Torah: B’resheit (Genesis) 12:1-17:27
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 40:27-41:16
B’rit Chadasha: Romans 11:1-36
“All Israelites have a share in the World-to-Come,” declares the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 11:1), echoing Rabbi Sha’ul’s declaration that,
[A]ll Israel will be saved. Even as it is written . . . Concerning the Good News, they are enemies for your sake. But concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Rom. 11:26, 28-29)
Understanding Israel’s true role in ecclesiology and eschatology is so important that Sha’ul spent three chapters of his epistle to the Romans systematically establishing God’s eternal fidelity to the Jewish people. Sadly, the vast majority of Christians through most of history have written the Jewish people off. “They’re just ‘Israel of the flesh,’” it is said, “while we are the true, spiritual Israel.” However common, such a teaching simply does not stand up to Scriptural scrutiny.
When God promised Abraham a son from his own loins—his own DNA, as it were—who would fulfill the promise to make Abraham into a great nation, He told Abraham to make preparations for the strongest form of covenant known to the ancient world: Several animals were brought forth and sacrificed, cut in half, and the halves set opposite of each other. The participants would then walk in a figure-8 pattern between the slain animals, reciting the covenant together. Symbolically, the ritual said, “If I break my word, may I be torn apart like these animals.”
Is it any wonder then that the Adversary has always set his sights on destroying Israel?
Yet, when the time came for the making of the covenant, God put Abraham in a deep sleep and walked between the animals alone. This means that the covenant giving Abraham Canaan was completely unilateral. There is nothing Israel could do to permanently lose the Promised Land: “Here is what I am saying: the legal part of the Torah, which came into being 430 years later, does not nullify an oath sworn by God, so as to abolish the promise” (Gal. 3:17).
It is no coincidence that Israel has returned to the Land at the same time that the Great Commission is so close to fulfillment (cf. Isa. 11:10ff). This is not a time to challenge God’s covenant with Abraham, but to rejoice with our Jewish brothers and sisters in the keeping of that covenant, and to prepare for the imminent return of our King.