I. Simple chiastic structure of God’s big plan.
II. God made promises he will keep. (Genesis 12:1-3, 7-8)
III. God’s plan for Israel until Christ (John 4:20-24)
A. Jesus’ ministry focused on the Jewish people. (Matthew 10:5, 15:24-25)
B. Jesus came looking for fruit from this vineyard. (Matthew 21:33-41, 43; Isaiah 5:1-7)
C. When Israel rejected her Messiah, she closed herself off from salvation.
IV. After God removes the Church, his focus will return to Israel.
A. God’s plans for Israel (Romans 11:25-26, 28-36)
B. Replacement theology?
There are clear OT prophecies that Israel will regain the land in the future, and in such a way that they will never be uprooted from it again. (Amos 9:14-15, Isaiah 11:14-15)
C. Recent history
V. So what?
A. Open your eyes to what God is doing in our world even now.
B. Don’t forget our spiritual heritage.
C. Let’s not be blind to Israel’s blindness.
D. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
1) If you were on an elevator and someone asked what the Bible is about, and you had just 30 seconds to answer, what would you say?
2) What aspects of the larger Biblical story are essential to get in and which are less important? How do you decide that? Is that based on your preference? Are all sections of the Bible equally important because they are equally God’s word?
3) Is it possible for a Jewish person to truly love God the Father and totally reject Christ? Is that really loving the Father? Consult John 5:19-24.
4) Were the Temple sacrifices effective after the crucifixion for those who rejected Christ? What did it mean for the temple curtain to be torn in two?
5) In Matthew 11:33-41 and 43, from whom is the vineyard taken and to whom is it given?
6) To whom do Christians owe a greater burden: to their Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ or to the secular nation-state of Israel? If you have greater sympathy for one or the other, which is it and why?
Why has the church had a such a checkered past with anti-Semitism? Do you think the church as a whole is too loyal to Israel, or have we been too distant and aloof?
7) From moving behind the schemes to controlling every little move, how involved do think God is in current geo-political movements in the Middle East?
8) Have you ever thought of going to Israel? What would keep you from taking the trip? What blessing might it bring? If you have been to Israel, please share your experience.