YHVH’s Burden for Israel

To fulfill Israel’s sovereign and redemptive election God is working to:

–return the heart of His people to Jerusalem and His Word, offering as many who will repent and believe today for salvation through Messiah Yeshua the blessedness of the first resurrection;

–tread down Jerusalem so that the Jews’ heart-cry and hope is only in Him who comes in the name of YEHOVAH;

–convict of national and generational transgression, sin, and iniquity against the LORD and His covenant so that He can forgive, cleanse, heal each and all of His  people when the full remnant from every tribe looks upon Yeshua whom they have  pierced.

The Holocaust and the Salvation of Israel: “Be Reconciled to YHVH GOD”

Lev. 26: 40-45   Israel and Jewish people confessing personal and historic collective guilt for breaking YHVH’s covenants

There is a biblical principle whereby God holds the heads of a people accountable for the blessing or punishment of the people.  We see this with Pharaoh and the Egyptians with respect to the children of Israel at the time of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt.  We see it again with King David and his census of Israel, bringing the LORD’s judgment upon the people and the near destruction of Jerusalem (2Sam. 24).

The rulers of the people — whether kings or priests — represent the people before God, and by their example of faith and obedience — or the contrary — the nation is led.  Today, does not a nation of people go to war or make peace based upon the determinations of their leader(s)?  Are not nations judged in the eyes of others by their thoughts regarding the heads of government or of the religious authorities?  Do not Jews today insist that Germans living today confess their nation’s and their parents’ guilt for the Holocaust — that Germans and Germany are primarily responsible and guilty because of their evil leader who governed and represented them?; or to put it another way, in Hitler, the Germans living today — whether or not they were personally and directly involved — are reckoned as guilty and defiled by the Jewish people, even more than are Austrians and Poles who also bear their own iniquity.

Other Biblical examples of this living principle of divine justice covering generations for nations, tribes, and  peoples are:
1.      in Adam, all have sinned and all human beings inherit condemnation and death;

2.      in Abraham (Abram), Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, signifying the preeminence of  the Priest Melchizedek over Aaron and the Levitical priesthood;

3.      in the Passover, Jews remember that we were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD brought us out;

4.      in Messiah, many are justified and made alive, inheriting righteousness and life.

 There are both  power in, and accountability for, our words which we speak or write, all the more so if we are in positions of authority (Mt. 12:36-37).

John 11:45-53    – Caiaphas the High Priest unknowingly prophesied that the one man Yeshua would die for the whole nation, and even for all the scattered children of God.

Mt. 27:25    – “all the people [of Israel] answered and said, ‘Let His [Yeshua’s] blood be on us and on our children’!

 Primary responsibility, with its guilt and historic consequences, is upon the leaders and people of Israel (John 19:11; Lev. 4:1-3, 13, 14, 22, 23; Acts 2; 4) — both before God and by our own words and agreement with our “fathers” — for the betrayal and death of Messiah.  Praise God that upon the cross, Yeshua/Jesus prayed that God His Father forgive us!

 YEHOVAH is the God of covenant, to which He is always faithful to fulfill His part, which includes His  promises to make the people of Israel a holy people for Himself.  Therefore He is working to remove from His people transgressions, sin, iniquity, and uncleanness — guilt and shame – – and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  The Holy Spirit is working to bring His people to an end of themselves, to stop trusting in themselves or in the arm of the flesh, so that they will call on the Name of Yeshua for salvation:  Blessed is He who comes in the Name YEHOVAH!  It is Yeshua whom God has given as a guilt offering (Is. 53:10), and His blood cleanses from all unrighteousness.

The Holocaust brings reproach to the Holy Name of the God of Israel and of the Lord Jesus Christ:
          –“These are the people chosen by God?!”

          –“Where was/is God?”

          –“How can a ‘good’ God allow such atrocities?”

          –“Maybe God is not strong enough to stop evil?!”

          –“God has forsaken and cast away the Jews!”

Remember Messianic brothers and sisters, Yeshua died a criminal’s death because of — and 
to take away — that evil unbelief and rebellion, the sin of the world!

Do we trust and love our God and Savior to honor His holy name in the face of such unbelief and mocking?  Many Christians risked, and even sacrificed their lives to save Jews from the death trains and camps.  In the unknowable ways of God, just as the crucifixion was necessary, so too was the Holocaust.  God’s judgments are past finding out!

 As many as are Jewish believers, we need to accept the truth of our primary responsibility for our history.  Let Gentile believers each examine and judge himself for their own personal and historic sins of your nations and churches against the Sovereign LORD and against the Jews and Christians.  Offenses there must necessarily be, but woe to those through whom they come!

The Lord Jesus says that the truth sets free and sanctifies.  Confession of our own and of our fathers’ sins is an act of humility, and it brings cleansing, freedom, blessedness — because by it we receive and know the righteousness of God who forgives us and accepts us.

The Lord promises to save His people from their sins.  The true gospel includes the cross of the Messiah and God’s righteous judgments against Israel, not to the exclusion of the other nations.  As has been spoken before, there is no glory for the Jewish people (or for any nominal Christian) apart from the faith in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the Hope of Israel.  Let us who believe be sure of our own peace with God and acceptance of His ways and judgments so that we can speak the truth with love to the Jewish people, and to others.

