Parashat Yitro (Jethro)

Parashat Yitro (Jethro) Exodus 18:1-20:26
Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6

This week I would like to concentrate on the reading from the prophets that accompanies this week’s Torah portion. At the end of the reading, Isaiah speaks about Messiah saying,

“For a Child is born for us, a Son is given for us and the rule shall be upon His shoulder and He shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty G-d, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Concerning the multiplication of the rule and peace there is no end, upon the throne of David and upon His Kingdom to prepare it and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now and forever, the zeal of the L-rd of Hosts shall do this.” Isa. 9:5-6

This verse is well known and emphasizes the reality of the coming kingdom.  One needs to pay special attention to the fact that Messiah will rule upon the throne of David. This is a clear reference to Jerusalem. A common error among many interpreters of the Bible is to fail to realize that there are stages to the establishment of the Kingdom of G-d.  When Messiah Yeshua returns to earth at the end of Daniel’s seventieth week, He will set up His rule in Jerusalem for one thousand years. It will be during this time that Israel will serve G-d faithfully and fulfill her calling to be a light to the nations and to be
G-d’s instrument in order to bring blessings into this world.

Sadly today one seldom hears much about how G-d will use Israel in the Kingdom. Why do you suppose this is? It is hard to understand why because Yeshua emphasized over and over the importance of the Kingdom. Should there not be a great deal of teaching on what will take place during those thousand years when there is ample material from the prophets on this subject?  Paul was very much aware of how G-d was going to use Israel in the Kingdom, for he writes,

“For I do not want you to be ignorant brothers of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceit, that the blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles come in.”

Rom 11:25
The mystery that Paul speaks of is what Israel failed to understand, not the believers. This is why Paul says, “For I do not want you to be ignorant brothers (believers) of this mystery…” In a few verses later Paul emphasizes that,

“…gifts and callings of G-d are irrevocable.” Rom. 11:29

This means that G-d will indeed use Israel, who will come to faith by means of the same Gospel message, in the last days to accomplish the call He placed upon them.  It is most significant that before Israel can be used by G-d to do this work, Israel must come to faith. Be assured there is one and only one message of salvation. This is why Paul teaches in verse twenty-six,

“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written (see Isa. 59:20) A Redeemer shall come out of Zion and shall turn away transgression from Jacob.” Rom.11:26

Does this mean that every Jew will come to faith? No it does not. One must pay attention to what Paul says. He writes that “All of Israel shall be saved…” Who is Israel? Paul defines this in chapter nine of this same book of Romans,

“It is not as if the word of G-d has not had an effect; for they are not all Israel which are of Israel.  Neither just because they are descendents of Abraham, are they all his children.  Rather, it is in Yitzak shall thy descendent be called.   That is, they which are the children of the flesh are not the children of G-d, but rather the children of the promise are counted for the descendent.” Romans 9:6-8

These verses inform the reader that not every Jewish individual is recognized by G-d as an heir of His Kingdom, but those who have accepted by faith the promise of G-d to Abraham which is established by Messiah Yeshua. In the last days many Jewish individuals will come to faith and be used by G-d to serve in a special way, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty G-d, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Shabbat Shalom

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