trusting in Jesus

Jesus is a Jew and will sit on David’s throne

JESUS AND ISRAEL: PART 4
Jesus the coming King who will reign from Jerusalem

Jesus the coming King

The scriptures stress that Jesus is a Jew

The Western church often forgets her Jewish roots and tends to ignore the Old Testament. It often forgets that Jesus is a Jew. So it’s not surprising that the church also ignores the nation of Israel and related prophecy. In fact, many institutionalized churches (Anglican, Baptist, Methodist …) hold to Replacement Theology, link which says that the church has replaced Israel in terms of God’s witness in the world.

Such error arises because the church forgets that Jesus was, and is, a Jew. He is a descendant from the tribe of Judah (aka Jews), and from the Royal House of David. And prophecy says that one day soon Jesus will sit on David’s throne. Jesus the coming King will soon rule the nations.

 

The Genealogy of Jesus – His descent from the Tribe of Judah

Jesus the coming King

St. Denis Cathedral, France. The stained glass depicts the ancestors of Christ from Jesse onwards.
No machine-readable author provided. Amirwiki assumed. GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons. Enlarge

 

The gospel of Luke chapter 3 gives a chronological descent of Jesus from the time of Adam to His birth. Apart from spiritual inspiration, Luke’s genealogy is trustworthy in its own right since he was a “first rank” historian, link. Extracting key elements of this genealogy, we have:

  • Judah, son of Jacob
  • David, son of Jesse
  • Joseph, son of Heli
  • Jesus (as was supposed) the son of Joseph

At first glance it seems something is wrong here. Christian belief is that Mary was a virgin when she bore Jesus and so Joseph could not have been Jesus’ biological father. But we must remember that men in ancient times often regarded their sons-in-law as their own sons, link. In other words, Joseph’s name is only introduced instead of Mary’s, in conformity with the Jewish custom. So here, Heli is usually taken to be Joseph’s father in law and Luke’s genealogy is therefore usually taken to be Mary’s genealogy. Heli was Mary’s father.

This is interesting since, traditionally, Jewish status passes through the mother, not the father. So a person born to a Jewish mother is a Jew. And tracing back through Mary’s genealogy we see that Mary was descended from David who was descended from Judah (the prime source of the ‘Jew’).

The gospel of Mathew also gives a genealogy but this time it is usually take to be that of Joseph. Although different in detail to Mary’s genealogy, Mathew’s genealogy also traces Joseph back to King David and then to Judah. As Paul says:

Hebrews 7.13
It is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah

In other words, Jesus was, and is, a Jew. Moreover, by both His mother and His earthly father, Jesus has lineage going back to King David and so has a right to the throne of Israel. Let’s now examine this royal throne.

The Historic Throne of David

In the Second book of Samuel chapter 7 verse 16 we read that God made a covenant (the ‘Davidic Covenant’) with the famous David of the Old Testament:

Your house (i.e. family) and your kingdom (sphere of rule) will continue before me for all time, and your throne (royal authority) will be secure forever

This promise was conditional and disobedience to God’s Law would bring chastening, but not abrogation of the promise:

Psalm 89.30-37
If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My loving kindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.

King David ruled Israel righteously around 1000 BC, but later his descendants went away from God’s law and did indeed suffer. There were deported to Babylon, and subsequently scattered across the nations. The scattering was essentially complete when Jerusalem was sacked and the Jewish temple destroyed by Rome in 70 AD. So where did David’s royal throne go? Has anyone been on his throne since David? Yes. Jesus admitted to Pilate that He was indeed a King – the King of the Jews:

Luke 23.3
So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”

Jesus was crowned with thorns, but nevertheless He said He was a King – a King of the Jews in the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah (aka Jews). The genealogy in Mathew chapter 1 confirms that Jesus is a Jew: “Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham”.

The Future Throne of David

As promised in the Davidic Covenant, despite Israel’s backsliding, the throne of David endures for ever. So what happens in the future? Before the birth of Jesus, Mary received the following promise:

Luke 1.32-33
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end

This promise is usually ignored or given a symbolic interpretation by the institutionalized church. But when this church prays “Your Kingdom come, on earth, as it is in heaven”, what do they mean? Many prophecies point to a real kingdom on this earth – the Kingdom of God will indeed be established in the Millennial Age, as prayed in the Lord’s prayer. Looking to this future Kingdom we read:

Zechariah 14.9
And the Lord will be King over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.

