“The Fullness of the Gentiles”
|Is it the duty of Christians and Messianics to ‘save Jews’?
Why do Jews not accept the ‘Christian’ Messiah?
How could Messianics provoke the Jews to jealousy?
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We are witnessing in these times, the fulfillment of one of the most amazing Prophecies in all the Bible – the re-identifying and Return of a major section of ancient Israel which had been ‘lost’ for more than 2 millennia, the “Lost Ten Tribes” of ancient Northern Israel. The Bible is brimful with Prophecies which predict the ultimate Return and, in the ‘End Time’, the re-unification of these Tribes with the Jews (the Tribe of Judah) which remained identified throughout the ages. (Refer also to our special section of comprehensive studies on The Return of the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel )
Absurd and impossible as this re-unification of the millennia long greatly estranged two Houses of Israel may seem, the problem is greatly amplified today by the evangelizing and proselytizing spirit and efforts of these ‘returning’ Messianics – the seeming spearhead of this Prophetic fulfillment.
The questions which we will confront and attempt to resolve in this study, are:
– Why are Christians so insistent on evangelizing Jews?
– If the New Testament is so clear and emphatic that ‘God blinded the Jews’ to the recognition of the Messiah, is their proselytizing zeal then not tantamount to a challenge against the Decree of God?
– Should Jews accept the ”Christian’ Messiah’ (Messiah ben Yosef) as a pre-condition to re-unification of the 2 Houses of Israel?
– Should Messianics reject the ‘Deity’ or Divinity of their Messiah to comply with Jewish Rabbinical requirements to unite with Judah (the Jews)?
– Are the Jews ‘lost’ for having rejected the Messiah?
– Do Messianic believers have an advantage over Jews?
– Do Jews have to accept Messiah to be ‘saved’?
These and other questions are addressed in an informative discourse which forms the subject of 3 chapters in the NT book of Romans – chapters 9,10 & 11.
This discourse concludes: Romans 11:25 “For I do not want you to be ignorant of this Sacred Secret, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do. One section of Israel has become blind. But this will last only until the Fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And then after this, all Israel will be saved.” (KJV, Jerusalem Bible, D.Stern & NWT).
The term ‘Fullness of the Gentiles’ used in this text, is rendered by various translators as:
‘the whole pagan world’ – Jerusalem Bible
‘the Gentile world’ – D. Stern
‘full number of people of the nations’ – New World Translation
Thus, initially (at the time of writing of this text, shortly after the Advent of and upon acknowledgment of the Messiah) only a part of Israel would be saved. The rest, would be blinded until the full number of ‘people of the nations’ (or whatever this term may refer to) will have come in, and then only, the rest and all of Israel would be saved.
In order to fully understand the national specifications in this important verse, which implies to reveal ‘a Sacred Secret’ in reference to ‘Israel’ and ‘the gentiles/pagan world/nations’, it is vital that the latest revelationary concept is applied, which modern Bible students have come to grasp. We are referring to the concept which lay hidden in the Scriptures unto these ‘times of restitution of the Original True Faith’ (Daniel 12:4, Ezek. 37:15, etc.). According to this concept it is clear and we now realize, that the Biblical references to ‘Israel’ do not refer to Jews only, but more specifically to Jews (from the Tribe of Judah) as well as (and mainly) to the Ten ‘Lost’ Tribes of Israel which are destined to be revealed, re-identified and re-united with Judah in ‘the End Time’ – which we now seem to have reached. (Refer to our special section of comprehensive studies on The Return of the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel ).
In the above quotation, the author seems to have been speaking to his Jewish compatriots of that time – i.e. those Jews who had accepted and acknowledged the Messiah Who had been crucified in Jerusalem. His reference to ‘one sector of Israel’ which would be blinded to Messiah must have been referring to ‘the rest of the Jews’ who did not accept Messiah and who persecuted the Jewish sect of Messianic believers in their midst.
It is extremely important to get the following point clear: The initial Messianic congregation was not a Christian non-Jewish congregation (Christianity only came 3 centuries later), but it was a ‘sector’ within Judaism. One sector of Judah would accept Him, and the rest would be blinded, with a ‘veil’ which only Messiah could remove – but at a specific time only (2 Cor. 3:14-18).
