There is much written and said about natural Israel’s rejection of God, but very little is written or said about God’s rejection of natural Israel. If natural Israel is the apple of God’s eye then through their repeated provocations have continuously poked the God of Israel in the eye!
To understand Paul’s statements in Romans chapters 9 – 11 one must understand the core texts have to do with the salvation experience that only comes through a personal faith in Christ Jesus, and its corresponding faithfulness to God the Father. That truth is woven all the way through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation!
Paul, in Romans 10 reveals how to be saved. “8 But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.’ 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.'”
Paul begins in verse 8 referencing Deuteronomy 30:14. “Doing the word” in Deuteronomy is believing and confessing the word [Jesus] in Romans.
Deuteronomy is the chapter where God lays two choices before the children of Israel. Those choices are: life and death, and blessing and curses. In that chapter God also states their rebellion will result in their removal off of the land of promise. Refusal to repent of the rebellion against God disqualifies them from living in the land of promise.
Paul ends in verse 13 quoting Joel 2:32 – “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”
Those who call on the Lord for salvation are those who respond to the Lord’s call to receive salvation, period! Those who responded in the first century escaped the hell that the Roman legions rained down on Judah and Jerusalem between 67-70 AD! No Christians lost their lives because they obeyed Jesus and fled to safety. While over 1,000,000 Jews lost their lives and nearly 250,000 more went into slavery.
Jesus said in the Olivet Discourse that the great tribulation would never be matched again! And that includes the holocaust during WWII!
In chapter 9 of Romans Paul cleans up the confusion when he says, “6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: ‘through Isaac your descendants will be named.’ 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is the word of promise: ‘At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son.’ 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ 13 Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.'”
There is a lot to unpack in those 8 verses out of Romans 9! I will not take the time to give the full history lesson due to time and space. Suffice it to say Paul was reaching into the rich history of God’s dealings with humanity going back into Genesis before there was an Israel, and ending with the quote out of Malachi that refers to the Genesis account he is referencing. God’s word has not failed nor will it ever fail! To qualify for the title of Israel obedience to the will of God is the requirement!
“Jacob I loved [preferred], but Esau I hated [did not prefer]” refers to a prophetic strategy that speaks of the coming Savior, who as humanity’s older brother would serve in such a way that promotes His younger siblings to a place of honor above Him. Jesus would die to give us the privilege of the Life He possesses, and the Life He had and has with His Father. That my friends is a serious upgrade!
God’s initial rejection began in the womb of Rebecca as two boys, representing two distinct people groups, and two very distinct destinies were contending for the blessing of God which included the name of Israel! Esau would despise it and Jacob would stoop low and deceive to receive it. Even in his deception Jacob proved how hungry he was to receive it! It took a returning [repentance] to receive it. It was at the place of emptying [Jabbok] that Jacob would find a crossing and meet the Man who would later be called the only Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. That Man is the Mediator of a better covenant with better promises!
Two huge keys in Paul’s revelation to the Romans are: 1] “They are not all Israel who are descended [naturally] from Israel [Jacob, the man with a destiny but who lives in deception],” and 2] “Nor are they all children [of God] because they are Abraham’s [natural] descendants.” Those keys are summed up in this: “It is not the children of the flesh [natural descent] who are children of God, but the children of the promise [faith who] are regarded as descendants.”
If you miss that message you miss the mandate of the Messiah! And you will misunderstand and mistreat everything else Paul says in the Romans 9 – 11 context. “All Israel will be saved” is not saying every Jewish person will be saved. It is saying all who are Israel will be saved!
John the apostle makes this truth transparently clear when he writes in chapter 1 of his Gospel – “11 He came to His own [Jewish people], and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many [Jewish and non-Jewish] as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
There is a birth that is a special spiritual birth that God Father, who is Spirit, has willed! That is the ONLY birth that counts when the rolls are called “up yonder!” That birth is the new birth! The right, honor, privilege and responsibility of being a child of God are reserved for those who respond to the will of God. Jesus would later state exactly what God’s will involved. “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life” [John 6:40]. Seeing Him as He is and for who He is is a prerequisite for believing Him, and in Him.
