I shall pronounce God’s biblical name found in Psalm 68:4 and 83:18 as Yahweh. Taken from YHWH, YHVH. Others pronounce as Yahoveh. The first time Yahweh God identified His affiliation to a group of people was in Exo 3:7 And Yahweh said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; . When you join God’s people, you in a way enter the centre of His vision rather than being in the peripheral view. Any cry you make is louder to Him and through your prayers He moves to ease your affliction and sorrows.
The “my people” were identified as Israel in Exo 3:10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And in 9:1 as the Hebrews: not Jews. Prior to this first group of God, He had individual servants as Noah. However, the father of the “my people” is Abraham who God called “my servant” and “my friend”. Gen 26:24 And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake. Isa 41:8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. What an honour to be called God’s servant and friend. Would you not like to have Him say that of you?
We are not told when Israel the nation was born; but God referred to them as “my people” before we are told of their birth. Exo 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: Exo 4:23 And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.
Straight away God shows His love for His people by referring to them as a son, a precious firstborn. The next thing we read of Him and His son is His protection of them and taking revenge on their enemies through the plagues of Egypt (Exodus chapters 11 and 12). From the outset God acted like the Father He is to His son. The son was supposed to act like a son Eph 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. (See also Col 3:20). So the purpose of God rescuing them from their enemies was for them to be good obedient children. God said to Moses in 3:12 …When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. The same reason Moses repeated to Pharaoh and the reason for which they were let go. Everyone knew the plan and purpose; i.e. God, Pharaoh and Moses. Even the firstborn son, Israel Exo 4:29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: Exo 4:30 And Aaron spake all the words which the LORD had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. Exo 4:31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
About Exodus 8:20-23 God tells Moses to go tell Pharaoh; if he did not let His people go to serve Him He would send plagues on the land. However, the plagues would not harm His people as a division would be put between the “my people” and “thy people”.
The Old Testament then records how the plan and actions of the son transpired. After information on the plagues, it first tells us that a mixed multitude left Egypt with the son under the leadership of Moses to go into the wilderness to worship the God of the Hebrews. I am sure the non-Hebrews who left with the son were aware of the purpose and result of their release. Not only that the plagues would have stopped in Egypt; but that it was by direction of their visibly powerful God. Those who left with the son therefore wanted more than the return to their former lives. They had seen the evidence of the God of the Hebrews and that was sufficient for them to leave what they knew and venture out in faith of a promise given to the Hebrews and accepting to worship Yahweh God. This reminds me of Ruth’s words to Naomi in Ruth 1:16 “thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:”
The first act of the group was to institute a memorial of their new beginning under the directions of God.
Exo 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: Exo 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
This was also the beginning of what we today call God’s church. The assembling of the congregation was the assembling of the church. In the New Testament “congregation” is translated into church. Exo 16:1 And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.
Act 7:38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: So the first very important change of mind some of us may have to make is when we see the word “church” in the New Testament is to know it is referring to the continuation of the church / congregation of the Old Testament. The son, nation of Israel and church were one and the same. The church was not a separate group of people to the nation as we think of church today.
You may all know the basics of the history of this church, even if gathered via the movie called “the Ten Commandments”. Those commandments were the first distinction outside Egypt between God’s “my people” and those of Egypt or the rest of the world. It is a set of living instructions being given to the “my people”; but actually extends to much more than the wrongly titled 10. (Take out verses Ex 20:18-21 and you should see God’s instructions would have culminated at Ex 24:7 i.e. more than ten). They include treatment of others in the group and holy convocation days of God in which all are to attend unless excused for specifically given reasons. They were not instructions only to be followed on one day or hour of the week as church today; but every day, every moment. They were to move, live and behave as a unit living as a church. One big family. I hope we understand this second distinction of the church of the Old Testament and of today. Even in the New Testament this concept is recorded Act 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; Act 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. I think this is an aspiration of many churches today; but I am not sure they grasp the full concept.
So to recap, God’s church started with the “my people” congregation He brought out of Egypt which consisted of a mixed multitude of Hebrews and strangers who made up “Israel” the nation. The whole nation was the church living as one family under God’s instructions.
They had a church building called a tabernacle with God himself as the head and Arron and Moses as the earthly representatives passing on His instructions. The format remains the same in the New Testament with Yahshua the Messiah as the head cornerstone and Peter the earthly representative. Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I ought to make it clear, Peter was not the first Pope nor are Pope’s of the Catholic church descendants of him.
