God’s Spiritual Blinding of Israel: Part 2
This is the second article in a series of three that explains the spiritual blindness of Israel. It is a very important topic for all believers to understand because Israel’s spiritual blinding provided the opportunity for Christianity to arise in this world.
The prophet Ezekiel wrote of a mass migration of Jews from all nations of the world to Israel. He recorded this migration would be a Holy Spirit driven event. Most believers have learned the story of the dry bones coming together with flesh and blood and miraculously coming to life. These dry bones describe the dry, spiritually dead and blind Jewish nation scattered all over the world. God revealed He would open their worldly graves and bring them together in a mighty army and drive them into the land of Israel. It will be illuminating to quote those Scriptures here to reveal a mighty work God has partially accomplished.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones hear the words of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’” – (Ezek 37: 1-14).
Jewish multitudes have emerged from their worldly graves and returned to their homeland. The migration began after World War I, but the ‘noise’ mentioned in verse 7 of the quoted Scripture occurred in World War II. Millions of Jews lost their lives during that time, but millions heeded the noise and migrated very rapidly to Israel. God has partially fulfilled His promises. Except, He hasn’t yet placed His Spirit within them (vs.14). They were spiritually blind to God’s Messiah. They continue in their blindness today.
God’s Holy Seed is His Son, Jesus Christ. He was born an Israelite, of the tribe of Judah and of the lineage of King David. He offered Himself as the prophesied Messiah, but His nation rejected Him. Jesus returned to His hometown, Nazareth, after His earthly baptism and temptation in the wilderness. He entered the only synagogue in that village and was handed the scroll of Isaiah Chapter 61: 1-2 to read. His reading is recorded in the Gospel of Luke 4: 17-19:
And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written; “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
These verses in Isaiah clearly picture the work of the coming Messiah. Jesus applied these Scriptures to Himself in that Nazareth synagogue. The next ten verses in Luke reveal those in the synagogue clearly understood Jesus proclaimed Himself as the Messiah. They attempted to stone Him for blasphemy. Why did Jesus heal many physically blind individuals? First of all, this fulfilled the prophecy noted in Isaiah 61. It proved He was the Messiah. Secondly, these blind folks represented the spiritually blind nation, Israel. The physically blind received their healing by faith and became ardent followers of Jesus. Israel rejected the spiritual healing Jesus offered them. They remained spiritually blind.
Jesus fulfilled over two hundred Old Testament prophecies describing the Messiah. He fulfilled many predictions He could not humanly control. Several Scriptures from Isaiah demonstrate this:
God sent Isaiah to give a prophecy to the wicked King Ahaz: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call His name Immanuel.” – (Isa 7:14).
Jesus, born of the virgin, Mary, fulfilled this prophecy. His name, Immanuel means ‘God with us’ – Matt 1:23. Imagine… God living in the world as a man! Several chapters later Isaiah records:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this – (Isa 9:6-7).
Ps 22: 6-24 and Isa 52: 13—53: 12 describe in grisly detail the crucifixion of the Messiah—a mode of execution that was not practiced during those ancient times. The Roman Empire introduced this horrendous capital punishment. These Scriptures predict the scourging, body piercing, bartering for His clothes, execution between criminals, and even burial in a rich man’s tomb. Jesus Christ precisely fulfilled these prophetic Scriptures in His crucifixion. It is an obvious truth to all believers. But Jews are still blind to this miraculous fulfillment. Why? We will come to that answer soon enough.
Jesus instructed his disciples that Israel must be blinded until the will of God had been accomplished. That is why He spoke in parables—so His countrymen could not understand His teaching about the Kingdom of God.
And the disciples came and said to Him, “ Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. – (Matt 13: 10-17).
Jesus clearly explained that He spoke in parables to follow the will of the Father, keeping the mysteries of the kingdom hidden from the Hebrews. They could not understand until God was ready to open their eyes. Jesus told His disciples the righteous men and prophets of old desired to see the fulfillment of their prophecies but died without doing so. One would rightly assume Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel went to their death without understanding the blindness of their nation, Israel. Yet, they obediently followed God’s commands, living in certain hope God would one day bring the spiritual blindness of Israel to a glorious resolution. Jesus’ followers experienced Him fulfilling Messianic promises in their lifetime.
The next article will probe further into the New Testament, as well as return to Old Testament Scriptures further enlightening believers on the providential spiritual blindness of Israel.