Jews – Nation or Church grouping?

I want to look at our belief system of today and will try and prove to you the reader that Israel was never a nation as portrayed today, but should in reality be seen as the first Church.

Why am I saying this? Even from the days of Moses up and to the times that Jesus came they operated as a Church under the Old Covenant. It will then also clear up so many misconceptions about the difference between Church and Israel or Jews. These are the people that label you as someone preaching replacement theology the moment that you mention that the Church is also Israel or Jews. This article will try and prove that the Church has been there from the early days, and I believe that is also the way the people of the Old Covenant saw it.

Where did the CHURCH start? To me it started with Abraham. The LORD started talking to Abraham long before He entered into a covenant with him. Abraham had to listen and do everything the LORD told him to do. So what does this teach us? There are two actions that speak volumes about this relationship. The first principle is that Abraham had to believe the LORD and then he had to obey the LORD. This to me speaks of how a church should respond. We have to believe what He tells us to do, and then have to obey Him in everything we do. This is also what we read of in Hebrews 6 verse 1: Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, (Heb 6:1) So we see that Abraham had to lay down his life, repentance, and do what the LORD commanded him to do, so believe Him, which is faith..

After this we find that the covenant is started with communion, where Melchizidek brought the wine and break. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)   And he blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;  and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything. (Gen 14:18-20)

What we learn from this is that even before the LORD made the covenant with Abraham, that peoples from other nations were also serving the LORD, even to the point where they had their own priests.

Only now do we find that the LORD enters into a covenant relationship with Abraham: “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. And he said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.”   (Gen 15:1-7)

What does this mean? That he believed and it counted him as righteousness. Without righteousness it is impossible to be part of the CHURCH of the LORD. We now find that Abraham only had to supply the livestock needed for the covenant. He had to cut the heifer in two and lay the sides next to each other. The meaning being that if either one of the partners of the covenant could do this to the other partner should they break the covenant. This also features when the LORD told Abraham to go and sacrifice Isaac. So for Abraham it was not difficult to follow the instructions of the LORD, as the LORD told Abraham that his descendants will come from Isaac. The LORD had to stay true to His word, and had two choices. He either had to provide a substitute for Isaac, or He had to bring Isaac back from the dead if Abraham sacrificed Isaac, as the LORD promised that Abraham’s family would come from Isaac. So Abraham knew that the LORD cannot lie, so he knew that if the LORD expected him to sacrifice his son, then the LORD had to be willing to do the same. He also knew it was impossible to kill the LORD, so he obeyed Him. This also points to us the first time that Jesus would become God’s sacrificial Lamb for our sins. That is also why Jesus can only come once to fulfil the covenant and pay for all sins, and not have a shuttle service during the end times.

For those who want to know more about what the Covenant of Righteousness means, you can read it here. I do suggest that you read this or if you have the time, look at the YouTube version which will run as a playlist for about 4 hours.

The next step only followed 25 years later when the LORD instituted circumcision as a sign of the covenant. A very interesting part we find here is that we find a sequence of events from this piece of history. It started with Abraham deciding to change his life and to follow the LORD, he then had to believe the LORD (faith), and then he had to have communion. Then only do we find circumcision. We find the same sequence after Jesus came to be the complete sacrifice, in that we have to repent from our sinful life, put out faith in Him alone, and then share communion. That is one reason we find so many arguments in Church today, as we find that leaders of churches have done these steps, but their hearts have not been circumcised. This is why we find so many leaders trying to justify the sins of people being enforced onto the church.

So we find that the church started with Abraham, and that every person who puts their faith in the completed works of Jesus, is part of CHURCH. Only now can we start with Israel.

So the first question is why do I say that the Old Testament Israel is the Church? Before Israel left Egypt we find the first clue. People from all nations could join Israel before the Exodus. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” (Exo 12:47-49) “You shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God.” (Lev 24:22)

This already intimates that the people that left Egypt with Moses did not only belong to the Jewish tribe, but also included foreigners. So they all shared the same theology and believed in the one LORD. So this already shows us that they operate as a Church, and not as a nation. This confirms the promise made to Abraham: “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be you perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you. And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you, and to your seed after you. And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land wherein you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said to Abraham, You shall keep my covenant therefore, you, and your seed after you in their generations.” (Gen 17:1-9)

So here we find that even before the exodus and the long trek to Canaan that Israel operated as a Church and not as a nation. That is what they are referred to, as a congregation in Exodus 12 verse 47 above, and not as a nation.

This is also what the whole book to the Hebrews in the New Testament is all about.

Quite a number of very influential people including Martin Luther wanted to keep this book from the Bible as they believed it had no relevance to us as Christians. But they are the people who believe that the book was only applicable to Israel or Jews as a nation, and not to all believers.

But this is exactly where I start differing from them. But why? Because even today we find that most Christians see Israel as nation and not as the first Church. That is one of the most prominent teachings of today across all types of Christians. But they fail to see that the book of Hebrews actually has the covenant as a central theme and not Israel as a central theme.

So it was not written for Israel as nation, but to Israel or the Jews as Church. But what is the difference? I want to use certain texts from Paul to Corinth and John in Revelation to explain my viewpoint. Paul says the following: “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come. (1Co 10:6-11)

We find the words of Jesus as recorded by John: “I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” (Rev 2:9) “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” (Rev 3:9)

So I will use this as a basis to show that Israel functioned as a Church and not as a nation. But let us start at the beginning. Who will end up in heaven? I believe those that are there already are people like Moses, David, Samuel and many more of the people of the Old Testament. If we look at the New Testament it would be people like Peter, Paul and John. You might wonder why I only mention the names of people that descended from Jacob. The reason being is that they will definitely be there, as they belonged to the nation of the LORD, Israel. We learn from the Old Testament that only those people that were chosen by the LORD ended up in heaven, in other words only people from Israel. “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” (1Co 10:5)

The LORD says the following through Moses to Israel: ““For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, ” (Deu 7:6-9) This sounds more like a promise to a Church than a promise to a specific nation.

I want to start at the beginning. Now when I quote from the book of Revelation you might think that I am starting at the end, but fortunately Jesus is speaking. He was there right at the beginning of time, even when Adam and Eve were formed. Revelation 3:9: “‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie–I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. ” Jesus is telling us here that even though people are from the synagogue of Satan; they are still saying that they are Jews. These people are from Philadelphia, and definitely not Jews from Israel. This confirms the scripture from Revelation 2:9: “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” This piece of information is extremely important, in that Jesus is saying that all believers are Jews, and that only Jews will be saved. This confirms the scripture that Moses gave to Israel in Deuteronomy 7:6-7: “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.”

Once we realise that God does not and will not change His word, we will realise that there seems to be a problem with interpreting this verse in the light of the verses from Revelation. How is it possible then that God declares in one place that He has chosen only Israel, and then later on declares that all true believers are Jews? The answer comes partly from the book of Acts chapter 10:34-35: “Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,  but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. ” So all people who fear God and accept His righteousness, is accepted. This however still does not satisfy the requirement of Revelation, as we are still not Jews. The answer is given to us as part of the exodus from Egypt. Here the LORD gave them a commandment that they had to keep forever. The scripture comes from Numbers 15 verse 15 and 16: “’As for the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns with you, a perpetual statute throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the alien be before the LORD. ‘There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.'” Exodus 12 verse 48 gives us the final answer: But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it. The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.

