Yeshua Is Judge, And Savior

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 13:28-31Lk 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!

Who Is Yeshua?

Mk 8:27-38  And Jesus and His disciples went out into the towns of Caesarea Philippi. And in the way He asked His disciples, saying to them, Who do men say that I am?  (28)  And they answered, John the Baptist. But others say Elijah, and others say one of the prophets.  (29)  And He said to them, But who do you say that I am? And Peter answered and said to Him, You are the Messiah.  (30)  And He charged them that they should tell no one of Him.  (31)  And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  (32)  And He spoke that saying openly. And Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him.  (33)  But when He had turned around and looked on His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Go behind Me, Satan! For you do not mind the things of God, but of the things of men.  (34)  And calling near the crowd with His disciples, He said to them, Whoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  (35)  For whoever will save his life shall lose it; but whoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, he shall save it.  (36)  For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?  (37)  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  (38)  Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

Just before this passage, Yeshua had seemingly experienced some failure in the healing of a blind man. The first act of giving the man sight resulted in him only seeing without clarity.  The second time Yeshua put His hands on the man’s eyes resulted in him receiving full sight.  This scene was not only a physical reality — a blind man was healed — but also a parable and a prophecy:  even the disciples of the Lord were not seeing clearly who Jesus really was; and the Messiah is still at work to bring His identity into sharp focus for all – believer and unbeliever alike. 

Up till now, Yeshua had performed many miracles and healings and signs among the people, yet His closest disciples still seemed to be uncertain who it was that they were walking with.  Yeshua is now going to bring them to a ‘valley of decision’ – a moment of truth to choose to recognize and to accept, or to reject:  a decision that determines destiny. (עמק החרוץ Joel 3:14) 

Yeshua asked His disciples, “Who do the people say that I am?”  The answers were very interesting: Elijah, Jeremiah, John the Baptiser, one of the other prophets. (Mk 6:14-15; Mt 16:13-18)  Did the apostles and the Jewish people believe in reincarnation!?  (see Jn 9:1-2)  But then Jesus said to them:  “But you, who do you say that I am?”  And Peter, always ready, answered, “You are the Messiah, [the Son of the living God].”  Then Yeshua strictly charged the disciples not to tell anyone about Him!  They still did not know what it meant that He was the Messiah.  They were still not seeing clearly or understanding; but they knew now that He is the one of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote.    The Son of God did not come to become famous or popular.  Again we see that God’s ways are not like those of men or women who think more highly of themselves than is suitable. (Rom 12:2-3)  In Matthew’s gospel, he adds that Yeshua told Simon Peter that his confession of the revelation of who Yeshua is did not come from flesh and blood, but from Yeshua’s Father in Heaven; that is, from God.  This is the foundation upon which the Lord builds His household of faith, against which not even death can overcome the believers. (Mt 16:16-181Jn 2:20-25)

Yeshua began to teach the apostles the truth about what it meant that He was Messiah.  In Jewish teaching and expectation at that time, there were those who thought that the Messiah would come as a conquering King, the son of David.  Others taught that the Messiah would come — not necessarily from David’s line (1Kg 12:16) — and overthrow the Roman enemy and occupiers, freeing Israel and the Jewish people from foreign domination to be a free people in their own land.  The mystery of the cross and of the gospel was hidden from them, and now Yeshua had come — the truth, the life, and the way.  Yeshua told them that being the Messiah meant, firstly, that He was going to “suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again”.  All of their prior understanding of the Messiah had been false or distorted.  This is what gives rise to false Messiahs/Christs – being deceived about the truth of the Messiah/Christ being Yeshua/Jesus.

(Tonight is Lag B’Omer – the 33rd day of the counting of the sheaves of wheat between the Passover week and Shavuot/Pentecost.  This day is a celebration of a false prophet and of a false Messiah.  Rabbi Akiva claimed that Bar-Kochba was the Messiah, who was going to defeat the Romans and regain the holy city of Jerusalem.  Yet the rabbi – who was burned at the stake —  is still considered one of the sages of Judaism, and everyone knows now that Bar-Kochba was not the Messiah. Orthodox Judaism even forbids marriages during this period until after this truly pagan fire holiday!)

We know that these closest disciples never did “hear” the words, “and after three days rise again”, because until they actually saw Jesus after His resurrection, they had believed that His death brought an end to their hope that He was, in fact, the Redeemer. (Mt 28:17; Mk 16:11-14; Lk 24:13-32; Jn 20:24-25)

Peter, who had just been blessed for confessing the revelation from God the Father, was now speaking on behalf of Satan when he rebuked Yeshua, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Mt 16:22)  Yeshua then rebuked Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan!  For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men”.  The devil was quick at work to try to steal the Word which Yeshua had sown into the heart of His dear followers. (Mk 4:14-15)   It was God’s plan and good pleasure that His Son would be the sacrifice to atone for the sins of every man, woman, and child. (Is 53:10-12)

Jesus then spoke to all of the people there, with his disciples, and told them all what it would mean for all who confess in faith and become followers of Yeshua the Nazarene (not, the Nazirite); and He connects it with His second coming:  we will have to deny ourselves and pick up our own crosses to follow Him; we will have to be willing to die for Him and for the gospel; the whole world is not the value of even one soul; we must not be ashamed or embarrassed about Jesus or of His words. (Lk 9:26; Rev 3:8)  Remember that even many of His disciples had been offended and embarrassed by His hard sayings regarding eating His flesh and drinking His blood. (Jn 6:53-69)  In today’s post-modern and post-Christian world, the Bible – God’s Word – is under attack; the exclusivity of Jesus being the only way to God the Father is attacked; the truth that God remains faithful and committed to His covenant promises to Israel is attacked; the truth that homosexuality is still a sin is under attack.  Believers are to stand with the Lord and His words in this “adulterous and sinful generation”.

What are some lessons for us in knowing who Yeshua is?:
–Before we became believers we did not understand what it means for someone to be the Messiah, especially that Jesus is the Messiah.  He is not the Messiah that we expected.  That being so, we bore false testimony against Him, simply by denying that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. (Ex 20:16; Dt 5:20)

–Yeshua told Peter that his clear acknowledgement of Him being the Messiah was a revelation from the Father.  It was not something that was being taught; it was not something that could be simply intellectually figured out.  The demons and the devil already knew who Yeshua was; they were not deceived like people are.

Each person needs this revelation of who Yeshua is.  It is not enough to grow up hearing about Him, or even being taught.  If that were all that was needed, then every person who has been brought up in a Christian or Messianic home or society would know that the Messiah/Christ is Yeshua/Jesus.  But they do not.  It requires a revelation from the Father.  If any of you here do not yet see clearly who Jesus is, ask the Father to reveal Him to you.  Ask the Lord to heal your spiritual blindness.  It is essential if you are going to be capable of truly being His disciple and not ashamed of Him or His words.  This gives confidence when He will come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

–There is unity among the believers who have this revelation.  All of the apostles were brought to that point of certainty regarding who Yeshua was/is.  Even Thomas; even Judas Ishcariot.  Whatever each of the apostles and the people had understood before that ‘valley of decision’, the Good Shepherd was going on from there.  They were going on together from there with the Lord breaking through before them.  If they were to begin arguing or discussing things as they had previously understood them, the Lord was going on from there.  He was not going back.  This unified the disciples.  It still did not guarantee covenant faithfulness to Yeshua or to His way.  Sin is a dreadfully strong slave master!

