VISION

Often when people are asked, ‘What is your vision?’, the answers range from:  ‘to be used by God for His glory’; or, ‘to see the young people on fire for Jesus’; or, ‘to start a discipleship program for Israeli believers after the army’; or, ‘to plant x number of churches in the next five years’; or, ‘the salvation of Israel’.  

All of these are good things to desire, but all are not “vision”.  Of those which are ‘visions’, some are shorter range than others; some are things to carry through to a longer-range objective; some are dependent on factors not in our control.  God will use all of these things towards His objectives.  

A true vision will originate from God; it will not originate from myself or from someone else.  

There is a fundamental principle that the Lord has given His disciples:  Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mt 6:33)  In the context of what Yeshua was teaching, He is referring to food and clothing – our most basic needs.  Yet the whole of the Bible is instructing and directing us to seek first the will of God for our lives, and the other things will fall into place at the right time to fulfill His purposes for us, in us, through us – for His glory, and our good, as He fulfills His own ‘vision’ (not dream).  What is in God’s ‘sight’?; what does He see?; where is He going and leading us, and how are we going to get there?  

Jn 3:3   Jesus answered and said to [Nicodemus], ‘Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.’  

Our vision of the Kingdom of God begins with the new birth by the Holy Spirit.  It is for this vision which Messiah taught us to pray:  “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.”  

Pr 29:18   Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the Law.
   —Rev 3:8,10   I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little  strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. . . .Because you have kept My command to  persevere, I will also keep you from the hour of trial which shall come. . . . .

   —Mt 10:22   And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.  But he who endures to the end will be saved.  

   —Mt 24:12-13   And because lawlessness will increase, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  

Brothers and sisters, we are saved by faith.  It is faith — in who Jesus is and what He has done for us sinners on the cross — till the end (or at the end) that will be our salvation.   Not by our works or even our obedience, but we will be judged for our works and obedience as believers, which will affect our future and eternal rewards, and our present usefulness.  (Lk 18:9-14 

   —Lk 12:40-46   Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Then Peter said to [Yeshua], Lord, do You speak this parable to us, or to all?  And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  But, if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming’, and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint his portion with the unbelievers.  

Brothers and sisters, our Lord and Savior exhorts and admonishes us to hold fast to what we have received, not to give up our hope, not to lose sight of the vision of His coming and of the Kingdom of God, and so cast off restraint and become unruly.  Blessed is he who keeps the Law of Messiah!

OF ROCKETS AND DEMONSTRATIONS – 25 Feb 2011

Last night around 9:40 (21:40) a grad rocket launched from Gaza hit near our neighborhood in Beer Sheva.  The rocket was the first to hit a major city in Israel since the 2009 war against Hamas, which Israel  launched near the end of 2008 because of eight years of thousands of rocket attacks against cities both near to and farther out from Gaza.  Thankfully the warning siren worked properly and lives were saved, even though houses and cars were damaged.  The Islamic Jihad group took ‘credit’ for the attack; Israel responded with air strikes against launching sites.

This overt provocation comes at a time when the whole Middle East (Near East for the Europeans) and North Africa is a powder keg, with uprisings in several countries, and violence a too-characteristic way of dealing with fear and despair.  Instead of brotherly love, we have civil wars and brotherly hatred.  All of these events could be setting the stage for wars and tribulation as prophesied for the end-times, such as what is written in Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Ezekiel 38, Matthew 24:3-14, 2Thes 2:3.  Many Muslims from these Gentile nations willl, by the sovereign grace and wisdom of God, be saved by the only Mediator and Savior whom God has given for any person or nation. (1Tim 2:1-7)  They will be truly and radically revolutionized with a new heart and a new spirit from the one true living God, who alone gives and fulfills promises of righteousness and peace and Godly joy!

Who really identifies with his people and nation and homeland?  Who really cares for the well-being of their people — both old and young — and fears and trembles at upheavals within the social order?

