MANASSEH

Manasseh was the son of King Hezekiah.  It is written that Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of YHVH.  You may remember that Hezekiah got sick, and God sent Isaiah the Prophet to him to tell him to get his house in order, for he was going to die.  Hezekiah prayed and cried unto God.  The LORD heard him, and sent Isaiah back to Hezekiah to tell him that his prayers were heard, and that God would let him live another 15 years!

The King wanted a sign that YHVH would indeed heal him.  God allowed him to choose between the shadow going forward 10 degrees or back 10 degrees.  Thinking it an easy thing (!) for the shadow to go forward, he requested that it go back, which, of course YHVH did!  We have at least these 10 extra minutes added to our time:  is anything too hard for YHVH!

(2Kg 21:1-18)  But we want to look at Manasseh.  Surely he heard from his father all that God had done.  He was born three years after Hezekiah was healed.  YHVH honored His covenant with David.  Manasseh served 55 years as King of Judah, longer than any other king of Judah or of Israel.  It is written that he did evil in the sight of God – worse than all the other kings, and even of the nations whom God drove out and destroyed when He brought the Israelis in to take the land of Canaan for a possession after the Passover exodus from Egypt.  Scripture says that Manasseh did not listen to the Word of God or His warnings and promises.  Instead, he acted more evilly.

HOW DID SUCH AN EVIL KING AND PERSON RECEIVE AN HONORABLE BURIAL?!

Let’s look in 2Chronicles 33:1-20, as we are directed to do in 2KingsWe read again of all the evil that Manasseh and his people did – even passing his sons through the fire as a sacrifice to the false god Molech!

HOW DID GOD LET HIM REIGN FOR SO LONG, AND WHY DID HE GET AN HONORABLE BURIAL?

God, the Father, punished Manasseh – in anticipation of what the whole people would suffer 100 years later – with affliction by Israel’s enemies.  It is interesting that it says in verses preceding Chap. 33 that God withdrew (Heb: left; forsook) Hezekiah when Israel’s enemies came to see what Hezekiah had accomplished.  God left Hezekiah to himself for a brief time to test him, to know what was in his heart. (Ja 1:12-15)

God is long-suffering, and will use all means at His disposal to bring those who would be His children to repentance and obedience of faith.  And that is what happened with Manasseh!  In affliction, he cried out to God and confessed his wicked ways against the majesty of the great and holy God.  God heard him, and even allowed Manasseh to return as King again!  The Lord, whose callings and gifts are without repentance, restored Manasseh to his ministry.  It reminds me of Saul/Paul, when he realized in truth that Yeshua is YHVH.  

Manasseh showed he was genuine by the works of faith he did as fruit of repentance.  He did all that he could to try to correct the situation he had helped cause, but the people continued on their evil way.  Great is the responsibility of leaders, and even if we repent, we can not undo all the damage we may have caused. 

The judgments of YHVH are past finding out!  Why doesn’t God give every person enough time – and trouble – to repent and be saved?  How many die because of God’s unmerited favor towards me?!

Manasseh received an honorable burial because he turned back to the Lord.  Repentance and faith must show themselves genuine through works.  Manasseh was honored at his death.  But there is still a hard lesson for us:  how is Manasseh generally remembered? . . . as the worst king ever in Judah, like Jeroboam and Ahab in Israel!

Manasseh’s son Amon did not learn from his father’s repentance, but was established in all his wicked ways. (2 Chr 33: 21-22) 

Lessons:
1.  Parents, do not give up on your prayers for your children, and carry out your moral responsibility to discipline them, even with a spoon!

2.  What a wonderful Father we have in Heaven!

3.  The Scriptures are written for our learning, our admonition, that we might grow in the likeness of the Son of God.

OF GOD. . .OR OF MAN

Pr 21:30   There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against YHVH

Ps 51:4 (6 Heb)   Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight. . .that YOU may be found just when You speak, blameless when You judge.

Mk 11:25-33   –obligation to forgive
                     –by what authority do you do these things?
                        –by what authority does a government act? (Rom 13:1-7)
                        –by what authority do parents, church elders act?
–by what authority did Noah build the ark?
                     –by what authority was the baptism of John?  Of God, or of man?
                     –by what authority was/is the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in this land?
   —Of God, or of man?
                           –by the wisdom and understanding and sovereignty of YHVH God, both!
                              –God keeping covenant for His holy name’s sake
                              –Balfour Declaration in Nov 1917
                              –through a clear majority vote of the United Nations in Nov 1947

The sin of King David did not nullify YHVH’s covenant with him.

The sin of the Jewish people/Israel does not nullify God’s covenant with them. (Ezek 36; Rom 9 – 11)

The sin of human governments does not nullify their moral obligation to defend and protect its citizens.

Lk 7:28-30   the tax collectors justified God by being baptized by John, but the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by John.

Even though the religious leaders and theologians knew that the issue of Jesus was surrounded by the question, “of God, or of man”, so, too, today with the issue of Israel.  Are we fighting God, or justifying Him?

If we are not sure, then let the fear of God keep us from being too certain to take a position in our hearts which judges God and those who have acted with faith to support His plan for His Holy Name’s sake.

 If we think we are sure, let us humbly and patiently allow the Holy Spirit to bring repentance and freedom in those who are resisting the will of God for themselves.  Like David, God will also bring Israel to confess their sin against Him only, with all its consequences, and all Israel will be saved. (Lev 26:40-46; Ezek 20:39-44; 36:16-29; Zech 12:7-14; Rom 11:25-36)

DEITY vs DIVINITY: JESUS AND US

(Rev:  Feb 6, 2018)

I received a question, which perhaps others of you have, about the distinction between ‘divinity’ and ‘deity’.  Even a good dictionary does not always make a clear distinction.

For me, it is understood like this:
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Gen 1:27  So God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Ja 3:9       With [the tongue] we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the image of God.

2Pt 1:4     by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature . . .

Jn 12:34-41; Is 6    The Son of Man, Messiah Yeshua, is YHVH Tzva’ot (LORD of Hosts)!  Men and angels worship Him!  Hallelu-Yah!

Phlp 2:5-11   . . .Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  that at the name of Yeshua/Jesus every knee shall bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on Earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Yeshua the Messiah is LORD (YHVH), to the glory of God the Father.

Col 2:9   For in [Yeshua] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Rev 1:8   ‘I am the Aleph and the Tav, the Beginning and End’, says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty!’

From the first three examples, Man was created with a certain measure of divinity, being uniquely created and made in the image of God.  According to James (Jacob), this is still true for unsaved humans.

Peter tells us that we have become partakers of the divine nature if we are born-again by the Holy Spirit.  God’s Spirit is in those who are saved; in fact, we are a new creation; and, therefore, we have a greater measure of divinity now in Messiah than when we were only in Adam.  (The Dalai Lama can claim “divinity” if he wants to, as any other man!)

We who are born-again can claim divinity, too, if it is important for us to do so to counter evolutionist implications.  (In any case, all born-again believers are saints, even if not quite living up to the call of holiness required of us.  See 1Cor 1:2)

Yeshua, though, is not only divine, but also deity (Deity).  He is the Son of God, equal as God, and can be worshipped.  He is not created, but rather came to us and had a body prepared for Him. (Ps 40:6; Heb 10:5)

For all our divinity and divine nature as born-again believers, we are not God  (even though Ps 82 and Yeshua refer to religious-political-judicial leaders in Israel (or else to angelic divine beings appointed by YHVH to rule over the other nations) as ‘gods’, for the Word of God was given to them to teach, govern, and judge), and we are not to be worshipped!  We did not create anything, nor can we redeem and save anyone, not to mention much else that only the one, true, living God is and does.

To refer only to the “divinity of Jesus Christ” — and not also to His deity — is to diminish and obscure His unique person and glory.  All the angels of God will worship Him; as will every other created thing that has breath! (Heb 1:2-8; Ps 150:6)

I hope this helps, not only in grasping the uniqueness of who Yeshua is, but also why only the Scriptures, which are God-breathed by the Holy Spirit (and our God has graciously given them into all of our hands) must be the authoritative source for our faith and our life, and brotherly love and unity.

