Christian Israelites believe that God is part of a Trinity or Godhead – three beings working as one:
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus] and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.’ 1 John 5:7 (emphasised word added).
Christian Israelites believe that God is primarily a Spirit:
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.’ John 4:24.
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ 2 Corinthians 3:17.
We also believe that God is the creator of all things, including man and woman:
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.’ Colossians 1:16.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.’ Genesis 1:27.
We look to him as the only God and as the Father of us all:
“Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?’ Malachi 2:10.
“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things.’ 1 Corinthians 8:6.
The second being in the Trinity is the Holy Ghost or Spirit, who dwells with those who believe in God and Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit brings us comfort and power and makes intercession for us to God:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.’ Acts 1:8.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.’ Romans 8:26-27.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’ John 14:26.
The Spirit also gives us the strength to live according to God’s will, and to thereby become his children:
“If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God … The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.’ Romans 8:13-14, 16 (emphasis added).
The third being in the Trinity is Jesus Christ, whose birth was promised from the moment mankind sinned and required redemption:
“I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed [Jesus]; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.’ Genesis 3:15 (emphasised words added).
Many other prophesies about Jesus were recorded throughout the Old Testament, particularly in the Book of Isaiah:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ Isaiah 9:6.
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.’ Isaiah 11:1-2.
An angel told Mary to call her child Jesus (meaning ‘God is salvation’) before she conceived him:
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.’ Luke 1:30-31 (see also Matthew 1:21).
He was not conceived by man but by the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:20), making him the living Son of God:
“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ Matthew 3:17 (see also Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22).
He was born with a physical body like ours, but as God was his father, he was without sin:
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.’ Romans 8:3.
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.’ Philippians 2:6-7
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ Hebrews 4:15.
When Jesus was about thirty, he was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The Holy Spirit descended on him and stayed with him, and he became known as Jesus Christ:
“And Jesus, when he was baptised, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.’ Matthew 3:16.
Christian Israelites believe that Christ was another name for the Spirit that descended on Jesus (allowing him to perform miracles, such as healing the sick and casting out demons):
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.’ Romans 8:9 (emphasis added).
The name Christ means ‘Messiah’ (deliverer, saviour), and dwelling in the Spirit of God/Christ allowed Jesus to become the spiritual as well as the physical Son of God. So, we can see why he said:
“I and my Father are one.’ John 10:30.
Jesus spoke several times about how he existed before he was born on earth, angering the Jews when he said, ‘Before Abraham was, I am’ (John 8:58). As the Gospel of John also records:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men … And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ John 1:1, 3-4, 14.
“And now O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.’ John 17:5.
These verses all suggest that Jesus had knowledge of things that took place before he was born on earth – before the earth was even created. His physical self (Jesus) was not with God in the beginning, nor had he seen Abraham, but it was his spiritual self (Christ) that had and that was speaking through the body of Jesus. As such, we believe that Jesus and Christ are two separate entities that came together as the Son of God.
When Jesus was crucified on the cross, the Spirit Christ withdrew to allow Jesus’ body to die, leading Jesus to cry out, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matthew 27:46). However, the same Spirit later resurrected him from the dead and gave him victory over death.
It was Jesus’ sacrifice that redeemed us from our sins and allowed us to have direct access to God:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith … That at that time ye were without Christ … having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ … And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby … For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.’ Ephesians 2:8, 12-13, 16, 18.
He became the way for us to communicate with God:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me … And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.’ John 14:6, 13-14.
Jesus Christ taught that to do his work and live our lives according to God’s will, we require the help of the Trinity:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ Matthew 28:19-20.
They extend to us all that is required for a perfect relationship with them:
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.’ 2 Corinthians 13:14 (emphasis added).
In turn, Christian Israelites seek to relate to the Trinity by accepting that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, praying to God in his name, and living a life that is as sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit as possible.
Christian Israelites believe that Satan (also known as the Devil, Lucifer and by several other names), exists and is a direct enemy to God and mankind. The Bible explains that he originally dwelt in heaven in the presence of God and was one of God’s archangels. He was said to be beautiful, but he became vain and wanted to be more powerful than God, which led to his downfall:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.’ Isaiah 14:12-15.
"Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.’ Ezekiel 28:17.
He rose up against God with the view of overthrowing him. Michael (another archangel) fought against him, and cast him to the earth:
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.’ Revelation 12:7-9.
He is first mentioned on earth as the serpent who beguiled Eve (and through her, Adam) into disobeying God by causing them to question what God had said:
"Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’ Genesis 3:1.
This led to the fall of mankind and the entry of sin and corruption into the world. Before this, man and woman were pure and unashamed, and dwelt in the presence of God (in the Garden of Eden). Following their disobedience, they were banished from the garden and God’s presence. God cursed Satan for what he did and promised that he would later be defeated. As mentioned in About the Trinity, Christian Israelites believe it is Jesus who is meant in this promise and who was predestined to overcome Satan:
"And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed [Jesus]; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.’ Genesis 3:14-15 (emphasised word added).
The Bible describes many characteristics of Satan, stating that he is an ‘accuser’ (Revelation 12:10), a murderer, and a liar:
"He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.’ John 8:44.
He is also described as actively seeking ways to attack and torment God’s children:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.’ 1 Peter 5:8.
He is considered to be the prince of death, in contrast to God and Jesus, who are all about life:
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ John 10:10.
We have a choice between life and death:
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.’ Deuteronomy 30:19.
Satan’s ultimate goal is to drive God’s children to death, as it is death that he draws power from. As mentioned above, part of God’s curse against Satan was, ‘dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life’. The Bible explains that it was from dust that mankind was made (Genesis 2:7) and that when we die, our spirits return to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7), but our bodies return to dust – Satan’s domain:
"All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.’ Ecclesiastes 3:20.
God, however, has no part in death:
"He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.’ Mark 12:27.
Satan has an army of demons or evil spirits (fallen angels) that fell with him from heaven (Revelation 12:4) and which he employs to help him achieve his goal of driving us to sin and then to death:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:23.
"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.’ 1 John 3:8.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ Ephesians 6:12.
The primary way Satan attacks us is through our minds, i.e., by causing us to believe lies (ideas that go against God’s Word), think on evil, and to question the validity of God:
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 11:3.
"In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.’ 2 Corinthians 4:4 (emphasised word added).
It is therefore through casting down the dark and evil thoughts that Satan places in our minds and replacing them with truth (God’s Word) that we are able to conquer him and the evil within us that he draws upon:
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5.
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.’ Romans 8:5-6.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.’ Isaiah 26:3.
Jesus demonstrated this principle when he was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness. Satan tempted Jesus in the same way he had Adam and Eve – by trying to make him question God’s Word. He said things to Jesus that sounded like truth, but which were deceitful and misleading. Jesus responded to this and overcame Satan by quoting the truth (the Word of God):
"And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Matthew 4:3-4.
Satan spreads his lies and tries to mislead God’s children through many ideas and actions that seem spiritual and are, but which draw on the power of evil spirits rather than God’s Spirit, and which make lies seem like truth. This includes all aspects of the occult: fortune telling, astrology, witchcraft, clairvoyance, divination, voodoo, etc, which Christian Israelites view as ways that Satan can gain entry into our lives and which we are therefore strictly against. The Bible outlines further sins that draw us out of God’s kingdom and into Satan’s:
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.’ Galatians 5:19-21.
It is through Jesus Christ that we can have authority and victory over the Devil:
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’ Mark 16:17-18 (see also Luke 10:19).
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.’ 1 John 3:8.
"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 15:57.
Jesus Christ gained victory over the Devil when he rose again, that is, when he overcame death:
"That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life … Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.’ Romans 6:4, 9.
However, Satan is ever-present in our world and continues in his desire to be more powerful than God. He is focused on his goal of drawing us away from God, tormenting us, causing us to sin, and ultimately driving us to death through sin and disease.
Christian Israelites believe that Satan will be fully defeated upon Jesus Christ’s second coming:
"And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve … Yet thou [Satan] shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?’ Isaiah 14:3, 15-17 (emphasised word added).
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.’ Revelation 20:14
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet.’ 1 Corinthians 15: 26-27.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.’ Revelation 21:4
Until then, God has given us tools to stand against the Devil:
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil … Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ Ephesians 6:11, 13-18.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ James 4:7.
Christian Israelites believe that by following the teachings of both the Old and New Testaments, we are gradually able to defeat the evil within us, develop the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and thereby ensure that Satan no longer has power over us, just as Jesus Christ and the prophets promised:
"The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.’ Zephaniah 3:15.
Christian Israelites believe that we are made up of three separate parts: the spirit, soul, and body:
"I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (emphasis added).
The body is the part of us and others that we can touch and see. It is a physical home that the spirit and soul dwell with and which God created from the earth:
"The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.’ Genesis 2:7.
Both the body and spirit are his and should be used for his glory:
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ 1 Corinthians 6:20.
"A spirit alone does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Zechariah tells us that when Adam was created, it was God ‘who formeth the spirit of man within him’ (12:1). Jesus explained that it is the ‘spirit that quickeneth’ (John 6:63), that is, which gives life, keeps us alive, or causes our bodies to move. This correlates with what James wrote: ‘the body without the spirit is dead’ (2:26). As such, physical death occurs when the spirit leaves or separates from the body (as seen in About What Happens After Death and at the Resurrections).
Christian Israelites believe that a person’s spirit resembles the appearance of their physical body and can be seen and recognised by some, separate to the body, such as when Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus (Matthew 17:3).
The Bible states that God is the ‘God of the spirits of all flesh’ (Numbers 27:16), and the ‘Father of spirits’ (Hebrews 12:9). Jesus explained that God himself is a Spirit, and those that worship him must worship him ‘in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24). That is, a person’s spirit is their means of connecting to God and hearing from the Holy Spirit:
"He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.’ 1 Corinthians 6:17.
"I will pray with the spirit.’ 1 Corinthians 14:15.
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.’ Ephesians 1:17.
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’ John 14:26.
It is in seeking the Holy Spirit through our spirits that we can gradually become more like God. We begin to demonstrate the ‘fruits of the Spirit’, which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith (Galatians 5:22-23), and are able to exercise the spiritual gifts that God gives us (1 Corinthians 12) – skills that do not operate within our natural ability.
The Bible states that a person’s spirit has knowledge of who they are:
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?’ 1 Corinthians 2:11.
As seen in About the Trinity, Christ (separate to Jesus) is viewed as a Spirit. The Bible teaches us to have the ‘mind of Christ’ (Philippians 2:5), and also speaks of ‘the mind of the Spirit’ (Romans 8:27). In like manner, Christian Israelites believe we have a mind and thoughts in our spirits that can be ‘renewed’ to be like the Holy Spirit’s mind, and through which we can learn ‘what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God’ (Romans 12:2). As Paul reiterated:
"Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.’ Ephesians 4:23.
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’ 2 Timothy 1:7.
It is understood that just as the Holy Spirit can bring thoughts to our spirits, so can Satan. We need to exercise self-control and cast down the thoughts that are not of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) so that we do not become like an un-walled city, vulnerable to attack:
"He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.’ Proverbs 25:28.
We must also ensure that our spirits’ thoughts are obedient and in submission to God’s will at all time:
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.’ Psalm 51:17.
The Bible states that the soul dwells in the blood:
"For the life1 of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.’ Leviticus 17:112 .
As per About What Happens After Death and at the Resurrections, the Bible also explains that it is the soul that goes to the grave with the body until the resurrection, and which will rise again to give an account of its deeds (2 Corinthians 5:10). As such, the soul is where the memory resides, in that it can remember what deeds it has committed (such as the soul of the rich man in the parable of Luke 16:19-31, who also recognised others and who remembered that he had five brethren). It is where our conscience lies, in that souls feel joy and peace for doing good deeds and condemnation and torment for doing bad deeds (Psalm 25:12-13, Psalm 6:3).
The Bible tells us that souls can talk and cry out to God (Revelation 6:9-10), and that they can love him (Luke 10:27). But souls can also be damaged by sin, which is why they are in need of salvation, healing, and redemption (Psalm 41:4, Psalm 23:3, Psalm 34:22, 1 Peter 1:9). In fact, the Bible teaches that the soul can be cast down and disquieted (Psalm 42:11), anguished (Genesis 42:21), bitter (1 Samuel 1:10), lustful (Deuteronomy 12:20), consumed with grief (Psalm 31:9), weary of life and mournful (Job 10:1; 14:22). It also explains that souls are where our worries and troubles are found (Psalm 88:3) and that they can be subject to deceit and violence (Psalm 72:14).
But it is also through the soul that we achieve personal intimacy with God. It can be poured out to him (1 Samuel 1:15), long and faint for him (Psalm 84:2), trust in him (Psalm 57:1), rejoice in him, (Psalm 71:23), praise him (Psalm 103:1), and contain
knowledge about his ways (Psalm 139:14). As such, our souls are emotional and relational, and are the part of us that allows us to connect with others.
"Just as our physical hearts are the central figure of our circulatory systems, so are our non-physical hearts at the centre of our souls (e.g., if the soul was a car, the heart would be its engine). As Jesus explained, it is where we ultimately make decisions that lead us into good or evil:
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.’ Luke 6:45.
The heart is therefore very important in determining who we are and how we act and is the fountain of our emotions (which is why we can feel broken-hearted, disheartened, fainthearted, and sometimes even experience a physical heartache when we are emotionally distressed).
The heart is therefore very important in determining who we are and how we act and is the fountain of our emotions (which is why we can feel broken-hearted, disheartened, fainthearted, and sometimes even experience a physical heartache when we are emotionally distressed).
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful … and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ Hebrews 4:12 (emphasis added).
The Bible often uses phrases such as ‘he said in his heart’ (e.g., Genesis 17:17) to indicate that a person can have a certain thought and/or motivation in their heart. It was the evilness of people’s ‘thoughts in their hearts’ that led God to destroying the earth with the flood (Genesis 6:5).
Our hearts’ thoughts can war against our spiritual thoughts and cause us to be double minded:
"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.’ Romans 7:23.
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.’ Romans 8:5-6.
"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.’ James 1:8.
The Bible states that the heart is where our motives, secrets, and desires are found (Psalm 37:4, 44:21). It is where God can place wisdom (1 Kings 10:24), and from where we trust him (Proverbs 3:5). Solomon instructed, ‘keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life’ (Proverbs 4:23), again meaning that everything we do depends on the state of the heart
The heart is where we reason (Mark 2:6) and where we are convicted of our sins (Acts 2:37). God looks at the heart to see what kind of person we are (1 Chronicles 29:17) and is interested in the condition of even our deepest parts:
"Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.’ Psalm 51:6
"Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.’ Psalm 44:21.
David bravely asked God to:
"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’ Psalm 139:23-24.
If someone is sinning – sin being the action of breaking one of God’s laws and commandments (i.e., of straying from his will) (1 John 3:4) – it is likely because they are indulging their heart’s ungodly thoughts. Jeremiah wrote that the heart can be ‘revolting and rebellious’ (5:23), and ‘deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked’ (17:9). Jesus taught that ‘out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ (Matthew 15:19), while James said that bitter envying and strife are found there (3:14).
Overall, the heart has a tendency to lead us away from God, yet it is also where Christ chooses to dwell when we accept him as our saviour (Ephesians 3:17). In fact, he was sent to ‘heal the brokenhearted’ (Luke 4:18). It is in our hearts that belief resides (Romans 10:9-10), and it is through belief in Jesus Christ that even the evilest of hearts can be redeemed and purified:
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.’ Hebrews 10:22.
"And God, which knoweth the hearts … put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.’ Acts 15:8-9.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’ Matthew 5:8.
All things considered, our souls, driven by our hearts, can be understood as our moral character. Through its unique desires, the soul determines what deeds we do and whether or not we will be obedient to God – whether we will choose good or evil, life or death, blessing or cursing (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19). These choices come together to form the greater part of a person’s personality. However, as the spirit also has a mind, Christian Israelites believe that a person’s essence is shared between both spirit and soul and that we are only fully ourselves when they are both together.
