- Appendix 4 -
The Christians say they are "God's" people. The Jews say that they are the People of Yahuah. The Muslims say they are Allah's people. Other religious groups say they are "God's" people. And within these groups there are many sub-groups – all making exclusive claim to being the people of "God." Many of these groups are at one another’s throats. Jews and Christians are antagonistic toward one another; Jews and Christians war against Muslims and vice versa; Christians and Muslims persecute Jews; Shiite Muslims fight Sunni Muslims; Jews exclude Christians from the "Commonwealth of Israel" (Ephesians 2:12); Protestants war with Catholics; Charismatics war with Fundamentalists; various sects, denominations, and churches within Christianity fight one another; even congregations within a church are antagonistic toward one another; various sects of Judaism conflict with one another.
And this divisive conflict is sad, because Yahushua ("Jesus"), who gave His life that the whole world might be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:6), prayed, just before He finished His mission here on Earth, that all “. . . who believe in Me . . . might be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us . . .” (John 17:21).
So, who are, really, the “chosen ones,” the “redeemed of the Lord,” the People of Yahuah ("God") whom He longs to be united in Him and He in them? If we will just get our egos and misconceptions out of the way long enough to look at Scripture comprehensively and objectively – getting the big picture of Yahuah’s wonderful plan to restore His entire Creation in Heaven and on Earth to Himself (cf. Colossians 1:16-20), as well as the details of that plan – we will see with crystal clarity who His People are. And you are invited to do exactly that with me right now.
In the Beginning
To find out who Yahuah’s People are, we have to start at the beginning, understanding the Lord’s original plan for His Creation. In the beginning Yahuah created the universe and all that is in it (Genesis 1:1-25). Then, His crowning achievement was the creation of human beings – Adam and Eve – who were perfectly united with one another and with Yahuah (cf. Genesis 1:27; 2:24). So, Adam and Eve were the first People of Yahuah. And it was Yahuah’s will that they eat of the Tree of Life (Genesis 2:9, 16) and live in perfect harmony with Him, one another, and His Creation forever. And Yahuah wanted Adam and Eve to be categorically different from all other created beings or animals in Heaven or on Earth. So, He created them in His own image (Genesis 1:27). And since the essence of Yahuah is love (1 John 4:16), He created human beings, unlike any other creatures in Heaven or on Earth, with His capacity for pure, unselfish love. And it is the love of Yahuah that unites us with Him and with one another (1 John 4:16).
But, in order to love unselfishly, we need to be able to choose not to love, don’t we? For how can we say that someone loves us if they have no choice but to love us? So, among all the beings Yahuah created, human beings are the only ones He created with free will – the capacity to choose between right and wrong, good and evil, to love or not to love Yahuah and one another. Some may argue that Lucifer, the brightest angel, chose to rebel against Yahuah. But, as we will see, Lucifer really had no choice – he was created by Yahuah to rebel against his Creator. So fasten your seatbelts; some of this may really stretch your understanding of the one, true God, whose name is Yahuah. But if you will hang on and go along for the ride, you will see that a true, Scriptural understanding of Yahuah’s plan for the restoration of His whole Creation is nothing less than astonishing in its wisdom and magnificence.
So, the Lord gave Adam and Eve a choice. He planted the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden and told Adam and Eve not to eat of that tree – that the day they ate of that tree they would die (Genesis 2:17). It has never been Yahuah’s will, although He created it, for His People to have an intimate knowledge of evil. Yes, you are reading correctly: In the same way that Yahuah created Lucifer to rebel against Him and become Satan, and in the same way that He created the deadly Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, He created what was in the fruit of that tree - evil itself (Isaiah 45:7 KJV). Yes, this is a little too much for our puny human minds to comprehend, but remember what the apostle Paul told those who questioned Yahuah’s choosing to favor some and “hate” others:
What if [Yahuah], wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? (Romans 9:22)
In other words, who are we to question Yahuah, whose ways are infinitely above ours? What if, like Paul pointed out, Yahuah created evil and the evil one and put them into the world, later to be destroyed, but meanwhile to give humans the choice between good and evil, so that we could, in His image, manifest our Creator’s goodness and love. In the end, it will all make sense, and we will have a perfect understanding of Yahuah’s ways.
But meanwhile, please notice what happened. Adam and Eve made the wrong choice; they chose to believe the Serpent’s (Satan in disguise) lie that they would not die if they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3:4). And, as Yahuah had warned, that day they died and were banished from His presence. No, they did not die physically – they had children and lived many more years, but they died (were separated from Yahuah) spiritually. In other words, they were no longer one with Yehovah and with one another in His Spirit of pure, unselfish goodness and love. And, at that point in time, they ceased being His People; they became children of the devil, controlled by the spirit of evil.
