Friday, 22 of September of 2017

Judaism

This page comes from my book, “What Is Life All About?” What is seriously wrong with Judaism?” is the title Chapter 16.1.

What Is Seriously Wrong with Judaism?

The Star of David

starofdavid

The Star of David—the symbol of the Jewish nation. Shown here is the oldest surviving complete copy of the Masoretic text, the Leningrad Codex, dated 1008. I often say that there are no Jews today. Of course, there are, but I am speaking religiously of a true special association with God. As a nation of people living in the Middle East, Jews exist. As a nation of people who suffered various atrocities in World War II and various other definable periods of history, Jews exist. As a nation of strong people fighting daily to survive whether in Israel or Russia or among the many nations where they reside, Jews exist. As a race, as a nation of people, I have the deepest of respect as I do for all nations with moral purpose. However, their part in God’s plan is complete, and they no longer have a special position with God.

Hebrews 1.1-4

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself[a] purged our[b] sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Their status with God is the same now as every other “Gentile” or “Gentile nation.” The reasons they no longer exist in the manner they did since their beginning and no longer in a special relationship with God are the following:

1. Their particular part of God’s plan is complete.

Hebrews 8.7-13

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—
9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant, ” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.


2. God heralded their ending because of their continual disobedience. In the Old Testament, in the writings of the prophets, God continually tells of the end of this people for idolatry, for forsaking the law of God. At one point God declares there is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land.

Hosea 4.1

1 Hear the word of the LORD,
You children of Israel,
For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:
“ There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.

Page after page, century after century of disobedience,

2 Kings 18.11,12

11 Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away captive to Assyria, and put them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
12 because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded; and they would neither hear nor do them.

and yet God stays with the people of Israel until all is fulfilled in Christ and the Gospel of Christ is first delivered to them.

Psalm 95:9-11

9 When your fathers tested Me;
They tried Me, though they saw My work.
10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation,
And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts,
And they do not know My ways.’
11 So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”

Galatians 3:13-18

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.
16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,”who is Christ.
17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.
18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

The spiritual end for disobedient Jews, but promise kept in Christ, the Messiah.

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
9 And they made His grave with the wicked—
But with the rich at His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.
11 He shall see the labor of His soul,and be satisfied.
By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great,
And He shall divide the spoil with the strong,
Because He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 2:1-4

1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the LORD’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4 He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

3. This last reason is a physical reason and not as important as number 1 and 2. The records of their generations were destroyed in the destruction of Jerusalem in about AD 70 less than forty years after the Messiah’s death.

Matthew 24.1,2

1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Today there would be uncertainty regarding who is truly a Jew. The genealogy of the Jews was always of central importance for the nation of Israel providing an accurate understanding of who was a Jew.

God’s plan for the Jews

As usual, God’s plan was quite simple. Men make God’s plans seem so complex. There was sin in the Garden of Eden breaking down the relationship between God and man. God immediately in Genesis indicates the answer to be the Messiah.

Genesis 3.15

15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”


This Messiah will come through a specific lineage, genealogy, beginning with Abraham.

Matthew 1.1-17 ………….. genealogy of Jesus

1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.
3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram.
4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon.
5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse,
6 and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, and Abijah begot Asa.
8 Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, and Joram begot Uzziah.
9 Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, and Ahaz begot Hezekiah.
10 Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Amon, and Amon begot Josiah.
11 Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begot Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begot Zerubbabel.
13 Zerubbabel begot Abiud, Abiud begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor.
14 Azor begot Zadok, Zadok begot Achim, and Achim begot Eliud.
15 Eliud begot Eleazar, Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.
16 And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations.

The Jews were God’s chosen people for the lineage of the Messiah. They are God’s chosen people only for this reason. There is no other meaningful purpose for their selection. God laid the groundwork for these special people. God provided special laws and rules all consistent with God’s plan for the Messiah coming through the lineage. It was God’s plan critical for mankind’s reconciliation to provide the Messiah.

Ephesians 2.14-18

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.
17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

As the result of this distinction, the Jews would receive many blessings needed for their certain survival as a people. They would conquer nations. God provided certain knowledge of foods to help them avoid serious disease. God worked through certain persons of Judaism in certain situations providing miraculous events. As their disobedience increased, the blessings of God diminished as did their divine oversight. Nonetheless, God was always keeping the lineage intact. The Jews at the time of Jesus’ arrival were no longer a powerful people but just one of so many under Roman rule. Over time, the Jews came to believe that God, through the Messiah, would restore them to physical greatness. However, this was never the plan. The initial event leading to God’s use of this people was the sin that occurred in the Garden of Eden. It was a spiritual problem, and God was bringing a spiritual solution.

John 18.36

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

That is, a solution that would restore the relationship between God and man. How many times do people devise physical explanations and draw physical conclusions when God is dealing with the spiritual, the higher and meaningful ground? Jesus, a Jew as were His disciples, would bring a spiritual message to the Jews. This was not what the Jews wanted to hear. Disregarding the miracles and wisdom of Jesus, they conspire to kill Jesus and are successful through the hands of the Roman government. Following Jesus’ crucifixion, the Jewish leaders recalled Jesus said He would arise in three days and insisted on guards for the tomb. Pilate grants their request for guards, and the Jews make the tomb secure, sealing the stone. Nonetheless, Jesus rises from the dead as predicted.

Matthew 27.63

63 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’

When the guards report to the chief priests what had occurred, they are bribed.

Matthew 28.11-15

11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened.
12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers,
13 saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’
14 And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.”
15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

They are told to say that “His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.” It has been almost two thousand years since the death of Jesus, and the Jews still believe Jesus was not the Messiah.




The Promise to Abraham Revealed and Realized

abrahamreceivesthepromise

Shortly after the death of Jesus, the message of the New Covenant would come first to the Jews.

At the beginning, many Jews were converted, but as time passes, most of the Jewish nation rejected the
message. Stephen in Acts 7 provides a brief and truthful history of the Jews pointing out their rebellion against God.
Acts 7.1-60 After Stephen provides the history of Jewish rebellion to the Jews stone him to death.
Ezekiel 20.1-49 The rebellions of Israel
Both of these rather long passages are included for your convenience at the end of this page.
Beginning in Acts 10 with Cornelius, a Gentile, and the message would follow to all nations. “In Christ” all men are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3. 28,29

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

So in the sense of the promise to Abraham that in him all nations would be blessed, all of God’s children are spiritual descendants of Abraham. The things God did relative to the nation of Israel from the time of Abraham to Jesus were imperfect things.

Hebrews 9.11-28

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come,a with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, 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 has commanded you.”
21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—
26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

The animal sacrifices could not permanently remove sin, and the whole of the Old Law was, as God says, a shadow of what was to come.

Colossians 2.16,17

16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,
17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Hebrews 10.1-4

1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Everything in God’s plan pointed toward Christ, and Christ fulfilled all, providing the perfection God required to reestablish the relationship with man.


There may also be some confusion over the covenant that God made with Abraham. God established a covenant with Abraham, and it was to last throughout their generations (Genesis 17.9). That is, it would last throughout the generations of Israel. The identifying mark of Israel was to be physical or fleshly and was circumcision. That covenant ended when Jesus established the New Covenant (Galatians 5.6). We can see in Romans 2.28-29 the critical importance to understand the transformation that God had planned in Christ.

Romans 2.28, 29

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh;
29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.


Therefore, we see once again the physical, imperfect, versus the spiritual, perfect. The circumcision of the flesh was an identification of one being a Jew. Now God in Christ identifies man by the circumcision of his
heart. Men “were cut to the heart” the first time the Gospel was preached as they received the knowledge of what Christ had done for them. Christ throughout history draws men to Him through the cross. As Christ has said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” Circumcision of the flesh was a physical mark distinguishing God’s people from other nations. Now, God distinguishes men and women who acted in obedience to what God has done for them in Christ as “a holy nation” (1 Peter 2.4-10). God adds them to the church, Acts 2.47. It is a spiritual nation, the kingdom of God, and the church belonging to Christ. Jews were the vehicle, all mankind was always in God’s plan. It is not surprising these days that quite a number of Jews have come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah of prophecy. The scriptures clearly point to Him in this way, and His life and death are a perfect fulfillment of what God had promised. Jewish leadership has claimed that someone looked back to the scripture of Moses and the prophets and created its apparent fulfillment in the life and death of Christ. I would suggest that Jewish people desiring the truth read the New Testament. In doing so, you will see the same author as you did in Moses and the prophets. You will see God’s reason for things done before the time of Christ. You will understand why God dealt with Israel as He did and all in preparation for Christ. You will see in Jesus’ speech the wisdom of God. You will see God’s wisdom in the writers of the New Testament. You will begin to understand that men could not, today or thousands of years ago understood and explained God’s meaning and purpose in a way that fits perfectly the Old Testament—inspired scripture. Every person needs to understand God’s singularity of purpose. That purpose has been to provide man a means to be reconciled back to God. God wants to tear down the wall of sin so each man/woman has the opportunity to establish a relationship with Him.
I would like to ask the Jewish people one question. If you believe the Messiah has not come, what do you expect Him to do when He does come? Did not what Christ has done provide a godly answer to the situation in the Garden of Eden fulfilling the promise of Genesis 3.15? Life is not about a group of people called Jews. You see, life is not about any nation of people. Israel played a part in God’s plan, and their part is complete.
Do you really think that any men could make up the idea of God’s answer to man’s problem that required the terrible suffering and death of God’s own Son? The sacrifice of Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies and was consistent with the covenant made with Abraham and the perfect solution to those imperfect things in the Law of Moses. Jesus was the perfect one-time sacrifice permanently solving man’s problem. The problem that truly matters is the eternal problem. The problem that really addresses what life is all about. So now, thousands of years have passed, and to the Jews, the God of Abraham is silent. It must seem that way to today’s Jews. God is not silent, but speaks through His Son, and every Jew who will find heaven must believe that Jesus is God’s Son and obey Him. As God says, there is no longer Jew or Greek, but God differentiates all men based on their relationship to His Son.


Throughout the history of the Jews, there is much in the way of battles and God was with the nation of Israel as they are obedient. As we have indicated, behind these conflicts was not the idea of bringing glory to the nation of Israel, but Israel played the central role in God’s plan to bring the Messiah. If the Jews had understood their purpose had primary spiritual implications, not the glory of an earthly people, they may have seen Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus spoke to the Jews in relation to a kingdom that was not of this world.

John 18.36

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

He spoke of virtue in one’s life and of the treatment of others.

Matthew 5.3-10

3 “ Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5.43-46

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?


His interest was to have people placing God first in their life and not with the building up of earthly
treasure.

Matthew 6.33

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6. 19-21

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

More Jews today would likely follow Christ, but there is such confusion in what the world believes is Christianity that finding the truth has become a bit complex for these Jews and really for everyone.



Reference: very long passages: Acts 7 the entire chapter and Ezekiel 20, the entire chapter.

Acts 7.1-60

1 Then the high priest said, “Are these things so?”
2 And he said, “Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3 and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’ 4 Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell. 5 And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to him for a possession, and to his descendants after him. 6 But God spoke in this way: that his descendants would dwell in a foreign land, and that they would bring them into bondage and oppress them four hundred years. 7 ‘And the nation to whom they will be in bondage I will judge,’ said God, ‘and after that they shall come out and serve Me in this place.’ 8 Then He gave him the covenant of circumcision; and so Abraham begot Isaac and circumcised him on the eighth day; and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot the twelve patriarchs.
The Patriarchs in Egypt

9 “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of Pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house. 11 Now a famine and great trouble came over all the land of Egypt and Canaan, and our fathers found no sustenance. 12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first. 13 And the second time Joseph was made known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to the Pharaoh. 14 Then Joseph sent and called his father Jacob and all his relatives to him, seventy-five people. 15 So Jacob went down to Egypt; and he died, he and our fathers. 16 And they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham bought for a sum of money from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem.
God Delivers Israel by Moses

