KEEPING YEHOVAH’S FEASTS: REJOICING IN GOD’S WORD – 18 Oct 2003

Lev 23:37-43   v.41temporary:  statute forever in your generations, but God with His people continuing everlasting

Last week we spoke about the fire offering to God, which speaks of the zeal for the purity of our lives which the LORD requires of His people.  Jesus baptizes us with fire to purify us and to make us suitable as His holy and pure bride.  This has been God’s heart – His thought and intention – from the day He created man in His image and likeness; in other words, for seven days, or throughout time. 

“Forever” here in v. 41 means till the end of time, whether personally until one dies, or whether historically until time ends.  For it says here in these and other verses that we are to celebrate seven –even eight—days in the seventh –and other—months.  It all speaks of TIME and SEASONS, yet we know from the Word of God that in the New Heavens and New Earth time will be no more.  ETERNITY has no time:  no sun and moon; no day and night for those who will live in the Presence of God forever and ever!

But this brings us to that which does not pass away with time:  the very Word of God it(Him)self.  The Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself is the Word of God, says, “Till Heaven and Earth [this creation] pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled” (Mt 5:18); and again, “Heaven and Earth [this creation] will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” (Mt 24:35)

The Scriptures speak briefly of what will be after time – in the New Creation: 

1Cor 2:9; Is 64:3 (4 Eng) – “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Rev 21:1-8  “Now I saw a new heavens and a new Earth, for the first heavens and the first Earth had passed away.  Also there was no more sea.  Then I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.  There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’  Then He who sat on the Throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’  And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’  And He said to me, ‘It is done!  I am the Alpha (Aleph)and the Omega (Tav), the Beginning and the End.  I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.  But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake of fire which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’ “

As believers in God through Jesus, we as children of God our Father are expected to uphold the truth of God’s Word (Jude 1-4).  Jewish people today in synagogues around the world are finishing and beginning anew the reading of the Torah.  Jesus says that He is the Beginning and the End.  Do we believe what God reveals through the Bible about the beginning of this creation?  If not, can we say that we really believe what He says about the end of this creation and of things afterwards? 

The first appointed time given by YHVH God is the Sabbath (Lev 23:1-3).  Israel was commanded to keep the Sabbath holy as a reminder that YHVH God is Creator and Redeemer (Ex 20:11; Dt 5:15).  The Sabbath was given to Israel as a sign of the covenant with YHVH God (Ex 31:13,17).  A sign points somewhere or to something.  Every week Israel is to keep the seventh day as a testimony of who the one true God is and what He Himself says that He has done:  created the heavens and Earth in six days, and He rested on the seventh.  We are to deny ourselves, not to lean on our human understanding or knowledge, but humbly as children hear, believe, and obey what our God and Father says about any and all things.  WE ARE TO REJOICE IN GOD AND IN HIS WORD!  From beginning to end!  John says that those who are of the world do not hear Moses and the prophets, or the apostles.  Those who are of God do hear and speak what they have seen and heard (1Jn 1:3;  4:4-6).  There is a tremendous spiritual battle going on both without and within the household of God’s covenants –Israel and the Church – to deny the truth of the Bible and its authority.  We are to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints.  God’s Word does not change; neither does He.  Therefore,Israel is not destroyed, nor the Church.  For those who overcome and rejoice in God and keep His commandments, we can KNOW that the same Jesus who ascended up into heaven will again return to fulfill all that is written regarding all things for all time. 

Jesus died on the cross as a seal upon God’s Word to perform it.  Let us honor Him and His death by rejoicing in the Word of God our Father.  The truth sets us free to glorify God even as Jesus glorified Him.  He suffered and was rejected because He trusted in God and upheld His Father’s will and purposes.  As we rejoice in Him, He will rejoice in us.  The Feast of Booths speaks of God’s Kingdom – of God’s presence in the midst of a holy and purified people.  The Sabbath is the day which belongs to Him, and His Kingdom and His rest will continue throughout eternity, beyond time — beyond the Sabbath day — never to be relinquished again.  Come, Lord Jesus.

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

(Friends of Israel conference, Finland; 18-21 Mar 2002)

1. Jesus is LORD:  worship God in spirit and truth; no idolatry; God is one
–Jesus is the King of the Jews/Israel; Jesus is the Glory of Israel Mt 2:2; Jn 19:19; Lk 2:32; Jn 1:49
–Name above all names: YHVH Philp 2:9-11; Is 45:23; John 12:41
–Sanctity of God’s Name; Witnesses to the truth of YHVH Ex 3:14-15; Mt 6:9; Pr 30:4; Ezek 36:21; 1Jn 2:22-23; 4:2

–Trinity: based on revelation to Israel/Jews  Japheth brought into tents of Shem Gen 9:27
    –to be God’s Son is to be equal with God
    –the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth; glorifies Jesus and the Father
   –equal honor to the Son and to the Father, for Jesus is committed as Judge Jn 5:21-30
   –God’s Name being forgotten Jer 23:27

 2.  Millenial Kingdom:  the whole of this creation groans awaiting the full redemption Rom 8:18-23
–the devil will not win anything, now or in the world to come
–the nation of Israel gives significance, meaning, purpose to every other nation and people group
   –Adam and Eve:  individuals and their offspring given redemption and hope
   –nations and peoples after the Flood and the Tower of Babel
   –Abraham the father of many nations
      –promises still unrealized for the Promised Land and for the Earth
      –every jot and tittle to be fulfilled
      –all promises of God ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Christ Jesus
      –prophesies surrounding birth of Jesus by Zecharias, Mary, Simeon, Anna
–much more written in Bible about future condition of this Earth than of new Heaven and Earth
   –a spiritual battle 2Cor 10:4-6  spiritual weapons mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down everything which exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought captive to obedience Messiah
      –God’s honor and faithfulness:  consider attitudes of Moses (Num 14:11-24) and Paul (Rom 9:1-3)
      –God’s holy Name of YHVH Ex 3:14-15; Acts 4:10-12 (Jesus: no other name under Heaven); Rom 10:9-14
      –Against the LORD and against His Anointed Ps 2
      –God’s Word is Truth; He cannot lie; callings and gifts without repentance
      –battle over Jerusalem and of the Land of Israel (not Palestine)
–all have disobeyed God so that He can have mercy on all Rom 11:32
If we do not believe what is written about the beginning and of earthly things, how can we believe what is written about the end and of spiritual, eternal things?