In the history of Israel we find that whenever someone from another nation wanted to join them to Israel, they had to do whatever was required to become part of the covenant and then they were treated as people from Israel. A very good example is Ruth. Although she had the right to return to her people after her husband’s death, she chose to go with Naomi. Her words were as follows: Ruth 1 verses 15 to 17: “Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth answers that she chooses to go with Naomi, and that only death will part them, but that she, Ruth will die where Naomi dies. She will worship Naomi’s God, and never return to her original nation. Who was Ruth? David’s great grandma. Where did Jesus come from? From David’s tribe.

How do all these various pieces fit together? The LORD chose Israel as His nation. We as gentiles must chose to become Jews by joining Israel and its tribes. How is this done? The same way it was done in Israel’s time, by becoming part of the covenant with the LORD. In the time of Israel it was by circumcision, and after Christ it is by being born again. That means we have to receive the righteousness of Jesus. As we know that Jesus came to fulfil the Old Covenant by fulfilling all its requirements, it now gives us the opportunity to become part of the Israel of God. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God. (Gal 6:14-16) This sounds again more like a promise to the Church that a promise to a nation. So Israel did not receive a blanket redemption from the LORD, but only those that became part of the covenant and kept His commandments, were His children.

Where do we find the first apostasy from the Church? It happened when each tribe received their inheritance in Canaan. The Rubenites, the descendants from Gad, and the descendants from Manasseh all decided that they wanted to stay outside of Canaan, the Promised Land, and not receive that which the LORD had in store for them. So they chose not to get what they were promised. If we look at the descendants of these tribes we find that they did not feature in the history of Israel after deciding to follow their own plans. That is exactly what is happening today. People are leaving the Church and cannot be counted as Christians any longer as only people who confess Jesus as the Christ, and live a life worthy of Him forms part of the real Church. This is how Hebrews 6 puts it: “And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Heb 6:3-6) That is also what happened to Saul after he visited the medium at Endor. “Then said Saul to his servants, Seek me a woman that has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that has a familiar spirit at Endor.” (1Sa 28:7) This also meant that he died as a sinner, and did not receive everlasting life, but everlasting death. When Israel sinned, and was chastised by the LORD to bring them back to Him, they were safe. If they continued in their wickedness they died as sinners. Even after David the Church, or Israel, divided into two camps. We find very little of the grouping that moved away from David in the Bible. So they started their own ‘church” and was rejected by the LORD. We also see in the New Testament that Jesus did not speak to the two factions of the “church”, the Pharisees and Sadducees, but He went and spoke to the people. In fact He always pitted the two groups against each other. And they were the “church”.

So in the history of Israel we find that the tribes started serving other gods and religions, the same people they were supposed to exterminate when they went into Canaan. Now we find people today saying that Jesus first have to return to the physical earth to save the Jewish faith people or the lost tribes although they already made their choices years ago. The LORD did not choose a specific nation, but only those people who believe that Jesus is the Christ. That is what all the prophets tried to say. They were preaching revival messages to the Jews to get them to return to the God of their fathers. There were some specific messages that pointed to the coming Saviour, but it always asked them to return to the LORD. So all these messages we expect to find in the Church of today, and not messages to a specific nation.

We also found then and today that membership of a church grouping or nation can never mean that you receive everlasting life, but only belief in Jesus can make that possible.

So Israel was the Church under the Old Covenant, and we are Church under the New Covenant. So there is no replacement theology as people would like you to believe, but only messages to the Church of the LORD. And this all started with Moses who gave them the following choice they had to make: “For this commandment which I command you this day, it is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very near to you, in your mouth, and in your heart, that you may do it. See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: and the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it. But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce to you this day, that you shall surely perish, and that you shall not prolong your days on the land, where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live: That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may hold to him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deu 30:11-20)

So just like Israel had to choose to follow the LORD, we have to make the same choice today. I do not find a blanket statement in the Old Covenant that every person will receive everlasting life. No, I only find that people, who chose to follow and obey Him, were His children and His nation.

So when we return to the book of Hebrews, we see that it describes the different viewpoints of the Churches. There are those that understand the New Covenant and believe that Jesus did everything to fulfil the Old Covenant. Then we find those that believe that Jesus is the Christ, but they also believe that you have to do certain things to get saved. So they still believe you have to comply with certain rules, rules like the Sabbath etc. And then there are those of the Jewish faith today, those that reject Jesus as the Christ. And that is what the writer of Hebrews is trying to show people, that Jesus did everything that was necessary according to the law, and that He went through the Heavenly Tabernacle for us in order for us to receive everlasting life. No works will make that we are part of the real Church.

So the writer shows us that we do not have to work to get our way into heaven, as Jesus did away with all the works and that only faith in His completed work will bring everlasting life. That is what Hebrews 3 and 4 are about. You must have faith, because without it you are condemned, and stuck in the sixth day and do not enter into the rest promised by the LORD.

That is why we find new prescriptions of how we should live our lives under the New Covenant in Hebrews chapter 13.

“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken to you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Why Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore to him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Heb 13:1-21)

So these are commandments to the Church. This now enables you as an ordinary member to see if you are taught the correct message of the Bible or not. I do not find any scripture or clause in the New Covenant anywhere in the Bible that teaches that you can turn your back on the LORD, and then get a second chance. So this also indicates that He chose Israel as a Church, and not as a nation or piece of real estate. And that Church includes me in you that have decided to become part of His covenant.

So there is now replacement theology. You either believe this Truth and receive everlasting life, or you do not believe this Truth and die the second death. Those people who serve the LORD are part of His Israel, the Church. “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.” (Gal 6:16) So the Bible only teaches the Church, and cannot be used to judge the unbelievers.

We also have to remember that the first people who became Christians were Jews, and they were also the first people to be called Christians. “When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then has God also to the Gentiles granted repentance to life. Now they which were scattered abroad on the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but to the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spoke to the Grecians, preaching the LORD Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned to the Lord. Then tidings of these things came to the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would hold to the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added to the Lord. Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Act 11:18-26)

So these people were Jews, but were called Christians. So those that speaks about replacement theology only shows their lack of knowledge of the Bible.

So there won’t be a rapture to allow the Jews to come to Christ and all the other people to get a second chance. If we believe that then Jesus and the Bible does not mean anything at all. So run from these people before they take you down the canyon of death with them. I know that you might feel that I am taking on people that have such a passion for Christ, but unfortunately only those that believe the full message of the Bible will be saved. I only confirm that which Jesus spoke about when He told them that they were rejected. “Jesus said to them, Did you 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 to you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spoke of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Mat 21:42-46) The original was already mentioned in Isaiah 5 verses 1 to 7. “Now will I sing to my well beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My well beloved has a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the middle of it, and also made a wine press therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, between me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? why, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor dig; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.” (Isa 5:1-7)

“Jesus also speaks about a nation as the true Church, the Bride, did not yet exist, as He was still alive.

