The Mystery of the Gospel
Updated: 6 days ago
It's that time of year again when Christians all over the world celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Many believe that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Yeshua) is the good news to the world. Our sins are now forgiven and all the Laws that burden us are now nailed to the cross. What if that was not it? What if there is more, much more, to the story that we have been taught? What if the message of the gospel had little to do with Christ's death and Resurrection?
During Yeshua's (Jesus Christ) brief ministry, he never spoke much about his death and Resurrection. Actually this was mostly revealed only to his disciples. To everyone else He spoke in parables about the Kingdom. Furthermore, He at one point sent 70 disciples to preach the gospel well before His death or even a mention of His death. On top of that He spoke of little more than the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, during His entire ministry He spoke little of anything else. Then if the Lord's death, burial and resurrection were not the message of the gospel, then what was?
Quite simply, the gospel is about the Kingdom of Heaven and about our expectations as heirs to that Kingdom. The gospel entails far more than just the birth, death and resurrection of our Saviour. It is about the promise of paradise and how to get there (the plan of salvation). This is also mentioned in the Scriptures as being a "mystery". The term “mystery” is connected to worship (Oxford Dictionary, 1989). The term may be used to describe the Eucharist and other rites of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as secrecy and secret knowledge. Therefore, the word “mystery” is another word for worship or secret rites. The mystery of God leads to life while the mystery of Babylon leads to death. This blog is about the mystery of the gospel as taught by Yeshua.
“...By revelation He made known to me the mystery...which in other ages (the past) was not made known to the sons of men (Israel), as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body (Israel), and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel of which I became a minister...” (Ephesians 3:3-7, NKJV, emphasis mine).
Paul spoke at length in his letters about Christ's death and resurrection and how this qualifies us to receive our inheritance. He explains at length why He had to die as opposed to why He needed to be resurrected. Briefly, the gospel is the whole plan of salvation and Jesus's death was a necessary evil to achieve that goal and Israel is the cornerstone of this plan. The Apostle Paul, therefore, was given the ministry of reconciliation. He was to assist God in reaching those from the House of Israel who had assimilated into the nations (Gentiles). His mission was to help to bring the Northern Kingdom back into unity with the Southern Kingdom. The gospel of which he spoke had to do mostly with this and not about Yeshua dying to “save the world”.
This is a topic that is rather difficult to explain because of the effectiveness of church programming that we have all experienced. We are so programmed to see some of the texts that will be cited here as meaning something completely different, because we have been told that the Law was done away with. Additionally, Paul did not make it any easier for us, as he spoke about different kinds of laws but makes no distinction between them except through context. Peter warns about how Paul's teachings can be easily taken out of context, “As also in all his (Paul's) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned (in the Torah) and unstable (not rightly dividing the Scriptures, that is, deceived) wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16, KJV, emphasis mine). In order to truly understand Paul's teaching, one must be well versed in the Torah (the Books of Exodus to Deuteronomy in the Bible). Whenever we are reading his writings, context is everything! Therefore, the relationship between Israel and the Gentiles needs to be established before attempting to understand the workings of the gospel and what the real message, or good news, was that was given to the apostles. (See our teaching on How to Study the Scriptures)
Debunking the Replacement Theology
“There is neither Jew nor Greek...slave nor free...male nor female; for all you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, NKJV). There is a school of thought pervading churches today that teach a replacement theology. That the Jews have been rejected and that the blessing was passed to the Gentiles (Christians). However, there is a problem with this teaching. It contradicts the Scriptures (Old and New Testaments).
Who are the Gentiles? There are mainly two ways in which the Scriptures use the word “gentile” or “nations”. The word “gentile” can mean “people” generally whether of Hebrew or non-Hebrew origin. The Jews used this word frequently to discriminate against non-Hebrews. However, the Hebrew word “goyim” (gentile) simply means “people” or “tribe”. While the word “Jew” simply refers to a Judean who lived or was born in the region of Judea and is of the tribe of Judah. Often a “goi” (the singular form of goyim) or “Gentile” is anyone who is not a Hebrew by birth or religion. However, if one converts to the Hebrew religion and/or lived in the region of Ancient Israel that person became a Hebrew and a citizen of Israel. Examples of Gentiles converting to the religion of the Israelites include Ruth, Moses’ Ethiopian wife and Rahab. The word “goyim” could also refer to Hebrews who now live in other countries who adopted another religion, and hold other beliefs and customs, for example, the Samaritans.
The Replacement Theology is a popular teaching among most Christian groups and teaches that the Church is here to replace disobedient Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Scriptures never said this, not even in the New Testament. The notion that there is such a thing as a “spiritual Israel” is nothing more than a fable. Even Paul, who is considered the apostle to the Gentiles, refuted this theology. In Romans 11:1-2 he says, “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” The Scriptures also clearly tell us who the latter day saints will be and who will be saved, Israel (Revelation 7).
“His people” have existed from the beginning of time, even before the establishment of the Nation of Israel (the patriarchs, such as Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). They are the holy people, or individuals, who follow His laws and precepts and excite reverence from us because of their apparent infallibility. They are disciplined and they love Him with all of their minds. Being a saint does not mean that you are free from sin, it is simply your attitude towards sin that matters. For example, King David is counted among the saints, as he loved God and was loved by Him. However, David committed murder, adultery, lied and stole. Yet it was his nature to quickly beg for forgiveness and correct his wrongs. This is what counts. This attitude and hatred of sin is what separates the holy from the unholy.
Colossians 1:12, 26 also make reference to the fact that we gentiles are now able to share in the inheritance of God’s people. His people are the Israelites, those who love Him and guard His Law. Outside of the Israelites, everyone else was pagan therefore only the Israelites could be identified as His people. Additionally, Revelation 15:3 mentions that the saints will be singing the song of Moses. It would be strange if Gentles, who obviously would not know this song and were generally rejecting their Hebrew roots, would be singing this song in the first place, much less for it to be mentioned as something important and to be celebrated.
Clearly, the saints are simply people who are faithful to the Most High. In other words, they are those who love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:21). It does not matter what the person’s race is, nationality, gender, or age (Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11). All that matters is your faithfulness. A person is not a saint if he or she does not love Him and does not keep His commandments; no matter his race, nationality, gender or age. “He who does not love me does not keep my words” (John 14:24, NAS, see also 1 Corinthians 16:22). Keeping the commandments is a sign of faithfulness and an act of love to the Most High. However, what commandments are we talking about here? Is it the 10 commandments that most churches teach us that we should keep? The commandments of God are the Law, the entire Law, and not just the ten found in Exodus 20, but all 613 commandments. Therefore, the saints of the Most High will be observers of the Hebrew religion. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:16, NKJV). There is only one way to God, only one road to the Kingdom, one faith, and one Law.
The Almighty’s focus is really on one kind of people, Israel, whether by birth or naturalisation through conversion. His entire ministry emphasised this, and the prophets have recorded throughout the Scriptures His ambivalence towards His prodigal son Israel. In the New Testament, through parables and stories, we see clues of this focus of saving Israel and the distinction that was made between Israel (His chosen) and the pagan nations. In the story found in Matthew 15:21-28, a Canaanite woman, who was demon possessed, asked for healing from Yeshua. He responded to her by saying, “I was not sent except (only) to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” and that, “It is not good to take the children’s (Israel) bread (blessings) and throw it to the little dogs (Gentiles)” (NKJV, emphasis mine). Yeshua explicitly stated that He was only sent here to save Israel. However, how can this be so if He were sent to save the world? Surely all that changed when Paul was sent to minister to the Gentiles? One must ask, who are the Gentiles that Paul was sent to; and moreover, who are the lost sheep of Israel that Yeshua mentioned?
The parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15:11 reveals the answer. In this parable, one son wanted to receive all of his inheritance so that he could leave the protection of his father’s house. This son went away and lived a life of sin, that is, he became a Gentile. However, at some point, reason returned to him and he decided to return to his father (he repented). When he returned home, his father welcomed him back and celebrated his return (this may represent the welcome party that will be at the end of this age). However, the faithful son (Judah) was not pleased and questioned him about this. His father responded by saying, “for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24, emphasis mine). Compare this text with Hosea 13:1, “When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died”. Judah is that faithful son and the lost sheep of Israel (Ephraim) is that prodigal son.
This brings us to the analogy of the olive tree. This is the key to understanding two things: the true way to the kingdom (as in who holds the recipe, which in this case would be the Torah) and why the Gentiles were given grace after Israel’s disobedience (it was for the sake of Israel).
The Hebrew word “Torah”, the Law of God, means instruction, as in “teaching”, or direction, as in “the way”. In the Scriptures, it is often translated simply as “the way” (Matthew 7:14, 21:32, Psalms 1:6, 18:30, 25:8, 37:34 are only a few examples). The true way is not by a Church or a religion - it is the Torah. The key to knowing who has knowledge about the way is explained in the parable of the cultivated and the wild olive tree found in Romans 11. Read this chapter several times in order to get a good picture of what the parable is teaching.
