YESHUA ESTABLISHING HIS THRONE OVER ISRAEL AND THE NATIONS

(Kingdom of God conference, Canberra, Australia:  “The Government Shall Be On His Shoulder”, July, 2010)

Rom 3:29-30  YHVH God is the God of both Jews and Gentiles
Acts 1:6-7   God has His own appointed times to fulfill His covenantal promises

Mt 28:18-19   ALL authority has been given to Yeshua by God the Father, in Heaven and on Earth.
Eph 20-22   Jesus is currently sitting at the right-hand of the Father, interceding for us; the church (not the world at this time) is His body and the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  Jesus is far above the  creation He made.

1Sam 8   Israel, from Beer Sheva, asked for a king like the Gentiles have, rejecting YHVH God as their King.  (God gave them who/what they asked for in Shaul/Saul, whose Hebrew name means ‘asked for’.)
Mt 2:2; 27:37-42   Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and was already King of the Jews at His birth (and in His death on the cross).  Jesus came to restore the Kingdom of God to Israel.
Lk 19:14   “But His citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after Him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’”

Zechariah (520 BCE)
1:1-6   repent and believe the Word of YHVH; brings self-judgment of God’s righteousness

2:12-17 [8-13
Eng]   God’s judgment against nations who have plundered Israel will be evidence that 
YHVH of Hosts has sent YHVH of Hosts!; many gentiles will be joined to Him in that day; He will inherit Judah and Jerusalem, and come out from His holy dwelling. **The expression “in that day” is always in reference either to the Day of the LORD/YHVH or to the Millennial Kingdom.

3:1(Num 25:10-13)   Joshua the High Priest is a descendant of Phineas, with whom God covenanted an everlasting priesthood.
3:3(Jude 23)   Even the High Priest was clothed in filthy garments, whose iniquity needed to be purged and removed before pure garments could be placed upon him.
3:8-10   Joshua and his friends are a “sign of things to come”; YHVH says He will bring His servant, the Branch/Plant (tzemach), who will bring cleansing to the land in one day and bring peace and security under the vine and fig tree in that day.

4:1-3   lampstand:  seven lights, seven channels two olive trees
4:10(Rev 4:5; 5:6)   the eyes of YHVH which range throughout the Earth
4:11-14(Rev 11:4)   the two servants (witnesses) of the Lord of all the Earth

5:1-4(Jn 10:8; 1Cor 12:3; 16:22)   The Law (both tablets) will condemn all who oppose YHVH, and will root out lawlessness.     The Law both restrains and exposes sin and rebellion.
5:5-11(Rev 17:17-18; 2Thes 2:6-8)   lawlessness restrained until released and manifested in God’s time

6:1-5(ctr. Rev 2:1)   four chariots (four winds of heaven) of God’s judgment throughout the Earth
6:11-13(Jn 2:18-22; Gen 14:18; Ps 110:4; Ezek ch. 40 – ch. 44)    Yeshua (Ezra 2:2) the High Priest fulfills the covenant promise to Phineas and the sons of Zadok;  Jesus, the Man-Branch, is the fulfillment of the anointed Priest-King on the Throne of God, transcending both Aaron and David.

7:12(2Pt 1:21 – 2:3)   Israel would not heed the prophetic word of God and fell into apostasy, just as in the last days in which we live

8:19   fast days turned into occasions of joy and gladness after Messiah comes:  for us now; for Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.   (Messiah HAS already come, and has brought in a new reality for believers!)
8:20-23   Many nations, with the Jews, will seek YHVH in Jerusalem because He will be there!  Millennial blessings upon Jerusalem and her inhabitants

10:6-9   redemption and ingathering of the whole house of Israel

11:15-17   contemporary warning against apostasy with the false prophet of the future

12:3,4,6,8,9   on that dayArmageddon and salvation; YHVH is the God of Israel who strengthens His people
12:7   YHVH will save the dwelling of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and of the inhabitants of Jerusalem may not be greater than that of Judah:  equality in the Father’s house; no place for pride of election
12:10-12 (Jn 19:37; Rom 11:26-27; Rev 1:7)   Israel looks upon YHVH whom they pierced, and will afflict their souls:  Israel’s national Day of Atonements; the full remnant of Israel (‘all Israel’) will be saved.

Ch. 13   encouragement of future repentance of Israel and their purification:  millennial kingdom will be established upon the blood of atonement, the finished and accepted sacrifice of Messiah Yeshua for Israel’s sin, both personal and as a people, as a nation

14:2-3   all nations to come against Jerusalem, and YHVH will fight them
14:5(Jude 14)   the Lord and all His holy ones will come to battle
14:6-7(Mt 24:36,42)   a unique day known only to YHVH
14:8(Ezek 47:9)   living waters flowing out from Jerusalem
14:9   YHVH will be King over the whole Earth; YHVH will be one and His Name one.
14:12   plague to destroy all those nations who fought against Jerusalem
14:16-19   All surviving nations must come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, YHVH of Hosts, to celebrate the Feast of Booths.  Any nation not doing so will be punished by YHVH.
14:20-21(Jn 2:16)   EVERYTHING will be HOLY TO YHVH in Jerusalem, in the land, in the House of YHVH of Hosts!

The sovereignty of God and the free will of Man will converge at YHVH God’s appointed time (for His will shall be done!) to bring these things to pass:  the revelation of Jesus Christ – no-one can know the day or the hour; no-one can change the set time which the Father has decreed.

–The Lord Jesus remains at the right-hand of God until:
Ezek 36:37   Thus says the Lord YHVH:  I will also let the House of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them:  to increase them like a flock of people.

Hos 5:15   I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense.  Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.  (also Lev 23:40-45)

Mic 5:3; 7:9   Therefore He shall give them up, until the time she who is labor has given birth.  Then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel.  (1Thes 5:3; Rev 12:1-5; Mt 24:32)

Mt 23:39   for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH!’

Acts 3:18-21   Repent . . and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. . .that [God] may send Jesus Christ, whom Heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by . . .all His holy prophets. . . .

1Cor 11:26   Believers take the Lord’s Supper until Yeshua comes again.

Lk 17:21   The Kingdom of God is within us now, and part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control to do God’s will.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

1Cor 4:8   the believers were already reigning, as if it were all about them, and not having a true Kingdom understanding

Heb 11:35-40   God has His own plan:  we (all believers from all times) will be perfected together, and reign together with Messiah Yeshua!  