Next Tuesday evening, March 1, a major demonstration by a sect of ultra-orthodox Jewish people is planned against the Messianic community of believers in Yeshua in the small Negev town of Arad, situated between Beer Sheva and the Dead Sea.  The police have given permission for 200 (after rejecting the initial request for 400) Hasidei Gur adherents and yeshiva (seminary) students, and Yad L’Achim activists and paid ‘volunteers’, to protest the presence of believers in Jesus in Arad, and this in front of the private home of a widow and foster mother who lives in a cul-de-sac (dead-end street).  The Arad Messianic/Christian community has exhibited much patience and general self-control through nearly seven years of being daily harrassed, cursed, having their peace disturbed even in their homes and public places, while the religious and civil authorties have till now conspired together to protect them. 

The believers are fasting and asking for prayer seeking God for the salvation of many of these precious souls for whom Yeshua died to offer God’s forgiveness of their sin of unbelief in Him, which thing leads to all kinds of sins.  The Hasidei Gur do not even believe that the State of Israel is legitimate because to them the Messiah has not come, and only He can bring redemption, which includes the return of the Jewish people to their own land as promised by YHVH God to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and their descendants.  Praise the Lord, Messiah has come, and is fulfilling His redemptive plan to save His people and to fulfill all of His promises pertaining both to the Land of Israel, and to the whole Earth!

YEHOVAH or YAHWEH – by Asher Intrater

What’s in a name?

Words have great spiritual importance. God created the world with words, and rules over the world with words. The power of words is in their meaning, not so much in their pronunciation. I am often asked how the name of YHVH is pronounced (Yahweh or Yehovah)? The very question partly misses the point. There is no discussion in the Torah, the Prophets, or the New Covenant on how to pronounce the name.

A name is a word that describes a person. The names in the Bible had prophetic meaning. They described a person’s character, his destiny, his purpose. To the degree that we are looking at a name to have power by its sounds, we have fallen into superstition. However, when we seek to understand the spiritual significance of a name, we are touching the root of its power.

So if I were asked how to pronounce the name YHVH, I would like to respond:  Exodus 34:5-7

And YHVH came down in a cloud and stood with him there and called upon the name YHVH. And YHVH crossed before His face and cried, “YHVH, merciful God and gracious, longsuffering and great in mercy and truth, keeping mercy to thousands…”

Thus the Angel YHVH declared to Moses the name and the meaning of the name on Mount Sinai. This is His full name, as it were, a list of character qualities. It was not a lesson on pronunciation; it was an explanation of God’s attributes and “personhood.”

This same Angel had earlier said to Moses:  Exodus 6:3

I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as El Shaddai but by My name YHVH I was not known to them.

This statement does not mean that the people of Israel did not know of the name YHVH, nor how to pronounce it. It means that they had not received the full meaning of the name as it was revealed to them during the Exodus and at Sinai. Again the issue here is not one of pronunciation, but of revelation.

We know this because the letters and sound of the name were already known to mankind long before this, even at the time of Enosh.

Genesis 4:26

Then men began to call upon the name of YHVH.

The early patriarchs knew how to call on the name YHVH, but they did not have the fullness of the meaning of that name. The revelation they had was of the meaning of the name El or Elohim. The root of the word in Hebrew for El means “power.” The patriarchs knew God as El Shaddai, the God of nature, provision, power, and protection.

At the time of Moses, the people of Israel received more revelation of God, concerning His judgment, redemption, and holiness. That’s what they learned at the Exodus – not a different way of pronouncing the letters.

The root of the name YHVH in Hebrew means “to be.” The letter V may well have been pronounced more like the sound W in ancient times. However, between the V or W pronunciation there is no difference in meaning, and therefore virtually no significance, in my opinion.

Biblical Hebrew was written only in consonants, as we see in the letters YHVH.  Therefore, the main question of pronunciation concerns which vowel (points) to add to the consonants. The vowels can make a difference in the meaning. If we add the vowels – “e”-“o”-“a”- to the consonants, we receive the name YeHoVah.

In this format, the “e” (sh’va) stands for the future tense, the “o” (holom) for the present tense, and the “a” (patach) refers to the past tense. That gives meaning to the name YeHoVah as “He will be, He is, He was.” In other words, the Eternal One. This meaning fits the understanding of the early patriarchs.

