Is there any hope for the people of Israel outside of Jesus Christ? That is the question that I put before you today. Once again I will go to the scriptures to answer that question.
But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:45-47)
What a powerful portion of scripture we have here. Paul and Barnabas were preaching the word of God and people were getting saved. Of course there were many Jewish people who rejected the gospel that Paul preached and there was a great controversy that took place. Paul and Barnabas both “waxed bold” and testified to those who opposed them. They basically told them that the gospel was meant to go to them first (to the Jewish people) but now that they have rejected the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ, they would move on and give the gospel to the Gentiles. Not only that but they told the Jewish people that the scriptures had prophesied of that very thing! Paul and Barnabas were referring to the prophet Isaiah who uttered the following words:
I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isaiah 42:6)
This scripture is speaking of a person who will be given for a “covenant of the people” and that person was Jesus Christ. It makes it very clear that Christ would be a light for the Gentiles also.
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)
Do not forget the fact that Paul was once a severe persecutor of Christians and he even consented unto the death of some, until Jesus confronted him from heaven. (Acts 26:1-3) From that day forward, Paul was a new man with a new message that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah) (Acts 9:22) So how was that message received by the Jewish people of Paul’s day?
And straightway he (Paul) preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul(Paul) increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: (Acts 9:20-23)
So after Saul (Paul) had that amazing Damascus road experience with the Lord Jesus Christ, he went preaching the gospel, and it was but a short time before the Jewish people wanted to kill him! Paul was making it clear to his own people (Paul was Jewish) that Jesus was in fact the Christ (that word means Messiah) and that they needed to turn to Him!
The apostle Paul suffered much for the preaching the truth of the gospel, and many are persecuted severely for preaching the gospel in modern times also. In the passage below, Paul is testifying before King Agrippa about the message he was preaching and the reason that the Jews wanted to kill him:
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:19-23)
The one thing that I want you to notice here is that Paul told them that the message he was preaching was no different from what the prophets, and Moses, said should come. Paul was putting his endorsement upon the Old Testament scriptures, showing how they prophesied of the coming Christ (Messiah). Earlier, in the book of Acts, Paul spoke in a similar manner regarding the same subject:
For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. (Acts 13:27)
Paul is basically saying that the Jewish people who put Jesus the Christ (Messiah) to death, did not realize or believe Him to be the Christ (Messiah). They did not really know and (understand) the voices of the prophets. Jesus Christ was slain on the cross but even His death was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah in chapter fifty three (Isaiah 53:1-12). That chapter is one of the most compelling prophecies in the Bible, considering the fact that it was given approximately 700 years before Jesus was slain on the cross.
Listen to the apostle Paul testify here again:
And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (Acts 26:6-7)
Do you hear what Paul is saying here? He is testifying that he is being judged for the “hope of the promise” that God had made to “our fathers”. He was talking about the “fathers of the faith” meaning people such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and others like Moses. Paul was making it clear that Jesus Christ was the very fulfillment of that promise. On another occasion Paul testified that he was chained (imprisoned) for “…the hope of Israel…” (Acts 28:20)
That is why Paul had such a continual sorrow in his heart for his very own people. (Romans 9:1-8) Paul knew that the Jewish people were lost without Jesus Christ. Paul knew that they would “die in their sins” even as Jesus said would happen if they rejected Him. (John 8:21-24)
We are talking about life and death issues here. We are talking about eternity here. We are talking about heaven and hell here. There is only ONE hope for the Jewish people and ONE hope for the Gentiles and that is Jesus Christ. The New Covenant is in HIS BLOOD and that BLOOD was shed approximately 2000 years ago.