A Voice in the
March 13, 2003
Q/A Topics: "Israel/Judaism"
Israeli, Jew, Hebrew?
"hebrew" means, "one from beyond", which would have described Abraham (Gen14:13) in the land of Canaan, being originally from Ur of the Chaldees. (Gen11:28) He was not a 'native' to the land, but a "sojourner". (Gen20:1) So the 'locals' would have thought of him as, 'the man from that far-away land'
"israel" is the name God gave Jacob, which became Israel's 'official' name, as Israel is made up of the 12 tribes, named after Jacob's 12 sons.
"Jew" first appears in 2Ki25:25 and would have been a derivation from the fact that Israel split up into the northern "Israel/Samaria" and southern "Judah". And beginning around the time of the Babylonian captivity, through to the Roman occupation, the southern area was called Judea. (Ezra5:8, Mt2:1,etc) Thus, linguistically, "Judah/Judea" naturally lends itself to calling the people from there, "Jews".
To call someone a "heeb": I don't know that it's ever done with 'nice' intentions. "Jew" can be used both nicely and derogatorily. Throughout Romans Paul calls them "Jews". But we also have expressions such as "jew him down", when speaking of haggling a price with somebody.
However, to call them "Israeli", I should think, shows the greatest respect; both to them as a people, and to God, because...
"Israel" means: "the Mighty God prevails"
Jew vs Gentile?
Is "Israel" distinct due to so-called "blood-ties"? Certainly as the nation was formed through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ex3:6), there would have been the soul/nephesh tie through the blood of conception. But worldwide there are only a 'handful' of blood 'types'. All of humanity, "every nation of men" was created of "one blood". (Ac17:26) Those of the negroid race can be transfused from asian blood, which can receive from caucasian blood, which can mix with 'brown' and 'red' races. The blood is "human" blood; not black, white, yellow, brown, red. However, with millenia of exclusivity there is a genetic footprint to Israel, which is distinct from all others, at the level of the chromosomes. With modern gene technology they can even distinguish between the individual 12 tribes within Israel. So, from a purely genetic standpoint, a "gentile" would be anybody who does not match up with any of Israel's gene-pool.
This is that "seed" about which God promised Abraham, "..to your seed I will give this land.." (Gen12:7) And Christ came from the "seed" of the woman (Gen3:15), and is the "seed of David" (Jn7:42, Rom1:3) [VW: See now why many translations, including NKJV, have replaced "seed" with "descendants"? It de-specifies God's plan for Israel for those who think Israel has been "replaced".]
But there is also the "faith" aspect. While many were the "seed" of Abraham, most of them died and were scattered in the wilderness (1Cor10:1-5) due to "unbelief". (Heb3:19) The scribes and pharisees of Jesus' day boasted of being seed to Moses and Abraham (Jn5:45, 8:56), but Paul reminds that "..not all those of Israel are Israel.." (Rom9:6) because, "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision (something directly related to that which propagates seed) that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God." (Rom2:28-29)
Until the beginning of the Church in Acts, when a person came to God, they became a Jew. When a foreigner came to offer sacrifice to God, their males had to be circumcised. (Ex12:48, Num9:14) Being a "Jew" was synonymous with "faith in God". A -Believer- was called a "Jew". As Jesus said to the woman of Samaria, "..salvation is of the Jews." (Jn4:22)
But then, eventually the physical seed of Abraham rejected God enough times that the "natural branches" were cut away for a time. (Rom11) The -spiritual- "jewishness" of saving Faith was taken away from -physical- Israel and taken to the Gentiles. (Act28:28) And this entity began to be known as "Christian" in Antioch. (Ac11:26) Something which was prophesied through Isaiah, where God promised to "kill" those of Israel who had rebelled and to "call His servants by another name." (Is65:15) The other name, "Church", composed predominantly genetically of "Gentiles".
But we also know that both physical and spiritual Israel will be restored again. The 'physical' restoration is shown in the vision of the valley of bones, and the rejoining of Israel and Judah into 'one' nation again. (Ezek37) And we see that part unfolding -presently- before our eyes over there in the middle-east. And their 'spiritual' restoration (which will come shortly) is told by Paul as he says, "And so all Israel will be saved..." (Rom11:26) as God promised, "I will also give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." (Ezek36:26)
Significance of Jerusalem?
This subject could easily take up a lengthy 'series' to consider; thus, for whatever I say here briefly, there will certainly be much more that could be said. But this verse states the matter in a nutshell.
Jerusalem is where the temple was built, where sacrifices were offered. The temple, a physical representation of God's dwelling with man as He originally 'entered' it in the dark cloud. (2Ch5:13-6:1)
Jerusalem was where God's presence was represented, but also where Israel rejected and crucified God's Son, Jesus Christ; as Jesus said, "..it cannot be allowed to happen for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem." (Lk13:33) It is where the Holy Spirit first came to indwell the Church. It is where Christ will return to set up His rule "with a rod of iron". (Jer33:17, Ps2:9, Rev2:27)
As for the "New Jerusalem"... that is certainly also part of the "new heavens and earth" (2Pet3:13) after this present setup has been burned with "intense burning". (vs12) The new earth will have "no more sea". (Rev21:1-2) And it says that the new Jerusalem comes "..out of Heaven from God.." And since it has "foundations" (vs19), it will obviously be set up -on- the "new" earth. It has no physical temple (the mere 'representation' of God's presence) because "..the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb -are- its temple.." (21:22) And there will be no need for the sun or moon, because the "glory of God" illuminates it. (vs23) Thus, the 'New' Jerusalem will be for the same purpose as the present one... the place where God's 'name' dwells. Only, without any sin or anything to defile, there will no longer be a separation between God and man, but it will be the complete and full fulfillment of, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God." (Rev21:3)
Will the new heavens and earth be "similar to today"? Good question. Wait a little over a 1007 years, and ask again... if, at that point, the question even 'needs' to be asked!
But consider: if one were to stretch a line from the Canadian border at the junction of N.Dakota and Minnesota, stretch it down to the gulf and Mexico, and extend out to the west coast... whe entire western half of the United States, that's how big the New Jerusalem is. Put another way: Fit a 'cube' inside our present moon, take away the dome/curve parts that remain, and that's the size as seen from space. If you consider that our earth is of a similar 'fluidic' consistency similar to if one removed the hard shell from a chicken egg, leaving only the membrane and its interior liquids: that is earth's comparative 'fluidity'. (And man is a microscopic 'spec' on the surface of that membrane that he calls "terra firma"!) Now, consider trying to place a lug-nut from your car's wheel onto the serface of that 'egg' membrane floating in space...I think it becomes obvious that quite a -lot- is going to be 'different' with the new earth. It would not be geophysically possible for the New Jerusalem to exist 'on' this present earth. So yes... ask again in over 1007 years. "But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it dawned upon the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1Cor2:9)
Anyway... considering what Jerusalem is, is it any wonder that currently it has become the "heavy stone" (Zec12:3) to the world! When the world is struggling over Jerusalem, it is merely symbolic of the true nature of the struggle, which is the world fighting against Almighty God, the Most High.