So, what makes someone a person of Yahuah?
Let’s take a close look at what happened to Adam and Eve. When we understand why they fell out of favor with Yahuah and ceased being His People, we will understand who, down through history, have been the People of Yahuah.
Adam and Eve forfeited their relationship with Yahuah because they were disobedient. He told them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and they ate of it. It’s that simple, right? Wrong. Their disobedience was just a symptom of a deeper, spiritual deficit – lack of faith. They believed the serpent rather than believing Yahuah. And so they gave in to their impulses and the lies of the devil, and joined him in His rebellion against Yahuah. A loving relationship with anyone – a spouse, a friend . . . or with Yahuah – is based on trust, isn’t it? If we don’t trust (have faith in) that person, or Yahuah, we have no real relationship with him or her, do we? So, when we look at the people of Yahuah down through history, we see that the key qualification for being one of Yahuah’s People is faith in Him.
The People of Yahuah in the Bible
Here is a chronological list of some of the other People of Yahuah named in the Bible together with Scriptures that tell why they were Yahuah’s people:
Abel – Genesis 4:1-4; Hebrews 11:4
Enoch – Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5
Noah – Genesis 6-9; Hebrews 11:7
Abraham – Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; Hebrews 11:8, 17-19
Sarah – Genesis 21:1-3; Hebrews 11:11
Isaac – Genesis 27:26-40; Hebrews 11:20
Jacob – Genesis 48:1-20; Hebrews 11:21
Joseph – Genesis 50:22-26; Hebrews 11:22
Moses – Exodus 2:11-15; 10:28; 12:21; Hebrews 11:23-28
The Children of Israel – Exodus 14:22-29; Joshua 6:12-20;
Rahab – Joshua 2:1; 6:25; Hebrews 11:31
Deborah – Judges 4:4-16
Ruth – Ruth 1:16
David – 1 Samuel 17:45-47
Elijah – 1 Kings 18:24-38
Esther – Esther 4:16-5:2
Mary – Luke 1:31-38
The Apostles – The book of Acts
Cornelius – Acts 10
Now, what is the one thing that all these People of Yahuah had in common? Was it because they were men? No . . . many of the great People of Yahuah throughout history have been women. Deborah was a judge and prophet of Israel. Was it because they were all Jews? No . . . about half of the people listed above – Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Rahab, Ruth, and Cornelius were not Jews (descendants of Jacob). Ruth, a Moabite woman, was an ancestor of Yahushua. Was it because they were “Christians”? No . . . only the apostles (after Yahushua’s resurrection) and Cornelius were what were called (by the Gentiles) “Christians.” Was it because they were good, righteous people? No . . . they were all sinful humans, just like you and me. Abraham and all the Patriarchs were adulterers and polygamists. Abraham, out of fear of what Pharaoh would do to him if he knew Sarah was his wife, lied to Pharaoh, telling him Sarah was his sister. The Children of Israel were constantly whining and complaining about their circumstances, rebelling against Yahuah, and worshiping other gods. David, the “apple of Yahuah’s eye,” was an adulterer and murderer. Rahab was a Gentile prostitute. So, it is not our own goodness and righteousness that makes us people of Yahuah, is it?
Obviously, the one factor that makes a person one of Yahuah’s People is faith, isn’t it? . . . a faith that keeps us coming back to Yahuah although we frequently fail Him, trusting Him to work everything out in the end. All the above references in the book of Hebrews state, “By faith” Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, they (the children of Israel), and Rahab did this and that great thing. Abraham is the prototype of Yahuah’s People. And it was in faith that this great man of Yahuah, who was very comfortable and prosperous in Mesopotamia, the place where he was born and raised, gathered up his possessions and left, not even knowing where he was going, simply because the Lord told him that if he would do so, He would make Abraham’s descendants a great nation (Genesis 12:1, 2). And it was in faith that Abraham was willing to obediently offer his son as a sacrifice to Yahuah (Genesis 22:9-10). And it was simply because of his faith, not because of his obedience or lack of sin, that Yahuah considered Abraham righteous (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3).