If one chooses the pronunciation, YaHWeH, there is no particular sense to the vowel pattern. For that reason I see YeHoVaH as preferable. Yet there is another reason grammatically. Hebrew vowels change form depending on the number of syllables, and on where the syllables are located in the name.

If there is just one syllable, such as Yah, then the “a” vowel is correct. Or if the letters come at the end of the word, such as Eliyah (Elijah), then the “a” is also correct.  However, when the vowel comes at the beginning with multiple syllables, it changes. This can easily be proved by checking a concordance of the Bible.

Such names as Yehoyachin or Yehoshua or Yehoyada or Yehoshaphat contain the same root letters as YHVH, in the same syllable arrangement. All of the names in this pattern display the vowels as “e”-“o”-“a.” If that same pattern is placed in the letters YHVH, we see the name again as Yehovah.

Since EVERY example of the YHVH root used in biblical names in this pattern shows the vowels as “e”-“o”-“a”, one would have to show some other overwhelming evidence, textually or grammatically, to choose a different pronunciation. There is no such other overwhelming documentation weighty enough to refute the biblical and grammatical evidence.

In summary, 1) the meaning of the vowels, 2) the grammatical form, and 3) the list of biblical examples, all point to Yehovah (or Yehowah) as the preferred pronunciation over Yahweh.

Pronunciation of the name, for mere pronunciation sake makes little difference. If it were an important issue, Yeshua or one of the apostles would have emphasized it. Religious cults in both the Jewish and Christian worlds have at times placed great emphasis on certain pronunciations, but that emphasis cannot be supported in Scripture.  (For example, it is popular among some ultra-Orthodox Jewish rabbis in  Jerusalem today to refer to YHVH as “D” [“daleth”].  Another rabbinic tradition holds that Yeshua performed miracles by “stealing” the pronunciation of the name YHVH from the Holy of Holies, writing it on a note and inserting it in His thigh [Toldot Yeshu, chapter 3].)

This pronunciation issue carries over into the name of Yeshua Himself. The name Yeshua is a shortened form of Yehoshua (Joshua). Yehoshua itself is a contraction of the words Yehovah Yoshia (Yehovah Saves). In other words, the name YHVH is contained INSIDE the name of Yeshua. This corresponds to the biblical prophecy:  Exodus 23:20-21

Behold I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way…Be careful of Him and hear His voice…for My name is inside Him.

What an amazing prophecy:  the name of YHVH would be contained in the name of the Angel who would lead the children of Israel. This Angel YHVH would have the power, character, and authority of the name of YHVH. In addition, the name of YHVH would be contained in the Angel’s name. Both dimensions of this prophecy were fulfilled when Yeshua received His name at birth.  Some Christians and Messianic Jews today want to spell the Messiah’s name as Y’shua or Yahshua, while many modern Israelis refer to Him as Yeshu. All of those pronunciations are patently incorrect. The name Yeshua is found thirty (30) times in the Hebrew text of the post exilic history books of the Bible (like Ezra and Nehemiah).

Every single time the name is written Yeshua. The vowel point is a “tsere,” not a “patach,” “kamats,” or “sh’va”; not even a “segol.” There is always an “ayin” at the end of the name.

One could make an argument for transliterating the name as Yeishu’a, but certainly not Y’shua, Yahshua, or Yeshu.

Personally, I don’t care how someone pronounces His name. I only want to help my friends not to be taken captive by someone with a cultic, hypocritical, or phony intellectual spirit, telling you that you are wrong if you don’t pronounce it just the way they say (even when what they are telling you is not the correct pronunciation anyway). By contrast the seven Skeva brothers all pronounced the name of Yeshua perfectly, yet missed the meaning and authority of the name, and thus were overcome by Satan (Acts 19:14).

The wonderful part of the name of Yeshua is to know that there is revelatory meaning to His name, and that the name and authority of YHVH is found INSIDE His name. You don’t have to worry about how to pronounce YHVH, because YHVH is already contained in Yeshua. Or to rephrase an old advertising slogan, “When you’ve said Yeshua, you’ve said it all.”