 3.  Nations of Jacob/Israel and of Esau/Edom  (Gen 25:23)
–peace and reconciliation?
–former Muslims given new heart and new spirit; delivered from powers of darkness; seek signs
–harder for “natural born” Arab Christians to accept Israel because of replacement theology

 4.  The faith in Messiah Jesus different from all others:  the world turned upside down Acts 17:6
–new covenant not like the old Jer 31:31-32
      –God in us, not just for us or with us
     –Holy Spirit given to all believers, not only to Israelis, or men, or prophets, priests, kings
     –sons and daughters of God, not merely slaves or servants
     –food barriers broken down
     –priesthood of all believers – male and female — from any family
     –a better covenant with better promises Heb 7:20 – 8:6
–gospel is neither Jewish nor Greek Gal 1:12  not of man but by revelation from God
–the greater shall serve the younger Gen 25:23b; Mt 20:24-28
–to whom much is given (the birthright and blessing by sovereign will, wisdom, and grace), much is required:  double honor and doub judgment (Is 40:2; Rom 2:9-10)
        –for individuals and for nations
         –Jewish believers most accountable persons; people of Israel most accountable nation
            –Jesus came to serve; He washed His disciples’ feet; He made them breakfast; He will serve us at the great supper  Lk 12:37; God cannot deny Himself:  He is who He is

 5.  Why aren’t more Israeli Jews being saved?  Ezek 11:14-16; Zech 12:7; Rom 11:25-32  

 6.  Passover and the LORD’s appointed times
      –keep the Word of Jesus and hold on to what we have  Rev 3:8-10
–the day after the Sabbath  Lev 23:11,15,16 

WHOSE LAND IS IT? – 20 Nov 2001

(Panel discussion at Israel College of the Bible)

*The Land and the Earth belong to YHVH.  Even the entire universe (creation) is YHVH God’s, both by creation and more so by redemption.  Yeshua – through His death and resurrection on the cross — has paid the price in His blood to reacquire (redeem) for God what Man and Israel have lost through unfaithful stewardship, as evidenced by unbelief and disobedience, and the resultant loss of peace and joy.

1 Cor. 10:11    . . .and [the Scriptures] were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

One’s attitude and belief regarding the millenial Kingdom of God (Mt. 6:9-10; Zech. 14:16; Rev. 20:1-10) will influence one’s position not only on the ownership of the Land, but also on the claim of inheritance to it and God’s purposes.  Every jot and tittle of the Law is to be fulfilled in and through Messiah Jesus (Mt. 5:17-18), and all the promises of God are ‘ yea and amen’ in Messiah Yeshua  (Rom. 9:4; 2 Cor.1:20).  This is for all people and lands, for good or for bad (Is. 19:24-25; 51:3; Ezek. 28:25-26).  Israel, as a nation, gives significance to every other nation, people, and tribe in their aspirations and struggles for their destiny, but it is the Most High who sets the boundaries (Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26-27).  At stake is the character and Name of the one true God: YEHOVAH, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob; the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Though it may take “forever”, the LORD is faithful and capable of fulfilling all things of which He has spoken.  The coming of the Lord draws near.  Hallelu-Yah!  The battle is both spiritual and carnal, and the Victor is Yeshua the Nazarene, King of the Jews.

[An example:  As a believer – as one of God’s chosen and elect – I am owned by (have been purchased by) the Lord Yeshua.  However, I may bring myself under the influence or control of demonic spirits, yet I can not be possessed by them, because I, thank God, belong to Yeshua.  The LORD of Hosts is my Father.  I am His and He is mine.  So with the Land of Promise and the children of Israel, those of Jacob who turn from ungodliness and prevail against God and man by the mercy and grace of God. (Num. 23:21)]

Gen 22:16; 26:3; Mic 7:20; Ezek 47:14; Lk 1:73; Heb 6:17    promise and oath, with conditions, but also grace

Deut 32:36,43; Lev 26:40-45; Deut 30:1-6; Ezek 36-37    promise to return the people to the land of Israel after exile, and in unbelief      Question:  Did this necessitate a modern independent political state?

2Sam 8; 1Kings 8:65    Kings David and Solomon reigned over most of the promised borders
    –exact borders not ascertained with certainty, and Israel has never dwelled safe and secure throughout
    –present borders far less than those promised by the covenant (Gen 10:19; 15:18-21; Ezek 47:13-20)
    –the borders include Assyria, Israel, and Egypt:  Abraham’s journey, and lands given to his seed
    —Ezek 47:13-23    millenial borders after the Lord Yeshua’s return
          –includes the stranger as inheritors
          —Ezek 48:35    YHVH is there!
          —Ezek 34:25-31; Hos 2:18    a covenant of peace by the LORD God for the people in the land with the animals
          —Is 2:4    no more war!  

