There is a difference of opinion among many Christians about who can call themselves God’s people. Some say the Church, others say Israel and there are those who say we are all God’s children.
If we take our truth from the great number of texts, the various denominations have written about this subject, we could very well come to the conclusion that it is all true, or that none of it is true.
But, if we take the Bible as our only source of Truth we know that we are dealing with the Words of the Living God and not with the doctrines of man. That will at least settle the discussion, whatever we find to be true, to be absolutely true.
Everyone created by God
In a sense the notion of us all being Gods children is true, He is the Creator and we are the created. John 1 clearly states that everything that has been created was created by God, Through Christ. So, from the most holy, to the most wicked person, God is their creator, to which also the Proverbs agree, stating that "The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Proverbs 16:4)
We know of Adam, being a son of the Most High, the first man created, from whom we all stem and through him we are all in bondage to sin from birth, and sons of disobedience, children of wrath, obeying the prince of darkness, like the rest of mankind without hope. (Ephesians 2:1-3)
Children of God and children of the devil
Yet, although God has created all people and is in that sense a Father to us all, making all of mankind brethren, God has also made a divide, calling some children of the devil and others His children. (1 John 3:10 ; Romans 9:22)
This divide has nothing to do with calling yourself a Christian, or being a good person. It has to do with your obedience in faith, it has to do with who your master is, it has to do with the fruit you bear. But it first and foremost hangs on the Grace of God, who made us alive in Christ, when we were dead in our trespasses. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
Abraham was such a man that was called from the dead children of disobedience, to become a child of God. Abraham lived in Ur, a city in present day Iraq. Then one day, God called him out of his natural state and gave him promises of great blessing. Abraham believed god and that faith was counted to him as righteousness. It was God who called Abraham and set him apart from the rest, as the first of many, who would be made righteous by Grace, through faith. (Romans 4:1-6 ; Genesis 15:6)
A people set apart by God's design
Abraham was set apart, made holy and righteous. He was changed into a child of God, by the Grace of God who called him, though his faith which God gave him, (Romans 12:3)
God did not choose Abraham on a whim, rather, it was part of His plan, to create for Himself a people who would bear His Name, who would showcase His Glory, in righteous judgement and in Merciful Grace.
This plan was from before creation, before the first stars were created, when all that now is was still a thought in Gods mind, He mercifully chose some to receive eternal life and be called children of the Living God (Revelation 13:8 ; Acts 13:48).
They are holy, not of themselves, but by the Holiness of Christ, which has been imputed on them, by Grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). They have been granted to be called children of the Living God, a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (John 1:12 ; Exodus 19:5-6)
Others, who are not chosen are left to themselves, being and remaining children of disobedience, made ready for the fire as vessels of wrath, to display the Gory of God in His righteous judgement. (Romans 9:22)
A covenant spanning time
The founding of the Royal Covenant with Abraham
God made a covenant with Abraham, that He would make of him a great nation, promising that all the peoples of the earth would be blessed through him. (Genesis 12:1-3) God further detailed that it would be His own offspring (seed singular) that would receive the promised land, from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates.
The covenant with Abraham was not the first
Abraham was not the only or first one with whom God made a covenant. In the first chapters of Genesis we can read of God, making a covenant with all of mankind, through Eve, that an offspring of Eve (Jesus Christ) would crush the head of the serpent (Satan) and that the serpent would strike at the heel of the offspring (Jesus Christ crucified). (Genesis 3:15) God also established a covenant with Noah, in the days of the flood and in him with all the earth.
The Royal Covenant confirmed to Isaac
God confirmed the covenant made with Abraham to his son, Isaac, promising that He would bless him and multiply his seed (offspring), for the sake af Abraham His servant. (Genesis 26:24). It is interesting to note that God did not confirm the covenant with Isaac, because of Isaac, but for the sake of Abraham. God had made a promise to Abraham and He was going to stick by it.
The Royal Covenant again confirmed in Jacob
Isaac had two sons, twins. Jacob and Esau. Jacob the younger however was chosen above Esau (Romans 9:13). God again confirmed the covenant with Abraham to Jacob in a dream. God, calling himself the "God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac" promised Jacob that his descendants would be like the dust of the earth in number. God added to this that in Jacob and in his offspring, all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Genesis 28:1-15) It is important to note that God promised that all the earth would be blessed, both in Jacob and in his offspring. The offspring referred to is Christ, in whom God has elected a people out of all the families in all the earth. Jacob would later be called Israel, so a promise remains that the world will be twice blessed, in Israel and in Jesus Christ.
The Law of Moses, a Guardian placed over Israel
Many years after Jacob had died, Israel was enslaved in Egypt, growing from seventy five souls to a crowd of six hundred thousand men (not counting women and children). Egypt oppressed the people out of fear but God sent them a deliverer, a man called Moses.
