GENTILES OWE A DEBT OF GRATITUDE TO ISRAEL

While I do not embrace the theology of Christian Zionism, I also reject the ideology of many who fight so rigourously in opposition against it.

The New Testament is not a “stop gap” for the rebellious house of Israel. Nor is it an intermission in God’s dealings with Israel while he saves the Gentiles,  wherein afterwards he take care of his unfinished business with the Jews.

On the contrary, the New Testament is the continuation of God’s relationship with the people of Israel. Never once will you read that the New Covenant was given to the Gentiles. Instead, it was given to the house of Israel and the house of Judah in fulfilment of God’s promise through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-13).

Previously Gentiles were grafted into the covenant given to Abraham’s descendants under Moses and the Law, and Gentiles are grafted into God’s covenant given to them in Christ. God has not changed his divine order. The New Covenant established with the blood of Jesus is patterned after the Old.

In Romans 11, Paul cleary states that those who are Israelites in the flesh are the branches by nature. Those among them who believe the gospel, remain as branches in their own tree. Those who reject the gospel through unbelief are cut off from thier tree.

The branches by nature (the house of Israel and Judah) were cultivated by God. The Gentiles were not. Yet God, in his mercy, has taken those who were not cultivated by him (the Gentiles), and grafted them in with those who were cultivated by him (the Israelites). In this manner, God has chosen to save all who believe.

Those among the Jews (the branches by nature) who believe the gospel remain as branches in their own tree. Those who reject the gospel through unbelief are cut off from their tree.

Gentiles who believe in Christ are grafted into this tree, which is Israel’s tree.

It is within this context that Paul tells the saved Gentiles not to booast against the branches which were cut off, because God is able to graft them back into thier own tree if they will no longer abide in unbelief.

Now, in the 15th chapter of Romans Paul says, “But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.” ~ v. 25

The saints in Jerusalem during Paul’s day is a reference to Jewish believers living in Jerusalem. There may a have been a few Gentiles sprinkled in, but predominatley Jerusalem was occupied by Jews.

Paul then says, For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. ~ v. 26

The Christians in Macedonia and Achaia were Gentiles who wanted to help thier Jewish brethren in Jerusalem.

Now notice what Paul says next:

It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. ~ Romans 15:27

Notice the use of the words “their spiritual things.” This is a reference to the blessing of the salvation and covenant in Christ that Gentiles now partake of, and Paul calls it “their (Israel’s) spiritual things.”

According to the apostle Paul, Gentiles are grafted into Israel’s tree, and are debtors to them because of this very thing. It is wrong to boast against the branches, for though many among the Jews are still are in unbelief, the covenant God gave in Christ came through their ancestors, and in this manner, salvation is of the Jews. ~ John 4:22

7 thoughts on “GENTILES OWE A DEBT OF GRATITUDE TO ISRAEL

  1. In His Epistle to the Hebrews (to Christian Jews), the Holy Spirit concludes, “Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will… (13:20,21a).” So, when the Lord Jesus says, “salvation is of the Jews,” He is not saying we “are debtors to them,” We are indebted to Jesus, alone, because we’ve been purchased by “the blood of the everlasting covenant.” The notion of being indebted to an ‘unbelieving, ethnic Israel’ is an anti-christian myth that energizes “Christian Zionism.”

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    • In Romans 15, Paul tells the Gentile Christians that they are debtors to our Jewish brethren (Jews who believe in Jesus the Messiah) because we have become partakers of their spiritual things.

      Being indebted is a reference to love and gratitude. The salvation that God has provided through our Lord Jesus Christ has come through his covenant with Abraham and Abraham’s descendants. In scripture, the Messiahship of Jesus cannot be separated from his physical lineage to Abraham. For example, Matthew gives us the genealogy of Jesus for this purpose and in Romans Paul links God’s promise in the gospel to Jesus being of the seed of David.

      Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead… ~ Romans 1:1-4

      In Hebrews 2, the author of Hebrews declares concerning Jesus’s humanity, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” ~ Hebrews 2:16

      In the book of the Revelation, the heavenly messenger said to John, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And at the close of Revelation, Jesus himself declares, “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” ~ Revelation 22:16

      In Acts 7, Stephen preached the gospel before the Sanhedrian declaring how God fulfilled his promises through the death and resurrection of Jesus within the context of the narrative of the story of Israel. In fact, every gospel sermon in the book of Acts is wrapped in the story of Israel.

