whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.Romans 9:5(NASB)
For thousands of years, Israel were God's chosen people and the only nation who had a covenant relationship with the Lord. They proudly celebrated this truth for centuries, but rejected God's offer of the kingdom of heaven on earth at Christ's first advent, causing the Lord to postpone His kingdom programme with His chosen people until the whole nation was ready and willing to acknowledge that 'Jesus Is Lord'.
In the meantime, God in His grace is taking from among the Gentiles, a people for His name through whom He is forwarding His plan of redemption, and for two thousand years, the Body of Christ, which is the Church, has been God's single mouthpiece to unsaved Jews and Gentiles alike.
The question has often been raised: "Has God finished with the Jews? Are they no longer His chosen people? Has the Church replaced Israel?" Paul emphatically answers this question in the negative. God has not finished with Israel, and Paul spends three whole chapters laying out God's unchangeable plan for His people – past, present, and future, in Romans 9-11.
Paul does not want us to be ignorant of God's plans. He does not want us to buy into the false teaching of 'replacement theology' which many are teaching today. The Church has not replaced Israel. The Lord has a programme for the Church and another one for Israel.
God's plans for the Church are mainly recorded in the New Testament epistles, while His plans for Israel are set out in Old Testament Scriptures and the four Gospels, and are reiterated by Paul in three detailed chapters of Roman.
"So! what is the significance of Israel?" we may ask, "And why is an apostate nation still needed in God’s purposes, if they rejected their Messiah?" Well, Israel were to be the people through Whom the Saviour was to be born, according to the flesh. They were 'God's adopted sons' as Moses told Pharaoh. To them belonged God’s adoption as a nation, and the glorious Shekinah presence of the Lord.
They received the special covenant promises of God, and were also entrusted with the Law together with the temple worship – and God’s Word cannot be broken. It was through them, that all the families of the earth were to be blessed, and if Christ had not been rejected by Israel at His First Advent – God would not have needed to call out for Himself a people for His name, and WE would not have a Saviour.
It is through the forefathers of Israel (and the many generations that followed) that the promised human-Seed of their Messiah silently travelled. God's dearly loved Son was finally born on earth by physical descent to Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit of the eternal God. However, it will not be until He is accepted and crowned by Israel as their King, that He will return to earth to set up His heavenly kingdom in the earthly Jerusalem.
You see, EVERY prophecy concerning Christ MUST be fulfilled if He is to return to earth and complete God's programme of redemption and the salvation of the world. At His First Coming, He fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy without fail – but He was rejected and His kingdom had to be postponed until His Second Coming. One important prophecy that must be fulfilled before His return, but which is often overlooked, is that Israel as a nation, MUST call on the name of the Lord for salvation before Christ Jesus can return to set up His Millennial Kingdom.
Through the study of Scripture, we know that Christ told His people that they would see Him no more until they fulfil Psalm 118 by crying out, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna!" Save US. They called this out at His First Coming BUT then crucified Him – causing his kingdom to be delayed, for a season.
When God's programme through the Church has been completed, then the Lord will remove the witness of His Church from the earth and graciously re-establish His work of redemption through Israel, during the coming time of Jacob's Trouble. Finally, they will ALL cry out to the Lord for salvation: "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."
May we make sure that we are properly informed of the mystery of the Church and the mystery of Israel. For 2000 years, many in Israel have remained blinded to the truth. But the day is coming when Christ, the Deliverer of His people, will hear their cry for salvation, and the final chapter of God’s redemptive plan will begin to unfold.
Heavenly Father, what an amazing plan of redemption, praise Your holy name. Thank You for Your people, Israel and for Your plans for the Church. I pray that during my time on earth, I may be a true witness of Your Word, until You come to take me to be with Yourself. I pray for the nation of Israel, that You would prepare the hearts of unbelieving Jews, who continue to be blinded to the truth that Jesus Christ is Israel’s Messiah. I pray that Your plans and purposes for mankind would continue to unfold, and I will rejoice with all the angels in heaven when Your chosen people finally cry out to the Lord for salvation. In Jesus' name, AMEN.
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