Over the centuries, the false teachers who have crept into the church have taught the idea that God will yet redeem ethnic Israel, when their chance already occurred two thousand years ago. God in His mercy has allowed them all this time to change and accept Jesus as their Messiah. Only a very few have become Christian; they are the remnant in Isaiah 6:13, Romans 9:27
When the Apostle Paul quoted the Habakkuk 1:5 prophecy concerning the “marvellous wonder” which had occurred through Christ bringing about the Spiritual salvation of humankind, he also quoted from Isaiah 29:16, concerning the great change of identity – the Lord’s turning of things upside down – when God changed Israel from an ethnic people to a Spiritual entity of faithful Christians.
As the no longer chosen flesh and blood Jews realized the Christians were now the Spiritual House of Israel, through which God would shine His light to the nations, they adamantly opposed the salvation which Jesus offered: Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes [responding to the Gospel], they were filled with envy, and spoke against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
When God opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles, the physical Jews came to see that they were left behind in God’s amazing plan to redeem the Gentiles through the Blood of Jesus. The Jews had read how the prophets said the light of God would shine to the rest of the nations through His servant, but they wrongly applied the role of servant to themselves.
Isaiah 41:8, 42:1 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Behold my servant, whom I uphold…I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee as a covenant of the people for a light to the Gentiles.
This specifically refers to Jesus and by extension; to all who follow Him.
As a result, the Jewish leaders say the Messiah has not yet arrived, and they continue to claim themselves as the bearers of God’s Word. They also claim, just as the false prophets in the contemporary Christian church now mistakenly assert, that God will yet save ethnic Israel, when He’s already fulfilled His redemptive promise:
Romans 10:21 To the Jews he says: All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and defiant people.
Romans 11:1-6 I ask then, Has God rejected His people? God forbid. God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. For I also am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin and we have the same access to God’s grace as the Gentiles. Paul, the Disciples and a few thousands other Jews, did fulfil this, from then until now.
After the Jews intensely opposed the Gospel because they saw how the Christians had inherited the role of Israel, they persecuted the believers – blaspheming the “marvellous work” the LORD had achieved through Jesus. Paul and Barnabus confronted them, and left no doubt the rapidly growing body of Christ was to be considered Spiritual Israel, as Paul quoted the very same prophecies which showed Israel was to be the Lord’s light to the Gentiles, and undeniably applied them to the believers in Jesus Christ.
Acts 13:46-48, quoting Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, Then Paul and Barnabus waxed bold, and said, it was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing that you put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so has the Lord commanded us, saying I have set you [the Apostles] to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou should be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.