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We are One Israel - the Faith Once Delivered

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Most believers in Christ misunderstand and do not know the truth about who and what Israel is.   This is very sad and unfortunate, because knowing the Bible truth about Israel is at the very core of the Gospel of God.

 

The Bible says we, Jews and Gentiles, are now one in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, do Christians really know what it means to be one with Jews in Christ?   Please note that the real name of Jesus is Hebrew: Yeshua‘ – or Yahushua‘ / Yahusha‘; see the article: ‘The Name of God and Messiah’).

 

The term being “one” is thrown around by many Christians today. Some believe it means that any believer in Christ is regarded the same, while some acknowledge that we have a bond with the Jewish people and Israel.   These ideas have a bit of truth, but they barely scratch the surface and fall far, far short of what the truth is of being one in Christ.  

 

When the Bible says Jews and Gentiles are one in Jesus the Messiah, it is telling us that we are one Israel. Let us be very clear: the Bible does not say we are one with Israel. No, no, no. God tells us that we become part of Israel. We become Israel. He tells us we are Israel. Jews and Gentiles are Israel together.

 

The Christian is Israel – the Christian is really an Israelite.

 

Not knowing this truth and what it truly means has caused two major problems which have existed for centuries even to this day:

 

 

1) It is a question about identity.

 

If we do not know we are Israel, than do we really know who we are? If we do not know who we even are, we are completely lost and nothing else makes sense. To know our identity, and thereby knowing also who we are in relationship to our God and His son and Messiah, is the most fundamental of all truth. Everything in the Bible, the entire Gospel of God, is based on us being Israel – and knowing we are Israel. Gentiles who knowingly or unknowingly separated themselves from Israel, do not know themselves and what true faith is. How can we fully comprehend and enjoy the awesome truths of God and Christ and relate properly to them – and to each other, without this knowledge?

 

 

2) Hatred and false doctrine (which creates more hatred) arises.

 

The enemy, Satan, has blinded many to this truth by causing division between Jews and Gentiles. Hatred against God’s word and God’s people arose shortly after the Lord Jesus returned to heaven. It is a historical fact that the Roman Catholic Church created a virtually permanent rift between Jews and non-Jews by enacting laws and persecuting anyone “Judaizing”. The Roman Catholic Church essentially kept people away from God’s truth which dwells in the Jews, His people, and His holy word, the Bible. Instead, the Roman Catholic Church created its own doctrines and traditions that are not founded in the Bible and forced it upon the masses. The effects of all this has lasted to this very day.

 

 

This belief that we are not one Israel is itself a false doctrine. However, it spawns other false doctrines such as the “replacement theology” that is rampant in Christianity today, where Christians believe they are the new chosen people of God to receive His promises, and Israel/the Jews are no longer the chosen people. It has also manifested in the false doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture where Christians are taken away and spared the Great Tribulation while Jews must live through it.

 

In fact, the Roman Catholic Church just recently held a synod and expressed her thoughts this way: Christians are the new chosen people and the Jews are no longer the chosen people; therefore, they have no right to “occupy” Palestinian lands and must leave. All one has to do is look at the history of what Palestine and Palestinian really is, and you will find out the hypocrisy of such a statement – the origin of the term “Palestine” is Roman to spite God’s people, and the Jews were the Palestinians who lived on the land.

 

This is just an indicator of where we are heading and that the end-times are upon us. Not knowing that we are Israel leads the way to the anti-Semitism in all its forms and ranges that is surfacing again which will lead the way to the persecution of God’s people again: both Jews and Gentiles who are one Israel. It has happened before with the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church, and it will happen again. History repeats itself.

 

Knowing who we are: the Israel that is the apple of God’s eye, is all-important as it is, but the end-times which are upon us gives it much more urgency. Why? It is because knowing and not knowing you are Israel will play a large role in whether you stand for our God in Christ or fall for the lies of the Beast and False Prophet.

 

The Bible tells us in various ways that all true believers are one Israel. It is not a “cute” phrase without meaning. It is an overarching and overriding truth of the Gospel of God and holds the key to our identity, our relationship with God, and worshipping in spirit and truth. It is the Bible truth that shows us how we love God with all our being, gives us life and sets us free. It is a key component of the faith once for all delivered to the saints that we must contend for (Jude 1:3).

 

 

 

To Israelites belongs the adoption – they are the natural children

 

Many people know that the Bible says we are adopted as children into the family of God. The Bible tells us so:

 

Ephesians 1:

3     Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all

     spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4     According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,

     that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5     Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself,

     according to the good pleasure of his will,   (AKJV)

 

 

But how many people know and have considered that the Bible actually tells us the adoption goes to the Jews – the Israelites?   To the Israelites goes the promise of eternity:

 

Romans 9:

3     For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren,

     my kinsmen according to the flesh,

4     who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and

     the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,

5     whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all,

     God blessed forever. Amen.  (NASB)

 

 

Yes, the Bible truth is that the adoption belongs to the Israelites.   Why? It is just as the Lord Jesus said – salvation is of the Jews and we must know what this means to worship in spirit and truth. It is what our heavenly father seeks:

 

John 4:

22   You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

23   But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth;

      for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.

24   God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."   (NKJV)

 

 

 

The adoption as sons goes to the Israelites; to the Jew first and then to the Gentile as the apostle Peter tells the Jews:

 

Acts 3:

26   To you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you,

      in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.   (AKJV)

 

 

The apostle Peter is obedient to the Lord Jesus and starts with the Jews in Jerusalem before proclaiming to all nations:

 

Luke 24:

44   Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you,

     that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

45  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

46  and He said to them,  "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,

47  and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

    (NASB)

 

 

The evidence that the adoption belongs to Israel is seen many times when the Bible tells us that God considers Israel His child, and even a natural child:

 

Exodus 4

22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD: "Israel is My son, My firstborn.   (NKJV)

 

Jeremiah 31

9 They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters,

   In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.   (NKJV)

 

 

This fact is repeated by the Lord Jesus when He laments over Jerusalem and likens Himself as a hen that gathers her brood under her wings. The Lord Jesus yearns to gather and protect His child – Jerusalem, which means the same thing as Israel:

 

Luke 13:

34   "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!