Forty years later this congregation end up in their own land as promised by God to Abraham four hundred and seventy years earlier. Though, through their vast numbers, they lived in separate districts, they were still to act and live as one nation, unit, congregation, extended family with God as their Father. Keeping themselves separate from other nations, religions or laws. Even when the children of Rueben, Gad and Manasseh stayed on one side of the river Jordan and the other tribes on the other, they still agreed that the river would not divide them or their future generations (see Jos 22:29).
Here is a linage of God’s people who grew from an individual, into a family into a nation.
Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Israel. The people who were not of God were of satan and his religious systems. They were called heathen, or Gentiles i.e. of other nations. We can first clearly see them in the religious practices and beliefs of Egypt. Then following the empire changes as depicted in the statute in Daniel 2 showing Babylon, Media Persia and Greece. As one empire conquered the former, they adopted and blended in their heathen ways which, though at times similar to God’s, were aimed at heathen gods.
However, those of you knowing your bible, would know the “my people” for one reason or other went away from God by departing from His laws. That is how one departs from God. Since Adam and Eve. To be with God is to walk in obedience to His instructions and separation is to depart from them. God sent prophet after prophet to bring the mixed multitude of Israel, His earthly son back to Him and the obedient to the covenant of keeping His laws signed and sealed in Exodus 24:8. These are a sample of scriptures that speak about the “my people” who remember are the congregation and church. Take note of the headings of the five sections. They summarise the whole bible.
The promise and requirement: Lev 26:12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.. Isa 65:22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. Jer 7:23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
The falling away: Jer 2:11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Jer 2:13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jer 2:32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. Jer 4:22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
The calling back: 2Ch 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Rom 9:25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
After the return: 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.
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. Eze 39:7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Eze 44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Light to the gentiles: Zec 2:11 And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee. Isa 60:3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Act 13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth (Same as Isa 42:6, 49:6, Luke 2:32). Act 26:23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. It is crucial to note the “my people” of the Old Testament were to be the light or teachers of the other nations / Gentiles. Individually or collectively.
Due to the “my people” frequently straying and being hard of understanding, God sent His son to teach and save them. By the time the Messiah came, the prophecies of the empires affecting the “my people” as depicted in Daniel, were onto the fourth empire, Rome. Speaking to Daniel in chapters 9-12 God calls them “thy people”.
We have now reached the New Testament, birth and death of the Messiah and spreading of the gospel which is the message of the five above headings. We still have one Church as was led in the wilderness by Moses who had other assistants. That task has now passed onto Peter and his assistants of the other apostles, inclusive of Paul (Acts 7:37-38). Yet another absolute crucial point to keep at the forefront of one’s mind is that the Gospel is over. The good news as prophesied of a saviour coming has happened. The account is written. It is now history. What is now about to take place is the retelling of the history. The last two of the five summary headings above. Neither Peter, Paul or anyone else can add or take away from it only repeat or explain it. The problem today is many have added or taken away from it. At Acts 15:5 and other places we read the difference between the church before and after the Messiah is the belief in Him “sect of the Pharisees which believed”. V7 “Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe”. These gentiles, like those who made up the mixed multitude in the wilderness, had grafted themselves into the Church hearing and keeping God’s Laws as spoken by Moses. Like the Jews, they were in the synagogues every Sabbath day to hear and learn what Moses taught so there was no need to tell them more than four things in the letter (Acts 15:21). The only question as verses 1,2 and 6 shows is whether they had to be circumcised to be saved. Answer, no. That is not a law; but a covenant sign of birth right Hebrews.
Today there are, I am told, over 2,000 Christian denominations called churches rather than one. All using the Messiah to promote their own brand of the gospel. Going back to the linage of the “my people” we got as far as Rome and the Messiah’s death. Let us say A.D. 33. At that point the former two lines of God’s people, Israel and satan’s became three. The “my people” Israel line was divided into believers of the Messiah as Peter, Nathanial etc and non-believers. Today they are called Orthodox Jews and Messianic (Messiah believers). On the road to Damascus, Paul switched sides to become a believer. That is all it took. Maintaining obedience to the commandments of God in one’s practice; but adding to it faith in Yahshua the Messiah for the forgiveness of one’s sins rather than the blood of rams or goats. Denominations since have added more to the difference between a Jewish believer in the messiah and a non Jewish believer or commandment keeper. We can discuss the details in the afternoon.
