Author & Finisher of Our Faith

Author and Finisher

SHORT VERSION

Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author {ἀρχηγός ‘archēgos”} and finisher {τελειωτής ‘teleiōtēs’} of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We are not to look to Abraham, Isaac or Jacob, we are not to look to Moses, David, or Elijah, we are not to look to first century Judaism to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered (Jude 1:3)…we are to look to Messiah Jesus, the Word of God made flesh.  The root of which we are to seek is not Hebrew, it is Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, the manifestation of God’s love.

Col 2:6  Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him,
Col 2:7  being rooted and being built up in Him, and being confirmed in the faith, even as you were taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Col 2:8  Watch that there not be one robbing you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ.

Eph 3:17  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
Eph 3:19  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Eph 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Eph 3:21  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Knowledge of the way in which believers worshiped in the 1st century is not as important as knowledge God (2 Peter 1:2), and the love of Messiah (Ephesians 3:19; 2 Peter 3:18) by His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:6; Romans 5:5; 8:2-4).

2Pe 1:2  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Eph 3:19  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Rom 5:5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Rom 8:3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Rom 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Messiah did not come to make mankind into 1st century Jews.  He came to redeem mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19) and remake them into His image (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:1-3).

2Co 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
1Jn 3:1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1Jn 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1Jn 3:3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Jesus is THE image of God  (Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Colossians 1:15-16) who is love (1 John 4:8).

Heb 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2Co 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Col 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Col 1:16  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

1Jn 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Much edification can be gained by studying believers of the 1st century (Job 8:8; 12:12; Deuteronomy 32:7; Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11), but one cannot come to the fullness of God’s will (Ephesians 3:19; 4:13; Colossians 2:9-10) by following man’s understanding of His will at that time.

Job 8:8  For enquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:
Job 12:12  With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.
Deu 32:7  Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.
Rom 15:4  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Eph 3:19  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Col 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Col 2:10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Paul, who had great understanding of religion during the 1st century, did not even claim to have attained the full knowledge of Messiah/the Word (Philippians 3:8-14).

Php 3:8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
Php 3:9  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Php 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Php 3:12  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Peter admonishes us to continue to grow in His grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).

2Pe 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Scripture declares that God has given various gifts and services to the body of Messiah that we might grow unto perfection (Ephesians 4:11-13).

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

If 1st century believers had attained unto God’s perfect will, there would be no need to grow.   James also said that we all stumble in many things (James 3:2).  This is not the language of one who believes that perfection had been attained.

Jas 3:2  For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

It is not walking as 1st century Jews which is God’s will for us.  It is walking in His love by His Spirit (1 John 4:12-17) as it is done in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:13  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1Jn 4:15  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Mat 6:10  Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

It is God working in us, through His Son (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21).

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Heb 13:21  Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

This cannot be done by submission unto man, this can only be done through submitting unto Him (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:14).

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1Pe 1:14  As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

This cannot be done by conforming oneself to man’s understanding (Romans 12:2), this can only be done by being conformed/transformed into the image of Messiah (Romans 8:29) through the work of God’s Spirit (Philippians 3:21).

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Php 3:21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:13  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

It is during the Second Temple times that the Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1) would be sent to Israel to reveal to them the true meaning and intent of the law, to lead them to bear fruit of the Spirit which is a sweet smelling odor to God (2 Corinthians 2:14-17; Ephesians 5:2).

Mal 3:1  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

2Co 2:14  Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2Co 2:15  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
2Co 2:16  To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
2Co 2:17  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
Eph 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

This fruit brings forth His smell or aroma which is His Word (Matthew 13:18-23; John 15:1-16; Psalm 1:1-3; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11).

Mat 13:18  Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
Mat 13:19  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
Mat 13:20  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
Mat 13:21  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
Mat 13:22  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
Mat 13:23  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Joh 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Joh 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Joh 15:6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Joh 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Joh 15:11  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Joh 15:12  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Joh 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Joh 15:14  Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Joh 15:15  Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Psa 1:1  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psa 1:2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa 1:3  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Php 1:11  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Scripture equates His Word with His Name (Revelation 19:13).  In Hebrew, the word for name is שם ‘shem’ which literally means the ‘aroma’ or breath of a person, their character.

Rev 19:13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

The Messenger of the Covenant who is sent to Israel is likened unto a refiner’s fire (Malachi 3:1-3).

Mal 3:1  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Mal 3:2  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
Mal 3:3  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.

