Why the Ethnic Origin of the Israeli People is Important?
The ethnic history of any people is important for many reasons. With the advent of the internet it became much easier to research family genealogies and learn about where we came from and what our ethnic origins are. We are now even able to do mail order DNA tests and get very specific information about who we are as individuals and where we came from. Enough people are doing this now that maps have been produced showing how ethnic groups are established in different areas of the nation. Interesting though when it comes to the ethnic origins of God’s chosen people, the Hebrews\Israelis\Jews, we start getting uncomfortable and disgruntled when their origins are brought to light. Why is that?
More and more evidence is coming to the surface that the Israelis. the children of Israel are a dark skinned – black\brown – people. This information is going to strike a nerve with many non black Americans. This information makes us deal with some very uncomfortable truths. At the very base of the discussion is the fact that the black African slaves were sold and brought to America by white Americans. If this is true, (and I believe it is) white Christians have to deal with the idea that we enslaved, brutalized, raped, and marginalized God’s chosen people.
So many lies have been employed to mask the true identity of the Israeli people. The more popular lies are replacement theology taught in many religious Christian traditions and British Israel-ism. Replacement theology takes on a couple of different forms: 1) that the United States is the new Israel and Americans are now God’s chosen people. This is the idea that brought the pilgrims to America. 2) the more popular form of replacement theology is that the church replaces Israel as God’s chosen people. Both of these ideas have no Biblical or prophetic basis.
Some difficult facts related to replacement theology that need to be digested are these: America was settled out of greed and religious purposes almost entirely. The European people who settled in America for religious purposes either sought religious freedom from the Anglican Church or as missionaries to the Indians. Those who settled for greed sought wealth and power. At no time were God’s chosen people replaced by the pilgrims or the church, so dispensing with these ideas is crucial to swallowing the truth.
British Israelism is the idea that western and northern Europeans are the direct descendants of the lost 10 tribes of Israel. Science has largely debunked this lie, yet most of western Christianity believes the current occupants of Israel are the chosen people. Some of them might be, but in large part they are not. They are European Ashkenazim. I will leave it to you research this matter. I will, however, say this… just because leaders in western Christianity write books and preach about Biblical prophecy and pretend to know without a doubt how prophecy is being fulfilled in our time and how Israel and the Israeli people fit into their assertions does not make it gospel. Biblical prophecy is cryptic. It was before Christ and still is after his redemptive work. Anyone who claims to have Biblical prophecy sorted out is a pretender and invariably is trying to make a name for themselves. We will not know that Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled until it has happened. This includes Israel becoming a nation again.
Looking a little closer at the church and how it fits in to the big picture does not erase the chosen people or replace them. The church is simply the Kingdom of God on earth. Jews and Gentiles alike are welcome into the church but it does not erase ethnicity. There are still Jews and Gentiles. Many metaphorical descriptions of this construct are present in scripture but they are just that, word pictures offered for further understanding. It is true in the church we are neither Jew nor gentile, slave or free, male nor female (Gal 3:28), but these statements are not meant to erase ethnicity. If they are, then we will need to erase gender as well. Frankly, I am not becoming gender neutral to satisfy some wonky belief that the church replaces the Jews. Be careful how you use this scripture. God still has purpose for and prophecy to fulfill with his chosen people.
Let’s shift gears a little bit and look at what it means to be God’s chosen people. The idea behind this is to deal with supremacist thought processes. The fact is America is a white supremacist culture. America is largely a white European nation and our perspective is seen through that looking glass. You may not see yourself in that light I don’t either, but it is a fact that American culture is white in mindset. If you don’t believe me take a trip to one of the inner city black ghettos. The culture there is different than what you find in the white suburbs. It’s a fact and it is part of why this topic is so uncomfortable for a lot of white people.
What does it mean to be God’s chosen people? Does it mean black Israelis are better than gentiles? The short answer is no, we are all human and will have the same destiny if we are born again and likewise if we are not. Understanding why God chose a special people is pivotal to this discussion. At the tower of Babel the Most High disinherited the nations and gave them over to other Elohim to worship and elected a new people to be his worshipers. The elected people are the Israelis and at the time of election did not exist. They were not chosen because they were a great people, a capable people, a beautiful people, or for any other reason. The bottom line is the Most High had a plan of redemption for all of mankind that had to be carried out by humans. He chose a people that would be preserved throughout time to carry out the task of delivering a redeemer for humankind. Even though this task has been completed, and the chosen people rejected Christ the chosen people are still the apple of his eye. In time he will reveal himself to them and they will return to him and bow their knee to Christ.
At this point in history it may seem a little odd that the identity of the chosen people is in question. This is actually not odd at all when we consider that the chosen people were unfaithful to the Most High and consequently cursed by him to be delivered into slavery. Deuteronomy 28 describes this curse, it is not hard to see who fits the description of this curse. This curse, however, is not replacement or erasure. It is just an awful situation for a period of time. That period time ends when the time of the gentiles is complete. The date or time of completion is not known, but it is in process and the time is coming. Paul exhorted the Gentile believers not to be proud in their salvation or acceptance into the kingdom during this time, but it seems this verse has been largely overlooked and\or ignored.
25 I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters,[a] so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. 26 And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. 27 And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” 28 Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. 30 Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead. (Romans 11:25)
We all have a place in the kingdom if we are born again, but the chosen people are still “the people he loves” and “his gifts can never be withdrawn.” It seems to bother a great many that the chosen people are most probably black including Christ, there are many evidences of this. This is not a matter of racism or reverse racism, although some white believers try make it a racist issue to soothe their misgivings on the issue. Simply exposing the fact that the chosen people are dark skinned makes one racist in the eyes of some white Christians. What is wrong with you?!? You should be ashamed of yourself. If you can’t deal with the idea that the chosen people are black and Christ was black, you’re going to have some problems with your faith. It begs the question, if Christ returns as a black man, will you accept him?
I will grant you, that the attitudes toward the chosen people are part of the curse, but if we can put the pieces together and accept the truth, our attitude and perspective should start to change. Breaking out of the cultural western white European perspective and seeing reality through the eyes of scripture without the traditional religious biases most of us carry brings us closer to all truth.
In closing let’s look again at the question again, why is it important to understand the ethnic origin of the chosen people? If we are going to live spiritually minded, we must be acquainted with truth. Dispense with the lies that attempt to replace the chosen people, accept who they are and level the playing field. Gentiles are no more important than Jews. Neither stands on higher ground than the other. Simply put, Israel was the chosen people through which the redeemer would come to reconcile all peoples back to the Father. Because of the chosen people gentiles are now accepted into the beloved because of our belief in Christ’s redemptive work. Israelis are still the chosen people who will realize the benefits of that again as a people when the time of gentiles is fulfilled. Stay strong and trust that the truth will set you free, even the uncomfortable truths…or should I say especially the uncomfortable truths. Beloved, let us love one another.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.