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the Kingdom
"...not by observation - the Kingdom is within." Luke 17:20-21
Who Is Israel?
Part One - the Gentile

by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
(Ephesians 2:12)

"Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called 'the uncircumcision' by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands - remember that you were at that time separated from haMashiach (the Messiah), alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without YHVH in the world. But now in Yeshua haMashiach you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Yeshua haMashiach."
Ephesians 2:11-14

"Truly YHVH is good to Israel, to those who are of a pure heart." Psalm 73:1

After the last article the Blood (click on highlighted words to view content), several have written asking the same question - "Who is Israel today?" As that article stated and the passage from Ephesians above confirms, the purpose of the shedding of the pure blood of Yeshua was for the restoration of echad (Hebrew for "one") to the Kingdom of YHVH as it was in the beginning with the first Hebrew Adam. Before answering that question specifically, however, we need to be sure our terminology is in alignment with the words and life of Yeshua Who is the benchmark by which everything is measured - including other scripture (Revelation 19:10b). In the article, the Beatitudes, we found that the words Yeshua spoke were not something "new", that is, unique just to His message; but, rather, all of His Words can be referenced back to the Words of YHVH in the Tenakh (the OT, John 14:24). Since words mean things, if we simply look to what the words of scripture say and mean without overlaying any preconceived traditional theology upon them, those words make clear the question of who comprises the family of YHVH, the Kingdom of Israel. As we see from Psalm 73:1 above, YHVH considers Israel to be those who maintain a pure or cleansed heart before Him. 1Peter 1:22 tells us HOW our lives are cleansed and made pure - by obedience to the Truth through Spirit. That Truth is found in the standard set by the Words of the Father of the family of the Kingdom Who IS Spirit (John 4:24, see Who's Word Is It?).

When we remember that all of the books of the Book were written by Hebrews and were primarily addressing Hebrews; from a strictly Hebraic perspective, we find there are only two categories of people contained in scripture - Hebrews and others. These others are called Gentiles - those who worship gods other than the Holy One of Israel. The term "Gentile believer" is oxymoronic and does not exist in a Hebrew world view. When a Gentile or foreigner (someone from outside the family, from another nation) becomes adopted into YHVH's Hebrew family of Israel by observance of the standards set by the Father, it has always been the case that he is to be treated no differently from those naturally born into the family (Leviticus 19:34). So, when a Gentile abandons the multiple gods of any society and "comes to faith" in YHVH, the One True God of Israel, he is considered a Hebrew convert. This was the same Father the Hebrew Yeshua addressed in His Words and Life. This is the same Name that appears over 2500 times in the Hebrew scriptures but not once has YHVH found its way into our modern English translations. Why is that? - because it has been replaced. So, everytime the word "God" or "Lord" appears in scripture, our mind should be seeing His Name - YaHoVeH, or the shortened version, YHVH (see One Spirit, One Name for more evidence).

In the light of exploring who Israel is, it is just as important to come to an understanding of who Israel is not. Most of the misunderstanding concerning YHVH's family has come from the false teaching of Christian replacement theology concerning who constitutes "the church". This theology runs much deeper than a simple declaration of being for or against the physical nation of Israel but, in fact, permeates through most of Christian theological thought (i.e., there are "two" Israels - one physical and one spiritual when, as we shall see, scripture clearly indicates there is only one). It was originally designed as a deliberate act of creating a distinction between "ethnic" Jewish and "non-ethnic" monotheistic (one God) believers in YHVH in order to escape the horrific persecution heaped upon Jews and all who stood with them in the worship of the Holy One of Israel from the Roman Empire, who worshipped polytheism (meaning several gods). This persecution by Rome began in earnest with the destruction of the Jewish second temple in 70 AD up until the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine to Christianity. Constantine subsequently convened the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD to set forth the edicts of this "new" religion (the declaration of those disturbing edicts can be found in the Word). A brief involvement with history will confirm that the theological aspects of this new religion were non-existent for well into the third century - 150 to 200 years after the Resurrection. Scripture confirms that at the time of the apostles and the writing of the epistles, believers in Yeshua as the promised Messiah of scripture were considered a heretical sect of Judaism - believers in YHVH, the Holy One of Israel (Acts 24:5, Acts 24:14).

the Beauty of Israel

the family of YHVH
In order to justify the existence of Christianity as something apart from the Hebrew faith and as a condition of appeasement to the power of Rome, existing scripture had to undergo a re-interpretation to establish a separation from the Holy One of Israel and His Hebrew Family, conflicting with what had been in existence for thousands of years. The edicts of the Nicaean Council comprised the foundation of what became known as the Roman Catholic Church - the root from which all subsequent Christian sects and denominations can be traced. While adoption is not a new phenomenon among YHVH's family - supplanting the family is. When a branch is grafted into a tree, it draws its sustenance from the life flowing out of the root of that tree - not the other way around. The branch does not bring life to the root (Romans 11:16-18, John 4:22). To cut away the root from the rest of the branches condemns that tree to death. Yeshua said those who try to enter the Father's Kingdom by any other means are considered thieves and robbers.

Those who propose the "one new man" of Ephesians 2:11-14 to be a new species or an amalgam of Gentile and Jew neglect the admonition of the verses preceding that statement. These verses call for a remembrance that those "who were once Gentiles …were without Messiah, aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without YHVH in the world." Someone who is a Gentile is one without the Elohiem (Hebrew for "God") of Israel. Now, however, because of the resurrection of Messiah, the opportunity is now open for those having been once separated to be brought into the Commonwealth of Israel - not into something else newly created just for them. Gentiles are those turning away from beliefs regarding something other than belief in the Holy One of Israel to join themselves as a "new man" into YHVH's family. The name of this one new man is Israel - all those who purify their hearts by adhering to the standards set within the family of YHVH by the Father of that family.

