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THE LAST GENERATION – 6 July 2010
Mt 24:29-37 ‘. . . I (Yeshua) tell you the truth, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. . . .’
Where Man has failed, Yeshua/Jesus fails not; where Israel has failed, Yeshua fails not; where the Church is likewise failing, Yeshua fails not! He is the Savior of sinners, and especially of those who believe! The same Yeshua whom the apostles saw ascend into Heaven is coming again in like manner: visibly, actually, bodily, and, I hope too, in this generation.
This is the generation which has great-grandchildren and grandchildren (3rd and 4th generations) of those courageous ANZAC soldiers who captured Beer Sheva during WW1, making a ‘way’ for the Balfour Proclamation out of England to establish a homeland for the Jewish people right here in the very land YHVH God Himself swore to give to the children of Jacob/Israel for an everlasting possession. This is the generation with grandchildren, children, and living eye-witnesses (1st, 2nd, 3rd generations) of the attempt to destroy the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Europe during the Holocaust. This is the generation which has seen the re-establishment of a sovereign state of the Jewish people being resurrected figuratively from the dead (the worst is still to come, but the salvation of all who turn from ungodliness in Jacob is assured, just as is a pure, spotless, and blameless Bride for the Lamb), voted and approved by a recognized body of the world. This is the generation which has seen Jerusalem ‘as if’ re-united, but which is still being trampled under by the Gentiles. This is the generation with more Jewish believers in Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God than at any previous time, at least since the days of the apostles. This is the generation when our own sons and daughters are helping both to defend the nation naturally from her enemies, and also bearing witness and testimony to the truth of God amongst their own people in an acculturated way. This is the generation which is witness to an accelerating falling away from truth, as revealed by the Spirit of Truth through the whole of the Bible. This is the generation which is seeing all these things as prophesied by our Lord Yeshua Himself, and through the apostles whom He chose to write the New Testament Scriptures.
The prophetic word still speaks, and louder than ever, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God draws near!”
WHAT IS YOUR VISION? WHAT DO YOU SEE? – 23 May 2010
We often hear many ask, “What is your vision? What is the vision of your congregation?” What are we aiming for? Where are we headed? Do we see where we are going, and are we keeping our sight/vision clearly in view?
Jn 3:3,5 Yeshua answered and said to [Nicodemus], “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see nor enter the Kingdom of God.
Jn 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.
1Cor 13:10,12 But when that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part will be done away. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. . . .
2Cor 3:16-18 Neverless, when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Eph 4:12-16 . . .for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Messiah, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head — Messiah — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Phlp 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Messiah Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing: forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Rev 1:13-18 . . .and in the midst of the seven lampstands, [I saw] One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore! Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death.’
Rev 1:7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the Earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. This looks to the revelation of Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah!
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Messiah, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. This looks to the Millennial Kingdom of God on this Earth, when righteousness and justice rule.
2Pt 3:11-13 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner ought you to be to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new Earth in which righteousness dwells.
SINCERITY AND TRUTH. . .WITH BITTER HERBS – 16 May 2010
We celebrated a wedding. It was wonderful. Better than we could have ever been certain of. More came than originally planned. Jesus was in the midst of us. But we didn’t do all the good that we should, for we didn’t invite everyone that we could! (A little rhyme is good somethyme. 🙂 )
For days after, once we realized what did happen, and what could have been, we agonized over the disappointments, the rejections, the offenses. We know what it is like; we’ve been there ourselves.
Some who were invited did not come: some could not; others were ‘yes’, then ‘no’, without notification; some had reasons, some had excuses. The lovely couple put a few restrictions on the wedding list, but we didn’t invite some that we could, some that we should. Oh for the day when there is no more offense! When we no longer offend or let others down! When we are no longer offended or let down! When there is fullness of joy!
“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
EVANGELISM – 16 May 2010
There are many who evangelize by telling unbelievers to “invite/ask Jesus into your heart” and be saved. JESUS WILL NOT COME INTO AN OLD HEART! God calls people everywhere to REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL, and He gives us a NEW HEART AND A NEW SPIRIT. This is the reality of the New Covenant: our sins are FORGIVEN and we become a NEW CREATION. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit dwell in the new heart of a born-again BELIEVER. (The church of Laodicea was just that. . .a community of lukewarm Christians, not the ‘world’ of unbelievers, whom the Lord was calling to repentance.)
DIVINITY vs DEITY – 9 Dec 2008
Here, through e-mail exchanges within Israel, I try to draw what I believe to be an important distinction in words often used synonymously: Deity includes divinity; divinity does not always denote deity.
Thanks Howard. I hope the whole Body of Messiah will believe in this truth.
—– Original Message —–
From: Howard & Randi Bass
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 6:28 PM
Subject: Divinity and Deity
A little more to my earlier ‘fine’:
There are several verses indicating that 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 (1Cor 15:24-28). 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,
At 07:20 AM 12/12/2008 +0200, you wrote:
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 Sabbath
—– Original Message —–
From: Howard & Randi Bass
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 5:03 PM
Subject: [MCLN] Re: What we believe – Divinity and Deity
I received a question, which perhaps others of you have, about the distinction between ‘divinity’ and ‘deity’.
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 . . .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, 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 His likeness. According to James (Jacob), this is still true for unsaved humans (Ja 3:9).
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, I would say, 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, but their use of it is distorted and perverted!)
We who are born-again can claim divinity in this sense, too, if it is important for us to do so.
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.
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 leaders-judges as ‘gods’), 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.
I hope this helps, not only in grasping the uniqueness of who Yeshua is, but also why only the Scriptures, which are inspired 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.
WHAT WE BELIEVE – 26 Sep 2008
This is a response to on-going controversy in Israel within the Body of Messiah:
For the present controversy over the authority of rabbis or any other religious office, it’s also important to re-affirm the deity of the Son of Man, and also His humanity. . . . the belief of some believers who are recognized as brothers in the Body of Christ here, but who apparently deny the full humanity of the Son of God, saying that since God can not physically suffer, Jesus could not have been fully human and suffered in His death on the cross, or something like that!
In general, these are the points that I think need to be clearly stated in whatever statement is put out by the group you are putting together, and with supporting Scripture references:
–that Yeshua, as the Son of God, is God who came in the flesh, but also that He willingly emptied Himself of His glory. (This last part is important because Jesus needed to pray to God His Father, and He did not — at least while here — know all things; for example, the day and hour of His coming to gather His elect.)
–that Yeshua, as the Son of Man, came in flesh and blood, and will come again in the flesh. (His coming both times personally in the flesh is important, because the denial of this is of the antichrist.) At His first coming, Jesus was without sin, but was made sin for us in His sacrificial death; at His second coming, He will come again apart from sin.
(These points are important to distinguish Him from the rest of humanity, as all of us have sin in us, and we sin.) Yeshua is truly and fully Man in the express image and likeness of God.)
–that born-again believers are under no other authority but of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Body, which is the church, and of His Apostles, through whom we have the New Testament Scriptures. All believers, in whatever capacity we serve God in Messiah, are under the authority of the Holy Spirit-inspired written Word of God.
DEITY AND BLOOD – 7 Apr 2008
Here are some exchanges I had regarding the significant issue of the Deity of Yeshua/Jesus and of the value of His blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins on the cross:
Thank you Howard,
This is short and to the point. I am thankful that we can stand together against these error teachings. We have the victory in Yeshua.
Sent: Monday, March 02, 2009 6:27 PM
Subject: Fwd: Re: Deity and Blood
D and M, this is an answer I gave to someone last year. It actually includes the importance of the Deity and the humanity of Yeshua.
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2008 07:07:49 -0600
Subject: Re: Deity and Blood
Thanks so much, that was very helpful and I will share this with my friend. This is a great explaination for anyone to share Yeshua, even to Gentiles. Thanks and blessings to you. A
On Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 1:26 AM, Howard wrote:
Thanks, A. I’m glad our requests can be passed on, and hope that they are helpful for praying with more understanding.
The issue of Yeshua’s deity is a problem here, and is a cause of separation. A Yeshua who is created is not the same as Yeshua who is YHVH God manifested in the flesh. This is the essence of love, that God Himself came in the great mystery of godliness that He alone can do, and gave Himself a sinless sacrifice made sin that we sinners can be saved and granted to live with Him eternally.
The Holy Spirit is not going to leave us in doubt over this, since the Father is seeking those who worship Him in spirit and truth, and He will not have any idolatry over this. If Jesus is created, He is not to be worshipped; if He is, as the Son of God, the express image of the invisible God, then He is worthy to be worshipped to the glory of the Father. God is a Spirit; Yeshua makes Him visible and known; no one can truly know the one true God except through knowing Jesus — Savior, Lord (and YHVH), and Messiah — the Son of God, the Son of Man. Praise the Lord!
I’m not aware of the problem about the blood and communion here, unless it is connected with the Roman Catholic transubstantiation. Jesus was alive when He gave His disciples the bread and the cup to institute the Lord’s Supper.
Shalom to you all,
At 05:04 PM 06/04/2008 -0600, you wrote:
Howard, I was talking to a friend of mine today that has been supporting two Messianic congregations for about ten years now. She said she received an update that stated Yeshua as Savior, but not as God, and she was wondering if this is a common stumbling block for Messianic believers. I thought I would get your take on this. I remember that there were folks that were struggling with communion because of the mention of blood, but I don’t really recall the other, although I’m not on the firing lines like you are. Any info would be great, since she wants to know how to pray, etc. Thanks!
I am forwarding your prayer requests to those with a burden for Israel. One woman I just met last week, who the Lord woke up in the middle of the night and very urgently told her to start praying for Israel. She said that had never happened to her before and wanted to know more about what is happening in Israel, so I forwarded her your prayer requests.
Love and Blessings to you in Yeshua, A
“but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.”– Daniel 11:32(b)
EVERLASTING ORDINANCES – 3 Apr 2010
This is in reply to a young brother in the Lord who wants to be true to the what the Lord Yeshua has accomplished on the cross, and to the Word of God as given in the Law of Moses:
The very fact the YHVH God has established ‘everlasting ordinances’ with/in Israel is a Scriptural answer to those who say that God has no more plan for Israel as a nation, or for this promised land as an inheritance. Also, these everlasting ordinances are specifically given to Israel, and so the New Testament does not impose the ones you refer to upon the Church — redeemed, born-again, men and women from among Israel and from any other nation.
But the believer is supposed to uphold the truth of God’s word — including that there is an everlasting promise to be fulfilled, even if that promise is an ordinance. Every jot and tittle of the Law and the Prophets will be fulfilled. The Millennial Kingdom is what God has promised that will bring to fulfillment every promise that is everlasting in this creation, in these heavens and Earth, until the end of time. If you look at the last nine chapters of Ezekiel (40-48), which describe what can only be properly understood, I think, as looking ahead to the 1000-year kingdom to come after Jesus returns, you will see all those ordinances that you refer to. We can certainly observe some of the holidays today as believers, especially here in Israel, but for those in Christ, we enter through faith into a new relationship with God that no longer requires keeping religiously types and shadows, since we have the substance, who is Messiah.
Yom Ha-Kippurim (Day of Atonements) does not specifically mention a fast, but to “afflict your souls”. An afflicted soul will not want to eat, or feel like eating, but not eating does not afflict our souls. When Israel sees Him whom they have pierced . . .(Zech 12), the nation will afflict their souls, and have their full atonement, which will last forever on the basis of the sacrifice which YHVH required that they accept if they want to be accepted by Him (Lev 23:29-32). For us who already believe, even if we are Israeli Jews, we do not need any more to fast or offer another sacrifice for our sins, since we have already accepted God’s sacrifice of Yeshua, and, hopefully, each of has afflicted our souls when we recognized that He died for me and for my sins, just as the full remnant that will be all Israel as a nation — each one individually and all together corporately– will do “in that day”. (As we grow in our Messiah-like character, we will be repenting of sin, which will cause a continuing measure of soul affliction as we humble ourselves by confessing our sins and accepting forgiveness, all this leading to further thanksgiving and praise to God.)
“Olam” has different meanings. It can mean ‘world’, ‘forever’, ‘everlasting’, ‘age’ (as in ‘end of the age’). For an individual person, his ‘olam‘ can be said to end when he dies. (We who are born-again have died with Messiah, been baptized in water into His death, and risen with Him through faith, baptized with the Holy Spirit into His life, to forevermore live unto God.) Yeshua received promises that were dependent upon His being raised from the dead in order to have them, so olam for Him personally is forever, even unto the ages to come (Eph 1:21, as one example). And this is true for all who are IN Messiah. When God promised the fathers the Land of Canaan as an everlasting possession; or to Aaron an everlasting priesthood (carried on through his son Eleazar, then God’s covenant with Phineas, on through Zadok), it is clear that God is going to do what He says, even though it seems to be “taking forever”. (Born-again believers are not Levitical priests, though, but of another and transcendant priesthood with Yeshua, after the order of Melchizedek. This necessarily, according to the Letter to the Hebrews, brings a change of the Law for us, and is why not all of the ordinances given to Israel still apply to us, even though some of them are “everlasting”, and even if some of us are Jews.) The Millennial Kingdom will see these everlasting ordinances to and through Israel restored and fulfilled, through to the end of time. (There is no ‘time’ in the eternal new heavens and new earth.) Everlasting life is eternal, without end; shame and everlasting contempt for those who will be in hell uses the same word for everlasting (olam) in Dan 12:2, meaning everlasting existence , without end: each truth applies according to their respective resurrections.
So we who believe establish the Law by faith (Rom 3:31), and the Law is a tutor to bring sinners to repentance and faith in Messiah: God is faithful and will fulfill all things in righteousness for His holy name’s sake, for He has spoken!
YESHUA/JESUS AND REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY – 17 Apr 2010
An exchange of e-mails concerning a problem of those who would be teachers of the Law, but do not really know what they are talking about.
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2010 11:09:20
From: B & R
Subject: Re: Yeshua/Jesus – Replacement Theology
Amen! Amen! to your most recent email re. the “discussion” about Torah! We had hopes of being tempering agents in the Fellowship and maybe waiting for the Lord to bring the leaders to a broader vision/understanding of salvation and the life in Yeshua. Little signs of their teaching content changing so far, so before long we may be parting company.
I’m aware there has been much discussion in the Messianic Body world-wide about Christology and how far parts of the Torah (ie. as in the Tenach especially) should be observed, and here in [the city] several attempts at establishing a balanced Messiah Fellowship have floundered on the rocks of legalism. Earlier this year we thought we would ‘hang in’ for the rest of this year and pray and ‘work’ for constructive changes of the preaching. . . .
R and I have even been asked to start up a Fellowship but we’ve held off in the hopes that a healthy one will evolve that can include the Messianic flavour without getting caught up in what is virtual legalism. We’ll be continuing to pray about our position in the present fellowship.
Meantime may the Lord’s favour be upon you all in the coming days of ministry and the Court proceedings. Interestingly, the Christian TV channel ____ had a short piece on the Christian News slot about the attacks on the Beersheva congregation and the court case, You were briefly interviewed about it – especially your comments re. the case not being against Israel or fellow Jews, but to uphold normal legitimate rights of the nation to express your faith.
Shalom, every blessing, and love from us both,
Some more thoughts: sin is not ‘Torahlessness’. Sin is lawlessness (1Jn 3:4), whether against God’s Torah or any other legitimate rule of law. Sin is unbelief in the one true God and against Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah, whom He sent and who came as the Savior (Jn 16:9). Lawless people, ultimately personified in the antichrist, do not submit to any higher law over them, but set them up as being a law unto themselves, and expect others to submit to their lawlessness!
The Torah ‘came in by the way’, and is for sinners. The New Testament does not do away with the need for it as long as there are sinners on the Earth, and that will be for at least another 1000 years. During the Millennial Kingdom, though, there are modifications to the Law of Moses, which is further proof for us that the ‘Torah’ is not an end in itself, but a means towards something greater and more ‘mature’. But for those IN Messiah, we are commanded to submit to the proper civil and religious authorities over us (including parental), which is to submit to the highest authority, the Lord Jesus Himself. We are under HIS Torah, which is higher, wider, broader, deeper than the Law of Moses, and His Torah puts us under grace by the indwelling presence and power of the Holy Spirit, who will fulfill the righteousness of the Law in us who are believers in Christ, and we establish the Law by faith as being a good, holy, righteous necessity.
For those going in reverse, wanting to place themselves and others under the Law, and to say that our very righteousness and salvation may be dependent upon that, are themselves ‘replacing’ the fuller revelation of God’s mind and heart and purposes (God’s theology) which has been revealed through the gospel as unfolded for us throughout the N.T. Scriptures.
Many blessings of peace unto you and R,
_ _ _ _ _
As for me, of course, I am a Jew, and in no way, as far as I am aware, in replacement theology, but God has placed me back into HIS! Hallelu-Yah!
Also, and I appreciate the interest of this couple, but our salvation is based on being born-again in Christ/Messiah, and not on our particular understanding of a number of very important issues. We will certainly be rewarded as believers for the works we will have done as believers, whether good or bad. Our salvation is all of grace, based on God’s righteousness and our repentance and faith in the truth of the gospel. Our rewards are not of grace in quite the same way (but there is no doubt that EVERYTHING we will have and inherit is God’s lovingkindness/grace and mercy towards us), but will be according to our perfect Father, Teacher, and Judge, who knows how to properly evaluate and give His children and His students/disciples, etc., commendations and marks/grades for how well we did with what He provided us. And He knows perfectly how to ‘handicap’ so that there is no partiality nor inequality or inequity in His measurement of things. To whom much is given, more will be required.