When will this veil of blindness be removed? When “the Fullness of the Gentiles have come in.” Thus, when the period of Exile of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel (which the NT refers to as ‘ the gentiles/pagan world/nations’), have expired – then only will complete Redemption come to “all of Israel”. Up until then, ‘one section of Israel’ would remain blinded to the recognition of the Messiah.
Christianity and Hebraic Roots Messianics generally have a spiritual urge to ‘bring their Messiah to the Jews’. Throughout the centuries multitudes of Jews have been killed for their refusal to accept the “Christian Messiah”. To this day, most Messianics still persist in ignoring the Message of these 3 chapters which confirm repeatedly, that God has chosen to blind the Jews to the Advent of Messiah 2000 years ago. They do not seem to take the Prophecy to heart that the blindness of this section of Israel will last until “the Fullness of the Gentiles have come in”. Refer also To the Jews first
Perhaps this is because they do not really fully know what this Prophecy refers to. It is therefore important, that in order for us to recognise who, what, why and how this factor will assist in opening the eyes of those who are blinded, we need to identify this body or event referred to as ‘the Fullness of the Gentiles’. In this study, we will delve into this question and also why this blindness came about, and how it will be removed.
In order to understand the full Purpose of God’s Plan for mankind (for all the nations), we shall give but a brief summary here so as to guide the reader in his/her studies of the Bible. Truth should be confirmed by the full context of the entire Bible.
God’s Purpose for mankind
It is God’s intention to set up a Kingdom on earth in which Peace, and Happiness will reign. This can only be achieved when mankind willingly and enthusiastically accepts and adheres to His directives which are contrary to man’s inherent self-interest and greed. It therefore requires a change of mind and attitude in man, to accept and live by these Rules which are so contrary to human nature.
God preferred to give man a free will and selection while exposing them to the full extent of life – both good and bad, self-satisfactory versus outreaching to others. He devised a selection process based on mankind’s free choice, by trial and error, of the Divine System which He has laid down in His Torah (first 5 Books of the Bible) which form the foundational Conditions of His Covenant (Contract) to set those who eventually conform, up in this Eternal Kingdom of Peace.
To guard and protect His Torah, and in order to give mankind a practical example of how His System should operate, He selected a nation and a country, Israel and the Jews, as Guardians of His Oracles (Romans 3:2) and had their history recorded in the Bible – including a forecast in advance of their future, even to this day. This nation also had to perform an exemplary role of the required lifestyle of His System – a role which they mostly failed though they remained a living witness to His Faithfulness.
Then, 2000 years ago, entered a Man from this nation on the stage of history to divide Time and change the Destiny of mankind forever. The claims vested in this Man were regarded as audacious by His own countrymen, the Jews. The majority in Israel rejected Him, but a minority accepted Him – and it is to these citizens of Israel, who accepted Him as YAHU’SHUAH, the Messiah of Israel, that our opening Scripture above had been addressed at the time of writing, 2000 years ago.
“One section of Israel has become blind. But this will last only until the Fullness of the Gentiles has come in”. Accordingly, the full redemption of this nation can not occur until “the Fullness of the Gentiles has come in”, i.e. the full number of people of the nations has entered.
What does this mean? And how does it affect non-Israelites or non-Jews today?
Confusion i.r.o. the word ‘Gentiles’
In trying to decipher the term ‘the Fullness of the Gentiles’, we need at this stage to reflect on a common error of Bible interpreters and translators in this regard. The Hebrew word used here, is ‘Goyim’, which is translated in various Bible versions as ‘gentiles’, ‘other nations’ and also as ‘heathen’. For this reason, interpreters generally have come to differentiate between Israelites and the ‘goyim’. Please note that both the words ‘heathen’ and ‘gentile’ stem exclusively from the same oneHebrew word used in the Tanach (O.T.) – goyim. Yet these 2 words have very diverse meanings in the English idiom.
It is important to note, that the nation of Israel is also referred to in Scripture as a ‘goy’ (sing.), thus simply ‘a nation amongst the nations’. And the promise to Abraham, ancient patriarch of the Jews (and the Arabs), was that he would be a father of many ‘goyim’ (pl. nations) (Gen. 17:4 and also verse 5).
