Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTAND FIRM: We Can Get Israel Right Through The Great Commission

STAND FIRM: We Can Get Israel Right Through The Great Commission

      I think you’ve gotten the point that the church has often gotten Israel wrong. We have often embraced replacement theology, which has had grave results. I’ve spent several articles sharing how we have gotten Israel incorrect and the consequences that followed, but it’s time we talk about how we can get Israel right.

      In past articles, I wrote extensively about God’s continued plan for ethnic Jews and the political state of Israel. This plan is seen in Scripture through the covenantal promises that have yet to be fulfilled and the details of the end of the age. The nation of Israel and Jews are centerstage at the end. I’ve also written that we should view our relationship with Israel through us being grafted into them rather than us replacing them. Realizing God’s continued plan and our relationship through grafting in is how we view Israel correctly, but we also should want to know how we can tangibly live in relation to Israel.

      Over the following few weeks, I will share practical things we can do to live out a biblical relationship with Israel, but I’m starting with what might be the most obvious and at the same time one of the oddest. We can practically get Israel right through the Great Commission.

      This should be obvious because, of course, sharing the gospel with Jews is the greatest thing we can do, just as it is for any people group. Though God has a continued plan for Israel, they will still only come to salvation through faith in Jesus. I will share more on this because, of all the people groups in the world, Israel may be one of the most difficult to reach, though God gives a formula in Scripture for evangelism to Israel. Again, more on that later. This step is obvious, but it’s odd that modern Christianity’s presentation of God’s plan for Israel and missions are not typically grouped together. They are presented as one being only an Old Testament issue and the other a New Testament issue. Yet the salvation of Israel hinges directly on the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

      The gospel was originally preached through Jesus and the disciples to Jews. Even though Paul took the gospel to Gentiles, he would always first share it with Jews. The Great Commission began in Jerusalem and Judea, then spread to the nations. Since that point, “missions” has been tied to the “nations,” as it should, but Paul explained how Israel is connected to the Great Commission.

      Paul explained to the Gentile Roman believers why Gentiles were trusting in Christ, but Jews weren’t: “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom. 11:25 NIV).

      I encourage you to give this passage a second look just to soak in what it is saying. Paul wrote that, from the time of Jesus until the full number of Gentiles have been saved, Israel would have a hard heart to the gospel. The apostle’s explanation is sobering. God has a “number” of the amount of Gentiles that would be saved and only when that number is reached, then will large numbers of Jews come to salvation.

      The phrase “full number of Gentiles” is equivalent to the phrase in Matt. 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14).

      It is when the gospel has been preached to all the nations that, not only will the end come, but that is when the full number of Gentiles will have come in and the hardening of heart will lift for Israel.

      Again, this is sobering. On one hand, this reality is positive because it reassures us that many in the nation of Israel will be saved, but the heartbreaking part is that for as long as the Great Commission remains unfulfilled, generations of Jews die lost.

      So how can we practically get Israel right? Through the Great Commission. Not just in sharing the gospel with Jews, but by working to complete the Great Commission.

      One of the results of how God set this up is that if we are to have the heart of God — which is the return to Him of Israel — then we also should have a great desire to take the gospel to the nations. A love for Israel should lead to a love for international missions.

      Thank you for reading my articles, I want to invite you to help the two ministries I lead, Stand Firm and Epic Life (a BMA of Arkansas church plant in Pea Ridge). I have tried in my strength to make headway with both ministries, and I have seen some impact, but I don’t want to see what my effort can do — I want to see a move of God. For this reason, I reached out to friends Kevin and Jenna to launch a prayer network on behalf of my family and these ministries. They began weekly Zoom prayer meetings on Sept. 19. I’d love for you to consider joining this Prayer Collective. You can join by scanning the QR code (see below) or go to tiny.cc/EpicPrayer. Even if you can’t make the Zoom calls, we’d love for you to join the group so you can pray and get updates through email.

         — Jake is a state missionary and would love to share about the work in Northwest Arkansas and encourage your church to stand firm. (standfirmministries.com)

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