The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘kingdom of God’

First Being, Then Making Disciples Who Obey

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 10, 2016

I’d like to share two writings from a man who is one of the most authentic disciples of Jesus I’ve ever seen. His name is Glenn Roseberry.  What he shares continually challenges me to exchange the religious traditions I’ve received from my fathers for the true discipleship to which Jesus calls us.

Here are two excerpts from the first writing, entitled, “You Can’t Make a Disciple if You Are Not a Disciple”–

“Jesus not only came to make disciples but He also commanded disciples to go on and make more disciples. See the Great Commission. It is His method of expanding the Kingdom of God. But I really like the wording of the verse listed here.  “Any of you who does not renounce all that he has…”. Renounce. Not a word we hear in modern Christianity. To renounce something is to formally declare one’s abandonment of a claim, a right or possession.  I have a question.  Have you formally renounced or abandoned your claim, your right to all but Christ?  Have you renounced your right to your own possessions, your own life and chosen Jesus and Him alone?…

…Jesus makes some profound calls to discipleship. Let’s look at some.  First, the rich young ruler. We all get all bothered that Jesus asked him to sell all he had and come and follow me and then make a million excuses and run to theologians who assure us that Jesus did not mean what He said. It was just said for that bad young rich guy. But Jesus repeated that call to his disciples, the church practiced it in the book of Acts and the history of the early church tells us that sacrificial giving and lifestyle choices to make room for serving God were the norm.”

I encourage you to read the whole article (here) and examine yourself to see if you are truly a disciple of Jesus.  After that, please go on to read “Teaching Them to Obey.” Here is a short excerpt–

“We are all quick to notice in this day and time that He [Jesus] did not say, make converts, make believers, make reciters of sinners prayers and we are quick to point out that disciples is what Jesus wanted. And I, of course, agree. But we miss one important point. “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded YOU.” Hmmm, interesting. We are to teach men to obey everything that Jesus commanded the disciples to obey. Now Jesus commanded some pretty radical things. Turning the other cheek, laying up NO treasure on earth and caring for the least of these, come to mind immediately. They come to mind because we don’t do them.”

Articles such as these are tremendously edifying, but they are not easy reading. That is because they reveal what is still lacking in us, the things we need to change. And such changes are the hardest thing imaginable. But unless we do change and obey the things Jesus commanded, we cannot be His disciples. And if we aren’t His disciples in reality and truth, we will not be able to fulfill the Great Commission.

God bless you!

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Victims and Violence

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 8, 2016

The Justification of Violence in our Culture

On one hand, we are told that violence solves nothing.

But on the other hand…

Survival of the fittest, anyone? Only the strong survive? Isn’t every child taught this doctrine in school (unless he is fortunate enough to be homeschooled by God-fearing parents)?

A violent “medical procedure,” in which a child is dismembered, can solve a world of problems for a pregnant teenage girl, can’t it?  The victim is sucked away and hidden from view, and the girl is told she made a choice to keep her life uncomplicated.

Television and movies indicate that violence does indeed solve a whole lot of problems. We are groomed to love the main character in the first half of the show, and to see him as a clear victim. By the time he uses violence to right all wrongs, we fully support whatever he does. Filming techniques can make violence appear incredibly cool. The bad guy is justly punished. (Justice is a biblical thing, but it’s a rare film that depicts people trusting God to bring about justice.) It’s just entertainment, right?

Anyone else see conflicting messages here?

When siblings squabble, parents sometimes correct them. But if a child is bullied, the parent tells him to stand up to the bully and fight back. We all have television memories of picked-on kids finally gathering the courage to punch someone square in the face. It felt so right, didn’t it, watching the bully fall? And the show ends in 30 minutes with smiling faces, leaving us to believe all is right in the world after someone stands up for himself. (The reality is quite different.)

Video games teach us how easy it is to kill. Just push a button.  Bodies fall, blood splatters, the game continues, points accrue, you feel (falsely) that you are winning at something. Stress and/or pleasure hormones are released in your body while you play. What a rush!  No wives are shown mourning, no fatherless children haunt your memories. And if you happen to die in the game, you have 14 lives left. If you use them up, there’s always the reset button. It’s just a game, right?

What does our government do when there is a perceived threat of violence from another country? It responds with even more violence and calls it national defense. Endless wars of terror are renamed The War on Terror. Those who carry out the violence are hailed as heroes. The many innocent victims are collateral damage, not people. If those two year-olds were really peaceful, they would have stopped the radicals (the radicals we helped create in many cases). Just war theory is merged with Scripture to produce the bastardized God and country theology.  Pre-emptive strikes are not off the table, because the end justifies the means. Torture?–Why not?

Are you getting the picture? We have been immersed in the justification of violence all our lives.  All you need is a victim and you have the justification of violence. And who in this earth full of sinners hasn’t been victimized?

Satanic Doctrine

War is a necessary evil, right? We must do evil that good may come, and choose the lesser of 2 evils? Hmmm. Where have I heard that before?–Ah, yes, in Luciferian doctrine. Ordo Ab Chao–“Order out of chaos.” Deus Meumque Jus–“God and MY RIGHT.” You won’t find these wicked doctrines in the Bible, friend. The god who lets you worship YOUR RIGHT is the devil. And by this he creates war upon war, both small scale (family feuds, gang wars, race wars) and large scale (between countries). Disciples of Jesus are people of peace, they love all men, they choose righteousness and reject evil. Their God is not the author of confusion (chaos), and their God empowers them to lay down their “rights” in self-denial.

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, and many do not realize they have been indoctrinated into his ways through public school, television, video games, and patriotism/war propaganda. Pastors who are not truly serving the Lord are corrupting the truth by mixing it with satan’s doctrines; lukewarm people who love their own lives eat it up. Such churches are apostate; their tables are covered with vomit rather than Bread. We must renew our minds in the Word of God to understand the Lord’s will, not trusting our souls to anyone, not even pastors or church people.

Opposing Kingdoms–The Clay Pyramid vs the Cubic City of Gold & Precious stones

Jesus’ kingdom is revolutionary. It is the opposite of the devil’s kingdom. And it has and will thoroughly destroy the devil’s kingdom.

Satan deceives and conquers the whole earth by making people victims and then encouraging them to fight for their perceived rights. As people step on and deceive one another to procure what they think they deserve, they become more and more like satan. Together they build the pyramid kingdom as depicted on the US dollar. The illuminated eye at the top represents Lucifer, that false angel of light, deceiving the whole world. The bricks just beneath the eye are the top rulers of the world, who crave power. They are answerable to the eye; and yes, those at the top know and admit they worship Lucifer. The bricks further down might be corporations and entities that also serve the powerful–such as Monsanto (perverting the food supply), Big Pharma (destroying bodies and minds through drugs), the entertainment industry (corrupting values) and the military industrial complex (making a few powerful people very rich and depopulating the world). The bricks on the bottom are the average Joes, searching for an elusive “peace” in various vices while trying to survive. Each person in this pyramid is a slave to his own sin and lust. As you climb up the levels, the people are more and more rich and powerful, having received “benefits” from satan in return for their doing his destroying and deceiving work. Note that pyramids are made of clay–the flesh of man–and this kingdom is built by fleshly men trying to save their lives in this world.  HOW GREAT WILL BE THE FALL OF THIS KINGDOM.

