2Pt 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
2Pt 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with deceptive words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.
Ps 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.
The New Moon celebrations were given by YHVH to Israel to commemorate, both under the Law of Moses and also in the future Millennial Kingdom (Lev 23:24; Num 10:10; 28:11-15; Ezek 46:1-8). The New Testament tells those who are now believers in Yeshua/Jesus not to make too much of days, months, seasons, years, festivals, New Moons, Sabbaths – all of these things being shadows of things to come, but the substance is Messiah. (Gal 4:9-11; Col 2:16-17)
The Lord has told us that all of the Scriptures are written about Him, and we know that all of the sacrifices and holidays/appointed times are also fulfilled by Jesus in the entirety of His first coming, and in the anticipation of His coming again to fulfill all that is written in the whole of the Bible, which still waits for the Kingdom of God to come. God has given His set holy-day times to remember who He Is, what He has done, and what He will do. Even the Lord’s Supper/Communion serves those purposes. (1 Cor 11:26; Mt 26:26-29) Continue reading “New Moon of 7th Month: God Remembers His Covenant With Israel”
Mt 26:19-29 “And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover. Now when the evening was come, He sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I? And He answered and said, He that dips his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
The Son of man goes as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, who betrayed Him, answered and said, my Lord, is it I? He said unto him, You have said.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Continue reading “The Communion of The New Covenant in Yeshua’s Blood”
The righteousness and justice of God: His ways are not ours; His thoughts not ours. Repentance begins with agreeing with Him and learning from Him. The truth sets us free, and humbles us to first judge ourselves of the log in our own eyes, so that we can better help others with their specks. Glory to our Father in Heaven and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ!
Heb 7:8-10 Here men that die receive tithes; but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receives tithes, paid tithes in Abraham, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. Continue reading “Generational Transference: We and Our Fathers”
Rev 20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast nor his image, nor had received his mark on their foreheads, nor in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (5) But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (6) Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years.
Mat 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All authority is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. (19) Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen. Continue reading “Nachalat Yeshua (Yeshua’s Inheritance) Vision and Mission”
God has always been Sovereign King – Sovereign Lord – over His creation, both in the Heavens and on the Earth. He made His plan for Creation and for Redemption before the beginning of time, space, and matter. All things that exist were created and made by YHVH God. Nothing exists apart from Him, and it is by Yeshua/Jesus, through Yeshua/Jesus, and for Yeshua/Jesus that all things were created, visible and invisible. (Col 1:15-17) And Yeshua/Jesus is the King that the Father has ordained to inherit and to rule over all that is. In other words, Yeshua/Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God; therefore, He will be the King of Israel, and the King of the nations, and the King of the angels. He is God of gods, King of kings, and Lord of lords! (Ps 136:1-3; Rev 15:3-4; Ps 2) Continue reading “The Kingdom of God Streaming Through History”
This Oct 31 marks the 100th anniversary of the heroic victorious charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade of between 500-800 horsemen against the entrenched Ottoman Turkish forces in Beer Sheva. The stakes were high: Continue reading “The ANZAC Beer Sheva Charge – Oct 31, 1917”
Do you read or listen to the news? Every day in Israel politicians and commentators are vying for power and influence, telling us who should be the Prime Minister, or what the PM should do. In the United States, there is an election process taking place, with each candidate saying that the other one is unfit to be President, the leader of the Free World. In Turkey and Iran, their leaders are threatening each other, and the rest of the world with terror, or support for terrorists. In Russia, their President is reasserting his country’s place as a serious threat to Western Powers. In the nearing future, the antichrist will arise, who will require all to submit to him as if he is above all gods and God. (Dan 11:36; 2 Thes 2:3-4; Rev 13:1-8)
What is also interesting in all this, is that each of these countries represents a different religious worldview, and how that affects their policies and geo-political decisions. They are peoples and nations who seem to agree on one thing: they want to determine and to rule their own destiny, and also the world’s.
