Sunday, July 1, 2012
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8 KJV).
Why was Christ’s earthly ministry limited to Israel? Today’s Scripture gives us the answer.
In John 4:22, Jesus explained to a (Gentile) Samaritan, “…For salvation is of the Jews.” The Bible says Jesus Christ came to Israel, to save them from their sins (Matthew 20:28; Luke 1:67-75; John 1:11; Acts 3:26). Jesus, in Matthew 15:24, bluntly declared: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But why? Why only Israel? Was Jesus unconcerned about Gentiles being saved? Why was God so focused on saving Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry? Rather than (blasphemously) accusing Jesus of “bigotry” and “racism”—as some foolishly and recklessly assert—we will approach the Bible from the dispensational standpoint, and what amazing clarity there is regarding this oftentimes-confused topic!
When God called Abram (Abraham) about 2000 B.C., He told him: “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2,3). God will bless the whole world through the nation He will make using Abraham, and this nation is Israel. This is the Abrahamic Covenant, which was in force until the middle part of the book of Acts.
Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 60:1-3,14, Isaiah 61:6, Micah 4:1-3, Zechariah 8:20-23, and others show that God will bless Gentiles through Israel: Israel will one day be a kingdom of priests, and Jews will evangelize the Gentiles (this is where Matthew 28:19,20 and Mark 16:15 belong: contrary to religious tradition, these verses do not belong to us). This was God’s plan in redeeming Israel first: this is why Jesus Christ was sent to Israel only. God would save Israel first, and then He would use redeemed Israel to reach Gentiles with the salvation He had given them first (still future).