A repeating theme in the Bible which seems to surface at various times is that Israel gets either double trouble or double honor in this world. For example, God through Jeremiah warned his people "I will first doubly repay their iniquity." (Jer. 16: 18)
Isaiah the prophet was also sent to "tell Israel that she has paid double for all her sins." (Isa. 40:2)
But Zechariah brings the Good News that just as Israel has been a curse, one day she would become a blessing. (Zech. 8:13) Isaiah gives many details of this blessing. Principally, the Jews will, in the latter days, be the light to the Gentiles for which God had originally chosen them.
But you will be called the priests of the Lord;
You will be spoken of as ministers of our God...
Instead of your shame you will have a double portion,
And instead of humiliation, they will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land. Isa.61:6-7
TRIBULATION AND HONOR TO THE JEW FIRST
Paul seems to echo this when he proclaims that:
There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to every man who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God. Rom. 2:9-11
If one wants to know what the double tribulation and distress of Israel consisted of, let him read any history book of the Jewish nation.
HONOR IN THE LAST DAYS
Even as the punishments of Israel have been relentless, the promise of honor to Israel in this world when, she returns to her God, are also seemingly without end. From many Scriptures we are told this is to happen in the end times. For example:
Arise, shine; for your light has come.
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth,
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear upon you.
And *gentiles will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Lift up your eyes round about, and see;
They all gather together, they come to you.
Your (exiled) sons will come from afar,
And your daughters will be carried in the arms.
The wealth of the gentiles will come to you...
And foreigners will build up your walls,
And their kings will minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
And in My favor I have had compassion on you.
And the sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you.
And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet;
And they will call you the city of the Lord,
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Isa. 60:1-5b, 10-12,14
GOD ALSO CHOSE A LAND
The Lord not only chose a people for special purposes, He also chose a Land. And not for nothing! The physical land of Israel will be the center of God's Kingdom on earth.
Now it will come about that In the last days.
The mountain of the house of the Lord
Will be established as the chief of the mountains...
And all the nations will stream to it. .
And many peoples will come and say,
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.
To the house of the God of Jacob;
That He may teach us concerning His ways,
And that we may walk in His paths.
For the law will go forth from Zion.
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Isa.2:2-3
The Bible mentions repeatedly that in the last days Israel will be the center of revival which will spread to all the earth.
So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. Zech. 8:22
ISRAEL TO FULFILL HER PRIESTLY CALL
For that reason Paul says that if Israel's rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, "What will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Rom. 11: 15) The Jews will become a nation of evangelists and missionaries carrying the Word of God to the ends of the earth.
For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations…Mal. 1:11
And I will set a sign among them and will send a remnant from them (Israel) to the Gentiles...to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations. Isa. 66:19
Paul, himself, said that there were advantages to being a Jew. (Rom. 3:1-2; 9:4-5) However, this is no reason for self exaltation. For Yeshua said that if the Jewish religious people were to boast simply because of their blood line, the God of Israel could make stones turn into Jews.(Matt 3:9)
NOT EVERY JEW WILL BE SAVED
Paul echoes this by saying that a Jew is not in a position to receive the full potential of these above blessings if he is a Jew only according to the flesh. He must become Abraham's son of the promise through faith.
For not all who are descended from Israel (Jacob) are Israel...but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. Rom. 9:6,8 (NIV)
In summary, though all the promises of Abraham were offered to all the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, some would receive its benefits, some would not.
A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. Isa. 10:21
Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that shall be saved. Rom. 9:27 (See also Isa. 10:22)
BELIEVING GENTILES TO SIT WITH FAITHFUL ISRAEL
Yeshua reveals that the sons of Israel who do not believe will be cast out, while Gentiles who have been redeemed from the four corners of the earth will sit at the wedding feast with the great saints and prophets of Israel.
I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
But the subjects of the kingdom (unbelieving Jews) will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt. 8:11-12 (See also Luke 13:26:29)
Why has God planned his wedding feast to include Jew and Gentile? Because He has determined that His Bride must include men and women from every nation and tribe. Both Jew and Gentile will rule the earth with the King.
For Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth. Rev. 5:9-10
OLD TESTAMENT MAKES SAME PROMISE
As we know, Daniel had long ago prophesied this incredible and glorious decree.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language,
Might serve Him.
