HOW I CAME TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH ABOUT TITHING

I had preached tithing as a minister, as a Pastor, and as a youth pastor, but never understood the tithing texts in the Old Testament, until 2006.

I stood in my kitchen and got very honest with God, because I knew I didn’t understand the Old Testament scriptures which have been “re-worked” to teach Christians to give a tenth of their income.

I asked the Lord, “what’s the deal?” I had preached tithing for a very long time, and I was very good at it.

However, I knew in my heart, I did not understand the scriptures in the Old Testament regarding tithing, and that what I was preaching and had preached was only a nicely crafted defense for tithing, with no real understanding of the biblical tithe.

Though I had taught tithing, I was weary because I had never truly experienced the abundance that is supposed to come from giving the required 10% of my income, and I had been practicing this for some 26 years as a Christian at the time (in 2006).

I had been through all the nuances preached and taught by tithe teachers as to why tithing sometimes doesn’t work in bringing the blessings. Preachers are constantly having to come up with excuses when people don’t experience the promised success.

I had convinced myself that because of tithing, I was blessed, but in reality, I wasn’t. It was a constant struggle as me and my wife incurred much debt because we didn’t have much money left over to get through the month.

In 2006, I was set free from the bondage of giving what man told me I was “required” to give – even if I could afford it or not.

It has been 12 plus years, and…

God still talks to me.
God continues to answer my prayers, & receive my worship.
God continues to bless my life.
God continues to minister his presence to my heart and life.
God continues to provide for me and my family financially.

After 12 years, there is still “no sign” of any curse that I was taught and also taught myself would come for not giving a mandatory 10%.

By emphasizing the curse, tithe teachers can motivate people to give a particular amount so that they can insure they will have a certain amount of funds come in. – that’s just the truth!

If ministers made a habit of studying the scriptures so they could teach sound doctrine, rather than studying to get another angle on the topic they want to persuade people to believe, they could teach the curse mentioned in Malachi 3, within its contextual setting.

This is why you will never hear a tithe teacher, take you through the scriptures to teach you what the tithe in the Bible actually was, and what it wasn’t. They will never tell you who was required to tithe, and who wasn’t.

In my time of searching, I only observed one person attempting to do so, his attempt failed, but I do commend his effort.

As I stood there in my kitchen the day I got honest with God about wanting to understand the tithing scriptures, I took a neutral position. I petitioned the Lord with the commitment that if I were required to tithe, I would to continue to do so, but I wanted to understand tithing Biblically, so I could teach it correctly from the Bible.

However, If I were to find that I was not required to tithe, I wanted to know the truth as well.

That day, I purposed to take a neutral position before God, not leaning to the right or the left, but whatever he revealed to me from his word as the truth, I would believe.

I took communion and consecrated my prayer and search to the Lord. That same day, I put a large tithe check in the mail (that was money that my family could have used), but I did so because I did not yet know what God’s answer would be.

I prayed, “If I am required to tithe, receive this as my tithe, if I am not required to tithe, receive this as an offering.”

This was how my journey to find out THE TRUTH about tithing began. In due time, I came to an understanding of the Biblical tithe, it’s purpose under the Law, who was required, and who wasn’t, etc…

I experienced GREAT FREEDOM when I finally took that step of faith to believe the Bible, and that my giving would now be freewill offerings from the heart, and no longer a “required” amount that would bring a curse on my life if I didn’t.

I now know what that tenth was in the Bible – It was part of Israel’s welfare system to provide food for the priests and their servants, the Levites (who were given no land inheritance) and to provide food for the widows, orphans, and strangers.

While many have been taught to focus on the “percentage” of the tithe because churches need revenue (even though the tithe under the law was not revenue, but food), it’s the purpose for the tithe that believers should learn from, and that purpose is amplified in the New Testament as generosity which ministers to the needs of the poor.

God commanded the tithe from the herds and crops which were raised from the land of promise so that the poor would be taken care of and not go hungry. The lesson we should learn from the Old Testament tithe is God’s compassion to meet the needs of the poor.

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For a Biblical perspective on tithes and offerings follow the link below:

https://michaelbattle65.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/tithes-and-offerings/

 

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THE HOUSE THAT GOD WANTED

Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. ~ Matthew 21:42-43

Jesus is the stone, which the builders rejected. Who then are the builders who rejected Jesus?

