British Israelism Refuted
Prior to Calvary, the Gospel was largely restricted to the physical nation of Israel apart from the occasional rare conversion of a Gentile like Ruth or Rahab or the exceptional Gentile city of Ninevah. The world in general was deceived not knowing anything about the grace of God or His merciful way of salvation. Ephesians 2:11-13 declares, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
Whatever text you look at in the Bible British Israelism is strongly refuted. Those who were hitherto aliens and strangers to Almighty God, being outside of His intimate plan and purpose, have now graciously been “made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Through Calvary, the people of God – the Church – have thus entered into: –
(2) The commonwealth of Israel
(3) The covenants of promise
(4) Having hope
(5) Knowing God in this world
This passage is speaking of five distinct, yet inextricably linked, states of alienation that the Gentile believer once suffered before they received the glorious Gospel of Christ. Paul the Apostle makes it clear that all five were graciously reversed for the Gentile believer through their surrender to Christ and their trust in “the blood of Christ.” The Gentiles (as a collective whole) are hopelessly described as being “far off” / “without” / “strangers” and “aliens” from these aforementioned blessing before they received salvation.
The slightest biblical knowledge of God’s favour resting upon an international inter-racial spiritual people totally refutes the grandiose theories propagated by British Israelism.
The word rendered “commonwealth” in the King James Version is the Greek word politeia (Strong’s 4174) which simply means citizenship or community. We the Church of Jesus Christ today (those washed in the blood of the Lamb) have now graciously entered into “the citizenship of Israel” through the work of in Christ to believing Jews of all time and have become fellow citizens of the Israel of God today. We therefore enjoy the same spiritual hope the Cross. The text expressly says that “ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” We believing Gentiles have been unified and are made subject unto the same “covenants of promise”
Jew and Gentile have now been graciously merged together in the, spiritual, Israel of God – the Church. That Church is a spiritual entity and comes under many significant descriptions in the New Testament. Galatians 6:15-16 says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (being born again). And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
Here the Israel of God is specifically related to those who have been born again of the Spirit of God. They (and they alone) have been made citizens of spiritual Israel – the Kingdom of Almighty God. Jesus confirms this in John 3:3, saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
The Israel of God: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow by O. Palmer Robertson:
The Church (‘the ekklesia’ or ‘called out ones’) is the Israel of God today and includes all those who have put their trust in Christ’s atoning blood. It is a spiritual nation and is the sole spiritual descendent of Abraham today. Only those natural Jews who come to Christ in faith can enter into salvation and into the spiritual lineage of Abraham. The Bible expressly declares, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the (fleshly) seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Romans 9:6-8).
Time after time British Israelism is refuted by God’s book. The favour of God and divine election pertains to a spiritual people that have experienced the grace of God. Grace and not race are the key issue.
The favour of God is upon His people – the Church. Those who try and relate such to a fleshly earthly nation normally promote their nationalistic prejudice, which they have been foolishly taught. In doing so, they do injury to God’s precious truth and dishonestly misrepresent Holy Writ.
Galatians 3:7-9 explains, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”
Verse 16 continues, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds (plural), as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
If it was the case that God has got two distinct chosen peoples – namely white Anglo Saxon Protestant British nationals and the Church, there would need to be two distinct plans of salvation. For unless there are two ways to be saved, then there cannot be two peoples of God. Why would Paul totally contradict himself by saying that God has another people outside of those who are new creatures – namely a nation of Christ-rejecting Jews? He would have to deny the repeated truth in Scripture that circumcision avails nothing and declare to the contrary ‘circumcision availeth much’. Of course this is absurd and unscriptural. When did he ever teach that there was another way of election outside of Christ and His shed blood on Calvary, outside of the new birth experience and therefore outside of the true Church? Such a possibility is absolutely preposterous and undoes everything he teaches in the passages before us.
The seed of Abraham is the spiritual Israel – the Church – those who have accepted Christ by faith as their Saviour. They, and they alone, are the true spiritual offspring of promise. Galatians 3:27-29 says, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The only Israel that is depicted as being saved, and therefore true, are those believers (Jew and Gentile) that have trusted in Christ’s shed blood on Calvary and therefore belong to “the good olive tree.” They have put their faith in God’s only answer to man’s awful plight. This is the only promised seed in God’s eyes. Spiritual Israel is not restricted to natural Israelites; Romans 9:6 expresses that in clear unambiguous language, saying, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.” What we learn here is, there is more to this spiritual title (Israel) than simply physical birthright. Paul then expands, saying, “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.” He further reinforces his point (as if to eliminate any uncertainty in the reader’s mind), saying, “they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God.” In short, he says, natural citizenship means nothing when it comes to belonging to the real Israel. It is rather “the children of the promise are counted for the seed” – which we have seen in Galatians 4:28-29 is a group that includes the Gentile believers.
The Church is the only body by which ‘the whosover’ can know the joy of sins forgiven. It is only those who belong to this spiritual nation that will realise true salvation.
The Church is not only described as “the Israel of God” being part of “the commonwealth of Israel,” it is also described as “the circumcision.” Philippians 3:3 boldly declares, of the Church, “for we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
This simple verse reveals how the blood-bought believer today is the true, divinely accepted, circumcision of God. He is circumcised not in a literal physical sense as was the imperfect pre-Calvary shadow and type, but in a spiritual sense as is the more perfect New Testament realization. It is he alone who is able and qualified to “worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus.” It is he, and not the Christ-rejecting Jew, that has absolutely “no confidence in the flesh.” The Church is therefore the spiritual Israel today and the Christian is a spiritual Jew.
The Christian today is therefore the spiritual circumcision of the spiritual Israel.
Colossians 2:9-11 says, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.”
The former blessings, which were principally concentrated upon the physical nation of Israel, have now, since the cross, been redirected to the Church. The New Testament Church (the ekklesia or called out ones) is the Israel of God today, and includes all those who have put their trust in Christ’s atoning blood. It is a spiritual nation and is the sole spiritual descendent of Abraham today, through Christ.
Romans 2:28-29 says, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit (pneumatic).”
Romans 8:8-9 explains this, saying, “they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit (pneumatic), if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
The only nation God recognises is the Israel of God – a chosen group of redeemed saints out of all nations throughout the world. Paul then simply differentiates between the Jew and the Gentile to illustrate how they have made one in Christ in this New Testament economy. He shows the harmony of the people of God. Paul makes similar contrasts with the bond and free and male and female to show the oneness of the saints since the cross.
A spiritual Jew belonging to spiritual Israel is simply and clearly a born again Christian. British Israelism is totally demolished and refuted by the Word of God.
Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to “Holy Land” Theology by Gary M. Burge:
The Loyal Orders and British Israelism
Orange Order British Israelism teaching
British Israelism – the underlying theology of the Loyal Orders
The British Israelism thinking behind the Orange Order
The Royal Black Institution and British Israelism
British Israelism Exposed
British Israelism Refuted
Zion’s Christian Soldiers? by Stephen Sizer and John Stott: