We are commanded to worship one God only; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Where do we learn about this God of ours?
In the “chapters” of the Old Testament, where His relationship with His chosen people Israel is spelled out and delineated. Where we learn about the very beginnings of the world, and about His Son, Jesus Christ who is the One that holds all things together; for He is the “glue” of all created matter.
We learn that there are three Gods in the Godhead…the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
We come to understand that there is terrible punishment meted out to those who do not follow His rules. For those who are in unbelief.
We watch as Israel falls into and out of favor…grievous sins committed, yet ultimate forgiveness, from a merciful God.
And then we look at the New Testament. Full of grace and forgiveness. Most people develop a picture of an almost effeminate God who is circled by angels with flapping wings. (By the way..nowhere in the bible are we told that angels have wings. The Cherubim have them, but angels appear as men. They are male. No wings. If one passed you in the street today, you would not look twice. An example of just how human they look, is depicted when Lot is rescued from Sodom.)
But then..to learn this, one must read the chapters in the Old Testament that tell us this. Those chapters are for our learning.
Our bible is ONE book! With 66 chapters. If we do not understand what led up to the grace extended us in this age, how can we understand or know the God whom we worship? What is written in the OT is being repeated in the spiritual realm today. Those battles continue, but we cannot see them as they are being fought, for they are invisible to us. Those awful punishments meted out were from the very same God who loves us today.
When Jesus Christ gave up the Ghost, the temple curtain was split in half, vertically. It was “rent” in twain; this curtain that guarded the way to the sacred inner room; the Holy of Holies. The room that we, as believers in this age, have free access to without first having to slay an animal and have a priest sprinkle the blood of that animal on the Mercy seat for our purification. Only one priest was allowed into that sacred place, representing the Nation of Israel as He asked forgiveness for their sins.
But now, all of us who believe have free access individually…to the inner Holy place through the blood that is now on the Mercy Seat. The blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the one time sacrifice that puts to an end to the need for never-ending, temporary cleansing rites. The blood is now there permanently. Eternal cleanliness for us. We are washed and purified in that blood through our faith; belief that Jesus is the Son of God; that He died for All sinners (that would be us) and rose again three days after, now living and sitting at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.!.!
When we hear of our Lord today, from most preachers and teachers, we have half a picture of Him. Yes…He is love. Yes, He forgives us. But “woe” to the deceivers. “Woe” to the unbelievers. Read, in the chapters of the Old Testament what the word “woe” denotes.
We learn that our God is gentle, and loving. We learn that He is absolute in His authority, and when His patience wears thin, is capable of and will use the harshest of punishments against the guilty parties. Thus, He is All in All. The God of all the ages. The wrathful and the loving combined.
***When we have only a half picture of our Lord…are we worshipping an idol? A man-conceived version of the real thing?***
Why does Paul tell us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling? Why would we tremble in front of this gentle and caring God?
Because we need to recognize His Power. To bring together in our minds His true nature.
He spells it put for us. In His Book.
Israel was, and will be again His chosen earthly group. Read what happened to them, because of their unbelief. They are “Low-Ammi” right now. God has turned His Face from them, in order to look with grace upon us, who were once “far” from Him. When we were mere Gentiles. Dogs.
But. After the Rapture, after the “church, the body of Christ” is called up and taken from this earth…after we meet Christ in the clouds from where He will call us; His full attention will once more be upon the Nation Israel…those people, the Jews…who were, and will be once more “the Apple of His eye.”
There is yet to follow their payment of a seven year debt they owe God for their past disobedience; the coming Tribulation. It is written that it will be the most horrible of times, and we are promised that we will be spared because of our faith in His Son.
1 Thessalonians 1: 9-10
9For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”
How do we learn of these things?
By reading the Old Testament with discernment and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things.
When that curtain shielding the Holiest of Holies was “rent in twain”…so was the 400 year division between the Old and New Testament.
If the bible was esteemed as One Book with 66 chapters, it might be more difficult for the current wolves masquerading as sheep or even as “leaders” of the flock, to twist their words so as to gain a following for themselves.
It is up to each of us, with the Spirit’s lead to investigate each word we hear from the pulpit, or from a self proclaimed bible teacher, or a podcast, TV or radio show in order to determine if there is truth in their voices..or, are these people “empty clouds with no rain” who can provide no cleansing for their “followers” as we read in:
2 Peter 2: 1-3
1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
No one chapter or section of the Bible lives on it’s own. All are tied together with a blood-red ribbon.
We must remember this, that the Father who adopted us when we were yet sinners..firstly named the Jewish people as His chosen ones.
We are adopted men and women who can claim acceptance into that family of God.
Adopted, which means chosen. Just as the Jews were first chosen for His earthly family, we have been chosen for His spiritual family and are spiritually connected to Abraham and Sarah.
How do we learn of this?
We start reading on the first page of the Book. And then the second. And then on and on.
How else can we learn about how grace was bestowed upon us when His chosen people refused the Christ, their Messiah….how God temporarily turned His back on them, and we were granted the opportunity to come into that Royal family.
How can we know that because of their temporary God-given blindness to the gospel message, we who were not His became His!
How can we realize that a debt is owed to the Nation Israel. If they HAD accepted their Messiah, well: the Kingdom would have come; the Tribulation would have occurred, and we would have been cast into eternal hell without a chance for salvation.
There is only one way. Think about it. Open that ONE book. It all points to One. Jesus Christ.
My prayer is that we who believe will open our eyes and minds even further by asking that the Holy Spirit takes us through the Book; revealing the knowledge necessary for our continued growth in Him!
One Book. Just as we who follow Him are of one mind. Invisibly joined together for all of eternity.
We are His alone. We are One, in Christ. By Grace.
We must respect that Giver of Grace by accepting Him for Who He truly is. A Father who has demonstrated through His Word that He punishes severely those who go against Him. A merciful Father who loves us. We must recognize and humbly respect His power.
The Bible tells us so.
“Thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree (Rom 11:17).”
“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; in whom [Christ] ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph 2:12-13, Eph 2:19, Eph 2:22).”
“Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise (Gal 4:26, Gal 4:28).”