The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘abraham’

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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Cut Off

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 14, 2015

First, two things to remember:

1. Whatever things were written before (about Israel) were written for our learning (Rom. 15:4).

2. All these things happened to them (Israel) as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (I Cor. 10:11).

Keeping these two things in mind, we need to consider God’s dealing with Israel when Israel–as a whole–stopped obeying God.

“Cut Off”

Throughout the writings of the Law and the Prophets, it was written that those who disobeyed God in specific ways were to be “cut off” from among their people. That would mean they were no longer considered part of God’s congregation/assembly. Keeping the two aforementioned Scriptures in mind, it should be easy then to understand that the modern teaching of OSAS (“once saved always saved”) is a lie. If an Israelite could be cut off from God’s people for particular sins, and those things were recorded for our learning, then we too can be cut off from God’s people if we do not continue in God’s goodness (Rom. 11:22).

But there is another lesson in this that I’d like to bring out, which is: Being born a Hebrew in the Old Testament in no way kept a person from being “cut off” from God’s people. Blood or family relations didn’t save during the times of Moses, didn’t save during the times of the prophets, and still doesn’t save today. This is important because the false teaching of Talmudic “Zionism” teaches that if people are related to Abraham (or more specifically his son Jacob), they are the chosen people, or “God’s people.” Such is not the case, and both testaments are clear on this.

Let us look at specific examples of sins that were punished in the OT (Old Testament) by the sinner being “cut off.” With each one, I’ve included NT (New Testament) parallel Scriptures, which further demonstrate that the New Covenant completes and fulfills the Old. Notice that responsibility is placed on each person, under either covenant, to keep the covenant or be cut off. To be “cut off” from God’s OT “congregation” was exactly the same as being “cut off” from the NT Body of Christ/the True Vine/the Olive Tree.

“Cut Off” for:

OT: Not being circumcised if male–Gen. 17:14
NT: Circumcision of the heart unto obedience is a non-negotiable for the believer; it is defined spiritually in Rom. 2:28-29 and Phil. 3:3–We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. I Cor. 7:19 makes it clear that obedience is the principle issue.

OT: Eating leavened bread during Passover–Exo. 12:15
NT: Sinning willfully–“eating leaven” after having knowledge of the Truth (Christ, our Passover slain for us) leads to damnation–Heb. 10:26-27.

OT: Anointing man’s flesh or anointing “an outsider”–Exo. 30:32-33
NT: Laying hands on people who have not been proven righteous leads to partaking in their sins (I Tim. 5:22). No flesh is to glory in God’s presence (I Cor. 1:29).

OT: Profaning the Sabbath–Exo. 31:14
NT: There remains a rest for the people of God, into which we must labor to enter, or we can fall “according to the same example of disobedience”–Heb. 4:9-11.

OT: Partaking of the Lord’s sacrifice while unclean, eating the fat or blood–Lev. 7:20-27; 17:10-14
NT: Partaking of the Lord’s supper while defiled by sin, and without self-examination, a man becomes guilty and brings damnation to himself–I Cor. 11:27-31. Bringing a gift to God’s altar while there is a need for reconciliation with a brother results in our worship not being accepted–Matt. 5:23-24.

OT: Shedding animal blood unlawfully–Lev. 17:3-5
NT: There was a prescribed way to be cleansed by blood–a way that foreshadowed the True Way, and in the New Testament it is revealed that the blood of Christ is that Way. It is the only lawful way to have sins forgiven–I Pet. 1:18-21, Heb. 9:22, etc.

OT: Committing sexual immorality–Lev. 18:29; 20:17-18
NT: Such will still cause one to be cut one off from God’s family/kingdom under the New Covenant–Acts 21:25, I Cor. 6:9-10, I Cor. 10:8; I Thess. 4:3, Jude 7, Rev. 22:15. I Cor. 5 explicitly teaches that the sexually immoral are to be rejected from the fellowship of the Church until they repent; we are not to pretend they are God’s people.

OT: Eating the sacrifice when it was more than 2 days old–Lev. 19:5-8
NT: This seems to teach a general principle that we cannot rely on old victories, but must have a new and fresh relationship with God by offering our bodies a living sacrifice continually–Rom. 12:1. Yesterday’s manna is gone; today we need to partake of Jesus (and His death/resurrection) again to remain alive. Jesus taught the cross must be carried daily–Lk. 9:23. We must take heed when we think we stand lest we fall–I Cor. 10:12. And we must be diligent to continue to grow spiritually lest we stumble–2 Pet. 1:5-11.

OT: Sacrificing children to the devil–Lev. 20:1-3
NT: Abortion/ritual child sacrifice, not parenting righteously; no murderer has eternal life–Eph. 6:4; Mark 9:42; I John 3:15.

OT: Consulting witches or familiar spirits for knowledge–Lev. 20:6
NT: Sorcery disinherits a person from the kingdom of God–Gal. 5:20-21; Rev. 21:8, 22:15.

OT: Attempting to serve the Lord as priest while being unclean–Lev. 22:3
NT: The highest of standards are required for the N.T. priests of the Lord–I Pet. 2:9. Those who attempt to teach others while being unclean will be judged more severely–James 3:1. Bishops and deacons must be blameless and have a good testimony–I Tim. 3:1-13. Every saint who hopes for the final redemption is to purify himself just as He is pure–I John 3:3.

OT: Not being afflicted in soul on the Day of Atonement–Lev. 23:29
NT: Considering the blood of Jesus as “a common thing” and insulting the Spirit of grace by trampling the Son of God underfoot is worthy of even more punishment than rejecting the laws of Moses–Heb. 10:28-31. To take the Lord’s supper unworthily without proper sincerity and self-examination results in judgment/damnation–I Cor. 11:27-32)

OT: Not observing Passover–Num. 9:13
NT: It is clear that any who do not look unto the Lord’s death and resurrection as the source of their redemption cannot be considered God’s people–Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Acts 4:12, etc. Jesus commanded His disciples to eat the Passover meal as a remembrance of His broken body and shed blood–Luke 22:15-20. Paul commanded NT Christians to eat the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him, proclaiming the Lord’s death until He comes–23-26.

OT: Presumptuously sinning or despising God’s Word–Num. 15:30-31
NT: Sinning willfully after knowing the truth results in there remaining no sacrifice for your sins–Heb. 10:26-31. We must receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save our souls–James 1:21. It is the Word of God by which we are born again–I Pet. 1:23, and unless we are born again, we cannot see the Kingdom–John 3:3.

OT: Not purifying oneself after being contaminated by the dead–Num. 19:13
NT: Being “contaminated by the dead” could be seen as communing with unbelievers; we are to have no intimate fellowship with them, lest the Lord refuse us as His sons and daughters–2 Cor. 6:14-18.

OT: Not purifying oneself after any uncleanness–Num. 19:20
NT: Everyone who hopes in Jesus “purifies himself just as He is pure”–I Jn. 3:3. The Church is to have “no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish”–Eph. 5:27. The pure in heart shall see God–Matt. 5:8. People who only have a “form of godliness” while being impure are rejected–2 Tim. 3:1-5. For this reason the Lord called the Pharisees “whited sepulchers” (painted tombs) and commanded them to cleanse themselves inwardly–Matt. 23:25-28.

OT: General disobedience and serving other gods (I Kin. 9:6-7)
NT: We are to flee from idolatry–I Cor. 10:14. Idolatry and other forms of disobedience are listed as “works of the flesh” and “they who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” To remain in Christ, we must have our flesh crucified–Gal. 5:19-24.

Hopefully it is clear that while the OT foreshadowing rituals have been superceded by the NT redemptive reality, God has always and will always expect absolute obedience from His covenant people. Hopefully it’s also clear that no Jew or Hebrew was ever exempt from the possibility of being “cut off” if he disobeyed.

More Examples:

Here are examples of specific people who were “cut off” in the OT–

1. Saul was rejected as king because of disobedience and rejecting the Word of the Lord–I Sam. 15:26, and the Spirit departed from him–I Sam. 16:14. His life ended with suicide–I Sam. 31:4.

2. The house of Jeroboam was “cut off” because of his idolatry–I Kin. 14:7-14.

3. The house of Ahab was “cut off” because of his sin, including murder–I Kin. 21:19-22; 2 Kin. 9:8.

4. In the days of Jehu, the Lord “cut off parts of Israel” because of sin–2 Kin. 10:32.

5. Uzziah was “cut off from the house of the Lord” because of pride and burning incense unlawfully–2 Chron. 26:16-21.

6. Evildoers are “cut off” from the earth, Israel, Judah, or the city of the Lord/Jerusalem–Psa. 34:16, 37:9, 37:22, 37:28, 37:34, 37:38, 94:23, 101:18, 109:13, 109:15; Prov. 2:22; Isa. 9:14, 22:25, 29:20; Jer. 7:29, 44:7-11; Lam. 2:3; Ezek. 14:8, 14:21, 17:9, 21:4; Hos. 8:4, 10:15; Mic. 7:15; Zeph. 3:7; Mal. 2:12.

7. After the apostasy of Israel, those Israelites who would not humble themselves under the yoke of Babylon would “perish” and “be consumed,” but those who would serve the Babylonians (acknowledging God’s righteous judgment) would “remain in their own land” and “live”–Jer. 27:8-17.

Hopefully we see that the Old and New Covenants had this similitude: under both covenants a man could be “cut off” because of sinning and/or not keeping the terms of the covenant. This truth undermines the present day lies of both OSAS and Zionism. Yes, we can be cut off after entering the New Covenant by faith. And yes, OT Jews/Hebrews were also cut off for disobedience, and were never guaranteed as “God’s people” unless they kept the covenant. The promises were only theirs by obedient faith.

Paul seems to sum up this whole thing nicely with his picture of the Olive Tree in Romans 11–a Tree which both Jews and Gentiles from the beginning have been part of by faith. He is very clear that both the “natural branches” and the “grafted-in branches” can be cut off and lost.

What does this teach us about Jews/Israelites today? Are they God’s people?

The simple answer is: Only if they have obedient faith in Jesus Christ.

He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.(Jn. 5:23)

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (I Jn. 2:22-23)

Dear reader, if a Jew/citizen of Israel does not honor the Son, he has been “cut off.” He is an antichrist. It’s that simple. Let no one deceive you with empty words.

The only people who are not “cut off” are those who exercise obedient faith in God’s Word.

Abraham, technically a gentile called out of a pagan nation, became the father of both Jews and Gentiles (including some OT Gentiles like Rahab, Ruth, some of David’s fighting men, etc.) who have his faith. These, along with the God-honoring gentiles who preceded Abraham (like Noah) are God’s children. The saints who went before had to obey the light they were given, and we also must obey the light we are given in our own age. Now that the True Light–Messiah Jesus has come, God commands all men everywhere to repent and obey Him personally. Those who refuse will be cut off and burned in the fire, even if they are Jews (Matt, 3:7-12).

And he (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. (Heb. 4:11-12)

The promise given to Abraham is to His Seed–Christ, and those who are in Christ:

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. (Gal. 3:16)

Therefore it is of faith…that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”)… so that he became the father of many nations. (Rom. 4:16-18)

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:29)

God bless you!

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Justifying the Wicked & Condemning the Just

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 14, 2015

He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. (Prov. 17:15)

They gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood. (Psa. 94:21)

Recently, someone commented on my post, A Little Child Shall Lead Them, that the little Arab girl is not a Christian. You can read the comments on that post to see my response. I sure am thankful that our God sees the thoughts and motives of our hearts, and knows those who are His irrespective of others’ opinions.

People take sides on all kinds of issues, but the only “side” that matters is God’s side. All have sinned, and all can be saved through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ–not through superior knowledge, not through race or bloodline, not by speaking the language the experts demand we speak, not because our grandparents were saved, not because we have good attendance at church, not because we belong to a so-called “Christian country” as opposed to some other country, and not because we agree with the “orthodox” doctrine about a subject.

God is higher than “orthodoxy.” Orthodoxy is only the judgment of some majority, somewhere at some point in history (and how often is the majority correct?) Sometimes our favored “orthodoxy” is heresy, only we are too blinded by the apostate times we live in–and the apostasy of our own hearts– to see it.

Nationalism and it’s promotion and justification of violence is the darling of our contemporary churches, but it is nothing but heresy if you dare to believe the New Testament. These churches have very little in common with the early Church, but they are so satisfied with the crumbs this world tosses them in payment for their spiritual whoredom, they cannot see their own blindness and nakedness.

When God looks down upon His earth, He doesn’t see Christian countries and Muslim countries. He doesn’t drape Himself in one flag and burn the other flag. He doesn’t memorialize paid killers in His Book of Life, even if they claim with a thousand tongues to do Him service and engrave Bible verses on their weapons. He sees multiplied countries at war with Him and others (Psalm 2) because they are lost and do not know God. But His Word has not and will not return to Him void. His Word is being received and obeyed by a minority from every nation (Matt. 8:10-12). These are the blessed who sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven.

I’m sorry to inform those who love America and Israel more than they love God, that heaven will contain Arab people. Some of those Arabs may have even practiced radical Islam before they were born again. If you think this disqualifies them from the offer of salvation, you do not yet understand the gospel.

Let us be careful to have the mind of Christ on this matter. Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. (Prov. 11:1) When we weigh others by our man-made rules (including nationalistic ideals or media-induced prejudices) rather than by what is written, we are using a dishonest scale. What people group did the apostles write off as not worth their time? It is not God’s will for any Muslim to perish, but that each one would confess and forsake his sins and turn from false gods to Jesus Christ. This hope for the Arab is the same hope for the Jew or the Englishman or any other person. There is only one way into the Kingdom, and as One New Man, we who enter worship the Lamb together.

As a friend of mine recently said, “Muslims are not the enemy. They are the mission field.” Only a Kingdom Christian can say this with conviction! Oh, that we would grow up in Christ and be Christ to these people! Rather than sitting so piously in our rich homes blindly discussing our nation’s moral superiority to others. Our nation savagely dismembers thousands of innocent children daily, while looking to lying politicians to save us from savages. What hypocrisy! Do you want to know your enemy, America? Your enemy is YOU.

If America is to be judged by radical Islam, and that is possible (though I hope it won’t happen), it will be the righteous judgment of God. We’ve spent billions of dollars and shed countless gallons of human blood to “defend” our territory, trusting the arm of the flesh to give us a very transient happiness while others suffer. If Christians want to be the Church they are called to be, they will have to find the courage and love-for-all-men that the early church had. They will have to stop hoarding up the moldy treasures of earth, and begin to invest in the people for whom Christ died. They will have to understand the Kingdom of God and truly enter into it, once for all, dying to this present world. They will have to stop judging by appearances and begin to judge righteous judgment.

All people outside of Jesus Christ are condemned already (and need the gospel). Even if they speak English (or Hebrew) and are considered heroes. All people inside of Jesus Christ are justified. Even if they are Arab and speak Arabic.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa. 5:20)

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Those Who Are of Faith are Sons of Abraham

Posted by israeliteindeed on March 18, 2015

If we don’t believe what Paul has written, we are denying the truth of Scripture and rejecting the words of God (I Thess. 4:8).

Most Christians say they believe the whole Bible, but they approach certain passages with blinders on. This is admittedly easy to do after years and years of false indoctrination by the apostate church! Yet God will teach us if we are teachable. It is very important that we interpret the Old Testament in the greater light of the New Testament, just as Paul did. This is not to say that the Old Testament is invalid (Paul used it continually in his preaching), but only that Truth has been more fully manifested in the New.

With this necessary introduction, let us look at Galatians 3, written by Paul the Apostle to Gentile Christians who were being led astray by Judaizers.