Isaiah 9.7
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this

 

So there we have it: Jesus’ descent is from the tribe of Judah, so He is Jewish. Jesus’ lineage traces back to the line of David and so He has the right to sit on David’s throne. The world will soon be ruled by a Jewish King from Jerusalem. Remember: Jesus the coming King!

GO DEEPER
Judaism

What eyewitnesses said about Jesus of Nazareth

JESUS AND ISRAEL: PART 1
What they said about Jesus the man

Jesus the man

The disciples of Jesus of Nazareth wrote eyewitness accounts about him. We find these in the Gospel writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We also have testimonies of Peter, Paul and John, who recounted communication and visions they all had with Jesus after his death. These were amazing “post-mortem” exchanges.

The claims and actions of Jesus the man as recorded in these accounts are intriguing to say the least. So let’s examine some key accounts. If true, they hold serious implications for us all.

 
EYEWITNESS DECLARATION #1: ACCORDING TO JOHN, JESUS IS THE CREATOR

John wrote that Jesus is God and is the Creator of the world and everything in it, including man:

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him. Nothing was made without Him

Clearly, John is explicitly and boldly saying that Jesus of Nazareth is the Creator of the world and creator of man, the animals, nature, and everything in this world. Jews and non-Christians of course reject that teaching to be blasphemy or mythical, whilst Christians who have never seen Jesus believe this to be true and hang on to this declaration by John.

 
EYEWITNESS DECLARATION #2: ACCORDING TO JESUS, NOBODY HAS SEEN GOD THE FATHER

Jesus’ pre-human existence was declared by Jesus Himself. Jesus was quoted to say to the Pharisees:

Before Abraham was, I AM

In the Old Testament we read that nobody can see God and live. But Moses was special. He was the only man who has spoken to God face-to-face and didn’t die. However, his face shone each time he had exchanges with God. Now, Jesus said nobody has seen the Father but himself. Now if that is the case, who did Moses see? The narrative implies that Moses spoke to Jesus in his pre-human existence. Intriguing!
 
EYEWITNESS DECLARATION #3: ACCORDING TO WITNESSES, A VOICE FROM THE SKIES SAID JESUS IS HIS SON

The voice is understood to be the voice of God the Father. All four gospel writers say that Jesus is the Son of God. They make this claim having witnessed the scene when God the Father spoke from the heavens about Jesus as His beloved son. Also, Jesus was being baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River when a dove alighted on him and a voice from the skies was heard to say:

This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased

 
EYEWITNESS DECLARATION #4: JESUS HIMSELF ACKNOWLEDGED THAT HE IS THE JEWISH MESSIAH

Jesus is the Messiah awaited by the Jews. When Pilate asked Jesus if he was the expected Messiah (Heb: Mashiach). Jesus said,”It is as you say.”
 
EYEWITNESS DECLARATION #5: JESUS DEMONSTRATED SUPERNATURAL POWERS, INCLUDING RAISING THE DEAD TO LIFE

The Gospel writings are filled with eyewitness accounts of miracles. Jesus the man turned water into wine, produced 5,000 loaves of bread and thousands of fish from just two loaves and one fish, healed all who came to him of various diseases, stopped a raging storm, walked on water, restored a severed ear without surgery – and even raised the dead back to life! Given these well-attested eyewitness accounts, we ask ourselves, ‘Who was Jesus: Man, or God?’
 
EYEWITNESS DECLARATION #6: JESUS CAME BACK ALIVE THREE DAYS AFTER BEING CRUCIFIED AND KILLED ALONG WITH CRIMINALS

The dead body and skeleton of Jesus of Nazareth has never been seen. The Romans spread word that Jesus’ disciples stole his body. To this day, the vast majority of religious Jews believe what the Romans say. They say that Jesus’ body was stolen by his disciples.

 
EYEWITNESS DECLARATION #7: AFTER COMING BACK TO LIFE, JESUS SPENT 40 DAYS WITH HIS DISCIPLES AND THEN WENT BACK TO HEAVEN BY RISING UP INTO THE CLOUDS, SAYING HE WILL RETURN TO EARTH IN LIKE MANNER AT THE END OF THIS AGE

These eyewitness accounts of Jesus living after his death, rising to heaven, and declaring that He will return in like manner to establish his world-ruling kingdom are concepts that even many Christians find difficult to accept. Will the person Jesus, the ‘man’ who died on a cross, really return to this earth? But that’s what eyewitnesses heard and recorded.

