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Paul believed in Israel’s Future

Do you know about the Jewish holy day Tisha B’ Av (the ninth of Av)?

Av is the fifth month on the Jewish calendar, and the 9th of Av this year it occurred a couple of weeks ago on July 29th, but last year was on August 10th

The ninth of Av is when our Jewish friends commemorate the two destructions of the Jewish Temple. The first was by the Babylonians in 586 BC. The second was by the Romans in AD 70.

On that day Jews fast and pray and mourn the same way they would the death of a loved one.

The prophet Zechariah referred to it in Zechariah 8:19 as the fast of the fifth month. 

They also pray for the imminent rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is one of three times they say to each other with hope, “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM.”

When you hear of Jews praying at the Western Wall, they are praying at the small remaining section of the original wall surrounding the Temple Mount. 

This year something happened on the Temple Mount that had not happened since 1967. A Jewish man was able to sneak a flag of Israel up to the Temple Mount and it flew proudly for a few moments until removed.

Ironically, other notorious times of persecution of Jews have also involved the ninth of av.

In AD 1290 all Jews were expelled from England on that day.

In AD 1490 Spain launched its inquisition on that day. Hundreds of thousands of Spanish Jews were ordered to convert to Catholicism or be burned at the stake.

In light of those things, the Ninth of Av is a symbol of all the troubles Jews have experienced throughout the ages.

I bring that up because we have been looking at the life of the Apostle Paul, a Jew from Tarsus who at first violently opposed other Jews receiving Jesus as their Messiah, but who Jesus personally converted on the road to Damascus.


As we have looked at the life of Paul, we have seen a historical fact from the first century. After their conversion, Paul and other Jews who embraced Jesus were often the target of Jews who opposed other Jews coming to Christ.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:24 -25 that on 5 occasions he received 39 lashes from the Jews. It happened to Jesus once, but to Paul 5 times. 3 more times he was beaten with rods, and once he was the target of stoning and left for dead.

But as we will see today, Paul never stopped loving his fellow Jews and he would be mortified at all anti-Semitic acts done through the ages, especially those done by professing Christians. Paul believed in Israel’s future.

Read Romans 9:1-5           Paul believed in Israel’s future               Let’s Pray!

According to Acts, Aquila and Priscilla were two Jewish converts from Rome who Paul met during his ministry in Corinth.

The husband and wife had to leave their home because the Roman Emperor, Claudius, had ordered all Jews to leave Rome (A 18:2) – that happened in AD 49.

A first century Roman historian named Suetonius reported that Claudius did that because of Jewish unrest over “Chrestus,” which is probably a reference to Christ.

Given all of the quarreling in Rome between Jews who had embraced Jesus as their Messiah and those who did not, Claudius simply kicked out all of the Jews, even the Christian Jews.

The expulsion of all Jews by Claudius in AD 49 would have left the church in Rome Gentile heavy.

By the time Paul writes this letter around AD 57 the Jewish Christians Priscilla and Aquila had returned to Rome (Rom. 16:3-4), the church still had questions about how the church should relate to Israel. Paul answers in Romans 9-11.  

And what an answer it is!

It drips with Paul’s love for his lost Jewish countryman and his desire that they as individuals would turn to Jesus as their Messiah and be saved.

It shows thankfulness for God’s work through Israel in the past and preaches the same things Jesus and the prophets did – that all of the promises made to Israel will be fulfilled in the future.

Paul’s intense desire for his fellow Israelites to be saved                        V. 1-3

I love these verses!

Paul says “I wish you could open up my heart like the Holy Spirit can and see what’s inside!”

You would find mega sorrow, and continual grief for my lost countryman.

Paul had been right there with them before his own conversion. He had rejected that Jesus really was the Messiah. Then he was saved, and instantly wished his lost family members, fellow Benjamites, and all Israel’s tribes believed.

He was “Tore up from the floor up” whenever he thought about it.

Look at verse 3

For I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren.

Now understand the implications of what Paul is saying there.

He is saying, “I would trade places with them and go to Hell if they would believe.”

Paul would not need to say that if just being a physical Jew meant you already had a ticket to Heaven.

But Romans 1-8 makes clear that whether a person is a Jew or a Gentile, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all need to receive Jesus Christ for salvation.

The remedy for our sin malady is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Turn back to Romans 1:16-17

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”                        -Romans 1:16-17

In every age past, this current church age, and the age to come, people are saved through faith in God and what He has revealed to be believed in the Bible.

Before Christ came, Jews were saved by believing in God and His promises of His coming Messiah.

