One new man out of the two.
The concept of integrating separate identities into one ideal has inspired visions of fantastic mutations from minotaurs and centaurs to Frankenstein and Spiderman. Apparently, the Creator of life has a similar interest as well.
My daughter has recently come to learn the usage of identifying a subject as 101 or 301. In this mornings study of Wineskins, we laughed about the possibility that this challenging mystery that few seem able to grasp might actually fit under the 501 level of college-type material.
God made his choice: a specific, limited, racial line of decent from Abraham called Israel which he forever has called “my people”. That is good news for Jews, bad news for everyone else; that is, until the mystery hidden for ages, gets revealed.
Although in the days of Jesus’ incarnation, the Jewish population claimed that their lineage from Abraham and the eternal promises of God guaranteed them permanent status as God’s favorites, that view has turned out to be more hollow than originally thought, at least as far as the prophetic future is concerned. Three significant alterations have been made to the selective identity of God’s own people.
- “only the remnant will be saved” – so not all Jews are automatically going to make it.
- a racial Jew “is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly” – so physical lineage is not the real marker of prophetic identity as an Israelite.
- Gentiles “will be established among my people” – so Gentiles will also be called the ‘people of God’”.
With regard to the identity of God’s chosen people and the separating line between Jews and Gentiles, this is the New Covenant mystery:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ…His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two” (Eph 2:11-22).
It goes on to say that this results in “one body”, not two chosen bodies and not two chosen brides. Jew and Gentile have become one – that is, those who have put their faith in Jesus are at the same time the people of God, the Bride of Christ, the Church of which he is the Head, and the Israel of promise. The terms have become interchangeable with race being superseded by faith.
This is “the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations” (3:4-5). The Bible goes on to declare that “through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”
Those who try to perpetuate the racism of Israelite lineage in prophecy and in promise demonstrate that they still don’t understand the mystery.
If you are up for testing your own understanding, try applying this mystery to the prophetic revelations of the end times, like those that reference “God’s Temple” being violated. Although no one yet knows the details of how this will unfold, those who have a good handle on the above mystery are far less likely to be deceived in the times of testing yet ahead.
Just some mutant-food for thought.
Do you believe that God is allowed to redefine things over time within Scripture, like the definition of Israel?