Romans Bible Study Lesson 32

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True Israel

Romans 9:6—8


Who is a true Israelite? This question gets answered in the next few verses but, unfortunately, many misinterpret or twist what is really being said here because it is not interpreted in light of the Mystery truth revealed through Paul to the Church, the Body of Christ. If Israel is confused with today’s church then this portion of Scripture has no chance of being properly understood. The key is to understand God’s program for Israel as being completely separate from the program revealed through Paul.

Verse 6a

How is it that the Word of God would have failed? If we look at the blessings given to Israel and see them as God’s chosen nation and then look at where they are now there are those who would say that God has failed or that His Word is not true. Israel was to be elevated above all other nations but instead has lost their status and now God is not dealing with them as a nation any more. This time of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) happened because Israel rejected God and went their own way. God judged them by having the Babylonians carry them off into captivity in 605 B.C. Their various captivities are prophesied by Daniel with the dream of a statue. The head of gold was Babylon; the silver breast and arms was Medo-Persia; the bronze belly and thighs was Persia and the clay and iron legs represent Rome.

Even though Israel was to be exalted, they were being trampled by the Gentiles and will continue to be trampled through the Tribulation period until Christ returns at the Second Coming (Revelation 11:2). This trampling focuses on the control of Jerusalem, which has been under Gentile rule since 605 B.C. Their exaltation will be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom when all the Gentiles will be blessed through Israel. (Zechariah 8:13; Isaiah 60:1—3)

But God’s Word has not failed because all those born into Israel are not true Israel. Some explain that God’s fulfillment of Scripture relating to Israel was (or will be) completed through the Church, the Body of Christ. They say we in the Church have replaced Israel. The literal prophesies concerning Israel are now being fulfilled through the Church in a spiritual manner.

This is contrary to Scripture. According to Paul, Israel still has a future in God’s prophetic program (Romans 11:12, 15, 25—28). Also, the Church is a “new man” and not a replacement for Israel.

Ephesians 2:14—16 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

We can also see that the blessings promised to Israel are very specific and concrete. When God promised them a certain allotment of land He meant that they were going to inherit that physical, earthly portion of land. The promise was not transferred to the church, the Body of Christ, in a non-literal, spiritual manner.


Verse 7  Physical Israel

Jumping to verse 7 we can see that just because Abraham was their father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc. that they were not necessarily a part of the promise given to Abraham. These promised descendants were to come only through the line of Isaac and Jacob. When the nation of Israel is referred to in Scripture it includes only those through the lineage of Jacob.

Verses 6b—8  Spiritual Israel

These verses define exactly whom God considers an Israelite. Paul describes the true Israelite and looks at Israel from two perspectives; physically and spiritually. From a physical standpoint, only those who come through the line of Jacob are Israelites. All of Abraham’s other children are not children of God’s promise.

Verse 6b looks at the spiritual side of things. Even someone born through the line of Jacob to one of the 12 tribes does not guarantee that they are a true Israelite. A physically born Israelite is not a true Israelite unless he believes and obeys God; in other words, he would need to be saved. In the Old Testament an Israelite who believed and followed the Law from his heart would be saved. (They are not saved by following the Law but in obedience will desire to follow the Law and are commanded to do so.) In the Gospels (after the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry—see Luke 16:16) a true Israelite would be one who believes in the person of Jesus Christ (as being his Messiah) and demonstrates his faith by doing the works of the Law.

At the end of the Tribulation, two-thirds of Israel will be cut off (killed) leaving only true Israelites (Zechariah 13:8—9). Those true Israelites, both living and martyred, will be brought into the Millennial Kingdom when Christ sets up His rule over the earth. They will finally be raised to a glorious position on earth as they rule with Christ. (Ezekiel 36)