I want to do a study explaining the spiritual state of Modern Israel and of the Jewish people in general. It is obvious to any student of the Bible that this is an important thing to have a solid understanding of, yet many don’t, even though it is no mystery and not hard to discern. But I trust to you brothers at the Working Faith Fellowships that what I share here is something you already understand well. However, this might help you get a better grasp of it- and if by chance you’re confused about this topic, I think this will be able to help you a lot to work through your confusion. The Apostle Paul devoted much of the Book of Romans to this topic and it is clear that the Book of Romans is a letter explaining the most weighty things which every Christian in general ought to have a solid understanding of. The key to understanding the spiritual state of modern Israel and of the modern Jewish people is in understanding what God has already spoken concerning them in Bible times and how He has already acted towards them.
We know that God chose Abraham to raise up a people of his seed that he could use to demonstrate His ways to the world, to establish His proper worship among, and to ultimately bring forth His Christ through. God only chose one of Abraham’s multiple sons (Isaac) to continue to work through to bring forth this people; and then He only chose one of Isaac’s sons (Jacob) to yet continue to work through to this end. We know that God eventually changed Jacob’s name to Israel and that Israel had twelve sons- and thus it is of these twelve sons of Jacob or Israel that we have the twelve tribes of Israel. We know that Jacob and his sons went down into Egypt- and eventually the Egyptians enslaved their descendants. God brought out of Egypt by the hand of His servant Moses at the Red Sea and led them into Canaan, the land which He had promised Abraham to give to his seed. In the wilderness between the Red Sea and Canaan, God made a covenant with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at mount Sinai which involved promises to them which were conditioned on their obedience to His commandments; and He gave them His Law at the same time at Mount Sinai (read Exodus chapter 19 and forward in Exodus to see this in detail). The Israelites rebelled against God and did not hearken to His voice when the time came for them to go into Canaan; and thus God made them wander in the wilderness for another 38 years as a punishment for their disobedience (otherwise their journey in the wilderness would have only been a two year journey, but it became a 40 year journey). He raised up another generation in the wilderness which basically had learned from the sins of the previous generation, though God had to kill off ten thousands of these also to yet purify Israel before He brought them into Canaan (see Numbers chapter 25 and Deuteronomy chapter 4:3-4). Right before He brought this generation into Canaan He retold his Law to them (the book of Deuteronomy basically- Deuteronomy means “second law” or “repeated law”) The Book of Deuteronomy of course in chapter 18 gives one of the most definite, clear statements of the eventual coming of the Messiah, or Christ, and of the nature of His incarnation and the curse upon those who did not heed Him. At that time He also gave warnings to them echoing what He had told them a long time ago at Mount Sinai, warnings recorded in Leviticus chapter 26, warnings that are continually true both before and after the Messiah’s coming, about how though they would be blessed if they hearkened to Law and obeyed His voice; and of how they would cursed if they did not do so. Deuteronomy chapter 28 is a reiteration of Leviticus 26.
It is key to note that even though earthly blessings and curses were bigger factors in how God dealt with Israel under the Old (Sinai) Covenant, they still show the principles and conditions for being in God’s favor (grace) at all times- and they still show how God will always deal with Israel as a nation- so long as there is an entity that He considers to be the nation of Israel. You see the principle of how Israel’s redemption would be made void if they continued to disobey God’s voice (read 28:68 again), “68 And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you.” And we see that principle regarding Christians under the New Covenant too, don’t we?
“20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22)
So in the very final verses of the Old Testament Israel is left with this warning, which is the last prophetic statement in Scripture that God would make until John the Baptist showed up preaching as the forerunner to Christ approximately 400 years later.
Malachi 4:4-6: “4 Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb (which is another name for Mount Sinai) for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (We know by what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 11 that John the Baptist was the prophet Elijah; and we know by what was said of John the Baptist in Luke chapter 1 that this means that John the Baptist came in the spirit and in the power of Elijah).
So because of what God already warned of in the Law of Moses, and this has been confirmed by what eventually happened, that what was said here in Malachi 4 was a warning that God was going to destroy the land of Israel if Israel did not receive its Messiah when He came. Obviously an Israelite who received the preaching of John the Baptist would be in line with the word which God had already spoke so that they would be able to recognize and receive Christ when He came on the scene publicly.
That statement there in Malachi 4:6 “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” is more than anything a reference to turning the hearts of the Israelites back to faithfully worshipping the true God who was faithfully worshipped by their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so that there would be an agreement in heart between the nation of Israel and the faithful men who were the foundations of their nation- or else God would destroy the nation, as it would no longer be fruitful for him.
So then as we come to the ministry of John the Baptist we have this key statement which he made in Matthew 3:7-12: “7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (turn around and hearken to God’s word and do righteousness- and don’t think you’ll be spared from God’s wrath if you don’t just because you are Jews or Israelites). 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (obviously ultimately talking about the eternal fire of hell, but on an earthly level also the imminent judgment of the nation of Israel, which by the way we know from history happened at the hands of the Romans in AD70, about or exactly 40 years after John the Baptist began preaching,if it doesn’t repent- and this was obviously meant as a preview of Judgment Day and of the wicked being cast into the eternal fire of hell) .”
