Paul tells the church that the spiritual blindness of Israel is a “mystery” that had not previously been revealed (Romans chapters 9–11). For thousands of years, Israel had been the one nation that looked to God while the Gentile nations rejected the light and chose to live in spiritual darkness.
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” | Matthew 11:16–19
Israel and her inspired prophets revealed monotheism—one God who was personally interested in mankind’s destiny of heaven or hell, the path to salvation, the written Word with the Ten Commandments.
He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers? “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. | Matthew 13:54–58
- Yet Israel rejected her prophesied Messiah, and the promises of the kingdom of heaven were postponed. A veil of spiritual blindness fell upon the eyes of the Jews, who previously were the most spiritually discerning people.
- As Paul explained, this hardening on the part of Israel led to the blessing of the Gentiles who would believe in Jesus and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
- Denial of Jesus — The Jewish People Rejected Jesus The commentaries in the Talmud, written before the onset of Jesus arriving on the scene, clearly discuss the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and puzzle over how these would be fulfilled with the glorious setting up of the kingdom of the Messiah.
- After the early believers used these prophecies to prove the claims of the Messiah, the Jews took the position that the prophecies did not refer to the Messiah, but to Israel or some other person.
John 1:11 (NASB) — He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
The good news is that some Jews are turning to the Messiah today. The God of Israel has always been faithful to keep a “remnant” of believing Jews to Himself. In the United States alone, some estimates say that there are over 100,000 Jewish believers in Jesus, and the numbers are growing all the time.