Monthly Archives: September 2015

The lost sheep of the house of Israel

Matthew 10:5-7 KJVS
[5] These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [7] And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Much has been written about the identity of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Usually a history of the two kingdoms of the Old Testament houses of Judah and Israel is given. There has been much speculation and different theories about who the lost tribes of Israel are when the Lord walked this earth and in the present day. Many miss the obvious clues in the New Testament that point to who the lost sheep of the house of Israel are. First one should examine the above words of our Lord from the gospel of Matthew. He limits the area the twelve disciples can preach in, to the present country of Israel. So obviously the lost sheep of the house of Israel are in the country of Israel while our Lord walked the land. At first glance this makes no sense since the lost sheep of the house of Israel in the Old Testament were carried away to Assyria, heard of no more, and apparently were assimilated in and around that region. But then our Lord would know that and he would not make so obvious a mistake regarding the House of Israel. So there has to be another explanation. Apostle Paul points out there are two Israel. Israel of the flesh and Israel of the promise seed.

Romans 9:6-8 KJVS
[6] Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: [7] Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. [8] That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

In short, the Israel of God is Israel of the promise seed. And the promise seed is Jesus Christ and those that are in him, Gal 3:16&29. Apostle Paul make another distinction that takes awhile to wrap your mind around about the law of Moses.

Galatians 4:21-31 KJVS
[21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? [22] For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. [23] But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. [24] Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. [25] For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. [26] But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. [27] For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. [28] Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. [29] But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. [30] Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. [31] So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

The old covenant (law of Moses) is from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Aga, and this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. That is a mouthful that makes a important distinction that many miss. The religious system surrounding Herod’s Temple which was based on the law of Moses, children of Agar, are not heirs with the children of the promise seed. The lost sheep of the house of Israel that our Lord sent the twelve disciples to preach saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand, were the Jews that were the children of promise who were to be called out of bondage to the law, Acts 15:10-11. Plus the called out Gentiles that are added to the seed. Apostle Paul makes this clear.

Romans 9:21-26 KJVS
[21] Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? [22] What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: [23] And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, [24] Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? [25] As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. [26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

So the commonwealth of Israel Apostle Paul writes about in Ephesians, was comprised initially of Jews who are of the promise seed, and then the Gentiles who are also of the promise seed that were added to the body of Christ.

Ephesians 2:11-19 KJVS
[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us ; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: [17] And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. [18] For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. [19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

I know this is a complicated truth of the gospel. More so since we have been programmed all our lives by movies, books and even Christian teachings that point to Israel of the flesh as God’s chosen people. That the law of Moses was the most important aspect of the Old Testament. Few notice a verse from the Old Testament such as this.

Genesis 21:12 KJVS
[12] And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

This verse has to be understood in light of what Paul wrote in Galatians.

Galatians 3:16-19 KJVS
[16] 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. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

Jesus Christ is the promise seed who would be born of the flesh through the genetic linage of Isaac. And the Jews who were in the body of Christ comprises the lost sheep of the tribes of Israel that Jesus sent the twelve to go, preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand, Matt 10:6&7.

The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost

Titus 3:5-7 KJVS
[5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

It is funny how this web site seemes to write itself. Perhaps because it mirrors the progression of my understanding of the mystery of God in my life. The Christ in you, the hope of glory. It should go without saying, but we are God’s workmanship in Christ Jesus. The new creature, 2 Co 5:17, that is being created through the agency of the Holy Spirit, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost in the individual members of the body of Christ, throughout their lives. I have noticed in the last couple years a progression of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit in my life. Probably because I am asking God for grace more often. Life is getting harder for me. I have lived over thirty years with a spinal cord injury, with every added year making the struggle all that more difficult. This struggle has made me bone weary and tired of the seemingly endless repetition of days, filled with pain and the struggle against weakness. And yet I find myself walking around smiling and conversing with people in a agreeable manner, even though I am fighting to take every step and at times living in the kind of pain most people can not imagine. Now, I can not attribute this to myself, not as if it was any work of righteousness on my part, but as it states in the scripture above, it is due to the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. In essence God is purifying my heart by faith. Praise God and His holy name. The last couple years I’ve gotten in the habit of starting my mornings out with a cup of coffee, then I open the iPad and listen to a few Christian song videos. I have bookmarked quite a few, many of which I have also purchased from iTunes. And most every morning as I listen and praise and worship God and sing along, the Spirit washes over me, regenerates me, and renews my heart. God and His Spirit sustains me and hopefully will continue to sustain me through this fiery trial until the day God heals me, I die, or the Lord returns. The regeneration of the Holy Ghost is bringing about the new creature God has in mind, which is to be the resurrected body of Christ. There are only a few verses that mention this new creature in the New Testament.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJVS
[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Galatians 6:15 KJVS
[15] For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

