A Heart Transplant for Israel #10

Monday, March 31, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

God instituted physical circumcision with Abraham to show him that his posterity—the nation Israel that would come through his son Isaac, grandson Jacob, and 12 great-grandsons (Israel’s 12 tribes)—would not come about due to Abraham’s (fallible) human performance, but JEHOVAH’S divine power. In every way, Israel would be God’s nation, God’s creation; contrariwise, the (uncircumcised) Gentiles were under Satan’s control (Ephesians 2:1-12).

Once physical circumcision was incorporated into the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 12:3), its underlying spiritual truth (spiritual circumcision) was overlooked. Israel worshipped physical circumcision instead of remembering what really mattered—the spiritual circumcision it symbolized. Jews bragged about their physical circumcision (today’s equivalent is, “Look, we joined the church, confessed our sins, gave a tithe, got water baptized…!”). The Scriptures say that while this generated “the praise of men,” the circumcision that God ultimately looked for in a Jew was regeneration, a cutting off of the Adamic nature, dead to sin and able to be used of JEHOVAH (Romans 2:28,29).

The Prophet Jeremiah, rebuking Israel for her apostasy and warning her of God’s impending chastisement (the Babylonian invasion and captivity just a few decades away), preached: “For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem” (4:3,4). Moses urged Israel, Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked [rebellious toward God’s Word]” (Deuteronomy 10:16).

Israel had their physical foreskins removed, but they still had a heart problem—they had not submitted to God’s righteousness and were rebelling against God’s will for them (sin; Jeremiah 17:9). They were still attached to their sin nature, and until they confessed (admitted) their wickedness, God could not give them the heart transplant they so desperately needed….

A Heart Transplant for Israel #9

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

In the prophetic program, God deals with a Jew on a two-fold basis—personal and national. For example, God wanted every individual Jew to be a priest (Isaiah 61:6; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10) so that the entire nation Israel would be a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5,6; 1 Peter 2:5,9). In Jesus Christ’s earthly kingdom (yet future), Israel is to become God’s chief nation in the earth, a holy nation, the agency whom God will use to reach pagan Gentiles with His salvation (Zechariah 8:20-23; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; et al.). However, Israel cannot lead others to salvation unless she herself is saved from Satan and her own sins.

Recall that when God promised childless Abraham a son (and a nation, Israel; Genesis 12:1-3), and did not bring it to pass until many years later, Abraham grew impatient. After waiting for a decade and still no child from God, Abraham listened to his wife and fathered a son, Ishmael, through her handmaid (Genesis 16:1-6). Twelve years later, God appeared to Abraham and instituted his physical circumcision (Genesis chapter 17). A year later, God gave Abraham, aged 100 and unable to father children, a son, Isaac, through his wife Sarah (Genesis chapter 21).

Galatians says that Ishmael was “born after the flesh” (4:23,29)—Abraham’s performance—while it says that Isaac was born “by promise, born after the Spirit” (4:23,29)—God the Holy Ghost’s performance. If God could ever use a nation born of Abraham, it could never come by human performance (Abraham’s sons were sinners, Adam’s sons)—that nation’s creation would have to be solely God’s working. Physical circumcision was God teaching Abraham and his seed through Isaac that they were dead to the flesh, sin (their performance), and the very reason they existed as a nation was because of what He did for them, not because of what they did for Him….

A Heart Transplant for Israel #8

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

Israel wrongly believed they had automatic righteousness because they had JEHOVAH’S laws. They called Gentiles “sinners” and they overlooked their own shortcomings. In fact, the Scriptures say that the Gentiles, who did not have God’s laws, lived up to at least some of those standards; Israel, who had God’s laws, behaved just as badly or worse (Romans 2:1-27)! This ungodly behavior of Israel made Gentiles especially opposed to Israel’s God.

The Apostle Paul elaborated that Israel’s physical circumcision did not matter eternally unless it had an underlying spiritual (inward) circumcision. God wanted Israel to be physically and spiritually circumcised. “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter [the Law]; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28,29). Israel’s outward circumcision was actually the symbol of the spiritual circumcision God would accomplish for them!

“For the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Remember, physical circumcision was “the sign” of the Abrahamic Covenant; it was “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which [Abraham] had being uncircumcised” (Romans 4:11). Physical circumcision reminded Israel of the faith they were to have in God’s Word, the faith that their father Abraham had. That faith Abraham had caused God to declare him righteous, cut off from Adam’s fallen nature, spiritually circumcised (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3).

Hence, physical circumcision indicated that Israel was God’s people (to be used for His glory). However, He could not use them (as sinners) until He also gave them a spiritual circumcision, a “circumcision of the heart(Romans 2:29). Today’s Scripture shows how the Old Testament prophets foretold that God purposed to severe Israel from their Adamic sin nature….

A Heart Transplant for Israel #7

Friday, March 28, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

Every Jew and every Gentile have the same sin problem—they are all children of Adam (Romans 5:12). God gave the Mosaic Law to the nation Israel, not to the Gentiles, but the Law equally condemned both classes as “fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin” (verse 9).

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law [the nation Israel]: that every mouth [Jew and Gentile] may be stopped, and all the world [Jew and Gentile] may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (verses 19,20).

Throughout the Old Testament, the Four Gospels, and Acts, the nation Israel, except her believing remnant, failed to understand their sinfulness before God. Paul wrote from experience, having been in the same spiritually darkened mentality and vain religion prior to Acts chapter 9: “For they [Israel] being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3).

That old sin nature manifested itself in the lives of Jews and Gentiles, but the Jews were under the impression that they were less sinful than the Gentiles because they had God’s Word, the Mosaic Law, and the Gentiles did not (Romans 2:17-27). Paul reminded Israel, “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” The Jews were just as sinful as Gentiles, and the Gentiles mocked God as they witnessed Israel’s sins!

Paul will proceed to explain how individual Jews will receive heart transplants from God….

A Heart Transplant for Israel #6

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

In Genesis 17:10-14, where physical circumcision first appears in Scripture, God promised Abraham: “This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you…. and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.”

The Apostle Paul explained the significance of Israel’s physical circumcision by explaining what Abraham’s physical circumcision meant before God: “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted [imputed, credited] unto him for righteousness…. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:” (Romans 4:3,9-11).

Abraham believed God’s promise to him, and although Abraham was a sinner, God looked at Abraham’s faith in His Word to him and He considered Abraham righteous (right standing before God). Paul is quoting Genesis 15:6. Sometime later, in Genesis chapter 17, God instituted physical circumcision for Abraham and his seed. According to Romans 4:11 (bolded above), that physical circumcision symbolized the righteousness God offered to Abraham and his seed….

A Heart Transplant for Israel #5

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

Recall the Holy Spirit’s words to Israel as He spoke them through the Prophet Stephen in Acts 7:51-53: Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

These specific words certainly caught Israel’s attention. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on [Stephen] with their teeth” (verse 54). Israel’s religious leaders were greatly angered: “How dare Stephen liken us to Gentiles [‘stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears’] and how dare he call us ‘betrayers and murderers!’” They became so berserk they began chewing on Stephen! His next few words (verses 55,56), even more “offensive,” caused them to cry out, close their ears, run upon him, throw him out of Jerusalem, and stone him to death (verses 57-60)!

As Stephen stated before he died at their hands, throughout the Old Testament, Israel repeatedly broke God’s laws. Through His (their) prophets, God warned them of coming judgment. Nevertheless, Israel’s fathers persecuted—imprisoned and/or murdered—JEHOVAH’S prophets because they hated His Word the prophets spoke. Here in Acts chapter 7, Israel has not only betrayed and murdered Jesus their Messiah (God the Son), their unbelief has culminated to rejecting God the Holy Ghost and murdering His spokesman Stephen (cf. Matthew 12:31,32).

Let us proceed to discover how Stephen’s final comments (quoted above) enlighten us as to the meaning of Israel’s physical circumcision, and how it explains the necessity of Israel’s heart transplant….

A Heart Transplant for Israel #4

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!

Crucified on Calvary’s cross, slowly dying a most excruciating demise, Jesus interceded on behalf of His beloved nation, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). They knew they were killing their Messiah (it was impossible to accidentally overlook the hundreds of Old Testament Messianic prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His few short years on earth). Israel intentionally ignored those fulfilled prophecies, lest they agree with God. Their “desperately wicked, deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) caused them to act irrationally—they were spiritually insane, out-of-control (sinners “make haste to shed innocent blood;” Isaiah 59:7).

A year after Calvary, the Holy Spirit indicted Israel through the Prophet Stephen (just before they murdered him, too): “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it” (Acts 7:51-53). Paul, quoting the Prophet Isaiah, “But to Israel he [the LORD] saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying [rebellious] people” (Romans 10:21; Isaiah 65:2). In Old Testament times, in Christ’s earthly ministry, and even in Acts, Israel had a heart problem!

Spiritually, Israel was just as opposed to God’s Word as the Gentiles who worshipped vain idols. Jews and Gentiles were equally stubborn—the old sin nature worked mightily in both races. In order for God to use Israel (and later on, us Gentiles), He would have cut out that heart of sin that all descendants of Adam have. That old sin nature would have to be surgically removed.…