(2) Israel’s Performance, God’s Judgement, and a New Economy—God’s Grace

If you miss one part of the puzzle that is being put together in these studies, you will never see and understand the whole picture.

A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry

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(1) Israel, the only theocracy ordained by God

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(3)  God is the God of Israel

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 28, 2017

“The reader of scripture should hold firmly in mind: (1) that from Genesis 12. to Matthew 12.45 the Scriptures have primarily in view Israel, the little rill, not the great Gentile river, though again and again the universality of the ultimate divine intent breaks into view;[1] (2) that the human race, henceforth called Gentile in distinction from Israel, goes on under the covenants given to Adam and Noah; and that for the race (outside Israel) men are guided by conscience and human government continues. The moral history of the great Gentile world is told in Romans 1.21-32, and its moral accountability in Romans 2.1-16. Conscience never acquits: it either ‘accuses’ or ‘excuses.’  Where the law is known to the Gentiles it is to them, as to Israel, ‘a ministration of death,’ a ‘curse.’[2] A wholly new responsibility arises when either Jew or Gentile knows the Gospel.[3]

2The Mosaic Law covered the period from Moses until the death and resurrection of Christ, or from Exodus 19.1 to Acts 1.26. Under the covenant God made with Moses, the Jews were to be responsible for keeping the whole law.[4] They did not succeed in their responsibility. Their zeal for God was not according to knowledge; they, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, went about to “establish their own righteousness, and did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God.[5] The result was the captivity of Judah by Babylon and the captivity of Israel by Assyria. After the Jews later rejected the Lord, they were scattered over the entire world. Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”[6]

“All during their many periods of declension and backsliding, God dealt with them graciously from the very first apostasy with the golden calf, when the law was being delivered to Moses, to the gracious promises of final regathering and restoration in the millennial age to come. These promises of a glorious future are guaranteed secure by the Abrahamic promises, which the law in no way abrogated (Gal. 3.3-25). We are also told clearly in the New Testament (Rom. 3.20 [“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”]) that the law was not a means of justification but of condemnation.”[7]

God declared that Israel would lend to other nations, but would not borrow, that Israel would reign over many nations, but that no nation would reign over Israel.[8] Israel was called the wife of Jehovah.[9] Israel is the “rod for his inheritance,” and God will use Israel to “break into pieces the nations.”[10] Thus, Israel is the key to everything regarding the nations of this world.

Again, Israel was ordained to be a theocracy under the direct rule of God, through His judges. This type civil government was unique to Israel. We see how this type of civil government was applied by Israel in the book of Judges. Over and over again, especially in Deuteronomy, the Jews were told to follow God’s law, to keep his commandments and statutes. “These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth….”[11]  God’s laws covered everything, including idolatry. The Ten Commandments exemplified the law, and the whole of the Ten Commandments, including the first four, were to be enforced in the nation Israel.

kings-crownGod gave Israel free will. Ultimately Israel rejected God’s plan under which God himself ruled over the nation of Israel and demanded a king like the Gentile nations. Israel demanded a king.[12] God told Samuel to hearken unto their demand, that Israel had rejected God and His rule over them:[13]

God also told Samuel to tell the people the ill consequences of being ruled by a king: the king would take their sons and daughters for various services to the king; that the king would give their fields, vineyards, and oliveyards, the best of them to his officers and servants; their menservants, maidservants and their goodliest young men, their asses and put them to work; a tenth of their sheep; that they would be the servants of the king. Finally, Samuel warned them: “And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”[14]

King_Saul004But they still demanded a king.[15]  They were looking at man, not God, when they made this demand: “And they said unto Samuel, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways[.]”[16]  They still did not realize that God fulfills His purposes. Had Israel walked in faith and kept His statutes and commandments, God had promised to bless them.

Before the Israelites rejected God, God’s law as transmitted through Moses, then through his successors, was the whole of civil and religious government. God’s chosen people, even in the theocracy, rebelled against God and His ways time and again, were judged by God for so doing, and returned to God.

