God calls Israel to be His Chosen
In Exodus 19:5 – 6, when God delivered Israel from the bondage in Egypt, He says to his people “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” KJV
The key to understanding the purpose for which Israel was chosen is by understanding the role of priests in the Old Testament. Priests had two main roles, intercession and mediation. They went before the presence of God and interceded for the people and they spoke to the people on behalf of God. If the nation of Israel was to be a kingdom of priests, to whom and why?
The Purpose of the Call
God had the whole world in mind when He called Israel to be His chosen. They were to be a nation of priests to the entire world, the oracles of God and the people from which the Messiah came, a worldwide witness!
Genesis 12:1 – 3
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” KJV
Rom 3:1 – 2
“Then what is the superiority of the Jew? Or what is the profit of circumcision? Much, by every way! Chiefly, indeed, because they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” NKJV
Rom 9:4 – 5
“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” KJV
God wanted Israel to proclaim his greatness throughout all the earth to all nations. God could have immediately annihilated the pharaoh who held Israel in bondage but even in this God’s plan for the nations was evident. He says to Pharaoh:
“For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Exo 9:14 – 16 KJV
The Law, the Land and the Covenant
In Genesis 12:1 – 2 God called Abraham to leave his homeland for a new promised land and covenanted to bless him and his seed.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: KJV
God gave the Jews the law to provoke the nations to jealousy so that the nations would ultimately want Him.
“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?” Deut 4:5 – 7 KJV
From the beginning God was executing His purpose for the nations. He covenanted with Abraham to bless his seed, make them a chosen and blessed people, place them in a bountiful land and they would be a witness to the world of His greatness. With this in mind it is clear to see why God was so grieved when the Jews forsook Him and engaged in sinful practices and pagan actions compromising God’s agenda.
Chastised yet Beloved
God sent prophet after prophet to Israel who pleaded with them to turn from their ways and come back to God. The Jews refused to maintain an obedient relationship with the Lord and so God caused them to be cast out of their land. They would not live in the light of God’s ways so they were told to live in darkness.
Nevertheless, even in the chastisement of the Jews, God still had the nations in mind. Instead of being a witness of God’s blessings they became a witness of the consequences of not obeying God.
“Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken it.” Ezek 5:14 – 15
Jesus Restores the Call
The Lord did not speak through the prophets to the Jews for 400 years and then the promised Messiah was born. After His resurrection and during an appearance to the disciples, Jesus was asked if he would now restore the Kingdom to Israel.
“Then, indeed, these coming together, they asked Him, saying, Lord, do You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? And He said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:6 – 8 KJV
Jesus re-iterates God’s plan and purpose for the Jews to be a witness to the nations. This is confirmed in Romans:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Rom 1:16 KJV
“Indeed as regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes. But as regards the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the free gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Rom 11:28 – 29 KJV
God’s plan remains intact and his purpose for Israel has not changed. Israel is still His beloved. The connection between the law, the land and the covenant still exists and God will fulfil His purpose. Jesus fulfilled the law, The Jews will be gathered back to the land, the covenant will be satisfied and the nations will know that Jehovah is Lord.
“And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. And the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, says the Lord Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all lands, and will gather you into your own land.” Ezek 36:23 – 24
An Irrevocable Call
God’s purpose for Israel and the nations has never changed and will not change. It is therefore our duty as gentile believers to pray for God’s will concerning the plans and purpose for Israel. Pray for their salvation, for the peace of Jerusalem and the fulfilment of the Jewish call. In this way we actively support God’s agenda.