Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been brought into covenant relationship with the God of Israel, and with Jewish believers in the Son of God. The Church — the Body of Christ/Messiah, the one new man, the Bride of the Lamb — is comprised of both these redeemed and born-again believers called out from every people group and nation. We all have a significant role to play through to the end of the age towards YHVH God’s salvation of His chosen people Israel, by which the whole world and creation will be blessed. Continue reading “The Church’s Role in The End-Times of The Last Days Towards Israel’s Salvation”
Mk 11:11-26 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the Temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
(12) And on the next day, they going out of Bethany, He was hungry. (13) And seeing a fig-tree with leaves afar off, He went to it, if perhaps He might find anything on it. And when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season of figs. (14) And Jesus answered and said to it, No one shall eat fruit of you forever. And His disciples heard.
(15) And they came to Jerusalem. And entering into the temple, Jesus began to cast out those who bought and sold in the Temple. And He overthrew the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. (16) And He would not allow any to carry a vessel through the Temple. (17) And He taught, saying to them, Is it not written, “My house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations?” But you have made it a den of thieves. (18) And the scribes and the chief priests heard. And they sought how they might destroy Him. For they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His doctrine.
(19) And when evening came, He went out of the city. (20) And passing by that morning, they saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots. (21) And Peter, remembering, said to Him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which You cursed has withered away.
(22) And answering Jesus said to them, Have faith of God. (23) For truly I say to you that whoever shall say to this mountain, Be moved and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that what he said shall occur, he shall have whatever he said. (24) Therefore I say to you, All things, whatever you ask, praying, believe that you shall receive them, and it will be to you.
(25) And when you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive it so that also your Father in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (26) But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses.
Yeshua has just made His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, the common people acknowledging Him as the Son of David who they believed had come to be the King of Israel. But His time had not yet come for that. He left the city and the Temple, and went to Bethany, probably to the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.
We come now to the story about the fig tree that Yeshua cursed. I am sure that all of us have read this and been uncomfortable that He would curse a tree without fruit at a time when it was not the season for fruit. When we do this, it reveals again how our thoughts and ways are not the same as the Lord’s. In our discomfort at His act, we are judging Him for doing what we think is wrong or unfair, does not make sense.
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not having fruit before its season? This event occurred probably in April, whereas figs are a summer fruit, the first and best ripening happening around June. The fig tree is used in the Bible as one of the symbols for Israel, and in it are both good and bad figs. (Jer 24:5-10; Hos 9:10; Mk 13:28-31; Lk 13:6-9) Normally the fig tree begins to blossom before its leaves cover them, or there are hold-overs from the previous season. So, in the case of this particular fig tree on the road between Bethany and Jerusalem, it had leaves, and therefore it should also have had some blossoms of fruit before their full growth to maturity. However, Jesus found no fruit on it. In response, He said (cursed; judged) the tree: “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard Him.
Mark then goes on in his account to Yeshua and His disciples arriving in Jerusalem. Yeshua went into the Temple and began to drive out all those who bought and sold in the Temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He also would not allow anyone to carry wares through the Temple. Then He taught, quoting from Isaiah and from Jeremiah the prophets: “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? ‘But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’!”
For this “presumption”, the scribes and chief priests, who heard Him, sought how they might destroy Him (get rid of Him/finish Him off, and His doctrines). They were afraid of Him, because all the people were astonished at Yeshua’s teaching. At this point, Yeshua’s popularity was a protection, but it was only a matter of time before those in power would act anyway, as envy and hatred took control of their spirits. Here we see the beginning of Pharisaic/Talmudic/Rabbinic Judaism’s cursing of Yeshua – both His name and memory (Yeshu).
Then Mark goes back to say that that same morning, on the way up from Bethany to Jerusalem, the disciples and Jesus saw the fig tree that the Messiah had cursed dried up from its roots. This was obviously a result of the Lord’s judgment of the tree, and not a natural drying up of a dying tree, which would have taken much longer. The roots were still there in the ground. God has not finished with Israel! And we are witnesses to that certain hope today, here in Beer Sheva, Israel! (In ch. 13 of Mark, the Lord uses the same symbol of the fig tree again, this time in reference to Israel’s revival in the last days leading up to His return. The curse is still there, the fruit is still not satisfying to God, but redemption and the Redeemer is on the way!)
What do we learn from this fig tree and from the incident on the Temple Mount that Mark records? Yeshua was the central figure in both of them, and His acts greatly disturbed both His disciples in the one, and the religious leaders in the other.
Both acts were judgments from God on the fruitless life and the corrupted religion of His chosen people, whom He had chosen for His glory, and to be His light to the Gentiles, and to be a holy people for His name, and to bear much good fruit from all of His fatherly care for them. (Is 5) Instead they professed to be outwardly ‘good’, especially in comparison to the ‘Gentiles’ (the goyim), while inwardly and outwardly dishonoring their God and His house. In this passage of Jesus taking control over the Temple Mount complex, He calls the house, “My house” (Is 56:7; Jer 7:11), whereas in the account in John, He calls the Temple “My Father’s house”. (Jn 2:16-17; Ps 69:9) He and the Father are one.
The marketplace that the people had set up was on the holy site in the area called the Court of the Gentiles. The buying and selling desecrated it as a place of prayer for non-Jews, as a house of prayer for all nations. The public and merchants were using the Temple area as a ‘short-cut’ to carry their wares to the abused area. Doves were the sacrificial animals for the poor, and the greedy merchants were selling them, probably at high prices. Yeshua had come to preach good news to the poor, who were being oppressed and taken advantage of.