Yes, the People of Yahuah are obedient, but that is only through their faith. Often, when they are not acting out of faith, they are disobedient. But if they are truly the People of Yahuah, they will keep repenting of their sins, turning back to Him in faith for forgiveness, and trusting Him to save them in the end. And it is not just going through the motions of obedience that makes one a child of Yahuah. Cain obeyed Yahuah in offering a sacrifice, but it was not done in faith, so it was rejected (Hebrews 11:4). King Saul offered sacrifices to Yahuah, but not in faith, so his sacrifices were rejected and so was Saul (1 Samuel 13:9-13). The Bible states, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). We can attend every church service and function, sing praises to Yahuah with our hands raised, give away all of our possessions, and do great things in the name of Yahushua, pray fervently, and still not be His People. Only those who do His will in faith are Yahuah's People (cf. Matthew 7:21).
The People of Yahuah Today
So, who are Yahuah’s People in the world today? They are the same as His People throughout history – those who have trusted Him with their lives and follow Him wherever He leads. And, because there are thousands of “gods” being worshiped in the world, the one, true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Children of Israel, has made Who He is very clear and specific by manifesting Himself as a human being – Yahushua the Messiah. To believe in Yahushua, the only person in history who could legitimately claim to be both Yahuah and human, is to believe in Yahuah (cf. John 14:9-15).
The People of Yahuah have always interacted with and looked forward to the Messiah coming to take back dominion of the world from Satan. Yahuah the Son has been personally involved with His People throughout history. For example, Abraham met and gave a tenth of the spoils of war (an act of worship) to the Messiah in the person of Melchisedec, the mysterious king of Salem, who had no mother nor father, no descendants, no beginning nor end, and who was also called the "King of Righteousness" and the "King of Peace" (Hebrews 7:1-4). And Genesis 18:1 states that, on another occasion, the Lord appeared to Abraham in the form of three men. Then, hundreds of years later, Yahushua confirmed that He had been present with Abraham, and that Abraham had rejoiced to (in faith) see the coming of His day (John 8:56). Yahuah's ancient People, the descendants of Israel, have always looked forward to the coming of the Messiah to rule from the throne of David (e.g., Isaiah 9:6, 7). And He has interacted personally with Hebrews throughout their history. Examples include appearing to Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15) and to Zechariah (Zechariah 1:8; 2:5). Most of the Jews have just not yet realized that the Messiah is Yahushua.
Then, the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Believers in Rome, explained very clearly who the people of Yahuah are: They are all those who are the spiritual descendants of Abraham through faith in the coming Messiah – Jews or Gentiles (cf. Romans 4). As was pointed out in the commentary on Revelation 19, the term translated “nation” (Hebrew: goy, plural goyim) in the Bible can refer to any of three groups - the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), the spiritual descendants of Abraham (those who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah), or the unsaved Gentile nations, depending on the context. Generally, the singular (goy) refers to the physical nation of Israel while the plural (goyim) refers to either the spiritual descendants of Abraham (including the tribes/nations who will inhabit the millennial kingdom) or to the unsaved Gentile nations of the world. For example, Genesis 12:2 refers to the physical descendants of Abraham as a “great nation" (goy), identified as the "holy nation" Israel in Exodus 19:6. In Genesis 18:18, goy and goyim refer to the Hebrew and Gentile nations, respectively - goy refers to Israel and goyim refers to “all the [Gentile] nations of the earth.” Then, the Lord promised Ephraim (the Birthright son of Israel, whose name is used interchangeably with Israel) that his descendants would be a “multitude [Hebrew: melow - fullness, that which fills] of nations [goyim]” (Genesis 48:19) - Hebrew nations who will populate the Kingdom of Yahuah during the Millennium. (The descendants of the Northern Kingdom of Israel will be reunited with the tribes of the Southern Kingdom when they return to the Promised Land at the End of the Age (cf. Ezekiel 37:21-22). Then, together, they will again form the united nation of Israel, the twelve tribes of which (along with the Gentiles whose lives are spared at the end of the Final Seven Years - cf. Zechariah 14:16) will become the nations of the millennial kingdom of the Messiah). In Romans 11:25, exactly the same phrase is used: “fullness [Greek: pleroma—fullness, that which fills] of the Gentiles [Greek: ethnos—nations]," but in this context referring to the spiritual descendants of Abraham - Gentiles who have come to faith in Yahushua as their Messiah - who have been grafted into the Commonwealth of Israel (Romans 11:24; Ephesians 2:12).
Unfortunately, virtually all Gentile translations of the Bible and commentaries fail to recognize that goy(im) refers to both Hebrew and Gentile nations. This has resulted in much confusion as to how Yahuah is going to deal with Israel vis-à-vis the Gentile nations at the End of the Age, even to the extent of the formation of the false doctrine that Gentile “Christian” (non-Hebrew) nations or churches have replaced Israel as Yahuah’s chosen People and will be the ones who inhabit the Kingdom of Yahuah on Earth during the Millennium. As an example of a passage that has been misinterpreted, Isaiah 11:10 in the NKJV states,
And in that day [the Day of the Lord] there shall be a Root of Jesse [the Messiah], Who shall stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles [goyim] [which has been falsely interpreted to mean only non-Hebrews] shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.
