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Insight #348 – The Chosen People

Who does not know that God chose the children of Israel (later called Jews) to be His special people! But are today’s Jews still God’s chosen people?

It All Began with Abraham

Israelis/Jews trace their physical lineage back to Abraham. The Bible tells us that God singled out Abraham to bless him and his descendants in various ways. The most far-reaching blessing was included when God first called Abraham: “All the families (peoples-kindreds) of the earth will be blessed through you” (Gen. 12:3). Later, when Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac, the Lord repeated the promise: “All the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring” (Gen. 22:18). Blessing for the whole world – including you and me – through the offspring of Abraham!

A Time for Change

Two thousand years later, John the Baptist predicted a dramatic change saying to the wicked Jewish clergy, “Don’t think to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I tell you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Matt. 3:9). Amazing! Jesus Himself told the Jews that physical ancestry was not enough to be descendants of Abraham: “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me… You are of your father, the devil” (John 8:39-44). Wow!

Fulfillment through Jesus

The opening words of the NT are: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Once Jesus, the physical son of Abraham, came to earth, died, rose, and ascended, the inspired Apostle Peter told the Jews: “You are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘All the families of the earth will be blessed through your offspring.’ God, having raised up his servant Jesus, sent him to you first to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your wickedness” (Acts 3:25-26). Did you catch that? Salvation through Jesus is the blessing promised to come through Abraham’s offspring!

The Apostle Paul confirmed this to the Galatian Christians: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you all the nations will be blessed” (Gal 3:8). The NT gospel is the fulfillment of the blessing to all the nations through Abraham!

Today’s Chosen People

In the Old Testament, the physical children of Israel were frequently called God’s chosen people – but never after Jesus’ ascension. Rather, the Apostle Peter tells Christians: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:9). Paul told the Thessalonian church, “We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen” (1 Thes. 1:4) And Paul declared to the Galatian Christians, “You are all children of God, through faith in Christ Jesus… There is neither Jew nor Greek… If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring” (Gal. 3:26-29). Today, Christians are descendants of Abraham!

In Short

The reason God chose Israel (the Jewish nation) was to bring Messiah Jesus into the world. Once He came and returned to heaven, physical birth does not make anybody a son of Abraham. Today, those who submit to Jesus are the chosen people of God.