JEREMIAH’S CONFRONTATION WITH THE FALSE PROPHET HANANIAH

In Jeremiah 28, the prophet Jeremiah had a showdown with the prophet Hananiah who was referred to as “a prophet from Gibeon” (v.1). Jeremiah was a preaching prophet and he had declared the word of the Lord concerning Judah and Jerusalem’s punishment because of their rebellion against the Lord. When Hananiah withstood Jeremiah publicly in the temple he proclaimed the following:

“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘I will remove the yoke of the king of Babylon from your necks. Within two years I will bring back all the Temple treasures that King Nebuchadnezzar carried off to Babylon. And I will bring back Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the other captives that were taken to Babylon. I will surely break the yoke that the king of Babylon has put on your necks. I, the LORD, have spoken!’” ~ Jeremiah 28:2-4 TNLT

When Jeremiah heard these words he sarcastically applauded Hananiah’s prophecy, and then gave a stern warning challenging Hananiah’s prediction. Jeremiah challenged Hananiah based on the history of the ancient prophets who were sent by God before Jeremiah and Hananiah’s time.

Jeremiah said, “Listen now to the solemn words I speak to you in the presence of all these people. The ancient prophets who preceded you and me spoke against many nations, always warning of war, disaster, and disease. So a prophet who predicts peace must show he is right. Only when his predictions come true can we know that he is really from the LORD.” ~ Jeremiah 28:7-9

At this point Hananiah became defiant and persistently forged ahead in an effort to show-up or embarrass Jeremiah by claiming, “This is what the Lord says.” Hananiah’s words proved to be false and two months later he died because God judged him. It is a serious thing to claim that God has spoken when God hasn’t.

Jeremiah, being a true prophet of God, appealed to the words of the ancient prophets because his ministry was in accordance with the ancient prophets that had preceded him. Hananiah‘s wasn’t. Throughout the Bible we have Biblical models that we can learn from to understand the true calling, ministry, and characteristics one truly called to be a prophet.

Many of today’s so-called prophets are claiming to have new revelation – revelation that does not square with the truth of scripture, and like Hananiah, their ministries do not exemplify the model of God’s true prophets who came before them.

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CHRIST ENTHRONED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD

When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in the gospel of Luke, he said concerning Jesus, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.” ~ Luke 1:32

Though some interpret the reign of Christ from the throne of David as a future millennial throne previously occupied by the anti-Christ, the Bible teaches that Jesus is enthroned now at the right hand of God.

According to the authors of the New Testament, the exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of God is the fulfillment of God’s promise that he would raise up his Son, the Messiah, to reign upon the throne of David.

In Acts 2, Peter interprets the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus at the right hand of God as the fulfillment of the scriptures that the Messiah would reign from the throne of David.

Notice carefully how Peter articulates this:

Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. ~ Acts 2:30-36

In the texts above, Peter is quoting David from Psalm 110 when he says, “the Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.”

FIRST, notice the words “the Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand…”

Peter quotes this in reference to David, as a prophet, knowing that God would raise up the Messiah to sit on his throne. So as a prophet, foreseeing the enthronement of the Messiah, David said, “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit on my right hand.” As a prophet, David foresaw by the Spirit of God that the promise of the Messiah reigning on his throne would not be an earthly enthronement, but a heavenly enthronement, at the right hand of God.

In the gospels, Jesus said: “David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet”‘ (Mark 12:36, See also Matthew 22:41-45).

SECONDLY, notice the next part of the text that Peter quotes from David: “till I make your enemies your footstool.”

These very same words are employed by the author of Hebrews in describing the enthronement of Jesus at the right hand of God (Hebrews 1:13; 10:13) and in 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 the apostle Paul applies them to the exalted Jesus as well.

Also Psalm 110 is the Psalm which testifies that the Messiah would be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (v.4). The author of Hebrews expounds on this and tells us that Jesus, the exalted King at the right hand of God, is also our great high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

The historical Melchizedek (Genesis 14) prefigured Christ as a King and Priest, and not a priest only. Under the Law of Moses one could not be a King and a priest.  The priests came only from the tribe of Levi and the Kings were descendants of David from the tribe of Judah.

