Make a Choice… (Part 2)

I often get into a discussion about Israel with people who say things like, “Israel today is not the fulfillment of prophecy” or, “God is done with Israel due to their rebellion against him and breaking their end of the covenant.” These kinds of statements are utterly foolish and are, sadly, based on ignorance, blindness, and arrogance, the last of which the Apostle Paul sternly warned against in his letter to the Romans, chapter 11.

When I ask them to give me the reason they believe such things, they reply that Israel is not mentioned in the New Covenant. Those who claim that we don’t see God’s faithfulness to His people, Israel, in the New Covenant are ignoring some very basic and important stories like the one about Cornelius from Acts, chapter 10:

“Now there was a certain man at Caesarea named Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian cohort, a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people, and prayed to God continually.” Acts 10:1-2

As one can see, Cornelius is described here as a devout man of God, who had a fear of God, and who raised his household in the same manner. His devotion to God was rooted in an understanding of God’s heart for His covenant people, Israel, and as a result, Cornelius desired to honor God by caring for the needs of the Jewish people and blessing them.

After the account with Peter, the same Cornelius was later described in two different yet amazing accounts; the first was the discovery that God has a plan not just for the Jewish people, but also for every person who would choose Him – Jew and Gentile alike:

“And opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right, is welcome to Him.” Acts 10:34-15

The second account was the amazing discovery that the same Holy Spirit that was given to the Jewish people is now also given to the Gentiles, in Messiah:

“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he? ” Acts 10:44-47

My dear brothers and sisters, every word in the Word of God is there for a reason, and it is also in a very specific order for a reason; we must read the Scriptures in their entirety and consider the Bible as one whole, complete book. In the example of Cornelius, we see God’s promise to Abram to “bless those who bless thee” being fulfilled. It was because of Cornelius’ faithfulness to God, and his choice to bless the Jewish people, that he was chosen to reveal God’s amazing plan of salvation for the Gentiles.

It is up to each one of us to choose God or the world; the result of choosing God will always result in a blessing, as He promises in His Word.

Shabbat Shalom,

Moran

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