Many Christians proclaim that they “go by every word of God.” But sadly, that is not quite true. A more accurate statement would be that they go by every word that they think they understand. They go by every word, except those passages in scripture not understood by them.
The danger here is that not-understanding-a-passage leads to ignoring it. For huge portions of the Bible just lay there, ignored by billions of professing Christians, just waiting to be read, understood, and believed. But the ignorers don’t have the keys that open up passages of scripture because the keys are found in the books that are ignored.
Moreover, many dismiss entire books, especially from the “Old Testament,” saying that those books have no bearing upon born again Christians. And so they espouse the reading of the New Testament. But Christ’s word is a sword of sharpened irony. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). Christ was referring to the Old Testament books because the New Testament books in AD 26 were not yet written. In essence, He is saying that the books of the Old Testament is the word of God.
So we see that a vast expanse of uncharted spiritual territory lays before us. And God is telling us that, yes, we can take the land. “Taking the land” incidentally is one of the keys taken from the Old Testament books. It alludes to the children of Israel conquering the Holy Land. Their trials and tribulations in the taking of the land are written about extensively from Moses through David and on through the prophets and apostles. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [types; representations of things to come]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Cor. 10:11).
“All these things that happened unto them” provide keys to unlock the mysteries of God. What happened to the Hebrews has been meticulously written down and preserved for you and me, to help us grow spiritually in these last days. God uses His people’s natural earthly experiences as types and shadows of the spiritual battles that He has in store for us today.
To what end? That we in these last days might grow up to be just like Him, thus fulfilling His purpose of reproducing Himself, reproducing Agape Love in the earth. The “old” books are what the apostles studied, and they wrote how that they elucidated the light of Christ. If we ignore them, we ignore them to our own hurt.
The Lost Sheep of Israel
The “keys” found in the Old Testament books unlock rooms of understanding in the mansions of our God. Another of Christ’s quotations languishes unread, untaught, and ignored. And yet, there it is, saying in every translation the same thing. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 15:24 ESV). These words of the King are ignored by billions because their priest/pastor/preacher has never taught them their meaning. In fact, understanding is blocked by false concepts and traditions.
Digging deeper, first, because these are Christ’s word, they are God’s words. And His words are important! Remember about going by His every word. And His words need to be understood. If this is our first exposure to this passage, and we do not quickly understand it, then we must not ignore these words of God! [I rarely use exclamation marks, but these words deserve to be exclaimed.]
Christ says that He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. The “lost sheep” must be very important to Him. His mind and thoughts were on the “lost sheep of Israel.” We are told to have the mind of Christ. This is how you have His mind. You think about what He was concerned about, and He spoke of them. No idle words found from Christ’s lips.
Wanting to have Christ’s mind, questions naturally bubble to the surface. Who are the “lost sheep of Israel? Why are they lost? What happened to them? Are they still around today? Do the early apostles speak of them? These are just a few questions we could ask as we “dig deep” into this mystery. Think of this as a treasure hunt, with a few clues dropped along the trail for us to follow.
Who are they? The main clue is that they are lost. They are the natural children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Old Testament books tell the story of the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. They give the detailed history of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel. They were slaves in Egypt, and were delivered by Moses under God’s direction. God told them to take the land occupied by pagan nations, a land named after Canaan. They did take the land, each tribe receiving a land grant from God.
For about 500 years they remained a kingdom with twelve tribes, but it split into two kingdoms in c. 950 BC. The Kingdom of Israel in the north with ten tribes and the Kingdom of Judah with two tribes plus some Levite priests were two separate governments, armies, kings, and priests. One can read about them even warring with each other. This went on until about 721 BC when the Kingdom of Israel (ten tribes), the Northern Kingdom, was conquered by Assyria. These ten tribes sinned greatly as a nation and were carried into captivity into northern Mesopotamia—Assyria.
It is here that they began to lose their identity. They lost the true Sabbath through their sinful pagan ways. They became the “lost sheep of the House of Israel.” They were spiritually and physically lost. They began to migrate “north and west” of Jerusalem, but they lost their identity as the children of Israel. This caused them to forget all of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their offspring.
The Old Testament writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, took great pains in preserving their roots and their history. Knowing their history is the key that will solve the mysteries about the “lost sheep” that Christ was sent to. But it takes digging deep. Those who do not will not find the key to understanding, and they will wind up ignoring Christ’s words: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” But His sheep will hear His voice and will hunger for the truth found in His words.
This takes study, deep study. And you can study this out. The “giants are not too big.” We can take the land. God is looking for a few Joshuas and Calebs [That is another OT story, a type and shadow that speaks about you and me.] They said that we can do it. His sheep will hear His voice and will hunger for the truth found in His word—every word.
Here is another clue in discovering the “lost sheep of the House of Israel.” Some people will say that the Jews are the lost sheep. But this is not the case. For the Jews were of the Kingdom of Judah (two tribes) and were never lost. They were dispersed and scattered, but they kept intact their identity. In fact, they kept the Torah, the five books of Moses, the feasts, the times, etc.
Finally, for a New Testament witness, the apostle James writes a letter to the Israelites. “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting” (1:1). The apostle Paul, also, spoke of them, quoted by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. Speaking about the resurrection, Paul says, “…Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night hope to come” (26:7).
James, Paul and Luke evidently were digging deep into the mind of Christ. They studied His thoughts, and thereby changed the world.
But you won’t hear this in church. They don’t understand it, and so they ignore it. And so I must ask with respect: How are they going by every word of God?
[For more on these things: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/lost-tribes-of-israel-in-earth-today-three-scriptural-proofs/ and https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/?s=lost+sheep ]
Kenneth Wayne Hancock