Jesus builds His kingdom as people come and lay down their lives, as living stones, upon the temple foundation He and the apostles/prophets have already laid (Eph. 2:19-22). This beautiful King, unlike Lucifer who elevates himself to exploit and sit atop others, has humbly laid down His life at the very bottom. Think about that–the eye at the top, vs the Corner Stone at the bottom. Do you understand this, friends? He laid down His life so that we could come and lay down on that solid foundation, finally finding rest in His humility (Matt. 11:28-30). There is no earthly king like Him, for earthly kings must rule by force.

Although it was not robbery to be equal with God, Jesus emptied Himself. In this redemptive act, He became the Chief Cornerstone upon which His temple kingdom would be built. The apostles and prophets, walked in His steps, in love for their King. A firm foundation was laid by their self-denial. As people are born again and translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Light, they each come and lay down their lives. They become walls and pillars in the house of God. There is no stepping on one another in this kingdom, no deceiving others and being deceived, no fighting for rights. Instead there is speaking truth, refusing to align with wickedness, loving even enemies til it hurts, being faithful to the death, caring for the poor and needy, considering others better than themselves, washing one another’s feet. This kingdom is gloriously revealed in Revelation 21, made of precious stones and gold, gloriously illuminated throughout by God Himself. I encourage you to read that chapter. Those precious stones are the saints of God. They are not made of clay–as in the pyramid–because they are not carnal; their flesh has been crucified with Christ. They have been tested by fire, and their faith stood the test.  THIS KINGDOM WILL NEVER END.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:5-11)

Satan said, “I will ascend and I will rule.” (Isa. 14:13)

Jesus said, “I will make myself of no reputation, take the form of a servant, humble myself, and become obedient to the point of death–even the cross.”

Paul instructs, “Let this same mind be in you.” What mind?–The mind of the One who humbled Himself and let Himself suffer for others.

Peter said we are to endure grief and suffering wrongfully because we were called to follow the exact example of Jesus (I Pet. 2:19-23).

It seems all the witnesses in Scripture agree with Jesus, if most churches do not.

Which kingdom are you in? It’s not what you profess, but what you do, that determines which kingdom you are in. If you are participating in or condoning the ways of Lucifer, you are in his kingdom and are marked as his. Do not be deceived.


Legitimate Use of Force

There is a biblical place for the use of force–by earthly rulers–to restrain evil (Rom. 13:1-7). In general, earthly man rejects God’s law. Those who won’t be ruled by God must be ruled by SOMETHING. Worldly governmental authorities are therefore ordained by God, in His sovereignty, even those which behave unjustly. These authorities will be held accountable for how they used their power. They are to use it only to punish evil and encourage good. But alas, worldly authorities are but men, corruptible as other men. Power corrupts almost everyone. And this is why there are “bad cops” and “unjust judges” and criminals running for president. It is also why all the kingdoms of earth are doomed.


Christian Non-resistance

The disciple of Jesus does not support earthly revolution against wicked governments, because we are to submit to the authorities in every way unless/until they command us to disobey God (this does not mean we can’t testify that what they do is evil.) We are commanded to be peacemakers and to love our enemies. The disciple allows his pockets to be picked by heavy taxes, knowing his treasure is not laid up on the earth. He does not seek a position of power that will necessitate violence, knowing that he is called to another task–evangelizing the whole world and leading people out of satan’s doomed kingdoms into God’s everlasting kingdom. (This is hard for some to accept, yet the witness of the early church is that early Christians refused to be magistrates, soldiers, etc. In this way, they were able to keep themselves from the inevitable corruption found in these places.)

Note that Christians are not “pacifists” if defined as “passive in the face of evil.” They are warriors in the spirit, using spiritual weapons to overcome evil, just as Jesus taught them. As good soldiers, they endure hardship, but they are not destroyers of men’s souls.

Conclusion

As long as men believe themselves to be victims who deserve to pay back their enemies, the increase in violence everywhere will continue. Violence by the common man against authorities, police brutality, race wars, military occupations, revolutions, and more. The end will come “as in the days of Noah.” Remember the earth was filled with violence in those days (Gen. 6:11). Isn’t that what we are seeing now?

We have all been victimized, and honestly ARE BEING victimized daily by those who rule from the top levels of the pyramid. Yet the gospel allows no victim mentality— it creates victors who achieve victory not by destroying enemies, but by embracing the cross. If you are still a victim, you have not yet embraced the gospel that sets men free. When I look at the chaos in this world, I see that this gospel is THE ONLY WAY out of the chaos. Only individuals can find and take this way out; whole nations will never find it. Nations will continue on the path of destruction–do not follow them.

Satan slyly creates the world-wide chaos in order to bring about his remedy of totalitarian rule, because he seeks power to stamp out Christianity and win the battle against Christ. He can’t win, but may be deceived to the point that he thinks he can. The only way to keep your hands clean is to opt out of the world’s ways entirely, and truly walk in the faith and steps of Jesus. When you are de-programmed of satanic doctrine through faith in the Word of God, you will find that you are standing very much alone. You will be condemned by most professing Christians. Do it anyway.

When Jesus speaks peace to your heart, reminding you that He has overcome this world, you’ll find a peculiar and wonderful rest in believing Him. Threatenings will continue all around you, yet you will be secure because your life is hidden with Christ in God. You won’t need to overthrow anyone else because you will be elevated, as Paul wrote, to sit in heavenly places. (Eph. 2:6) Do not fear men who can only kill the body, but fear God. Or as Leonard Ravenhill said, “He who fears God fears no man.” This is the way out of victimhood and violence.  The person who is crucified with Christ cannot be made a victim regardless of his race, nationality, gender or station. Wash your mind from the doctrines of devils that encourage you to live and die by the sword, as beasts. Run from the devil’s kingdom and enter the kingdom of God, where only righteousness dwells!

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High Above All Nations

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 27, 2014

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. (Deut. 28:1)

This promise opens a whole chapter which plainly teaches that obedience to God’s voice brings blessing, while disobedience to God’s voice brings a curse. Yes, to the earthly Israel was given a promise that IF-IF-IF they obeyed God’s voice, they would inherit blessing and be “high above all the nations on earth.”

When we consider how this chapter has played out in history–all recorded in Scripture for our learning, it should become obvious that some in the nation obeyed the Lord’s voice, and some did not–all the way up until the vineyard was taken from most of the original tenants of the land and given to others who would produce its fruit (Matt. 21:33-46).

