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Why Can't 'The Chosen People' See?
The people of Judah ("Jew" is an abbreviation of Judah; see also The Southern Kingdom) have long been referred to as the "chosen people" - and that is correct in that The Lord decreed long ago that the Messiah would come from Judah e.g. "49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people [i.e. all nations; see The Coming World Dictator] be" (Genesis 49:10 KJV) and "27:11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? [see Israelite Monarchy - The Messiah] And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest" (Matthew 27:11 KJV).
But, paradoxically, amidst their having been chosen, by God, to be the family from which The Christ would be born, were, many of them, also "chosen," by God, to not recognize the long-awaited Messiah when He came? Answer, yes. Why? Read on.
"According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day"
The apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry) was well-qualified to explain the blindness because he experienced it himself prior to his conversion On The Road To Damascus - before which he persecuted and took part in the killing of Christians. He thereafter realized that "Israel" is ultimately a spiritual concept that applies to all humans (see Physical and Spiritual Israel).
"9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh [see also Was Paul A Jew or a Benjamite?]: 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
It was necessary for the Lamb of God to be sacrificed, at Passover (see Christ's Passover; listen also to the Sermon Christ's Passover: The Death And Birth Of The Saviour from our Sermons page), by the only people who were observing Passover. What if they had recognized the Christ as the Christ? They would not have had Him sacrificed - and the world would still be without a Savior. For example, the as-yet-then spiritually blind apostle Peter drew his sword and fought to prevent Christ's arrest (see Malchus). "16:21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 16:22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you" (Matthew 16:21-22 KJV).
"9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law [see Did Jesus Break The Law? and Works Means Obedience]. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 9:31-33 KJV)
The Messiah is the Savior of all people. Many of the people of Judah were made blind, by God, so that the Lamb of God would be sacrificed and the door would be made open "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (verse 25 below). Even more amazingly, it is prophesied in "the Jewish Old Testament" that their blindness would happen e.g. "6:9 And he said, "Go, and say to this people: 'Hear and hear, but do not understand; see and see, but do not perceive.' 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9-10 KJV). Those who hate Jews because "they killed Christ" ought to keep in mind that God made it happen for the purpose of having the Lamb of God sacrificed for all of humanity.
The apostle Paul used the analogy of grafting in referring to how people of all nations may become "Israel" - but he also explains how the people of Judah will be grafted into their own rootstock when the time of the purpose of their blindness has been completed i.e. "how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?" ... "that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved" (see verses below).
"11:7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election [see The Elect] hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 11:8 According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day." (Romans 11:7-8 KJV)