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 Re:

Jesus - New Testament

John 7:39 (But this spake He OF THE SPIRIT, which they that believe on him SHOULD RECEIVE: for the Holy Ghost WAS NOT YET GIVEN; ***BECAUSE*** that JESUS WAS NOT YET GLORIFIED.)

The Bible, from beginning to end, should be interpreted specifically from the perspective of the person and work of Jesus Christ, comprising a Christ-centered theology. Various erroneous teachings are fomented when the Bible is not interpreted Christocentrically.

Consider these words of John W. Nevin, a German Reformed author, written in 1846:

"...if the order of grace is supposed to continue the same...if Christ manifested himself previously to the patriarchs and prophets as he now manifests himself to his church...if the Spirit of Christ indwelt the people of the Old Testament the same as Christians.... ...if so, let the church know that she is no nearer to God now ...than she was under the Old Testament; that the indwelling of Christ in believers, is only parallel with the divine presence as enjoyed by the Jewish saints, who all 'died in faith, not having received the promises;' that the mystical union in the case of Paul or John was nothing more intimate and vital and real than the relation sustained to God by Abraham, or David, or Isaiah.


Under the Old Testament..(the presence of the Spirit) was always an afflatus or influence simply, exerted on the soul of the person to whom it was extended. Is this all that we are to understand by it, in the Christian church? So the theory would appear to mean. The theory of "supernatural influence" -- merely moral union, rather than the actual LIFE of Christ conveyed into us."

John 14:16–17
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you FOREVER; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you **AND** will be in you.

Not only abides with you (reference to OT Saints) AND WILL BE IN YOU.

Why did Jesus draw this distinction? "AND, will be in You."

Samson lost the abiding of the Holy Spirit, Saul lost the Holy Spirit abiding with him, David said, "Don't take your Holy Spirit from me".

The ministry of the Holy Spirit was different in the OT than it is in the NT.

The Dispensationalist and Covenant theological (Reformed) positions apply the "benefits" of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ back to Old Testament people.

If the Old Testament believers experienced all of the spiritual "benefits" that are derived from the redemptive mission of Jesus Christ, that in a retroactive "prior reality," WHY THEN DID JESUS NEED TO BECOME HISTORICALLY INCARNATE AND BE CRUCIFIED? DID HE "DIE NEEDLESSLY" as Paul indicates in Gal 2:21., since everything was readily available? Paul could not accept such reasoning and neither should we.

This teaching is a direct attack on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and I might add, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

The promised new covenant relation to the Holy Spirit and it's indwelling the Believer in Christ, is realized and experienced ONLY by Christians.

You can say of the OT as a whole what was said of its last and greatest prophet, John the Baptist as "the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God! It was just a "crying in the wilderness".

The religion of the Old Testament...(its) covenants, law, promises...(were) only a shadow to the substance it represents.

Heb 10:1 For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Its truth was not in itself, but in a different system altogether to which it pointed. Its reality was..relative only. It made nothing perfect. It was the picture merely of good things to come. ...We have no right to say that the New Testament is a mere extension or enlargement of the Old, UNDER THE SAME FORM OR UNDER THE SAME MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

Its salvation was in the form of PROMISE, more than present fact. It became REAL ultimately, ONLY IN CHRIST; for before His appearance, we are told the patriarchs of the law COULD NOT BE MADE PERFECT (Hebrews 11:13, 39,40).

Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

The dispensation of the Spirit has its origin wholly in the person of Christ (Lk 1:35; 3:22; Jn 3:34) and could not reveal itself in the world until He was glorified (Jn 7:39)

John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit BY MEASURE UNTO HIM.

Did you catch that?

"for God giveth not the Spirit BY MEASURE UNTO HIM."

"The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

Jesus Christ is the author of a new creation. The Word of God Himself became permanently joined with man in the person of Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

1Co 6:17 BUT HE THAT IS JOINED UNTO THE LORD IS ONE SPIRIT.

There was no "Christ in us, the hope of glory" in the OT.

The mystery of the incarnation (God in man) is a fact manifested only in the NT because the OT outward ordinances and external were only comparative in nature and could never create the internal union between God and man.

The promise that the OT Saints saw, (divine union) never came. God drew near to them in an outward way, but it was always and only in an outward way, even to the last, (John the Baptist).

The wall of partition that separated man from God was never fully broken down. This was a separation of "oneness" with the Lord. A returning unto Him from a land of alienation, but not just a returning to Him, but Christ in me and I in Him!

Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

In the OT, it was a revelation of "God to man" and not "God in man", which is the only way in which He can become truly known.

Not one OT Scripture used.

Let us be careful how we hear and how we teach.


A777



 2011/5/16 17:35
rookie
Member



Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4803


 Re:

Quote:
The theory of "supernatural influence" -- merely moral union, rather than the actual LIFE of Christ conveyed into us."




Compare a man's thought to this thought in Scripture...


Job 33:30 To bring back his soul from the Pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.


We can readily confirm by Scripture who the Light of Life is. So which view is the truth?


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2011/5/16 18:42Profile









 Re:

Hi rookie,

Verses like Job 33:30 and even this one:


Psalms 36:9
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

merely acknowledge that life and light (truth) are the domain of God.

No one ever implied that OT Saints were not given revelation about eternal life or about a coming Redeemer.

Job 19:25
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

A777

 2011/5/16 18:57









 Re:

777, The Entire Word of GOD is Christocentric.

No one ever intimated that we are under the law.

The whole of the Old Testament, down to every ounce is symbolic of the Lamb that would be slain and His atoning death for both the Jews and the Gentiles and His being the King Who will reign from Jerusalem, after He rescues Israel from her enemies - in the end of days.

Why would you misinterpret my post again. It's not 'about me', but it's abougt us Gentiles seeing His promises stand faithful, right to the very end - to what He promised through Abraham. It's also how we witness to the Jewish people. Many Gentiles make it appear that the Jews don't matter anymore - that it's all about "THEM". That's not healthy and maybe a good healthy dose of Art Katz or some other that knows who the Jewish people are, would be good for you and others to listen to.

Gentile Christians throw out the Jews and much more than His Word and His intent would ever permit and that's where Gentile Christians have gotten careless. Paul said - "knock off the boasting" [paraphrased] and that's what my posts have been about. I doubt that you even read my post.

GOD does not appreciate Gentiles making light of where this whole "relationship with GOD" thing Began - the when, how and with whom He began this whole full redemption story.

Again - Christianity is Jewish and always will be.

Amen, knock off the boasting, says Paul.


ETA - many Christians are closer to replacement theology than they may realize.

 2011/5/16 22:52









 Re:

I don't think Art Katz who wrote "Reality, The Hope of Glory" referring to Christ in You, believed OT Saints were regenerated by the Spirit of God and had Christ dwelling in them.

This is not a Jew/Gentile thing. NT Jews and Gentiles receive the Promise not OT Jews and Gentiles.

By the way, Abraham was not a Jew. He was a Gentile.

My post was nothing about Gentiles boasting. If you skim my post you will obviously misunderstand it. Read it slowly with all of it's NT Scriptures.

This belief that OT Saints received Christ, the new birth and the indwelling Holy Spirit is flat out deception.

A777

P.S. Of course the entire Word of God is Christocentric. That's what I said and furthermore I said if you don't interpret the Word of God, all of it from a Christocentric standpoint you will come up with all kinds of strange doctrines.

 2011/5/16 22:59









 Re:

I never said that - I said they had faith in the future Coming Messiah and that faith is what got them to Heaven and that faith will have them in the New Jerusalem. That's called "saved". No one will enter the New Jerusalem unless they're saved. "Saved from Hell."

Unless you put yourself over people like Simeon and Anna [who died before He was crucified] and Elijah, Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah and all those who faithfully followed Him through-out the Word and died before the day He resurrected.

You're arguing in your replies to me for no reason.


 2011/5/16 23:36









 Re:

Now what am I saying?

 2011/5/17 1:03









 Re:

OK - The proper way to change a post is to put the words "edit" in the new post - as I'm doing here.

This is my edited revised post - for obvious reasons - that now I believe there's some understanding here.

I love happy endings and would love the article posted that follows this edited post of mine to give the O.T. verses and some of Paul about the end of the story - of those who repent before and during His second Advent.

I love that story very much. That they will look upon Him and mourn as for an only Son - etc. etc. and live happily ever after with Him in Jerusalem.

Thanks!

ETA - I'll even let this FOURTH change of your post go, this time.

 2011/5/17 1:56









 Re:

Maybe this will help you regarding where you were going. I was not talking about this.

The Mystery of the Olive Tree
Peter Cohen

“The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken” (Jeremiah 11:16).

Israel - the Olive Tree

The Lord referred to Israel as a beautiful and fruitful olive tree. The imagery of the olive tree is a beautiful and very meaningful analogy in understanding the relationship of the church and Israel. It provides us with an insight into the wonderful mystery of how gentile believers become partakers of and sharers in the ancient heritage of Israel through being grafted into the olive tree and a correct perspective of the place of gentile believers in relation to the whole. The olive tree was known for its longevity, its fruitfulness, which could last for centuries, and for its ability to flourish in a hot, arid climate.

The roots of the olive tree are strong and sturdy, thriving in rocky soil and extending much deeper below the soil than the gnarled trunk and branches that are visible above the ground. The fruit of the olive tree was a major source of wealth in ancient times, the oil being used in cooking, for lamps, for ceremonial anointing and for healing the sick.

This then is the analogy which Paul draws on to illustrate the relationship of gentile believers to Israel, both the faithful and the unfaithful part, and to explain the mystery of Israel’s stumbling.

The prophecy in Jeremiah compares Israel to a thriving and fruitful olive tree which was destined to be set on fire and have its branches broken! Jesus the Messiah said, “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49). There is a great mystery surrounding the breaking of the branches of the olive tree and the grafting of wild branches on to it, something of which the apostle Paul also writes.

“If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins’” (Romans 11:11-2).

The Faithful Assembly of Israel

The olive tree, with its roots going right back to the patriarchs, remains the faithful assembly of Israel. Throughout the history of Israel the Lord used Israel’s enemies as a sword to purge the unfaithful from among them, but He always preserved a faithful remnant for Himself. Though many Israelites were destroyed and cut off from among God’s people, God’s holy nation was never destroyed.

The Lord said in the Torah that he would raise up a prophet like Moses from among his people who would speak the word of God. This prophet is the Messiah and the mediator of the new covenant. All who refuse to listen to him are cut off from the faithful assembly of Israel:

“For Moses said, ‘the Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people’” (Acts 3:23, cf. Deut. 18:19).

Throughout the ages there were many who did not remain faithful to the God of Israel. The faithful assembly is the sacred gathering of Israel which excludes the ceremonially unclean, the sinful, rebellious and disobedient. The Hebrew word, kahal, (lhq) meaning “congregation, assembly, gathering, community,” in the context of the Torah refers to God’s holy, called out, and faithful assembly of Israel. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) this word was translated as ekklesía, meaning called out, from which we get our English word church. The meaning of “church” is the called out faithful assembly of God’s holy people.

The New Testament church is the continuation of the faithful assembly of Israel, albeit with certain distinctive and new characteristics, but nevertheless joined to the roots of the olive tree. To this olive tree gentiles have been added in greater numbers than ever before. Thus the apostle Peter calls his readers, many of whom were from a gentile background, “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:9), and in 1 Peter 1:1 even addresses them as part of the Diaspora. The faithful assembly of Israel today are those whose sins have been forgiven because they have heard and obeyed the word of God spoken through the Messiah. Through the new covenant they all know God personally and intimately (cf. John 10:1-6) and they worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Has the Church replaced Israel?

