What is the role of the Jews in the purpose of God?
When you have read this material you will know the answers to these questions:
- How did the Jewish race begin?
- Why were the Jews chosen as a special people?
- What has happened to the Jews in history?
- What is the future for the Jews?
- I am not a Jew—can God save me?
Keys are essential to open locked doors. Here are five "golden keys” which will help you to unlock the Bible message about the Jews, and us:
· Understanding God’s promises to Abraham.
· Knowing about the promises God made to David.
· Looking at God’s relationship with the Jews.
· Understanding the work of Jesus Christ.
· Knowing about the coming kingdom of God on earth.
We need to use them all to understand "The Jews in God’s Purpose”.
1. HOW DID THE JEWISH RACE BEGIN?
The Jewish race began with a man called Abram. God knew his man. Abram’s faith is still a great example of trust in God and His promises. God brought Abram from Ur, near the Persian Gulf, to the land we now know as Israel.
God made special promises to Abram (his name was later changed to Abraham):
· "I will make you a great nation” (New King James Version).
· "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.”
· "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2,3).
· "All the land which you see I give to you and your descendants for ever.”
· "I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth” (great in number, Genesis 13:16).
· "I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.”
· "I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you … to be God to you and your descendants” (Genesis 17:6-8).
Abraham’s grandson Jacob had twelve sons. Over generations, they became a great nation—The Jews.
2. WHY WERE THE JEWS CHOSEN AS A SPECIAL PEOPLE?
God had a great regard for the faithfulness of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Jews were chosen, "because he loved your fathers, therefore he chose their descendants” (Deuteronomy 4:37). God said: "Understand that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people” (9:6).
Nothing had changed centuries later, when they crucified God’s Son, Jesus Christ (Acts 7:51).
However, by working through one special people, God was able to draw attention to His character and purpose with the earth. He said to Moses: "For this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show my power in you, and that my name may be declared in all the earth” (Exodus 9:6).
This was vitally important, for God later said: "But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD” (Numbers 14:21). This wonderful promise will be fulfilled after Jesus Christ returns to the earth.
3. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE JEWS IN HISTORY?
The history of the Jews is mainly a sad one. Although they had the great privilege of knowing about God, they were disobedient. God said that if they were obedient—"the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth”. But, if not, "you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will lead you” (Deuteronomy 28:1,37).
The Jews have suffered in many countries of the world: banished from Israel on pain of death (AD 135); expelled from England (1020) and France(1306); expelled from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1498); expelled from Russia and the Ukraine, many being killed and persecuted in the process (1918); and in the Second World War, six million died in the Holocaust” (1939-1945).
Yet, miracle of miracles, they have survivedas a nation! That is because God still has a purpose with them: "You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God” (Ezekiel 36:28).
4. WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR THE JEWS?
The future for the Jews is firmly rooted in God’s promise to Abraham that they would possess the land of Israel for ever. God later promised King David: "I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body … and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12,13).
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is descended from David through Mary his mother. He died for our sins and rose from the dead to live forever. He will return to the earth to fulfil the promises made to David: "The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:32,33).
Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, reminded the Jews that, "The patriarch David … is both dead and buried,” but "God had sworn with an oath to him that … he would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne” (Acts 2:29,30). What God has promised, He will surely perform.
Though scattered and persecuted, the Jews still exist as a nation. That is because God promised: "I will save you from afar … I will not make a complete end of you” (Jeremiah 30:10,11).
In 1948, the State of Israel was established. The Jews returned from over 100 countries. They survived, in spite of wars with Arab nations. They will yet go through a time of great trouble (Zechariah 14:1,2). God will send Jesus Christ to save them, "and the LORD shall be king over all the earth” (verses 3-9). The message is clear: "Rejoice greatly … your King is coming to you … He shall speak peace to the nations; his dominion shall be … to the ends of the earth” (9:9,10).
Many Bible passages speak of Israel being regathered to their own land (Jeremiah 31:10; Ezekiel 36:24-28). Many more talk about Jesus coming as king (Psalm 72; Acts 1:11). Our five "golden keys” work together to unlock God’s message about "The Jews in God’s Purpose”.
5. I AM NOT A JEW—CAN GOD SAVE ME?
Yes, God’s salvation is also offered to Gentiles (non-Jews). Jesus will rule the world from Jerusalem. "The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory” (Isaiah 62:2).
God does not just offer a good natural life to Jews and Gentiles when Jesus comes to be king. To individual Jews and Gentiles He offers everlasting life, if they believe, are baptized and follow His Son, Jesus Christ. His offer is open to everyone, including you.
Yes, you can live forever, joyfully helping Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God. The day will come when sin and death will be no more. God’s chosen ones will live with him forever. Faithful Jews and Gentiles will be there. Will you be with them?
"Let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free online Bible study course on http://www.thisisyourbible.com? This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort. You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.