Bible ClinicJ One
A journey into the life, times, and teachings of the Bible
by Gary D. Strunk
Lesson 8 - Who Are His People? Part 2
In Part 1 of this topic we reviewed the lineage of God=s people from Abraham to Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, and even to Jesus the Christ who will receive the throne of David. We pick up our survey to learn just who His People are.
1. In referring to Deut. 4:32-34, what did King David emphasize as unique about the nation of Israel?
2 Sam.7:23 ___________________________________________________________________________
2. And what did God make of Israel? v.24 __________________________________________________
Read 1 Ki. 11:1-8
King David was a great king, and greatly loved by the people and by God, largely because, in spite of all his mistakes, his heart always turned to the LORD and never to other gods. It was not so with his son, King Solomon. Solomon became very rich and very wise, but only after he had been very foolish. Solomon=s love for his many wives turned his heart from the true God to many false gods.
Israel and Judah
3. What would happen to the united kingdom of Israel because of Solomon=s sin against God?
4. How many tribes of the original twelve were given to Jeroboam to become the ANorthern kingdom,@ retaining the name AIsrael@? vs. 26-31 _________
5. How many tribes were retained for the house of David which became the ASouthern kingdom?@ vs. 32-36 __________
6. Rehoboam was Solomon=s son and ruled the Southern kingdom, called AJudah,@ and gathered up what other tribe in the process? 1 Ki. 12:17,21_____ ________________________________
7. One of the sons of Jacob, Levi and his sons, had been appointed to serve over religious matters to the house of Israel. Instead of being assigned a territory with boundaries like the tribes of Dan or Judah, the Levites were distributed throughout the other tribes of Israel in order to minister to them. They were supported by the tithe from the other tribes. To which of the kingdoms did they soon assemble and why? 2 Chron.11:13,14 ________ _______________________________________________________________________________________
Jeroboam, whose reign over the Northern Kingdom of Israel began about 931 B.C., led the people into great apostasy by worshiping the golden calf (1Ki. 12:25f) and other pagan gods, which led them further into base forms of immorality. The prophet Elijah (1Ki. 17) follwed by Elisha (2Ki.1), then other prophets were sent to reprove Israel and warn of impending judgments; nevertheless their wickedness increased until God had to disperse Israel among the nations by the Kings of Assyria in 722 B.C. The Aten lost tribes@ of the Northern kingdom have never been restored, however some of the scattered descendants did return to Palestine 200 years later as AJews@ under the decree of Cyrus, King of Persia 536 B.C. Ezr. 1:3
The Southern kingdom, Judah, from whence comes the name AJew,@ also did evil. The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and others were sent to warn Judah of coming destruction if they didn=t repent, but Judah persisted. Finally God turned them over to the Babylonians who destroyed Jerusalem and Solomon=s temple, and deported the Jews into Babylonian captivity for 70 years, 605-536 B.C. In 539 B.C. Darius king of the Medes and Cyrus King of Persia combined forces to overthrow Belshazzar king of Babylonia. Then three years later Cyrus gave a decree (Ezra 1:3f) which began a migration of the Jews back to Jerusalem and the land of Israel and Judah.
About the time Judah was returning to Palestine the names Judah and Israel can be confusing because they were used interchangeably. Israel was gone, but Judah, as the recipient of the covenant promises made to Israel, was viewed as a Aremnant,@ a Ahoped-for glory@ of what ancient Israel was supposed to have been. Consequently the title AIsrael@ was taken over by the Jews. And by the time of Christ, 500 years later, the territory of Judah is called Judea, the people of Judah are called Jews, but the nation is always referred to as Israel; not Judah.
The Jews gradually returned to Palestine over a period of 100 years, rebuilt the city of Jerusalem with its new temple, its walls and moat, and waited expectantly for the promised Ruler, The Messiah to come. Over the next 400 years, no prophets were leading AIsrael,@ and no Scriptures were being written. That=s why this period is called the Inter-testament period, between Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament and the New Testament. During this time serious errors entered Jewish thinking. They isolated themselves from the gentile world. They built an exclusive, unbiblical, legalistic system of religion that made God appear cruel, exacting, and arbitrary. They also taught that the coming messiah would be a great king that would deliver Israel from Roman domination and set up an independent Jewish state to rule the world. The errors of exclusiveness, legalism, and erroneous messianic expectations led to their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.
