... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)

21
January
2013

The gathering of God's first-born

23 You have come to the joyful gathering of God's first-born, whose names are written in heaven.
Hebrews 12:23a (GNT)

Whom are God's first-born? What is the absolute right of the first-born?! Should Christians go to the gathering of God's first-born, or do they have their own special place?

Who are those people?

Biblical scripture is very clear about who these people, God's first-born are, Exodus 4:22 (GNT),
22 Then you must tell him that I, the Lord, say, ‘Israel is my first-born son.

11 The Lord says, “When Israel was a child, I loved him and called him out of Egypt as my son. Hosea 11:1 (GNT)

4 They are God's people; he made them his  c h i l d r e n  and revealed his glory to them; he made his covenants[a] with them and gave them the Law; they have the true worship; they have received God's promises; 5 they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen. Romans 9:4-5 (GNT)

Just to be clear, God's intention was always that non-Jews would be blessed through his people - Genesis 4:1-3 - as has been happening for ages. And the non-Jews were always invited to come to God's Temple for prayer and offerings - 1 Kings 8:41-43 - as well as to join his congregation of Israel, Isaiah 56:6-8 and Romans 9:23-26. A very good example of some one who joined the Israelites was Ruth as we can read in the book of Ruth.

Those who were far away from God, not belonging to God's chosen people has been brought closer by being part of his chosen people, Ephesians 2:11-18 (GNT),
12 ... You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 13 But now, in union with Christ Jesus you, who used to be far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ ...

So, as far as God is concerned the way to get closer to him and to be part of his congregation of Israel, the believers and worshippers of the most high God, the God of Israel, was and is still present. 

But, do remember, Romans 9:15-16 (GNT),
15 For he said to Moses, “I will have mercy on anyone I wish; I will take pity on anyone I wish.” 16 So then, everything depends, not on what we humans want or do, but only on God's mercy.


By the Law of Moses

Why did God choose the Israelites to be his first-born, his people? And why would they always remain his people?

The answer to the first question is because of Abraham, Genesis 12:1-9, Romans 9 and Deuteronomy 10:14-15 (NIV),
14 To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 15 Yet the Lord set his affection on your ancestors and loved them, and he  c h o s e  you, their descendants, above all the nations—as it is today.

And, God did say to Moses,
19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. Exodus 33:19 (NIV)

The second question has its answer in the Laws God gave Moses, Deuteronomy 21:15-17 (NIV),
15 If a man has two wives, and he loves one but not the other, and both bear him sons but the firstborn is the son of the wife he does not love, 16 when he wills his property to his sons, he must not give the rights of the firstborn to the son of the wife he loves in preference to his actual firstborn, the son of the wife he does not love. 17 He must acknowledge the son of his unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a d o u b l e share of all he has. That son is the first sign of his father’s strength. The right of the firstborn belongs to him.
Israel is the son with which the Almighty Father showed the first sign of his strength - Exodus 3:19-21 and Deuteronomy 34:10-12 - both the Israelites themselves as to the peoples of the world.

Now, what would God himself consider to be this double share meant for the first-borne when it comes to his promises to Israel, to believers? Could it be Jerusalem and the kingship over God's unshakable kingdom?!


Christians' have a special position?

Why would God want Jews and non-Jews to join his congregation of Israel?
Because he has only one congregation. Paul points this out by referring to it in Romans 11:13-28 as the Olive Tree. Not to be confessed with the two olive trees mentioned in Zechariah chapter four, for those refer to two men anointed by God to serve him, Zechariah 4:14.

But, one could argue that Christians - the followers of Rabbi Yeshua/Jesus, John 1:38-39 and John 3:2 - are part of another gathering, congregation, the one referred to as the wife of Yeshua/Jesus - Ephesians 5:21-33 - the Lamb. And that there for they together with Yeshua/Jesus have their own special place, position with God.

What does biblical scripture tells us about a wife and her husband?
That a man's wife joins him to start a family - Genesis 2:24 - and their family joins the husband's people. For example, Sara with Abraham, Rebecca with Isaac, Rachel and Lea with Jacob and Ruth with Boaz.
The congregation meant as a wife to Yeshua/Jesus - a symbolical meaning concerning his care for his followers and his sacrifice for humanity - should join his people, the Israelites.

... 9 ... and at the  r i g h t  of your throne stands the queen, wearing ornaments of finest gold.
10 Bride of the king, listen to what I say—forget your people and your relatives.

11 Your beauty will make the king desire you; he is your master, so you must obey him. ... Psalm 45 (GNT)

Or,
... 9 ... at your  r i g h t  hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.
10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. ...
Psalm 45
(NIV)

What did Yeshua/Jesus himself said about where he will take his followers to?
2 There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. 3 And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. John 14:2-3 (GNT)
This passage should not be confused with the idea, wrong teaching that Yeshua/Jesus will rapture, that is take his followers up to heaven because of the troubles of the End Times. Yeshua/Jesus prayed that the Almighty Father would protect them while them being in this world, John 17:15-16 (GNT),
15 I do  n o t  ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One.

Where will this house of the Father be? The heavenly, the new Jerusalem, where God's first-born will be gathered, 
3 ... The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him.
Revelations 22:3 (GNT)

And, what does Revelations 21:9-21 (GNT) tell us?
9 ... “Come, and I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 ... He showed me Jerusalem, the Holy City, coming down out of heaven from God 11 and shining with the glory of God.


Purity required to see God's face

The names of God's first-born are written in heaven! 
12 The angel wearing linen clothes said, “At that time the great angel Michael, who guards your people, will appear. Then there will be a time of troubles, the worst since nations first came into existence. When that time comes, all the people of your nation whose names are written in God's book will be saved. Daniel 12:1 (GNT)

... 12 ... Books were opened, and then another book was opened, the book of the living. ... 15 Those who did not have their name written in the book of the living were thrown into the lake of fire. Revelations 20:11-15 (GNT)

Yeshua/Jesus was clear about how important it is to have your name in written in heaven as he said, Luke 10:20 (GNT),
20 But don't be glad because the evil spirits obey you; rather be glad because your names are written in heaven.”

Those who will come to the gathering of God's first-born, they will be the ones in the new Jerusalem and they will see God's face!
3 ... The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. Revelations 22:3-4 (GNT)
Obviously standing in front of God's throne doesn't necessarily mean that someone can see God's face.

What did God say to Moses when he showed him his glory, Exodus 33:19-23 (NIV),
20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

Biblical scripture says that those who are pure of heart and thoughts will see his face.
Hebrews 12:14 (GNT): 14 Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it.
Matthew 5:8 (GNT):  8 “Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!
Psalm 24:4 (GNT):  3 Who has the right to go up the Lord's hill? Who may e n t e r his holy Temple?
4 Those who are pure in act and in thought, who do not worship idols or make false promises.
1 Corinthians 13:12
(NIV): 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

The Almighty Father's invitation to come and be closer to him is still out today. Whom will he welcome together with his first-born?
22 Instead, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with its thousands of angels. 23 You have come to the joyful gathering of God's first-born, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, who is the judge of all people, and to the spirits of good people made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, who arranged the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that promises much better things than does the blood of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24 (GNT)

God bless you,

 

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Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: Opinion