Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7.
by John C. Whitcomb, Th.D.
We have presented two reasons Israel’s national conversion to Messiah cannot occur at His Second Coming in glory. First, people are converted by hearing and believing His Word, not by seeing Him physically, even in His glorified state. Second, Israel must have experienced her spiritual transformation three-and-a-half years before Christ’s return in order to take His Gospel message to all the Gentile nations of the earth (Matt. 24:14). This act will constitute a spectacular fulfillment of her very purpose of existence as a chosen people: “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6, KJV). “And they [redeemed Israel] shall declare my glory among the Gentiles” (Isa. 66:19b; cf. 49:22-23; 55:5; 60:5, 9, 11, 14; 61:6). But why will the people of Israel be given this magnificent privilege of knowing the Son of God by faith (and thus entering into the spiritual privileges of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36), and also of seeing their Messiah in His glory?
The answer to this urgent question is made emphatically clear in the Bible: “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. 7:7-8; cf. 4:37; 10:15; Ezek. 36:16-32). But our God is not a respecter of persons. Because of thousands of years of disobedience to her divine calling, Israel “hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins” (Isa. 40:2).
Nearly 2,000 years ago, Israel as a nation officially rejected Jesus as her Messiah (cf. Matt. 27:25; Mark 15:13; Luke 23:21; John 19:12, 15). To this rejection, our Lord did not reply, “Ye shall not see me.” That is indeed what the nation deserved. Instead—and this is an oft overlooked statement of Christ—He said to them,”Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matt. 23:39).
The breaking off of Israel from the tree of divine blessing (Rom. 11:17-22) was therefore temporary, not permanent! It was partial, not complete! As the apostle Paul went on to explain, “blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved” (Rom. 11:25-26).
True, Israel does not deserve to be saved because, “as concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes” (Rom. 11:28). But it is not a question of deserving salvation! The ultimate reality is that “as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes [i.e., Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom God gave an unconditional covenant—Genesis 15, 22, 35]. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:28-29). Thus, God has not permanently replaced Israel with the church!
It would be dangerous for a Christian to think, Jews do not deserve to be saved, but I do! Apart from the infinite grace of God, what do we really deserve?
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)… . That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:4, 5, 7-9).
|Dr. John C. Whitcomb has been a professor of Old Testament and theology for more than 50 years and is widely recognized as a leading biblical scholar. He taught at Grace Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, IN) from 1951-1990 and gained much recognition for his work on The Genesis Flood (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company), which he co-authored with Dr. Henry Morris in 1961. That book has been credited as one of the major catalysts for the modern Biblical creationism movement. His ministry homepage is Whitcomb Ministries, and his sermons are available at SermonAudio.com.