israel, but these foreigners, also mentioned as such in verse 6, are contrasted with “the dispersed of Israel” referenced in verse 8.

    The word there is not a ger, it is a nekar, which further alienates from Israel, usually representing a true foreigner, one of a heathen background. As to keeping the covenant, that is a huge issue, when you say they are not part of Israel… Also, the part where we are told to not let the foreigner say, “surely God will separate me from His people”, is important to note, that they clearly are not converts in the term we would understand today, yet they are told they will not be separated from Israel and they will be blessed for keeping the Torah.

    This indicates that there are nations that serve God and nations that don’t. Any nation not playing ball, so to speak, is utterly destroyed, which means the only nations left on Earth besides Israel, are serving God. If all Gentiles serving God became Israel, then there would be no nations to serve God, only Israel, and Isaiah’s prophecies would be false.

    This is not correct, nations will be spared, and will serve God, even if they do not want to, as every knee will bow and there will be consequences to keep those nations inline, or else they will suffer God’s judgement. It would be like if Russia invaded America and we were then subjects of Russia, some might pay allegiance and others while obeying would not be happy about the situation and would not want to serve out of a willing heart, but out of no other choice, because of the consequences, if they felt powerful enough, they would even probably raise up a resistant force and go against the ruling power. Not everyone who goes into the Messianic Kingdom, will have put on the ressurection. Thus you will have the sons of the kingdom, and those who are not, but have been shown mercy.

    No other people need apply for citizenship of national Israel in the Messianic Kingdom.

    In Ezekiel 47, we see foreigners being allotted land in Israel among the tribes, so that is not entirely correct, this only goes to show again, that we cannot build our theology off one single book in the Bible, we will ultimately miss details.

    In Isaiah 66:21, we read that God is going to take some from among the nations and make them into Priests and Levites. How? I don’t know, but that is what it says.

    We read of some gentiles coming to dine at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, these are those who have been brought in, gentiles who have accepted Yeshua as the Messiah and have put on the resurrection, known as the sons of the Kingdom. Not everyone will be considered son’s of the Kingdom.

    If we accept your view, which has the Messianic Kingdom only made up of those who put on the resurrection and thus there is only believing nations and believing Israel, then we have 1/3 of the nations who put on the resurrection rebelling against God at some point.

    Before the Messianic Kingdom arrives, the Bible says that all nations will turn against Israel, thus from your logic, all nations will be destroyed, then how can their kings or anyone be there… Its not that simple.

    When we look at Revelation 20, we see a different picture, those who follow Messiah, are those who will take part in the resurrection, whether Jew or gentile, they will rule and reign with Messiah for a 1000 years, and they will be priest of God and Messiah, and have no fear of the second death. After the 1000 years, Satan is released again, and he comes to deceive the nations, who are numbered as the sands of the sea, and turns them against the saints and the beloved city. Now according to your theology, if we are the nations in this model, the saints are only Israel and thus 1/3 of all gentile believers will be fighting a battle against the saints and the Holy City, but according to Revelation 20, the saints are all those who took part in the first Resurrection, this includes Jews and gentiles, so the question becomes, then who are the nations? There will be those spared from among the nations at the start of the Messianic Age, who have not put on the resurrection and are not considered saints or servants of God and they will be deceived and turn against God.

    In Isaiah 65, we see people dying and those who do not live to 100 will be considered accursed. This cannot be describing those who put on the resurrection as they will not die. Paul tells us in Corinthians that sin is not destroyed until after the 1000 year reign, which indicates that sin will still be present in the Messianic kingdom at least the ability to, but those who put on the incorruptible will not be sinning, thus there must be others there who are sinning and still experiencing death and fear the second death. Those who put on the resurrection will not fear the second death.

    Zech 14:16, details that any who are left from the nations that went against Israel will be there in the Messianic Kingdom… thus not all the nations who go against Israel will be destroyed.

  5. SWJ,

    One law, as I’ve seen it explained and argued for, would be the natural place to “land” when coming from a Church, i.e.,supersessionist, pov since it is simply the other side of the very same coin. (“Israel”, as God defines them, is wrong and we’ve “replaced” them, to “we’re all Israel” and therefore God’s definition is still wrong).

