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Old Testament Faith vs. Modern Judaism

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 22, 2016

I have written extensively about how the Old and New Covenants are one continual revelation of Jesus Christ–the salvation of mankind; and how the New Covenant Church is the continuation and fulfillment of the Old Testament faith, by virtue of its being an Olive tree that joins together Jew and Gentile people of authentic faith into one Body for eternity.

Confusion is introduced when Bible teachers claim that New Testament faith has its “roots in Judaism.” The truth is that New Testament faith has its roots in the Old Testament faith, for they are both pure faith in Yahweh and His Messiah Jesus.

However modern Judaism is a religion which actually contradicts both Old and New Testament faith. While modern Judaism does still borrow from Old Testament faith practices when convenient (such as circumcision, meeting in temples, etc.), it has added to them myriad traditions and laws God never spoke, many of which completely obscure the purpose of God’s law and/or create loopholes around God’s law.

Michael Hoffman gives us an example of such a confusion-bringing teaching by Presbyterian theologian Douglas Jones–

“…consider the case of Abraham, that ancient father of Judaism and Christianity…One of the best ways of beginning to think about the nature of Christianity is to think of it in the light of Judaism. Today, we so often think of Judaism and Christianity as two distinct religions, almost like Buddhism and Islam. But early Christianity never saw itself in that way. The earliest Christians saw themselves as faithful Jews simply following Jewish teachings. In fact, the first main dispute in the Christian church was whether non-Jews, the Gentiles, could even be a part of Christianity! Christianity self-consciously saw itself as the continuing outgrowth, the fulfillment, of true Judaism. As such, Christianity didn’t start in the first century but long before with King David, Moses, Abraham, and ultimately the first man, Adam. Everything in older Judaism was building up and pointing to the work of Jesus Christ. Over and over, the early disciples explained that Christ was the fulfillment of the ancient promises of Judaism…So when we start thinking about Christianity, we have to understand its very Jewish roots. We should assume that Christianity ought to look and sound like Judaism except when it explicitly claims to change something. We should expect that the Scriptures, institutions, basic principles, laws, meditations, family life, etc. of Judaism would carry over into Christianity, unless Christ, the final prophet, authoritatively changed a practice….Christianity’s Jewishness is pervasive indeed.”(1)
 While Douglas Jones properly tied the New Testament church to Old Testament saints like David, Moses and Abraham, his improper use of the term “Judaism” to describe their faith is a dangerous misstep. Christians have fellowship with all the righteous–that would certainly include David, Moses and Abraham. But we do not have fellowship with the unrighteous–those who follow another spirit and another gospel–such as is found in modern Judaism.  Mr. Hoffman explains–

By improper application of the words “Jew” and “Judaism,” the preceding statement of a leading modern conservative Presbyterian’s view of Judaism, extols a palimpsest of confusion. First and foremost, by terming the Old Testament religion of Yahweh  as “Judaism,” an inexorable connection is inevitable and established between the religion of those who rejected Jesus as the Messiah, and the Old Testament religion of His Father, Yahweh. The reader is given the distinct impression that modern Judaism bears within it the seeds of the religion of the Old Testament, that it is the Old Testament religion without Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing could be a greater source of delusion. To ascribe to the ancient Israelite religion the term “Judaism” is a grave lexical and hermeneutic error. It gives to the creed of the entire Twelve Tribes of Israel and their Covenant Elohim, the title of a perverse man-made tradition that flourished among one segment of the offspring of the fourth son of the patriarch Jacob (the tribe of Judah). The word “Jew” is a corrupted form of the word Judah. It refers to two of the twelve tribes of Israel, Judah and Benjamin, and does not even appear in the Bible until II Kings 16:6, and then again in 25:25 and II Chronicles 32:18.

Paul’s allusion to the “Jews’ religion” in this context is instructive. Paul’s reference in this regard is negative: “And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” (Galatians 1:14). The hallmarks of the “Jews’ religion” according to Paul, are two-fold: persecution of God’s Church (I Thessalonians 2:14-16), and allegiance to the “traditions” of men. 

