Streams in the Negev
Isaiah 41:17-20 "A site of a thankful soul who has found living water to drink from the true God of Israel"
SIGNS IN THE SKY AND OF THE TIMES – 2 May 2015
Just as God effectively brought all Israel against Yeshua and the gospel (for the Gentiles sake and their salvation), so is He bringing all nations against Jerusalem/Israel (towards the salvation of His chosen nation). God is altogether righteous and true, and will glorify His holy name through His judgments.
The Blood Moons, solar eclipses, increase in wars, earthquakes, economic instability, are all signs which Jesus spoke about. God is definitely using these signs to draw attention to something — and to Himself. For the believer, they are harbingers of the times we live in. But also for the believer, we need to be careful not to ‘divine’ by these signs.
God does things when not expected, so we cannot say — Shemitah or otherwise — that such-and-such will happen at such-and-such a [specific] time. We can not make everything ‘fit’ legalistically precisely what we try to logically figure out what God is going to do. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth; and the Lord Messiah said that He has told us beforehand what is going to be so that, after it has happened, we will know that He told us so!
THE ENEMY WITHIN US FIGHTS A LOSING BATTLE – 7 Apr 2015
Saul was man’s idea of an ideal king; David was God’s choice of a man after His own heart. Once King Saul recognized that David had captured the people’s imagination, he began to envy and to hate David, even seeking to kill him.
Saul fought valiantly against the Amalekites and the Philistines, but would not — and could not — destroy all the Amalekites with their king, and also their animals, as commanded by the LORD. This was because of his own antagonism against God’s anointed one. The Amalekites (in spirit if not identifiable in the flesh) were and are Israel’s enemies, descendants of Esau/Edom, who never reconciled his heart with his brother Jacob/Israel’s inheritance of the covenanted Land of Promise. Yet Saul had within him the same animosity towards David, God’s sovereign choice for the royal lineage in Israel. Saul was eventually killed in battle by the Philistines, spiritual allies with the Amalekites against the people of Israel.
Because of Saul’s fear of man rather than of YHVH, Saul had no moral authority or righteous standing to completely defeat and destroy Israel’s nemesis: the enemy was within Saul’s own character.
But David saw the spiritual reality of the carnality which the Amalekites and Philistines lived by, and there can be no peace and no compromise between the flesh and the spirit. (T. Austin-Sparks wrote this somewhere.) This is the spiritual battle which all believers in Yeshua/Jesus fight within ourselves: agreeing or not with all that God says and intends. Too often, we judge Him, rather than submitting to Him and accepting His judgments about all things.
It seems that today we see the same peoples fighting the same wars within Israel. The ownership and sovereignty over the same land; the lack of peace for Israel and the Jewish people. Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, Iran — all these entities carry within them the same spirit of Amalek and of the Philistines.
Could it be that Israel is like King Saul: valiant in battle but unable, and unwilling, to defeat her avowed and determined nemeses?
Could it be that Israel’s hostility towards Yeshua/Jesus, the Son of David and God’s Anointed One to be King of Israel and King of the Jews, could it be that this unwarranted hostility towards “David”, whose intentions were always for Saul, not against him, be the root sin that continues to beset Israel and the Jewish people, not allowing them to overcome fully their persistent and determined enemies to destroy them?
THE BIRTH AND THE RESURRECTION OF MESSIAH – 31 Mar 2015
Here are two excellent explanations, in my opinion, for the date of Yeshua’s birth in the early winter of what is now called the month of December, and for the origin of the word, Easter, used for Resurrection Sonday:
Thank-you very much, Kathy, and may that true freedom that comes with the truth of the gospel continue to bless you.
Howard, it is so good to read your comments. I learn an awful lot from Jewish believers. I was once caught up in the Jewish Roots movement in a wrong way. I got very confused about Christmas and Easter. But I finally figured out, with the Holy Spirit’s help, that Jewishness was not so much the issue, but a deeper understanding and apprehension of the Scriptures. For awhile I even somewhat believed the two houses nonsense. I have seen, and been subject to some awful divisions. . . . .
Thank-you for reading this. I pray for you and your congregation, especially as it concerns the persecution you all have experienced. Take care.
THE GROAN OF THE CREATION – 12 Feb 2015
The Holy Spirit through Paul gives us a revelation of God’s judgment upon sin which has affected the whole created order: the universe is “groaning”, presently unwillingly subjected to futility, but with the hope of being liberated at the revelation of the sons of God.
Scientists have discovered that there is a sound ‘out there’ in the great expanse of the universe, that is heard through the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). They have interpreted their data as being understood by their Big Bang Theory of Creation. The Scriptures give us a different interpretation of what this sound that they have detected could be.
On this link, you can listen to a simulation of the sound done by Prof. of Physics John G. Cramer, Univ. of Washington, in 2013. He describes the sound as being like a ‘bass instrument’, and recommends listening to the 100 second version:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.
24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
A dictionary definition of groaning is to “make a deep inarticulate sound in response to pain or despair”. I would say that unwillingly suffering subjection, futility, slavery to corruption — all because of our sin — is a good reason to moan and groan!
Thank God for the hope of the return of the Lord Yeshua and the first resurrection to reveal the sons of God — and to bring this burden to an end!
YESHUA BECAME ONE WITH US – 2 Feb 2015
Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.
Yeshua, as a flesh-and-blood man like us (except for sin), learned ‘first-hand’ as a Son what it was to do God’s will under the Law, placing His whole trust in God His Father. Jesus made the Law honorable. Among other things, He had to honor His earthly mother and father; He had to submit to worldly rulers, and to bear the consequences for calling them to account; He had to endure the attacks of the devil, and the unbelief and ridicule of His own natural brothers and sisters; He had to put up with slow-to-understand disciples; and He had to suffer the frustration of being in a body and under the influences of being in the world.
The Man Christ Jesus learned what it is to obey laws given for sinners; yet it is He, the LORD, who is Himself the Law-maker and -giver that all others are to obey! What condescension and love, that God our Savior should come and so willingly suffer for us — even to death on the cross — in order that He would be our sympathetic great High Priest, and that the Father would make us co-heirs with Him!
Praise be to God and to the Lamb upon the Throne, forever and ever!
UNIQUELY SPECIAL – 18 Jan 2015
The Bible tells us that God has a plan that He has conceived in eternity before there was time, and that will extend eternally when time is no more.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. On the fourth day, He made Earth’s unique solar system, with the sun and moon and planets, and the stars. The uniquely created Earth was already there to receive their light. But the original uncreated light had already been shining, dividing the day from the night.
On the sixth day, God specially created man and woman in His image and in His likeness, unlike all the other magnificent creatures and animals He had made for their enjoyment and service.
After the flood in Noah’s day, 70 nations were ‘founded’ through the sons of Noah and their descendants. But then YHVH God chose a man, Abraham; cut a covenant with him and with his sons, Isaac, and Jacob, and with Jacob’s descendants, the Children of Jacob/Israel.
God chose uniquely a geographical land, the Land of Canaan, to be the Promised Land of inheritance for the descendants of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel. The people of Israel would be distinct from all the other nations and people on the face of the Earth, the unique dwelling place for God’s habitable world. In the specially chosen promised land, YHVH God specially chose Jerusalem to be His unique city where He placed His name to be worshipped there.
The fullness of time came, and God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, which He had created and made. This unique and special Son came into His very good creation to the unique and special Earth, to the unique and special Land of Israel, where the uniquely chosen people of God, the Jewish people, were to possess their promised inheritance. It was in the unique earthly city of God, Jerusalem, that Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ, the Son of Man — that unique creation in God’s image and likeness — was crucified as the only Redeemer and Savior for Man — both Jew and Gentile — from his sin of unbelief and rebellion against the unique — the one-and-only — YEHOVAH God, maker of Heaven and Earth, and of the seas and all that is in them.
The day is approaching when the Lord Jesus Christ will again come to Earth from the Throne of God in the heavenlies far above His creation of this universe; and He will come to His specially chosen land and city, to judge His people and the nations in righteousness. He will establish His throne upon this Earth, which He created uniquely to be His dwelling place among His people and the nations in the world which He made for His glory and pleasure. All of creation — general and special — is waiting in hope for this day. We must be born-again from Above by the Holy Spirit to inherit the Kingdom of God, the supreme and eternal promise of everlasting life.
