“He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Why did the Jews reject Jesus? Why do most Christians refuse to accept the authority and rule of the Christ they profess?
Those who call themselves Christians marvel that the Jews didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah. They look with horror at the blasphemy of those who refused to recognize the One sent as their Savior! Yet these same Christians are making a similar mistake.
The Jews were not looking for a Savior-type of Christ, but a Warrior-King to establish Israel’s rule over all the earth. Christians are not looking for a ruling King, but a conscience-saving scapegoat. Each, in looking for the one, is blind to the other!
Yet, in God’s full truth the office of Sacrifice that Jesus filled is not understood by Christians, and the office of King and World-ruler that Christ will fill is misunderstood by the Jews!
You can’t accept the sacrifice of Christ without accepting His rule as King and Master, Lord and Maker. Boss and Leader in your life! You can’t accept the soon-coming King of kings without accepting the Man of sorrows, despised, rejected, numbered with the transgressors, beaten, bruised and crucified, until He poured out His soul unto death, the only acceptable sacrifice for your sins!
The Jews have not accepted this Sacrifice; the Christians have not accepted this King! This whole world truly is deceived (Rev. 12:9).
Why did the Jews reject Jesus? Why do most Christians refuse to accept the authority and rule of the Christ they profess? Why do the Jews steadfastly avoid the New Testament, not recognizing it as Scripture? Why do the Christians just as steadfastly ignore the Old Testament when Jesus Christ Himself said we are to live by every word of God? How is it that the Jewish people, noted for their intelligence, were not able to see the prophecies in their own writings pointing to Jesus of Nazareth? How is it that the Christians, who do see these prophecies, are not able to see that these same prophecies point to the soon-return of Jesus, now made “both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36) to establish the Kingdom of God on earth?
These questions need to be squarely faced and answered! The only way to get the whole truth, the plain truth and the real truth is to consult God’s Word! “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
The Jews can’t accept the practices and teachings of modern-day Christianity because this Christianity does not agree with the teachings of the Old Testament! Christians can’t accept Judaism because they look with disdain upon it as “the law of Moses” which they consider done away! The truth is, both Christians and Jews need to repent of their ways and come to see God’s whole truth which is neither Judaism nor what today’s professing Christian world practices mistakenly called Christianity.
Notice the erroneous view points of both religions summed up in The Jewish Encyclopedia, article, “Jesus:”
“It was not the living but the departed Jesus that created the Church with Peter as the Rock (Matt. 16:18); while according to the Jewish Haggadah, Abraham was made the rock upon which God built His Kingdom.”
The Jews are able to see Abraham and Moses but they can’t see Jesus! The Christians are able to see Peter and Paul, but they can’t see Christ! The Jews were consistently arguing with Jesus, trying to trip Him up asking questions about the Law of Moses, what His viewpoints were. While they consistently claimed to be the followers of Moses, and the children of Abraham, Jesus consistently showed them that by their actions they proved themselves to be the children of the Devil (John 8:44) and disbelievers in the doctrines of Moses (John 5:46)!
Nowhere in the Old Testament is there a scripture which proclaims that the God of heaven is going to build His Kingdom upon the man Abraham. The promise to Abraham is very plain, that it would be through his seed that this Kingdom would be established!
Nowhere in the New Testament is there any scripture which states that the Church of God was to be built upon any mere flesh and blood, but upon the Chief Cornerstone, the immortal Jesus Christ. He is the same Spiritual Rock that followed the Israelites in their flight from Egypt (I Cor. 10:4); the same Rock mentioned throughout the entire chapter of Deuteronomy 32; the same Stone of stumbling and Rock of offense mentioned in Isaiah (Isa. 8:14-18); the same Rock that will smite the image, representative of all governments, and destroy it (Dan. 2:45), the same Great Rock upon which Jesus told Peter (the pebble) that He would build His Church!
