Depending when you read this, our team may already be in “the Land” of Israel! As we’ve been doing for the past several days, we wanted to share a little information about our Faith that many in the American Church are never exposed to. I (Wes), plan to update the blog daily from Israel if possible, but I’m assuming I’ll need at least a day’s lag time. So hopefully tomorrow will be the first live update from the Land. Today, I wanted to share some final words about the Nation and People of Israel and God’s place for them in what He is doing on the earth. Of all the posts over the last month on Israel, our engagement, the mission trip two years ago, and the fire and subsequent hospital, this is probably the most important thing to understand. I hope you enjoy it…
Have you ever considered the idea that the Nation and People of Israel are a picture of their King (whom for the most part they don’t even know yet)? Until recently, I had never seen this connection, but now that I do, I believe it’s undeniable. Jesus suffered that all the rest of the world could enjoy eternal life with God. We know from Romans 9-11 that the Jews would be blinded for a time, so that the grace of God could spread to all the world (Gentiles) and that in the last days, the scales would be lifted from their eyes and God would redeem His original covenant people.
In explaining the transformation from blindness to Truth that the Jews would experience, Paul quotes Moses, David, Isaiah, & Jesus…
“What then? What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes so that they could not see
and ears so that they could not hear,
to this very day.” 9And David says:
“May their table become a snare and a trap,
a stumbling block and a retribution for them.
10May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see,
and their backs be bent forever.” (Romans 11:7-10)
Paul goes on to explain that this must be for a time so that those of us who are not Jews may come to know and be blessed by God…
“I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25)
And then Paul assures us that God has not forgotten His Covenant with His original covenant people by saying:
And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. 27And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26-27)
Okay, that’s clear. But have you ever thought that the people of Israel themselves are a picture of their King?
If you are in Messiah Yeshua, your life comes only through the death of your old, natural life at the Cross and is made new through Him. Your actual life exists because of the spiritual connection of His death and resurrection.
What about Israel? Have any people suffered more than the Jews?
Yeshua lived a life ministering as God’s appointed representative on earth. He then died and was buried for two days, before He was raised.
“After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.” (Hosea 6:2)
Israel was also God’s appointed representative on earth, but most missed the coming of their King. These two thousand years apart from God are represented very clearly by Jesus two days in the grave!
“For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by,” (Psalm 90:4)
We are in a new day: He is Risen! And we can see so many signs among the people of Israel that all of scripture is heading towards fulfillment. A little over 100 years ago, the Jews started coming back to the Land. Sixty years ago a Nation was born in a day! Today among the Jews many are having their eyes opened! They will be a nation of Priests just as God has always promised and intended. It has begun!
“Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!” (Romans 11:11-12)
It is to God’s glory and our wonder that it all happen in exactly the way that He has always foretold. As the people of Israel come back to Him, you will also receive the richness fully promised! Pray for them! Israel received the blessing of having God in their midst, but threw His blessings away (as we all would have done and do daily). They have suffered tremendously for the rest of the world. Believers are called to suffer for the world, just as Yeshua did, but it now seems so clear that God has called the Jewish people to do that same thing before He redeems them. Knowing the way God works, the more the suffering for a thing to come to pass, the sweeter the blessing that awaits. His Covenant fulfilled will be a beautiful thing!
I want to invite you to pray for our team traveling to Israel on this upcoming trip. I am going to do my best to update this site daily to let you know what is going on. They tend to work us hard, so I can’t be sure I’ll always be able to do so, but I will do my best to. Thanks for your support!
If you will be praying, we’d love it if you’d send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: jasoneppink