Hear then what Jesus said then during His public ministry (this was as He was entering the Jerusalem less than a week before He was crucified):Luke 19:41-44 “41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
Matthew 21:33-44 “33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (the true spiritual Israel in God’s eyes). 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”
So we see how Israel in general, especially its leaders, didn’t heed the preaching of John the Baptist. And so the kingdom of God was taken away from them, meaning away from Israel and the Jewish leaders, and given to a nation bringing the fruit of righteousness, which we know is the New Covenant church. But be careful here: The kingdom of God was taken away from Israel and given to the church, but the church’s foundation is still the Jewish Scriptures, its original leaders the Apostles were Jews who were raised in Israel, and being a Jew who was taught the Law of Moses gave one an advantage in obtaining a place in the New Covenant church. The problem with Israel is that they did not heed their own Scriptures and did not follow the truth which they professed to believe.
John 5:37-47: “37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”
So understand then that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah who came in line with the Jewish Scriptures and in fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures- remember how He was called by Simeon in Luke 2:32 “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” And remember how Jesus said in John 4:22 that salvation is of the Jews- but Jews who reject Him miss salvation because they are out of line with their own Scriptures and opposed to the God who raised Israel up as a nation and worked among the Jews to offer salvation to the world, to the Jew first and also the gentile. When the Jews rejected Jesus and delivered Him up to be crucified they said, recorded there in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” So God about 40 years later brought the blood of Christ on Israel, judged the unbelieving Jews in His wrath, and scattered throughout the world most who didn’t die by the hands of the Romans nor from salvation or disease in the siege which proceeded the Romans taking Jerusalem. It was a terrible judgment; they had been given centuries of warning and much opportunity to repent. The Jewish Christians escaped this judgment because Jesus had warned His followers to flee Jerusalem when they saw it compassed with armies; it is an amazing story of how the Romans 3 and a half years before they took Jerusalem surrounded it with armies, then for reasons that are hard to understand they drew back, the Christians then escaped, and shortly after they came back and sieged the city again and eventually took it after much misery befell the Jews who were left there.
This sealed God’s rejection of Israel as a nation and testified His wrath against the Jews for their unbelief in their King who had been sent to be their Savior. There is no good reason at all to believe that God’s attitude has ever changed towards the Jewish nation and no reason to believe that His wrath has departed from Jews who reject their Messiah. His blood is still upon them. Are Jews today who don’t believe receive Christ, the King who had been sent to save them, in the same boat? Of course. So is modern Israel, a nation of modern unbelieving Jews (mostly) a nation under God’s favor? Of course not. Is it anymore proper to bless Israel now than it was in AD 70 when God was pouring out His wrath upon them through the Romans for their disobedience to Him and their cruel rejection of their King? Of course not!
They have never, ever since since AD 70 as a people fulfilled the requirement given in the Law of Moses for re-entering into God’s favor (grace) and of the land of Canaan (Israel) re-entering into God’s favor.
Leviticus 26:37-42: “37
And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. 38 And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. 40 If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”
Birthright inheritance rebuked: Ezekiel 33:25-29 “24 Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance. 25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land? 26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall ye possess the land? 27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence. 28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through. 29 Then shall they know that I am the Lord, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.”
So what does this about Israel becoming a nation again in 1948 and the Jews returning in mass to the land? It’s hard to say exactly, but they are not a people in God’s favor; and we know that sinners can prosper in their sin for a season. That is no sign that God has accepted them nor proof that they are being blessed by God. There is no coincidence that professing Christians who believe in a Prosperity Gospel and professing Christians who love modern Israel are nearly synonymous (i.e. there is a strong overlap between those in these categories).
Proverbs 17:15- In light of this Scripture and what we have already talked about we should not justify nor bless Israel in its hardened and blind spiritual state. It is yet a nation and enmity with God, though they blesses Him with their lips their heart is far from Him. They yet deal treacherously with the Father by hating the Son and essentially saying we will not have this man to reign over us, seeing that they reject Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
Deal with Psalm 122. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem in this Psalm is connected to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. But God rejected Jerusalem in AD 70, His house is no longer there, Jerusalem is no longer the center of his worship anyways, and Jesus told Jerusalem in Matthew chapter 23 that you shall not see me henceforth until ye shall say blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Modern Jews and supporters of Israel will label all just criticism and rebuke of Jews and modern Israel “anti-semitism” when such criticism and rebuke is simply standing against Semite supremacy. They need to be told that they are not so special to God that they can live in sin without condemnation just because they are Jews. They are not above the law nor exempt from the terms of being in covenant with God. Any special privileges that Jews have had, or might still have, will result in greater condemnation for them if they don’t improve their talents and live according to the truth which their own Scriptures testify of.
Beware though that there is such a thing as anti-semitism and many hate Israel and the Jewish people because of they have been used as a people by the God of the Bible and also because they have been a great impediment to the advancement of Islam. Many are influenced to hate Israel for unconditionally or for unjust reasons due to the propaganda of those in these categories.
Many evangelicals also love to support Israel because of their own desire to have unconditional security. If the disobedient Jews are safe, then they think they are too. But if they are not safe from God’s wrath (and they are not), then lawless Christians are not either. We see that in the following passages, as well as the fact that Jews can yet be saved if they will repent, receive Christ as their Lord and Savior, and identify with Him against the stream of their own people’s rejection of Him.
Romans 2:4-16: “4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life; 8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11 For there is no respect of persons with God. 12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”
1 Cor. 10:1-12: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
Since God has so dealt with the Jews before, He will yet deal with them now since He never changes. And so will He deal with the gentile Christian who professes to know Jesus Christ.
-Bro Aaron Carey can be reached at [email protected]