CAN JEWS WHO BELIEVE IN GOD, THE FATHER, BUT WHO REJECT JESUS, BE SAVED FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION?
by Shawn Brasseaux
“Do Jews who believe in God, the Father, and not accepting Jesus, have any chance of being saved from eternal damnation?” Thank you for this intriguing question! We will turn to the Holy Bible for the answer. Let us first think about what Moses said, and then we will consider what the other Bible writers say.
WHAT THE “OLD TESTAMENT” SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
Toward the end of his life, the Prophet Moses told the nation Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 18: “ The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;  According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.  And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.  I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.  But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.”
Both history and the New Testament confirm that this “Prophet” sent by Father God, some 1,500 years later, was indeed Jesus Christ of Nazareth (cf. Acts 3:22-23). The Apostle Peter interpreted Deuteronomy 18:19 for us in Acts 3:23, “And it shall come to pass that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” The Holy Bible says that those Jews who will not listen to the Prophet whom the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has sent, He will “destroy” that person from among the nation Israel! There is no doubt in this author’s mind that Moses and Peter referred to Jesus Christ at that “Prophet,” and this “destruction” for those Jesus-rejecters would certainly include eternal damnation. Why?
We read in Isaiah 53:5-6,10: “ But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”
According to Acts 8:26-35 in the Christian Bible, Jesus Christ fulfilled the above passage at the cross of Calvary. He was “wounded for our transgressions,” “bruised for our iniquities,” “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him,” and “with His stripes we are healed.” “The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” “His soul [was made] an offering for sin.” According to the Prophet Isaiah, it is in the Messiah (Jesus) alone that Israel has hope to be saved from her sins, healed of her spiritual infirmity (sin, connection to Adam). Messiah Jesus’ sinless soul was sacrificed before the holy, righteous JEHOVAH God the Father: He took our place, He suffered our eternal punishment, that we might not go into everlasting hellfire. This is the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus Christ: He was “our passover sacrificed for us.”
What a Jew today needs to do is recognize that he or she is not sinless because Abraham is his or her ancestor. In the above passage, Isaiah testified that Israel—yea, each individual Jew—needed Messiah to come one day and save them, each and every one of them, from their sins. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” Salvation from that lost estate is found in Messiah. In Hebrew, His name is “Jehoshua” (pronounced Yahowshuwa), a contraction of the name “Jehovah-saviour.” For a Jew to reject Jesus as the fulfillment of Messiah is to ignore that His name in their language means He is exactly what Christians believe about Him—the Anointed One of the God of Israel, the Saviour of Israel, the personification and fulfillment of Moses and the other prophets’ writings.
There are many other Old Testament verses—hundreds, actually—that could be cited that Jesus Christ fulfilled. For sake of brevity, we hope these suffice. We want to now look at the record of the “New Testament.”
WHAT THE “NEW TESTAMENT” SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT JESUS CHRIST
In hindsight, everything that God had told Israel to do throughout the Old Testament, it in some way typified what Jesus Christ would do on her behalf one day. Whether the Passover observance (Calvary’s cross), or Sabbath-day keeping (God’s earthly kingdom), or tithing (God’s re-gathering of Israel from the nations), or deliverance from Pharaoh and Egypt (deliverance from Antichrist), or the Levitical priesthood (Christ’s priesthood), or water baptism (Jesus cleansing Israel from pagan idolatry), or Joshua leading Israel into the Promised Land (Jesus leading Israel into the Promised Land yet future), or David fighting Israel’s enemies (Jesus fighting Israel’s enemies at Armageddon), these Old Testament passages are rehearsals of events yet to come. Israel’s feast days and holydays, her battles, her Tabernacle/Temple and its elements, her Bible characters, they all in some way predict Messiah Jesus and His ministry and life among them.
We should be mindful of John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” It was the literal, physical, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ that verified everything He preached, and everything He claimed to be, within the confines of Israel’s borders for three years of earthly ministry. “Jesus Christ our Lord… declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3-4). He was indeed the only way to Father God, for He was bodily resurrected. Try as they might, Rome never successfully disproved it, and Israel never successfully disproved it.