Zech 14:2; Dan 11:33; Rev 12:6-17    Jews chased out of Jerusalem and the land by the anti-christ (no contradiction with Amos 9:15)
    —Zech 12:10    Yeshua reveals Himself to the remnant
    —Dan 11:35; Zech 14:7; Mt 24:36; Rev 9:15; the ‘Feasts’ of the LORD    Appointed times for God’s interventions and redemptive acts

Is 57:21; Ezek 35-36:5; Dan 11:39; 9:26; Joel 3:2; Ps 2; 110:1    no peace for the wicked – for the enemies of the LORD, of God’s anointed and appointed Son, of Israel, of the gospel
         –God will judge those who divide His land.     Question:  Does this allow for a Palestinian state?
            —Gen 27:39-40; Mal 1:1-5; Rom 9:10-13    no blessing of God’s presence or of fruitfulness in land for Esau (Edom)

Zech 10:3-8    House of Judah is the instrument of battle of the Great Shepherd, the LORD God of Hosts
    –Islam, non-Zionist Judaism, historic Christianity have all been party to interpreting history and the Bible so as to make void much of the Word and the faithfulness of the Holy God (ctr. Moses and Paul’s attitudes – Ex. 32; Rom. 9)

Ezek 36: 20-21    we have profaned the Name of the LORD our God, but He is concerned regarding His Holy Name                                     

Ezek 36:37; Mt 23:37-39; Rev 22:20; Is 55:8-9    God will do what He has to do –for His Holy Name’s sake – according to His own Word, by His Spirit to bring His people back to Himself through the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to bring every knee to bow and every tongue confess that Yeshua HaMahiach is LORD to the glory of the Father.  What will be our attitude and response if He does things differently than we think or prefer?

Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. . . for Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever!  Amen.

Spiritual Leprosy – Memorial of Trumpets

Mt. 8:1-4     . . .behold, there came a leper and he worshipped Him [Yeshua], saying, ‘Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean’.  And He [Yeshua] stretched forth His hand, and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed!  And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (healed).

Is. 53:4       Surely He [the Arm of the LORD] has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

Rosh Hashana, or the Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets, is the first set time of YHVH after the giving of the Law at Shavuot to Israel.  For New Testament believers in Jesus as Lord and Messiah, for us too at this point in history approaching the return of the Lord Jesus in great power and great glory, it is a new season after the long intervening ‘summer’ since the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church, putting God’s law in our hearts and minds.

The appointed times of the LORD help us to understand the plan of God to make a holy people for Himself, which includes a process of sanctification and glorification over our lifetime until He completes the work He has begun in us.  The Feast of Ingathering –which includes the three set times of Trumpets, Atonements, and Booths during the seventh month of the calendar which the LORD made for Israel– is a very important time in this process.  It includes God’s demand –and our need– for both personal and corporate accountability.  The Holy Spirit is working to convict of righteousness, of sin, and of judgment not only in the world, which includes Israel, but also within the Church, the Body of Messiah.  I think every Spirit-filled Christian knows it –feels it– in his or her own soul and spirit.  This will intensify as the Day of the LORD draws ever nearer.  But we are saved by faith –praise God!– in what the Lord Jesus the Messiah accomplished on the cross, setting us free from Satan’s lies and accusations, and giving us new clothes of salvation and righteousness!  Therefore we do not need any longer to strive and fight to prove ourselves acceptable in God’s sight, but rather we can enter into the joy of knowing that God our Father loves us because we believe in His Son Yeshua.  Instead of war and fear of death, Jesus has given us His peace and assurance of life eternal with Him.

What does all this have to do with the leper?  Much actually, and I hope that you will prayerfully consider and meditate on it afterwards (read Lev. 13 & 14).  The leper suffered not only physically from his bodily disease, but even more in that he was stigmatized as unclean and immediately put out of the community.  Just after the chapters which record the sermon on the mount by Jesus, He demonstrates the truth He had been teaching regarding the Kingdom of God:  He touched the leper who came to Him, and cleansed him.  According to the Torah, there was no cure for leprosy:  no sacrifice was offered until after a leper was cleansed, and this was only after a prolonged process of several examinations by the High Priest.  Even then there was no assurance that the leper would be healed and so fit to return to his town and to enter the House of the LORD.

Sometimes leprosy came from the hand of God for a specific serious sin, for example in the cases of Miriam –Moses’ sister, Gehazi –Elisha’s servant, King Uzziah.  Other times a person was stricken for no apparent specific sin.  But in any case, the person with leprosy was stigmatized and put outside the community, and even had himself to warn people to keep away.  The leper could only live with other lepers, because the condition was contagious.

I remember reading the book Ben-Hur.  In it the mother and sister of Ben-Hur were stricken with leprosy even though they were women of God.  What they did though, even in their humiliation and suffering in their shame in the eyes of other people, was to speak to the other outcast lepers of the Lord’s love and faithfulness.  I praised God, for His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts like ours.  Jesus has come to bring love and healing into our lives:  the Kingdom of God is within us in Messiah.

Leprosy was evident when the wound exposed raw (living) flesh (Lev. 13:14).  Because it was contagious, the law required isolation of the leper until he was cleansed.  We do not always want to admit that we have an open wound that is a threat to the lives of others.  The letter to the Hebrews warns against bitterness as though it were contagious (Heb. 12:15).  A root of bitterness can grow where there is resentment and unforgiveness.  In the Tenach, the fear and unbelief of the ten spies infected most of the other Israelis (Num. 14:36); Korah infected the Levites who died with him for not accepting Moses and Aaron (Num. 15); Satan infected one-third of the angels (Rev. 12) when he rebelled against God.  Leprosy, we see, can also be a spiritual disease, and is not just my personal problem.  It can infect my family, my house and home, my congregation (Lev. 14:34; 1 Pet. 2:5), my clothes or “habits, works, ministry” (Lev. 13:47; Is. 64:6).

The best cure for any disease is prevention.  At the first signs of illness or injury, admit it and go to the doctor.  The key to cleansing and healing for one whose wounds are still open and incurable after much time has passed, or after we thought that we had dealt with a matter, is again first of all to confess that we are not well.  The place to go is the cross of our Lord.  He Himself was stricken by God for our transgressions.  He knows what it is to be rejected; He came to heal the sick and cleanse the lepers (Mt. 11:5).  Yeshua touched the unclean leper who cried out to Him.  He touched him –He accepted his person.  The Son of Man loved him with the love of God the Father.  We are called to do the same for those who ask.

The apostle Jacob (James) tells us by the Holy Spirit to confess our sins to one another, praying for each other, so that we may be healed (James 5:16).