Our first conclusion therefore, is that the use of the word ‘Gentile’ in our topic quote, does not specifically refer to non-Jewish nations, but simply to ‘nations’ – thus, ‘the blindness of one section of Israel regarding the Messiah, will last only until the full number of ‘people of the nations has come in.’
We need to find out who these nations are and how they will remove or cause the blindness to be removed for the Jews. Does this obligation rest in the Messianics, and if so, how should they fulfill this obligation?
The Divine Plan is for all nations
Daniel 7:14 “Men of all peoples, nations and languages (will become) His servants.”
Revelation 7:9 “a huge crowd, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language, standing in front of (His) Throne … dressed in white robes …” They will serve Him day and night (verse 15) and they will never hunger or be plagued again; and God will wipe away the tears from their eyes (verse 16).
Acts 17:26 “From one single stock He created the whole human race so that they could occupy the entire earth … He did this so that all nations might seek the Deity.”
“He decreed how long each nation should flourish and what the boundary of its territory should be.”
Duet. 32:8 “When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He divided the sons of men, He fixed their bounds according to the number of the sons of Israel.”
We see therefore, that the nation of Israel plays a pivotal role in the arena of the nations on earth. It would therefore not be unreasonable to conclude from the above evidence, that “the full number of the nations” may also refer to the Israelites themselves, who assimilated with the ‘other’ nations after the Kingdom of Israel split into two sections, some 7 centuries BCE. The Northern Kingdom with its capital city Shechem, has since become known as ‘Israel’ (10 Tribes) and the Southern Jewish Kingdom, with its capital city Jerusalem, as ‘Judah’, the kingdom of the Jews and the tribe of Benjamin.
By the time that the discussion of the Prophecy of our topic took place, round about the first 30 years of our Common Era, the 10 northern tribes in exile were still identifiable as living amongst the nations ‘across the Euphrates river’. By this time they had already intermingled with the nations in a gradual process of assimilation and disappearance. They had been ejected from their homeland seven centuries earlier, cut off from Judah and rejected by God as His ‘Bride’
It is for the reconciliation of these Lost 10 Tribes of Israel, mainly, and through them all the other nations, that Messiah had come – in order to bring them back into the Eternal Covenant from which they had been cut off, rejected, without hope of salvation. (Refer The Original True Gospel)
‘The Fullness of the Nations’,
the Restoration of 10-Israel in exile,
and the re-unification of the 2 Houses of Israel
The history of Israel confirms the splitting of the 12 Tribed nation into two and the resultant exile, assimilation and disappearance of the Ten Northern Tribes, while Judah retained the Southern Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capitol until they were exiled also after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE. Prophetic Scripture though, foretells (Ezek. 37:15) the re-unification of these two estranged Houses of Israel to form One nation once again.
The original Hebraic Messianic Faith, was directed by Messiah to go to these Lost Ten Tribes in dispersion amongst the nations. Because of their having lost their True Identity and having assimilated with the other nations, history does not bear clear proof of who it was that accepted the Messiah throughout the centuries destined for the Reconciliation of the Lost House of Israel: whether it was the assimilated Israelites, the non-Jewish nations, or both.
The originally Jewish Messianic Faith, by the 3rd century CE., having gradually been moving away from Judaism as it became invaded by the pagan customs of the nations, founded the Roman Catholic Church and became strongly anti-Semitic, except for a small remnant which retained the original Jewish Messianic Faith. This remnant was persecuted from both the Jewish and the Christian sides and disappeared into oblivion amongst the nations.
Roman Catholicism adapted a new Messianic Faith, and the Identity of the originally Jewish Messiah was substituted with a pseudo ‘messiah’, structured on pagan traditions. This ‘new’ messiah was totally opposite to the Original. The new ‘Christian’ religion gave him a new date of birth, 25 December, the same date as paganism’s sun god Zeus, and even his name ‘Jezus’, was a memorial of Zeus i.e. JeZeus. This new messiah was purported to have annulled the ‘Jewish Laws’ with its Sabbath and Feast days, and a whole new religious order was created, totally opposite to the Original Messiah’s religion of Judaism. Christian edicts and forces under the emblem of the Church, forcibly converted Jews to the new religion and many who refused, were killed in ‘the name of the god of Christianity’.
