Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV
“But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, ‘You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand’.”
When Jesus Christ died on that cross, and he put our sins to death with him, he destroyed the barrier that stood between Jew and Gentile and he made us both one in Christ, for his purpose was to reconcile both of them to God through the cross. For Jesus Christ is the promised seed of Abraham. And so not all who are physically descended from Israel belong to Israel. So it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise. And if we belong to Christ, we are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise whether we are Jew or Gentile by physical birth.
Yes, there is a physical nation of people who call themselves Israel, but they are not biblical Israel unless they belong to Jesus Christ and they have died with him to sin and they have been raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. And physical Israel is now of Hagar the slave woman because she is still in slavery with her children, but we who believe in Jesus are of Sarah, the free woman. And the Scriptures teach that whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ, such a person is the antichrist (all this comes from the Scriptures).
[Eph 2:14-18; Gal 3:16,26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; 1 Jn 2:22; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Pet 2:24; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-10]
There is a movement today which is raising up the physical nation of Israel almost to God status, and many Christians are giving their honor and praise to this physical nation, which is not of God, but which is of Hagar, the slave woman. And many Christians are being convinced that if they are more like Jews that it will make them more godly. But this is just a repeat of the Judaizers of the New Testament who were trying to convince Christians to be more like Jews and to follow some of their customs and laws. And this is what Paul was addressing in the first four Scriptures noted above.
So, even though these words in Isaiah were written to the Israel of the Old Covenant, who were the Jews, true biblical Israel today are all who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior, but not in words only, but in action and in truth. And so the chosen of God are now all who are following Jesus Christ with their lives and who are living to please the Lord and who are no longer living to please the flesh, in practice. We are the Lord’s servants and so we are not to fear for God is with us and he is our God and he will strengthen us, and he will help us and uphold us.
And we need to hear those words of encouragement when the trials of life come our way to test our faith. We need that assurance that our Lord is with us and that he will provide for us all the strength that we need to endure those trials and tribulations. But we also need to be walking in obedience to our Lord and we must not be living in deliberate and habitual sin if we expect the Lord to help us and to give us his strength. For he is not going to uphold us if we are resisting him and if we are denying him by our sinful lifestyles. But if we repent in true humility he will help us.
[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Lu 9:23-26; Matt 7:21-23]
Isaiah 41:11-13 ESV
“Behold, all who are incensed against you
shall be put to shame and confounded;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, ’Fear not,
I am the one who helps you’.”
If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, and our lives are surrendered to him, and we are walking in his ways and not in the ways of the flesh, we have an enemy who is against us. His name is Satan. And we will also have people who will be against us, too, and many of them may be professers of faith in Jesus Christ, and many (or some) of them may be pastors of “churches,” too. For not all who profess faith in Jesus Christ are of Christ. And not all who say, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the ones DOING the will of God the Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21-23).
So, if we are following the truths of the Scriptures, and we take God’s words seriously, and we are walking in holiness and righteousness, and not in sin, we are going to be opposed by other humans. And again, many of them may also be those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. And especially if we are sharing the truth of the gospel in contrast to the lies of the enemy that are being spread by charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing, then we will have even pastors and elders and other Christians incensed against us. And especially if we are teaching the truth about who biblical Israel is.
At one point, when I was sharing on Facebook the verses I shared above about who biblical Israel is today, I had at least two people want to put me to death. One of them wanted to hang me on a post and burn me to death. He was vehemently opposed to what I was sharing, but I was sharing what Paul the apostle of Christ said. Now that is severe! That is being incensed. And why? Because I was sharing what Paul taught about who is true biblical Israel today and who is not. And both of them claimed to be Christians.
Now, I am not going to get into a debate with anyone on this subject, but the point raised here is that if we are following what the Scriptures teach (in context), and if we are teaching or sharing with others what the Scriptures teach (in context), we should be prepared that even others who claim to be Christians, and even some pastors may be incensed against us like the religious people of Jesus’ day were incensed against him to the point of hanging him on a cross to die as though he was a common criminal.
But one day, when Jesus returns, and he takes his true followers to be with him for eternity, all this will be over. And in the meanwhile, while we wait for his return, we can be comforted in knowing that, if we are following Jesus with our lives, the Lord is with us, and he is holding our hands, and he is there to strengthen us and to carry us through all difficulties and all persecutions and all threats against our lives, too. And so we need to persevere, in his strength, and we need to pray for our enemies, too.
[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:18-21; Jn 17:14; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13]
How Long Till the Morning
Scripture: I Thessalonians 4:17
By C. E. Couchman
Consider the mornings of this mortal land,
Each a new beginning from the Maker’s hand.
While the storms may gather ‘gainst the evening sky,
The day breaks cloudless in the morning.
Rise up to the battle, for the skies dawn clear.
Let us gather courage while the foe draws near.
Though the night falls weary, saints of God, march on!
And He’ll raise our banner in the morning.
When the trumpet sounds to signal Heaven’s day,
Resurrection Morning when the dead shall wake,
What a glorious gath’ring when the Lord descends
And we rise to meet him in the morning.
How long, my Lord? Till we see the morning?
How long, O, my Lord, till we see your face?
O my Lord, guide us through our troubles
Till we rise above them in the morning.
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