PART 2

Jesus is a Jew: What does this imply?

JESUS AND ISRAEL: PART 2
The Jewish Lineage of Jesus aligns Him with Israel

That Jesus (Heb: Yeshua) was born Jewish is one of the least contested truths of the Bible. The very first chapter of the Gospel of Mathew starts:

The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham …

Jesus came of the line of David, who was Jewish, link.

Jesus is a Jew

Jesus is a Jew, and so He kept Saturday as the Sabbath, as well as the holy days and feasts of Israel, link. He observed the food laws of Israel and He taught in the synagogue, reading from the Torah (the ‘Law’). Why did He do this? Is there a prophetic significance in the weekly and annual Jewish Sabbaths (holy feasts)? Some see a coded message to mankind here. And what about the marriage customs of His people? Is there hidden prophetic significance here too?

The fact that Jesus is a Jew is usually ignored by the church. So much truth and spiritual depth is missed, including a correct understanding of prophecy and the future role of national Israel. In short, church teaching about Jesus is often shallow, even deceptive, since the church prefers to be ‘politically correct’. The Bible says:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires (2 Tim 4.3)

The fact is, Jesus of Nazareth is a controversial personality whose Jewish origins nobody can deny. His link to Israel is deeper than most in the Christian world realize, or wish to acknowledge. So the following hard facts about Jesus The Jew could be eye-openers to traditional Christians. And to non-believers in Jesus, these thought-provoking declarations are worth noting. They will come to mind when declared events in prophecy come to pass. Let’s look at some hard facts about Jesus.

HARD FACT # 1: Jesus didn’t abolish the Law and the Prophets

Jesus is a Jew

In fact, He underscored to Law and “fulfilled” it. Jesus said:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.(Mat 5.17-19)

Let’s take a look at the Law in the Old Testament, as given to Moses, with assistance from angels.
 
Deuteronomy 30 verses 1-10: Prosperity After Turning to the Lord

When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.

Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today.

Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

 
Deuteronomy 30 verses 11-20: The Offer of Life, or Death

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.

See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 
Purpose of the Law: Whilst the Law offered Israel blessings in return for obedience, it served to demonstrate that it is impossible for man to keep the Law. Rather, it highlighted his sinful nature and could not provide eternal righteousness for man (Galations 3.21). But it did point to Christ who was to fulfill the Law:

Before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (the Law). (Gal 3.23-25)

 
Fulfillment of the Law: The Law is fulfilled in that faith in Christ writes God’s Law on man’s heart and justifies man. Moreover, since Jesus is a Jew, then faith in Him makes Gentile believers “descendants of Abraham” (or “spiritual Israelites”) who will also receive what God has promised (Gal 3.29).
 
Law written on the heart: At the end of this age the Law will be written on Jewish hearts. Speaking to regathered Israel, God says:

“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jer 31.33)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances (Ezek 36.26,27)

HARD FACT #2: Jesus’ day of worship was Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath (Heb: Shabbat)

Jesus is a Jew

Jesus said “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” At the very least it is there as a day of rest for mankind. Long before Jesus said that, right from the very beginning in the book of Genesis, it is written that God rested on the seventh day and made it holy i.e. distinct and special compared to other days. He sanctified the day. God stopped working on that day and He commanded His creation to stop working on this day too!
 
In the book of Exodus, God wrote it in tablets of stone (the Ten Commandments), commanding man to observe the seventh day Sabbath rest. In Exodus 20 the fourth commandment says:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

 
In the book of Isaiah, chapter 58, we read:

If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.

 
When Jesus was on earth He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, as was His custom. He claims to be the son God, the Word Who did the creating. He too rested on the seventh day. After all, He instituted this commandment in His role as Creator in the Godhead!
 
In the book of Hebrews, Paul looks to the future when he claims “there remains a Sabbath rest.” He said that “the Sabbath is a foreshadow of things to come”. It foretells the coming rest when this sick and tired age will end and usher in a bright, new world governed by Jesus as King of the earth.
 
OK. What’s the big deal? Why rest? We have so many things to do and we need to earn as much as we can. Times are hard. What if I don’t want to rest and keep this day holy? The bottom line is that God created man and He said the Sabbath was made for man. He is saying that man needs physical and mental rest on one day in the week. Not only that. Man should keep the day as a special day to God – keep it holy.

