Edited Sermon Transcript
Jon W. Brisby; 3-23-2002
Well, brethren, this afternoon we’re going to continue and inch a little bit closer to the completion of this series we’ve been doing on fundamental number sixteen of the Church of God, The Eternal, which we can refer to as “British Israelism” or many different terms. But we have gone through extensively, but still in a synoptic fashion, the promises that God gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concerning those gifts and blessings that were going to be bestowed upon His chosen people, Israel. We’ve spent a lot of time going through the history within the Bible of the fulfillment of God’s promises, even those things that most people in the world do not recognize at all. How many have been affected and had their faith diminished in the veracity of God and the Bible as the sacred Word because they have looked in the wrong places for the fulfillment of God’s promises. They have not seen them in the ways that most human beings have expected.
We have gone through comprehensively to show that God has fulfilled His promises that He made, beginning with Abraham when He bound Himself inexorably to bless with these great Birthright promises the descendants of Abraham, through Isaac and Jacob, and through those sons Ephraim and Manasseh. We also saw the very means by which God did fulfill the preservation of the crown—that crown that God first wore Himself as the first King of Israel on Mount Sinai—and then as it was passed to human beings, first through Saul, but then through King David and the lineage of his descendants. And that was a promise—that crown was going to continue, that throne was going to exist, and someone would sit on that throne of the house of David, even unto the return of Jesus Christ. Christ, as a descendant of David, would be the final possessor of that throne. So, we’ve gone through and seen the details of God’s fulfillment of His promises.
Today, we want to focus specifically on the second great promise in the covenant relationship with Abraham—the promise, as we call it, of grace. We’ve spent a lot of time on the promise of race of the physical Israelites—the Birthright promises fulfilled even in the United States and the British Commonwealth. Now we’re going to spend time on the more important aspect of the covenant with Abraham, the promise of Jesus Christ. The covenant promise of grace was to be the one seed, Jesus Christ. Let’s notice again Genesis 22 and verse 15, just to set the stage: “And the angel of the [Eternal] called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the [Eternal] . . .”
If you remember, this is where God bound Himself with a perpetual covenant that could not be broken. Why? Because of the very faithfulness of Abraham—his willingness to absolutely trust God implicitly, his willingness to sacrifice his own son Isaac. The manifestation of faith that Abraham showed was so monumental that God, in turn, made this inexorable covenant with Abraham, binding Himself absolutely.
. . . By myself have I sworn, saith the [Eternal], for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies [There is the first part of that covenant promise—the promises of race to be given physically to the descendants of Abraham. Then, verse 18:]; And [now the second part of that covenant promise] in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed . . .
Here, we’re talking about something very different, a second phase of that covenant, which was far greater in coverage and expanse than the promise of a Birthright to the physical descendants of Abraham, to those who would be Israelites. This second part of the covenant was significant for all nations on the face of the earth, whether Jew or Gentile. “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”
So we want to focus on that covenant promise, which is the promise of salvation for mankind. It speaks of the very purpose for man being alive and God placing humankind on this earth. It’s because, as we know and as we learned from Mr. Herbert Armstrong from years back, the very purpose of the existence of this creation and of humanity, is that God is reproducing Himself, even by building character in the lives of those whom He has called to a knowledge of His Truth. The time is coming when all nations are going to have that opportunity for salvation—most of which, not until the time of the return of Jesus Christ in the Millennial reign of His Kingdom and that great second resurrection, and yet it is a perfect and a glorious plan. It all has to do, then, with the fulfillment of opening that door to salvation through Jesus Christ.
Let’s notice Galatians 3 and verse 6. Here we see the Apostle Paul, in this letter to the Galatians, makes very, very clear the meaning of that covenant promise of grace to Abraham. This is not something we have to speculate about, and it is one of those that most who claim to be Christians in this world absolutely understand, at least a portion of it, to a certain depth. They understand that Christ is the fulfillment, the One who was promised to come as the offspring of Abraham through whom the world would be saved. That is not something that is contradicted by the majority of those who claim to be Christian at all. But there are limits to their depth of understanding, which we’re going to talk about today.
Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
So, all of a sudden here, Paul is talking about a distinction between judging everything physically. We’re not talking about judging who it is that’s considered the offspring of Abraham by your physical bloodline or pedigree. No, Paul is showing that God defines the children of Abraham by a totally different standard than the lineage of the flesh.
Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. [Paul is quoting specifically from Genesis 22 and verse 18, which we just read.] So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Why was it that Abraham received that covenant promise from God? Was it because he was racially superior? Did God set Abraham apart because Abraham was physically of a higher caliber—a superior race—than other peoples around him that lived on the earth at the time? Absolutely not. We already saw that the reason God made the covenant with Abraham was because Abraham demonstrated such an incredible manifestation of faith. He believed God; he did what God said, whereas most humanity would absolutely reject God and use their own human wisdom. How many human beings, even among us, brethren, would have been willing to put a knife to the throat of our own son because God said to? No, I think most of us, myself included, would probably have tried to rationalize around to say, “Well, certainly, that’s not right. Certainly, if God promised that He was going to make a nation through my son, He really doesn’t want me to sacrifice him; because then, God would be a liar. In my great willingness and desire to be righteous and to help God, I don’t want to make God a liar, so I’m not going to kill him.” That’s one possible excuse that most human beings would have used to justify disobeying God.
