Bible Topics In The Christian Library
 
Israelís Lost Theocracy

A common belief held by Jews, as told to me by one of them in his words, is, "Christianity has done the most to destroy the Jews for 2000 years." But Christians have not tried to destroy Jews but Judaism. In the last 2000 years those who have done the most to destroy Jews were the ancient Romans and the modern Naziís. And persecution toward the Jews by the counterfeit Catholic church has been no more severe than their persecution of true Christians. The truth is, from the very beginning Christ and his disciples have been trying to save Jews! The mission of Christians is to save life and not destroy it. The only thing Christians try to destroy is sin, because, "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). And one form of sin is false religion; which includes Judaism, because the religion that God gave the Israelites through Moses no longer exists, for God himself destroyed it. 

Now, it was about 4000 years ago when God said to Abraham:

Behold, my covenant is with you and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And 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. And 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 (Genesis 17:4-8). But we know from the Bible that neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob (later named Israel) actually possessed the land of Canaan. It was several hundred years afterward that their descendants took possession of the promised land, and it was done in a most astonishing way. The children of Israel had multiplied greatly but were slaves in the powerful land of Egypt. Then, through many great signs and wonders, the mighty hand of God defeated the power of Egypt, freed the people from slavery, and led them out to the wilderness of Sinai. There, at the great mountain, in preparation for entrance into their promised land, God gave his peopleóthis new nationóa great new law and a great new religion. At first, God spoke to the people directly from the mountain, but they became so terrified at the demonstration of his power that they pleaded with Moses, saying, "You speak to us, and we will hear; but let not God speak to us, lest we die" (Exodus 20:19). What God created was an earthly theocracy designed to last until the coming of his only begotten Son, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Moses, himself, told the people that the law and the religion that God gave by him was only temporary because, he said, The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethrenóhim you shall heedójust as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb [Mount Sinai] on the day of the assembly, when you said, "Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die." And the Lord said to me, "They have rightly said all that they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my word in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to my word which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him" (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). Moses was chosen to be Godís spokesman in order to teach the people about their new law and their new religion. But Moses also told them to look forward to the future when God would chose another prophet who would replace Moses as Godís spokesman. This new prophet would teach the people new words from God which would not be the same law and religion given through Moses, for the prophet Jeremiah said, Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33) The spokesman for God that Moses spoke about was the Christ, and he came centuries later. It was he who revealed Godís new covenant about an even greater law and a greater religion for a new and eternal nation of Godís peopleóa spiritual theocracy known as the "Kingdom of Heaven" or "Kingdom of God." The Old Testament prophet Daniel wrote a little about this (e.g., Daniel 7:27). Now regarding this new nation, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). When understood only in an earthly sense, the idea of being born again is fantastic. But Jesus went on to say, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind blows where it lists, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it comes, and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:6-8). Hence being born into the kingdom of God is not an involuntary biological process, but a voluntary process involving a mysterious spiritual transformation within us, as well as the physical act of immersion (born of water). It is a process whereby Godís Holy Spirit enters into us, for Paul said, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16). 

And this new nation from God is not a worldly organization, for Jesus said to Pilate, the Roman governor, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). And earlier he had told his disciples, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20b-21). Hence, the kingdom of God on earth consists of men who have sought God by faith for an inner transformation to holiness by God's own Spirit; and these citizens of God's kingdom have no separate land or domain, but are scattered throughout all nations, like leaven in a loaf, yet united in spirit with God; and although they are subject to human government, their souls are ultimately under the dominion and government of God's own Son, who will one day gather them together with him for eternal life in Heaven. 