2Cor. 5:11a, 18-21    in the fear of God, be reconciled to Him and be ministers of reconciliation

Amen!

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                            

             

THE HOLOCAUST AND THE SALVATION OF ISRAEL: BE RECONCILED TO YHVH GOD – 10 Apr 1999

Lev. 26: 40-45   – confessing personal and historic collective guilt for breaking the LORD’s covenant

There is a biblical principle whereby God holds the heads of a  people accountable for the blessing or punishment of the people.  We see this with Pharaoh and the Egyptians with respect to the children of Israel at the time of the Passover and Exodus from Egypt.  We see it again with King David and his census of Israel, bringing the LORD’s judgment upon the people and the near destruction ofJerusalem (2Sam. 24).

The rulers of the people–whether kings or priests–represent the people before God, and by their example of faith and obedience–or the contrary–the nation is led.  Today, does not a nation of people go to war or make peace based upon the determinations of their leader(s)?  Are not nations judged in the eyes of others by their thoughts regarding the heads of government or of the religious authorities?  Do not Jews today insist that Germans living today confess their nation’s and their parents’ guilt for the Holocaust–that Germans and Germany are primarily responsible and guilty because of their evil leader who governed and represented them?; or to put it another way:  in Hitler, the Germans living today–whether or not they were personally and directly involved — are reckoned as guilty and defiled by the Jewish people, even more than are Austrians and Poles who also bear their own iniquity.

Other Biblical examples of this living principle of divine justice covering generations for nations, tribes, and  peoples are:
1.  in Adam, all have sinned and all human beings inherit condemnation and death;
2.  in Abraham (Abram), Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek, signifying the preeminence of  the Priest Melchizedek;
3.  in the Passover, Jews remember that we were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD brought us out;
4.  in Messiah, many are justified and made alive, inheriting righteousness and life.

There are both  power in, and accountability for, our words which we speak or write, all the more if we are in positions of authority (Mt. 12:36-37).

John 11:45-53    Caiaphas the High Priest unknowingly prophesied that the one man Yeshua would die for the whole nation, and even for all the scattered children of God.

Mt. 27:25    “all the people [ofIsrael] answered and said, ‘Let His [Yeshua’s] blood be on us and on our children’!

Primary responsibility, with its guilt and historic consequences, is upon the leaders and people ofIsrael (John 19:11; Lev. 4:1-3, 13, 14, 22, 23; Acts 2; 4)–both before God and by our own words and agreement with our “fathers”–for the betrayal and death of Messiah.  Praise God that upon the cross, Jesus prayed that God His Father forgive us!

YHVH is the God of covenant, to which He is always faithful to fulfill His part, which includes His  promises to make the people of Israel a holy people.  Therefore He is working to remove from His people transgressions, sin, iniquity, and uncleanness — guilt and shame — and to bring in everlasting righteousness.  The Holy Spirit is working to bring His people to an end of themselves, to stop trusting in themselves or in the arm of the flesh, so that they will call on the Name of Yeshua for salvation:  Blessed is He who comes in the Name YEHOVAH!  It is Yeshua whom God has given as a guilt offering (Is. 53:10), and His blood cleanses from all unrighteousness.

The Holocaust brings reproach to the Holy Name of the God of Israel and of the Lord Jesus Christ:

–“These are the people chosen by God?!”
–“Where was/is God?”
–“How can a ‘good’ God allow such atrocities?”
–“Maybe God is not strong enough to stop evil?!”
–Remember Messianic brothers and sisters, Yeshua died a criminal’s death because of–and to atone for–that evil unbelief !

Do we trust and love our God and Savior to honor His holy name in the face of such unbelief and mocking?  Many Christians risked, and even sacrificed their lives to save Jews from the death trains and camps.  In the unknowable ways of God, just as the crucifixion was necessary, so too was the Holocaust.  God’s judgments are past finding out!

As many as are Jewish believers, we need to accept the truth of our primary responsibility for our history.  Let Gentile believers each examine and judge himself for their own personal and historic sins of your nations against the Sovereign LORD and against the Jews and Christians.  Offenses there must necessarily be, but woe to those through whom they come!

The Lord Jesus says that the truth sets free and sanctifies.  Confession of our own and of our fathers’ sins is an act of humility, and it brings cleansing, freedom, blessedness because by it we receive and know the righteousness of God who forgives us and accepts us.

The Lord promises to save His people from their sins.  The true gospel includes the cross of the Messiah and God’s righteous judgments against Israel, not to the exclusion of the other nations.  As has been spoken here before, there is no glory for the Jewish people (or for ourselves in Christ) apart from the faith in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, the Hope of Israel.  Let us who believe be sure of our own peace with God and acceptance of His ways and judgments so that we can speak the truth with love to the Jews.

2Cor. 5:11a, 18-21    – in the fear of God, be reconciled to Him and be ministers of reconciliation

Amen.

BEER SHEVA IS YHVH’s

(Our congregation was attacked by over 1000 ultra-orthodox religious Jewish men, women, and children the following Shabbat after this message was given.)

I have been preaching recently on the need and responsibility we each and all have to dig up the clogged wells of our inner lives in order for the water of life in Christ Jesus to flow freely in us and through us for blessing and fruitfulness unto God our Father. We have a need and responsibility for knowing Him and the Lord Jesus both differently and freshly. This leads us to sing a new song.