The Word of the LORD is true, not to be added to, nor taken away from. The truth sets us free, sanctifying us to God our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. All of God’s purposes in preparation for the perfect New Heavens and New Earth are focused on this present Earth, with its unique solar system, its unique humanity and other life-forms, its unique Promised Land and City of the Great King, its uniquely special people chosen by God through whom He has brought salvation by His only-begotten beloved Son.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
WHAT HISTORY HAVE WE LEARNED? – 7 Jan 2015
Below is a link to a 45-min video by Dr. Bill Warner, giving a fascinating, eye-opening overview of Islamic history and its fruit. It is very relevant to our lives and interaction here in Israel, both surrounded and ‘infiltrated’ by the Islamic jihad (holy war) spirit, and also in how it affects our relations and interactions even within the Body of Messiah, especially between those are engaged in various reconciliation ministries and ‘life-styles’ with Arab believers. Although not officially dhimmis, they live as if they were. This is the accumulative effect of Islam over the 1400 centuries of their on-going conquest.
Remember that Satan is the god of this world, and wants us to remember all the bad things done especially by Jews and Christians in history. He does NOT want people to know the grace and goodness of the true God and Savior to REDEEM and to SAVE even His own people who sin. The modern State of Israel, at least till now, and despite all her continued unbelief and blindness and stiff-neckedness against the good news of Jesus the Messiah and Son of God, is a BULWARK of the Lord against Islamic domination and its forceful submission of those who do not submit to Mohammed and his god.
On his own website, http://www.politicalislam.com, Dr. Warner writes in one of his articles that “The story of Islam starts with the Jews since Islam is a Jewish heresy. The Koran endlessly adapts Jewish stories such as those of Moses and Noah to show that Mohammed is the prophet of Allah.” Warner is not “pro-Israel”; he presents himself as a qualified scientist studying objective facts against theories.
An interesting statistic, according to Dr. Warner, is that Israel — percentage-wise by population — suffers the most from Islamic jihadist attacks. He also says that the most despised people in the world are the victims of Islam within Islam. He challenges Christians, and others, to speak out and do something against the incessant lies and distortions of truth, and the horrible brutality of Islam. There is much more here that puts history in a much better light, with its darkness as well. ( The website that I am taking this video from, with its independent analysis, is also stimulating for renewed Bible study.)
By the grace of God, let us be transformed by renewing our minds and not be conformed to the pattern of this world.
CAN YOU ANSWER THIS QUESTION? – 30 DEC 2014
Whenever we speak with an unbelieving Jewish person about Yeshua/Jesus, if we speak ‘long enough’, the question will always come to us: “Do you really believe that Jesus/Yeshua is God!?” Will you be able to give a clear answer to that very good and crucial question? From the Old Testament?
THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST A BLESSING FROM GOD FOR PEACE – 20 Dec 2014
God is speaking good news of peace to His people Israel until today with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God; but not to the Jewish people only, but also to all peoples: “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men!”
This is the blessing which God proclaims from the day of the birth of His Son, King of the Jews, to sinful people everywhere. And for those who do believe in Him – His godly ones — His birth carries with it the promise of His coming again to rule in righteousness, as King of kings and Lord of lords!
In these days when darkness is covering the nations, let us, as sons of light, not return to our former way of life, but let us shine brightly with the good news of hope, encouraging one another as we continue on the way, proclaiming God’s desire that all should believe on His Son, and inherit everlasting life.
Messiah has come, and is coming again quickly, also at the Father’s appointed time! This is our peace and blessed hope which all the saints and godly ones have, who hear what YHVH God speaks to Israel, and to the Church of God, for all peoples.
WHO I AM IN MESSIAH – 15 Nov 2014
Jn 8:23-25 And [Yeshua] said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I Am He, you will die in your sins.” Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.”
To know who I am in Messiah/Christ – to know my identity as a believer in Yeshua/Jesus – I need to know who Yeshua really is, since my identity is connected with Him and His name. YHVH God has revealed Himself to us in personal ways by telling us His names.
He first reveals Himself by name to Moses, when He tells him that He is “I Am Who I Am”, and that He is the God of our fathers: YEHOVAH, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob. (Ex 3:14-15; Jn 8:23-25)
Just as YHVH placed His name upon the Children of Israel through the priestly blessing (Num 6:24-26), so, too, is the name of Christ upon those who belong to Him in new covenant relationship. (Acts 11:26; 1Pt 4:12-16) We are children of God if we are in Christ/Messiah: God has become my Father; we have become His children! (1Jn 3:1-3) We, in Christ, are sons and daughters of the Creator and King of the heavens and the Earth! In Messiah, we are heirs with Him of all things! (Mk 12:7; Lk 12:32; Heb 1:2; 12:28)
1Jn 3:1-3 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
ONE NEW MAN CHALLENGE – 19 Oct 2014
The whole matter of the one new man in Christ requires all of us to accept that our own stream is not the whole river; or that our own soil and climate is not necessarily suited for the other trees; or that our own part of the body is not the whole body.
Unless we let the Holy Spirit do the actual work of sanctification and of fitting the living stones together in their places, we are hopeless to accomplish the glorious truth of the gospel.
ISRAEL IN THE SPOTLIGHT – 22 Sept 2014
Israel is not in some obscure ‘corner’ of the world: Israel is in the very center of the world/Earth. (Think “Medi-terranean”.)
Israel is a microcosm of all humanity, and mirrors to everyone their own sins and foibles and weaknesses, and . . . . all that they do not like about themselves and want to project them onto others. (Israel also reflects the great and noble hopes and aspirations of humanity, yet our nature is to notice and point out that which is not good, especially if we do not really like a person or a people.)
Finding their sins in Israel and in the Jewish people, the nations of the world find a ready-made scapegoat to blame, who is not “guilty”, other than bearing all that is ‘not good’ in those preferring an innocent victim to be demonized and sent away, thrown off the cliff to its death, hoping that the ‘problem’ will be removed, the conscience cleared (since this scapegoat is full of everyone’s sins – its own plus everybody else’s), and life will be safer and better.
Israel’s vibrant re-emergence challenges the humanistic pride and the inability to make the world permanently better, and actually gives hope against the re-emergence of fundamentalist Islam and its quest for world conquest, even if, in the process, everyone must die and the whole world destroyed and desolated. SOMEONE is looking after us, preserving us and beckoning us, calling out with ‘good’ news.
Israel IS the story for all the world to take note of, which is why so many journalists, “world powers and rulers”, and others are fixated on it.
YESHUA IS THE TRUE SUCCESSOR AND HEIR OF GOD’S KINGDOM – 10 Sep 2014
The true Successor and Heir of the world is the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah! (Heb 1:2) The covenants of God have all been with and through Israel (Rom 9:4-5), and confirmed by God through the resurrection of Yeshua. (Rom 15:8-9) The anti-christ will also claim loyalty that only belongs to the true Messiah and Son of God, and will willfully set himself up in opposition to Jesus, and against His people, whether Jewish or Christian.
What is revealing here is that the Hebrew word used for caliphate is khalifut חליפות. This word would mean something to the effect of ‘that which has exchanged, or replaced’. In this case, the Islamic caliphate is rebelliously seeking to replace the true universal Kingdom of the true God with its own desolate counterfeit. The caliph is usurping the place of the true Successor and Heir as ‘king’ over the kingdom. We are indeed living in momentous times.
SIGNS OF THE TIMES – 18 Aug 2014
The falling away which Paul writes about in 1 Thes 2:3 is a huge sign of the last days, paving the way for the antichrist. The rapid fall from a relatively ‘decent’ standard of morality is astounding, especially as it has invaded the church. Israel is no stranger to it, either, sadly.
But considering the Islamic Revolution in 1979, which has sparked the rise of the mortally wounded Islamic Empire, I find it interesting that it followed the 1973 Yom Kippur War of the surrounding Arab states against Israel, which saw the Arab oil states use their oil for the first time as a ‘weapon’ to get the dependent Western nations (especially) to begin to fall away from fully supporting Israel. A war of attrition followed for several years, and what followed was the humiliation of the Carter administration in the Iranian hostage fiasco. And we see where Carter is today, and the increasing efforts to nullify Israel’s right to exist as a nation in its land.
LEVERAGE – 13 Aug 2014
It seems that something has to eventually happen that is reason for Israel and the surrounding nations (at least) to fear YHVH, the God of Israel, even if they are not yet sure who He is. If the building of another Temple is necessary for the Antichrist to defile and abominate, something has to give impetus to this that both Israelis and Gentile nations — including the Arabic Islamic ones — ALLOW this to happen.
