Israel and it’s past, present, and future.

The Jews are God’s chosen people. Genesis only gives the genealogy of Seth (Adam and Eve’s third son), with all of the other descendants of Adam and Eve being ignored. From Seth down to Noah, and through his son Shem, to Abraham, the twelve sons of Jacob, all the kings of Judah, and David, when we come finally to Jesus Christ, the world’s Messiah. God chose the Jewish race and nation for Jesus, the Anointed One, to be born into. 1 Kings 8:53 states, “For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance…” Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the Gentiles. Israel was to be the nation who pointed towards God and the world’s Messiah.

Isaiah 53 clearly prophesies about the Messiah suffering. Isaiah 53:10-12 says, “Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” The Jews instead of thinking of how Jesus would suffer, only loose themselves in how soon ‘the Anointed One’ would bring them victory. Wasn’t he their prophesied king, one who was to set up his kingdom and rule? This of course didn’t happen. So when Jesus Christ dies on the cross, they reject him. So Israel’s heart is hardened; but surprisingly and ultimately this actually ends up leading to a way for both Jews and Gentiles to be able to get to know God. Paul states in Romans 11:25, “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” So this was actually in God’s plan, to have Jesus crucified, being made a ransom for all.

Romans 9:23-24 says, “…whom he prepared in advance for glory — even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?” Romans 9:27 states, “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.” Romans 9:30-33 says, “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Paul goes on in Romans 10:1-4, “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 11:1-6 states, “I ask them: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah — how he appealed to God against Israel: Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” After this Jesus teaches about the vine and the branches: the tree’s natural but broken branches (Jewish) and the wild olive shoots (Gentiles); that share from the olive root (Jesus), the nourishing sap needed to grow healthy and stay strong. John 15:1-2 states, “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Jesus is the living vine today for all who want to come to him. We can bear no fruit, or be Christ-like, without knowing Jesus. For he alone is the way, the truth, and the life.

God calls us all, Jews and Gentiles alike. That was the point of him going through all he did, constructing the story for all of us how he did. Dying, as the Passover Lamb did, being the true ‘Lamb of God’ who took away then and takes away now and in the future all the sins of the world. What a gift! What a mystery, what a love, what holiness, what grace, and what a gift to give! He offers it to any who, in sincerity, will come repenting of (turning from) their sins to him, confessing to him, and asking for his forgiveness.

Israel will be restored one day. Isaiah 11:11 says, “In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from…” Praise God!

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

 

Have you ever felt like you’re missing something?

We are missing something in our life, aren’t we? When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin for the very first time entered into the world! Because of their disobedience to a faithful and loving God, a ‘spiritual’ death had come upon them. And they would also have to suffer a physical death down the road because of this.

Walking with God before sinning, just think, Adam and Eve had life perfect! They did not know any sorrow, pain, or death. Let’s see, great relationships – check, a beautiful home – check, great food – check, great scenery – check, and best of all – getting to walk with and talk with God himself – check! Hmmm, perfection in their world, who wouldn’t take that?

Really? No fighting, killing, hurtful words, senseless actions, no wars, drugs or multivitamins, no concern about money, no illness, no abuse, no crazy people running things, no chaos, or confusion? Sounds so peaceful… a utopian state. I could get into that! Who doesn’t want peace, love, joy, happiness, less burdens, more direction and guidance, and most of all feeling complete?!

Now there is no way that Adam and Eve could have understood all the implications of what their disobedience would cost all those who came after them, or maybe they would of thought twice don’t you think?!

So… because of this separation from God we each walk around this earth with something we are truly missing… which you may already realize, or maybe not. We are each missing our ‘spiritual’ side because of Adam and Eve’s story in the garden. God had punished Adam and Eve for sinning, putting a separation between him and them. A perfect God cannot be in the presence of any sin because he is perfect and he is holy. So God fixed this problem of our sin by sending Jesus (his son and God incarnate) to die instead of us. Jesus died on the cross and rose again three days later. He rose again defeating Satan proving he was alive and well. And He arranged for you to have this gift, free. You can do nothing to earn this. Part of Ephesians 2:5 states, …”it is by grace you have been saved.” So you’re to just come as you are, no fixing yourself up required first! An eternal, infinite sacrifice was needed to cleanse us and make us right before him. And when we genuinely take and receive this free gift (believing and realizing in this that we want to repent and turn from our sins) – he in turn forgives us and gives us eternal life with him. He gives you his holy spirit to help you, to guide you, and to become more like him as time goes on. He gives you peace and love, a joy that transcends even through your sorrows, takes away your burdens (if you let him), gives you direction and guidance in this world, and best of all makes you feel complete because you are saved! Words could not simply express how I was feeling when this happened to me so many years ago. What love and what a mystery! You have your ‘spiritual’ side now!  John 10:10 says, “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” You see, there is no real life without him.

