The pre-tribulation rapture

A Big Problem with the Rapture

When Yahshua returns the final trumpet will sound and He will gather His elect. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other,”Matthew 24:30-33. Was Yahshua speaking of a rapture of the elect from the earth? Note that first the “tribes” of the earth will mourn at the sight of His coming. Why?

He said earth’s final events will be just like those in Noah’s day. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,” Matthew 24:37-39. Were righteous Noah and his family raptured from the planet to be saved from the devastating floodwaters? No. Yahweh had guided Noah to prepare a place of earthly protection — a giant ark of safety floating on destructive flood waters.

Note what happened to the wicked. We read that Yahweh “took them all away.” They were taken and destroyed in the waters and only Noah and his family remained.

Yahshua said it will be the same way at the end of the age: “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” In the same manner at Yahshua’s coming the wicked will be removed first and the righteous will remain.

Another account is Matthew 13:24-30 where Yahshua said, “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, did not you sow good seed in your field? from whence then has it tares? He said unto them, An enemy has done this. The servants said unto him, Will you then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matt. 13:24-30). The wicked will be taken first and burned.

A parallel account of the Second Coming is in Luke 17:35-37, where Yahshua said, “Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered, Where, Master? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.”

What did He mean by “body” and “eagles”? This verse is a mistranslation in the KJV which, when cleared up, makes understanding crystal clear. Let’s go back to Matthew 24 for clarification of the same account in Luke 17:35-37. In verses 27-28 of Matthew 24 we find: “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.”

were the translators used the more correct “carcase” in translating the word ptoma, which in Greek means “ruin, lifeless body, corpse.” The word for “eagles” refers more accurately to vultures. Eagles are not carrion eaters as are vultures.

Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament says about the word eagles in this passage, “Eagles. Rev. puts vultures in margin. The griffon vulture is meant, which surpasses the eagle in size and power.” Millions will die when the angel comes to separate and destroy the wicked first.

The New English Bible translates Matthew 24:28: “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” Goodspeed reads, “Wherever there is a dead body, the vultures will flock.” The New International Version reads, “Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.”

Does this sound like a glorious place of safety to which the saints will be taken in a rapture? On the contrary, Yahshua told His disciples that those taken first, meaning the wicked, will be taken and destroyed just as they were in the flood. The righteous Noah and family remained.

With the wicked gone and the chosen remaining, the earth can be remade into the paradise it was meant to be in Yahshua’s millennial kingdom.

Just as Noah was protected on earth during the catastrophic flood, and Israel was protected in Egypt during the passing over of the death angel, Yahweh promises the same kind of earthly protection for His people during the tribulation preceding Yahshua’s coming:

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth” (Rev. 12:-16).

What was done in the past is a pattern for the future.

Grace in the Bible

You Can Fall from Grace

“Guilty” was the jury’s verdict. The judge’s sentence: death by lethal injection. For Sam Smith, a convicted murderer, the nightmare of that January day seven years ago had played endlessly through his mind. In a jealous rage he had taken a man’s life. He realized that he deserved the death penalty for what he had done. No amount of agonizing or remorse could change that.

Regardless of how many times he pleaded for forgiveness from the victim’s family, no matter how much he wished he could relive events, one persistent fact remained: Sam deserved to die. The law was the law. He was guilty of a capital crime and he would pay the utmost price for his sin. With nowhere else to turn, he begged mercy from the governor.

 ‘You Have Been Pardoned’

Just minutes before his scheduled execution, Sam heard the most wonderful words ever spoken to a condemned man: “By the grace of the governor of this state, you have been pardoned.”

“I can’t believe it,” he said to himself.

“He pardoned me! I can live!”

Humbly thankful for the gracious pardon, Sam vowed from that point on that he would be a model citizen. And he never was in trouble with the law again.

The foregoing illustrates the concept of scriptural grace and how it works in the believer’s life.

Paraphrasing the words of Nathan the prophet to King David, “We are that man.” We all deserve to die because we are all sinners,Romans 5:12; 1John 1:10. We earned our fate and nothing we can do can change that fact. Only the mercy of Yahweh and the sacrificial death of Yahshua can save us.

