The Hebrew Tanakh (known to Christians as the Old Testament) claimed that Christ would come and bring salvation to the Jews, and would defeat their enemies. The Jews were waiting for Christ at the time of his coming, but they did not believe in him when they saw him. Even to this day, Jews who are not Christians are still waiting for the first coming of Christ.
When Christ came to earth he was rejected by the Jews. Because of this, and the fact that they sentenced him to death, many Christians believe that God in turn completely rejected the Jews from being his people. They believe in what is referred to as ‘Replacement Theology’, where Christians have replaced the Jews as God’s people.
Replacement Theology claims that Biblical prophecies and promises concerning the Jews are now directed towards the Christian church — which is considered to have replaced Israel as ‘spiritual Israel’. Many verses in the prophetic books of the Old Testament concerning Israel or the Jews are considered to be allegorically referring to Christians.
In a very contradictory way, most who believe that the blessings towards Israel are now poured out upon Christians happily believe that the curses still apply to the Jews.
The way to salvation
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” — John 14 v 6
While it is true that since Christ’s death no one can come to God the Father except through Christ it does not mean that God has rejected the Jews. In fact, the Bible clearly shows that the Jews are still God’s people, and that he is going to once again save Israel.
Clear signs that God has not turned his back on Israel
“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD.” – Jeremiah 31 v 35 – 37
In the above passage God is saying that he will not remove Israel from being a nation despite “all that they have done”. The reference to “all that they have done” is concerning the sins of Israel, because they turned away from God and followed after their own ways. The fact that this passage specifically mentions Israel as a nation indicates that this is clearly written about the people of Israel, not a spiritual/allegorical reference to Christians.
It was written in the books of the law, given to Israel at the time of Moses, that if Israel should forsake God and disregard his law he would cause calamities to come upon them:
“And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.
And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.” — Leviticus 26 v 31 – 39
The above passage sums up quite accurately what has happened to the Jews, even to the scattering of the Jews among their enemies. We can see clearly that God has acted true to his word, having punished his people for turning away from him. This is not the end of the matter though. It continues:
“And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.” — Leviticus 26 v 44 – 45
It is clear that the words in this chapter are not allegorical, but a literal word from God concerning how he will treat Israel. Not once does God mention in the Bible that he will ever completely cast away the Jews, but many times he mentions that he will uphold his covenant.
“And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;” — Deuteronomy 4 v 27-30
In the same paragraph above we read that God will scatter Israel among the nations because of their sins, but that even in the latter days he will not cast them off, and if they seek him they will find him. The ‘latter days’ and ‘tribulation’ refer to the end times, the last days before the final judgment day of God. It is clear that God is saying that he will not even give up on Israel in the last days. This goes completely against Replacement Theology.
Even in the New Testament, which was written by Christians, we find clear, unambiguous evidence that the Jews have not been rejected as God’s people. The apostle Paul wrote:
“I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” — Romans 11 v 1
“(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway.” — Romans 11 v 8-10
The terrible times the Jews have been through is a punishment, or ‘recompense’ as David is quoted as saying above, because they turned away from God.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” — Romans 11 v 11
Through Christ’s death, for the first time non-Jews (Gentiles) could find salvation. The salvation of the Gentiles was mentioned many times in the Old Testament. A prophecy concerning Christ by the prophet Isaiah reads:
“And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” — Isaiah 49 v 6
Looking back to the Apostle Paul Writing to Gentile Christians, he continues:
“And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 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. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?” — Romans 11 v 17 – 24
“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 fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” — Romans 11 v 25
Here we clearly read that God still has a plan for the Jews. While they are yet blind as to the salvation that is through Christ, God will turn their hearts to him after “the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” — which refers to the spreading of the gospel throughout the Gentile world. The fact that Paul uses the word ‘mystery’ concerning this issue makes it clear that it was not widely understood — the same of which can be said today.
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” — Romans 11 v 26-27
The book of Ezekiel contains a prophecy about the latter days, where God supernaturally saves the Jews from the countries attacking it, and how he shall forgive them. It confirms that the terrible things the Jews have faced have been a punishment, and that God shall have mercy upon Israel:
“And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid I my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;
Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” — Ezekiel 39 v 21-29
More information and prophecies concerning Israel can be found here.