For those who subscribe to the false teaching of Replacement Theology (RT), God is not only still hiding His face from the Jewish nation, but they will never see it again. Even their miraculous return to the homeland after 2000 years of exile was not considered a game-changer. For them, the Church is the only apple of God’s eye now. Physical descent from Abraham no longer matters.
But the truth is, even though God’s face had been hidden for so long, He never rejected the Jewish people: “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29). And for those with eyes to see, the reestablishment of the Jewish state has signaled a paradigm shift in God’s relationship with the sons of Judah. Though the nations may still rage, it is obvious God is clearly standing with Israel. His face may not be in full view yet, but even the most cynical of Israelis sense He is smiling again.
But still we must ask, what provoked this centuries-long banishment of the Jews from God’s favor? There’s no question the national rejection of Yeshua as Messiah precipitated it. But that is not the whole story. For God’s judgment of hiding His face from Israel began long before they said “no” to Yeshua. What’s more, His ‘hiddenness’ was destined to fall not just upon the Jews, the descendants of the House of Judah – but upon all Israel.
The national sin that provoked this awful punishment actually started way back in Egypt. That’s where Jacob’s family first became addicted to the idolatry that quickly manifested itself in the golden calf at Mount Sinai. The Almighty, knowing this sin would continue even after they entered the land, prophesied of a future judgment through Moses, saying, “I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do” (Deut. 31:18).
That judgment fell first upon the northern tribes of Israel when Assyria removed them from the land for their apostasy and turned them into goyiim. But Judah was given a pass at that time, even though God revealed she was even more sinful: “Samaria did not commit half of your sins” (Ezek. 16:51). A hundred years later Judah would be exiled to Babylon, but God never totally hid His face from her. He continued to encourage and chastise her through the prophets, restoring her to the land seventy years later.
Then Yeshua was born. And even though unbelief would bring on the beginning of sorrows for Judah – it was the end of God hiding His face from the northern tribes now assimilated among the Gentiles! For in Yeshua, God’s face of mercy had shined forth, just as Isaiah had foretold: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light” (Isa. 9:1).
Tragically, when we came to the light we showed we had not learned very much from the years of exile due to the sins of our forefathers. For just as the nation had reverted to Egyptian paganism as soon as Moses was out of sight, so did we. Within four centuries of Yeshua being taken up to Heaven we allowed the High Priest of Rome, Constantine, to incorporate the Christian faith into its idolatrous religious system. It was an apostasy that plagues us to this very hour. It is only by the grace of God that a remnant has finally begun to come outside this religious camp and to turn their faces towards Jerusalem.
So where are we today? Drawing closer to the moment when all Israel, a remnant of both Judah and Israel, will again experience the glorious unveiled face of our God. Soon these words of Isaiah will resound within the hearts of all God’s people: “For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you, says Yahweh your Redeemer” (Isa. 54:7,8).
And then –all Israel will be saved!
Brian Hennessy is the author of Valley of the Steeples, available at: ketchpublishing/BrianHennessyBooks.htm