      How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings,

      but you were not willing!   (NKJV)

 

 

This truth that Israel is the natural child to whom the adoption as children in eternity belongs, is stated again by the apostle Paul who says they are the natural branches, while Gentiles are the wild branches that are grafted in:

 

Romans 11:

15   For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

16   If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

17   But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and

     became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree,

18   do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root,

     but the root supports you.

19   You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in."

20   Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear;

21   for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.

22   Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness,

     if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.

23   And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

24   For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree,

     how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?    (NASB)

 

 

Very importantly, let us not overlook the truth in Romans 11. In verse 16 God tells us that Israel is the natural branch of the root. The root is God Himself through His Messiah, the Lord Jesus. Therefore, the Bible is telling us in very clear terms that Israel is indeed the natural child of God, being tied directly to the root. They truly are the natural children to whom the adoption as eternal children belongs.   Gentiles, however, are not part of this root naturally, but come from elsewhere as wild branches and grafted in.

 

The Bible shows us that the nation of Israel is considered God’s natural child, but Gentiles are not. There is a structure of family that God establishes with Israel.

 

 

 

Jesus is Israel

 

The Bible tells us even more about the special relationship Israel has as the natural son, the natural branch. It tells us why Israel is considered the natural branch who has the Lord Jesus as its root. It was hinted at in Luke 13:34 above when Jesus referred to Himself as a hen who wanted to gather Jerusalem to Himself.

 

Israel is called the seed of Abraham:

 

Isaiah 41:

8   "But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend,   (AKJV)

 

 

However, notice who else is called the seed of Abraham. The Lord Jesus Himself is also called the seed of Abraham:

 

Galatians 3:

16   Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, And to seeds, as of many;

      but as of one, And to your seed, which is Christ.     (AKJV)

 

 

And again, Israel is called God’s child, who was called out of Egypt:

 

Hosea 11:

1   "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.   (WEB)

 

 

In the Gospel of Matthew, this verse is applied to the Lord Jesus:

 

Matthew 2:

14   He arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt,

15   and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,

     "Out of Egypt I called my son."   (WEB)

 

 

We see that the Bible is referring to the Lord Jesus Himself as Israel. The Lord Jesus is Israel.

 

This makes the Bible truth that all who are believers in Jesus are one Israel even more clear and powerful, because since Jesus is considered to be Israel, then He is the chief Israelite and any who come from Him are also Israelites. This does not only apply to those who may be Israelite by blood, but also to those who are Israelite by faith.

 

A follower of Jesus, whether he is a Jew or Gentile, is an Israelite.

 

 

 

Gentiles are Israelites also

 

As we have seen, the Lord Jesus is most definitely considered an Israelite; He is Israel.

So what about everyone else, both Jew and Gentile?

 

The Bible says that the adoption as sons goes to the Israelites – to the Jew first. However, let us understand, these Jews – Israelites, who are blessed first before the Gentiles are not blessed because of their bloodline, but because they are Jews and believe in Christ and have faith:

 

Romans 1:

16   For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes;

      to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

17   For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (AKJV)

 

 

 

The Pharisees were Jews, but they do not have this faith:

 

Matthew 23:

23   "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin,

      and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.

      These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.   (NKJV)

 

 

So who is Israel?

 

The Bible says an Israelite is anyone – whether Jew or Gentile, who has the faith of Abraham. As the apostle Paul states below, not all Israel are of Israel:

 

Romans 9:

6   But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,

7   nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham;

    but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called."

8   That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God;

    but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.   (NKJV)

 

 

Paul is telling us that an Israelite does not have to be from Israel (of the nation or by ethnicity/by blood). Though everything is to the Jew first, bloodline from Abraham is not what determines who is Israel – a true Israelite. The people who are Israel are those – whether Jew or Gentile, who have the same faith like Abraham and are therefore considered Abraham’s seed. As this seed, they will then inherit the promises.

 

God’s truth should now be abundantly evident to Gentiles, though it has been clouded and hidden by centuries of false doctrine and anti-Semitism.

 

God is clearly telling us that the believer in Jesus, the Lamb of God who saves us from sin by His atoning blood, is an Israelite. God says not all Israel comes from Israel (not all Israel is Jewish), which means Israel or an Israelite, is both Jews and Gentiles. An Israelite is not an Israelite because of the flesh, but he is an Israelite by faith and spirit.

 

The Bible says that because of faith in Jesus as the atoning Messiah and son of God, both believing Jews and Gentiles are Israelites, like the Lord Jesus – the chief Israelite.

 

These Israelites are also Abraham’s seed, just like how the Bible tells us Israel and Jesus is Abraham’s seed:

 

Galatians 3:

26   For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

27   For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28   There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29   And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.  (NKJV)

 

 

Not all Israel is from Israel by blood, but they are Israel by faith given by the will of God:

 

John 1:

12   But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13   Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (NKJV)

 

 

This true Israelite by faith spirit includes Jews and Gentiles. To them both go the adoption as predestinated by God:

 

Ephesians 1:

3     Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

     who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4     According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy

     and without blame before him in love:

5     Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (AKJV)

 

 

The Lord Jesus is the shepherd of Israel – this means the Jew first and also the Gentile. The two together become one flock:

 

John 10:

14   "I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,

15   even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

16   "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice;

     and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

 

24   The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense?

      If You are the Christ, tell us plainly."

25   Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me.

26   "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.

