Inclusion: “Israel, Abraham, and the Church” Part IV

In our last installment of “Inclusion: Israel, Abraham and the Church” we saw irrefutable and clear evidence located in the apostolic teachings of the New Testament that the Gentile church, those called from among the nations of the world, are included in the Israel of God.  See “Inclusion: Israel, Abraham, and the Church Part III” for a more in depth discussion.

Now we want to ask a new question. Are there any other passages that speak to the enlargement of Israel and the inclusion of the Gentiles into the Israel God?  The answer is yes, there are many, but for our purposes we are going to look at two passages from the Old Testament that, in my opinion, should have given God’s people under the Law a great deal of expectation for the future in regards to the conversion of the Gentiles and the enlargement of God’s Kingdom, Israel.

Isaiah 54:1-3

 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor!  For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD.

“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.

In order for us to properly grasp what this passage is saying we need to answer a couple of key questions up front.  First, who is the barren, or desolate woman described in this passage?  Second, who is the married woman?

The barren desolate woman is a describer used here for the Gentile nations.  Why is she desolate, because she is married to a husband,a false god, that cannot produce living spiritual children.  Her husband is infertile, and cannot provide children for her.  The married woman is Israel.  Her husband is the True and Living God who is fruitful and able to provide His wife with beautiful living spiritual children.

Ok, so what does God say to the barren woman?  Sing for joy, cry aloud and shout because of the blessing I am about to give to you.  What is the blessing that God is going to give to her?  Children, in fact, she will have more spiritual children in number than the nation of Israel.  Well then, what does God say to Israel?  Does He say listen Israel I am going to do a new thing that will be completely separate from you in the Gentile nations?  No not at all, in fact God tells Israel to prepare for more people by making their “tent” bigger.

“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.  For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.

The Gentile nations are going to be swallowed up inside the tent of Israel, included inside of her, not something outside that is other than her, but something that is a part of God’s redemptive Kingdom upon the earth.  The now larger and more inclusive Israel of God.

Let’s take a look now at what is the oldest prophecy on this subject that I know of in sacred Scripture.  When you read it, you are going to immediately see the overlap that exists between it and Isaiah 54:1-3.

Genesis 9:24-27

When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”  He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.  May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

 

Here you have Shem, who would be the father of the Jewish people, being told that his tent is going to need to be enlarged at some point in the future.  God was surely going to bless him, he would receive the Law, indeed all the prophets would come from him.  The Temple would be built among his people, the Abrahamic promises are located within him, and eventually a Savior for the entire world would descend from him.  This Savior Jesus Christ would expand the Kingdom of God to encompass the entire world, and would transform Israel from a national Kingdom to an international one, becoming the Israel of God.  When the nations of the world began to flow into the “mountain of the house of the Lord” (Micah 4:1), Shem’s tent was enlarged and Japheth’s people began to come there to dwell.  This is the language of inclusion.  Here the promises to Abraham and Israel grow to encompass the nations of the earth, and we look forward to the day with anticipation when,

Revelation 11:15

“the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

To this we only add, amen and amen!

Soli Deo Gloria


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