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Msindisi Newsletter # 130

August 5, 2015

SALVADOR AND DIANNE’S MSINDISI MONTHLY

Number: 130 Aug 2015

P. O. Box 1481

Vryheid 3100

KwaZulu Natal

South Africa

+27 (0) 72 8311008

+27 (0) 72 3843786

Email: msindisi@gmail.com, salv.di@gmail.com

KwaZulu Mission Website: www.kwazulumission.com

KwaZulu Mission Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kwazulumission

As this is being written, its hard to believe the amount of traveling that has taken place, we left you in the last newsletter as we headed off to the Cape. Salvador’s teaching series on Ezekiel’s temple was filmed but now the video files are available for download from the internet at the following address: http://1drv.ms/1GWyLbw .

We were grateful for accommodation from Tom and Ayanda from Durbanville,they were away visiting family in Canada and kindly let us use their home over our stay in the Cape. On our travels to the Cape we stopped in and visited Wessel Kruger and his wife and had brunch with them. We knew them from Elijah and, having recently moved to an area near George, we could not pass by an opportunity to see them. It was wonderful to see the Lord’s work in their lives and the gift of two children, one through birth and the other through adoption. On our arrival at the Cape the first day we headed off to visit Dave and Lyn Royle in Swellendam. This was a lovely day of chatting, sharing a meal and catching up with the children. The day had started with a heavy mist but soon cleared into a glorious day. The scenery is spectacular where they live and so we went walking around the property looking at the projects they have started.

Dave and Salvador look at the pigs

Dave and Salvador look at the pigs

Luke, Baden and Ntombi

Luke, Baden and Ntombi

Ntombi and Paulina

Ntombi and Paulina

Salvador and Lyn

Salvador and Lyn

It was lovely to see everyone looking so well and relaxed. It was a lovely day however around 3 we had to leave to meet up with Paul and Ronel Grobler for an evening meal back in the Cape. They have Paul’s parents staying with them as both are not well. We were able to share a great evening with them and the kids. Over the next few days we were able to have some down time, visiting the Jewish museum, walking along the beach front, visiting the gardens, having Eritrean coffee with Tom’s neighbour from Eritrea, Hadas (Her mum who was visiting from Eritrea made the coffee), checking out the history of Franschoek. Sal, of course, had to visit a second hand bookshop, and we had coffee at the waterfront. This gave us a lovely break away. We did have the opportunity to visit a pastor in Michell’s Plain from the coloured, community, Graham Klink and his wide. This was a wonderful time of unity in Christ. While we were both sharing the conversation came around Salvador’s research project concerning ancestral traditions. We left hoping to interview a Xhosa woman from his congregation over the next few days but sadly it wasn’t possible as she was working but Graham has offered to interview her and record it and send it through.

Roasting the coffee beans

Roasting the coffee beans

Brewing the Coffee

Brewing the Coffee

Real Eritrean Coffee

Real Eritrean Coffee

With Hadas from Eritrea and her daughter

With Hadas from Eritrea and her daughter

Franschoek

Franschoek

Di at the Jewish Museum

Di at the Jewish Museum

Salvador at the Jewish Museum

Salvador at the Jewish Museum

The Botanical Gardens in Kirschtenbosch

The Botanical Gardens in Kirschtenbosch

At the second hand bookshop in Gordon's bay

At the second hand bookshop in Gordon’s bay

Leaving the cape we set off for Bloemfontein with an over night stay in a small place called Richmond to break the trip up. When in Blom we stayed with Chris and Linda De Wet. That Sunday we shared huge home made burgers for lunch and had lovely fellowship with the De Wets, a lovely family and couple called Melnick and . We sang and Sal brought a small message.

With Chris and Linda De Wet and Melnick Smith

With Chris and Linda De Wet and Melnick Smith

Next morning we headed for home. On arrival it was a wonderful surprise to see Asimbonge and his uncles staying over for the school holidays. This of course meant ice cream in town the next day and borrowing a kids video from Belinda for a movie night. He is looking very well and doing well in his schooling. He was relaxed to be back in his old homestead even though his Gogo and mother are no longer with us. We thank the Lord that Celani’s daughter, Zanele, testified of her saving faith. She had attended the kid’s club for years, sitting under the New Tribes Mission material and had knowledge of what the Gospel meant. Through wrestling with the Lord she has come to accept His message of salvation.

