Happy fourth night of Hanukkah!
The Apostle Paul went to great lengths to explain that although God was adding Gentiles to His kingdom in great numbers, He was not finished with Israel and the Jewish people. Paul goes so far as to say that when Messiah returns, all of the Jewish people alive at that time will “look on [Him] whom they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37), and “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26). Paul is revealing to his readers that there is still a glorious future for Israel!
There have been many attempts to eliminate the Jewish people throughout history. Hanukkah celebrates just one of those attempts. Antiochus was not the first person to try it. There were many others who have tried after him. And sad to say there will likely be more attempts to come. But just as Antiochus, with a superior army, was defeated by the Maccabees, God will not allow any other attempt to succeed.
Paul puts it this way: “From the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:28b-29). This should bring such a tremendous hope to Jewish people everywhere. But it should also bring hope to all believers in Jesus. God’s faithfulness to His promises to the Jewish people assure that He will also be faithful to His promise of everlasting life to all who believe in Him!
But it also means that the work of spreading the gospel is not finished, least of all to the Jewish people. Paul calls the Gentiles into action in Romans 11:11 by asking them to allow their very salvation to be something that would make the Jewish people jealous. So while we can be confident that as a people the Jewish people will never be completely wiped out, on a spiritual level, our hearts should be the same as Paul’s, who said, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1).
Please pray with me.
Thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness to the Jewish people, and thank You for the festival of Hanukkah, that not only reminds us that You keep Your promises to Israel, but that we can rely on You to keep Your promises to us! As the lights of the menorah continue to be lit, with an increasingly bright light, may You allow the Light of the World to shine brighter and brighter through us, so that the Jewish people may become jealous, and ask You to kindle a light in them.
In Yeshua’s name. Amen!