That is why the book of Revelation says that two thirds of the people that call themselves Christians will die the second death, as they believe the Bible, but only through their interpretation of the Bible. They will fight with you to prove you wrong and quote large parts of the Bible to convince you, but did you know that the Satan also quoted the Bible to convince Jesus, but Jesus showed him all the flaws in his quotes of scripture. My only purpose is to show you that we there are incorrect interpretations of scripture, that we must take personal responsibility for our own lives, and not depend on the teachings of others to receive everlasting life. The same story is used in the Bible, there were ten woman who waited for the Bridegroom, but only five expected Him and were prepared for His coming, while the others waited for the rapture and all its stories, but they missed the wedding feast.

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw yourself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1Ti 6:3-6)

Paul declares the following: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside to vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for murderers, For fornicators, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for enslavers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (1Ti 1:5-11)

So if someone wants to place you back under the law, know that according to Paul that he is not righteous. So he will try to convince you that you have to believe his interpretation. They will tell you to ignore days like Christmas, Easter and numerous other days, but all that they are trying is to place you under the law again. “Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a female slave, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the female slave was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which engenders to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, you barren that bore not; break forth and cry, you that travail not: for the desolate has many more children than she which has an husband. Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what said the scripture? Cast out the female slave and her son: for the son of the female slave shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brothers, we are not children of the female slave, but of the free.” (Gal 4:21-31)

So those that believe that Jesus is the Christ and that He came to take us from the bondage of the law are the true Church of the LORD, and not those that keep the law and boast in their heritage. “However, then, when you knew not God, you did service to them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed on you labor in vain. Brothers, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as you are: you have not injured me at all. You know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel to you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh you despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” (Gal 4:8-14)

So who is the real Israel? Those people that do what the LORD commands to become part of His Covenant, and that started with Moses. So only those that choose Him are His Church.

 

Jode – Nasie of Kerkgroep?

Ek wil graag na die Joodse geloof van vandag kyk, en vir u as leser probeer wys dat die Jode van die Bybel nie ‘n nasie is soos vandag deur meeste mense verstaan word nie, maar in werklikheid, as die eerste Kerk gesien moet word.

Waarvan praat ek nou? Dat die Joodse geloof en mense in die Ou Verbond voor Jesus se koms, nie as ‘n nasie gesien moet word nie, maar dat deur al die eeue heen van voor Moses se dae af as Kerk van die HERE gesien word. Dit sal ook dan vir ons duidelik word dat die geveg wat deur sovele mense geveg word dat wanneer iemand praat van die Kerk versus die Joodse geloof, ons van vervangingsteologie praat, van alle waarheid gestroop word aangesien die Jode en Israel van die Ou Testament as die eerste Kerk gesien moet word. Dit is hoe die Bybel dit gestel het, en dit is hoe die mense van die Ou Testament dit gesien het.

Kom ons begin by die begin van die KERK. En dit begin met Abraham. Die HERE begin met Abram (Abraham) praat lank voor die verbond wat Hy met hom sluit. En Abram luister elke keer en doen wat die HERE vir hom sê om te doen. So wat leer ons hieruit? Daar is twee faktore wat ‘n massiewe rol speel. Eerstens glo Abram die HERE en dan is hy gehoorsaam. Dit is die kenmerke van mense wat in die Kerk van die HERE hoort. Ons moet geloof hê en glo wat Hy vir ons sê, en moet ons gehoorsaam wees en doen wat Hy verwag. Dit val saam met Hebreërs 6 vers 1: “Daarom moet ons nie bly by die begin van die prediking aangaande Christus nie, maar na die volmaaktheid voortgaan sonder om weer die fondament te lê van die bekering uit dooie werke en van die geloof in God,”. So Abram lê sy eie lewe neer, bekering, en dan glo hy die HERE, geloof, die tweede kenmerk.

Nou vind ons dat die verbond ingestel word met nagmaal, waar Melgisedek die brood en die wyn bring. “En Melgisédek, die koning van Salem, wat ‘n priester van God, die Allerhoogste, was, het brood en wyn gebring en hom geseën en gesê: Geseënd is Abram deur God, die Allerhoogste, die Skepper van hemel en aarde. En geseënd is God, die Allerhoogste, wat u vyande in u hand gegee het. Toe gee hy hom die tiende van alles.” (Gen 14:18-20)

So ons vind dat daar toe alreeds ander mense was wat die HERE aanbid het en as priesters opgetree het. So Abram was nie alleen nie, daar was ander volke wat toe alreeds aan die HERE behoort het.

Nou kom die HERE eers met die verbond. “Ná hierdie dinge het die woord van die HERE tot Abram gekom in ‘n gesig en gesê: Vrees nie, Abram, Ek is vir jou ‘n skild en jou loon is baie groot. Toe vra Abram: Here HERE, wat sal U my gee, aangesien ek sonder kinders heengaan en die erfgenaam van my huis die Damaskéner Eliëser is? Verder het Abram gesê: Aan my het U geen nageslag gegee nie; so sal dan die bediende van my huis my erfgenaam wees. Toe kom die woord van die HERE tot hom en sê: Hierdie een sal jou erfgenaam nie wees nie, maar die een wat uit jou liggaam sal voortkom, hy sal jou erfgenaam wees. Daarop lei Hy hom uit na buite met die woorde: Kyk nou op na die hemel en tel die sterre as jy hulle kan tel. En Hy sê vir hom: So sal jou nageslag wees. En hy het in die HERE geglo; en Hy het hom dit tot geregtigheid gereken. Verder het Hy vir hom gesê: Ek is die HERE wat jou uitgelei het uit Ur van die Chaldeërs om jou hierdie land in besit te gee.” (Gen 15:1-7)

Wat beteken hierdie twee eienskappe vir Abram. Dat dit vir hom as geregtigheid gereken is. Sonder geregtigheid is dit onmoontlik om deel van God se Kerk te wees. En nou vind ons hoe die HERE die verbond instel en Abram geen deel daaraan het nie. Hy moes net die diere voorsien. Hier lees ons dat Abram moes die vee middeldeur sny en teenoor mekaar lê. Die betekenis daarvan was dat indien enigeen die verbond sou verbreek, die ander persoon die reg gehad het om so met sy verbondsvennoot op te tree. Nou het God vir Abram, hy het eers later Abraham geword, gesê dat uit Isak sou sy nageslag kom. So vir Abraham was dit nie moeilik om die besluit te neem om Isak te offer toe God hom gevra het nie, want die Here moes weer vir Isak uit die dood opwek, want uit Isak sou Abraham se nageslag kom. God kan nie lieg nie. Indien God dit nie doen nie, kon Abram met God maak soos met die diere gemaak is, en hy het geweet dat God nie kan lieg nie, en dat dit onmoontlik is om God dood te maak.

Verder, as een van die partye van ‘n verbond iets van die ander een verwag het om te doen, moes die ander party dieselfde verwagting hê. Omdat God van Abram verwag het om sy seun te offer, het die HERE daar verklaar dat Hy vir Jesus sou stuur om te sterwe, want Jesus is Sy seun. Dit is hoekom Jesus moes kom, om die gedeelte van die eerste verbond te vervul. Dit is ook hoekom Jesus net een keer kon kom om vir ons sonde te sterwe.

Vir die wat wil lees oor wat die verbond van Geregtigheid beteken kan u hier  lees.

So na hierdie gedeelte vind ons 25 jaar later dat die HERE die besnydenis instel as teken van die verbond. Nou die interessante gedeelte is dat wanneer ons na die volgorde kyk vind ons dat Abram moes glo, dan nagmaal vier, en dan volg die besnydenis. Na Abraham vind ons hulle moes eers besny word, dan glo, en dan nagmaal vir. So hier vind ons dit in ‘n halwe omgekeerde volgorde maar met Jesus vind ons dat Hy dit weer instel volgens Abraham se volgorde, so eers glo, dan nagmaal, en dan eers vind besnydenis van die hart plaas. Daarom dat ons so baie stryery kry vandag onder teoloë, want die harte is nie besny nie, alhoewel hulle nagmaal gebruik, weier hulle dat die HERE hul harte kan besny, en wil hulle hul verkeerde lewenswyses en insigte afdwing op hul kerkgenootskap.

So die Kerk begin met Abraham, en almal wat glo en deel geword het van die verbond, was Kerk.

Nou kom ons eers by Israel uit. En hier vind ons die volgende beginsel is dat mense van alle volke hulle by die volk kon voeg voor hul trek uit Egipte begin het. “Die hele vergadering van Israel moet dit hou. En as ‘n vreemdeling by jou vertoef en tot eer van die HERE die pasga wil vier, moet by hom almal wat manlik is, besny word; en dan mag hy nader kom om dit te vier, en hy sal soos ‘n kind van die land wees. Maar géén onbesnedene mag daarvan eet nie. Een wet moet geld vir die kind van die land en vir die vreemdeling wat onder julle vertoef.” (Exo 12:48-49) Die Engelse vertalings stel vers 47 egter as ‘n gemeente (congregation), en dit is ook hoe die woord in Strongs se Hebreeus beskryf word. “Net een wet moet daar vir julle wees die vreemdeling moet soos die kind van die land wees; want Ek is die HERE julle God.” (Lev 24:22)

So hier vind ons alreeds dat Israel nie ‘n spesifieke nasie is nie, maar almal wat besluit om die HERE as hul God te dien. So almal het dieselfde geloofsoortuiging gehad. So dit wys alreeds vir ons dat hulle eerder as Kerk funksioneer as volk. Dit sluit aan by die belofte wat die HERE aan Abraham gemaak het. “Toe Abram nege en negentig jaar oud was, het die HERE aan Abram verskyn en vir hom gesê: Ek is God, die Almagtige; wandel voor my aangesig, dan sal jy opreg wees. En Ek wil my verbond sluit tussen My en jou, en jou buitengewoon vermeerder. Toe val Abram op sy aangesig, en God het met hom gespreek en gesê: Wat My aangaan, kyk, my verbond is met jou, en jy sal die vader van ‘n menigte van nasies word. Daarom sal hulle jou nie meer Abram noem nie, maar jou naam sal wees Abraham, want Ek maak jou ‘n vader van ‘n menigte van nasies. En Ek sal jou buitengewoon vrugbaar maak: Ek sal jou tot nasies maak, en konings sal uit jou voortkom. En Ek sal my verbond oprig tussen My en jou en jou nageslag ná jou in hulle geslagte as ‘n ewige verbond, om vir jou ‘n God te wees en vir jou nageslag ná jou. En Ek sal aan jou en jou nageslag ná jou die land van jou vreemdelingskap gee, die hele land Kanaän, as ‘n ewige besitting; en Ek sal vir hulle ‘n God wees. Verder het God aan Abraham gesê: Maar jy moet my verbond hou, jy en jou nageslag ná jou, van geslag tot geslag.” (Gen 17:1-9)

So hier vind ons nog voor en tydens die trek na Kanaän, dat Israel as Kerk funksioneer en nie net as nasie nie. Soos vroeër genoem in Eksodus 12 vers 47, word hulle as ‘n gemeente beskryf en nie as a volk of nasie nie.

Dit is ook waaroor die hele boek van Hebreërs gaan.

Baie mense verstaan nie die boek in die Bybel nie, en daar is baie, soos selfs Martin Luther, wat voel dat die boek nie in die Bybel hoort nie. Dit is maar mense wat voel dat die boek juis aan Jode geskryf is en dat dit ons as Christene nie raak nie.

Maar, nou het ek ‘n probleem met die siening. Hoekom? Aangesien mense die Jode as volk sien en nie as Kerk nie. Dit is seker die grootste verskil wat ons vandag leer. Almal wil dat die boek slegs op die Jode van daardie tyd van toepassing was, maar wil of kan nie verstaan dat die sentrale punt van die boek gaan oor verbond nie.

So dit is nie net geskryf vir die Jode as nasie nie, maar aan die Jode as Kerk. Nou wat is die verskil? Ek wil dit graag verduidelik aan die hand van wat Paulus aan Korinte skryf, en wat Jesus vir Johannes openbaar in Openbaring. Paulus skryf die volgende: “En hierdie dinge was voorbeelde vir ons, dat ons nie begerig moet wees na slegte dinge soos hulle begerig was nie. En wees ook nie afgodedienaars soos sommige van hulle was nie, soos geskrywe is: Die volk het gaan sit om te eet en te drink en het opgestaan om te speel. En laat ons nie hoereer soos sommige van hulle gehoereer het nie, en daar het op een dag drie en twintig duisend geval. En laat ons Christus nie versoek soos ook sommige van hulle gedoen het nie, en hulle het deur die slange omgekom. En moenie murmureer soos ook sommige van hulle gemurmureer het nie, en hulle het deur die verderwer omgekom. Maar al hierdie dinge het hulle oorgekom as voorbeelde en is opgeskrywe as ‘n waarskuwing aan ons op wie die eindes van die eeue gekom het. (1Kor 10:6-11)

Jesus se woorde in Openbaring is weer as volg: “Ek ken jou werke en verdrukking en armoede maar jy is ryk en die lastering van die wat sê dat hulle Jode is en dit nie is nie, maar ‘n sinagoge van die Satan.” Open 2:9. “Kyk, Ek gee jou uit die sinagoge van die Satan, van die wat sê dat hulle Jode is en dit nie is nie, maar lieg Ek sal maak dat hulle kom en voor jou voete neerbuig en erken dat Ek jou liefgehad het.” Open 3:9.

