Acts of Self-sacrifice

September 28, 2014

Friends,
In the suburb next to the one we live in there has been a beautiful occurrence that has gone national. It can be read and viewed here:

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Grand-Prairie-Homecoming-Queen-Shares-Her-Crown-275390651.html

Being that homecoming is actually a very big deal in Texas, this act of kindness shown by two girls toward another is no small thing. But giving up the crown for their friend who had experienced a cruel prank has reaped more reward and honor than had they kept their crown. What an inspiration to all of us to remember those who hurt, those who are bullied, and those who are less fortunate. And what an encouragement to remember to be kind, generous, humble, unselfish, and self-sacrificing!

Last year I wrote about my niece, Kiana, who was her school’s 11th grade homecoming princess and whose boyfriend accompanied her in his football uniform. This year this same young man is the captain of their football team, but, ever since last year, Kiana, with his agreement, has planned, if she gets nominated again, to have a particular other classmate to be her escort. This classmate happens to be mentally handicapped. Kiana has assisted with him and the other handicapped students for several years, getting them involved and participating, and this year, while being a cheerleader, the president of the student council, and the vice president of the student body, she has organized for them to be a part of several things including the cheerleaders. Talk about someone who has worked to make potential outcasts feel included and honored!

There are many self-sacrificing people in the world. True, there are many who are not, but there are many who are. And all too often their acts of kindness and selflessness go unnoticed. Maybe this is why it is so wonderful when someone’s does get attention. Even national attention.

May many take such heart-warming stories to heart and strive to think of ways to show kindness to everyone they can, especially to those who may be hurting somehow. I’ve seen that sometimes even the smallest act of kindness can go a very long way. It can melt a heart, it can create a friendship, and it can save a soul.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

That Eternal-Life-Food

September 21, 2014

Friends,
Jesus has given us this command: “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will give you.” (John 6:27) Yet what is it that most people in the world are working hard to attain? What is it which drives them to go hither and thither, being busy, busy, busy? It is the desire for the world’s food. It is the world’s nourishment they seek. It is the world’s crumbs –those rotting, hollow, and counterfeit joys and support systems– that they are striving so hard to possess and eat.

But Jesus has instructed us to reject such a pursuit. Instead, He has told us, we are to work for that Food which does not evaporate or perish but which lasts and gives true and eternal life.

What is this Eternal-Life-Food? Jesus has informed us in the same chapter that this Food is Him –His body and His blood. He has told us to nourish ourselves on Him. He has let us know that because the Father has placed His seal of approval on the Son of Man (also in v. 27), He (Jesus) is qualified and able to give us this lasting Food. Because He came down from Heaven and gave His life for the world (v. 33) His flesh eaten produces eternal life. (v. 50,51)

Jesus’ flesh and blood which He has spoken about that we are to eat and drink (v. 53-58) is actually His Spirit which comes by way of His words. (v. 63) Therefore if we do not nourish ourselves with the Word of God, Christ is not in us and we are not abiding in Eternal Life. (v. 53) Yes, our physical bodies need physical food, for that is how God created us. But our spirits must be nourished with spiritual food (Mt. 4:4), and the only True Food, the only Food that produces eternal life, is Jesus who is the Word of God. (John 1:1,14)

Let’s caution ourselves, though, about one thing: It is not enough to just eat (read) the Word of God. We must digest it (meditate on it) and let it work in our spirits so that it produces that Life which it is supposed to produce in us. We must let it strengthen us and let it be our source of godly action, our source of power to do the Lord’s will. We know that without the Spirit we can do nothing; thus we need Him. But the Spirit is filled up in us when we read the Word and put it into practice.

Let’s stop striving for food that does not profit our eternal souls, but instead strive –daily– for the Eternal-Life-Food which Jesus gives us through His Spirit in His Word.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Door To Life

September 17, 2014

Friends,
Someone I grew up with and who seemed to be trying hard to follow the Lord most of her life, but who has recently turned to a New Age-type path, mentioned at her blog Jesus’ words about being the Door. But then she asked, “The Door to what?” I was surprised that she could ask such a question without seeming to know the answer, for Jesus’ teaching in John 10 is not hard to understand.