TO THE JEW FIRST AND LAST

(Open doors to the Jewish Community conference at Deltona Alliance Church, Florida, 30-31 Jan 2010)

Jn 16:8-11  And when [the Holy Spirit] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  of sin, because they do not believe in Me:  of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

The gospel is for sinners.  The Lord Jesus says here that [the] sin is not believing in Him.  Not believing in Him leads to lawlessness of all kinds.

The gospel was first brought from Messiah Yeshua to Israel and the Jewish people:  to His own.  This good news and its necessity to the Jewish people has never been changed . . . by God!  The cross is still a cause of stumbling to the Jewish person – the idea that our God would actually become a despised and rejected Man hanging on the cursed tree!  And even worse, that we insisted that He be killed in that way!!

The Holy Spirit in us who believe, whether we be Jews or not, bears witness with our spirit that we are sons of God, and without the Holy Spirit no one can call Jesus for who/what He is:  LORD/YHVH.  How then is it that some today teach that the Jewish people do not necessarily have to believe in Jesus in order to be saved; that God has another way for them, or that because of wrongs done to them by the Christian church He has shown partiality to the Jewish people regarding salvation?  There is no other name under Heaven given to men by which they may be saved!  There is no way to the Father other than through His Son!  If we are uncertain in our own conscience about this mystery of the faith, then who will be convicted of the sin of unbelief through our evangelism?!

The gospel came first to the Jews, and praise God, He is faithful to keep His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, and He is bringing it back to us!  Judgment is also to the Jews first; so is honor:  to whom much is given more is required; the first-born son has responsibilities greater than those less privileged.  This is not a post-missionary time for the Jewish people.  The Great Commission which the Lord Jesus Himself gave is until the end of the age, which has not yet arrived, but, thankfully, is getting nearer!  God is so much more concerned and able to accomplish what He has commanded us to do than we are, that He will even be sending out angels to finish the job of preaching the everlasting gospel. (Rev 14:6)  The glory will be His alone, who alone is the only wise God and Savior – both of the Jews and also of the Gentiles!

As God opens doors for you into your Jewish communities, if you are Gentiles (i.e., not Jewish), first of all, do not be embarrassed that you are not Jewish.  Secondly, the Lord has given you a special calling as Gentiles to provoke His people to jealousy by your knowledge of Him more than they have:  in Christ our relationship is personal, not distant.  At the same time, God has called you to have mercy upon His people, since by their being put aside for a time, He has done that in order to show mercy to you.  At the end of the day, we who have been saved will all know that we have all been disobedient, and have needed the mercies of God in order to be found worthy to stand by grace before the Son of Man when He judges the living and the dead.  Such is the wisdom of our God and Father!

For those of us who are Jews, we know that it is God who defines who and what a Jew truly is.  We can have a boldness such as Peter had after Pentecost when speaking with our own people.  Jews may not be that honest, but they want to see integrity in others.  Let them see it in us, that we fear God and not man, and we know who it is that we believe in, because Jesus is the one of whom Moses and the Prophets spoke and wrote.  He is the Messiah, the Son of the living God.

Is 49:6   It is a light thing that Thou should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. . . .

THE BIBLICAL PEACE PLAN FOR ISRAEL AND THE MIDDLE EAST

(Presented at conference in Altheim, Germany, November 1-4, 2009)

–Israel is the first-born (Ex 4:22; Jer 31:9 [8 Heb]) of the nations to God, even though there were other nations before her/him.  God has declared Israel/Ephraim to be His first-born, and with justification.

–The very fact of the Most High God, YHVH, has chosen Israel has brought in conflict – over the people and the Land.  This conflict comes first from Satan; then from others who feel rejected or ignored; and from within by those who lack both faith and the fear of the Lord.

–Various responses have been given as to how to make peace in Israel and the Middle East:
  –extreme Jewish and Arab views, sometimes even amongst believers, to rid the country of the other
  –compromise over covenantal promises and conditions
  –the gospel and expansion of influence by believers in the societies
  –the revelation of Jesus Christ

–Either the flesh and natural mind will insist on its own significance, or else the Holy Spirit will rule and we die to ourselves, pick up our crosses daily, and follow the Lamb wherever He leads us.

Ezek 38; Ps 83   in the latter years (i.e., in our own days now!), YHVH Himself will allow an invasion by mostly Islamic nations against Israel, which He Himself will defeat:  that all will KNOW that YHVH is the one true GOD, the GOD OF ISRAEL!

 Is 14:24-27; Ezek 39:1-8; Dan 11:21; 2Thes 2:8   both Gog and the Assyrian are those of whom YHVH has spoken, and He will bring them against His land in order to glorify His name and to bring Israel to repentance

Rev 15:1-4   God’s righteous judgments will cause all to fear and to worship Him, and to know that Jesus Christ is LORD (YHVH)!

Is 19:23-25   God’s peace in Israel and the Middle East, and the rest of the world

Zech 14:16-19   all the remaining nations of those which came against Jerusalem will be required to come up to Jerusalem to worship YHVH of Hosts – Yeshua! – during the Millennial Kingdom of GOD’s righteous and peaceful and joyful Kingdom – restored to Israel and to the world which He created and made!

Gen 12:1-3; Mt 25:31-46   nations which either blessed Abraham’s seed:  the sheep nations; and the nations which cursed/lightly esteemed/disrespected the seed of Abraham:  the goat nations

The same prophets of YHVH who spoke to Israel also spoke to the nations in the Near (Middle) East:
–Isaiah to/against Babylon, Philistia, Moab, Damascus (Syria), Egypt, Tyre and Sidon (Lebanon)
–Jeremiah to Egypt, to the Philistines, to Moab, to Ammon, to Edom, to Babylon
–Ezekiel to Babyon, Ammon, Moab, Edom, Tyre, Egypt, Magog
–Obadiah to Edom
–Jonah to Nineveh (Assyria)
–Nahum to Nineveh

YHVH God, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth is the one who sets boundaries and times: Acts 17:26-27
Jer 9:23-26; 12:14-17   both to pluck out, and to restore to the lands and heritage which are theirs from the God of Israel, when they have learned to teach His people to learn His ways
Ezek 47:21-23  for the Israeli and the stranger in the promised Land of Israel
   —Jer 48:47; 49:6,11   Moab, Ammon, Edom
Zech 9:6-7   Philistines (Gaza)

YHVH’s COVENANTS WITH ISRAEL

(Teaching at conference in Lubumbashi, DRC – Pentecostal  Epiphanie Church — May 26, 2009)

Mt 5:17-19; 2 Cor 1:20     Jesus came not to cancel or to break the Law and the Prophets, but rather to fulfill every jot and tittle of them

Ex 25:21-22; Lev 16: 11-14     the Ark of the Testimony was set in the Holy of Holies; the intercessory cloud of incense covered, and the blood of atonement was sprinkled on the Ark as a witness to the hope of redemption from the holy and righteous demands of the Law of Moses

Acts 24:14-15  Paul’s testimony about the hope of the fathers, as written in the Law and the Prophets, for the resurrection

Rom 8:18-25    the redemption of our bodies in the resurrection

The word redemption in English means to buy (purchase) back and restore what is rightfully mine but legally lost through forfeit (loss of privilege or honor through disqualification by breaking, or by not living up to, the rules or law).  The word ransom means the payment of a price for deliverance from some evil.  It could be for a prisoner of war, a hostage, a slave, or one’s own life (Ex 21:29-30).  In the Bible, redemption requires two things:  the legally qualified person, and the willingness and ability of that person to pay the required price to buy back what was given up. (see Lev 25; Ruth 4; Heb 2:14-18; 1Pt 1:18-19)  The year of Jubilee is all about redemption and restoration, both of people and of property.  A redeemed person or possession is restored to his or its intended purpose.  His dignity is regained.  And the honor given him is greater than before the loss.  Redemption brings a better state than the original natural creation or nature.

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us be clear from the beginning that the redemption of Israel is assured by the fact—by the truth—that Jesus Himself is her Redeemer.  Not only does He deliver prisoners, slaves, debtors, but by His very name, Yeshua is the Savior and Redeemer of sinners. (Mt 1:21)    If Israel could redeem herself from her bondages, then certainly the Holocaust would seem to be sufficient ransom of her own sons and daughters.  But it clearly has not been so.  God wants the loss of intimate relationship with Him restored, so that Israel–and the rest of the world– can have rest and peace and joy.  Messiah Jesus is the uniquely qualified person who willingly paid the necessary price to buy back His own people and kinsmen according to the flesh, and the Land of Canaan, which YHVH, Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, promised with an oath to give to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to their descendants forever.

Since Israel asked for a king like the heathen nations have (1Sam 8), YHVH has not been Israel’s God in practice from their point of view.  Jesus came—and was also rejected for Caesar! (Lk 19:14; Jn 19:12-15)—to restore God the Father’s Kingdom both to Israel and to the whole world, the gentiles having already rejected Him in Noah’s day, both before and after the Flood.   

Adam and Eve, through deception and disobedience, lost the paradise and the authority that God provided and gave to them.  Both the people of Israel and the Land of Israel were forfeited by Israel through their breaking God’s covenant with them. (Jer 31:32)  But Jesus was sent by God the Father to redeem His people, His land, even the whole of humanity and the whole Earth; even more—the whole universe of this creation, which has all been corrupted through sin and subjected to vanity, futility.  Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and the Savior of all, but especially for those who believe, for by faith we are saved through grace, not by law or through works or without condition.  Abiding in Jesus is the key to our faith and our love.  The Messianic/Christian faith is a relationship with the Father and the Son, and with others who are born of God.

Jesus says that the whole of the Book is written about Him, and that He has come to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets. He says that Heaven and Earth will pass away, but not before God has fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Word of God with respect to this creation, which is set and limited by time and seasons.  So as we look at the subject of Israel’s redemption, we do so as recognizing that all Scripture is inspired by the Spirit of God, and is given for our learning to make us wise unto salvation.  By them we can know not only God’s statutes, but also His ways regarding His people and the world at large.  

Israel’s redemption—both of people and land—gives hope and significance to other nations.  God is interested in nations of people, a corporate collection of individual persons bound together by a language, law, customs, culture, boundaries.  He has given each a destiny, and within each of the families of the Earth, the Father is seeking those who will love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to worship Him in spirit and truth.

Christians are expected to be stewards of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.  The Church—the Body of Christ—was a mystery which God revealed especially to Paul to explain.  And Paul also says that Israel’s salvation is a mystery, which again the Holy Spirit explains particularly through Paul.  But without knowing the truth of who Jesus really is, we can not understand either the Church–which is a new creation not of this world–or Israel, which is distinguished from the other nations.   

YHVH is a covenant-making and -keeping God.  Melchizedek brought wine and bread to Abram.  God is love, and so His covenants are expressions of His love and holiness.  Just as the Lord requires a husband and wife to remain faithful to each other, even more so is He faithful to His people—even His Bride—through the covenant relationship He has with us.  He cannot deny Himself.  Jesus’ death on the cross because of our sin and sins–and His subsequent resurrection to justify Him in man’s sight, and to justify in God’s sight all who believe that God raised Him up from among the dead—is the costly ransom which God paid to redeem us from the “legal” claims of the devil—a price which Satan tried to subvert.  God is debtor to no one, and is not out to appease His enemy.  The New Covenant assures us that God will keep all His previous commitments, and on the basis of that ‘filling full’ of all His purposes regarding the world He made, He will create a new heavens and a new earth, also in accord with what is already written in the Holy Scriptures.

Therefore Israel’s redemption is assured, even though only a remnant from each of the tribes will be saved to constitute “all Israel”—those of Jacob who repent from ungodliness so that they can receive God’s forgiveness of all their sins, transgressions, and iniquity. (Dan 9:24; Rom 11:26-27)  No weapon formed against Israel will succeed, just as the gates of Sheol will not prevail against the Church.  It is not by Israel’s or our own righteousness, but by God’s mercy we are saved through faith in Jesus, the beloved Son of God.  The redemption of both Israel and of the Church is connected with preaching the gospel to all nations—to the Jews and to the gentiles. (Mt 28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8)  Israel’s partial blindness and hardness to the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God will remain until the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in. (Rom 11:25)  Gentile (i.e., non-Jewish) Christians have a calling and a responsibility to provoke Israel to jealousy over your own personal relationship with Israel’s own God and Father (Rom 11:11), while at the same time showing mercy to the Jewish people. (Rom 11:30-32)  (It is evident that classic anti-semitism has no place in the heart and mind of a true Christian).  And just as God saves individuals through the forgiveness of sin by their repentance unto faith, so too with nations. (Is 19:16-25 as an example)  The same YHVH God, who speaks to Israel through His prophets whom He sent to them, also speaks to nations, not only about them, through these same prophets.

