Divinely Supplied, Humanly Gathered

Scripture Study – Revelation 2:12-17 “The Church in Pergamum”

PERGAMOS –

Pergamum is located about 100 miles north of Ephesus with Smyrna located halfway between.  It still survives today as the Turkish city of Bergama.

Pergamos was considered Asia’s greatest city.  By the time the Apostle John received the revelation and wrote this section of the book, Pergamos had been the region’s capital for about 250 years.

Pergamos was an important center of culture and learning.  The city considered themselves as “the defender of Greek culture” in all of Asia Minor.

The city was also considered an important center of worship.  Four of the main deities of the Greco-Roman world had temples dedicated to Athena, Asklepios, Dionysos, and Zeus were located there.

But overshadowing the worship of all these deities of Pergamos’ devotion was the cult of emperor worship.  Christians of the day were in constant danger of harm from the emperor worship cult.  Elsewhere, Christians were primarily in danger of one particular day of the year where they were required to offer sacrifices to the emperor; in Pergamos, they were in danger every day.

The Church At Pergamos Was One That Lived and Served In The Shadow of Satan’s Headquarters.

Revelation 2:13 (a).

“I know where you live–a place where Satan sits enthroned.”

Notice the introduction Jesus used in introducing Himself to Pergamos as “the One Who has and wields the sharp two-edged sword”.

In ancient times, the highest symbol of authority was the sword.  It represented the greatest authority that people knew.  It represented absolute authority!

Jesus’ introduction leads one to believe that God wasn’t at all happy with the church at Pergamum.  So I found it quite interesting to what Jesus had to say to the Assembly.

The Church’s Dedication Observed (2:13)

Here was a church positioned on a hill, so to speak, that was in the shadow of Satan’s throne, and Jesus noted their dedication.  I can only imagine their struggle.

WOW!  How complacent we can get while sitting in church on Sunday’s feeling comfortable without obvious persecution by the community in the valleys of our culture constantly trying to blow out the candle.  “No LIGHT in shinning in that building!”

The headquarters of Satan is a strategic place best used by his influence.

Then Jesus goes on to say, “[Yet] you are clinging to and holding first to My name”.  That meant they had not denied the purpose for which Jesus came.  They had not turned their backs on the gospel.  And in spite of the difficult circumstances that surrounded them, the BELIEVERS at Pergamos courageously maintained their FAITH in Jesus Christ.

A Period of détente –

détente [a French word meaning release from tension] and a name given to a period of improved relations during the Cold War, between the United States and the Soviet Union that began tentatively in 1971.

Revelation 2:14-15

There was a problem in Pergamos.

It’s a problem that exists in our own backyards today as well, perhaps more strongly than ever in history.

Notice the church’s détente–détente meaning an easing of friction between two groups.  It means compromising so as not to muddy the waters.

The church was faithful; it believed in Jesus.  It was a strong church, an Orthodox church.

They had not denied His faith, BUT…they were tolerating false views.  They tolerated what should have been expelled from the church.  Don’t get me wrong here.  The church didn’t hold onto false doctrines.  It was a proper, orthodox, fundamental church in the city.  There are churches similar in communities today.  Perhaps you belong to a “fundamental” church like Pergamum. But the assembly in Pergamos held fellowship with those views ignoring the Truth laid down by Jesus.  That was the thing Jesus attacked.

What has this assembly of believers allowed in their fellowship?

First, they allowed the doctrine of Balaam.

Balaam was called by a king to curse Israel in Numbers 22-23. 

Balaam didn’t try to change the theology or to curse the nation.  He just encouraged them to COMPROMISE the purposes of God.  He polluted the people socially and spiritually.

THE END RESULT (vs. 14), A “stumbling block” before the children of Israel, resulting in the eating of things sacrificed to idols and committing immorality.

They taught that ORTHODOXY gave license to SIN.

What does the word, “Orthodox” mean in this context?  It means “conventional Christian beliefs” or “traditional beliefs and customs of the early church that Jesus had established”.  [See footnote [i].]

The church at Pergamum ‘new age’ thinking was “Believe in the right things, church, and you can do anything you want to do!”

I once had a pastor who rationalized celebrating Halloween activities in the church parking lot with this same reasoning, using 1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23 as his point of reference–“All things are lawful”; as a believer, we are free to do anything we please.”  He left out the rest of the verse:  “but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome…”  This isn’t to say that every Christian who uses this phrase “All things are lawful” has the wrong general idea.  But I think it’s fairly clear that this is an example of a legitimate intention from the wrong text, with wrong teaching. We don’t want to cause a wave with the world over issues like homosexuality or abortion so we will allow FALSE TEACHING to enter in and adjust our doctrine, keeping everyone happy and the attendance up.

Given Direction (vs. 16)

“Repent [then]!  Or else I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”  [AMP]

NOTICE the direction Jesus gives to them, “REPENT!”

He’s not talking to the people who had the doctrine of Balaam.  He’s speaking to the CHURCH.  He was telling the church to repent.

As I pondered over Jesus’ words, I began trying to understand His words here on how the CHURCH could repent.  They weren’t guilty of believing those things.  Jesus essentially says to the church, exclude those people from fellowship.  Don’t give them false security.  They were wrong; they were destroying what the church believed, so the church should remove them.

Jesus was saying to the church to exercise discipline, people!

Do we realize the danger of someone who rebels, fights against the things of God?  The danger of someone in the midst of the fellowship who stands for that which contradicts the doctrine and gospel of Jesus?

Jesus said, you as a church better REPENT and ACT on this matter, or I will come and work against them.  Basically, you take care of them, or I will take care of them!

DELIGHT (vs. 17) –

Revelation 2:17 (The Message Bible)

“Are your ears awake?  Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blows through the churches.  I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I’ll also give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name.”

The hidden or sacred manna typifies the spiritual food provided by God in His Word.  Jesus is talking about individual feeding, not a church function.

The manna is something that you receive daily already in life.  It corresponds to your hidden life.  A place inside where no one knows what’s going on except for you and God.  It’s where you are tempted to impure thought, to pride, to lying, etc.  It’s where you fight and overcome those temptations.

The sacred (hidden) manna, is the help you get when you pray for it in those times.  It’s the nourishment you receive, by the power from heaven. It’s given to everyone who asks for it, everyone with a longing to be free from sin.

The hidden manna gives vitality and life.

But like the Israelites in the wilderness, God provided the MANNA for sustaining the daily physical life, but the people had to go out and gather it in daily.

Manna was divinely supplied but had to be humanly gathered.  

God gave it, but the people had to gather it!  God will not spoon feed you!!

 The “White Stone” (“clear stone”) and the “New Name” meaning: [See footnote [ii] ]

  • The WHITENESS represents the PURITY and the HOLINESS of God.
  • The NEW NAME represents the name that a BELIEVER (“overcomer”) receives one day in Christ.

Sometimes a white stone was given to a person after a trial.  The STONE symbolized NOT GUILTY,

Sometimes after a battle, the VICTOR (“conqueror”) was given a white stone representing total victory.

Sometimes a stone was given to an individual signifying CITIZENSHIP.

When we apply that to our Christian faith, it forms a beautiful picture.

But the Scripture is very clear here that the CHURCH must not tolerate those who lower the STANDARDS of the Truth.

It’s not a question of holding the TRUTH; Pergamos did that.

As a Church, we too face the same choice that Pergamos faced.

We can repent and receive ALL of God’s blessings, or, we can refuse to perform a spiritual self-examination and face the terrifying reality of having the Lord Jesus Christ declare war on us.

We need to remain to hold true to the Word of God and never compromising our position in Christ Jesus.

____________________________________________________

CREDITS AND FOOTNOTES –

Credit:  ActiveChristianity – Hidden Manna, White Stone and a New Name – Revelation 2:17.

FOOTNOTES:  [i] The Christian Crier – “What Does Orthodox Mean?”; [ii] Word Detective’s White Stone, New Name blog – https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/a-name-change-at…heavenly-arrival/

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search, settings advanced.

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS:  Amplified (AMP), New International Version (NIV), or where noted in the text.

 

 

 

 

ISRAELS’ “Title Deed” Has Already Been Issued!

293170964_6790e9ec90“TITLE DEED” Definition:

A deed or document evidencing a person’s or people’s legal right or title to property constituting evidence of ownership.  [See Footnote [i]]

Joel 3:1-14:

I will gather all nations and enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land Multitudes in the Valley of Decision!  For the day of the LORD is near in the Valley of Decision.

TAKING A STAND

“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”  (Genesis 12:3 NIV).

I won’t speak to or about other countries in “taking a stand”; although I’ve recently been in discussion on Social Media regarding feelings and attitudes regarding what’s going on in the conflict of Israel and Palestine/Hamas.  But I’ll leave that discussion for a later time.

AMERICA IS AT A MOMENTOUS CROSSROADS!  WILL WE BELIEVE GOD AND STAND BY ISRAEL?

Or, will we “waffle” and give our sympathies to Israel’s enemies?  Having already turned our back on God in America, we are feeling the sharpness, the bite from His restorative judgments.  I know, GOD IS LOVE!  But He is also righteous and holy and a “jealous” God!! (Deut. 32:16, 21; 1 Kings 14:22; Psalm 78:58; 1 Cor. 10:22).

Yes, we still  have a form of religion, but we have lost the moral and spiritual power we once possessed.  Where we find ourselves today is in an unprovoked, worldwide WAR with militant Islamist terrorists and our homeland is vulnerable.

Yet, while our President has often remarked, to act against TERRORISTS and those who harbor them…at the same time pressed ISRAEL not to retaliate against the Palestinian terrorists.  And, the center of his Middle East policy is to divide the land of Israel and to create a terrorist-ruled, Islamist Palestine state in the center of the Promised Land.

GOD’s Word speaks to this issue (Joel 3:1-17).  And because there will be sobering consequences if we fail in disobedience to Him [*SEE Jer. 12:14-16; Zech. 2:7-13].

TWO ABSOLUTES IN OUR “STANDING” WITH THE JEWS CLAIM TO THE LAND:

GOD Himself gave THE TITLE DEED to the land of Israel to the Jewish people!  Unlike historic claims that other nations might have to their land, the Jews have an overriding, stronger claim.  “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

Any human ownership of land is but a lease.

I remember one area of Orange County California I lived in, who established homeowners to LEASED the property their homes sat on,  for ninety-nine years.  Their thinking I suppose was, “Who would still be living on that property for 99 years?  God never stipulated in His promise in the TITLE DEED, that His covenant land was to be leased–that Israel would have to parcel up their right to ownership to any “squatters”.

GOD does the “establishing” and not man (Deut. 32:8-10; Num. 34:10-15; Josh. 11:16-22; 14; Acts 17:26).

Knowing the Promises of GOD…

HOW MUCH LAND DID GOD GIVE ISRAEL?
HOW MUCH LAND DID GOD GIVE ISRAEL?

Every Christian should know God’s PROMISES, what God says about the Jews and His Covenant land, especially in this day of decisions.

Each of us should be as the Bereans, SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; NOT ALLOW OUR UNDERSTANDING TO BE CLOUDED by doctrines with strained and skewed conclusions, nullifying the plain PROMISES OF GOD (Acts 17:11-12; 1 Peter 1:19-21).

God’s Warning to the Nations…

“All who try to move [Jerusalem] will injure themselves.”

GOD PROMISES to punish the nations (people) who come against Israel:  “…and whoever curses you I will curse” ~ Genesis 12:3 b.

America, the Arabs, the European Union, Russia, China, all the nations, are in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14).  Every nation that presumes to interfere with God’s plan for Israel, including the U.S., STANDS NOT only against Israel, but against God Almighty!  GOD is rising to JUDGE THE NATIONS  (Ezek. 38:1-39; Zech. 2:8-9; 12:2-9).

“Why ISRAEL Has the Right to their Land and Others do not”–

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) gave an important speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate on March 11, 2002:

 —  SEVEN REASONS WHY ISRAEL HAS THE RIGHT TO “THEIR LAND” —

Six of his reasons which are simple truths apply to common sense.  If you are interested in reading the entire document, it can be viewed on-line –(http://www.senate.gov/~inhofe/fl030402.html).

The seventh, his most important, is an appeal to FAITH IN GOD of the Bible and His covenant with the Jewish people.

We must support Israel’s right to the land because God’ said so!

In Genesis 13:14-17, the Bible says:

The Lord said to Abram, “Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are for all the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever…”

Only God Can solve the Middle East Crisis…

America must concentrate doing what is right.  I’m not saying we should give blind approval on anything Israel may do.  But Israels restraint toward its Palestinian enemies, so far, has been admirable–a model for all nations, and our pressure on Israel not to retaliate against a terrorist run state, to endure endless assaults against their own civilian population all in hopes of bolstering negotiations with terrorists leaders in Egypt, is foolish and immoral (Prov. 19:27; Ps. 1:1-2; 2:2-12; 33:10-22; Is. 1:16; Jer. 23:32).

