Thursday, August 24, 2017

Wilderness Betrothal (and beyond) continued:

In the last article of the wilderness journey, I quoted the following scripture:  "Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I [YHVH] had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also” (Jeremiah 3:8 emphases added). The failure of the Sinai engagement/betrothal was not due to YHVH’s unfaithfulness, but His beloved’s. She just could not overcome the power of Sin that operated within her and stand against the influence of her surroundings.  The natural fallen Adamic inclinations were working against her/them (Israel). Although some were trying their best to keep all of the statutes, laws and ordinances, the problem of the uncircumcised heart still remained.  The worship of the golden calf soon after Israel had experienced YHVH’s presence and heard His voice, is but one example.  It was no different during the days of the Mishkan in Shiloh, and when the two respective Temples stood in Jerusalem, resulting in YHVH’s action and attitude toward her, as expressed by the prophet in the above quote.  Even the redeemed New Covenant believers of today, notwithstanding the circumcised heart and ability to hear the Spirit, are still under the influence of the power of Sin, which has not been completely defeated (see Romans 7:5, 23).
Interestingly, the Jeremiah excerpt does not mention Judah as being subject to all the conditions of the divorce (“not my people”), and separation that ultimately met the destiny of Northern Israel.  Thus, since YHVH still calls the Jews “ami” (“My people”), it may be concluded that Judah is still bound to the Law Giver through the Sinai agreement. Judah was assigned by the Almighty to carry the scepter of the Torah “until Shiloh comes” (Gen. 49:10). Remember, YHVH’s purpose for giving the commandments was to reveal Sin and bring His people to the knowledge of its existence and influence (see Romans 3:20). Since this was all planned and foreknown by YHVH, He immediately told Moses to build the Mishkan and set up the priesthood.  This explains why the religious Jews of today long for the Temple to be rebuilt, as without it and its sacrificial system there is no atonement for Sin, nor the implementation of the demands that the Torah places upon the Levitical Priesthood.  This provision of grace, through animal sacrifices in set apart edifices, was to last until such a day that YHVH would usher in a more permanent solution to the spiritual heart condition of His people and ultimately for all humanity.  So when the New Covenant was brought to light through the blood of the Messiah, did Judah’s role end as Law giver? If so, then there would be no need for the Torah and the Prophets.  The apostle makes clear that the commandments and the Torah were given to lead one to the Messiah.  “Therefore the law was our tutor to Messiah, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).  
As already mentioned, Judah was given the scepter of the Torah and the responsibility to hold the commandments and the instructions for righteousness before the eyes of a sinful humanity, especially their brothers, who have become ‘gentilized’. This assignment, obviously, has not alleviated or exempted the Jews from having the same contaminated nature as the rest of humanity.  That, however, did not stop the Almighty from fulfilling His word for and through the House of Judah.  Judah was the one He chose to lead the nation, establish the Davidic dynasty, bring forth the promised Messiah and be the first stick of Ezekiel to be restored as a nation (which is so clearly evident today).   The rejected House of Joseph was prophetically labeled “Lo Ruchama” (no mercy) and “Lo Ami” (not My people) and were set aside, while the House of Judah (the Jews) remained identifiable as “Ami“ (my people).  This identity links the latter to the Sinai covenant and to the marriage contract.  
Judaism’s demand to submit to rabbinic authority is still a carryover from the days of Moses, when the people asked him to hear from Elohim for them.  “Then they said to Moses, ‘you speak with us, and we will hear; but let not Elohim speak with us, lest we die’" (Exodus 20:19).  Yeshua infers to this when addressing His followers: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.  Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do” (Matthew 23:1-3).   
Again, YHVH used the Jews to carry the Law and prophetic writings to the nations for the purpose of convicting the world of Sin and unrighteousness, which then leads to the need for atonement and forgiveness by the Creator. 
Throughout Church history it has been promulgated that the Gentile Church has replaced the Jewish People. The interpretation (by the ‘Church fathers’) of Paul’s letters led to casting aside of the Torah of Moses and with it also the Jewish People, along with their prophetic calling.  If that was what the apostle had in mind, then why did he make the following statements:    “What advantage then has the Jew [House of Judah], or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of Elohim…” (Romans 3:1-2 emphases added). Or “... to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the Covenants, the giving of the law, the service of Elohim, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Messiah” (Romans 9:4-5 emphasis added)… ? And there is more. This time addressing Timothy:   "All scripture [the Tanach] is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This last one, in itself, is enough to convince anyone that its author was not dismissing the Torah, Writings and the Prophets.  On the contrary.  “For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of Elohim without effect?  Certainly not!  Rather, let Elohim be found true [faithful and just]” (Romans 3:1-4).  Regardless of the present heart condition of Judah, YHVH will be faithful to accomplish what is written in her prophetic destiny, just as He has and will for the House of Joseph/Israel.
So, what about the divorced House of Israel, which was cut off and sent away? Do YHVH’s purposes and plans for them still hold true?  If not, His word has failed and Elohim would be found to be a liar.  “For the gifts and the calling of Elohim are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29a) “In the same way Elohim desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for Elohim to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil [the holy of holies] Yeshua our High Priest” (Hebrews 6:17-19), and if I may add, also our Bridegroom.  
I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy;  I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know YHVH” (Hosea 2:20). 
All of these attributes of the Father were seen when Yeshua’s blood-covered body was hanging on the execution stake.  Just moments before Yeshua cried out “Eli, Eli, why have You forsaken me”. The Father took the Sin infested life of Man and immersed it into the flesh body of Him who knew no sin, so that Yeshua could take that life into death with Himself, fulfilling the judicial consequence of Adam’s disobedience.  Thus, we died with Him and were buried with Him.  The good news is that Yeshua’s flesh body did not stay in the grave.  Because we were in Him in death, we are also with Him in His resurrection. This is how we, the adulteress and harlot, have become “a virgin” as expressed by Jeremiah: “Turn back, O virgin of Israel, turn back to these your cities”(31:21).   "Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance… And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says YHVH" (Jeremiah 31:13-14).  

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