Christians Are Not the New Jews

The promise of the Promised Land to the Jews was in fact conditional (Lev 18:26-28). However, the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai was not the covenant God made with Abraham (Gal 3:17, Dt 5:3). They were two different covenants (Gal 4:24). The covenant God made with Abraham was unconditional (Gen 17:8) except for the mark of circumcision (Gen 17:10) and hence was by grace (Rom 11:6). The covenant God made with Israel was conditional and hence was by works (Rom 3:20, Gal 2:16). The two covenants were intended to illustrate the difference in salvation by grace and salvation by works. The Law proved that by works no man may be justified. Hence the Jews and Gentiles are ultimately saved on the same basis, by grace. The point of this discussion, however, is that the promise God made to Abraham was by grace and unconditional, but Abraham has not yet received it (Acts 7:5). Therefore, he will receive it when he rises from the dead.

In dealing with the land promise, we should notice that the Seed in Gen 17:8 is Christ (Gal 3:16). Jesus certainly has not received the Promised Land, but the promise was to Abraham and his Seed (Gen 17:8). Therefore, Jesus also has yet to inherit that promise in Gen 17:8. It really is irrelevant what happened to the Jews as far as the promise to the Seed is concerned, because God’s promise in Gen 17 regarding eternal possession of the land is through the Seed. It is only in Christ, the promised Seed, that men inherit the eternal promises of Abraham. Do not confuse the two covenants.

The Jews have not yet completed their God given purpose. They continue to illustrate the continual care through thick and thin that God has for His chosen people. They will exist through all eternity in the land that God promised to their fathers. The whole chapter of Rev 12 deals with the history of Israel up to the return of the Jews to Jerusalem around AD 1300. Rev 7 and 14 both show that the Jews were the firstfruits resurrected from the dead (Rev 7:4-8, 14:1).

In Ezk 37:24-26 we also find the following:

24 And David my servant shall be king over them [Israel and Judah]; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25 And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.

It is clear that Christ is NOT now reigning over the nations of Israel and Judah in the land that God promised to Jacob as the text requires. It is clear that there is no sanctuary in Israel and that the nation of the northern 10 tribes is not dwelling in the land of promise. This prophecy has not been fulfilled. Its fulfillment requires that Christ be in the land of promise ruling over the two nations of Israel and Judah, the whole 12 tribes, that are then no longer two nations. It also requires the establishment of a physical temple for it distinguishes the sanctuary from the people. It also requires that the Jews dwell in the Promised Land for ever. None of these things is currently true, but God cannot lie. These things will be fulfilled in the resurrection and the new earth.

Now let’s look at Rom 2:28-29. Does this passage prove that Christians are true Jews? No, it proves that all those before the cross who chose to serve God were the true Jews. As we see, the context of Rom 2 and 3 is the context of world before the cross. Paul is showing in the first three chapters of Romans that “all [both Jew and Gentile] have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Both Jew and Gentile therefore now have the same need–Christ. Rom 2 says nothing about Christians. It says what the case was regarding those who lived before the cross. Even the Jew who was circumcised was not profited by his circumcision if he did not live according to the Law. Therefore it is clear that circumcision was not a magic formula to save Jews. It was the attitude of the man’s heart that was important. If, then, the Gentile who did not have circumcision had a heart that led him to live according to the principles in the Law, he was accepted by God whether he was circumcised or not.

In Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemas (Jn 3:1ff), Jesus brought up the fact that being a true Jew required a man as he came of age to commit himself to God. When a Jewish boy came to an age where he realized that God required obedience, that boy had to make a commitment to become a servant of God. The rebirth of the Jew at the age of accountability is marked by the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. It shows that the Jews recognize that merely being circumcised at the eighth day is not enough. A man when he comes of age must be born again and commit himself to serve God. Otherwise, his circumcision is useless. That is what Paul is talking about in Rom 2. The real Jew is the one who has made this commitment to God in his heart. Since the commitment to serve God is the important thing, then the Gentile who committed himself to serve God was in the same relationship as far as salvation was concerned as the Jews were.

The passage in Rom 2:28-29 does not apply to Christians. We are neither Jews nor Gentiles (Gal 3:28, Col 3:11). We are a new nation under God (Mt 21:43, Col 1:13, Php 3:20). We are all one people in Christ Jesus. The analysis that says that Christians are the new true Jews does not harmonize with what Christ teaches. That analysis makes all Christians Jews. However, the scriptures say that we are not Jews.

“There is NEITHER Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)

We are a new people in Christ Jesus, not true Jews. Therefore Rom 2:28 does nothing to explain Ezek 37:24 or any of the other prophecies that God applied to the Jews. Those prophecies are to the Jews and they will be fulfilled. God is not done with the Jews.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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