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National Blindness

The Jewish people were spiritually blind to many of the details of God’s program of redemption. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament addresses this happening and Jesus testified to this fact. It was as if they had a veil over their eyes and their vision of understanding was dimmed. They could not comprehend the dual roles and the two advents of their promised Messiah. Therefore, they chose to see Him only as an everlasting reigning King setting upon the throne of David.

Scripture seems to indicate that the veil was placed over the eyes of the Israelites as a chastisement for disobedience.

It seems that their chastisement may have begun very early in the life of the young nation. We read, in the book of Deuteronomy, about Moses’ instructions to the second generation on the plains of Moab. “Yet to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear” (Deut. 29:4, NASB 1995). Perhaps their lack of understanding was due to their sin of creating a golden calf, as an object of worship, after entering into a marriage relationship (Mosaic Covenant) with their Creator.

As time passed, the hearts of God’s chosen people were hardened because they turned more, and more to the worship of Gentile gods. Let us listen to the words of Isaiah which were later quoted by Jesus. “He said, ‘Go, and tell this people: ‘keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed”” (Isa. 6:9 10, NASB 1995). The Apostle Paul, in the eleventh chapter of Romans, also quotes from Isaiah. “For the Lord has poured over you a spirit of deep sleep, he has shut your eyes, the prophets; and He has covered your heads, the seers” (Isa. 29:10, NASB 1995).

The Psalmist put it this way. “May their table before them become a snare; and when they are in peace, may it become a trap. May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see” “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone” (Ps. 69:22 23a, 118:22, NASB 1995). The “stone which the builders rejected” was the promised Messiah. Let us understand that the Jews were not blinded because they rejected their Messiah, but that they rejected their Messiah because they were blind. Their blindness prevented them from recognizing Him.

But the Apostle Paul tells us that the harden hearts and partial blindness is only temporary. At some future time, He will lift the veil from their eyes, and they will see and understand. “For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, – so that you will not be wise in your own estimation – that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so, all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:25 26b, NASB 1995).