THE MARK OF GOD AND ISRAEL’S STUMBLING

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Ezek 9:4  And YHVH said to him [, the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side], ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark (tav) on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.’

Rev 7:3; 9:4; 14:1  the seal of God on the foreheads of His servants; 144,000 having the Father’s name on their foreheads.

Ex 12:23  For YHVH will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the lintel  and on the two doorposts, YHVH will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.

Mt 5:4     Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Hos 14:1 (2 Heb)   OIsrael, return to YHVH your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.

Rom 10:1-4  . . .For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own   righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.  For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

1Cor 1:17-25  . . .For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ (Is 29:14). . .For Jews require a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling blockand to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. . . .

Why are not more Israelis being saved?  God’s judgments begin in His own household and amongst those who have greater moral responsibility.  “Begin at My sanctuary.” (Ezek 9:6; 1Pet 4:17)  But pride causes those with greater privileges to think that they will be favored:  “Again the Word of YHVH came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, your brethren, your relatives, your kinsmen, and all the house of Israel in its entirety, are those about whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Get far away from the LORD; this land has been given to us as a possession’.  Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Although I have cast them far off among the gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’  Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the Land of Israel. . .Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.  But as for those whose hearts walk after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads, says the Lord GOD’”. . . And the glory of the God of Israel went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain on the east side of the city. (Ezek 11:14-25)

God has cut a New Covenant with Israel; He has not simply renewed the former covenant which is passing away.  The Lord is not merely setting up again that from which the glory departed, but much more, better than the Garden of Eden even.  By the cross the Holy Spirit is going to make new the inner manby which the Jewish people will truly become the true seed of Abraham and the heirs of all that God promised him.  Neither the Law, nor all its sacrifices; nor wisdom, and all its value; nor good deeds, or prayers, or good intentions – none of these things can change a person from the inside, cleansing his conscience, converting the soul to love YHVH with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to love his neighbor as himself; to live for God’s glory and not his own.  Only the blood of the cross, and those who come to God by that Way which Jesus is and made, can make a person a child of God and know Him as his Father.  Only this stumbling block can break a sinner’s heart and bring forth praise and thanksgiving to God, who is seeking those to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Only by the message of the cross can “self” be slain and God alone be known as good and worthy.  The message of the cross is proof that the gospel is neither Jewish nor Gentile:  the Jews do not accept it, and the gentiles do not respect or honor it.  It is from God; it is His mark, His seal.  It is brought to light through the reality of the New Covenant.  The cross is God’s mark upon His people, and represents the life of Messiah.  To the carnal and unbelieving it is a mark of shame and dishonor – or perhaps a decoration; to the spiritual person in Christ, it is the mark of God’s glory in the person and character and atoning death of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  The cross is God’s mark to separate the world from His people and His people from the world (Gal 6:14), and it is by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross which we, as it were, sprinkle (1Pet 1:2) on our hearts and minds, that God will save us from the day of His wrath.  His judgments begin today, as in Ezekiel’s time, in His own household. (1Pet 4:17)

A true Jew–and a true Christian–seeks God’s approval.  God approves of us when we believe in and obey His Son.  The Lord Jesus acknowledges us as being His when we do the will of His Father in Heaven.  God is working both withinIsraeland within the Church to cleanse and to purify His people.  To be a disciple Jesus says that we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and follow Him.  Both baptism in water and the cross speak the same message:  death to the self-life; alive unto God in the Spirit by faith.  The “sign” of the cross has been God’s secret way of power from before the beginning of time to save sinners who put their faith in Him:  the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world.  It shows up again at the Passover with the sprinkled blood over the threshold to the house; it appears in the Tabernacle and theTemplearrangement of the approach into God’s presence and glory – and of His approach to us.

The road which we travel, and which Israelis being required by her God and Savior to travel, is long and hard and narrow.  It is a well-traveled way, and many more will yet know suffering on it.  Jesus, the King whom the Jews say they do not want to reign over them, but whom the LORD God intends that they will have, has walked this same way—this way of the cross.  He exposed Himself to the condemnation of man and became a curse for us under God’s own Law, in order that we could receive God’s approval and righteousness.  And for this Jesus has received from God the Name above every name.  The way home to peace and security and joy in the Father’s house is the cross of our Lord.  Despite the sentence of death in ourselves, we go on in victory in Messiah because God has forgiven us of our sin and our sins.  We are called to intercede in mercy as His priests for the Jewish people–and for the Gentiles—to repent and to believe the gospel, for the Kingdomof Godis near.  Until they do there will continue to be much sorrow and anguish.  Until we let God’s spiritual mark distinguish us, then we, too, stand in danger of suffering from God’s righteous judgments upon the world (1Cor 11:31-32).