So, too, the fig tree with leaves but without fruit. The tree looked good on the outside, but there was no fruit on the inside. The leaves were a covering for their fruitlessness. Remember when Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong, and wanted to cover their naked shame, they put fig leaves over their private parts. So, too, this tree, and Israel and the Jewish people – and by extension, the church and Christians (Rev 3:1-6; 14-22) – can look good to the eye of man, but cannot satisfy genuine [spiritual] hunger. Israel is blessing the world in amazing ways today, but good works can be “dead works”, and they do not save unbelievers; or they can be good works of believers, but motivated by wrong motives or done without love. (Heb 6:1; 9:14) Religious life without love, or without intention to honor the name of our Lord, is empty. As a prophetic and priestly nation, the Jewish people are not consciously drawing people to know the one true God. No one can eat from such a tree and be nourished with the life of God. The good works are a ‘fig leaf’, a cover-up for the lack of God’s righteousness and fruit. The God of Israel will not grant His people peace and tranquility as long as they/we continue to seek it, to buy it, apart from Him – apart from Yeshua.
God cannot, and will not, bless fruitlessness in those who are called by His name. (Jn 15:1-12) We cannot satisfy the need in others – whether believers or unbelievers – when our hearts of flesh become hearts of stone again. Praise to our God and Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: He is not finished yet, neither with Israel and the Jewish people, nor with those who profess to believe in the name of Yeshua/Jesus for salvation! Yeshua asked the Father — when He was nailed to the cross – to forgive that very people and nation, for they did not know what they were doing. He still calls His people to repentance, and to bear fruit of that return to HIM. This is especially regarding the state of our hearts towards God, and towards our fellow man. Israel, as represented by the fig tree, is also a sign of the last days that the end of the age is near, and that the Lord is coming again “soon”. (Mk 13:28-31; Mt 24:32-35; Lk 21:29-33) The same cursed fig tree is redemptively revived in the last days!
Yeshua took the opportunity of His disciples’ reaction to the cursed fig tree to teach them about believing prayer, but even more about the necessity and the power of forgiveness. (Mt 6:9-15) The Messiah, when He taught His disciples how to pray, told them and us that we must forgive others if we want our Father in Heaven to forgive us. To the measure that we forgive others, He will forgive us. Also in this passage from Mark, He says the same thing. We can pray with all faith to have God do miraculous things in our lives or for others – including the restoration and salvation of Israel – but if we are not forgiving someone – not loving Jesus above all, and others as ourselves — for what we think or know that he/she/they have done to me, I will have no peace with God my Father, and He will not be pleased with me, His son through Messiah. (It is very interesting that in the matter of divorce, which YHVH hates, Yeshua gave one exception for allowing it: adultery. But in the matter of forgiveness, there is no exception. A very challenging commandment and commitment!)
Brokenness – knowing how much we have been forgiven – produces the Holy Spirit fruit of love (God’s measure of love) towards others, especially towards those we think do not deserve it.
What then can we learn from this passage in the plan of God to redeem His people?
–The fruitless fig tree and the corrupted religious worship and ministry are indicative of the spiritual state of the Chosen People: there would be no more [godly] fruit from that again! Only when Israel repents and sees Jesus whom they pierced will that finally produce the broken heart and contrite spirit needed to produce fruit for YHVH their God. (Zech 12:10-14; Ps 51)
–This is also true of believers in Yeshua – of those who say we believe and follow Him. Some of us have let our own spirits push away the Holy Spirit, and we have let our new heart of flesh become like stone again. We then become hypocritical like the Pharisees: demanding of others what we ourselves will not do, nor help them to do. We separate ourselves in self-righteousness (which is the meaning of Pharisee), and do not love the brothers and sisters, and can oppress the poor. We look good on the outside – the leaves – but inside we are in rebellion against our holy and gracious Father and Savior.
–The Lord’s acts in this passage should put the fear of God in us, whom He has chosen to be the Lamb’s beloved Bride, obeying His commandments with thanksgiving, and loving one another as He has loved us.
Yeshua is our Judge and our Savior. Thank -you, God!
Israel celebrates her 69th Day of Independence this Monday and Tuesday. Most of Israel’s Arab population knows it as their Day of Catastrophe (nakba). Neither one yet fears YHVH. The one, true, living God of Heaven and Earth is fulfilling His Word and plan for His holy name’s sake, and against all opposition to Him — including unbelief. He cannot, and will not, be stopped! Praise be to His name!
The Israeli Jewish people celebrate their military strength and prowess; the Arab Palestinian people refuse to accept that the land was covenanted to Jacob for an everlasting possession, yet to be realized. The Holy Spirit is working to turn away ungodliness from Jacob so that all Israel (the full remnant from all the tribes) will be saved. The Arabs hope is to be found in Israel’s hope: Yeshua/Yasua/Jesus, the Lord and Messiah, Son of David.
Israel’s leadership and people feel that the lesson of the Holocaust is that the Jewish people must protect themselves by themselves. The Arab world feel that the lesson of the Holocaust is unjust and not fair. Neither fear the LORD.
Most of the Jewish people are relying on “a god of fortresses” — self-determined that they must be masters of their own destiny — rather than trust in the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, who alone can guarantee them life that is really life. Most of the Arab peoples are relying on a god of vengeance, nurtured by a bitter root and an ancient hatred towards their brothers and cousins. Neither line of Abraham’s family fears the God of their father in truth.