Today I want us to consider together a picture which the Holy Spirit gives us through the prophets, and our response to it as those called by God to stand by faith in Him to fulfill His promises – even to Beer Sheva and the Negev.

Read:  Is. 41:17-20

Are you thirsty?  Thirsty for the living water which Yeshua promises to give to drink to all who whole-heartedly come to Him and glorify Him who is seated at the right hand of the Father!?  Do you consider yourself poor and needy for more of God, for more of Jesus in your life and in the life of the congregation?  YHVH, God of Israel, says that He will answer and will not forsake those who trust in Him to satisfy their thirst.  Indeed He will give even more than we could think to ask for.

Many of us are like cactus and like camels – suited to living in the desert, in dry lands.  We do not need water all the time, but we can manage with and preserve the relatively little water that is.  I really think that to make it in Beer Sheva, we need to be like this, and God in His wisdom knows what He is doing when He has called us or sent us to live here.  He, who knows us better than we know ourselves, has seen in our personality and character something that He knows  can endure in a place like this:  it is in our nature, and here we can glorify His Name. (As I think about it, it may also be a place to chasten some of His children who have forgotten Him in wetter circumstances, or who have forgotten that YHVH is also God of the arid zones!).

But even so, the desert is not God’s idea of the Promised Land!  The desert  is a place where He displays His “skills” and His love as a Shepherd – even as the Good and Great Shepherd.  It is a place where He tries and improves our faith and our willingness to humble ourselves to walk obediently and gladly in His ways.  It is a place where He makes us ready to enter into the good land which He has promised to those who love Him.

Beer Sheva is the chief city and the capital of the Negev – the wilderness (ערבה) and desert (מדבר) of Israel, and which covers more than 60% of the land.  Both physically (geographically) and spiritually, B.S. and the Negev represent the general condition of the whole world, which is mostly a spiritually dry wasteland. God wants to bless the world through fulfilling His promises toIsrael.  (Rom 11:11-15)  The Negev has a hope and a future by the Word of the LORD spoken through the prophet Isaiah.

ReadIs. 35:1-7

The Holy Spirit urges us here to be strong and courageous, and not to fear, for God will be for us and with us, even as Jesus reassures His disciples.  We have a rich heritage here in Beer Sheva, beginning with our father Abraham, embracing Jews and gentiles, and on to the great prophet Elijah receiving sustenance in the time of his great despair. (1Kg 19:3-8)  Upon this holy lump, despite present darkness, the sovereign LORD has spoken of a great redemption and future for the wilderness and desert.  It shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.  The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it.

Looking back to the passage in Is. 41, we notice in v. 19 that the LORD will plant different types of trees in the desert and the wilderness. These are not all trees suited to dry lands, but rather to Lebanon, where there is much rain and coolness.  Yet God intends to give such abundance of water in the Negev that even these trees will be able to flourish, and the desert trees will be transformed to thrive with this abundance.  Verse 20 states plainly that people will know that YHVH, the Holy One of Israel, has done it.

Brothers and sisters, do we want the Lord Yeshua the Messiah to be glorified here?  Are we both thirsty enough ourselves and desirous of God’s glory enough to want Him to give us rain from Heaven to make the Negev like Carmel and Sharon?  Do we want the Lord not only to have His cactus plants and camels, but also His cedar trees and cypress, which cannot thrive here except  that He pour out the living water of His Spirit of Holiness?  Physically, the Negev will have to wait for the Kingdom of God to come to earth at the return of the Lord Jesus toIsrael.  Spiritually, God is calling to us to call upon Him to fulfill His purposes in us, the Body of Christ, here…now…that the world will know that we in this small congregation can be witnesses to the truth of Messiah in Jesus:  different trees whom God has planted together, united in the Spirit, loving each other, at peace with each other.

ReadIs. 51:1-3

Believe God’s glad tidings for Beer Sheva and the Negev.  Our son Tal has a middle name, Shimon, because we believe the Lord’s promise to the children and tribes of Israel that Simeon will inherit his portion of the land which includes Beer Sheva. (Ezek 47 – 48)   You who pursue and who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, pray and intercede for our city to become as Eden, the garden of YHVH.  Let God give us a new song to sing as we pray and live in the hope of His great and precious promises.  Beer Sheva belongs to YHVH!  Beer Sheva belongs to the Lord  Messiah, Yeshua the Nazarene, King of the Jews!                 Amen.

WATCHMEN IN/OVER BEER SHEVA AND THE NEGEV – Oct 1998

Ps. 127:1  —  Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain

Watchmen protect and guard the interests of the owner/sovereign – in this case God the Father and His Son Yeshua the Messiah.  In the eternal wisdom of God, His strategy to win the war between the devil and Himself was that the Son of God/Son of Man would come into the world and be nailed to a cross as a sacrifice for sin, making peace through His cross to all who believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, the Anointed One of God, who rose from the dead.  We overcome the world by believing in Him.  Our victory is in His victory.  By the poured out blood of Yeshua, God has redeemed (purchased back) the Land of Israel, the whole earth, even the whole of His creation, and has given all authority over it to the Lord Jesus.  The Kingdom of God will come!  Believers are properly watchmen when we stand in faith upon the Word of God regarding the Church and our authority as members of the Body of Messiah in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring conviction by the Holy Spirit of sin, righteousness, and judgment to human beings, whoever and wherever they be.

God’s Interests in Beer Sheva

   –confessing and proclaiming the Name of the LORD Yeshua and make His name known (Jer. 23:27 – “My people have forgotten My Name”) and to sanctify His Name and make it honorable (Ezek. 36:22-23 —  We have profaned and made the Lord’s Name a reproach).  Yeshua the Messiah is LORD to the glory of God the Father!;

   –preaching the good news of salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of the Living God;

   –holiness, righteousness, truth, mercy, peace in His people, His children;

   –unity of the Spirit among believers;

   –love towards God’s children and His house, as well as for the lost and the helpless

      –supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all persons, and for those in authority, both for our own well-being and for others to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2: 1-6)

Must therefore be aligned with God’s will and purposes

   –the gospel is neither partisan nor sectarian

   –the glory and the honor belong to the Lord Jesus Christ

   –all of God’s promises regarding the people andlandofIsraelwill be fulfilled

–Praying in the Spirit

   –does not require gift of tongues, nor exclude it

   –according to mind and heart of God the Father and the Son, who always pleased Him

   –modeled after the “Lord’s Prayer”

      –love of God firstly; love of neighbors as ourselves; proclamation of God’s Kingdom

Spiritual Warfare:  requires living faith in God’s sovereignty and His righteousness

   –covering the whole wall of the house and the city:  to carry out the work given us to do until the Lord’s return – preserving that which properly belongs to Messiah and the N.T.  inside, while at the same time keeping out what is not His

(I am sharing that part which I have been given presently.  We know in part and even that part is as looking through a cloudy glass.  We should each be able to bear witness to the truth by the Spirit of Truth.)

    –making one’s life a prayer:  submit to God and resist the devil, the flesh, the world

      –humility and meekness

   –not condoning or participating in what you know to be against the LORD and His Anointed One

   –honesty before God and man regarding our own sins and iniquities, but standing by faith in the truth of our justification by the grace of God

   –putting on the whole armor of God, with prayer

   –praise (sacrifice)

   –at various times may be fought on one’s knees, on one’s feet, on one’s face, with fasting

CLOGGED WELLS: UNPAID TITHES AND OFFERINGS

Last week I spoke about digging up our stopped-up wells so that the spiritual life in Messiah can flow through us more freely.  We spoke of some of the “stones, dirt, and garbage” which can clog up our wells.  It had been my intention to speak today on another subject related to God’s purposes for us here in Beer Sheva, but during the week the Holy Spirit convicted me of another stone in both my life and in the congregation’s, which is limiting God in blessing us here as He would want.  It is a subject which is seen from the first pages of history down to these last days, as written for our instruction in the Bible.  

The Lord does not change:  He wants His people to give from their incomes and increases in order for Him to bless us.  From Cain and Abel (Gen 4:4) to Abraham and Melchizedek (Gen 14:20) to Jacob (Gen 28:20-22) to the people of Israel under the whole Tenach (the O.T.:  Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21-24; Dt 12:17-19; 14:22,28-29; 24:19-22; Pr 3:9; Mal 3:8), the believers who feared YHVH understood that all that they had belonged to God, and that they “owed” Him at least 10% (a tithe).  

Under the Law the LORD told Israel through Moses that 10% belonged to YHVH, and was holy to Him.  He instructed the children of Israel to give this 10% for Him to the Levites, who served Him as priests in the Tabernacle/Temple. (Num 18:23-24)  This corresponds to deacons and elders within local Messianic/Christian congregations.  The Levites were to give from this tithe their own tithe as an offering to YHVH, who was their inheritance, rather than a land possession with the other children of Israel.  

The tithes and offerings are God’s “taxes” upon the citizens of His Kingdom to help service the general welfare which His government provided (similar to Mt 22:15-22; Rom 13:1-7):  firstly, to pay the priests their “salaries”, who as a tribe worked every day of the year, while the rest of the tribes only worked 80% of the year, not having to work on Sabbaths and holidays. (Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21; 1Tim 5:17-18)  This corresponds to elders who teach, and to other servants who serve regularly and faithfully the local churches on Sabbaths and Sundays.; secondly, to pay for the upkeep of the Tabernacle/Temple, and for feast days (Dt 12:17-19); thirdly, to care for the poor and the stranger, the widows and fatherless. (Dt 14:28-29)  The first amounted to the “whole tithe”, or 10%; the second and the third raised the total offering to 16%-17%.  The blessing which YHVH promised was based upon these extra donations, which were voluntary.  The tithe was obligatory, a necessary duty upon all.  

Mal 3:7-12   We rob God!  Instead of stealing from Him by not paying our tithes, He wants to give us at least 80%-90% of what is already His.  YHVH is saying to give Him even the minimum of 10%, and He will give us more than enough.  This is grace; He is asking from us the minimum under the Law, and He will bless us, although the Law does not require Him to!  

Give to the Lord, and He will bless in such a way that unbelievers will notice.
Give to God what is rightfully His, and He will increase our income to enable us to bless and help others, to His glory.

Tithing also provides a defense against greed and stinginess.  