It is evident that NO ONE will permit it now, not Israel nor the Gentiles, who are still trampling Jerusalem under foot. It seems that some unexpected and ‘miraculous’ victory by Israel, that surprises everyone, and that puts the fear of Israel’s God in them all, has to occur to let Jewish people seek to appease an angry God, but who is still showing Himself strong on their behalf against their enemies. Then there will be the false calm before the biggest storm in the history of the world, and a great challenge for born-again believers in Yeshua/Jesus not to be deceived, and to be willing to identify with the Lord and to confess His name before men.
No simple matter, but the glory set before us will become more real.
GOD SEES END FROM BEGINNING – 13 Aug 2014
Already in the Torah, YHVH God is warning His chosen people Israel of their falling away, of His judgements against them, and of His redemptive power and grace to restore those to Himself who repent of their unfaithfulness and ungodliness towards Him. The Song of Moses is a witness against them! Balaam could not curse them, but was given to see the people’s glorious end!
All this was said and written before the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land. God knows what He is doing, whom He is choosing, why He does what He does, and how He is going to accomplish the good end He has for those who put their trust in Him. YHVH changes not; therefore Jacob is not consumed. The redeemed and penitent remnant will be the Israel of God. Praise the Lord!
CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER? – 9 Aug 2014
It seems like God is using Israel as a sword to bring necessary division within the Body, just as Yeshua came to bring a sword even within family relationships. Peace is for those who believe, and walk in the light.
It is true, that from a purely Palestinian Arab perspective, Israel’s being here may certainly be catastrophic for many of their lives, just as the Holocaust continues to be for many Jewish people. But, as believers, we need to see both these events in the light of God’s word, His righteousness, and His redemptive purposes leading up to the return of the Lord. If we can not agree here, it is very difficult to talk or act together when our basic assumptions are not compatible.
Who among all of us are willing and able to go on together from this common basic understanding, and trust the Holy Spirit to bring others along?
ISRAEL AS SWORD AND BATTLE BOW – 5 Aug 2014
The modern State of Israel is the Israel of God in the making. It seems that God is using Israel, the natural brethren of Jesus and the nation through whom He came in the flesh, as a sword to bring division within the household and among the nations, just as Jesus Himself came to bring division within households and family relationships. Who is on the Lord’s side?
Mt 10:34-39 (Mic 7:1-10) Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword . . . .
Zech 10:4-5 From him (Judah) comes the cornerstone; from him the tent peg; from him the battle bow; from him every ruler together. They shall be like mighty men, who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in battle. They shall fight because YHVH is with them, and the riders on horses shall be put to shame.
The question of whether the present re-established homeland for the Jewish people is of God, or merely of man, is not dissimilar to the question put to Yeshua/Jesus: Tell us plainly whether you be the Messiah, the Son of God!? One’s response and answer to that question will pierce even to the division of soul and spirit, and will have its consequences affecting our relationship with the God of Israel, our personal and church relationships, and of sifting between sheep and goat nations.
The Holy Spirit is working to bring to pass all that is written in the Law and the Prophets, not to mention in the New Testament, too.
THE HOPE OF FUTILITY – 26 July 2014
God has built in frustration and futility in all the affairs of man, so that people might seek Him, in whom alone is perfection, and that believers will anticipate with a lively hope the return of the Lord.
THE GOD OF ARMIES – 22 July 2014
Our prayer is that more Israelis and more Gazans would turn to the one true God, and fear His holy Name, which He often gives as YHVH (LORD)of Hosts (Armies), since there is war in the heavenlies ever since Lucifer rebelled and took a third of the other angels with him to his side against the triune God; and that war has been brought earth-ward ever since Eve was deceived and Adam disobeyed in the Garden of Eden about 6000 years ago.
The war manifested when Cain killed his innocent and righteous brother, Abel, and then rejected personal responsibility and to come back to God on His terms. Yet, for all this, YHVH let Cain know that He would avenge him against whoever might kill him, and would even avenge his death seven times. Then Lamech, Cain’s descendant, married two women, got hurt by a boy, killed him, and threatened anyone to challenge him, and promised to avenge himself 77 times! Does any of this sound familiar as individuals grew to become nations, and history unfolds before our eyes?
This war has not effectively ended yet, despite the truth that Jesus has already won it — both in the natural and in the spiritual as the Son of God and Son of Man — on the cross, and He is not going to now ‘lose’ it. We may win some battles and lose the war; Yeshua only wins, despite appearances to the contrary!
I was considering some of the ways that Israel is reflecting the nature of her God in these wars, even though she is unaware of it:
1. God is using Israel to bless the world by taking a small, embattled, squeezed-in nation of people who have known unparalleled suffering, yet ‘stubbornly and stiff-neckedly’ kept going, to stand up to an implacable enemy which not only threatens her own existence (as if YHVH was not involved or else not capable), but also threatens, intimidates, bullies, terrorizes the entire Judeo-Christian civilization and its beneficent influences, the very environment in which the Jewish people have both suffered and thrived.
2. Israel’s government and people turned the other cheek thousands of times over the years as Hamas sent thousands of missiles fired at it’s next-door neighbor (the Bible tells us to be ‘good neighbors’), before it finally took it on the chin enough to try to get the foolishness out of the neighborhood bully, who doesn’t allow even their own people to question their bad behavior, and the horrible consequences it brings upon them all.
3. YHVH (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is stronger and mightier than all the forces of His creation combined, yet He is kind and gentle with us so that we don’t crumple at His touch. But when He does let us taste of sample of His power, it is that we might truly fear Him and worship Him as God, and cease from our own folly that we are potential gods. Jesus could wipe us out with a breath of air! Even believers do much to bring reproach to His name! Many ‘innocent’ people die in hurricanes, tornadoes, bad accidents, etc. etc. etc. And, sad but true, people will blame God, even blaspheme him.
So, Israel, is indeed a mighty army to be reckoned with, beyond any normal standard. She could, if unleashed without any scruples, destroy all of Gaza and its people. Yet, by the Spirit of her God, whom she still refuses to accept to rule over them, she demonstrates restraint and does what is possible to reduce loss of life, while unavoidably and inadvertently also contributing to loss of life and property. And, many blame Israel as the convenient scapegoat.
4. Both in Proverbs and in Romans, the Word of God tell us:
“not avenging yourselves, beloved, but give place to the wrath, for it hath been written, `Vengeance [is] Mine, I will recompense again, saith the Lord;’ if, then, thine enemy doth hunger, feed him; if he doth thirst, give him drink; for this doing, coals of fire thou shalt heap upon his head; Be not overcome by the evil, but overcome, in the good, the evil.”
Israel, in the midst of war, has not only agreed to three humanitarian cease-fire arrangements which Hamas has either refused, or agreed to and broken (and Israel should not agree to one without ensuring Hamas gains no benefit), but she has opened up a field hospital on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, in order to help Palestinian wounded; Soroka Hospital is providing medical treatment to some wounded Gazans. Israel, for some reason, provides (yes, with some restrictions), water, electricity, food, construction materials to Gaza (read, Hamas), which is not only not appreciated, but even used to worsen the lives of the general population by the terrorist leadership, and used to build many (15 already located as of now) elaborate tunnels to protect Hamas leaders, and to try to infiltrate into Israel to kill, maim, kidnap.
As believers in Jesus, let us give glory to God, who, behind the scenes, is bringing people and nations to account, saving many who repent and believe the gospel, and bringing glory to His Name, and to His Son’s name.
May God have mercy on us all!
WILL THE BODY OF MESSIAH ARISE? – 14 July 2014
In the Body of Messiah here, not all are of one mind, even if many are of one heart; and, God is ‘there’ when we come together in unity for the sake of the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (or any other language in which He is honored).
What we are in need of is for ALL parts of this small country, with its relatively small number of Jewish and Arab believers, to come together in one place to praise and to pray. God willing, this will yet happen! We must demonstrate in times of crisis the truth of our being disciples of Jesus, and not fall back on our natural affinities each time, which only displays our dividedness. It is just this sort of partisan, divisive mindset that we have to get beyond if we are going to move on, forward, upward. Otherwise, we have no message for our peoples about the truth of the gospel and its power to make peace, produce love, promote unity and holiness in the fear of the Lord.
Yeshua told His 11 remaining apostles before He left them to go ‘home’ that ALL authority has been given to Him in Heaven and on Earth, and that we should take the gospel and make disciples of any and all people, and that both these things are true until the end of the age. The end of the age has not come yet, so both these facts and truths are still in force. And Yeshua promises to be WITH US in this matter until the end.
Our High Priest, Messiah, also prayed that we would become one with Him and each other in the same manner as He is one with the Father. This is no natural unity! Nor is there a natural means of attaining to it: it must be a work of the Holy Spirit in those who want to be a part of the sure answer of the Father to this prayer of His Son.
