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All Eyes on Israel
Chapter 2 - Is Modern Israel the Israel of Promise?
Page 7 - The Plan of God for Israel
(Go Back to Page 6 - Daniel's Prophecies)

The plan of God for Israel was that they would respond to His last attempt to reach them. God had done so much for Israel. Now He was going to go as far as to send His only-begotten Son to show them by example, the way they were to go. Jesus was an overcomer where Israel failed to be. They were meant to follow His example so that they could be the overcomers they were intended to be.

Jesus told a parable to the chief priests and the elders of the people that illustrated the plan of God for Israel and the extent He would go to in trying to reach them:

"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? (Matt 21:33-40)

Then Jesus asked his audience what the Lord of the vineyard would do to those husbandmen. And they answered:

"... He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

It was like they had pronounced their own doom and the end of their role in the plan of God for Israel. Remember, King David did a similar thing when Nathan the prophet confronted him with a parable about his sins concerning Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite.

Then Jesus said to them:

"... Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." Matt 21:42-43)

Note that this verse uses the terms "kingdom" and "nation" - it was not talking in individual terms. Back on page three of this study, we quoted the three terms used in the New Testament to designate the people of God:

1. Jews, with regard to their nationality, to distinguish them from Gentiles.
2. Hebrews, with regard to their language and education, to distinguish them from Hellenists, i.e., those who spoke the Greek language.
3. Israelites, with regard to their sacred privileges as the chosen people of God.

In regard to Matt 21:43 quoted above, where this change is described and the kingdom of God is taken from them and given to another group, we could ask:

  1. In regard to their nationality, what changed? - nothing, they were still Jews.
  2. In regard to their language etc, what changed? - nothing, they still spoke the same.
  3. In regard to their privilege as the people of God, what changed? - here and only here is where the change happened. The kingdom of God was taken from them and given to another - what could be plainer?

They finally "... perceived that he spake of them." (Matt 21:45) but pride still prevented them from humbling themselves and accepting Him.

The intended destiny of the nation of Israel, his descendents and namesake was that they - all of them - were to be victorious; a nation of overcomers. In the plan of God for Israel, they were to be a light to the Gentiles and bring the Gentiles within the fold of Israel ("... that they might receive the fruits of it." - Matt 21:34) However, they failed to make the right decisions; they failed to accept God's last merciful attempt to reach them. Tradition and pride were major factors in this rejection:

"... Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:9)

John, writing about the coming of the Messiah, said:

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:11)

The meaning here is that he came to His own people and his own people did not receive Him. If we could identify one point where the Jews formally rejected their national role as God's people it would likely be when they had a choice clearly laid out before them and they chose a different king:

"But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar." (John 19:15)

Thus, they withdrew from the theocracy and thus was fulfilled the parable of the wicked husbandmen of Matthew 21 (discussed above) which culminated in God's rejection of Israel and the pronouncement:

"... The kingdom of God shall be taken from you ..." (Matt 21:43)

There were prophecies that told of the consequences if they did not follow Him:

"... if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye [speaking of Israel] perish; because ye would not be obedient ..." (Deut 8:19-20)
"O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? ... at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them." (Jer 18:6-10)

These prophecies showed that the plan of God for Israel was conditional. They did not meet the conditions and therefore failed to receive the promises.

 


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