Howard
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

12 Dec 2008

Dear Howard,

In your email below you make a statement that Yeshua “is the Son of God, equal as God”. This is partly true as a general statement. I would agree as far as power but not in authority. Please see John 14:28 in which Yeshua says “…the Father is greater than I”.  I think this point needs to be brought too.   Have a peaceful Shabbath,

C
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

12 Dec 2008  

Hi C,

There are several verses indicating the Yeshua is submitted to the Father, not only Jn 14:28.  As I mentioned already, He prayed to the Father.  He also only said and did what the Father gave Him to say and do.  Phlp 2:6-8  makes it very clear that this was a willing emptying and humbling of the Son to God the Father; He ‘could have’ come and said that He was equal with God. . .because He is.  At the end of the Millennial Kingdom, He will deliver the Kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and authority and power, so that God will be all and in all.  Love will be ‘the law’, and there will be no sin and no need to rule over anyone.

The Word was with God and the Word was God!  God is [invisible] spirit; He spoke, which was the Word that came out from Him, who ultimately became flesh in the person of the Son of God/Son of Man — the Lord Yeshua the Messiah!  The Word (the Son and express image of the invisible God) is subject to the One who spoke it.  This great mystery of Godliness is a one-triune-YHVH God thing!

I hope this further helps to clarify what is obviously too great for us, but enough is revealed to be believed on as the truth, without falling into otherwise idolatrous and blasphemous retreats of the natural mind.  It is a revelation which we must believe in order to begin to grow in the understanding of what otherwise is unknowable.  God is light!

Shabbat shalom, C,

Howard
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

12 Dec 2008

Thanks Howard. I hope the whole Body of Messiah will believe in this truth.

C

ADAM: HIS FALL AND RISING

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

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

YHVH God created Adam as an adult male who was nonetheless at a maturity level of ‘innocence’. (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7-8; Is 7:16)  He didn’t really know a whole lot spiritually, but somehow he could give names to all the animals from the information His Creator put into him;  There was no one else to talk to or to ask questions.  Only God was there to let the man know anything.  Remember that God has subjected the creation to futility (Rom 8:20), and here at the very beginning we see and hear God commanding the man not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a tree with fruit that was very appealing, lest he die. (Gen 2:9, 15-18; 3:6)

Why not? (in the light of Messiah and God’s full revelation)
      –Our Father in Heaven knows the consequences of sin, and wants to cut it off at the root.
      –To obey God’s voice, to trust Him completely to do His will, is our security and peace in life.
      –God the Father knew that Adam and Eve, in their innocence, would not know what to do with the knowledge of    good and evil (Gen 3:5,22).  Even the devil knows that there is good and evil.  God is good.  Maturity is knowing to discern good and evil, and to choose the good. (Heb 5:14)  This qualifies us to train others in godliness.
   –In disobeying God, Adam proved that he was not in perfect relationship within himself or with God.
Very good is not perfect!
   –In the wisdom of God, man through wisdom can not know God.
   –‘Lead us not unto temptation, but deliver us from evil’:  we can not be confident in our own capacity to stand  victorious in the face of temptation; therefore, we do not pray or ask God to lead us into situations where we would be tempted into sinning, but rather into ways of peace.

Gen 3:6-10   transgression of God’s command (Job 31:33) and consequent guilt, shame, and fear:  separation from fellowship

Was this a lack of proper faith, or simply a lack of comprehension?  What made it sin?

   –Disobedience:  Adam did not understand what it meant when God told him “You will surely die!”, but he did know that God had commanded him not to eat from that tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Sin is not believing and not obeying the Word of YHVH God, the Creator of all.

   –He listened to the voice of his wife (3:17) – who listened to the devil and not to her husband – rather than to God the Creator.

   –As a consequence of Adam’s sin, all are born in sin (we have inherited sin as human beings), and die.  In this willful and knowledgeable disobedience, Adam is not a type of Christ, but of the antichrist! (Rom 5:12-19; 1Jn 3:4; 1Tim 2:14; Hos 6:7)

Knowing good and evil is not wrong or evil; in fact, it is necessary for those created in God’s image and likeness.  Disbelieving and disobeying God is wrong and evil, and disobeying those who have godly authority over us is not good.  If we are deceived, we can be led into transgression.
–It is better to obey than to sacrifice.
–This is a very basic principle that, if learned, produces good fruit in life and society and in personal relationships (Heb 12:7-13)

Gen 3:11-19   confession mixed with self-defense (Job 31:33), self-justification; and the consequences to the serpent, the man and the woman, and to the ground (Gen 5:28-29)
      –Our sins are not private and personal only; they can have devastating and long-lasting effects upon others, especially our families and those over whom we have authority and influence
       –Until we confess our sin/s against God without excuse or rationalization, we are still not fully aware of what sin is, of what holiness is, of what humility is, of what God’s love is, of what perfect is….    