In John 10:1-16, Jesus tells us that He is the Door (v. 7,9) and that everyone who enters the sheep pen without going through Him exists there illegitimately. (v. 1,5,8) This could be anyone who tries to pretend they belong to Christ, though Jesus’ emphasis is on those who try to usurp the (true) Shepherd’s authority in order to get the sheep to follow them. (same verses & 10-13) Such impostors are like those who, even in our day, use Christ’s words (and the rest of the Scriptures) to teach doctrines that are false. Distorting the Word of God and promising the Way of the Truth and the Life, they actually are in league with him who is bent on destroying lives. (v. 10a) By bringing in falsehoods to confuse the flock, the ensuing division separates and scatters the sheep so that the weaker ones can much more easily be devoured by the Lie. (v. 10,12 // 1 Peter 5:8) Such deceivers really care nothing for others (John 10:13) but only for their own egos and desires. (Jude 1:15-19)

So, if Jesus is the Door, what is the answer to, “The Door to what?” In John 10:9,10 we have it in a nutshell: By going through the Door (Jesus), we receive safety, provision, and Abundant Life. The latter actually encompasses the other two (the safety and provision) and all of it is for eternity –if we do not rebel and turn away from lovingly and willingly following the Shepherd’s instructions / leadership / teaching. (v. 4,14,27-30 & 8:31-36 & 15:1-10)

So again, “The Door to what?” No one who knows and believes God’s Word would ask such a question. The whole Gospel tells us that Jesus is the Door to Eternal Life and that this Life begins the moment we abandon ourselves –repenting of our pride, our self-preservation, our desire for power, and all our participation in the evil realm– and cast ourselves into Christ. (Gal. 2:20 & 5:24 & 6:14) Once we do this, we have entered the realm of Rest (Heb. 4:1-11), the realm of Peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7), the realm of Love (John 15:10), and the realm of Safety. (10:9,27-30) This is the realm which, no matter what is happening around us or to our bodies, the real inner-self has already been tenderly tucked away in the blessed care of the Lord Jesus, our Creator and Shepherd and Savior.

Jesus is the Door to Life –the eternal existence that is blessed, not cursed, and is increasingly more wonderful into eternity than we can currently imagine.

Who would not choose to cast themselves through This Door?

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
In Isa. 22:11 we read, “…but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.”

We do not replace those to whom these words were directed, but being that God’s Word is living and that He uses it to speak to each one of us individually, let us direct these words toward ourselves as well. Do we look to the Creator and have regard for Him who orchestrates events? Do we stand in awe of Him and thank Him for His miracles, His deliverances, His judgements, and His mercies? Or do we shrug our shoulders and take it all for granted –considering the promotion to have come about by our own worthiness, the escape to have happened by our own wisdom, the prominence to have blossomed through our own ingenuity, and the strength to have come through our own hard work?

Can any good thing happen without the Lord’s might and help and plan? Can even evil happen without His prior knowledge of it, His allowance of it, and His insertion of it into His purposes? What we do, whatever happens to us, and all events of history come about because God either causes it or allows it –and always for His glory and the ultimate good of the righteous. Can we then take credit for amazing feats or for blessed positions? Moreover, should we feel hopeless while enduring pain and troubles, forgetting that God is sovereign over the affairs of all mankind?

In verses 8-11 we read, “You looked… you saw… you stored up… you counted… and tore down… you built… but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.” Why do people credit themselves or others when it has been the Lord’s doing?

So the Lord called you on that day to weep, to wail, to repent. (v. 12) But instead the people continued to party, and ignored the call of God. (v. 13)

What is the Lord’s response to such shameful indifference? “‘Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,’ says the Lord, the LORD Almighty.” (v. 14)

What is the sin? Is it not the refusal to repent of one’s disregard for the Lord’s hand in one’s life, in what is going on with us, with others, and in the world? Is it not the refusal to look to the One in whose control everything lies? Is it not the refusal to call out to Him and acknowledge, in full faith, that He is completely sovereign?