What’s going on behind the scenes? What do the Scriptures say? What do they teach us? Let us look at a psalm of David (Acts 4:25), a psalm referenced several times in the New Testament:
Ps 2 Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate on a vain thing? (2) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers plot together, against Yehovah and against His Anointed: (3) Let us break their bands in two and cast away their cords from us. (4) He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; Yehovah shall mock at them. (5) Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His fierce anger. (6) Yea, I have set My king on My holy mountain, on Zion. (7) I will declare the decree: Yehovah has said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten You. (8) Ask of Me, and I shall give the nations for Your inheritance; and the ends of the earth for Your possession. (9) You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. (10) And now be wise, O kings; be instructed, O judges of the earth. (11) Serve Yehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (12) Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled in but a little while. Blessed are all who put their trust in Him.
The Holy Spirit through David tells us that the Gentiles and the Jews, with their leaders, are in a conspiracy against the one true God – against the Father and His Son, the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus. It is a vain thing that they do; it is destined to fail! You have probably all heard the saying that there is a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. Well, it is actually God’s plan that a Jew will rule the world! Jesus is the King of the Jews and of the nations, and God has declared that His Son is the heir to the Throne of David to rule over Israel and the whole world. The conspiracy is actually by the devil and those of the world against the sovereign Creator and Redeemer.
What is it that the “world” wants? They want to be “free” from any accountability to a holy God, who is the righteous Judge of all the Earth. This conspiracy began in the heavenlies, when Lucifer rebelled against YHVH, and led other angels to follow him in the rebellion. Israel openly rebelled when she asked for a king like the Gentiles have, and then said that they did not want “this Man” Yeshua to rule over them. (1Sam 8:1-9; Lk 19:11-27) And the world Gentile powers have rebelled against the God of Israel, who gave them their authority, but they have all eventually caused distress for Jews and for Christians, the people of the true God.
What does it mean when they want to break the bands in two and cast away their cords from us? You remember that Isaac told Esau, when he spoke to him after giving the blessing to Jacob, that the day would come when Esau would break the yoke of Jacob his brother from off him. (Gen 27:40) We see this taking place today in the intifada, which is the Palestinian uprising against the rule of the children of Jacob over them here in Israel. But it represents something much bigger: it is the spiritual rebellion against the sovereignty of YHVH God, led by the spirit of a religious faith in another god. It is the world today rising up against the morality of YHVH, whose name is holy, saying, in effect: “Who is YHVH that we should serve Him?!” “Who says that He is God Most High?!” “Why should we submit to His authority and morality?!” “All religions are okay, and lead to something good. In fact, better in our own eyes than what the God of Israel wants!” So, in the end, it is more than seeking equality among the different religions and cultures and life-styles. It is a rebellion against YHVH even more than simply seeking “equality with Him”, which is itself rebellion. Tolerance is for anything other than truth. “What is truth?!”, Pilate asked Jesus. To the “world”, all is subjective relativism.
Some current examples that we see of trying to break God’s and His Son’s yoke, and their restrictions that make for civil society:
–requiring governments and people to accept homosexuality as normal and as a choice for each person to make regarding their own gender identity; in other words, not only to choose what sex to do, but what sex to be!;
–sex outside of marriage is accepted as normal and not sinful;
–not allowing in Israel and in Christianized countries, like the U.S., to use the Bible for explaining or instruction in righteousness in public institutions; or, to pray in the name of Jesus;
–being sued and denied a license for a bakery because of being owned and operated by believers in Yeshua;
–not allowing any Jews to enter some Muslim countries; not allowing any evangelism either;
–Israel makes it difficult for evangelical Christians to receive visas, or for Messianic Jews to immigrate;
–Russia just passed a law forbidding any evangelism outside of a recognized church building;
–no spanking of children in some ‘enlightened’ countries, as an overreaction to child abuse;
–not being able to teach Creation in schools, only Evolution: no sovereign, holy, uncreated God; no special uniqueness about this solar system or the Earth; no chosen land or people or city or unique and beloved Son of God;
–humanism, that man is basically good, is the dominant philosophy opposed to the Word of God saying that all are born in sin, and need to be given restrictions and boundaries to live socially, and that people need to be born-again by the Holy Spirit in order to have life.
