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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

All the Bible Is For You, Very Little Is To You

We have covered the topic of "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" in many ways on these pages (it's the underlying scripture for Context or Confusion). But I wanted to pause again and remind us that while "all scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable," not all of it is written to us

We've looked at obvious examples like the command to build an ark and the command to not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,  and the promise to sit on one of twelve thrones in the coming earthly kingdom, etc. But these age-specific commands and prohibitions and promises go far beyond our few examples. The New Covenant itself is claimed by the vast majority of Christendom while this covenant has nothing to do with the grace of this current age.

As noted, we've looked at this topic in many ways over the last few years, so I will simply pull out two of the more common abuses from the many examples of the robbing of Israel.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

-Jeremiah 29:11


If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

-2 Chronicles 7:14

The ripping out of these verses from their contexts is a symptom of Christendom starting from the position that anything they want in scripture is theirs for the taking. God has a plan. That plan has many gaps in it. It has many facets. It has many families. Our goal is to find our place in God's plan and learn to "walk according the calling to which we have been called."

And much of this is coming from supposed, confessed dispensationalists. The problem gets much darker and far more sinister when we examine the current and historical evil fruits of Reformed and Replacement Theology. We have also looked at the evil coming out of the various Hebrew Roots movements

For this short study, let's quickly look at the context of the two verses we've chosen. This should remind us how we are to handle many things in scripture. First, let's look at the context of our verse from Jeremiah 29:


For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

This part of an immediate and a future application for the nation of Israel. Of course, we can learn about the character of God from this passage (it is profitable), but we can't claim, as individual Christians, that God will "prosper" our business ventures or career choices or anything in particular in this age. We are not a nation being brought back to a promised land from captivity. The greater context of this promise is chastisement. Israel was brought back from a national chastisement. It's not really an individual promise at all.

Now we turn to 2 Chronicles. We looked at the context of this oft-quoted verse in a previous study from last April: CONTEXT OF 2 CHRONICLES 7

Pulling the lens back, this is what this blog is all about; rightly dividing the Word of Truth. We don't do this to be clever or to simply promote a theological position or distinction (certainly not to push any denomination). We do it so we can properly serve God in the age in which we live. We want to walk in truth. We want to walk according to the new nature according to the calling to which we have been called.

Just as sacrificing animals in this age is a denial of the work of Christ, so too are many things Christendom practices which are given to other ages and other families of God. Those sacrificing animals may feel holy, but it is an illusion. Similarly, those practicing water baptism and the Lord's Supper may feel they are being obedient, but they are missing the true blessings of the current dispensation and its hope.

We've looked at this topic in many ways on these pages. But for those who may be new to this understanding, let me link just a few studies and helpful website.

This is not to say I separate from Christians who do not see these distinctions. Rather, I simply implore my brothers and sisters to mark the things that differ in scripture and seek to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Applying Right Division to Firefly

On my podcast, I've covered the topic of filtering. That is, the practice of taking all you see and hear and filter through the lens of scripture and true Christianity. Two simple examples: Supertramp's "Lord is it Mine" or George Harrison's "Give Me Love" (with one lyrical correction) can bring my thoughts to the true Lord. 

Obviously, this has its limits (we can't filter porn, for example). It might also show up in places unexpected. As we have noted on this blog in several posts, some of the "beloved hymns of the faith" contain some bad theology. Sometimes, then, I have to filter the hymns. So, filtering is not just for secular things, it should apply to all things. Another way to look at some Christian content is to eat the orange and spit out the seeds.

Taking a purely secular case, a 2002 episode of the futuristic science fiction program "Firefly" features one of the main characters being marked as a witch for her "uncanny perceptions." When we're first introduced to the town which eventually tries to burn her at the stake, we hear them thanking the Lord and we are given the impression they run their society by biblical standards.

When the character mentioned is perceived to be a witch, a townswoman quotes from Exodus 22:18

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. 

Well, that is scriptural. It's part of the Law. It is a command from God to His people... that is, his people, ISRAEL, in the land, under the covenant of the Kingdom of priests [Exodus 19:5-7].

Before we apply Right Division to verse 18, let's look at the immediate context and verse 20.

He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Did Israel go about destroying every person and every nation anywhere which sacrificed unto any other God than unto Yahweh? No. This command, as the other, is for Israel, in her land, for her kingdom. Do we obey this command in the current age (whether in the land or not)? No. So, neither Israel in the age of the Law outside the land nor we in this age anywhere take this as a "Bible command to be obeyed" without recognizing its time and place.

Whereas most people think these are ridiculous examples, they are actually quite relevant. If we're going to go about grabbing verses and commands and instructions from anywhere we want in scripture, we're going to have to deal with these verses (and the many like them).

However, when we apply the sound scriptural practice of "rightly dividing the Word of Truth," we recognize that these commands are not only not for today, they were never given to anyone apart from Israel in the land. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

What the Regression to Judaism Gets Right and Wrong

A Dangerous Movement

On this blog, I have covered the emergence of the use of "Yeshua" (the Anglicized rendering of the Hebrew name for "Jesus"). We noted that while there is nothing wrong with this use, it is not particularly biblical or more correct than any other rendering of the Lord's earthly name.

I quote from one of these studies, a Judaizer I encountered in 2016:

As one writer chastised us in a group, “Yahushua Ha maschiach is the only way , truth , and life in the Father Yahuwah!” He went on to argue, “jzeus [sic] christ [sic] is not the messiah !!!!!!!” Exclamation points in the original.

Do you see the pride screaming through? Do you see the obsession with semantics over, ironically, Anglicized words? 

This sort of argument is not only destructive, it is a condemnation of the Holy Spirit and the chosen vessels who gave us the books of what we refer to as The New Testament (the Greek Canon). In a related bit of irony, the writers of the gospels and epistles often preferred to use the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Canon, in their books. 

We  also noted there are a number of people in scripture who share the name "Yeshua" (Hebrew and Greek canons). As notd above, the Holy Spirit has inspired the writers of the Greek texts to use the Greek rendering (ιησους [ee-ay-sooce]). 

There is also the matter of pronouns. That is, pronouns are used of all sorts in scripture, but, as we know, it is context that gives us the reference. Thus, as with pronouns, The Lord knows to whom we refer in our hearts when we say "Jesus" or "Yeshua" or "Joshua" or "ιησους " etc. And even then, to which  "Jesus" we are referring. Scripture says there is "another Jesus" (2 Cor 11) that Satan and false teachers teach. The Lord warned many would "come in my name" (Matt 24:5), yet be false. It is not just the name, it is the object of the name in the heart of the user.

While there is an innocent side to the sudden ubiquitous usage of the earthly name "Yeshua," there is a dark, sinister side lurking below. We have seen elements of this in our 3-part look at the booklet, "Who is a Jew" and in other studies on the Hebrew movement.

Who is a Jew?

We pause here to distinguish those who do accept and teach the finished work of the Savior and the free gift of Life gained by grace alone, with those factions which seek to combine grace and Law for Life. While we disagree strongly on any move towards slavery to the Law or false pride in assumed obedience, we still accept, as brothers and sisters in the Lord, those who teach an all-sufficient salvation in Christ's work alone. 

With that said, and without softening in the least previous warnings, I do want to show how even a misguided movement can get some things right.

We know the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches get the Trinity right while making horrific errors on so many other matters (especially on the gift of resurrection life itself). So as we recognize a correct doctrine which may help some see the truths of Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, we certainly are not endorsing an entire movement. In fact, I can see essentially no good in any Hebrew/Jewish movement in the current age.

The concept the Judaizes get right: Paul was a Torah-Observant Jew

Let us revisit Paul's visit to James in Jerusalem. 

“You see, brother [Paul], how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
-Acts 21:20-25

Paul is accused by the Jewish believers (Christians) in Jerusalem of telling Jews living among the Gentiles (specifically) they no longer had to keep the Law (note: he's not accused of teaching this to all Jewish believers). This is the Acts Age. And we note that Paul does not argue that any believing Jew should not keep the (non-sacrificial) law. Paul goes out of his way to prove to the Jewish believers that he practices and teaches that he and Jewish believers should continue to practice elements of the Law (including circumcision). We looked at the circumcision of Timothy during the Acts Age in a previous post.

But just because this was a practice then, does not mean it is a practice for Jewish believers today.

Paul is quick to note that the grafted-in Gentiles as part of God's plan to make Israel jealous, do not have to keep the Law but "that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality" (cp Acts 15). Gentiles were grafted into Israel's blessings (Rom 11), not into the free gift of Life. They were grafted in to Israel promises having to do with the land and the earthly Kingdom, not into a future resurrection. The Jew was still "first" in the Acts Age. And Gentiles alone were warned they could be "cut off" from those blessings (Rom 11). This cutting off, also, has nothing to do with the gift of Life.