It is my conviction that the Body of Messiah is in need of another such revelation from the Father that is going to bring unity to the disciples of Yeshua at this time.  There are many differing and opposing interpretations of what is going on in these last days, and of Israel’s part, of believers in Jesus’ part, and of the abiding truth of the Word of YHVH God.  Just as the truth of Messiah was written in the Scriptures – but not understood – so, too, is the truth of where God is now in His plan of redemption also written in the Old and the New Testaments – but divisively not agreed upon.  We need a common, corporate, Holy Spirit revelatory moment to bring us together in His truth and love to enable us to do effectively what the Lord has called us to for His glory and purpose.  There will still be Thomases and Judases among us (Lord, have mercy on me!), but the power needed to stand  as one in this adulterous and sinful generation until the Day of Messiah necessitates such a revelation.  Let us love one another in the hope we have in our God.  And let us stand in the truth that we do know:  Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God.  Yeshua is LORD, to the glory of God the Father!

We were blind, but now we see.  Praise God!

Brief History of Rise of Messianic Judaism – 1 Mar 2016

Redemption of Jewish Identity and Hope

Jer 29:11
For I know the purposes which I am purposing for you, says Yehovah; purposes of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Lk 2:34-35  And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

My identity as a Jew was settled in June 1967, during the Six-Day War. I saw once again that the Gentiles wanted to kill us, and I didn’t know why; and I identified with my people and our land.  Despite the Synagogue and the Church both historically telling me that a Jew cannot believe in Jesus, or that a Jew who believes in Jesus is no longer Jewish, the answer of the man whom God used in February 1981 to finally bring me back to Himself regarding the Jews and the Chosen People was good, it gave hope, and the Jewish people had a promising future.

–Judaism – Pharasaic, Talmudic, Rabbinic – rejects the Yeshua/Jesus of the Bible as being the Messiah.
–Juda-ism is self-oriented, culture-oriented (as is Christian-ity if separated from living faith and union with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ)
–Messianic Judaism does not mean only faith in Jesus/Yeshua as being Messiah, the Son of God; e.g., Chabad, Temple Mount Faithful, Bar Kochba, Shabbtai Tzvi

–YHVH God, though, gives hope to the Jewish people, and to “all Israel”
–He will be their God, and they will be His holy people
–the Land of Canaan/Israel as an everlasting possession and inheritance
–a rich heritage
–a kingdom of priests who will all know the LORD and serve Him faithfully, a blessing to other nations

–Yeshua came as the Seed of David, of the Tribe of Judah: Jesus came as a Jew, under the Law/Torah
–He fulfilled the Law perfectly, but also differently than other Children of Israel, in that Jesus never sinned, and had no sin. The Law is for sinners.
–the first believers and disciples of the Lord were Israeli Jews; until Cornelius, apparently all Gentile believers converted to some form of Judaism (Ex 12:43-49)
–app. 50 AD, the apostolic Jerusalem Council agreed with the Holy Spirit that Gentile believers in Yeshua could remain Gentile, but with some conditions regarding food and sex so as not to offend God or godly Jewish sensibilities (Acts 15)
–first Jewish believers were called Nazarenes (Notzrim) and Christians (Meshichi’im) (Acts 11:26Acts 24:5)
–God gave a weaning period to the early Messianic Jewish believers to come to terms with the New Covenant (Letter to The Hebrews)
–first persecution of [Jewish] believers came from Jewish unbelievers
–the gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, but a direct revelation from Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ (Gal 1:11-12)

67-70AD   Jewish revolt against Rome and the destruction of the 2nd Temple brought a definite separation between Jewish people who believed in Jesus and what He said, and between those who did not: the former fled Jerusalem when it was surrounded; the latter committed suicide on Masada
–in the New Testament, there was already an excommunication of Jewish believers in Yeshua from the synagogue (Jn 9:22; Jn 12:42; Jn 16:1-4)
132-135AD   Final Jewish revolt against Rome, led by Rabbi Akiva and Simon Bar-Kochba: the former a false prophet; the latter a false Messiah
–both still celebrated today within mainstream Judaism at Lag B’Omer: fire; no Jewish weddings from that date until Shavuot/Pentecost
–final internal split between the Synagogue and Messianic Jews who believed in Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior from sin(s), LORD, King of the Jews and of Israel

2nd CentAD   more splits within the “Gentile” Church over Jewish practices, Passover/Easter, Sunday worship

3rd Cent   the Synagogue codified directives in the Talmud against the minim (referring initially specifically towards Jewish believers in Jesus); http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0003_0_02999.html

4th Cent   Constantine became a Christian and made Christianity the religion of the Empire
–Council of Nicea
–John Chrysostom: contempt and hatred towards Jews (Eight Homilies Against the Jews;  http://legacy.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.asp )
–Canons of The Apostles: legislated unbridled anti-Jewishness (see, for examples, Canons #65, 70, 71  http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/cannons_apostles_rudder.htm )
–the Roman Catholic Church becomes “Spiritual Israel”; the New Israel

1000 years of suppressed Jewish identity within the Church

632AD   Islam further weakened Jewish identity (became dhimmis, as did Christians)

787   Second Nicene Council, 8th Canon:  Jewish believers could no longer be Jews in any of their traditions; http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Councils/ecum07.htm

15th – 18th Cent
–Spanish Inquisition
–the Marranos (“pigs”) and Christopher Columbus
–the new availability of vernacular Bible translations increased interest in Jewish-Christian links
–Martin Luther urges violent persecution of Jews, and proclaims Protestants to be “spiritual Israel”

19th C: Rebirth of Hebrew Christian/Messianic Jewish movements: intuitively connected with the return of the Jews to the Promised Land in preparation for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ
the desire and need to demonstrate and express God’s faithfulness to His chosen Jewish people, to covenant promises, to Jewish/Israeli aspirations and hopes as given through Moses and the Prophets, and through the Messiah Yeshua/Jesus and the Apostles
–1809 The London Society for the Promotion of Christianity Among the Jews (CMJ today) founded by Joseph Frey
–1813 Benei Avraham formed in London by 41 Jewish believers
–1820’s Joseph Wolff pioneers Jewish evangelism to the Jews in Middle East and India
–1842 First Protestant (and Anglican) church – Christ Church – in the Middle East built in Jerusalem in Old City, with the first Bishop a Jewish believer, Rabbi Michael Solomon Alexander
–1866 Hebrew Christian Alliance forms in London
–1881 first Aliyah (wave of immigration of Jews) to Eretz Israel (Palestine then)
–1883 Rabbi Isaac Lichtenstein of Tisza-Eszlar, Hungary, becomes believer in Jesus, and maintained his Jewish identity
–1884 indigenous Messianic Jewish congregation founded by Rabbi Joseph Rabbinowitz in Kishinev, Russia
–1885 first Hebrew Christian Church of America founded in New York by Jacob Freshman
–1894 Chosen People Ministries founded in Brooklyn, NY by Rabbi Leopold Cohn, a Hungarian Jewish immigrant
–1897 First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl in Basle, Switzerland, in face of severe European anti-Semitism; called for Jewish State to become a realty in Palestine

