Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on David’s Tent, a ministry of Israeli believers Avner and Rachel Boskey. The Boskey’s have ministered at Tabernacle of David, and we consider them trustworthy and Biblically sound.
“Then what advantage does the Jew have? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First, that they were entrusted with the actual words of God” (Romans 3:1-2). The Bible is a book 95% written by Jews, and its subject matter is over 90% concerning the Jewish people. This is not an accident. God’s sovereign heart and hand are revealed in this.
YHVH wants the nations of the world to understand and focus on His heart, His passions, and His plans for the sons and daughters of Jacob. He is not as much looking for people to teach about God’s prophetic strategies for the Jewish people; He is looking for people who are drunk with God’s love for Israel, who weep for Jacob’s present spiritual condition, who honor and rejoice in God’s priority calling on His Hebrew nation.
The choosing (or election) of the Jewish people is not (as some believe) merely a deft gambit in a universal chess game. It is a choice rooted in YHVH’s love for the Hebrew people. Without such a divine heart transplant, anyone who teaches about Israel will find the result stillborn, cold to the touch, bereft of passion, love and life. Here is YHVH’s message of love:
- “I have loved you,” says YHVH. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was Esau not Jacob’s brother?” declares YHVH. “Yet I have loved Jacob” (Malachi 1:2)
- 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, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I have loved” (Romans 9:11-13)
- When they came to Yeshua, they strongly urged Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; for he loves our nation, and it was he who built us our synagogue.” (Luke 7:4-5)
- Shout for joy, daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, Israel! Rejoice and triumph with all your heart, Daughter of Jerusalem! . . . YHVH your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will be quiet in His love; He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy! (Zephaniah 3:14, 17)
All you need is love
God chooses Israel out of love. The Scriptures repeat this again and again. My experience has shown me that one of the best ways to hide a secret is to put it in the Bible. And the sad fact is that many theologians and preachers often stumble past this incredible Scriptural truth, missing the heart of God in the choosing of Jacob. Here are eleven random passages which underscore this spiritual point:
- “YHVH did not make you His beloved nor choose you because you were greater in number than any of the peoples, since you were the fewest of all peoples, but because YHVH loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers. YHVH brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)
- Blessed be YHVH your God who delighted in you, setting you on His throne as king for YHVH your God; because your God loved Israel, establishing them forever, He made you king over them, to carry out justice and righteousness (2 Chronicles 9:8)
- YHVH loves the sons of Israel (Hosea 3:1)
- When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son (Hosea 11:1)
- I pulled them along with cords of a man, with ropes of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws, and I bent down and fed them (Hosea 11:4)
- I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, because My anger has turned away from them (Hosea 14:4)
- For I am YHVH your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you, I will give other people in your place and other nations in exchange for your life (Isaiah 43:3-4)
- Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her! Be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her, so that you may nurse and be satisfied with her comforting breasts, so that you may drink fully and be delighted with her bountiful breasts (Isaiah 66:10-11)
- Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My garment over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine, declares YHVH God (Ezekiel 16:8)
- YHVH appeared to him long ago, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefor I have drawn you out with kindness (Jeremiah 31:3)
- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6)
Jealous of Joseph
There are at least two ways to respond when one discovers that God not only loves us, but loves someone else as well: to rejoice in the truth of His love (1 Corinthians 13:6); or to become jealous and arrogant (1 Corinthians 13:4). James agrees: “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth” (James 3:14). Solomon concurs: “A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones” (Proverbs 14:30).
Esau responded to God’s loving choice of Jacob with jealousy, anger and murderous thoughts: “So Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob’” (Genesis 27:41).
In the same way, one generation later, Joseph’s brothers responded to Jacob’s loving choice of Joseph with jealous, anger and murderous thoughts: “And his brothers were jealous of him” (Genesis 37:11). “The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt” (Acts 7:9).
In the fairy tale ‘Snow White,’ the wicked step-mother queen who practices witchcraft consults her magic mirror every morning, asking “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” When Snow White turns seven years old, the mirror confesses that her fairness surpasses that of her stepmother. The jealous queen is shocked; her heart turns against Snow White, and in time her hatred morphs into malevolent plans. “For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like ordinary people?” (1 Corinthians 3:3).
Satan’s response to God’s love for Israel, is to hate Israel.
When Gentile trees get jealous
Jeremiah describes the Jewish people prophetically: “YHVH named you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form’” (Jeremiah 11:16). That olive tree is the same beautiful one depicted in Romans 11. Paul notes that, even though many Jewish people did not receive Messiah Yeshua at His First Coming, YHVH would use many Gentiles who came to believe in the Messiah in order to make many Jews jealous and thus come to saving faith: “I say then, they (ed. many Jews) did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Far from it! But by their wrongdoing salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them [ed., the Jewish people] jealous” (Romans 11:11).