The redemption of Israelis assured.  The full redemption of the Body of Messiah and of the whole creation is connected to Israel’s salvation.  YHVH God Himself will see to it.  He speaks through Ezekiel that He will require Israelto ask Him to accomplish what He so much wants to do to bless His people.(36:37)

The Lord Yeshua confirms this when He cries out to Jerusalem that her house is left desolate, and that she will not see Him any more until she says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH”. (Mt 23:37-39)

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

PAUL: BELOVED FOR THE SAKE OF THE FATHERS

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Gen 17:1-8      YHVH made an everlasting covenant to Abram (Abraham) and to his descendants for an everlasting possession of all the Land of Canaan.

Gen 26:1-5       YHVH reaffirms to Isaac the oath He swore to Abraham.

Gen 28:10-15  YHVH, God of Abraham and Isaac, confirmed the covenant promises to Jacob.

Dt 4:32-39      Because God loved their fathers, He wants Israel to know that YHVH Himself is God in Heaven above and on the Earth.  He is involved with things on Earth.

Rom 11:28-32  Concerning  the election, Israel is beloved for the fathers’ sake, that God may have mercy on all who were committed to disobedience – both among Jews/Israelis and among gentiles.  He has committed Himself to His promises to A, to I, to J, even though it brings reproach.

Rom 11:26-27  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:  The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins. (Is 59: 20-21)   

Is 4:2-3           In that day the Branch (Plant/Tzemach) of YHVH shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.  And it shall come to pass that the one left in Zion and the one remaining in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.

Rom 9:6-7      But it is not that the Word of God has taken no effect.  For they are not all Israel who are of  Israel, nor all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ (Gen 21:12)    

Is 1:9     Unless the LORD of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah.

Is 19:18-25      In that day, Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will be saved and serve YHVH together as a blessing in the midst of the Earth.

Rev 7:2-8; 14:1-5  the sealed servants of God on their foreheads:  144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel. . . redeemed by Jesus from among men, first-fruits to God and to the Lamb

Ezek 47:13 – 48:35  the borders and division of the repossessed Land of Israel among the twelve tribes of Israel, for the native-born and for the strangers who sojourn among them and who bear children among them, during the millenial Kingdom of Messiah on and over the Earth

Rev 21:9-27   The bride, the Lamb’s wife, the new and holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God; the gates are named after the twelve tribes of the children of Israel; the foundations named after the twelve apostles.  Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life can enter the city.  Certainly an expression of everlasting love and honor to have the gates and foundations named for you!

Jn 3:3-21      Only those in Israel and from other nations who are born again from above can see or enter the Kingdom of God.  Life is given only to those who have living faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.

In Adam all have sinned, yet God has His plan to redeem and to save all who hear, believe, and obey His way to repent/return to Him.  So Israel—a nation of “adams”—has sinned, and the same God over all has His plan to redeem and save a sinful nation personally chosen to be His inheritance.  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Since Israel is given by God to be an example to the Church to learn from, it becomes evident that not all Germans, or Americans, or Egyptians will be saved, even though each nation has its own place and destiny in God’s purposes.

 If we are unfaithful to God, God remains faithful to Himself:  He cannot deny Himself.  Jesus’ death and resurrection secure for God everything that He has promised, both for blessing and for cursing; both for life and for death; both for justification of those who believe and for condemnation of those who do not.  This is all in accord with His word that He will be merciful to whom He will be merciful (Ex 33:19).

The gospel, of which the apostle Paul in particular received by revelation, is of grace, not of law; is received by faith, not by works or by wisdom.  The Lord Jesus commissioned Paul to speak to gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  Chapters 9-11 of Romans are the Isaiah 53 of the New Testament.  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets will be fulfilled by Him.  Until so, the whole counsel of God—the whole of the Bible—is living and relevant.  The redemption and salvation of Israel AS ISRAEL is necessary for the sanctity of God’s Name—YHVH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.

Israel has a special calling and destiny, which has not been fulfilled.  That Messiah came through her was not the whole of the covenant promises spoken and given her.  But to her belong the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service, and the promises; of whom are the fathers, and through whom is the Messiah, according to the flesh.  Paul also states plainly that they are not all Israel who are of Israel; neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children.  It is according to promise, not merely natural considerations.  By analogy, not all who are called Christian are in Christ, but only those who have faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and know that their sins are forgiven. 

God is sovereign; no one can successfully oppose Him.  There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against YHVH (Prov 21:30).  We must all come to Him on His terms.  He came to us in His love to save all who would believe on the name of His only begotten Son Jesus, because no sinner can abide in His presence.  Yet this is God’s covenantal promise to Israel:  everlasting possession of the Land of Canaan, and an everlasting remembrance of the name Israel in the eternal Kingdom.  All the promises of God are “yes and amen” in Christ Jesus (2Cor 1:20).  No weapon formed against Israel will succeed, and as long as God controls the regularity of the solar system and universe, Israel will remain a nation before Him, and His covenant with David will remain in force.