John the Baptist, in the spirit of Elijah, was sent to prepare the way for this Messenger and to warn of His fire (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 3:1-12; 11:13-14; 17:10-13; Luke 1:17; John 1:21-23).

Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mat 3:1  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
Mat 3:2  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Mat 3:4  And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
Mat 3:5  Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
Mat 3:6  And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
Mat 3:7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Mat 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Mat 3:9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Mat 11:13  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Mat 11:14  And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Mat 17:10  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Mat 17:11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Mat 17:12  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
Mat 17:13  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.
Luk 1:17  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Joh 1:21  And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
Joh 1:22  Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
Joh 1:23  He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

John the Baptist came with the ‘Elijah Message‘ which consists in part of teaching who true Israel is, those redeemed through Messiah by His grace (Matthew 3:9-12; Romans 11:1-5).

Mat 3:9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Rom 11:1  I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Rom 11:2  God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
Rom 11:3  Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.
Rom 11:4  But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.
Rom 11:5  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

The fruit which Israel was called to produce was the ‘goodly’ fruit of His Word (Jeremiah 11:16).

Jer 11:16  The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.

However, Israel did not produce this fruit but brought forth wicked fruit (Jeremiah 24:2-8).

Jer 24:2  One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
Jer 24:3  Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil.
Jer 24:4  Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Jer 24:5  Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.
Jer 24:6  For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.
Jer 24:7  And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
Jer 24:8  And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus saith the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:

As a result, God brought fire upon this olive tree, breaking off the branches thereof (Jeremiah 11:16-17).

Jer 11:16  The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
Jer 11:17  For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

The Hebrew word for ‘goodly’ in Jeremiah 11:16 is תאר ‘toar’ which means a shape, form, outline or figure of a thing.   תאר ‘toar’ is a cognate of the word תורה ‘torah’ which literally means instruction which defines the border of a people or the ‘image’ of a people. תורה ‘torah’ is most commonly translated as ‘law.’  Here we see that Israel was to produce the fruit of His Law which would bring forth His image to the world.  His Image is that of love (1John 4:8, 16; Matthew 22:35-40).

1Jn 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Mat 22:35  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Mat 22:36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Mat 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38  This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Israel did not bring forth this image of love (Luke 7:36-47; 10:27-37; 18:9-14).

Luk 7:36  And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
Luk 7:37  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
Luk 7:38  And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Luk 7:39  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
Luk 7:40  And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
Luk 7:41  There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
Luk 7:42  And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Luk 7:43  Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
Luk 7:44  And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Luk 7:45  Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
Luk 7:46  My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Luk 7:47  Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Luk 10:27  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Luk 10:28  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Luk 10:29  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
Luk 10:30  And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Luk 10:31  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:32  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:33  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
Luk 10:34  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Luk 10:35  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Luk 10:36  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
Luk 10:37  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Luk 18:9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luk 18:10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luk 18:11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luk 18:12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luk 18:14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Although they were zealous for the law (Acts 21:20; 22:3), in their zealousness they corrupted its true meaning (Romans 10:2).

Act 21:20  And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:
Act 22:3  I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

Rom 10:1  Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
Rom 10:2  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

They were outwardly religious, yet inwardly full of wickedness (Luke 11:39; 16:15; 20:47; Matthew 6:2-5, 16; 23:5, 25-27).

Luk 11:39  And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
Luk 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Luk 20:47  Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.
Mat 6:2  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:3  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
Mat 6:4  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Mat 6:5  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 23:5  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Mat 23:25  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Mat 23:26  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Mat 23:27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

They separated themselves from the peoples of the world, declaring anyone who didn’t worship God according to their traditions was an unclean heathen (John 4:9; 8:48; Acts 10:28).

Joh 4:9  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Joh 8:48  Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
Act 10:28  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

When they did ‘preach’ to the nations, they turned proselytes into children of hell (Matthew 23:15), children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) who hated others as they did (John 4:9; 8:48; 15:25).

Mat 23:15  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Joh 4:9  Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Joh 8:48  Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?
Joh 15:25  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

By their traditions they had put up a dividing wall between themselves and others (Acts 21:28; Ephesians 2:14-15), preventing them from drawing nearer to God (Luke 11:52) as Israel was to be the custodians of His Word (Romans 3:2; John 4:22) which reveals His nature to mankind.

Act 21:28  Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
Eph 2:14  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Eph 2:15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Luk 11:52  Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Rom 3:2  Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.
Joh 4:22  Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

It was their traditions which corrupted the Word of God (Matthew 15:2-9; Mark 7:3-13; Colossians 2:8) and perverted the message of His love to mankind, which led Jesus Christ to declare them as lawless (Matthew 23:28; John 7:19).

Mat 15:1  Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
Mat 15:2  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
Mat 15:3  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
Mat 15:4  For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
Mat 15:5  But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
Mat 15:6  And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Mat 15:7  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
Mat 15:8  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Mat 15:9  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mar 7:3  For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
Mar 7:4  And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
Mar 7:5  Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
Mar 7:6  He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mar 7:7  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Mar 7:8  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
Mar 7:9  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Mar 7:10  For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
Mar 7:11  But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
Mar 7:12  And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
Mar 7:13  Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Col 2:8  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Mat 23:28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Joh 7:19  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

It is because of this lack of love (Matthew 5:22; John 15:25) that the Lord was sent to Israel to separate the good trees from the bad (Malachi 3:2-3; 4:1; Matthew 3:10-12; Luke 3:9; John 15:2).

Mat 5:22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Joh 15:25  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

Mal 3:2  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
Mal 3:3  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Mal 4:1  For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
Mat 3:10  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Mat 3:11  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
Luk 3:9  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

The inheritance was taken away from the bad trees and given to a nation that would produce the fruit of love which the Lord desires (Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; 1 Peter 2:4-9; Galatians 3:1-29).

Mat 21:33  Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
Mat 21:34  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
Mat 21:35  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Mat 21:36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
Mat 21:37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
Mat 21:38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
Mat 21:39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
Mat 21:40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
Mat 21:41  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Mat 21:42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Mat 21:43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Mat 21:44  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Mat 21:45  And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
Mat 21:46  But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Mar 12:1  And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
Mar 12:2  And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
Mar 12:3  And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
Mar 12:4  And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
Mar 12:5  And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
Mar 12:6  Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
Mar 12:7  But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
Mar 12:8  And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
Mar 12:9  What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.
Mar 12:10  And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
Mar 12:11  This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Mar 12:12  And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
1Pe 2:4  To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1Pe 2:5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1Pe 2:6  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1Pe 2:7  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1Pe 2:8  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1Pe 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Gal 3:1  O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Gal 3:2  This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:3  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Gal 3:4  Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
Gal 3:5  He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:6  Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
Gal 3:7  Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
Gal 3:8  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Gal 3:9  So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
Gal 3:11  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Gal 3:12  And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
Gal 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
Gal 3:14  That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Gal 3:15  Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.
Gal 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:17  And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Gal 3:18  For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Gal 3:19  Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Gal 3:20  Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.
Gal 3:21  Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.
Gal 3:22  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23  But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
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.

Believers in Messiah became a ‘reformed’ Olive tree and were given the call to abide in Him (Hebrews 3:1-6), being formed into His image (Philippians 3:14-15; Ephesians 1:1-6; 1:17-23), bearing forth His fruit (2 Peter 1:5-9), called to bring forth God’s Gospel of love to the world (2 Timothy 1:9-11), revealing His image (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).

Heb 3:1  Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
Heb 3:2  Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
Heb 3:3  For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
Heb 3:4  For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
Heb 3:5  And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
Heb 3:6  But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Eph 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Eph 1:2  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph 1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
Eph 1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Eph 1:20  Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
Eph 1:22  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

2Pe 1:5  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2Pe 1:6  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2Pe 1:7  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
2Pe 1:8  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9  But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2Ti 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
2Ti 1:11  Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

2Th 1:11  Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
2Th 1:12  That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Greek word for ‘calling is κλῆσις ‘klēsis’ which is used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word קרא ‘qara’ which is associated with manifesting God’s name/image on earth.

The religious leaders of Israel during the days of King Herod were zealous for the law, but this zealousness was not mixed with the true intent of the law which is faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

1Co 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

As a result, God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way for the Messiah (Matthew 3:1,3; 11:10; Luke 3:4; 7:27).

Mat 3:1  In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
Mat 3:2  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Mat 11:10  For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Luk 3:4  As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Luk 7:27  This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

The message of John the Baptist and the Messiah was one of restoration (Malachi 3:3-4; 4:5-6; Matthew 17:11-12; Mark 9:11-13).

Mal 3:3  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Mal 3:4  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal 4:6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Mat 17:11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Mat 17:12  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
Mar 9:11  And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Mar 9:12  And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
Mar 9:13  But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

Restoration to the true meaning and intent of the Word of God (Luke 1:68-79; 3:3-18).

