Jews, Gentiles, and the Church of God
by Pastor Chas Stevenson
I would like to address a subject here that has been confusing and misleading to some Christians today. The subject concerns the nation of Israel and the question of its position of preeminence as it pertains to the Church, the Body of Christ. I will also address the relationship between Israel and the Unites States of America as a separate issue since the Church and the USA are not synonymous. And finally, I will explain the fallacy of the dual covenant theory of that Jews can still function freely under the Old Covenant.
I have heard many statements from believers as well as prominent preachers that have alarmed me to the point of correcting the trend and doctrine that is arising. Here are some of the statements I have heard:
1. "The biggest thing that God is doing right now is with Israel."
2. "Yes, the Christians are saved, but Israel is God's chosen people."
3. "If the Christian does not support Israel, God will judge him."
4. "If the Christian does not pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they will not be blessed."
5. "We do not need to preach to the Jews, for they have their own covenant with God and they will all be saved, regardless of whether they receive Christ or not."
6. "Christians should learn Jewish customs and celebrate the Jewish feast days as God commanded Israel."
All of these are incorrect, and we'll prove that out through this scriptural discussion. I am aware that many Christians enjoy the Jewish culture and history, and that is fine. It is God's history with mankind, and I enjoy some of it as well. And I certainly would not want any believer to be found to be anti-Jew (anti-Semitic), for we Christians are for all people. We are to love and bless all! And I admit that there is some extra love we Christians have toward the Jews, for if it weren't for them, we wouldn't be here. Because the history of the Old Testament is our foundation for Christ's coming, we fell in love with God and His first people and enjoyed all the great men and women of faith who walked with Him. And they were all Jews.
But when Christ came and preached, and then for the rest of the New Testament, Jews were separated into two groups: some believed, and some didn't. So there are Jews who are Christians, and there are Jews who are not. There are Jews who have a personal relationship with God through Jesus, and there are Jews who do not. There are Jews who call God 'Father', and there are Jews who call Abraham 'Father'. The New Testament is clear that if Jews do not believe in Jesus Christ, their blood is on their own heads, and they are not counted in the same class as believing Jews.
The danger is when the Old Covenant becomes more emphasized and celebrated than the New Covenant. This is our rule of Bible interpretation for the Old and New Testaments: The Old Covenant is a type, a symbol, a blueprint for the New Covenant. The Old Covenant blueprint reveals the plan of God for the New Covenant we currently live in. The Jews were definitely God's first people, but they are no longer His only people.
We are living today in the fulfillment of God's plan. For example, for any new house that is built, the contractors use a blueprint. The blueprint is the plan from the architect that contains all the details of what the house will look like. But here is the point: when the construction of the house is finished, there is no more need of the blueprint. You have the actual house. The blueprint can be rolled up and placed in the closet. We are living in the real house! And though it can be very interesting to see how a house was designed and constructed, it is always more interesting to live in it. So it is with the Old Testament. We do still study the Old Testament in order to gain a tremendous amount of insight into God and man. But it's always reviewed in "light of" the New Testament, or God's new way of dealing with man.
We must make sure that Christians understand that God's grace opened up to all people equally. That means that God doesn't favor any person over another before they are saved. And once they are saved, each person falls into the exact same category: 'child of God.' And they are all favored equally - above heathen sinners and above unbelieving Jews. Contrary to the Old Covenant, God did not set this New Covenant up by partitioning off the Jews and excluding them from the rest of the world in His dealings. Instead, it is more as if God took the people of all nations, including Israel, and threw them into one big bowl. The gospel of Jesus Christ is preached to the one big bowl (the whole world), and anyone who believes can hop out of the one big bowl and into relationship with God. At the last day when Christ returns, God will pluck the remaining Jews back out of the one bowl, re-establish Jerusalem, and add them to the body of Christ (assuming they all believe when they see Him). Thus, the body of Christ, the Church, "which is the fullness of Him that filleth all in all", will be enlarged as the believing Jews are added.
