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Archive for Jews – Page 2

Partial Knowledge Until . . .

There is coming a time for Israel when God will comfort those who mourn in Zion and give beauty for ashes (Isa. 61:3).  It appears that Israel, God’s chosen people, have been left on the ash pit of history (Deut. 7:6-10). Not so!  The Jews will once again be at the head of the table and not the foot.

Romans 11 stands high above the fray when discussing Israel’s future. Paul asked a simple but extremely important question: “Has God cast away His people?” He shouted with his pen, “Certainly not!” Paul was living proof. To make his point crystal clear, he mentioned that he was from the seed of Abraham and that he was of the tribe of Benjamin. He was obviously making the case for his Jewishness and not the fact that he had become a new creation in Christ (Rom. 11:1-2).  

Paul used Elijah’s experience at Mt. Carmel as an illustration of God’s preserving a Jewish remnant. God had aligned Elijah against the prophets and priests of the pagan god, Baal. Elijah posed an ultimatum to the Jews hiding in caves. If Baal is God, serve him, but if Yahweh is God, serve Him. After the gods of the prophets of Baal failed to produce a fire, Elijah asked the living God to send down fire from heaven. God responded with a fire that consumed the sacrifice and the entire altar. It was a graphic, powerful victory for Elijah and the Jews (1 Kings 18:25–39).

After the victory, Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah, and he ran like a scared child. Lying on his face, he cried out to God, reminding Him he was all alone – as if God needed the information. God’s response was clear. “Get up, Elijah!” God said that He had reserved 7,000 people for Himself. This was sovereign choice. It can mean nothing else. God had set apart for Himself a specific number of Jews who had not worshipped false gods. Does one think that God asked the 7,000 if they wanted to be set apart or not?  God had reserved for Himself a remnant. There will always be a remnant, according to God’s election of grace (Rom. 11:5–6).

There is a believing remnant of Jews in the church today. They are both the physical descendants and the spiritual descendants of Abraham. In Romans 9:6, when Paul said that not all Israel is Israel, he meant that not all Jews believed in the Messiah (by faith), so not all of them were being born like Isaac. Many Jews still held on to the law to give them life. This was not going to happen. God made Isaac happen by faith, not by keeping the law. Only God could make Sarah’s dead womb alive and give Abraham’s dead body the seed necessary to birth Isaac.

Paul was teaching that the Jew is not a Jew – outwardly – because of circumcision. Physical circumcision is a sign, a symbol of real circumcision – a circumcision of the heart. This spiritual circumcision is a spiritual severing of the flesh from the spirit (Romans 2:28–29).  Physical circumcision cannot give life. This life can only come through the Spirit of the living God. There were then and there are today many sincere Jews depending upon their keeping the law and their physical connection to Abraham by circumcision to give them life before God. It will never happen!  

In Galatians 6:16, Paul referred to saved Jews as “the Israel of God.” He was not saying that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan for the ages. Not at all!  There are Jews today who are believing the gospel thus rejecting the religion of the Pharisees. They are being given life like Isaac. They are Jews who are indeed the Israel of God. Paul quoted Hosea to remind us that Gentiles, who were once on the outside, were now sons of the living God” (Rom. 9:26). This miracle happened only because of Israel’s blindness (Rom. 11:11-33). Paul quoted the prophet Isaiah, saying that though the number of the children of Israel were as many as the sand of the sea, the remnant would be saved. Paul used the article “the” to single out that remnant. Quoting Isaiah again, Paul said of the Jews that unless God had left them a physical line, they would have become like Sodom and Gomorrah (Rom. 9:27–29).

The vast majority of the Jews, during Paul’s day and even today, are still in unbelief.  A remnant of Jews is being saved, but as a whole, most are wandering about in a God-inflicted, blind stupor. And blind they will remain “in part until.” “In part” is a fraction and “until” is a time word. Only a fraction of the Jews will be saved until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in, at which point “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). Paul called this a mystery, and a mystery it is.

Many Gentiles are receiving God’s grace all around them, yet as a nation the Jews remain oblivious to what is happening. One day God will remove the blindness and the Jews will see. The Carpenter from Nazareth – He is the One. They will then be grafted back into their own olive tree (Rom. 11:24). They will be given beauty for ashes. Amazing! 

 

Don’t Forget the Jews

We dare not forget the men and women who gave their lives that we may enjoy freedom in America. In like manner, we dare not forget the Jewish race.  No people in all of human history have been hated like the Jews. They have become the scourge of the world. They endured the pain and suffering of the Holocaust in which over six million perished, but God has never failed to bless them.

The world has watched the Jews accomplish amazing things in the area of technology. Their specialists have been exceptional in mathematics, science, chemistry, physics, optics, medicine, economics, biotechnology, and computer science. They were instrumental in giving us the atomic bomb. Their discoveries and designs are legion.

God blesses them though the great majority are living in rebellion against Him. Is there any hope for their salvation as a nation? Asked another way, is there any real biblical reason to believe that God has permanently cast aside the Jews? No. In fact, there is every reason to believe that He has an incredible plan for their future. The reason is simple: God never goes back on His word. Never. Those dry Jewish bones mentioned by Ezekiel will live again (Ezekiel 37:4–11).

A glaring fact is that the Jews are still with us. They have not been assimilated into other nations, as one would expect. Some of them still know the various tribes from which they come. Most other nations have lost their original ethnicity, having been absorbed into other people groups. Not the Jews. They have at times become a part of other nations, but they have kept their identity as Jews. There are German Jews, Polish Jews, Russian Jews, American Jews, but they are still Jews.

In a tape series on prophecy, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson mentioned a quote from David Baron.  I just paraphrase it here. Baron spoke of a river in the ocean. He said that in the harshest droughts it never dries up and in the largest floods it never overflows. The Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its mouth is somewhere in the Arctic seas. It is the Gulf Stream. There is no flow of water like it in the world. Its current moves faster than the Mississippi or the Amazon, and its volume of water is more than a thousand times greater. Its waters are the color of indigo blue. There is a visible difference between the Gulf Stream and the common sea water. Often one-half of a vessel may be observed as floating in Gulf Stream water while the other half is in common sea water.

This phenomenon in the physical world has its counterpart in life. There is a lonely river in the midst of the ocean of humanity. The mightiest floods of human temptation have never caused it to overflow, and the hottest fires of human cruelty have never caused it to dry up. Its fountain is in the gray dawn of the world’s history of the promise to Abraham, and its mouth is somewhere in the shadows of eternity. It too refuses to mingle with the surrounding waves. The line that divides it from the common waters of humanity is also plainly visible to the eye. It is the Jewish race.

Dr. Johnson went on to recall Baron’s words with an amazing illustration: If one was traveling on a boat in the ocean and reached down into the Gulf Stream and picked up a handful of water and threw it into common sea water, it would immediately be absorbed into the sea, losing its identity. But what if it was not absorbed? What if it continued to stand out? This is what has happened to Israel. They have been a mere handful of people scattered on the great ocean of humanity. But instead of being absorbed into other people groups, as we should have expected, judging from a knowledge as to what has happened to other nations of people, the Jews, after being in such a condition for thousands of years, continue to exist as a separate people.

The vast majority of Jews do not live in Israel. They are scattered throughout the four corners of the earth. God will one day open their spiritually blind eyes. He will draw them to Himself as a shepherd calls his sheep, and they will come. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1–3). Stay safe and stay tuned.