Sunday Sermon: ‘God’s Love for the Jews’

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Is Jesus coming soon? That’s the question everyone is asking. The Bible says that no man can know the exact day or the hour. (Matthew 24:36) No man can say that Christ’s return is either very close or very far away. Only the Father knows when will be the appropriate time for His Son to return. The Bible says that Christ’s first coming was according to God’s appointed time (see Gal 4:4). Therefore we may assume that His second coming will be the same as well.  Christ will return to this earth according to God’s appointed time.

However, even though we may not know the exact day or hour Christ will return, we can know the season. Jesus said that when we begin to see the branch putting forth its leaves, know that summer is near. (see Mt 24:32-34) There are many signs which indicate that we are living in the season of our Lord’s return. Last week I share with you three that stand out to me: (1) The development of weapons of mass destruction; (2) the push for globalization; (3) and the rebirth of the nation of Israel. Although there may be some debate about the first two signs, I don’t see how anyone can argue with the significance of Israel returning to their land. There are numerous passages throughout the Bible that teach us that Israel’s return to their homeland is a clear sign that we are nearing the end of time. Some might ask – “But why is the return of Israel such an important sign?” It is an important because much of the Tribulation Period has to do with the nation of Israel. To help us gain a better understanding of God’s dealings with the Jews, we need to go way back into the Old Testament.

I. God’s Covenant With the Jews

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation,and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

 A. Abrahamic Covenant

When and how did the Jewish nation begin? It began with the calling of a man named Abram, or Abraham as he is also called. Who was Abraham? The Bible says that Abraham was raised in a region known as the Ur of Chaldees located in the country of Mesopotamia. A modern day map would place Ur somewhere in the southern part of Iraq. In Abraham’s day, it was about a hundred miles from the city known as Babylon.

The region of Babylon has long been known for its idolatry and involvement in astrology. From what we know of Babylonian society, we may assume that Abraham knew very little, if anything about the one true God. He had been raised in a culture that worshiped the sun and the moon. Therefore we should understand  that God’s covenant with Abraham was based entirely upon God’s grace. God was gracious to call this man out of such sin and to save him.

God made a covenant with Abraham. What is a covenant? To state it simply, a covenant is a solemn pledge or promised made between two individuals that often carried with it certain stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities. There are primarily two types of covenants: conditional and unconditional. A conditional covenant says that I will do something ‘if’ you do something. The fulfillment of our covenant is based upon each of us fulfilling our obligations. An unconditional covenant simply says – “I will…”

God’s covenant with Abraham was an unconditional covenant. Abraham had done nothing to earn favor with God, nor was he required to do certain things in order to stay in this favor. Of His own will, God chose to make this covenant with Abraham.

In addition to it being an unconditional covenant, it was also an everlasting covenant.

Genesis 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

God unconditionally promised Abraham that He would always bless him.

Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation,and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

God’s covenant with Abraham included two important truths

1. God would bless Abraham by giving him a special nation which would inherit a special homeland

2. Through this nation, God would bless the rest of the world

God promised Abraham a special nation. That nation is known as Israel, or the Jews. The Bible teaches us that there are two groups of people in the world: Jews and Gentiles. A Jew is someone who is born of Abraham through his son Isaac. (Abraham had more than one son) A Gentile is anyone who isn’t.

God also promised Abraham that this special nation would have a special homeland. Genesis 15:18 gives us the boundaries of the Jewish homeland. “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:” The Jewish homeland encompasses a region from the Nile River to the Euphrates. The best I can determine, this involves a homeland that is over 600,000 square miles. That’s about the size of the state of Alaska. Modern Israel is only a small fraction of this and is comparable to the state of New Jersey. Israel has never fully possessed all that God has promised. That’s one of the reasons I believe in a literal Millennial Kingdom here on earth.

Secondly, God promised Abraham that through this nation, all the world would be blessed. (see Gen 22:18) What is this special blessing God has promised for the world? It is salvation through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must never forget that when Christ came into humanity, He came as a Jew. Humanly speaking, Jesus is a descendent of Abraham.

 B. Why the Jews?

The question many ask is – “Why the Jews? Are Jews special simply because they are Jews?” The Jews have sometimes thought that, yet consider what the Bible says.

John the Baptist, who himself was a Jew, said to his fellow countrymen of his day: “Think not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9) A Jew is not special to God simply because they are a Jew.

Moses, who was also a Jew, said: “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers… (Deut 7:6-8)

God did not choose the Jews because they were more special or more righteous than anyone else in the world. God chose the Jew simply because that’s what God wanted to do. Out of His grace, God chose to love the Jews. Consider also what the Apostle Paul, who was also a Jew, said about God’s selection of His special servants:

1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence… 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

To answer the question: “Why the Jew?”, let me ask another question. “Why not the Jew?” Is there any other nation that has ever existed been more qualified? Was Rome more qualified? Was Egypt? Is Africa, or Europe or even our beloved America more qualified? Is there any nation that can say to God – “We deserve Your kindness and favor?” I think not. The Bible says: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Rom 3:23)

God’s selection of the Jews was not a reward, but rather a blessing. God choose the Jews to be the vessels that would bring His blessings to the world.

II. God’s Chastening of the Jews

The Bible says that to whom much is given, much is required; and those who commit greater sins are worthy of a greater punishment. (Luke 12:48) Therefore, down through history, God has often had to chasten His beloved people.