When kings started to rule, kings dominated prophet and priest. Saul, the first king, disobeyed the command of God through Samuel[17] and even sought to slay Samuel, the prophet of God.[18] David followed Saul as king of Israel. After the death of Solomon, David’s son who became king after the death of King David, the nation of Israel split in two. The northern Kingdom was called Israel, and the southern Judah. Before those two nations were eventually taken into captivity for their failure to proceed under God, all nineteen kings of Israel were evil and only eight of twenty kings of Judah were good (did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord).

During that time, God sent prophets to warn the kings of both Israel and Judah to cast down their idols and return to the ways of the Lord and to proclaim the consequences that would surely come if they did not do so. Rarely did the kings heed the warnings of those prophets.  The Jews broke the Mosaic Law repeatedly.[19]

The nation was judged many times during this dispensation. Israel and Judah were both ultimately conquered and the people taken into captivity because of their rebellion against God. Worldwide dispersion resulted from their rejection of Christ.

5Israel miserably failed to obey God on the basis of conscience, the restraint of the Holy Spirit, human government, promise, and law. As a result, God instituted a new economy in which He dealt with all mankind on the basis of Grace. Conscience, the restraint of the Holy Spirit, human government, promise, and grace are being used by God to govern people. The law is not a ruling factor for the believer during this time of grace.[20]

ROMANSGrace as a ruling factor for the believer consists of two things. First, a confirmed favorable disposition toward God, the law of God in the heart.[21] The second thing is the indwelling Holy Spirit: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”[22]

Sadly, the majority of Jews and Gentiles do not accept the gift of righteousness offered by God through grace. Organized Christendom does not fulfill its mission given it by God in the New Testament—it does not “fulfill the Great Commission, maintain a pure membership, discipline unruly members, prevent false teaching from existing within it, and contend earnestly for the true faith.”[23]  Man again will fail, and judgment will follow.

Go to the following webpage for links to more in-depth Bible studies on Israel: The Bible Doctrine of Government.


[1] e.g. Ge. 12.3; Is. 2.2, 4; 5.26, 9.1, 2; 11.10-12; 42.1-6; 49.6, 12; 52.15; 54.3; 55.5; 60.3, 5, 11-16; 61.6, 9; 62.2; 66.12, 18, 19; Je. 16.19; Joel 3.9, 10; Mal. 1.11; Ro. 9., 10., 11.; Ga. 3.8-14

[2] Ro. 3.19, 20; 7.9, 10; 2 Co. 3.7; Ga. 3.10.

[3] Jn. 3.18, 19, 36; 15.22-24; 16.9; 1 Jn. 5.9-12

[4] Ja. 2.10.

[5] Ro. 10.1-3.

[6] Mt. 23.37-39.

[7] Charles C. Ryrie, Dispensationalism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), p. 55.

[8] De. 15.6.

[9] Is. 54.5; Je. 3.14, 20; Ez. 16.26-59; 24.15-27. In Hos., we see the picture given that illustrates to the Jews how God feels when His wife, Israel, commits adultery.

[10] See Je. 51.19-23.

[11] De. 12.1.

[12] 1 S. 8.5.

[13] 1 S. 8.9.

[14] 1 S. 8.11-18.

[15] 1 S. 19.

[16] 1 S. 8.5.

[17] See 1 S. 15.

[18] 1 S. 16.2.

[19] Je. 31.32; Zec. 7.12.

[20] Ga. 3.19, 23-25; Ro. 6.14; 1 Co. 9.20.

[21] Ro. 7.22; 2 Co. 3.3-11; He. 8.8-12.

[22] 1 Co. 6.19-20.

[23] Renald E. Showers, There Really Is a Difference: A Comparison of Covenant and Dispensational Theology (Bellmawr, New Jersey: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1990), p. 46.

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