We are living in the days of restoration. God has been actively engaged in restoring the kingdom back to Israel. God has been busily at work in this restoration process since the global exile. In fact, we are experiencing biblical prophecies of the restoration becoming a reality all around us every day. For example, in his second sermon in the book of Acts, Shi’mon Petros (Peter) Peter spoke about the days in which we are living. In Acts 3, we read about a wondrous miracle that God used Shi’mon Petros (Peter) to perform, he healed the man who had been lame since birth lying by one of the Temple gates as the two disciples were going to the Jerusalem Temple to pray. When the man asked him and Yochanan (John) the disciple for alms, he told him,
Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I unto you: In the name of Jesus Christ of
Nazareth rise up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. (Acts 3: 6-9)
Turning to the crowd that had formed around them, after seeing the miracle that had been performed by them, Shi’mon Petros (Peter) turned to them and during this sermon, he said to them,
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: WHOM THE HEAVEN MUST RECEIVED UNTIL THE TIMES OF RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3: 19-21)
In this passage, Shi’mon Petros (Peter) gives us an important and critical clue in this second sermon. He tells us that Yeshua (Jesus) will be there “in heaven UNTIL…The word “UNTIL” indicates an ending point when Yeshua (Jesus) will stop being in heaven and return to the earth to set up and establish His promised Kingdom. But what does he mean by “the times of restitution of all things”? The word “restitution” comes from the Greek word apokatastasis [G605], which was derived from a verb meaning “to restore,” “to reconstitute,” “to put back into a former state.” So what is being “restored” to its “original state”? Shi’mon Petros (Peter), through the word of the Lord was speaking to the Jewish people who was there in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, so this provokes the question, “Have we been witnessing God ‘restoring’ Israel and the Jewish people back to their ‘original state’?”
The Whole Gospel – “What Was It”?
What was the “Whole Gospel”? It may surprise – even shock – many people to hear that “the gospel” that has been preached by Christianity since the end of the first century, C.E., is NOT the “whole gospel,” but instead, the “whole gospel” is comprised of the “original gospel” plus what has become known as the “Christian gospel.” Traditionally, the “Christian gospel” is something that was later added by Yeshua (Jesus) to His disciples near the end of His life and ministry to prepare them for what they were about to experience in Jerusalem during the Passover feast.
The “original gospel” was a message that excited the masses of Jews – the men, women, and children; rich and poor; slave and free; and people of all backgrounds, and they excitedly came to hear the message. It was not the same message that we have heard from Christians since the end of the first century, C.E., but it was a message that was proclaimed by Torah-observant Jews to other Jews in Israel, the land of the Jews, about things that were dear and close to the Jewish heart. It was a message that was first proclaimed to Abraham, and then passed on to Isaac, to Jacob, and then to the people and nation of Israel and the “mixed multitude” of Gentiles [non-Jews] who came out with them during the Exodus [Exodus 12:38]. This message continued to be developed during the Judges and Kings, and then further defined and elaborated upon by the ancient Hebrew prophets.
What we see in the “New Testament” is a continuation of the romantic epic, seen in the writings of the Prophets, between ADONAI, the Holy One of Israel, the “Perfect Groom,” and His one and only Bride, Israel. The “Original Gospel” – as I will show and prove from the Scriptures – that Yeshua (Jesus) had been sent by God to proclaim all over the land of Israel was NOT about “His death, burial, and resurrection,” but it was about “the redemption and restoration of Israel.” His “death, burial, and resurrection” was not just for the purpose of the forgiveness of sins, but it was done for other reasons as well, including providing the basis for “the redemption and restoration of Israel.”
The Calling for Fishermen?
Many people do not realize that the “original gospel” was about “the redemption and restoration of Israel.” For example, in prophesying about the coming restoration, the prophet Jeremiah prophesies:
“Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and
they will fish for them;….” (Jeremiah 6:16a)
Here Jeremiah says that the restoration with begin with God “fishing” for His people, and in the Gospels, Yeshua (Jesus) begins by calling “fishermen” to be His disciples in fulfillment to this prophecy of Jeremiah. And what is it that Yeshua (Jesus) tells these early disciples?
Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And they immediately left
the nets and followed Him. And going on from there He saw two other
brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother, in the boat with
Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they
immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him. (Matthew 4: 19
His statement, “and I will make you fishers of men,” is again in keeping with Jeremiah’s prophecy. Again, this prophecy deals with the “redemption and restoration of Israel.” Not only do we have this prophecy of Jeremiah’s, but the prophetic context for both the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus) in Isaiah 53 and the “new covenant” in Jeremiah 31 are “the redemption and restoration of Israel.” For example, consider the following:
Prophecy about Israel’s Restoration (Jeremiah 30:1 – 31:30)
The Prophecy of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Prophecy about Israel’s Restoration (Jeremiah 31:35 – 32:15)
Prophecy of Israel’s Restoration (Isaiah 51:1 – 52: 12)
The Prophecy of the Suffering Servant, i.e., the cross (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)
Prophecy of Israel’s Restoration (Isaiah 53:1-17)
Both of these prophecies are given in the context of Israel’s redemption and restoration. Consequently, to teach these prophecies apart from their original context is to take them out of context, and anytime you take anything out of its original context, you open the doorway wide to misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and error.
The Prophecy of the New Covenant
“Covenant” or “Testament”?
The word translated as “Testament” comes from the Latin word, testamentum, which can mean either “Covenant” or “Testament.” testamentum is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word, diatheke [G1242], which is seen and used in the New Testament in the original Greek language that was used to write much of the New Testament writings, except maybe Matthew and the book of Hebrews. The Greek word diatheke [G1242] is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word, b’rit [H1285], which means “covenant,” but it does not include the meaning of “testament” at all. Therefore, since the prophecy of the “New Covenant” was originally given in Hebrew, the word should be translated as “New Covenant” – not “New Testament.”
There is only one passage in the “New Covenant Scriptures” in which the Greek word diatheke [G1242] should be translated as “testament,” but all other references should be translated as “covenant.” That one passage is in the book of Hebrews:
For where a testament [G1242] is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament [G1242] is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives. (Hebrews 9:16-17)
As we can see in this passage, the translation of “testament” [G1242] is appropriate, but since the writer of Hebrew uses the Greek meaning of the word “testament” [Gk. diatheke; G1242] here, rather than the Hebrew concept of “covenant” [H1285], I do not believe it was Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) who wrote this book, but it was probably a Hellenized Jew who wrote it – which Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) was not. Also, the book does not follow Sha’ul Paulus’ (Paul’s) common format that he follows for all of the rest of his writings. This again makes me think that it was written by someone else. However, whoever wrote they had an intimate knowledge of the Temple and how it worked.
Why was the New Covenant Given?
The “New Covenant” was not given to “replace,” “annul,” “do away with,” “set aside,” or even to “supersede” the Ten Commandments of God. Instead, its purpose is to “internalize” those same Ten Commandments. For example, in the prophecy given in the book of Jeremiah, we read,
Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,…” (Jeremiah 31:31).
Contrary to what I have heard Christian ministers say, the “New Covenant” was not made with the whole world, but it was made with the two kingdoms of Israel: the “northern kingdom of Israel” (the house of Israel) and the “southern kingdom of Judah” (the house of Judah). It then continues,
…not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a Husband to them,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:32)
This covenant was written on two stone tablets, and as such it was an outward motivator; whereas, the difference between the “Old Covenant/Testament” and the “New Covenant/Testament” is not one of content, nor who wrote it, since they were both written by the Holy Spirit – but PLACEMENT, as we will learn in the next verse.
But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law [Heb. Torah] within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will their God, and they shall be My people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
Here we can see that the “new covenant” is to have the Ten Commandments – God’s covenant – written on the inside of us. It is written by God (the Holy Spirit) on our “guts” and on our heart,” and once it has been internalized within us, God says that “I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Therefore, how can Christians claim to be “New Covenant believers” and not have any relationship to God’s laws and commandments? Obviously, these are not people who understand the biblical use of the term “New Covenant.” In the final verse of this prophecy, we read,
And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know the LORD,” for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34)
Obviously, from this verse, we can see once the “new covenant” has fully come that evangelism will no longer be necessary. Why not? Because, it says, “for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” But this is not the case. There are a large number of people around the world who do not “know the LORD;” therefore, although the process of the New Covenant/Testament began almost two thousand years ago, the process of the “new covenant/testament” continues, even to this day.
However, the problem is that the “New Covenant/Testament” has not been properly taught by Christians. It has been used by them to “divide” the Bible up into two parts, and it has been taken out of its original context to mean something that it does not mean. If we look at the following examples within their proper contexts, we can see that the “new covenant/ testament” is a tool that God is prophesied to use to bring about “the redemption and restoration of Israel.”
