The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘Salvation’

Answering the Charge of “Replacement Theology”

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 10, 2016

Introduction

In this post, I will endeavor to answer the false charge of “replacement theology.” Those who charge thus do not understand the following truths in Scripture:

  1.  God made a distinction between faithful and unfaithful Israel. Only the remnant (faithful Israel) would be saved.
  2.  Faithful Israel has always included Gentiles
  3.  The Old Covenant (with Israel) has been replaced with the New Covenant (with Israel).
  4.  Faithful Israel was not replaced, but carried into the New Covenant, where it remains to this day:
    a. The Olive Tree into which both Jews and Gentiles can be grafted by faith
    b. The foundation of the New Covenant Temple, which is the Lord’s Body
  5.  Unfaithful Israel has been “cut off” from faithful Israel, just as the Lord promised in the Old Testament. The kingdom was given to faithful Israel, which includes all Gentiles who join themselves to the God of Israel.

We will look at each of these points in more detail.

God Made a Distinction Between Faithful and Unfaithful Israel

God’s distinctions between faithful and unfaithful Israel can be seen in the following verses. Please do look them up!

Faithful Israel is beloved of God–Ex. 15:13; Deut. 33:3; Ezra 3:11
Unfaithful Israel is not beloved of God–Lev. 3:16; Jer. 12:8; Jer. 16:5; Hos. 9:15

Faithful Israel is the children of God–Exo. 4:22; Deut. 14:1; Isa. 1:2,4; Isa. 63:8; Hos. 11:1
Unfaithful Israel is not the children of God–Deut. 32:5; John 8:39-44

Faithful Israel is the kingdom of God–Exo. 19:6; 1 Chr. 17:14; 1 Chr. 28:5
Unfaithful Israel is not the kingdom of God–Matt. 8:11-12; Matt. 21:43

Faithful Israel is the people of God–Exo. 6:7; Deut. 27:9; 2 Sam. 7:23; Jer. 11:4
Unfaithful Israel is not the people of God–Hos. 1:9;  Jer. 5:10

Faithful Israel was the priests of God–Exo. 19:6
Unfaithful Israel was not the priests of God–1 Sam. 2:28-30; Lam. 4:13-16; Eze. 44:10-13; Hos. 4:6; Mal. 2:2-9

Faithful Israel was the vineyard/vine of God–Isa. 5:3-7; Jer. 12:10
Unfaithful Israel was not the vine of God (it was a degenerate, alien vine)–Jer. 2:21

Faithful Israel was an Olive Tree–Psa. 52:8; Jer. 11:16; Hos. 14:6
Unfaithful Israel was not the Olive Tree (but branches to be consumed)–Jer. 11:16

Faithful Israel was the Bride of God–Isa. 54:5-6; Jer. 2:2; Eze. 16:32; Hos. 1:2
Unfaithful Israel was not the Bride of God–Jer. 3:8; Hos. 2:2

Faithful Israel was counted as the children of Abraham–2 Chr. 20:7; Psa. 105:6; Isa. 41:8
Unfaithful Israel was not counted as the children of Abraham–John 8:39; Rom. 9:6-7; Gal. 4:25-30

Faithful Israel was chosen–Deut. 7:7, 10:15, 14:2; Isa. 43:20,21
Unfaithful Israel was not chosen–Deut. 31:17; 2 Ki. 17:20; 2 Chr. 25:7; Psa. 78:59; Jer. 6:30; Jer. 7:29, 14:10

Faithful Israel was circumcised in heart–Gen. 17:10; Deut. 30:6
Unfaithful Israel was not circumcised in heart–Jer. 4:4, 9:25-26; Rom. 2:25-29

As you can see, God has always made a distinction between faithful and unfaithful Israel. Another term designating “faithful Israel” is “the remnant.” Isaiah wrote:

For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them will return; The destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness. (Isa. 10:22)

Paul, in quoting Isaiah, equated Israel’s “returning” with “being saved.”

Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. (Rom. 9:27)

Faithful Israel has always included Gentiles

Israel was never a “pure race,” as some teach, but a people who were called to worship God from a pure heart. Please read Gentiles Included in Old Testament Israel  in order to understand this.

The Old Covenant (with Israel) has been replaced by the New Covenant (with Israel).

Yes, in this case, there has been a replacement!

Dispensationalism attempts to have the old and new Covenants operating at the same time. This is false doctrine at its finest, for the writer of Hebrews states that the old Covenant has been rendered obsolete (Heb. 8:13). Now that the Lamb of God has been slain, He is forever the Mediator of the New Covenant (Heb. 9:11-15). As a sign that the New Covenant was now in operation, the temple veil ripped from top to bottom at His death, opening the new and living way….through the veil, that is His flesh (Matt. 27:51; Heb. 10:19-20). There is no other way to the Father but through Jesus Christ.

Many people do not realize the New Covenant was made with Israel and Judah! (Jer. 3:31-34) That is, it was made with the faithful of Israel and Judah, for the unfaithful were blinded and stumbled because of their disobedience (I Pet. 2:6-8). Therefore any Gentile who enters the New Covenant, is now a citizen of the Commonwealth of [faithful] Israel (Eph. 2:12-18).

When Jacob blessed his sons just before dying, he prophesied that the scepter would not depart from Judah UNTIL Shiloh (Jesus) came. At that point, the gathering of the people (God’s faithful Israel) would be to Jesus.

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)

Jesus is King of kings. He has claimed David’s throne, and rules faithful Israel from Mount Zion forever (Isa. 9:6-7). The obedience of God’s people is to Him (not to Judah). Those who have not gathered to Him are not in covenant with God.

Faithful Israel was NOT replaced, but carried into the New Covenant, where it remains to this day.

a. Faithful Israel remains the Olive Tree into which both Jews and Gentiles can be grafted by faith

For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? (Rom. 11:16-24)

The root of the olive tree is holy because the root is faithful/obedient Israel! Unfaithful Israel was cut off, just as God promised. God does not graft us (believing Gentiles) into an unholy people, for we can have no fellowship with darkness. If the unholy repent of their unbelief, they can be grafted in.

