Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

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Are the Jews Exceptional?

8/23/12

 

Am I the only one the perceives a great deal of confusion among Christians about the status of the today's physical Jews, especially in the current day nation of Israel. Most Christians recognize that Israel played an important role in God's plan as described in the Bible. In fact, the Old Testament scriptures, according to Paul, was given exclusively to Israel, and therefore passed to us through the hands of the Jews. Additionally, it is obvious to many that God still had plans for the Jews even after Jesus ascended. His plan involved additional events in the life of the Jewish nation and their religion. See the book of Acts and Romans.

 

But what about today? Is the nation of Israel still integral to a further development of God's plan. What about the Jewish faith? Has it been totally displaced by Christianity as taught by the church, or does God still honor Judaism as an acceptable practice. Are Jews required by God to accept Jesus just as the church teaches Gentiles must do? 

 

I detect several responses to the question of the current Jewish status and role. Some conclude that Jesus came with an original plan to establish his kingdom, but resistance from the Jews of His day caused a postponement which led to the church age in which we now live. Jesus will return someday to finally establish His kingdom on earth which will include the reinstitution of old Judaic practices. Many of this persuasion insist that the Jews exist under a different covenant arrangement with God than the Gentiles, even today, meaning that they don't have to comply with Gospel requirements like everyone else. Others say the Jews must accept Jesus but that God has  plan to bring about a total conversion of the Jews in the future, apparently through some sort of divine intervention which does not apply to the rest of the world. In both these views the Jews remain a special people who retain God's favor even though they currently reject Christ. People in both these Christian camps are sold on the need to curry God's favor by aiding and abetting the current day nation of Israel.

 

Finally other Christians believe that God ended His special arrangement with the Jews at the cross and that current day Israel is no different in God's eyes than any other ethnic group. Under this paradigm Judaism is outmoded and unacceptable to God. Jews have become no different from the rest of humanity in the eyes of God and must accept Jesus to regain acceptability or else be eternally lost.

 

The Jewish question introduces one more way some in the church teach alternative ways to be okay with God. There is the normal way- accept Jesus as Savior. The Jewish way- be born into the right group. The irresponsible way- die very young or be born with a reduced mental capacity.

 

No one seems to notice or care that these exceptions to the rule mean there is no real rule, just conjecture, assertion, and surmise. If Jews are an exception, kids are an exception, and the mentally challenged are an exception, very likely heaven will be largely populated by exceptions. The exceptions become the rule and those that followed the rules become the exceptions. That's the problem with exceptions to the rules; they just multiply to the point where the rule has no force. It is a rule in theory but not in practice.

 

The granting of any exceptions by the church is the Achilles heel of Orthodoxy. Either they condemn to hell all who do not obey, without exceptions; or they lose the power of hell all together. If the church can conjure up some exceptions from the weak evidence in support of the continuing preeminence of Israel and of youthful or mental irresponsibility (neither of which are specifically addressed in the scriptures), then others can find similarly persuasive evidence for other exceptions.

 

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