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Thursday, May 6, 2021

The Gentile "Twelve Tribes" Heresy

Quick Review 

Gentile believers were separate from Jewish believers in the Gospels, and in the Acts Age. After the Acts Age there were no more Jews as there is now a pause in the plan for Israel (but that plan shall come to pass). The earthly plan and the earthly kingdom was temporarily put aside and God revealed a heavenly plan through Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles. 

The underlying belief of a group called The Twelve Tribes Community (IMHO) is a denial of the finished work of Christ on Calvary and in resurrection. This is abundantly clear on their "beliefs" page (which is so confused and contrary to the witness of scripture, there is no space here). 

From The Twelve Tribes Community (TTC) website:


When we say "Twelve Tribes", it is not just some denominational title or brand name that we invented. Rather, we are speaking of people actually dwelling together in unity, living a tribal life in twelve different geographical areas on the earth, so as to be a light to the nations. The twelve-in-one nature of this spiritual nation is described in the Scriptures as the nature of the New Testament Church.

(The Twelve Tribes Community)  


This is in no way a scriptural description of the twelve tribes as seen in the pages of the Bible (the listing of which varies throughout scripture). 

They continue:


When Paul, in his defense before Agrippa, referred to “our twelve tribes” in Acts 26:7, surely he was not referring to the Jews who were accusing him. There was no point in flattering them about “earnestly serving God night and day.” The Master had already prophesied to the Jews that, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.” A new nation had to take the place of the old, and bear the fruit that the old nation didn't bear.

(The Twelve Tribes Community) 


We'll ignore the anti-Semitism for now.

The TTC assumes that there is no way Paul could mean "Jews" as it was unbelieving Jews accusing him, yet the witness of Paul all through the Acts and in the Acts Age epistles is that unbelieving Jews remained Jews and unbelieving Israel remained Israel. If we do not see that, Paul makes no sense in his actions and pleadings to both Jews and to Israel (as we shall see). 

Just in reading the TTC materials, we can see they are very selective in what they want to call Jews, Israelites, or twelve tribes. They ignore some uses inconvenient to their desire to say they are Jews when they are not. They pull out half a sentence and build a universe around it. 

Paul was surely witnessing to the continued hope of the twelve tribes of biblical Israel. We covered related topics in our look at Romans 9 (Israel According to the Flesh) and in our series, "Who is a Jew?" Paul maintained all through the Acts Age that he was in chains "for the hope of Israel." 


Paul's Witness to Unbelieving Jews and Unbelieving Israel


In Acts 28, Paul is clearly speaking to unbelieving Jews in Rome. Scripture testifies that Paul went to Jews first in every city that had Jews ("as was his practice"). These unbelieving Jews in Rome are the "Israelites" Paul refers to in Romans 9. Paul wished himself "accursed" for the sake of "Israelites." And in case we miss the point, he specifies "my brethren according to the flesh." We cannot cram in Gentiles or some new twelve tribes or some lost tribe of gentile Ephraim. Why would Paul wish he was accursed for the sake of believers?


For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came


These are clearly the unbelieving descendants of Jacob. We cannot cram gentiles in there. And we also note while we're here, that the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises, an the fathers all still pertain to Israel, the descendants of Jacob. God's promises are yea and amen, he will fulfill his promises to the apple of his eye. We will reiterate this again later in this post as it must be understood if we are to "rightly divide the Word of Truth."


Paul's Post-Acts Ministry


Let's look at how Paul's ministry changes during and after the Acts Age:


For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

-Acts 28:20


For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already...

-Ephesians 3:1-3


All through Paul's epistles, he makes a clear distinction between Jews and Gentiles. In the Acts Age, even among believers, Paul continues to draw distinctions. It is only after the Book of Acts that Paul reveals the plan hidden in God from "before the foundation of ages," on a Body made up of "one new man" consisting of Jew and Gentile with a hope in the far above the heavens.

At no point, either in the Acts Age or after, can Gentiles be called Jews. Let's take another look at Paul's trial in its context. 


“I think myself happy, King Agrippa, because today I shall answer for myself before you concerning all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which have to do with the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently. “My manner of life from my youth, which was spent from the beginning among my own nation at Jerusalem, all the Jews know. They knew me from the first, if they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain. For this hope’s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused by the Jews.  Why should it be thought incredible by you that God raises the dead?

-Acts 26:2-8


This is the "hope of Israel." It consists of the promises made to the Fathers. Israel's fathers. The Land and the Kingdom. These are earthly promises. The Lord came to witness to that promised kingdom. He taught the twelve apostles of the Lamb for 40 days after his resurrection about that kingdom (Acts 1:3-6) as these will "sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel" ON EARTH in the regeneration of the Earth (Matthew 19:28).

When the TTC quotes from the Acts 26 passage, they remove it from its context. If Paul is somehow referring to Gentile twelve tribes, the passage becomes incoherent. Paul refers to "OUR twelve tribes" and "OUR fathers" and a hope which had not yet been attained. That cannot be the sending of the Savior.


The Earthly Promises are Still Future and Still for Israel


As we have seen in Romans 9, the promises made to the fathers, and the covenants, etc. still pertain to Paul's brethren according to the flesh. This not some "spiritual Israel" made up of Gentiles. The Lord testified that he was "sent to none but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel" (Matt 15:24). When he sent the twelve out with the message that the Kingdom was at hand, they were forbidden to preach that message to Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-7).

Paul affirms the Lord's mission in Romans 15:8-9. The came to Lord confirm the promises made to THE FATHERS (one group), that the nation would  serve as a witness for the Gentiles (as scripture prophesies repeatedly and which is the goal of the Covenants with Israel).


Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:

“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”


Paul quotes David (Psalm 18:49), the King of Israel, from the Tribe of Judah, through whom the Messiah and future King of Israel shall come. 

There is a clear comparative here. We cannot read "the circumcision" as being Gentiles and we cannot read "the fathers" as referring to Gentiles. The fathers are clearly of the circumcision (Israel) and the Lord was a servant to them with the prophetic end that all the nations (Gentiles) would be blessed THROUGH ABRAHAM.

 

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
-Galatians 3:13-14


Who is the "us" in this passage? It is Jews. Israel was redeemed from the curse of the Law as the Law was only given to Israel (Exodus 19:3-6; Romans 9:4; etc.). With the curse removed, the earthly blessings of Abraham would become available to Gentiles. This is the ministry found in the synoptic gospel accounts and the goal of the "grafting in" of Gentiles of the Acts Age. That grafting in was for the specified purpose of making Israel jealous (Romans 10:19; 11:11). The Lord did not "save Israel" to "make ex-Israel jealous" as we would have to teach if Israel has been replaced as TTC proposes. 


Israel is Still Israel in the Acts Age


We continue to see the clear differentiation between Jews and Gentiles in Romans 11.


For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 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.”


If we try to read this passage with the teaching that God replaced Israel with some "spiritual Israel" made up partly or wholly of Gentiles, or that Israel now means all believers, it makes no sense.