As mentioned, our souls are subject to and can be damaged by sin. Christian Israelites believe that Adam and Eve’s original sin caused their blood to be defiled with evil, and that this transferred to their descendants, who continue to struggle with sin today (Romans 5:12). Satan and his demons attract the evil within us (usually by way of evil thoughts and by exacerbating our weaknesses, such as lust or gluttony) to tempt our souls 3 to commit both ignorant and intentional sins (Numbers 15:28- 30, 1 John 3:8). Thankfully, Jesus gives us authority over Satan (Mark 16:17, Luke 9:1), and God promises to heal our souls so that door is no longer open to Satan or his demons (Psalm 41:4). When we seek to honour God by following the law and gospel (as per About the Purpose of the Church), God also promises to cleanse our blood of all evil so there is nothing left for Satan to attract (Joel 3:21). The Bible states that we all have a responsibility to avoid sin by writing God’s words, commandments, and instructions in our souls (Deuteronomy 11:18), so that we operate in God’s will and grace at all times and can be given new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26). This can only be achieved through the help of the Holy Spirit:
"And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.’ Galatians 5:24-25.
"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.’ Romans 8:13.
However, as we all often fail to follow God’s Word, our souls are in continual need of redemption and healing. In the Old Testament, the consequence of sin was usually literal death (see Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21:12, 17, and Leviticus 24:16 as examples). This is because:
"The wages of sin is death.’ Romans 6:23.
As Adam and Eve’s story demonstrates, sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) because he is holy and cannot be in the presence of unholiness. However, because he loved the Israelites, God made a way for their souls to be cleansed and saved. This was through the sacrificial law, wherein clean animals suffered death in place of the sinner and paid the price for the sin the human soul had committed (see Exodus 29:10-14, Leviticus 16:24, 27, and Numbers 28-29 as examples). This allowed that person to be saved from their sins and to live, the sin of their soul having been transferred to another.
Later, Jesus offered his perfect soul as a propitiation (atonement) for ours (Isaiah 53:10), shedding his pure blood and pouring out his soul on the cross, paying the price for all the sins our souls have and will commit, and becoming the ultimate sacrifice in our place4 . This made way for all souls to receive salvation (1 Peter 1:8- 9), to return to God’s holy presence, and to receive eternal life:
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.’ Hebrews 9:22.
"Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.’ Romans 3:25.
Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we also have access to forgiveness whenever needed (1 John 1:9). Because the conscience is connected to the soul, we may still feel guilty or condemned about sins we have committed, but we need only remember:
"If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.’ 1 John 3:20.
As the soul dwells in the blood, it is closely connected to the body. Our souls affect our bodies in that the thoughts we dwell on, the emotions we feel, and the moral actions we take, are directly connected to our physical heath:
"Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.’ Proverbs 3:7-8.
The two are also often partnered in what the Bible collectively calls ‘the flesh’. The flesh has lusts (1 John 2:16) that usually start with a soulish thought but that can also be enflamed by a bodily urge, both of which have the potential to lead our flesh into sin. Again, this is why Jesus Christ was needed as our saviour:
"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.’ Romans 8:3.
We are instructed to overcome all ungodly lusts of the flesh so that we can do God’s will at all times:
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.’ Romans 6:12-13.
It is when we allow our souls to lead our lives that we often fall into sin, and so we must always aim to be led by our spirits – that part of us that is designed to commune with and hear from God – so that our souls may be kept in submission to God’s will at all times.
"As Christian Israelites believe that sin is committed by the flesh, it is likewise believed that the spirits of mankind do not sin in and of themselves. As mentioned, just as the Holy Spirit can bring thoughts to or affect our spirits, so too can Satan inject evil thoughts into our spiritual minds as he did Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3), but these thoughts themselves are not sin unless they enter our hearts, and we act on them with the soul and body. These thoughts are different to the soulish thoughts that spring from our hearts, which indicate the state of our hearts and which indeed may be evil. As Paul wrote:
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.’ Romans 8:6.
As such, it is understood that it is the soul, using the body, that is ultimately responsible for sin, rather than the spirit. However, it is also understood that spirits can be disobedient, that is, that they can operate in opposition to God’s will, as they did in the times of Noah:
"By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.’ 1 Peter 3:19-20.
When Satan injects evil thoughts into our spiritual minds, we must bring them back into obedience to God, so that we don’t act on those thoughts with our souls and bodies, and thereby sin:
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (emphasis added).
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.’ Proverbs 17:22.
"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?’ Proverbs 18:14.
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.’ Proverbs 15:13.
This indicates that there is a connection between the soul and spirit, in that spirits can become broken or wounded through sorrow of heart. A broken spirit becomes more vulnerable to demonic influences and temptations to be disobedient to God. It can also affect a person’s overall mood and ability to enjoy and express the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), including joy and hope. Thankfully, the spirit can be restored, strengthened, and healed through the Holy Spirit, particularly once the heart is also healed:
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.’ Romans 15:13.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Psalm 51:10.
Because the spirit, soul, and body are so intricately connected, to take care of ourselves and address any issue we may face – particularly persistent ones – we must ensure we are addressing it in all three realms.
Often problems are persistent because we have only addressed one or two areas. For example, a person with prolonged depression may have seen a doctor for medication to support hormone balance, and a counsellor for their emotional healing, but if this has not brought freedom, they may also be under a ‘spirit of heaviness’ (Isaiah 61:3) and need spiritual support, perhaps with the help of someone strong in the faith. Or a person may have sought such spiritual deliverance and attended their doctor for physical healing, but not addressed the root emotional problem that allowed the problem to surface in the first place, such as a childhood trauma.
Seeking God’s direction first at all times, we must always actively see to and care for all three parts of us so that we can be made whole and ‘preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Thessalonians 5:23). As the Bible reminds us:
"I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Psalm 139:14.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.’ Ephesians 2:10.
"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.’ Matthew 22:37-38.
Jesus is here imploring us to love God with every element of our beings.
To love him with our hearts is to love him with our emotions, affection, and trust, and to keep our hearts’ thoughts in line with his:
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord.’ Psalm 19:14
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.’ Colossians 3:2.
To love him with our souls is to be obedient – to follow his commandments, or to avoid separating ourselves from him by making our souls unholy through sin:
"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.’ 1 John 5:3.
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.’ John 14:21, 23.
To love God with our minds is to keep our minds on him and our thoughts in line with his Word:
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.’ Philippians 4:8.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.’ Isaiah 26:3.
By loving him in all three ways, we fulfill Jesus’ greatest commandment.
Solomon wrote that there is little difference between the physical body of a human and that of a beast or animal:
"I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?’ Ecclesiastes 3:18-21.
This passage indicates that all beasts have a spirit, too. They are therefore ‘powered’ in the same we are, i.e., with a spirit, and die when the spirit separates from the body. Genesis 1:24-28 indicates that animals – including their spirits – are not made in the image of God. That is a privilege that belongs to mankind only and is one of the reasons mankind reigns over the beasts (vs 26).
It is also understood that animals have a soul, too. Most people would agree that animals demonstrate emotions (such as fear and affection), personality, an ability to build trust and relate to others, and an ability to plan and make decisions based on their desires. As previously mentioned, the sacrificial law included the shedding of clean animals’ blood, or the giving of their life and soul in place of the Israelites’, so the peoples’ souls could be saved. Job 12:10 says that in God’s hand ‘is the soul of every living thing’, which suggests that every living thing has a soul. All of this supports the idea that animals have a soul, as does the fact that God instructed mankind not to eat of the blood of animals because the life of the flesh (the soul) dwells there (Genesis 9:4). However, it is understood that animals’ souls are different to mankind’s in that they are not subject to or damaged by sin (they not being under any laws), are not held accountable for their actions, and are not in need of redemption in the same way that human souls are. Like their spirit, it is understood that their souls are also not made in the image of God, and that they are not redeemed by Jesus’ sacrifice, nor receive eternal life.
As explained earlier and in About the Trinity, the Bible states clearly that ‘God is a Spirit’ (John 4:24). As a spirit, God certainly has a mind (Romans 8:27), and David wrote that God’s thoughts are very deep (Psalm 92:5). Throughout the Bible, God is shown to make decisions and formulate plans, including plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11). As God told Isaiah:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:8-9.
When considered as a part of the Trinity, the Godhead has a physical body through Jesus being born on earth:
"I and my father are one.’ John 10:30.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ John 1:14.
"[Jesus] took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.’ Philippians 2:7.
As for a soul, there are several verses where God is described, often by himself, as in possession of one:
"And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the Lord: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.’ Judges 10:16 (emphasis added).
"And I [God] will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.’ Leviticus 26:11 (emphasis added).
"Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.’ Isaiah 42:1 (emphasis added).
The Bible indicates that God expresses a range of emotions. For example, he loves (Jeremiah 31:3), has compassion (Psalm 103:13), and gets angry (Ezekiel 5:13). Genesis 6:6 records that he experienced grief in ‘his heart’. He is also recorded as saying that David was ‘a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will’ (Acts 13:22), indicating that he has both a heart and a will.
Again, considering the Trinity as a whole, Jesus, sharing in God’s nature in human form, had a soul, and felt things deeply. The night before his crucifixion, he described his soul as being ‘exceeding sorrowful, even unto death’ (Matthew 26:38). However, unlike mankind, he and his soul are not subject to sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Overall, God and Jesus both demonstrate elements of a heart, mind, and soul, all of which allows them to relate to us, intimately understand us, and to care about what happens to us.
When God created Adam, he blessed him, and told him to be ‘fruitful’ and to have ‘dominion over the earth’ (Genesis 1:28-30). God later gave Noah the same blessing and promise, and made the first recorded covenant with him:
"And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth … I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.’ Genesis 9:1, 11 (see also Genesis 6:18).
The next covenant he made was with Abraham, which was passed on to his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob:
"He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.’ Psalm 105:8-11. (For more details, see Genesis 17 (covenant with Abraham), Genesis 26:2-5 (covenant with Isaac), and Genesis 28:13-15 (covenant with Jacob).)
God promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as numerous ‘as the stars’ (Genesis 26:4), and that he would bring them into a land of their own – the Promised Land. It was Jacob who became known as Israel, and from whose twelve sons the Israelites – God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6) – descended:
"Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel.’ Genesis 32:28.
Jacob’s eleventh son Joseph was despised by his older brothers, and they sold him as a slave. He was taken to Egypt and later rose to power. When there was a great famine across the land, his family joined him in Egypt, where there was plentiful food. There, the Israelites multiplied, as God had promised:
"And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.’ Exodus 1:7.
66 members of Joseph’s family had travelled to Egypt (Genesis 46:26); over 430 years, their number grew to more than 600,000 men (Exodus 12:37, 40). Because of this, the Egyptian pharaoh feared they might rise up against him, so he oppressed them and made them slaves (Exodus 1:8-12). The Israelites cried out to God to deliver them from their persecution, and he sent Moses to lead them to freedom. Moses negotiated with the pharaoh to let the people go, and after God sent ten plagues against him, the pharaoh finally agreed. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and to Mount Sinai, where God gave him the Ten Commandments and many other laws, but Moses died before they reached the Promised Land. On the way, the Israelites committed evil and ‘murmured against God’ (Numbers 14:27). As such, God condemned their generation to die in the wilderness:
"For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware that he would not shew them the land, which the Lord sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.’ Joshua 5:6.
After Moses’ death, his deputy Joshua led the new generation of Israelites to the Promised Land and, through many battles, he and his men conquered most of the enemies that dwelt there and divided up the land between the 12 tribes of Israel. Judges (and Judgesses) were set up to rule over them, and there followed a period wherein the Israelites continually strayed from God, became oppressed by their enemies, and sought God to deliver them. The Israelites then asked to have a king rule over them instead, like other nations had (1 Samuel 8:5). Saul was anointed as king, but when he disobeyed God’s instructions, he lost his anointing and it passed on to David, who united the Israelites. David’s son Solomon succeeded him, but over time he strayed from God, leading to the division of the Kingdom of Israel:
"And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, And had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant … Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake.’ 1 Kings 11:9-11, 13.
Solomon’s servant Jeroboam became king of ten tribes of Israel in the north, while Solomon’s son Rehoboam became king of two tribes of Israel (Benjamin and Judah) in the south. The division of the two kingdoms marked the end of a united Israel:
"And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.’ 2 Chronicles 12:15.
Jeroboam’s kingdom (known as the Kingdom of Israel) turned away from God and to idol worship, which caused God to turn away from them:
"And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers … Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight … So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria until this day.’ 2 Kings 17:15, 18, 23.
The Assyrians performed several successful conquests against them until the 10 tribes were gradually integrated into other nations and lost, as predicted by Moses:
"And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.’ Deuteronomy 28:64.
Rehoboam’s kingdom (known as the Kingdom of Judah) alternated between straying from God and returning to him under the rule of good kings. Overall, they were more loyal to God than Jeroboam’s kingdom, but also struggled with idol worship. Their continual unfaithfulness led God to permit their destruction:
"And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem.’ 2 Kings 23:27.
Initiated by King Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians carried out three invasions wherein they brought the southern Kingdom of Judah (and Benjamin) into captivity. They, however, never lost their identity and God sent Cyrus, King of Persia, to free them. They were able to return home and, with the help of Ezra, set up Israel as a holy nation. The combination of the two tribes became known as the Jews that Jesus knew, and which follow Judaism today, while the other 10 tribes faded from history, lost.
Throughout Israel’s tumultuous history, God never forgot the covenant he had made:
"And the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.’ 2 Kings 13:23.
He made several promises to regather all of Israel:
"When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.’ Ezekiel 39:27-28.
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinnar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall setup an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.’ Isaiah 11:11-12.
God also promised that he would make a new covenant with all Israel:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah … I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.’ Jeremiah 31:31, 34.
Christian Israelites believe that, in the end times, 12,000 men (and their families) will be gathered from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, making 144,000:
"And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.’ Revelation 7:4 (see also vs 5-8).
The name of the Christian Israelite church symbolises the joining together of two Biblical concepts:Christian
As explained in About the Trinity and About the Spirit, Soul, and Body, we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that God so loved the world that he offered Jesus’ perfect soul and blood on the cross as an atonement for the sins of all mankind, thereby allowing our sinful souls to receive salvation (John 3:16). This was so we could be reconciled to him:
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins … And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.’ Colossians 1:14, 20.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ Romans 10:9.
"Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.’ 1 Peter 1:9.
It was for the Gentiles that the law was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14) and this easier path to salvation opened up to them (i.e., through faith and repentance rather than the Israelites’ way of animal sacrifice). This new way of salvation only became available through the grace of God, and cannot be earnt:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ Ephesians 2:8-9.Israelite
As explained in About the Israelites’ Story, Israel was the name given to Jacob, the father of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 35:10). The descendants of Jacob, especially those who believed in and endeavored to uphold the laws and commandments1 (to honour God and attain righteousness) were called the Israelites.
As the church believes in the validity of both the law and gospel, its members are called Christian Israelites.
As explained in Law & Gospel, the laws given to Israel through Moses were part of God’s covenant with them (Psalm 103:17-18). However, the Israelites primarily obeyed the laws out of fear of God and to avoid the consequences of sin (i.e., death (Romans 6:23) and separation from God (Isaiah 59:2)):
"Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ Deuteronomy 4:10.
The sacrifice of clean animals allowed the Israelites to be restored to a right relationship with God when they sinned (Leviticus 17:11), but when Jesus later became the ultimate ‘lamb without blemish’ (1 Peter 1:19), he fulfilled the sacrificial law once and for all:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.’ Matthew 5:17.
When Jesus said, ‘it is finished’ (John 19:30), Christian Israelites believe he meant the need for the sacrificial law:
"Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?’ Hebrews 9:12-14 (see also vs 15-28).
However, Christian Israelites believe that other Old Testament laws continue to have validity. As Jesus himself stated:
"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’ Matthew 5:19.
"For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?’ John 5:46-47.
We believe that the laws came as a result of our imperfect love of God, and that they were designed to justify us and make us righteous so we can draw closer to him and Jesus Christ:
"Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.’ Galatians 3:24.
"For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.’ Romans 10:5.
"Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane.’ 1 Timothy 1:9.
"He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.’ Proverbs 21:21.
As touched on in About the Spirit, Soul, and Body, we believe that obeying God’s laws and commandments gradually leads the evil within our blood to be cleansed and for the sin of the flesh (soul and body) to be ‘crucified’ and ‘condemned’:
"For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed.’ Joel 3:21.
"And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.’ Galatians 5:24.
"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:4.
"For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.’ Galatians 6:8.
"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ 1 John 1:7.
We believe that the heart with which the laws are kept is equally important (see Matthew 6), and that there is infinite grace whenever we fail to uphold the laws and sin:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9.
"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.’ Psalm 103:12.
"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.’ Isaiah 43:25.