The Pharisees asked Jesus why His followers disobeyed the Talmud (at that time known as the “tradition of the elders” and not yet in written form), by refusing to engage in ritual hand-washing: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” “But Jesus said unto them, ‘Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15: 2-3). How can it be said that “Judaism” (the “Jews’ religion”) is the root of Christianity, when according to Paul, it is a religion of man-made traditions and according to Jesus Christ, Judaism’s traditions of men made the Law of Yahweh of “none effect”? (Matthew 15:9). How can it be said that “Judaism” is the root of Christianity, when in the Old Testament there was no “Judaism”? One searches in vain for the term, yet modernist Christians today use it almost exclusively to describe the religion of the Old Testament, of Yahweh and His people.

After some Jews rejected their Messiah they formalized the tradition of the elders condemned by Christ as the very nullification of the Law of God, and that new religion is accurately and properly termed Judaism: “This new system, treated at first as simply provisional because of the surviving hope of restoring the Jewish commonwealth, had soon to be accepted as definitive…Then it was that Rabbinical or Talmudical Judaism fully asserted its authority…the Mishna ‘Oral Teaching’ completed by Rabbi Juda I, committed ultimately to writing in the form of the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds and expounded by generations of teachers in the schools of Palestine and Babylonia, held undisputed sway over the minds and consciences of the Jews. In fact, this long acceptation of the Talmud by the Jewish race, before its center shifted from the East to the West, so impressed this…Law (Mishnah) upon the hearts of the Jews that down to the present day Judaism has remained essentially Talmudical both in its theory and in its practice…Orthodox Judaism…distinctly admits the absolutely binding force of the oral Law…” (2)

  Hopefully, you can see that neither Jesus nor Paul accepted Judaism as authentic faith, but instead a corruption born out of rebellion against God. Remember that Jesus told the Pharisees God would require of their generation all the righteous blood from Abel to Zechariah, whom their fathers had killed.  Not only did they refuse to enter life, they hindered others from doing so by “taking away the key to knowledge.” (Lk. 11:45-52) Their spiritual children continue to do this to this very day, obscuring and perverting the Word of God with their legions of laws and traditions.

Thankfully their physical children can repent and be converted, and become the children of God!  Paul is a prime example, and we also have the example of Nicodemus going to learn from Jesus in John 3. It appears that Nicodemus did become a follower of Jesus, forsaking the traditions of his fathers for the living Truth. He later publicly identified with Jesus by helping to give Him a proper burial (John 19:39-40), an act which surely burned the bridge between himself and the Pharisees.

God bless you as you continue to seek clarity on these issues!

(1) Hoffman, Michael. Judaism Discovered: A Study of the Anti-Biblical Religion of Racism, Self-Worship, Superstition and Deceit (Kindle Locations 2473-2483). Independent History and Research. Kindle Edition.

(2)Hoffman, Michael. Judaism Discovered: A Study of the Anti-Biblical Religion of Racism, Self-Worship, Superstition and Deceit (Kindle Locations 2484-2513). Independent History and Research. Kindle Edition.

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Walking after Christ, or Glorying in Shame?

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 26, 2015

Christian soldiers

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil 3:17-20)

From this passage, 6 points stand out to me:

1. We are to imitate Paul’s way of life as he also imitated Christ’s way of life.

2. If we are imitating Paul and Christ, our citizenship is in heaven, not a place on earth.

3. Many religious men are instead enemies of the cross of Christ because they do not walk as Christ walked.

4. Such people serve not Christ, but their own belly or earthly appetites, caring overmuch for earthly things.

5. These people glory in (are proud of) that which should make them feel ashamed.

6. The end of such people is destruction.

1. First, we are to follow Paul’s example, as he has stated elsewhere: Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (I Cor. 11:1) And what example has Paul, imitating Jesus, given to us? Although he was born with elite Jewish privilege and could have had all the honor from men associated with that privilege, he has counted it as worthless so as to pursue Christ. (Phil. 3:2-11) He understands that the true Circumcision includes only those who are worshiping God in the Spirit (vs. 3). He has not joined the Jewish Resistance to fight the Roman occupiers for land, just as Christ did not. He has not made the advancement and supremacy of his earthly nation his goal, just as Christ did not. He has not sought to protect his physical life from danger and death, just as Christ did not (2 Cor. 6:4-5). And this blessed man followed Jesus to the end, overcoming all things by not loving his own life to the death.

