Lesson Two – The Israel of God

The Israel of God 

Lesson Aim:  To show that God’s manner of choosing His people was congruent with their spiritual condition and the system He chose was used to inspire them to follow His rule.


The chart below is an outline of the highest quality within mankind with which God could work in all ages, and also the system God used to maintain His kingdom.



The kingdom or rule of God as it pertains to mankind is where God desires to rule and where we will let Him rule.  His rule determines the relationship between God and man.  Unless God’s kingdom is present on some level there can be no fellowship for us with our God.  God has always had fellowship with people on the highest level possible.  The highest plateau is a father-child relationship where no mediator is necessary.  The lowest level was the Law of Moses.  The father-child relationship is the way it started out in the Garden of Eden.  There was nothing about man that offended God.  God walked and talked with His children, Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8).

After sin entered the world, God still found within people an element He could use as a basis for fellowship.  The faith of mankind is pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6).  God used this non-offending quality to maintain fellowship with, and the training of, fallen man.

Finally, the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and our personal faith in His sacrifice has made Christians non-offensive to God.  According to the Apostle Paul, before Jesus died on the cross, God had left “the sins committed beforehand unpunished.”  Rom. 3:25.  When Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice, God was “just” because the sins of those faithful people before the cross had proper atonement.  After the cross, God is the justifier of those of us who place our faith in Jesus’ blood as our propitiation (Rom. 3:21-26).  This doctrine is explained in Hebrews 9:15.  God pre-planned both His program and grace for us before the foundation of the world.  He planned for Jesus Christ to be our sacrifice and for our adoption in Christ as His children.  God counted people with faith like Abraham’s as righteous before the perfect sacrifice was made.  Please read I Peter 1:18-21; Ephesians 1:4; Genesis 15:6.  Those who lived by faith before the cross sinned on the credit but faithful Christians sins are prepaid.

God’s kingdom existed on a personal relationship between Himself and families from the fall of man until the Law of Moses.  He usually dealt with the heads of families (Gen. 15:1; 19:1; 28:10-13; 46:2).  During this period God intervened in a direct way in the affairs of the peoples’ everyday life (Gen. 6:13; 11:5; 19:14; 21:17; 45:7; Ex. 3:17).

Because all these people were the offspring of Adam and Eve, they all had the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:22; I Cor. 15:47-49).  This meant they became sinners when they matured; therefore, God instituted the altar and animal sacrifices for them (Gen. 8:20, 21; 15:9; 22:2; 26:25).  The Melchizedek Priesthood was serving mankind during the life of Abraham and continued to function until the Law of Moses.  The Hebrew writer stated, “For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.”  Heb. 7:12.  The Melchizedek Priesthood continually functioned for more than one normal life span (Heb. 7:3).

The law and the priesthood were both changed at the Mount Sinai where God called up Moses.  Previously, God had instructed His people according to the way and purpose for which He created them.  The law described the way human beings spirit’s develop (I Cor. 9:21; Rom. 8:1, 2).  When the people continually transgressed this law of life, the Law of Moses was added (Gal. 3:19).  They had adequate instructions by which to live up to the time of Moses.  Consider this scripture.

Because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My law.  Gen. 26:5

All of the foregoing was what God did in order to maintain His rule.  Faith was the quality within people with which God could work during this period.  The people who walked by faith in God, His charges, commandments, statutes and laws not only matured, but by God’s grace, were counted righteous.  We know the law of faith was functioning all the way back to Abel (Heb. 11:4).

The faith system of righteousness was the basis for peace between God and man in spite of the fact that God is holy and people are not (Rom. 4:1-8).  It made faithful people non-offensive in God’s view.  They needed this condition so they could accept their total self.  This does not mean they did not have the responsibility to change to a better person, but this would be tomorrow, this day, this hour, they could accept themselves.  They could work on correcting what was wrong with their “self” without guilt.  If we cannot accept ourselves while it is today, we will not be able to make the proper changes to be a better person tomorrow.  In other words, God’s gift of righteousness allows His faithful children to be free of guilt about past sins and present weaknesses while we work on improving.

