Politics, Prayer and the Peace of Jerusalem

Some believe President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of the State of Israel on December 6, 2017 will bring peace. I am more concerned with what Jesus said Jerusalem must do before God allows peace to come to her.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones to death those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you didn’t want to! 38 Look! Your house is left to you deserted! 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘How blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'” [Mathew 23, International Standard Version]

The Amplified Bible translates verse 38 like this, “Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate (abandoned and left destitute of God’s help).”

Verse 38 is in reference to Jeremiah 22:5 which says, “But if you will not obey these words, I swear by Myself,” declares the Lord, ‘that this house will become a desolation.’”

One of the definitions of the word ‘desolation’ in Jeremiah 22:5 means to dry up or to be dried up. This is chilling! I know it is very difficult for the modern Christian to accept but God dried up [made barren] the land of the Jews and their hallowed city. This is true both in the natural and the spiritual.

History records Jerusalem and the hallowed Jewish temple were destroyed in 70 AD.

So why is the land coming alive in the natural and why is there so much excitement over what President Trump did yesterday? Man has an amazing capability to be creative and to be highly productive with their creativity. That is the mark of the Creator in the makeup of man that God made! None of those facts prove God should be given credit for what is an obvious improvement in the land.

But Kevin, what about what Isaiah said about God causing the desert to bloom. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” [Isaiah 35:1 KJV]

Jesus is known as the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys [SOS 2:1]. Friends, there is no blossom or rejoicing of the desert that is divorced from the One who is the Rose! No Rose, no rejoicing! No Lily, no Life!

But Kevin, aren’t you spiritualizing the text? No! Paul said, “First the natural then the spiritual” [1 Corinthians 15:4]. Why do you think Jesus came as a human being [in the natural]? Jesus came to bring revelation of spiritual realities that are greater in every way than natural realities.

Everything the prophets said must be viewed in light of the Light of the world [Hebrews 1]! “1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”

What “words” were the Jews to obey according to Jeremiah that would keep desolation from coming to the people and the place of their habitation?

“1 Thus says the Lord, ‘Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and there speak this word 2 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, O king of Judah, who sits on David’s throne, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates.’ 3 ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place. 4 For if you men will indeed perform this thing, then kings will enter the gates of this house, sitting in David’s place on his throne, riding in chariots and on horses, even the king himself and his servants and his people.’”

“Do justice and righteousness”

We know they failed miserably in this as the leaders and some of the people constantly were in conflict with Jesus, and they eventually conspired against Him and murdered Him at the hands of the Romans.

“Deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of the oppressor”

Again, the Jews failed miserably here as they were the original oppressor of Jesus and instead of delivering Him they handed Him over to Pilate. In other words, they abandoned God and left Him in the hands of an oppressive politician.

“Do not shed innocent blood in this place”

This is the most egregious sin the Jews committed. In fact, they screamed, “His [innocent] blood be upon us and our children” [Matthew 27:25].

The commands of the Lord come with conditions. Obey and the gates to ‘this house’ will be open to kings, his servants and his people.. Disobey and ‘this house’ becomes a desolation. They chose desolation as their destiny!

The Jews in Jesus’ day declared, “We have no king but Caesar.”  Until that confession is fessed you can forget about them entering the kingdom of God.

There will never be true and lasting peace until the Jewish people corporately repent for rejecting and murdering God’s free gift of salvation and peace to them. They must admit the Jesus they crucified 2000 years ago is the Prince of Peace, and until they do they will never see Him.

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: ‘Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know — 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified.'”

Peter is not the only Jewish believer in Jesus who attributes Jesus’ murder to the Jews.

Look at what Paul wrote to the believers in Thessaloníki [1 Thessalonians 2], “14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.

What Jesus had to say about Jerusalem is of more importance to me than what any President or politician says. Jesus made some astonishing statements about Jerusalem. One of which I mentioned above.

Another one is found in John 4. “19 The woman said* to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.’ 21 Jesus said* to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’”

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that beginning 2,000 years ago Jerusalem is not the center of the worship His Father is seeking. Again, Jesus said in at least 2 ways the Father is not seeking worship in Jerusalem so Christians need to back off the misinformation on the importance of the city of Jerusalem. And by the way, Jesus said ‘an hour is coming’, and then He said ‘and now is’. There are no words in between those two truths and there are no words that can replace His words!

Jesus removed Jerusalem as the primary place of the worship of God, and Jesus said that Jerusalem was desolate, lonesome, abandoned by Him [God], a woman neglected by her husband, divorced and devoid of God’s help [Strong’s and Thayer’s].