These are just a few examples out of many, many more. The results and consequences of throwing off the yoke of the true God is to lack the fear of God, to be ignorant, to lack wisdom, to be not only immoral, but amoral, to lack purpose and goals, to be unable to think critically, and to lack discernment between good and evil. By all this, the devil deceives the people much more easily to side with him and his rebellion. If we are deceived, we do not know it, and it requires an intervention by God to bring us to our right senses! Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him, because they did not know what they were doing.
This Psalm 2 also tells us that God is actively working so that the people will know what they are doing, and that they must repent while there is time, if they want to be saved from His wrath. (2Cor 6:2; Is 61:1-2)
Though it is written that God laughs at this vain thing being planned, He is not amused: He holds them in derision. (Is 40:15-17) Since the death and resurrection of God’s anointed King, His Son, He is making it known everywhere, and calling all persons to repentance, because He has declared that His Son is going to be King in Zion, and He is the Judge of His people Israel, and of the Gentiles, and will rule over all. (Dan 2:44; Jn 3:14-21; Acts 17:30-31)
Although Jesus is already chosen and anointed to be the King of Israel and of the Nations, He is not yet reigning on David’s throne: He has not yet been accepted by His own people or by the Gentile nations. This is like when God chose David to be King instead of Saul, but David did not actually become the king until after Saul died, and after the people accepted him to be king. Yeshua is now reigning — at the right hand of the Father — over Heaven and Earth, but He is not yet accepted by the whole House of Israel to be their King as Heir to David, according to God’s covenantal promise. (Lk 1:26-33,67-75; 2Sam 7; Mt 23:37-39) Born-again believers already possess eternal life, but it is evident that we have not yet inherited it: it remains a living hope upon a sure promise. (Rom 8:23-25)
The Psalm also informs us that Yeshua/Jesus is the Son of God. The New Testament quotes this verse 7 in the psalm in the context of Yeshua’s resurrection from the dead (Acts 13:33; Rom 1:4): the proof that He is God’s Son, and by that He inherits not only Israel, but all the nations are His, and become accountable to Him. (Is 49:5-6) For this, the gospel is to go out to all peoples and nations, not only for individual salvation, but also for nations to be saved, like Israel and Egypt and Assyria. (Is 19:23-25; Dan 7:13-14) Part of our joy is knowing that we, too, will rule and reign with Messiah when He returns. He promises those in the church that those who overcome will rule the nations with a rod of iron to break the stubbornness of rebellion in the people. (Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; 20:6) This is the inheritance of the saints, in fulfillment of the covenant made with Abraham! (Dan 7:18,25-27; Gen 22:17; Rom 4:13)
David finishes his psalm by warning those who are in rebellion: they need to fear YHVH and to acknowledge His majesty and righteousness. And they must respect and honor God’s Son, for His favor is their salvation. (Rev 6:12-17; 19:15) Even believers in Jesus are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Phlp 2:12-13) We should be concerned with offending God, and to recognize our weakness – our “trembling” — that we are wholly dependent upon Him for grace and mercies in our need for help in serving and living for His glory. His faithfulness and strength are our confidence and joy! “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”
In this psalm we see already the suffering yet triumphant Messiah, Son of God, over His enemies. And we who follow the Lord will also suffer yet be triumphant by our living faith in Him. YHVH is sovereign over all and against all! The schemes of man and devil can not and will not succeed! Repent, and believe the gospel, and be saved from this perverse generation! (Acts 2:40; Rev 3:19-22)
—Pray for those in authority to repent and believe actively, that they be saved. (1Tim 2:1-6)
Redemption of Jewish Identity and Hope
Jer 29:11 For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you, says Yehovah; purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Lk 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
My identity as a Jew was settled in June 1967, during the Six-Day War. I saw once again that the Gentiles wanted to kill us, and I didn’t know why; and I identified with my people and our land. Despite the Synagogue and the Church both historically telling me that a Jew cannot believe in Jesus, or that a Jew who believes in Jesus is no longer Jewish, the answer of the man whom God used in February 1981 to finally bring me back to Himself regarding the Jews and the Chosen People was good, it gave hope, and the Jewish people had a promising future.