OK. What if I chose a different day instead? Does it matter? To the Jew it does, since it is a special sign between God and His people. To the Gentile the Bible is less specific on the actual day, link.

The Sabbath in the Future: When this age ends and the Millennial age (Kingdom age) starts the world will honour the Jew and woship Christ

HARD FACT #3: Jesus blesses Israel because they keep the Sabbaths

Jesus is a Jew

The Israelites were banished from the land of Israel due to idolatrous practices and breaking of laws including the Sabbath. When the Israelite (Jewish) people were regathered and once more (in 1948) became a nation in the land of their fathers, the Jewish state made sure that the people as an entire nation observed the weekly Sabbath (on Saturday as commanded in the Torah). It is an official non-working day all throughout the land. All the other high Sabbaths (or holy feasts) like Passover, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Weeks, the Feast of Tabernacles — all these are official feasts and non-working days in the land of Israel.

Jesus is a Jew
God is True to His Word: True enough, this regathered nation that keeps the laws and statutes ordained by the God of Israel has been blessed in amazing ways, link. Despite an arid land, agricultural technology makes them produce so much food that they export. Despite being surrounded by hostile neighbors, Israel continues to be protected. Despite being small, the Israelite people have been blessed with amazing intelligence in technology, medicine and finance, such that the country has a thriving economy.

Yes, Israel, the nation of Jesus of Nazareth, is blessed today. It is the only people who collectively obey the statutes of the God of Israel. Again, we come back to the fact that Jesus is a Jew. He therefore blesses His people and His land when they obey His rules. Would you dare to obey His rules? Are those rules hard and dictatorial? No. Man was given free-will to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

HARD FACT #4: Jesus’ teaching about our ultimate destiny is misunderstood

As stated in the Law (Deuteronomy 30), Jesus taught that man can choose to have eternal life. He corrected the Jews of His day and also filled in a few details. After the resurrection, life differs from life in this age. Let’s see what Jesus said in Mathew 22:

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

HARD FACT #5: Jesus is a Jew, and as such He will govern the world from Jerusalem

Jesus is a Jew The fact that Jesus is a Jew aligns Him closely with Israel, both the people and the land. Jesus loved Jerusalem and lamented over the city:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling (Mat 23.37)

As with hundreds of prophecies that have already come true, prophecy about the end of the age will also come true. In particular, Jesus will return to rule the nations from His glorious (new) temple in Jerusalem:

And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshiped (Zech 14.9)

For those who ignore Israel or minimise her significance in the world, the bold declarations in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are hard to imagine indeed. More …

PART 3
jewish belief

What do Jews think of Jesus?

Jews are Looking for Moshiach – the Jewish Messiah

jewish belief
Jews praying in Jerusalem

Israel’s Jews are either ultra-Orthodox (8%), religious Zionists (17%), traditional Jews (55%), or secular Jews (20%), link. So some 80% of today’s Jews follow Old Testament (OT) belief in some way, from fundamentalism to loose Jewish practice. The key questions is “Who do these Jews believe their Messiah, Moshiach, to be? And did Jesus fulfill that role?”

Jews believe the Moshiach (‘the anointed one’) will be a great human leader, like King David, link, link. He will be anointed with oil as an earthly king and he will deliver Israel. He is not a ‘saviour’ (as in the Christian ‘Messiah’) but he is a human political leader who has achieved a level of nobility and greatness not yet seen by the world. All the nations of the world will recognize him to be a world leader and he will usher in world peace. There are many messianic prophecies in the OT that could be taken to pertain to the Moshiach. For example:

The scepter shall not depart from Judah … until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people (Gen 49.10)
I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth (Jer 23.5)

Yeshua is not Recognized as their Moshiach

Messiah

Here is the crucial difference in belief. Christians believe that Shiloh in Genesis 49 refers to a proper name, to Yeshua or Jesus, and that the King referred to in Jeremiah 23 is the returning Christ.

In contrast, Jews do not recognize Yeshua as their Moshiach because He did not accomplish the tasks of the expected human leader. In particular, Yeshua did not come as King to deliver Israel, or usher in world peace. Also, with the exception of a minority of Jews called Messianic Jews, Jewish beliefs do not acknowledge the empty cross of Christ, whereas Christians believe Christ is risen and lives and is soon to return to rule the earth with justice and righteousness!

GO DEEPER

Jesus and Israel: What’s the Connection?

