Nowhere is the relationship between G-d's family, as Jews and Gentile believers, more clearly seen in Scripture than in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). For a moment, let us reflect upon it, with G-d being the father and the two sons being Jew and Gentile, in order to help us see the changes that we need to make in these times.
Despite the fact that in this picture, Israel can be seen in the younger son, rather than the older one. Even though Israel is the first-born in the family, when it comes to the New Covenant, which of the two sons between Jew and Gentile has more fully embraced it, and which of the two sons is now running the Father's house? Even though the Church was founded by a remnant of Israel, most of Israel did not receive it and are still broken off. In this picture, the prodigal's plight and journey can also be reflective of Israel's spiritual deficiency and their great need to return to the Father through Yeshua to be restored. This is one of the reasons Jesus said, "So the last will be first, and the first last" (Matt. 20:16).
We must be clear here to hold onto G-d's Word, as salvation only comes through faith in Yeshua (Rom. 11:23). That means apart from the Jewish remnant, Israel is still to experience redemption through Messiah alone. As a result, what was once completely Jewish before the New Covenant was given has been handed over to Gentile believers, who now run and operate our Father's house. So when we read the story of the prodigal son, we can understand how the faithful brother feels. He thought he was being obedient, he did everything he was supposed to do, and part of him was probably happy because he knew he would end up in control. After all, it was his inheritance, and he had worked for it for years.
Now faced with his brother's return, he does not respond like his father, who is full of compassion and mercy, but rather with anger, hostility and jealousy. How dare he even think about returning here! he thinks to himself. His brother, who went his own way, who squandered everything he had and then realized the error of his ways, being truly humbled by life, returned home in the hope he could become one of his father's servants.
On the other hand, the father's response is completely different from that of the elder brother. After all, he was a loving father who stood in the gap for his lost son. He was faithful to love him, despite his rejection. He was grieved and heartbroken that his son walked away from him in the first place, and he never stopped feeling the pain of this separation—he wept and he mourned. But he never lost hope while waiting patiently for his son to return, as he knew it was only a matter of time.
Time as we know it seems endless, but the father said, "I will never give up. I will never surrender until my lost son is properly restored." Then all of a sudden, an incredible thing happens and the fullness of joy sweeps over the father's heart and the love of G-d consumes his soul like a river flowing at springtime. Suddenly, from his rocking chair on his front porch, he can see his lost son at a distance down the path leading up to the front of the house. He immediately knows and understands what has happened, except now his heart is filled with compassion as tears of joy are running down his face as he cries, "My son! My son! My son!"
Full of overwhelming excitement, he runs down the path to greet his son. When they meet, he throws his arms around him and hugs him like a bear, kissing him all over his face. His son humbles himself and seeks his father's forgiveness, even asking to become like one of his servants. Yet none of that seemed to matter now, because today, his son who was lost, his son who was dead has been found and is alive again. His son, whom he never stopped waiting for, whom he never stopped praying for, has returned.
Immediately, and without question, the father restored him to his rightful place as an heir along with the obedient son.
The son's loving father is filled with compassion, his heart filled with mercy and grace. He lovingly embraces him and immediately restores him to his place in his family—something the older brother cannot even fathom or understand, as he asks, "How could you do this to me?"
Yet we know our Father in heaven is full of mercy and grace, and His gospel is the same. He is able to wash away all of our sins, even as He has already done, so we could come into the kingdom in the first place, all as a result of His great love for us. Didn't the veil of sin also blind us before His grace supernaturally lifted it from our souls?
Spoken Prophetically to Gentile Believers
The Father says to the Gentile believers: "For I have promised to restore Israel. I have given My word, I have covenanted with him in the same way I have covenanted with you. And all I have already belongs to you. I am willing to forgive him, the same way I am willing to forgive you. For just as he was unfaithful to Me by rejecting Me, so you have been unfaithful to Me by rejecting them."
So who should we be like in the church? We should be like our Father in heaven. But in reality we are often not, instead having been like the elder brother in this story. It has been impossible for the church to love the Jews in our own humanity without the supernatural love of G-d. Yet they are elected as a result of the patriarchs (Rom. 11:28), which has been a dichotomy for the church.