The Jewish people have only recently celebrated the Passover, glorying in their deliverance by YHVH from Egyptian slavery. On the heels of that joyful celebration and hope, we solemnly and gravely remembered the worst calamity yet to come upon our people — the Holocaust. The night preceding Independence Day we again remember all those Jewish people [in particular] who have sacrificed their lives in the many wars and conflicts connected with being a sovereign people in our own land. There is the constant reminder to abide in the faith, for through much suffering and tribulation we enter the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22) Yet our people still have not repented and believed the gospel, confessing their unfaithfulness to our God, that they would know their sins are forgiven through the sacrifice and shed blood of Yeshua, whom God raised from the dead. (Lev 26:40-45) For the Father was well-pleased with His beloved Son!
For us who have received our peace with God through saving faith in His Son, our Savior, our battle is not waged against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies. Our weapons are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah.
Today’s Israel is a miracle/banner (nes) for the nations/Gentiles. God has intervened in history again to repossess HIS land for His people. The return of the Jewish people back to the land of promise is a proof that YHVH is the true God. It is a huge sign of the end-times of the last days — not unlike the ark in Noah’s days. Against all odds, the LORD is doing a greater thing than what He did to bring us out of Egypt, or out of Babylon. (Is 11:12; Jer 16:14-15; 23:7-8). Jacob’s Trouble is coming, but Israel will be saved out of it. (Jer 30:7) The Lord’s return cannot be far behind! Even so, Come, Lord Jesus! Then Jerusalem will have God’s peace.
We are now into this new year of 2017, 5777 on the Jewish calendar (a 240-year discrepancy, but that is another story). Three years ago I began to look at some significant dates connected with the return of the Jewish people back to this land of Israel, and also looking ahead to the coming again of Yeshua.
( http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/eclectic-course-menu/dates-to-remember/ )
When the disciples asked Yeshua about the sign of His return at the end of the age, His first response was that they should be careful not to let any man deceive them, and that they should watch and be ready for whenever that exact time should come. (Mt 24:3,4,42) These signs – or events — were connected with the Jewish people living again in this land after a long exile. There have been signs in the sun and moon and stars last year and this. I do believe that God wants to get our attention, since we are His people and family, and to get us to remember that the Scriptures are His word to us, that we can be in the light and not in darkness. We are in a season, but exactitude is not given us to know. Signs point and lead to something and to Someone. Yeshua has all sovereign authority now in the heavenlies and on Earth. All these things serve the purposes of YHVH, the one true living God, to be exalted as such, that He may display the wonders of His love.
What are some of the significant events which converge this year to remind us of God’s plan of salvation for His people Israel?:
–This year of 2017 marks 500 years since the Reformation, when God used Martin Luther to open the Bible as the Word of God to the common people, and that salvation is a gift from God on the basis of faith in Jesus and His sacrificial death for our sins. Many Christians also began to see that God had promised to restore His chosen people, the Jews, back to the land He swore to give them as an inheritance.
–This year marks 120 years since the First Zionist Congress on Aug 29, 1897. Theodor Herzl warned his fellow Jewish people that they needed to get out of Europe because of anti-semitism, and to return to establish a state for the Jewish people back in Palestine, as the Promised Land was then called.
–This year marks 100 years since the ANZAC victory in Beer Sheva, on Oct 31, 1917 during WW1 (the same date as the Reformation), which enabled Britain to make known its intention, through the Balfour Declaration, to help the Jewish people reestablish their homeland here. By this declaration, the Gentile nations expressed their support for the return of the Jewish people back to the Land of Israel, as written in the Scriptures. God was acting and intervening towards fulfilling His promise, whether they understood or not.
–2017 marks 70 years since Nov 29, 1947, when the United Nations voted for the Jews and the Arabs to have two states in this land. The Jews accepted; the Arabs rejected the plan, and went to war.
–This year remembers 50 years since the Six-Day War victory in June 1967, in which the Israeli Jews captured Jerusalem, opening up access to its holiest sites, including the Temple Mount, which were closed to them all the previous years since the establishment of the State of Israel.
–The opposition to God’s interventions is remembered in the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, 30 years ago.
–This year has opened up with a UN resolution (passed just before Hanukkah and Christmas) claiming that Israel has no legal right to any territory that was not theirs before 1967, including East Jerusalem – Biblical Jerusalem — where the Temple Mount is located.
–There has been an increase over the last few years of Christians being persecuted and killed for their faith. Most of this has been perpetrated by Islamic jihadi terrorists, who want to take peace from people’s lives and hearts and minds, and to also bring the world into submission by force to profess the god of Islam as the only true God, and Mohammed as his prophet and servant.
What are some verses that help us to put these events into perspective for us as believers?:
Ezek 36:19-28 the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel for God’s holy Name’s sake; all will know that He is YHVH, and He will be Israel’s God, and they His holy people
Ps 2:1-6 opposition to YHVH and to Yeshua, and to God’s righteous ways
Ps 83:1-5 conspiracy to wipe out Israel from being a nation in opposition to the God of Israel (As a Jew, I also must confess that this is what the Jewish religion teaches about Jesus: that His name and memory must be wiped out and remembered no more. The Holy Spirit is working to bring everyone to account before the Lord.)
Zec 12:1-3 All nations shall come against Jerusalem, and will not succeed
Jer 30:12-25 (Heb; 30:12 – 31:1 Eng) The time of Jacob’s trouble coming in the Land to bring the people to repentance and salvation; God’s wrath will fall on His enemies, and on His people’s oppressors; in the latter days this will be considered, and fulfilled.