When God intended to call the Ethiopian eunuch into His Church, He saw to it that that eunuch, a convert to Judaism would come to understand the true meaning of Passover, the necessity of the sacrifice of the Son of God to save mankind from its sins! This is the reason that the Holy Spirit had guided the eunuch’s mind to Isaiah 53. At the same time that great power was being used to transport Philip bodily into the presence of the eunuch so he could describe, make plain and understandable, the truth of the scriptures the eunuch was reading. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scriptures and preached unto him Jesus” (Acts 8:35). From this scripture Philip preached, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (I Corth. 5:7)!
In context with its comment on Isaiah 53, The Jewish Encyclopedia says: “There appears to be no evidence of any Jewish conception of a Messiah suffering through and for His people” (article Jesus). No, the Jews had “dreamed of the coming of a second David, who would reestablish them as a glorious nation” (article “Messiah”). They understood part of the plan of God. They realized that the Messiah would restore the Kingdom to Israel, that He would setup His glorious Kingdom to rule this entire earth that He would come as a great conquering King. This hope was especially fervent at the time of Jesus, because of the persecution the Jews were suffering under the domination of the Roman Empire. They looked for a Messiah-King to lead them out of this political trouble to establish a kingdom here on this earth to give them peace and security at last!
What they utterly refused to see was that the same Messiah, the same God-King would also first have to come as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. They could not bear to think of their Messiah as lowly, as despised, as One who would eventually die in an ignominious and vile death! “No Messiah that the Jews could recognize could suffer such a death; he that is hanged is accursed to God’ (Deut. 21:23), an insult to God’ (Targum, Rashi)” (The Jewish Encyclopedia, article “Jesus). Holding steadfastly to their belief and hope in a king who would restore their dominance over the other nations of the earth, the Jews refused to accept the plain statements of God’s prophets proclaiming the rejection and death of the one Messiah!
“Whatever had been Jesus’ anticipations, He bore the terrible tortures, due to the strain and cramping of the internal organs, with equanimity till almost the last, when he uttered the despairing and pathetic cry, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ (the Aramaic form of Ps 22, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?’), which showed that even his resolute spirit had been daunted by the ordeal. This last utterance was in all its implications itself a disproof of the exaggerated claims made for him after his death by his disciples. The very form of his punishment would disprove those claims in Jewish eyes” (The Jewish Encyclopedia, article “Jesus”). Though they plainly admit that the Jesus of your Bible did go through the torture and final death that the New Testament proclaims as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind, they insist on shutting their Jewish eyes to this startling truth.
The Jews were ignorant of the real meaning of the Passover sacrifice and its place in the very beginning of the plan of salvation. Just as confusedly, today’s Christians do not observe the true Passover on its proper day and are also ignorant of the true significance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! Most believe that all things ended on the cross (stake), whereas the plan of God plainly shows that the death of Jesus Christ was but the beginning.
At the time of Jesus’ life on this earth, Herod the king in Judea, the wise men from the nations to the east, and many of the priests, scribes, and elders, as well as the common people, realized that the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9 was nearing its completion. The Messiah, the Prince, was eagerly looked forward to, to free them from the yoke of the Roman oppression. The Messiah was expected because of an understanding of this prophecy. But He was misunderstood when He appeared in the fulfillment of this prophecy, because they refused to recognize the first portion of the prophecy and hung their hope only on the last portion.
“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy” (Dan. 9:24). The entire 70 weeks of prophetic days 490 years was to include “reconciliation for iniquity and also “to bring in everlasting righteousness.” The immediate misunderstanding that the Jews had about this prophecy was that both of these events would take place one and the same time.
“Knowing therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” (Dan. 9:25). Here, very plainly, is listed the exact times at which the prophesied Messiah would appear to begin to do the work mentioned in verse 24. The command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given by Artaxerxes in 456 B.C. Much of the book of Ezra and the entire book of Nehemiah cover this particular event. Seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks equal 69 weeks. So the prophecies show that from the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem in 457 B.C. it would be 483 years until the appearance of the prophesied Messiah to begin fulfilling the works of verse 24.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not, for himself. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Dan. 9:26-27).The focal point of this entire prophecy is the last week!
