Over ninety percent of the Bible speaks about God’s prophetic purpose for Israel as the ‘praise in the earth’ (Isaiah 62:7). Then all of a sudden, they seem to drop off the face of the planet. Nothing seems to happen concerning Israel for nearly two thousand years!
This has led many Bible students to believe that God has given up on Israel. Certainly, according to their logic, if God had intended that the physical nation Israel would proceed into a physical prophesied kingdom, it would’ve happened by now.
This view seems to have a ring of truth to it, since Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is ‘at hand’ and ‘nigh’. What about the fulfilled prophecy in Acts 2 concerning the last days? Surely those couldn’t have been the final days of the universe for we have obviously survived another two millennia.
For those ignorant of the current age of unprophesied grace, the only intelligent conclusion is that God has given up on Israel and has turned his grace towards the church.
These teachers proclaim that the early Jewish church was taught by God through Cornelius and Paul; that he has given up his national dealings with Israel in exchange for a broader more global perspective. Inevitably Israel’s promises become spiritualized and the church becomes the substance of the supposed Old Testament allegory.
Yet, this position is fraught with error, and ignores the plain reading of the scripture.
“God that Cannot Lie” – Titus 1:2
It is a truth about God that he cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Numbers 23:19). There is no lie in him. The opposition of God, the Devil, is the father of lies (John 8:44). When God speaks he is able to do that which he speaks.
Speaking to Israel God says, “I have purposed it, I will do it” (Isaiah 46:11).
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from the ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” – Isaiah 46:10
It was this same God who promised to Israel that they would be the glory of God forever and a crown of glory in the hand of God (Isaiah 46:13, 62:3).
“… I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” – Isaiah 46:13
It was amidst Israel’s rebellious blasphemy towards God that he made these promises to dwell among them forever.
“…Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile…”- Ezekiel 43:7
“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. “ – Jeremiah 31:36
Surely, when God said he would dwell in the midst of Israel he didn’t mean America or Europe or China. The plain reading of these prophecies necessitate the presence of an Israel with a national position before God.
Out of Due Time
In Romans, Paul describes the fall of Israel from prophetic position before God after that they stumbled at ‘that stumbling stone’ (Romans 9:33). Consequently, God has counted Israel in unbelief as the other nations (Romans 11:32).
Yet he has not given up upon the nation Israel nor their prophecies. Even today, Israel can be saved according to grace in the same manner as all men, but not according to prophecy (Titus 2:11). Today those of Jewish heritage according to the flesh do not receive a special status because of their heritage (2 Cor 5:16). Instead, if they trust the gospel of Christ today, they are saved apart from the prophetic promise.
Paul accounts himself a Jew saved ‘out of due time’ as he was saved purely by the grace of God and not into a kingdom by his law-keeping (1 Cor 15:8).
Paul ceases to speak of prophetic Israel when he begins to speak of Israel according to the revelation of the mystery concerning their blindness.
“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 fulness of the Gentiles be come in. “ – Romans 11:25
Directly following the statement concerning this unprophesied period, Paul explains the continuation of prophetic fulfillment.
“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: “ – Romans 11: 26
Eventually the prophetic salvation of Israel will be fulfilled in due time, but not in this age.
The Necessity of the Mystery
The only way to reconcile the specific prophesies given to and about Israel with the prolonged period of prophetic silence is to recognize the interim period of grace revealed to Paul (Gal 1:11-12, Titus 1:3).
Understanding this dispensation of grace, the mystery revealed, is essential for the salvation of all men as it is the only explanation and instruction to which all men can be saved.
According to prophecy, salvation was to be found flowing from the nation to whom salvation was given (John 4:22, Isaiah 46:13).
Today, our salvation is offered to all men through Jesus Christ.
God has not given up Israel, but has instead counted them in unbelief so that he could have mercy upon all, offering free justification in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24).
In the future, God will again reestablish his prophetic purpose with Israel, filling up the prophecies concerning the nation God created, but not until his purpose in the mystery church is complete.