“But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.’ 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ 13 As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.'”
When we first begin to study and find out about Abraham and his calling in Genesis 11, then the covenants in Genesis 12 and 15, it is easy to get confused about the true Jews. There are many that lay claim to being the Chosen; and in the case of the descendants of Ishmael, they claim ownership or at least partial ownership of the land of Israel. To understand who the Chosen people are, we must simply listen and clearly adhere to what the Bible says. Jesus is from the Chosen people; and if we do not make sure that we are following the right Chosen people, we will miss the right Jesus.
What do you mean by the ‘right Jesus,’ Sean? Well, let us take a look at some of the other Jesuses out there.
The ones that other religions claim to follow, and in some cases, are awaiting the return of said Jesus at the end. In Mormon theology, Jesus, according to their doctrine, ‘inherited powers of the godhood and divinity from His Father.’ This basically means that He was not empowered as God from before Creation as the Bible teaches. Thus, He came to be at the birth and inherited the powers He exhibited; He did not already have them. The statements go on to say that ‘we do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete or the final word of God.’ This is all from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They deny the deity of Christ that existed before his birth and deny that the Bible is complete, making way for the Book of Mormons.
The Muslims, according to VOX.com, believe that Jesus was a prophet; he is called Isa. They are waiting for him to return and defeat the ‘al-Masih ad-Dajjal,’ the anti-Christ. This all sounds familiar; but when you dig deeper, one finds that in their eschatology, the characters are reversed, and our Christ is their anti-Christ and vice-versa. They do not worship him as God since, to them, he is just a prophet on the same level as Mohamed. According to The Christiancentury.org, Jesus is neither God nor the Son of God in Islam’s theology. It is clear that if they deny that Jesus is God, then they do not believe in the same Jesus that the Bible teaches about.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a spirit person in Heaven before he was born on earth. He was created by God and then he helped to create everything else, according to JW.org. He is God’s spokesman, and as such, is called the Word of God. We can go on and on, but you get the idea. There are many religions who all talk about Jesus. But they do not talk about the Jesus of the Bible. Look, the Devil is clever; he knows that religion without Jesus is futile. Jesus has had such a profound effect on man’s history, that to try to build a religion without him is just plain stupid. So, Satan made a lot of counterfeit Jesuses. Many have just enough Jesus to get you to Hell but not Heaven.
What we learn from this is that we must be discerning people when we study the scriptures. So, let us go back and take a look at the Chosen people and who they are.
I have had a few conversations with a few Jews and asked if they knew what tribe they were from? Many seem to know if they are from the southern or the northern kingdom, but they do not know what specific tribe they are from. Abraham had a lot of children, eight that we learn of in the Bible. We know that he had a son, Ishmael, with Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid (Genesis 16:1-6). Sarah had waited 10 years for God to fulfill His promise of a son, and she got tired of waiting. What she did was to create the enemies of Israel in the child and grandchildren of Hagar. According to Genesis 16:12, Ishmael will be against everyone and will move from place to place and camp near his brothers. The brothers are the children of Israel. But Ishmael was not the chosen son of Abraham.
In Genesis 17:15-22, God once again made it clear that a son that will come from Sarah will be the Chosen son. Not just any son, but the one born from Abraham and Sarah will be the ONLY Chosen one. All others are not to be counted in the promise. In Genesis 21, Sarah and Abraham have the son of Promise; his name is Isaac. In Genesis 25, Abraham marries another woman named Keturah; she and he have children, and their names are listed in 1 Chronicles 1:32. These are children of Abraham, but they are not the child or children of Promise.
In Genesis 25:19-24, Isaac and Rebekah have twin boys, Esau and Jacob. These boys are quite different; and as we know the story, there is animosity between the two all of their lives, even as adult men. One son, Esau, was loved by his father, and the other, Jacob, was loved more by his mother. But God gave the prophecy that the older, Esau, would serve the younger. The three Patriarchs of the faith are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with no mention of Esau. It is through the lineage of Jacob that Jesus comes via the tribe of Judah as we find in Matthew 1:1-17. If one just looked at ‘children of Abraham’ one would conclude that there were many more Chosen people than there truly are. There is one line; that line goes through Jacob, to Isaac and to Abraham.
Over the past decade, the idea that we all worship the same God has risen to the top of many conversations about religion. Muslims and Christians worship the same God. The term Christian is used to cover Catholic and Protestant churches; even some Baptists may feel they align this way, but that is not true. Catholics certainly do not worship the same Jesus that true Christianity does. Protestants, many of them, have watered down the Gospel to where salvation does not take repentance from sin, and there is no blood atonement. These are not true Christians. But just like there are specific Chosen people through whom Jesus came, there is a specific Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels that we need to submit to so as to be saved.
Jesus told His disciples that if they had seen him, they had seen God. He said in John 10:30, “I and my Father are One” [They are the same]. In John 5:18, the Jews tried to kill Jesus, and He asked them why they were trying to kill Him. They said because you have called yourself the son of God, making yourself equal with God.
The Jesus of the Bible is God, the God, not a god, not just a prophet, not just a good man or a good teacher. He is God, the Creator and Sustainer of all Creation. He is the sole means of salvation; no other can save (Acts 4:12). In 1 John 1:17, it is the blood of this Jesus that washes away our sins. No other blood will do. Salvation is by grace only; no works at all on our part (Ephesian 2:8-9; Romans 6:23). And we are saved by believing in the Jesus that came through the lineage of Jacob, via Isaac, via Abraham, and no other Jesus will do. Jesus is the predestined method and mode of salvation. His blood was the one that washes away our sins. He was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Salvation was never a backup plan; it was the plan because God knew that when He breathed the breath of life into Adam, it would cause the death of Jesus, and He did it anyway.
The Apostle Paul wrote this in Galatian 1:8, “But if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached, let them be under God’s curse.” Paul goes on to repeat the same sentiment in verse 9. Jesus is the way, Jesus is the truth, Jesus is the Life, and no one can come to the Father except through Him. Which Jesus? The Jesus of the Holy Bible, the Jesus that was and is God, the Jesus that was born through the Chosen line of Abraham and Sarah, through Isaac and through Jacob, that Jesus. He is the one you need to humble yourself before and call on His Holy Name for Salvation. He will forgive your sins, cleanse you in His shed blood, and secure your place forever in the homes we have in heaven.
Are you chosen in Jesus?
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church