This Oct 31 marks the 100th anniversary of the heroic victorious charge of the Australian Light Horse Brigade of between 500-800 horsemen against the entrenched Ottoman Turkish forces in Beer Sheva. The stakes were high: Continue reading “The ANZAC Beer Sheva Charge – Oct 31, 1917”
Rejoicing is the spiritual atmosphere of the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths.
You shall observe the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to YHVH your God in the place which YHVH chooses, because YHVH your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will surely rejoice!
Simchat Torah (the Joy of the Torah) is the Jewish celebration of the Torah, or the Law of Moses given by YHVH to Israel at Sinai. In the synagogues they not only conclude the reading of the five books of Moses which are read throughout the year, but they also begin to read Genesis again to begin the new cycle as an expression of their joy in the Law of Moses, which for them is more ‘holy’ and authoritative than the other portions of the Old Testament (Tenach).
Yeshua stood and cried out on this last great day of the Feast that all who are thirsty should come unto Him and drink, and out of their hearts would flow rivers of living water. From a Messianic perspective, the Law of Moses leaves one dry and thirsty, and it is the Messiah, YHVH God come in the flesh, the Word of God become flesh, who alone can refresh tired and weary souls incapable of pleasing God by works of the Law. There is a connection between the Gospel and the Word becoming flesh: both words – gospel and flesh – have the same Hebrew root, bet-seen-resh (ב-ש-ר). We have the bread of communion to remind us.
Returning to the uniqueness of Yeshua, He is also the “poretz”, the one who breaks open (or breaks through) of Mic 2:13. He is described in that verse as being the King, who is YHVH! What is significant about all this for Simchat Torah? In some of the Jewish sources since the time of Yeshua, the rabbis have said that the poretz is the Messiah, and that He has the full authority – which only resides in God the Father – to bring renewal to the Torah and to properly define it! Despite all that they say, they obviously remain partially hardened and blinded to the truth of Messiah being Yeshua/Jesus. Anyone but Him! Until . . . the fullness of the Gentiles comes in to the Commonwealth of Israel, and then the full remnant of Israel and the Jewish people see Him whom they have pierced, and their souls are afflicted for all their sinfulness towards God and His covenants with them. (Hos 5:15)
This 8th day celebration marks the end of Succot/the Feast of Booths. May the Jewish people all over the world return back to the God of their fathers through the One who has broken through the heavens and become like unto us for redemption and salvation, and rejoice in Him! Yeshua alone gives peace and satisfies the soul. The Law of Messiah is superior to that of Moses, and the love which is God’s will eternally be lived out in those who love Him! May we see the Lord’s return in our generation!
–for the salvation of the Jewish people
–for Gentile Christian believers to provoke Israel to jealousy, and to show mercy to the nation and people
–for God to bring HIS peace to Jerusalem
Beer Sheva is gearing up for historic visits by Prime Ministers of two distant countries whose brave soldiers fought on our local soil in a spectacular battle against the Turks and the Ottoman Empire 100 years ago on October 31, 1917.
The two PM’s are Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, and Bill English of New Zealand, whose ANZAC troops fought together on that day of destiny to open the way for the British-led Allied forces to capture the Holy Land from the Islamic Caliphate of the day, and to pave the way for the proclamation of the Balfour Declaration on Nov 2, 1917. This document gave impetus for the return of the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel.
A new ANZAC museum is currently undergoing construction at the location of the WW1 British War Cemetery in Beer Sheva, and will also be officially dedicated as part of this year’s special commemoration. The Israel PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, is also scheduled to attend.
The Australian Light Horse: http://www.lighthorse.org.au/famous-battles/world-war-one/famous-battles-the-battle-at-beersheba
New Zealand Mounted Rifles: http://www.nzmr.org/beersheba.htm
In the passage just before ours here, Mary (Jn 12:3) is remembered for pouring very expensive oil on the head and feet of Jesus. The value of the oil was a year’s wage of a common laborer. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, was very bothered by this expensive waste (destruction) – in his estimation — saying that the oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor. But John tells us in his gospel account that Judas did not care about the poor, but that he was a thief who stole from offerings given to Jesus and those with Him. (Jn 12:6) Today we are going to remember Judas, for our learning and admonition. Continue reading “Sold His Soul For Price of A Killed Slave”
The small city of Arad lays between Beer Sheva and the Dead Sea. It is situated for clean air, beautiful panoramic views of the Judean and Negev deserts, and cold winter winds. Arad was the first city in Canaan that the Israelis captured as they neared the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt. Yet, because the LORD had sentenced them to 40 years in the wilderness before they would enter the land, they did not continue from the south to capture the land, but wound up going back and around to the eastern side of the Jordan River to eventually capture Jericho and much (but not all) of the rest of the inheritance. (Num 21:1-5) Tel Arad, going back to at least the kings of Judah, has remains of a temple dedicated to both YHVH and to Asherah, paganizing the Jewish worship.