I beg you to see that no “replacement” is being taught here. Faithful Israel has never been replaced. The throne of David is occupied by an eternal King. The faithful Israel of God has increased by the influx of people from all nations, just as God had always planned.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote about how Gentiles could be established “in the midst” of Israel–

And it shall be, if they will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people. (Jer. 12:16)

And so they have!

b. Faithful Israel remains the foundation of the New Covenant Temple, which is the Lord’s Body.

Upon faithful Israel, the new temple was raised, which is the Lord’s Body (the continuation of His Church).

Isaiah testified that foreigners would be gathered to Israel, and must not consider themselves “separate” from God’s people:

Do not let the son of the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord speak, saying,
“The Lord has utterly separated me from His people”…Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him others besides those who are gathered to him.” (Isa. 56:3-8)

A foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord is not separate from God’s faithful people, nor has he replaced them. Listen to Paul:

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Eph. 2:11-22)

Faithful Israel, far from being replaced,  is the very foundation of the New Covenant temple (the Church), holding up the entire building. The Church has not replaced faithful Israel, but has been made a partaker in her promises.

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

Unfaithful Israel has been cut off from faithful Israel, just as God promised.

Unfaithful Israel will not inherit the promises. Ishmael became a symbol of this spiritual truth, according to Paul in Galatians 4. He wrote that the unbelieving Jews/unfaithful Israel shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman (Gal. 4:28-31).

The charge of “replacement theology” largely comes from children of the flesh (Ishmael) persecuting the sons of promise (Isaac) out of jealousy. They despise the idea that Gentiles can be grafted into God’s Israel, while they themselves are cut off due to unbelief. They see things through carnal eyes, trusting in race or nationality, just as many Jews did in Jesus’ day. Nevertheless, God’s Word is true–they are cut off from Israel until they repent and believe. The kingdom has been taken from them and given to a nation bearing the fruits of righteousness (Matt. 21:43). Unfaithful Israel will not be heir with faithful Israel.

How tragic that so many western Christians take up and repeat the delusions of those who have been cut off, twisting the Word of God. They “stand with” the spiritual Ishmael (unfaithful Israel) instead of Isaac (faithful Israel). May God open their eyes.

The doctrine that Unfaithful Israel is in any way accepted by God is antichrist. Jesus struck down this lie in John 8:37-47; Matt. 8:10-12; Matt. 21:33-45. John the Baptist struck it down in Matthew 3:7-12. The apostle John struck it down in 1 John 2:22. Peter struck it down in 1 Pet. 2:4-9. Paul struck it down in too many places to list. Only through repentance and faith in Jesus can a member of unfaithful Israel be translated into faithful Israel (the kingdom of God).

Let us agree with the Word of God, even if others refuse. (See Cut Off for more information.)

Conclusion

I think this quote by Sam Storms perfectly concludes this paper:

Jesus saw the realization of Israel’s true destiny in the circle of his disciples. They are not to be thought of, however, as a “new” Israel, but as the “true” Israel, the “true people of God.” With Jesus’ offer of the kingdom came the fact that acceptance means the realization and fulfillment of the promise. This offer was accepted by the disciples and thus was realized and fulfilled in them. They constituted neither a new Israel nor a separate body of believers: rather, they were the believing remnant within the unbelieving nation.

This “Church” (Matt. 16:18-19), therefore, is not a wholly distinct and completely new creation or purpose of God, separated from his people of the Old Testament, Israel, and in some sense “replacing” them. Rather, the Church of the present age is simply the continuation and maturation of the believing remnant of Israel, namely, the disciples and all others who received Jesus as Messiah. Thus, the fellowship or Church established by Jesus stands not in opposition to but in direct continuity with the Old Testament Israel. This body is “true” Old Testament Israel: the remnant! (Kingdom Come, Sam Storms, p. 343)

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The Necessity of Change, Part 1

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 8, 2016

I recently heard a song in a public place which repeated these words, “Don’t try to change me.” It struck me that this is the attitude of many people toward God.  They do what they want, following their own darkened hearts, and they run into trouble after trouble. But they never blame themselves for their troubles or acknowledge that they need to change. In fact, they defy anyone who would try to change them, and they demand that everyone accept them “just as they are.” But what does God think about this refusal to change?

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31)

The essence of this repentance–which God requires of all men everywhere–is CHANGE. We must change our thoughts and our actions from rebellion and self-will to obedience and self-denial.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good. (Isa. 1:16)

To those who repent, God gives a new heart and spirit, out of which flows a whole new (changed) life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

The prodigal is a great example of the change that is required by God (Luke 15:11-24). He came to himself, reasoning about the suffering his rebellion against a good father had brought him (he changed his mind). Then he returned to the father, acknowledged he was a sinner who deserved nothing, and offered to be a servant (he changed his behavior from riotous rebellion to humble service.)

This is repentance– the change that is required for a man, dead in his sins, to be made alive again.  Without it, there can be no salvation.

Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)

A refusal to change is a refusal of salvation.

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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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God Helps the Seed of Abraham

Posted by israeliteindeed on September 13, 2014

An Examination of Heb. 2:10-18

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one. (2:10-11)

There is a unity between the sanctifier, who was perfected through suffering, and those who are being sanctified; they are one. He has redeemed them from their sins with His blood. He washes them with the water of the Word and presents them clean to God. He supplies the branches of His Vine with His own nourishment, that both He and they may be a plant that brings forth fruit unto God.

for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” And again: “I will put My trust in Him.” And again:“Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.” (2:11-13)

They are His brethren because they do what the Father says (Matt. 12:50). He is not ashamed to be called their elder brother, since they are being sanctified in Him. His brethren are “the assembly” or “the congregation” in Old Testament language, and “the Church” in New Testament language. The Lord has given to His Messiah children (Isa. 8:18). These are children of God, born again (fathered) by God’s Spirit. They are children of Abraham because they belong to the Seed of Abraham, who is Jesus. (Gal. 3:16; 29)

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (2:14-15)

The brethren of Jesus, the children of God and of Abraham, have a perfect High Priest who has chosen to share in flesh and blood, so that when He conquered death, He could deliver them from the fear of death also. He continues forever in an unchangeable priesthood; He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:24-25).