A. Jews Not Always a Blessable People

If you know anything about Jewish history, then you know that the Jews have not always been blessable people. Here’s what God said of His people:

Exodus 32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

God Himself became so frustrated with the Jews that He was ready to wipe them off from the face of the earth and start all over again. Why didn’t He?

B. Jews Preserved Because of God’s Goodness

Exodus 32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

Moses reasoned with God – If you destroy them, then the heathen will say that you’re not a gracious and powerful God. They will say that you’re mean and vindictive and not trustworthy. But if you spare them, who can argue that you are not only a great God, but also a God of grace. Apparently it was a pretty good line of reasoning because it caused God to change His mind and to withhold His wraith. I love what it says in the book of 1 Samuel:

1Samuel 12:22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake…

God is faithful because that’s who God is. The Bible says that God is not a man who lies, and therefore everything He has promised – He will do. (Num 23:19; 2 Cor 1:20)

C. God Loves the Jews

1. God loves the Jew:

a. With an Unconditional Love

b. With an Everlasting Love

Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

c. With a Jealous Love

God is jealous of His people.

a. He desires their affection

Deut 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

b. He promises their protection

A part of the Abrahamic covenant says – “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee…” (Genesis 12:3) God has promised to deal with other nations, according to how they have dealt with His people. We read from the book of Joel:

“I will gather all the nations together and bring them down into the Valley Where the Lord Judges. There I will judge them, because those nations scattered my own people Israel and forced them to live in other nations… You sent my people to that faraway place, but I will get them and bring them back, and I will do to you what you have done to them.” (Joel 3:2, 7 NCV)

Today there are approximately 14 million Jews in the world. Over six million of them live in the land of Israel and nearly that many live in the United States. Over 40% of the Jewish people live in our country. I take God’s Word literally and I believe that one of the reasons God has blessed America is because America has often stood by Israel. But if we turn away from Israel and begin to curse them, God will curse us. That’s a promise from God that you can take to the bank.

2. Whom the Lord Loves – He Chastens

The Bible tells us that God loves the Jews. The Bible also tells us that ‘whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth…’ (Hebrews 12:6) No nation has suffered more than the nation of Israel and most of it has been self-afflicted.

The Bible is divided into two sections: The Old Testament and the New Testament. In many ways the Old Testament may be divided into two sections:

1) The days before David was king
2) The days after David was king

David was Israel’s greatest king. Many believe that he will have a major part in the ruling over the nation of Israel during the Millennial Kingdom. It was while David was king that Israel was at its peak. David gathered the people into a mighty nation and it was he who captured the city of Jerusalem and made it Israel’s capital. It was his son Solomon who built the magnificent Jewish Temple.

But after the time of David and Solomon, the nation of Israel fell apart, both politically and spiritually. Eventually the kingdom divided into what was known as the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. Often there was fighting between the two Jewish kingdoms.

The northern kingdom had nineteen different kings and everyone of them was evil. Eventually, in 722 BC, God sent the Assyrians to invade their land and to conquer them.

Unfortunately the southern kingdom didn’t do a whole lot better. Most of their kings were evil as well. The Bible says:

“But even Judah did not obey the commands of the Lord their God. They did what the Israelites had done,so the Lord rejected all the people of Israel. He punished them and let others destroy them; he threw them out of his presence.” (2 Kings 17:19-20 NCV)

Some 140 years after the fall of the northern kingdom to the Assyrians, the southern kingdom fell to the Babylonians. Thus began a time period which Jesus called the Time of the Gentiles. (Luke 21:24) Since the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC, it has suffered under the oppression of foreign Gentile nations. Jesus said that this will continue until the day He returns to this earth to set up His perfect kingdom.

III. God’s Cleansing of the Jews

Perhaps you are wondering why I am giving you a lesson in Jewish history. I thought we were going to be studying about End Time events. I am doing all of this to lay the foundation for our understanding. It’s important that we know not only ‘what’ is going to happen, but ‘why.’

Paul wrote –

Romans 11:1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew… 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

A. God is Currently Causing Them to Return to Israel as Their Homeland

B. God is Going to Cause Them to Return to Him as Their Savior

Concerning the Tribulation Period, the book of Jeremiah says:

1. It Will Be a Time of Suffering for Israel

Jeremiah 30:7 Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble…

Long before it was called the Tribulation Period, it was called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Jacob, as many of you know, is another name for Israel. Therefore we may say that the Tribulation period is the Time of Israel’s Trouble.

2. It Will Be a Time of Salvation for Israel  

Jeremiah 30:7… but he shall be saved out of it.

During the Tribulation Period God is going to bring thousands, if not millions of Jews to salvation.  “…there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom 11:26-27)

CONCLUSION

God loves the Jew. Unfortunately, not every Jew has loved Him. The vast majority of the Jewish have never received Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Bible says:

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

It’s hard to believe that there were Jews who walked within a few feet of Jesus, yet never recognized Him to be their Savior. There were those whom He fed with loaves of bread, yet they never ate of the heavenly manna. There were those whom He healed their diseases, yet never experienced His healing of sin. There were whose who heard Him teach, yet never understood what He said. He came unto His own (the Jews), and his own received Him not.

John 1:12 But as many (Jew or Gentile) as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Today it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile – God loves you. Jesus said:

“For God so loved the world, (Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, male and female, young and old, black and white)  that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

My prayer is today that regardless of whether you are Jew or Gentile, you will come to Christ. If there is anyway I may be of help to you in your search for God, please contact me at: pastorterry@twinoaksbapt.org

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