The Exclusive Inclusive Plan of God
I’d planned on going a different direction for this month’s blog, but in light of the nightmarish happenings in Israel and Gaza, I can’t help but put my previous thoughts on hold and get onboard with what’s going on.
I watch the news. I hear the stories of heinous killings of innocents. I see the life’s blood of someone’s father, sister, child spattered against walls, and I empathize with their pain and suffering.
I also can’t help but note the rise in antisemitism and feel society’s pressure to choose sides, to join the protests against violence. People are offended. They offend. And the battle rages on. But for followers of Jesus to lose sight of where this last-days horror and suffering is taking us is the sure recipe for our love to grow cold. [i] So, this blog is just a reminder for us to stay in agreement with God.
It’s biblical. Every last detail of what’s happening. And I am praying like crazy, as no doubt you are. But what exactly to pray can be a bit of a challenge. How does one stop a speeding train? Should we even want to stop the train? Isn’t this in answer to our cries for God’s kingdom to come, for His will to be done? Isn’t Jerusalem the designated spot for Jesus’ triumphal return home, and where the fiercest battles will rage until His enemies and humanity’s enemies are utterly destroyed and God sets up His kingdom among a people set apart for Himself?
Trouble is, everyone there believes they are that special people and that the god they serve is God over that land, thus making it inherently theirs. It’s the passionate, age-long battle of the bloodlines for their inheritance.
Lord, help us all to grasp and embrace Your exclusive/inclusive plan!
Exclusive in the respect that God chose the nation of Israel. Not because they were bigger or better than others, but because sinful humanity needs a Messiah. [ii] That Messiah, proclaimed beforehand by Jewish prophets, needed physical roots. He needed a nation from which he would emerge. That nation was Israel. They are the apple of God’s eye, a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord and exceedingly beautiful in the hand of their God. [iii]Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. [iv]
God’s plan is all the more exclusive in that He chose to set apart one particular man and his Seed to further His purposes. That man was Abraham, who became the “father of faith” because he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. [v] And regardless of anyone’s beliefs or opinions, Abraham’s Seed is none other than Jesus the Messiah. He (God) does not say, “and to seeds”, as one would in referring to many, but rather as in referring to one, “And to your seed”, that is, Christ. [vi]
Concerning Israel’s exclusive ownership of the land, the earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. [vii] God created it. He can do with it as He pleases. And it pleases Him to give it to the nation of Israel for an everlasting possession. [viii] That land is where Jesus will make His triumphal entry. It’s where the New Jerusalem will descend, and God will forever dwell on earth with His people. [ix]
Yet, in all God’s exclusiveness, He includes all mankind—with the stipulation that we embrace His Son. To Abraham God made this solemn pledge; that in your Seed [Christ] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. [x] This temporary hardening of Israel’s heart against Jesus their Messiah is only until the fulness of those without Christ and without God in this world are reconciled to Him through the blood of Christ. Israel's acceptance of Him will be nothing short of life from the dead. [xi] Is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. [xii]
All will eventually serve Him together. In the land of Israel, no less. In Jerusalem, that coveted city Jew and Gentile have so viciously battled over for generations to possess . . . but the Lord shall arise upon you [O Jerusalem], and His glory shall be seen upon you. [xiii]In the latter days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains; and it shall be exalted above the hills, and peoples shall flow to it . . . many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [xiv]
One future day, nation will no longer lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore, for death will finally be swallowed up in victory. [xv] A victorious, great multitude without number from all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues will worship together before God’s throne and before the Lamb. There in the shelter of God’s presence, hunger and thirst will be no more. Our many tears will be wiped away. [xvi]
Till then, we embrace God’s gloriously exclusive/inclusive plan. And we pray.
[i] Matthew 24:12–13 [ii] Deuteronomy 7:7–9 [iii] Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 11:10; Revelation 5:5; Isaiah 53:2; Deuteronomy 32:10; Isaiah 62:1–4 [iv] Romans 9:4 [v] Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3, 18–22 [vi] Galatians 3:16; Romans 9:4–5, 27; Genesis 3:15 [vii] Psalm 24:1 [viii] Genesis 17:8; Genesis 26:3–4; [ix] Psalm 24:7–10; Zechariah 9:14; Revelation 19:11–21; Hebrews 11:10, 16; Hebrews 12:22–24; Revelation 21:2; [x] Genesis 22:18 [xi] Ephesians 2:12; Romans 11:25 [xii] Romans 3:29–30; Galatians 3:13–14; Ephesians 2:11–15; John 1:12; Galatians 3:14, 28–29 [xiii] Isaiah 60:1–5 [xiv] Micah 4:1–2 [xv] Isaiah 2:4; 1 Corinthians 15:54 [xvi] Revelation 7