Do we want God to do what He wants to do? Jesus has told all of us that there are going to be wars until the end, just as much as He is sovereign over all things during all of the wars and other tribulations. GIVEN THAT, He and His apostles tell us how we are to live and what we are to labor for, even as we rest in Him with all assurance. Wars and threats are not to be seen BY BELIEVERS as reasons for NOT believing and obeying, but are to seen as CHALLENGES — sometimes even insurmountable by all natural reckoning — for us to overcome by our faith of who Jesus is so that we might be conformed to His image.
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Jewish people as a whole do not believe that; Muslims do not believe that. It is we who have the witness and the truth, and the Holy Spirit has been given to us for power to both proclaim and to live that truth. There is spiritual warfare regarding this truth just as much as there is natural warfare all around. We are called to identify with Jesus BY NAME in a world and against the devil which rejects and despises Him.
God is going to fulfill every jot and tittle of all that He has purposed and promised to do. KNOWING that, He is calling us out from every people and nation to be a kingdom of priests that have a different and better ‘calling’ in the meantime. If we “do not keep our proper domain”, and resort to merely natural instincts and associations, then we are not really upholding the truth of the gospel and the truth that to Jesus belongs all authority: He has won the war on the cross! And because He is risen, EVERYTHING which God promised to the fathers will be fulfilled! Because of only ONE righteous Man, God will not destroy either Israel nor the Earth. Praise the Lord!
We have much to be THANKFUL for as we come together as brothers and sisters, despite our peoples being at war with each other over the inheritance. No one will receive from God what He has not promised; but neither will anyone receive from God even what is promised in any other way except than through honoring and blessing Jesus, before whom every knee shall bow and tongue confess.
We do not know what the next step is, but trust the Lord to lead us, so that we will have a collective voice to speak truth in love and in righteousness in His name and for His sake. We may need to remind each other what we have ‘tasted’ to keep us on course. May the Lord Jesus do what He needs to do to get what He wants, even during this present war ‘situation’ in our land and against our people.
We pray that the Holy Spirit would give the Christians in Gaza hope as they look to Yasu for help and strength. We pray for Christian Arab Israelis and Palestinians to differentiate between terrorists and between their identification with Israel. We pray for Israelis to begin to turn back towards the God of Israel, rather than trust in themselves or in our military might and capabilities, as amazing and important and necessary as they are in these times.
No weapon formed against Israel will succeed; the gates of Sheol/Hades will not prevail against the Church! Body of Messiah/Christ rise up and unite as more than conquerors in Him who loves us!
God bless us all to be a praise to His name!
PROPHECY, ANYONE? – 24 June 2014
The days are in decline once again, after reaching the peak last Saturday. Summer is here, bringing in ‘the end’: the Hebrew word for summer is ‘kayitz‘ (קיץ). There is the verse in the prophet Jeremiah (8:20), where Israel cries in a despair of lost hope: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved!” Blessed be God, that when all hope is lost, He comes in to quicken hope for redemption and salvation! So it will be as the end of the age nears.
This week I have given lots of attention to prophecy. It was not intended; it just seems to be what the Lord brought to my attention by someone sending me a link to a site with a current events story tying into end-times scenarios. This led me to another, newer site, but related to the first.
Prophecy should be important to all believers, since God is fulfilling His word, which, to us, is all prophetic. The Word of God and current events are coming together more and more tightly as the end of the age draws ever nearer than when they were first written. Yet, the Holy Spirit is given to teach us, and to lead us into all truth, through the Scriptures which were written for us “living at the end of the age”.
Yeshua told the Israeli Jewish people in His day that they should have known the day of their visitation by Him, the Messiah. The prophets gave numerous details about the ‘time and season’ of His coming, especially through the prophet Daniel, which the Jewish authorities today have relegated to the ‘Writings’. We do not want to be as unprepared nearing the Lord’s return as so many in Israel were at the first coming.
Also during this week, another brother and I were discussing our expectations of what lies ahead of Israel and of those who believe. We are both born-again, serious students of the Word, love Yeshua, and live in the Negev. Yet, we are ‘miles apart’ as to the what, how, and why of future end-time events. How so? Because this dear brother believes that the Holocaust was Jacob’s Trouble — that is, that the worst is behind us now — while I believe that the worst is yet to come. Neither of us is a classic dispensationalist.
He suggested, and I would second it, that someone should organize a conference of a few days to talk about all these things, with a view to seek the Lord in love for Him and for the brethren, in which the various schools of thought can be openly discussed and that the Holy Spirit can help us all be more on the same page with Him. Any suggestions, anyone?
DOES PENTECOST TODAY NEGATE THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL? – 9 June 2014
Yesterday, Pentecost Sonday, Pope Franciscus held an interfaith and inter-political prayer meeting at the Vatican. The Pope is considered by the world to be the head of the Christian church and faith. He invited leading Jewish rabbis, with out-going Israeli President Shimon Peres. Also included were leading Islamic Imams, and Palestinian Authority President Abu Mazen.
Pentecost is the day which reminds and celebrates the gift of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob — the Holy Spirit — to those who believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. On that historic day nearly 2000 years ago, all who were baptized in the Holy Spirit praised and glorified the one true God. This brought conviction of the sin of unbelief to the many Jews, Arabs, and others who were in Jerusalem that day to hear and see what this mighty act of God was and effected.
While it is true that Jesus died for all persons from every nation, only those who repent and believe the gospel receive the Holy Spirit and KNOW the Father and the Son. There is no other way to God the Father apart from through Jesus, and the believer indwelled by the Holy Spirit is sealed with this great truth and peace. There can be no true peace in the Middle East or elsewhere apart from being reconciled to God on His terms.
In the recorded history of Israel in the Bible, YHVH and His prophets rebuked the people for worshipping other gods on the same high places and groves where they were also worshipping other gods. “… what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” (2Cor 6:15)
Does the Pope know this? Do any of these religious and political men agree on who God is? “What is His name; and what is His Son’s name? Surely you know!” (Prov 30:4)
SHAVUOT/PENTECOST – 3 June 2014
When Yeshua ascended to Heaven in the sight of His chosen apostles on the 40th day of counting the omer (sheaves) from the day of His resurrection from the dead, He had been showing Himself definitely alive with many infallible proofs that could not be denied (just as counting daily the sheaves of the wheat harvest to come provided Israelis proof and assurance that it would surely come), and greatly strengthened the new-born faith of His disciples.
He took His seat at the right hand of God, and is now Sovereign over all things, both in Heaven and on Earth (and in the seas)! When we say, “God is in control”, we are speaking of the Lord Jesus/Yeshua, for all authority has been given Him! With great anticipation and hope we look for “that Day”, when He will return to restore the Kingdom of God back to Israel, and over all the nations, and throughout the Universe! It is my hope and expectation that “that Day” comes in our generation.
We are in need of ‘power from on high’, but God is not going back to Shavuot/Pentecost, but is moving on towards the final Ingathering and harvest of holy, righteous, good fruit. I believe we should expect a major move of the Holy Spirit to bring repentance within the Body of Messiah — similar to the first advent when John the Baptizer, like Elijah, called for God’s people to “repent, for the Kingdom of God is [truly] at hand”. This is how I understand what the baptism of fire is about, which also comes from the Lord as much as does the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It will purge and purify the Bride in holiness, removing all the dross and impurity of all that is not of Christ/Messiah in the believer.
REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY BY WHATEVER NAME – 2 June 2014
In a lengthy commentary, Melanie Phillips analyses the trend in Christianity to scapegoat Israel. (If only Christians would examine and judge themselves, they would realize that they are not better than the Jews, but have their own Scapegoat who has taken away their sins, that they may show mercy to Israel even as they provoke them to jealousy.)
You can read the commentary here: https://www.embooks.com/blog/single/jesus-was-a-palestinian-the-return-of-christian-anti-semitism
May Melanie Phillips also come to know Jesus as her Savior and Lord.
THE CHALLENGE OF THE GOSPEL – 2 June 2014
The gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek: it offends and challenges every one and all cultures. We all need to not only be born-again by the Spirit of God, but also, as the apostle Paul especially has been given to speak, to then lay hold of the revelation of the one new man in Christ Jesus/Messiah Yeshua.
Focusing on how Jewish one can be is really no different from Roman Catholics wanting all believers to be more ‘Roman’ in their understanding of the universal church. Neither approach is very edifying for the Body of Messiah/Christ, nor do they promote true unity.