If we suggest that the church is the faithful assembly of Israel, both Jew and gentile as one new man, does this imply that the church has replaced Israel? The allegory of the olive tree illustrates just the opposite - that God has preserved Israel because the faithful remnant believed. The olive tree remains Israel, many of the natural branches remain on it and some branches were cut off and replaced by wild olive branches of gentile believers. Gentiles have been grafted into this olive tree and are supported by the root. If the root were to die all the branches would die. It is vital to understand this in a proper perspective because Paul issues a stern warning that ignorance of this mystery will lead to conceit and boasting over the natural branches and those which have been cut off. God has worked a miracle in this because what he has done is contrary to nature. A gardener would graft a good olive branch into the bad in order to make the tree more fruitful, but God takes that which is wild and barren and good for nothing and grafts it into a good olive tree to make that branch bear fruit. As Matthew Henry put it, “Men graft to mend the tree; but God grafts to mend the branch.”

The church is not a new entity that has replaced Israel. Rather the church has always represented the faithful assembly of Israel. When Stephen addressed the people before he was stoned to death he referred to the “church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). Gentiles who believe in the Messiah of Israel become members of this faithful assembly and share in the nourishing sap from the root. They have not replaced Israel - rather they have been included in God’s holy nation. Those gentiles were formerly foreigners to the covenants of promise and excluded from citizenship in Israel but are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:12,19). The word “church” refers to the faithful remnant of Israel, rather than to the entire nation. Strictly speaking, the “church” is a part of Israel - the faithful part of Israel, redeemed by the Messiah. The “church is the holy part of Israel, but not all of Israel is a part of the “church.” When the apostle Paul speaks of the “Israel of God,” he is referring to faithful Israel i.e. the church.

When we refer to the “Christian Church,” we usually think of a predominantly Gentile religious institution represented by various denominations and when we refer to “Israel,” we usually think of the present State of Israel and the citizens of that state. The terms “Israel” and the “Church,” as commonly used today, are misleading as far as their proper Scriptural meaning is concerned. Much of what masquerades under the banner of Christianity and the Church has apostatized to such a degree that it is cut off from the root. They think of Christianity as a Gentile religion to which Jewish people must convert. This perception is encouraged by Rabbinical Judaism which asserts that a Jew cannot remain a Jew and believe in Jesus. However, this is a denial of history. Jesus was a Jew and was first believed in and proclaimed as the Jewish Messiah by Jews in the land of Israel, who later carried the good news to the Gentiles too. Christianity is Jewish, i.e. the true faith of Israel.

A more accurate and correct understanding of the term “Christian Church” can be gleaned from Isaiah Chapter 8, which refers to the small band of faithful disciples of the Anointed King of Israel who are not moved by the confederacies of nations who threaten Israel, but remain faithful to the covenant established between God and his people. As Paul writes to Timothy, “the Lord knows those that are His” (2 Tim 2:18).

Foreigners in the Assembly of Israel

Although, with the advent of the Messiah and the New Covenant, gentiles came into the assembly of Israel in much larger numbers, there were always proselytes to the faith of Israel. Even those that left Egypt were a “mixed multitude.” Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord assured foreigners wishing to join themselves to Israel that they would not be excluded on the ground that they were not natural descendants. Faithfulness to the God of Israel is not determined by natural descent, as Paul wrote:

“For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children” (Romans 9:6-7).

The Lord gives this assurance to gentiles who faithfully serve Him:

“Let no foreigner who has bound himself to the LORD say, ‘The LORD will surely exclude me from his people’. . . ‘And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant; these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ The Sovereign LORD declares; he who gathers the exiles of Israel: ‘I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered’.” (Isaiah 56:3-8)

Compare this with John 10:16 where Jesus speaks of gathering all his sheep into one fold under one shepherd.

“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16).

Psalm 87 also reveals this mystery:

“He has set his foundation on the holy mountain; The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are said of you, O city of God: Selah ‘I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me; Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush-- and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’ Indeed, of Zion it will be said, ‘This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.’ The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: ‘This one was born in Zion’. Selah” (Psalms 87:1-6)

What is the Mystery?