The first scripture does not ring true to me as it appears, so I looked at the Strong’s definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “creature”. The primary definition is more in line with my thoughts regarding the meaning of the verse. The definition follows. 1.the act of founding, establishing, building etc. This definition gives one the sense that it is a work that is presently underway, rather than a past tense, completed state of being. The rest of the verse is also suspect to me in regards to verb tense. Unfortunately, translators have a difficult time translating the Aorist tense into English, and most often use the past tense. If you remember, Aorist tense is the Greek indefinite, indefinite in regards to verb tense, and means without horizon. Since I am not a expert translator in koine Greek, I can only compare the above verse to other verses in the bible to arrive at a better understanding of 2 Co 5:17. I have read in the past that 43% of the main verbs in the New Testament are Aorist. Just a scant few verses later in 2 Corinthians, is a verse that puts light on the preceding verse 17, part of this verse is used as a tag line for this web site.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVS
[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

That we may be made the righteousness of God in him does not sound as if this new creature is already a established and completed fact. Most every day of my life I do not feel like a new creature in Christ. Not in the sense that it is already a completed state of being in my life. Thoughts like this do not appear to line up with a verse like 2 Co 5:17. Thoughts like this can be troublesome and make you feel as if you, in some fashion, have missed the boat. Especially when you are in a dire situation where weakness, pain and doubts about how long you can continue to live alone and take care of yourself, trouble you on a daily basis. If you look at the verse I started this article with, you see the words “washing of regeneration”. Part of the Strong’s primary definition of the word “regeneration” is “new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, regeneration”. So we are going through a process of being reborn through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. A scripture I just recalled today, agrees with this. I read and edit these articles sometimes dozens of times after I publish them. Correcting typos or making additional comments or adding scripture verses that come to mind, after the fact, that make subjects I am writing about clearer. This is one of those times.

Ephesians 4:24 KJVS
[24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This verse gives a good mental image of the process of becoming this new creature, new man that will be the body of Christ. The word “put” is not in the manuscript, just the word “on” and I really like the Strong’s definition for the Greek word.

Strong’s Number
G1746
Original Word
ἐνδύω
Transliterated Word
enduō
Phonetic Spelling
en-doo’-o
Parts of Speech
Verb
Definition
1. to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

You get the real sense of being in the process of clothing yourself in righteousness. Believe it or not, just knowing this gives me comfort. I got to admit, that this “name it and claim it” theology mind set of certain areas of Christianity, has been and is troubling to me, for a very long time. The onus of not having the faith to be healed is always on the individual who is sick, weak or injured. I have a spinal cord injury. I was paralyzed for ten days. I cried like a baby from the intense pain when they first put me on a mat in Physical Therapy and told me to get into a sitting position. I lost over 30 pounds of muscle in ten days due to atrophy while paralyzed. It took 3 months of painful therapy to walk 100 feet on my own. And I have lived with this injury and pain associated with it for 31 years. I can remember early on, being in a halo vest, a device worn to stabilize the cervical vertebra that were fractured, and going to a healing service at a local church. This visiting healer placed his hand on my chest to push me back and fall into the waiting arms of two young men. I suppose it was to mimic being slain in the Spirit. I did not fall back due to fear of possible additional injury but the theatrical nature of the healing ministry rubbed me the wrong way. If God is going to heal me, He will do it without fanfare or theatrics. So this whole prosperity, name it and claim it theology, that implies people lack the faith to be healed, can lead a person to feel as if he missed the boat. Maybe I don’t have the faith to be healed. Maybe the trial of my faith will bring me to the place where I do have the faith to be healed. Or maybe it is necessary for a hardhead tough guy like me to suffer so, in order to die to the pride in ones own strength,and other ungodly lusts, 1 Pe 4:1&2. Or maybe I needed to suffer in order to understand why suffering is necessary in order to be conformed to the image of Christ, Php 3:10, and relay that knowledge to others. God only knows, but knowing that I am a work in progress and having the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in my life, is a experience that is reassuring and certainly quells the notion that I have somehow missed the boat. If I were to translate 2 Corinthians 5:17 on my own, it would look something like this.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is becoming a new creature: old things are passing away; behold, all things are being made new.