For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to BELIEVERS until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all BELIEVERS will be saved, as it is written:

“The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from BELIEVERS;
For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

-[WRONG DIVISION of the WORD of TRUTH}


You have to ignore many passages to somehow make Gentiles fit into "Israel" and also fit in the "Twelve Tribes" and "Jacob" and "the House of Judah," etc. 


The Hope of Israel is Earthly, Not Heavenly


The hope of Israel was the promise to Abraham of a land (on earth) and a kingdom to David (on earth) the throne of which will be occupied by one of his house (Judah). Peter addresses unbelieving Jews in Acts 3 as "ye men of Israel." They were still Israel. "The fathers" were still and will always be the fathers of Israel (not of Gentiles). Abraham is the father of all who believe, but the promises of the land belong to his physical descendants. 


Ye men of Israel... The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of  our fathers. 

-Peter, as an Apostle to the Circumcision, to unbelieving Israel in Acts 3


Peter promises those Jews of Israel that if they repent, the Father would send back the Lord Jesus to restore the Kingdom to Israel [Acts 1:6]. Can we preach this today?


Ye men of Israel... Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

 

  • To unbelieving Israel, after the resurrection and ascension, after Pentecost:
  • Promise of the times of refreshing if they repent
  • The fathers are still unbelieving Israel's fathers 
  • Things spoken "since the world began
  • Prophets foretold these days
  • They were still the children of the Prophets
  • Covenant made with their fathers that through them Gentiles would be blessed


Israel will be turned away from her iniquities when the New Covenant comes in (Ezek 36; Jer 31; Heb 8; etc.).

The "Twelve Tribes" group teaches that the twelve tribes are now all Gentile? Since when? Apparently, Peter and Paul were unaware. Even if they limit it to the "Tribe of Ephraim" theory, they run into the same problem (we will address this briefly later).


Paul Witnesses to The Hope of Israel in the Acts Age


We reiterate, during the Acts, Paul said he was in chains "for the hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20). This was the promise the "twelve tribes" still sought (Acts 26:7). This is the hope Paul spoke of to the unbelieving JEWS in Acts 28. Paul testifies this late in the Book of Acts to unbelieving Jews. He refers to these unbelievers as both "Jews" and "brethren" in the context of "Israel." Again, he notes "OUR fathers." He speaks from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. We cnnot read any of these as to pertaining to believing Gentiles.


And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the JEWS together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the JEWS spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Cæsar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judæa concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee. But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

-Acts 28


When we note in this passage that Paul is witnessing to clearly unbelieving JEWS in the context of the hope of Israel (just as Peter referred to unbelieving Jews as "Ye men of Israel"), we can see that the other unbelieving JEWS who  spoke against his message at his trial were still part of the Biblical Twelve Tribes of Israel (i.e. Jews). The TTC calls ignores all this evidence to conclude that since Jews accused Paul at his trial, they could not also be the Biblical Twelve Tribes.

The single verse pulled out by the TTC does not hold up in the context in which it was spoken, in the context of this meeting Paul had in Rome after his trial, nor in Paul's Acts Age epistles. Let's look again at their position.


When Paul, in his defense before Agrippa, referred to “our twelve tribes” in Acts 26:7, surely he was not referring to the Jews who were accusing him. There was no point in flattering them about “earnestly serving God night and day.” The Master had already prophesied to the Jews that, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.” A new nation had to take the place of the old, and bear the fruit that the old nation didn't bear. [Twelve Tribes website] 


When Paul was witnessing "the kingdom of God" to Jews in Acts 28, he is "persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets." Paul references Jews as his "brethren" and his "nation." At his trial, Paul states he taught NOTHING that Moses and the prophets did not say would come. They taught that a Kingdom was coming for national Israel and that Gentiles would be blessed through that Kingdom. When Paul witnesses to the Greeks in Acts 17, he makes no mention of Moses and the Prophets, he refers only to the God of creation.  

God had not set aside his people nor the Plan of God for the fulfillment of promises made through Moses and the Prophets of an earthly kingdom in Israel. The Lord lays out this plan in the Gospel of Matthew and in Acts 1:3-6. He came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel alone (Matthew 4, Matthew 9, Matthew 10) and he sent the 12 out to preach it in the Acts, to Jews only. The "Apsotles to the Circumcision" were commissioned to Israel, true Israel, not some new Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Acts 11:19; Galatians 2:7-9). 

Gentiles were temporarily grafted in during the Acts Age (under Paul's ministry), not because Israel had been rejected, but because God was reaching out to his people (who were still his people). Paul, again, identifies with them (separate from believers, separate from Gentiles).


I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.

-Romans 11:1-2

I say then, have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them [Isarel] to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

-Romans 11:11-12


I posted these in reverse order to my references above that we may look at this latter verse in light of the assertions of the Twelve Tribes group. 

"They" refers to "His people" which refers to Israel. Paul continues to identify with both Israel and with his tribe, Benjamin. It is only after the Book of Acts that he counts his pedigree as dung (Phil 3:5-7). This is because Paul no longer had an earthly hope of a land and a kingdom (or even of the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven), but he has a hope "in the heavenly places" which was not spoken of my Moses and the Prophets, which was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of the Ages. This the revelation found in the Book of Ephesians and the Book of Colossians (both post Acts).


Paul's Post-Acts Ministry (Again)


As noted, Paul testified at his trial that he taught NOTHING that was not spoken of by Moses and the Prophets (Acts 26:22) SINCE  the foundation of world, which he witnesses to the Jews (of Israel) in Rome in Acts 28. Again, this is distinctly different compared with what he taught in Ephesians which was a truth hidden from men and from the prophets since BEFORE the foundation of the world, revealed only to Paul.


Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come.

-Acts 26:22

And when they [The Jews in Rome] had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

-Acts 28:23

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.

-Ephesians 1:4

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God.

-Ephesians 3:8-9

What Paul taught Post-Acts was no longer a kingdom and priesthood in the land on the earth (or even the New Jerusalem which comes down to earth), but a new, previously hidden, heavenly hope of unsearchable riches.

We have covered these things numerous times, but it is essential to grasp and accept these differences if we are to make sense of what we are reading in the Gospels and in the 3-sets of Epistles in what we call The New Testament. (7 by the Apostles of the Circumcision to Jews, 7 by Paul in the Acts Age, 7 in the Post Acts - Current Age).


From a Prisoner for Israel to a Prisoner for Gentiles


We note again, after the Acts Paul said he was "the prisoner of Christ Jesus [Christos Iesus] for you Gentiles."  During the Acts Age, Gentile believers were responsible to support Jewish believers. This is just one of countless examples of the distinction made in the Acts Age between Jewish and Gentile believers. How do we understand this simple division in Romans 15 if we don't recognize the truth of Romans 1?


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

-Romans 1:16

For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them [the Gentiles] indeed, and they are their [the Jews] debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their [the Jews] spiritual things, their [the Gentiles] duty is also to minister to them [the Jews] in material things.