The Jews’ Rejection of Messiah, saved the nations
The discourse in the book of Romans continue – Rom. 11:11 “Let me put another question then: ‘Have the Jews stumbled with the result that they have fallen away for ever? Heaven forbid! Quite the contrary. It is by means of their stumbling, that the deliverance has come to the nations in order to provoke them to jealousy‘”
The writer refers to this provoking by jealousy again in the next verse (v.14).
Rom. 11:15 “Since their rejection of Messiah meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their admission would mean? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead!”
Here we have another detail of this Prophecy – that the Jews will be provoked to jealousy by the Messianics into admission of the Messiah. When? “When the Fullness of the number of the nations has come in.” Thus, at the End! And then all Israel will be saved. This has not happened yet – so it must be yet future! Their blindness has not yet been removed, and it will not be removed until the ‘Fullness of the nations” has come in.
The provoking to jealousy is referred to a 3rd time in these three chapters of Romans (Rom 10:19), where it quotes this provocation from Moses’s writings in Deuteronomy 32:21. Moses was instructed by YHVH to address the elders of all the Tribes of Israel just before his death, because (Deut. 31:16) “….this people will start playing the harlot, following the alien gods of the land they are invading. They will desert Me and break this Covenant of Mine that I have made with them. On that day My Anger shall blaze against them. I shall forsake them and hide My face from them. A host of disasters will overtake them and devour them.”
Moses then relates a prophetic song, in which YHVH predicts this provocation:
Deut. 32:21 “They have roused Me to jealousy with what is no god … I then will rouse them to jealousy with what is no people; I will anger them with an empty-headed nation.”
Moses was addressing the 12 Tribes of Israel here. History and the Bible confirms that it was the 10 Northern Tribes specifically which rejected the God of Israel and His Torah, and opted for paganism. For this they were rejected by YHVH and exiled from their Land for more than 2000 years until this day. They assimilated with the nations of the world where they “followed the alien gods of the nations.”
The book of Hosea ch. 2 relates the rejection by YHVH of the House of 10-Israel (also Hosea 1:7.8) which He now called “No People of Mine”.
Hosea 3:4 to 2:3 “For the sons of Israel will be kept for many days without a king, without a leader, without sacrifice … Afterwards the sons of Israel will come back. They will seek YHVH their God and David their king … and the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand on the seashore which cannot be measured or counted. In the place (thus Returned to the Land) where they were told you are ‘No People of Mine’, they will be called ‘the sons of the Living God’. The sons of Judah and Israel will be one again and they will return from the country of their exile.”
It seems clear from these Scriptures, that ‘the empty headed nation’ which YHVH will use to provoke and anger the Jews to jealousy with, will be the ‘no people of Mine’ – that is, exiled 10-Israel which He will betroth again (through the Death Sacrifice of Messiah – refer The Original True Gospel ).
Like 10-Israel caused Him to long for His covenanted people by their worshipping of other gods and denial of Him as their God, He would make 2-Israel (Judah, the Jews) long for their God by provoking them to jealousy through a ‘nation’ who had no nationhood and no covenantal identity, but who seeked after it and who was accepted by God for it.
It seems that the Prophecy through Moses referred to all Israel (12-Israel), though the backsliding would be specifically by 10-Israel and the provoking to jealousy would apply specifically to 2-Israel. The New Testament writer in the Book of Romans clarified this interpretation. Thus, in looking upon all Israel, God predicted the pagan backsliding of His People; whom He would reconcile again through His Personal Messianic Manifestation, which would be rejected by one section of His nation – a rejection which would take His Salvation where it was required: to the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel who, being dispersed amongst and assimilated with the nations of the world, would serve as a great Testimony to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to them also. Even though 10-Israel had a contorted version of the True Hebraic Faith, affected by the pagan traditions of the non-Jewish nations amongst whom they were dispersed, a remnant amongst them would evolve towards the Original True Faith – and it would be this “once No-People” of YHVH whom He would redeem and accept back again, and use to provoke the guardians of His Oracles, the Jews, with – who stand in need of Redemption themselves. In the Process He would re-unite the two estranged Houses of Israel again and form oneunited nation.
