Who Is Making Who Jealous?
By David Ravenhill

Saul of Tarsus was certainly no fan of the early Church. His zeal drove him to plunder, persecute, prosecute and imprison whomever he came across belonging to The Way. Entering house after house he destroyed God’s fledgling flock, causing them to be scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. His very name evoked fear in all who heard it.

Then it happened. Saul had an encounter with the Living God. This once proud Pharisee became the apostle to the very dogs he formally despised. Saul, their one-time arch adversary, became their chief advocate.

So great was his conversion and his subsequent revelation of God’s grace that he became even more zealous. Now Paul’s zeal turned against his former manner of life and against those Judaizers who sought to infiltrate his former enemies in the Church.

So radical was Paul’s conversion that he compared his former religious life as one of bondage or slavery. Paul relished his new freedom in Christ. No longer was he striving to please God through his own efforts. No longer was he under an obligation to observe days and months and seasons and years which he referred to as weak, worthless, and elemental things leading back into slavery.

Paul was a changed man. Christ meant everything to him. Christ was his treasure in the field, his pearl of great price, his unspeakable gift. He soon realized that all the types and shadows he had grown up observing and zealously lived for were mere dung in comparison to Christ.

While Paul consistently loathed and opposed those Judaizers who insisted that the Gentile believers be circumcised as well as keep the law of Moses, he also carried a great burden for his own people, Israel, that they might be saved.

In his writings to the Romans Paul stated that Israel’s transgression led to salvation coming to the Gentiles, but then he adds “to make them jealous.” Israel’s calling was to be a light to the nations. It was their job to make us jealous, but now Paul says the shoe is on the other foot. It is now the Church’s job to make Israel jealous.

By now you may be asking where am I going with all this? I’m glad you asked. I’m concerned with what I see happening throughout the Body of Christ. Over the last decade or so as the Church has become increasingly aware of it’s responsibility to pray for and support Israel, there has risen the subtle yet false belief that Israel is somehow superior to the Church. As a result, many are being drawn back to the types and shadows, festivals and Sabbaths, etc. In other words, Israel is now causing God’s people to be jealous for her ways rather than God’s people causing Israel to be jealous for Christ.

This got me thinking. I wonder how the Apostle Paul would react today if he were to tune into some religious broadcast extolling the virtues of a prayer shawl or hearing the clamor over blood moons and shemitahs. Added to that is the constant reminder that this is the beginning of such and such a feast or festival.

Why have these days, seasons and Sabbaths proven to be more exciting than Christ? Why has the Feast of Passover become more attractive to God’s people than the communion celebration that replaced it? Why do these Old Testament types stir so much passion? Paul himself states they are merely a shadow of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

My concern is that there is a new breed of Judaizers who unwittingly are causing the Church to be drawn back into bondage and slavery. While that may not be their intention, nevertheless, they dress, act, and emphasize what the writer to the Hebrews declared to be over with. “He takes away the first in order to establish the second.”I believe if Paul were here today his message would remain the same; “You foolish believers, who

I believe if Paul were here today his message would remain the same; “You foolish believers, who has bewitched you…” “Stand fast in the liberty in which Christ has made you free and be NOT entangled again with the yoke of BONDAGE”.
_______________________

David Ravenhill’s burden is to see the Church come to maturity through intimacy with God. He was born in England in 1942, the son of renowned Bible expositor Leonard Ravenhill. He graduated from Bethany Fellowship Bible College in Minneapolis where he met and married his wife Nancy. They served with David Wilkerson’s first Teen Challenge Center in New York City, after which they worked with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) for six years, which included two years in New Guinea. From 1973-1988 David was on the pastoral team of one of New Zealand’s largest churches, the New Life Center in Christchurch. They returned to the States in 1988, and from 1993 David served as the senior pastor of a thriving church in Gig Harbor, Washington until 1997, when he resigned to commence a full-time itinerant ministry throughout the United States and overseas. David also taught in the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in Pensacola, Florida, during and after which he traveled with Evangelist Steve Hill and the Awake America Crusades. David and Nancy have three grown daughters, two sons-in-law and seven grandchildren. David has written five books, and continues his international itinerant ministry. Visit his website at: davidravenhill.com.

Leave a Reply



Statistical data collected by Statpress SEOlution (blogcraft).