For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

“Seed of Abraham” is here used interchangeably with “His [Jesus’] brethren.” Jesus’ brethren are only those who do the Father’s will (Matt. 12:50). Neither term, then, refers to the natural Jew, but only to the spiritual Jew (Rom. 2:28-29). Jesus is the Sanctifier, His brethren are those being sanctified, and they are one Body. They are the “Seed of Abraham.” The Seed of Abraham does include natural Jews who have the faith of Abraham, but it does not include natural Jews who do not have the faith of Abraham. The Seed of Abraham includes natural gentiles who have the faith of Abraham, but it does not include gentiles in whom is no faith. All who have faith are grafted into the same Body. They become the Seed of Abraham, in Christ, and recipients of God’s supernatural aid.

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)

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

The promises are inherited by faith, not by “the law”–that law by which men called themselves Jews, whether judging by genealogy, national boundary, or particular works peculiar to them–like circumcision of the flesh or preparing a proper sacrifice.

Scripture contends that the promise to Abraham was, from the beginning, a promise that would be inherited by faith. If there were another way to inherit the promise–by Jewish law–the criteria of faith would be made of no effect. But God has not allowed this; the criteria of faith stands. The promises are sure to “all the seed” including those outside “the law” (those outwardly unrecognized as Jews). Thus Abraham became “a father of many nations” and an “heir of the world” as promised.

For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so 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.”) (Rom. 4:13-16)

And so returning to our original text from Heb. 2, God gives aid to the seed of Abraham. And the seed of Abraham consists of those who put their obedient trust in Christ, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. These are His brethren, and they are priests serving their High Priest faithfully in His House.

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Stranger in the World, Citizen of Heaven

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 27, 2014

I am a stranger in the world
And this is what I see:
The earth reeling like a drunkard,
Tottering like a hut,
Its transgression heavy upon it.
Soon to fall and never to rise again.
For He treads down the peoples–
The rebellious peoples who refuse to fear Him
And love Him, though He is lovely–
He treads them down in His anger.
They are made drunk in His fury
Intoxicated with lies
Because they despised Truth.
Their strength–
The strength of their flesh–
Is waning.
He brings down their strength to the earth,
That He may set all on fire together.

I am a citizen of heaven,
And this is what I see:
Mount Zion is inhabited by
A people in white linen
Purifying themselves in hope.
They have been raised up together
And made to sit together in heavenly places.
Their eyes always behold the Lamb of God,
Their hearts bow before Him.
They despise not His chastening,
For His Spirit in them cries “Father.”
They pursue peace with all people,
And holiness.
They shine like stars,
Blameless and harmless,
Without rebuke among the crooked and perverse,
Holding forth the Word of Life,
To turn many to righteousness.

The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, And shall totter like a hut; Its transgression shall be heavy upon it, And it will fall, and not rise again. (Isa. 24:20)

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:9-12)

I have trodden down the peoples in My anger, made them drunk in My fury, And brought down their strength to the earth. (Isa. 63:5)

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Pet. 3:10)

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:20)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. (Heb. 12:22)

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (I Jn. 3:2-3)

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)

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. (Heb. 12:5-6)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. (Heb. 12:14)

Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life. (Phil. 2:14-16)

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Dan. 12:3)

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Out of Egypt I Called My Son

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 13, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For Zion’s Sake (A Meditation on Isaiah 62)

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 6, 2014

For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
And her salvation as a lamp that burns.

It was for Zion’s sake that Isaiah could not be silent. He wanted to see her be the light of the world she was called to be.

For Zion’s sake, false doctrines and sins should be opposed and exposed. All such leaven only increases her darkness. 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. 12:22-23)

Zion’s righteousness is now going forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12)

Also, You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (Matt. 5:14) Who was Jesus addressing as the light of the world along with Him? He was addressing those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for righteousness’ sake. He was not addressing a race, a political entity, or those who had accepted Judaism but rejected Him. Only those of obedient faith would become the heavenly Jerusalem, and these would be the light of the world. The brightness of that light would be her righteousness.

The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,and all kings your glory.

Paul declared in Colossians 1:6,23 that the truth of the gospel had been presented “in all the world” and “to every creature under heaven” and was already bringing forth fruit. The Gentiles, or heathen unbelievers, were becoming believers and being grafted into the olive tree with the Jewish believers.

You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name. You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

The “congregation of Israel” is now “the Church of the Firstborn” under the new covenant. A new name has been given to members of this congregation/church: He who overcomes…I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12).

You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.

This is fulfilled every time another person repents and becomes part of the Bride of Christ. They are no longer forsaken or desolate, but are married to Jesus and become one in whom He delights.

For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

Sons of God (through faith in Jesus) marry “the land” which Paul mentions in Gal. 4:26–Jerusalem above which is free and is the motherland of all Christians, now considering themselves citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20). This holy city of New Jerusalem was seen by John, coming down out of heaven, as a bride prepared for her Husband (Rev. 21:2).

I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

These watchmen do exactly what Isaiah and the other prophets did–they prepare the way of the Lord by rebuking sin and calling for obedient faith. They do not whitewash evil, nor do they allow evildoers to justify themselves and hide in false assurances. As John the Baptist, they do not allow people to imagine they will be justified by lineage or any favoritism on God’s part (Matt. 3:7-10). Like Jesus, they are not afraid to tell the disobedient that the nation does not belong to them (Matt. 21:43). Like Paul, they are not afraid to say that those who are not born again will not inherit the kingdom (Gal. 4:29-30).

This work of “making Jerusalem a praise in the earth” is still ongoing, for the temple is still being built stone by stone (I Pet. 2:5).