Di with Asimbonge and his uncles

Di with Asimbonge and his uncles

Di and Zanele

Di and Zanele

Over the next two weeks it was back into routine, Wednesday continued with Di visiting the old people’s home in Vryheid, discipling, Carebear teaching at the crèche, prayer meeting and study, cutting of hair. Fri cell group was with us and it was lovely to see everyone all together again. We were asked by a lady from a local crèche to visit and help explain the gospel to one of her workers who was wanting to change and follow the Lord. This was a special time as she was finding it hard to compared that she could do nothing to earn her salvation that it was already done for her through what Christ did on the cross. It is common that people think they must do something when it’s a free gift and what the bible says is believe it and be saved. She likened it to a small child coming to a parent with cuts and, bloody knees, the parent would not send the child away to clean themselves up first but as they came and trusted in the parent they would clean them up. We visited her again and she said she understood and believed what the Lord had done for her, she is now attending a local church and going through a study of the bible. She was plagued by demonic presence in her home but with immersing herself in the word of God and keeping her eyes on the Lord she testified that she has not been experiencing those things. Please can you keep her in prayer as she had come from a former life style of Satanism, fortune telling, contacting demons (necromancy) etc.

Helping Phumlani pluck mealies

Helping Phumlani pluck mealies

The congregation we are part of, Ibandla Lendlela Eyodwa is going through some stretching time which we rejoice in as we have been praying the Lord would show us were we are lacking. For now the church is having to deal with church discipline, something that does not come easy. The church has gone and spoken to the person involved and offered help as they show forth repentance.

Eastmine, where the Church meets

Eastmine, where the Church meets

Phumulani has also had a difficult time in having to tell his family that they are not welcome to come and do the ancestor ceremony for Phumulani dead mother. This is when they think they are bringing her back to the homestead to protect it from evil when in reality they are calling up demons to come into the home. This has weighed heavy on him and we ask you also to keep him in your prayers. While we were away, a young fellow from an area called Cibilili phoned Salvador three times asking for Salvador to visit. He got Salvador’s number from a tract he and Phumlani gave out when they preached in that area. When Salvador arrived the first Sunday there the young man, Siphamandla, had been drinking but wanted Salvador to preach to a local family. Salvador asked him what he wanted and he said that he wanted a church. Knowing that Siphamandla had little knowledge of the gospel, Salvador said that he didn’t want to start a church but was happy to start a bible study. Another gentleman called Thanda also showed interest in studying the bible. So the following week we found out where at hands stayed and Salvador preached the gospel. Today, Sunday, Salvador took Siphamandla to Thanda’s home, and though Thanda was at work Salvador was able to start the first bible lesson with them concerning the Bible as God’s message. He is using the New Tribes Mission material with them and taking them chronologically from creation to Christ. Salvador has resumed his bi-weekly bible studies with a young man called Sabelo who attends the cell group. Please pray for this young man to gain a clear understanding of the gospel. Salvador is using the discipleship book that we put together to build a foundation of important doctrines. We were blessed with  two days of rain during the month which was desperately needed. We thank the Lord as now the tanks are about three quarters full again.

Thank the Lord for access to water

Thank the Lord for access to water

It was a rainy day

It was a rainy day

We ended this month with a very quick visit to Joberg to help our dear friends

Allen and Sue Wells move into a larger home. Much pray had been going into this as the children are young adults now and space was very tight in their previous home. Also two bathrooms for 14 people was taking its strain. It was a total answer to prayer which the Lord put together. So with only a few days to move it was all hands on deck. Alot of the packing Sue had already done before hand and Alan had already moved his tower for his wifi business but what remained was the classroom furniture and the thousand of books that had been boxed up. The kitchen, lounge, and bedroom plus bathroom. With an amazing effort from all it was moved into their new home in 3 days. Many thanks to friends and family who helped by making meals and Elco steal for the loan of their huge truck.

