by Brad Scott
It is unfortunate that most of the world has been trained by a multitude of media sources with respect to the identification and meaning of Israel. Most Americans identify the term as a place in the Middle East. Some interchange the word with the term "Jews, Judah or Judea". However, most see the word as a synoptic title for all those people in the Old Testament who, because of the rejection of the grace of the Messiah, were responsible for the death of the "Christ", whom God is going to bring back to the land of Israel some day to pay the penalty for the Messiah's death, while some, mind you, will look upon Him whom they have pierced and be saved. Meanwhile, this is exciting news for the true Christians because this period of time for God's "chosen people" will be synonymous with the sudden departure from this world of the spotless, obedient Christians. Does that about sum it up?
I believe that it is the meaning of this word that truly sums up who these people have been from the beginning. There are a couple of scholarly opinions as to the derivation of this word. I lean heavily on the first two syllables of the word. The word Israel is made up of five consonants: YiSeRa'eL. The last syllable, 'el, ’Elohiym or God, is not argued. It is the first two syllables that cause some division. The first two syllables form the Hebrew word for being straight or right. It is the Hebrew word yashar (ישר). This leads many linguists to see the people Israel as those who are God's upright or righteous people. This also fits well with the appearance of this word in other languages. For example, our English word [juris]prudence and [juris]diction come from yashar. The word juris comes from the Latin word for rightness and law. Are we shocked so far?
The word yashar is translated into the Greek as haplotetos (άπλότης) and is used by Paul in 2 Corinthians to describe the nature of Yeshua‘ from the beginning.
2 Corinthians 11:3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Messiah.
From the beginning, it has been hasatan's desire to draw mankind away from the obedient uprightness that is from the God of Israel. The people of God, from the beginning, are identified by the word Israel. All those who desire to follow the God of Israel are found in the meaning of this word. Because our Father is good and right, those who follow Him shall be good and upright, as well.
Mizemor (Psalm) 25:8Good and upright [yashar] is YHVH; therefore will He teach sinners in the way.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