The Lost Tribes
(Claiming The Inheritance – Part 1)
s the church of Yahshua Israel? There have been indications that this is a rather important subject to address, since because of the confusion surrounding it, many errors have crept into “Christian” doctrine. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture, believing that the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem and the reinstatment of animal sacrifices is a part of Yah’s plan unfolding, awaiting death in order to have full Victory over sin. There has been, in recent years, far too much emphasis placed upon literal Israel, and not enough in understanding the real spiritual significance of the Messiah’s purpose for His true children. The conflict in earthly Israel is unfortunate, that is true, but it is not an indication of anything, except for the fact that any nation, chosen or not, that denies Christ will be thrown into turmoil. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Mat 24:6)
We can go through this in three parts – each one examining one of the errors in doctrine described above, and perhaps through the course of the discussion, you will begin to see the truth of Yah’s plan for all the earth. We are His people, who have accepted Christ, and no other people have that distinction.
The first time the word Israel appears in the New Testament is in Matthew 2:6, “And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” Has Christ assumed the role of King of the Jews? Certainly His accusation on the cross seemed to indicate that, (Mat 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luk3 23:38, John 19:19) but remember His words to Pilate. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.’” (John 18:36)
“My kingdom is NOT from hence,” declared Christ. Yah’s kingdom is not, nor will it ever be, founded upon literal, earthly Israel. “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?” (Rom 3:1) There is no advantage to being either born into Judaism or being “grafted in,” (Rom 11:17) except that the Jews had the “oracles” and prophets (Rom 3:2) and had the first opportunity for salvation, as stated in the next quotation. “But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Rom 2:10,11)
Now, I want you to see how this error led to a belief in the removal of the Church from the time of trouble predicted by John the Revelator. Truly, the word “church” does not describe the people of Yah in the vision, but “Israel” does. They say, “Christians who accepted Christ will be spared the trouble, but the Jews, who once rejected, will have to catch up at the last minute.” Not at all. In Revelation 12, way after it is said the Church would be removed, we find this verse, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Rev 12:1) Who is this woman? Is she literal Israel? Consider the source from which John drew his analogy:
Yah said to Satan, after the temptation in Eden, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen 3:15) Now turn again to Revelation and read the last verse of chapter 12 (verse 17), “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Was Eve the mother of the Jews only? Genesis 3:20 reads “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” Consider also that John, the very one who wrote these prophecies, referred to the Church of Yahshua (Christians) as the woman, or “elect lady.” (2 John 1:1)
I recently heard one preacher say, “God is not a God who will break covenants! How can it be that some Christians teach that the Jews are cast off? How can they be so foolish as to say that the Father cut His chosen people off? This anti-Semitism is rampant in Christendom today, and must be stopped!” This is a paraphrase, but I believe I captured his meaning. Let me address the first of the misconceptions in that statement at once: “God is not a God who will break covenants.” Assuredly, no, He will not. But humans may break the covenant. Yah said, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.” (Exodus 19:5) Behold, IF ye keep my covenant THEN ye shall be Yah’s people.
Yah warned against breaking the agreement, and of the people who did this, Yah declares, “Thus saith Yahweh; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.” (Jer 33:20,21) And did Israel in fact break this covenant? “And Yahweh said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.” (Deu 31:16)
When this came to pass, what was Yah’s response? Did He destroy the world as He had purposed in Genesis 6? No, rather, He did break His covenant with Israel (for truly they had broken it first), “And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.” (Zec 11:10) Then, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews declares, “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” (Heb 8:8)
And what was this new covenant? “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Heb 22,24) Christ Yahshua is the Initiator of new covenant, a new Testament, (Mat 26:28) and by His blood are all men redeemed, Jew and Gentile. But now, the Jewish system is passed away, (Dan 9:27 – if read rightly) and “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [than Christ Yahshua] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:13)
Now here is where the deception gets subtle, and where the pre-tribulation rapture believers believe they have the answer to this: In Revelation 12:17 and 14:12, the “saints” are declared to both keep the commandments of Yah AND have the testimony if His Son. “Now then,” they declare, “it is plain – the Jews (who have the commandments – particularly the Sabbath) will, after the Christians have vanished away, accept Christ and be saved. They, and those Gentiles that never heard the Gospel, will be those who pass through the time of “Jacob’s trouble” and be martyred before the third appearance of Christ on earth.