The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by the arm of His strength: “Surely I will no longer give your grain As food for your enemies; and the sons of the foreigner shall not drink your new wine, for which you have labored. But those who have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; those who have brought it together shall drink it in My holy courts!

A wonderful promise that laborers in God’s field will partake in the harvest. “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it” (Amos 9:13). He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Gal. 6:7-9)

Go through, Go through the gates! Prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway! Take out the stones, lift up a banner for the peoples!

Ambassadors for Christ prepare the way for their King, that all may see and acknowledge Him as sovereign. John the Baptist was an early New Testament “preparer of the way,” but all believers have a role in preparing the way. We take out the stones by preaching repentance. We lift a banner for the people when we lift up Jesus as the only Way of salvation.

Indeed the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the world: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming;

“Your salvation is coming,” dear Zion. When Jesus came to His own, most of His own received Him not, but to them that received Him, He gave the right to become the children of God and heirs of salvation, citizens of the heavenly Zion. Every citizen of the heavenly Zion is saved, beginning with the faithful remnant of earthly Israel.

Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.’”

Indeed. The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matt. 16:27) I will give to each one of you according to your works (Rev. 2:23). The dead judged according to their works (Rev. 20:12).

And they shall call them The Holy People, the Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.

Who are the Holy People? But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Pet. 2:9).

Who are the redeemed? In Him [Jesus]we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7).

Who are the “sought out”? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray (Matt. 18:12-13).

What City is not forsaken? You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb. 12:22). He who overcomes,…I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12). I will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5). (The holy city is not forsaken, but we must overcome and abide in Jesus to remain in that City.)

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Those Who Are Called

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 4, 2014

For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (I Cor. 2:22-25)


Who are “those who are called”?

Does God only call a select few from among the Jews and Gentiles, and enable only them to answer the call? Does God then cause those select few whom He called to inherit eternal life? If you only read the following passage, you might think so:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30)

Paul is referring to those who presently “love God.” “Those who are called” = “those who love God.” Those who love God are “the called according to His purpose,” because they are submitted to His purposes rather than their own. And these, Paul says, were “foreknown” by God, predestined to look like Jesus, called to follow Jesus, justified and glorified. Paul speaks of these things as having already been done in the past, but this does not mean that a calling guarantees the final glorification. We need to carefully weigh this passage with other passages before concluding that God only calls certain people, or that one who is called always inherits eternal life.

Remember, Peter acknowledged that some of Paul’s writings were “hard to understand,” and “untaught and unstable people” were twisting his writings to their own destruction. Then Peter warns, “THEREFORE…beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.” (2 Pet. 3:15-17) So let us have a look at other Scriptures that speak of our being called.

The call can be ignored with terrible consequences.

Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes (Prov. 1:24-26)

This call of God to hear His wisdom and submit to it has gone out since the beginning to all simple ones, scorners and fools (1:20-22). This is a call to forsake our own wisdom and cleave to God’s Wisdom (Christ.) But many refuse to take God’s hand, disdain His counsel, and reject His rebuke. He called, but they refused. It is only those who turn at God’s rebuke who come to know His words (1:23). Many in Jesus’ day had already been ignoring God’s call; thus their hearts were ill-prepared to see the salvation of God (Psa. 50:23). They would not turn at His rebuke, so they were denied access to His Words.

The call comes through/in God’s Grace.

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace… (Gal. 1:15)

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel. (Gal. 1:6)

This is the same grace that has appeared to all men and teaches them to live soberly, righteously and godly (Titus 2:11-12). When Jesus was lifted up, He drew all men to Himself. The ultimate display of God’s love should cause us to love Him and answer His call to be like Him. But there are some who count the blood of Christ a common thing and insult the Spirit of grace (Heb. 10:29).

The call comes by the gospel.

to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 2:14)

And to whom are we commanded to give the gospel?–to every creature from every nation (Mk. 16:15; Col. 1:23).

The call includes a command to repent (Not everyone repents).

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38-39

Peter is teaching that everyone who is called can receive the promise if they repent! The call itself does not necessarily mean eternal life is guaranteed.

The call is a call to leave darkness and come dwell in light.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (I Pet. 2:9)

The call is a call to follow Jesus.

Early in Jesus’ ministry, He began to call men to follow Him. We should wonder what made Him call certain people and not other people in those early days. Why did He call fishermen and a tax collector, for example, rather than esteemed leaders of the day. Wouldn’t more well-known people have had more influence? Paul explained this in I Cor. 1:26-31–

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”

Notice:

1. The words “called” and “chosen” seem interchangeable in this passage. For example, “Not many wise…are called, but God has chosen the foolish.”

2. God purposely refrained from choosing that which had fleshly glory, so that no flesh could glory in His presence.

3. In so doing, He fulfilled His word in Psa. 18:27, 25:9; 147:6, 149:4; Prov. 3:34, etc., in which He promises to save and help the humble. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble!

Does this mean that someone who had an esteemed position among men could not be called, chosen, or saved?–No, for Paul was advanced in Judaism and his credentials did not keep him from being saved. Yet he had to humble himself and submit to Jesus, counting his credentials as rubbish (Phil. 3:8). Many who have the esteem of men will not risk losing it for Christ, as Paul did. Nicodemus also was a leader who was looking for truth, and Jesus responded to his search for understanding by teaching him.

The call is a call into the fellowship of Jesus.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (I Cor. 1:9)

Is one who is called into this fellowship guaranteed to remain in this fellowship?

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I Jn. 1:5-7)

We must walk/remain in the light in order to remain in fellowship with Jesus.

The call to fellowship with Jesus is a call to suffer patiently.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps I Pet. 2:21

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Phil. 3:10).

not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. I Pet. 3:9

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. I Pet. 5:10

If we aren’t willing to suffer with Him, neither will we be glorified with Him (Rom. 8:17).

The call is a call to fight a good fight.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Tim. 6:12)

The call is a call to be holy, obedient saints.

Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: (Rom. 1:5-7)

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (I Cor. 1:2)

but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. (I Pet. 1:15)

The call is answered when someone obeys it by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called… (Heb. 11:8)

The call must be followed by knowing the One who called us.

As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. (2 Pet. 1:3)

that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:10-11)

We must walk worthy of the calling! (Some do not!)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. (Eph. 4:1)

We do this by putting off the old man with all of its ungodly behaviors, and being taught by Christ how to live in true righteousness and holiness (same chapter, vss. 17-32).

We must be diligent to make our calling and election sure, lest we stumble!

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. (2 Pet. 1:10)

If you do these things you will never stumble“–the things mentioned in vss. 5-7. That is, we must add to our faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. If we do not do these things, our calling and election are still unsure.

We must go past being called to being sanctified and preserved in Jesus.

Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ. (Jude 1)

Those who are not sanctified are not doing God’s will (I Thess. 4:3). Only those who do God’s will and obey Christ’s teachings shall be saved (Matt. 7:21). We are sanctified and preserved as we abide in Jesus, the Word of God. Scripture is clear that those who don’t remain abiding in Jesus will be cut off the Vine because of their fruitlessness (Jn. 15:5-6).

We must go past being called to being chosen and faithful.

For many are called, but few are chosen. Matt. 22:14

Judas was called and even given supernatural power–

And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease. (Matt. 10:1)

Judas was chosen

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (Jn. 6:70)

But Judas was not faithful

This he [Judas] said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. (Jn. 12:6)

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’ (Jn. 13:17-18)

Those with Jesus are called, chosen, and faithful:

These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14)

In summary, the call of God goes out through the earth to all nations, to every creature. So in that sense, all men are called to come to Christ. Yet, “those who are called” in our original passage refers to those who have not ignored the call (in general, the humble), have not received God’s grace in vain, have repented, and have obeyed the gospel. These are following and fellowshiping with Jesus, are suffering patiently, are fighting the good fight, are being holy and obedient, are walking worthy of their calling, and are being sanctified by Jesus as they abide in Him. These will inherit eternal life if they are faithful to the end, and do not turn from the heavenly calling as Judas did.

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Hear & Do the Sermon on the Mount

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 30, 2014

“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matt. 7:24-29)

Thus ends the “Sermon on the Mount” which began in Matthew 5.

When Jesus instructed His listeners to “hear these sayings of Mine” and DO them, or else be destroyed, He was teaching them as “one having authority.” Do His sayings carry that much weight? They do.

So what are the sayings we must do from the Sermon on the Mount? (If you’d rather read Jesus’ actual words than my summary following, please read Matt. 5-7, then skip ahead to the bold type at the bottom of this writing. Otherwise, keep reading.)

Here is a summary of what we must do, in my own words:

1. We must be “poor in spirit” to enter the kingdom of heaven. (5:3)

2. We must mourn appropriately to be comforted. (5:4)

3. We must be meek to inherit the earth. (5:5)

4. We must hunger and thirst for righteousness to be filled. (5:6)

5. We must be merciful to obtain mercy. (5:7)

6. We must be pure in heart to see God. (5:8)

7. We must be peacemakers to be called sons of God. (5:9)

8. We must be willing to suffer for righteousness’ sake to gain heaven. (5:10-12)

9. As “the salt of the earth,” we must not lose our flavor and become good for nothing. (5:13)

10. As “the light of the world,” we must be willing to challenge the darkness with our light, rather than hiding it away as if ashamed. (5:14-16)

11. We must not break “the least of these commandments” or teach men so. (5:17-19)

12. Our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees and scribes; we must be inwardly clean, not just outwardly clean. (5:20)

13. We must go beyond the letter of the law to the Spirit of it in our obedience. Example: in addition to not murdering or committing adultery, we must not allow hatred or lust in our hearts. (5:21-28)

14. We must attempt to be reconciled to our brother if he has something against us, or else our worship of God will not be accepted. (5:22-26)

15. We must deal with our own temptations and sins to the point of hurt unless we want to be cast into hell. (5:29-30) “Make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14). “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:4)

16. Except in cases of sexual immorality, we must not divorce lest we cause another to commit adultery. (5:31-32)

17. We must not swear by anything; we must be people who keep our word. (5:33-37)

18. We must not “resist an evil person,” but turn the other cheek even if he is violent. “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” is not to be the creed of the New Covenant Christian. (5:38-39)

19. If we are sued, we must be willing to give up more than was asked. (5:40)

20. If we are compelled to go a mile, we must be willing to go two. (5:41)

21. We must not turn away from those who ask for charity or to borrow from us. (5:42)

22. We must love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who use or persecute us. We must go beyond the “goodness” of the world, which loves friends and hates enemies. We must emulate the Father, who blesses both good and evil people in this life. (5:43-48)

23. We must not do charity with a motive of being praised by men, but instead a motive to please God. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:1-4)

24. Our prayers must not be motivated by a desire to look spiritual before men, but to please the Father. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:5-6)

25. We must not pray with “vain repetition” as if, by it, we can coerce God with many words. (6:7-8)

26. Our prayers should acknowledge God’s glory and kingdom, our submission to His will, our trust in His providence, active forgiveness of others and asking forgiveness, and asking for strength to overcome temptation. (6:9-13)

27. We must forgive others, or we will not be forgiven! (6:14-15)

28. Fasting must not be used as a show of pretended spirituality, but is between us and the Father. Secrecy is a safeguard against hypocrisy. (6:16-18)

29. We must value and store up heavenly treasure rather than earthly treasure. (6:19-21)

30. We must keep “a good eye” (focus on what is heavenly) lest we be filled with darkness. (6:22-23)

31. We must not attempt to serve both God and money. We must love one and hate the other. (6:24)

32. We must not worry about even necessities (food and clothes), but trust God will provide what is needed. (6:25-32)

33. We must have as our highest priority the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, not our basic necessities. (6:32-34)

34. We must not judge others hypocritically, while ignoring our own sins. (7:1-5)

35. We must discern to whom we should “cast pearls.” Forcing truth on those who do not value it will only hurt us. (7:6)

36. In our pursuit of God’s kingdom and righteousness, we must ask, seek, and knock, trusting that God will respond by giving us the good things we need. (7:7-11)

37. We must consider how we want to be treated, and treat others accordingly. Sincere benevolence toward God and men fulfills both the Law and the Prophets. (7:12)

38. We must choose the narrow way and difficult road that leads to life, even though only comparatively few others will be on it. To choose the easier, more popular way will end in destruction. (7:13-14)

39. We must beware of false prophets, and judge them by their fruits, lest we be destroyed like sheep ravaged by wolves. (7:15-20)

40. We must go beyond calling Jesus “Lord” and prophesying/doing wonders in His name. We must do the will of God and refuse to practice lawlessness/disobedience. Otherwise we will not be allowed entrance into heaven. (7:21-23)

These are the sayings from the Sermon on the Mount that we must hear and do lest our house be destroyed!