Let’s turn our eyes and hearts to the Lord and His Word and renounce the wickedness of disregarding His involvement in the earth.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Rewards Of Patience

September 4, 2014

Friends,
What I received from reading Ps. 40 this morning:

Waiting with patience brings reward. The reward is that we will see that the Lord has heard our cry and turned to us (Ps. 40:1), that He has lifted us out of the slimy pit (v. 2), that He has planted our feet upon a firm rock (same verse), and that He has given us a new hymn of praise to Him. (v. 3) On top of all this reward, we can know that our deliverance caused others to recognize the Lord’s might and faithfulness so that they too have come to fear and trust in the Lord (v. 3) and are thus able to receive blessing as well. (v. 4)

Praise be to the Lord! Yes, I will exalt the Lord in the hearing of the people (v. 9,10), proclaiming that the Lord is always righteous and always faithful (same verses), that He is Love and that He is Truth. (same verses) In fact, because we can count on the Lord’s wonderful character, we can be assured that He will always protect (v. 11) those who abide, through their submission and faith, in His mercy. (same verse) We can know that we who seek the Lord will always have His joy within us so that we can rejoice and be glad in Him at all times, no matter the wind and the waves. (v. 16) Yes, those who experience, love, and see the salvation and deliverance of the Lord can continually exclaim, “The LORD be magnified!” (v. 16)

We praise in faith and love and trust, but it is patience which actually manifests more reasons we praise.

Many, O Lord, are the wonders You have done, the plans You have brought about for us, and the good things You have done for us! (v. 5) –Too many to recount! (same verse)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Lord Loves His Church

August 31, 2014

Friends,
This morning at church there was a song that had lyrics about hands being held high in worship to the Lord. Standing with everyone else, I looked around and a bit behind and felt great joy to see almost the entire church (at least two thousand hands) lifted in beautiful exaltation to God. I whispered to my husband, “Look at that. That is SO cool.” He agreed. It was really precious. Especially as I felt God’s love well up in me for His church.

Interestingly, Gary’s sermon (which comes after the singing) was about the church. He spoke about how churches and para-church organizations often emphasize either the cause, the community, or the corporation, but how all three are equally important. In regards to the latter, he reminded us that churches should be stable, stable meaning that good financial stewardship is being practiced, that everyone is participating, and that the pastor and the elders are deciding things together while taking into account others and others’ concerns. In regards to community, churches should be places where all who come feel secure and loved, and where everyone remembers that everyone else is still “in process”. And in regards to the cause, everyone should be working to further the Truth and Way of the Lord, being compassionate toward the weak and wounded, but never neglectful in training and putting that training to practice.

The church is Christ’s body and bride. Because of this, we should be careful how we speak about her. Yes, there is the adulterous church and the counterfeit church. But there is certainly the real; and she is not always perfect. She is in process. She is sometimes messed up, limping, or sick. This is because her parts –Christ’s body parts– are many, and they consist of individuals, individuals who are at different levels in their knowledge of the Lord.

Jesus loves His church. He loves individuals. He loves those He is working with –those who have committed themselves to Him, or even those who have hesitantly called out to Him for help. He is tender toward those who are lagging –lagging not because of unwillingness, but because of the weariness of setbacks which life often brings.

Have we ever seen a man who truly loves his wife? Maybe she is a wife who has an illness –physical or otherwise, or maybe she is fine; but regardless, he cares for her attentively and with deep tenderness and patience. Whether or not we’ve ever seen such a man (I have), we can know that the Lord Jesus cares for His church like this, and perfectly so. While encouraging her to get stronger and stronger, He embraces her when she’s broken. He lifts her up, steadies her, instructs her, and waits for her to catch her breath and take the next step. He holds her up as she continues to try and gives her extra-special nourishment until she’s healed.

The church is Christ’s own body. Therefore, we are to love the church, and love the individuals who make up the church. We are to be patient with her, pray for her, help her, encourage her, instruct her, and love her –the bride as a whole, as well as each body part. We should be careful that we don’t speak against her lest we be stabbing / wounding / grieving the Lord Himself. The idea that we are the only ones still being faithful to the Lord or the only ones whom the Lord is using or working with, should be extinguished. We are not the only ones. The Lord has reserved for Himself many more than we realize. True, they may not be perfect yet (and neither are we), but they are cherished by the Lord. They are in His service, or at least getting there, and they are worshipping, or learning to worship, from genuine hearts.