Luk 1:68  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
Luk 1:69  And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
Luk 1:70  As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
Luk 1:71  That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
Luk 1:72  To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
Luk 1:73  The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
Luk 1:74  That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
Luk 1:75  In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
Luk 1:76  And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
Luk 1:77  To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Luk 1:78  Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
Luk 1:79  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luk 3:3  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Luk 3:4  As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Luk 3:5  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
Luk 3:6  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Luk 3:7  Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luk 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Luk 3:9  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Luk 3:10  And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
Luk 3:11  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Luk 3:12  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
Luk 3:13  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
Luk 3:14  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Luk 3:15  And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Luk 3:16  John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Luk 3:17  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Luk 3:18  And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

The religious leaders of Israel had inherited a zealousness for the law from the Maccabees and saw their religion as that which defined them (1 Maccabees 2:19; 2 Maccabees 8:1; 14:38).

1Ma 2:19  Then Mattathias answered and spake with a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the king’s dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments:
2Ma 8:1  Then Judas Maccabeus, and they that were with him, went privily into the towns, and called their kinsfolks together, and took unto them all such as continued in the Jews’ religion, and assembled about six thousand men.
2Ma 14:38  For in the former times, when they mingled not themselves with the Gentiles, he had been accused of Judaism, and did boldly jeopard his body and life with all vehemency for the religion of the Jews.

The message of John the Baptist and Messiah Jesus was not that of religion, but of relationship with God through covenant (Acts 5:20; Luke 3:8; 13:25-29; Matthew 7:21-23; 18:3; 21:31; Luke 6:46).

Act 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
Luk 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Luk 13:25  When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
Luk 13:26  Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
Luk 13:27  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Luk 13:28  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
Luk 13:29  And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
Mat 7:21  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Mat 18:3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 21:31  Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Luk 6:45  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Luk 6:46  And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Sadly, many today are falling into the same trap as the religious leaders of Israel in the 1st century.  They are defining themselves, not by their relationship with God through Messiah, but are defining themselves based upon their adherence or knowledge to movements/denominations and doctrine.

We are called to be unified in Messiah who is love (Colossians 3:14; 1 Corinthians 13:9-13; Romans 13:10; 1 John 4:10, 12, 16; 5:3) not divided into carnal cliques based upon one’s ability to conform to doctrine (1 Corinthians 3:3-4; Jude 1:19; Philippians 2:3; Galatians 5:19-20).

Col 3:14  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
1Co 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1Co 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1Co 13:11  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
1Co 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1Co 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Rom 13:10  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
1Jn 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:13  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1Jn 4:15  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
Jud 1:19  These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

Php 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Gal 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Gal 5:20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

Those who walk in this manner cannot please God (Romans 8:6-8).

Rom 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Rom 8:7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Rom 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Messiah is not divided (1 Corinthians 1:12-13), His body is to be unified (John 17:11, 21-22; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 6:15-17; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 4:5; Philippians 1:27; 2:2).

1Co 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Co 1:13  Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Joh 17:11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
Joh 17:21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Rom 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
1Co 6:15  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1Co 6:16  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
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.
Eph 4:5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 2:2  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Zealousness for God’s truth is great (Revelation 3:19; Titus 2:14), but we must be careful that this zealousness does not turn into carnal envy (1 Corinthians 3:3).

Rev 3:19  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Tit 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1Co 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Although we have been given God’s Spirit, we still have sin dwelling in our carnal flesh (Romans 7:11, 17-18).

Rom 7:11  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

Carnality is carnality whether or not it is disguised as religion or not.  Sadly, many times our zealousness for God can be used by satan to lead us into persecution of one another in the guise of religious zeal (Acts 22:3-4; Philippians 3:6; Romans 10:2-4).

Act 22:3  I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
Act 22:4  And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
Php 3:6  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Rom 10:2  For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
Rom 10:3  For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Rom 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

This religious ‘passion’ does not bring forth the righteousness of God (James 1:20).

Jas 1:20  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

It is ‘devilish’ (James 3:13-18).

Jas 3:13  Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Jas 3:14  But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
Jas 3:15  This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
Jas 3:16  For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Jas 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Jas 3:18  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

The love of God does not behave in this manner for love ‘envies’ not (1 Corinthians 13:4).