27   "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  (NASB)

 

 

 

How Gentiles become Israelites

 

The apostle Paul tells us that in Jesus the Gentiles are no longer separated from Israel and the covenants of promise. This means that Gentiles are now one with the commonwealth of Israel and also all of God’s promises to her:

 

Ephesians 2:

10   For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

11   Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh,

     who are called "uncircumcision" by that which is called "circumcision," (in the flesh, made by hands);

12   that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel,

     and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

13   But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.

14   For he is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition,

15   having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances,

     that he might create in himself one new man of the two, making peace;

16   and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, having killed the hostility thereby.

17   He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near.

18   For through him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

19   So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,

20   being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone;  (WEB)

 

 

Notice that Paul says as one Israel, we are now fellow citizens and of the same household (verse 19) and we now share the same foundation: the same apostles, the same prophets and the same Messiah (verse 20).

 

So then, if Israelites are the natural children, the natural branches, to whom the adoption of eternity belongs, then where does that leave the Gentiles? If the Israelites are the children of the commonwealth who are citizens of God’s household, than how are Gentiles to be adopted?

 

The answer to this question is the truth of what it really means to be one people – both Jews and Gentiles together. The answer is that the Gentile believer must become part of God’s family which has Israel as the natural son. The Gentile believer in the Lord Jesus must become part of Israel to inherit the adoption and promises. The Gentile believer must become an Israelite.    

 

Being of the same household of Israel means Gentiles are adopted as children. But think of what this means. Since the adoption belongs to the Israelites as the natural born, this means that Gentile believers actually become Israelites, too, in order to be adopted. This is the same thing in family adoptions now. If a Mr. & Mrs. Smith have one son together and then decide to adopt a child – this child also becomes a Smith regardless of what he/she was before.

 

And we see this is exactly the case. The Lord Jesus is likened to Israel. The Israelites, the people of God, are the natural branches from Jesus the root. The Gentiles are wild branches that are grafted in – adopted, into this family.

 

How are Gentiles adopted? Gentiles are adopted by faith and in spirit:

 

Galatians 3:

7     Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.

8     And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith,

     preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."

9     So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.    (NKJV)

 

Romans 8:

14   For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.

15   For you didn't receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!"

16   The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God;

17   and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if indeed we suffer with him,

      that we may also be glorified with him.   (WEB)

 

 

God gives His holy spirit upon baptism. Please see articles on baptism: ‘Baptism’, ‘Baptism – What does the Bible say about why, when, who, & how?’ and ‘The Bride of Christ’.

 

 

Gentiles are adopted into God’s family in the very same manner that He brings believing Jews first to Him – by spirit and faith. However, it is to the Jew first. It is very important that we know what it means “to the Jew first”, because it helps us understand the correct context of the entire gospel and with whom the New Covenant (the New Testament) itself was initiated.

 

Many Christians today are misled to believe that Christians “have the New Testament” and the Jews “have the Old Testament”. This is absolutely and undeniably false. The Bible truth is that God makes the New Testament with Israel. God says He will make a New Covenant with Israel when God writes His laws in their mind and hearts:

 

Hebrews 8

8     Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,

     when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ---

9     not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead

     them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD.

10   For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD:

     I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

11   None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me,

      from the least of them to the greatest of them.

12   For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

     (NKJV, from Jeremiah 31:31-34)

 

 

And let us remember that a testament requires the death of the testator:

 

Hebrews 9:

16   For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17   For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.  (NKJV)

 

 

The simple truth is that the New Testament is with Israel.   Nowhere does the Bible ever say that Israel is replaced or God seals the New Testament with other people.

 

And let us not overlook this truth:

 

The Lord Jesus dies for Israel. He seals this New Testament with Israel by His atoning blood.

 

Everything is to the Jew first and then the Gentile. Gentiles are now co-heirs – fellow citizens and members of the same household with Israel. If Jesus is called Israel, to Israel belongs the adoption, Gentiles are now one with household of Israel, and the New Covenant/Testament is with Israel, then what does all this mean? What is the Bible telling us?

 

God tells us for Gentiles to be covered under this New Testament with Israel and for the Lord Jesus’ blood to apply to us, we must become Israel – we must become Israelites. We must be adopted as wild branches to be a fellow citizen and same household of the natural branches which come forth from the root. We must become Israelites to share in the commonwealth of Israel.

 

It is by this New Testament God made with Israel that Gentiles also become the seed and are included in the promises. When we enter into this New Testament which has been sealed by Jesus’ blood, we become part of Israel – we become Israel, and the Lord Jesus’ blood covers us.  

 

Gentiles must become Israel/Israelites, because God’s New Covenant is with Israel. It is what being one people, one body with one faith, one God and one Messiah means:

 

Ephesians 4:

4     There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling;

5     One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

6     One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  (AKJV)

 

 

 

Who is the Bride?

 

There is much confusion in Christianity regarding its true identity, because of centuries of false doctrine based in anti-Jewish thought. Many Christians believe that it is the Christians, also called “the Church”, who have replaced the nation and people of Israel as recipients of God’s promises. Christians today happily state that they are the bride of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

But do they really know who the bride of Christ is? Do they know how one is the bride?

 

Remember what we just read in the previous section, from Hebrews 8:8-12, about the Lord Jesus initiating and sealing the New Covenant with Israel. Hebrews 8 is only quoting from the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. This is what God said in entirety in Jeremiah 31:

 

Jeremiah 31:

31   "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,

     when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ---

32   not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them

     out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.

33   But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD:

     I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

34   No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me,

     from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity,

     and their sin I will remember no more."     (NKJV)

 

 

What is God clearly and unmistakably telling us in Jeremiah 31/Hebrews 8?

 

God is telling us that He has entered a New Covenant with Israel, because the former covenant Israel “broke, though I was a husband to them” (verse 32).   So who is really the bride? If God is a husband to Israel, than this means that Israel is the bride. And, a New Covenant has been established with Israel (in reality, it is a renewed covenantIsrael is still the bride. The Lord Jesus enters into a New Covenant or New Testament with Israel that is sealed with His blood – this means Israel is the bride of Christ.

 

There is no avoiding this Bible truth. The way that anyone – Jew or Gentile, becomes the bride of Christ is if they are the true Israel built upon faith and spirit, not bloodline (“not all Israel is of Israel” as we have discussed before). For Gentiles, this means we, as wild branches, are adopted into the household of Israel and share in the commonwealth of Israel. Gentiles must become Israelites. The one who is to be the bride of Christ must become Israel, because it is Israel who is the bride of Christ and is in a covenantal relationship with her Lord and Savior.

 

 

Do Christians know this?

 

How are they the bride of Christ if they do not know the truth that Israel is the bride?

 

How are they the bride of Christ if they do not know they must become Israelites?

 

How are they the bride of Christ when false teachings have virtually ensured most will never know the truth and Christians therefore continue to believe that Israel is just the nation of Jews that God has seemingly forsaken?

 

 

The Lord Jesus gave up Himself for His bride, who should be holy and spotless. So who is this bride for whom Jesus gave up Himself:

 

Ephesians 5:

22   Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

23   For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

24   Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

25   Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,

26   that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

27   that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing,

     but that she should be holy and without blemish.

28   So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

29   For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

30   For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

31   "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

32   This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

33   Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself,

     and let the wife see that she respects her husband.   (NKJV)

 

 

Believers in Jesus say Ephesians 5 above is talking about Christians or “the Church” (non-Jews or Gentiles) as this bride. It should be noted the Greek word ‘ekklesia’ that is translated as ‘church’ just means ‘called out ones (saints)’ or an ‘assembly of called-out ones’ so it really means a body of people/saints who are called out by God. Unfortunately, due to erroneous theology, the word “church” is forced to mean New Covenant/Testament Gentile believers even while it somehow separates God’s chosen people, the Jews and Israel, from this New Covenant/Testament assembly of people.

 

Have we stopped to think how absurd it is to say that the Jews are not part of this body? How can God’s chosen people not be part of this body of ‘called out people’? Isn’t being a ‘called out’ people what being a ‘chosen’ people means?

 

However, we have seen that the Bible tells us that the bride of Christ is Israel. We have also seen how the Bible tells us the New Covenant/Testament is with Israel – the Lord Jesus gave up Himself for Israel by dying as the testator who seals in His blood the New Covenant with Israel, His bride.

 

The Bible truth is thus made clear: All of God’s people are called – chosen, out of this world. They are all one Israel.

 

 

Christians today must search the Scriptures as the Bereans did to verify if everything is true according to God’s truth, the Bible only (Acts 17:10-11). Nothing should ever be assumed just because it is all we have known, we trust blindly what we are told, others do it, or it feels good. Everyone learns (or should) to check things out before we buy something, before we do something for school or at our jobs, or anything that we consider is important. How much more should we check out the things about God and eternal life by measuring it against God’s Word, the only source of truth?  

 

When Christians do this, then they will know that the bride is Israel. And even more, they will understand that Gentiles must become Israel. This is done by spirit and faith – entering into the New Covenant/Testament sealed in the Lord Jesus’ blood, because not all Israel is of Israel.

 

Let us look at Ephesians 5 more closely, because it not only tells us that all believers are the bride, it also tells us that believers are one body:

 

Ephesians 5:

23   For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.

24   Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

 

28   So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

29   For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.

30   For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.

31   "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."

32   This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.   (NKJV)

 

 

Considering that the Bible already says Jesus is Israel who wishes to gather His children like a hen does her chicks and Israel is the bride with whom God makes a New Covenant, now the Bible says the Lord Jesus is the husband and head of His wife and body – the church (the assembly or body of believers).

 

Let us also remember that Jesus is the root and Israel is the natural branches from this root. So if verses 28-31 state believers are “members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones”, doesn’t this most truly apply to Israel, who is the natural branch of the root while Gentiles are wild and only grafted in?

 

In addition to this, we must consider also that since Jesus Himself is called Israel, so would not the bride take the name of her groom? And, therefore, His bride is also Israel???

 

The question the Gentile believer must honestly ask and then answer for himself is this:

 

How is it possible that Israel is not the wife or body of Christ?

 

The answer is: Israel is the bride and body of Christ.

 

 

The question then becomes: Are you this one Israel?

 

 

The apostle Paul affirms this Bible truth. Paul tells us about a great mystery revealed to the apostles concerning the Gentiles and the promises. The apostles then revealed it to the world. There is now no longer a mystery about who the Gentiles really are in the eyes of God and His New Covenant. It is also in the Book of Ephesians:

 

Ephesians 3:

4     By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,

5     which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men,

     as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;

6     to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body,

     and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,   (NASB)

 

 

Notice what Paul says in verse 6. Yes, Israel is truly the body of Christ, but what is the mystery

now revealed? It is the truth that now “Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the

body”. If Gentiles are only now made “fellow” heirs and members of the body, then this must

mean that another was already the body – this would be Israel. In other words, Gentiles are

now also members of the body of Christ, and are added to the body that is Israel which existed already for

them to be added into. Jew and Gentile believers of Christ are now one body together.

 

There can be no doubt that the body and bride in Ephesians 5 is referring to Israel – and

Gentiles are grafted in with Israel.

 

Again, Jews and Gentiles are one whole body, fitted and held together by God, and are to

grow in love and in Christ, our head:

 

Ephesians 4:

15   but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,

16   from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies,

     according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

     (NASB)

 

 

And for which people is the Lord Jesus said to be King? He is the King of Israel:

 

John 1:

47   Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

48   Nathanael said to him, From where know you me? Jesus answered and said to him,

      Before that Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.

49   Nathanael answered and said to him, Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.

50   Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, believe you?

     you shall see greater things than these.

51   And he said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open,

     and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man. 

