Returning to Torah — Part 3 — Are We No Longer Under the Law?

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!

[Romans 6:14-15]

Laws are just made to be broken … so the saying goes.

But we know that is not true.

Any good parent, for example, will set in place house rules and establish boundaries that are intended to bless and protect the children. The expectation is clear. These rules are for their own good and are to be obeyed without exception. Breaking the rules will only result in pain and punishment and erode trust in the relationship.

Man’s rebellious heart is naturally averse to the law. Our sinful nature wages war against the law — both the laws of God and man. Man is prone to break the rules in search of some false form of freedom, but lawbreakers always seem to end up in the same place — either dead or in prison.

The truth is that a lawless man is never free. He is a slave to his sin — a dead man walking. Lawbreakers are the only ones who are “under the law,” facing the consequences and bearing the full weight of impending judgment.

It is the lawful citizen, however, who is truly free. A man who obeys the law is not “under the law” but rather free to live and enjoy his life without fear of punishment. Once again, it is not the law itself that holds men captive and puts them in bondage. Quite the contrary! A man is only “under the law” once he has broken the law.

God put His law in place for our own good. Obeying the law is not sin. Just the opposite is true. The Biblical definition of sin is transgression of the law.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

[1 John 3:4]

UNDER THE LAW

Yet entire theological systems have been built upon the flawed notion that Christians are no longer “under the law,” which traditionally has been interpreted to mean that God’s law no longer applies to our life. We have been told by our church leaders that the law has been done away with, rendered obsolete, and abolished at the cross. Christians are no longer under the burden of the law but are under grace, which means that we don’t have to keep those old, burdensome laws anymore but are free to do whatever we want!

But is that true? Is a Christian free to abuse God’s grace as a license to sin? Does God’s law no longer apply to our lives now that we have been saved by grace? Seems like the Apostle Paul said something about this dangerous mentality.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!

[Romans 6:14-15]

Do you see it? Do you see how men have misinterpreted this one idea from the writings of Paul and twisted it to mean the polar opposite of what it really means? When Scripture says that believers are no longer “under the law,” that does not mean the law itself has been done away with or abolished.

It simply means that believers in Christ Jesus are no longer under the PENALTY and CURSE of the law — which is death! Paul reminds us that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” [Galatians 3:13].

Jesus willingly received the death sentence that stood against all lawbreakers (you and me), which means that we are no longer under the curse of the law. We have been set free from the condemnation of the law. This is good news indeed!

But this does not mean that the law itself is now somehow destroyed or that it is no longer applicable to our lives. God forbid! It means now that we have been redeemed from the penalty and the curse of the law, we have been given the grace to go and walk in obedience to His law — keeping His commandments and so fulfill the law of Christ!

We are no longer slaves to sin — as we once were disobedient lawbreakers. We have become slaves to righteousness — keeping God’s law out of love and gratitude for God.

The law has not changed. God’s house rules have never changed. God’s expectation for His children to be obedient to His rules has not changed. But when we sin against God and break His law, we willingly put ourselves back under the law, which breaks God’s heart and breaks fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

Of course we still belong to the family of God, but when we break the law, we are acting once again like slaves to sin. It is only when we obey God’s commandments that we are living in freedom.

 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

[Romans 6:16-18]

THE LAW OF LIBERTY

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

[James 1:25]

So if breaking the law is sin that leads to bondage, then keeping the law is righteousness that leads to freedom. This what the Bible calls the perfect law of liberty. The law itself is God’s moral standard, His eternal value system. It is the way of life, and all who obey Torah are free! It’s that simple, and yet how many Christians today have a positive view about the law?

In my own personal religious experiences, the law was always cast in a negative light, as if Torah was contrary to grace and bondage for the believer. The law certainly was never taught as life and liberty, so like so many Christians, I developed an antagonistic attitude toward the law, as if Jesus had saved me and set me free from the law.

Now that I am rediscovering Torah, however, I realize just how wrong I was and how far off the path we have drifted.

Jesus did not save me from the law! Messiah saved me from the curse and punishment of the law — which is death. This one adjustment in my perspective has opened my eyes to see the joy and blessing and yes … the FREEDOM of keeping God’s commandments and obeying His laws.

THE SON HAS SET US FREE!

