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Monday
May212018

One Penetrating Question

I was asked recently about Israel and why are so many people fixated on this little country in the Middle East?  They went on to say “Isn’t it all about Jesus, so why are we shifting our emphasis from Jesus to Israel?  

Now that was a good and sincere question, and the answer to it comes in a couple of ways. 

Revelation 12:17 “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

Zech 14:2-3 “  I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight  against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.  Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle.”

This tiny little country was chosen by God to represent Him on earth. The Bible records all interaction God had with Israel from the giving of the law, to the messages of the prophets. This interaction ultimately brought Jesus to earth to bring salvation to all of mankind. 

This story of salvation didn’t end at the cross, it continues into the future until He returns to reign on earth from Jerusalem. His goal is to bring both Jew and Gentile together in Himself, creating a new designation from the two. 

“He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.” Ephesians 2:15

Gentiles grafted into the olive tree and together with the Jews become one people in Jesus. The Church/Gentiles need to be reminded that we were grafted into their system, and we together become the one new man. God does not discount Israel as forgotten nor does He consider Gentiles second-class citizens in His Kingdom, we all become new people in Him. 

Romans 11:18-21  "do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.

Israel is a stumbling block with most Christians, and it is a shame. It is a shame because the leadership in the Church has failed to see that Jesus (being a Jew) came to fulfill God’s promises to Israel, which was to institute the New Covenant. Again, this new covenant was not directly given to Gentiles - it was given to the Jews. The prophet Jeremiah explains this new covenant: 

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israeland with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenantI made with their ancestorswhen I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,because they broke my covenant,though I was a husband to them, ” declares the Lord.

33 “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israelafter that time,” declares the Lord.“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.I will be their God,and they will be my people.
34 No longer will they teach their neighbor,or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’because they will all know me,from the least of them to the greatest,”
declares the Lord.“For I will forgive their wickednessand will remember their sins no more.”  

                                                                                                                              -Jeremiah 33:31

You can see that the New Covenant was given to Israel to fulfill the promises of a coming Messiah. The plan for the Gentiles was always to graft them into the Olive Branch.  

So that penetrating question cannot just be answered with a simple, “it is just all about Jesus” response. His story is about God’s covenants with His people the Jews, and how they were chosen to bring us the knowledge of God through the scriptures and through their Messiah. Jesus came to be the Savior of the world, but His story of being a Jew plays a role in how God redeems the world. Our Christian faith is in Jesus Christ, a Jew whose story is about the Jewish people, and the plan that God had for the whole world.  We cannot leave any of these pieces out if we want to understand the complete story of God’s redemption for this world. The Jews had a huge part to play in God’s redemption of all human beings. 

Keeping it honest and truthful….K

 

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