I have been told that I take this Sermon “too literally.” I am urged to accept either the American version or the Dispensational version of this Sermon, instead of the actual Sermon Jesus delivered.

The American version twists it to make it more accessible to the lawless, the haughty (proud to be an American), the non-meek (who take the earth by force), the unmerciful, the non-peacemaker, the lover of earth’s treasure, the pretender at spirituality, the despiser of the poor and the stranger, the unforgiving, and the one who places his own earthly needs above the kingdom of God. It does this by claiming Jesus did not mean what He said, but meant something different. Meekness, peacemaking, mercy, etc., are said to be applicable only in situations where being such doesn’t cost much. How very convenient! (One commenter on this blog said that if I would not literally pluck out my tempted eye, then I also did not have to literally love my enemies. This ridiculous logic is destructive and reveals a purposeful disobedience to Christ.)

The dispensational version of this Sermon simply claims that only physical Jews need obey it! Even more convenient! With this version, we don’t even have to rationalize away this or that uncomfortable part; we can just reject the whole thing outright as long as we are Gentiles. Oh, how the western church has sought out many inventions!

I reject those adulterated versions of Christ’s Sermon as lies from the devil!

I reject the notion that I can take Jesus less seriously than I do, and still live.

I reject the notion that Jesus respects self-centered American ideals more than He respects the selfless ideals of His own kingdom.

I reject the notion that we can try to have both, and still please the King of heaven.

I reject the notion that Christ’s words are for some other people group other than those who hear His words.

The words of Jesus are spirit and life. If I hear them and do them, my house will stand firm. If I do not, my house will be destroyed. I believe the same applies to YOU, no matter who you are.

As Jesus would say, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.”

And let the one who hears also DO–lest, hearing only, he deceive himself!

Posted in Apostasy, Christian Life, False Teachers | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Unfolding Revelation of Salvation

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 25, 2014

The more I read the Scriptures, the more I realize the Book of God is one progressive written revelation–a revelation of God’s plan of salvation for all people.

Even the word “revelation” has within it a progression from something that is not yet revealed, to something that becomes manifest. Between the unrevealed and the revealed is the progression. In Scripture, the “manifold” (many folds) wisdom of God is peeled back layer by layer, to gradually reveal both His justice and His mercy, His authority and His voluntary humility, His unequaled greatness and His willingness to condescend to help the helpless. Reading and grasping the big picture in a progression of real historical events leaves one overwhelmed at the creative genius of our God.

All Scripture points to Jesus, the means of Salvation! But as you journey from Genesis to Revelation, Redemption is opened bit by bit.

Let’s begin in Genesis.

When there were only two human beings on the earth that needed redemption, God began His redemption story. When they brought sin into the world by their disobedience, He convicted them, subjected them to severe consequences, and promised–in Gen. 3:15–that there would be enmity between satan and the woman’s Seed, but the Seed would win the battle. This “Seed” was the first mention of Jesus Christ, the only Redeemer and Savior for sinners. The covering of skin over Adam and Eve’s nakedness pictured the covering we receive when our sins are atoned for and forgiven–a costly covering bought with the death of the Innocent and Holy God. “The woman” figuratively was the Church. God’s Church–those who belonged to God by faith–would go on to bring forth the Seed who would bruise the serpent’s head and rescue sinners from his kingdom.

The first two children born on the earth became a picture of the division that exists between those who seek to please God and those who don’t. Cain slew Abel because his brother’s deeds were righteous, and the Church’s first martyr was safely deposited under the altar of God, to rest there until the full number of his righteous brethren were also killed. (Rev. 6:9-11)

In the days of Noah, the Lord revealed His hatred for sin and many aspects of His means of redemption and the future final judgment. Only those who believe His warnings and work out their salvation with fear and trembling–in accordance with His commands–would be saved. Noah was the only patriarch of his time with ears to hear, signifying that comparatively few will be saved. He followed the Lord’s blueprint exactly, and his family survived to enjoy the new world. The ark was a type of salvation in Christ. When God shut the door on the ark, He demonstrated that the “day of salvation” would come to an end; thus the only safe time to get right with God is “Today.” The human rejection of salvation in Noah’s day, while two of each animal were saved, pictures how Jesus came to His own, but most of His own received Him not–and Gentiles were saved instead. Noah’s family pictured God’s Church (throughout all of history) issuing the invitation, and storing up such food as would sustain believers while they waited for the new world. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Lk. 17:26-27) Yes, the days of Noah pointed to future days, days which seem to be fast approaching.

Why did the Lord choose Abraham? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him. (Gen. 18:19) Here was another man seeking God, and he was also chosen to be an instrument of God’s grace. He believed the Word of God that he would have a child, he obeyed God’s command to leave his people and become a sojourner, and his faith was counted as righteousness. A promise was made to him that because of his obedience, in his Seed, all nations will be blessed (Gen. 22:18). It was, from the beginning, a promise with global implications. He would be the father not just of one nation, but of many (Gen. 17:4). Now who do you suppose this Seed was by whom all nations would be blessed? Yes, back in Genesis 3, we learned of a Seed who would crush satan’s head. The apostle Paul later identifies this same Seed as Christ. He tells us the promises to Abraham are fulfilled in Christ, and anyone who is Christ’s is Abraham’s seed and inherits the promise (Gal. 3:16; 29). Paul stated that in making the promises to Abraham, God had preached the gospel to him and foretold how Gentiles would be saved (Gal. 3:8). The beautiful, glorious GOSPEL, my friends! It was being unfolded in Abraham’s day and Abraham understood it, keeping himself as a foreigner even in “the land of promise,” always waiting for the heavenly city.

