CEASEFIRE – 21 Nov 2012

A ceasefire has just gone into effect betweeen Hamas and Israel in Operation Pillar of Cloud (Defense).  Following eight days of heavy rocket attacks upon mostly southern Israeli cities, but also including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, along with Israeli air strikes on terrorist strongholds, both sides agreed to a ceasefire brokered by the U.S. and Egypt.  How long will this one last before it is broken, and at what cost?

It is a time for thanks-giving to YHVH God, even if only for temporary relief from pain and suffering.  May persons from all sides seek His kingdom and His righteousness for much longer-term genuine peace.

LATEST MILITARY OPERATION BETWEEN ISRAEL AND GAZA – 15 Nov 2012

Shalom from Above and within, but not on the ground.

Since last night we have been inundated with a barrage of rocket attacks from Gaza in Beer Sheva.  After more than 100 rockets fired into southern Israel the last few days, the Israeli government decided to act forcefully to hopefully this time cause Hamas and the other terrorist organizations and sponsors of terror to re-consider their policies towards Israel.

Being that the conflict is religiously based, and ultimately spiritual in the heavenlies, no carnal means will actually succeed, but  nonetheless, God can use war to bring people to acknowledge Him and His better way.  http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/war/
While all the Islamists claim their right to seek to undermine, and even to destroy, Israel, they do not accept Israel’s right to act against them, calling that an act of war.

With the upcoming historic date of November 29, when the United Nations in 1947 confirmed what had already been initiated by the Nov 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, and the legal status to recognize the formation of a Jewish homeland in then Palestine at the San Remo conference in 1920, and the League of Nations in 1922, so now is the Palestinian Authority seeking on this very date to have the United Nations upgrade its status to non-member observer state, which would grant it many rights as if it were actually a sovereign nation-state.  Sadly, there are even Christians supporting this move, among them Arab Israelishttp://www.comeandsee.com/view.php?sid=1202 .  It is possible that this will succeed, but at what price for those who support it?  Do we hear any clear trumpet sounds?  May some of these have their own version of a Damascus Road experience:  they are persecuting Jesus through irrational hatred of Israel; Saul/Paul persecuted Yeshua through the Church.  In both situations the lesson is this:  we are not saved through any righteousness of our own, but only by the grace of God.

We spent most of last night from 8:00 till this morning being ‘wakened’ from ‘sleep’ to go into the bomb shelter.  This morning continued the same until about an hour ago now.  For us, we feel ‘safe’ compared to those who live in areas or neighborhoods which are more used to actual hits.  All of the members of Yeshua’s Inheritance Cong. are reporting that they are okay.  Thank-you for your prayers, and may GOD get more of what HE wants accomplished through this military operation, called Pillar of Cloud.

SUBMIT TO GOD, RESIST THE DEVIL, FOR THE KINGDOM IS THE LORD’S- 10 Nov 2012

(Delivered in essence at The Negev Conference in Beer Sheva)

Ja 4:4-8   Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Therefore whoever desires to be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.  Do you think that the Scripture says in vain, The spirit that dwells in us yearns to jealousy?  But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says, God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.  Therefore submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded ones.

Mt 6:31-34   Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, With what shall we be clothed?  For the nations seek after all these things.  For your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall be anxious for its own things.  Sufficient to the day is the evil of it.

The United States just had elections for its leaders, and in a couple more months, Israel will do the same.  Each citizen in each country can choose who it is that they prefer to rule over them.  Each citizen can choose whom they prefer to serve.  At the end of the day, though, everyone – leaders and ruled alike – must choose if they will serve the Devil, the prince of this world (Jn 12:31) – or if they will serve the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of this world, the Judge of this world, the Redeemer of this world, and King of kings and Lord of lords throughout the universe which He created and made – both in this world, and in the world to come. 

 Are we, who say we believe in Jesus (by the grace and mercies of God to forgive our sins),  actively submitting to God and resisting the devil, who hates YEHOVAH (who alone is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and us?  Are we seeking first GOD’s kingdom and HIS righteousness; or are we content with a ‘righteousness’ of the world or of our own, but which is nothing more than filthy rags to YHVH God? (Is 64:6 Eng)

Do we love our Lord above all else, above anyone else?  Are we confident of God’s love for us?  A ‘Yes’ answer to both of these questions is the key to our victory of the faith in our life.

Satan is running around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us, and, if possible, to deceive the elect. (1Pt 5:8; Mt 24:24)

The Holy Spirit is working to honor and to exalt the Name of God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. (Jn 16:14-15)  The devil is doing all he can to dishonor the holy name of the Son of God, the King of Israel.  He started in the Garden of Eden, and succeeded to get Adam and Eve to submit to him and to do his will, not God’s.

Today, both the Holy Spirit and the enemy of God are still working in the hearts and minds of each human being, and the question of eternal destiny is, Who will we listen to and obey?

Just as the devil tempted our Lord and Savior in the desert when Yeshua was hungry and weak in His body, so now does Satan come at us when we are weak, and when we think we are strong.  

    –The devil tempts us with instant gratification, whether of appetite or of some sinful momentary pleasure.  Just as Esau gave up his birthright simply to eat some soup now, so can we lose much by giving in to carnal desire out of unbelief.  And, surely, he cunningly implies, we can give food to all who are hungry in the world, as any son of a loving God would do.

    –The devil tempts us to exercise our spiritual gifts and power to ‘prove’ we are children of God.  And, of course, we can change the world through hidden agendas or force to submit to God, when in fact, it is serving the enemy of the one true God.

    –The devil tempts us with wealth, possessions, and the power and fame it brings, if we will only serve under his authority in a desolate world under sin and judgment.  The Lord Jesus Christ has taught us that we can gain the whole world. . . but lose our souls. (Mt 16:26)

The apostle John writes (1Jn 2:15-17), Do not love the world, nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.

There is a battle for the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life. (Tit 1:1-2; Rom 2:7)  The Word of God, which we have written to us in the Bible, is truth; Jesus Christ is the Truth, the Word of the Father made flesh. (Jn 17:17; 14:6; 1:14; Rev 19:11-16)  The truth sets us free, and when we live in the Spirit of Truth we are sanctified – drawn near to God and conformed more to His image.  This sanctification in the presence of the holy and everlasting God is an antidote to pride – the sin of the devil – for thinking that we know anything too well, or thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to. (1Cor 8:1-3; 2Cor 10:3-6; Rom 12:3)

The righteous lives according to what he believes.  The Word of God tells us not to be hearers of the word only, but doers.  Our works of the faith justify our faith in the sight of men.  If we say that we believe in something, or in Someone, but do not live in a manner consistent with our profession, then we are not ‘righteous’, but are judged as being insincere or hypocrites.  This certainly makes the adversary and deceiver glad, especially when Jews and Christians – the peoples upon whom God has put His name (Num 6:23-27; Mt 28:19; Jn 17: 6-12; Acts 11:26) – dishonor the name of YEHOVAH and of the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah in this way.  It is leaven in our lives, rather than the righteousness of God, which is what we are to be seeking in our life.  We will find God’s righteousness to be wisdom when we submit to God as a living sacrifice with our whole heart, and stop giving place to the devil to lie to us and deceive us.  Jesus overcame by submitting to God His Father’s will:  the way of the cross as a true Son of God in this world.  The apostle Paul wrote that when our obedience is fulfilled, then all disobedience will be punished. (2Cor 10:6)

We began by reading from James 4:4-8.  The metaphor here (from which is taken the conference theme to “submit to God. . . .”) is faithfulness in covenant relationship.  Jesus was faithful in all things to His Father’s Name, to honor Him in all His character and will and purposeAdultery is betrayal of faithfulness, of trust, in the most holy and personal relationship between a man and a woman, especially in the covenant relationship of marriage

The Holy Spirit tells us through the Scriptures that the husband-wife relationship and union is a picture of Messiah/Christ and the Church/Body of Christ. (Eph 5:25-33)

Yeshua has testified that His Kingdom is not of this world – not of this world system which is opposed to Him and the Kingdom of Heaven.  Believers in Jesus are in a new blood-covenant relationship with Messiah and all that He is, all that His Name represents and symbolizes.  That is why we pray in His name, saying ‘Amen’ to what is in accord withthe will of God based on the death and resurrection of the Lord.  He has purchased us with a price, even the blood of the cross.  Whenever we take the Lord’s Supper, it should sober us regarding our faithfulness to the God and Man who has so loved us:  are we submitting to God, and resisting the devil?  It is for each one to examine and judge himself.

We are engaged to Christ for marriage.  If the world hates Him, as Yeshua says it does (Jn 15:18-25), then we can not be friends with the world, but rather cling to our Husband-to-be in devotion to Him for His honor.  The virtuous wife of Proverbs 31 always desired the honor of her husband.

Yeshua says that whoever is ashamed of Him and His word in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man will also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mk 8:38)  This should put the fear of God in us!  If we really love the Lord as we profess, then we want His joy to be full in us, and ours in Him; that when we see Him there is nothing to fear in judgment because we have loved Him who first loved us. (1Jn 4:17-19)

Jesus speaks of our faithfulness to Him and to His word.  (Jn 14:23-24; Rev 3:10)  How many times do we say ourselves, or hear other believers say, “I believe in Jesus but I don’t think He really means this [. . .] for us, certainly not for today.”?

Lots of people who say they are Believers are sleeping with others without being married.  There are more and more divorces within the Body of Christ, even in Israel, for all sorts of reasons besides the only one which Yeshua gives.  More believers are accepting homosexuality as a choice to be made, or as a ‘choice’ made for them.  For all these things, the devil is lying to you in deceitful ways that weakens the truth and authority of what God has really said! (Gen 3:1)

If we find ourselves doing any of these things, then we need to submit to God and repent, and turn away from doing the devil’s will.  If we find ourselves being tempted to doing or approving of these things, again we need to submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from us – especially when he sees that we are serious in our commitment to the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in our life.  God is for us, with us, and the Holy Spirit within us helps us to be obedient to what is good and right in the sight of God.  The power of the blood of Jesus to strengthen us to love Him above anything or anyone else will overcome the dark powers of Satan, the world, and our own flesh.

The demonic spirits fled from Paul because they knew him as one who served God with his whole heart, mind, being. (Acts 19:15)  When we put God’s kingdom first, we will know His joy and pleasure in a way of the love of a Bridegroom for His Bride-to-be!  Our moral authority as a kingdom of priests is based upon our obedience with faith and thanksgiving to the Lord.  We are engaged in a spiritual war concerning the one true God and His Word, which abides forever.  We are to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2Cor 10:5)

The day of the Lord’s coming again is nearer today than yesterday.  In His longsuffering and mercy, He desires more people to repent and be saved before He must carry out His righteous judgments. (2Pt 3:9-15)  God wants to wake up the Church, and the Jewish people, to turn back to Jesus with genuine repentance and even tears, loving the truth of His death, His resurrection, and His coming again to reign and rule. (Zech 12:10-14; Rom 13:11-13; Rev 3:14-22)

“Turn to [Jesus], all the Earth, and be saved; for He is God, and there is no other!” (Is 45:22)

Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Therefore take to yourselves the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Eph 6:10-13)

Let us fight the good fight of faith until the end to show that we love God for the everlasting love He has shown us.

U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS – 9 Nov 2012

In this week’s US elections, President Barack Obama won 69 percent of the Jewish vote, compared with 78% in 2008, according to exit polls. In Israel, Romney won more than 80% of the vote of Jewish living in the Jewish State, underlining the difference in priorities among Jews in the Diaspora, where health care and the economy are the dominating influences.   Even the right to abortion held a higher priority than support for Israel.  Only 10% said Israel was their top priority when casting their ballots.

