An interesting discussion was opened up over at Open Up regarding the place Israel had with God, what place it has now and what place it will have in the future. This topic warrants more research than I could do for a comment over there (hopefully trackbacks will work!) and I didn’t think I could do the topic justice that way. Why is this important? Because what God thinks of Israel is important to how we view the nation and what we should think of it.
The covenant relationship that God entered into with Israel began when Abraham left Ur of the Caldeans for a land he did not know. Once, there, God tested Abraham, and when he passed it, God blessed Abraham saying that Abraham would have seed that could not be numbered, and that through his seed all of the earth would be blessed.
However, the number was not a guarantee. If you skip ahead to Deuteronomy, you’ll see that there was the possibility for a curse if they did not follow after God. There was a promise in the following verses that if the children of Israel learned from their mistakes that God would restore them to the land. So, we can conclude from this that God had a purpose, at this time, for having the children of Israel– but you could also say that the Earth was to be blessed because Jesus Christ came as a Jew– therefore the people had to exist until then, but they could be done after then.
And you would be making a good argument. Since Israel as a nation chose to reject the God of their father’s and instead chose to crucify His Son, and Paul transitioned from teaching the Jews alone to also ministering to the Greeks, that God had decided to have a new chosen people. Abraham, as you will recall, does mean “father of many nations” and there are many passages in the New Testament where Jesus says that He could raise sons of Abraham from stones, or that there is no difference between slave, free, woman, man, Greek or Jew in Christ– and you’d be right. Does this mean that God is no longer going to have a special people– the Jews– as His own?
Zechariah 12:10 has an interesting statement: “and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” This passage doesn’t make sense if it is not in reference to the Jewish people when you read it in context. Yet, when did the Jews collectively look on Jesus and mourn? Jews to this day look at Jesus as a false Messiah– they don’t believe that they crucified the Messiah, and yet Zechariah talks about a time when they as a people will mourn and regret what they have done. If you read further in that passage, you see a nationwide revival– for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Isaiah 2:3 has this to say: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.” The previous verse mentions that in the last days there shall be a house established in Jerusalem that all nations should flow to it. The people will refer to God as the God of Jacob– Zion will be his throne. This hasn’t happened yet– at least to my knowledge– but God will be known as the God of the Jews– of Jacob in particular– and will rule from the ancient capital of Israel.
Lest you say I’m only getting my sources from the Old Testament, Revelation 7:4 speaks of 144,000 Jewish people being sealed by God for protection and power to fulfill the mission God intended for Him– to glorify Him and bring others to Himself.
Is God finished with Israel? The answer lies in the question of what has happened, what is prophesied to happen, and whether or not you believe the Biblical accounts. I, for one, do not believe He is done with them.