Almost all Christian publications carry frequent articles about Israel and ours is no exception. Topics typically range from political support for the nation of Israel in its current military struggle, to encouraging Christian tourists to visit, to articles that promise blessings to those who bless the Jews.
Recently I reviewed a 40-page section of articles about Israel in a Christian magazine. Sadly, I noticed there was not a single reference to the need for Jewish people to be born again, though the Scripture is abundantly clear that God’s salvation is available to all, whether Jew or Gentile, as long as they are willing to call on the name of Yeshua.
I have noticed this increasing tendency; people look with suspicion on the one who suggests that Jewish people also need to be saved. Of course, most Christians haven’t gone so far as to openly say that Jewish people need not be saved, though it is frequently implied.
A few preachers openly speak of two covenants; one for the Jews, and one for the rest of the world. This is treachery, a denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul writes clearly in Romans chapters 10 and 11 that God has not forsaken the Jewish people. The fact of their initial rejection of Jesus does not in any way exclude them from God’s grace. He loves them as much as He loves any other people. God gives special assurance that when all the nations of the world will be shaken in the last days, Israel, the Jewish people, will also experience a national awakening, and “Israel will be saved”. It appears that Israel will be the last nation to experience the “shaking” that the prophet Haggai spoke about. Still, the time will come when Israel will also look to Jesus, and discover that He is their Messiah, Yeshua the anointed One (see Zechariah chapters 12-14).
The Apostle Paul states that Israel’s full awakening will happen after “the fullness of the Gentiles have come in” (Rom. 11:25), but that the way of salvation for Jewish people is not different from any other people.
Let me highlight three statements that are often made to support the idea that God has a separate way of salvation for Israel.
1. God promises to bless the man or nation that blesses Israel. The basis for this statement is Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you and I curse him who curses you and in you all families of the earth shall be blessed.” (NKJ) This is a promise given to Abraham, with a direct reference to the salvation of Jesus that would be to “all families of the earth.”
According to the Bible, Abraham had at least eight sons; Ishmael, Isaac, and six other sons by Ketura, his wife after Sarah died. God promised blessing and salvation to all of Abraham’s descendents. More importantly, in Christ all of Abraham’s blessings are ours. In fact, this verse is a clear reference that those who bless believers, which are Abraham’s descendents by faith in Jesus Christ, will be blessed.
2. Some claim a principle of prosperity tied to blessing Israel and the city of Jerusalem. The Scripture used to support this is Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you.” We need to ask what is the peace of Jerusalem? Can Jerusalem have peace without the Prince of Peace? What does it mean to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Is it not to pray that the Prince of Peace will be revealed to the Jewish people? In fact, Jesus is the Peace of Jerusalem and those who love Him prosper.
3. “Israel is the fifth Gospel”. This is a phrase I keep hearing, often from people who indicate a virtual unconditional support for the state of Israel. I have visited Israel many times, and sometimes I wonder which Israel these right-winged Christian extremists are really supporting? In fact, the mainstream Jewish people living in Israel today are often not politically aligned with these views. Most Jewish people are like people of all countries; they want peace, to be able to work, raise their families and are not deeply entrenched in theological disputes. Their concern is not primarily about Gaza or another small piece of the land, but they are troubled at the deaths of many Jewish young men and women.
We need to be careful that our support of Israel does not alienate us from the Jews in Israel. It’s easy for us, who don’t have to send our sons and daughters to the front-line, to support a militaristic stance in Israel.
Much could be said. Bottom line is that the land of Israel is God’s business. Jesus said the Father would look after the land issue (Acts 1:5-8), regardless of the politics of Europe and America. Our task is to bring Him, Who is the PEACE OF JERUSALAEM, to everyone. If you want to know more about this task, check out Way of Peace http://www.wayofpeace.net/. Yes, the Jews are coming home to their land, that’s great, but not as great as when they come to their Savior, Yeshua. Your thought? – Peter