Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. “
This piece from 1996 represents my first attempt at a theological solution based upon the work of another author. During the summer of 1995 I was extremely blessed to spend time with Lloyd Dale I had been a church pastor for eight months and was ready by that time to wade into the deep end of the pool. Lloyd’s generous attempts to broaden my understanding of ancient Israel was a needed catalyst for studies.
The need for serious studies came as a result of my exposure to the doctrines of Christian Identity by outsiders at my premillennialist college. The college was the focal point of the Christian patriot movement in America, and the doctrines of Israel Identity were common to that group. This article represents my answer to Christian Identity, as the doctrines of preterism became solidified in my mind. The Preterist Archive website was opened only a few weeks after this piece was finished.
Though released ten years before my embrace of Idealism, there is scarcely a single point I would alter today. If anything, there would be more emphasis placed on Jesus Christ as the prophetic identity of Israel.
It is important for those who embrace Historical Idealism to recognize that the grounding of the word of prophecy in historical object lessons is an inseparable part of the overall picture. One cannot simply declare that the Bible is about grand ideas when, in fact, the revelation of those ideas is rooted in definitive historical events.
The care with which Lloyd Dale handled my extremely young theological mind will always be appreciated. Though my conclusions on the issue of Israel’s divorce and remarriage are different than Lloyd’s, his contributions to the study were extremely beneficial and led to my certainty of preterism’s superiority over dispensationalism. Little did I realize at the time that this work presents a broad view of the hermeneutic of what would become preterist idealism.
Christ’s Ministry Of Reconciliation
Israel’s Divorce and Remarriage
By Todd Dennis
The purpose of this article is to show that the nation of promise in the Word of God was always referring to the eternal nation which is built up in Jesus Christ, based solely upon the grounds of the redemption in His blood. Despite this, the typological narrative of the inheritance continued unabated in the flesh.
Due to terrible confusion and misunderstanding concerning the nation of Israel “after the flesh” and the Body of Christ, there are many questions that must be answered. Here are some examples:
1. If Israelites are God’s chosen people, why is Judaism so Anti-Christ?
2. Is the UN establishment of Israel in 1948 the fulfillment of prophecy?
3. Are saved Jews a part of the body of Christ, or the nation of Israel?
4. Are either the Pre-Christ or Post-Christ Jews saved by grace, or by race?
5. What is the regathering of Israel, and when will it be?
6. After the regathering, will Israel be a part of the Bride of Christ?
What we are dealing with is a matter of Biblical foundations – upon which all of these questions and many more can be easily answered and understood. If one does not have proper doctrinal foundations, all beliefs will be based upon misconceptions. Such fallacious foundations in regards to the Bible lead to error, inconsistencies, and wresting of Scripture in every way. Many times, even accurate biblical information is used to lead down a path that ultimately misses the mark. Such is the case today in terms of contemporary Christianity’s beliefs regarding Israel, and what they construe to be the remainder of Biblical prophecy. If one wrongly identifies this nation of people, he is doomed to misinterpret a wide range of historical, present truth and prophetical scripture. With this problem and its dangers in mind, we must address the present errors by explaining who Jesus Christ really is, and the nature of his ministry on earth. It is through a proper understanding of the Bible in relation to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can correct the scriptural errors of these beliefs of today.
II Corinthians 5:17-18 reads, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Indeed, Christ did come to this earth to reconcile man to God, and He did so in a number of supernatural ways. Examining Christ’s “ministry of reconciliation” will explain what is the body of Christ, and God’s past, present, and future workings with Israel. We can see Christ’s ministry of reconciliation as being threefold: 1. Reconciling Israelites after the flesh (1 Cor. 10:18) to God, 2. Reconciling the Gentile nations to God, and 3. Reconciling Israel after the flesh to the Gentiles.
1. Reconciling Temporal Israel to God
We will begin by considering the first point: God reconciling Israel to Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to fully understand this point, a great deal of Biblical history must be addressed.