The whole of God’s purpose in creation and redemption is to make known that He alone is YHVH, the only true God, and that Jesus Christ is LORD to the glory of the Father.  God wants us to want Him to honor His holy name in the sight of all (Mt 6:9; 23:39)—even as Moses did when the Lord suggested wiping out the rebellious people whom He brought out of Egypt.  We, too, must call upon God to save His people Israel, for the sake of His own Name and His Word, and to establish His Kingdom of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit on Earth, as it is in Heaven.  For as Paul says, How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?  ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ (Rom 10:14-15; Is 52:7; Eph 6:15

God is working from both sides – Jewish and gentile – to fulfill His redemptive history and purposes.  He has given us an active part in that: once we have been joined to the Lord through new birth, we become co-laborers with one another as we serve Him.  But, thank God, by His zeal He will do it!  This is our and Israel’s security and hope.  YHVH has done it!  Jesus lived and died and rose from the dead and lives forevermore.  Nothing is too great for Him to do! 

THE COVENANT OF YHVH GOD WITH ISRAEL

(Teaching at conference in Lubumbashi, DRC – Pentecostal  Epiphanie Church — May 26, 2009)

Eph 2:11-13   Gentiles brought into the Commonwealth of Israel

2Cor 1:19-20   All the promises of God ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Messiah Jesus

Gen 17:1-8      YHVH made an everlasting covenant to Abram (Abraham) and to his descendants for an everlasting  possession of all the Land of Canaan.  

Gen 26:1-5       YHVH reaffirms to Isaac the oath He swore to Abraham.  

Gen 28:10-15  YHVH, God of Abraham and Isaac, confirmed the covenant promises to Jacob.  It is taking a long time,  but YHVH God is doing what He has promised.  

Jer 31:31-37   New Covenant with Israel and Jewish people:  forgiveness of sin; God’s control of solar system his pledge

Dt 4:32-39      Because God loved their fathers, He wants Israel to know that YHVH Himself is God in  Heaven above and on the Earth.  He is involved with things on Earth.

Ezek 36:16-28   Return to the land in unbelief for the sake of God’s holy name

Rom 11:28-32  Concerning  the election, Israel is beloved for the fathers’ sake, that God may have mercy on all who were committed to disobedience – both among Jews/Israelis and among gentiles.  He has committed Himself to His promises to A, to I, to J, even though it brings reproach

Rom 11:26-27  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:  The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins. (Is 59: 20-21)   

Is 4:2-3           In that day the Branch (Tzemach/Plant) of YHVH shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.  And it shall come to pass that the one left in Zion and the one remaining in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.

Rom 9:6-7      But it is not that the Word of God has taken no effect.  For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ (Gen 21:12)    

Is 1:9             Unless YHVH of Hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah.

Is 19:18-25      In that day, Egypt, Assyria, and Israel will be saved and serve YHVH together as a blessing in the midst of the Earth.

Rev 7:2-8; 14:1-5  the sealed servants of God on their foreheads:  144,000 of all the tribes of the children of Israel. . .redeemed by Jesus from among men, first-fruits to God and to the Lamb

Ezek 47:13 – 48:35  the borders and division of the repossessed Land of Israel among the twelve tribes of Israel, for the native-born and for the strangers who sojourn among them and who bear children among them, during the millenial Kingdom of Messiah on and over the Earth

Rev 21:9-27   The bride, the Lamb’s wife, the new and holy Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God; the gates are named after the twelve tribes of the children of Israel; the foundations named after the twelve apostles.  Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life can enter the city.  Certainly an expression of everlasting love and honor to have the gates and foundations named for you!

Jn 3:3-21      Only those in Israel and from other nations who are born again from above can see or enter the Kingdom of God.  Life is given only to those who have living faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.                                                                                                              

In Adam all have sinned, yet God has His plan to redeem and to save all who hear, believe, and obey His way to repent/return to Him.  So Israel—a nation of “Adams and Eves”—has sinned, and the same God over all has His plan to redeem and save a sinful nation personally chosen to be His inheritance.  Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Since Israel is given by God to be an example to the Church to learn from, it becomes evident that not all Germans, or Americans, or Egyptians will be saved, even though each nation has its own place and destiny in God’s purposes.

If we are unfaithful to God, God remains faithful to Himself:  He cannot deny Himself.  Jesus’ death and resurrection secure for God everything that He has promised, both for blessing and for cursing; both for life and for death; both for justification of those who believe and for condemnation of those who do not.  This is all in accord with His word that He will be merciful to whom He will be merciful (Ex 33:19).

The gospel, of which the apostle Paul in particular received by revelation, is of grace, not of law; is received by faith, not by works or by wisdom.  The Lord Jesus commissioned Paul to speak to gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.  Chapters 9-11 of Romans are the Isaiah 53 of the New Testament.  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets will be fulfilled by Him.  Until so, the whole counsel of God—the whole of the Bible—is living and relevant.  The redemption and salvation of Israel AS ISRAEL is necessary for the sanctity of God’s Name—YHVH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.

Israel has a special calling and destiny, which has not been fulfilled.  That Messiah came through her was not the whole of the covenant promises spoken and given her.  But to her belong the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the Law, and the service, and the promises; of whom are the fathers, and through whom is the Messiah, according to the flesh.  Paul also states plainly that they are not all Israel who are of Israel; neither because they are Abraham’s seed are they all children.  It is according to promise, not merely natural considerations.  By analogy, not all who are called Christian are in Christ, but only those who have faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and know that their sins are forgiven. 

God is sovereign; no one can successfully oppose Him.  There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against YHVH (Prov 21:30).  We must all come to Him on His terms.  He came to us in His love to save all who would believe on the name of His only begotten Son Jesus, because no sinner can abide in His presence.  Yet this is God’s covenantal promise to Israel:  everlasting possession of the Land of Canaan, and an everlasting remembrance of the name Israel in the eternal Kingdom.  All the promises of God are “yes and amen” in Christ Jesus (2Cor 1:20).  No weapon formed against Israel will succeed, and as long as God controls the regularity of the solar system and universe, Israel will remain a nation before Him, and His covenant with David will remain in force.

But the promises are received through faith, and obedience with faith and thanksgiving.  It is all of grace—of a loving Father to His beloved child, of a loving husband to His beloved wife.  Israel has not believed this, but rather made the fact of being chosen its basis of righteousness, and of relegating the gentiles, whom the one true God also loves, to lesser status.  For even orthodox religious Jews do not obey all the requirements of the Law, so they begin to lower the standard or to rationalize and make relative their righteousness.  Self-righteousness is one of the worst sins.  Paul claimed himself blameless as touching the Law, but being so he persecuted the church and blasphemed the Lord Jesus, and so referred to himself as the chief of sinners.  But God justifies those who believe and trust Him for their worthiness, their significance, their identity.

The present election by grace of Jewish believers, and the present day return of Jewish people back to part of the very same Land of Israel—as the LORD spoke and promised through the prophet Ezekiel—is an on-going demonstration of God’s unchanging purposes.  Just as counting the sheaves each day between Passover and Shavuot was an indication of faith in the reality of the harvest to come – and as Jesus’ 40 days after His resurrection demonstrated that He was really alive and strengthened the faith of His disciples and of others — so God’s fairly recent intervention in the restoration of Israel as a nation gathered in its own land is an indication of the sure fulfillment to come.  Israel’s restoration is a sign to the world just as was the ark which Noah built:  the holy and righteous God is preparing to judge the world in righteousness and to save the remnant of His people and of the nations.   Again, not all Israelis/Jews will believe, but all Israel—the full remnant of Jacob’s descendants who turn from ungodliness —will be saved.  Like the apostle Thomas, these will believe the full love of the truth only after they have seen Him whom they pierced, and their individual and national soul will be afflicted, and God will fully cleanse and heal them from all their sin.

God’s wisdom deals with the pride of men and of nations, with envy and ridicule, with sin, righteousness, and judgment.  The gentiles have been brought in to God’s covenant relationship through Israel’s temporary fall and blindness.  But the promises of God remain sure for the sake of the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The root and tree are the Messianic promises and hope—realized in Messiah Jesus—which quickened the fathers Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and which their descendants are still learning through much struggle.  The good news rests in the goodness and faithfulness of God, and of His righteous ways.  As it is written, both gentiles and Israel have been disobedient so that salvation is of mercy to both Jew and non-Jew.  Israel’s salvation is assured, and her special calling to be forever memorialized in the new Jerusalem.  No other nation has such a promise which extends beyond time.  But Israel’s salvation and resurrection from the dead AS A NATION assures the CHURCH of her hopes and destiny, and assures Egypt and Assyria, for example, of theirs.

To Israel double judgment for all her sins as the first-born amongst the nations.  To Israel double honor as a holy kingdom of priests unto YHVH.  The name of Jerusalem shall be, YHVH our Righteousness is there!  

May it come speedily in our day!

Hallelu-Yah!  Amen.

REVIVAL AND UNITY IN THE CRUCIFIED ONE – 20 Sep 2008

(Message given at The Negev Conference in Beer Sheva)

1Cor 1:18, 23-25   For the word/message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . . We preach Messiah crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Messiah the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Zech 12:10 – 13:1   And I (YHVH) will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.  And they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.  On that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning  at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo.  And the land shall mourn, every family by itself:  the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the  family of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of  Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.
         On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness

When I was in the Israeli army, I was in a conversation with some other trainees, some religious and some not.  The discussion came around to how Israel would become a united country with so many Jews coming from so many different cultures and backgrounds.  I answered one of the religious young men that our unity would come from accepting the Passover lamb and it’s sacrificially shed blood as the basis for our becoming a people – the people of Israel.  If we could remember that – the sacrificed lamb — it would help us to become a united nation.

In less than three weeks we will remember the Day of Atonements, the prophetic set time of YHVH when Israel will eventually recognize that Yeshua is the Holy One of Israel, the Lord and Savior whom they pierced and crucified.  The Day of Atonements is the day (Lev 23:27-30) when God commanded the children of Israel to afflict (lit., torture)theirsouls over their sin against YHVH and His covenant.  Sin is refusing to believe in Jesus (Jn 16:9).  In sinning against Him, we have sinned against other people; in sinning against other people, we have sinned against God.  Each Israeli alone from each family alone – whether king or priest, politician or religious, or of the common people – every one who is still alive at that time will know that Yeshua, whom we crucified, is in fact the Lamb of God — YHVH our God.  All Israel will be saved, and they will become one people and Yeshua will be their glorious King!

Revival and unity both come through the Crucified One, through Yeshua the Messiah, Son of the Living God, and His cross.  What had been a stumbling block or foolishness will be seen to be wonderful in their  eyes!  Unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given!

Have we – each one of us alone who are joined together into one spiritual Body of Messiah – experienced at the deepest level what the remnant of Israel will experience in that soon coming future day? 

Have I seen in the death by crucifixion of Yeshua the love and the righteousness of God?:  His love for me and for you?  His judgement against sin and sinfulness? 

Have I seen in the death by crucifixion of Jesus that I am fully forgiven and cleansed by the blood of God’s Son?  The blood of the Day of Atonements was effective to cleanse all Israel and all that pertained to the priesthood and Temple; the blood of Jesus is effective to cleanse the entire universe!

Have I seen in the death by crucifixion of Yeshua my own death – that I died – and am now born again a new creation of God our Creator and Redeemer? 

Have I seen in the death by crucifixion of Jesus the shame and indignity He was willing to suffer for me and for you and for us in order that we could see the glory of God in His cross!?

It is written that the Lamb was slain (lit., slaughtered) from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8).  Therefore all God’s ways with mankind in general and with Israel and the Church in particulars . . .all His ways with us have been the way of the cross.  By the Word of God the world was created:  God spoke . . . and it was!  (That was the ‘big bang’!)  Part of what God spoke from the foundation of the world was that in the fullness of time, the Word would become flesh and be crucified to take away the sin of the world in the greatest display of love this world will ever know.

God chose Abraham because God knew that Abraham would command his children in the way of YHVH – the way of the cross:  dying willingly, sacrificially to the world and to self in great expectation and joy of the glory of God’s kingdom to come – in our own hearts and minds, and finally in the coming again in the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Abram knew something about sacrificially dying to personal interests when he willingly gave Lot the choice of where to live with his extensive flocks and herds and tents in the land which God had promised him.  Abraham learned more perfectly the way of the cross when God required of him to offer up his ‘only’ and beloved son Isaac, in and through whom all God’s promises were to become realized ; not merely being theoretically willing to offer up his son, but to actually go about doing it, fully expecting to carry it out, until the Angel of YHVH stopped him.  ‘Now’, the angel said to him, ‘I know that you fear God’, and Abraham’s faith was revealed as truly believing in the God who can raise the dead in order to fulfill His promises!  Are we sons of Abraham in the faith?!  Or are we looking for the fulfillment of the promises before the resurrection promised at the end of the age?  Not a mere theoretical resurrection, but the real thing!

We read in 1Corinthians about the offense of the cross to both Jews and Greeks.  Paul wrote this letter about 20 years after he was saved and began his ministry to preach the gospel.  After all those years he came to his evaluation of the message he was proclaiming.  For all that, he did not suggest nor recommend another way to bring sinners to repentance unto salvation!

Why was the cross such an offense to both religious people and to those filled and satisfied with worldly wisdom?  To the Jews, the very thought that our great God and King, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, should be revealed in the form of a mortal bondservant and allow Himself to be humiliated and accept punishment on the cursed tree (Dt 21:23) – the penalty given to slaves, to rebels, to blasphemers – and that we ourselves were instrumental in this murder by the hands of lawless men – is more than we can bear except the Spirit of grace and supplication of God’s love in Messiah breaks in on us.  We deny that Jesus is God in the flesh to ease our conscience.  Then we deny that He is the Son of God, but rather only a man to ease our feelings of guilt.  Isn’t this what the people and the leaders of Israel taunted Yeshua with while He was hanging on the cross?:

Mk 15:25-34   Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.  And the inscription of His accusation was written above:  THE KING OF THE JEWS.  With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right hand and the other on His left.  So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’  And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha!  You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!’  Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save.  Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe!’  Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.  Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Yeshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani?”, which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’

For the philosophers and pagans in the world, the idea that we would believe in a God who died on a cross, and that apart from belief in such a thing there is no salvation, is sheer folly, madness.  Isn’t this what Festus said in a loud voice to Paul after hearing Paul’s defense of his faith before King Agrippa?

(Acts 26:24-25)  “Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are beside yourself!  Much learning is making you mad!’  But [Paul] said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.’”

I want to read a description (by Seneca; Crucifixion, p. 30-31, Martin Hengel) of the long process of dying of the victim of crucifixion:  ‘Can anyone be found who would prefer wasting away in pain dying limb by limb, or letting out his life drop by drop, rather than expiring once for all?!  Can any man be found willing to be fastened to the accursed tree, long sickly, already deformed, swelling with ugly weals on shoulders and chest, and drawing the breath of life amid long drawn-out agony?!  He would have many excuses for dying even before mounting the cross.’

A crucifixion is not something to make fun of, to make a joke about.  It doesn’t matter who it was or what he did or whether he ‘deserved’ it or not….death by crucifixion is not a subject of levity. . . especially when it touches the Holy One of God.  Yeshua has left us His supper to remember His death until He comes [again]. . . and He will come!

The ‘words of truth and reason’ which Paul proclaimed are that our Messianic faith and life centers on the Son of God who died a shameful, undignified, criminal’s death on the tree of shame. (Heb 12:2; Crucifixion, p.4)  The gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek; the gospel is of God!  Neither paganism with its polytheism, nor Judaism with its monotheism, could or can comprehend the foolishness of God – which is actually made unto us wisdom once we repent from our own pride and intelligence to believe instead in the ‘word of the cross’.

We are here in the Negev together; we want revival and unity.  May God be merciful and give it, and let us see the glory of God in the death by crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for our sin!  Let us be filled with the Holy Spirit, and know Messiah in the fellowship of His sufferings and in the power of His resurrection!  May we see many more people come to know God through our witness and testimony of the crucified and risen Savior, and have the inheritance of the righteous in the first resurrection from among the dead!

LAMECH, AMALEK, ‘YESHU’, INTIFADA, YAD L’ACHIM – Nov 2007

(Delivered at Israel Conf.:  “Eschatological Convictions”,  Langensteinbacherhohe, Karlsruhe, Germany, 20-25 Nov 2007)

The Church, Israel, and Islam
Gen 4:4Abel:  the righteousness which offers an acceptable sacrifice through faith
Gen 4:10–his blood cries out for justice
Heb 12:24–Yeshua’s blood speaks better things – forgiveness and salvation
Mt 18:21-22–Christians commanded to forgive 70×7 times per day

Gen 4:3-9Cain:  out of envy, murders his innocent brother and refuses YHVH’s way back to God
Gen 4:10-14–unwilling and unable to carry the chastening and punishment for his guilt
4:15–the gracious and compassionate true God who desires that sinners come to repentance promises to protect Cain and to avenge his blood – should anyone kill him – seven times
4:16-17–Cain goes out in his own way to prove his capabilities and his own sense of worth and     righteousness, without accepting God’s favor upon his brother

Gen 4:19-24Lamech:  arrogant self-righteousness
–takes for himself multiple wives
–knowing the truth about Cain and Abel and YHVH – claiming for himself the justification of killing a     young man for injuring him, and daring anyone from acting justly against him by threatening     vengeance 77 times
Ex 5:2; Ps 83:16-18–Who is YHVH, that I should fear and obey Him?