Abraham, who knew all of those things and understood everything that was at stake, simply obeyed God. He didn’t know how it was going to work out, but he had implicit confidence that God was not going to lie—He was not going to fail—and so he was willing to put his own son to death. God stopped him at the last minute because it was not His will that Isaac should die. Isaac was not going to be the Savior; Jesus Christ was going to be our sacrifice, not Isaac. And so, He stopped him short. But that was the reason, brethren, why Abraham was so loved by God—because he manifested faith to believe God. That is why God made this covenant with him binding and inexorable.
Verse 16 now, in Galatians 3: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” So, if there was any doubt from reading the scriptures of the Old Testament and of the covenant promise in Genesis 22, about what God was actually meaning and intending by this promise that all nations upon the earth would be blessed through the seed of Abraham, Paul makes it very, very clear here through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” We see without equivocation that it was Jesus Christ who was being prophesied, even at this time, to become the Savior of the world through whom all nations—regardless of physical lineage—would have an opportunity for salvation and to be made part of that very family of God for all eternity.
God is not a racist. God does not love one race of human being above another, but God did choose Abraham. He did choose the offspring of Abraham—Isaac, Jacob and the descendants of Jacob, the Israelites—as a chosen, holy nation. It is God’s prerogative to choose whom He will for His purpose, and that’s exactly what He did. He gave them that perfect law, and He made a covenant with them on Mount Sinai. He promised to love them and keep them as His chosen people. And if they would obey, then they would receive all of the benefits of that covenant. But if they disobeyed and rejected God, they would also bear great penalties, which is precisely what they did. They did not have faith, as we’re going to see later. They did not believe God the same way that their ancestor Abraham had believed; therefore, they never really benefitted from the covenant.
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
So, even though God selected this special holy nation of Israel in the flesh who wrote lessons for us, the ultimate goal was that those from all nations were going to have an opportunity to receive the benefits as heirs to salvation—a place in God’s eternal family. It was Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of Abraham, and specifically of Judah, through whom that covenant promise was going to be fulfilled. Interesting, is it not, that the very God-being who made the covenant with Abraham, was God of the second part, the One who became Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ became the fulfillment of the covenant that He Himself made with Abraham. It’s amazing when you think about it. The One who became Jesus Christ, under the authority of the Father, knew precisely what He was doing and how He was working out this masterful plan to save mankind. He knew that He Himself was going to become that Savior. He was going to divest Himself of His divinity and all of the power and glory that He shared with the Father in the God family. He was going to make Himself like unto His brethren, flesh and blood. He was going to be sacrificed, and He was going to die that He might, through His death, burial and resurrection, make way for the salvation of all humankind—all those who were going to be given their opportunity and who were going to pass tests in order to show that they could each develop faith like Abraham, would also receive the fulfillment of those promises forever in His Kingdom.
As we’re going to find out, the thing that most who claim to be Christians do not understand is that salvation, even so, is through Israel. Salvation is still by becoming part of the holy nation of Israel. What am I speaking of? Am I speaking about physically becoming an Israelite? No, we can’t become that which we are not. Some of us were born, to no credit of ourselves, as the offspring of the Israelites in these modern times—progeny from the lost ten tribes of Israel. And yet, God has called a number who are not of physical Israel at all, but they have an opportunity for the very same reward. Salvation, brethren, is still by becoming an Israelite, as we’re getting ready to see; but we’re not talking about the flesh. We’re talking about becoming a spiritual Israelite.
John 4 and verse 19: “The woman saith unto him . . .” Now, this is the Samaritan woman at the well, in this conversation with Jesus Christ. There are some phenomenal things that come out.
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.
Now, this relates back to the ongoing debate, the war, and the bitterness between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Samaritans were a false religion. I’ve gone through this in detail in a separate series I did in Portland on the subject of counterfeits, and I exhaustively went through this very story of the origin of the Samaritan religion. It was a counterfeit. They set up their own temple on Mount Gerizim, which is still a place where the Samaritans worship today. Today, they’re considered more so as a sect of the Jews because they certainly have intermarried with the Jews, but they did not begin as remnants of God’s people at all. They were of those foreigners who the Assyrians moved into the land after the lost ten tribes were taken into captivity, but they began to think of themselves as if they were possessors of the promises. I don’t have time to go through all of that, but certainly the outshoot of it is that, even by the time of Jesus Christ and His ministry, the Samaritan religion was alive and well and fighting in contradiction to that of the Israelites and the Jews in Jerusalem. And yet, Jesus Christ puts the whole issue to bed right here, for this woman says:
Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. [See, they had their own temple; they had their own counterfeit traditions that they had set up on Mount Gerizim.] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Jesus Christ said salvation is of the Jews. Now, the only question is, what is Jesus Christ talking about here? Is He substantiating the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and those who had embraced their own religion that they called Judaism, which was nothing more than the absorption of all of these Hellenistic and Babylonian concepts? Is that what Jesus Christ was substantiating here? Not at all. We’re going to find out.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers . . .
Obviously, He wasn’t just condoning whatever the Jews were doing at that time according to their own traditions, because in many areas Christ blasted the Jews for their traditions. So what is He speaking of when He says salvation is of the Jews? “. . . the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth . . .” So, by comparison, He must be saying that the Jews at the time were not fulfilling this. He was not saying that the Jews were doing what they were supposed to be doing. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have made this stark contrast. “. . . salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth . . .” That’s something that was not going on at the time among either the Samaritans or the Jews. They were embroiled in their battle about which one had the truly legitimate temple and traditions of worship, and Christ was basically saying, “Well, Samaritans, you’re completely out of it. There’s no way of it. Salvation is of the Jews.” But then, at the same time He’s saying, “That’s not to condone the way the Jews are practicing right now.”
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
He’s speaking of a totally different dimension than these people were thinking of because, as carnal human beings, they always thought according to the flesh, even as we do—according to our carnal thinking. Christ is describing now, something about worship and about the true people of God that went far beyond identity with a physical heritage, race, or anything that was associated with a particular people. Christ confirmed that the Samaritan religion was not legitimate; but even though salvation is of the Jews, He was not condoning the Jewish practices, because they too were not worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth.
Romans 2 and verse 28. What was Jesus Christ really talking about? How is it that salvation is of the Jews, and yet we’re talking about Spirit, and not flesh? How do we make sense of all of this? Well, the Apostle Paul clarified it and defined it precisely in Romans chapter 2 and verses 28 and 29. “For he is not a Jew . . .” Oh, okay, now do you begin to see? Salvation is of the Jews, but a Jew is not what we think one is, because Christ was not speaking of the definition of one who had the DNA physically in the flesh or the bloodline of one who came out of Judah or any of those tribes of Israel. No.
For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
So, who is it that Paul is confirming, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is one who is a legitimate Jew? Who is a true Jew, or more expansively an Israelite? Because that’s what we’re speaking about here, one who is of God’s holy nation of Israel. We’re talking about a spiritual dimension here. Those who were going to be a part of the very Body of Jesus Christ, the Church, were going to be made up of many different backgrounds physically, both Jew and Gentile. They were going to become the spiritual Israelites.
The thing that most so-called Christian churches do not understand is that the Body of Christ is still spiritual Israel. It is Israel. Salvation is only through the Jews; it is only by being an Israelite that you can have salvation. So these other churches of the world falsely think that God did away with the importance of Israel and, therefore, just offered salvation to Gentiles. No, what He did was He allowed Gentiles a path and a means to become Israelites, but there is no salvation—there is no entrance into the Kingdom of God—except one becomes an Israelite. It’s not racist, brethren, to say that, because we’re talking in the Spirit, even as Jesus Christ and the apostles showed. We’re going to read several other texts to substantiate what we’re speaking of. It does require that we become Israel, which also substantiates the fact that God did not do away with that covenant to Israel. He did not do away with the importance of everything that’s recorded in the Old Testament scriptures. It’s just that the very definition of Israel changed and expanded to a spiritual dimension after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And now, for the first time, all nations of the world received an opportunity to be blessed by becoming part and parcel with Israel through the Spirit. It is God’s Spirit, and nothing else, that gives us that unity and oneness with the God family. It is that Spirit, the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit, which makes one an Israelite.
Galatians 6 and verse 15: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision . . .” So the issue of physical race became a moot point. As we have seen, the Birthright promises were still fulfilled by God through the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even through the wealth, the blessings, the power and the prestige of the British Commonwealth, the United States and the other nations of the Northwestern democracies of Europe. They still continued to be distinct in the eyes of God. Why? Because God fulfilled His promise to Abraham to bless them with the physical Birthright promises, but we’re not speaking of those temporary promises. As we’re going to see next time, those promises are already going away. They were not a perpetual promise. God promised Abraham that He would make of them a great nation—a nation and a company of nations. They would possess wealth, power, and all of the sea gates of the earth, which they did. But you know what? He didn’t promise that they were going to keep them. It was not a perpetual promise that they would have them forever and ever. In fact, they’re already losing them, and have been losing them for decades. We’ve been seeing the power of those Birthright nations wane, slowly but surely. In the second phase of that covenant, when we’re speaking about the promise of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, we’re talking about the most important promise, which is eternal, and the building of a spiritual nation of Israel—Israel of the Spirit—which is not going to go away or be diminished at all.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new [creation]. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
You see, Israel wasn’t done away. Who was it that was going to receive peace and mercy, the very benefits of a relationship with God that has nothing to do with your birth, either Jew or Gentile or otherwise? It is those who have God’s Holy Spirit who are made Israel. “. . . as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” Yes, brethren, if you have been called to a knowledge of the Truth, if you accepted that call by becoming baptized, and you received the laying on of hands, then to you was imparted the gift of a down payment of God’s Holy Spirit living and dwelling within your mind and heart. That very imparting of the Holy Spirit within your life is that which made you, for the first time, a true Israelite. That is how you became the Israel of God.
Acts chapter 4 and verse 10:
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Now, how does that jive with the movement in this world to amalgamate religious ideas into a one-world religion and to find common ground between Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and eastern religions? You can’t amalgamate when there are dogmatic statements—at least by the very revelation of Jesus Christ, by God—which say, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” If anybody believes in the veracity of the Bible as the Holy Word of God, they cannot in good conscience, then, accept any other religion, or even make room in their thinking for the tolerance of another way to receive salvation, which is exactly what Satan has fostered and foisted upon humankind now. If you’re a true Christian, brethren, then you recognize that there is no other way except through Jesus Christ—and not through all of the different assumptions of what that Christ is. No, we’re talking about the one and the only true Christ. He is the Word made flesh. He is the Truth, and there’s only one Truth. It’s absolute; it’s immutable. It cannot be interpreted in multiple ways. There is only one way. Christ is singular, and so we’re talking about the Christ who is the only doorway for salvation to humankind. The only human beings who are going to receive salvation and have a part of eternal life in the very family of God for all eternity, are going to be those who come to recognize that singular Christ at the time they are called, who accept Him, and who begin to walk in that way, having received the down payment of the Holy Spirit, crucifying the self and putting on the very perfect mind of Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
Anyone who tells you that there are multiple ways to salvation, is speaking out of the rebellious nature of their carnal minds, influenced and promulgated by Satan the Devil. That’s just a fact. “. . . there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” It was the means by which God was going to offer salvation to the world—to all nations—through the one seed, Jesus Christ, and none other. There is no salvation through Buddha; there is no salvation through Muhammad; there is no salvation through the rabbis of Judaism. That all leads to death. Only through the one, singular Christ, and none other, because that was the covenant promise with Abraham.
1 Corinthians 12 and let’s begin in verse 12:
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles . . .
Here we find that answer. How is it, then, that salvation is only through the Jews? How is it that we all must become the Israel of God no matter how we were born in the flesh, of what lineage, background or race? It is through the Spirit.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
You will remember the series I did on the unity of the Spirit. We went into great detail to talk about the attributes of that Spirit. Those who are led by that singular Spirit of the Father and the Son speak the same thing. They don’t speak a mishmash of different competing doctrines. Unity of the Spirit is not tolerance for conflicting ideas that we allow to live along side each other. No, those who are the Israel of God are those who have received the singular Spirit of Jesus Christ and are using that Spirit to crucify the natural, carnal mind. It is to them, then, to those who will be faithful, that the promises are given to receive salvation in the very Kingdom of God.
The physical Jews falsely kept their confidence in their physical history—their pedigree—and they were wrong. They weren’t the only ones who were wrong, because there are just as many pitfalls for Gentiles who want to criticize and malign the physical Israelites. We’re going to look at both of those faulty orientations of mind that are always the way human beings operate. Whatever we are, we want to justify as the best. And so, we live in a particular state, we back the particular football team or basketball team that comes out of our local area. And they’re the best, so we root for them. I’ve lived in enough places around the country that I’ve seen this in every area. Everybody ascribes themselves with their affinity to the local boys or the local women or whoever it is—their sports team. They’re the best. And even battles and wars and all kinds of things are fought over these silly things. Human beings do the same thing. Those that are born of a particular race have a natural tendency to want to say, “Well, my race is better.” Every race does it, and it’s a wrong orientation.
Let’s look at the Jews first, who falsely kept their confidence in their physical lineage and pedigree. John 8 and verse 31. This is a very fascinating interchange between the Jews and Jesus Christ. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him . . .” Now, this I find absolutely fascinating. In this interchange we’re going to read, which goes all the way through verse 47, Christ starts off with those Jews who claim to profess belief in Him, and yet we’re going to see what they actually do. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him . . .”, which obviously tells you that it was just a feigned belief. It was a superficial belief probably associated with the miracles, the signs, and the power of the speaking that Jesus Christ was doing.
Those things on the surface can attract people, and they can say, “Wow, there’s something there. I can’t deny that. This must be a prophet of God. This must be somebody who is motivated and inspired by God.” The only problem is, how many people, then, once they get to know what is a part of the substantiation or the foundation of that man who is speaking in the name of God, begin to take exception with it and say, “Now, wait a minute; I accept it because I saw this fruit and I saw that fruit. I know there’s something unique about him.” But then, they’re going to contend with the inner workings of what makes that whole philosophy tick.
It’s like, as I’ve used in the past, seeing a beautiful classic automobile that’s been restored. You look at it from the outside, you hear that engine run, and it sounds so good. Wow, look at that! That’s amazing! But then, you open up the hood, and you look at the engine and say, “Now, wait a minute, I have a problem with this. I don’t think this should be this way. I think this ought to be reconnected over here.” You see, we come with our idols of mind and our ideas about the way we think things should be. We’re not willing to accept things at face value. We like what we see on the surface, but we’re not willing to accept what’s under the hood. I’ve used the same example concerning child rearing. How many of you have had unconverted parents who appreciate the fact that your children are well-behaved because you have applied God’s proper rules for child rearing in your family? Those family members really appreciate the example of your children—wow! how polite they are, how obedient they are, they’re nice to be around, you can take them out with you to restaurants and places, wow! that is really phenomenal. But let one of those unconverted family members see you in action when you discipline your child, and they’ll go berserk. “Oh, don’t do that!” See, they like the results, but they don’t like the methods. So it is with human beings who have an appreciation on the surface for certain fruits that they see, but they disagree philosophically with the laws of God that result in those good things. That’s precisely what was going on here.