Why the additions, because the denominations of today did not follow the directives of the bible, let the original “my people” of the Old and New Testament be their light and teacher. Instead they taught themselves. We should all know about the persecution of the apostles and first century congregation. They were not Christians but Jews of the sect of the Nazarene (Acts 24:5). Just like there are over 2,000 Christian denominations or sects yet they are all of the “Christian” faith, the same way there were at least three biblical sects of Jews. Though Acts 11 said they were called Christians in Antioch, being called something is different from being it; but that is not the point of this study.
We should also know about the changes and amalgamation the Emperors of Rome imposed on the congregation. By force through legislation or other more severe actions unto death. One cannot become the “my people” of God in the way the heathen church of Rome seized and changed it. They remain the ones who fit into the covenant terms of Exodus 24:7 “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient”.
The name Constantine may have been heard by most and one can research the laws he and others passed and how Rome became the head of the religious beliefs. That led to the Roman Catholic church being the worldwide church of the empire. Then about the fifteenth century; fifteen hundred years later came the Reformation. Martin Luther, the German Catholic priest should be a name known by most. He and others led the Protestant breakaway from the Catholic church. However, that was after about fifteen hundred years of the Catholic church writing the Christian religion through their interpretation, translation and teachings. By the time the Protestants broke away from the Pope being the forgiver of their sins, they had already adopted many other non biblical beliefs of the scriptures. Then out of the dissatisfaction with the Catholic church we got individuals teaching themselves from the Christian translation of bibles. Individuals as Charles Russell the founder of the Jehovah’s Witness in about 1880. William Miller the author or certain theories on which the Seventh Day Adventist was formed in about 1863 and the Pentecostal beliefs of about 1901 of which in Agnes Ozman and Mr Parham contrived speaking in today’s tongues. All of these were self taught persons formerly of other Christian denominations as the Methodist; but went on to set up a now world wide denomination. None followed the biblical principle of seeking teaching from keepers of God’s law. Yahshua kept the law and taught Jewish apostles and others who knew of and kept the law. The apostles and Paul, knew of and kept the law then went onto teach others who were of the same. The only addition to their practice and knowledge was to open their eyes through the scriptures to recognise the Messiah.
God and the Holy spirit followed the same principle with Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10 and Philip and the Enouch (Acts 8:26); send someone who knew and kept the law to one of the same.
I will stop at these three worldwide popular denominations. All of whom are offshoots from the Protestant movement which is an offshoot of the Church of Rome, which succeeded the Grecian empire. Trace back as far as you wish you should end back with Egyptian heathen doctrines. So neither can one be part of God’s “my people”, congregation or church by being part of the offshoots even if they have retained some of the concepts. One has to totally detach return to the ways of the “my people”. The present denominations, all of whom have various flaws in their belief due to self teaching without any or proper study of the “my people” ways and instructions from God. Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Denominations inherited the anti Israel and anti keeping of God’s commandments that they cannot see what, to me, the bible clearly teaches. The law of God was made flesh in the Messiah. They are one and the same. Isa 1:10 Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. The Word is the Law of God. Then remember John 1:1 and 14. Christians or the gentiles were supposed to take hold of the Jew’s skirt and ask to be taught not wrongly teach themselves or claim to replace the teachers Zec_8:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
I think one major deception or misunderstanding is the purpose of the messiah. We see from history, the devil’s method has always been to get people to depart from obeying the instructions of God. From Adam and Eve to the congregation, Israel. So not surprisingly, he has kept to the same tactic which has worked for him thus far. This time he may be laughing, using the very messiah who came to be an avenue for our forgiveness of sin and reconciliation back to God to fool many the commandments are no more as a result of the messiah! Rather than keep the commandments of God and faith in Yahshua’s atoning blood as mentioned in Rev 12:17 and 14:12, anti-Israel teachings leaves them claiming their messiah but not God’s laws.
Yahshua is the way back to God, a better sacrifice than that of animals through which God formerly said He would forgive our sins; but that should not detract us from keeping the commandments. Did the “my people”, the congregation not have to keep the commandments of God as well as execute the animal day of atonement system instituted by God? The single road to somewhere, i.e. a gate, does not mean one gets in through the gate on their arrival. Yahshua may be the way to the gate; but sin cannot come before God. Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Other places of Revelation mentions murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers etc will not get in. Neither anything that defiles, works abomination or a lie. Clearly there is more than calling on the name of the Lord Lord or requesting entry.