But Jesus began to bring about the change as He proclaims that "cleanness" is not necessarily the traditions, but what is in the "heart". (Mt15:17-20) Mark gives commentary on this teaching, "Thus He was purifying all foods". (Mk7:19)
When Peter was being prepared to go preach to Gentiles, the vision he saw was of all the "unclean" animals that Jews were not supposed to touch or eat, and God says, "What God has cleansed, do not consider unclean." (Ac10:15, 11:9)
When there was a discussion amongst the Jewish Christians about whether or not Gentiles needed to also keep all the Jewish traditions, they limited the Gentile observance "to abstain from pollutions of idols, from sexual perversion, from things strangled, and from blood." (Ac15:20) Notice that it does not address 'what' foods, except to maintain God's ordinance to Noah after the flood about not eating the "blood". (Gen9:4)
While Paul was specifically addressing meat related to idolatry, I think his comments probably apply to this, also, to eat "whatever is sold" not investigating closely for conscience (1Cor10:25) "..for the earth is the Lord's and all its fullness" (vs28)
If a person diligently 'cooks' the food, not leaving any traces of the 'blood' there, such cooking will also kill the harmful organisms...even of animals that tend to be scavenger eaters. As Jesus said...what the mouth intakes, the digestive system filters, and the impurities are eliminated as waste.
A lot of what Israel observed on the 'physical' level was a "pattern" of the Heavenly. (Ex25:40, Heb8:5) Some of it was like a continual object lesson. Other, like the sacrifices, were a 'type', looking ahead to Jesus' death which anti-typed and fulfilled what Israel observed. Christ has died, and has fulfilled all that.
And food is food. It all comes from God's earth which He created. "..foods which God created to be partaken with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth." (1Tim4:3)
I have also noticed on some of the nutritional sites I visit, that they are advocating eating uncooked ostrich and some game meats. What do you make of this?
At the end of the flood, when God included meat into man's diet, He warns against eating meat with the blood: "..you shall not eat flesh with its soul, that is, its blood." (Gen9:4) It is reiterated through Moses. (Lev17:10-14) And when the Jerusalem church council sends exhortation that Gentiles don't need to keep all the Mosaic rituals, one of the four things they do exhort is to abstain from blood. (Ac15:20,29)
We also get an object lesson explanation of this: When Saul and company had been at war, and are famished, many of them rush upon the enemy spoils and start eating "with the blood" (1Sam14:32) And they quickly set up a stone to cook the meat as an "offering". (vs33-35)
They were to pour the blood out on the ground, and 'cook' their meat.
What do I "make of" all this "raw" eating? Perhaps it 'fits' with everything else about our declining societies? The more our so-called "christian" nations are steeping themselves back into pagan occult practices, society is also going back to the 'delicacies' of pagan cuisine. Pagan, occult and satanist worship rituals often include the drinking of blood. Why shouldn't they also eat 'raw' meat!
But it's obviously not for the Christian, is it.
Whom they Pierced
Jesus 'the' Prophet
Two Witnesses: Bush & Blair?
Since the 70th week is about Israel, and all the prophecies being fulfilled center around Israel, I really would expect those "two witnesses" to be Jewish, just like the prophets of the O.T. Some have speculated that, since Elijah and Enoch did not die, that it might be the two of them returning. Others speculate that, since Moses and Elijah appeared on the mountain with Jesus (Mt17:3), and that those two were known for their 'signs and wonders', that they will return to earth to be these two witnesses.
The two witnesses will be somebody, at least, who are God's servants, worshiping Him... something which both Blair and Bush are not.
Palestinians & Israel's (God's) Land
Indeed, Israel was to "utterly destroy" (Deu13:15) leaving "nothing that breathes remain alive" (Deu20:16), and when Saul was commanded to destroy Amalek (1Sam15:3) the command even enumerates all the various animals to be destroyed. That, of course, was before Christ died on the cross, Israel was to be distinct from Gentiles...when a Gentile wanted to worship God, through circumcision they essentially became a "Jew".
Christ died on the cross, the Law was thus fulfilled, Israel was dispersed into all the world, God's focus became centered on the Church (gentiles); and then the promise is that Israel is to be restored. And God gives, through Ezekiel, a picture of how things will be with Israel in the kingdom. Ezekiel chs40-48 describes the Millennial temple, sacrifices, the cities, the division of the land to the 12 tribes, etc.
