It can be arguably said that the Apostle Paul might be one of the most misunderstood characters in the Bible. He is considered one of the chief builders of the early church and most significant purveyor of the gospel to the Gentiles. And yet, it was Christ’s apostle, Peter who is considered Rome’s first monarchical bishop. From him, and by one-man, apostolic succession (monarchical episcopacy) was presumed to continue through every church generation.
The term firstborn is used extensively throughout the Bible, and God makes it clear that He holds a unique interest and affection for those who are His firstborn, whether of man, plant, or the animal kingdom. It is written, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine, because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord’” (Numbers 3:11-13).
I hear a lot these days about what our Christian Community should resemble. A common biblical reference often cited is in the Book of Acts. It is written, “And they [the church] continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:43-45). Now, this would have been a Christian community to behold. The church members prayed, took communion, and studied the word of God together as one family.
What is Zionism, or maybe a better question to ask is what Zion is? The first thing to understand is there is both a natural and spiritual component to God’s Kingdom. Let’s look at the natural first. Mount Zion, called Mount Moriah in the Bible is a ridge system located in Jerusalem. East of Mount Zion is the Mount of Olives. These north-south ridgelines are separated by the Kidron Valley. The Mount of Olives is where Jesus ascended to heaven and is the place where He is prophesied to return.
Arguments between early Jewish and gentile believers often resolved around a theological disagreement over the Law of Moses. The word law is translated from the Hebrew word Torah, and literally means instruction. This instruction was intricately woven into the Mosaic Covenant, encompassing 613 positive and negative obligations (does and don’ts).
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21, NKJV). There is much to understand from these three verses. We are going to focus on the last part, where it reads, “until the times of restoration of all things…”
“For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:24-27).
In God’s infinite wisdom He has woven into the fabric of humanity a plan for the redemption of fallen man. We can see that by His divine election that He has preserved a seed that extends from Adam through Noah, Abraham and King David, ultimately bringing forth the Messiah Yeshua, the stem and the root of Jesse, and the branch and arm of God. But with Abraham, God made a covenant to create a nation that would literally become ‘one’ with Him. To understand His purpose for humanity we must look to Israel, for she is the only nation on earth to receive direct revelation of God, and the only nation to be born of His Covenant.