There is still time in God’s redemptive plan to bring all of us into line with what is important to Him before the coming of the Lord. The prayer of Jesus will be answered for true unity and love. And one thing that He is not requiring of us at this time is what name we call Yeshua, as long as we honor Him in whatever language we use. If it were otherwise, then the Holy Spirit would have inspired the writers of the Septuagint and of the New Testament to have always transliterated the name Yeshua as Yeshua, and not let it be given in Greek as He did to sound like Iesous (or something like that)!
At 10:01 AM 4/16/2010, you wrote:
No. 3 of 3 Howard.
Wish I was more computer literate to have “tied” them together for you in one email. Haven’t made reference to C of your initial response to me, but will fwd. her response to my email below or any result of dialogue re. the Cohanim matter etc. in what I sent, but my movements in the coming month are taking myself and R out of [the city] for most of it.
May not be back in touch until toward end of May. Again, thanks for any comments, and prayerful thoughts and every blessing in Yeshua, B
—– Original Message —–
From: B & R
Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2010 9:39 PM
Thanks for a helpful response. The question of being Cohanim in the future Kingdom is a topic I (and I’m sure many others) would be interested in exploring/discussing.
. . . .
Will keep in touch and continue in a few weeks discussion on some of the matters referred to in this week’s emails to and fro.
Shalom and blessings,
B (& R)
—– Original Message —–
To: B & R
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 11:58 PM
Subject: Lawsuit by Messianic Believers
It is I, C, who wrote the email, and so I am responding. These are good questions you ask and yes they need careful answering. I am choosing to answer straight away from my understanding to date.
Many of those who are now Messianic Jews were once Hebraic Christians i.e they were Hebrews and in the Church. In our early walk, G and I read David Stern’s Jewish Manifesto and since then works and articles about the Jewish believers walk back out of Replacement Theology which is Christianity in the organisational sense, to being fully Jewish again and yet in Messiah. To be born again is of course a very Jewish understanding. There are many born again experiences in Jewish life style, bar Mitzvah, Mikvah are just two. Life events of renewal are often seen as being born again and it is this that Yeshua alluded to knowing the people would understand in essence, yet of course being born again into the the Kingdom, took the whole experience into another realm. I certainly felt born again when I came into the Messianic Movement, even though I had had a born again experience with Yeshua and in the Ruach Ha Kodesh when I came to know him. The promise of eternal life if we endure to the end in him, leads us to the full and final rebirth of course, in the renewal of our bodies in fact our whole self, in the resurrection.
Regarding Replacement Theology, the outworking of our faith in Yeshua does need to be in line with his teachings, so the Torahlessness of Replacement Theology may eventually bring condemnation. As we know, we have been warned that many will say to Yeshua, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we do fine works in your name, expel demons in your name, and he will say to them, “Get away from me you workers of Torahlessness”. After all Torahlessness is the apostacy that came very early after the emmisaries were killed. So yes Replacement Theology if deliberately continued by a believer, may be what discounts him/her from the final call for the Kingdom at least to be the cohanim despite having had the experience of being born again. It is the working out in spirit and truth of what pleases YHVH, that counts. Of course there are other passages that talk about the love and good works, especially towards Yeshua’s brothers, the Jews, and towards one another in his body, that are also markers of the Torah of Yeshua. It is YHVH who will decide of course at the final Teruah, or at our death which ever comes first as to who is the the greatest in the kingdom or who has been in the kingdom “in vain”, which is the Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew’s rendering of the usual word, ‘least’. I looked up the Hebrew meaning of vain and it means, without validity, or meaning!
I am very concerned that so many feel they can love Israel and remain in Replacement Theology. I feel that this is anti Semitism at it’s worst. You and R for example, have stepped out of Replacement Theology both in word and deed as well as loving Israel from your heart, therefore you are truly loving Israel by also loving their Elohim, all be it in the newer way without the sacrificial system but in Yeshua. I am so sure it is time for all to do the same. Talmidei Yeshua exists to teach all to love YHVH Elohim in a way that pleases him in Spirit and Truth and in a way that really witnesses to his people Israel. I am personally very tired of hearing about people who love Israel but do not love Israel’s Elohim, by obeying his commandments. I think this sends a very confusing message to Israel, and this is why I understood Netanyahu’s response.
Thankfully so many nowadays are waking up to the fact that yes, to be born again in Yeshua, but to live outside his ways in Replacement Theology may lead to finding yourself outside YHVH’s Kingdom. I realise that we are citizens now of the Heavenly Kingdom of which the Torah is a shadow of things to come. However even a shadow is imaged from the actual, not a replacement, or something different. After all if the nations are to be ruled with a rod of iron and made to keep Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh and Sukkot in the Millenium, how important is it for those in training to be Yeshua’s Cohanim for the millennium and eternal life, to keep his ways.
I hope this has answered your question – bottom line for me – yes, deliberately remaining in replacement theology for the body of Yeshua may mean the individual is outside of the final Kingdom as Cohanim, despite his/her born again experience.
Thank you for listening and being there. Yes of course we are willing to discuss anything with you and R, at greater length should you wish to. Feel free to disagree!
Shalom in Yeshua
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 09:40:53
From: B & R
Subject: Fw: CBNnews – April 15 – “Last Day” in Court
Below is a copy of my first response to C & G, leaders of ____. I will also fwd. C’s response and then my further response. Feel free to comment on any of the content. Appreciate your interest.
G is Jewish but brought up in a Christian setting. C is not Jewish but shares a similar background to G.
Many thanks. B
On 14 April 2010 11:00, B & R wrote:
Shalom C (and G),
Before trying to respond to your email more fully, or perhaps better still sitting together some time to discuss the matters, would you please share your thoughts on the difference between “Hebraic Christians” and “Messianic Jews”? Also, does “living a Replacement theology life style”, mean a person is not “born again” or outside Yahweh’s Kingdom?
Thanks for giving some time to these matters.
—– Original Message —–
To: B & R
Sent: Monday, April 12, 2010 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: CBNnews – April 15 – “Last Day” in Court
Thanks B, we appreciate you sending us this update.
I am just concerned about one thing. It has bothered me for a while now. Does this Messianic Congregation talk about Yeshua or Jesus, as they seem to mention both names in the commentary and do they follow Christianity or the Scriptural life of the Torah in Yeshua. From observing some Messianic groups in Israel over the years, there seems to be a struggle to understand the difference between being Hebraic Christians and Messianic Jews, which I would imagine might add to the orthodox pressure against the Congregations, not that there is ever an excuse for violence! What is your opinion on this, as you will have visited many congregations over there. For the same reasons, I can understand the Prime Minister of Israel not accepting roses from Christians, even those who love Israel, as many who love Israel sadly still live a Replacement theology life style. We cannot blame him for being afraid of any form of assimilation.
On 11 April 2010 16:05, B & R wrote:
Subject: CBNnews – April 15 – “Last Day” in Court
This seemed worthy of sending to a wider group than usually get these updates. B
IMMANUEL’S LAND – 22 Mar 2010
Winter is over; Spring is come; Israel still looks for his/her Savior.
As I wrote in my last letter, “unbelieving Jewish Zionists — those who believe that the Jewish people have the right to return and to live in the sovereign State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people — do not include, nor ever intended, that a Jewish and Zionist state in the Land of Promise would include active faith in Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah, Son of the living God.” On the other side, there are those who, knowingly or not, hold to a view that suits what is written in Ps. 83: “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
This past week a conference was held which, by and large, found various ways to espouse a “Biblical” theology mixed with politics to de-legitimize a specific nation of a specific identifiable people, chosen by YHVH God to be His people, in this particular land which He covenanted and swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to give to Israel’s descendants as an everlasting possession, by His grace and in His righteousness to accomplish redemption — not only for His own people, but for the entire world and creation. Let those who think they stand be careful that we don’t make up some theology of our own to ‘blot out’ others for whom God promised a future and a hope through faith in the true gospel.
Hallelu-YAH! In His controversy with His own people, He is working to bring them to bless Yeshua, who alone is the one who comes in the name of YHVH, and, as He promised Jerusalem, then they will see Him, and He will save them who pierced Him. In His controversy with the nations, the one true God is working to bring them all against Jerusalem, where He will judge them in righteousness for coming against Him by seeking to destroy Israel. In His chastening of believers in Jesus, our Father is working to bring all His children in agreement with all His purposes of love, of holiness, of truth, and to sanctify His holy name in all peoples: all will know that He is YHVH, and every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord/YHVH!
A JEWISH STATE, OR STATE OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE – 14 Mar 2010
Shalom. . . on a hot, windy, and dusty day (sharav)!
I have been reminded again from comments by unbelieving Jewish Zionists: those who believe that the Jewish people have the right to return and to live in the sovereign State of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people do not include, nor ever intended, that a Jewish and Zionist state in the Land of Promise would include active faith in Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah, Son of the living God. If we were to be honest, I think this could be compared with those who believe that when people have normally spoken of and written laws about marriage, no one had ever remotely considered that that could be understood to include two men or two women marrying each other.
One could say that the comparison is not a fair one, but both have to do with faith, and both reject the truth of the Word of God. When the Lord Jesus returns, as He promised, He will not set up a rabbinic Jewish state, but will restore the whole House of Israel under His sovereign and righteous rule. Until then, we can expect stiffer opposition to His Kingdom and those who are of it, as the mystery of iniquity comes to fullness, even as the Holy Spirit works in the saints to fully complete that which God has begun to conform us to the image of His Son, making us ready for His coming and the redemption of our bodies, to rule and reign with Him over His people and the nations. Meanwhile, we are called to suffer with Messiah outside the camp, bearing His reproach, being sent into the world to help bring others out to Him, the MAN whose heart is fully after God’s, and whom God anointed to be His choice of King over His creation. This is the great mystery of godliness, that God was manifested in the flesh that He could dwell literally in the midst of His people.
AN EXHORTATION – 5 Jan 2010
One thing is becoming clearer to me – and I hope to you, too: the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not comparable to any other religious faith! It is neither Judah-ism (ask any self-respecting Jewish person who does not believe in Yeshua/Jesus for who He is), nor is it Christian-ity as a mere form of godliness but denying its power. Both of these two similar faith groups on either side of the cross focus on themselves, whether Jewish or Christian. The faith once for all delivered to the saints is a personal living relationship with the living God – our Father in Heaven and His Son through the Holy Spirit dwelling within all born-again believers. Not all Israel is Israel; not all the Church is the Church/Body of Christ. We are hid with Messiah in God, and are a new creation. . .thank God!
The cross is an offense to the Jewish people (and to many others who have the pride of life in their chosenness or election), and Yeshua the Nazarene is the Stumbling Stone which YHVH God Himself has placed in the way for all those ‘on a journey’. “Whosoever falls on this Stone will be broken; but on whomsoever It falls, It will grind him to powder”. (Mt 21:42-44) Yeshua/Jesus is still a sign spoken against; He is still destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel (and in the Church), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Lk 2: 34-35)
I do not know much (as I have been told by more than one more than once), but I thank and praise God that He knows me and has given me to know this: Jesus Christ is Lord/YHVH! And the time is coming, and now is, that we who say we believe are going to have to be with Him if we do not want to be against Him. Love for Him and for all the brethren – Jewish and non-Jewish (or, to put it another way, Gentile and non-Gentile) – is a distinctive of the ‘true religion’.
Should we continue to hear “solidarity statements” from our leaders and intellectuals over offenses to other people and institutions of faith, but not to us and ours, let us remember the words of the apostle John: “. . .every spirit that does not confess the Yeshua Messiah has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world; therefore, they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. WE ARE OF GOD. HE SHO KNOWS GOD HEARS US (the Apostles whom Jesus chose to write the New Testament Scriptures); HE WHO IS NOT OF GOD DOES NOT HEAR US. By this we know the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.” (1Jn 4:3-6)
“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Messiah is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Rom 10:1-4)
“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For is they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on Earth, much more if we turn away from Him who speaks from Heaven, whose voice then shook the Earth, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I shake not only the Earth, but also Heaven”. (Hag 2:6-23) Now this, “Yet once more”, indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire!” (Heb 12:25-29)
May there be many who repent unto salvation, and unto righteousness for holiness this new year!
Your brother and fellow servant in God’s vineyard and His whole field.
NECESSITY OF MILLENNIAL KINGDOM – 9 Nov 2009
God is moving on! This really must be our faith in the sovereignty of the Lord: nothing can or will prevent Him from having His way! We are to His praise, even if opposers consider us blasphemers. Even some of them will become His friends when they come to realize not only who Jesus really is, but also who they really are in the light of His countenance.
Randi and I spent about 10 days in Germany. I didn’t go to Germany until 1999, but I have been there since then more times than to any other country. There is truly a special relationship between German believers and Jewish believers which the Holy Spirit has produced. Both Jews and Germans have been guilty of the most blatant sins against God the Father and His Son, and both have been forgiven and given a new life in Messiah which testifies to the power of the blood to heal and to cleanse us from all our sin. It was very beautiful to see the autumn colors on the trees, something which we do not have here. It’s a reminder that when one dies in the Lord, there is glory!
I felt that the time for the message of God’s plan for the nations and of the necessity of the Millennial Kingdom has come. Only a relatively few had considered this before. There is very little thought, and even less teaching on this subject which all the Scriptures anticipate. Israel is the first-born son/nation; therefore, there will be others. Egypt, for example (Is 19:23-25; Zech 14). Other nations are spoken to by the God of Israel concerning their future in His Kingdom. Jesus is coming to rule over Israel and the other nations, and those who have part in the first resurrection will join Him in that rule. Because YHVH God is going to save Israel as a nation, other nations also have significance. A remnant from many nations will enter in to the Messianic Kingdom when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in great power and glory. Individuals from every people-group are being saved and born-again now. Nations will follow at the revelation of Jesus Christ! Those who have blessed the least of Yeshua’s brethren will be shown mercy; those who lightly regarded them will be sent away. (Gen 12:2; Mt 25:31-46) I have no doubt that this subject will find more and more attention in the days and months and years ahead of us. And I also believe that effective evangelism of the Jewish people will require an answer to the still unfilled promises of God for the NATION, even as individual Jewish men and women believe the good news of salvation today, which is far better!
REJOICING IN THE WHOLE WORD OF GOD – 12 Oct 2009
Praise God for Yeshua/Jesus, whose name is the Word of God, and about whom the whole of the Book is written! Moses in the Torah points to our need of Him who saves all who believe from the death sentence upon all who seek their own righteousness as a way of salvation.
There is a spiritual law which says that as you judge, so shall you be judged; therefore be careful how you judge. It’s written that even the Gentiles have a law unto themselves, and they know what is acceptable or unacceptable between them, and judge accordingly. Even groups like the Mafia have their own code of law that they use to judge amongst themselves. In Ezekiel 18, YHVH God, who knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart, says to Israel — and to the rest — that the Chosen People think that the Lord’s ways are not right — do not make sense. But He says, isn’t it that your ways are not right — do not make sense?! The judgments of God are past finding out, and no one is able to live up to His high and holy standard of righteous — none, that is, except for the sinless Son of God/Son of Man, whether He is known as Yeshua Messiah, or as Jesus Christ. The perfect way of the only wise God and Savior says to Israel (and to the Gentiles), “My way doesn’t make sense to you, then I will judge you by your own standard. . .and unless you repent, you will die! Why should you die, O Israel!?” The Lord Yeshua will be found perfectly just when He judges (Ps 51:4; Jn 5:22-24).
I believe that God is compressing all of history into this last generation, so that when He judges, all will know His righteousness. The last days shall be as the beginning: the way of Cain; as in the days of Noah and the flood; as in the days of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. All these episodes of human history have been recorded for us and impressed upon the human consciousness to ‘help’ people fear YHVH, the righteous Judge of all the Earth. But, as the apostle to the Jews writes for us, we willfully forget; there is a collective amnesia which sears the conscience, with the false hope that there isn’t really the God that the Bible and the Holy Spirit tell us IS.
All normal people recognize that the Holocaust really occurred. There are many dear German Christians who have sought the mercies of God over their sins, and the sins of their relatives, repenting of them, and showing genuine and tangible love for the Jewish people and for the nation of Israel. Those who would publicly deny the Holocaust, and seek to persuade others likewise, have absolutely no basis in historical truth against the vast amount of evidence and of still living eyewitnesses on both sides to testify of the great horror and sin, and of their thankfulness that the Jewish people and Israel nonetheless survived and have even prospered. Some praise God for this; others praise themselves; others are still simply devastated by it all.
Without acknowledging the Word of God, the Jewish people say that all German people are guilty the Holocaust, whether or not they were directly involved, and whether or not they were even alive at that time. Yet this is indeed what the Bible teaches: in Adam we all have sinned; in our rulers the people become guilty (Lev 4); we and our fathers have sinned against the Lord. Only through personal repentance and faith in Jesus and His sacrificial death for us, and His resurrection from among the dead is a person freed from this inherited ‘original’ sin. Just as the Jewish people have and are judging the German nation, so is the God of Israel still holding His own people to account for the very thing which we have sought to deny, dismiss, escape, forget — and to get others to do the same (Mt 27:62-66; 28:11-15; Acts 3:12-26): the crucifixion and the resurrection of the very one whom God has made the Scapegoat for OUR sin of unbelief, rebellion, and dishonor against our Father God and against His Son.
