Paul: God Has Not Abandoned Israel!
Throughout the ages, some Christians have claimed the negligible number of Jewish people who possess saving faith in Jesus indicates God has abandoned His people Israel and replaced them with a vast number of believing Gentiles. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To refute this erroneous claim, the apostle Paul used the Old Testament to prove God has not forsaken Israel, and all His promises to His Chosen People remain valid.
In Romans 9—11, Paul explained why the gospel of Messiah Jesus represents the genuine Jewish faith despite the fact that only a minority of Jews believe in Jesus and the Jewish spiritual leadership considers Him an apostate.
Paul quoted the Hebrew Scriptures in Romans 9:7, 9, 11–13, 15 and 11:4 to make it clear that salvation is based on God’s sovereign choice, as the ancient prophets also knew. God chose Jacob but not Esau; and in the prophet Elijah’s day, He reserved 7,000 people in Israel who refused to bow to the pagan god Baal.
In Romans 9:24–29, Paul quoted Hosea 1:10; 2:23; and Isaiah 1:9; 10:22–23 to show God’s eternal commitment to fulfill all He has promised to His people Israel—the biological descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In Romans 10, Paul quoted from Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Joel to prove that Israel’s rejection of Jesus was not a surprise. The prophets already had prophesied it, and it is part of God’s eternal plan. In fact, God designed His plan to use Israel’s spiritual failure to bring the gospel to the Gentiles—which is why he told the Gentile believers in Rome, “Concerning the gospel they [the Jewish people] are enemies for your sake” (11:28).
As a result, saved Gentiles would become the wonderful tool in God’s hand to provoke the Jews to salvation, as Moses prophesied: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation” (10:19). Paul also turned to Isaiah: “But Isaiah is very bold and says: ‘I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me’” (v. 20). Paul was teaching Gentile believers the Jewish Scriptures, explaining why salvation has come to them.
Then he declared, “Has God cast away His people? Certainly not! . . . God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew” (11:1–2). “Concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers” (v. 28). The apostle followed up with this wonderful verse: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (v. 29). What God has promised the Jewish people will be theirs forever.
If saved Gentiles had internalized this truth throughout history, much Jewish blood would have been spared. Instead, because a significant portion of the church sees itself as the “new Israel,” organized Christendom has been responsible for centuries of Jewish persecution.