“For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.”
National-ethnic Israel is a major subject in the Bible. The Scriptures are replete with references to God’s care and concern for His special covenant nation. If we are wrong in our understanding of Israel, we are wrong about a lot! Unfortunately, this is the case for many Christians. Several denominations teach, as a matter of Christian doctrine, that God has cast off the Jewish people and their nation for their continued disobedience and rejection of Jesus; never again will they occupy the center of His religious system. Never again will they represent God and act as the custodians of His word. On this view, God has forever replaced Israel with the church, who will inherit many of the Old Testament blessings promised to Israel. This “replacement theology” is not only badly contradicted by the Scriptures, but taken to its logical conclusion, would leave us wondering about our own salvation. The Scriptures are clear that, though Israel has been set aside for now, their current blindness and hardness of heart is not only partial but temporary. Paul declared, “For 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 fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). Paul, and Israelite himself, was certain that “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Romans 11:2). The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29); the promises God made to Israel through their progenitor, Abraham, cannot be recalled or disannalled (Galatians 3:17-18). This was made crystal clear in God’s interaction with Israel and with Moses, God’s appointed leader. In Exodus 32 we read that God was angry with Israel for their sin and disobedience and threatened to destroy them and create a different covenant nation with Moses as its progenitor. If Replacement Theology were correct, this would have been the time when God would have replaced Israel. Instead, Moses pleaded with God to remember His covenant promises to Abraham and the patriarchs. In response the LORD relented of the disaster He had threatened (Exodus 32:10-14). The New Testament contains numerous references to God’s future plans for His covenant people (Matthew 19:28; Luke 1:46-55, 67-79, Acts 1:1-7). The Lord Jesus Himself is still a citizen of that nation (Revelation 5:5) and will reign one day as their promised Davidic King. Even the architecture of Heavenly Jerusalem will celebrate national-ethnic Israel (Revelation 22:12). May we remember to pray for the salvation of the Jews and the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel, the apple of God’s eye.