Sunday, May 31, 2015

Living by grace... saved by grace. The same or different?

We have heard the expressions "saved by grace" and "living by grace" (also referred to as living by faith) but  are these different? If so what is the difference? Are they similar in some way? How?

They are the same but also different.

They are the same in that both address God's love for us based on and secured by:

1. Christ! His work on our behalf i.e. the gospel/good news
and 
2. Both are received and experienced by faith.  

They are different in that:

Saved by grace addresses 

1. Our sin problem i.e. our legal status and standing of guilt and condemnation before God. The internal turmoil of our guilt and shame (our internal pain and suffering) that comes from this.
Living by grace addresses

2. Our circumstances/suffering/hardships problem i.e. our practical everyday experience. Our external turmoil and suffering from painful circumstances. 

Summary:

1. Saved by grace – God loves us no matter what our sin i.e. our inside issue of guilt and shame which is our internal pain and suffering.

2. Living by grace – God loves us no matter what our circumstances i.e. our outside issue of circumstantial pain and suffering.

We suffer pain both internally and externally. Internally because we have rebelled and broken away from the source of love and life, thereby living in a state of guilt and shame. 

Externally because we live in a fallen and broken world as a result of mans fall and rebellion. 

By Gods grace we are assured that he loves us no matter how messed up our world is both inside and out!

Amazing grace!!!

A primary passage addressing how we are saved by grace – Romans chapters 3-8:25. 

Key verse Rom 5:8  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

A primary passage addressing how we live by grace – Romans chapter 8:26-39. 


Key verses Rom 8:38  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Promises made to Abraham and Israel

    
·   The promises God did and did not make to Abraham

Gen 12:3 "I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

This short verse is often understood to mean and support that whoever does not bless the nation of Israel we will be cursed by God Himself.

However on closer examination this verse does not say, I will bless those who bless Israel, and him who dishonors Israel I will curse, and in Israel all the families of the earth shall be blessed." It is simply assumed, but not in the actual text. Yet this is the common explanation. Read it again, slowly. This promise has to do with how people treated Abraham personally and not the nation of IsraelIsrael as a nation did not even exist at the time this promise was made. The blessing actually promised (...in you all nations will be blessed...) certainly doesn't exclude Israel, it includes them, it's just not exclusive to them as is often assumed.

The only hint of reference to any descendents being blessed is to all nations (which again certainly includes Israel) i.e. "...in you (Abraham) all the families of the earth shall be blessed..." not just one nation! God’s focus and goal from the beginning was to bring salvation to all nations (repeated in Gen 17:1-5;  18:1822:18; 26:4 and 28:14) through Abraham (Abram at the time of the original promise). So if there is any curse or blessing passed on to anyone through Abraham it is to those decedents of faith whether Jew or Gentile i.e. believers in Christ, Abraham's spiritual children not his physical/natural children. 

If this sounds odd to you, keep reading. Several passages below are cited that will bare this out further. This promise is inclusive of all peoples within and without Israel. This is later confirmed by the Apostle Paul in several places in his letters (Rom 4:13-18Gal 3:6Gal 3:23,29Eph 2: 11-22Rom 2:28-29Rom 9:6-8Gal 6:15,16). To say this promise applies to only Israel actually limits what God says in several places throughout scripture (some cited above), both Old and New Testament.


·    What about the promise to the nation of Israel in Num 24:9 

"He crouched, he lay down like a lion and like a lioness; who will rouse him up? Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you."

Is this not proof that those who bless or curse the nation of Israel today will be blessed or cursed accordingly. Unlike the promise to Abraham (Abram at the time) which had to do with the calling of Abram out of his homeland and the unique and all encompassing promise made regarding Abram's future, this incident in Numbers was a very specific situation regarding a thwarted attack of Israel by Moab after their Exodus from Egypt. The following is the context.

Num 24:8  God brings him out of Egypt and is for him like the horns of the wild ox; he shall eat up the nations, his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces and pierce them through with his arrows.
Num 24:9  He crouched, he lay down like a lion and like a lioness; who will rouse him up? Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you."
Num 24:10  And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times.