Lev 26:40-45 God bringing the Jewish people to confess their sins against Him, , and accept His righteous ways towards them, that they be saved and live in peace and security in the land He promised them for an inheritance.
Mt 24:6-14 These troubles and sufferings and events must come; but do not be troubled in our hearts; and the gospel will go out with power to save until Yeshua returns.
What should we do now, and throughout this momentous year?
–Read the whole Bible – as the Word of the Lord!
–Pray with understanding. Many good things promised, but a hard way to make it worthwhile to get there. The stakes are high, and the nations and Israel can expect a shaking from the very real living God, who desires that all should repent and be saved. For this He sent His Son into the world, which is ignored at our own peril.
–Pray for revelation and wisdom to understand the times, and what we should do as things progress: helping each other; encouraging one another; promote holiness in the fear of God….
–Continue faithfully doing what the Lord gives you, according to His call, spiritual gifts, ministry
–Evangelize, share the gospel with whomsoever, that they might repent and be saved before the Day of the LORD.
–Strengthen your faith, hope, and love in Yeshua, trusting God for His power and grace to use you and us for His praise, honor, and glory when Yeshua returns. (1Pt 1:3-9)
1Pe 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading, reserved in Heaven for you (5) by the power of God, having been kept through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time; (6) in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; (7) so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (8) whom having not seen, you love; in whom not yet seeing, but believing in Him you exult with unspeakable joy, and having been glorified, (9) obtaining the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Eph 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
Last week we heard an excellent teaching on the expectation we have of a new, eternal, heavenly body to replace our present, temporary, earthly bodies which are incapable of living the fullness of the life which is our inheritance in Christ. Our congregation is called Yeshua’s Inheritance, and it is the inheritance which gives meaning to every human life: whether that person will, or will not, inherit eternal life. The God who has created the heavens and the Earth has given two options: eternal existence separated from Him, in a place called hell; or eternal life with Him, in a perfect New Heavens and New Earth where love is perfect in all its aspects. The way to either place is determined by one’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God, by whom alone anyone can come to the Father.
The name, Yeshua’s Inheritance, for our congregation gives us an identity: we belong to Yeshua – both now and forever! This is the hope that we have along with all other believers – past, present, and future! The Hebrew word for inheritance (nachala נחלה) has the same root as for a stream or river (nachal נחל): the inheritance flows from its source like a river stream from generation to generation until it reaches its destination into the big, wide, deep ocean with all the other streams. YHVH God is our source, and His promises flow until they are fulfilled, to be inherited by all His holy ones. We are the inheritance of our God and Savior! What a treasure He has given us and promised us to inherit.
As was said last week, this inheritance comes into fullness only in the resurrection, when we receive our new bodies suited to the eternal life that we have also received as a free gift from God through our living faith in Yeshua as our Savior and Lord. This inheritance is not for one people or ethnic group alone, but for all who are born-again by the Holy Spirit from Above. It is for the corporate one new man in Messiah, a new creation: new bodies, new heavens, new Earth, new names. Jesus makes all things new, perfect, eternal in the Kingdom of of God. (Rev 21:5) We have the promise and the down-payment now; we receive the fullness of it when God finishes His plan of redemption in this world. (Rom 8:23-25; Jn 17:3)
For now, what does it mean for us in this congregation? First of all, we have a common hope and calling. Our vision and hope is the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ and the resurrection and rapture of the righteous – of the saints – that are connected with that. Our bodies will be transformed into heavenly bodies and we will forever be with the Lord, and will begin that ‘new life’ ruling and reigning with Him over redeemed Israel and the nations. This is Yeshua’s inheritance in the world to come, and ours with Him! (Is 19:25; Ps 2:8; Dan 7:13-14,18,27; Rev 2:26-27; 3:21; 11:15; 20:6) We will be ministers in His government, and priests as we rule and reign with Him as a kingdom of priests.
But brothers and sisters, if we do not love one another now, we risk inheriting nothing! As we heard last week, if our acts are not motivated by love for the Lord and towards others, our deeds or ministry or participation profit us nothing. They lack eternal value. Without unity bound by love, we have a weak testimony of the truth of who Yeshua is. We become a dysfunctional family that lacks order and peace. Love is not just a feeling; it is a commitment by choice because we love. God has chosen to love us, especially those who love His beloved Son, Yeshua, and all that He does for us springs from His love, even though we clearly do not ‘deserve’ such attention and kindness (among other good things that is love). God suffers long in demonstrating His love for us, and we are called to do the same. Long-suffering is an attribute of the fruit of the Spirit. These things should weigh heavily upon us as we examine ourselves in relation to the reality of our faith and hope, and how it affects our part in this local congregation, and any other.
Under the Law of Moses, all of the tribes of Israel, except one, received an inheritance of a portion of land in Canaan, which YHVH promised to the Children of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt, according to His covenant promise. This promise of an everlasting possession and inheritance still awaits fulfillment for the salvation of Israel as a nation. But the one tribe which did not receive any inheritance of land was the tribe of Levi, the priestly family. God determined that they would be scattered throughout the land to serve Him and the Temple and the people, and that their inheritance would be HIM. (Dt 10:8-9) All of the promised land to be inherited by the Children of Israel belongs to YHVH. Therefore, by having YHVH as their inheritance the priests inherited the whole land, although possessing none of it in their own right.
