The parable of the Prodigal son might also serve as an illustration of the relationship between Israel and the Church.
In this perspective, both Israel and the Church have been in the position of each of the brothers, but for the purpose of this message we will look at the Church as the older brother. Since the Jewish leadership rejected the Messiah at his first coming, the Jewish people have been dispersed across the globe for nearly 2000 years, as it were, fatherless, and without a homeland. The result of this rejection has been grace to the Gentile nations as the gospel has gone out over the world, while the Jews have been persecuted, often in the name of their own Messiah, Yeshua, (Jesus).
Although the Gentile church was warned by Paul in his letter to the Romans (Chapter 11), not to become proud in their knowledge of the Messiah, but to remain humble and loving toward Israel, to make her jealous, the church has largely failed (until recently) and has, instead, adopted an attitude toward Israel almost identical to the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Those who believed that God had forsaken the Jewish people because of their disobedience, remained silent or even participated in the persecution of Jews.
Now, to the amazement of many Gentile believers, Israel's restoration has begun, the "Prodigal" son is returning, just as the prophets foretold. And just like the older brother, much of the Gentile church has failed to comprehend the unconditional love of God and His faithfulness to Israel, and is complaining about or even opposing this restoration, which is beginning as a physical return to the ancient homeland, and will continue as a complete national spiritual rebirth. The Lord will adorn them with a robe, prepare a kingly feast and restore Israel's position in the Millenial Kingdom.
So, now...how will we, as the "elder brother" church respond to this restoration of our "younger" brother? Will we, in self-righteous contentment and jealousy despise and oppose this grace toward Israel? Will we become angry and bitter that, after 2000 years of labor in the father's vineyard, he hasn't thrown a party for us, but ecstatically welcomed our undeserving "brother"?
If we do, I believe we will miss our blessing.
Charles Spurgeon stated, "I think we do not attach enough importance to the restoration of the Jews. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible it is this. The day shall yet come when the Jews, who were the first apostles to the Gentiles, the first missionaries to us who were afar off, shall be gathered in again. Until that shall be, the fullness of the church's glory can never come. Matchless benefits to the world are bound up with the restoration of Israel, their gathering shall be as life from the dead." A great blessing of God is bound up with His love and faithfulness to the Jewish people – a blessing for us which is closely related to our response to this returning "Prodigal Son". Will we embrace him, join and participate in his joyful return? Will we be a responsible older brother and seek to mend and heal the wounded relationship with the Father? Or will we remain silent as Israel is confronted by all manner of opposition, including those who are calling for their annihilation? My friend – if there was ever a day when we need to be the elder son that should have been – it's today! With so much work to be done, please remember us in your prayers, as we labor in the midst of this amazing prophetic restoration of the Lord's beloved (for the sake of the fathers), Israel. (George, Baht Rivka, Elianna & Obadiah)