What about the Gentiles?
When we emphasize the unique calling on Israel, it is easy for non-Jews to feel left out. But if we read the Scriptures correctly, we see a God who deeply desires the nations to know him.
- The calling on Abraham is to bless the whole world through his seed.
- The calling on Israel is to bring salvation to the “ends of the earth.”
- The Gentiles are called to provoke Israel to jealousy. (Romans 11:11)
- Psalm 67 speaks of God’s heart for the whole world, not just Israel, to know him. It declares that the Gentiles will find Him through Israel.
- Isaiah 49 says that it is too small a thing for God to just bring salvation to the Jewish people, but “that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
You have to understand, God called Israel because of HIs love for the whole world. Just like God sets apostolic leadership in the congregation for the sake of the congregation, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,” not for the leaders themselves, He also didn’t call Israel for herself, but for the sake of bringing the nations, whom God loves, to salvation.
Ethnicities in Heaven?
Your ethnicity, whether Jewish or Irish is important to God. Believe it or not, you are stuck with it for a while. That is a good thing. Every nation, just like every person, has a unique calling or prophetic purpose from God. When Isaiah prophesies, he often speaks to nations like Sodom, Gomorrah, Assyria, Edom, Moab and the Ammonites, as well as Israel and Judah. Our job is to find that prophetic purpose and, by the grace of God, fulfill it.
We see God’s love for the Gentiles in Joseph’s coat of many colors. Those colors represented the nations and the coat itself was symbolic of the mantle on Joseph to rule the nations. He was a type of the Messiah.
And—this might blow you away—when John visits heaven and sees the souls of those who have passed away, he doesn’t just see a group of generic white people. He sees, “a vast multitude that no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, was standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9) He sees their ethnicity after death!
This leads me to believe that 1) our ethnicity is really important to our personhood and calling and 2) that we retain it in the age to come. Indeed, we know that the nations will exist in the millennium from Isaiah 2:2 and Zechariah 14:16, as well as from many other verses.
Do Jews have authority over Gentiles?
Recently a leader seeking to discredit some of the brothers with whom I walk, claimed that we in Tikkun Global believe that the relationship between Jewish and Gentile believers is like that of a husband and a wife and that we see Jewish believers as having authority over Gentiles. To be clear: that is ridiculous and complete nonsense!
There is a mystery regarding the ecclesia, as Paul states many times in Ephesians 3. The one new man is made of believers of Jewish descent and from the nations. We fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. But to claim that one has authority over the other is not biblical. There is no longer a centralized government over the entire church. Catholicism teaches this, but we certainly don’t.
The Ruth/Boaz relationship is a beautiful picture of Jews and Gentiles coming together to make up the One New Man, but all analogies have their limits. It doesn’t meant that Jewish believers play the role of the husband, and that Gentile believers must submit to us, as a wife. That is ridiculous! Yes, the nations show a special love, and dare I say, honor to the older brother. But that honor is undeserved on merit and only is because of God’s order. Remember, not only is the gospel to the Jews first (Romans 1:16), but so is judgement.
There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:10-11)
While ethnicity is important to God and the continued call on Israel is “irrevocable”, nowhere in the New Testament do we see any mandate for Jewish believers to have authority over non-Jews—other than in the first years of Gentile conversion, and that because they were the leaders reaching them. The reason that Jerusalem had authority in Acts we because the Gospel was birthed there. The reestablishment of the ecclesia in Jerusalem is absolutely prophetic and should be awe-inspiring to Gentile believers—but not to the point of reestablishing apostolic authority from Jerusalem over other nation’s denominations and networks. That restoration will happen ONLY when Yeshua returns. (Zechariah 14:3-4, 9)
Yes, part of what Asher Intrater calls alignment, is the global church coming to a place of honoring Israel as the elder brother in God’s household, repenting for 2,000 years of persecution and seeking to provoke Israel to jealousy. But that does not mean the global church submits to Messianic Jews. Not at all!
The purpose of these blogs was to emphasis that equality must come before distinctions. We can celebrate one another’s distinctions, whether Jew, Gentile, male or female, only when we see ourselves as equal before God.