–Judaism – Pharasaic, Talmudic, Rabbinic – rejects the Yeshua/Jesus of the Bible as being the Messiah.
–Juda-ism is self-oriented, culture-oriented (as is Christian-ity if separated from living faith and union with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ)
–Messianic Judaism does not mean only faith in Jesus/Yeshua as being Messiah, the Son of God; e.g., Chabad, Temple Mount Faithful, Bar Kochba, Shabbtai Tzvi
–YHVH God, though, gives hope to the Jewish people, and to “all Israel”
–He will be their God, and they will be His holy people
–the Land of Canaan/Israel as an everlasting possession and inheritance
–a rich heritage
–a kingdom of priests who will all know the LORD and serve Him faithfully, a blessing to other nations
–Yeshua came as the Seed of David, of the Tribe of Judah: Jesus came as a Jew, under the Law/Torah
–He fulfilled the Law perfectly, but also differently than other Children of Israel, in that Jesus never sinned, and had no sin. The Law is for sinners.
–the first believers and disciples of the Lord were Israeli Jews; until Cornelius, apparently all Gentile believers converted to some form of Judaism (Ex 12:43-49)
–app. 50 AD, the apostolic Jerusalem Council agreed with the Holy Spirit that Gentile believers in Yeshua could remain Gentile, but with some conditions regarding food and sex so as not to offend God or godly Jewish sensibilities (Acts 15)
–first Jewish believers were called Nazarenes (Notzrim) and Christians (Meshichi’im) (Acts 11:26; Acts 24:5)
–God gave a weaning period to the early Messianic Jewish believers to come to terms with the New Covenant (Letter to The Hebrews)
–first persecution of [Jewish] believers came from Jewish unbelievers
–the gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, but a direct revelation from Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11-12)
67-70AD Jewish revolt against Rome and the destruction of the 2nd Temple brought a definite separation between Jewish people who believed in Jesus and what He said, and between those who did not: the former fled Jerusalem when it was surrounded; the latter committed suicide on Masada
–in the New Testament, there was already an excommunication of Jewish believers in Yeshua from the synagogue (Jn 9:22; Jn 12:42; Jn 16:1-4)
132-135AD Final Jewish revolt against Rome, led by Rabbi Akiva and Simon Bar-Kochba: the former a false prophet; the latter a false Messiah
–both still celebrated today within mainstream Judaism at Lag B’Omer: fire; no Jewish weddings from that date until Shavuot/Pentecost
–final internal split between the Synagogue and Messianic Jews who believed in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior from sin(s), LORD, King of the Jews and of Israel
2nd CentAD more splits within the “Gentile” Church over Jewish practices, Passover/Easter, Sunday worship
3rd Cent the Synagogue codified directives in the Talmud against the minim (referring initially specifically towards Jewish believers in Jesus); http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0003_0_02999.html
4th Cent Constantine became a Christian and made Christianity the religion of the Empire
–Council of Nicea
–John Chrysostom: contempt and hatred towards Jews (Eight Homilies Against the Jews; http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.asp )
–Canons of The Apostles: legislated unbridled anti-Jewishness (see, for examples, Canons #65, 70, 71 http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/cannons_apostles_rudder.htm )
–the Roman Catholic Church becomes “Spiritual Israel”; the New Israel
1000 years of suppressed Jewish identity within the Church
632AD Islam further weakened Jewish identity (became dhimmis, as did Christians)
787 Second Nicene Council, 8th Canon: Jewish believers could no longer be Jews in any of their traditions; http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum07.htm
15th – 18th Cent
–the Marranos (“pigs”) and Christopher Columbus
–the new availability of vernacular Bible translations increased interest in Jewish-Christian links