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 do Jews and Gentiles think of Jesus?
  • Will today’s Jews every recognize Jesus as their ‘Messiah’. If so, when?
  • 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 the nation, Israel?
  • Did Jesus’ teaching replace the laws of the Hebrew scriptures?
  • Does Jesus fulfill the promises of blessing given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Put another way, does Jesus and His church fulfill the role originally assigned to the nation of Israel – to be a light to the nations?
  • Has Christ’s church replaced Israel, as in Replacement Theology?
  • If Jesus and His church have taken the place of Old Testament Israel, what is the status and role of the nation of Israel today?
  • Is the modern State of Israel a product of man’s will, or a fulfillment of God’s prophetic word?
  • Does God recognize as ‘spiritual’ Israel all who respond in faith to follow Jesus?
  • Is the church related to the so-called ‘Ten Lost Tribes’? Are their descendants scattered amongst the Gentile church, link?
  • Did Jesus’ primary ministry (reconciliation of man to God) fulfill all that the Old Testament temple symbolized? Is a new temple in Jerusalem needed (as some maintain)?
  • Does the modern State of Israel have any claim to the land (Canaan) promised to Abraham and his descendants, noting that Israel failed to keep God’s covenant? Put another way, are modern Jews still the true heirs of the land promised regardless of their continued unbelief in Jesus?

Bible Prophecy Holds the Answer to many of 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? Why can’t we take a pragmatic view of prophecies where the text is quite clear?

Jesus’ First Mission: He came primarily to His own people, the Jews (at that time, essentially from the tribe of Judah), but they rejected Him as their expected Messiah (the Moshiach):

He came to that which was His own [that which belonged to Him—His world, His creation, His possession], and those who were His own [people—the Jewish nation] did not receive and welcome Him (Jn 1.11, Amplified)

And He came not to abolish the Jewish Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mat 5.17).

Jesus’ Second Mission: Why does Jesus return to the Jews in Jerusalem and not to the politically important people in the UN or the EU, for instance? The answer is that prophecy explicitly states that Jesus returns to rule the Gentile nations with justice as King from Jerusalem (Zech 14.9,16,17). He returns to sit on the ancient throne of king David, who reigned 33 years in Jerusalem (Isa 9.7).

He returns to usher in the fullness of the Kingdom of God – a Millennial age of peace when the nations go up to Jerusalem to worship Him (Isa 66.23)! He returns to dwell with His chosen nation, the people of Israel (Ezek.37.26-27). Perhaps most important of all, Jesus returns so that His people recognize Him as their true Messiah, their looked-for Moshiach:

They (the Jews) will look on Me whom they pierced … they will mourn for Him … in that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem (Zech 12.10,11)

Again, these promises are difficult to spiritualize.

Jesus returns to Jerusalem: Bible prophecy says that Jesus will return at the end of this age. 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.

Jesus’ return is Unexpected: It 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

Who Takes Jesus Seriously?

Jesus and Israel

Most Jews are confused over Jesus

As the video implies, most Jews in Israel today reject Yeshua (Jesus) as their looked-for ‘Messiah’ or ‘Moshiach’. Apart from a minority, those who claim to be religious follow Judaism, not Yeshua. This is alarming – but a fulfillment of prophecy. According to prophecy, God’s people (generically, the Jews) will return in unbelief to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. The New Testament says that these Jews are suffering a temporary spiritual blindness and a temporary hardening of the heart towards God and especially towards Yeshua (Rom 11.25). Only at the very end of this age, under tribulation, does the vast majority of Jews recognize Yeshua as their Messiah (Zech 12.10-14).

In an ever-darkening western world, 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? For example, a vast majority of young people in Europe now reject Christianity, link. Some 70% of young people in the UK identify with no religion.

Yet billions of people worldwide who call themselves Christians believe he is a living person, trust him, and hang on to every word he said, as written in the New Testament writings of the Bible. And it is these same scriptures that give shocking warnings to those who don’t believe and consciously reject him. 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.
 

READ ABOUT:
Jesus the man
Jesus the Jew
Jesus the Creator
Jesus the coming King

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 1:
Jesus the man: What the eyewitnesses said about him

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 2:
Jesus the Jew: This has deep implications for Israel

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 3:
Jesus the Creator: He died for His creation. Do you believe it?

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 4:
Jesus the coming king: He will rule the nations from Jerusalem


Messianic Jews: What do they believe?