Looking at the sea of raised hands this morning, I was reminded of the immense love, patience, and concern the Lord has for His body –the individual parts, but also the church as a whole.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
When we read the Scriptures, we are to interpret them literally, even while we make way for symbols, figures of speech, typologies, and poetic style. Moreover, we are to interpret all of it in light of the whole of Scripture, as well as in the way in which the original hearers were intended to interpret it. This does not mean that the Word of God is not continually alive and active, for it is; nor does it mean that God’s Spirit does not use the Word to speak directly to us about our own situations or the situations of those we are called to warn or help, for He does. Therefore, though God may give us, as individuals, a command, a warning, or a promise by way of a Scripture verse or passage, it does not negate the literal interpretation of the statement and/or passage with which the original recipient was to take it.

Let’s look at Mt. 3:15 for starters. It says, while the context explains why Jesus and his parents went and hid in Egypt until Herod’s death, “And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called My son.'” Israeliteindeed, who has been strongly advocating Replacement Theology for the last two months by teaching that God, in His plan, purpose, and promises, has replaced national (rebellious) Israel with His (obedient) Church used Mt. 3:15 in the title of her 8/13/14 post to further her argument on the issue. However, when we look back at God’s original statement (which is found in Hosea 11:1), we see that throughout this entire chapter, God refers to this (unruly) son as “Israel”, “Ephraim”, “My people”, “His [the LORD's] children”, and “Judah”, even while He is lamenting about how their sacrifices to idols, their determination to turn from Him, and their refusal to repent would reap for them destruction and slavery. Nevertheless, the chapter also includes the repentant return of God’s children and His restoration for them to their homes.

So, is Ho. 11:1 about Jesus and His Church? No, it is not, for a rebel against God could never characterize Christ or a person or group in Him. Why then does Mt. 3:15 state that Jesus’ flight to Egypt and return from there fulfills God’s statement, “Out of Egypt I called My son”? It is because this event in Jesus’ life fulfilled the typology comparing the rebel son (the nation of Israel) with the perfect Son (Jesus). Even so, we must understand that this fulfillment does not negate the original meaning of Ho. ch. 11 for the original hearers. The same must be understood concerning all of Scripture.

Let’s look at God’s use of the word “son” in 2 Sam. 7:14a where He says, “I will be his Father and he will be My son.” It seems, at first, that the words “his” and “he” refer to either (or both) Solomon (David’s immediate reigning predecessor) and/or Jesus (David’s final reigning predecessor), for in verse 12 the LORD promises David that He will, after David’s death, “raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.” That this means Solomon as well as Jesus, whose parents’ lineage is traced back through both Solomon (Mt. 1:6,7) and “Nathan, the son of David” (Luke 3:31), appears confirmed in verse 13 of 2 Sam. ch. 7, for we read, “He is the one who will build a house for My Name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever.” But what happens when we read verse 14? It says, “I will be his father, and he will be My son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men.” The reference to Jesus is thus cut from this verse, for Jesus has not, and cannot, do wrong, for He has always been, and always will be, sinless. (Heb. 4:15)

Consequently, when the LORD refers to His “son” in 2 Sam. ch. 7, He is referring to the descendants of David’s bloodline, from whom Christ Jesus, as a human, came. God is calling a whole lineage (who have done wrong and have received punishment) His “son”, while also including that one perfect man from David’s own body (seed / bloodline) whom God would raise up to be the Everlasting Ruler –namely, Jesus, who will literally return to earth to rule from literal Jerusalem. (Isa. ch. 9-11,65 // Jer. 23:1-8 // Zech. ch. 14 // Acts 3:21,22) Therefore, in view of this promise, no one can rightly think that God has taken away from David’s offspring His special family-love, His special covenant-promise, and His special eternal-decree, for in God’s statements immediately following His statement in 2 Sam. 7:14 about the punishment-deserving son, He says: “But My love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before Me [/you]; your throne will be established forever.” (v. 15,16) God is promising this to David concerning his lineage as a group.

Israeliteindeed made this assertion in her 8/20/14 post: “Even Christ Himself is not to be regarded any longer “according to the flesh” –His race while He was in the flesh is unimportant. What is important is who He is (God), and what He has done for all of mankind (provided redemption through His own body and blood).” She then goes on to quote 2 Cor. 5:16,17 to support her assertion. However, this passage is speaking about how those in Christ live in a new way –only for Him and with His viewpoint about everyone. To imply that this passage is specifically addressing the race issue is to be dishonest. Moreover, she is contradicting God’s Word to say that Jesus’ human ancestry is unimportant. For according to God, so as to show Himself faithful to His promises (Ezek. 36:20-23), the “record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Mt. 1:1) is highly important. (Acts 3:22 // Rom. 9:5 // Heb. 7:13,14) Moreover, Jesus, in referring to Himself as a Jew (John 4:22) and by answering yes to Pilate’s question, “Are You the king of the Jews?” (Mark 15:2), reveals His claim to be a Jew, as well as His claim to be, specifically, the Jews’ King.

