CHOSEN, 21.11.18

Scriptures:

Gen.15:1,6,18

Gen.17:1,5,7,11,13,21

Gen.35:10-12

Amos 3:2

John 15:16

Eph. 1:4,11

Job 38:1-4

Jer. 18:6

Rom. 9:20,21

Isa.55:8,9

Rom. 9:10-13

Rom.11:17,18

Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

“COMMENTARY: Is Israel a Chosen People?,”  Israel Today, Monday, November 09, 2015, Brian Hennessy.

God chose Abraham (while he was still called Abram), after receiving a blessing from Melchizedek, King of Salem, and God assured Abram “in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward”” (Gen.15:1). Then God made a covenant with him, whereby He promised Abram that he would have his own son, that his seed would be as numerous as the stars: “I give this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River” (Gen.15:18). He commanded Abram ““I am El Shaddai. Continually walk before Me and you will be blameless” (Gen.17:1). Yahweh then renamed him Abraham; “No longer will your name be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, because I make you the father of a multitude of nations. Yes, I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, in order to be your God and your seed’s God after you” (Gen.17:5,7), following which God required that every male be circumcised; “and this will become a sign of the covenant between Me and you. . . . .  So My covenant will be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant” (Gen.17:11,13).

Yahweh carried the covenant forward to Abraham’s son Isaac (“But my covenant will I establish with Isaac” {Gen.17:21}). Jacob became heir to the promise when, after wrestling with an angel, Yahweh said “No longer will your name be Jacob . . . .  He named him Israel. . . . “I am El Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and an assembly of nations will come from you. From your loins will come forth kings. The land that I gave to Abraham and to Isaac—I give it to you, and to your seed after you I will give the land””(Gen.35:10-12). He even defined the boundaries of the land which He would ultimately assign to the nation which would be formed: “I give this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River” (Gen.15:18). By His sovereign will, Yahweh created the people of Israel out of Abraham’s faith and obedience; “Then he believed in Adonai and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen.15:6). Yahweh selected through one man’s faith, a people who would follow Him.

Brian Hennessy (Hennessy, “Commentary: Is Israel. … “) identifies the fact of God’s sovereign choice of Israel as being at the root of anti-Semitism. Between the teachings of Jacob Arminius, (“it would be unfair for our Heavenly Father to favour one part of His human creation above the rest. It insisted all should be treated equally”), and Replacement Theology, about which Hennessy explains, “this teaching feeds into the anti-Semitism of Replacement Theology that specifically wants to remove all consideration of the Jewish people from having any favour with God today. It may grudgingly admit God chose Israel for a time in order to bring forth the Messiah. But once Yeshua came it’s believed God did away with the idea of having a chosen people and the Jews are just like every other unsaved person now” (Hennessy, “Commentary: Is Israel. . . .”). “I bring up this centuries-old controversy of Arminianism because I believe it is contributing greatly to the confusion among believers today regarding the restoration of Israel. For if God is not hand-picking those who are to be His people in the Israel of God, how can He call forth the remnant of Abraham’s seed? Doesn’t the very word ecclesia mean “called-out ones?”” (Hennessy, “Commentary: Is Israel. . . .”).

God’s Word clearly states: “You only have I chosen from among all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2). And Yeshua says: “You did not choose me. But I chose you” (John 15:16). Then Paul declares: “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph.1:4). When Job demanded answers from God, God challenged Job: “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding”(Job 38:1-4). Rather than offering Job an apology or an explanation for what had occurred, He basically said, Who are you to question Me?  ““O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares Adonai. “Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel” (Jer.18:6).

“Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel” (Jer.18:6).

“But who in the world are you, O man, who talks back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”  Does the potter have no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honor and another for common use?” (Rom. 9:20,21). God is God; He is not confined by humankind’s definition of human rights and/or obligations: ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” It is a declaration of Adonai. “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa.55:8,9).

Hennessy goes on to say: “For me, one of the strongest arguments that shows God reserved for Himself the right to choose who He wants as His people is Paul’s teaching on the twin boys, Esau and Jacob. “Though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said [to their mother], ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ Just as it is written, ’Jacob I loved, and Esau I hated” (Rom. 9:10-13)” (Hennessy, “Commentary: Is Israel. . . .. “).  “I will be gracious toward whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will be merciful”(Ex.33:19). Once again, God makes it very clear that He reserves His sovereign right and authority to decide however He chooses. Paul restates this in Romans 9:15, underscoring the reality that nothing was altered from the original covenant to the present.

“I’m convinced the fact that God has a chosen people has been the underlying cause of anti-Semitism in the world. Look at how angry and jealous Joseph’s brothers became when they saw the extreme favour their father showed towards him. Nevertheless, that’s how God set it up. That’s why if you have received the gift of faith to believe in Yeshua (of whom Joseph was a foreshadowing) – be in awe! It means you are among those few chosen by Almighty God to be part of the remnant of Abraham and the coming Kingdom of God. Just don’t be surprised when the world hates you for no apparent reason” (Hennessy, “Commentary: Is Israel. . . . .”).

All God’s people are chosen. It began with Abraham and the formation of Israel as a people group; and it encompassed the Gentiles who were grafted in: and you—being a wild olive—were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root . . . . . do not boast . . .  it is not you who support the root but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in”” (Rom.11:17-19). “In Him we also were chosen, predestined according to His plan. He keeps working out all things according to the purpose of His will—so that we, who were first to put our hope in Messiah, might be for His glorious praise”(Eph.1:11).  It would serve us all well to understand, and accept the way God works, and His Sovereignty, rather than attempting to cast Him into our image of self and who we think He should be, trying to get Him to do things our way. God is Lord, and His Word is sufficient. Putting our expectations on a Sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful God is counterproductive.

© 2015, revised 2016, 2017, 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.

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