How do the covenants play out?
When did the Church get Israel?
What the Gospel can actually achieve if God’s Word is read and acted on, in the power of the Holy Spirit? It gave us Columba and Aidan in Celtic Britain, the Paulicians, the Waldenses, John Wycliffe and the Lollards, the Hussites, the Moravians and John Wesley and the Methodists. It produced the evangelical giants of the 18th, 19th and 20th Century, such as Wilberforce, Spurgeon, Ryle, Tozer, Matthew Henry, Hudson Taylor, all of whom saw the Jews in a positive light and acted on this knowledge. Here are a few quotes:
CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON
"I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews. We do not think enough of it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible, it is this."
”When the Gentiles shall come in, the Jews also shall return from their defection to the obedience of faith; and thus shall be completed the salvation, . . . which must be gathered from both; and yet in such a way that the Jews shall obtain the first place, being as it were the first born in God's family, as Jews are the first born…"
". . . When they shall be called, that ancient people, who alone were so long God's people for so long a time, shall be his people again, never to be rejected more. They shall be gathered together into one fold, together with the Gentiles..."
"Now two things he exhorts the Gentiles to, with reference to the rejected Jews: - to have a respect for the Jews, notwithstanding, and to desire their conversion. This is intimated in the prospect he gives them of the advantage that would accrue to the church by their conversion.”
A. W. TOZER
"Every time a Christian picks up his Bible he is reminded of his debt to the Jews. It is an astonishing thing that multitudes of Bible students and lovers of the truth should calmly overlook their obligation to Israel."
The Church needs to be grafted into this mindset and not exposed to the inherited Greek thinking that has brought so much harm to the historical Church. They need to be taught to Live in The Life, to understand the Jewish roots of their faith and the debt they owe to the Jewish people whom God has not forgotten, as Paul reminds us:
Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! (Romans 9:4-5)
And, even more so, in this passage in Jeremiah.
This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar - the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
A familiar passage but what the Church needs to realise is its context. It is right after the even-more familiar verses that promise the New Covenant.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbour, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
The Covenant that Jesus instigated through his death and resurrection is very much tied up with the People of Israel and the Church needs to read the full passage, right to the end of Chapter 31 of Jeremiah to realise that. The New Covenant was made with the Jewish people! Just consider that. Where do Gentiles come into things, in God’s planning? The answer is a revealing one.
It will be revealed next week …
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp