We spend so much time focusing on ourselves and our shortcomings and wallowing in our self-doubt that we effectively remove ourselves from the fight. That is exactly what the enemy wants. Once you realize that Christ has completely eliminated the penalty for your sin
then you are freed and empowered to help others. Those stuck in works-righteousness can never see the forest for the trees because they still don’t understand that the Gospel has decisively solved the sin problem. We are free. And now that we are free we can engage in the broader war and help our brothers and sisters in this bloody fight while we try to snatch more from the fire.
1. The world has collectively chosen to reject God and His rightful rule.
2. The world is presently controlled by the devil and his servants.
3. Those who have rejected God are suppressing the truth and bringing the whole world to annihilation.
4. Mankind is in a spiritual, zombie-like state and headed towards destruction because of sin.
5. When we were completely hopeless and powerless God made the first move by springing a trap that caused the penalty of mankind’s sin to fall on Himself (Acts 20:28) thus setting free those who were enslaved to the devil. From an individual perspective, men and women break free from the devil’s invisible spiritual prison once they accept Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and believe in Christ.
6. Mankind is closer than ever to complete physical and spiritual self-destruction and Jesus is returning very soon to put a decisive end to man’s self-rule and the devil’s tyrannical reign, yet He won’t do it until the Church is complete and the Body of Christ is joined to the Head
For this reason we have a very short intervening time to win a more decisive victory over the enemy and to rescue a few more off the battlefield.
1. Hold faithfully to the truth of the Gospel
until we are removed from the battlefield by physical death or the trumpet of God. That means rejecting all forms of heresy that are creeping into the Church, which twist the Gospel. Some heresies stem from infiltrators who push liberalized doctrines like universalism, moral deism, New Age syncretism, and the like. Equally deadly heresies come from those who purport to be the most faithful and religious – those who to their own doom claim that the Cross was not enough (Gal. 5:4). These modern Pharisees push works-righteousness, a standard that they themselves never meet. No two Pharisees ever agree on what the list of requirements is, but they demand that you meet their list. Woe to them!
2. Snatch as many from the fire as possible before the fight is over. The time we have left to fight is exceedingly short. This means finding meaningful ways to share your faith and testimony. Evangelism is often intimidating, but always easier than it seems. The intimidation is an incessant satanic illusion. Evangelism is easy. If in person, just ask a question… “do you have a faith?” People love questions and will usually open up. That gives you an instant, non-awkward “in”. There are even easier ways to evangelize: 1. Write letters to prisoners. They are a captive audience and love to receive mail. 2. Share Christian and Gospel material on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. All it takes is a click or two and you don’t even have to face anyone directly if you tend toward timidity. 3. Start a website or blog and share your faith. If God has given you more courage then be winsomely vocal. Hand out tracts. Give out Bibles. Find some way to share publicly. Give big tips to your servers and write “God loves you… John 3:16“. Strike up conversations. Let’s go!
3. Hold down your own fort. That means to do everything in your God-given power to teach your own children and family the truth of God and His Word. Make faith a normal subject of discussion. In a family that doesn’t often discuss spiritual things, talking about God can be awkward, but push through. It might take time, but the goal should be to get to a place where your spouse and children feel loved and comfortable with making God a normal part of discourse. If you want your family to live out their faith and stay faithful then you can’t relegate Christianity to Sunday at 10:00 AM. It should be a normal part of life. Endure all hardships and beatings with grace. Be kind, forgiving, and authentic with your children and spouse. Pray for them daily.
4. Fight the political battles, too. Most people perceive silence as acquiescence, and Christians have become woefully silent. Political power is often given to the most active and vocal. We have to speak out on the issues and present a biblical worldview. Don’t be silent on current events because God has given you so much to say. Just remember to be kind and winsome – you’re not trying to win an argument, you’re trying to lovingly persuade and plant seeds. Everyone is yelling, but let’s be those who stand on the side kindly saying, “look, there’s a better way.” Try to find ways to be physically active in the fight, too. Hardly a day goes by without a mass prayer, walk for life, or local mission opportunity. Search on Google or Facebook for local groups and opportunities and participate.
1. The Church appears to be overwhelmingly outnumbered on this earthly battlefield and this causes many to lose heart, give in, or give up. Yet this obstacle is only an illusion, because the truth is that more are with us than are with the enemy (2 Kings 6:16-17, Matt. 26:53, Rev. 12:7-9). When we choose to fight and engage in the battle we usually win, but we have to fight.
2. The devil has infiltrated our ranks with his own. They often claim to follow Christ, but they try to steer you away from the Gospel in one way or the other. Realize that they are usually just confused and ignorant and have simply never known Christ. They don’t understand the message of the Gospel, which proclaims Christ is the only way and simultaneously that our sin is completely, 100% atoned for. Whether the ultra-conservative Pharisees or the liberal Sadducees
, if you listen to them they will steal your faith or at the very least, cause you to become unproductive in the fight.
3. Self-doubt. We’ve been forgiven, freed, and promised eternal life, but so often we remain in our chains, fretting over our past regrets and the seemingly impossible obstacles ahead. Yet so often the obstacles are purely illusions and the ones that do exist God will trample over if you just step forward in faith. Regarding your sin and your past, just remember that the darkness is dark. If you spend all of your time focusing on the darkness then your life will be darkness. Acknowledge that you are a wretched sinner in need of the Great Savior, but then put the darkness behind you and march forward. Fix and amend what you can, but accept that Christ’s blood covers you completely and meets your every moral need and then enter the battle so you can help others.
We need not compare ourselves to those we perceive to be more successful in the spiritual fight – the Luthers, Spurgeons, and Grahams. God gave each of them the opportunities, abilities, and courage to achieve what they achieved and the truth of the matter is that it wasn’t them achieving anything, but the God who they allowed to dwell inside them. For every Luther or Graham there is a less famous Believer, unknown in the annals of history, who was faithful with what God gave them and because of their faithfulness the Luthers and Grahams came to know the Lord. They may not be famous on earth, but they are very famous in Heaven.
Some are called to be Pauls who seem to reap a great harvest on earth and others are called to be Stephens who seem unsuccessful in the world’s eyes, but in a single moment of faithfulness achieve a spiritual harvest of equal worth that isn’t revealed until the story further unfolds. Yet we are all called to fight faithfully, courageously, and with unrelenting fervor.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Allow me the liberty to apply Winston Churchill’s most famous speech to the Church:
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend the Gospel, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of Our Lord’s Government-every man of His. That is the will of Christ and Heaven. The Church and the Host of Heaven, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their heavenly land, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of earth and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of Beelzebub and all the odious apparatus of satanic rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in our homes, we shall fight on the streets and in our schools, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength against the prince of the air, we shall defend the Gospel, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight in the culture, we shall fight in our churches, we shall fight on land and at sea, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, the Church or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our brotherhood beyond the seas, armed and guarded by divine power, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, Heaven’s armies, with all their power and might, step forth to the rescue and the liberation of us all.
The Rapture: What is it?
It is Jesus coming to claim His bride, the church, and bring her back to His place in heaven. Why does He do that? Because we are in a period of time called the church age or the age of Grace. It initially began with the resurrection of Christ, but “officially” began at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and indwelt all believers. From that day until now, all believers are born again with the Holy Spirit residing in them during this church age, which has a beginning at Pentecost and an end when Jesus comes for His bride and takes her back to heaven to be with Him.
Why is the church referred to as the bride of Christ?
A marriage relationship is the strongest, most intimate relationship God has set up. It is when two become one, and it means this in a much stronger context than simply physical union. We often say our spouse is our “soul” partner. We are “two become one” soul partners. Jesus says in John 14:20 that “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”
That is Divine God being “two become one” through our bride and marriage relationship with God. This is the most intimate relationship God provides. Not even the angels have this type of relationship with God. AND since the church is called the bride of Christ, it is important to examine the Jewish betrothal customs to see how this betrothal relationship unfolds.
When a Jewish bridegroom proposes to his perspective bride, he offers her a cup of wine. If she drinks from the cup, she has accepted his proposal. Next, the bridegroom goes away to prepare a place for them to live, sometimes back to his father’s house. When he is through preparing a place for He and his bride to live, he comes back for her. She has been waiting, not knowing when he will come back. When he comes back, there is a shout and a blowing of a trumpet or shofar. He gets his bride and takes her back to his place for a wedding and a wedding feast, which lasts seven days.
How does this line up with the church?
Jesus’ proposal to the church occurred at the last supper, when He had wine with His disciples, and told them He would not drink from the wine cup again until they were in His Father’s house. He then went away to prepare a place for He and His bride to live – in heaven. In John 14:2-3 He says, “In my Father’s house are many rooms. And if 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.”
We, the bride of Christ, are still waiting for Him to return to take us back to His place in heaven. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 it says, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” THAT is the rapture, and THAT is when Christ comes to take us back to His place in heaven.
The wedding feast lasts for a week, but in this case it will be for a week of years; and we shall see why in a moment. Jesus “promised” that He has prepared a place for us and that He will come and get us at some point. The rapture is the fulfillment of that promise.
Is the rapture the same thing as the Second Coming of Jesus?
No. What happens at the rapture is that Jesus comes back in the “air” ONLY for His bride, the church, to take her back to heaven for the wedding feast. It is immediately following the wedding feast at the end of the week-long feast of years in Revelation 19 that Jesus returns to Earth “with His bride, the church;” and THAT is His Second Coming. Matthew 24 says that every eye shall see Him as He comes back to judge the surviving wicked, and to rule over planet Earth.
He will rule from Jerusalem during a period of 1,000 years called the millennial reign of Christ. It will be an unprecedented time in history. His church, who are now immortal beings, will physically and visibly be reigning on Earth with Jesus. Human beings will co-exist alongside visible immortal beings. Only believers who survive the seven-year tribulation will be allowed to enter into the 1,000-year millennial reign of Christ.
What happens between the rapture and the Second Coming of Christ?
It is important to remember that God “still” has a covenant with the Jewish people, in which He told them that there is a time coming when they will receive their long-awaited Messiah. And they, Israel, will be the “predominant” nation on earth and will be held in high esteem. This covenant is spelled out in Daniel chapter 9 in what is called the 70 weeks of Daniel prophecy. This, too, is 70 weeks of years, which begins when the Jews in Israel, who have been in Babylonian captivity, are allowed to return and rebuild Jerusalem. And it says from that time until after 69 weeks or 483 years, the Messiah will be cut off or killed. That lines up in time with Jesus being crucified. The 490-year time-period “clock” of years stops due to the crucifixion of Christ, leaving a period of one week of years, the 70th week still remaining.
This 69 weeks of years is a covenant God has with Israel and does not include the church. The church never spent one day inside that first 69 weeks of years. The 69 weeks stopped when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the donkey, and was rejected and crucified. Up until the church age, God used the nation of Israel to bring about revelation of Himself to the rest of the world through His word, written by Jewish authors, and through the Jewish people, since Jesus is from the linage of David – in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Following the crucifixion of Jesus, God turned from Israel to the “church” to bring about revelation of Himself to the world, and that is where we still are today. One of the main reasons for the rapture is for the Lord to bring the church home so that God can now turn back to Israel and restart the 70 weeks clock again. This is in order to fulfill His promise to the Jewish people, to bring them their Messiah and fulfill His other promises to them. This last 70th week of seven years is also called the seven-year tribulation period, in which God pours out His wrath on Earth and sees to it that Israel will “finally” recognize Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12). They will call on Jesus to save them when they are surrounded by all nations, who want to destroy them at the battle of Armageddon. THIS is when Jesus returns at His Second Coming. He comes back to save Israel and to set up His reign on Earth for the 1,000 years.
Since the church did not spend even one day inside the first 69 weeks of God’s covenant with Israel, there is no reason to think it will spend even one day inside the 70th week, which is the seven-year tribulation period. This also shows why it is necessary that the rapture will be a “pretribulation rapture” versus a mid-trib or post-trib rapture.
