Food for thought: How could such a small culture of people have such a big impact on the world, not only today, but throughout the history of the world?
“Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?” … “How is it that ye do not understand?” Mark 8:18, 21
The Promise To The Jews – Centuries ago, God told the Israelites: “If you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property out of all other peoples, because the whole earth belongs to me. And you yourselves will become to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5, 6) All nations belonged to God, but the Israelites could become his special property, eventually serving as priests in behalf of all mankind. But was this special relationship with God unconditional? No! God had said: “IF..you will strictly obey my voice . . . then you will certainly become my special property.” So their continuing in a chosen relationship with God was conditional, dependent upon their continued faithfulness to him.
The Fall – This was underscored by events of the 8 century B.C.E., during the days of the prophet Hosea. Despite having received special favor as God’s chosen people, the majority of the Israelites abandoned the true worship of YHWH (God). What was God’s reaction? “I shall no more show mercy again to the house of Israel, because I shall positively take them away. . . . You men are not my people and I myself shall prove to be not yours.” (Hosea 1:6, 9) Thus, those renegade Israelites would not remain in God’s favor. Only a faithful remnant would one day be privileged to be restored and again experience divine blessings.—Hosea 1:10. True to this prophecy, God allowed the Israelites to be taken captive by their enemies Babylon and their temple to be destroyed, forcefully demonstrating the loss of their approved relationship with him. Only a faithful remnant of Israelites (by then known as Jews) returned from captivity in 537 B.C.E. and rebuilt God’s YHWH’s temple, once again enjoying God’s favor as his chosen people. Nevertheless, in the centuries that followed, Jews were besieged by the influence of Greek philosophy—such as the Platonic doctrine of the immortal soul—with catastrophic effects on their worship. That worship would never again be based simply on the teachings of Moses and the Hebrew prophets.
Salvation – By Jesus’ time, he said: “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” (Matthew 21:43) Failing to heed that warning, the majority continued in their renegade course and rejected Jesus as God’s anointed one. Hence, it was not long afterward that God allowed the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed, in 70 C.E. (Matthew 23:37, 38) Did this mean that God was now rejecting all Jews? As Paul, a Jewish apostle of Christ, explained: “God did not reject his people, whom he first recognized. . . . At the present season also a remnant has turned up according to a choosing due to undeserved kindness.” (Romans 11:2, 5) Just as many might be invited to a wedding ceremony but only a few might attend, God had invited the entire Jewish nation into a special relationship with him, but only a remnant of these maintained that special closeness by their faithfulness.
The promise to the world – This faithful Jewish remnant was soon joined by non-Jews who also desired to serve God. Even though their ancestors had not been in a special relationship with him, God was now willing to accept these faithful non-Jews as his people. Noting this, Paul wrote: “If, now, God . . . called us not only from among Jews but also from among [non-Jewish] nations, what of it? It is as he says also in Hosea: ‘Those not my people I will call “my people.”’”—Romans 9:22-25.’ Thus, both Jews and non-Jews could be God’s chosen people, with the prospect of serving as priests in behalf of the rest of mankind. Speaking to faithful worshipers of various national backgrounds, the Christian apostle Peter, a Jew from birth, wrote: “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for special possession’ . . . For you were once not a people, but are now God’s people.” (1 Peter 2:9, 10). This was the “nation,” people with godly qualities, that Jesus said would produce the ‘fruits of God’s kingdom’ and that would therefore enjoy a special relationship with Jehovah.—Matthew 21:43. God was looking for faith and righteous conduct in his selection of these prospective priests, not some special ancestry. Again Peter says, “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35. Therefore, BIBLICAL evidence denotes, God no longer grants special favor to any person on the basis of birth = Jewish. He affords people of all national backgrounds the opportunity to build a relationship with him, by faith AND conduct.
Jesus is the way – Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). The “no one” He referred to includes Jews and Gentiles. Jews are not saved because they are God’s chosen people, but if they believe in Jesus Christ as their true Messiah. There are many Messianic Jews who have accepted Yeshua (the Hebrew word for “Jesus”) as their Messiah.
The Last Days – However, while individual Jews must come to Christ for salvation, God is still not finished with Israel as a nation. The Bible tells us that in the end times, Israel will finally recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). Jeremiah 33:8, Ezekiel 11:17, and Romans 11:26 predict that in the end times Israel will be regenerated, restored, and re-gathered in their homeland. This re-gathering began in 1948 when Israel was recognized as a sovereign country by the United Nations. Christians today use these prophesied signs of the times, to look for the coming of Jesus.
Leon Tolstoy/Russian Writer (1852-1910)
“What is the Jew? What kind of unique creature is this? Whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced, crushed, expelled, destroyed, persecuted, burned and drowned; and who despite the anger and fury of their oppressors, continues to live and to flourish?”
The Jew is the symbol of eternity. He is the one, who following the faithfulness of his ancestors, has for so long has guarded the prophetic message and transmitted it to all mankind. A people such as this can never disappear.”
Mark Twain Writer (1835-1910)
“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished.
The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
Related – Israel’s Role in the End Times
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