They are the leaders of Israel (the chief priests and Pharisees ~ v. 45). They had corrupted the temple and had made it a den of thieves rather than a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). Now their house was desolate (Matthew 23:38) and the Kingdom was being taken from them and given to another. Consequently, “there would be not one stone left upon another” of the temple they had defiled (Matthew 24:2).

The stone they rejected is the cornerstone which God himself has placed in Zion (1 Peter 2:6). This stone, Jesus, is the foundation of God’s true temple as testified of by the prophet Isaiah.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. ~ Isaiah 28:16

Jesus had asked the chief priests and Pharisees concerning this stone, “Did ye never read in the scriptures…?”

The scriptures given to Israel had testified that God would lay the foundation for his true temple (not the end time, man made temple, which modern Christian Zionists claim) but God’s true temple, the temple he has always wanted.

God personally laid the cornerstone for this temple he desired to inhabit.

It is said that the stone would be laid “in Zion”. Under the Old Testament Zion (earthly Jerusalem) was a type of the Heavenly Jerusalem to which the true people of God belong: ” you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,  heavenly Jerusalem…” says the writer of Hebrews.

When the temple authorities rejected Jesus, they rejected the cornerstone which God himself had established as the foundation for his true temple

For this reason, the Kingdom of God was taken from them and was given to another nation (a chosen generation, a holy nation, with a royal priesthood, a special bought people, who were purchased by the blood of the lamb, and would demonstrate the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light ~ 1 Peter 2:9).

They would bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom! For they would be inhabited by the Spirit of the Living God. The temple made with human hands would no longer serve as the residence of God among his people.

When Jesus breathed his last on the cross, and surrendered his spirit into the hands of the Father, the curtain (veil) of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51) and a new an living way was opened for the people of God (Hebrews 10:19-22).

God’s presence now abides in the temple of which his people are living stones, built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, and who offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

God will never again make his abode in a man-made temple. God’s plan, revealed in Jesus Christ, was to unite Jews and Gentiles into one family in Christ. This is God’s house!

For through him we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye (Gentiles) are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints (the Jewish remnant who trust in Jesus), and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye (Jews and Gentiles) also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:18-22

This is the temple of the Lord, for it is his doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!

JEWISH IDENTITY VS. A CIRCUMCISED HEART

What happens to a Jew when his heart is circumcised? Does he boast in his Jewish identity after the flesh, or does he boast in Christ?

In Philippians 3, Paul warns his brethren in Christ to beware of those who boast in Jewish identity after the flesh. Paul says, “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” ~ Philippians 3:2

This was Paul’s opinion of the Judaizers, (Jews in the flesh who were persecuting Paul and opposing his ministry to the Gentiles).

Not all Jews were persecuting Paul’s ministry, but those who were zealous for the Jewish religion were. They were evangelizing the Gentiles (Acts 15:1; Galatians 1:7) attempting to convert them to “Jew’s religion” (Galatians 1:13-14), a term employed by Paul in the book of Galatians.

Paul himself had been among their ranks, and Paul knew their motives, and calls them dogs, and contrasts them to the truth that is in Christ, saying, “look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh…”.v 2-3

Paul then lists his credentials as a Jew after the flesh:

  • Circumcised on the eighth day,
  • Of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin.
  • A Hebrew of Hebrews.
  • As to the law, a Pharisee.
  • As to zeal, a persecutor of the church
  • As to righteousness under the law, blameless.

Paul’s qualifications were many. Yet Paul did not consider any of these things of any value before God.

Paul continues, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” v. 7-8

In compassion to his relationship with Jesus, Paul considered his credentials as a Jew in the flesh as a “total loss.”

This is how a “true Jew” esteems faith in Christ.

Paul continues:

For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. ~ See Philippians 3

Paul did not despise his heritage as a Jew, He often used it to promote the gospel. What Paul rejected was any boasting in his Jewish identity after the flesh.

Though Paul had all the outward qualifications as a Jew, circumcised in the flesh, he did not know God until his heart was circumcised, at which time his understanding of what God values began to change.

God values a circumcised heart, and this has always been true even under the Old Testament.

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” ~ Jeremiah 4:4

God’s appeal to the Jewish people through the prophet Jeremiah was “circumcise your hearts.” This message to the ancient Jews is the same message that was preached, by way of the gospel, to the Jews in the New Testament. Consider the words of John the Baptist to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders in Israel.