And in amongst the dividing up of the land it says, "Thus you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that you will divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves, and for the strangers who sojourn among you and who bear children among you. They shall be to you as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger sojourns, there you shall give him his inheritance, declares the Lord Jehovah." (Ezek47:21-23)
That would seem to be pretty clear that Israel is to receive 'residents' within its territory. If you read through ch48 it is obvious that the division of the land is by the names of the 12 tribes. It is distinctly "Israel". But within those tribes, the "strangers" who settle and raise families are to be received and treated as "native-born".
However, the -land- was given to Abraham's "seed" through oath from God. (Gen12:7); "in PERPETUITY" (Gen13:15) and through Moses the command was: "The land shall not be sold IN PERPETUITY, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me." (Lev25:23) And history has proven out that, when Israel was in exile, the land was desolate with only nomads wandering through it; and it has only become productive again once Israel came back and the nation became established. If a so-called "Palestinian State" is allowed to be formed, legally it becomes as if Israel deeds over to the Arabs 'ownership' of the land. But it is not Israel's to give away...it belongs to God.
Thus, to have Arabs living in-amongst Israel seems to fit with Israel's future...but -NOT- to allow a Palestinian 'State' to be established on Israel's God-given land.
Only Israel during Millennium?
And here's where..."regime change" -in- the United States during the 70th week, either due to elections or the president being assassinated (In these days, anything is possible! After all, Saddam made an attempt on GW's father.) and being replaced by the vice-president, might prove to be America's redemption for the kingdom, as it would seem that the symbolism of the "great eagle" (Rev12:14) helping Israel might be the U.S. In addition, after the 70th week is over, and the nations of the world are fulfilling the "gathering" of God's "elect" (Mt24:31) in, among other things, the "ships of Tarshish" (Is60:9) might appear to be speaking of America. After all, outside of Israel, the other greatest concentration of Jews in the world is the U.S.; and they need to go "home" and become God's people again.
So, the Millennium will be for Israel, and those who helped her.
Why the Feasts & Sabbath during Millennium? -September 4,07
We are the "Church", which began after Israel "did not receive Him" (Jn1:11) We are presently in a period of time between Daniel's 69th and 70th week. (Dan9) We are God's servants "by another name" (Is65:15) We are "in Christ". (2Co5:17, 1Th4:16)
Indeed, the OT rituals given TO ISRAEL were a "shadow of things to come" (Co2:16-17, Heb10:1) But they rejected. And so, when God restores Israel during the 70th week and into the Millennium, He is making a "new covenant" with Israel. (Jer31:31-34, etc.etc) God also says He is going to write His Law "in their hearts" (Jer31:33, 32:40)
Whenever a new covenant is made, there are typically also new rituals to go with that covenant. God tells us -that- He will make a new covenant, and -that- He will restore Israel, and -that- it will involve a new temple and sacrifices. But what else will there be? That is between God and Israel, and is yet future. He hasn't yet given -us- all those details. It is enough for us, for now, to know -that- there will be something new in the future. But it is not for us, directly. It is for Israel....and the rest of the world as they follow Israel's lead in following God. (Zec8:23) And whatever our participation might be as we return to reign with Christ.
Perhaps, as I've speculated before, as the OT was a shadow of future things; which Jesus fulfilled.... perhaps the Millennial rituals will be Retrospective? Just as the Church has the Lord's Supper "in remembrance" of Jesus' crucifixion, perhaps the Millennial rituals will also be in memorial of what their Messiah did, in the past, when they "pierced" Him? (Zec12:10)
I don't know. This is speculative. What are God's thoughts and reasons for future matters? Those are known to Him.
Related Q/A -Why is the new Temple necessary?
False Prophets and Anti-christs
And then, around the time these exchanges were happening, another subscriber sent a forward from one who, it could clearly be understood, is -A- false prophet and/or antichrist. Apparently going by the designation: "Richard, Elias of the LORD"
Again, the paste is too long to include here. But to summarize: this person supposedly is caught up into heaven by a (she) angel. Once there he claims, "the LORD then anointed me with glory and with power". Now that he has been returned to his earthly body, he is proclaiming: "Now I minister to you Bishop Daniels and make it known to you that the GOD of Heaven and earth have given you a lot. A piece of land reserved for you and your congregation on the south end of the Holy City Jerusalem. You Bishop Daniels and your congregation he have chosen to be the Least of the Flock that will help lead the Children of Zion out of Babylon(USA) and into the Holy City before that Dark Day."
