Happy Resurrection weekend. I am really thankful for the time to study the holy word of God. I am especially thankful for the gift of understanding. I see the need to express how serious Israel is to us as Gentile believers. I want to also make mention that we should always pray for that nation, the forecast spiritually is really prophetically taking place. The institution of the “Euro” one world currency is taking place. Our president has met with the G20 during his first term and now is pushing meeting with the G8 these committees are structure money guru’s who are trying to set prophesy in order to establish economic world order. There are so many other events taking place that are spoken of in our word.
The rabbi is Rabbi Nachman Kahane, who has guided many Jewish students of the Scriptures on the subject of the temple. In addition, he has been the main source of serious study and preparation to rebuild the Jewish temple.
How soon will the temple be rebuilt? Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the former head of the Temple Institute, says even the priestly garments are ready and the temple will stand in full operation very soon.
Where will it be rebuilt? Rabbi Chaim Richman, the leading authority on the red heifer, says the temple will be built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Rebuilding the temple will be an important fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It will be integral to the seven-year (end-times) treaty with Israel. After all, the rebuilt temple shows up in Jesus’ warning to His Jewish followers in Matthew 24:15 (“the holy place”); and it appears in Paul’s revelation that the “man of sin” (a.k.a. the beast of Revelation) will enter into the temple (after killing God’s two prophets) and set himself up to be worshipped as God.
In addition, Daniel 9:27 shows us how important the rebuilding of the temple will be to the fulfillment of end-times Bible prophecy. Here is what that verse says:
“Then they shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week they shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.”
Though many translations have “he” in place of “they,” it is a mistake to translate it that way. This is because the pronoun goes back to the nearest subject, which is “people” in verse 26. The reason “he” appears in so many Bible translations is because the pronoun is singular. However, it is singular because, in Hebrew (the language in which Daniel was originally written), “people” is a singular noun which requires a singular pronoun. But “he” in English does nothing but confuse the reader. To refer to “people,” the English translation of the pronoun should be “they.”
Here’s a question – if our faith is based on the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ – why do we have the Old Testament? I mean, isn’t it just a bunch of laws and prophecies of destruction focused on the nation of Israel? Didn’t God reject the Jews when they rejected His Son Jesus?
Good questions – and we have the very Jewish Rabbi and Apostle Paul here to explain it to us in Romans chapter 11. Look back at the end of chapter 10 to pick up the thought – remember, chapters and verse numbers were added later, originally this was one long letter.
Romans 10:21 But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
You picture God throwing up His hands – “Oy veh!” From Genesis through Malachi God pictured a savior, told about a savior, promised a savior – but at just the right time the savior came, He was rejected and killed by His own people. We talked last week about the obstinate heart that God enhances by hardening it.
Right after the resurrection, almost all of the church was made up of Jews who believed in Jesus as the savior, the promised Messiah. In fact, there was a great controversy about whether gentiles could even be a part of this new Way. After God revealed to the Apostle Peter (Acts 10:15) “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” And the door was opened to the gentiles.
But the more time went on, the more opposition arose from the Jews. The Apostle Paul got so fed up with them that at one point he said (Acts 18:6) But when the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am clear of my responsibility. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
One thing led to another, and pretty soon the Jews were rioting against Christians – Jews who became believers were thrown out of fellowship and out of families.
So in chapter 11, Paul talks to the conclusion that God has permanently turned His back on the Jews because they turned their back on Jesus. There are 7 paragraphs in this chapter – and 7 points Paul makes to help us understand what place the Jews have in God’s heart.
Point 1 – God didn’t reject His people, many of them rejected Him (1-6)
I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah-how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? 4 And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
You may know the story of Elijah, in 1 Kings 19 – this prophet had won a huge victory over 400 prophets of Ba’al. Then he ran from one angry woman – Jezebel. He hid away in a cave until God coaxed him out and asked him what in the world he was doing there. Elijah told him, maybe with a little whine in his voice, (1 Kings 19:14) “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
God replied to Elijah: (1 Kings 19:18) Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel-all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” Just as there was in that time an unseen remnant of the faithful, God knows the faithful remnant today that has not bowed the knee to righteousness by good works, but righteousness through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Elijah needed to open His eyes to the work God was really doing – just as the Jews needed to open their eyes to see the work God did through Jesus.
But as a nation they were so caught up in external righteousness by obeying the law, that they missed the internal righteousness God offered through Jesus. And even as God told Elijah to anoint another to take his place, the Jews found themselves unable to obtain God’s favor through their own merits, and that rejection brought with it a result.
Point 2 – Rejection led to blindness (7-10)
7 What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, 8 as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes so that they could not see and ears so that they could not hear, to this very day.” 9 And David says: “May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them. 10 May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever.”
Why do the Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah? Here Paul says they earnestly desired to be God’s people but didn’t achieve it – “their table become a snare” David wrote – the table was the law. Jesus said, and I’m paraphrasing, “you study the law because in it you think you have life – but that life you want is found only in Me.” No wonder David said “their backs bent forever.” Who can bear under the weight of the obeying the law to get right with God?
