The Real Chosen People (Part 1)
Many Christians have been conditioned to believe that “The Chosen People” are the Jews, regardless of whether they honor the Lord Jesus as Messiah or not. Christians have been taught that Jews are the only people on Earth who belong to God and will forever belong to God even if they deny that Jesus is their Messiah, if they deny He died to save them from their sins, if they disparage His Name and character, if they actively fight against and oppose real Christianity, especially in Israel, and if they as individuals refuse to repent of their sins and submit to His Lordship.
For some odd reason, Christians have been taught that the New Testament teachings do not apply to the Jewish people. Why? Simply because they are Jews? We are living in a day when Messianic Judaism is very popular and growing. The followers of Messianic Judaism honor Jesus as Messiah. They are still Jews, of course, but believe in and follow the Lord Jesus as did the Messianic Jews of the first century.
Well then, what is a Jew? What is Judaism? Historically, after the complete destruction of what was left of the Jewish homeland in 70AD when Jerusalem was invaded and destroyed by the Romans, and when the Jewish Temple was completely razed to the ground and burned, there was only one segment of traditional Judaism that remained.
The Sadducees ceased to exist, since there was no longer any Jewish state. The Essenes, those likely responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, also faded away. Some Jewish nationals held out after Jerusalem was destroyed, comprising segments of the Zealot Party, but committed mass murder against one another and suicide on the heights of Masada in 74AD. There were two other large uprisings against the Romans, the largest and last of which was the Bar Kochba Revolt from 132-135AD. After their defeat, there was no longer any effective and organized Jewish resistance against the Romans. It was the end of the Zealots. The Jewish homeland was lost.
The Pharisees, however, were the one party that lived on. They did not die out as all the other major religious parties had. They continued to exist as the sole religious representatives of the Jewish people. The Pharisees became Judaism, later known as Talmudic or Rabbinic Judaism. The same people who gave the Lord Jesus so much trouble during His ministry and fought the apostles at every turn, especially the apostle Paul, never ceased to exist. They continued teaching as they always had. They continued to deny Jesus as Messiah.
Again, Jesus was 100% a Jew (Hebrew: Yehudi; Greek: Ioudaios), from the Tribe of Judah, and a direct descendant in the kingly line of David. Every original apostle had Hebrew ancestral roots, and so had every single member of the Community of the Lord we read about in the earliest history of His Movement as recorded in the Book of Acts. For seven to ten years after the Resurrection of the Lord, the entire Qahal of the Lord Jesus was composed entirely of Hebrew descendants, members of the nation of Israel, and of the twelve tribes. It was not until the salvation of Cornelius and his group, as recorded in Acts 10, that the apostles understood that non-Hebrew Gentiles were also to be included among the Lord’s people. Prior to that time, the Hebrew followers of Jesus had somehow assumed that only Hebrews and full proselytes to Judaism would qualify for membership.
So here we see the first great division, especially after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, of the Israeli people. One Hebrew camp saw that Jesus was indeed their long-awaited and hoped-for Messiah. The other Hebrew camp rejected Jesus as Messiah. The camp of rejecters coalesced around the Party of the Pharisees, the lone remaining representatives of overall first century Judaism. The Pharisees have existed throughout history ever since, and continued as the sole Hebrew organized religious force against Jesus the Messiah.
What happened to the first century Jewish believers in Jesus? After Cornelius, more and more Gentiles entered the fold of real Christianity. Indeed, the apostle Paul was called by God to be the first and foremost apostle to the non-Jewish Gentiles. Later, at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), it was decided by the Jerusalem Hebrew believers that Gentiles did not have to undergo all things Torah in order to attain official membership in the Body of Christ. As more Gentiles flooded in, ethnic differences between Hebrew and non-Hebrew believers were downplayed over time. This did not mean that Jewish followers of Jesus did not retain their Jewish identity. Such would have been tragic. These first century Jewish believers in Jesus were descended from the great Patriarchs of the distant past and represented the then-current true remnant of Israel.
Paul, a Hebrew in very high standing, both ethnically (of the Tribe of Benjamin) and religiously (a Pharisee), as well as a solid Roman citizen says this:
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
“And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” [Galatians 3:26-29]
This is a very powerful statement. From this we know that strict Jewish distinctiveness no longer matters with respect to membership in the kingdom of God. Whether one can trace his or her physical lineage to Abraham is no longer an issue. One can be a descendant of Abraham whether he or she is connected by genealogy, Judaism, or Israeli national identity.
It is not an ancestral link that makes one a seed of Abraham but a spiritual link by faith according to promise.
The Jewish non-believers discount and reject this entire notion. To them, it destroys Jewish identity. As a result, they hated Paul with the same passion they hated the Lord Jesus (How dare these heretics dispose of our status as God’s chosen people!).
Which brings us back to the original point: God’s chosen people are only those who honor the Lord Jesus as Messiah. Yet, even as you read this you probably cringe and think such cannot possibly be true. But it’s right there in your Bible. As is this:
“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” [Romans 2:28-29]
Throughout the Gospels and New Testament writings we see, then, that the “Chosen People” are those who are in Christ, who embrace the Lord Jesus as the only Messiah and Savior, whose hearts have been circumcised, who are in spiritual relationship with Him, and who submit to His full Lordship.
Though the Hebrew people were originally chosen by God as descendants of Abraham, the majority of the Hebrew people rejected God. All one must do is pick up the Old Testament and read a few pages to find that this is true.
There has always been a believing Hebrew remnant, however, and there were always enough who honored God to keep the ancient nation of Israel intact though diminishing. Israel split in two after Solomon’s death, the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom went into captivity and never returned, effectively ceasing to exist, and only the Southern Kingdom of Judah remained until the time of our Lord as a national entity, which was originally also comprised of the tribes of Levi and Benjamin. After its destruction by the Romans it was the end of the Jewish nation. The unbelieving and disobedient had so outnumbered the believing remnant who dutifully followed YHWH that the geographic and religio-political nation ceased to exist.
The Community of the Lord, however, began at the same time once the Messiah was revealed. Therefore, there is no hope for those who reject Jesus and look for another. There is no other Messiah and never will be. And without Messiah Jesus, there is no salvation, because He is salvation—it is the very meaning of His Name.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” [Acts 4:8-12] 
© 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1]
 Philippians 3:5-6
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on March 9, 2012, in Teaching and tagged Gentiles, Jesus is the Messiah, Messianic Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, Real Christianity, Talmudic Judaism, The Chosen People, The Destruction of Jerusalem 70 AD, The Nation of Israel, The Pharisees. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.