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True Israel of God
Part Seven and Eight
The True Israel of God
by L. R. Shelton
As this great truth of the present rule of Christ
over His kingdom and His people, the true Israel of God, reigning with Him (Rom
5:17) unfolds, we are made to praise the Lord that God's chosen people on earth
today are one in Him, heirs with Him, members of His body, married to Him, and
are made partakers of His kingdom with Him. They are not looking for a physical
kingdom of power and splendor, which lasts only for 1000 years, but are like
their spiritual father Abraham, looking "for a city which hath foundations,
whose builder and maker is God" (Heb 11:10). Also like Abraham "they desire a
better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called
their God: for he hath prepared for them a city" (Heb 11:16). Therefore I
believe it would be in order for us today to look at the expressions used in the
New Testament, which indeed are gathered from the prophets of the Old Testament,
as to how the true Israel of God, the children of the kingdom of God are
described. Remember now, these descriptions apply to those who make up the
kingdom of God now, and not in a so-called kingdom of 1000 years here upon this
earth in the future.
Remember what we have seen: the New Testament teaches that the church, the body
of born-again believers, the true Israel of God, is the true and only heir to
all the Old Testament promises. It teaches that the church alone fits the
description of the chosen people referred to in the Old Testament; that it alone
is God's special instrument for communicating His eternal purpose, and that in
the sight of God there is no longer any difference between the Jewish nation and
all the other nations of this world.
The description given, in the Old Testament of the true Israel of God, the
church, the spiritual kingdom of God, are applied by the dispensationalists and
the premillennialists to the physical nation of Israel in a so-called golden age
upon this earth when Christ is supposed to rule and reign 1000 years with His
throne in Jerusalem. But the New Testament writers know nothing of such a
teaching because they apply these Scriptures which describe the true Israel of
God, to the church of the living God in Christ, and to every believer who makes
up the body of Christ, the kingdom of God.
The prophet Isaiah spoke of the manner by which the true Israel of God would be
called: "They shall call thee the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of
Israel" (Isa 60:14). In Heb 12:22, this designation is given to the true Israel
of God: "Ye are come unto Mt. Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the
In Isa 61:3, the true Israel of God is called: "Trees of righteousness, the
planting of the LORD." This expression follows Isa 61:1-3, and foretells our
Lord's earthly ministry while here on earth, and which He himself confirms in
Luke 4:18-19. All believers, the true Israel of God, are "trees of
righteousness, the planting of the Lord" because they, as the trees of
righteousness, "bring forth good fruit" (Mat 7:17). They, as trees of
righteousness, are "planted by the heavenly Father" (Mat 15:13); and they, as
trees of righteousness, are not cut down by the axe of God's wrath (Mat 3:10).
Again in Isa 61:6, we read that the true Israel of God "shall be named the
priests of the LORD: men shall call you the ministers of our God." This is
applied to all believers, the true Israel of God, by the apostle Peter: "But ye
are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness
into his marvellous light."
Again in Isa 62:4, "Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah,"
meaning: "For the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." In
Mat 3:17 we hear the heavenly Father saying that He was well pleased with His
Beloved, the Lord Jesus, and delighted in Him. So He is also pleased, delighted,
with His children, the true Israel, who have been accepted in Christ the Beloved
(Eph 1:6) and married to Him (Eph 5:27-32). Christ is the Bridegroom and His
people the bride, those whom He has bought with the price of His own precious
blood; they are married to Him and in them He finds His delight.
Again in Isa 62:12, "They shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the
LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken." How do the New
Testament writers show that these names belong to the present spiritual Israel?
II Timothy I :9 says we were called with an holy calling; 1Pet 1:18-19 says we
were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ; Luke 19:10 says that we were
sought out by the Holy Spirit when we were lost in sin; Eph 2:1-3 tells us that
the same Holy Spirit quickened us and made us alive unto God in Christ, and Eph
1:4 tells us that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to
be holy and blameless before God. Let us go further. From the writings of the
prophets of the Old Testament we can also piece together a full-length
description of those men and women, young people, boys and girls, saved by the
grace of God in Christ, who would be the true Israel of God. They would have
everlasting joy upon their heads (Isa 51:11). Their eyes and ears would be open
to the things of the Lord, and their tongues would sing His praise (Isa 35:5-6).
Their voices would be the voices of joy and gladness (Jer 33:11).
The word of the Lord would be in their mouth (Isa
51:16). The law of the lord would be written in their hearts (Jer 31:33). Their
lives would "flourish like an herb" (Isa 66:14) and their feet would be
"beautiful upon the mountains" (Isa 52:7). All of these Scriptures can be traced
out to show their fulfillment in the spiritual Israel of God as recorded in the
New Testament, for this is what our God does for us when He saves us. Old things
pass away, behold all things become new (2Cor 5:17). Christ gives us of His joy
to the full (John 16:24). We speak to ourselves in Psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord (Eph 5:19).
We rejoice in the Lord (Phil 4:4). With our mouth we offer the sacrifice of
praise to God. . .giving thanks to His name (Heb 13:15). Surely God's law is
written upon our hearts (Heb 8 & 10) and we say with Paul that we delight in the
law of God in the inward man (Rom 7:22) and out of our inward parts flow rivers
of living water (John 7:38) as we walk in the pathway of righteousness and true
holiness (Eph 4:24) and truly those who preach His gospel have beautiful feet
Are you beginning to see that the Old Testament and the New Testament agree that
it is God's spiritual Israel in Christ to whom these things are spoken? Israel
after the flesh cannot claim these precious promises and truths, but only those
who have been born again by the Spirit of God. Because God is not the author of
confusion (1Cor 14:33), we may be sure He did not inspire the New Testament
writers to describe the church in the above terms unless such terms, after
Calvary, referred only to the church. You see, only one body of people - either
the nation of Israel or the church, but not both - can be the children of
promise, the children of Abraham, the elect of God, the true circumcision, the
heirs of the kingdom and the people of God.
Again Isaiah prophesied that "Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of
the world with fruit" (Isa 27:6), and "the desert shall rejoice and blossom as
the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and
singing...in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of
water"(Isa 35:1-2,6-7). The prophet also promised: "The LORD shall comfort Zion:
he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found
therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody" (Isa 51:3). And, "The wolf shall
dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: and the calf
and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them"
Oh, what a description of the true Israel of God when by the Holy Spirit the
poor sinner under conviction is made to lay down his arms of rebellion, hoist
the white flag of surrender and lay at the feet of God in true repentance,
taking the blame for his sinful condition and pleading guilty at the bar of
God's justice. What a picture of that same sinner, now forgiven, now washed in
the blood of Christ, now cleansed and made whole with his heart of rebellion
broken, a little child in obedience, resting by faith in Christ! What a picture
of the soul saved by the grace of God with a new nature and heart, praising God
for His mercies! Surely the wolf and his depraved nature is made to dwell with
the lamb nature that God gives him. Surely his leopard nature is made to lie
down with the kid nature that he has received from God. Surely by God's grace
his desert heart that was cold, rebellious, proud and unbelieving now rejoices
and blossoms as he brings forth fruit unto God and rejoices in God his Savior.
All of this could not be said of physical Israel after the flesh because they
are full of unbelief and still cry today: "We will not have this man to rule
over us." They still hate the precious name of Jesus, the Jehovah of the Old
Testament. No, dear friend, this all applies to the spiritual Israel made up of
repenting, believing Jews and Gentiles, in whose hearts the Spirit of the living
God has worked and thus prepared them for the entrance of the King. Now let us
see more of the names given to the true Israel of God by the New Testament
writers and see how so many of them are fulfillments of Old Testament
prophecies. We are called "the children of God" (Rom 8:16); "the household of
God"(Eph 2:19); "the children of Abraham" (Gal 3:7); "Abraham's seed" (Gal
3:29); "the children of promise" (Rom 9:8); "heirs according to the promise"
(Gal 3:29); "the elect of God" (Sol 3:12); "the heirs of God" (Rom 8:17); "the
temple of God" (1Cor 3:16); "the true circumcision" (Phil 3:3); "the Israel of
God" (Gal 6:16); "heirs of the kingdom" (Jas 2:5); "the sons of God" (John
1:12); "kings and priests unto God" (Rev 1:6); "the New Jerusalem" (Rev 3:12);
"the holy city"(Rev 21:2); and four things are spoken of us in 1Pet 2:9, "Ye are
a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that
ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into
his marvellous light."
If the Word of God says that believers in Christ are all these things just
mentioned, then we should praise Him that we are spiritual Israel. Surely since
the New Testament teaches us nothing about a future kingdom of Christ here upon
earth, and since the Scriptures are plain that the promises of the Old Testament
apply to this present time and the New Testament always gives them a spiritual
meaning, then we can safely say that the chosen people of God are His
blood-bought ones, and not one little nation in the Near East that lies in
darkness and unbelief.