What other evidence is there that the rapture will be pretribulation?
There are many, many people who have differing views as to whether the rapture will occur before the seven-year tribulation, during the middle of it, at the end of it, or somewhere in between. Let’s see what the Bible has to say.
Since the seven-year tribulation period is described in great detail in the book of Revelation, let’s begin there. As the book of Genesis tells us how everything began, Revelation tells us how everything ends. In the first three chapters, the church is mentioned around 27 times. There is symbolism in the book of Revelation, but the symbolism is explained as to what it is. In chapter 1, John sees seven lamp stands, and they are described as representing the seven churches. Seven is a number of completion with God, and this is also symbolic as representing all churches for all times.
Chapter 4 begins like this: In verse one John says, “After this I looked and there before me was a ‘door’ standing open in heaven. [Remember this door for later]. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a ‘trumpet’ said, ‘Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this.’”
This clearly is a wonderful picture of the rapture: there is a trumpet call, and the bride is called to heaven, and “I will show you what must take place after this,” meaning after the bride is in heaven.
John immediately describes seeing the Throne Room and says he sees the seven lamp stands “again,” which represent the seven churches that were on earth but now all reside in heaven. Following this is when the scrolls are opened and all of the events of the seven-year tribulation are described. The church is not mentioned even one time during this seven-year period from chapter 4 to chapter 19, when finally it mentions the church at the wedding feast with Jesus at the end of the tribulation. Immediately following the wedding feast is when Jesus comes back to Earth with His bride, the church, to save Israel in His Second Coming. This is “strong” evidence in Revelation that shows a pretribulation rapture versus one occurring during the tribulation.
Many people think the church will not be spared the tribulation period, and that we are to be persecuted, but is that what the Bible says?
First, we need to recognize that Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins and to also save us from God’s wrath. He took on God’s wrath for us at the cross. And yes, Christians have suffered much persecution and endured “man’s” wrath from its beginning until now. However, the tribulation period is described as a period of God’s wrath on Earth – not man’s wrath on Earth. God has already saved us from His wrath that will be poured out on earth during that time.
Rev. 3:10 describes Jesus speaking to the churches: He says, “Since you have kept My command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.”
Twice in the Bible in the Old Testament and New Testament, a day is represented as 1,000 years with God; thus, an hour is represented as clearly a very short period of time. This clearly has to mean the seven-year tribulation period of God’s wrath that He has prophesied will occur before His Second Coming. He is telling the churches that He will keep us “from this hour of trial that is to come upon the whole earth.”
Another strong evidence for a pretribulation rapture occurs in 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2
This chapter talks in detail about a time when the antichrist is ruling the earth and sets himself up to be God; but it says that the antichrist CANNOT be revealed until the Restrainer is removed from the scene. Since the Bible says the antichrist will be a person controlled by Satan, who is it that can restrain Satan? Clearly, the only one who can restrain him is God Himself; and since God the Holy Spirit resides inside all believers, it is necessary to remove all believers in order that the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit, is removed from the scene. This occurs pretribulation. THEN Satan can bring about his plan to control a one-world leader called the antichrist.
Pre-Fulfillment and Fulfillment
There is a very “interesting” example of a pretribulation rapture in Genesis, Chapter 6. The Bible has quite a few examples of something happening in the Old Testament that is a pre-fulfillment, and then something much bigger called a fulfillment happening later, often in the New Testament. A great example of this is when Jesus said in Matt. 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Jonah was the smaller pre-fulfillment, and Jesus the greater fulfillment.
In Genesis,chapter 6, God refers to Noah and his family as the righteous on Earth. He wants them to enter the ark, for in seven days He is going to bring down His wrath and judgment onto the earth. This is a picture of God taking the righteous on Earth, Noah and his family, and putting them in a safe place, the ark, for a period of seven days until His judgment begins upon the earth. This is a pre-fulfillment.
The greater fulfillment is talked about in Matt. 24: 37-41 when Jesus says, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”
This is saying that, just as people were unaware in the days of Noah, so will they be unaware in the end of days; and it shows the rapture represented by the man and woman “being taken” during this time and the other two left.