The Problem Goes Far Beyond the Palestinian People

The HEART of the Muslim faith and its opposition to Scripture begins with belief that the Land of Israel belongs to the Arabs through the lineages of Ishmael and Esau.  The Muslims reject the Bible record of God’s covenants with Isaac and Jacob, believing that Ishmael and Esau, the first-born sons of Abraham and Isaac, were the legitimate heirs.  THIS IS A LIE!

The problem can never be resolved apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and/or the return of Jesus, Himself!  God’s Word provides for law-abiding Arabs and other non-Jews who live in Israel (See Ezek. 47:22-23 – Christians and Muslim Arabs would enjoy for greater political and economic prosperity under Israel than under Muslim terrorist leaders).

But this doesn’t mean Israel should accept the immigration of millions of self-proclaimed refugees or to divide up Israel and Jerusalem, forever compromising Israel’s security.  God holds Israeli government responsible, as He does all governments, to protect its people to bring criminals to justice, especially those guilty of shedding innocent blood (Gen. 9:6; Dt. 19:11-13; Rom. 13:1-4).

That the world (U.N.) community interprets Israels use of military authority in self-defense (Romans 13) as morally inferior to Palestinian/Hamas suicide (homicide) bombers, rockets, and other terrorist acts, simply reveals the worlds ill will toward the Just and Righteous God of the Bible.

President Obama cannot both appease the nations and serve the God of the Bible.  AMERICA is in the valley of decision.  Will we simply do what’s right and just (as defined by God’s Word), or yield to the political circumstances and threats against us?

A Worldwide Resurgence of Anti-Semitism–

Psalm 35:19-20 NIV translation:

[19] Let not those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; let not those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.  [20] They do not speak peaceably, but devise false accusations against those who live quietly in the land.

The pleasure of savagery, Palestinian/Hamas rockets (3500+), against the Jewish civilian population has elicited sympathy and support for the Israelis in the U.S., but sleeping demons of anti-Semitism has raised its ugly head once more around the globe.

Pro-Palestinian propaganda, broadcast by the liberal media, has fueled an international resurgence of Anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, Russia and the Arab world.

Denunciations of Israel by the U.N. once more, many nations have fueled the fires of protests by tens of thousands, boycotts of Israeli goods, and other political efforts to punish Israel.

 The Church s Contribution–

Some Christians believe the natural Israel was permanently cast off by God and wholly replaced by the New Testament Church (Replacement Theology); that the rebirth of Israel as a nation today has no part in God’s plan for our spiritual well-being.

But they completely ignore or twist a lot of Bible promises to the contrary.

THE DESTINY OF NATIONS:

All Nations, not just America, are tied to their responses to God’s will as revealed in Scripture.  God holds NATIONS uniquely accountable to their actions for or…against the Jews and His covenant Land.

How will He deal with America, or your country, if we look away from the demonically inspired anti-Semitism that’s growing around us?  We cannot keep silent when forces are working day and night to turn our political leaders against Israel.

My son accidently poked his finger in my eye once. 

Who hasn’t had someone accidentally POKED you in the eye?  I sure have.  It was clearly accidental, but never-the-less, it didn’t hurt any less.

A POKE in the EYE
A POKE in the EYE

Your EYE is sensitive to touch and the center of your eye, your “iris”, the “pupil” of your eye–the APPLE, is the most sensitive part.

When my son accidentally poked me in the eye years ago, my first response was anger!  My aggravated, uncontrolled words in response to my pain…“You’ve got to be more careful with your fingers, it can ‘poke’ someone’s eye out!”  I don’t know what that meant to him at the time, but he replied to my outrage by saying, “I’m sorry dad. I didn’t mean to. It was an accident.”  And of course, I accepted his apology as any loving dad would because of his repentance.

But what if the POKE IN THE EYE had been on purpose with the intention of doing harm?

“For this is what the Lord Almighty says:  “After he has honored me and has sent me against the nnations that have plundered you–for whoever touches you touches the apple [the “iris”; the “pupil”, the “center”] of My eye”  (Zech. 2:8 NIV). *NOTE: Bracketed words were inserted for emphasis.

American Christians must pray and act to be sure that AMERICA stands by Israel!

