The “Gospel” is the theme of the Bible. It all comes down to one thing: obedience. That is the Good News. Those who obey get their eternal life. Those who rebel get their eternal death. It isn’t a mystery. The examples are from Genesis to Revelation. The reason there is so much confusion in the world today is simple: the churches, the denominations and the religions are all in rebellion against God. They have sided with Lucifer in rebellion against the Ten Commandments and the government of Heaven. Fake news is the norm in today’s religious and civil world. God does not want to reject the world. God did not want to reject the world before the flood. He didn’t want to reject Sodom and Gomorrah. He did not want to reject the nation of Israel. He does not want to reject the churches of today. But unless we turn from our sinful ways and come back to Him, living obediently to the Law of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Ten Commandments, we will never see eternal life. Solomon thought that his outward glory would bring glory to God. “Engrossed in an overmastering desire to surpass other nations in outward display, the king overlooked the need of acquiring beauty and perfection of character.” PK 55. Does that sound like your church? Romans 11: 1 to Romans 11:36 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. In actuality, God rejects no one. All who have been destroyed, or will be destroyed, is on them. Each has freewill to decide who they will live in obedience to. Eternal life or eternal death has nothing to do with God. It is the nature of love to give eternal life to the obedient and eternal death to the rebellious. God can’t change the nature of love. Love must have boundaries, rules and laws for the good of all the universe. Without boundaries, laws and rules, there would be chaos and destruction. The law of love cannot allow that. The world is beginning to understand that concept today. Therefore, when the early Christians speculated if the people of Israel were rejected by God, Paul had to set them straight. Even though the nation of Israel had rejected God, Paul is a confirmation to the grace and kindness of God in accepting individuals from the nation of Israel who surrendered their lives to live obediently to Him. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? We see here where Paul goes back to the Old Testament to clear up any misunderstanding in God’s justice. Paul never did away with the Old Testament, he lived by it, taught and received his theology from it. Here we have an example of Elijah thinking that God had rejected His people and that he alone was left. Elijah looked around at the fallen state of Israel and could not imagine that there were any left who loved and served God. He was thinking that God would do to Israel the same as He did to Sodom and Gomorrah. “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” I sometimes feel the same way. I look around at those who call themselves “Christian” and wonder if there are any who are truly serving God as He commands. I see the law of God rejected, diminished, set aside, covered over and abandoned by the churches, denominations and religious institutions who claim to love God. But then I go to the Post Office and receive letters from inmates that show me there are still a few who desire to change their lives and live as Jesus commands. But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” As at the time of the flood, when only eight out of a possibility of two billion people on the face of the earth were saved, so with the Israelites of Elijah’s day. As Jesus was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of only ten righteous people, God spared the Israelites at the time of Elijah for the sake of seven thousand. Today, the gap between the righteous and the wicked is getting larger and larger. Eventually, when there are only 144,000 righteous left on the face of the earth, probation will close at Passover and seven months later Christ will come to take His people home. So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. Yes there are. God didn’t have to spare Noah and his family. He didn’t have to spare Lot. He didn’t have to spare Israel and the seven thousand at that time, but He did. Why? His grace. So “at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” in today’s world. None of us deserve eternal life, but when our hearts and minds are dedicated to living the sinless, perfect and Commandment keeping life, God, in His grace, will give us eternal life. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Again, we must always keep in mind the context Paul is talking about. We can never confuse cars for bicycles. Grace can never be attained by our works. We all deserve death for our past sins. Grace is the “probation” that we all are given in order to learn how to live the sanctified life that will get us into Heaven. Grace is given to everyone, as such, there is nothing you can do to “get” it. However, it won’t give you eternal life. Therefore, there are four processes taking place on the path of achieving righteousness and its effect: eternal life. 1. Grace saves us from immediate death. It does not save us eternally. Since all have sinned, all deserve death. God didn’t have to give us grace. He could have left us all to died in our sins. That would have been one way to solved the sin problem.2. However, because God loves us, He gave us grace. We now have a probationary time to find faith in God. When we develop faith in God, we comprehend the sacrifice Jesus made