Alan and Sue moving

Alan and Sue moving

Helping Alan and Sue Move

Helping Alan and Sue Move

Thank you Elco for the loan of your truck

Thank you Elco for the loan of your truck

We drove back to KZN on fri morning, leaving still alot to be sorted and unpacked but grateful that they were in. After cell group that night and kids club the next morning that afternoon we both crashed for a afternoon nap. I know Allen and Sue both are in need of some rest now, please keep them in your prayers. They are rejoicing between the yawns. This coming weekend we have the young adults from Joberg who visited 2 years ago coming for a mission trip. They will be staying here at the homestead 9 guys and 6 ladies. They will be bringing the teaching to the kids at kids club, going and preaching the word with Sal and Phumlani, giving out blankets and tracts, doing a small labour task and reaching out to the children in our local area. We ask for prayer for them.

Prayer needs:

Give thanks for the Wells new home, for strength and time of refreshing.

For Phumlani as he stands and for wisdom and courage as he is grows in the fullness of Christ.

For the new believer, Monique, as she grows in the knowledge and grace of her Saviour.

For the youth who are visiting this coming weekend for a mission trip, for safe travels and  opportunities to share. For growth and fruit in their lives and friendships to be formed with the youth of believers this side.

For the Holy spirit to lead and guide and work as we prayer for salvation for those who are willing to hear the word of the Lord.

Give thanks for the Lords faithfulness to His work and the fellow labours who pray,support and encourage.

Until the month of August is over, sala kahle, stay well and God bless

ELEVEN

ISRAEL’S REFUSAL OF GOD’S GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

ROMANS 9: 30 – 10: 21

In the last section we looked at two camps of Jews under the covering of two different covenants. The one covenant concerns a physical birth and a Law kept in the power of the flesh. The second covenant concerns a spiritual birth and a Law that was kept perfectly by Christ, who was also the perfect sacrifice for sin. Paul showed us that God elected the older to be a servant to the younger. Though both groups come from the same father, God has chosen salvation to come by faith and never instituted Moses as a means of salvation. The younger was already chosen beforehand for honour and the older for dishonor. Just like Moishe (Moses) was never entitled to go into the promised land but Yehoshua (Joshua) did. So Moses was a tutor to lead to someone other; to the one who would bring the people into the promised rest. This second group, elected to be saved by faith, is not only comprised of Jews but Gentiles also. The reality is that many Jews will go to a lost eternity. This is not because God’s word has failed but because of their refusal to accept salvation by faith in Jesus as their Messiah. Yet God has preserved a remnant because of His Grace. This next section of scripture can be read in three sections. Firstly there is ‘The offer of saving grace’ then there is ‘The means of saving faith’ and lastly there is ‘Israel’s rejection of saving grace.’

ROMANS 9: 30 – 10: 13

THE OFFER OF SAVING GRACE

In the last chapter we saw that God’s promise of salvation has only been promised to those Jews of spiritual birth, not to those who are merely Jews by physical birth. But the blessing of this is that because it is by spiritual birth, we Gentiles, who believe and are called, are also made part of the elect people. The clear implication of this is that there will only be a remnant of Israel that will be saved. Now, for reasons that we will see in the next chapter, when Paul speaks about a remnant of Israel being saved, he is speaking of a remnant of all Jews that ever lived. But secondly, we know that the surviving remnant of the nation of Israel, who are still are alive when Jesus comes back, will experience a national salvation. This is evident from Romans 11. But having said that, Gentiles are being saved but only a remnant of Jews are being saved, albeit an ever growing remnant. Paul then compares the Gentiles who are saved to the Jews who are not. Why is Paul making this comparison? It is because he is contrasting the way of faith to the way of works. This is the election we talked about in the last chapter. It is not the children of the flesh that are considered heirs but the children of the promise. Let us look at the nature of the Gentiles that got saved, then the nature of the Jews that are not saved and then we will carry on to Paul’s conclusion and response to this predicament.

THE NATURE OF THE GENTILES THAT GOT SAVED

When we look at verse 30 the first thing we read is that the Gentiles did not pursue righteousness.