 

 

FOOTNOTE (s):  

[i] Title Deed – Dictionary.com

PHOTOS:  

Map of Israel – Files From Toni: How Much Land Did God Give Israel? at filesfromtoni.blogspot.com/how-much-land-did-god-give-israel-html

Photo Pin

BIBLE TRANSLATIONS: 

NIV Translation

Amplified Bible

 

 

The “OLIVE TREE” Prophecy

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Olive Tree Grove

BIBLE TEXT FOR THIS BLOG:

Open your Bibles to Romans 11:17-32.

The Cultivation Process:

Most of us are unfamiliar with the CULTIVATION of an OLIVE TREE.  Simply, most of us have never even seen OLIVES growing on a tree; because of our geographical location.

When I first met my wife, my future father-in-law owned a small citrus grove in Vista, California.  It was mostly limes at that time, although it had previously been lemons.  Dad had grafted in the new lime branches to the old stock of lemon trees.  His reasoning, and a good one, LIMES were for more profitable than LEMONS.

The Benefits of Grafting In…

After Dianne and I were married, I always looked forward to the AVOCADOS my in-laws would always have on the dinner table.  My father-in-law only had a few avocado trees at the ranch, but they were old and over 30 feet high while their branches spread over 20 feet in width.  One was so old, that the fruit became small, so he not only grafted in ONE TYPE , but several varieties of avocados:  Nabal, King, Duke…all avocados, but different sizes, different tastes; fruit that couldn’t be found in local produce sections of grocery stores.  The “Old Avocado Tree” wasn’t what it used to be– it became successful by THE CULTIVATION PROCESS.

88013377_XSA ROOT–

The ROOT is the most important part of any plant.  It provides the foundation, the strength, and the stability of the tree.  “Before anything can grow up, it better grow down–the deeper the root…the sweeter the fruit.”   (See footnote [i] for source of quote)

For JEWISH PEOPLE, they considered Abraham their  “ROOT”.

Abraham was the one whom they saw as making them RIGHTEOUS.  He believed GOD and was saved by his own FAITH.  It was by the faith of Abraham which gave his descendants, the Jews, the assurance of GOD’S acceptance.

While Abraham is a ROOT for the Jews, JESUS is the ROOT for all!

A TREE–

All through the Bible, the OLIVE TREE is symbolic of Israel.  But notice the TWO TYPES of OLIVE TREES mentioned by the apostle Paul:

–  A WILD TREE.

–  A CULTIVATED TREE.

Before moving on with this study, we need to understand the TWO TERMS:

The Wild Tree–

A “wild tree” is not under human care.  It just grows and produces as nature would have it.

The Cultivated Tree–

This tree has been tended to, trimmed back, and taken from.

In my investigation of plant grafting for this study, I found that a WILD OLIVE BRANCH is not grafted in a CULTIVATED OLIVE TREE–unless, the tree becomes unproductive in fruit, or is barren.  For this is the very reason, the wild olive branch imparts the rest of the tree, to be fruitful and useful once more.

Grafted in ...
Grafted in …

DURING THE 1st CENTURY:

A cultivated branch was typically grafted into a wild or natural growing olive tree; the only time when wild branches are grafted to a cultivated tree is when that particular tree…STOPS PRODUCING FRUIT!

With this very illustration, Paul is saying,  GOD is blessing GENTILES because the JEWS had CEASED to bear fruit…the issue is not individuals who were SAVED then lost their salvation (the “natural branches” were never saved), rather the people groups became GOD’S FOCUS.

The KEY VERSES:  17-18

[17]  But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the ROOT and sap] of the olive tree,

[18]  Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense.  If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the ROOT, but the ROOT [that supports] you.

BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY is a form of JUDAISM–

We DRAW our source of life from the “rootstock”  ISRAEL (like grafted in “limes”/”lemons”).

*  The ROOT supports us; our spiritual life comes from ISRAEL.

*  Who said this?  “…for [after all], SALVATION comes from [among] the Jews.” (John 4:22); JESUS did to the woman at the well.

*  In the 1st Century JUDAISM,

Gentiles who believed in the God of Israel but didn’t want to be full converts to Judaism, were thought of as SAVED– but at the same time, not in as great of place in THE BLESSING as those who became JEWS…

*  In the Church Age,

Jews and Gentile BELIEVERS alike have equal status, but both are BLESSED because…they are plugged into the life-giving root ISRAEL and…more specifically, ISRAEL’S MESSIAH.

