Having said that…
Once we have the revelation of equality in Messiah, then we can speak of distinctions without it leading to pride or elitism. Paul himself speaks of male headship in the home. Without equality we can see in the Muslim world (and in other cultures) how this leads to abuse. However, with equality the husband leads his home as a servant, not as a tyrant. As much as we hate to admit it, their are clear and obvious differences between males and females.
When it comes to Israel and Jewish believers, there is a unique call on what Dan Juster coined as “the saved remnant of Israel.” The Jewish people were set apart with a specific role:
- To be a priestly nation to the rest of the world. (Exodus 19:6)
- To bring forth the revelation of the one true God through the scripture.
- To show the world that there is only one God. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
- To be a light for the nations. (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6)
I was recently told by a Bible school professor that the unique calling on Israel is only on unbelieving Israel. Once a Jewish person comes to faith, he no longer has that call as he is now part of the body of Messiah only. So, when Paul says to the Romans that the call of God on Israel is irrevocable (Romans 11:29), he is only referring to lost Israel. When you find Yeshua, according to him, you lose that calling.
The First Christian Anti-Semitism
However, Romans was written to Gentiles about their poor treatment of believing Jews. I wrote about this here. When Jewish believers like Pricilla and Aquila came back from exile, it appears the Gentiles did not receive them. This is why Paul writes in Romans about the significance of Israel. First, she is not rejected (Romans 11:1,11) and, second, she is still called (Romans 11:29). Of course, he was not merely referring to unbelieving Jews, as I stated above, but he was writing to the Romans, rebuking them for their rejection of the Jewish believers.
As a Messianic Jew, I base my right to citizenship in the land of Israel on the fact that I am Jewish. If we lose that at salvation, then believing Jews would have no right to live in the state of Israel. Of course, that is absurd.
It was the Jewish apostles who had the calling (Acts 1:8) to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This is a clear extension of Psalm 67:
May God be gracious to us (Israel) and bless us (Israel)
and make his face shine on us (Israel)—
(Why?) so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations. (Psalm 67:1-2)
Of course, that calling is not exclusively to Israel, as we are all called to be light and salt. Yet, there is a unique anointing on Jewish believers for this. Paul quotes Isaiah 42 and 49 about being a light to the nation in Acts 13:47:
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 13:46-47)
Paul clearly saw the unique calling on Israel as continuing, if not intensifying, in the New Covenant.
Who are the ones called to take the gospel message to the whole earth before judgment? 144,000 Jews from each tribe. Now, the dispensationalist will say that all the believers have disappeared in the rapture. However, I have only met one person who claims to have come to a pre-tribulation rapture view without being taught it—and I am skeptical of him. Anyone reading the bible on their own would not come to the conclusion that the church disappears seven years before the Second Coming. I have no interest in arguing about the timing of the rapture, I just want to be sure that believers who were expecting to escape the Great Tribulation, are not found unprepared. Could the great failing away be disillusioned believers who expected to be raptured before things heat up on earth? For my views on this, CLICK HERE. There is only one second coming and we are raptured and meet Him in the air as He returns. We are changed in a twinkling of eye and return to earth with Him.
And in Acts 15, when the Jewish apostles hear from the Holy Spirit that they are not to command the Gentiles to worship as Jews, there is no hint that they are not still called to worship according to Torah. We do not see the apostles eating non-Kosher food or encouraging Jewish believers to live as non-Jews. In fact, when Paul was accused of this, the apostles in Jerusalem declare that there was no truth to this rumor.
[The apostles] said to Paul: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law.They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs. What shall we do? They will certainly hear that you have come,so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”
If Jewish believers are no longer part of that irrevocable call in Romans 11:29, why is Paul living in obedience to the law? Why does he go to make the sacrifice, if not to prove that there was no truth in the rumor that he was teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs?