Do you know that salvation is of the Jews? This can be a great source of edification to Jews and also to Gentile Believers. Here is an opening statement by Paul, the Jewish Apostle to the Gentiles; the one who set the foundation for the New Covenant Church; the first of the Messianic congregations which flourished throughout the Roman Empire in the first Century after the Resurrection.
I say the truth in Messiah; I lie not; my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit. Romans 9: Verse 1
In his letter to the Believers in Rome, Chapters 9, 10, and 11, Paul’s express purpose is to particularly instruct the Gentile Believers in GOD’s dealings with the Jewish people, and His purpose for them; and that they should not be ignorant of the mystery of GOD with Israel. He continues in Verse 2:
... That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. Why? Because he, sadly, is very much aware of their unbelief; their condition certainly, as a nation. For the ruling authorities were adamantly against this YESHUA, JESUS. Even so, many thousands came forward in repentance of their sins, according to the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2. The Apostle is divinely moved in his intercession for Israel’s sake. No doubt, he remembered how the LORD Himself,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefwept over Jerusalem.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets and stoneth them that I sent unto thee. How often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen that gathers her brood under her wings; and you would not. (Matthew 23, verse 37). Paul forcefully expressed his compassion and love for Israel, even though he, like the LORD, also suffered at their hands.
Brethren, he said,
my heart’s desire and prayer to GOD for Israel is that they may be saved. (Chapter 10, verse 1).
There is no doubt that this prayer was a constant one throughout his lifetime, as we read through his letters. The Apostle knew this people well, but rest assured his prayers sprung from a deep sympathy and understanding of what the LORD Himself purposed for them. Not only to bless, but to make Israel yet, a channel of blessing for the whole earth.
Brothers and sisters, how often have you prayed for this people? Would it be too much to remind you that
salvation is of the Jews? (John 4; verse 22). Listen again to the words of Simeon who was waiting at the Temple for the consolation of Israel; when he took the Child JESUS up in his arms and said,
For mine eyes have seen Thy Salvation (YESHUA in the Hebrew),
which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people, Israel. (Luke 2; 30, 31 and 32). What a confirmation this is of the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 46: 13;
And I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel, My glory.
My dear friends, can I challenge you with the very words our LORD spoke to the father of the Hebrews, Abraham, as he passed over the river, Euphrates, and entered into Canaan, the Promised Land. He said,
I will bless them that bless you; and curse him that curses you. May we prefer the blessings to the curses.
Continuing in Romans Chapter 9, verse 3; the Apostle would have, for the sake of Israel’s salvation, cut himself off from Messiah. He was prepared to sacrifice himself for them; lay down his life for the brethren,
my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law; the service of GOD, and the promises, of whom are the fathers, and from whom, according to the flesh, Messiah came; Who is over all, the eternally blessed GOD. Amen. (Verses 4 and 5). These two verses seem to summarize the gifts and calling referred to in Chapter 11, verse 29, which are without repentance. Once given, GOD cannot withdraw them.
His Words will not return void. (Isaiah 55, verse 11).
Note, that the Apostle’s reasoning in his love towards Israel, is not just based upon the fact that he too is an Israelite, therefore his compassion; but more so, because of his LORD’s love for them which he concludes could never change. How slow we are to not bestow love and compassion on them; and quick to be critical without the depth of understanding necessary for a balanced evaluation. Beware of being discouraged, or embittered, as many have been in their dealings with our people, Israel, because of incomplete knowledge, and lack of a basis for intelligent appreciation of GOD’s will and purposes towards them; primarily due to Rabbinic authoritarianism. This dogmatism has, over many years, bound the people to the words of the Rabbis, to their particular teaching, which, in most cases proves to be a contrary one to GOD’s perfect Law, the Torah, and its principles. Paul, by his own testimony, considered himself an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the Law, a Pharisee, well qualified, having sat at the feet of Gamaliel whose influence as a teacher among the Jews in his day, was well authenticated.
Within Israel, however, according to the Jewish Scriptures, a two-fold concept of man’s image is used by GOD as a means of conviction; essentially showing us the difference between what is of GOD; and what is not. Paul in his continuing argument in Romans 9; verses 6 to 8, is emphatic, and says;
Not as though the Word of GOD has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel, who are of Israel. Nor are they all children because they are of the seed of Abraham. But, in Isaac your seed shall be called; that is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of GOD; but the children of the Promise are counted as the seed. Then our question is, ‘who are truly Israelites’? A brief examination of Jacob’s encounter with GOD at Peniel, will help with this question. You may read the story in full in Genesis, Chapter 32, verses 22 to 32.
Jacob’s name was changed very dramatically after he wrestled the man at Peniel; and would not let him go, as he asked,
... unless you bless me. And He said, No longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have struggled with GOD and with men, and have prevailed. And at that very moment Jacob knew he was in the presence of GOD.
He called the place ‘Peniel’, for I have seen GOD face to face, and my life is preserved. We should be able to recognize here, two opposing principles; Jacob of the flesh; and Israel of the Spirit. His life was not preserved because his name was ‘Jacob’; but ‘Israel’.
Through this remarkable parable, we can visualize the extent of what is sometimes referred to as ‘Jacob’s trouble’ when we consider the enormity of the sufferings, past and present, of the Jewish people. The true Israel will come through, like Jacob did when they realize that they too, even now, are fighting against the One Man and GOD. The GOD of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Only One GOD, our Salvation, YESHUA Ha’Mashiach, JESUS of Nazareth. Like Paul, my prayer to GOD for Israel is that they may be saved. Shalom.