As God is sovereignly working out His history to save His people from their sins, He is also going to judge them by their own conduct; and unless they repent, they will die by their own standard of righteous judgment towards others who have sinned against them. Israel does not and can not live up to its own lower standard: they say, “we will never forgive and never forget!” If this is so with God’s own people and inheritance, how much more so will He judge nations and persons who willfully seek Israel’s calamity! God does forgive, and He no longer holds our sin against us: He “forgets”. This last generation is being brought before the one true God, and will know first-hand His righteousness throughout the ages. He changes not, so that we are not consumed.
Please pray for the repentance unto salvation for Jewish people everywhere, that in loving the Lord, they would also honor all those who fear Him and do righteousness.
HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD AND SAVIOR! – 27 Sep 2009
Praise God for Yeshua that our names are already written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
As Israel and the Jewish people prepare to observe the holiest of holy days in the redemptive calendar which God has given to her — the Day of Atonements — it’s interesting to consider a remarkable feature of the incarnation of God appearing in the flesh, that great mystery of godliness. We often think of the Lord Yeshua as the Lamb, and as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The Lion, symbolizing the authority and power of the King of kings who is rightly to be feared and honored, emptied Himself to become the lowly and meek dependent Lamb of God, who always walked in the Spirit in faithful obedience to the Father. But what is interesting on the Day of Atonements (Yom Ha-Kippurim) is that the sacrificial animal which God ordained was a goat, actually two goats, to provide the atoning sacrifice of all Israel’s sins.
A goat is a clean animal, acceptable for both eating and for sacrifice, but which has a character that will not enter the Kingdom of God (Mt 25:31-46). Goats do not love their shepherds, but are very content to benefit from all that the Shepherd provides as He leads them to pasture. Goats can pretty well take care of themselves, and are not choosy about what they will eat, and will also annoy the sheep by eating their food, too. Shepherds can waste a lot of time and energy dealing with the goats, while it is the sheep which require their attention. Sheep are faithful to their shepherd, and are dependent upon him for their protection, guidance, and provision.
The apostle Paul writes in Rom 8:3 that Messiah came in the flesh, in the likeness of sinful flesh. The Lion who is the Lamb not only came in a body like ours which requires to be replaced with a new and eternally suited one in the resurrection, but in the judgment of men, Jesus was/still is a troubler within and among the children of Israel and also of all humanity. He did not entrust Himself to man, but rather to God. He did not submit to their authority when it opposed the truth and will of God, but as a sacrificial Lamb with the authority of the kingly Lion, He both taught and corrected and rebuked with all authority. In the eyes of human powers and judges, Yeshua was a deceiver and a criminal. In their eyes, at best He was a goat who was expendable for the sake of their own flock. God was willing to come down to dwell among us to be condemned in order to provide salvation for us all, especially for those who repent and believe the good news!
There is a beautiful song, “Above All”, but the last line misses the heart of the Lamb. In Lev 16 we have the most detailed description of God’s provision of His sacrifice to forgive all of the sins of all Israel, especially for those who believed it. One of the goats was sacrificed unto YHVH. The other was sent alive with all of the sins of the people upon it unto Azazel, and is the scapegoat outside the camp bearing all the reproach, even though it has made it possible for God to dwell amongst His sinful people. Before Yeshua went to the cross, He first went to the Garden of Gethshamane. There He offered Himself, with tears and bloody sweat in prayer to God His Father, to willingly obey Him in His love for Him, to accomplish salvation according to the plan of the uniquely one God before the creation of this universe. Afterwards, Jesus went to the cross and bore the sin of the world and all of our sins, asking the Father to forgive us because we really don’t know what we have done or do with respect to the holiness of our God. The song concludes that Jesus first of all thought about me, but the truth is that first of all, He thought about His Father, and in that, He gave Himself also for us, still considered “clean but sinful”, but for the grace of God to give us eyes to see, ears to hear, a new heart and a new spirit. It’s all about Him!
For the glory of the Ancient of Days and the Lamb upon the Throne!
HAPPY NEW BIRTHDAY! – 6 Sep 2009
I think that fairly describes what the Jewish New Year is really about. The Jewish people just don’t realize it yet! YHVH God’s redemptive plan for Israel and for the whole Earth looks forward to the repentance of Israel from all her sins against the God who chose her and the land for His inheritance, and the national day of Israel’s sins being forgiven, as prophesied by Zechariah in chap. 12. Israel will be re-born as a people and nation — just as individual Jews and also Gentiles are re-born now. Truly that will be a ‘new year’ to be forever celebrated with a new song of the one whom they still despise and reject, but whom the full remnant from all the tribes (‘all Israel’) will come to love with all their hearts, souls, mind, and strength. There is good reason to hope with anticipation that this great day will occur during the lifetime of some of us reading this! But whether we be dead or alive, the voice of the Son of God will sound forth — or, perhaps, shout out like the blast of the shofar — “COME UP!” (or whatever He wants to say 🙂 ). And those who hear that voice of our great Shepherd, will enjoy ruling and reigning with Him over His beloved Israel and the other sheep nations He has rewarded for their righteous deeds done to Him through their love for least of His brethren. (Mt 25:31-40)
FEAR OF YHVH – 23 Aug 2009
The over-arching theme of my teachings/exhortations seem to be that “God Is Redeeming Israel Today”, and within that, it seems that the heart of the message is the sanctification of the name of YEHOVAH (including of Yeshua/Jesus) in connection with the fear of the LORD/YHVH. The fear of His Name will be the impetus to sanctify/hallow the Father’s holy name (Ezek 20; 36; 39; Mt 6:9; Rev 11 and 15, for a very few examples). True revival will restore awe and holy fear in believers, and we will honor our great God and Savior, repenting of our sins, forgiving those who have sinned against us, returning to the WORD OF GOD for truth and sustenance in hopeful expectation of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in great power and glory. As our troubles become more intense — because of our faith and hope and love for Yeshua — so, too, will our expectation and anticipation grow and intensify for the heart-felt cry of the last prayer in the Bible: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” To this end, all the prophets and apostles speak with one voice.
RESPONSES TO TYPICAL OBJECTIONS – 30 July 2009
Greetings in the love of truth and peace!
Tisha b’Av (the 9th of Av, which is the fifth Hebrew month in the Biblical order) is about over. The Jewish religion has made this day a day of mourning and fasting, almost to a degree greater than that of the Day of Atonements (Yom Ha-Kippurim), commemorating firstly the destruction of the first Temple. The second Temple was also destroyed at the same time, and other tragedies in Jewish history. God is apparently trying to communicate something to His people. The Rabbis say that only the Messiah can change the fast days connected with the destruction of the Temple to days of joy and gladness (Zech 8:18-19). That being so, I think that the anti-christ will do just that, as a proof that he has the privilege and authority of taking the rightful place of the true Messiah, and he will do it without any truth as to the reason for why the temples were destroyed and the other tragedies have occurred. They will celebrate the new building they have built and the restoration of sacrifices they hope will bring cleansing and forgiveness for all their sins. The true Messiah, Yeshua, has changed these days for the Jewish believer (Is 61:1-3) already now, and He will do so for the saved remnant when they know Him for who He truly is.
In the meantime, even as we pray and intercede for our people, we also have a testimony that Messiah has come and has given us joy in our God and His salvation and the newness of life. As an aside, these four fast days were instituted by the Jewish people for themselves, and God recognized them if not commending them. The Jewish people also instituted Purim and Hanukkah, and the Lord recognized them. Why should He not allow the Gentile segment of the Church the same privilege and honor to establish meaningful days/dates to commemorate, whether or not they are always done with the purest of motives? If all Israel is not Israel — and we do not dissociate ourselves from our unbelieving brethren in the flesh — then it is no strange thing that all the Church is not the Church.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Thank-you, G, for replying.
Your objections are not new to me, and I have had to deal with them over the years. The conclusions I have come to satisfy me completely as a Jew, who believes in the death and resurrection of Messiah, and the New Covenant in His blood — meaning that it is established upon His death, the very thing which the Lord’s Supper reminds us of (1Cor 11:26) The New Testament is written by Israeli Jews, other than Luke and Acts, who received their status and authority by the Lord Yeshua Himself, and through whom the Holy Spirit has given us their teachings grounded in Yeshua’s (Jn 16:12-15; 17:20), and brings in the newness which His resurrection brings believers into (Heb 10:19-23). There is both continuity and discontinuity, and it is all rooted in the one true God and His Word. Our Hebraic roots are found in God’s covenantal promises, which as Jesus testifies, all speak of Him.
I will respond briefly to your points, just enough to help show that the common objections can not be applied dogmatically. My source for anything pertaining to our faith and practice comes from the whole counsel of God — the whole of the Bible — which is both a Tenach/Old Testament and a New Testament requirement (Is 8:20; 66:1-5; Mt 15:1-9; Rev 3:8).
(My responses follow the objection, and begin indented.)
At 12:56 PM 7/28/2009 -0700, G wrote:
1- Peter’s dream that all foods are clean. If you read the entire section, you will notice that Peter was confused. He later realized that the true interpretation was that the gentiles are “clean” and brought into the the vine. The “Kosher” foods are actually health instructions.
Peter may have been confused, given the new thing the Lord was showing him. We probably would have been, too. That Peter did come to understand that the unclean animals he was told three times to kill and eat did not pertain to Gentile people only (he didn’t begin to kill and eat them!), but to the more mundane thing of God breaking down the tremendous social barrier which the Law had set up between Jews and Gentiles because of dietary regulations, is clear from Gal 2:11-14. This event probably occurred after the Jerusalem Council established the guidelines for Gentile participation and equality in the Body of Messiah. Peter, who knew what God had shown him about food and Gentiles, was hypocritical and fearful of those Jewish believers who still had not understood fully how the gospel allows Jewish and Gentile believers to eat the same foods together at the same table, and frees Jewish believers to be sent throughout the world with the gospel to all peoples! Peter accepted this rebuke from Paul, and even commends him and the wisdom he had from God for all of us to pay heed to, despite the difficulties (2Pt 3:14-16).
“Kosher” foods were not given primarily for bodily health, but to distinguish between the unclean and the clean (Lev 11:47). I have no doubt that God’s ‘diet’ to Israel would have been healthy, yet I also have no doubt that the God of the Jews and of the Gentiles did not leave 99.9% of the world eating unhealthily. Foods do need to be properly prepared and cooked, but the New Testament ‘diet’ available to all believers, should we want or ever need, is given in Mk 7:14-20 and 1Tim 4:3b-6. God does not want His people to be in our own character like the unclean animals. The blood of the Lamb has made us ‘kosher’, and He wants us to show it.
2- Paul’s comment about the sabbaths was not for the Sabbath (7th day). Yeshua is Lord of the Sabbath and he never changed it. The sabbaths represented are for the festivals. (e.g., the first and last days are sabbaths).
I don’t know how you can limit Paul’s teachings on the Sabbath to only those which begin and end YHVH’s own ‘festivals’. Those sabbath days were important to Him, as well. It is interesting that in all the accounts in which Yeshua comments on the continuing relevance of the  commandments, He does not mention the 7th day Sabbath. He Himself is God’s Sabbath rest, and ours, too. We are to cease from our own works (Heb 4:10), and to do the work of God. While Jesus was alive, He had no reason to change the day, for the day after the Sabbath is “the day that YHVH has made, and we shall rejoice in it”, and it speaks to His resurrection (Ps 118:22-24; Mt 21:38-44). Praise God for the resurrection of Yeshua, for this is to justify those who believe! The Holy Spirit is fulfilling the Word of God — from Moses, the prophets, the Lord Messiah, His apostles — even if people and councils and churches do not realize or recognize it. It is very revealing that all these ‘Jewish concerns’ — Sabbath and food regulations — receive no emphasis in the epistles of the apostles to the circumcision — Peter, John, and James; nor in the letters to the churches representing the whole Body of Messiah throughout the age by the Head of the Church and the King of Israel!
3- The Roman Catholic church which was the church brought about by Constantine. Proposed in 317 AD and accepted by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. All its rituals are of pagan origin. It also removed the commandment about idols and split another to make ten.
Many of the pagan rituals of the RCC are similar to pagan rituals which Israel herself already did before, and which the prophets rebuked and called them to repentance for centuries (Jer 7:18; Ezek 8; etc). Living in Israel even today places us in the middle of tremendous idolatries and superstitions by the most religious of the people. Nonetheless, just as YHVH God has never let go of His covenant claims upon Israel, despite her gross idolatries, neither has Yeshua/Jesus forsaken His purchase of all who confess Him to be the Christ/Messiah, the Son of God (Mt 16:15-18). We see this clearly in His letters through John to the seven churches, and the Thyatira church does sound very much like the RCC. He is calling us and them to repentance, or else face certain judgment, for He still has authority over all of us, just as He still does over Jewish people and Israel, and is still calling them/her to repentance back to the Father through faith in Him (Lev 26:40-45; Zech 12:10-14; Mt 23:37-39).
4- You must understand Jewish Culture to truly understand the meaing of both the Tenach and B’rit Hadashah. Some of your interpreataions are from the “Christian” hijacking of the Jewishness of the Bible.
I am Jewish, and have always been conscious of my identity and culture. It is not my intention to be ‘hijacked’ by either Judaizers or Hellenizers, for the gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, but of God in Messiah from Above. No flesh will glory in His presence. But to assume that one must understand Jewish Culture in order to ‘truly understand’ the Bible is arrogant. Do only the learned, the wise, the mighty, and the noble know God and His ways? (1Cor 1:20-25) Has God left most of the world’s inhabitants through most of the centuries who have never known a Jew — and when Israel was not a nation in its own land and culture — ignorant of knowing Him and His ways? Even the prophets and angels did not always know exactly what God was doing and when! The religious leaders of Yeshua’s days and following ridiculed and dismissed the apostles as unlearned and mere Galileans, and thought that Yeshua Himself was only a carpenter’s son who did not sufficiently understand their religion and customs. Learning can be interesting and useful, but it can also become a snare, and there is much which is falsely called ‘knowledge’. (1Tim 6:20-21)
It is also wrong to presume that anything which the ‘Christians’ have interpreted is inadequate to those of us who are Jewish. Does God only reveal truth to and through Jews? Are only Jewish believers able to teach all other believers? This thinking is a recipe for pride and envy, and for even mocking the many great contributions which God has graciously and bountifully blessed the world with through these sons of Abraham by faith, and filled with the same Holy Spirit which He gave first to the Jewish believers. This attitude does not promote the unity and equality of Jewish and Gentile believers in Messiah, and of the one new [corporate] man who is also the Bride of Christ. It is a cause of division and discord amongst the brethren. We Jews have shown that we do not always know what we are talking about, yet, as the natural branches, we should be learning to be merciful to those who have been grafted in contrary to nature. We will be judged more severely. We all have much to learn in knowing God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ whom He sent!
We must all be reconciled to God and to His thoughts and ways. This is sanctification, and the Holy Spirit is thankfully still at work in us to finish what God has begun.
All in all, bless you and all “fighting” for the spread of the Gospel in Israel.
Thank-you, and God bless you, too.
FOR THOSE WHO SPEAK, AS ORACLES OF GOD – 28 Jul 2009
The Messianic community in Israel and abroad is not of one color or in one stream. There is no ‘spokesperson’ whose views are accepted by all as representing them – and this is right. We do not all look the same, nor do we all have the same preferences when it comes to the many things which are offered us. We are not called to the same service or gifted with the same gifts or skilled with the same skills. Of all that which is lawful, not all are evaluated in the same way by every one at all times as to whether it is helpful or edifying, or whether any one has come under its power into bondage.
People tend toward labeling and stereotyping because it seems neat and natural. Oftentimes there is much truth in the description, but the exceptions usually take exception to being categorized or lumped together in quite that way. There are a number of things spoken of in broad strokes and generalizations by both believers and unbelievers regarding the people, the faith, and the practice of “Messianic Jews”. (The term, Messianic Jew, is problematic, because Lubavitch Jews/Chabad and Temple Mount Faithful adherents are also ‘messianic Jews’.) I want to set some things in order from my present view and understanding because, yes, I am one of those who does not like to be too rigidly labeled and categorized. Others have done that for me at times! 🙂 But as one who is born of the Spirit, I myself cannot tell always where I may come from or where the Lord is taking me. Right now, I am reacting and responding to a number of things which have recently, and some for many years, been expressed. Perhaps the Lord is preparing for something.
Randi and I moved to Israel only seven months after becoming believers in Yeshua/Jesus as the Christ/Messiah. We briefly connected at first with what was then the Messianic Jewish movement, but we did not ‘subscribe’ to it, nor were we in the U.S. very long as believers. We came to Israel, where most everything is already Jewish. I have dear friends and brothers who are in the Messianic Jewish [synagogue] style of expressing their lives, both here and in the U.S. What keeps us in good fellowship, though, is our agreement on the ‘real’ Yeshua – both in His deity and in His humanity; on the ‘true’ gospel – there is only one way of salvation, both for the Jews and for the Gentiles (Why would God change His way for the Jews after He started the way of salvation with them?!); and, on the ‘holiness’of the Holy Spirit. To be open, I have no problem that we fall into the category of what some might call fundamentalist and evangelical. We are also Pentecostal and charismatic, but also in these, not in the way of ‘labeling’ and ‘stereotyping’. The problem comes when some want to find fault with being a believer like this, or in a congregation of this kind – mostly for the reason that we don’t quite fit their ‘acceptable norms’. What is the matter with believing the Bible to really be God’s Word, of preaching the gospel for salvation, of being baptized in/by/with the Holy Spirit, of having and using spiritual gifts?
Joseph was in Egypt and received an Egyptian name. God arranged that, and used Joseph in wonderful ways to save many lives, both of Gentiles, and also of His family, the house of Jacob. So, too, with Yeshua: too many love Yeshua, but are embarrassed about Jesus. God has let His anointed and beloved Son be called by many names amongst the languages of the nations. The day will eventually come when YHVH will be one and His Name one. But if we are thankful for what our sovereign God has done, and for who He is, then we can speak honorably of Him, and praise His name, in all the languages God has given mankind to glorify the Savior of the world. The name Yeshua in Hebrew appears a number of times in the Tanach (the Old Testament, which is passing away; it has not passed away). Some examples are in Ezra 3:2 and Neh 8:17. In English it appears as Jeshua; in the Septuagint, which was translated more than two centuries before Yeshua was born in flesh and blood, the Greek translation of the name Yeshua/Jeshua is the same as in the New Testament. In other words, Jesus is not some pagan name, but rather a name which God has been pleased to honor for many centuries! The same is true regarding Messianic or Christian. They are the same word, meaning the same thing. It is neither a Jewish nor a Gentile designation, but an identification with the Messiah/Christ.
The same regarding the birth of the Lord: His birth is not a pagan event, but a very holy one. It is a Biblical day of rejoicing by those who looked for and loved the fulfillment of the promise given so clearly to Adam and Eve, to the Middle East through Balaam, to Israel through Isaiah. The Jewish shepherds in Israel sent by the rejoicing angels to behold the One who had come into the world; the righteous and devout Jewish Israeli old man, Shimon/Simeon; and the Israeli prophetess Hannah/Anna, all celebrated the birth of the Messiah of God, the Holy One of Israel, the Son of the Highest! Let the unbelievers and the heathen do what they will, but let us sanctify the Lord in our hearts and worship Him in purity, not giving over anything to the devil, but redeeming that which has been taken over by those who fear not YHVH.
Not all Messianic Jews religiously follow the customs and traditions of normative Judaism. Neither do we renounce all of those traditions, but follow or use them in the liberty we have when it seems appropriate or simply desirable. The focus, though, is on the substance, rather than on the shadow or type, or on the culture itself. I was raised in the Conservative Jewish synagogue. When I was born-again, I was no longer Jew-ish (like a Jew), but, by the wonderful grace of God, became a Jew!
For those who claim to keep Biblically kosher (i.e., maintaining dietary laws regarding clean and unclean meats, but [rightly] disregarding the rabbinic prohibition against eating meat and dairy foods together), I have never heard one say that the numerous passages in the New Testament are relevant as to what makes for Biblical. It is written that Yeshua made all foods clean. Yeshua came first of all to the House of Israel, to the ones who had the Law (Torah) with its regulations about ritually acceptable foods. Once we accept that, or reject it, our understanding of the other verses and passages will be influenced. Clean foods were already clean, and so needed no ‘cleansing’ by the Messiah; it is the unclean foods which He made clean, which makes sense when I realize that not only did He cleanse the ‘defiled’ Gentiles in the hearts and minds of the Israeli Jewish Apostles, but He also cleansed this ‘unclean’ Jew! We are free to eat what we want or not, but let us honor the word and the work of our Lord in His death and resurrection when we speak of those things which are lawful and permissible, without any judgment of one’s ‘Jewishness’. Let us testify to the new creation which we are, and to a new priesthood and its duties and privileges, which necessarily also changes the law for those in Messiah in His New Covenant.
Likewise regarding the 7th day Sabbath (Shabbat): it has not been done away with, and it also has a prophetic fulfillment with the soon coming Kingdom of God back to Israel and the whole of creation. However, Moses wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit about the ‘day after the Sabbath’ (Lev 23:11, 15), referring to the first fruits/resurrection, and to the day of Shavuot/Pentecost. The Scriptures do not make any special mention of either the 16th or the 17th of the first month (Nisan), nor of the 6th of the third month (Sivan). The counting of the omer/sheaves begins with life from the dead! Our new life begins not with our death and burial, but with our resurrection in and with Christ! Eternity is after this very good creation is brought to an end – when time and history are concluded — and the perfect new heavens and new Earth is created for all who love God in truth. It is this day after the Shabbat, i.e., the first day of the week, that the Jewish Israeli Apostles wrote about to celebrate as a witness and a testimony to the fulfillment of what God did in Yeshua resurrecting from among the dead sometime early Sunday morning.
Again, we are free, according to New Testament instructions (which are very realistic for what God is doing to save people wherever they may live and from whatever culture), to assemble together for worship on any day now, if that will be most helpful for most of the people. Here in Israel, among the Jews, it is obviously most normal to meet on the Saturday; in a Muslim country, Christians may find it more useful to meet on Fridays. For Arab Christians here, Sunday evening is the normal day for most to gather together. Whatever day it may be, we still have the responsibility to honor the days which YHVH God has specially honored, because we are His witnesses to His work of creation and redemption, and to show ourselves approved by Him. It is not a badge of faith in Yeshua/Jesus just because we meet on Shabbat, especially when most of the world naturally assumes that those who believe in Him would worship on Sunday. It may be Jewish, but not necessarily Messianic!
1Jn 2:22-25 makes it very definite that the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints is neither Judaism nor Islam, each of them falling into the negative categories which the Holy Spirit inspired John to write for our admonition and learning. God’s own ‘theology’ of monotheism is different than the definitions given by both Judaism and Islam. God has given Israel to be an example to the Church, meaning that the Jewish people are a microcosm of all humanity, because the Body of Christ is made up of persons from every tribe and nation. Judaism is likewise a paradigm for other religions that have once received the revelation from the true God, but turned it into a legalistic, works-based approach to righteousness (Rom 10:2-4). The Roman Catholic Church is very similar to Judaism, but on the other side of identifying who Jesus is, and any other Christian/Messianic denomination or stream can fall into the same pattern of having those who place works and tradition above living faith and hope, which have the capacity to be all things to all people for the gospel and the Kingdom of God’s sake, rooted in the righteousness of God.
I think that it is reasonable to say that Judaism – the religion whose focus is presumably on YHVH God, but which has turned inward onto itself/themselves, departing from the true knowledge of God, and so seeks man’s approval over God’s – will not be the ‘religion’ of the Millennial Kingdom which Yeshua is coming back to usher in and preside over! There is definitely a future for the Jewish/Israeli people, at least another 1000 years! Praise the Lord! But the full remnant that is all Israel is not all ‘Jew-ish’, but is rather the restoration of the whole House of Israel (Ezek 37:15-28). So now, in the Body of Messiah within Israel, the Jewish believers are difficult to define, to put a finger on. And it is not really helpful to insist on it, in order to prove one’s Jewish or Israeli credentials to some one or other’s satisfaction. Our faith in Jesus/Yeshua places us outside normative Judaism, and no self-respecting unbelieving Jewish person will accept it otherwise. Only a revelation from the Father can change the notion which says that Jesus is not for the Jewish people, and that Jews can not believe in Jesus. (See this very enlightening response by unbelieving Jews to a believer: http://www.jewishisrael.com/profiles/blogs/weve-got-mail-from-missionary ) The Scriptures are true: Israel is an enemy of the gospel, but beloved for the fathers’ sake, and for the salvation of countless Gentiles. This reality will not change until Israel cries out for Yeshua to save her/them (Mt 23:37-39).
Our current court case against the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Beer Sheva, Yehuda Deri, and against the anti-Messianic/Christian organization, Yad L’Achim, is not in order to gain legitimacy for Jewish believers in Jesus here in Israel in a normal civil liberties sense. Homosexuals and others who want to be recognized as a legitimate grouping within society also may ‘wave the flag’ of serving in the military and the paying of taxes as reasons enough to approve them, if not to embrace their ‘faith’ or lifestyle. Nor is our lawsuit in order to avoid or to prevent any future opposition or persecution against believers, which, according to my understanding of the end times, is going to increase before the great and terrible Day of YHVH. It is to uphold a standard of righteousness which still exists within the current laws of the State of Israel, and to, hopefully, help BREAK THROUGH THE STRONGHOLD OVER THE MINDS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE AGAINST THE GOSPEL, and to allow SOME to consider what they are doing, and turn away from evil, and towards the truth, light, and righteousness, and that they be saved by the very One they now hate without a cause. God in His longsuffering and goodness is bringing repentance in the fear of His Name to many in Israel, and to His people still dispersed among the nations.
We are called to have a prophetic voice, to be light and salt, to be witnesses of the truth of Messiah in Jesus. We are also called to strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace – love – with all who call upon the name of Yeshua/Jesus from a pure heart. May the grace of God our Father continue to work in me to enlarge, soften, purify my heart to love Him more, to love the brethren more, to love my fellow man more, to love my enemies more.
Hear, O Israel, YHVH our God, YHVH is one! May we see the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in great power and glory speedily in our day and generation!
STAND IN FAITH. . . ACCORDING TO RIGHTEOUSNESS – 21 July 2009
Shalom From the Mighty God!
While looking through some files, hoping to delete some, I came across one which I had to read again. It was written in December, 1983. Only one person on this mailing list knew me back then. We had been in Israel a little over two years at the time of the writing.
Since then, Randi and I have had four wonderful children (really!) — three of whom so far have finished or are still serving military duty. One of the things which distinguishes our faith from religion is that we have a personal relationship with God our Father and the Lord Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ. There are some things which God has said, and inspired to be written for our instruction and learning, which are binding upon all believers, whatever stream of the faith we may be in. Departing from iniquity is an example. There are other issues, though, where there is more room for ‘different strokes for different folks’, but which, nonetheless, must still show themselves — our choices, that is — to be in accord with God’s Word, whether for liberty or whether for personal convictions and/or taste. Food is one example of that.
I have attached a ‘defense’ I presented back then regarding what I believe I had received from the Lord for me regarding my military service in the Israeli Defense Forces. Honestly, I had to learn a few things about the wise ways of our Father, and of the Lord of Hosts/Armies. I thought, and still do, that the issue of taking up arms in the military should be more open than it is as a possible option for believers. (In the U.S. Army, I did take up weapons as an unbeliever, even though I didn’t ‘like’ it, but I had nothing to ground myself on except my own personality and conscience.) The Holy Spirit had to teach me that not all believers needed to lay down their weapons or refuse to take them, and that unless someone KNOWS the Word of the Lord to him in such a situation, he will not be able to stand successfully against the opposition, whether from within, or whether from the authority of the State. The New Testament leaves room for believers to, or not to, carry arms for military service to their nation. In Israel today, there is the accepted norm that when boys (and girls) finish high school, they immediately go into the military, without much thoughtfulness or teaching within the Messianic Body on the subject to allow our children to consider before the Lord as to His will for him or her.
As I said, we have three children who have already been involved in active duty: one of whom is an officer. . .and who taught soldiers how to shoot!; and another who is in an elite combat unit, and who was in Gaza in January in the war against Hamas. Each of our children has his/her own relationship with Yeshua, and I am certainly glad for that! It is also a lesson for me about God’s ways not being ours, and His thoughts not ours. A ‘religion’ or a cult will impose rules across the board on certain issues, like to young children or to slaves; the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints is lived out in a relationship as sons and daughters to our great God and Savior, who is bringing us to maturity. God is good, and knows each of His children personally.
Anyway, I send this out as a look back to now.
God bless you,
As many here know I have made an important decision concerning my service in the Israeli Defense Forces. I want to share some of the principles which have come out as a result of my decision, for we all fare trials of our faith in Messiah. We have a responsibility to stand in faith in order to bear witness of God in Christ, and not of ourselves or others.
From the very beginning–nearly eight months ago–that I took action by writing to the IDF explaining my position, according to what the Holy Spirit had made known to me, almost immediately I encountered opposing viewpoints from believers and others, who were unaware of my attitude or action. Yet I rested in my peace with God because I felt certain about what He had shown me.
Over the months, the Lord confirmed His Word to me, which strengthened and encouraged me, and for this I gave (give) Him thanks and praise. Looking back I can see His preparing me for stronger and direct opposition from the IDF itself, and more subtle testing of my obedience to faith from those nearer to me. All acted or spoke out of a genuine concern and with good intentions, and some even used the Scriptures. (I appreciated that the most actually.)
Let me emphasize that I appreciate very much the prayer support and encouragement I have received from all of you even though there is not complete agreement or understanding. God in His infinite wisdom will use us as goads for one another to challenge and to prove our faith and resolve, and to enable us to stand the greater trials to come in our sojourn towards the Promised Land.
It is not that we have exactly attained resurrection life or are already able to be perfect, but we are to follow after these in Messiah Yeshua. So I hope that by His mercy I have obtained grace to answer those who have challenged me with love in the assurance of the victory I have in Christ.
In Romans 14 it is written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that anything not of faith is sin. Just last week as I was reading the Bible, one verse spoke out which could allow someone to take a different stand than I have and justify themselves. A seed of doubt entered my mind despite all that the Lord had spoken and shown to me through the whole of Scripture. This seed, if left unchecked, threatened to weaken my resolve to stand firm upon the truth God had given me, and to be lukewarm is most distasteful to our Lord. So I asked Him to help me out, even to the point of providing me a proper way of changing or modifying my position. This time He used another brother, not aware of my doubt, to encourage and strengthen me, as well as ministering to me through His word and through other believers who have taken a similar view. Our perfect Teacher and Father was preparing me to stand by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony.
Our faith must operate along the distinct path which the Lord has for each of His elect, and which therefore we must accept as from Him. He has His mind for each one of us, and it is our individual responsibility to use the mind of Christ we have received both to know and to do His will. I cannot have faith for another, nor can another for me, insofar as our personal walk by faith in the Spirit is concerned.
Without faith, we cannot please God. And except there be works of faith to test it and give evidence of it, our faith is dead and not living, But what must our faith be subject to or based upon in order for it to build up the inner man and be pleasing to God? The Scriptures say that the righteous shall live by his faith– his own personal faith. And we see that our faith must be subject
to righteousness–our right relationships with God and with man–distinguishing between believers and unbelievers, between family and others, etc.
We are instructed in righteousness by the Scriptures–the inspired word of God–the truth. Except our walk of faith be grounded in truth, it cannot be a walk in the righteousness of Christ , and it will not be confirmed by the Holy Spirit. Anything we do in our life that is not anointed–no matter our intentions or opinions or our own ideas as to how to win souls for salvation; no matter how we allow ourselves to be deceived to justify or rationalize our actions– can best be described as a filthy rag and will burn in the day of judgment of our works. Only that which is in and of Christ is able to be resurrected– is able to live eternally and minister life to others. For God is a Spirit and must be worshipped in Spirit; and in fact, the Father is even now seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Faith is the reality of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen. Abraham believed in YHVH–the invisible, self-existent, eternal God–and it was accounted to him as righteousness. We are born again into a new life of righteousness. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. God’s Kingdom is not of this world– is not of that which is temporal or tangible or in opposition to His sovereign grace– but of that which is above, unseen, spiritual, eternal.
Our faith must be based upon God’s word and brought to life in us and through us by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit, for the word of truth alone can also kill and minister death. Truth must pass through the cross in order to glorify God in Christ Jesus.
If we are certain of what God has shown us– and He cannot contradict His word or else there is no sure foundation– then we can stand against the schemes of the enemy and overcome the trials of our faith and obedience towards God. Our most difficult trials often come through others whose God is also the LORD.
In 1 Kings 13 it is written of a man of God sent to prophesy against the ungodly ways of the king and the priests. The LORD also instructed the prophet not to eat or drink, nor to return by the same way by which he went. When he had finished his mission, he began to return according to God’s word to him. An old prophet heard of what the man of God had done and went looking for him. Finding him, he invited him to his house. The man of God repeated the word of God spoken to him, and the old prophet lied to him, saying that an angel spoke the word of the LORD to him also, that the man should return with him to his house. So he did so.
Perhaps the old prophet’s heart was with good intent. Maybe he wanted to know more about the man of God and what he had accomplished on his mission. But it was not what the LORD had spoken to the man of God himself. In his disobedience to the living Word of God, he wound up being eaten by a lion on his deterred way home.
We know who the roaring lion is, and he is not usually the Lion of Judah! If we do things leaning on our own understanding or according to our own will contrary to God’s revealed will for us, we too will meet the lion in the form of unrest, lack of inner peace, irritation, or anger when challenged, and our further usefulness will be impaired.
Jesus died for our sins. His blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He is risen from the dead in glory. Let us not make the cross of no account in our lives or testimony, or dishonor the price paid for our redemption and salvation. Let us believe the Word of God in faith, and seek the faith to believe when we lack it. Works of Christian faith are not works born of fear or uncertainty. Let us not strive to please men (for man is never satisfied), but rather live to please God. For even He has placed all of His faith in His Word and in the power of the blood of His Son to accomplish His eternal purpose. Surely we can trust Him to take care of us.
