I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. (Rom 9:1-5 NKJ)
The Pharisees really do get a bad rap. They were passionate about the resurrection and actually had a strong eschatology, belief that in the ‘last days’ messiah would come and God would establish his peaceable kingdom. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, has several books that were later decided not to be canonical, one of these books is called the Psalms of Solomon. One of the psalms talks about ‘longing after God.’ Psalm 42:1 from the Septuagint says, “As the hart earnestly desires the fountains of water, so my soul earnestly longs for thee, O God.” (Psa 42:1 LXE).
The Christian’s first instinct is to interpret this from an individual standpoint, but the Jew and Paul for that matter regarded the coming Messianic Kingdom to be a community event. They wanted everyone to share the good news. It’s no wonder that we see the church as a community in Acts 2:42-44.
For Paul, “we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. (Rom 12:4-5 NKJ)