Along with the chastening and the punishment, YHVH God gave the Word of promise, which gave (and still gives) hope and a sanctifying effect upon the life (2Pt 1:3-4)
            –to know God, both His goodness and severity (Rom 11:22)
            –to be correctable, teachable
            –to learn righteousness and to discern good from evil

Gen 3:20; 4:1,2,25; 5:4   Adam called his wife’s name Eve, and they had sons and daughters, even in the face of death and disappointment.
      –Cain, Abel, Seth, other sons and daughters   

Adam and Eve now believed God and the Word of Promise from Him, and acted with faith, hope, and love.

In Christ Jesus — the Seed of the woman and the Son of Man — all humans (sons and daughters of Adam and Eve) have the hope of YHVH’s promise, through the forgiveness of sins, transgressions, and iniquity.

Israel as a nation (and similarly a remnant from every people group on Earth) has been given the same promise and hope of God’s redeeming love in holiness and truth. (Ex 34:5-8; Hos 6:7; Rom 11:25-36)

Do you think it ‘unfair’ that we should all be made to suffer and die because of one man’s sin?  Does this seem harsh?

Is it ‘fair’ that because of one Man’s righteousness all who believe in Him should have their sins forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life?  The goodness of God leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4), to turn from our selfish and sinful ways to Him who loves us with such a love to pay the price for our sin.  He died to deliver the children of Adam and Eve from death and to enable all who believe in Jesus to become sons and daughters of God.

Lk 2:33-35   The second and last Adam (Man) was born destined for the fall and rising of many in Israeland for a sign spoken against.  

Fear YHVH, who alone forgives sin.

THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

Amos 9:11-12   On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may inherit the remnant of Edom and all the gentiles who are called by My Name, sys YHVH who does this thing.  

Acts 15:16-17   After this I will return and will rebuild. . .so that the rest of mankind may seek YHVH. . ..  

2 Sam 23:34,37,39; 1 Chron 11:46   Tselek the Ammonite, Uriah the Hittite, Itmah the Moabite – some of the Gentiles with David — and also Eliam, the father of Batsheva and son of Ahitophel  

–one Shepherd, one King over Israel and the rest of the world
–those who gathered around David included gentiles – even those excluded from entering the assembly of YHVH (Dt 23:3) and from those whose territory would be conquered for Israel’s promised possession (Josh 1:4)
–These mighty men of David strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of YHVH concerning Israel (1Chron 11:10).
   –They loved David.
   –They knew that he was the one chosen by God for His purposes of establishing the Messianic Kingdom.
   –They were willing to sacrifice their own personal interests and security for the protection of David and his kingship.  They were personally committed and corporately committed (2Sam 21: 15-17; 23:13-17).  They helped to establish Israel under David’s rule, and to preserve his kingdom against those who sought to undermine it.  

–The restoration of the tabernacle of David – a unified kingdom in Israel of both native-born and the strangers who joined themselves to it – follows harsh trials and judgments upon Israel (Amos 9:8-10) and upon the House of David, and following the present age of the gospel to all peoples (Acts 15:16-17) 

–The ultimate fulfillment of all the “jots and tittles” in Amos and in Acts 15 will be only after the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom over all Israel, the remnant of Edom, and all the rest of mankind and the Earth.  

–With the establishment of God’s righteous kingdom, then serving and the worship of YHVH without fear (Lk 1:70-75) will be enjoyed by all those who have loved and trusted Him for salvation and for God’s purposes.

THE FIRST PARABLE: KEY TO ALL THE PARABLES – 27 Aug 2005

Last week we spoke about vision and seeing the Kingdom of God and His call and purpose for this congregation, Nachalat Yeshua.  It was brought out that, according to Messiah Himself, knowing and understanding the first of His parables is crucial to understanding all the rest of His parables.  It is the privilege of His disciples to know them, whereas the multitude does not.  The parables of Jesus help us understand the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven as God works in the world today.

