Burning Questions answered
by Rev Colin Le Noury.
Q4. When the Jews rejected Christ, did this end God's purposes for them as a nation?
No! No! No! and a thousand times No! God has not terminated His relationship with His ancient people Israel. This fact cannot be overstated, especially in these days when so-called "Replacement Theology" is gaining popularity; asserting that the church has taken the place of Israel in God's plan and purposes.
The question posed above, however, is not a new one, nor is it merely a reaction to the falsehood stated. The same question obviously existed in peoples minds in the New Testament days. The great apostle Paul, the theologian of the New Testament, poses this question rhetorically in his treatise on Israel in Romans 9-11. He says, "Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which He foreknew" (Romans 11 :1-2a).
Paul is most emphatic about God's relationship to His people Israel and is convinced that the sovereign and eternal purposes cannot in any way be altered by the whimsical attitudes, or even the downright rebellion, of the people themselves.
To appreciate this relationship it is important to have a clear understanding of the history on which it is based. A history which dates back to the call of Abraham himself.
Abraham, of course, was the father of the Jewish nation and was chosen by God to raise up a people who would be God's representatives among the peoples of the world. The prophetic promises given to Abraham concerning his descendancy through the line of Isaac and Jacob forms the Abrahamic covenant - the basis of God's relationship with Israel.
Years later the Lord spoke to king David about his purposes for his people as a nation. The Davidic covenant, as found in 2 Samuel 7, confirms and assures him of God's faithfulness to his people - a people who had not always been faithful to Him.
Paul is convinced that the Lord does not break His promises or go back on the covenants He has made. Indeed, it is in the context of God's covenants that Paul makes the statement, "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29).
The Living Bible paraphrases verses 28-29 very clearly in the following words, "Yet the Jews are still beloved of God because of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For God's gifts and His call can never be withdrawn; He will never go back on His promises."
It is, of course, true that the nation of Israel, at this time, is very much in a state of unbelief. Despite this, however, the discerning student of prophecy will clearly see that the Lord is still working out his purposes for them as a nation.
Far from being ended, we believe that God's purposes are just beginning to unfold in a new way as the Jewish nation is restored. In chapter 37 of Ezekiel's prophecy he speaks about the renewal and revival of Israel nationally. His vision of a valley of crumbling skeletons which come together in perfectly formed bodies and then become clothed in flesh before receiving the spirit of life. Many see in this the re-establishment of the Jewish nation in 1948 and the continuing hand of God upon them in subsequent years.
Once again, the apostle Paul is clear in his own mind that the day would come when they would be converted from their state of unbelief and restored into a harmonious relationship with their covenant God.
"For I would brethren that you be not ignorant of this mystery ... that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved" (Romans 11:25-26a).
Clearly then from a biblical, historical and prophetic point of view we can determine that God's purposes for the Jews are far from ended.
Colin Le Noury