2. The one who is walking the same path as Paul and Christ has his citizenship in heaven. He is loyal to heaven and heaven’s goals. He is not an earthly man, but a spiritual man. He belongs to that kingdom which is not of this world (John 18:36); he no longer seeks/fights for things the world offers–including freedom from captivity, servitude or death. He knows his inheritance is reserved in heaven for him, and mortal man can do nothing to take it away, provided he remains faithful to the end (I Pet. 1:4, Matt. 10:28; Rom. 8:38-39). As a citizen of that holy country, he will speak to the people of this world as calling them out of their own perishing countries and into that enduring one. He will not give up his ambassadorship and ministry of reconciliation to fight instead against flesh and blood, for things he has already written off as loss.

3. While those who refuse to walk as Christ and Paul walked are often called “good conservative Christians” in our day, God calls them “enemies of the cross of Christ.” They do not want to empty themselves, give up their reputation among men, and go to the cross as Jesus did; they refuse to let that mind be in them which was also in Him (Phil. 2:5-7). The ways of God are foolishness to them. Instead they exalt themselves, attempting to harness the secular powers through the political process or military strength, not understanding that this illicit lover will turn on them (Rev. 17:16). They succumb to the temptation of the devil, which was,“All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” (Matt. 4:9) Who is like my country, they say, and who can make war with him? And they wave their flags and celebrate their holidays commemorating death and destruction. They are enemies of the cross because they despise its humility, its poverty, and its pain; all while claiming to serve its Christ.

4. Such people serve carnal appetites, not Christ, regardless of what they claim on Sunday morning. Their boast is not in how the cross has subdued and mastered them, but in what they have accomplished in this world by their flesh. They are not crucified to the world, and the world is not crucified to them (Gal. 3:14). They want land, they want privilege (which they call “freedom”), and they want the world to be under their immediate control–a deceptive illusion of reigning with Christ, when they will never reign with Christ if they do not go by way of the cross. The love of the world is still in their hearts. They have not so learned Christ (Eph. 4:20). This is not how Christ walked, and it is not how Paul walked. But these dual witnesses are ignored by those who must have their carnal appetites fed.

5. They glory in, and are proud of, that which should make them ashamed. There are many things earthly men–even religious men–will esteem, that God looks upon as pure abomination (Lk. 16:15). Most horrifying is when men purporting to serve Christ glory in the things Christ abhors. A perfect example can be seen in the picture above. Men proudly holding the Word of God (“Love your enemies”) in one hand, and a destroying weapon in the other. This picture is making the rounds in social media, and the comments are enough to break a child of God’s heart. Professing Christians glorying in such a picture! Glorying in our “might”–and purposely forgetting the suffering caused by it. Saying, “God is with us”–and purposely forgetting that God is never with people whose sins stink to high heavens, and whose faces remain proud despite the continuing stench. Forgetting also the gospel. Forgetting the call to love not the world and have no fellowship with the world. Forgetting the command to bless those who hate us. Forgetting the example of Paul and the example of Jesus. Willfully forgetting in far too many cases.

6. In conclusion, Scripture is clear that enemies of the cross will be destroyed. Those who do not repent of living and warring in the flesh (Rom. 8:13; 2 Cor. 10:3-4) will die the second death in the lake of fire. Murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them (I Jn. 3:15). Those who are still entangled in the games of this world, swearing oaths to obey earthly men and destroying flesh and blood, are not serving the Lord. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot fulfill two commissions at one time–one of reconciliation and the other of destruction. You cannot love both the world and God (I Jn. 2:15-17). Paul made his choice–he counted as worthless all that the world would have praised about him. He set his sights on eternal things and made up his mind to run his race in careful imitation of Christ. He let the mind of Christ Jesus be in him, ruling his behavior and deciding the course of his life. Many early believers did follow Paul as he followed Christ, and they suffered many things in their flesh. But in knowing Christ and being conformed to his death, they obtained an inheritance that will never fade away.