Later Paul would write: (2 Corinthians 3:15-16)
15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
That “veil” keeps them from understanding that Jesus is the Messiah. Jews will tell you that the Messiah is supposed to do three things: bring peace to the world, gather the Jewish people from their exile, and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus didn’t do any of those things, they say, so He can’t be the Messiah. The Messiah is to be three things – king, priest, and prophet – Jesus is all three, but He fulfills those roles not in a way that the Jews expected.
One source I looked at http://www.messiahpage.com stated that the main difference between Judaism and Christianity was the difference between law and faith. Jews steadfastly believe that the only way to righteousness is by obedience to the law – not by putting faith in Jesus’ obedience for us.
They make several errors in their logic – and I’ll mention one of them. It involves how you interpret prophecy. If you believe that prophecy is told then fulfilled once – then you would look for the Messiah to do the things I mentioned. But in fact prophecy can have both a near and far term fulfillment. An example is the prophecies of Daniel concerning the Anti-Christ. They were fulfilled with Antiochus Epiphanies in Roman times, but are still to have their ultimate fulfillment in the last days.
So too with the Messiah. Jesus fulfills both pictures of the Messiah in the Old Testament – the suffering savior of Psalm 22, and the ruling king of Isaiah 9. The Jews think it has to happen at once – but it doesn’t. Other differences include the trinity, free will, original sin, and punishment for sinners after death.
So what do we do – lambaste the Jews for rejecting Jesus? Unfortunately, that’s what many Christians have done down through the ages and I think it’s wrong.
Point 3 – Our purpose is to show the Jews God’s love, not His rejection (11-16)
11 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.
12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!
13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. 15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
There is hope for the Jews. Many have come to know Jesus as their Savior. Today there are movements of Jewish believers – such as Jews for Jesus. And when a Jew realizes what Jesus really did, they bring the rich history, heritage, culture, and knowledge of the Old Testament with them.
In fact, once God takes the church from the earth, He will lift that veil off the Jewish nation and many of them will come to Christ – becoming super powerful, anointed believers.
Instead of thinking that the Jews are cast-offs, we should seek to understand how they can enrich our own experience with Jesus.
Point 4 – We share common roots with Israel (17-21)
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
Some Christians have adopted this arrogant attitude of superiority over the Jews – but we need to keep in mind that we have been grafted in to something God was already doing through them. But what a wonderful heritage we have – all that Abraham and Moses and David went through – we now share in that history – we are now a part of that family. You can trace your lineage now back through Jesus into Israel.
Lest we think we’re something special apart from Jesus –
Point 5 – We have been brought into what God started through Israel (22-24)
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
God is adamant – stern if you will – that only through Jesus will we find His favor. But the point here is – once a Jew realizes they’ve been cut off from God and come back through Yehshua the Messiah – how natural it is and how well they fit. Remember – the veil over the eyes of the Jews is not permanent.
Point 6 – The Jewish hardening is only temporary (25-27)
25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27 And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”
So what is the trigger for the Jews? It is when the last gentile accepts Jesus as Lord. It’s like at the supermarket when all the bells go off for the millionth customer – when the last person comes into the kingdom, God will remove the church from the earth, and remove the veil from Israel – but it doesn’t mean any change in God’s plan of salvation.
Point 7 – Everyone gets to God by His mercy, Jew and gentile alike (28-36)
28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Paul is just amazed at the intricacy of God’s plan – we were disobedient to God, and received mercy. Then the Jews rejected the Messiah the Father sent to them, becoming disobedient in the process. Now in that same disobedience that we were in, they can come to God in the same way – through realizing their disobedience and receiving mercy – not by works, not by the law, but by the grace of God through the sacrifice once for all of His Son Jesus.
His ways are above our ways and His thoughts are above our thoughts – His most insignificant thought is infinitely more profound than Einstein, Aristotle, and Steven Hawking combined.
So – what can we as gentile Christians glean from this chapter?
• God’s has an infinitely thought out plan for your life too (vs 33)
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Don’t worry about the big picture – just worry about faithful daily living with God. He’ll take care of the big picture.
• God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable.
Look back at that in verse 29. Do you ever feel insecure about your relationship with God – feel like you’ve just done too many things wrong and He’s going to jettison you? Or maybe He’s done some neat things through you but you feel like the “anointing” is gone.
Take heart from this verse – the word “irrevocable” means “to be without regret.” God doesn’t look at you and say “man, am I sorry I saved that guy.” You can feel secure in His love and in your salvation.
Jesus said: (John 10:29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
It doesn’t mean we go out and sin – that leads to death of life and fellowship. But it does mean that when we mess up, God is still there to love us and cleanse us. He will not reject you!
• Don’t be smug
At the same time you feel secure, don’t get all puffed up about it. Instead, realize the awesome privilege you have been given, of being grafted in as a wild branch to the root.
• All interpretation of Scripture must be seen through the lens of Jesus
Hebrews 1:1-2 In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
When you look at the Old Testament, you must see it in light of Jesus – that’s the only way to understand it, it’s the only way it makes sense.
Some Jews will see this – when Paul came to Rome (years after writing this letter) he met with Jewish leaders and they discussed Jesus as the Messiah. At the end of the discussion it says this:
Acts 28:24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.
It doesn’t say “some were not convinced” but “would not believe” we need to pray that that hardness of heart will be softened.