What joy and hope this gave to those who heard the good news/glad tidings when the angels sang, and the Israeli Jewish shepherds in the field heard the joy of the Father in Heaven over the birth of His only-begotten Son, Yeshua, the King of Israel! And what comfort and expectation it gave to those who were waiting for the long-anticipated Messiah whom God first spoke of to our first father and mother in the Garden of Eden! In the sovereign wisdom of God, this expectation and hope were not fully fulfilled at the birth of the Lord, or even during His life and death and resurrection; no, that fullness of the Law and the Prophets waits for the return of this same Yeshua/Jesus to return in great power and glory, to be Lord of every man, and to whom all must confess that He is YHVH! What a glorious day that will be, and the new song to be sung by the saints and the angels! Continue reading “Messiah Has Come!”
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”
(Originally written for Spanish-language Christian newspaper in Guatemala)
What is God doing in Israel? What is the spiritual state of the State of Israel as she celebrates 70 years as a sovereign nation among the nations of the world? Her successes in many fields far surpass the normal expectation of other nations. By the long list of numerous innovations and developments that Israel is known for, God is drawing attention to Himself through His miracle nation! (Is 11:11-12) But how do we assess the whole of Israel by the Word of God? There are many perspectives on Israel and many opinions by believers concerning the current spiritual situation here in the land. One thing is for sure: Israel as a nation is still resistant to the good news of Jesus (Yeshua) being the Messiah. Continue reading “The State of The State of Israel: The Gospel and The Body of Messiah”
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”
The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age. That is why they are still relevant to us today – not only as a guide for wisdom unto salvation, and for righteous living, but also as a guide for knowing the will of God: Jesus Christ is going to come back to take back the world that the devil and human beings have usurped for themselves, and He will establish the Kingdom of God (YHVH) forevermore. Continue reading “Take Heed; I Have Told You All Things Beforehand”
Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been brought into covenant relationship with the God of Israel, and with Jewish believers in the Son of God. The Church — the Body of Christ/Messiah, the one new man, the Bride of the Lamb — is comprised of both these redeemed and born-again believers called out from every people group and nation. We all have a significant role to play through to the end of the age towards YHVH God’s salvation of His chosen people Israel, by which the whole world and creation will be blessed. Continue reading “The Church’s Role in The End-Times of The Last Days Towards Israel’s Salvation”
Mk 11:11-26 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the Temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
(12) And on the next day, they going out of Bethany, He was hungry. (13) And seeing a fig-tree with leaves afar off, He went to it, if perhaps He might find anything on it. And when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season of figs. (14) And Jesus answered and said to it, No one shall eat fruit of you forever. And His disciples heard.
(15) And they came to Jerusalem. And entering into the temple, Jesus began to cast out those who bought and sold in the Temple. And He overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. (16) And He would not allow any to carry a vessel through the Temple. (17) And He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, “My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations?” But you have made it a den of thieves. (18) And the scribes and the chief priests heard. And they sought how they might destroy Him. For they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His doctrine.
(19) And when evening came, He went out of the city. (20) And passing by that morning, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. (21) And Peter, remembering, said to Him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away.
(22) And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. (23) For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said. (24) Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you.
(25) And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive it so that also your Father in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (26) But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.
Yeshua has just made His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, the common people acknowledging Him as the Son of David who they believed had come to be the King of Israel. But His time had not yet come for that. He left the city and the Temple, and went to Bethany, probably to the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
We come now to the story about the fig tree that Yeshua cursed. I am sure that all of us have read this and been uncomfortable that He would curse a tree without fruit at a time when it was not the season for fruit. When we do this, it reveals again how our thoughts and ways are not the same as the Lord’s. In our discomfort at His act, we are judging Him for doing what we think is wrong or unfair, does not make sense.
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not having fruit before its season? This event occurred probably in April, whereas figs are a summer fruit, the first and best ripening happening around June. The fig tree is used in the Bible as one of the symbols for Israel, and in it are both good and bad figs. (Jer 24:5-10; Hos 9:10; Mk 13:28-31; Lk 13:6-9) Normally the fig tree begins to blossom before its leaves cover them, or there are hold-overs from the previous season. So, in the case of this particular fig tree on the road between Bethany and Jerusalem, it had leaves, and therefore it should also have had some blossoms of fruit before their full growth to maturity. However, Jesus found no fruit on it. In response, He said (cursed; judged) the tree: “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard Him.
Mark then goes on in his account to Yeshua and His disciples arriving in Jerusalem. Yeshua went into the Temple and began to drive out all those who bought and sold in the Temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He also would not allow anyone to carry wares through the Temple. Then He taught, quoting from Isaiah and from Jeremiah the prophets: “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? ‘But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’!”