THE LAMB AND THE LION – 14 Apr 2009
Greetings in the name of the Lamb who is also a Lion,
Much is said about how the Jewish people missed the first coming of Messiah because they were looking for a conquering king to free them from the yoke of the Romans and the Greeks — politically and religiously. We were expecting and wanting a king like the Gentiles have — not particularly holy, or even righteous, but someone ‘to be proud of’. When we willfully rejected the Anointed One of God — the true God — we were willing to accept not only a king like the Gentiles have, but the very gentile king himself, Caesar! This apostasy remains till this day on the part of the Jewish nation, wherever we may be — whether in Israel or still scattered amongst the nations to where YHVH drove us.
A particular attribute of God our Father and the Lord Yeshua Messiah is that He is no respecter of persons: He is not partial; He is not prejudiced; His scales are just; to whom more is given, more is expected. He requires more of His own people — Israel on the one hand, and the believers on the other — because we have been the recipients of His revelation and covenants. Judgment begins in His own household as a witness to all of His Fatherly love and of His righteousness.
Many in the Body of Messiah today are showing themselves to be no different than the Jewish people in their misapprehension. Fear God. . .for He has committed us all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. There is no place in the Lord’s all-seeing view for pride or arrogance.
Just as most of Israel set aside much of the Word of God regarding the necessity for the Messiah to suffer the things written about Him and to enter into His glory, so it seems today throughout much of ‘christendom’ that the truth of Jesus being the King of kings is being set aside in order to make nearly all things acceptable to the One who died a criminal’s death on the cross. The false teaching is growing that God in His great love will forgive all sin and sinners, and that virtually no one will have to suffer everlasting punishment for their unbelief and rebellion or lukewarmness against Him for who He Is! Rather than looking for Yeshua to return and judge all unrighteousness and to establish His Kingdom on the Earth, too many of us are satisfied with a gospel of tolerance and of being already full, already rich, already ruling without the others whom the Holy Spirit is bringing to maturity together as one new man with all who have historically placed their faith and hope and love in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lamb is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David; The Lion is the Lamb of God, who was slaughtered for our sins, transgressions, and iniquity. . . .and who rose from among the dead to receive the glory that was His with God before the world was! Messiah/Christ is not divided. He is who He is, and will do all that is written in the Scriptures concerning Himself. To Yeshua/Jesus is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen!
FLOWING SANDS – 8 Mar 2009
The Sea of Galilee is still far below its minimum safe level, and the water crisis is just one of many which Israel is struggling to cope with all at once: environmental, political both within and without, financial, moral. The incoming government is already shuffling around deals and ministries simply to form a government. The outgoing government is already anticipating the eventual downfall of the new. Rather than cooperation, there is opposition and envy. These strange coalitions and alliances we see forming in Israel and globally between incompatible individuals and ideologies and ‘means to an end’ remind me more and more of the toes in the image of King Nebuchadnezzer’s dream which Daniel interpreted for him and us: there is no cohesiveness; it is the weakest element at the point of most need of support; the iron and clay will bring the whole thing down. The coming of the Lord draws near! It is very interesting to me that in Revelation, the coming of the Kingdom of God with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is good news for those of Heaven and for those humans whose hope is set on God and His intent to establish His Son as King in Zion and over all Israel and the Earth. But it is considered a woe for those who are of the world, who are enemies of the true God and Father and of His beloved Son. (Rev 11).
The holiday of Purim is this week, and we remember God’s sovereign ways and power to deliver His people from the hands of those who would destroy them. Ultimately, it did require help and deliverance from another place for God to bring salvation to His people through the Lord’s death on the cross. And, despite all of our best efforts to ‘make the world better’ (tikkun) — and God will judge us on what we have done as believers, whether good or bad — we will still need help and deliverance from that same ‘other place’ for God to bring everlasting righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit to the world He created to be a habitable place.
A VERY DRY NEGEV (which means ‘dry land) – 8 Feb 2009
The last days weather patterns are certainly less predictable than just a few years ago. God’s covenant blessings of the right amount of rain at the right times were based on Israel’s obedience with faith in Him. Since this is still not the case, and since the times are nearing for God’s interventions in righteous judgments, then the lack of ‘good’ rain is a means by which He would want His people to repent and return to Him. (Dt 28:12, 23-24)
Yet God has promised since the Flood that as long as this Earth remains, there would still be the four seasons (Gen 8:22). And He has further promised that as long as He is in control of our unique solar system within His universe, and that the size of the universe can not be determined, Israel would remain a nation before Him, and His covenants with David and with the Levites would not be broken (Jer 31:33-37; 33:19-26).
So we can be assured that Yeshua is going to return at the appointed time to regenerate this Creation and make the Earth a very habitable place during His reign! (Ps 96; Mt 24:32-39; Rom 8:18-25)
INSPIRATION FROM AMOS – 17 Jan 2009
There are times I teach or preach or otherwise communicate in ways that can offend, without intending to be condemning. Yet, like the Lord spoke to Amos, “YHVH God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” The apostle Paul knew the difference when he was speaking the words of God and when he was giving his own sanctified opinion. (1Cor 7:10,12,25,40) I suppose in one way, that is my aim: to speak the truth in righteousness and in love, with a humble spirit, knowing that whatever I have to offer that has any value has only been given me through God’s grace. It’s obvious I am not always going to succeed, but neither can I refrain when the Spirit of the Lord has stirred up something within me that needs to come out.
An Arab brother who has been responding rather sharply to me – sometimes generally as representing a side, other times personally since my name is given – wrote in one response that he can not mention his own name publicly when criticizing Israel or Messianic Jews because he would lose financial support either for his family and/or for his ministry. I told him that that happens to us, too, sometimes.
I remember some years ago, we were receiving support from a family to the congregation. . .until I became called and chosen to be the pastor. The donors were going in an opposite direction regarding ‘church’ and didn’t approve that we were moving in what we believed was the biblical direction of having a full-time pastor dedicated to the flock. Other times I have written regarding my/our views with respect to rabbinic authority and oral law on believers in Yeshua and the New Testament – especially on Jews, but also on Gentile believers. There is also the matter of gifts of the Spirit and our attitude towards different ones which have been directed towards us, and my responses. I do not know all of those on our mailing list personally, or the inclinations of every one on some of these issues. I write and instruct on issues of reconciliation, especially between Jews and Arabs/Israelis and Palestinian believers.
I have taught on the priesthood in the congregation and sent out an article on the appearance of Jesus, touching in a special way on the length of His hair. It is not for me to give my own personal opinion apart from the Word of God, but having His word, who can but ‘prophesy’? Even the full moon has been a point of controversy, as more believers seem to want to go back and celebrate the new moon. Amos gives another of Scripture’s own interpretation: that the new moon is when it is dark/’hidden’, not when the light is first visible as a sliver, which is actually the Islamic symbol! (Amos 8:5; 1Sam 20:5)
Recently, the whole issue of war and its surrounding aspects of proportionate response, and the character of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, has taken a front-line place. I personally needed to have a better understanding of the subject, not only because our son is directly involved, but also because of the attacks within the Body of Christ, here in Israel and also from abroad. What sayest the Lord?!
On all of these controversial issues amongst ourselves, there is a risk involved in speaking out. We may not only be misunderstood; I may be not understood. It is not for me just a platform to discuss or argue certain points, but to have an answer from the Word and Spirit of God to take away stones and to make straight the teaching of God that gives peace when we all can agree that we are all under HIS authority and teaching, and not under any one’s personal or denominational distinctions.
I am not writing this because of finances. It is just an encouragement to myself from Amos, who was not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet; he was just a sheep breeder. We are all being sanctified as we cooperate with the Spirit of Messiah, being brought to maturity and fullness to the glory of our Lord and God, who is also giving us His glory.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
“Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything [we] think otherwise, God will reveal even this to [us]. Nevertheless, to that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.”
TALK, CHASTENING, PUNISHMENT – 31 Dec 2008
As much as we may prefer negotiations to settle disputes, it is clear that not everybody responds to ‘talk’. God has given parents authority to spank their children when talk isn’t enough; God chastens those whom He loves when ‘grace’ isn’t appreciated; He has given governments the power and authority to bear the sword when internal criminals or external enemies transgress the law more than can be tolerated for the general welfare of the citizenry. If believers, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, can’t/won’t always ‘do good’ and are hardly saved, what is to be expected from those who are in open rebellion against Him!
INNER CONFLICT BETWEEN THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH – 30 Dec 2008
Shalom IN Messiah,
The war in Gaza between the Israel and Hamas has drawn a strong reaction from an Arab brother towards his Messianic Jewish brethren.
Some of you may want to take the opportunity to speak with humility and understanding into the situation and to the Arab evangelical Christian community at such a time as this. In any case, it provides a window into the inner conflicts we all deal with here. What is God going to have to do to bring us into that oneness of which Yeshua prayed?!
When we walk in the light, there is fellowship. Let our conversations be seasoned with grace and salt.
THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS AWAY UNTIL. . . – 6 Dec 2008
Our Father in Heaven cares for you all, and His eyes are always upon you, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. As Yeshua has told us, He is with us all the days, even until the end of the age!
Do you have living hope — based upon the sure Word of God — that that end is within your own lifetime?
WHAT’S IN THE NAME NOTZRI – 17 Sep 2008
T, I apologize for not communicating more clearly, and also that I didn’t suggest that you could write in Hebrew. (Typing in Hebrew would take me too long.) I think you’re right, too, that we look at things quite differently, something I had said at the beginning, and that also ‘confuses’ our language. Hopefully, God will bring us both closer to Him, and so to each other.
At 05:03 PM 9/15/2008 +0200, you wrote:
I find it amusing how i can say one thing and be understood in a way that didn’t even cross my mind. obviously we live in parallel worlds, and this is why we don’t even share the same language.
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 3:36 PM
Subject: Re: what’s in the name Notzri
It seems as if we have come full circle, T, in our exchanges, which for me, at least, has been enlightening and helpful. If I can close on a few points, which probably won’t find favor with you, but do answer for me to your last remarks:
— Everyone is called to convert/be converted! According to both the Tanach and the N.T., we have all worshipped idols and need to repent, and all persons are called to repent and believe the good news and be changed (converted) into the image of God’s Son, of God truly being our Father. It’s not only about faith and religion, but about our whole nature and being.
–We Jews didn’t as a people/nation receive/accept Yeshua before there were Gentile Christians and Christianity. Our first controversy is with the Lord our God Himself, afterwards with the goyim and the Christians. Christians need to ask themselves how well they have done in obeying their own particular calling with respect to Israel: provoke to jealousy and show mercy. (written in Romans)
–When I read the Tanach, every time there was a revival amongst the people was when they recognized and repented with regret and a broken heart over their disobedience to what was written in the Law of Moses and spoken/written by the prophets. Some examples with which I’m sure you are familiar are found in 2Kings 22:8-20; Daniel 9:13. In Nehemiah 8:7-8, the priests read from the Law and helped the people to understand (to make disciples, we could even say). In Isaiah 8:20, YHVH rebukes the people turning away from the Law and the testimony. In Malachi 3:22 (4:4 Eng), YHVH calls on Israel to remember the Law of Moses, that He had commanded from Horeb. And, of course, Moses himself said that a prophet like unto him would come, and that we must listen to him and to the words which YHVH God has put into His mouth. Yeshua a number of times in His ‘sermon on the mount’ spoke about what had either been written or had been said (‘oral law’?), “but I say to you . . . .”.
–It seems that what the Bible says has never been regarded very highly by the Jews, and we are simply a picture of human nature in this. I certainly didn’t consider the Tanach worth the treasure that it is before I believed that Jesus is actually the Messiah. We are the chosen people, and through us God has made clear for all to see what He is like, what people are like, what the enemies are like. You have put me (and others) in a category that can not satisfy or meet your approval: if we say we are Jews, you say we are just Christians; if we say we are Christians, you say we deny our Jewish identity and heritage. So I take rest in what Paul said (who had excelled beyond his peers in the Jewish religion as the Pharisees taught it), and I will not seek the praise or approval from men, but from God.
Well, your own particular take is not of interest to most Jews since for them faith in Jesus means conversion. You can choose to ignore it but this is the single most important reason why Jews refuse to consider Yeshua seriously. Again what you want is of little consequence and presenting Yeshua with this “what the Bible says” slogan is so thoroughly Christian that it only intensify the sense for most Jews that they are dealing with converts. It is a wishful thinking that Israel will accept the Christian Jesus. they have refused to do so for 2000 years and will continue to do so, and for very good reasons.
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 8:16 PM
Subject: Re: what’s in the name Notzri
I nearly always start off by saying that I am a Jew who believes in Jesus/Yeshua. After that it doesn’t matter too much to me, but, like I said, and try to show in the teaching, I want people to understand what the Bible says a Notzri is, and even a Messianic/Christian, since the issue to me is not actually a Jewish-Gentile one, but who is Messiah and what does it mean to believe in, follow, belong to Him. Maybe the term Jew has become so synonymous with rabbinic Judaism that Christians have thought a Jew who believes in Jesus can’t be a Jew anymore. God hasn’t changed His thoughts even if people have — with more than enough help from the devil.
Notzri is not controversial, and this is why it is not a problem for most interpreters. However, when dealing with social and historical issues, the term notzri became synonymous with Christianity, hence we can’t use it. Messianic Jews who call themselves Christians abroad and Messianics in Israel are telling everybody that they are Christians, not Jews. ignoring the convention only strengthens misconceptions.
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 10:29 AM
Subject: Re: what’s in the name Notzri
Just to avoid any misunderstanding about my use of the name Notzri, it has to do with all believers in Yeshua, not to Gentile Christians only, nor to a Jewish sect, which seem more like the Samaritans in ‘kindred spirit’ (they don’t seem to know what they worship). It’s interesting that in all books and studies on the names of YHVH or Messiah that I have seen, the controversial name of Notzri is left out! To God be the glory and to the Lamb upon the throne!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ __
Very timely! I’m glad you read it, T, and if any of it is helpful to your own article, you are welcome to make use of it.
When people ask me ‘what’ I am with respect to my faith, I say that I am a Jew who believes in Jesus as the Messiah. If they say that I am a Christian or a Notzri, I do not deny it, but rather use the opportunity to explain what those terms really mean if they don’t know. The first century Jewish believers were called Notzrim, whether honorably or not, to identify them with Yeshua.
What does bother me is when Jewish believers make a separation between being Jewish and being identified as a Notzri or Christian (even though the two words don’t actually translate the same), usually because they don’t know the true significance and just react to a negative impulse. So it’s not that we have to rush out and start calling ourselves Notzrim/Christian, but neither should be separate ourselves from the Lord or from the Body of Christ by rejecting such a name. Not all Jews or Israelis honor YHVH’s name or themselves as His people, yet today none of us believers (there are secular Israeli Jews who do) would think of somehow refusing to be identified as Jews or with Ahm Israel.
Let’s be consistent, which will, I think, help make for peace and healing in overall Messianic/Christian fellowship at large, and stop the mouth of those like Yad L’Achim who always use this hypocrisy against us.
T, if nothing more comes out of our exchanges than that you might see that I (and others similar to me) am not against, or out to obliterate, Jewishness or Israeliness, but rather to fulfill my/our identity and calling by being obedient to the New Covenant/Testament reality that Yeshua’s death on the cross and His resurrection brought in, I will be pleased.
There is definitely a future for the Jewish people and Israel — at least 1000 years! There won’t be a Judea and Ephraim divided kingdom any more, nor what we have today, which, though ‘one people’, still says, ‘What have we to do with the house of David!?’ Israel of the Millennial Kingdom (which I obviously believe in) will not be a rabbinic Jewish state or country or people, as we would understand that today or for the last 1900 years. It will be ISRAEL, a kingdom of priests, under Messiah’s rule with those out from every nation — including Israel today — who have part in the first resurrection; even Ezekiel’s detailed description of the laws, etc. of that future time differ from the Law of Moses in significant areas.
Funny you sent me this paper because I have been working on writing an article on that subject for the last two months or so. Still, are you suggesting we should call ourselves notzrim? Unfortunatly this is no longer possible. I have said for years that the best name for us Jews who believe in Jesus is notzrim and if it wasn’t for the historical circumstances that attached this term to Christian gentiles, I would gladly adopt it.
FINANCIALLY BLESSING ABRAHAM – 13 Aug 2008
Lovingkindness and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ!
I’ve just had a conversation yesterday with a brother about the giving and use of many large donors/donation to Israel, and it seemed appropriate to pass on some of our thinking together regarding big-time financial support from believers abroad, based on experience we have all had over the last 20 years or more:
–First of all, it is important to stand with the existence of the State of Israel for the sake of the testimony of YHVH God, who said/says that He would bring His Israeli/Jewish people back to this land which He had promised in covenant. That we as a people are still unrepentant and in unbelief does not justify Israel, but demonstrates the faithfulness of God to keep His Word, since He can not lie. If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He can not deny Himself. (2Tim 2:13) He will save Israel by mercy and grace through His righteousness just as He saves any one of us.