How will Judah be provoked to Jealousy?
The Church can not ever impress Judah with its traditional ‘Gospel Message’.
In ” Israel and the Church” – Art Katz, a Messianic Jew, writes:
“Luther, the giant of the Reformation, collapsed at this test. He spent some time with three prominent Rabbis, thinking naively that he could persuade them about the truth of the Reformation, and that they would recognize in the Reformation church the revelation of the faith of the God of Israel – but the Rabbis failed to agree. They were no more impressed with Reformed Protestantism than they were with Catholicism.
“Luther then lapsed into a kind of foaming at the mouth, by which he produced a book called ‘The Lies of the Jews’ which fuelled the Nazi German persecution of Jews four centuries later. The Jew has ever and always been the severest test for the church.”
Speaking on behalf of the Church (but applying also to the Messianic Movement in general, including the Hebraic Roots Movement), Art Katz continues:
“From God’s side, the purpose of our salvation is to move Jews to jealousy. If we are not occupied with God’s side and His purpose for our salvation, then we are not apostolic; we cannot say that we are authentically under His Lordship … God has given us a mandate and a call for something outside of our self-orbit, namely, that the purpose for our being and salvation, from God’s perspective, is that we might move Israel to jealousy.”
“If the church is going to move Jews to jealousy, it is not going to be because our amplifiers are louder than the church down the street, or we have a talented musical group. It has got to be a demonstration of another kind, a heavenly kind in which abides righteousness, truth and reality.”
“What kind of demonstration can the church make that will provoke a people who have been the historical enemies of the gospel to the jealousy of the thing that they have despised and resisted till now? Do we have to become more charismatic? … What must they see? What will do it? The remarkable thing is that Paul lets that statement stand. He gives no explanation as to what he means by that or how it is to be done.”
Katz then concludes:
“Truth would be one thing that would impress a people who have been the church’s toughest critics and who have seen our defects and failures. The love of God would be another. More than we know, we have allowed shabby sentimentality or our natural temperament and disposition to serve in place of the love of God. But God’s love is the love of the unlovely, the love of the enemy, the love of the Jew by Gentiles. It is a love that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We are presently embarrassingly deficient, and so we are not going to be the church that moves them to jealousy until these are obtained.
The publishers of BIBLE REVELATIONS are convinced, that there is ONE only way in which the Church and Hebraic Messianics could ever “provoke Jews to jealousy”, and that is, if these Messianics reverted to their ordained Mandate of accepting the True Eternal Covenant of YHVH, namely, Torah observance. This is the only way in which the Church or any force, could wish to provoke the Jews to jealousy, viz. to do what they regard as the supreme obligation to the God of Israel, namely Halachic interpreted Torah observance, better than the Jews observe it themselves! To also add the true spiritual dimension as well as Love (of Jews, the Land and the One True God of Israel).
When God refers to “fullness,” it is the completion of all that He has intended. There is a fullness for which God waits, of a people for His Name, from among every nation (Acts 15:14), and herein lies His Mandate for the Messianics – those whom, through Messiah, He reconciled to His eternal Covenant.
Messianics need to remember, that they were grafted into their root and that they are made, by His Sacrifice, partakers of the Covenant with Judah. The Messianic Revelation should not put one in a superior spiritual position to the Jews who were blinded, for it is but the Grace of God to allow a time period for bringing the nations into Israel’s Promise, into their hope and into their expectation. Part of the task is to remind Judah, not verbally, but by a living style that exhibits what it means to have been invited into the Commonwealth of Israel.
The Progressive Move towards
‘The Fullness of the Nations’
The True Jewish Messianic Congregation, throughout the centuries, was ‘in the Wilderness’, being the target of both Christianity and Judaism – but it survived the ages to this day. Meanwhile, centuries later, Catholicism became partly ‘purified’ by what became known as the Great Reformation. As Catholicism lost its hold on the masses and was now opposed by Reformation Churches; as the invention of the printing press made Bibles available to the public and not only to the ruling Church fathers; and as the 20th century brought democracy and human freedom, Messianic believers started discovering more and more Bible Truths that had been suppressed for centuries by the Church.
