Israel is essential to understanding the Bible

Israel is mentioned 2,489 times in the King James Version of the Bible.

It is mentioned 70 times in the Greek scriptures.

It might suggest that God finds it really important, really key to understanding, perhaps even essential to comprehend who and what Israel is about. It’s one the few nations that still exists since the time of Abraham – a time when there was no America, no Rome, no Great Britain, no Babylon.

But many – perhaps most – think God’s eternal covenant with Abraham is different, somehow changed, that God somehow abandoned Israel despite his promises, His commandments, His Torah.

Where do they get these ideas? They seem to think God changed His mind despite that Bible explicitly affirming He’s the “the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” (Hebrews 13:8)

By contrast, you might be shocked by what word is not found in either the “Old Testament” or “New Testament” – except as a mistranslation.

Want to take a guess?

It’s “church.”

How could that be?

You’ve seen the word “church” some 111 times in the King James Bible, the same holds true for the modern versions.

But, what is the Greek word that was translated as “church” into English? Ekklesia. The word ekklesia means, assembly or congregation – two words that were available to the translators.

The problem is this: The Hebrew uses the word assembly and congregation over 400 times. The word “church” indicates that Jesus came to create a new body of people, but in fact he was continuing to build the same assembly/congregation he created from the beginning.

There was no intent by the apostles to start a new faith. They already had one – started by God.

God did not create a new religion and dump the faith of Abraham, Moses and David.

Perhaps the greatest myth created since then is the idea that God wholesale changed his teachings – rendering His everlasting commandments replaced, watered down or even eradicated. Sin was essentially redefined or abrogated.

The truth is God had no such thing in mind. His Torah was meant as a blessing to believers.

There is no hint of this idea in the Bible. Yet there are millions of Jews and Christians under this delusion because of rampant false teachings by those the prophets called “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Jesus came to do many things, to fulfill many roles, to clarify, to speak only the words given Him to speak by the Father and, most of all, to atone for our sins by dying on the cross and being resurrected as the long-awaited Messiah.

He also came to be a light to the Gentiles – making His coming Kingdom available to them playing by essentially the same rules as the Hebrew people.

He also gave us this warning:

“Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it,” Jesus said in Matthew 7 verses 13-14.

And later in Matthew 7, verses 21-23:

“Beware of false prophets. … Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Have you ever read those words with bewilderment, or even with fear and trembling? Who are these people who call Jesus “Lord,” prophesy, cast out demons and do wonderful works – all in his name – but are turned away on Judgment Day? Have you wrestled with that question?

Don’t many teachers today say that Jesus came to give us an easier path to salvation – to unburden us of the law, which was such a stumbling block under the old covenant?

The Apostle John, who lived well into A.D. 90, wrote simply and articulately about the BIG PICTURE.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ [Messiah] the righteous:” he wrote in 1 John 2:1-4. “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

John was trying to make it simple. But theologians have made it complicated.

From the beginning, it has been the same story for the Hebrew people. Later, the Good News of the Gospel came to the Gentile world, enabling them to be grafted into the eternal covenant between God and His chosen people.

KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS! Love them all. Remember, they are not burdensome. We serve a forgiving God. He is merciful!

There is no easier path. Be contrite with God when you come up short. From the very beginning, it’s always been the same story – except Jesus died for our sins. God still expects us to keep all His statutes or be fully repentant.
“The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” by Joseph Farah is available in both hardcover and e-book versions.

ALSO: Get Joseph Farah’s book “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age,” and learn about the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and your future in God’s Kingdom.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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