What Does It Mean That Israel Is 3rd?

Hey, thanks again for sending in your questions and interacting with our sermons. We always have a good time with these. So thank you once again for letting us know what you are hearing and then asking questions that help us clarify what we are saying. The question this week has to do with Isaiah 1924, which we mentioned in the sermon last week, and it says that Israel will be third behind Egypt and Assyria. And what in the world does it mean that Israel will be third?

Especially since isn’t Israel supposed to be the chosen nation and a city on a hill and all that, and God’s chosen people to be a light to everyone else. So what would it mean that they are third? Well, a couple of ideas about this can’t give you anything for absolute certain, but I’ll give you a couple of ideas to chew on. In Matthew 21, verse 31, Jesus is talking to the religious leaders of his day, who of course represent Israel. And Jesus says the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom ahead of you, meaning the religious leaders and probably meaning Israel at large.

He says John came to you preaching and you didn’t believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes did. So they get to enter the kingdom first. And so I think we see a partial fulfillment here of Israel not entering the kingdom ahead of all the other nations, which is what we might have expected Israel to do. They were the first ones to get the knowledge of God. God revealed himself to Abraham in ways that he hadn’t revealed himself to other folks.

And again Israel was supposed to go out and tell all the other nations about that, but they basically failed in the mission that God had given her. And so instead of being first and leading others to God, it’s like they get to be in the back of the bus and follow behind these other people who they really probably look down on. We see a similar thing over in Romans chapter eleven, verse 25, Paul’s writing and he says, a hardness in part has come to all of Israel until the full number of the Gentiles come in. So again the idea is Israel is blinded to the truth and while she is blinded to the truth, gentiles are entering into the kingdom ahead of her. But that Romans 1125 says that Israel will come back around in the end, that then all Israel shall be saved after this full number of the Gentiles has come in.

So it’s not like they’re excluded in the end. There comes a time that they come back in, but they’re not in that primary position entering into the kingdom like they probably assumed that they were, and all of us would probably assume that they were just reading scripture. A warning to us though. However, also in Romans chapter eleven, in case we want to turn around and look down on Israel like Israel used to look down on all the other nations. If we want to kind of pick on them and say, hey, we get to enter first, and too bad for you, and you should have been listening.

Also in Romans chapter eleven, paul says if God pulled Israel out of that place because of the hardness of their heart and grafted in gentiles, how quick will he pull out the gentiles and let Israel back in if we have that same kind of hardness? So again, whether we’re Israelites in our heritage or we’ve been gentiles in our heritage, our posture towards God always needs to be the same, which is humility and repentance and crying out for mercy, as we talked about in the sermon last week. At no point do we elevate ourselves as superior to anyone else, even if they’re currently rejecting and we’re entering into the kingdom celebrating. Even in that kind of moment, there can never be any kind of superiority in our attitude toward others. We all say, have mercy on me, O God, a sinner.

And that is how we are then accepted. Well, hey, thanks again for interacting with our sermons. We hope this was helpful and we will see you again next week. Bye.