Saturday, November 27, 2010

"But ...aren't all these things you are talking about, just for Israel?"


This one is one that stumped me for a while.
Here are my thoughts :)

Before I expand on it, here's how I see the simplified version:

There is one God.
God has always been in relationship with people.
God has one name for His one people.
That name is Israel.
Anyone who wanted to join themselves to Israel could. God has always offered that to those not naturally born of Israel. That made them grafted into Israel.
Anyone wanting to do so had to accept God as their God and follow Him wholeheartedly.
This is what Paul is talking about in Romans 11 in the New Testament.
There is no difference between a native-born Israelite or a grafted in child. In other words, there is no faviouritism regardless of whether you are a naturally born son or you've been adopted in.
There is one Father and one set of house rules (torah).
This has never changed.

Ok now for a bit more depth... :)

I was always under the impression that the Old Testament = God of wrath, judgement and condemnation and the God of the New Testament (Jesus) = a God of kindness and mercy and love.

But, of course, there is only ONE God, not two.
We read this in SO many places in the Bible. Here are some examples: 'there is ONE Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all' (Ephesians 4:5), "God is one" (Galatians 3:20) and "Hear O Israel, Yehovah (the LORD) our Elohim (God) is one" (Mark 12:29) and in that last one, Jesus is quoting the Torah (see Deut 6:4). He is the same "yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) and he says of himself, "I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6). These are just a couple of examples.

So, the Scriptures establish that there is one God who has always been and always will be.

This ONE God has always been in relationship with people. He walked in the garden with Adam (Genesis 3:8). He talked and shared his plans with Noah (Genesis 8:15). He was in a covenental relationship with Abraham (Genesis 12) and Isaac (Genesis 25:11) and transformed Jacob's life physically and spiritually (Genesis 32:22-31).  He revealed His instructions, statutes and decress before they were written down at Mt Sinai and Abraham had obeyed all He had said (Genesis 26:5).

This pattern of God being in relationship with man continues all throughout the Bible and not  just man to God, but also with a nation that He calls to Himself because of the promise that He made to Abraham.

In His promise to Abraham God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:3-8)

This everlasting covenant in which Yehovah (God) swears to make a covenant to make Abraham into a 'father of many nations' is continued when Abraham's grandson, Jacob, wrestles with God and has his name changed from Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32) and fathers the nation of Israel.

Israel, God's chosen people, are persecuted and enslaved in the land of Egypt. They serve Pharoah in slavery for 430 years and yet, God did not forget His people. He heard their cries and sent Moses to deliver them out of Egypt and into the promised land as He had sworn to the forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Who came up out of Egypt?
Was it just the Israelites?

No! Scripture tells us there was a 'mixed multitude' that came up out of Egypt!

In the NIV (New International Version of the Bible) it says this,

"The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went with them as well as large droves or livestock both flocks and herds'. (Exodus 12:37-39)

So, they are taken from Egypt across the Red Sea and to Mt Sinai where the laws, statutes and decrees (God's Torah or God's instructions for living) are given to all the people gathered there.

Did God just say that these laws were just for the native-born Israelite and that the mixed multitude were to have a different set of laws?
I always thought that He must have!
But check this out...

"The community is to have the SAME RULES for you and for the alien (which refers to a non-native born Israelite) among you; this is a LASTING ORDINANCE FOR THE GENERATIONS TO COME. You and the alien shall be THE SAME before the LORD. The SAME TORAH (laws) and regulations will apply to BOTH YOU and to the ALIEN LIVING AMONG YOU."
(Numbers 15:15-16)

See, from God's persepective, there is no difference if you are native born or if you are 'grafted into' Israel and that is NOT a new testament teaching - that was there from the beginning!!!

So He has one people named Israel. If you are native-born you are called Israel and if you are grafted in, you are also called Israel. I am a part of Israel!

What about going back before Moses' time? What about travelling back a bit to Caleb. Caleb was not from the natural Hebrew line! You know Caleb? As in Joshua and Caleb, the two brave men who spied out the land and gave a favourable report? Well check out Caleb's family background...

Joshua 14:6 says, "Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite"... His dad was a Kenizzite. Who were they? Check out Genesis 15 for some context...they are among all the 'ites' mentioned to Abram by God.

"On that day Yehovah (the LORD) made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river Euphrates - the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites". (Genesis 15:19)

So how did Caleb become apart of Israel? His dad (and perhaps even his grandad) joined himself to the people of Israel, choosing to wholeheartedly follow after God and choosing to trust and obey His commandments. What is significant here is that Caleb was NOT from the bloodline of Israel but yet in Joshua 14:9 we hear Caleb saying that He chose to follow "Yehovah my Elohim (God) fully".