The Suffering Servant Prophecy of Isaiah 53
Just like the prophecy of the “New Covenant/Testament,” the famous “Suffering Servant Prophecy” in Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, is also sandwiched between two prophecies that deal with Israel’s redemption and restoration. Therefore, the suffering of the Messiah and the healing from sicknesses and disease are all part of Israel’s redemption and restoration.
Consequently, in both cases, the prophecies for the “new covenant” and the “death of the Messiah for sin” are both given within the prophetic context of “the redemption and restoration of Israel;” therefore, to properly understand these two prophecies, you need to place them back in their original prophetic contexts, interpret and understand them within that context, and then bring their meanings forward to our day and time to see how they can be applied. But this is not how these two texts have been handled. Instead, they have been removed from their original context, placed into the foreign context of another religion, called “Christianity,” and then applied in whatever way the religious leader has desired. This has only opened the doorway wide to misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and error.
The “Christian” Gospel – A Later Addition?
What has become known as the “Christian gospel” was taught to the disciples by Yeshua (Jesus) Himself a matter of weeks before Yeshua’s (Jesus’) arrest, trials, death, burial, and resurrection. According to the Gospel of Matthew, Yeshua (Jesus) took His disciples to Caesarea Philippi before making their way to Jerusalem. While he was there, He asked them the question, “Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” (Matthew 16:15) After Shi’mon Petros (Peter) gave his renown response, “You are the Messiah [aka, Christ], the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) After blessing Shi’mon Petros (Peter) for his response, including giving him “the keys of the kingdom” (Matthew 16:17-19), we read,
From that time Jesus Christ [Heb. Yeshua HaMoshiach] BEGAN to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised on the third day” (Matthew 16:21; emphasis added).
Here is the message that Christianity has traditionally identified as “the gospel.” However, the disciple Matthew makes it explicitly clear that it was beginning with this event in Caesarea Philippi that Yeshua (Jesus) BEGAN to teach and show them about the events that Christians call “the gospel”: His death and resurrection on the third day. However, because He BEGAN to show them this part of the message only a few weeks before it happened, then it was NOT part of the “original message” that they had been proclaiming all over Israel.
And even after the resurrection, they still did not see this portion of the message as being the main focus of what they had been preaching. For example, in Acts 1, Yeshua (Jesus) is still teaching them about the gospel, and then they ask Him in response:
Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)
‘Contrary to what I have heard ministers say, they did not misunderstand the concept; instead, they apparently saw His death, burial, and resurrection as an interruption to the message of “the redemption and restoration of Israel” that they had been preaching, and now that it was over, they were wondering if He was going to fulfill what they had been preaching “AT THAT TIME” [emphasis added]. Although the process would soon begin, it would not happen all at once – as many people, including them – thought, but it has slowly happened – and continues to happen – even today.
The Prophetic Warning?
For I know this, that after my departing [departure] shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away with disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20: 29-31)
In this passage Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) is warning them of what he “knows” is going to happen after his “departure” [death], but what he saw the ones who would bring about this change. There were two groups: one group was comprised of “grievous wolves” who would “enter in among you,” who would [destroy] “the flock” since he says that they would “not [spare] the flock.” The other group would be comprised of men who came from the group Sha’ul Paulus (Paul) was addressing [Gentile (non-Jewish) leaders] since he says “of your own selves shall men arise,” and they would “[speak] perverse things,” things not in line with the Scriptures to gain tor themselves a following since he describes their motive as “to draw away disciples after them.” He concludes this warning by saying “watch, and [continue to] remember” since the Greek verb that’s translated “remember” is a present participle tense, which refers to “repeating” or “continuous action.” And how long did he warn the Gentile [non-Jewish] congregations that this coming? He said that it was “by the space of three years I ceased not to every night and day with tears.”