Our inheritance in Yeshua is greater than a particular land or country. This is our inheritance in Jesus: the whole Kingdom of God – the whole universe, which includes everything – because the Father has given it all to Him. (Heb 1:1-4; Rom 8:16-17) We have become God’s children in Christ, and co-heirs with Him. And Jesus says that all that is His is the Father’s, and all that is the Father’s is His. (Jn 17:9-10) And that especially means US, all who believe in God through Jesus, for whom He died to forgive us of our sin. All who believe in Jesus inherit eternal life! (Jn 3:16-17) But those who refuse to honor Jesus condemn themselves to eternal spiritual darkness apart from the Light of Life. (Jn 3:18-21)
The inheritance: Yeshua/Jesus! And the whole Kingdom of God and eternal life with the Lord
The heirs: the righteous saints – all who put their trust and hope in Jesus for their salvation from sin and sins
Our present knowledge of our future hope: By the Word of God in the Scriptures and the indwelling Holy Spirit in believers. Take hope, young and old! We have a glorious future after the suffering and tribulations of this life: we will inherit the everlasting life that is really life that God has planned for those who love Him. (Eph 1:18; 1Tim 6:19; 1Jn 2:25; 1Cor 2:9-10; Is 64:4; Rev 21:1-8)
Lk 12:22-34 And He said to His disciples, Therefore I say to you, Be not anxious as to your life, what you shall eat; nor for the body, what you shall put on. (23) Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. (24) Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap, having neither storehouse nor barn, and God feeds them. How much more are you better than the birds? (25) And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? (26) If then you are not able to do even the least, why are you anxious about the rest? (27) Consider the lilies, how they grow; they do not toil, they do not spin. And yet I say to you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (28) If then God so clothes the grass (which today is in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven) how much more will He clothe you, O little-faiths? (29) And do not seek what you shall eat, nor what you shall drink, and stop being in anxiety. (30) For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you have need of these things. (31) But rather seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. (32) Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (33) Sell what you have and give alms. Make for yourselves purses which do not become old, an unfailing treasure in Heaven, where no thief comes nor moth corrupts. (34) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Prayer might be the only thing many believers can do; and prayer might be the only thing on which many believers across the denominational streams agree. Therefore, even here, the enemy comes in to bring inaction or disunity!
Let’s pray now together the prayer, commonly known as the “Lord’s Prayer”, but which is better described as the prayer pattern which Jesus taught His disciples and brothers to pray. Yeshua’s prayer in John 17 is definitely the Lord’s prayer! (Even now He intercedes for us!)
Mt 6:9-13 . . . Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name, (10) Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread; (12) and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Prayer is the life-breath of a believer in the living God. It is natural communication with God, our Father in Heaven. Prayer indicates a close, personal, loving, free relationship and fellowship between Him and the believer in Him through our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. In the short epistle of Jude, it is written that we should pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20). And this is in the context of the end-times. All of the prayers that we have in the Scriptures are prayers in the Holy Spirit: they are according to the mind and heart of YHVH God, according to the circumstances and covenantal responsibilities and expectations. (Heb 12:22-24) So surely the manner of prayer which the Lord Yeshua teaches His disciples is one in the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Holy Spirit does not only mean to pray in tongues, but is for every believer.
Mt 6:5-15 And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. (6) But you, when you pray, enter into your room. And shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly. (7) But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles. For they think that in their many words they shall be heard. (8) Therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him. (9) Therefore pray in this way: Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread; (12) and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen. (14) For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; (15) but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Yeshua begins by telling us how not to pray! First of all, He says not to be like hypocrites who only want to impress others with their public prayers; but their private prayer life may be non-existent; or else, they want to impress people with their religious piety. God is not impressed in any positive way by this! Most of our prayer life will be in secret. After all, the apostle Paul writes that we should pray at all times. There is a place and time for corporate prayer, and we have examples of that, too, in the Bible. Both are appropriate; but mostly we need to develop our communication with God our Father in our private time and place, and this will rightly influence our public prayers, as well.
Yeshua also tells us not to simply repeat the same prayers or words over-and-over again, like some mantra or magic, as if this will cause God to answer us like we want. Every human wants basic necessities, such as food and clothing. Our Father in Heaven knows that also includes us! If we seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, we will not be worrying about our basic needs like unbelievers do; and the Lord tells us that our Father will provide these things to us as we seek first His interests and His ways. (Mt 6:31-34; cp Gen 28:20-21) We are to pray with faith, and with understanding of God’s will.
We are praying to a personal God (Hos 2:16), who is living and hears our prayers, and loves and cares about us as a Father. Through the gospel, God has become our Father in a personal way. In Judaism, they acknowledge God is a Father to Israel, and we see this through the Old Testament (e.g. Ex 4:22; Dt 32:6; Jer 31:9; Jn 8:41-42). Through the gospel and the New Testament, each believer has received the spirit of adoption to call God, “Abba, Father”. (Rom 8:14-17) The veil has been rent through Yeshua’s sacrificial death, and we have direct and open access to the Throne of God, Maker of Heaven and Earth!
In this prayer for disciples and God’s family, the Lord teaches us to focus on our Father and His interests. As children of God, we are to honor Him, and to desire that His will be done, not what seems necessarily right to us. We humble ourselves before Him, being under His authority. It is an occasion of self-judgment, acknowledging our need for forgiveness of our own sins, and our obligation to be merciful and forgive others who have sinned against us.