The Gift of Eternal Resurrection Life has ALWAYS been by grace alone.

So, Paul was "Torah-observant" in the Acts Age. And Gentiles were only temporarily grafted-in to the root of Israel for the sake of making her jealous. We refer again to Peter's offer in Acts 3 that if ISRAEL repented the Lord would return to restore all things. We refer again to the instruction the 12 had from the Lord concerning the restoration of the kingdom to Israel in Acts 1. 

Paul, late into the Book of Acts, gives witness to the promises made to the fathers (this was the Lord's earthly ministry as well, Rom 15:8) and to "the hope of Israel." Paul went about in the Acts Age, "witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come." This changed in Paul's Post-Acts ministry.

Preaching the earthly Kingdom, the coming of the King, the blessings and promises to the people of Israel is the setting of the Book of Acts. The Acts was a continuation of the offer of the Kingdom by the King while he was on earth. The Lord was rejected, but he forgave Israel on the cross and gave her another 35 years to repent (the Acts Age). She failed.

Israel will one day come to the Lord (in the age to come), but after the 35 year trial period, the Lord revealed through Paul alone the current age. The current Dispensation. The current Stewardship. This current age was hidden from "before the overthrow of the ages." It was not known. We are in the parenthesis. This age is from before the Law, before Adam, before all other ages. It's hope is "in the far above the heavens" and is not of the earth (as are Israel's Kingdom and blessings). 

This is why we do not observe "earthly ordinances" such as feasts (including the Lord's Supper, which is Passover), Sabbaths, cleansings (water baptisms) or the like. These have the appearance of humility and obedience, but it is a "false humility" and the perceived obedience will fail the flesh. These are works for another hope, another blessing, another age. There is no reward in them.

In this current parenthesis (and scripture has a number of these parentheses), all are Gentiles. The middle wall has come down. There is no call for being "Torah-Observant." And whereas that  was commendable in a previous age, it is condemnable in this age. 

Men and women, while believing they are pleasing God by pretending they actually keep things like the Sabbath, are losing reward. They are running the race according to the wrong rules. It's as though they are building an ark for a a flood that is not coming, in an age with no Nephilim. Is building an ark biblical? Yes, But for another age. It brings no reward for "obedience" in this age.

I do not stand in judgment of those who believe they are observing the Torah. That is the Lord's purview. What I am doing is warning them of the calling of this age to perhaps rescue some and to warn those tempted by the lure of false pride and outward appearance to be taken in by their doctrines. Some who are taken in will fall into slavery and fear, others into pride. Worst case scenario, some will deny the finality of the work of Christ from the cross to the resurrection.

We recently looked at related topics:

In our most recent study, we looked at the two possible destinies of the Christian. We are either headed for Perfection (Maturity) or Perdition (Waste and Loss). We can only achieve maturity if we run the race according to the rules of the calling to which we have been called. If not, if we try to run by the rules of another calling, we may find ourselves "disqualified" from prizes, crowns, rewards, etc.

Please consider two multi-part studies on the Christian Life:

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Perfection or Perdition, Don't Find Yourself Disqualified

 Every believer has passed from death unto Life. Every believer has this future resurrection life hid in Christ in God. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting our trespasses against us (2 Cor 5:18-19). When we come to Christ, we are reconciled to him (for he is already reconciled to us).

From that moment, we have the choice to walk according to the flesh (old nature)or according to the spirit (new nature). We are headed either towards Perfection (maturity) or Perdition (loss).

This is the choice in every age:

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age [the mature], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection [maturity]; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. -Hebrews 5:12-14; 6:1-2
 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [waste/loss]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul [psychḗ]. -Hebrews 10:38-39

The context here is believing Jews in the Acts Age, but the principle remains and is consistent in all of scripture. Not all who left Egypt entered the land (including Moses). Not all who have an inheritance in the coming kingdom will enjoy it (some will be cast into outer darkness). Not all who sought a place in the New Jerusalem will earn it. Not all who seek to obtain the prize will obtain it.

Not all hopes are available to all men of all ages, but that's another matter for another time. The CONCEPT here is in the idea of running a race. In every age, a believer is running a race. The hopes and rewards and rules may differ, but they all run. We run the race to obtain the prize (for we cannot "obtain" that which is a free gift; reconciliation and resurrection life).

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. -1 Cor 9:24

There are BETTER things available for those who persevere and suffer for the Lord.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. -Hebrews 35:35-40

Each family of God has an inheritance at stake. Again this is not the gift of life of which we speak, it is the right to the inheritance. This is the difference between a "child" and a "son" (don't trust the KJV on this point). We become children by faith, sons by right to an inheritance. A son can forfeit an inheritance. One can be a child and not the heir of an inheritance. We saw this pictured in Moses and Esau. We achieve, win, obtain, and qualify for certain hopes by both unyielding faith and our works.

The works of our hands are the "things that accompany salvation".

For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. -Hebrews 6:7-12

As we've noted in another post there are MANY sins into which a Christian may fall (which we listed). These range from gossip, to greed, to adultery, to murder. One simple sin is to become "sluggish" or "lazy." We have an inward enemy (the flesh) and outward enemy (Satan and the principalities and powers). The world system, our own old nature, and the prince and power of the air work to rob of us reward (for they cannot touch the finished work of Christ).

Instructions and Warnings for This Age

Now let's turn to the our apostle Paul's Epistle to the Philippians. Philippians is a parallel book to Hebrews. Both speak of moving on, not looking back, and striving. Whereas Hebrews addresses Jews and their history (in great detail) and the race that was set before them (and will be again), we find our instructions and hope for the current age in Philippians 

Paul is again encouraging striving, never for the free gift, but for maturity in this age wherein are the crowns, rewards, and prize laid out before us. Along with the aforementioned enemies which hider us, Paul warns there are fellow believers who may hinder our race as we strive to reach forward.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction [perdition/waste], whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things...

The world has no choice but to set its mind on earthly things. In this passage, Paul is comparing his walk with the chosen walks of other believers. These are believers who have set their minds on earthly things. The key word here is EARTHLY. This is slightly different than WORLDLY things, but similar.

There are things "of the earth" which were good. The sanctuary was "of the earth." Hebrews 9 speaks of these "earthly" things which reflected other realities, but they were deficient. They had a place, and will have a place, in regard to the earth. But even in the Book of Hebrews, those there are warned not to fall back into the immaturity of these things.

It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect [mature/brought to full fruition] in regard to the conscience— concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation. -Hebrews 9:9-10

Even the Jew had to understand the limited and temporary place of the ordinances of the Law (even as he practiced them). We must be even more diligent in this age not to get caught up in earthly ordinances as we have never been given these as a matter of practice. They are particular to Israel and the earthly promises (as we saw in our look at Gentiles and the Law in Israel). In the current age, Paul warns us as well about certain fellow Christians. Note in Paul's warning to Gentile believers that the outward religion (even if holy and good) is insufficient even to deal with the flesh.

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ... So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival [feast day] or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

There are earthly commands for an earthly calling to accomplish God's plan for the land and the earth. These have nothing to do with the heavenly calling. They may make us feel puffed up, but they are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. It is a self-imposed, not a God-imposed religion.

Circumcision is given as an example here as in Romans. From Adam, to Abel, to Enoch, to Noah, to Abraham, ALL believed and were redeemed in uncircumcision. The circumcision has to do with the Earth/Land. It has to do with the earthly covenant. It has to do with Israel's promises. It is never commanded of anyone else. As we saw in our last study, only Gentiles in the land, under the terms of the Old Covenant, were subject to things like the Sabbath. 

Adam and Eve were given ONE command in the Garden. They knew nothing of any covenants. They had no hope in any particular land or throne. This held true for 2000 years until Abraham. From Abraham through the rest of scripture until the end of the Acts Age, no Gentile is ever seen or spoken of except in context of a Jew. 

Jonah (the prophet from Galilee) went to the great nation of Assyria. One Jew opens up a look at the great city of Nineveh. And in that encounter, he preaches nothing of the covenant of Exodus 19 unto them, for it has nothing to do with Nineveh. That wicked nation knew it was wicked. They need to turn from wickedness unto God, not unto the Passover or tabernacle or washings, etc. The King of Nineveh called for all to "turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands" (Jonah 3:8). 

Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. -Jonah 3:10

How does one, in the matter of one day, turn from not keeping the Passover or the Sabbath? These were unknown in Nineveh. They had what all men have, a conscience. They knew what their works and their ways were evil in the mind and in the flesh. As with the uncircumcised gentile in Matthew 8 (to who it was forbidden to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom), there was a way to life by faith alone. 

Again, we looked at this and other examples in our previous study, so we'll leave it there.

Pulling the lens back to our look at Perfection or Perdition, if we want to qualify for the prize that is set before us, we must run the race according to the rules and in light of the inheritance before us in the age in which we live.

We turn again to the obvious and simple example of Noah. Noah's race had nothing to do with the Passover. Nothing to do with the Ten Commandments. Nothing to do with a heavenly calling. Noah obeyed the word of the Lord for his day. He was not concerned with "the promises made to the fathers" (Rom 15:8)  or the other ages listed and we are not concerned with following the edicts of his age (or Adam's or Moses' or David's or of the Acts Age, or the promises made to the fathers, etc.).

We must go on to maturity by running the race of this age of a heavenly calling. This is the race which is set before us. We are not to get dragged down into the commands and practices of another inheritance for another people in another age on the earth. This may puff us up, but our end will be perdition (loss, waste). 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Gentiles and the Law in Israel

We have looked at the Old and New Covenants many times before. I encourage readers interested in the future nature of the New Covenant to search the blog for that phrase. We have also discussed the book, "Who is a Jew?" and we've post a 3-part study under that title. The answer to that question might also interest the reader.

Here we want to focus in on Gentiles in the land, under the Law, and how it apples to this age (if at all).

We start with a little background.

The covenant of the Law is introduced 2400 years from Adam and 400 years from Abraham. It has to do with the land, the kingdom, and the priesthood. In this age, we are not "a kingdom of priests" and neither was Israel under the Old Covenant since they failed. This is part of the yet future New Covenant. It is all of the earth. Do you believe you are a priest? The you must answer the question: a priest for whom?

And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” 
-Exodus 19:3-6

This covenant is not given to "strangers." In the Law, unless one got circumcised, he remained a "stranger" [Gentile]. If he was in the land, he was not to pollute it, but that only applied to Gentiles in the land.

But, there are more than just Israelites in view in this passage. In THEIR [Israel's] kingdom, THEY will be PRIESTS. Priests for whom? Themselves? No, priests for the nations in the coming kingdom age. This promise has nothing to do with the period from Adam-Abram (the land) nor  the period from Adam-Moses (the kingdom) nor with the Post Acts Calling in the heavenly places.

The Lord Jesus Christ forbade "the gospel of the Kingdom" to be preached to Gentiles or outside of Israel (Matthew 10:5-7). This is after he commends the centurion's faith and juxtaposes it with the "sons of the Kingdom" (Jews) in Chapter 8. But the kingdom was only to be preached to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

To whom does the Lord say he was sent? *“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Is he a liar? No. Paul tells us in Romans 15:8, the Lord Jesus was sent "to confirm the promises made to the fathers." On Pentecost, Peter preached to Jews only. He made an offer to Jews only. The 12 (save once) preached to Jews only.

In Acts 21, we see Jewish believers keeping the Law (including circumcision) and the Gentile believers limited to the "necessary" things (cp. Acts 15:28) which are laid out in no uncertain terms.

Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” 
-Acts 21:24-25

In Romans 9, Paul speaks of the "grafting in" of Gentiles into the root of Israel.

We are told why the temporary grafting in happened. It was specifically to make Israel jealous. That is, there was still an Israel and Gentiles were grafted in (and could be cut out) to the earthly promises of Israel. Yet, they still did not have to be circumcised or keep all the Law. 

There have always been believers not part of Israel from Adam on. They are separate. They do not come under Israel or the Law by faith (and neither do we). Solomos speaks of a believer who comes from outside Israel. Such a person is not subject the rules of the land. Gentiles observing with Israel are only those in the land, for the sake of the land. They have no promise of a priesthood, etc., but they cannot pollute the land. 

Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; 3then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.  
-2 Chron 6:32-33

I can't do an entire survey of the OT, but there are promises and warnings specific only to Israel and only in the land. Gentiles to whom Jonah preached in Nineveh, for example, since they did not live in the land, did not have to keep the Law. Daniel, outside the land, never told a Gentile to keep the law. It is land, kingdom, priesthood specific. And even then, a Gentile could not participate in the Passover unless he was circumcised (Ex 12:48; Num 9:14).

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servantsYour people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.

There were believers under the Covenant in Israel and "strangers to the covenants and promises" yet believers. The Covenants (both Old and New) have always dealt with the land; always with the priesthood of Israel. And the New Covenant is yet future. It is not here. There is no priesthood. And if there were, a priesthood for whom?

The Case of Cornelius

Cornelius was not the first Gentile to have faith unto Life. We saw the Centurion in Matthew 8 and the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 have faith. But the disciples were forbidden to preach the "gospel of the kingdom" or that the kingdom was "at hand" to Gentiles. That did not mean Gentiles could not have Life. And did the centurion or the woman (called a "little dog" separate from "the children") obey the Law? No.

What astonished the 12 about Cornelius was not that he believed, but rather that he received the same gifts of the Spirit as they (Jews). This was start of the "grafting in." They knew Gentiles could believe, they'd seen it in the earthly ministry of Iēsoûs Christos [Jesus Christ]. Cornelius was a believer when Peter arrived. He then had the Spirit fall and he displayed gifts (before he was baptized, btw).

Then Peter said to them, “You know how unlawful it is [present tense] for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation [gentiles]. But God has shown me that I should [no longer] call any man common or unclean. 
-Acts 10:28 
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— that word you know...
-Acts 10:34-37a

Cornelius knew the preaching of peace through Jesus Christ. So, why did he not already have the gifts seen on Pentecost? Because the grafting in started with him, and its purpose was to make Israel jealous. This is the purpose of the Acts Age. In our study on the Parable of the Sower, we saw that this is parallel to the third sowing (the first being John the Baptist and the second by the Lord Jesus).

The Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 (during the Lord's earthly ministry) addressed him as "Son of David." Gentiles do not have the right to address him that way. when a Jew addressed him that way, he listened. When the gentile woman used that title, the Lord ignores her and compares her to a little dog.

Earthly Ordinances

We saw that Gentiles living outside the land were never preached the Law nor the Gospel of the Kingdom.  We that the Lord forbade his disciples from doing so. These are not what we would call "salvation" truths. They are obedience and maturity and reward truths. They are connected to the promises of the land and the Kingdom in Israel as we have seen.

So, while in the land, a stranger could live among Israel, but he was required to observe the things pertaining to the earthly. These are the "earthly ordinances" of the hope of the Kingdom. 

We must distinguish between these two enemies of the Christian: things that are "worldly" (which appeal to the lower nature of the flesh) and thins that are "earthly" (which appeal to the religious nature and pride of the believer). Both can rob you of your reward. We must walk according to the calling to which we have been called (Eph 4:1).

Keep the Law

Why does the Lord tell the young ruler to keep the law to enter into life, he is speaking of the Kingdom on earth, not resurrection life in the far above the heavens. Matthew 19

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good[Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect [mature/qualified], go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

The Lord does not contradict that the man kept the commandments listed and adds a layer of requirement to test his heart. Is the Lord teaching "Justification by Law Plus Philanthropy" (we note "justification" as well as "salvation" are context dependent)? No. The Lord is still preaching the coming Kingdom. This is especially true in all of Matthew.

We see the Lord reference the "gospel of the Kingdom" (which he preached in Matthew 4 and 9) in regard to Israel and the Tribulation in Matthew 24.

But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

We do not believe this is "justification by endurance." This is physical salvation during the Tribulation. They must endure both in body and spirit. This does not mean martyrs miss out on anything. Quite the contrary. But he is about to tell "those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." The context is heeding his warning with promise of deliverance if they endure.

Remember, the gospel of the kingdom was to be preached to JEWS ONLY. When the Lord returns to rescue faithful Israel and take David's throne in the land THEM the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached by Israel to the nations [gentiles].

All of this is predicated on understanding God's different plans for different companies of believers and understanding the different between God's plans for earth, the New Jerusalem, the new earth, and the far above the heavens. 

Adam looked for Paradise restored. Abraham looked for the New Jerusalem. David looked for his seed to sit on an age-enduring throne. Israel looks for its promises in the land and kingdom and as a Kingdom of priests. We look for a calling with is not earthly, but rather it is in the "far above the heavens where Christ dwells."

If we muddle up those different callings, we'll miss our calling and our reward.