There are three series of parables which the Lord gives over the course of His ministry.  They seem to have reference to three different stages of Pharasaic opposition and popular feeling.  The Pharisees were accusing Jesus of being of the devil, whereas popular opinion was divided, with some wanting to make Him King already.  Jesus would speak in parables when those who were following Him – both believers and unbelievers – were not receptive to what He was saying, for example, when they expected the Kingdom to be then rather than include gentiles and be established in the future.  The parables helped conceptualize otherwise blanket statements hard to imagine, especially being that the subject matter required spiritual understanding of the things of God.  For those who wanted to understand, the Lord would explain His parabolic teaching; for those who did not, even the parable became a further proof of their hardened hearts and self-interest.

The first series of parables (Mt 13) reveal the elementary truths concerning the planting of the Kingdom of God, its development, reality, value, and final vindication.  The second series (Lk 10-16; 18) also concern the Kingdom of God, and while they are still characteristically evangelical, they also exhibit a controversial tone as the opposition to Jesus intensified.  The third series (Mt 18; 20-22; 24-25; Lk 19) are primarily judicial, with some evangelical elements included. (God is always extending mercy and hope if people would repent and believe.)

In order to help us be on the foundation upon which to understand the parables and the ways of God’s rule in our lives and in the world, I want to go through the very first of these parables, reading from Mk 4:1-20

Some key points:
Everyone hears the Word of the Voice of God:  Ps 19 1-4a (5a Heb); Rom 1:18-23; 10:14-18

–Not all who hear receive, accept, believe, obey:  Is 53:1; James 1:22-24; 2:18-19; Is 29:10-13; Heb 3:14-15

–there is eternal security for the believerPs 16:8-11; Rom 10:9-13; Heb 3:14-15

–the Lord knows His own, and all who call upon His name will depart from iniquity:  2Tim 2:19

The parables of Jesus help us understand the way of God with His people – both Israel and the Body of Messiah.  When Jesus gave the apostle John His letters to the seven churches that are in the Book of Revelation, He evaluates the condition of the believers based partly on what He taught His disciples in His parables.  Let us in the fear of YHVH gain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom for the times in which we live so that we are walking in the Spirit of Truth with our God and Savior.  God has a plan and is carrying it out by His Spirit according to His Word and covenants.

Study the Bible at home; participate in the Bible studies and house groups of the congregation.  The Kingdom of Heaven governs our lives.  Our attitudes and relationship to it and to the Word of the Lord determine the quality of our life – both in this world and in the world to come.

The Holocaust and Knowing God

Is 5:11-16, 21-24  Israel does not regard the activity of YHVH or the works of His hands.  God’s people in captivity [physical and spiritual] because of  lack of knowledge.  YHVH of Hosts will be exalted in judgment, hallowed in righteousness.  God’s people have rejected Law of YHVH of Hosts and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel.

Tomorrow night begins Holocaust Remembrance Day, the remembrance of the worst calamity so far upon the Jewish people/the children of Jacob in our history.  The subject of the Holocaust always brings with it many questions:  Where was God, whom Jews and Christians claim is everywhere, all-powerful, and all-knowing?    Why did our God not intervene to stop or even prevent such unspeakable horror and sufferings and acts of wickedness?    If Messiah has come, as Christians say, and He has not forsaken His covenanted people, how could so many – including children, nursing mothers, religious Jews – be killed?    How could this happen in a “Christian” nation — Germany?    What kind of God is this who could see and allow such a thing?    Answers are not so easily offered.

Jewish persons and the people of Israel are witnesses of YHVH God, who created and chose us. (Is 43:10)  We are witnesses of who He is, and we are witnesses of what man is. (1Cor 10:6-11)  The lesson of Scripture is that a nation collectively, and individuals personally, are responsible before God for their own sin and consequent judgment, and for their own righteousness and consequent justification.(Ezek 18; Joel 3:5 Heb (2:32 Eng) )  The same God who made His Son Jesus a whole burnt offering for sin to die for our transgressions is the same God who brought a destruction upon His chosen people — whom He has called as a nation His first-born son — in judgment for our continuing unbelief and sin, in accord with the testimony of God’s covenants and written Word.  Our God is a Jealous God, who knows what is wise and good!

YHVH is a God of covenant, and He is faithful.  He does not change.  The God of the Tenach (O.T.) is the same as the God of the N.T.  The God of Israel is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Many of us believe that the words and teaching of Yeshua recorded in Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21, Rev refer in large part to events still to take place – regarding Israel, the nations, and the Church – and that these things are not far off now.  What is spoken of in these places is something not yet experienced in human history, and the only deliverance can come from God Himself:  the God who has prophesied judgments is the God who promises deliverance and mercy to those who turn to Him for salvation.