1Co 13:4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

The religion which was set up by the leaders of Israel during 2nd Temple times became known as the tradition of the elders (Matthew 15:3), a set of guidelines which the nation was to follow.

Mat 15:3  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

In and of itself this is not a negative thing but the problem is that the people exalted their traditions above the Word of God.  As a result, this religiosity became in reality, lawlessness (John 7:19; Matthew 23:28; Galatians 6:13).

Joh 7:19  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
Mat 23:28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Gal 6:13  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

The religious leaders of the second Temple were outwardly religious but inwardly were full of lawlessness (Luke 11:39; 16:15; 20:47; Matthew 6:2-5, 16; 23:5, 25-27; John 7:19; Matthew 23:28; Galatians 6:13).

Luk 11:39  And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.
Luk 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Luk 20:47  Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.
Mat 6:2  Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:3  But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
Mat 6:4  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Mat 6:5  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 6:16  Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Mat 23:5  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Mat 23:25  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Mat 23:26  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Mat 23:27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
Mat 23:28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Joh 7:19  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
Gal 6:13  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

Ultimately, this led to their destruction (John 15:25).

Joh 15:25  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

Sadly, this same thing religious spirit is seen in many religious believers today.  We who have been given a taste of heaven, ought not act in such a manner (Hebrews 6:4).

Heb 6:4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

We should be bearing the fruit of love and mercy and forgiveness (John 15:1-10; Galatians 5:22-23; Philippians 1:11), not the thorns and briars of hatred and condemnation (Hebrews 6:8; Luke 13:7-9).

Joh 15:1  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Joh 15:3  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
Joh 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
Joh 15:6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Joh 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Joh 15:9  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
Joh 15:10  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Gal 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Php 1:11  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Heb 6:8  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
Luk 13:7  Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
Luk 13:8  And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
Luk 13:9  And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

The LORD is the God of all, who loves all (John 3:16) and desires that all come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4) through Jesus who is the revelation of His name/memorial/character/image.

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
1Ti 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1Ti 2:5  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

The message of Jesus is universal.  It transcends religions, ethnic or cultural barriers.  It is a message of love and reconciliation back to God, the message of victory over death which entered into the world when Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:45-48; 55-56).

Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Rom 5:13  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Rom 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Rom 5:15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Rom 5:16  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Rom 5:17  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Rom 5:18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Rom 5:19  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Rom 5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Rom 5:21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
1Co 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
1Co 15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
1Co 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1Co 15:51  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Co 15:52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Co 15:53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1Co 15:54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Co 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

This message of forgiveness and restoration is not just for Israel, but whosoever shall believe in the Lord Jesus.

John 3:15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Jesus did not play religion.  He reached out the sick, the blind, the deaf, the adulterer, the sinner and the tax-collector.  Those who knew they needed Him (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 9:11).

Mat 9:12  But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Mar 2:17  When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luk 9:11  And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.

Those who saw how helpless they were without Him.  This is what true religion is (James 1:26-27; Proverbs 21:3; Isaiah 1:17; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8; Matthew 9:13; Mark 12:33).

Jas 1:26  If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Jas 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Pro 21:3  To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
Isa 1:17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Hos 6:6  For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Mat 9:13  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Mar 12:33  And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Not doctrine, but acts of love towards one another (John 13:35; 1 John 3:17; 4:12, 20-21).

Joh 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1Jn 3:17  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:20  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1Jn 4:21  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

The true intent of the Torah/Word of God is not to make men religious but to reform men into the image of God who is love (1 John 4:8).

1Jn 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

It is this love that unites us and perfects us.  It is the bond of perfection (Colossians 3:14) which sets man free (Galatians 5:13-14).

Col 3:14  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Gal 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Gal 5:14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

This love is not intended only for a certain group of religious people, but for all mankind.  Scripture declares that in the Messiah shall the ‘gentiles/nations trust’ (Matthew 12:21; Romans 15:8-12; Isaiah 11:10).

Mat 12:21  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
Rom 15:8  Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
Rom 15:9  And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
Rom 15:10  And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.
Rom 15:11  And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
Rom 15:12  And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
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.

For Jesus is the true Light which enlightens every man (John 1:9; 12:44-46; Isaiah 49:6), sent to restore ALL of mankind back to God (Isaiah 45:22; Romans 3:29; John 1:12; 3:15-17).