People misunderstand David’s plea for prayer found in Psalm 122:6 – “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.”

Love is not love if it is not accompanied with truth! We are to “speak the truth in love.”

There is no truth that violates the One who identified Himself as, “the Truth.”

When we define ‘prosper’ by human standards we reduce the power of what God intended when He dictated that word to be used. To prosper from heaven’s perspective is to obey God at all costs. That is true prosperity!

“I desire obedience rather than sacrifice” is a core value of the Father. Why? Because it is possible to sacrifice without obedience but not possible to obey without sacrifice.

Isaiah spoke of the Messiah when he prophesied, “Behold, My servant will prosper. He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.” [52:13] Jesus confirmed what this was speaking about when He said, “”And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” [John 12:32] Can we agree that Jesus completed His mission by being completely obedient to the Father by carrying His cross to the very end?

David spoke approximately 1,000 years before Jesus. We must take what David said in view of what Jesus said. Does anyone really believe God will listen to any prayer for Jerusalem that does not consider what Jesus said about Jerusalem?

David is considered a prophet. Peter declared that on the day of Pentecost. “29 Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay.” [Acts 2]

Paul said this in Hebrews 1, “1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.”

Whatever God said before Jesus and whatever God [said] says after Jesus must be viewed in the light of Jesus’ life, ministry, message, mission, mandate and methods.

So, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem we MUST pray for the Jewish people to accept the gift of repentance God has been offering them for 2.000 years so that they can repent for their rebellion and receive the free gift of eternal life that is found only in Jesus, the crucified and resurrected Lord of glory!

Then and only then will peace come to the Jews and Jerusalem!

Keep HIS Passion! Keep HIS Priority! Keep HIS Purpose!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin

His Hisstorymaker

 

All Scripture

Every time ALL CAPS are used it is for emphasis only!

16″All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, for training in righteousness; 17[so] that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” [2 Timothy 3:16,17].

This is a classic text for a multitude of reasons. I would like to provide some context and exposition so that each of you, not just the men, can be an adequate and equipped minister of the gospel of grace.

First of all, in Christ there is neither male nor female and all Christian believers are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul, the apostle of grace, in my opinion, had more revelation on the word, will and ways of God than any other human being, except for Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Paul, writing to his spiritual son Timothy, was instructing him on the importance of the Scripture in his development as a young minister of the Christian life, Christian message, and Christian ministry.

In verse 16 of his second letter to Timothy he pens the classic text – “All Scripture is inspired by God”.

Taken literally, which we should, the phrase “all Scripture” is referring to the Old Testament Scripture. But in context we must also know that the New Testament was being lived out and also being written by the different New Testament writers.

Without a context the text becomes a pretext that can be taken out of context. This is done a lot with preachers and teachers that have already formulated a belief that they are trying to prove. In other words, these “teachers” find verses in the Bible to prove what they already believe. This is called proof texting and eisegesis. Eisegesis is a fancy Greek word that means to read into the text a personal bias. Exegesis is the Greek word that means to get, or take out of the text what the text is saying. In other words – LET THE TEXT TELL YOU WHAT THE TEXT IS SAYING!

As representatives of the Lord we must provide the context in order to come to the correct  conclusion.

Also, correct hermeneutics requires us to first determine what the text meant to the person or people it was written to. We cannot leap frog thousands of years into our day to come to conclusions without first understanding what it meant when it was written. I refer you to my previous blog Eschatological Options.

Additionally, everyone who reads and or studies the Bible should ask these questions as they approach the text. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? These questions enable us to become investigators in our quest to come to correct conclusions.

Whatever is misdiagnosed will be mistreated!

In Acts 17 Paul and Silas are preaching the gospel of grace in Berea. Look at what Luke recorded, “10 The brethren [brothers and sister in Christ] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these [Berean Jews] were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” As a side note there must have been at least 10 Jewish men in Berea because 10 men are required to form a synagogue [Fausset Bible Dictionary, Holman Bible Dictionary].

As a core value we all should check out every minister’s theology with Scripture. We should go to every Bible references they cite in their sermons or books, blogs and articles.

In God we trust!

Everyone else should be checked and verified!

If Paul and Silas did not require their listeners to take their word for what they were teaching, we should not blindly “trust” someone no matter how long they have been in ministry.

As a personal core value I always encourage my readers and listeners to be as noble minded as the Bereans.