So much for the O.T., but what about the New Testament?  Aren’t we under grace now and not the Law?
Mt 23:23-24   justice, mercy, and faith + tithing
Lk 11:42   justice and the love of God + tithing  

So speaks our Lord Jesus.  

If you read 2Cor 8 – 9, Paul instructs Christians regarding giving.  His teaching is based upon the words of the Lord Yeshua, who upholding the principles and commandments of the Word of God as written in the O.T. in this matter, just as He is concerning the promises made to the Fathers connected with the people and the land of Israel.  The apostle in particular praises those who gave more than his own expectation, despite their poverty and affliction, and says that they gave firstly unto the Lord and then to them by the will of God. (2Cor 8:1-5)

Many of us are having financial troubles.  Could it be that we are robbing God?  Many of us have not had a ‘new song’ in a long time.  Could it be that we are robbing God and rejecting His interests in the congregation?   

Mal 3:13-18   God makes a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve Him and those who do not; the Book of Remembrance is for those who fear YHVH and think of Him.  

2Cor 9:6-15   God will bless the whole-hearted giver, and many will give thanks to God.

May the Lord increase our faith to give more than mere duty – but at least our duty! – and unclog our wells.  Spring up, O well! (Num 21:17) 

HIDING PRIDE FROM MAN: MANY FIRST SHALL BE LAST – 16 May 1998

Ezek. 11: 14-16  –  pride of circumstances
Zech.  12: 7 – pride of election
Rom. 11: 25-32  – pride of man

God works in mysterious ways, but always with wisdom and perfect understanding in all things.  He has a plan which He conceived before time began, and He will fully display its perfection when time is no more.  Meanwhile, a major objective of all His activities is to resist the pride which is in man and in nations, and to bring forth in His children the choice fruit of the Holy Spirit:  a holy man and people, who have learned from the Messiah Jesus to be meek and lowly in heart.  To whom much is given much is required.  To whom has more been given than to Israel and to the Church?

With this in mind, I want to share about a subject that many of us pray about, even worry over.  Over the years, many people have complained to the congregational leadership and even blamed us regarding this matter.  As one who also is deeply interested in the same, I have sought the LORD about it, and not too long ago I believe that He has given me His answer.  The subject is:  Why aren’t more Israelis repenting and believing in Yeshua, and why doesn’t our kehila do something to make the services more Jewish or Israeli in order to be more effective in this regard?

In the beginning the first believers were Jews and the church had a heavily Jewish flavor.  Because the nation of  Israel did not accept or receive her long-promised Redeemer-King, then afterwards, in fulfillment of the Word of the Lord, God took away the privileges belonging to Israel as first-born among the nations unto God, and He gave them to the Gentiles in order to obtain His fruit (Mt. 21:40-46).  (This follows a consistent Biblical pattern of the first-born losing the presumed birthright and blessing, even if only for a time.)  From then until now the Body of Messiah has been heavily un-Jewish in outward personality and style.  The relatively few Jews who have been born- again have had effectually little impact.  Even in Israel today it is no easy matter to define or determine Jewishness or Israeliness.

The answer to the subject lies in the necessity of God to cause His people to humble themselves—each one and all together—in order to know the glory of God in His wisdom to build up (edify) the weak and despised, even His Church.  Many who are first shall be last.

Let us look together at three passages from the O.T. and N.T., from which I believe the Holy Spirit opened my understanding to see their relevance to our own day and time:

  1. Ezek. 11:14-17 (Deut. 8:10-18) – Those living in Jerusalem, the beloved city of the Great King, believed that they were special because they lived in Jerusalem and in the Land of Israel.  They disdained in their hearts those Jews who were living in the dispersion, saying, “Get you far from YHVH;  this land is given to us as a possession!”  But God comforted those in captivity outside the land and said that he would be for them a little sanctuary.  The Good Shepherd cares for those who are dismissed in the eyes of the so-called privileged, and He brings us home according to His promise!

Brothers and sisters, most Jews who are saved today live in the diaspora and not in  Israel.  In Israel the Jewish leaders presume to themselves the determination of who/what is a Jew while remaining indifferent or hostile to the claims of Jesus.  But the LORD has been faithful to many Jewish people not living in Israel today.  There is no place for pride before God!  It doesn’t “cut it” with Him.

2.   Zech. 12:7 (Dt 17:20) –  In  order to subdue pride in the chosen  House of David to whom belonged the  ruling authority, YHVH would save others from the House of Judah first.  Today, most of the Israeli Jews who do believe in Yeshua are immigrants like most of us here.  Very few are native-born (“sabras”).  Think what it is like when local people or an influential family controls a situation.  It becomes very difficult for an outsider or a newcomer to fit in.  The locals have the language, the culture, the contacts, the power.  They think, “This is how it’s done here, and we know how to do it!”

God in His sovereign grace and wisdom is giving those with less status and natural privileges an opportunity to grow and develop confidence.  He wants all His people to be kings and priests.  Likewise is our Father in Heaven subduing the pride of the Israeli by showing His love for us all who live here in the Land of the Covenant.  He has something for all His family members.  The personal relationship of each of us with Father is of great importance and value.

