ADAM: HIS FALL AND RISING

I’ve heard some Christian preachers say they are going to show their sore displeasure to Adam when they see him because he did not obey God in the Garden of Eden and so brought suffering and death into the world for all the rest of mankind. (Rom 5:12-19; 1Cor 15:22)  This attitude does not at all understand that whoever Adam would have been, he would have done the same thing:  God already planned before the creation that the Son of God – the Word become flesh – would come into the world in the fullness of time to redeem every person, for all have sinned. . . .there is none righteous. . . .except for God Himself.  In Adam all die; in Messiah all live.

Adam is the human father of us all:  we are all children of Adam (bnei Adam).  It will help us to know him better so that we can identify with him rather than condemn him.  He is one of the great cloud of witnesses whom God has given us in the Bible to encourage us in our faith and in our works of faith.  Continue reading “ADAM: HIS FALL AND RISING”

CONVERSION FOR ALL IN MESSIAH

Passover reminds us who are children of Israel that YHVH God – the Creator of the Universe and the Redeemer of His creation – brought us out of bondage in Egypt into freedom to serve and worship Him, the one true God.  This historic event, which resonates down through the generations until today and on into the future (Ezek 45: 21-24), stamped upon the Jewish people the reality of being the Chosen People, and Egypt and all the nations knew, by means of the plagues upon Egypt and the Egyptians and the deliverance of the Israelis from the rule of Pharoah, that YHVH is God, and the God of gods. (Ex 7:5; 9:14, 16, 27; 10:2; 12:12; 14:18, 31; 15:14-18; Josh 2: 8-11)

Conversion is defined by Webster’s On-line Dictionary in these ways which are relevant to this brief study:
1. An event that results in a transformation.
4. A spiritual enlightenment causing a person to lead a new life.
7. Act of exchanging one type of money or security for another.
8. The act of changing from one use or function or purpose to another. Continue reading “CONVERSION FOR ALL IN MESSIAH”

LIGHT DISPELS DARKNESS – 21 Dec 2007

This Sonday some of us are going to Bethlehem to worship with Arab brothers and sisters in the joy of our God.  Next weekend our congregation (actually the Lord Yeshua’s congregation) will be host to over 40 teenagers from that same area.  Today happens to be the shortest day of the year, when the light of day in the darkest of seasons is at its briefest in this part of the globe.  A little light can dispel even more darkness; how much more the sun the blackness of night; how much more even does the Light which is the Word of God, and who is Himself the Lord Jesus Christ, dispel the darkness of lies! Continue reading “LIGHT DISPELS DARKNESS – 21 Dec 2007”

GOD’S PURPOSE FOR BELIEVERS IN YESHUA

Rom 8:26-30  The Spirit intercedes for us according to the will of God. . .
                       And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

What is our purpose in life?  For what are we preparing ourselves?  When a university student chooses a major field of study, or when someone chooses a career or profession based on skill, ability, knowledge, what do they do?. . . . . they prepare themselves for the goal of passing the course; of being accepted for the job;  of advancing to receive better conditions, salary, status, authority.  These are all normal pursuits in most of our lives, or as parents how we want to encourage our children.  There is the honorable way of pursuing one’s goals, and there are dishonorable ways to attain our objectives.  All of this is good and acceptable (not the dishonorable ways, of course!), and, in general, applies to all persons everywhere within their own culture. 

But what of those – also living in the same world with everyone else – what of those who have been born again from above by the Holy Spirit through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?  As we know, this can happen potentially at almost any age and at different stages of people’s lives and for all kinds of people.  Continue reading “GOD’S PURPOSE FOR BELIEVERS IN YESHUA”

OVERCOMING HATRED FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

(Delivered at NEM Conference at the Baptist Village in Israel, April 23, 2006)

Mt 5:9-11   Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  

I tell people who ask me what it’s like to live as a believer in Israel that Israel is a great place to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, because it’s difficult to be lukewarm about our faith.  We have many first-hand experiences related to the passage we read from Matthew.  The Middle East provides us with many opportunities to be “blessed, happy, satisfied” if we are motivated by the love and purposes of God.   Continue reading “OVERCOMING HATRED FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD”

THE INCENSE OF PRAYERS – Feb 2006

(Written for IsraelPrayer.com .  Slightly edited here.)

Replacement Theology began a long time ago, when first Jews and then Christians went to the left or to the right of the Spirit of Truth of God the Father’s Word.  We replaced the commandments and promises of God with traditions of men and hope in this world, which opposes the Kingdom of YHVH God and of His Anointed One.  The Messiah and Son of God Himself has taught us to pray firstly for the sanctification of our Heavenly Father’s name, and that HIS will be done…on Earth, as it is in Heaven.  As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (I’m writing English, and this name honors Him), we are commanded by Him to seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.  (If I may turn aside for a moment after what I’ve just written:  if born-again belieiving Christians get involved with all kinds of very unprofitable nonsense over the name of our Lord and Savior, we can certainly not expect much favor from God.  In this we show ourselves to be like the Jewish people who, too, have made a mockery of The Name of the God who chose us!  All in the interest of sanctity and reverence!) Continue reading “THE INCENSE OF PRAYERS – Feb 2006”

CHRISTMASNACHT IN BEER SHEVA – 29 Dec 2005 (28 Chislev 5766)

(Written as an Op-Ed for the Jerusalem Post)

This Jewish story begins almost 4000 years ago with our father Abraham, and then with his two sons.  One son mocked the seeming insignificance of the other.  Later Isaac’s two sons strove, with the blessing given to our father Jacob/Israel.  The other son never really got over his loss.  Jacob’s own twelve sons have been squabbling ever since over who should have the place of honor.  When we do bad things to each other, we say it is just a family feud, but when others do bad things to us, we call it something else.  We are a picture of humanity in microcosm.  Although YHVH God has told His chosen people how to worship Him, we have disputed about even this.  Some of us deny that there is even a God who has told us anything.  Others will even use unlawful means to accomplish what to them is a just end. Continue reading “CHRISTMASNACHT IN BEER SHEVA – 29 Dec 2005 (28 Chislev 5766)”

JESUS CHRIST IS COME

(Our celebratory service this Shabbat was interrupted by a mob of unruly ultra-orthodox religious Jewish people.)

There was much messianic expectation around the time of Yeshua’s birth (Dan 9:24-26).  Hanukka itself is a holiday commemorating a messianic hope which gives Israel and the Jewish people freedom from their enemies in order to worship YHVH God in an acceptable way in our own land.  Simeon and Anna were waiting in hope for the Redeemer and Savior of the children of Israel and of Jerusalem, the City of the Great King.  False Messiahs also arose about that time (Acts 5:35-39); today also there is Messianic expectation – Moshiach Now! – amongst many Jews and also Muslims and other religious and spiritist groups.   Continue reading “JESUS CHRIST IS COME”

FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS AND THE GOSPEL

(C&MA Great Commission Fund tour from Feb 27 – Mar 10, 2004, in Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Richmond, Virginia)

Mk 10:28-31 (Mt 19:29; Lk 18:29-30)  Then Peter began to say to [Jesus], ‘See, we have left all and followed You.’  So Jesus answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and  mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’ 

Peter here is responding in amazement to what the Lord Jesus had just spoken before as to how difficult it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God.  Because rather than giving up all for the reality of God and His Kingdom, they are trusting in themselves and in their own wealth or wisdom or power.  Jesus answers that anyone – not only the apostles, but anyone – who forsakes those things most valued in their lives or in the estimation of the world for His sake and the gospel’s will be rewarded both now and forever, with persecution between now and then along the way!  Continue reading “FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS AND THE GOSPEL”

EZEKIEL: A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT TO KNOW YHVH

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe:  “The Redemption of Israel According to Ezekiel and Paul”, Jan 8-11, 2004)

Ezek 20:41-44   I [YHVH] will accept you as a sweet aroma when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you have been scattered; and I will be hallowed in you before the gentiles.  Then you shall know that I am YHVH, when I bring you into the Land of Israel, into the country which I raised my right hand in an oath to give to your fathers.  And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils which you have committed.  Then you shall know that I am YHVH, when I have dealt with you for My name’s sake, not according to your wicked ways, nor according to your corrupt doings, O House of Israel, says the Lord GOD.

Twice in these four verses, we read and heard by the Spirit of God that the Word of YHVH says, ‘You shall know that I am YHVH’.  This expression occurs 61 times through 24 chapters, half of the book of Ezekiel!  Continue reading “EZEKIEL: A NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT TO KNOW YHVH”