I want to quote here from a letter I received:

“As God’s servant you belong in only one of two places –in the battle on the front line, or (if you get wounded, which happens in battle) in the hospital getting well.  What many don’t realize is that, while the healing is always available, you have to take yourself to the door of the hospital and ask to be admitted.  Some get right up to the door and then, out of fear, pride, or unforgiveness, don’t go in.  They can’t go back to the battle, where they would be a burden in their condition.  So they wander around the countryside while the wound begins to fester.  After a long while they see a dangerous infection setting in and run back to the hospital in panic.  But by then it is too late –nothing can be done.  They can’t fight, they can’t get healed –they can only walk around as lepers, looking for other lepers to sympathize with them.  You must go to the cross with your wounds when I send you, or you will become a leper.”

[Let us all be quiet before the Lord and search our souls, bringing before Him our open wounds, which perhaps only you and He know about, and the raw wounds which have grown and infected others.  Now is the time to confess our transgressions before God that also prevent our healing.

Afterwards, those who want us to pray with you, come to the front row and we will pray together.]

VISION OF THE GLORY: THE PRESENCE AND KINGDOM OF GOD

(Israel Conference at Langensteinbacherhohe, Karlsruhe, Germany:  “Radicalism and The Testimony of Christ in Israel”, 22-28 Oct 1999)

Hebrews 9:27-28

Radicalism is sustained by a utopian spirit which believes and works toward the vision of a future qualitatively different than the present.  It will often look to the past for its inspiration, for example naive notions of the Garden of Eden or of a former “golden age”.  Or as in the case of the “utopia” of computerized virtual reality, radicals are escaping from reality to an unreality of their own making.  As the faith and hope fail and the vision is lost, a significant number of the people will cast off restraint and self-control (Prov. 29:18) and resort to unjust behavior and lawlessness–displaying unwarranted fear, hatred, and envy towards those not “with” them or “of” them in spirit.  In the history of this world, there have been many efforts–some quiet and others filled with blood–to “make a better world” in the image of someone’s imagination.  Most religions have described for its believers and followers a future state, which to them is described as being better than the present life.  But where is the King of Glory?!

The prophets of the LORD to Israel had a vision of the glory, of a world where the LORD would be King.  And Yeshua came proclaiming the Kingdom in Himself, and said that unless one is born again by the Spirit from above, you can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God.

Those of us here who have been blessed with a revelation from God the Father that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God (Mt. 16:16-17), have also been given to see by the Word and Spirit of God that the Lord Jesus Christ is going to come again, subduing evil and bringing in everlasting righteousness and peace.  The Apostle Peter carries us even beyond this when he says that we look for a new heavens and a new earth wherein righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13-14), where we live in eternity with God in the fullness of His glory.  God will be all in all (1Cor. 15:28)!

Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the prayer which the Lord taught His disciples and spiritual family to pray all speak of the future glory of God when the Lord Jesus returns to establish throughout His creation the Kingdom of God which shall not pass away.  All the redeemed who suffer for His sake now will also be glorified and reign with Him.  Perseverance in the faith, in hope, and in love till the end make the vision of the Kingdom of God sure to the believer.  Christ in us…the hope of glory!  Perhaps now we see like the blind man first saw when Yeshua began to give him sight. . .trees walking.  If we can admit this to the Lord, then He will give us clearer and fuller sight.

Our Lord admonishes us to always watch and pray so that we will not be deceived nor fall to temptation (Mt. 24:4; 26:41).  He wants us to be ready when the time of His return comes (Mt. 24:42), and He does not want us to grow weary and lose heart (Lk. 18:1-8; Heb. 12:1-13).  The Holy Spirit works within us that we will be found worthy to stand before the Son of Man at His coming (Lk. 21:36).

In Israel there is a danger of being too Israel-minded at the expense of losing sight and heart for the soon coming of the Lord Yeshua.  Yet we are to look for and love His appearing (2Tim 4:8).  There is a set time that nothing can change, and God knows how to see to it that the great commission is fulfilled beforehand (Mt. 24:14,36)!  Jesus wants to return.  He told the Jews who would not receive Him who came in the Name of His Father that they would receive another who comes in his own name  (John 5:43), who will be the anti-christ.  Yet God is working out His plan of redemption and salvation in such a way as to bring the Jewish people to cry out from the depths of their beings–out of a deep sense of need and desperation–Blessed is He who comes in the Name of YEHOVAH!  For Christians who know who it is that will answer such a heart cry, the last prayer of the Bible is, Even so, come Lord Jesus!   Is that your groan of the Holy Spirit in you, that the Bridegroom should come for His Bride who has made herself ready?

Our Father in Heaven is seeking those who worship Him in Spirit and truth.  God is love and His Kingdom is ruled by love.  Our Father loves everyone and has no delight that even the wicked should have to die and spend eternity existing in hell, the place where God is not there (Ezek. 18:23; Mt. 25:41).  When we see Him as He is, we are changed into His likeness (2Cor. 3:18).  Stephen saw the Lord Yeshua in His exaltation and so was able to ask forgiveness for those who hated Messiah in him and stoned him to death.

The Church in Israel–and throughout the world–needs a Holy Spirit revival:  a revival which brings God’s people back to the doctrines of the apostles; a revival which reveals to us the Lord Jesus in His glory; a revival which unites the whole and true Body of Messiah as the people of God; a revival in which the joy of the LORD is our strength, even to confess and repent of sin; a revival in which our hearts are circumcised and our souls afflicted for our sins and transgressions and iniquities as saved and justified believers; a revival whereby we bless and thank God for His goodness despite our sense of unworthiness to be called His children; a revival in which we know the value of the blood of the Son of God shed for us and whereby our boast is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; a revival which brings forth much good fruit to the glory and praise of the Holy Name of our great God and Savior.      

