Jewishness & the Gospel

God entered into covenant with Israel. He brought the nation of Israel into being with the express intention of entering into covenant with it, and using the nation to bring a holy happiness to the world. Israel is not the end all and be all of human history, or of the purposes of God; it is a means to an end.

God gave Israel covenants, promises and warnings. He gave them kings to lead and defend them, prophets to exhort them and a law to serve as the nation's guide.

Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, Israel chose to go its own way. A short while after the law was promulgated, while the people were still at the foot of the Mountain, they chose to pervert the image of God into idolatrous terms learned from the surrounding nations. My beloved people repeated that mistake with such determined persistence that they were finally driven out of the land, as God warned woudl happen if they did not obey him: a false view of God led to a false view of life, of society, of morality and of privilege. Israel became a hedonistic, materialistic, selfish society in which man consumed man and the weak and needy were abused, neglected and destroyed. God could not and would not leave the nation without punishment, for he is just.

He first sent prophets to warn the people, but they would not listen. He urged them to turn from their ways and assured them of forgiving grace, but they developed a system of self-reliance and would not budge. Even in exile, when finally purged of overt idolatry, they conjured up a new kind of idolatry – that of the mind, without a physical image. God was made subject to the rabbis, subject to man's abilities, diktats and achievements. His sovereignty was replaced with a view expression by one of Israel's leading rabbis in terms of "all is predetermined in heaven (by God) – except the fear of heaven (of God)!" In matters of the heart, man was viewed as free, and God could do not more than wish and hope. He was subject to man's beck and call, or at the mercy of man choosing to ignore or obey him.

By the time Messiah came, this system had become in many Jewish minds sine qua none with spirituality. Jesus challenged that system and was rejected for doing so. His disciples were hounded out of the nation, expelled from participation in the day-to-day of Jewish life on any level, described as traitors to the national cause.

Meanwhile the church, seeking to distance itself from anything Jewish for reasons we need not go into here, forced the Jewish believers to disavow their Jewishness.

But the message Jesus the Messiah taught is exactly that of the prophets, of the law, of the promises of God to Israel. Faith in Jesus is the most truly Jewish thing there is! It is high time to redeem the message from its historical contortions and to rediscover its solid roots in the Five Books of Moses, the books of Israel and of Judah's history, in the Psalms and in the words of the prophets.

Israel's future has to do with its faith in Jesus. Israel's destiny is to love, obey, enjoy and glorify Jesus. That is Israel's only true salvation.

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