When speaking about the Holocaust and its lessons, God is usually left out as being active in it.  It is always good and edifying to read stories like Corrie Ten Boom’s, because we see the works and ways of God in mercies towards innocent victims, and towards those who repent of their sins.  But even a Corrie Ten Boom needed to learn the ways of God in Messiah:  to forgive those who did such despicable things, not only to Jews, but also to her own Dutch family who tried to save Jews from being sent to Germany.  We Jews, who know that our own sins – both personal and as part of a nation – are forgiven, can offer comfort to Germans, especially to those who have saving faith in Jesus, to free them from a lingering sense of guilt and shame over their sins and those of their nation. 

When we leave God out of the discussion as to what happened and why, it is further proof that we do not regard His Law, or His Word, or His acts and righteous judgments, the very things by which He can and will be known and sanctified!  Those who would deny that God could allow such a thing become those who deny that He can send sinners, who refuse His terms of salvation, to hell forever.  The passage we read from Isaiah is consistent with the Words of YHVH through Moses in chapters like Lev 26; Dt 28; 32.

Read them to know better the great God whom we serve and in whom we have entrusted our souls for life.

It is evident that Holocaust museums, education on racism and antisemitism will not be enough to prevent what is cried aloud, “Never again!”  The same living Word of God written thousands of years ago still abides.  Judgments against sin and sinners come from the Holy and Righteous Judge of the whole Earth, firstly against those of His own people who refuse to walk in His ways and so receive all His benefits.

Even today, when the gospel is going out in Israel and believers in Yeshua/Jesus as Messiah and Lord are greater in number than ever before, our religious and political leaders still oppose the truth of God our Father in Heaven.  The government is making its own plans for peace and security, refusing God’s, which is the only one which will succeed.  The believers in Arad are suffering threats and curses from those who claim to know God, just as happened in the days of Jesus and the apostles. 

How can we know God’s grace and mercy?:  Through His judgments, just as Adam and Eve; just as we who know the reason why Jesus came to die on the cross; just as Israel and the nations will learn as God brings every knee to bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is LORD (YHVH).  It is at the cross that we know God—both in His righteous judgment against all sin and sinners, and in His mercy and love for anyone who repents and believes in their heart that He is just in all His ways.

Jn 3:16-19  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

If we love our people, if we love the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, we will bring the truth of God and His Word to them, that the Holy Spirit would convict them of their sin of unbelief, so that they might seek God for His mercy to forgive.  As we remember the Holocaust, let us remember, too, the honor of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ whom He sent.

GOSPEL FOR JEWS AND GENTILES

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

1Cor 11:23-26   we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes

The heart and foundation of the gospel and of the New Testament and of our faith as Christians is Jesus the Messiah and Him crucified, risen from the dead, ascended to glory, and coming again to judge and rule.  Our sins are forgiven through faith in the once-for-all sacrificial and atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  We have fellowship with God our Father and with His Son, and with one another through the Holy Spirit indwelling all who are born again by the Word and the Spirit of God.

God is not partisan or sectarian.  His choosing of one people to His “peculiar treasure” is not at the expense of His love and ultimate purposes for other people(s).  God so loved the world that  He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe on Him should not perish but inherit eternal life.  That’s about as broad , and as restrictive, as can be.  Christians are bearers of good news.  Our only legitimate message is the good news of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. 

Israel and most of the Arabic speaking countries are located in the 10/40 window.  Most of those Arab-speaking countries are Islamic.  Not all Arabic-speaking people are Arabs, for example, Egyptians and  Iranians.  Nor are all Islamic nations Arabs, such as Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and many of the former Soviet states.  About half of the Jewish people live in Israel.  Most of the other half live in the U.S.

Israel’s salvation is connected to the fullness of the gentiles comeing in.  This gives you incentive to continue taking the gospel to the Arab and Islamic peoples, who are gentiles, i.e., not Israeli or Jewish.  God wants to give them a new heart and a new spirit, so that they will know Him and Jesus Christ His Son.  The gentile Christians have a specific calling as such to provoke Israel to jealousy and to show them mercy – for the gospel’s sake, and in response to the mercy shown them by the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. 