He tells this 'Bishop Daniels' that he (Daniels) will be a "BRANCH of the Most Holy" for the purpose of "building" and that they will be bringing the remnant of Jews back to Israel before the final dark days.
And it goes on and on, also describing the fall of America in two years. He claims that -he- is going to "command" the earth on March 11, 2005 into some rather fantastical upheavals that will destroy Babylon-America.
He then gives a warning against false prophets: "These false prophets and ministers for Satan are ministering and deceiving even the LORDS elect; saying that we will be RAPTURED. There will be NO RAPTURE! We the children of the Most HOLY will stand on that dark day and witness it..."
[Addendum: As it turns out, based on a couple of e-mail exchanges with this person, this so-called "Elias of the Lord" actually -was- the subscriber to the VW 'list' who mailed it to me. (And I noticed that at least one of you, whose address I happen to recognize, was on the list, too, so you know what I'm talking about.) [Notice I said, "was" on the VW list.] I originally thought the 'subscriber' was merely 'forwarding' something he had seen elsewhere; as people often forward stuff to me of what they see here and there. But like I say from time-to-time, there's all sorts on this mailing list...lurking around the corners. In his reply to my observations of what I originally had thought was a 'third-party' writing, he even claims to be -the- angel "fulfilling" Rev18:1. In a follow-up note he confirms his claim to be an angel sent from God to earth to proclaim the things he does, re-iterated that there will be 'No Rapture', even in the face of Scriptures I pointed out to him. And furthermore essentially suggested that I might die for my lack of 'faith' in him... that "if" I am still alive when the time comes, that I will see the fulfillment of the things he proclaims that 'he' will do. I'm surprised, since he calls himself "Elias", that he didn't claim to call fire down from -his- 'heaven' to consume me!]
Notice about this 'prophet'...he claims that he was bestowed with "glory and power". Apparently he is greater, even, than Paul, who when He saw the "third heaven" said he had heard "unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (2Cor12:2-4) God chides Job that if he is to be God-like, that he should adorn himself with "..majesty and grandeur, and clothe yourself with glory and honor.." (Job40:9-14) But we see: "Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!" (Rev5:13) Therefore, this person must consider himself to be god-like! Is that not a definition of an "anti-christ"? This is that spirit of antichrist that is "now already in the world". (1Jn4:3) If he is claiming to be "Elias", the one who actually came in the "spirit and power of Elijah" (Lk1:17) did not even claim to have been anointed with glory and power, but when asked who he was said, "I'm the -voice- of one crying out..." This -false- "Elias of the Lord" is certainly of a different spirit than John the Immerser was!
And this false prophet is bestowing upon the 'bishop' the title of "BRANCH". Whose title is that? The "King" who proceeds from David, the Messiah. (Jer23:5) God says, "My servant the BRANCH.." (Zec3:8, 6:12) will be building the temple.
And then, a final observation (although, there could be many). There is a certain messianic Jew whose writings I read regularly, who is frantically trying to get a 'boat', so that he can have a ministry to bring more Jews to Israel from the nations around Israel. He claims that one of worldwide Jewry's biggest disobediences to God is in not "coming home" to Israel 'now'. Something in all that has never sat right with my spirit, but until this item came, I've not been able to put my finger on exactly 'what' was wrong with it. Well, now I think I know...
