The Church and Israel, the Church or Israel, or Both? Faith Works.

When did the church begin? What is the church anyway? Who or what is Israel? Replacement theology; Dispensational theology; Covenant theology; Commonwealth theology; does anyone even know what theology system their brand of Christianity is? Does anyone care? What are the core beliefs of your doctrine, and where did they come from? The purpose of this blog post is not to answer all of these questions for you, but to provide some information to make you at least aware that there are questions that need to be answered.

Rom 9:1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
Rom 9:2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
Rom 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
Rom 9:6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Rom 9:7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:
but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Paul says that they are not all Israel, which are of Israel. What is he talking about here? We are quick to think of Israel as a country in the present time, but there was no nation state of Israel when Paul was alive.

Gen 35:9 God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him.
Gen 35:10 And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel.
Gen 35:11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body.
Gen 35:12 The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”

So Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, became Israel. He had twelve sons and prophesied over all twelve, before he died.

Gen 49:1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
Gen 49:2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.
Gen 49:3 Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:
Gen 49:4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.
Gen 49:5 Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations.
Gen 49:6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.
Gen 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
Gen 49:8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Gen 49:11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
Gen 49:12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

Gen 49:13 Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.
Gen 49:14 Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens:
Gen 49:15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.
Gen 49:16 Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
Gen 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.
Gen 49:18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.
Gen 49:19 Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.
Gen 49:20 Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.
Gen 49:21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.
Gen 49:22 Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall:
Gen 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
Gen 49:24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
Gen 49:25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:
Gen 49:26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.
Gen 49:27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

All of these prophesies are important, but for the purpose of this blog I highlighted the blessing (prophesy) on Israel’s son Judah, the son whose descendants include, King David, Solomon, Mary and Jesus. Judah’s sons are the tribe of Judah and are referred to as Jews. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law giver from between his feet until Shiloh comes”. The tribe of Judah has been the keeper of the law, even to this day, and Jesus holds the sceptre in his hand.

Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
Rev 19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Rev 19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
Rev 19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
Rev 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Rev 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

The other sons of Israel are still part of the whole house of Israel, even though the kingdom divided from civil war after Solomon was king. The Northern Kingdom was called The House of Israel and the Southern Kingdom, the House of Judah. It is important to note that Joseph passed his first born status to his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Sometimes the Northern kingdom is referred to as the House of Ephraim. Israel said of Manasseh, “but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations“. Both the House of Israel and The House of Judah disappointed God greatly due to their disobedience and following after gods of other nations. God divorces the House of Israel, they get dispersed by the conquering Assyria, and Judah is conquered by Babylon a while later fulfilling the prophecy Moses gave hundreds of years before.

Deu 4:23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
Deu 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
Deu 4:25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:
Deu 4:26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
Deu 4:27 And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
Deu 4:28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.
Deu 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Deu 4:30 When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Deu 4:31 (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

Jer 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

God, יהוה, will bring these twelve tribes back together someday as Jeremiah prophesied.

Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
Jer 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Jer 23:7 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
Jer 23:8 But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

Isaiah:

Isa 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.
Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isa 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. Read the parable of the prodigal son seeing the older brother as Judah, and the prodigal son as Ephraim, or the northern kingdom.

Jesus:

Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Mat 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The new covenant is with the these two houses, or the northern tribes and southern tribes.

Jer 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah,
Jer 31:32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.
Jer 31:33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jer 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The writer of Hebrews quotes Jeremiah:

Heb 8:6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.
Heb 8:7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
Heb 8:8 For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Heb 8:9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.

The idea of the new covenant isn’t that new. Moses spoke of it.

Deu 30:3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
Deu 30:4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
Deu 30:5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
Deu 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
Deu 30:7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
Deu 30:8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.

Eze 36:24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
Eze 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Eze 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
Eze 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Eze 36:28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

The first place we see a congregation, (or church), is when the children of Israel were still in Egypt right before the first Passover.

Exo 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

The word used here that gets translated to congregation is Strong’s H5712, meaning assembly, congregation, family etc.

H5712 (Strong)
עֵדָה
‛êdâh
ay-daw’
Feminine of H5707 in the original sense of fixture; a stated assemblage (specifically a concourse, or generally a family or crowd): – assembly, company, congregation, multitude, people, swarm.

Congregation in the New Testament context is Strong’s G1577, which was similar, but as it evolved into the word Church, the definition took on new meanings.

ekklēsia
Thayer Definition:
1) a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly
1a) an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating
1b) the assembly of the Israelites
1c) any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously
1d) in a Christian sense
1d1) an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting

When the first century writers were talking about the ekklēssia, there were no large cathedrals, no Vatican, and no sign of the 40,000 plus denominations there are today.

The first congregational meeting of Israel happened when they were ready to leave Egypt at Passover. One of the next important meetings of the congregation of Israel was in the third month at mount Horeb when God, יהוה, met them face to face to give them the Ten Commandments.