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free …” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

[John 8:31-32, 34-36]

Notice Jesus says that His true disciples are those who obey His teaching — aka Torah — and the result of obeying Torah is coming to a knowledge of the truth. Then once we discover the truth of Torah, the truth will set us free! Think about that for a moment. How profound! How many times have we missed this?

  • Jesus died in our place to take the punishment that we deserved for breaking God’s law (sin)
  • Once freed from the law of sin of death, Jesus calls us as His disciples to follow Him and obey His teachings (Torah)
  • As we learn Torah, we come to the knowledge of the truth and as we obey Torah we live out the truth as Jesus did
  • As we walk with Jesus in obedience to His commandments, we experience true freedom from sin and true joy in keeping the perfect law of liberty for God’s glory

Scripture is clear. It is impossible to Biblically defend the notion that followers of Jesus Christ are no longer expected to keep God’s law and obey His commandments. The meaning of the phrase, “under the law,” has been so twisted and perverted in the church that millions of Christians have been led astray and convinced that the Torah has been rendered useless and no longer applies to them.

Nothing could be further from the truth! God’s law has never changed and never will. Why would Jesus die for our sins and set us free from sin only to turn around tell us we are now free to sin? That’s absurd!

Jesus died to set us free from the curse of the law so that we would become beloved sons and daughters who walk in faithful obedience to God’s law. Keeping the law is not bondage. Keeping the law is the very definition of righteousness that leads to freedom! Since we have been set free from sin and death, we should never go back to being slaves to sin.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

[Galatians 5:1]

Returning to Torah — Part 2 — Do Not Add or Take Away

And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 2You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

[Deuteronomy 4:1-2]

The entire story of human history can be summed up in one thought — man makes a mess of things and God has to clean it up.

God says one thing, and man does another. Man wanders off the path and God calls him back. Man’s heart is deceitful, and by nature man seeks to do that which is right in his own eyes, which put him at odds with God’s word. As a result, we have become masters at twisting, perverting, and cherry picking God’s word to suit our own desires, or simply ignoring it altogether.

The Creator tells Adam in the garden … you are free, which means I am giving you a choice. Everything is yours! Take anything you want. I have just one simple commandment: do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Did God really say?

Adam did what was right in his own eyes and transgressed God’s only command, making a big mess of things. And the rest is history.

As time passed and man descended into deeper depravity and sin, God progressively added more commandments to clearly establish His moral boundaries and righteous standards (see Galatians 3:19). The LORD revealed His Torah to Noah before and after the flood (Genesis 6-9) and later instructed Abraham in His commandments so that he and his family would live set apart from the world and be blessed. Most of us have never considered that Abraham kept the Torah 400 years before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai. The LORD blessed Abraham, the man of faith, because he “obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws” [Genesis 26:5].

By the time the LORD gave the Torah to Moses on Mt. Sinai, the law was nothing new. God’s value system is eternal — it never changes. God did not create the Torah at Sinai. He merely revealed it.

The LORD further expanded on His commandments to address the specific circumstances and situations that inevitably would occur in a covenant community living together in the same land under the same legal constitution. Israel was called to be a peculiar people, set apart from the nations. God engraved His laws in stone and told Moses to codify His commandments in writing, which have been preserved in the Bible to this day.

And once the book of the law was written, the LORD gave very specific instructions that no one is authorized to change His word — ever!

God especially made it clear that no one has the authority to add to the Torah or take anything away from it. To change God’s word is to reject His authority and pervert His character.

Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

[Deuteronomy 12:32]

Yet here we are nearly 3,500 later, and that is precisely what has happened — men teaching as doctrines their own traditions above the commandments of God. This grievous error has cut both ways, in both adding to and subtracting from God’s word.

DO NOT ADD

Over the course of time, the Jews became notorious for adding to the Torah by ascribing authority to their oral traditions, religious commentaries, and rabbinic teachings. In many ways, Judaism elevates their man-made traditions found in the Mishnah and the Talmud above the pure and plain commandments of God.

This is precisely why Jesus was particularly harsh with the religious leaders of His day. Jesus had no issue with the Torah. He is both the Author and embodiment of the Torah and obeyed the law perfectly as our example. Jesus condemned the Jewish leadership for elevating their own traditions above the Torah and putting a stumbling block of unnecessary burdens on the people.