Beginning in the book of Genesis we see God’s first workings with a peculiar people. We should focus more on the first promise to man- that of a Saviour in Genesis 3:15, but for the purpose of this study we will begin at what is a later aspect of that same promise: The ‘Abrahamic’ Covenant.
In Genesis chapter 12, the Lord God appears to make a special covenant with a man by the name of Abram and his descendants. In fact, according to Galatians 3:16, this covenant was not made with Abraham’s physical descendants, but with one in particular, Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. “
Galatians 3:8 calls the giving of this covenant to Abraham “the Gospel,.. saying In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Paul calls this a blessing for Abraham, as well as for any that are of faith in Jesus Christ.
This everlasting covenant, therefore, was with Christ, who, subsequently, gave the same promises freely to all of his children (Rom. 8:17) who are circumcised of the heart by faith in Him. That the covenant was made with Abraham and Christ should be no surprise, as God nearly always illustrates an eternal truth through a temporal shadow (Heb 10:1 – in reference to the law shadowing Jesus Christ). It is true that God made Abraham great, and fulfilled all the promises, that he should be the heir of the world, but this promise was only received through ‘the righteousness of faith (in Jesus Christ)… to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all’ (Romans 13-16).
In this covenant, the Lord God promises to make of Christ eternally a great nation (Gen 12:2 – See also Daniel 2:44), and that in him “shall all families of the earth be blessed” (v. 3). This is a significant promise given as well to Abraham, as the phrase “all families” refers to all the peoples on the face of the earth, including all Shemites, Hamites, and Japethites (Genesis 9:19; Romans 4:16-17). In Genesis chapter 17, the Lord God reconfirmed these promises, calling them a “covenant”, as in singular (which is the gospel). This ‘everlasting covenant’, as we saw, was promised to Jesus Christ as well as Abraham (through faith in Christ), but as we consider these eternal promises, we will look initially at the temporal promises to Abraham, which stood as a shadow of the eternal fulfillment in Jesus Christ, which will prove the true nature of the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ.
First, the Lord promised that He would make Abraham the father of many nations (v.4). This is significant in that the word “nations” used here is “goy”, used also in reference to the heathen nations. Many have said that this promise (‘many’ nations) is in reference solely to the Ishmaelite nations, but this cannot be (certainly it is a temporal fulfillment), for the Lord God clearly states in verse 20-21, “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him… But my covenant will I establish with Isaac” Therefore, the “many nations” spoken of in this everlasting covenant would come through the seed of Isaac.
Secondly, the Lord would make him exceeding fruitful, and make nations of him, with kings coming out of him (v. 6). Again, the word “nations” is used in plural, necessitating reference to the heathen, or Gentile, nations, as well.
Thirdly, the Lord would establish his covenant with Abraham’s seed (Christ) for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto them, and to his seed ever after (v. 7). We can see in the “everlasting” aspect of the covenant that the Lord God was going to work with Abraham’s seed throughout the entire span of history. Therefore, in order for God to be true to his word, this covenant must remain unbroken (Psalm 105:8) for as long as the earth abides (Ecc. 1:4).
Fourthly, The Lord God promised that, “I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (V. 8). Again, we can see the everlasting nature of this covenant, only now applied to the land of promise, for an everlasting possession.
In short, God has picked Abraham to bring forth a people called by His name (Ex. 20:7), promising to be to them a God, and they to be to Him a people (Exodus 6:7), promising great blessings of posterity, protection, and property, with circumcision as the token, or sign, of this covenant between them (Gen 17:11, 13).
Because the Lord God has promised to make this an everlasting covenant, one would expect to see in the Word of God the transmission of the covenant until the “seed should come to whom the promises were made” (Gal. 3:19), from generation to generation- and we can. In verse 19, of Genesis 17, God said, “Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed, and thou shall call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him”. In chapter 26 of the same book, the Lord God reconfirms this covenant, saying, “Unto thee (Isaac), and unto thy seed I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (vv. 3-5).