It is very plainly stated that the last week of this great prophecy would be cut into two distinct parts! Even though the time period of 70 weeks has passed long ago, the ultimate fulfillment of the last half of the last weeks is yet to take place, because the Messiah was cut off in the middle of that last week! The Jews could not reconcile the thought of their great Messiah-King having to first be humiliated by being rejected, despised and finally killed before He came to rule over them as their glorious King!
Christians have a similar problem, because they cannot reconcile in their minds a Savior who has the gentleness and love of the true Jesus and at the same time the great power and fury and anger of the coming King of kings who will tolerate no rebellion against His law, but wreaks horrible vengeance and pours out agonizing plagues on the head of all those who insist on going their own way!
Another enigma for the Jews, an enigma that cannot be solved by only one coming of the Messiah, was the location of His first appearance. When the wise men came from the East to inquire where they might find the newborn King, Herod gathered together the chief priests, scribes and the elders of the people and asked them what the Scriptures had to say. The answer is very plain: “And they said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judea: for this it is written by the prophets,” (Matt. 2:5), “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel” (Mic. 5:2). They recognized from this prophecy, where the Messiah would be born. Yet, if He was to come only once, it is difficult to reconcile the scripture which says, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives” (Zech. 14:4).This is the first place that the King of kings, the Messiah will appear on the earth!
They made the same mistake thousands make today when they read only one verse, taking it out of context and not letting the Bible interpret the Bible! They so badly wanted an All-powerful, returning, conquering King to restore their glory as a physical nation, that they assumed that the time of the coming forth of the Messiah from Bethlehem was the same time as His being Ruler in Israel!
The Jews did not accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the Messiah, as the One who fulfilled the agonizing prophecies of Isaiah 53, they rejected, and must still reject, that entire chapter as being the Word of God, because: “There appears to be no evidence of any Jewish conception of a Messiah suffering through and for His people” (The Jewish Encyclopedia, article “Jesus”). No, the idea was not a Jewish conception; it was conceived in the mind of God as the first and indispensable part of the plan of salvation for mankind!
All through the Holy Scriptures from Genesis 3:15 on, the theme of a Savior-Sacrifice was carried out! The powerful story of Abraham’s sacrificing his son should have illustrated to all those who claimed to be Abraham’s descendants the fact that there must be a sacrifice for the sins of mankind! Very thorough and complete laws of sacrifice, the burnt offering, the peace offering, the sin and the trespass offering certainly demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt that there could be no remission of sin except by blood! And, plainly man’s sin could not be forgiven with the blood of a sheep or a goat! The very Passover sacrifice that redeemed Israel from Egypt pointed to the sacrifice of a Savior to redeem all mankind from sin!
Psalm 22 shows explicitly the agonizing suffering that this Savior would go through! Minute details were covered by many prophecies, too numerous to mention, over three hundred throughout the Old Testament! By their own Scriptures the Jews should have known that their Savior, their Messiah would be betrayed by a friend (Ps. 41:9). They should have known that He would be offered gall and vinegar at the height of His ferocious thirst as He hung on the stake paying for the sins of mankind (Ps. 69:21)! They should have known that the Holy One of Israel, though He were cut off, killed, and dead, would not be left in the grave but would be resurrected (Ps. 16:10-11)! They should have known that the same prophecies in Daniel which speak of Messiah the Prince as bringing in righteousness and holiness forever, also spoke of Him as being KILLED!
Because they could not understand the true meaning of the Passover sacrifice they dared not think of their Messiah as being cut off! They could not believe the prophet Zechariah when he said, “lowly, and riding upon an ass” (Zech. 9:9). They could not bear to think of their King as lowly.
