NORTHERN SOUTH

This next Sonday, Aug 11, will mark 37 years since my wife and I became Israeli citizens (and dual citizens of the U.S.)! We arrived in Netanya, Israel on Sept 21, 1981, and settled in Beer Sheva in Feb of ’82, as the Lord led us to choose once it became certain that we were here to stay. It was not an experiment, but a walk of faith in obedience to the Word of the Lord to me to “Go to Israel” when we were born-again seven months before we came. We had gotten married 10 months before that life-changing moment for us both!

It is interesting to me at times to think of how God has located us. Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, we were in the northern South of the original United States of America, and Richmond became the Capital of those southern states during America’s Civil War, which for Southerners was always “the War”. Richmond is rich in American history, both for the Revolutionary War of Independence and also for the Civil War. Most people drive by Richmond on the major highways as they head for somewhere else: Richmond is not their destination on their trip. In Beer Sheva, we are also in the northern South of Israel, and Beer Sheva is its administrative center.

Beer Sheva is rich in Biblical history ever since Abraham named the place where he made a covenantal oath with a Philistine king over the ownership of wells. Most people do not make Beer Sheva a destination point in their itinerary, as they bypass the city on the major highways to somewhere else. Richmond, though, was not a desert, but had four seasons. Washington, DC, the nation’s Capital, was accessible from Richmond; Jerusalem, Israel’s Capital, is likewise easily accessible. Richmond is about half-way along the eastern seaboard of the States; Beer Sheva is geographically near the center of the State of Israel. The Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea, are not so far away.

CURRENT EVENTS AND PROPHESIES – 2 July 2019

Prophecies written for us through the Spirit of Messiah long ago are increasingly coming to pass — or about to — in our days. Scriptures written four millennia ago still stand true in these end-times of the last days.

Heaven and Earth may pass away, but the Word of YHVH abides forever! Yeshua said that it is all about Him, so if we deny or reject any part of it, we are taking away part of the testimony that He is the Word of God, and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This is no small matter.

I came to faith through a man who understood the times according to the prophetic word of God, and he could answer the questions that I had, mostly having to do with history, government, and politics, and also about the Jews and the Chosen People. His name is Dwight (never knew his family name, nor was I ever able to get in contact with him again).

War by Iran seems imminent, and if so, this is in line with what Daniel the Prophet wrote about the end-times, explained to him by the angel Gabriel, the same angel who told Mary that she would conceive and have a son who would be called the Son of the Highest. If we do not read the Old Testament and understand that many ‘jots and tittles’ have yet to be fulfilled, then we will be less likely to discern the times. Jesus said that every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets will be fulfilled. When He speaks about the last days before He returns being like the days of Noah, or the days of Lot, we need to read the Torah about what those days were like. Daniel writes about the fourth kingdom and the fourth beast as leading into the return of the Son of Man and the establishing of His kingdom with the saints. No one is going to figure out the day and hour of the Lord’s return, but the times and seasons He expects us to be awake to.

Whatever viewpoint one has about the timing of the rapture, Paul makes it clear in 2Thes 2 that it will not happen unless there is the apostasy and the revelation of the Antichrist. Whoever/Whatever the restrainer is, he/it will not be removed until at least that occurs. At least until then, the rapture can not happen at any moment, even as I write these words. There are things which must take place first. And these ‘things’ are more and more taking shape.

For me, it is both exciting and frightening: in the Spirit, exciting; in the flesh, frightening. Thank God for His love and grace through our faith and hope in who Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah is, and for what He has accomplished by His death on the cross and resurrection!

CRITICAL THINKING?

The first verse of the Bible, Gen 1:1, states simply and directly that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth”. He created them together at the same time, at the beginning of time.

Science, evolution-based, tells us that the universe somehow came into being 13.5 billion years ago, and the Earth 4.5 billion years ago. That simply and directly contradicts what the Creator Himself had Moses write to reveal and to inform us of the truth of the matter.

If YHVH is God — the Father, Yeshua/Jesus, and the Holy Spirit — believe in Him, and believe what He says. Glory to God for His marvelous works!

YESHUA RAISED THE BAR

The Law of Moses allowed divorce, which Yeshua told us was because of the hardness of men’s hearts. Differing opinions within Judaism allowed husbands to divorce their wives for almost any reason. Yeshua allowed divorce for one reason only – sexual unfaithfulness.

The Law of Moses commanded Israelis to love their neighbors as themselves. Other religious codes do the same, such as Islam; however Islam’s meaning of that is much different than the Law that YHVH gave to Israel. Yeshua commands us not only to love our fellowman as ourselves, but also our enemies. And above all that, He gives His disciples a new commandment, that we are to love one another as He has loved us. The royal law to love one another as we love ourselves is already a high bar for most human beings; the new commandment raises this standard to the level of God’s love. The Father has redeemed us to become conformed to the image of His beloved Son, who is the express image of the invisible God. What love He has bestowed upon us to call us the children of God!

The Law of Moses teaches us that God forgives sins, and provides a substitutionary sacrifice for us to receive His forgiveness. The Law of Messiah teaches and commands us to also forgive sins. When Yeshua forgave the paralyzed man, the religious berated Him, saying only God can forgive sins. But the Lord said that the Son of Man also has authority to forgive people their sins. (Forgiving is implied in the command to love our neighbor as ourselves, but it is not explicitly commanded in the Torah. Yeshua brought it to light, and makes it a condition of true godliness — being like God, our Father.) Jesus tells us that if we do not forgive sins of others against us, then neither will our heavenly Father forgive us. If we, who have been forgiven so much by God through the sacrifice of His Son, do not forgive our fellows for the far less debt they may owe us, then the Lord will take back His mercy shown us and require us to pay back the full amount! (Mt 6:14-1518:21-35)

Joseph is the best example we have from the Tanach of someone who forgave grievous sins and betrayal. He lived before the giving of the Law of Moses, but, by Joseph’s fear of the LORD and his faith, the Holy Spirit and grace of God enabled Joseph to overcome those very difficult circumstances that he suffered; and he also saw how God worked all things to together for good for him, who loved the LORD and was called according to His purpose.

As believers and disciples of Yeshua, we do not want to return to the lower standard of the former covenant – a standard which the Apostle Peter said was a yoke that they nor our fathers could bear — but to go on to full maturity in the liberty and exceeding glory of the blood of the New Covenant of the Lord and Messiah. (Acts 15:9-11)

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phlp 3:12-14)