It All Started With A Promise
As a Christian, I find it very difficult to hear of others who claim Christ as their Savior speak ill of the Jewish people. And that goes whether these people-calling-themselves-Christians disparage Jews as an ethnic group or because of their religion.
Let me preface this article by stating that I am not speaking of the complex political issues that currently plague the Middle East. I have no desire to delve into that at this time.
I am simply saying this: I believe many Christians need to study their Bible more closely to better understand God's relationship with the Jewish people.
Over the years, I have heard many people justify their bigotry by saying that “the Jews killed Jesus.”
I have three answers to this:
Jesus Christ was resurrected, ascended back to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to Earth as a way to redeem those who accept it back to God. We were all separated from God and born sinners after the sins of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But God made a way to redeem us.
And according to the Bible, it all started with a promise from the Lord. God made a covenant with Abram.
Genesis 17: 1-7 (King James Version = KJV)
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
It continued in Genesis 17: 15-21 (KJV):
And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
Fourteen generations later, God made a covenant with King David.
2 Samuel 7: 1-16 (KJV)
And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest round about from all his enemies;
That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.
And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee.
And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,
Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?
Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.
In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?
Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
Twenty-eight generations after that, Jesus was born of Mary and raised by Joseph, who was of the lineage of David. Jesus was fully God and fully man. He walked the Earth thirty-three years, teaching and performing miracles until He fulfilled the prophesies of the Messiah.
Some time after Jesus's ascension, Paul spoke to the Christians, specifically to give them a good understanding of Christianity and God’s everlasting relationship with the Jewish people.
Romans 11: 1-36 (KJV)
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel saying,
Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them:
Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
I have been taught these things about the Jewish people. I will go a step further and say that I see myself and my fellow Christians as “spiritual Jews.” We may not observe all the same customs or days, but that’s alright. We can still love, appreciate and support one another.
That said, I have seen individuals (some famous, others not), individual churches and even some supposedly Christian organizations show anti-Semitic behavior. They all give similar defense of their actions. “The Jews killed Christ.” And as I said at the beginning of this article, it shows a poor understanding of the Bible and God’s covenant with the Jewish people.
Jesus laid down His life. He could have called twelve legions of angels to His defense, but He didn’t. He was a willing sacrifice to establish God’s Word. The Old Testament predicted the New Testament. The New Testament fulfilled the Old Testament. All of God’s Word is valid and relevant today.
So, if God calls a people “My people,” they are His people. That doesn't change, because God doesn't change.
To God, forever means forever.
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About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
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