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God's Key to
World Redemption

by Elmer A. Josephson

Chapter 18

Why Jews Reject Jesus

To Prove Jesus’ Messiahship

A quite prominent Roman Catholic priest here in Israel, visiting in our home at Ramallah, remarked after reading this chapter (which at the time was an article in our Bible Light Magazine), “I want to thank you for this. I must say that I have never understood this truth before. You have set it forth very clearly.” Others, also, have expressed keen interest in this subject, therefore, we felt we should include it in this volume.

Worthy of Note

Jews are 1900 years weary of being told that they killed Christ and tired also of trying to vindicate themselves. An Israel columnist, Ephraim Kishon, writes in the Jerusalem Post, Sunday, August 19, 1973; “It seems to us that the accusation is not unfounded. We did indeed officially request the manditory authorities to crucify him. In the eyes of our ancient priests the fellow was a conformist firebrand, if not a dangerous communist and severe disciplinary steps were taken against him.”

And Christ’s disciples did become ‘communists’; they, at His command, “forsook all” and followed Him and had one common purse. The early church was totally communistic by common consent. No atheistic communist was as dedicated as these true Christians who sold everything and distributed “unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37).

 ‘Christian America’ likes Christ’s plan of sin-forgiveness and eternal-life promises, but we are somewhat skeptical as to how many would ‘vote for Him’ if He came to set up His holy socialistic form of government of fully-sharing and leaving all to follow His footsteps as early believers did. There will be no over-lord millionaires or under-dog slums, but an equitable and fair distribution of wealth. This is one reason He must return, not as a candidate, but as King of kings. England’s chief agnostic, Bertrand Russell, said that there is no doubt that Jesus Christ’s philosophy is the best ever offered to the world – but added that he had never meet anyone who had tried it.

Doubting Thomases

Should we be astonished that Jews did not except Jesus as Messiah when John the Baptist who was “filled with the Holy Spirit (given to reveal all truth) even from his mother’s womb” - the one to be Christ’s forerunner, did not recognize Him? John testified of Jesus (though John was six months older physically); ”He was before me…and I knew him not.” And again after Jesus’ baptism said “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove and it abode upon him…and I knew him not” (John 1:30-33). 

A year or so later when John was imprisoned he heard of the works of Christ and sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2,3).

Furthermore, Jesus’ own family brothers did not recognize Him as the Messiah, as we read in John 7:5; “For neither did his brethren believe in him”. The world at large did not recognize Him as we read in John’s gospel, “He was in the world and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not.” Is it surprising then, that “He came unto his own and his own received him not”? (John 1:10,11).

Thomas, who served as a disciple of Jesus, concerning His resurrection said, “Except I shall see in his hand the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” It was not until he saw Christ in person that he declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:24-28). Since then there have been many “doubting Thomases.”

Some professing Christians take a critical attitude toward Jewish people because they reject Christ as Messiah. However, Jews reject Him on Scriptural grounds. The Bible is not enough to prove Christ’s Messiahship. Why? First, because Christ did not fulfill all Bible Messianic passages at His first coming. We will deal with the second reason later in the chapter. Here are twelve reasons why Biblically knowledgeable Jews reject Him. Give real thought to this and look up the accompanying Scripture passages. Read them carefully. Ask the Spirit’s enlightenment.

The Bible Predicted:

(1)    The Messiah would set up the kingdom of God on earth with Israel as the guiding light of the nations. Isaiah 2:1-5; chapters 60 through 62; Daniel 2:44,45; Joel 3; Micah 4:1-7; 5:2; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Zechariah 12 through 14. Jesus did not do this at His first coming. The early Jewish disciples asked, after His resurrection, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus intimated it was not the time, but that He would turn first to the pagan Gentile nations.

(2)    The Messiah would reign on the Throne of David, as predicted in Isaiah 9:6,7; Jesus did not. The farthest stretch of Biblical exegesis could never make God’s Throne in Heaven to be David’s Throne in Jerusalem.