From this short text, I will highlight 3 important points.

Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (6-9)

>>>1. ONLY those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. ONLY. Do you believe this? Or do you think that people born of the fleshly line of Abraham are sons of Abraham too?

Do we need another witness? Here is one–

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matt. 3:8-10) This was John the Baptist speaking to a Jewish audience. He told them not to even think Abraham was their father unless they repented of their evil!

And here is another–

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father [the devil].” (John 8:39-41) Jesus agrees with Paul and John the Baptist (or rather, they agree with Him!) Only those who do righteous deeds can be considered Abraham’s children.

>>>2. The GOSPEL was preached to Abraham in these words, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” This wasn’t just some earthly “I’m going to give you land and a family.” This was the gospel of Jesus Christ being preached, which has been preached since the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15) This promise also foresaw that the Gentiles would be grafted in. To be sure, many Jews over the years have been blinded to the gospel (2 Cor. 3:14-16), and so they have used the Old Testament to stake an earthly claim (Abraham did not do this–Heb. 11:9-16; the early Jewish Christians did not do this–Acts 4:34-35). What is even more unfortunate is that professing Christians have been just as blind to the gospel which was preached to Abraham, and have sought to “help” Jews focus on what is earthly rather than what is spiritual. They have become a hindrance to the truth, and a hindrance to all people.

>>>3. Those who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Only those who are of faith! It can’t get any clearer, friends. These, and these alone, inherit the promises given to Abraham.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus called Nathaniel “an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit”? (John 1:47) Nathaniel was born a Jew and lived in Israel. Didn’t that make him an automatic Israelite? Jesus seemed to be differentiating between an Israelite in name only, and an Israelite INDEED. Nathaniel’s identifying characteristic was that he was an honest man, and his deeds matched his profession to be a member of God’s people. While Jesus called Nathaniel an Israelite indeed, He told other Jews that Abraham was not their father!

Think about this, pray about this, and ask the Lord to help you read the Old Testament without the veil which many have gladly accepted from Judaizers. It is my heart’s desire that all Jews and Gentiles repent of their sins and be willingly grafted into the only Vine that will remain in the end.

God bless you!

See also Who the Jews are; How and Where They Live
Children of Abraham and Sarah
Jesus, the Door to the Promises
The New Covenant Attitude Toward Land Possession
The Works of Abraham
The True Vine

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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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Children of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Galatians

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 29, 2014

If you study the book of Galatians for yourself, it is clear that the recipients of Paul’s letter were Gentiles who had already entered Christ by faith, but were being confused and led astray by Judaizers who wanted “to pervert the gospel of Christ.” (1:7) There are many such teachers today who are perverting the gospel of Christ and leading Christians astray in like manner. Some wish to “Judaize” Christians by insisting they use Hebrew words rather than their own native language, or follow other Jewish laws in order to please God. Others teach Christians to have fellowship with unconverted Jews, and to further the earthly aims of those Jews even when that involves behaving unrighteously and hurting other people. This second heresy is just as dangerous as the first, for we are commanded to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to expose them. A compromising fellowship with workers of iniquity (regardless of their ancestry) can never be considered pleasing to God. I remind you that there is not a single command in the whole New Testament from Jesus or any apostle, for us to support earthly goals of earthly, unconverted Jews. Christians are to evangelize the whole world (including unconverted Jews), but we are not to support them or consider them in any way our brethren, lest we pervert the gospel.

We need to pay very close attention to this letter of Galatians! Paul, the self-proclaimed “Hebrew of Hebrews” understood the situation well, and was very zealous for the purity of the gospel. He even proclaimed a curse on anyone who would present “another gospel” by changing any part of it (1:9).

Paul reminded the Galatians how he had behaved as an enemy of God while he was following the dictates of Judaism (1:13-14). Judaism had become corrupted since the time God made a covenant with the fathers, and it is still corrupted today, especially in that it still denies Jesus–cutting its adherents completely off from the God they claim to be serving (I Jn. 2:23; 2 Jn. 1:9).

Paul went on to explain that “false brethren” wanted to spy out the liberty of the Galatian Christians and bring them into bondage, for any religion that does not have God is a religion of bondage (2:4-5). And from the time Christ came, the only way out of bondage was to enter the door of Christ. Many false teachers, traditions, and additions and subtractions from God’s Word had turned the nation of Israel into an Israel in name only. But God would show His Salvation (Jesus) and kingdom (the Israel of God) to those who obeyed His command to repent.

Many people think that since the Old Testament Hebrews worshiped God prior to the coming of Jesus, so Christ-rejecting Hebrews today are worshiping God in spite of their rejection of Jesus. This simply isn’t true. Without Jesus, they have absolutely NO access to God. Paul called such men “false brethren” (2:4). Old Testament Hebrews were accepted based on their faith as they looked forward to the Messiah (they were not accepted based on ritual, traditions, or family lines). All such people of faith who were alive when Jesus came, received Him and were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Those who did not have true faith rejected Him when He came, and they themselves were also rejected. The same continues to hold true today.