The greater fulfillment is that the church is considered the righteous on earth; and here we have God taking the righteous on earth, the church, and putting her in a safe place–heaven–for a period of seven years before He comes back to judge the earth. Of course, this seven years is the time of the wedding feast already mentioned.
We have another example of this in Genesis 19:12 where God is getting ready to pour out His “wrath” and destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He sends His angels to save Lot and his family from His wrath. Indeed, the angel even says he cannot destroy Sodom and Gomorrah “until” Lot and his family are in a safe place. Once they are, then God’s wrath destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
However, I have saved the best for last.
One of the most powerful, if not “the” most powerful verses in the Bible that talks about the rapture, not only describes the rapture beautifully but describes it point blank as a pretribulation rapture. AND it occurs in the Old Testament. Isaiah 26:19-21 says this: Verse 19 describes the rapture; “But your dead will live, Lord; their bodies will rise—let those who dwell in the dust wake up and shout for joy—your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.” This is clearly a beautiful picture of the rapture.
Verse 20 further describes this as a pretribulation rapture: “Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you. [Remember John saying he saw an open door in heaven in Revelation, Chapter 4?]. ‘Hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by. See, the Lord is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.”
This is a strong picture of the church being called up to heaven. Why? Because the Lord is getting ready to bring down His wrath onto the earth to punish the people for their sins. The church is “behind” the doors, and it even describes the time of God’s wrath on Earth as a “little while,” corresponding to the “hour of trial” that is to come upon the whole world (Rev 3:10).
These are all good examples of a pretribulation rapture. They are by no means exhaustive, but strong enough by themselves to give a pretribulation rapture far greater weight than biblical evidence to support a mid-trib or post-trib rapture. Post-trib is really a non-issue because, if the rapture occurred at the very end of the tribulation, there would be no “believers” to enter into the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ, as they would all have just been raptured. The only ones left would be unbelievers who are not allowed to enter the 1,000 year millennial reign of Christ.
I hope this is helpful to those who care about the rapture and “when” in relation to the seven-year tribulation that it occurs.
Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
His name needs no cleansing. No imputed righteousness. No redemption. No justification. No sanctification. No adoption. No separation from sin. No grace. No mercy. No sacrifice. No atonement.
Our Lord Jesus is indeed worthy of His name and at His name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
What you are witnessing and what you are experiencing is the beginning of the end of the ways of man. There is an appointed time and season for all to come to pass and you have now begun the time of the end.
It is of the utmost importance that you heed My voice and learn of My instructions, or you will fall prey to the evil one and his manipulative and deceptive schemes.
All those made in My image are redeemable, but the wicked one and those who choose to follow him are forever separated from Me, and will not be permitted to repent or be forgiven for their treachery of the Most High Creator.
Your adversary will continue to make war on the saints until his allotted time is over. He hates you because you are made in My image, but he hated Me first. In his fury, for thousands of years, he has worked aggressively to amass an army for his own so called kingdom, as he will attempt to make himself a god before Me, destroying as many as he can along the way.
For those who will not willingly give allegiance to him, he will accuse and petition against and attack. He has planned the greatest deception for mankind and sadly, many will succumb as they have not taken My Word seriously.
Because satan cannot create beings, he must inhabit them in order to retain control so his plans can be acted upon. This is an understanding you must have for these days upon you, as you are living in the days of Noah.
When the fallen angels came down and knew the daughters of men, My pure and untainted bloodline fell under a curse. The Nephilim offspring and strange hybrids that came as a result of evil spirits mixing with flesh was an abomination in My sight. Therefore, I destroyed the earth with a flood.
Because of the forbidden knowledge that was presented to mankind, many things that were not possible through manipulative knowledge previously, then became known and tangible in this realm.
