• Who Are 'Israelites' Today?

    Who Are 'Israelites' Today?
    by Robert T. Woodworth

    In the middle of the New Testament book of Romans, which deals with Christian theology, there are three chapters inserted which refer back to the history and destiny of ancient Israel. St Paul is trying to show Christians that they are these Israel people and ought to be aware of their identity and calling. The Apostle Paul addresses his letter to Roman citizens who are scattered throughout the Roman Empire, but unaware of their common origin and kinship.

    The ninth chapter of Paul's Epistle to the Romans begins thus,

    "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." (Romans 9:1-5).

    The Apostle was greatly concerned about God's chosen people who were racially selected from Abraham and given an eternal covenant which would bring in the Messiah and affect the history of the world.

    What would Paul think today when the majority of Christians consider the Jews to be all of God's chosen people and therefore God's elite not to be criticised, but accepted no matter what dire anti-Christian deeds they may perpetrate? This single misinterpretation of the identity of God's chosen people in the Bible these days has led to the most distorted and destructive doctrines of our times.

    Are these Israelites the Jews of today? Just apply the identification marks with which Paul labels true Israelites. Does modern Jewry have the adoption, glory and covenants God promised to ancient Israel? Do they honour the giving of God's law and do they perform the services of God? Do they keep God's promises and bear the witness of His promises in their national character? Do they honour the fathers through whom Christ came and attribute all to Him, acknowledging that Christ is God-blessed for ever?

    If there were ever a persecuted body in the world today, it is born-again, Bible-believing Christians, who are attacked on every side, whose morals are maligned, whose ethics are derided, whose concepts of right and wrong are ridiculed, whose Bible is banned in public, whose Saviour is crucified every Christmas and Easter by public sanctions.

    For years I had been invited to pray at the opening of the Maryland General Assembly both in the House and for the Senate. Then I was told that I could not use the name of Jesus Christ in my prayer. I assumed it was because it might offend some members who not only do not believe in Christ, but take offence at any mention of His name in public.

    Who are the Israelites that Paul speaks of in his Epistle to the Romans, are they Jews? Even some learned Christian scholars think so. For example, when writing about Luke's Gospel in his commentary The Christian Life Bible, published by Nelson, at the point in ch. 23, v. 34 when Jesus utters His last words from the cross; '... Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do ...', he has a note saying the persecution of the Jewish people is the greatest barrier to evangelism?

    But who is being persecuted, the Jews or Christians? The Bible is forbidden in many public schools in America, but not in former communist countries? Who is persecuted when the Gospel cannot be preached nor Gospel tracts distributed, nor souls converted in the Israeli land, but Jews have full freedom in Christian America?

    It may be called anti-Semitic for making these true statements, whereas the fact is, that I am more Semitic in my racial stock than most people who call themselves Jews.

    The truth is that all religions have extremists who are guilty of hatred, bigotry, and isolation of those who disagree with them. African Americans have such extremists who promote their own agenda, but blame European Americans for all their troubles. Jews have extremists who blame Christians for any reason. And we have them too in our evangelical and identity churches who blame people who differ from us for the problems that plague us.

    At 'Christ and Country Church', we have never preached racial hatred nor religious bigotry. We pray that all races and religions might be converted to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. We support equal opportunity and treatment. We pray that Christians might be treated the same, but we are not. Instead our people are frequently blamed for the sins of our fathers and the conditions in the world over which we have no control.

    We all have slave backgrounds. My fathers were slaves in the feudal systems of Europe and slaves in Egypt before the Exodus. Now we are slaves to a government that wants us to work for those who don't or won't work. The labours of our hands go to promote the wealth and welfare of those who make continual demands for more bricks without straw.

    Who are true Israelites, those who fit the identification marks of the Bible? Not all Semites are Israelites, not all the offspring of Abraham are Israelites, because some became Arabs and other tribes or nations, '... In Isaac shall thy seed be called' (Romans 9:7). But Isaac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob, it was to Jacob alone that God gave His love. This is not human discrimination as we know it today, but a divine distinction as God ordained.

    Israelites are the people who in the end time would not be called God's people, but who would become His 'beloved'.

    "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God." (Hosea 1:10).

    "And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God." (Hosea 2:23).

    "Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:10).

    God's national promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel are fulfilled in Christian nations today (see Genesis 17:1-7).

    God said to Abraham, "... for a father of many nations have I made thee". Jews do not comprise many nations; but Christians do.
    "... I will make thee exceeding fruitful, ..." (see Genesis 17:6).
    Christian nations are the most productive in the world today. The Zionist Israeli state must still import most of its foods and goods. "... I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee." (see Genesis 17:6b).
    There are no Jewish nations with kings, but there are many Christian nations with sovereigns and leaders who honour God and whose rulers are installed by Christian clergy. "... I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" (see Genesis 12:2).
    God has blessed America and Christian countries and made their name great among the nations. The Jews have seldom been a blessing to any nation, but have been driven from Christian and pagan countries for centuries. Zionist Jews certainly do not have a great name among their Arab neighbours, nor are they a blessing to them. God promised, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (see Genesis 12:3).
    Christians have been a blessing to families of the earth in need for many centuries. They have colonised and Christianised millions of pagan people with civilisation and have built not only churches for worship, but schools for education, hospitals for healing, wells for water, technology for agriculture and industry, as well as wisdom in using natural resources for human needs.
    The record is clear. The marks are here. Only Christian peoples have fulfilled all these promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God's covenants are fulfilled in Christ and Christians, not in Christ-haters and anti-Christians.

    True Israelites make up many nations all over the world, not just one tiny warring state in the Middle East. They are found in North and South America, in North and South Africa, in Australia and New Zealand, in Europe and parts of Asia. They are productive, not dependent. They have resources to lend and don't have to borrow.

    Christians can also identify with God's covenant made to David, (see Psalm 89:1-4), with an endless throne from David to Christ, the Son of David and international succession of Christian kings and rulers. They honour Christ, the Son of David, as God's chosen people would. (See Psalm 89:20-37).

    You are an Israelite by race if you are descended from the tribes of Israel who were scattered from Palestine before Christ and settled in the nations of Europe. You are Israelites by grace if you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, no matter where your ancestors came from. You are an Israelite by covenant-calling, by promise-fulfilling, by Christ's provision and predestination.

    How can we make such statements? Because just preceding the Israel chapters, 9, 10, and 11 of Paul's Epistle to the Romans, is the 8th chapter, which states triumphantly:
    "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:28-31).
    Christians have been called, foreknown and predestined, to be conformed to the image of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Only believers in Christ can be justified and glorified.

    Who are true Israelites today? Only those who fit God's descriptions in God's Word, who follow God's Son, who obey His commandments and worship the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "... no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). There is no salvation in any other, no other name whereby we must be saved, save that of Jesus Christ. To claim salvation by race or any other religion is to blaspheme the name of God and the true Messiahship of Christ, God's Anointed One, the Holy One of Israel!

    Christian believers are Israelites today.