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The Field is the World; The Field is not the Church

Posted by israeliteindeed on March 12, 2015

How many times have you heard someone say concerning the overwhelming deluge of sin in the Church, “Well, there are wheat and tares in the Church, and God will figure it out in the end.”

Are we really supposed to turn a blind eye to a mixture of wheat and tares in the Church?

Look carefully at Jesus’ explanation of the wheat and tares parable–

“He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. ***The field is the world***, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matt. 13:47-43)

Vs. 38 is very explicit–according to Jesus, the field is THE WORLD. (Not the Church!)

That means the WORLD is presently filled with wheat and tares dwelling together. The wheat (believers) are also called “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” elsewhere in Scripture. They are purposely dispersed among the tares so as to witness to them and convert as many as possible to wheat. Both will be harvested at the end, the harvest signifying the end of all earthly life as we know it, when there is no more chance for anyone to repent. The wheat will be gathered safely, but the tares will be thrown out of the Kingdom of God and into the furnace of fire. This is very important–Jesus was not describing a mixture of righteous and evil people in the Church, but a mixture of righteous and evil people in the World.

Furthermore, we need to pay attention to the parable itself, which included a directive to not harm the tares (in the world) lest the wheat also be harmed–

The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them (the tares) up?’ (Matt. 13:28)

What would “gathering the tares up” do? It would kill them. To pull a plant out of the ground is to end its earthly life. The servants of God were asking if they should eradicate the wicked from among the righteous in the world.

But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13:29-30)

The righteous servants of God are not to go and gather out of the WORLD (the field) those who appear to be tares. We are to let them grow. This is yet another passage that flies in the face of “just war” for Christians. We are to preach the gospel to the tares, of course, in the hopes that they repent and are converted to wheat. But we are not to remove them from the ground (kill them!) This premature separation of wheat and tares could harm some of the wheat. There are several ways this could happen, but I will mention one that sticks out to me.

We have many warmongering “Christians” among us in the West (who apparently don’t think Jesus’ commands are meant to be obeyed) who are gung-ho to eradicate certain plots of tares. I have even heard some say that violently removing these whole groups of people from the earth is an act of mercy and kindness to the rest of us. Of course they attempt to justify this with bits and pieces of Old Covenant Scripture while ignoring or sidestepping many New Testament commands. This attitude is nothing more than Dark Ages crusaderism, and is not Christian in the slightest. What happens when these “tares” are removed from the world by professing “Christians”? Real wheat is also hurt. Those who might otherwise become Christians are repulsed by this fake form of Christianity. Some real Christians who dwell among “the tares” are damaged or destroyed along with them. (A case in point that is always on my heart is the Palestinian Christians who suffer along with their Muslim neighbors from the misguided zeal of zionists who send money to help steal their land and oppress them.)

Another danger that springs from believing the field is the Church–and I alluded to this in the beginning, is the turning of blind eyes to sin in the Church. We have already established that Jesus never said “the field is the Church,” but instead “the field is the WORLD.” Jesus never, ever taught that His spotless Bride was a mix of good and evil people! His Church is only those people whose works back up their profession in obedience to Christ. The New Testament is clear that sin in the gathering of believers must be dealt with. We see in the story of Ananias and Sapphira that God, through Peter, dealt swiftly and decisively with deceivers. Paul also taught that we are not to even eat with someone who claims to be a Christian yet walks in obvious sin. We are instead to “put away from ourselves the evil person” and have no fellowship with the wicked (I Cor. 5; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; Eph. 5:11).

In summary, real Christians live in a WORLD that is filled with believers and unbelievers (wheat and tares.) We are to preach the gospel to the tares, that they may repent and be converted; but we are not to uproot the tares lest our brethren (wheat) also be harmed. The Church is the Body of saints/believers sprinkled throughout the earth, and is always called to be entirely holy. Obvious sin in any local assembly needs to be reproved. Those who refuse to repent should be separated from in order to encourage their repentance, and to stop leaven from spreading. We Christians need to stop appealing to the parable of the wheat and tares to excuse our refusal to deal with the sin in our assemblies. To do so is a misuse of Scripture, for Jesus said very plainly, “The field is the world.”

God bless you!