Gen 27:41Esau:  wants to kill his brother Jacob, out of envy and a bitter root and take back the    inheritance, which he despised

1Jn 2:22–Judaism rejects Yeshua as Messiah and as the Son of God (with all that that implies).
1Jn 2:22–Islam denies God as Father and therefore as having any Son or children.  (Could it be that   Lamech killed one of his own sons?)
–Jews and Christians carry much responsibility for the strength of Islam:  we are His witnesses!
–unbelief in the Bible as the Word of God
–unbelief in YHVH as the only true God, excluding all others
–unbelief in the truth of Messiah as being only in Jesus (anointed Prophet, High Priest, King of kings)
–unbelief in salvation by any other way other than God’s grace through the sacrifice of His Son

Lamech   Gen 4:19-24   spirit of vengeance and self-importance

Amalek   Num 24:20; Dt 25:17-19   a strong nation and spirit that preys on the tired and weary people of
YHVH God; once first among the nations, but will be last till he perishes
–a descendant of Esau, one of the two nations, two peoples — and being referred to as the                   stronger one — in Rebecca’s womb.

‘Yeshu’    Talmudic acronym curse against Yeshua, meaning, “may His name and memory be blotted out”

Intifada   Gen 27:40; Ps 83:2-4 (Eng)   uprising to overthrow the yoke;  ‘let us cut off the name of Israel      from being a nation anymore’
in last days, this began to come to the surface following the Balfour Declaration in 1917
Ps 83:5-8 (Eng)–Islamic nations today

Yad L’Achim   motivated by Dt 13; Mt 26:59-66   false prophet and blasphemer deserving of death, and
also to those who follow after him or who try to get others to follow after him to worship other gods; ‘Yeshu’

What, then, do we and the world have to look forward to, given that everyone – YHVH, Edomites, Jews, Muslims – has declared their intention to blot out the name and memory of their enemy and/or their fellow man?:

Mt 24:21-25   For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the    world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved.  But for the elect’s sake, those days will be shortened. . . .See, I (Yeshua) have told you    beforehand.

We are commissioned with taking the gospel to all peoples, and we have also been called to share/fellowship in the sufferings of Messiah in the power of His resurrection.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

GLORY HIDDEN TO BE REVEALED

(Israel Conference – Langensteinbacherhohe:  “Eschatological Convictions”, Nov 20- 25, 2007)

Jn 1:10-14   He came, and His glory was beheld by only a few

Jn 16:8-11   And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of Judgment:  of sin, because they do not believe on Me (Jesus); of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Rev 1:1a   The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants – things which must shortly take place. . . .

Rom 7:21 – 8:25   this creation subjected by God to futility until the revelation of the glory of God in Messiah, the Son of God, and in the sons of God

I read in an Israeli newspaper recently about a survey taken amongst Israelis.  The question was, “What would you want to do if you thought that the world would end next week?”  (or something similar to that).  Most of the answers were of the sort:  more sex, more eating, and stealing and other crime.  Some of those who took part in the survey live what would be considered normal lives now.  But the results of the survey show that the nature of man is sinful.  For many, there is no fear of God or of judgment; no faith or hope of resurrection to stand before the Holy God; no vision for godliness.  People of this sort are very much like Esau who, thinking he would soon die (and he didn’t), demonstrated he had no real interest or belief in the living God, in His promises, or for his own children’s future.  From this survey we get a little glimpse of what things will increasingly be like in these last days leading up to the return in great power and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  As the bride of Messiah, we are to sanctify ourselves for Him who is holy and pure.

As the Word of God says, we need a vision of God’s Kingdom if we as believers are going to overcome by faith the world and the circumstances we live in.  The Apostle Paul gives us in this passage we read reason for hope to enable us to persevere because GOD HAS PUT INTO HIS CREATION THE LIVING HOPE OF REDEMPTION, OF LIFE VICTORIOUS OVER DEATH THAT IS AT WORK NOW IN US AND THROUGHOUT THIS CREATION.

Rom 8:20   The creation was subjected to vanity (futility, disappointment, misery), not of its own will. . .

God is presently – even before sin came into the Garden of Eden (Rev 13:8; Gen 2:15-17) – acting contrary to and against what the creation at every level wants.  When YHVH God eventually has what He wants – when everything is according to and suited to His nature and character (that is, to His Name) – there will be glory! (taken from T. Austin-Sparks) Meanwhile, by God Himself subjecting His own creation to disappointment and vanity, it is impossible for us or for the rest of the universe to realize the GLORY OF GOD.

Paul, though, does say that there is a work going on in the creation now:  v. 22  It is groaning and travailing.  God the Father has put the seed of life into the creation so that in its anguish there is the expectancy of something to be brought forth.  There is going to be a birth of something from God, and there is this war in the cosmos and in our own flesh against keeping faith and hope that it is coming…and will come!  “The WHOLE creation groans and travails!”  Birth pains, labor pains…tribulation, great tribulation…birth and joy!

v. 23   Not only that, but WE, WHO HAVE THE FIRST-FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, WE OURSELVES GROAN WITHIN OURSELVES. . . EAGERLY WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, THE RESURRECTION OF OUR BODY!

v. 18-19  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God.

v. 24-25   For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Philp 2:5-11   The Holy Spirit is working in the world till all will worship Jesus, the Son of God, to the glory of the Father.  This includes those who believe, of course, but also those who will not.

1Cor 13:10; 2Pt 3:13; Rev 21:1-5   We look beyond the millennial reign of Messiah to the perfect new Creation (cp God’s own expression for this present creation Gen 1:31).

We are called to THAT EXPECTATION of our Father in Heaven!

GOOD NEWS

(Israel Conference – Langensteinbacherhohe:  “Eschatological Convictions”, Nov 20- 25, 2007)

Acts 2:36-41   Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Yeshua, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!. . .Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.. . .Be saved from this perverse generation.  Then those who gladly received this word were baptized. . . .

Heb 6:1-3   Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Messiah let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Lk 18:6-8   God will avenge His own; will the Son of Man really find faith when He returns?

Rev 6:9-11   When [Jesus the Lamb] opened the fifth seal, I (John) saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the Earth?”  . . .it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
      —Gen 3:15   the Word of God to the devil in the Garden of Eden that Messiah will bruise his head
      —Gen 18:25   Abraham knew YHVH God is the righteous Judge of all the Earth
      —Ps 94:1-3   How long, O Judge of the Earth, until You punish the wicked!?
      —Rev 19:1-9   After these things. . .Hallelu-Yah!  God has avenged and judged ungodly people and their ungodly deeds.  The Lord God reignsThe Bride has made herself ready – pure, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing!

                                                                 IT IS THE CRY OF THE RIGHTEOUS!