Every individual Old Testament Hebrew that disobeyed God’s Word–whether given through Moses or the other prophets–was spiritually cut off (the Vine, the Olive tree, the nation of Israel). Just do a quick search of the phrase “cut off” through the Old Testament with a Bible study tool. Every individual disobedient Hebrew may not have been evicted from his physical land, but we can be sure he was “cut off” from salvation (the Israel of God/the Kingdom of God) as God’s Word promised (just as Eve most certainly died when she ate the fruit, even though the carnal man would say she did not die). God’s eventual dislodging the Hebrews as a whole from the land was a separate judgment on the nation for becoming as wicked as other nations, and did not affect the salvation status of those who had remained faithful to God–they were still part of God’s Israel.

Let us remember that to disobey “God’s Word” is to disobey Jesus, who is the very embodiment of His Word. Once Christ had appeared to the surviving remnant of His day, the command for every man to repent and enter Him was set in stone. Everyone who refused or refuses Him, was and is cut off from the Father as well. In other words, Christ’s kingdom–which exists right now–is the only people group that worships God. There are no others. Members of His kingdom are “free indeed” because they have entered the Son. The Jews who reject Jesus are still in bondage. This is why Paul used the bondslave Hagar to symbolize unconverted Jews in Gal. 4, but we will get to that later.

Possibly these false brethren who were harassing the Galatian Christians claimed they were the people of God too (based on either their bloodline or their religious practices) along with the Christians. What is certain is that even Peter and Barnabas began to cave under the pressure of their fellow Jews, and separate from Gentiles (dividing the Church), until Peter was reproved by Paul (2:11-21). Paul reminds the Galatian converts that they received the Spirit of God by faith, not by becoming Jews (3:1-6). Abraham was not a physical “Jew,” as the term “Jew” refers to someone from the tribe of Judah–only 1 of 12 tribes. Nor was he a physical “Israelite” (Jacob/Israel came later). But he was a man of faith who obeyed God! And this obedience/faith has always been the necessary ingredient for anyone claiming to be “the people of God.” In fact, Paul told the Galatians that ONLY children of faith are sons of Abraham–

Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. (Gal. 3:7)

If you don’t remember anything else from this post, I pray to God you remember this verse. Notice Paul did not say only those who are of faith are Christians, even though this is also true. He said people of faith are sons of Abraham, and ONLY people of faith are sons of Abraham. THERE ARE NO OTHER SONS OF ABRAHAM. Please let that sink in.

Of course, I am speaking spiritually, just as Paul was–something Judaizers dislike very much because they must give up their carnal mind focused on the flesh to agree with Paul (and God). Paul also taught that there are no other Jews in any true sense of the word, but those whose hearts have been circumcised (Rom. 2:28-29); and that not all Israel is truly Israel, but true Israel is made up of “children of God” born not of flesh but of Spirit (Rom. 9:6-8). Jesus taught the same thing to Nicodemus–that to enter His kingdom (God’s Israel) one had to be born of the Spirit, not just the flesh (John 3:5-7). Abraham has descendants on this earth which are innumerable just as he was promised, but they can’t be found by tracing genealogies (which we are expressly commanded to ignore–I Tim. 1:4), or ethnically cleansing regions of Biblical/historical significance. Find those who have faith in Jesus, who are worshiping God in Spirit and truth, and you have found the very children of Abraham, who are blessed with their father, and treasured by God. Bless these righteous people, and you will blessed. Bless instead a people who are wicked, and you will be cursed.

These things also belong to the wise: it is not good to show partiality in judgment. He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” him the people will curse; nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them. (Prov. 24:23-25)

Unfortunately many people in the west cannot receive this truth because the west has been saturated with false doctrine which they have been taught from their youth, which is even further reinforced by their idolatrous nationalism. They stumble because some preacher or commentary told them that all people with a certain blood lineage are sons of Abraham/people of God/chosen people/etc., and that we must “bless” them according to Gen. 12:3–not with the gospel, but with earthly benefits!! This is a damnable lie. God’s ways are not like man’s ways. God’s way of providing children for Abraham put an utter end to pride and all means of being justified by the flesh. The promises which were made to Abraham and to his SEED were literally MADE TO Jesus Christ–

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. (Gal. 3:16-18)

The promise was made to Jesus! And according to this passage, the covenant was confirmed in Christ before the law was ever given. So the giving of the law to the Hebrew custodians of the law, did not annul the terms of the covenant, which has always been intended to bless all nations (3:8). The “inheritance” is eternal life in the kingdom of God. This inheritance is entered into by faith. There is only one kingdom of God. There is not a spiritual kingdom of God and an earthly kingdom of God simultaneously as some think; Christ has come and the Old Covenant is obsolete. Any earthly kingdom calling itself the kingdom of God is an impostor, for Christ’s kingdom is NOT of this world (Jn. 18:36).

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:26-29)

Paul is speaking very clearly. Those who are Christ’s are “Christians.” Christians are Abraham’s seed. Christians inherit the promises made to Abraham. ONLY Christians. Christians can be Jewish, or they can be Gentile, but they must be Christians to be children of Abraham. People label it “replacement theology” in order to denounce it, but I am only showing you what Paul wrote by the Spirit of God. And he gets even clearer in the next chapter of Galatians.

