Monday, June 1, 2015
The Remnant of Jacob or the House of Israel
"And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exodus 19:3-6)
There is a distinction between “the house of Jacob” and “the children of Israel.” The house of Jacob refers to all of the direct descendants of Jacob while the children of Israel refers to all those who were in a covenant relationship with God. Jacob was the name of Israel before he entered into covenant with God while the name Israel was given to Jacob after he entered into covenant with God. Israel represents the people of the covenant.
DNA does not determine your covenant status before God. Covenant relationships with God are a matter of the heart. Our willingness to be obedient to YHVH (God) is the a true sign of the condition of our hearts. Just as physical circumcision is a sign of the covenant the circumcision of the heart is the requirement to fully enter into covenant with God.
The official decree from Adam to Israel was to keep (heb. shamar: guard and protect) the covenant. To guard and protect God's covenant is to establish his Kingdom by obeying his commandments. It is not some half-assed or half-hearted attempt to keep commandments, but a devotion of loyalty and fidelity like a wife would love her husband or a faithful son to his Father.
The covenant is like a marriage contract between a wife and her husband. The people are the betrothed wife and God is the husband. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai he brought with him the marriage proposal:
"And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD." (Exodus 19:7-8) --- IN OTHER WORDS, ISRAEL ACCEPTED THE PROPOSAL WITH, "I DO!"
God was extending a covenant marriage relationship to his people-his bride. The Five Books of Moses contain what is called a Ketubah or the Covenant Marriage Contract. Those who become Israel (Jew, Gentile, Nephites, Lamanites, Mulekites, Ten Tribes, etc) obtain a fulfillment of the marriage covenant God extended to Abraham. They put off their prior laws, cultures, and identities and become O' HOUSE OF ISRAEL-- A COVENANT NATION OF GOD.
The instructions given by God remain the heart of the Covenant - like a Ketubah or a written marriage contract between a husband and a wife. A Ketubah is simply a marriage contract or document that was very common in middle eastern cultures. The document lays out the parties in the marriage and the instructions or principles that define the marriage. It also includes the responsibilities of the parties should the contract be breached. The closest thing in American culture that comes closest to a Ketubah would be our modern pre-nuptual agreement.
God was extending and then consummating his marriage covenant with his people. This included not only the natural descendants of Jacob, but the mixed multitude of people that came with them out of Egypt. Anyone can be numbered among or be one with Israel (God's Covenant People) as long as they agreed to obey and be one with the God of Israel. Just like anybody could live in the covenant camp of Abraham and enter into covenant as long as they were circumcised and followed the commandments of God.
God's covenant laws and instructions were given to all mankind. Adam, Enoch, Noah, and Melchizedek were not Hebrew, Israelite, Jews, Mormons, or Christians. God's laws and instructions came down from the beginning. Before there was a House of Israel there was the House of Elohim and those who were numbered among the House of Elohim had to embrace the rules of God's house.
After the expulsion from the Garden of Eden it was necessary to provide a way to restore mankind back into a relationship with God. All who desire to be numbered among the people of God must follow HIS ways--not the rules and traditions of an elitist cult, group, church or religion.
When we speak of commandments, laws, and the ways of God it is not another way of saying, "Stop doing bad things! or Don't do bad things!" It is the honoring and embracing of God as our Covenant Lord, King, Husband, Deliverer, Covering, and Salvation. It is a marriage of the heart, soul, and might.
God has always been concerned with the individual as well as the nation. He establishes his covenant with individuals and nations not to set them apart into membership into an elite country club, but to reveal himself to the other nations and to bless them. Anyone who wanted to enter into this Covenant relationship with the God could do so on the provision that they embraced and guarded the terms of the Covenant- the marriage contract.
In the end there will be a decision that all of us must make. Do we remain Gentiles, Mormons, Jews, Christian, Ten Tribes, Nephites, Lamanites, etc? OR Do we become Israel - God's Covenant People?