Our unity together in Christ is not only a testimony of who Jesus is–that He was indeed sent by God His Father–but also that God loves us even as He loved Jesus!  Remember that Jewish people do not think that God sent or loved Jesus. . .for after all, He was crucified (Is. 53:4; Mt. 27:35-49).  Yet this Holy Spirit  unity and love for one another by the members of God’s household is the crowning proof of the truth that  Jesus is our Lord, and not someone else (Ps. 133; John 13:34-35; 17:20-26; Eph. 4:21).  We are to fear God and to love Jesus more than we fear rejection by our own kinsmen in the flesh.  In this unity with Christ and the Father is the manifest presence of God reigning in the hearts of His redeemed people and adopted children.  The LORD is there!  This is eternal life. . .to know God and Jesus Christ whom He sent.

Jude 24-25    Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His Glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever!  Amen.  

Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets

Lev. 23:24-25    – a Shabbat, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation, an offering made by fire
Is. 62:6-12      – remind YHVH of His salvation for Israel and for Jerusalem

The devil is busy sowing his bad seed amongst the good seed of the Kingdom of Heaven  (Mt. 13:24-30).  The Lord Yeshua tell us that this bad seed–and its fruit–will remain until the end of the age.  The Day of the LORD (YHVH)–the day of vengeance of our God (Amos 5:18-20; Is. 61:2)–will bring to an end all the kingdoms of this world, and in their place will be the Kingdom of God and of His Messiah Yeshua (Dan. 7:9-14; Rev. 11:15-18).  There is a promised Day of judgment (Acts 17:30-31), when Yeshua, the Judge of both the living and the dead, will make a distinction between good and evil, holy and profane, clean and defiled.  It marks a time when there will truly be a “new year”,founded upon a completed work of redemption.  He will bring in everlasting righteousness, and His Kingdom will not pass away.  HALLELU-YAH!

God wants us to remember His covenant and the promises of the covenant for those who believe in the LORD Yeshua.  He wants us who remember to remind Him–as did Moses, David, Daniel, Nehemiah–and to remind each other–as did Paul, John, Peter–of the blood of the covenant, the blood of Yeshua, and of His death and resurrection which gives all who put their trust in Him for salvation living hope.  God has saved us by His power and grace; He has made us His people in Messiah; He has given us the Spirit of Holiness and placed His Law within our minds and hearts. He has given us clothes of salvation in place of our own unacceptable garments.  The LORD has made it abundantly clear that He is the only true God.

The devil has been active and succeeding in trampling down truth (Dan. 8:12) in part because of those within the church who have been sleeping (Mt. 13:25).  The LORD, who neither slumbers nor sleeps while He watches over and keeps His people, is longsuffering as He allows us to learn and mature with respect to the reality of things.  But the day and hour draw near for the Deliverer and the Judge to come–because of the promises He has made in His covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; with David; even with Adam and Eve; and because of the even greater promises He has given through His Son Yeshua.  The Holy Spirit is giving a WAKE-UP CALL WITH BLASTS FROM THE SHOFAR (Eph. 5:14-15; Is. 60:1-2):

–Remember the Word of God which is truth and abides forever;
–Remember to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to persevere through to the end of testing and troubles;
–Remember from where you have fallen and renew your first love with the Lord Yeshua;
–Remember, you are saved by mercy and hope–through faith, not by your own works;
–Remember to fear God who has forgiven you your sins and gives hope of true freedom;
–Remember!  The Lord Yeshua said that He will come back for us so that we can be with Him;
–Remember that Jesus died as the judgment and punishment for my sins and for our sins.

The Holy Spirit is calling the lambs and the sheep to hold fast to what we have received and not to let anyone take away what our Father in Heaven has promised is ours through faith in His Word (Rev. 3:11).  The enemy has fought hard to prevent us from accepting — and afterwards enjoying — what is ours now in the Kingdom of God:  we are in Messiah; Messiah is in us; Messiah is with us all the days until the end of this world; God loves us as a Father and calls us His children; He forgives us from all our sins against Him; we have eternal life with the Lord, our Husband, as an inheritance according to God’s own promise, and He can not lie.

Jews and Muslims especially do not want Christians (whether Jewish or gentile) to live in the truth of what God has revealed through the New Covenant.  They argue over Jerusalem, but the Sovereign YHVH has chosen it as the city where His Name shall be.  Because of their own unbelief, envy, and bitter root, they do not want believers to enjoy our present liberties.  Even within the Body of Messiah, there are those who seek to deprive their own brothers and sisters in the faith from the joy and liberty that accompany a close personal relationship with Father, whose love is without measure for any who draw near to Him with humble assurance and thanksgiving.

Our own sense of guilt and shame work to prevent us from progressing further by faith in the Land of Promise –the Kingdom of God– which the Father is pleased to give us.  As a result of our own sense of unworthiness, we begin to tolerate things which God has already declared unworthy of  Him.

We begin to resort again to things which enslave us.  We lose sight of the necessity to continue fighting the good fight of faith until it is all over.

The Memorial of Blowing of Trumpets reminds us to examine and to judge ourselves, to see if we are really standing in the faith (2Cor. 13:5), and to acknowledge how great a salvation the Lord Yeshua has purchased for us with His own blood.  Remember, you were bought with a price.  God is sounding the trumpets to gather a final great fruitful harvest of all His redeemed people together, who have each taken to heart his sins of unbelief, dishonor, and disobedience against the Law of Messiah which He has put within us.  When we confess our sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us because He is satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus.  We have an abiding sacrifice; there is no need for us to offer another but rather to remember and praise God for the once-for-all and sufficient sacrifice of the Son of God, our Redeemer.

The Father is sending out the message to all of His sons and daughters that we remember who we are–a holy priesthood unto God.  He desires us to unite for His sake and to give Him the honor due to Him and to His beloved Son Yeshua.  Our Father reminds us to remember that He has delivered us from the bondage (Egypt) and the vanity (Babylon) and the immorality (Sodom) of this world.  He wants us to voluntarily come out from all this, esteeming above all Zion (the heavenly new Jerusalem) and the glory of the Lamb who sits upon the Throne.  Our Father wants our joy to be in Him (Neh. 8:10) and to look for and love the appearing of the Lord Yeshua (2Tim. 4:8).  Listen to the clear sound of the trumpet blast –the loud Voice which calls out, “Come unto Me all who want life!”– and remember to praise our great God and Savior!

Amen.

The Time of the Lord Yeshua’s Second Coming

(Updated Aug 7, 2014)

Just as the birth, death, and resurrection of the promised and prophesied Messiah and Savior occurred at the appointed time and in the fullness of time, so, too, will be His return as Lord of every man. (Gal 4:4; Eph 1:9-10)

On the human side, we are plainly told by the Lord Jesus that we can not know precisely when the time will be. (Acts 1:7; Mt 24:36; Mk 13:32)

On God’s part, there is a time which He has set, and which no one or any thing can alter or prevent.  He is YHVH, the Lord God of history, and of its times and seasons. (Mk 13:32; Rev 9:15)  

At the same time, the Lord Himself does give us, as does the Holy Spirit through the apostles, signs of the end, or signs of the time which will prepare those who are His to be watching, working, praying:  birth pangs (labor pains) indicate nearness, and are more frequent and more intense and increasingly difficult to bear:  Mt 24; Mk 13; Lk 21; 1Thes 2; 1Thes 5:4-5  A growing expectation of Christ/Messiah to come will see the appearance of many false messiahs and prophets, just as at His first coming. (Mt 24:21-18)
That day should not overtake believers as a thief in the night, for we are sons of light and of the day.

The Lord Yeshua also used parables towards preparing us, and the Holy Spirit gives life to His words, especially in their season:  the fig tree blossoming (Mt 24:32; Mk 13:28; Lk 21:29)
He also states the necessary response of His people, which will correspond with His own sovereign grace which brings forth such a response:
–Israel:  Mt 23:39  Blessed is He who comes in the Name of Yehovah!  Blessed is Jesus/Yeshua!
–Church:  Rev 22:20  Come, Lord Jesus!

His timing includes the salvation from among all peoples and nations:
Rom 11:25-26  all Israel to be saved when the fullness of Gentiles are brought in to the Messianic olive tree

The question is always asked, “Why isn’t there peace if the Messiah has already come?”  The Tenach (Old Testament) is clear that there would not be peace at/during this time:  Ps 2:2,9; 110:1; Dan 9:26   In the New Testament, Yeshua confirms the Word of God about this present lack of peace:  Mt 10:34

The prophet Daniel writes of 70 weeks (7’s) which YHVH has determined for Israel in order to bring to fulfillment His purposes, which are clearly stated. (9:24-27)  We have already considered in our previous study (http://streamsinthenegev.com/school-of-fish/eclectic-course-menu/time-of-messiah-yeshuas-first-coming/) 7 plus 62 of these “weeks” of years = 483 years, which brought us to Yeshua’s crucifixion (His “cutting off”) after the 62 weeks (not 69 uninterrupted weeks!).  When is the 70th week, and is this gap between the 69th week and the 70th biblically prophetic?  Think of examples of sports clocks, penalty box, work week:  real time vs playing or working time.  “Time-out” is the present situation for Israel.
Lev 23:9-24   The indeterminate specific starting date (not the day) between Passover/Unleavened Bread and the beginning for counting the sheaves; the prescribed days and weeks from First-Fruits (resurrection life/day after the Sabbath) up to Shavuot/Pentecost in the third month, and, consequently, the indeterminate yet seasonal length of time till the first day of the seventh month.  Provision also made for the poor and stranger to benefit from the harvest (i.e., spiritually poor Israelis and also Gentiles in the prophetic application).
Lk 21:24   Jerusalem to be trampled underfoot by Gentiles until the time of Gentiles fulfilled
Eph 1:9-10   mystery of fullness of dispensation of times
Rom 2:4; 2Pt 3:9   goodness and long-suffering of God lead to repentance unto life; that is, the time is not ‘fixed’ from a merely human standpoint:  in setting the appointed time, God has built in an indeterminate flexibility, so that for us, the Lord’s return may seem either too soon, or else later than we want!

The 70th “week of Daniel” apparently begins with the confirming of a specific covenant by the antichrist with the nation of Israel.  During this week of 7 years – midway, 3 1/2 yrs, 1260 days, ‘time, times, and a half’ (Dan 9:27; 7:25; 12:1,7; Rev 12:6,14) – the covenant is broken by the antichrist, and the abomination which brings desolation takes place.
Dan 9:27, 11:31; 12:1,11-12   –70
th
week and the abomination in the middle of it; great tribulation
Mt 24:15-16,21-22,29-31   Jesus, the Son of Man, coming on clouds of Heaven with power and great glory; after great tribulation

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly!’  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.” (Rev 22:20-21

Time of Messiah Yeshua’s First Coming

(Updated Aug 7, 2014)

The New Testament writers understood the Scriptures through their faith in the glorified and exalted Yeshua – who died and rose again and ascended into Heaven to the right hand of the Father – by the Holy Spirit who was their – and is our – Teacher.

Our reliance is on the record of the Bible.  Other books and teachings are useful and helpful to the extent that they enlighten God’s Word to us and direct us to see for ourselves the sufficiency of the Biblical record.

It is vital to apprehend the truth that all of the prophecies regarding the coming Messiah converged upon and in the person of Yeshua of Nazareth at that time in human history when He came into the world, and during the course of His life, ministry, death and resurrection.  NO OTHER PERSON (OR ANY OTHER THING OR ENTITY) MEETS, NOR CAN MEET, ALL OF THE PROPHETIC QUALIFICATIONS PERTAINING TO THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD, THE KING OF ISRAEL AND OF THE JEWS!  YEHOVAH God is the Lord of history:  He determines and sets the appointed times and seasons for the carrying out of His sovereign will.