  • Firstly, let us remember that Paul is speaking from His own experience of evangelism. Paul saw many Gentiles get saved. However, from many of his own people, from God’s special people, he endured persecution. Although Paul saw a number of Jews get saved, he started his ministry well after the great Jewish revival of Pentecost, and after the Lord’s work started to branch out into Samaria under Philip. It was Paul who, after holding the coats of Stephen’s murderers (which unleashed a great persecution on the Messianic Jews), spread that persecution as far north as Damascus, and intensified that persecution. Under Paul’s ministry it was the Gentiles who were starting to get saved in bigger numbers. When Paul claimed that Gentiles did not pursue righteousness we must understand that there were Greek philosophers who pursued morality, like Seneca who deplored hypocrisy and taught the equality of all men. So what does Paul mean when he says that the Gentiles did not pursue righteousness? Look at what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 1: 9. He wrote that they turned from serving idols to serve a living and true God. Everywhere that Paul went he would have seen pagan temples. And no matter how moralistic some of the people within these nations were, they still served these false gods. They were not searching for the true God. They were not turning away from their idolatries and, therefore, they were not seeking after righteousness. Paul had already established in Romans 1 that God had handed these nations over to their lusts and to commit indecent acts. There were some within those nations who became proselytes to the God and the people of Israel but on the whole these nations were given over to depravity, much like the western world today. But when Paul came to them, he brought the Gospel and people got saved. They were not searching for God’s righteousness, but God had brought His righteousness to them through the preaching of the gospel.

  • Secondly, and very briefly, these Gentiles attained righteousness. This proves Paul’s thesis in Romans 1: 16 – 17 that the Gospel is the power of God to salvation. The Gospel can change the most hardened of men and change the greatest criminal. Those who were hopeless cases find themselves with hope. Those who were considered beyond saving become reconciled to the Creator of the universe. So much so, that when you hear of their past, you listen with disbelief because you never would have guessed that they could have done such things. God has changed them that much.

  • Thirdly the Gentiles attained that righteousness by faith. They heard a message and they believed. And because of their belief they have been counted righteous by God. This must build on what Paul has already said about Abraham. He has already proved that this thesis is biblical, conforming to the pattern of Old Testament Scripture, and that this righteousness is possible from the example of Abraham. Abraham’s faith was credited for righteousness while he was uncircumcised and this paves the way for uncircumcised people to receive this righteousness too.

THE NATURE OF THE JEWS THAT ARE NOT SAVED

Let us compare this salvation of Gentiles with Israel in verse 31.

31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.

  • Firstly, we see that Israel pursued a law of righteousness. This is the Law of Moses which is righteous, and a manifestation of the law of God, which is spiritual. And yet it bestows no spiritual power, unto obedience, for those who try to keep it. Every year Jews would go to the temple, offer sacrifices, celebrate the feasts, and keep the Sabbaths but what was the result of this every year? On the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur they are still forced to say, ‘We have sinned, we have sinned.’ Even today Jews say this phrase and will go up to everyone they know asking for forgiveness.

  • Paul states in his second point that they did not arrive at that law. The Day of Atonement is the proof of this point. It does not matter what sacrifices the people did in that year, those sacrifices never sufficed. Look at what Hebrews 9: 6 – 8 says. 6 Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, 7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once in the year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing,” In other words the daily sacrifices made for sin did not take away sin. On the Day of Atonement, all the things that were done in the outer tabernacle are done away with. All eyes are centred on the High Priest who deals with the sins committed in ignorance. What does this communicate? Though the Jews may not have been conscious of the confession, through this act of the high priest, they were saying; ‘We have kept Your feasts, done Your sacrifices. O Lord, we have kept Your feasts and paid our tithes. We have sought covering for all the sins we are aware of and yet we are still not right before You. We have not met Your perfect standard. We have pursued a law of righteousness and yet we have not arrived at that law. We have sinned, please forgive us.’

  • Thirdly, Paul gives the reason for this failure, and that is in verse 32. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,” They thought they could keep the Law instead of believing in the One who had to do it for them. Christ is the stumbling stone and a rock of offence. Christ offends any notion of self-goodness and self-righteousness that we might have. Christ breaks us because His testimony tells us we deserve eternal punishment. As long as Jews, and by extension us, think that there is enough goodness in us and that one day we will reach that standard; or that God will take into account all the good things we have done, then we will never arrive at that righteousness.