17 “But when the time of the promise drew near which God had sworn to Abraham, the people grew and multiplied in Egypt 18 till another king arose who did not know Joseph. 19 This man dealt treacherously with our people, and oppressed our forefathers, making them expose their babies, so that they might not live. 20 At this time Moses was born, and was well pleasing to God; and he was brought up in his father’s house for three months. 21 But when he was set out, Pharaoh’s daughter took him away and brought him up as her own son. 22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.
23 “Now when he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren, the children of Israel. 24 And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended and avenged him who was oppressed, and struck down the Egyptian. 25 For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand. 26 And the next day he appeared to two of them as they were fighting, and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren; why do you wrong one another?’ 27 But he who did his neighbor wrong pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you did the Egyptian yesterday?’ 29 Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.
30 “And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai. 31 When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he drew near to observe, the voice of the Lord came to him, 32 saying, ‘I am the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and dared not look. 33 ‘Then the LORD said to him, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. 34 I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their groaning and have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.”’
35 “This Moses whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ is the one God sent to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years.
Israel Rebels Against God

37 “This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’
38 “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us, 39 whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:
‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness,
O house of Israel?
43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
And the star of your god Remphan,
Images which you made to worship;
And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’
God’s True Tabernacle

44 “Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as He appointed, instructing Moses to make it according to the pattern that he had seen, 45 which our fathers, having received it in turn, also brought with Joshua into the land possessed by the Gentiles, whom God drove out before the face of our fathers until the days of David, 46 who found favor before God and asked to find a dwelling for the God of Jacob. 47 But Solomon built Him a house.
48 “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says:
49 ‘ Heaven is My throne,
And earth is My footstool.
What house will you build for Me? says the LORD,
Or what is the place of My rest?
50 Has My hand not made all these things?’
Israel Resists the Holy Spirit

51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”
Stephen the Martyr
54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

Ezekiel 20.1-49

1 It came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the LORD, and sat before me. 2 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Have you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “I will not be inquired of by you.”’ 4 Will you judge them, son of man, will you judge them? Then make known to them the abominations of their fathers.
5 “Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God.’ 6 On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands. 7 Then I said to them, ‘Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.’ 8 But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, ‘I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.’ 9 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
10 “Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’ 12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. 13 Yet the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness; they did not walk in My statutes; they despised My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; and they greatly defiled My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them in the wilderness, to consume them. 14 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 So I also raised My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands, 16 because they despised My judgments and did not walk in My statutes, but profaned My Sabbaths; for their heart went after their idols. 17 Nevertheless My eye spared them from destruction. I did not make an end of them in the wilderness.
18 “But I said to their children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers, nor observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; 20 hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God.’
21 “Notwithstanding, the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, and were not careful to observe My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them’; but they profaned My Sabbaths. Then I said I would pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the wilderness. 22 Nevertheless I withdrew My hand and acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries, 24 because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.
25 “Therefore I also gave them up to statutes that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live; 26 and I pronounced them unclean because of their ritual gifts, in that they caused all their firstborn to pass through the fire, that I might make them desolate and that they might know that I am the LORD.”’
27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “In this too your fathers have blasphemed Me, by being unfaithful to Me. 28 When I brought them into the land concerning which I had raised My hand in an oath to give them, and they saw all the high hills and all the thick trees, there they offered their sacrifices and provoked Me with their offerings. There they also sent up their sweet aroma and poured out their drink offerings. 29 Then I said to them, ‘What is this high place to which you go?’ So its name is called Bamah to this day.”’ 30 Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations? 31 For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “I will not be inquired of by you. 32 What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, ‘We will be like the Gentiles, like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.’
God Will Restore Israel

33 “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. 36 Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD.
37 “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
39 “As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord GOD: “Go, serve every one of you his idols—and hereafter—if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols. 40 For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things. 41 I will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the Gentiles. 42 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. 44 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel,” says the Lord GOD.’”
Fire in the Forest

45 Furthermore the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 46 “Son of man, set your face toward the south; preach against the south and prophesy against the forest land, the South, 47 and say to the forest of the South, ‘Hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will kindle a fire in you, and it shall devour every green tree and every dry tree in you; the blazing flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be scorched by it. 48 All flesh shall see that I, the LORD, have kindled it; it shall not be quenched.”’”
49 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! They say of me, ‘Does he not speak parables?’”


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