At this moment there may be some discrepancies between our own idealized self, that is, our concept of how we are relating to God’s will, and our real self; however, we are free of guilt because of the faith system.  This system of righteousness is a “must” for spiritual growth.  It was instituted immediately after the fall of mankind into sin.  It is still in serving Christians today “in Christ.”

Very few people had an acceptable quality of faith in the period from Adam to Moses; consequently, God could not include them in His rule.  Abraham was an exception.  “He believed in the Lord; and He (God) reckoned it to him as righteousness.”  Gen. 15:6; Rom 4:13.  Abraham was born a few hundred years after God had eliminated all unfaithful people during the flood.  Only eight were saved because of Noah’s families’ faith (Gen. 6:9).

During Abraham’s time God did not eliminate the unfaithful from the land of the living but He did make a difference by blessing Abraham with promises and covenants (Gen. 12:1-3).  Although it would take a couple thousand years to fulfil these covenants, this did not keep God from His purposes.  His immediate plan during the time Abraham lived was to separate the faithful from the unfaithful.  Circumcision was instituted as a seal of their righteousness by faith.  It was also a sign of their covenant relationship with God (Rom. 4:11; Gen. 17:11).

One of God’s covenants multiplied Abraham’s seed and made him the father of many nations.  Nations and kings would come from Abraham.  Covenants were promised to Abraham’s descendants that gave them the land of Canaan for a place of separation with God.  He was their king.  Please read Gen. 17:2-14.  Abraham and his wife, Sarah, parented spiritual Israel with a child of promise (Rom. 9:6-12).  Abraham remained faithful to God and all covenants were ratified (Gen. 22:16, 17).  One promise God made to Abraham gave us Jesus Christ, our present king, priest and savoir.  It is contained in the following promise.  “And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”  Gen. 22:18

Today all nations are blessed because of this promise (Eph. 2:11-13).  Paul pointed out the singular tense of the word “seed” in his letter to the churches of Galatia (Gal. 3:16).  The one seed of Abraham who God used to bless the world is Jesus Christ.  He came into the world through Mary who was a child of Abraham.  The same covenants were renewed through Isaac and Jacob.  Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.  The church of God in Christ is identified as the Israel of God today.  Presently, all citizens of God’s kingdom on earth are children of Abraham (Acts 26:18; Gal. 6:16; Rom 4:16).  Christians put on Christ in baptism and become heirs of Abraham according to God’s promises (Gal. 3:26-29).

In the period of time from Adam to Moses, Satan made his move against God’s kingdom by attacking God’s children.  God did not change the nature of man or “call off” His plan.  He did encourage those men who had faith to let Him rule.  God rewarded them when they lived by faith and consistently withheld His blessings when they rebelled.  He clearly defined the boundaries of His will and punished those who were self-willed.  God dealt with His children in the same manner He would have all parents deal with our own children.

From Adam to Moses God served His people on the highest level the quality of life within them would allow.  Unfortunately, He could not continue to walk with His children as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  God is holy and they became stained with sin; however, God did maintain a limited fellowship by instituting the faith system of righteousness.  He would not rule the faithless and lawbreakers.  In our next lesson we will see how God ushered in the Law of Moses system because faith was not a common quality of the children of Israel.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is the relationship between God’s kingdom and His fellowship with mankind?
  2. On what level does God desire fellowship with all people?
  3. Why did God adjust the plateau for fellowship throughout the ages?
  4. What is the quality within mankind that God can use to develop a basis for fellowship?
  5. What did God do after He had made covenants with Abraham and then found no faith in his descendants?
  6. Give a general description of all that made it possible for God to maintain His kingdom on earth from the fall of Adam to Moses.
  7. Why is it necessary for us to accept our total self?  How can we do this if a part of us does not measure up to what we know God expects?
  8. What is different about the way God accomplished a separation for His people during the time of Noah and the time of Abraham?
  9. Explain how members of the church today are the Israel of God.
  10. Since God did not change the nature of mankind after we got the knowledge of good and evil, how did God attain His purposes for creating us?

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