Joh 1:9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Joh 12:44  Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.
Joh 12:45  And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.
Joh 12:46  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
Isa 49:6  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Isa 45:22  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
Rom 3:29  Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
Joh 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:
Joh 3:15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

This concept of love is found in every religion, it is the commonality which points back to Jesus who is the epitome of God’s love (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-16).

Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
1Jn 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jn 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jn 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jn 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:13  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1Jn 4:15  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

It is not doctrine or knowledge of 1st century Judaism which leads others to the truth.  It is the love of God within us.  ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory‘ (Colossians 1:27).

Col 1:27  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Colossians 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Colossians 3:11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:12  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Colossians 3:13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Colossians 3:14  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Colossians 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Colossians 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Colossians 3:17  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Scripture declares that love of one’s fellow man is equated with love of God (1 John 4:11-12, 20-21) and is the fulfillment and purpose of His Word (Matthew 22:39-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 6:2).

1Jn 4:11  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:20  If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
1Jn 4:21  And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Mat 22:39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Rom 13:8  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Rom 13:9  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Rom 13:10  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Gal 6:2  Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

It does not say love of one’s fellow religious counterpart, but of one’s fellow MAN (Galatians 6:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 3 John 1:11), even our enemies (Luke 6:35).

Gal 6:10  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
1Th 5:15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
3Jn 1:11  Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

Luk 6:35  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Jesus brought change to Israel.  The bringing about of the New Covenant through the Messiah was based upon change (Hebrews 1:1-2; 7:12).

Heb 1:1  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Heb 7:12  For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.

A change from the first covenant to a new and better covenant between God and man (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 7:19-22; 8:6-13; 10:1-20; 12:24).

Jer 31:31  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer 31:32  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer 31:33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jer 31:34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Heb 7:19  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Heb 7:20  And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
Heb 7:21  (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
Heb 7:22  By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Heb 8:6  But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Heb 8:7  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
Heb 8:8  For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Heb 8:9  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 continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
Heb 8:10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
Heb 8:11  And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
Heb 8:12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
Heb 8:13  In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Heb 10:1  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Heb 10:2  For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
Heb 10:3  But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
Heb 10:4  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Heb 10:5  Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
Heb 10:6  In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
Heb 10:7  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
Heb 10:8  Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;
Heb 10:9  Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Heb 10:10  By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Heb 10:11  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
Heb 10:12  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Heb 10:13  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
Heb 10:14  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Heb 10:15  Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
Heb 10:16  This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
Heb 10:17  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Heb 10:18  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Heb 10:19  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Heb 12:24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

This change would be so drastic that Jesus had to warn the people that He didn’t come to destroy the law of God but to bring about the true meaning and intent (Matthew 5:17-20; Isaiah 42:21; Psalm 40:7; Romans 10:4).

Mat 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
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.
Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Isa 42:21  The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
Psa 40:7  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
Rom 10:4  For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

A return to the true meaning and intent of the law…a restoration of all things (Acts 3:19-21).

Act 3:19  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;
Act 3:20  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Act 3:21  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

The word for Hebrews {עברים ‘ivrim’} is the plural form of עבר  ‘avar’ which means to pass over a thing.  It is the source of the word past.  Hebrews are those who leave the past and press on to the mark of the high calling of Messiah {Philippians 3:13-15; 1 John 3:14; John 5:24}.

Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
1Jn 3:14  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
Joh 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Those who are called to spread the message of the Gospel that all are in slavery to sin but are given the opportunity to be free in Messiah.  They have passed from death to life (1 John 3:14; John 5:24) from darkness to light (Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18).

Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Act 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Scripture teaches there was a big change in Israel when Messiah came and there was a split between those who were of His flock and those who were not (Luke 2:34).

Luk 2:34  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;
Luk 2:35  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Those who were not, later led by a man named Akiva, decided to make their own religion in opposition to God’s Shepherd.  They rejected Him, so they were rejected (1 Peter 2:7; Matthew 21:33-44).

1Pe 2:7  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
Mat 21:33  Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
Mat 21:34  And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
Mat 21:35  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Mat 21:36  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
Mat 21:37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
Mat 21:38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
Mat 21:39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
Mat 21:40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
Mat 21:41  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Mat 21:42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Mat 21:43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Mat 21:44  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

All the branches of the olive tree were cut off (Jeremiah 11:16-17; Luke 3:8-9) both Jew and Gentile must be grafted in (Romans 11:17, 24) to THE Olive of Israel who is Messiah (Isaiah 49:3-6; Luke 2:29-32).

Jer 11:16  The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
Jer 11:17  For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.
Luk 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Luk 3:9  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Rom 11:17  And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Rom 11:24  For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

Isa 49:3  And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
Isa 49:4  Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.
Isa 49:5  And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.
Isa 49:6  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Luk 2:29  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
Luk 2:30  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luk 2:31  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luk 2:32  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

According to Messiah, the leadership of the Jews during His day (and consequently most Jews of that period) were lawless and not walking in God’s Torah (John 7:19; Matthew 23:28).

Joh 7:19  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
Mat 23:28  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Paul spoke of this same fact (Galatians 6:13).

Gal 6:13  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

Scripture also says that those who don’t have Him don’t have the Father (John 15:23-24; 1 John 2:22-23; 2 John 1:9).

Joh 15:23  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
Joh 15:24  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
1Jn 2:22  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
1Jn 2:23  Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
2Jn 1:9  Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

There was much advantage to being a Jew at that time but more importantly, the advantage now applies to “spiritual” Jews who have the Word (both old and new – Matthew 13:52; 23:34) and the Spirit.

Mat 13:52  Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
Mat 23:34  Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:

In short, it matters not whether one is a Jew or not, all that matters is being one in Messiah (Galatians 3:27-28; 6:15).

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.
Gal 6:13  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
Gal 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Gal 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Gal 6:16  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Our goal should not be to be conformed into the image of 1st Century Jews.  Our goal is to be transformed into Messiah’s likeness.  Christ humbled Himself to become as the seed of Abraham (Hebrews 2:16-17; Philippians 2:5-8), who had fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), that we might be glorified in Him (Hebrews 2:10-11; Romans 8:29-30).

Heb 2:16  For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17  Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Php 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Heb 2:10  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb 2:11  For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Messiah did not come to make mankind into 1st century Jews.  He came to redeem mankind (2 Corinthians 5:19) and remake them into His image (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:1-3; Hebrews 3:14; 12:10; 2 Peter 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

2Co 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Rom 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
1Jn 3:1  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
1Jn 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
1Jn 3:3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Heb 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Heb 12:10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
2Pe 1:2  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
2Pe 1:3  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2Co 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The Word of God is perfect (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25), but cannot bring man to perfection because man is not perfect (Hebrews 7:19; 10:1).

Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Jas 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Heb 7:19  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Heb 10:1  For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The Word of God is the ‘perfect law of liberty’ but men who have tried to walk in this perfect law have never seen true liberty because of the sin which dwells within man enslaves Him (Romans 7:14-25; 9:31-32).

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
Rom 7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Rom 7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:21  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Rom 9:31  But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Rom 9:32  Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

It is only through the law of liberty being implanted into the heart of man that a change can occur which leads to perfection (Ezekiel 11:19-20; Romans 2:28-29; Colossians 2:11-13; 2 Corinthians 3:3, 6, 17-18).

Eze 11:19  And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
Eze 11:20  That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Col 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Col 2:12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
Col 2:13  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
2Co 3:3  Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
2Co 3:4  And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
2Co 3:5  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
2Co 3:6  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
2Co 3:17  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

It is through this ‘circumcision of the heart’ that the true intent of the law can be revealed in the lives of believers. It is through this circumcision of the heart that one becomes a true Hebrew or Jew (Romans 2:28-29; Philippians 3:3).

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Php 3:3  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

The message of John the Baptist and the Messiah was one of restoration (Malachi 3:3-4; 4:5-6; Matthew 17:11-12; Mark 9:11-13).

Mal 3:3  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
Mal 3:4  Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
Mal 4:5  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal 4:6  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Mat 17:11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Mat 17:12  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
Mar 9:11  And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?
Mar 9:12  And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought.
Mar 9:13  But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

Restoration to the true meaning and intent of the Word of God (Luke 1:68-79; 3:3-18).  As mentioned previously, the true meaning and intent of God’s law is love.