"For through Him we BOTH have access by one Spirit to the Father of Israel. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the HOUSEHOLD OF YHVH ." Ephesians 2:18-19

Christians are taught that "the church" was first formed at Pentecost - contrary to what scripture tells us. The Greek word used for "church", ekklesia, means "those called out…" and most of Christianity stops right there with their definition - but that definition is not complete. The complete definition continues with "those called out of their homes to an assembly, an assembly of Israelites". The first time this Greek word is used in scripture is not in the book of Acts on Yom Shav'uot (Day of Pentecost) as Christianity maintains, but appears first in the gospel of Matthew, specifically in the words of Yeshua in chapter 18:15-17. In this passage, Yeshua referred to those not hearing the ekklesia ("the church") are to be treated as a Gentile - someone other than a member of the Hebrew family of Israel. When Yeshua made this statement, there were no "Christians" around. He was speaking to Hebrews who understood the ekklesia to have existed long before Pentecost. In the wilderness, whenever the Israelites gathered before the tabernacle, they were called the "assembly" - from which the Greek word ekklesia gleans its definition (Leviticus 8:4).

In the text of Hebrews 8:13, the Hebraic background of the word “new” (quoted directly from the passage in Jeremiah 31:31) cannot be taken in the sense of essentially new or completely new - as from scratch. To understand kainos (Greek for "new" meaning "fresh") in this verse is to understand that it is speaking of a new element that was previously out of sight is now coming into view - not something newly created. It is the revelation of what was always present but unperceived. Only by divorcing kainen from its Hebraic influence of the word actually used in Jeremiah 31, chadash (whose root meaning is to re-new, or re-pair), can someone conclude that this represents an entirely unprecedented creative act. What is "new" about the covenant is the manner of delivery of YHVH's Words. They are now written and renewed on the hearts of men who will receive them, instead of on tablets of stone - BUT THEY ARE STILL THE SAME WORDS (John 1:12, Jeremiah 31:33).

full to the brim

full to the brim
These Words are not altered, not done away with, as Yeshua reinforces in Matthew 5:17-19 - just a better way of having them delivered - by or through Spirit. The Greek word pleroo translated as "fulfill" in this passage means "to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to fill to the brim" - there is nothing in that definition that remotely lends itself to something "done away with". When a cup is "filled to the brim" it means it is whole or complete so that nothing else can be added - it does not mean to throw the cup away, for then there would be no way to partake of what the cup holds. In Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, and Luke 22:19-20; the word "new" in front of "testament" or "covenant" (depending on the translation) is not found in the original manuscripts - having been artificially inserted at a later date to reinforce a replacement theology embraced by the translators. The text should be read "this is My blood of the covenant which is poured out for the many…" - not a "new" covenant, but a promised restoration or fulfillment of what came before. It is only with the understanding there is no "new" covenant (simply the same covenant that has been renewed or repaired - much in the same way a house or a car is given a restoration to make it better), can we see the consistency in the first usage of ekklesia by Yeshua in Matthew 16:18 where Yeshua says He will build (Greek oikodomeo, meaning "to restore by building, to re-build, to re-pair") His church on the same rock of revelation by Spirit that Keifer (Peter) received in the prior verse. This is the gospel Yeshua spoke of in Luke 4:43 as the purpose for His being sent (see what the Gospel is). He was sent as the Kinsman Redeemer to the house of Israel for the restoration of the Kingdom of YHVH.

Fulfillment

fulfillment of the Promise
In Matthew 5:34 Yeshua reinforces that heaven is YHVH's throne, His residency, the place where Spirit dwells (quoting directly from Isaiah 66:1). The Kingdom of YHVH tells us whose it is and the Kingdom of heaven tells us where it is - but there is only one Kingdom referred to in scripture that belongs to Spirit (Matthew 6:10). There was an epochal event that occurred on Yom Shav'uot (Day of Pentecost) that had not happened since the separation took place in Gan Edan (the Eden garden). For it was on that day, as a result of the sacrifice of the Kinsman Redeemer that the promise of the restoration of the Kingdom was fulfilled. On that day, the Kingdom of YHVH's residency, His throne, moved from the "heavenlies" once again into the hearts of men who would receive His Words (Jeremiah 31:33, John 1:12). Yeshua said in Luke 17:20-21 above that the Kingdom of YHVH is "within" - not "over yonder". The throne of YHVH today resides in a tabernacle not made of stone, but in the hearts of men who have allowed His Words to cleanse and purify their hearts - His Kingdom is within and among His saints (Revelation 21:3, Hebrews 9:11).

We began this discourse by asking "who is Israel?" This is a valid question since YHVH proclaims His Husbandry to the physical people of Israel in Jeremiah 31:32 and that He will never abandon or cast them away in 31:35-37. Christianity, however, has proclaimed itself as the de-facto, "spiritual" Israel, replacing the Israel YHVH supposedly gave up on - which, as we have seen, is not the position laid out in scripture. If He were able to dissolve His Promises to His Family of Israel, what does that say about where you and I stand with Him on His Promises today? There was a second epochal event that occurred in 1947 with the re-emergence of the physical nation of Israel - beginning the fulfilling of the covenant promise made to the Hebrew patriarch, Abraham, concerning His People and the Land which is still in the process of being made complete.
The Who Is Israel? Series
Part One - the Gentile
Part Two - the Church
Part Three - the Bride
Part Four - Children of the Bridechamber
Part Five - the Covering
Part Six - the Land

"...all Israel will be saved... With respect to the Good News they have been separated for your sake. But with respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs' sake, for YHVH's free gifts and his calling are irrevocable ." Romans 11:25-29

???Questions???
Please feel free to email me at harold@hethathasanear.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.
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