But the promises are received through faith, and obedience with faith and thanksgiving.  It is all of grace—of a loving Father to His beloved child, of a loving husband to His beloved wife.  Israel has not believed this, but rather made the fact of being chosen its basis of righteousness, and of relegating the gentiles, whom the one true God also loves, to lesser status.  For even orthodox religious Jews do not obey all the requirements of the Law, so they begin to lower the standard or to rationalize and make relative their righteousness.  Self-righteousness is one of the worst sins.  Paul claimed himself blameless as touching the Law, but being so he persecuted the church and blasphemed the Lord Jesus, and so referred to himself as the chief of sinners.  But God justifies those who believe and trust Him for their worthiness, their significance, their identity.

The present election by grace of Jewish believers, and the present day return of Jewish people back to part of the very same Land of Israel—as the LORD spoke and promised through the prophet Ezekiel—is an on-going demonstration of God’s unchanging purposes.  Just as counting the sheaves each day between Passover and Shavuot was an indication of faith in the reality of the harvest to come – and as Jesus’ 40 days after His resurrection demonstrated that He was really alive and strengthened the faith of His disciples and of others — so God’s fairly recent intervention in the restoration of Israel as a nation gathered in its own land is an indication of the sure fulfillment to come.  Israel’s restoration is a sign to the world just as was the ark which Noah built:  the holy and righteous God is preparing to judge the world in righteousness and to save the remnant of His people and of the nations.   Again, not all Israelis/Jews will believe, but all Israel—the full remnant of Jacob’s descendants who turn from ungodliness —will be saved.  Like the apostle Thomas, these will believe the full love of the truth only after they have seen Him whom they pierced, and their individual and national soul will be afflicted, and God will fully cleanse and heal them from all their sin.

God’s wisdom deals with the pride of men and of nations, with envy and ridicule, with sin, righteousness, and judgment.  The gentiles have been brought in to God’s covenant relationship through Israel’s temporary fall and blindness.  But the promises of God remain sure for the sake of the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The root and tree are the Messianic promises and hope—realized in Messiah Jesus—which quickened the fathers Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and which their descendants are still learning through much struggle.  The good news rests in the goodness and faithfulness of God, and of His righteous ways.  As it is written, both gentiles and Israel have been disobedient so that salvation is of mercy to both Jew and non-Jew.  Israel’s salvation is assured, and her special calling to be forever memorialized in the new Jerusalem.  No other nation has such a promise which extends beyond time.  But Israel’s salvation and resurrection from the dead AS A NATION assures the CHURCH of her hopes and destiny, and assures Egypt and Assyria, for example, of theirs.

To Israel double judgment for all her sins as the first-born amongst the nations.  To Israel double honor as a holy kingdom of priests unto YHVH.  The name of Jerusalem shall be, YHVH our Righteousness is there!  

May it come speedily in our day!

Hallelu-Yah!  Amen.

ACCORDING TO THE LAW AND THE TESTIMONY – Isaiah 8:20

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Mt 5:17-19     Jesus came not to cancel or to break the Law and the Prophets, but rather to fulfill every jot and tittle of them
Ex 25:21-22     the Ark of the Testimony was set in the Holy of Holies; the blood of atonement was sprinkled on the Ark as a witness to the hope of redemption from the holy and righteous demands of the Law of Moses
Acts 24:14-15  Paul’s testimony about the hope of the fathers, as written in the Law and the Prophets, for the resurrection
Rom 8:18-25    the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection

The word redemption in English means to buy (purchase) back and restore what is rightfully mine but legally lost through forfeit (loss of privilege or honor through disqualification by breaking the rules or law).  The word ransom means the payment of a price for deliverance from some evil.  It could be a prisoner of war, a hostage, a slave, or one’s own life (Ex 21:29-30).  In the Bible, redemption requires two things:  the legally qualified person, and the willingness and ability of that person to pay the required price to buy back what was given up.  The year of Jubilee is all about redemption and restoration, both of people and of property.  A redeemed person or possession is restored to his or its intended purpose.  His dignity is regained.  And the honor given him is greater than before the loss.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us be clear from the beginning of these messages that the redemption of Israel is assured by the fact—by the truth—that Jesus Himself is her Redeemer.  Not only does He deliver prisoners, slaves, debtors, but by His very name, Yeshua is the Savior and Redeemer of sinners. If Israel could redeem herself from her bondages, then certainly the Holocaust would seem to be sufficient payment of her own sons and daughters.  But it clearly has not been so.  God wants the loss of intimate relationship with Him restored, so that Israel–and the rest of the world– can have rest and peace and joy.  Messiah Jesus is the uniquely qualified person who willingly paid the necessary price to buy back His own people and kinsmen according to the flesh, and the Land of Canaan, which YHVH, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, promised with an oath to give to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob and to their descendants forever.

