The following article is in response to an article of the same name, posted on the website “Devoted To Truth” at http://ecclesia.org/truth/chosen.html. Please compare the two articles as you read my paragraph-by-paragraph response to what is there written. Perhaps you could print that article so you can compare the two directly as you read my response.
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Introductory paragraph 1:

Calling dispensationalism a “system” is meant to accuse it of being an idea forced upon the Scriptures, rather than one drawn from them.  The fact is, though, that any means of interpreting the Scriptures is a “system.”  As soon as one passes beyond merely reading what the Bible says to trying to understand what it truly means, one will find that it is necessary to develop a means of doing so.  If one is at all honest, this means will be systematic, and will not involve “flying by the seat of your pants” and interpreting one thing one way and another thing another depending upon your own feelings about a particular subject.  The best system, of course, is one that maintains the integrity of Scripture, and that is drawn from its pages rather than forced upon it from our own ideas.  The question, then, is what kind of system of interpretation is dispensationalism?  To just say that a “system” is wrong, however, is to deny the student any logical and honest means of interpreting the Scriptures altogether.

Introductory paragraph 2:

This is not entirely true, as Exodus 12:37-38 reveals:

37.  Then the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.  38.  A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds–a great deal of livestock.

From this passage, we can see that there were non-Israelites with the children of Israel who went up with them when they left Egypt.  This could have included Egyptians, and even those from other nations who might have been in Egypt at the time and who chose to travel with the people of Israel as they left Egypt.  To define Israel as ALL those who left Egypt is not Biblically sound.

These are all good verses regarding Israel as the chosen people.  I think there is something wrong with the Daniel 11:15 reference, as I couldn’t find that Daniel ever refers to “His chosen people,” and certainly not in Daniel 11:15.  It is probably a typo, though.  I have included Daniel 11:15 below.

15.  So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist.

The only thing I can think of is the author was referring to the reference to “choice troops.”  I don’t believe this has anything to do with Israel, however.

Introductory paragraph 3:

The exact quote in Exodus 12:48 is:

48.  And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.

Notice that this says that he shall be “as a native of the land.”  It does not say that he becomes an Israelite.  If his descendents intermarry, then this might be accomplished.  We need to be careful that we do not confuse terms.  There is no indication here that he “becomes” an Israelite, just because he is circumcised.

Introductory paragraph 4:

Most of these verses have nothing to do with keeping the covenant, as is claimed in the first sentence in the paragraph above, but rather with keeping God’s commandments as given in the law.  Most of his commandments were not involved in any covenant.  The author here lists the commandments which, when broken, would result in a man being cut off from his people.  In the New Testament we can see this sort of thing being done by the Pharisees and religious leaders, only through their own desire, not necessarily because of breaking one of the Biblical commandments that brought about expatriation.  Yet one could be expatriated, that is true.

Introductory paragraph 5:

“An entity of religious instead of national destination”?  I assume he means “designation,” but I do not see any such indication in any of these verses.  Exodus 19:6 reads,

6.  “’And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

This confirms that Israel is meant to be a kingdom of priests, and not necessarily of world rulers, as some would make it out to be.  Yet what is a “kingdom”?  Does this not make Israel a “nation” in the future?  And who are the “you” spoken to here who will be this kingdom of priests?  This is clearly spelled out for us in the latter part of the verse: they are “the children of Israel.”  There is no indication here that Israel does not have a national designation in the future.

Amos 9:11-12:

11.  “On that day I will raise up
The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down,
And repair its damages;
I will raise up its ruins,
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
12.  That they may possess the remnant of Edom,
And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,”
Says the LORD who does this thing.

Again, there is no indication here that Israel is not a national designation.  What is the “tabernacle of David” if not the Davidic government?  And how can Israel possess the nations who are called by God’s name if the nations who are called by God’s name ARE Israel?

Isaiah 56:7-8:

7.  Even them I will bring to My holy mountain,
And make them joyful in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
Will be accepted on My altar;
For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
8.  The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says,
“Yet I will gather to him
Others besides those who are gathered to him.”

This indicates that other nations will come to Israel and worship in the temple.  Yet how can this be if anyone who worships in the temple IS an Israelite?  These verses clearly show that Israel WILL be a national designation (and religious destination) in the future, not that they will not be!

Introductory paragraph 6:

Suddenly, and with no evidence, the author here makes this stunning statement.  Which one of any verse that he has cited (and I’ve read them all, although there are too many for me to list here) has even hinted at the idea that this is the primary meaning of Israel?  Every passage listed has indicated otherwise: that Israel was a family that became a nation.  What in the world is a “covenant community”?  Jeremiah 9:1-3 states:

1.  Oh, that my head were waters,
And my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!
2.  Oh, that I had in the wilderness
A lodging place for travelers;
That I might leave my people,
And go from them!
For they are all adulterers,
An assembly of treacherous men.
3.  And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies.
They are not valiant for the truth on the earth.
For they proceed from evil to evil,
And they do not know Me,” says the LORD.