–Martin Luther urges violent persecution of Jews, and proclaims Protestants to be “spiritual Israel”
19th C: Rebirth of Hebrew Christian/Messianic Jewish movements: intuitively connected with the return of the Jews to the Promised Land in preparation for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ
—the desire and need to demonstrate and express God’s faithfulness to His chosen Jewish people, to covenant promises, to Jewish/Israeli aspirations and hopes as given through Moses and the Prophets, and through the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus and the Apostles
–1809 The London Society for the Promotion of Christianity Among the Jews (CMJ today) founded by Joseph Frey
–1813 Benei Avraham formed in London by 41 Jewish believers
–1820’s Joseph Wolff pioneers Jewish evangelism to the Jews in Middle East and India
–1842 First Protestant (and Anglican) church – Christ Church – in the Middle East built in Jerusalem in Old City, with the first Bishop a Jewish believer, Rabbi Michael Solomon Alexander
–1866 Hebrew Christian Alliance forms in London
–1881 first Aliyah (wave of immigration of Jews) to Eretz Israel (Palestine then)
–1883 Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein of Tisza-Eszlar, Hungary, becomes believer in Jesus, and maintained his Jewish identity
–1884 indigenous Messianic Jewish congregation founded by Rabbi Joseph Rabbinowitz in Kishinev, Russia
–1885 first Hebrew Christian Church of America founded in New York by Jacob Freshman
–1894 Chosen People Ministries founded in Brooklyn, NY by Rabbi Leopold Cohn, a Hungarian Jewish immigrant
–1897 First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basle, Switzerland, in face of severe European anti-Semitism; called for Jewish State to become a realty in Palestine
20th -21st C
–1904 second Aliyah to the Land
–1906 Azuza St. Pentecostal revival
–1915 Hebrew Christian Alliance of America established
–1917 Balfour Declaration proclaiming intent to reestablish Jewish homeland in Palestine
–large numbers of Jewish people come to faith in Europe by 1939; many die in Holocaust
–many Jewish young people come to faith during 1930’s
–effort to create Messianic Jewish identity
–1920’s and 1930’s short-lived attempt to establish Messianic Jewish fellowship in Palestine by Moshe Immanuel Ben-Meir and Hyman Jacobs, but many missions did not embrace the idea of a significant distinct Jewish identity outside of historical churches, which also did not understand the significance of maintaining an identity as Jew by Jewish believers in Yeshua
–1948 founding of modern State of Israel
–most Jewish believers left Israel during the War of Independence
–Moshe Ben-Meir, Abram Poljak, Haim Haimoff – who remained during the War of Independence — committed to Jewish identity
–began to promote term “Messianic Jew” (Yehudi Meshichi) rather than Christian (notzri)
–mostly non-rabbinic expression of pattern of life, but honoring Sabbath, Feasts, circumcision
–a Hebrew Catholic Movement was fostered by Fr. Daniel Rufeisen and Fr. Elias Friedman, Jewish believers who identified as Christians
–1967 a watershed year with the Six-Day War stimulating Jewish redemption and messianic expectations, with more Jewish people coming to faith in Jesus/Yeshua
–about 200 Jewish believers in Israel till then
–perhaps passing 1000 during the 70’s and 80’s
–large numbers of believers connected with huge wave of Russian-speaking immigration in 90’s
–today most evangelical believers in Israel have Russian as mother tongue
–between app. 10,000-15,000 believers today in Israel among Jews and those identifying with the Jewish people
–1972 Jews For Jesus (organization) founded by Moishe Rosen in San Francisco
Most of the Jewish believers today in Israel have come to faith outside of Israel, and are immigrants from many other countries on all the habitable continents. Most of the native-born Israeli Jews who are believers now are children born to immigrants. Native-born older generation Jewish believers are still a small minority.
