Israel - Don't say: I didn't know!

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Many of us perceive the Tanakh (Old Testament) as a complicated book, understood only by a precious few. But in truth, God's message is simple, understandable, and contains the most important information for our lives. In a few words I will try to clarify the main subject of the Scriptures, in the hope that you will choose life.

God created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden, in His presence, pure and sinless. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, ate from the forbidden fruit and so have instilled Sin in all of humanity. Because Sin and God's holiness cannot dwell together, God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.

Before they emerged into the world subjected to death, God taught His creatures to offer sacrifices in order to atone for their sins and so keep the holy relationship with Him ( Genesis 4:4). From the beginning God laid down the principles by which our lives are to be led, and it is this: just as sin caused our separation from God, atonement for sin will renew our relationship with the Creator.

In order to proclaim our salvation to all the nations, God has chosen Abraham to be the forebear of the Chosen People: "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:2-3,NIV). God gave Abraham other promises, such as an eternal relationship between Himself and the promised seed, and the Land of Canaan for an inheritance ( Genesis 15:18)( Genesis 17:8).

Hundreds of years later, the 400 years of slavery of the people of Israel in Egypt came to an end. God Himself, in all His glory, led His people out of Egypt and guided them in the desert on their way to the Promised Land ( Exodus 13-14). On Mount Sinai God gave the Ten Commandments to the People of Israel. Even this early, God presented His character and characteristics, and so established the moral standard of holiness required of the Chosen People so that they can be representatives of the holy Most High God ( Exodus 20-34).

When Moses presented the Ten Commandments and the other statutes of the Law before the People of Israel, any intelligent person could have understood that keeping all of them was impossible! The people of Israel realized how sinful they were before the pure and holy nature of God. The Tanakh teaches that every man is a sinner ( Ecclesiastes 7:20)( Psalm 51:9), that our good deeds, numerous and wonderful though they may be, cannot purify us from sin ( Isaiah 64:6), and that our sins separate us from God ( Isaiah 59:1-2).

In order to atone for sins and to keep the close relationship with God, the People of Israel were commanded to offer blood sacrifices ( Leviticus 17:11). The awful spectacle of slaughter of the sacrifices was meant to exemplify and teach that the sacrifice paid with its life the price of my own sin. And so the Children of Israel have learned the principle: A LIFE FOR LIFE! God set the Tent of Meeting (also called the Tabernacle), and later the Temple, as His dwelling place among His people. God's sanctuary was the only place to which the Children of Israel were ordered to come and offer their sacrifices of atonement.

The People of Israel received the Law of God from Moses and committed themselves to fulfilling all its requirements. In return for their faith, if it was expressed in obedience and in keeping all of the commandments, then God promised to bless His people with all the blessings written in the Book. If they turned away from His Word, then God promised to punish them with all the curses written in the Book ( Deuteronomy 28).

Throughout the years, the Children of Israel witnessed abundant blessings, miracles and graces that God bestowed upon them in return for their faith and obedience. As a good and faithful Father, God has also shown His holiness and righteousness in punishing the people when they have turned from the straight path. In spite of God's grace, the People of Israel have forsaken their faith in the Most High God. The People of Israel honored God with their mouths, but in their hearts they have drawn away from Him. The People of Israel did not listen to the warnings of the prophets and preferred to ignore the word of the Living God ( Isaiah 29:13-14).

Because the People of Israel broke the covenant they have made with God in Sinai, God gave them, through the prophet Jeremiah, a prophecy concerning the establishment of a New Covenant, a different covenant: "The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them, declares the Lord. This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34, NIV).

God did not choose another people but remained faithful to the promise He gave to Abraham. The breaking of the covenant by the People of Israel necessitated the establishment of a new covenant, a new framework within which the People of Israel could atone for their sins and keep their closeness to God. Not a new people, but new terms!!! (The book called "The New Testament" is a description of the covenant that the prophet Jeremiah speaks of. It is the covenant that is meant first and foremost for Israel, and then for the Gentiles, but it also has to do with the coming of the Messiah).