And what was this cataclysmic event that happened only two-to-four years after his death? It was the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple in 70 C.E. According to Chaim Potok’s book, Wanderings: Chaim Potok’s History of the Jews (1978), there were four Roman legions and their auxiliaries, numbering about 80,000 soldiers, who were being led by the Roman Emperor Vespasian’s eldest son, Titus, the general of these forces (293). Furthermore, Potok goes on to continue the destruction as the following:
The Romans did not make the error of Antiochus IV. They took the rebellion of the Jews seriously, prepared patiently to crush it, and marched with ponderous care from one strategic point to another, subduing the land….The walls of the city were breached by May 30. The Romans built a siege wall around the city in the first days of July to starve out the remaining defenders. The city became a horror of famine and death. The dead were thrown over the wall into the valleys below and lay unburied….On August 6 the daily sacrifice ceased in the temple. It had been offered every morning for more than five hundred years save [except] for the period of Syrian persecution when an abomination had occupied the Holy of Holies….In the middle of August the porticoes of the temple was penetrated by legionaries. The temple continued to burn. It took another month of fighting before the remainder of the city was captured. Titus ordered all the surviving population taken captive. The city was leveled house by house. Titus returned to Rome was given a triumph – a victory procession accorded a Roman commander who had slain more than five thousand enemy soldiers and brought back booty and captives who would become slaves or augment the reservoir of victims for the games. (Potok 292 – 294)
“Sopersessionism” or “Replacement Theology”
As a result of this destruction, many of the Gentile [non-Jewish] believers interpreted it as a sign from God that He had turned His back on Israel and the Jewish people, including the Jewish disciples of Yeshua (Jesus). They began to see themselves as the “New Israel,” the “New People of God,” and they began to believe that they would receive all of the blessings of God, while the Jews only would receive the curses. This belief is called “Supersessionism” or “Replacement Theology,” and it has led to more Jewish and Christian deaths than any other religious doctrine in history. And to further reconfirm and support this new accepted belief of their superiority over Israel, they began to teach that the “New Testament” has “replaced,” “annulled,” “did away with,” “set aside” and even “superseded” the Hebrew Bible (aka, “Old Testament”).
Textual evidence of this can be seen in the writings of Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch. For example, in the book, The Apostolic Fathers, translated by J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer (1989), in his letter “To the Magnesians,” Ignatius wrote,
For if we continue to live in accordance with Judaism, we admit that we have not received grace. (95)
It is utterly absurd to profess Jesus Christ and to practice Judaism. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity, in which “every tongue” believed and “was brought together” to God. (96)
His writings are dated sometime between 98 – 117 C.E., so this is somewhere between 28- 47 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. By this time, we can see that the “Supersessionistic” beliefs, or “Replacement Theology,” is being practiced by many of the Christians. There are some who still hold on to Judaism, but it is due to this that we have such comments by Ignatius.
The Restoration – Since the 1880s?
Although God has continued to work with both Jews and Christians in calling them both back to Himself, since they have both gotten away from “the way of the LORD” which He describes in His Word, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, we can see from the late 1800’s God has begun the process to restore the world, including Israel, back to a modern view of what it was like during the first century. For example, although Yeshua (Jesus) began the process of the restoration with the calling of fishermen, Jeremiah’s prophecy fits more in this modern period: “the fishermen” were the Zionists, and then “the hunters” would be the Natzi’s. For example,
Behold, I am going to send for many “fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards, I shall send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and from the clefts of the rocks.” (Jeremiah 6:16)
In the following are some of the major examples of God’s restoration activity that has been going on since the 1880s:
|Among the Jewish People||Among Christians|
|In 1881, the birth of the Hibbat Zion Movement. Also, the first group of Jews immigrated to Israel.||“Latter Rain Movement” with Richard G. Spurling, Sr.|
|In 1882, Leon Pinsker published his book, Auto-Emancipation.||In 1892, Richard Spurling, Jr., held a revival in his Baptist church during which some of the members spoke in tongues.|
|In Jan. 1895, Theodore Herzl began to teach Zionism,||In 1895, B.H. Irwin teaches a “third blessing” – “baptism of fire” and splits the Iowa Holiness Movement.|
|On Feb. 14, 1896, Theodore Herzl published his book, Der Judenstaat (“The Jewish State”)||In the Spring 1896, there was the Schearer Schoolhouse Fire-Baptized Holiness Revival experiences speaking in tongues.|
|From August 29-31, 1897, the First Zionist Congress was held, which establishes the World Zionist Organization.||In 1901, there was the Topeka Kansas Revival with Charles Parham. Again, during which they experienced speaking in tongues.|
|In 1904, there was the second wave of Jews that migrated back to the Promised Land.||From Apr. 1906-1909, there was the Azusa Street Revival. During which people again spoke in tongues.|
|In November 1947, the U.N. passed the resolution to allow the Jewish people to form the state of Israel. On May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was officially formed.||In 1946 – 1948, the Healing Latter Rain Movement happened, as well as the Evangelical Movement with Billy Sunday and Billy Graham began.|
|On June 7, 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed.||In 1962 – 1975, the Charismatic Movement was at its height.|
As we can see in this chart, God has been working with both groups since the 1880’s, and if we looked back further into history, we would see that He has been working with both groups all along. Therefore, the idea that God has had Israel and the Jewish people “on the back burner” while He has been working with only the “Christian church” is not true at all.