      When Jesus said to the Samaritan woman, “Salvation is of the Jews”, it was within the context of seeking and worshipping the one true God. The one true God chose Abraham and his descendants to be his people and to make his name glorious and throughout the earth. The salvation that God has provided through his Son, Jesus Christ, cannot be separated from His call of Abraham and the story of Israel, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. ~ Romans 9:4-5

      The mystery of Christ came through Abraham’s family and this is how salvation is of the Jews, Gentiles who are saved are grafted into Abraham’s family through Jesus the Messiah, and in this manner we are indebted to Israel. Whenever anyone separates salvation in Jesus from the story of Israel a false gospel is formulated. The gospel by which we are saved is forever united with God’s covenant to Israel which began with Abraham, for he established a testimony in Jacob ~ Psalm 78:5.

      The God who has saved the Gentiles is the God of Israel, and for that we are to be indebted with gratitude and love.

      In closing consider the words of Zacharias who prophesied by the Holy Spirit:

      And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. ~ Luke 1:67-79

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  2. Yes, “[b]eing indebted is a reference to love and gratitude.“ This, however, would not include the geopolitical, ethnicity-stroking digressions of Christian Zionism. Scripture never fixes “love and gratitude” upon a wholly Jewish Israel-people-group.

    John the Baptist’s scorn for high ‘ethnic self-regard’ is routinely ignored by Christian Zionists: “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, ‘We have Abraham to our father’: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Luke 3:8).”

    Nor was Paul expressing “love and gratitude” for his Jewish roots, or his Israel kinship, after listing, in Philippians 3:4-6, his fleshly tribal and religious bona fides: “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ (Philippians 3:8),”

    And the Lord Jesus’ extreme warnings in Revelation 2:9; 3:9 confirm Paul’s straight-up assertion, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly…(Romans 2;28,29).” The Lord said, “I know the blasphemy of them who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.”

    The “words of Zacharias,” then, were not testifying to the power of his Jewish identity, but to the oncoming triumph of the Lord Jesus: “To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins.”

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    • Actually neither John the Baptist nor the apostle Paul held a position of disregard for their fellow Jews. It was the pious self righteous, hypocritical religious Jews whom they rebuked.

      First, Paul clearly states that we should not boast against the branches which were cut off because of their unbelief. This is a reference to Jews who are lost in their sins. Secondly, Paul clearly states his love for his kinsmen when he says the following:

      I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh. ~ Romans 9:1-3

      Paul then makes this statement regarding his kinsmen according to the flesh:

      Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” ~Romans 9:4-5

      Israel as a nation was raised up by God, and within Israel there has always been a remnant who sought after God. While I concur that we should not elevate “all things Jewish” or treat Jews as if they are superior to all other ethnic groups, we do owe them a debt of gratitude because we have been made partakers of “their spiritual things”.

      Our Savior is a Jew, and God established the house of Israel as the conduit through which he would remedy the sin issue for every man. Jesus came, lived, ministered, died, and rose again all within the context of the nation of Israel. Before his birth, Zecharias declared that God has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David ~ Luke 1:69

      The truth that I don’t think you are expressing an appreciation for is that you as a Christian have been grafted into Israel’s tree, and you are a partaker of their spiritual things. While we should shun idolatry of Israel and all things Jewish (we serve the God of Israel, and not Israel itself) we should also be careful that we do not “boast against the branches” as Paul instructs us in Romans 9-11.

      Jesus was born in the house of David, he was raised within a Jewish culture, and when he entered his ministry he was sent only to the house of Israel, though some Gentiles did seek him. He was crucified in fulfilment of the prophecies, and the types and shadows which were given to Israel. He died as the Passover lamb. The gentiles did not observe passover – that is a Jewish feast, and Jesus fulfilled it as he did all the prophecies given to Israel.

      Again, you have been grafted into their tree, not the other way around, and for that reason, there should be a level of gratitude and a tenderness in your heart towards Jews in general.

      Your statement that scripture never fixes love and gratitude upon a wholly Jewish Israel-people-group, is quite perplexing because I could cite many scriptures to the contrary. Through the prophet Jeremiah God declared to Israel, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. ~ Jeremiah 31:3

      This same love was expressed by Jesus.

      And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. ~ Luke 19:41-42

      O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! ~ Matthew 23:37

      Many times throughout the scriptures, God’s love for the Jewish people is expressed. Paul says of his kinsmen after the flesh, “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.”

      Just an honest question, does your attitude display the truth that they are beloved for the father’s sake?

      You referred to what you label as John the Baptist’s scorn of ethnic self regard and you cited Luke 3:8, but John the Baptist did not scorn being Jewish. John’s words were aimed at corruption, self righteousness, hypocrisy and arrogance within the Jewish religious leaders. John the Baptist was sent to make the Messiah known to the people of Israel ~ John 1:31. John was not called to the Gentiles, his ministry was to the children of Israel to prepare the way of the Lord, because Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

      With regards to Philippians 3, Paul is countering the Judaizers who were opposing the gospel. He is not disavowing all Jewish traditions and heritage. What Paul disavows is the manner of person he was before Christ. Paul was a zealous, devout, religious Jew who prided himself in his Jewishness after the flesh rather than having a circumcised heart, but after Christ he became a humble man who understood the depths of his sin. Thus he could love the Gentiles as God does.