Moses eventually led the children of Israel out of Egypt by their tribes and God established His covenant with the children of Israel at mount Sinai. This covenant is known as the Mosaic covenant. The covenant was made between all the children of Israel, by their tribes and God. Moses was appointed by God as intermediary. The covenant was established in the stipulations laid down in what we know as the Law of Moses, or the 613 Mitzvoth (commandments).
It is under this covenant that the Word of God first speaks of the children of Israel as a people group, with who'm God entered into a covenant. The Mosaic covenant was established in a "do this, get that" form. The people were to obey the commandments and God would bless, protect and provide for them.
Later, the Apostle Paul would show that this covenant was introduced, so that sin would become increasingly sinful and man would see, that righteousness is not by works. (Romans 7:13)
In other words, One who strives to become a child of God and wants to be of the people of God must see the Mosaic covenant for what it is, an indightment against all mankind, with only one outcome: All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. (Romans 5:12-21 ; Romans 3:23 ; Psalm 14:3)
The Royal Covenant determined in David's offspring
After the days of Moses and his successor Joshua came the time of Judges. For several hundred years, the people of Israel drifted away from God and were brought back again by Judges appointed by God. After the children of Israel demanded a king put over the, God appointed Saul, a Benjaminite, to be their king.
Saul was everything the Israelites wanted in a king, long, strong and handsome, but Saul was headstrong and proud. He was rejected by God and David, a little shepherd boy from the small town of Beth Lehem (meaning house of bread) from the tribe of Judah was anointed king instead.
When David had grown and Saul had died and all David’s enemies were defeated, through the hand of God who was with him, David built himself a palace of great beauty. Sitting in his palace David was awestruck and said, to Nathan the prophet: "I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains ?!" (2Samuel 7:2)
God replied and established with David the Royal lineage and promise, that one of his bodily heirs would always sit on the throne of Israel. By Grace God promised that if his heirs would fall into sin, God would chasten them and bring them back.
The Babylonian exile, God's promise broken ?
After David died, Salomon sat on the throne of his father David as king of the ten tribes Israel and after him many other of David's lineage were kings. Sin abounded more and more, because the kings were evil. The kingdom of Israel was rent in two: the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern (Jewish) kingdom of Judah.
Yet, until the Babylonian exile, God affirmed his covenant with David. His line was established until the people and their king (Zedekiah) were exiled to Babylon in the year 597 BC. (Jeremiah 52)
Now seemingly God ended his covenant with Israel in the Babylonian exile. The land was destroyed and inhabited by strangers, from other nations. The king was removed and imprisoned until his death, his children murdered, his line cut off and the children of Israel lived as strangers in a strange land.
After the exile, what remained of Judah returned to the promised land, as prophesied in Ezekiel 36:8-15 .
Judah was no longer governed by a king from the Davidic line, instead governors ruled the land, first from Babylon, then from Greece and later, from Rome.
The Davidic line however was not broken, under the surface, the torch of promise as passed from father to son, until it reached a carpenter in an obscure little hamlet called Beth Lehem.
The Royal Covenant established with all who believe, through Christ
In the gospels of Matthew and Luke we read about the Davidic lineage untill Joseph and Miriam, the mother and godfather of Yeshua, who we know as Jesus.
Jesus was the fulfilment and conclusion of the line of David. Three days after His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus rose from the grave and not many days later, He ascended into the clouds, to be seated eternally at the Father's right hand, as David prophesied in the Psalms: "The LORD says to my lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." (Psalm 110:1)
The Royal Covenant, which began so long ago with Abraham, found it's fulfilment in Christ Jesus, being the true offspring and the rightful eternal King, of Whom Jacob said: " The sceptre 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" (Genesis 49:10)
Through Jesus, all who believe (be they Jew or Gentile) are counted offspring of Christ and fellow heirs with Him. We sit with Him on His throne as a nation of Priests and a holy nation. (Galatians 3:28-29 ; Exodus 19:6 ; Revelation 3:21)
God is true to His Covenant with the children of Israel
Where God has made a covenant, He keeps it, even if the other party does not meet the demands. Thank God that it is so, otherwise we to would be at risk to lose our salvation, for we are no better ! (Romans 11:1; Romans 3:10-12; Psalm 14:1-3)
In Romans 11:25-36 , Paul makes special note, that we, who are established by faith in the royal covenant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Christ Jesus should not by high minded, or wise in our own sight.
For the Jews are not rejected, but are temporarily blinded to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for our sakes ! God did this, so that the Gospel would spread to the four corners of the world and to all the peoples and tribes, so it would come to us, who have believed the Good News unto Salvation.
So their temporary rejection from the promise resulted in our acceptance so that we who were ones disobedient to the truth are now called children of the Living God (Romans 9:26).