There are two aspects to the mystery that Paul speaks of and both are inextricably bound together:

The first part is the spiritual blindness which came upon part of Israel, so that they failed to see the glory of their Messiah and were consequently cut off from the olive tree. The blindness was a judicial consequence of their own pride and self-righteousness. Although they claimed to be faithful Jews, believing in Moses and the prophets their unbelief and unfaithfulness was exposed by Jesus when he challenged them by saying, “Do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46).

Those who are cut off are spiritually dead because they are no longer receiving the life from the root. Jesus said, “No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). Although they are cut off from the faithful assembly of Israel this position is not irreversible and if they do not persist in unbelief they will easily be grafted back into the olive tree. The heritage of the patriarchs, Moses, the prophets and the gospel belongs to them. The spiritual blindness and unbelief of those Jews who stumble over the stumbling stone was foretold through the prophet Isaiah and by King David (Isaiah 29:10-12 & Psalm 69:23). That God would show his kindness and mercy to Gentiles and include them with his chosen, covenant people Israel, was also intended to provoke unfaithful, unbelieving Israel to jealousy. This mystery was hinted at even in the Torah:

“They [Israel] made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding” (Deut. 32:21).

The second aspect of the mystery is that their stumbling has contributed to the salvation of the gentiles.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?” (Romans 11:11-12).

The mystery, that many Gentiles would become faithful to the God of Israel by responding to the word of God spoken through the Messiah, was implied by the word of God spoken through Moses and the prophets - including Isaiah, Hosea and Zechariah.

“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. “Many gentiles will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you” (Zechariah 2:10-11).

The mystery that Gentiles would be included in the faithful people of Israel through faith in the Messiah was hinted at in the prophets but the apostle Paul declares it plainly:

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Ephesians 3:3).

Through faith in Jesus both Jews and Gentiles have been regenerated and given spiritual life through which they become “one new man” (Eph. 2:15). Some see the “one new man” as a new universal body quite separate from Israel. If the church is a brand new entity, born at Pentecost and completely distinct and separate from the faithful assembly of Israel, then unbelieving Jews could not have been cut off from it because they were never part of it. Likewise, the first believers, all of whom were Jewish, would have been grafted in along with gentiles who believed, but the allegory of the olive tree shows a natural branch being cut off from that which is their rightful heritage, their own tree, because of unbelief, while those Jews who did believe remain as natural branches. From what then, if not from the faithful assembly of Israel, were unbelieving Jews cut off? Gentiles, referred to as wild olive branches, were grafted into this cultivated tree with well established roots and branches. The olive tree can only represent Israel, and the Church - the faithful assembly of Israel - has the same calling that Israel always had - to be a holy nation, a chosen people, a royal priesthood and a people belonging to God so that they may declare the praises of him who called them out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

The broken branches

When Jesus was presented in the temple, Simeon, who had been waiting to see the Lord’s Messiah, prophesied over him:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:

“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:29-35).

The Lord said that the Messiah will be called, “God with us.” It is in the Messiah that God himself becomes a sanctuary to his people or a stone that causes many to stumble. Jesus is either the Rock of our salvation or the stone that causes men to stumble and a rock of offence.

The Messiah was destined to cause the rising and falling of many in Israel depending on how they respond to him.

“The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread, and he will be a sanctuary; but for both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many of them will stumble; they will fall and be broken, they will be snared and captured” (Isaiah 8:13-15).
Speaking of His death and resurrection, Jesus identified himself as the sanctuary. “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). Jesus is the Cornerstone of Israel and everything that is not built upon him as the foundation will certainly collapse. The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes. (Ps.118:22)

What would the consequence of rejecting the Messiah be? History has already provided the answer. Jesus wept as he prophesied the destruction that would come upon Jerusalem because the people had failed to recognise the time of God’s coming to them. At that time too there was a faithful remnant who escaped the destruction by heeding the word of Messiah.

Some Bible teachers gloss over this rising and falling of Israel, focusing only on the prophecies which speak of the future glory of Israel while ignoring the devastating consequences of unbelief. There is no future glory for those who die in unbelief, only eternal condemnation and separation from the God of Israel.