ONE DAY, THE NATURAL BRANCHES WILL BE GRAFTED BACK IN:  (24)

“…how much easier will it be to graft these natural [branches] back on [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree…”  (Amplified Bible).

The CHURCH does not replace Israel, but it does dwell in the place of God’s blessing until…Israel is re-grafted in.

Both the Church and end time Israel SHARE in the same New Covenant and both are part of the Kingdom of God.  BUT…”ISRAEL” refers to a nation, and the church is not a “new Israel,” but people who are called out…every tribe, kindred, and nation.  EACH will GLORIFY God but each in her own way.  How can we know this is true?

“…for God’s gifts and His calling is irrevocable”

The REGENERATION PROCESS:  (25-27)

[25]  Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren:  a hardening  (insensibility)  has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the *[ii]*full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in,

[26]  And so all Israel will be saved.  As it is written,  The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob.

[27]  And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.

This partial hardening of hearts will one day END (25).  There is a “quota“, a “full number” of Gentiles that will be met and only God knows that number.

This re-direction will happen during the Tribulation Period when GOD SAVES 12,000 Jews, each of Israel’s tribes and then…the surviving nation of Israel is converted during Armageddon (verses 26-27).

This doesn’t mean ALL JEWS are automatically SAVED or SAVED apart from Christ Jesus…this is talking about a point in time where ALL ISRAEL present on earth will be SAVED  (Zech. 12:9-10; Isaiah 45:17; Zech. 13:8-9).

THERE’S NO ROOM For anti-Semitism in Christianity (28-32):

[28]  From the point of view of the Gospel  (good news),  they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God], which is for your advantage and benefit.  But from the point of view of God’s choice (of election, of divine selection),  they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers.

[29]  For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.  [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

[30]  Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained {His] mercy,  through their disobedience,

[31]  So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you–through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].

[32]  For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].

From one angle, it would have certainly become EASY to despise the JEWS (28 a).  As much as Paul was burdened for his people, he was also aggravated with them.

If you have children, how many times have you laid awake at night in bed, concerned for…even “burdened” by the activity or lack there of…but at the same time, “aggravated” at the same time?

Once Christianity SEPARATED from their Jewish ROOTS…once people no longer realized the Crucifixion of Christ was planned by God, anti-Semitism set into the Church (by the 4th Century).

Despite Paul’s strong declaration, that Christians respect Israel for the love of their roots,  “REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY” became a dominant theme of church doctrine:  “God was done with Israel forever”; there could be no anti-Semitism if it were not for “replacement theology.”

Israel is STILL God’s Chosen Nation  (“they are beloved” – 28 b):

Jeremiah 31:35-36:

[35]  Thus says the Lord,  Who gives the sun for a light by day and the fixed order of the moon and of the stars for a light by night,  Who stirs up the sea’s roaring billows or stills the waves when they roar–the Lord of hosts is His name:

[36]  If these ordinances [of fixed order]  depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the posterity of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me throughout the ages.

Verse 29 is… THE CENTER OF GOD’S CALLING IS IRREVOCABLE:

If God made a PROMISE to us, or to His nation Israel, then later redefined His words to define Israel as people collected from all nations…God might make a great politician in today’s world, but He would not be the HOLY, IMPECCABLE, IMMUTABLE, FAITHFUL God of the Bible.

God’s Delay in Blessing Israel:

GOD always has a PURPOSE, and delaying His BLESSING to Israel? (verse 30-32):

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained MERCY through THEIR UNBELIEF;   Even so have these also not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.   For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have MERCY upon all.  (King James Bible)

Realizing how masterfully God has planned all these things…you want to jump up, burst forth in praise, for His omnipotent sovereignty…which is what Paul does.

Seeking Opportunities—

So in reading and meditating on the verses above, we should SEEK God-given opportunities to SHARE JESUS to unbelieving Jews; have an undeniable respect for Jewish people in doing so because of their ROOTS….becomes our strength!

Zechariah 8:23 Amplified Bible:

Thus says the Lord of hosts:  In those days ten men out of all languages of the nations shall take hold of the robe of him who is a Jew, saying,  Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

 

*Footnotes & Photo Credits:

[i] – Jerry Watts “Grafted into God’s Family”

[ii] – Joseph Thayer’s A Greek-English Lexicon

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