Let’s continue in 2 Sam. ch. 7. We see that David believed God’s promise, praised and thanked Him for it, reminded the Lord of His words and promises that were always trustworthy (v. 28), and let God know he was expecting his lineage to continue before God forever. (v.29) David understood that God was giving him an extra-special promise. (v. 18,19) He also understood that all Israel was special to the LORD, for as he exclaims while in praise to God, “And who is like your people Israel –the one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for Himself and to make a name for Himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders for Your land and before Your people, whom You redeemed from Egypt, from the nations and their gods.” (v. 23) In verse 24 we see that David understood the promise included the whole nation Israel, for he says, “You have established Your people Israel as Your very own forever, and You, O LORD, have become their God.” It cannot be denied that in this conversation recorded in 2 Sam. ch. 7, both the LORD and David were referring to a lineage, a bloodline, an ethnicity, a kingdom of the nation Israel.

God gives the promise numerous times in His Word –such as in Ezek. 43:7, “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place for the soles of My feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel will never again defile My holy name…” Spiritual Israel does not defile God’s name; thus God’s promise here is seen to be directed to the Jewish people (40:4 & 43:10) and it concerns the return of the LORD’s glory (43:4,5) to a temple with specific measurements (ch. 40-43) within the land which God calls “My land” (36:5 & 38:16) and of which He says to “the whole house of Israel” (37:11), “O My people… I will bring you back to the land of Israel.” (v. 12)

Let’s look at Jer. 31:1: “‘At that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be My people.” The only way to correctly interpret this verse is that it is about an ethnicity, the Jews. In verse 33 (confirmed in Heb. 8:10) we read, “‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.'” As both contexts show, this promise is for the descendants of those whom God led out of Egypt (Jer. 31:32) / those whom Moses instructed. (Heb. 8:5-8) Yes, we Gentiles, are invited to partake of this Covenant through our faith in Christ, but we are to realize that we are the wild shoots grafted in. (Rom. 11:17)

This being the case, we Gentiles are commanded to not be arrogant (Rom. 11:20) nor to boast over the Jewish race who are the natural branches (v. 18), even though they, because of their unbelief, have been broken off (v. 20) “until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” (v. 25) Jews versus Gentiles (races) is certainly a focus here, and the passage clearly states that God chose to love Israel (even though they have rebelled) because of His promise to the patriarchs (v. 28), and that this is an irrevocable decreed choice of special-love God chose, through an oath, to make. (v. 29 & 9:13 // Dt. 7:6-8 & 14:2) God chose a race, and a particular lineage, to be His own. (Ps. 105:6 & 135:4,8-12 // John 1:11 // Acts 26:23) To say this is not so, is to disbelieve numerous portions of the Word of God. To spiritualize promises which God made to literal people about literal descendants, about literal land ownership, about a literal national repentance, and about Jesus literally returning to earth to literally reign over the earth from the literal land of Israel, and specifically from the literal city of Jerusalem (Jer. 3:17,18 & 23:3-8 & 24:4-7; also Isa. 27:12,13 and Acts 3:21) –“the city He loves” (Rev. 20:9)– is to not only change God’s Word, but to make God out to have lied to David, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to all the others who were reminded about God’s promises to their race.