Briefly, Paul explains that although we Gentiles have been called to life, we should remember that our foundation is in Israel:
“And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand (replaced them) by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.” (Romans 11:17-21, emphasis mine).
Gentiles are not the natural heirs to the Kingdom; we are outsiders who have been given a privilege with the aim of provoking the natural heirs to jealousy. “For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?” (Romans 11:24, NKJV). However, it is because of their disobedience that enables us to share in their inheritance, not replace them. God’s covenant is with Israel and it is irrevocable. “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:26, NKJV, emphasis mine). It is this irrevocable nature of God Laws and blessings that allowed us to be partakers in the covenant. Mercy and grace exist because God created them for Israel and because they exist, like the air, water or fire, it can be used by anyone who is worthy to receive it. His gifts are there and available, waiting to be received by someone worthy.
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all” (Romans 11:29-32, NKJV, emphasis mine).
He called the nation of Israel to be His people so that through them the whole world will be blessed (saved), however, for this to happen He must cause them all to disobey Him. This is to provide a means for the Gentiles to receive Israel’s blessings and also for Israel to become jealous which would lead them to repent and be saved. Israel is the wild olive tree and the nations (gentiles) would later engraft into this tree (the now cultivated tree). Salvation will come through the House of Israel and is for Israel only. We gentiles will have to become a part (engrafted), into this Israelite tree in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. God never abandoned Israel, just as he never abandoned Adam and Eve when they sinned.
Now, the key to understanding Paul’s writings and the mechanics of the gospel is found in the Book if Hosea, which speaks of the marriage laws found in the Torah. Incidentally, Israel’s relationship to Yeshua is usually compared to a marriage or as in the case of the end time as an engagement between a bride and groom.
The Key to Paul’s Writings
The book of Hosea begins with a command to Hosea to take a prostitute for a wife. His relationship with this prostitute was to reflect God’s relationship with Israel, who was at that time playing the harlot. Hosea 1:2 says, “…And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredom and children of whoredom: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord” (KJV). The book of Hosea demonstrates the ambivalence that God has for his wayward people, Israel. He also portrays Israel as an unfaithful wife, whom He divorces and promises to later remarry. However, how could He make such a promise when it was against His own laws to do so? God cannot break His own laws for He is unchanging and his laws are everlasting (Matthew 5:18, 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 16:17, 21:33).
The marriage laws states that a man cannot divorce his wife and return to her after she is defiled (after committing adultery with another man). However, Israel was worse off as she committed adultery while God was still her husband. For this reason, He was forced to divorce her. She could no longer be called His wife – another marriage law found in Deuteronomy that will be discussed later. “My children plead with your mother – though she is no longer a wife to me, though I am no longer her husband” (Hosea 2:2, TEV). God went on to explain how Israel defiled herself in Hosea 5:3, “I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled” (KJV) and in Hosea 6:10-11, “I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled. Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people” (KJV). There is evidence after evidence as we continue reading Hosea.
God made a marriage covenant with Israel, “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called” (Isaiah 54:5, KJV). Ezekiel 16 illustrates God’s care and protection of Israel beautifully. Do spend some time reading this chapter slowly taking in the details. All that will be discussed here is summed up in this one chapter. God offered to Israel His love and protection and made an everlasting covenant with her (Ezekiel 16). Israel broke her covenant when she went after other gods. Because of her unfaithfulness, God was forced to divorce her to protect his name (reputation), however, He would not leave her without a husband forever (Hosea 2:14-15). One day He will remarry her, but how? Yeshua cannot overthrow the law as many believe (Matthew 3:17). Let us look at the marriage laws found in the Scriptures.
“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband” (Romans 7:2, KJV, emphasis mine).
The marriage covenant was meant to be eternal, however, due to sin, the law provided ways to handle unfaithfulness. The marriage laws can be summarised in this way. A Levite was not to marry a harlot or defiled woman (Leviticus 21:7). This law would apply to Yeshua since he was to become a High Priest. No man is to divorce his wife and then remarry her after she has taken another husband, because she is now defiled (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). A woman is not to lie with another man while she is under her husband’s authority (Numbers 5:13, 20-31). A wife found committing adultery must die (Deuteronomy 22:22). If a man lies with a virgin who is betroth to a husband they are both to be killed, however, if the woman cried out for help, then she will be saved (Deuteronomy 22:23). The marriage laws also accommodate the widow in case of her husband’s death, his brother is to become her protector or redeemer (Deuteronomy 25:5-7). This is one reason why Yeshua is our redeemer.