A key to the fact that these scriptures show both a first and a second coming of Jesus Christ is found in Matthew’s account of the fulfillment of this prophecy in Zechariah. “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, tell ye the daughter of Sion, behold thy King comes unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matt. 21:4-5).This prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth at that particular time!
Yet it was only fulfilled to a certain point! “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:10). This scripture was not quoted in Matthew 21 as being fulfilled, because the time of its fulfillment was yet future! Jesus was at that time fulfilling the first part of this prophecy, but stopped quoting that prophecy at exactly the place where He stopped fulfilling that prophecy at that time.
Jesus made this principle very clear in Nazareth where He stood up to read one Sabbath day, and turning to the book of Isaiah read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18-21)! Now turning to Isaiah 61, which was the scripture Jesus was reading, notice the very unusual fact that He stopped reading in the middle of a sentence! “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn” (Isa. 61:2) If you continue reading the verses just after this in Isaiah 61 you will see the prophecies mentioned here continue through a description of what Jesus Christ will do when He returns to this earth at His second coming as King of kings and Lord of lords!
The book of Isaiah is full of many prophecies which can have no meaning unless they point to a Savior-Sacrifice; very plainly showing that at His first coming the Messiah would be rejected of men. The Jews are without excuse!
If they accept the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah to establish His kingdom and rule and government on this earth forever, then they must accept the other prophecies which are many times part of the same sentence that show that Messiah had to first come and sacrifice Himself for mankind!
Of course, in order for us to have had a Savior, He had to be sacrificed and rejected of His people. But the same principle that applied to Judas Iscariot applies to the people responsible for His death “Woe unto the world because of offenses! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes” (Matt. 18:7). If the Jews had recognized their Lord and Savior they would not have crucified Him “Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Cor. 2:8). God purposely left the world in the dark and allowed human nature to reject, torture, and crucify His Son!
It is no more the fault of the Jews, than of the Romans; it is no more the fault of the Roman soldier who thrust Him through with a spear than it is of YOU, who by your sins have necessitated His sacrifice!
“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:22-23). Judaism claims its rock to be Abraham and they have not rejeceted him! But the Bible very plainly shows the Rock to be Jesus Christ, the One they rejected, that is the Head Cornerstone of the foundation of the Kingdom of God! Those who have borrowed the name of Christ and dubbed themselves Christians either claim their rock to be Peter (and they have not refused him!) or, philosophize and spiritualize away the New Testament scriptures which plainly proclaim Christ as the Rock upon which the Church of God would be built!
So the builders of Judaism have rejected the Chief Cornerstone in building their building! The builders of today’s Christianity have rejected the Chief Cornerstone in their building! “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1).
Judaism claimed to be built on Abraham and Moses, but Jesus Christ said to those Jews that if they had believed Moses they would also believe Him! Today’s Christianity is no more built on Christ than was Judaism build on Moses! “Howbeit in vain to they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8).
The very first warning Jesus gave to His disciples in Matthew 24 when they asked Him what the things would be that would precede His second coming was, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). Jesus pointed out to the Jews of His day that they were liars when they claimed to have Abraham as their father and Moses as their guide, showing that they were using the name of Abraham and the name of Moses but only deceiving themselves and many others. They were neither keeping Abraham’s faith nor living by the laws that Moses had given to them.
The same Jesus Christ pointed out that there would arise those after His first coming who would admit that Jesus was the Christ, use His name and label themselves with it, as Christians! But the stern warning He gave was that they would no more be Christians than the Jews were followers of Moses!
The Jews did not want to recognize a Savior who would be purchased for the price of a slave, thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:12-13). The Jews did not want to recognize a Savor who would be smitten, cut off, killed the Shepherd of God smitten and the sheep scattered abroad (Zech. 13:7 and Matt. 26:31). The Jews did not want to be scattered abroad!