Messianic congregations are mostly not connected with a mainstream denomination. Yet there is a sense of unity and mutual support – we are ‘family’! – despite great diversity of positions on important doctrinal and other issues.
There are still on-going efforts by some to shape and define what it is to be a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus. In the U.S., some Messianic Jewish leaders estimate that there are 250,000 (?) Jewish believers in Jesus, and of those, only 22,000 (?) who belong to a Messianic congregation/synagogue.
Where does the NT truth of one new man in Christ Jesus come into all this?
When I first became a believer, I saw everything through Jewish eyes. I knew I was still Jewish, despite what the rabbis and preachers taught. I thought I should keep kosher, keep the Sabbath, and keep the Jewish holidays – now that I believed in the God of the Jews. The Holy Spirit said to me, “I didn’t tell you to do that.” This in no way diminished or weakened my identity as a Jew; in fact, the Word of the Lord also came to me to “go to Israel”, and He made it home on Earth. In Israel, of course, we are immersed in Jewish culture!
I thought that the Gentile Christians had stolen everything from us. Then the Lord opened my eyes and understanding and heart to the parable of the vineyard, where we killed the Son of the Owner, thinking to take the inheritance for ourselves without Him, and threw Him out of the vineyard. God took His kingdom [for a time] from the Jewish people, and gave it to believing Gentiles, most of whom have probably never met a Jewish person, know Jewish customs, or have any real sense of Israel as God’s chosen first-born nation! (Ex 4:22; Mt 21:33-45)
–God’s righteous judgment according to His covenantal conditions
–not many Jewish people for the small number of Jewish believers to fellowship with or to identify in a meaningful “Jewish” way
–the gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, and the New Covenant has brought in changes and differences to the Sinai covenant, e.g., food, priesthood, Law, complete equality between Jews and Gentiles as born-again believers in Yeshua/Jesus. We are a new creation, and one new man corporately.
Most information gleaned from MJAA, UJMC, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Gershon Nerel, Dan Juster, TJCII, Kelvin Crombie
I remember that before I was a believer, I wondered and asked the question: Why do we have and remember New Year’s. I was particularly thinking about the Jewish “New Year” which had become one of the High Holy Days in the synagogue. The answer that I gave myself, and to my parents, was that there must be Someone who is keeping us (the Jewish people) alive for another year. It gives an opportunity to thank Him, and to also hope that He would do the same for the next year.
Now, I have what, for me, is a broader and a more personal understanding of the significance of New Years. YHVH God has given three opportunities to observe a New Year. He is the God of Creation and of Redemption. We are all born in the flesh; we must be born of the Spirit to inherit eternal life. We are individuals; Israel is a nation, whom God calls His first-born son. These New Years — new beginnings — are begun by God, and adopted by His people — whether Israeli Jews, or whether Christians.
YHVH told Israel that for them, the New Year would begin on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the month of Aviv/Nisan, the first full month of Spring of the Hebrew calendar for Israel. This New Year focuses on the death of the Lamb of God, who died at the Passover, which is the 14th of that month (a Full Moon). Israel does not perceive the resurrected sacrificial Lamb, but only the Passover sacrifice for deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah is the Lamb of God who died for the sin and sins of every person, both in Israel and for all humanity for all time. In His death, all died, for He is the representative Man in God’s ultimate plan of salvation, which He conceived before time began. This first New Year of God’s redemptive calendar is the foundation of the gospel: Messiah crucified, and risen from the dead on the day after the Sabbath of the Passover week. By grace Israel was delivered out of Egyptian bondage; by grace all who believe are saved from sin’s bondage.