In other words, of the original tenants, some DID inherit the promises, and they WERE set high above all the nations on earth. Those who did not obey, forfeited everything.

Look at this promise given to Jeremiah:

Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day SET YOU OVER THE NATIONS AND OVER THE KINGDOMS, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jer. 1:9-10)

Not only was Jeremiah set over his own nation as a prophet and spiritual judge, he was also set over the surrounding nations. In the flesh, we see only a lowly prophet who was considered a threat to national security, thrown in a well, and/or largely ignored. In the Spirit, he was over all the nations, and none could dislodge him so long as he obeyed the voice of the Lord. Certainly, Jeremiah inherited the conditional promises of blessing.

God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. (Psa. 47:8)

For the kingdom is the Lord’s, And He rules over the nations. (Psa. 22:28)

This kingdom, which rules over the nations, was preached by Jesus and His disciples and apostles (Lk 8:1-2; Mk 1:14-15; Acts 20:25, 28:30-31). This is the kingdom into which we must all press if we are to be saved. Those who will inherit this kingdom are described in Matthew 5, in what is commonly called “The Beatitudes.” Strangely, many professing Christians deny that the Beatitudes have any authority over how we behave with relation to the nations. Instead they choose the ways of the world–exalting themselves through lies or violence or both. A textbook example would be the Crusaders fighting the Muslims over Jerusalem, claiming to be serving the Lord by their evil, but there are many other such examples in our modern times. Such may appear to be ruling over others for a time, but they will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who inherit the kingdom, like Jeremiah, may appear to be the biggest losers while this earth still stands in its present form. Yet, they are promised to reign with Christ.

So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matt. 19:28)

Some see this verse as still entirely future. But the Son of Man is already seated on His throne of glory.

But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55-56)

Stephen was essentially testifying that Jesus was already on His throne with the Father, confirming Jesus’ earlier testimony that all authority had been given to Him in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). John also testified that the Lamb (Jesus) could be seen “in the midst of the throne” (Rev. 5:6). See also Psalm 110 & Daniel 7:9-14.

I believe that all men who have been regenerated (born again) are already seated high above the nations in the kingdom of God, as Paul wrote here–

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:4-6)

Paul was clearly speaking by the Spirit about spiritual things–things which are very real, even if we cannot see them with carnal observation.

Those who are born again are presently seated with Christ in His kingdom! And from this safe place, no kingdom on earth can hurt them. Because their life is hid with Christ in God, they too are “high above all nations.” This is why we are not to fear those who can kill the body, but cannot touch the soul. (Matt. 10:28) The two witnesses were slain in the body, but their souls were safely caught up to heaven. Even the martyrs are found where?–in a safe place, resting, comforted by the Lord (Rev. 6:9-11).

It requires spiritual eyes to see and embrace these truths. One who isn’t born again cannot even see the kingdom. One who doesn’t come humbly, as a child, cannot enter it. God Himself lifts up the humble of the earth and sets them at His table, in a city made by His own hands. In this city there is neither Jew nor Gentile, nor any other proud faction. There are only the Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. They are the lowly of the earth who put their trust in Jesus, and in nothing else. These, God has lifted up and made His children.

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Two Kingdoms

Posted by israeliteindeed on December 21, 2014

The following was written by my friend Steve Thomas, and is posted here with his permission.

The Bible Describes TWO KINGDOMS – We each belong, individually, to one, or the other:

1.) The Kingdom of Heaven & God (in and amongst the disciples of Jesus)
2.) The Power of Darkness (operating in the ‘children of disobedience’).
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Many proponents of Christian Zionism & Messianic Judaism would have us believe the primary distinction on the earth, is between Israel and the nations – Jews and Gentiles – as it was under the Old Covenant. It seems many are living according to the terms of the former covenant still (which is a bit embarrassing if not fatal) as it has been displaced (by God!) – replaced with the New Covenant, 1984 years ago.)
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Jesus came to lift humanity from the flesh (fallen & mortal) to the spirit (righteous & eternal in Christ). Opponents, some operating in an antichrist spirit, tend to demean anything that (as they say) ‘spiritualizes’ the physical. They complain when Christians ‘spiritualize the promises’. By this, it is usually meant, allegorizing, or making into an imaginary thing or an unreal thing. And normally, in a bid to defend the political / military / cultural restoration of Israel as the center-piece of God’s (alleged) intentions today.

But the work of God is done in the Spirit, by His Spirit, in union with the born again spirits of regenerated saints of God. God *is* a Spirit. Those who worship him must do so in Spirit and truth – not now in the mountain of Zion on earth, nor in the derelict & non-existent remains of the former stone temple. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God – but only those who have been born of the Spirit – born again in the image of the heavenly man – Jesus Christ, (not the earthy man – the ‘first Adam’).
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The Apostle John described the antichrist spirit. Much is written and said about ‘the antichrist’, but in fact we have noticed there are only four references to antichrist/s in the entire Bible, in just three passages – all of them in the first two epistles of John. In a nutshell, the antichrist spirit works in tandem with human antichrists – basically anybody who denies the Deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ, or operates in another spirit contrary to the gospel and truth of Jesus.
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Jesus knows those who are his – those who love him and talk with him, and draw off his wisdom, living in his Spirit, in communion with him in their regenerated spirits, in reverence for God. These are the ‘chosen people’ of God – his own children – those who walk now after the Spirit, not after the flesh – not according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.
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John the Baptist was very clear in his warnings to Israelites and Judeans, (and anyone who would listen) to not even say within themselves that they had Abraham as their father. The very thing that many today in the CZ / MJ movement are placing at *top priority* – John, the greatest prophet of the Old Covenant (according to Jesus) – told us effectively to not even THINK! – let alone to teach it as a central and primary doctrine, defining our fellowships according to this criteria – emblazoning it across our ministry materials.
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Faith in Jesus is the only given way to God. The only way to be his child. It is the way of the CROSS – not the way of the blue & white HEXAGRAM!
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It is said that God is displaying his power and glory in the nation of Israel today – that this nation is his chosen vessel to honor and sanctify his name. Whereas we do not single out Israel for particular opprobrium amongst other nations of this fallen world, and whereas we maintain a positive outlook towards her citizens – holding out the hand of friendship; There is no recognition (amongst CZ/MJ groups) that any application of such statements regarding her elevated position in the eyes of God, in the bible, pertains specifically to the former nation under the old covenant, leading up to Christ. Little or no recognition is in evidence that the planned SHIFT **from Judah to Christ** occurred at his first coming (Genesis 49:10) – and now unto HIM is the gathering of the people – all people.
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Jesus said his kingdom is *not of this world* – not from here. (I think he meant it.) He said this in Jerusalem – in front of the Roman world power of the day and the gathered Jewish leaders seeking his demise – Almost his last and final statement before his death. Thus removing all grounds from the ones who seek to establish a power structure, or physical kingdom, on this earth, in the present age (- and certainly not in his name!).
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Two kingdoms: We each either belong to Jesus, or to Satan. God, or the devil. The way to tell, is to ask somebody who is their Lord – their God. Who do they worship? Who/what do they live for? [and, what do they primarily focus on in conversation, private reading, viewing, conference attendance etc?] If they say Jesus Christ, (in public,) chances are they belong to the Kingdom of God (if they are living for God in the secret place as well – relying on the blood of Jesus for their eternal justification before our righteous God.)
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But Israel, as a corporate secular entity, is no way even *remotely* in submission to Jesus Christ. Thus, sadly, she is (predominantly) under the power of darkness – satan – the devil – the god of this age – the spirit of antichrist. Of course the grace of God *is* towards her, and her citizens – grace upon grace – an open way to be restored to right standing for each and every one.
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I have managed to identify just 2 Members of the Knesset in Israel who self-declare as Christian, out of a total of 120.

=> Basel Ghattas – an Arab Christian from Rameh
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basel_Ghattas
=> Hana Sweid, an Arab Christian from near Nazareth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hana_Sweid
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Whereas this is a good thing – being thankful for their presence – How is Israel, in truth, especially in it’s Jewish aspect, remotely the nation of God? With zero Christian Jewish presence (as far as I can tell – please correct and I will edit without hesitation).
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Can we imagine the entire collective of Judah returning from exile in Babylon, in complete denial of the Lord who sent them to the nations to purge them of their sins, and humble them to bring them back to himself? (which did happen as described – in fact, this the given reason for the God-defined *biblical* Diaspora.)
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What happened to the Israelites leaving Egypt? That entire generation (except faithful Joshua & Caleb) fell in the desert, in their negation of the work of God in their midst. What has changed? Why are Christian Zionists and Christian lovers of Israel not issuing forth clear & persistent warnings to the nation they love – to not fall after the same example of disbelief? As if it matters not a jot. Preferring instead to post anti-Arab propaganda, support for militarism, technology, and Israeli political prowess. Fawning over the marvellous Bibi Netanyahu, Lieberman & co. (like they are Zerubbabel, Ezra and Jeshua…. or Moses, Joshua and Caleb)
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God is the same yesterday, today and forever. His calling and drawing of men is as it always was. If God would simply convert a nation en masse, would he not have done so at Pentecost? *The gospel* was given as the power of God unto salvation – then as now. There is no indication this will change between now and the day of the Lord, at his coming in power and glory to judge the world – the living and the resurrected dead.
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I dare to say the Christian Zionist Israel-centred paradigm is flawed in far too many places to stand up. Nobody seems to be willing to come forward to hold a decent conversation to show the veracity and clarity of the biblical foundations of this belief system against even the most moderately presented questions. Try as we might, whenever we almost embarrassingly are duty bound to expose false claims, misapplications of prophecy, the clearly mistaken context of OT statements cut and pasted over today’s nation – the protagonists generally evaporate. Delete then block. The power of deception must be very strong, as doors are bolted, and barricades erected against the biblical truth, when it is laid out with genuine respect and care and friendship.

Steve Thomas. 17.12.14

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The Whole World Under the Sway of Satan

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 30, 2014

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. (I Jn. 5:19)

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

The kingdoms of this world have a glory, and they are all under the sway of the wicked one. They elevate man, man’s desires, and man’s power. Whether they are socialist, Islamic, democratic, or something else, they hate God and war against Him, competing with Him for the loyalty of souls. They love death, oppression, and material things. The freedom they claim to offer men is a false freedom. These thrones of iniquity, which devise evil by law, have no fellowship with God (Psa. 94:20-21). Every nation that forgets Him, and refuses to kiss the Son, is turned into hell (Psa. 2, 9:17; Isa. 14:9).

We can be given temporary power in the world’s kingdoms by worshiping the devil. Worshiping the devil takes many forms, and most of them do not involve burning candles or black magic. All we have to do is follow his many servants and love this present world to worship him. Many entertainment stars have gone on record as saying they’ve sold their souls to the devil, or they know the devil is controlling them and helping them to be popular. Many of satan’s children are leading the apostate church, masquerading as angels of light, and leading people to worship the beast. But of course, they claim to be doing God service. Political players who directly serve the beast always claim to be working for peace even as they destroy, but patient believers will eventually see all the pomp and glory of earthly kingdoms come to nothing. The drowning of the Egyptian army while Israel looked on (unarmed) is a wonderful picture of this. The meek shall inherit the earth.

Ancient Israel allowed itself to be swayed by the god of this world, when that nation demanded a king “like all the nations” had. The Lord told Samuel that in asking for an earthly king, they had rejected Him, that He should not reign over them. (I Sam. 8:4-22) Jesus repeated this theme in Luke 19:11-27, teaching that those who rejected His rule would be slain before Him. Nevertheless, when given the choice between their righteous King and the murderous patriot Barabbas, the people chose against their heavenly King once again, even shouting, “We have no king but Caesar!” (Jn. 19:12, 15)

However the heavenly King could not be defeated even by the co-operation of Jews and Gentiles to kill Him. In His very death, He “disarmed principalities and powers,” and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15) The King is on His throne forever; let all the earth fear Him and give Him glory.

God uses the kingdoms of this world, and allows them to have power, just as He allows satan to go about roaring like a lion, seeking whom he can devour. They are vessels of wood and clay, vessels of dishonor. They have not been cleansed and prepared for “every good work,” but God will use them (2 Tim. 2:20-21) as He tests the hearts of men. He will use one nation to punish another, and then punish the punishing nation. The motives of every heart will be manifest, and every soul will receive according to his works.

Jesus told Pilate, who boasted of his power,

“You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (Jn. 19:11)

Whatever satan is allowed to do, he answers to God. Remember Job, and how God told satan the exact boundaries in which he could operate. Satan, in turn, gives power to his servants–those who do the lusts of their father, who was a murderer and liar from the beginning. We know that God has allowed peace to be taken from this wicked earth, and a sword has been given by which ungodly men kill one another (Rev. 6:4).

At the same time, we know that the people of God are people who pursue holiness and peace with all men. They have been delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son (Col. 1:13). They are divinely protected from spiritual harm–even as they are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake–for their King cares for them. They do not fall in line behind the devil, who holds the world under his sway. A stranger’s voice, they will not hear. They do not take up his carnal sword against flesh and blood; they wield the Sword of the Spirit against lies. They understand that the power of kingdoms is temporary, and men have power to kill the body, but only God can destroy the soul. Their eyes behold the next life, and their hearts trust in the One who is their Life. Whether they live or die, they are His.

