The Bible warns gentiles not to forget the root of their faith– the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.
Recently, while a choir sung Christmas carols, it occurred to me how easily praise for Jesus flows from the lips of gentiles. What I mean is that compared to God’s chosen people, Israel, the gentiles are so quick to accept Jesus Christ, and to praise him. I’m not saying all gentiles accept Jesus, but compared to Israel, so many do.
Israel’s rejection of her Messiah is explicitly foretold in Bible prophecy.
As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you [the Jewish people], even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace — but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side [70 A.D., the Roman Army]. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls [1.1 million Jews were killed in the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.]. They will not leave one stone on another [the sacred Jewish Temple was demolished, massive-stone-by-massive-stone, by the Roman Army], because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you [the first coming of Jesus Christ].” ~ Luke 19:41-44
Just as Bible prophecy clearly foretells Israel’s rejection of Messiah, it also foretells the gentiles’ acceptance of him!
“Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” ~ Acts 28:28
How true! Gentiles sing, evangelize, raise hands in worship, write books, and go on missions to the most dangerous and remote parts of earth– all to proclaim God’s salvation through Jesus Christ!
The Jewish rejection of Messiah, and the gentile acceptance of him, yet again shows the 100% prophetic accuracy of the Bible.
But here is the warning God issued to gentiles about forgetting the root of their faith:
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. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion [This is why the world has turned “Zionist” into a bad word. Zion is Jerusalem as the Jewish capital.]; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” ~ Romans 11:25-27
Despite the Biblical warning against it, I see this gentile arrogance all the time. Most Christian denominations lump the Jews and Israel in with the rest of the world. Worse yet, many Christians actually take sides with the world against the Jews and Israel.
Israel is one tiny Jewish nation surrounded by over twenty Muslim nations, all of which have Israel’s destruction as their main goal in life. The odds against Israel are astounding, yet Israel not only survives, it thrives. Israel produces more inventions and technology than all her neighbors combined, yet the world wants her destroyed. If God were not personally protecting the nation of Israel, the 700 million Muslims surrounding the 5 million Jews of Israel could walk in today, with butter knives, and take over Israel. But God is protecting them, so it ain’t gonna happen.
In the book of Romans in the Bible, Paul warns gentiles that they are not the natural part of the olive tree, but were grafted onto the tree by God. God carries out his plan in this world through, and relative to, the Jewish people. The wild olive shoots (gentiles) are never to esteem themselves higher than the natural tree (the Jews), nor are we to forget that the Jews are the natural tree supporting us!
…do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. ~ Romans 11:18
As I stated, God carries out his plan in this world through, and relative to, the Jewish people. It is to this end that God bothered to take the Gospel to the gentiles in the first place. This was prophesied as far back as Deuteronomy:
They [Israel] made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation [gentiles, heathen] that has no understanding. ~ Deuteronomy 32:21
Fulfillment of this prophesy was confirmed by the Apostle Paul:
…Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. ~ Romans 11:11
Wow! Even in extending his grace and mercy to the gentiles, God’s focus was still Israel and the Jewish people! This is in sharp contrast to the ignorant, flippant, and even hostile attitudes so many Christians show toward the Jews. The problem, of course, is that these Christians do not study the entire Bible. In the few parts that they do study, they simply replace the word “Israel” with the word “Church.” This is called Replacement Theology, and I hope I’ve shown in this post that few ideas are more contemptuous toward God and his explicitly stated will than Replacement Theology. When Messiah returns, there will be one criterion demonstrating who is truly saved and who is not. He will gather all nations, and use this criterion to decide who receives his wrath. What is this criterion?
I will gather all nations [this is the same event as in Matthew 25:31:33] and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them [Antichrist forces] concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they [Antichrist forces] scattered my people [Israel, the Jews] among the nations and divided up my land [Israel]. ~ Joel 3:2
Using the Bible to interpret the Bible, we see this same event, the gathering of all nations before Christ in judgment, described in Matthew:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, [This is the same event as in Joel 3:2] and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” ~ Matthew 25:31-33
Jesus will know his followers from the Antichrist’s followers by their treatment of Israel and the Jews, plain and simple. Those that follow the crowd and cheer for the destruction of the Jews are the goats. Those who risk their lives to feed, clothe, shelter, and protect the Jews are the sheep. This is the ultimate test of faith. This time of testing is the Great Tribulation, also called the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” It’s a pass or fail test of your faith and your salvation. You will either want to please the Antichrist and destroy the Jews, or please Jesus Christ and help the Jews. This will be a time of unprecedented trouble for the Jewish people, which is saying a lot considering everything they have been through already.
How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob [the Jewish nation], but he will be saved out of it. ~ Jeremiah 30:7
The “he will be saved out of it” part is where Messiah enters the scene in Joel 3:2 and Matthew 25:31:33 to personally save his people.
So, remember the Jewish roots of your Christian faith! Remember that God chose the Jewish people to bring this faith to the gentiles, and he will choose the Jewish people to test this faith among the gentiles– very soon.
Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches [the Jews], he will not spare you either. 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. ~ Romans 11:20-22
The Bible is always proven true.