The Connection between Jesus and Israel is Fundamental
What is written in the Christian Bible about Jesus and Israel is deep and mysterious. Yet this mystery will soon be revealed to the world through end-time world events. It will affect everyone. So with national Israel in world focus today, it is natural to ask:
Is there any connection with the risen Jesus Christ
and the Israel we observe today (the people and the land)?
In particular, some ask
- What should Jews and Gentiles think of Jesus?
- Are there two biblical Covenants, one for Jews and one for Gentiles? Or does the covenant promise to Israel merge into the New Covenant given to the church?
- What is Christ’s relationship to Israel and the Old Testament with its law and its promises?
- Does Jesus fulfill the promises of blessing given to Abraham and David? Put another way, does Jesus (and the church) fulfill the role originally assigned to the nation of Israel – to be a light to the nations?
- If Jesus has taken the place of the Old Testament Israel, what is the status of this nation today? Put another way; is modern Israel a product of man’s will, or a fulfilling of God’s prophetic word?
- If Jesus is now the true Israel, does a future Jewish Israel have any meaning?
- Does God recognize as Israel all who respond in faith to the will of God revealed in Jesus? Is the church now Israel?
- As for a new temple in Jerusalem, did Jesus’ ministry fulfill all that the temple symbolized. Is a new temple in Jerusalem needed (as some maintain). Is Jesus now that temple in a heavenly Jerusalem?
- Does today’s nation Israel have any claim to God’s land (Canaan), noting that Israel failed to keep God’s covenant? Put another way, are modern Jews still the true heirs of the land promise regardless of their continued unbelief in Jesus?
Bible Prophecy Holds the Key to these Questions
In his book Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two?, David Holwerda (professor of New Testament studies, Calvin Theological Seminary) argues for a spiritual fulfillment of Bible prophecies, link. He rightly concludes that there is only one covenant and that “The way of salvation for both Jew and Gentile is the same because both must call on the name of Jesus to be saved“. But does a spiritual view of prophecy fit with the facts, with observed reality, with what we see happening in Israel today?
Bible prophecy says that Jesus will return at the end of this age to rule the nations with justice. And the place of his return? Jerusalem! So at the outset, Jesus and modern Israel are inextricably connected via modern-day Jerusalem. Geologists have even discovered a fault line running through the Mount of Olives, as required for the mountain to split in two at Christ’s Second Coming (Zech 14.4). That is difficult to ‘spiritualize’. Why return to the Jews in Jerusalem and not to the politically important people in the UN or the EU, for instance? Because prophecy explicitly states that Jesus will rule the Gentile nations from Jerusalem, and from new moon to new moon they shall go up to worship Christ (Isa 66.23)! Again, that is difficult to ‘spiritualize’.
His return will be preceded by deception (false Christs), but his actual return will be sudden, unexpected, and globally observed. In the gospel of Mathew, chapter 24, we read:
Many false prophets will appear and fool many people … if people tell you, ‘Look, he is out in the desert!’ — don’t go there; or if they say, ‘Look, he is hiding here!’ — don’t believe it. For the Son of Man will come like the lightning which flashes across the whole sky from the east to the west
Can we take Jesus Seriously?
Skeptics claim that nobody of our era has seen Jesus of Nazareth as the person who lived some 2,000 years ago. Where is he? He died didn’t he? Yet billions of people who call themselves Christians pray to him and hang on to every word he said, as written in the New Testament writings of the Bible. But for those who doubt and don’t believe in him, biblical writings give shocking warnings. The warnings are so radical that they are brushed off as delusional ideas of the disciples of this controversial personality. The warnings are seen as fundamentalist dogma.
Here’s a series of four thought-provoking exposés about Jesus of Nazareth, born in the land of Israel as a Jew and predicted to return to Jerusalem to become King of a world-ruling government.
Jesus the man, Jesus the Jew, Jesus the Creator & Jesus the coming King