The word "church" means a gathering, or an assembly, or a congregation. Thus, whenever a group of Jesusí disciples assemble together in his name, that becomes a church. But the word "church" has also been used to refer to the scattered population of the kingdom of God. The New Testament only records twice when Jesus used the word "church," and both times he was referring to all of his disciples collectively. Thus, it can be said that the church worldwide is that part of the kingdom of God not yet assembled in heaven with him. And so, unlike the old theocracy of Israel, Godís new nation is now an international brotherhood of both Jews and gentilesómen and women of faith who are the spiritual children of the promise that God made to Abraham, each one having a heart fashioned like that of Abraham who trusted and obeyed God. And Godís temple on earth is now wherever they are found, for his Holy Spirit dwells within them, and the ark of this New Covenant is their hearts, and they are all priests of God. Speaking of this, John said,

"Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:5-6). Then, forty years after this new spiritual nation was established, that earthly one which God had earlier created, God destroyed. That temporary theocracy, with its law and its religion which began with Moses, ended in violence by the fierce hand of the Romans because the Jews would not accept his new kingdom. And so that race of people which God had formerly gathered together for himself, he then scattered, and their land was given to others for 19 long centuries, because they did not listen to Godís warning through his servant Moses, which said: "...whoever will not give heed to my word which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him." And now all that remains of the religion which God gave by Moses is a pale mutation that evolved out of its ashes. Where is the temple with its utensils and its ark of the covenant? Where are the daily sacrifices performed? Where are the members of the tribe of Levi, who alone can serve as priests? Indeed, where are any Israelite priests, for the office of rabbi is never mentioned in the Pentateuch or anywhere else in the Old Testament? Where are the cities of refuge? What about the laws of inheritance? And what of the Jubilee, and the annual feasts at Jerusalem? And what of the many other required animal sacrifices? Where, even, are the laws of justice and morality that God commanded through Moses? For modern Israel is more pagan than the Arab nations surrounding them. 

No, there is no longer a theocracy which is obedient to the laws and ordinances of Mosesóit is not even possible. Hopes of resurrecting that ancient theocracy are as futile as seeking to resurrect the body of Moses himself. And those who pursue such vanity are only increasing the hatred, the division, and the sorrow of that unhappy land. All such efforts are doomed to fail because God is against them. And whether in the land of Israel, or in other lands, what is now known as Judaism is a human invention; a device used by a people too proud to accept the fact that God is the God of all men, and not just one small race. What they have done is to pick and choose those few of Moses' laws they want to obey, and ignored the rest. 

This is what all criminals do; for in Godís sight they are criminals, even as Jesus told them when he was on the earth:

"Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuses you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" (John 5:45-47). Moreover, the prophet James, when he wrote to his fellow Jews, reminded them that all it takes to become a criminal is to violate one law: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). But modern Jews do not just violate one of Mosesí laws, they are guilty of most of them. But in order to justify themselves they have picked out a few of his laws, and then heaped upon them a host of other traditions they have invented through the centuries after Moses. But in the justice of providence, this hodgepodge of dead laws, called Judaism, has become a Frankenstein monster which has grown to be a tormenting yoke about their necks, a jungle thicket of statutes and ordinances, a labyrinth of senseless trivia which does not help promote righteousness, but impedes it. The following is only one tiny part of Judaic law taken from the Mishnah (which is the first part of the Talmud), the division on agriculture, the demai section: 1:1     A. The light things with respect to [the category of] demai produce [those kinds of produce which are dealt with leniently and exempted from tithing when they are demai]: B. (1) unripe figs, and (2) wild jujuba, and (3) hawthorn berries, and (4) pine cones, and (5) sycamore figs, and (6) unripe dates, and (7) fennel, and (8) caper fruit;

C. and in Judea: (1) sumac berries, and (2) vinegar and (3) coriander.

D. R. Judah says, "(1) All unripe figs are exempt [from tithing as demai] except for those from trees which bear fruit twice a year;

E. "(2) All wild jujuba are exempt [from tithing as demai]except for the wild jujuba of sqmwnh;

F. "(3) All sycamore figs are exempt [from tithing as demai] except for those which burst open [on the tree] [or, "which are scarified"]."