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him [Oh, they believed superficially.], If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Now, all of a sudden, these that believed had a problem with that. In essence, they said, “What do you mean ‘the truth will make me free’? I’m not a slave now.” Verse 33:
They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
All of a sudden, they’re going to contend with Christ, even though they’ve already seen the evidences of His validity as a servant of God. No, they’re going to take issue with this. Verse 34:
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. [That’s how we’re all in bondage, when we serve and give in to our carnal natures according to the dictates of flesh.] And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Jesus Christ is talking about an opportunity for salvation when we will be made free from the constrictions of these carnal minds which seek to draw us down and to destroy us moment by moment. Can you picture a time when, at the return of Jesus Christ, if we have done what we should, we will be given the opportunity to have eternal life—to have the fullness of the mind of God living within us, no longer bound by carnal minds which oppose every word of God, to be free from the antagonism of that weight? That’s what our hope is in, and that’s what Jesus Christ was trying to describe here—what it really was to receive salvation, what He was offering and bringing in His ministry. But they had their own ideas.
Verse 37: “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed . . .” Christ is acknowledging, “I know you’re the physical descendants of Abraham.” Well, so was Christ. That wasn’t where His confidence was. “I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me . . .” Now, wait a minute, these were the people we just saw who said they believed in Him, and yet Christ is revealing what He already read in their hearts and minds—that they were very antagonistic against Him and, in fact, already had such animosity that it was murderous.
I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. [Uh-oh, now Christ is picking a fight.] They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Christ was confirming here precisely what we saw the Apostle Paul say. Who are the real children of Abraham? Not those that have the physical lineage, but those who behave like Abraham behaved. That’s what God is after—faith, belief in the Truth. Those are the ones who are going to be considered the sons of Abraham. Those are the ones who are going to be considered the Israel of God, regardless of what your physical heritage is in the flesh. “But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” So the Jews had their confidence in the fact that they were the physical descendants of Abraham, and they thought that gave them a right. They thought that, by the flesh, they had a right to salvation as the holy people of God. And Christ was saying, “You don’t have any right in the flesh” because it is the seed of Abraham who behave as Abraham behaved, with faith and belief in the Truth—those are the true Israelites.
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication [Oh, so now it’s going to get personal—the accusation that He was not legitimate.]; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me . . .
Now, that makes perfect sense to us, doesn’t it? Because we accept that they were standing there debating with the very Son of God, that He did come from God, He was the Word made flesh. Therefore, anybody who loves God, who loves the Father, must automatically love and appreciate Jesus Christ who was right before them. The fact that they didn’t accept Him, they hated Him and wanted to kill Him, meant that they hated God. He understood that; but they were thinking in a totally carnal fashion, and they could not fathom that whatsoever.
. . . If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Of course they couldn’t, because He had not revealed it to them. Their minds were closed to understand spiritual things.
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin . . .
Christ laid out the gauntlet. “What have I done wrong? Prove me guilty of any violation of God’s Law.” We know He didn’t because He was perfect. He could not have been our Savior had He committed sin, and He did not. He lived His entire life in the flesh from birth to death, never violating a single principle of the perfect Law of God. Why? Because He had the fullness of the Holy Spirit dwelling within Him—the power to overcome His own carnal mind, which He also had because He was flesh, and yet He had the fullness of the Holy Spirit, not just a down payment like you and I have been given. He had the fullness of the Holy Spirit dwelling within Him, and He committed no sin. And yet, here are these men in their self-righteousness, appealing to their physical lineage as Israelites and contending with the very Son of God. “Which of you convinceth me of sin . . .”
It reminds me very much of the exchange that took place a few years ago when another faithful servant of God said, in many cases, the same thing when he was being maligned and accused by those who were in a rotten orientation and believing all manner of evil that was being espoused against him. He simply said, “Of what am I guilty?” Now, that was either arrogant, and he was guilty of something that he was pushing under the rug; or else, maybe it just happened to be in that particular case that the things they were accusing him of were not true. Every servant who has ever been faithful to God has always been accused and maligned. So, brethren, don’t ever think that just because an accusation is made, there must be some basis to it. Mr. Raymond Cole never said that he was perfect or without sin. I’ve got hours and hours of tapes over the years, and so do you, where he admitted that he had the same kind of battles with his own nature that we each have in the flesh. But it’s totally different when we come to the area of doctrine and say that there has been a departure from the Truth. Or else, there’s some evil underlying orientation and a rejection of God’s Holy Spirit. That’s something entirely different, but it reminds me of the very same thing that Christ was subjected to.
Which of you convinceth me of sin? [Where’s your proof?] And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
And so, Christ confirmed that it doesn’t matter whether you have a pedigree and can trace your roots back to your English ancestors, and even as a member of Judah in the house of David, or anything else. It doesn’t matter who you are in the flesh, brethren. It won’t get you anything if your goal is the Kingdom of God.