The writer of Hebrews explains how Jesus, being from the tribe of Judah (the tribe of King David), is qualified to be a priest. He is qualified because His priestly ministry is not earthy (Hebrews 8:4), but heavenly, at the right hand of God where he is nowenthroned. ~ See Hebrews 8:1-3

THIRDLY, Notice that David specifically identifies the Messiah as his Lord: “The Lord said to my Lord…”

In Acts 2 Peter says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both LORD and Christ” (v.36).

Peter doesn’t tell the people of Israel that Jesus will be Lord when he one day returns. Peter declares that Jesus is Lord and Messiah now, at the right hand of God. The gospel which was preached to house of Israel by the apostles, was not a gospel of a futuristicenthronement of the Messiah, but rather, the declaration of His exaltation now!

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11

When he had by himself purged our sins, (He) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High…  ~ See Hebrews 1:3

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Hebrews 1:8 

I (Paul) Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. ~ Ephesians 1:17-23

Notice that Paul says in Ephesians 1 (above), Christ is already enthroned in Heaven above everything in this world and in the world to come, having all things under His feet.

Jesus enthroned at the right hand of God is not a temporary enthronement as he awaits a lesser throne in Jerusalem, Israel. Rather, Jesus entered into his glory after his resurrection (Luke 24:26; John 17:5, 24; Acts 2:33; 3:13) and was enthroned at the right hand of God, where the New Jerusalem is – the true Holy City of God (Hebrews 12:22-24). From there, Christ will reign forever!

When Christ returns he is not taking a lesser throne, for he has been made Higher than the Heavens, in his exaltation (Hebrews 7:26). Jesus reigns forever, being highly exalted at the right hand of God, and in that Majestic power, authority, and glory; He will come again!

THE OLIVE TREE

The natural olive tree in Romans 11 is Israel.” The wild olive tree is the Gentiles.

The branches that were broken off from the natural olive tree (Israel) are Jews who reject Jesus the Messiah. The branches that were not broken off refer to the remnant of believing Jews. The branches (taken from the wild olive tree) which are grafted into the natural olive tree, are Gentiles who believe in Jesus Christ

If the natural branches which were broken off turn from their unbelief and believe the gospel, they will be grafted back into their own tree. Therefore they will be grafted in with believing Jews and Gentiles who trust in the Messiah. This is Israel of the New Covenant and this is the body of Christ. They are one in the same.

Paul’s theology in Romans 11 is not about ethnic Israel, because Gentiles have not been grafted into ethnic Israel. Those who are ethnic Israel, who do not believe, have been cut off from their tree which is the true Israel which belongs to God, i.e. the body of believers in Jesus Christ.

In Christ, Israel is the temple of God, the body of Christ, the redeemed, a chosen generation, a special bought people.

Israel consists of Jews and Gentiles in one body. If there is to be a national turning to of Israel just prior to the coming of the Lord as many believe, then what will happen to those Jews who are saved at the coming of the Lord?

They will be baptized into the one body of Christ, i.e. the church!

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether JEWS or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink (1 Corinthians 12:13).

All Jews who are born again or ever will be born again are grafted back into their tree which is the church. God does not have two covenant people, He has only one!

Through the gospel, the Gentiles are now heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3;6). This is the mystery which was hidden in previous ages but is now revealed through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jews must be born again to see the Kingdom of God and when they are born again, they are baptized into the same body that Gentiles are baptized into and together Jews and Gentiles drink from one Spirit.

For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’ (Acts 3:22-23).

Jews who do not submit to Jesus are completely cut off from being God’s people; those who submit to the Jesus are baptized into His body, the church!

PERFECT LOVE AND GODLY FEAR

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

The fear spoken of here does not include the fear of the Lord. God’s love toward us would not cast out the very fear which God commands us to have, which He has placed in our heart as proof of his everlasting covenant He has given us. The fear spoken of in 1 John 4:18 is the kind that brings torment.

“…because fear hath torment…”

This word torment is translated from the Greek word (kolasis) and is defined as penal infliction, punishment, and torment. This is tormenting fear concerning eternal punishment, which is why he makes the statement, “that we may have boldness in the day of judgment (v17).”