3.    Rom. 11:25-32 (Deut. 32:21) – God is still saving Gentiles and is using them to provoke Israel to jealousy, and even to anger.  Look at how many foreign workers are being brought into the Kingdom of God right under our Jewish noses right here in Israel and Beer Sheva!  Still the Jewish people are partially blinded and will be until the fullness of the Gentiles is completed.  Meanwhile God is requiring Israeli believers here to accept their Gentile brethren fully and equally, just as we have wanted them to accept us fully and equally in Messiah.  It is in mercy that any of us are saved by God.

The prayers of the Lord Yeshua and of all the saints throughout the generations have been accumulating until today for the Kingdom of God the Father to come and for Israel to be restored and saved.  We are entering into the labors of others also working by the Spirit of Messiah, and the time is near when God is going to answer all these prayers.  We can be thankful for all of the Jewish people being saved today.  Much opposition to the truth of God still reflects the great pride in man.  We want to see more “real” Israelis repent and believe the truth of Messiah in Jesus.

Peter, the apostle to the Jews, was a typical Israeli.  The lesson he had to learn is one we must all learn:  to accept God’s way of doing things.  The Holy Spirit will glorify the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and not ourselves or our culture.

Let us remain obedient with faith in what we have been given to do and God will take care of the consequences.  Praise the LORD!  Amen.

Rom. 11:33-36

UNITY — WE AND OUR FATHERS – 18 Apr 1998

Mt 1:1-16; Lk 3:23-38  Genealogy of Yeshua
Ezek 16:3; Dt 26:5  My father was an Aramean (Syrian)

YHVH promised Abraham, our father in the faith, that his children (his descendants) would go down to a land not theirs, and there become slaves.  At Passover we remember that God kept His promise to deliver our fathers, the children of Israel, from Egypt, and to bring us out that we would worship YHVH in the land of promise – the Land of Canaan, now the Land of Israel.  When we read in Genesis and in Deuteronomy where Jacob/Israel described his sons, and Moses described the tribes of the sons of Israel, we notice how different each was while yet of one large and extended family.  They were also joined together by the covenant which God cut with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, by the redemption from out of Egypt, and by the Law of the covenant which YHVH gave them all together.

All of us have ancestors.  We all have a past – both personal and as a family, a tribe, or as a people.  We see from the Bible that God knows us and He calls us by name.  (Those who are born-again by the Holy Spirit know this experientially.)  Many people today are interested in finding their roots, tracing their family lineages back as far as they can in the hope of gaining a stronger sense of their identity, of who they are.  (The apostle Paul advises us not to waste too much time or effort in this because it is not profitable. Tit 3:9)  It is more relevant to know who are our near and distant relatives in the Spirit – in the faith – than merely of which family in the flesh.  For this reason the New Testament gives only the genealogy of Jesus, showing Him to be the promised Seed of the woman, and of Abraham and David, as well as God’s Son.  After Him, one is either born-again into the redeemed family of God in Christ, or else remains dead in His trespasses and sins as an unsaved son of Adam.

Obviously though, since Messiah there have been many more names up till today with whom we are connected, both naturally and spiritually.  If we look at Jesus’ human ancestors, we finde names that may cause both pride and shame.  There is royalty here, but also names who seem far from honor.  Yet the Holy Spirit has recorded for all to know both the good, the bad, and the ugly, even when showing Jesus was born a Jew, through whom God has brought salvation.  And YHVH, who sees and knows the heart, reminds us that we have no basis for pride of flesh or race, for our ancestors are just like heathen Canaanites and Egyptians.

In the prophet Ezekiel’s day the people complained of suffering and of hardship due to the sins of their fathers.  It is true, according to the Law of God, that those who hated YHVH would bring His displeasure onto the 3rd and 4th generations afterwards. (Ezek 18; Ex 20:5)  So those “children” complained that all of their problems and lack of success were the fault of those who had lived and sinned before them.  Therefore the Lord said to them that He would judge them by their own doings, and they would know that their own sinfulness was the reason for their present distress.

Were not the fathers once the children of their fathers?  Do not the children grow up to become the fathers to future generations?  As a Jewish believer in Jesus as both Messiah and Lord, I cannot divorce myself from either my humanity in Adam; from my Jewish ancestry all the way back to those who killed the Messiah, and back to Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham; or from my spiritual heritage with believers throughout the history of the Church, and back until Abel.  Today, in the spirit of Elijah, God is returning the hearts of the children upon the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers upon the children.

Apart from the sinless Son of God, all of us must confess that we and our fathers have sinned. (Lev 26:39-40; Ps 106:6)  So says the Torah; so prays Daniel and Nehemiah; so teaches the Lord Jesus and His Apostles.  If we presume ourselves as more holy or righteous in our own generation than our fathers and mothers were in theirs, then the Lord says plainly that we are still in our sins and will be more guilty than them. (Mt 23:29-36; Jn 9:40-41)

In spirit and in character, we all have sinful origins – even pagan, those without the true knowledge and worship of the one true living God.  We are neither to justify nor to condemn, but rather to confess our common wickedness together in the sight of God.  In the light of that humbling self-examination and self-judgment, we can pray and intercede to our God who is full or mercies and forgiveness, and we can thank Him for His everlasting lovingkindness (grace).

