Is Israel still the people of God?
This question still concerns the church of Jesus today and often leads to violent conflicts. What is happening in and around Israel today raises many questions. On the other hand, we read in Romans also a clear warning addressed to the church of God:
In the Old Testament, more precisely in Genesis 32: 23-32, we find a mysterious story described, which in my opinion says something:
Jacob’s fight at Jabbok. His new name
- Born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem.
- Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
- (Micah 5,2: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
- Announced by an angel: Luke 1: 30-33: 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
- The birth: (Luke 2, 13-16)13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
- An angel confirms to Joseph that the child has been received by God’s Spirit: Matthew 1:20: But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
- As soon as he was born, his parents had to flee with him to Egypt. After Herod’s death, they moved to Nazareth in Galilee, where he grew up.
- Hosea 11: 1: When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
- At his baptism in the Jordan he was confirmed by God himself: (Markus 1,8-11) 8-9 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. 10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: 11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
- Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is predicted to the exact day in Daniel 9: 24-26.
- He was voluntarily crucified for us (John 10:18) 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
- Jesus died for our guilt and sin: Isaiah 53: 4-10: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
- Just as the priests had to burn the sin offering outside, in front of the camp of the Israelites, so Jesus was crucified as an eternally valid sin offering outside the city wall of Jerusalem.
Strange things were happening in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ death: And it was already about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, and the sun lost its light, and the curtain in the temple was torn in two pieces from top to bottom. (Luke 23, 44-45 / Matthew 27: 51-54) The curtain in the temple, which separated the holy from the holy of holies and through which the high priest was only allowed to enter the holy of holies once a year, was torn from top to bottom! That means: God himself tore the curtain and thus gave access! If a person had done that, the curtain would have been torn from bottom to top and the death penalty would have awaited him. And the earth trembled and the rocks were torn, and the graves were opened and many bodies of the fallen saints rose and went out of the graves after his resurrection and came into the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the soldiers, who had previously had their jokes with Jesus, were terrified when they saw what was happening and the centurion cried: “Truly, this was God’s Son!”
The resurrection of Jesus is the best documented event in world history! For example, the Roman historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) reports in: Jüdische Antiquities:
“At this time there was a Jesus, a wise man, if he can be called a man at all. For he was the achiever of incredible deeds and the teacher of all people who joyfully received the truth. So he attracted many Jews and also many Gentiles. He was the Christ. And although Pilate condemned him to death on the cross at the instigation of the noblest of the people, his earlier followers were not unfaithful to him. For on the third day he appeared to them alive again, as prophets sent by God had foretold this and a thousand other wonderful things about him. And the people of Christians who call themselves after him continue to this day. “
So Jesus could say: John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”