This kind of fear (fear of eternal damnation) has torment, and does not produce faith toward God in the heart of His children. Hebrews 2:14-15 tells us that Jesus took upon flesh and blood so that He might deliver us from the fear of death. Jesus did this by destroying the devil who once wielded this power over us.

Throughout the pages of the scriptures the fear of the Lord is never spoken of as tormenting those who serve Him. Instead the fear of the Lord in the heart of the child of God is the restraining force that keeps us from departing from Him.

And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me (Jeremiah 32:40).

His perfect love that gives us boldness for the Day of Judgment, and His fear that keeps us from departing from Him, are in perfect harmony in the heart of faith. God’s love draws us into the sweet fellowship of communion and intimacy with Him. His fear draws us into worship in the Spirit with true humility and meekness as we stand in Awe of His holiness and power and glory, for He is the Living God.

THE SPIRIT OF GRACE

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy but he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:5-6).

What exactly does the statement, “the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy,” actually imply? The Amplified Bible gives a much clearer rendering and reads as follows: “The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit to be welcome with a jealous love.”

These words were written after the following verses:

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:1-4).

While we are wrapped up in the desires of the world, and consumed in the lust of our flesh, the Holy Spirit earnestly yearns over us with a jealous love to be fully welcomed in our hearts.

Romans 5:5, tells us that the “love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.” And only He can fully reveal it to our hearts. God’s love for us is everlasting with a depth and breadth, and length and height which is immeasurable, Yet comprehensible by His Spirit.

It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to manifest the power of that love in hearts, and to reveal the Father’s intense love directly to us – heart to heart. You might say the Holy Spirit has come to bring the heart beat of the Father’s love – the love which was manifested through His Son Jesus. In the very next verse he calls this love – GRACE!

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble (James 4:6).

The proud mentioned here in verse six refers back to those who are spoken of in verses 1-4. It is pride that drives men away from God’s love and causes them to lust after other things. But the one who receives grace, which is an expression of love, is the one who welcomes the Holy Spirit and allows the jealous love which God has for them to fill their hearts and minds. This is God’s desire – that we might be filled with and ruled by His love.

This is expressed so beautifully in Ephesians 3:14-21.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Are you struggling with such things as anger and fear? Are you caught up in the self pleasure and consumed with desires for the things of this world? Do you sense a tug in your heart to draw close to Jesus and spend time with Him. Then why not open you heart to the one who loves you perfectly. He is earnestly yearning over you now with a jealous love. Allow his presence to fill your heart by simply welcoming His Spirit. Your Heavenly Father loves you. He gave His Son and He wants to fill your heart with His grace through the love of His Spirit.

May God’s Grace be with you.

JEWS WHO WERE CUT OFF FROM THE COVENANT

From Joshua 5, we read the following:

At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware that he would not shew them the land, which the Lord sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey. And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way (Joshua 5:2-7).

Circumcision was sign or token of the covenant which God had given to 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 he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: 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 (Genesis 17:10-14).

The Israelites would have been unsuccessful in possessing the land under the leadership of Joshua if they had not first been circumcised, for they would have broken God’s covenant and would have been cut off as the people of God.

Israel’s ongoing covenant relationship with God was dependent on physical circumcision, and being uncircumcised was one of many things which would caused the people of Israel to be cut-off from covenant membership.

In God’s covenant with Israel, there where specific things which would cause the children of Israel to lose their covenant status. Failing to be circumcised was one of them. In Joshua 7 we see another example when Achan sinned terribly in the eyes of God and cause the entire camp of Israel to be cursed.

During the overthrow of Jericho (Joshua 6), the Bible tells us, “Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel” (Joshua 7:1).

God had commanded Israel not touch the any of the accursed things in Jericho and to consecrate the all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron to the Lord.

And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord (Joshua 6:17-19).

Because of Achan’s sin, which defiled the entire camp, Israel failed in their next battle.

And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? (Joshua 7:2-9)

Joshua was unaware of Achan’s sin which had defiled the camp of Israel, and in response to his prayer, God said the following:

“…Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith theLord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you (Joshua 10:-13).

Notice that God tells Joshua, “I will not be with you anymore, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you.” Israel was called to be a holy people and being Abraham’s physical descendants did not mean that they were automaticly blessed as the people of God.