I would summarize the revelation of the divine names this way: “El” stands for God’s power; “Yehovah” stands for His holiness, and “Yeshua” stands for His love. Those are the three general attributes of God: power, holiness, and love. God revealed His name (His character qualities) to mankind in three great progressive revelations.

God is all powerful, yet His power is controlled by His holiness. God is perfectly holy, yet His love overcame the holiness by offering us an opportunity to receive forgiveness (through the cross) long before the day of judgment and punishment comes.

Hallelujah! We knew Him first as Elohim. Then we knew Him better as Yehovah. Now we know Him best of all in Yeshua. In Him the power, holiness, and love of God all come together in a full and perfect balance. That’s the name above all names (Phil. 2:9), and the only name by which mankind can be saved (Acts 4:12).

©April 12, 2007 Asher Intrater

 

 

 

 

The Day After The Sabbath- by Jonathan Miles

Greetings again,
I am forwarding to you an item I received from another brother in Messiah. 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. As I mentioned to him, 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 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.)

Shalom,

Howard

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ __ _

The Torah’s Best-Kept Secret: Sanctification of the Lord’s Day
Ask any Christian familiar with the Hebraic roots of their faith: what day of the week is uniquely set apart by the Hebrew Scriptures? The Sabbath, of course. All other holy days, because they are fixed by the combined lunar-solar Hebrew calender, fall on a different day of the week each year. Or do they?
This week, as followers of Jesus remember his last Passover meal, arrest, and crucifixion, and celebrate his resurrection on the day after the Sabbath (now called in his honor the Lord’s Day), let’s look again at what the Torah actually says about the Feast of Firstfruits which falls during the Passover week:

 

Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.’ (Lev 23:10-11)

Our hearts leap to realize that it was on this very day, the day after the Sabbath of Passover, that Jesus was raised from the dead, accepted on our behalf as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” in Paul’s words. And the subsequent verses in the Leviticus passage make clear that this Torah holy day on the first day of the week begins the countdown to the next major holy day, the Feast of Weeks, when the Holy Spirit was outpoured:

And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD. (Lev 23:15-16)

So a second Torah holy day, the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, also falls each year on the first day of the week, seven sevens or seven weeks following the resurrection on First Fruits! This is an unheard-of emphasis in the Hebrew scriptures themselves on a day of the week other than the Sabbath. The text is fairly shouting at us. Why, then, have we not heard of it?
While the intent of the text seems plain that these holy days fall on the first day of the week, rabbinic Judaism follows a tradition which claims that the “Sabbath” spoken of in Leviticus 23 actually refers to the first day of Passover, which falls on a different day each year. This is a forced and difficult reading of the text, and nowhere else in the Hebrew scriptures is “Sabbath” used in this sense.
And fascinatingly, until the time of Jesus there was no consensus on this tradition. The Sadducees, who controlled the Temple ritual, championed the straightforward reading of the text, meaning that in Jesus’ time Firstfruits and Weeks were in fact celebrated on the first day of the week. It was the Pharisees who argued against this special distinction for the first day of the week, and their view prevailed after they led the majority to reject belief in the resurrection of the Messiah on this day.

Could their insistence on this point even have been part of the developing polemic against those Jews who did see Jesus’ resurrection as the fulfillment to which the Feast of Firstfruits pointed?  Notably, to this day the Karaite stream of Judaism, which rejects tradition and holds to a literal reading of the Torah, insists on celebrating the feasts of Firstfruits and Weeks on the first day of the week.

Food for thought, and praise, as we once again await the dawn of the Lord’s Day.