    It is clear to see you still have no understanding of One Law, that is too bad.

    One Law, perspective views gentiles as being grafted in, not as replacing, but joining, it is a very simple and logical conclusion to see in scripture.

  6. Zion said:

    I wanted to draw few points, building your theology of Israel and the nations based off Isaiah, is not taking all of scripture into account. Basically, it is an incomplete picture.

    Yes, that’s what my friend to me yesterday (see the addendum at the bottom of the blog post). Like I said, this is a short survey of one prophet. I’ll take a look at other scriptures as time goes on (I’m going to be pretty busy this week) to see how it modifies my viewpoint, but I’m not ready to waltz into Israel, march into the Knesset, and tell the assembly that Israel’s not a Jewish nation after all and they’ve got to share with the Christians.

  7. Yes, that’s what my friend to me yesterday (see the addendum at the bottom of the blog post). Like I said, this is a short survey of one prophet. I’ll take a look at other scriptures as time goes on (I’m going to be pretty busy this week) to see how it modifies my viewpoint,

    I hear you…

    but I’m not ready to waltz into Israel, march into the Knesset, and tell the assembly that Israel’s not a Jewish nation after all and they’ve got to share with the Christians.

    Lol, and neither would I. James, do you actually think, any of us who hold this One Law view that gentiles are part of Israel, would do this?

    Let’s propose that One Law is true, from a gentiles perspective:

    1) I have no natural right to the land, if given land in Israel, it is only of God’s grace. I am adopted, not a natural heir.

    2) I have no right to Israel in the general sense, it is only God’s grace that I have been brought in and near, through the Messiah.

    3) Even if I am allowed full access to Israel in the Kingdom as a citizen, I will not have any authority, as I am not in a place of authority, so I would have to abide by the rules for the layman or whatever space I am allowed as an adopted and not a natural son.

    4) As for modern day Israel, I lived there for a while, love the nation, love the people, support them, and just got back recently from a trip there and I did not do anything you described while I lived there, or while I visited recently and would never do that.

    My relationship to Israel and the Jewish people is not through the agency of men or modern Israel, instead it is through the King of Israel and whatever He says, goes… 😀

  8. Zion said:

    Lol, and neither would I. James, do you actually think, any of us who hold this One Law view that gentiles are part of Israel, would do this?

    Since you “LOLed,” you know I made that comment tongue-in-cheek and wasn’t seriously stating I thought you (or any sane human being) would do such a thing.

    Zion said:

    Even if I am allowed full access to Israel in the Kingdom as a citizen, I will not have any authority, as I am not in a place of authority, so I would have to abide by the rules for the layman or whatever space I am allowed as an adopted and not a natural son.

    I want to make sure I’ve got this right. Are you saying that the rules (conditions, statues) for grafted-in adopted Gentiles would be different in Israel than for the natural (Jewish) branches?

  9. Peace to all,

    There is no assertion in the Bible that the Israelites are inherently better or more moral than others. Their vocation represents not a privilege but a responsibility. It confers no material advantages, only the religious life itself. Nor is there any implication that G-d is not accessible to others. On the contrary, He is the Creator and Sustainer of all. Job, the supreme example of a righteous man, is not a Jew. At his prayer at the dedication of the Temple, king Solomon asks G-d to hear the prayers of ‘the foreigner who does not belong to Your people Israel… so that all the Nations of the earth may know Your Name and fear You, as do Your people Israel’ (1.Kings 8:41-43).

    Israel is called on to be the opposite of a master-race, for it is not a race but a Covenant into which one may convert, nor is it to seek mastery over men but to become, instead a servant of G-d. There is nothing in the particularism of Israel to contradict the universalism of the human condition as the image and likeness of G-d.