Being sinless, our Savior was the only one who could pay the death penalty in our stead. Yahweh’s grace in sending His Son to die for us is our only hope for salvation. Like the governor in Sam Smith’s case, only Yahweh can release us from the spiritual death sentence our sins earned through the sacrifice of His Son.

From Sin to Obedience

In Romans 6 Paul explains the operation of Yahweh’s grace in the lives of human beings. The chapter is a profound study in the transformation that takes place in a True Worshiper under Yahweh’s grace.

In the last verse of chapter 5 Paul writes, “That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Yahshua the Messiah our Master.”

Perhaps no other concept is so misunderstood as the subject of Yahweh’s grace. What does Paul mean in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by grace? Is he saying that the statutes of Yahweh are no longer binding in this New Testament era? If so, what of the many passages warning us of disobedience and the necessity to watch carefully lest we fall again into the condemnation of the unrighteous?

Now suppose the condemned man went right out and repeated the crime for which he was pardoned. Wouldn’t his actions violate the spirit of the pardon? Certainly! The governor didn’t save him so that he would go out and commit serious crime all over again. Would not the courts and the governor deal with the man much more harshly the next time? Absolutely!

Yahweh’s grace is no different. The crux of the matter is, what’s the point of Yahweh’s grace—His favor on sinful human beings—if once pardoned we deliberately return to sinful ways?

The words, “grace reign through righteousness,” are key. The New Testament in Modern English translates the phrase, “Now grace is the ruling factor, with righteousness as its purpose and its end.” Grace is not static. It is active and it must work daily in the believer’s life.

Yahweh’s grace has an objective: that we will turn from sin to live uprightly as we follow in Yahshua’s footsteps. Obedience is the avenue allowing that to take place. That means to obey His laws, since sin is clearly defined as the transgression of the law, lJohn 3:4.

Paul explains further in chapter 6 how grace works in the life of the repentant sinner. “What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Yahweh forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”(vv. 1-2)

To accept Yahweh’s grace—His pardon for our sins—and then to turn back or continue our sinful ways as if nothing had happened is to pervert the whole purpose of grace. We make Yahweh’s grace a big mistake if we accept His pardon only to repeat the sin.

Hebrews 10:26-27 warns of practicing intentional sin: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

Further in the chapter we find this solemn warning: “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of Elohim, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:29). The word “despite” means, “to insult.” If we continue in sin after receiving Yahweh’s grace we show contempt for Yahweh and His grace.

Slipping up and making a mistake is one thing, willfully returning to sin is another entirely. In Galatians 6 Paul explains the difference. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself lest you be tempted.” “Overtaken” is the Greek prolambano and means, “to be taken off-guard in a trespass.” “Fault” is the word paraptoma and signifies a slip or lapse, rather than a deliberate act.

We have only this option: obey the law, which is righteousness, or don’t obey, which is sin. If we obey, we can’t be blamed.

The next part of the verse reads, “For you are not under the law but under grace.” How clear! Through Yahweh’s grace (His pardon) our former sins will not be held against us. The penalty for breaking the law has been paid. By trusting in His grace we will not need to pay the penalty ourselves, which the law exacts for our thoughtless sins.

Under grace the penalty we earned is wiped away because the debt was paid through the shed blood of Yahshua. The wages of sin is death, Paul wrote in Romans 6:23. In our case it is Yahshua’s death in exchange for our own. Can this passage mean that we are free from the law now and can go out and sin again, as some seem to think? The Greek word for grace is charis and is defined as the divine influence on the heart and its reflection in one’s life.

 The Upright Not Condemnable

Simply put, under Yahweh’s grace we now emulate His righteous nature. We begin to think and act as He does. That means refraining from sin, which is the same as adhering to His standard, His laws.

When we come in line with His law by righteous living, the law with its incrimination and penalties for the disobedient has no claim on us. In Romans 8:1-2 Paul explains this concept:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Messiah Yahshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yahshua has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

The critical word is “condemnation,” which results from lawbreaking. When we live according to Yahweh’s statutes we are innocent of sin and therefore free from condemnation and punishment.