1:2     A. [Second tithe of] demai produce: B. (1) has no added fifth, and (2) has no removal [viz., it is not subject to these scriptural obligations],

C. (3) and it is eaten by a mourner before the burial of his dead relativeÖ

Etc.
It is a fulfillment of prophesy; for consider these words of Isaiah Nay, but by men of strange lips and with an alien tongue the LORD will speak to this people, to whom he has said, "This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose" ; yet they would not hear. Therefore the word of the LORD will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little; that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem (Isaiah 28:11-14). It was on the day of Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection that the Spirit of God spoke to them this way, offering to give them this "rest to the weary" (the gospel, which means good news), for Luke said: When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4). But the Jewish nation "would not hear." Therefore the word of the Lord to them is "precept upon preceptÖ" which is impossible to fully keep, making them guilty. God will judge them by their own legal Frankenstein monster which causes them to "fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." And so, alas, they are doomed. Scoffing at the true word of God--the good-news of Jesus Christ, brought to them by their own prophets--they have fallen under eternal condemnation. 

My heart goes out to many of them. For some modern Jews (like their Muslim enemies) are full of zeal for God, just as they were during Paulís time when he said,

"For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes" (Romans 10:2-4). But their proud refusal to accept the Redeemer that God sent to them has hardened their hearts, keeping them blind, even as Paul said: Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech, and [are] not as Moses, [who] put a veil upon his face, that the children of Israel should not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away: but their minds were hardened: for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains, it not being revealed [to them] that it is done away in Christ. But unto this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their heart. But whenever it shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, [there] is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:12-17). And now they do not even know that they are worshipping idols instead of God. They are worshipping the idol of the Wall and not their redeemer. They are worshipping the idol of what had been the promised land, and not the creator of the world. They are worshipping legalism, and not Godís truth. They are worshipping the idol of the Hebrew language, and not the word of God. For the word of God is not a mass of symbols; it is a collection of ideas which can be expressed in any language. Worst of all, they are worshipping themselves--their race as Godís chosen people. But if they are still his chosen people, is God so weak that he cannot care for them? Where was God during the Nazi holocaust, if indeed, they were his chosen ones? Can he not even bring peace and security to those he is supposed to love the most? Christians know why they are persecuted, but why have the Jews suffered so much? It is not because they can no longer keep Mosesí law, for that would be unjust. It is because they have rejected Mosesí replacement. For God warned by the mouth of Moses himself: "I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my word in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to my word which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him" (Deuteronomy 18:18-19). It was Jews like Peter who proclaimed the truth to their fellow Jews when he said, "...there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). 

Yet, there is still hope for the Jews, for Paul told the gentiles in Rome,

Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience (Romans 11:25-30). And so we must continue to pray for them, and to reach out to them with the Good-news of Christ, hoping they will soften their hearts soon, so that the veil over their eyes can be removed, and they will believe Christ, and the day of their salvation will come. Then God will open the windows of Heaven, and pour out a blessing upon us all. For Paul was both a Jew and an apostle of Christ, and he spoke of how God chose the gentiles after his Son was rejected by the Jews: But I speak to you that are gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of gentiles, I glorify my ministry; if by any means I may provoke to jealousy [them that are] my flesh, and may save some of them. For if the casting away of them [is] the reconciling of the world, what [shall] the acceptance [of them be], but life from the dead? (Romans 11:13-15). Their acceptance will be like this great vision of Ezekiel: The hand of Jehovah was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of Jehovah, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. And he caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord Jehovah, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy over these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of Jehovah. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah unto these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and, behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I beheld, and, lo, there were sinews upon them, and flesh came up, and skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off. Therefore prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have opened your graves, and caused you to come up out of your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I will place you in your own land: and ye shall know that I, Jehovah, have spoken it and performed it, saith Jehovah (Ezekiel 37:1-14). It was when those dry bones heard Ezekielís words of prophesy that God brought life back to them. And when the spiritual valley of dry bones, which is now the Jewish people, hearkens to the words of Jesus Christ, then God will bring spiritual life back to them. And O how we will all rejoice!



1.Although Christians support laws to punish criminals, including laws of capital punishment. 

2.Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened" (Matthew 13:33). 

3.God promised Abraham that he would give the land of Canaan to his seed for an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:8). 

4.Jacob Neusner, The Mishnah A New Translation, (New Haven & London: Yale University Press) 1988. 
 

Copyright 1997 by Walter L. Porter may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.


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