Here, God calls them “my people,” and yet notes that they do not know Him.  Does this not make it clear that His people were of a national origin, and not merely those who “worship God in truth and Spirit”?  Moreover, is it honest to claim that this is “the primary meaning of Israel in the Old Testament,” and then quote a New Testament passage as giving the definition?  (John 4:23)  This verse is not from the Old Testament!

How in the world could “the theological quality of the ‘people of God’” have been “decisive” for the Old Testament prophets, if the LORD defined His people as those who are “adulterers,” “an assembly of treacherous men,” and those who “do not know Me,” as He does in Jeremiah 9, quoted above?  Is this what the “theological quality of the ‘people of God’” should be like?  Not that I would claim that “ethnic and political characteristics” were “decisive” to them either, whatever that may mean.  What decided them on who the people of God were was how God Himself defined it, and He defined His people as the nation of Israel, as can be clearly seen.  The prophets had no decision to make, for this had already been decided by God Himself when He called Abraham and his descendants.

Introductory paragraph 7:

This is an interesting statement, but it is made without any Biblical evidence, only “logical” evidence.  If we actually turn to the Bible for evidence, and don’t worry about “election” and what it might entail but rather what the Bible says, we can get the clear answer to the question raised here.  Jeremiah 31:35-37 states:

35.  Thus says the LORD,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
 (The LORD of hosts is His name):
36.  “If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the LORD,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”
37.  Thus says the LORD:
“If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, says the LORD.”

This passage is a total and utter refutation of all that the author of this paper is trying to argue for.  Not only does it identify Israel as a NATION (verse 36,) but also emphasizes that their SEED will not cease from being that nation.  This, in the clearest way possible, reveals to us that Israel’s place as a nation descended by PHYSICAL LINEAGE from the man Israel will never lose their place before God.  Whether or not we can call this their “election” is arguable, but whatever we call this, it is clear that this promise IS UNCONDITIONAL.  This author is simply wrong.

Introductory paragraph 8:

If this author had just kept reading Jeremiah 31 two verses further to verse 36, as I quoted it above, he would have had to add a second criteria as to who will make up the “remnant” spoken of here: that they be the “seed” of Israel.  This remnant is not just those who “know the Lord,” but also those who are of the seed of Israel!

Introductory paragraph 9:

Romans 2:28-29 reads:

28.  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
29.  but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

This author indicates that this is talking about Gentiles who joined Israel through spiritual circumcision and the keeping of the new “law.”  Yet I would equate this statement with saying that “A true American is not one who is merely born in this country or granted citizenship; but a true American is one who loves his country and is willing to lay down his life for her.”  Could someone who is a native of Italy read my statement and decide, “I love my country and am willing to lay down my life for her.  Therefore, I must be a true American”?  Not at all!  For implied in the context is the fact that I am only speaking of those who actually are Americans already.  The “true Jews” that Paul was speaking of were all physical Jews first before they could ever be the true essence of Jewishness that he was talking about.

Romans 13:10 reads:

10.  Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Does this mean that anyone who loves is a keeper of the law and therefore an Israelite?  Such a suggestion makes little sense.  If I said, “To be a true patriot is to fulfill the law of the land,” this does not mean that a true patriot in another country fulfills the law of a land not his own just because he is patriotic.  We do not fulfill the law of Israel just because we love!  In order to fulfill a law, you have to be under that law first, and non-Israelites have never been under the law God gave to Israel.

I Timothy 1:5 reads:

5.  Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

This, again, is not to say that anyone who has love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith is an Israelite because he is keeping their commandment!  The same arguments I’ve used above apply here.  This author cannot prove this statement he makes.

Introductory paragraph 10:

I will take up the author on his challenge and examine these two passages.  First, Jeremiah 11:16:

16.  The LORD called your name,
Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit.
With the noise of a great tumult
He has kindled fire on it,
And its branches are broken.
17.  “For the LORD of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced doom against you for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke Me to anger in offering incense to Baal.”

It is obvious that God often punished Israel for unfaithfulness to Him, and failure to live up to being what He intended them to be.  I see nothing to challenge my position here.  Individual Israelites, or even the nation at a whole at one particular time in history, could displease God and be punished.  This does not negate the truth of Jeremiah 31:35-37, however, for this speaks of Israel as a nation throughout the ages, not of individuals or even one individual generation.

Hosea 14:6 reads:

6.  His branches shall spread;
His beauty shall be like an olive tree,
And his fragrance like Lebanon.

We shall wait and see what the author’s point is as we continue.

Introductory paragraph 11:

I do not know if we can directly equate being part of Israel’s “olive tree” with being a citizen of Israel, but it is true that Gentiles were being grafted into Israel’s olive tree at the time Paul wrote Romans.  They came in by believing in Christ, just as proselytes in the past had come in by being circumcised and keeping the law.  The word “citizen” does not appear in this passage, however.