There is no need to argue whether the Church has replaced Israel or not because Christ has replaced everything. Christ is the trunk of the tree, the vine of the Olive Tree, the Heart and Soul of God's redemption. Everything centers around Him now. Only from Him does anyone get life from God. It doesn't come because of my race or religion or the relationship that my ancestors had with God. Jews are saved the same way Gentiles are saved, just as Paul, Peter, and John, and Jesus preached. And if a Jew rejects Christ now, he'd better hope that Christ returns while he is still alive so he can see and repent. If not, Mark 16:16 works just as Jesus said it would, and any unbeliever, even a Jew, will be damned (condemned) if he doesn't believe. And we know that Jesus was preaching specifically TO the Jews when He made that statement.
As a matter of fact, Jews no longer need to keep the Old Covenant, since God has given them a New One. "For finding fault with them, He says, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day.For this is the Covenant that I will make with the house of Israel.I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.In that He says, A new covenant, He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away." (Hebrews 8-13). There is no need for a Jew to try and keep both covenants. The New Covenant has replaced the Old Covenant. The doctrine of the "Holy Spirit within" has replaced all the carnal commandments and ordinances that Israel and Judah were once commanded to obey. It is the blessed, long-awaited promise from the Lord God, so that His people would no longer have to bath themselves in outward rituals.
So, we see clearly that all Jews have not been utterly discarded by God and replaced by the Christians. First of all, any Jew who receives Christ remains in the family of God and on "the Vine" (the family tree). The Church is now the family tree of God and it includes both Jews and Gentiles - anyone who confesses Jesus as Lord. But all unbelieving Jews have been cut off ("The branches were broken off.Well; because of unbelief they were broken off." Romans 11:19-20). Since Christ and His great commission has become the focal point of God and His work on earth, Israel's 'clock' has been paused. And as a nation, Israel is clearly not receiving the covenant blessing of the Lord. However, there is still some very important prophecy concerning Israel yet to be fulfilled. In the last day, the clock will certainly be turned back on for Daniel's "70th week" to come to pass. At this time, Israel will be fully restored upon the second coming of the Messiah, the unbelieving Jews who remain alive will become believers in Christ, and earthly Jerusalem with Christ as King will again become the focal point of God. The only drawback to this is that many Jews are dying today, and also many Jews will be killed during the seven year tribulation. So only a portion will be alive to believe on Christ when He comes.
Even now, we see that God is slowly re-gathering the Jews and preparing the city of Jerusalem for that great and final hour. But we must admit that Israel, as a nation, is not receiving the covenant blessing of peace and prosperity at this time. Jewish individuals who believe in Jesus can partake of that blessing. But the unsaved nation is still in constant battle with the enemies encamped around them, and their land is not flowing with milk and honey, peace and prosperity. The reason for this is that as a nation, Israel rejected God's New Covenant and cannot "bear fruit" because they are not part of the Vine. Israel rejected the Prince of Peace, and therefore she will have no peace until the last day when every eye sees Him - no physical peace as a nation, and certainly no spiritual peace as individuals who have rejected Christ.
Why do we need to emphasize this?
Because we need to stay in the middle of the road and not get into the ditch of distraction. Some preachers are pulling hard the other way and forcing the Church to look at Israel. From what I have heard, it sounds like the reason is because in the past, people have persecuted the Jews under the name of Christianity and argued that the Jews have been replaced. But I say that real Christians would never persecute anyone and that most preaching today is not in danger of causing them to. And if we did need to bring correction to Christians, we do so as Paul the Apostle did in Romans 11:18-21 "Do not boast against the branches (that were broken off).for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also not spare thee." But I have never seen a mature Christian boast against the Jews. Instead, we love them and care for them and hurt for their rejection of Christ.
The problem that I have found is that some believers are being given the idea that God loves them, but maybe not quite as much God loves the Jews. Or said another way.. the Jews are "special". I agree. The Jews are special. But so am I. I accepted God's only Son, and therefore He loves me dearly. I've not got any Jewish blood in me, but I received the King of the Jews as my Lord, and I'm in. As a matter of fact, only believers are 'in'. Unbelievers are out, and that includes unbelieving Jews. Or have we forgotten the gospel of Christ? Have we reverted back to carnal commandments, nations, and blood lines, and forgotten that Jesus is the pivotal issue? So, anyone who has received God's Son is more 'special' than anyone who has not. Isn't that what the gospel teaches us?