This development reached its progressive pinnacle in the closing decades of the 20th century, in what became known as the Hebraic Roots Restoration Movement – an unassociated movement of individuals and small groups who rediscovered and restored one after the other tenet of the Original Bible Faith, as delivered by Moses on God’s instruction and revelations, to the ancient Israelites. What developed now, was a religion which drifted closer and closer to Judaism – as it has been guarded throughout the ages by the Jews according to Rabbinic guidance.
Could this Movement be the fulfillment of ‘the Time of the Gentiles,’ which is now reaching its ‘fullness’?
What we have currently (2002), is a situation where millions of dedicated and seriously seeking Christian Messianic believers, are extricating themselves gradually from the Church establishment in all its forms and identifying more and more with a religion akin to Judaism. Conversion to Judaism is increasingly becoming an option for what is yet a small minority of this Movement. There also is an increasing yearning evident amongst adherents of this Movement, to want to ‘Return’ to their original Homeland, Israel, as they regard themselves as part of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel – re-identified according to the Promise of Biblical Prophecy.
Where Prophecies meet!
Orthodox Judaism is not at all impressed by these, to them, ‘strange’ people who persist in wanting to teach them about their Messiah which Jews do not accept. With the concept which the Church has been proclaiming about the Messiah, it should be no surprise or disappointment to Messianics that Jews refuse to accept the contorted image of Christianity’s ‘messiah’. Yet, Messianics refuse to accept this rejection and generally persist in their self-exalted consideration of their superior knowledge to Jews.
How ludicrous this self-exalted conception is, should be clear if one considers that for 2 700 years, the Lost Tribes of Israel have been rejecting the original Hebraic Faith. For all this time they have been living amongst paganism, opposed to the Original True Biblical Faith of Judaism which they had rejected 700 years before their Jewish practicing Messiah walked this earth. Now, merely after 10 or 20 years of recent re-discovery of their Original Hebraic Faith, and while they are still oblivious of many basic tenets of this Faith which they have not yet fully re-discovered, they have the audacity to regard their new-found knowledge as superior to that of Rabbinic Judaism which has been at it for all of the 2 700 years and beyond!
Is that not amazingly audacious?
Yet, Prophecy declares the re-unification of the two estranged Houses of Israel into ONE nation again! Messianics think that Judaism will bend to their Messianic acceptance. They underestimate Judaism’s reasoning according to a Faith which has staunchly persisted during all this 2 700 years.
How will this re-union take place?
The former part of this study above has already given us the answer: Judah will be provoked to ‘Jealousy’ into accepting this estranged House of Israel. If this statement exuberates the Messianic reader to the prospect that Judah will in this way accept his/her Messiah – then you are going to be disappointed. Then you are simply proving that you still refuse to accept the fact that God has blinded them to this realisation.
The jealousy which will open an inviting door by Judaism to Returning 10-Israel, is the jealousy which Messianics will unleash within Jews, not by their testifying to them about Messiah and displaying their concern for wanting so desperately to ‘save the Jews’, but by their turning to Judah in a sincere desire to be educated in Torah; and by living a truly Jewish Torah life-style, better than Jews themselves – truly exemplary lifestyles.
Zechariah 8:23 “In those days ten men of nations (Returning 10-Israel?) of every language, will take a Jew by the sleeve and say: ‘We want to go with you, since we have learnt that God is with you.” The same words almost, which were cried out by one of the great converts of Biblical fame, Ruth, the Moabite – clearly urging to become one with and intrinsically part of Judah on basis of Judah’s terms and principles – not on the terms of Messianic Israel. This Return is a practical impossibility while these Messianic believers of their ‘new found restored Hebraic Faith’ remain in the Church, even if with one foot yet, and while they frown on full integration with Jews, regarding themselves as ‘spiritually superior’, even to Rabbinic authority!.
“The sons of Judah and Israel will become truly one again!”