What exactly is going on in Ephesians 2 is a difficult issue, and one upon which I have not yet written.  One thing that constantly trips people up in dealing with the subject of Gentiles in the word of God is the fact that the word translated as “Gentile,” “ethnos,” actually means “nation,” not “Gentile.”  I have discussed this at length in my message on “Gentiles and nations.”  As such, this word could refer to all non-Jewish nations and peoples, as we use it today.  However, it could be used in other contexts which our word “Gentile” does not cover, and in which our word “Gentile” is entirely misleading.  It could be used for all nations on earth ISRAEL INCLUDED.  A good example is Matthew 12:18-21 (quoting Isaiah 42:1-4):

18.  “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19.  He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20.  A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21.  And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

The word ethnos (in its plural form ethne) occurs twice in this passage.  Can it be that Christ will declare justice to the other nations excluding Israel?  Will all nations except Israel trust in Him?  Not at all!  The word “Gentiles” here means “nations,” and it includes the nation of Israel just as much as any other nation.

A third use of the word ethnos can be for Jews living outside the land of Israel.  These could be referred to as “the nations,” since that is where these Jews were living.  Of course, this use is the exact opposite of our word “Gentile,” and so to translate ethne by “Gentiles” when this is the meaning of the word changes the entire meaning of the passage.  And this is what I believe has happened in Ephesians 2.  The fact is that Ephesians 3 discusses the place of other nations in God’s plan today: that they are joint heirs, joint bodies, and joint partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel (Ephesians 3:6.)  Ephesians 2, however, is dealing with an entirely different issue: that of the Israelites who were living outside the land of Israel.

We seldom consider this today, as to us a Jew is a Jew, but at that time the Jews who lived outside the land of Israel had a huge disadvantage over their brethren who lived in the land.  The fact was that God’s law could only be properly kept inside the land of Israel.  In order to perform the proper sacrifices, to visit Jerusalem three times a year, to perform the proper rituals upon your children…all these things could only be done with Jerusalem readily accessible.  And those who lived far from the land could not afford to travel this long this often.  A journey from Israel to Rome could easily take six months or more.  How could one possibly do this three times a year?  And how could someone who was not very wealthy pack up and leave for Israel every time they found out they were pregnant in order to perform the proper rites for a child being born?  The fact is that it was utterly impossible for many of these Israelites outside the land to keep the law properly.  And an Israelite who didn’t keep the law was out of fellowship with his God.  Keeping the law was a necessity to the religious life of an Israelite.  Without the law and the rite of circumcision (properly performed,) he was cut off from God’s promises and alienated from God’s covenant with His people.  We might say, why didn’t they all just pack up and move back to Israel then?  Well, Israel’s economy was a mess.  The people in the land were dirt poor.  There were no jobs for you!  You couldn’t move back there and hope to make a fraction of what you were earning elsewhere.  To move back to Israel was to almost guarantee poverty, and even to risk starvation.  It would be a hard thing to ask of these people to do…a very hard thing.  It is easy for us to point fingers and say this is what they should have done, but then it is not our lives and families on the line!  So many of these Israelites felt trapped.  They couldn’t please God outside the land, and yet they couldn’t support their families inside the land.  They were caught in an impossible situation, between a rock and a hard place, and it was very frustrating for those who truly wanted to serve God from their hearts.

Now, however, the message of Christ had come to these frustrated, alienated Israelites.  Suddenly, they had a way back into God’s good graces without moving to Israel and risking their lives and livelihoods.  They could believe in their Messiah, and God would accept them apart from keeping the law!  This was a watershed for them, and must have come as blessed news indeed to those whose hearts had long yearned for the relationship with God it seemed they could never have.

Now this is what I believe Paul is talking about and whom he is talking to in Ephesians 2.  It was never the problem of non-Israelites that they were cut off from the promises or the covenant.  They were never upset that they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.  These were problems that the Israelites outside the land and among the nations faced, the Israelites for whom keeping the law and being properly circumcised were impossible.  Before there had been, as it were, a wall dividing them from those who were in the land and in relationship with God.  This wall had kept them from relationship with God, kept them from inheritance in His promises, kept them from hope, kept them in frustration and despair for a long, long time.  But now that wall had been broken down in Christ…and praise God that it was broken down!  Now, these who had onetime been disenfranchised from their place in Israel could, in Christ, become fellow citizens with the saints in Israel.

That is my interpretation of that verse in Ephesians 2.  May I point out that even if you reject my interpretation and go with the common idea regarding this verse, however, there is no mention here of becoming citizens of Israel…only of being a fellow citizen with the saints and a member of the household of God.  Neither the Israelites outside the land nor the Gentiles who believed could claim citizenship in the nation of Israel at that time, whether they believed in Christ or not.

