But because of false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage— to them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who were reputed to be something (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who were of repute added nothing to me; but on the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for the mission to the circumcised worked through me also for the Gentiles), and when they perceived the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised; only they would have us remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do.
We have covered a number of times the distinction made between Israel and the nations (Gentiles0 in regard to both unbelievers and believers during the Acts Age. We can see that separation in unity here in Galatians. But we don't want to miss the calling of the 12 outside the narrative of the Acts or outside of Paul's epistles. Just as we have to understand Paul's epistles based on the dispensation he is under and his calling to go to the Gentiles, we must see Peter's calling to go to Israel. We just note here that Peter's entire biblical mission was to the twelve tribes (save once). After the Acts Age ended, Peter is nowhere to be seen.
So let us turn to Peter's epitsles and just look at a few simple things to help us in our goal of rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappado′cia, Asia, and Bithyn′ia, chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood...
- 1 Peter 1:1
James, of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ a servant, to the Twelve Tribes who are in the dispersion: Hail!
-James 1:1 (Young's Literal Translation)
The Lord still recognized Israel and the Acts Age was still a time of grafting in of Gentiles to Israel's blessings for the stated reason to "make Israel jealous." Not "make the Church jealous." That makes no sense. In that age, the promises and covenants were said to still "pertain to Israel" (Rom 9)
Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
So I ask, have they stumbled so as to fall? By no means! But through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.
In this short study, we turn back to Peter's first epistle, understanding its audience and the hope before them.
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
-1 Peter 2:4-5
Peter, in his mission and calling to go to the circumcision, reminds these believers of the their calling in the covenant at Sinai.
And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
When teachers today want to apply this to believers in this current age, they must assume we are "the House of Jacob and the children of Israel." But they must also assume that we are a "kingdom of priests... above all people." What people? The lost? Are we priests for the lost? If not the lost, for whom? I have heard some say a father is a priest for his family. Really? If my wife and kids are redeemed are they not also priests?
Israel is to be a kingdom of priests for the nations (Gentiles). God has chosen them for his own purposes because of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). He has declared that a believing and obedient Israel is to be "above all other people (nations)."
This is the true Israel Paul speaks about. Not all Israel is Israel, but believing Israel, under the future New Covenant, will be as a cleansed virgin and restored to he place in God's plan for the earth. The Body is not Israel. Israel is the chaste virgin bride of scripture.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded [Isaiah 28:16]. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner [Ps 118:22], and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [private possession] people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
-1 Peter 2:6-10
Peter lays down the conditions for the Israelites to whom he writes. That condition is that they must believe. This is always the condition for God to grant Life and for God to use anyone or any group.
We again see the reference to Israel covenant with the Lord from Exodus 19. The "royal priesthood" is akin to "a kingdom of priests." In the Acts age, the Apostle to the Circumcision is calling on Israel to believe so the Lord might restore the Kingdom in Israel.
Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go... Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began... Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
-Peter in Acts 3
This is after Pentecost. This is after the Risen Lord taught his disciples (who had their understanding opened by the Holy Spirit) about the Kingdom. That teaching was about the restoration of the Kingdom in a believing Israel. Peter refeneces the prophets here as well as the Lord's covenant with Israel. Again, they were chosen to be a blessing to "all the kindreds of the earth." A blessing to unbelievers? No, to serve as a royal priesthood for the nations in an age to come.
after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God... When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.-Acts 1
Israel role in the earth was spoken of by Moses and the Prophets. This is the Gospel of the Kingdom taught by the Lord in Matthew 4 and 9 and by the Apostles when they were sent out in Matthew 10. We have looked at this in previous studies. This is "the hope of Israel" for which was in chains as he told the Roman Jews in Acts 28. This is the truth from Moses and the prophets to which Paul testified at his trial in Acts 26. Like Peter, Paul referenced what had been preached to Israel already by the Prophets. Paul testifies that he preached "no other thing" other than what had been revealed in the Hebrew texts "since the world began" as Peter preached.
This is the message of the Acts Age and of Peter's ministry in his epistles. This was the expectation. Peter notes that Israel, in unbelief, is not a nation, but in faith they who were not chosen became the chosen people again. We see this in Hosea.
And she conceived again and bore a daughter.Then God said to him: Call her name Lo-Ruhamah [No Mercy],For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel,
But I will utterly take them away.
-Hos 1:6Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah [No Mercy],she conceived and bore a son.
Then God said:
“Call his name Lo-Ammi [Not My People],
For you are not My people,
And I will not be your God.
-Hos 1:-9Yet the number of the children of Israel
Shall be as the sand of the sea,
Which cannot be measured or numbered.
And it shall come to pass
In the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There it shall be said to them,
‘You are sons of the living God.’
Then the children of Judah and the children of Israel
Shall be gathered together,
And appoint for themselves one head;
And they shall come up out of the land,
For great will be the day of Jezreel!
-Hos 1:10-11Say to your brethren, ‘My people,’ [Ammi]
And to your sisters, ‘Mercy is shown.’ [Ruhamah]-Hos 2:1
Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
-1 Peter 2:11-12
Visitation = epiakope, επίσκεψη (Greek) = inspection, judgment, oversight. The same word Peter uses in verse 12, is used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrews texts) in Isaiah 10:3.
What will you do on the day of visitation [punishment],
in the calamity that will come from far away?
To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined...
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever [to the ages].
This is the government of the promised Son. As part of this government, we have judgment of the obedient and the disobedient [works for position, never works for the free gift of Life] at his coming. Despite many today claiming this passage, it speaks specifically of the land and God's plans for the earth and for his people, both good and bad. The section including Isaiah 10:3 begins, "The Lord sent a word against Jacob."
when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me [Paul], as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles)...
This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
Our calling is much higher and there are greater rewards to be sought.