In other religions, their gods can be anything and anywhere. The God of Israel is in Heaven! In other religions, even those who claim to worship a god in Heaven, they do not relate to Him as to a Father: there is no personal relationship, no knowledge of a Person – whether unto God, or whether Him unto us/me. Jesus teaches us to pray to our Father in Heaven. Even Messiah prayed to God His Father n Heaven, and not to Himself, although He is God in the flesh, and the fullness of the Godhead was in Him. Also notice, we come to God our Father as part of a larger family: we pray to our Father, recognizing that we are not alone to know Him as the Father, and we seek His interests and our needs collectively, and not selfishly. Our Father in Heaven loves each and all of us, and we are to love one another with His love.
The very first matter of prayerful priority is that our Father’s name be sanctified. As His children, our lifestyle and choices should demonstrate that it matters to us how we conduct our lives, how we dress and speak and eat, how others would think of our Father’s good name by the way they perceive us. We should take an active interest in His business. (Lk 2:49; Jn 5:16-19; Jn 6:29) This is one way we show that this element of Holy Spirit prayer matters to us as far as I have a part in it. We are not to carry His name in vain.
Another way that our Father’s name is sanctified we learn from the Scriptures by what He Himself has told us:
Eze 36:17-28 Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings, even as the defilement of woman’s impurity, their way was before Me. (18) So I poured My fury on them, because of the blood that they had shed on the land, and for their idols by which they defiled it. (19) And I scattered them among the nations, and they were scattered through the lands. I judged them according to their way and according to their doings. (20) And when they entered the nations where they went, they even profaned My holy name by saying to them, These are the people of Yehovah, and they are gone out of His land. (21) But I had pity for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went. (22) Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord Yehovah: I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. (23) And I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. And the nations shall know that I am Yehovah, says the Lord Yehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. (24) For I will take you from among the nations and gather you out of all lands, and will gather you into your own land. (25) And I will sprinkle clean waters on you, and you shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from your idols. (26) And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. (27) And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them. (28) And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers. And you shall be My people, and I will be your God.
Eze 38:14-17 So, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord Yehovah: In that day when My people of Israel dwells securely, shall you not know it? (15) And you shall come from your place out of the recesses of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great company and a mighty army. (16) And you shall come up on My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It shall be in the last days, and I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me when I shall be sanctified in you, O Gog, before their eyes. (17) Thus says the Lord Yehovah: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days, by the hand of My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days and years that I would bring you against them?
Eze 38:23 So I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself. And I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am Yehovah.
Eze 39:6-8 And I will send a fire on Magog, and on the secure inhabitants of the coasts. And they shall know that I am Yehovah. (7) And I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel. And I will not let them profane My holy name any more. And the nations shall know that I am Yehovah, the Holy One in Israel. (8) Behold, it is coming, and it will be done, says the Lord Yehovah. This is the day of which I have spoken.
Eze 39:25-29 Therefore thus says the Lord Yehovah: And I will return the captivity of Jacob, and will have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for My holy name; (26) after they have borne their shame and all their sins by which they have sinned against Me, when they dwell securely in their land and no one terrifies; (27) when I have brought them again from the peoples, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; (28) then they shall know that I am Yehovah their God who exiled them among the nations, but I have gathered them to their own land, and have not left any of them there. (29) Nor will I hide My face from them any more, for I have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, says the Lord Yehovah.
Yehovah God has told us that His name will be hallowed/sanctified when His people Israel is saved and no longer profaning His Holy name, and they are dwelling safely and permanently in the Land of Israel, which He promised to give them, and when their enemies are defeated who had thought that He is less than the God Most High that He is, and YHVH is still the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob! This is written in the context of the last days. The sanctification of God our Father’s name is of the highest priority with Jesus. Is it with us? Do we know and understand the will and the plan of our God? (I thank Keith Parker for this insight.)
Yeshua goes on to teach us to pray for the Father’s kingdom to come, and for His will to be done on Earth as in Heaven. This is connected with the sanctification of His name, when He finally restores the Kingdom to Israel and over all the nations. The whole creation is waiting for this! (Acts 1:6-8; Rom 8:19-23; Rev 11:15) Although we have tasted of the Kingdom of God when we are born-again and baptized with the Holy Spirit, and we are being sanctified through our faith in Yeshua, the Church is not the Kingdom of God, and we know that God’s will is not being done even within ourselves as it ought, nor is our Father’s and His Son’s name being hallowed as He deserves and requires. The reality of the Kingdom awaits the return of the Lord to establish it — what is called the Millennial Kingdom — and His kingdom will never pass away.
The Lord then, after setting the highest priority, teaches us that we can ask our Father for our daily bread – physical and spiritual. Again, it is a request with the interest of our other brothers and sisters in mind, as well as our own need. So, too, is the request for forgiveness: most of us need to be forgiven, and we are to care for one another’s peace and blessing from our heavenly Father.
But, now, there is a condition placed on this request for forgiveness: it is dependent on our forgiving others, whether financial debts or any other form of offense. This is the righteousness of God, and a condition for our fellowship with Him to be full. It is also identifying with Jesus in His sufferings for our redemption and salvation, who asked His Father to forgive us for all of our iniquity and transgressions and sin against Him. Although I do not believe this is an issue of salvation for the believer, nonetheless our fellowship with the Father and with the Son, and with one another, will not be healthy, nor will it contribute to the honor and holiness of our Father’s name. This is a great challenge for us, and also a cause of stumbling to others – even for unbelievers — when we do not forgive. It is a condition on the unconditional grace which we have received for the price paid for our adoption. It should of great concern to any child of God, and our own spiritual fruitfulness is dependent upon it. (Mt 18:21-35)
Next, Jesus would have us know that there is danger in the world, and that we are able to get into trouble, and to become captive to evil, including to the evil one, the devil and the antichrist. By asking our Father not to lead us into temptation, we acknowledge that there is danger, and we want Him to protect us from deception; yet we bear a personal responsibility, as well, to keep ourselves from evil in the fear of the Lord.