You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ~ Matthew 3:7-10

The message of John the Baptist to the corrupt leaders in Israel was to circumcise their hearts (Bear fruit in keeping with repentance). Their physical ancestry mattered not to God, for God was able to raise up descendants of Abraham from rocks if he so chose to.

Being Jewish in the flesh matters not to God. What matters is the heart. This comes through clearly in Jeremiah 24, where we read of a vision that God gave Jeremiah of two baskets of figs.

After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken into exile from Jerusalem Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, together with the officials of Judah, the craftsmen, and the metal workers, and had brought them to Babylon, the Lord showed me this vision: behold, two baskets of figs placed before the temple of the Lord. One basket had very good figs, like first-ripe figs, but the other basket had very bad figs, so bad that they could not be eaten. And the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I said, “Figs, the good figs very good, and the bad figs very bad, so bad that they cannot be eaten.” Then the word of the Lord came to me: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I have sent away from this place to the land of the Chaldeans. I will set my eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up, and not tear them down; I will plant them, and not pluck them up. I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. ~ Jeremiah 24:1-7

Notice that God interprets the “good figs” in Jeremiah’s vision as those among the ancient Jews whom he would give a heart to know him. God says, “they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”

Keep in mind this is a reference to some of the Jews, not all. It is a reference to a remnant, who would do more than have an outward Jewish identity. They would have a heart towards loving God, and knowing him. They would have a circumcised heart.

Now notice what God says of the the Jews who would not circumcise their hearts:

But thus says the Lord: Like the bad figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten, so will I treat Zedekiah the king of Judah, his officials, the remnant of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. And I will send sword, famine, and pestilence upon them, until they shall be utterly destroyed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.” ~ Jeremiah 24:8- 10

The Jews in Jeremiah’s day, who loved wickedness, and whose hearts were not circumcised, were exiled from the land, and even worse, they were exiled from God’s presence and their memory was being cut off.

THE REMNANT WILL HEAR THE GOSPEL

When Jesus came, the elect (not the Calvinist doctrine of the elect, but the remnant of faithful Israel within the national Israel) received the gospel and the rest were blinded.

Why were they blinded? Because they did not believe on him whom God had sent.

He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. ~ John 1:11-13

This plays out in plain view in John 9 when the unbelieving, religious Jews expelled the man healed of blindness from the synagogue.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains. ~ John 9:35-41

While men like the man born blind received salvation through Jesus, others like the Pharisees were blinded because of their unbelief. In Romans 11, Paul says, What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. ~ v.7

The elect (election) is a reference to those within Israel, who like the man born blind had heart towards finding the truth, for when he was asked by Jesus, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”

The Pharisees, on the other hand, had no desire to believe in him, but were rigorously opposed to Jesus because they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God (John 12:43), and in them was fulfilled the words of the prophet Isaiah: He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. ~ John 12:40

It is unfortunate, that some within Christian ranks, especially among the “prophecy gurus” have made unbelieving Jews, who despise the gospel, the central focus of their end time theology. Yet God has a people among them. Not a people who will find him in a rebuilt temple, but who will find him through the hearing of the gospel.

God has a remnant with the Jewish people, and like the man born blind, they need to know who the Son of God is so that they can believe in him.

SEEING THE REMNANT IN “ALL ISRAEL”

In Elijah’s day, there was a remnant of Jews who did not bow the knee to Baal, even though the nation at large had.

Paul cites this example in his defense that God has not cast away his people whom he foreknew. Consider Paul’s words:

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. ~ Romans 11:1-6

Paul’s defense that God has not cast away his people is not a predicated on Israel’s national status before God, but rather, the remnant within the nation of Israel who are called according to grace.

Paul believed there was a remnant within Israel who were called according to grace. By default, we can conclude that not all within Israel were called according to grace.

This is not a reference to the Calvinist doctrine of irresistible grace, but a reference to those who are true Jews from the heart and seek to serve God in truth – they are the called according to grace and the “Israel within Israel” referenced by Paul in the early part of Romans 9.

In Romans 11 Paul uses the allegory of the olive tree to describe the family of Abraham. Israel is referred to as the olive tree by nature (the olive tree cultivated by God), and the Gentiles who are of faith in Christ are called the wild olive branch which is grafted into the family of Abraham (the olive tree).

