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Question : What Happens to Jewish People Who Do Not Believe the Gospel?

If the Jewish people do not believe the gospel and they are God's chosen people, how will they have the opportunity to spend eternity with God?

God declares His special love for His people Israel through the prophet Jeremiah: “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). This question reflects the concern of the Lord Jesus who wept over the Jewish people’s rejection of Him (Luke 19:41). The answer is clarifying some of the issues you raise.

First, although God did choose the Jewish people to represent Him to the nations as “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6), being the chosen nation did not grant every individual Jewish person salvation. Only the believing remnant experienced eternal forgiveness. Nevertheless, today Jewish people still retain their status as the chosen nation, even in unbelief (Rom. 11:28), since “God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Rom. 11:29; see also Rom. 9:4–5). Even so, just like all people, Jewish people need to trust in Jesus to experience forgiveness of sins.

Second, all Jewish people have not rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Just as the apostle Paul was a Jewish person who believed (Rom. 11:1), “so too, at the present time, there is a remnant [of believing Jews] chosen by grace” (Rom. 11:5). Third, for Jewish people to experience salvation and eternal life, we followers of Jesus must lovingly present the good news to our Jewish friends. Paul wrote that one of God’s purposes in saving Gentiles was “to make Israel envious” (Rom. 11:11).

Finally, the Bible teaches that there will come a day, just before the return of Jesus, that virtually all Jewish people alive at that time will turn in faith to Jesus as their Messiah and Redeemer. Then they will look with faith on the pierced one (Zech. 12:10) and “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). Until then, we need to be like the apostle Paul who said his “heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). If we love the Jewish people we need to pray for their salvation, present the good news to our Jewish friends, and provide support for those ministries that bring 

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the host of Moody Radio’s Open Line. He is the author of Understanding the Arab Israeli Conflict and The Messianic Hope: Is the Hebrew Bible Really Messianic? He is also the co-editor of the Moody Bible Commentary. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael also appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill.

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