There is a syndrome that has plagued the Church since Mount Sinai when God’s Church in the wilderness [See Acts 7:38] told Moses in so many words [I’m paraphrasing], “You go hear from God and come back and tell us what He is saying because He is a scary Person.” [Exodus 20:19 – “Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.””]

Too many of today’s “Church” people only hear what God is saying through what their favorite preacher is saying.

THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS!

By the way, it is NOT dishonoring to hold ministers [our leaders] accountable by doing your own study and even asking questions. We are not blind sheep. We are also not in the Old Testament where only the prophets heard from and spoke for God. It’s a good thing too because one misspoken word brought the swift judgment of death.

Once I heard a preacher teaching on the High Priest in the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. He was teaching that the High Priest was wearing the blue ephod with the bells and pomegranates sewn on the hem all around and that he was required to keep moving or die. I went to that preacher later and said, “I don’t understand what you taught because in Leviticus 16:1-4 it explicitly says the High Priest only wore white linen when He went into the Most Holy Place. If he was not wearing the blue ephod on the Day of Atonement then what you taught is not true.” He said to me, “I will have to look into this.” I never heard back from him so I don’t know where he stands on this issue.

Leviticus 16:1-4 KJV – “1 And the LORD spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the LORD, and died; 2 And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.”

BE VERY CAREFUL OF LEADERS WHO TELL YOU WHAT YOU ARE TO BELIEVE IS TRUE, WHAT TO THINK, AND MAKE YOU FEEL DISLOYAL TO THEM IF YOU ACTUALLY HAVE YOUR OWN THOUGHTS, BELIEFS OR OPINIONS, AND OR GUILT TRIP YOU FOR WANTING TO SHARE THEM.

You may be in a cult if you feel manipulated! You may be in a cult if you are accused of being a Jezebel or Absalom!

You may be operating out of one of those evil spirits.

If so, repent quickly and thoroughly!

Having your own opinions and beliefs DOES NOT constitute you having an evil spirit.

You may be in a cult if your leader tells you, “I am only trying to protect you from error” which is code for “You need me to keep you from error.” I once heard a preacher say that in his sermon. I was stunned!

All believers [true Christians] have the Holy Spirit and can “know what is true.”

1 John 2:20,26,27 – “20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you [tell you what to believe, or tell you what is safe or not]; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

1 John 2 begins with, “My little children, I am writing to you . . . .” The phrase ‘little children’ is the Greek word paidion. There are four words in the Greek for child [children]. 1] brephos = unborn or newborn [totally dependant on another person], 2] nepios = selfish [Paul uses this word in 1 Cor 3:1], 3] paidion = age of accountability as they know what sin is, at this stage the child is transitioning out of selfishness to selflessness, and 4] teknon = mature child but not yet considered a son of the covenant where the Father can entrust His “store” to the child.

Paul himself had already been writing letters that would “one day” be called Scripture. Just because the New Testament was not yet canonized – for it would take several hundred years for that designation to come – doesn’t mean his writings were not being viewed in the first century as being authoritative.

Look at what Peter said concerning Paul. Keep in mind Peter was a Jewish disciple of Jesus Christ who lost his life being faithful to the message of God’s message of grace. Peter was one of the 12 original apostles [Apostles of the Lamb], and an elder in local churches.

2 Peter 3:14-18 – “14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort [to twist, as in to make it into what they want it to say and mean], as they do ALSO THE REST OF the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this [that there are people twisting the Scripture to fit their own agenda] beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness [to Christ], 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Do you see what Peter said about Paul? . . . . “our beloved brother [in Christ] Paul, according to the wisdom [revelation] given him, wrote to you, as also in ALL HIS LETTERS, speaking in THEM of these things, in which are SOME THINGS HARD TO UNDERSTAND, which the untaught and unstable DISTORT, as they do the REST OF THE SCRIPTURES, to their own destruction.”

Peter is substantiating Paul’s letters [plural] as authoritative with the rest of the [OT] Scriptures, in the first century. He said that even though some of what Paul was writing was hard to understand, it was not an excuse to distort it. Those distorting Paul’s “wisdom [revelation]” would do so to their own destruction.

I love that Peter, like Barnabas in Paul’s early days as a believer, gave Paul street cred [credibility]!