I’ve already gone into some detail about this in my articles about the Rapture (Pathogen, Contagion & Antigen), so I won’t belabor those points again. Suffice it for now to point out that the “New Covenant” with Christ does in fact encompass the commandments of God, including the Sabbath, which was not made for Jews, but “for man” (Mark 2:27). The prophet Isaiah declares that when the Gospel goes to the Gentiles: “the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to Yahweh, to serve Him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.”(Isa 56:6,7) The focus here is simply to show that those who are “sealed” in Revelation 7, and those who “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” (Rev 14:4) are those faithful Christians who are exhorted to be faithful all through the New Testament writings – they/we are the true Church of Yah.
I’ve already shown that the NT considers that there is no difference (in regards to salvation) between Jew and Gentile (or “Greek” in Rom 10:12) in the religion of Yahshua, so for anyone to say, “Yes, there IS a difference between the Church and Judaism, but both are part of the plan,” is to call Paul’s words false. Of course there is a difference between Christianity and Judaism, one has accepted Christ as remission for sins, and one has not. But does Yah have a purpose for those who have not yet accepted? To not accept Christ is death: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:12), AND Yah desires that ALL men be saved (1 Tim 2:4) Of Literal Israel, Paul says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Rom 10:1)
You may protest and say, “Of course God doesn’t WANT earthly Israel to be lost, but since they rejected Him, He still has a place for them in the plan, although many may be lost along the way.” A nice thought, and perhaps true in a sense, but will the glory ever return to the system? That is the question. The individuals of course will be saved if they accept Christ (for those who would accuse of anti-Semitism), just like any other human being on the planet, but of Judaism, Christ Himself answered this question. With tones of sorrow the Messiah mourned, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, ‘Blessed is he that cometh in the name of Yahweh.’” (Luke 13:34,35)
What did Daniel say after the Messiah would be cut off, causing the sacrifices to cease? “Unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Dan 9:26) Let us not make a hasty error here – the house of literal, earthly Judah is left desolate until the “end of the war,” not until Judaism accepts Christ, as some would have us read that verse.
Now, WE are Israel, WE are the “spiritual Jews” who worship “in spirit and in truth,” and unto us is the inheritance of the 12 tribes of Jacob passed. It is indeed an everlasting covenant, and there IS an inheritance, a goodly land, but just as in the parable of the man who gave a feast – those first invited would not come, and those on the highways and byways (both “bad and good” – Gentile and Jewish individuals) were brought to the table to eat their fill. (Mat 22:2-14)
The true Christian has the testimony of Christ AND keeps the commandments! We are they in Revelation who will be faithful to the end, not necessarily slain (for the beast declares that we should be killed, not that we will be [Rev 13:15]), and we have the strength to do so by both our faith in the Father and Son, and in the “works” of obedience that this true faith will lead to. (James 2:9-18) In James 2:11, the writer happily contrasts two adjacent articles of the law, “Thou shat not kill” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” (Exo 2:13:14) just so that we know exactly which “royal law of Scripture” will lead to us loving Yah and loving our neighbor as ourselves. (James 2:8)
Paul writes to a Church declaring boldly, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Gal 3:1) Men are not justified by the law, yet obedience to it is the result of the true faith. “Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” Paul asks, and that question may well be asked of any modern Christian who believes that faith which does not lead to obedience to the very Law given to reveal sin that we may seek grace (Rom 7:7) saves.
Paul also makes distinctions between natural, earthly Jews and natural Gentiles “after the flesh” (Gal 2:15, Phil 3:4,5, 1 Cor 10:18) In Romans, however, he writes of a true Jew, saying, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Rom 2:28,29) Consider also Yahshua Himself, who spoke these words to a church in Asia Minor: “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” (Rev 2:9 and a similar verse in Rev 3:9) This verse can be read in two different ways – and BOTH are devastating to the “Church is not Israel” argument. Either 1) Those in the church who don’t have true faith are being called “those who say they are Jews but are not,” meaning that church members considered themselves spiritual Israel; or 2) there were some natural, circumcised Jews in the congregation that Christ is addressing, however, because of their infidelity to the truth, they are not considered to be Jewish anymore. If the condition of being in Israel is dependent upon obedience to Christ and membership in the church – both these readings of that verse make the truth of this matter abundantly clear.