Jer. 31:7 says, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the greatest of the nations.” Are we to deny that the LORD is stating that Jacob / Israel is the greatest of the nations? God continues in the same verse, “Make your praises heard, and say, ‘O LORD, save Your people, the remnant of Israel.'” Can we deny that the LORD is instructing that petition mixed with praise be given to Him that He save His people whom He calls the “remnant of Israel”? Can correct hermeneutics deny that God is referring to a literal ethnic nation, especially in view of what He says throughout the chapter as He speaks of the hills of Samaria and Ephraim (v. 5,6), of gathering scattered Israel from the ends of the earth (v. 8), and while calling Ephraim “My firstborn son” (v. 9)? God states that Ephraim (Israel) is His dear son, and though He often speaks against him, he is still the child in whom He delights, the one He remembers, has compassion for, yearns for (v. 20), and loves with an everlasting love (v. 3); who will also repent (v. 19) and be forgiven (v. 34), and who will be blessed with deliverance (v. 11), with joy and prosperity (v. 12-14), with righteousness (v. 23), with rest (v. 2,24), and with an intimate relationship with God. (v. 33,34) This is God’s choice, decree, and promise for the race He ordained to be His firstborn son. (Rom. ch. 9 & 11) For as the LORD said to Moses, “Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: ‘Israel is My firstborn son.'” (Ex. 4:22) An ethnic group, the Jews, are chosen by God as His firstborn son. And He will keep redeeming them back to Himself until that day when they (as a nation and individually) recognize their Messiah and dedicate themselves to Him forever. (Ex. 13:15 // Zech. 12:10-13:2 // Rom. 11:11,12,25-29)

Those adhering to Replacement Theology reveal their small faith as they deny the plain words of the Living God. It is also jealousy and pride which blinds them to the fact that the literal lineage of Abraham and David (which includes Jesus as the firstborn perfect son) is God’s firstborn son, and that although at present the Jewish nation remains unrepentant, Gentile believers in Christ are merely sharers in the inheritance, not usurpers. Is it not, therefore, those who attempt to usurp the position, while also slandering others, who make themselves participants in the synagogue of Satan? (Rev. 2:9 & 3:9) Is it not those who pretend to speak Truth and Love and Righteousness, while actually promoting contempt toward God’s elect firstborn, Israel, who are mimicking the expert of deception (2 Cor. 11:13-15) and hate? (1 John 3:10-15) Smooth talk about love and peace from those promoting falsehoods and agendas that are not of Christ does not deceive the discerning. (Rom. 16:17,18) Neither are the discerning deceived by groups who, while claiming to want peace, refuse it no matter what concessions are made for them.

So what about the issue of land –that piece of real estate which God promised to the patriarchs and their descendants? Has this covenantal promise of God’s been revoked and given to the Church? And is the land to be understood as spiritual land, meaning victory, blessing, and eternal salvation? Let’s look at God’s Word on the subject.

God made a covenant with Abram (Abraham) about land. It was about the land which, at the time, the Canaanites possessed. (Gen. 12:6) “The LORD appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.'” (v. 7) The LORD repeats the promise to Abram using the word “forever”: “All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” (13:15) Later, when changing Abram’s name to Abraham, the LORD says to him, “I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” (17:7,8) The Israelites responsibility was to keep the sign of this covenant –male circumcision. (v. 9-14)

God stated the covenantal promise multiple times to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to their descendants about a particular piece of real estate –“from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates– the land of the Kenites…” (Gen. 15:18-21) However, in Lev. ch. 26 we read the harsh warning which God, through Moses, gave to the Israelite nation concerning what they would have to go through if they rebelled against Him. God said that He would punish them seven times over for their sins (v. 24) and bring a sword upon them “to avenge the breaking of the covenant” (v. 25) –the (Mosaic) covenant involving laws, blessings, and obedience. (v. 3,14,15) Even so, in verses 41 and 42 God says, “…then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember My covenant with Jacob and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.”

In Lev. 26:43, as well as in verses 34 and 35, God said that the land will be deserted by His rebellious nation while it enjoys its sabbath rest, but in verses 44 and 45 (as Isa. 11:10-16, Jer. 32:36-44, Ezek. 36:12, and many other passages confirm), God promises to restore the Israelites back to the land. “Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin…” (Jer. 32:44) Spiritual Israel does not conduct such business, so contrary to what Israeliteindeed teaches, the promise, given to the Jewish race, does include a piece of real estate. The LORD made the covenant with Abraham. (Ps. 105:9) He swore it to Isaac with an oath. (same verse) “He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.'” (v. 10,11) Truly, “He remembers His covenant forever” (v. 8) and “His holy promise given to His servant Abraham.” (v. 42) This whole chapter is about ethnic Israel, God’s chosen people, which verse 6 confirms by saying, “O descendants of Abraham His servant, O sons of Jacob, His chosen ones.”