Next we come to Isaac, who was chosen over Ishmael even though both sons came from Abraham. God did not choose by blood or tradition; a faith response to His promises is what He looked for. Sarah foolishly tried to make God’s promise come true before the proper time by “helping” her husband father the child Ishmael through Hagar. Poor Hagar was caught in Sarah’s foolish act of the flesh, but God took care of her and her child, and continued with His plan, using each event to teach us. Isaac was born by a miracle of God, and received the blessing of Abraham’s inheritance. And what do these things mean? Years later, the mystery is explained by Paul. Hagar and Ishmael represent children born according to the flesh–Jews who think they are Abraham’s children by blood or religious ritual alone, who count upon having the letter of the law without having the Spirit who wrote it. (Though Paul applied it to the Jews of his day, I believe it also applies to Gentiles who think they are saved through the same fleshly means.) Sarah and Isaac represent the TRUE CHURCH–those who are born by a miracle of God and receive Abraham’s inheritance–salvation–by faith! Sarah herself pictured the “Jerusalem Above,” the mother of the free (for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom). And so the very gospel that brings salvation to those who are born of the Spirit–not the flesh–came even more into view. (Gal. 4:22-31)

Jacob wrestled with God. He had desired the birthright of his brother Esau and deceived him to get it. As a man living a real life in God’s history, he needed to be broken and fully submitted to God, but his story became yet another picture of the gospel. The “birthright” of salvation can be taken from us and given to another who wants it more, if we place too little value upon it. Esau became a picture of those who sell the birthright (salvation) for temporary pleasure (Heb. 12:16). Again, bloodline did not seal anyone in the promise. God has always retained the right to choose only those who seek Him and place value upon His Word. Jacob later saw in a vision a ladder reaching from earth to heaven. Upon awaking, he exclaimed that he was in “the house of God.” (Gen. 28:12-17) This dream foretold the mediation of the Savior, who would come to earth and be the Way by which men are reconciled to God. Those thus reconciled would be His House, His very dwelling place!

Jacob had twelve sons, one of which became a picture of the Messiah/Seed. Joseph dreamed his brothers bowed down to him, and he was hated for this and his father’s favoritism toward him. Clothed in a coat of many colors, perhaps depicting the international scope of Christ’s ministry, Joseph’s close relationship with his father became unbearable to his brothers. Rather than doing what was right themselves, they wanted to kill the one who exposed their own unrighteousness. When they sold him to traveling merchants to be rid of him, they could not have known that in time, the Jews would “sell” their very Deliverer–the promised Seed–to be crucified, thus fulfilling the unfolding picture. In spite of much personal suffering, Joseph went on to become the unlikely savior of Egypt and all who would come to him for food–unfolding the truth that Jesus is the Savior of the world and all must come to Him for the bread of life. Even Israel (Jacob) had to come to Joseph to live, showing that even that nation must be saved by Jesus. Joseph’s brothers did bow before him, looking for mercy, just as all Jesus’ “brothers” must do to be saved. As Joseph, Jesus was “fruitful in the land of His affliction”–the earth. The Word of God has accomplished what He was sent to do.

When the children of Jacob/Israel were in bondage in Egypt, God raised up a deliverer, the humble Moses. The bondage of Israel represents the slavery to sin all sinners labor beneath. Pharaoh represents the cruel king of this dark kingdom–satan. He is a harsh taskmaster, forcing sinners to attempt what will always be impossible. Moses was saved from infanticide just as the Seed/Christ would later be saved–the dragon/satan always nipping at His heels and trying to abort the ministry of the One who would bruise his head. Moses, as a picture of Christ, battled against Pharoah–not with carnal weapons, but with the Word of the Lord and signs and plagues sent from heaven. The Exodus he led out of Egypt was a picture of the glorious Lord Jesus leading those who trust in Him out of the world and into the kingdom of God. The Israelites crossed the Jordan river safely, while Pharaoh and his army were drowned; this pictured the baptism into death God’s people must undergo to be saved, and also pictured the ultimate overthrowing of satan and those who hate God’s people.

Aaron, the High Priest of the wilderness tabernacle, was a direct picture of Jesus–the High Priest to come who would pass through the very heavens to mediate for His people (Heb. 4:14). While Moses was a shepherd and a prophet, a humble man who was willing to die for his people, Aaron sprinkled innocent blood on the mercy seat to atone for the nation’s sins. Both men, fallible as they were, were foreshadowing the works of the Seed/Messiah to come.

The sacrifices of animals were never able to atone for sin (Heb. 10:4). This sacrificial system given to the Hebrew family, including the blueprint for the tabernacle, was given as a copy of a reality which already existed in heaven (Heb. 8:5). The veil which kept the people from the inner sanctuary signified that the Way into the Most Holy place was not yet revealed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. It was a mere illustration of the reality which would soon be manifest. Christ would come and officiate in the “more perfect tabernacle not made with hands…not of this creation” (Heb. 9:7-11). As Mediator of the New Covenant, Jesus redeemed even the sins committed under the first covenant (Heb. 9:15). Thus He fulfilled the Old Testament shadow and became the Savior of everyone who ever lived, or would live, a life of repentance and faith.

