Were the Hebrews the first people to be given the Word of God?
No. Adam and Eve were.
But there was a little problem with OBEDIENCE.
In fact, there has always been a problem with obedience.
And, now, thousands of years later, there’s a lot more to know about obedience – life and death, blessing and the curse – things the Hebrews had to learn the hard way, living in one small country, Israel. Even then it took three dispersions of the people – one of only 70 years and two that continue today – to discipline the people.
But why did Jesus (Yeshua) come to Israel first?
Because it was a familiar story He was sharing with people, fellow countrymen, who understood much about the ways of God. They had suffered without Him, and gloried with Him. And, by the way, He was coming as the Messiah of Israel.
As the apostle Paul taught in Ephesians 2:11-12, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles … That at that time ye were without the Messiah, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.”
And Paul mentioned the need to minister to the Jew first, then the gentiles.
Some people are dejected about this. Were we gentiles afterthoughts in God’s plan? No, the Gospel was for the whole world when Jesus came. But the Hebrews were primed for it. They had Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the prophets, including Moses, to help incubate the nation for about 400 years inside Egypt to prepare them for an introduction to the ways of the One True God.
Today, some or most Christians think they have replaced Israel. None of the original apostles thought so. That would be the ultimate insult.
Isaiah 42:6 makes the point: “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;” as well this one from Isaiah 49:6: “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
But it was a for a more practical reason the apostles taught the Jews first, then the gentiles. They only had to teach the Jews about Messiah’s death at the cross and His Resurrection. The challenge was teaching the godless gentiles. It had to be done in the synagogues. There were no churches.
James, the brother of Jesus and leader of ecclesia in Jerusalem, took the matter into his own hands and decided these first things should be taught to the gentiles – “that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach Him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day” (Acts 15:20-21). They would get an education fast that way. Eventually, the gentiles would learn about the entirety of the Torah.
It was always God’s plan to reach out to the gentiles – through the Jews! Not to replace them. Heaven forbid! Where would we be without them?
The Hebrews carried, studied and devoted themselves to the Scriptures as the oracles of the faith. Can you learn the Bible by listening to a pastor once a week? Chances are not good without the right teacher.
Here are some of the things to expect in Jesus’ Kingdom – the 1,000 year period coming up shortly:
* “Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.” Isaiah 49:22
* “For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” Isaiah 54:3
* “Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.” Isaiah 60:5
* “And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee: for in my wrath I smote continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.” Isaiah 60:10
* “And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” Isaiah 62:2
* “O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.” Jeremiah 16:19
* “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 1:11
That’s what in store for us in the millennial Kingdom – heaven not Earth, and our destination following is the New Earth.
We’ll also be expected to commemorate Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot, Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. If you’re not familiar with them, you’re still a gentile. It goes without saying we will be observing the Sabbath under the supervision of King Jesus. Surprised? You’ll have to eat clean, too.
The author of Hebrews puts it this way: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Hebrews 5:12)
There is too much milk from Christian pastors teaching on the Torah. We need strong meat from teachers steeped in Torah – and obedience!
Too many “scholars” are teaching that that God changed His mind and Jesus destroyed the law.
1 Peter 4:11 says it best: “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus the Messiah, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Today, we’re not much more than “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world,” as Paul said.
Most Christians still are. But God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. So is Jesus.
That’s why Paul said in Romans 2:10: “But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.”
Remember, we’re grafted in, as Paul reminds us. All gentile believers are.
“Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.” (Romans 11:19-21)
“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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