Now that Jesus has come, Jews and Gentiles alike are saved by placing their faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul had continual sorrow because even though many first century Jews had received Jesus, others rejected Him. We have that same sorrow today.

Look at Romans 2:28-29

For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.                        -Romans 2:28-29               See also Romans 9:6-7

That makes perfect sense when you look at the Old Testament and its various generations.

From the Exodus generation Moses, Aaron, and Miriam will be in Heaven because they trusted God and what He had revealed; But Korah and Dathan and those who rebelled against God, the ones the earth opened and swallowed, won’t!

From Elijah’s generation he and Elisha and the 7,000 who hadn’t bowed to worship Baal will be in Heaven, thousands of physical Jews who worshipped Baal along with Ahab and Jezebel will not – they will be in Hell.

From Jeremiah’s generation many will be in Heaven, but the false prophet Shemaiah and many others will be in Hell.

From Paul’s generation those who received Christ will be in Heaven. Those who rejected Christ will be in Hell.

The same thing is true in the year 2020.

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”            -Acts 4:12

Oh what a heart Paul had for his countrymen!

Paul was willing to trade his place in Heaven so they wouldn’t have to go to Hell.

Some of you would do that for your lost loved ones!

But we can’t, and neither could Paul!

Fortunately, we don’t have to do that, because Jesus already did!

We just need to convince sinners like us to turn to the only Savior, Jesus Christ!

Paul’s desire for Gentile Christians to appreciate Israel’s role               V. 4-5

After everything he taught in the Book of Romans so far, some of the non-Jewish Christians may have thought that meant that they didn’t need to think much about the Jewish underpinnings of their faith.

Paul demolishes that in Romans 9-11.

 He starts with an appreciation for Israel’s past in verses 4-5

They are Israelites, to whom pertain…

The adoption (God’s special choice of Israel, His elect nation)

The glory

The covenants

            The Abrahamic Covenant (with aspects yet to be fulfilled)

                        Great nation, defined land, blessed seed

                        Literal, Unconditional, Eternal

The Mosaic (which guided Israel until Jesus came) (Old to New)

            Conditional (Blessings for obedience)

The Davidic (The Messiah will rule on the throne promised to David in the land promised to Abraham) 

Unconditional (some kings would be disasters, but Messiah will come)

The Law

            Moral Law, Priestly Law, Civil Law

The Service of God

The Tabernacle, then Temple, with its sacrifices that would allow God to forgive their sins, pointing to the future sacrifice of the Messiah

            The Special Feasts that would point to Christ (Passover, Jubilee, etc)

The promises

Especially the promises of the coming Christ, to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, to minister hope in Galiee and beyond, to work miracles throughout the land, and to die as a sacrifice for the world’s sins!

I love how Paul brings it home – through Israel, the Christ came in the flesh, the Christ who is over all, the Christ who is the eternally blessed God!

That’s when Paul dropped the Mic!

Gentile Christians, understand how much you should appreciate the Jewish roots of Christianity!

Paul goes on in Romans 11:11-29 to reject the idea that Israel has been replaced by the church.

Exposit it as you go, Daniel!

You do not support the root, but the root supports you.

And in keeping with God’s Old Testament Promises, there is a golden age of Israel yet to come AFTER this church age the New Testament speaks of.

You see that when you read the Book of Revelation.

Jews turn in mass to Jesus Christ during the time of The Tribulation, and then Jesus Christ returns and sets up a physical rule on earth fulfilling the as of yet unfulfilled promises to Israel.

Turn to Acts 1:6-8

This would have been the perfect time for Jesus to affirm replacement theology- “you’ve got it all wrong fellows – there won’t be a literal rule from Israel- from now on just spiritualize all those Old Testament promises to Israel and apply them to the church.

But that’s exactly what Jesus did not do.

Like Daniel 9 that has an unspecified period of time before God revisits his promises to Israel, and like Romans 11 that speaks of a future restoration for Israel after the days of getting the gospel to the world unfold…

Jesus’ words help us understand that we are now in the church age where we are John 3:16 witnesses, but the golden age when Messiah will rule the world from Jerusalem is coming! 

Three Conclusions from Jesus’ words in Acts 1 and Paul’s words in Romans 9-11:

Christians should reject “replacement theology” that replaces Israel with the church. We believe that God will keep His literal promises to Israel.

Christians should reject all antisemitism in the world, and promote the welfare of the often persecuted Jewish people.

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Christians should continue to share the good news that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world, and that all who trust in Him will be saved.

Friends of Israel

Sinner’s Prayer