Gal 4:4   In the fullness of time God sent His Son.  (The precise dates of His birth, death, and coming again are not completely clear, partly because of calendar discrepancies.)
Lk 12:54-56   Jesus called the people hypocrites for their ability to discern the signs for the weather, but not the signs of the time.
Lk 19:44; Dan 9:24-27   Jesus wept over Jerusalem for its impending destruction because she did not know the time of her visitation.
Acts 2:36   The apostle Peter preached that the whole House of Israel should know that God has made Yeshua/Jesus, whom we crucified, both Lord and Messiah.

EXPECTANCY around the time of His birth
Mt 2:1-8  Wise men from the East; chief priests and scribes of the Jews; Herod the king:  all were aware that the Messiah was due

Lk 2:25   Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel through the birth of Yeshua and the salvation of the Lord.
Lk 2:36   Anna was looking, along with others, for the redemption in Jerusalem.
Acts 5:34-42   references to false messiahs/christs during that period
Lk 1 – 2   the angel Gabriel’s announcements to Elizabeth and Zechariah, to Mary and Joseph; and the angel of the Lord telling the shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem
Lk 1:26 – 2:40 (Is 7:14; 9:6)   A young virgin did give birth – a sign to the House of David – and was spoken against (both Mary and Jesus), and was called by divine names.

EXPECTANCY during Yeshua’s ministry
Lk 3:15; Jn 1:19-27   The question arose as to whether John was the Messiah, and, if not, then why was he baptizing?
Jn 1:35-51   Andrew and Nathanel, when chosen by Jesus to be His disciples, recognized in Him the One of whom Moses and the Prophets wrote – the Son of God and King of Israel.
Jn 4:25   The Samaritan woman knew that Messiah should come.
Lk 7:19-22 (Is 35:5-6; 61:1)   John the Baptiser wanted to make sure if Yeshua really was the Messiah as he had been given to think, or was there someone else?  Jesus answered the inquiry by demonstrating the power of His anointing to do the signs and miracles and works of YHVH’s Anointed One.
Lk 22:67; Jn 10:22-24   The elders and the chief priests and the scribes asked Jesus to tell them if, in fact, He was the Messiah. 

EXPECTANCY surrounding His death
Lk 23:34-43   mocking, but also saving faith

PROPHESIED BY GOD to entire human race through both Jewish and Gentile voices, and also by angelic voices:  Moses, Balaam, Jacob (Israel), Daniel, magi
Gen 1:1-5; Jn 8:22   The Light of the world is Christ:  pre-existing, not created
Gen 1:14-18; Jn 9:45   The sun was made and appeared on the 4
th day of creation; Jesus the Son (Sun of Righteousness) came into the world in 4th
1000-year day.
Mt 2:1-11   The star of the child born to be King of the Jews was observed and recognized
Gen 49:8-12   the sceptre and law-giver with Judah until Shiloh comes
Num 24:15-19   Star out of Jacob; out of Jacob one shall have dominion
Dan 9:24-27   The  death of Messiah was to be before the destruction of the second Temple, which occurred in 70AD
–70 7’s:  days (Sabbaths); weeks (7 days each); years (Sabbatic and Jubilee)  [NoteGen 29:27-30 Jacob served Laban a “week” = 7 years]
–*7 + 62 weeks = 69 weeks = 483 years “counted” from the time of “the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” until His being “cut off”/death

     *Different assumptions of chronology and dating cause discrepancies in determining the dates.  It seems clear from Scripture that the first of the seven weeks began with the decree of Cyrus, King of Persia (536BC), followed by a break of about 16 years before the decree was re-affirmed by Darius (520BC), and building of the Temple re-started, and of the city. (see Is 44:28 and Hag 1:1-4; 2:18; Zech 1:1-17; Ezra 6:1-4; Neh 2:1-8)  With the break in the building project, the actual time from the initial decree by Cyrus would be closer to 500 years.

2Chr 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:12; Hag 1:4   Cyrus gave the decree, which He claimed was from YHVH.  He proclaimed a Jubilee, and the end of the first of the 7 “weeks”/49 years marked the beginning of the next Jubilee.   

Is 44:28; 45:1-13   Prophecies about Cyrus, the LORD’s anointed, before he was born!  Cyrus would make the decree for the building of Jerusalem and for laying the foundation of the Temple, and proclaim liberty for the captivity of Israel.    

Ezra 6:1-14; Neh 2:1-8; Haggai   a halt in the work, but Cyrus’ decree was confirmed by Artaxerxes
–The first 7 sevens, or 49 years, coincides with Nehemiah’s work to restore Jerusalem and the Temple service.  There was a notable spiritual revival, which saw the cleansing of the Temple and the restoration of the Temple order and service. (Neh 7:1; 12:44; 13:9)  After a ‘time-out’ of about 16 years, the ‘clock’ begins again for 62 more weeks.  So the time of Yeshua’s final week and ‘cutting off’ (death) is after the 62 weeks, and not 69 uninterrupted weeks!

–7 x 7 = 49 years

    7 x 62 = 434 years (400 yrs before birth of Jesus + His death in His 34th year of human life)
7 x 69 = 483 years + ~13 years of interrupted building of the Temple

–The 70th “week of Daniel” is sometime after the death of Messiah, and also after the destruction of the second Temple and also of Jerusalem, and is ‘clocked’ from the confirming of a covenant by the antichrist with Israel back in the Land in the last days at the time of the end.

SABBATH: THE 7TH DAY AND THE 1ST DAY OF THE WEEK – 25 Aug 1995

(Friday evening dinner teaching to Lutheran, Pentecostal, and Free Church Christians in Kangasala, Finland)

Revised 5 Mar 2017

Gen 1:1    In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.
       1:31  And God saw every thing that He had made, and , behold, it was very good.  And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Gen 2:1-3; Heb 4:10  Thus the Heavens and the Earth were finished, and all the hosts of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He ceased ( שבת) on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.  And God blessed the seventh day sanctified it because that in it He had ceased from all His work which God created and made.