In Psalms 137, the psalmist expressed the heart and soul of the exiled Jewish people who held Jerusalem close to their hearts:  how can we sing the songs of Zion, the songs of YHVH, in a foreign land?  If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill; if I do not remember you, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.

Of the 117 million people who voted on Tuesday, about 30 million (26%) were evangelicals. Of this, 21% — or about 6.4 million evangelicals — voted for Obama.  This, despite the President’s approval of abortion, same-sex marriage,  a lack of conviction over the importance of Israel to America’s own best interests, the Democratic Party almost removing God from any mention in their platform, and Obama’s confusion over his own professed faith.

How many of the Christians from all the streams voted for their preferred candidate as they saw fit, while praying from their heart and confessing with their mouth, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”?

Thank God He is in control, and that the Lord Jesus is looking after the affairs of man to bring to fulfillment the thoughts and plans of God!  God wants more Jewish people to come to Israel, and for the Church to wake up out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  There is much cause for fear and trepidation; but also cause in Messiah for great expectation to see the Holy Spirit move in a mighty way to rivet people’s attention to the reality of the Living God, who sees in the dark as if it were day.

FEASTS OF ISRAEL, PREGNANCY, AND BIRTH OF YESHUA

I read a booklet by a Jewish believer in Yeshua, Zola Levitt, soon after I was saved to know God, too.  It was one of the books given me by the Messianic pastor who baptized my wife and me.  The name of the booklet is The Seven Feasts of Israel, published in 1979.  In that booklet, Zola gave a fascinating correlation between the embryonic and fetal development stages within a pregnant woman, and the birth of Jesus.  Not only a correlation between the new child-in-progress to the birth and life of the Lord, but also to their alignment with the set times of YHVH which He gave to Israel to remember and to worship God!

I remember that in the booklet, the conception — based on what follows — would have been around March 25 (around the Spring equinox, and nine solar months till birth) on our current calendars, which places it around the time of Purim on the Jewish calendar.  Every thing about Yeshua fulfills Truth!  Even if we should misinterpret or draw erroneous conclusions at times, the Holy Spirit is always faithful to see to it that GOD’s perfect knowledge and understanding is brought to pass.  Hallelu-Yah!

In remembering this booklet recently, but not knowing where I might have it at home, I found a good summary of the highlights when I searched on the internet, and came upon this site:  http://www.prophecyfulfillment.com/en028a.html

Here is the summary as given by the author of that site:

