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WHO IS ‘ALL ISRAEL’? Print E-mail
Written by Victoria Radin   

When the children of Israel left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, the Bible tells us that, “A mixed multitude went up with them also…” (Exodus 12:38). As a result, the L-rd gave specific rules for non-Israelites [i.e. Gentiles], “One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you” (Exodus 12:49). How then did the mostly-Gentile church end up being so separated from the company of Israel in belief and tradition?

Originally, the mostly Gentile Church, under the leadership of Emperor Constantine (325 AD), was forced to give up the Feasts of the L-rd (Leviticus 23) in favor of pagan festivals and was forbidden to practice any and all Jewish traditions. The Roman calendar became the standard of that society and the biblical calendar (Hebrew calendar) was no longer used. Christians were told that the Church had replaced Israel and that all the promises that were made to Israel belonged now to the Church. This is called ‘Replacement Theology’.

However, in the late 1870’s, Dispensational theology was birthed. This system of teaching, including the concept of the pre-tribulation rapture, was first developed among the Plymouth Brethren in England and Ireland and then popularized by John N. Darby. According to definition, Dispensationalism is: 

“The doctrine or belief that the church and Israel are separate and distinct in all ways. Dispensationalists teach that the 70 weeks of Daniel spoken of in Daniel 9 applies only to Israel. The first 69 weeks have been fulfilled historically, ending at the first coming of Christ. When the Jews rejected the Messiah, the 70 weeks were suspended and a new age or dispensation called the Church age began. The Last or 70th week of Daniel, the last seven years, has yet to be fulfilled. This last week will immediately precede the second coming of Christ. This 70th week is called the tribulation period. The coming (Parousia) of Christ will occur in two phases. The first phase will occur at the start of the seventh week. This will be Christ's imminent return for his saints to "rapture" his church as they believe is described in I Thessalonians 4. All of the Christians (in some cases only overcoming Christians) will be resurrected and taken to the heavenly mansions Christ has prepared for us (John 14). The church will not be here during the tribulation period because G-d has ended the Church age and resumed dealing with Israel. The church is also raptured to keep the Christians from the wrath of G-d, which according to Romans 5:9 Christians will not experience. The second phase is Christ's second coming at the end of the tribulation with his saints to begin the Kingdom age dispensation.”

With the birth of Dispensationalism and the growth of its popularity, the erroneous doctrine of ‘Replacement Theology’ was no longer the exclusive belief of Christianity. Dispensationilists recognized the prophetic scriptures that pointed to ‘natural’ Israel and its future in G-d’s plan of redemption. Adherents also acknowledged G-d’s unconditional covenants with His chosen people, Israel.

“…I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you…’” (Judges 2:1)

However, with this new theology, a new problem arose: How could the Church and Israel each be exclusive of the other when the Bible seems to say the opposite? The apostle Paul refers to Gentiles as being part of All Israel in his letter to the Romans:

“…Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in [i.e. have been grafted into the Cultivated Olive Tree]. And so, all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:25b, 26a)

Dispensationalists teach that the Church was birthed at Pentecost in the New Testament. However, everything in the New Testament was first typified in the Old Testament, even the Pentecost experience when the Israelites received the Law on tablets of stone (Exodus 24:12). The New Testament states that on the same day that the Israelites received the Law on tablets of stone [on Pentecost a/k/a Shavuot], the believers in the Upper Room received G-d’s Law on the ‘tablets of their hearts’ (2 Corinthians 3:3). In fact, Paul makes a considered effort to make the point that Gentile believers are one with Israel, not distinct from Israel:

“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles (unbelievers) in the flesh…that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without G-d in the world. But now, in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity…so as to create in Himself one new man from the two…Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of G-d…” (Eph. 2:11-15, 19)

If it is true that Gentile Christians are one with Israel (the one new man), then the covenants and promises of G-d to Israel are to be enjoyed by Gentile Christians as well, and the curses for rebellion and disobedience apply to both too. And, while it is apparent that believers (both Jew and Gentile) may have different roles to play in G-d’s end-time plan, both are from the same family, the family of G-d.

In consideration of this truth, the festivals of the L-rd, as outlined in Leviticus 23, are to be celebrated and enjoyed by believers in perpetuity just as they are for the Jews. As believers, we are celebrating the fulfillment of the Festival in Jesus (as in the case of Passover, Firstfruits and Pentecost) or looking forward to its future fulfillment (as in the case of the seventh day of Passover, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot). To do otherwise is to deprive oneself of one of the privileges of serving the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Are you part of ALL ISRAEL?

Barukh HaShem (Blessed is the Name of the L-rd)

 
 
 
 
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