(3)    The Messiah would put down every evil, ruthless oppressive power (Isaiah 11:4). He would “smite  the earth and wicked with the rod of His mouth and consume with the breath of His lips. ’Christ did not destroy cruel and corrupt Rome – or the succeeding godless powers.

(4)   The Messiah would usher in a reign of everlasting peace (Isaiah 9:7; Micah 4:3); “Of the increase of His government and peace there would be no end.” Jesus did not. He predicted, “Wars and rumors of wars; nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom …till the end of the times of the Gentiles” (Matthew 24:6,7,14).

(5)  The Messiah would eliminate injustices to the poor, defenseless and needy. “…to order and establish it with judgment and with justice henceforth forever” (Isaiah 9:7; 11:4). The poor and  meek continue to be exploited. 

(6)  The Messiah’s coming (Isaiah 11:1,2) would effect the nature of beasts – ‘the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the lion shall eat straw as the ox, children shall be unafraid of being bitten by snakes’ (Isaiah 11:6-8). This did not happen at Christ’s first coming.

(7)  There would be no killings or destruction in all God’s kingdom (His holy mountain – Isaiah 11:9; 65:25). Man and beast still slay and are slain.

(8)  The Messiah would cause that “The earth shall be full of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14). The earth is full of unbelief, lawlessness and violence. Jesus did not fulfill this passage 1900 years ago.

(9)  Nations, at Messiah’s coming, were to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore”  (Micah 4:3). We still have war colleges and millionaires are made from munition plants.

(10) The Messiah would eliminate all fear as “they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree and none shall make them afraid” (Micah 4:4). Jesus did not fulfill this promise. He predicted ‘men’s heart would fail them for fear,’ many literally scared to death, and afraid to walk outside in our cities at night. It has been recently reported that 50% of all death, now in America, is due to heart failure.

(11) The World Capital and true theocratic United Nations will be set up in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:16-19). All nations will send representatives or be penalized. (Isaiah 66:10-14; 20:24; Zechariah 14:16-21; Psalm 102:16,21.)

(12) The Messiah as King of Kings shall come to the Mount of Olives, enter Jerusalem through the Golden Gate, and rule with a strong hand over all the earth forever (Zechariah 14:3-9; Ezekiel 44:1-3; Isaiah 40:10; Micah 4:7). This did not take place at Christ’s first coming.

The above unfulfilled prophecies are within the framework of Israel and world redemption. There are others that relate primarily to the people and the land of Israel; such as: (1) There will be an end to their 3500 years of persecution. Read Isaiah 51:17-23; 52:1-10; 60:1,2; 14-22. All the blessings of Deuteronomy 28:3 to 13 shall be fulfilled to them, concluding with (V. 13); “And the Lord shall make thee the head and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath….” They shall be called, “The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” (2) Israel’s deserts “shall blossom as the rose” (not necessarily with roses) – Isaiah 35:1. (3) A time of joy and celebration for Israel. Isaiah 61:3-7; 62:1-7,10-12; Zephaniah 3:14-20 – verse 14 begins, “Sing, O daughter of Zion, shout O Israel, be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.” The Lord in verses 15 to 20 tells the reason why.

Therefore, to decide on the basis of the Scripture alone, it was mandatory for the Jews to reject Jesus as the Messiah. The Word of God is not enough to reveal Jesus’ Messiahship. God has two agencies that must attest His works. Without God’s Spirit we have but the ‘deadness of the letter’ and “the letter killeth but the Spirit giveth life” (Corinthians 3:6). Until He comes the second time to fulfill all Messianic prophecies, the Spirit of God must reveal His Messiahship. (Matthew 11:27).

2,000 Year Greatest Tragedy

How could the Jews believe when Jesus left so many Messianic passages unfulfilled? Then add the abuses, the persecutions, the tortures that have been perpetrated against the Jews in the Name of Christ the past 2,000 years – especially since the horrible massacres of the eight Crusades from the 11th through the 13th centuries (Pope Urban 11, Roman, German, French and English – 1095 to 1270), the Spanish Inquisition too barbaric to mention, the anti-Semitism of the Russian Orthodox Church, the ‘Christian’ Nazis down to the hate groups of our day. But such so-called followers of Christ are ‘devils’ who know nothing of the true Christ of God, either through His Word or by His Spirit. Jesus revealed ‘the acid test’ way of identifying His disciples: “By this shall all men know that ye are MY disciples (not by beautiful church buildings, stained glass windows, robed choirs or magnificant music, but) if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Not only for those who love you (‘do not sinners and publicans the same?’) but the all-inclusive love of God; “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). As John relates, that He died “not for our sins only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:2). And if we have His love, it will be as wide.

Christian Conceit Toward Jews

And how can we criticize the Jews for rejecting Jesus when the Spirit of God relates, “God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear to this day” (missionary activists, note) – Romans 11:8. “Therefore, they could not believe.” (Please read John 12:37-41.)

“For I would not, brethern, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written….for this is my covenant unto them” (Romans 11:25,26 and 27).

By Word and Spirit

In every operation of the Eternal there are two creative forces at work, In the physical creation “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light….God said, and it was so….” His Spirit and His Word are both essential in any divine operation.

After Jesus questioned the disciples about His Messiahship, Peter declared, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona; for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:16,17). God’s Spirit must reveal the Messiah (Matthew 11:27; John 6:44 &65).

Saul of Tarsus, examining the Scriptures (such as the 12 points we have considered ) after the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, concluded that Jesus was a phony, a fraud and deceiver. He, with all the power at his command as an influential Roman Hebrew, initiated a program to extinguish every vestige of this ‘new false cult.’ He had Christians beaten, imprisoned and executed. After making havoc of the Church at Jerusalem, he started for Damascus to do the same there. As he neared the city, suddenly Saul was plunged into an ocean of dazzling divine, white light above the brightness of the noon day sun, and heard a voice, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul asked, “Who art thou Lord?” The Lord BY HIS SPIRIT answered from heaven, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest” (Acts 9&22). Saul fell in the dust, blinded by the blazing glory of God in Christ. The Eternal One had spoken, drowning every voice on earth.

From that moment, nothing else mattered to persecutor Saul of Tarsus, destined to become the beloved apostle of Christ, but to make the sin-atoning, peace, joy and life-giving Redeemer known to the world. It could not be said of Saul (soon to become the Apostle Paul) as it was of the humble Galilean fishermen, “When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled and took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus,” for they had been anointed by God’s Spirit. But with Paul, Festus said, “Paul, thou art beside thyself. Much learning doth make thee mad” (Acts 26:24). “You’ve learned so much you can’t keep it all straight.”

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter was equating Jesus with Moses and Elijah. The Almighty BY HIS SPIRIT then spoke from heaven by a bright cloud. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.” Peter, James and John fell prostrate on their faces under this mighty revelation of God’s Spirit. When John, by God’s Spirit, many years later on the Isle of Patmos, saw Christ in His glorified state, he declared; “When I saw him, I fell at His feet as dead.” Banishment to a rocky Isle with the Lord-Incarnate is peace and joy, while the luxury of a palace without him would be a mocking empty loneliness. One can never be the same after a vital encounter with the true Messiah of Israel through His Word and by His living Spirit. (We give no credence to false Christs of hate and bigotry conjured by anti-Semites.)

The Hebrew Prophet Zechariah predicted ‘a day’ set in the economy of the Almighty which, according to the present day signs, could take place momentarily when.”,,,I (God) will pour upon the House of David (State of Israel) and upon the inhabitants (residents) of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of supplication, and they shall LOOK upon Me whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10). The Hebrew word, “look,” here is not “mareh” (as in Genesis 12:11) which means to look with the physical eye, but “nawbat” meaning ‘to regard with pleasure and respect.’ Many believe this outpouring of the Spirit upon Israel will be at the coming of Messiah. Israel will not convert to Christendom’s denominationalism, but Christ will revert to Israel as their own long awaited Jewish Messiah.