From Isaac, we can see that the covenant passed to his fleshly seed Jacob, later surnamed Israel. Jacob, the younger, unwilling to wait for God’s timing, bought the birthright from Esau (Gen 25:31), and then obtained Esau’s birthright blessing from Isaac (Genesis 27:28-29). In chapter 32, The Lord confronts Jacob because of his self-promotion, and upon Jacob’s confession of being a supplanter (v. 27), the Lord God calls him Israel, which means “God strives”, telling him that “as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed” (v. 28).
Most people are aware that God’s covenant with Abraham passed to Isaac, and then to Jacob/Israel, but from there many people lose track. In Genesis 35:23, Jacob’s twelve sons are listed. The eldest child is Reuben, so one would expect the birthright and blessing to be his. God, however, in a picture of the future and the coming Messiah, chose otherwise. We can read in chapter 48 that Israel, upon finding his son Joseph (who is a picture of Christ) alive, calls Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manassah, to himself. He blesses them both, but gives the birthright blessing to Ephraim, the younger, saying of him that “his seed shall become a multitude of nations” (v. 19).
Again, the word “nations” is “goy” in Hebrew, which is most often used in reference to the heathen, or Gentiles. So Israel says that Ephraim, who was given one portion above his brethren (v 22), will become a “multitude of nations” (melo ha goy), in other words, the ‘fulness of the Gentiles’. The incredible significance of this admission will be made more apparent as we continue with Christ’s ministry of reconciliation between the Lord God and the Gentiles, and Israel and the Gentiles.
Having determined where the birthright inheritance was passed, we need to consider another aspect of the Lord God’s covenant with his people: the promise of Messiah. In Genesis 49, Jacob announces God’s blessings upon each child/tribe. The blessing for Judah was very significant, however, as God, through Jacob, proclaims that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (v. 10). So we see a the transmission of the covenant to both Ephraim (birthright) and Judah (scepter). From Judah’s blessing we can see the continuing prophecy of the coming Messiah, which will save God’s people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Another very interesting aspect of this blessing is the proclamation that “unto him (Shiloh/the Messiah) shall the gathering of the people be” (v.10). We will see this significance of this later, because before we understand the meaning of this, we must see more of the history of the nation of people called by the name “Israel”.
After Isaac and Joseph died, there arose a king which knew not Joseph, and became fearful of the people of Israel for their multitude. He enslaved them, and, eventually, God sent them a deliverer in Moses. Explaining to Moses His plan for the people Israel, the Lord God said,
“I am the Lord: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God” (Exodus 6:2-7).
In the following chapters we see that God does indeed deliver them from their “burdens” and “bondage”, and brings them out of Egypt to the outskirts of the land of promise. At mount Sinai, God enters into a covenant with Israel which had nothing to do with the land of promise, but entirely upon the three great promises that, “if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me..: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5,6). Within the space of forty days, they broke this covenant. God was minded to destroy the people, and make of Moses a great people, which He could lawfully do, as Moses was a direct descendant of Abraham. Moses then entreated God to not destroy the nation, which He determined not to do. Then, in the land of Moab, God made a substituted (Deut. 29:1), bloodless covenant, which had nothing to do with these eternal promises, and everything to do with the terms of their obedience relative to the land upon which they were heading to enter (See God’s Promises Through Moses To Israel). This covenant was clearly conditional upon their obedience (Deut. 28:15,22-26). This covenant confirmed the everlasting covenant given to Abraham and all Israel that, through faith in Jesus Christ, they “shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” if they “obey my (God’s) voice indeed, and keep my covenant”. The temporal promises associated with this Siniatic covenant contingent upon their obedience will be addressed again shortly.
