Still The Chosen People?
This time of year, our Word of Messiah staff will be speaking weekly in various bible believing churches to let them know about the great things that God is doing among Jewish people today and of their calling “to the Jew first.” God is blessing Jewish evangelism and congregation planting, and where God is at work is where you want to be at work!
“…lack of proper discipleship results in the lack of effective evangelism”
With the present turmoil in the Middle East, many people in these churches will be asking, “What’s next?” “Are there any solutions to stopping the hatred and violence between Israelis and Arabs, Jewish people and Muslims? Is there anything I can do to make a real difference in the world?
As believers in the Prince of Peace, this brings us to a foundational issue. We agree that the lack of proper discipleship results in the lack of effective evangelism. People are often reluctant to share that which they do not understand, and the lack of Jewish discipleship results in a lack of Jewish evangelism.
“Can a Jewish person be saved without faith in Yeshua?”
By Jewish discipleship, I mean discipleship in a proper, balanced, biblical understanding of God’s promises, plan, and purpose for the Jewish people. Many believers are confused about such issues as, “Can a Jewish person be saved without faith in Yeshua?” “Are the Jewish people still the ‘Chosen People’?” “Does the Promised Land (Israel) still belong to the Jewish people?”
These questions tend to create a spiritual ambiguity in the minds of many, which produces an uncertain rather than fervent witness to Jewish people. Let’s clarify the issues raised by these 3 questions:
“If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me”
No. No one can be forgiven of their sins and accepted by God without personal faith in Yeshua. It was to Jewish men that Yeshua said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Think of it this way: If there was some other way for Jewish people, or any people, to be saved other than through faith in Yeshua, God the Father would have been a fool for letting His Son die on a cross!
If keeping the Law of Moses could save someone, Yeshua would have told people to keep the Law. But instead, Yeshua declared that people needed to trust in Him: “If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me” (John 5:46).
“Are the Jewish people still the ‘Chosen People’?“
Yes, according to the Law of Moses (Deut. 7:6; 14:2), the Prophets (Isaiah 41:8; Amos 3:2), the Writings (Psalm 33:12; 135:4), and the New Covenant (Romans 9:3-5; 11:1-2). But isn’t the Body of Messiah called a Chosen people as well? Yes, 1 Peter 2:9 declares all believers in Yeshua to be “a chosen generation (or people), a royal priesthood.”
Please note that Peter refers to the Body of Messiah as “A chosen people,” but not as “The chosen people.” Though Israel is chosen for a specific purpose, during this present time of Israel’s national unbelief, they are ‘sidelined’ from being God’s instrument of service until they return to God and confess Yeshua as the Messiah (Mt. 23:38, 39; Hosea 5:15).
For the present time, the Body of Messiah is the spiritually active instrument of ministry, “a royal priesthood” for service and worship. Though Israel is chosen to be a “witness people” for the Lord (Isaiah 43:10-12; 44:8), they cannot be an active witness until they first believe in Yeshua as Lord (Romans 10:14, 15).
Israel is chosen as a people for God’s purpose, which, in the past, was to bring Messiah into the world (Romans 9:5), and in the future, to bring about the return of Messiah to planet earth (Matt. 23:39; Zech. 12:10). This will happen when the Jewish people collectively confess their national sin of rejecting Messiah (Isaiah 53).
Though nationally chosen for God’s purpose, each individual Jewish person still must have personal faith in God’s salvation on God’s terms to be saved. Otherwise, they are as lost and unsaved as any pagan (Jer. 9:25, 26).
“Does the Promised Land (Israel) still belong to the Jewish people?“
Yes! The present spiritual condition of Israel does not change the promises of God, for even though Israel is nationally unfaithful, He is still faithful. This is Paul’s argument in Romans 11:1-2, where he writes, “I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite…God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” And “For I say that Messiah has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises given to the fathers” (Romans 15:8).
Israel returned to the land after the Babylonian exile, but that wasn’t to be their last return. In fact, Isaiah prophesies Israel’s return to the same land for the second time in Isaiah 11:11-12: “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people…from the four corners of the earth.” The Jewish people’s present return to the land is the fulfillment of this promise in Isaiah.
“You can help get the message out”
Therefore, by understanding these critical, sometimes volatile issues, and having biblical answers to address them, believers in Messiah can have a boldness and confidence to share their faith with Jewish people. Outside of God’s miraculous, heart-changing power found in the Good News, there is no solution to the present and future problems we see in the Middle East, and the world. So, get involved! Share this with your friends!
You can help get the message out. Since God has not forsaken the Jewish people, let us not forsake the responsibility to proclaim Yeshua to Jewish people!