In the next chart, we will compare how God has been restoring the nation and people of Israel to a modern-day version of what they were like during the Second Temple period of the first century, C.E., when Yeshua (Jesus) came and was ministering here on earth.
|In the First Century||Today|
|Israel was a nation.||On May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation
|Jerusalem was under the control of the Jewish people.||On June 7, 1967, Jerusalem came under the control of the Jewish people.|
|There was a Temple in Jerusalem.||In 1987, the Temple Institute was formed and began researching and making everything that the Jewish people would need for the Third Temple, except for the actual building.|
|There was a Levitical Priesthood.||The Temple Institute have also selected, taught, and trained a Levitical Priesthood.|
|The Levitical Priesthood offered sacrifices and offerings in the Temple.||The Temple Institute has also been teaching and training the Levitical Priesthood to give sacrifices and offerings in the Temple, once it is built.|
|There was a Sanhedrin.||Israel a few years ago became ready to assemble a Sanhedrin, but they need someone to lead it.|
|Human slavery was widely practiced in the world.||Human Trafficking (aka, Human Slavery) has been widely happening in the world today.|
Along with all of these signs that God is actively involved in “restoring” things back to a modern version of what they were like in the first century, C.E., we also have the signs that Yeshua (Jesus) gave us of what these days would be like in Matthew 24. Therefore, it is obvious, then, that we are indeed living in that time period of “the restitution (restoration) of all things.”
But where do we find these signs of “the restitution of all things”? Shi’mon Petros (Peter) tells us in this second sermon, that they are in the writings of the ancient Prophets in the Hebrew Bible (aka, “Old Testament”), “As spoken by the ancient prophets,” and the greatest of these prophets would be Mosheh (Moses). This is the very part of the Bible where many are saying, “We are not under the ‘Old Testament.’ So don’t go back to that portion of the Bible for your values or belief.” But contrary to what these are saying, the Bible teaches us that the writings of the Prophets [which include Mosheh (Moses)] are part of our foundation upon which our faith is based. For example, in the book of Ephesians, we read,
Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints (the twelve tribes of Israel), and of the household of God; and are built UPON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES [the “New Testament”] AND THE PROPHETS [This would also include Moses; the “Old Testament”], Jesus Christ [Heb. Yeshua HaMoshiach] himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together grows unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom you also are built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19 – 22)
Here we can see that we are not supposed to be “New Testament believers” – but “whole Bible believers.” For if all we are doing is living by only what is in the “New Testament,” then we are only living by 40% of the revelation and instructions that God has given to us. For if we were to view the Bible like a movie, this would be like missing the first 60% of the film and then trying to figure out the whole film by only the last 40% of it, or if it was a videogame, it would be like trying to learn and understand the whole game by bypassing the first 60% of it, and then only experiencing and understanding the last 40% of the game.
We need to comprehensively understand the whole Bible – from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 – not just portions of it. This means as a “whole Bible believer” I am going to believe and teach that the whole Bible is for all people for all time, but unlike most Christians, I do not believe that any part of the Bible has been “fulfilled,” meaning that there is some part of the Bible that does pertain to all believers, whether they are Jewish or Gentile [non-Jewish] today. Am I saying that the Apostolic Fathers and the historic Christianity is wrong? When it comes to the Bible being “divided into two parts” – an “Old Testament” and a “New Testament” – which are “comprised of two distinctly different revelations from God,” then yes, they were wrong. Instead, the Bible should only be seen, instead, as one continuous revelation from God – not two, and we need to view the “New Testament” from the context and perspective of the Hebrew Bible (aka, “Old Testament”).
God gave us the whole Bible in the order of the Hebrew Bible – the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings – for a particular order. He does not just arbitrarily do anything, but He is extremely methodical about it. He then gave us the writings of the Apostles, not to “replace,” “annul,” “do away with,” “set aside,” or “supersede,” the previous scriptures, but to further define, build upon, develop, and further develop them. To teach us about Him, His Kingdom, and His plan to establish His Kingdom down here on earth, and central to that plan is His design and plans for Israel, His one and only Bride.
In the next part, I want to look at the textual evidence in the “New Testament” that there’s more to “the gospel” than “the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah” for sin as Christianity preaches. To properly understand “the gospel” and the rest of the “New Testament,” we need to understand it within the context and framework of the Hebrew Scriptures (aka, “Old Testament”).