20th -21st C
–1904  second Aliyah to the Land
–1906  Azuza St. Pentecostal revival
–1915 Hebrew Christian Alliance of America established
–1917  Balfour Declaration proclaiming intent to reestablish Jewish homeland in Palestine
–large numbers of Jewish people come to faith in Europe by 1939; many die in Holocaust
–many Jewish young people come to faith during 1930’s
–effort to create Messianic Jewish identity
–1920’s and 1930’s short-lived attempt to establish Messianic Jewish fellowship in Palestine by Moshe Immanuel Ben-Meir and Hyman Jacobs, but many missions did not embrace the idea of a significant distinct Jewish identity outside of historical churches, which also did not understand the significance of maintaining an identity as Jew by Jewish believers in Yeshua
–1948 founding of modern State of Israel
–most Jewish believers left Israel during the War of Independence
–Moshe Ben-Meir, Abram Poljak, Haim Haimoff – who remained during the War of Independence — committed to Jewish identity
–began to promote term “Messianic Jew” (Yehudi Meshichi) rather than Christian (notzri)
–mostly non-rabbinic expression of pattern of life, but honoring Sabbath, Feasts, circumcision

–a Hebrew Catholic Movement was fostered by Fr. Daniel Rufeisen and Fr. Elias Friedman, Jewish believers who identified as Christians

–1967 a watershed year with the Six-Day War stimulating Jewish redemption and messianic expectations, with more Jewish people coming to faith in Jesus/Yeshua
–about 200 Jewish believers in Israel till then
–perhaps passing 1000 during the 70’s and 80’s
–large numbers of believers connected with huge wave of Russian-speaking immigration in 90’s
–today most evangelical believers in Israel have Russian as mother tongue
–between app. 10,000-15,000 believers today in Israel among Jews and those identifying with the Jewish people

–1972 Jews For Jesus (organization) founded by Moishe Rosen in San Francisco

Most of the Jewish believers today in Israel have come to faith outside of Israel, and are immigrants from many other countries on all the habitable continents. Most of the native-born Israeli Jews who are believers now are children born to immigrants. Native-born older generation Jewish believers are still a small minority.

Messianic congregations are mostly not connected with a mainstream denomination. Yet there is a sense of unity and mutual support – we are ‘family’! – despite great diversity of positions on important doctrinal and other issues.

There are still on-going efforts by some to shape and define what it is to be a Jewish believer in Yeshua/Jesus. In the U.S., some Messianic Jewish leaders estimate that there are 250,000 (?) Jewish believers in Jesus, and of those, only 22,000 (?) who belong to a Messianic congregation/synagogue.

Where does the NT truth of one new man in Christ Jesus come into all this?

When I first became a believer, I saw everything through Jewish eyes. I knew I was still Jewish, despite what the rabbis and preachers taught. I thought I should keep kosher, keep the Sabbath, and keep the Jewish holidays – now that I believed in the God of the Jews. The Holy Spirit said to me, “I didn’t tell you to do that.”  This in no way diminished or weakened my identity as a Jew; in fact, the Word of the Lord also came to me to “go to Israel”, and He made it home on Earth.  In Israel, of course, we are immersed in Jewish culture!

I thought that the Gentile Christians had stolen everything from us. Then the Lord opened my eyes and understanding and heart to the parable of the vineyard, where we killed the Son of the Owner, thinking to take the inheritance for ourselves without Him, and threw Him out of the vineyard. God took His kingdom [for a time] from the Jewish people, and gave it to believing Gentiles, most of whom have probably never met a Jewish person, know Jewish customs, or have any real sense of Israel as God’s chosen first-born nation! (Ex 4:22; Mt 21:33-45)
–God’s righteous judgment according to His covenantal conditions
–not many Jewish people for the small number of Jewish believers to fellowship with or to identify in a meaningful “Jewish” way
–the gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek, and the New Covenant has brought in changes and differences to the Sinai covenant, e.g., food, priesthood, Law, complete equality between Jews and Gentiles as born-again believers in Yeshua/Jesus. We are a new creation, and one new man corporately.


Most information gleaned from MJAA, UJMC, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Gershon Nerel, Dan Juster, TJCII, Kelvin Crombie

Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God, is YEHOVAH – 12 Dec 2014

We are in the season of remembering and celebrating the God who is Light. (Jn 8:12; 1Jn 1:5)   Both Hanukkah (the Feast of Dedication) and Christmas, the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, are coming one after the other in the next two weeks.  It is often claimed that Yeshua never said that He was God, only the Son of God.  Let us look to see if the Holy Spirit did not inspire the writers of the New Testament to write what they did in a way to demonstrate that, in fact, Jesus is YEHOVAH God – Immanuel. (Is 7:14; Mt 1:22-23)

Jn 10: 22-42   “And the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s Porch.  Then the Jews encircled Him and said to Him, How long do you make us doubt?  If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.

“Jesus answered them, I told you and you did not believe.  The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.  But you did not believe because you are not of My sheep.  As I said to you,  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never ever perish, and not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand.  My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. (Is 43:10-13I and the Father are one.

“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.  Jesus answered them, I have shown you many good works from My Father; for which of these do you stone Me?

“The Jews answered Him, saying, We do not stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God.

“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law, “I said, You are gods?”  If He called those gods with whom the Word of God was, and the Scripture cannot be broken,  do you say of Him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, You blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God?  If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me.  But if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works so that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.  Then they again sought to seize Him, but He went forth out of their hand.

“And He went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John baptized at the first, and He stayed there.  And many came to Him and said, John indeed did no miracle, but all things that John said concerning this One were true.  And many believed on Him there.”

During Hanukkah, the Jewish leaders and people were again challenging Jesus to declare if He is the Messiah.  Jesus says that He had told them, but that they did not believe.  He had just given a man born blind new eyes, and now he saw the light, and Jesus validated His grace by doing the work of power in His own authority. (Jn 9; Is 35:5-6) He goes on to say that the works that He did are the works of His Father, who is God.  The Jews understood this to mean that He was making Himself God by claiming He was the Son of God, doing what His Father does. (Jn 5:17-23)

What are some works of the Father that Jesus did which prove He is YEHOVAH God?  In the Tanach, YHVH God is normally understood as being God the Father (yet as believers, we know now that YHVH can refer to any of the triune God).

Let’s read Mk 2:1-12, and compare there what is written about God in the Tanach:

“And again He entered into Capernaum after some days.  And it was heard that He was in a house.  And immediately many were gathered, so that none any longer had room, even to the door.  And He proclaimed the Word to them.  Then they came to Him, bringing one who was paralyzed, who was carried by four.  When they could not come near to Him because of the crowd, they unroofed the roof where He was.  And digging through, they let down the cot on which the paralytic was lying.

“And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven to you.

” But some of the scribes were sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts,  Why does this one speak such blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins except God only?!