When the children of Israel pitched their tents in the plains of Moab, the Moabites entered into some sort of an alliance with the Midianites. At the instigation of Balak, king of the Moabites, elders of the two nations were sent to the prophet Balaam to induce him to pronounce a curse on the advancing hosts of the Israelites. But, in compliance with God's command Balaam refused. God not only permitted Balaam to go with the men, but he actually commanded him to do so, cautioning him, however, to act according to further instructions. While on his way to Balak, this injunction was strongly impressed on the mind of Balaam by the strange behavior of his donkey (we have all heard God spoke through a donkey. This is story they are referring to) and by his encounter with the Angel of the Lord.

Accompanied by Balak, Balaam came to Kiriath-huzoth. On the next morning he was brought up “into the high places of Baal” providing a partial view of the camp of the Israelites. But instead of a curse he pronounced a blessing shown in the above passage. This fully convinced Balak that all further endeavors to persuade the seer to comply with his wishes would be in vain, and the two parted.

This incident was addressing a specific event unique to Israel at the time. There is no indication from the context this promise of Balaam went beyond the event Israel faced at that time and has anything to do with Israel today. 


·     Does God have anything to say to Gentiles in the Old Testament?

It is also worth pointing out that those Gentiles that choose to participate in the covenant of Israel and live among them were not forbidden but even welcomed to participate in the blessings and all significant facets of life within Israel.

Exo 12:48  If a strangerH1616 shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.
Exo 12:49 There shall be one law for the native and for the strangerH1616 who sojourns among you."
Lev 19:34  You shall treat the strangerH1616who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Num 9:14  And if a strangerH1616 sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the sojournerH1616 and for the native."
Deu 1:16  And I charged your judges at that time, 'Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alienH1616 who is with him.
Deu 26:11  And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojournerH1616 who is among you.
Deu 31:12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojournerH1616within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law,
2Ch 2:17  Then Solomon counted all the resident aliensH1616 who were in the land of Israel, after the census of them that David his father had taken, and there were found 153,6002Ch 2:18  Seventy thousand of them he assigned to bear burdens, 80,000 to quarry in the hill country, and 3,600 as overseers to make the people work.


·     Stranger, alien or sojourner

(Strongs) H1616   גּיר    גּר    gêr  gêyr - gare, gare
From H1481; properly a guest; by implication a foreigner: - alien, sojourner, stranger.

(Browns-Driver-Briggs) BDB Definition:

1) sojourner
1a) a temporary inhabitant, a newcomer lacking inherited rights
1b) of foreigners in Israel, though conceded rights


The genealogy of Christ

In fact there are also several Gentiles in the genealogy of Christ. The point of keeping Israel separate from other nations was to avoid spiritual contamination not genetic mixing. This is a common misunderstanding among many today who confuse the physical with the spiritual such as an earthly kingdom being inaugurated at Christ's first coming verses a spiritual one or the messiah being a national savior and not a spiritual one or worship of God requiring a physical location/nation verses a spiritual disposition.

Joh 4:21  Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. Joh 4:22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. Joh 4:23  But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. Joh 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

This idea of Abraham’s offspring being spiritual is laid out further in key passages below... Highlights added.

Rom 4:13-18 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16  That is why it (the promise) depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17  as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nationsas he had been told, "So (in the manner I just described) shall your offspring be."

The offspring God promised Abraham was referring not ultimately to national Israel (though it certainly includes them) but to Christ and therefore to ALL nations as the following verses will indicate further. God ultimately had all nations in view from the outset not just Israel.

Gal 3:6-29 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scriptureforeseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"-- 14  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 15  To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ…28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspringheirs according to promise.

God's promise to Abraham was ultimately to all nations, not just IsraelIsrael was chosen by God to bring us His Son, the promised Messiah of Israel. Which He did.  As a nation Israel rejected his Son, (and still does as a nation). Israel's role in God's plan is completed and fulfilled. Now He's working through all who believe in Christ whether Jew or Gentile, not any one particular nation either now or in the future.

Gen 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make(1) you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make(2) your name great; And so you shall be a blessing3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."


·    Were God's promises to Abram conditional or unconditional?

Gen 17:1  When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless2  that (or kai in the Septuagint=and, also, even, so, then) I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly." 3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.

Gen 17:2  "I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."
Gen 17:3  Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying,
Gen 17:4  "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
Gen 17:5  "No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
Gen 17:6  "I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you.
Gen 17:7  "I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you.
Gen 17:8  "I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
Gen 17:9  God said further to Abraham, "Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.
Gen 17:10  "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.
Gen 17:11  "And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.


