KEY

Faith is the Key

Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

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God’s is bringing Jews and Gentiles together into one body/family by their faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Faith is key in God’s plan.

Before reading what is written below, please read Romans 3:9-24 for background.

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Abram’s (Abraham) Faith Pleased God

Genesis 17:1-5 reads,

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make My covenant between Me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’

(Abram was very old and had no children, yet Abram believed God that He would give him children)

Abram fell face down, and God said to him,  ‘As for Me, this is My covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram, your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.’ ”

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“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.”  James 2:23 (also read Isaiah 41:8)

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” This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile…” Romans 3:22

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Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham:  ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’  So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’  Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because ‘the righteous will live by faith.’   The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says,  ‘The person who does these things will live by them.’  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’   He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”   Galatians 3: 8-14

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The earliest Christians were Jews.  Jesus Himself, was a Jew, according to the flesh.  When Jesus began His ministry, He preached only to the Jews.  Gentiles, however, heard the message as Jesus went along, and faith in Him began to grow in some of them, as well.

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The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16,

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”  Romans 1:16

Gentiles Are Being Grafted In

Faith is the key; but, for the most part, the hearts of most Jews have been “veiled” from believing the Gospel.

2 Corinthians 3:14-15 reads:

But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.  Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.”

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The Apostle Paul wrote this to Gentiles:

Again I ask: Did they (Israel)  stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!

 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”   Romans 11:11-24

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I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25

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Regarding those Jews who are now in unbelief, Romans 11:28-32 says,

As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.  For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

Jews and Gentiles Become One In Christ

Faith is the key. The Apostle Paul, himself a Jew and a strong believer in Christ, expressed anguish in his letters about the fact that most of his people were rejecting Christ.

Paul wrote this about Israel in Romans 9:1-5:

“I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.”

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But, God’s plan continues…

In Ephesians 2:11- 21, Paul wrote this to Gentile believers:

…remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)—

remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two (Jews and Gentiles) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,  by abolishing in His flesh the Law with its commandments and regulations.

His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,  and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through Him we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

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Paul continued in Ephesians 3: 1-6:

“For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,  which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

Satan Is Our Common Enemy

Faith is the key, and Satan knows it.  He has always been the ardent and persistent enemy of Israel from her beginnings , when, as a nation, she put her faith in God; and now, Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ are also his target.

In Revelation 12: 1-17 below,  the woman represents Israel; the twelve stars represents the twelve tribes of Israel; the red dragon and the serpent are Satan; the heads and horns and crowns on the dragon’s head represents nations,  kings, and authorities he uses in his service; the water spewing from the serpent’s mouth are lies, accusations, and slanders of all kinds against Israel; and, the male child represents Jesus Christ.

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Revelation 12:1-17 reads:

“A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve   her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.  His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.

The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.  She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to His throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

‘Now have come the salvation
and the power and the kingdom
of our God, and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.

Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!

But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.’

When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.  The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.

Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent (Read Psalm 124).  But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”

The Home of the Faithful Is Heaven!

Read  Revelation 7:1-8, and understand that there will not be only 144,00 Jews saved, or only 144,000 saints allowed into Heaven.  The 144,00 souls written about in the first eight verses of the chapter represent a special group of souls of Jewish origin who are like Jesus in almost every way (Read Revelation 14:1-5).  They are set apart for a special task they will perform with the Lord.

Revelation 7:9-17 reads:

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

‘Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.’

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:

  ‘Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!’

Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’

I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’

And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore,

‘they are before the throne of God
and serve Him day and night in His temple;
and He who sits on the throne
will shelter them with His presence.

‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

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