It was on this day in the year 1970 that the Israeli Knesset passed a bill that defined a Jew as being someone who was born of a Jewish mother, or someone who had converted to Judaism. This legal definition of who was a Jew led to another position that stipulated anyone who was of another faith, or who was Jewish but converted to another faith, could not be considered an Israeli. Consequently, these people were not allowed to immigrate to Israel.
With all due respect to our Jewish friends, this legislation defined an Israeli based on bloodlines and genealogies. In sharp contrast to this flesh and blood definition is the biblical one. Scripture makes it clear that those who are of faith are part of Israel in God’s eyes. For example, Ruth and Rahab, neither of whom were born ethnically Israeli, were nevertheless accounted in the genealogy of Messiah because they chose to join themselves to Israel. This is not to suggest that those of faith replace Israel, as some have argued. In fact, we wholeheartedly reject the idea that the Church has replaced Israel. We are arguing that those who have come to faith in Messiah have been grafted into and have become part of the family called Israel. As Paul tells us in Galatians 3:29:
“If you are Messiah’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
As was already pointed out, one aspect of this Israeli law is that those who would emigrate to Israel must prove that they are “Jewish” as defined by the Knesset and the Israeli courts. Based on what Paul says in Galatians 3:29, it shouldn’t be this way because part of the promise made unto Abraham and his seed concerned the land of Israel. The land is part of the covenant of which you and I, in Messiah, have been granted to be partakers of. Furthermore, Paul made it clear what constitutes a “Jew” in the Creator’s eyes:
“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.” (Romans 2:28-29)
There will come a day, whether men or governments understand or agree with it, when the Messiah will gather all of His people into the land as He sits upon the Throne of His Kingdom. Again, according to Scripture, God’s people are not determined exclusively by man’s definition or even man’s interpretation of what God has defined. When all is said and done, people are going to be surprised at who Messiah designates as part of His family, Israel, and who He doesn’t. As followers of Messiah, it is our responsibility to take our proper place – our assigned place – at His family table. If we are going to appreciate the responsibility bestowed upon us, we must view ourselves in the way the Creator views us – as His people.
Watch the video here.