The Gentiles are not grafted the national Israel through faith. Rather they are grafted into spiritual Israel which is the true family of Abraham, for Abraham’s true children are those who are of faith.

This is why Jesus could say of Nathaniel, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” and then say to other Jews, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works your father did.”…”You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires.”

Jesus made a distinction between Nathaniel, who was a true Israelite, and those who wanted to kill him as children of the devil.

Nathaniel was called according to grace, for his heart was towards pleasing God, the others, though Israeli’s in the flesh did not have a heart towards pleasing God.

All throughout scripture there is a distinction made between Israel and “Israel within Israel” (the nation and the spiritual within the nation). This is evidenced by Paul’s theology that the promise of God did not come through Ishmael but through Isaac.

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. ~ Galatians 4:22-23

Those born of promise are those who are Abraham’s spiritual descendants like Nathaniel.

In Romans 11 Paul claims that God has not cast away Israel because there is a remnant within it who have a heart for God, and though some of the natural branches have been cut off from their own tree, God is able to graft them in again if they will believe the gospel.

These are they who are in view when Paul refers to “all Israel” being saved. Paul is not preaching an end-time restoration of a Christ-less national Israel who builds a temple and offers animal sacrifices.

Paul is referring to the remnant within Israel who will be saved through the gospel.

Thus says the Lord: “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all. ~ Isaiah 65:8

The all Israel who will be saved are the “true Israelites” or “true Jews”. They are the wine within the cluster. They are Israel within Israel:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. ~ Romans 9:6-8

The remnant is the blessing within the cluster mentioned by Israel. They are the “Israel within Israel” referenced by Paul. And as Isaiah says in another place, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,” God will be faithful and graft them in again into their own tree when they believe the gospel.

Our responsibility to the Jews is to preach the gospel to them, It is not to support their apostate temple plans or their apostate animal sacrifices.

GOD’S PLAN FOR THE JEWS

God’s plan for the Jews is not to send them back to Israel to build an apostate temple, offer animal sacrifices, and separate them from all other nations, and make their identity distinct from Christ’s body (the church).

That is the theology of Anti-Christ!

God’s plan for every Jew is to graft them again into God’s Israel, the family of Abraham who are of faith. It is not enough to be a Jew in the flesh only.

Jesus told Nicodemus (a teacher among the Jews), “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). There is no inheritance in God’s Kingdom for any Jew apart from being born again. Yet many Christians have been taught that God has a Kingdom plan for Israel separate from the gospel which was delivered to us by the Jewish apostles of Jesus.

Paul, who was a Jew, and a man whose knowledge would be unmatched by any of today’s “prophecy gurus” tells us that God’s plan for the Jewish people has been revealed through the gospel. What then, is that plan?

The plan is the union of Jews and Gentiles in “one body” in the Messiah. God’s plan is not a Temple for Jews only. Instead, God’s plan is that Jews and Gentiles be joined together as the temple of God.

God’s plan is not that the Jews be separate from all other nations. God’s plan is for the Jews and Gentiles to be one family as the true children of Abraham, through Jesus Christ.

Paul says the following in Ephesians 3:

When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. this mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. ~ Ephesians 3:4-6

While Christians Zionists and “prophecy experts” teach that God has a “mysterious plan” for Israel independent of the church, Paul says otherwise, and describes this as the mystery of Christ.

God has no plan for Israel outside of Christ, and God’s plan for Israel in Christ is revealed through the gospel.

Paul continues:

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ… ~ Ephesians 3:7-8

What was Paul preaching to the Gentiles? Was Paul preaching to the Gentiles that God has a special salvation plan for them distinct and separate from his salvation plan for the Jews?

A thousand times, NO!

Paul preached to the Gentiles that they were fellow heirs with the Jews and members of the same body, or family, as the Jews who were saved through grace.

Paul continues:

… and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This is according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. ~ Ephesians 3:9-13

Christian Zionist attempt to divide Israel from the church, Yet in Paul’s theology, the church is the continuation of Israel and it is the church, and not Israel after the flesh, through whom the manifold wisdom of God’s plan is revealed.

God is not interested in a Gentile-less Israel. God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, who is the embodiment of God’s plan and purpose for Israel, to die for the whole world. God’s plan for Israel is to fill it with both native born Jews and Gentiles alike, by circumcising their hearts and making them one family in Christ!

