Church Prompted Jealousy and the Nature of Christ

From: The Letter Writer: Paul’s Background and Torah Perspective by Tim Hegg; First Fruits of Zion; 2002

Israel’s Jealousy of the Church

“Paul’s understanding of God’s faithful promises to Israel is central to his teaching on the last days.  Romans 9-11 show clearly that while God had allowed a partial hardening to come upon the nation, which explains their rejection of Yeshua as Messiah, it would come about in the last days that Israel, as a nation, would turn once again to God and in that turning accept Yeshua as the true Messiah.  In this way ‘all Israel will be saved.’[1]  One of the factors that would cause Israel to return to God would be through her jealousy of the Gentiles who had come to faith and were enjoying the blessings of God that Israel thought belonged exclusively to her.  Yet Paul is concerned in this passage lest the Gentile believers, in neglecting a genuine Torah life, would be viewed by their Jewish brothers and sisters as members of a new and different religion, in which case the ministry of ‘jealousy’ would be lost.  Thus Paul admonishes them to remain within the Torah life of Israel, living out the ‘obedience of faith.’[2]  But the final blessing of Israel is secure because even through she may be an enemy of the gospel, she is nonetheless ‘beloved for the sake of the fathers, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’[3]

“There is not the slightest hint in Paul of what the later Christian Church formulated as her doctrine of ‘replacement theology,’ or supersessionism, in which she twisted the teachings both of Yeshua and Paul and taught that the Church had replaced forsaken Israel as God’s ‘new Israel.’  On the contrary, Paul not only sees a future for national Israel, but he even postulates that the ingathering of the nations has as one of its purposes the drawing of Israel through jealousy.  From this viewpoint, then, even the salvation of the Gentiles has Israel in view.” (pgs. 214 – 215)

Israel’s Jealousy of the Church (Part II)

“Yet here, in Paul’s expose on Israel’s future, the salvation of the Gentiles leads to or brings about the jealousy of Israel, which moves her, on a national level (verse 26 [Romans 11], ‘all Israel will be saved’) to faith in Yeshua and therefore restoration to God.  In Paul’s understanding, the salvation of the Gentiles is, in one sense, a means to an end.  The ‘fullness of the Gentiles’ is not the final movement of the Divine symphony.  The Gentile believers perform a servant role to bring about the consummation of the ‘new covenant’ in which Israel comes to own her rightful position within the covenant promises of God.

“Thus anti-semitism stands diametrically opposed to this Divine mission.  How can Israel be moved to jealousy through hatred?  Does the Church honestly pretend to duplicate the heart of the Apostle through her teaching that she has replaced Israel?  Did not the Apostle confess that he would willingly take upon himself the curse of God if this could somehow procure the salvation of his Jewish brethren?[4]  How then can the Church suggest that she follows the teachings of Paul when she rather smugly portrays herself as the ‘be-all’ and ‘end-all’ of God’s salvific plans to the utter exclusion of the Jews?” (pg. 246) [underlined emphasis mine]

The Nature of Yeshua (Jesus)

“The popular bracelets we see in our day inscribed with the acronym ‘W.W.J.D.’ actually ask a serious question.  ‘What would Jesus Do?’  Unfortunately the Jesus that comes into most people’s minds when quoting this catch-phrase is not the Yeshua of the Gospels.  It might be frightening to some to honestly hear the answer to the question of ‘what Jesus would do.’

“As far as the Gospels describe His life and ministry, He lived and walked a Torah life and called the people of His day to embrace the Torah as it had been originally given.  He continually and consistently spoke about the need to unshackle God’s instructions from man’s religion.

“And if we look closely, we see Him adhering to the smallest detail of God’s Torah and living out its precepts in love and humble service both to God and to neighbor.  If people today who confess to be followers of Yeshua would actually ‘do what Jesus did,’ the face of the contemporary Church would change radically – more radically than most could imagine.

“However, the reality is that most are not that concerned to find out what Yeshua actually did.  Removed from the pages of Scripture, Yeshua has become an icon of religion, a character on the ‘silver screen’ shaped and reshaped in the image of the screenwriter and producer.  So divorced is the image of Jesus from the historical Yeshua that many are shocked to discover that He is Jewish.  A popular Christmas carol portrays children ‘seeing’ Jesus as they are, some with almond eyes, and some with black skin.  But the carol never comes to the historical truth that Yeshua is Jewish.

“I do not intend to be mean.  I understand that in one sense Yeshua, as Savior and Lord, is able to understand each individual’s needs and desires and is thus as close as a member of the family or community.  But what I want to stress is that we have replaced the historical Yeshua with a Jesus that fits our expectations.  We have molded Him in our image and cast Him in the role we wish Him to act out.  As such we no longer listen to His words as we should and we find ourselves content in our religious makeup, presuming that somehow God will accept our drama.”  (pgs. 301-302)


[1] (442) Romans 11:26.

[2] (443) cf. Romans 1:5; 15:18; 16:26.

[3] (444) Romans 11:28-29.

[4] (531) Romans 9:3

Published in: on 7 PMpTue, 05 Jul 2011 15:51:31 -040051Tuesday 2016 at 3:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

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