There is currently a lot of discussion on social media among Christians regarding the question of the status of Jews as God’s chosen people. Some say that Israel has a divine right to the land which is reminiscent of “arrivalism” in Australia and other countries with regard to the natives versus the later arrivals.
Extreme positions are taken by some saying Israel has the right to kill all they like because they are God’s nation and can do no wrong. I also note that most of those claiming this divine right quote only from Old Testament scriptures. So I thought I should look at what the New Testament teaches and particularly what Jesus Himself taught.
The following Bible texts are taken only from the New Testament scriptures, and primarily from Jesus’ own speech. These teach us that God is no respecter of persons and that there is no privilege in salvation. The true Biblical teaching is anti-racist. All must come to Christ by His grace through faith. No works, nor privilege, no skin colour, no citizenship, no ancestry, no race, no special national advantage can save you.
The focus of Jesus Christ’s short ministry on Earth was to the Jews. He never went out of the borders of Israel to preach to any Gentiles, though His message was to all the nations of the world (Gentiles).
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [the Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles [nations, non-Jews] might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written, “For this cause I will confess to You among the Gentiles [nations, non-Jews], and sing to Your name.”
Romans 15:8-9 (all bold is my emphases)
Jesus confirmed the promises, the covenant between God and man (Galatians 3:15; Daniel 9:27). He was born, incarnate as a man, of a Jewish mother and preached as a Jew to the Jews. He confirmed the covenant (agreement) that God made with all who love Him and keep His commandments (Daniel 9:4). He said He was sent to the offspring of Israel.
24 But He answered and said, I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
He was sent to Earth to find God’s lost sheep. All His teachings in the four gospels were given only to Jews. Therefore all His admonitions to follow Him and obey His commandments apply to the Jews in particular and the Gentiles in general.
49 But he that hears, and does not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house [of Israel] was great.
This is a parable Jesus told about building your house on a firm foundation. That firm foundation is Jesus Christ the cornerstone. He is the basis for all the Old Testament scriptures being fulfilled in Him.
42 Jesus says to them, Did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spoke of them.
The Jews did reject Jesus and their kingdom was and is given to whosoever will humble themselves before Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as Lord and God. This is what the Jewish Apostle Thomas acknowledged when he said to Jesus: ‘My Lord and my God.’ John 20:28.
On a hill above the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from Capernaum stood the city of Chorazin. Bethsaida is believed by some scholars to have been located on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee about 9.7 km (6 miles) from Capernaum. All three cities were within the territory of Israel in Jesus time. This is how Jesus spoke of them.
13 Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. … 15 And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to hell [Hades].
The Greek word used there is ‘Hades’, the intermediate place (state) of departed souls, waiting final judgment. For the Jews who rejected Christ is Hades and judgment. And they are without excuse. They had the oracles of God for more than a thousand years and they still rejected God’s Son. How much more deserving they are of judgment. Ancestry will not save them. There is no Jewish privilege here.
31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here [that is Jesus Son of God]. 32 The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here [that is Jesus Son of God].
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish. … 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.
Luke 13:3, 5
7 Then said he to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree [Israel], and find none: cut it down; why cumbers it the ground? … 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that you shall cut it [Israel] down.
Luke 13:7, 9
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not where you are; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity. 28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
Jesus our Saviour and God did not know the unfaithful Jews which means He had no intimate communion with them. In the same way salvation for anyone at all is only through Jesus Christ, through believing on Him (John 3:16). To the Jews He said:
35 Behold, your house [Israel] is left to you desolate: and verily I say to you, You shall not see me, until the time come when you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.
Until the Jews acknowledge Jesus Christ as Messiah the house of Israel will remain desolate. In fact, the Lord has said He can raise up as His people those who were no people, using the metaphor of stones.
40 And He answered and said to them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41 And when He was come near, He beheld the city [Jerusalem], and wept over it, 42 Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which [are needed for] your peace! but now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon you [Jerusalem], that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side, 44 And shall lay [level] you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.
Here this passage is where Jesus is speaking to Jerusalem, being equated to the Jews. He prophesies that the city will be levelled with the ground which did happen starting with General Vespasian’s Roman armies coming in about 67 AD and levelling the Temple in 70 AD. But note Jesus prophesied also ‘and your children within you [Jerusalem]’. Those are the Jews who rejected Him. They didn’t heed His warnings and didn’t flee out of the city before the Roman armies moved in and millions were crucified.