ISRAEL AND THE GREAT COMMISSION

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. ~ Matthew 21:43

Jesus said these words to the chief priests and the Pharisees (men who were the temple authorities, and the spiritual leaders in Israel).

This statement by Jesus was the interpretation of a parable he had just spoken to them. Consider the parable:

“Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.  When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?”  They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? ~ Matthew 21:33-42

The mission of Israel, under the Law, was to evangelize the world. Israel was chosen by God, not to be a spectacle to be paraded as God’s favorite. They were chosen for redemptive purposes, and to glorify God’s name among the godless nations of the world.

Israel failed in her commission, because of her long history of wicked spiritual leaders. Often when we think of God’s prophets like Isaiah, and Jeremiah, we think they were the leaders, rather, they were send to confront the wicked leaders who corrupted the nation with idolatry and sin, and it was the wicked leaders throughout Israel’s history who killed the prophets God sent to them.

Their rejection of God’s message through his prophets reached its climax in their rejection of Jesus, and this is what the parable above is about. Jesus concludes this parable by telling them that the Kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to another nation bringing forth the fruits of the Kingdom.

The Kingdom which was entrusted to them, has been taken away, and that is why their house (their temple) was made desolate.

The Kingdom of God is no longer revealed through Israel after the flesh. Instead, it is revealed in Israel after the Spirit, which is the church founded on the faith of the Jewish remnant who followed Jesus.

The Church is not a Gentile entity. It never has been and never will be. The church is a Jewish entity, whose cornerstone is a Jewish Messiah, and whose teachings come from Jewish apostles, who were circumcised not in their flesh only, but were circumcised in their hearts. They were not merely Jewish after the flesh. They were Jews inwardly, whose praise is of God.

The Kingdom which is revealed through the church is not another Kingdom from the one entrusted to Israel. It is the SAME KINGDOM. Jesus declared, “the Kingdom will be taken from you, and given to another.”

The great commission given to the New Testament church, is not a “Gentile commission.” It is a Kingdom commission which was first entrusted to Israel after the flesh, but was taken from them and entrusted to the remnant Jews who carried it to the world.

God’s Kingdom doesn’t come to the world through modern day Israel in the flesh. God’s Kingdom comes to the world through Jesus, and the church is his body who carries his Kingdom to the world.

SPIRITUAL ISRAEL

Abraham’s family has always been a household of “faith” in the eyes of God. Being Jewish (Israel) has never been about race only. Throughout the Old Testament and into the New, there have always been Jewish converts.

In Matthew 23:15, Jesus says the following to the scribes and Pharisees:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

On the day of Pentecost, proselytes were gathered among the many (Acts 2:11) who heard Peter preach the gospel, and those to whom Peter preached were called “ye men of Israel” (Acts 2:22). The Jewish proselytes were included as part of “all the house of Israel”. ~ Acts 2:36

Throughout the book of Acts we have accounts of Jews attempting to make converts of Gentiles, and Paul’s letter to the Galatians was written to counter the teachings and influence of the Judaizers who were attempting to proselytize the Gentiles in Galatia.

In scripture, Jewishness has never been about “race only”. If a Jew were a Jew by race only, Jews would have never sought to make converts.

Those who “became Jews” (Esther 8:17) from among the 127 Providences over which King Ahasuerus reigned (from India to Ethiopia) during the time of Esther, became Jewish by conversion.

In Scripture, being Jewish has always been a matter of faith, and not race only.

The premise on which Christian Zionism is founded is a faulty one to begin with as it rejects the key component of a true Israelite, which is his spirituality, or faith!

In the New Testament, Jesus did not think the religious Jews of his day, those were opposed him, had any special privilege with God. When they claimed that Abraham was their Father, Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children, then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father”.  ~ John 8

They responded “We are not illegitimate children, the only Father we have is God himself.” To which Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. ~ John 8

Notice that Jesus told these ungodly Jews who were actual physical descendants of Abraham, “You belong to your father, the devil.”

Jesus Continues; “And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God . ~ John 8:45-47

Abraham’s children are those who are of faith that lead to Christ and who practice righteousness, for God’s promise to Abraham was to make him the father of many nations!

The church has not replaced Israel, because true Israelites in the eyes of God have always been the church. The church of Jesus Christ began with the remnant of godly Jews, who through faith believed Jesus is the Messiah. It is into this body that Gentiles who believe in the Messiah have been baptized by conversion, and have become members of the Israel of God! ~ Galatians 6:16