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Chapter 10 - Israel
The first 300 years of Christianity saw significant growth under periodically very adverse conditions. The Christian era or 'church age' was never intended to be 'plan A'. Israel had a window of opportunity from the announcement of the birth of Jesus until the destruction of the temple 70 years later to accept the offered kingdom and be the means through which the world would hear about Jesus.
When the nation of Israel failed to accept the offer of the kingdom, gentiles were being brought to Christ without them. This was another example of how God still achieves his purposes regardless of man's failings. A biblical principle we can see is that God is not limited by our choices. He will accomplish his will.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. - Luke 19:39-40
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. - Exodus 32:9-10
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. - Romans 10:19-21
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. - Romans 11:25
Even though Israel failed in the work God had planned for her, God still was able to bring people to himself out of the gentiles. We have the promise of God that Israel will be restored and a faithful remnant will accomplish the work that God had intended.
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. - Revelation 12:13-14
The book of Revelation uses literary imagery to describe a future event where the dragon (Satan) will persecute a woman (a faithful remnant of Israel) who had given birth to a child (Jesus) for three and a half years. God has promised that this remnant will survive and receive the new covenant promised by Jeremiah.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. - Isaiah 66:8
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. - Jeremiah 31:31-34
It is important to have a clear understanding of the role, history, and future of Israel so that Christians do not fall into the error of thinking they have replaced Israel in God's plan to reconcile the world to himself. When we consider the damage Satan was able to inflict on Israel and seeks to inflict on us, we should be humble, grateful, and cling to our Savior.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. ... Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. - 1 Corinthians 10:6 & 11
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. - Romans 11:18-21
The gentile world did not consider early Christianity to be anything but a Jewish variant. However the persecution by Nero and the diaspora of the Jews after the destruction of the temple created a situation where Christianity came to be seen as a distinct entity.
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