For those of you who feel this way, that is very understandable. I was once where you are. I took a class that taught me how to understand the Bible. Today, I do not recommend that class because of the error in it. I have had three other classes since, and while each one was better than the previous one, I can no longer recommend any of them. It all comes down to Truth, which I will not budge on. So one day, we will need to produce a class teaching the basics of living a True Christian life. Sadly, I have seen one class compromise the Truth for the sake of the title of the class. We at Living Love with Jesus will never do that!
I am probably going to teach you something to change how you look at the Bible. I am going to teach you what is written to you. Getting to whom something in the Bible is written to will help you very much. Most know that we today, no longer have to do animal sacrifices, but there is much more we are not to do that was a part of the “Law.” First, do not get so hung up on what is written to you, that you do not read the entire Bible. I have a close friend who has spent many years only reading the books written to him/us Christians and nothing else. Please do not do that or you will miss a bunch of understanding of this wonderful Book God has given us. Also, you will find stuff to you, or for your learning, throughout God’s Word. Every part of the Word of God fits together, and I hope you see that when we finish this article. I will not take you through every book, but I will give you what you need to see the Truth.
From here on, I want you to know I will not say, “Old or New Testament,” and by clicking on those colored words, you will find out why. I will link things I have written on rather than rehash the same thing over that we have already taught. Much of the Hebrew Scriptures are written to Israel, and they were God’s people when they became a nation in the book of Exodus. Take a look at this verse.
Deuteronomy 1:1a (NIV)1
These are the words Moses spoke to all Israel in the desert east of the Jordan…
Who was Moses speaking to and ultimately writing to? Israel, not the Jews! Now, we will see who His [God’s] chosen people were here in Deuteronomy.
Deuteronomy 7:6 (NIV)
For you are a people holy to the LORD [Yahweh] your God. The LORD [Yahweh] your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
From the context of the book of Deuteronomy, we see God’s chosen people were Israel. That has changed today, which I will show you later in in this article. Now, I am not going to go through and show you every place in the Hebrew Scriptures where we can find who each book is written to. Let me put it to you this way, many were written to Israel and the verse above this paragraph should explain why. I love what it says, “…LORD [Yahweh] your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.” If you do not understand Yahweh, click the name to learn more. The Jews were never ever called God’s chosen people, only Israel [all of the tribes which includes Judah were His chosen people] in the Hebrew Scriptures. Every tribe was listed as His people, and all twelve make the nation of Israel. In the text, no individual tribe was ever called God’s chosen people. The Jews were a tribe in Israel and only became a nation by going against God under Rehoboam, son of Solomon. I cover this a little in my article, “Is It Ever Right for a Believer to Lie for Any Reason? Part 1.” They were not called Jews as a nation until after the Babylonian captivity, in the context of the verses around Ezra 4:12. There are a few books to Judah, and in the context of some books, but the majority is to Israel. Jeremiah is to those in Judah about them going into captivity and more.
Jeremiah 1:1 and 2 (NIV)
1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the LORD [Yahweh] came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah,
Jeremiah was a prophet, who spoke for Yahweh God to Judah, and they were still His people even though they were not walking with Him. For you and me, we are still our earthly father’s children even if we are out of fellowship with Him. In that same way, even when Judah, or for that matter Israel, when either was out of fellowship with Yahweh God, He was still their Father, and they His people. There are other books which are just for Judah, as there are others for Israel. There are parts of some books which are to Israel and also parts to Judah. When you read 1 Kings 12, Israel and Judah split into two separate nations. We in the U.S.A. were once a part of Great Britain but fought a war which freed us from British rule. So, we became separate nations, which is what happened in the book of 1 Kings 12. They did not fight a war, only because Yahweh told them not to (v. 24), but they still split into two separate nations. Throughout 1 and 2 Kings, these books go back and forth between Israel and Judah about their different kings. The same can be said for other books. I will show you a couple more examples of God speaking to [writing to] Israel. Moses spoke, and then wrote, these books by revelation from God.
Leviticus 1:1 and 2 (NIV)
1 The LORD [Yahweh] called to Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting. He said, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any of you brings an offering to the LORD [Yahweh], bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.
Let us look at another verse in another book where Yahweh is dealing with Moses and it mentions Israel, not the Jews, or Judah.
Numbers 1:1 (NIV)
The LORD [Yahweh] spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Desert of Sinai on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. He said:
Israel became a nation in Exodus and, as we have seen, they were God’s chosen people. Most Scholars, Theologians, and even men and women I have worked with cannot distinguish between the two, and almost always say, “Jews.” In a class recently, it was stated that the Old Testament was to the Jews [their words not mine]. It was stated that there are only three kinds of people in the Bible, “Jews, Gentiles, and we Christians.” Sad to say this, but that is only true of today in this Administration, yet this teacher stated this was true in the whole Bible. It actually does not say Christians, it says, “Church of God,” and we will be covering that shortly in this article. This teacher also had Jews in the third Administration and that cannot be. If they want to teach that they were around as a tribe then, that would be fine, but he has them listed in that column, “Jews and Gentiles,” in the third Administration. We have a chart, "The Administrations In Scripture," which handles that more accurately with the Word than his chart. I compared his chart with one of another ministry, and both share the same flaws. Please compare ours with any others and ask any questions you would like. We will answer them. I would love to tell you all about the chart, but I will do that in an article about the chart separately.
If you read about the days of the split of Israel from Judah in 1 Kings, you will learn Israel was made up of all the tribes except Judah and the Levites. Judah was made up of all of the tribe of Judah, the Levites, and 180,000 fighting men [1 Kings 12:21] from the tribe of Benjamin and their families. Rehoboam was the first King of Judah. Jeroboam, who became the King of Israel, had no Levites for priests, as this next verse shows. Read what it states.
1 Kings 12:31 (NIV)
Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites.
God had made the Levites His priests for Israel, but there were none now in Israel, and Jerusalem also was now not part of Israel for the Feasts! Understanding what the paragraph above and the verse above says, will explain this next verse.
Ezra 1:5 (NIV)
Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the LORD [Yahweh] in Jerusalem.
This was after the Babylonian captivity of Judah, which lasted 70 years. Ezra went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. The next book is Nehemiah. Nehemiah’s job was to return from the Babylonian captivity, rebuild the wall around Jerusalem, and was working with Ezra, and others returning as well. It does not take a rocket scientist to see these two books are about Judah. Esther and Daniel were also for Judah, as these things took place while they were in captivity. When you read any book in the Hebrew Scriptures, it does not take much to see who it is about, or who it is to.
These books in the Bible: Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon are for and about Israel. Those books can also bless us, as well as Judah, even though they were originally for Israel. Before we go much further, understand this, that even though much of the Hebrew Scripture is for or to Israel, and also to or for Judah, not everything is just to them. Marriage is a Creation ordinance, and transcends every Administration, and every word about it in Genesis applies to us today. There is much more to understanding this because if God had it written in a previous Administration and nothing in this Administration contradicts it, then it is still a Truth from God to apply today. I want to show you, those who are hung up in the Christian Scriptures, why you need to read the Hebrew Scriptures.
Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, which is his Body, and it is made up of every Christian who has ever lived. When he lived and taught there were only the Hebrew Scriptures to study, the Christian Scripture had not been written yet. I think we need to study and know the Hebrew Scriptures for three reasons. First, there are things to us in them. Second, we need to learn more about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. See this verse in both the New International Version and the King James Version.
John 5:39 (NIV)
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
What a statement, “…These are the Scriptures that testify about me.” That could only be the Hebrew Scriptures because that was all they had! Here is the same verse in King JamesVersion.
John 5:39 (KJV)
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
The Hebrew Scriptures testify of Jesus, therefore we need to study them. Let us look at my third reason for reading and studying the Hebrew Scriptures. Again, gander at this wonderful verse! I will show it to you from both the New International Version and the King James Version. They are both similar and worth looking at.
Romans 15:4 (NIV)
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
So, “…that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” That is what it says. I want that and I believe you do too! So, where do we go to get that? The Hebrew Scriptures because that is, “…everything that was written in the past…” which, “…was written to teach us….” It says, “to teach us,” so let us read the King James Version.
