Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Israel or the Church, or Both?

Israel And The Church

Q. My question is this: In Romans 11:17 where Paul is talking about being grafted in to the vine, that confuses me. How then do we have separate destinies and inheritances if we are grafted in to the vine? Or are the branches that were broken off, the unbelieving Jews, and the branches that remained the Messianic Jews and they are who we were grafted into? Either way, what are the verses that talk of our separate destinies and do we ever “come together” again? Or do we stay in the New Jerusalem and the then believing Jews stay on earth?

A. In Ephesians 1:14-16 Paul wrote that God was taking some from the Jews and some from the Gentiles to make a new race of man, the Church. Romans 11:17 explains that He did this by grafting the gentiles (wild olive shoots) onto the olive tree (believing Israel) to be nourished by a common root (the Lord). The wild shoots replaced the branches He had broken off (unbelieving Jews). Then in Galatians 3:26-29 he said that as the Church we’re neither Jew nor Gentile. By that he meant that both other groups would continue to exist but the church would no longer belong to either.

In Romans 11:25 we read that when the church is complete, God will restore Israel and Acts 15:13-18 says He’ll also give unbelieving gentiles another chance to come to Him. After the 2nd Coming, restored Israel will inherit the promised Kingdom on Earth and believing Gentiles will repopulate the rest of the planet. The Church will dwell in the New Jerusalem. While no imperfect being can enter its gates (Rev. 21:27) we’ll be free to visit Earth or anywhere else in the universe.

Confusion About The Jews

Q. I think there is a great deal of confusion on this subject of the Jews. It is my understanding that since the Jews didn’t accept Jesus, Salvation went to the Gentiles. The Bible says they were Spiritually Blinded, so they rejected Jesus. Now, after the Gentiles get the full number of people saved (the number God wants) Salvation will come to the Jews through revelation that Jesus is the Christ. (I don’t know if you agree with all this).

Anyway, I understand the 144,000 Jews will be the witnesses after the rapture. Well, my question is what about the Jews who died already? Say Just yesterday? They didn’t accept Jesus, and Jesus said he is the only way in John 14:6. Jesus also said, you are for or against me. Are they “Not guilty” of rejecting Christ because they were blinded by God?

Also I read things like Gal 3, says there is no more Jew or Gentile, man or women, all one in Christ. And also that Gal 3:10, those under the law, are under a curse. When Jesus called the temples “My fathers house”, but a while later, he called it “Your house” to the Jews.

I understand in the Old Testament, people were saved by faith. But are Jews holy enough to be saved by God directly? Jesus said no man comes to the father except through him.

A. Your view is basically sound, although even after the blinders come off Jews will still have to make personal commitments to the Lord, just like everyone else. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Those who die without having asked the Lord to forgive them and be their savior, be they Jew or Gentile, are eternally lost.

The Bible does say the Jews are Spiritually blinded. But the blinding came as a result of their rejection, not the other way around (Luke 19:42-44) and does not relieve them of responsibility.

When Paul wrote that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, he was speaking to the Church in Galatia about their status as believers. Though they might have been Jews or Gentiles before, once they accepted the Lord as their savior they became part of the church and from that point forward are neither Jew nor Gentile but one in Christ.

No one is or ever has been holy enough to be saved directly. That’s why the Lord had to die for us. Those from Old Testament times believed that it would happen in their future as we believe it happened in our past.

Jews, Gentiles, And The Church

Q. My question is this. If Adam and Eve were the first to bear children, and we have Jew and Gentile, where did the separation of Jew and Gentile take place? Who started the Gentile nation or people? I. E. Israel and foreigner?

A. From the creation there was one family of man. These were divided into 70 nations after the Great Flood (Genesis 10). in Genesis 12 God called Abraham and said He would make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation. This was the origination of the Jewish people. The word Hebrew appears for the first time on the Bible in Genesis 14:13.

Most scholars see the official birth of the Nation of Israel in the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 19:4-6), and from then until the cross, mankind was divided into two groups, Israel and the Nations (gentiles). After the cross a third designation was added and now mankind consists of the Jews, the Gentiles, and the Church. (1 Cor. 10:32)

Jews, Gentiles, And The Church

Q. A friend of mine and I were talking about how we are all descedants of Adam and Eve. Were they Jews? If so why aren’t we all ? If not when did the separation between Jews and Gentiles begin and why?

A. Adam and Eve began the Human race, the family of man so to speak, and for about 2000 years that’s the way it was. Then God called Abraham to begin a new race of human, first called Hebrews and later Jews. He chose them to show the world what it was like to be in a covenant relationship with Him, to preserve His Word, and to provide a channel for the Messiah. This is recorded in Genesis 12, but the word Hebrew was first used in Genesis 14:13. Abraham was a descendant of Adam and Eve, just like everyone else in the world, but his descendants became known as the Jews, while all of Adam and Eve’s other descendants were called Gentiles (nations).

After the cross, God set apart a third component of humanity and called it the Church. He did this to demonstrate the incomparable riches of His grace. (Ephesians 2:7) In Galatians 3:28 Paul wrote that those who are now in Christ are no longer Jews or Gentiles. So now there are three, Jews, Gentiles and the Church.

Those Who Say They Are Jews

Q. Rev 2:9: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”

Rev 3:9: “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.”

Clearly, in the end-times (i.e. likely right now) there is some group passing itself off as Jewish; being recognized as Jewish on an international level, but is not Jewish. My research indicates that in reality the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin resided in the Southern Kingdom or Judea. Hence, the term “Jew” is derived from “Judea” and belongs to the tribes that lived there. Consequently, while all 12 tribes of Israel may rightly be considered Israelites, only 2 tribes (Judah and Benjamin) are actually Jews in God’s eyes. Does the Bible make this distinction; and what is your opinion on this subject?

Concerning the “group calling themselves Jews, but are not Jews” or “the Synagogue of Satan”. Do you have any thoughts on who, currently on the world stage, this may be? Might it be one or more of the 10 non-Jewish tribes? Might it be the Zionist Movement?

A. You’re correct in saying that the term Jew came from Judea, a name for the Southern Kingdom. But all 12 tribes were represented there (2 Chron. 11:16). God has always preserved a remnant of the entire nation.

Various groups have falsely claimed to be Jews over the years. Today certain groups in the Church believe they’ve inherited the promises God made to Israel. Some of them even live according to to the Levitical system. This view is called Replacement Theology. The so-called Palestinians believe they have a right to the Land, claiming prior residency, and some Arabs believe that Ishmael was Abraham’s rightful heir to the Promised Land, being his first born.

Some teach that the European Jews, who make up a majority of Israel’s citizenry today, are not a legitimate part of Israel because they are predominantly the descendants of converts and not true sons of Jacob. But the Bible disagrees with that view and in any case, you’ll find members of all 12 tribes in Israel today. The so-called 10 lost tribes were never completely lost. At the end of the Age God will find 12,000 each from 12 tribes in Israel to serve as His evangelists on Earth. (Rev. 7:1-8)

Who Are The Jews In End Times Prophecy?

I know from my study and yours that you must consider who is being addressed when reading prophecy in the Bible. Some prophecy is for the Church and some for the Jewish People. The question is, who is considered a Jew when reading the prophecy about them?

My question is regarding who are the Jews referred to in the Book of Revelation. I know from my study and yours that you must consider who is being addressed when reading prophecy in the Bible. Some prophecy is for the Church and some for the Jewish People.

The question is, who is considered a Jew when reading the prophecy about them. When the Northern Kingdom was separated, 10 tribes where in the Northern Kingdom and 2 in the Southern Kingdom. The Southern Kingdom was taken captive into Babylon and eventually returned and rebuilt Jerusalem before being spread about the earth. The Northern Kingdom was destroyed and essentially disappeared (hence the 10 lost tribes). When referred to in prophecy, who are the Jews? Those with pure blood only? What about those who may be 1/2, 1/4 etc? When the Bible states in Prophecy that God tells us that ALL Jews will return to their homeland, who are then considered the ones who will return? I know that even a small amount of Jewish blood can be detected by DNA tests. Do you think that DNA tests will eventually be used to find out, in some way, who is Jewish?

A. Regarding the so-called lost 10 tribes, 2 Chronicles 11:13-17 tells us that at the time the Kingdom was divided, the Levites and the faithful of every tribe in the North went south to live in Judah. Therefore the only ones “lost” when the North was conquered were the apostates. Contrary to popular belief, the Lord has always preserved a remnant of all 12 tribes.

In Ezekiel 39:25-28 the Lord promised that after Ezekiel’s battle he would bring Jacob back from captivity, not leaving any behind. The Lord frequently calls His people Jacob when they’re out of fellowship with Him as they all will be when He brings them back since the Temple won’t have been built yet. It’s likely both believers and unbelievers will be among the group of returnees.

According to current Israeli thinking on the right of return, if an applicant’s mother is Jewish, then the applicant is considered Jewish. These are the people who will enter Daniel’s 70th week and subsequently the Great Tribulation. Some will only be biological Jews, some will be only religious Jews and some will be both.

The persecutions they face will soon sort the believers from the non-believers. This is why the Old Testament refers to the Great Tribulation as a “Refiner’s Fire.”

A Kingdom For The Gentiles

Q. If there is no difference between Jew and Greek, etc, then why is there a difference made between Jew and Gentile? I know that Israel is God’s chosen people. So where do Gentiles fit into all this? Is there really a place in The Kingdom for Gentiles?

A. You’re quoting from Galatians 3:28 where Paul is addressing the Church. It means that once a person is born again it doesn’t matter whether he was a Jew or Gentile, now he’s neither. He’s part of the Church.

The Terms Gentile and Greek are often used interchangeably in the Bible. Gentile can refer to those who aren’t Jewish and aren’t part of the Church, since God believes that the Church is a separate race of Human, but often it just means everybody who isn’t Jewish.

The way into the Kingdom for Gentiles is the same as it is for the Jews; through the Lord Jesus.

Will Gentiles Be Servants To The Jews?

Q. I’d like your opinion on OT passages that state Gentiles will be the Jews’ servants during the Millenial Kingdom. For example: Isaiah 14:1-2, 49:22-23 and 61: 6-7. I must admit, the thought of an anti-Semitic Muslim converted to Christianity serving a Messianic Jew as a servant, seems fair. But these passages imply that ALL Gentiles surviving the Tribulation will be in servitude, whether they have persecuted Jews or not. I am having a difficult time matching this with God’s promise that we are ALL his sons and daughters; that he is not a respecter of persons; and Gentiles are co-heirs of the promises made to Abraham.

A. The passages you cite refer to the Millennial Kingdom when once again Israel will be the pre-eminent nation on Earth, while the Church enjoys life in the New Jerusalem.

The promise of Gentiles being inheritors along with Israel of God’s promise to Abraham refers to the Church, not gentiles in general.(Gal. 3:29)

And yes, there may be some converted ex-moslems happily serving the needs of the Jewish nation. They along with other gentile tribulation survivors will feel blessed to do so, because it was Israel who brought forth the Messiah and made their new life of peace and plenty possible.

What About Gentile Saints?

Q. As I read the Old Testament, I realize that there were also “gentiles” that believed in the true God of the Bible. Job, for instance, was not an Israelite, but was Jew, right? I constantly hear that the promises of the kingdom age are for Israel. Then what of the other Old testament saints? Are they included in that covenant?

A. Job came from the land of Uz, a large territory east of the Jordan, opposite what is now the Nation of Israel. Today this land belongs partly to Jordan and partly to Syria. After the Flood everyone on Earth was a follower of God again, and there were many who were not descendants of Abraham. Before the nation of Israel was formed in the wilderness, and its religious practices formalized into what we now call Judaism, they worshiped as believers had done since the fall, at altars they made themselves. Many believe Job lived in the time between Abraham and Moses and that his might be the first book of the Bible committed to writing.

From the time Judaism was first practiced, and all through its history, God made provisions for Gentiles who came to Him. Anyone who followed the practices of Judaism received the benefits of the covenant. Remember Jesus said that the Temple was intended to be a house of prayer for all nations, quoting Isaiah 56:5-7.

But the single qualification for salvation has been the same from the beginning, a belief that God would send a Redeemer to save them from their sins. The ways in which God has revealed Himself to man has changed over the Millennia but that fact has been consistent since the time of Adam.

What About The Jews Outside Of Israel?

Q. Is there a difference between the Jews who live across the world (and in the United States), and the promises that God and Jesus gave for Israel? So, if the 70 years of weeks applied to the people of Israel, and so many prophecys are directed toward God’s people of Israel and His holy city Jerusalem, what about Jewish people living elsewhere?

A. The answer lies in Ezekiel 39:28.

Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind.

After the Battle of Ezekiel 38, Jewish people all over the world will realize that God is once again reaching out to them. They’ll respond by returning to Israel. None will be left behind.

Jews Returning To Israel

Q. I praise God that you made yourself available as His mouthpiece thru your website. Truly, your gracethrufaith helps me draw nearer to Jesus.

I watched from CNN that a Jewish family living in US would like to return back to Israel. The head of the family said that he (together with his family) does not feel complete unless they are in the land of Israel.

Are other Jewish families considering to move out of US or other countries and would like to return back to Israel? Is there any bible prophecy connected with the Jewish decision to return back to Israel?

Your wisdom is highly appreciated.

A. Between 1948 and 1999 nearly 2.8 million Jews from around the world packed up and moved to Israel. Of this total over 210,000 came from the USA. Ezekiel 37 contains a prophecy of this latter days regathering of Jews to Israel which continues to this day. Currently about half of the World’s Jewry still lives outside of Israel, most in the USA. Ezekiel 39:28 gives us an as yet unfilled prophecy that after winning a great battle between Israel and a coalition of Moslem countries, God will bring all of His people back to Israel, not leaving any behind.


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