God seeing that Israel was unfaithful to Him, still wished that she would turn from her harlotry and return to him. It is important to note that the penalty for adultery is death, and when Israel became unfaithful, she died – spiritually. God pronounced judgement on her because of her sin (Hosea 4:5-6, 6:10-11, 8:12-13, 9:3, 17, 11:5, Jeremiah 6:11). The fact that God tried to call Israel back and when she did not turn from her sins He punished her demonstrates that He observes His own laws, “I will punish her for the times she forgot me, when she burned incense to Baal and put on jewellery to go chasing after lovers” (Hosea 2:13, TEV).
When God made the covenant with Abraham in Genesis 15:7-20, He alone walked through the animals. He did not allow Abraham to walk through them (Jubilees 14:17-18). The reason for this is that should Abraham’s descendants, Israel, break the covenant, which He knew they would, He would not be forced to put them to death. He would instead make the decision to die in their stead in order to renew the covenant. You see, it was customary to cut an animal in two when making a covenant and then both parties would walk between the pieces. This was to symbolise that should one of the parties break the covenant, that guilty party would be cut into two, just like the animal by the other party (Benner, 2004). This could also be the reason why Israel would be the one to kill her husband, the Messiah, after He broke covenant with her and divorced her. In other words, only God could break the covenant, just as only Adam could have broken the covenant and cause the whole earth to fall (see our teaching on man’s purpose: Why Did God Create Human Beings?).
God’s remedy for the sin problem, that is, Israel’s unfaithfulness, was His death. “ For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man” (Romans 7:2-3, NKJV), and “A wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes” (1 Corinthians 7:39, NKJV).
Although God divorced Israel, who was defiled and could not remarry her without committing sin, she would not be free to remarry Him unless He died. His death would have broken the marriage bond and she would be free to remarry whomever she chose. Therefore, God had to die in order for Israel to qualify, again, to be His bride. He had to become her messiah, her redeemer. As a custom, a redeemer is usually the closest male relative to the deceased husband and he would be obligated to marry his kin’s widow in order to ensure her care and protection, as well as to keep property within the family. This is the reason why Yeshua died as Israel’s ex-husband but was resurrected as her redeemer. It is interesting to note that while Israel was rejected as an adulterer and is in a defiled state she could not inherit the Kingdom. So, God had to die to break her from the obligation of the Law before He could make her eligible to inherit the kingdom once more. Therefore, Yeshua did not die to just save the world, He died to save everyone including Israel, because after Israel was disqualified from inheriting the promise of the kingdom (the message of the gospel) there was no one who could have inherited the Kingdom (as this was to come through Israel (Genesis 26:4). In other words, the world could not have been redeemed, or saved, if Israel could not have been redeemed. Our destiny as Gentiles is perpetually tied to the destiny of Israel. This is the law that Paul was trying to explain to the first century church (he called it the “law of sin and death”) and this was the law that was “nailed to the cross”, not the Torah, but the specific marriage law that bonded Israel to her husband and enslaved her in death.
Under the law, the children of Israel also died because of their mother’s (referring to Jerusalem, or the Kingdom of Israel) sin, and became lost. The Scriptures emphatically refer to this lost sheep of Israel often as Ephraim, God’s firstborn son who became lost (Hosea 13:1, Luke 15:24). Hosea 13:1 introduces what Paul calls the “law of sin and death”. Briefly, as we all know, the penalty of sin is death, however, as we live a life of sin we are also dead spiritually and have become subjected to the law of sin, which enslaves us. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, KJV).
Now that we have discussed the mechanics of the gospel let us now explore the identity of the heirs of its fulfilment (the marriage between the Saints and Yeshua and the inheritance of the Kingdom).
The One Hundred and Forty-four Thousand: The Final Remnant
There is a lot of speculation about who are the 144,000 that are mentioned in Revelation 7. Who are the 144,000 saints and will they be the only ones who will be saved?