Since Israel asked for a king like the heathen nations have, YHVH has not been Israel’s God in practice from their point of view.  Jesus came—and was also rejected for Caesar!—to restore God the Father’s Kingdom both to Israel and to the whole world, the gentiles already rejecting Him in Noah’s day, both before and after the Flood.   

Adam and Eve, through deceit and disobedience, lost the paradise and the authority that God provided and gave to them.  Both the people of Israel and the Land of Israel were forfeited by Israel through their breaking God’s covenant with them.  But Jesus was sent by God the Father to redeem His people, His land, even the whole of humanity and the whole Earth, even more—the whole universe of this creation, which has all been corrupted through sin and subjected to vanity, futility.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and the Savior of all, but especially for those who believe, for by faith we are saved through grace, not by law or through works or without condition.  Abiding in Jesus is the key to our faith and our love.  The Messianic/Christian faith is a relationship with the Father and the Son and with others who are born of God.

Jesus says that the whole of the Book is written about Him, and that He has come to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets. He says that Heaven and Earth will pass away, but not before God has fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Word of God with respect to this creation, which is set and limited by time and seasons.  So as we look at the subject of Israel’s redemption as presented by the priest/prophet Ezekiel and by the priest/apostle Paul, we do so as recognizing that all Scripture is inspired by the Spirit of God, and is given for our learning to make us wise unto salvation.  By them we can know not only God’s statutes, but also His ways regarding His people and the world at large.  This being so, then there will be essential agreement between Ezekiel and Paul, for the redemption is by YHVH God, who is the God of both Ezekiel and Paul.

Israel’s redemption—both of people and land—gives hope and significance to other nations.  God is interested in nations of people, a corporate collection of individual persons bound together by a language, law, customs, culture, boundaries.  He has given each a destiny, and within each of the families of the Earth, the Father is seeking those who will love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Christians are expected to be stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  The Church—the Body of Christ—was a mystery which God revealed especially to Paul to explain.  And Paul also says that Israel’s salvation is a mystery, which again the Holy Spirit explains through Paul.  But without knowing the truth of who Jesus really is, we can not understand either the Church–which is a new creation not of this world–or Israel, which is distinguished from the other nations.   

YHVH is a covenant-making and -keeping God.  God is love, and so His covenants are expressions of His love and holiness.  Just as the Lord requires a husband and wife to remain faithful to each other, even more so is He faithful to His people—even His Bride—through the covenant relationship He has with us.  He cannot deny Himself.  Jesus’ death on the cross because of our sin–and His subsequent resurrection to justify Him in man’s sight, and to justify in God’s sight all who believe that God raised Him up from among the dead—is the costly ransom which God paid to redeem us from the “legal” claims of the devil—a price which Satan tried to subvert.  God is debtor to no one, and is not out to appease His enemy.  The New Covenant assures us that God will keep all His previous commitments, and on the basis of that ‘filling full’ of all His purposes regarding the world He made, He will create a new heavens and a new earth, also in accord with what is already written in the Holy Scriptures.

Therefore Israel’s redemption is assured, even though only a remnant from each of the tribes will be saved to constitute “all Israel”—those of Jacob who repent from ungodliness so that they can receive God’s forgiveness of all their sins, transgressions, and iniquity.  No weapon formed against Israel will succeed, just as the gates of Sheol will not prevail against the Church.  It is not by Israel’s or our own righteousness, but by God’s mercy we are saved through faith in Jesus, the beloved Son of God.  The redemption of both Israel and of the Church is connected with preaching the gospel to all nations—to the Jews and to the gentiles.  Israel’s partial blindness to the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is remaining until the fullness of the gentiles is brought in.  Gentile (i.e., non-Jewish) Christians have a calling and a responsibility to provoke Israel to jealousy over your own personal relationship with Israel’s own God and Father, while at the same time showing mercy to the Jewish people.  (It is evident that classic anti-semitism has no place in the heart and mind of a true Christian).  And just as God saves individuals through the forgiveness of sin by their repentance unto faith, so too with nations.  The same YHVH God, who speaks to Israel through His prophets whom He sent to them, also speaks to nations, not just about them, through these same prophets.

The whole of God’s purpose in creation and redemption is to make known that He alone is YHVH, the only true God, and that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of the Father.  God wants us to want Him to honor His holy name in the sight of all—even as Moses did when the Lord suggested wiping out the rebellious people whom He brought out of Egypt.  We, too, must call upon God to save His people Israel, for the sake of His own Name and His Word, and to establish His Kingdom of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit on Earth, as it is in Heaven.  For as Paul says, How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ (Rom 10:14-15; Is 52:7; Eph 6:15)

God is working from both sides – Jewish and gentile – to fulfill His redemptive history and purposes.  He has given us an active part in that, once we have been joined to the Lord through new birth, we become co-laborers with one another as we serve Him.  But, thank God, He will do it!  That is our and Israel’s security and hope.  YHVH has done it!  Jesus lived and died and rose from the dead and lives forevermore.  Nothing is too great for Him to do!