By the time Joshua led the Hebrews into Canaan, there had already been a huge “cutting off” of those who did not have faith. The older generation, with exception of Joshua and Caleb, perished and never inherited the shadow of promise. They did not believe God, and they continually tested Him in spite of His past faithfulness. Neither their lineage nor their participation in the tabernacle rituals were able to secure for them an entrance into “the promised land”; thus they became an example to those who would come after, that we must overcome temptations and obey the Lord if we want to inherit the real promise (I Cor. 10:1-13). Joshua was a type of Christ, leading the people in battle as Christ leads those soldiers who side with Him (2 Tim. 2:33). Remember, however, that Joshua himself worshiped the Commander of the Army of the Lord, Who refused to be identified as fighting for either Joshua or the enemy. He fought only for the Lord (Josh. 5:13-15), signifying that God’s work is for His own glory, and He is not a respecter of persons. Joshua’s rescue of the Gentile Rahab from the city of Jericho was an early example of God’s grafting Gentiles into His spiritual nation. Heb. 11:31 declares that Rahab was saved by her faith!

David was chosen from among his more likely brothers to be king of Israel, demonstrating again that God looks upon the heart in His choices. As a shepherd who risked his life battling bear and lion to save his sheep, David demonstrated the heart of the coming Messiah who would lay down His life for His friends. As the youth armed with boyish weapons courageously facing the giant, he demonstrated how Christ would defeat satan with unlikely weapons because God was with Him. As the anointed king living like a refugee in the wilderness, hunted incessantly by jealous Saul, and supported by his faithful “mighty men,” he again demonstrated aspects of Jesus’ ministry. Before His time to die had come, there were unsuccessful attempts on Jesus’ life. Those seeking power in this world were and still are jealous of Jesus; they can no longer kill this overcoming King, so they persecute and kill His followers. Nevertheless Jesus’ disciples are His “mighty men.” They might not look like much in the world’s eyes, but those who know their God (Jesus) do exploits (Dan. 11:32).

For the sake of time, I will mention only two more collections of men that manifested the glory of God’s salvation–the judges and prophets of Israel.

The judges of Israel rose in a time when men were doing “what was right in their own eyes.” Rather than allowing the old covenant to lead them to faith in their Savior (Gal. 3:24), many were leaving God for the idols of the heathen. They continued to “honor God with their lips,” while withholding their hearts from the Spirit’s gracious influence (Isa. 29:13). They continued to circumcise their flesh, but would not circumcise their hearts. Judges were raised up by God to win battles and bring stability to the nation. Jesus promised His disciples that they would sit on twelve thrones judging Israel. I believe they are already on those thrones judging the Israel of God (the church). Some of His disciples were used to give us the New Testament Scriptures, by which we today judge all matters in the church. And in some sense, all God’s church members are called to judge in the church (I Cor. 5). Through righteous judgment, we rebuke impurity in those who say they are God’s, but do what is right in their own eyes, and we overcome the lies that continually try to lead God’s people off course.

Next came the prophets, pleading for Israel’s repentance and warning of God’s judgment if they should refuse. God’s people was His Bride, and she was meant to be faithful to Him. But most (thankfully, not all) under the old covenant were unfaithful, and turned God’s glorious unfolding gospel on its head by saying God had delivered them so they could now sin with impunity (Jer. 7:1-15). They insisted they could not be destroyed because they were “the people of God” and God was with them, deliberately forgetting that the promises had always included curses on the disobedient. (Does this sound familiar? The same sin-excusing doctrine is preached in many churches today–Jude 3-4). They persecuted, and sometimes killed, the prophets sent to them. Ultimately, Jesus would be THE Prophet Moses said would come, to bless the people by turning them away from their sins (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:26). As the prophets came with the word of the Lord in the Old Testament, God has now spoken to us “in these last days” through Jesus (Heb. 1:1-2). He was crucified by those He came to save. Jesus taught that His disciples would also be mistreated like the prophets, but such are blessed and will inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 5:10-12).

After years of prophetic silence, John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah and anounced that the Kingdom of God was here–not just in type, but in reality! The time for wishy-washiness was over; repent and believe the gospel or be banished from the kingdom! Only the repentant would be accepted.

Jesus came also calling for repentance. He did many miracles to support His claim to be God come in the flesh. He rebuked and corrected His enemies, who were perverting the truth with their professed adherence to the letter of the Law and purposeful ignoring of its spiritual intent. He openly declared that all things written in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms about Him would be fulfilled (Lk. 24:44).

The layers that had been unfolding over time suddenly revealed to the world the Plan of Salvation in all of its manifold beauty. He was lifted up, and He drew all men to Himself. The King of Glory didn’t look like much to carnal eyes, but the spiritually reborn had found the One whom their soul loved. Those who stumbled over Him, being disobedient, found themselves on the outside of a supernatural kingdom that can only be entered by the supernatural Door. And thus the Story reached its grand climax.

The examples I shared in this paper suffice to show us that Scripture is one beautiful unfolding revelation of one plan of salvation offered to all people. In the next post, I will try to explain why many people do not recognize the seemlessness of this beautiful redemption story in Scripture, but instead think there are two groups of “chosen people” and two “plans of salvation.” But for now, I want to end this writing focused on the amazing Truth–

God’s Kingdom/Church has been established on His holy mountain. The Seed of Gen. 3 has come and bruised the serpent’s head. God’s King is on His throne never to be de-throned, and His kingdom is advancing by the Word of Truth, by the power of God, and by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left (2 Cor. 6:7). As a kingdom which is not of this world, it is neither defended nor destroyed by anything the god of this world can create. Jerusalem Above is the eternal city of refuge to which poor sinners can, forsaking their sins, flee in good faith that they will find mercy and life.

The Gospel message of salvation–something Paul called “the revelation of the mystery”– has been fully opened to our minds by Jesus Christ, who fulfilled all things. The Old Testament prophets had “the Spirit of Christ in them,” and they prophesied of “the grace that would come to you,” says Peter (I Pet. 1:10-12). John called it “the everlasting Gospel” (Rev. 14:6) and referred to Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:7). The Book of Revelation wraps up what began in Genesis–the story of how the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world, defeats every enemy including death, and inherits the nations. Praise be to Him forever!

Posted in "Christian" Zionism, Preach the Gospel | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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