Joshua did as the Lord commanded.

And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day (v. 24 -26).

Being the descendants of Abraham meant, only, that they had been born into the covenant community, it did not guarantee their blessing. They were required by God  to obey His voice or else they would be cut off from the covenant.

Listed below are some example, from scripture, of things which would cause the people of Israel to be cut off from covenant membership.

  • The uncircumcised male (Genesis 17:10-14).
  • Eating leavened bread during the 7 days of the feast of unleavened bread (Exodus 12:15, 19).
  • Making substitute version of the anointing oil, or putting the anointing oil on a stranger (Exodus 30:31-33).
  • Making a substitute version of the sweet incense for themselves (Exodus 30:34-38).
  • Defiling the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14).
  • Eating the t peace offerings while ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 7:20-21).
  • Eating the peace offering on the third day (Leviticus 19:5-8).
  • Eating the fat of the offerings (Leviticus 7:25).
  • Eating or consumed blood (Leviticus 7:27; 17:10, 14).
  • Killing an ox, a lamb, or a goat and inside or outside the camp and not bringing it to the tabernacle as an offering to the Lord (Leviticus 17:1-4).
  • Offering burnt offerings somewhere other than the altar in the Tabernacle (Leviticus 17:8-9).
  • Being sexually immoral (Leviticus 18:29).
  • Sacrificing children to Molech (Leviticus 20:1-3).
  • Tolerating others who sacrificed their children to Molech (Leviticus 20:4-5).
  • Consulting with mediums (familiar spirits)and wizards (Leviticus 20:6).
  • Marring and having sex with your sister (Leviticus 20:17)

These are just some (not all) of the offenses recorded in scripture for which a physical descendant of Abraham, under the Law, would be cut off from the covenant. Covenant membership required obedience to God.

EZEKIEL’S TEMPLE VISION (PART TWO)

In my first post concerning Ezekiel’s temple vision, I opened with the following statement:

There are teachings by some that the levitical priesthood and animal sacrifices will once again be placed into operation when Christ returns. This assumption is based on Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 40 – 48. Yet there is absolutely nothing in the new testament to support such claims. In fact, such ideology undermines the finished work of Jesus Christ because the sacrifices that Ezekiel references include the sin offering and are said to be for atonement (Ezekiel 45:17 see also Ezekiel 42:13 and 45:23).

Ezekiel’s temple vision is widely accepted by many within the Messianic movements as being prophetic of a Millennial temple from which they claim Christ will one day reign.

Yet, the temple in Ezekiel’s vision is a temple that would have been but never was, because of the sins of Israel and their priests.

Ezekiel was a priest by blood linage and also a prophet. This temple vision was given to Ezekiel to make the people of Israel ashamed of their sins. In this temple, the  Holy presence of God would have continued to be separated from the people, and particularly from the Levites because of their past sins.

According to the new testament, Jesus has removed the separation between God and his people and we now have unhindered access to God through the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-22; Ephesians 2:13, 18).

Is a temple in which the presence of God cannot be approached consistent with the finished work of Jesus Christ? Certainly not! Yet, this is exactly the temple you have  in Ezekiel – a temple which erects a separating barrier between God and his people.

In Ezekiel’s temple vision, the Levite priests bear the shame of their sins for leading the people of Israel into iniquity. They are still appointed to serve, but cannot approach God’s presence in the temple. Only the descendants of Zadok will be able to come near to the Lord.

Does physical linage matter in the kingdom of God? According to Jesus it doesn’t (see John 3). Yet, those who teach that Ezekiel’s temple is a millennial temple advocate a return to the importance of physical linage even though Jesus said, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:5-7)

So if this is the millennial temple as some claim, we now have a millennium where the finished work of Christ and the necessity of being born again is undermined. The Levites bear the shame of their sin for a 1000 years and God’s presence is unapproachable by anyone except the sons of Zadok. Furthermore, the Prince of Israel would have to  offer sin offerings for his own sin.