Don’t get me wrong here… life will still not be perfect, but the main thing is we will know the truth. We have Jesus, forever and for always. When we pass away we have his promises that we will be living eternally with him… where all will be made right and there will be no more crying, pain, or death. John 14:3 states, “And I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Each of us is ‘missing something’ in our life. God gives us this ‘void’ to help us to think, search, and find what we are missing. This ‘void’ is “God-shaped” – only being able to be filled by him. ‘Other’ things will never satisfy this part of yourself because what you need is something to complete you and make you whole. No one can make you whole but Jesus. No person, place, or thing (including money) will ever get you there. You, as a Jew or Gentile, have the truth now. So what are you going to do about it?

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

 

Who is Jesus Christ?

Jesus is the one, appointed from God the Father, who came to this earth to save all the people from their sins. This was prophesied long ago, of one who would be coming into this world to suffer and die for us, and to be resurrected three days later. Isaiah 7:14 states, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” More than seven hundred years before Jesus was born Isaiah 53 was written, and prophesied about Jesus and his suffering. Referring to Jesus’s resurrection Psalm 110:1 says, “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” I hope that Jews will take special note of this ‘old testament verse’ speaking about Jesus resurrected and with God!

Jesus’s resurrection is proof that Christ is who he said he was… the Son of God. Who else could do this dying and rising again thing? John 2:19 says, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The resurrection tells us that we too, if we believe, have the hope that we will rise again after our death and be with him. Our souls are immortal, our bodies are not. 1 Cor. 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” 1 Cor. 15:44 states, “…it is shown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” The Apostles being eyewitnesses, hid after Christ’s death, fearing for their lives. But after Jesus’s resurrection, he appears to them, and they boldly start proclaiming God’s Word. Luke 24:39 states, “Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” After Christ’s resurrection and his appearance to Paul on the road to Damascus, Paul does a total 180 degree turn around. Instead of killing Christians as he had been doing, he starts defending the very Gospel of Jesus Christ. More eyewitnesses are confirmed in 1 Cor. 15:6, “After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…”

Christ is the bridge between God and man. Without him we have no chance to be connected to God. Sin must be atoned for. Jesus gives us this free gift, himself, so we can be reconnected with God. A free gift, that is your gift, absolutely free for the taking.

Can you believe it? Can you believe Jesus gives us this gift?! Isn’t it exciting?! We have one we can go to for forgiveness, and to be continually cleansed each and every day. We can have a personal relationship with God. What happiness, what joy, knowing he did this for you. And all you have to do is accept it (what he did), repent (decide to turn away from your sins), and tell him how you feel (confess with your mouth).

John 14:6 says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus, the new covenant (New Testament), has replaced the old covenant (Old Testament law). By his death and resurrection he provides for those who will come to Christ, and he provides the purification and cleansing of their sins. Sins turned as white as snow from his forgiveness, and cleansed from guilt to have freedom in Christ. And knowledge of an everlasting life with him? Nothing could be better!

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!

Sins cut us off from God.

In Isaiah 1:18 it says, “…Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

The stain of sin is permanent. Sins cut us off from God. How did this happen? Remember the ‘Adam and Eve’ story? Sometime after the angels being created and before Eve was tempted, Satan was cast out of heaven because of his pride. He was an angel, but his head got oversized and he actually ended up wanting to usurp God. He tempted Eve, and Adam listening to his wife sinned as well. So sin began. God never intended for us to be separated from him in any way, shape, or form. Satan got Eve to leave God out of her plan. He appealed to Eve, thereby placing herself above doing wrong, and what her maker had intended for her.

We all sin. We all need forgiveness. So God provided a way for our sins, like permanent stains, to be forgiven. Hebrews 9:22 states, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” In the old testament various animal sacrifices were made, only on a temporary basis, according to certain procedures stated plainly and explicitly from God. In the new testament Jesus is, “…the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Only an infinite sacrifice, one holy and made of blood, would suffice for the sins of the world (past, present, and future). One from a truly loving father to each one of us, allowing his son’s life to be lain down, to make a way for the separation to be removed between every man and God. John 3:16,17 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Whether you are a Jew or a Gentile, Jesus is coming back one day!