WHEN AND HOW WILL THE JEWISH NATION COME TO GOD


Biblical Research Monthly
March, 1950
By Dr. David L. Cooper

ISRAEL is the hub of the nations. All peoples revolve around her. This truth is seen in the following quotation found in Deuteronomy 32:8,9:

    "When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
    When he separated the children of men,
    He set the bounds of the peoples
    According to the number of the children of Israel.
    For Jehovah's portion is his people;
    Jacob is the lot of his inheritance."

In view of this fact Israel's salvation is the most important event on the prophetic program with reference to all nations.

The Prediction Concerning Israel's Salvation

The answer to the question, "Will the nation of Israel ever be saved?" is contained in the following quotation: For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in; 26 and so all Israel shall be saved; even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: And this is my covenant unto them, When I shall take away their sins" (Rom. 11:25-27). From these verses we see that hardness in part has befallen Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. When that point is reached, all Israel will be saved -- all Israel living at that time. What time is that? The answer is: when the Deliverer comes forth out of Zion and turns away ungodliness from Jacob. His coming to Zion, therefore, and bringing this deliverance is the coming of the Lord Jesus to the earth at the end of the Tribulation, the revelation of the Lord in glory and power.

How Will She Be Saved?

Some very excellent Bible students answer this question by referring to Zechariah 12:10. In the King James Version this verse reads: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."

The statement, "... and they shall look UPON me whom they have pierced," as it is translated in the verse from the King James Version, just quoted, is not a correct translation of the Hebrew. The Revised Version renders the text accurately: "... they shall look UNTO me whom they have pierced." If a person follows the rendering of the Common Version, he is led to believe that Israel will be converted by looking
upon the Lord Jesus visibly and bodily when He returns. If this translation were correct, salvation, then, would be a matter of sight, and not of faith. This statement is beyond question. We therefore should ask ourselves, Do the Scriptures teach that people are saved by sight? The answer is: The unanimous testimony of all Scripture is that they are all saved by faith: "For by grace have ye been saved through faith ..." Moreover, the faith (belief) by which people are saved "cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). The "word of Christ" mentioned here is none other than the message concerning Christ--His dying for our sins to redeem us. Saving faith comes by hearing--not hearing any and everything, but the hearing of the message concerning Christ and His atoning blood.

Since people are saved by hearing the message of Christ, and since there is but one plan of redemption for the entire race throughout all ages, Israel, whose conversion nationally is set forth in the Scriptures, must be given the gospel in order that she might be saved by faith. From this conclusion there can be no logical escape.

But all regenerated people will be taken out of the world before the Tribulation by the glorious event of the rapture. Yet the nation is to be saved at the end of the Tribulation, seven years later. How then is she to have the gospel, since the church will be gone? She cannot believe on Him of whom she has never heard, and how can she hear without a preacher (Rom. 10:14)? The only solution to the question is this: We who have the gospel must now sow the seed in all Israel. This seed sowed in the honest hearts will germinate and produce a spiritual crop now. Thus those accepting Christ now will be taken up in the rapture. But the seed sowed in the dry soil of indifferent hearts now will be watered by the judgments of the great Tribulation. There will arise, as we learn from Revelation, chapter 7, a vast army of 144,000 Jewish servants, who are undoubtedly the evangelists of that future time, and who bring about the world-wide revival mentioned in Revelation, chapter 7. This mighty awakening culminates in the salvation of Israel at the end of the Tribulation.

In view of all these facts it becomes immediately apparent that the evangelization of Israel is a most important phase of the work of the kingdom of God at the present time. According to Paul's statement the gospel is still "... to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
Some excellent brethren tell us that this quotation means that, the gospel was to be given to the Jewish nation first in the beginning of the present era, which thing was done, as all who are familiar with the New Testament realize and acknowledge. But since--thus the argument runs--Israel as a nation rejected Christ and repudiated His gospel, God set her aside during the rest of the dispensation. He now is taking out from among the Gentiles a people for His name. We are not therefore, according to this argument, to concern ourselves in any special manner about giving the gospel to the Jews who are to be saved, not by the preaching of the gospel, but by looking upon Christ visibly when He returns at the end of the Tribulation! The fallacy of this interpretation of Zechariah 12:10 has been shown above.

What is the obvious meaning of "... to the Jew first, and also to the Greek"? The best way of understanding this passage is to study the facts connected with the Roman Epistle and Paul's practice as set forth in the Acts of the Apostles. Romans was written around A.D. 58, or twenty-eight years after the resurrection of Christ. The gospel began to be preached first in Jerusalem; then in Judea, next in Samaria, and finally it went out to the entire world (Rom. 10:18; Col. 1:6,23). Although the gospel, which began at Jerusalem and followed the course set forth in Acts 1:8, had gone to the uttermost parts of the earth, Paul declared that it is still "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." So long, therefore, as the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe, it is still "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

If anyone will study Paul's missionary journeys as set forth in the Acts of the Apostles, he will see that, wherever the Apostle went, and where there were Jews, he always went to them first. After having given them the truth, he then turned to the Gentiles of that community. This was his invariable practice. We must therefore use that as a yardstick in measuring his meaning in Romans 1:16, where he tells us that the gospel is to the Jew first and also to the Greek. We must conclude therefore that, in every place where there are Jews, we are to give the message to them first and then to the Gentiles of the same locality. God has never rescinded His orders nor changed His program.

Everyone who wishes to be in the center of God's holy, directive will must recognize anything and everything that God says in His Word. Since He is very specific on this point, it behooves all of us who wish to please Him in every particular to give the gospel to the Jew first and also to the Gentiles.