for our justification.3. At this point, we accept the justification offered by Jesus for our past sins. We have faith that His death cleanses us of our past sins and He now sees us as perfect, righteous and holy. We have faith that He has prepared a place in Heaven and eternal life for His obedient children.4. Therefore, it is our desire never again to “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh”. That is why we must enter sanctification by “working out our salvation” through obedience to the Ten Commandments. We don’t want to sin any more since “there is no longer any sacrifice that will take away sins if we purposely go on sinning after the truth has been made known to us”. Hebrews 6:6, Ephesians 2:12, Hebrews 10:26. What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, . . . Quite simply, Yes! The “nation” of Israel failed to obtain what it thought it was seeking for: eternal life and salvation. But the individual people of Israel, the “elect” could obtain it by living in obedience to the commands of God. Keep in mind, the “elect” are those who love God and live in obedience to Him. “If you love Me, you will obey My Commandments.” John 14:15. Obedience is elected for eternal life. Disobedience is elected for eternal death. You chose the election you want. . . . as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” At first it sounds like God is doing the manipulating. But again, going back to the Old Testament we have the examples and the answers. An example is Job. God was talking to Lucifer and bragging about Job when Lucifer decided to test God’s trust in Job. God allowed it. That is what Paul is talking about when he states that “God gave”. Even though God allowed it, it was Lucifer’s choice to put it into action. God gave the choice. Because Israel refused to listen to God, God allowed them to have a “spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear”. An example of this is in 1st Kings when the kings of Israel and Judah were preparing to go to war against the king of Syria. Because they refused to listen to the Spirit of God, a “spirit came forward and stood before the Lord saying, ‘I will entice him’”. God allowed it. So yes, God sent the spirit, but only because the kings refused to listen to the Spirit of God and live in obedience to Him. There are only two “spirits” in the world. One “Spirit” is a Spirit of obedience and the other “spirit” is a spirit of rebellion. You have either one or the other. By rejecting the one, you accept the other. God does not make you do either. They are choices. And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” “Let”! That is not a command by God. We do the same. Let’s say that you find a beggar who is holding a sign that reads, “Will work for food.” You tell him you have work for him, but he tells you to “take a hike” because he only wants money. So, you turn around and say, “Let him stay hungry”. You didn’t command it. You didn’t make him not want to come and work for food. He chose to be stupid. Same with sinners towards God. God offers eternal life for all who will accept the requirements. Only the stupid, ignorant and unstable refuse to accept that marvelous gift of God. 2 Peter 3:16. So, “let” them remain in that condition. So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. We all stumble, says John. But we don’t need to “fall”. When people “fall” or even “stumble”, their example can be useful for the rest of us. We can look at their “fall” or “stumble” and be warned. That is what the Bible is all about. It shows examples of those who did right and those who stumbled and fell. We are to learn from their examples so we do not suffer their consequences. We do that in our every day lives. We look at other people and make either conscious or subconscious conclusions based on their actions. Then we decide if we want to follow their actions or not. Salvation didn’t come to the Gentiles, why?, because Israel had locked up the truth God wanted them to take to the Gentiles. As such, Israel rejected God’s plan to be His missionaries to the world. God turned that responsibility over to the “Christians”. They were now doing what the nation of Israel was supposed to be doing, but didn’t. If the Israelites had done their job, and had taken the gospel to the world, they would have recognized Jesus and He would have used them to continue the mission He gave them at Mount Sinai. But they failed. You will find the prediction of this in the “Song of Moses”, Deuteronomy 31:30-32:47. God knew, but He didn’t command it. Their choice! Christians today are failing to take the truth of salvation to the world. They have done what the Jews of Christ’s day did, rejected their true missionary calling. The truth that leads to salvation is no longer taught or accepted by the churches, denominations and religious organizations of the world today. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Let’s say you belong to a family of five children. One falls away and doesn’t want to belong to the family anymore. So the family adopts another child to take his place. But eventually the prodigal son comes back home. Now he has a “fuller” family to include him and life is better. There is even greater joy in his return. God always has room for one more. We just have to be willing to live by the rules and laws of His home. Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For most, Paul’s declaration that “I am an apostle to the Gentiles” means that the “gospel” he taught Gentiles was different from the one taught to the Jews. For some reason, churches, denominations and religions think that Jesus gave Paul a “different” gospel and then sent him to the Gentiles. However, upon closer examination of the Bible, and the time-line involved in Paul’s apostleship “to the Gentiles”, shows that he didn’t go to the Gentiles until some years after he began his ministry. And why did he go to the Gentiles? “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you (Jews). Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.” Acts 13:46. In other words, Paul taught the same gospel to both Jews and Gentiles. But when he saw that the Jews refused to accept it, he turned to the Gentiles. The message he taught was the “word of God”. What was the Word of God? Jesus taught it: Stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life. Therefore, Paul was simply hoping that the Jews would become “jealous”. It was his hope that the gospel being taught to the Gentiles would provoke the Jews to surrender their lives to the Gospel of Jesus, repent and return back to the family of God. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? There is only one gospel. God is not a God with a split personality. He is not schizophrenic. God does not change His everlasting requirements. That would be unjust. God is a just God who does not sin. Paul was simply stating a fact that the Gentiles did not need to become Jews to be saved. And that Jews did not have to belong to the nation (church) of Israel to be saved. All could be saved by living as God had commanded in the Old Testament and as Jesus confirmed in the New Testament: stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life. Nothing about belonging to any church, organization or religion for your eternal life. If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches. The “root” is Jesus Christ. He embodies the Ten Commandments. The nation of Israel had the requirements for Heaven when Jesus gave the Ten Commandments to them on Mount Sinai. But that holy root was rejected by the nation of Israel. However, the root was still holy. Therefore, whether you were Jew or Gentile, if you connected yourself to the root, the Ten Commandments, you became a holy branch. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. The nation of Israel broke itself off from the root. The Gentiles were a “wild olive shoot” that were grafted into the nourishing root of the Ten Commandments which gives eternal life. Therefore, none of us can be “arrogant toward the branches” of the Jews. All of us can be broken off. There is no “once saved always saved”. We are all grafted in by justification. Grace opens the door, justification is the grafting into the Ten Commandments. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. How true. We can never become proud of our “standing” in Jesus. Only the blood of Jesus can justify us. Nothing else can. Without the justification of Jesus, none of us would have eternal life. Through faith in the blood of Jesus we are justified and “grafted in”. But to stay “grafted in”, we must now suck from the “nourishing root” by living the sinless, perfect life of the Ten Commandments. Nothing to be proud of. Once you are “grafted in” you must now “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. Philippians 2:12. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. And yet, today, all churches, denominations, religions and independent ministries are proud and even boast that they are no longer required to suck from the nourishing root. They trample on the root and reject the gospel Jesus taught to stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments in order to get your eternal life. God will not “spare you”. Like the nation of Israel, God will not accept any who claim to be “Christian” but refuse to live in Christian obedience to the Ten Commandments. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Churches, denominations, religions and independent ministries run around claiming “God is love”, “saved by grace” and the “unconditional love of God”. They just aren’t listening to Jesus. We are only in “God’s kindness”, “provided you continue in His kindness”. How do we “continue in His kindness”? By living in obedience to the teachings of Jesus to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. “Otherwise you too will be cut off”. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:10. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. Paul is the example that those who “do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in”. From Adam no one was ever saved by association with anyone else or any organization. We are only saved by our individual association and obedience with Jesus and His Ten Commandments. (John 15:5). Get out of your churches, organizations, denominations, independent ministries and religions and go to Jesus. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. Of course, since those raised in the nation of Israel knew of the Ten Commandments it would be much easier for them to be “grafted back into their own olive tree”. Unlike the pagans who would have to learn a whole new way of living. Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Same with “Christians” today. They have a “partial hardening” of their hearts. Just like the Jews of Christ’s day, they think they are worshipping God with all their rites, ceremonies, traditions, rituals and services. But they have not accepted Jesus. They have turned away from Him and His law just as the Jews did. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” We must be careful when we read the word “all”. How many of us have said “all” in general terms, not at all meaning every single one. One could say, “All airplanes fly”. Well, no, that is not correct. Some airplanes don’t have their wings on and can’t fly. They have the possibility of flying, but unless they have the proper equipment, no, they won’t. Paul is not talking about “all” Israel. He is hopeful. God loves all the world and wants all the world to be saved, but as Paul has been stating above, only those “all” who accept Jesus and live in obedience to Him will be “saved”. Jesus, the “Deliverer”, did come from Zion and Zion did reject Him. When He died on the cross He did remove, or “banish”, ungodliness from Jacob, but only from those who had accepted the death of Christ. God is willing to take away their sins, but only if they are willing to live in obedience to the will of God. Individually, each could be saved. “All” of those Israelites who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and lived in obedience to His commands to stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life would be saved. We can never take a word, or a text, out of context and build a theology around it when it is isolated from the body of truth. We must never make the body of truth a lie. As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. Again, Paul is hopeful. It is true, all can be saved. Individual Israelites could still be loved by God, but only if they lived in obedience as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, “their forefathers”, were obedient. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. All Paul is trying to get across is, “No, the Jews and all Israel were not forever rejected by God!” God’s gifts and calling for every human on the face of the Earth are irrevocable. All we have to do is live in obedience to His calling. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. Here Paul is clarifying what he has been saying. Just because we may have been disobedient at one time, that doesn’t mean we are forever forsaken. The prodigal son is the example. For those who have repented, turned away from their sins, and desire to live in obedience to the Ten Commandments “may now receive mercy”. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Yes He has. Since all have disobeyed, we have all been “consigned” to disobedience. But we don’t have to stay in that condition. We can accept the wonderful grace, mercy and love of God by returning to Him and living as He commands. Then He will justify us, cleans us and see us as if we had never sinned. However, we must walk in that justified state (sanctification) by working out our salvation through obedience to the Ten Commandments each and every day of our lives. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Considering how many options God had, it is amazing He chose this method for our eternal salvation. Every sinner must understand that through the disobedience of Adam, all have been consigned to disobedience. Through our human nature of disobedience we recognize our need of a divine, obedient nature outside of our human disobedient nature. When we come to that recognition we humble ourselves and never again want to break the trust and mercy God has imputed unto us who live His righteous, holy and commandment keeping life. That is the only way we can get to Heaven. “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” Churches, denominations and religious organizations all claim to be God’s counselors. They are constantly telling God what He can and cannot do and how He must save them. But not one is listening to the “mind of the Lord” to learn what He commands: Stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life. Let us remember, Jesus commanded the disciples to go into all the world in order to teach them “everything I have commanded you”. We have no right to add or subtract from what Jesus has commanded for our eternal life. “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” Churches, denominations and religious organizations imply that if you belong to them, then God must “repay” you with eternal life. That by giving to them and doing their good works, you “might be repaid” by God. How sick. We keep the Ten Commandments because that is our obligation to a God who loved us so much He gave His life for us. We don’t belong to a church because God never asked us to. We don’t belong to any denomination or religious organization because God never asked us to. None of that will get you “repaid”. Our duty and obligation is to live in obedience to Jesus because of His great love, and gifts so graciously given to us. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Amen! I am learning this more and more each day. I wish there was some way to share all that I have learned. I guess that is why the Lord is having me write these newsletters. Years ago I had asked Jesus how it would be possible to write down all that He had, and is, revealing to me. Then one day I woke up and discovered that He was doing just that. “To Him be glory forever”. God works in the most quiet and unpretentious ways. You would completely miss His workings if you didn’t sit down, be quiet and spend time looking over your past life to see His workings. The devil has us way too busy, noisy and up tight to hear the voice of God. No religion, no church, no denomination, no independent ministry, no pastor and nothing of this world can get you into Heaven. Why? “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Go to Jesus and listen to Him only.