...and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the Kingdom. Daniel 7:14,22
In fact, Gabriel told the old prophet that he, Daniel, would "rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age." (Daniel 12:3)
Indeed, according to the Scriptures, both Jew and Gentile have always been welcome in His Kingdom. Even in the days of the Old Testament, an inheritance in the Lord was available to a man or women from any nation in the world…
Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely separate me from His people Israel..."
To them I give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters. Isa. 56:3,5
Therefore, all who have been purchased by Messiah, both Jew and Gentile will rule the nations. In what capacity each will serve, has not been revealed. Yeshua Himself gave John a glimpse of His pride and joy, His beloved bride, the heavenly city of Jerusalem where "the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it." (Rev 21 :24)
GENTILES NOT TO BOAST
Yet, the Gentiles who make up a significant part of His Bride, the people of God, have no more permission from God to boast than do those who are redeemed among the House of Israel.
Paul foresaw that some Gentiles would have a tendency towards arrogance just as had the Jews in the past. He therefore warned in his rather lengthy olive tree exhortation that this should not happen.
Do not be arrogant towards the branches (Israel); but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. Rom. 11:18
Sadly though, the historical church ignored Paul and said, (just as Paul indicated they would) "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." (Rom 11: 19) In other words, "We have replaced Israel!"
The replacement theologians of these last years of the Twentieth Century are now shouting this message to all who will hear. They have forgotten that Paul said that "God is able to graft them (the Jews) back in again." (Rom. 11:22)
There are those who arrogantly view the broken branches as irredeemable. They say, "We the Gentile dominated Church are the final and eternal manifestation of God's glory irrelevant to what fruit we may produce or the lives we live." But God is warning the Gentile who say this to walk softly, "otherwise you also will be cut off." (Rom. 11:23)
WHO THEN IS THE GREATEST?
As we can see, the question is nonexistent in that it is unacceptable to God. For there is only one Corporate Community of Believers: one Body, one Bride of the Messiah. In it will be all Jews and Gentiles who have been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb of God. This Yeshua clearly stated once and for all to His Jewish followers:
And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd. John 10:16
But Yeshua had a second witness - the Holy Spirit who spoke through the prophet Isaiah.
...For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.
The Lord God who gathers the despised of Israel declares,
"Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered." Isa. 56:7-8
The Bible never speaks of two bodies, two folds or two brides.
In receiving the free gift of redemption there is no favoritism at all, not to Jew, Greek, male, female, king or slave, rich or poor. None whatsoever. God is no respecter of persons. On the contrary, his heart is especially attuned to the orphan, the needy and the helpless.
GOD COMMISSIONS WHOM HE WILL AS HE WILLS
However, it is very true that God has different callings, functions, jobs, gifting, locations, identities, purposes, and plans for the various individuals and grouping within His body.
A very obvious example is the different functions of a man and woman who have bonded together in marriage. God has a vast universe with great variety and He has jobs for everyone.
Perhaps, Israel's double portion is in part that she has received great benefits from God as a nation unto Himself, and will be the center from which God rules, certainly through the millennium. But Jewish believers are also an inseparable part of the
*Corporate Community of Believers, the People of God, the Bride of the Messiah.
Restated then, the born again Jew has two very great blessings, a double portion if you will. He is a part of the Israel of God, the holy remnant of physical Israel, and He is part of the world wide Bride of the Messiah made up of all nations.
WHAT AFTER THE MILLENIUM?
Does that mean that Israel's special role will be finished after the 1000 years of reigning on earth (along with Gentile saints)? The Lord has not told us! We must not be too quick to form an opinion one way or the other. Remember, God has chosen to be called the God of Israel, and Yeshua's name is the Lion of Judah. The Lord closes the Book of Revelation by saying "I am the root and the offspring of David (a Jew). (Rev. 22:16)
After the millennium, when the new heavens and new earth are created, we have little information concerning our future except that it will be beyond our wildest dreams. (I Cor. 2:9) Because the Word of God says so clearly "It has not appeared as yet what we shall be" (I John 3:2), we simply cannot know for sure what our allotted portions and positions will be in the Kingdom.
