Saturday, August 6, 2011

Jesus the true Israel of God.

One term of critical importance in the Bible is the word Israel. There is much reward if we spend time prayerfully considering this important key word in scripture. Let examine the matter in more detail.
The Old Testament is full of “Types and shadows” that pointed to Christ.

These are intentionally placed in the Scripture to describe and identify the Messiah when He came. Some “types” are people, such as Melchizedek, or Isaac. Some “types” are things such as Noah’s Ark. Some “types” are ceremonies such as Passover and events. Each of them beautifully picture the life and ministry of Jesus Christ hundreds of years before His Incarnation.

Let's look at some of these Types. And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, "Go, return to Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead." Then Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. (Exodus 4:19-20) Here we have a type that was to be fulfilled in Christ centuries later.

"Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king." Matthew 2:1 Because Herod was threatened by this new child king, he sent soldiers who "slew all the children that were in Bethlehem." Verse 16. Joseph was warned of the impending crisis in advance. "The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word." Verse 13. So the holy family arose and "departed into Egypt." Verse 14 Matthew writes that little Jesus remained in Egypt "until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet.

Another type. When the young nation of Israel came out of Egypt, God called that nation "my son" in Exodus 4:22. When the baby Jesus came out of Egypt, God said, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." (Matthew 2:15) Matthew 2:15 is an important verse for several reasons. Matthew here is quoting Hosea 11:1 which was a prophecy, approximately 800 years earlier, which reads, (‘"When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. ) Matthew declares it "fulfilled" in Jesus Christ! Here Matthew is beginning to reveal a truly shocking principle that he and Paul develops throughout the Gospel. Matthew’s use of inaplhrwqh while citing Hosea 11:1 indicates that Christ’s departure out of Egypt was the fulfillment of Hosea 11:1. Therefore, Hosea 11:1 is solely a reference to Jesus as Israel.

Prior to Matthew 2:15, Matthew uses this exact same fulfillment formula to show two direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. The prediction of Isaiah 7:14 finds its direct fulfillment in the virgin birth of Christ according to Matthew 1:23. The prediction regarding the birthplace of the messiah in Micah 5:2 finds its direct fulfillment in Matthew 2:5-6. Based upon the pattern of these prior precedents, it would seem that the use of the identical fulfillment formula in Matthew 2:15 would also suggest that Hosea 11:1 finds a direct fulfillment in Christ.

The apostle Paul also followed the principle of applying statements originally made about the nation of Israel to Jesus Christ. The clearest example of them all is where God called Israel "the seed of Abraham." (Isaiah 41:8) Yet Paul later wrote that Abraham's seed does not refer to "many," but to "one, singular... which is Christ." (Galatians 3:16)
Other statements originally made about the nation of Israel is God called Israel "my firstborn" in (Exodus 4:22). Yet Paul said it was Jesus Christ who is "the firstborn of every creature." (Colossians 1:15).

Isaiah ALSO APPLIED ISRAEL TO MESSIAH, Isaiah 49:3–6: 3 He said to Me, "You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory."4But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward with My God." 5And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), 6 He says, "It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth." (NASB)

Let's look at these verses more closely. According to verse 3, Yahweh is speaking to “My Servant Israel.” Verse 5 then states one of the purposes of this “Servant.” The Servant’s role is “to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him.” Verse 6 also states that the role of the Servant is “to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel.” God will also “makes” the Servant to be “a light to the nations” (v. 6).

What is significant here is that the Servant is clearly linked with Israel (v. 3) Yet He is also distinct in some way since He is the one who will “restore” Israel. The nation Israel cannot restore itself, for it is sinful nation. But the Servant—who is Jesus Christ the true Israel—can restore the nation Israel and bring blessings to the nations. Thus, this passage teaches that Jesus, the true Israel, who would restore the nation Israel and bring light to the nations. “Isaiah 49 shows that the servant ‘Israel’ will bring national Israel back to God and also extend Yahweh’s salvation to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah is applying the honorific title of “Israel” to the Messiah because he is the true servant who will finally accomplish the task of Israel.

How did the disciples link Isaiah 49:3–6 to Christ Jesus? The disciples asked Jesus the question, “So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6 NIV). The disciples do not believe that Jesus’ identity rules out a restoration of the kingdom to Israel. Jesus’ answer to their question is significant: “He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1:7). Jesus does not correct them or say, “Don’t you get it. I am not the Servant, Israel. Instead, Jesus informs them that the timing of Israel’s restoration is not for them to know, but is the only possession of the Father. They are to be concerned with the proclamation of the Gospel to the world.
A very careful study of the first book of the New Testament reveals that Christ the true Israel actually repeated the history of ancient Israel, point by point, and overcame where they had failed to do.

In Psalm 80:8, God calls Israel a "vine" that He brought "out of Egypt." Yet Jesus later declared, "I am the true vine." (John 15:1). Thus, there is only one true Israel, Jesus Christ, and none other; restoration plan of salvation throughout all history.

As Jesus is the true Israel, according to Scripture, And all who are a part of his (new creature) are a part of the Israel of God. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Galatians 6:14-16)