The Bible states that Israel broke their covenant with God when they failed to uphold the laws, sinned, and didn’t seek atonement for their souls:
"And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.’ 2 Kings 17:15.
"The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.’ Isaiah 24:5.
Christian Israelites believe that, following Jesus Christ’s fulfillment of the sacrificial law, not all of the laws were discarded, as they are referenced in the new covenant that Jeremiah prophesied would one day come:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 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. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.’ Jeremiah 31:31-34 (emphasis added).
The new covenant was promised specifically to the Israelites, but it was not given at Jesus Christ’s first coming because the Israelites rejected him (Isaiah 53:3). Rather, Christian Israelites believe that it is in these last days that God has started to prepare Israel to receive this second or new covenant, and that this was the primary message of the church’s foundational prophet, John Wroe. It is through his teachings that we believe that the laws of righteousness were consolidated with the gospel of Jesus Christ and intended for continuation under the new covenant, no longer built on fear, but on grace and love:
"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.’ John 14:21.
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Romans 13:10.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.’ 1 John 4:18.
Christian Israelites believe that the Israelites became God’s chosen people as a result of Abraham’s great faith (Genesis 26:4-5, Hebrews 11:8-13), and that God will honour the promises he made to Abraham and his descendants (as per About the Israelites’ Story):
"Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.’ Romans 9:4.
"For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.’ Deuteronomy 7:6.
"I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me. I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.’ Isaiah 44:21-22.
We believe this is why Jesus prioritised the Israelites when sending out the disciples:
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Matthew 10:5-6.
However, we believe that the true Israelites are those who follow both law and gospel, and that this makes them the children of God:
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ 2 Corinthians 6:17-18.
As mentioned in About the Israelites’ Story, whilst the Israelites were scattered, the Bible states that God will regather a remnant of Israel in the end days:
"I will surely assemble O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel.’ Micah 2:12.
"Ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel.’ Isaiah 27:12.
"He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.’ Jeremiah 31:10.
The remnant will amount to 144,000 men and their families (12,000 coming from each tribe (Revelation 7:4-8)) and will stand with Jesus Christ upon his return:
"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads … These were redeemed from among men being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ Revelation 14:1, 4.
Christian Israelites hope to be physically alive upon Jesus Christ’s return and part of the 144,000. It is believed that the 144,000 will be those who have overcome the evil and the sin of the flesh by upholding the law and gospel throughout their lives, and that they will therefore receive not just the salvation of their souls, but the redemption of their bodies from the curse of death (Genesis 3:17, 19)2 . That is, that they will be made immortal – without the death of the physical body – as the highest reward for their faith and works (James 2:17-18, 20-26)3 :
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (emphasis added).
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.’ Romans 8:2.
"If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.’ Matthew 19:17.
"Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord.’ Leviticus 18:5.
"We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.’ 1 John 3:2-3
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.’ John 10:27-28.
"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.’ Titus 1:2.
"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ 1 Corinthians 15:53-55.
We believe that the state of being immortal is what the Bible calls the Kingdom of God, which is to be established here on earth:
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.’ Matthew 6:33.
"And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.’ Zechariah 14:9.
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.’ Daniel 2:44 (see also 7:18, 27).
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew 25:34.
It is by overcoming the evil in our bodies and having our bodies changed to be like Jesus Christ’s – fully overshadowed and powered by the Holy Spirit, no longer with unclean blood or fleshly desires – that we will have the opportunity to inherit the Kingdom of God:
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ 1 Corinthians 15:50.
"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.’ Philippians 3:21.
"He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.’ Romans 8:11.
We believe that death was never part of God’s plan but was brought into the world through Satan’s corruption of mankind (see Genesis 3, About Satan, and About What Happens After Death and at the Resurrections). In the Bible, God is frequently referenced as the God of life, whilst Satan is connected to death (Mark 12:27, John 10:10). Christian Israelites believe that Jesus Christ gained power over Satan through his victory over death (1 John 3:8), and that this made the way for the 144,000 to also overcome death. This is why they will face particular resistance from Satan:
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.’ Revelation 12:17 (emphasis added).
Christian Israelites are given the opportunity to make a new covenant with God and, in so doing, promise to follow specific Old Testament laws (as identified to John Wroe – see About the Laws & Commandments of the New Covenant) as well as the gospel of Jesus Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:13).
We believe that Jesus Christ had a twofold mission in that he came as ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel’ (Luke 2:32). As mentioned, Jesus initially instructed his twelve disciples to go only to the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6), and it wasn’t until after his resurrection that he gave the disciples further instructions to go into all nations. In so doing, they laid the foundations of the Christian church:
"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ Matthew 28:18-20.
Most Christian churches have a strong mission to continue to spread the gospel throughout all nations so that all souls may know Jesus Christ and be saved from damnation. The Bible states that this needs to occur before Jesus Christ returns:
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ Matthew 24:14.
The Christian Israelite Church recognises the importance of this mission but does not take part in it directly, as its focus it not just on the salvation of the soul but also on receiving the immortal life of the body when Jesus Christ returns. We therefore believe that our mission is to preach the promises of God to Israel concerning our mortal bodies being made immortal, and to uphold both the law and gospel so that the evil within us withers and we go onto perfection (Hebrews 6:1).
As for the regathering of Israel, we believe that it is ultimately God, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, who will do that work:
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.’ John 6:44.
"He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.’ Jeremiah 31:10.
We believe that it is our job to sow the seed (the Word of God) and that it is God who waters the seed to bring Israel to their inheritance (1 Corinthians 3:6-8). In the end:
"One shall say, I am the Lord’s [Christians]; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob [Israelites]; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel [Christian Israelites].’ Isaiah 44:5 (emphasised words added).
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.’ Ecclesiastes 12:13.
The Law & Testimony and the Guide for the General Assemblies outline the full laws and commandments of the Christian Israelite Church. This lesson includes further information about a selection of them, including:
- Images and Likenesses
- Hair and Beards
- Eating of Meats
- The Sabbath
When a member first joins the Christian Israelite Church, they are known as ‘uncovenanted’ members. To become an uncovenanted member, one must believe that the four books of Moses’ laws (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) and the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are written through the divine inspiration of God. It is hoped that members believe this of the entire Bible, but these books are mentioned particularly because they are especially foundational to the Christian Israelite faith.
Covenanted members are those who have chosen to enter into an additional covenant with God (as per About the Purpose of the Church). They make a promise to uphold certain laws and commandments with the help of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and with the view of seeking the immortal life of the body when Jesus Christ returns. Covenanted members are like the Levi priests who entered into the tabernacle to do the sacred work of God (see Numbers 1:50).
While uncovenanted members are not obliged to uphold all of the same laws as covenanted members, joining the church presumes an interest in learning about the faith and working towards following the laws with the view of seeking the redemption of the body from the curse of death (Genesis 3:17,19).
There are many times throughout the Bible wherein God asks us to obey his laws and commandments, and several places where we are told that, if we do, we will be blessed:
"Keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself.’ 1 Kings 2:3 (see also Deuteronomy 28:1, Joshua 1:8, and Psalm 103:17-18 as examples).
Jesus taught that following God’s laws and commandments is a demonstration of our love for him (John 14:21). As a sign of this love, covenant members aspire to show obedience to the Ten Commandments (as listed in Exodus 20) and other laws, including:
"Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.’ Deuteronomy 22:11.
"Neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.’ Leviticus 19:19.
Covenant members believe in wearing clothes that are not mingled but made entirely of one material, particularly during the Sabbath hour or any other church activity (members not being under any obligation as to what they may need to wear when they are working in the world). Wearing clothes made of one material is symbolic of pursing purity and holiness, as God is holy:
"Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.’ Leviticus 19:2.
Christian Israelites also generally do not wear items that are solid black in colour, as black is often used to reverence the dead (as seen at funerals), and we are aspiring to reverence life, instead. Members also refrain from wearing items that are solid scarlet/red in colour, as it is seen as the colour of sin and blood:
"Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’ Isaiah 1:18.
Covenant members wear a uniform whilst at worship. The main purpose of the uniform is to please God by not following the fashions of the world, these fashions being made by man to be seen of man:
"For the fashion of this world passeth away.’ 1 Corinthians 7:31.