     (AKJV)

 

 

The disciples of the Lord Jesus knew that Jesus is the King of Israel. They knew the Lord Jesus was Israel’s king, groom and head. This is why one of the first things they asked Him after His resurrection was if He would restore the kingdom of Israel now?

 

Acts 1:

6   Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  

    (NKJV)

 

The Lord Jesus replies by saying it is not for them to know when this is, which the Father has put

in His own authority. However, Christians know that when Jesus returns, He will establish the

Kingdom of God. Christians also know this will be centered in IsraelJerusalem. So the Bible

is telling us that the kingdom to come – the Kingdom of God, will also be considered the

Kingdom of Israel. The Bible tells us we must become Israelites to inherit this kingdom.

 

 

Is it also a “coincidence” that after the old heaven and earth have passed away and a new heaven

and earth have been created, that the New Jerusalem will come down from heaven prepared as a

bride for her husband?

 

Revelation 21:

1     And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2     And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3     And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them,

     and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

 

9     And there came to me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues,

     and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife.

10   And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city,

     the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

11   Having the glory of God: and her light was like to a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

12   And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon,

     which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

13   On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

14   And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.   (AKJV)

 

 

And yet again, we must also ask ourselves: For whom did the Lord Jesus come to save? He came to save His people. His people is the chosen people – Israel:

 

Matthew 1:

21   She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins."   (WEB)

 

 

If we are to be saved as well, we must become Israelites as a wild branch in order to become part of His body, and as part of His body, also be recognized as His bride. Israel is this bride. The New Covenant that was purchased with His blood was made with His bride Israel.

 

This is why Jesus returning to establish the Kingdom of God is the same as His returning to be the King of Israel, and why when all things are remade, the holy city is called New Jerusalem. It is because Israel is the bride of Christ.

 

How many times and how many ways does the Bible have to tell us that both believing Jews and Gentiles are Israel, but we would not listen?

 

Israel is the apple of God’s eye, is it not?

 

We – Jews and Gentiles, are now one body together.

 

One body – one bride – one Israel – one Messiah.

 

 

To find out more on how Israel is the bride, please also see the articles: ‘The Bride of Christ’ and ‘God’s Salvation Plan in the Biblical Feast Days’.

 

 

 

Jesus the Nazarene, we are Nazarenes

 

We have seen that Paul and all of the Lord Jesus’ disciples – both Jew and Gentile, knew the mystery is no longer a mystery: Gentiles are now fellow heirs and members of the body of Christ. This body of Christ is the bride of Christ – Israel, with the Lord Jesus as the head.

 

Israel is the natural branch with Jesus as the root, to whom belong the promises and the adoption. His bride Israel is the one with whom the Lord Jesus made the New Covenant with His blood.  Gentiles as wild branches are now grafted in to share in the commonwealth of Israel and also her promises as the seed, because not all Israel are of Israel (Israel is not all Jews, but Gentiles, too).

 

So if the disciples knew that believing Jews and Gentiles are all one Israel – all Israelites together, why don’t Christians today know this?

 

It was not always this way. All Christians once knew they were Israelites. All believers in the Lord Jesus knew they were Israelites whether they were Jew or Gentile. It is at the very heart of the faith once for all delivered to the saints and this is why they knew it. So what happened?

 

It is because of the anti-Jewish actions of the Roman Empire and Roman Catholic Church that kept God’s Bible truth and God’s people the Jews away from everyone else. After “making” Christianity the state religion, they paganized the faith while at the same time persecuted, exiled and destroyed Bible truth and true believers – true Israel. In other words, they forced true Israel “underground” and deceived everyone else by substituting the faith once for all delivered to the saints with a counterfeit.

 

Let us take a step back and see where else the Bible gives us proof that both Jews and Gentiles are indeed one Israel.

 

The Bible gives us additional evidence that focuses on what the Christian actually was, what Christians were actually called and what they actually did – and this is supported by historical fact. Even more, the historical evidence reveals the hand of the Roman Catholic Church actively substituting the true faith – true Israel, with its own beliefs and doctrines.  

 

 

The New Testament tells us that people began calling Jesus’ disciples Christians first in Antioch:

 

Acts 11:

26   And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole

     year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples

     were called Christians first in Antioch.   (AKJV)

 

 

We must bear in mind that the word Christ is Greek for Messiah which is Hebrew, so this indicates that the name ‘Christian’ originated from Gentile believers. Nevertheless, the name ‘Christian’ given to the disciples still tells us immediately that both Jew and Gentile disciples were considered the same and therefore given the same name. It is only after the persecution and anti-Semitism by the Roman Catholic Church centuries later, the term Christian is now strictly applied to Gentiles only, keeping separate from the Jews.

 

However, history tells us that the followers of Jesus did not call themselves Christians, but they called themselves something else from the very beginning. Knowing what this is will help us understand even more the Bible truth that all followers of Jesus, both Jew and Gentile, are indeed Israelites and one Israel.

 

This name by which the earliest believers in Jesus were called is based on what the Lord Jesus Himself is called in the Bible. The apostle Matthew states in his gospel that the Lord Jesus fulfilled a prophecy that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene:

 

Matthew 2:

23   And he came and dwelled in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets,

     He shall be called a Nazarene.   (AKJV)

 

 

What is interesting is that there is no Old Testament prophecy stating the Messiah would come from Nazareth. So what is Matthew referring to? He is referring to the prophecy which states the Messiah would be the Branch that comes forth as a stem of Jesse (King David’s father):

 

Isaiah 11:

1     And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  (AKJV)

 

  

The Branch in Isaiah 11 is the Hebrew word ‘netser’ (Strong’s #5342: in the sense of greenness as a striking color; a shoot; figuratively, a descendant: - branch) which has as its root the word ‘natsar’ (to keep watch, guard), and ‘natsar’ is the very same root the name Nazareth comes from. The Lord Jesus is called the Nazarene (“Notsri”) not really just because He comes from Nazareth, but because He is the Branch.

 

There is a play on words being used, because both the Branch and Nazareth comes from the same root ‘natsar’. This is one of the nuances of Hebrew being a consonantal language consisting of mostly 3-consonant letter root words: different vowels used between the consonants give different meanings, but they are usually related because they come from the same root.

 

Therefore, Jesus is both called the Nazarene (the Branch) and Jesus of Nazareth (He would be called a Nazarati and not a Nazarene if He was truly to be signified as just coming from the village of Nazareth).  Being called the Nazarene can be applied to both being the Branch and coming from Nazareth.

 

This duality in meaning which comes from the root ‘natsar’ can be seen in the meaning of the word Nazareth itself. It has been known both as a watchtower, because it contains a hill that has an expansive view of the region and as the “flower of Galilee”:

 

 

“If only you will come, we shall go to see Nazareth, as its name denotes, the flower of Galilee.”

 

                                                                                             - Jerome, Letter 46 ‘Ad Marcellam’

 

 

It is because the Lord Jesus is the Branch – the Nazarene (Notsri), that His followers called themselves His branches, the Nazarenes (in Hebrew, called notsrim/netzarim/natsarim). And in another way, Jesus could also be called the Guardian/Watchman and His followers the watchmen.

 

This reference to Jesus as the Nazarene, the Branch, also comes out in Isaiah 11:

 

Isaiah 11:

10    And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.   (AKJV)

 

 

From the very beginning, all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, in Jesus as the Messiah and son of God who saves us with His atoning blood were called Nazarenes.

 

We see this in the Book of Acts. When the apostle Paul was brought before the Roman court, he is called one of the leaders of the Nazarenes:

 

Acts 24:

2     And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by you we enjoy great quietness,

     and that very worthy deeds are done to this nation by your providence,

3     We accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness.

4     Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious to you, I pray you that you would hear us of your clemency a few words.

5     For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world,

     and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:   (AKJV)

 

 

Note verse 5 which says Paul is a leader of the sect of the Nazarenes, but what is the Nazarene sect a sect of? What did they believe? The apostle Paul tells us as we read below:

 

Acts 24:

14   "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers,

      believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets;

 

Acts 28:

17   After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together,

     he began saying to them, "Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers,

     yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.

 

21   They said to him, "We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you,

      nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you.

22   "But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, 

       it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere."

23    When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers;

      and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus,

      from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.

24    Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.

 

 

In Acts 24:14 Paul tells us that the sect of the Nazarenes is also called “the Way” and from both Acts 24:14 and Acts 28:17 we can see the Nazarenes is a sect of Judaism, because Paul states he believes “everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets” and he “had done nothing against our people (the Jews) or the customs of our fathers”.  

 

What made them a sect that was different from the main of Judaism? We know the answer. The one and only reason that made the Nazarenes different from Judaism is the fact that they believed the prophesied Messiah in the Scriptures (the Old Testament was the only Scriptures at that time) is the Lord Jesus – the Nazarene. We see this in Acts 28:21-24 above, where after Paul tells the Jews he did nothing against their people or the customs of their fathers, the Jews acknowledged Paul was a leader of a sect of Judaism and Paul was “trying to persuade them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets”.

 

 

 

The writings of Epiphanius in the 4th – 5th century AD

 

One of the early fathers of the Roman Catholic Church was Epiphanius who lived in the 4th to early 5th century AD (circa 315-402/3 AD). In his writing “Against Heresies”, Panarion 29, he admits to the fact that the Nazarenes is what all believers in Jesus were first called:

 

“They did not give themselves the name of Christ, or that of Jesus, but they called themselves Nazarenes. All Christians were called Nazarenes once. For a short time they were also given the name Iessaians, before the disciples in Antioch began to be called Christians. And they were called Iessaians because of Jesse, it seems to me, since David was from Jesse….”

 

Epiphanius apparently does not know that Jesus is called the Nazarene, because He is the Branch in Isaiah 11:1, but he still unwittingly gives us evidence anyway. Notice that he says some Nazarenes were also called Iessaians (“from Jesse”) once. Unknowingly, Epiphanius is showing us that the origin of Nazarene is indeed tied to ‘netser’, because the Branch in Isaiah 11:1 is from the stem of Jesse.

 

 

The writing of Epiphanius in regards to the Nazarenes is very revealing. Again, he does not know what the real meaning of Nazarene is and gives incorrect reasoning for the use of Nazarene below. However, he still shows us that just as the Lord Jesus is called the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5), and that Jesus is the root with the Jews and Gentiles being the natural and wild branches, respectively (Romans 11), the Lord Jesus is the Nazarene (the Branch) and the believers in Jesus were first called the Nazarenes:

 

“However, everyone called the Christians Nazarenes as I said before. This appears from the accusation against Paul which was as follows (Acts 24:5)…

 

For it is no wonder that the Apostle admitted he was a Nazarene because everybody called Christians with that name at that time, because of the city of Nazareth and because at that time there was no other name in use. Therefore persons were called Nazarenes who came to believe in Christ, of whom it is written that ‘he will be called a Nazarene’ [Matt. 2:23].

 

Likewise the holy disciples of Christ called themselves disciples of Jesus, which they really were. When they heard the name Nazarenes from others, they did not reject it, because they saw what was meant by those who called them by this name, viz. that they called them by this name because of Christ, since our Lord himself was also called Jesus the Nazarene, as appears from the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles.”

 

- Epiphanius, “Against Heresies”, Panarion 29, translated from Greek. 