What was Paul’s wisdom? Well some of it is revealed here ~

Colossians 2:6-23 – “6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt  [Law of commandments] consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. 16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day — 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly [carnal] mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. 20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

In verses 16 AND 17 Paul states, “Therefore NO ONE is to act as your judge [deciding if you have a relationship with Christ or not] in regard to [based on] food or drink [Jewish dietary laws – Romans 14:17 — “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”], or in respect to a festival [the feasts of Israel], or a new moon [Jewish calendar], or a Sabbath day [Jewish ethical Laws]–THINGS WHICH ARE A MERE SHADOW OF WHAT IS TO COME; BUT THE SUBSTANCE BELONGS TO CHRIST.”

The word judge in verse 16 can mean an umpire, someone who makes decisions on what or who is safe [saved], and what or who is out [not safe or saved]. It carries the idea of a person who self appoints theirselves as sole arbiter of who is playing by the rules and attempts to disqualify the ones “they deem” breaking the rules.

He continues in verse 18, “Let NO ONE keep defrauding you of your prize”. Jesus and our personal relationship to Him is our prize. In other words, don’t pay attention to someone that tells you are in danger of going to hell if you do not adhere to these shadows.

He begins in verse 6 by saying, “Therefore as you have received Jesus Christ the Lord so walk in Him.” Paul is speaking of a faith relationship not a keeping the rules relationship. We know this to be true by what followed in verse 7, “Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith.”

This is very similar language to what Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 3. The book of Galatians was written by Paul to combat the Judaizers who perverted [distorted] the message of grace and kept attempting to destroy Paul’s ministry of grace.

I want to go back to verse 10 of Colossians 2 before we move on. I want you to get what Paul said in this verse so please pay careful attention to these words.

“And in Him [Christ] you HAVE BEEN made complete.” Did you get that? I hope you got it. Paul was saying there is nothing more you have to do or need to do. “YOU HAVE BEEN MADE COMPLETE IN HIM.” Paul also said this – “We are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ” [Romans 8:29]. Taken together Paul’s wisdom reveals we are being conformed to the ONE we ARE ALREADY complete in.” Hallelujah! By God’s grace working inside of us we will become who we already are in Christ. Double Hallelujah!!

Galatians 3:1-9 – “1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected [completed or matured] by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. 8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.'”

I could go on and on and on releasing “the wisdom” of Paul, who by the way continues to this day being pursued and persecuted by the modern day Judaizers, those Jewish believers, or Jewish wannabe’s, who want to bring us back under the Law of Moses.

Did you know that a person does not fall from grace the moment they commit a sin because “where sin abounds grace abounds much more” [Romans 5:20]. A person falls from grace when they try to relate to God by the Law [rules and regulations], attempting to earn His approval though their own performance.

Galatians 5:4 – “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

Christian teachers [leaders] who are Law based [external government] are usually very insecure people. I know this because they use the LAW to control people. People who want to control others usually cannot control themselves [no internal government]. They live in a perpetual state of fear. Freedom requires a lot more personal responsibility and these leaders can’t stand their people having freedom, because they don’t have freedom. They are always focused on what is wrong with “YOU”. In truth they are usually punishing themselves but take it out on others.

Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment. He answered – “Love God” and then He said the second one was just like it – “Love people”.

Jesus changed the rules on His own rules!

Jesus took the 10 commandments, 9 of which were negative – what we can’t do – and turned them into 2 positive things we could do – love God and love people. He continued by stating emphatically – “ALL THE LAW AND PROPHETS HANG ON THESE.”

In other words love trumps law! Or, love is greater than rules!

I do not commit adultery because there is a Law that says, “Thou shalt NOT commit adultery.” I am faithful to my wife because I LOVE MY WIFE and we have a heart to heart connection! This is not rocket science folks!

We ARE saved and are kept saved by grace through faith – PERIOD! Keeping some external form of a past, present or future religious order can never save us or keep us saved.

When people want contemporary Christians to hold on to the types and shadows of the old world order it is usually because they do not have a very strong relationship with God’s heart.

Those who are weak in their relationship to the ultimate reality [Jesus] need the security of His shadow [Go back to the above mentioned reference in Colossians 2:6-23].

Paul calls these things elementary!

Colossians 2:8

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”

Colossians 2:20-23

20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

What in the world is the world Paul is referring to in this text? How about the Jewish and pagan world! He is referring to Jewish rules and regulations as well as pagan prohibitions that had an outward appearance of being godly, but was “self-made religion.”

There are too many people focused on Christ’s shadow. Shadows point to a greater reality. Old Testament types and shadows are the virtual reality.

Jesus Christ is reality!

