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The Re-Gathering of Israel

Is the modern state called “Israel” the fulfilling of Biblical prophecy regarding the re-gathering of the nation of Israel? Look what the Bible actually says about it:

It was foretold by the Old Testament Prophecies:

Genesis 49:10 KJV – 10 “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be]. [‘Shiloh’ means the Messiah, Jesus.]

Isaiah 11:10-12 KJV – 10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 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.” [This was fulfilled in Jesus as the Scriptures reveal.]

Even the Law allowed the “Stranger” to become as the natural born through faith:

Under the law, there were many who qualified as ‘Jews’ who were not necessarily of the genetic bloodline of Abraham, but followed his faith, and kept the Covenant :

Exodus 12:48-50 KJV – “48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you. 50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.” [To “come near” means to become a naturalized citizen.]

Numbers 15:14-16 KJV – “14 And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever [be] among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do. 15 One ordinance [shall be both] for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth [with you], an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye [are], so shall the stranger be before the LORD. 16 One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.”

Jesus Birth Was In Fulfillment of These Promises

The angel’s message to Mary shows that Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of prophecy :
Luke 1:31-33 KJV – “31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 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: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Luke 1:54-55 KJV – 54 “He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of [his] mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”

Zecharias’ Prophecy:

Luke 1:68-74 KJV – 68 Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear.”

Devout Jews And Proselytes From Every Nation Witnessed the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 2:5-11 KJV – “5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”

Jesus Gathered Together All of His Own

John 11:49-52 KJV – “49 And one of them, [named] Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

Ephesians 3:3-6 KJV – “3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”

Galatians 3:28-29 KJV – “28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The true Israel of God was, and is, gathered together in Christ! Beware of false pretenders!

Identity Theft

Identity theft has become a global crime that affects multitudes of people worldwide. It is not merely a masked bandit with a gun, but it is more like the big bad wolf that threatened Goldilocks in the stories we heard in our childhood. It is disguised to appear as the sweet little grandmother, innocently calling us to come nearer so it can eat us up.

Identity of a True Jew

As Christians we also must be warned against the false identity claims of “those who say they are Jews and are not.” God has warned the Churches against this identity theft in Revelation 2:9 and 3:9:

Revelation 2:9-11 KJV – “9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan.- 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

Revelation 3:9-13 KJV – “9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

How Can We Be Sure

Seeing that there are some today who claim the title “Jews,” how can we be sure whether or not they are claiming a false identity. The Word of God gives us the answer:

Romans 2:28-29 KJV – “28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.”

Circumcision must be that of the heart, and not of the flesh. Christ is the only One Who can minister this circumcision:

Romans 15:8 KJV – “8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises [made] unto the fathers”

Colossians 2:8-13 KJV – “8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses

Colossians 3:9-11 KJV – “9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.”

It is clear from these Scriptures that no one is a Jew unless he is a Christian.  He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches!

 

Answering Pornograhpy’s Threat

Pornography’s Threat

Pornography has been brought into our very homes by the Internet and can be accessed anywhere, anytime by anyone with internet service on a computer or Smart Phone. That includes most teenagers in the USA.  At this stage of development, youth are most inquisitive and impressionable about their sexuality. They are asking questions and seeking answers. Unfortunately, they are being offered answers by the enemy of their souls, Satan, through the wide-open doors of the World Wide Web.

Is it Dangerous?

Should we be concerned? Yes! The impressions and attitudes they may learn from pornography can ruin their lives and their relationships and result in the breakdown of the entire social order. It is not a joke to be laughed off, or winked at. It is a matter of life and death, of eternity in heaven or hell.

What is the Problem?

Basically the problem is the age-old problem of good against evil; of the warfare between the Flesh and the Spirit.

What is the Answer?

If children are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, by the time they are teenagers they should be aware of the basic Truths of the Scripture. Specifically, that there is a God, the Creator of heaven and earth; that He is a God of love while also being a Holy God at the same time; that He has given us His commandments; that He has given us the privilege and responsibility of making important choices between good and evil; that our Selves consist of Body, (our Flesh), Soul, (our mind, will and emotions), and Spirit, (our real eternal Self; that there is a warfare between our Bodies and our Spirit.  That, if we allow our Flesh to rule and thereby fulfill its lusts, it brings death upon us. It takes us into the dark and dreadful confusion of pain, grief, guilt, and ultimately eternal hell.

They should know that God is a Spirit and relates to us through our spirit, inviting us to follow and fellowship with HIm, teaching us what is good and what is bad, offering us His Holy Spirit to live within us. Offering us forgiveness and reconciliation when we sin, fail to follow HIm, and fall into the traps of the devil.