For this “presumption”, the scribes and chief priests, who heard Him, sought how they might destroy Him (get rid of Him/finish Him off, and His doctrines). They were afraid of Him, because all the people were astonished at Yeshua’s teaching. At this point, Yeshua’s popularity was a protection, but it was only a matter of time before those in power would act anyway, as envy and hatred took control of their spirits. Here we see the beginning of Pharisaic/Talmudic/Rabbinic Judaism’s cursing of Yeshua – both His name and memory (Yeshu).
Then Mark goes back to say that that same morning, on the way up from Bethany to Jerusalem, the disciples and Jesus saw the fig tree that the Messiah had cursed dried up from its roots. This was obviously a result of the Lord’s judgment of the tree, and not a natural drying up of a dying tree, which would have taken much longer. The roots were still there in the ground. God has not finished with Israel! And we are witnesses to that certain hope today, here in Beer Sheva, Israel! (In ch. 13 of Mark, the Lord uses the same symbol of the fig tree again, this time in reference to Israel’s revival in the last days leading up to His return. The curse is still there, the fruit is still not satisfying to God, but redemption and the Redeemer is on the way!)
What do we learn from this fig tree and from the incident on the Temple Mount that Mark records? Yeshua was the central figure in both of them, and His acts greatly disturbed both His disciples in the one, and the religious leaders in the other.
Both acts were judgments from God on the fruitless life and the corrupted religion of His chosen people, whom He had chosen for His glory, and to be His light to the Gentiles, and to be a holy people for His name, and to bear much good fruit from all of His fatherly care for them. (Is 5) Instead they professed to be outwardly ‘good’, especially in comparison to the ‘Gentiles’ (the goyim), while inwardly and outwardly dishonoring their God and His house. In this passage of Jesus taking control over the Temple Mount complex, He calls the house, “My house” (Is 56:7; Jer 7:11), whereas in the account in John, He calls the Temple “My Father’s house”. (Jn 2:16-17; Ps 69:9) He and the Father are one.
The marketplace that the people had set up was on the holy site in the area called the Court of the Gentiles. The buying and selling desecrated it as a place of prayer for non-Jews, as a house of prayer for all nations. The public and merchants were using the Temple area as a ‘short-cut’ to carry their wares to the abused area. Doves were the sacrificial animals for the poor, and the greedy merchants were selling them, probably at high prices. Yeshua had come to preach good news to the poor, who were being oppressed and taken advantage of.
So, too, the fig tree with leaves but without fruit. The tree looked good on the outside, but there was no fruit on the inside. The leaves were a covering for their fruitlessness. Remember when Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong, and wanted to cover their naked shame, they put fig leaves over their private parts. So, too, this tree, and Israel and the Jewish people – and by extension, the church and Christians (Rev 3:1-6; 14-22) – can look good to the eye of man, but cannot satisfy genuine [spiritual] hunger. Israel is blessing the world in amazing ways today, but good works can be “dead works”, and they do not save unbelievers; or they can be good works of believers, but motivated by wrong motives or done without love. (Heb 6:1; 9:14) Religious life without love, or without intention to honor the name of our Lord, is empty. As a prophetic and priestly nation, the Jewish people are not consciously drawing people to know the one true God. No one can eat from such a tree and be nourished with the life of God. The good works are a ‘fig leaf’, a cover-up for the lack of God’s righteousness and fruit. The God of Israel will not grant His people peace and tranquility as long as they/we continue to seek it, to buy it, apart from Him – apart from Yeshua.
God cannot, and will not, bless fruitlessness in those who are called by His name. (Jn 15:1-12) We cannot satisfy the need in others – whether believers or unbelievers – when our hearts of flesh become hearts of stone again. Praise to our God and Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: He is not finished yet, neither with Israel and the Jewish people, nor with those who profess to believe in the name of Yeshua/Jesus for salvation! Yeshua asked the Father — when He was nailed to the cross – to forgive that very people and nation, for they did not know what they were doing. He still calls His people to repentance, and to bear fruit of that return to HIM. This is especially regarding the state of our hearts towards God, and towards our fellow man. Israel, as represented by the fig tree, is also a sign of the last days that the end of the age is near, and that the Lord is coming again “soon”. (Mk 13:28-31; Mt 24:32-35; Lk 21:29-33) The same cursed fig tree is redemptively revived in the last days!
Yeshua took the opportunity of His disciples’ reaction to the cursed fig tree to teach them about believing prayer, but even more about the necessity and the power of forgiveness. (Mt 6:9-15) The Messiah, when He taught His disciples how to pray, told them and us that we must forgive others if we want our Father in Heaven to forgive us. To the measure that we forgive others, He will forgive us. Also in this passage from Mark, He says the same thing. We can pray with all faith to have God do miraculous things in our lives or for others – including the restoration and salvation of Israel – but if we are not forgiving someone – not loving Jesus above all, and others as ourselves — for what we think or know that he/she/they have done to me, I will have no peace with God my Father, and He will not be pleased with me, His son through Messiah. (It is very interesting that in the matter of divorce, which YHVH hates, Yeshua gave one exception for allowing it: adultery. But in the matter of forgiveness, there is no exception. A very challenging commandment and commitment!)
