First let me say that the Jewish People don’t exist for the benefit of the Church. We exist for our own benefit and by the grace of God. But having said that, it is for the good of the Church that Israel exists. God caused the Jewish people to exist and chose us to be His people, giving us a covenant of Mutual Blessing. The covenant of Abraham says in Genesis 12, “I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and through you shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves.” This covenant was not meant solely for the Jewish people, but for the nations as well. It was God’s will that the nations bless the Jewish people, and in return, God would bless the nations. Historically, the out working of this covenant can be seen in that every nation that has blessed the Jews has been blessed, and every nation that has cursed the Jews has been cursed. God did the blessings and cursing but each nation brought it on themselves. This can be demonstrated on a national level, but on an individual level as well.
People have expressed their anti-Semitism because of Israel’s chosenness, but nevertheless, it was God who did the choosing. Jews as a rule don’t think themselves better than anyone else, but this accusation has been leveled by jealous people. God chooses to bless the Jewish people and others become jealous of this blessing rather than take advantage of the opportunity to bless themselves by blessing the Jewish people.
Others through their theology have tried to claim the identity of Israel for themselves, but they can not take Israel’s blessings by appropriating their identity. The church is not Israel, and no matter what they claim by spriitualization of ideas, they can not take a blessing bestowed by God. Some have pointed to the extreme persecution of Jews for the last two thousand years and said Israel no longer receives the blessings of God. The reality of the situation is that people have persecuted Jews, not God, and in so doing, they have brought the curse of God on themselves. The crusades killed thousands of Jews in the name of Christian triumphalism, and later the Bubonic plague swept through Europe, yet sparing most Jewish people. People of faith should recognize the validity of the Covenant made with the Jewish people, and bless the Jews so they would in turn, be blessed.
Scripture refers to Israel as God’s son. Exodus 4:22 says, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel [is] My son, My firstborn.” The church also is called God’s child in that Yeshua believers are called children of God. The problem has been that these two children have been fighting for two thousand years like children. When my daughter was born, I could not imagine that I could ever love another child as much as I loved my daughter. But when my son was born, God expanded my heart so that I could love my son as much as I loved my daughter. If I am capable of loving both children the same, how much more is God able to do so? God is able to love both children without putting one aside for the sake of the other. When my children fought with each other, I wanted them to stop fighting. Nothing made me more happy when my children were able to stop fighting and get along with each other. Now that my children are grown, they are very close and love each other. It is time that God’s children stop fighting with each other and love one another. This would gladden the heart of God.
This is the idea behind the parable of the prodigal son. When people read this, some focus on the repentant prodigal, but prodigal sons are a dime a dozen. There is nothing special about it. Others focus on the loving father, but here too there is little that is special about it. Some focus on the relationship between the two brothers. The older brother complains to the father that the younger brother has squandered the father’s money and now the father throws a part for him, but the father never threw a party for the older brother who has been faithful. They ask who are the siblings? Is the older brother Israel, balking at the Church’s presence when they don’t follow Torah? Or is the older brother the Church, complaining that the younger brother did not follow Yeshua? Interpretations will vary but that is not the point of the parable. Yeshua’s story leaves us with one question: Will the older brother join the party? The father is rejoicing that his younger son has come home to him. He is happy. He throws a party. Will the older brother rejoice that his brother is home? Will he celebrate, if for no other reason, than that his father is happy? Which brother we think we are doesn’t matter. What matters is that we rejoice in the return of our brother for the sake of our father’s happiness, and we embrace our brother and live in harmony with him if for no other reason that it makes our father happy.