If we overlook the obvious truth that unbelieving Israel are cut off and spiritually dead in their transgressions and sins, we can in no way identify with Paul’s anguish and his unceasing burden for those of his own race. Unless we perceive the tragic consequences of the falling of Israel we will not be inspired to preach the gospel in the face of fierce opposition and stubborn resistance. Today is the day of salvation. Only those who take hold of salvation by faith are assured of a place in the Kingdom of God.
Those who see Israel and the Church as two entirely separate entities often accuse the “Church” of wrongly and presumptuously laying claim to the blessings, while ascribing the curses to “Israel.” This fails to acknowledge that Israel is divided between those who are cut off and those who remain in the olive tree - the rising and falling of Israel. The curses have come upon the whole world, Jews and Gentiles, for God has bound all men over to disobedience (Rom. 11:32). We are only redeemed from the curse through faith in Jesus the Messiah, Saviour and Redeemer who became a curse for us. Unfaithful Israel remains under the curse while they rely on the Torah for salvation.

Furthermore, Paul said that no matter how many promises God has made they are “Yes” in Messiah. Although unbelievers may enjoy a season of blessing in this world for a period of time, everyone will be called to give account. There can be no eternal blessings outside of faithfulness to Jesus Christ either for Jew or gentile. To suggest otherwise is a betrayal of Jesus. He is both the Rock of our salvation and the stone that causes men to stumble. Depending on our response to Him we will either rise or fall.

Apostasy Predicted

Jesus told a parable that illustrates how the Kingdom of God grows alongside the wicked kingdoms of this world:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn’” (Matt.13:24-30).

Jesus also prophesied that the true and faithful assembly would be infiltrated by wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). The apostasy that began in the first century church and continues to this day was not unforeseen. The Lord forewarned his people that the enemy would infiltrate the faithful assembly in an attempt to discredit the truth.

It does not take much to discern that much of what masquerades as the church of Jesus Christ has completely departed from the truth. Many have deliberately changed the grace of God into a license for immorality. In this process much of so-called Christendom has intentionally cut itself off from the biblical roots of the true faith in the Messiah.

The result is that the gospel has been brought into disrepute, particularly among many Jewish people who now perceive the church as their worst enemy. Just as Paul’s indictment against the Jews in the first century was that the name of God was blasphemed among the Gentiles because of them, today the name of Jesus is blasphemed among both Jews and Gentiles because of those who claim to be his disciples but whose lives contradict their claims. Just as not all Israel under the old covenant remained faithful, not all who claim to belong to the Christian Church are faithful to Jesus.

Lessons from History

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that the things that happened to Israel serve as examples and warnings to us on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come. Israel was always punished severely for her unfaithfulness to the Lord. Although the land was promised to the descendants of Abraham as an everlasting inheritance, there were strict conditions placed upon their occupancy thereof.

If Israel did not remain faithful to the covenant which the Lord had made with them, they would be exiled from the Land just as the nations before them were driven out. 2 Kings Ch. 17 describes how the northern kingdom of Israel was exiled into Assyria and Gentiles were settled in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. At first the people who replaced the Israelites did not worship the God of Israel or live according to the law of the God of Israel because they were ignorant of what God required.

A Hebrew priest was called from the exile to teach the Gentiles how to worship the God of Israel. However, even after being taught how they were to worship the only true God of Israel, we read the following account:

“They worshiped the LORD, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. They worshiped the LORD, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought. To this day they persist in their former practices” (2 Kings 17: 32-34).

This is precisely the sort of compromise that has happened throughout Church history. When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, instead of pagans being converted to the true faith in Jesus, many corrupted true Christianity through a deliberate process of syncretism with all of their pagan customs. Because they did not understand their relationship to the olive tree, they became conceited, just as Paul had warned, and they boasted over the natural branches, forcing Jewish believers to prove their faith by adopting pagan customs.