The Holocaust and the Salvation of Israel: “Be Reconciled to YHVH GOD”

Lev. 26: 40-45   Israel and Jewish people confessing personal and historic collective guilt for breaking YHVH’s covenants

There is a biblical principle whereby God holds the heads of a people accountable for the blessing or punishment of the people.  We see this with Pharaoh and the Egyptians with respect to the children of Israel at the time of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt.  We see it again with King David and his census of Israel, bringing the LORD’s judgment upon the people and the near destruction of Jerusalem (2Sam. 24).

The rulers of the people — whether kings or priests — represent the people before God, and by their example of faith and obedience — or the contrary — the nation is led.  Today, does not a nation of people go to war or make peace based upon the determinations of their leader(s)?  Are not nations judged in the eyes of others by their thoughts regarding the heads of government or of the religious authorities?  Do not Jews today insist that Germans living today confess their nation’s and their parents’ guilt for the Holocaust — that Germans and Germany are primarily responsible and guilty because of their evil leader who governed and represented them?; or to put it another way, in Hitler, the Germans living today — whether or not they were personally and directly involved — are reckoned as guilty and defiled by the Jewish people, even more than are Austrians and Poles who also bear their own iniquity.

Other Biblical examples of this living principle of divine justice covering generations for nations, tribes, and  peoples are:
1.      in Adam, all have sinned and all human beings inherit condemnation and death;

2.      in Abraham (Abram), Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, signifying the preeminence of  the Priest Melchizedek over Aaron and the Levitical priesthood;

3.      in the Passover, Jews remember that we were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD brought us out;

4.      in Messiah, many are justified and made alive, inheriting righteousness and life.

 There are both  power in, and accountability for, our words which we speak or write, all the more so if we are in positions of authority (Mt. 12:36-37).

John 11:45-53    – Caiaphas the High Priest unknowingly prophesied that the one man Yeshua would die for the whole nation, and even for all the scattered children of God.

Mt. 27:25    – “all the people [of Israel] answered and said, ‘Let His [Yeshua’s] blood be on us and on our children’!

 Primary responsibility, with its guilt and historic consequences, is upon the leaders and people of Israel (John 19:11; Lev. 4:1-3, 13, 14, 22, 23; Acts 2; 4) — both before God and by our own words and agreement with our “fathers” — for the betrayal and death of Messiah.  Praise God that upon the cross, Yeshua/Jesus prayed that God His Father forgive us!

 YEHOVAH is the God of covenant, to which He is always faithful to fulfill His part, which includes His  promises to make the people of Israel a holy people for Himself.  Therefore He is working to remove from His people transgressions, sin, iniquity, and uncleanness — guilt and shame – – and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  The Holy Spirit is working to bring His people to an end of themselves, to stop trusting in themselves or in the arm of the flesh, so that they will call on the Name of Yeshua for salvation:  Blessed is He who comes in the Name YEHOVAH!  It is Yeshua whom God has given as a guilt offering (Is. 53:10), and His blood cleanses from all unrighteousness.

The Holocaust brings reproach to the Holy Name of the God of Israel and of the Lord Jesus Christ:
          –“These are the people chosen by God?!”

          –“Where was/is God?”

          –“How can a ‘good’ God allow such atrocities?”

          –“Maybe God is not strong enough to stop evil?!”

          –“God has forsaken and cast away the Jews!”

Remember Messianic brothers and sisters, Yeshua died a criminal’s death because of — and 
to take away — that evil unbelief and rebellion, the sin of the world!

Do we trust and love our God and Savior to honor His holy name in the face of such unbelief and mocking?  Many Christians risked, and even sacrificed their lives to save Jews from the death trains and camps.  In the unknowable ways of God, just as the crucifixion was necessary, so too was the Holocaust.  God’s judgments are past finding out!

 As many as are Jewish believers, we need to accept the truth of our primary responsibility for our history.  Let Gentile believers each examine and judge himself for their own personal and historic sins of your nations and churches against the Sovereign LORD and against the Jews and Christians.  Offenses there must necessarily be, but woe to those through whom they come!

The Lord Jesus says that the truth sets free and sanctifies.  Confession of our own and of our fathers’ sins is an act of humility, and it brings cleansing, freedom, blessedness — because by it we receive and know the righteousness of God who forgives us and accepts us.

The Lord promises to save His people from their sins.  The true gospel includes the cross of the Messiah and God’s righteous judgments against Israel, not to the exclusion of the other nations.  As has been spoken before, there is no glory for the Jewish people (or for any nominal Christian) apart from the faith in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the Hope of Israel.  Let us who believe be sure of our own peace with God and acceptance of His ways and judgments so that we can speak the truth with love to the Jewish people, and to others.

2Cor. 5:11a, 18-21    in the fear of God, be reconciled to Him and be ministers of reconciliation

Amen!