Today, and for many years, the Messianic believers in Yeshua in Arad have suffered much harassment and hardships from a group of non-Zionist ultra-orthodox Jews, whose intent is to control the city. That harassment and intent has now extended to the secular residents and citizens of the city as well. The Canaanite spirit of religious idolatry and antagonism to YHVH’s people and to the faith in Him whose name is great, continues to this day.
Here is an interview with a couple of the Messianic leaders in Arad, conducted by Kehila News: http://kehilanews.com/2017/09/17/unholy-war-in-arad-violent-protests-in-israels-southern-city/
The Scriptures are written for us living at the end of the age. That is why they are still relevant to us today – not only as a guide for wisdom unto salvation, and for righteous living, but also as a guide for knowing the will of God: Jesus Christ is going to come back to take back the world that the devil and human beings have usurped for themselves, and He will establish the Kingdom of God (YHVH) forevermore. Continue reading “Take Heed; I Have Told You All Things Beforehand”
Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been brought into covenant relationship with the God of Israel, and with Jewish believers in the Son of God. The Church — the Body of Christ/Messiah, the one new man, the Bride of the Lamb — is comprised of both these redeemed and born-again believers called out from every people group and nation. We all have a significant role to play through to the end of the age towards YHVH God’s salvation of His chosen people Israel, by which the whole world and creation will be blessed. Continue reading “The Church’s Role in The End-Times of The Last Days Towards Israel’s Salvation”
Mk 11:11-26 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the Temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
(12) And on the next day, they going out of Bethany, He was hungry. (13) And seeing a fig-tree with leaves afar off, He went to it, if perhaps He might find anything on it. And when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season of figs. (14) And Jesus answered and said to it, No one shall eat fruit of you forever. And His disciples heard.
(15) And they came to Jerusalem. And entering into the temple, Jesus began to cast out those who bought and sold in the Temple. And He overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. (16) And He would not allow any to carry a vessel through the Temple. (17) And He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, “My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations?” But you have made it a den of thieves. (18) And the scribes and the chief priests heard. And they sought how they might destroy Him. For they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His doctrine.
(19) And when evening came, He went out of the city. (20) And passing by that morning, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. (21) And Peter, remembering, said to Him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away.
(22) And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. (23) For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said. (24) Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you.
(25) And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive it so that also your Father in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (26) But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.
Yeshua has just made His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, the common people acknowledging Him as the Son of David who they believed had come to be the King of Israel. But His time had not yet come for that. He left the city and the Temple, and went to Bethany, probably to the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
We come now to the story about the fig tree that Yeshua cursed. I am sure that all of us have read this and been uncomfortable that He would curse a tree without fruit at a time when it was not the season for fruit. When we do this, it reveals again how our thoughts and ways are not the same as the Lord’s. In our discomfort at His act, we are judging Him for doing what we think is wrong or unfair, does not make sense.
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not having fruit before its season? This event occurred probably in April, whereas figs are a summer fruit, the first and best ripening happening around June. The fig tree is used in the Bible as one of the symbols for Israel, and in it are both good and bad figs. (Jer 24:5-10; Hos 9:10; Mk 13:28-31; Lk 13:6-9) Normally the fig tree begins to blossom before its leaves cover them, or there are hold-overs from the previous season. So, in the case of this particular fig tree on the road between Bethany and Jerusalem, it had leaves, and therefore it should also have had some blossoms of fruit before their full growth to maturity. However, Jesus found no fruit on it. In response, He said (cursed; judged) the tree: “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard Him.
Mark then goes on in his account to Yeshua and His disciples arriving in Jerusalem. Yeshua went into the Temple and began to drive out all those who bought and sold in the Temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He also would not allow anyone to carry wares through the Temple. Then He taught, quoting from Isaiah and from Jeremiah the prophets: “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? ‘But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’!”
