“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!
“Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Luk 13:34-35)
Don’t be surprised at the title of this entry, ‘What are we doing wrong?’
Some years ago I subscribed to the Jerusalem Post. One morning while reading the Post, this statement stood out; ‘What are we doing wrong’.
It was part of an ad that had been placed by the Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Tovia Singer. Rabbi Singer was coming against Christianity and against Jesus Christ as Messiah of Israel. He was promoting his anti-Christian audio tapes. This is how the ad read in part -
What Are We Doing Wrong, and What are They doing right? Why Have more Jews Converted to Christianity in the Last 19 Years than in the Last 1,900 Years?”
I could hardly believe my eyes. If I were a Jewish person reading that ad, I would not be concerned about purchasing Tovia’s audio tapes. I would want to know why so many Jews were converting to Christianity.
Are you interested? Let’s begin by talking about …
The Strange Mix in Israel
Did you know that a great part of the citizenry of Israel is secular and not religious. How can that be?
We know that Israel fulfilled certain prophecies by becoming a nation among nations in 1948. After all, Moses and the prophets foretold of the ingathering of the Jewish people in the latter days.
Since all this was written beforehand, how can it be that so many Jews in Israel are secular, and with a great many who are either atheists or agnostics?
Does that surprise you that many Jews are atheists? According to statistics a full 37% of the people of Israel are either atheists or agnostics.
This makes the Israel fourth in a list of nations with the highest percentage of atheists.
Yes, Israel is a strange mix. There is even a hatred between the secular Jews and the Orthodox Jews. It got so bad in years gone by that you would often read about a civil war in the making.
It is not as if the Bible leaves all this unsaid. The Bible is the only book in existence that records history before it happens.
Where did it all begin? After all the ancient people of Israel had long believed in the coming of God’s Messiah.
This part of Israel’s history begins with …
The Rejection of Jesus and the Sword
Keep in mind that not all Jews rejected Jesus. In fact the early Church was totally Jewish. Yet, Jesus said that His coming would affect Israel so deeply that it would be like a sword.
Take note -
” … whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
“For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.” (See fuller context - Mat 10:32-39)
Of course it began with the rejection of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah and the King of Israel. When they rejected Jesus, as a nation Israel lost citizen rights to being the people of God. They had long seen themselves as ‘the kingdom of God.’ That was no longer the case.
“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’?
“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.” (Mat 21:42-43)
They became a people without a kingdom. The term, ‘kingdom of God’, meant the direct rule of God.
This does not mean that the people of Israel would no longer figured into God’s plan for the ages. Quite the contrary. Their rejection of Jesus and God’s rejection of them as His people is well noted in Scripture. But also noted in Scripture is their coming to know Jesus as their Messiah.
But an issues needs to be make clear.
It’s Not About Anti-Semitism
I realize that the first thing that is thrown at anyone who would place the Jews in a bad light, is the term ‘anti-Semitic.’ But anyone who reads and studies the Scriptures knows how ridiculous that statement is.
If someone like me is anti-Semitic, then Moses, the prophets, the apostles, and even Jesus would have to be called anti-Semitic. The very things that I share come from the writings of the Old Testament prophets, and the new covenant apostolic writers. It’s all about redemption history.
It goes back to the first books of the Bible, that is, to the writings of Moses.
When Moses was about to leave the earthly scene, Moses sang a prophetic song over Israel. In this song Moses spoke of the falling away of Israel, of Israels wandering through the nations, of their peril of life, and of Israel’s return. The song of Moses actually lays out the history of Israel. (Found in Deu32),
In his song, Moses says,
“They have acted corrupted toward Him, they are not his children, because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation.” (v5) (Peter quotes from this verse of the song of Moses on the day of Pentecost.)
Moses goes on to call them a foolish and an unwise people from whom He will hide His face. He says that God will make Israel jealous with a people who were not a people. He also says,
“Would that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would discern their future.”
The prophets continue this theme with …
When God Hides His Face
The fact that God would hide His face from Israel is a theme that trances its way through the Bible. God speaks through the prophet Hosea, saying,
“I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” (Hosea 5:15)
Recall what Jesus said over Jerusalem?
“You will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Yet there is something else I need to share about Moses. Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Did you know that the rest of the Bible including the New Testament actually work out from the books of Moses? If there were no Genesis, the book of Revelation would make little sense, and thus and so.
I wish I had time to take my readers through the entire song of Moses. Hopefully many of you are already picking up on the prophetic elements in this song.
But that is not the end of the story of Israel. Paul said,
“For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Rom11:15)
Does any of this tell us why Israel is so secular with so many atheists and agnostics among here citizenry? Yes, there is a lot to be said. There are elements that help to understand this dilemma.
Let’s continue with…
A Rediscovery of Jesus
The Jews are only of late beginning a true major rediscovering Jesus for themselves. One Jewish writer said that the number one topic of discussion on the streets of Jerusalem today, has to do with Jesus.
For the most part the Jews never knew that Jesus was Jewish or that He and the apostles were ‘sabras.’ (Of the land.) They were left under the impression that Jesus was some kind of Gentile Roman or Greek God. That is changing on a major scale. They have become intrigued with Jesus.
Their rabbis with their Talmudic Religion, had misled the Jews so often that many became turned off by the Jewish religion. The Bible also told us this would happen. God spoke through Isaiah, saying,
“Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; and the wisdom of their wise men [rabbis] will perish, and the discernment of their discernment men will be concealed.” (Isa 29:14)
In the heart of the Jew is a vacancy that can only be filled by God Himself. (Of course this vacancy is in every human.) This is why so many Jews are finding Jesus as their Messiah. And this vacancy will be the turning point of the nation. Keep in mind what Jesus said,
“Until you say, ‘blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.’
The prophet Zechariah told us how this rediscovery of Jesus would happen. Israel and Jerusalem are going to face a war in the not too distant future that will bring about this cry for Jesus. I would encourage my readers to read the whole of Zechariah 12.
It is in the time of this war that we read this one verse:
“I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of Grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zech12:10)
Paul said that all Israel would be saved.
Do you not find it strange that Israel’s greatest support comes from Christians today. There is a reason for this. Think about it.
If you would like to know more about what is happening between the believing Jews and those Jews who do not believe in Jesus, take time for this debate between two Jewish men, Rabbi Tovia Singer, and, Dr. Michael Brown.