Welcome back! I hope you’re here for the study…we’ve got a chair for you! Slide in and get comfy.
In Matthew 23:39, Jesus told His Jewish disciples that they would not see Him again (after His resurrection and ascension) until He was welcomed back with these words: “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” However, there are at least 3 conditions that must be met in order for the King to return.
The first condition is that Israel must be back in her land. We discussed that in detail yesterday, but in brief, Israel was re-born as a nation in 1948 and Jews have come back to their homeland in droves.
The second condition is that Israel’s historical mission must not fail. If you have followed the study, you know that Israel’s mission is to be God’s vehicle of world redemption. He chose them for that purpose and, if the mission fails, God is a liar and Christianity has no basis! So, let’s talk about that condition.
God absolutely loves Israel and wants to save her. However, His choice of Israel as the vehicle of world redemption has nothing to do with salvation. He did not save them because He chose them…and He did not choose them because they were saved. He chose them simply because He chose them! (God has that prerogative!) In fact, God uses Israel for His purposes despite their unbelief!
Let’s chat about Israel’s unbelief and God’s plan of world redemption. I once struggled with Romans 11:26, which indicates that all Israel will be saved. My question was, “Does that mean ALL Israel…regardless of their belief or unbelief?” In essence, that is one of the questions that drove this study! I set out on a quest to find a good, solid answer to that question, and more about how Christians and Jews should relate.
Here is the bottom line: Jews come to salvation just like we (Gentiles) do. Faith in Jesus’ work on the cross is the only pathway to salvation and redemption from a world of sin. No one in history gets saved by any other means than through the death of Jesus. So, the answer to the question is: only those who come to faith in Jesus as Messiah are saved.
But, there is no excuse for either Gentiles or Jews because throughout history Jesus has revealed Himself clearly. To illustrate…the Old Testament prophets, patriarchs and many others loved God and served Him. They looked forward through eyes of faith to the cross of Christ. In their belief, God gave us His Holy Word, the Bible. (Granted, Jewish eyes, for the most part, are veiled, making it extremely difficult for them to see the Messiah. But not impossible…and a day will come when they will see clearly!)
At this point in history, we look back through eyes of faith to the cross of Christ. Looking forward and looking back each require faith. Because of unbelief on the part of the Jews, the door was opened for Gentiles to receive the Messiah! Thus, God uses both Israel’s belief and their unbelief to accomplish His purpose! Amazing!
Now, let’s head back to Romans 11:28-29:
As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
To set the context, Romans 11 describes the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. Paul states emphatically that God has not forgotten His people, but that He has been gracious enough to allow Gentiles to be grafted into the olive tree (Jewish roots!).
We’ve already focused on the “irrevocable” part of the passage above, so let’s hone in on the first part of that passage. An enemy is one who is opposed to something, and talking about Jews, Paul tells us they are enemies of the gospel FOR OUR SAKE. In other words, they are opposed to the gospel because they don’t see Jesus as the Messiah, but that is for our sake! Why? Because it opened up a doorway of salvation for us. (A debt we cannot re-pay!)
However, regarding election (God’s choice of them), they are beloved FOR THE SAKE OF THEIR FOREFATHERS. Who are their forefathers? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! They are beloved because they are the vehicle of world redemption! (World redemption coming through the Abrahamic Covenant when God told Abraham in Genesis 12:3 and other places that every family on the planet will be blessed through him and his descendants.)
Such two things are true because of verse 29: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable!” God’s call for them to be the conduit of salvation and redemption is irrevocable! Even in their unbelief, God accomplishes His purpose.
Thus, the second condition for the return of the King is intact: Israel’s historical mission has not (and will not) fail! Praise God for that.