(Acknowledgment to Geoff Lohrere)

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       Many people view the nation of Israel as being the subject of end-time prophecies.  Indeed, God’s original intention was for His chosen people to proclaim the Gospel throughout the world and unite everyone in the truth of His word.

       But the nation of Israel sadly disappointed God, as they had done so many times before.  The prophet Daniel had seen in vision that 490 years would be given to the nation of Israel to end their sin against God (Daniel 9:24).  When they stoned the apostle Stephen (Acts 6:8-7:60), their time as God’s chosen people was over. 

       The apostle Paul says that there are TWO Israels – an “Israel according to the flesh” (1 Corinthians 10:18) and an “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:14-16).

       Romans 9:6-8Not as though the word of God has taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall your seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

       Galatians 3:28-29There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

       Romans 2:28-29For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

       Israel One is composed of “Israelites … according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3-4)–literal Jews who can trace their blood line back to Abraham, but who do not as yet believe in Jesus Christ as their Messiah.  Israel One, although it has a wonderful religious heritage, is made up largely of people who spiritually “are not the children of God.” (Romans 9:8)

       “The Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16), or Israel Two, refers to a composite group made up of both Jews and non-Jews who believe in the Crucified One, have died to self and been born again (see verses 14-15). “The children of God,” applies only to those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord (see John 1:12). In Galatians 6, Paul says that anyone, circumcised or uncircumcised, who becomes a “new creature” through faith in Jesus, is now part of “the Israel of God”, Gal. 6: 14-16.   Also, And if you belong to Christ, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise Galatians 3:28-29.

       The Bible's last book is, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” Revelation 1:1.  John was “in the Spirit” (1:10) when he received his vision. Throughout Revelation he was “in the Spirit” seeing different things (4:2; 17:3; 21:10). When one is “in the Spirit,” he sees through the Holy Spirit’s eyes instead of with fleshly eyes.

       Which Israel is the focus of “the Revelation of Jesus Christ”? When the Revelation talks about “Israel” (7:4), “mount Zion” (14:1), “Jerusalem,” (21:10), “the temple” (11:19), “Sodom and Egypt” (11:8), “Babylon” (17:5), “Euphrates” (16:12), and the “battle of Armageddon” (16:16), do these refer to literal, earthly, war-torn, fleshly places?

1.      Rev 1:10-13: Jesus was walking “in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks”.  “Seven golden candlesticks” takes us back to the seven-branched candlestick inside the Jewish temple before it was destroyed in 70 A.D. by Roman armies. Yet “the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches” Revelation 1:20 What do they represent? Explaining “the mystery,” the Interpreter declared, “the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches” Revelation 1:20. Jesus Christ took something extremely Jewish and used it symbolically to represent His Church.

2.      In the message to “the church in Thyatira” (verse 18), Jesus reproved His people for allowing “that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants…” verse 20. Jezebel was a wicked woman, who caused problems in Israel in Old Testament days. Here Jesus uses, “Jezebel,” as a symbol of evil affecting His Church. As with the seven golden candlesticks, God's Messiah took something from Jewish history and applied it to His Church, “the Israel of God.

3.      In a message to “the church in Philadelphia,” (verse 7) Jesus said that a Christian could become “a pillar in the temple of My God,” and have a place “in the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem” verse 12. Jesus once again uses Jewish imagery about the temple and applied it symbolically to His Church.  He also identifies another city, “the New Jerusalem,” as God's real city. And this city will not be a remodelled earthly Jerusalem. This one “comes down out of heaven.

4.      Every reference to “Jerusalem” in Revelation concerns a “New Jerusalem” (3:12; 21:2, 10) which sits on a heavenly “great and high mountain [Mount Zion]” (21:10; 14:1), that houses “the temple of God … in heaven” (11:19; 15:5; 16:1, 17) and is the final home of a victorious “Israel” (7:4), which “follows the Lamb wherever He goes” (14:4, 1). The enemy of God's “New Jerusalem” is a “great city” called “Mystery Babylon” (14:8; 17:5; 18:2) which “sits on many waters” (17:1) of the “great river Euphrates” (16:12) until God's wrath finally demolishes it at “Armageddon” (16:16, 19). So Revelation is using the terminology and landscape of the Middle East in a heavenly and spiritual sense.

           Spiritual Israel is the term now used to cover all of God’s people, just as in Old Testament times the nation of Israel was His chosen people.  God’s New Covenant is now with “Israel”, meaning the Israel of God.  Now it includes anyone who accepts Him as their Lord and Saviour.  He writes His New Covenant (agreement to keep His Law) on their hearts, just as He wrote the Old Covenant on tablets of stone.  His Law is ever the same, unchanging, but now it is internalized, within us.

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