This worldly church, which represented a marriage between the Roman Empire and a corrupted paganised “church,” perverted the good news of the Jewish Saviour, Redeemer and King into an excuse for anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews. Tragically, the Jewish people have perceived some of their most cruel and unkind enemies to be those who proudly call themselves “Christians.”

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” (James 4:4-5)

The apostle John was astonished when he was given a vision of the harlot that would emerge and prostitute herself to the rulers of this world (cf. Rev. 17:7). Following the way of Balaam, who put on a display of false humility by saying “Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my end be like theirs,” while at the same time being enticed by the King of Moab with promises of riches and status, the harlot likewise claims to represent the faithful church but is filled with conceit and prostitutes herself with the rulers of this world who seek to destroy God’s people. The strategy remains the same – to seduce God’s people into unfaithfulness through unholy alliances.

Just as Israel was called to flee from Babylon (Isaiah 48:20), the word of the Lord to the faithful believers is quite clear:

“Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.’ Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her. When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!’” (Revelation 18:4-10).
The early church described in the book of Acts was an assembly of faithful, called out and separate people, set apart to declare the praises of the only true God of Israel. The power of God was manifest among them and the unconverted did not dare to casually join this holy congregation of the redeemed people of Israel.

“The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number” (Acts 5:12-14).

Unfortunately, the infiltration by the enemy, as foretold by our Lord, did not take long to develop and as the church grew, many who were not truly converted joined the assemblies of believers and began to corrupt them with false teachings. Already in the first century Jude felt it necessary to warn the church about these false brethren and the urgent need to contend for the faith and to preserve sound doctrine and holiness:
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 3-4).

The apostle Paul also warned of these men, describing them as savage wolves who would not spare the flock, and that even from among their own number men would arise who would distort the truth to draw disciples after themselves (Acts 20:29).

True Faithfulness

The insecurities and anxieties of life may cause people to turn to religion. There were many who followed Jesus because of his reputation of healing the sick etc., but they were not really committed and soon abandoned him when his teaching became difficult to accept. Messiah’s word is the very word of God which imparts eternal life (cf. Deut. 18:17-18). Just as the Passover lamb had to be completely consumed Jesus taught his disciples that they must, metaphorically, consume his very being, i.e. his life and teaching, in order to attain eternal life, because he is the embodiment of all truth.

Multitudes may believe in Jesus for selfish reasons, but few are sincerely prepared to take up their cross and follow him in self sacrificing devotion. The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans (8:17):

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

The story of Naomi and her two daughter-in-laws is a lesson in faithfulness. Both were related through marriage to the people of Israel, but when their circumstances became difficult only Ruth remained faithful to the God of Israel, demonstrating her faith by returning with Naomi. Orpah, who returned to her own people and her own gods, represents those whose “faith”, when tested through trials, is found not to be sincere or genuine, and who choose friendship with the world over faithfulness to the Lord and His people.

Ruth clings to Naomi and adopts the attitude, “Your people shall be my people and your God, my God.” Ruth represents those who are grafted into the faithful assembly of Israel, having willingly left behind their former way of life and pagan culture into which they were born. Those with a heart like Ruth will fulfil their calling to provoke unbelieving Jews to jealousy. Those who follow the pattern of Orpah merely reinforce the false perception among Jews that Christianity is a foreign and pagan religion.

Coming back to the analogy of the olive tree, Paul reminds the engrafted branches that they do not support the root, but the root supports them. God will cut them off just as He cut off the unbelieving Jewish branch if they do not continue in His kindness.

Anything that does not remain connected to the root must eventually whither and die. Jesus uses a similar analogy of the vine and the branches. Branches which do not remain in Him cannot bear fruit and will be thrown into the fire and burned. The test of true faithfulness is fruitfulness - the kind of faithfulness demonstrated in the life of Ruth. The apostle Paul urges the Corinthian believers to examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith. Let us all examine ourselves to see whether we belong in the company of Ruth or of Orpah.



 2011/5/17 1:58
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4803


 Re:

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merely acknowledge that life and light (truth) are the domain of God.



Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."


When does this begin?


_________________
Jeff Marshalek

 2011/5/17 4:31Profile





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