Does Israel Need the Gospel? – Part 2

Avi Snyder

Doesn’t Paul assure us, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that all Israel will be saved? Yes, he does. Except that “all Israel” doesn’t at all refer to all living and dead Jewish people of past and present. We need to face a tragic and profoundly disturbing biblical truth if we are to understand Paul’s statement about the salvation of “all Israel.” “All Israel” refers to the third of us Jews who survived the most dreadful of all times (which still awaits the Jewish people).

“And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God” (Zech 13:8-9).

It’s brutally hard to imagine a future catastrophe for the people that is even worse than anything brought on us by the nightmare of the Holocaust. But that is exactly what God is telling us through the prophet Zechariah. Two-thirds of us will perish at the hands of our enemies. However, the Lord will redeem the remaining third. And in this way, all Israel will be saved.

At His return, the Lord defends the Israel that has repented and that He has already spiritually redeemed. Then He saves us, because we have repented and looked upon Him whom we have pierced. What a wonderful salvation and rehabilitation of our people that will be!

“And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one…And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (Zech 14:8-9, 16).

Whoever among us knows and loves the Lord desperately longs for His Second Coming. For us, it will be a day of exulting joy. It may be easy to forget that for those who still do not believe until His return, His Second Coming is not a day of rejoicing, but a day of reckoning and unprecedented terror. When Jesus returns, He initiates the dreadful and terrible “day of the Lord.” The accounts of this event should cause us agony for the sake of all those who may still be found in unbelief at the time of His return, as it did for the prophets of that time:

“Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come…Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains…” (Joel 1:15; 2:1-2).

“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (Isa 13:6-9).

This is no day of salvation for those who haven’t heard or who have rejected faith; it is a day of reckoning. Jesus doesn’t come as the savior of those who still don’t believe. He comes as a judge. He comes as the Lion of Judah.

I remember a time when my friend Steve Cohen and I were visiting a rabbi Steve had known as a child. The rabbi welcomed us genially and was kind enough to listen to what Steve wanted to tell him. After my friend had finished speaking, the rabbi shrugged politely and dismissed the affair with these words: “When the Messiah comes, and if He turns out to be your Jesus, then I will believe.” I still remember Steve’s affectionate but unyielding response: “When Jesus returns, it will be too late.”

Yes, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Yeshua as Lord at His return. This day marks the end of a victorious battle, in which Jesus defends the repentant and spiritually redeemed Israel against all its enemies. And at the end of this battle, everyone will admit what can no longer be denied: that He is Lord. Some will announce this truth with resounding jubilation, resonating in the voices of those who have escaped certain destruction. Others, however, will acknowledge Jesus as Lord through heartbreaking grief over their lack of faith. And while many will bow their knees in blessing and praise and loving worship, others will bend theirs as conquered and defeated enemies.

Today isn’t yet the Day of the Lord. Today is still the Day of Salvation, and the proclamation of the gospel to all peoples (Jews and non-Jews alike) must not be delayed because…

“…The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Are the words, “they shall look upon me” a license to avoid or delay the mission to the Jews? Do the words, “all Israel shall be saved” make it unnecessary to bring the gospel to the Jews? Not at all! These words should drive us to proclaim here and now, with even greater urgency, “…so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb 10:25); here and now, for as long as it is still the Day of Salvation.

News From Israel - 03/2019

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