Sunday, February 3, 2008


"the star of your god Remphan" (Acts 7:43)

Many Christian churches have a heart for the nation of Israel. They may even place the political interests of Israel ahead of those of their own country. After all, isn't Israel "God's chosen people," the "apple of God's eye"? Hasn't God himself regathered the Jewish people back into their homeland in fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:24? Didn't he intervene for them in military conflicts with their enemies in order to accomplish this? Doesn't God have a special blessing for those who "pray for the peace of Jerusalem"? ("They that love thee shall prosper." Psalm 122).

Is this really the attitude God wants us to have today about this nation called Israel? What is God's own attitude toward the Jews today? The answer lies, of course, in God's word.

The bulk of the "Old Testament" is taken up with the story of God's love affair with his chosen people, Israel. He, in effect, gave birth to her by leading her through the waters of the Red Sea. He courted her in the wilderness, proving his love to her by vanquishing her enemies and by providing for her every physical need. All God asked from his betrothed in return was trusting faithfulness. In recalling her response to that love, we may wince as we remember Israel's stiff-necked pride in declaring that she could jolly well do everything for herself (Exodus 19:8), and on top of that, her continual "whoring" after other gods. Finally, God divorced her before the marriage ever actually took place. (Hosea 5:6: "They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them." This is paralleled in the amazing love story of the King and the Shulamite in Song of Solomon 5:6!)

But did God put Israel away forever? Not at all! Even in his hurt and anger, God left the door open for Israel to return to his bosom. He promises that in a future day, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him." (Hosea 14:4).

The bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ, came personally to present himself to Israel in order to lovingly entice a bride to emerge from them. He laid down his very life in order to give her the righteousness necessary to become again a pure virgin -- the only solution that would allow a re-marriage. (Deut. 24:4). But, again, the bridegroom was rejected and this time murdered! (Acts 2:22-36). After he went into exile, even his groomsmen promising his return were brutally persecuted! (Acts 5:17-18; 7:58). God could have poured down wrath and destroyed his rebellious bride-to-be; but instead he gently set her aside temporarily in Acts 28:25-28 and offered his mercy to the whole unbelieving world (Ephesians 2:13-18) so that, by believing in his Son, Jesus Christ, and what he accomplished by dying for our sins on Calvary's cross and then rising from the dead for our justification, Gentile and Jew may be sealed by his Spirit into the very body of his Son. (Ephesians 1:12-14).

Right now, in the "dispensation of the grace of God," there is no "Israel."  He sees only those who are "in Christ," and those who need Christ. Paul tells us that this age is a "mystery," never before revealed to the sons of men. (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26). None of Israel's prophecy is presently being fulfilled. God is preserving the Jewish seed in order to deal with them in the age to come; but he is not directly intervening in Israel's affairs.

The current political state of Israel is just that: political - a humanistic effort to bring in their kingdom by themselves. Jews - or Gentiles - who have not placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour are not God's people. Those who have are the "church which is his body" not his "bride." Instead of Christian churches promoting Israel's ungodly, and often violent, efforts to rise to prominence in the Middle East and in the world, what we should be working toward is the conversion of individual Israelis - and all unbelievers - to a belief in the gospel of Christ. Salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope the world truly has.
Some time in the future, God will again call out a faithful remnant from the nation of Israel to believe on the name of her Messiah, Jesus, and lean on God to meet her every need. (Hosea 14:2). This bride will be lovingly courted and protected by her beloved and coaxed from her hiding place in the wilderness (Hosea 2:14) to be made righteous for the "marriage of the Lamb." (Rev. 19:7). And we, the raptured Body of Christ, will rejoice in heaven to see that day of Israel's glory!