YOU ARE MY PEOPLE
YOU ARE MY PEOPLE Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Gospel of Christ belongs to the Jews. There is no such thing as a "Gentile Church." Over the two thousand years of the Church Era the Divine salvation has been associated with non-Jews until the term Gentile has come to mean "a Christian as distinguished from a Jew." The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven originated with Jews, will end with Jews, and is the possession of Jews. It is the "children’s bread." Let every elect Gentile now recognize his debt to the Jewish Apostles and treat Jews according to the truth of God—as the race to whom the Gospel, by Divine right, is given first.
The Christian Church should have been the Jews’ greatest friend and ally. Instead we have often turned out to be their greatest enemy, either through initiation of persecution aimed at Jews in the name of Christ, or else Christian indifference when history’s Hamans and Hitlers have come to hate and to kill.
It’s still happening. In my fight against today’s rising tide of anti-Semitism I find many fellow-Christians on the sidelines—unaware of the debt the Church owes the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. A growing number of Christians are even accepting the false teaching of "replacement theology"—doing away with the Jews altogether in favor of a so-called "Gentile Church."
Thus, in failing to heed Paul’s warning against being "wise in your own conceits," much of today’s Church has lost sight of the Jewish roots of Christianity and God’s covenanted love with the physical offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And at what a cost, as the Holy Spirit grieves over the Church’s blindness to the precious heritage of our Hebraic foundation—and Jews again suffer anti-Semitic attacks with little Christian concern.
That’s why I’m delighted that my colleague and brother, Robert Thompson, has written "You Are My People." This latest fruit from Bob’s busy computer ought to be "must reading" by pulpit and pew, including those who teach in Bible schools and seminaries. The book will also be refreshing reading to Jews who have witnessed for too long Christians’ "creed without deed"—"talk without walk."
My wife and I love Robert and Audrey Thompson and their willingness to face and embrace tough truth. If you hang around Bob for even a short time you’ll find a lover of Scripture who takes The Book—and only The Book—for his bottom line. Let the message of "You Are My People" reach your heart—and it will change your life.
—Frank Eiklor, Shalom International
Table of Contents
Preface The Gospel of Christ Belongs Primarily to the Jews The coming of the Divine salvation was announced by the Hebrew Prophets The forerunner, John the Baptist, proclaimed the Jewish salvation Mary announced the Jewish salvation The Lord Jesus was raised in a Jewish family The twelve were all Jews The Holy Spirit fell on 120 Jews, and the Church of Christ was born The first Church, the Body of Christ, consisted only of Jews Jews wrote the New Testament The new covenant can be made only with the House of Israel—never with a Gentile The New Testament Writings Reveal the Foremost Position of the Jew in the Kingdom of God The Jerusalem That Is Above Is the Mother of Us All Every True New-covenant Saint Is the Seed of Abraham The Jews and the Gentiles Are Both Part of One Olive Tree—Christ There Is Only One Kingdom of God, of Heaven There Is Only One Royal Priesthood; One Elect; One Stick in God’s Hand; One Divinely Ordained Faith; One New Man One royal priesthood One elect One stick in God’s hand One Body of Christ One new Man God Will Turn Again to the Jews by Race The Glorified Church, the Bride of the Lamb, Is the New Jerusalem The Names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel Are Inscribed On the Gates of the New Jerusalem, the Glorified Church Conclusion The Kingdom of God is a Divine Seed, not a religion The Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth Religion, ignorance, and persecution The return of the remnant to Israel
The first Christian Church comprised five thousand fervent Law-observing Jews. It was located in the city of Jerusalem. These original Christians understood little or nothing of a "grace" that operated independently of their behavior. It is not at all true that Christianity is Gentile in origin or nature.
It is apparent that initially few of the early Christians believed there was any salvation apart from the Law of Moses. Then God revealed to the Jew, Paul, the relationship of the old covenant to the new.
Paul explained that the new covenant includes a new creation, a creation not bound by the Law of Moses. The Torah is to pass from the tables of stone to the human heart and mind, according to the Hebrew Prophet Jeremiah.
But there appears to have been little understanding of the new covenant throughout Church history. For example, going to church on Sunday has often been regarded as the Christian observance of the Sabbath commandment.
Today we have a "salvation" that is not of the old covenant or the new. It is not married to Moses or Christ. It is a tremendous Gentile misunderstanding of the Person, will, and way of the God of Israel and the Spirit of God is now explaining this to us.
The writer understands from the Scriptures that the day is coming in which the Holy Spirit will be poured out on the nation of Israel and the blindness toward Christ will be removed. In that day the Jews will look on their Redeemer and weep.
We have a great concern over this coming visitation. The rabbis, the leaders of Israel, will then be confused. When they realize Jesus indeed is Christ they will be emotionally vulnerable. The fierce pride that has resisted Jesus will be gone and in its place will be brokenhearted priests and scholars.
We hope our booklet, You Are My People, will enable the rabbis in that hour to understand that the Gospel of Christ is of the Jews and for the Jews. They are not to turn to the Gentile organizations for instruction or fellowship. The Gentile Christian institutions are hopelessly confused concerning the Gospel of Christ, the new covenant, and in some instances are wicked and corrupt.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven is for the Jews. It is their "bread." They are to receive their Lord, their Husband, the eternal Lover of Israel, entirely apart from the historical ecclesiastical development, theology, and activities of Gentiles.
Caiaphas, the High Priest of Israel in the days of Jesus, declared by the Spirit of God that it was better that one man die for the nation rather than to have the entire nation perish. In addition, Caiaphas may have been referring to the elect Gentiles when he mentioned the gathering together of the scattered children of God.
And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. (John 11:49-52)
We understand from the words of Caiaphas that the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven is primarily Jewish, while the salvation of the elect Gentiles is also important but not as central.
The new covenant, which can be made only with the House of Israel (Jeremiah 31:33), never with a Gentile, has not been understood properly by Gentiles.
One reason the Gentiles have almost completely misunderstood the Gospel is that they are not kingdom-oriented. The Hebrew Prophets spoke of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth—a Jewish kingdom, naturally. The Jew, John the Baptist, announced the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God, of Heaven.
Gentiles have no such understanding, no such hope or background. The Jews of Jesus’ day were hoping for the return of the kingdom of David or the kingdom of Solomon. At one time in their history the Jewish kings ruled the earth. The Jews can accept the Gospel of the Kingdom for they have experienced (in David and Solomon) the Kingdom of God on earth.
Gabriel, the messenger of God, spoke to Mary, the wife of Joseph of the house of David:
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: (Luke 1:32)
The Kingdom of God is the throne of David; it is not a Gentile kingdom.
As soon as the first-century Jewish apostles died, Gentile scholars and priests assumed the leadership of the Church. Since Gentiles have no tradition of a kingdom to come, they changed the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Gospel of going to Heaven. They began to teach that to be saved is to acquire eternal residence in the spirit paradise.
The Gentiles have constructed a mythology around the notion that eternal residence in the spirit realm is the goal of the Divine redemption. They have invented mansions, golden slippers, acres of diamonds, and other fleshly hopes that they trust will be realized after they die. Gentiles never have and never will understand the Gospel of the Kingdom until they recognize and embrace their Jewish heritage and change their objective from eternal residence in Heaven to the setting up of God’s Kingdom on the earth.
Another persistent Gentile error, an error that would not have been made by Jews, is the concept of Divine grace as a waiver of the need for righteous living. Perhaps the greatest stumbling block to the righteous Jew is the teaching that by "accepting Christ" we attain Paradise apart from righteous, holy behavior. Such an idea is contrary to the Nature of the fiery God of Israel. It is, in fact, a form of Gnosticism.
The Apostle Paul was a righteous Jew, a rabbi of high rank who strove continually for righteousness. He wanted to be delivered from his sinful body so he might receive a resurrected body that would assist him in his desire to please God.
By the term "grace" Paul meant that through the blood atonement made by Jesus we now have forgiveness of sins with the prospect of beginning a new life of righteous behavior in the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit of God. When Paul stated that we are not saved by works he was referring to the works of the Levitical ordinances of the Law of Moses, not to righteous, holy behavior.
But the Gentiles, not having a background of the Law, have defined "works" to mean godly behavior. For two thousand years the Gentiles have understood Paul to mean we are not saved by godly living but by faith—contrasting faith with godly living. The Jew, James, pointed out that faith can live only in works of righteousness. But James’ cry has been drowned in the clamor of the Gentiles to enter Paradise without any exertion on their part.
The Gentiles cannot understand the Gospel of the Kingdom of God because the Gospel is Jewish in origin, environment, and tradition. Gentiles have totally confused the Gospel in numerous instances until today we have thousands of competing institutions—none of them understanding Jesus or the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The result of the prevailing chaos will be, in the last days, a huge babylonish organization that will share the rule of earth’s peoples with the Antichrist. God’s true saints, a handful of Gentiles and Jews, will be preserved by the Lord throughout the days of tribulation just ahead of us. A Gentile holocaust is on its way and it will be a blood bath beyond comprehension.
From the midst of the perverted, corrupt spiritual whoredom of self-centered Gentile religionists will emerge a holy remnant of righteous believers. These will stand steadfastly with the nation of Israel. Israel will yet experience much trouble. But the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never changes. He has promised eternal glory to the Jews and eternal glory they shall have.
Let us mention a few of the corrupting elements of the Gentile version of the Jewish Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel of Christ. When the Spirit of God is poured out on Israel in the days to come, the rabbis and other scholars must reject these corrupting elements as being completely out of harmony with almighty God's plan of redemption for the Jewish people as well as for the elect Gentiles.
The Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations. The Protestant denominations are the "daughters" of the Catholic Church. All of these institutions, great and small, have the same spirit. The blood of the martyrs is found in them. While there are many true saints of God in the Catholic and Protestant denominations, the organizations themselves are temporary human efforts to meet administrative and other institutional needs.
Many denominations, sooner or later, will attempt to murder the prophet whenever God begins to move and will prove to be an enemy of the Jews. Denominations are not of the Kingdom and shall be swept away in the Day of the Lord.
The veneration of the virgin Mary is not related in any manner to the Gospel of Christ. The worship of the mother and child, the "holy family," is characteristic of some twenty or more pagan religions. It goes back to ancient times and was introduced into primitive Christianity in the Roman Empire by religionists in the hope of gaining adherents.
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations must have nothing whatever to do with the Christian organizations.
The concept of Divine grace, under the new covenant, as being a waiver of God’s requirement that people practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Perhaps the greatest error of all has been the interpretation of the Gospel of Christ as a Divine amnesty unrelated to the behavior of the believer. Instead of the grace of God being the Divine Virtue given to men to transform them morally, grace is viewed by the majority of Christians as a magic "ticket" to Paradise where they may rest forever in golden mansions. How can a Jew who is versed in the Hebrew Scriptures relate to this?
The current definition of grace has destroyed the moral character of today’s believers. The light of the world is nonexistent. The so-called Christian nations are wallowing in immorality while the churches speak of being carried to Paradise. It is, as we have stated, a twentieth-century form of the ancient heresy, Gnosticism (salvation comes through knowledge).
The new covenant is the writing of the Torah on the mind and heart of the believer. Because Gentiles are ignorant of the Torah they cannot grasp what the new covenant is. One seldom if ever hears a Christian minister say anything at all about the Law being written on the mind and heart. Gentiles cannot understand the Divine redemption because it is addressed to Jews.
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations must have nothing whatever to do with Christian "grace" as currently defined.
The goal of the Divine redemption is to bring the believer to the spirit paradise when he dies. The concept of eternal residence in the spirit realm, of "making Heaven our eternal home," as being the goal of God’s salvation, has no basis in either the Hebrew Scriptures or the New Testament Scriptures. The goal of the Divine redemption, according to the Scriptures, is to conform the disciple to the image of Christ and also to bring him into union with God through Christ.
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations must have nothing whatever to do with the concept of spending eternity in Heaven, of golden slippers, mansions, or any other part of Christian mythology. None of this appears in the Hebrew Prophets or in the writings of the Jewish Apostles of the new covenant.
The destiny of the new-covenant Church is to go to Heaven to an uncertain destiny there while the Jews are left to govern an earthly kingdom. This is utterly fallacious. It is anti-Semitic. It is totally unscriptural. Yet some of the recently converted Jews are accepting this erroneous notion—to their own detriment. It is Gentile garbage and any Jew ought to recognize this.
According to the Scriptures, the role of the Church of Christ, the Israel of God, when it comes to maturity in Christ, is to bring justice to the peoples of the earth.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations must have nothing whatever to do with the teaching that the Church of Christ will spend eternity in Heaven while the Jews govern a flesh-and-blood kingdom on the earth.
There will be a "rapture" before the great end-time tribulation in which the Gentile believers will be caught up to Paradise while the Jewish believers, without the Spirit of God, will be left on the earth to face Antichrist. This abominable teaching has been accepted by many Jewish Christians. What are they thinking of—accepting such blatant anti-Semitism!
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations are to have nothing whatever to do with the idea that the Gentile believers will be caught up in a "rapture," while those believers unfortunate enough to be Jewish (God’s chosen people) will be left behind to face additional suffering.
God moves in "dispensations." The Dispensational model of Scripture interpretation is to be shunned by the scholars of Israel. According to this model we now are in the "dispensation of grace." This means God, observing that all of His other attempts to redeem man have failed, has decided to accept man as he is. God now sees man only "in Christ," meaning that when an individual lies, or steals, or fornicates, God does not see the sin. God sees only the moral perfection of Christ.
If such were true (and it is terribly untrue!) it would represent a change in God. A change in God would be the worst of all possible calamities. Our only hope of not perishing and of a future world of righteousness and joy depends entirely on the unchanging Nature of the God of Israel.
God, who understands the end from the beginning, conceived of a plan that would perfectly fulfill His inscrutable purposes. From the seventh day of creation God has been resting. The almighty power and wisdom of the Word of God have been controlling all persons, events, and things of history in accordance with the eternal desires of God. God is God!
Since the bringing forth of Adam, God has been working to create people who will act righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Sad to say, many Jewish scholars have evaded this simple goal, substituting a doctrinaire observance of the letter of the Levitical statutes in the place of righteousness, mercy, and humility. The Gentile Christians have evaded the Divine goal by substituting a magical "grace" as the means of pleasing God.
The plan of God is one plan from Adam to the descent from Heaven of the glorified Jerusalem. Enoch walked with God. Abraham walked with God. Moses walked with God. Jesus walked with God. Paul walked with God. And each one of us, Jew and Gentile, is to walk with God. It is one Divine program from beginning to end.
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations are to have nothing whatever to do with the idea that the God of Heaven moves in "dispensations," changing His goals and methods on a pragmatic basis.
The Gospel of Christ began as a Jewish religion but now God has replaced the Jews with Gentile believers. The Jew who is to be saved must come into the Gentile Church. There is no basis in Scripture for such an error. God never changes. The Jews are beloved because of the patriarchs of Israel. The Hebrew Prophets declared that the Jews will be gathered from the four corners of the earth, and that Jerusalem will become the Throne of God. This surely shall come to pass!
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations are to have nothing whatever to do with "replacement theology"—with the concept that Gentile believers have replaced the Jews in God’s Kingdom purposes.
The current perversions of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. Among the contemporary excesses are the overemphasis on God’s love without a balancing awareness of His fiery judgment and wrath; the recent "faith" and "prosperity" doctrines; and "Reconstructionism," which is an attempt of Christians to force their will on the civil government, to bring in the Kingdom of God before Christ returns.
In the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations must have nothing whatever to do with the current effort of Christians to portray God as a kindly old gentleman who will not really punish people, or to utilize supernatural principles for their own benefit. These are not of God but of the False Prophet. the spirit of religious delusion.
As for Reconstructionism, the Kingdom of God will be ushered in by Christ at His appearing, and not before.
Christian art forms, liturgies, and statements of faith. The Tabernacle of the Congregation, its furnishings, the Aaronic priesthood, and the Ten Commandments, came directly from the hand of God. God Himself actually dwelled between the wings of the Cherubim of Glory in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle. The Divine Fire came down on occasion and ignited the wood on the Altar of Burnt Offering. The God of Heaven chose the land of Israel out of all the geographical areas on the earth.
The architecture, liturgies, and statements of faith of the Christian churches came from the minds of human beings. Without passing any judgment on the sincerity or devoutness of those who constructed the various Christian elements, the fact remains that the earthly implements and liturgies of Christianity are humanly conceived adaptations and responses.
There is no physical Christian structure on earth to compare with the Tabernacle of the Congregation constructed by Moses, as far as the Divine Presence is concerned, and there shall not again be such a Divinely ordained temple until the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven. Then it shall be composed of living stones.
Therefore in the day of Israel’s visitation, the rabbis and their congregations are to have nothing whatever to do with Christian architecture or other art forms, liturgies, or statements of faith.
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)
There is no need for a Jew to become a Gentile in order to receive his own Christ, the Lord Jesus. The Jew’s inheritance from ancient times is the Glory of God, while the Gentiles are guests at the Jew’s table. Let the Jews now claim their own bread.
The Jews are God’s choice from among the nations of the earth. The gifts and callings of God never change. While the Jews may have been chastened for a season, the time of their restoration is at hand. Let the Gentiles tremble!
There was a Jewish priest by the name of Zacharias, his wife being descended from Aaron. He became the father of John the Baptist, the prophet who, by his prophetic declarations and actions, prepared the way for Christ.
The Holy Spirit had not spoken since the days of Malachi, several hundred years previously. Now the Holy Spirit came upon Zacharias, this Jewish priest who was blameless in the keeping of Torah. What Zacharias had to say gives a clear definition of the meaning of the Gospel of Christ:
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:68-79)
It is the above statement, made by a Law-keeping son of Aaron, that should guide the scholars and rabbis of Israel in the Day that God once again visits His own land and people, the land and people of Israel.
How long will it be before the Jews claim their own bread, their own salvation, their own Christ?
—RBT, March 7, 1998
YOU ARE MY PEOPLE
And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
"To the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
The Gentile religionists have not understood the Apostle Paul, who viewed the Jewish Gospel from the standpoint of a righteous Jew.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is for the Jew first, and only the righteous Jew can understand it properly.
First of all, the devout Jew is waiting for the Kingdom of God, and so a gospel of a kingdom has meaning for him far beyond that which is true of most Gentiles.
Second, and even more important, is the fact that the redemption that is in Christ is a response to the Law of Moses. Since most Gentiles have no background in the Law of Moses they are prone to misunderstand the new covenant. Let us proceed to explain why the redemption that is in Christ is a response to the Law of Moses, and why Gentiles are likely to misunderstand God’s grace under the new covenant.
When the Law was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, sin became sin.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. (Romans 7:7)
But this knowledge of sin came only to the Israelites.
Before the Law came, sin was a matter of conscience and guesswork. The recognition of sin comes by the knowledge of the Law. Perhaps the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of the garden of Eden, was the Law; for it is by the Law that we understand what God regards as sin.
The Jews had the Law, the moral light. Meanwhile the Gentiles had only their conscience and the things of nature to guide them in the knowledge of God.
Among the Jewish people there always have been many individuals who have striven to please God by obeying the Law and its accompanying statutes, or the interpretation of the Law set forth in the Talmud. The devout Jew is seeking righteousness in terms of the precepts that have been given him.
The Apostle Paul was one such devout Jew. The desire of Paul’s heart was to please God by keeping the Divine Law. But Paul found that forces hostile to the Law of God were dwelling in his flesh.
Paul cried out in his misery, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). This is the voice of a person whose desire is to please God, who esteems righteousness above all else.
The redemption that is in Christ was Paul’s answer to his concern over the demands of the Law.
First of all, through Christ the load of condemnation was lifted from Paul’s back. The guilt of Paul’s sins was removed in a moment as he received forgiveness through the perfect atonement made by the blood of the Lord Jesus.
Second (and more importantly in terms of Paul’s cry in Romans 7:24), the Spirit of God was given to Paul so he could gain victory over the forces of sin.
Third, the blood of Jesus provided a continuing covering while Paul was overcoming sin by the Spirit of God, insuring that Paul remained without condemnation, that he always was eligible to approach the Throne of God and receive help in his hour of need.
We understand, therefore, that the grace of God that came to Paul provided an alternative to his attempt to obey the letter of the Law by means of his own will power. The Law had served as a servant that had brought Paul to Christ. Christ then proved to be the only means by which Paul could satisfy the eternal moral law of God.
The alternative that Christ provided was not that Paul could then forget about living righteously (as so many Gentiles teach). Rather, it was true that the moral behavior the Law sought to enforce by commandment could now be enjoyed by Paul as he followed the Spirit of God into victory over the world, over the lusts of his flesh, and over his self-will, thus proceeding to eternal life.
Basic to acquiring moral victory was the crucifixion of Paul’s first personality (his identification with Christ on the cross), and the development of a new nature, a new creation that was nourished daily by the body and blood of the risen Christ.
Paul now had a perfect conscience before God through the atonement made by the blood of Jesus on Calvary, and also the satisfaction of experiencing continual growth in righteous and holy behavior. Paul’s objective became the redemption of his body so that his entire personality would be dwelling in the righteous, holy Presence of God in Christ.
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
Paul’s supreme goal was to attain the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Law had served Paul as a temporary device until the eternal Word, Covenant, and Law of God, which is Christ, was made available to him.
The Jew who has sought to gain the Kingdom of God and His righteousness is in the best position of all to appreciate the provision God has made for him to keep the eternal moral law of God, of which the Ten Commandments are a shadow. The righteous Jew is able to perceive the new covenant as the placing of the Torah, the Law, in his personality in such a manner that he can obey its commandments in their most complete form. He can see the grace of God as being salvation from the power of sin so he can live righteously in the Presence of God. Meanwhile his sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ. They no longer are remembered against him.
One can see immediately the disadvantage of the Gentile when it comes to understanding the Divine redemption. He does not have a tradition that looks for the restoration of the Throne of David. He does not, in most instances, have a background of striving to be righteous in terms of the Law of Moses.
When someone makes an effort to convert a Gentile to Christianity he informs the Gentile that all people are sinners. He shows the Gentile a few verses of the Scriptures to prove all people are under condemnation and cannot please God by their own efforts. Such an effort to create an awareness of the need for righteousness is contrived when compared with the heart cry of the Apostle Paul for deliverance from a sinful body.
The evangelist then presents Christ as the sin-offering by which the Gentile can make Heaven his eternal home. The goal of gaining the Kingdom of God and His righteousness is nowhere in sight. The goal has become eternal residence in the spirit paradise after the Gentile dies. Thus the Gentile version of the Gospel of the Kingdom is far removed from the preaching of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostle Paul.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is to the Jew first. The Gentiles do not understand the Gospel of the Kingdom and have made the Christian religion a chaos of contradictory doctrines and practices. The Gentiles are not seeking righteousness but paradise in the spirit world. They are looking for mansions and golden slippers in Heaven where they can rest for eternity.
The Gentile is not, in the majority of instances, given the promise by his teachers that by following the Lord Jesus he can become righteous in behavior. To the contrary, he is advised that he now is under "grace," meaning that however he behaves he will go to the paradise in the spirit realm to dwell forever. Since he has no tradition of a kingdom on the earth, the promise that Jesus will sit on the Throne of David means little or nothing to him.
The Gentile understands the term salvation to mean, "go to Heaven when you die." All of his arguments over doctrine, faith versus works, eternal security, the keeping of the Law, predestination, and so forth, are presented against the backdrop of the definition of salvation as "going to Heaven when we die." His arguments are irrelevant and meaningless in terms of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
The scriptural definition of salvation is, "to be completely delivered from sin in spirit, soul, and body, to be created in the moral image of Christ, and to be made one in the Father and the Son." To be "saved" is to be saved from sin and rebellion and made one with God.
The truly saved (in the above sense) individual will be restored to the Presence of God, to Heaven because his transformed personality makes him fit for Heaven. But His goal is not primarily Heaven, it is to please God. He is a righteous person who loves and fears God, and to him, pleasing God is an end in itself.
The goal of the Gentile Christian is to go to Heaven when he is so unfortunate as to die; not necessarily that he may be in the Presence of God but in order to escape Hell. He is seeking to get to Heaven by using "grace" as a ticket for admittance, not by using the Divine grace as the means of transforming his personality and thus making him fit for the Presence of God and the elect angels. Instead, he is looking for a fire escape, not for fellowship with God in righteousness and holiness.
Rightly understood, to be established in grace means God has forgiven the individual and now is helping him overcome the evil in his personality.
To the Gentile believer, to be established in grace means God has forgiven all of his actions of the past, present, and future, and although he ought to try to please the Lord there is no serious penalty if he does not. He will escape Hell and go to Heaven when he dies because the "grace of God" is an eternal amnesty that cannot be affected by his behavior.
Every time he reads the dire warnings of the Epistles concerning the consequences of walking in the flesh, he relaxes. He believes that none of them should be taken seriously, at least not that seriously! In fact, it is taught commonly that the warnings of loss of inheritance found in the New Testament are directed toward the non-Christians—so abysmal is the ignorance prevalent in our day. Through his Christian teachers, Satan has whispered to the believer, "You shall not surely die." The nominal Christian continues his carefree way until he meets the Lord Jesus.
There are seeds of spiritual death in Christian teaching. The Gentile Christian churches are in doctrinal confusion. The day is upon us when God will restore the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews, to the rightful recipients. When that takes place, the remnant of Gentile believers who truly know the Lord will rejoice and do all in their power to assist the reconciliation of Christ and His brothers.
The majority of Gentile Christians, including the historic denominations, will rise up in satanic fury when they see the Jews claiming their own bread and not joining the Gentile organizations. These Gentile "believers" will join together in one huge Babylon (man-directed Christianity). They will turn in their rage on the Jews and on the Gentile remnant who are assisting the Jews.
But the Jews and the elect Gentiles are not to fear. The Holy One of Israel, Christ, will cover us under His almighty hand until His glorious appearing. Then God’s chosen people will rejoice in His Glory, but the wicked will be brought into judgment.
The terms Christianity and Christian have been employed historically to describe the Divine salvation proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth. These terms are offensive to Jews. But to use names other than Christian and Christianity, in this booklet, runs the risk of perpetuating the myth that God’s salvation through Christ is a Gentile religion and that God has some other program for the Jews; or that the various Jewish Messianic congregations are somewhat acceptable splinter groups of the great "Gentile Church."
In spite of the risk of suggesting (by the omission of the name, Christian) that the Christian religion is Gentile and we now are speaking of some other plan of redemption for the Jews, we will minimize as far as possible the use of the terms Christian and Christianity in deference to the feelings of Jewish readers. Let it be very clear, however, that we are speaking only of the one Divine salvation that historically has been named "Christianity."
The name "Christian" indeed is hated by many Jews, and rightfully so. However, the time has come for the Jewish people to realize the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, announced by Jesus of Nazareth, is their bread, and that Gentile believers are "strangers" whom God has seen fit to add to the one Jewish olive tree.
But he [Jesus] answered and said, It is not right to take the children’s [Jews’] bread, and to cast it to dogs [Gentiles]. (Matthew 15:26)
One of the greatest misunderstandings of all time is that the religion having to do with Jesus of Nazareth is a Gentile religion.
In actuality, there is no such thing as a Gentile Church—Christian or otherwise.
Later on we will be stressing that there is only one Kingdom, one Church, one Body of Christ. In connection with the oneness of God’s elect, let us emphasize two concepts:
When referring to the one Church, the one new Man, we are not speaking of a great "Gentile Church" to which a few Jews have been added. Jews are never added to a so-called Gentile Church. Never! Never! Never! The Church is the "commonwealth of Israel." The truth is, a few Gentiles are added to the great Jewish Church. Believing Gentiles are grafted on the Jewish olive tree.
The second concept has to do with the integrity of the land and people of Israel. God has chosen the land and people of Israel in a manner that is not true of any other area or race. The Kingdom of God began with the Jews and will end with the Jews.
The prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures concerning the Kingdom of God refer to God’s elect whether Jewish or Gentile by race. However, some of the prophecies of the Scriptures are pointed at physical Israel and are not to be "spiritualized" so as to refer to the Church.
It is also true that other prophecies have a double meaning, such as the "dry bones" of Ezekiel. The uniting of the bones portrays both the restoration of physical Israel and the restoration of spiritual Israel. The two restorations are on a converging course and finally will become one.
Still other prophecies, such as Isaiah, Chapter 53, refer only to Christ, the Lord Jesus, His work of atonement and final vindication.
The Kingdom of God includes only those who are born again through the Spirit of Christ. The inner spiritual kingdom is of first importance, and when it has been perfected in the saints it will be revealed in paradise on earth. The spiritual kingdom is of the Jews first, and after that of the elect Gentiles.
Until the new Jerusalem, the spiritual-physical Kingdom of God, has descended to the new earth, the physical race of Jews will enjoy a special role in God’s plan. It will continue to be true that he who blesses natural Israel will be blessed and he who curses natural Israel will be cursed.
It is time today for both Jews and Gentiles to realize the salvation proclaimed by Christ is primarily a Jewish salvation. The salvation that proceeds from Jesus is the giving of eternal life and eternal form to the teachings, symbols, and hopes of biblical Judaism.
The continuity from Judaism to Jesus can be seen in the following verse:
God, who in many instances and in various ways spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1,2)
The "fathers" the "prophets" and "us" are all Jews. The Divine salvation is for the Jew first. The Jew is the elect, the chosen, by Divine decree.
There is no such thing as a "Gentile Church." The Church began with five thousand Orthodox Jews, all zealous concerning the Law, and will end with the Jews.
The Kingdom of God did not suddenly appear on the scene unannounced. It was proclaimed by the Hebrew Prophets and associated with the nation of Israel.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
The Child is born to the Jews who is to be ruler in Israel.
The Son, Christ, is of Israel and the Deliverer of Israel. The government of the world, with headquarters in Jerusalem, is on His shoulders. The name of Jesus shall be "wonderful" in Israel.
The Son, who has been from eternity and shall continue to eternity, was born of a Jewish mother in Bethlehem, in the nation of Israel. He shall govern Israel.
One cannot consider the implications of the above two Scripture passages without beginning to understand the Gospel of Christ truly is a Jewish religion.
The prophecies that accompanied the birth of John the Baptist reveal that John, the herald of the Lord Jesus, was proclaiming a Jewish redemption.
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:16)
To spiritualize the term "Israel," as employed here, is to take unwarranted liberty with the Word of God.
That he would grant unto us, that we [Jews] being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (Luke 1:74,75)
A careful view of these verses reveals that the Lord Jesus came first of all for the benefit of the Jews, that they might lead a righteous and holy life.
Notice the prophecies addressed to Mary, the Jewish girl:
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:32,33)
"And of his kingdom [singular] there shall be no end."
Some claim the Lord Jesus will rule over a Jewish kingdom on earth, and a Gentile kingdom in Heaven in the spirit realm. We believe there is no such concept in the Scripture. The two-kingdom notion is pure human conjecture, totally unscriptural, totally illogical, and serves only to destroy our understanding of the one Kingdom of God.
Let the individual who holds such a view find one instance in God’s Word that speaks of two kingdoms. The argument that the Gospels speak of a Kingdom of Heaven, and then of a different Kingdom of God, is proven false by the fact that the Lord Jesus in Matthew applied His parables to the Kingdom of Heaven and in the other Gospel accounts applied the same parables to the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is at hand, that is, the Kingdom that comes from Heaven. There is only one Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is destined to come down from Heaven and to be set up on the new earth and governed by the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Bride of the Lamb, the glorified Church of Christ.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:54,55)
Any unbiased interpreter of the above passages would consider the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven to be addressed primarily to the nation of Israel.
Perhaps we do not think often enough about the first thirty years of Christ’s life. His parents were forced to flee to Egypt while He was very young, and then the family returned to Nazareth.
No doubt Jesus had a normal upbringing in a devout Jewish home.
He had brothers and sisters.
Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? From where then hath this man all these things? (Matthew 13:55,56)
The family obeyed the commandment concerning going up to Jerusalem on the feast days.
And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. (Luke 2:42)
The family had "kinsfolk and acquaintance"—all Jewish.
But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. (Luke 2:44)
Jesus was the Son of God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. But He was born of a Jewish woman and experienced and possessed all the aspects of humanity (except sin). The Lord Jesus was a Jew, not a Gentile; and Gentile believers ought to consider this fact carefully.
Someday Jesus will return to His own people and they will worship Him as their own Redeemer.
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. (Zechariah 12:10)
Zechariah was a Hebrew prophet, and he spoke of the piercing of Christ. When Christ comes He shall be pierced—and He was!
To hear Gentile believers speak you would think the twelve disciples were of various races—particularly the Gentile races. Gentiles seldom remember that the twelve were Jews, not Gentiles. The original followers of the Lord Jesus were all Jews. It would have been inappropriate for a Gentile, an uncircumcised male, to join with them.
Jesus was a Jewish rabbi, and all His followers—male and female—were Jewish.
The birth of the Church is described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts.
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. (Acts 1:13)
It is likely that every person in the "upper room" was Jewish.
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) (Acts 1:15)
It would have been unthinkable for a Gentile to have been part of the disciples at this time.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2)
How, then, is the Gospel of the Kingdom a Gentile religion? By the fact that Gentiles claimed it and made it their own? By this reasoning, the Jews have no right to the land between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean because the Arab nations have claimed it and made it their own.
Just as the land bounded by the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, the Sinai and Lebanon, was given to the Jews as an inheritance by the God of Heaven, so it is true that the Kingdom of God was given to the Jews by the God of Heaven. Neither ownership can be changed by the actions of covetous people.
The first Church, the original Body of Christ, consisted only of Jews.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (Acts 2:46)
At this time, the believers never would have considered adding a Gentile to their fellowship.
There was a large church in Jerusalem, all Jews, numbering in the thousands, pastored by James, the half brother of Jesus.
Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. (Acts 4:4)
The Jews were not at all certain Gentiles were to be included in the Kingdom of Heaven, until God gave a vision to the Apostle Peter.
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou unclean. (Acts 10:15)
It required a Divine vision in order for the Apostle Peter, a devout Jew, to consider bringing the Gospel, the children’s bread, to Cornelius, a righteous Gentile.
The Jewish apostles and elders came together to consider the problem of Gentile believers.
But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them [the Gentile believers], and to command them to keep the law of Moses. And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. (Acts 15:5,6)
The idea that God would accept a Gentile in His Church was so alien to Jews, so repugnant, that Paul and Peter had to be careful when they were near Jewish believers.
And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. (Acts 21:20-25)
We can note the troubled thinking of the Jewish saints at this time. They did not want a Jew upon becoming a believer to forsake Moses. As for the Gentiles, they were considered to be strangers whom God had accepted but who certainly were not on a level with Jews in the Kingdom of God.
The above passage from Acts helps us appreciate the degree of faith required of Paul in order for him to be willing to receive the Divine revelation—given only to him, apparently—concerning the transition from Moses to Christ. Gentile believers are greatly indebted to the Jew, Saul of Tarsus. Let the Gentile believers help repay that debt by showing kindness to their Jewish brothers, who always were on Paul’s heart as a continual grief.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: (Romans 9:3)
We note here that Paul was willing to be cut off from Christ because of the unbelief of his fellow Jews. Moses also had this same tender agony concerning Israel.
Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. (Exodus 32:32)
The believing Jews considered themselves more favored in God’s sight than were the believing Gentiles, and Peter was afraid of the devout Jews.
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. (Galatians 2:11,12)
The original Church was thoroughly Jewish. We do not understand how the concept grew that the Gospel of Jesus is a Gentile religion. We do know, however, of the promises of Scripture that in the last days the Lord will turn once again to His chosen people, the Jews.
And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place from where I caused you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:14)
We gain a better understanding of the New Testament when we think of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven as being primarily a Jewish religion, and realize deeply that the participants and events of the Book of Acts, as well as the writings of the Apostles, must be viewed from this perspective.
The Apostle Paul, the principal writer of the New Testament, was an exemplary Jew.
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (Philippians 3:5)
The Epistle to the Romans, in particular, was written by Paul to Jews to explain to them the transition from Moses to Christ.
Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (Romans 7:1)
"I speak to them that know the law."
Paul argued that Jews are not saved by the works of the Law of Moses but by faith in the atonement made by the Lord Jesus. Today’s Gentiles, misunderstanding the Jewish environment in which Paul labored, think Paul meant that people are not saved by righteous behavior but by faith in Jesus. In their ignorance the Gentile believers have contrasted faith in Jesus with righteous behavior. The result of such ignorance has been the destruction of the moral strength of the churches.
Paul made it clear in the Epistle to the Romans that God has not forgotten His ancient people, the Jews, but will turn to them once more in the last days.
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be conceited; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:25,26)
Those who claim Paul here is referring to the Gentile churches as "Israel" are ignoring the logic of the chapter. Because of their Gentile pride and bias against the Jews they are pushing to one side the common sense of the context and are spiritualizing a passage that is not meant to be spiritualized. The context is obviously discussing the plight of natural Israel.
For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. (Romans 11:21)
The Epistle to the Romans is not a prophetic vision subject to frequent spiritualizing, as is true of the Book of Revelation. It is a letter to believers living in the city of Rome and has a strong Jewish flavor. In Romans, Chapter 11 Paul is stating in the last days God will turn once again to His ancient people. God loves the nation of Israel because of the fathers of Israel.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (Romans 11:28)
It is good to keep in mind that Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude were all Jews. It is remarkable that they were able to any extent at all to include Gentiles in their thinking.
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law [Torah] in their inner parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
"The covenant that I will make with the house of Israel."
Here is the new covenant, or new testament. The new covenant cannot be made with a Gentile, only with the House of Israel. The description of the new covenant (which is the only new covenant) is repeated in the Book of Hebrews.
For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: (Hebrews 8:8)
God has reached out to Gentiles, calling them His people.
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. (Hosea 1:10)
The people who "are not my people" are Gentiles that God will adopt. But because the new covenant is made only with Israel, the elect Gentiles will never be separate from Israel, God’s holy nation.
A separate Divine covenant will never be made with Gentiles. The new covenant is for "the house of Israel and . . . the house of Judah."
Since this is true, how does a Gentile come under the blessing of the new covenant? Only by marrying the Lord Jesus. Asenath, the wife of Joseph, became an integral part of Israel by marrying Joseph. Gentiles become an integral part of Israel by marrying the Lord Jesus and then are eligible to partake of the new covenant.
As Asenath lost her identity as an Egyptian by marrying Joseph, so people lose their Gentile identity by marrying Christ.
Regarding the Law, the Torah, it never shall change. The concept of the Torah being abolished is one of the major misunderstandings of new-covenant theology.
The Ten Commandments, in their fullest interpretation and application, represent the eternal moral nature of God and are a judgment upon Satan.
The Torah shall never be done away. The difference between the two covenants is not that the Torah is done away. The difference is that under the old covenant the Torah was written on stone, parchment, and paper. Under the new covenant, the Torah is written in the heart and mind of the Israelite.
It still is the Torah and it still is the covenant made with the House of Israel. Under the new covenant, the Torah is greatly amplified in scope. God’s elect could not begin to keep the amplified version of the Torah were it not for the fact that the Word of God has become flesh and is being formed in them. Only as the Word, the Torah of God, is formed within us are we able to obey its holy injunctions.
The new-covenant Torah is kept through the Spirit of God, not through the efforts of the adamic nature.
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. (Acts 3:22)
The "prophet" is Christ. The Jews are to hear Him in all that He says. This does not mean they are to join a Gentile religion in order to hear their own Christ.
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 peoples of the earth be blessed. (Acts 3:25)
It is Jews, not Gentiles, who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant made with Abraham—the father of all who believe in Christ.
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, (Acts 13:32)
The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven is the fulfillment of the promise made to the fathers of Israel.
Notice the following words of the Apostle Paul:
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: (Acts 24:14)
We can see from the above verse how inappropriate it is to regard the Kingdom of God as a Gentile religion. The Apostle Paul viewed the Gospel of Christ as an integral part of the Hebrew Scriptures.
In some passages of his writings the Apostle Paul spoke of the advantage of being a Jew by natural birth.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)
Gentile believers often state the Gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation to the Jew first. How deep is this conviction? Do Gentiles truly believe the Gospel belongs primarily to the Jew?
Concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, is there an advantage to being a Jew by race?
What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. (Romans 3:1,2)
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)
We personally have seen the reception that God gives a Jew when he receives Christ as his Savior and Lord. There is a special quality of Divine love and embrace and sometimes a vision or other extraordinary blessing. There is a sense that a member of the royal family has returned home.
The Scripture agrees with the uniqueness of the Divine reception given to the Jew who receives his own Christ.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:24)
Christ is the Jews’ "own olive tree." Have Gentile believers forgotten the expression, "how much more "?
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:26)
In the context of the above verse, Jerusalem on earth is considered to be "Hagar," the Egyptian, while the new Jerusalem in Heaven is "Sarah," the true Israel of promise. Hagar corresponds to the Law of Moses while the Jerusalem that is above is the promise given to Abraham.
Does the existence of the spiritual Jerusalem in Heaven indicate that God is finished with the land and people of Israel? Absolutely not! Paul here is seeking to move the Jews from the fleshly bondage of the statutes and ordinances of Moses to the salvation that is in Christ.
The Jews (and Gentiles) who are in Christ have died to the world and have risen with Christ. Their spirits are in the new Jerusalem in Heaven, which one day will return and clothe the earthly Jerusalem with eternal life just as our new, heavenly body will clothe our mortal frame at the coming of the Lord.
The existence of the spiritual Jerusalem in Heaven does not signify that God has abandoned the land and people of physical Israel. To the contrary, many verses of the Hebrew Scriptures point directly to the restoration of the land and people of Israel.
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12)
Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 37:12)
Isaiah 11:12 (above) appears to be speaking primarily of the physical restoration of the people of Israel, while Ezekiel 37:12 perhaps may be interpreted both physically and spiritually.
The work of physical restoration goes together with the spiritual restoration, the spiritual restoration being the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The physical and the spiritual are on a converging course.
The Jerusalem in Heaven is the mother of every true believer, Jewish and Gentile, and will be established on the earth at the appointed hour.
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
The promise of the Holy Spirit, the holy anointing of the royal priesthood, is given to the Seed of Abraham. That Seed is Christ and only Christ. The Seed is singular.
It is only as the Jew receives his Christ that he can partake of the new covenant, of the priestly anointing. God has graciously granted that a predetermined number of Gentiles may be included in Christ, in the Divine blessing and covenant.
The fact that God has included a specific number of Gentiles in Christ does not suggest in any manner that the Jew is excluded or that the Kingdom of God is now a Gentile religion.
From Abraham came Isaac and Jacob. From Jacob came the tribes of Israel. The Gospel was given to Abraham and to the Seed of Abraham. The prophetic anointing rested on Abraham, on Isaac, and on Jacob, and God is called by their names. "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob."
The prophetic anointing passed to the priests and prophets of Israel, and at the beginning of the present era was extended to chosen Gentiles.
The root is Abraham and from that root has proceeded all that truly is of the Divine salvation. To view the Gospel of Christ as a Gentile religion denies its root and its nature. To relegate the land and people of Israel to a secondary role in the Kingdom of God is unscriptural and illogical. The Gospel of the Kingdom is the "children’s bread" and Gentiles are invited as guests.
Notice the prophecy of Caiaphas, the High Priest of Israel in the days of Jesus:
. . . Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. (John 11:49-52)
In the above, we see that the emphasis is on Israel but includes the elect Gentiles "that were scattered abroad."
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; (Romans 11:17)
The Olive Tree is Christ. Christ came to Abraham according to the will of God. The Messianic anointing passed to Isaac, to Jacob, and then to the tribes of Israel.
When Christ, the Lord Jesus, was born in Bethlehem, the Olive Tree was among people.
According to God’s promise, the Olive Tree, the Messianic anointing, has now been given to elect Jews and Gentiles.
And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Romans 9:23,24)
If we wish to understand how God works we must realize the Kingdom of God comes by Divine promise. The Jews possessed the Kingdom originally because of God’s promise, not because they were more righteous or obedient than other people.
The Kingdom passed on, in the first century, to a remnant of Jews and to chosen Gentiles; not because the remnant of Jews or the chosen Gentiles were more righteous or obedient than other people but according to the promise of God.
The reason the Gentiles have become inflated with pride is that they suppose in their goodness they received Christ while the Jews rejected Him. If that were the case, Gentiles might have reason to boast.
But this is not what took place. God has always worked in terms of His own counsel. The Jews are nothing at all and the Gentiles are nothing at all, except for God’s sovereign working.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Romans 11:5,6)
We may notice in the Book of Acts that the calling of the Gentiles to membership in the Body of Christ was by Divine election, not because of human goodness or wisdom.
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)
"Were ordained to eternal life"!
For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. (Acts 18:10)
God had "much people" in Corinth.
The eleventh chapter of Romans speaks of one divinely ordained olive tree. There is no other tree that is acceptable. There is no Gentile tree that is acceptable. The Gentile who would become part of the Body of Christ, of the royal priesthood, must be grafted on the cultivated olive tree.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, [remember that] thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. (Romans 11:17,18)
The Jew is the natural branch of the olive tree. Gentiles must be grafted on the tree because they do not belong to the tree by nature. The Jew who was broken off must be attached once more to his own tree.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:24)
It is the Lord’s plan to turn again to the Jews just as soon as God’s will has been accomplished in the ordained number of Gentiles. The olive tree, the Divine promise, that was with the Jews and then passed to a remnant of Jews and elect Gentiles, shall return in the last days to the nation of Israel.
For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (Romans 11:27,28)
Because of their pride, the Gentiles are insisting that God loves the Gentiles more than He does the Jews. Therefore the Divine plan is (they claim) to remove the believing Gentiles to Heaven where they will reign over themselves in the spirit realm, while the Jews, without the Holy Spirit, govern an earthly kingdom.
Where the Lord Jesus will be in their plan is not made plain by the teachers of this unscriptural conjecture.
It would not be difficult to write an entire book of refutation of the two-kingdom doctrine. One could prove from Genesis to Revelation that the Scriptures are proclaiming only one Kingdom of God—a Kingdom developed in Heaven that will come and govern the peoples of the earth.
The two-kingdom doctrine is a ruinous concept. It is destructive of coherent biblical interpretation and is anti-Semitic. The two-kingdom teaching exposes Gentile conceit.
Every scriptural reference refers to the Kingdom—singular. Nowhere in the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures is there a suggestion of two kingdoms, two churches, two brides of the Lamb, two temples of God.
One of the bases of the two-kingdom doctrine is the notion that Matthew is referring to a kingdom of Heaven while Luke and Mark are referring to the Kingdom of God. Which kingdom is supposed to go to Heaven and which kingdom stays on the earth we are not certain.
Notice the description of the parable of the sower, as set forth in Matthew:
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. (Matthew 13:11)
"The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven."
Notice the description of the parable of the sower, as set forth in Luke:
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:10)
"The mysteries of the kingdom of God."
The parable of the sower is a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven and also of the Kingdom of God. We believe, therefore, that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are the same Kingdom.
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. (Matthew 8:11)
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. (Luke 13:28)
It seems as though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are going to have to choose whether to be part of the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God comes from Heaven and therefore may be termed the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is much anti-Semitic prejudice in numerous Gentile believers. There is a deep conviction that "the Jews murdered Jesus" and since that time have willfully rejected His atonement and resurrected Presence. Gentiles may not be ready to fully receive Paul’s statement that the murder and rejection have occurred according to God’s foreknowledge (although produced by human sinfulness—God never acts in an evil manner) and that God has made His plans accordingly.
Unsaved Gentiles may be willing to believe the misconception that the Jews in their wickedness rejected Christ while Gentiles in their righteousness received Him. But Gentile believers ought to know the Scriptures better than this!
On the basis of this deplorable misunderstanding, Gentile theologians have created a kingdom of righteous (by imputation) Gentiles in the spiritual paradise of God and a lesser kingdom of fleshly Jews on a cursed earth. Such a totally unscriptural conjecture raises difficult questions:
To which body, which kingdom, does the Apostle Paul belong?
Is this doctrine speaking of Gentiles who have no Jewish blood in them (in the supposed Gentile Church), or is some Jewish blood acceptable? How about a believer who is one-fourth Jewish? Where does one draw the line of acceptability? How far back in the ancestral line must we go when determining who is a Jew and who is a Gentile? And what do we do with the Scripture passage that declares in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek?
What about the Apostle Peter? Is he of the same Church, the same kingdom, as believing Gentiles? Has Peter become a Gentile? Or will Peter rule on the earth over a fleshly kingdom?
What about the Jew who is born again? Is he part of the spiritual Kingdom in Heaven or part of a natural kingdom on the earth?
To what kingdom was the Lord Jesus referring when He advised the Jew, Nicodemus, "You must be born again if you would see or enter the Kingdom of God"?
How can unregenerate Jews rule a kingdom on earth that is acceptable to God when they do not have the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ?
If we postulate that all Jews who are new-covenant believers have become part of the "Gentile Church," and the Jews who will be left on the cursed earth have never been born again, how do we apply the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures to the Jews who have become part of the Church?
We know the Lord Jesus will rule on the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem. Will He be ruling in the midst of Jews who never have been born again, who are still flesh and blood creatures, not having the Seed of God in them?
What of the new Jerusalem, the holy city that is destined to rule the nations of the saved on the new earth? Is this the natural kingdom of the Jews, or the spiritual temple of Gentiles having come down from Heaven? Why would a Gentile city be called the new Jerusalem? Where would the Jews be then?
If the new Jerusalem comprises flesh and blood Jews, why is it referred to as the Bride of the Lamb? How can the "throne of God and of the Lamb" be in a flesh and blood city (Revelation 21:9; 22:3)?
But if the new Jerusalem is the Gentile Church, now glorified, what do we do with the promise to the Jews concerning the new heavens and new earth, and the new Jerusalem?
For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad [you children of Israel] and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. (Isaiah 65:17-19)
These are but a few of the questions that must be answered scripturally and logically before we have a basis on which to postulate two kingdoms—a spiritual kingdom in Heaven and an earthly kingdom.
Notice how Peter was able to accept the fact that God was reaching out to Gentiles, making them part of the royal priesthood of Israel. First, Peter refers to the believing Gentiles as "strangers":
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, (I Peter 1:1)
Then he acknowledges that they are members of the elect of God.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 2:9)
There is only one chosen generation, one holy nation, and that is the nation of Israel. That a remnant of Gentiles should ever be made a part of the priesthood of God is a wonder of wonders.
Peter, by viewing the unbelieving Gentiles as the true Gentiles, acknowledges that the elect Gentiles have become part of Israel.
Having your [the elect Gentiles] conversation honest among the [unbelieving] Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:12)
Do you see, in the verse above, that Peter is cautioning the believing Gentiles (now regarded as members of Israel) concerning their behavior among the unbelieving nations?
The believing Gentiles have become part of the holy nation of Israel, just as Asenath, the wife of Joseph, and Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, although in whole or in part Egyptian, came to be regarded as an integral part of Israel.
Let believing Gentiles have a due appreciation for the fact that they are eating the "children’s bread," and not be lifted up in pride as though they were the original chosen people of the Lord.
The designation as a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, is the unique possession of Israel—God’s firstborn from among the nations of the earth.
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5,6)
The concept here is that of election, of calling. Those who are called are "saints," that is, people who are holy to the Lord.
They are holy because God has separated them from the world and drawn them to Himself.
The priesthood always is by election. No man by his own desire can assume the honor of the priesthood.
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. (Hebrews 5:4)
The word church means "called-out from," that is, called out from among the peoples of the earth. Israel is God’s firstborn—that which belongs peculiarly to Him.
The fact that Israel was designated as the holy nation, and then the "strangers" Peter was addressing were designated as the holy nation, does not indicate that God has turned away from the Jews and then chosen Gentiles as His royal priesthood. Instead, the elect Gentiles have been made an integral part of Israel through marriage to Christ.
There is but one royal priesthood. The royal priesthood is the Body of Christ, the Church. The Body of Christ includes all who are in Christ, whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.
Nowhere in the writings of the New Testament Apostles is there any indication whatever that the elect Jews compose one royal priesthood and the elect Gentiles constitute a different royal priesthood.
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)
The "remnant" spoken of here consists of Jews—Jews that God has seen fit to bring into the one Body of Christ.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (Romans 11:28)
The term "elect" applies also to Gentiles:
Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; (Colossians 3:11,12)
"Put on, therefore, as the elect of God."
There is no way in which God’s elect can be separated into Jew and Gentile. Once we receive Christ we become part of a new Man: Christ—Head and Body.
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (Ezekiel 37:19)
The stick of Joseph represents the elect of the Gentiles. The stick of Judah represents the elect of the Jews.
The stick of Joseph represents the elect of the Gentiles because of Ephraim, the second son of Joseph. When Jacob prophesied over Ephraim he stated:
. . . but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he [Manasseh], and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. (Genesis 48:19)
The seed of Ephraim will become a multitude of nations, that is, Gentile nations; not just the one nation of Israel.
The remaining verses of the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel remind us of the Lord’s statement, "There shall be one fold, and one shepherd":
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. (Ezekiel 37:21,22)
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. (Ezekiel 37:24)
There is only one Divinely ordained faith. The division of the one Church into many denominations is proof of the carnality of the believers in Christ, of the dominance of our adamic nature.
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
We know from the context of the above passage that Paul is thinking first of Jewish believers, and then of the Gentiles who have been added to the one family of God.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (Ephesians 3:14,15)
It is not possible that Paul here was thinking of Gentile believers only. In fact, if there were an exception in Paul’s mind it would have been the Gentile believers.
The Jew, Paul, was sent by the Lord Jesus to preach to the Gentiles.
But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Saul of Tarsus] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (Acts 9:15)
Paul knew well that he was called to bear the name of Christ to the Gentile nations. He knew also that Gentile believers would be brought into the one family of God—that they would never constitute a separate church.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; (Romans 11:17)
It is the concept of the one new Man, as set forth in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, that reveals beyond all argument that the Gentiles have been made an integral part of the one Israel and that there is no such entity as a "Gentile Church."
Wherefore remember, that ye 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; (Ephesians 2:11)
Notice that believing Gentiles no longer are "Gentiles in the flesh." They were Gentiles in the flesh "in time past." Now, upon receiving Christ, they have become part of the one family of God, a part of Paul’s own people.
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: (Ephesians 2:12)
Before receiving Christ, the Gentiles of Ephesus were without Christ. They were aliens to the nation of Israel. They had no part in the Divine promises.
But now in Christ ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13)
Since they are abiding in Christ, the believing Gentiles, who at one time had not been a part of Israel, have now been made an integral part of the one holy nation.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken the middle wall of partition between us; (Ephesians 2:14)
There no longer is a "middle wall of partition." In Christ there is no dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles.
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; (Ephesians 2:15)
"One new man"!
By keeping perfectly the Law of Moses, and then paying the penalty for the transgressions of the Law of Moses, Christ is able to give the Divine salvation to whomever God has given to Him (see John 17:2). Therefore there no longer is an "enmity" between the Jew and the Gentile.
When the Jew and the Gentile are abiding in Christ there is "one new man."
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Ephesians 2:18)
If the believing Jew has the Holy Spirit of God, and the believing Gentile has the same Holy Spirit of God, how can they be of two different churches or two different kingdoms?
If the Jew or the Gentile does not have the Holy Spirit of God, he does not belong to Christ.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:19)
Again, we have the concept of the believing Gentile being welcomed into the household of God as a fellow-citizen of the Jewish saints. The believing Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners with respect to the original Jewish saints but are accepted as one with them.
And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20)
The Apostles were Jewish and the Prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures were Jewish (although Paul may be speaking here of the early new-covenant prophets—who also were Jewish).
The eternal Temple of God is being built on the chief Cornerstone, Christ, and the foundation laid by the Jewish Apostles and Prophets.
In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: (Ephesians 2:21)
There are not two holy temples; there is only the one holy temple. The holy temple is the "Father’s house" of John 14:2. The Father’s House is Christ—Head and Body, the eternal Servant of the Lord, the glorified Church, the new Jerusalem.
The holy temple, the building spoken of in the verse above, is the eternal habitation of God, the "tabernacle of God" that will come down from Heaven through the new sky to rest forever on the new earth. The nations of the saved will walk in the Light and Presence of God Almighty which then will be located on the earth instead of in the heavens above.
Jerusalem shall become the throne of the Lord. In that day, the city of Jerusalem will be Heaven, for Heaven is the throne of God.
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)
To continue with the concept of the one new Man:
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
There is only the one new Man! In the Divine salvation, in the Kingdom of God, in the Bride of the Lamb, in the new Jerusalem, there is only the one new Man!
How then can any devout student of the Scriptures maintain that there is a Gentile kingdom and a Jewish kingdom; a Gentile bride and a Jewish bride; a Gentile church and a Jewish church; a Gentile new Jerusalem and a Jewish new Jerusalem? Truly, the two-kingdom, two-bride concept destroys biblical interpretation. The Gentile believer is left with an uncertain destiny if the Hebrew Scriptures are referring to natural Israel only.
There is one new Man—Christ. Notice a subsequent statement in Ephesians:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
We Jewish and Gentile believers are destined to arrive at the fullness of maturity as measured by the fullness of Christ. Christ is the true Israel, the Servant of the Lord. Christ is the exalted Head of the one new Man. The elect Jews and Gentiles are an integral part of the one new Man. The one new Man is destined to fill the heavens and the earth. He is the eternal Temple of God, the Governor of the Kingdom of God.
There is no such thing as a "Gentile Church"; there is only the one new Man.
We understand that in the last days, God will turn again to the land and people of Israel.
Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come. Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 11:16,17)
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 59:20)
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:26,27)
Israel is destined to become the world center of the Kingdom of God.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God 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 the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, 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. (Zechariah 8:23)
No matter how the nations of the earth come against Israel, the Word of God will be fulfilled to the letter. God has determined to pour out His Holy Spirit on Israel and to make Israel the spiritual and physical headquarters of the nations of the world. There is no power in the heavens, on earth, or in the dark domains beneath the surface of the earth that can change one particle of God’s Word. It all shall come to pass in detail.
We do not know what will happen to Israel before its time of exaltation comes. But Israel shall be fully restored and glorified at the appointed hour.
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:9,10)
Those who teach that there is a Gentile Church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth may find the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation difficult to interpret simply and directly. But to the individual who perceives that there is one new Man, Christ, the eternal Temple of God, there is no problem.
The new Jerusalem is the holy city of God, the Bride of the Lamb, the glorified Church, the Torah personified in God’s people. All the promises of God concerning the glorification of Israel will be fulfilled in the new Jerusalem. Israel will then be the head of all nations. The nations of the earth will walk in the light of Israel, which actually will be the Light of God Himself.
The Hebrew Prophets spoke of this fulfillment of the new covenant—the time when the sins of God’s people would be removed and every Israelite, from the least to the greatest, would know the Lord for himself.
Jerusalem, the Israel of God, will be the shining light of the earth, the center of righteousness and praise.
For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. (Isaiah 62:1)
The Lord will chasten the nation that does not come up to Jerusalem "to keep the feast of tabernacles," that is, to recognize that God is now dwelling in His elect.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:16,17)
The nations of the saved of the earth, the "sheep nations," those who were kind to the Lord’s brothers, will bring their glory and wealth to Jerusalem.
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. (Isaiah 60:9)
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)
There can be no doubt, in the mind of the careful student of the Scriptures, that Isaiah 60:9 and Revelation 21:24 are speaking of the same fulfillment. Since the holy city is referred to as "the bride, the Lamb’s wife," we know the new Jerusalem is the glorified Church of Christ.
We find the names of the twelve tribes of Israel are written on the gates of the wall of the new Jerusalem, while the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are inscribed in the foundations of the wall.
The new Jerusalem, beyond all question, is the Wife of the Lamb, the glorified Church, the Body of Christ. The fact that the names of the tribe of Israel, and the names of the twelve Jewish Apostles of the Lamb, are written on the gates and foundations of the wall, most significantly reveals Israel to be the Kingdom of God—an Israel born again in Christ.
Thus the new Jerusalem, the hope and destiny of every true member of God’s elect, has on its gates and foundations of its wall the names of twenty-four Jews.
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13)
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
A religion is an organized program of beliefs and rituals. In this sense, the central elements of both biblical Judaism and the Gospel of the Kingdom are not a part of religion.
Biblical Judaism and the new covenant are one whole, and the same revelation, except that the new covenant is a fuller development of God’s intention.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1,2)
The same God has spoken; the same redemption is offered; the same Son is presented, although not as clearly under the old covenant as under the new.
We could not call the crossing of the Red Sea, the forty years of manna, the Glory on Mount Sinai, an organized program of beliefs and rituals. Neither could we refer to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit from Heaven, or the signs and wonders that accompanied the Apostles of the Lamb, as an organized program of beliefs and rituals.
In the case of both Judaism and the Kingdom of Heaven, a religion has been developed, not only from the directions and expressions of the Spirit of God but also (and sometimes primarily) from the mind and needs of human beings. We must always keep in mind that the Judaic and new-covenant religions are not always pure truth itself but often are human adaptations to truth.
The heart of biblical Judaism is the revelation of God through Moses and the Prophets, including God’s Presence from the time of the garden in Eden. The heart of the Kingdom of God is the cross on which the Divine Lamb made an atonement for our sins, His triumphant resurrection from the dead, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit from Heaven, and the conception and growth of the Divine Seed in people.
Biblical Judaism possesses the Law and the ordinances, the sacrifices, the Tabernacle, the priesthood, the Prophets, and the feasts beginning with Passover. Over the centuries the Talmud, the interpretation of the Law, has been added. But the Glory of Israel is not the Law and the Talmud as much as it is the Presence of the majestic Lord who has called the Jews to be His own people.
The new covenant possesses the blood atonement, the resurrection, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Gospels and the Epistles of the Apostles, the Communion service, water baptism, and the gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit. The Glory of the new covenant includes the creating and dwelling of Christ in the members of His Body, His Bride. The greatest fact of the new covenant is that Christ is in and not merely with His elect. This is the mystery that has been hidden from ancient times.
All of the Divine objectives, such as the unblemished Bride of the Lamb, the eternal Temple of God, the royal priesthood, the judges of men and angels, the protection against future rebellion, the availability of God to every saved person on earth, can be accomplished only as chosen people respond to the program of change into the image of Christ and to the cry of God that we come in total union with Himself.
The elements of both Judaism and the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven (which actually are part of the same Divine gift) are means to the attainment of a goal. They are necessary observances and experiences whose goal is to provide a temple for God.
Until we enter an intense, all-consuming interaction with the Lord Himself, a travail to bring forth Christ in us, we are merely practicing our religion. We may be expert in the vocabulary, experiences, and observances that are part of our religion. But it is a religion we are in—no more than that. We are not participating in God’s intention, only in the preliminaries.
These are the three great symbols of biblical Judaism.
The Altar is the place of the shedding of innocent blood on behalf of the guilty, and also the instrument of fellowship with God. The Divine scales of equity can be balanced only with blood. There can be no release from the guilt and power of sin apart from the blood-offering.
The Altar speaks to the believer of the need to offer his own life so that God’s will may be done in the earth.
As in the case of the other experiences and objects of Israel, the Altar has a Divine fulfillment in Christ. The guiltless Lamb of God, after having fulfilled the Law of Moses perfectly and completely, gave His blood for the taking away of our sin.
The Lampstand of Israel, with its central shaft and six side-branches, has become the symbol of Jewry. The figure of the Lampstand can be seen wherever Judaism is found.
The Lampstand represents the priestly anointing of the Holy Spirit. The central shaft portrays Christ while the six side-branches speak of the elect, the Body of Christ. Six is the number of man—man having been created on the sixth day.
It is in the Kingdom of God that the eternal form and life of the Lampstand are found.
The devout of Israel, when it is possible, construct a booth each year. During the annual feast of Tabernacles there can be seen outside the homes and hotels of the Jews in Israel the structures made from tree branches, boards, and other materials.
The Booth portrays God dwelling in Christ in Israel, and finally—perhaps to a lesser extent—in all the saved peoples of the world. The Booth represents the tender agony of God, the awesome Divine love that no human being could sustain that reaches out to bring into eternal union with Himself the souls that God claims as His own possession.
The forms and practices of religion point us toward the revelation and desire of God and prepare us to participate in God’s purpose. But it is in the blood, the Holy Spirit, and finally the Divine embrace, that God and man find ultimate and eternal fulfillment.
Throughout the centuries, people have been occupied with religion. Those who have perceived the actual intention of the Lord, which is fellowship with Himself, appear to have been a minority.
The Jews, in numerous instances, have missed God’s heart. They have focused on their religion (as they do today), worshiping the letter of the Law rather than God who gave the Law.
The Gentile believers, in numerous instances, have also missed God’s heart. They delight in their observances, their social gatherings, and especially in their structures. They worship their ministers, their buildings, their music, their social relationships, and—in the present hour—themselves and their pleasures.
The learned men of Judaism are highly esteemed for their disciplined lives and no doubt have a battle with personal pride. The popular Gentile ministers of today are worshiped by their followers and also may have a problem with personal pride.
It often is true that people, both Jews and Gentiles, are somewhat ignorant of God’s actual reason for revealing Himself. Because of this ignorance, because of the practice of religion apart from an understanding of the goal of the religious practices, the worshipers of God often have persecuted one another.
The attitude of Gentile religionists toward the Jews has been abominable, whether we are referring to the assumption of Divine authority by the lords of the Catholic and Protestant churches or the violence of Martin Luther and other reformers and teachers. In addition, the established churches have persecuted viciously and murdered literally millions of Jewish and Gentile believers who have dissented from their dogmas and practices.
Christ was not murdered by the Jewish people but by envious, self-seeking, deceived practitioners of the religion of Judaism. Gentile leaders have murdered millions of their fellow believers because these persecutors were self-seeking and grievously deceived. The heads of the various denominations have, at times, allowed Satan to express his envy and rage in themselves. Religionists often murder the Lord’s Christ and hate and persecute other religionists who do not agree with them.
In the last days, the religionists will see the advantage of uniting and they will create the great Babylon (man-directed Christianity) and establish it on the banks of the Euphrates.
Then the whore, Babylon, organized religion, with the blessing and assistance of Antichrist, will crush the testimony of the Holy Spirit in God’s elect.
Gentile believers need to understand the following: It was not the Jewish people or the Jewish race that murdered Christ, it was self-seeking, envious religionists, the leaders of the religion of Judaism, who hated God when they saw Him.
Jewish people need to understand the following: It was not Christ, or the elect of God in whom Christ is being formed, who have persecuted and murdered the Jews for two thousand years, it has been the Gentile religionists, the leaders of the Gentile denominations. They have never understood God’s love for the Jewish people. If they had realized the fullness of God’s plan for the Jews they would not have reviled and persecuted them but would have demonstrated kindness and concern for their plight.
In numerous instances, neither the Judaic religionists nor the Gentile religionists know God and His Christ. They are of their father, the devil, and they do the works of their father.
We are coming to the day when all of God’s true elect, both Jew and Gentile, will join together as one stick in God’s hand. Then will the great Babylon arise in her fury and add much blood to that which already is on her hands. The Lord’s people will be accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
But in the end the Lord’s witnesses from every age will arise from the dead and be clothed with Divine Glory. The righteous shall rejoice. The meek shall inherit the earth.
Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (Isaiah 24:23)
Great Babylon shall come to her end and there is no hand that can save her.
Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (Revelation 18:8)
Therefore will he [Christ] give them [the people of Israel] up, until the time she [the new-covenant believers] which travaileth hath brought forth [Christ in the saints—see Revelation, Chapter 12]: then the remnant of his brethren [Christ’s brothers, the new-covenant saints—see Romans 8:29] shall return unto the children of Israel [the earthly nation of Israel]. (Micah 5:3)
Today the true saints are in travail, a travail to bring forth Christ, the ruler of the nations of the earth.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
For two thousand years the Gentile believers have labored in the beliefs and practices of religion, just as was true of the Jewish people for hundreds of years previously. This has been true for the sincere of the Jews and Gentiles as well as for those whose hearts have not been established in the Lord.
Now—suddenly—Zion, the elect of God, the true saints, are laboring to bring forth Christ; and He is coming to birth in the form of Zion’s children!
As Christ is formed in us we begin to understand our religious beliefs and practices, our diligent adherence to the Scriptures, have been bringing us to the place where the Word has been formed in us. We have kept the Word and now the Word is keeping us. The Day Star—Christ—is arising in our heart
We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star [Christ] arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)
As Christ is created in the believer and dwells in him he has a great longing to return to the land and people of Israel. In fact, one way of identifying believers who are hearing from God in these days is that they have a great love for Israel—a love they feel but cannot always explain.
Those who are following the spirit of the False Prophet believe the so-called Gentile Church is replacing the Jews in God’s plan. They are deceiving many. They are not of Christ, for if they were, they would be responding to the Spirit of God.
Let us repeat the prophecy of Micah:
Therefore will he give them up, until the time she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)
The Church is travailing now. There is coming forth from the multitude of religious people a godly remnant who know the Lord. They have within themselves the love of Christ for the Jewish people, and also a love for the land of Israel; for it is their land also (the Gentile believers have no other land to call their own).
The Jews fear and distrust the Gentile elect—and with good reason! But in the days to come the Jews will find that their staunchest friends and supporters are the godly remnant drawn from the multitude of new-covenant believers. The true saints, Gentiles as well as Jews, will stand by the side of the people and land of Israel in the hour to come, being willing to be tortured and killed because of their identification with Israel.
Many true Gentile believers helped the Jews during the Holocaust, and some paid a heavy price for their righteousness. Many true believers will assist the Jews during the dark hour that is coming upon us now. The Lord God of Heaven will be the Rock and the Fortress of His people, both Jews and Gentiles.
The Gospel of Christ, from beginning to end, is thoroughly Jewish. Christ and His brothers were announced by the Hebrew Prophets, and the Church was born and developed among devout Jews.
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. (Isaiah 8:18)
From the time the Jew, John the Baptist, announced the Presence of Christ, until the names of twenty-four Jews are revealed in the foundations and gates of the wall of the new Jerusalem, the Divine salvation has been and will continue to be of Jews, by Jews, and for Jews.
The new covenant, the eternal covenant, can be made only with Jews. A person must be of the spiritual Seed of Abraham, of the Olive Tree of Israel, before he or she can enter God’s eternal Kingdom. There is only one new Man. He is Christ—Head and Body.
The Jews were broken off from their own olive tree and elect Gentiles were grafted on the Jewish tree. Now the Gentiles must give utmost diligence to make their calling and election certain, otherwise they also will be removed from the tree, from the godly Vine, which is Christ.
The Gentile believers must come to understand it was not Jews but Satan in the religious system that murdered Christ.
The Jews must come to understand it was not true new-covenant saints, or the Spirit of Christ, that has persecuted them for two thousand years. It has been that same Satan who, working through Jewish rabbis, murdered Jesus, and who since that time has been working through Gentile leaders and their followers to torture and murder Jews as well as their fellow Gentile believers who disagree with some point of doctrine or practice.
Christ is being formed today in those of God’s elect who are praying. These believers are feeling the love of Christ for the Jewish people and their land. They are ashamed of the behavior of Gentiles toward the Jews and are determined to do what they can to assist Jacob as he returns to the land of promise.
If it were merely human sentiment or romanticism that is inspiring the Gentile believers, the Jews would have little encouragement or hope from the believers. But because it is God’s Christ who is beginning to express Himself toward the Jews, the Jews have a solid foundation on which to base their encouragement and hope.
The "times of the Gentiles" have nearly been fulfilled. The Jews are returning home. God Almighty, in fulfillment of His Word to the fathers of Israel, is turning to the House of Israel once again, and the saints who are living close to the Lord are feeling God’s heart.
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
The rabbis are suspicious of this new Gentile interest in Jews. They have good reason to be suspicious. Through the centuries the believers have treated Jews with scorn and hatred, and then with flattery attempting to "convert" them to the "Gentile Church."
Some of the saints of God in whom Christ is being formed are not especially interested in converting Jews and would not benefit from their conversion. They are seeking only to follow Jesus each day; and it is their pursuit of Jesus that is leading them to desire to assist the Jews as they return home to the land of Israel.
Some of the Gentile saints (the writer among them) fear that the Jews will turn to Jesus and then be corrupted by church traditions, such as emphasizing residence in Heaven as the goal of redemption (in place of eternal life in the Kingdom of God), and viewing grace as an eternal amnesty rather than the Divine enablement to change from the image of Adam to the image of Christ.
Thousands of Jews have already turned to the Lord Jesus and many have accepted some of the notable heresies of our day, such as the faith and prosperity errors, the Dispensational model of biblical interpretation, and the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture of Gentile believers. Apparently they do not understand the Dispensational model, with its pre-tribulation rapture, is anti-Semitic.
The entire Scriptures, from Genesis through Revelation, constitute one whole Divine expression, one revelation from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The whole revealed Word of God is of the greatest significance for the Jews and also for the elect among the Gentiles.
Not because of any righteousness on the part of the Jews, but because of the promise of God, the Divine salvation will return to the land and people of Israel. The Gentiles who humble themselves will find salvation. But those who harden their hearts in pride, insisting that the Gospel of Christ is a Gentile religion, will be swept away in the Divine judgment that is to fill the earth at the end of the present age and the beginning of the next.
Those who today are claiming that God is finished with the Jews, and that the Gentile believers have replaced the Jews in the plan of God, need to repent before the Rock of Israel rolls over them and crushes them. The Lord is still the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Let the Jews rejoice and the Gentiles tremble!
The Jews have had their holocaust. The Gentile holocaust is at hand.
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; (Romans 2:9)
"Of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile."
The Gentile believers who love and fear God are saying to the Jews: "You are God’s people. You do not have to become a Gentile to please God. In His eternal love for the Jewish people, God has prepared a banquet. There is bread on the table. The bread is the flesh of God’s Lamb, Christ.
"There is drink on the table. The drink is the blood of God’s Lamb, Christ. Whoever will eat this bread and drink from this cup will live forever. Christ will raise him up in the last day.
"There is no need whatever for the Jew to leave his people or his heritage as a Jew. The flesh of Christ is the Jew’s bread. The blood of Christ is the Jew’s drink. Christ is the Passover Lamb of the Jews.
"The elect Gentiles are guests at the Jew’s table.
"You are God’s people. The Gentile believers love and serve your Christ. He is the Bridegroom, ready to spread the robe of Divine righteousness over you.
"The Gospel is to the Jew first, and the elect Gentiles will do all in their power to assist you in the days to come, as your God provides the wisdom and strength.
"The true Gentile saints have been persecuted and killed by the religious institutions throughout the Church Age just as you have been. The Gentile elect may, in the closing days of the age, be cast out and slain because of their stand on your behalf and because they will not conform to the desires and ways of the Gentile religionists.
"But your God—and their God—will save us by His all-powerful Glory until together all of God’s family sits down together in the Kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.