Do Christians Need Jews? Do Jews Need Christians?
Given our divergence in doctrine one is tempted to think that Jews and Christians don't need each other. Christian gentiles, the church, can be saved without the law. Jews and Israel live the law, await their messiah and their salvation, who isn't Jesus. Thus, each of us goes our separate way.
Do Christians Need Jews?
But as a Christian who has discovered the Jewishness of Jesus, which has begun to open the floodgates of the unfinished prophecies for Israel and for the rest of us, I've accepted that I need Israel and the Jews. And I see so many other Christians coming to this same conclusion.
We say it in different ways: an abiding intrest in the Hebrew Scriptures; filling messianic synagogues or temples; some are glued to Christian Zionist Cable Networks like God’s Learning Channel in Odessa Texas; pilgrimage to Israel to learn more; faith loyalty to Israel (not right or wrong but loyalty, like God is loyal to them). It all adds up to a growing love for the Jews, and our Jewish faith roots, and for Israel (faithful or not), and a growing appreciation for the fullness of the gospel and the word. It is a tremendous move of the Spirit.
This move reflects our present need as Christians facing mounting trials to look to Israel as another suffering servant, an example of an entire people's perseverance, as judgment comes upon this earth and persecution mounts and apostasy spreads.
We need their wisdom and scriptural knowledge to sharpen us up so that our salvation and our Christian mission can be protected. This need is prophesied in Zechariah 8,20-23. Verses 22 and 23 are amazing and describes exactly what is going on today in the body of Christ:
"Yes many peoples and great nations will seek out Yahweh Saboath in Jerusalem and entreat Yahweh's favor. Yahweh Saboath say this 'In those days, ten men from nations of every language will take a Jew by the sleeve and say: 'We want to go with you, since we have learnt that God is with you.' "
Now this is amazing. After nearly two thousand years of the Christian movement, we Christians are grabbing the Jew by the sleeve. You would think that they would be grabbing onto our sleeves! But we have learned that God is still with the Jews and Israel and they still have things to teach us. We have not only learned the facts of their salvation history, which began with Abraham four thousand years ago, but also gained an understanding that God never annulled the Abrahamic covenant. Thus, we can see how the Jews survived Egypt, Babylon, the Greek and Roman domination, the Christian Empire, tolitarianism, Anti-Semitism, global persecution, the Shoah (holocaust), replacement theology, patronizing Christians and all manner of prejuidice and foolishness. After all this, we have learned that nothing has separated God from the Jews and Israel and nothing ever will. God always preserves his Jewish Remnant- that was his promise. Amen. Praise God!
We have seen the success of the Zionist movement (whether political or faithful) culminate in the re-founding of Israel in 1948. Ever since, especially in the last 30 years, we have been saying "we want to go with you." We want to learn from you. We need you to guide us into your rich faith, that is also our faith, to guide us to our final home there in physical Zion. We need you so we can come up higher in worship, and go down deeper into the word, to understand Ezekiel, Zechariah and Isaiah, and all the prophets, and our own book of Revelation.
We need you to understand important stuff like any rebuilding of a third Temple. We need you to explain the Torah to us in new ways, not to live under it, but to understand you and our savior better, the one who said he didn’t come to destroy the Torah, but to fulfill it.
We need you to explain what Jesus meant when he said "whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me." We need to wrap our heads around Genesis 12 especially “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” We need to explore all the ways that the Jews and Israel are still blessing the world! And more broadly, as I stated before, we need the faith and determination of Israel and the Jews to help us survive this evil day, and to prepare for our rule and reign with them from Zion.
Do Jews Need Christians?
This is the harder and touchier case, especially for a Christian, to make. Does the firstborn need the adopted child? Does the vine need the branch? Yes! Here's why. You, dear Israel, my brother Jew, you need our love, like Boaz needed the love of the Moabitess Ruth- to make you even better, more honorable, more merciful than you already are.
Yes, we have seen the error of our Anti-Semitic ways and the ignorance and the fatuousness of replacement theology (where we claimed your inheritance and assumed it as our own), we repent of it. We, most of us anyway, know better now. We know better how to love you, like a good Jew, with acts, with mitzvah.
You don't need us to survive. God has been and will be your survival. But you need us like the exiles in Babylon needed the Persian King Cyrus, to help you rebuild Israel and prepare Jerusalem for the coming of Messiah. You need us like Caleb and Joshua needed Rahab to take the promised land. Like you needed Balfour in 1917. And Truman recognizing your bold faith in taking back Jerusalem. Like you needed the Soviet Union to vote Yes! on your statehood in the UN. You need all the pilgrims from all around the world who go back to their present homes and tell the miracle of Israel.
Your need is prophesied in Isaiah 66, 18-24. In this passage we gentiles get so excited about the importance of Zion, about your ultimate salvation, that we go to Israel to witness God's glory. And we become in effect quasi converts to a final Judaism-universal cult, the cult of our one God: Verse 19c-22
"They [us Christian Gentiles] will proclaim my glory to the nations, and from all the nations they will bring all your brothers [exiled or diaspora Jews], as an offering to the mountain, Jerusalem, Yahweh says, like Israelites bringing offerings in clean vessels to Yahweh's house. And some of them [us Gentiles]] I shall make into priests and Levites, Yahweh says.For as the new heavens and the new earth I am making will endure before me, declares Yahweh, so will your race and your name endure."
Wow. Israel does need the nations, us Christians. To proclaim the glory of our mutual God, the God of Israel, to the nations, and to help you bring back every Jew from all the nations- in effect to prepare Israel as a final faith offering to God.
And our payoff as Gentiles? We will be clean vessels, holy as he is holy, as you are holy, all fit for the priesthood (Ex. 19,6; 1Pt. 2,5), allowed to come as close as you have to God. To come out of the court of the gentiles and into the inner Temple. Oh Israel, Oh brother Jew, we Christian Gentiles care about your future and your race, and this has blessed us. We have our own cult now, but we also care about the cult of Israel, and one day we will worship as one. I want a be priest of God in Israel, coming closer still to Yeshua Ha Mashiach who will appear there when the great Shofar sounds.
And your payoff for needing us? Your scattered brothers and sisters get their land back and come back to Israel to be priests so you can go back to worshipping God as you have long desired. We gentiles will labor in the more mundane matters of your country to free you up for that. Isaiah 61,5-6:"Strangers shall stand and pasture your flocks, Aliens shall shall be your plowmen and vine-trimmers; while you shall be called "Priests of the Lord", And termed "Servants of our God."
So we need each other. Scriptural prophecy clearly states this. And salvation history underlines it. Yes, salvation is still of the Jews. You were always and forever meant to bless all peoples through Abraham, and you have blessed us, and you will continue to bless us. But we too have something to give you, and you need our blessing too. The issue isn’t that you have lost any status as God’s chosen people by your need- you haven’t (Romans 11,1 ff). The issue is you need us because that's the way your God set up his universal salvation plan. We're setting the table for your final harvest Feasts of Shuavot and Pentecost.
When faithful and wise Christians and Jews publicly recognize our mutual need for each other (according to Isaiah 66 and 61), Messiah can't be too far off. Isaiah 66,18b The time "has come to gather all nations and tongues; they shall come and behold my glory." I'm trusting, as we all prepare the way of the Lord, for this gathering, God will break down language and faith barriers and open our eyes to the blessings that are soon to come.