28 “So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28 Good News Translation (GNT).
The Good News about the Kingdom of God is for Jews and Gentiles, for ALL humanity. The ‘New Covenant’ tells the story of salvation. It speaks to the SAMARITANS of old as well as to today’s Samaritans, the Palestinians. It declares a new spirituality, a new orientation to worship God (John 4). The Good News offers an incomparable priesthood in Christ, an unparalleled heavenly sanctuary of the spiritual kingdom of God in the heart, and grander promises for both Jew and Gentile (Hebrews 8: 6, 10, 13). Now, the people of God are a creation of God’s Spirit.
Belonging to the people of God is not a matter of Israelite blood and ancestry. Peter, the Apostle, boldly takes the words given to Israel at Sinai and applies them to Gentile Christians:
“9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2: 9-10; Exodus 19: 4-6).
The people of God have a spiritual identity, and it does not require ancestry (John 1: 12-13; Romans 5: 1-8; 8: 3). (*Chapter 1: A Divine Surprise; Sub-Chapter 1.3: The Gospel … Even for Samaritans; Page 31-32; Kindle Locations 479-492).
Ancient Israel had never been a sovereign nation-state (see ‘Is Modern Israel Biblical Israel … the City of God?‘). The twelve tribes, i.e., Benjamin, Naftali, Judah, etc. named their distinctive nation-states. All Israelites connected to the family name of Jacob, later changed to the House of Israel. The ancient Israelites spread their seeds among multiple wives who determine the family bloodlines matrilineally. Even if an Israelite fathered ten children from indigenous Palestinian wives, the ten children were Palestinians, not Israelites, despite their father’s ancestry.
We read in Genesis Chapter 15: … “The Lord came unto Abram in a vision … And Abram said: ‘Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go hence childless’… And He brought him forth abroad, and said: ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if thou be able to count them’; and He said unto him: ‘So shall thy seed be’…
How many stars shine from the heavens? Certainly not a mere 15 to 20 million, the number of all the Jews alive today. God couldn’t possibly be referring to only the Jews. Could God have exaggerated to emphasize that Abraham is the Patriarch of a Promised Land meant to be bigger than ‘for Jews-only, to include Gentiles?’ There are billions upon billions of stars in the 10 billion galaxies of the observable universe! The number of stars in a galaxy varies, but assuming an average of 100 billion stars per galaxy means that there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 1 billion trillion stars in the observable universe (*Chapter 5: Abraham … A Life Without Borders; Sub-chapter 5.4: How Many Stars … Too Many to Count; Page 124; Kindle Locations 2455-2462).
1. ‘Israel’ is the younger son of Isaac and Rebecca, whose name at first is Jacob, a devious scoundrel. He is renamed ‘Israel’ (“he who strives with God”) after his struggle [atonement and reconciliation eds.] with God (Genesis 32: 22-28).
2. ‘Israel’ is the chosen, covenant people of God in Old Testament days. They were “the twelve tribes” descended from the twelve sons of Jacob. Because of ancestry, they were the ‘children of Israel.’
3. ‘Israel’ is the Messianic community [Christians eds.], the people of Jesus, true descendants of Abraham because they share Abraham’s faith (Galatians 3: 28-29). These include Gentiles who believe in Jesus but exclude Jews who do not.
4. ‘Israel’ today for most people refers to the modern state of Israel, a de-facto supra-national state for Jews-only. Modern Israel is not yet a nation. The term, ‘Israeli nationality,’ is still non-existent. Jews (79 percent) and Palestinians (21 percent) share the Land as Israeli citizens, not nationals.
5. And let me add a fifth ‘Israel.’ Israel is Palestine, and Palestine is Israel; in short, Israel-Palestine.
Therefore, ‘Israel’ has five distinct meanings: Israel means 1) Jacob, 2) Jews, 3) Christians 4) Israelis; and, 5) Israel is Palestine, and Palestine is Israel.
The New Testament focuses primarily on Israel number two (2), the ancient Israelites, and number three (3), Christians, with a discussion of number four (4), Modern Israel for a time yet in the future (Romans chapter 11; the Book of Revelation). (*Chapter 1: A Divine Surprise; Sub-chapter 1.14 Who is Israel? What is Israel? Where is Israel? Page 39-40; Kindle Locations 657-673).
Israelis cannot love Israel enough unless they also love Palestine, all of Palestine, and I’m not referring to merely the granules of sand sculpturing the Land; and, the same is true on the other side.
Palestinians cannot love Palestine enough unless they recognize the divine inspired Prophetic Ideals inherent to Israel, notwithstanding the present influence of Pagan idolatry in Israel, perpetrated by a minority tyrannizing the majority.
And, all the sand in Israel and all the sand in Palestine are ONE.
Ironically, today’s ‘Samaritans,’ living in the West Bank, cruelly maligned by their Israeli overlords, are dispossessed and displaced from their Land. They are captives interred behind iron walls in some of the most inhuman concentration camps on earth; detention-sites such as Gaza or the West Bank, part of Israel Palestine for millennia now renamed Samaria by today’s Israeli occupying forces.
God is waiting on Christians to invoke Matthew 24-14: 14 “And this Good News about the Kingdom will be preached through all the world for a witness to all people, and then the end will come.” Instead, many Christians aid and abet Israeli atrocities while waving the Banner of Holy Goodness, convinced God is on their side. Such Christian support hurts more than it helps.
With every good wish to you, I am,
Abraham A. van Kempen
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The Apostle Paul in Romans 11: 26-32:
26 And this is how all Israel will be saved. As the scripture says, “The Savior will come from Zion and remove all wickedness from the descendants of Jacob.
27 I will make this covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
28 Because they reject the Good News, the Jews are God’s enemies for the sake of you Gentiles. But because of God’s choice, they are his friends because of their ancestors.
29 God does not change his mind about whom he chooses and blesses.
30 As for you, Gentiles, you disobeyed God in the past; but now you have received God’s mercy because the Jews were disobedient.
31 In the same way, because of the mercy that you have received, the Jews now disobey God, so that they also may now receive God’s mercy.
32 God has made all people prisoners of disobedience so that he might show mercy to them all.