In Acts 4:10-12, the Apostle Peter preached to his fellow Jews: “…Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead….  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:3-5: “ For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Who is the Mediator between us humans and Father God? The man Christ Jesus. We do not need angels, dead saints, et cetera to intercede for us before God. We have God’s Son Himself to approach Father God for us! We either believe it or we do not.
The Apostle John, writing about Jesus Christ, penned in 1 John 5:9-13: “ If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” We either believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Father God, or we do not. If we do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Father God, then we make Father God to be a liar. We can rest assured that He will certainly not overlook that foolish accusation we laid to His account!
And 1 John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” As mentioned earlier concerning Isaiah’s prophecy, it is the shed blood of Jesus Christ that a Jew (or even a non-Jew) can now be “cleansed from all sin.” Apart from that blood Jesus shed at Calvary, there is no cleansing from sin, no forgiveness, no hope of eternal life, nothing—just a lost eternity in hell and the lake of fire!
What did Paul write in Romans 10:1-3? “ Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”
From Acts chapters 9-28, the Apostle Paul visited synagogues (Jewish places of worship) throughout the Roman Empire. Acts chapter 13 contains one of his major sermons, but we can study Romans chapters 9-11 to see what else he preached to the nation Israel throughout his Acts ministry. The Jews of today who reject Jesus Christ are of the same attitude as the lost Jews were in the book of Acts. Paul dealt with these very precious people for over 30 years. How it grieved him that they were lost, that they were out of the will of God because they were continually rejecting His Messiah Jesus! After all, as Saul of Tarsus, he was largely responsible for persecuting Messianic Jews in Acts chapters 7 and 8.
We read in Romans 9:1-4: “ I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,  That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:  Who are Israelites….” Paul knew that Israel could only find salvation in Messiah Jesus, but he knew how they were so opposed to hearing about Jesus. They were opposing the only way to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. How it hurt Paul, and how it should grieve us that Israel is just as lost as the average Gentile! How did they get like this?
Now, to Romans 9:30-33: “ What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;  As it is written [Isaiah 28:16], Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
Like any religious Gentile today, a religious Jew today (one in Judaism) has not submitted to God’s righteousness. They are too caught up in their own righteousness. They stumble over God’s righteousness that Jesus demonstrated at Calvary’s cross. They believe that their religious works merit favor with God. The more they do, the more they believe God will be less severe in the Day of Judgment. As Paul wrote above, the Jews of his day were of the same persuasion. The Jews who rejected Jesus were still religious. They were still going to the Temple and giving offerings and tithes, still keeping the Sabbath holy, still physically circumcising their male babies on the eighth day, still singing the psalms and reading the Old Testament scrolls, still doing their best to uphold all the other commandments and precepts of Moses and writings of the other prophets. They believed salvation was in the Law of Moses, and yet they could not keep the Law perfectly. Yes, that is religious confusion at its very best!
While they read the Bible (Old Testament only), their hearts were willfully blinded to Jesus’ fulfillment of the passages they read (you can also refer to Romans 10:4-13 and 2 Corinthians 3:12-18). The Gentiles, however, as Paul pointed out, the Gentile “dogs” that the Jews despised, the Gentiles had faith in those passages and they believed Jesus to be the fulfillment of them. The same is true today. While the average Jew can read the Old Testament and not see Jesus Christ predicted, the Gentiles can see Jesus Christ so clearly in the Old Testament passages!
A Jew is saved today the same way a Gentile is saved. The ground is level at the foot of the cross of Calvary. In God’s eyes, there is no difference between Jew and Gentile today in this the Dispensation of Grace. This is very offensive to a Jew, I know, but it is the truth of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:32). God has mercy toward both Jew and Gentile, and the message of this mercy and grace is found in the Apostle Paul’s ministry and epistles. Israel was privileged at one time, but she is currently fallen before God.