This ‘latter rain’ as the ‘former’ on the day of Pentecost, will be on the House of Israel. The so-called ‘Gentile Church’ has failed in bringing the pagan nations to a knowledge of God. Only a fraction of 1% of Asia, Africa, etc., the unbelieving so-called heathen nations, have been brought into fellowship with God through Christ. Still, we are aware that, in His sovereignty, it has not been God’s plan to ‘Christianize’ the world in this age, but to ‘gather out a people from among the Gentile nations for His Name’ (Acts 15:14). But Israel, after this anointing of the Spirit, will bring the world to a knowledge of God through the message of the Redeemer totally fulfilling: “O Zion that bringeth good tidings….O Jerusalem, that bringeth good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength, lift it up….for out of Zion shall go forth the Law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem” then “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 40:9;2:3; Micah 4:2; Habakkuk 2:14).

The Hidden Mystery

When the Hebrew prophets looked through their ‘prophetic telescopes’ down through the ages, they saw the mighty towering mountain peak of Messiah’s coming and the following Messianic Age as one magnificent fulfillment of all Messianic predictions. However, God had a merciful plan of turning to the pagan nations which the New Testament declares was ‘the mystery hid in ages past,’ where a period of 2,000 years was concealed in a comma or a semi-colon (in our English versions) such as in Isaiah 9:6 & 7. What the prophets failed to see was this 2,000 year Gentile valley that extended from the Messiah’s first advent unto His second coming. It was this mystery that baffeled even Christ’s disciples when they asked after His resurrection, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). After living and ministering with Jesus 3 ½ years, they still had not grasped this mystery. Can we then blame modern Jews for not understanding it? Many Christians today chide the Jews – some rather smugly: “The Jews were looking for an earthly kingdom.” They have every right to. The O.T. is full of such promises, and they will all be fulfilled. The spiritual church age “was hid in ages past.” Read carefully Ephesians 1:11-22 and especially 3:1-11.

The first time Messiah came as a Sacrificial Lamb; the second time He shall come as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to reign over all. The first time He came as the Rock of Salvation; the second time as the Smiting Stone to destroy all evil. The first time He came as a servant even to washing His disciples’ feet; the second time as the mighty King of Kings to consummate His eternal purposes for the ages.

A Final Essential Note:

If the Jews as a nation and people had accepted Christ as Messiah at His first event, the Bible would have to be rejected categorically, totally, and labeled an unreliable book.

When Jews ‘convert’ they come out of Judaism and the synagogue and intermarry with Gentiles. In a few generations, there would have been no Jews left. God would then be a liar because of promises and divine declarations (from Genesis to Revelation) that speak of Israel’s preservation as a nation and ingathering just prior to Messiah’s appearance. (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17; Jeremiah 31:31-37; Micah 4:7; Joel 3; Revelation 7,14,etc.)

“Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name. If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever. Thus saith the Lord: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah31:35-37).

If we see the sun, moon and stars shining above and find no Jews on earth as a distinct ethnic group and nation, we would be obligated to label the Bible a fraud and to treat it as a collection of myths and fairy tales. But the presence of Jews on earth, though scattered 1900 to 2500 years – and now witness the ingathering – is one big proof  of the Bible’s authenticity and God’s eternal attachment to His people. The Jew is one of the Almighty’s biggest evidences and proofs of His eternal faithfulness to all who put their trust in Him and His promises. The divine hardening of Jews to Christ was necessary at His first advent to preserve them as a people, and as a part of the price of God’s plan of world redemption (Romans 11:1,2,8,11,12,15,25-36 – Please read it.)

“Break forth joyously, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted His people. He has redeemed Jerusalem!

“The Lord has made bare His holy arm before the eyes of all the nations (revealing Himself as the One by Whose direction the redemption of Israel from captivity is accomplished), and all the ends of the earth shall witness the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:9,10 – Amplified).

“….all His commandents are sure; they stand fast forever and ever….” (Psalm 111:7,8).

“Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments” (Psalm 119:6).

“Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh” (Proverbs 4:10,22).

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).