Thursday, December 25, 2014

Israel’s Rejection of her Messiah

I pray that my Jewish people would reconsider their rejection of their Messiah. There are several reasons for this reconsideration. For one thing, according to the Prophets of Israel, Israel has almost always turned their back on their God. Take the Prophet Isaiah, for example:

  • Isaiah 1:3-4 Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care— but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.  Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.
This denunciation is uniformly found among the Prophets. How should these indictments affect the us? We should at least ask, “Are we still so blind and rebellious? How can we know whether or not we are still incurring God’s displeasure?”

Is it possible that our promised Savior, the Messiah has already come and we have missed Him? We claim that “When the Messiah comes, there will be world peace. Jesus didn’t bring world peace. Therefore, he cannot be the Messiah.”

However, this is to ignore the many prophecies that indicate that the Messiah will first come in humility, as many of our Rabbis have noted:

  • Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.
By anyone’s reckoning, the prophecy of Daniel has been accomplished by the coming and humbling unto death of the Messiah:

  • Daniel 9:24-26 “A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place. Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times. After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. 
Most tragically, we have rejected our Savior. (This should not surprise us, since we have repeatedly rejected our God.):

  • Isaiah 53:3-6 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
  • Psalm 118:22-24 The stone [the Messiah] the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
  • Isaiah 8:14 and he [the Messiah] will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.
  • Isaiah 49:6-7 he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." This is what the Lord says--the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel--to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation [of Israel], to the servant of rulers: "Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you."
However, I feel that I need to place these verses within the context of the entire revelation of God, lest anti-Semites manipulate them for the purpose of hate and the denigration of Israel. God’s rejection of Israel is only temporary:

  • Zech. 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they [Israel] have pierced, and they will mourn for him [the Messiah] as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
This will be followed by forgiveness and the restoration of Israel. As the New Testament affirms, “God’s gifts and calling are without revocation” (Romans 11:29). According to Paul, all Israel will be saved:

  • Romans 11:25-27  I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ.  And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say:
    • “The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness.   And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins.” (Paul quoting Isaiah 59:20-21)
There are just so many prophecies that promise that God will not permanently abandon His people Israel:

  • Hosea 1:9-11 Then the Lord said, "Call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God." Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.' The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited...
  • Isaiah 49:14-17 But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.

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