ISRAEL AND THE GREAT COMMISSION

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. ~ Matthew 21:43

Jesus said these words to the chief priests and the Pharisees (men who were the temple authorities, and the spiritual leaders in Israel).

This statement by Jesus was the interpretation of a parable he had just spoken to them. Consider the parable:

“Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.  When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”  They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ~ Matthew 21:33-42

The mission of Israel, under the Law, was to evangelize the world. Israel was chosen by God, not to be a spectacle to be paraded as God’s favorite. They were chosen for redemptive purposes, and to glorify God’s name among the godless nations of the world.

Israel failed in her commission, because of her long history of wicked spiritual leaders. Often when we think of God’s prophets like Isaiah, and Jeremiah, we think they were the leaders, rather, they were send to confront the wicked leaders who corrupted the nation with idolatry and sin, and it was the wicked leaders throughout Israel’s history who killed the prophets God sent to them.

Their rejection of God’s message through his prophets reached its climax in their rejection of Jesus, and this is what the parable above is about. Jesus concludes this parable by telling them that the Kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to another nation bringing forth the fruits of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom which was entrusted to them, has been taken away, and that is why their house (their temple) was made desolate.

The Kingdom of God is no longer revealed through Israel after the flesh. Instead, it is revealed in Israel after the Spirit, which is the church founded on the faith of the Jewish remnant who followed Jesus.

The Church is not a Gentile entity. It never has been and never will be. The church is a Jewish entity, whose cornerstone is a Jewish Messiah, and whose teachings come from Jewish apostles, who were circumcised not in their flesh only, but were circumcised in their hearts. They were not merely Jewish after the flesh. They were Jews inwardly, whose praise is of God.

The Kingdom which is revealed through the church is not another Kingdom from the one entrusted to Israel. It is the SAME KINGDOM. Jesus declared, “the Kingdom will be taken from you, and given to another.”

The great commission given to the New Testament church, is not a “Gentile commission.” It is a Kingdom commission which was first entrusted to Israel after the flesh, but was taken from them and entrusted to the remnant Jews who carried it to the world.

God’s Kingdom doesn’t come to the world through modern day Israel in the flesh. God’s Kingdom comes to the world through Jesus, and the church is his body who carries his Kingdom to the world.

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