What about the gospel Truth? "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36). "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (1 John 5:12). The word 'life' is the Greek word 'zoe', and refers to the life of God. Those without Christ, even unbelieving Jews, do not have the life of God in them. Instead, they have the wrath of God on them." And that's the gospel. That's the gospel to the Jew. That's the gospel to the Gentile.
I realize that as a race of people since Abraham, God has had a special plan for the Jews. And there is a specific end-time plan for the Jews as well as a Millennial plan. But this is the Church Age we are in now, and until Christ's return, God is focused on His Church, His children, and His New Covenant.
Furthermore, people have implied that the blessing and favor we receive is dependent on our blessing Israel somehow, either by prayer or sending money or giving our attention to. But what about the gospel of the kingdom? The New Testament contains no doctrine of blessing Israel in order to receive God's favor. Instead, it states that the blessing of God comes from our belief in Jesus Christ, our faith toward God, and our living uprightly before God. How can we ignore the Redemption that occurred at the cross? Has Christ died in vain?
And in the New Testament, The scripture clearly states that we are to "do good unto all men, especially to those of the household of faith." The Spirit always says that it is the saints who we are to give attention and blessing now that Christ has risen.
1. Does God still favor the nation of Israel?
Primarily, God is not dealing with nations anymore. He deals with people. Aside from the fact that God is slowly preparing Jerusalem and gathering the Jews for the last day, He is neither blessing Israel exceedingly nor wiping out all their enemies. That day will come. But for now, God's sole desire for Israel is that they respond to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Favor or blessing today depends upon first a covenant with God (which is solely through Jesus Christ), and faith toward God for that covenant. Throughout the Old Testament, the nation of Israel had a covenant with God. And when Israel (or Judah) was obedient, their nation was blessed. But when they disobeyed, God departed from them and left them to their enemies. His covenant blessing was only if they obeyed His law. His covenant curse came when they disobeyed. Today Israel, or the unsaved Jews, do not have a covenant with God due to their disobedience of rejecting the Messiah. They have been in disobedience for 2000 years because they rejected God's Word. As a nation, they refused the Messiah. They rejected the Prince of Peace. And therefore, Israel, as a nation, will never have peace until they repent and believe the gospel. If you take a look at Israel today, are they blessed or cursed? Have you ever been over there? They are sad. In the Old Testament, any enemy of the Jews was struck down by God - but only while the nation of Israel chose life and obedience. When they refused God's words, their enemies encompassed them round about. So what about today? Has God given them deliverance from their enemies? Absolutely not. Why not? Because they are still in disobedience, and now they are without a covenant. There are not two covenants that we all get to pick from. There is only one covenant. There is an old covenant, which has "decayed and become old and ready to vanish away." (Heb. 8:13), and a New Covenant. But there are not two viable options.
So, if anyone is praying for the peace of Jerusalem, then they are only praying for the Lord Jesus Christ to return to earth so the Jews will believe. Until then, the only way a Jew can have peace is by believing in and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. But that is on an individual level, just like a person of any nationality. The nation as a whole will never have peace again until the Antichrist gives them three and one half years of false peace before his rampage, and then again when Jesus returns.
2. Scriptures to consider
A. The "no people" have now become "the people."
Romans 10:16 "But they have not all obeyed the gospel.Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you."
Christians are the "no people" - they were once excluded from God's family tree. The "foolish nation" is not a physical nation, but a people - the Christian people - the people who have received the gospel. This is foolishness to the unbelieving Jew, but it is still true. And the result is that the unbelieving Jews are supposed to be made jealous by this. Even Paul wanted to "provoke to emulation (jealousy) them which are my flesh, and might save some of them." (Romans 11:14).
B. Has God discarded the Jews as a whole?
Rom 11:1-5 ".Hath God cast away His people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.I have reserved to myself seven thousand men.Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Paul, a Jew, explains that God has not cast away ALL His people, for Paul himself was an Israelite. But He was one who had received Christ. He also explains that there is an entire remnant of Jews who God set aside to believe the gospel. So not all of Israel has been cast away - only the unbelieving part of it.
Rom 11:7 "What then? Israel hath not obtained what which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." So only part of Israel has obtained the New Covenant in Christ.