HATE YOUR ENEMY; LOVE YOUR ENEMY: LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF – 19 May 2014
There is a verse in Surat Al-Hujurat in the Koran. It is in chapter 49, verse 9: “If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies then make peace between them with justice and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).”
The Arabic root word “qatal”, translated here in English as “fight”, actually denotes “to kill, massacre, slaughter”. (wikiislam.net)
A footnote to this verse on the Alim.org website has this: “Individual quarrels are easier to compose than group quarrels, or, in the modern world, national quarrels. But the collective community of Islam should be supreme over groups or nations. It would be expected to act justly and try to compose the quarrel, for peace is better than fighting. But if one party is determined to be the aggressor, the whole force of the community is brought to bear on it. The essential condition of course is that there should be perfect fairness and justice and respect for the highest principles; for Islam takes account of every just and legitimate interest without separating spiritual from temporal matters. The League of Nations failed because these essentials were absent and today the United Nations fails for the same reason.”
In a letter published in 2007, entitled “A Common Word Between Us and You”, Muslims appealed to Christians to agree to dialogue based on what the “moderate” Muslims consider common between Islam and Christianity: “Muslims and Christians together make up well over half of the world’s population. Without peace and justice between these two religious communities, there can be no meaningful peace in the world. The future of the world depends on peace between Muslims and Christians.
“The basis for this peace and understanding already exists. It is part of the very foundational principles of both faiths: love of the One God, and love of the neighbour. These principles are found over and over again in the sacred texts of Islam and Christianity. The Unity of God, the necessity of love for Him, and the necessity of love of the neighbour is thus the common ground between Islam and Christianity.”
Many Christian leaders positively responded to this Muslim interfaith initiative, and have continued to pursue a way which may look good to man, but whose end will only bring death to those who refuse to submit to Islam’s definition of justice, mercy, and love.
What is common between a commandment to disciples to fight to the death those who do not submit in mutual fighting, or a quarrel (think Sunni vs Shia vs ISIS, for examples) — whether between individuals, within family, tribally, nationally, religiously — and between the commandment by the Holy One of God, the Messiah and Son of the Father, who commands His disciples to love your enemy?!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:43-48 New Testament)
SUPERSESSIONISTS – 11 May 2014
Supersessionism is the view that the New Testament Church supersedes, replaces, or fulfills the nation Israel’s place and role in the plan of God. In other words, it is asserted that there can be only ‘one’ chosen people of God at one time, and since those who believe in Jesus/Yeshua now are ‘the elect’, then, ipso facto, Israel/Jewish people who do not believe in Him are no longer still chosen for the purpose for which God chose them. (This has many layers for discussion, but this is not the place for that; but consider this: YHVH chose the Children of Jacob to be His ‘special people’, yet also chose the Tribe of Levi for a unique calling with a better inheritance than the rest of his brethren.)
It’s as if the Church and Israel become merged into one without being distinguished, or else split into two components: Jewish believers become the Israel of God; Gentile believers constitute the Church. Another variation is to say the Jewish people are still God’s Chosen People, but Israel as a nation has no more relevance.
The modern return of the Jewish people as a reconstituted nation in its ancient and promised homeland has been a goad that is hard to kick against.
The response of the ‘supercessionists’ reminds me of Martin Luther, who turned on the Jews when they did not fit his expectations. May God remove the veil from the nearly blind among Christians, just as we pray for Israel’s partial blindness to be healed when the Jewish people believe the truth and are set free.
DATES TO PAY ATTENTION TO – 9 May 2014
Times and seasons have a way of stirring the memories, both personal and collective. Depending on what they may signify, the reactions and anticipations may vary among individuals or nations, or among those joined together through religion or faith. Below are some historical markers that are beginning to converge to draw attention to a watershed, perhaps. Both friend and foe are taking notice.
Oct 31, 1517 – Reformation Day, which gave the Bible back to the people that they may be saved by faith alone in God and His Word
1517 – Turkish Ottoman Muslim Empire begins rule in the Holy Land, the land of the God of the Bible
1882-1903 — First Aliyah (Immigration wave), following pogroms (riots) in Russia in 1881-1882
Aug 29, 1897 – first Zionist Congress in Basle, led by Theodor Herzl, who prophetically understood the times that the Jewish people needed to seek “a publicly recognized legally secured homeland”
June 28, 1914 – the assasination of Austrian arch-duke in Serbia, the catalyst for the declaration a month later of what became WW1, ending on Nov 11, 1918; “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…”
Oct 31, 1917 – ANZAC/Lighthorse Beer Sheva Charge victory over Ottomans in break-through victory towards return of Jewish people back to Land of Israel, and of ending 400 years of Ottoman rule in Holy Land, and 400 years to the day of the Reformation
Nov 2, 1917 – Balfour Declaration of intent of British government to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine; “It shall come to pass in that day that [YHVH God] shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left . . . . He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the Earth.”
(here is a site devoted to regretting the Balfour Declaration: http://www.balfourproject.org/ )
Dec 11, 1917 – Jerusalem surrendered to British General Edmund Allenby and the Allies from Turkish Ottoman control
Apr 25, 1920 – San Remo Resolution ratified by post-WW1 Allied Powers, legally sanctioning the establishment of the Jewish people back in the land of their fathers
Aug 12, 1922 – League of Nations establishes British Mandate in Palestine, authorized to carry out San Remo Resolution (which legally sanctioned the intent of the Balfour Declaration)
Sept 1, 1939 – Sept 2, 1945 – World War II
Nov 29, 1947 – UN Partition Plan for Palestine, offering both Jewish people and Arab Palestinians states. Israel accepted what for them constituted “a publicly recognized legally secured homeland”; the Arabs rejected, and prepared for war (Israel’s Independence War, 1948-49); 430 years from the restored promise of salvation and righteousness by faith in YHVH God and His Word, and of the Ottoman Islamic and the British Mandate control in the Land of Promise
http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/foreignpolicy/peace/guide/pages/un%20general%20assembly%20resolution%20181.aspxMay 14, 1948 – State of Israel as the re-established homeland for the Jewish people proclaimed by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, in accord with the legal status conferred by both the League of Nations and the United Nations
Jun 7, 1967 – Capture of Jerusalem in Six-Day War, unifying the city in Israeli Jewish hands (70 years after 1st Zionist Cong; 50 yrs Jubilee since Balfour Declaration)
Dec 9, 1987 – First Intifada (Arab uprising) begins, lasting seven years, leading to Oslo Accords between the State of Israel and the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization), signed on Sept 13, 1993
Sept 29, 2000 – Second Intifada begins, inconclusively ending in a truce on Feb 8, 2005, and leading to the Gaza disengagement on Sept 12, 2005
2014 — 100 years since start of WW1
2015 – 70 yrs since end of WW2
2017 — 500 yrs since the Reformation; 120 yrs since 1st Zionist Cong; 100 yrs (double Jubilee) since Beer Sheva Charge, the Balfour Declaration, and the capture of Jerusalem by Gentile Christians; 70 yrs since UN Partition Plan; 50 yrs Jubilee since capture of Jerusalem by Israeli Jews; 30 yrs since beginning of 1st Palestinian Intifada (“breaking the yoke; horse shaking off the rider”)
2018 – 100 yrs from end of WW1; 70 yrs of Israel’s re-established nation-state
2028 – 80 yrs since Israel’s re-establishment as homeland for the Jewish people
20?? – the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ!
BDS Movement – 4 May 2014
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement against Israel is increasing its “non-violent” pressure upon the international community to seek victory over Israel vis a vis the Palestinian Arab conflict that has not been achieved either militarily or through UN efforts. Describing Israel as an apartheid state has become an effective tool in this campaign, despite this claim being a manipulative exaggeration and false comparison to what true apartheid is.
This movement has also attracted the support of Palestinian Christians, and major church denominations and organizations in Europe and North America.
“At the center of these efforts lays a document with the full title “A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering.” Known as the Kairos Palestine Document, this December 2009 appeal from Palestinian Christians asks the world’s churches to use “boycott and disinvestment as tools of non-violence for justice, peace and security for all,” and the international community to begin “a system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel.
“During these past [five] years, the document and Kairos Palestine, the organization behind it, have infused church-based activism for Palestine with focus and clarity.” (quoted from http://www.bdsmovement.net)
What worries me is the motive of some of those who claim to believe the Bible as God’s Word. It reminds me of the false prophet Balaam, who, although he could not curse Israel as he was hired to do — but could only officially bless Israel according to the Word of YHVH to him — yet he advised a way to undermine the sanctity and unity of this unique nation.
