Israel must be made jealous
by Dan Juster November 3, 2019
Romans 9-11 and Romans 11 especially provides us with very important information about the return of Yeshua. First, it lets us know that the Jewish people, ethnic Israel, is still God’s elect people even if they did not as a whole under their leaders submit to their King. The most amazing and key verse is Romans 11:28, 29, “Concerning the Good News, they are hostile for your sake, but concerning chosenness (election), they are loved on account of the fathers— for the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.”
The nation of Israel still counts. Paul gives us an eschatological vision of how God will deal with the situation of Israel not embracing the Messiah. In Romans 11:5 he notes that there is a saved remnant of Israel. This assumes that Jewish followers of the Messiah are still Jewish and part of ethnic Israel. This being part of Israel is given pronounced meaning in Romans 11:16 where Paul says, “It the firstfruit is holy so is the whole batch of dough.” The firstfruit of dough was offered to God and burned in baking bread so that the whole loaf could be eaten. The idea here is that the saved remnant makes the whole nations still holy, set apart. It is parallel to Paul’s teaching in I Corinthians 7 that the believing spouse sanctifies the unbelieving spouse and their children are holy. Thus, the saved remnant plays a key role in Israel’s ongoing election.
Then Paul notes that the present situation of Israel’s unbelief is temporary. In 11:11 he says of corporate Israel, that they did not fall in a way that is beyond recovery. Then in 11:25, he states that the present hardening is partial and temporary until something called the fullness of the Gentiles takes place. After that, Israel will turn to Yeshua and fulfill the covenant promise of Isaiah 59:20, 21, Isaiah 27:9 and Jeremiah 31:31-34. Thus “all Israel will be saved (v. 26) and God will take away their sin.
This reversal for Israel will take place when they are adequately made jealous (desirous) though the witness of Jew and Gentile together. Paul states that salvation has come to the Gentiles for the purpose of making Israel jealous (11:12). Their loss meant riches for the Gentiles but their fullness (restoration) will bring much greater riches. Some have connected this to the first pillar of world revival. However, it is more. Paul as a Jew gives the example for Jewish believers. We are to magnify the ministry, the mighty and powerful work of the Gospel with its signs and wonders. But then Gentiles are to do the same. This will cause a growing some of ethnic Israel to be saved. Then comes the amazing conclusion. “If their rejection leads to the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead.” (11:15)
Most commentators believe that life from the dead is more than world revival, but that the text is speaking of the resurrection from the dead that takes place in the return of Yeshua. This fits Matthew 23:39 were Israel sees him again only after they call out to him, “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.
We return to the idea of the fullness of the Gentiles, which could connect us to Matthew 24:14, that the Gospel will be preached adequately to all nations. So the fullness can mean that the full number of Gentiles on this side of the second coming is saved. However, the word fullness can connote the same thing as the fullness in Eph. 4 where the Body of Believers is said to attain the full measure of the stature of Messiah’s fullness. So we can connect this text to the first three pillars. That the Church that makes Israel in a final way will be a Church in revival, in unity and completing the work of the great commission.
However, we also have to note that the Church will have to share Paul’s pain at Israel’s present unbelief and gain a deep heart for the salvation of Israel. The teaching of the election of Israel and Israel’s ultimate salvation will be a unifying passion of the worldwide Church. So this fourth pillar is key to moving history to the climax of the second coming, namely that the Church including the Messianic Jews share a joint mission to see Jewish people saved so that the growing remnant of Jewish disciples of Yeshua will eventually lead to all Israel being saved.
This fourth pillar was understood by some of the great Puritan interpreters in the 17th century, embraced by the Lutheran Pietists in the 18th century, and given practical implementation by Zinzendorf and the Moravians. He purposely sought to show love to the Jewish people and even planted underground Messianic Jewish synagogues, the most known as recorded in the archives of Herrnhut was in Amsterdam, Holland. He knew that this was a key to the second coming. So also the planters of Christ Church Anglican (1840), a Lutheran-Anglican cooperative effort was for the purpose of seeing the Jewish people embrace Yeshua as part of their predicted return to the Land.
One other point that is coming to the fore today. It is that for the Church to make Israel jealous will require a deep alignment of the Church with Israel and the Messianic Jews, and honoring and mutual submission. This is based on the fact that the root supports those of the Gentiles who have been saved and seeing the implications of a deep relationship of unity in the One New Man of Jew and Gentile.
Romans 11 and Eph. 2 gives us a definition of the Church as those form all nations who have been joined to Israel and her destiny for the sake of world redemption. They are joined to Israel through being joined to Yeshua who is the King of Israel and joined to the saved remnant of Israel, the Messianic Jews who are still part of the nation as a whole as the saved remnant of Israel.