In his four part series, Did Israel Reject Jesus?, Sheldon Emry exposes the fundamental flaw in dispensational Christian theology that falsely encourages the belief that because “The Jews” rejected their promised messiah — Jesus Christ — that God changed His mind, broke His eternal covenant with the Israelites, and transferred His promises of salvation to all other races and peoples merely on the sole condition that they “believe in Jesus.”
In this exhaustive study, Emry demonstrates over and over that the vast majority of Israelites did not, in fact, reject Jesus Christ when He came.
Emry then goes on to analyze the true identity of the so-called “Jews” who rejected Jesus — and what separated them from the Israelites who accepted Him — although we don’t agree with him that the “Jews” who rejected Jesus necessarily had to be Edomites.
Judeo-Dispensationalists would have us believe a few unlikely scenarios:
First, that because a small minority of Israelites rejected Christ, God punished them all and gave away their blessings to other people.
Second — that those who are identified as the so-called “Gentiles” in the New Testament are not ethnic Israelites.
Third — that Christ failed to foresee that “his own” would reject him and make his efforts to gather and remarry Israel to none effect — essentially making his crucifixion pointless.
Emry clearly demonstrates that none of these contentions are true or supported by scripture. And while we do not necessarily agree with all of Emry’s points, we can agree with the heart of his thesis — that most of Israel did NOT reject Christ — and that God did not use that “rejection” as a justification to transfer His covenant to another, alien people in violation of Jeremiah 31:31.
You can listen to Emry’s lecture Did Israel Reject Jesus? (Part 1) here:
What follows is a transcription of Emry’s lecture with some minor changes for clarity and ease of reading:
When you attempt to say something to Christians about history or prophecy, and show a correlation and fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the Israelite people, we are often stopped cold with the phrase, ‘Oh, but the Jews rejected Christ so he turned to the Gentiles,’ and then they will quote, ‘He came unto his own and his own received him not.’
John 1:11, the only passage of scripture that fundamentalists know in the gospel of John in relation to Israel and history, this is the verse that immediately comes to mind.
And then comes the theory that we call the “Jewish-Israel Theory” that the Jews, who are Israel, rejected Jesus, and therefore the last 2,000 years has been the history of Jesus and his followers then going to a non-Israel people, or “Gentiles”, and that God will deal with the Jews next time around. They rejected Jesus the first time, and hopefully they will accept him next time He comes.
Let’s see if reading the Gospel of John verifies that the Israelites rejected Jesus when He came the first time:
John 1:12 reads, But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
So immediately in verses that follow that verse, it is obvious that at least some of his own, some of his people did NOT reject him but did receive him…. It’s a qualifying statement that means they didn’t ALL reject him:
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 15John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
So here is another Israelite named John proclaiming the deity of Jesus Christ.
John 1:29: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
And when you analyze that statement, what John, in effect, is saying, “I, John, an Israelite, have come into this area of Israelites, baptizing with water because I knew Christ was to be made manifest or known to Israel.’
John 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
John 1:44. John is an Israelite
John 1:46. Nathanael and Philip are Israelites
John 3:22. Disciples are Israelites
John 4:9-12 Woman at the well is an Israelite, a daughter of Jacob
John 4:39-42. Samaritans are Israelites of Northern Kingdom
Reading only three pages of the New Testament after the phrase ‘He came unto His own and His own received him not,’ and what do we find? We find Israelite after Israelite believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 4:43 Israelite Galilaeans received Christ
John 4:46. Israelite nobleman at Capernaum
John 5:37 shows some of the people called “Jews” as we see in the first four chapters believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and now so-called “Judeans” or “Jews” not only do not believe on him but actually hate him for doing miracles, and want to kill him.
Even more examples of “Jews” who received Christ and believed:
John 6. Israelites who follow him because he did miracles
John 6:10 5,000 Judaens followed him
John 7:25 A division among “some” Judeans who seek to kill Him
John 7:26 The rulers of the Judaeans wanted to kill him
John 7:31. Many of the Judaeans believed on Him
Some believed, some rejected.
John 7:45 states how the chief priests and pharisees want to take Christ and kill him.
We are beginning to get the identity of the people who want to kill him, who “received him not.” So we can begin to separate the two different reactions among the people called “Jews” or what many people erroneously think of, course, are all Israelites.
John 7:33 In this verse “gentiles” is actually translated from the Greek word ‘Helen’ meaning ‘Greeks’ rather than other times in the New Testament from the Greek word “ethnos” which means “nations”:
Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
Jews ask whether Jesus will go among the Greeks and teach the Greeks, which proves that not all Israelites were just in Jerusalem at that time. Even the Pharisees knew that some of dispersed Israel was in “Helen” or Greece (such as the Corinthians, Philippians, and Thessalonians).
Israelites are in Jerusalem — they are called “Jews”, some received Him, some rejected Him, and there other Israelites somewhere outside that area.
John 7:39-41 The reason why some Israelites turned away from Christ when he taught hard doctrines — even though they believed at first:
But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
There were divisions among Judeans because of Him: (John 7:43, John 9:16, John 10:19, Romans 16:17), as Jesus clearly stated would happen:
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. (Luke 12:51)
The nature of these divisions among the “Jews” becomes more clear:
John 8:19. Jews do NOT know the Father
John 8:23-27. Jews cannot understand the scripture or what Christ is saying
John 8:30. Yet many other Jews believed on Him
These people were all called Judeans (in the original Greek manuscripts), but the King James translators have translated the word Judean into the word “Jew”, whereas it actually refers to all of the people in Judea.