Balaam’s motive was to get honor and money, even though he knew that his advice, by being carried out, would weaken Israel and her people — against the very word of God that he proclaimed with open eyes that only blessed this chosen people of the true God, who gave him to see the glorious end beyond the present sinfulness. (Num 22 – 25; Jude 11) Is this not also true for the Church, the Body of Messiah?! No weapon formed against Israel will succeed; neither will the gates of Sheol/Hades prevail against the Church.
Many of these Christians speak, on the one hand, that the Jewish people and Israel are still the chosen of God; while, on the other hand, seek ways to delegitimize Israel’s existence and her capacity to govern, and taking up valuable resources in a campaign whose goals are no different than those who are outspoken in the use of violence to obtain the same objectives.
HOLOCAUST DENIAL – 23 Apr 2014
It is similar, to me, to when the apostle Peter wrote that they (the apostles) were eye-witnesses to who Yeshua/Jesus was among them, and to His death and resurrection and ascension. That was already being denied and lied about back then, just as the Holocaust is today while eye-witnesses are still alive — both of the perpetrators, and also of the victims.
By the way, Jesus’ sacrificial death is also called a ‘holocaust’, a whole-burnt offering.
CHRISTIAN ANTI-ZIONISM – 23 Apr 2014
Christian anti-Zionism is a bit like Isaac being nearly blind when he blessed Jacob with the intent of blessing Esau for purely carnal reasons. But Esau continued to cry foul despite having absolutely no interest in God’s purposes and ways; and then Isaac ‘saw’, saying the blessing will remain with Jacob — even though Dad Isaac was so put off by Jacob, and so sentimentally attached to Esau, that he told Esau that the day would come when he would throw Jacob’s yoke from off him. In these last days, we see that in the Palestinian Arab uprisings/intifada, with all its results to turn the world — including many Christians — against Israel and her inheritance of the promised land.
This throwing off of the yoke can also be seen throughout the world to discredit the Bible as the true Word of God regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment.
CELEBRATING GOD TOGETHER – 20 Apr 2014
The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!
Even though as believers we know the reality daily of the truth that Yeshua was born, died, rose again, appeared to hundreds after His resurrection, and ascended to Heaven seated in glory with all authority from the Father, yet God has given His corporate family and people appointed times to publicly give witness and testimony to these mighty and wondrous acts.
The Holy Spirit gathers God’s people together to celebrate, worship, and remember — all of which helps us not to forget and to strengthen our faith, hope, and love. These corporate demonstrations and annual times also draw the attention of the whole world to the one true God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. He has given us a new song of love and redemption by making Himself personal to each of His own who belong together in His redeemed family. Praise the Lord! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRnG2xzzEaU
Today (Sonday, the day after the Sabbath) is, according to the Word of YHVH to Moses for Israel, the appointed beginning, following the Passover, of the counting of the omer, the first-fruits of the sheaves of the wheat harvest to come at Shavuot/Pentecost. (The Bible knows nothing about any implicit importance to the 16th or 17th of Nisan.) The fruit harvest comes during the Ingathering in the Fall, highlighted and celebrated during the Feast of Booths, based on the finished atonement.
Yesterday, at Yeshua’s Inheritance Cong., we celebrated corporately the joy of knowing that Yeshua is alive. There was also the baptism of A, who came to us through the Jews for Jesus evangelism campaign last November, and through coming regularly to our services and Bible studies, decided to be baptized. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism unto life, while the baptism in water proclaims the truth that we have died with Messiah, been buried with Him in His death, and will be raised from among the dead just as Yeshua rose from among the dead. What a great testimony of faith in the truth that our Savior has conquered death! We also fellowshipped together in the Lord’s Supper, remembering not only that Jesus died for us and our sins, but the He is coming again!
He is risen in glory! Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!
DID RABBINIC JUDAISM EMERGE FROM CHRISTIANITY? – 15 Apr 2014
Here is an extremely interesting and stimulating lecture given by Prof. Israel Jacob Yuval:
Whatever God by His Word and Spirit originates, those most directly affected who reject it will challenge it with their own narrative to either/both deny His truth, or/and to give their own self-independence credibility. Fascinating! The gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, but God is bringing all of us into something new.
A GREATER PASSOVER – 14 Apr 2014
As we celebrate the Passover, we can rejoice as we remember that not only has Yehovah made His name great as the God of Israel who brought His people up out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm to serve Him, but also the whole world is reminded that Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah died and rose again during this special night and week which God has given us.
As great as what God did to bring the Israelis out of Egypt to bring them into the Land of Canaan to give it to them for an inheritance, YHVH claims through the prophet Jeremiah that the work of redemption going on now in bringing His scattered people back to this very land from all around the world is even greater.
Jer 16:14-15 “Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares Yehovah, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As Yehovah lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As Yehovah lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.”
Jer 23:1-8 “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!” declares Yehovah. Therefore thus says Yehovah, God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who are tending My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them; behold, I am about to attend to you for the evil of your deeds,” declares the LORD.
“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares Yehovah.
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares Yehovah, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch (Plant); and He will reign as king and act wisely, and do justice and righteousness in the land.
“In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called,‘Yehovah our righteousness.’
“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when they will no longer say, ‘As Yehovah lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, but, ‘As Yehovah lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.”
ABRAHAMIC FAITH – 8 Mar 2014
Abraham is revered by the Jewish people, by Christians, by the Arab people, and by Muslims. God has made Abraham’s name great, and all the families of the Earth are blessed through his descendants.
Of whom is Abraham the father? He is the father of the Arabic people through his son, Ishmael, whose mother was Hagar, the Egyptian. Abraham is a descendant of Shem, a son of Noah. Hagar, as an Egyptian (Mizraim), is a descendant of Ham, a son of Noah.
Abraham is the father of the Israeli and Jewish people through his son, Isaac, and his grandson, Jacob. Isaac’s mother was Sarah; Jacob’s mother was Rebecca. These were all descendants of Shem. Jacob had a twin brother, Esau/Edom, who married two Canaanite women (descendants from Ham), and then married a daughter of Ishmael.
Abraham is called the father of many nations, and, indeed, there are many Arab nations, and one essentially Jewish nation. Even through his marriage to Keturah, after Sarah died, Abraham had sons through whom have come other ethnic groups, probably including the Bedouin.
What distinguishes the Jewish people’s relationship to Abraham over the others is that of YHVH God’s covenants to and through them, and not to or through the others.
Abraham is also the “spiritual” father of all who believe in Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah/Christ and the Son of the Living God. That is, all who believe in God the Father and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, are children of Abraham through faith in the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob/Israel. Jesus, as a Man, was descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham believed that God Almighty, the Most High God, YEHOVAH, could raise the dead to life in order to fulfill His promises to and through him.
Not all who are called Christian are believers, just as not all Israel is Israel. Christian/Messianic believers can call Abraham their father, whether they are Jewish, Arab, or any other Gentile.
Muslims do not believe in YHVH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. They do not believe that God is a Father, or that Jesus is His Son. If God is not a father, then He has no children. Jewish people believe that God is a Father, and that Israel is His first-born son (as a nation); but they do not believe that Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah, whoever else they may think is. Christians believe that God is their Father, and that they are children of God through their faith in Him through Jesus, His Son, by the Holy Spirit who dwells within each born-again believer in Him.
The conclusion of this is that there are not three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jewish people in the flesh (natural descendants) can call Abraham their father; natural Arab people through Ishmael and even Esau/Edom can consider Abraham their ancestral father in the flesh; but only those from whatever nation who believe in Yeshua/Jesus/Yasua as Lord and Christ/Messiah, the Son of God, have the same faith as Abraham. Yeshua said that Abraham saw His day, and was glad.
There is a wrongly placed sympathy towards Islam and Muslims by erroneously accepting Islam as an Abrahamic faith. Their God is not the God of Abraham. They need to repent and believe the gospel, and be set free by the truth, to worship the true living God in spirit and truth. Traditional Judaism does not accept that Jesus/Yeshua is the Messiah. They, too, need to repent and believe the gospel, and come back to the God of their fathers. Nominal Christians do not have living faith; also they need to repent and believe the gospel that their righteousness is from God and not from their religious culture or affiliation.
THE JEWS: A Divinely Protected and Overcoming People – 2 Feb 2014
Here is a link to a pdf file of remarkable photos of Jewish people displaying the best of their “stubborn and stiff-necked” qualities, which has enabled them to endure and come through the valley of the shadow of death with their indomitable spirit to be ‘eternal’:
http://www.tinewbedford.org/pps/HistoricPhotosOfTheJews-0FLev.pps (The file is safe to ‘save’.)