 

 

Epiphanius’ writings also give us external (outside the Bible) evidence that supports what the apostle Paul tells us that the believers in Jesus, the Nazarenes, believed and practiced. If we recall, Paul says the Nazarenes – the sect called also the Way, believed everything that is in accordance with the Law and the Prophets, and the customs of the fathers. This is exactly what Epiphanius says the Nazarenes believed. He also supports the Biblical reason why the Nazarenes were called a sect – they differed from the Jews only in the respect that they believed the prophesied Messiah in the Scriptures was the Lord Jesus, the Nazarene:

 

These heresies, just mentioned, of which we here are giving a brief sketch, passing over the name of Jesus, did not call themselves Iessaians and did not keep the name Jews; they did not call themselves Christians, but Nazarenes, taking this name from the place Nazareth. But actually they remained wholly Jewish and nothing else. For they use not only the New Testament but also the Old, like the Jews. For the Legislation and the Prophets and the Scriptures, which are called the Bible by the Jews, are not rejected by them as they are by those mentioned above. They are not at all mindful of other things but live according to the preaching of the Law as among Jews: there is no fault to find with them apart from the fact that they have come to believe in Christ. For they also accept the resurrection of the dead and that everything has its origin in God. They proclaim one God and his Son Jesus Christ…

 

Only in this respect they differ from the Jews and Christians: with the Jews they do not agree because of their belief in Christ, with the Christians because they are trained in the Law, in circumcision, the Sabbath and the other things.”

 

- Epiphanius, “Against Heresies”, Panarion 29, translated from Greek. 

 

 

 

Epiphanius openly and unmistakably acknowledges that the Nazarenes, what the Christians were first called, observed the Law of God – both “Old” and “New” Testaments.

 

 

 

Very importantly also, because Epiphanius lived in the time when the Roman Catholic Church just recently began its persecution in earnest against all true believers after the ascension of Constantine to the throne, his writings give us a window into which we see the history of this Roman Catholic persecution unfold against God’s word and God’s people. God’s people are the true believers in Jesus as Messiah, both Jew & Gentile, who follow God’s word only including the Law and the Prophets like the apostle Paul; they are the Nazarenes and remember that Christians used to be called Nazarenes.

 

Epiphanius’ writings provide critical evidence of the Roman Catholic Church in the 4th – 5th centuries erasing God’s truth that is found in the Bible only and putting in its own false doctrines. It shows the Roman Catholic Church separating and distancing God’s truth and God’s people the Nazarenes from other peoples in order to indoctrinate the masses with its own false doctrines and not Bible truth.

 

Please note again what we just read about the Nazarenes and how they differ from Jews and Christians:

 

For they also accept the resurrection of the dead and that everything has origin its in God. They proclaim one God and his Son Jesus Christ…

 

Only in this respect they differ from the Jews and Christians: with the Jews they do not agree because of their belief in Christ, with the Christians because they are trained in the Law, in circumcision, the Sabbath and the other things.”

 

 

However, remember that earlier in the very same writing in Panarion 29, Epiphanius tells us that all Christians used to be called Nazarenes!  

 

What is now happening here? Why is Epiphanius now speaking of the Nazarenes as if they are different from Christians?  

 

As he admitted, all Christians were called Nazarenes once. This means Christians followed the Law and the Prophets and differed from Judaism in only one aspect – they believed Jesus is the prophesied Messiah.

 

And notice very importantly also, Epiphanius is also admitting that Christians only believed in one God who has a son the Lord Jesus Christ – exactly as the Bible says. There is no 3rd person Holy Spirit; there is no Trinity at all.

 

 

We have direct evidence from an early Roman Catholic Church father stating what the faith once for all delivered to the saints is:

 

All believers in Jesus as the son of God and Messiah who saves us from our sins by His blood were lovingly obedient to God’s Law and knew there is only one God who has a son, with no 3rd person in a godhead

 

And as representative of the Roman Catholic Church's views, Epiphanius is calling this true faith once delivered to the saints a heresy because it differs from Roman Catholic teaching!

 

 

From his writing, there must be some who were still called Nazarenes in the 4th – 5th century; otherwise, he would not be speaking of them in the present tense. However, there appears to be tension between Christians and Nazarenes even though all Christians used to be called Nazarenes. It appears that believers are becoming or are now different. Something has changed. Do they still believe the same things?

 

What happened? Why?

 

Over 300 years has passed between when the Lord Jesus ascended back to heaven and from the time Epiphanius wrote. It seems that for some reason, Christian is no longer just another name for Nazarenes. Instead, it appears that Christians means something altogether different from Nazarenes.

 

What has happened is this: with the ascension of the emperor Constantine, the Roman Empire/Roman Catholic Church made Christianity the new state religion and began to persecute the true believers of God, the Nazarenes, calling them “Judaizers”.  At the same time they incorporated pagan traditions into its new state religion. The term Christian is now no longer another name for Nazarene, but it is being used strictly to apply to the believers of this new state Christianity that bears no resemblance to the true faith of the Nazarenes.  The term Christian has remained to this day with all the same characteristics of pagan tradition and separation from Jews, Old Testament, etc. and has been passed on to Protestantism and other denominations.

 

In other words, what we are seeing in Epiphanius’ writings is the Roman Catholic Church actively removing God’s Bible truth which of course also requires the removal of those who follow God’s Bible truth only. He is showing us that the Nazarenes are now being pushed out of existence, as can be seen by the fact that though Christians were all called Nazarenes once, they are now no longer associated with being called Christian at all in the 4th – 5th century AD. It is showing us supporting historical proof of the Roman Catholic Church persecuting God’s true church, the body of Christ – the Nazarenes, the branches of the Branch: Jesus the Nazarene.  

 

 

By this time, the Nazarenes and Christians are no longer the same. The Nazarenes, of which Paul was a leader, still hold onto the Bible truth only: the faith once for all delivered to the saints of the 1st century of the Lord Jesus, which includes the 7th day Sabbath and one God who has a son. And we must remember, God told us the apostle Paul imitated Christ as we should as well (1 Corinthians 11:1).