In Romans 10, this sets Paul weeping over the Jews just like he did at the beginning of Romans 9. Now some commentators say that though God has only decreed a certain number of people to be saved, not wanting to save all, as it is not for us to know God’s secret counsel but they say that, nevertheless, we must follow Paul’s example of seeking all men to be saved. But I do not think that this is the right way to look at the text. Remember that we are dealing with the nation of Israel. This is God’s special covenant people, a people whom He has striven with to cause them to hear His voice. Does any heart bleed for Israel more than God’s heart does? The reason that Paul’s heart’s desire and his prayer to God is that Israel would be saved, is because his heart is reflective of God’s heart for His people. Think of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem after rebuking the Pharisees and Scribes in Matthew 23: 37. He does not tell them that He was not willing. Jesus was more than willing. The fault lay with them.

So it was with Paul’s life before Christ. The fault lay with him. Paul can well understand the Jewish mind and their condition because from verses 2 and 3 he is describing his own condition before he came to Christ. He had a zeal but not according to knowledge. This ignorance does not make them innocent and dissolve them of responsibility. We will see in the last section that they were given warning and they were told. But what we see is not an ignorance of Messiah or of the message of Jesus the Messiah but it is an ignorance of God’s righteousness. They rebelled against the idea of a crucified Messiah who became a curse. But as Jesus said, ‘Those who are well do not need a doctor but only the sick. I have not come for the righteous but to call sinners to repentance.’ In 1 Corinthians 1: 23 Paul writes that the message of Christ crucified is to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles is foolishness. Heavy Metal bands like Metallica sing songs like, ‘Follow the God that failed.’ They say this because, for them, the cross is defeat. But for us who are saved it is victorious. However, when you do not see your own sin, or acknowledge that you deserve God’s wrath, you will never see your need for a Saviour and, therefore, you will always be ignorant of the righteousness that God has to offer you. The Jews kept pursuing their own righteousness of the Law but they never got it. That is a dilemma. But the answer to this dilemma is in verse 4.

PAUL’S RESPONSE TO THE PREDICAMENT

4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

The word for ‘end’ in Greek is the word ‘Telos’. It can mean a termination, or a goal, or a completion. Here, the primary sense is not that Christ terminates the Law, though we know from the scripture that we, who are in Christ, are not under the jurisdiction of that Law. But what it is saying is that Christ is the completion of the Law for righteousness to those who believe. In other words, the Law promises righteousness and life for those who keep it but the problem is that we have all broken it. But Christ came and kept the whole law and won the righteousness and life that the Law promised. He did this on our behalf and through His sacrifice He can give that righteousness to whosoever believes on Him. Therefore, it is by faith and faith is a vehicle of reception which does not add anything to what Christ accomplished.

Look at verses 6 – 8. 6 But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7 or, “WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” 8 But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART” – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,”

This text is taken from Deuteronomy 30: 12 – 14. Here Moses is giving some of his final words to Israel. In this chapter he prophesies of their future captivity and their return to the land. Their return to the land would be in accordance with their repentance. Moses also speaks of the future covenant that God will speak of in Jeremiah. But the point is that the command that God is giving to them ‘to Love the Lord and walk in His ways’ is not too difficult. They do not have to traverse the ends of the earth to find it. They do not have to ascend on high to get it, and they do not have to go to the depths of the ocean to bring it up. Paul takes this and applies it to Christ because He is the embodiment of the Law. He is everything it means to ‘Love the Lord our God’. And so Paul sees heaven here as referring to Heaven where Jesus has come from. And the depths of the ocean Paul takes as midrashically speaking of the grave which is deeper than the ocean. That is we do not have to get to heaven to get Jesus, because God took the initiative for us and brought Him to us. We do not have to go to Hades, as in Greek mythology where the hero has to cross the river Styx and enter Hades to rescue the maid, because God brought Jesus up from the dead for us. We do not go up to God, but He stoops down to us and makes salvation something easy for us to obtain. But there is another application to these verses and that is, that there is nothing we can add to God’s work of salvation. We cannot add to the incarnation one iota nor can we add to the resurrection. God had planned it all and brought it to pass by the strength of His own arm.

Just as God brought down the living Word to live amongst us, so he brings the word of His cross to our hearing. Our part is to confess and to believe with our heart. The invitation is open to all; for the ‘whosoever will’. Salvation is secure because it is based on a promise that whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. The name represents His character, His attributes and, therefore, our believing is based on His character and His work. His character and His work are communicated to us through the Gospel message.