Romans 15:4 (KJV)
For whatsoever things were written aforetime [Old English meaning, “before this time”] were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Both verses are very similar, but here it states, “written for our learning,” while the NIV stated, “…was written to teach us….” No matter how you look at it, the third reason I have given should compel you to wander into the past, biblically speaking, and learn! Let us turn to the Christian Scriptures. Many teach that the four Gospels are the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures and are not for us. It is true that they fulfill the Hebrew Scriptures, but it was written by Christian Prophets. The Jews want nothing to do with it because they rejected Jesus Christ as the Messiah! This is not true that there is nothing written to us in them. I have taught some of these verses that we should apply in our lives before, but this group of Scriptures keeps coming up. There is nothing in these verses which contradict what is written to us, and therefore we can and should live by them. I will not explain every detail, as I have in my article titled, “Is Zero Tolerance ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’ in the Bible? Part One.”
Matthew 18:15–17 (NIV)
15 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
This does not contradict anything written to us when we understand it, and thus we can use it in our lives today. There are many such verses throughout the Gospels, yet I know Christians who do not read the Gospels. They only read the Church Epistles, namely Romans through 2 Thessalonians. This practice of only reading the Church Epistles cheats those who practice it from so much of the wonderful Words from our heavenly Father for us to apply in our lives. Are the Church Epistles written to us? Yes! But, as we have seen, there is much for us throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and the Gospels. We read Romans 15:4 earlier, which is the first book in the Christian Scriptures written to Christians. One thing I need to share with you is that each book, Romans, 1 Corinthians, etcetera, are written to Christians. The fact that Romans states it is to the Romans only shows the first of many cities it was sent to. See everything else it says.
Romans 1:7 (NIV)
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
It could read, “To all in Detroit who are loved by God and called to be saints [a holy one],” or, “To all in Atlanta who are loved by God and called to be saints,” or, “To all in Denver who are loved by God and called to be saints,” and it would not change, “…who are loved by God and called to be saints….” That is how we are referred to in the Christian Scriptures. Let us look at a couple more. Remember, the city is not the focal point of these verses, and please look at the bolded words in the verse below.
1 Corinthians 1:2 (NIV)
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
What a wonderful verse! You do not have to guess who it is to! Here is another verse.
2 Corinthians 1:1 (NIV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:
“Church of God,” is what Christians were referred to in the Church Epistles penned by Paul, authored by God and His Son Jesus. We saw it in both of the verses above, 1 Corinthians 1:2 and in 2 Corinthians 1:1. Let us look at a few more verses where “church of God” is used.
1 Corinthians 10:32 (KJV)
Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
This is how every person in the world is referred to today by God and His Son: Jews, Gentiles [everyone not a Jew or Christian], or the church of God. Here is another, “Church of God,” verse.
Acts 20:28 (NIV)
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
There are more, but I feel this proves the point that we should be called the Church of God, but a denomination has copyrighted that and so we can say it but not use it as a name. Paul persecuted the “Church of God” in 1 Corinthians 15:9 and Galatians 1:13 before he became a Christian. So, now you know what he is talking about. I mentioned earlier that Israel was in the past, called God’s chosen people.
When Jesus was here, the Jews rejected him, and today we Christians are God’s chosen people. Paul penned every book from Romans through Hebrews but sometimes he had help. All were written by revelation from Jesus Christ and are written to Christians. This is the last verse I will cover showing it was written to us then, and we will see in the verses to follow that we are God’s chosen people today!
Colossians 1:2 (NIV)
To the holy and faithful [Or believing] brothers in Christ at Colosse: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.
You see, getting to whom it was written makes a difference to our understanding. Let us examine this next verse. Knowing by verse 2 above, it is written to, “…the holy and faithful brothers in Christ…” I purposely chose Colossians, so I could show you it was written to us Christians. Read this!
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
This goes along with what was spoken by James, in Acts 15. Read it and enjoy.
Acts 15:14 (NIV)
Simon [Peter] has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself.
God took from the Gentiles a people for Himself! So, these two verses show that today we are God’s chosen people! Since there is nothing in the Christian Scriptures which contradicts this, then it still stands true today. We have established that today we are God’s chosen people. We have shown some of what was written to Israel and to Judah [Jews] and to Christians [the Church of God]. By reading the context of the Hebrew Scriptures, you should be able to figure who it was to or for. As far as the Christian Scriptures, everything up to and including Jude is to or for us Christians. We Christians are gathered to the Lord Jesus according to 1 Thessalonians 4; the Rapture gets us to the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is written to Israel and Judah when handled correctly. That is for another article and way too much to teach with this topic. Now, I think, you should be able to start seeing what is to you, and how much we all have yet to learn. God bless you, and have a great day!