The Christians’ full redemption at the first resurrection is linked to the salvation of “all Israel” – that full remnant of all the tribes of the children of Jacob, who turn from ungodliness and have their sins forgiven when they look upon Him whom they have pierced.  Then will the fountain of grace and supplication be poured out upon the nation of Israel.

God is working to unite Abraham’s family through the good news of Jesus Christ, the beloved Son who brings all who love Him home to our heavenly Father.  There will be peace in the family only when the children accept the will of the Father and His love for Jesus.  Whoever loves Jesus as their Lord and Savior will also know that the Father loves us just as much as He loves Him.

YHVH God is working from both the Jewish and gentile sides to fulfill His redemptive history and purposes for eternity.  He has given us an active part in that, once we have been joined to the Lord Jesus through new birth.  We become co-laborers with one another as we serve Him.  But, thank God, He will do it!  That is our 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!

 “Blessed is He who comes in the name of YEHOVAH”!   “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”

THE MYSTERY OF MESSIAH

Eph 3:4-11

v. 4   Paul received a revelation from God which gave him insight and understanding of the mystery of Messiah beyond what others received. (Even Peter and the other apostles acknowledged Paul’s special wisdom).

v. 5   This mystery now revealed to him was something new and different than what had ever been revealed before.  It had been a secret with God alone until then, which no one could even think or imagine about; even the clues fall short of the actual revelation of the church.
         –Through Paul, the other apostles and prophets (2:20; Acts 15:32) –disciples– understood by faith (Heb. 11:3) the personal revelation given to Paul of the mysteries which distinguish the Christian faith.  They are not known or understood by people at large in the world at this  present time.

v. 6   There are three elements of this mystery of Messiah:
         1. that gentile believers should be joint heirs on equal terms with Jewish believers
             –in O.T. there are blessings for nations and the world, but only secondarily compared to the Jews and to Israel; there is no joint and equal inheritance, but rather a head-and-tail analogy
             –the inheritance for believers is also different in that we are heirs in and with Christ.  We share an inheritance above and beyond what the O.T. promises to its saints –or at least to what was revealed to them to be understood in their time– yet is theirs also with us whose faith has been in God the Creator’s word and promise regarding His Redeemer and Savior.

          2. that gentile believers should be a joint body (2:16) with Jewish believers
             –in O.T. there were native Israelis, and strangers who joined themselves to the people and the God of Israel –but who nonetheless remained of lesser status (God-fearers; keepers of the Noachic commandments)
             –a living body, not just a pluralistic nation, joined to its Head based upon new birth and an exalted Son of Man in Heaven        

         3. that gentiles and Jews are joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus by the gospel
             –under O.T. expectations, Messiah to be King and Lord of His people, who otherwise have no part in Christ
             –not identified with Him previously as Messianics/Christians as we now are who believe (Is. 65:14-15)
                –this promise in Christ was therefore not revealed before –not to Israel and certainly not to Jews and gentiles equally
               –a promise in that its fulfillment is still future, though now it is apprehended by faith in God’s Word

v. 7   Of this gospel Paul became a minister by the effective working of God’s power according to the gift of the grace of God given to him
         –power of God needed to be a faithful servant of Christ –a prisoner– for such a revelation of this mystery to be taught and lived and demonstrated so as to bring true believers together in love in Christ, to the praise of His glory
         –this gospel is still not fully apprehended today by believers, and is under continuous attack

v. 8   the unsearchable riches of Christ preached amongst the gentiles by the grace of God
         —unsearchable: that which can not be understood; known, but surpassing all comprehension

v. 9   fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of time has been hid in God (Col. 1:25-27)

v. 10 now made known unto principalities and powers in the heavenlies –both angelic and powers of darkness (1 Pet. 1:12; Eph. 6:12)
         –through the church, the Bride of Messiah, is revealed the manifold wisdom of God (Rom.11:33)

v. 11 eternal purpose of God in Jesus displayed here on the Earth from Jerusalem, Israel (1:4,11)

The Holocaust and the Salvation of Israel: “Be Reconciled to YHVH GOD”

Lev. 26: 40-45   Israel and Jewish people confessing personal and historic collective guilt for breaking YHVH’s covenants

There is a biblical principle whereby God holds the heads of a people accountable for the blessing or punishment of the people.  We see this with Pharaoh and the Egyptians with respect to the children of Israel at the time of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt.  We see it again with King David and his census of Israel, bringing the LORD’s judgment upon the people and the near destruction of Jerusalem (2Sam. 24).