The instruction given from God (through John Wroe) about the uniform was introduced in the early stages of the church’s foundation and has been in place since then, with no changes to the design since approximately 1859. The uniform is worn as an outward sign or test of faith and obedience, and to show love for God. We also believe it to be symbolic of God’s protective, spiritual covering. Whilst this uniform sets us apart from the world, we believe that, in showing this obedience to God, we will be strengthened in our fight against the evil.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.’ Exodus 20:4.
"Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.’ Leviticus 26:1.
"Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them.’ Deuteronomy 4:16-19.
Christian Israelites believe in not having any graven (physical or carved) images of anything that God created in their house or on their belongings, bodies, or clothes, in order to obey the first and second laws of the Ten Commandments (that is, to honour the Creator and not the things created (Romans 1:25) and to not let anything be first in our hearts but God). By observing these instructions, it is hoped that the eye and mind will be single to God, looking to the future and not dwelling in the past:
"Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.’ Isaiah 43:18.
"The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.’ Luke 11:34
Christian Israelites also refrain from getting tattoos as it is written, ‘Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord’ (Leviticus 19:28).
"Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.’ Leviticus 19:27.
"They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard.’ Leviticus 21:5.
Covenant members wear their hair (and beards) long and uncut as an outward dedication to God, showing a wish to please God and not man by again not following the fashions of the world. The children of Israel were given the Nazarite vow as outlined in Numbers 6, which included not cutting their hair. This vow could be taken for a period of time, or for life, e.g. Sampson did not cut his hair due to his dedication to God (see Judges 13:3-5), and John the Baptist was also reared according to the Nazarite vow (see Luke 1:11-17).
Christian Israelites believe that long hair and beards were given to man when Adam and Eve fell, as a mark of that fall (1 Corinthians 11:14). Covenant members do not cut their hair or beards so as to appear as God made us after the fall but have hope of it being removed when our bodies are made immortal and redeemed from the corruption of sin.
We believe that God’s original, perfect plan was to not eat meat at all:
"And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.’ Genesis 1:29.
The eating of meat was later allowed, but with strict conditions:
"Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beast and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground which I have separated from you as unclean.’ Leviticus 20:25.
Christian Israelites believe that the eating of clean meat is allowable but choose to not partake of the meats that are listed as unclean in Leviticus 11 (see also Deuteronomy 14:6, Exodus 22:31, and Leviticus 7:24, 17:13-15).
In Leviticus 3:14-15, 17, a further explanation is given as to what parts of these clean animals are not considered fit to eat:
"The fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul that is above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away … It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.’ (See also Leviticus 7:26-27.)
We believe that God alone has the knowledge to choose what is best for us to eat, as he is the creator of all things. We also believe that by following these instructions, our physical and spiritual health will be preserved. In Genesis 9, we see that God only allowed man to eat of animal flesh after the flood, but Noah was clearly told, ‘but flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat’ (Genesis 9:4)1 . This idea was also carried into the New Testament:
"But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.’ Acts 15:20.
Christian Israelites therefore believe that all meat should be properly bled before cooking. The only ones who bleed their meat appropriately are those who follow the ‘kosher’ method of butchering animals. Most Christian Israelites prefer not to eat meat at all due to the uncertainty of how bought meat is prepared (unless it is prepared personally or by a trusted butcher) and as such generally follow a strict vegetarian diet.
When God created the universe as we know it, he laboured six days, rested on the seventh day, and sanctified it:
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.’ Genesis 2:1-3.
In the Ten Commandments, God instructs his chosen people, the Israelites, to do the same:
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ Exodus 20:8-11 (see also Exodus 31:13-17).
Christian Israelites honour the Sabbath in obedience to God:
"I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.’ Ezekiel 20:19-20.
Honouring the Sabbath brings a blessing:
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ Isaiah 58:13-14.
Jesus Christ taught on the importance of the Sabbath:
"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.’ Mark 2:27-28 (see also Matthew 12:1-13).
To honour God’s commandment about the Sabbath, Christian Israelites ideally cease from paid work, trade, and other worldly pursuits at 6pm on Friday nights and do not resume them again until sunrise on Saturdays. This is in recognition of the law (Jewish Sabbath) and of the seventh day, with the time being measured from evening to morning (Genesis 1:5).
Through John Wroe, God instructed us to keep a ‘watch hour’ as part of his new covenant. Christian Israelites firstly do this on Friday nights. During the ‘watch hour’ (which can be held at any time between 6-9pm), Christian Israelites read the revealed word given to John Wroe, and sing songs to praise God. This is usually done at a church but, if a member is unable to attend a church for whatever reason, the watch hour can also be kept wherever they may be, and the Bible used for a text if needed.
The hour is kept only with other Christian Israelites – those who have made the same sacred commitment to follow the teachings of both the Old and New Testaments, i.e., to follow both the law and gospel.
Christian Israelites also keep one watch hour on Sunday mornings between 10-11am, recognising the Christian Sabbath or ‘first day’, which is kept on Sundays in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian Israelites again ideally cease from paid work and trade on Sundays (from 12am), particularly up until 12pm.
The Christian Israelite faith is a blend of the Old and New Testament teachings, which is reflected in the way the Sabbath is kept. Keeping both the Christian and Jewish Sabbaths is symbolic of breaking down the middle wall between them. Christian Israelites believe it takes both to make one full Sabbath and that, in keeping the watch hours with other members, we are strengthened in our faith and in our relationship with God.
Jesus kept a watch hour as an example to Israel and asked his disciples to do the same:
"What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Matthew 26:40-41.
Christian Israelites believe that, if we have our prayers always on our minds, we are in a continuous Sabbath and always ‘watching’ (Ephesians 6:18).
We believe that keeping the Sabbath is a moral responsibility that honours God as the Creator. It provides us with time to step away from the world and to focus on and worship God, and to also rest:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:28-30.
"Overall, Christian Israelites believe the Sabbath provides us with the blessings of peace, sanctity, and rejuvenation.
Tithing – the giving of ten percent of one’s earnings to the church and God – was first mentioned as offering up the ‘first fruits’ of the harvest to God:
"The first of the first fruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God.’ Exodus 23:19
It became a more formal instruction that God gave to Moses on Mount Horeb (Sinai) (along with numerous other laws and commandments):
"And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord. And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof. And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.’ Leviticus 27:30-32.
Tithing was done as a sign of respect to God:
"Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. And thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.’ Deuteronomy 14:22-23.
Tithing gave God’s people a way to do his work and support those in the community who were disadvantaged, and was also a form of worship, thanksgiving, and obedience:
"And now, behold, I have brought the first fruits of the land, which thou, O Lord, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the Lord thy God, and worship before the Lord thy God: And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you. When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled; Then thou shalt say before the Lord thy God, I have brought away the hallowed things out of mine house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all thy commandments which thou hast commanded me: I have not transgressed thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.’ Deuteronomy 26:10-13.
The Bible tells us that tithing brings prosperity and a blessing to those who give it:
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.’ Malachi 3:10.
"Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.’ Proverbs 3:9-10.
Paul also taught that giving brings a blessing, but pointed out that the heart with which we give is just as important as the act of giving:
"He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.’ 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.
Christian Israelites believe that by giving a tenth of our earnings to God and the church, we gratefully acknowledge that everything we have is given to us by him, and show him that he is a higher priority to us than our wealth and possessions:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ Matthew 6:19-21.
As such, Christian Israelites believe that tithing is important in keeping our hearts right with God, in showing him obedience and thanksgiving, and in allowing the church do the work that he set us out to do (as per About the Purpose of the Church).
Paul wrote in Galatians 5:2, ‘If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing’. Why then do Christian Israelites believe circumcision is still relevant?
God first gave the law of circumcision to Abraham, to be kept by him and his descendants:
"And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.’ Genesis 17:9-14.
This was God’s first covenant with Israel and was an important instruction to follow:
"Thus saith the Lord God; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel.’ Ezekiel 44:9.
In the New Testament, Paul tells us he was a Jew with a true belief in the Israelite faith:
"I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.’ Romans 11:1.
Paul was chosen of God to be an apostle to the Christian church (Acts 9:1-29) and he preached primarily to the Gentiles (i.e., non-Jews) (Romans 11:13). Paul knew that the Gentiles could not be held accountable for the Israelite law of circumcision, as the Gentiles were never under the law.
In Romans 3, the question is asked:
"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.’ Romans 3:1-2.