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One Church from the Beginning

Posted by israeliteindeed on March 6, 2015

The false teaching of dispensationalism posits that Israel and the Church are two distinct organisms with different destinies and responsibilities. With this foundational error laid, it then goes on to cause even greater confusion and harm as it interprets Scripture in ways quite opposite of how the New Testament writers did.

In Stephen’s history of Israel, delivered just before his death at the hands of his own countrymen, he made this interesting statement:

This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai… (Acts 7:37-38a)

That word “congregation” is the Greek word “ekklesia” or “called out ones.” It is also correctly translated in many other versions as “Church.” Stephen had just called the Old Testament Israel “the Church in the wilderness,” even as he reminded his listeners that they were accountable to obey the Prophet whom Moses predicted would come (Jesus).

The apostle Paul said this concerning the Old Testament Church:

Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (I Cor. 10:1-4)

Paul is very clear that this Old Testament Congregation was a people who went through a form of baptism, ate spiritual food, and drank of the living waters of Christ. They were to walk with and be fed by Christ. This is the same language applied to the Christian life under the New Covenant gospel. Certainly such spiritual truths are more clear to us today because we can examine the New Testament, and are able to look back to Jesus’ death and resurrection. But the principles were already in operation in Old Testament Israel, though somewhat veiled, being a copy or shadow of the “good things to come.” (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 8:5, 10:1)

The Congregation (Church) was to listen to God’s voice and do whatever He said. They would be blessed if they obeyed, and cursed if they disobeyed. With most of them, God was not well-pleased, and they perished without ever obtaining the promise. Others in their posterity would make it further than they did, but would also turn aside to idols after once being faithful. If God’s many warnings to Israel are to be believed (and I believe them), these apostates would also would be “cut off from Israel” (regardless of whether they were ever officially forced to leave their physical land).

The Old Testament Church, just like the New Testament Church, was a remnant of faithful people within a larger group of unfaithful people who also claimed to be the Church (Israel). This is why Paul said that not all “Israel” are “Israel.” (Rom. 9:6-8) All professed to be His, but many denied Him by their works (Titus 1:16). The Lord has always known those who were His, and still does now that the New Covenant is in place (2 Tim. 2:19). We can say, and often do, that “not all the church is THE CHURCH.” God’s true Church is growing, and is pictured by an Olive Tree which has Jewish and Gentile branches (Rom. 11), in keeping with His original plan to bless all nations through Abraham’s Seed–which is Christ (Gen. 22:18). These only are the true Israel of God–or the true Church–then and now.

Though men judge by outward things (appearances, religious obligations, ethnic origins), Jesus will clean out His threshing floor (those who claim to be His people) and will gather the wheat into the barn, and burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire (Matt. 3:12). There are those who say they are Jews, who are in reality followers of satan (Rev. 2:9; 3:9). Paul taught us how we can tell a true Jew in God’s eyes–his heart must be circumcised by the Spirit of God (Rom. 2:28-29). Those who are Jews only outwardly are not Jews at all, according to Paul.

Israel and the Church are not two separate entities. They are simply the Church under the Old Covenant, and the Church under the New Covenant. As Truth was progressively revealed in the process of time, the Old Testament Church rolled over into the New Testament Church, and together they (OT prophets and NT apostles) became the foundation of the New Covenant Temple, with Christ as its eternal Cornerstone. (Eph. 2:20). It is one Church from the beginning, but the New Covenant has fulfilled the Old Covenant, and caused it to be made obsolete forever. The Seed of Abraham has come, and He has obtained the promise for everyone who repents and believes in Him (Gal. 3:16, 29). This is the Israel of God, upon whom will be everlasting peace. Praise God!

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Proceeding From Evil to Evil

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 2, 2014

“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the Lord. “Everyone take heed to his neighbor, and do not trust any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanderers. Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity. Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know Me,” says the Lord. (Jer. 9:3-6)

Here we see that at the root of corruption and the overspread of evil, there is a lack of God’s people being valiant for truth on the earth. When the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned again, and what use has it in preserving the earth?

Many in the church bemoan the state of our nation, and rightly so, but too often they are crying only about the rotten harvest, and not the many years of rotten sowing they themselves took part in before that.

Has the western church been valiant for the truth on the earth? With exception of a remnant–decried as legalists and ignored by the mainstream–the honest answer is no.