 

On the other hand, Christians of the 4th – 5th century AD have renounced this faith once for all delivered to the saints and accepted lies instead. At the time of Epiphanius, the name Christian is now solely being used as a member of the new state Christianity of the Roman Catholic Church which has replaced God’s truth with the pagan traditions and doctrines of men.

 

The frightening thing about all of this is the attitude of Epiphanius, which is representative of, and is the same as the Roman Catholic Church itself.

 

The Roman Catholic Church knew what the faith once for all delivered to the saints was, but it did not care. It knew the Nazarenes kept this faith and all Christians did, too, but they still defiantly and boldly worked against God and His truth. All the Roman Catholic Church cared about was getting rid of God’s true faith and replacing it by creating their own un-Biblical doctrines and traditions of men to impose upon the people. It knew the Nazarene faith – of which all Christians were, was the true Bible faith that Jesus the Nazarene taught and lived, but still sought to destroy it.

 

The Roman Catholic Church knew what God’s truth was, but actively opposed it and made sure that Christians would no longer know and follow this faith once for all delivered to the saints.

 

In opposing God and the true faith He gives us, it should not surprise us that the Roman Catholic Church does everything opposite of God. Therefore, we see the Roman Catholic Church, as reflected in Epiphanius’ ironically-named writing “Against Heresies”, dare to hypocritically call God’s true faith once for all delivered to the saints a heresy – heretical, when it is the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church that is really the heresy. The objective reader should be able to see the heresy really lies in Epiphanius’ writing and the practices of the Roman Catholic Church which know God’s truth, but nevertheless still tosses it aside and replaces it with lies.

 

 

 

Conclusion: Nazarenes are Israelites = Christians are Israelites

 

We have seen from both inside and outside the Bible that Jew and Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus called themselves Nazarenes before they were called Christians. We can clearly see that the only reason the Nazarenes were called a “sect” and differed from Judaism is because they have faith in Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. This is highlighted by the fact that the apostle Paul is called a leader of this “sect”. Paul is the same person who tells us that not all who are Israel comes from Israel.

 

The Nazarenes observed the Law of God and knew of one God who has a son only. The Roman Catholic Church attests to this truth.  It also acknowledges that all Christians were Nazarenes once and the faith of the Nazarenes is the original and true faith that the Lord Jesus taught and lived, and which His apostles and disciples followed.

 

There should be no doubt that these first believers called Nazarenes are Israelites – Israel. They are branches that come from the Branch, the true vine.

 

Therefore, because Christians are really all Nazarenes once and for all the many other reasons we discussed earlier (such as: Jesus is called Israel and we are His; the body is Israel and Gentiles only become fellow members of the body; Israel is the bride; the New Covenant the Lord Jesus makes with His blood is with Israel, etc.), Christians truly are supposed to be Israelites.

 

The Roman Catholic Church has been very successful in removing/hiding the evidence of the true roots of what a Christian is. They have suppressed much of the evidence and any idea of what a Nazarene (notsrim/netzarim/natsarim) is, and also the fact that we are one Israel.

 

Does this mean that being called a Christian now is wrong? No, not necessarily, because as we saw, the name Christian did at one time represent a person of the true faith who followed the Law of God and had faith in Jesus as Lord and Messiah. It still represented the faith once for all delivered to the saints that we must contend for, before the Roman Catholic Church twisted it and wrapped it in pagan clothes. It was used as a name for many of the believers even though they were first called Nazarenes. It is also what most believers in Jesus are called now even though most who call them Christians, including the Christians themselves, do not know that they should really be Israelites and Nazarenes.

 

And this brings us to the crux of the matter. Whether or not believers in Christ should be called Christian or something else is not really the issue. What is important is that whether you call yourself a Christian or not, you must know what the faith that God once for all delivered to the saints actually is and then do it. It is how we worship in spirit and truth as God wants His true worshippers to do (John 4:23-24). It is how we love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:29-30). It is how, if we abide in the Lord Jesus who is the Branch, it is also the truth that sets us free (John 8:31-32).

 

What is important is that whatever we (Jew or Gentile) call ourselves, we must know what we should really be and indeed what God expects us to be, is an Israelite. A true Israelite: because not all Israel is of Israel. He sees us and expects to see that we are one Israel. This will not happen until we earnestly seek and find God’s truth despite all consequences, and openly accept the truth that we are truly one Israel.

 

It is all about our identity. When we know who we really are, only then can we worship in spirit and truth and love God with all our being. When we know that we are Israel, only then can we truly and fully enjoy the relationship with God and Christ that God has created with us.

 

Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church has largely succeeded in making sure believers in Jesus no longer know who they really are. The Roman Catholic Church has largely succeeded in making sure that these true believers no longer know and follow the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and have instead deceived most people to believe the true faith is the heresy.

 

 

However, if you are reading this, then the path is made quite clear:

 

  • Just as Christians once knew and observed the true faith, then Christians can once again find, know and follow this true faith.

 

 

Now you know that Christians are really Nazarenes – spiritual Israelites, with the one and only true faith who kept the Law, believed in only one God and His son Jesus who is the Savior and Messiah. This is the faith once for all delivered to the saints. It is what Paul, a leader of the Nazarenes, believed and practiced – and he imitated Christ as we are also commanded to do.

 

 

All Christians once knew this (in fact, all Christians were Nazarenes) and it has been hidden for so long, but with the end times approaching, God is returning us to the true faith He gave once for all to His saints.

 

So we see that all believers in Jesus, Jew and Gentile, are truly one Israel.

 

 

Now the questions become:

 

  • Are you seeking and contending for the faith once delivered to the saints?

 

  • Are you a true Christian – a Nazarene, who follows this true and original faith?

 

  • Are you one of those who is Israel though not from Israel? Are you Israel?

 

 

 

 

Please also see other articles in this section as well as articles in the sections ‘Law of God’, ‘Nature of God’, and ‘Is it the True Church’.