Abiding by the Covenant
God’s Favor is in keeping to the Commandments
As mentioned earlier, the favor of God towards the Israelites was with them as long as they kept to the Covenant which God made with them. This fact is also stated by Jews themselves: “Because of our acceptance of Torah, Jews have a special status in the eyes of G-d, but we lose that special status when we abandon Torah.”
Thus we understand that the favor of God is not a racial aspect, nor is it binding till eternity. Rather, His favor is upon those that fulfill the commandments. An Israelite who does not keep to the commandments is not included in this favor.
The Jews broke the Covenant of God
God mentions in numerous places in the Quran that the Jews broke the covenant God made with them, through various transgressions they committed in their religion. These transgressions, varied from falling in to error and worshipping others besides God, an act which broke the first of the ten commandments, to changing and interpolating the Torah to their befitting. Out of the Mercy of God, He continued to send prophets to them for their rectification. Instead of following the Prophets which God sent to them, if they brought something which the Rabbis did not like, they would reject the Prophets and even kill them. This certainly amounted to disbelief in God, and, due to this, the favor which God had for the Jews was lifted. God says in the Quran:
“Indignity is put over them (the Jews) wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from God, and from men; they have drawn on themselves the Wrath of God, and destruction is put over them. This is because they disbelieved in the Signs of God and killed the Prophets without right. This is because they disobeyed (God) and used to transgress beyond bounds (in God’s disobedience, crimes and sins).” (Quran 3:112)
The Bible too speaks this fact of the Jews killing the prophets of God in 1 Thessalonians 2:15, and repeated in Acts 7:52. We also read in Romans 11:3 that the Prophet Elijah appealed against the Israelites:
“Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me.”
One of the most serious of these offenses was the rejection of Jesus, a clear sign and miracle sent to the Jews. It was through this Prophet that the favor of God towards the Jews as a nation was replaced by His Anger and Wrath. The only Jews who remained “chosen” were those who followed Jesus: the Nazarene Christians.
Are Christians the Chosen People of God?
A fact that Christians and Muslims both agree to, contrary to the Jews, is that the Love of God is not limited or specific to a chosen race, but rather, to those who keep to his covenants. Although Jesus was sent specifically to the Jews, Christianity has seen itself throughout history to be a religion for all people. Thus, according to Christians, anyone who accepts the teachings of Jesus earns the Love of God and His Grace and Favor, and anyone who rejects it is doomed to Hell.
This is a point which Muslims also agree to, but the fact remains that the Christians do not actually follow the teachings of Jesus, as He ordered his followers to keep to the commandment of the Jews, the greatest of which is that God alone deserves worship. It is the Christians’ worship of Jesus and ascribing divinity to him that is one of the reasons why they have also earned the anger and not the favor of God.
Reprimanding of Other Peoples
When we analyze the verses which reprimand the Jews in the Quran, we see, as mentioned previously, that they revolve around certain commandments which they broke, and certain punishments which were meted out to them. This criticism is not limited to the Jews, but it is clearly extended in the Quran and Sunnah to all those who disobey the commandments of God throughout history until this day, even the Muslims. God says about a Muslim who kills another Muslim intentionally:
“And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of God are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him.” (Quran 4:93)
We see from this that these severe verses found in the Quran are addressed to all those who break the commandments of God, and not to specific races or peoples. Likewise, the only people who are chosen and favored by God are the pious from every nation, and not a specific race or people. Jews, Christians, and all others who were true to their religion and original teachings will go to Paradise, as God himself says:
“Verily! Those who have believed (the Muslims) and those who were Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever correctly believed in God and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds, they shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Quran 2:62)
Those, however, who did not follow the commandments of their religion, and do not believe in Islam, are destined to Hell. This is because Islam is the only religion which is accepted by God after the revelation of his Final Message to Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him.
“Verily those who disbelieve from among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.” (Quran 98:6)