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Chapter 4 - Eternal Life for Israel .

The Jews of the Old Testament time had been told by God that he would send them a king who would establish a kingdom age for the nation of Israel.

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

However, even though God promised Adam and Eve to send a 'seed' of the woman to deal with Satan and Isaiah foretold of Jesus, something more specific was given to the nation of Israel. They might not be able to understand how God intended to use them to save the nations or how they as individuals could have eternal life (the Sadducees were known for not even believing in a resurrection). However, they could see the law that they were given and trust in the promises of him who gave it. Jesus reminded the rich young ruler that these works would testify to his faith and be sufficient to secure eternal life.

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. - Matthew 19:16-17

The fact that it was faith and not the work of keeping the law was demonstrated by the Pharisees as they excelled in keeping the law, but not out of faith. Rather they sought the admiration of others and used it to convince themselves that they had made themselves righteous.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. - Matthew 6:5

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. 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

Those who trusted in this promise (had faith) would be able to enter into the 'rest' described as Abrahamís bosom. The book of Hebrews was written as a warning to Jews not to continue ignoring the offer of the kingdom to the nation of Israel.

Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. - Hebrews 3:10-12

We can see that those in Israel were given the opportunity to secure life eternal through faith as demonstrated by works and keeping the commandments.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. - Hebrews 11:1-3

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. - Hebrews 11:39-40a

The 'some better thing' that even Abraham did not receive was the new covenant (testament) that Jesus would offer the nation of Israel.

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. - Jeremiah 31:33

Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. - Luke 22:20

Even with a new covenant, the nation of Israel could not inherit the kingdom in their physical bodies. It was expected that when the nation of Israel received the new covenant, an event would occur that would provide the necessary changes for their physical bodies to be adapted to the eternal state.

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 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. - 1 Corinthians 15:50-52


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