Numbers 32 tells us that only Caleb, son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua, son of Nun were the only two people to enter into the Promised Land because all of the other people did not serve Yah (God) wholeheartedly.

I tell you, I think that is incredible; that the only two people to enter into the promised land because they served Yah (God) wholeheartedly was a native-born and a foreginer who had been grafted into and accepted by God because of His determination to obey and keep covenant with Him and mix that with faith!

What about Rahab? She too was not a native-born but joined herself to the people of God when she chose to serve Him over her towns' gods. She mixed obedience to Him with faith.

Same goes for Ruth. What a girl! She says to her mother-in-law, the Israelite Naomi,

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God" (Ruth 1:16)

She swears to follow after the God of the Hebrews even though she, herself was from Moab where they served other gods.

I lOVE this passage in Isaiah too that is referring to the 'foreigners' who choose to follow after God. It says,

"And foreigners who bind themselves to Yehovah (the LORD) to serve him, and to love the name of Yehovah (the LORD) and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant - these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer". (Isaiah 56:6-7)

These verses are not talking about the native-born Israelite who chooses to put their faith in God and enter into covenant with Him. This is talking about those who are not naturally from Israel and yet STILL choose to delight in Him - that's me! I love Him! How great is He?!

If you think like how I did not all that long ago, then I'm tipping that if you've gotten this far you might be thinking one of two things:
1. That's all good and well Lusi but you are only using examples from the old testament and the old testament is no longer or
2. You might be thinking that now we are in a 'new' type of covenant that has replaced the 'old' one.

I'll be going into more depth with these two things sometime in another post but briefly for now I want to say that:
1. Jesus said that His words remain forever. He is the Word and was there from the beginning of the world  (John 1) so His Words are everlasting, trustworthy and true. His Word remains. Here are three new testament passages though to think on - Revelation12: 17 and Revelation14: 12 which talk about those who "keep the commandments AND hold to the testimony of Yeshua (Jesus) and Romans 11 which talks about both the natural and the wild olive branches (the non native born Israelite) being both grafted into the root (which is Messiah Jesus)
2. the 'new' covenant is a 'renewed' covenant just as there is a 'new moon' it is not a brand spanking new moon but rather a 'renewed' one. The 'new covenant' that is often mentioned in church is, I believe, misquoted. If you read it in full (Jeremiah 31 and requoted in Hebrews 8 and 10) you will see it is NOT between God and the Gentiles (or non-native Isralites). It is between God and the House of Israel and the House of Judah (which are together the 12 tribes of the house of Israel). The only way we are able to be apart of that 'new covenant' anyway is if we have been grafted into the house of Israel! And if we choose Messiah (Yeshua) as our Saviour, we enter into the 'eternal covenant' between God and man. His Torah then are the healthy family boundaries which God has set out for ALL of His children.

Well, that was a lot for the first in this series but I didn't feel I could really omit any of that - sorry it was so big. I hope that helps someone. I must say a HUGE thankyou though to our dear friends Jono and Christine, Donna and Keiran and others too who have lovingly (and patiently!) walked with us and helped us understand more of God's Truth through His Word. God faithfully, by His Spirit, is continuing to show me (us) His ways and it is the most exciting and wonderful time of our faith and really of our lives!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

I pray that there will be a stirring inside of you to search deeper into God's heart and find what He is really saying. May His Spirit lead and guide you into the knowledge of all Truth as you grow in grace, love and wisdom in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ).

More to come another time :)
Loads of love,
Lus x


singing mama said...

Lovely Lusi, would a great seris! I know YHVH will use your words to encourage others and show the truth of His Torah. Love and hugs to you dear one
Luv Donna

lusi said...

Thanks for your encouraging words Donna. It is my prayer mate :-)
Love Lus x

Christine said...

this is going to be a great series Lus! You've stated it very staightfowardly and i pray that those who have ears to hear will hear. The great thing is that it's here now for people to go back to time and time again until it starts to sink in. I pray that your love and witness to the truth will draw some Christians back to Abba and His instructions for His family.

We love you heaps and heaps and NEED to see you soon!!!

lusi said...

Amen Christine and can't wait to see you guys too!
Love you!
Lus x

Leslie said...

Thanks for all of this info, Lusi. I learned a lot. Isn't it wonderful that YHVH never changes, that he's always allowed us in by adoption. What a loving God He is!

lusi said...

Oh praise Yah Leslie :) I'm glad it helped you in some way. May whatever is not Truth and not of Him just fade away but may His Truth be illuminated in our hearts.
Love Lusi x

Anonymous said...

