Seventh-day Adventist Christians and Jews Compared
1 Mar 2003, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
TITLE: Seventh-day Adventist Christians and Jews Compared
Theme: Christian's purpose for existence as an organized body of believers
Scripture: Isaiah 56:1, 3, 6-8 NIV
Today I wish to point out the purpose and reason God called out the Jews from all other nation. Then I wish to compare the purpose and reason why God called out Seventh-day Adventist Christians from amidst Christianity. First let us take a look at the Jews. After God called Abraham his people were eventually bound as slaves in Egypt. God did not leave them there. He wanted His purposes completed which He had promised Abraham.
THE DESERT EXPERIENCE
Three months after the miraculous deliverance from Egpyt God's chosen people are assembled in the desert of Sinai. God addresses Moses up on the mountain. God requested Moses to remind His people, "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself."
God reminds them, that it was He who remembered His covenant with Abraham Isaac and Jacob and delivered them from Egyptian slavery. He sent the plagues against Egypt to soften up Pharoah's hard mind. He destroyed the Egyptian armies in the Red Sea and delivered His people on dry land. He carried them like mother eagle carries her baby chick when she teaches it to fly. All because God was determined to love Israel. Determined to deliver them. Determined that they would relearn that He was Jehovah. The creator God. Their Father God.
God had gone out of His way in Love. "I.. brought you to myself." There is God's purpose. He wants and needs our fellowship. Our undivided attention. God had one request. "Now you obey me fully and keep my covenant." There is purpose. Called and chosen to obey and keep the Covenant agreement.
THE RESULT AND PURPOSE OF OBEDIENCE
"IF" the Jews were obedient and kept the instructions of the agreement with their God, "then out of all nations " God would honour them. "You will be my treasured possession". Did that mean God only liked and loved Jews? No No No! Never. How do we know? In the last part of verse 5 God emphatically stated, "the whole earth is mine". So, "above all nations did not mean they were the only people or nation God was interested in or loved. No No Never!
The Jews were called out and chosen for a specific purpose as verse 6 states. "You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." They were to be Kingdom . A great nation. Also a spiritual and holy people. Examples of God's character of love and care for the nations of the world. Jews were to share the gospel -covenant of God and a true knowledge of Him to all nations. That was their purpose for being chosen of God. They were to share the salvation given them with all nations. They were chosen as a nation to gospelize the nations as God had chosen and gospelized and delivered them. Thank God that they did through the prophets and the Holy Spirit and have handed down to us the Word of God in the writings of the Old and New Testaments of Scripture.
Now more on this phrase, "a Holy Nation."
HOLINESS IS GOD'S CHOICE
Did God call and choose the Jews because they were Holy above other nations? Is that what made them above other peoples on earth? Were they chosen because they were a large and mighty nation? No!
Notice what God said in Deut 6:6-12. Particularly note He repeats what He said to Moses in Exodus 19. "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, His treasured possession." May I suggest that the Hebrews in Egypt were a group of brick makers who had had the Law of God slaved out of them. The knowledge of Jehovah God was nigh gone from their vocabulary. The Sabbath had been whipped out of them by the taskmasters and they were no better than their pagan Lords. Called and chosen because they were a mighty nation? Called because they were a Holy people? No. God who called them was Holy and their affiliation and His presence made them a Holy people. All there Holiness came from Jehovah. Holiness never is inherited by man nor manufactured by him. God only is Holy. God's very choice of them made them Holy. Because they were chosen God wanted them to obey His covenant because they were in step with Him by His Holy Spirit.
Verse 7 makes it clear God chose them not because of numbers.
In verse 8 God declares that His choice was because of His love and faithfulness to the covenant with the Jews. Definitely not their performance. "the Lord loved you and kept the oath He swore with your forefathers… he brought you out …. He redeemed you." His purpose was to have a holy people serving salvation to all nations.
In verses 9-12 God continues. "The Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." The basis of God's purpose and choice and redemption of Israel is Love. Verse 11, "take care to follow the commands…." Verse 12, "If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you……. Verse 13 He will love you and bless you. So the holiness of God and fellowship with God was to produce in Israel obedience to His covennat and laws and have them share redemption. It was their initial obedient response to God's instructions for the Passover Lamb on the night of their deliverance from Egypt that saved their lives. (Exodus 12). It was God's redemptive act to be shared in their future. They were to share salvation with the foreign nations on God's behalf. In His power and at His instruction they were to share His love for all nations and peoples on the globe.
