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". . . for the hope of Israel am I bound with this chain” – Paul, Acts 28:20.
THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE:
The Apostle Paul was a Jew to whom the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ appeared and converted to the belief that our Lord is the Messiah and Deliverer promised by God to Israel. The Apostle did not change his belief in “the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come” – (Acts 26:6-7). He just needed clear proof that the crucified Jew, Jesus Christ, was in fact what his disciples, other Jews, believed – that he was the promised Messiah, the future King of Israel and the world.
That clear proof came as a blinding light and a powerful voice from heaven, on his way to Damascus to persecute Jesus followers. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest me?” – (Acts 9:1-6).
Paul, and all who know their Bibles well know, that God chose the children of Israel to be his special chosen people above all others –(Genesis 49; Exodus 3:7-17; 4:22; 19:3-6).
CHOSEN BECAUSE GOD MADE PROMISES TO THE FATHERS:
God had called and made great promises unto Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. Those promises are found in Genesis 12:1-3, v.7; 13:14-17;15:4,5; 18:21; 17:3-8; 22:15-18. They involve Abraham being resurrected to become, with his “seed”, a great blessing to all nations; a great nation; and possessing all the land of Canaan from the River Nile to the River Euphrates. The Jewish people are Abraham’s descendants and our Lord Jesus Christ is the inheritor of Abraham’s promises, (Galatians 3:16). Because of those promises, God who cannot lie, chose the children of Israel as His special, national people, and he raised up Jesus to be Israel’s future Saviour and King. God also made a great promise to King David in 2 Samuel 7:8-17, involving God making David an everlasting house and kingdom through his “seed” – a special descendant, our Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:30-33) .
GOD’S PROMISES; ISRAEL’S NATIONAL HOPE: “The hope of Israel” is therefore the national hope of the Jewish people, that they should one day inherit all the promises God made to Abraham and to David. They would become God’s Kingdom on earth and inherit all the land of Canaan now known as The Middle East. The Apostle in Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for”, and in Romans 10:17, that “faith cometh by hearing…. the word of God”. Though most modern Jews do not believe these promises, or in our Lord Jesus as their Messiah, some do and many Gentiles also believe.
THE HOPE OF ISRAEL IS THE HOPE TO BE A PART OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD:
The wonderful thing about “the hope of Israel” is that it can become our hope too. God has opened up the door of faith to everyone. Everyone is now invited by God to become a everlasting part of the great Age to come when the prayer they are now permitted to offer will become a reality in the earth: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
The Hope of Israel is now the hope of the world, and apart from this hope there is no hope – for God has NOT promised we will go to heaven when we die. He HAS promised eternal life on earth in His eternal Kingdom – which our Lord Jesus Christ will set up in Jerusalem in Israel. (Micah 4:2). That is why He said, “Swear not by Jerusalem for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING”.
ISRAEL WILL BECOME GOD’S KINGDOM AT CHRIST’S RETURN:
Upon His return to earth our Lord Jesus will raise the responsible dead, grant immortality to the faithful, save Israel from its enemies, call upon all Jewry to return, solve the Israel/Palestinian problem, and “restore again the Kingdom to Israel”. (Acts 1:6). Faithful Jews and Gentiles of all ages will become “kings and priests reigning upon the earth”, (Revelation 5:9,10).
BEFORE CHRIST COMES GENTILES MAY HAVE ISRAEL’S HOPE:
Whilst we wait the return of the Lord from heaven, God has opened up the door of faith to the gentiles, (Acts 10:34-43; 11:18). The Hope of Israel may become our hope. If we will believe God’s promises we can become part of the Abrahamic “seed”, our Lord Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:22-29).
GENTILES MUST BELIEVE WHAT ISRAEL HAS REJECTED:
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). But belief in the gospel brings His justification and hope of life, (Romans 1:16,17; ch. 4). Not any belief will do – we must believe in the gospel promises, then be baptised for the forgiveness of our sins and the putting on of the Name of Jesus Christ, the only “name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved”. (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 4:12).
Through Israel’s fall (from faith and grace) salvation has come to the Gentiles - but they must ever remember that they stand only by faith. (Romans 11:11-21). We must believe all that God has promised.
ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED:When our Lord Jesus does come again (and indications are that it must be very soon), both humbled and converted Jewry and believing gentiles will be saved. ( Romans 11:25-36).
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