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                            

             

THE HOLOCAUST AND THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL: BE RECONCILED TO YHVH GOD – 10 Apr 1999

Lev. 26: 40-45   – confessing personal and historic collective guilt for breaking the LORD’s covenant

There is a biblical principle whereby God holds the heads of a  people accountable for the blessing or punishment of the people.  We see this with Pharaoh and the Egyptians with respect to the children of Israel at the time of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt.  We see it again with King David and his census of Israel, bringing the LORD’s judgment upon the people and the near destruction ofJerusalem (2Sam. 24).

The rulers of the people–whether kings or priests–represent the people before God, and by their example of faith and obedience–or the contrary–the nation is led.  Today, does not a nation of people go to war or make peace based upon the determinations of their leader(s)?  Are not nations judged in the eyes of others by their thoughts regarding the heads of government or of the religious authorities?  Do not Jews today insist that Germans living today confess their nation’s and their parents’ guilt for the Holocaust–that Germans and Germany are primarily responsible and guilty because of their evil leader who governed and represented them?; or to put it another way:  in Hitler, the Germans living today–whether or not they were personally and directly involved — are reckoned as guilty and defiled by the Jewish people, even more than are Austrians and Poles who also bear their own iniquity.

Other Biblical examples of this living principle of divine justice covering generations for nations, tribes, and  peoples are:
1.  in Adam, all have sinned and all human beings inherit condemnation and death;
2.  in Abraham (Abram), Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, signifying the preeminence of  the Priest Melchizedek;
3.  in the Passover, Jews remember that we were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD brought us out;
4.  in Messiah, many are justified and made alive, inheriting righteousness and life.

There are both  power in, and accountability for, our words which we speak or write, all the more if we are in positions of authority (Mt. 12:36-37).

John 11:45-53    Caiaphas the High Priest unknowingly prophesied that the one man Yeshua would die for the whole nation, and even for all the scattered children of God.

Mt. 27:25    “all the people [ofIsrael] answered and said, ‘Let His [Yeshua’s] blood be on us and on our children’!

Primary responsibility, with its guilt and historic consequences, is upon the leaders and people ofIsrael (John 19:11; Lev. 4:1-3, 13, 14, 22, 23; Acts 2; 4)–both before God and by our own words and agreement with our “fathers”–for the betrayal and death of Messiah.  Praise God that upon the cross, Jesus prayed that God His Father forgive us!

YHVH is the God of covenant, to which He is always faithful to fulfill His part, which includes His  promises to make the people of Israel a holy people.  Therefore He is working to remove from His people transgressions, sin, iniquity, and uncleanness — guilt and shame — and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  The Holy Spirit is working to bring His people to an end of themselves, to stop trusting in themselves or in the arm of the flesh, so that they will call on the Name of Yeshua for salvation:  Blessed is He who comes in the Name YEHOVAH!  It is Yeshua whom God has given as a guilt offering (Is. 53:10), and His blood cleanses from all unrighteousness.

The Holocaust brings reproach to the Holy Name of the God of Israel and of the Lord Jesus Christ:

–“These are the people chosen by God?!”
–“Where was/is God?”
–“How can a ‘good’ God allow such atrocities?”
–“Maybe God is not strong enough to stop evil?!”
–Remember Messianic brothers and sisters, Yeshua died a criminal’s death because of–and to atone for–that evil unbelief !

Do we trust and love our God and Savior to honor His holy name in the face of such unbelief and mocking?  Many Christians risked, and even sacrificed their lives to save Jews from the death trains and camps.  In the unknowable ways of God, just as the crucifixion was necessary, so too was the Holocaust.  God’s judgments are past finding out!

As many as are Jewish believers, we need to accept the truth of our primary responsibility for our history.  Let Gentile believers each examine and judge himself for their own personal and historic sins of your nations against the Sovereign LORD and against the Jews and Christians.  Offenses there must necessarily be, but woe to those through whom they come!

The Lord Jesus says that the truth sets free and sanctifies.  Confession of our own and of our fathers’ sins is an act of humility, and it brings cleansing, freedom, blessedness because by it we receive and know the righteousness of God who forgives us and accepts us.

The Lord promises to save His people from their sins.  The true gospel includes the cross of the Messiah and God’s righteous judgments against Israel, not to the exclusion of the other nations.  As has been spoken here before, there is no glory for the Jewish people (or for ourselves in Christ) apart from the faith in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the Hope of Israel.  Let us who believe be sure of our own peace with God and acceptance of His ways and judgments so that we can speak the truth with love to the Jews.

2Cor. 5:11a, 18-21    – in the fear of God, be reconciled to Him and be ministers of reconciliation

Amen.

HIDING PRIDE FROM MAN: MANY FIRST SHALL BE LAST – 16 May 1998

Ezek. 11: 14-16  –  pride of circumstances
Zech.  12: 7 – pride of election
Rom. 11: 25-32  – pride of man

God works in mysterious ways, but always with wisdom and perfect understanding in all things.  He has a plan which He conceived before time began, and He will fully display its perfection when time is no more.  Meanwhile, a major objective of all His activities is to resist the pride which is in man and in nations, and to bring forth in His children the choice fruit of the Holy Spirit:  a holy man and people, who have learned from the Messiah Jesus to be meek and lowly in heart.  To whom much is given much is required.  To whom has more been given than to Israel and to the Church?

With this in mind, I want to share about a subject that many of us pray about, even worry over.  Over the years, many people have complained to the congregational leadership and even blamed us regarding this matter.  As one who also is deeply interested in the same, I have sought the LORD about it, and not too long ago I believe that He has given me His answer.  The subject is:  Why aren’t more Israelis repenting and believing in Yeshua, and why doesn’t our kehila do something to make the services more Jewish or Israeli in order to be more effective in this regard?

In the beginning the first believers were Jews and the church had a heavily Jewish flavor.  Because the nation of  Israel did not accept or receive her long-promised Redeemer-King, then afterwards, in fulfillment of the Word of the Lord, God took away the privileges belonging to Israel as first-born among the nations unto God, and He gave them to the Gentiles in order to obtain His fruit (Mt. 21:40-46).  (This follows a consistent Biblical pattern of the first-born losing the presumed birthright and blessing, even if only for a time.)  From then until now the Body of Messiah has been heavily un-Jewish in outward personality and style.  The relatively few Jews who have been born- again have had effectually little impact.  Even in Israel today it is no easy matter to define or determine Jewishness or Israeliness.

The answer to the subject lies in the necessity of God to cause His people to humble themselves—each one and all together—in order to know the glory of God in His wisdom to build up (edify) the weak and despised, even His Church.  Many who are first shall be last.

Let us look together at three passages from the O.T. and N.T., from which I believe the Holy Spirit opened my understanding to see their relevance to our own day and time:

  1. Ezek. 11:14-17 (Deut. 8:10-18) – Those living in Jerusalem, the beloved city of the Great King, believed that they were special because they lived in Jerusalem and in the Land of Israel.  They disdained in their hearts those Jews who were living in the dispersion, saying, “Get you far from YHVH;  this land is given to us as a possession!”  But God comforted those in captivity outside the land and said that he would be for them a little sanctuary.  The Good Shepherd cares for those who are dismissed in the eyes of the so-called privileged, and He brings us home according to His promise!

Brothers and sisters, most Jews who are saved today live in the diaspora and not in  Israel.  In Israel the Jewish leaders presume to themselves the determination of who/what is a Jew while remaining indifferent or hostile to the claims of Jesus.  But the LORD has been faithful to many Jewish people not living in Israel today.  There is no place for pride before God!  It doesn’t “cut it” with Him.

2.   Zech. 12:7 (Dt 17:20) –  In  order to subdue pride in the chosen  House of David to whom belonged the  ruling authority, YHVH would save others from the House of Judah first.  Today, most of the Israeli Jews who do believe in Yeshua are immigrants like most of us here.  Very few are native-born (“sabras”).  Think what it is like when local people or an influential family controls a situation.  It becomes very difficult for an outsider or a newcomer to fit in.  The locals have the language, the culture, the contacts, the power.  They think, “This is how it’s done here, and we know how to do it!”

God in His sovereign grace and wisdom is giving those with less status and natural privileges an opportunity to grow and develop confidence.  He wants all His people to be kings and priests.  Likewise is our Father in Heaven subduing the pride of the Israeli by showing His love for us all who live here in the Land of the Covenant.  He has something for all His family members.  The personal relationship of each of us with Father is of great importance and value.

3.    Rom. 11:25-32 (Deut. 32:21) – God is still saving Gentiles and is using them to provoke Israel to jealousy, and even to anger.  Look at how many foreign workers are being brought into the Kingdom of God right under our Jewish noses right here in Israel and Beer Sheva!  Still the Jewish people are partially blinded and will be until the fullness of the Gentiles is completed.  Meanwhile God is requiring Israeli believers here to accept their Gentile brethren fully and equally, just as we have wanted them to accept us fully and equally in Messiah.  It is in mercy that any of us are saved by God.

The prayers of the Lord Yeshua and of all the saints throughout the generations have been accumulating until today for the Kingdom of God the Father to come and for Israel to be restored and saved.  We are entering into the labors of others also working by the Spirit of Messiah, and the time is near when God is going to answer all these prayers.  We can be thankful for all of the Jewish people being saved today.  Much opposition to the truth of God still reflects the great pride in man.  We want to see more “real” Israelis repent and believe the truth of Messiah in Jesus.

Peter, the apostle to the Jews, was a typical Israeli.  The lesson he had to learn is one we must all learn:  to accept God’s way of doing things.  The Holy Spirit will glorify the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and not ourselves or our culture.