” And instantly knowing in His spirit that they reasoned so within themselves, He said to them, Why do you reason these things in your heart?  Which is easier to say to the paralytic, Your sins are forgiven you; or to say, Arise, and take up your cot and walk?  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority upon earth to forgive sins, He said to the paralytic, I say to you, Arise, and take up your cot, and go to your house.  And immediately he arose and took up his cot and went out before all.  So that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, We never saw anything like this!

In the Old Testament, we read in Ps 130:3-4 that only YHVH does forgive sins, so that He may be feared, exactly what we see Yeshua doing, and the people responding.

“If You will keep in mind iniquities, O Yehovah, who shall stand, O Lord?  But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.”

Let’s read Mk 4:35-41:

“And evening having come, He said to them on that day, Let us pass over to the other side.   And when they had sent away the crowd, they took Him with them as He was in the boat.  And there were also other little boats with Him.  And there arose a windstorm, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was now full.  And He was in the stern of the boat, asleep on a headrest.  And they awakened Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we perish?!

” And He awakened and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace!  Be still!  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  And He said to them, Why are you so fearful?  How is it that you have no faith?  And they feared exceedingly and said to one another, Who is this man, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?!

In verse 39, Mark writes that Yeshua rebuked the wind, and the wind and the sea became calm.  This caused His disciples – who were still learning who it was that called them to follow Him – to be amazed, and to wonder who this Man could be that even the winds and the sea obeyed Him.  Do we find an answer to this in the Old Testament?

Let’s read Ps 106:9:

“And He (YHVH) rebuked the Red Sea, and it was dried up; so He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.”

And Jonah 1:9-16:

“And he said to them, I am a Hebrew; and I fear Yehovah, the God of heaven, who has made the sea and the dry land.

“Then the men were afraid with a great fear.  And they said to him, What is this you have done?  For the men knew that he was fleeing from before the face of Yehovah, because he had told them.  Then they said to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm to us?  For the sea was going on and being tempestuous.

“And he said to them, Take me up and throw me out into the sea.  And the sea shall be calm to you; for I know that this great tempest has come on you for my sake.

“But the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not, for the sea was going on and being more tempestuous against them.  And they cried to Yehovah and said, We beg You, O Yehovah, we beg You, let us not perish for this man’s life, and do not lay on us innocent blood.  For You, O Yehovah, have done as it pleased You.  And they lifted Jonah up and threw him out into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging.  Then the men feared Yehovah exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to Yehovah, and vowed vows.”

We see in the New Testament and in the Old that both pagans and Israelis were amazed when God rebuked the winds and the seas, and the winds and the seas obeyed Him and became calm.  It elicited a fear of God that they  glorified the Father and the Son as the light became brighter as to who the true God is by His mighty works.  There are many other examples in the Bible of what Jesus did which demonstrate that He and the Father are one. (Jn 21:25)

As the world pays attention to the holidays of Israel and the Church, we want to be confident in our own understanding of the mystery of the faith – God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is YEHOVAH to the glory of God the Father.  Our response should be fear, honor, worship, and thanksgiving to the great God who does such mighty acts for His people and all the sons and daughters of Adam.  Jesus came into the world as the Light, to bring us back to God the Father, and have calm and peace in our soul and spirit.

Let’s close with Ps 107:21-32:

Let them praise Yehovah for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of man!  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing!

“They who go down to the sea in ships, who do business in great waters; these see the works of Yehovah and His wonders in the deep.

“For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up its waves.  They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble.

“They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and all their wisdom is swallowed up.  And they cry to Yehovah in their trouble, and He brings them out of their troubles.

He makes the storm a calm, so that its waves are still.  And they are glad because they are quiet; so He brings them to their desired haven.

Let them praise Jehovah for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the sons of man!  And let them exalt Him in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the gathering of the elders.

Death of Sephardic Rabbi Ovadia Yosef – 7 Oct 2013

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef died at the age of 93, following many months of deteriorating health.  He was perhaps the most influential rabbi in this period of the return of the Jewish people back to the promised land.  His influence was both religious and political, and affected all of Israeli society, not just the Sephardi Jewish (those who were especially under Islamic influence during the long years of exile) community which he specifically represented.  This, in itself, was an enormous achievement:  helping restore a measure of equality and dignity within the Jewish people, no matter if Ashkenazi (those Jewish people mostly under Christianity’s influence while in exile), Sephardi, or otherwise.  His funeral procession of hundreds of thousands persons, the largest ever, from many sectors of Israeli society is testimony of his significance.  Yet by his strong emphasis on his own heritage, politically there was much bias for his own constituency, resulting in some high-profile corruption, and harsh words for civil institutions and those whom he disliked.  (God’s intention is to restore complete equality and dignity among and within all the House of Jacob — Ephraim and Judah — making them “one stick” when all Israel is saved by seeing Jesus whom they have pierced.)

Here is one article from the Israeli English press, highlighting the man’s life:
http://www.timesofisrael.com/ovadia-yosef-outspoken-spiritual-leader-of-israels-sephardi-jews-dies-at-93/

Speaking in terms of Judaism, Rabbi Yosef was a sage,  a ‘wise man’, steeped in ‘Torah’, meaning especially the Oral Law which forms the traditional foundation of Talmudic Rabbinic Judaism.  At his death, many of his own ardent followers and disciples cried out as if their shining light had gone out, and their father had been taken from them, leaving them as orphans in the dark.  There is the sense that there is no one who can replace him.   This is true in all cases when certain figures pass from the scene, and a generation is left with ‘lesser lights’.

In Biblical history, we see how YHVH, God of Israel, saw to it that Joshua Ben-Nun would be the heir to Moses, and acted on his behalf that he would be honored just as Moses was.  We see this also when Elijah the prophet was taken up, and Elisha was there to be his anointed heir.  It was God who indicated that Aaron’s son, Eleazar, would become High Priest following the death of Aaron.  Following King David’s death, there was an attempt to usurp the throne which he had promised to Solomon.  Whenever there is a void, and a lack of a publicly clear successor, power struggles often ensue, and divisions within the house become more evident.   This is so within the Chabad movement which accepts their dead rabbi, Menachem Schneerson, to be the Messiah (which Ovadia Yosef categorically denounced).  And this is already a much discussed issue over the passing away of Rabbi Yosef, and its consequences especially within the political party, Shas, which he founded to represent the interests of Sephardi Jews.

When Yeshua was with His apostles and disciples, He was preparing them for the time when He would no longer be with them, and He would not leave them orphans.  At His death, even those closest to Him thought that their hopes were dashed, and went back to ‘business as usual’.  When they saw Him after His resurrection, He spent 40 days with them to confirm them in the truth of His being alive again, and then told them to wait together in Jerusalem until they received the promise from the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell within each one of them.  At that appointed Pentecost/Shavuot, while the 120 disciples were gathered together, each and all received this gift, producing a harmony among these disciples as to who was in the lead (Peter), and what business they were about (preaching the gospel of God’s kingdom for salvation).