Luk 1:68  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
Luk 1:69  And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
Luk 1:70  As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
Luk 1:71  That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
Luk 1:72  To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
Luk 1:73  The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
Luk 1:74  That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
Luk 1:75  In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
Luk 1:76  And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
Luk 1:77  To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
Luk 1:78  Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
Luk 1:79  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Luk 3:3  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Luk 3:4  As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
Luk 3:5  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
Luk 3:6  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Luk 3:7  Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
Luk 3:8  Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
Luk 3:9  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Luk 3:10  And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
Luk 3:11  He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Luk 3:12  Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
Luk 3:13  And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
Luk 3:14  And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Luk 3:15  And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Luk 3:16  John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
Luk 3:17  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.
Luk 3:18  And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

The Gospel is a message of reconciliation between God and man through Jesus Christ where man is returned to his original state in the Garden (1 Corinthians 15:47-49; Romans 5:12-21), walking in the true intent of the law, the perfect law of liberty (John 8:31-32; Isaiah 8:16; Psalm 119:42-45; James 1:25; 2:10-12; Galatians 5:1, 13-14; 2 Corinthians 3:17), working out ones salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:13).

1Co 15:47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
1Co 15:48  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
1Co 15:49  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Rom 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Rom 5:13  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Rom 5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Rom 5:15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Rom 5:16  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Rom 5:17  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Rom 5:18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Rom 5:19  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Rom 5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Rom 5:21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Isa 8:16  Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
Psa 119:42  So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
Psa 119:43  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
Psa 119:44  So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever.
Psa 119:45  And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.
Jas 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Jas 2:10  For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
Jas 2:11  For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
Jas 2:12  So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
Gal 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Gal 5:13  For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Gal 5:14  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
2Co 3:17  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

The end/goal of faith is salvation.

1Pe 1:9  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1Pe 1:10  Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1Pe 1:11  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1Pe 1:12  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
1Pe 1:13  Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1Pe 1:14  As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
1Pe 1:15  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1Pe 1:16  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Salvation is pictured in the Hebrew language as a Shepherd saving His sheep from an enemy.

We are to be re-created into His Holy image...

1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
1Pe 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

1Th 4:1  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
1Th 4:2  For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.
1Th 4:3  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

Rom 11:16  Now if the firstfruit is holy, so also the lump. And if the root is holy, so also the branches.

Joh 15:1  I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Joh 15:2  Every branch in Me not bearing fruit, He takes it away; and each one bearing fruit, He prunes, so that it may bear more fruit.
Joh 15:3  You are already pruned because of the Word which I have spoken to you.
Joh 15:4  Remain in Me, and I in you. As the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself, unless it remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
Joh 15:5  I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one abiding in Me, and I in him, this one bears much fruit, because apart from Me you are not able to execute, nothing.
Joh 15:6  Unless one remains in Me, he is cast out as the branch and is dried up; and they gather and throw them into a fire, and they are burned.
Joh 15:7  If you remain in Me, and My Words remain in you, whatever you desire you will ask, and it shall happen to you.
Joh 15:8  In this My Father is glorified, that you should bear much fruit; and you will be disciples to Me.
Joh 15:9  As the Father loved Me, I also loved you; continue in My love.
Joh 15:10  If you keep My commandments you will continue in My love, as I have kept My Father’s commandments and continue in His love.
Joh 15:11  I have spoken these things to you that My joy may abide in you, and your joy may be full.

Author and Finisher 2

Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author {ἀρχηγός ‘archēgos”}and finisher {τελειωτής ‘teleiōtēs’} of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

ἀρχηγός ‘archēgos’ is speaking of Christ as the author, prince, leader of our faith.  ἀρχηγός ‘archēgos’ is a combination of the Greek words ἀρχή ‘archē’ which means beginning or chief and ἄγω ‘agō’ which means leader.  Messiah is the leader from the beginning.  The Greek word τελειωτής ‘teleiōtēs’ means completion or perfection from the root word τελειόω ‘teleioō’ which means to bring to an end as in completing or fulfilling a goal.  Jesus Christ is that goal/end.

Messiah is the beginning & the end, the Alpha & Omega…(Revelation 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13).

Rev 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Rev 1:9  I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev 1:10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Rev 1:11  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Rev 21:6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev 22:12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Rev 22:13  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jn 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Joh 17:16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Joh 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Joh 17:18  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Joh 17:20  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Joh 17:21  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
Joh 17:23  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Joh 17:24  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
Joh 17:25  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
Joh 17:26  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Heb 12:2 Looking unto {ἀφοράω ‘aphoraō’} Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Greek word translated as ‘looking’ in Hebrews 12:2 is ἀφοράω ‘aphoraō’ which literally means to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on a particular object, in this case Jesus.  The only way we can walk in God’s love and be formed into His image is to keep our eyes focused on Messiah Jesus.  For more on this see the study SEEK HIS FACE AND THE GOLDEN RULE.

blessing-4

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