This has already covered the first two sections: There will be spiritual Jews (the true Church) on earth during the tribulation (Rev 12:12) unto the very end, (Rev 20:4 – those who were martyred AND those who would not take the mark of the beast, not necessarily the same people). The first time the word translated “tribulation” is mentioned in Scripture is in Deuteronomy, and it reads thus, “When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to Yahweh thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For Yahweh thy God is a merciful God;) He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them.” (Deu 4:30,31) It is not that Yah would not save those not sealed already when the tribulations begin, but that they WILL not repent (Rev 9:20,21, Rev 16:9,11) – even during the very last plagues.
What of the final result of saying the church is not Israel? How does that link to victory over sin? Well, as stated in the Rapture articles, the church expects that since they are NOT the Israel mentioned in Revelation, they will be gone before the trouble starts – that is to say, any day now. But we know the covenant we have made with our Father. We know He expects us to be holy, and blameless: the “firstfruits” to be presented before the Throne by the Son. “How,” you ask, “How is it possible to overcome all our sinful nature?” “There are giants in the land,” say the 10 false witnesses of Numbers 13. “They [our sin tendencies] are so big, we are as grasshoppers in their sight!” But this is not what the Gospel teaches. This is not the true Gospel. The true Gospel says, “I can do all things through Christ.” The true Gospel says, “I put ALL things beneath your feet.” Christ Yahshua declares to His people, “You are, not will be, clean. Go and sin no more.” Did He say it? Yes. Should we do it? Yes. DO we do it?
The majority of Christians say no. They say it is impossible. But I put a challenge to you today: How do you know what you are capable of if you have never fully kept your part of the covenant? Try it, and see if it will not be a blessing to you: see if the Father will not pour out all His spirit when you keep His law in spirit and in truth. Make a decision today to be different from the woman riding a many headed beast, so drunk she thinks she is heading for paradise. (Rev 17:3-6) Listen not to your false teachers and blind guides. Have true faith in Christ, yes, for that will justify you; but let it also do a good work in you, to lead you naturally to keeping also the commandments of the Father. Then will your name be overcomer, then will your name be Israel.
Christians speak of the law as if it were a mistake that Yah made, or a requirement now useless, that we have “outgrown” or evolved past as human beings. “It leads to death,” they say. Paul says that also (1 Cor 15:56), but he also says, “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” (Rom 7:12) Yes the law leads to death – and that is exactly what it takes to be a true Christian, to die to self! Only the proud, and fearful and unbelieving will resist the death to self which is life in Christ, and these are they which meet their end in Revelation 21:8. Yes the law leads to death, but when it does, we see that it was a “schoolmaster to bring us to Christ that we may be justified by faith,” (Gal 3:24) and then, after we are dead, we declare with Paul, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal 6:14)
When a Christian shall tell me, “We cannot follow the Law, the law is death.” I will reply to them, “You say that as if it were a bad thing.” Yahshua put it even more clearly, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mat 16:25) Try it and see – see if you don’t find the Victory over sin well within your grasp, if you will hearken to the voice of the Spirit, which writes these things on your heart. We are Israel, who overcome the world through faith and “sing the song of Moses the servant of God [the Law], and the song of the Lamb [grace and justification by faith],” (Rev 15:3) and who will receive the inheritance of Yah’s chosen people – eternal life.
Here is the conclusion of the matter: I will try and end it so clearly that there are not even lingering doubts left. There are two passages in Scripture which sum up all I have been saying concerning the Church and Israel quite clearly. The truly thirsty will read these verses, and consider them. Then, they may read the verses before them, and those after them, to see if I have taken either out of context. I invite all to do so. Are you thirsty? You will be filled.
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil 3:3) Paul then goes on to say, “If any think I have no claims to righteousness, consider that I have ALSO the marks of an earthly Jew in my flesh. However, those of the true circumcision, the spiritual Israel, these are they which worship Yah, and have accepted and rejoice in His Son.”
The second is even more clear: “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; 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: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. (Eph 2:11-14)
Those who were Gentiles in the flesh before accepting Christ were what? Aliens from the commonwealth of what? Israel. Those who assert otherwise “do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” (Mat 22:29) Israel has always been the name of Yah’s people, ever since the time of Jacob. The Gentiles were grafted in, and those specific Jews which rejected the Messiah were “broken off” and their system destroyed. (Rom 11:16-27) The tree itself, True Israel, did not wither and die, and will wholly saved, (verse 26) for the Holy Root is, was and always will be Yahshua the Christ. (verse 16) Let us also, the “firstfruits,” be likewise holy. This is our inheritance, and this is life everlasting.
This article is the first in a series of four called, “Claiming The Inheritance,” and I invite you to continue with me, for there is much, much more to say.