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Incentive to Evangelize Jewish People

Posted by Matt Postiff August 6, 2018 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology 

Today's question:

If all Jews will be resurrected and enter the kingdom as Ezekiel 37:1-14 seems to indicate, then why should we evangelize Jews?

Before we dismiss the question on grounds that no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again (which is true), we should pause and read Ezekiel 37:11-12. There, the Lord explains the vision in 37:1-10 about the dry bones. The bones represent the whole house of Israel, which will be resurrected from their graves, and they will be brought into the land of Israel. God will put His Spirit in them, and they will live (verse 14).

Does this mean that every Israelite who has ever lived will be blessed to enter the kingdom of Messiah and share in eternal life? If we couple this with Romans 11:25-27 and Zechariah 12:10-14, we might think we can make a case for the universal salvation of all Jews, regardless of their faith toward Messiah (or God, as they knew Him in the Old Testament). This all then sounds like there may be some kind of dual covenant salvation, with one way of salvation for Gentiles, and a different way for Jews.

Let me be clear that I do NOT believe like that.

I refer you to Ezekiel 20:33-38. When the Bible says that "and so all Israel will be saved," (Romans 11:25-27), the Ezekiel passage cautions us that this is not an "automatic pass" for all Jews. Verse 38 says, "I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD."

We can be certain of this: Paul is not saying that all Jews will be saved because of their Jewishness, regardless of their response to the Messiah. It is true that there will be a mass conversion of living Jews at the time of Christ's return, but evidently there will be some holdouts (rebels), who will be purged out of the nation as judgment for their unfaithfulness to God.

As for those Jewish people who die prior to the second coming, there is no second chance, post-mortem evangel, or "automatic pass" by which they will be resurrected to eternal life even though they rejected Jesus Christ. This is because they are not all Israel who are from Israel (Romans 9:6). That is to say, just because someone descends from Israel doesn't mean that they share the faith of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And since they don't have the faith, they don't share in eternal life. They don't share in real "Israel-ness" as God defines it, that is, as a combination of Jewishness and faithfulness.

So, there remains a great incentive to evangelize Jews, just as we need to evangelize Gentiles. All are under sin; all are guilty before God: both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 3:9).

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