Messianic Jewish Christians
This is not to say that Jews cannot be Christians and this is precisely the point. There are plenty of Messianic Jewish Christians who have embraced Jesus Christ as their Messiah. These Messianic Jewish Christians would seem to logically be part of the saints who are removed from the earth at the time of the rapture. We know that as far as salvation goes “all are in Christ” and that salvation is first to the Jew and then to the gentile.
We also know that according to Paul in Romans 2
“A man is not a Jew who is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.”
It might be better understood to say that Gentile Christians can be inward Jews and outward Jews can be inward (Messianic) Jews only because our hearts are circumcised; however, the message of salvation was given to the outward Jews first and then to the Gentiles, indicating that God has a special purpose and separation in mind for the Jews. This purpose and plan from God does not negate the principle that “all are in Christ”.
Evidently, God still has a plan for the lineage of Abraham to which we gentile Christians are the inheritors of His promise. The method by which we obtain salvation does not affect us differently if we are Messianic Jew or Believing Gentile. We all have the same savior, Jesus Christ, but those who retain in their physical bodies the lineage of Abraham are destined to fulfill a specific “unconditional”promise of God.
It would seem a double blessing if God chooses to pick 144,000 Messianic Jewish Christians who have already accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah, thereby proclaiming that Jews saved by grace are indeed God’s remnant, and the recipients of protection during the wrath of God upon the earth. However, being a Jew outwardly (Unbelieving Jew) who has not been circumcised of the heart, and has not accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah, could be one of the most terrible fates imaginable.
Why? Because God will judge Israel in the last days and many in Israel will die as a result, but the remnant will still be spared by grace. It has always been by grace though faith that God delivers those who believe. To sum up this sometimes “awkward to explain” position Paul tells all of us (Jew and Gentile alike) in Romans 2:5-10
“5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”
7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.
8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;
10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
11 For God does not show favoritism.”
It could be asked, if God does not show favoritism than why does Paul say to the Jew first and then for the Gentile? The context in which this statement is made is clearly in reference to judgment and reward, judgment for those who reject the truth, and reward for those who receive the truth. God shows no favorites when it comes down to the truth of one’s heart. If we are not repentant then we are rejecting God and He will reject us as well.
If we do repent, then we know that God’s reward is eternal life, because we believe by faith in the promises of God, whether Jew or Gentile. But because the Jews were the recipients of Abraham’s promise to inherit the land of Canaan (Israel), they are elected by unconditional promise to play a special part in the plan of God when Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom and sit on the throne of David.
The Old Testament is so very rich with information about Israel’s unique role in the last days, but we often miss the entire point as we read it, because we compartmentalize Christian beliefs from Jewish beliefs. It is fair to say that the traditional beliefs of Orthodox Judaism (Unbelieving Jews who have been partially blinded) have strayed from the truth of scripture and cannot be made to square with the beliefs of Messianic Jews who have already accepted their Messiah Jesus Christ; but this in itself is a fulfillment of prophecy as Paul says in Romans 11:25 “ that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.”
Now that we have laid a foundation regarding the separate paths which God has ordained for the Jewish lineage of Abraham, and the “inward Jews” who are “circumcised of heart”; we can focus in more detail on the scriptures which lay out the details for both. But first let’s discuss prophecy. What is it? How does God use it? What is the purpose of prophecy?