For this “presumption”, the scribes and chief priests, who heard Him, sought how they might destroy Him (get rid of Him/finish Him off, and His doctrines). They were afraid of Him, because all the people were astonished at Yeshua’s teaching. At this point, Yeshua’s popularity was a protection, but it was only a matter of time before those in power would act anyway, as envy and hatred took control of their spirits. Here we see the beginning of Pharisaic/Talmudic/Rabbinic Judaism’s cursing of Yeshua – both His name and memory (Yeshu).
Then Mark goes back to say that that same morning, on the way up from Bethany to Jerusalem, the disciples and Jesus saw the fig tree that the Messiah had cursed dried up from its roots. This was obviously a result of the Lord’s judgment of the tree, and not a natural drying up of a dying tree, which would have taken much longer. The roots were still there in the ground. God has not finished with Israel! And we are witnesses to that certain hope today, here in Beer Sheva, Israel! (In ch. 13 of Mark, the Lord uses the same symbol of the fig tree again, this time in reference to Israel’s revival in the last days leading up to His return. The curse is still there, the fruit is still not satisfying to God, but redemption and the Redeemer is on the way!)
What do we learn from this fig tree and from the incident on the Temple Mount that Mark records? Yeshua was the central figure in both of them, and His acts greatly disturbed both His disciples in the one, and the religious leaders in the other.
Both acts were judgments from God on the fruitless life and the corrupted religion of His chosen people, whom He had chosen for His glory, and to be His light to the Gentiles, and to be a holy people for His name, and to bear much good fruit from all of His fatherly care for them. (Is 5) Instead they professed to be outwardly ‘good’, especially in comparison to the ‘Gentiles’ (the goyim), while inwardly and outwardly dishonoring their God and His house. In this passage of Jesus taking control over the Temple Mount complex, He calls the house, “My house” (Is 56:7; Jer 7:11), whereas in the account in John, He calls the Temple “My Father’s house”. (Jn 2:16-17; Ps 69:9) He and the Father are one.
The marketplace that the people had set up was on the holy site in the area called the Court of the Gentiles. The buying and selling desecrated it as a place of prayer for non-Jews, as a house of prayer for all nations. The public and merchants were using the Temple area as a ‘short-cut’ to carry their wares to the abused area. Doves were the sacrificial animals for the poor, and the greedy merchants were selling them, probably at high prices. Yeshua had come to preach good news to the poor, who were being oppressed and taken advantage of.
So, too, the fig tree with leaves but without fruit. The tree looked good on the outside, but there was no fruit on the inside. The leaves were a covering for their fruitlessness. Remember when Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong, and wanted to cover their naked shame, they put fig leaves over their private parts. So, too, this tree, and Israel and the Jewish people – and by extension, the church and Christians (Rev 3:1-6; 14-22) – can look good to the eye of man, but cannot satisfy genuine [spiritual] hunger. Israel is blessing the world in amazing ways today, but good works can be “dead works”, and they do not save unbelievers; or they can be good works of believers, but motivated by wrong motives or done without love. (Heb 6:1; 9:14) Religious life without love, or without intention to honor the name of our Lord, is empty. As a prophetic and priestly nation, the Jewish people are not consciously drawing people to know the one true God. No one can eat from such a tree and be nourished with the life of God. The good works are a ‘fig leaf’, a cover-up for the lack of God’s righteousness and fruit. The God of Israel will not grant His people peace and tranquility as long as they/we continue to seek it, to buy it, apart from Him – apart from Yeshua.
God cannot, and will not, bless fruitlessness in those who are called by His name. (Jn 15:1-12) We cannot satisfy the need in others – whether believers or unbelievers – when our hearts of flesh become hearts of stone again. Praise to our God and Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: He is not finished yet, neither with Israel and the Jewish people, nor with those who profess to believe in the name of Yeshua/Jesus for salvation! Yeshua asked the Father — when He was nailed to the cross – to forgive that very people and nation, for they did not know what they were doing. He still calls His people to repentance, and to bear fruit of that return to HIM. This is especially regarding the state of our hearts towards God, and towards our fellow man. Israel, as represented by the fig tree, is also a sign of the last days that the end of the age is near, and that the Lord is coming again “soon”. (Mk 13:28-31; Mt 24:32-35; Lk 21:29-33) The same cursed fig tree is redemptively revived in the last days!