Rejection of the Messiah
Let=s review the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, and God=s rejection of the Jews as His people.
8. Jesus was Jewish, but in what words did John say that the Jewish people did not accept Him as their Messiah? Jn. 1:11 _______________________________________________________________
9. When Jesus applied a Messianic prophecy to Himself in His home town of Nazareth, what did the congregation try to do to Him? Lu. 4:29 ______________________________________________________
10. When Jesus healed a man on Sabbath, what did the religious leaders plot to do to Jesus? Mk.3:6 ________ ______________________
11. Three and a half years later, who was still plotting to take Jesus= life? Mt. 26:3-5 ____________________
12. Two days later, Pilate, the Roman governor, placed a sign on the cross of Jesus which read, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Jn.19:19 But with what words had the Jews already rejected Jesus and God as their King? Jn.19:15 _____________________________________________________________
Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, a probation period of three and a half years was granted to the Jewish nation to accept Christ as their Messiah and remain the chosen people, but those days ended when they stoned Stephen in about 34 A.D., Acts 7. After sending numerous appeals through His prophets and enduring their rebelliousness for 1500 years, God finally gave them up and turned them over to the merciless Romans. In 70 A.D. Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by Titus, and the Jewish people were scattered over the world as predicted in Dt. 28:64-67, and in the words of Jesus, ?For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations.@ Lu. 21:23,24. The consequences of rejecting their Savior have been enormous as described in Deuteronomy 28:15ff. Their dispersions described in verses 64-67 are illustrated in the maps at the end of this lesson.
Who, now are His people? The answer: The same as always, but that needs explanation.
13. The physical sign of being Jewish and a citizen of the chosen nation is circumcision performed on baby boys eight days old without their consent. Such an operation does not make him Jewish in his heart or a member of God=s kingdom. What does a Jew of the heart do that shows he is a Atrue Jew?@ Ro. 2:13-15, 25-29 ________ _______________________________
14. READ Romans 9:1-8. Put the words Atrue@ and Aphysical@ in the correct blanks of verse 6. Use v. 7 to understand v.6. AFor they are not all ________ Israel who are of _________ Israel.@
In addition to the true or spiritual Israelites within the nation of Israel, God has always had believing Gentiles scattered among the nations of the world. It was God=s intention that once Israel was resettled, Jerusalem and the temple rebuilt, He would call His righteous ones out of those nations to worship Him in (New) Jerusalem, and live in peace, i.e. if Israel and Judah would be faithful.
15. How are the faithful Gentiles described in Amos 9:11,12? _______________________________________
16. What surprising discovery did Peter make about God during his ministry? Acts 10:34,35
?God shows ___ ___________________. ?But in ____________ nation whoever fears ________ and works _________________ is _________________ by Him.@
17. The first Christians were Jewish, raised in the bias of Jewish exclusiveness who believed the Gentiles had no access to God. How did they express surprise when they realized that Gentiles could be Christians too?
Acts 11:18 ____________________________________________________________________________
18. The expansion of the Achosen people@ to include the Gentiles should not have come as a surprise for it had been predicted by many prophets. From what prophet does Paul quote in explaining this expansion?
Rom 9:24-26 ___________
19. And what are the Gentiles called? v. 25 _______ ___________________
v. 26 _______ ____ ______ _________________ _________
Paul, the author of the epistle (letter) to the Romans, was a Jew who was made aware very abruptly that Jesus was the Christ. He now longed for the salvation of his Jewish brethren. Rom. 10:1. Many Jews thought that just by being a circumcised citizen of the chosen nation, he was automatically a chosen person. But Paul knew that the physical descendants of Abraham were not saved people unless they became believing and obedient descendants, which is the way it always was. While God dealt with national Israel as the chosen nation and gave them many privileges and responsibilities, only the believing and obedient individuals within Israel were truly His people.
20. Who in Israel would receive righteousness from the God of his salvation? Psa. 24:3-6. ________________