      In the New Testament, God brings about a change within the Jews who served him that they are no better than the Gentiles because of sin, and in Christ God has made both one, thus the Jews who believe are called to accept the Gentiles who believe as their brethren and fellow heirs of the same promise. In like manner, the Gentiles who believe are called to love and appreciate their Jewish brethren who believe because the salvation we have received through Jesus Christ came to us through their prophets and their message. In fact, Paul refers to the gospel as “their sound” which went into all the world in Romans 10. Make no mistake, we are partakers of their spiritual things.

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  3. You had written, “While I do not embrace the theology of Christian Zionism, I also reject the ideology of many who fight so rigourously in opposition against it.”

    Nevertheless, it is the Scriptures (not the “ideology of many”), which are ”so rigorously in opposition against it [the ‘ideological theology’ of Christian Zionism].” There is no ‘theological equivalency’ between the teaching of God’s finished work for Israel in Christ Jesus, and the futurist heresy that wears the name, “Christian Zionism.”

    The output from Christian Zionism’s popular mangling of the Word is rampant in the current ‘Fundamentalist/Evangelical’ habit of iconifying the geopolitical State of Israel (1948)—as if it were a venerable, updated Old Testament Israel. Today’s “religious leaders” who celebrate the DNA connection [?] between a Christ-rejecting Zionist collective, and our father Abraham are, in every respect, the target of “John the Baptist’s scorn of ethnic self regard”: “…for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham (Luke 3:8).” John’s observation is confirmed by Paul: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh (Romans 2:28).”

    You write, “Your statement that scripture never fixes love and gratitude upon a wholly Jewish Israel-people-group, is quite perplexing because I could cite many scriptures to the contrary.”

    But do your “many scriptures” express “love and gratitude“ for the inherent value of a Jewish people-group’s ethnicity? And how do they modify Paul’s Christ-centred, ethnicity-free meanings: “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God (Romans 9:8),“ and, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).”?

    The plain, inarguable fact, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is rooted in His love for His people Israel, is _not_ being disputed or ignored. Nor should there be any doubt that Paul had a deep, personal burden for the salvation of his Jewish kin, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises (Romans 9:4).”

    Yet Paul had expanded that Jewish particularity in his epistle to the Ephesians, so that his naming of the “Israel of God,” in Galatians 6:16 is referring to _all_ Jewish and Gentile believers who are “new creature[s]” in Christ Jesus—not to a collective, national mixture of believing and unbelieving Jews.

    “But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby…(Ephesians 2:13-16).”

    Thanks be to our Saviour God! (and not to a defunct Jewish Israel)

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    • I do not believe you are actually hearing what I am communicating to you.

      The Jewish people should have a special place in our hearts because God made them his own, and through them he gave us a Savior, Jesus. God has not cast off his people whom he foreknew. And unto this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

      Place take some time and read Romans 11 again. Lay down your defense, and just read the flow of thought, and hear Paul’s hope for his fellow Jews who had not believed the gospel. It’s one thing to know that modern day Israel is not in covenant with God like ancient Israel was, it’s another to boast against the branches as if God no longer regards them. This is the danger I hear in your position. Paul tells us in Romans that even as we (Gentiles) have obtained mercy through their unbelief, even so these (the Jews) who have not believed might obtain mercy because of the mercy we have received.

      Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But regarding election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. ~ Romans 11:28-32

      I have yet to hear the sound of mercy for God’s people whom he foreknew in the things you have written. Don’t allow your zeal against the errors of Christian zionism displace the the love, compassion, and mercy God wants you to have for Abraham’s physical descendants. Remember, through their fall (their trespass), salvation has come to the Gentiles to provoke them to jealously. And remember that Paul says, Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? ~ Romans 11:13-15

      I will refer you to my page (Israel) which is listed in the heading. Here is the link: https://rootedandgroundedinchrist.com/israel-and-new-testament-doctrine/

      Best Regards.

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  4. Michael, I had already read this page, and found it to be excellent. Your site is one of my favourites, and I regret if our exchange, above, has implied something less positive.

    My point is to strenuously oppose the pious fiction, mouthed by Christian Zionists, which would have Christians being grateful to the ethnic Jewish community for ‘giving them the Bible, the Law and Christ’.

    That blasphemous presumption arises from an ‘Israelianity’ which ignores how God’s so-called ‘future for Israel’ is now (as the entire Hebrews Epistle proclaims) forever present in the ascended, glorified Lord Jesus.

    So I believe there is nothing in the fullness of the everlasting Gospel which suggests we are ‘indebted’ to the idol of Jewish ethnicity:

    “Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son… (Colossians 1:12,13).”

    Thank you, brother, for your patience.

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