 

INTIFADA – 13 Feb 2011

As the events in the Middle East take on some historic proportions, I am reminded of the beginning of the first Palestinian intifada (uprising) which began in 1987 here in Israel.  It brought such an earthquake of change in the whole perception of the conflict here, and its consequences world-wide, that I had to seek the Lord for His answer in the Scriptures.  And the Holy Spirit led me to Gen. 27:40b specifically, but within the whole context of the conflict of the “two nations” born to Isaac and to Rebecca.  When I perceived the significance of the prophetic word here spoken by Isaac to Esau, it was both exciting and fearful.  I asked an Arab brother what this verse means in Arabic, and particularly the Hebrew word tarid (which is the same root word for rebel and for dictator), translated as “become restless” (NKJV; NASB), or “shall have the dominion” (KJV) in English.  He looked in his Bible, and told me “intifada“! 

The time had come for these events spoken of nearly 4000 years ago to openly and aggressively begin to come to pass in our generation!  Those who think or feel or believe that they are unjustly or unnecessarily under the yoke of another ‘family’ member, of another religious moral code, of a political form of government — the time will come when they will do all in their power to shake and throw off the ones holding the reins of control, the reigns of power.  We have seen it in the two Palestinian uprisings; we see it in Islam seeking to overthrow Jewish-Christian-Western supremacy over their people and cultures; we see it in lawless agitators stirring up the multitude to overthrow normative rules of law and order, especially in those countries where the few elite have abused those rules to subvert whole nations under their military, political, or religious dictatorships; we see it in the overthrow of all moral restraint with respect to normative marriage and families, the feminist movement, the homosexual agenda to make that which is sinful and unnatural to be accepted as equal with God-blessed and natural.

Intifada is something that we as believers need to be concerned about within ourselves.  Are we continuing in rightful and whole-hearted submission to the Lord Jesus and to His word, or are we casting off restraint to do what seems right in our own eyes, or to what ‘feels good’, to what satisfies the fleshly or soulish pleasures, the lust of the flesh? (Tit 3:1-8)  There are those who express themselves publicly as having “No Fear”:  when we cease to fear God, we cast off restraint, not keeping the law!  This is the very word written in Proverbs:  “Without a vision, the people become unruly; but happy is he who keeps the Law.” (see also Lk 12:42-46; Ex 32:23-25)

The Scriptures are clear that in the last days, lawlessness will increase.  Intifada does not stop at overthrow of those keeping unbounded liberty in check; it takes on a violence which takes away any sense of peace and security, and produces fearfulness and anxiety,  and a vexation of righteous souls. (Gen 19:4-9)

Ps 2:2-3   The kings of the Earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against YHVH and His Anointed One (His Messiah/Christ):  ‘Let us break their bonds in pieces, and cast away their cords from us!’

2Thes 2:6-12   And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only that which now restrains will do so until it is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all  may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness

2Tim 3:1-5, 12-15   But know this, that in the last days perilous times will comeFor men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  . . . Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Messiah Yeshua will suffer persecution.  But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But you (we) must continue in the things which you (we) have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you (we) have learned, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you (us) wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Cancer is a fearful and dreaded scourge in our generation, and begins hidden within the body before it erupts in a destructive and lethal manner if it has not been diagnosed and subjugated in time.  T. Austin Sparks has written with great insight, “What is cancer?  Well, I cannot answer all the research on that matter , but I can tell you what is known:  that cancer exists because of the loss of one central governing and regulating authority.  It is something that has broken away from authority and ignores controlling and regulating authority in the organism, and becomes an authority in itself, becomes some thing that is something in itself, and has absolutely refused that central authority regulating and governing within the organism.  It has taken things into its own hands.  It is cancer, the great scourge!” (taken from “The Second Man…The Last Adam”)

These are the end times of the last days.  Even our bodies are fomenting an intifada, the deadly revolt of sin overthrowing what God has fearfully and wonderfully made.

When will true believers in the Anointed One of YHVH God begin to earnestly seek the only one who is a truly benign Dictator; (Ps 2:8-9; Rev 2:25-29)  the only one who is truly a King whose throne is established by righteousness and justice (judgment); (Ps 45:6-7; Heb 1:8-9)  the only one who is truly a good Shepherd to His countrymen (Ezek 34:20-31; Jn 10:7-16), and a good Father to His people? (2Cor 6:14 – 7:1); the only one whose yoke is easy and His burden light; the only one who heals all of our diseases and sinfulness; the only one who is holy, holy, holy?!  Even so, Come, Lord Yeshua! (see 2Tim 4:8)

MORE THAN A CARPENTER INDEED!

