The first advent of Jesus Christ was prophesied since the very beginning of time… since before Israel was on the scene. In Genesis 3:15 God speaking to satan says… “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
The Bible, thereafter, states clearly that the prophesied Christ was sent specifically to the nation Israel that the nation Israel would be Gods Holy Light to the rest of the world. The entire “old testament” (and much of the new) is of and about the nation Israel.
Speaking to the Jewish leaders in John 5:39 Christ proclaims… “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Moses prophesies to the twelve tribes in Deuteronomy 18:15… “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall harken;” The Jewish leaders did not recognize their prophesied Messiah who was the end (or fulfillment) of the Law that they were trying to pridefully keep by their own abilities, but could not.
Romans 10:4… “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believe.” Paul here is recounting that all Israel had to do was to believe that Christ was the prophesied Messiah come to the nation, and the righteousness of God would be imputed judicially unto them. Read verses 1-5 for full context. Who exactly does Paul say that Christ was?
Romans 15:8… “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” The circumcision are the Jews. Who does Jesus Christ Himself say that He came for?
Speaking to the twelve regarding the woman of Canaan He says, in Mat 15:24… “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Who does Jesus lay down His life for? John 15:13-14… “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
These verses make abundantly clear that Jesus Christ came specifically for the nation Israel; and not only that, but only to those in the nation who would do whatsoever He commanded! That is a mighty big IF in that verse! Not many did what He commanded. During His time on earth He was still commanding that the Law be followed; moreover, He magnified the Law greatly in the sermon on the mount by saying that not only must men physically conform to the Law, but our very thoughts as well must conform to the ideal of the Law. Is this even honestly remotely possible for a man today? The answer is no, it is not at all possible. By setting the bar so impossibly high, God was saying to His people simply that they required Himself if they wanted to be righteous. They, like most men throughout history, choose themselves over God.
Clearly then, Jesus Christ, during His earthly ministry to Israel, did not have we Gentiles in mind, except that we would be blessed by His chosen nation Israel. That is their stated purpose. Speaking to the same woman of Canaan Jesus exclaims in Mat 15:26… “But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” Sweet, kind and mild Jesus just called you a dog! Ah, but you say: “Christ in the next verse blesses the woman He just called a dog, so He did come for her!” The only reason He blessed her is because she recognizes her place in the grand scheme of things; as a subordinate to those above her, the nation Israel. She (a lowly Gentile) recognizes the Lord that Israel failed to recognize, and answers in verse 27… “And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table.” She realizes that Israel is to be something very special and accepts her place under them. The faith she was required to demonstrate to receive a blessing from God (Gen 12:3… “I will bless them that bless thee…”) was sure.
Christ came and died (initially – at least what we know by way of prophesy) for the nation Israel and Israel alone; and only those in the nation who would faithfully keep His commandments. It is only later when Saul is saved on the road to Damascus in Acts 9 that we learn fully what the death of the Savior of all mankind actually accomplished. The implications of this are stunningly profound and will be examined in the next post.
Next Post – If not Christ (John 3:16), then who?