If this is the case, then “His church,” as the “faithful remnant of Israel,” must be responsible for keeping the law, just as the faithful remnant in Israel did in times past (Acts 21:20.)  Yet what the author is saying here makes no sense.  Suppose I pulled a blueberry pie slice out of her refrigerator and asked my mother what it was from, wondering if it was too old to eat or not.  She then told me that it was the remnant of the chocolate cake we’d eaten the week before.  Would I not look at her as if she was crazy?  How could a blueberry pie slice be the remnant of a chocolate cake?  A remnant has to have been part of the whole originally, and have been one with the whole.  A faithful remnant of Israel must have been part of Israel to begin with, not part of some other nation.  The believer of today is as different from Israel as chocolate cake is from blueberry pie.  We cannot possibly be the remnant of Israel.

Introductory paragraph 12:

But the epistle of I Peter was addressed “To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”  (I Peter 1:1b)  The “pilgrims of the Dispersion” could not possibly be Gentiles.  I need make no long and complicated argument here, as I did for Ephesians 2.  Here, the reference is CLEARLY to dispersed Israelites.  To deny it is simply to deny reality.  So “the identification of the church with Israel” is not “explicit” here.  Those who believe, and who thus are the “chosen race” and the “holy nation,” are all Israelites!  This author is guilty of ignoring the context in making his argument, which those who oppose dispensationalism are often guilty of doing in their arguments.  This entire book is addressed to Israelites exclusively.  This argument proves nothing but the point I have already made.

Only in Christ could Israel as a nation have remained the true covenant people of God. God’s covenant people are no longer distinguished by racial or territorial characteristics, but exclusively by their faith in Christ.

God’s people were never distinguished by racial or territorial characteristics.  God’s people were a family, a family that later became a nation.

I would like to challenge this author to tell me one sensible fact about a spiritual land.  What is a spiritual land?  How does it compare with one that is not spiritual?  What good does inheriting spiritual land do anyone?

Let this writer interject here that I would not ever use the term “Palestinian Covenant.”  I know of nowhere in the Bible that the land of Israel is called “Palestine,” so the term “Palestinian Covenant” is certainly never used.  God did make a covenant with them regarding the land in Deuteronomy.

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 1:

First of all, let me say that premillennial dispensationalism is the prophetic scheme that dispensationalists tend to follow.  That said, I do not think it is anywhere near the most important aspect of dispensationalism.  Dispensationalism to me is mostly about how I interpret the Bible, and how I am to live my life to please God in the time in which I live.  The prophetic scheme that results from my dispensationalism, although important, is secondary to what dispensationalism is really all about.

I cannot testify to the commonality of this assertion among premillennial dispensationalists.  I have certainly heard it asserted this way.  However, I personally would make no such claim.  The formation of the State of Israel no more proves that they are still “God’s chosen people” than the fact that Israel did not exist for almost 1900 years before then proves that they were not.  As for claiming that God was at work in this, I would not make that claim either.  I have no idea what God may or may not have been doing in that event.  The Bible predicts no such return of Israel according to my reading.  When God brings Israel back to their land, the return is miraculous and all-inclusive.  Every last Israelite is brought, and every one of them is brought by God’s power, not their own efforts.  Then their land is restored to them by God, not by men, the United States, or the United Nations.  I personally make no claims based on this event.

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 2:

It is interesting to me that anyone would argue for not taking the words of the Bible and understanding them according to their normal, everyday usage and meaning.  If words did not mean what they were supposed to mean, then how did God expect to communicate?  What this author (and other non-dispensationalists) seems to want is wiggle room to not believe the Bible when its meaning is perfectly clear.

Several criticisms are leveled at dispensationalists here, but they cannot really be answered without specific examples, so we will continue on before commenting on them.

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 3:

If dispensationalists used these passages in Ezekiel as being prophecies that were fulfilled in the 1948 formation of the State of Israel, then they are certainly not using anything even close to a “literal hermeneutic,” but are being as loose with the Scriptures as any covenant/replacement theologian could proudly claim to be.  This can be clearly seen in Ezekiel 37:1-14, the prophecy of the valley of dry bones.  Most of my readers are probably familiar with it.  But let me quote the conclusion of the story in Ezekiel 37:12-14.

12.  Therefore prophesy and say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.  13. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.  14. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.”‘

Notice that the whole point of this passage is that this return will involve a resurrection.  The people of Israel who died in the past will be raised from the dead, “brought up from your graves,” and brought into the land of Israel.  There is no record in the Bible or in secular history that any such resurrection ever took place.  Yet this is one of the prophecies about which the author claims, “we know from both secular history and the New Testament, the people did return to the land and the Messiah did come and establish the New Covenant.”  Moreover, he accuses us dispensationalists that we “deny fulfillment of either of these prophecies, saying they found only a ‘partial fulfillment’ in Israel’s return and Christ’s first advent.”  Well, there is only one thing I can say here.  That if the return of Israel to their land as recorded in Ezra and Nehemiah fulfilled the prophecy of Israel’s return in Ezekiel 37:12-14, then God is both much weaker and a much bigger blowhard than I have ever given Him credit for being in the past!