For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar—for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Gal. 4:22-26)

Truly only those who are in the Son of God are “free.” Everyone else is still in the flesh. Paul is very clear here that this includes his Jewish countrymen who are still trying to reach God through the first covenant. They are children of Hagar and are still slaves. Notice that Paul was not afraid to “spiritualize” the earthly history of Abraham’s two sons. Many try to interpret this story in a fleshly way (claiming literalism), saying that Hagar is the Palestinians and Sarah is the Jews. Paul would denounce such a teaching as utter heresy. Paul says Hagar is the unconverted Jews, and Sarah is everyone who is converted. To reject the teaching of Paul is to reject the teaching of God.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Gal. 4:28)

Who is Paul speaking to, saying “we are children of promise”? The Galatians! Gentiles! In God’s eyes, they are considered children of the “free woman” Sarah.

But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now. (Gal. 4:29)

Just as Ishmael persecuted Isaac, even now the Jews are persecuting the Christians!–This is Paul’s clear inference. Remember the whole letter is meant to rescue the Galatian Christians from unconverted Jews who are trying to lead them astray. And how does Paul answer this crisis?–by spiritualizing the Old Testament Scripture yet again:

Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free. (Gal. 4:30-31)

Who shall not be heir?–The children of the bondwoman, unconverted Jews. Who shall be heir?–the children of the freewoman–Christians (both Jew and Gentile).

Paul had obviously embraced the humbling which the gospel had brought to him. He was glorying in nothing other than the cross. He considered himself crucified to the world. Circumcision (or any other rite of Jewishness) meant nothing to him, but only being a new person in Christ Jesus. He was once a child of Hagar, unconverted and in bondage. But he became a child of Sarah and a citizen of the “Jerusalem Above” (God’s kingdom) when he was born again. This is why Paul didn’t advocate for saving the physical Jerusalem/Israel from pagan nations as so many apostate and earthly-minded Christians are doing today. He knew there was only one kingdom of God, and only one Way into it, so he focused on getting people into that kingdom.

I know I keep writing about this subject, but it gets clearer to me every day. And every day, it also becomes more clear how evil and damaging both dispensationalism and earthly zionism are. These are imaginations born in the hearts of carnal men who rejected God’s truth, dispensed abroad to undermine the gospel and lead many astray. They keep people focused on earthly things, and fellowshipping with those who walk in darkness. We live in a time of massive deception and apostasy. Please love the truth so that you are not deceived. God bless you.

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Jesus: the Door to the Promises

Posted by israeliteindeed on October 27, 2014

Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:

“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”

And again he says:

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”

And again:

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!”

And again, Isaiah says:

“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.” (Rom. 15:8-12)

What promises did Jesus confirm when He became a servant to the circumcision? He confirmed the Old Testament promises. Jesus told the Jews that the Old Testament Scriptures wrote of Him, and that even Moses had written of Him (Jn. 5:39;46).

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Lk. 24:27)

Unfortunately most Jews rejected His claim, and as always occurs when we do not receive a love for the Truth, they embraced lies based on nationalism, genealogy, or ritual; and this has continued to this very day. What is even sadder is that much of the Gentile church in the west is so apostate today, she is lending her support to the works of evildoers and thinking she serves God by doing so. But whether they join hands or no, they will not inherit the promises.

Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. (Gal. 4:30)

It is in Christ that ALL the promises find their fulfillment:

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Now notice in the Romans 15 passage, what effect the fulfillment of the promises would have on the Gentiles. They would be rejoicing “with His people;” they would hope in Him, and they would submit to His Kingly reign along with the believing Jews. We don’t see a cutting off of all God’s Hebrew people, but instead a grafting in of Gentiles with those Hebrews who are faithful. (Same language we see in Rom. 11) Certainly, Paul does not have every single Gentile in view here, but those who are converted to Christ.

The believing Gentiles are grafted into the Olive Tree, which is God’s chosen people–a tree which was stripped of many (but thankfully not all) Jewish branches due to their unbelief (Rom. 11:17-24). (This is not the first time the Olive Tree was pruned; see also Jer. 11:1-17 for an earlier time. One can also see the death of the first generation of Israelites in the wilderness as a pruning, as well as smaller judgments which swallowed up particular families, etc. We must endure to the end to remain in the Olive Tree.)

The Olive Tree is a picture of God’s kingdom.

How can a kingdom (the Israel of God) be made of people from all over the earth?! Christ’s kingdom is within every believer, and is not something that can be observed in this carnal realm or advanced through carnal means (Lk. 17:20-21). But oh, how the carnal man rankles at this teaching, always seeking to set up something that satisfies the lust of his eyes and flesh, and his pride of life.

Herein is the mystery of God revealed, and how the Israel of God shall be populated with the saved–by faith. God’s Kingdom is the Israel of God, and it is not of this world. Away with these lies that keep repeating that His kingdom is of this world! Away with these foolish statements that we must strengthen the hands of evildoers to be blessed! (“We must bless the modern earthly state of Israel to be blessed”=satanic lie.) To enter the kingdom which Jesus came preaching, and to be blessed, every man is commanded to repent of sin and believe upon Christ. When he does so, he becomes an heir with Jesus of the promises.

There is NO PHYSICAL JEW OR GENTILE in Christ! The flesh profits nothing–absolutely nothing. In Christ and His kingdom, there are only “True Jews” and “Israelites In-Deed” who have entered the kingdom of God by loving and submitting to its King (Rom. 2:28-29; Jn. 1:47). He is the only Door to the Promises.

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Children of Abraham

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 20, 2014

Amen! It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing.

When I was a child, I used to sing a song called, “Father Abraham.”

