What did Christ mean when he made the profound statement, “Salvation is of the Jews?” In John 4: 21 “Jesus saith unto her, Woman (Gentile of Samaria), believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what : we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” Then He goes on to say in, Ver.23 “But the hour cometh , and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: (not just in a geographical location) for the Father seeks such to worship Him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that that worship Him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
In other words, worship Him as the Bible instructs us (“--thy word is truth”: John 17:17), not by human tradition. So how could Christ say, “salvation is of the Jews”, when He so utterly condemns these people in a few chapters later! John 8:37 “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, then would ye do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, 41 We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me…” Now notice the very strong words of condemnation to these Jews! Ver.44 “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” Strong words indeed! Most do not like to be corrected, especially in their religious ideas.
Another Gospel writer tells of other instances where Christ had to reprove the Jewish religious leadership. Matthew 15:1 “Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, he that curseth father and mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; (Paraphrasing this makes it a little plainer. They were saying I would help you out, mom and dad, but I’m already obligated for a gift to the Temple. i.e. “it is corban”) 6 And honor not his father and mother, (the fifth commandment) he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” You may want to read all of the Gospel accounts of the rebellious attitudes of these people, that would ultimately culminate in the slaying of their Savior at the hands of the Roman soldiers. (Of course, we are ALL guilty of the slaying of Jesus Christ, because it is OUR SINS that caused His death on that cruel stake or tree.) Yes, God has prophesied about His not being accepted as the Messiah. Still, He has a great Plan of Salvation in place for all of humanity, by what we read in the following:
John 1:10 “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. 11 He came unto his own, and His own received Him not. 12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”
Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 8 for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased (means Jehovah purposed) the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shall make his soul (life) an offering for sin, ….”
So you would think the Jewish people, since they are responsible for preserving the Old Testament portion of the Bible, would have picked up on this and dozens of other prophecies found there, and would have accepted Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. But they didn’t; and they haven’t as a nation or people. There is a Biblical explanation for this! Turn to:
Romans 11:1 “I say then, Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. (Yes, He knows what He is doing!) 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which it seeks for; (salvation) but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. 25 For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.” His Master Plan is always in place.
So, again, why did Jesus make the statement that “Salvation is of the Jews.”?Because, in other places in the Bible, it is apparent that a true Christian must become a Jew, before they can become saved! This probably sounds strange to your ears, because many think that the Church is mainly composed of Gentiles. We’ll closely examine other Scriptural references to ascertain if this is true.
Romans 3:1 “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them (Jews) were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;…” The Apostle Paul continues to explain that this applies to all of mankind in Verse 9 “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
So, what did Christ mean by “Salvation is of the Jews”? The Bible, both the Old and New Testament, teachs that we, as God’s people, must become circumcised! “But, wait a minute,” you might say: “Didn’t the early New Testament Church make a decision that circumcision is no longer obligatory?” They certainly did! You’ll find the account in Acts 15:1 “And certain men which came down from Judea (obviously Jews) taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised, after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.” (Some of the Jewish converts, seemingly wanted to continue the practice of circumcision they had been accustomed to. It is difficult to give up old habits, even as it is hard to give up our old ideas of what we may have thought of as real “Christianity”. You can’t put “new wine” into “old bottles”.) But then, after thoroughly discussing this issue, the leaders of the Church concluded that God was calling Gentiles, along with the Jews, and giving them His Holy Spirit, without the ritual of circumcision. Paul later wrote in I Corinthians 7:19 “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandment of God.” In fact, this was not the real issue that God was desiring, even in the Old Testament. (The physical ritual began with Abraham, long before the Jews (Judah) came along. It was called a “token of the covenant betwixt me (God) and you (Abraham).” Genesis17:11.)
What God was really looking for was CIRCUMCISION OF THE HEART, even in the Old Testament! Deuteronomy 10:16 “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.” Chapter 30:6 “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.” This is speaking of the SPIRITUAL REMOVAL of the CARNAL HUMAN NATURE of the human heart (mind) that we are born with. (Romans 8:7). But these carnal minded Israelites, without the help of the Holy Spirit, did not have the spiritual discernment to see the connection of physical circumcision (a type) to the circumcision of the heart. God’s Spirit was not available, except to a few at this time: the prophets, writers of the Scriptures, men like King David, Judges like Samson and others who had the Spirit working with them. Notice in Deuteronomy 29:3 “The great temptations which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.” Chapter 5:29 “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever.”
The Jews, nor the other tribes of Israel, (there were 12, remember) did not get it, spiritually speaking! So how can it be that “Salvation is of the Jews”?
The Bible is a mysterious Book. Only those whom God is calling now to repentance, who will voluntarily humble and submit themselves to obey the Laws of God and accept Jesus Christ as Personal Savior, will be able to understand it. I Corinthians 2:7 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Continuing in the New Testament, it will teach us that CHRISTIANS MUST BECOME SPIRITUAL JEWS to obtain salvation. This means everyone! Romans 2:17 “Behold, thou art called a Jew (physical), and restest in the law, and make your boast of God, 18 and knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;” Verse 23 “Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written. 25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.” (There is nothing wrong in being circumcised, physically, but it is not a spiritual requirement for salvation, as we saw back in Acts 15.) The important thing is that we all must be Spiritually circumcised. Continuing in
Rom. 2:28 “For he is a not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”
It’s all about conversion; from the carnal human nature, to that of God. Colossians 2:11 “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. 12 Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead” Of course! We have repented of our sins, received forgiveness through the acceptance of the death of Jesus Christ for those sins, accepted baptism, showing that we are burying the old self and now willing to walk in a new way of life. Upon this, we have hands laid on us to receive the promised Holy Spirit. Now, “the operation of God”, that Spiritual “circumcision made without hands” has been performed! Verse 13 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” At that moment, YOU BECOME A SPIRITUAL JEW!
Notice carefully, Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” This is how Gentiles and all humanity are brought into contact with God and offered salvation as a Jew. Notice in Verse 14 “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promises of the Spirit through faith.” There is no other way! Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”(John14:6) It is prophesied that deceivers would claim to be spiritual “Jews”, but they would be liars. Revelation 3:9 “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; (speaking of the great false religious system, known as “Babylon the great”, whose head is Satan the devil. They even go so far as to wear the little skull caps like Jewish men wear in worship, so as to appear as Jews. Observe the Pope and the Cardinals in their ceremonies!) Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, (when true spiritual Jews are in the Kingdom of God.) and to know that I have loved thee.” This should give you a better understanding of Christ’s statement, “Salvation is of the Jews".