Brokenness – knowing how much we have been forgiven – produces the Holy Spirit fruit of love (God’s measure of love) towards others, especially towards those we think do not deserve it.
What then can we learn from this passage in the plan of God to redeem His people?
–The fruitless fig tree and the corrupted religious worship and ministry are indicative of the spiritual state of the Chosen People: there would be no more [godly] fruit from that again! Only when Israel repents and sees Jesus whom they pierced will that finally produce the broken heart and contrite spirit needed to produce fruit for YHVH their God. (Zech 12:10-14; Ps 51)
–This is also true of believers in Yeshua – of those who say we believe and follow Him. Some of us have let our own spirits push away the Holy Spirit, and we have let our new heart of flesh become like stone again. We then become hypocritical like the Pharisees: demanding of others what we ourselves will not do, nor help them to do. We separate ourselves in self-righteousness (which is the meaning of Pharisee), and do not love the brothers and sisters, and can oppress the poor. We look good on the outside – the leaves – but inside we are in rebellion against our holy and gracious Father and Savior.
–The Lord’s acts in this passage should put the fear of God in us, whom He has chosen to be the Lamb’s beloved Bride, obeying His commandments with thanksgiving, and loving one another as He has loved us.
Yeshua is our Judge and our Savior. Thank -you, God!
Israel celebrates her 69th Day of Independence this Monday and Tuesday. Most of Israel’s Arab population knows it as their Day of Catastrophe (nakba). Neither one yet fears YHVH. The one, true, living God of Heaven and Earth is fulfilling His Word and plan for His holy name’s sake, and against all opposition to Him — including unbelief. He cannot, and will not, be stopped! Praise be to His name!
The Israeli Jewish people celebrate their military strength and prowess; the Arab Palestinian people refuse to accept that the land was covenanted to Jacob for an everlasting possession, yet to be realized. The Holy Spirit is working to turn away ungodliness from Jacob so that all Israel (the full remnant from all the tribes) will be saved. The Arabs hope is to be found in Israel’s hope: Yeshua/Yasua/Jesus, the Lord and Messiah, Son of David.
Israel’s leadership and people feel that the lesson of the Holocaust is that the Jewish people must protect themselves by themselves. The Arab world feel that the lesson of the Holocaust is unjust and not fair. Neither fear the LORD.
Most of the Jewish people are relying on “a god of fortresses” — self-determined that they must be masters of their own destiny — rather than trust in the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, who alone can guarantee them life that is really life. Most of the Arab peoples are relying on a god of vengeance, nurtured by a bitter root and an ancient hatred towards their brothers and cousins. Neither line of Abraham’s family fears the God of their father in truth.
The Jewish people have only recently celebrated the Passover, glorying in their deliverance by YHVH from Egyptian slavery. On the heels of that joyful celebration and hope, we solemnly and gravely remembered the worst calamity yet to come upon our people — the Holocaust. The night preceding Independence Day we again remember all those Jewish people [in particular] who have sacrificed their lives in the many wars and conflicts connected with being a sovereign people in our own land. There is the constant reminder to abide in the faith, for through much suffering and tribulation we enter the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22) Yet our people still have not repented and believed the gospel, confessing their unfaithfulness to our God, that they would know their sins are forgiven through the sacrifice and shed blood of Yeshua, whom God raised from the dead. (Lev 26:40-45) For the Father was well-pleased with His beloved Son!
For us who have received our peace with God through saving faith in His Son, our Savior, our battle is not waged against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies. Our weapons are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah.
Today’s Israel is a miracle/banner (nes) for the nations/Gentiles. God has intervened in history again to repossess HIS land for His people. The return of the Jewish people back to the land of promise is a proof that YHVH is the true God. It is a huge sign of the end-times of the last days — not unlike the ark in Noah’s days. Against all odds, the LORD is doing a greater thing than what He did to bring us out of Egypt, or out of Babylon. (Is 11:12; Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8). Jacob’s Trouble is coming, but Israel will be saved out of it. (Jer 30:7) The Lord’s return cannot be far behind! Even so, Come, Lord Jesus! Then Jerusalem will have God’s peace.
We are now into this new year of 2017, 5777 on the Jewish calendar (a 240-year discrepancy, but that is another story). Three years ago I began to look at some significant dates connected with the return of the Jewish people back to this land of Israel, and also looking ahead to the coming again of Yeshua.