But please notice that the context of Isaiah 11:10 is a prophecy that the Messiah will return to "set up a banner for the nations [goyim], and will assemble the outcasts of Israel [Gentiles were never cast out, because they were never Israelites in the first place], and gather together the dispersed of Judah [a tribe of Israel] from the four corners of the earth [Gentiles were never scattered to the four corners of the earth]." (verses 11 and 12). Clearly, in these verses (10-12), the banner is being set up not only for the Yahuah-fearing Gentiles on whom the Lord will have mercy and allow to enter the millennial kingdom of the Messiah, but for the physical descendants of Israel who will come out of the Gentile nations, because, at this point in time (at the end of the Final Seven Years), the faithful Remnant of both the descendants of Ephraim/Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and those of the House of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) who have not yet recognized that Yahushua is the Messiah will be eagerly looking for the Messiah’s return, but the time for the unsaved Gentiles to come to the Lord will have ended - those who are not saved by then will not be seeking Him.
So, Paul points out to the Believers in Yahushua that have been grafted into the cultivated olive tree (the Commonwealth of Israel), that they should not look down their noses at the Jews just because they rejected the Messiah the first time He came. It was all part of Yahuah’s plan to make faith in the Messiah Yahushua available to everyone. Paul explains it very graphically, stating that the Jews (those of physical Israel who look forward in faith to the coming Messiah), who came back to the land of Israel after their captivity in Babylon, are branches of the cultivated olive tree. (The olive tree is a symbol of Israel - Jeremiah 11:16.), and the redeemed Gentiles (not the natural, physical descendants of Israel) are branches of the wild olive tree (“elect according to the foreknowledge of Yahuah the Father” - 1 Peter 1:2) grafted, "contrary to nature" (Romans 11:24), into the cultivated olive tree. And the wild branches have been grafted in only because the cultivated branches have been (temporarily) cut off (blinded to who their Messiah is). Therefore, the wild branches grafted in should not boast against the cultivated branches that have been cut off, because if Yahuah did not spare the cultivated branches who did not believe in Yahushua at His first coming (but who will be grafted back in when they do believe), He will certainly not spare the wild, grafted-in branches if they do not continue (through faith) in the goodness of Yahuah. (Romans 11:17-24)
So, the only difference, at the present time, between the Renewed Covenant Saints (those who have already believed in the Messiah Yahuhua) and the Saints still living under the old covenant with Israel is that the Renewed Covenant Saints have (or should have) the Torah written on our hearts (Hebrews 10:16) and the fullness of the indwelling Holy Spirit enabling us to live by the Torah, not that we are any more the chosen People of Yahuah than are the Jews who believe in the coming Messiah. The doctrine that the cultivated olive tree, composed of those of the twelve tribes of Israel who still believe in Yahuah and look forward in faith to the coming Messiah, although they have not yet recognized that He is Yahushua, are not just as much the People of Yahuah as those who have already accepted Yahushua as their Savior and Messiah, is called Replacement Theology, and is totally unsubstantiated by Scripture.
Therefore, there is no Scriptural reason for anti-Semitism, is there? All believers in the coming Messiah, whether or not they have yet recognized that He is Yahushua, are Yahuah’s People.14 And the efforts of the Christian Church, rather than condemning the Jewish people if they don’t convert to Christianity, should be directed toward ministering the Truth in love to them, so that when Yahushua does return on the last Yom Teruah at the end of this age, they will recognize Him and be saved.
I realize that this is quite a convoluted explanation, but it is not easy to explain who the People of Yahuah are to those who think of themselves as separate from or superior to others who believe in the coming Messiah. In fact, the vast majority of those who claim to be Christians, because of their compromises with the world, their rejection of the "law" (Torah) of the Lord, and their rejection, whether or not they admit it, of Yahuah's People the Jews, are not truly the People of Yahuah – they are members of the apostate church who will follow Antimessiah to destruction (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
Please proceed to Appendix 5 – The Subtle Demise of True Christianity – to find out who among those who call themselves “Christians” are the True People of Yahuah.
14For the apostle Paul’s clear description of how both the Jewish and grafted-in Gentile believers in the Messiah are Yahuah’s People, please read Ephesians Chapter 2.
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