Readers Question / Comment - Are believers now 'Israel' and commanded to keep the feasts?

Hi Jesus Plus Nothing,

I appreciate the work you have done on the Feasts of the Lord. And I think your research is valuable as well; however, one major thought of difference in answering one of the questions-- who the Feasts are for?

In remembering why the Children of Israel were called out in the first place was to be His people AND a representative of Yahweh to the nations -- to preach His Truth, His Way of Life to the peoples of all nations. That same Lord is Lord of all, and the same Lord which Christians say they worship. When the Children of Israel came out of Egypt, they came with a “mixed multitude” who we read assimilated INTO the Children of Israel. Those who did were called “Ger” in Hebrew, the ones who wanted to be a part of Israel because they wanted to worship the Israeli God--Yahweh.

This very construct of joining within the Children of Israel is found in both Rahab and Ruth, both of the lineage of Jesus. My favourite conversion is when Ruth said to Naomi, “…your people will be my people, you God my God…” This explains her conversion and when the scripture states that no Moab can be married up to 10 generations, she was allowed. She was no longer a Moabitess, just like Rahab was no longer a harlot. That is the same Saviour changing whosoever will!

Back to the feasts: The feasts are His -- His seasons, His divine appointments (mo’ed in Hebrew), His holy convocations (dress rehearsals). We see the first of the feasts of Spring already fulfilled when Jesus came… the fall feasts also have their great importance!

With that said, please realize that once you believe in the Messiah of the OT who came in the NT, you are a Child of Israel-- you are a Ger grafted into the Root/the Vine. We can also see the result of all those who believe in Revelation. For instance, the New Jerusalem in has only the names of the 12 tribes. I ask you -- which gate will you enter?

This is also why Jesus said if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments--His feasts are included. Is He not Lord of the old as well as the new?

Replacement theology has taken such a deep hold on the called out ones (wrongly called church in the KJV); but you have missed who you are in the Messiah. You are Israel! There is no Gentile or Jew believer -- just Israel, just Ephraim!

After you consider your identity in Jesus the Christ, then please consider the covenant between Abraham and Yhwh so you will know why Jesus Christ came. Here is a hint: 1 John 3:4 … and all of 1 John, really.

Praying the Father draws you, for His glory only…

Linda.


JPN Reply:

Hi Linda,


thanks for the email and your thoughts on the feasts and wider implications. For what it is worth, I have had a great love for Israel ever since becoming a Christian. I went to Bible College when I was 3 years old in the Lord and disagreed with the lecturer who was teaching replacement theology. Even got called into the Principles office over that one! :)

That said however, there are problems if you go too far in the opposite direction as well and I detect that with some of your comments. So I'll add some thoughts after your comments in blue, below.

...With that said, please realize that once you believe in the Messiah of the OT who came in the NT, you are a Child of Israel-- you are a Ger grafted into the Root/the Vine. We can also see the result of all those who believe in Revelation. For instance, the New Jerusalem in has only the names of the 12 tribes. I ask you -- which gate will you enter?

The New Testament doesn't speak of Gentile believers as being a 'child of Israel'. It does speak of them being sons of Abraham. Gentiles are grafted into the root which most believe to be the covenant promises to Abraham and his seed - which Paul notes is singular and is speaking of Christ (Gal 3:16). We aren't grafted into Israel itself as they are the natural branches, some of which are broken off in this current age (Rom 11:17-21). In terms of the New Jerusalem, yep, it wonderfully shows the unity of believers of all ages (even Abraham 4000 years ago looked forward to the new city! Heb 11:10) and thus has the names of the tribes of Israel as well as the twelve apostles of the Lamb. There is nothing there that says Gentile believers today are part of one of the tribes any more than it means we are one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. It is simply showing the unity of believers from all ages that will dwell together in this new long-promised city.

This is also why Jesus said if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments--His feasts are included. Is He not Lord of the old as well as the new?

If I said to you that the old Mosaic covenant is obsolete you wouldn't like it very much would you? You would disagree. If I said that the reason there is a new covenant is because the old covenant failed and was done away with, you probably wouldn't like it. Yet both statements are true and completely scriptural. I encourage you to read Heb 8. The New Covenant is a more excellent ministry, a better covenant. And yes, it makes the Old obsolete as scripture says below. To try to live under two different covenants is madness and confusion and is severely warned against in Hebrews and in other books like Galatians. Why, when there is a new better covenant, are you trying to hold onto the old one?

If I wrote a will and then legally replaced it years later with a new one, would anyone have a leg to stand on before the court if they still tried to claim an inheritance because they were named in the older will? Of course not... that is obsolete. It has been replaced with the new will and that is all that matters. The New Covenant that God has brought in through Christ's death renders the old covenant obsolete. Read below from Heb 8 (in fact read the whole chapter).

Heb 8:6-7 But now He (Jesus) has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. (7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.

Heb 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.

Replacement theology has taken such a deep hold on the called out ones (wrongly called church in the KJV); but you have missed who you are in the Messiah. You are Israel! There is no Gentile or Jew believer -- just Israel, just Ephraim!

I agree that replacement theology is wrong and has caused great confusion within believers today and through Church history. I also agree that there is no Jew nor Gentile in Christ. But I fear that you have missed what Jesus did and what now remains. It is not that Jew and Gentile believers are now 'Israel'. We do not now get grafted into Israel itself and the old covenant that failed and was abolished... No it is something FAR FAR better. He has created something entirely new in Himself having 'having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances.'

Eph 2:11-16 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- (12) that at that time you 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 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 both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, (15) having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, (16) and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Here is the key thought - the goal was 'to create in Himself one new man from the two! Create something new... not just graft Gentiles into the laws of Israel. Jesus took both Jews and Gentiles, abolished the law of commandments (which previously caused a separation between the groups) and created something entirely new - one new man in Him as the scripture above states.

So it is not that I have missed who I am in the Messiah Jesus. I know my identity in Christ very well and I will be eternally grateful for the grace given me to have such a position. And it is not that I am now Israel. No, I have been included in something far better and greater. I am a new creation in a new body, in Christ Jesus. Something far better. I would encourage you to read about this wonderful privileged position that defines the identity of EVERY true believer in Christ Jesus here:

http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/studies/online/positioninchrist.htm

Look at what the Apostle Paul said who knew all about his 'identity' as an Israelite (whic he once took glory and pride in) and then learned of His new identity in Jesus Christ. Being an Israelite, of the tribe of Benjamin, and being an expert in the law WERE NOT what Paul put any weight or glory in. He said he counts them 'as rubbish' once he learnt of his position 'in Christ' and having a gift of righteousness by faith:

Php 3:4-9 ... If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: (5) circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; (6) concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (7) But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (8) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

Finally, if a believer wants to keep the feasts outwardly each year, then fine, go for it. There is freedom in Christ to do so. As I say in the study, as shadows they contain many important truths that God has placed within them. But ALWAYS remember that they are but a shadow... they are not the reality. The reality is found in Christ. That is what we want to experience.

Col 2:16-17 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. (17) These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

All the best and may God bless,

Iain.