This morning I was reading Romans when it dawned on me that just as Messiah, Israel is God’s firstborn, was also sacrificed for the sake of the world, and will be raised from the dead!
In Exodus 4:22, the Lord told Moses to declare to Pharaoh, “Israel is my son. My firstborn.” There’s no arguing with God. He not only said this privately to Moses but told him to declare it to the leader of Egypt, the leader of the known world at that time.
As to Israel being sacrificed, Paul writes in Romans 11, “by their false step salvation has come to the Gentiles…their transgression leads to riches for the world, and their loss riches for the Gentiles…their rejection leads to reconciliation of the world…” Do you see that? Their rejection, their sacrifice leads to the reconciliation of the world!
Now, before we go thinking this is a permanent rejection because Israel does not believe in Messiah, let’s look at faith.
The writer of Hebrews tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen.” Paul writes in Romans 8, “…but hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes in what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” Paul also reminds us of Isaiah’s words when he writes in Romans 10, “Whoever trusts in Him will not be put to shame.”
One of my favorite Jewish songs is Ani Ma’amin whose lyrics are translated, “I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and, though he may tarry, I wait daily for his coming.”
Israel does believe in the promise of Messiah, perhaps more than we do because we have seen Messiah is Yeshua. They have not. We have seen prophecies fulfilled. We are those of whom Isaiah writes, “I became visible to those who did not ask for Me.” We see Yeshua is the Messiah. For us, scripture is filled with evidence. For Israel, they still walk by faith that God promised Messiah and will not go back on His Word. Throughout history, they have persevered much – by our hand and for our sake. Yet their trust in God and the coming Messiah remains.
Thus far we see that Israel is God’s firstborn and Israel was sacrificed for the sake of the world. Israel will also be raised from the dead, as Paul writes, “For if their rejection leads to reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?”
When we read Isaiah 53, we clearly see Yeshua. When Israel reads Isaiah 53 they see Israel and we should as well because Messiah is Israel. They suffered rejection as He did. They hold onto the hope of salvation by God as He did. They will be raised from the dead as He was. They will be given a place of honor as He will because they are God’s chosen firstborn – the promise to Abraham and Sarah. Not a child of the flesh as Ismael was, but a child of promise. They hold onto that promise. They hold onto that hope and have done so for over 4,000 years.
Who are we to look down our noses at them? They are the keepers of God’s words and God’s promises. They are the ones that God used to reconcile the world to Himself. They are the ones through whom God blesses us.
Lately, there has been a lot of activity on my posts about Esau, and the reaction has not been positive. Now I understand why. God has something to say to us, something we need to examine within ourselves.
Are we like Esau, trying to force Israel down with our foot so we can be the firstborn? Do we, like Esau, accuse Israel of being a ‘heel-grabber’ rather than standing in agreement with God that Israel is peaceful?
God said that the older would serve the younger. Many times, we think that Israel was first and would serve us Gentile Christians. But is that true?
All mankind came first. But it is Israel who is the child of promise. It is Israel who – in the beginning – was called to crush the head of the serpent. It is Israel that we accuse of being a heel grabber when all he is doing is trying to protect his head from our foot.
God has Israel’s back – always has, always will. Israel is God’s choice for ‘the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable’ and God chooses who He will for He is the potter. We (from the nations) need to get over it and simply enjoy being part of the family.
We are all called to be sons and daughters of the Most High, but the firstborn has a lot of responsibility and must sacrifice much, and does so for the sake of the family. Let’s not make their job any harder but give them the respect they deserve.
This article really touches me. Yes, it is true, Israel is God´s firstborn, they have suffered so much and persevered so much, the parallel between the suffering Messiah and suffering Israel can´t be overlooked and we need to recognize and repent that we did to them the very same thing and worse we accused them for. I read a good book that says something similar: “If you be the son of God” by Julia Blum, if you don´t know it already, I guess you would like it. I´m still struggling how to understand all this and I did not expect that things would shake me so much. But you are right, we need to give them the place of honor in line with God´s own heart.
It truly is amazing when God opens our eyes to something that’s been in front of us all along. Give it time, God will settle it all in your heart. In the meantime, enjoy the journey.
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