Mt 16:16-18 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Yeshua answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (Sheol) will not prevail against it.”

Gen 49:24b . . .by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel)

Yeshua and His legal father, Joseph, are called carpenters (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3). They may well have been; the Galilee area around Nazareth certainly has plenty of trees. But the region is also rich in stones. The Greek word used in the two passages referred to is transliterated tekton. It generally refers to a skilled builder or craftsman, used for carpenters as well as for stonemasons and metalworkers. The Hebrew equivalent would be pronounced charash, and is also used for skilled laborers in wood, stone, and metal.

It is interesting that the imagery throughout the Bible makes much use of rocks and stones when it comes to building things, especially for endurance. There really is not a whole lot speaking of wood for overcoming the rock of the ages and the sands of time. Fire, especially, is an enemy of wooden structures. Rocks, gems, and precious stones can withstand the heat and other forces for a much longer period, and are often enhanced in color and purity. Rocks speak of strength, solidity, and stability. Gems and jewels express symbols of beauty, worthiness, divine qualities. YHVH God is our Rock; He is our refuge; and we are His workmanship!

Here are some verses (English numeration) from the Scriptures that suggest the probability that Jesus, while perhaps also working with wood, was primarily, perhaps, the best stonemason and gemologist who ever will be! The natural physical qualities and abundance of stones and rocks in the Land of Israel provide the template for working with us and on us spiritual stones:

Ex 20:25  And if you build Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.

Ex 31:3-4  And I have filled him with the Spirit of God — in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all workmanship — to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, incarving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.

Dt 8:9b  …a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper

Ps 31:2b  …Be my rock of refuge, a house of defense (a fortress) to save me.

1Cor 10:4 (Ex 17:6)  and all drank the same spiritual drink. And that Rock was Christ (Messiah).

Is 51:1-2a  Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek YHVH: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug (the quarry). Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you. . . .

Ezek 36:26-28  I will give you a new heart and a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers: You shall be My people, and I will be your God.

Ps 118:22; Mt 21:42; 1Pt 2:7  The stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone!

Is 28:16; 1Pt 2:6  …Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.

Is 8:14: 1Pt 2:8  He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both houses of Israel. . . .

Mt 3:9  and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones!’

Lk 19:40  ut [Jesus] answered and said to [the Pharisees], ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out!

1Pt 2:4-5  Coming to Him as a Living Stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua Messiah.

1Cor 3:9-15  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Eph 2:19-22  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone, in Whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Mt 16:18; Jn 1:42  [When Peter confesses Yeshua as the Messiah, Son of God, this testimony of who Yeshua is is the Rock upon which Yeshua builds His church, His body. What is interesting is that the new name which Jesus gave Simon was Peter, which means ‘rock, or stone‘. Upon the likes of simple, ordinary people, who are also sinners, Jesus takes us as living stones to build His body, a holy and stable spiritual House of God. It is Peter in his first epistle that uses this metaphor for born-again believers, and the foundations of the wall of the great city — the holy New Jerusalem, whose architect (designer) and builder are God (Heb 11:9-10) — are the twelve apostles. (Rev 21:14)

More than that, Yeshua is the Son, which in Hebrew is ben. This is the root word for boneh, which means Builder! The Hebrew word for house is ba’it, whose root word is baht, meaning Daughter! O for the wisdom of God and the treasure He has given us — Yeshua and the Bible! Praise the Lord for Zion, and the virgin Daughter of Zion, the dwelling place of the Father and the Son in the house of God (Jn 14:23): for the New Jerusalem, the Mother of all who are a new creation through Messiah Jesus! What honor and glory to become the virgin, spotless, and glorious Bride of the Son of God — co-heirs with the King of kings and Lord of lords, all living together in the Father’s house — the eternal new heavens and new Earth!

