Something that Blaise Pascal wrote, which can be found in his Pensées, as fragment 592, has always intrigued me…
If the Jews had all been converted by Christ we should only have suspect witnesses left. And if they had been wiped out we should have had none at all.
Pascal's book is also a treasure trove of Christian understanding of the Jews, and not very well known. That is one of the reasons I love Pascal so much: he was not afraid to look the Truth in the face, even when it might seem to go against current thinking inside the Church, or out of it.
If all Israel had been converted, why would they have been suspect witnesses? Could it be because they only supported Christ because He is their Messiah? That would mean they were confirmed in the unique truth of their faith, that their eternal King had come among them, and by accepting Him, they were now, indeed, lords of the earth. Where would that leave the nations? At worst, as enemies to be vanquished and exterminated, at best, as mere servants and slaves of the Chosen People.
But by rejecting Christ for who He was, their witness is not suspect. They rejected their own flesh and blood, making themselves martyrs for twenty centuries of the unique truth of their faith, which the eternal King had come to fulfill, but not only for them, but for the whole world. Otherwise the prophecies of the conversion of the nations would never have come to pass. Conversion, not conquest. Conversion, not subjugation. Conversion, not annihilation. ‘For God so loved the world…’
What Pascal writes is drawn from his intimate knowledge of holy and divine scripture, secreted to him by the Holy Spirit, taught him by the Master he followed so closely. Yes, confirming—though it needs no confirmation if you just see what is before you—what the holy apostle himself writes, ‘Since their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, do you know what their admission will mean? Nothing less than a resurrection from the dead!’ (Romans 11:15)
Pray, brethren, for our brothers, the people of Israel.
Pray, people of Israel, for your brethren, ‘those who fear the Lord.’