If this author had just bothered to read a little more closely in the passages he cited in Ezekiel, we can see as well that the prediction of the return of Israel to their land was to be a total return.  Every one of the people was to be included.  This can be seen in Ezekiel 36:10.

10.  I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.

This verse clearly states that “all” the house of Israel will be included in the blessing, and then this is repeated for emphasis, “all of it.”  Moreover, if the author had just read on one more chapter in Ezekiel to chapter 39, he would have seen this truth even more clearly stated.  In Ezekiel 39:26, we read:

25.  “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name—

In Ezekiel 39:28, it is declared:

28.  Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land, and left none of them captive any longer.

Could it be any clearer than this?  “The whole house of Israel.”  “Left none of them captive any longer.”  This could no more apply to the return of Israel under Ezra and Nehemiah than it could apply to the return of Israel in 1948.  I have heard it said that there are more Jews in New York City than there are in the land of Israel!  Nothing close to “the whole house” has returned to the land.  Moreover, the whole house never returned in the past.  Even if we took this as figurative for “the greater part,” the greater part of Israel never returned to the land.  According to the statistical figures we have, there were always more Jews in the captivity than there were in the land from the time of Babylon onward.  So these prophecies of Ezekiel could not have been fulfilled yet.  They must still wait for a future fulfillment!  Unless, of course, this author would use a non-literal hermeneutic, whereby “brought up from your graves” just means living people being brought from one country to another, “the whole house” means less than half, and “none of them” means the majority of them!

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 4:

This is exactly right.  There is no evidence that Israel has returned to the LORD more today than they ever have.  Anyone who claims Deuteronomy 30 as a basis for Israel’s return today is ignoring the facts of their return.  However, I do not give up on dispensationalism altogether because some dispensationalists are wrong about this issue of Israel’s return!  My impression of dispensationalism is that it is all about interpreting the Bible, not about interpreting current events.  Even the late, great Dr. E.W. Bullinger ended up looking foolish when he tried to use his ideas to interpret current events instead of the Bible.  (See the last chapter of “Witness of the Stars.”)

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 5:

I cannot disagree with anything stated here.  It is clumsy and erroneous for dispensationalists to argue that the return of a few rebellious Jews to the land of Israel fulfills anything in Scripture.

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 6:

Now, he jumps to the wrong conclusion.  This proves nothing of the kind.  Deuteronomy 30:1-8 says that the LORD will bring Israel back to their land when they turn their hearts back to Him.  It doesn’t say that anyone who comes to the land without turning his heart to Him is not an Israelite!  We can conclude from this passage that this return was not one predicted in the Scriptures (at least not in any we have examined so far,) and therefore that it was not orchestrated by the LORD in answer to His promises.  We cannot make any claim as to the rightfulness of calling those who returned “Israelites” or not based on this passage, however.  That must be proven or disproven by other means.

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 7:

I would claim nothing of the kind.  Blood lineage.  Family descent.  Not race, and not ethnicity!

Galatians 3:7 states:

7. Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.

I have dealt with this verse before, but in case you missed my argument, let me reiterate.  Suppose I should claim that only those who love their country to the extent that they would give everything up for it are worthy of being called “Americans.”  In the course of my argument, I declared, “All who love their country to the extent of giving up their lives for it if need be are true Americans.”  Now, someone living in Great Britain received a copy of my statement.  This person is a real patriot, and knows he would give up his life for his country if need be.  Therefore, he decides that, according to me, he must be a true American!  When another person argues with him that he cannot be a true American since he is not an American citizen but rather is British, he replies, “Well, Nathan must mean that I’m a ‘spiritual’ American!”  Would this be a correct interpretation of what I’d said?  Of course not!  The fact is that I was making my argument, not to people from Britain, but to my fellow Americans.  I meant that anyone who lives in the United States and meets the criteria I was promoting is a true American.  Although I did not state that condition, it should be clear to all who heard me that that is what I meant.  The man in Britain who read my statement must realize that he is not my intended audience.

In the same way, I believe that Paul (and the Holy Spirit through him) is talking to a specific people in the letter to the Galatians.  He is talking to his fellow Israelites who are living in exile from the land of Israel.  The ones he calls “Galatians” were Israelites, and this letter is addressed to them.  Thus, they could qualify as true “sons of Abraham” if they showed faith.  Yet Paul did not mean that Gentiles could qualify as “sons of Abraham” if they showed faith any more than I would mean that people from countries in Europe could qualify as “true Americans” if they showed patriotism!  This passage does not prove that Gentile believers are “spiritual Israel.”  Rather, it proves that the believers Paul was writing to in Galatians were literal Israelites who were living outside the land of Israel.  The same is true of Galatians 3:29:

29.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

This just shows that these people were descended from Abraham.  Those to whom he was talking were his literal descendents, but they would only be considered part of the promises made to him if they also belonged to Christ.  However, one who was not descended from Abraham to begin with cannot claim that they are Abraham’s seed just because they belong to Christ!  That is not the point of the passage.