 1Cor 15: 1-28   Christ is risen from the dead, and is the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep in Him at His (this same Jesus who rose) coming.  He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.  Then the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power (or, till that which is perfect is come (1Cor 13:10).
      –the very good Millennial Kingdom precedes the perfect New Heavens and New Earth, where rule and authority are not needed, as love – as God – is all and in all.

Dan 9:24; Lev 23;23-36   the last of YHVH’s Appointed Times will be fulfilled literally just as the first of His set times (holy days) were, and they will fulfill God’s plan of redemption           

Part of the good news of the Kingdom of God is that there is an end to unrighteousness.  There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, indeed for the whole creation!  The Millennial Kingdom of God in and over Israel and the nations is the 7th 1000-year day of this created order (Rev 20; Is 65:17-23).

2Pt 3:11-15a; Rev 21:1-5   Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new Earth in which righteousness dwells!  Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…

The only message we have is God’s good news:  salvation through repentance and faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us evangelize our people that they can hear the hard sayings of God in the beauty of His mercy and love for them…for us.

RAISED UP ON THE LAST DAY

(Israel Conference – Langensteinbacherhohe:  “Eschatological Convictions”, Nov 20- 25, 2007)

I was saved almost 27 years ago now.  I was saved by grace through faith in the good news of God in Jesus Christ, not even yet convicted of being a sinner despite my sins.  And I was saved in hope:  Jesus was God’s plan for making the world right!  The Lord Jesus Christ is going to come back to bring righteousness and peace to this world, and with that, there will be joy in the Holy Spirit.  And I thought and hoped that He would come back even that very year!  He didn’t, but I still hope and think He will come back during my generation. 

As I began to read the Bible, along with my perception of history, it was clear that Christians/the Church were doing no better with their call unto God in Messiah than the Jews/Israel had done with theirs.  Now that I am a Jew and a Christian, I can relate to both – as well as to all humanity as children of Adam.  The Word of God is true, and is the truth.  In those days of 1981, there was an excitement and an anticipation that the Lord might actually come for His own that year during the Autumn Jewish holy days.  This was according to certain teachings and calculations of many evangelical dispensational believers in their interpretation of prophesy.  All the teaching I received, and all the books I was given to read, and the study Bible I had then – they all taught what is called the pre-tribulation rapture and pre-millennial return of Messiah, who would reign over Israel and the nations with the saints.  My initial understanding when I was born-again and received the Holy Spirit was that Jesus was indeed coming back to restore the Kingdom of God to Israel and to the entire world.  Upon hearing all the teaching on the pre-trib rapture, my instinct was both to hope that it might be true, but also that the Christians did not deserve to be spared the tribulation.  Every time I read the Bible, I saw that the Scriptures seem to teach that the Church would go through tribulation and great tribulation – in other words, the 70th week of Daniel, the last seven years of this age.  But all the teaching I was getting said that God would take up His saints before this last period of much suffering and judgments would begin.

My view and understanding of the Word of God and of His ways leads me to believe that the Body of Christ will be on Earth during the final period of testing and purging, and will be raised on the last day (Jn 6:39-40).  The Church is promised by God to be saved from His wrath; He has also promised that we will suffer tribulation; and the Scriptures are clear in both the Old and New Testaments that Satan will war against the saints and overcome them (Dan 7:21-22; Rev 13:7).  The apostle Paul warns the believers – us – against being deceived, saying that the appointed day of being gathered together to Him will not come until after the falling away/apostasy and the man of sin/the antichrist is revealed(2Thes 2:1-5). 

Paul had previously written to the believers in Thessalonica (1Thes 4:15-18) to comfort them and us “that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. . . .the dead in Christ will rise first (the first resurrection [Rev 20:4-6]).  Then we who remain alive shall be caught up (the rapture) together with them to meet the Lord in the air. . . .  Elsewhere (1Cor 15:51-52) Paul writes that at the last trumpet the dead and the living in Christ will be raised and changed.  The apostle John writes by the same inspired Spirit of the last and seventh trumpet (Rev 11:15-19) through which the Lord takes the Kingdom from the rulers of this world, and there is judgment and reward according to one’s relationship with Messiah.  All these passages together speak with one voice and of the same time and events.  

The Holy Spirit expressly warns (1Tim 4:1) that in latter times some will depart from the faith/falling away/apostasy, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. . . .  The Lord Jesus Himself warns His disciples (Mk 13:24-27) that the enemy will seek to deceive even the elect, if possible.  Yeshua goes on to say in the same passage , “in those days, after that tribulation, . . .they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds. . .and He will. . .gather together His elect . . .”

We are not saved by our own understanding, but by our faith in who Jesus Christ is and what He accomplished for our salvation by His sacrificial death on the cross and His resurrection from among the dead.  Yet we are warned many times against being deceived and deceiving others.  Our Father in Heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ wants us to be ready for, anticipating, loving His appearing and return.  There is much danger if we hold to a false teaching which does not properly prepare our hearts and minds for that day, especially, of course, should we be alive during these times we are discussing.  If we hold to a teaching that says we will not be here when the antichrist is revealed, then we will not be prepared – except that God graciously straightens us out in time, which we should not simply take for granted, whatever our confidence in His love for us and in our salvation – when he actually is manifested and begins his terror campaign against the believers/the saints.  More dangerous still is if we believe that we will not be here when the mark is imposed, then we may – except that God graciously and providentially prevents it – take the mark, thinking  that it is not the mark; for the Word of God plainly says (Rev 14:9-11) that anyone who worships the beast or receives his mark, whatever it may actually be, is doomed.

All of the prophets of God look towards the last days and to the righteous judgments of God on evil and on evil doers, and the establishment of the righteous rule and reign of YHVH’s appointed Priest-King Messiah.  The Day of YHVH is a prominent theme in nearly all the prophetic outlook, a day of judgment upon the unbelieving, upon the hypocrites, even upon cowards, and also a day of salvation and deliverance for those whom the Lord declares righteous, and upon whom He chooses to show mercy and compassion.  The letters to the churches by Jesus Himself carry the church/the believers through to the end.  He who endures to the end shall be saved.

The Scriptures can not be broken (Jn 10:35).  It is important to know the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ by believing what Moses wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit concerning things of the beginning that only God could know and make known.  It is important also to believe what the apostles by the same inspiration write us concerning the things of the end.  “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”