ALL NATIONS ARE FOREIGNERS!!
Isaiah 56 is set in the context of Chapters 54 and 55. The future glory of God's kingdom and the final invitation to all including Gentiles to accept salvation as offered by their creator Jehovah God. The title of Chapter 56 in the NIV correctly states, "Salvation for Others". Other than Jews. Foreigners. Gentiles. Us. You and I are offered our Redeemers salvation gift.
Isaiah 56:1 states God's purpose for the Jews. That is to share His salvation. "My salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed." Whatever the Jews were going to do about sharing, the Father was bent on sending His Son. Calvary ratified the purpose of the Covenant with Jew and Gentile or "foreigner as verse 3 states. "Let no foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, 'The Lord will surely exclude me from his people.'"
Jehovah's covenant of salvation was not only for Jews. Verses 6-8 makes this clear. Any foreigner was invited to "bind ( handcuff) themselves to the Lord". "Serve" the Lord, and "love the name of the Lord, and worship him." "Keep the Sabbath without desecrating it." "Hold-fast to my covenant."
"I will bring them" to fellowship at my holy mountain. Fellowship with God in prayer and experience. God's salvation is for all nations who accept his offer. Just as He chose Jews to be custodians and priests serving and administering salvation, so He expects converts to Him to share His love and salvation. That is purpose.
In verse 8 it makes it clear that, "I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered" Now where do Christians and in particular Seventh-day Adventist fit into the plan of God. What is His purpose for them. For what reason did He call SDA's as a particular Church. How do all Christians compare with the Jews and their reason for being Cosen.
YOU ARE ABRAHAM'S SEED
Pastor Paul give the explicit answer in Galations 3:29 He says, "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." If you are a born again and Holy Spirit controlled Christian of any persuasion, you are Abraham's covenanted people. Children of Jehovah. Heirs of the covenantal promise of salvation, redemption and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Now what are the implications? Pastor Peter makes clear the implications purposes, reasons and responsibilities of Christians. 1 Peter 2: 4-5 9-12. Christians are "…a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. …..But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." Non- Jews. Foreigners. All Christians who are born again are Abraham's seed and God's holy people.
For what reason and purpose? For what responsibility? "..To abstain from sinful desires … " and to "live such good lives among the pagans, (foreigners non-believers and non-Jews ) , that " they may see your good deeds and Glorify God…" There that is our purpose . So that God the author of salvation will be honoured and worshipped and accepted. We are foreigners. But we are Abraham's Seed and therefore Christians are a nation of priests who are to administer, serve and share Christ's resurrected life and salvation.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that they were called, chosen and delivered from their Egypts of personal sin to share Christ's redemption with others. They believe they were called from the deserts of weakening Protestantism as the reformation lost its momentum. They believe they were called of God who used people like Martin Luther, William Miller, James and Ellen White, Joseph Bates, Rachael Preston, and Loughborough and a host of other leaders who steered them out of stagnant Christianity into His marvelous light.. Called to be a special people with a special message for earth's final hours. The purpose to bring all nations and all peoples back to the Biblical Covenant of Salvation. Back to a knowledge of the True creator God. The God of the final Judgment which is in "favour of the saints" Daniel 7:27, the Christians. Called to remind all peoples that Jehovah God is God of the true Bible Sabbath, the seventh day that Jesus Christ kept, "as His custom was" and as recorded in the rules of the everlasting covenant. The truth about the state of the dead and the power of Christ's resurrection and in turn our own promised resurrection. Called to announce the urgency of the days in which we live and the immenent return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Above all, the faithful and undying love of Jesus Christ our Saviour, God our Father and God the Holy Spirit. The God of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation which God intended for our day. The message from the creator Rev 14:6-12. The message of the new earth - Eden restored Rev 21-22. When sin and sinners will be no more. When all men who choose worship the Creator and Saviour. His people and Their God. What a purpose. What a God. What a responsibility.
We Seventh-day Adventists along with all Christians are called to fellowship with God. To share His salvation. A holy people. A redeemed people with a specific message of reformation for Christians, Jews, Muslims and all people and nations and languages. All are God's children and He loves all and wants their love and worship. He wants us all in the New Earth. Remember, He said, I chose you because I am faithful and I love you. Not all will ever believe. But all who will must be told. We must share. What a responsibility. Oh what a loving Saviour.
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