·    Were God's promises to Israel conditional or unconditional?

Exodus 19:5 Now thereforeif you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."
Deuteronomy 8:1 "The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to dothat you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers…


·    What was the predicted consequence if the conditions were not meet?

Deuteronomy 8:19 And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. 20 Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.

Blessings                  Lev 26:1-13        Deut 28:1-14

Curses                       Lev 26:14-39     Deut 28:15-68

Deuteronomy 28:58-64 "If you are not careful to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, the LORD your God, 59 then the LORD will bring on you and your offspring extraordinary afflictions, afflictions severe and lasting, and sicknesses grievous and lasting. 60 And he will bring upon you again all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. 61Every sickness also and every affliction that is not recorded in the book of this law, the LORD will bring upon you, until you are destroyed. 62 Whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, you shall be left few in number, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God. 63 And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.  64"And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.

Neh 1:8  Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, 'If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples,

Jer 9:13-16  And the LORD says: "Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, 14  but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them. 15 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed this people with bitter food, and give them poisonous water to drink. 16 I will scatter them among the nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them."

Eze 5:10 Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds.

1Ki 14:15,16 the LORD will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim,  Provoking the LORD to anger. 16 And he will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, which he sinned and made Israel to sin."

Joshua 23:15-16 But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, 16 if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you."

Eze 12:13-15 And I will spread my net over him, and he shall be taken in my snare. And I will bring him to Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, yet he shall not see it, and he shall die there. 14 And I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. 15 And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries.


·    Did Israel ever break these conditions and experience these warnings of God? If so, How?

2Ki 24:1-3   In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him. 2  And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldeans and bands of the Syrians and bands of the Moabites and bands of the Ammonites, and sent them against Judah to destroy itaccording to the word of the LORD that he spoke by his servants the prophets. 3 Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the LORD, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done,

Eze 23:9-10 Therefore I delivered her into the hands of her lovers, into the hands of the Assyrians, after whom she lusted. 10 These uncovered her nakedness; they seized her sons and her daughters; and as for her, they killed her with the sword; and she became a byword among women, when judgment had been executed on her.


·  Does the N.T. give us any hint of a final destruction of Israel and fulfillment of the curses laid out in the OT?

Mat 21:40-45 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" 41 They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." 42 Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? 43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him." 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.

Mat 22:6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

Luk 21:20,21 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.21  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it…

Mat 23:33-39 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34  Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35  so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 “O JerusalemJerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"


·  Does the bible hint in the O.T. of a progression in how God will operate?

Jer 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.


·    In the New Testament?

Joh 4:20-23 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship." 21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Heb 12:25-29 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27 This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of things that are shaken--that is, things that have been made--in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

Heb 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.


·  Did a final destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of Israel ever occur and by whom?

Luk 21:20,21  “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.21  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it…

Mar 13:14 “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Mat 24:15,16  “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

Reference to Judea is further indication this was a local event not a global one.

See all of Mat 23 and especially the following.

Mat 23:32-24:2,32-35  Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34  Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35  so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 “O JerusalemJerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. Mat 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down

32 Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches become tender and it produces leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you will know that he is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not disappear until these things happen. 35 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear."


·    What is the status today of the Old Covenant that was given to Israel?

2 Cor 3:4-11 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.  7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Heb 8, especially 8:13 When He said, "A new covenant," He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear. (the book of Hebrews was written prior to A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed as referenced in Matt 24, Lk 21 and Mk 13)

Heb 9:1 Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For there was a tabernacle prepared, the outer one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the sacred bread; this is called the holy place. 3 Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies, 4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail. 6  Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, 7 but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, 9 which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13  For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20  saying, "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU."21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.


·  Does God say what kind of Kingdom He would bring or anything regarding the present and future status of His Kingdom i.e. is it to be a future earthly kingdom or a present spiritual kingdom?

Dan 2:34  As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 2:35  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Dan 2:44  And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyednor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever2:45  just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold..."

John 18:36  Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."
Mat 16:28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Heb 12:18-29 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned." 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I tremble with fear." 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.  25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." 27 This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of things that are shaken--that is, things that have been made--in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.


·  But what about the land promises to Israel?  Aren’t they yet to be fulfilled at some future date or did God fulfill them already?

1Ki 8:56 “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promisedNot one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.

Jos 11:23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD had spoken to Moses. And Joshua gave it for an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal allotments.  And the land had rest from war.