Reading with interest, and will revisit this info again as it is gradually digested. You have already impacted my life so much, by your faithfullness to our Lord. xxx Gail O

lusi said...

Hi my friend! So lovely to hear from you. Sending my love to you Gail as you continue to walk faithfully with God.
Bless you mate,
Love Lus x

Anonymous said...

Hey Lus! I found your blog YAY! just wondering why Law sometimes has a capital L and other times a lower case l. And can you show me proof...

Thanks heaps! btw, i broke my phone so if u try n contact me thats y i cant answer. doh!

love Jasmine :) xoxoxo

lusi said...

Hi lovely Jas!!!!
You found my blog!
You asked a great question mate and here are my thoughts on it...

1. The capitalisation of 'Law' as opposed to 'law' is purely given by the translators.

2. All of the New Testament from the Koine (common) Greek was written in capitals! This is an extract from '':
'Koine Greek was the language used by writers of the Old Testament Greek Septuagint and the Greek New Testament. The original Greek New Testament was written in all capital letters, without spaces, punctuation, accents or diacritical marks'.

3. The Scriptures do not support a distinction of importance between the laws, decrees and commands. Deuteronomy 8: 11 says: "Do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you today". He didn't separate them out and say that we had to keep the 'Law' still (referring to commands) but not the 'law' (referring to decrees, statutes, etc). This is not something that I have found at all in the Scriptures. In fact, Yeshua (Jesus)said in Matthew 23 to do what the Pharisees say when they sit in Moses' seat (which was only the book of the law - all of it given to Moses including the commands, decrees and statutes.)

4. God never called laws either moral (often taught in modern church that these are the capitalised 'L' laws) or ceremonial (often taught in modern church that these are the 'l' laws). God never made a distinction (that I can see anyway) to say that the so called moral laws still stand but that the others don't.

These are just my initial thoughts mate and would love to know if you find out anything else about it! I love sharing with you and hearing what you have to share with me too mate.

Hope this helps in some way.
Love Lus x

Anonymous said...

Lusi, my heart has turned away from Christmas but it leaves me confused about what to folow and what not to follow in the old testament. Do females need to cover their heads, should females not lead in church or else where for that matter, is tithing a command? I was under the impression that we could dismiss the conduct required of the old testament, being we are now under grace, but now I am simply confused and unsure of how do obey Him. This causes a decent amount of tension as it brings up more questions than answers and although my church is strong on doctrine, it acknowledges Christmas. think I've lost your email addy in my pc change over, but mine is if you prefer to reply there. [no rush] Cheers Gail

lusi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lusi said...

Hi Gail, my lovely to see you here!

Firstly, I praise God for the journey that He is already taking you on as your search out the Truth of knowing Him more mate!

I agree that it is confusing when we've been led to believe that all the old testament has been dismissable. I'm sorry if I ever gave you that kind of information - it was all I had then too but I am so glad now that He is opening my eyes to see the Truth of His Word and of His heart! I don't want to be enslaved by man's traditions but I know that He said that He came to set us free! Torah has done exactly that! It has shown us a freedom we've never known in learning more about Him and His ways. It has lead us to know Him in a new way!

The things you mentioned such as covering your head, or speaking in church or even tithing as we know it are actually not Torah commands! Please double check for yourself, but God never commanded these things you mentioned. I don't think that any of them teach against His commands either so in that sense I think they are fine things. The only time they are not is if they are being presented as commands from God. Jesus got upset that the Pharisees were holding to the traditions of men and let go of the commandments of God! You could read Matthew 15 and Mark 7 to get a good taste of that. The washing of cups, etc were the 'traditions of the elders' and were apart of the 'oral law' (which the pharisees still hold to) which were created by men. The written law (Torah instructions) were given by God! And not just ten commandments as we'd always thought! All of the words that came from His mouth that He proclaimed (see Deuteronomy 9:9-11)were written on the stone tablets.
He wants us to hold to these words as words of 'life' (this is what Stephen the first Martyr called them in Acts 7:38).

I know that it is an unusual thing mate but I also believe that if our hearts are open to just worshipping him in spirit and in truth as he said, then he will teach us how to walk in his ways. I would so love to catch up with you again; how i wish we could have a cuppa or lunch and discuss these things over the Word in detail! But maybe we will get that chance again sometime soon :)

Do you still have my phone number? I'll email it to you if you don't.

Please know I'm praying for you and if you want to chat more, I'd love to!

All my love as you seek Him,
Lus x

lusi said...

oops i double posted!!!

Anonymous said...

can you email me so I have your email? I have changed both internet provider and mobile so lost a lot of contacts. cheers Gail O


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