“Father Abraham had many sons.
How many sons had Father Abraham?
And I am one of them, and so are you.
So let’s just praise the Lord!
Right arm…”

Whoever wrote this little song understood the precious reality of God’s spiritual, called out, set apart people, who are all one family. May God give us grace to step out of the darkness of false teachings and into His glorious truths.

Hoshi'ana

ya

Who are God’s people?  Who are the children of Abraham?

God has a people. He always did. These children of Abraham follow Him, obey Him, and have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. They hear the Words of the Bridegroom and have accepted the call to the Marriage Supper. They eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus Christ in the NEW Covenant, knowing that the Old is “done away.” 2 Cor 3:7-16. They understand that all must come through the Door – Jesus, in order to be saved and do not accept that there is one path for them and another path for others.

I am the way, the truth, and the life,
no man comes to the Father, but by me.

Children of Abraham know that God has reconciled in His Son all those who seek redemption by and through the one…

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The New Covenant Attitude Toward Land Possession

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 14, 2014

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. (Acts 2:44-45)

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common… Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 2:32, 34, 35)

This is interesting in light of the old Hebrew laws about land. The Hebrews were supposed to maintain the exact borders of their family inheritance. Yet when these believers entered the New Covenant, they were quick to sell their possessions–including land–in order to help the poor. Today’s dispensational and zionist believers should consider this carefully. Why weren’t the Christians proclaiming their rights to own the land? Why didn’t they publicly condemn the Romans for “dividing the land”? Why do we have no record of their ever preaching about a physical restoration of their countrymen to the land? (In fact, the unbelieving zealots did believe in and fight for physical restoration, but they were overcome in 70 AD.) Why weren’t they asking for money in order to buy up more land for God? Perhaps the next verse gives the answer:

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. (Matt. 19:29)

They believed Jesus! They knew the promised inheritance was eternal life!

They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. (Heb. 11:37-40)

These persecuted Christians were willing to be homeless because of their faith. Notice they “did not receive the promise,” but they shall receive it with us on the same day we do. Abraham and other Old Testament saints who actually lived in “the promised land” considered that land “a foreign country.” They only saw the promise “afar off.” What does this tell us? The promise was spiritual, and these people of faith knew it. They were not seeking a natural homeland, but a heavenly country.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God…These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them. (Heb. 11:8-10; 13-16)

I am not attempting to make the case that land ownership is a sin. However, the fight over “the holy land” is a carnal fight between carnal men. It was carnality in the days of the Jewish-Roman wars, it was carnality in the days of the “Christian” vs. Muslim crusades, and it is carnality today. Today the Muslims and Jews fight over “holy sites,” and even Christians express sorrow for the Christians who can’t access them. However, real Christians are not losing any sleep over being barred from such sites. They know this:

The woman said to Him, “Sir…Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father…the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn. 4:19-24)

Yes, true worshipers are walking in this reality daily:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven. (Heb. 12:22-23a)

Remember that those who have entered Christ are heirs of the promises to Abraham by faith (Gal. 3:16;29). There is neither Jew nor Greek in this spiritual family; Christ is all and in all (Col. 3:11). But in Christ we have not inherited earthly possessions. As children of Abraham in the eyes of God, none of us has the right or calling to go take possession of a piece of the Middle East by force, whether for ourselves or for others. Remember that the earliest Jewish Christians in the book of Acts were doing just the opposite! Like Abraham, true saints have their hearts set on pilgrimage rather than possession of land. Wherever they happen to dwell in the flesh, they seek a homeland…a heavenly country.

Entering into Christ, every Christian enters the “better covenant” with “better promises,” which was foreshadowed and planted in the Old Covenant. The spiritual realities now far eclipse the old shadows. Clinging to the old shadows–when their fulfillment has come in the Lord Jesus–is unbelief.

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Dispensational Zionism Prooftexts Examined Part 1: Ezekiel 34 & 36

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 2, 2014

I will be examining some Old Testament prooftexts often used to undergird blanket Christian support for the modern state of Israel today (regardless of the nation’s obedience or disobedience to God). If you haven’t read the introduction, you can read it here.

Ezekiel prophesied to Israel (and its surrounding nations) from about 593-571 BC while he himself was already captive in Babylon. Two of his contemporaries were Daniel and Jeremiah. The capture of Jerusalem occurred at Eze. 33:21. Prior to this point, Ezekiel primarily prophesied of destruction and judgment to his people (with some exceptions), but after this point (in chapter 34), he began to prophesy of hope and restoration.

Before we get into Eze. 34 & 36, I would like to note a previous passage which directly follows the capture of Jerusalem:

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.’ “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land? You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?”’ (33:23-26)

The inhabitants of Israel felt that the land was owed them due to their connection with Abraham, and the fact that it had been given to them by God in time past. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The same idea persisted in New Testament times, and still persists today.) They trusted in their heritage, their numbers and their swords. But God rebuked them for this, and pointed out their sin as the reason they should NOT NOW possess the land. They would need to repent of their sins first, as outlined in the conditions of the covenant outlined in Deut. 30! Even though God was about to begin prophesying hope to the Israelites who would repent during exile, their present day condition kept them from being in covenant with God. This is important because God always deals with people in the present tense. God does not reward sinners who are now in sin, or covenant-breakers who have not repented, even if He knows they will repent in the future.