    (On a side note, I always hear how many Gentiles in their zeal want to have the same obligations as our older brethren the Jews (Israel), but fail to seriously apprehend the Covenant terms. While there are various blessings for faithful obedience there is also serious consequences for disobedience. I have been attending a Chabad synagogue off and on for over 4 years and have close contact with really frum Jews (close friends) for more than that… and i will tell you that it is not easy keeping Shabbat and eating kosher correctly. Read in the Torah what are the consequences for disobeying the Torah commands for a Jew. It’s not a pretty picture, at all, just read Jewish history. I say all this because i don’t know many Gentiles who keep the mitzvot correctly, not even close. (I’m sure there are some, I just don’t know many). Such a calling brings with it a great responsibility.)

  10. Israel’s role (leading role) is to be an example: no more, no less. That is how Maimonides’ son Abraham interprets, in his father’s name, the phrase ‘a kingdom or priests’:

    “The priest of any congregation is its leader, its most honoured individual and hte congregation’s role-model through whom they learn to follow in the right path. [In calling on Israel to be a ‘kingdom of priests’ it was as if G-d said to them], ‘Become leaders of the world through keeping My Torah, so that your relationship to [humanity] becomes that of a priest to his congregation, so that the world follows in your path, imitates your deeds and walks in your ways.” (Perush Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam to Ex.19:6)

  11. I wasn’t trying to cast the Jewish people/Israel in the role of a “master race”. But based on my read of Isaiah cover-to-cover so to speak, I got the definite impression that the nation that once subjugated Israel would eventually serve Israel. Some of Isaiah’s language could have been figurative (Gentiles may not literally be tending flocks of Israeli sheep) but the implication is that we have a definite role in supporting the return of Jewish exiles to their Land and in supporting the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

  12. James,

    Oh no brother, I wasn’t implying you meant that. No, just speaking in general. I have read your work long enough to know your a kind, honest and G-d fearing man.

  13. I want to make sure I’ve got this right. Are you saying that the rules (conditions, statues) for grafted-in adopted Gentiles would be different in Israel than for the natural (Jewish) branches?

    Yes and no, in the Torah there clearly is a difference between the covenant gentile and the natural born, i.e. a ger could not own land. However our relationship to Yeshua and our being brought in through Him, is different than the ger… The ger is a great example in understanding gentile relationship, but it does not satisfy the full understanding of what Yeshua has brought, something I don’t think we will fully understand until the Kingdom itself, and how the relationship is greater than a ger. To be sure though, I don’t believe we lose our identities as adopted sons into Israel, I am still and will always be a gentile, and I have no issue with that, and how that distinction will be maintained will simply be seen when we get there…

  14. Since human beings aren’t going to Heaven but instead the Messianic Kingdom on Earth (this side of eternity), I don’t know if that statement applies, Steve.

  15. Paul wrote that what he was preaching, that the gentiles can become fellow-heirs, members of the body and partakers of the promise in Christ was a mystery that had not before been revealed – so was he wrong? Mistaken? A false prophet?

    Also as I’ve been reading your blogs that show a difference between Israel and the Gentiles, I have to wonder if there is coming a Cain and Abel moment for people.
    Gen 4:3-7 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. (4) And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: (5) But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (6) And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? (7) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

    “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” That is what Cain should have paid attention to. But, we know what he did instead, and we know how that turned out.
    Maybe there is coming a time when the gentiles will answer Cain’s question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

  16. Kathy, I think there’s a certain amount of confusion as to what we non-Jews are fellow-heirs in and citizens of. National Israel is a heritage promised by God exclusively to Abraham, and to his son Isaac, and to his son Jacob, and to all of Jacob’s descendants, the Children of Israel who are the Jewish people today. On the other hand, those who put their hope in the seed (singular) of Abraham, that is the Messiah, as Paul says in Galatians, are fellow-heirs along with the Jewish people in the permanent forgiveness of sins, the resurrection, and life in the Messianic Kingdom of complete peace when Jesus returns. Without that hope, the rest of the world would be doomed and outside the Kingdom, in rebellion. But by faith in God through Israel’s Messiah, the mystery which Paul mentions and which wasn’t made explicit in the original New Covenant language in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36 (which is why it’s so hard to track down in the Bible), becomes a reality. We who were far off are brought near to Israel and into the Kingdom of God.

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