In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. 8You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”9And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!” 

[Mark 7:7-9]

Man’s rules make a mess of God’s truth. The Jewish traditions had made the Torah burdensome and difficult, when God never intended His law to be difficult [see Deuteronomy 30:11-14]. This is why Jesus said His yoke was easy and His burden light. He came to expose the legalistic traditions of men that had perverted God’s word and to call His people back to the purity and simplicity of the Torah as God intended.

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

[Matthew 23:1-4]

But the Jews are not the only ones to blame for making a mess of God’s word. While Judaism has been guilty of adding to the Torah, Christianity has been guilty of taking away from it.

DO NOT TAKE AWAY

The early church consisted predominantly of 1st Century Jews who believed in Yeshua of Nazareth as Messiah and were empowered by the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses first in Jerusalem and Judea and eventually to the nations. As far as the Apostles were concerned, Jesus had not come to start a new religion but rather to fulfill all the promises in the Torah and the prophets.

Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus and His Apostles all were avid Torah observers, keeping the Biblical feasts, eating clean foods, and worshiping at synagogue every Sabbath. Even Paul — who has become seriously misunderstood and grossly misinterpreted in orthodox Christianity — loved the law of God and kept Torah, saying “for I delight in the law of God, in my inner being” (Romans 7:22).

When Paul reached the Gentiles with the gospel and multitudes from the nations began to put their hope in Yeshua as Messiah, Paul reminded them that they were no longer strangers but had been brought near by the blood of Christ and incorporated as citizens in the commonwealth of Israel [Ephesians 2:14-21], being grafted in to Israel as God’s covenant people [Romans 11].

Even the Jerusalem Council [Acts 15] gave Gentiles four basic rules from the Torah to be an initial entry point for new believers, and then the Apostles instructed them to continue to grow in their faith by attending synagogue every Sabbath to learn how to live through Torah [Acts 15:21].

Consider, for example, the testimony of the Apostle John, who considered obeying the Torah as the purest expression of love for God.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 

[1 John 5:1-3]

But just exactly which commandments could John be talking about? Surely he wasn’t referring to all those Old Testament laws, but only the most obvious ones like do not murder or lie or steal or commit adultery. Surely John didn’t really mean to say that followers of Jesus should treasure all of God’s commandments, did he?

After all, Christians like to incorporate some of the Torah into their lives but at the same time are quick to dismiss and plainly reject others — taking away from God’s word.

Well, let’s look to our greatest authority to answer that question — Jesus Christ, the Author of the Torah Himself. What did Jesus say about picking and choosing which laws we want to keep and which ones we don’t? You may be surprised to find out what He has to say — and in the Sermon on the Mount of all places.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them18For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven20For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

[Matthew 5:17-20]

Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to do it — to perfectly live and embody it as our example. Last I checked heaven and earth still remain to this day, so not one stroke of the law has been done away with. That sounds pretty permanent to me.

And if that weren’t already clear enough, Jesus goes even further to emphasize that anyone who “relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of God.”

In Jesus’ own words … DO NOT TAKE AWAY FROM THE TORAH!

It does not get any clearer than that.

And yet the “church” is filled with self-proclaimed Jesus-loving Christians who have stripped away much of the Torah, showing blatant disregard to Jesus Himself. Christian leaders are guilty of changing the word of God and replacing it once again with their own traditions.

So where Judaism has added to the Torah, Christianity has taken away, creating two religious extremes that have strayed off the narrow path and made a mess of God’s word.

But God is sorting it out and cleaning up this mess we have made.

God is calling millions back to the unadulterated truth of His word and bringing people from all over the world — both Jew and Gentile — back the pure and simple way of Torah — to live as Jesus lived and walk as Jesus walked and to obey as Jesus obeyed in freedom and love.

Returning to Torah — Part 1 — Rediscovering God’s Eternal Treasure of Truth

The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

[Psalm 119:72]

Have you ever felt like something significant was missing from you life, only to discover that it was right in front of you all along? Have you ever stumbled upon a valuable treasure in your possession that for years you assumed was worthless?

What changed? The value or importance of these things never changed. Only your understanding and perspective changed, allowing you to see its worth for the very first time. And the moment you came to the knowledge of the truth, you were filled with overwhelming joy and gratitude!

That is exactly what has happened to me.