Exo 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,
Exo 20:2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exo 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Exo 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
Exo 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
Exo 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Exo 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exo 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Exo 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Exo 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.
Exo 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exo 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Exo 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
Exo 20:19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
Exo 20:20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
Exo 20:21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

And in the third month from the children of Yashar’el’s departure from Mitsrayim, on the sixth day thereof, YAHUAH gave to Yashar’el the Ten Devariym on Mount Ciynai. And all Yashar’el heard all these commandments, and all Yashar’el rejoiced exceedingly in YAHUAH on that day. And the glory of YAHUAH rested upon Mount Ciynai, and he called to Mosheh, and Mosheh came in the midst of a cloud and ascended the mountain. YASHAR (JASHER) 82:6-8 את CEPHER

It is interesting that the third month is the time of the feast of Shavuot. The book of Jasher, an extra biblical text, has the meeting of the congregation with God happening on the sixth day of the third month. This coincides with the Holy Spirit being given on the feast of Shavuot or Pentecost in Acts.

Dispensationalism is a theology that started in England in the early 19th century. John Nelson Darby is given credit for being the father of dispensationalism. This system believes the church is separate from Israel, and they have two different roles or destinies. This is an over simplification of dispensational theology, but the purpose here is to bring it to light, and for you to know it is what you are subscribing to in most evangelical churches today. Whether good or bad, you should be able to study it and compare it to the Word. Sometimes it is hard to know you are in a dispensational belief system because no one ever will ever tell you “our church follows a dispensational theology model derived from a C.I. Scofield Bible commentary”. In some forms of dispensational theology, it is said that the “church” was not seen by the Old Testament prophets, and God, יהוה, had to readjust his plan when the Jewish people did not accept Jesus as Messiah. According to Amos, this is a problem.

Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
Amo 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Another premise of dispensational theology is that the “church” is a specific age where only certain things apply to the people of the church age. So, in some forms, when Jesus says to follow the commandments, dispensationalism will say that just applies to the Jewish people before the death and resurrection of Jesus. Here are some words of Jesus:

Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

On a side note, jots and tittles are the little pieces of the Hebrew script that distinguish one letter from another. For example, here is a dalet, ד, and here is a resh, ר. The top line of the dalet extends beyond the perpendicular line where the resh doesn’t. That is a tittle.

Once you get to the end times, if you take a verse like the following:

Rev 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Dispensationalism will say the saints referred to in this verse must be the Jewish people “left behind” for Jacob’s trouble, because the “church” was removed from the earth earlier. It is also interesting that in Judaism there is the following of the commandments, but no faith in Jesus, and the church has faith in Jesus, but very little commandment keeping. So who are these who both keep the commandments of יהוה, and have faith in Jesus?

The concept that there are two bodies of believers would be foreign thinking to first century followers of Jesus.

Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Gal 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Rom 11:17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and became a sharer of the root and the fatness of the olive tree with them,
Rom 11:18 do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, it is not you that bears the root, but the root bears you.
Rom 11:19 You will say then, The branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.
Rom 11:20 Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be high-minded, but fear.
Rom 11:21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, fear lest He also may not spare you either!

Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that you, the nations, in time past were in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 and that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off are made near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For He is our peace, He making us both one, and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us,
Eph 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, making peace between them;
Eph 2:16 and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself.
Eph 2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near.
Eph 2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,
Eph 2:20 and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
Eph 2:21 in whom every building having been fitly framed together, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord;
Eph 2:22 in whom you also are built together for a dwelling place of God through the Spirit.

So, if we are grafted in to the cultivated tree, and adopted into the Commonwealth of Israel, it is hard to hold on to the idea of a separate “church” and Israel.

Another belief system to look at is replacement theology. This is where the “church” was said to have replaced Israel. It was a popular Middle Ages theology that you can read about. The scriptures we just looked at clearly state, we that are from the nations can be grafted into Israel, the cultivated tree, not start a new tree.

Covenant theology is another belief system competing with dispensational theology. Unlike dispensational theology, Covenant theology does not separate the “church” and Israel, much like Commonwealth theology, yet it is still distinct.

James, the half brother of Jesus, (whose real name is Jacob), understood the balance between faith and works. This is one of the main points all of the various theologies are trying to define.

Jas 2:14 My brothers, what profit is it if a man says he has faith and does not have works? Can faith save him?
Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
Jas 2:16 and if one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, but you do not give them those things which are needful to the body, what good is it?
Jas 2:17 Even so, if it does not have works, faith is dead, being by itself.
Jas 2:18 But someone will say, You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith from my works.

Lev 25:35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.
Lev 25:36 Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee.

Paul spends a lot of his time trying to explain works without faith is worthless. Yet many twist Paul’s explanations into a lawless gospel, just as Peter warned us.

2Pe 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
2Pe 3:15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
2Pe 3:16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
2Pe 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Both Paul and James knew that we are justified through faith in Jesus with the fruits of our faith being demonstrated in our obedience to the commandments of God, יהוה.

1Jn 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

There is a lot of material explaining all these forms of theology readily available. I recommend figuring out which you are a part of, (hint: probably dispensationalism), and learning what it is all about. Once you realize there are other methods to interpret the Bible, you can compare these theologies, asking God, יהוה, to help you understand which one best represents scripture.

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