C. Unbelieving Jews cut off. Believing non-Jews grafted in.
Rom 11:13-28 For I speak to you Gentiles.if some of the branches (unbelieving Jews) be broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Do not boast against the branches.because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them (unbelieving Jews) which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if you continue in his goodness.And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again."
The scripture speaks for itself, doesn't it?
D. All Israel saved?
Rom 11:25, 26 ".blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved."
For unbelieving Jews who are still alive at the last day, they will all be saved (assuming that the Messiah's feet on the mountain are enough to cause them to believe). But some have used this scripture to say that there is no need to preach the gospel to the Jews, since God will save them all. That is a tragedy. That is not the command from Jesus. He said to tell everyone to gospel and to start with the Jews. What happens for all those Jews who die before Christ's return? According to Jesus, it can only be hell. Remember, all of Jesus words concerning hell were spoken specifically to the Jews. When Jesus gave the great commission to His Jewish Apostles, He told them that anyone who didn't believe would be damned. And we know that the twelve (11+1) apostles had most of their ministry in Jerusalem, primarily only to the Jews. Unbelieving Jews will be in hell. There is no second chance after death, and that is why we are preaching this gospel to the Jew also.
E. The Holy Spirit calls Unbelieving Jews "our enemies".
Romans 11:28 "As concerning the gospel, they (unbelieving Jews) are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes."
Because of God's promises to the "fathers" (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David), the unbelieving Jews still hold a position of ?beloved', for God doesn't take back His callings. But just as unbelieving Jews sought to kill Jesus, and Paul, and Peter, and John, they still hold the title of ?enemy' among us believers. Remember what persecution is? If we preach the gospel to them, they will either believe and repent, or they will continue to persecute. We don't hold back our preaching to them so as to show them how we accept them and how we all have the same God and everything is friendly. No. We have the responsibility to warn them of the consequence of rejecting Jesus. I don't mind if we use wisdom, relationship, and timing to win a Jew or a Rabbi, but let's please realize that the gospel is where salvation comes from, and at some point it must challenge them.
F. Who does God love?
John 16:27 Jesus said, "The Father Himself loveth you because you have loved me, and have believed that I cam out from God."
God loves His Son. And God loves anyone who receives His Son. Does God love those who don't receive His Son? Yes, He loves the whole world. And He loves the election - even the unbelieving Jews. But it's the type of love that an earthly Father has toward a rebellious prodigal child. The child is still loved, but he is not fully accepted with right-standing until he repents. So who gets to experience the Father's love right now? Only the believers.
John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me."
Mark 16:16 ".he that believeth not shall be damned."
Luke 10:16 "He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth Him that sent me."
So theoretically, by rejecting Jesus, the unbelieving Jews have despised God (Him that sent me).
G. Jesus delivered the woe and the temporary judgment against Israel for rejecting Him.
Luke 19:41 Jesus wept over the city ?because you knew not the time of your visitation."
Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem .your house is left unto you desolate."
Mat 21:43 ".kingdom taken from you and given to another."
H. The believers are now called the "holy nation", the Church of God.
1 Pet 2:8-10 .they(Jews) stumble at the word, being disobedient.But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.which in time past were not a people, but are now THE PEOPLE OF GOD. This could not possibly be referring to Jews because they were never "not a people." It is referring to the Gentile believers.
Gal 6:16 Paul called the church the ?Israel' of God. And Rom 2:29 says we believers are all Jews, not of the flesh, but that which is inwardly..
3. So what advantage do Jews have with God?
None anymore. They previously had an advantage because they had the Word first. God entrusted Israel with the task of bringing in the Savior of the world. They had the prophecies first. They had Jesus first. And they had the gospel first. But the first has passed and now all nations can partake with equal advantage.
Romans 3:1-2 "What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."
4. But aren't there three classes of people? Jews, Gentiles, and the Church of God?
No. There are only two classes: saints and sinners. Or believers and unbelievers.
Some have used 1 Cor 10:32 to divide people into three classes, but this one scripture is not enough to establish a new doctrine and nullify the rest of the New Testament view of "with Christ or without Christ". "Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of God." But in context, there is a clear reason for this categorization. You see, in the early days of the gospel, it was preached in areas where both Jews and Greeks commingled, and both of them had their traditions that conflicted with the gospel. So there were 3 groups to acknowledge: believers, Jewish unbelievers, and Gentile unbelievers. The gospel of Christ was completely new to the Gentiles, and it was a complete abomination to many of the Jews. So the challenges of preaching were different for each group. It was, and still is, important to not offend those whom we preach to. And we do this by adhering to some of their outward customs so as to win some of them. Of course, we never violate our own belief system, and neither did the early apostles. This is the reason why the apostolic council meeting in Acts chapter 15 concludes with only 4 Hebrew commandments to Gentiles. And the reason for these commands is "For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day." (verse 21). So the point of the above scripture is not to distinguish three groups of people, but only to remind us not to offend anyone, regardless of their beliefs.
So, several times we see that Jewish laws and customs were followed by Paul, but primarily so as not to offend the unsaved Jews. Aside from these 4 commands, there are no other Jewish requirements for Gentiles, not even to keep the sabbath. So, though God may still have a future plan for Jews alone, right now He is dealing with all of humanity the same way: ".he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16).
5. How many covenants exist today?
There are not two (2) covenants. There is only the New one. The Old covenant has been superceded.
Even for Israel, the Old Covenant has been replaced. "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. 8:7-12). In addition, verse 6 reminds us that this New Covenant is a better one with better promises.
God has not added a Covenant. He has replaced one for another. God has filed the old one away in the desk, and it is no longer in use. "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old (become obsolete) is ready to vanish away." (Heb 8:13)
Concerning the New versus the Old, 2 Cor 3:11 says, "For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remains is glorious."
The Covenants of God have always been ratified by blood. So if we are to say that both Covenants still exist today and either one will get you to God, then we are saying that the blood of bulls and goats are equal to the blood of Jesus Christ. Obviously, that is ridiculous. Anyone who believes this is making the cross of Christ of no effect and a waste of time. Actually, the Old Covenant did not allow anyone access to God, for their sin still existed. It only allowed God to partially bless the nation. Only the New Covenant can give us access to God's presence, and that is God's earnest, heartfelt desire. "If righteousness came by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:21).
6. Here is one preacher's incorrect evidence on "Why Christians Should Support Israel"
1. False statement: God has promised to bless the man or nation that blesses the Chosen People. Gen 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curses thee; and in thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed." Correction: Have we ignored Galatians Ch. 3? We who are of faith.are the children of Abraham. And the blessing of Abraham has come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. So believers are now inserted into Genesis 12, and if we are technical about it, anyone who blesses the Christians will now be blessed. Remember, Christ existed before Abraham, and Christ is the trunk of the tree. So any unbelievers (even unbelieving Jews) are not "abiding in the vine" and have been chopped out of the family until they believe. Also, remember that the term ?chosen people' is mentioned in the N.T., and who is it talking about? The Christians, as well as the remnant of believing Jews. No non-believing Jews are mentioned. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." (1 Pet 2:9) Notice, no unbeliever has come out of darkness, even if he is a Jew.
2. False statement: Christians owe a debt of eternal gratitude to the Jewish people for their contributions that gave birth to the Christian faith. Romans 15:27 "For if the Gentiles have shared in their (the Jews) spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things." Correction: this is quoted out of context. If put in context, the above scripture clearly is talking only about the Jewish saints. See the previous scripture (verse 26) "For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem, For if the Gentiles have shared." We are commanded throughout scripture to care for saints everywhere. And we should give our material things to those who give us spiritual things. That would be the Christian teachers and preachers who have taught us the way of the Lord Jesus, as well as Jewish saints that we are in contact with. Some of us, however, have no link to any poor Jewish saints, so we put our attention and giving toward those who we do have contact with. There is no New Testament doctrine of sending money to Jerusalem.
3. False statement: The reason that Jesus went to heal the centurion's servant in Luke 7:5 is because Cornelius ".loveth our nation and has built us a synagogue." And so this proves that Jesus will bless those who bless Israel. Correction: If we view the scripture in light of its other mention in Matthew 8:5, The reason that Jesus went to heal the man is because he ?found so great faith." This was the man who said "speak the word only." The Jewish elders used the man's good work as a reason for Jesus to come bless his servant, but of course that is wrong. Jesus healed no one because of their merits or their good works or even their status. He did it because of faith.