Let us remain obedient with faith in what we have been given to do and God will take care of the consequences.  Praise the LORD!  Amen.

Rom. 11:33-36

ISRAEL OF GOD AND COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL: NOT ALL ISRAEL IS ISRAEL; NEITHER IS THE CHURCH – 24 Aug 1995

(Message at Salaam Church to Friends of Israel in Forssa, Finland)

Gal 6:15-16  For in Messiah Yeshua neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but rather a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Eph 2:11-13  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by them who are called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye 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, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah.

Rom 9:4-8  . . .Israelis, to whom pertain the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever.  Amen.  Not as though the Word of God has not taken effect, for they are not all Israel which are of Israel; neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:  but, in Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, they which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God, but, rather, the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

The Jewish believers (Messianic Jews; Hebrew Christians, whatever) are presently the Israel of God, part of the whole Church of God, which includes Israelis and Gentiles from all time who have believed in the promises concerning God’s Son, the Savior of all persons, especially of those who believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Those who sincerely want to bless Israel as the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, can do this particularly by blessing Jewish Israeli believers – and especially those who walk by the rule set by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul.  But not Jewish believers only, but all genuine Christians through faith and new birth are called the seed of Abraham through his ultimate promised Seed, Yeshua the Messiah. 

The nation of Israel (the preserved remnant being the “seed bed”) will fulfill all YHVH God’s word regarding her during the Millennial Kingdom of Christ Jesus, following her national repentance (which includes both a new and different orientation, and also regret over sin) and conversion (transformation; transfiguration) at the coming and presence of the Lord of lords and King of kings to save the remnant, comprising “all Israel” – the Israel of God — and to judge the nations – preserving also the sheep among the Gentiles.

God has always considered Israel as a nation (Jer 31:35-36), even when we were scattered throughout the sea of nations of the world, away from the Promised Land.  The Church is not Israel, but rather a new creation, made up of blood-bought (redeemed) persons – both Jews and Gentiles – with saving and living faith from out of every nation, tribe, language, culture.  (YHVH God creates:  the present Universe Gen 1:1; Adam and Eve (man and woman) Gen 1:27; Israel, the people Is 43:15; the Church (Body of Messiah/Christ) Eph 4:24; the regenerated Millennial heavens and Earth Is 65:17; the new universe Rev 21:1)

There is only one God and Savior, and one Lord and Messiah; and only one Bible, which YHVH God the Holy Spirit has given to and through Israel to the whole world through the Church.

Through the Old and New Testament Scriptures, written primarily by Jewish prophets and apostles (not to mention the Lord Yeshua Himself), the Israel of God is presently a light to the Gentile peoples; and the Gentiles, through the spread of the gospel and the use of the Bible, are brought near to the Commonwealth of Israel by their relationship to the God of covenant, who is YHVH, God of Israel.  Gentile Christians, whether walking in faith or not, are brought to accountability before the God of the Bible – YHVH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; to the Messiah and King of the Jews – Yeshua the Nazarene; to the historic and traditional and prophetic ‘holidays’ spoken of by YHVH through Moses to Israel, including what is popularly called Easter (Firstfruits), and Pentecost/Shavuot, as well as Hanukkah, Purim, and Christmas (the birth of the Lord).  All of these were first celebrated by Israeli Jews in Israel who worshipped God, their Creator and Redeemer, in holiness and fear with a thankful heart.  Jewish believers are also brought back, and carried onward through faith, to all that the Lord has spoken regarding all things.

Gentile believers are told that they have a debt to Israel.  Jewish believers also have a debt to the historic Church – and even to barbarians! (Rom 1:14; 15:26-27; Acts 28:2)  We have all entered into the labor of others.  Those who sow and those who reap are one.  God is no respecter of persons.  He is on His own side, and is faithful to the finished work of His Son on the cross. (Josh 5:13-14)  The Holy Spirit fulfills the righteousness of the Law through the Body of Christ, and Jesus, whom the Spirit glorifies, is Head over all things to the Church, to the glory of the Father.

Israel is the most accountable nation  before God on the Earth, because of her special relationship and covenantal responsibilities with the Lord. (Amos 3:2)  To her belongs double honor, but also double judgment.  To the Church has been granted greater and fuller revelation and privileges by the grace and mercy of God, rather than by mere legal rights and obligations.  We have been bought by the precious blood of the Son of God, who is also the Son of Man, and our responsibility as a people is therefore greater thanIsrael’s at this time to show forth the wisdom and praises of God and of His Anointed One.  The love of God has been revealed to and bestowed upon us, that we are called sons of God!

Let us pray that the Lord would help us to maintain a faithful witness and testimony to the light of the New Covenant revelation, while recognizing both our link and relationship to Israel – because of our faithful God – and also our distinction and distinctiveness from Israel – because of Messiah our Passover.  We – both the present Israel of God and also the rest of the Body of Messiah – are justified through faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who is the King of Israel.  Amen.