–Secondly, the gospel must be preached to Israel and to Israelis/Jewish people, as well to any and all other people and nation-groups. The cross, which is a stumbling to Israel, can not be removed, nor can the righteous judgment(s) of our God against and upon Israel for her continued opposition to His good news in Messiah Yeshua.
–The promise of ‘blessing those who bless Abraham, and cursing him who curses (makes light) of you’, if it means what evangelical Christians have given it to mean, then it also applies to how God treats and relates to Israel and Jews who make light of and disrespect Christians — whether Jewish or Gentile, the seed of Abraham through faith in His God. It is here that evangelical Christian Zionists (or by whatever other label) have failed to hold the Israeli government and Jewish religious institutions and movements which they support accountable– in humility but with salt–for the manner in which they treat publicly and legislatively the local Messianic/Christian community in the State of Israel. Too many times Christians have given support ‘to bless Abraham’ which has wound up in the hands of those who actively oppose the gospel and make trouble for the community of believers in Israel, both against citizens and also against volunteers who are here to bless.
–Evangelical supporters who want to bless Israel financially would find it in their best interests and (I say) better support the interests of the Kingdom of God in Israel at this time by first giving to local believers in Yeshus/Jesus and to the local congregations and other legitimate ministries operating out from those congregations to enable them to at least make ends meet, and also to live out their lives and carry out these ministries in a manner which would testify of God’s hand and His family’s hands upon them — provoking the Jewish/Israeli people to jealousy while showing them mercy. This love within the family would speak loudly to those whose families are shattered and dysfunctional. It is Christ/Messiah who heals.
–Christians who want to give support to settlements would find their gift more effective by giving to believers who live in such settlements, and should there be some worthy project within such a settlement that can promote and honor the name of the Lord Jesus through such support, then to give through the believers living there would also honor them in the unbelievers’ sight.
–There are some worthy Israeli/Jewish organizations which would appreciate and benefit from Christian financial support, such as Magen David Adom (the equivalent of the American Red Cross) and Yad Sarah, an organization aiding the disabled, elderly, house-bound people and which serves the entire Israeli population when medical equipment such as crutches and wheelchairs are needed. These are non-political and non-religious in providing their help. In any case, what would strengthen
such Christian support at the local level is to make these donations through local believers — both Jewish and Arab — who could then pass on the donation with a local face. This cooperation would show local Israelis — whether Jewish or Arab — that we who live here are a means of blessing to them
both at the personal and also at the state level.
We are to do good to all as we have opportunity, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:10)
God bless you, and may the Lord continue to train us up in the way we should go.
IS JESUS REALLY IN THE MIDST? – 12 May 2008
With all the modern technology these days that intrude upon conferences by believers in Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, by Christians/Messianics –it gets a bit unwieldy trying to satisfy everyone! — and upon our congregational/church services and revival meetings, have you noticed that those doing all the technological work are not really entering into the event but are doing a job and even affecting the atmosphere for their own purposes? I mean, if the Lord were really present and if the Holy Spirit was really Lord within the Body, do you think we would be milling around so much and disaffected by so much? I do believe that God is working to bring us to a place where truly we will worship Him in spirit and in truth, and it just may be, that when He has it from us, it will be like it happened in the day when the Tabernacle was filled with the glory of YHVH, and even Moses could not intrude upon the Presence. And again, when the first Temple was dedicated by King Solomon, and the cloud of the Presence of God filled the House of YHVH, even the priests could not stand to minister, for the glory of YHVH filled the House of YHVH. O for the Holy Spirit to so fill us — the believers in Messiah Jesus — the Dwelling Place of God — that no flesh can glory in the Presence of the glory of the Holy One of Israel!
A BURDEN – 16 Apr 2008
Passover reminds us who are children of Israel that YHVH God – the Creator of the Universe and the Redeemer of His creation – brought us out of bondage in Egypt into freedom to serve and worship Him, the one true God. This historic event, which resonates down through the generations until today and on into the future (Ezek 45: 21-24), stamped upon the Jewish people the reality of being the Chosen People, and Egypt and all the nations knew, by means of the plagues upon Egypt and the Egyptians and the deliverance of the Israelis from the rule of Pharoah, that YHVH is God, and the God of gods.
(Ex 7:5; 9:14, 16, 27; 10:2; 12:12; 14:18, 31; 15:14-18; Josh 2: 8-11)
Conversion is defined by Webster’s On-line Dictionary in these ways which are relevant to this brief study:
1. An event that results in a transformation.
4. A spiritual enlightenment causing a person to lead a new life.
7. Act of exchanging one type of money or security for another.
8. The act of changing from one use or function or purpose to another.
Conversion the turning of a sinner to God (Acts 15:3). In a general sense the heathen are said to be “converted” when they abandon heathenism and embrace the Christian faith; and in a more special sense men are converted when, by the influence of divine grace in their souls, their whole life is changed, old things pass away, and all things become new (Acts 26:18). Thus we speak of the conversion of the Philippian jailer (16:19-34), of Paul (9:1-22), of the Ethiopian treasurer (8:26-40), of Cornelius (10), of Lydia (16:13-15), and others.
Passover was an event in the life of the Israeli people which resulted in a [potential] transformation: we were no longer slaves to earthly rulers, but free to serve and worship the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth!
YHVH is the name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. Jacob, as we all know too well, has a rather mixed reputation. Although he appreciated the spiritual realities which the God of his fathers promised, yet he sought them in a way not acceptable to God: Jacob sought them in his own way, and not by faith in the righteousness of God. (Rom 10: 1-4) Jacob had to come to the end of himself as Jacob through the sovereign wisdom and providences of God’s grace and mercies before he was desperate enough to cling to the Man he wrestled with for His blessing: you are no longer Jacob, but your name is Israel, a new man with a new and changed perspective on all things (Gen 28: 20-22; 32: 22-30; 35:9-15; 46:1-4; 47:9-10: 49:1, 28-30)
Jacob was converted from being a God-fearing conniver who was very clever and competent to succeed in the affairs of this world (while at the same time making his name a stink to those too closely affected by him) to becoming a prince with God who recognized his complete dependence upon Him, and by whose grace alone He could obtain the great and precious promises and attain the character suitable for the Holy One of Israel. By faith, Jacob blessed Pharoah; by faith, Jacob blessed his sons concerning the latter days; by faith, Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons, and worshipped the God who had made him lame. Jacob had become spiritually enlightened, which radically changed and affected his “religion”: an inward transformation of spiritual character and motivations affecting the way he lived based upon what he professed to believe.
All who have been born-again have exchanged their currency of value from their good works, or racial or national heritage, or material or intellectual riches as an indication of blessedness. In place of any of these, we conduct ourselves throughout the time of our sojourn in fear [of God], knowing that we were not redeemed with corruptible things … from our aimless conduct that we inherited from our fathers, but
with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot! (1Pt 1: 17-19; Peter being, of course, the apostle to the Jews) We no longer need to ‘prove ourselves’ to hope to ‘earn’ our way into the world to come, but we by faith receive the free gift of God’s grace and love through the sacrifice of His Son to give us the inheritance of being called the children of God. God is become our Father, and it is His approval that we desire. (Rom 2:17-29; 4: 13-25; Mt 19: 16-30)
Both Jews and Gentiles have followed idols and become idolaters, which is false religion in whatever guise. (James 2:18-20; Jer 2:4-9; 16: 17-20; Is 41: 21-24; 1Thes 1: 6-10) Being born-again from above by the Holy Spirit, we no longer serve our many idols which we have made for ourselves – including our own stubbornness and covetousness – and which both the prophets and the apostles railed against. Now we serve the living and true God to glorify Him and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We subject the members of our body, and, with the help and power of the indwelling Spirit of Messiah, we now serve righteousness rather than sin; we sanctify ourselves rather than adding more guilt and shame upon ourselves as we once did in our sinful lives apart from repentance and faith in God’s good news to forgive us our sins and to take away all our ungodly conduct of living. (Is 1:9-17) As He has done for us as individuals in Messiah, so, too, will God do for His full remnant nation of Israel when Yeshua returns to save His people. (Rom 11: 25-27)
“Thus says YHVH: ‘Let not the wise glory in his/her wisdom; let not the mighty glory in his/her might; nor let the rich glory in his/her riches. But let the person who glories glory in this: that he/she understands and knows Me, that I am YHVH, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the Earth; for in these I delight’, says YHVH.” “Behold, the days are coming,” says YHVH, “that I will punish all the circumcised with the uncircumcised . . . .for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the House of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” (Jer 9: 23-26 Eng; 1Cor 1:18-31)
Our whole purpose in life has been transformed to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, rather than our own selfish personal and/or national interests based upon our own understanding. Rather than trusting in our ‘relative’ goodness or good intentions or even chosenness – whether as Jews or as believers in Yeshua — we trust the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross in His death for our sins and sinfulness, and in Him who raises the dead to life to fulfill all His eternal counsels! Praise the LORD! God has become our Father through our believing in and loving His beloved Son. Is this not a major overhaul!? A genuine conversion of heart and soul and mind and thoughts and intentions has taken place and is continuing on to fullness which has brought us to love Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah, rather than despise and reject Him! Not only that, we groan within ourselves to be manifested in His likeness, and for the resurrection which will eventually accomplish it! We must all be changed – converted – whether Jew or Gentile. It is not an issue of the flesh – of what nation or race I belong to; of course that has not changed nor does it in this world. But yet, the world is crucified to me and I am crucified to the world! Our boast is to be in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Gal 6: 14; Paul, of course, was as Jewish as any of us could possibly think to be, and he was the apostle to the Gentiles, who also speaks to the Jewish children of Israel: Acts 9:15) We no longer need fight for survival, but can rest in the peace and approval of God which He has given to us instead, and which He alone can bring to the world at large, when the King of kings and Lord of lords shall come out of Zion to Zion to establish righteousness and peace and joy of the Holy Spirit, as God’s kingdom is restored over His people and all of the world which He created and made for His glory and pleasure.
Truly believing in the name of Yeshua/Jesus for all that He Is requires a conversion for all, to the Jew first and also for the Greeks. We are a new creation in Messiah; we have eternal life through Him who conquered death and the wages of sin on our behalf; we have passed from death to life: truly the ultimate Passover and exodus! Our whole manner of life is transformed: it is not the old religion, but a new and living Way into the very Presence of God.
Every one who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
RESURRECTION ON THE THIRD DAY – 6 Apr 2008
Shalom from Middle Earth (Mediterranean)!
Spring is here, and there is revival in the Earth! Dormant plants have sprung to life! Flowers are blooming in the desert! O that we, the ones in whom God’s seed remains (1Jn 3:9) would revive and show forth the praises of Him who came to save us!
LAST DAYS WONDERINGS – 12 Feb 2008
I was part of a small group of Israeli pastors who met with a similar sized group from abroad to meet each other and to study together last days prophecies, particularly the geo-political and prophetic implications of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. The purpose of the discussions and studies was to seek God’s plans and purposes for the end of the age before the coming of the Lord, so that we could be better prepared and equipped to faithfully shepherd the flocks under our care in the times still ahead of us.
As you can imagine, the time together was very stimulating. What impressed me was how in such a small group there was such a diversity of understanding, of approach, of processing with respect to what God has given us in writing and how we filter what is taught. The men in the room were all teachers and/or pastors. We all love the Lord Yeshua and believe in the Bible as authoritative. I’m always brought back to remember the words of the Messiah Himself to His disciples, “Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am.” (Jn 13:19) Jesus is looking for faith from us in Him as a guard against leaning on our own understanding, even as the Holy Spirit leads us into all the truth. Do we love Him enough that we would rather die ourselves than to betray Him? I believe we will be tested on that one, no matter our end-time views.
PRAY FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY – 27 Jan 2008
As we are commanded to pray for those in governmental authority, seeing that God is the one who sovereignly appoints them through human agency in each nation in His own wisdom and according to His purpose, let us not forget that the primary reason to pray for them is God’s desire that ‘all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth’. God the Father has HIS plan for peace in the world, and until believers believe that and cry out with the Apostle John, “Even so, come Lord Jesus!”, we will continue to see nothing but futility in man’s efforts and wisdom. No doubt the saints will suffer for the gospel and the name of the Lord, but the result of being a bride wholly sanctified and prepared as one new man in Messiah can not be devalued for the glory of God and of His Son.
CELEBRATE THE LIGHT – 7 Dec 2007
Is 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given. And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of the government and of peace there shall be no end — upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and righteousness — from that time forward and forever more. The zeal of YHVH of Hosts shall do it!
Hag 2:10,15,18,21-22 On the 24th day of the ninth month [i.e., Chislev], in the second year of Darius, the Word of YHVH came by Haggai the prophet, saying. . . . And now, carefully consider from this day [the 24th of the 9th Hebrew month] forward: from before stone was laid upon stone in the Temple of YHVH. . . .Consider now from this day forward, from the 24th day of the ninth month, from the day that the foundation of YHVH’s Temple was laid — consider it:. . .’I will shake the heavens and the Earth. I will overthrow the throne of the kingdoms; I will destroy the strength of the Gentile kingdoms. . .’
Jn 1:1-18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and is own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
. . .And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.
Jn 10:22-42 Now it was the Feast of Dedication (i.e., Hanukkah, which begins on the evening of the 24th of the 9th month, Chislev),in Jerusalem, and it was winter (corresponding to a late December date). . . .And many believed in Him . . . .
Lk 2:30-35 …my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a Light for a revelation of the Gentiles, and the Glory of Your people Israel. . . .’Behold, This One is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against. . .that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’
God bless you all as we celebrate the Light who came into the world to give eternal life to those who believe in Him!
PRAY FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE – 8 Sep 2007
Please pray for the salvation of the Jewish people. In the wonderful lovingkindnesses and mercies of God our Father, He is still stretching out His hand to call His people — the first-born amongst the nations — back home to Himself through the One whom they have pierced, God’s only-begotten and beloved Son, the Messiah Yeshua.
The Jewish high holy days approaching, when repentance, confession of sin, forgiveness, restored relationship with God are all emphasized in the synagogues and in the Jewish phyche — even if they don’t believe it. May this year see many more Jews/Israelis come to know their only wise God and Savior, and receive His Spirit to know God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
RETURN, OR CATASTROPHE? – 23 Aug 2007
Shalom from Beer Sheva, where the destiny of Israel and the Nations met! (taken from Kelvin Crombie regarding the battle of Beer Sheva on 31 Oct 1917).
Our family spent a wonderful two weeks in Switzerland with another family from Bethlehem. What really spoke to the believers there was the genuine enjoyment and fellowship our two families had with each other.
This really struck home after a time of sharing by our Arab/Palestinian brother and myself: He mentioned how his people have been living under the occupation since 1948, when Israel was established as a sovereign state — what the Arabs refer to as “the catastrophe”; I shared that God has brought me back home, according to His prophetic promises written in the Bible, after I repented and believed in Jesus as the Messiah.
Obviously, these represent two different “world views” and two different approaches to understanding the work and Word of God. By the grace of God in Messiah, we are reconciled by the blood of the cross! May our love for the Lord and our love for one another be found genuine in the time of trouble. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil”.
MY LIFE IN ISRAEL – 22 Aug 2007
1. How has living in Israel changed your relationship with God?
Living in Israel is a great place to follow the Lord: there’s nothing better anyway, and in Israel there is no excuse for complacency. It requires me to rely on His love and His grace to me and my family and our lives here since everything is in a constant state of “un-rest”. Without resting in the truth of God in Messiah Yeshua, my life here would be way beyond what I could bear. God our Father has given me a new heart and His Spirit to know that Israel is my home on Earth, and this makes all the difference…when you know you are home.
2. What can you tell people outside of Israel about the quality of your life?
Though we are poor, yet are we rich in Messiah! By all appearances, not only do we seem younger than we are, but we also seem richer than we are. The Lord has blessed us way beyond anything we could have asked or thought when we came here without knowing anyone and only being new-born believers. As dysfunctional as Israel seems — and is — there is still a sense of being “family”, which is different from living elsewhere. Additionally, our lives are greatly enriched by our involvement with the local congregation and with the Body of Messiah at large. The issues we deal with here, as I said before, do not leave much excuse for lukewarmness. The cross-cultural challenges are terrific, bringing much frustration at times, but also a richness and a satisfaction which is only possible in the hope of the coming Kingdom of God. Our children have also enjoyed the benefit of growing up in a country where their own faith in the living God is a daily encounter.
3. What is the most important thing about living in Israel as a Believer?
To be thankful! It’s too easy to complain and murmur, but I am so thankful to be allowed to live in Israel as a believer in Yeshua. Life is intense here, but our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob also lived in tents! It is a real mercy from the Lord to be here.
4. How did you decide to go to Israel?
I didn’t exactly decide; I obeyed! When I was born-again and saved, the Holy Spirit plainly spoke to me to “Go to Israel”, and immediately it became home. I had come twice as an unbelieving Jew — once as a tourist, and again as a volunteer on a kibbutz — but I didn’t want to live here. Yeshua made Israel home for me! As I said, it is a real mercy from God to be here.
5. What are your hopes for Believers in the Land?
My hopes are that we would truly come to that unique unity which is YHVH God’s in the love which is also uniquely His. This must — and will — be expressed through the WHOLE Body of Messiah in this land, whether Jew or Gentile. How our Father is going to answer the prayer of His Son regarding this, I do not know, but it will obviously be something we don’t understand too much about at this time. More Jewish people and Arabs will see the reality of genuine faith in God through Messiah when we actually love one another for Yeshua’s sake. When I consider myself, it is difficult to imagine it’s possible. Thank God for giving us the “Lord’s Prayer”!