Upon the bad report of the ten spies, the children of Israel decided not to enter into the land. The only spies with good reports were Joshua and Caleb. Interestingly, Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim (Num. 13:8), and Caleb was from the tribe of Judah (Num. 13:6). These two men were the only ones who came out of Egypt that were allowed to enter the land after forty years of wilderness wandering. So we can see again the prophetic significance of the passing of the covenant birthright through the tribe of Ephraim, and the scepter through the tribe of Judah to the following generations.
After the forty years of wilderness wandering (also a shadow), and upon entering Canaan, the temporal land of promise, the nation of Israel (“Israel” never refers to land, only to people), fought against all the inhabitants of the land to cleanse it for themselves. After the land rested from war (Joshua 11:23), and the plots of temporal inheritance were given, the children of Israel continued in their disobedience to God. It was at this point that Joshua declares that the temporal promises to Abraham were fulfilled, as seen in Joshua 21:44-45, and Solomon, later in I Kings 8:56.
Regarding the continued disobedience, Judges 2:11 tells us that, “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: and they forsook the God of their fathers.” Consequently, “the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them” (Judges 2:16-17). After a number of judges, and years of disobedience, the children of Israel demanded a king, and so they were given Saul (a shadow of the power of the flesh), who led them further into sin.
In a picture of the Lord God transferring control of the kingdom of Israel ‘after the flesh’ to Jesus Christ in the ‘last days’ (Heb. 1:2) of the first century (as displayed by Christ in Matthew 21:43), the prophet declares to Saul, in I Samuel 28:17, “the Lord hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thine neighbour, even to David.”
Following David, and Solomon’s reigns, the kingdom of Israel was split between the house of Israel in the north, and the house of Judah in the south. The southern kingdom consisted of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and the Levites with them, and was known simply as “Judah”. The northern kingdom consisted of the remaining ten tribes, and was known as “Israel”, or “Ephraim”, for the dominant tribe of the ten (Psalm 60:7; Jer. 31:9; Ez. 37:16,19; Hosea 5:13). Again, we can see the hand of the Lord God in the perpetuation of the everlasting covenant through Isaac to Ephraim and Judah, even though all the house of Israel broke all of the terms of the covenant. In fact, it was for this very purpose that the law was even given (Gal 3:19).
From the split of the kingdom onward, the children of Israel continued in a downward spiral of apostasy until the both nations utterly forgot the God of their fathers. Of the sixteen kings in Judah, only eight were said to have been pleasing to the Lord, and of the twelve kings in Ephraim, all did evil in the sight of the Lord. In II Kings, chapter 17, we are told of God’s pleadings with Israel/Ephraim, “notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God. And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers… therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel (Ephraim), and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.” (vv. 14,15,18). We can see that God’s anger was kindled against the house of Israel because of their whoredoms with other gods, and adulteries with other nations. In fact, Jeremiah 3:8 reads, “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.” Hosea 8:8 records this as following: “Israel (Ephraim) is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure.” So God, disgusted with Israel’s whoredoms has cast her away, seemingly never to know her again.
The situation with Judah was not much better. Not too many years later, with King Hezekiah on the throne, the house of Judah was told that it would be taken into captivity by the Babylonians. In II Kings 21 the Lord God says, “Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle… I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; Because they have done that which is evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger” (vv. 12,14). And in the eleventh year of King Zedekiah, the House of Judah, with the remainder of the children of Israel, was taken into captivity.
Hosea 5:10-12 records these events by reading, “The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. Ephraim is oppresses and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. Therefore I will be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.” In a show of his wrath, God, in Jeremiah 9:13-16, said, “Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: Therefore thus saith the Lord of host, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I will scatter them among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.”
