Updated: Jul 12, 2020
Published on Israel National News; Mar 12, 2020: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/25365
Perhaps the most compelling raison d'être of the Christian, is that of being a witness. The command of the great commission was to; “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15] It is a biblical directive that even includes an order; “…to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” [Rom 1:16]
But it was an order – with a paradox. Christian theology describes how this primary audience was destined to reject the Jewish Messiah featured in the great commission. Incredibly, this Jewish rejection would become the “favour” and foundation upon which the Christian faith and gospel was established. The biblical narrative was clear however, that in spite of their rejection and ensuing antagonism, neither would ever change Jewish election and status with God, both of which are unalterable.
Sadly, these truths were eviscerated from Christian theology and consciousness through the millennia. The “new covenant” of “faith” was intended to birth people into a belief system and lifestyle that espoused the virtues of love, mercy and forgiveness. Included in its original inception, was the foundational respect for the Jewish people – all of which was ruinously displaced with an unscriptural, evil substitute; replacement theology.
This contributed to one of religious history’s most tragic ironies, the effects of which are still very real today. Replacement theology in the church legitimized horrific atrocities against Jews – under the guise and fulfillment of the great commission. In the centuries that followed, powerful forces exerted every imaginable effort to forcibly “convert” Jews – and when that failed, tried to annihilate both their race and religion. God of course was not ignorant of all these things and at the appropriate time – 1948 - obliterated this aberration in Christian theology.
Was this unmistakable vindication of the divine hand of God’s protection, preservation and blessing upon Israel a sign? What is the true appraisal of this event - and commensurately - of God’s plan in redemption regarding current and future Christian / Jewish relations?
We must value the miraculous Jewish restoration leading up to and as it continues to surpass 1948, for what it truly is; a spiritual Rosetta Stone and lens by which Christian doctrine and eschatology must be interpreted and refocused. This event not only proved that God’s covenants with Israel are irrevocable but more importantly, that Israel occupies the leading role in the final unfolding in the plan of redemption. Redemption has a geographical component, the prospects of which were impossible - as long as the Jews remained scattered in the Diaspora.
Could one of the mysteries of the ages regarding God’s preservation of the Jewish people as a Nation be that He intentionally and specifically made them impervious to the great Commission and Christian missionary efforts? That the prophecies and His plan of redemption demanded this and that their restoration was only ever to be as the Jewish Nation of people who were unapologetic and resolutely committed to their covenants at Sinai and Torah – and not as another “Christian nation”? That these pre-existing covenants were the very essence and purpose of Israel’s complete and full restoration which includes the third Temple, and that by this and only this - would the conditions finally be achieved for the long-awaited Jewish Messiah to finally be revealed in Israel?
Numerous references imbedded in Christian scriptures proved that the Jewish nation was not going to respond to Christian attempts of evangelism and missionary endeavors. Paul stated that concerning the “gospel”, Jews would be considered as “enemies”. [Rom 11:28] But lest anyone imagine this refusal had anything to do with Jewish election, Paul emphatically concludes with; “but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.” Thus, Jewish election clearly overrides missionary endeavors.
Further on Jewish election, Paul unequivocally attests to the Jews unique status. It’s their “advantage”; they were the first “recipients of the oracles of God”[Rom3:1,2]. If Paul and the first Christians recognized Jewish election, perhaps it’s high time for Christians today to again acknowledge, honour and respect their unique status – and act accordingly.
The promise contained in Rom 11:25-29 alludes to the Jews future, National redemption, complete with the abolition of sin. This truth should have stood as a beacon of what Christian / Jewish relations was meant to have been through the millennia. Paul issues a directive to the Romans – and Christians for all time; “…that through your mercy they [Jews] also may obtain mercy.” [Rom 11:31]
By this it is possible to envision that in God’s infinite wisdom, He has a plan that supersedes the status quo of Christian theology that mandates Jewish conversion and Christian missionary endeavors. It is also possible to envision that He has conscripted Christian / Jewish relations to an historical correction. That Christians, whose roots hale from the Jewish faith and bible, were to have assumed a mantel of being a shield and protector of God’s covenant people while they were scattered - instead of being some of the guiltiest anti-Semites.
Doing so should not be considered an abdication of responsibilities, but rather of conceding and submitting to a divine plan that historical facts attest to. After all, if the Jews were so resilient and could not be “forced” into conversion while outside their inheritance, their current restoration and revival can only mean one thing – that a greater plan of an higher order is unfolding!
So what then was or is the “mercy” of Christian benevolence today? It’s the contribution, love and support that unequivocally accommodates and realizes the goal of redemption by helping finish up Israel’s complete and full restoration in Sovereignty. Only in complete restoration and sovereignty will the means be achieved by which God’s promised Messiah to the Nation of Israel, will step on the scene.
And that is the epicenter of the great battle in Israel today. It’s a conflict of “faith”. Secular Israelis opposing the faithful Jews who earnestly seek restoration and the return of the Shekinah presence of God. This is precisely why Israel’s Sovereignty has been so hotly contested and resisted these 70+ years since its founding. And yet, without which, the long-awaited redemption that Jews and Christians both seek, is perpetually delayed.
As our Jewish and Christian destinies are inseparable, let us refocus our relationship with our Jewish brothers and sisters and show mercy. Let Christians build on this revelation which will prove to this current generation of Jews that the “sins” of the past - are unfounded fears. That by extending support and mercy – they will receive mercy and be restored – as a Nation first and then in faith - which the promised and long-awaited global redemption will surely follow!
Rev Anthony Abma
Return O' Israel