Brothers and sisters, our history up to this day is full of sins and errors – both of the heart and of discerning God’s will rightly – but God has worked all these things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  We must forgive those whom we think or believe have sinned to the detriment of those living today, and take heed to our own selves lest, thinking we stand, we fall.  We tend to remember King Solomon with praises, despite what the Spirit of God records regarding his later years.  Let us not condemn a Martin Luther, whom I am certain will be among those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  There is no need to justify all the divisions in Christianity in order not to condemn all those found in each camp.  Rather, the call of God to all is to separate from that which is unholy and unclean, and to draw near to Him through the despised Nazarene whom this world dishonors.  To all who heed the call, God promises to be their God and Father, and we shall be His children.  With true unity of the Spirit, the one and only God will dwell in our midst, and manifest His love for us.  To God be the glory, and to the Lamb upon the throne.  Amen.

THE CROSS

Mt 5:4/Lk 6:21   “Blessed are they who mourn/weep now, for they shall be comforted/laugh.”

Within the past month, members of this congregation have experienced mourning and weeping.  With the death of two family members, loved ones and friends had a personal and family experience of weeping and mourning.  And now this week, we have joined with the nation that weeps for her children, the 73 young men – soldiers – who died without warning or expectation; not at the hand of their enemies, but in a collision of two helicopters of our own.

Who among us did not cry before the Lord when we heard the news?  Who did not feel the pain of the families and close friends?  Who among the children of God the Father in Heaven does not pray from his heart, “Until when LORD?!; Thy Kingdom come!; Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH!; Come, Lord Jesus!”?

I heard that among some groups of the religious, there was rejoicing!  These are those who do not even recognize the legitimacy of the State of Israel because their Messiah has not yet come.  YHVH’s Anointed One, Yeshua/Jesus, whom we know has come, and will come again, used the example of national tragedies to bring the people to repentance.  He proclaimed that those killed were not worse sinners than others, and that unless they repented, they, too, would likewise perish. (Lk 13:1-5)

Those who were rejoicing in their heart – whether they be Israelis or enemies of Israel – will not know the comfort which the Lord Jesus promises to those who mourn.  Let us look together at another passage from the prophet Ezekiel, and consider the mourning of which Messiah speaks:  Ezek 9:1-11 (esp. v. 4,9)  The city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel (Judah) are filled with blood, violence, iniquity because the people have no personal relationship with, nor faith in YHVH.  There is no genuine fear of God.  Instead, they say that the LORD has forsaken the land, and that He does not see.  Yet there were those within the city who sigh and groan over all the abominations done in Jerusalem, and by the religious priests in the sanctuary of YHVH.  Upon these mourners the Lord ordered His servants to write a  mark on their foreheads.

It is interesting that in ancient Hebrew the letter ת (tav) was written like a ‘t’.  The ‘mark‘ here in v. 4 is called a tav
(תו).  Brothers and Sisters, the mark of God, which He places on those whom He delivers and passes over from His wrath, is the cross!  It is at the cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus/Yeshua that self is slain, and God alone is good and worthy.

The message of the cross is proof that the gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek/Gentile:  The Jews do not accept it, and the Gentiles do not respect it. (1Cor 1:18-23)  Jewish people avoid any use of a cross design or symbol (even in arithmetic and at a cross-road intersection!), and Gentiles who know little or nothing of the true meaning of the cross have used it to terrorize Jews and others, and to blaspheme God and Christ.

The truth is that the cross, and its message of Messiah crucified, is, like the gospel, from God.  It is the New Covenant in Jesus which brings it to light.  Besides the ‘mark’ in Ezekiel, the cross appears in other significant places in Israel’s history by God’s plan and wisdom:
–the sprinkled blood on the door posts at the Passover in Egypt
–the formation of the tribes of Israel as they camped and moved on in the desert, with the Tabernacle in their midst at the center
–in the arrangement of the holy furnishings and vessels of the Tabernacle and the Temple, showing the way into God’s presence and glory

The cross is God’s mark upon His people, which represents the spiritual condition of the inner man.  To the carnal and unbelieving it is a mark of shame and dishonor; to the spiritual person in Christ, it is the mark of God’s glory in the person and character and atoning death of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, and of God’s redeemed people, whose glory is our Head, even Christ Jesus Himself.  The cross is God’s mark to separate the world from His people, and His people from the world. (Gal 6:14), and it is by the shed blood of Yeshua on the cross, which we, as it were, sprinkle (1Pt 1:2) on our hearts and minds, that God will save us from the day of His judgment, which begins – today as in Ezekiel’s day – in the household of God. (1Pt 4:17)

The other night at the Bible study from the epistle to the Galatians, we discussed the matter of circumcision, which was and still is an issue in some groups, as a sign of keeping God’s covenant with Israel and with belonging to His people – even for Gentiles.  Foods also have an importance in similar arguments.  During the same time as our study, but without our knowledge, the helicopter collision occurred in which the 73 persons with names were killed without warning and, as far as we know, without Christ.  The nation mourns; we share in that grief.  God’s kingdom is not about circumcision and food (Heb 13:9), but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Peace is the fruit of righteousness, and especially that righteousness which comes from God.  Joy in the Kingdom of God is a holy joy, not a devilish delight in other people’s calamities or sin, but rather a joy in truth and righteousness and judgment (justice) and goodness.  Despite their significance, our righteousness before God does not depend upon such matters of circumcision and food, or even head coverings, and the Lord does not want contention (discord) and divisions over them, which can only quench and grieve the Holy Spirit.