Let’s turn to Hebrews chapter 3 and verse 6. Paul asserted to the Israelites that they should not glory in their pedigree, because there is no right to salvation by birth. It gets you nothing. “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if . . .” You see, it’s conditional. There is no right of birth. As Mr. Armstrong said in the fundamental of belief number sixteen in the text, it is not the Birthright; it is not being of Ephraim and Manasseh or any of the other houses of the tribes of Israel that gives you a right to a relationship with God, and especially not to salvation. You do not have that right by birth. The Birthright promises that we’ve been talking about for all of these last sermons, applied to physical, material wealth that was going to be given, and then only temporarily, in a fulfillment of the covenant that He made with Abraham. But then, as we’re going to see next time, He actually began to take away, and is taking away, those promises. But in the Spirit, we’re talking about something totally different.
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Being a spiritual Israelite, brethren, requires that you continue to walk in the Truth and not quench the Spirit. It is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that makes you spiritual Israel. So what happens if we quench that Spirit in our lives? We cease to be Israel. If you want to continue to be part of God’s holy nation, receiving those covenant promises, then cry out to God daily for more of His Holy Spirit. It is that Spirit which makes you Israel, and nothing else.
. . . if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore (as the Holy [Spirit] saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
So now, Paul, speaking to these Israelites in this epistle in Hebrews, is hearkening back to the experiences of their forefathers in the flesh in the wilderness. Now, to those who have a tendency to want to think that they are something because of race and because they are Israel, the apostle here is saying, “Don’t fall into that trap.” Because guess what? As we’re getting ready to read, even being a full-blooded Israelite in the wilderness didn’t mean that they inherited the Promised Land, did it? If there is a right to salvation, if there is a right to receive the blessings of God just because you are an Israelite, then that means that all of those Israelites that walked out of Egypt should have gone in and possessed the Promised Land, right? Did they? Let’s read on. Verse 10:
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation [We’re talking about Israel.], and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
Well, they did know the ways because God gave it to them. So what is He saying here? They didn’t obey. They wouldn’t hearken to the ways of God. They would not have faith like Abraham did. They wouldn’t trust God. Verse 11: “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)” Guess what? God said, “Even if you’re Israel—even if you’re those with whom I’ve made the covenant promise—if you don’t believe Me, if you won’t have faith, if you will not obey the Truth, you will not receive the promises. Period.” Verse 12:
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
These are people who received the Law of God. They received the Ten Commandments on two tables of stone. They were taught the statutes and the judgments. They knew what God required of them, and they would not hold fast.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ [We become, my dear brethren, Spiritual Israel.], if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
No, there were two who didn’t. Who were they? Joshua and Caleb. They were the only two, out of that nation, who did not rebel when they had an opportunity to receive the blessings of the kingdom.
But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?
Did those who just had the pedigree of Israel automatically inherit the Promised Land? No, they did not. Their carcasses fell in the wilderness over a thirty-year wandering. So, being Israel didn’t help them, did it? Having a pedigree or being of a particular race did not mean that they received the inheritance that God had intended for them. Regardless of your racial background, if you do not obey, if you will not value the ways and the laws of God, and if you will not crucify the self, then you will not receive it, and neither will I. We can take no confidence at all in the circumstance of our physical birth.
But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?
Why did even those of the pedigree of Israel fail to receive the Promised Land? Because they didn’t believe. They didn’t have faith in God as Abraham did. “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Then, continuing in chapter 4 and verse 1:
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
The Apostle is telling these Israelites in the first-century Church, in the writing of this book of Hebrews, “Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you have the physical lineage—the pedigree of being a physical Israelite and a descendant of Abraham—that it gets you anything. Your ancestors didn’t even make the Promised Land because they didn’t have faith.” He’s saying, “Neither will you if you don’t manifest the faith and belief in the laws of God.”
Abraham received God’s promises because he believed God, not because he was racially superior in any way. Paul also confirmed this to the Romans in Romans chapter 4 and verse 3. Let’s notice it: “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” It doesn’t say that Abraham was righteous because of his race. It was his behavior and what he did, the works of faith, that were counted as righteousness.
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [We’re talking about physical, fleshly things.] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only . . .
Is this really an exclusive club based upon your physical birth? Is it only to those who can claim that they are a physical descendant of one of the lost ten tribes of Israel? Is that who really has the inside edge with God? Not at all.
Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision?
Was it really that Abraham had fulfilled all of these physical rituals that became part of the ultimate covenant—that later covenant with Israel—including circumcision? No. God made the covenant promises to him before Abraham was circumcised, so these physical things and these rituals had nothing to do with it.
Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. [Verse 11] And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised . . .
We’re answering the question, what comes first, the cart or the horse? Because of Abraham’s faith and belief in God, God made the covenant with him; and then, circumcision became one of those signs of the seal of that faith and that covenant. But first came the faith, and not the other way around.
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised . . .
Abraham, then, became the father of the faithful. He became the one who was the patriarch of spiritual Israel, the Israel of God today—those who also manifest faith even as Abraham manifested.
. . . that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 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. For if they which are of the law be heirs [If the physical Israelites in the flesh are the ones who have the promise of salvation through birth], faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.