This translation would agree with many other verses that make the new creature in Christ, salvation and righteousness, appear to be a ongoing work of progress in our lives, Ro 6:6, 2 Co 12:9, He 9:28. I have read Titus 3:5 hundreds of times over the last decade and never really understood the importance of the verse in regards to salvation. Salvation in Christ, again due to the mistranslation of the Aorist tense, is largely presented as a past tense action by Jesus Christ alone, by modern day Christian theology. I have mentioned before, that years ago I bought Concordant New Testament. This translation has various marks before the verbs that indicate different verb forms in the Greek language, which allows the reader deeper insight into the various scripture verses in the Word of God. All these realizations concerning the meanings of various scripture verses, in regard to verb tense, is a recent development in my life. Largely propelled by searching the scriptures because of the feeling of having missing the boat in some fashion, due to the long term difficulty of my life. By recent, I would say the last ten years. I don’t think you can truly understand scripture until God works it into you and you say, “yeah, that verse is what is going on in my life.” For that reason it is hard to impart this knowledge to others. And let’s face it, the scripture verses in the New Testament are many and complex. Of which many religious organizations are using in purposely deceiving humanity with their various doctrines, Eph 4:14. The Word of God and the truth of the gospel is important to me. But of late, all I can manage to do is publish a infrequent article for this web site using my right index finger to peck out the articles using a iPad. Before I damaged my spinal cord I was able to type 60 words a minute using the home row method, but due to the nerve damage in my left side, I have limited dexterity in my left hand. Sitting at my computer typing with two index fingers is slow and painful due to 4 fused vertebrae in my neck, so I have come to rely on the iPad. I can lie in bed with the iPad resting in a wood holder I made, that rests against a wood clamp that is attached to the headboard of the bed. I am not likely to start a fellowship or attend a church regularly or even try and teach at a local church due to the pain and weakness. Not that any church would embrace some of the doctrine I espouse, like Universal Reconciliation with a hell of limited duration. I have been asked to leave a few churches when bringing those topics up in casual conversation. I have little choice but to be outside the camp bearing Christ’s reproach it would appear, He 13:13. Plus, God has made me a honest man, so deception by omission would not sit well with me. From my perspective God has sidelined me, or rather allowed me to sideline myself so the Holy Spirit can teach me and hopefully, I teach others. So we have God and Jesus Christ in our lives, working from the inside out and the outside in, creating this new creature.

John 17:23 KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

This being made perfect in one and being justified requires teaching, discipline and chastisements from God. Trials, afflictions and sufferings in order to put to the proof, the fruit of the Spirit God is growing in us. Carrot and stick approach, with the carrot being the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, that can be accompanied by joy unspeakable. I see all this at work in myself. But so slowly does change take place, that it requires much patience and hope to hold onto the eventual promised adoption and redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:22-25 KJVS
[22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they , but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit , the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

So with patience I wait for it. And one of the things that God has given us, like a clear sweet spring of water bubbling up out of the ground, if you will, is the frequent washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost in our daily lives, which is partly instrumental in the formation of this new creature within us.