O for that day when they will call upon the name of the Lord for salvation!
HEBREW LANGUAGE AND THE BIBLE: A Divinely Inspired Language and Book – 31 Jan 2014
Whether a pure “Hebrew” was the original human language may be challenged and debated by many. But that Hebrew is unique — through its being chosen by the Creator and Redeemer, YHVH, to be the language of choice to make Himself known through the Bible (O.T.) — can not be greatly disputed.
Once again, another curious inquirer has found fascinating correspondence between the language of the Jews and the world that their God made. (This is not to say that all things that people say regarding the language and its hidden truths are correct, but only that the language has provided a treasure source not found in other ancient languages. And of those ancient languages, Hebrew has remained a living tongue till today.)
You can read here what excited a professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer Sheva about Hebrew, in a 2009 article in the Jerusalem Post, ‘Mere Coincidence, or Divine Truth?’:
Here is Prof. Haim Shore’s 2nd Edition (2013) of his book, Coincidences in the Bible and in Biblical Hebrew, online:
The Bible (Old and New Testaments), even for unbelievers in Jesus, or for those who dismiss its Divine inspiration and authoritative truths, continues to intrigue and compel people in a way that is not known of for any other “Holy Book” of another people or religion. This is the primary source and record of the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth; of YEHOVAH, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; of His people Israel and His land; of His city, Jerusalem, both earthly and heavenly; of things natural and spiritual; of how human beings ought to live; of God’s Son, Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, the Redeemer and Savior of all persons from any people, nation, and land, but especially of those who believe; of eternal judgment, whether of justification unto life with God, or of condemnation unto existence separated from God.
THE TRINITY AND JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES – 28 Jan 2014
Many of you may have experienced discussions and/or confrontations with witnesses two-by-two of JW’s. They claim to speak the truth about the one true God, JEHOVAH, but deny that Jesus/Yeshua is also JEHOVAH/YEHOVAH, nor is the Holy Spirit.
A friend in Alaska wrote an excellent researched piece refuting the claims of JW and their parent, The Watchtower, that their beliefs agree with the early church teachers and theologians.
You can read it here and use it to affirm your own conviction of the truth of the one, true, living God: http://jwinfo003.wordpress.com
BETWEEN BABYLON AND JERUSALEM – 17 Jan 2014
There is an interesting discussion going on within parts of the Messianic community in Israel. It began mentioning that the Babylonian Talmud ‘won out’ over the Jerusalem Talmud (sometimes referred to as the Palestinian Talmud, since it was codified after the Romans changed the name of the land of Israel to Palestine).
The point is put forward that this has been a negative factor in the development of a Jewish Israeli culture in general, and a Jewish Israeli Messianic (belief in Yeshua/Jesus) culture in particular.
For my part, I see that God, in His sovereign ways and thoughts, broadened the ‘fenced in’ Jewish perspective to encompass a wider view, which the gospel is accomplishing in a more perfect way. This wider and broader view does not negate who we are in particular, but it allows us to embrace much more of what — and who — also belongs to YHVH God’s creation and redemption. As Jewish people from all around the world and from so many diverse cultures are coming back to the land of promise, defining what makes for a “Jewish Israeli culture” within normative Judaism is not something tangible. And, of course, there is place for Gentiles in God’s land among His people. So, too, and more so, for those who also believe — whether Jewish or not — in Yeshua as Lord and Messiah, the Son of God. We come from, or enter into, various streams of the Messianic/Christian faith; yet we all belong to one river of inheritance in Him.
Only by the Spirit of God can a godly expression of culture unfold and mature; it can not be done by our own thoughts and understanding of what that should be or look like. It will be a new creation of the Holy One of Israel, and the glory will be His!
Perhaps I will add a few points on what has already been said and written, as it pertains to our discussion within Israel as disciples of the Lord:
1. Yeshua was cast out of the vineyard by His own people through their rulers. (Mt 21: 33-44; Lev 4)
2. “Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” (Heb 13:13)
3. ~”…believe Me, the hour is coming, and now is, when you will neither . . .in Jerusalem worship the Father, but will worship Him in spirit and truth; for such the Father is seeking to worship Him.” (Jn 4:21-24) God is bringing back the gospel and the testimony to Israel and to Jerusalem now, but His focus for our worship, until the Lord returns, is still on the New Jerusalem above — the heavenly Zion. (Heb 12:22-24; Rev 3:11-12; 5)
There is something new and different for all who believe in Messiah under the New Covenant now that will affect our expression of culture in the Kingdom of God, and its impact on whatever culture we are living in or have come out from. (Gal 6:14-16; Lev 18:3-4)
LINGERING STORY – 8 Jan 2014
Christmas has come and gone, but the subject will not go away. One of the main objections that we faced this year was the growing contention that the whole thing is of pagan origin, including the date set for it. This false premise has gained strength the last 30-40 years only, and has brought division and confusion into the Body of Messiah (which helps to discern the source of the trouble), and is a terrible witness to those still seeking the Lord of Glory, while seeing His ‘church’ scattered and accusing the brethren. The deligitimazation of the time of the Lord’s birth and its celebration is akin to the relentless and baseless efforts to deligitimize the existence of the State of Israel.
The ‘timeline’ which I have been working on for close to 20 years uses only Scripture to show that the birth of the Lord and its timing is not of pagan origin, but from God Himself. (There are Hebrew and Jewish roots to the historic celebration.)
Both Jewish believers and Gentile believers in Jesus/Yeshua are called outside their camps and systems to come together around the Throne of God. For those who would still be uncertain about the dating, there needs to be at least a softening of the condemnation against those who think that there is a valid reason for the historic remembrance and celebration from generation to generation, which keeps before the whole world — and to those within the household of faith — a testimony of this mighty act of God: that Messiah the Lord has indeed come, and was born in Israel.
From a Gentile side of how the date came to be set (and I do not submit to everything that is spoken about it), there is an thesis which I found some days after this past Christmas which gives evidence of how the time was set and the arguments for it; and it was done with a concern to be true to the new faith in those early years and to avoid the paganism from which they had come out. You can read it
THE EVIL VOID OF RELATIVISM – 4 Jan 2014
The post-modern world of relativism is a direct attack on the one true God and His Word, written for us in the whole of the Bible. This has been going on from time immemorial, as the devil, the world, and the flesh conspire together to undermine the absolute truth of whatever Yehovah, the Creator and the Redeemer, has revealed to us. This subversion has picked up much territory ever since the false theory of ‘Darwinian’ evolution was given credibility by Bible believers, whether Jewish or Christian.
The uniquesness of the living and Sovereign God becomes challenged and doubted. His authority is rebelled against. His eternal existence is disbelieved. All this results in the increasing lawlessness which is taking over the world today, expressed through brutal violence, gross immorality being called normative, social dysfunction, good being called evil, and insubordination at all levels.
Along with this is the ‘relativism’ of the timing of the birth of Messiah/Christ; many believers have simply come to say that it does not matter when, only that He was born; yet many come up with a whole array of dates, while ignoring the evidence of God’s own testimony and witness. “We don’t need to celebrate it anyway.” The reestablishment of the Jewish people back in the very land of promise in the modern state of Israel also suffers from this relativism: “What does it matter if Jewish people are in Israel or not? They are free to live anywhere else they want, and God can still save them out there.” The anticipated and promised coming again of the Lord also loses its sense of urgency and truth from this relativism, resulting in an indifference to when He is expected to come by those who are exhorted to love His appearing. “It will all ‘pan out in the end’, and besides that, we have our own hopes and plans first.”
Our faith in the God of the Bible is based on God’s Word, with real facts in real time and space, plus His revelations of things before and after that He alone can know, and which He has lovingly revealed to mankind through Moses and the Prophets, and the teachings of the Son of God Himself, which the apostles based their writings on as taught and inspired by the Holy Spirit. Yet in today’s relativism, there are competing texts and translations vying for authenticity, weakening the consensus and the record of the history of most of the last two millennia. God has spoken; He is not a God of confusion, but of order and peace. YHVH is not ‘relative’; He is absolutely holy! There is none like Him! Jesus will not be compared with any others; for by Him they were created, and through His shed blood on the cross is there redemption.
With the dimming light and the salt losing its savor and the fragrance of Messiah becoming stale through lukewarmness, the Body of Christ is in need of a Holy Spirit intervention from God, granting us godly sorrow and repentance, for His holy name’s sake, to return to our first love. The antichrist is going to ride into the vacuum of the sinking sand of relativism, seizing the opportunity to change times and seasons, since we are too willing to claim that we don’t know for sure anyway, and it doesn’t really matter. Thank God that Yeshua saves His people from their sins! Thank-you, Lord!
KNOWING YESHUA/JESUS – 21 Dec 2013
We have the whole Bible: do we know the Lord?
We have many teachings and doctrines: do we know the Lord?
We have many opinions and understandings: do we know the Lord?
We serve God in many ways: do we know the Lord?
We have a plethora of conferences: do we know Messiah the Lord?
We say we believe: do we know Yeshua/Jesus Himself?
As in the days which brought the time of the Judges to a close in Israel, there seems to be much confusion in the Body of Messiah: many are doing what is right in their own eyes, and there is much evil in the Kingdom of God. “The Word of YHVH [is] rare in these days. There is no widespread revelation.” (1 Sam 3:1b) There is a lack of clarity and definiteness. The sheep are scattered as if there is no Shepherd; there is much ‘confusion of faces’, as if there is no King.
God is testing our faithfulness, to see whether we will obey Him with faith, hope, and love for what and who we know Him to be; testing the inner man, the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. He is bringing us through times of a widespread and rapid spiritual decline, that we might grow strong in such adverse conditions, that our whole hope and life is found in Jesus alone.
We need a breakthrough from the Lord by the Holy Spirit that will gather the sheep together in a unity and a love that is difficult to discern clearly now, but yet is taking place in those hid with Christ in God, as God works in His mysterious ways that are not seen by ‘the world’.
Perhaps we are in need of what the LORD told Samuel regarding Israel then: “Behold, I will do something in the [Church] at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle!” (1Sam 3:11) Something clear, and unmistakeably of God, to bring godly sorrow unto repentance, promoting holiness in the fear of God, preparing us for the things yet to come, and furthering His purposes to glorify His holy name, and to gather together in one all things in Messiah, both which are in Heaven and which are on Earth — in Him.
Merry Christmas, and a blessed new year for the glory of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
TIMES AND TIMES AGAIN – 28 Oct 2013
Israel is back on standard clock time now, the longest period ever that we were on ‘summer’ time. These days, the clock is referred to as either ‘winter’ time or ‘summer’ time. This tendency will cause many people to not know which ‘time’ is the standard. When Yeshua said that no one knows the day or the hour of His return, He knew that in the last days the times would be changed, with each country — sometimes each state or province within a country — determining its own times and seasons. Does anybody know what time it is? At least God’s timing is perfect, and He simply warns us to be ready on time. In the Middle East, this is no easy matter!
Nachalat Yeshua uses CMA property, which has been in their hands since 1911, and on Oct 31, 1917, the soft Byzantine stones bore witness to the Beer Sheva Charge of the Australian Lighthorse in their break-through victory over the Turks — with help during the day from their New Zealand and British mates — literally opening the way for the Allied forces to take Palestine from under the Moslem rule of the Ottoman Empire, and preparing the way for the Jewish people to return and be legally reestablished on their own land, which God promised and swore long ago. It took another 30+ years to secure the land, at great cost, including the Holocaust, and the toll of war. Sixty-six years later, as YHVH is fulfilling Is 11:10-12 (spoken almost 2760 years ago), the world seems to be seeking to annul all of this history; God remains faithful to His covenants, which includes, to our discomfiture, He Himself working in His own powerful way to bring all nations against Jerusalem, in order to finally secure His people’s hearts, and to glorify and sanctify His Holy Name. The judgments of God are inscrutable, and His ways past finding out!
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD – 7 Oct 2013
Do we know God the Father and Messiah Yeshua/Christ Jesus the Lord? Or do we limit our knowledge of God by our own personal preferences, personal experience, emotional personality? Probably all of these, as we tend to make God in our image of what/who we want Him to be, rather than as He Is. But a truer knowledge will be learned through obedience to faith in the gospel, and so must be theologically sound (even if we don’t think of ourselves as ‘theologians’), doctrinally sound, Scripture based. (The Scriptures cannot be broken!)
We are not faithful witnesses of Yeshua if we skew the revelation of God’s perfect holiness and love: He is good, and He is severe; He loves unconditionally, and He hates whatever exalts itself in opposition to so great a sacrifice. His mercy is great, and His judgments are all righteous and true. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God! What a joy to know, to honor, and to love our Father in Heaven who made the way to save those who repent and believe in the shed blood of His Son on the cross from the wrath to come, that we might live in His presence forever!!
The reason that this comes to mind is as I’m listening to a wonderful YouTube mix of Keith & Kristyn Getty songs
( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoy74orJu10&list=RD02hoy74orJu10 ), I heard a couple of weeks ago that the liberal Presbyterian (USA) church has decided to ban the Getty’s and Stuart Townend’s song, “In Christ Alone”, from their revised hymnal. That church does not agree that God should have any wrath to satisfy regarding sin and sinners!
As good and wonderful and edifying as this music is, and the excellent quality of musicianship, I still long for and anticipate that great day when the angels and the Church of the first-born, directed by the victorious Choir Director — the Lord Messiah Himself — will praise and worship the Father in perfect spirit and truth, with no hint of ‘performance’, whether by the artists or by the congregations and audiences. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
IT IS NO DREAM! – 30 Sept 2013
What love that we should be called children of God! Whenever we do take ‘stock’ or a ‘soul accounting’, who are we, really, that the Father should so love us not only to forgive us of all that we are and do that is contrary to Him, and that Jesus was willing to so suffer and die for the likes of sinners like me, but that God would beyond all thought or expectation come and dwell within us by the Holy Spirit in intimate knowledge, relationship, and fellowship, that we should become His very own children and the coming Bride of the coming King of Glory! Yet this was His plan from the very beginning before time was created! God does not have a dream; He has a plan! And it is unfolding before our very eyes and under our noses. Praise the Lord!
REMEMBRANCE OF PAST AND FUTURE IN PRESENT- 8 Sept 2013
Israel is remembering 40 years since the traumatic Yom Kippur War, which caught the political and military establishment off-guard and by surprise when both Egypt and Syria simultaneously attacked Israel from the north and from the south. This occurred on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonements) in 1973, the holiest day of the Jewish year, when Jewish people as a whole do some soul-searching and assume God’s favor and forgiveness. They are not thinking about being attacked in an all-out effort to drive her into the sea and blot her out from being a nation anymore.
Thanks to God and His covenant faithfulness, the nation did manage to turn the war around with help from the United States under the leadership of President Richard Nixon, after a “3:00am telephone call” from Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, the only woman to serve in that position. This was the last war of ‘conventional’ warfare that Israel has fought, and the efforts persist to find ways to ‘do her in’; for in so doing — if it were possible — the God of Israel would be found vincible.
But NO! God has already secured the ultimate victory and salvation of His chosen people by His Anointed One — Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah — who came as the Son of David and of Abraham — in order to secure the promises to His people in the flesh by His glorious and sacrificial death and His victorious resurrection from among the dead! His death is all Man’s death; His resurrection is everlasting life for all who repent and believe the only good news to be proclaimed and heard.
There are again rumblings of war in the event of Syria being attacked militarily by the U.S. or others. Personally, I do not know exactly what should be done to decisively confront the evil being perpetrated in Syria. Something ought to be done by countries in the community of nations, but I am not convinced that military intervention in this case is going to be helpful and effective. God have mercy.
HOPE BECAUSE OF FRUSTRATION – 27 Aug 2013
Shalom to all of you who are frustrated with hope (Rom 8:18-27)!
There is something about being filled with the Holy Spirit that is joined to the anticipation of the return of the Lord Jesus from Zion above to the Zion that is Jerusalem (Rom 11:25-27; Is 59:20; 62:1-7) here. It would seem that any true revival of the Spirit and the breakthrough from the Lord would quicken in those who love Yeshua a heightened desire for Him to come. The apostle Peter says that we are to hasten that day, even though that day and hour has already been set by the Father. Living faith, a lively hope, and an ardent love that passsionately wants to be with the Beloved can make the time go. Even Messiah Himself says that the days would be shortened for the elects’ sake. Praise the Lord!
Believers from around the world, from every nation and continent, within every stream of the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 3), are feeling within their spirits this need from God to break up the status quo, which has stagnated for many years now, and to wake up the sheep and to shake the nations, that holy fear would come upon every soul as the Day of YHVH nears. God’s desire is that people be saved, and so be spared from His righteous wrath to come. So the gospel goes out still, and the call to repentance goes out still, and the hope of salvation to all who will believe while it is still ‘Today’ and the ‘acceptable year of the LORD’.
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