Ephesians 2:12 states that salvation is of the Yahudim (Israel). Here Paul was speaking to the converts about their condition and the access they now have to salvation. He states, “You were foreigners and did not belong to God’s chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God’s promises to His people.” (emphasis mine). This confirms Deuteronomy 26:18-19, “Also, today the Lord has proclaimed you to be his special people, just as He has promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all the nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honour, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.” (NKJV). Israel is God’s chosen people. God is not a man that He should lie or change His mind (Numbers 23:19). He gave His commandments to only one kind of people and through this people salvation would come to all nations. Romans 16:25 speaks of a revelation of a mystery (the gospel) that was kept hidden since the beginning of the world. However, this mystery was now revealed to all nations, not just Israel. Does this mean that Israel was replaced? Not at all, instead it means that all nations will have the same message that Israel had and have the opportunity to be part of God’s chosen people, that is, become engrafted into the wild olive tree. There is no change of doctrine and no change in the identity of the saints. All will be observant of the same commands and will be following one way (one teaching), the only way to salvation. This explains why the 144,000 saints were chosen only from the tribes of Israel. All of these tribes are now lost to us, except for maybe the Judeans (the Sephardic Jews), but God knows where they are.
The true meaning of the gospel is that the saints will be of His chosen people, rulers, and therefore a part of the godhead. Psalms 82:6 declares, “You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” Luke 22:29 states, “Just as the Father has given me the right to rule, so I will give you the same right.” Also, look at Acts 1:6-7, “...Lord, will you at this time (the end time) give the kingdom back to Israel?’ Jesus said to them, ‘the times and occasions (moadim or appointed times) are set by my Father’s own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be.’” Notice in this text that Yeshua did not rebuke the disciples for asking the question about the kingdom being given back to Israel, instead He rebuked them for asking about the timing of that event. It was common knowledge that the Israelites would be rulers in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Let us look at the following texts in Hosea that speaks to the restoration of Israel:
“Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head (Yeshua), and they shall come up out of the land (Zion): for great shall be the day of Jezreel” (Hosea 1:10-11, KJV).
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her… And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God” (Hosea 2:14, 23, KJV).
“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days” (Hosea 3:5, KJV).
“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15, KJV). This text speaks about God’s hope for the return of his wayward people as the father of the prodigal son hoped for his son’s return. “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon… They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon” (Hosea 14:4-5, 7, KJV).
“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city” (Hosea 11:8-9, KJV).
“Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgement and wait on thy God continually” (Hosea 12:6, KJV).
God always intended for the nations of the world to come to know Him through the nation of Israel (Jubilees 24:11). He would not allow Israel to fail at this task. The disciples and the apostles were all Jews. It was through them that the message of salvation was brought to the Gentiles (the lost sheep). Then through this lost sheep all the nations of the world would come to know the truth and have the chance to be saved. Ephesians 3:6 declares, “The secret is that by means of the gospel the Gentiles have a part with the Jews in God’s blessings; they are members of the same body (engrafted into the olive tree) and share in the promise (are now part of the covenant) that God made through Christ Jesus.”
So, the 144,000 are of the tribes of Israel, whether by birth or conversion, they obeyed the commandments of the Torah and followed the only way available to salvation. In Hebrew the word “Torah” means “teaching” or “way”; in other words, it is a guide on how to live and how to be saved. The saints were engrafted into the olive tree, which represents the nation of Israel and their religion. Are these the only saints that will be saved? Surely not. I believe, and this is my speculation, that the number 144,000 will be the final number of saints that will be alive at the return of Yeshua. The others would have already died, whether by natural causes, illness, or martyrdom, and these 144,000 will be the only ones who will have the privilege of witnessing the final hour of earth’s history. This is hinted at in Revelation 6:9-11. The 144,000 were the only saints that were sealed, that is, protected from death, in the last days. However a few verses later, in Revelation 7:9, confirms that many more persons will be saved, as many as the sands of the sea.
It is important to end this teaching by explaining that this law is fairly simple for one whom is well versed in the Torah, however, for most of us, we would need further study to understand this law and how it applies to salvation. Only God’s faithful servants will be able to understand this teaching accurately, it is one of God’s mysteries that he spoke of in Ephesians. So, it is normal when first learning this topic you will have a lot of difficulty connecting this to what you already know, because it is hidden knowledge. “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables" (Mark 4:11, NKJV), and “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:13, NKJV). However, my goal is not to convince you that all you have learned is a lie, my aim is to invite you to question those beliefs and all that is written here logically and use this as a spring board for your personal study. The Holy Spirit will lead you from there. As Paul wrote, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion (deceived)” (Romans 11: 25, NKJV).
“May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them.” (Hosea 14:9, TEV).
For more on this study, please see our teaching Why Did God Create Human Beings? that goes in depth about the promise and fulfilment of the Gospel.
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