Website for "The King's Business," "The Capitol Hill Voice, "Focus on Israel," and "Dale Crowley Jr. Ministries." SEVEN ISRAELS, that follows, can be found in Dale Crowley Jr.'s book On the Wrong Side of Just about Everything, but Right about It All, pages 2l-25. Order from THE KING'S BUSINESS, P.O. Box One Washington, DC 20044-0001
Seven Israels are discussed on the "Focus on Israel" and "King's Business" radio programs from time to time. Certain ones of the seven get more attention than others, of course, but all are important.
Since the word "Israel" occurs more than 2,500 times in the Old and New Testament scriptures, it is right for us indeed to "Focus on Israel."
But when they focus on Israel, many of my evangelical and fundamentalist Christian friends do not make a distinction between any of these seven Israels. They teach, preach, and argue about Israel as if every aspect and feature of Israel were one and the same. This leads to great misunderstanding and misinterpretation of scripture.
One of their biggest mistakes, for example, is to equate the 20th century nation of Israel with one or all of the following:
Israel in the wilderness
Israel under Saul, David, and Solomon
Israel the northern divided kingdom
Israel dispersed among the nations
This confusion is the cause of much unhappy and unfortunate disputation among Christians. It is absolutely impossible to discuss the subject of Israel with someone who does not make a distinction between these seven Israels, who uses the word "Israel" to mean only one all-encompassing entity.
There is one more important word of explanation that must be made. Certain of the seven Israels are not entirely distinct and separate from the others. There can be, and is some overlapping.
For example, (1) the people Israel populated the kingdom Israel, (2) throughout history the people Israel who believed God, as Abraham believed God, are also God's spiritual Israel, and (3) the 20th century nation of Israel has citizens who are Israelites ethnically, and who are also, because of their faith, God's spiritual Israel—a three-way overlap.
So here are the seven Israels that we feature in our radio ministry, with a few brief comments on each.
1. Israel the man. His name was changed from Jacob to Israel by God Himself. Genesis 32:28. The name Israel sets forth a beautiful truth. It means "Prince with God," or "Warrior for God " or "ruling with God." or some other similar truth.
2. Israel the family, the people. These are the immediate family of Israel the man, together with ail of his descendants, even to the present time.
"Israel" is not used in this way in the final chapters of Genesis, but beginning with the book of Exodus. Israel the man's descendants are referred to as "the children of Israel," "The children of Israel" occurs twelve times in the first three chapters of Exodus (and throughout scripture, of course), after which we begin to read of the "elders of Israel," and eventually, just simply "Israel" in both the Old and New Testaments.
3. Israel, the kingdom under Saul, David, and Solomon for 120 years.
This is a very specialized meaning of the word "Israel," and applies for only 120 years of Old Testament history. It encompassed all the areas designated to the twelve tribes, the descendants of the ten sons and two grandsons of Israel.
4. Israel the kingdom, the northern division of the divided kingdom. Following Solomon's death the kingdom of Israel split into Israel in the north and Judah in the south. At the beginning of the divided kingdom, Israel in the north consisted of everything except the tribe of Judah and her territory. See I Kings 11:31-36. (As time went on, however, Israel diminished in size, with Judah adding portions or ail of Simeon, Benjamin, and Dan. The residents of Judah became known as Judeans in both Hebrew and Greek. It is from the word "Judean" that we derived the shortened form in English. "Jew." "Jew" does not occur in the original languages Hebrew or Greek. The word is "Judean ")
Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 and Judah to the Babylonians in 586.
During the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments "Israel" existed under definition number 2 above—as the descendants of the twelve tribes—some back in Palestine, some remaining in their captor nations, and some dispersed among the nations. This Israel continued into New Testament times, and even until today.
5. Israel the spiritual family of God, Although Christians for centuries have accepted this spiritual interpretation of Israel we are now accused of the imagined heresy of "replacement theology,"
Let us dismiss this flawed concept for what it is worth—nothing—and go on.
The Apostle Paul prayed for "the Israel of God." (Galatians 6:16) "The Israel of God" cannot possibly mean the multitude of rebellious, unbelieving, unsaved Israelites of all generations. It must mean all those—believing Galatians included—who, like Abraham, believed God and were accounted righteous, salvation made possible through the atoning work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
The salvation of "the Israel of God" is explained fully in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh chapters of Romans.
The most astonishing and convincing linkage of Old Testament Israel with the spiritual Israel of the New Testament is Peter's quotation of Exodus 19:5-6: "...ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation."
The inspired apostle wrote, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (I Pet. 2:9)
God's spiritual Israel includes both Old and New Testament saints, and the church which His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ established. No other Israel is of any great importance or significance in this New Testament Age of Grace
6. Israel the 20th century nation. In view of the foregoing it can be neither said nor proved that the nation of Israel is the fulfillment of any Old Testament promise or prophecy. The nation of Israel was founded upon Marxist and socialist doctrines. It has passed laws unfavorable to Christian citizens, missionaries, and immigrants. It has conducted the affairs of state in most undemocratic, unjust, and brutal ways. It supports a state religion which elevates the Talmud above the Torah (the five books of Moses). To equate this nation of Israel with anything good and godly in the Bible is a travesty of Biblical interpretation.
7. Israel in the future. The Apostle Paul wrote, "And so all Israel shall be saved." (Romans 11:26) The Apostle John wrote that 144,000 "of all tribes of the children of Israel" would be "sealed." "Sealed" speaks of spiritual salvation. (From the context—Rev. 6:12-15 and 7:9-17—it is clear that these sealings take place at the end of the tribulation. Nothing is said about preaching the Gospel to a lost world.)
So we can say boldly that the final and full salvation of Israel in prophecy is the future destiny of the spiritual Israel- the people of God of all nations and ages, "the Israel of God"—set forth in number 5 above.
As far as Israel in the future is concerned, there is not one scripture that teaches that our Lord Jesus Christ will reign over a physical Israel-Israelites running around on earth in bodies of flesh and blood—in His millennial kingdom.