Who, then, are Abraham’s children? Those who behave like Abraham did. Who is it that can manifest real faith in God? Only those that are called. Only those who accept that calling, who begin to walk in that way using the very gift of the Holy Spirit to overcome. Those are the only ones who can manifest that kind of faith.
So, being a physical Israelite, brethren, gets us nothing. What about the Gentiles, then, who are called into the Church and have an opportunity to partake of the very gifts of being in the Body of Christ, but then who might have a tendency to look down on those Israelites who failed, as any of us might, when we read the Old Testament scriptures? We say, “Oh, those poor, pathetic Israelites. How stupid they were because they couldn’t see how good they had it.” No, we can also fall into a serious trap if we begin to malign and don’t recognize that we are just like them.
Let’s notice what Paul taught here in Romans chapter 11 and beginning in verse 1, concerning this interplay between Gentiles and Israelites of the flesh, and how they have both been given an opportunity to be a part of the Body of Christ, spiritual Israel. “I say then, Hath God cast away his people?” Really? Did the New Testament, through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, do away with everything concerning Israel? Was that just a temporary thing, and now God doesn’t care about them anymore? He just casts them aside. Now we’re looking to the New Testament for fulfillment, as Protestants think about it, and now salvation is open to Gentiles. Well, no, salvation is not open to Gentiles. It’s offered to Gentiles, for those who will become Israelites, but you cannot be in a relationship with God and be a Gentile. We’re all Gentiles of the flesh—separated from God until we receive a call—no matter what our racial background. But we all must become Israelite through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Notice:
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. [So, Paul knew who he was in the flesh, although he certainly didn’t glory in that.] God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
And so, as it was true physically at the time of Elijah who couldn’t see all whom God had preserved faithfully, so it is true today, in the spiritual application, that God has also preserved a remnant according to the election of grace.
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for . . .
No, in the flesh, the physical Israelites, who did have an appreciation for the fact that they were given this covenant promise and had an opportunity and should have received all these great blessings, didn’t achieve it.
What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it [Who? Spiritual Israel, those who became part of the Israel of God after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.], and the rest were blinded.
Only a fraction of the Jews were called to understand the significance of the sacrifice of Christ and were converted—even of those thousands who, on Pentecost in 31 A.D., were given the down payment of the Holy Spirit for the first time. You see, that was only a fraction of the entire nation that existed in Palestine and around the world at that time. God only called and gave that opportunity to a very small few when He started the New Testament Church, and the majority of the physical Israelites were blinded so that they could not understand and value it. “. . . the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber . . .”, which confirms precisely what we have heard for years—that human beings cannot, of themselves, come to a knowledge of the Truth; there must be a calling of God. “. . . God hath given them the spirit of slumber . . .” Now, if God gives the spirit of slumber, who on their own accord is going to overcome that slumber and come to see? It is not going to happen—not until God intentionally lifts that veil and provides the opportunity.
. . . God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall?
Did God blind the majority of the physical Israelites because He wanted them to fail? Did He really cast them aside? Does He have no more concern for them at all? “God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” As we’re going to find out, Israel—even physical Israel—is going to have a preeminent position in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ’s millennial reign on this earth. The physical Israelites, in that governing nation, are going to be preeminent among the world’s nations. Now, we’re not talking about the Family of God, because the first resurrection of those who will become spirit beings are going to be made up of all different racial backgrounds of those who are made part of spiritual Israel, the Israel of God, and given eternal life. But when God sets up His government on this earth, the physical Israelites who are alive at that time are still going to have a preeminent position in the flesh as a nation because God chose them. They are still important in the working out of His plan for the salvation of all mankind, and so they are going to be prominent.
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world . . .
If it was by Israel of the flesh rejecting Christ that opened the way for others, including Gentiles, to receive an opportunity, then that was a benefit to the entire world. “. . . and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?” The rest of the world was benefitted by the failure of Israel because they set an example of what all human beings do when they’re given the Law of God without the Holy Spirit to be able to fulfill it. They wrote an example for all of us. If, through their failure, the rest of the world has benefitted, then Paul is saying, “. . . how much more their fulness?”
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.
Paul was saying, “I am an Israelite; I’m a Benjamite. I have a close feeling for my own people, and God has not cast them away because they are also going to be given that opportunity to become part of spiritual Israel.” Most of them just had not been given that calling.
For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy [Who is the root? Jesus Christ.], so are the branches.
So, now we move into the analogy of a tree. Jesus Christ is the root from which the trunk and all of the branches spring. When we’re talking about the Body of Christ—the Israel of God in the Spirit—then we’re talking about Christ as the cornerstone, the very root of this tree. Verse 17: “And if some of the branches be broken off . . .”, which is precisely what happened to those Israelites who rejected Christ. They were branches. They had an opportunity. But because they didn’t have faith—they didn’t have the Holy Spirit—they couldn’t fulfill; and those branches, then, were broken off of that tree. “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree . . .” He’s speaking to those Gentiles who were not physical Israelites at all. They are compared to a wild olive tree. Now, notice that they’re both olive trees. Humanity has much in common, regardless of what race we may be. He’s not talking about an olive tree and an apple tree. They’re both olive trees, but one is called a good olive tree and one is called a wild olive tree.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them . . .
