That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.(Romans 10:9-13)
Israel, the nation created by God, separated, taught and trained to recognize and receive the Messiah, and to first come into the new covenant of righteousness promised by God, has for the most part failed to do so. Why?
Israel has stumbled over a stumbling stone.
It’s not that the way of Salvation was too hard, it’s that it was too simple. (I didn’t say ‘easy’,I said simple, i.e. uncomplicated).Israel wanted a Righteousness of works, one which would allow them to glory in their own efforts to please God.
But God’s righteousness presupposes total moral and spiritual bankruptcy, therefore He has made a way for all men, Jew and Gentile , to be reconciled to Him through the Messiah,Jesus.
The only way to be saved is to recognize that Jesus of Nazareth, who died on a Roman cross, is the LORD.
Israel would have to realize and confess that the man who dwelt among them in the first century, admittedly doing signs and wonders, and whom they rejected and crucified, was and is indeed, no less than the LORD of scripture.
How would you ever convince avidly monotheistic worshippers of the one true God, whose most sacred creed is the Shema*, an emphatic declaration of the Oneness of God, to acknowledge a man as God?
There were prophetic indications that God would come among them, and calls to be prepared, and ready to receive Him.For example, Malachi proclaimed before the long silence,
“The Lord whom you seek, shall come suddenly to His temple, but who may abide the day of His coming and who may stand when he appears?”(Malachi 3)
Isaiah also foretold that in the coming one, “All flesh would see the glory of the LORD…”(Isaiah 40)
There are untold hundreds of references and inferences also that JHWH would personally come to His people.
One of the major ways to recognize Him would be to see that the various prophecies present a set of credentials, they are the details and conditions in which He would come.
Jesus pointed to those prophecies which indicated the coming of God, as being fulfilled in Him. He warned the Jews that unless they believe that He is God, they would die in their sins.
He claimed to be Jacob’s Ladder, and the Good Shepherd (Ezekiel 34), as well as David’s LORD, refered to in Psalm 110. Part of the reason Jesus was put to death, was because of His claim to be God, the LORD.
“Unless you believe that I AM, you will die in your sins… “ and “ Before Abraham came I AM…”. “I Am the way, the Truth and the Life, and no one comes to the Father but by me…”.
There were thousands of Jews, equally monotheistic, who were able to make the confession that Jesus is the LORD. How could they make such a bold claim and hold onto it through the darkest persecutions? Even some of Jesus’ bitterest detractors came to make the confession, for example Saul of Tarsus, who changed his name to Paul, actually applied the JAHWEH scripture passage in Isaiah 45, to Jesus , in Philippians 2,
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.(Isaiah 45:22-25)
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:9-11)
Jesus of Nazareth had two half brothers, James, and Jude who were strict, monotheistic Jews, and who didn’t believe in Him at first. (How would you feel if your brother said something in public, like, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…”)?
But in later years James called Jesus, “The LORD of Glory”(James 2), and Jude, his other brother, called jesus, “The only wise God and our Savior…”(Jude 20-24). How do you get a strictly monotheistic believer to acknowledge their half-brother as God?
This transformation required a resurrection. Paul, James, Jude, and the hundreds of other first century Jews who comprised the early church all knew that Jesus had been “crucified under Pontius Pilate, and died and was buried…”, but they all saw him very much alive again, after three days in the tomb.
Even Thomas made the confession. He knew Jesus had died, and he wasn’t going to believe any “spiritualized” resurrection myth. Unless I see the wholes in His hands and in his side, I won’t believe”. But when Jesus allowed Thomas to put his hand in Jesus’ side, Thomas fell on His knees, and cried out “My Lord and My God!”.
Thomas, Paul, James and Jude, wouldn’t be the last Jews to confess Jesus as Lord, One day the entire nation will do so, but what will that take?
* Shema Yisrael,Adonai,Elohenu, Adonai Echad!-“Hear Oh Israel, The Lord thy God is One Lord!”