I am speaking of manipulation of DNA and of the flesh that was created in My image. By mingling evil spirits with the blood of the flesh of men and animals, satan has and is acquiring the hosts he desires to accomplish his wicked design, which is to ultimately be a god and to kidnap as many of those who are created in My image as he can, so they too will be forever lost to Me. (Click to Site)
We have another reader contribution to share with you. This one is from SilentKnight (thank you, brother!). I have to say that I find this Scripturally/exegetically convincing for a number of reasons, but time does not permit me to unpack that all myself. In short, I think that Isaiah 7:14, like Revelation 12:5, speaks both of Christ and His Church. Both are necessary parts in the fulfillment of these prophecies.
In light of Revelation 12 and the upcoming sign on September 23, 2017, there have been many discussions about the woman and the man-child that is to be born. We have spoken about her without a name, though sometimes we call her Israel. We have spoken of the child without a name, though many call him Jesus. Some of the divide between groups of believers is tied to the identity of this unnamed child. For months now, as I have watched the debate about who the child is, I have resisted the urge to shout out his name. But I do believe the time has come to share his name.
The woman is Zion, the child is Emmanuel.
Before you dismiss this too quickly, allow me to take you on a short biblical journey. A journey that will possibly leave you with a new appreciation for what is about to take place and what the sign means for Christ’s Body. You may also chuckle a little with God as He reveals hidden truth out of error!
I know! We’ve all been taught that Emmanuel is Jesus. Amy Grant even sings about it. We sing about Emmanuel at Christmas. Because of the baby. You know, the one that is Jesus.
But where do we get that from? Why do we believe that Jesus is Emmanuel? Would you believe it all comes from just one verse in Matthew? Let’s take a closer look at the first chapter of Matthew and see what might be hidden there. (Click to Site)
As Yeshua prayed, “He was transfigured before them” (Mark 9:2). The Greek text of Matthew and Mark uses the word metamorfoo from which we derive the English word “metamorphosis.” A metamorphosis is the process of substantially changing (or transfiguring) from one physical state to another. In what manner did Yeshua change from one state to another?
From the description in the Gospels, it appears that he became like a luminous being, clothed in light: “His face shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2) and “His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (Mark 9:3). What’s the significance?
We find a clue in Matthew 16:27. Shortly before the story of the transfiguration, Yeshua told his disciples that some of them would not taste death before they had seen the Son of Man coming “in the glory of his Father” (Matthew 16:27). The Bible often depicts the glory of God as visible light. For example, Isaiah 60:1 compares God’s glory to the light of the sun: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Likewise, when the angels announced the birth of the Messiah, “glory shone around” (Luke 2:9). The mystics called the light of God’s glory “the radiance of the Divine Presence.” (Click to Site)
Often, well-meaning, Israel-loving people will say to me, “I am Jewish now. I am grafted in.” I never, ever say anything close to, “No, you’re not Jewish.” I focus more on how grateful I am that they love God and pray for the Jewish people. However, it is interesting that the Church went from saying, “You can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus,” to, “All believers are Jewish.”
Which is it? What does the Bible actually say? I will make six statements and then seek to back each one up with Scripture, one blog post at a time:
The early believers clearly had zero issues with the idea of being Jewish and believing in the Jewish Messiah. The question with which they wrestled was, “Can a Gentile believe in Jesus, without converting to Judaism?” The apostles, through their lives and teaching, give no hint of leaving Judaism. In fact, rumors were being spread about Paul teaching Jewish believers “to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs” (Acts 21:21). Paul, upon the advice of the Jerusalem apostles, went to the Temple to make a sacrifice so that, “everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” (Acts 21:24)
However, the Church Fathers in the second century began to teach that once a Jew comes to faith, he is no longer a Jew. Many were vicious in their accusations against the Jewish people. Peter the Venerable wondered about the humanity of Jews: Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human.
Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians
For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor…it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity.
They lined up to accuse the entire Jewish nation of killing Yeshua (forgetting that He laid down his life by His own free will for them.) Another, Justin Martyr taught that Christians were the true “Israelite race” and that the Hebrew Scriptures now belonged to the church exclusively. He did not believe you could be both Christian and Jewish. He also taught that circumcision was for judgement (as opposed to being there mark of the covenant of Abraham).
The purpose of [circumcision] was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and your cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. (Click to Site)