What are your thoughts about Israel and the Jewish people? Do you pray for them as the Bible instructs us to do? Do you bless them as the scriptures instruct us to do? Or are you among the masses who believe that they’re the problem of the world? Do you misunderstand scriptural truths about them, as does the replacement theology groups who erroneously teach that the Christian church has replaced them? Are you among those who misinterpreted their rejection of their Messiah and label them Jesus killers? The questions are hard to read but a lack of knowledge of God’s Word and His plan for Israel has made hatred for God’s chosen people a blithe or stain in the history of the church who should know better.
As someone who loves, supports and prays for Israel daily, I have encountered the ignorance of those who hate her without justification for their lack of understanding and knowledge of their history with God, whose covenant with Israel is irrevocable. All throughout scripture we read of God’s unfailing and unrelenting love for the Jewish people. It would behoove us, the body of Christ, to educate ourselves about these covenant promises before we join any conversation concerning the Jews. God has not and will never replace them, or change His covenant with them. They are His chosen people. Jesus came specifically for their redemption. We are blessed to have been engrafted in because of their disobedience. But, they will be engrafted back in after the full number of the Gentiles (us) has come in.
The book of Romans is key to understanding in the New Testament era of the Christian church, God’s perfect plan of redemption for both Jews and Gentiles. Christians are quick to point out the Jews rejection of Jesus, while ignoring our own. Our claim to fame is our downfall. We have the same opportunity they had and have and are rejecting Him. To their credit they have not turned to other religions, they have but one, their problem is the Law and unbelief. If we claim to not have crucified Jesus but still reject His plan of salvation, we, as the scriptures say, are crucifying Jesus all over again. Hebrews 6.
Let’s explore some passages of scripture to shed light on some of the false claims and teachings of those who are either ignorant or just refuse to embrace God’s loving plan for Israel. I implore you to read the entire book of Romans, and ask the Holy Spirit for revelation. I can’t share everything here in this message or it will become a series. But if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, it’s imperative that you read these chapters to understand our responsibility as Christians to pray for and share the love of Jesus discerningly with our Jewish brothers and sisters. We’re not crusaders, we’re not here to change who they are, no more than I am able to do with you. But we’re to be Witnesses in whom they can see Jesus Christ their Messiah. I will begin with a promise God made to Abraham the father of the Jewish race, which affects all of us christians and non believers.
“I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:3 NLT
(See also Numbers 24:9)
We can’t claim the promises of scripture without first acknowledging to whom they were first given. We sing Abraham’s blessings are mine, but there’s a caveat, most of the promises made to the Jews are exclusively theirs. The fulfillment rests with the Jewish people. The promise above was to Abraham and his Jewish descendants. To bless Israel is to bless ourselves, to curse them is to curse ourselves. In Psalm 122 we are encouraged to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. There is no other scripture that specifically names a city by name to be prayed for. Let’s read:
“Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper. O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.”
Psalms 122:6-9 NLT
As believers in Jesus Christ that’s our responsibility: To pray for the well-being of God’s chosen people. When Balaam was hired by Balak to curse the Jews here’s what God told him:
But God told Balaam, “Do not go with them. You are not to curse these people, for they have been blessed!”
Numbers 22:12 NLT
Please read the entire chapter it’s very entertaining. Also read chapter 23
God has blessed the Jewish people and no one can wipe them out, throw them into the sea or curse them. They are blessed with or without Gentile help. See Isaiah 14
Now to the book of Romans written by the apostle Paul. A Jew called to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. He has written in a way that only the intellectual elites can misunderstand it. Every detail is succinctly written. We are blessed indeed like Jesus stated to partake of the salvation that is of the Jews. John 4:22.
Let’s begin in Romans 9-Paul is anguishing over the souls of his fellow Israelites, Desiring their salvation.
“With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed His glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them His law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping Him and receiving His wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ Himself was an Israelite as far as His human nature is concerned. And He is God, the One who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Well then, has God failed to fulfill His promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children. For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to His own purposes; He calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”
Romans 9:1-12 NLT
God’s election or selection of people nations has nothing to do with how we see things. But everything fits perfectly into His divine intentions. We should be agonizing over every lost soul. We don’t get to select who we love and care about. God’s plan of redemption is to the Jews first because they were supposed to, from Abraham to Jacob, introduce all nations to the one true God. Remember what Jesus said? Salvation is of them. Now we are to return the favor. Chapter 10 begins much like chapter 9.
“Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Him are made right with God.”
Romans 10:1-4 NLT
Paul continues; “Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “ Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” But I ask, did the people of Israel really understand? Yes, they did, for even in the time of Moses, God said, “I will rouse your jealousy through people who are not even a nation. I will provoke your anger through the foolish Gentiles.”
Romans 10:12-19 NLT
The nations should’ve learned from the Jews what we are now relaying to them. They, like some of us, have heard the good news. But their minds have been blinded to the truth. Which has worked to our advantage. Omg! This is so much! I’m trying my best to condense it all! But if you’ll prayerfully read this commentary along with the full chapters you’ll get the revelation. Let’s continue in chapter 11
“I ask, then, has God rejected His own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected His own people, whom He chose from the very beginning. Do you realize what the Scriptures say about this? Elijah the prophet complained to God about the people of Israel and said, “ Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!” It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—His undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved. So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have—the ones God has chosen—but the hearts of the rest were hardened.
Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But He wanted His own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it. I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead!”
Romans 11:1-7, 11-15 NLT
Are you getting the picture? We are beneficiaries of their rejection! But that’s not so we can boast, but that in gratitude, we will now show kindness to them drawing them back to their Messiah. You may have to use your weekend to read this message, but it will be worth it. Let’s pick it up in verse 17 and I’ll try to close.
“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root. “Well,” you may say, “those branches were broken off to make room for me.” Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, He won’t spare you either. Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in His kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off. And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree. You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into His cultivated tree, He will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong. I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people He loves because He chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn. Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against Him, God was merciful to you instead. Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy. For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so He could have mercy on everyone. Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.”
Romans 11:17-36 NLT
I believe these last set of verses have fully explained how merciful God has been to all of us. But it also clearly states how much He loves and keeps His covenant promises to His chosen people. None of us can boast, neither Jews or Gentiles. God has now provided a level playing field. We all must accept Jesus’ finished work. But we must put aside our personal feelings or anything not based in scriptural reality concerning the Jews, and embrace and love them back to life. The life centered on grace alone for salvation.
“Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises He made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for His mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote: “For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”
Romans 15:7-9 NLT
My goodness! This message came out of my study this morning. I got so excited and said to the Holy Spirit. I’d like to one day write a message on this topic relating to how some Christians and unbelievers have maligned the Jews. Because they have either not been taught or have never read and understood God’s covenant with Israel. Ignorance is never an excuse for repeating a lie. Especially when information is available-Factual information. I pray that our attitude will change if we were a part of the “blame Israel” group, and begin as the scriptures say, to pray for them. God bless you as you do so.
“For you see, the believers in Macedonia and Achaia have eagerly taken up an offering for the poor among the believers(Jews) in Jerusalem. They were glad to do this because they feel they owe a real debt to them (Jews). Since the Gentiles received the spiritual blessings of the Good News from the believers (Jews) in Jerusalem, they feel the least they can do in return is to help them financially.”
Romans 15:26-27 NLT
“God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?”
Numbers 23:19 NLT
God has not changed His mind about Israel, and neither should we as believers in Jesus Christ.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit