Does God have a plan for ethnic Israel as a nation still?
Recently the pastor of the church where we attend said that we don’t have to a pay attention to Israel nor should we support them. He said in an email to me that he is 100% correct about that. He believes that Israel was rejected by God when the New Church age happened, following Jesus dying on the cross so that we can be forgiven if we believe John 3:16. He called his believe something, but I don’t recall the exact title. I am wondering what you think about this. The Bible says that God “will bless those who bless Israel and that He will curse those that curse Israel”. I personally think God’s promises to Israel are “forever” when the Bible says “forever.” What do you think?
I would have to disagree with your pastor on this question. Your pastor believes in replacement theology also called supersessionism. It’s interesting you bring this up. I just preached on Ephesians 2:11-18 last week. The sermon can be heard if you go to our website at: http://www.harvestmn.com. This passage can be used by supersessionists if they ignore other passages. God is creating one people of God, but He is definitely not finished with Israel yet. Romans 11 teaches us that Israel for the most part rejected Jesus as Messiah and so are in some sense cut off (Acts 3:17-26), but are still “beloved” in some sense. Romans 11:28-29 states: “As regards the gospel, they are enemies of God for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” This passage has to be referring to unbelieving Israel because it says they are enemies right now, but they are “beloved” because of God’s election of them as an ethnic people and as a nation. Some people misinterpret the last verse as referring to spiritual gifts, but the context reveals God is talking about His calling of Israel.
A study of the Old Testament reveals that God always has a remnant of faithful believers, but it also discloses that He has an end times plan for His people, Israel. Zechariah 12:10 and Psalm 118:22-23 uncovers that God predicted that His people would reject their Messiah but would realize their sin at the end of time. See my book The Uniqueness of the Bible pages 116-122 for a detailed analysis of these passages. Zechariah 12:10 specifically says, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” This is a promise to ethnic Israel as a nation, which is why it says God will pour out a spirit of grace “on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem;” this phrase refers to ethnic Israel as a nation. It says when God pours out a spirit of grace, they will “look on me,” clearly referring to God, but then says “on him whom they have pierced,” clearly referring to Jesus and His crucifixion. The New Testament teaches us that Jesus is God and so the sentence makes sense. Ethnic Israel as a nation will recognize that Jesus is God and is their Messiah. They will mourn over the fact that they rejected their Messiah just as the prophecies predicted. Zechariah 13:1 divulges that this repentance will result in forgiveness, so they actually become Christians. It uses the same phrase, “house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” to show who is forgiven. The context of chapters 12-14 reveal that it is referring to the end of time as the phrase “on that day,” referring to the Day of the Lord, discloses. 12:9 tells us why your question is so important. It says, “And on that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” When we reject the truth that God still has a plan for ethnic Israel we set ourselves up for harm, at least as a nation.
In my quiet time this morning I read Jeremiah 30:9-11:
But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them. Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
This passage is speaking about the exile of Israel in 586 BC and their return from exile in 539 BC, but it refers to David their king, which is a reference to Messiah and so must also be speaking of the future of Israel even after the time of Christ. What we see is a pattern found throughout the Old Testament. Israel is rebellious (Deuteronomy 9:4-6) and God disciplines them, but He will never ultimately reject them. I don’t take this “ask the pastor” request as a coincidence. I just preached on this subject last Sunday and I just read the passage in Jeremiah this morning. I preach expositionally, which means verse by verse through books of the Bible, so I couldn’t have just picked a topic I like to preach on. I also read through the Bible verse by verse for my quiet time and just happened to land on Jeremiah 30 this morning. God is saying something, and I believe it is the fact that He cares for ethic Israel as a nation. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!