A true Jew and a true Christian seeks God’s approval.  God approves of us when we believe in and obey His Son, our Lord Jesus.  Jesus acknowledges us as belonging to Him when we do the will of His Father in Heaven.  God is working both within Israel and within the Church to cleanse and to purify His people.  To be a disciple, Jesus says that we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, and follow Him.  Both baptism in water and the cross speak the same message:  death to the self-life; alive unto God in the Spirit through faith. 

This way which we travel, and which Israel is being required by her God and Savior to travel, is long and hard and narrow.  It is a well-traveled road, and many more will yet know suffering on it.  Yeshua/Jesus, the King whom Jewish people say they do not want to rule over them, but whom YHVH God intends that they will have, has walked this same way – the way of the cross.  He exposed Himself to the condemnation of man, and became a curse for us under God’s own Law, in order that we could receive God’s approval.  If we follow Jesus and His lead on this path, we will arrive safely home – our conscience cleansed, and with love out of a purified heart perfected.  Despite the sentence of death in ourselves, we go on in victory in Christ because God has forgiven us of our sin and our sins.  Praise the LORD!  Yeshua is no longer on the cross!

The Lord is calling us to intercede in mercy  — as His priests — for the Jewish and Arab peoples to repent and to believe the gospel, for the Kingdom of God is near.  Until they do, there will continue to be much sorrow and mourning.  Until we let God’s spiritual mark distinguish us, then we, too, stand in danger of suffering from God’s righteous judgments upon the world. (1Cor 11:31-32)

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”  God intends to answer the prayer which the Lord has taught us to pray and which the Holy Spirit quickens as the birth pains increase.

Let’s be encouraged together, as we conclude from the truth of God’s prophetic word:  Rev 21:1-7; 22:1-9

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen.

OUR BROTHER YESHUA

John 17:17-26  sanctify by truth; the Father’s love for us is as His love for Jesus
Heb. 2:10-12  Jesus (Yeshua) not ashamed to call us His brethren

God loves us!  Our Father in Heaven loves us, and He loves us as much as He loves His only-begotten Son Yeshua!  It’s understandable that we should know and believe that God the Father loves Yeshua the Son, because Yeshua always did what pleased His Father; He always –even from His youth– did what was good and right in His Father’s eyes.  He always lived and walked by faith according to the Spirit of Holiness.  He always trusted and obeyed His Father, and he honored His earthly mother and father.

It is more difficult for us to grasp the love of the truth that God our Father really loves us.  Our experiences, our feelings, our enemies (devil, world, self, iniquity) all conspire to tell us that God does not –even cannot– love someone like me or you or us or them.  And certainly if He does, it isn’t like His love for someone else:  I’m not worthy, or that person has advantages that make him or her easier to love; or, I’m not pretty or handsome –so many things which make us feel less love.  Of course, there are always those who think that they deserve all the love they have, and it’s not their concern if another feels a love deficit.

But what do we read here?:  the truth is that not only does God the Father and the Son love us, but also that the Father loves us as much as He loves Yeshua!  And Yeshua is glad about that!  He is not jealous or resentful that God should love us as much as Him.  In fact, He wants us to know this and to let this truth sanctify us and to cause us to love one another –especially those of the household of faith in Christ– in the same way.  Jesus gave His life for us who have become His brothers and sisters.

How can we accomplish this?  It can only be if we (I) are secure in the knowledge that God does love us (me).  Yeshua knew the Father loved Him because He believed with all His heart in Him:  He trusted Him; He honored Him; He loved Him.  If we are living our lives before God in sincerity and truth, the Holy Spirit witnesses to our own spirit that we are children of God and so are loved by Him, and we also grow in humility and grace to not only love God’s other children –our brethren– but to rejoice and to encourage each other in our Father’s mutual love for each and all of us.

There is no reason for jealousy or for competition.  Rather, we are to be as little children in our attitude –not considering who is greater or who is more loved.  

Consider the examples of Abraham towardsIshmael and Isaac
                                         The LORD towards Jacob and Esau
                                         Jacob towards Joseph and his brothers
                                         Yeshua towards John and the other apostles (different personalities and occupations)
                                         Parable of prodigal son

In all of these cases, the fathers loved their children, but had a special love for one over another –or so it seems.  It was when the others became jealous or hateful that problems in the family erupted.  So even God the Father in Heaven loves all people, whom He has created in His own image and likeness, and for whom Yeshua came and died.  Yet He has a special love (preference) for Jesus above all.  Nonetheless, the Holy Spirit tells us through God’s own Word that we, who love Jesus and accept His exaltation above all others, are loved –we know— by His Father and our Father in Heaven just as much as Yeshua is –and, again, Yeshua is happy for us and for Himself.  This pleases the Father very much:  to see His family at peace and joyful, at rest in His righteousness and in His everlasting love for us all.  If we love God, we will do what our Brother and Lord Jesus commands us, for this is what the Father wants from us.

Take the opportunity to strengthen another brother or sister in both your love and the Father’s love for him or her.  If there is any jealousy or resentment or competition regarding Father’s love, then confess this sin to Him and repent of it, knowing that He forgives you for Messiah’s sake.  The truth will both sanctify and free you and others.

God loves us as much as He loves Jesus.  He can not love us any more than that, but we can always show Him that we want to love Him and our brethren more.