Joshua 21: 43-45 Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44 And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. 45 Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failedall came to pass.


·  Did the O.T. and the prophets give any further indication that the Gentiles would be heirs of the promise?

Gen 12:2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Gen 18:18  seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Gen 22:18  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Because thou hast obeyed my voice.

Gen 26:4  And I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these lands. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

Gen 28:14  And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Acts 26:22,23 To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: 23 that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles."

Act 3:17-25 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19  Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, 20  that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21  whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22 Moses said, 'The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.' 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.'

Rom 
4:13-18 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14  For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16  That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17  as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"--in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be."

Gal 3:6-29 just as Abraham "believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness"? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scriptureforeseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed." 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. 10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"-- 14  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. 15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, "And to offsprings," referring to many, but referring to one, "And to your offspring," who is Christ…28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspringheirs according to promise.

Eph 2: 11-22 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—12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. 


·    Who is Israel today?

Rom 2:28-29  For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Rom 9:6-8 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspringbut "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Gal 6:15,16 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Gal 3:28,29 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspringheirs according to promise.

Gal 3:6 Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.


·    And what promise are the above verses referring to?

Gen 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And I will make(1) you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make(2) your name great; And so you shall be a blessing3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."


·     Key words in order of appearance.

Abram - אברם  ', abrâm, ab-rawm'- Contracted from H48high fatherAbram, the original name of Abraham: - Abram.

Make(1) (verse 2a. Different from “make” in the middle of the verse which is also the root for “great.” See below) - עשׂה, ‛âśâh, aw-saw'- A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application: - accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress (-ed), (put in) execute (-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, [fight-] ing man, + finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfil, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold ([a feast]), X indeed, + be industrious, + journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, practise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, X sacrifice, serve, set, shew, X sin, spend, X surely, take, X thoroughly, trim, X very, + vex, be [warr-] ior, work (-man), yield, use.

Great (verse 2a) - גּדל גּדול, gâdôl gâdôl, gaw-dole', gaw-dole'- great (in any sense); hence older; also insolent: -  + aloud, elder (-est), + exceeding (-ly), + far, (man of) great (man, matter, thing, -er, -ness), high, long, loud, mighty, more, much, noble, proud thing, X sore, (´) very.

Nation - גּי גּוי, gôy gôy, go'ee, go'-ee - Apparently from the same root as H1465 (in the sense of massing); a foreign nation; hence a Gentile; also (figuratively) a troop of animals, or a flight of locusts: - Gentile, heathen, nation, people.

Bless or Blessed (throughout)  – בּרך , bârak, baw-rak'- A primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit); also (by euphemism) to curse (God or the king, as treason): -  X abundantly, X altogether, X at all, blaspheme, bless, congratulate, curse, X greatly, X indeed, kneel (down), praise, salute, X still, thank.

Make(2) (middle of verse 2 and different from “make” used earlier but similar to “great” used earlier) – גּדל, gâdal, gaw-dal'- A primitive root; properly to twist (compare H1434), that is, to be (causatively makelarge (in various senses, as in body, mind, estate or honor, also in pride): - advance, boast, bring up, exceed, excellent, be (-come, do, give, make, wax), great (-er, come to . . estate, + things), grow (up), increase, lift up, magnify (-ifical), be much set by, nourish (up), pass, promote, proudly [spoken], tower.

Blessing (end of verse 2)- בּרכה, berâkâh, ber-aw-kaw'-From H1288benediction; by implication prosperity: - blessing, liberal, pool, present.

Curses - קלל, qâlal, kaw-lal'- A primitive root; to be (causatively makelight, literally (swiftsmallsharp, etc.) or figuratively (easytriflingvile, etc.): - abate, make bright, bring into contempt, (ac-) curse, despise, (be) ease (-y, -ier), (be a, make, make somewhat, move, seem a, set) light (-en, -er, ly, -ly afflict, -ly esteem, thing), X slight [-ly], be swift (-er), (be, be more, make, re-) vile, whet.

Curse - ארר, 'ârar, aw-rar'- A primitive root; to execrate: - X bitterly curse.
Curse doesn’t carry so much the idea of being “damned” to judgment as the idea of being barren of fruitless i.e. light, small, slight in contrast to prosperous or heavy (as with glory)

Mar 11:20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, "Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered."