The Bible focuses on the Messiah, not on Israel (1/2)



Steven Paas

Israeli soldier praying from the book. Photo AFP, Patrick Baz

“Does the Bible focus on Israel or on Jesus Christ?” For many Christians, this question has become topical again due to the recent events in Israel-Palestine. Steven Paas would like to share his vision in a nutshell. Tomorrow, there will be a response from Harald Eckert.

Steven Paas 2.jpg
Steven Paas

From Genesis 3 verses 9 and 15 onwards, God has stretched out His gracious and saving arms in the eternal Son to the whole of fallen humanity: “Where are you?” He chose Israel as a temporary demonstration of His loving intention for the world.

His dealings with Israel –meant as examples for the nations– and after the captivity with a rest, the Jewish people, climaxed in the miracle of the Son becoming the man Jesus, the prophesied Christ or Messiah, our Saviour. The salvific acts of Jesus on earth fulfilled the extraordinary instrumental position of Israel. They showed their essential meaning in Christ for all nations.

Israel and the Church

The modern state of Israel has a right to exist, but it is not the Israel of the Bible, and it is responsible for its own actions. From a biblical perspective, the Jewish people are as unique and as beloved as any other people.

God continues to make the Good Tiding of forgiveness and new life increasingly known to humanity at all places and times through Christ and His Church, until Jesus’s Second Coming. From all peoples, Jews and non-Jews alike, God gathers His only specific people, the Church of Jesus Christ, which is also called His Body (Ephesians 5:23,24), and which foreshadows His Kingdom (Revelation 11 verse 15, and the chapters 21 and 22).

Pro-Israeli demonstration in the centre of Berlin. Photo AFP, Michele Tantussi

Worldwide mission

Unfortunately, Judaism belongs to the religions that have no place for Jesus as God’s Son, the promised Messiah and Saviour. However, in the past, present and future, there is no salvation without Christ and without surrendering to Him in faith. Fortunately for Israel and all other peoples, the whole of God’s revealed Word in its coherence focuses on Jesus Christ alone (Titus 2: 13, 14). All Christians are called to participate in His worldwide divine mission, far away and nearby.


Christians who one-sidedly elevate or debase modern Israel, religiously endanger that mission and, therefore, the Advent of God’s Kingdom in Christ. They make themselves, usually unintentionally, co-responsible for the ideologies of philo-Semitism (blind love of Israel) and anti-Semitism (hatred of Jews). Indirectly, they promote the consequences of this (violence, injustice and confusion), which ultimately affect everyone, Jews and non-Jews alike.

Dr Steven Paas studies views on ‘Israel’ and is active in the fields of church history, missiology, and the lexicography of Chichewa, a widely spoken language in Central Africa



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