Roadblocks to Redemption
The blindness is coming off of the eyes of Jewish people in greater numbers today than any time since the first century. We rejoice in the Lord that this is taking place. But there are still attitudes and views held within the Church today that undercut the mandate we see in scripture to proclaim the gospel “to the Jew first.” (Romans 1:16)
I call these erroneous viewpoints “roadblocks to redemption.”
I’m often asked why there are not more Jews today who believe in Jesus. It is a great question and there are no short answers. But there are reasons, significant and deeply rooted reasons, why this is the case. Thankfully, things are beginning to change. As Christians in greater numbers are beginning to understand that God still loves and has a plan for the Jewish People, that the roots of their faith are Jewish and that they have a responsibility to reach out to Jewish People and love them unconditionally, Jewish People are responding to the Good News in greater and greater numbers. I came to know the Lord through the prayers and testimony of a born-again Christian that reached out to me. Most Jews who believe in Jesus today came to faith the same way…through the witness of a Christian that took the time to share with them and introduce them to their Messiah.
The blindness is coming off of the eyes of Jewish people in greater numbers today than any time since the first century. We rejoice in the Lord that this is taking place. But there are still attitudes and views held within the Church today that undercut the mandate we see in scripture to proclaim the gospel “to the Jew first.” (Rom. 1:16) I call these erroneous viewpoints “roadblocks to redemption.” They hinder God’s plan for a glorious, universal Church made up of both Jew and Gentile called to be “one new man” in the Messiah. They delay the ultimate blessing of “life from the dead” that Romans 11:15 reveals will occur when the natural branches are re-grafted back into their own olive tree.
What are these roadblocks and where did they originate? Following are two specific erroneous teachings and how they have influenced Christians to this present day:
Also known as “the doctrine of spiritual Israel,” Replacement Theology has its roots in the theology of many of the early Church fathers. As early in church history as Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), the idea that God had rejected the Jews for their rebellion and ultimate rejection of Jesus as Messiah began to emerge. By the Council of Nicaea in the early fourth century (325 AD), all Jewish practice within the church was condemned and Jewish Believers in Jesus became persona non grata. A completely gentilized Christianity, void of any Jewish identity emerged which has, for the most part, continued to this present day as the prevailing culture. The Jews now became the subjects of God’s wrath and judgment, banished from their former glory as the chosen people of God and sentenced now to a life of spiritual exile, destined to wander the earth without a home. The Jews became the villains responsible for the death of God’s Son, Christ-killers and murderers without any hope of redemption.
Although this may seem extreme and unrelated to views held today by most true Christians, this theology has greatly influenced attitudes toward the Jewish people. As a result, Judaism and Christianity are now seen as completely separate religious institutions with very little, if anything, in common. A 2000-year legacy of blame, hatred, persecution and murder in the name of Christ and Christianity have left a terrible scar on the minds and hearts of the Jewish People as a result.
Not since the Book of Acts have we witnessed such growth—and in numbers none of us could have imagined.
Dual Covenant Theology
On the other end of the spectrum, we have another teaching that has erected a roadblock to the redemption of the Jewish People called Dual Covenant Theology. Simply stated, Dual Covenant Theology promulgates the idea that the Jewish People have a separate path to salvation through the Abrahamic or Mosaic Covenant. In other words, this view holds that Jews do not need Jesus for personal salvation.
This idea sprung up immediately following World War II and evolved into something called the Dialogue Movement. This well established movement teaches that Judaism and Christianity are both valid yet distinct religions, each equally worthy of the other’s full acceptance and respect. In other words, Christians ought not to challenge traditional Judaism’s rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. Sparked by guilt over the extermination of six million Jews under the guise of Christ and Christianity during the Holocaust, a growing sensitivity emerged among primarily liberal scholars. They began to write and teach that the Jews have suffered enough through the centuries and since much of this suffering was due to efforts to try to force Jews to convert to Christianity, we now need to leave them alone. As a result, many Christians, including Evangelicals, consider it good will not to share the Gospel with Jewish People.
While there may be an element of truth in this idea and it certainly seems noble, the Bible declares that the Gospel is not only for the Jewish People also, but is to the Jew first. (Rom. 1:16) There is only one plan of salvation for all people, for “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (see Acts 4:12) Jesus himself said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” As Bible believers, we have no choice but to accept this at face value. Either you believe God’s Word or you don’t.
But you don’t have to fully espouse dual covenant theology to miss the mark. Some Christian Zionist leaders, while not fully embracing a dual covenant view, do teach that sharing the Gospel with Jewish People is unnecessary. I recently heard one prominent leader (who I otherwise greatly respect) make the statement “Jews do not come to Christ through proclamation, but through revelation.” Although this statement does not negate the need to believe in Jesus for personal salvation, it does seem to dismiss the mandate to Christians to share their faith with Jewish People. Apparently, this leader feels this is God’s job and He will take care of it on His own. And while this is not exactly a Dual Covenant position, the end result is the same—there is no need to share our faith with Jewish People.
We Have a Biblical Mandate To Share Our Faith With the Jewish People
The Apostle Paul tells us in very clear language that proclamation is an essential prerequisite to revelation, or faith: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Rom. 10:14-15) A few verses later, he again reemphasizes this truth with the familiar declaration “so then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:19)
If you read this passage in context, you’ll see it is talking about the restoration of the Jewish People. There is a clear progression the Apostle Paul lays out here: Proclamation precedes faith. In my ministry over the past 28 years, from the the Former Soviet Union, to South America to Ethiopa and around the world, I have seen thousands of Jewish People come forward in altar calls to receive Yeshua as their Messiah. It has been in response to the proclamation of the Gospel, just as Paul taught.
In closing, I want to encourage you to see your Jewish friend, neighbor, co-worker as a divine appointment that God has brought into your life. Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity, at the right time and place, to share your faith. Pray faithfully for them, that the blindness will be lifted from their eyes. They are not in your life by accident. We at Jewish Voice are here to help you any way we can. So don’t hesitate to call, write or email us for help. And remember, Genesis 12:3 says, “I will bless those who bless my People.” The greatest blessing you can give them is the message of eternal life found through the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua.
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