VERSES 14 – 18:

THE MEANS OF SAVING GRACE

If believing is necessary to salvation and if this is based on the work and person of Christ then there must be a communication of that message so that we may believe. This is a debated issue among some circles of Christians. When we see the hardness of western people to the Gospel, we also see that some people have given up on the idea of preaching. One pastor I heard in Vryheid, South Africa said that we do not need more preaching. He said that people have had enough preaching and they need more love. So is preaching an outdated mode of communicating the Gospel message? I do not necessarily think when Paul uses the term preaching that he necessarily means street preaching. Preaching simply means a proclamation. In other words, there has to be an authoritative verbal communication of the message. Look at the logic of Paul’s argument. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. You cannot call on someone who you have never heard of. This message cannot be communicated by simply loving people. There is a testimony that must be verbally communicated. Paul tells us, in verse 18, that the Jews have even heard the message through creation and quotes from Psalm 19 to prove this. But creation itself is not a sufficient means of understanding. There are certain things that are clear from nature; like God’s eternal power, His Divine nature and His invisible attributes. But the specific message of the Cross and God’s righteous requirements of man are not communicated through nature. Psalm 19: 7.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”

There is still a need for a verbal communication of the Truth. Say you found a piece of paper with the following words, ‘Sgd fnrodk hr sgd onvdq ne Fnc sn dudqxnmd vgn adkhdudr.’ Would you understand it? But what if I told you that the way to understand it is to exchange each letter for the one that comes after it in the alphabet? Now does it make sense? ‘The gospel is the power of God to everyone who believes.’ So there was a communication but that communication necessitated an explanation of the code. So when Jesus said ‘let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and praise your Father who is in heaven.’ he was not telling us that we should not preach the Gospel. How will people praise someone that they have never heard of? It does not mean that we have to engage in street preaching, but the Church has been given a commission to preach the Gospel. Therefore, we are to take opportunities given to us to audibly share the Gospel message and to do good works.

VERSES 19 – 21:

ISRAEL’S REJECTION OF SAVING GRACE

Gentiles started to believe and accept this Gospel at the time of Paul. But Israel, for the most part, rejected the message. But God knew this and prophesied this. It did not take God by surprise and God had already put a plan in place concerning this rejection. We will look at the way God would use this hardening of Israel in the next chapter. Paul quotes from Moses in Deut 32: 21.

21 They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,”

God did not arbitrarily decide, before the foundation of the Earth, that He would harden Israel. God’s decision was a response to something that His nation, Israel, had done. They provoked God to jealousy with a ‘no-god’ and so in turn God would provoke Israel to jealousy with a ‘no-nation’. God is using the Gentile believers as a way of provoking the Jews to jealousy so that they might turn with their whole hearts and be saved. I was once in conversation with some British ex Patriots in Vryheid, South Africa. They were astounded when I made the proclamation that a Christian with a good knowledge of the bible will know more about the Jewish religion than many nominal or non-observant Jews. I was not referring to Talmudic Judaism but Mosaic Judaism. Jesus said to the Pharisees of His day that their real problem was not that they did not believe in Him. Their real problem was that they did not even believe Moses; because Moses wrote about Jesus. The reason I love things to do with Israel is not because I think Israel are such a great bunch of people. The main reason I love things to do with Israel is because Israel is a real nation that really exist. And they show me that the bible is not a bunch of fairy tales but it is a real history of God’s dealings with a real nation. And their survival over millennia is a miracle that can only have been accomplished by the God of Israel. The things that we read in the bible are true and the place names are real places. Archaeological finds fit the bible’s description of those times and places. You want evidence that the Bible is true, look at Israel. And we, as believing Gentiles, have a part to play in God’s salvation plan for Israel. We are to provoke the Jews to jealousy with our love for their people, a love for their Law and a love for their God. This is the paradox, God shows His grace to Gentiles and they accept but God has held out His hands to the Jewish people continually, but they have been obstinate and stiff necked. So God has hardened them. This paints a bleak picture of Israel’s purposes in God’s salvation plan. How will Paul address this dilemma? We will look at this in the next chapter.

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