Romans 2:28,29 states:

28.  For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
29.  but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

This, indeed, states the nature of true Jewishness.  However, I am not a Jew either outwardly or inwardly.

Romans 9:6-8 states:

6.  But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,
7.  nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.”
8.  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.

These statements, like all Scripture, present the absolute truth.  Yet the truth they present is that just being a blood-born Israelite was not enough to make one a partaker in the promises God made to that nation.  One also had to be a child of God.  Yet again, this proves nothing regarding one who was not a blood-born Israelite in the first place.

Romans 11:5-7 states:

5.  Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
6.  And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
7.  What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.

Again, only those Israelites who were “elect” had received what they sought.  Yet this says nothing to the Gentile believer of today.  The context here is Israel, not Gentiles.  To imagine that “the elect” here means Gentiles is just that: imagination.

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 8:

Isaiah 65:17 reads:

17.  “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

This proclaims God’s intention to recreate both the heavens and the earth someday.  Isaiah 24:21-23 reads:

21.  It shall come to pass in that day
That the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones,
And on the earth the kings of the earth.
22.  They will be gathered together,
As prisoners are gathered in the pit,
And will be shut up in the prison;
After many days they will be punished.
23.  Then the moon will be disgraced
And the sun ashamed;
For the LORD of hosts will reign
On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
And before His elders, gloriously.

The reference here is probably the common one: that the light that the Lord brings to earth will be so great that the light of the sun and moon will be put to shame.  This light, of course, is not literal, but has to do with truth enlightening the darkened hearts of men.  Yet still in this passage Israel has a pre-eminence, for He is said to reign “on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem.”

I have trouble seeing that “the full scope of Israel’s prophets was not nationalistic, but universal, with an increasing cosmic dimension which took in heaven and earth” in these verses.  Certainly there are prophecies regarding the heavens, if that might be called a “cosmic dimension.”  Since the first words in the Bible regard the creation of the heavens and the earth, I have trouble thinking of this as an “increasing cosmic dimension” in the prophets.  This author seems to imply that they became less and less concerned with just Israel, and more and more concerned with everything, even to the very universe.  Yet the verses he quotes for this are from Isaiah, who was certainly not one of the final prophets.  Looking at Malachi, or even John the Baptist, who is said to be the last of the Old Testament prophets, there is no indication that a “cosmic dimension” is increasing in the prophetic scope.  Their major scope is still nationalistic, not universal.  That there was a universal dimension to what the prophets taught cannot be denied.  Yet I never see it increasing and the nationalistic scope decreasing.  John the Baptist is as concerned with Israel as a nation as Samuel ever was.

Is not the book itself entitled “Hebrews”?  We might expect some to assume that a book is written to Gentile believers today if it is not explicitly stated otherwise, although this is often not a proper assumption.  Yet how can anyone miss the fact that this book was written to Israelites when that is what its very title indicates?  I hardly think it necessary to even quote Hebrews 6:5 when this truth is so clearly evident.

How are “the land promises made to Abraham fulfilled in the universal Kingdom of God”?  What is the “universal Kingdom of God”?  If by this he means all believers, then does he mean that we will all live in the land of Israel someday and receive the promises God gave them?  If not, then how in the world does this fulfill a land promise?  Does not a land promise, upon being fulfilled, have to include some land?  Moreover, to be properly fulfilled, shouldn’t it include the land that was promised originally?

As for the city “whose builder and maker is God,” we can find the fulfillment of this in Revelation 21:9-21, part of which reads:

9.  Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
10.  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Notice that this city, the new Jerusalem from heaven, is intimately connected with the twelve tribes of Israel (verse 12, “Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:”) and with the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ (verse 14, “Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”), the ones who were to “sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30)  Can there be any doubt that the “better country” is the Israel of that future time as well?

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Paragraph 9:

I would agree to no such conclusion.  True Israelites today are those who believe in the Lord Jesus as their Messiah.  Yet many who believe are not Israelites at all.

If the church has not replaced Israel, but only the Jewish nation, then the church should be living in the land and keeping the law, for that was the most important aspect of the Jewish nation.  We should then have a Davidic king and a temple and priesthood.  No, what this author is teaching is that we have replaced Israel as the people of God, and that their promises are now ours.  He is a “replacement theologian,” whether he wants to admit it or not.

