William Andrew Dillard
Much is heard of Israel in their present conflict with a radical segment of Arabic people. Most of the Christian world, and this writer, too, are pro-Israel. The children of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob were the recipients of the Law Covenant from God, and though left desolate in their official rejection of the Messiah, the nation has a future in the work of God. However this should not blind the Bible student to obvious truth regarding the subject, and how that applies to the present people of New Testament Covenant relationship with Him. Please put on your thinking cap!
To be anti-Israel is to be anti-Semitic. But wait, to be anti-Arab would also be anti-Semitic since both descended from Abraham and are by virtue of that Semites. However, Bible students know that God rejected Ishmael, the father of Arabic people as the heir of Abraham, choosing instead the son of Promise: Isaac. To Isaac was born two sons: Esau and Jacob. Covenant lineage is traced through Jacob due to the faithless rejection of Esau of his birthright. Stay with me in this thinking.
“Jacob” (trickster) received a name change from God to that of “Israel” (He who contends with God and prevails) in his wrestling with an angel all night, signifying his hot pursuit of heavenly help in view of what he considered the Imminent, murderous wrath of Esau. Thus does his name have such marvelous and practical meaning. Quite naturally, Jacob’s children then became known as the children of Israel whether their faith and deportment merited the name or not. Happily, much of the time it did.
But in the fullness of time, God sent them the promised Messiah whom they rejected on a wholesale basis officially. While their rejection of Him is more than ample evidence that they were no longer Israel in meaning, a remnant of the faithful received the Messiah, and were by virtue of their faith and obedience to Him the sole nucleus of the New Covenant expression of God on earth, His New Testament Church. They were then the true Israel, and the New Testament Church continues to be so today. Gal. 6:16. What about the political nation that rejected Jesus, the Messiah? Jesus said their house was left to them desolate (devoid and separated from the presence and protection of God as they had known it). This precipitated the massacre and destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 by the Romans. It caused the great diaspora of the last near 2,000 years. It precipitated the holocaust in WWII. It has brought on them the many and continued conflicts with Arab nations presently. The present political nation is mainly the children of Judah; hence, Jews. They have chosen to use the term Israel, but they do not have its meaning. They are in fact Jacobites. But, one day, the nation will become Israelites again. May the Lord hasten that glorious day when they shall look on Him Whom they have pierced, know true repentance, and be brought into New Covenant relationship with Him to once again be “Israel” in the sight of God.