The rulers of the people — whether kings or priests — represent the people before God, and by their example of faith and obedience — or the contrary — the nation is led.  Today, does not a nation of people go to war or make peace based upon the determinations of their leader(s)?  Are not nations judged in the eyes of others by their thoughts regarding the heads of government or of the religious authorities?  Do not Jews today insist that Germans living today confess their nation’s and their parents’ guilt for the Holocaust — that Germans and Germany are primarily responsible and guilty because of their evil leader who governed and represented them?; or to put it another way, in Hitler, the Germans living today — whether or not they were personally and directly involved — are reckoned as guilty and defiled by the Jewish people, even more than are Austrians and Poles who also bear their own iniquity.

Other Biblical examples of this living principle of divine justice covering generations for nations, tribes, and  peoples are:
1.      in Adam, all have sinned and all human beings inherit condemnation and death;

2.      in Abraham (Abram), Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, signifying the preeminence of  the Priest Melchizedek over Aaron and the Levitical priesthood;

3.      in the Passover, Jews remember that we were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD brought us out;

4.      in Messiah, many are justified and made alive, inheriting righteousness and life.

 There are both  power in, and accountability for, our words which we speak or write, all the more so if we are in positions of authority (Mt. 12:36-37).

John 11:45-53    – Caiaphas the High Priest unknowingly prophesied that the one man Yeshua would die for the whole nation, and even for all the scattered children of God.

Mt. 27:25    – “all the people [of Israel] answered and said, ‘Let His [Yeshua’s] blood be on us and on our children’!

 Primary responsibility, with its guilt and historic consequences, is upon the leaders and people of Israel (John 19:11; Lev. 4:1-3, 13, 14, 22, 23; Acts 2; 4) — both before God and by our own words and agreement with our “fathers” — for the betrayal and death of Messiah.  Praise God that upon the cross, Yeshua/Jesus prayed that God His Father forgive us!

 YEHOVAH is the God of covenant, to which He is always faithful to fulfill His part, which includes His  promises to make the people of Israel a holy people for Himself.  Therefore He is working to remove from His people transgressions, sin, iniquity, and uncleanness — guilt and shame – – and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  The Holy Spirit is working to bring His people to an end of themselves, to stop trusting in themselves or in the arm of the flesh, so that they will call on the Name of Yeshua for salvation:  Blessed is He who comes in the Name YEHOVAH!  It is Yeshua whom God has given as a guilt offering (Is. 53:10), and His blood cleanses from all unrighteousness.

The Holocaust brings reproach to the Holy Name of the God of Israel and of the Lord Jesus Christ:
          –“These are the people chosen by God?!”

          –“Where was/is God?”

          –“How can a ‘good’ God allow such atrocities?”

          –“Maybe God is not strong enough to stop evil?!”

          –“God has forsaken and cast away the Jews!”

Remember Messianic brothers and sisters, Yeshua died a criminal’s death because of — and 
to take away — that evil unbelief and rebellion, the sin of the world!

Do we trust and love our God and Savior to honor His holy name in the face of such unbelief and mocking?  Many Christians risked, and even sacrificed their lives to save Jews from the death trains and camps.  In the unknowable ways of God, just as the crucifixion was necessary, so too was the Holocaust.  God’s judgments are past finding out!

 As many as are Jewish believers, we need to accept the truth of our primary responsibility for our history.  Let Gentile believers each examine and judge himself for their own personal and historic sins of your nations and churches against the Sovereign LORD and against the Jews and Christians.  Offenses there must necessarily be, but woe to those through whom they come!

The Lord Jesus says that the truth sets free and sanctifies.  Confession of our own and of our fathers’ sins is an act of humility, and it brings cleansing, freedom, blessedness — because by it we receive and know the righteousness of God who forgives us and accepts us.

The Lord promises to save His people from their sins.  The true gospel includes the cross of the Messiah and God’s righteous judgments against Israel, not to the exclusion of the other nations.  As has been spoken before, there is no glory for the Jewish people (or for any nominal Christian) apart from the faith in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the Hope of Israel.  Let us who believe be sure of our own peace with God and acceptance of His ways and judgments so that we can speak the truth with love to the Jewish people, and to others.

2Cor. 5:11a, 18-21    in the fear of God, be reconciled to Him and be ministers of reconciliation

Amen!