The concept of “race” is not a Biblical one.  Rather, it is an evolutionary concept, having to do with the idea that we have followed different evolutionary paths.  Acts 17:26 gives the Bible’s teaching on “race”:

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,

Thus, in the Bible, “Jew” and “Gentile” was never a racial distinction, but a family distinction.  To say that the Bible viewed Israel as a “race” is incorrect.  As for there being no more “Jew” and “Gentile,” Galatians 3:28 states:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Yet notice that this is talking about oneness in Christ Jesus.  This is not talking about physical characteristics.  If there is really no more male nor female, why don’t I wear women’s underwear and use the ladies’ room?  This is talking about our standing in Christ.  Yet God would still look on me as a sinner if I forgot my gender and tried to act like a woman!  So, though there is no Jew nor Greek as far as our standing in Christ, yet there is still Jew and Greek regarding other things.  By the way, what is a Greek?

If Christ’s kingdom is here now in fullness, then Christ’s kingdom is a real disappointment.  This world is as full of sin, and our governments are as full of corruption, as they ever were.  As many people are deceived, as many people are hurt, as much evil is done, as has ever been.  If this is all God’s great promises amounted to, then He was an incurable liar, and His kingdom is a sad failure.

Again, if Christ’s kingdom is here now in fullness, then do we have the inheritance in fullness?  Do we have nothing to look forward to?  How sadly disappointing is the inheritance we have received!

Romans 11:26 reads:

26.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

Apparently, this author thinks that “all Israel will be saved” means “all saved people will be saved,” which says nothing.  Also, ungodliness being turned away has little meaning.  Have you ever seen a believer act in an ungodly way?  I know I have!  Apparently, God’s version of turning away ungodliness is as weak as His Kingdom.

Is present Israel a fulfillment of prophesy? Final paragraph and Scripture quotes:

These verses were talking to unfaithful Israelites.  As usual, this author ignores the great number of faithful Israelites, both those who lived in Isaiah’s day and those who lived in the time of Jesus Christ on earth.  Were the apostles and Paul himself slain and the Kingdom taken away from them?

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 1:

There never was a Jewish race.

Yes, this is true.  There is no way that anyone can prove whether or not he is really an Israelite today.  The Bible is clear that a requirement for this is being able to trace your lineage back to one of the twelve fathers of the nation.  Yet has the Bible ever declared that Israel must pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and restore their own nation?  Isn’t it stated again and again that it is God Who will do this?  I have already quoted passages above that make this most plain.  God knows who is truly descended from Israel and who is not, and He both can and will make that plain when the time comes.

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 2 (The Encyclopedia Brittanica quotation):

When were physical characteristics ever important?  The Bible teaches that we are all descended from one man 6,000 years ago.  The Jews are descended from one man about 3,500 years ago.  Wouldn’t it make sense that they would differ greatly in appearance?

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraphs 3 & 4 (Encyclopedia Judaica Jerusalem quotation):

I generally disagree with racial classification as a concept, but I would agree that Jews would not be easily defined as such, even if you accepted the premise of the existence of races.  The fact is that Jews are accepted as such because they call themselves that.  But is this really strange?  The fact is that most of our “racial classifications” are highly questionable.  For example, I could be a European and speak English, French, or German and still be the same race.  Yet if I’m a European who speaks Spanish, I’m suddenly a different race.  Does this make sense?  The fact is that racial classification as a whole is pointless, without any real scientific standard, and often counterproductive.

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraphs 5 & 6 (Encyclopedia Americana and Collier’s Encyclopedia quotations):

I agree with the comment about “historical tradition.”  The Jews were never supposed to be a physically different race from those around them.  They were a family, a nation, a people.

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 7 (Funk and Wagnall’s New Encyclopedia quotation):

Neither the Israeli Knesset nor anyone else can define who a Jew is in the eyes of God.  The fact is that who is a Jew or not is unimportant in our day.  This matters not in the dispensation of grace.  When it does matter again, God will make this issue plain.  Until then, it is really an argument that is without real worth.  If someone claims to be a Jew, I see no real reason to argue with him.  If someone claims not to be a Jew, I see no real reason to disagree with him either.  But what really matters today is: who is a believer in Jesus Christ?  Apart from this, what does it matter?  But though this is the truth today, this does not mean that this will always be the truth.

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 8 (H.G. Wells quotation):

This is interesting, but is not provable, and of little relevance.  Who is and who is not a Jew today does not really matter.  Many might think they are Jews who are not.  Others might not know they are Jews who actually are.  Leaving these things in the hands of God is our best recourse in the day in which we live.

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 9 (John Bray quotation):

Can there be any doubt that there are still real Jews around, though, even if we can’t positively identify who they are?

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 10:

Like the temple, the priesthood, the throne of David, and many other things, the exact identity of Jews in our day is lost, and can only be recovered by God Himself stepping in and restoring the nation, as He promised He would do so many times.

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 11:

While I would agree that there is no Jewish race nor will there ever be, I think that what the author means is that the true Jews of the Bible ceased to exist, and will never exist again.  If this is indeed his point, then he is erring greatly, not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God.  Jeremiah 23:3-8 reads:

3.  “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
4.  “I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the LORD.
5.  “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD,
“That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness;
A King shall reign and prosper,
And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6.  In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell safely;
Now this is His name by which He will be called:
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
7.  “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’
8.  but, “As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ And they shall dwell in their own land.”