In God’s kingdom, Jesus is the only prince. Does Jesus have to offer sin offerings for his own sins? Certainly not! The new testament tells us that Jesus has no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15) and that is why he was able to offer himself without any blemish to God as the sacrifice for our sins (1 Peter 1:18-20; Hebrews 9:14).

My first post concerning Ezekiel’s temple vision can be read here:
https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2014/12/15/what-about-ezekiels-temple/


ADDITIONAL NOTES:

“‘THE LEVITES WHO WENT FAR FROM ME WHEN ISRAEL WENT ASTRAY AND WANDERED FROM ME after their idols MUST BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR SIN. They may serve in my sanctuary, having charge of the gates of the temple and serving in it; they may slaughter the burnt offerings and sacrifices for the people and stand before the people and serve them. BUT BECAUSE THEY SERVED THEM IN THE PRESENCE OF THEIR IDOLS AND MADE THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL FALL INTO SIN, THEREFORE I HAVE SWORN WITH UPLIFTED HAND THEY MUST BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR SIN, declares the Sovereign Lord. THEY ARE NOT TO COME NEAR TO SERVE ME AS PRIESTS or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; THEY MUST BEAR THE SHAME OF THEIR DETESTABLE PRACTICES. And I will appoint them to guard the temple for all the work that is to be done in it. “‘But the Levitical priests, who are descendants of Zadok and who guarded my sanctuary when the Israelites went astray from me, are to come near to minister before me; they are to stand before me to offer sacrifices of fat and blood, declares the Sovereign Lord. They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and serve me as guards. (Quote from Ezekiel’s temple Vision).

And upon that day shall THE PRINCE prepare FOR HIMSELF and for ALL THE PEOPLE of the land a bullock FOR A SIN OFFERING. (Quote from Ezekiel’s temple vision).

WHY SHOULD WE FORGIVE OTHERS?

If you stop and really listen to a lot of modern day preachers, the issue of forgiveness is often presented from the perspective of what “unforgiveness” will do to you, if you allow this attitude to remain in your heart. This definitely a part of the equation, but it is not the totality of why we should forgive.

If we forgive for our sake only we are missing the weight of the teaching of scripture and we are making ourselves the priority.

The scriptural approach to forgiveness is first the fear of the Lord and secondly compassion on the other. Do you remember in the scripture when Jesus gave a parable about the servant who was forgiven much, and refused to forgive his fellow servant of little?

Here is what the scripture says:

Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But because he couldn’t pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and kneeled before him, saying, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!’ The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. “But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you!’ He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him in, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?’ His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don’t each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds” (Matthew 18:23-35).

According to this teaching by Jesus, the motive for forgiving others ought to come from of reverence for God and compassion for those who need forgiveness. In the verses above, the King had compassion on his servant who could not repay him and forgave his debt. The servant should have done likewise to his fellow servant, but when he chose not to do so, he angered the King. Jesus taught this to illustrate how God will respond to us, if we do not forgive others.

I WILL BLESS THOSE WHO BLESS THEE, AND CURSE HIM THAT CURSETH THEE

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. ~ Genesis 12:1-3 

The words, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (v.3), are often cited by Christian Zionists as a reference to the modern State of Israel. The end result of this interpretation is unwavering support for the modern State of Israel, and any criticism of Israel is condemned as anti-semitic.

Allow me to challenge you with the following observations.

1. These words were spoken to Abraham and not to Israel, for there was no nation of Israel when God said this to Abraham.

2. In the book of Galatians, the apostle Paul applies the words, “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed,” to the gospel of Jesus Christand the salvation of the nations.

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. ~ Galatians 3:8

According to Paul, the promises God made to Abraham are confirmed in Christ! See Galatians 3:16-17

3. If the men of God in the Old Testament, men like Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, had believed that it was wrong to criticize Israel, and hold them accountable to the standard of righteousness which God expected, they would have never been able to speak God’s word of rebuke to the nation of Israel.

4. God’s covenant with Israel was established with a curse which was to come upon them if they did not obey God’s voice and keep his ordinances, statutes, and judgments.

Nehemiah 10:28-29 tells us the Jewish captives, upon returning from Babylon, bound themselves with a curse. Why? It is because they were dedicating themselves to God and to the covenant God made with their fathers through Moses.

The Law of Moses was accompanied with the curse of the law. This was Israel’s binding agreement with God and their right to live in the land of Promise was dependant on keeping this covenant. From the time of the exodus and onward, there is no language – anywhere in scripture – which gives Israel the liberty of live in the land of Promise without being under the requirements to keep the Law of Moses.

5. John the Baptist spoke God’s words and called the people of Israel to repentance. He exhorted them not to trust in their physical descendancy and warned them to flee from the coming wrath of God.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto AbrahamAnd now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. ~ Matthew 3:7-10 

6. Jesus spoke God’s judgment against Jerusalem and the Temple for rejecting the prophets and for rejecting Him as the Messiah, the Son of God.

7. The apostles and the believers in Acts warned the people of Israel of the coming judgment of God on the nation of Israel, and exhorted them to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ.

The concept that we who are believers in Jesus Christ are called to “stand with Israel” in such a way that we turn a blind eye and deaf ear to their sins is contrary to the truth of scripture, and flies in the face of the entire narrative of the Bible.

We are called to judge righteously and stand for the truth. We are called to glorify Jesus Christ in whom all the promises made to Abraham have come to fruition.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to THE PROMISE ~ Galatians 3:28-29

 

THE PRO – ISRAEL AGENDA IN PERSPECTIVE TO THE BIBLE

The pro- Israel ministries such as Christians United for Israel (aka CUFI) are generally not going to teach their followers sound Biblical doctrine concerning Israel. On the contrary, they have a political agenda and they use the texts from scripture which help support their agenda.

The problem is, the average Christian who feels endeared to Israel will often think that those with a pro Israel agenda (such as CUFI) are giving them the Bible perspective, when in reality they are not.

For example, you probably will never hear a CUFI leader teach that Jerusalem is no longer the place of worship for God’s people. Especially since pro Israel ministries teach that Jerusalem will be the place of worship when Christ returns.

Yet in the Bible, Jesus says otherwise in his conversation with the woman at the well in John 4.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, worship the Father….But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. ~ John 4:21, 23

Also those with a Pro- Israel agenda will not tell you that the land promises given to Israel in the Old Testament were conditional. They want you to believe they were unconditional and that is why they only tell you verses which sound as if they are unconditional. Yet when you read and study the Bible you find out they are conditional.

Here are a few Bible facts that many Pro Israel Christians don’t know.

1. If modern Israel truly possessed the Promised Land according to scripture, it would include parts of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Saudi Arabia (Genesis 15:18; Exodus 23:31; Deuteronomy 11:24). What we recognize as modern Israel is a very small fraction of the land promise inherited in scripture. Under the reign of King Solomon the Kingdom extended from the border of Egypt to the Euphrates as was promised to Abraham. ~ Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:20-21, 24

You would not know this ^ above ^ unless you studied what the scriptures say about the land and took into account that the Old Testament is an unfolding narrative leading to revelation of Jesus Christ.

2. The land of Promise was the inheritance and rest for Israel in contrast to Egypt which was the place of bondage. This is a type and shadow of the inheritance and rest we have in Christ in contrast to the bondage of slavery to sin and death.

3. The strangers among the Israelites who were circumcised and kept the Passover were to be counted among the Israelites as one born in the land (Exodus 12:48). In other words, those who were not Abraham’s physical descendants also became heirs to the land promise through circumcision and obedience to God’s Laws given to Israel.

4. God never promised the land of Canaan to Israel apart from serving him. ~ Exodus 34:8-16; Leviticus 18:24-30; Deuteronomy 19:8-9; 28:1-3, 7, 10, 15-16, 25, 63-64; Joshua 23:11-16; Jeremiah 7:4

5. God drove out the previous inhabitants of the land because of their sins and wickedness. ~ Deuteronomy 18:12

6. God also promised to drive Israel out of the land if they did not keep His ordinances, statues, and judgments. ~ Exodus 34:8-16; Leviticus 18:24-30; Joshua 23:11-16

7. God told Israel they were only strangers and temporary residents in the land. ~ Leviticus 25:23

8. Through Ezekiel, God rebukes those who think they have the right to the land inheritance because they are physical descendants of Abraham only, rather than doing right in God’s sight. ~ Ezekiel 33:23-26

9. God promised to make the land desolate because of the sins of Israel. ~ Ezekiel 33:25-29

10. Within the boundaries of the Promised Land (Genesis 15), was a place known as Mount Seir. God told Moses that he had given this portion of the land not to the children of Israel, but to the children of Esau.

Then we turned, and took our journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea, as the Lord spake unto me: and we compassed Mount Seir many days. And the Lord spake unto me, saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession. ~ Deuteronomy 2:1-5

Mount Seir is in the desert area known as the Negev in the southern portion of modern Israel. The ancient town of Beersheba is also in the Negev.

If you are a follower of a Pro Israel ministry or organization and you think you have a Biblical perspective of Israel based on what those ministries/organizations are teaching you, my I encourage you to study your Bible.

When you learn what the Bible teaches, across the board, on any biblical truth, it opens your understanding to so many more other truths within scripture.

Recently, I listened to few minutes of a conversation between two pro-Israel advocates as they discussed replacement theology, which is actually a misnomer.

At the beginning of the video, the host minister made a statement about the land of Israel. He commented that there are more than a thousand references regarding the land in the Bible and he made this statement to support his position regarding the modern state of Israel.

He actually offered a proof-text, by the volume, without going into any detail about what those scriptures reveal about the land. His loose and vague handling of scripture was used to promote the idea that the land promises given to Israel were unconditional promises and applying them to modern day Israel.

We must take the time to learn the Biblical narrative regarding Israel and the land of Israel, and not allow anyone to persuade us with their vague proof-texts which often lead to unscriptural ideas about Israel.

Oftentimes the picture is painted that the blessings of God on other nations depends on their support of the modern state of Israel. Yet, in your Bible, God did not judge nations based on their support of Israel or lack thereof. God judged each nation based on their own sin or righteousness. Of course when Israel was right with God, He defended them against those nations that rose up against them. On the other hand, when Israel was in rebellion against God, he allowed other nations to come against them. Israel’s blessings in the land and God’s blessings on other nations, through Israel, was always dependent on their being right with God.

Furthermore, the concept that Israel was only blessed with regards to the land is a very faulty concept. Throughout the Old Testament, the wicked within Israel (not the remnant of righteous Jews) committed all sorts of grievances against God within the land. They committed idolatry by worshipping other gods, they sacrificed their children to idols, they committed all sorts’ sexual sins, and the list goes on. Time and time again, God’s anger and wrath was against Israel within the borders of the land of Israel.

In the book of Ezekiel, God had Ezekiel prophesy to the wicked leaders of Israel and say: “Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” ~ Ezekiel 11:1-2, 10

God told them that He would judge them within the borders of Israel.

In verses 11-12 we read the following: “This city shall not be your caldron (an iron pot of protection), neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel: And ye shall know that I am the Lord: for ye have not walked in my statutes neither executed my judgments, but have done after the manners of the heathen that are round about you.” ~Ezekiel 11:11-12

All throughout the Old Testament, there was much bloodshed and death in the land of Israel and many times God’s anger and judgment came on the people within the boundaries of Israel. In fact, Israel wasn’t yet even settled in the land, but in the process of possessing it, when God turned against them because of the sin of Achan.

God told Joshua, Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.”  ~ Joshua 7:11-12

Notice that within Israel’s borders, God said “Israel has been set apart for destruction” and he would not be with them any longer unless they repented.

From the very outset of God’s covenant with Israel, the promise of the land inheritance was always dependent on Israel’s obedience to God’s law. Many scriptures from the Bible could be provided to prove this. Therefore, the land inheritance was never an unconditional promise, but conditional. If it were unconditional, God would have never driven Israel and Judah out of the land into captivity.

Israel’s right to the Land was completely dependent on their obedience to God, otherwise they were not entitled to the land.

To learn more about Israel’s land inheritance, follow the links below:

IS THE LAND INHERITANCE STILL RELEVANT? 
https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/is-the-land-inheritance-still-relevant-today/

THE MEANING OF “MY LAND”
https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/the-meaning-of-my-land/

THE PROMISED LAND AND GOD’S REST 
https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2015/09/22/the-promised-land-and-gods-rest/