The 12 chosen apostles of the Messiah were a motley group of unlike people — Gallilean fishermen, a levitical tax collector, a Judean, a nationalist zealot.  Yet the way of the Lord was able to bring these unlikely colleagues together, and, more importantly perhaps, keep them together in heart and mind, after His ascension to glory at the right hand of Power.  The Holy Spirit held them in love and unity for the sake of the name of the Lord Yeshua, and reminded them of those things which He taught and did:  how He loved them, chastening them, too, as a Big Brother, as a Good Friend, and as a Father to his children.   The rest is history.  Divisions have come within the house, but not because of those whom Jesus appointed to deliver to us the doctrines of the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

It is my prayer that, as the ‘wise’ of this age pass on (and they all know who Jesus is now, whether they are already glad, or already in torment), many of those who feel that there is not much hope in what comes after them, that their faith falsely placed in mere mortal men and their own wisdom would be turned toward the ever-living God of Heaven and Earth, who chose the Children of Israel to be His people and His children, and that He, in His infinite knowledge and wisdom and mercy, would favorably shine His uncreated Light of Messiah, the Son of God, upon them, that they might return home to the Father through calling on the name of Yeshua for salvation.  Amen.

THE TRINITY

(In response to a couple of persons recently asking me to comment on my understanding of the Trinity, here is a fairly concise answer for those who already know that it is probably true, but are not intellectually confident as to how and why.)

As for the Trinity, I think your statement holds a clue to its truth:  “Adonai can not be limited by the human limits of understanding.”  Since the concept of God as a 3-in-1 is so outside of human understanding — and no normal person would think it up or expect others to go along with it — then it must be a revelation from the triune God, YHVH, Himself.  By faith we understand God’s Word to be true and truth, and God gives many examples in the world to fathom the possibility of its being so.  For instance, TIME is present, past, and future:  3 that is necessary for the 1 to be what TIME is.  Human beings, created in the image of God, are 3 — body, soul, and spirit — that is 1 whole person.  There are many such examples, which I am sure that you are also familiar with.  God, of course, is still ‘other’, and He, as a great mystery, came in the flesh by the conception of the Holy Spirit in the person of Jesus Christ, who did not pray to Himself, but to His Father in Heaven.  Therefore the need for a revelation of this holy and unique, one, true, living God which He has given to us that we might worship Him in spirit and truth.

When Abraham ate lunch with YHVH, he ate lunch with the Angel YHVH, who appeared in the likeness of human form, along with the other two angels.  These pre-incarnate appearances of the Lord were all angelic, even though He looked like a Man often times.  The conception and birth of the Lord through the virgin Mary is what gave Him the name Yeshua, which means that He is the Savior:  He will save His people from their sins.  For this He had to come as a flesh-and-blood human being, for angels, which are spirits, can not redeem humans.  The name of Yeshua/Jesus applies to the Son of God being also the Son of Man in His humanity.  Even He will receive a new name that we will know in the world to come.

The Hebrew word ‘echad‘ (אחד) does convey a plural unity.  The number ‘1’ is made up of numerous ‘fractions’, such as 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 = 1.  A cube is measured by its height, length, and width — and God being  ‘equal’ in His unity and Deity, we can consider that 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.  He is ONE, not three separate entities being added together to make 3.  The Hebrew word to denote ‘one only’, or ‘unique’, is yachid (יחיד).  This word is used to describe YHVH as the only true God; Isaac as Abraham’s ‘only’ son; Yeshua as God’s ‘only begotten Son’.   Each of these is unique in their ‘one onliness’.

One more example which has helped me understand by faith the truth of God’s revelation — even though its full comprehension remains beyond human capability — is the first Hebrew word for ‘God’ used in the first sentence of the Bible — Elohim (אלהים).  This word is plural, but the word for ‘created’ here in Genesis is singular, so already there is something unusual being expressed by the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.  Linguistically, the specific form of plurality in this Hebrew word implies three or more; and we know that it is three in this case.  YHVH God NEVER uses plurality in some Gentile way of speaking ‘royally’; and even if He does somewhere that I have missed, for Him it is also true!  In most pagan religions, their gods are just that, plural in number — the gods.  In Islam, their God is never expressed as a plurality; they have made him only a singular, like the Hebrew words also used for God, such as El and Eloha (אל; אלוה).  That religion denies and rejects the love of the truth of the one, living, God; and, sadly, Rabbinic Judaism has done the same.

The Creator of the Universe and the Redeemer has given a revelation of monotheism that is not defined simply as the belief in one God:  the true one YHVH God — “Hear, O Israel, YHVH our God(s), YHVH is one.”  The true ‘one God’ is truly unique.  He is the God which both the Old and the New Testaments bear witness to.  It is the Spirit of YHVH that has inspired all the writers of the Holy Scriptures.  Yeshua/Jesus is YHVH/LORD, the Son of the Living God.  He and the Father are one in essence, and it is this unity of the Godhead that Yeshua prayed will be in those who are the Body of Messiah/Christ.  Amen, Amen.  Truly, there is none like Him! 

PRAISE TO HIM WHO SITS UPON THE THRONE, AND TO THE LAMB!

Gen 3:15   And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

Ex 12:1-7   And Yehovah spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be to you the beginning of months/new things.  It shall be the first month of the year to you.  Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth of this month they shall take to them each man a lamb for a father’s house, a lamb for a house.  And if the household is too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take according to the number of the souls, each one, according to the eating of his mouth, you shall count concerning the lambYour lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year.  You shall take from the sheep or from the goats.  And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month.  And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall slaughter it in the evening.  And they shall take some of the blood and strike on the two side posts and upon the upper door post of the houses in which they shall eat it.

Ex 12:11-14   . . .It is Yehovah’s Passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast.  And I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt.  I am Yehovah.  And the blood shall be a sign to you upon the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.  And the plague shall not be upon you for a destruction when I smite in the land of Egypt.  And this day shall be a memorial to you.  And you shall celebrate it as a feast to Yehovah throughout your generations.  You shall keep it as a feast by a law forever.

Is 53:7   He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet He opened not His mouth. He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before its shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

Mt 5:3-5   Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Mt 11:28-30   Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

Mt 1: 18-23   Now the birth of Jesus Christ was this way: after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.  Then Joseph, her husband to be, being just, and not willing to make her a public example, purposed to put her away secretly.  And as he thought upon these things, behold, an angel of Yehovah appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take to you Mary as your wife.  For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS/YESHUA, for He shall save His people from their sins.  Now all this happened so that might be fulfilled that which was spoken of the LORD by the prophet, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive in her womb, and will bear a son.  And they will call His name Immanuel,” which being interpreted is, God with us.

Lk 2:30-35   For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the nations, and the glory of Your people Israel.  And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken by him.  And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this One is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against (yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Jn 1:29    . . .Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Mt 27:25-26,29-30   Then all the people answered and said, Let His blood be on us and on our children.  Then he released Barabbas to them.  And when he had flogged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. . . . And plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand.  And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, Hail, O King of the Jews!  And spitting on Him, they took the reed and struck Him on His head.

Lk 23:34a   And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

1Cor 5:7   . . .Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

2Cor 13:4   For even if He was crucified out of weakness, yet He lives by the power of God.  For indeed even we are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.  

1Pt 1:17-19   And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to the work of each one, pass the time of your earthly residence in fear, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.  

Rev 5   And I saw a book in the right hand of Him sitting on the throne, written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book and to loosen its seals?  And no one in Heaven, nor on the Earth, nor under the earth, was able to open the book or to look at it.  And I wept very much, because no one was found worthy to open and to read the book, nor to look at it.  And one of the elders said to me, Do not weep.  Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals of it

And I looked, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, amidst the elders, a Lamb stood, as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him sitting on the throne.  And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having harps and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book and to open its seals, for You were slaughtered and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation. And You made us kings and priests to our God, and we will reign over the earth.  

And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and the living creatures and the elders.  And the number of them was myriads and myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a great voice, Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered, to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.  And I heard every creature which is in the Heaven and on the Earth, and under the earth, and those that are in the sea, and all who are in them, saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.  And the four living creatures said, Amen.  And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the One living forever and ever.

Rev 6:12-17   And when He had opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake.  And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood.  And the stars of heaven fell to the Earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs when she is shaken by a mighty wind.  And the Heavens departed like a scroll when it is rolled together.  And every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains.  And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath has come, and who will be able to stand?

Rev 7:1-4   And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth so that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.  And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God.  And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the Earth and the sea, saying, Do not hurt the Earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.  And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousands, having been sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel.

Rev 7:9-17   After these things I looked, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palms in their hands.  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God sitting on the throne, and to the Lamb.  And all the angels stood around the throne, and the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell before the throne on their faces and worshiped God, saying, Amen!  Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever.  Amen.  

And one of the elders answered, saying to me, Who are these who are arrayed in white robes, and from where do they come?  And I said to him, Sir, you know.  And he said to me, These are the ones who came out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes, and have whitened them in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore they are before the throne of God, and they serve Him day and night in His temple.  And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.  They will not hunger any more, nor thirst any more, nor will the sun light on them, nor any heat.  For the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and will lead them to the fountains of living waters. And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Rev 12:10-11   And I heard a great voice saying in Heaven, Now has come the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah/Christ.  For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death.

Rev 19:6-8   And I heard as the sound of a great multitude, and as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of strong thunders, saying, Hallelujah!  For Yehovah God omnipotent reigns!  Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him.  For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.

Rev 21:9-10,12,14,22-23   And one of the seven angels who had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God. . . . she had a great and high wall with twelve gates. . .and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel. . . .And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them were the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. . . . And I saw no temple in it, for Yehovah God of Hosts and the Lamb are its temple.  And the city had no need of the sun, nor of the moon, that they might shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Rev 22:1-6   And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the midst of its street, and of the river, from here and from there, was the Tree of Life, which bore twelve fruits, each yielding its fruit according to one month.  And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And every curse will no longer be; but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will serve Him.  And they will see His face, and His name will be in their foreheads.  And there will be no night there.  And they need no lamp, or light of the sun; for Yehovah God gives them light.  And they will reign forever and ever.  And he said to me, These sayings are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show to His servants the things which must shortly be done.


(2 Tim 4:1; Heb 10:26-31   Yeshua, the Son of God and Son of Man, will judge the living and the dead, because He is the Lamb who was slaughtered and crucified, shedding His blood, to redeem us that we might be saved to live with God forever.  God the Creator will judge each one in his relationship to the Redeemer Lamb and to His blood.)

THE NEW MOON: COVERED, OR REVEALED?

(Corrected and/or Revised on 10 Sept 2014; 4 Jan 2015; Mar 2015; June 2015; Aug 2015; Mar 2016)

Tonight (March 11, 2013), there is a New Moon.  Do you see it?  What is it that you saw?

This New Moon also marks the beginning of the first month in God’s redemptive calendar year given to Israel, leading up to the Passover on the Full Moon in two weeks. (Ex 12:2)

I am not going to give a teaching here on all that is written concerning the New Moon celebrations given by YHVH to Israel to commemorate, both under the Law of Moses and also in the future Millennial Kingdom (Lev 23:24; Num 10:10; Ezek 46:1-8)The New Testament tells those who are now believers in Yeshua/Jesus not to make too much of days, months, seasons, years, festivals, New Moons, Sabbaths – all of these things being shadows of things to come, but the substance is Messiah. (Gal 4:9-11; Col 2:16-17) 

The Lord has told us that all of the Scriptures are written about Him, and we know that all of the sacrifices and holidays/appointed times are also fulfilled by Jesus in the entirety of His first coming, and in the anticipation of His coming again to fulfill all that is written in the whole of the Bible, which still waits for the Kingdom of God to come. 

My main purpose here is to try to shed some light on a subject which seems to have been darkened by human reasoning, rather than understood by faith in God’s own Word. We believe by faith, not by sight.  (2Cor 5:7; Heb 11:2) 

In Scripture, we do have references indicating that the sun, the moon, and the stars symbolize the Son, Yeshua; Israel; and, born-again saints, respectively. (Gen 1:14-19; 37:9-11; Mal 4:2Eng; 1Cor 15:40-41; Rev 12:1-2) Yeshua is the glory both of Israel — His people — and of the Church — His Body and Bride. In Him, both find their true identity and fullness. (Is 49:3; Lk 2:32; 1Cor 11:7; Col 2:6-10) 

If we accept the truth that all things are created by God through Messiah Yeshua/Jesus Christ (Jn 1:1-3), and all in Christ find their true identity and purpose, then we can better understand that there is no Israel of God apart from Him; there is no true Church apart from Him.  Even the sun and moon exist only through His creation, but in the eternal New Heavens and New Earth there will be no need for the temporal sun and moon.  Again, these present things are but a shadow of the things to come, whose substance is Christ.  The Israel of God (the Millennial Israel, ultimately, I believe) and the Church of God (those in Christ, whether dead or still living) are identified with YHVH God and His Anointed Son – the Holy Spirit indwelling the born-again believersMessiah in us.

So, is the new moon covered over, that is, darkened?; or, is it a slim crescent, that is, partially revealed or exposed?  The Scriptures are not silent about this, since God commanded Israel to celebrate every New Moon, and to blow the trumpets on that occasion! (Num 10:10)  If Jesus does fulfill the meaning of the New Moon, and if the moon does symbolize Israel, then the answer to whether the New Moon is covered or partially revealed will be consistent with its symbolism.   When the Holy Spirit speaks through Scriptural authority, then it is other voices which need to be silenced, as we “cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah…” (2Cor 10:5

There are three Bible references to the New Moon that can help us:
1Sam 20:5   “And David said to Jonathan, ‘Indeed tomorrow is the New Moon, and I should not fail to sit with the King to eat.  But let me go, that I may hide in the field until the third day at evening.'”

From this verse, we can see that David knew when there would be a New Moon, without there being any official ‘spotters’ to watch for it and inform all the others after they had seen it.  David also says that he will be hiding in the field.  How hiding?  Because there would be no light of the moon to help make him detectable in any night-time movements (he would have been hiding out during the day in any event), as he sought to protect himself from the king who sought his life.  (Were the New Moon the first crescent sliver, then each succeeding night the moon would have waxed larger and brighter, making hiding at night more difficult.)  How long did he plan to hide out in the field during the New Moon?  Until the third evening, which is about the length of time for the dark moon to wax as the moon moves from its final light phase to its next crescent moon.   

Amos 8:5   “. . . When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? . . . .”