But when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (the number of souls ordained unto eternal life, the bride of Christ, being caught up to be with Christ at the last trumpet) (Romans 11:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:17) Then will the veil be lifted from the Jewish people and they will look on whom they pierced and they will mourn Him, like one mourns his only son.
Then all of Israel will be saved and thus will come to pass what is written: The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob; and this will be My covenant with them when I take away their sins"(Romans 11:26)
But what about the state of Israel and the Jewish people today ?
So we now know that the term "God's people" refers only to those who have been made righteous, either by faith in the promise of his coming as the seed of Abraham, before Christ came to His own, or by faith in the Gospel of His appearing, after He ascended into heaven.
Knowing this then raises the question, what of the modern state of Israel ? What of the Jewish people ? They by and large do not believe in Yeshua Ben Joseph as the promised Mosiah, so are they Gods people ? Or is this title reserved only for us, the Church, the Bride of Christ ?
My answer would be: No, the Jews are not all God's people, nor is the state of Israel fully comprised of the children of the Living God.
But the answer is also yes ! The state of Israel and the Jewish people carry in them a promise which God has made, a promise He will keep.
For it was the prophet Ezekiel who wrote that God scattered the house of Israel (the twelve tribes and the two kingdoms) among the nations in a great diaspora (Ezekiel 36:19) But there they devilled Gods Holy Name (for they were not in their land, although God had promised it to them) And God was concerned for His Name. (Ezekiel 36:20-21)
So, because of His Name's sake, God acted and in 1948, He brought back the house of Israel to its land, as is written in Ezekiel 36:24: "I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land." But God clearly said to the house of Israel: "It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel."(Ezekiel 36:32).
For Israel has indeed returned in a great multitude, to it's land. But it still rejects God's appointed Mosiah. Israel has not deserved it, but God has bestowed it upon her, for His Name's sake.
So now, there remains a great promise to be fulfilled for the Jewish people, namely this:
"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness’s, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleanness’s. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations." (Ezekiel 36:25-31)
And this sounds all to familiar, for God likewise saved each and every one of us, for His Name sake. He acted and formed us. He grafted us in to the noble olive tree Israel, although we were wild branches.
One day God will turn again to Israel and He will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old.
Conflicting view point
Replacement theology is the doctrine that God has rejected physical Israel and has grafted the church in, in her place, into the Royal Covenant made with Abraham, giving themselves the title "Israel" and thus claiming all the promises made by God to them.
This doctrine is generally found among A-millenialists who reject the literal eschatology of the Bible and rather see all things (including the promises to Israel) as spiritual.
They do not only reject the Jewish people as fellow heirs, they also reject the literal one thousand year reign of Christ in the Millennial Messianic Kingdom (hence the name A-millenialists).
By rejecting the Jewish people and usurping their place, they negate the promises of God, which is a dangerous thing to do.
For if the promises of God, to the house of Israel were not intended for those to who'm they were addressed, how much assurance do we have, that our salvation is sure ?!
Replacement Theory in the end, cuts off those who believe in it, from the Mercy and Righteousness of Christ, because this doctrine determines God to be a liar.
Both A-millennialism and Replacement Theology are false doctrines, we can safely call their teachings "a different gospel". For the good news is for Jew and gentile alike and God's promises hinge squarely on Him keeping His word, always !
God's Word is true and His promises He always fulfils.
From Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob, God established a people called the house of Israel. They were Gods people by design and destined to be a nation of priests and a holy nation.
When Moses led them out of Egypt, God established them as a nation in their own right. The nation of Israel. At the slopes of mount Sinai, God went into covenant with His people, a covenant He has kept, until this present day.
Israel rebelled and the kingdom was rent in twain, but God was faithful and at the centre of the ages, God came to His own. But His own did not recognize Him, Jesus was rejected and crucified, but raised up on the third day, as was prophesied from long ago.
The nation of Israel counted themselves unworthy of Christ, although some believed unto salvation and God set them aside for almost two millennia, offering salvation through Christ to the gentiles, including us.
God in His mercy granted us asylum from the world into His Kingdom. We were grafted in and counted as His own people, children of the Living God !
Now, at the end of the ages, God has again brought the house of Israel back to its land. Ones the fullness of the Gentiles has been raptured, the Jews will have their eyes opened and they will accept Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of one hundred and forty four witnesses, God will turn the wickedness from Jacob !
For seven years, following the taking up of the gentiles, the Jews will experience great tribulation, such as never was, nor ever shall be. It is the time of Jacobs trouble. But God will fight for them like in the days of old,
Afterward there will be one nation and one people, no longer Jew and Gentile, but a nation of Priests and a Holy Nation.
A Holy olive tree, with wild and noble branches, bringing forth much fruit, fruit which remains.