Now to God’s rejection of Israel!
1 Samuel 15:26-28
The second rejection!
“26 But Samuel said to Saul, ‘I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.’ 27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.'”
This rejection of Israel’s king [Saul] was in response to Saul’s rejection of God’s authority to rule Israel through him. Israel wanted a human king to be like the rest of the world, and in wanting a king they rejected heaven’s King who is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Being like the world will disqualify you from being like God! For, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” [James 4:4].
Isn’t it interesting how James inserts adultery into the relationship between God and man? Natural Israel has always been an adulteress when it comes to her relationship to God!
God rejected Israel’s king and turned to the forerunner of heaven’s king, David, who was “better than Saul.” David was not better because he was flawless and faultless. David was better because he was a man after God’s heart, in spite of the issues in his heart that were not Godly. If Israel was going to have a human king it would be someone from the tribe of Judah. So God set out to set His man on the throne of Israel. David would undergo ungodly testings and even have to settle for the lowly leadership position of king of Judah before he ascended to the prize position in the Palace.
1 Kings 11:31-37
The third rejection!
“31 He said to Jeroboam, ‘Take for yourself ten pieces; for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and give you ten tribes 32 (but he will have one tribe, for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel), 33 because they have forsaken Me, and have worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the sons of Ammon; and they have not walked in My ways, doing what is right in My sight and observing My statutes and My ordinances, as his father David did. 34 Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, but I will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of My servant David whom I chose, who observed My commandments and My statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom from his son’s hand and give it to you, even ten tribes. 36 But to his son I will give one tribe, that My servant David may have a lamp always before Me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen for Myself to put My name’.'”
God tore 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel away from Solomon and gave them to Jeroboam leaving only 1 tribe to pass on to David’s descendants. That tribe was Judah! Remember, the tribe of Levi belonged to God as His priests until Jesus would come and fulfill all the Law of Moses and the Prophets. That fulfillment changed everything as God would no longer deal with man according to the Law of sin and death, but according to the law of liberty that is in Christ Jesus. This was done so that David’s descendant Jesus would be able to sit on David’s throne and rule from heaven as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and function under the priesthood ministry of Melchizedek at the same time!
Jesus is unable to serve on earth as a priest because He is not from the tribe of Levi! Jesus is not able to serve as King on earth in an earthly temple either.
The final rejection, phase 1!
“33 Listen to another parable. ‘There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine -growers and went on a journey. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. 35 The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. 37 But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ 39 They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?’ 41 They said to Him, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.’ 42 Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes‘?” 43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.” By speaking “about them” He was speaking about the whole house of Israel they were the leaders of.
The final rejection, final phase!
“37 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. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'”
The final rejection resulted in desolation!
That desolation would happen 40 years later with the total destruction of Jerusalem, Judaism, the religious system, culture and its hallowed physical temple in 70 AD. And it was all because they were “unwilling.” In other words, they would not bring their will under the will of God.
“Your house is being left to you desolate!”
“Your house” is a complete repudiation that their physical temple was God’s house!
“Is being left” is a complete abandonment of them by God!
“To you” is a complete handover for all the responsibility for the desolation!
“Desolate” is the completed divorce proceedings and punitive damages that followed!
From heaven’s perspective there is no more life in a natural Israel or a natural Jerusalem!
Jesus made clear that Jerusalem was not the place for the worship of God. In fact, Jesus removed any and all geographical associations with the worship of the Father.
“21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 24 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.'”
There is more to come that cannot be fit in a blog or really a series of blogs, even though I have blogged many times on this subject.
I am currently writing two Books that will deal with both the Israel and the Jerusalem issues! They are: WHO IS THE ISRAEL OF GOD, And What Does That Have To Do With Me; and Jesus and Jerusalem.
If you don’t want to receive God’s rejection don’t reject God’s salvation through His Son, who is the Savior of all mankind, especially those who believe!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin