Monday, July 2, 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).
Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was to Jews only, with two recorded Gentile exceptions (the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion). As today’s Scripture indicates, Jesus was in accordance with and came to “confirm” “the promises made unto the fathers….”
In the Abrahamic Covenant (circa 2000 B.C.), God swore to Abram that He would make a nation (Israel) of his lineage, and that His salvation and blessings would go to the world (Gentiles) through Israel: “And 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; cf. Genesis 22:18; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 28:14).
According to the Davidic Covenant (circa 1000 B.C.), God promised King David that one of His descendants would rule Israel forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16; cf. Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14,18,27; Luke 1:31-33). “Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me” (Psalm 89:36,37).
The covenants were given to Israel, not Gentiles, so Jesus Christ went to Israel. Christ Jesus came to fulfill Israel’s covenants (“confirm [fulfill] the promises [covenants] made unto the fathers [Israel’s patriarchs, especially Abraham and David]” of today’s Scripture). “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
Here is God’s method of saving Gentiles in Israel’s prophetic (kingdom) program. Jesus Christ limited His earthly ministry to Israel because Jews were to be saved first by accepting Him as their Messiah-King. Then, He would establish His earthly kingdom, and redeemed Israel would evangelize the Gentiles (Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8)! One day, Israel will be a “kingdom of priests” for that purpose (Exodus 19:5,6; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23).