The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1 KJV
There was a time when the nations did not know the Creator of the Universe, and Satan had covered the territories of man with his demonic influence and manifestations. And so, the nations worshiped these demonic entities in fear, appeasing them with human sacrifice and hideous shameful acts.
God, however, had a plan to deliver man from the hands of Satan. It was elaborate and it was done within the definition of due diligence. He started with just one man and his offspring. God made and confirmed His Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
He promised them that they and their seed would bring light (revelation of their God) to all the other nations of the Earth. People would one day not fear the devil or his ruling minions but would indeed know God. But first things first…
God chose Abraham:
Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
The promise of Abraham was confirmed by a “witness,” that being his son, Isaac. Isaac’s biological line would be the physical line of Jesus—the Messiah.
God confirms His Covenant with Abraham through his son, Isaac:
Genesis 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I swear unto Abraham thy father; And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
The promise continues as God re-iterates His promise to Abraham’s grandson.
A Triple Braided Chord:
Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, was the second witness to the initial promise given to Abraham. This promise was even more personal than just nations. It included all the families of the earth. Entire households would be blessed in Messiah.
We see God affirm and reaffirm to three generations that the nations will be blessed by their biological seed.
Looking forward for a moment and tracing the biological bloodline of Messiah, who is also known as the Lion from the tribe of Judah and the bloodline of His mother Mary which records her genealogy to be from King David, we can without a doubt determine that Yeshua was Jewish. Jew is a shortened form of the name Judah. Judah was a son of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham.
From Jacob to his children, Israel:
Jacob, now renamed Israel had twelve sons. Due to a drought in the land and a series of events, the twelve sons of Israel and all their families relocated to Egypt. They grew in number and were eventually forced into slavery. They forgot about their covenant with the God of their fathers and began to worship Egyptian gods…until God called them out and re-established His covenant with them on Mt. Sinai.
Isaiah 49:3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Notice again, God promises that the nations (Gentiles) will one day be blessed, taken out of darkness, from the pagan gods into the “light” of Israel’s God (just as God did for the Israelites from pagan Egypt). God was raising up Jacob’s children to be the means to bring salvation to all the earth just as He promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Israel Says Yes to God
The Tribes of Israel, redeemed from slavery in Egypt said these words to Moses after they experienced the voice and manifestation of God at the base of Mount Sinai.
Deuteronomy 5:27 Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.
When this new tiny nation (as one voice) declared their trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God now had “a people” called after His Name and this people (just like the other nations) had a God. He was Israel’s God. No other nation to this point declared this awesome God of the universe as their national God. A covenant was re-established and this time with a nation! The God of their fathers, that is the God of all Creation, became the proclaimed GOD of the newly formed Nation called Israel. These people, all the descendants of Jacob’s twelve sons, (only one of which was Judah) agreed to abandon their Egyptian pagan ways and walk in the ways God taught them from the instructions imparted on the Mountain of Sinai.
A covenant is a contract. God is perfect. He never lies or goes back on His Word. When God enters into a covenant, He will always hold up to His side of the contract. Even if man fails and falls away from his side of the covenant God stays close by waiting for that person to re-engage.
What were the terms of Israel’s covenant?
Jeremiah 30:22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
God was Israel’s King—the Ruler of Israel—thus He established His Kingdom Laws (or ways) for His people to walk in and, therefore, be identified in Him. Obedience to God’s ways was essential. Obeying His ways identified His people as His own. They were to show forth His character. Don’t steal. Don’t kill. Don’t lie, don’t commit adultery… etc… When His people were obedient, God provided security, protection, provision, favor, health and long life (Deuteronomy 28:1-13). But if Israel was disobedient (sinning against Him), then there were curses pertaining to the same covenant (Deuteronomy 28: 15-68) unless they repented. God didn’t put curses upon them but it was His Holy Word that they confessed and adopted as their “ways” that condemned them.
Eventually, all the tribes fell into disobedience, fought among themselves and separated into two individual kingdoms. The ten tribes to the north were called Israel, the others in the south were called Judah. All the tribes (including Judah) were tempted with idolatry from the nations, but the tribes to the north were desperate to be like the Gentiles, so God gave them over to their desires and they were eventually exiled and assimilated into all the nations.
The southern kingdom of Judah (which included Judah, Benjamin and Levi), God did not banish. The reason is a legal one for it was written in His Word that He would always keep one tribe before Him (1 Kings 11:31-39). Even though they did not deserve it, the Kingdom of Judah would be spared of exile though they would pay dearly for their sins as a nation.
