WHO WERE THE FIRST CHRISTIANS? WHO WERE THE FIRST SAINTS OF GOD? Where did Jesus first conduct His ministry and where did the Apostles, His Disciples, first follow Him and preach the Gospel? It was in a little tiny land called Israel on the far Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, just a bare little strip of land averaging not more than 50 miles wide and about 250 miles long, that has caused the Earth more joy and more trouble than any other spot on the face of the Earth!
IT HAS BROUGHT TO THIS WORLD A MARVELLOUS HISTORY OF MAN and THE GOD OF MAN and THE BIBLE and JESUS CHRIST THE MESSIAH, the story of Creation, the salvation of man in Jesus' death on the cross there, and then one of the greatest curses ever levied upon the Earth, and that is when [many of the religious leaders of the] Jews rejected their own King, refused their own Messiah, and crucified Him on a cruel cross--had Him crucified technically by the Roman soldiers.
IT WAS THEY WHO FIRST ARRESTED HIM WITH THE HELP OF HIS DISLOYAL and TRAITOROUS DISCIPLE, JUDAS, and who paid Judas to betray Him, and who brought Him first into their religious courts to accuse Him of blasphemy and claiming to be the Son of God, and then brought Him before the government of Rome and the Governor Pontius Pilate and accused Him of sedition and treason and the breaking of Roman laws, because He couldn't be executed simply for violating religious laws, He couldn't be executed under Roman government.
UNDER THE OLD MOSAIC LAW WHEN MOSES RULED and THE KINGS OF ISRAEL RULED and ISRAEL WAS INDEPENDENT, the violation of religious law was sufficient, and there were 26 capital punishments worthy of death under the old Mosaic Law. But the Romans had a different law. It was a bit milder, and a mere infraction of religious law--particularly the religion of the Jews and Judaism--was not sufficient to warrant death in the case of any person who was accused merely of some kind of variation of doctrine and a so-called blasphemy or a violation of Jews' religious rules.
THEY ACCUSED HIM IN THEIR OWN COURT BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST, OF BLASPHEMY BECAUSE HE CLAIMED TO BE THE SON OF GOD, This to them was blasphemy, because they didn't believe it. It was only blasphemy because they didn't believe it, that He was the Son of God, when He was. But He stood and just took it silently. It was even beneath Him to even answer their foolish questions. He held their court of religious law in contempt, probably thinking about how the Court of God, the great Judgment of God someday was going to hold them in contempt and they would be brought before Him and before God to be judged for their wickedness and their self-righteousness, their hypocrisy, their cruelty to the poor, their selfishness and their violation of every law of God, especially His Law of Love!
BUT THEY COULDN'T CONDEMN HIM TO DEATH ACCORDING TO THEIR LAW. They had to first go though the Roman court and get some kind of a trumped-up excuse of a violation of the Roman laws. So they took Him to Pilate and accused Him of treason and sedition and speaking against Rome. Pilate examined Him publicly and privately and came out with his decision: "I have found no fault in this Man! As far as I'm concerned, He's innocent! I see nothing where of to accuse Him." (Jn.18:38)
BUT BEING A POLITICIAN and WANTING TO PLEASE THE JEWS OVER WHOM HE WAS RULING AS THE ROMAN GOVERNOR over a conquered Jewish nation, he said, "I don't see any reason to crucify this Man according to Roman laws. Nevertheless, I'll give you a choice. You have a popular Jewish terrorist, a radical revolutionary who's leading a rebellion against the Roman Empire, who has killed and stolen and robbed and committed murder and many crimes, nevertheless, he's one of your heroes! I'll give you a choice between Barabbas, the Jewish terrorist, the Jewish rebel revolutionary against the Roman occupational government--or Jesus!--Would you have this criminal Barabbas?--Or your King, Jesus?" They said, "We have no King but Caesar!" ( Jn.18:38-40 ; 19:15.)
WHAT A BUNCH OF LIARS and HYPOCRITES and POLITICIANS, TYPICAL RELIGIOUS LEADERS! Nearly all the denominations I ever knew anything about, its leaders were a bunch of money-mad politicians and ready to compromise with the government or with criminals or with the Devil himself if they thought it was to their advantage! [These] Jews hated Jesus because He had exposed them. They hated Him because He had exposed their sins to the public, and so they kept attacking Him. He tried to avoid them, He tried not to answer them, He tried not to even talk to them.
