One of the many lies which have been propagated by Christendom and which is generally never questioned is that the Church has replaced Israel as far as God's old testament promises are concerned.
35 Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
37 Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.
Below is a short extract from the book Abandoned: What is God’s Will for the Jewish People and the Church? by Stan Telchin.
A number of years ago, during a class in Church history, the professor asked if we students had developed a philosophy of history based on Romans 9, 10 and 11. Most of us did not know what he was talking about. As for the answer to his question, that was beyond us, particularly when he added, "If you don't understand how these three chapters affect our lives today, you won't understand a critically important aspect of biblical truth."
I have often thought of this professor's words and the stress he placed on chapters 9-11 of Paul's great letter to the Romans. Why? Because we often forget one of the most remarkable attributes of God: His faithfulness.
God is often described as the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. But do we in the Church today perceive His faithfulness to His covenant with the -physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Do we see His faithfulness to the Jewish people only in the older Covenant-that is, in Old Testament times? Do we assume God stopped being faithful to them in the era of the New Covenant and the Church? Does He no longer have a plan and purpose for those He once called "the apple of His eye" (Deuteronomy 32:10)? Has He discarded the Jews?
In this chapter I intend to contrast biblical teaching on God's relationship with the Jewish people with the assumptions of many in the Church. To do this, let's look at the rest of the book of Romans.
"Do Not Be Ignorant of This Mystery"
Anyone who reads Romans 1-8 becomes increasingly aware of the wonder of God's salvation through Messiah Jesus. Paul begins with God's indictment of the appalling sin of the human race (1:18-3:20). Then he explains God's abounding grace to sinners through the Messiah (3:21-5:21), in whom He has provided eternal salvation. Paul goes on to speak of God's abounding grace toward those who have turned to Jesus in repentance and faith (6:1-8:39). Through the cross and the Holy Spirit, God has made salvation not just a future hope but a present reality.
Some of Paul's key verses are terrific! What Christian has not been thrilled with the joyous opening verses of chapter 8?
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
"Amen! Hallelujah! We are no longer condemned. We are set free. Praise the Lord!"
What about verses 16 and 17?
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
"Oh, yes! Amen! Praise the Lord! The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!"
And what about this terrific promise?
We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
"Yes! Give me a high five! No matter how tough things get, God is at work in the midst of them. And all things are going to work together for my good because I love God and am called according to His purpose."
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
"It's true! The Bible says it and I believe it."
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
"Yes! That's the grace of God to us."
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"Oh, Yes! It's true! And it's wonderful!"
But what comes next? More wonderful, exciting truth? Not a bit. Suddenly we encounter a different Paul, one who has "great sorrow and unceasing anguish in [his] heart" (Romans 9:2). Paul is overwhelmed by the unthinkable. Something has happened to Israel that fills him with dismay:
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.
These 36 words are among the most profound in the book of Romans. Read them again slowly. They present a message for the Church today. Indeed, they challenge believers worldwide.
Now read them aloud and listen as you read. As you do, you will hear the voice of God speaking directly to you.
Please, brothers and sisters, don't be "ignorant of this mystery," thinking that knowing about the Gospel is all that matters. Don't be "conceited," thinking you are smarter than unbelieving Jewish people because you believe the Gospel. Otherwise you will wind up in your own foolishness, forgetting you are to glorify God with your mind as well as your heart. Don't be narrow-minded, thinking only of your own family and friends and remaining indifferent to the unevangelized.
Although the eyes of some Jewish people have been opened to see Jesus, the Light of the world, the eyes of most Jewish people remain blind. But this, according to Paul, is for a limited time, awaiting "the full number of the Gentiles" who are to be saved.
Think about these things carefully. And when you think you've got it-really got it-you will be ready to hear more of what God is saying to His people today. It is a message most of the Church seems not to have heard. Many believers, despite Paul's warning, have become "wise in [their] own conceits" (Romans 12:16, KJV). But God wants the piercing light of His truth to burn away those conceits, so we can hear the message He has for us today.
The Truth God Wants Us to Learn
Just what is the message God wants us to hear?
All Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." 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, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable.
The King James rendition of verse 29 says that "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." Without repentance means "without changing one's mind; without changing direction."
It means that God has not changed His mind.
It means God will never change His mind about the covenant He made with Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob.
It means God has not changed His mind about their election.
It means God has not changed His mind about their being beloved.