Ex 20:9-11; 23;12  Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work.  But the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHVH your God. . . . For in six days YHVH made Heaven and Earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and He rested (ינח) on the seventh day; wherefore YHVH blessed the Sabbath and sanctified it.
                We remember the Creator for His creation, and His rest.

Ex 31:12-17; Ezek 20:12,20  The Sabbath is a sign between YHVH and Israel to know that it is YHVH who sanctifies us; He ceased (שבת) and was refreshed (ינפש ) after His six days of creation.

Lev 23:1-3   And YHVH spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them concerning the appointed times of YHVH, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My appointed times (seasons; feasts). . . . The seventh day is the Sabbath of rest (cessation שבת )

       23:39   [Feast of Booths]. . . on the first day shall be a Sabbath, and the eighth day shall be a Sabbath.
God begins and ends with rest (שבת ).

Dt 5:12-15   . . . and remember that thou was a slave in the land of Egypt, and that YHVH your God brought thee out from there by a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; wherefore YHVH thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.
             We remember the Redeemer and Deliverer for our redemption, and our rest.

Is 58:13-14   the Sabbath to called a delight (עונג)

Heb 3:7 – 4:11  There remains therefore a rest (cessation) to the people of God:  the gospel message of rest to those who believe (Heb 4:2), as we cease from our own works as God did from His.

Mk 2:27-28   The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Shabbat; therefore, the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath also.

Jn 4:34; 5:17-18; 9:4   Yeshua/Jesus answered them, My Father works till now, and I work.  Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He had not only broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
God’s present on-going work is that of redemption and salvation.

Good works of grace (lovingkindness) and truth are lawful on/for/during the Sabbath, Shavuot (Weeks; Pentecostal present dispensation), Jubilee (the present acceptable year of YHVH which Yeshua the Messiah proclaimed, the Millennial Kingdom to come:

Mt 12:7,10,12   to show mercy; healing; to do well (good)
Mk 3:4   to do good; to save life
Lk 13:16   to circumcise
Jn 6:29; 7:23   to circumcise; the work of God is to believe on Jesus Christ, whom God sent  

Yeshua, the Son of God and the Son of Man, fulfills the Sabbath:  in Him God finds rest and refreshment, and in Christ believers enter into God’s rest and liberty. (Is 11:1-2; Mt 3:16-17; Jn 1:31-34; Is 28:11-12; Mt 11:27-30; Is 66:1-2; Act 7:49)  The Lord Yeshua was in the grave and Sheol (Hades) on the seventh day Sabbath between His crucifixion and His resurrection on the day after the Sabbath (the first day of the new week; the “eighth” day):  death to the self-life as representing Man and Mankind (“putting off the old man”); alive unto God through faith (“putting on the new man”). (Col 3:9-10; Rom 6; 1Cor 15:45)

This is the life and the way of the cross for the disciple of Jesus.  We are to bear our own burden of responsibility, and help others carry their over-burden, so fulfilling the Law of Messiah.  The Sabbath looks on to the Millennial Kingdom – the 7th 1000-year day with YHVH – when all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest, and when the Kingdom of God/Heaven rules over all the Earth – and throughout the Universe – never to be yielded up again forever! (Jer 31:33-34; Ps 8; 92)

Yet, the Shabbat itself requires consummation or fulfillment (filling full), an answer to sin and death, burial and hopelessness in man’s own experience and expectation apart from truly knowing and believing in the one true living God.  Praise God for the day YHVH has made:  the day Yeshua rose from among the dead on the day after Shabbat; the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the first-fruits of believers; the first day of a new creation in the power of the God of resurrection; the day when God spoke, and there was Light and Life – even life after death! (Gen 1:3; 2Cor 4:6)

God is creating a new eternal day of the New Heavens and New Earth, where there is no darkness, no sin or suffering or curse or death; where, and when, all things are made new, and that which is perfect is come; the hope and promise of the new and better covenant in and by and through Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father!

When we are born-again we become children of the resurrection and children of light.  The Sabbath reminds us that God created the Heavens and the Earth in six days, and rested on the seventh.  As we remember that, on the first day He formed the light to push back the darkness that He created.  He did not need to create light, for God is light!  Yeshua is the uncreated Light, and we are brought into God’s light.  The first day of the week (the “one of the week” in Hebrew and in Greek) is also holy!  Praise the Lord!

The Sabbath of the 7th day has abiding value through to the end of history and time. (Ezek 43:26-27)  The 8th day (the day after the 7th; the 8th year following the Sabbatical; the Jubilee after 7×7 years) is founded upon the fulfillment of the previous seven, and looks on prophetically for the believer to eternity, when time is no more, and God is all and in all. (1Cor 15:19-28; Rev 21 – 22) 

In the New Testament we read that the believers met on the first day of the week. (Acts 20:7; 1Cor 16:1-2)  This is in fulfillment of the Word of YHVH through Moses to Israel. (Lev 23:11,15-16,36)  The Apostles to the Circumcision — Peter, John, and James — make no specific reference to the Sabbath Day.  Yeshua, in His letters to the churches through John in the Revelation, makes no reference to the Shabbat.  Let each of us be convinced in his own mind, and be servants for the gospel’s sake.  The Sabbath remains for now YHVH’s sign of the covenant with Israel; believers in Israel normally worship together on the Shabbat, since it naturally fits into the Israeli Jewish culture within which — and among whom — we live.  Yet the Shabbat cannot nullify the significance of the day after, nor can the first day of the week nullify the still on-going significance of the seventh-day Sabbath.  We are God’s witnesses to both! 

Hold fast to our inheritance and testimony, even while thanking and praising and worshipping our great God and Savior for the liberty He presently allows for in His wisdom when believers can assemble and worship together.  May the Holy Spirit enable us to worship God our Father, and the Lamb who sits upon the Throne, in Spirit and Truth.  Amen.