Men who reject the King of the world must and will be ruled. If they will not be ruled by the good and loving King, they will be ruled by tyrants and despots and crafty politicians who fight each other even while they all bow to the same god. They will be ruled by their own lusts, snapping up every baited hook offered by satan, until they are ruined. The freedom of choice God has given man has boundaries. And when men insist on crossing the boundaries, massive chaos and destruction results. Sowing and reaping are built into the fabric of the universe, and judgment for sin is inescapable. This is what we are seeing in the world today; the destruction is swallowing up the whole earth. This must continue until the end, but he that endures all things for Christ to the end will be saved.

There is one Hope offered, a solitary way of escape from this City of Destruction: Repent of your sins and trust completely in Jesus Christ. Follow and obey Him to the very end of this life. Those who do this will overcome the world and inherit all things (Rev. 21:7).

God bless you!

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Heaven is God’s Throne

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 26, 2014

In the sermon Stephen preached just before his martyrdom, he said some important things about God’s temple, throne, house, and place of rest. We will consider, specifically, where God’s throne is:

Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built Him a house.

However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things?’ (Acts 7:44-50)

Stephen said the tabernacle and house that were created by the Israelites for God were made according to the pattern Moses saw, but God does not dwell in such temples. How did he know this? Was this new revelation?–No. Stephen was quoting the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah had gone on to say, “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” (Isa. 66:1-2) So where does God dwell? He dwells with those people who tremble at His Word. He is not contained in buildings and territories, but among His true saints.

The writer of Hebrews confirmed this truth, that the physical priesthood and tabernacle were only a “copy and shadow of the heavenly things.” (Heb. 8:5) Under the new covenant, which would make the old covenant obsolete, the “house of Israel” would have God’s law in their minds and written on their hearts (Heb. 8:7-13). They themselves would be the temple of God, and they would be considered “the people of God” (I Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16). All those who did not have God’s law in their minds/hearts would be “cut off”–the Lord knows those who are His. Even Gentiles would be incorporated into this “household of God” which is growing into “a holy temple…a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:19-22)

The Lord is in His holy temple, The Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. (Psa. 11:4)

The Lord has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all. (Psa. 103:19)

God does not dwell in buildings made with human hands, nor is He attached to this earthly mountain or that earthly mountain (including natural Jerusalem–Jn. 4:21-24). God dwells with people who are poor in spirit. Jesus confirmed Isaiah’s words when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” God’s kingdom–a heavenly kingdom–was and is among those who believe and obey Jesus. Jesus testified to the Pharisees who were looking for the kingdom, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Lk. 17:20-21)

Were the Jews surrounding Stephen trembling at God’s Word? Were they able to receive the kingdom? No, for Stephen went on:

You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it. (Acts 7:51-53)

Stephen accused his countrymen of killing the Messiah (God’s established King) and not keeping God’s law. This angered them so much, they gnashed at him with their teeth. But before Stephen died at their hands, he testified that he could see the throne of Christ in heaven:

Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! (Acts 7:56)

Stephen saw the kingdom of God, and its King enthroned, because He was filled with the Spirit. His enemies could not see it because they were resisting the Holy Spirit. Unless we are born again by the Spirit, we cannot see the kingdom (Jn. 3:3).

Jesus is the Mighty One who rides prosperously because of truth, humility and righteousness. His throne is forever and ever; He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. (Psa. 45:2-7). He is a great King over all the earth, who will subdue the nations under the feet of the righteous. The princes of the people have gathered together (as one body of believing Jews and Gentiles), the people of the God of Abraham (Psa. 47:9), for all who have Abraham’s faith are counted as his children (Rom. 4:16; Gal. 3:7,9).

Now listen to Jesus’ testimony about His kingdom and the location of His throne:

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here (Jn. 18:36).

And who has He chosen to be heirs of this kingdom?–the poor of this world (James 2:5; I Cor. 1:26-29)–not the rich and powerful oppressors who rule over earthly kingdoms. Unbelievers desire to be lords and authorities over others, but “it shall not be so among you.” (Mk. 10:42-45)

Jesus agreed with Stephen that heaven is God’s throne (Matt. 5:34). Peter preached that Jesus has been raised up to sit on God’s throne (Acts 2:29-36). John testified that the Lamb of God (Jesus) is in the midst of the throne (Rev. 5:6), and the writer of Hebrews declared that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2). The Psalmist also chimes in:

The Lord is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. (Psa. 99:2)

Where is this Zion?–It is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22)–high above all the peoples!

At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow the dictates of their evil hearts. (Jer. 3:17)

Jerusalem shall be called the Throne of the Lord! God’s throne is in heaven, and God’s throne is Jerusalem. God dwells in heaven, and God dwells among His people, who have been raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6).

Out of this heavenly Mt. Zion, God’s law goes forth from God’s throne, and He is judging between many peoples and rebuking strong nations–TODAY (today is the day of salvation). Those who enter the kingdom of God by faith are beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. They do not learn carnal war anymore; they are peacemakers and ambassadors with a heavenly calling. They shall be called the sons of God (Micah 4:1-3; Matt. 5:9; 2 Cor. 5:20).

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Jesus Divides and Brings Together

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 25, 2014

Jesus Divides

Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matt. 10:34-39)

If you have ever felt the sting of rejection from your own family due to your allegiance to Jesus, then you already know the meaning of this passage. Family bonds are very special, but can be an idol in our hearts that tempts us to leave Christ. This is why Jesus was careful to say that we must be willing to “lose our life” for His sake. Any bond that we count more important than our relationship with Jesus will make us unworthy of Jesus. When Jesus (Truth) came, that Truth did not bind the nation of Israel together in perfect harmony; instead there was division among the people because of Him. (Jn. 7:40-43) Those people who accepted Him were given the right to become the sons of God, and those who rejected Him were condemned for hating the Light and loving darkness because their deeds were evil (Jn. 3:19). Then those who were born Jews according to the flesh persecuted those who were born Jews according to the Spirit (Rom. 2:28-29; Gal. 4:29). Then, as now, there was a division between darkness and light.

The apostle Paul said we should have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11) We are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? (2 Cor. 6:14-16) As the temple and habitation of God’s Spirit, true believers cannot have fellowship with unbelievers, and especially with those who CLAIM to be God’s people yet walk in sin (I Cor. 5:9-13). This division God has put between light and darkness is very important, and it is something we must accept, lest we deny Christ in an effort to serve two masters. There are many today attempting to make alliances between the righteous and the wicked (for example: the Christian church and unbelieving Israelis), and thinking this honors God. It does not honor God. There is no fellowship between light and darkness, and any attempt to create fellowship where none should be only results in a leavening and weakening of the Church.

Jesus Brings Together

And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Col. 1:21-23)

Through the body of Jesus, we are now reconciled to God, no longer divided from Him–that is, if we continue in the faith.

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. (Eph. 2:11-18)

At one time the Gentiles were considered aliens of the Commonwealth of Israel, but in Christ they are brought near and made part of the Olive Tree, along with born again Jews. Jesus put to death enmity between Jews and Gentiles through His body and His cross. Those who repent and believe become one family and love one another, regardless of their ancestry. They are “One New Man” (the Body of Christ, who is One.) They are one holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:21).

