YHVH’s Savior would have returned when the martyred Stephen shouted out that he was ready, willing and able, but!
“Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him.” (Acts 6-7)
Fortunately for the rebels, Yeshua has authority over time. So when, just like 3 1/2 years before, a critical mass number of rulers, or the right ones, failed to respond to Stephen’s announcement with “Baruch Ata Adonai! / Hail to the chief!”, he extended the time of judgment on this generation – 40 more years to 70 AD, when the temple was destroyed.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees…All these things shall come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:29-36)
Knowing the backstory of Jesus’ statement, the disciples were surely filled with frustration. Another 40 years! They would be asking when is this state of war going to end?!
They knew the answer. As long as the transgression, the sins, the iniquity increased, God would respond with exponentially increased judgments forewarned by Moses at the very beginning of YHVH’s covenant with his people.
“if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments…that ye break my covenant…
- I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague…ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you
- And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
- And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
- And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things…I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
- And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me...I will chastise you seven times for your sins.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me…if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26)
The disciples worked diligently to fulfill Jesus’ assignment to get the word out – repent!
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)
According to Paul, this had been accomplished by ~ 66 AD.
“the truth of the gospel…is come unto…all the world…” (Colossians 1:5-6).
Historians find that Christianity reached India in the first century, as well as China.
What will it take?
“great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21)
This great tribulation is often presented as a ruthless punishment on Israel for not accepting Christianity. However, if we stick with scriptural, instead of human, resources, we recognize it for what it is – God’s longsuffering love for his people.
“Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury…upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days…At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people…The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel…The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee…thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.” Jeremiah 30:23-31:7)
“What if [in the sense of “what’s it to you?“] God…endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction…that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory…Esaias also crieth concerning Israel…a remnant shall be saved…I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I [Paul] also am an Israelite.” (Romans 9:21-27, 11:1-2)
“once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved.” (I Peter 3:20)
“there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, [certainly “love your enemy” doesn’t include] looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?…[On the contrary] account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you. (II Peter 3:3-15)
Yeshua’s message about himself before Pentecost and the apostle’s doctrine of the New Testament Church after Pentecost validate everything they preach by referencing back to the Old Testament promises to Israel.
“Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel…Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house [dynasty].And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an household / family for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him…And thine house / family and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. ” (II Samuel 7:8-17)
“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” (Isaiah 55:3)
“And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:44-48)
“…they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on. Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
- The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt…
- he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus…
- children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent…
- we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus…from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption…
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things...Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” (Acts 13:14-43)
What is this grace of God? Is it, as claimed, a new way of salvation distinct from the Mosaic law of the Old Covenant?
Not according to the Bible.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us [the essential Mosaic law] that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.“(Titus 2:11-14)
Grace is the fundamental covenant made with the first two humans by God himself to the parents of the entire human race promising to save them and their children from sin and death.
“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die...And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew…
And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this…[the woman’s] seed…shall bruise [crush] thy head [kill you despite you being immortal].” (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:1-15)
The New Testament is not a new and improved religion in the sense of being a super-simple way of avoiding hell and living in a blissful heaven forever after death. The new covenant is the revelation of the mystery of how the old covenant restores immortality, i.e. sinlessness, to mortal humans through transformative death and resurrection.
“the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly….
- according to my gospel,
- and [according to] the preaching of Jesus Christ,
- [and] according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began [when the bruising of Satan was first announced], But now is made manifest
- and by the scriptures of the [Old Testament] prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: ” (Romans 16:20-26)
Significantly, none of the covenants within the series of covenants can do away with any part of the commitments made previously. This is detailed in the post Father Abraham.
“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” (Galatians 3:15-17)
In context, Paul is stating that the covenant made with the nation of Israel through Moses does not cancel or override God’s baseline promise to send one individual Seed of the Woman to destroy sin and death. It simply gives definition to the promise.
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my [not new but existing] covenant between me and thee [not someone else]…and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:1-7)
“…the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in YHVH’s Promised Savior / Christ Jesus before the world began. (II Timothy 1:8-10)
The same principle of irrevocability applies to each covenant in succession.
“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?…God brought them out of Egypt…according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!” (Numbers 23:19-23)
“God is true...all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen [affirmed].” (II Corinthians 2:18-20)
Belief in Jesus Christ, or more properly Yeshua Messiah, as described in the New Testament is unquestionably the extension of the Mosaic code.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:14-16)
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4)
This is the reason the fundamentalist Pharisees could believe that Jesus was the Prophet who Moses said to obey.
As did the rulers of the Jews. This becomes clear when we focus our attention on Jesus’ acid duel of words with the Jewish leadership rather than his feel-good miracles. Jesus spent so much of his time disputing with them because that was a big part of his ministry – to sift and purify the Levites.
“I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
They answered and said unto him, Abraham the Hebrew is our father.
Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham [note how they continue the argument started with John the Baptist]. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham…Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning…
Then took they up stones to cast at him…” publicly proving his point (John 8:29-53)
“And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders…said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? Clearly THEY hadn’t!
And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John [for repentance in preparation for accepting the Messiah’s rule – especially by these rulers who usurped Mosaic authority, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him [when John announced Jesus’ identity as the Christ?] But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Don’t miss the defiance and deliberate provocation as Jesus continues facing off against his declared enemy.
But what think ye? A certain man had two sons;
- and he came to the first, [The Hebrew nation at Mount Sinai as described in the post The Exodus] and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
- He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
- And he came to the second [Levitical priests and rulers of Israel], and said likewise.
- And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first.
Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots [the commoners, from the Greek hoi-poloi literally meaning “the many”, i.e. the Hebrew nation] go into the kingdom of God before you. – Note, not “instead of” you!
For John came unto you in the way of righteousness [the faith of Abraham], and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him:
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, [expressly stated to be the nation of Israel] and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen [the rulers of the nation of Israel], and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it…last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance [both ruler- and land owner- ship]…When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21)
In the context of the second parable, the nation of Israel is the vineyard, which is not replaced. Only the husbandmen – the caretakers of Israel, i.e. the rulers, are replaced. Like “Washington”, the “Kingdom” that is taken away is idiomatic for “the rulers in the government”.
“rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine.” (I Samuel 15:22-28)
The nation that Jesus replaced was one of Antichrist’s Anti-governments, wolves in sheep’s clothing.
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them as the husbandmen, not the nation of Israel! But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude – the “many” in the nation of Israel, because they took him for a prophet.” (Matthew 21:23-46)
“Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation [brotherhood of leaders].
And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us [the brotherhood of priestly rulers], that one man should die for the people – plebs, commoners, those ruled in a constantly shifting ethnic population, and that the whole nation perish not.
And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation – of Israelites – And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one – nation of Hebrews – the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.” (John 11:47-52)
The kingdom leadership was not taken away from the entire nation of Israel. It was taken away from the nation / brotherhood of chief priests who had replaced the legitimate Aaronic heirs by paying off the Romans for the political appointments, and the Pharisees who had replaced the Mosaic code with impossible legalistic minutia.
The ancient Jewish court system was called the Sanhedrin…Hellenistic sources generally depict the Sanhedrin as a political and judicial council headed by the country’s ruler…It was the final authority on Jewish law and any scholar who went against its decisions was put to death as a zaken mamre (rebellious elder)…The Great Sanhedrin dealt with religious and ritualistic Temple matters…and the solving of difficulties relating to ritual law…
“Then spake Jesus to…his disciples, Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe [based on Moses], that observe and do; but do not ye after THEIR works: for they say, and do not…Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity…because ye…say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias / Blessed One whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and e would not!…Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the LORD. ” (Matthew 23)