Israelites, for whom the laws (in the books of Moses) were written, are justified (made right with God) by following these laws. The Gentiles or non-Jews are justified through faith in Jesus Christ alone. God wishes to be reconciled to both:
"Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.’ Romans 3:29-31.
When God commanded Abraham to circumcise himself and his house, it was that the shedding of blood might be an atonement for sin (Hebrews 9:22). Circumcision and the shedding of the blood are important to our faith as it is symbolic of the purging of the evil from the body. In the same way, Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross as a remittance of sin for all souls:
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.’ Ephesians 1:7.
Christian Israelites believe that our souls are saved through the sacrifice of Jesus, but we are also seeking to be made wholly free of evil, which we believe is achieved through following both the law and gospel. As such, Christian Israelites understand that circumcision does not give us soul salvation, but believe it remains an important, outward sign of faith in God’s laws and commandments, and honours God’s original covenant with Abraham and his descendants
"For more information on why Christian Israelites uphold these laws, see About the Purpose of the Church.
God commanded the Israelites (through Moses) to hold three great feasts annually: the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (Passover), the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles (or of the Ingathering) (see Deuteronomy 16:16 and Exodus 23:14).
The Feast of Weeks was brought about to celebrate the harvest:
"And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end.’ Exodus 34:22.
Another name for it was the Feast of the First Fruits, as it was also about offering the first of the new season’s ripe fruits and liquors to God as an act of allegiance to God, the giver of all:
"Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.’ Exodus 22:29.
The feast was to commence seven weeks (fifty days) after the harvest began and originally lasted one day:
"Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn.And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee.’ Deuteronomy 16:9-10.
(The Feast of Tabernacles marked the completion of the harvest and was celebrated for seven days. See Exodus 23:16.)
The Feast of Weeks was later also called Pentecost (deriving from the Greek word Pentekostos, meaning ‘fifty’), given the feast occurs fifty days after Passover. Jesus died and rose again during Passover (which Christians now know as Easter). The following Pentecost, the Holy Spirit became available to all:
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, [the apostles] were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ Acts 2:1-4.
The apostles were like the ‘first fruits’ of the Christian Church. They received a portion of God’s spirit, enabling them to go forth and preach Jesus Christ to the world and continue his work:
"Many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.’ Acts 2:43
Just as the appearance of God on Mount Horeb marked the birth of the Israelite nation, so did this Pentecost mark the birth of the Christian Church (see Acts 2:37- 47).
The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is mostly known within the Christian Israelite Church as Whitsunday (and the weekend as Whitsuntide). The name Whitsunday comes from the words ‘White Sunday’ and stems from the wearing of white clothing during Pentecostal celebrations in early England, where our church was founded. Christian Israelites celebrate Whitsuntide annually by coming together for a feast. As part of this, we ask that Christ and the Holy Ghost be given to us to strengthen us in our fight to overcome evil. Each year, we hope to gain a further portion of the spirits, thus strengthening us continually until we have reached perfection, in hope that one day our bodies will be changed from mortal to immortal, as Jesus Christ was after he ascended to his father:
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.’ John 20:17.
We also hope that this will thereby make us God’s ‘first fruits’:
"These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.’ Revelation 14:4.
We celebrate Whitsuntide not only to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, but also as a wedding feast. This is in anticipation of becoming one of the 144,000 referenced in Revelation, who will be gathered together as the bride of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) when he returns from heaven to dwell here on earth:
"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ Revelation 19:7-9 (see also Revelation 14:1-3).
As such, Whitsuntide (or Pentecost) is the most important event in the Christian Israelite calendar and celebrated annually, fifty days after Easter.
"He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.’ Mark 16:16
Baptism is one of the basic requirements of the Christian Israelite faith, and we believe it must be performed by total immersion in an open river or sea so that our sins can be washed away. Baptism is a confession to God that we have sinned and evidence that we want our sins forgiven through the cleansing blood of Jesus:
"Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.’ Revelation 1:5.
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.’ Acts 2:38.
We believe that baptism cleanses a person of their sins and that that person should then, by prayer, seek help from God to be strengthened against sinning again. However, as Paul said in Romans 3:23, ‘all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’, and Christian Israelites believe we can seek to be cleansed by the water more than once.
While baptism in water is important, Christian Israelites believe that God’s plan does not end there. John the Baptist, who was the first to teach baptism by total immersion, said that:
"I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.’ Matthew 3:11.
As the Son of God, Jesus was born free of sin, but he too submitted to baptism. It was through baptism that he received the Holy Spirit (Christ) and therefore power to perform miracles and complete the will of God:
"And Jesus, when he was baptised, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.’ Matthew 3:16.
Further to Acts 2:38 (above), Peter added that all who are baptised will ‘receive the gift of the Holy Ghost’.
However, one of the core teachings of the Christian Israelite Church is that we work towards leaving the principles and doctrines of Christ (i.e. the teachings for the salvation of the soul) and go on to perfection (i.e. to seek for the salvation of the soul and the immortal life of the body when Jesus Christ returns):
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.’ Hebrews 6:1-3.
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ Matthew 5:48.
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.’ Ephesians 4:13.
Christian Israelites believe this is speaking about seeking God to completely remove the evil within us:
"In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.’ Jeremiah 50:20.
Christian Israelites fully believe and accept the doctrine of the salvation of the soul but build on it and move forward to also seek the immortal life of the body. Baptism is an important part of this process and one that allows us to be cleansed from sin and empowered by the Holy Spirit; however, we believe that seeking for the evil to be removed altogether is the ultimate will of God:
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist) is a holy sacrament wherein bread and wine are used to remember Jesus’ sacrificial death. Jesus directly asked his disciples to perform communion in all four gospels:
"And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.’ Mark 14:22-24 (see also Luke 22:19-20, Matthew 26:26-28 and John 6:53-57).
As Christians, we respect the principle of the Eucharist sacrament, which assists those aspiring for soul salvation to affirm their faith and dedication to Jesus Christ. We also understand that it honours his sacrificial death, which allowed us to be reconciled with God and for our souls to be saved.
However, as Christian Israelites hope for the immortal life of the body as well as the salvation of the soul, we do not participate in communion, which relates to the salvation of the soul only. We seek to ‘go on unto perfection’ (Hebrews 6:1), that is, for our flesh to be purified from evil and made immortal when Jesus Christ returns through following both the law and gospel.
Communion also doesn’t feature in the Christian Israelite Church as the greater focus is on Jesus Christ’s resurrection rather than his death, wherein he gained power over death and sin:
"That like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life … Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Romans 6:4, 9-11.
"If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain … ye are yet in your sins … For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive … The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet.’ 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17, 22, 26-27.
Rather than holding communion to remember Jesus’ death, Christian Israelites celebrate the fact that, through his resurrection, Jesus had victory over Satan and death (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). Christian Israelites also focus on and look forward to Jesus Christ’s impending return as the greatest celebration to come.
Christian Israelites hope to be amongst those who receive the immortal life of the body when Jesus Christ returns, but until then, death remains a reality in this world. Christian Israelites believe that Satan is the author of death, and that it wasn’t part of God’s original plan (as per About Satan), but that God provides comfort to those who are dying and/or who have lost a loved one, by promising peace after death and eternal life through soul salvation (see the Ensign article, Comfort in Grief).
As seen in the lesson, About the Spirit, Soul, and Body, Christian Israelites believe that the spirit, soul, and body are three separate parts of a person, and as such also believe that each of these have different outcomes after death.
When creating Adam, we are told that:
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.’ Genesis 2:7.
Initially, God intended for the body to live forever (Wisdom of Solomon 2:23), but Adam and Eve’s sin led to their separation from God (Isaiah 59:2) and subjected them and their descendants to death:
"For the wages of sin is death.’ Romans 6:23.
Soon after Adam and Eve sinned, God confirmed this curse of death upon their bodies:
"Cursed is the ground [the body] for thy sake … In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ Genesis 3:17, 19 (emphasised words added).
James wrote that ‘the body without the spirit is dead’ (2:26). Therefore, when the spirit withdraws from the body – either due to old age, disease, flesh wound, or some other fatal infliction – the body loses that which ‘quickeneth’ (John 6:63) or powers it. The heart, brain, and other organs stop working, and the body becomes like a shell. It is then buried in the ground, and gradually returns to the dust it was made from, never to be reformed:
"All are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.’ Ecclesiastes 3:20.
