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God and His People

Posted by Matt Postiff October 28, 2020 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Kingdom of God  Israel  Church  Eschatology 

I have enjoyed auditing a class on the doctrine of Israel at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary with Dr. Mark Snoeberger and Dr. Sam Dawson. Just now I am reading Forsaking Israel: How it Happened and Why It Matters by Larry Pettegrew and company at Shepherds Seminary.

The thought occurred to me that God has had a people from ancient times in order to glorify His name. Said another way, God must have a people to bring honor to himself. Should the people He chose (Deut. 7:6-8) disappear from the earth, it would appear to the peoples of the world that that people's God was no more significant than all the other deities of extinct people groups. But the Triune God is no temporal phenom. He is eternal and thus must have a people for all eternity to show forth His glory. That people, Israel, will be re-constituted as a glorious nation in order to bring glory to God (Ezekiel 36:22-23). God will be vindicated through the means of the existence of a human people group.

Contained in the paragraph above is an argument as to why Israel cannot disappear or be "replaced." So what is the place then of the church? God's keeping of the people of Israel is, in the words of Isaiah 49:6, too small a thing to proclaim the glories of our God and His Messiah. Therefore, God will choose out from the entire world another people—the church— to further glorify the Messiah. The benefit of this to people will be not only "salvation to the ends of the earth" but also an expanded understanding of the infinite glory of God. The benefit to God will be an expanded base from which His excellencies may be known by the angelic and human realms.

It is not enough that God should have one people. He deserves more glory. He will have two peoples, one from the past age and one from the present. And then, there will be an expansion of both groups in the millennial kingdom, to the praise of the glory of God's grace.

How are these two peoples related to God? The only way possible: through Jesus Christ! Are they forever distinct? YES, in the sense that a Gentile is never a Jew and a Jew is never a Gentile. Physical lineage is what it is. But this distinctness does not undercut the completely harmonious, happy existence of saved Israel and the saved Church throughout the upcoming millennial kingdom. Different, yet united. Distinct, yet without discrimination.

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