It means God has not changed His mind about His promises to the Jewish people or their calling or their ultimate destiny.
Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 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.
What Is Romans Saying?
But Church, we've got a problem. We read Romans 1-8 and are overwhelmed by the tremendous truths they contain. But when we read chapters 9-11, we say all too easily: "These chapters are about the Jews. I'm not a Jew; they're not for me. Oh, thank God, here is chapter 12. I'm safe!"
Dear reader, is this what you have been doing? Do you jump from Romans 8 to Romans 12? Have you not heard the Spirit of God speaking through the apostle Paul to all believers:
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Does the Bible really say that? Do you believe it?
Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.... If their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring! I am talking to you Gentiles.
"Their fullness? Impossible! Jesus is only for us. He's not for the Jews. They had their chance and blew it."
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
"What? Salvation came to the Gentiles so that we would provoke the Jewish people to jealousy? That can't be true. Who put that in the Bible?"
I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
"Blindness in part" has happened to Israel? Yes. But maybe blindness has also happened to the Church.
If their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
"This is saying that Jewish people will be reconciled to God one day and we will spend eternity together as coheirs? How can that be? That's contrary to everything I've been led to believe."
What have we been led to believe? Does it go something like this?
"Because the Jewish people rejected Jesus, God has rejected the Jewish people."
"Even the apostle Paul turned away from the Jewish people."
"All God's promises to His chosen people are null and void because they rejected Jesus."
"The blessings God promised the Jewish people now belong to the Church, while to the Jewish people belong His curses."
Church, do you see it? We do have a problem. We have made incorrect assumptions about the faithfulness of God to His covenant people. We have not understood that a kind of blindness has happened to Israel "until the full number of the Gentiles has come in" (NIV). What does that mean? What does it mean to you? What does it have to do with the Church?
Jesus said that "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). The phrase the time of the Gentiles may be one you haven't thought much about. It refers to the period of history during which Gentiles dominated Europe and the Middle East, including Palestine. Jerusalem itself was governed by Gentiles from the year 70 to the year 1967, when it was restored to Jewish hands. Since then more Jewish people have been receiving Jesus as Messiah and Lord than at any time since the first century. More about this in chapter 9.
Jesus also said,
"Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near."
The fig tree-viewed by most scholars as a metaphor for the Jewish people-is blossoming! It's blossoming in the United States and Canada; in South Africa and in England, Scotland, France, Belgium, throughout Europe, Australia and throughout South America. Jewish people are confessing Jesus as their Messiah by the tens of thousands. These messianic Jews, like messianic Gentiles, are receiving the Spirit of life in Messiah Jesus, the grace of God and eternal life.
God's clock is ticking. And it's getting louder. But many of us do not know how to respond to the ticking we hear. We don't know how to act or react in the light of what is happening among Jewish people today. Some might say, "Well, isn't that interesting? Hey, let's talk about our next church supper."
You Really Have to Understand This
I hope you've been able to see in this chapter that many of us in the Church are ignorant of God's never-ending covenant with the Jewish people. I also hope you can see how our incorrect assumptions have affected our relationships with Jewish people, both inside and outside the Church.
It's time for us to remove our self-imposed denominational and theological blinders and face biblical facts. While many refer to the Church as "spiritual Israel," it is not true that all the promises made to the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob now belong to the Church, while His curses belong only to Israel. "God is not a man, that He should lie" (Numbers 23:19). "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29, KJV). He has not changed His mind. And He wants His Church to break free from her "conceits" and realize what time it is. Jesus is challenging us to get on with His work, because He is coming soon.
To purchase the book Abandoned please go to Stan Telchin Ministries
Abandoned is an invaluable guide to help us, gentile Christians, share God’s love with the people who are always on His heart. In Abandoned, we meet the modern, often secular face of contemporary Jewry. Techin asks: What do today’s Jews believe about God and the Bible? What keeps them from considering the Gospel? Then he addresses the big lie: ”You cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus.” Finally, he guides us to the heart of the matter; why the Jewish people really need Jesus and how we can develop a faithful, loving witness to them.
Stan Telchin is also the author of the best-selling Betrayed! Stan Telchin felt betrayed. His 21-year-old daughter had announced her belief in Jesus as the Messiah. Stan set out to prove that Jesus couldn’t possibly be the Jewish Messiah, and set himself up for the biggest surprise of his life.