In John 8:33 some “Jews” claim to be Abraham’s seed though they never were in bondage, but Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, and later on to the Amonites, to the Philistines, and to the Assyrians, and later to the Babylonians.
John 8:37. Christ would never say that His word has no place in real Israelites
John 8:38 Israelites have one father and some “Jews” here have another, different father
John 8:39. Christ tells them they are NOT the children of Abraham
Exodus 4:22 Israel is God’s son. God is the father of the Israelites.
John 8:38 Christ tells the Pharisees that God (Yahweh) is not their father.
Jeremiah 31 At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
John 8:41-44 Pharisee Jews claim God is their father, but Christ says their father is the devil:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Where did we get the idea that ALL of the Pharisees were Israelites?
Clearly, the Jews who rejected Christ and wanted to kill him were NOT Israelites even though they are called “Jews” in John’s gospel.
John 8:47. These Jews are NOT of God, his children:
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
We find the same reaction of the Jews today that we found among the Jewish Pharisees whom Jesus said were not of God and could not hear His voice. They actually become angry when Jesus Christ is exalted and preached in truth and righteousness.
John 8:48 Talmudic Jews still teach today that Christ is a devil.
Did Israel Reject Jesus? Part 2
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
If you follow the doctrine taught by the judeo-denominational churches, you would think there are two folds — one is called the Gentile Church, and the other is called The Jews, whom they say are Israel, but Jesus said He has other sheep that are not of this fold and that He is going to make one fold out of them.
John 10:19 A division among the Jews over these sayings.
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Who are these “sheep” that Christ came to gather?
Psalms 79:13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psalms 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
Jeremiah 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting place.
Jeremiah 31:10 Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
Ezekiel 34:30-31 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD.
31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
Matthew 10:6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Luke 19:9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Where in the world did we get this idea that those Judeans called “Jews” in the New Testament who hated Christ and did not believe on Him were the same as the Sheep of Israel who did believe upon Him?
We have two different kinds of people, and the only way you can tell them apart is the way they react to the Lord Jesus Christ. This was someone else — not Israel — rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
Since all the population of Judea — all called “Jews” by the translators — the word “Jews” translated in the New Testament in virtually every case (with the one exception noted above) comes from the Greek word “Ioudaios” meaning Judean.
It is a geographical (not ethnic) name. So we have “Jews” or Judeans who believe, and “Jews” or Judeans who do not believe.
So let’s see if we can answer the riddle: Who could claim to be Abraham’s seed while at the same time Christ said they were not Abraham’s children? Who could claim Abraham as a father, and at the same time Jesus said they have the devil as their father?
Genesis 21:12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.
So here we have the Arab people today, descendants of Ishmael, and God said I will do certain things with them because they are Abraham’s seed, but the calling of the Israel people would not come through Ishmael.
We have there a group of people who are not the called of God, they are not Israelites, they are not called the firstborn of God, they are not God’s sheep. They are what we know today as the modern Arab nations.
Issac with Rebecca had two sons who were the seed of Abraham — Esau and Jacob:
Genesis 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
But Esau lost the birthright and the blessing, in effect, he is outside the covenant, though he is still the seed of Abraham.
Genesis 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
Esau’s first wives were Ishmaelites:
Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife. Genesis 28:9
Esau’s second wives were the daughters of Canaan (Genesis 36:2).
Esau is the father of the Edomites (Genesis 36:443).
By the time of Jesus, almost 2,000 years later — after this event in Genesis 36 — Esau’s descendants would be at least 99 9/10ths percent the blood of Canaan because Esau went to live among the Canaanites. And that would mean that Esau’s children married Canaanites — and his children’s children.
So by the time Jesus came along these people would have been practically full-blooded Canaanites yet they could still claim that Abraham was their father. And they would also say that they had never been in bondage to any man:
John 8:33 Jews answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
The reason that the word of Jesus Christ had no place in these people is because they were the descendants of Edom, the descendants of Esau. They had lost the covenant right way back when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob/Israel. And these were Esau’s descendants, the bastard offspring of Esau and the Canaanites:
John 8:39-40 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
And of course they have never been in bondage to any man because Esau’s Canaanitish descendants did not go into Egypt with Jacob’s descendants. They did not go into the Assyrian captivity with the Northern Ten Tribes. They did not go into captivity in Babylon either because they were the Babylonians. They were the Canaanites who had the Babylonian Empire.
So when people in Judea could say to Jesus, “We are Abraham’s seed, and we have never been in bondage to any man,” and Jesus would say, “I know you’re Abraham’s seed, but my word has no place in you,” He could only be talking to the descendants of Esau/Edom who were the Canaanites:
John 10. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me
There were Edomite/Canaanites in Judea at the time of Christ.
John gives us record that Israelites by the thousands in Judea received and believed on Jesus Christ.
John 11:47-48. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
The Edomites believed that if the Israelites of Judea believed in Jesus, they, the priests, would lose their power. Is there a people called Jews today who are fearful of the gospel of Christ, who continue to work night and day to stop the preaching of Jesus Christ in this land? Who prevent Christian people from being elected to politics?
Why? They say, “Because we have been persecuted by the Christians.” That is an admission that when God’s Israel people begin to hear and believe God’s word, they drive out the Canaanite Jews — and the Jews know it.
And way back in the time of Christ, the Pharisees, these same Edomite Jews, got together and said, “If the people start believing on Jesus, the Romans will come and we will lose our place, lose our power over the people.”