Surely, this is a state of crisis for the children of Israel. This is also, however, much more serious than the survival of a nation; the very nature of God is in jeopardy. There is no untruth in Him. If it turns out that the God of the Bible did lie, then he is not God at all. In the Old Testament, if a prophet was not one hundred per cent accurate concerning his prophecy, he was punished with death by stoning. God cannot lie. And yet, God said that His covenant would be with the nation of Israel for an EVERLASTING COVENANT. This means forever. Psalm 105:8 reads, “He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.” And yet, we just saw how Ephraim was swallowed up, and Judah was taken into captivity. If God utterly casts Israel away, HE IS A LIAR! Thankfully, knowing that God is not a liar, we can see in the rest of His Word that He is, indeed, true to his word.
Jeremiah 31:37 reads, “Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.” In fact, Paul tells us the rest of the story in Romans 11, “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew… even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” So God, through the remnant of the house of Judah (Ezra 1:5), always maintained the remnant of Judah in the land of Israel, thereby perpetuating his promise with Israel, that a lawgiver would not depart from between his feet, “until Shiloh come” (Gen. 49:10).
God’s promises do not stop there, however. Not only did God promise Israel an everlasting inheritance (birthright) and lawgiver (scepter), but also that after the children of Israel were scattered among all nations they would be regathered, and God would turn them from being a lawless nation, to one that would acknowledge and abide by his Law. This is seen in Jeremiah 31, as the Lord God says, “Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes form tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” (vv.10,11,16). This sounds very wonderful, but what exactly is this redemption? The chapter continues in verse 31, proclaiming, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: which covenant they brake, although I was an husband to them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Ezekiel 16:60-63)
So we can see that God, after divorcing Ephraim and casting away Judah, thereby seemingly ending his covenant, had instead promised to not only bring them back from their captivity, but also to write his Law on their hearts, as opposed to on stone. He called this a “new covenant” (Jer. 31:31-37; Ezekiel 16:35-59). But besides these wonderful blessings, God has promised to do much more. We saw in Jeremiah 3:8 that God had given Israel a bill of divorcement and put her away. Now we can see, in Hosea 2:19-23, God’s remedy: “And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord… 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.”
Uniting the phraseology of Jeremiah 31 and Hosea 2, Ezekiel 36:24-28 reads, ” For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and I will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
We can see through these scriptures, that God, after scattering Israel among all nations, always promised to regather them (Ezekiel 37:21; Gen 49:10; Gen. 3:15), giving them a new heart (Jer. 31:31), and even betrothing them to him in marriage in righteousness (Hosea 2:23). This sounds wonderful, but it creates another terrible problem, however, in regards to the truthfulness of God.
God, according to the giving of the covenant and the law, called the children of Israel by his name (Isaiah 43:7; Ex. 20:7), just as a wife is known by the name of her husband upon marriage. In Exodus 6:7, God says, “And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God.” So, upon accepting the covenant, the children of Israel became married to God. Exodus 20:7 reads in this context, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Upon Israel’s rejection of the covenant through harlotry and her whoredoms, God says in Jeremiah 3:8, “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce..” Abiding by his own law in relation to the wife who commits adultery, God had her put away. But this action by God leads to our terrible problem.
Seeing God’s intentions to ‘remarry’ Israel, and to make her unto Him a people, the question must be asked, “Can God violate His own Law?” The Law I write of is found in Deuteronomy 24:1-2, which declares that, “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.” This is the point in Israel’s history to which we, in our study so far, have come. The problem arises in verse 4… “Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled (as Israel most certainly was); for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Again, How can a just God violate His own Law? Is He going to simply declare an executive order and announce Israel remarried, without reference to the Law? Certainly not, because He is the Law. How then can God’s promise of regathering and remarriage be truthful without being sinful?