Yeshua took the opportunity of His disciples’ reaction to the cursed fig tree to teach them about believing prayer, but even more about the necessity and the power of forgiveness. (Mt 6:9-15) The Messiah, when He taught His disciples how to pray, told them and us that we must forgive others if we want our Father in Heaven to forgive us. To the measure that we forgive others, He will forgive us. Also in this passage from Mark, He says the same thing. We can pray with all faith to have God do miraculous things in our lives or for others – including the restoration and salvation of Israel – but if we are not forgiving someone – not loving Jesus above all, and others as ourselves — for what we think or know that he/she/they have done to me, I will have no peace with God my Father, and He will not be pleased with me, His son through Messiah. (It is very interesting that in the matter of divorce, which YHVH hates, Yeshua gave one exception for allowing it: adultery. But in the matter of forgiveness, there is no exception. A very challenging commandment and commitment!)
Brokenness – knowing how much we have been forgiven – produces the Holy Spirit fruit of love (God’s measure of love) towards others, especially towards those we think do not deserve it.
What then can we learn from this passage in the plan of God to redeem His people?
–The fruitless fig tree and the corrupted religious worship and ministry are indicative of the spiritual state of the Chosen People: there would be no more [godly] fruit from that again! Only when Israel repents and sees Jesus whom they pierced will that finally produce the broken heart and contrite spirit needed to produce fruit for YHVH their God. (Zech 12:10-14; Ps 51)
–This is also true of believers in Yeshua – of those who say we believe and follow Him. Some of us have let our own spirits push away the Holy Spirit, and we have let our new heart of flesh become like stone again. We then become hypocritical like the Pharisees: demanding of others what we ourselves will not do, nor help them to do. We separate ourselves in self-righteousness (which is the meaning of Pharisee), and do not love the brothers and sisters, and can oppress the poor. We look good on the outside – the leaves – but inside we are in rebellion against our holy and gracious Father and Savior.
–The Lord’s acts in this passage should put the fear of God in us, whom He has chosen to be the Lamb’s beloved Bride, obeying His commandments with thanksgiving, and loving one another as He has loved us.
Yeshua is our Judge and our Savior. Thank -you, God!
Recently, the verses at the end of Jeremiah ch 31 and 33 came to me in a new way. Those verses speak of YHVH having control of the solar system and of the universe, and that as long as He does, Israel will remain His people and His covenants with David and with Levi will be fully kept. Usually these verses are used by believers in God’s faithfulness and power to fulfill His covenant promises and to emphasize that Israel has not been replaced by another people. BUT, SHOULD GOD LOSE CONTROL OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM AND THE UNIVERSE, WHAT BECOMES OF ENGLAND, OR THE U.S., OR TO THE ARAB NATIONS, OR EVERY OTHER CREATED THING?! The LORD has bound up EVERYTHING in His promises to His chosen people. It is not about Israel only; and it all about Israel. No one has anything unless Israel gets hers; no one can live should the Lord ever lose control of His created system and order. Israel is God’s surety of life, and as is written in Rom 11, the return and salvation of the Jewish people/Israel back to YHVH their God [through repentance and faith in Yeshua following Jacob’s Trouble/Great Tribulation] will be life from the dead for the world!
As the world continues to show its irrational opposition to Israel, as witnessed once again by UNESCO voting that a historically and religiously important site to the Jewish people and to Israel long before Islam and Christianity came forth belongs to the Palestinian Muslim heritage, the prophetic Word of God continues towards fulfillment. This time, UNESCO and the Muslims say that the burial place in Hebron, which Abraham purchased at full price in order to bury Sara (Gen 23), and where also Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are buried — the fathers and mothers (including Rachel) of the people of Israel — is actually a Muslim holy site! God will judge the nations for their refusal to accept His sovereign choice of Isaac and of Jacob and of Jerusalem in the Land of Canaan, as He will also continue to press His own chosen people Israel over their refusal to accept His Son, Yeshua, as the Lord and Messiah. PRAY FOR ALL THESE THINGS FOR THE SAKE OF THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND THE LORD YESHUA THE MESSIAH/JESUS CHRIST. HIS NAME WILL BE SANCTIFIED AND GLORIFIED!