The heartless people, who were only concerned with their own commercial interests at the expense of the poor and needy, were anxious to know when the beginning-of-the-month New Moon (and also the end-of-the-work-week Sabbath) would be over – and not, “when is it beginning?” — so that they could get back to business and oppress the poor and needy.  If the New Moon were a sliver of light (like the Islamic sign by sight!), there would be no need of the question!  But if the New Moon is darkened by being directly between the Earth and the Sun, it could take up to three days until the light that was hidden to human sight appeared again.  (As an aside, an eclipse of the Sun can occur only at New Moon, while an eclipse of the Moon can occur only at Full Moon:  there is perfect symmetry in the moon’s phases.  And, exactly one half of the moon is always illuminated by the sun:  God always ‘sees’ a Full Moon!)  The oppressors wanted to know when they could again be ‘freed’ from the constraints of the Law of God in whatever way it restricted their greedy, self-serving thoughts and plans.  The commandment to sound the trumpet was for the New Moon beginning, and not for the New Moon ending.  Again, it is a new moon, not a renewed moon:  it is there, yet concealed, signifying the beginning of a new month, not a renewed month.  (Those who would make the first sliver of a crescent moon the New Moon are then putting the darkened phase at the end of the month rather than at the beginning.  This is akin to those who moved Sonday to be the last day of the week rather than the first.)

Ps 81:3-4 (Eng)   “Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon; at the covering, on our celebration day.  For this is a statute for Israel, a law of the God of Jacob.” 

Verse 3 (4 in Hebrew) has been used by many to go through hoops not to accept it for what it plainly and simply says in Hebrew.  The two verses are in parallel.  Verse 4 (5 in Hebrew) says in parallel the same thing:  God gave His instruction to Israel – to Jacob – to celebrate the New Moon.  Verse 3 (4 in Hebrew) is describing when to blow the trumpet:  at the New Moon, which is described as being covered.  The parallel part of the verse is not describing the time, nor is the verse speaking of two different moon phases, just as the other verse is not speaking of two different peoples.  And, God did not command Israel to blow the trumpets on the Full Moons (which they could, though, when holidays fell on them; e.g., Passover, Feast of Booths, Purim).  The Hebrew word is bakasehכסה), which simply means ‘at the [whole] covering’If something is partially covered, it is not ‘covered’:  it is partly exposed.  We do not speak of ‘covering’ something in some measure of light, but we speak of covering something over.  Light reveals; darkness covers.  Yeshua spoke of letting our light shine, not being hidden under cover of a basket. (Mt 5:14-16)

Identification with, and being the representative Israel (Is 49:3; Gal 4:4-5; Heb 2:14-18), the Man Yeshua came stripped of His innate glory as the Son of God.  But the Sun of Righteousness died, went down in burial (hidden in the secret, dark, lower parts of the Earth), and rose again visibly and triumphantly as the Bright and Morning Star on the third day!  As the risen Savior King and Head of the Church, believers ‘see’ Him clothed in divine light and majesty with the glory that was His before He came to His own, and to the world that He made.  Israel has no glory of her own:  the moon has no light but that of the sun which it reflects.  YHVH called Israel to be a light to the nations, but without receiving her Source of Light, she is darkened until. . . – having an inherent hope of a restoration through the covenant promises of God to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and to their descendants.  Born-again Christians are a light.  Yeshua has said:  “You are the light of the world. . . . ”  Stars are lights of their own, each with its own glory, but none outshining the glory of the Sun. (1Cor 15:41)  Israel is still hidden from man’s view, as if away from the light of the Sun/Son, whom the nation still rejects because it prefers the darkness (Gen 3:7-10; Jn 3:19-21)  During the New Moon, the illuminated side of the Moon is then pointed away from Earth, but is full in God’s sight, who sees the end from the beginning! (Num 23:18-23)  The Church, through her historic replacement theology presuming that God is finished with Israel, also has consequently rejected the truth from God’s side that Israel’s future is assured. (Jer 31:35-37)  Israel is beginning to be seen since the re-establishment of the State of Israel, and will be seen in her full [moon] glory when she rises up to remember the former glory that was given her by YHVH, and seeks with all her heart the true Son who has risen! (Hos 6:15; Rom 9:4); finally repenting, and accepting the Sun of Righteousness, Yeshua whom she pierced. (Zech 12:10; Mt 23:39

The New Moon (which, technically, is only for a brief minute, but can seem to the natural naked eye to be extended over a period of some days) occurs when the visible side is completely covered from the light of the sun (much like a blanket over us to keep out light) by being directly between it and the Earth.  It is the phase when the moon is ‘out of sight’, and the night, which the moon rules, is less lit.  Yet, the stars are more brilliant and so many more can be seen when there is a New Moon.  Spiritually, it is Israel’s phase of “being there”, but out-of-sight, and, for too many people, also out-of-mind.  And, meanwhile, the born-again ‘star saints’ are given their opportunity to shine!  So God, in His infinite wisdom, gave Israel a statute to remember the New Moon.  The whole world — including Gentiles, angelic and demonic spirits, and the Body of Christ — are reminded of God’s New Moon which He gave for a sign and for seasons, and for days and for years:  every month (from the word, ‘moon’; in Hebrew חודש/chodesh, new month), begins with the new and unseen moon that is there!  It is a globally recurring heavenly sign from the Creator and Redeemer that He has thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give Israel a future and a hope. (Jer 11-14)  

The trumpets for the New Moon are for a memorial before YHVH.  The Memorial Feast of Blowing of Trumpets (Lev 23:24), which marks the beginning of the seventh month in God’s redemptive calendar to Israel (the Jewish ‘New Year’ today), is basically a uniquely appointed New Moon prophetic wake-up BLAST! to Israel to gather together for preparing to meet her God on the Day of Atonements, either to have her sins forgiven and removed by calling on His Name on that Day (Num 10:9; Joel 2; Acts 4:8-12; Mt 23:37-39), or else to face His wrath like the rest of His enemies.  Those who are saved celebrate the Jubilee — truly a new beginning! — and as on all the celebratory days for His people, the trumpet is sounded. (Lev 25:8-10)  Israel is the New Moon trumpet of God to the Church and the nations in these last days, to remember that the God of Israel keeps His covenant promises to the seed of Jacob.  Israel’s full glory – the Full Moon – will be manifested when the Lord returns to dwell in the midst of His completely restored people at the fulfillment of the Feast of Booths (which always begins at the Full Moon of the 7th month of the redemptive calendar) – the Millennial Kingdom.