But because our Father loves Israel and has chosen it, just like He has chosen His other children, He is able to look on them with compassion. Even in their disobedience and resistance, and even in their blindness and deafness, He still loves them because they are His children. And His Word and covenants must be accomplished through them because of His own integrity as a holy and righteous G-d. Look how they have suffered as a result.
And remember, by the time he came home, the prodigal son had truly learned his lesson. It is only in the Father's love that we could even come close to moving in this. However, this is exactly what it will take to get this job done and nothing else short of it will work. So what are we to do? And how should we act to move in this direction, if we believe it to be G-d's Word and call for us?
Search Your Heart
First, we need to be honest with our own hearts and to the Holy Spirit, as well as become honest with the prior actions of our families in past generations that may have affected us without our knowing. Have we felt like the brother in the prodigal story feels toward Israel and the Jews? Have we lacked G-d's mercy toward them? Have we been anti-Semitic toward them? Have we been indifferent or cold, or are we jealous of them? Does the thought of their restoration make us angry or even insecure?
You may be a lover and supporter of Israel, but you know that something is still not right. You may understand Israel in your mind because of the Word of G-d, but your heart still needs to be cleansed because of the past. We also need to come to terms with how the church has sinned against our Jewish brethren from the past. Ultimately, Israel needs to come to terms with its past as well. As already mentioned, cleansing is needed all around (both Jew and Gentile), but it must start with us first! Does not judgment begin in the house?
The moment we confess, the moment we renounce, the moment we repent, G-d is more than able to purify us so that we can receive His heart. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit is waiting eagerly for us to get this right and allow His cleansing healing touch to wash away any past influences. This is so that His unconditional love can pour through us, that He would open our spirits as well as our minds to move into the fullness of His direction and plans in these last days. It would be to fulfill the unique role He has given to us as His other sheep in His spiritual family, to help breathe spiritual life back into them through prayer and intercession. And this is all in order that Israel may fulfill its own unique role in the earth to glorify G-d in fulfilling His Word so that the kingdom can come. For in our Father's end time sovereign plan we are intricately linked and must begin to see ourselves as such, so the end may actually come.
Receiving the Father's Heart
As already discussed, it is simply not possible to fully love the Jewish people in our own strength in light of their continued rejection of Jesus. Without a doubt, G-d's supernatural love is needed to flow through us for this to happen. I call this the Father's heart, and our receiving it is one of the main reasons for me writing The Ezekiel Generation. I believe His heart for His spiritual family will truly change us and give us what we need to help Him achieve His plans through us in order to redeem Israel and restore His kingdom.
I also believe this calling of the end-time generations of the church have a unique and distinct role to play to assist G-d to rebirth Israel spiritually, which is why we must not be ignorant about this mystery. We have a major part to play in it, which, up to this point, we have not seen too clearly, with corrections needed in our theology, because the ancestral acts of our lineage, most of which has not even been repented of, have blinded us to G-d's end-time plan. In good conscience how could G-d give the church the fullness of His end-time plans theologically regarding Israel and the church, when our ancestry who was called to love them despite their rejection, fell for some despicable plans of the enemy to help persecute and destroy them. Don't we need to fully break off the past first, so we can get it right?
While we may actually love Israel, the bloodline still needs to be cleaned to rid it of any current influence the enemy may still have over us. So breaking of generational anti-Semitism and receiving G-d's heart are vital to our spiritual health and well being concerning Israel and the church and the last days, and it is time for us to address these areas and reconnect as a spiritual family as Jew and Gentile, to help be the catalyst in G-d end time mercy plan to redeem his first born son and our first born brother, so our L-rd can finally return and take dominion of the earth.
That is what is at stake here! What an honor G-d is actually bestowing on His end-time church, to help give life back to Israel spiritually (Ezek. 37:9-11).
Grant Berry is a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus and author of The New Covenant Prophecy and The Ezekiel Generation. He has founded Reconnecting Ministries with the specific focus to help the church reconnect spiritually to Israel and considers it vital to the kingdom of G-d in the last days. His message focuses on the unity, love and healing that the Father wants to bring between Jew and Gentile yet clearly points out the differences and misunderstandings between the two groups. Now is the time to look more carefully into this mystery to make way for healing and reconnection in the Spirit. For more information, please visit reconnectingministries.org.