by Al Benson Jr.
Long ago God told Abraham, in Genesis 12:3, that God would bless those that blessed him and curse those that cursed him, and that, in him, all nations would be blessed.
Many today take this verse to mean that God will bless or curse the nations in regard to how they deal with the natural, secular nation of Israel. What the verse actually means is that God will bless the nations through His Son, Jesus Christ, and that the nations will be judged based upon their reaction to Christ and His followers. Those who accept Christ as Lord and Saviour will become the spiritual children of Abraham.
Galatians 3:16 tells us that God's promises were made to Abraham and to his seed, which is Christ. Verse 29 of Galatians 3 also informs us that if we accept Christ Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour then we also become Abraham's seed and heirs according to God's promises which He made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3.
God has said, in effect, that those who respond to the call of His Son and ask His forgiveness for their sins then become the true Israel. Let that thought sink in for a minute. it's probably not what you were taught in Sunday School. It isn't what I was taught. It's probably a new concept to you, and yet, history shows that it is not so new. God's true Israel is not a kingdom made with hands, or with military might, even Jewish military might paid for with US dollars. Rather, it is a spiritual nation. peopled by both Jews and Gentiles, a nation, or Kingdom, created by saving faith in Christ, which God sovereignly imparts to His elect.
In 1st Peter 2:9, Peter calls God's Israel "a royal priesthood, an holy nation," Closer to our own day, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon called "Sinners in the hand of an angry God." In that sermon he plainly stated that those who are not born again, who have not turned to Christ Jesus for salvation from their sins "are aliens from the commonwealth of Israel." To Edwards it was plain that citizenship in the true Israel since Christ's advent was through faith in Christ.
Let us give thanks that, through Christ, we can become members of the commonwealth of Israel, God's Kingdom, that we can become members of the "holy nation" spoken of in 1st Peter. Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day and was glad. Can we do differently?
A good little book to read that deals with some of this has been written by Evangelist John L. Bray. It's called "Israel In Bible Prophecy." When I bought it it was $5.00 and could be obtained from John L. Bray Ministry, P O Box 90129, Lakeland, Florida 33804. You might check and see if it's still available.