Yes, God has been bringing Israel back to their (His) land over the past century, but is 'now' the time to bring them 'all' back? What is going to happen to the Jews living in Israel during the upcoming 70th week? 2/3 of them are going to be killed. Only a third will survive. (Zec13:8-9) But notice that God's preservation for Israel through this time is in the "wilderness" (Rev12:14) And when that time of distress comes Jesus exhorts them to "FLEE" out of Jerusalem/Israel (Mk13:14-20) And it is in the context of 'after' this judgment, after the world powers have been defeated, that the kings of the earth will be carrying Israel back to her land. (Isaiah ch60)
Is it possible that these who are telling Jews to go to Israel 'now' (and there are many of them saying these things) are false prophets, for the purpose of trying to 'kill' as many Jews as possible, during the soon up-coming time of "Jacob's trouble"? (Jer30:7) Not leaving their consciences free to remain in the "wilderness" where they are right now under God's protection? And, I notice that most of these people also share the "NO Rapture" belief. Even this one I mentioned, who is trying to get his boat, some months back scoffed rather 'loudly' at us Believers who are expecting the Rapture.
True, worldwide Jewry for the most part is yet in unbelief. But God knows that... that's part of God's work in the upcoming 70th week, to give them a "new heart" (Ezek36:26), and then bring them back to the land of promise.
So, the false prophets and false christs Jesus spoke of, who would try to deceive "even the elect" (Israel Is45:4)(Mt24:24)... Are some of 'these' the ones He was speaking of?
Let's see: they...
They claim to take upon themselves things that God has said that He (God) is going to do, and belittle Christ's love and promises for the Church where He promised to come and "receive" the Church to Himself. (Jn14:3) Indeed, that "spirit of the antichrist" is "now already in the world." (1Jn4:3) "..Take heed that you not be led astray. For many will come in My name.." (Lk21:8)
Jews Returning to Israel
Please notice that Jesus says "..immediately -AFTER- the affliction of those days.." (Mt24:29) "..and -THEN-...He will send His angels" (vs30-31) who "..gather together His elect from the four winds.." You see, the false prophets have everything all mixed around, turned upside down, inside out and backwards. They think Jews are to return to Israel 'now', and that the Church is Raptured 'afterward' (if there even -IS- a rapture!) But the Church is raptured FIRST, THEN comes the time of Jacob's trouble, and then AFTER that, THEN the Jews are 'all' gathered back to Israel.
Thus...since this is the time -after- Jacob's trouble, where God will have given Israel the new heart (Jer31:31-34), where they will have received their Messiah with mourning (Zec12:10), it should be pretty easy to understand that they would also accept "Christians".
Except that, today's Christians will be returning with Christ at the end of the 70th week to reign with Him, because...
If this "Jewess" you speak of is a true "Christian", she will not be on earth for the judgments, but will have been raptured (1Th4:16-17) prior to them (2Th2:7-8) and will be returning -with- Christ at the end of the time of Jacob's trouble as Christ comes, "and all the saints with" Him. (Zec14:5) Thus, if she is a true Believer into Jesus Christ, Israel's acceptance of her children is a non-issue. Israel will be in fellowship with Christ, and will receive those who are Christ's when He comes.
However...if her children are younger than the age of their own accountability, why would she "baptize" them? There is no such ritual in Scripture. If she is Jewish, she may wish to have the males circumcised. But "infant baptism" is not a Scriptural ritual...but a pagan ritual of Rome (and prior). It is not a Scripturally "Christian" ritual. Immersion in water is for those who know the Lord (Ac8:37), and do it in obedience to Christ (Mt28:19), as a symbol and testimony of having died with Christ, and being raised to newness of life with Christ. (Rom6:3-8)
Reminder as to who the "Root" is
"I am the Vine, you are the branches..." (Jn15:5)
Paul spells it out, warning Gentiles: "..do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you." (Rom11:18) The "branches", in the passage context being "Israel", also being grafted into the 'root'.
Who is the "Root"? Judaism? No! Here, again, in Jesus' own words:
"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify these things to you, to the churches. I AM THE -ROOT- and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." (Rev22:16)