In fact, the mainstream is teaching that the Genesis account of creation cannot be true, God’s love won’t let anyone perish and go to hell, homosexuality won’t exclude one from the kingdom after all, and we don’t really have to be a holy people–that was just a standard God purposely set out of our reach. The command to be separate from the world is too stuffy for our modern times, and the cross where the Lord Jesus suffered to change rebellious hearts was just God’s way of showing us how insufferable His own laws are. There is a lie for every kind of twisted heart that continues insisting it still serves the Lord even as it despises Him.

Yes, we have taught our own tongues to speak lies about our God, and through deceit we refuse to know Him. And so we “proceed from evil to evil.” And this is how our nation got so far off course, so we can stop pointing our fingers at the world, and start examining ourselves in light of the piercing Word. How did we expect the nation to stay on course when the city set on a hill (the church) was so, so dimly lit; and the sounds she played on her trumpet were so rare and so uncertain?

How can we get back on course–We must forsake the lies we have embraced about God. We must once again separate from the lying world that is utterly lost and blind and on its way to everlasting destruction. This will include separating from many, perhaps most, of professing Christians. That sounds too harsh to the lukewarm ear, but most are wickedly walking the wide road, unable to see that they hold fast a lie in their right hand. They are deceiving their neighbors, encouraging them to sin along with them, and to forsake the Lord. And I’m not just talking about drinking and drugs and illicit sex. I am talking about the idolatries of patriotism, power, entertainment, the American dream, material things, carnal prosperity, traditions which nullify God’s Word, or even “having a ministry.” Many are telling each other dreams or prophecies in God’s name, which the Lord has not given, leading one another away from the Lord by their idolatrous and self-serving dreams/prophecies (Jer. 23:16-32). The western church has become a bastion for idolatry and a safe harbor for lies and liars.

We must separate from this idolatry and have nothing to do with it. If we are not wholeheartedly with Jesus, we will be scattered.

Apostasy is a strange thing. The Israelites did not make a golden calf and then say, “We want nothing to do with Yahweh anymore. From now on, we are pagans.” Instead they called the calf “Yahweh” and tried to offer the worship of the calf to Yahweh. They mixed Yahweh with things that have no breath in them, things that cannot spiritually profit, and continued to think they were in the faith. This is what we have done here in the western church. We have added to and subtracted from the Word of God in so many ways with our traditions. We have turned houses of prayer into dens of thieves. We have forgotten (even in some cases, trodden down) the poor and pursued wealth for ourselves. We have worshiped the idea of having a “favored nation” and embraced lies about God’s heart toward other nations or other races. We purposely turned a blind eye to our pleasure-seeking, self-centered culture, and even adopted many of its ways, until that evil grew so offensive and restrictive to our personal way of life, that now we point our fingers in horrified indignation. But we have refused to repent of the part we played when we offered our harlotries to Yahweh year after year, and called it the worship of Him.

We must repent, in spirit and truth, and return to the old paths, calling upon the Lord with those who have pure hearts. We may not be able to save this perverse generation, but I pray we can save ourselves and those who hear us (Acts 2:40; I Tim. 4:16). Of course I do not mean that we can save ourselves apart from Jesus. He does the saving by sending His Truth, but we must do the repenting which He commands. We must stop refusing to know the Lord through deceit, and become valiant for Truth on the earth.

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The Glory of the Latter Temple

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 28, 2014

This paper will be looking at some key verses in the short prophesy of Haggai.

The prophet Haggai finds the returned exiles to Jerusalem too busy about their own business to be finishing God’s business. Through him, God reminds this remnant of His prior judgments on their blessings, and exhorts them to put Him first and get the house of worship completed. He meant a physical house, as the New Covenant had not yet come. However this physical building never did attain to the earthly glory of the first house built by Solomon. These were the days of “small things” (Zech. 4:10)–not to be despised, but also not to be thought of as the full manifestation of what God was accomplishing. The old men who had seen the former temple wept to see this new foundation laid (Ezra 3:12), perhaps remembering the former glory, which was even now passing away (2 Cor. 3:7). Soon the covenant which was centered around the earthly temple would be obsolete (Heb. 8:13), and Jesus indicated such to his disciples when they asked Him His opinion of the temple in their day–

Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Matt. 24:1-2)

Keeping in mind Jesus’ future words about the destruction of the earthly temple, let us look at Haggai 2:5-9, wherein a wonderful promise of future glory–pertaining to the temple–was made:

‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’ “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

First, notice that the Spirit was promised to be with those who were now obeying Him, just as He was with those who previously came out of Egypt (before they backslid). The remnant had endured 70 years of exile. Many unbelieving branches had been cut off and thrown into the fire (judgment), but the remnant “people of God”–the called out ones–the congregation of the Lord–had survived (Jer. 5:10; 11:16-17; Ezek. 19:10-14; Jn. 15:1-8; Rom. 11:1-27). After the first generation of redeemed Israelites had perished in the wilderness, it was needful for the survivors of the following generation to know God would be with them. And now, after so many Israelites had been vomited out of the land never to return again, it was needful for this small remnant to know that God would again be with them. Regardless of how many are “cut off,” God will always be with the remnant who returns to Him in truth!

Second, God promises to shake ALL the nations, that the treasure of the nations (indicated by silver and gold owned by the Lord) would come to “the Desire of all Nations.” The Desire of all Nations is undoubtedly Christ Himself, the redeemer of all men. The gold and silver treasures are those from the nations who would hear His voice and come to Mt. Zion to be redeemed of the Lord and dwell peacefully with Him and His people (Isa. 2:2-4; Mic. 4:1-5). The writer of Hebrews tells us the international Church is the fulfillment of these promises (Heb. 12:22-23). These treasures would be refined and purified by the Lord Jesus, as gold and silver in a fire (Zech. 13:9; Mal. 3:2-3) to become vessels of honor (2 Tim. 2:20-21).

Third, the glory of the coming latter temple would be greater than the former, and peace would be given in this place. God cannot have meant the second temple built by the returned remnant, for even after Herod refurbished its buildings in Jesus’ day, Jesus gave no honor at all to these, but promised they would be destroyed (and they were.) He spoke mysteriously of His own body being a temple, which would be destroyed by men and raised again in three days by His own power (Jn. 2:19-21). The Lamb (Jesus) is the temple in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22). When Jesus rose from the grave, new construction began in the Spirit! The cornerstone was laid once and for all in Zion. Justice was the measuring line and righteousness the plummet. Hail swept away the refuge of lies (“I am a child of God because of my ancestry”), and waters overflowed the hiding place (“God won’t take my sin into account.”) (Isa. 28:16-17) Listen as Paul describes both the glory and the peace of the latter temple:

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:11-22)

Notice that converted Gentiles were (past tense) aliens from Israel, but in Christ Jesus, they have been brought near (to be grafted into the olive tree.) Jesus Himself is our peace, and we and other saints (both Jewish and Gentile) are being built together and growing into a holy temple! Jesus is the Cornerstone, and the apostles and prophets make up the rest of the foundation upon which we all must be built. This is the absolute fulfillment of Haggai 2:5-9. The nations are being shaken, and God’s treasure is coming to the Desire of All Nations. God’s temple is glorious in the earth–much more glorious than anything built by the hands of men could be, for God does not dwell in temples made with hands, but in His people (Acts 17:24; I Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16). Jesus has given peace to His disciples, a more lasting and true peace than the world gives (Jn. 14:27); He is their peace, and He has given Himself to them.

Peter also echoes this truth in I Pet. 2:4-9, reminding believers that only those who come to Jesus are God’s chosen people because they have come to the Chosen One–

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”
and “A stone of stumbling

And a rock of offense.”
They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

In conclusion, the glory of the latter temple is already present in the world, and construction is ongoing. When we see the light shining in the faces of our brothers and sisters–and when we see them at peace while the world falls apart, we see a bit of that glory. It is treasure hidden in earthly vessels, to be sure, and carnal eyes will overlook it, but God chooses the weak things to confound the mighty. We need not look for a temple made with hands in the Middle East, as some are falsely teaching–such a temple would be blasphemous in light of the revelation of Jesus Christ and the temple He has been building (His Body, the Church). When the temple is completed and every living stone has been set in its walls, then shall be revealed to every eye the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2).

