The Bible and Israel (part 2)
Greetings precious people in the Name and Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. In todayís article I would like for us to pick up where we left off a few weeks ago. Over the past few weeks we have been looking at what the Bible, Godís Word, has to say about todayís current events, in particular those occurring in the Middle East. We looked at what the Bible has to say about Iraq which is ancient Babylon as well as the nation and people of Israel. If you missed any of these articles and would like a copy of them, you may request them from one of the addresses at the end of this article and we will send it to you free of any charge.
Because Israel plays such a major roll in the events leading up to and including the return of Jesus Christ, I would like to continue where we left off in looking at what the Bible has to say about present day Israel and itís future. It has been said that in order to better understand the present and the future, we need to know the past. This is especially true in understanding the place that Israel plays in Godís plans in the present as well as the future.
Many within what is called "the church" as well as outside the church have come to the unfortunate mistaken conclusion that God is finished with the people and nation of Israel. This false notion, in part stems from the belief that when as a nation, the people of Israel rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah, God had also rejected them for all time. Some within this circle make a further mistake in thinking that the "church" is now the new Israel or "chosen people of God".
This misinformation has led to feelings of anti-Semitism among some that consider themselves to be Christians. There are those within the "church" that consider the Jews to be the "Christ killers", which of course is erroneous for it was the government of Rome that was responsible for crucifying Jesus. Pilate had the power to acquit Jesus and pronounce Him innocent of all charges, but he didnít. Pilate gave into the pressures of popularity and chose to do the wrong thing. Jesus gave His life willingly and died for the sins of the whole world. Whether it was a Jew or Gentile that nailed Jesus to the cross is immaterial. The actions of those that crucified Jesus merely reveal the condition of the heart of all mankind and his need for a savior. Jesus having no thought of Himself gave Himself for us, all of us, both Jew and Gentile. He paid a debt that we could not pay and He did it willingly and out of love.
One only needs to study the Scriptures and look at the miraculous survival of the people of Israel over the past 2,000 years to know how erroneous it is to believe that God has wiped his hands of the Jews. For almost 2,000 years the Jewish people have survived as a separate and distinct people after they had been dispersed throughout the world not having a homeland of their own. It wasnít until 1948 that the Jewish people began to return to their homeland and the Nation of Israel was reborn. God continues to bring the Jewish people from all corners of the world back to their homeland just as He said He would do.
The Bible also makes it clear that God is not finished with the people of Israel. In a past article we cited a number of Old Testament Scriptures showing how God would bring His people back to Israel again. In this article I would like for us to look at some New Testament Scriptures that reveal this as well.
In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul makes clear that God is not finished with the people of Israel. Though the people of Israel did reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and in response God would reject them for a time, it would not be permanent, rather temporary. And in that temporary setting aside of the people of Israel, God would fulfill another part of His plan and purpose, namely, that of bringing the gentiles into His fold.
Because time and space do not allow me to cite the entire chapter of Romans 11, I will cite only a few portions. I do encourage you to read the entire chapter. In Romans11:1-8, we read, "I say then, has God cast away His people (the Jews)? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant (a group of Jews) according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: "God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day."
And in Romans 11:11-20, "I say then, have they (the Jews) stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in."
And finally Romans 11:25-36, "For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins." Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?" "Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?" For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen."
Be assured dear ones that just as God has a plan and purpose for the people of Israel, He also has one for you. The only way that you will be able to know and experience this in your life is when you humble yourself before Him and submit your life to Him. Do not be as the stubborn unbelieving religious people of Jesusí day who would not humble themselves and accept Him as Lord and Savior. Repent of your sins today and turn to Jesus Christ in faith.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail email@example.com
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine