Promises and Secrets

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A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.



The Israelites

VIEWPOINT



Why does everyone say that the Old Testament and all the law are only for the Israelites?

FACT



God spoke almost exclusively to the Israelites in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, he spoke to both the Israelites and everyone else as well - through the apostles, some prophets, and Jesus, all of whom were Israelites.


BLUE VIEWPOINT



Everyone says that the Old Testament laws are just for the Israelites.

Well, if that's the case, then Jesus does us Gentiles no good, because that's what He said about His own mission in this world (Matt 15:24
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." (NIV)

). Not only that, He was the One who gave the laws to us - er, them - well, to everyone. If you disagree, which of the laws can we safely ignore? Based on what? Can we keep some, like 9 of the ten commandments, and ignore others , like the fourth commandment and Leviticus 11, but not others, like Leviticus 18? Where is the list of what we can and can't ignore? Who gets to choose and let us know?

Both Old and New say otherwise

There is a passage in Ezekiel 5:6
6Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees.

that implies strongly that the nations around Israel follow God's laws and decrees better than Israel does. That doesn't mean that those countries are better than Israel, but that at least they are following His laws better than she. That doesn't sound like His laws are "only for the Israelites", as you hear in all the churches today.

Combine this with the statement of Paul in Romans 2:14-15
12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God judges people's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

and you see that this was true in both the Old and New Testaments. In both cases, this was praising all those who followed God's will and deriding those who disobeyed it. Read it again. It's not the hearers, but the doers who will be declared righteous. Yep, "doers" as in "that they may see your good works" (Matthew 5:16
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (KJV)

) and glorify God in heaven. Also, that judgment will take place on the "day when God judges people's secrets through Jesus Christ". He didn't say, "judge Israel's secrets", but "people". Now, you can twist that around to mean something else, but just read what it says and you will get what it actually means.

The whole purpose of choosing Israel

Have you ever read Jeremiah chapters 13 to 17? While complaining about the lack of faithfulness of the Israelites in chapter 13, in verse 11 He states why it is important that they start acting like His people:

11For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,' declares the LORD, 'to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.'

That little phrase in there, "for my renown and praise and honor", means to show the rest of the world what happens when you respect Him and obey Him. Now, I don't know if you are aware of it, but if you are not an Israelite (Jew), then you are part of the rest of the world.

Read a little further to the last part of chapter 17:

19This is what the Lord said to me: "Go and stand at the Gate of the People, through which the kings of Judah go in and out; stand also at all the other gates of Jerusalem. 20Say to them, 'Hear the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah and all people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem who come through these gates. 21This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. 22Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.

Note the phrase in verse 20, "you kings of Judah and all people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem who come through these gates." (emphasis added). That's not just the Jews, that's everyone who sees how the people should treat the Sabbath. Why can't people see that this is important to God? If you are an American, and you keep the Sabbath according to the commandment, how can that be a bad thing for you? But if He wants you to respect His laws, and you don't, how can that be a good thing for you? And here, "good thing" means gaining the salvation of Christ and eternal life.

God has a plan

Typical Christianity is a little frustrating for me. We learn throughout the whole Bible that God is on our side - with certain conditions. He worked with Adam, who failed Him often - but generally stayed on track. God worked with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and a host of others. They fell down occasionally, but stayed on track. God also established rules for all these people to follow - rules that they tried hard to follow. Not all of them were Israelites, but they knew they had to follow His rules if they were to receive His blessings. However, we are constantly told by liberal pastors that we are so special today as Christians that we have to do nothing to receive those same blessings that He denied His own people when they disobeyed.

His plan has a point

After some time of lesson-teaching to show them that they could not just go their own way, God gathered His people together and started working with them. During the time they spent in Egypt they were called Israelites. He saw them starting to follow the ways of the world, so He saved them out of their misery, and started teaching them the same rules He had used for all the others before the genealogy line even became Israelites.

So, how can we ignore it?

Why is it that we "Christians", especially in America, think that we are so special that we are not required to show faith in God and His word, but only have to "have faith" or "believe in" Jesus to be saved? Can we really, as you hear more and more in the "emerging churches", just ignore the laws of God if you love Jesus? I mean, really, what's the difference? Isn't Jesus also God?

Christians today think that we are so special to God that He will freely just give us all the blessings He forced Israelites to earn through obedience. Earn? Yes. Not earn as in wages for work performed, but by demonstrating by their lives that they are on His side and not off on their own. These modern Christians forget that the only reason He uses us Gentiles is to get the Israelites back on track. You can read all about it in Romans 9 through 11.

Jesus said it Himself, Paul backed Him up

I know, that sounds like a lot of hooey. But the Scriptures are on my side. In Matt 15:23-24
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."

24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."

we are told by Jesus that He was only here for the Jews. And, what do you think Paul was speaking about in Romans 11:16-20
16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.

? How many churches today are being very arrogant by supposing that they have replaced the Israelites, but feel they can do the same things as the Israelites did that caused them to be reprimanded? Not necessarily because they have been "grafted in", but because they feel that they have no need to obey God because they are "chosen" and have been given the "free gift of life". Isn't that what the Israelites thought? Now, where are they?

Yet, off we go...

Today you see the very same signs in the "I am saved no matter what I do" Christians, which prompted Paul's warning in the last words of this passage in Romans 11:20 - "Do not be arrogant, but tremble."

So, what happens if we become arrogant as did the Israelites? Isn't that what got them into trouble in the first place? But remember, we don't have Moses around to keep us in line - just a bunch of pastors who say, "That's OK. We don't have to do that. That's just for the Israelites."

What would have happened if Moses told that to the Israelites, saying those rules were "just for the Gentiles"? They would wind up looking just like we Gentiles look in God's eyes now.

Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at glenjjr@gmail.com and give us your view.

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