-Romans 15:26-27


Can I come preach this at your assembly?  That Gentile believers are bound to support Jewish believers? That Gentile believers are debtors to Jewish believers? This is no longer the case, but it was the case during the Acts Age. But the TTC teaches that God took his kingdom promises (which are yea and amen, confirmed and assured) from Jews and gave them to Gentiles. This is a wrong division of the Word of God and a denial of God's faithfulness. God will "restore" the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:3-6; etc.). 

During the Acts Age, as we see in Acts 15:19-29  and Acts 21:23-25, Jewish believers and Gentile believers lived under different decrees (Acts 16:4). These were done away with in Paul's new revelation of Ephesians and the Post Acts epistles. This is the middle wall which came down and the creation of the "one new man" (Ephesians 2:13-15). Again, another study for another day. But we must recognize these differences (as we have noted in numerous previous studies).


Putting Their "Proof Text" in Context.


The TTC group pulls a verse of its context and builds and entire theology on it.


The Master had already prophesied to the Jews that, “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it” [Matt 21:43]. A new nation had to take the place of the old, and bear the fruit that the old nation didn't bear. 
(The Twelve Tribes Community) 


Let's look at this in context (especially in Matthew). It's taken from a parable. Building a doctrine on parables is delicate and dangerous thing as they are meant to be difficult to understand (Matthew 13:10-11). But we'll have to leave that there. 

We have not the space to break down all of Matthew 21, but this Jewish/Kingdom gospel of Matthew continues that theme in this chapter. Remember, the Kingdom was to be preached to Jews only. Red-Letter Christians take note of the words of our Lord:


Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

-Matthew 10:5-7 


In Matthew 21, the Lord is contrasting the lowly of Israel (publicans and harlots) with the elite in Israel. He is not teaching a new truth about a Gentile Kingdom. Remember, the preaching of the Kingdom is only for the lost sheep of the House of Israel as contrasted with Gentiles.

The parable from which they base their entire theology concerns "two sons" (Matthew 21:28) and it was spoken as a judgment against "the chief priests and the elders" (Matthew 21:24). All involved were of Israel. All involved were Jews. The Kingdom was still being offered to Jews only. 


the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you

-Matthew 21:31b


Isaiah 66 speaks of a coming day when Zion shall give birth to a new nation. That nation, in that passage, is contrasted with Gentiles. It is the promises fulfilled to Israel. It cannot be Gentiles. I encourage a reasding of the entire chapter, but we will pull out this short passage for your  consideration:


Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take some of them for priests and Levites,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 66:20-21


The secondary place of Gentiles in both the preaching of the Gospel of Grace in the Acts Age and the secondary place of Gentiles in the Acts church contradict the interpretation that God has forsaken his promises to Israel (God forbid!). The TTC call God a liar whose word cannot be trusted.


The New Covenant With Israel


Therefore say to the house of Israel

When we examine the New Covenant, we see its point (and the New Heart for ISRAEL - Ezekiel 36:16-38) is that Israel may one day serve as "a kingdom of priests" and a "holy nation." This was the goal of the Old Covenant (Ex 19:3-6). They want to play fast and loose with words like "Israel" and "Jews" and "Gentiles." There is so much here I can't go into for the sake of space, but I'll leave with a future prophecy (in addition to our reference to Ezekiel 36), the Lord's separation in Matthew, and another word from Paul.


Thus saith the Lord of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days [FUTURE] it shall come to pass [FUTURE], that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations [GENTILES], even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a JEW, saying, We will go with YOU: for we have heard that God is with YOU. 
-Zech 8:20-23)


These are not suddenly Gentile Jews in Zechariah. I won't post the entire chapter, but you can go read it and see it is clearly a physical promise to a physical people in a physical land. And it will come to pass. This is far more to be noted along this line in scripture, but just staying in Zechariah:


In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.  And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.

-Zech 12:8-14 


This is picture of the future repentance of true Israel (not some fake Gentile Israel).

When the non-Proselyte, non-law-keeping, non-Sabbath-keeping Gentile approaches the Lord in faith in Matthew 8, the Lord CONTRASTS Gentiles with Israel in the future kingdom. Yes, some Jews will be cast out (unfaithful servants) and some Gentiles will be invited guests (compare Matthew 21:1-14). But it will be Israel's blessing. The New Jerusalem will have the names of the 12 tribes on them. 


When Jesus heard it [the faith of a Gentile], he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

-Matthew 8 


Similarly, when a non-proselyte, non-law-keeping, non-Sabbath-keeping Gentile woman approaches the Lord as "thou Son of David" he ignores her. But when she comes in faith to her "Lord" (alone), he grants her request. Our Lord refers to Gentiles as "little dogs." The "Red Letter Christians" and those who claim to hate Paul and "only follow Jesus" neglect this passage.


Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan [GENTILE] came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread [JEWS], and to cast it to dogs [GENTILES]. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ [JEWS] table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith [FAITH, not LAW-KEEPING]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

-Matthew 15:21-28


This remained true all through the gospels and Acts Age. The difference in the Acts Age was that the Lord grafted in gentile believers into the "fatness" (Rom 11) of Israel's blessings for the cause of making Israel jealous. Again, we note, there was still an Israel and an Israel to be made jealous. And in all this, the gospel was still "to the Jew first"  (Romans 1:16; Romans 2:9-10). In the Acts Age, Paul always went to Jews first in any town where there were Jews "as his manner was" (Acts 17:1-3). 


Jews Have Never Been "Replaced" by Gentiles


 In Acts 15 and Acts 21 Gentile believers are still treated differently from Jewish believers. In Romans 11, it is only Gentile believers who are warned they can be "cut off" from the "fatness of the root" (Israel's blessings in the Kingdom). If Gentiles are now Israel, what do we make of all these distinctions?

Can I preach that at your assembly today? Do we separate Gentile believers and Jewish believers as Paul did? Do we threaten only Gentile believers today that if they become haughty against Israel they will be "cut off" (cut off from what today?)? Do we ask Gentile believers to support Jewish believers in physical things? Do we go to the Jew first in our evangelism? Are we waiting for the Kingdom in the land or the blessings in the far above the heavens (Ephesians)? 

  • Mark the things that differ (Phil 1:10)
  • Rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15)

As for the listing of the twelve tribes themselves, the lists vary throughout scripture for different reasons. But that is another study for another time.

I finish with the testimony of Paul, even during the Acts Age as to whom are Israelites and to whom pertain the promises of the Kingdom on Earth  (which the Twelve Tribes Community claims).


 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth 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 Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 
-Romans 9:3-5


Context. Paul is referring to unbelieving Israelites this late in the Acts Age. To THEM still pertain the adoption, the covenants, the law, and the priesthood. Our blessings today are in the "heavenly places" where Christ sits as taught by Paul as a new revelation in the Book of Ephesians. We do not have a hope on the earth. We do not seek an EARTHLY Kingdom. Our blessings are spiritual, not carnal.


 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. 

-Eph 1:3

And you [GENTILES] hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we, being dead to sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus... 

-Eph 2: 1-6


We should step into these blessings, rejoice in them, praise the Lord for them and honor God's earthly promises to Israel (which will come to pass).

Monday, April 26, 2021

Quick Housekeeping Note and a Blog Stat Summary

 The hits on this blog have surpassed the 70,000 mark. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps not an overwhelming number. But for a little man with a particular theological bent, it's well appreciated. 

Traffic dropped off after China clamped down on internet traffic in Hong Kong, but we still average 100-300 hits per day here. Just for reference, we had 244 hits yesterday and we're averaging 168 hits/day in April. Not turning the world upside down but much appreciated, again.  

The all-time top location hitting the page, even with the clamp down, is Hong Kong with nearly 31K visits. China comes in at number 5 with just under 4K visits. During the height of the protests in Hong Kong, when visits to the blog were very heavy, I posted this encouragement:

Our Brothers and Sisters in China and Hong Kong: Suffering and Reward

Another curious stat are the peak visits from Israel. This could be a function of VPN software routing through Israel, but they seem to come in bunches. It's a curious stat, but Israel is second to Hong Kong at over 13.7K visits. The USA comes in at third with just over 8K. Indonesia is similar the numbers for China (both around 3.8K visits each).

The Top Ten most visited individual studies (separate from simple visits to the main page) are thus:

  1. The Most Misquoted Verse in Scripture (2 Cor 5:8)
  2. Why Was Timothy Circumcised in Acts 16?
  3. The Monkees, the Messiah, & Me
  4. Are We Preaching the Right Gospel?
  5. Is the Masoretic Text Corrupted? (Quick Take)
  6. David Hocking, Gentiles, and the Acts 15 Council at Jerusalem
  7. Comparing the Different Listings of the Twelve Tribes
  8. Basics for Understanding the Bible
  9. Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)
  10. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Part 1


I put a lot of time into my series on "Walking in the Spirit" and my "Walk Worthy" series. But I guess the people want what the people want! LOL!

SO... as we move along in 2021, PLEASE NOTE this change from GOOGLE:

the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021.
After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported.

If you find any value in these posts, please bookmark. I post an average of about 5 times a month.

Cheers and Godspeed!


 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Quick Reminder About Death and Mortality and Resurrection

If I assembled a room full of people (Christians, Muslims, Animists, Atheists, Agnostics, Mets fans, you name it), there is one thing we can agree on... in one way or another, our bodies are mortal. We are all going to die.

That is the central problem of mankind, death

Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.


Ezek 18:20a The one who sins is the one who will die.

In Christianity, we understand from Paul that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). This might freak out some Christians, but when someone is told that he cannot pay his sin debt, that someone is wrong. You can pay your sin debt. Die. Not "die" simply in terms of "passing away" but "die" in terms of really dying. Going back to the dust. Exercising your mortality. Ceasing to be.

God has already been reconciled to humans. He is not holding their sins against them. However, people must individually be reconciled to God. We don't preach judgment, we preach reconciliation.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
-2 Corinthians 5:18-9


God is a God of justice. In the end, all will "surely die" (as God warned Adam and Eve in the garden) if they refuse the free gift of "life through his name" (John 20:30-31). For the believer, the scriptures tell us in Isaiah 53 and in 1 Peter 2 "by His stripes we are healed." He took the temporal stripes of our punishment and suffered death. But whereas our punishment and death would be the final result of our sin, He rose again to conquer both sin and death!

God's free gift is "life" through Christ (Rom 6:23; John 20:30-31). When we place our faith in Christ, we are passed from death, unto life (John 5:24).

When one owes a debt and pays it, he doesn't get a free gift. He simply paid the debt. If there is a gift it must be received. This is the essence of Christianity. God offers a free gift of immortal and incorruptible life in resurrection.! This is a true gift.

This gift cannot be earned (lest it cease to be a gift) or lost (lest it cease to be free).

Of course, to be freed of the obligation of never-ending death and to have that obligation obliterated so an alternative can be offered, a substitutionary death must be presented to pay the debt of never-ending death. That is where Christ's death, burial (lack of decay) and resurrection (undoing of death) come in. He died for our sins (in our place) so we are no longer obligated to "cease to be." We can be "hid in him" and live again (undo physical death).

Rom 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

1 Cor 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures...

1 Cor 6:14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.

God is not in the torture business. You may pay your sin debt through mortality and death or you may choose to seek the free grace of God through Christ Jesus (resurrection life).

Of course, choosing death does not mean that you won't have to face your sin. Who you are (soul) is known to God and he may restore a mortal body to display his just decision to allow you to die by having you face your sins and face your choice to choose never-ending death over the free gift of life, but I will leave that in His hands. To be honest, I can see it both ways. I honestly am not sure how that will play out for the unbeliever. Fortunately, because of Christ alone, I'll never have to experience it. One thing I am sure of for those who reject the gift of resurrection life: they will perish.

Faith is an individual matter. The choice is therefore laid out for the individual: you can either choose to seek the free gift of immortal and incorruptible life in a celestial body that will know no sickness or death or you may choose to die. No church, no pastor, no catechism will answer for you or can make your decision for you. It is your choice.


The Elements of Death Removed from Those Who Receive the Free Gift
    • The sting of death (1 Cor 15:55)
    • The victory of death (1 Cor 15:55)

It is never said of an unbeliever in scripture that he "sleeps" at his death, but this is how believers are to view death. We do not feel the "sting" of death. It is though we make our bed in death (Psalm 139) and await awakening in resurrection.

For one to receive this gift he must understand that he needs to be freed from the condemnation of death and from "the law of sin and death" (Rom 8:1-2). Do you understand that you have sinned and that the wages of your sin will be death? One needs not only understand that, he must seek the remedy. And the only remedy to the law of sin and death is the substitutionary death of the Christ and his conquering of the grave by his not decaying and rising again!

Death is the enemy Christ came to destroy.

1 Cor 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Romans 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death

Death is "the last enemy." Death is how the history of man begins and the destruction of that curse is how it will end. The introduction of the Greek mythology of a fiery torture chamber robs Christ's death of its glory. His death should be valued as the substitute for our death. He (a) did not decay in the grave and (b) he rose from the dead. It is death that hangs over the world. We need to tell people they can be freed from the penalty of death and freed from the power of sin that requires death.

So WHEN this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Paul teaches that it is the goodness of God that leads us to turn from sin and turn to him in faith (Rom 2). Contemplate the wonderful goodness of God found in the free gift of eternal life won by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Christian rejoice in it, and pray others find salvation and the free gift of life in it!


He's coming!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Alternate Understanding of Ephesians 2:1 "Dead in sin?"

Allow me to offer an alternative understanding of Eph 2:1. Here is how it is rendered in the NKJV (and most English translations):

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins

We know in Christ we are "dead to sin" (present tense)

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

-Romans 6:2 


That we understand. In Christ we are DEAD to sin. Let's look at some similar verses in regard to how this idea is translated.

Let's take a look at this last one in full.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.


We being "dead" is the state of the Christian to his flesh NOW. The admonition is to recognize this death (and the eventual physical death of the flesh, the curse) so we can seek to live free from its wants, desires, lusts (including religious traditions and religious pride). The expanded Rom 6:11 puts it succinctly.

Likewise reckon [consider] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Let's now try the opposite and try to apply the KJV rendering in Ephesians 2 to our understanding in Romans 6 (etc.) and see where that gets us:


For in that He died, He died IN SIN once (bad translation of Rom 6:10)
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed IN SIN (bad translation of Rom 6:11)

That makes no sense (it's blasphemy in the first example and terrible in the second). Christ died "unto sin" (not "in sin") and we are to consider ourselves dead "to sin." So, we cannot go back to those verses and apply the KJV in Ephesians rendering.

Let's now jump back to Ephesians 2 and look at these verses in light of the understanding of our death unto sin as it is correctly translated in our bulleted examples above. We also note (without going into detail for the sake of space) that "were" should be rendered "being" from the Greek (ontas, present participle). The KJV translates the same word (ontas) "being" in Col 2:13, so it's not crazy.

And you hath he quickened, who being dead to trespasses and sins

-Ephesian 2:1 (corrected)  


Let us also correct Ephesians 2:5

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) - KJV
Even when we being dead to sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) - Corrected

There is no "en" in the Greek nor a word for "when" used in the KJV. The context in the passage is the exalted hope (greater than the land, greater than the Kingdom, greater than the New Jerusalem) of sitting "in heavenly places." We see the "rich in mercy" (2:4) and "exceeding riches" (2:7) of this current hope which was hidden from "before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4) and revealed by Paul.

Ephesians 2:6

 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus

The hope of Paradise restored. The hope of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates. The hope of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. The hope of the New Jerusalem which comes down to earth... all these pertain to earthly blessings and covenants. In Eph 2 we are on the exalted ground of blessings far above the heavens where Christ sits.

The passage is teaching that SINCE we are (now) DEAD TO SIN, we should walk according to the new nature. Because we were saved by grace through faith, we should walk in the good works God has prepared for us (Eph 2:8-10).

We are to consider ourselves dead now. The importance is found in our hope. We live in light of our lives, hidden in Christ in God, waiting to be revealed in us, because WE ARE DEAD TO SIN.

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 
-Col 3:3


For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
 
-Romans 8:18-19


These truths underlie our series on "Walking in the Spirit" and "Walking Worthy."

We differentiate our life now (considering our flesh to be dead) and the life to come in resurrection. When the Lord contrasts death and life in John, it is in light of the resurrection.

For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will... He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

-John 5:21-25 


In sum: We walk in bodies of death today. As believers we are to consider our flesh DEAD and "walk in the newness of life" (Rom 6:4) today. We no longer walk according to the flesh (the old nature), but according to the spirit (the new nature) today. Die to the old, live in the new, That is context of the death and life spoken of in Ephesians 2.

Ephesians 2:1 and 2:5 are emphasizing this point, not our state of death before we believed.

Likewise reckon [consider] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.


A quick plug for the Far Above All translation. Here is how Ephesians 2:1-5 is rendered there:

Including you who are dead to transgressions and sins, in which you once walked, according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit which is now active in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all also once had our mode of life, in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh, and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as the rest are too, but God, being rich in mercy, on account of his great love with which he loved us, made us, being dead to transgressions, alive together with Christ – you have been saved by grace

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Quick Thoughts on the Apocrypha

I thought I'd provide just some quick points in regard to the Apocrypha as it pops up now ang again. Primarily it is used in defense of praying for the dead (or praying to the dead). Readers of this blog, and listeners to the podcast, know that I believe the dead are dead until resurrection. But be that as it may, I'll try to gently give some framing to this question.

I'll start by suggesting you do not get caught up in this debate. It tends to lead to endless appeals to authority. As for me (one who grew up with the Apocrypha in my Bible - it's also in the 1611 KJV), just reading the texts suggest it is not inspired. But that is hardly a factual basis for anything (just a personal confirmation). A few early reformers included it in their translations, but they were sure to mark the Apocrypha as "uninspired" (as Tyndale did). 

We'll look quickly at direct and indirect thoughts I have about the books.

Let's start with just one verse from the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees for reference and to highlight how specific practices in the books conflict with the witness of scripture.

And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. -2 Macc 12:45-46

In regard to appeals to "authorities" such as "the early church fathers," as Luther argued at Leipzig, it matters not how many "authorities" approved of anything or not. They varied on the truth and means of redemption and handled scripture carelessly. And they did not agree on the Apocrypha in any case. Their opinions did not fully prevail on the matter (more on that later). 

Older doesn't equal truer. The epistles were written to combat grave heresy among believers. In the Acts Age, Paul warned the Ephesians that "grievous wolves would come in" after he left, "not sparing the flock." In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul warns of "Satna's ministers." In Colossians and Philippians he warns of those who would deprive believers of rewards by false teachings. In his final epistle (the close of the canon), Paul wrote that "all in Asia" had abandoned him. All this in the first century. What do I care what anyone after Paul had to say? They are no more inspired than I am.

And even among Catholics, they do not practice Lent (for example) in its oldest form. The rules changed drastically over the years and they currently practice a fairly recent version. Vatican II and the new catechism contradict previous Popes and Councils. Almost endless contradictions among the Popes (and there was period in which there were two Popes, each condemning the other, yet all are on the official list of succession).

Let's look at the claim of canonicity.

  • The Apocrypha wasn't canonized by the Catholic Church until AD1546, the Council of Trent.
  • The Apocrypha is in Greek and is not accepted as part of the Hebrew/Jewish Canon. It first appeared in the Greek Septuagint among Hellenistic Jews.
  • There isn't even agreement as to which apocryphal books should be considered canon. The RCC accepts only 12 of the 15 (in one form or another, 7 titles are listed as independent books).

Even the name given the 12 by the Catholic Church speak of their late inclusion.

Deuterocanonical (AD 1684) - "Later" or "Second" Canon

The list varied west to east, "church father" to "church father." Clement of Alexandria recognized II Esdras (not recognized by Trent). Origen inserted II Esdras on his list. No agreement. "Older" lists rejected at Trent. Augustine wanted it all included and sought to crush opposition.

Jerome at first refused to include any books of the Apocrypha in his translation (tells you what he thought of them as part of the canon). Then he, reluctantly, added Judith, Tobit, and the extensions to Esther and Daniel. The other apocryphal books in the Vulgate were added after Jerome's death

The lauding of the Apocrypha, in my experience, is often coupled with attacks on dispensationalism.  Dispensationalism (in its most basic form) rescues the gospel from those who try to find it in words never meant for them. I understand why they want the Apocrypha and why they hate dispensationalism: they want to deny the finished work of Christ and our liberty in him. And unless you are headed to Jerusalem for Pentecost, you're a dispensationalist whether you like it or not. Even in the light of the Apocrypha, dispensationalism (the right division of the word of truth) keeps us safe.

"Dispensation" is a biblical word. It means a "stewardship." We may define it differently, but to one degree or another, unless you're an Orthodox Jew, you're a dispensationalist. And, to be honest, even the Orthodox Jew is too. He just doesn't know it. How many times did Abraham go to the temple to offer a sacrifice on a feast day? Never. Why? Dispensations. But we've covered that in more detail elsewhere.


I end with this list from the site https://watch.pairsite.com/apocrypha.html, should you care to read further:

ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE CANONICITY OF THE APOCRYPHA
  • They are not, and have never been, in the Jewish canon.
  • Josephus explicitly excluded them from his list.
  • Philo (20 B.C.-50 A.D.) neither mentions or quotes them.
  • They were never quoted or alluded to by Jesus Christ or any of the apostles. The sermons in the Book of Acts, which outline Jewish history, do not included apocryphal events.
  • Jewish scholars meeting at the Council of Jabneh did not recognize them.
  • Most Church Fathers in fact rejected them.
  • None of the Apocrypha claim inspiration or divine authority.
  • Many of the Apocryphal books contain historical, geographical, and chronological errors.
  • Many of the Apocryphal books teach heresy, contrary to the Word of God.
  • Their literary style is legendary and fantasy. Some stories are grotesque and demonic.
  • They lack the power and distinctive elements of the Word of God.


I'm not interested in a debate on this topic (for various reasons outlined above). I am well-convinced the Apocrypha has no standing with scripture (although valuable for Greek word studies and historical purposes). If you chase this rabbit, you will find ten thousand different lists and opinions. 

Finally, we've noted in our entries and dealings with the Gospel of John, that is has everything one need to have life in His name. It relies, in no way, on any teaching of the Apocrypha and John 11 (the raising of Lazarus) is in direct contradiction to the verse from 2 Maccabees (no matter how you want to slice it).  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Should Christians Defy Government and Go to Church?

I recently watched a video (here) which is essentially a "pastor" yelling at us for not "going to church." He includes in his yelling an accusation that those who don't "go to church" are "taking a break" from our Christianity. I recommend you watch it if you want to consider his argument.

The overall context is when we are to obey the powers that be.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

-Romans 13:1-7 


The powers that be are two-fold: they are both controlled by wicked principalities and powers and ordained by God. I think scripture supports both concepts. And we do wrestle, in a spiritual sense, against these principalities and powers. When push comes to shove, we are to obey God rather than men (no disagreement there), but we need to be sure we're actually following God and not our traditions or the mandates of another age.

That said, the pastor makes a mistake using Matthew 10. He conveniently skips over the context of the Lord's instructions and jumps to verse 15 (Matt 10:15). In that chapter, the Lord sends out the 12 to preach the Kingdom to Israel alone. That's not a great place to try and find direct application to this age. Even if we wanted to use Matt 10 as a pattern, it has nothing to do with meeting in a building. In fact, the passage is specific to meeting in homes.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.


Now, is that what this pastor is preaching? The Kingdom is at hand? To Jews only? In Israel alone? Is he healing the sick and raising the dead? Is he asking for no money? Does he carry no money?

Matthew is wholly on Jewish (Israel) ground. It concerns the earthly Kingdom and the promises to Israel. The Lord sends out those who were promised to "sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes." (Matt 19:28) That is their unique calling. They are Apostles to the Circumcision.

Note when he jumps in at verse 15, he has to ignore what is said immediately before that:

And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, 15 It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.


There is nowhere we can find, "you must meet in a building." I hate to say it, but these pastors are not living hand to mouth either.

"Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat"


His income is dependent on people supporting, not only him, but his building too. We are free to have buildings, but it's not mandated. In fact, the expense of the building is a hindrance. I don't need his building to meet with other believers and the passage he chose speaks of "houses." And they went out to spread a message to people who needed to hear it. He's not accomplishing that sitting in a building.

I'm not going to a building at the moment. That doesn't mean I'm "taking a break" from my Christianity. Quite the opposite. I used the time at home to start a podcast. I've joined two international Bible studies. He can take his building and its bills and sit there by himself if he wants. I don't need it to validate my Christianity.

Yes, there are MANY things about the plandemic we need to recognize, but not paying the water bill and mortgage on this guy's building is not one of them. If that's his Christianity, he has issues. If he wants to preach the message of Matthew 10... good luck


Listen to "The Church Is Not Israel and Israel Is Not the Church, Day Trip To Romans 9" on Spreaker.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

To Israel Pertain the Covenants (Not to the Body)

We need to be careful with the word "covenant." We must correctly apply it. Israel are the people of the covenants (plural). Grace is not a covenant and there is no covenant connected to the current age (Heb 8: 6-13).

Israel has a future connected to the earth, the land, the kingdom, the priesthood, and the covenants. To Israel pertain the covenants (Rom 9:3-5). They have a earthly hope after the cross ("the hope of Israel," [Acts 22:20] "To this hope our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain," [Acts 26:7] etc.) connected to the land. The hope of the present age is the "far above the heavens... in heavenly places" (Eph 1:3; Eph 2:6; etc.). We do not have an earthly hope which is why we should shun earthly ordinances connected to the earth, the land, the covenants, the kingdom, the priesthood, etc.

The Lord's earthly ministry as King (Son of David) was to Israel alone (Matt 15:24) and he forbade his disciples to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (not what we preach today) to anyone but to Jews. They were not to preach the Kingdom among the Gentiles or Samaritans (Matt 10: 5-7).

In the good news to the world in the Gospel of John, the Lord speaks to a Samaritan woman, but you will notice the disciples are not with him (John 4:27). As with the Canaanite Gentile woman in Matthew 15, he is still her Lord and God. But as the Gentile woman must take her place as a "little dog" who eats the scraps that fall from the children's/Master's table (Matt 15:26-28), so must the Samaritan woman recognize that "Salvation is of the Jews." The Jews were related, but distinct from the Samaritans in terms of the "promises made to the fathers" (Rom 15:8).


You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.


Note the pronouns. YOU (Samaritans), WE (Jews).

We see something similar in Luke 17 which sort of ties these ideas together. The Lord hears the cries of the lepers. Unlike the Canaanite Gentile woman who incorrectly referred to him as "Son of David" and was ignored (Matt 15:21-24) until she recognized him only as Lord (Matt 15:25), the lepers call on him as "Master." Note that Lord refers to the leper in Luke 17 as a "foreigner"

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner (stranger)?” (Greek: allogenḗs)

Same Greek word used in the Septuagint in Numbers:

A memorial to the children of Israel that no stranger might draw nigh, who is not of the seed of Aaron, to offer incense before the Lord; so he shall not be as Core and as they that conspired with him, as the Lord spoke to him by the hand of Moses. (Num 17:5)

We must distinguish the things for Israel connected to her promises in the land and the kingdom (promised since the foundation of the world) from the blessings and hope of the current present age (promised from before the foundation of the world). We distinguish between those hopes connected to the earth with the hope in the far above the heavens. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The God of Pronouns (Names of God Revisited)

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousnessof God in Him

-2 Cor 5:21 


There is a current rend in Christendom to use the Anglicized version of the Hebrew name of the Lord. We have looked at the use of "Yeshua" in other posts and on my podcast. For this short study, I want to revisit the topic as I am seeing and hearing this movement more often.

We have noted that what we call the New Testament (this name being problematic on its own) has been given to us by the Holy Spirit in the Greek language. Therefore, no matter what the Savior may or may not have been called while in the flesh by some in Israel, the Holy Spirit has preserved his name for us as (Anglicized) "Iēsoûs." This is where we eventually get the name "Jesus."

It must also be noted that while his earthly name is Iēsoûs in the Greek texts and Yeshua in Hebrew, his followers, while he ministered directly among them, did not use his name. They called him "Teacher" and "Master" and "Lord." 

We've also noted that there are other people in scripture called "Yeshua" (Joshua) in the Hebrew (Old Testament) canon and "Iēsoûs" (Jesus) in the Greek (New Testament) canon. The name is not unique to the Lord. We see the name used of others. The only unique name I see is "Immanuel."

There are also words in both canons which have multiple applications. The name of God in Hebrew (Anglicized), "Elohim" is used of the true God and also of false gods. Likewise, the Greek word for God, "theós," (θεόςis used of both the God of  the universe and of pagan gods.


So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god (θεός).’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God (θεός) who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man... 
- Acts 17:22-24


Pronouns are used in both canons of scripture. And, as in English, the pronoun is understood in its context. The Holy Spirit has no qualms about using pronouns. The Anglicized Greek word (autóstranslated "him," "his," "himself," "her", "they," "their," etc. is used over 1000x in Luke alone. It is used of many different people (including both of the Lord and of Satan) in the texts. 

Both the great and glorious and holy God of all creation is called "father" in scripture. Satan (and others) are also referred to as a "father" (John 8:44). 

In Psalm 82, scripture (Yahweh, the Father) refers to men as "'ĕlôhı̂ym" (אֱלֹהִים). But we know from context the object and difference. 'ĕlôhı̂ym is also used of false gods (Deut 32:17; etc.). Context, is the difference.

God (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym) standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym)... I have said, Ye are gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym); and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men... 
- Ps 82:1, 6-7a

Let's revisit our opening verse in its context.
 
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (autós). 
-2 Cor 5:20-21

Verse 20 gives us the context for verse 21, bit the word itself, autós, is just as inspired when used of Christ, the Father, Satan, or anyone else. 

Finally, we turn to two of the greatest evangelistic verses of the present age.

For God so loved the world that He gave His (autós) only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him (autósshould not perish but have everlasting life. 
-John 3:16

The common word is applied there and we use the similarly common pronouns in the English as we witness. Similarly, we see the common word translated "I" or "me" (egṓ) used in another powerful verse.


Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me (egṓ), hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
-John 5:24 

 When we speak of the powerful "name" of the Lord, we must remember there are two aspects of that name. It is not the name itself, it is the authority of that name. Many of the cults use "Jesus" and Paul warns us of "another Jesus." So, the name (Greek or Hebrew) on its own carries no power unless spoken or believed on in truth.

Let's look at 2 Cor 11:4.


For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus (Greek: Iēsoûs) , whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him
-Authorized King James version
 
For if a darshan shows up and preaches another Moshiach, another "Yehoshua" (“Yeshua”) (Greek: Iēsoûs) other than the one in our drashot, or if you receive a different "Ruach Hakodesh" from the One you received or a different Besuras HaGeulah from the one regarding which you were mekabel, you put up with that well enough.
-Orthodox Jewish Bible

When someone comes to you telling about another Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) whom we didn’t tell you about, you’re willing to put up with it. When you receive a spirit that is different from the Spirit you received earlier, you’re also willing to put up with that.
-Names of God Bible


For if someone comes and tells you about some other Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) than the one we told you about, or if you receive a spirit different from the one you received or accept some so-called “good news” different from the Good News you already accepted, you bear with him well enough!
-Complete Jewish Bible


For if someone comes and proclaims another Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) whom we did not proclaim, or if you receive a different spirit that you did not receive, or a different “good news” that you did not accept, you put up with that well enough!
-Tree of Life Version


As we've noted in a number of posts and on my podcast, the true God of scripture is interested in you knowing him as your Lord. He is not impressed with our linguistic calisthenics.  There are literally billions who name the name of "Jesus" who do not know him. It will matter not which name they use upon death if they do not place their faith in the final and finished work of our Great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Greek: kyrios Iēsoûs Christos).


Additional related posts:





Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Israel According to the Flesh

 In our 2-part look at the Parable of the Sheep and Goats we noted that the "least of my brethren" reference by the Lord in that passage in Matthew 25 is to Jews in the tribulation. We noted that those being judged are the "nations" (i.e. gentile nations). Remember, God sees the world, since Babel, as his chosen nation (Israel) and the 70 nations (see the list of nations descended from Noah after the Flood in Genesis chapter 10).

 

The Most High assigned nations their lands;
he determined where peoples should live.
He assigned to each nation a heavenly being,
but Jacob's descendants he chose for himself.
 
[Jacob is the place of His inheritance]
-Deuteronomy 32:8-9

The physical descendants of Jacob (Israel) have a hope and a calling connected to the promised land and to a Kingdom. This hope was temporarily set at the end of the Acts Age (after it was preached by John the Baptist, The Lord himself, and the Apostles to the circumcision in the Acts Age). The promises, found in the Old Covenant, were conditional and specific to physical Israel on earth.

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 [land] 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 


We know they failed, which is why the Lord will someday in the future institute the New Covenant with the same people.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming [FUTURE], says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

-Hebrews 8:7-10 

 

We can only read the physical children of Israel into this passage (which quotes from Jeremiah 31). Paul refers to those who had the first covenant ("them"). He refers to "their fathers." Israel had the adoption. That is, Israel has the promise of inheritance. In this case, the promise of being "a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation" in the land. 

This is part of the "Gospel of the Kingdom" preached by the Lord and his Disciples in Matthew and in the Acts (and which will be preached again in a coming age, during the Tribulation). As the Lord preached it in Matthew 4 and Matthew 9, we know it had no cross, no death, no tomb, no resurrection. When he sends out the twelve in Matthew 10, he commands them to tell NO ONE but Jews in the land.

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

This is ground we've covered before, but we must recall that during the Lord's earthly ministry to his earthly people with an earthly promise, he ministered Kingdom truths only to Jews (as did his discples after him.

But [Jesus] answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

We've looked at this in other studies in a number of ways; here I want to focus in on Romans chapter 9 and Romans chapter 11 (written during the Acts Age) in regard to Israel according to the flesh.

I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen [kinsmen/relatives] according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.
-Romans 9:1-5


To physical Israel pertain the adoption [inheritance as the first born], the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the service of God [the priesthood], and the promises to the fathers. Paul reaffirms this last point later in the same epistle.


Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a minister to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers.

-Romans 15:8 


 We note that Romans 9 is dealing with national Israel (the root of Romans 11). It is spoken of as a whole. To the nation belong these blessings. These earthly blessing are the blessings into which the believing Gentiles in the Acts Age were "grafted in." This is NOT resurrection life truth as these same Gentiles (not Jews) could be "cut off" from the root (Israel) if they became haughty against that root. 


Let's walk through Romans 15, starting with verses 1 and 2.

 

I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.


This is the physical seed of Abraham. There is also a spiritual see of Abraham spoken of in the epistle to the Galatians. That seed is made up of both Jew and Gentile believers. But here in Romans 11 (as we see earlier in this epistle in a number of places, including our selection from Romans 9) we see the physical seed of Abraham, that is, the Jews.

A believing Gentile could never say "of the tribe of" as he, by definition, was of no tribe of Israel. We are squarely in the ground of physical and earthly Israel. So as we move ahead in the epistle, we must keep this context in mind.


I say then, have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their [Israel's] fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their [Israel's] fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their [Israel's] fullness!

Before us are two distinct groups: Israel and Gentiles. In the Acts Age, the rejection of the Kingdom preached by the Lord and his disciples has opened the door to certain blessings to Gentile believers. When Peter preached to Cornelius in Acts 10, he tells us Cornelius already believed. And Peter saw Gentile believers in Matthew 8 (the Centurion) and in Matthew 15 (the Canaanite woman). 

Acts 10 was years after Pentecost. So we can conclude two things from that chapter:

  • There were no Gentiles at the Jewish Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2
  • What surprised Peter was not Cornelius' faith, but that he received prophesied spiritual gifts

 

And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

-Acts 10:45 


They'd never seen that. The pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost was a partial fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel for Israel. To Israel "pertains the promises." This is all connected to those promises made to Israel. These have to do with what was spoken in scripture to Israel. And we know why God started to pour out his Spirit on Gentile believers. Paul (chosen Apostle to the Gentiles, the uncircumcision, who was redeemed in Acts 9) tells us it was to make unbelieving Israel jealous. The goal was to drive Israel to faith in the Messiah; the Messiah believed on by these gifted Gentiles.

For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?


The context demands that Paul is speaking of physical Jews. These are Jews who had not believed yet in the Messiah (the Christ). With physical, earthly Israel in mind, Paul continues his teaching on the inclusion of Gentiles into Israel's EARTHLY blessings. We cannot read here that Gentiles were grafted into spiritual Israel by the new birth (the new nature). To do so, we would have to ignore Paul's arguments in Romans 1-8 solidifying that for anyone (Jew or Gentile), the gift of Resurrection Life is by grace alone through faith alone. The grafting in MUST be to Israel's earthly promises and hope.

We pause here to reference two people from scripture: Adam and the Malefactor on the cross. Neither of these had a hope of a kingdom or a priesthood. When the Malefactor asks the Lord to remember him when he comes into his Kingdom, the Lord promises him a place in "Paradise." That is a specific word. It is was Adam lost by his sin. It was Adam's hope and the hope of all before Abraham. We see in the Malefactor, it was still the hope of  believing Gentiles before the grafting in.


With the earthly blessings and the promises to physical Israel in mind, we continue. 

 

For I speak to you Gentiles... For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you [Gentiles], being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them [Israel], and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.


Gentiles are warned not to boast against the branches that were cut off. These would be unbelieving Jews. Remember, ONLY GENTILE believers receive this warning. As with all truths in scripture, we must ask, "is this truth for today?" Do we practice this in this hour? Do we warn Gentile believers only not to boast against unbelieving Jews? Here we pause again to note that a Jew is still a Jew, unbelieving or not. For more, see our 3-Part series on "Who Is A Jew?"

You [Gentiles] will say then, “[Jewish]Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you [Gentiles] also will be cut off.  And they [Jews] also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?


The Olive Tree is Israel. It is the place whence their blessings flow. For Israel has the inheritance and the promises. Jews are the "natural branches" for these blessings. Gentiles are also olive branches, but wild olive branches, That is, they have no fatness (blessings) unless grafted into the blessings of Israel. And just as they were grafted in, the could be "cut off.

If we ignore the context and hold that the grafting in to Israel is the free gift, then the cutting off would deny what Paul had argued in the first eight chapters of this epistle. We'd have to conclude that resurrection life is not a gift of God. We could then boast that God is our debtor for we maintained our free gift. The gift would then no longer be a gift.

Do you see the pernicious implications behind misinterpreting this passage? Do you see why we must rightly divide Israel from Gentiles? Earthly blessings from heavenly? The gift of life from blessings and rewards and hopes? Why we must understand the inheritances and hopes (plural) in scripture? Why we must see the Acts Age hopes as different from the hope of this age?

For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 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 [physical, national Israel];
For this is My covenant with them [Israel],
When I take away their [Israel's] sins.”


This teaches us, from the prophets (remember, Paul taught nothing that was not found in Moses and the Prophets, Acts 26:22) that God's Plan always included the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel (Acts 1:1-6; Acts 3:12-22). This truth is truth revealed "from" or "since" the beginning of the world [ages] ("things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world [time]began" -Acts 3:21). The truths for today were hidden from the prophets and were hidden in God from "before" the ages began. The truths for today and its blessings (and riches) concern heavenly places, not the blessings of earth. We find these truth in the epistles written AFTER the Acts Age


For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power. To me [Paul], who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the dispensation [stewardship]of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.


We pause to also see that Paul is now casting himself as "the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles." rather than as in chains "for the hope of Israel" as he teaches in Acts 28 ("because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain - Acts 28:20). Paul also testified to this at his trial in the Acts Age ("And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers. To this promise our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain" -Acts 26:6-7).

Again we see the twelve tribes and the fathers. The contrast here is with physical promises to Israel. We can never claim access or inclusion in either way. 


Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.


Finally, for this short study, we note that physical and national Israel became enemies of the gospel for the sake of God's plan (which was spoken by the Prophets) to bless Gentiles. But in noting that fact from the Acts Age, Paul reminds us (the Holy Spirit thus reminds us) that God's calling and Plan for Israel and the Kingdom and the Priesthood and the land are "irrevocable." There will be an Israel made up of believing Jews. The New Covenant with the House of Israel will come to pass.

There is a plan for national, physical Israel, and the induvial responsibility of Jews to believe. We must rightly divide these truths when we read scripture. 

We note again, however, this does not involve the calling or hope of the present age.