HE WAS ONLY INTERESTED IN LOVING THE POOR and THE COMMON MAN and THE GENERAL RUN OF THE PEOPLE, trying to speak to the mob, trying to speak to the crowds who followed Him seeking healing and even bread, and most of all, spiritual answers and salvation. That's where the need was, that's who He wanted to talk to, and He talked to them, spoke to them in love of the wonderful love of God, the only Law of God--Love!--That the 10 commandments of Moses were soon to pass away and there would only be one law left--God's only Law of Love!
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS ARE NO MORE, BELOVED! You no longer have to obey the 10 commandments, God only has one law now--the Law of Jesus, the Law of Love, "to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself." ( Mt.22:36-39 ) This infuriated the ... religious leaders! They said, "This Man speaks against Moses and against the Law and claims to be the Son of God!" Pilate said, "That doesn't make any difference to me. I have nothing to do with your religion. So what?" "Yes, but He speaks against Caesar and against the Roman government, and He says you shouldn't pay your taxes and that you shouldn't obey Roman law."--All lies of course!
AND SO PILATE HONESTLY QUESTIONED HIM ABOUT IT and FOUND THAT THESE WERE LIES--THEY WERE UNTRUE. So he thought he'd give them a chance: If they were fair and honest, of course, why shouldn't they pick this Man Who was good and honest and pure and had broken no Roman law, and Who was even acclaimed by some to be their King, the King of the Jews!--And by some to be the Messiah of the Jews, the Saviour! If he gave them a choice, like a politician, between this violent murderous terrorist Barabbas, leader of the Zealots or the terrorists of his day, surely they would pick Jesus, the Man of Peace, not Barabbas, the man of war!
BUT WHEN THE DECISION CAME and THE CHOICE CAME, HE SAID TO THE MOB ... , "WHICH WILL YE HAVE, BARABBAS, OR JESUS WHO IS CALLED THE CHRIST, THE MESSIAH, YESHUA HA MESSIAH?" And they said, "Give us Barabbas! Barabbas!" And he said, "Then what shall I do with Jesus Who is called the Christ?"--or the Messiah. They said, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" ... And from the moment [those who] said, "Crucify Him," they sealed their own doom! They rejected their Saviour, they rejected their Messiah, they rejected their King and therefore they were no longer Israel, nor the Kingdom of God, nor the People of God! They were reprobates! Criminals! Anti-Christ! Children of the Devil, as Jesus called them! (Jn.8:44 .)
Therefore having rejected Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Messiah and his only Saviour, therefore he is no longer a Jew!--And the Jews are no longer Israel! And Israel is no longer the Promised Land, the Holy Land of God! ... --And I know it because I've been there and seen them!
I ONCE WENT THERE THINKING THAT THAT WAS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD, the restored, redeemed Israel, the regathered "people of God"--quote, quote! And I found them hating Christ and hating Jesus and hating Christianity and hating every spot in Palestine where Jesus had walked and which figured in New Testament Christian history, attempting to change the names so you wouldn't even recognize the places mentioned in the New Testament where Jesus walked and ministered and healed and performed miracles and finally was bought by them, His betrayal bought, and where He was accused by them and brought to crucifixion.
OF COURSE THEY COULDN'T DIRTY and SULLY THEIR LILY-WHITE HANDS WITH THE BLOOD OF THIS CRIMINAL, AS THEY CALLED HIM, so they let the Roman soldiers do the dirty work--men who knew nothing about what was going on and for whom Jesus plead: "Father forgive them, they know not what they do!" The poor Roman soldiers who nailed Him to the cross and were casting lots for His garment, they didn't know what they were doing. They were as dumb as most Romans today, dumb as most Systemites today and the law today--it seems to be almost ignorant of the laws of God.
"Ichbin a Yiddisher Mann mit a Yiddisher hartz und ein glaiber in der Yiddisher meshiah, Yeshua Ha Messiah." "I am a Jewish man with a Jewish heart and a believer in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ!" But [some Jews] still hate Him today!
