Adolph Saphir once wrote, “There can be no true and full preaching of the Gospel without explaining the mystery of Israel.” I agree. The truest, fullest declaration of the Person of God revealed in the glory of Christ necessarily requires exploring His past, present and future dealings with this people, land and nation. It has every bearing on who we understand this Nazarene to be.
The ground and background of the Gospel is the benevolent mercy of God extended to those who deserve death and the extravagant grace lavished upon those who deserve the same. Truly, His “thoughts are not like [our] thoughts, nor [His] ways like [ours].” In no sphere is this more apparent than the blood-stained soil at the Place of the Skull, where the God-Man breathed His last with a commanding decree: “It is finished.”
Israel’s national, ethnic, and territorial covenantal peculiarity before the Maker of Heaven and Earth distinguishes her merits neither above nor below that of of any other nation, people or territory. Rather, her election has nothing to do with her and everything to do with Him. Assuredly, her blessing is a conduit to bless everyone else and it is with confidence in that Man on that hill we may hang our hopes on future grace for that land, that people, and even ourselves through her own national regeneration. The “restoration of the Kingdom” became known as the “blessed hope” of the prophets and apostles for good reason.
Just as two bloody planks of splintered wood intersected to put the Son of David to death, the election of God extended to Abraham and all his children runs smack into the sacrifice of the very Son of God—and it is there we find the juncture between the prodigal provision of the God of grace and the great equalizer grace itself functions as, for neither we deserve to be saved from the wrath to come, nor did God deserve to die to make it happen.
Much of the in-house clamor the Church is drowning in arguing about the position of national, ethnic and territorial Israel in the temporal, contemporary purposes of the Eternal One necessarily builds its argumentation on the logical fallacy that behavioral merit must be embedded within any claim. Short of enlightened understanding, we are inclined to believe we get what we deserve. Israel is presently fallen, unbelieving and little has changed since the Son of Man was executed outside the Holy City—but the Church, all these well-behaved Gentiles, aren’t actively blaspheming His Name (presumably), so we can safely conclude that the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70 was a divine endorsement of the idea that God transferred all the blessing and promises made to wayward Jacob to an obedient Church and somehow we are now living in our happily ever after. Right?
Before we work through the complicated implications of Israel’s present condition, the armistice line, the social injustices, the bullet-scarred walls guarding the Old City, we must set our eyes again on those pieces of cursed tree upon which hung a cursed Man setting Adam and Eve’s offspring free because He bled. We must remember He was present at creation, and then His creation killed Him. He was the Image of the Invisible, and those built to reflect that Image fractured themselves to shred Him. He came to fulfill the Law, and those who studied it rebuked and blasphemed Him. He lived amongst His own, to whom scores of prophecies about His coming were given, and they rejected and cursed Him.
We are perhaps too familiar with the idea that it was the sinless Son of God hanging on that cross. It was the sinless Son of God hanging on that cross. He there shed the only qualified blood to seal the provisions of the Everlasting Covenant—not because He deserved to suffer through it, but because He decided within and upon Himself to do it. He there redeemed, saved and secured the elect—not because any of us deserved to be included on such a holy, precious and expensive purchase order, but because He decided to include us in it.
Jerusalem is referred to by psalmists, prophets and the Person of Jesus Himself as the “city of the Great King.” The LORD named Himself the “God of Israel,” and employed that self-reference countless times in Scripture. So the issues of the city of Jerusalem, the ethnic descendants of Abraham and the actual territory referred to now as the modern State are important, but they are secondary issues to the veracity of the Word of God and the nature of His character. Meaning this isn’t actually about us or them—this actually about Him.
Thus, before we begin to address and unpack these important but secondary issues, we must first begin with the primary issue of the preeminent One, to whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess and every man, woman and child on earth will eventually submit. We must understand every Word in the Word is intentional, deliberate, ordained and eternal. None shall pass away, and all shall continue to serve revelation to us as we read, behold and worship throughout the ages to come because the Author is that big and that capable. And thus I implore you, reader, to reject any theological system requiring you to disregard entire portions and passages of Scripture as “outdated” or “irrelevant.” Genesis to Revelation continues to be our roadmap as we navigate this “present evil age” and reveal to us who this Man from Nazareth is and what He is like.
Scripture encourages us, plumb lines us even, in the sovereignty of God. Nothing has ever been written in as some kind of sloppy Plan B. This has always been Plan A. Abraham was not an accident. Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve sons were not accidents. The death of the Son of David was not an accident. The ingrafting of believing Gentiles and the temporary hardening of ethnic Israel—nothing is accidental. Paul himself would write this same encouragement to us, and was compelled to drop his pen for a moment, mesmerized by the magnificent, “unsearchable” riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God:
“For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
Resting in the truth of who God is, what He is like and how He behaves is the kind of bold confidence the writer of Hebrews encourages us to approach Him with. Confident in His mercy. Confident in His humility. Confident in His benevolence. Confident in His precision. Confident in His purposes. Confidence in His covenant.
This is the kind of confidence that lets us wonder at mysteries, and sleep like babies in our mother’s arms—confident she isn’t going to drop us, and we don’t need to wonder why.
 Saphir, A. (1911). Christ and Israel: Lectures on the Jews. London: Morgan and Scott, 15.
 Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-10
 Isaiah 55:8-9
 John 19:30
 Genesis 12:1-3; See “Abraham's but not Pilate’s.”
 Romans 11:15
 Acts 1:16; Titus 2:13; See “The Coming Restoration of the Kingdom of Israel.”
 Isaiah 13:9; Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7; I Thessalonians 1:10; 2:16; Revelation 6:17
 See “Burn the Banners.”
 Ephesians 1:18
 See “The History of the Conflict,” COMING SOON
 Deuteronomy 21:23; Galatians 3:13
 Proverbs 8:22-31; I Corinthians 2:8; Colossians 1:16-17
 Colossians 1:15
 John 10:17-18
 Psalm 48:2; Matthew 5:35
 More than 200 verses occur in Scripture naming the LORD the “God of Israel.” Some are: Exodus 5:1; 24:10; 32:27; 34:23; Numbers 16:9; Joshua 7:13, 19-20; 8:30; 9:19; 10:40, 42; 13:14; 14:14; 22:16, 24; 24:2, 23; Judges 4:6; 5:3; 6:8; 11:21, 23; 21:3; Ruth 2:12; I Samuel 1:17; 2:30; 5:7-8, 10-11; 6:3, 5; 10:18; 14:41; 20:12; 23:10-11; 25:32, 34; II Samuel 7:27; 12:7; 23:3; I Kings 1:30, 48; 8:15, 17; II Chronicles 29:10; Ezra 4:1; Psalm 68:8; Isaiah 17:6; Jeremiah 7:21; Matthew 15:31
 Isaiah 2:1-4; Philippians 2:10-11
 Galatians 1:4
 Romans 11:13-36
 Romans 11:34-36
 Hebrews 4:16
 Psalm 131