Jesus and the Jews - Part I
There is much misunderstanding about the place of Israel in relationship to the Church, and the future God has planned for the nation of the Jews.
The proper procedure, in settling this question, is to read obscure OT prophecies in light of clear NT texts of Romans 9-12. What is God's role for Paul's genetic kin?
What I want to do, in this first blog on the subject, without claiming to be an expert, is to lay down some principles to help find answers to this question.
Principle 1 - We will only find right answers if we have the mind of Christ and unceasing anguish in our heart (Romans 9:1-3).
While the language sounds extreme, Paul didn't fake or lie - in union with Christ, by the Holy Spirit, he acknowledged his debt to his religious heritage & wished he could be crucified to save His fellow countrymen. In our heart, if we care little for Jews or Greeks, it is highly unlikely we will gain insight into this truth. Confess all indifference to perishing fellow countrymen, disregard for Gospel heritage, and sinful antisemitic views.
Principle 2 - We will only grasp the place of the Jews in the plan of God to the extent we understand the Old Testament history of Israel is part of the unfolding Gospel (Romans 9:4-5)
The call of Abram, election of Israel, Red Sea Crossing, Lawgiving at Mount Sinai, Shekinah Presence, Noah-to-David Covenants, trace the progress of God's eternal, sovereign, gracious, purpose to save a people for Himself. At no point was this purpose jettisoned or blocked. With every step, the relentless will of God advanced with a momentous, messianic, march to the time of Jesus' birth.
The mistake of many who consider these things is that they drive a wedge and create a disconnect between Abraham and Noah, Moses and Abraham, and David and Moses - a wedge is inserted which (in their minds) dams up the stream of Gospel grace of God. Light will start to shine to the degree that we observe that, form beginning to end, the Bible is One Book with a single, unified, message from start to finish: Divine Revelation in Redemptive History is a progressive, historical, organic, unfolding of the "Seed Promise of Eden" that was given to Adam (Genesis 3:15), which will only be complete when we eat of the fruit of Revelation's Tree of Life. If, therefore, we want to discover how Israelites fit in right, we must trace and cherish each and every part of the TANAK (Law, Prophets and Writings).
Pray that you would marvel at Christ's lineal descent. Ask for love like Jesus, in fulfilment of the Scriptures, that took Him to the Cross for His fellow countrymen.
Principle 3 - We will get a far better handle on this matter if we learn to read the OT attentively, correctly, prayerfully, and believingly, in the proper historical order (Romans 9:6-13)
For example, if we read the accounts of supernatural, spiritual, patriarchal births, as God had promised and predicted, we would more easily understand that God's purpose did not fail when Israel put their own promised King to death (with the help of a Roman prince). Ishmael was overlooked - the promised heir was Isaac. It was clear works had no place when God made a prenatal choice between twins in Rebekah's womb. Any thought that the baton of promise was passed to later descendants on the basis of genetics, is utterly alien to the Text.
Principle 4 - Until we accept that human free will does not determine who is saved, we will still remain confused about the place of Israel (Romans 9:14-29)
More examples follow as Paul cites Law and Prophets - a most basic fact about the God of Sinai is that He was just and right to raise-up and reprobate Pharaoh in order to display His power & glory. His will alone fixes who is mercifully softened and who is justly hardened.
Equally, we must embrace the truth that creatures never have any claim or leverage on the Creator. Just as disposable cups have no right to question their manufacturer's aim, so it is sheer presumption and impudence for any man alive to question the mind or plan of God. If most of Israel was exiled and lost, a remnant was kept (by grace) to preach the Gospel to the world, that all the spiritual seed of Abraham, both Jews and Greeks. might be saved through faith in Christ.
Principle 5 - Only as we appreciate that no-one ever was, is, or will be, saved without faith in Jesus Christ, apart from any hint of works will we discern where Israel sits (Romans 9:30-33).
Clearly, then, neither pursuit of self-righteousness by perverting the Law of Grace, nor stumbling over Christ, the messianic Rock of Offense, checked Gospel progress. The fall of Israel served to exalt "True Israel" Christ, who poured out His Spirit. The good news has gone out to Scotland, Ireland, USA, Canada, Sudan, South Asia, Australia and Japan, together with all planetary people-groups in the inclusive global alliance of King Jesus. Hallelujah!
How blessed we non-Israelite nations are to believe in Israel's King - this is why, the Spirit of Christ will produce, in saved sons of Noah, a fondness and affection for the nation of the Jews, and a kind heart of kindred faith with David, Moses and Abraham.