Look at what Peter had to say about salvation, “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials , 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look .” [1 Peter 1:3-12]

Come on somebody – where is “we must keep the festivals or any other Old Testament ritual to be saved?” In fact, Peter says God’s power keeps us in our salvation through [our] faith!

Hebrews 11:6 – “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” “Without faith” NOT “without the festivals” it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God.

Peter even says that the Spirit of Christ prophesied the message of grace through the Old Testament prophets and that He [Holy Spirit] “predicted” the sufferings [at the hands of lawless Jews which included their constant harassing Him, turning Him over to the Romans, giving false testimony against Him, abandoning Him, mocking Him while on the Cross, shall I go on . . . .calling Him Beelzebub, saying He was a bastard child, refusing to kill Him themselves by stoning as a false prophet but hiring a hit man [Pilate] to crucify Him. This to me clearly reveals they knew exactly what they were doing].

God’s grace is God’s ability!

It is a gift from God!

Grace does not provide excuses for misbehavior [sin, immaturity]. God’s grace enable us to be [become] who He says we are and to do all that He says we can do.

Friends, it is up to you to stay free from religious teaching and teachers who want nothing more than to bring you back under a religious system that died and was replaced 2000 years ago.

God raised Jesus the Christ from the dead. He will NEVER raise Judaism from the dead!

Paul wrote in Galatians 5 – “It WAS for FREEDOM’S sake that Christ set YOU free. Therefore, DO NOT ALLOW yourselves to be enslaved again by any yoke of bondage.” [V1]

Check out Paul’s warning to Titus, another one of his sons in the faith who he had placed on Crete to set in order the local church there – “10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. 12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” [Titus 1:10-16].

These false teachers of the circumcision were either Jewish Christians or men masquerading as Christians or unsaved Jewish men who could not stand other Jews, and even Gentiles getting saved and becoming free. Money was a main motivating force for their “theology”. They professed a relationship with God but in reality denied Him through their works [teachings].

This is what Paul had to say to the saints in Thessalonica –

1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 – “13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews, 15 who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out. They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men, 16 hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.” [See Acts 17 for context]

The false circumcision teachers were promoting “Jewish fables”. There are a host of opinions as to what these fables actually were but we can suffice to say they were being used to subvert whole households in order to get people’s money.

As I stated in my previous blog Eschatological Options “Bad News Sells.” There are actually Christians today promoting war and profiting off of it by selling DVD’s, CD’s, books, etc. Many predictions have been espoused by those who have a non Scriptural love affair with natural Israel. To me they are no different than those who have an non Scriptural love affair with Mary. Natural Israel and Mary were simply vehicles to bring the Savior of the world into the world. Once the Savior arrived we should have honor for natural Israel and Mary but our focus is on Jesus. Because only those who are in Christ are the people of God.

God told Israel the only way they could stay on the the land or return to the land was through obedience and repentance. As far as I know they have yet to repent for falsely accusing Jesus and murdering Him.

I will not take up more time and space to provide the Scripture texts for the following statements.

God’s promise of land to Abraham and to his Seed was unconditional!

Natural Israel’s right to retain the land was conditional on their complete obedience to God!

Natural Israel’s right to return to the land after they rebelled and were expelled was based on REPENTANCE!

The actual promise of land to Abraham [actually Abram] was the planet not Palestine. Romans 4:13 – “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”

In closing, I do not personally know of one person who believes the Old Testament has been done away with, in the sense that it no longer has value to us. I do personally know lots of people who believe the Old Testament has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and that He inaugurated, and is the Mediator of a better covenant. The New Testament explains the Old Testament, not vice versa! The New Testament is SUPERIOR to the Old Testament.

I don’t know about you, but I am not looking backwards into the Old Testament. I choose rather to do what the apostle Paul said in Philippians 3, “2 Beware of the dogs [Jews considered non Jews [the heathen] dogs and here Paul is saying unregenerate Jews are dogs [heathen]], beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision [unsaved Jews or the Judaizers]; 3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh, 4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind [See verses 4-6] and reaching forward to what lies ahead,14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect [mature], have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”

And again,

Hebrews 8:1-13 – “1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 [Jesus is] a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. 4 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; 5 who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern [the heavenly pattern] which was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But now He [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. 8 For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the Lord, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; 9 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; For they did not continue in My covenant, and I did not care for them, says the Lord.10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 “And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord, ‘For all will know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. 12 “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.” 13 When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”

Stay Hungry And Thirsty For God My Friends!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin

A Hisstorymaker!