So ek gaan eerstens bewys dat Israel as Kerk funksioneer het, en nie as volk nie. Maar, kom ons begin by die begin. Wie is alreeds, en wie gaan nog hemel toe. Die wat reeds in die hemel is, is mense soos Moses, Dawid, Samuel, en nog baie ander persone van die Ou Testament. As ons na Nuwe Testamentiese mense soek is dit seker mense soos Petrus, Paulus en Johannes. Wat u dalk mag opval is dat ek slegs name van mense noem wat uit Israel afkomstig is. Die rede hiervoor is om vir u te wys dat hulle sekerlik daar is, omdat hulle aan die volk en Kerk van die HERE, Israel behoort het. Wat ek leer uit die Ou Testament is dat slegs persone wat die HERE behaag het en in Hom geglo het die ewige lewe beërwe het en nie alle Israeliete nie. Daarom dat ons lees dat die HERE in die meeste van hulle geen behae gehad het nie en hulle neergevel is in die woestyn, en so in die hel opgeëindig het. “Maar God het in die meeste van hulle geen welgevalle gehad nie, want hulle is neergeslaan in die woestyn.” (1Kor 10:5)

Die HERE spreek die volgende woorde uit oor Israel: “Want jy is ‘n volk heilig aan die HERE jou God; jou het die HERE jou God uitverkies om uit al die volke wat op die aarde is, sy eiendomsvolk te wees. Die HERE het ‘n welgevalle aan julle gehad en julle uitverkies, nie omdat julle meer was as al die ander volke nie, want julle was die geringste van al die volke. Maar omdat die HERE julle liefgehad en die eed gehou het wat Hy vir julle vaders gesweer het, het die HERE julle met ‘n sterke hand uitgelei en jou uit die slawehuis, uit die hand van Farao, die koning van Egipte, verlos. Jy moet dan weet dat die HERE jou God God is, die getroue God wat die verbond en die goedertierenheid hou vir die wat Hom lief het en sy gebooie onderhou, in duisend geslagte.” (Deu 7:6-9) Hierdie gedeelte klink vir my eerder as ‘n belofte aan ‘n Kerk, as ‘n belofte aan ‘n spesifieke volk.

Maar hoe nou gemaak met ander mense van ander nasies?

Ek wil begin by die begin. Nou mag jy dink dat as ek na Openbaring verwys, ek aan die einde begin, maar Christus is aan die woord, en Hy was van die begin van die aarde al daar. Openbaring 3 vers 9: “Kyk, Ek gee jou uit die sinagoge van die Satan, van die wat sê dat hulle Jode is en dit nie is nie, maar lieg”. Hier sien ons dat Jesus aan die gemeente skryf en sê dat sommige voorgee dat hulle Jode is maar lieg. Die gemeente is in Filedelfia, verseker nie in Israel nie. Dit is ook ‘n bevestiging van Openbaring 2 vers 9: “Ek ken jou werke en verdrukking en armoede maar jy is ryk en die lastering van die wat sê dat hulle Jode is en dit nie is nie, maar ‘n sinagoge van die Satan.” So hier gee Jesus vir ons ‘n belangrike stukkie inligting. Slegs ware Jode sal gered word. Dit stem saam met wat Moses meedeel in Deuteronomium 7 verse 6 en 7: “Want jy is ‘n volk heilig aan die HERE jou God; jou het die HERE jou God uitverkies om uit al die volke wat op die aarde is, sy eiendomsvolk te wees.  Die HERE het ‘n welgevalle aan julle gehad en julle uitverkies, nie omdat julle meer was as al die ander volke nie, want julle was die geringste van al die volke”.

Sodra ons besef dat God nooit Sy beloftes sal verander nie, sal ons besef dat daar iets is wat nie pluis is nie. Hoe kan God ons as heidene dan ook red as Sy Woord verklaar dat slegs Jode gered word? Die antwoord kom uit Handelinge 10 vers 34 en 35 :” En Petrus het sy mond geopen en gesê: Ek sien waarlik dat God geen aannemer van die persoon is nie,  maar dat in elke nasie die een wat Hom vrees en geregtigheid doen, Hom welgevallig is.” Hier sien ons dat as ons Hom vrees en geregtigheid doen, ons Hom welgevallig is. Dit los egter nog nie die probleem van Openbaring op nie, want ons is nog nie Jode nie. Die antwoord moet ons gaan soek in Israel se geskiedenis met die uittog uit Egipte. Hier gee die HERE vir die Israeliete ‘n wet wat hulle moet gehoorsaam. Numeri 15 vers 15 en 16: “Wat die vergadering aangaan, een en dieselfde insetting geld vir julle en vir die vreemdeling wat by julle vertoef. ‘n Ewige insetting in julle geslagte is dit: soos julle, so moet die vreemdeling voor die aangesig van die HERE wees.  Een wet en een reg moet geld vir julle en vir die vreemdeling wat by julle vertoef.”  Eksodus 12 vers 48 gee die finale antwoord vir ons: “En as ‘n vreemdeling by jou vertoef en tot eer van die HERE die pasga wil vier, moet by hom almal wat manlik is, besny word; en dan mag hy nader kom om dit te vier, en hy sal soos ‘n kind van die land wees. Maar géén onbesnedene mag daarvan eet nie.

In Israel se geskiedenis sien ons dat wanneer iemand uit ‘n ander volk hom of haar verbind het met die Israeliete, hulle as volksgenote, of deel van die Kerk geag is. ‘n Baie goeie voorbeeld vir ons is Rut. Alhoewel sy die reg gehad het om na haar mense terug te gaan na haar man se dood, het sy gekies om saam met Naomi na haar land te gaan. Die woorde wat Rut ook gespreek het, ontsluit die waarheid verder. Rut 1:16 “Maar Rut sê: Moenie by my aandring dat ek u moet verlaat om agter u om te draai nie; want waar u gaan, sal ek gaan; en waar u vertoef, sal ek vertoef; u volk is my volk, en u God is my God. 17  Waar u sterwe, sal ek sterwe en daar begrawe word! Mag die HERE so aan my doen en so daaraan toedoen–net die dood sal skeiding maak tussen my en u.” Hier gee sy te kenne dat sy kies om deel te word van Naomi se volk, en saam met Naomi haar God sal aanbid. Wie was Rut? Dawid se grootouma. Waar kom Jesus vandaan? Uit Dawid se geslag.

Nou hoe pas al hierdie stukke in mekaar? Die HERE het Israel uitgekies as Sy Kerk. Ons, as heidene moet dus kies om by die Kerk van die HERE gevoeg te word. Hoe doen ons dit? Deur deel te word van die verbond met die HERE. Dit is om Christus se geregtigheid te besit. So ons moet weet wat Jesus kom doen het op aarde, en dit is om die Ou Verbond te vervul deur aan al die voorwaardes te voldoen. Dan gee dit ons die geleentheid om deel te word van die Israel van die HERE, soos Paulus vir ons in Galasiërs dit opgeteken het. “Want in Christus Jesus het nòg die besnydenis nòg die onbesnedenheid enige krag, maar ‘n nuwe skepsel. En mag daar vrede en barmhartigheid wees oor almal wat sal wandel volgens hierdie reël, en oor die Israel van God!” (Gal 6:15-16) So hierdie gedeelte klink vir my baie meer as beleidenis skrifte van ’n Kerk, as beloftes aan ‘n spesifieke volk. So Israel is nie as volk uitverkies nie, maar as Kerk want slegs die wat deel was van die verbond en geglo het dat slegs die HERE hulle God was, het die ewige lewe verkry.

Waar vind ons die eerste afval van die Kerk? Met die onderverdeling van Kanaän. Die Rubeniete en Gadiete en die halwe stam van Manasse het besluit om nie hulle erfdeel in Kanaän in besit te neem nie. Hulle wou hulle eie kop volg en buite die beloofde land hul erfenis ontvang. So hulle het gekies om nie dit wat die HERE vir hulle wou gee nie, te aanvaar nie. So hier sien ons die eerste afval. Wanneer ons in die geskiedenis van Israel gaan kyk, sien ons dat hulle geen invloed later op die geskiedenis van Israel gehad het nie. Dit is presies wat vandag gebeur. Mense besluit om die Kerk te verlaat en kan nie as gelowiges getel word nie, want slegs mense wat Jesus as hul verlosser bely en lewe soos kinders van die HERE vorm deel van die werklike Kerk. Dit is hoe Hebreërs 6 dit stel : “Want dit is onmoontlik om die wat eenmaal verlig geword het en die hemelse gawe gesmaak en die Heilige Gees deelagtig geword het, en die goeie woord van God gesmaak het en die kragte van die toekomstige wêreld, en afvallig geword het—om dié weer tot bekering te vernuwe, omdat hulle ten opsigte van hulleself die Seun van God weer kruisig en openlik tot skande maak.” (Heb 6:4-6) Dit is ook wat in de Ou Verbond gebeur het. Saul raadpleeg die heks van Endor en sterf as ongelowige. Wanneer Israel gesondig het is hulle gestraf om hulle terug te bring na die HERE toe, maar wanneer hulle nie meer aan die HERE vasgehou het nie, vind ons hulle nie verder in die Bybel nie. Alreeds net na Dawid skeur die koninkryk in twee, en sien ons nooit weer die ander stamme in die geskiedenis nie. So die ander het hul eie “kerk: begin, en is deur die HERE verstoot. Jesus praat ook nie met die mense van die “kerk” nie, behalwe om hulle teen mekaar op te sweep. Dit is wat Hy elke keer met die Fariseërs en Saduseërs gedoen het. En hulle was die “kerk”.

Nou kan ons maar deur Israel se geskiedenis sien hoe meeste van die stamme afvallig word, afgode aanbid en hulle voeg by die nasies wat hulle veronderstel was om uit te roei. Vandag vind ons dat mense sê dat Jesus moet nou eers die mense van die verlore stamme moet kom red, maar hulle het reeds hulle keuses gemaak en besluit om nie deel van die HERE se Kerk te wees nie. Die HERE het nie ‘n spesifieke volk gekies nie, maar ‘n spesifieke groep mense wat in Hom glo as hulle God. Dit is waaroor al die profete gepraat het. Al hul geskrifte is eintlik herlewings boodskappe wat hulle vir die mense gebring het. Almal het vir hulle voorgehou wat hulle moes doen, en dit was om terug te keer na die HERE toe. Daar was wel ook van die boodskappe wat hulle gebring het wat gewys het op Jesus en Sy verlossing wat Hy kom bring het. Maar dit was nogsteeds boodskappe om mense nader aan die HERE te bring. So al hierdie boodskappe gaan oor wat van ons as Kerk verwag word, en nie boodskappe aan ‘n volk nie.

Verder vind ons net soos vandag dat lidmaatskap aan ‘n Kerk groep nie beteken dat jy die ewige lewe gaan beërf nie, maar slegs geloof in Jesus Christus as verlosser.

So Israel was die Kerk onder die Ou Verbond, en ons vorm deel van die Kerk onder die Nuwe Verbond. So daar bestaan nie iets soos vervangings teologie nie, maar slegs boodskappe aan die Kerk van die HERE. En dit het al begin met Moses wat die volgende keuse aan die mense gee: “Want hierdie gebod wat ek jou vandag beveel, is vir jou nie te swaar nie en is nie ver nie. Dit is nie in die hemel nie, sodat jy moet sê: Wie sal vir ons na die hemel opklim en dit vir ons gaan haal en ons dit laat hoor, dat ons dit kan doen? Dit is ook nie oorkant die see nie, sodat jy moet sê: Wie sal vir ons na die oorkant van die see oorvaar en dit vir ons gaan haal en ons dit laat hoor, dat ons dit kan doen? Maar baie naby jou is die woord, in jou mond en in jou hart, om dit te doen. Kyk, ek het jou vandag voorgehou die lewe en die geluk, en die dood en die ongeluk. Wat ek jou vandag beveel, is om die HERE jou God lief te hê, in sy weë te wandel en sy gebooie en sy insettinge en sy verordeninge te hou, sodat jy kan lewe en vermenigvuldig en die HERE jou God jou mag seën in die land waarheen jy gaan om dit in besit te neem. Maar as jou hart hom afwend en jy nie luister nie en jy jou laat verlei, sodat jy jou voor ander gode neerbuig en hulle dien, dan verkondig ek julle vandag dat julle sekerlik sal omkom; julle sal die dae nie verleng in die land waarheen jy oor die Jordaan trek om dit in besit te gaan neem nie. Ek neem vandag die hemel en die aarde as getuies teen julle; die lewe en die dood, die seën en die vloek het ek jou voorgehou. Kies dan die lewe, dat jy kan lewe, jy en jou nageslag, deur die HERE jou God lief te hê, na sy stem te luister en Hom aan te hang; want dit is jou lewe en die lengte van jou dae, sodat jy kan woon in die land wat die HERE aan jou vaders Abraham, Isak en Jakob met ‘n eed beloof het om dit aan hulle te gee. (Deu 30:11-20)

So Israel moes kies om die HERE te volg, en dit klink soos iemand wat moet kies vandag om kind van die HERE te word, en nie ‘n blanko uitspraak dat al Israel se mense die ewige lewe sal ontvang nie. Nee, slegs mense wat Hom gekies het, sal Sy kinders of volk wees.

So om terug te keer na die boek aan die Hebreërs, sien ons dat die boek handel oor die verskillende standpunte in die verskillende Kerke. Daar is eerstens die wat glo dat Jesus alles volbring het en dat slegs deur geloof in Hom ons as Kerk kan funksioneer. Dan is die tweede groep die wat glo dat Jesus die verlosser is, maar tog nog sekere van die Ou Testamentiese werke aan wil vashou om verlossing te kry, en dan die wat nog in die Ou Verbond vashou as die enigste manier om God se kinders gereken te word. En dit is wat die skrywer probeer bespreek, om te wys daarop dat Jesus al die voorskrifte aan voldoen het, en dat slegs volle oorgawe aan Hom en volle vertroue in Hom, die ewige lewe vir ons as mense kan verkry. Geen werke kan maak dat ons as Kerk gereken kan word nie.

So die skrywer wys daarop dat geen werke of nakoming van die Ou Verbond se voorskrifte vir ons die ewige lewe kan gee nie, aangesien Jesus ‘n einde daaraan gemaak het toe hy deur die hemelse tabernakel gegaan het. Dit is wat Hebreërs 3 en 4 oor gaan. Dat ons geloof moet hê dat Jesus die Christus is en dat dit onmoontlik is om in Sy rus te gaan daarsonder. Dit is die betekenis van die Sabbat, dat ons oorgaan van ‘n werke godsdiens na ‘n geloofs godsdiens.

Dit is waarom die nuwe voorskrifte in Hebreërs 13 opgeteken is, en wat dit vir ons beteken. Dit is vir ons al die vereistes om aan te voldoen.

