This is important, so I wish to re-emphasize…
In John 6 we read they tried to come and make him King by force, but he rejected this and slipped away. They rejected the Messiah because they rejected his Person, Work, and His Kingdom. Once again as in the days of Saul, they wanted a Messiah that would fulfill their worldly dreams and desires. They had become corrupted by the wisdom of the world. This was not the type of Kingdom Christ had come to establish.
Romans 4 and James 2 appeal to Abraham as an example for us faith. We are saved just as he was,... the same salvation in both Old and New Covenants. Galatians clearly teaches that we, not the Jews, are the sons of Abraham. They were only in a typological sense. The true believer in the Old Testament system was saved by grace through faith as Abraham was, as we are, and thus the true believers were sons of Abraham (Luke 19.9). They were all sons of Abraham, but only some were really sons of Abraham. Or as Paul says in Romans 9:
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
For they are not all Israel who are of Israel. There's a sense in which they're all Jews, God's people….but in another sense only the regenerate were actually God's People, true Jews.
But just like today, they couldn't see into their hearts to see if someone was born again, so they were governed by Means, an Administration God had established. It mattered. If a man called himself a Jew, and yet was uncircumcised and did not participate in the Temple-life, was he a Jew? He COULD be regenerate as Paul teaches us in Romans, but did the people of God have any reason to reckon him so, to reckon him a Jew, a Covenant-member? Paul in Romans is dealing with a Jewish system which treated the Means, the Administration as the End itself…and not the Means. We have many today who take Paul's critique and correction and throw out the whole concept of God using external means to administer His Kingdom in space and time. While I'm on it...Roman Catholicism like Judaism views the Means as the End. It's the same error in a different sphere.
The Jews said 'We're sons of Abraham, we're the people of God.' True…on one level. If they were actually regenerate/elect, it was true on both levels. They were Israelites who indeed were of Israel.
Their identity as the people of God was but a type, a shadow. God could raise up stone to be children of Abraham as John the Baptist said. What mattered was not the outward circumcision, but the circumcision of the heart…the same being true for us today. This same inner work pertaining to the heart, pertaining to cutting away, putting to death and being united to Christ in death is today symbolized in Baptism. (Colossians 2)
It's always been the same. All believers whether under the Old Covenant or the New...are sons of Abraham, the spiritual Israel.
All believers whether under the administration before Christ or the one after...are spiritually part of the New Covenant. The New is the Covenant of Salvation. The Old was a form which pointed to it.
Saul was a Jew, a member of the Old Covenant, an Israelite, but he was not really a Jew, not really part of Israel. Thus he was not really a Son of Abraham as Galatians 3 would have it.
David was a Jew, a member of the Old Covenant, an Israelite, who really was a Jew, a true Israelite. A true son of Abraham, a member of the New Covenant...even though chronologically speaking, it had not come into being.
Naaman was a Syrian, a Gentile, outside the Covenant, but in actuality was a Jew, an Israelite, a member of the New Covenant.
In the Old Testament era, the normative MEANS to be one of God's people was to become an Israelite. You could do this by being born or enter as a proselyte. Naaman was an exception, not the rule. But with Naaman we learn a lesson...the same lesson Paul teaches in Romans 4. Yes God gives us means by which his Church is governed and administered...but what really matters, at the end of the day, is the heart. But just because the heart is what really matters that doesn't mean we just abandon the structure God has established.
And the heart is desperately wicked, it can deceive, even ourselves.
God governs His people in a pre-Cross/Resurrection fashion and in a post-Ascension fashion....but there's always one people, one Israel.
Ephesians 4.4 tells us God has One Body of people
Revelation 21.9ff tells of One Bride
And John 10.16 tells us,
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
There is one fold and one shepherd.
Paul wraps up his letter to the gentile Galatians in what we call chapter 6:
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Being a physical Jew is unimportant, the people of God are the new creatures. Who are these people?
The Israel of God.
The Church is clearly Israel. The heavenly altar on the Holy Mountain of God, Mount Zion, is one that the circumcised (so to speak) have no right to worship at.
Hebrews 13:10 - We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
Their synagogues are denounced as synagogues of Satan in Revelation 2 and 3.
Now that said, we beginning to see there is a unity between the Old and New Testament that many theologies seem to deny.
But it is equally critical that there is a disunity between the Old and Testament that many also deny.
There is unity and disunity, and if we misunderstand this we will either veer toward Dispensationalism (hyper-disunity) or toward the various manifestations of Judaizing (hyper-unity). The prime historical example of this would be Roman Catholicism. Contemporary manifestations of this can be found with Theonomy, Dominionism, and Seventh-Day Adventism. Another terrible and harmful manifestation of this is often found in various forms of Christian Nationalism, where the hyper-unity isn't applied to The Church, but to a new historical and geographical nation-state. More on this last point in part 3.
We must be careful to understand the types and shadows of the Old Testament system have been fulfilled by Christ. We wouldn't offer a sacrifice today because Christ has come, and to offer a lamb would be to proclaim the True Lamb of God has not come. It would be akin to declaring we still are waiting for the Messiah who can give us the true fulfillment, once for all. It would be blasphemous to do this. The Roman Catholic Mass denies this and sacrifices Christ again and again, every day as through the doctrine of Transubstantiation they transform bread and wine into the Body and Blood.
Most Bible-based theologies recognize the sacrificial system as obsolete. Yet, most also fail to apply the principle with consistency and freely borrow from the other types and shadows and try to incorporate them into the life of the Church. They introduce what Paul calls 'the weak and beggarly elements,' the 'tutelage' into the gathering of the Church. With Paul we ought to be utterly baffled and not a little offended at the attempts of people to do this. This is for another upcoming article, so I don't want to dwell on it overmuch here.
Again, unity and disunity. We have to get it right.