A few different questions about Israel rolled in on Sunday. Though asked in different ways, the essential question was the same = “What role does Israel play in the future of God’s plans?”
Answer: Within biblical Christendom there are two major views with regard to God’s ultimate plan for His people Israel. One view holds that because of Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, the church has replaced Israel as God’s instrument and people. The other view holds that while Israel has rejected her Messiah, God has clearly declared throughout Scripture that He has always had an ultimate plan for Israel. That plan includes a future fulfillment of all God promised to Israel in both the Old and New Testaments.
It is our desire at FBC to always allow the clear and accurate interpretation of Scripture alone to define our position regarding all matters of faith and practice. When we allow Scripture to speak for itself, then and only then do we arrive at what God meant by what He said! If we were all perfectly honest, the main reason for much of the disagreement that we Christians have can often be found in the way we interpret God’s Word. When the plain, grammatico-literal, contextual method of interpreation is used (as prescribed by God Himself in his Word – see Neh 8:8!) then we arrive at what God intends for us to know and believe (Jn 17:17).
So why the brief course in bible interpretation? Because failure to employ sound principles of biblical interpretation is the reason this is such a point of contention amongst many believers on this issue and many,many others. So how do we know God has a future for His chosen people? Here’s a brief summation of the biblical case for Israel’s restoration and inclusion into God’s overall plan for the future :
1. In the OT, God made a number of unconditional promises to the nation of Israel (Isa 55;11, Jer 32:42). Scripture emphatically declares it is impossible for God to be unfaithful (Num 23:16, Lam 3:22; 2 Tim 2:13). By His perfect,unchanging nature and character He will perfectly fulfill every promise to His beloved nation of Israel.
2. Israel’s current unbelief is part of God’s plan for them (Rom.9:6-13). God is using Israel’s unbelief to bring spiritual riches to the world through saving the Gentiles (Rom 11:11-15:25). Israel’s current unbelief is part of God’s sovereign plan of redemption (Rom 9-11).
3. Ultimately,when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in, all Israel will be saved. (Rom.11:25). At that point in the future (which may be closer than we think!), God pours out His sovereign grace and draws them to their true messiah – Jesus Christ (Rom 11:26-29).
While this is but a brief snapshot of what Scripture teaches about Israel’s and the world’s future. It serves as a solid, unwavering testimony to the sovereign,unconditional love God has for Israel.
The prophet Hosea, through the inspiration of God, the Holy Spirit, sums up well God’s unbreakable love for His rebellious, chosen people and His ultimate promise of reconciliation to them in the future:
“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice. In loving compassion, and I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:19-20)