Throughout the Word of God we see that the promise includes the everlasting existence of a Jewish nationality (Jer. 31:35-37), their restoration to their homeland (v. 23-28), and days of which God speaks of “when this city will be rebuilt for Me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.” (v. 38) Though the long punishment made it seem to the psalmist, Ethan, that God had renounced the covenant (Ps. 89:38-51), God’s own words in the same chapter, reveal the LORD saying that He will never renounce it, and that His love and His covenant with David’s line will endure forever. (v. 19-37) Moreover, the LORD says that those people who claim that He “has rejected the two kingdoms / families He chose” (Jer. 33:24) and who thus “despise My people and no longer regard them as a nation” (same verse) are completely wrong. (v. 25,26) For God has chosen that Jacob’s and David’s lineage will endure forever. (v. 26)

I’m sure God has used Ezek. ch. 36 & 37 countless times to speak to individuals, as He has for me, promising to us the born-again experience for those we are interceding for who are (or were) dead in their sins. But this does not negate the literal and original message which God was giving through Ezekiel. The context is all about national Israel –the people and the land God gave them. In 37:19-28 the LORD is promising to gather the Israelite tribes from the nations “and bring them back into their own land” (v. 21) to be “one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel” (v. 22) with one king, not two kingdoms as before (same verse), and to be a cleansed people belonging to God. (v. 23) The King from David’s lineage will rule and the people will willingly obey (v. 24), and as God promises, “They will live in the land I gave to My servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever.” (v. 25) The covenant of peace will be everlasting and that place will be God’s sacred dwelling forever in the sight of all the nations. (v. 26-28) Do false teachers really think we are going to adhere to their teachings that contradict the plain words of God? Truly, the gravity of pretending to preach God’s Word, while actually contradicting God’s Word, is huge. (Jer. 20:6 & 29:30-32 // Gal. 1:6-9)

Though the whole earth belongs to the LORD, He considers the land of Israel to be His in a unique way. He says in Lev. 25:23, “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you are but aliens and My tenants.” Again about it, Dt. 11:12 tells us that it is a land God cares for and watches over continually. In Isa. 14:25 and Jer. 2:7 & 16:18, God calls the land His land and His inheritance. In Joel 3:1,2 God declares that during those days when He restores the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, He will gather all nations to the Valley of Jehoshaphat to bring His judgement against them. Why? God says it is because of their sin in scattering to the nations His people (His inheritance –v. 2), and because they “divided up My land.” (same verse) Those who are trying to pressure Israel to give up any part of that land which God calls His, will experience God’s wrath.

Israeliteindeed has, over the last two months, written repeatedly against what God calls His inheritance –the Jewish people and the land of Israel. The method of interpretation she uses of spiritualizing huge portions of God’s Word which should be taken literally, is sending her down a road of falsehood where one becomes susceptible to more and more lies, confusion, and sin. It is a road where people change and twist God’s Word to mean what they want it to mean. It is a road of arrogance and self-righteousness where one becomes unable to hear exhortations from those who warn by the Holy Spirit. It is a road which causes a person to write with a tone of anger, superiority, and malice against one particular race –the Jews– as well as against those who believe that God’s Word has commanded that Jews and their land be prayed for, loved, and blessed. (Gen. 12:1-3 // Ps. 122:6-9) It is a road which blinds a person to the fact that their words about love, meekness, harmlessness, and non-violence are not supported by their attitude throughout their writings. It is a road of making false accusations, of giving unwarranted labels, of twisting historical events, and of perpetuating political myths as well as hatred toward Jews, while also showing disrespect toward those who do not share their viewpoint and whose hearts and minds they apparently wish they could control.

It is not merely due to Israeliteindeed’s false doctrine which she has recently been promoting that I must retract my endorsement of her blog, but, almost more so, it is due to her attitude, over the last two months, with which she has delivered it. Furthermore, I apologize to my readers that, back when I was encouraging everyone to read her posts, I was not aware that she was turning to the false and harmful doctrine of Replacement Theology.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

P.S. From the political angle, here are two informative and factual articles:

1. Arabs created and still perpetuate the refugee problem:
http://www.thebereancall.org/content/may-2014-classic

2. Myths about the Palestinians versus the facts:
https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFpeace.html