Almost 2000 years have passed since the destruction of the Temple. The only way in which the People of Israel can bring their sacrifices before God and atone for their sins has been removed. Without a Temple there is no possibility to fulfill the commandments of the covenant made in front of Mount Sinai! According to the prophet Daniel, the Messiah came to atone for sins in the period before the destruction of the Second Temple. Instead of welcoming Him as Messiah and Savior, the nation sent its Messiah to the cross! "...the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary..." (Daniel 9:22-27, NIV). According to the prophet, the Messiah was cut off about the time of the Passover Feast in the year 32 A.D., about 40 years before the destruction of the Second Temple!

While the prophet Jeremiah declared the establishment of a new covenant and Daniel the date of its beginning, other prophets have described its author, the Messiah Himself! The prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem Ephrata. He notes that the Messiah who will be born existed from before the beginning of the world - a statement which can only be said about God! ( Micah 5:2)( Habakkuk 1:12).

The prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah will be born of a virgin ("almah"), in a birth that is described as a sign, and that the newborn son will be - Immanu-el, meaning, God is with us ( Isaiah 7:14). The prophet Isaiah adds that the son given to the People of Israel will be called by the names of God, and that he is the one who will sit on the throne of the house of David forever ( Isaiah 9:6-7). In chapter 53 the prophet Isaiah says that the Messiah gives His life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all men. The Messiah has given His life so that we may live. In His life the Messiah demonstrated the principle - A LIFE FOR LIFE! "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" ( Isaiah 53:4-6).

The prophet Zechariah states that the People of Israel will not reject its true and only Messiah forever. In the End Times, in an era when the People of Israel will face a harsh reality where two thirds of the nation will be annihilated by enemies, the Messiah will return ( Zechariah 13:8-9). In a period described as the worst in the history of the People of Israel the prophecy: "They will look on me, the one they have pierced...." (Zechariah 12:10) will be fulfilled. Why is it that only in times of trouble we are wise enough to hear the Word of God clearly? Why is it that only persecutions and wars force us to recognize God's Messiah, whom we have rejected in the past??

According to the words of the prophets, it is clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Messiah which God promised to His people is Yeshua from the seed of the house of King David. Yeshua the Messiah is God who became a man in order to sacrifice His life for the sins of men. Yeshua the Messiah was crucified, died, and rose from the dead on the third day. The resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah is proof of His victory over death and his eternal sacrifice. His resurrection is also proof that all who believe in God's Messiah will live with Him forever, as He has promised.

Yeshua the Messiah did not found a new religion, but fulfilled the prophecy and established the new covenant. All who believe that Yeshua is the Messiah who died for their sins and was resurrected, and sincerely turns from their sins and ask for forgiveness, will be partakers of this covenant and will be rewarded by its blessings: atonement for sin, renewal of the relationship with God, His mercy and grace, and when the time comes being in His presence forever. The practical proof that a man really lives according to God's will and has received the atonement of the Messiah is expressed in his willingness to be honest, humble, kind and God fearing. A man who rejects Yeshua the Messiah rejects the only Biblical way for salvation from sins, and even rejects God Himself.

The history of the People of Israel is packed with events where nations and people have claimed a faith in Yeshua, but have, in His name, murdered and committed crimes. This is the main reason for the People of Israel's rejection of Yeshua the Messiah. In fact, heinous crimes prove how far they are from the Word of God and their lack of faith in God's Messiah. A sincere believer will test Yeshua's claim to be the Messiah according to the Tanakh and not according to men's failures!

Dear reader, God in His great grace offers a simple gospel. It is His aim to teach us how to keep ourselves holy so that one day we can be rewarded with His presence again. Because God cannot compromise His holiness, it is up to us human beings, to ask for His atonement in order to live. The choice is in your hands.

We pray that You will choose life! We invite you to join us for studies of the Tanakh and the New Testament.

For further details and additional literature please contact:

Copyright © 1997 by Meno Kalisher, this acticle used by
permission

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