Now, I don’t know anything about plants to speak of, and especially about transplanting trees and doing grafting; but some of you, I know, are actually very skilled in those disciplines, so you understand this analogy very well. “. . . being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them . . .” So, he’s comparing this to taking a clipping—a branch—off of a wild olive tree and actually grafting it onto the good olive tree, whose root is Christ.
. . . being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches.
No, he’s saying, if you have been one who has been blessed enough to be selected by God to be called out of your Gentile humanity and to be placed into the Body of Christ through His Holy Spirit, don’t take that for granted and don’t begin to think that you are something special. Not at all. It was a gift.
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Recognize that it is Christ who called, and He is bearing you, not the other way around. Not a single one of us had any inherent respect, and God did not owe us a thing. If we were grafted into the Body of Christ, it is to be counted continually by us as an incredible blessing. “Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.” Did God intentionally break off the physical Israelites, the original ones of the covenant promise, to make room for you and me? No. Verse 20: “Well; because of unbelief . . .” Here, Paul clarifies it. No, it was because of their unbelief, because of their failure. God didn’t make them fail, but they did. “. . . because of unbelief, they were broken off . . .” God didn’t cause them to be broken off; their own carnal natures caused them to be broken off.
. . . and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches . . .
We already saw that, did we not? Just because they were physical Israelites didn’t mean they made it into the Promised Land. Most of them died in the wilderness. It didn’t help that they were a natural branch. “. . . take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God . . .” Yes, the goodness and the severity of God because God is not going to compromise His laws for any one of us. He is not going to make it easier or give any one of us a backstage pass to get into the Kingdom. We’re going to have to come in through the proper door, which is Christ. It means that we must have the faith and the confidence, even as Abraham had.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness [See, it’s still conditional—if we continue in His goodness.]: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
No, just because you’re a branch on the trunk, even the vine which is Christ right now, doesn’t mean that we’re guaranteed that spot. It depends on what we do with it. We can be cut off at any time too, if we quench the Spirit. “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief . . .” This is referring to those who have been cut off, those who have made a mistake—those who didn’t appreciate the original calling, whether of the flesh or even those of the Spirit who have departed and who are now in a state of separation from God. Just because they’ve made a mistake now doesn’t mean they’ve committed the unpardonable sin.
And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief [if they change and turn around], shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.
Even if they broke themselves off, how merciful and loving is God? He has a love and a desire for the workmanship of His hands; and even if they become broken off because of rebellion and rejection of the Truth, they can again be grafted in to the very vine of Christ.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
There is so much depth, and I’ve had to just skim over all of it so quickly because we could give hours of sermons on this very chapter of Romans 11. It tells you, synoptically, that none of us have a right to boast about what we are in the flesh, or even the fact that we have been called and placed within the Body, spiritual Israel today. How many have we seen who have become arrogant by virtue of the fact that God called them? But if we don’t cultivate that relationship with God, if we allow ourselves inadvertently to quench the Spirit, we will cut ourselves off of that tree. For those who have already cut themselves off because they have become discouraged or deceived and have rejected the Truth, their time is not over. Hopefully, God is going to recover the majority of them and graft them back in as well.
In the end, though, it has nothing to do with physical heritage. We will all be judged by our fruits, whether Israelite or Gentile; and that’s why we are so very different in our belief concerning British Israelism than many of these groups out here in the world who have embraced the idea of their physical heritage as coming from Abraham. We’re going to get into a lot of that.
One final scripture this afternoon, Romans chapter 2 and verse 5:
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God . . .
Yes, there is going to be a righteous judgement when all things are going to be known and all is going to be laid bare. “Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance . . .”, which means that we keep our eyes focused on the mark. We don’t turn to the right or to the left. It doesn’t matter where we are today. Where are we going to be next year, or five years from now, or whenever Jesus Christ returns? We have to be consistent.
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life [Yes, those who endure until the end are going to receive eternal life.]: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile . . .
It doesn’t matter what our racial background is in the flesh, brethren; it has to do with our obedience to the laws of God and our calling, whether we’re Jew or Gentile. If we mess that up, we’re not going to be there. That’s how simple it is.
But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.
There is no respect of persons with God. He’s looking for human beings who have character, as Mr. Armstrong said—those who have obeyed the laws of God in their own personal lives, have put on the very mind of Jesus Christ, and have proved, then, that when they’re given eternal lives and power and glory, they will not one day, eons of time down into the future, become another rebel like Satan the Devil was. That’s what He’s looking for; so, therefore, He’s not going to give any special privileges or an easier way in just because you’re born of one race or another, an Israelite or a Gentile. No, it’s only going to be those, regardless of your physical lineage, who prove that they have the faith and the confidence to obey for all eternity and not to reject it.
Next time, brethren, we’re going to look at the political aspects of British Israelism within this world, including the Christian Identity Movement, the Jewish Roots Movement and others. We’re going to analyze the false twists that are applied by many different groups in this world today concerning British Israelism and the belief that there are physical descendants of the lost ten tribes. We will see how perverse those things are and how they are likely going to be fundamentally responsible for our persecution in these last days. Next time.