But He, God, leaves the choices to us. The choices are: Life or Death? Light or Darkness? Grief, pain, guilt, and sorrow or Love, Joy, Peace, and Goodness.

We must teach our children, both by precept and example, from their earliest years, how to know, love, and obey God. If we wait until they are teenagers, they will suffer the consequences of tragic choices, for Satan has his traps set and pornography is one of his most alluring and deadly traps.

 

Does God Ever Give People Up?

“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone,” Hosea 4:17.

The northern kingdom’s common name was ‘Israel,’ but was often called ‘Ephraim’ which had become the dominant tribe after their rebellion from Solomon’s son, I Kings 12. The history of that kingdom was of rebellion until God finally gave them up. Although Ephraim was called God’s firstborn, Jeremiah 31:9, 20, God, in anguish cries out: “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim,” Hosea 11:8.

Following the Biblical history, we find that God’s plan to redeem them was to create a New Covenant, which He did in the blood of Christ, Jeremiah 31:31; Matthew 26:27-28. Through this New Covenant, the remnant of Israel could turn back again and be accepted of God. The promises were only to that remnant who accepted Christ’s blood covenant.

“Let them alone:”

Jesus came to the nation of Israel but was rejected by the people through the influence of their leaders, the Pharisees. He had told His disciples: “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone [the Pharisees] they be blind leaders of the blind and if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” Matthew 15:13-14.

But Jesus, too, was wracked with grief for His people who had rejected Him: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate,” Matthew 23:37-38. And again the New Covenant was offered to “whosoever will,” that would repent and come back to Him.

The Most Dangerous Condition

For those who have known God and yet live in rebellion, God gives them up to a reprobate mind, Romans 1:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31. This is a most dangerous condition spiritually.

But God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance, 2 Peter 3:9. He rejoices over every soul that comes to repentance, Matthew 18:11-14.

Christ’s “Grave Clothes” – The Shroud Of Turin?

The Shroud of Turin?

Here at Easter time we usually see movies about the “Shroud of Turin,” and also hear sermons about Christ’s “grave clothes” and what they were and what they meant. However, according to the Biblical record, Christ was not buried in a shroud. After His crucifixion Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took the body and prepared it for burial:

John 19:38: “And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore and took the body of Jesus.

19:39: “And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.”

19:40: “Then took they the body of Jesus and wound it in linen clothes, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”

Note that the mixture of aloes and spices were “about an hundred pound weight.” The Greek word for ‘weight’ here is litra, which was equal to our modern weight of about 12 ounces, or roughly ¾ of a pound. Therefore, the hundred litra weight would equal about 75 pounds in modern English terms.

The Body Was “Wound” With the Spices

Note that they “took the body of Jesus and wound it in linen clothes with the spices.” This would mean that they cut or tore strips of the linen and soaked it in the spice mixture and wound the strips around the body as we have seen pictures of mummified bodies, embalmed for burial. After drying, this would have formed a hard, cast-like cocoon for the body. It was not wrapped loosely in a shroud, contrary to the popular story of the Shroud of Turin.

What Was “The Manner Of The Jews”?

The text says: “… as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” The “manner of the Jews to bury” is further indicated in John 11:44 where we see that Lazarus, being raised from the dead, his “grave clothes” had him bound hand and foot, and there was a “napkin” binding his face. That napkin binding his face was not attached to the other “grave clothes.” Jesus commanded him to be loosed. These two incidents, Jesus and Lazarus, indicate that the bodies were not merely loosely wrapped in a shroud, but rather were tightly bound.

We also have the much earlier story of Joseph’s “grave clothes” in Genesis 50:25-26 which may give us a precedent for the “grave clothes” of Jesus and Lazarus. “And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

The rest of the story is in Exodus 13:19: “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away from hence with you.” So the embalming of Joseph was a part of the traditions of the Jews.

What Did They See In The Empty Tomb?

On resurrection morning, Mary Magdalene had visited the tomb and saw that Jesus’ body was not there. She hurried to tell the disciples. John 20:3-8:

“Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulcher. So they ran both together and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying, yet went not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulcher, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulcher, and he saw, and believed.”

What was it that they saw in the “grave clothes” that made them believe? It was the fact that that hard shell of the cast-like cocoon was not broken nor disturbed but the body was gone from it. Jesus came out of the “grave clothes” without disturbing them. The body wrap was separate from the head wrap but both were totally intact. That glorified Body of Jesus went through the cocoon just as it went through the walls where the disciples had met: “the doors were shut,” but Jesus stood in their midst.

No human power could have removed the body of Jesus from those “grave clothes” without tearing or breaking the cocoon cast. Seeing was believing.

He is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!