Lastly, the Lord closes with a ‘statement of faith’ for us to proclaim: the kingdom is not the evil one’s, but our Father’s and of His Son! And to Him is the power and the glory forever! While we are praying for His Kingdom to come, we also declare now by faith that it is already in His hands, despite what we see or feel or need now.
Let us pray again this form of prayer which our Lord has taught us, and being more mindful of the content and the intent of what we pray: our focus in the Holy Spirit is God-centered, on our Father’s holy name which is currently being profaned by His own people – both Jews and Christians – and by the Gentiles and His enemies; our vision is to be the coming again of Jesus to establish God’s kingdom back to Israel and over all the Earth; God is our primary Provider, being our Father; the absolute necessity to forgive others; protection from being led astray by deceitful temptations; the proclamation and praise of the truth that our God reigns! HalleluYah!
Gen 32:24-28 (25-29 Heb) And Jacob was left alone. And a Man wrestled there with him until the breaking of the day. (25) And when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh. And the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint as he wrestled with Him. (26) And He said, Let Me go, for the day breaks. And he said, I will not let You go except You bless me. (27) And He said to him, What is your name? And he said, Jacob. (28) And He said, Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for like a prince you have power with God and with men, and have prevailed.
It is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of YHVH that His will and purposes are accomplished. Jacob needed to learn this. So it must be with each of us, and with the nation as a whole. In his personal encounter and wrestling with the “Man”, he came out hampered but blessed! This is the conversion of Jacob to becoming Israel. It is the grace of God that allows us to overcome, and He alone is glorified! He qualifies us to rule with Him, but the Lord reigns! This is something we all must go through and learn in our conversion from our old man to becoming conformed to the image of the Son of God. Then, Jacob – as Israel – could face his estranged brother and be reconciled to God to go on to what God had called him for.
Yehovah, the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and also God the Father (as the Source and Originator of all things), has forever associated His name with being the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob. (Mt 22:31-32) He is the God of Israel: the person and the people and the land. He is the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ex 3:13-15 And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the sons of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they shall say to me, What is His name? What shall I say to them? (14) And God said to Moses, I AM Who I AM. And He said, So you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. (15) And God said to Moses again, You shall say this to the children of Israel, Yehovah, God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial from generation to generation.
Dt 7:6-10 For you are a holy people to Yehovah your God. Yehovah your God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself above all people that are upon the face of the Earth. (7) Yehovah did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people, for you were the fewest of all people. (8) But because Yehovah loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn to your fathers, Yehovah has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (9) Therefore, know that Yehovah your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations. (10) And He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slow to repay him who hates Him. He will repay him to his face.
Gen 28:10-15 And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheva, and went toward Haran. (11) And he came on a certain place, and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took of the stones of that place, and placed them at his head. And he lay down in that place to sleep. (12) And he dreamed. And behold! A ladder was set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to Heaven! And behold! The angels of God were ascending and descending on it! (13) And behold! Yehovah stood above it, and said, I am Yehovah, the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac! The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your seed. (14) And your seed shall be like the dust of the Earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in you and in your Seed shall all the families of the Earth be blessed. (15) And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in every place where you go, and will bring you again into this land. For I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken of to you.
Mt 2:19-21 But Herod having expired, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, (20) saying, Arise, and take the child and His mother. And go into the land of Israel. For the ones who sought the child’s life are dead. (21) And he arose and took the child and His mother and came into the land of Israel.
Ezek 37:11-12 And He said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, Our bones are dried and our hope is lost; we are cut off by ourselves. (12) Therefore prophesy and say to them, So says the Lord Yehovah: Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, and will bring you into the land of Israel.
YHVH God promised to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and his descendants the Land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. YHVH promised to Jacob that He would not leave him until He had accomplished what He said. When the baby Jesus came back out of Egypt with His parents, the Holy Spirit had Matthew write that the family came back to the Land of Israel, whatever other names might have been used by the Romans. Yeshua was an Israeli Jew, whose coming was first of all in keeping God’s covenant promises to His people in the flesh. The LORD gave the prophet Ezekiel to see into the distant future — to our day – whereby God is restoring His wayward people back to the promised land, which He specifically calls the Land of Israel.
Mal 3:6 For I am Yehovah, I change not. Because of this you children of Jacob are not destroyed.
How does God demonstrate this?
Jer 31:31-37 (30-36 Heb) Behold, the days come, says Yehovah, that I will cut a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the House of Judah, (32) not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says Yehovah; (33) but this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the House of Israel: After those days, says Yehovah, I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (34) And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know Yehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more. (35) So says Yehovah, who gives the sun for a light by day and the laws of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who divides the sea when its waves roar; Yehovah of Hosts is His name; (36) if those ordinances depart from Me, says Yehovah, the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. (37) So says Yehovah, If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth below can be searched out, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says Yehovah.
Rom 11:25-32 For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brethren, lest you should be wise within yourselves; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the nations has come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, “There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. (27) For this is My covenant with them, when I have taken away their sins.” (28) Indeed as regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes. But as regards the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. (29) For the free gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (30) For as you also then disbelieved God, but now have been shown mercy through their disbelief, (31) even so these also have not believed now, so that through your mercy they may also obtain mercy. (32) For God has shut up all in unbelief, so that He might show mercy to all.