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Out of Egypt I Called My Son

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 13, 2014

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. (Hos. 11:1)

Through the prophet Hosea, God makes this wonderful statement. He goes on to paint the lovely yet sorrowful picture of a God who took “Israel” by the arms, healed them, drew them with gentle cords, took a yoke off their neck, and stooped to feed them. But they were bent on backsliding from Him. They sacrificed to the Baals, refusing to exalt Him in truth. Though they had encircled Him with lies and deceit, yet His heart churned within Him, and He cried out, “How can I give you up?!”

Yet in verses 10-11, the prophet makes this prediction:

They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, then His sons shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses, says the Lord.

Now before we decide that everyone from apostate Israel would come to walk after the Lord, and be physically restored to “dwell in their houses,” let us remember how Matthew interpreted Hosea 11:1–

When he [Joseph] arose, he took the young Child [Jesus] and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matt. 2:14-15)

Matthew says Hosea 11:1 was “fulfilled” by Jesus! Please take some time to think about what that means. If we were reading Hosea alone, we might not have even realized that this verse pointed to Christ. But there are many passages in O.T. prophecies that point to Him and find their fulfillment in Him.

According to Matthew, the fulfillment of Israel being called out of Egypt is Jesus, God’s Son. Now this sheds much more light on the subject of Israel, does it not? Remember, national Israel drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. It is Christ who came out of Egypt, leading His people out of bondage! (I Cor. 10:4) BUT–

With most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (I Cor. 10:5-11)

And so we have this glorious picture of Christ (the True Vine) coming out of Egypt (the world), roaring like a Lion, and His people following Him into that kingdom which is not subject to this world or its god (pictured by Pharaoh). And with it, we have a warning from history, that unless we are faithful, we too shall not inherit the promises. For to remain in the true Israel (Jesus), we must abide in Him and keep His word. Many branches have been cut off already!

Every person who forsakes the world and enters Christ, goes on a spiritual journey–they walk after the Lord, as Hosea said they would. He roars like a Lion, and His sons come trembling after Him. And who are His sons? You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26) They follow Him to Mount Zion (Heb. 12:22), and they dwell in their houses under His protection, for your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God. (I Cor. 6:9) They also dwell in the corporate House of the Lord itself, as living stones in its very construction, and members of a holy priesthood. (I Pet. 2:5) They are given a place in Christ/Israel, for He goes to prepare a place for them, that where He is, they may be also (Jn. 14:2-3). Though Paul says believers are already spiritually seated together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6), the inheritance will be fully and finally fulfilled when Christ returns and our mortal bodies are changed, so as to be able to inherit the kingdom which flesh and blood cannot inherit (I Cor. 15:50-54).

These promises were seen “afar off” by those who died in faith (Heb. 11:13). They did not receive the promise in their lifetime, for God has prepared something better–we shall all be made perfect TOGETHER in the end (Heb. 11:39-40).

Yes, out of Egypt, God called His Son. He, and those married to Him through the covenant in His blood, are the Israel of God.

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gentle, sparrow-like saints, be encouraged in Truth

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 10, 2014

Have you had condemnation heaped on you for leaving a church you could no longer be part of with a clean conscience? This post reminds us that the Church is not “The Way”…the Church is a gathering of people who walk in the Way, following Jesus every step. And there are times when we must “go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Heb. 13:13) God bless you!

Witnessing Encouragement

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood” 1Cor.11:25

Excerpts from an article about “How to Honorably Leave a Church”, by false teacher, predator and wolf Doug Phillips, found via the internet “Wayback Machine”. The article was originally posted on his blog in 2005 and again in 2007.

DP Quote: “Christians are in a state of covenant with the Lord. One way that supreme covenant finds expression is through the “mini” covenant of their relations and duties to Christ’s local church. Because Christians are in covenant with Christ, they are to be in covenant with a local church. They are not “married” to the local church, but they are to be in a state of formal covenant with it. This “mini” covenant (an extension of our covenant with Christ) carries privileges and responsibilities, and is not to be taken lightly.”

Me: This is a re-phrasing of the “Church…

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