Now let’s look at some of the promises of Israel’s restoration after judgment, written by Ezekiel, to see if they refer to what we are seeing in the Middle East today. For the sake of space, I will insert links to the passages.

Ezekiel 34:11-31

Here God promises that He will seek for His sheep and gather them out of the countries to feed them on the mountains of Israel. He will establish one Shepherd over them, whom He calls “My Servant David.” This prophecy was historically fulfilled in the natural. First, God brought many humbled exiles back from Babylon during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah (approx. 458-445 BC), and reestablished His relationship with them. This enabled Jesus to arrive on the scene in Bethlehem at a later time in history (when the Jews were once again occupied and largely apostate). Jesus then announced Himself as the “Good Shepherd” and became the fulfillment of “My Servant David.” As the son of David, He assumed David’s throne (where He sits forever), and manifested Himself as the Shepherd/King of Israel. His earthly ministry was primarily to the House of natural Israel, with some notable exceptions (as it pleased the Lord to give the New Covenant gospel to the Jew first, then to the Gentiles who would be grafted in), and Acts 2 records a great influx of Jewish converts who were gathered into the “sheepfold” of Jesus, from all nations, on the Day of Pentecost. So this prophecy has nothing to do with the modern state of Israel. It was fulfilled!

Ezekiel 36

Here God promises that the nations that plundered Israel during her captivity will bear their shame, and Israel will once again be fruitful. He reminds the prophet that it was Israel’s sin that induced Him to scatter them throughout the nations, and that He was not bringing them back because they deserved it (even the repentant do not deserve blessing), but for His Name’s sake. Again, this was fulfilled historically during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah! The exiles came back repentant, and Neh. 9 records their repentance while wearing sackcloth. Neh. 13 details how the people listened to the law and obeyed it, Nehemiah rebuking their sins and cleansing them of “everything pagan.”

Ezra 6:21-22 states:

Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord God of Israel. And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the Lord made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.

Please note that the repentant Israelites at this time were succeeding because the Lord Himself was fighting for them. He was turning the heart of the pagan king to favor and help them. They were not trusting in military might. Their repentance was real, as they had “separated themselves from the filth of the nations in order to seek the Lord.” They were a meek (and weak) people inheriting the land not by might or power, but by God’s Spirit.

Later, when the prophet Ezra was bringing some families back from Babylon, he was ashamed to ask the pagan king for military protection on the way, for he had testified to him, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” (8:22) Obviously, Ezra understood the promise of Israel’s restoration to be conditional! The people humbled themselves and fasted and prayed for God to protect them, and He did so. (When God is truly on your side, you don’t need an “iron dome”!)

Returning to Ezek. 36, let us look at some specific verses which are often misapplied to the modern state of Israel today:

‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.” (36:33-36)

The misapplication generally sounds something like this: “The land of Israel was a desert while under the control of the Palestinians. Then once (modern) Israel came, it became like the garden of Eden again.” There is just one problem. This prophecy was already fulfilled in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra! It has nothing to do with the modern nation of Israel, which has been founded through theft and bloodshed (as most, if not all, modern nations are.)

Notice that God stated as a prerequisite to the desolate land becoming fruitful again, that He would “cleanse you from all your iniquities”! We have lots of evidence that in Ezra and Nehemiah’s day, the people were repentant and open to hearing/obeying the Word of the Lord. Thus God forgave their sins and blessed them in the land once again under the Old Covenant. We have absolutely no evidence at all that modern day Israel is in this repentant state which precedes being cleansed from iniquities.  In fact, many citizens of modern Israel are atheists, and most of those who believe in God deny Jesus Christ (so they do not have the Father either–I Jn. 2:23.) There are certainly individuals within her borders who know and love Messiah Jesus. This is in keeping with New Testament Scripture that confirms there will be a remnant of Jews saved, and Paul named himself as a prime example. But we have no New Testament Scripture saying the entire earthly nation or ethnic group will be saved. (In Romans 9 – 11 and elsewhere, Paul makes clear that there are 2 Israels, one after the flesh and one after the Spirit. Only the spiritual Israel, made up of Jews and grafted-in Gentiles, will be entirely saved by grace through faith. See here.)

In summary, when dispensational zionists offer proof-texts like these to claim that the modern state of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy (a claim that almost always leads to disobedience to the New Testament through fellowship with darkness, military involvement, etc.), we need to remember the following:

1. Deut. 30 outlines the conditions of re-inhabiting the land. Modern Israel has not met the conditions, so the promise cannot apply to them (even if the Old Covenant was still in effect.)

2. The prophecies of Ezekiel 34 & 36 were fulfilled in the natural during the times of Ezra and Nehemiah. The exiles of this time period met the conditions required to re-inhabit the land under the Old Covenant (repentance/obedience/faith in God).

3. The prophecies were fulfilled notwithstanding Israel, at that time, had no organized army!

4. Since that time, the Old Covenant has been replaced by the New Covenant (Heb. 8:13), which has better promises. There will never be a return to the Old Covenant, and those who attempt to return to it are under a curse. It is those who have faith in Jesus Christ who will be blessed with Abraham (Gal. 3:9-11) and counted as his children (Rom. 9:7-8; Jn. 8:39; Gal. 3:29).

God bless you as you study the Word and seek after God’s heart!

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