To the Jew First...
Although the Jewish people have been subjected to some abhorrent actions committed in the name of Christianity, Jewish leaders are now (cautiously) beginning to believe that evangelical Christians are Israel’s best friends. Many Jews believe that Christianity as a whole is responsible for the atrocities committed against the Jewish people, particularly following the Holocaust. Even though many Christians actively oppose the physical and spiritual abuse of Israel, the Jewish/Christian relationship remains in a period of stasis. Homeostasis, more known for its critical work in human biology, is any self-regulating process by which an organism tends to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are best for its survival. If homeostasis is successful, life continues; if it is unsuccessful, it results in a disaster of death of the organism. It is a wonderful analogy for how Jews and Christians see each other. Neither side pushes its agenda too much, but both recognise they need each other in a position of strength to help the other party. However, where is the Gospel in all of this?
There is serious concern over the growing acceptance of Dual Covenant Theology as it concerns the Jewish people. Dual Covenant Theology promotes the idea that the Jewish people have a separate path to salvation through the Abrahamic or Mosaic Covenants. In simple terms, some Christians promote the idea that the Jews do not need Jesus for personal salvation. Proponents of this theology teach that Judaism and Christianity are valid, yet distinct religions, equally worthy of the other’s respect. Many, who desire harmony above all else, are shying away from sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people. In doing so, they are inadvertently supporting the traditional Jewish belief that Jesus is not the Messiah. This not only leaves the unsaved individual in danger of facing the Lake of Fire, it also maligns the person and work of Jesus Christ to seek and save the lost (including the lost sheep of the House of Israel).
The debate stems from the belief that the Jews have suffered enough. As certain elements in Christianity in the past have tried to forcefully convert Jews to Christianity, many now believe the best thing they can do for the Jews is to leave them alone. As a result, many believers, consider it good will not to witness to Jews. Yet, the Bible declares otherwise. The Gospel was intended for the Jew first (Romans 1:16) and there is only one plan of salvation for all people (John 14:6).
One person argued that, “Jews do not come to Christ through proclamation, but through revelation.” In saying so, this person believes it is God’s job to reveal Himself to Jewish people despite Christ’s command to make disciples of all men. Although this point of view is not exactly Dual Covenant Theology, the result is the same – Christians are made to feel as if there is no need to share the Gospel with the Jewish people. Yes, Romans 10:14 speaks of Israel’s rejection of the Gospel, but it does not mean that we must reject proclaiming the Gospel to Israel. After all, God has used the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy (Romans 11:11, 14). The proclamation of the Gospel is vitally important as Romans 10:17 testifies: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
We need to honour God by sharing the Gospel with all people. We also need to love the Jewish people enough to share the Gospel with them. Withholding this vital truth is not love – it is neglect. Yes, we know that God has a plan for Israel, but the horrors of the Tribulation Period may mean that many Jews do not have an opportunity to call out to Yeshua for salvation. As one Jewish believer said, “We need friends, but not at the expense of withholding the Gospel from our people. After all, there is no greater blessing you can give a Jewish person than eternal life through a relationship with their Messiah. His name is Yeshua.”