Romans 11:11-14 describes Israel’s current condition: “ I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.  Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?  For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:  If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”
The Apostle Paul spent most of his ministry (Acts chapters 9-28) preaching to Jews in the synagogues. He did this because their only hope to be saved was to trust the Jesus Christ he was preaching. He reminded them that they had to “emulate” (behave like) Gentiles in order to be saved from their sins (this was hard to do since the Jew had such hatred toward the Gentile and vice versa!). The Christ-rejecting Jew had to recognize that his religion could not save him any more than the Gentile’s pagan religion saved him! The only hope for these Jews to be saved now was to become members of the Church the Body of Christ. That was Paul’s message to them. He reminded them that they could not find salvation from their sins in Moses’ Law, but only damnation because of their sins! He preached to synagogue-Jews in Acts 13:38-39: “ Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [Jesus Christ] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
To get a right standing before God today, we need the justification found only in Jesus Christ. We can strive and struggle to do our absolute best, but we all know deep down in our hearts that we cannot be perfect—that is what sin is! There is such peace, joy, forgiveness, love, mercy, and righteousness in Jesus Christ, and by faith in Him and Him alone, we can have it all forever. We do not have to be plagued by our guilt anymore, or haunted by our past sins. We can be released from the chains of sin and hopelessness. What does the Bible say about Jesus? “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Whatever nationality you are, dear friend, whatever religious background you are from, whatever country in which you live, if you have not done so today, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31)!
“Do Jews who believe in God, the Father, and not accepting Jesus, have any chance of being saved from eternal damnation?” No, they cannot. In fact, to reject Jesus is not to believe in God the Father; God the Father is to believed, and His Son Jesus is to be accepted as legitimate. Prophets Moses and Isaiah; and Apostles Peter, Paul, and John; testify that no one (Jew or Gentile) can be saved from eternal damnation apart from Jesus Christ. There is no salvation outside of Jesus. There is no salvation today outside of being a member of the Church the Body of Christ. It is very offensive but, “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).
The average Jew today, like the average Jew of Paul’s day, does not accept Jesus as Messiah; they do not even believe the New Testament Scriptures are authoritative. Unfortunately, they do so to their own spiritual peril, and how we urge them to remember Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 18:15-20, the solemn warning about how God will “require it” of those who reject the words of Messiah, God’s Prophet. God will surely judge those who reject Jesus Christ, for they also reject Him! The Bible comments on such an attitude in 1 John 2:22: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” If we say that we believe God the Father, but deny Jesus is Christ, then we deny the Father, too! There is sure to be trouble for us, both now and the ages to come, if we think that our “goodness” will merit us fellowship with a holy God in Heaven forever.
It is our understanding that “religious” Jews today are still waiting for Messiah to come the first time; to the average Jew, Jesus was a fraud, an imposter (thus, they do not like the New Testament books, writings which exalt Jesus Christ). The sad truth is that the false Messiah is coming, Antichrist, and many of them will embrace him as true Messiah. To reject Jesus is to deny His sacrificial death as sufficient payment for our sins, and the only end we will face (whether Jew or Gentile) without Jesus Christ is the unending, everlasting, wrath of a holy Creator God, an abode in hell and the lake of fire, with all the billions of others of history who believed they were “not that bad” and “good enough for heaven” with their own deeds.
Our precious Jewish friends cannot deny the historical evidence that affirms Jesus fulfilled hundreds of the Messianic promises. For them to ignore such statistical probability that Messiah could have been and could be anyone other than Jesus of Nazareth, is absurd. To say that someone else will fulfill those promises in the future, is irrational. If you are a precious “orthodox Jew,” or anyone who believes salvation from sins is in the Law of Moses, please search your Hebrew Bible to see how the nation Israel failed miserably when it came to keeping the Creator’s laws! Study Jeremiah, the Judges, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joshua, Hosea, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, the books of Kings and Chronicles, the list goes on and on, in which Israel’s prophets condemn her as a nation of sinners in desperate need of God’s grace and salvation. Just as Father Abraham had to learn it would be what God could do for him, not what he could do for God (Ishmael and Isaac; Genesis chapters 16-17), so a Jew today has to learn to trust what God did for him (at Calvary’s cross through Jesus Christ) when he cannot do anything for God.
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