AND HE [PILATE] SAID, "WHAT THEN OF JESUS?" THEY SAID, "CRUCIFY HIM! HIS BLOOD BE UPON US and UPON OUR CHILDREN!" ( Mt.27:25 .) ... Only forty years later the Roman legions under Titus marched into Palestine, then called Israel, because of the rebellion of the Jews under the Zealots and these Jewish terrorists.
The Jews brought the greatest wonderful news on Earth when they were right with God--the knowledge of the one God, the true God and His beautiful Scriptures, the history of man and His dealings with man. And then they brought into the World one little Jewish girl, 16 years of age, a virgin, a little unwed mother who copulated with God Himself and brought forth a Son, the Son of God, Jesus Christ!
AND HE GREW UP THERE and HE MINISTERED THERE, HE PREACHED THERE, HE WON SOULS THERE BY THE THOUSANDS until He infuriated the established religion--the established Jewish Church--because of His popularity and His contradiction of their traditions and their hard, unloving ways, and the heavy burdens they laid upon the poor. They lived themselves in riches and luxury, while they laid burdens on the poor that could hardly be borne!
UNTIL FINALLY WHEN HE EXPOSED THEIR HYPOCRISY and THEIR SELFRIGHTEOUSNESS and THEIR LACK OF LOVE and THEIR LACK OF FAITH IN GOD--though they claimed to be religious and faithful adherents to Judaism and the Temple and to God--He proved before the people, before the common multitude, the mob, that they were phonies and fakes and hypocrites! And they were furious because they were exposed! So they said, "We've got to kill Him! He must be killed!"
SO THEY BOUGHT OFF ONE OF HIS OWN TRAITOROUS DISCIPLES, paid thirty pieces of silver, thirty shekels for His betrayal, and then brought Him finally to the government to be crucified with trumped-up charges of Him breaking the laws of Rome!
HERE THEY REJECTED THEIR MESSIAH, and AS A RESULT, WHEN THEY SAID, "HIS BLOOD BE UPON US and OUR CHILDREN," GOD SAID, "LET IT BE SO!" "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap!" ( Gal. 6:7 .) They sowed violence, injustice, crucifixion upon Jesus and His disciples, unbelief, and therefore the unbelieving Romans marched in 40 years later under Titus and they almost wiped out the Jews of Palestine! They almost completely wiped them out!
THEY CRUCIFIED ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND JEWS ON THE HILLS SURROUNDING JERUSALEM ALONE, and a total of over a million Jews throughout the land!--And they burned down their Holy Temple, completely destroyed it, and it has never been rebuilt since, and will not be, until the time of their new messiah, the Antichrist, the anti-God, Devil-in-the-flesh whom they will worship and believe!
THEY REJECTED THE TRUE MESSIAH, THEY REFUSED TO RECEIVE THE TRUTH, SO GOD WILL SEND THEM STRONG DELUSION THAT THEY MIGHT BELIEVE A LIE!--The Antichrist, the false god, the fake saviour, the phony messiah!--And him they will believe that they might believe a lie that they might be damned for their unbelief and their cruelty! ( 2Th.2:10-12 .)
MY GOD, HOW CRUEL [SOME HAVE] BEEN TO US and OUR CHILDREN. How they have hated and hounded us from country to country, because we have won their children to their own Messiah, Jesus Christ! He's no longer their own, He has disowned them! They're no longer His people, no longer God's people, no longer the children of God, no longer Jews, and Israel is no longer His Holy Land!
HE'S CAST THEM OUT and SCATTERED THEM INTO EVERY NATION ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH, and only in recent years have they been starting to regather to come back to Israel again in fulfillment of God's prophecies that He was going to be merciful to a remnant, a small number of them in the very End. But yet they will not believe until they really see Him coming, and then they will lament for Him as for an only Son. ( Zec.12:10 .)
THEN THEY WILL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED, and ONLY THEN WILL THEY BELIEVE--a few, a mere handful ... !
THEY BELIEVE IN AN OLD BOOK, THE OLD TESTAMENT, WHICH IS ANCIENT HISTORY, LAWS WHICH ARE PAST!--Null and void, no longer in existence!--Wiped out by the coming and death of Jesus Christ and His message of love, to just love God and love your neighbor--in this is all the law and all the Prophets, the whole works! There're no longer any Ten Commandments, Jesus swept them away! He fulfilled them in His Law of Love, to love God and love your neighbor--that's all you need to do today.
