A Holy Nation #12

Friday, January 31, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

Rather than futilely attempting to obey legalistic Bible passages (such as today’s Scripture), we rest in God’s grace. Israel could no more become God’s people in her own strength, than we can in ours. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). The Old Covenant was harsh, but the New Covenant will save Israel via God’s grace. Christ’s shed blood, which will instate the New Covenant at His Second Coming (Acts 3:19), will cleanse Israel’s sins and make her righteous before God (Jesus’ shed blood can be our means for salvation unto eternal life, although apart from any covenants).

JEHOVAH was the laughingstock of the nations when they saw “His” people Israel living just as bad—if not worse—than they did (Romans 2:17-24). Yet, the Gentiles will again see an amazing sight in Israel. Messiah Jesus will return to the nation that so hated Him, betrayed Him, and even crucified Him, He will purge it of unbelievers, and He will ratify that New Covenant with His own blood that they shed, pay off the Old Covenant sin debt, save Israel’s believing remnant, and make it His holy nation (Hebrews 10:1-39).

Isaiah 64:6,9 quote Israel’s believing remnant’s submission to JEHOVAH’S righteousness: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away… O LORD… Behold, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.” Isaiah 60:1-3 is Israel’s kingdom hope: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”

Rest assured, JEHOVAH will make Israel a “holy nation.” 🙂

A Holy Nation #11

Thursday, January 30, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

When resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ returns to earth (His Second Coming), to Israel, the people who killed Him 2,000 years ago, He will forgive them and make them a “holy nation,” a nation they could never be in their own strength (today’s Scripture).

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Hebrews 8:13 affirms, “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.”

We read of Israel’s future in 1 Peter 2:9,10: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Israel will then be a “holy nation,” not because of her obedience, but only because of JEHOVAH’S grace….

A Holy Nation #10

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

Contrary to religious tradition, the Mosaic Law is not the sinner’s friend. God the Holy Spirit Himself called the Mosaic Law system: “a yoke of bondage(Galatians 5:1; cf. Acts 15:10), “the ministration of death (2 Corinthians 3:7),weak and beggarly(Galatians 4:9), “the ministration of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:9), and weak through [our] flesh” (Romans 8:3). “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written [Deuteronomy 27:26], Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God… (Galatians 3:10,11a). JEHOVAH knew that Israel could never keep the Mosaic Law: why did He ever make that agreement with them?

Scripture could not be plainer: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty become God. Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin(Romans 3:19,20).“Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made… But before faith came, we [Israel] were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:19,23-25).

By giving the Law, God proved to the entire world—not just Israel—that no sinner will ever measure up to His righteousness. He showed Israel they could not become His people in their own strength: they needed Him to make them holy. Only by His power and grace would they become a “holy nation….”

A Holy Nation #9

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

When JEHOVAH God first proposed the Mosaic Covenant, Israel declared, “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). After that Covenant of Law was delivered and before it was ratified, Israel again affirmed, “All the words which the LORD hath said will we do,” and “All the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient” (Exodus 24:3,7). After the 40-year wilderness wanderings (due to Israel’s disobedience), the new generation of Israelites echoed, “And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us” (Deuteronomy 6:25).

The Israelites, like any descendants of Adam (sinners), wrongly believed they could actually do everything that God commanded them, that they could actually be separate from the pagan Gentiles around them. They believed they could be righteous—that they could have a right standing before God—by keeping hundreds upon hundreds of divine laws. Even today, millions of souls in “Christian” churches and groups have “revived” this legalistic system—a system that God has already deemed a failure because man is naturally unrighteous. Religion (even the Mosaic Law) merely reforms the outward activity (behavior), not the inward nature (the root of the behavior). Man’s nature must change if he is to keep God’s laws.

As the centuries passed, Israel’s corrupt religious leaders polluted God’s pure Law system first given through Moses, by inserting their (manmade) rules and regulations. Eventually, it did not involve honoring JEHOVAH and having faith in Him (His original intention): it became a monotonous system of religious busyness that made people appear godly (and yet, God was not in their hearts). This was the vain system that Jesus condemned in His day (Matthew 23:1-36, Mark 7:1-23, et cetera). Israel used the Law, not as a means for proving God’s righteousness, but for demonstrating their self-righteousness (the Pharisees, for example).

Let us learn the lesson that Israel will one day learn….

A Holy Nation #8

Monday, January 27, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

When Jesus’ corpse was removed from Calvary’s cruel cross and entombed, Satan had never been happier. Israel, God’s people, had not only broken God’s Covenant of Law, but now they had murdered God’s Messiah, and with King Jesus dead, Israel was still his. The devil had executed his “wise” plan—he had trapped God yet again (or so he thought!). Thankfully, “[God] taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (Job 5:13; 1 Corinthians 3:19). God had His own plans—the triune Godhead had pre-planned Jesus’ death (Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18)!

Colossians 1:20 explains, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Through Jesus’ shed blood, the governments of heaven and earth that Satan polluted, will one day be “reconciled” to God. Christ’s death was not God’s defeat, but rather Satan’s (Colossians 2:14,15). Satan was horrified to learn from Paul’s ministry that he had participated in his own downfall!

Israel broke the Old Covenant, but JEHOVAH made provisions (Calvary’s finished crosswork facilitates Israel’s deliverance from Satan). Firstly, Christ’s shed blood will pay off the sin debt of the Old Covenant (1 Peter 1:18,19; 1 Peter 2:24). Secondly, it will allow JEHOVAH to ratify a whole new contract with Israel—one predicated upon His faithfulness, not hers!!

Indeed, Israel will become God’s earthly people forever, but not today. Our Dispensation of Grace must first run its course. God must first complete the Church the Body of Christ. Paul reminds us, “…That blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved… for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:25-27).

Rather than sinful Israel struggling to fulfill God’s laws (today’s Scripture), He will fulfill them in and through her, and He Himself will make her a “holy nation….

A Holy Nation #7

Sunday, January 26, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

When Messiah (Jesus) finally came to the nation Israel, the fifth course of judgment was still operating: Israel was still scattered worldwide and under Gentile domination (here, the Roman Empire). JEHOVAH knew that He had to keep His covenant—Israel was to be punished for breaking it. The devil had one goal: continue to work in and through Israel’s religious and political leaders to prevent Jesus Christ from assuming David’s throne, and stop Him from delivering Israel (and earth) from his captivity. Satan had Israel exactly where he wanted her, and he was not about to give up the nation without a fight—and fight he did!

King Herod attempts—but fails—to kill young Jesus by murdering Jewish babies age two and under (Matthew 2:1-20). Once Jesus begins His three-year earthly ministry 30 years later, Israel’s religious leaders denigrate and persecute Him and His followers. Satan is still doing everything he can to hinder Jesus from converting Israel. The battle intensifies and culminates: Israel’s religious leaders finally conspire with the Roman government to have Jesus killed. When Roman governor Pontius Pilate asks Israel, “Shall I crucify your King?,” Israel’s chief priests (leaders) reply, We have no king but Caesar (John 19:15)!

Messiah Jesus (knowing something no one else does) does not fight the muscular soldiers who grab Him, punch Him repeatedly, spit in His face, force a crown of thorns on His head, curse at Him, mercilessly scourge Him with whips, drive long spikes into His hands and feet, and display Him on a cross for everyone to see and mock. Satan beholds and delights in the spectacle; he can keep ruling over Israel because her rightful King is slowly dying. Just before Jesus Christ allows Himself to die, He remembers that Israel will become holy as He intended, that His death will literally become the “deathblow” to Satan.

Satan will certainly be surprised to discover God’s wisdom….

A Holy Nation #6

Saturday, January 25, 2014

“For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 KJV).

Today’s Scripture summarizes a book most burdensome to many.

As per the Old Covenant, increasingly sinful Israel would endure five rounds of escalating chastisement from God, many divine attempts to reform the wayward nation (see Leviticus 26:14-39). The last course of judgment (verses 27-39) involved Gentile armies (Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Medes, Persians, and Romans) overrunning and defeating Israel, killing her people, taking off to foreign lands most of the rest of the Jews as prisoners of war. The Promised Land would be desolate of Jews. Israel would lose her Davidic kingdom, and the pagan Gentiles would rule over her instead. God was bound by His Word to weaken and curse His beloved nation!

Just before, during, and after that fifth course of judgment began, God sent His prophets to speak and write to Israel. The “Major Prophets” (Isaiah through Daniel) and the “Minor Prophets” (Hosea through Malachi) concentrate on two general themes: God’s judgment and Israel’s deliverance. These prophets clearly warned that, due to her disobedience, Israel would have many terrible days ahead (and the worst are yet to come!). Yet, these prophets surely comforted that, due to JEHOVAH’S faithfulness, Israel would have many wonderful days ahead (and the best are yet to come!).

Israel had forsaken JEHOVAH and His covenant, worshipped pagan idols, and legally, God declared her as sinful, worthy of His wrath and unworthy of His blessings—she had become Satan’s people. She was everything but the “holy nation” God wanted her to be (see today’s Scripture). The devil surely thought he had JEHOVAH defeated: “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children” (Isaiah 49:24,25).

There was hope: JEHOVAH promised that Messiah would come and deliver Israel from Satan….