If one of the laws, Lev 16, was the route instituted by God for forgiveness of sins and Yahshua does the same thing, is it so difficult to see them as one and the same. Yahshua being the law manifested into flesh? The Word being made flesh? Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,. Scripture speaks of the Law of God and Yahshua in the same way. Psa 40:7-8 “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart”. Jesus confirmed He had not come to destroy or change the “Law”. In fact, He came to magnify it. Show how it is to be kept. Shine a light on it and make it clear through clarification and examples. Isa 42:21 “The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable”. Yahshua was the living Law. Scripture speaks of their attributes in the same way. Truth (Joh 14:6, Psalm 119:142), holy (Acts 4:27, Rom 7:12), perfect (Heb 5:9, Psalm 19:7) righteous (1 Cor 1:30, Psa 119:172), light (Joh 8:12, Pro 6:23), just (Acts 22:14, Rom 7:12), abide in forever (Joh 8:35, Psa 111:7-8), should be in the heart (Eph 3:17, Psa 40:8).
Seeing God as all powerful and nothing is outside His capabilities, why if he can raise up stones to worship Him should he not be able to make His law flesh? We today can make robots that speak, walk and do many things through a computerised chip so limit God. 1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Let me give an example of how false beliefs could occur. From the bible, what colour is the hand of one who has leprosy? You know when God told Moses to put his hand in his bosom and then take it out. It came out leprous; but what colour? (Ex 4:6, see also Num 12:10, 2king 5:27). We all know we get holy communion by the last supper when Jesus said as often as you do this do it in memory of me RIGHT? Lastly, funerals are held in church where congregation can say their goodbyes to the decease in the coffin?
Well none of these traditions are in the bible and by following them we are Mar 7:9 … Full well ye rejecting the commandments of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. Rejecting what or when God said to do something and doing or believing what man says makes man or the deceiving devil one’s god.
Firstly, Lev 13:2 When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests: Lev 13:3 And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean. Lev 13:8 And if the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a leprosy. Lev 13:13 Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean. Lev 13:15 And the priest shall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: for the raw flesh is unclean: it is a leprosy. Traditionally Christian bible translators have inserted “white” in the text for colour of leprosy.
Second, it was an annual Passover meal not a weekly or ordinary meal. More importantly none of the gospels say “when ever” you do this or “as often” as you do it do it in memory of me. Only Luke says Luk 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. There is no change in frequency than the once per year they were used to as a memorial of the Passover lamb. 1 Corinthian 11:26 is used to justify the weekly change; but as Peter says in 2 Peter 3:16 about those unlearned, they fail to understand Paul's writings to their own destruction. So if you agree the memorial of these “my people” and their events should be kept by you, as I belief, then keep them properly. Memorials are meant to be kept by successors of the actual “my people” in the wilderness. If you are grafted into them, that includes you.
Third, dead bodies or one touching a dead body were not to be brought into the sanctuary or it became defiled.
Throughout the bible God has sent or empowered humans to save His “my people”. David, Samson, prophets and the Yahshua the Messiah. He in turn passed on the instruction to Peter “feed my sheep” (John 21:16). Those continuing the linage of the wilderness congregation doing what they did keeping the commandments of the Father and faith in the sin forgiveness system He instituted. Not only has numerous denominations who are not part of “my people” think they are; but also individuals. They have adopted teachings like the Messiah has changed the need for them to obey in total, it does not really matter if they get it slightly wrong, there is now an acceptable grey area between right and wrong, it is down to their heart and relationship different to that of Moses and the prophets who obeyed and had faith. Brethren I urge you to study to make yourself approved. Compare what you are doing to the proven obedience and faith way of the prophets. We know they were of the “my people”. No such guarantee for departure from obedience. As they say, delayed obedience is disobedience!
You all know of the benefits of being in the My People group of God otherwise you may not be here. You have either endured thus far or recently come on the journey to learn. Those of you who still have distance to travel on the road of discovery, I urge you to come out of the non obeying or disbelieving organisations of man and take hold of the skirt God has instructed. Not to become of them; but to learn from the oracles given to them and faith in the Messiah promised to them. We are either of God’s “my people” and church or not. With Him or against Him. Hot or cold. No middle ground or luke warm. When things get to the end, God takes His “My People” out of the way first.
For afternoon discussion Rom 11:28 As concerning the gospel, they (Israel, my people) are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they (Israel, “my people” are the elect) are beloved for the fathers' sakes.