An unintentional slip is certainly covered by grace for the repentant. But if you continue to repeat the sin you are mocking the spirit of grace and are subject to Yahweh’s wrath.

Paul continues in verses 3-12 of Romans 6, asking, how can we who have followed Yahshua into the waters of baptism and have buried our old carnal life, continue in our old ways? Particularly since baptism means a putting to death of the “old man.” We must become dead to sin, he tells us in verse 11.

A person who has yielded his life to Yahweh, having put to death his sinful nature, must now live a new life of obedience, Paul explains in verse 13. As he puts it, we become “instruments of righteousness.”

Righteousness derives from a Greek word meaning right or just. The opposite is wrong or sin, which is lawbreaking.

 Law’s Penalty of No Effect

Moving on in verse 14 Paul writes, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law but under grace.” Does he mean that after all that he has just said about giving up sin that we are no longer under any obligation to obey Yahweh’s law? How is that possible when the law itself defines what sin is? (‘‘For where no law is, there is no transgression,” Rom. 4: 15.) Let’s examine the verse by segments.

First, for sin not to have dominion over us we have to be out from under it. The only way to accomplish that is by obedience to the law because sin by definition is lawbreaking.

As we have demonstrated, to be free of sin is to be obedient to His law. The same concept is found in Galatians 5: 16, where Paul writes, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

If grace means we are not under obligation to keep Yahweh’s laws, then grace grants permission to sin! To this the prophet Jeremiah speaks for Yahweh in 7:9-10: “Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other deities whom you know not; And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’?” Yahweh answers that because of these sins and that kind of attitude, “I will cast you out of my sight,” verse 15.

“But does that mean that I am not free to do anything I please under grace?” you may be asking. Let’s let Paul answer that question. The very next verse of this chapter, Romans 6: 15, reads, “What then? shall we sin because we are not under the law, but under grace? Yahweh forbid. Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey: whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

Under Yahweh’s grace we are expected to live obedient lives, giving honor and worship to Him alone, doing what He commands of us as His special people. Verse 18 reads, “Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.” To be servants of righteousness is the opposite of being servants of sinfulness (lawlessness). This is shown in verse 20: “For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.”

 What ‘Under the Law’ Means

The converse is just as true: to be righteous is to be free from sin. No one can be legally arrested for doing good. No sheriff will arrest me for saving a drowning man. There is no law against it!

When you do good you are not under the condemnation of any law. The demands of the law are already met, therefore, and you have no debt to the law. This is what Paul means by not being under the law. It does not mean the law is no longer in effect, as we will now show.

We’ve seen that grace is a pardon for sin. Sin results when a law of Yahweh is broken. Therefore, the need to pardon us for sin exists because the law is in operation.

A murderer would not be condemned to die if there were no law against murder. And he would not need a pardon or grace.

Yahweh offers His grace and sent Yahshua to die for our sins for the plain and simple fact that the law is still in effect. Because the law is in force the penalty for breaking it is also real, or else we would have no need to fear sin’s consequences.

Some will argue that Yahshua came to do away with the law and thus we are put under grace. This idea falls flat if we can find grace in the Old Testament. Sure enough, in Genesis 6:8 we find, “Noah found grace in the eyes of Yahweh.” Because of grace Yahweh saved him from the penalty of death by drowning. Exodus 34:5-7 reads like something out of the book of Galatians. It speaks of Yahweh’s mercy, grace, longsuffering, and abundance in goodness and truth.

If grace existed in the days of ancient Israel, then why does Yahweh command Israel to keep the Ten Commandments? Why should it be any different with us?

We are under grace so long as we do not continue to break the law. Grace is not a permanent condition of the believer but a gift granted by Almighty Yahweh. That gift can be rejected through our own attitude of rebellion and acts of disobedience and Yahweh can remove it as well.

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of Elohim; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled,” Hebrews 12: 15.

Salvation Is Not Earned

Being law observant has nothing to do with “earning” salvation. I don’t get any special reward for paying my taxes on time, for keeping the peace, for not robbing my neighbor or mugging a stranger. I’m simply obeying laws. I’m not earning a thing by being law abiding, except the right not to be troubled by the authorities.

Paul writes in the book of Ephesians, “For by grace are you saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of Yahweh: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” 2:8- 9.

Nothing we humans can do earns us a place in the Kingdom because Yahweh has not defined obedience that way. Obedience simply engenders Yahweh’s favor and demonstrates our faith in and love for Him.

Obedience to His way of life also shows our gratitude for His pardoning of our past sins. Disobedience, contrarily, reveals an indifference toward what He has done for us and, more seriously, a contempt for Him and His Savior.

Now if I fail to pay my taxes, if I rob a bank, disturb the peace or mug someone, I will come under the law. Yahweh says inGalatians 5:19-21 that those who practice sin are also lawbreakers.

Yahweh Rewards Obedience

Unrepentant lawbreakers will not inherit the Kingdom.

Yahweh’s people love Him and want above all else to please Him. In several Scriptures we find that the love of Yahweh is defined as the keeping of His commandments. (See John 14: 15, 21; lJohn 2:5; 5:3; 2John 6.)

Rest assured, only Yahweh can grant salvation and at His own pleasure. Therefore, we want to be sure we have His favor by being obedient to what He commands. “And being made perfect He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him,” we read in Hebrews 5:9.

Lawkeeping is not salvation by works. Rather, it is salvation by obedience. Obedience can’t guarantee me a position in the Kingdom, but disobedience surely will keep me out of it!

Now note verse 10 of Ephesians 2, a continuation of Paul’s thought: “For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua UNTO GOOD WORKS, which Elohim has before ordained that WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.”

James tells us that faith without works is dead, being alone (2:17). Our works perfect our faith, James writes in verses 21-22. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Do you see how faith wrought with his works, and by his works was faith made perfect?”

We complete our faith by following through with action. A faith that is sincere is proved by what we do about it. When we obey Yahweh’s commandments and other laws in our daily life we prove our faith in Him while pleasing Him at the same time.

Paul’s letter to Titus sums up the issue. “For the grace of Elohim that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that denying unrighteousness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and devoutly in this present world.”

Law Stands Firm

An aging king was out riding his horse one day and recognized his nephew about to be hanged on the gallows at a local village. “Cut him down!” the monarch ordered.

When he inquired of the man’s crime he was told that his relative had defected to a rival kingdom and had been sentenced to die as a traitor.

“I just can’t let him die,” the king said to himself. “He is my sister’s son!” As he was about to order the man released, his chief aide interrupted, “The only way this man can be set free is if you offer the ransom of your own son. It’s the law.”

“But how could I do that?” the king responded. “I have only one son!”

“Aren’t you the supreme monarch?” asked a guard standing nearby. “Just rescind the law and the man can go free!”

But the aide again cautioned, “If you do that, your dominion will fall and end in ruin. Everyone will know that your kingdom’s laws are just relative. What kingdom could stand under those conditions?”

Our King, Almighty Yahweh, paid the penalty for our sins with His Son’s life. The very fact that He did so proves that He loved us. He could have just eliminated the law and saved Yahshua horrible suffering and death. But by not doing that He also demonstrated a key truth: Law is not to be altered or eliminated. The only way we can be pardoned from sin’s death penalty is through a substitute sacrifice of One far greater than ourselves. Through Yahshua’s payment of our sins with His own life, Yahweh’s grace saves us from the law’s penalty, which stands firm and unalterable against all violators.

Yahweh’s grace is a wonderful gift. May we never forfeit that grace through willful disobedience

Bible mystery

Uncovering a Great Mystery

The typical theologian’s dodge to a difficult question is, “That certainly is a mystery!” This is a buffered reply intended to protect one from further embarrassing ques­tions. This response is simpler than a clumsy attempt to justify a doctrine not based upon Bible teachings. We find this answer in response to a query to explain the concept of the trinity out of Scripture, for instance.

The Apostle Paul, however, was given deeper understanding of spiri­tual truth and from time to time re­vealed this wisdom through what he called “mysteries.” Biblical mysteries are part of a grand program that Yahweh is working out with those He has chosen, but remain hidden to the majority. In general, churchianity does not fully comprehend Yahweh’s plan.

According to Paul, Yahweh has a special program destined for Israel, which He promised to Abram when He called him out of Ur of the Chaldees. The Bible contains Yahweh’s grand design for redeem­ing mankind through Israel, which He is working out even today. You and I have been called to have a part in this program.

Gentiles Put Into Prior Covenant

Most Bible believers have a distorted view of Yahweh’s plan. They think the “church” is now the focus of Yahshuas atoning work after Israel failed in fulfilling its mission in the Old Testament.

Popular teaching erroneously says that the New Testament reveals that Israel has been set aside. Favor has now been extended to the “church,” the “ekklesia,” the called-out ones who believe in the Savior. All the promises made to Israel are now transferred to the “church.”

They teach that the “church,” which is composed of those who have “accepted the Messiah as Savior,” has now replaced the Jews and all Israel as the favored people. The truth is, Yahweh is still work­ing with Israel and the only way one can have any part in His plan for the faithful is to become a part of Israel. It is through Yahshua that the uniting of Jew and Gentile into one Body is to take place. That is the thrust of the New Testa­ment, the New Covenant.

Not only is Yahweh calling out a people now to replace the rebellious of Israel, but He will also bring a spirit of repentance to Israel, who at the end of the age will accept Yahshua as the promised Messiah.

Yahweh’s calling requires a softening of the heart and turning to Him by both Jew and Israelite. At the same time He is also calling out a dedicated people from the Gentiles for His Name.

Musterion Means Mystery

The Apostle Paul wrote much about the Bible’s hidden knowledge, reveal­ing deeper truths by what he refers to as “mysteries.” Calledmusterion in ­Greek, a mystery refers to a secret or knowledge that is impossible for hu­mans to penetrate. Each of Paul’s mysteries is closely related to the coming Kingdom and Yahshua’s return. Man can only know as Elohim has chosen to make it known. Man could never have discovered this had Yahweh not revealed it.

Nominal understanding in general is a smooth message of love and grace or health and wealth. Discipline, faith­fulness, obedience to Yahweh’s laws, and working out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) are cast taboo. Smooth, bland, soft messages that ignore Bible truth are in vogue today.

An emphasis on dedication, disci­pline, and high moral integrity as described in Yahwehs Word is not popular anymore. The Bibleitself is con­tinually being replaced in sermons with cute little human interest sto­ries designed to tickle the ears.  Paul’s prophecy about this has come to pass in the last 40 years: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears,” 2Timothy 4:3.

Instead of teaching the Bible as a way of life, that the Ten Command­ments are to mold us and our character, the vast majority ofchurches contend that keeping Yahweh’s law puts one under bondage. They say they are free from the law.

Churchianity has far removed it­self from the Savior’s lessons of disci­plined obedience to Yahwehs way of life. The Savior was born a Jew and obeyed Yahwehs laws all His life even so far as observing Passover with His disciples on the very day died. He never gavelicense to anyone to ignore or flout any of the Ten Commandments. He plainly said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17).

Nowhere does the Apostle Paul teach that the mysteries or the Savior did away with Yahweh’s law or His commandments, nor did Paul himself teach such. In fact he plainly said that the sacred treasures given to Israel included the law: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertain the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of Yah­weh, and the promises” (Rom.9:4).

The only way we can obtain the adoption, the promised glory or the promises is to become a spiritual Is­raelite.

Paul’s Mystery

Paul’s first mention of a mystery is found in Romans 11:25: “For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant 0/ this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of  the Gentiles be come in.”

Paul reveals that blindness fell upon those Israelites who refused to see Yahweh’s plan in Yahshua (Rom. 11:7-8). They rejected the Messiah and continue in slumber even to this day. However, the elect (those who are called out) have obtained the bless­ing by becoming spiritual Israelites.

Even now, Yahweh is grafting Gentiles who are not physical Is­raelites into the Abrahamic olive tree. Paul says not all Israel are fleshly Israelites: “... they [are] not all Israel, which are 0/ Israel… That is, they which are the children 0/ the flesh, these[are] not the children of Yahweh: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed” (Rom. 9: 6, 8).

The true Israelite today is one who obeys Yahweh’ s laws from the heart. To Paul it was revealed that the Gen­tiles would be given the same oppor­tunities through Yahshua: “Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Messiah by the evangel” (Eph.3:5-6).

Because of their miracles and won­ders among the Gentiles, Paul and Barnabas joined those going to Jerusalem to ask about what to do with Gentile converts. Peter ex­plained that Yahweh had already shown that He put no difference be­tween Jew and Gentile, having given both of them the Holy Spirit, Acts 15:7-9. James agreed, stating that Yah­weh choose from the Gentiles a people for His Name, Acts 15:1417 (quot­ingAmos9:11-12), emphasizing, “That the residue of men might seek after Yah­weh, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my Name is called, says Yahweh Who does all these things” (Acts 15:17).

Calling Spiritual Israel

Clearly, Yahweh wants a people for His Name; a people who would honor His Name, be called by His Name, be obedient to Him and be known as His people. He had hoped that would be ancient Israel, but they failed in this calling.

Yahweh has no plans to jettison His promises made to Abraham, which He began to fulfill in earnest when He redeemed Israel with a stretched-out arm. In no way is He planning to abandon or reject them, turning His attention solely to the Gentile church.

He continues to replace rebellious Israelites with pious, commandment­ keeping Gentiles. Just as He replaced the rebellious Israelites redeemed from Egypt with the new generation 40 years later, He is today grafting Gentiles into the Israelite promise. He is bringing Jew (Israelite) and Gentile together in one fold. He is uniting them into one body, called “the Body of Messiah, “the Ekklesia.”

In Acts .1:6 His disciples asked Yahshua whether He would at that time restore the kingdom to Israel. His reply: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power.”

Those who are called out now to be followers of the Savior will replace the stiff-necked Israelites who reject Yahweh’s Messiah. A spiritual Isra­elite is one that becomes a member of the Body of Messiah through bap­tism into His saving Name, and is then placed in the ranks of Israel.

We are to become spiritual Israel­ites, to learn of Yahwehs ways and become teachers of His laws and commandments the same way physical Israel did. The Apostle Peter re­fers to us as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [trea­sured, consecrated, acquired, pur­chased] people, to show forth His praises, 1Peter 2:5; 9. We are also called “kings and priests who will reign on earth,” Revelation 5:10.

Spiritual Marriage Anciently

Yahweh said He was married to Is­rael and pleaded with them to return to His way of living and admit they had transgressed: “Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against Yahweh your Elohim, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice, says Yah­weh. Turn, O backsliding children, says Yahweh; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jer. 3:13-14)

Verse 15, which follows, pictures the restoration when new and faithful rulers will teach and guide a reunited Israel and Judah. Jerusalem will be the center of Yahweh’s rule, where all nations will come to learn obedi­ence and follow His ways, Isaiah 2:3. “And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.”

We learn in the New Testament that the followers of Yahshua will also become His bride when He re­turns. The saints (those who are be­ing called) will have been obediently prepared for His coming and are re­ferred to as the bride:

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints”(Rev. 19:7-8).

Yahshua was the Yahweh of the Old Tes­tament (l Cor. 10:4), and He was put to death at Calvary. He was be­trothed to fleshly Israel, but they were the very ones who put Him to death, so His betrothal to them is no longer bind­ing: “But we speak the wisdom of elohim in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which Elohim ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it}, they would not have impaled the Sov­ereign of glory,” 1Corinthians 2:7-8.

Yahweh brought Yahshua back from the dead, and now He is free to marry whomsoever He will. He can legally marry Jew or Gentile, bond or free. He will marry His bride consist­ing of those who are given glorified bodies in the first resurrection. This will include the ancient worthies and the grafted-in spiritual Israelites.

A spirit of reconciliation will per­vade many humble hearts and turn many Israelites to accept the Savior as the promised Messiah,and many Gentiles will accept the role of an Israelite. It is then that the union of Jew and Gentile will be complete in Yahshua theMessiah.

Analysis of Ephesians 2:10-16

The following passage has been mis­understood by many and cited as doing away with the Ten Commandments. These verses are given us to show that through His death Yahshua has united both Isra­elite (Jew) and Gentile, making them one body.

Remember, this was written to the Gentile congregation at Ephesus. They were not of Israel, not Jews. They were not yet brought into fellowship with Israel. The passage is Ephesians 2:10-16: “For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yahshua unto good works, which Yahweh has before ordained that we should walk in them.”

We are being taught Yahweh’s law, which was given Israel in the Old Testament, that we should walk in obedience (unto good works) obey­ing the Commandments just as Yah­shua did. “Wherefore remember, that you being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands.”

Are ignorant, just as the Eph­esians were Gentiles in the flesh, and unaware that we are to obey Yahweh’s laws now and learn of His ways so that we could teach them to others both here and in the Kingdom. “That at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens from the common­wealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without Yahweh in the world.”

When Yahweh called us to become His sons and daughters, we were aliens from Israel. Now we seek to learn of His ways and walk in His, which were given anciently to Israel and will again be taught in the Kingdom. As spiritual Israelites, we teach and help others along the way.

“But now in Messiah Yahshua you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Messiah.” By accepting the sacrifice of Yah­shua, we are accounted worthy of His love, and we can now draw near and approach Yahweh at the throne of grace. For He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us.

When Israelites accept Yahshua as the Messiah, and Gentiles accept the Torah (Law), then we will both be one. The middle wall of partition is thought to be the waist-high wall in the court which divided the Jew and Gentile in Temple times. Now we are one, for we are united in Yahshua. “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.”

The Knowing Guide the Unknowing

There is no longer any ani­mosity over the special handwritten ordinances that were given especially for the pagan Gentiles to abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornica­tion, and from things strangled, and from blood. (Acts 15:20)

And that he might reconcile both unto Yahweh in one body by the tree, having slain the enmity thereby.

By His death, the Savior paid the penalty for both the sins of Jew and Gentile, and both are now united in one body. No hatred or enmity exists because we are all known as the Israel of Yahweh.

Paul emphasizes in Galatians that we as the called-out Gentiles are con­sidered spiritual Israelites. Yahweh has given us a new heart, a new attitude, a broken and contrite spirit which is needed to develop into obe­dient new creatures as Yahweh’s Is­rael:

 “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of Yahweh” (Gal.6:16). Yahweh will yet gather all His people together at the end of the age through Yahshua’s working with Is­rael: “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Messiah, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth [even] in him” (Eph.l:10).

Through Yahshua the world will be reconciled to Yahweh. Yahshua will put down all rebellion and bring this earth to perfection, where every­thing will be under Yahweh’s perfect control. We are being called now to learn of Yahweh’s ways, and walk in His paths.

Perhaps it is the better understand­ing given to us through the New Tes­tament writers that strengthens our faith and clarifies some of the obscure sayings of the Old Testament. The writer of Hebrews says this knowl­edge gives us the opportunity to help perfect others.

 “[Elohim] had planned something bet­ter for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect,” Hebrews 11:40 (NIV).

Our minds collapse when we at­tempt to fathom the depth of the prom­ises given us in the Bible. Even what we understand fills us with awe. Yet there is much more we do not yet comprehend, for Paul writes:

“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the hear of man, the things which Elohim has prepared for them that love him. But EIo­him has revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of Elohim” (l Cor.2:9-10).

The New Testament clearly teaches that Yahweh is calling out a people now to replace the rebellious Israelites. They failed to be the model nation that would receive all the bless­ings of Yahweh and be a wonder to the world. We can be grafted into the olive tree and become a kingdom of priests in the Kingdom. We will join other Israelites when Yahshua re­turns to help teach others Yahweh’s laws.

We are right now attending the school of life to test us to see whether we will seek Yahweh’s favor, call upon His Name, and be obedient to His word. Then all the world will know and understand the “myster­ies” that are revealed to us now.

Others from ages past will join us as we which have followed Yahshua, in the regeneration when the Son 0f man shall sit in the throne of his glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).

Our desire is that this truth will move you to make a commitment right now to join the growing number of spiritual Israelites!

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