“Die broederliefde moet bly. Vergeet die gasvryheid nie, want daardeur het sommige, sonder om dit te weet, engele as gaste geherberg. Dink aan die gevangenes asof julle medegevangenes is, en aan die wat mishandel word, as mense wat self ook ‘n liggaam het. Laat die huwelik in alle opsigte eerbaar wees en die bed onbesmet; want God sal hoereerders en egbrekers oordeel. Julle gedrag moet vry van geldgierigheid wees. Wees tevrede met wat julle het, want Hy het gesê: Ek sal jou nooit begewe en jou nooit verlaat nie. Daarom kan ons met alle vrymoedigheid sê: Die Here is vir my ‘n Helper, en ek sal nie vrees nie; wat sal ‘n mens aan my doen? Gedenk julle voorgangers wat die woord van God aan julle verkondig het; aanskou die uiteinde van hulle lewenswandel en volg hulle geloof na. Jesus Christus is gister en vandag dieselfde en tot in ewigheid. Moenie rondgeslinger word deur allerhande en vreemde leringe nie; want dit is goed dat die hart versterk word deur genade, nie deur voedsel nie, waarvan die wat daarin gewandel het, geen voordeel gehad het nie. Ons het ‘n altaar waarvan die wat die tabernakel bedien, geen reg het om te eet nie; want die diere waarvan die bloed vir die sonde deur die hoëpriester in die heiligdom ingedra word—hulle liggame word buitekant die laer verbrand. Daarom het Jesus ook, om die volk deur sy eie bloed te heilig, buitekant die poort gely. Laat ons dan uitgaan na Hom toe buitekant die laer en sy smaad dra. Want ons het hier geen blywende stad nie, maar ons soek die toekomstige. Laat ons dan gedurig deur Hom aan God ‘n lofoffer bring, dit is die vrug van die lippe wat sy Naam bely. Vergeet die weldadigheid en mededeelsaamheid nie, want God het ‘n welbehae aan sulke offers. Wees gehoorsaam aan julle voorgangers en onderdanig, want hulle waak vir julle siele as diegene wat rekenskap moet gee, sodat hulle dit met blydskap kan doen en nie al sugtende nie; want dit is vir julle nie nuttig nie. Bid vir ons, want ons is oortuig dat ons ‘n goeie gewete het, omdat ons in alles goed wil wandel. Des te meer vermaan ek julle om dit te doen, sodat ek gouer aan julle teruggegee kan word. Mag die God van die vrede, wat die groot Herder van die skape, naamlik onse Here Jesus Christus, deur die bloed van die ewige testament uit die dode teruggebring het, julle volmaak in elke goeie werk, om sy wil te doen, deur in julle te werk wat welbehaaglik is voor Hom deur Jesus Christus aan wie die heerlikheid toekom t6ot in alle ewigheid! Amen. En ek vermaan julle, broeders, verdra die woord van vermaning, want ek het ook maar kort aan julle geskrywe. Julle moet weet dat die broeder Timótheüs vrygelaat is, saam met wie ek julle sal sien as hy spoedig kom. Groet al julle voorgangers en al die heiliges. Die wat van Italië is, groet julle. Die genade sy met julle almal! Amen.” (Heb 13:1-25)

So dit is die voorskrifte vir Sy Kerk. Nou kan jy self sien of jou gemeente of van die lerings wat hulle huldig aan die vereistes voldoen. Nêrens lees ek in die Nuwe Verbond dat die HERE mense wat hul rug op Hom gekeer het weer ‘n geleentheid sal kry om Hom te sien vir wie Hy is nie. Dit beteken ook dat Hy nie Israel as ‘n spesiale volk verkies het nie, maar Israel as Kerk gekies het.

So daar bestaan nie iets soos vervangingsteologie nie. Of jy glo die waarheid en beërf die ewige lewe, of jy sterf die tweede dood. Ek en jy wat die HERE dien is deel van Sy Israel, soos vroeër genoem in die aanhaling uit Galasiërs. 6:16 “En mag daar vrede en barmhartigheid wees oor almal wat sal wandel volgens hierdie reël, en oor die Israel van God!” So dit gaan alles oor Sy Kerk.

Ons moet onthou dat die eerste mense wat tot bekering gekom het Jode was. En hulle is ook Christene genoem. “En toe hulle dit hoor, het hulle geswyg en God verheerlik en gesê: So het God dan ook aan die heidene die bekering tot die lewe geskenk. Die wat dan verstrooi was deur die verdrukking wat oor Stéfanus ontstaan het, het die land deurgegaan tot by Fenícië en Ciprus en Antiochíë sonder om tot iemand die woord te spreek, behalwe tot die Jode alleen. En daar was sommige van hulle, Cipriese en Cirenése manne, wat in Antiochíë gekom het en met die Griekssprekende Jode gepraat en die evangelie van die Here Jesus verkondig het. En die hand van die Here was met hulle, en ‘n groot getal het gelowig geword en hulle tot die Here bekeer. En die berig hiervan het die gemeente wat in Jerusalem was, ter ore gekom en hulle het Bárnabas afgestuur om die land deur te gaan tot by Antiochíë. Toe hy daar kom en die genade van God sien, was hy bly en het almal vermaan om met hartlike voorneme aan die Here getrou te bly; want hy was ‘n goeie man en vol van die Heilige Gees en geloof; en ‘n aansienlike skare is aan die Here toegebring. Toe vertrek Bárnabas na Tarsus om Saulus te soek, en toe hy hom kry, het hy hom na Antiochíë gebring. En hulle het ‘n hele jaar lank in die gemeente saam vergader en aan ‘n aansienlike skare onderwys gegee; en die dissipels is in Antiochíë vir die eerste keer Christene genoem.” (Hand 11:18-26)

So die mense was eerstens Jode, maar het toe bekend gestaan as Christene. So die wat praat oor vervangingingsteologie bewys net hulle onkunde, en hulle tekort aan kennis wat in die Bybel staan.

So daar sal nie ‘n wegraping wees om die Jode te kom red nie, want dan moet almal wat nie in Jesus glo ook ‘n tweede kans kry, en dan beteken die Bybel en Jesus niks nie. So hardloop weg van die mense voordat hulle jou saam met hulle in die afgrond trek. Dit is so dat daar pragtige mense is wat jy dalk voel ek nou aanvat, maar weet jy net mense wat glo in die volle boodskap van die Bybel sal gered word. Jesus het in elk geval vir hulle meegedeel dat hulle verwerp is: “Jesus sê vir hulle: Het julle nooit in die Skrifte gelees nie: Die steen wat die bouers verwerp het, dit het ‘n hoeksteen geword. Hy het van die Here gekom en is wonderbaar in ons oë? Daarom sê Ek vir julle: Die koninkryk van God sal van julle weggeneem en aan ‘n volk gegee word wat die vrugte daarvan sal dra. En hy wat op hierdie steen val, sal verpletter word; maar elkeen op wie hy val, dié sal hy vermorsel. En toe die owerpriesters en die Fariseërs sy gelykenisse hoor, het hulle begryp dat Hy van hulle spreek. En hulle het probeer om Hom in hulle mag te kry, maar hulle was bang vir die skare, omdat dié Hom vir ‘n profeet gehou het.” (Mat 21:42-46) Hier gebruik Jesus ook die woord volk, want die ware Kerk, of Bruid, het nog nie bestaan nie, want Hy het nog gelewe. Die is die vervulling van die gedeelte in Jesaja 5. “Laat my tog sing van my Beminde; ‘n lied van my Beminde oor sy wingerd! My Beminde het ‘n wingerd op ‘n vrugbare heuwel. En Hy het dit omgespit en die klippe daar uitgehaal en dit beplant met edel wingerdstokke; en Hy het ‘n toring daar binne-in gebou en ook ‘n parskuip daarin uitgekap; en Hy het verwag dat dit druiwe sou dra, maar dit het wilde druiwe voortgebring. Nou dan, inwoners van Jerusalem en manne van Juda, oordeel tog tussen My en my wingerd. Wat is daar meer te doen aan my wingerd wat Ek daar nie aan gedoen het nie? Waarom het Ek verwag dat dit druiwe sou dra, en dit het wilde druiwe voortgebring? Laat My julle dan nou te kenne gee wat Ek met my wingerd gaan doen: Ek sal sy doringheining wegneem, sodat dit verwoes word; Ek sal sy muur stukkend breek, sodat dit vertrap word. En Ek sal dit ‘n wildernis maak: dit sal nie gesnoei of omgespit word nie, maar opskiet met dorings en distels; en Ek sal die wolke gebied om nie daarop te reën nie. Want die wingerd van die HERE van die leërskare is die huis van Israel, en die manne van Juda is die tuin van sy verlustiging; en Hy het gewag op reg, maar kyk, dit was bloedvergieting; op geregtigheid, maar kyk, dit was geskreeu!” (Isa 5:1-7)

Die dat Openbaring daarop wys dat twee derdes van alle Christene verlore sal gaan, want hulle glo die boodskap van die Bybel, plus hulle interpretasie. Hulle sal veg dat hulle interpretasie reg is en verse kwoteer om jou te probeer oortuig, maar weet jy die duiwel het ook vir Jesus aangevat deur die Bybel te kwoteer, maar Jesus het hom elke keer op sy foute gewys. So ek wil net graag wys dat daar foute is in party van ons lerings, en ons moet self verantwoordelikheid neem vir ons eie lewe, en nie vertrou op mense nie. Dieselfde storie geld vir die tien maagde. Vyf het Hom verwag, en vyf het eers gewag vir die wegraping en al sy gevolge, en het die bruilof gemis.

“As iemand iets anders leer en nie instem met die gesonde woorde van onse Here Jesus Christus en met die leer wat volgens die godsaligheid is nie, dié is verwaand en verstaan niks nie, maar het ‘n sieklike sug na twisvrae en woordestryd waaruit ontstaan afguns, twis, lasteringe, bose agterdog, nuttelose stryery van mense wat verdorwe in hulle verstand en van die waarheid beroof is en dink dat die godsaligheid winsgewend is. Onttrek jou aan sulke mense.” (1Ti 6:3-5)

Verder verklaar Paulus die volgende: “Maar die doel van die gebod is liefde uit ‘n rein hart en ‘n goeie gewete en ‘n ongeveinsde geloof waarvan sommige mense afgedwaal en hulle afgewend het na onsinnige praatjies; hulle wil leraars van die wet wees, alhoewel hulle wat hulle sê, of die dinge wat hulle beslis beweer, nie verstaan nie. Maar ons weet dat die wet goed is as iemand dit wettiglik gebruik en as hy weet dat die wet nie gegee is vir die regverdige nie, maar vir die wettelose en tugtelose mense, goddelose en sondaars, onheiliges en ongewydes, vadermoorders en moedermoorders, moordenaars, hoereerders, sodomiete, mensediewe, leuenaars, meinediges en wat daar anders met die gesonde leer in stryd is, volgens die evangelie van die heerlikheid van die salige God wat aan my toevertrou is.”  (1Ti 1:5-11)

So indien iemand met jou wil redeneer oor die wet, weet dat hy volgens die vorige gedeelte praat asof hy dink jy is nie geregverdig nie, en dalk is hy nie geregverdig nie. Die wet is slegs ‘n tugmeester na die regverdigheid toe, en in sigself kan net die dood beteken. “Maar voordat die geloof gekom het, is ons onder die wet in bewaring gehou, ingesluit met die oog op die geloof wat geopenbaar sou word. Die wet was dus ons tugmeester na Christus toe, sodat ons geregverdig kan word uit die geloof. Maar nou dat die geloof gekom het, is ons nie meer onder ‘n tugmeester nie.” (Gal 3:23-25)

So indien iemand jou wil dwing of “reg help” deur die wet te verkondig, weet dat die persoon nie die Bybel verstaan nie, en slegs sy interpretasie vir jou wil leer. So sal hulle jou probeer oortuig om kersfees te vermy, die paas naweek nie te vier en nog ‘n klomp ander dae nie, maar ons weet hulle probeer om jou weer onder die wet te plaas. Maar Paulus skryf as volg: “Julle wat onder die wet wil wees, sê vir my, luister julle nie na die wet nie? Want daar is geskrywe dat Abraham twee seuns gehad het, een uit die slavin en een uit die vrye. Maar die een uit die slavin is gebore na die vlees, en die ander een uit die vrye deur die belofte. Dit is sinnebeelde, want dié vroue staan vir twee verbonde: een, van die berg Sinai afkomstig, wat vir die slawerny kinders baar—dit is Hagar; want Hagar staan vir die berg Sinai in Arabië en kom ooreen met die teenswoordige Jerusalem en is met haar kinders saam in slawerny. Maar Jerusalem daarbo is vry; en dit is die moeder van ons almal. Want daar is geskrywe: Verbly jou, onvrugbare wat nie baar nie; breek uit en roep, jy wat geen barensnood het nie, want die kinders van die eensame is meer as van haar wat ‘n man het. Maar ons, broeders, is soos Isak, kinders van die belofte; maar soos destyds hy wat na die vlees gebore is, hom wat na die Gees was, vervolg het, so is dit nou ook. Maar wat sê die Skrif? Werp die slavin en haar seun uit, want nooit mag die seun van die slavin saam met die seun van die vrye erwe nie. Daarom, broeders, ons is nie kinders van die slavin nie, maar van die vrye.” (Gal 4:21-31)

So die wat glo dat Jesus die Christus is en ons kom vrymaak het van die wet en Sy geregtigheid besit, is die Kerk van die HERE, en nie die volgens geslagsregisters en onderhouers van die wet nie. “Maar destyds, toe julle God nie geken het nie, het julle dié gedien wat van nature geen gode is nie; maar nou dat julle God ken, of liewer deur God geken is, hoe keer julle weer terug tot die swakke en armoedige eerste beginsels wat julle weer van voor af aan wil dien? Julle neem dae en en maande en tye en jare waar. Ek vrees vir julle dat ek miskien tevergeefs aan julle gearbei het. Broeders, ek bid julle, word soos ek, want ek is ook soos julle. Julle het my geen onreg aangedoen nie; maar julle weet dat ek ten gevolge van krankheid van die vlees die eerste keer die evangelie aan julle verkondig het; en julle het my beproewing in my vlees nie verag of verfoei nie, maar julle het my ontvang as ‘n engel van God, ja, as Christus Jesus.” (Gal 4:8-14)

So wie is Israel? Die wat die wil van die HERE doen om te deel in die Nuwe Verbond, en dit geld al van Moses se tyd af. So dié mense is Kerk.