They have been persecuted, scattered abroad, taken into captivity throughout their entire history! What they wanted was a returning conquering Hero-King of kings and Lord of lord to bring them world dominion!
Most Christians do not want to accept a King who will Rule over them. Who would actually tell them how to live every facet of their life! Christians do not want a King who made the law that the Jews boasted they were keeping even more applicable to those who would be His followers (Matt. 5:20). Christians do not want a King who say to them, “so likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). They do not want a King who says, “If ye love me keep My commandments” (John 15:15). They do no want a King who demands, “That you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable (spiritual) service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (the complete changing of doing things your way, or of even thinking of doing things your way), that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Jesus Christ says to both Christians and Jews who reject that true Rock as their foundation: “He that says, I know him, and keeps not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is no in him” (I John 2:4). These Christians are without excuse!
If they accept the prophecies over 300 strong, of the humble carpenter of Nazareth, born of a virgin by the Spirit of God, a human descendant of David as well, a Healer of the multitudes, a Preacher of righteousness; the One who preached repentance and the Kingdom of God; the One who was beaten and tortured and finally sacrificed on a stake pouring out every drop of His life’s blood in an ignominious death between criminals! - If they accept these prophecies, then they must accept the prophecies of His second coming and of His return to restore order to the world and bring in the everlasting kingdom of God!
If these prophecies are to be spiritualized away, turned into the sentimental and weak doctrine that the Church is the Kingdom of God, or that the Kingdom is established in the hearts of men, that there will be no real personal, absolute, concrete, direct return of that mighty Jesus Christ, then there is no reason to believe that the same prophecies also demand an actual personal sacrifice of a Savior in the first place! So, in rejecting the truth of Jesus Christ’s return to this earth as King of kings and Lord of lords to Rule here, today’s Christianity also rejects its Savior! And the Jews, in rejecting their Savior, also reject the Kingdom of God that they so long looked forward to!
The same message Jesus preached in Palestine almost 2,000 years ago is just as much for the world today as it was for the world then! All the various factions of religious life in that day, the scribes, the Pharisees, the Essenes, the Haggadists, etc. thought, or least claimed, they were keeping God’s law! The various Christian factions today, calling themselves by the name of Christ, think they are keeping what God requires of them! But they are not!
The same Gospel Jesus preached then is applicable today! Before that Jesus Christ comes in all His glory with all His angels to conquer, govern, and rule, cleanse and purify this earth, the same warning message that John the Baptist preached is being proclaimed to this world as a fulfillment of Matt. 24:14!
To prepare for the coming Kingdom of God, the message is the same today as yesterday, the only way to enter into the New World to come, is to “REPENT YE: FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND” (Matt. 3:2)! And, “to bring forth fruit meet for repentance.” (Matt. 3:8)
“Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal; the Lord knows them that are his. And, let every one that names the name of Christ (call themselves Christians) depart from iniquity” (II Tim 2:19).
God is building His church, but not the one the world considers to be Christian! Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).
The message is the same to the Jews as it is to the Christian. Only true repentance, the giving up of your ideas, your concepts, your ways, your theories, will bring you to the place where you are really ready to accept your Savior and live a true Christian life!
Speaking of His second coming Jesus says: “And it shall come to pass in that day that I will seek to destroy al the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:9-10). The One they killed and hung on a stake! They will have to admit that their King of kings was Jesus of Nazareth! But this verse is not just to the Jews! It is to the entire world, because the one who nailed Christ to the stake is not the only one who pieced Him! The one who thrust Him through with a spear was only acting as the agent in taking out the vengeance of your sins and mine on our Savior!
You will look upon the Savior whom you have pierced! Do not make the same mistake the Jews make! Do not accept part of God’s Word and reject the other part! Turn to God! Ask Him to open your eyes to see the whole truth, the entire fascinating, living, pulsating plan of God for your life! He that has an ear, let him hear” (Rev. 2:7)!