6. What do you see as the future for Believers in the Land?
Until the Day of the LORD, I believe we will see greater persecution as witnesses and disciples of Messiah Yeshua. At the same time, we will be changed more into the likeness of our Father and Savior by His power and grace. I do not expect it to be easy, but I do hope to trust the Lord and overcome, along with many others.
7. In your opinion is there revival among the people?
Yes, and not yet. There is certainly much more openness now than when we first immigrated in 1981, and there are many more believers and congregations today. Seed is continuing to be sown; water is given both through ‘irrigation’ and from Heaven; but the harvest is still ahead. Many more gentiles will be brought in before we see large numbers of Israeli Jews coming in, but praise to God for His wisdom and sovereign ways! In the meantime, there are individuals repenting and believing the good news of Yeshua the Messiah and the Kingdom of God — proof of God’s faithfulness to His covenantal promises to the children of Israel, and to His Son.
ANCIENT LAND; ANCIENT PEOPLE; ANCIENT CONFLICT; PEACE STILL EXTENDED – 5 May 2007
Shalom from the northern South of Israel (similar to Virginia being in the northern South of the U.S.),
Israel has just recently celebrated her 59th resuscitated birthday, but her history in the Land of Canaan goes back about 3400 years. By comparison, the U.S.A. is about to celebrate her 231st birthday, with her Anglo-American history going back 400 years. Both lands were taken by conquest, and both peoples suffer from a loss of knowledge as to who they are, and from subsequent revisionist interpretations of their call and purpose. The Sovereign God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. The love and purpose of God are ultimately found only in and through His Son, the Lord Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ. Israel is assured, along with some other named nations, of at least another 1000 years to fulfill God’s plan for them! All praise and honor to the Lamb upon the Throne, to the glory of God the Father!
I was recently in Jordan for a regional European and Middle East conference (exact names withheld for security). Apart from participating to hear what the Lord is doing in other churches and countries, my main motivation for going was to be with brothers and sisters from neighboring countries with whom we normally have no contact.
Political barriers prevent freedom of movement and interaction. Praise God that in Messiah, even these can be broken down! It is always good to remember that in [perceived] enemy nations, God is working and has His witnesses there; Yeshua has His church there. Even in Israel! Our freedoms to fully serve and worship the one true God are restricted, but the Word of God is not.
PRAYING FOR THE JEWISH PEOPLE – 2 May 2007
Shalom Fellow Heirs of the Kingdom With Messiah Yeshua!
Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement regarding last night’s [12 Feb 2005] anti-Messianic demonstration sponsored by the local Rabbinic Religious Council and Yad L’Achim (Hand to the Brothers anti-missionary organization). It was a cold night here in Beer Sheva. A large screen was placed outside the synagogue from which they broadcast all the proceedings to the public outside. Not very many ordinary Israelis were there. . . mostly activists against the great commission of the gospel to go out from Israel to all nations, and from the nations back to Israel. I and a couple of others who were present outside drew attention at least as much from the fact that we were not “one of them”, and we were always watched and taunted regarding any recording which we tried to do with tape recorders. We simply responded that it was open to the public. The video which they showed “to shock” the people regarding the believers’ missionary activities combined Jehovah Witnesses with the Messianic believers, and most of the footage was old. The point of the video was to get contributions for Yad L’Achim to carry out more effectively their mission. The chief Sephardic rabbi of Beer Sheva, Yehuda Deri, boasted that their demonstration over six years ago against us had silenced the believers, and now they had called this protest rally to assure that the next six years would finish us off “by use of the law”. This is also what he said to us six years ago.
Some points for prayerful consideration with some understanding:
-Remember that Israel is presently an enemy of the good news, and beloved by God for the fathers’ sake, i.e., Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel. Even though it may be that in so-called
democratic societies, inciteful language is not an accepted norm – while in the same breath calling for our destruction and banishment – we must remember that our Lord told us that these things would happen to us on account of Him. When He was reviled, He did not revile back.
-Chabad (Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge), the religious movement of most of these activists, and Yad L’achim, the organization of mostly volunteers (often offered inducements for carrying out the activities), do not want Christian money or support for Israel. They made it very clear last night that such money is “unclean”, and that the motives of the believers is to displace Israel and to make every Jew a Christian – meaning, to believe in “that Man”, “may his name and memory be blotted out forever”. Good deeds are seen by them as only a devious means towards the end of making even one Jew change his religious faith by believing in Yeshua.
– We are Amalek in their eyes and mind, and therefore YHVH is against us from generation to generation until the memory of us is blotted out, and they are His warriors to carry it out this generation. They see that we are near the end of the era before the Messianic kingdom is ushered in. [This is true, but their version is far different from that presented in the Scriptures, and they will again, by rejecting the true Messiah, accept a false one. I got the impression last night that someone who will join them to make war against the saints – and prevail – would be able to make his claim heard and received. Thank God that the day is nearing when He will reveal Yeshua to them for salvation and cleansing and healing!]
-We, the Messianic believers, are considered a greater danger and enemy to the State of Israel than Hamas or other terrorists. They can only kill our bodies, but we can take their Jewish souls and condemn them for eternal judgment. Let us remember that the Lord Jesus said that they would kill us, thinking to be doing God’s will. Saul/Paul was like that.
-We want to honor the name of God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah (by whatever name in any language to honor Him. The day will come when YHVH will be one and His Name one; until then there is room for variation). We want our people (I write as a Jew and Israeli) to repent and believe the glad tidings of great joy, to be immersed in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah for the remission of sins, to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and of eternal life. We want all Israel to be saved for the great joy and “pride” of the Father to see His children restored to His loving kindness, that we may know His righteousness and peace and the fullness of joy, both Yeshua’s and their own with us. We want faith to overcome the world that opposes the Kingdom of YHVH God and of His Anointed one.
For my fellow believers who are not Jewish, please continue to bear the children of Jacob/Israel on your priestly breastplates and shoulders in prayer and intercession. Continue to pray and act towards the fullness of your fellow gentiles to come back to God through saving faith in Jesus, that they may be used of God to show mercy to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, while provoking them to jealousy through your humble appreciation of being recipients of the manifold grace of our great God and Savior.
In the love of the Father,
THE DAY AFTER THE SABBATH – 12 Apr 2007
It is still not too late to appropriate the truth of it as we count the weeks and days leading up to the holy-day of Shavuot/Pentecost. It is hard to break tradition for the Word of God. May the Holy Spirit help us as He leads us into all the truth. I have mentioned at some earlier time, there is no Biblical significance given to the 16th or the 17th of Nisan, but rather to the day after the Sabbath following the Passover (whenever it falls during the week) in understanding the prophetic significance of the timing of the Resurrection during the week of Passover and Unleavened Bread. (The Karaites are not believers in Yeshua, and so should not be looked to for wisdom, generally speaking, concerning God’s law.)
PAYING HOMAGE TO THE LORD YESHUA – 28 Dec 2006
Grace and peace in Messiah for the new year,
God has left Himself a witness to all the world by sovereignly seeing to it that people everywhere have to pay homage to His Son Yeshua in beginning new years at this time each year till now for nearly 2000 years. Other cultures may have their own reckoning, but the Sovereign Lord of history has them all bowing the knee and confessing with their mouths the pre-eminency of the Son of God/the Son of Man, both of the Jews and also of the Gentiles. This new year brings us that much nearer to the return of the Righteous Judge of all the Earth and King of Peace; the anti-christ spirit in the world will intensify and make further inroads through the falling away of those who know the truth but have given parts of it over to those who will profane it/Him. As the Lord Jesus warned us, let us be watchful and prayerful that we not fall into temptation. (I’m not sure that I will succeed in this if Peter, John, and James (Jacob) didn’t, but at least we have the Holy Spirit in us to help us.)
INCARNATION cont. – 21 Dec 2006
Greetings of Peace,
The response to this e-mail have been interesting. Isn’t it interesting that the battle raging around this subject is focused and heated at this time of year and not another?
Speaking of ‘heated’, God also uses nature to speak: have you ever experienced where you live a warmer than usual winter night, and you go out to enjoy it? Just so, God “could have” done that on the night the warmth of His love was announced and came into the world in the flesh, sending out the shepherds with their sheep for what would become an awesome heavenly spectacle. When Yeshua was being condemned to death on false charges by the power of darkness, it was the spring, yet the night was especially chilly, and Peter, along with the servants and officers of those powers, needed a fire to warm themselves (Jn 18:18).
Regarding the priestly service of Zecharia, John the baptizer’s father, during the course of Abia, I have not found agreement by those looking into it (including myself) as to when that course started its rotation, and for how long they served it.
God does not bring to pass His Word and promises in a way to satisfy our own understanding or expectation, but rather for us to take note that HE has intervened into the affairs of man for His holy name’s sake. No flesh shall glory in His presence; no pride for having ‘figured it out’ in advance (not to mention how difficult it is for us to understand it after it’s happened!).
Let the peace and joy of God reign in our hearts, both now and forever!
THE INCARNATION – 17 Dec 2006
I have received a number of inquiries and have engaged in a few discussions regarding the time of Yeshua’s birth, or Christmas. For the sake of stimulation, I have attached [again for some of you, but with a few revisions] a “time-line”, and the response below to a specific question (also with minor revisions). God bless you all as you celebrate HIM!
As for the date of Yeshua’s birth, God in His sovereign wisdom, has left it a bit ambiguous, befitting the mystery of it all! In a similar way, there is controversy over the day and the year of His death. How much more so, then, the day and hour of His return! However, He has not left us in confusion, and gives sufficient evidence from both the Scriptures and, I would say, from tradition to help us be in the right season and time-frame. There is no specific verse that I am aware of that explicitly indicates the date of the Savior’s birth. Yet Christian tradition, whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, or free all place the time of His birth in the winter, with which Hanukka corresponds in Jewish history and tradition. The Feast of Tabernacles follows the finished sacrifice for sin, and is a time of great rejoicing because God is in the midst of His redeemed and holy people, and all Israel will know and accept the Father and the Son. Jesus appeared at a time of great expectation, as witnessed by other so-called messiahs who showed up about the same time (Acts 5:33-39), but He also came to those dwelling in darkness, and His own did not receive Him or recognize Him for being who He Is. We despised and rejected Him, a complete contrast to the type and shadow of the meaning of Succot. His first coming was hidden and concealed but to a few; Yeshua’s second coming will be revealed to all.
Winter is also in God’s purposes, and every day of the year is His, both through creation and by redemption. Even if, for argument’s sake, Dec. 25 is the date on which some of the pagan gods were “born”, so what!? The God of gods came into the world that day in the person of Jesus Christ and has made it His day of celebration! Every knee will bow and every tongue confess — even of angels and demons, and the devil, too — that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! The last days began, and the overturn of the prince of darkness was on the threshold; and the battle today, as the time approaches, is great. Will we wholly identify with Jesus and God’s Word in this sinful and adulterous generation? Truly, this issue is a testing of our hearts: will we who confess the name of Messiah concede a day, even this historically holy day, to Satan!? Will one verse which mentions that God “tabernacled” with us be used to build a whole edifice without sufficient foundation?! In any event, Succot actually means more properly Feast of Booths rather than Tabernacles. This whole issue has only brought confusion and division within the Body of Christ. What must the unbelievers be wondering! Better to say we aren’t sure than to denounce what was holy as pagan, and to make up something else without substance! This makes our sin worse than those who did not know what they may have done, or may have done right without understanding. But surely, the Holy Spirit has seen to it that the Word of God was and is fulfilled. The Church is the Bride of the Lamb, and it is not Him who brings shame to His own, but we who both shame Him and ourselves.
Both the celebration of the Birth and Hanukkah are called the Festival of Light, and Jesus IS that Light, and this light is eternal, which the number 8 also symbolizes. It is interesting, too, that in John 10 the religious Jewish authorities insist that Jesus tell them plainly who He is, and that this took place at Hanukka, which is in winter (which is the original Greek, even though, for some reason, some translations say autumn/fall). The Maccabees are referred to as saviors, and here is Yeshua demonstrating that He is the true Savior! His many good works were the light which glorified God His Father (Mt 5:14-16). The Sun of Righteousness appeared with healing in His wings.
Because YHVH God uses both the sun and the moon for His calendar, He is able to maintain order and use those two lights for signs (Gen 1:14). Israel’s lunar calendar is periodically adjusted subject to the solar: the sun rules the day; the moon rules the night. The sun has its own light; the moon has none of her own, but is able to reflect that of the greater light. Hanukka will shift over approximately a three-week period, but is still considered a winter holiday (whether meterologically or astronomically). Christmas, representative of the true Light who came into the world, into the darkness — although the Light was present (refer to Gen 1:3-5, 14-19) — is fixed on the given solar date. The 24th/25th of December is in the winter (in the northern hemisphere), and in some years perfectly corresponds with the 24th/25th of Chislev, the ninth Israeli month. The Talmud (if I remember correctly) even refers to what is December 31/January 1 as the circumcision of Yeshua. The 31st of Dec/1st of Jan. is the 8th day of one born on Dec. 24/25. Hanukkah is 8 days long, signifying the eternity of the true Light, and the ninth servant candle (the shamash) is the only one which is lit every night, and it is used to give light to the other lights, which have no light of their own. The light increases as the holiday progresses. For us as believers, we, who have received the Light in us through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling all who are born-again from above, are to be an intensifying and growing light in this present darkness. Jesus is the Servant and Eternal Light: God is light; Jesus is the Light of the world; the new creation will have no need of the sun or the moon, but the Lamb will be the Light of the new heavens and the new Earth.
In Haggai chapter 2, there are very interesting references to the 24th of the ninth Israeli month, and what YHVH God intended to do “from that day forward”. The foundation of the second Temple was laid; God was going to bless His people in grace, not by merit; Zerubbabel, a direct ancestor of Yeshua, was designated to be the chosen governor [through whom would continue the Davidic Messianic lineage]; and God was going to begin the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world. The night of the 24th starts the beginning of the next day, the 25th: thus, Christmas eve; Erev Shabbat; beginning of the Day of Atonements (Lev 23:26,32); etc. (Note: the resurrection of Yeshua on the morning after the Sabbath (Lev 23:10-14) changes the reckoning for us in Christ, since we have now become sons of light and of the resurrection, with the prophetic outlook towards the new heavens and new Earth where there is no darkness forever and ever! Hallelu-Yah!)
Yeshua said that the scroll of the book is written about Him. The significance of the 24th of the ninth month of God’s redemptive calendar given to Israel (within the creative calendar for the world as a whole) is that this is the appointed time of YHVH to have the Jewish shepherds in Israel receive the glad tidings of great joy that “there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord!” And the world woke up to the dawn of a new day, full of hope and expectation from God.
Thank-you for your love and prayers and encouragements to us. May 2007 be a year of awakening and sanctification for the Bride of Messiah.
To God be the glory!
FEAR OF YHVH GOD – 30 Oct 2006
Shalom in the name of the only true God and Savior, Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah! (Is 54:5)
We really do serve a great God, and Holy is His Name. He has impressed upon us of late to preach and teach plainly about the necessity of examining ourselves to be certain that we are standing in the one true faith. The Holy Spirit has expressly declared that in the last days much falseness will be evident and exposed, and this from WITHIN the church, the Body of Messiah. Our security is not found in our mere profession of faith, but in our deeds and fruit; it is not found in our taking for granted the price of our so great salvation — the precious blood of the Son of God — but in our fellowship with the Father and with the Son, and with our brothers and sisters in the Holy Spirit; it is not found in the particular church to which we belong, to a particular doctrine or teaching we may claim for security, or to a false hope that tribulation will not greatly trouble US; it is found in faith grounded in the fear of the Lord, the Judge of the living and the dead. He is a consuming fire, who will either purify His loved ones, or forever torment those who reject the Father’s love or presume their own worthiness. Praise God for His faithfulness to try us and strengthen our assurance that we are His and He is ours! A true son/daughter will accept it, and be partakers of His holiness. The smell of the fear of the Lord (see the Hebrew of Is. 11:3, plus 2Cor 2:14-17) should distinguish us both to God and to all human beings, whether in the faith or not.
SOME LEBANON WAR-TIME OBSERVATIONS – 28 July 2006
For those of you wondering — not familiar with the lay of the land here in Israel — Beer Sheva is till now a safe place, both from Gaza and from Lebanon, and even from Egypt and Jordan. If the ketusha rockets ever get to Gaza, then we will be in range. We are able here in Beer Sheva to receive some of those leaving the north of the country temporarily. This refugee problem is happening within the borders of Israel. It is only a foretaste of the day when the antichrist will be active, causing the Israelis to flee across the border, apparently into southern Jordan. If any of you already have plans to visit Israel in the near future, please don’t cancel. You may need to adjust your itinerary, but maybe at such a time as this, the Negev is an attractive alternative to the normal visits and tours.
