What does the Word of God have to say about the relationship between Israel and the Church?
Anti-Semitism — To begin with, it strongly repudiates anti-Semitism. Consider these words from Psalm 129:
5) May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward.
6) Let them be like grass upon the housetops which withers before it grows up,
7) with which the reaper does not fill his hand…
8) Nor do those who pass by say, “The blessing of the Lord be upon you…”
Deicide — With regard to the allegation that the Jews are “Christ killers,” the Word clearly identifies who murdered Jesus and makes it plain that the Jews were not exclusively responsible. You will find the identity of those responsible in Acts 4:27:
For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant, Jesus, whom You did anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel.
Notice who is listed here as those responsible for the death of Jesus: Romans, Jews and Gentiles. And someone else not named — You and Me! Yes, all of us are responsible for the death of Jesus, for all of us are sinners (Romans 3:23), and Jesus died for all sinners (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Land Promise — Regarding the idea that God has already fulfilled the land promises to the Jews during the time of Joshua, it is interesting to note that long after Joshua, King David wrote in Psalm 105 that the land promise is everlasting in nature and is yet to be fulfilled. The fact of the matter is that the Jews have never occupied all the land that was promised to them in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 15:18-21). Under Joshua, they were given only the land that was promised to Moses.
Rejection — Concerning the claim that the Jews have been rejected by God, there are a couple of biblical principles that need to be kept in mind. First, the Bible affirms that the Jews were called as God’s Chosen People to be witnesses of what it means to have a relationship with Him (Isaiah 43:10-12). And the Bible makes it clear that this calling is “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).
You can find the calling in Isaiah 43, beginning with verse 10:
10) “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.
11) “I, even I, am the Lord, And there is no savior besides Me.
12) “…So you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord…
The everlasting nature of this call is emphasized in Romans 11 beginning with verse 28:
28) From the standpoint of the gospel they [the Jews] are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;
29) for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Replacement — In direct contradiction of Replacement Theology, the Bible teaches that the Jews have never been replaced with the Church by God because of their unbelief. In Romans 3 Paul asserts point blank that their rejection of Jesus has not nullified God’s faithfulness to the promises He has made to them:
1) What advantage has the Jew? [The Church: “None!”]
2) Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.
3) What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? [The Church: “Yes!”]
4) May it never be! Rather, let God be found true though every man be found a liar…
Paul makes the same point again in Romans 11:1 where he asks: “God has not rejected His people, has He?” The Church’s response for 2,000 years has been “Yes!” But Paul’s response is exactly the opposite: “May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew…”
Discipline — It is true that the Jewish people are currently under discipline because of their rejection of their Messiah. Over and over in their Scriptures the prophets said they would be disciplined if they were unfaithful, but always the promise was made that they would be preserved. An example of this type of prophetic statement can be found in Jeremiah 30:11 —
“For I am with you,” declares the Lord, “to save you; for I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, and will by no means leave you unpunished.”
Preservation — God has preserved them in His grace because He loves them. In Zechariah 2:8 God proclaims that the Jewish people are “the apple of His eye,” and He warns against anyone trying to harm them.
Salvation — Another reason they have been preserved is because God is determined to bring a great remnant to salvation (Isaiah 10:20-22). This promise is made repeatedly throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and is confirmed by Paul in the New Testament in Romans 9-11. The salvation of this remnant is described in detail in Zechariah 12:10 where it says that at the end of the Tribulation the remaining Jews will come to the end of themselves and will turn their hearts to God in repentance and accept Yeshua as their Messiah.
Primacy — That believing remnant will go into the Millennium in the flesh and will comprise the nation of Israel to whom God will fulfill all the promises He has made to the Jews (Isaiah 60-62). During the Millennium the nation of Israel will be the prime nation in the world through whom God will bless all the other nations (Zechariah 8:22-23).
In summary, the Word of God makes it clear that Israel definitely has a role and a future in the end times.
In the eighth and last part of this study on how Replacement Theology has resulted in the historical abuse of the Jews by the Church, we’ll look to the Bible to learn at what the future holds in store for the Jews.