The Scriptures reveal that Gentile nations can similarly become jealous of other nations (in Ezekiel’s context, Assyria):
- Behold, . . . a cedar in Lebanon with beautiful branches and forest shade, and very high, and its top was among the clouds. The cedars in God’s garden could not match it . . . No tree in God’s garden could compare with it in its beauty. I made it beautiful with the multitude of its branches, and all the trees of Eden, which were in the garden of God, were jealous of it (Ezekiel 31:3, 8-9)
Paul warns the remnant among the Gentiles that a danger exists for them – they may become arrogant, conceited, uninformed, and wise in their estimation toward the Jewish people (Romans 11:18, 20, 25) – and find themselves transformed into an Esau or into Joseph’s brothers.
Paul’s warning to the nations has become a sobering reality in Church History. The rise of Replacement Theology was based on jealousy of the Jewish people, arrogance toward them, hatred of the fact that God still loves them and will never repent of His calling and gifts to Israel, and evil and murderous intentions toward the sons and daughters of Jacob.
Poisonous flowers have blossomed on the accursed tree of Replacement Theology. And jealousy, anger, conceit, ignorance, murderous thoughts and murderous deeds toward the Jewish people has been the malevolent fruit.
Dealing with Jewish sin and failure
Some of us are called, à la Isaiah 62, to be watchmen on the walls for the Jewish people, their Land, and their calling.
- On your walls, Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen. All day and all night they will never keep silent. You who profess YHVH, take no rest for yourselves – and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem an object of praise on the earth. YHVH has sworn by His right hand and by His mighty arm: “I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies, nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored” (Isaiah 62:6-8)
Open-eyed watchmen have great anguish of heart (see Romans 9:1-2) when they see some in Israel embracing what the Bible defines as sin and abominations (see Isaiah 1; 57-59). Paul also felt great anguish about Israel’s sins:
- I am telling the truth in Messiah, I am not lying; my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit,that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Messiah for the sake of my countrymen, my kinsmen according to the flesh (Romans 9:1-3)
The prophets were well aware of the transgressions of the sons and daughters of Jacob, but even so, at the same time they stressed YHVH’s unchanging covenant faithfulness and overwhelming heart of love for the Jewish people: “YHVH loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes” (Hosea 3:1).
The prophet Habakkuk is an excellent example of the balance God is looking for in understanding and responding to Israel’s sins. Habakkuk cries out to YHVH about Judah’s sins, questioning God’s wisdom and asking Him why He is not quickly judging the Jewish people: “YHVH, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you ‘Violence!’ and will you not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2).
God responds, promising to send the cruel pagan superpower of Babylon (also called the Chaldeans) to punish Judah: “Look among the nations! Watch! Be horrified! Be frightened speechless! For I am accomplishing a work in your days – you would not believe it even if you were told! For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that grim and impetuous people who march throughout the earth, to take possession of dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrifying and feared” (Habakkuk 1:5-7).
The prophet is shocked at God’s chosen instrument of judgment: “Your eyes are too pure to look at evil, and You cannot look at harm favorably. Why do You look favorably at those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” (Habakkuk 1:13). YHVH responds that He will eventually judge the Babylonians even more harshly for their treatment of Judah: “Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you, because of men’s blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it” (Habakkuk 2:8-9).
Making sense of Jewish sin and failure
Habakkuk warns us to be careful if we desire to see Israel crushed, humiliated, scattered or decimated. We may be falling short of what YHVH actually has in mind. These desires may owe more to jealousy, anger, conceit and ignorance than to a pure reflection of God’s heart of love for the Jewish people. Micah notes:
- Do not rejoice over me, enemy of mine. Though I fall I will rise. Though I live in darkness, YHVHis a light for me. I will endure the rage of YHVH because I have sinned against Him – until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light and I will look at His righteousness. Then my enemy will see, and shame will cover her who said to me, “Where is YHVH your God?” My eyes will look at her. At that time, she will be trampled down like mud of the streets (Micah 7:8-10)
Habakkuk confesses that he is not wise enough to figure out exactly how God will bring judgment or restoration to the Jewish people. He does not possess an inerrant timeline or opinion on the matter. Instead, he has tears; he trembles; he quivers; he intercedes; he waits.
- YHVH, I have heard the report about You, and I was afraid. YHVH, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known. In anger remember mercy (Habakkuk 3:2)
- I heard, and my inner parts trembled. At the sound, my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble – because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will attack us (Habakkuk 3:16)
- Even if the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the vines – if the yield of the olive fails, and the fields produce no food – even if the flock disappears from the fold, and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in YHVH; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. YHVH Godis my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
How should we then pray?
- Pray for YHVH to illuminate His body with a deepened revelation of God’s redemptive heart for Israel
- Pray for a cleansing of any anti-Semitic theology among followers of Yeshua
- Pray for the raising up of Ezekiel’s prophetic Jewish army throughout the earth
Your prayers and support hold up our arms and are the very practical enablement of God to us in the work He has called us to do.
In Messiah Yeshua,
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