( https://www.streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/eclectic-course-menu/dates-to-remember/ )
When the disciples asked Yeshua about the sign of His return at the end of the age, His first response was that they should be careful not to let any man deceive them, and that they should watch and be ready for whenever that exact time should come. (Mt 24:3,4,42) These signs – or events — were connected with the Jewish people living again in this land after a long exile. There have been signs in the sun and moon and stars last year and this. I do believe that God wants to get our attention, since we are His people and family, and to get us to remember that the Scriptures are His word to us, that we can be in the light and not in darkness. We are in a season, but exactitude is not given us to know. Signs point and lead to something and to Someone. Yeshua has all sovereign authority now in the heavenlies and on Earth. All these things serve the purposes of YHVH, the one true living God, to be exalted as such, that He may display the wonders of His love.
What are some of the significant events which converge this year to remind us of God’s plan of salvation for His people Israel?:
–This year of 2017 marks 500 years since the Reformation, when God used Martin Luther to open the Bible as the Word of God to the common people, and that salvation is a gift from God on the basis of faith in Jesus and His sacrificial death for our sins. Many Christians also began to see that God had promised to restore His chosen people, the Jews, back to the land He swore to give them as an inheritance.
–This year marks 120 years since the First Zionist Congress on Aug 29, 1897. Theodor Herzl warned his fellow Jewish people that they needed to get out of Europe because of anti-semitism, and to return to establish a state for the Jewish people back in Palestine, as the Promised Land was then called.
–This year marks 100 years since the ANZAC victory in Beer Sheva, on Oct 31, 1917 during WW1 (the same date as the Reformation), which enabled Britain to make known its intention, through the Balfour Declaration, to help the Jewish people reestablish their homeland here. By this declaration, the Gentile nations expressed their support for the return of the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel, as written in the Scriptures. God was acting and intervening towards fulfilling His promise, whether they understood or not.
–2017 marks 70 years since Nov 29, 1947, when the United Nations voted for the Jews and the Arabs to have two states in this land. The Jews accepted; the Arabs rejected the plan, and went to war.
–This year remembers 50 years since the Six-Day War victory in June 1967, in which the Israeli Jews captured Jerusalem, opening up access to its holiest sites, including the Temple Mount, which were closed to them all the previous years since the establishment of the State of Israel.
–The opposition to God’s interventions is remembered in the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, 30 years ago.
–This year has opened up with a UN resolution (passed just before Hanukkah and Christmas) claiming that Israel has no legal right to any territory that was not theirs before 1967, including East Jerusalem – Biblical Jerusalem — where the Temple Mount is located.
–There has been an increase over the last few years of Christians being persecuted and killed for their faith. Most of this has been perpetrated by Islamic jihadi terrorists, who want to take peace from people’s lives and hearts and minds, and to also bring the world into submission by force to profess the god of Islam as the only true God, and Mohammed as his prophet and servant.
What are some verses that help us to put these events into perspective for us as believers?:
Ezek 36:19-28 the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel for God’s holy Name’s sake; all will know that He is YHVH, and He will be Israel’s God, and they His holy people
Ps 2:1-6 opposition to YHVH and to Yeshua, and to God’s righteous ways
Ps 83:1-5 conspiracy to wipe out Israel from being a nation in opposition to the God of Israel (As a Jew, I also must confess that this is what the Jewish religion teaches about Jesus: that His name and memory must be wiped out and remembered no more. The Holy Spirit is working to bring everyone to account before the Lord.)
Zec 12:1-3 All nations shall come against Jerusalem, and will not succeed
Jer 30:12-25 (Heb; 30:12 – 31:1 Eng) The time of Jacob’s trouble coming in the Land to bring the people to repentance and salvation; God’s wrath will fall on His enemies, and on His people’s oppressors; in the latter days this will be considered, and fulfilled.
Lev 26:40-45 God bringing the Jewish people to confess their sins against Him, , and accept His righteous ways towards them, that they be saved and live in peace and security in the land He promised them for an inheritance.
Mt 24:6-14 These troubles and sufferings and events must come; but do not be troubled in our hearts; and the gospel will go out with power to save until Yeshua returns.
What should we do now, and throughout this momentous year?
–Read the whole Bible – as the Word of the Lord!
–Pray with understanding. Many good things promised, but a hard way to make it worthwhile to get there. The stakes are high, and the nations and Israel can expect a shaking from the very real living God, who desires that all should repent and be saved. For this He sent His Son into the world, which is ignored at our own peril.
–Pray for revelation and wisdom to understand the times, and what we should do as things progress: helping each other; encouraging one another; promote holiness in the fear of God….
–Continue faithfully doing what the Lord gives you, according to His call, spiritual gifts, ministry
–Evangelize, share the gospel with whomsoever, that they might repent and be saved before the Day of the LORD.
–Strengthen your faith, hope, and love in Yeshua, trusting God for His power and grace to use you and us for His praise, honor, and glory when Yeshua returns. (1Pt 1:3-9)