TODAY GOD'S ONLY LAW IS LOVE, NOT THE MOSAIC TEN COMMANDMENTS! My God, there were commandments before that--as we talked to you in one of our chapters here--that even the commandment to have sex and to be fruitful and multiply was the first commandment of God, not even in the Ten Commandments of God, and yet that one's ignored by the System and the World today and is considered evil and wicked and sinful to have sex, and even to have children in some places.
BUT PRAISE GOD, JESUS WAS A JEW! He knew the Jewish Bible. The Jews brought the Scriptures to the World and the knowledge of the one True God, and that little Maiden brought in the Saviour, the Messiah into this World, the Son of God. But they rejected Him, so they're no longer His people, they're no longer Jews, they're no longer Israel!
ONLY BELIEVERS ARE NOW THE CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM BY FAITH, as God's Word itself says (Gal.3:7), and Abraham was not a Jew! Think of that! He was born long before Judah and the Jews, the children of Israel or Jacob the Deceiver, his grandson down the line--Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacob's name was changed to Israel and his son was Judah, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, so Abraham was three or four generations before the Jews--he was not a Jew!--He was a son of Heber the Hebrew!--Not a Jew! ( Gen.14:13 .)
BUT HE WAS A BELIEVER IN GOD and A CHILD OF GOD WITHOUT BEING A JEW, because he was a child of God by faith in God and His coming Messiah! He looked forward to the Saviour of the World, the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, Yeshua Ha Messiah. As we now look backward to His death, he looked forward to His death that God promised, and that all of those who believed in Him would be the children of Abraham by faith.
I AM A CHILD OF GOD and A SON OF ABRAHAM BY FAITH IN GOD and HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, therefore we [all believers in Jesus] are the true Israel of God! We are the only genuine Jews of today! We are the only chosen people of God and the children of God and the children of Abraham today!
HE SAID, "THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE CAST OUT"--the former so-called children of the Kingdom, the Jews. Jesus told His disciples, "Ye shall sit down in the Kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at the table of God, and the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out for their unbelief!" ( Mt.8:11,12 .) Only the believers in Jesus Christ, like me and like you, if you have Jesus and are a Christian, will sit with Jesus in His Kingdom!
WE'RE (ALL true believers in Jesus Christ) THE ONLY JEWS OF TODAY! WE'RE THE ONLY TRUE CHOSEN PEOPLE OF TODAY! WE'RE THE ONLY TRUE ISRAEL OF GOD TODAY!
I AM TELLING YOU THE TRUTH ABOUT THE JEWS LIKE JESUS DID! He said, "You're not of God, you're of your father the Devil!" He said, "Who is My mother, who are My brothers and sisters?"--In other words, who are the true Jews? He said, "He that doeth the will of My Father, he is My mother and My brother and My sister! He's the true Jew, the true people of God, the true Israel, the true chosen people of God, they that do the will of My Father. ... And this is the will of God, that ye do believe on Jesus Christ Whom He hath sent!" ( Jn.8:44 ; Mt.12:48-50 ; 1Jn.3:23 .)
THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT WILL OF GOD--THAT YOU RECOGNISE JESUS AS THE SON OF GOD, and believe on Him as your Saviour, receive His love from God in His death on the cross as He took the punishment of your sins so that you could be saved, so that you could be forgiven. As Jesus your Big Brother took your punishment for you, and God the Father permitted Him to volunteer to do so in order to save you, so that you wouldn't have to suffer for your sins.
THAT'S THE TRUTH OF GOD! THAT'S THE TRUE PICTURE! Thank God, there were a lot of Jews who received Jesus Christ as their Saviour! Virtually all the first disciples of Christ were Jews--thousands of them, tens of thousands of them! Almost the entire early Christian Church were all Jews and priests and Levites and some of them outstanding leaders of the Jewish nation!
ALMOST ALL OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS WERE JEWS WHO RECEIVED JESUS AS THEIR MESSIAH, as their King, as the Son of God! Therefore they became true Jews, spiritual Israel, genuine children and sons of God and sons of Abraham by faith! But in rejecting Him, it would have done them no good whatsoever to be a Jew.