Israel’s salvation as a nation gives significance and hope to other nations. It gives hope to this Earth and world, and their hope lies in the same hope which God gave to Israel, and to believers in Jesus: the coming again of the Lord and the restoration of YHVH God’s kingdom over His entire universe. The resurrection of Jesus assures the promises made to the fathers [of Israel], and brings glory to God from the mouth of Gentiles for what He does for His people. (Rom 15:4-13)
Ps 2:6-8 Yea, I have set My king on My holy hill, on Zion. (7) I will declare the decree of Yehovah. He has said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten You. (8) Ask of Me, and I shall give the nations for Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the Earth for Your possession.
Zec 14:16-19 And it shall be, everyone who is left of all the nations which came up against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, Yehovah of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (17) And it shall be, whoever will not come up from all the families of the Earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yehovah of Hosts, even on them shall be no rain. (18) And if the family of Egypt does not go up, nor come in, they shall have no rain, but the plague with which Yehovah shall strike the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. (19) This shall be Egypt’s offense, and the offense of all the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
God created Jacob, and formed Israel (Is 43:1), a people whose mothers could not naturally give birth, but required God’s intervention. The Church, the Body of Messiah, is a new creation of individuals out from every nation, who are redeemed by the blood of the Messiah. Therefore, Israel is not the Church, nor is the Church Israel; but they are both related to the same one, true, living God!
Israel is a person, a people, a land; the covenants of YHVH are with the children of Israel for the land – and the possessed inheritance for those descendants of Jacob who turn from ungodliness — but the inheritance is to be shared also with strangers. (Dt 5:12-15; Ezek 47:21-23)
–Israel as a NATION gives significance and hope to all other nations, including the Arab nations (Is 19:23-25)
–in Adam all have sinned, yet God’s plan of redemption to save human beings is available to all through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
–Israel the nation is made up of many children of Adam and Eve, and has sinned against God, just as Adam and Eve did. Europe has sinned; the U.S. has sinned. The same God, who changes not, has the same plan of salvation to save a nation as He does for individuals: by grace, through genuine repentance and faith in Yeshua. Not every Jew/Israeli, nor every Arab or German.
–Each nation has its own particular calling and destiny in God’s purposes. Israel is unique among the nations even as Jesus is among the sons of Adam or the sons of God. (Ex 4:22; Dt 7:6; Am 3:2; Zech 2:8; Mt 3:16-17; Heb 1)
–Politically speaking, Israel has the anointed King in waiting who is presently rejected and despised, like David was during Saul’s reign.
—Identity: God has given a particular identity to a people whom He has created for His glory. Each of us has an identity in Christ with God our Father, and an everlasting destiny and inheritance connected with God’s unbreakable promises in the new and better covenant cut with the blood of the Son of God.
—Calling: God keeps His Word, His promises, His covenants: we are called to be witnesses of God and of His truth, and we are to be true to our word as children of God our Father.
—Vision and Mission Purpose: The whole Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of YHVH; there is a purpose to be fulfilled for THIS world, this creation; hope for nations because Israel as a nation will be saved: evangelize, and look forward to coming again of the Lord
—Discipleship and Conformity to image of God’s Son: Man created in image of God according to His likeness in order to rule over God’s creation with the Lord (Gen 1:26; Ps 8); to be full-filled during the Millennial Kingdom, when the saints who have part in First Resurrection will rule and reign with Christ as a kingdom of priests (Dan 7:27; Rev 2:25-29; Rev 3:21; Rev 20:6): practice now to be faithful and trustworthy in what we do, with a heart for God and His interests; Israel will also fulfill her calling and mission when she returns to YHVH her God and cleansed from all her unfaithfulness against Him, and against Jesus, when she finally becomes the Israel of God (Gal 6:16)
—Worship: O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! (34) For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? (35) Or who first gave to Him, and it will be repaid to him? (36) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things; to Him be glory forever! Amen. (Rom 11:33-36)
(Corrected and/or Revised on 10 Sept 2014; 4 Jan 2015; Mar 2015; June 2015; Aug 2015; Mar 2016; 31 Jan 2018; 30 Aug 2018)
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 believers: Messiah 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 unaided 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. (See also Job 26:9, where the Hebrew word is the same; for some reason, all of the translations have either ‘full moon’, or ‘throne’. The Hebrew word for ‘throne’ is spelled differently than for ‘cover’. 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 ba–kaseh (בכסה), 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 visible 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 began 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 three 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. The moon then waxes for 13-14 days to the Full Moon, then wanes for 13-14 days till the New Moon. 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) The historic steps towards the reestablishment of national Israel were 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; Ps 117) 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 dark 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)! Yeshua’s conception was not ‘light’; His birth brought to light the public knowledge of the promised Messiah and Lord. 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! (Gen 1:2)
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!
Ps 122:6-9 Prayerfully ask about the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you shall be blessed. Peace be within your walls, blessings within your palaces. For my brothers and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within you. Because of the house of Yehovah our God I will seek your good.
Is 62:1-7 For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until its righteousness goes out as brightness, and her salvation as a burning lamp. And the nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name, which the mouth of Yehovah will name. You also will be a crown of glory in the hand of Yehovah, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You will no more be called Forsaken; nor will your land any more be called Desolate; but you will be called, My Delight is in her, and your land, Married; for Yehovah delights in you, and your land is married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so will your sons marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, who always all the day and all the night will not be silent; you who remember Yehovah, do not be silent. And give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.