Rev 2:17  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Rev 21:9b-11,18-21  “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. . . .The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: . . . . The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

The Lord Jesus Christ. . .more than a carpenter indeed! There is NONE like Him!

THE BURDEN AGAINST EGYPT – 5 Feb 2011

This last month has seen the beginning of rumblings in the Islamic nations of North Africa and the Middle East.  There is an uprising against the entrenched leadership of the Arabic Muslim rulers, beginning with the ruler of Tunisia, and moving on to Egypt, and threatening Yemen and Jordan, with other rulers and nations worried about the repercussions within their borders.  Israel, the only non-Muslim nation in the region, is rightly concerned with the outcome of these uprisings:  only Egypt and Jordan have peace agreements with Israel, and these “peaces” are more cold than warm, but they have held for more than 30 years.

YHVH God has always warned His people Israel not to lean on Egypt for help, yet with Egypt being the leading Arabized nation (Egyptians are not Arab in their origins), Israel has always sought quiet borders on her south side with the nation God used to make a nation for Himself.

What is striking about these uprisings so far is the cry of people in these countries for their deposed leaders to get out.  This is a sad testimony that these rulers have not led their people as a father to their nations, but as lords and benefactors who enrich themselves at the expense of the common welfare.  Islamic fundamentalists, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are set to take advantage of these uprisings through so-called democratic processes — rousing the passions of disaffected citizens and of lawless trouble-makers —  and this does not bode well for Egypt herself, or its relations with Israel or with the Christians within Egypt and the other Muslim nations.

I am reminded of an Egyptian church leader I heard speak at a Middle East conference held outside Cairo in 1993.  He spoke from Isaiah 19, and reminded all of us that the day will come when not only Israel will be the “People of God”, but also Egypt will be called by Israel’s God, “My people” (v.25).  This preacher spoke prophetically then that those who oppress Egypt (Is 19:20) are not Egyptians, but Arab Muslims who have come in.  Egypt, from the Biblical record, is named from Mizraim, one of the sons of Ham, a son of Noah. (Gen 10:6)   (The Arab peoples originate from Abram/Abraham, a Semite, and his Egyptian concubine, Hagar, whose son was Ishmael.  In Hebrew, the word for Arab denotes ‘mixture’.)  After the gospel went out from Israel, many in Egypt became Christians, and the Copts today continue that heritage.  The burden which these “oppressors” bring will be used by the Lord to turn the Egyptians to call upon Him for a Savior and a Mighty Deliverer.  It may also be worth noting that the “land of Judah” (Israel today) is a “terror to Egypt” (v. 17), and despite the peace treaty between them now, Egyptians are brought up to fear Israel as a hated and cruel enemy.

It is interesting that in Egypt they do not teach their children or people about the Israeli exodus from Egypt, led by Moses.  This Exodus made YHVH, God of the Hebrews, “famous”. (Ex 9:13-17)  It was also the plagues which YHVH brought upon the Egyptians to bring out His people Israel with signs and wonders that are memorialized in the Passover, and which demonstrated that the gods of Egypt are no gods.  Israel, likewise, does not teach her children or people about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, for in His death and resurrection He made a show openly of all satanic and human opposition to Himself and to the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  Both Egyptian and Jewish historical chronologies are distorted so as to divert attention from the true account and historical records given in the Bible.

So as the rulers of Egypt continue to mislead their people as to the true God (v. 11-13), He will bring them all into disarray, that they may call upon the name of Yeshua/Jesus for salvation, and know that YHVH alone is the one true God.  As more Egyptians are saved, the day draws nearer for the salvation of Israel and the coming again of the Lord. (Rom 11:25-27)

The Word of God given to us in the Old and New Testaments is always up-to-date to shed light on current events and insight to their significance.

Messianic Passover Seder Haggadah

This is a telling of the Passover that I wrote as a fairly young believer, which tells the story with the past, present, and future of Passover in view.  We use it in our family and in our congregation, drawing out abiding truth each year.  You are free to use it, download it, distribute it. . .for free.  It is not to be used for any monetary gain to you or to me or to any other party.

in English

in Hebrew

in Russian

in Spanish