The Temple was pulled apart stone by stone. That symbolised the nation of Israel being torn apart because of its rejection of their Messiah. Instead God raised up a new people who Jesus described as stones, from which God could raise up children to Abraham.
20 And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say among yourselves, We have Abraham as our father: for I say to you, That God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
Jesus is the cornerstone upon which His new building, His spiritual temple, is built (Matthew 21:42). We are living stones in His Temple.
5 You also as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believes in Him shall not be confounded [disappointed]. 7 To you therefore who believe, He is precious: but to them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And, a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereto also they were appointed.
1 Peter 2:5-8
Jesus sent His disciple out to preach to the cities in Israel. He gave them the following instructions.
13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city [Jerusalem].
Christ’s judgment applied to all cities, to all the people of those cities, but that includes Jerusalem which means the people of Jerusalem, the Jews. And this parable Jesus told is very instructive.
2 The kingdom of heaven is like to a certain king, which made a marriage for his son [Jesus Christ], 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden [Israel] to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage [with Christ]. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants [prophets and disciples], and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies [Roman armies], and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city [Jerusalem]. 8 Then says he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden [invited] were not worthy [the Jews]. 9 Go you therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways [to the nations of the world], and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good [meaning saved by grace]: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment [meaning he was a Jew but not saved]. 12 And he says to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness [into hell], there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
The Jews were called but they chose not to follow Christ. So He went to the nations to find His sheep. The parable is also found in Luke 14 where it is recorded.
24 For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden [invited] shall taste of My supper.
That is the wedding supper of the Lamb. This is further evidence that there is no mass salvation of the Jews and certainly not some national salvation. There is a small remnant of Messianic believers in modern Israel and around the world, all saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Those few who accepted Jesus are invited to the wedding supper.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.
30b … if one went to them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
These are Jews Jesus was talking to. They were supposed to know Moses who wrote the Torah but they don’t know Him.
The following is another parable Jesus told about those given money to invest, symbolising the spiritual investment God placed in certain people who were expected to do something with it. Some achieved a return and one did nothing with his money. Jesus then said:
26 For I say to you, That to every one which has shall be given; and from him that has not, even that he has shall be taken away from him. 27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring here, and slay them before me.
The Jews squandered their gifts from God and so He has taken away their place and given it to other nations who will bring for the fruit of their labours for the Lord. The Jews would not have Christ rule over them so they are cast out. They have lost their righteousness as the people of God.
In His famous Sermon on the Mount Jesus was speaking only to His disciples (all Jews) and said:
3 You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
The savour of the salt is a metaphor for the Spirit of God in their lives. Without Christ they have no righteousness. Being Jewish or any other ethnicity is of no value whatsoever. Think about that. If you have some salt and it is not salty it is useless. In the same way claiming righteousness because of ethnicity or race or wealth or any other attribute is like salt that has an outward appearance of salt but has no flavour because that is salvation, which can only be obtained through Jesus Christ via the Holy Spirit.
6 Jesus says to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.
No mention of ethnicity or race. If you believe that Jesus was speaking to us all (Romans 15:9) then there is nothing we can do to be saved except open our hearts to Jesus Christ.
12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power [Greek: ἐξουσία (exousia)] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe [Greek: πιστεύω (pisteuo)] on His name:
Here the Greek word ‘exousia’ means ‘authority, privilege, permission’ and the Greek word ‘pisteuo’ means ‘to trust’. By receiving Jesus Christ and believing or trusting in His name Jesus, He gives us the authority, privilege, and permission to be the sons of God. No ethnic identity required.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God loves you and He sent His Son to redeem your soul even while you were in rebellion to Him. Put your trust in Him. Now is the day of salvation. No preconditions are mentioned at all.
16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
2 Corinthians 6:16s
You, whosoever will come to Jesus, regardless of race or ethnic identity are the temple of the living God. You are His people regardless of where you came from. All but 3 texts I quoted here are from the gospels and are mostly quoting the words of Jesus. Rejoice in our Lord Jesus Christ because your salvation is not determined by who or what you are.
 J.G. Hartnett, ‘Arrivalism: The New Woke Ideology’ at https://caldronpool.com/arrivalism-the-new-woke-ideology/