I recently discovered a precious gift from God — an ancient treasure of immense value — that has been in my possession for decades, only I failed to see it and appreciate it for what it was.

What could be so valuable and yet remain hidden for so long?

I am talking about Torah … the eternal truth of God revealing His love for His people.

What is Torah?

I know what some of you may already be thinking. If Torah is so important and so valuable, then why doesn’t the church emphasize it? Why has orthodox Christianity ignored it for 2,000 years? Why doesn’t my pastor preach on it? Why haven’t I heard anything about it?

Even for those in modern mainstream evangelicalism who at least have some surface-level knowledge, the Torah remains totally foreign as old laws that only apply to the Jews anyway. What does God’s law have to do with me — a Gentile Christian? Torah sounds so Old Testament. Aren’t we living under the New Covenant?

Yes I know. I am well aware of the common objections, knee-jerk reactions, and visceral emotions that emerge whenever the controversial topic of Torah is broached among brothers. I know because I once felt the very same way. I will address all of these unfortunate assumptions in due time. For now, however, I would like to start by providing a Biblical definition of Torah.

The Hebrew word torah — תּוֹרָה — is used about 200 times in Scripture and simply means “law or laws.” Over time, the Torah primarily became identified with the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), yet sometimes it generally can refer to God’s word as a whole. At its heart, however, Torah represents one thing — the heart of God for His people.

Torah is God’s eternal value system that He revealed as a blessing to His people. Torah simply is the way to live according to God.

Many times in Scripture, God provides a litany of words that represent the comprehensive nature of His Torah. These often include His instructions, His ways, His laws, His commandments, His statutes, His principles, His ordinances etc…

Consider the following passage from Deuteronomy 30 as a prime example [emphasis mine].

And you will again obey the voice of the LORD and follow all His commandments I am giving you today. 9So the LORD your God will make you abound in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your land. Indeed, the LORD will again delight in your goodness, as He delighted in that of your fathers, 10if you obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments and statutes that are written in this Book of the Law and if you turn to Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 11For this commandment I give you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12It is not in heaven, that you should need to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it for us and proclaim it, that we may obey it?’ 13And it is not beyond the sea, that you should need to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and proclaim it, that we may obey it?’ 14But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it. 15See, I have set before you today life and goodness, as well as death and disaster. 16For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and increase, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.

[Deuteronomy 30:8-16]

Notice all the ways God describes His Torah.

  • God’s voice
  • God’s commandments
  • God’s statutes
  • God’s laws
  • God’s word
  • God’s life
  • God’s goodness
  • God’s ways
  • God’s ordinances
  • God’s blessing

The Bible speaks of Torah as eternal (Psalm 119:89), as perfect (Psalm 19:7), as light (Proverbs 6:23, Psalm 119:105), as joy (Psalm 19:8), as holy and righteousness (Romans 7:12) — even as the way, the truth, and the life (Psalm 19:19, Proverbs 13:14).

So if we are willing to start with God’s word and His very own definition of Torah, we logically must come to one conclusion alone.

The law of God is good. The law of God is perfect. The law is true. The law is eternal. God does not change nor does His word!

So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

[Apostle Paul — Romans 7:12]

But Hasn’t God’s Law Been Abolished?

The Torah has been there all along, on virtually every page of my Bible from beginning to end, and yet for most of my Christian life I dismissed it — even shunned it — and read right over it because I had been taught by men that the laws and instructions of God did not apply to me anymore.

I had been taught that the law was nailed to the cross, done away with, abolished by Jesus and was no longer of any use or purpose to Christian living. I even was told that the law was bad and to make any attempt to obey God’s law was at best legalism and at worst a false gospel potentially resulting in my eternal damnation.

I had been taught that the law was a burden, and certainly not a blessing. I had come to believe that the law was only for the Jews under the Old Covenant, but now I was set free from the heavy yoke of the law by Christ.

But then again, there were those 10 Commandments? At least some of them still apply right? And the Levitical laws about sexual immorality. Those seemed to still be in play for Christians. And what about Jesus and the Apostles? They clearly lived Torah-observant lives, and aren’t we told to follow their example?

It just seems like either God’s testimony is unclear and confusing and even misleading, or at the least Christians are very confused and don’t understand God’s word.