Israel is Messiah’s treasure hidden in a field (Mt 13:44), to be uncovered on the third day (Hos 6:2) at the revelation of Jesus Christ (who is Himself now hidden from the world (Jn 16:10)), when the surviving remnant of Jacob shall see Him whom they pierced, repent with great affliction of soul, and all Israel will be saved. (Zech 12:10 – 13:2; Rom 11:25-27)

Yeshua fulfills the New Moon in His death, burial (covering and removing our sins out of sight), and resurrection to life everlasting.  Israel fulfills the New Moon, which symbolizes her as a continual reminder of God’s covenantal faithfulness — and of her hope in Him — that there is a day coming when her redemption will shine forth, the glory of the LORD will shine upon her, and all the nations will praise YHVH, God of Israel, and call her blessed when He cleanses her from all her sin against the Lord.  (Lev 26:40-45)  There is joy when a woman becomes aware that she is pregnant; there is greater joy when she has given birth. (Jn 16:21-22; Lk 15:7,10,32)  What began in secret in the inward parts, (even as in the womb at conception. ..Ps 139:11-15), will come to light and be seen by all in its full glory, that which was already conceived by the Holy Spirit for a new birth and the celebration of life (Is 66:5-14)!  Blessed is he who believes and has not seen!  Even the creation began with darkness, being outside of God, who is Light!  The heavens declare the glory of God!

God is redeeming Israel today.  He is again returning His attention to Jerusalem.  He is calling His people to remember Him and to rejoice in His goodness and long-suffering, which lead to repentance unto salvation.  Let all who want God’s purposes to be fulfilled, who desire the peace of Jerusalem, not keep silent, but remind the Lord as workers with Him to make Jerusalem a praise in the Earth, with a highway of holiness and blessing between Egypt and Assyria, running through Israel.  YHVH God will remove unrighteousness from Jacob, and all Israel will be saved.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

SUNDAY

Lev 23:10-12  Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest of it, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.  And he shall wave the sheaf before Yehovah to be received for you. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.  And you shall offer that day when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering to Yehovah.

Act 13:32-33  And we proclaim glad tidings to you, the promise made to the fathers, that this God has fulfilled to us their children, raising up Yeshua, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “You are My Son, this day I have begotten You.”

Ps 118:19-24  Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them, and I will praise Yehovah. This is the gate of Yehovah into which the righteous shall enter. I will praise You; for You have heard me, and are my salvation. The Stone which the builders refused has become the Head of the corner. This is from Yehovah; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which Yehovah has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Rev 1:9-11  I, John, who also am your brother and companion in the affliction, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the island that is called Patmos, for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Also, What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches. . . .

IN DEFENSE OF CHRISTMAS – 25 Dec 2012

As a Jew, I didn’t want to celebrate Christmas when I became a believer, partly because it wasn’t “Jewish”, and partly because it was too paganized and commercialized. But the Lord began to show me that my reasons were not all correct. In my other words, I was throwing the baby out with the bath water. The truth of God is not pagan, and it happened right here in Israel among Jewish people, as prophesied by the prophets of YHVH  long before.

Much of what people do with God’s holy things is to defile them, to paganize them, and Satan is the cheerleader in this, along with our own propensity to be drawn away by what seems ‘good in our eyes’, and to fit in with the surrounding unholy and unclean culture.  As a Jew, I have examined and judged myself and my people for FIRST doing what Christians also do; yet, we continue to keep the Passover (in the light of the New Covenant and greater Passover). We continue to acknowledge Purim and Hanukkah, even though, like Christmas, God did not ordain them, but believers did unto Him and for the people to celebrate God’s mighty acts on their behalf, in keeping with His covenantal promises, despite their own general and widespread unfaithfulness and tendency to heathen practices.  Purim especially has been paganized, and is more like Carnival and Halloween.  God has historically intervened in the lives of His people and of the rest of humanity, redeeming days, etc., so that these times become connected with His redemption, while remaining mere worldly, even pagan, occasions for those not in covenant relationship with Him

It is true, as the Lord spoke through Amos and others, that He hates our sacrifices and fasts and holidays: in other words, when we are doing them according to our own understanding and culture, and not for Him and His honor. That is what I am trying to express: that we should keep His celebrations as a freewill offering in a manner that does honor and please Him, and fills us with thanksgiving and joy in the Holy Spirit. And I do believe that there is much more evidence in Scripture to warrant Yeshua’s birth around this time (Haggai 2 refers several times to the 24th of the 9th [Hebrew Israeli] month Chislev, which corresponds with the first night of Hanukkah that occurred hundreds of years later and corresponds to the Western Christian calendar of the evening of 24th of December), but did not fulfill what the last verses speak of: Yeshua’s coming in the flesh at birth does begin that overthrow, first in our own hearts, and ultimately in all peoples and nations, including Israel. Mary’s new song in Luke 1 expresses her own understanding in faith and hope of what the Lord spoke through Haggai, and other prophets.  The true and brighter and eternal Light that shines in the darkness is not extinguished, and should be given much higher priority over celebrations of mere oil or candle lights that burn out.

The reason that Jewish people as a whole do not celebrate the Lord’s birth is because they do not believe in Jesus, even though the first ones who did celebrate with the angels were Israeli Jews! Neither do the Jewish people, along with many nominal Christians, celebrate His resurrection, also because of unbelief. But the Holy Spirit has brought Gentile Christians into the Commonwealth of Israel through their faith in the promised Messiah to Israel, and have celebrated His life, and His suffering and death, and His resurrection and ascension, and the hope of His coming again — whether with faith or without — for most of this age.

I have put together a timeline that brings together and reconciles all of the appointed/set times, and those which God accepted from His people, to show Yeshua’s birth:  http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/conception-and-birth-of-john-the-baptiser-and-jesus-the-messiah/

Just as the second coming of the Lord will be at a time, and a day and an hour, not expected, well. . . it seems that so was His first coming!  The winter objection pre-supposes that the God of Nature can not do something extraordinary to declare His glory, just as I believe He did the night of the Lord’s betrayal, when it was so chilly on a Spring night (and it’s possible that Passover was a late date that year), that Peter and others kept themselves warm with a fire. And the sheep, as far as I have heard others say, were sacrificial sheep, and were handled differently, and were outside yearly. But since these things are not understood by ‘babes’ anyway, they are not central to resolving the controversy. That Jesus ‘tabernacled’ with us does not mean that He was therefore born at the Feast of Tabernacles, which actually is the Feast of Booths (succot). The Hebrew word for tabernacle is mishkan, and is more permanent than a temporary booth. And the priestly course of Abia (Aviyah) is not certain of its annual cycle, nor can we be sure of how the Jewish rulers at that time were regulating matters, since the whole system had become corrupt. But I have read sites that have decided to assume a particular cycle and time, but acknowledging that if another were taken, then it puts John’s father in the Holy Place at a time in a context that Yeshua would be born as tradition maintains. The whole counsel of God together unfolds His revelatory plan and purpose, and Scripture interprets Scripture, and the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.

Since YHVH is a Man of War and the God of Armies/Hosts, He is not going to reveal things before it’s necessary, because there is an enemy with certain liberty to do what he will in this world, who likes to pre-empt things to ‘muddy the waters’, like he has with the Queen of Heaven, and the whole saturnalia bit. Even if the date of Christmas is the same as saturnalia, the God of gods has come and taken the day for Himself! Passover is celebrated by the heathen and unbelieving Jews even as merely a Spring festival and celebration of freedom. But God’s freedom is for us to serve and worship Him, not to remain independent from Him nor to remain slaves to sin and unbelief.

Despite all, let us take a stand of faith for the name of Christ/Messiah, who is Jesus/Yeshua, our great God and Savior.

God bless you, and, yes, Merry Christmas, and a blessed 2013 in Messiah,
Howard