God’s Unchangeable Purpose with Israel, part 1
The Bible was written by Israelites, and to, for and about Israel
Let me begin by offering a little summary of the views of many Christians today as it pertains to the Bible and the people of the Bible. It is a fact, that in the minds of most Christians today, the Old Testament is a Jewish book because—as most Christians understand it—God was dealing with “the Jews” back then, and He gave all the books of the Old Testament to them.
Continuing the narrative that exists in the minds of most Christians, when Christ came, the Jews rejected Him and therefore God had to turn to some other people—some non-Israelites, whom— as Christians understand it—are referred to by the word “gentiles” in the New Testament. And thus God’s Plan for the Jews came to an abrupt halt, and He had to turn to some other people (the so-called “gentiles”) who might possibly believe in Him. And fortunately for God, they did.
Most Christians further believe that most of the apostles, and most prominently, the apostle Paul, went exclusively to those non-Israelite gentiles, and when many of them did accepted Christ Jesus as the savior, well, that is how Christianity and the church came about.
Thus it is that 2,000 years later, most Christians think that even though the Old Testament was a book given to the Jews, that since they rejected the Messiah, and we gentiles didn’t, that therefore, we as believers in Jesus, the Jewish messiah, now have the right to claim the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, as part of our Christian Scriptures.
Most of you who sit under our teaching understand the serious defects in that line of thinking. Those erroneous ideas come about for several reasons:
- Because of the general failure of ministers to preach and teach more than a smattering from the Old Testament. Thus,
- Christians in general do not read the Old Testament nearly as much as they read the New Testament. And that’s being generous in assuming that they read either Testament very much at all.
- When they do read it, they have a false template superimposed over their reading of it, so that they totally misidentify who’s who back then and who’s who today. And
- That misidentification is not of some minor players in the Bible. They misidentify the most central, pivotal, key players in God’s great drama of the ages. Christians today, in general, are confused at best; and totally in error at worst when it comes to understanding that the words “Jew” and “Israel” are not synonymous.
- Likewise, they misunderstand the word “gentile.” By the way, we have published here a tract written decades ago by Pastor Curtis Clair Ewing called A Study into the meaning of the Word “Gentile” as Used in the Bible. It is the best explanation I have ever read on that crucial word, “gentile.”
- Furthermore, and expanding on #4 above, they fail to distinguish between the House of Israel and the House of Judah. They are ignorant of the fact that the prophecies concerning each House were very different from the other. In my current (2019) series of Bible lectures on The Kingdom of God, I spent four hours of detailed teaching on this critical distinction. Click here for a description of these lectures (#10-13). Years ago, I also re-published on this site a booklet by the late evangelist, F. F. Bosworth. Click here for the booklet: The Bible Distinction Between “The House of Israel” and “The House of Judah”. And finally,…
- Most Christians have no knowledge whatsoever of the Assyrian Captivity of Israel, which is a very critical event in Bible history, and if you don’t understand what happened there, you cannot possibly understand the New Testament correctly.
I could go on and on, but those are the primary reasons why Christians think that the Old Testament was a “Jewish” book, and that now it is ours because we “gentiles” believe in the Jewish messiah, and we have a right to what they rejected. Based on my decades of observation and familiarity with many denominations and branches of Christianity, I believe that is a reasonably accurate summary of their understanding in this area.
Now, in contrast, in the early years of this ministry, I used to frequently state that the Bible is our book. And by “our” I did not mean that we were some supposed gentile, non-Israelite Christian people who just happened to choose to believe in the messiah of today’s Jewish people.
When I said the Bible is our book, by our I meant the Anglo-Saxon, Keltic, Germanic, Scandinavian and many other related peoples, sometimes collectively referred to as the Caucasian people. Because we know that those people—that we—are literally and physically the descendants of the Israelites in the Old Testament.
I used to add to that statement that the Bible was given to Israel and to no one else. That it was written by Israelites. It was written to Israelites. It was written about Israel and it was written for Israel’s benefit.
Unfortunately, I sometimes made those statements with an attitude. An attitude which was not appropriate. To be specific and make full confession—even though I know that the enemies of the gospel monitor my material—I openly confess that many of my earlier messages were given with an attitude of anger and cynicism in my voice.
Over the years I have come to realize that the anger and cynicism was the result of my reaction to realizing that I had been deceived—even as most Christians are still deceived—as to who we are. But then I came to further realize that it was all part of God’s Plan and He was the one who had caused my deception. He is the one who blinded the eyes of almost all of us true Israelites.
Moreover, I realized that God did that for a very good purpose. With that gracious and greater understanding comes not merely acceptance and an end of the anger, but one is able to fully embrace what is—knowing that God is working the greatest good out of it all.
So, I still regret that former attitude which spilled out into my delivery of the good news back then. And because that delivery was thus tainted, it is one of the reasons why I am going to provide this truth again, only this time, hopefully, it will be presented in a more gracious and loving way.
After all, the Scriptures do admonish us to speak the truth in love, do they not? I confess that I have had trouble doing that in the past, and I am not saying I am doing it perfectly every time even now, but I am working on it. I am God’s work-in-progress just like you are, isn’t that right?
And so, while those statements that the Bible is our book, that it was written by Israelites, and to, for and about Israel are all essentially true statements, they do require some qualification and explanation. Let’s take them in order.
Was the Bible written by Israelites? Well, as we mentally tick off the names of the books of the Bible in our minds, we find that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, the first five books. Then there is Joshua and Judges and the books of the kingdom; namely, 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. There are really no questions as to authorship of any of them.
The first real questionable book, as to authorship, is Job. Scholars really have no firm conclusion concerning who wrote the book of Job. Some have suggested that Moses wrote it since the land of Uz was adjacent to the land of Midian where Moses spent 40 years before returning to Egypt. But they admit that Moses’ authorship of the book of Job is pure speculation.
Who was Job, by the way? Well, again we cannot be certain, but outside of the book of Job itself, the Bible does refer to a man named Job only once and that is in
Genesis 46:13 And the sons of Issachar; Tola, and Phuvah, and Job, and Shimron.
So, if that is the same Job, he was obviously an Israelite, and therefore it is highly likely that his story was transcribed by a kinsman; that is, by another Israelite.
The only other Old Testament book whose authorship is wholly unknown is the book of Esther. There is nothing in the text itself to indicate who its author was, nor is there much help in the rabbinic tradition. However, it is obvious from the story that the author was very familiar with the customs and traditions, and with the nationalistic yearnings of the captive Judahites.
Thus, while it is possible that some non-Israelite picked up the story somewhere and wrote it down, and that somehow the story got included into the Hebrew scriptures; the more likely possibility is that it was written by Ezra or some other Israelite.
The Scriptures were not only penned by Israelites, they were given into their hands for safekeeping. Specifically, the Levitical priests were assigned that task (Deuteronomy 31:9). Paul confirmed it when he spoke of the advantage that the Jews had over the Gentiles.
Romans 3:1 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God
That word “oracles” means the utterances or the words of God. And of course, we refer to the entire Bible as the Word of God, don’t we? By Jews, Paul was referring to the remnant of the House of Judah who had returned from the Babylonian captivity and whose priests (from the tribe of Levi, of the House of Judah) still preserved the scrolls of the Scriptures.
I don’t want to get bogged down regarding the human authorship of the Bible right now because the clear facts are that if not all, then almost all the Bible was written by Israelites. Furthermore, by the time we are through with this study, it will be a moot point anyhow. So why go through it, then? Because unless you already understand the birthright message, most Christians will not understand why it is a moot point, until we do go through it. Much more to come.
(To be continued.)