While in Eilat, I listened to and watched the news much more than normal, given that our nation is at war. I believe that this war is justifiable on the part of Israel, given how it came about and the background to it. The Scriptures clearly say that there will be wars and rumors of war until the end. No plan of man is going to make wars to cease! Having said that and believing it already says something about my view of the end times, which will shape my view and interpretation of events. Our view of the end affects our life in the present, and differing views will sometimes converge and at other times be at odds with one another. Some of the facts may be the same, but the explanation of them can be vastly different. What will it take for God to answer the prayer of Yeshua for the unity of His Body with all her members and with Him to be as His with the Father? For surely this is where the Great Shepherd of our souls is leading us,even as He deals with the salvation of the nations and of Israel, and His righteous judgments against those who oppose Him and the Kingdom of God!
In considering the news reports and analyses from different local and international stations, and the various consequences upon Israeli life and the economy, I came back from Eilat sensing that Israel would not accomplish its stated purposes in this conflict, despite having for the first time ‘full’ support from the U.S. government to wage the war. The Sovereign Lord — Yeshua, to whom is given all authority in Heaven, on the Earth, and under the Earth — has timed this outbreak after the exit of the former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and the election of a government committed to giving up on faith that this land is our land. While the world complains about disproportionate use of force and the destruction from it caused by Israel’s operations, till now only about 1/4th of Israel’s military capability is being engaged. (Sadly, but not surprisingly, there are some believers, especially amongst some of the Arabs, who also use this terminology, and are not able to bring themselves to renounce the likes of Hezbollah in its agenda. Again, I go back to what will it take for God. . . .) Jesus tells us about counting the cost of going to war before actually beginning one, and the enemies of Israel are calling foul when Israel struck back harder than anticipated. But YHVH God tells His people that it is not going to be by power or by strength, but by His Spirit that is going to accomplish the genuine desires of the heart which He has placed into them to be sought after. The peace which Yeshua gives is not the peace which the world even hopes to give with its best intentions!
The Lord has plainly spoken to Jerusalem, representing the center of Jewish/Israeli government and life, that she will not see Him again until she cries out, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH!” We, as believers in the only one who will answer to that cry, are also, as His Bride, being waited upon to be heard: “Even so, come Lord Jesus!” For this to happen, it is through much tribulation that we enter the Kingdom of God, purified as a people and as a pure and spotless Bride, without defect or wrinkle or spot or any such thing. It is written in both the Old and the New Testaments that the devil is going to wage war against the saints and wear them down, even overcome them! Is this war of attrition not what he is waging night and day, running around to destroy and to deceive, if possible, even the elect, desiring that we would give up the faith that Jesus wants to find when He returns?
God is bringing His people back to this land of promise, mostly in unbelief, as a demonstration of His grace in His dealings with man. He will cleanse His people here and give them a new heart and a new Spirit (His). While working at one level to show that He alone is truly the only true God, and that His name is YHVH, He is also at work to save whosoever will at the present time, both among the gentiles (including the Arabs) and also amongst the Jews. As a nation, Israel must be brought to a place to cry out from the depths of her soul, as she eventually did in Egypt, for deliverance from the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob against her external and internal enemies. All nations are going to be brought by Yeshua (by YHVH) against Jerusalem, where God will righteously judge them for their unreasonable hatred and opposition to the children of Israel whom He chose for His own glory. The bitter root and murderous hatred at the heart of Islam will not be subdued until the Lord chooses to blow His breath on it to destroy it. The spirit of antichrist already has its seat on the mount of God (the Temple Mount), presuming to be God, and terrorizing any one and nation who refuses to worship him! But the Jewish people are still in strong opposition to Jesus, to the gospel, to the Kingdom of God over them. God surely will not bless this, but will have them fall short of their objectives, as long as He is not their hope. They will have no peace or security as long as they refuse Him and His dealings with them, both as God and as their Father.
Peace is the fruit of righteousness. We are ambassadors of Messiah and the Kingdom of God. Israel has not appointed me to represent her, nor for that matter has the U.S. Our perspective from being seated in the heavenly places with Messiah, and our overview with Him of seeing His appointed end, and even the signs of the time indicating that the end is hasting to come (all creation is waiting for it!), is essential if we are going to have any salt left in our testimony of Yeshua.
God bless you, and may it be said of us all that we want His will to be done in His way.
In watchfulness and prayer with you all,
Howard and Randi
HOLOCAUST AS ISSUE BETWEEN GERMAN AND JEWISH BELIEVERS – 4 Jan 2006
This questions have been sent out in Germany as an help for a discussion:
Do I need necessarily, as a follower of Jesus to be a friend of Israel? What happened if I would not relate to it and not respond to this obligation?
— It is not necessary to be a ‘friend’ of Israel as a believer in Jesus, but since Israel is still God’s chosen people for His purposes ON THIS EARTH, then it is VERY beneficial to LOVE Israel/ the Israeli and Jewish people and land for the sake of Christ and the character of God our Father and of His Son.
How much has a friend of Israel to say yes to everything the state of Israel is doing, in spite of personal and political failures. Where are the borders and when is it unbearable?
— If one is a friend, it is not necessary to accept everything the State of Israel is doing. But a real friend will speak the truth in love, with humility, wanting that the friend will benefit from doing what is right and good in God’s eyes.
Are the Jewish people really our brothers from a teleological point?
–Since I am a Jew who believes in Jesus as the Messiah, then, yes, they are my brothers ‘in the flesh’ from a teleological point. For those not naturally Jewish,
they are not your brothers in THAT sense, but they are still your fellow human beings made in the image of God and for whom Jesus died and asked forgiveness for their sins. Beyond that, the Jewish people have a destiny AS Israel (the full remnant that will make up the ALL Israel that will be saved through the great tribulation). But NOW, there is a BETTER destiny already for any Jew/Israeli who repents and believes the gospel ‘today’.
Why did God choose Israel?
–God chose Israel to glorify His name, and to claim for Himself the Earth and all that is in it by the redemption and ramson Jesus paid and accomplished on the cross. Israel is His example to the world of His dealings with humanity and nations, whom He will judge righteously.
How much is God expecting a positive prejudiced attitude related to Israel?
— Although it may not be the basis for salvation, it is always good to have a similar attitude as God towards anything!
What happened to the Arabs? Can you be their friend if you are also a friend of Israel?
— Of course you can be a friend to the Arabs if you are a friend of Israel! Can a Christian be a friend to both a Jew and to a German? Can Christians care for God’s purposes both towards Israel and the Jewish people and also His purposes for the Arab countries and their people? Again, a real friend of the Arabs will speak the truth in love, with humility, wanting that the friend (the Arabs, especially the Arab Christian believers) will benefit from doing what is right and good in God’s eyes.
Overcoming from shame. When did we forgive enough? Did we go to far? Did give up our honor and our self-esteem already?
— There is no dishonor in forgiving or in asking for forgiveness for sins done against one another. Once that has been done by a person, he does not have to keep doing it, at least not from the same person for the same sin. If I, as a Jew, have accepted and received God’s forgiveness for me for my and my people’s sin with respect to the crucifixion of Jesus, I do not have to ask God for that anymore, and I am free to speak of His grace and mercy in order to bless others. If a German believer has acknowledged his and his people’s sin against the Lord and His people for the Holocaust, he is freed to humbly and confidently speak of God’s wonderful grace and mercy. If he meets a Jewish person who is struggling over the Holocaust and Germany/Germans, the born-again German can humble himself to acknowledge his and his people’s sin; no other explanation at that time may be sufficient; we must let the Holy Spirit bring conviction.
The people of God in our land obviously on a brooder scale still did not come to a fitting attitude, if it comes to the Jewish people. What did the Israel ministries wrong? What would be a balance between a positive and a critical attitude towards Israel and to Israel Fanaticism?
— The balance is found in the cross. Gentile Christians are called by God to provoke Israel to jealousy, while also showing mercy.
Which stand do we take from the New Testament position of faith towards Jewish tradition?
— There is much in Jewish tradition which can be appreciated, without having to observe it for oneself. It is best to let the Bible determine proper Jewish tradition from which gentile believers can understand better their being brought into the commonwealth of Israel. New Testament traditions are based on the fulfillment of Old Testament preparation for the time the Messiah has come. A Gentile Christian can always better communicate the gospel to a Jewish person if the gentile knows the foundations and roots of the purposes of God.
Which Jewish feasts are practically important to us and should also be celebrated? Do we have a theological foundation for it?
–If the Lord’s Supper is more properly and fully understood, it can be used to demonstrate the reality of the feasts which YHVH God gave to the Jewish people. There is no requirement at this time for Christians to specially observe those feasts, but there are times when they can be very enlightening to better appreciate and explain God’s plan of redemption, not only for Israel, but also for the Church, the nations, and this present creation.
How do we relate to the danger that the openness to Jewish tradition and Judaism is under minding us and is grapping for an Old Testament orientated legalism? For example: honoring, celebrating and keeping the Sabbath and so indirectly questioning the foundational experience New Testament task, that with God we have entered already in the Sabbath rest.
— It can be countered by knowing what the Lord has accomplished and brought us into as believers in Jesus. But, as always, it is always helpful to know WHY it is so, which helps maintain a humble attitude towards those who do not understand.
Which consequences has the dark German history related to the Holocaust and other atrocities towards the Jews over the centuries for our relationship as Germans and German believers to Israel? Is there a special relationship to Israel to our country? Is there an over accidentally similarity of character from both people which brought us together to a predestinated and special relationship? So that there is in spied of the past a special commitment to be a blessing?
–I think I have touched upon this in one of the questions above. I do think that the ‘character’ of both the German and the Jew is similar, and we have both done great and terrible things, which either has honored or dishonored our God and Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as stewards of so much He has given to each of our people.
Do the Jewish people have their own way for forgiveness? How does it work and can we accepted it?
–Jewish people may THINK they have their own way of forgiveness, but God has only HIS way for all of us.
Why did the Jewish people suffer over so many centuries? Are there answers in the quality of the New Testament? Do we have to know this or is it aloud to ask questions?
–Jewish people have suffered so much so that gentiles could come to God through the Messiah and receive salvation: the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the free gift of eternal life. We have also suffered much because of our sins against God and against His Son, which has caused us to sin against many people. We have also suffered much because the devil hates YHVH God who chose the Jews for His glory, and through whom Messiah has come. We suffer much because Satan wants to deceive even the elect, if possible, regarding God’s faithfulness to His covenantal promises to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to their descendants.
How should we react in the spirit if we want to help Jewish people to cope and salve their past?
–With humility and love and the true gospel.
Is there an over acceleration and misuse of the holocaust experience as unique experience of suffering which mankind as such never experienced and so the Jewish people are aloud to take a special place among all man and can take an incontestable and untouchable special role in their pain and in a superiority to live out God given situation as an victim. Do we not also recognize especially among the messianic Jewish believers, as they take the suffering of the Holocaust and put it next to the Golgotha experience of Jesus Christ? Do we have a task in a hidden way in love and in intercession to release our brethren from this self-redemption?
–There can be a misuse of the Holocaust experience by believers. Unbelieving Jews have no other main point of reference, so the Holocaust remains very much a defining element in the Jewish soul. Believing Jews, if they have learned the depths of God’s forgiveness for our sins against Him, especially in our rejecting and rebelling against our Savior and Lord, should be able to bless Germans by showing mercy for their part in the Holocaust, especially to one who has asked for forgiveness and demonstrated fruits of repentance. In HUMAN terms, the Holocaust is Biblically associated with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but HIS willing whole-burnt offering (holocaust in Greek; here is an example of knowing something about the Old Testament sacrifices, which Jesus fulfilled on the cross) achieves so much more for eternity than the unwilling sacrifice of six million ordinary human beings who were marked out for destruction because of who they were and represented. The rebirth of the State of Israel–in part of the very land which God promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, and to their descendants for an everlasting possession–is also a remarkable picture of the resurrection of the Lord from among the dead; yet His resurrection offers justification and eternal salvation to anyone who believes with all their heart. So for those Christians who can enter into the wonder and the hope which Israel’s restoration promises, each one who does can better understand the love of God and His righteousness — not for individuals only, but also for nations.
PART OF OUR BATTLE – 30 Dec 2005
In my defense of identifying myself as a Jew believing in Yeshua, I hope those of you who may be pondering that to understand that this is very much an ‘in-house’ issue for our fellow unbelieving brethren in the flesh to understand, as well as those dear Gentile believers to also understand. However, in no way do I want to give either a false sense of satisfaction to some, or a cause of some concern to others: as a believer in Yeshua as the Messiah (or, in Greco-English, Jesus as the Christ), I am a Christian (or Messianic), which, when properly understood, applies to both Jews and Gentile born-again believers. It does not make me gentile, any more than the gentile believer is made Jewish. It simply means — and it is important to be able to explain ourselves, to give the sense in the tradition of Ezra — that we believe in, follow, and belong to the Messiah/Christ, who we know to be the Son of God.
MILLENNIUM KINGDOM AND SACRIFICES – 10 Dec 2005
I happened to have a discussion with a brother who does has not given much thought to the Millennial Kingdom, and with another one who does believe that there will be a literal 1000-year reign of Messiah on Earth, but did not think that sacrifices for sin would be included. Yet Ezekiel chapters 43 and 44 clearly speak of offerings, including for sin.
There are a couple of remarks I’d like to make as to the Millennial Kingdom, without entering into a lengthy discussion, but simply to leave with you to ponder and pray about, David. (There is much more than I’ll be mentioning here, and there is no order of priority here, either):
1. Why should Yeshua come back if He were not coming to establish the Kingdom of His Father on Earth as it is in Heaven? If not, He could just stay up there and say, Come on up you who are Mine, and depart from Me those who are not? (or any other way He would express the similar idea!)
2. Just as the Word of YHVH God is true and literal regarding the beginning of things, so are His words concerning the “last things”. It’s simply being consistent in how we relate to the Scriptures.
3. Among very many things which have not been fulfilled, but can be only reconciled by God’s Kingdom on Earth, is that having to do with animals being at peace amongst themselves and with man. This may seem rather ‘silly’, but it is mentioned at least three times, and is something that no human peace treaty can accomplish.
4. Our prayer for the peace of Jerusalem has to do with the present physical Jerusalem not so far from you or me, and is waiting to inherit her peace when the Prince of Peace brings His righteous Kingdom. Israel’s significance as a NATION gives significance to other nations, some of whom have a hope and a future as well in the Kingdom of Messiah to come. Our political approach and outlook is affected by our world view in this matter.
5. The devil will have NOTHING to boast about forever! Though he is the god of this world and is instrumental in its desolation, the Earth belongs to YHVH, and He has created it to be a habitable place filled the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the sea. All shall know YHVH, from the least to the greatest. This is not, nor has ever been, the reality, and not only a matter of faith (which is also true of every other point here). Satan will never be able to say that he succeeded in taking the Earth away from God. NO! The Kingdom which will never pass away begins with the Millenial Kingdom when the Son of Man to whom it is due sits on the Throne, never to give it over to another. (Of course for those who are already born again and have eternal life, His everlasting reign has already begun in our hearts). The final rebellion and judgment at the end of the 1000 years (which seems like a long time to us but will seem insignificant when eternity is considered) will complete God’s plan and purpose for THIS creation (seven prophetic and redemptive days) to establish that which is perfect to come. It is beyond words or even imagination for us to presently comprehend the wonderfulness of life that is really life for those who love God and are loved by Him; beyond our present capacity to consider eternal existence for those who have refused for whatever reason or excuse to come back to Him on His terms.
6. The reference in Isaiah 65:20 to one dying at the age of 100 being but a ‘child’ and also a sinner, gives the basis for the greater detail given in Revelation 20 to the 1000-year length of the coming Kingdom of God on Earth, and to the fact that not all who live during that time are true ‘believers’.
ISHMAEL, COME HOME! – 29 Jun 2005
Shalom from the covenanted land!
Our family just returned from a two-night family conference of Jewish and Arab believers on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. As with anything in and from God, this fellowship has had to overcome spiritual and psychological barriers, and in doing so we have seen an increasing breakthrough by the Word of the Lord and His Spirit to bring us into a closer and godly relationship to the glory of the name of Yeshua/Isua/Jesus.
Two main things came through — broke through:
1. Christian Arabs/Palestinians will have a sense of partaking in the blessing of living in Israel as they believe and accept the Covenant that YHVH God made with Abraham pertaining not only to righteousness, but also to this land. Christian Arabs are leaving in droves from the Middle-Eastern countries taken over by Islam because of buying into the covenant of death which Islam (and traditional Judaism) promote, rather than the covenant of Life which is only realized through Messiah Yeshua. We who are Jewish believers say to our Arab brothers now living abroad, “Ishmael, come back home to Father Abraham’s house”.
2. Through much tribulation we enter the Kingdom of God. Several brothers and sisters shared the trials and sufferings which they have been going through (some quite seriously). Yet they were able to give praise and glory to the Lord as He uses tribulation to strengthen their faith and to embolden them to take the gospel to the peoples regardless of the risks entailed.
As a Jewish believer, I would also like to ask you who are so gracious to us, both as a “category” of people and also personally, to please consider how our Father in Heaven would have you extend your blessings to the other “category” — our Arab brethren and their ministries and families. How can we all begin to appreciate more and more that we are one body in Messiah, and to let our unbelieving peoples see that we love each other for His sake.
In the meantime, we want to wish you all a wonderful summer — or winter — as God shows His greatness in the turning of this unique Planet in this unique solar system.
In the love of the truth,
Howard and Randi