The language here makes it clear that the miracle when the Lord returns Israel to their land from all the countries to which they have been scattered will be so great that it will make the miracle when He moved two million Israelites out of Egypt with all their animals and all their possessions in one night seem a small event by comparison.  Indeed, it would have to be, for Israel to ever be restored again after all that has happened to them.  The author is making his “clear and confident” assertion without considering the power of God.

There never was a race of Israelites, so of course it would be futile to either say there is or will be such a race again.  There was a nation, a family, a people of that name, however, and that will exist again.  God has promised it!

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 12 and Romans quotation:

Again, refer to my argument above.  This is just like talking about “real Americans.”  Anyone who was not an Israelite to begin with does not qualify.

Other Proof that there is no Jewish Race Today Paragraph 13:

What good does it do to be “spiritual” Israel?  What does “spiritual” mean in this context?  This author is guilty of not defining his terms.  It is easy to claim that we are “spiritual Israel” if you never say what “spiritual” means.  I believe that something that is spiritual is something that is made directly by God without using the natural means of such a thing being created.  For example, when Christ turned water into wine, that wine had never been part of a grapevine, had never soaked in the sun and the water, had never been picked and juiced, had never been fermented, and thus had never naturally been made into wine.  Instead of the usual means of creating wine, this wine had been made directly by God.  Therefore, this wine was “spiritual.”  As for Israel, we might say that they will be a “spiritual” nation and people in the future when God restores them entirely by His Own power.  Yet God has never made me an Israelite.  He has never given me any of the characteristic things that so defined what an Israelite was in the past, like a tribe, a piece of land in Israel, and access to His temple.  Therefore, I cannot be called an Israelite, either natural or spiritual.

Does it make sense to proclaim that we have become Israel?  Whatever the author thinks Israel is defined as now, there is no doubt that it was defined as a specific family and nation in the past.  Therefore, God’s promises were made to them, not to me.  Do I really want to believe that God can transfer His blessings from one people to another?  Does that not mean He could do the very same thing to me?  What if God decides I am no longer worthy of His blessing, and moves on to someone else?

By this author’s thinking, God is little better than an unfaithful husband.  When confronted by his wife Susan, complaining that he had promised to be faithful to her and stay with her always, and now he had left her and taken up with Mary, this husband replies, “I made that promise to Susan.  Yet you are just Susan according to the flesh.  Now, I have transferred this promise to a new woman, Mary.  Now, I call her “Spiritual Susan,” and by fulfilling my promises to her I am actually fulfilling my promises to you, since she is now the replacement Susan, and a much better Susan than you ever were.  In fact, my true definition of Susan has always been the woman I’m living with, not just you.  I am innocent of wrong.  I have kept my promises.”  Does this make sense?  Is this man really being faithful to His promises?  Would anyone buy this sort of argument, except maybe Mary, the “Spiritual Susan” herself?  Would you really want to be the “Spiritual Susan”?  Would you really trust a man who would do something like this?  If he did it once, might he not do it again?

How then can we trust God to be faithful to His promises to us?  Consider Jeremiah 31:37:

37.  Thus says the LORD: “If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the LORD.

Can we really trust God, if He would make a promise like this and then break it?  Are we really nothing more than a second wife, a “Spiritual Susan,” and are naïve enough to think that it’s great that we are such, and that the God Who did such a thing once would never do it again to us?

Final Thoughts:

These are true statements.  No one can truly practice the religion God gave the Jews today.  It is impossible.  There is no being an “almost-believer.”  Yet to attach these ideas to dispensationalism, as if they were its primary aspect, is not right.  Dispensationalism does not depend on those who call themselves Jews today being true Israelites in order to be correct.

It is okay to say you believe someone is wrong, but why is it necessary to accuse them of things as drastic as this?  It is certain that error is damaging, and can drive people away from God.  If it couldn’t, why would Satan bother with spreading it?  But is it really necessary, when arguing against something you don’t believe in, to accuse those who teach it of aiding and abetting the enemy?  How does a wrong view of the nation of Israel today “give succor” to apostates and enemies of Christ?  Would not the confusing and self-contradictory teachings of replacement theologians also give succor to them, then?  I would call replacement theology in general, and the teachings in this article in particular, error.  I oppose it on that grounds.  What effect that error might have could be studied, but I will not throw out accusations regarding it without any form of evidence.

It saddens me whenever I read this sort of teaching against dispensationalism.  The truths that can be gained from understanding the Word rightly divided are precious, and do so much to help us clear away the difficulties and bring the full weight of the truth of the Word of God to light.  Mashing things together, however, like the believer today and the Israel of the past, can do nothing but lead us into misunderstanding and confusion.  I pray that all who read these words might grow in the truth, both in the Word of God and in the light and help that solid dispensational teaching has to offer.

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