(Mt. 21:43) Is Jesus saying that the Jews are permanently out of God’s plan, because they rejected the Messiah?

CLAIM: Amillennial interpreters argue that the Jews forfeit the Abrahamic covenant and the Davidic covenant, because they rejected God’s messiah. They support this view by pointing to passages in Matthew 21:43, where Jesus says, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.”

RESPONSE: Some interpreters (Amillennialists) do not agree on the interpretation of these verses (regarding Israel’s national regathering). They believe that the Church permanently inherits Israel’s promises. Because Israel killed the Messiah, they forfeited the promises of God to the church. Let’s consider a few passages, which support their view.

First, the “you” refers to the Jews of JESUS’ TIME, rather than the Jews at the END OF TIME. Jesus is casting judgment on the current generation in Israel—not the future generation of Israel at the end of history. He was casting judgment on the Jews in earshot—not the Jews in future history.

Second, as in the Old Testament, individuals could reject their portion of an unconditional covenant, but this would not invalidate the ultimate fulfillment of the promise. God didn’t work through these Jews, but he will work through those Jews at the end of history. In the OT, Esau forfeited his inheritance as an individual, but the nation did not forfeit its inheritance as a whole. Because these men in the first century were unrepentant, they would not enter the kingdom of God (the church). Jesus said the same thing to Nicodemus. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3). When Jesus is referring to the kingdom being in their hearts, he is probably referring to regeneration. This was his message for the current Jews at his time.

Third, the “people who will produce its fruit” are the people who will serve God’s agenda at that time. In Jesus’ day, the nation of Israel was unwilling to get on board with God’s agenda. At the end of history, the Gentiles will be unwilling to get on board with his agenda. Therefore, this isn’t a permanent curse on Israel. It is a temporary curse on them.