By Christopher VanDusen
Who are God’s chosen people? Is it the Jews, the church, or both? In God’s Chosen People, pastor A. Blake White powerfully shows from God’s Word that God’s people are now and forever the church.
In his introduction, he introduces us to the three main ways of viewing this topic: Covenant Theology (CT), Dispensationalism, and New Covenant Theology (NCT). Traditional CT sees the Jews of the Old Testament and the church of the New Testament as the same people of God; Dispensationalism sees Jews and the church as two separate people of God; NCT, on the other hand, sees the New Testament church as the ultimate fulfillment of the Jewish nation of the Old Testament. This last theology is the perspective that is persuasively argued in this book.
A Brief Overview
White argues his point by going through all of the most significant passages of the Bible on the subject. He begins in the first chapter by looking at “key” Old Testament prophecies that speak of the inclusion of Gentiles into God’s people. First, he shows from God’s covenant with Abraham that he was blessed in order that “all the nations” would be blessed “in” him. Second, he cites God’s commission for the nation of Israel in Exodus to be a “priesthood” to serve as the mediators of blessing between God and the nations. Third, he surveys several texts from the prophets that speak of Gentile nations being made part of God’s people — particularly from Isaiah and Ezekiel.
Next, White goes through the gospels and Acts, beginning with Matthew. In his survey of Matthew, he shows that Jesus Himself is the fulfillment of what the nation of Israel and its kings failed to do. A striking example of this is His temptation in the wilderness. Just as Israel was tempted in the wilderness for 40 years, He was tempted in a wilderness for 40 days. However, unlike Israel, He didn’t yield to any of the temptations. In his chapter on Mark, White shows that Jesus is the fulfillment of the suffering Servant of Isaiah, and that He’s the One who’s leading a “new exodus” out of captivity for Israel, His people. Then, he demonstrates from John that believers are the new children of God, Jesus is the new temple, and that He’s the Good Shepherd of the sheep of Israel spoken of in Ezekiel. Finally, White surveys Luke and Acts, pointing out that Jesus is the Consolation of Israel, the Redeemer of Israel, and is now restoring the kingdom of Israel through the church’s preaching of the gospel, resulting in the gathering of Israel from the nations.
After dealing with the New Testament historical books, White moves on to Paul’s letters, beginning with the most important in the discussion — Galatians. Galatians teaches that Jesus is the ultimate Seed, or Offspring, of Abraham, and all those who trust in Him as their Lord and Savior are united to Him, and therefore become part of Abraham’s offspring, Israel. Next, White shows from Romans that what it means to be Jewish in a spiritual sense has been redefined; it’s no longer those who are physical descendants of Abraham and followers of Moses’s Law, but those with the faith of Abraham. Lastly, White presents evidence from some of Paul’s other letters that Paul viewed the church as the fulfillment of OT Israel. These include 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians. The issues raised include the ancestors of the church, the temple of God, the new humanity, and the removal of ethnic identity with regard to God’s people.
The final “survey” chapter deals with the rest of the letters in the New Testament. White examines the new covenant community in Hebrews, pointing out that the new covenant prophecies quoted there are fulfilled in the church. Second, he notes Peter’s citation of the Exodus description of the nation of Israel as a kingdom of priests, which is clearly applied to the church. Third, he explains Jesus’s use of the term “synagogue of Satan” in Revelation with reference to anti-Christian Jews. Concluding with the end of Revelation, he shows that the new Jerusalem mentioned there is in fact the church, fulfilling the Old Testament city of Jerusalem.
After his survey of the most important passages in the discussion, White summarizes the whole storyline of Scripture, and presents some critiques of Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism. He ends this “synthesis” chapter by reinforcing the main point of the book: the church fulfills Old Testament Israel, and is the new covenant Israel, which is only totally consistent with New Covenant Theology.
Finally, White concludes the book by offering several applications of its central truth. He points out the importance of understanding the Bible correctly; seeing ourselves as God’s only people; having the hope of inhabiting the new earth that was originally promised to Abraham; seeing no ethnic divisions in the church, since there are only two types of people in the world now; being able to obey God because of His fulfillment of the new covenant; being moved to praise God for including Gentiles into His people; and seeing that God has chosen His people to bless every single type of person with the message of the gospel.
This book is relatively short (it only takes a few hours to read in one sitting), to the point, and fast-paced. Sometimes it leaves you wanting to read more about a particular passage of Scripture, and it doesn’t always have a continuous flow of thought, but White makes it clear in his introduction that he intended it to be a series of explanations of various texts, and not a written sermon or essay.
The greatest strength of this book is that White mostly just quotes Scripture and clearly explains it. There’s very little commentary from other sources besides Scripture, although there are many footnotes, showing that White has clearly done his due diligence in thoroughly studying what he’s teaching.
Overall, this book is excellent and badly needed. Too many people either see Old Testament Israel as the church, or see Israel and the church as two peoples of God. Even those who hold the view demonstrated in this book may not have a firm grasp of the biblical basis of their position. Therefore, I heartily recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t understand what Scripture says about the relationship between Israel and the church. If you’re interested, it’s available on Amazon for about $20 (US). If you don’t have the money, and want to learn more about this topic, check out the “church” category on this site.
By the way, do you know that you’re one of God’s chosen people? If you don’t, then there’s a way to know. First, you have to know that we’re naturally God’s enemies because of our evil hearts that lead us to do wrong. Therefore, we’re naturally condemned by God, and will be judged by Him, and punished for our rebellion against Him forever if we aren’t forgiven by Him. The only way we can be forgiven by Him is if we change our minds and trust in His Son that He sent to become a man, to suffer and die on a Roman cross to take God’s punishment for our crimes against Him, to rise from the dead, and to go into heaven as our King. God now commands everyone to change their minds and trust in the man, the Lord Jesus, as their substitute on the cross and their King in heaven, since He’s going to judge everyone perfectly. If you repent and trust Jesus alone, you’ll be saved from God’s wrath and He’ll forgive all your sins.