AM I WILLING TO TAKE A LESSER PLACE IN THE KINGDOM?
What should our attitude then be? The safe way, indeed the Biblical way, is to "seat" ourselves in a lesser place of honor than others. This is true whether we are Jew or Gentile.
In fact, this was Yeshua the Messiah's counsel: He said that when we are invited to a wedding feast (get the connection?),
Do not take the places of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, And he who invited you both shall come and say to you, 'Give place to this man', and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.
Instead He admonished us, on our own initiative, to take the last place. Possibly the Master will then say, "Friend, move up higher; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you."
For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted. Luke 14:7-11
We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of thinking as the heathen do. In fact, if we read the many Scriptures about the coming Kingdom of God, the emphasis is certainly on giving our Majestic Father and His Lamb the honor and the glory the praise and the worship. Never once does the Lord encourage designating ourselves a higher position to that of our brother: whether we are Jew or Gentile.
OUR REWARD AND NEW RESPONSIBILITES (NOT OUR SALVATION) IMPUTED ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS.
One more comment I would like to make. Putting the parables of Yeshua the Messiah, and Shaul (Paul) of Tarsus together, it appears that position and allotment of reward and honor will be much more on an individual basis than is traditionally believed. Instead of the "Church's" position being higher than "Israel's", or vice versa, the Scriptures indicate that every deed, every word, and every motive of every person will be keyed into God's computers to give each individual the exact reward he deserves.
Paul tells us of the terrifying test of fire that will determine the quality of every deed of our life's work. (I Cor. 3:10-15)
Paul continues that when the Lord comes, He will disclose the motives of every man's heart! ( I Cor. 4:5) Yes, the hidden things will be shouted from the housetops. In Matt. 12:36, Yeshua warns us that every careless word will be judged!
"In a large house, there are vessels of gold, silver, wood and earth; some to honor, some even to dishonor." (II Tim. 2:20) We must, as individuals take heed. In God's computations of our lives, every glass of water given to a child, every "small" and "great" deed is recorded.
"NONREWARDABLE" WORKS HERE EQUAL REWARD IN HEAVEN
Especially when we help the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, "since they do not have the means to repay you.. .you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 15: 14)
Yes, those who have drunk Yeshua's cup in persecution and martyrdom will be great.
Yes, he who overcomes the pull of the lukewarm, sickly body of believers will be great. (Rev 3:21)
Yes, he who has been beheaded for Yeshua's sake will be great.
Yes, he who has been faithful in a few things will be great.
Yes, he who is a servant and a slave in his heart will be great.
Yes, the Gentile who bows down and ministers to the needs of the Jews will be great.
Yes, the Jew who bows down to the heathen and gives his life to bring them the Gospel will be great.
Yes, the humble man will be great.
Yes, the man of faith will be great.
Who will be the greatest? It is sure that those who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of God will have no time at all in this life to wonder if they're the greatest.
BIBLE SCHOOL IN ISRAEL
We wish to heartily thank you for your response during the last two months in giving to establish a Bible School in Israel. Training Israeli men and women to take the Gospel to our Jewish people is surely of primary importance in God's plan for Israel today.
By your participation in establishing this school, you are, we believe, working within God's prophetic purposes for His ancient people.
Thank you for your continuing response, and for your gifts for this ministry to the lost sheep of Israel.
Maoz is entirely dependent on your gifts and prayers to support the work in Israel. Pray about what God would have you to give towards the salvation of the Jewish people.
In our Messiah's service,
Ari and Shira Sorko-Ram
*Note that the Hebrew word goy means "nation." God said to Abraham that he would make of him a great goy. However, the plural form goyim meaning "nations" is used in the Bible to refer to the nations of the world and is thus translated either"nations" or "Gentiles".
It is understood that if the Scripture is speaking of all the nations of the world, it would be including the nation of Israel-for instance when the Lord speaks of His Bride being made up of all nations. In general, however, the Scriptures speak of Israel on the one hand, and the goyim or Gentiles on the other.
*The Hebrew word "kehila" means community of believers. Today, the English Bible usually translates this word as "church". However, it has taken on so many additional meanings that we wish to return to the simple Biblical meaning of the Community of Believers, the Living Stones of the House of God.