He made known to me the mystery…which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel (Eph. 3:3-6).

Through the gospel itself, which is the power of God to every Jew or Gentile who believes, each person is made a fellow heir of the same body! And so, in Christ, all believers are brought together.

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. (Gal. 3:28)

There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:11)

Christ brings together races, sexes, rich and poor. In Him, they are simply family–children of the living God.

Summary

Jesus both divides and brings together. We need to have His mind, and seek His will about who we should join with, and who we should be separated from. The world divides itself up according to races, nations, sexes, economic status, popular fads, etc. But rather than being conformed to the world, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind so that we can prove God’s perfect will (Rom. 12:2).

When the world says the righteous and the wicked should join hands in fellowship, you must refuse! When the world says you should deny the words of Christ, you must not! When the world says sinners belong in God’s assembly/congregation/church, you must put away from yourselves the wicked person (I Cor. 5:13).

When the world says you should choose your family over Jesus, God’s Word says you must choose Jesus, even if it means being put to death (Mk. 13:12-13). When the world says you must choose your nation (or another nation) over another, God’s Word says your allegiance is to be to the kingdom of God first (Matt. 6:33), and your responsibility to all the nations is simply to make in them disciples of Jesus (Matt. 28:19). When the world says you should agree with the rich and the powerful, God’s Word says such favoritism is sin (James 2:1-7). When the world attempts to teach you to see men through prejudiced eyes, you must choose to see “every creature” as a possible recipient of God’s mercy (Mk. 16:15). When the world says you should call down judgment on those who reject you, Jesus says, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Lk. 9:55-56) When the world says it is righteous to hate your enemies, Jesus says, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matt. 5:43-44)

All the judgments of God are correct, both when He divides and when He brings together.

God bless you!

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Errors that are Perverting the Christian Faith

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 27, 2014

My last post explained how the combination of Old and New Testaments are one continuous unveiling of the one eternal gospel of salvation.

Many people do not recognize this beautiful, seamless story of redemption in Scripture, but instead think there are two groups of “chosen people” and two plans of salvation. This is largely due to the false teachings of dispensationalism and zionism, which are taught in most American churches. Zionism is also furthered in the American secular media, and the media controlled by “the religious right.” (Please remember that “religious” does not equal “godly.” While the religious right has a form of godliness in taking certain moral stands that the Christian can agree with, in many ways it wanders from the true path of godliness laid out by Christ.) You can read a history of modern dispensationalism here, and an illuminating list of Scriptural problems with that system of thought here. Some good articles about modern “Christian” zionism can be read here. I encourage any reader who hasn’t researched these subjects thoroughly to read several sources.

During the Babylonian captivity that judged Israel’s apostasy, some of Israel’s religious leaders(rather than repenting) were schooled in Babylonian religion/witchcraft, mixing it with their already apostate “worship of God.” This demonic hybrid religion was eventually set forth in the Jewish Talmud. (Read a history of the Talmud here.) This extremely racist and evil theology was kept by some of the Pharisees, and its deviations from truth had already colored the perceptions of many Jews in Jesus’ day. It specifically taught Jewish supremacy and a hatred for Gentiles. Certain verses from the Torah were cherry-picked to give support to this understanding, while ignoring the fact that God had promised in the Torah to bless all nations from the beginning! (Gen. 22:18; Gal. 3:8) Perhaps this is why most of the Jews in Jesus’ day–even those who repented and followed Him–did not understand the Old Testament prophecies of Christ as a suffering King who would save all nations, but instead expected Him to be a military hero for Jews against Gentiles.

Those errant teachings have survived to this very day, and they continue to war against the truth! The Pharisees believed their lineage to Abraham secured them as “the chosen” despite their wickedness, but John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul and others corrected their brand of “once saved always saved” error. Most importantly, the New Testament records their corrections! Yet the error persists today in dispensationalism and zionism, an evil mixture of doctrines that insists there are two peoples of God, two salvation plans, etc., as if the Lamb of God hasn’t been slain and forever established His “one new man” Church/City/Holy Nation of Jews and Gentiles united by faith.

Dispensationalists undermine and reject the truth by insisting that there are two salvational programs for two separate people groups. They wrongly believe that “rightly dividing Scripture” is applying some Scripture to only Jews, and some to only Christians. “God’s people the Jews,” they say, are defined by blood or national borders, and are accepted by God even if they are committing evil and denying Jesus. This is a horrendous and wicked lie, and reveals a grossly inaccurate understanding of Hebrew and Jewish history. “God’s people the Church,” they say, is a “parenthesis” interrupting the Biblical story, and they proceed to chop the Biblical story into 3 or 5 or 7 “dispensations,” depending on which flavor of falsehood they hold to. Supposedly the Church is completely separate from the nation of Israel, rather than having been brought near and made citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel by the blood of Jesus (Eph. 2:11-13). Next comes a denial of many important portions of Scripture, with the excuse that said Scripture only applies to the Jews. One egregious example is a rejection of the Sermon on the Mount, either in full or in part. Another is the contention that all verses putting forth obedience as a condition of salvation are only for the Jews. Paul’s teachings that emphasize “belief” and “grace” are stressed (and usually twisted), while his teachings emphasizing obedience are downplayed or ignored. And thus dispensationalism leads to a gross mishandling of Scripture, and lays a false foundation upon which one can more easily shipwreck his faith through disobedience and presumption.

Dispensationalists, due to their errant concept of an earthly Israel being an alternative “people of God,” generally go on to adopt Israeli Zionism, which is basically a secular, racist movement among predominantly secular Jews–many of whom aren’t even Jewish by blood or connection to the Hebrew Torah! Their Christianized version of this political movement is generally called “Christian Zionism.” Through antichrists like John Hagee (a man who denies Christ came to be Israel’s Messiah), fables like the Left Behind series, and unholy alliances like the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (try to imagine the Apostle Paul participating in such a fellowship), undiscerning Christians are swept away in what amounts to apostasy from the true faith. Furthermore, the secular, political movement uses and exploits the support of undiscerning Christians in order to fund its advancement and insulate itself from having its injustices exposed and condemned.

All sorts of secondary false doctrines arise from this apostate belief system, such as: evil-doing America will be blessed so long as she gives military support to evil-doing Israel, giving money to Jews who are settling in occupied Palestinian territory is advancing the kingdom of God, evangelism of Jews is a waste of time, Arabs in general or Muslims in particular are not worthy of Christian charity and outreach, etc.

The dispensational/zionistic model is not a small problem, or a minor discrepancy of doctrine that doesn’t matter in the long run. While a person can be saved while believing all or some portion of this lie, the lie itself is a HUGE problem, and a HUGE blight on Christianity with global consequences. In effect, it transforms what the world sees as the “Christian Church” into a debacle that resembles the marauding crusaders of the past! While Christians don’t physically march to “the holy land” with a sword in hand, their blind support of this secular nation, and their financial aid in robbing Palestinians of their homes and livelihoods accomplishes much the same thing. And while they condemn Islam for being a bloody religion, they themselves are being used to perpetuate and excuse the shedding of more blood. All this in the name of Christ!