So my question is … which is it? It cannot be both. If God never changes and His word never changes, then what do we make of this apparent tragic contradiction in Scripture. Either God’s word is wrong, or our understanding of God’s word is wrong, and I think we all know the answer to that.

Either the law is good or it is bad.

Either the law is true or it is false.

Either the law is a blessing or a burden.

Either the law is light or darkness.

Either the law is freedom or bondage.

Either the law is perfect or defective.

Either the law is life or death.

As you can see, we have some serious sorting out to do, and that is precisely what I aim to do in this series. I will address the primary objections and common misunderstandings surrounding this controversial subject, and I hope to help you begin to see and discover the very same treasure that I have found in God’s word.

Alpha & Omega — Session 38 — The New Heavens, the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

[Revelation 21:1-2]

God has promised to create new heavens and a new earth once Christ returns to reclaim His throne in Jerusalem. What will this unprecedented time be like and what role will believers play in God’s kingdom.

To discover more about this amazing topic, be sure to watch the video teaching of Session 38 in my Revelation Series — Alpha and Omega. If you find this content helpful, please be sure to share it abroad. Also, consider liking and subscribing to this blog below to receive my latest content.

Maranatha!

WATCH THE VIDEO TEACHING OF SESSION 38 ON YOUTUBE HERE!

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Alpha & Omega — Session 37 — The Millennial Kingdom of Christ and 1,000 Years of Sabbath Rest

Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

[Revelation 20:6]

What is the millennium and how does the Bible describe? Are we to take God’s kingdom of 1,000 years seriously or is it only allegorical language to convey some undetermined age of renewal?

To discover more about this fascinating age of rest, renewal, restoration and the reign of Christ, feel free to access the digital resources below in my Alpha and Omega Series. If this content is helpful for you, please consider liking, sharing and subscribing to this blog for more content just like this.

God Bless and maranatha!

WATCH THE VIDEO TEACHING OF SESSION 37 HERE ON YOUTUBE

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Alpha & Omega — Session 36 — The Day of the LORD and the Return of the King

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.

[Revelation 19:11]

Jesus first came as the Lamb of God to suffer and die for the sins of the world. He is coming again as the Lion of Judah to wage war against the wicked and crush the head of the Dragon.

To discover more about this unique Day — the Day of the LORD — be sure to access the digital resources below. Also, if you find this content helpful, please be sure to like, subscribe and share this post. Thank you and God Bless!

WATCH THE VIDEO TEACHING OF SESSION 36 HERE ON YOUTUBE!

Maranatha!

GOD of ISRAEL of GOD — Part 8 — Israel Estranged in Exile

“Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband,
so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel,”
declares the LORD.

[Jeremiah 3:20]

In my last post in this series, I laid the Biblical foundation for Israel’s identity as the elect bride of God. God chose for Himself a covenant people from all the nations of the earth. After redeeming Israel from Egypt, she became His treasured possession and cherished bride by entering into a marriage covenant with the LORD at Sinai.

Sadly, Israel proved to be an unfaithful wife and persisted in unbelief and idolatry for generations, despite God’s extraordinary long-suffering and mercy. Even God’s mercy and patience has limits, and He finally resolved to give Israel a certificate of divorce.

A WAYWARD WIFE AND A MERCIFUL GOD

The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore7And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore.

[Jeremiah 3:6-8]

The LORD offered Israel an exclusive covenant relationship at Sinai, and the people unanimously accepted, saying “everything you have said we will do and obey.” God offered them a life and a home. He offered protection, provision, and even His very presence. He offered them His instructions for blessings and warnings for cursing. Most of all, the LORD was offering unconditional love and covenantal faithfulness overflowing upon them with unimaginable blessing and joy for generations to come.

It did not take long, however, for Israel to break faith. Before Moses could even get back down the mountain to confirm the marriage contract, God’s chosen bride was already going after another god, provoking the LORD to anger [see Exodus 32]. Except for a few good years, Israel persistently played the whore, even though God patiently waited for her, continually calling his people to repent and return to Him.

For hundreds of years, God showed extraordinary mercy to His elect bride. Like Hosea bearing the heartbreak of being married to the likes of Gomer, the LORD knew the pain of a wayward wife.

God’s judgment and anger finally exceeded His mercy, however. He could no longer turn a blind eye to Israel’s brazen idolatry and deliberate disregard for Him as her “Husband.” So God put away Israel — writing her a certificate of divorce, expelling her from her homeland, exposing her lewdness and perversion and giving her over to her vile lovers — the gods of the nations — where she would be lost and absorbed by the nations.

Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband

that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts.

[Hosea 2:2]

I know Ephraim,
and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
Israel is defiled.
4Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
and they know not the LORD.

[Hosea 5:3-4]

DIVORCE and DISPERSION

Israel has been swallowed up; They are now among the nations Like a vessel in which no one delights.

[Hosea 8:8]

After the death of King Solomon (circa 932 B.C.) the Kingdom of Israel fractured into two separate nations. Ten tribes formed the northern kingdom, which retained the name Israel — otherwise known as Ephraim — and the remaining two tribes became known as Judah. One nation now divided into two houses. Both houses would prove to be unfaithful and break the covenant God made with them at Sinai.

While the LORD finally sent Ephraim away into exile, He did not fully reject Judah on account of His promise to King David. Judah would become a remnant representing God’s covenant people — the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

Gomer conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy [Lo-ruhama], for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.

[Hosea 1:6-7]

Israel, on the other hand would become exiles, wanderers among the nations.

Because of the wickedness of their deeds
I will drive them out of my house.
I will love them no more;

all their princes are rebels
...
17My God will reject them
because they have not listened to him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.

[Hosea 9:15,17]

It’s not that the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai was deficient. God’s laws and statutes and precepts are perfect. The deficiency is not with God’s covenant, it is with the people who try — and overwhelmingly fail — to keep it. Failing to remain faithful. Failing to love the LORD our God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and body.

For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah
, 9not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them,” declares the Lord.

[Hebrews 8:8-9]

Because the northern Kingdom of Israel refused to return to God, He punished them and put them away with a certificate of divorce to be swallowed up by the nations. Interestingly, the patriarch Jacob prophetically predicted the fate of Ephraim long before this tragic divorce and exile.

But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.

[Genesis 48:19]

This begs the question. How could Ephraim (house of Israel) become a multitude of nations when they were driven out of the land and lost to the nations? There is really only one logical solution. Although the house of Israel was scattered to the nations, God will redeem Israel by redeeming … the NATIONS! Israel may have been absorbed into the nations, losing her identity, but she will be brought back to God through a new and better covenant as the gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed to all nations and Israel is reclaimed by the God of Israel in the end!

Even at the lowest point of Israel’s existence, God promised to not utterly forsake His people forever but rather to one day bring them back to Himself and to their homeland. The miracle, however, is HOW God determined to do this, which is what I will discuss in my next post. Until then, consider the words of Ezekiel.

The word of the Lord came to me: 15“Son of man, the people of Jerusalem have said of your fellow exiles and all the other Israelites, ‘They are far away from the Lord; this land was given to us as our possession.’ 16Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone.’ 17Therefore say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.’ 18They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. 20Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

[Ezekiel 11:14-20]

Alpha & Omega — Session 35 — The Marriage Supper of the Lamb

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”

[Revelation 19:9]

What is the marriage supper of the Lamb and when does it take place?

To discover more answers to questions like these, be sure to check out the teaching on Revelation 19 and access the digital resources for free. If you find this content helpful, be sure to like, subscribe and share it abroad.

Maranatha!

WATCH THE VIDEO TEACHING FOR SESSION 35 HERE ON YOUTUBE!

Alpha & Omega — Session 34 — Mystery Babylon the Mother of Harlots

And he called out with a mighty voice,

“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”

[Revelation 18:2-3]

Who or what is Mystery Babylon? Is it a city? Is it a system? Is it a satanic spirit? Or is it all of the above?

To discover more about this fascinating topic, check out session 34 of my Revelation series by accessing the digital resources below. Be sure to like, subscribe and share this content with as many people as possible! Thank you.

WATCH THE VIDEO TEACHING OF SESSION 34 HERE ON YOUTUBE!

Maranatha!

CONVERGENCE SERIES — PART 4 — ROBOTICS & NANOTECHNOLOGY

And by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.

[Revelation 13:14-15]

More from my convergence series on Regeneration Radio.

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WATCH PART 4 IN MY CONVERGENCE SERIES ON YOUTUBE HERE!