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Was Matthew 23 A Mistake?

written by Asher Intrater
February 20, 2011

In Matthew 23:37-39, Yeshua stated that Jerusalem would be destroyed because of the sin of our people. However, He went on to say that He would not return unless the Jews in Jerusalem received Him in faith and invited Him back as King Messiah with shouts of “Blessed be He who comes in the name of the Lord!” This prophecy is a central theme of prayer for all Messianic Jews in Israel.

Sometimes it seems that this was a strategic error on Yeshua’s part. You or I would probably not have taken such a risk. The implications of this statement are enormous. For one thing, it includes a prophecy that the Jews would one day return to Israel and that Jerusalem would be restored (see as well Luke 21:24). How else could we be here to invite Him? It also requires a sweep of evangelism across the country, immediately before He returns.

Yeshua’s statement is also a total rebuttal and refuting of “replacement” theology. How can Israel or the Jews be replaced if we have to be here to welcome Yeshua back? Yeshua makes a commitment here that the Jews are an essential part of His Second Coming as well as the First.

God made a covenant with Abraham, that through His seed the Messiah would come (Genesis 22:18). This covenant continued through Judah (Genesis 49:10), and then through David (II Samuel 7:12-13). Therefore, Satan was opposed to the people of Israel throughout history, in an effort to stop the birth of the Messiah. When Herod heard that Yeshua was born, a satanic spirit worked through him to murder all the male babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). The people of Israel did not and do not understand why all these demonic attacks come against them.

If Satan was opposed to the birth of the Messiah, how much more will he be opposed to Yeshua’s coming in glory? At the Second Coming, Satan will be driven off planet earth (Revelation 20:2). The devil is angry because he knows he is losing and that his time is running out (Revelation 12:12). The number one focus of Satan’s activities on earth is to prevent the Second Coming and, therefore, to stop Matthew 23:39 from coming to pass. This is a key issue in understanding world-wide spiritual warfare.

The underlying demonic purpose behind the Holocaust was to prevent Matthew 23:39. As we come closer to the Second Coming, an even greater Holocaust will take place (Zechariah 13:8; Revelation 9:15). The times will be so difficult, that all flesh would perish; yet for the sake of the elect, the time will be shortened (Matthew 24:22). And still our people will be perplexed.

Why does the U. N. vote so many sanctions against Israel? Why does Islam want to kill all Jews? Why do the religious leaders in Israel fight against faith in Yeshua? All these are demonic efforts to keep Matthew 23:39 from coming to pass.

In addition, Israel will only come to faith in Yeshua as the Church reaches her fullness (Romans 11:25-26). Therefore, both “replacement” theology (which says there is no continuing role for Israel as the chosen people) and “pre-tribulation rapture” theology (which says the Church will not be here, thus preventing her from praying for Israel’s salvation) are deceptions which serve as a demonic attack against the Second Coming. Unfortunately, much of the Church is as blind about this as Israel is.

One of the primary purposes for the Jews to be the chosen people was to bring the Messiah into the world. Miriam’s (Mary’s) giving birth to Yeshua was an historic fulfillment of Israel’s destiny. It might have been possible to see Israel’s destiny as finished at that moment, since it was fulfilled in Messiah’s birth.

However, whether it was a strategic mistake or not, Yeshua decided to extend Israel’s role as the chosen people into the future, by making their faith a requirement for the Second Coming. Matthew 23:39 is a startling decision to make the Jews’ role as the chosen people connected not only to the Messiah’s birth, but also to His coronation. (After all, how is Yeshua going to fulfill His own destiny as “King of the Jews,” if there aren’t any Jews for Him to be King over?)

Matthew 23:39 was not a mistake! It is a demonstration of God’s faithfulness to His covenants, even in the light of our unfaithfulness. It is also a demonstration of His omnipotence. Even if the whole world seems to be against Him, He is able to bring His will to pass. It is a demonstration of His sovereignty. He chooses how, when, where, and through whom He will do it.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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