God, in his perfection and providence provided a means. Romans 7:2-3 reads, “For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adultress, though she be married to another man.” I Corinthians 7:39 reads, “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” So we can see that God, through the death and burial of the Israel’s husband, the Lord God, Jesus Christ, freed Israel from the bondage of the Law in reference to her bill of divorcement, freeing her to marry again. And also, through the resurrection of the Lord God, Israel was also provided with the same husband, thereby fulfilling all of the promises of God, while obeying the Law of God in every precept and line. (Romans 7:4)
The everlasting Covenant was made with Jesus Christ, and is redeemable through the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ made the regathering of Israel, and citizenship in the kingdom of God contingent upon his salvation (Deut. 4:27,28; John 14:6), thereby becoming a child of God (Romans 8:14). If children, we then become joint-heirs with Christ of the eternal inheritance. This is because of the nature of the ‘last will and testament’ of Jesus Christ, that, just as an earthly will and testament, includes an inheritance. This inheritance is only received through Christ, ‘for where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.’ (Heb. 9:16).
Through faith in Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, one is added to the ‘body of Christ’, which household of God is ‘built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone’ (Eph 2:20). The possession by Jesus Christ of the birthright (Matthew 21:38; Heb. 1:2), and scepter (Gen. 49:10; Acts 2:29-31) were given upon His fulfillment of the everlasting covenant, and demands that Israel is no longer a nation after the flesh, but the eternal nation of all saved throughout history (Ephesians 2:19-22) according to, and within, the Body of Jesus Christ. For through his death on the cross, Christ offered this same covenant to any who call upon his name, thereby taking hold of his covenant (Isaiah 56) by being ‘fished in’ (Jer 16:14-16; Luke 5:10).
This ‘circumcision of the heart’ makes them the ‘holy nation’, to which Christ referred in Matthew 21:43, and Peter confirmed in I Peter 2:9. Those not circumcised in the heart, whether of the nation of Israel according to the flesh or not, ceased having any portion, or position of authority before God when Shiloh came (Romans 9:6-9), and the temporal nation was destroyed in that same generation (Matthew 24:34). The scepter, and the Inheritance, were taken from Ephraim and Judah, and the kingdom given to Christ, just as it had been taken from Saul, and been given to David, in shadow. Now, according to scripture, “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
To which promise he is referring answers all questions, because Paul identifies the everlasting covenant of promise in Galatians 3:8 as being when God preached “the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” The eternal nation of Israel was never defined physically, but always from the eternal perspective of the ‘circumcision of the heart’ (salvation); for ‘even as Abraham believed, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ (Gal. 3:6) Again, the Abrahamic covenant was the promise by Jesus Christ that all who are of faith in Him will be inheritors of eternal life (Gal 3:14-16), and heirs of the world (Romans 4:13-16)! Therefore, “if (and only if) ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the (same) promise.” “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17).
Through this work on the cross we can see the fulfillment of Christ’s ministry of reconciliation on this earth: Reconciling Jew and Greek, Male and Female unto himself, and to each other (Eph 2:14-15) into the eternal nation of Israel, for we ‘are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’ (II Cor 6:16 [Exodus 6:7!]) This reconciling was more than just spiritual and figurative. This reconciling is the new covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31-37, and it is also the regathering of Israel as spoken of in the same chapter, accomplished at the same time (Acts 26:22-23). Both the reconciling and regathering of Israel were done through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the fulfillment of the messianic prophecy of Genesis 3:15, and the “regathering to Shiloh” messianic prophecy of Genesis 49:10. And it must be. If this is not what happened when Christ rose from the grave, then Christ is going to have to come back to the earth to die again, for “where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth” (Hebrews 9:16-17). Forever answering any doubt, the same chapter explains Christ’s ministry of reconciliation by stating that, “for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). This regathering of Israel in Jesus Christ fulfilled the promise that the seed of Abraham would become unto God a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people”, as is declared in I Peter 2:9 referring to the body of Christ, who have “become dead to the law by the body of Jesus Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead.” (Rom. 7:4)
Thank the Lord God that He was willing to come to the earth and suffer such a cruel death in order to be true to His Word and his covenant. And thank the Lord also, that in rising from the grave He fulfilled His promises not only to the children of Abraham, according to the flesh, but also allowed all others to partake of this covenant as well.