At some point in her history, Israel began to observe the civil New Year on the first day (the first day of the covered New Moon) of the seventh month (Tishri/Etanim) on her calendar in the Autumn/Fall. This may seem strange, yet for Israel, each year they would be forgiven their sins, and God would dwell among them for the next year, which the Feast of Booths commemorates with joyful celebration, two full weeks after the beginning of the month, marked by the light of the Full Moon. And the Jubilee year is marked from the Day of Atonements, which falls on the 10th of the same month. Jubilee is a new beginning for slaves, prisoners, debtors and creditors, and land possessions. The Day of Atonements is the day of the LORD, in which those who accept YHVH God’s sacrifice for forgiveness of sins — both personal and corporate — are saved and justified; and those who refuse His sacrifice and way of righteousness are condemned for their unbelief and unthankfulness. For an individual — and for Israel as a nation — this experience of being born-again through faith in God’s good news of His Son, truly marks a New Year of a new life in everlasting restored fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It marks new birth, which is needed since we all died with Messiah in His death on the cross. This new beginning for Jews and for Gentiles upon whom the Lord bestows His mercy will be fully realized at the coming again of the Lord.
The time around the birth of this Son, this Lamb, who was born to die, and to live forevermore to provide for the full reality of the Kingdom of God over all, marks the celebration of the third New Year, and this for all who love Him for who He is and for what He has done, is doing, and will yet do. God so loved the world that He gave His only unique Son so that whosoever believes in His name should not perish but inherit eternal life. Yeshua was born near the end of the “world” calendar, in the first month of winter, Chislev/December, on both calendars (and the 9th month beginning with April/Aviv), and puts away the old that the new may come in. His birth marked a new beginning of God’s intervention in Israel’s and the Gentiles’ affairs in order to take back to Himself all that had been lost by Adam and Eve and subsequent humanity, and deceitfully stolen by the devil to oppose the Sovereign God and His plan that human beings created in His image and likeness would be joint heirs with God’s Son of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ circumcision on the 8th day marks the covenant faithfulness to God’s promises given to Abram/Abraham that Israel and the people of God would one day worship Him without fear of any enemies. We have all been God’s enemies, and the birth, death, and resurrection of the Lord Messiah takes away that enmity in us against Him, and we glorify Him, who is seated on the Throne!
So, to summarize:
All of the New Years have to do with Jesus Christ, and the celebration of Him by those who are God’s chosen and elect. They quicken an expectation of what God will do, based on what He has promised and has already done:
1. Yeshua’s Death and Resurrection: The Lamb of God was slain to redeem His people and set them free to serve YHVH God, and Him only. He was slain before the foundation of the world, according to the perfect plan of God. And this Lamb rose from among the dead to everlasting life to enjoy the fruit of His suffering and sacrifice! Israel’s calendar begins with YHVH God’s redeeming them from slavery that they may know and serve Him.
2. Yeshua’s Coming Again: All who are born-again through faith in the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus begin a new life unto God. Israel as a nation still has this promise before them when Yeshua returns to save “all Israel”, the preserved remnant from all the tribes who will see Him whom they pierced, and afflict their souls for all their unfaithfulness and unfounded hatred toward Him and the Father. And the Body of Messiah has the hope of the Lord’s return and the resurrection of their bodies, to rule and reign with Him during His kingdom on Earth.
3. Yeshua’s Birth: His coming into the world in the flesh, born in order to be our Redeemer – to be the Lamb of God — who died to declare God’s Sovereign righteousness regarding sin, and His grace toward human sinners. Peace on Earth, goodwill towards mankind!
These three New Years center around the birth, the death and resurrection, and the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. For the people of God, they mark natural birth, death, redemption by new birth through faith by the Holy Spirit, and the return of the Lord. These three events are each memorialized with a ‘new song’: the song of Moses, the song of Mary, and the song of the 144,000 redeemed from the Earth. They mark progressive time as the Sovereign Lord of history continues onward bringing to pass all that must be. Till now, the Holy Spirit is bringing all to pay homage to the Son, whether they realize it or not, and whether they rejoice in it or not in fellowship with other worshipers of God in spirit and truth!