Israel‘s Feast of Passover:  Passover occurred on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar. Passover signified the salvation of Israelites from bondage and the beginning of a new life in the Promised Land.
Jesus’ ministry (New Life):  Jesus was sent to be the blood sacrifice for all mankind. Anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior has a new life in Heaven.
Baby’s development (ovulation):  Ovulation— the release of an ovum (egg) from the ovary— occurs on the fourteenth day of the month and begins the pregnancy, a new life for the baby.
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Israel‘s Feast of Unleavened Bread:  This feast occurred one day following Passover.
Jesus’ ministry (the Seed):  The seed of any plant must be planted in the ground before it can sprout, become a new creation, and bear fruit. Jesus was buried in a tomb to arise and lead His followers to bear fruit.
Baby’s development (fertilization):  The ovum (egg) is fertilized by the man’s spermatozoon (“seed”) within one day of ovulation.
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Israel‘s Feast of First Fruits:  This feast occurred on the Sunday following Passover, or two to six days following Passover. A sheaf of the first harvested grain was waved before God as a statement of faith that Jehovah-jireh would see and provide for the needs of His people and in thanksgiving for God’s goodness.
Jesus’ ministry (resurrection):  Jesus, our Bread of Life, rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. The “planted Seed” arose to become the first of God’s harvest under the New Covenant.
Baby’s development (implantation):  The fertilized ovum (egg) travels two to six days in the fallopian tube, before implanting in the endometrium (the womb’s lining).
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Israel‘s Feast of Weeks (Shavuot, Pentecost):  This feast occurred fifty days after First Fruits. New grain was offered to God in thanksgiving for the grain harvest.
Jesus’ ministry (harvest):  The Christian Church, the Body of Christ, was founded on this day. The ministry of the Church was and is to harvest souls for God’s Kingdom.
Baby’s development (new creature, fetus):  As the fertilized ovum divides and grows in the shelter of the mother’s womb, it becomes recognizable as a fetus with human characteristics at approximately fifty days (~8 weeks) of gestation. From this time, the developing baby becomes even more human in appearance.
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Israel‘s Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruah):  This day occurred on the first day of the seventh month. Trumpet blasts acknowledged God’s presence in the land, announced the beginning of the High Holy Days, and signaled God’s finality for the harvest.
Jesus’ ministry (rapture/ resurrection):  Jesus will return in the clouds to call the saints (His followers) to Him for eternity. This blessed event will be accompanied by the blast of God’s trumpet and the shouted command to come up to Jesus.
Baby’s development (hearing):  At approximately the seventh month of gestation, the baby’s hearing is developed, and he or she could hear the sounds of Jesus’ appearing.
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Israel‘s Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur):  This day, the most important day for devout Jews, occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month. This day was set aside to atone for sins. People sought forgiveness of sin through sacrifice of goats. The sacrifices symbolized God’s promise to forgive and forget sins, if there is confession and repentance.
Jesus’ ministry (redemption):  Zion (Israel) will be saved during the Tribulation, as Jews come to accept Jesus as their Messiah. Redemption for any Gentile or Jew must come through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. Like the goat for Azazel, used in this day’s sacrifice, Jesus became our Scapegoat, taking upon Himself our sins and dying for them.
Baby’s development (blood— hemoglobin A):  Oxygen is carried throughout the body by the iron-containing protein, hemoglobin, found in red blood cells. The baby’s hemoglobin, hemoglobin F, begins changing to adult hemoglobin, hemoglobin A, in the seventh month of gestation. This change in hemoglobin better adapts the baby to live in the outside world, breathing atmospheric air, rather than living in the womb, having his/her mother do the breathing.
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Israel‘s Feast of Tabernacles (Booths, Sukkot):  This feast occurred on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. This joyous feast celebrated the days that God lived with the Jews in the wilderness, when they lived in temporary accommodations (booths) and worshiped in a portable tabernacle.
Jesus’ ministry (Kingdom):  Immediately after Jesus’ Second Coming, He will dwell with His people for one-thousand years (the Millennial Kingdom).
Baby’s development (lungs):  The unborn baby’s lungs begin to mature enough to support life outside the mother’s body during the seventh month. “Spirit” and “breath” come from the same word, whether in Old Testament Hebrew (ruach) or New Testament Greek (pneuma). God blew His breath/ spirit into Adam, which has been transferred to every generation since Adam. The birth of the Christian Church was accompanied by the sound of a rushing wind, the manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
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Israel‘s Feast of Hanukkah (Dedication, Lights, Chanukah):  This feast was held ten lunar cycles (280 days) into the Jewish calendar. After the defeat of Antiochus, this festival symbolized victory for and a new birth of Israel. The eight candles may represent “the eighth day of creation” (eternity), and these candles are lit by the Shamash (the servant candle), as Jesus came as the Suffering Servant to be the Light of the world.  Yeshua, as all other human beings born of woman, left the warm, dark, mercifully protective environment of the mother’s womb, and came out into the cold harshness and light of the world.
Jesus’ ministry (eternity):  After Jesus’ rule in the Millennial Kingdom, New Jerusalem (Heaven) will descend to Earth. We will live eternally with our Savior in this place of unimaginable beauty and peace.
Baby’s development (birth, the beginning of eternal life):  The baby is delivered (born) after approximately 280 days of gestation. The baby is now an eternal person, because he/she possesses an eternal soul, which is a remnant of God’s breath (spirit) first breathed into Adam’s nostrils. The baby will live eternally, whether in victory in Heaven or shameful defeat in Hell.

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Here is a YouTube presentation depicting the embryonic and fetal development of a human being:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGSqS9K_sKY