Inside View Sep/Oct 2016
It is common to cross paths with Christians who don’t believe the Jewish people today are God’s Chosen People. They fail to see how Israel fits into God’s plan for this world, and they cannot grasp Israel’s significance to them as believers in Jesus. Yet Israel is crucial to God’s plan to redeem the earth.
After Jesus arose, He met with His disciples before ascending to heaven (Acts 1:4–9). Taking them to the Hebrew Scriptures, He helped them understand that He had to fulfill what was written about Him in the Law, Psalms, and Prophets, which present two images of the Messiah: a suffering Servant (Ps. 22; Isa. 53) and a conquering King (Ps. 2; Isa. 11). He had fulfilled the suffering-Servant prophecies; and one day, He will return as conquering King. He considered this information so important that He wanted to ensure the disciples understood it before they began to build His church.
As followers of Christ, the same is true for us today. Through the progress of revelation, God unfolds His redemptive design little by little. People who see no future for Israel often say you must understand the New Testament before you can understand the Old. Yet Jesus and His disciples preached redemption before the New Testament was written. Their understanding began in the Old Testament.
Redemption is the payment of a price, by one who is qualified, to liberate someone or something from bondage. In Genesis 3, God unveiled His plan to send the Seed of a woman to redress the damage done by mankind’s sin (v. 15). This Redeemer would suffer when Satan bruised His heel, but Satan would be defeated when the Redeemer bruised his head. This promise gives us hope that all was not lost by mankind’s rebellion. God will fix everything.
To do so, He chose to create a unique nation through one man, Abraham (12:1–3). Through him, God promised to bless all the families of the world (v. 3). The apostle Paul noted the magnitude of this promise when he told the Galatians, “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed’” (Gal. 3:8).
God promised to work through Abraham’s descendants of promise, Israel, to accomplish His redemptive plan. So important is this promise to God that He confirmed it in a unilateral covenant with Abraham, binding Himself to keep it (Gen. 12; 15; 17).
From God’s sage perspective, the best way to redeem this sinful world is through a single nation and, ultimately, a promised Son of this nation. If God the Son was going to assume the form of a man, He had to come through the nation God chose for that purpose. God’s plan to deliver humanity and restore Earth to its pre-sin environment flows through the Jewish people. Only through Israel will God fulfill those promises.
Yet Israel’s purpose did not end with the First Coming. By God’s sovereign design, Israel ultimately will lead the world in worship of Him (Ex. 19:6; Zech. 8:20–23). Through His plan of redemption, God answers those who say the Jewish people are no longer His chosen, and He testifies to the irrevocability of their calling.
There is much more to share on this subject. Our prophecy conferences in Winona Lake, Indiana, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, this summer focused on Israel’s place in God’s redemptive plan. You can purchase the conference messages later this year from The Friends of Israel web store, or by calling 800–257–7843.