God spoke of one day renewing the sacred covenant that He made with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the tribes of Israel (including the lost ones) and would make this “covenant to come” even better;
Joel 31:31-34 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I had married myself to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD. “I will put my instruction amongst them / within them 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.”
So, how is this covenant better? It’s better because instead of obeying God’s ways in one’s own power, God will place His Word on the hearts of those who repent and declare He is their God and choose to trust Him. The Word integrates into the very fabric of that person’s character and begins to supernaturally guide them in all their ways. This change of behavior is called grace. Grace is not a license to sin or deviate from God’s Laws but rather grace is God writing His Laws on the hearts of believers where their conscience affirms or convicts their actions. One automatically desires to do the things that Torah requires.
The believer actually becomes a Living Torah as it says in Romans;
Romans 2:14 For whenever Gentiles, who have no Torah, do naturally what the Torah requires, then these, even though they don’t have Torah, for themselves are Torah! For their lives show that the conduct the Torah dictates is written in their hearts. Their consciences also bear witness to this, for their conflicting thoughts sometimes accuse them and sometimes defend them.
And once again the book of Hebrews reminds us of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:33-34:
Hebrews 10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
All the other nations of the earth worshiped heathen gods. These gods are known as powers and principalities and have been given dominion over the nations as the inhabitants appeased them and strengthened them through sacrifice. These nations worshiped Baal, Molech, Ashtoreth and the like—even sacrificing their children to appease them.
It’s common to think the tribes to the north were Jews but one must realize those tribes consisting of the half tribe of Ephraim, and half tribe of Menessah (which were Joseph’s two sons), Rueben, Asher, Issacar, Dan, Gad, Naphtali, Zebulin and even Simeon (who dwelt in the southern region) where all brothers of Judah. These tribes, also called by the collective name of Israel and Ephraim, were scattered and are not distinguishable as tribes of Israel today. Just as they did in Egypt, Israel took on the gods of the nations but unlike their ancestors that were in Egypt, this time they lost their identity through assimilation.
Yeshua explains to his disciples:
John 10 15-16 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd… (NKJV)
Yeshua was referring to “lost Israel” in the nations. Because God had a biological covenant with these exiled descendants of Abraham, the good news that Yeshua had laid down His life for them had a legal right to be announced across the nations. In this way, because of the assimilation into every tribe, tongue and nation then it must be that every ear (even the Gentiles) has opportunity to hear the Gospel and thereby all the earth can be saved from the darkness of the powers that ruled the nations. For this purpose was the Son of God manifest – to destroy these powers.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Only Israel’s God was and is the One true God. How could the nations find the Truth of the One True God and be set free from the oppression of the demonic heathen gods that ruled over them?
The prophet, Joel declared that: “I will put my instruction amongst them.” And that instruction came by way of a Man born unto a virgin.
Yeshua is the Living Word of God, born from the tribe of Judah (the tribe that was kept for the sake of King David) who is the promise of the New and better covenant. When He walked among the Judeans, He instructed them on the ways of God. He preached to the Jews first and as a result, multitudes of Jews believed upon Him. Yeshua then told the Jewish believers to go out to the nations and be the light to the Gentiles:
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
In obedience to this command of Yeshua, the believing Jews went into the Gentile lands converting those who had an ear to receive Israel’s God and His Messiah, Yeshua. As a result, many Jews were martyred by the authority of the Roman government. But as the light permeated the darkness, many Gentiles renounced their heathen gods and by faith believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Romans from the city of Corinth, while he was on his third missionary journey and planning his return to Jerusalem. He specifically addresses the debt owed to the people who introduced the Way, the Truth and the Light to the pagans.
Romans 5:25-27 (CEB) But now I’m going to Jerusalem, to serve God’s people. Macedonia and Achaia have been happy to make a contribution for the poor among God’s people in Jerusalem. They were happy to do this, and they are actually in debt to God’s people in Jerusalem. If the Gentiles got a share of the Jewish people’s spiritual resources, they ought to minister to them with material resources.
What a debt we owe to those brave Jewish souls who dared to follow the Messiah and bring light into so many dark nations—and hearts! Theirs was a life-changing and faith-changing choice that changed the world.
I am so thankful for the sacrifices of our forefathers of the faith. May we be ever mindful of their obedience—even to the death—and be ready ourselves to stay the course. May we stay just as strong and never deny our faith as we ourselves introduce the Way, the Truth and the Light to those around us.