Israel In Prophecy
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|Isa 53:4-6, 12|
|John 5:36; 14:6; 17:4|
Are Jews saved in a different way than Christians are?
Let's dismiss a common error circulating among both Jewish and Christian circles: If God has a separate plan for the nation of Israel - apart from His church, does it not mean that Jews are saved in a different way than Christians are?
The answer is NO.
God's plan of salvation for the Jews and the nations is forever the same. It is through His provision of atonement by Messiah Yeshua only that anyone, Jew or Gentile is saved, as promised by God's covenant with Abraham. The Scriptures emphasize that those who are called (election) are separated (sanctified) for the purpose of their calling.
Such a salvation first to the Jew then to the Gentile was not meant to provoke ungodly jealousy among the nations, but godly jealousy between Jew and gentile. The model of that godly zeal is seen perfectly in Yeshua (John 2:16-17) who fulfilled Psalm 69:9 when the court of the Gentiles meant to be a place of prayer for all nations had become a marketplace instead. It was also reflected in his disciples who took the Good News to the nations, paying for it with their lives, and in the words of Paul (2 Cor 11:2). The "working out" of such a gift of salvation from YWHH in His Son demands that this wall of partition between Jew & gentile be taken down, that ALL nations may know the gift is FREE to them and have FREE ACCESS to it. The free access to this salvation never meant that Israel's calling was revoked or her promised inheritance (especially the land promise) to Israel's remnant was now transferred to the remnants of nations. God does not take lightly the presumption on the part of any nation to interfere with his plan to bless ALL nations, starting with Israel in its behavior towards the nations, down to the nations in their behavior towards Israel. He has separate and special plans and promises for each remnant nation. The emphasis in the beginning on Israel as a chosen nation served at least five essential purposes which cannot be erased from the annals of history:
How are the callings for Israel and the church the same? The calling of Israel was and still is to provoke the pagan nations to godly jealousy and bring them the light of YHWH and His Messiah so they might be reckoned among the saved and sanctified. The calling of the Church was and still is to likewise disciple all nations and provoke unbelieving Israel to godly jealousy. The callings are irrevocable and the same. These callings are from the start and forever mutually beneficial and one calling cannot nullify the other. [See VII. B. 1. Relationships and Parallels between the Church and Israel]
How are the callings of Israel and the Church different? The main difference is the time period when each were given their original calling, first to Israel, then to the Gentiles. First to Israel: To bring forth God's word out of Jerusalem to the ends of the earth and to bring forth Messiah and His light through His church, when all the pagan nations were lost in idolatry and rebellious except for a few remnants that allied themselves at rare times with the God of Israel. Then to the Gentiles: to join and strengthen the godly remnant of Israel in the Church, turning it into a chosen assembly of godly remnants from the nations, as long as some from all nations still refused God's provision of salvation. Each calling is unique with unique gifts and contributions to fit the needs of different times. But the main point is that these gifts were aimed for mutual blessing, Israel towards pagan Gentiles and Messianic Gentiles towards apostate Israel through the love of the Messiah who alone makes peace within the church and the world. This mutual calling to each other does not change the identity of the one who receives it. Jews become Messianic Jews, and gentiles become messianic gentiles, all grafted in Messiah by the Divine Gardener John 15:1-2 [See VII. A. ]
The seniority of the calling of Israel does NOT engender a priority of calling based on merit (the first will be last and the last will be first). Rather, it proves right the ways of God that single out Israel as first in judgment as well as in blessing so that all nations would contemplate God's retributive justice through a singular example and prototype nation and beware of repeating the same mistakes. The suffering of the Jews continues ever intensified by their continued rebelliousness to the Gospel and by the Gentile church's distrust of Israel's calling. But God disciplines those He loves as a father disciplines His son. So, the discipline that has come upon Israel from God cannot be historically appropriated by the nations themselves, or by a "triumphant church", lest the nations and church incur an even greater judgment. The effectiveness of the church to Israel and the nations is jeopardized by its lack of internal unity throughout history and blindness to its own historical guilt in this matter. This explains why the issue of Jew/Gentile equality is not laid to rest in the church.
The issue is not equality of Jew/Gentile believers but how they provoke each other to godly jealousy.
Just as the veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom, so was the wall of partition between Jewish and Gentile believers torn down. Once again, the issue is NOT that the Messianic (Christian) Jews and Gentiles fail to understand their equal status regarding salvation, (both were sinners and unworthy, but it is a free gift of God independent of merit). Rather, the issue is that they have at various times misunderstood the nature of God's zeal which He demonstrated through Paul's example, whom He turned from overzealous Pharisee (Rom 10:2; Phil 3:6; Prov 19:2) to zealous apostle (2 Cor 11:2 ). Cutting the early church from its Jewish roots was not what Paul meant by "provoking Jews to godly jealousy (zeal)" (Rom 11:11 ). The Gentile Church reproduced the same errors of the Pharisees (Gal 4:17-18 ) by refusing to face their own arrogance, and swinging between two extremes: on one hand, they risked falling into permissive grace (1 Cor 10:21-23), on the other into legalism. If the Gentile churches develop merit/works theologies, rejecting Messiah (historically, his theological centrality or his divinity), building corrupt priestly hierarchies, etc., are they not risking the same apostasy as Israel? In our days, the culmination of gentile church hypocrisy is expressed in the double standard that allows national homes and ethnic identities within the church for all existing nations, but prohibits the same when it comes to Israel and the Jews. In charging Israel of "violent occupation," the terrorist stigma is transferred from the perpetrators to the victims. Never minding the anti-Semitic conspiracy to eradicate Jews from the earth and the struggle of Jews just to survive, the churches that oppose Israel's right as a nation today choose to give a blind eye to the bloody histories behind the building of their own territorial borders. Presbyterian Church USA and the Anglican Communion churches demand that the land of Israel won in defensive war be restored to the Palestinian Arabs, but they ignore the fact that within their borders it is incongruous to think of restoring land to its native people. This contravenes God's purpose to draw Jews to His Messiah through an exemplary Messianic Church and continues to present a false Messianic witness, contributing to Jewish animosity towards the Gospel. Let's face the true issues today and stop beating a dead dog: what is in question is not Jew/Gentile equality in the face of God's requirements for salvation. Those who insist it is are hanging on to an appearance of "doctrinal righteousness" and unwilling to face their own histories. This also covers up the Church's historical guilt which needs to be exposed so as to further reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles within the church and hasten the appearance of the "New Man" in Messiah, who is both (yet neither) Jew and Gentile, both (yet neither) male or female. This means that Unless God Himself abolishes gender or national characteristics, none are allowed to do so in His place.
Related Question: Is it right to proselytize a Jew. If so how?