My friend, the Lamb of God HAS been slain, and the one new man HAS been created (Eph. 2:15). There is no going back, there is no ignoring this monumental fulfillment of the Promise, and there is no skirting its implications. The Church is not a parenthetical afterthought, but a fulfillment of all the promises! Those who are mastered by the Son of God are blessed, and those who reject the Son of God are cursed–period, end of story. I stand with Paul, who wrote of all who bring some alternative gospel, “Let them be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8) Please be on your guard against these continuing Pharisaical lies supporting a secular military state, now repeated ad nauseum in Christian churches, eroding and perverting the faith of many. There is only one story and one means of salvation for everyone! Woe unto them that call evil good by insisting that we bless what God Himself will not bless!!

Discern, brothers and sisters! You must discern the true people of God, which is the true Body of Christ. There is NO division whatsoever between Jew and Gentile in Christ. Do not give your support either financially or verbally to the enemies of God. If Paul had not been so insistent on this point, he might not have been so hated by the Jews! But he wouldn’t back down, and thank God! For this kept the purity of the gospel in tact despite the repeated attacks against it. It remains for us now to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

Yes, God chose one family of people–a family in which God-fearing Gentiles have always been welcome–through whom to demonstrate His glorious saving truths. Each person who was chosen to carry the story forward was chosen based on faith. The faithful remnant of this family was used as a foundation upon which God’s True Temple is still being built. To them was given the privilege and responsibility of being God’s Kingdom ambassadors to the world, and this privilege and responsibility now falls upon every person who has been grafted into the olive tree.

However, while we appreciate the root from which our faith has grown, we must be careful to define God’s plant (His people) just as He does. We must not deny that when the King of Israel arrived on the scene to fulfill all the promises, only the faithful remained in His kingdom, and the unbelieving and unfaithful were expelled. Their place in His kingdom was given to others who would produce the fruit God wants (Matt. 21:43). And so the promise was fully realized: through Abraham’s Seed (Jesus), all nations have been blessed with the opportunity to be saved.

I also acknowledge that, in God’s timeline, there were two covenants given. The second covenant has superseded and fulfilled in spiritual reality what the first could only foreshadow. In God’s perfect wisdom, He made the first covenant such that it would lead those who had sincere faith to the Savior.

In a sense, we all begin our journey of faith in the first covenant, brought to a place of sorrow and death when we realize we are guilty of breaking God’s law. And from there, we must go on into the second covenant–that place of restored relationship with the Father through the blood of Jesus, and our obedience to Him. The Old Testament believers made this journey also, looking ahead to God’s Sacrifice by faith, pressing into the reality that was in heaven. Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. each made that journey! No person of faith has ever been left out of God’s unfolding plan of salvation, no matter which stage of the unfolding happened in their lifetime. The Hebrews 11 “hall of faith” is a monument to this wonderful truth. Perhaps that chapter continues as each one of us finishes our race.

I hope this writing has helped you to be more on guard against the destructive errors of dispensationalism and zionism. Perhaps it will at least encourage you to do more research into these subjects, to fill in whatever gaps you have in your understanding. This is a journey I myself have been on for about ten years, and I don’t expect any reader to simply believe everything I say. Neither do I assume I have arrived at a perfect understanding. However, I have a firm conviction that I must sound an alarm about these false doctrines, and this has been attempted in this post. May the God of Truth guide the steps you take from here.

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Insight From Balaam’s Prophecy #3 — The King of Israel

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 15, 2014

Balaam was telling the pagan king Balak what Israel would do to his people in the latter days (Num. 24:14). He was given a glimpse of the future of Israel, as well as the future of pagan nations (which would be destroyed).

He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters. His king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones and pierce them with his arrows. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him? “Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.” (Num. 24:7-9)

I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult. And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession, while Israel does valiantly. Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, and destroy the remains of the city.” (Num. 24:17-19)

Some important points to highlight from this prophecy:

1. Israel’s king will be higher than other kings and His kingdom will be exalted

2. Israel’s king will consume the nations, His enemies

3. Israel’s king is likened to a lion

4. Whoever blesses this king will be blessed; whoever curses Him will be cursed

5. Out of Israel, One Person shall have dominion

6. Israel’s king is said to be a Star come out of Jacob

7. This king possesses the Scepter (authority to rule)

This prophecy applies to none other than Jesus, the Messiah. I will expound on each point below. Please take the time to read the Scriptures for yourself.

1. Israel’s king will be higher than other kings and His kingdom will be exalted.

Jesus is “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Rev. 19:16) While David’s earthly kingdom was exalted for Israel’s sake(2 Sam. 5:12), it was not everlasting in the strictly physical sense. Jesus’ kingdom–or the kingdom of God–is everlasting (2 Pet. 1:11, Psa. 145:14, Dan. 4:3), continuing from one generation to the next without fail (Dan. 4:34). This kingdom possesses ALL peoples, nations and languages, and cannot be destroyed (Dan. 7:13-14). Jesus is the King of Israel and He did not deny it (Matt. 27:11), but He qualified His kingdom by saying it was “not of this world” (John 18:36). This is why His servants did not fight to put Him on an earthly throne.

2. Israel’s king will consume the nations, His enemies.

Jesus is the King who will consume all His enemies. Out of His mouth goes a sharp sword with which He smites the nations (Rev. 19:15). In the day of His wrath, He will execute kings, judge among the nations, fill the places with dead bodies, and execute the heads of many countries (Psa. 110:5-6). He will consume the lawless one with the breath of His mouth and the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2:8).

3. Israel’s king is likened to a lion.

Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev. 5:5).

4. Whoever blesses this king will be blessed; whoever curses Him will be cursed.

Whoever blesses Jesus by caring for those who belong to Him, will be counted as a sheep of His and blessed. Whoever does not will be told, “Depart from Me you CURSED, into the everlasting fire…” (Matt. 25:31-46) Whoever does not love the Lord Jesus, let him be anathema/accursed. (I Cor. 16:22)

5. Out of Israel, One Person shall have dominion.

Jesus is the One Person who rose from Israel having all dominion and authority. (Matt. 28:18) He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, and His enemies will lick the dust…all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him (Psa. 72:8-11). Jesus is the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting (Mic. 5:2). While David had temporary dominion on Israel’s throne, he acknowledged that the Lord’s dominion endures throughout all generations (Psa. 145:13). Jesus is both the root and offspring of David (Rev. 22:16), therefore His eternal rule perpetuates “David’s throne,” and fulfills the promise to him that his throne would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:16). Peter declared, by the Spirit, that Christ was the fulfillment of that promise to David (Acts 2:29-36). The angel told Mary that Jesus would possess the throne of his father David forever (Lk. 1:32-33). Believers have come to Mount Zion–the city of the great King, the heavenly Jerusalem, the kingdom which cannot be shaken. (Psa. 48:2; Heb. 12:22-28)

6. Israel’s king is said to be a Star come out of Jacob.

Jesus is the Star who came from Jacob. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. (Isa. 9:2) He calls Himself the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16). As the stars’ unchanging position guides sailors safely toward their destinations, Jesus is the only unfailing guide by which to escape destruction. He is the light of the world and whoever follows Him shall not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (Jn. 8:12). It is interesting that a star led men from the East to come worship “the King of the Jews” and the one who would “shepherd my people Israel.” (Matt. 2:1-6) This star seems to have been a sign that the prophecy was being fulfilled; the wise men certainly believed so.