Ecclesiastes tells us:
"Then shall the dust [the body] return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.’ Ecclesiastes 12:7 (emphasised words added).
Christian Israelites therefore believe that all spirits of mankind return to God’s presence in heaven once they separate from the body.
Christian Israelites believe that, just as the spirit and body separate at death, the spirit and soul can be separated, too:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow.’ Hebrews 4:12 (emphasis added).
Christian Israelites believe that the spirit ‘quickens’ the soul just as it does the body, and so once it separates from the body, it separates from the soul, too. The soul then ‘sleeps’ (1 Corinthian 15:51) with the body in the grave in either misery or happiness, depending on whether or not it was saved through belief in Jesus Christ (or the sacrificial law1 ) and thereby redeemed from the sins it had committed whilst the body was alive.
As John wrote:
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours.’ Revelation 14:13.
That is, those who die with their sins forgiven and their souls saved rest in peace, with nothing searing at their conscience or causing them torment. This is in contrast to those who die without their sins forgiven or their souls saved, as they are tormented by their sins and therefore sleep in misery or hell, like the rich man in Jesus’ parable:
"And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.’ Luke 16:23-25.
"I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.’ John 8:24.
Christian Israelites believe that hell is the grave (particularly sleeping in misery in the grave). The Hebrew word for hell is sheol, and the Greek word hades – both mean ‘the place of the dead’. Hell is also Satan’s domain. As seen in About Satan, part of God’s curse against Satan was ‘dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life’ (Genesis 3:14). As it was from dust that mankind was made and our bodies return to dust in the grave, it follows that the grave is where Satan makes his habitation and why he and his demons continually seek to drive us there (John 10:10)2 .
As Christian Israelites believe that the soul sleeps with the body, they avoid cremation or spreading ashes so that the soul is not left without a place to rest.
Christian Israelites have no doubt there will be a resurrection upon Jesus Christ’s return:
"Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen … For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain.’ 1 Corinthians 15:12-13, 16-17.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ 1 Peter 1:3-5.
"Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust [the soul]: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.’ Isaiah 26:19 (emphasised words added).
Christian Israelites believe that the spirits of mankind return to awaken or ‘quicken’ their corresponding souls, making provision for the soul to face judgement for the deeds it committed whilst in the body:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.’ 2 Corinthians 5:10.
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.’ Romans 14:12.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ Revelation 20:4.
Those who have been made righteous and had their sins forgiven, i.e., whose souls have been saved, have no need to fear judgement day:
"And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.’ 1 John 2:28
"Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.’ Hebrews 10:17.
They will be the first to be raised out of the grave:
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.’ 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.’ John 6:40.
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.’ Hebrews 9:27-28
Christian Israelites believe that the spirits of the righteous will be reunited with their souls for eternity, forming an incorruptible, spiritual body:
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption … It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body … Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption.’ 1 Corinthians 15:42, 44, 51-53.
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’ 2 Corinthians 5:1.
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.’ John 11:25.
They will be like angels:
"Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels3 ; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.’ Luke 20:36.
Those who died without their souls saved or without being made right with God are also raised up, but it is in this moment that they realise their error and face their shame:
"And many of them that sleep in the dust shall awake; some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.’ Daniel 12:2.
Christian Israelites believe that they are judged and condemned at this first resurrection. The consequence is that their souls are separated from their spirits again, the former returning to the grave or hell for another thousand years:
"But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:5-6.
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.’ Revelation 21:8.
This is called the ‘second death’ because death is a separation, and the soul and spirit of the unredeemed or unsaved are at this time separated for a second time, which is so painful for them that it is compared to touching or having a ‘part’ in the lake of fire and brimstone (see also Matthew 25:41).
However, Christian Israelites believe there is hope even for these souls. God has promised that ‘all souls are mine’ (Ezekiel 18:4) – both the redeemed and the unredeemed. David wrote that:
"Great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.’ Psalm 86:13.
After detailing the events of the first resurrection, John went on to write:
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.’ Revelation 20:12-13.
Christian Israelites call this the final or second resurrection, i.e., the moment when the grave, hell, and/or Satan no longer hold any souls captive (Isaiah 61:1; 1 John 3:8). Christian Israelites believe that the wicked are redeemed, their souls and spirits joining to also form spiritual, incorruptible bodies. That is, that every spirit and soul of mankind will ultimately acknowledge Jesus as the Christ:
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ Philippians 2:10-11.
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ 1 Corinthians 15:22.
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved.’ 1 Timothy 2:3-4.
As for Satan, Christian Israelites believe that it is he and his fallen angels or demons that are cast into the lake of fire (i.e., not just have a part in it) and obliviated:
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire … And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.’ Revelation 20:14-15.
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.’ Revelation 21:4.
As mentioned, the sin of Adam and Eve caused their bodies to be cursed with death, which extended to their descendants:
"Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.’ Romans 5:14.
Those who lived from Adam to Moses were not under the Mosaic law, and therefore it was only their bodies, not their souls, that were damaged by sin:
"For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.’ Romans 5:13.
"I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.’ Romans 7:7.
Christian Israelites therefore believe that the souls of the people who lived from Adam to Moses have been able to rest in peace, without torment.
The Bible states that it was the spirits of those who, like Adam and Eve, were disobedient in that period that Jesus preached to, to tell them the good news, i.e., that he had made the way for them to one day raise up their souls and return to God’s presence:
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison4 ; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah.’ 1 Peter 3:18-20.
Christian Israelites also believe that Jesus preached to them so that they would become aware of the consequences of the sins they had committed whilst they were in the flesh, so they can face judgement fairly upon his return and be raised with spiritual, incorruptible bodies at the second resurrection, able to dwell in God’s presence:
"For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh [according to what they did whilst alive], but live according to God in the spirit.’ 1 Peter 4:6 (emphasised words added).
Once the Mosaic law came into place, the soul became accountable for the deeds it committed whilst in the body. The Bible teaches that the Israelites received soul salvation by way of the sacrificial law (see footnote 1). As such, those that died with their souls saved by the sacrificial law also rest in peace and will rise again at the first resurrection.
However, there were many others who dwelt upon the earth between Moses’ and Jesus’ time, who didn’t know or heed God or his laws, and therefore died with their souls unsaved. Christian Israelites believe these people only receive spiritual, incorruptible bodies at the second resurrection, along with the other impenitent souls.
As seen in About the Purpose of the Church, at the core of the Christian Israelites faith is the belief that 144,000 men and their families (Revelation 7:4, 14:1) who are alive at the coming of Jesus Christ, and who kept both the law and gospel throughout their life, will be made immortal by God’s spirit dwelling in them:
"And this mortal must put on immortality.’ 1 Corinthians 15:53.
"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.’ Revelation 21:3.
"Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.’ Philippians 3:21.
"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.’ Romans 8:11.
Overall, there will be different rewards for different people, whether that be those who receive immortal bodies (spirit, soul, and body together), those who receive incorruptible, spiritual bodies (spirit and soul together) at the first resurrection, and those who receive incorruptible, spiritual bodies at the second resurrection. Christian Israelites believe this is what Paul and Jesus meant when they taught the following:
"There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.’ 1 Corinthians 15:40-42.
"In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ John 14:2-3 (emphasis added).
The glory we receive will give us a particular degree of brightness, just as there is different levels of light between suns, moons, and stars. That brightness is God’s spirit dwelling with us in varying degrees:
"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ Ephesians 5:14.
Our glory will depend on what we believe and how we behave whilst we live:
"Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.’ James 2:24.
"I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.’ Revelation 2:23.
"God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.’ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
Christian Israelites believe that one of the glories is of the ‘just men made perfect’ (Hebrews 12:23), i.e., those who led such godly lives that God took their spirit, soul, and body to heaven without death, such as Enoch and Elijah5 :
"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.’ Genesis 5:24.
"Behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.’ 2 Kings 2:11.
Ultimately, there is a promise that we will all dwell together in a new city, in God’s glorious presence, and without evil:
"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it … And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.’ Revelation 21:23-24, 27.
Whatever we may be enduring in this life, or whatever grief we may feel for a lost loved one, we can rest assured that one day we will be ‘gathered to our people’ (Deuteronomy 32:50) and reunited with them all in God’s glorious presence:
"So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?’ 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be … Even so, come, Lord Jesus.’ Revelation 22:12, 20.
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