4. False statement: The reason that God the Father selected the house of Cornelius in Caesarea to be the first gentile house in Israel to receive the Gospel was because he was ".a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people and prayed to God always." Who were the people to whom Cornelius gave these alms? Assumedly they were the Jews. So this proves that if you give to the Jews, you'll be blessed. Correction: But where is it recorded that the alms were to the Jews? It's not. Even if so, there is no reason that poor Jews are any less pitiful than non-Jewish poor people. Of course, we know from other teaching why God chose Cornelius: he feared God, prayed always, gave alms - he had a good and honest heart.
So in all these examples, incorrect assumptions are made without supporting scripture, and they are all wrong.
7. DO THE SAVED JEWS HAVE ANY PREEMINENCE OR FAVOR OR MORE POWER?
Being Jewish does not mean one can be happier, more righteous, nor more favored by God. Being Jewish does not provide more power, more anointing, more grace, nor more respect and admiration. Knowing Jesus from a Jewish standpoint gives no more revelation of the Messiah of all mankind. If so, the Holy Spirit, through the Pauline revelation and all other revelation of the New Testament, should have mentioned the importance of Gentiles pursing and acquiring the Jewish heritage and knowledge. But He didn't think it necessary. Even the early Christian council, headed by James the Lord's brother, decided that the only rules the Gentiles needed, other than the teaching that the Holy Spirit would provide them, was to avoid fornication, things strangled, blood, and food offered to idols. Wouldn't that have been a good time to remind Gentiles to learn all the Jewish customs and such?
Being Jewish, or knowing the Hebrew culture of the past, will never cause someone to know God better, or have a closer walk with Jesus, or know the fellowship of the Spirit any more than the guy who knows only the New Covenant indwelling of the Spirit. To know God more fully is only to know Love more fully, for God is Love. To have some Jewish insight on the symbol of the palm leaves Jesus walked on, or the significance of the pomegranates or the blue stripe on the priest's robe, or hundreds of other historical facts will not help anyone obey the Holy Spirit any better or have any more faith in God. It may be interesting, and anyone interested can enjoy some of the symbolic history. But the apostle Jude said to ?earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.' He did not say to , "earnestly seek after knowledge of Hebrew customs", or "make sure you visit Jerusalem so you can get some anointing at the western wall." No, Jesus pronounced a woe to the inhabitants of Jerusalem because they rejected him. They have still rejected him as a people. Jesus is still not there! The veil was torn from top to bottom and the Holy Spirit escaped out of the temple. There is no more power in Jerusalem than there is in Houston, TX. The power of God is found where the Spirit of God is present. And the Spirit of God is present inside people who believe in Jesus.
The spreading emphasis on Israel and the misleading condemnation that is being pressed upon the Church for their supposed lack of interest in giving money to Israel is very distracting. It is distracting us from the Great Commission and from the work at hand. If anyone wants to go over and preach to the Jews or feed the hungry saints in Jerusalem, or even preach as we feed unsaved Jews, I'm all for it. But in no way will I compromise the gospel, act as if we are on equal footing with the unbelieving Jews, and say that "we both have the same God, you know."
Beware of the false teaching that says we need not preach to the Jews since they have their own covenant. They do not. The New Covenant was given to the Jews to replace their Old One.
Furthermore, there is no second chance for a Jew to receive Christ after he dies. "It is appointed unto men to die once, but after this the judgment." The earth life is the only time we get to believe on Jesus Christ. Jesus was clear on that. With Christ, there is everlasting life. Without Him, there is only eternal hell and the lake of fire and brimstone.
Think about it: couldn't it only be the devil who would try to convince us that the Jews don't need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ? Satan has tried this in the past with the Universalist theory that all people go to heaven because God loves all people. And he is trying it with the Jews by saying that God loves the Jews no matter what. Neither is true.
So, live in the New Covenant, fulfill the commission of the Lord Jesus Christ, and don't be misled by doctrines of devils and bored Christians.