7. This king possesses the Scepter (authority to rule).

King Jesus possesses the scepter of Israel. All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matt. 28:18) This fulfills another prophecy also–The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. (Gen. 49:10) Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. (Psa. 45:6) Jesus has been raised from the dead and is now seated in heavenly places far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Eph. 1:20-21) Notice that He is already ruling in this age–as His ambassadors then, sent to earthly kingdoms, believers have the duty to urge people to be reconciled with the ruling King while the opportunity for mercy still remains, for He is angry with the wicked everyday. Psa. 2 declares that the King has been established on the holy hill of Zion, and we must Kiss the Son/bless Him lest we perish/are cursed (see #7 above). The Word of God has always been in charge, both before and after He was begotten as the Son, and He will have the final victory regardless of how many earthly kings and kingdoms rise and fall.

While the ancient nation of Israel did win victories over the pagan nations surrounding it, these types and shadows pale in comparison with how Jesus–King of Israel–would overcome every enemy and rule forever and ever on David’s throne. Truly all things written in the Law and the Prophets concern Him and His eternal kingdom! (Luke 24:44, Acts 28:23)

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Seeking First God’s Kingdom & Righteousness

Posted by israeliteindeed on February 15, 2014

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matt. 6:31-33)

Here, Jesus let us know what the focus of our lives should be. The target we need to set our sights on is two-fold–the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Being under the authority of Jesus and helping others find that same salvation, and being like Jesus (holy as He is holy).

Notice the things Jesus told us to avoid focusing on–making sure we have plenty to eat, drink, and wear. This list seems pretty benign. Certainly it is no sin to have food, drink, and clothing. We might be tempted to compare ourselves to those seeking riches, popularity in the world, or unrighteous power, and think we are doing pretty well by focusing on the body’s basic needs. But Jesus warned that setting as our focus even the temporal needs we all have will be a spiritual trap to us. Our Father knows that we have needs, so we are not to focus on them as if we don’t have a loving Father looking after us. To do such is to evidence a lack of faith. Instead we are to focus on serving Him in the things He has before ordained for us to do–furthering His kingdom on earth and being sanctified into a purer image of Jesus daily.

As an example of how a wrong focus can set us up for spiritual failure, I recently heard a young lady declare that she “really needs a social life.” This young lady does desire to follow Jesus, but if she focuses on “needing a social life,” she will begin to make decisions based upon whether they lead her to her desired goal–a social life. What if a social life seems to be more possible if she compromises what she knows to be right? Will she not be setting herself up to endure much more temptation with this wrong focus? Is she not more likely to develop friendships that will lead her away from Christ instead of toward Him?

But consider if she focuses on the kingdom of God and His righteousness. She commits what seems to be a lacking social life to the Lord, trusting that her Father knows her needs and has withheld nothing from her that is good for her (Psa. 84:11). She studies Scripture and lets it wash and transform her mind so that she is content in her present circumstances. Will not her Father bring into her life people who are like-minded in their devotion to Him? As she exudes the character of Christ, people who are attracted to His aroma will want to be around her, while ungodly people will be repelled by it, sparing her from being drawn into unhealthy friendships. She will reach out to people more as Christ did. Hopefully some unbelievers will desire to change because of what they see in her, and His kingdom will advance as their hearts come into submission to Christ. Other laborers who are wholeheartedly trying to advance the kingdom of God also will come into clearer view.

This is applicable also to those who are focused on finding a spouse. A focus on God’s kingdom and righteousness is the right way to find a godly spouse–our Father is in charge of finding our spouses! We need to be good children, seeking first what He commands us to seek, and trust Him to provide for us in due time.

Other ways Christians can get off track is by focusing on careers, eating healthy, preparing for food shortage, etc. While it is good to work hard, care for our bodies with good food, or prepare for the worst; if these things become our focus, we will become carnally minded–which is spiritual death! (Rom. 8:6)

I have seen some people so consumed with saving freeze-dried food for a coming apocalypse, that they don’t even stop to think of how un-Christlike it is to feed only themselves in a food shortage while all their unsaved neighbors starve to death and go to hell! Surely, here is a wrong focus that may have begun with a semblance of wisdom but ended in utter selfishness. An individual seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness might be led to save physical food so that it could be shared with unbelievers in a crisis–along with the gospel that can save their souls! What good is it to save our natural bodies at the expense of the souls of men?! So you see, two people could do the same thing (save food) but with opposite motives and focus. One has a merely carnal focus of preserving the body with no regard for others, while the other has a spiritual focus of advancing the kingdom of God in times of difficulty.

Even a ministry can become the focus of our attention in a wrong way. We can get so busy jumping through the hoops of a program that we don’t realize we are no longer hearing Jesus giving us instructions. We have let the program, or the consensus of others, become our leader instead of Jesus. Many churches tend to let this happen, and if we aren’t careful, we will follow them down the wrong path–a path where everyone looks busy, but no one is really tuning into the Spirit of God to learn what He wants. We begin to feel that if the program looks successful, then Jesus is pleased. But sometimes Jesus was never behind that program at all!

We also need to be careful not to define the kingdom of God as men generally do–a kingdom built with hands and bricks and mortar, that usually requires a huge amount of debt piled on the backs of guilt-tripped tithers. God’s kingdom is in the hearts of people who love Him, and some of the poorest Christians in history “turned the world upside down”–so effective were they at seeking God’s true kingdom!

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col. 3:1-4)

What is my life? What is your life? Does it consist in what we have or how popular we are, or how busy we look, or how good we can eat? If you are a disciple of Jesus and have truly been raised with Him from the dead carnal life, determine to focus on the things above. Set your mind and affections on spiritual things–this will always be a deliberate choice. Our life is hidden with Christ in God above. And the only life we have now is Christ. We adore Christ, we follow Christ, we image Christ to a lost world, and we wait for Christ–our life–to appear to take us home. If we would live according to the Spirit of God, we must zero in on the things the Spirit is concerned with (Rom. 8:5-7). This is the spiritual mind, which is life and peace.

God bless you!

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